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A word about beginnings...

Please, when you friend me on livejournal, if you could shoot me a message and let me know privately who you are and how you relate to my life (If you do) I'd be most appreciative, or if you're a friend of a friend. 
That would be lovely.
You see, unlike facebook, I totally reserve the right to grant certain people different people different access to my psyche and innermost thoughts here. (That's why I don't post anything other than random on facebook.)  There are some that only get the first level.  There are some that get access all the way down to level 4, just like in real life.  I can count on two hands the number of people I will unreservedly talk about ANYTHING in front of in person, and I'm not about to change that just because I'm spewing those thoughts on livejournal rather than vocalizing them.
That may seem unfair to some. 
Like I care.  My journal, my thoughts, my intellectual property (such as it is), my rules.

These things make me uncomfortable.

Just so people know where I stand on the President's Executive Orders, here are the things I have concerns about, taken unedited from the list: 
2. "Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system." (It's that pesky HIPAA law that prevents your medical information being used for nefarious purposes.)
4. "Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks." (Define dangerous.  Is that going to be all people who have ever been on an SSRI?  Anti-depressant?  Anti-psychotic? Mood-regulating anti-seizure drug?)
16. "Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.  (So doctors can ask the question... what happens to the information once they have an answer?  Unless it's reported, it's not going to do any good.  If it is reported, who is it reported to?  Who is responsible if it is reported and someone does something anyway?  If it isn't reported, will this open up the physician to lawsuits on the off-chance an idiot hurts someone? Will your life insurance rates or health insurance rates increase if you own a gun because you are now "at risk"? This order serves absolutely no purpose at all, unless you're looking at simply collecting information on who owns what.  And, in the words of the immortal Dr. House, "People lie."  Only people who have nothing to hide tell the truth.  People who have nothing to hide, I am willing to bet, are not that likely to go off on a shooting rampage.)
17. "Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities." (Oh, and we already do this when a patient presents with suicidal or homicidal ideation.)
If you had any illusion remaining at all in regard to a right to privacy when it comes to your medical history, treatment and care, or the confidentiality of the information that you share with your physician, understand that these things no longer exist.

It's really NOT that simple.

As of 8 pm tonight, I have gone for one hundred and three hours and 30 minutes without a cigarette.  This is the longest I have gone without smoking in 9 years.
Everyone in my house is still alive, no one from work is trussed up in my trunk... they're all good.
If you start congratulating me and telling me how proud/inspired/happy/relieved  you are with my decision, I have absolutely NO problem with cutting you just to watch you bleed. It makes me feel like a dog that's finally been house trained when people start going on like that.  It's irritating and I find it condescending, even if you mean it.
That's also why I told no one... and I mean NO ONE, that I had quit until 24 hours after the fact.  Even Hans and Victoria, and when I did tell them, it's because I had what amounts to a nervous breakdown in the car when I picked Hans up after work on Tuesday, and they were the ones I was actually going to be alone with and spend the most time with.  If I was to fail at this, and not be able to quit, then I really didn't want to have to deal with the way I would have felt if I had let people down... again.
I also want to be very clear in that I have NOT given up nicotine.  I have an e-cigarette, and I'm using that.  Before you get up on your high-horse of clean living disapproval, I'm going to explain a few things.
Addiction is funny in the way that it works, in that what you think is the main component in whatever your drug of choice is, sometimes turns out not to be the thing your mind wants, and what your brain wants ends up being not for the reason you would assume.
Here's what I mean, specifically:
One, I am ADD/ADHD.  This means that nicotine, which is a stimulant, will actually calm me down and help me focus.  Same with caffeine.  And no, I really have absolutely no problem at all being able to go to sleep after over-indulging in either, except for that one three day period when I was deployed to Saudi and I drank the 4 double espressos and spent the next 48 hours chain-smoking beedis and clove cigarettes and watching the pattern on the Persian rug on the dorm room floor vibrate.  (Don't ask.  Chalk it up to the stupid shit you do when you're 20.)
Two, I have a family history of addiction that makes the Osbourne family look like poster-children for 1950's upright living Ozzy and Harriet-land  (See what I did there?).  This means that genetically, and personaity-wise as well, the last thing I ever needed to do was get too involved with drinking, prescription drugs, or illegal drugs.  It's why I never started smoking pot, it's why I restrict my drinking, it's why I've always looked for pretty much any alternative to pharmaceuticals I could before I would take a prescription.  Because once I were to start, and particularly if they were stimulants like meth or cocaine... ALL of the drugs would be belonging to ME.  Because I LIKE THEM.  I like them A LOT.  And why do that to myself and my family?
So, one would think that my addiction to cigarettes has to do with the nicotine.  And you would be, believe it or not, very much mistaken.

