2018 End of Year Reflection

This month I realized I hadn’t posted here since July, and didn’t want to end 2018 on that note. So, an EOY reflection…and I would say an explanation of where I’ve been, but if you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time you know I tend to drop off the face of the earth for long periods.

I try not to do this, and I am working on it. But I think I also need to admit that perhaps my regular schedule is flurries of activity followed by periods of silence.

Continue reading “2018 End of Year Reflection”

The Dagda: the good god with a killer harp

Welcome to another instalment of Mythology Mondays!

The winner of our poll was The Dagda, a member of the Tuatha De Danann. (Runner-up was Manannan Mac Lir.)

I actually put him on the poll because I saw a post about him on Folklore Thursday a while back, and the picture shared of him made him look a lot like my husband. Or my husband looks like him. Anyway, it inspired me to read up more on him. (I’ve since discovered the picture is from Heroes of Camelot.)

Anyway, the Dagda — High King of the Tuatha De Danann for about 80 years.

The Tuatha De Danann is, in short form, the main family of gods from pre-Christian Ireland. They’re somewhat analogous to the Olympians of Greece — not the only supernatural beings there, of course, but some of the heavy-hitters, with a massive family tree that takes years to understand.

The Dagda is one of the “big guys” within the Tuatha De. He’s a chieftain, a druid, and a father-figure. (One of his epithets is “all-father,” though that might have more to do with his prolificness than a fatherly attitude — he sired a lot of kids.) He’s considered a very powerful god, especially as he’s said to have control over the weather, the seasons, and life and death itself.

The Dagda is well-versed in Druidic magic, and he has several magical items in his possession. One is his cauldron, which is so big it’s said the ladle can hold two grown people in it. This cauldron is known as the “cauldron of plenty” — it’s bottomless and apparently leaves no one unsatisfied (except cowards and oath-breakers).

Another item is his massive club, so big he apparently had to drag it in a wagon behind him, or across the ground. The hammer/head end of his club can kill many people at once (probably because of its massive size; I don’t know, just spitballing here), but the handle can bring people back to life. See: power over life and death.

Dagda also possesses a magic harp made from oak wood. This harp could change the seasons or the emotions of people. It also straight-up murdered some folks. Yes, the harp did. A harp.

Continue reading “The Dagda: the good god with a killer harp”

What even is blogging?

Obviously, I have no idea.

My last post here was Valentine’s Day. That’s ridiculous. Granted, this time I actually have an excuse: school did kind of eat my face.

It was all worth it, though! Check out these puppies:

A screenshot of final grades results from Winter Semester of courses at Douglas College. All A+s.

If you can’t see the image, it’s a list of all the classes I took and my final grade in each of them. A+ across the board. I SLAYED this semester. I AM THE LIZARD KING

And then I slept for the past three weeks, basically. I have really just been sleeping for most of this entire time. Sleeping and watching movies with my husband because we now have access to a bunch of movies on demand.

Now I’m arising from my sleep like a leviathan from the depths of the ocean and looking at summer like the tasty morsel it is. It’s time to get some shit done. I need to get my tits up and ACCOMPLISH STUFF.

A photo of a post-it note on a wall. The note reads "GET YOUR TITS UP," which is a quote from BAD MOMS.
This is an actual photo of the wall above my desk. It’s super motivating.

(Side note, if you haven’t seen Bad Moms, it is a really funny film and I highly recommend it.)

Things I want to accomplish this summer include:

◆ Clean my freaking house so I actually have a place to do homework come Fall.
◆ Finish all my current WIPs and hopefully another book. (What am I CRAZY?)
◆ Read a LOT.
Give my mom a really excellent 70th birthday. It’s a BIG ONE!
◆ Have a nice birthday myself.
◆ Cuddle Lord Tyee the wundermutt.
◆ Get ahead in my Medical Terminology book in preparation for next semester. (halp)
◆ Be more active here and at my other blogs. Mostly here, though. And, like…with a purpose.

