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I owe noone an explanation when I say, “That guy gives me the creeps.” Noone, especially not female coworkers or friends. If I say, “He gives me the creeps”, fellow women should circle the wagons. Noone – especially not another woman – should say, “But he seems nice to me.” Or – “I know him, he’s O.K.” Or – “Why does he give you the creeps?”

Yet, I just experienced this very reaction from several women when I mentioned that a certain schmoozy salesman who comes into my office gives me the creeps. I don’t like him, plain and simple. I have to be professional and engage him in conversation, but I am not required to like him or to trust him, and I am fully entitled to my little red flags.

This guy bugs me. He’s schmoozy. He leans on the counter and talks like he’s my best friend. He’s even taken his wife to one of my favorite pubs in the hopes that he’d meet up with my husband and I – and he openly admitted it. I don’t want to meet him in a public place, and I don’t want him to meet my husband.

I told my husband about him, and he did not ask me why I didn’t like this guy, He just accepted it. He knows I have Very.Good.Radar. He doesn’t want anyone elbowing in on our private dates, either, especially not a schmoozy salesman. Not everyone likes schmooze.

I am baffled by the women in my office: why would they question my reaction? Why did they not circle the wagons? What is missing in their make-up that doesn’t give them creep radar or makes them unappreciative of other women’s creep radar? What dangerous situations have they never been exposed to?

I taught my kids to trust their gut instincts. Yes, you might be wrong to judge someone on your first impression, but – and that’s a huge BUT – as a woman, you’re a fool not to trust that first impression. You have that instinct for a reason. “Better to be wrong than to be raped or dead,” I told the girls. “Because then you’re really wrong.”

My gut instinct, my red-flag warning system, my first impression warning siren – whatever you want to call it – has saved me countless times. I probably don’t even know all of the times that I felt a nudge to walk another way, or I switched my keys to my right hand, or I decided not to walk a certain direction, or I took note of what cars were where and license plates. I can tell you tales of the close calls that I do know of, many of which were during my solo trip across the USA by bus.

I can also tell you about circling the wagons, drawing in and protecting each other. That’s how women should react, and how male friends should react. Don’t laugh it off. Don’t make light of it. Protect.

I had a coworker many years ago, C. She told me of this guy who happened to work in the same company, and she found out quite by accident that he was an agent there. She was scared of him. She’d had a relationship with him, a short-lived one. He was in a different office, but the time came when he walked into our office. I sent C. to another room and I handled him, helped him out, and sent him on his way.

There was another guy who liked to harass C. at the front desk. Your typical womanizer, didn’t like strong women and was always on the lookout to bully. I saw him in action, and never was a time when I let her handle him by herself. Not that she wasn’t capable (she’s fully capable and has good creep radar), but there’s strength in numbers, and she shouldn’t have to deal with that by herself. United we stand. Divided, we fail each other.

I was on a night bus to Cleveland. I was 20 years old, traveling alone, only a backpack and a few dollars to my name. I had no agenda, no particular destination. There was a man sitting near the front of the bus. I can’t tell you what it was about him that bothered me, but I had a Very.Bad.Feeling about him. And when the bus pulled into the Cleveland terminal, I wondered how I was going to avoid him? It was crowded, no one knew me, it would be so simple…

A weathered old Black woman who sat a row or two ahead of me grabbed my hand as I got off the bus. “You come to the bathroom with me. I’ll stay with you until he’s gone,” she said in a fierce whisper. That was all. Inside the restroom, she dropped pretenses of friendship or kinship. We were just two women who needed to pee. I was a very white girl and she left it at that. (I would have hugged her if I had been prone to hugging in those days – but she wasn’t having any of that, anyway. She just wanted me safe off that bus and out of his hunting eyes.)

That’s what we do, Girlfriends! Guy friends! We protect each other!

Another friend told me how, when a daughter of hers was working in an office and picked up a stalker, her office sent out a memo. Every time the stalked came in, she went on break and someone else was at the front desk. They circled the wagons.

That wouldn’t work in my office, where I am the only one there. And I’m not asking for that kind of support, because this creep is married and talks about his wife. He’s just trying to schmooze his way into my private life, meet my husband, and – theoretically – get more business from our office. I just want my coworkers and brokers to understand that it is not a joke. 

Someone says they get the creeps from someone, you take it seriously. You don’t question their creep radar, even if you think they are mistaken. Because you don’t know they are mistaken. The creep may not bother you. Their fixation is on someone else. You need to trust your friend’s intuition.

