It sure is great to finally feel like I’m getting back into a routine, she says, two days before going out of town for five days. HAHAHA. Actually, I am very much looking forward to getting out of town for a couple of days. Imma sit in my friend’s house while she’s out of town, writing, watching her cats and her dog and being a Responsible Adult (HAH! Has she met me?) in the house as I also watch her amazing daughters come and go to and from work and school. I always write better when I go out of town, which you’d think would be the opposite, yeah? Go out of town, mess up your routine, where does your creativity go? But when I am here, at home, no matter what my creative force says it wants to work on, I always feel like HaldeCraft should come first. Going out of town removes me from the studio, lets me say “well, I can’t work on that even if I wanted to” and so then I am free to focus on writing.

Side note, I am not a fan of these changes WordPress has been doing that make it super counter-intuitive to put in a photo. I want to — whoaaaaa I almost wrote “carriage return” like I’m doing this on a typewriter (kids, ask your grandparents). Anyway, I just want to start a new paragraph and see an option to add a photo if I want. Not start a new paragraph, hover over it until I get a little pop-up, click the pop-up so that it gives me a selection of things I can do, like insert a table or a quote or an image, and click image, choose from Upload or Select Image or Insert from URL, and if it’s that I want to Select Image, do I want to use some sketch free photo site, log into Google photos and use something there, or insert a picture that I already have uploaded to WordPress and is available in my media library?

It’s almost enough to get me to stop putting images in my post! What’s with all the extra work?! She says, complaining about the free service she uses to only occasionally blog with. Not to mention that some other recent update has shrunk the type down to like 6 point font. There has GOT to be a way to change that. Urgh. Hrm. So. Anyway. Moving on.

What was I talking about?

Oh! Right! Routine!

I have been enjoying routine lately. You know that phrase, all the best things are out of your comfort zone? I call bullshit on that. Sometimes, the best things are comfortable. The best things are things you can trust in and rely on. The best things are things that make you feel at ease, especially when everything else is so out of control.

I wake up a little bit before 7. If it’s a day when I’m running the kiln, I go over to the studio and start the kiln while the coffee pot starts up in the house. Then I sit and work on social media for about half an hour or so while watching Stargate with two friends, and drinking coffee. I love these two humans and honestly the four mornings we get together (virtually, online) to watch shows we love is the best way to start a morning. We’ve watched Farscape, Babylon 5, are now into Stargate, and have plans for Stargate: Atlantis after that. I love talking about the show with them on Facebook, making fun of things or doing a “hey, it’s that guy” thing or talking about how much we like the costumes or set or whatever. It’s just… fun. And social!

Then I try to spend at least 15 minutes, maybe half an hour if I’m not feeling pressed for time, in the guest room coaxing Tulip into being a snuggly house girl. She still does not want to come out of her room although we leave the door open all the time, to the rest of the house. So I try to hang out in there a few minutes a day here and there, give her some attention and human interaction.

I’m generally in the studio by 9 at the latest. I work on HaldeCraft; I put yesterday’s orders together, take them to the post office or UPS, try to keep an eye on email or social media in case I need to answer a quick question. And then I make things. I make ceramics, I make soap, I wrap soap, I glaze ceramics, I load or unload the kiln, I take product photos, I dye yarn, I wind yarn, I label yarn or label soap, I work on custom orders, I email people about custom orders. Then around 2 or 3 I try to wind that down and work on Patreon. I write, I do research on things I want to write competently about, I make notes about what businesses are on what station and what the floor plan of the station is, I work on blog posts for Patreon, I answer messages left on Patreon.

Then, since about the middle of December, I try to get on the treadmill by 5, 5:15 at the latest. I walk for 45 minutes to an hour, and watch something on Netflix. A long time ago I was trying to watch American Horror Story but there are some storylines I just can’t get through and I don’t know that I like the ones I have liked enough to skip over the ones I don’t, and try another season. What if I don’t like that, either? So I started rewatching Longmire; I’d seen the first two seasons but then not the rest, and I love how dark it got after it switched over from regular TV to Netflix.

After the treadmill, another little visit with Tulip. After that, dinner. After dinner, TV. While watching TV, catching up on accounting, or writing a blog post, or catching up on personal email, or coloring, or knitting.

Then reading, and sleeping, and waking up and doing it all over again.

Once every other week, I order groceries online and drive up to Starke to get them. And/or I go into Gainesville. If my friend Bill is up for it and Parklands is open, I’ll go see him. I’ll meet a friend for a socially distant wave. A couple of weeks ago I went into Anthem to talk to a new-to-me artist about getting some ink (Monday! eep!).

I kind of like having a routine. It’s almost like things being back to normal… I mean, other than they aren’t. But at least without waking up and my first thought being “good lord what the fuck now” as I read the news… and a bit of a routine that I can lean backwards and relax into… it almost feels like things might get better soon.