Honestly, no idea if I’ll accomplish all this stuff, but I’m hopeful. At any rate, the last one I’m going to be starting with next week. I’m going to try to actually blog here on a regular basis, on actual topics that I know a little about. I hope that these posts I’m going to write are helpful and informative and entertaining for you all.

There, of course, will still be the regular “omg what am I even doing with my life” type posts, but hopefully those won’t be the ONLY thing that happens because they tend to happen once every few months. I’d like blogging here to be a weekly thing, eventually. However, it might start out as every other week, until I can get more into the habit.

Anyway, that’s all the news that’s fit to print DEAR GODS I HAVE TO STOP USING THAT PHRASE, TALK ABOUT DATING MYSELF.

*cough*

I’m going to sign off now, and work on some more writing. As a reminder, if you want to be first to know when From the Ashes is done, sign up for Loony Nation. If you want to be second to know, join my Patreon. If you want to be third to know, join my reader’s group on Facebook. And if you just want to find out with the rest of the world, just…keep doing what you’re doing, I guess? I mean you’re reading this post, so I assume you’re following me online somewhere.

See you all next week! Have a great weekend, and happy mother’s day. Unless mother’s day is a shitty day for you, in which case I’m sorry for reminding you about it. *offers hugs and cookies*

~Katje

Annnnnnd it’s gone

My last post here looks utterly hilarious in retrospect.

Last week I got a notification from Student Loans that — after I had spent many hours of my time doing my application and filling out the paperwork that would let them send me money, and started preparing my appeal for the full amount of money — I was no longer eligible for loans and wouldn’t be getting any.

Ever.

Ok, not ever; I have a flair for the dramatic. BUT not until my principal of 50K is paid down, which fuck me, may as well be ever.

There is a bright side to this news — the reason I’m no longer eligible to receive funding is because my RAP (Repayment Assistance Plan) has gone into Stage 2. What does Stage 2 mean? It means the government has started paying off my interest AND principal at about half the rate I would be expected to pay it off if I actually made any money.

However, this long-run bright side is hard to see with such BLOODY SHITTY TIMING.

Couldn’t they have like, I don’t know, messaged me a year ago and said “Hey in a year your RAP will go into Stage 2, here’s what that means, just a heads up”? Would have meant I would have gotten off my ass sooner and gone back to school, which would have meant at least ONE semester funded, and preparation for the lack of funding for the rest.

Instead, nope, middle of first semester, NO warning: “Oh by the way? That $1,300 you were really counting on to pay March/April rent? HAHAH NO.”

Needless to say I’ve been in a bit of a depressive episode since Thursday. That day actually saw me sobbing on a bench at campus, which was…totally fun and not at all embarrassing. And now Mom, Mr. Katje, and I are struggling to find a way to come up with the money to survive this semester.

I’m visiting Mom right now and we’re going to have a small private party-slash-fundraising thing here, which should help, and she’ll also be doing a Scholarship Sale at her bookshop Tea & Talk. I’ve also put together a note on FB detailing ways to help — it’s public for now, so you should be able to see it.

I’m also trying to get paid hours in as much as I can, even though that’s almost impossible with school. Most of my time these days is spent studying or working on homework, and when I’m not doing that, I’m in class, and when I’m not doing THAT I’m cleaning the house or sleeping. Study Break was MUCH NEEDED this week, and my trip to PR to see my mom has already resulted in many naps.

Anyway, that’s the State of the Katje. I haven’t let it break my streak of writing every day this year, though. Still going strong on that.

Will see you all again soon, if I can figure out something to talk about.

Loonily yours,

Katje

Help Me Help Out Vancouver Pagan Pride

I honestly cannot believe that September is more than half-over already. I feel like we JUST finished August.

This month has been a bit of a whirlwind of downtime for me, if that makes any sense at all. We did Pirates and Fairies on Labour Day Weekend; it’s our yearly excursion to the lake for fun and glitter. It gives new meaning to the term “glamping”.

Usually we have a really incredible time but this year it was *so hot* we had trouble functioning. Mr. Katje is usually the one up till 7am; he was falling asleep at 2am because of the heat. Our brains didn’t work properly and we just wanted to sleep the entire time.

