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Author Archives: Sofia Leo

We are not yours…

I was reading a post on Quora recently. The question was posted: Who is the most reviled group throughout history? The response I read talked about the horrible things done to the Jews, and that’s a Big Deal, but so far no one has answered with “women” and that is sad and depressing. This post says what I would like to say if only I had the words…

A guy walks up to a girl in a bar. She’s laughing with her friends, engrossed in conversation. He slides in next to her to introduce himself. Offers her a drink. I’m just here to hang with my friends she says more than once. He proceeds to ask her “get to know you” questions, ignores […]

via Women Are Not Here For You. You Do Not Own Us. — Drifting Through

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Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Springtime Busy

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We’ve all finally settled into the new house and Spring projects are underway, hence the silence here. This is not a typical update for this here blog, but I hope you’ll bear with me until the next Rant refuses to be shouted down by the more logical part of my brain. This type of stuff can usually be found over at my fiber blog, Starting Over Designs.

Duchess has adjusted to her new home but still loathes the dog and bullies Mr. Big every time he tries to take liberties with her. She’s developed a little belly from the steady diet of good food and now controls the whole house whenever That Damned Dog isn’t around. If only she would cuddle with Mr. Big everyone would be happy.

The Kid finally got a job! He starts late next week or early the next working in a brand new Thai Fusion restaurant in Eugene. He’s thrilled to finally have a direction and I’m thrilled that I might finally be able to have some peace and solitude on the rare occasion I’m actually home and able to relax.

Soapapalooza 2017 is underway! The Sweatshop Girls have a table at a new wool processing mill in Halsey and we need more Spring/Summer items to keep it stocked so the Sweatshop is in full production, mixing up our secret soap formulas as fast as we can. The house smells like a French bordello, but we can’t complain when everything is running so smoothly. I, of course, am using the Royal “We” in this case, as the other Sweatshop Girls are elbow deep with their own projects, but we’ll get together soon for a Dye Day if we can ever sync up our schedules.

In addition to the soap making, I’ve been sewing up Bowl Buddies, which kinda defy description until you use one and then you wonder how you ever lived without them. The darned things sell almost as fast as I can make them, so I don’t have a picture for you today, but I’ll update after I sew up the next batch. They’re all over the internet and I first saw them at a craft show, but never dreamed I’d ever waste my time on something so silly, yet here we are, about 100 sold and still in demand.

What they are is a square potholder with a cupped middle – you put your leftovers into a bowl, the bowl into the Bowl Buddy, the whole shebang into the microwave for re-heating and when you take the bowl out of the microwave you don’t burn yourself. Works great for cold stuff, too. I even sewed up a few for Awana in the shape of the trays her favorite microwave meals come in.

I know, right? I was fine using a dish towel for years! Who needs another Thing to Wash? Well, I’m here to tell you these things are amazing and I use them all the time. There are a lot of them out there, and many of them are crap – made in huge numbers with cheap materials and poor workmanship, all thin and saggy. Now, I don’t want to talk down about other crafters, but some of the shit I’ve seen at the craft shows just boggles the mind! How will Mr, and Mrs Average Citizen ever develop respect for handcrafts when much of what they see is complete and utter garbage? Gives us all a bad name and that makes me mad.

Nope. Not gonna rant about that today.

Sabu is loving her fenced yard, gleefully barking at everyone who walks by. There’s one raised bed in the yard and I’d love to add another for gardening this year, but time and $$ are short so it may just be pots on the porch this year, flowers and herbs only until I can get some space set up for veggies.

Work is crazy this time of year, and I better get back to it, so I’ll sign off for now…

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Catnapping

Well, it’s happened again. I never mean to act upon my more “save the world one cat at a time” impulses, but here we are again.

Last Summer, this lovely little creature started hanging out on Roman’s second-storey deck:

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Poor thing was being harassed by the neighborhood cats and was taking refuge behind Roman’s BBQ that sits on the deck – we would hear them late at night thumping around. She wore no collar and seemed hungry, so I fed her and made friends. I then discovered she was covered with fleas so I bought some flea stuff from the vet and put it on. She disappeared for a couple of weeks but then showed up with a flea collar and a fancy pearl-rope collar with a silver charm that reads “Duchess.”

Okie-dokie! She has a home (later surmised to be the neighbors downstairs in the adjacent building) and maybe they’re taking care of her now. She would come to see me on occasion, but it appeared she had a home.

Flash forward to this Winter and she was all over me any time I went over there, seeming to be cold and always hungry. Roman’s building doesn’t allow pets, and I hadn’t moved yet, so I did what I could for her, hoping it would be enough. She was clearly living outside all the time, and because of the fleas she had no real undercoat to keep her warm. I was angry, but what can you do?

Last week was the final straw – she was starving for food and attention and covered with fleas again. Clearly her people were no longer interested in taking care of her. I know the building where they live allows pets, but for whatever reason they were leaving this TINY cat outside to fend for herself and I just couldn’t bear it any more. A catnapping was orchestrated (after proper flea treatment for Duchess, Mr. Big and Sabu) and she came home with me on Sunday afternoon. Roman was not at all sure about my little caper, but I told him that I would bring her back if her people missed her, which I am (almost) sure I’ll be able to do…Maybe…

She accepted the ride in the cat carrier well enough, with hardly any howling and when we arrived home I put it on the floor so Sabu and Mr. Big could see her but she would be protected. Mr. Big had made friends at the trailer park, so I knew he wouldn’t be a problem, but it turns out Duchess loathes and despises dogs – the volume of the growling and hissing were amazing considering she weighs maybe five pounds. She was quickly re-located to my bedroom where the door was shut and I let her out of the carrier.