My father was a chain smoker, more or less.  Despite the fact that he was TDY or deployed or in the field for a lot of my childhood, all of my growing up was pretty much permeated with the smell of cigarettes when he was home.  Now, here's the messed up thing.  My dad was a responsible person when he was home, being a dad.  Things were for the most part "Normal", whatever that is.  When he went TDY, he got ate up with what some people call "TDY syndrome".  That's when a more or less responsible adult man will revert to the mental age of a 13 year old and actually believe that what goes on TDY will stay on TDY, and that because he's getting per diem pay he can blow his entire paycheck playing poker before his wife get a chance to pay the bills and somehow it will all be good.  At various points in time, my dad had at least two long-term (greater than three months) affairs that I know of, was thrown in jail for fighting and had to be bailed out at least three times, "lost" most of his paycheck and/or our family savings a couple of times, and generally raised hell.
So... when dad was home, things were, while not perfect, considerably less chaotic in our family.  When he was gone, things were out of control.  When he was home, there was the ever present smell of cigarette smoke.  When he was gone, there wasn't.
So you can sort of begin to see this pattern emerge, even at this stage in my life.
When I was 18, my father basically told me, "You're an adult.  You either go to college, or you go into the military.  I don't give a damn what you do, you're just not gonna be living here with me any more."  And that would have been fine, had I been prepared to make a decision, and I mean ANY decision, on my own.  I wasn't.  I hadn't ever made any choice at all in my life without clearing it with my parents.  I didn't know HOW to choose anything on my own.
So I went to college, because I didn't have anyplace else to go.  Stuff happened, and things did not go well. The thing about kids and choices is that if they aren't allowed to make them and fail when they are at home and protected, they will totally make some disastrous ones when there is no do-over.  It was then that I started smoking.  And the main reason I started was because the smell of the smoke made me feel... calmer.  Less chaotic.  More controlled.  The thing was, I wasn't even really inhaling them.  I would just light it and hold it. 
College didn't work out, and I continued to smoke.  I went into the military.  I met my ex-husband.  I thought I was finally going to have "normal".  I thought everything was going to be okay, and I was as happy as I could imagine myself being at that time.
I got pregnant with Julia.  Her father and I got married, I quit smoking because I was pregnant.  And in the midst of that, life began to spiral out of control again.  My ex had an affair.  I got pregnant again, once more unplanned.  Bills were piling up.  The ex wanted out of the military.  The ex had another affair.  We moved to Arkansas.  We moved to Fayetteville.  The ex wouldn't hold a job, I was worn out, and my daughters were living the kind of life I never wanted them to live.
I decided to get a divorce.  And I started smoking again.  Once more, because in the midst of my confusion, the smell of smoke was linked to calmer, happier days.  And gradually life improved so very much, beyond what I ever dreamed.  And during these past few years, I've been happy, and I've smoked... Every single day for the past 9 years.
So now we come to the present day.  I am 41 years old.  In nearly every one of those 41 years, the message has been reinforced that the SMELL of smoke is calming.  The smell of smoke means stability and not-crazy.  The smell of smoke grounds me.  I told Hans, "I really don't think you quite understand.  I'm not smoking as much as you think I am.  Yes, I'm lighting them up.  But I'm lighting it, taking a drag, and putting it down.  Then I go back, and it's burned out.  So I light another one and set it down after having a drag.  I will light up and burn out 7 or 8 cigarettes before I actually have had enough drags to qualify as having smoked ONE cigarette when I'm at home."  And that's been proven in the amount of nicotine cartridges I'm using in the e-cig.  One cartridge equals one pack, give or take a few drags.  I WAS burning a pack of cigarettes a day before I stopped.  I have yet to use one whole cartridge with the electronic cigarette in four days.  As Hans said... "Cigarettes are your incense." 
Of course... this is while I'm at home.  I'm sort of worried about being at an event.  Being around that many people stresses me out.  I love you all, but you're all fucking nuts (like I am) and a little overwhelming for me sometimes.  LOL  Smoking is where I can get away from everyone and calm down.  I worry about people who will normally give me space because I'm smoking ("EWWWWW... how can you do that, it stinks, it's gross, it's disgusting".... Guess what?  It's also a pretty effective asshole deterrent.) will now no longer avoid me because I don't light up and wrap myself in my protective blue fog.  Because let's face it, nothing says "F*ck off and leave me alone" like blowing smoke in someone's face intentionally.  And I never even have to say the words.

So I'm trying to break the association in my brain between all good things in life and cigarettes.  And that's a damn hard thing to do.  I'm really, really stressed about this.  I'm afraid of not having cigarettes.  Seriously terrified.  It isn't about my body needing the nicotine, it's about the smell triggering that happy place in my brain, which is the root of all addiction anyway.  And it's hard.  And if I fail at this, I really want people to understand exactly why it's so hard for me.  And I also want you to understand why, when you tell me how easy it was for you, and how all it takes is will-power, I will shove my foot so far up your ass you taste shoe leather.
Oh... and if I tell you I REALLY need to be left alone when we're at an event... I really do.  Please respect that.  Otherwise I will have to find a deterrent equally as effective as blowing smoke in your face.  I'm making a list of them.


 If you get right down to it, there has always been nastiness and hatefulness for as long as we've had an organized society and politics and religion has been involved in that society.  You can sort of trace our devolution back THIS particular round, in the past 20-30 years, to Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Glen Beck, and folks of that ilk.  When being "edgy" morphed into being insulting and derogatory.  I'm honest enough to admit that right-wing talk radio played a major part in the current climate. 
The upshor is, it's okay to be insulting, it's okay to be a dick to someone you disagree with, it's okay to scream over them rather than listen, it's okay to generalize about people.  After all, they did it to you.
As someone who has spent a good deal of my life being insulted, having people be a dick to me, being screamed at, being lumped in...  I totally get why that sucks.  I totally get why someone would want to get those licks in while they can, and why, when you're group is on top, it feels SOOO good to make those bastards pay.
Revenge is fun, and as was posted on my facebook wall, since revenge is sweet, and revenge is best served cold, revenge = ice cream, and everyone except for weirdos likes ice cream.
And hey... if someone you or I are "friends" with (and my use of quotations will be explained in a sec) gets caught in your or my generalizations... too bad for them.  Screw 'em.  Their side started it, I've been hurt, and by God, everyone will suffer the way I have.
They will just have to understand that your or my personal pain and anger trumps the pain you or I are causing them.  I was hurt first, I got dibs on retaliation.  Wait your damn turn.
That's the way society works, right?  What keeps us from devolving is that complete self interest, correct?
That's the tenant of all major and minor religion, isn't it?  What brings us to deeper understanding of each other?  What enlightens us?  What brings us closer to the deity of our choosing, enabling us to be better people?
Right.  Or rather, wrong.