Note: this is not just for women. Men need to take note. Trust your friend’s instinct.

Trust your gut feeling. Always.

P.S. – I will be fine with this guy. He hasn’t crossed any line and if he does, he’ll find out I am not such a nice person after all. And if he does happen to show up at the same place as my husband and me, well, I will kick Hubby under the table and we will circle the wagons. I just want other women to know that it is not cool to question someone’s creep radar. Ever.

 

I am writing this to remind myself that God does, sometimes, work miracles for our fur friends/babies/whatever you want to call our pets and farm animals. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. I am hoping and praying for it tonight as my dog, Harvey, is very, very, lethargic and ill.

I saw God work a miracle when my little Arab/Appy horse, Whisper, inhaled a blackberry vine. The piece of vine was embedded so deep inside her nostril that the vet could not reach it and remove it. He gave me two options: we could send her to OSU Vet college, have them put her under, and cut open her face to remove the bramble. Or, we could leave it in place and worry that it would work its way further up her nostril, eventually killing her. Whisper somehow managed to sneeze the offending briar out in the next few days.

The biggest miracle that I have personally seen was the llama that died. My friend lived around the corner on a rural road. She called me in a panic: Joey, the llama, had tangled in his lead rope and managed to strangle himself. Would I come over, lay hands on him, and believe with her that Joey would live? Her kids were hysterical and the vet was forty minutes out.

I don’t even particularly like llamas. But I loaded up my kids and hurried over to my friend’s house, where I found an impossible scene: Joey’s neck was twisted in the wrong direction and he was definitely VERY still. I won’t swear that he was dead, but if he wasn’t, he was damn close. And his neck was – well, necks shouldn’t turn like that, even on a llama. He wasn’t breathing, and his eyes were glassy.

But we laid hands on him and prayed. And prayed. And suddenly, Joey inhaled. And his eyes opened up. And he turned his neck around, and we were able to get the lead off of his trachea. He was standing by the time the vet arrived, but his tongue was still quite blue. The vet didn’t quite believe he’d been out as long as my friend said he’d been out, but I don’t doubt her word: it took her time to call me, the vet, and for me to get there. Joey wasn’t breathing when I got there. The vet arrived twenty minutes after I did.

Sadly, a few weeks later, fueled by this coup, the same friend called me to come pray for a Freisian horse that was in distress at a vet clinic in Estacada. The owner had poured thousands of dollars into this horse and just couldn’t have it die. It died. I accepted that. I figured we were over-confident in OUR ability to pray things back into life, and maybe my heart wasn’t as much into the praying the horse back (because I didn’t know the owner, its history, or its intended future, but I did know that Joey was loved by four small children).

Heck, it’s the same with praying for human friends or acquaintances. Sometimes, you just *know* the prayer will be answered, and the person dies. Sometimes, you doubt the very prayer you just said, and a year later, the woman comes to find you to tell you she gave birth to a healthy baby, and thank you for praying she could conceive. It’s a mystery.

I don’t know why God chose to give Joey the llama a second chance. Or why God chose me to pray for the woman who wanted to get pregnant, but couldn’t. I only know God chose to answer those prayers.

I’m hoping God chooses to grant Harvey a longer life, and not at a huge financial expense for us. You can hate me, but there’s a limit to how much I will spend on a pet. I have ten grandchildren – finances are directed toward them, first. But – Harvey is my heart and soul tonight. I hope my readers understand. And pray/send positive thoughts for him. I need my Harvemeister.

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I have been thinking about this all week: how to commemorate the 17th anniversary of my little sister’s passing. Then a friend commented on something relating to horror flicks: “I’ve basically been done with genre since ‘Night of the Lepus'” (Or something similar.)

I laughed. Out.Loud. “Night of the Lepus” was something I held over my sister. “Night of the Lepus” was EPIC. “Night of the Lepus” can never be replicated. It had a bit part in the movie, “The Matrix” (the children are watching it on t.v.).

“The Night of the Lepus” came to the drive-in theater out on the highway to McGill, Nevada, north of Ely. The year was summer 1973, even though the movie was released in 1972. We didn’t get first-run movies in Ely, Nevada, very often. I know the year because I had my driver’s license and my 1961 American Rambler four door sedan, and I took my sister and her friend to see the movie.