Despite the heat we DID have fun, and got to hang out with some good friends and swim in the lake. Mr. Katje got sunburned; I did not. We both wore sunscreen.

After coming home I was so tired I was barely able to function during the week. I managed to help out my friend with getting things ready for the event she was organizing, Vancouver Pagan Pride Day, on Thursday the 7th. Then Saturday the 9th was the actual event and I was there all day.

It poured for the first few hours before finally becoming dry around 1pm. I was in so much pain that weekend.

Normally I’m a person who likes rain, but doing an outdoor event in the rain? Nope. Nope nope nope. I’ve done it multiple times and EVERY TIME I swear “Never again!” Especially if you’re selling books — NO ONE buys books in the rain. When you have that on top of “sitting in rain makes me hurt all over for days”….yeah.

However, I’d committed to volunteering at VPPD and I wanted to make the event as successful as possible, so I showed up and stayed all day to help out. My books were on the snack bar table, which was the community vending table this year. Didn’t sell any (told you) but that’s okay; I made some good contacts and new friends (YAY NEW FRIENDS). Worth the pain. 😉

Mainly, though, I was there to make the day a success for my friend. She has been working herself to the bone to make VPPD a great day for the community every single year, and it has been so hard on her. Rain hurts turnout, which hurts things like raffle sales, concession sales, and donations, which in turn hurts the event.

Events like this cost money. Quite a bit of money in Vancouver, which is a SUPER expensive city. We need to give back to events like these if we want to continue to HAVE them for the community.

Ok, I’m not going to get into a rant about lack of pagan infrastructure on this blog. That’s best saved for my blog at moragspinner.net…where I’m sure I’ll rant AT LENGTH about this particular thing, because it’s a huge thorn in my side right now/always.

But anyway, my point is: if you want pagan events to continue, you need to support them. If you can’t support them financially you need to support them in other ways…like word of mouth advertising to get people there so that there’s a bigger turnout and better chance of ACTUAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT.

'If you want pagan events to continue, you need to support them.' #VanPPD Click To Tweet

And rain hurts turnout. So this year…I don’t know the exact numbers, but we didn’t do as well as we should have. Actually, we’re kind of in major trouble.

TO THAT END (the point of this post, finally, sheesh).

From now until Imbolc, if you buy an ebook by either me or my mom at our Ecwid store I will be donating 80% of the proceeds to VPPD to help make up for the shortfall from this year’s event.

Continue reading “Help Me Help Out Vancouver Pagan Pride”

The Love You Give Is Enough

Yesterday I ran a lot into something that’s physically painful for me to see: clappy hand emojis between words. It’s an internet trend to make what are considered important points this way, instead of the old-fashioned placing of a period between each word. (What. was. wrong. with. that?)

You’re probably wondering why/how it makes me sick. The best explanation I can come up with is that my visual processor is over-developed and hyper-competent after a lifetime of having to make up for my auditory disabilities — my hearing is fine, my brain has problems processing and parsing sounds — and so when I read things, I experience them more vividly than people without that disability do.

My lack of ability to properly parse things I hear means my visual processor makes up for it by making me hear things mentally really well when I read them. This is why shitty punctuation in a book drives me insane. I can’t just skim over it when reading; it’s integrally a part of what I’m experiencing. It tells me how to “hear” things in my mind, and if it’s wrong, it will fuck up my entire experience.

(This is also why I loathe the practice of 2 spaces after a period. It makes my brain grind to a halt when I’m reading something, because one space is a normal pause between sentences for me. Two spaces is the emergency brake.)

My experience seeing the clappy hand emojis between words is to feel as if I’m being slapped or punched in the face after every word. Reading a sentence written that way gives me a headache and makes me nauseated.

And to be honest, even if it didn’t cause me physical pain, I would find it the most annoying fucking thing on the planet. So either way, I’d be stoked if people could fucking stop doing it.