You see, I don't think that.  I don't think that my hurt and pain is of paramount importance.  I care when the people I value are injured by my actions.  It matters to me.
And it says quite a bit about how others think of me when I say, "Dude... just so you know, that statement you made about ANYONE who believes X, Y or Z being or wanting "_____" was pretty hurtful" and have them reply, "Yeah, well, so?  I had "____" done to me by someone who claimed that belief or political affiliation, and because you believe the same thing, you're just as culpable.  No, you've never done or supported similar actions, but YOU... YOU...It's YOUR FAULT!  Even though you say you don't agree with the things that were done to me, you are responsible for their actions.  Because YOU'RE ALL ALIKE.  So screw your feelings... But hey, we'll meet up at that thing we were going to, right?  I miss you so much girlfriend!  We TOTALLY need to talk more. SMOOCHIES."
By that logic, (let's see who screams at this analogy....) I was molested at 7.  Raped at 18.  Sexually assaulted at 20.  All of these things were done to me by males.  Therefore, every male is to be blamed for the actions of those three.  I don't care if a man has been the soul of kindness, discretion, chivalry, courtesy, and genteelness.  I don't care if he's gay.  I don't care if he's a-sexual.  I don't care if I've never felt threatened by his actions.  HE IS GUILTY, if only by association, and because he is guilty, I have every right to tell him at every opportunity how horrible he is for being a man.  Or rant about those damn men whenever I get the chance.  If he raises a fuss about being unfairly categorized... well, he's a man.  If he tells me how much my accusations hurt him... So?  Where was he when I was assaulted?  He and others like him didn't STOP it.  Even if he didn't know me, wasn't on the same continent, by virtue of his genitalia, he's to blame.  Oh... and lest I seem judgemental, don't forget I'm going to explain constantly how because I was hurt, he deserves to be hurt in kind, because: dude=penis=rapist=paybackisminebitch. And really, I have absolutely no problem with any other gender other than men, so I can't possibly be sexist.  Except for men, who suck, and no one should forget that.***
Ridiculous, to think someone would, in this day and age, categorize someone like that, and blame them for the independent actions of another.  To think that this sort of reasoning is actually somehow logical and their biases would be justifiable.
And why would my so-called male "friend" bother with me?  I mean, what about me or my attitude would make me someone worthwhile for him to know... Unless he's some masochistic freak who enjoys emotional torment, in which case, carry on with that, 'kay?
I have illustrated I'm the kind of person that doesn't listen unless it's something I want to hear.  I obviously don't give a damn about him, because who in thier right mind hurts the people they care about?.  I don't care about his feelings, and I'm at the center of the universe, calling names and leading the good fight against those asshole rapist men.  You know, acceptable losses, friendly fire, he's obviously the one with the issue because he won't accept the blame I'm heaping on him, free speech... Whatever.
And then further, if I'm honest with myself, why the hell would I be hypocritical enough to tell him he matters in my life?  My actions say loud and clear what matters is... me.  My pain, my trauma, my spunk in the face of The Man...
Even more ridiculous, with an attitude like that, who am I to dare tell that man he is my friend with a straight face?  To be complimentary on one thing, and tell him how much of an inspiration he is, how he matters in my life, yet follow up on it with the moniker, "You rapist."
Where is the proof that this other human matters to me?  My actions?  No.  My words?  No.  My consideration of his feelings?  No.

Yet this is what people are doing to each other.  Every.  Single.  Day.
Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, Humanist, Agnostic, Pagan.
Republican.  Democrat.  Moderate.  Independent.  Libertarian.  Tea-Partier.  Communist.  Socialist.