They got stoned before we left the house. I didn’t know that at the time, but on reflection, I know that. I was still rather innocent in 1973: cheap wine was my biggest sin, but my little sister had already experimented all over the board. Weed was cheap. She was often stoned.

The movie was epic. It was based on the 1964 book, “Year of the Angry Rabbit” by Russell Braddon. Some lab in the southwest of the United States tried to help some rancher in Arizona battle an invasion of jack rabbits by giving him a “special” poison. Jack rabbits, which are hares, ingested it. Then they disappeared into their burrows and all seemed well.

Less than two months later, it all fell apart when giant bunnies (rabbits, not hares, and domestic ones, to boot) dug their way to the surface. Only these adorable bunnies weren’t after their normal vegan diet: they wanted blood. Specifically, they wanted human blood. thousands of blood thirsty, adorable, domestic bunnies of gigantic proportions were loosed upon the earth. Think bunnies the size of wolves. Think bunnies with rodent teeth that slash human throats and leave victims bleeding out. Thousands upon thousands of giant black and white domestic bunnies of giant proportions flooded the Arizona desert.

Around the time the bunnies hopped their way into a drive-in picture show, hopping over cars and wreaking havoc, I realized my sister and her friend, Linda, were hiding under the dash in my car. The movie had freaked them out. Stoned, paranoid, and unable to discern the lack of reality in the movie, they were cowering under the dash in my old Rambler.

It is, perhaps, one of my very favorite memories of my sister. Cruel, yes. Hysterical, indubitably. Something to blackmail her with… FOREVER.

She never denied the movie scared her. She went on to love the horror genre, and raised her toddlers on movies I wouldn’t let my kids watch: “Nightmare on Elm Street” or “Friday the Thirteenth”. I never let her forget she hid under the dashboard when domestic bunnies hopped through the drive-in.

It was epic. It was sister-sister epic. And here’s the trailer for the movie.

I decided I needed to expand on a theme in cosplay. I have this bow and quiver I put together for Faerieworlds a couple of years ago. Somehow, it is lacking a – helmet.

Yes, I think it is lacking a helmet. A Dragon Hunter helmet.

And the minute I think that, the wheels in my brain start turning.

My father’s U.S. Forest Service fire fighting helmet, a broken potato peeler/shredder (vintage). aluminum foil, some cutting implements, silver Duck™ Tape, styrofoam cones for flower arrangement. I used the grater to shape the styrofoam cones, and the knife to create a convex shape in the cone. These are going to be the horns. Yes – horns.

After I shaped the cones, I coated them in plastic wood. Two coats, actually. Then I sanded them down and applied acrylic paint. I sanded them again. Last, I coated them with polyurethane.

I covered Dad’s helmet with aluminum foil so as to not destroy the sentimental value of the helmet (his name and the USFS stickers). Then, I covered the aluminum foil with the silver Duck™ Tape. I applied black acrylic paint to give it some depth, and create something of a “dented” helmet factor. Then came the adornments.

I have tons of “adornments” and this is such a small sampling of little odds and ends I *just know* I will use “sometime”. The chain, the wolf/fox face, and the arrowhead have been in my collection since I do not know when. I’ve never found a good use for that chain, which is a fascinating piece of work. And the wolf/fox head! The bird “skull” is a recent purchase but matches one I used on the bow I carried to Faerieworlds two years ago.

The leather strap came out of my mother’s junk, and with a little cutting and sewing, it made the crown piece for the helmet.

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I used Gorilla™ glue to glue the “horns” down, and then taped them down with the same Duck™ tape. and burnished with acrylic paint.

And. last, I enlisted my reluctant husband (who dos not do cosplay and who does not understand my weird artistic bents) to take a final photo:

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My hair is a mess & I’m not in costume, but this is a freaking awesome helmet.

Many thanks to my father, who left me his helmet. And my husband, who just doesn’t get it, but who played along and took the photo, anyway.

I have already updated the status of my dog, Harvey, on several social media sites (he has his own FB page: https://www.facebook.com/Harveyalbertpresley/), but I feel the need to follow-up here, too. He’s Okay. He has doggy bronchitis and he is on antibiotics. We didn’t do an x-ray of his heart, because it didn’t seem necessary. His heart sounds good and healthy. He’s been on antibiotics for two days now, and his coughing has noticeably slowed down. He does, however, need to lose the ten pounds he gained since I broke my foot last June, therefore, he is on reduced caloric intake.