Anyway. Yesterday I saw like, 3 or 4 tweets using this method so I spent most of the day feeling headachey and sick to my stomach. One of them, however, is what inspired this post.

This was from an account I used to enjoy following, and from someone I thought was pretty cool. Not only did they use the clappy hands emoji thing that makes me sick, but they used it to repeat a really damaging belief: “you can’t love somebody until you love yourself.” (I’m pretty sure that’s what the tweet said exactly; I just went and double-checked as fast as I could before getting too sick. Am super nauseated right now anyway.)

This is a bullshit idea and I am so sick of hearing it repeated.

An image of two people kissing is overlaid with text that says "You can't love someone unless you love yourself; You can't be happy with someone else if you aren't happy with yourself." Over top this text is a big red X, and the words FUCK OFF in bold black Impact font on a pink rectangle background.
I have strong feelings about this.

Working on self-love is, of course, important, and something I encourage EVERYONE to do. But the phrasing of this idea, the way it’s always put forth, makes it a zero-sum game: you cannot love someone until you love yourself. Unsaid in that sentence: your whole self. You cannot love someone until you love yourself 100%.

This idea leads to a horrible self-repeating spiral of self-hate. That sentence also says that if you DO love someone when you don’t love yourself, it’s not enough. It’s not GOOD enough. Your love for your spouse or sister or daughter or son or best friend — it’s not enough, because you don’t love yourself first.

And because your love isn’t enough — because you don’t love yourself — you are obviously not worthy of that person. And if you’re not worthy of that person, then you are, of course, not worthy of THEIR love and thus unlovable.

How the fuck are you supposed to work on self-love if you keep getting told that the love you give isn’t good enough?

I’m a broken person. I’m damaged goods. I always will be; doesn’t mean I want to be treated like I am. You can glue something back together, but those cracks will always be visible.

Most days I absolutely hate myself. But you know who I love? Mr. Katje, my husband. I love him so much I can sometimes forget what an awful person I am. I love him so much I can forget that I hate myself.

And Mr. Katje loves me, and because he loves me, he helps me work on these things. He reminds me to eat, because I can’t love myself enough to do that. He reminds me to take my pills, because sometimes I cannot take that care of myself. His reminders build up, and become my reminders: I eat because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am worth loving, so I need to love myself. I take my pills because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am not an unlovable monster, so I need to take care of myself.

Through his love of me, I am slowly, very slowly discovering self-love. It is self-love based in the love of another person.

I suppose people who believe that self-love must be entirely self-generated, a virgin birth in your heart, would see that as unhealthy.

I believe humans are pack animals and we cannot exist alone. I believe relying on oneself to the exclusion of all else is unhealthy. I believe we need each other in the same way we need food, water, shelter.

So I do not see my building up my self-love based on the love others give me as unhealthy. I see it as human.

I know Mr. Katje struggles with self-love, too. I know he has doubts; I know he has that voice inside that tells him he’s not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough for me. I know he feels he’s not a good enough husband for me, because he can’t support me like he wants to, because he’s been damaged by a lifetime of society shoving it down his throat that if he’s not earning big bucks, he’s not good enough.

(Kyriarchy damages men too.)

He is enough. He will always be enough, regardless our money situation, regardless what lies society screams at him. And if the love he gives is enough for me, then the love I give has to be enough for him.

It’s not fair to ask damaged people to put everything on hold while they try to figure out how to love themselves, and then to tell them that if they can’t figure that out, they don’t deserve to love anyone else.

It’s not fair to ask that of anyone.

Spend time cultivating self-love, as much as you can. But if you cannot get that to 100% — that’s okay. If all you can manage is 5% on a good day — that’s okay. The love you give is still worthy. The love you give is enough. The love you give is not subtracted from by the hate you feel for yourself. This is not algebra.

We may be brokenhearted, but we are enough, and whatever love we can pump out of those damaged organs is enough. It has to be, or humanity doesn’t stand a chance.

Discouragement

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

We got a new tire for my car. Or rather, we got 5 new tires for my car and one of them turned out to work. The first time Mr Katje went to the scrap yard he got a deal on 4 tires for 200 bucks off a 2000 Dodge Caravan — ie, my exact car.