Have people really come to a point where "friend" isn't a person they actually care about injuring?  Where emotional battery is okay as long as we feel we're justified?
Who the hell wants to be a part of that society?  Who wants to live a life with those sort of empty relationships?
Here's another story, and I'll make it brief.  Worked in a job a while ago where I had to answer phone calls.  One day, a woman that I had to deal with about once or twice a month called in with a problem.  She was angry, and she was vocal about it, and she had a right to be.  She probably spent 5-10 minutes berating me for the actions of someone else in my workplace.  Yes, that person was at fault.  That person had screwed up, and it was a sort of an intentional screw-up.  After investigating the issue, I return to the phone and told her what the issue was, and let her know that I couldn't really fix the problem, and I was sorry, but here were some alternatives we could try.  She ranted at me, blamed me, blamed the company, told me how horrible it was that this other person, whom I did not deal directly with and had no authority over, was typical of everyone who worked in the company, and that I was to blame for what they did.  And then...
She hung up on me.
Two days later, I had cause to run into her at work again... And she apologized.  I told her that I understood her frustration, and that it was okay.
I will never forget her reply to me.  "You know... it really wasn't okay.  I acted in a way that I never should have acted, despite my pain and frustration with the situation.  You were involved, but only by virtue of working where you do.  It was not your fault, yet because of "____", I treated you like it was.  I am sorry for the pain I caused you.  I am sorry for the way I treated you because you were the one affiliated with this company, and you were the one I made a target.  I acted unconscionably.  I'd appreciate it if you forgive me."
That woman has become one of the models for how I want to treat people.  She became someone I loved so very much, who no matter what else I faced during a day could make me smile  In the midst of my rotten day, I would stop and check my attitude and make sure I was behaving as she had when she apologized... that I wasn't blaming other people for my stress.
She was my friend, and I lost her recently.
She was my friend because my feelings mattered.  I was her friend because I cared about her feelings as well.
If she hadn't apologized, we wouldn't have been friends.  If I hadn't forgiven her, we wouldn't have been friends.  If I blamed every other person who called for what she had done to me, I would be a shitty, miserable person, and in kind would have been just as shitty and miserable to everyone I came into contact with, whether they deserved it or not.  And if they had taken my attitude, and blamed everyone for how I had acted toward THEM... Misery, like a virus, spreads.  How many of us spread that kind of misery?

And honestly... if your political name-calling matters more to you than I do as a person, we're done.  If vocalizing your hatred of my religion means more to you than the pain you're causing me, we're done.  Go on with your bad self and your jihad.  Later you can explain to someone who agrees with you completely how your religious bias against me is different from that asshole's religious bias against you.  So they did "X" to you and you're just calling them names.  Yeah, TOTALLY different.  Insert the eyeroll here.
It is NOT my job to make up for every shitty piss-poor thing any excuse for a "whatever" has done to you simply because that idiot labeled himself with that "whatever" title.  It's not your job to fix my wounded psyche either.  I pretty much feel there's one thing on this earth we're responsible for...
Our own damn actions. 
There is not a religion or non-religion in the world to my limited knowledge that disagrees with that. 
So when you sit back, blame the injury you INTENTIONALLY cause to others on the injury intentionally caused to you, you are, in my mind, at least, perpetrating the evil you are so quick to judge others for.  You are the virus of misery and contempt.  You have become what you despise.

***  If you are reading this and seriously have come to the conclusion that I am of the opinion that every man is a rapist, you need to get the hell out of the house more.  Go watch a movie or something, because you have failed at reading comprehension and using absurdity to illustrate a point.  Sarcasm is probably lost on you as well.
I haven't posted in forever.  Been busy with life, work, and whatnot all else, and expect to be hip deep in the coming months, so that really isn't going to change anytime soon.  The joys of adulthood.
So, in the news in my world:

First, I have finally come up against something that is making me take steps to seriously try to quit smoking.
Before you get all excited and have the jumping up and downs with the rah-rahs, I need to explain something.  It's not because I don't like smoking, and it's not because I have converted to the "All smokers are evil and should forever burn in HEEEELLL" camp either, and I haven't suddenly become all health conscious.
And quite frankly, I really don't hold out much hope that this will be a permanent situation for the above two reasons.  In fact the truth of the matter is that I really hesitated to share this at all.  Letting myself down I'm okay with.  Disappointing others I'm not.  Not that I don't do it, but it generally ends in a spiral of "I'msohorriblehowcouldIdothisohGodIsuckasaperson" type of thinking that I don't want to deal with.
I guess you're curious as to why I'm attempting this... what spurred the decision.  (If you aren't, why the heck are you reading this? Go find something better to do.  LOL 
I'm finally at a point where smoking is interfering with something else I want to do desperately.  Namely, I can't effectively train for a 5K Zombie Run and smoke at the same time.  Trust me... if I could, I wouldn't even be writing this.
So I have my prescription for Chantix that I will pick up on Monday.  I am placing the cigarettes out in the car tomorrow... with the thought being that if I want one, and I have to go out to the car to get it, I am less likely to go out and smoke.  Because I am of the lazy.  It's all about playing to your strengths. 

Second.  I started the paleo diet after Lilies (with the exception of the weekend) and I'm now down to 135-136.  I'm still about 5 pounds from my goal weight, but the truth of it is that I didn't start the diet to lose weight.  Nice side effect though.  I did it because basic paleo is the diet that I feel best on.  I give myself the weekends off, although that's becoming less of a "thing" because even though I have permission to eat the food I normally don't during the week (ice cream and cheese being the two I miss the most) I find myself opting not to have them simply because they don't really seem to have that much appeal compared to other stuff.  And after Hans' diabetes scare after Lilies... well, it's better for him as well.  He's done pretty awesome.  Since Lilies, he's dropped 45-50 pounds, and seven belt notches.  We had to buy him new pants two weeks ago, that are now falling off. 
Yeah, I sorta hate him.
But once more, it's not one of those "Everyone must DO this" kind of thing.  I've always been a VERY firm believer in the concept that everyone is different.  When it comes to diet, one method will NOT work for everyone.  Some folks will do well on paleo.  Some folks will not.

So, that's about all from here.  Playing with beads, doing nothing much productive other than work.
But hopefully I'll find time to post more regularly.