I am working hard on photos for the applications I need to make for two art shows this summer. The photos are the hardest part: I need them to look professional. Unfortunately, I could not take anything outside and photograph in the shade this weekend: we’re in a monsoon. I do have some good photos, but I would like more to choose from, and of different media and size art work. I think I have a work-around: take the art to work with an easel & take photos during my lunch hour in the large conference room. Lots of natural lighting & no need for a flash.

I am working on a list of things I need to set up a NICE display, from the pop-up (I can borrow a 10×10′ one) to tables and frames and pegboard. I haven’t done an art show since the 1970’s, and that wasn’t juried. I sold three art pieces, all to the same person. One was a commissioned piece that I painted after the show. I probably have photos of those pieces in my 35mm files (pre DSLR days), but they aren’t relevant to the now.

I know I can do this, and I appreciate the Facebook comments and encouragements. I actually have a very strong ego, and while I am momentarily intimidated by something, I can usually plow through (after venting, of course). As an introvert, venting by writing is the way I roll. Being able to vent publicly  on a blog is sort of a plus: you find out there are people just like you out there. 🙂

I do want to paint more than just the minis I am currently working on (see my website), but I have to concentrate on this summer and the art shows, and the very limited amount of time I have to paint (especially with summer coming, and my other passion – gardening – competing for my weekend and evening time).

Several people have asked me to join their cause. I need to state this now: my cause is animals. I am not an “animal rights” person, because animals are considerably more complicated than that. They don’t afford rights to each other, and neither should I afford ‘rights’ to animals. However, I am a conservationist. I am not anti-hunting, but I am anti-trophy hunting: if you are not hunting to feed your family – get a good camera and take photographs. We are in an extinction crisis.

I told my husband that I am learning more about Class-Family-Genus-Whatever than I ever learned in science (I flunked biology in high school, dashing my dreams of becoming a veterinarian). I told him how I cannot believe how many antelope species there are, how some animals seem to cross Family boundaries, and then there are rodents. He said (casually), “I am surprised you haven’t gotten into lagomorphs.”

For the first time in my life, I actually understood that. I replied that, “Oh, yes. I have discovered lagomorphs.” Hares and rabbits are fascinating.

Taking a deep breath. I have a lot of work to do this week: photos, applications, lists of things I need, setting up the Etsy shop, business cards. And that’s outside of the 40 hour work week and house work and car maintenance and relationship maintenance.

P.S. _ I get that this blog does not follow traditional news: WWWWW and H

 

Politics aside. Real life begins. What I am up to. PANIC.

No, I kid you not. My mentor is turning me loose with my own art booth this summer and I am in Full.Panic.Mode. She probably guessed that because I was really, really, really quiet at her house yesterday. Or maybe not, because I am always really quiet.

I have 88 pieces of art. I need 100 by June. I need quality photos so I can apply for my first solo art show in June (first weekend). I need display boards. business cards, postcards, a pop-up (I can borrow one), a banner (I have a friend…), and all the muster I can come up with. And a boothie, possibly (I have an idea or two). I need to breathe.

I need to get juried.

That’s just one thing.

Mr. Harvey has been coughing.

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I searched his cough on line and I came up with really dire information: he has heartworm, it’s going to cost me thousands of dollars just to get him diagnosed, and I have to keep him *absolutely still* during treatment. He’s a freaking BIRD DOG and you do NOT keep them still.

Called the vet today and confessed that I am an old-school owner who only visits the vet when the pet is actually sick or needs to be licensed. And admitted that the Harvemeister is overweight sue to my breaking my foot last summer and the lack of regular exercise for the past 8 months. And asked how much this was going to cost us, because – you know – money vs. pet. It’s the saddest of all debates.

  1. It’s probably *not* heartworms, because we don’t have that in our area, and Harvey hasn’t been out of state since 2011.
  2. Exam is around $48. If they think it is heartworms, two tests are around $58. However, it is most likely a heart problem and they’ll want to x-ray the heart for $88. Seriously, nowhere near the thousands of dollars the Internet promised me. I can afford this.
  3. He already has a spinal column issue and he’s 8 years old and not crippled. He’s a charmed dog. He still climbs stairs and descends them with no issue (just a little pain, but we can manage that).
  4. He is obese, but I can walk again. And if he doesn’t have heartworms, WE can exercise again.
  5. This guy is my world. He’s not a cat or a horse, but he’s my dog. He slept with me on my dad’s floor when Dad died in 2011. He’s my Best Bud. I am so relieved the Vet Tech told me all of this in advance. I love Vet Techs!!
  6. I love our vet. He’s old school, like me. He’s not quite on the level of the vet I grew up with (who was quite terse), but he understands those of us from a different generation who relegate pets to a different status than humans. And she sat with us when we had to euthanize Sadie, and cried with us. You don’t get vets any better than that. (And he sewed Sadie up on a major holiday, when she sliced herself open on barbed wire and we had to drive 1.5 hours back to Oregon City to save her. Sadie is another story – she lived another 7 years after that.)