What’s this looseness in my lower back?

Y’all. Y’ALL. This is so crazy! I have these … I think they’re called … muscles? Maybe tendons? In my lower back? And they don’t feel like rock or rebar? They feel like actual muscles that have really been overused, stretched tight like the last rubber band on a large ball, and for about the last day now, they’ve been feeling…. well, feeling. Like, I can let them go, and I can feel them. It doesn’t feel as if my lower back is made out of a cement block.

So. How ’bout yesterday, yeah? I don’t even know what to say. “Thank Goodness”? “It’s good to have adults in charge again”? Probably a lot of the same things y’all are saying to yourselves.

My January so far has most likely been a lot like yours. After the “we just need to get through this weird Christmas” there was “we just need to get through this weird New Year” and then there were a few nice, calm days (I mean except for that whole pandemic thing) and then a couple people tuned in to see how that whole Electoral Certification thing was going because it feels like this election is never going to end and then holy shit, wait, what, insurrectionists, armed home-grown white-ass terrorists are storming and breaching the Capitol Building, that hasn’t seen fighting in its halls since 1814?! I mean, barbed conversation aside. Pretty soon we were all glued to the TV and I don’t think any of us has taken our eyes off the news since then. And then yesterday went from chewing our nails in fear that we’d see an assassination or bombing live on TV but unable to look away … to tears of joy as we saw such representation, such grown-up behavior, such emotional speeches and music. Talk of accountability and equality. And fashion! Those clothes, y’all! Yesterday wasn’t just a breath of fresh air, it was a sigh of relief, a letting go of stress, a looking around and seeing that there are allies. I’m almost daring to think that I have some hope for us.

But meanwhile… what else is going on? I’m in talks with someone at Anthem to get a new tattoo, one I’ve been thinking of since last year. My regular artist can’t see me until April, though, and I don’t want to wait that long to get started. So I’m waiting to hear back from someone else who works there to see if he wants to take on my idea. I’ve not been doing much knitting, but I have been doing a lot of coloring. I haven’t been doing a lot of writing, but I have been doing a lot of making soap and ceramics (and accounting work, that needs to be done this time of year). I haven’t been doing a lot of reading, but I have been watching a lot of old Doctor Who. I haven’t been doing a lot of (any) partying, but I have been trying to reach out to friends with texts and messages more (Facebook is great for keeping in touch, but so is texting one-on-one).

Aside from the occasional trip to Publix about once every two months, I’m still ordering groceries online and doing curbside pickup. I suspect if I lived closer to a Publix, I’d do more in-person shopping… so maybe it’s safer that I don’t, haha. Stupid pandemic. I don’t miss shopping in person at all – the less I’m around people, the less I want to be around people! But I do miss some of the Publix-brands of things, I miss a grocery store that’s well-lighted, I miss a grocery store that has enough produce that if you see one thing with mold, you can just choose another, and not have the choice be between moldy strawberries and no strawberries. I miss seeing that you usually get a particular brand of something but on the shelf next to it you can see that a different brand of the same thing is BOGO, or some sort of other special. I still haven’t really figured out how to find things on sale at WalMart when ordering online or on the app. So there are some things I miss about being in the store….? But people aren’t one of those things.

What else was I going to say? I kind of feel like if I did forget to say something, I might actually have the energy and brain space to blog again in a day or two. I mean, now that I’m not trying to keep democracy steadfast and alive using the power of my mind? I mean, I’ve only had one day of waking up with my first thought not being “what the fuck went wrong while I was asleep” and I can already once again feel my lower back! Imagine what it will feel like after a few weeks of that?!

I’m not saying everything is perfect and grand and we can all let go, no. Not by a long shot. The war is not over and there are thousands of battles to still be won. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate for a few days. We can rest. Recuperate. Plan our next step, and rejoice that we’re no longer fighting on two fronts. There are still so many wrongs to be made right.

But I have feeling in my lower back for the first time in I don’t even know how long, so that’s a good start.