I know I shouldn't read news stories with the same eye as I read a scholarly article or documentation.  I know this.
And still I fail to heed my own advice, and have a face-palm moment.
Everyone is all het up over the bra-like garments from the late 15th century that we're finally finding out about.  Here is the article that is getting reposted ad nauseum.
Read through it.  First, 4 garments are getting attention.  According to this other article, two were essentially false fronts to hide cleavage.  One was compared to a long line bra.  As I posted on Facebook, do you know what a long line bra is?  A corset with cups.  The fourth, looking at the seams visible in the picture, has some very interesting, very MODERN seam placement.  Now, I am hardly a late 15th century costuming genius, but it is constructed like no other garment I've ever seen from that time period.  Ever.  And let's be frank... One solitary garment does not a fashion trend make.
The thing that made my head explode was a line in the first article, and I pray to GOD it isn't a direct quote from the archeologist (because I would call her an idiot), "Also found at Lemberg Castle in Tyrol was a linen undergarment that looks very much like a pair of panties. But Beatrix Nutz said it is men's underwear — women did not wear anything under their flowing skirts back then."
Did you get that last part?
Let me repeat that:
— women did not wear anything under their flowing skirts back then
(You remember Bill Cosby's description of his wife having a conniption fit?  Insert that here.)
Yes... One of the items is a pair of underwear.  And it was found in conjunction with a codpiece, and according to the second article, DNA tests were done to find out what gender wore what.  So yeah, those particular underwear were worn by a male.
But to say that women didn't wear underwear?
Is she, or, if that last part was inserted by the idiot who wrote the article, high?
Let's look at the facts:
Women wore underwear during Roman times.  Here:
womenathletes  Looks like underwear to me.  And I'm pretty sure, judging by the boobs, that these are females.  Unless they're some males suffering from gynecomastia (fancy term for man-boobs).
Here's a picture of some recreated Roman underwear from a museum.
Oh, but this is late 15th century!  Things change!  Fashion is FLUID!
578935-lingerieWoodcut from 1474, Boccaccio's Famous Women.
1474.  Late 15th century.  Boo-yah!  Suck on THAT!  IN YOUR FACE!

And here is this image of people bathing in a fountain, from the fresco at Castello di Manta, c. 1411.  The woman at the front is wearing a shift, but it's sheer... and notice, underwear.

And let's get to the part of the topic that might be slightly... uncomfortable.  Menses.  Uncomfortable to discuss or not folks, these are the days pre-tampon. These are the days when fabric was expensive and time consuming to make.  There is no other practical way for a female to protect her clothing during this time other than by a pair of underwear and some folded scrap cloth.  And let's not forget the 3 weeks or so after childbirth.

WHY am I so upset over this?  Do you KNOW how many times I got forwarded that "Facts of the Middle Ages" article by well-meaning friends?  The one that said things like the reason weddings were in June was because they only bathed in the summer? 
I'd retire if I had a dollar for every time.  No joke.  And I will be damned if I deal with a round of idiots who know that I do medieval reenactment asking me if I'm going commando under my garb to be "more authentic".  And all we need is a group of seriously intellectually challenged women in sheer skirts and chitons running around sans briefs of some kind.  Because you KNOW it's gonna happen.  We already have nipple flashes aplenty from overflowing and low cut wench-wear and corsets...  You wanna add to the horror?  I generally tend to sit on the ground at events (it's comfy and I don't have to drag a chair), and I will be scarred for YEARS if this misinformation is allowed to proceed unchecked and unchallenged. 

No... I hope this was just an idiot journalist extrapolating (Yes, I'm looking at you George Jahn.).  I would hope that an archeologist, a FEMALE archeologist no less, would have more common sense.

Socks in my floor...

There's that analogy about chronic pain and spoons that people use to describe what it's like to live with that illness.  I'm gonna give an example what it's like to be in the head of someone with OCD when it comes to something simple like picking up a pair of socks out of the floor.  The reason why I'm posting this now is because this is the way I've spent the past 13 hours or so... and it's sort of fresh in my mind.
First, you pick up the socks, and while you're bent over doing that, you pick up the gum wrapper that your kid dropped that's under the table.  You straighten up, and notice that the table is dusty... so you go and dig out the furniture polish and the rag, and do the first table, but when you get to the second table, you notice that the plant sitting on it needs to be watered.  So, you begin to water the plants too... and then you see that one of them needs to be repotted.  So you drag out the stuff to repot the ones that need it... All 6 of them.  Once that's done, you need to take out the old pots, and pass through the room where the socks were, and put the pots by the door to take them out once you finish the dusting.  You see the trail of dirt you left, and then get out the vacuum.  Vacuuming, you notice the spots on the carpet, so you drag out the spot remover and the steam cleaner.  Of course, you can't just steam clean around the furniture, you must move the furniture so that the carpet is evenly clean EVERYWHERE.  And then you notice that the baseboards behind the couch need to be dusted.  And the intake vent for the AC is filthy as well, so remove the vent, put it in the bathtub to soak, wipe down the baseboards.  By now, all of the furniture in the living room is in the middle of the room, so you may as well go ahead and rearrange it.  Which requires you to take all of the books and dvd's off the shelves so you can move them too.  And dust them all individually, because you don't want to put them back on a clean shelf if they're dusty.  You aren't so bad as to alphabetize them all, but you group them again in terms of genre and most frequently watched.  That being done, you have to move the fish tank, because the room is totally unbalanced now... and in order to move the fish tank, you need to empty it, because, hello, it's a 30 gallon tank and weighs more than you do.  So the tank is emptied all the way, moved to it's new location, and refilled... after the rocks and plants have been rearranged. And now you notice that the corners of the ceiling have spiderwebs and the drapes need to be washed and dried, too. So they go in the laundry. You dry the vent cover and screw that back in.  It's getting late, but all of the art that's on your walls is off center because the furniture has been moved, so you take that down and stack it in the corner to be put back up tomorrow, when you can hammer on the walls without disturbing the family.  The curtains are clean, but you can't put them back up wrinkled, so you iron them, then put them up.
It is now 10:30.  You have been at this since, no kidding, 9:30 that morning.  Not because you WANT to spend your day doing this, but honestly, because you didn't  REALIZE  you're doing it until about 7:30, and by then it's too late to stop and you may as well get it done.  Because if you don't, the anxiety from not finishing the job makes you feel nauseous and uncomfortable.
This is what it's like to live with OCD.  It's not that I intentionally CHOSE to have my mind work in this way... it just does.  And yeah, friends tease and joke with me about this, saying, "Well, if you wanna do that, come on over to my house."  And I get why it's really funny, because I find it mildly amusing myself, once it's over.
But in the middle of it, when compulsion has taken over, you sort of want to cry.  This is why every simple job for someone else seems monumental to me.  This is why you will come to my house and find socks on my floor... Not because I don't care enough to pick them up, but because once this gets rolling, I can't really stop it, even if I wanted to.
The socks will get picked up when I have two or three days to spare.
Because you know, once the living room is clean enough... the rest of the house looks really bad in comparison.