They didn’t fit.

I don’t fucking know WHY, they just didn’t fit. They should have. SAME CAR. That night included Mr Katje lying on the ground looking at this tire he couldn’t get onto my car and saying “Happy birthday, Dear, I got you the wrong tires.”

(Yes, tires were my bday gift. I turned 31 and I got a working car. #blessed)

So he went back and was able to return them (a VERY WELCOME SURPRISE) and got a different one which definitely DID fit. So my car got all fixed up in time for me to drive up to Sechelt.

So mom and I went to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, or FOTWA, or #SecheltWritersFest, or SCFWA, from August 17-20. We were in the tent selling books with other local indie authors.

We had a great time; I sold 2 books. Pretty good considering the overlap between SFF readers and people who go to festivals like that one is pretty slim.

Then we got back to our respective homes and Mr Katje and I went and watched the eclipse the next day, which was fucking underwhelming. I thought 86% totality was going to be pretty good but it was just disappointing. Didn’t help we couldn’t get any eclipse glasses so we had to look through pinhole boxes we’d made that morning.

When we’re 80 we’ll just look right at it because either medical technology will have progressed to the point where it doesn’t matter and we can just get new eyes, or we’ll be so close to the grave we won’t give a fuck.

Continue reading “Discouragement”

victory, followed by “fuck you”

I was going to write this post last night and I kinda wish I had because I would have been able to end on a lighter note, but I didn’t, so now I just get to complain more about how shitty this week has been overall.

I went and yelled at the pharmacy. Actually I didn’t yell. I was super calm and polite. I explained what happened. *Multiple times.* I explained so many times I turned blue in the face.

When I first got there and someone came to the window I said “Are you someone in charge that I can yell at? Because I don’t want to yell at someone who’s not in charge.” And the person responded “You cannot yell at anyone.” And I did not respond *You fuckers fucked up and made me crazier for the past few days so don’t tell me what I can do,* but I really really wanted to.

So then I get the person who’s in charge, the pharmacist, and I explain about a thousand times what happened. I do not yell, but I let her know I’m livid.

Throughout it all she sort of acts like I’m the one at fault, that I didn’t understand what the person a few days ago told me, that I’m the crazy one…not once did anyone at the pharmacy admit fault, or even get *close* to saying “Maybe we did fuck up.”

I’ve spent most of the week fixing their fuck up and they didn’t acknowledge that it was their fuck up.

So I wasn’t really happy about that. Finally she tries to put it through and goes “Oh well it’s working now, so I don’t know what the problem was,” and I say “Well it’s probably working now because I called Greenshield yesterday and told them about this whole kerfuffle and they likely put a note on my profile.” IE, it’s working now *because of work I did*.

In the end, though, they comped my co-pay of the dispensing fee (ten dollars total for both scrips), so I got them free. Which is about 1/2 a victory, so I’ll take it.

AND A GOOD THING TOO.

Because today, on my way home from my typing assessment at the college I’ll be starting up at in January, a typing assessment I *aced* and I know I aced it because the person monitoring the assessment came over, saw my results, and said “Oh wow, you did excellent!”   — on my way home from this assessment that left me feeling so happy, and also feeling great that I didn’t get a parking ticket, my car tried to kill me.

A huge strip of rubber went flying off my tire and broke my bumper. I didn’t know this happened; all I knew was suddenly there was this jerk to my side and then a horrific rattling sound. I had to quickly change lanes and get into the shoulder to investigate; of course as soon as this happened the person who’d been behind me decided to move into the right lane, blocking me, and shake his fists wildly at me while yelling.

Because I caused the rubber to fly off with my mind, obviously. YES I DID THIS ON PURPOSE, random man in car.

After checking it out and calling my husband to yell HALPS, I drove incredibly slowly down the shoulder with my flashers on until I could actually get off the highway. (Highway is such a misnomer for most of the Canadian roads called that. It has fucking traffic lights on it.)