Mostly, I am up to the art show panic. Once I get past Harvey’crisis, and I can concentrate on applying for the art show… I will be in total INFJ panic.

I will survive.

Deep breaths.

And, if you follow my blog, good thoughts/prayers for the Harvemeister. Harvey Albert. My purebred rescue English Setter. Love my Harvey, my Pooka.

 

We are in uncertain times. I am an HSP, and an Empath, and an INFJ. (I’ll let you do the research on the acronyms and on what an Empath is – I haven’t got the energy or emotional strength to do it for you). I feel what is in the air ten times more strongly than anyone who is not any of the above, times three.In other words, I am currently a hyper-ventilating, panic-stricken, soul. And it isn’t necessarily my own fears, but it is the fear that is in the air.

What I am going to suggest is going to fly in the face of everyone who wants to get out there and do something now.

Wait. Just wait.

I think we are dealing with a sleight-of-hand, and we need to back up a little bit. We’re being stirred up into a frenzy: right against left, son against mother, husband against wife, friend against friend. No one knows for certain what is being played out in front of them: we’re being gas-lighted, but by whom?

Save your energy. They – whoever ‘they’ are – are trying to distract us, wear us down, and divide us. It is in our best interests, whether we are on the right, left, or middle, to wait a few. Breathe. Weigh the question of the timing of the event we’re ready to pounce on and jump on.

Listen. Really, really, really listen. With our hearts, souls, spirits. Do we really want to go down this path of divisiveness?

We need to pause and consider our own words and convictions, away from the Party lines. Do we really want to alienate our family? Our friends?

I am speaking from the place of being the Odd One Out in a family of Republicans. I have often been the Odd One Out, since I was 16 and I voted for George McGovern in a mock election at high school. (Sometimes, I have voted for the Republican. Confession for the ones who think I am completely Left. I’m not.)

When you are the Odd One Out, you listen a lot. At least I do. It’s easier than arguing my point against people who have already formed their opinions. Besides, I have always believed that we must listen to our opponent in order to 1) understand and 2) learn. Sometimes, we change our opinion, and despite the current philosophy that considers such a switch as hypocrisy, sometimes it comes because you listened and learned something you did not consider before.

Listening and weighing the words of the opposition can cause you to change your mind. I know – that’s pretty much heresy in these days: to admit that maybe (just “maybe”) you were wrong. Or judgmental.

I used to be a Gung-ho Pentecostal evangelical Christian. Turn or Burn. No middle ground. Sex outside of the marriage was unforgivable unless you got married (which I did). Homosexuality, Lesbianism, Transgender=sin. Don’t tithe exactly 10% and give more=heretical. Be friends with non-believers=pathway to sin. Prayers aren’t answered? Question your actions (faith based on works).

Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. I started to question it all when I gave flowers to my first lesbian friend, Ellen, upon the occasion of her legal marriage to her long-time lover. Ellen died of ovarian cancer. I was one of the last people to see Ellen alive. She was one of my very best friends. I miss her every day. I believe Jesus met Ellen with open arms. End of story.

That ten percent didn’t help my family so much. Don’t ask.

Late events have driven me back to the first scriptures I ever memorized as a Rainbow Girl, which is a sub-division of the Masons, and considered “demonic” by the “church”. Here are those verses:

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” James 1:27 KJV

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Right now, we need to rock back on our heels and wait. Put love in our hearts and wait. Listen, but not to the media – listen to something deeper and more spiritual – listen to our inner voice in a long moment of silence. Listen. Do we really want to go down this path and buy into the media hype and the government spin?

Take a breath. Look around you. Decide to be a friend. Decide to help, give aid, open your door as needed. Decide to support our troops.

Mostly, I implore you: back off and wait for the important issues. What has happened so far is a smoke screen. Wait for the real show.