This is a weird one. 
Yeah, even for me.  Some of you I've already asked this of, so if you don't want to comment, you don't have to.

How many times in your life have you had people tell you that they either feel that "fate" or destiny had brought you together, or that they have known you in a prior life?
How many times have you felt a connection with someone that makes that feeling reciprocal? 

I know, strange question, even for me.
I had someone tell me that not too long ago, and I thought at the time... "Okay, makes sense.  You feel familiar to me as well."  But then I started thinking of all the people that I've had say something similar... and I realized, "This happens to me a lot." 
One person I asked suggested that it's possible that certain souls tend to travel together through lifetimes, and I could have possibly been one of those, or that I'm just an old soul that's come into contact with quite a few people (I get around, baby.).  Another suggested that it's an interesting psychological way of staking a claim on someone without bothering to ask permission from them. 
I'm not really sure which one of those I think is more the case.
And then again, it could also be that I just tend to attract people who think about these sorts of things, and remark on them more openly.
So feel free to weigh in.
I have come to the conclusion that I am, indeed, Calontir's early period version of Dolly Parton.  I came to this conclusion as I was packing and finishing stuff up for Lilies. 
Now, I know there are some differences.  One, I'm not a multi-millionaire.  Two, I don't have her attributes.  Three, I'm not blonde.
But the similarities:
One, I like jewelry.   As I was weighing what to take and what to leave at home, I realized that I have a metric-crap-ton.  Like, if Lilies was 30 days instead of ten, I could go the entire war without wearing the same stuff more that once.
What can I say... I loves me some shinies.
Second-  Clothes and color coordination.  I have the "Roman wardrobe" and the "Merovingian Wardrobe".  Summer and winter.  Plus, shoes.
Third-  An obsession with cosmetics.  Like, choosing what make-up colors to take to Lilies based on what evidence there is for said colors.  Knowing how to make those cosmetics if the Zombie Apocalypse occurs and I run out of them.  Desperately wanting a bronze make-up grinder just like the Roman women had.  Debating on whether on not to take the gold pigment powder I have with me for my hair because the Romans used it.  I draw the line at gold leaf applied to my nipples though.  Although, this idea did carry a certain amount of attraction for my husband.
Fourth-  Wigs and hairpieces.  At this current time, I have one long ponytail/braid.  One pony tail attachment divided into 8 separate braids.  Two smaller pony tails.  One full front hair piece based on this:
Flavian hairstyle--front
  , one ringlet attachment/pony tail, and one chignon-type bun cover that's elaborately wrapped and braided.  Yep... 6 separate hair pieces. (Not counting the one I made for Gwen.)  For a ten day war.  The reason is simple;  Romans had slaves, and I have two teenage daughters that I don't trust anywhere near my hair.  Thus, I fall back on hair-dresser in a box.

If I wasn't having such a good time, I think I would assume I had a problem.  But, to quote Dolly:
Lots of women buy just as many wigs and makeup things as I do… They just don't wear them all at the same time

Jun. 1st, 2012

So... let's get this over with.  A couple of days ago, you guys got to witness me in a full-out berserker attack of somewhat epic proportions.  It was messy, it was violent, and it was ugly.  For that you have my apology.  This is why I try NOT to use the computer when I'm so mad I'm crying.  And because I'm crying I get angrier.  And then comes the thermo-nuclear meltdown.  If it's bad enough that I receive phone calls from other people who haven't talked to me in months to make sure they don't need to bring bail money, it's not really funny in real life.

What I am not, nor will I apologize for is the sentiment and thought that was behind the episode.  Now that I am somewhat more coherent and not craving blood I'm going to explain what I was feeling and what my motivations were.  I love you ALL, but to be quite frank, you will either get this or you won't.  That won't mean that we are any less friends, it just means that there is a facet of my personality and beliefs hard-wired into my psyche that you aren't ever going to be able to get.  I knew it was there, I just didn't quite know exactly how massively pushing that particular button was going to piss me off. 
I suppose we all do now.