Louder, for the people in the back

Up and down this road I go
Skippin’ and dodgin’
From a 44

Facebook is often an echo chamber; because you can curate the list of who hears what you have to say, you naturally tend to start silencing, ignoring, or blocking people who have differing ideals than you. The last… I dunno, eight months? Longer? I’ve seen a lot of posts about “if you believe ___ , unfriend me now” but also “hey, I welcome my friends with different ideas, just because you believe ____ doesn’t mean you are suddenly dead to me.” And you know what? I would love to be in the second camp. I would love to say that I welcome differing views with open arms – because a lot of the time, I do. I love my friends whose parents are immigrants and who teach me amazing, flavorful recipes I might not come across in standard US fare. Who tell me stories about their culture, about growing up differently than me, about living in different countries. I will suck down anything you want to tell me about living differently than what I grew up with, like a starving vampire. I want to know what the weather is like in other countries, what you grow in your gardens, what side of the road you drive on (and how weird it felt to you if you ever went somewhere that drove on the other side of the road), how you treat your elderly and your children and what values you hold dear that have been passed down from generations before. What your lullabies and your fairy tales are. What your holiday rituals are like. But Facebook, and this blog, are my virtual living rooms. And if you walk into my living room and shit on the floor, Imma show you the door. You offer me reasoned arguments backed up by facts? Fine. You come in and shit on my friends, attack them for something they haven’t said, or spread misinformation either deliberately to poke “the libs” or because you’re too lazy or uneducated to do your own research? There’s the door. You want to start a legitimate conversation because you feel like there’s something you don’t know, or don’t understand? Please, bring your questions and thoughts. You want to start a fight? There’s the door.

10:03 on a Tuesday morning
In the fall of an American dream
A man is doing what he knows is right
On flight 93
He loved his mom and he loved his dad
He loved his home and he loved his man
But on that bloody Tuesday morning
He died an American

Black lives matter
Diversity makes us stronger
Feminism is for everyone
I am unapologetic
I curse… a fucking lot
Kindness matters
Love is love
No human is illegal
Not all men, but definitely that fucking guy
Science is real
Trans women are women (and trans men are men)
Tu lucha es mi lucha
Protest and Insurrection are two different things
Wear a fucking mask

Now you cannot change this
You can’t erase this
You can’t pretend this is not the truth

This time that we’re living in right now, after almost a full year of fighting about wearing a mask, fighting about black lives mattering, fighting about who should be leading the country… we’re seeing division now that hasn’t been seen on this level since the Civil War. Yes, Vietnam and the civil unrest of the late 50s through early 70s divided a lot of people as well – times have always been crazy, and have always divided families. But with technology now, it’s easier to yell into the void, easier to yell from your pulpit, easier to attack people you don’t know because you don’t have to do it face to face, easier to get your fifteen minutes of fame. It’s also easier to spread fear, disinformation, lies, and accusations.

Even though he could not marry
Or teach your children in our schools
Because who he wants to love
Is breaking your Gods’ rules
He stood up on a Tuesday morning
In the terror he was brave
And he made his choice
And without a doubt
A hundred lives he must have saved

Yesterday on my Facebook page, I had to say the following. The original commenter, who was trying to say that it was totally fine that protesters (his word, not mine, as I would have said insurrectionists) breaching the Capitol was fine because “the liberal left” had already burned DC to the ground in June, deleted his comment. That means my reply also disappeared, but not before I got a screencap. So here it is.

A riot incited by lies fed to people by their leader is not comparable whatsoever to protests because black and brown people are being killed in the streets, walking home from grocery stores, or are out jogging.
On one hand we have people being marginalized and murdered for simply existing.
On the other hand, we have a rich white man who doesn’t want to give up his power, and so is manipulating the truth in order to incite violence.
That’s about as equally comparable to saying we should go ahead and eat these poisoned apples, because I saw some oranges at the grocery store six months ago that had a spot of mold on them.
This is not about the blame game. This is not about “it’s okay to do this because some other people already did that”.
The people on Flight 93, in 2001, did not willingly crash their plane into the ground to save the Capitol, so that a bunch of Nazis could take it over twenty years later.

(WordPress wants me to write a citation here, so… — Lorena Haldeman, Facebook, 01/08/21, 9:08 AM)

And the things you might take for granted
Your inalienable rights
Some might chose to deny him
Even though he gave his life
Can you live with yourself in the land of the free
And make him less of a hero than the other three
Well it might begin to change ya
In a field in Pennsylvania

To wrap up: you are entitled to your opinion, even if it’s wrong. You’re even entitled to think that I am wrong. It saddens me that I think the cracks in our society are too deep now to be repaired – I’m never going to think that racism and insurrection with a goal of continuing white supremacy is right, and you’re probably not ever going to think that whatever your belief is, is wrong. We’re never going to agree. If we can listen to each other, that would be lovely. But if not? If all you want to do is bait me, try to get me to lash out in anger? Pff. I was raised by a writer and an abusive alcoholic. Bring it. Words are my superpower. Defending the marginalized is a fire that burns in me that only feeds my soul as you try to stoke the flames. I can cut through misinformation, I can back up my arguments with facts, I can link to those facts using multiple different resources. I can do all that without giving you what you want, which is me showing fear or backing down. Come on. Let’s roll.

Stand up America
Hear the bell now as it tolls
Wake up America
It’s Tuesday morning
Come on let’s roll

— Jon Craig Taylor / Melissa L Etheridge; Tuesday Morning