I then proceeded to sit in the car for about an hour waiting for my husband to arrive (I’d waked him up with my call so he had to shower, get dressed, etc while half-asleep), which is SO FUN in 30 degree, smokey hazy weather, let me tell you. (My lungs hate me for going out at all today.)

He arrived, we changed the tire together, and then I managed to get home. The bumper no longer made that horrific rattling noise if I went above 20 KM, because we’d removed the tire with the huge flap of rubber sticking out from it that was playing my bumper like a mbira.

Tomorrow we’re going to see about getting a new tire for the back (Mr Katje has already called a scrap yard and they just got one in; my car has an odd tire size) and also replace the one opposite it, because it needs it.

But our wallets really didn’t need this at all. Especially not with me planning on going with my mom to the Festival of the Written Arts in Sechelt this month. (We’ll be in with the local authors selling our books, assuming I make it.) So it’s a good thing my scrips were free huh! (Like 10 dollars will make a difference, hah.)

I’m so fried. Any happiness I felt earlier after acing my typing assessment is gone. I’m just depressed and too fucking warm. I tried to take a cold shower when I got home and couldn’t even manage that because the water warmed up when it hit my skin.

Yup, so, stick a fork in me. This week has made me *DONE*.

-Katje

Vindicated

I just got off the phone with both my doctor’s office and my insurance company (this is after searching the car and concluding the fault MUST lie with the pharmacy, but I need to be absolutely sure of that before going to war).

The fault absolutely lies with the pharmacy. I was given NO scrips for my stomach and crazy pills in June by my doctor, I was given them in April (which is the date I knew). My insurance was not charged in April at all, but was charged on June 27 for those pills.

Both offices said that if the pharmacy tries to dispute it with me, I can tell them to call doctor or insurance and they would confirm that I am not, in fact, fucking crazy (on this count, anyway).

Tonight, after it cools down a bit as the wildfires have blanketed the city in smoke and it’s a smokey sauna out there, I will be going to the pharmacy to rain down fire and brimstone upon them.

Normally I don’t like confrontation, but their fuck up could cost me 90 dollars I don’t have, or make me go a month without my *life-saving meds*.

Normally I am more understanding about humans making mistakes, but this is exactly the sort of mistake I am not okay with. I didn’t fuck up — they did — and yet I’ve had to spend several days RUNNING AROUND LIKE A HEADLESS CHICKEN trying to rectify it, all while convinced that I’ve completely lost touch with reality because I don’t remember doing what they said I did.

I already suffer from dissociation. The past two days have been stressful as hell as I’ve tried madly to hold onto what I know is real.

And godsdammit, I will be damned if I let their fuck up break my streak of taking my pills EVERY DAY for the past 2.5 months. EVERY. DAY. Do you know how AMAZING that is for me? Every day when I take my pills I immediately tell my husband that I did, so that 15 minutes later when I forget I’ve taken them I can ask him if I did and he’ll know.

But that’s not the only part of the system I have to keep me taking my pills every day. I also have a weekly pill container (not refilled for this week BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF NEW PILLS) and I keep track in my habit tracker in my planner. This combination has lead to me having a near perfect pill-taking streak for 2.5 months.

Before this system, I was lucky if I remembered to take my pills every other day. I was a wreck.

Now I’m marginally functional. And no pharmacy fuckup is going to take that from me.

So I am vindicated today, and preparing for battle. I almost feel sorry for whoever is working at the pharmacy tonight.

Almost.

gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)

i went to the doc’s on friday to get a new scrip for my zoloft and my dexilant, because the bottles in my medicine drawer (top drawer of my sewing-desk-that’s-being-used-as-a-computer-desk) were running really low. no problem, got my scrips for 100 pills each. i have to go in every time to get the scrips, and then i get enough pills for three months.

went to fill them today (july 31st; it’s august 1st as i’m writing this but i have not slept yet) as well as my husband’s scrip which i picked up for him while i was at the doc’s.

“you last filled this on june 27 so your insurance won’t cover it till september.”

Continue reading “gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)”