First:  Everyone knows my background as a military brat.  And everyone knows that a good 50-60% of my immediate family are vets.  More than half of my closest friends are affiliated with the military.  Not acquaintances, but FRIENDS.  The ones that not only will bail my ass out, but are likely to end up in jail with me.   I've blogged about this before, but I'm going to do it again now, because it's pertinent to my reaction.
Because I was a military brat, my family had NO ONE who was related by blood who was there for us when we needed help.  I don't think that people who grow up with that safety net (even if they can't stand their relatives) quite understand what it's like when you DON'T have it.  When all you have is a 25-40 year old woman with three kids, in a foreign country, without family.
Imagine that isolation, imagine that panic if something goes wrong, and you have a sick kid, a base too small for a hospital and the nearest ER being an hour away, and no reliable vehicle.  Imagine that.
But there were people who cared about us.  There WERE people that helped.
When my asshole of a father lost his paycheck in a poker game without telling my mother and then took off to Virginia for school, leaving us in Germany, there was the company commander who talked to the officer in charge of the commissary where we bought groceries so she wouldn't be prosecuted when the checks started to bounce.  Who covered those charges himself and made sure that we had food until he could get his hands on my father.
The neighbor who, when I broke my arm at 7pm on a Monday night during a German snowstorm drove me and my mother to the hospital in Frankfurt an hour away so I could get treated because the day clinic was closed, and our car's clutch was going out.  Who sang songs to me to keep my 9 year old mind off the pain.
The family down the road from us who let my mother and one of my siblings stay with them when my father had to report to the next duty station, and my family had to stay on the base we were moving from because they had to testify in a criminal trial against someone.
There were the neighbors who watched me when I was two and my mother had to have an emergency appendectomy.
The ones who watched me when it was suspected that my brother had leukemia and they thought he was going to die, and my mother had to be with him at the hospital.
The ones who fed my mother when my father had a deuce and a half (two and a half ton truck) land on top of him, effectively scalping him, fracturing his skull, bursting the skin on his legs, breaking his femurs and both of his arms.  The ones who made sure she had money for bus fare to get back and forth to the hospital with a 9 month old baby girl.
The guys who came over and helped out when the car we had broke down and my dad was in the field.
The lady who will forever be my Auntie Kari who brought my birthday cake to school for my party when I turned 10 because my mother had just received word her sister had died and she didn't want to come to school and let me see that something was wrong until afterward.
The troops who stood in the doors of the barracks and cried when we were in Germany on Christmas Eve, and a group of the kids from the chapel were caroling.
The troops my mother cooked holiday dinners for when they couldn't go home on leave, so they wouldn't be alone.
The guys that I hung out with who tried to talk me out of marrying my ex-husband.  The lady who watched Julia when I had to go back to work and no day cares were accepting 6 week olds.
And we returned every thing we were given, favor for favor.  Mom cooking dinner for families when the mother was sick.  Making sure that our neighbors had what they needed, when they needed it.  The entire base in Germany, celebrating Thanksgiving together in the mess hall.  More wedding and baby showers than I can count... mine included.
Now, people who haven't lived this can say they understand.  Quite frankly, that's bullshit.  Because beyond the ties of an isolated community, we were and still are bound with the fact that we had a purpose.  There was a MISSION.  And everyone, every last damn person who was in that community, knew that they were expected and required to sacrifice for that mission.  And if you weren't prepared to deal with that sacrifice, you broke.  And if you broke, you put the mission in jeopardy.  How focused can the guy be who's wife is screwing around on him because SHE'S lonely?  And if he isn't focused, then he's putting your father, husband or brother's life in danger.  It didn't fucking matter if it was peacetime or not.  Do you want to know WHY my dad had that wreck?  Because the guy who was driving the truck my dad was riding in was high (before drug testing, folks) because he had found out the week before his wife had screwed half the guys in his company, and he couldn't deal with it.  He was driving the truck while he was jacked up on whatever, ran off an embankment, flipped back over the road, throwing my father out and down the face of a cliff in Germany.  He landed spread eagle on the railroad tracks... and so did the truck.
So yeah... keep your shit straight because too many people depend on you to do your goddamn job right.
And support the people around you, because even if you could care less about them as people, if they don't have support, it could cost you the life of the person you love.
I had family... They just weren't blood.  The military was, is, and forever will be, my first family.  Because they were THERE FOR US.  And we were there for them.
And just as I am with my family and my friends that I consider family now... If someone messes with them as a group, insults them as a collective, and I swear to God I will rain fire down on that person's fucking head, because you WILL NOT screw with the people who supported me.  You call into question their commitment and honor and I will bury the person who has done it.  This is the iron in my marrow that you will hit every goddamn time.  NOT because I think that every mission the military is required to support is just and good. Or that I can ignore things like the massacres and destruction that unbalanced military members commit.  There is NO excuse for that, and no reasoning that makes those actions okay.   But because with a few exceptions, This. Is. My. Family.  I have sacrificed too damn much for these people for them to be denigrated, and they have sacrificed too goddamn much for me and mine to let hateful accusations pass unchallenged.

Secondly:  There is one group in America that you can abuse, insult, and discriminate against without fear of repercussion.  That group is active duty military.  In today's society, nearly every group and cause has a voice.  And by God, if they don't have a voice, they have lawyers.  POC's, women, LGBTS, Christians, Pagans, Atheists, Americans with disabilities, Unions... hell, even NMaBLA has a cadre of lawyers. Every single one of those groups can have a voice, theoretically.  Except for the military.  I'm not talking asshole politicians screeching about how someone not wearing a flag pin is fucking unpatriotic and "defending" the military in the name of political one-upmanship.  I am talking about being able to stand up and say, "No, I am a person, I wear this uniform, and you have no right to say these things about me" for themselves.
Don't believe me?
Why do you think that Westboro causes such consternation in the media?  Because of the fact that they protest as military funerals? Hell no.  I mean, it might tick off a few people, but it wouldn't be a big deal for most people except that they protest against homosexuality at military funerals.  Do a google search on military funeral protests.  I know for a fact that other groups do it... but you ONLY find articles on Phelps.
Other protests are only very locally reported on... Like the idiots who had the signs outside of the Fayetteville VA hospital last year with all of the cliche phrases recycled from the 60's... yep... you sure are making a grand fucking statement to the politicians by abusing the people who are serving.  Or the protest in Syracuse back in April that netted a total of 33 people arrested.  They were protesting the use of unmanned drones... the protestors wanted to hand deliver an "indictment" against the United States government to the airmen.  Okay... do you know how fucking ridiculous that is?  Are they really so obtuse that they think that giving an airman a piece of paper is going to do a damn thing to the policy makers?  But the airmen... well, they're the easy target.  The military is the fucking easy target because you can say what you want about them, do what you want to them, abuse them however you want to because they can't, by military regulation, do a damn thing to stop you.
So these oh-so-commited protestors don't attack the people who are sending down the orders, where it might actually change things... They pick on the people who can't fight them back... the easy target. 
It's not just the protestors.
It's the everyday people who abuse them.  I have vivid memories of my father being targeted... in 1980.  Of my friend Bill being called a literal "baby killer" in 2010.  Of having friends who returned from the Gulf tell me about the people following them through the airport when they were coming home from the Gulf in 2011 and being insulted, and yes, spit on.  People, this is 2012 and it's going on.  So no amount of rah-rah-rah or "I support Our Troops" bumper stickers makes a goddamn bit of difference when this is STILL acceptable.
It's like being able to smack around the biggest kid in the class, who's doing what the teacher told them to do, because you're too scared of standing up to the teacher, without fearing that he's gonna stomp a mudhole in your butt and walk it dry.
They're bullies.  Plain and simple.  Color it how you want.  Bullies torment people who don't have, for whatever the reason, the ability to fight back.  It's cruel.  It's cowardice on the part of the bully.  And it's cowardice on the part of the protestors and idiots who mouth off on blogs instead of doing something meaningful and taking a stand where they might actually have a fight on their hands and get something done that they believe in.  It's base showmanship, designed to impress upon the person viewing their actions how very much they care about whatever their issue is.  It's walking a two-foot high tight-rope in front of a computer generated skyline.  It's really not that fucking impressive when you take away the skyline and all you see is the greenscreen and know how very little is being risked.
I hate bullies.  Once more... if it comes down to walking away from a situation where people I care about are being abused, or standing for my family and friends, you're gonna have a fight.  There is no "understanding the other person's position" in this one.  There is black, there is white, and there is no in-between.  I will stand up and call out that person for this kind of crap every time, in language that turns the air blue to make them realize exactly what kind of damage their actions are doing.

My third and final point:  I love my friends dearly.  Yeah, even when I'm as pissed as I was.  I care about you, I would do every single thing I have listed in this journal entry to protect you from what others would do or say about you unjustly.
It hurts like hell when someone I would make that stand for doesn't consider how the things they say or do or repost will hurt.  We are so very, very careful not to be offensive when it comes to issues of sexuality or color or disability... Yet the article that was posted was just as unfair and hurtful as being called names for any other reason.  And I couldn't understand why it was okay.  It hurt so much, I felt so betrayed I threw up after I read it.
And yes, I get, "Your livejournal, your choice what to post" and if I don't like it, I can leave.  But would it be as acceptable to walk away if the issue had been sexual orientation instead of military service?  No.  It wouldn't be.  And if I had posted something like that about the LBGTS community I would have hurt some very dear friends, and they would have called me on what I did.  And I do understand that the article was posted without comment.  But as another friend so artfully put it, "Reposting an article without comment when it is as vitriolic as this one implies tacit approval of the writer's opinion."  In other words... disclaimers are sometimes a necessary evil, especially with a controversial issue.
I don't hate anyone.  As I stated before, yes, it hurt.  Yes, I felt betrayed.  Maybe I'm petty for that, and maybe I made this personal.  But you see, the thing is, when you have a culture as ingrained into your being as the military culture is in me, you can't separate the two.  It's like telling an offensive joke about a group and then turning to your friend who belongs to that group and saying, "Dude, I totally didn't mean you, you're different" or worse yet, saying nothing.  Maybe the polite friend would give you a half sick smile... But I pretty much think everyone who reads this journal knows that I'm not really the polite friend type.

Anyway... so that's it.  These are the reasons why I got upset.  Like I said, I know that not everyone who reads is gonna understand it.  They might even want to tell me what a bitch I am.  I get that.  So if you want to get up in my face about it but don't want to do it in a public forum, just so you know, I have the comments screened.  But I figured, I blew up publicly, I would explain my reasoning publicly.