She was not at all nervous, hopped right out and started looking for food – always a good sign. The bedroom door has a gap at the bottom of 1.5″ and Nosy the Dog had her face all up in there, desperate to see the new arrival, which set Duchess off on a hissing, growling rant all over again. All-righty-then! I left her alone to do some Stuff and repeatedly shooed the dog away from the door.

Before long, Mr. Big was laying down in front of the door, front paws in the gap, purring, chirping and calling softly to Duchess, who replied with hisses and growls. It was a sight to see! You may recall that Mr. Big is a very large cat – haven’t taken him in to be weighed, but he’s pushing 20 pounds for sure. To see him prostrating himself like that was hilarious and I’ll admit to laughing out loud and calling Juan to come see the spectacle.

That first night was rough – Sabu slept outside the bedroom door, whining every now and then, convinced my face would be eaten off by this strange cat I’d allowed into her house. Mr. Big would occasionally whisper plaintively for his new Lady Love to “please, baby please, baby please,” open the door, to which she replied with more growls and hissing.

The three of them kept it up all.night.long. Sabu and Mr. Big were obviously tired after their vigil, but Duchess, having slept perched on the corner of the bed nearest the door, was feeling quite perky and ready for breakfast. I closed the door and let her be alone while I was at work.

After work I devised a way to prop the door open for the cats while keeping the dog out and let Mr. Big into the room. I was hoping Duchess would come out from under the bed and maybe even leave the bedroom, but it was not to be. Mr. Big went in and started his wooing afresh. There was a lot of this –

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Mr. Big was so sincere with his lovely words, trying to gently coax her out from under the bed with sweet nothings and promises to be the Perfect Gentleman if only she would come out and let him shower her with his love.* He tried every trick in his arsenal, chirping, meowing softly, flopping over on his side to show how non-threatening he was, pushing his paws under the edge of the bed so she could see he was hiding nothing, playing with the edges of the rug, everything he could think of to impress a potential lover and playmate. Duchess responded with growling and hisses and there was no-fucking-way she was ever going to come out while he was there.

I left them to it for three hours. He didn’t give up. Neither did she.

And with that I shooed Mr. Big out, closed the door and got ready for bed. As soon as the door was shut she was ready to play and be petted, like there was no threat in the world. She’s really a very lovey and snuggly cat – something Mr. Big is not at all interested in being, and it’s my hope that she’ll be a good Lap Cat like my old Siamese was because I miss that kind of furry attention. Time will tell.

And now we’re a two-cat house again. Shhhh…nobody needs to know about this, ‘k?

*Mr. Big is neutered. I’m assuming Duchess is spayed as she’s never had kittens in the months I’ve known her.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

I did laundry last night…

It’s a party all the time around here, I tellya!

As usual, my laundry accomplishment has a bit of a backstory.

For most of my adult life I rented apartments and did not have a washer & dryer. Going to the laundromat was a weekly event and I was used to it. Some of the apartment complexes had a laundry room, which made it easier, but it was still an ordeal.

When I finally moved into a house with hookups I was thrilled! I would buy a washer & dryer and finally enjoy doing a load of laundry any time I wanted to! And then Captain Bligh started in with his bullshit and rules. I was forced to buy machines that he approved of and was given detailed instructions about how to use them so they would “retain their re-sale value.” He treated me like a child about the whole enterprise and stole all the magic of having these wonder machines in my own home. Since we weren’t living together at the time, I ignored his “instructions” and never did laundry when he was there. It made my blood boil to be treated this way, but like every other time I swallowed my opinion in the hope of keeping the peace.

Then I moved in with him and he informed me of all the New Laundry Rules. His machines were “delicate,” which is code for piece of shit. The cycle selector knob on the washer was gone, making it difficult to set it properly. The septic system was shit, too, so there was no way I could do more than one load a day. There were strict conditions about how much soap and water were to be used and how to sort the clothes. The list went on and on, but of course it was MY job to do the laundry, and I better keep up with it or there would be another lecture about how lazy and irresponsible I was, how I didn’t deserve to live in his house because I wasn’t “contributing [my] share.” As you might guess, the entire time I was with Captain Bligh I never managed to do the laundry correctly, according to him.

Anyway. Roman took me all around town on Saturday in search of my Dream Machines. Turns out they cost considerably more than I thought they would. I had planned to spend my tax refund on a nice set, but they all had too many bells and whistles and I have very specific requirements for my wool sweaters and fleece and was not at all confident they would do the job without making a felted mess. I know, it’s weird, and a long story for another day.

After a day of looking and comparing, we ended up at St. Vinny’s where they had several perfectly good used sets for less than a single new machine and none of them were bristling with electronic controls. Perfect! The machines are donated and then a local crew goes through them top to bottom to make sure they work properly. They then touch up the paint and make sure they have all the hoses, etc. needed to hook them up and they go out onto the floor for sale. Being Scotch, you know I prefer a bargain over a pretty…er…control panel. They even deliver and set them up for a small fee!

The “new” machines were waiting for me when I got home from work last night and I was eager to take them for a spin. What a wonderful thing! I ran two loads and everything worked great! The washer is amazingly quiet and the dryer gets plenty hot enough to get the job done.

It’s the Simple Things in life that push my buttons, that’s a fact! I look forward to many years of doing laundry on my own terms, on my own schedule, and any damn way I want to do it 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

I am not a snowflake

January 20 was a significant day in my life and in the lives of everyone in America, but not for the same reasons.

On January 20, 2013 I walked away from an abusive relationship with a narcissist. I was consumed with the anger of a thousand fiery suns. I had been lied to, gaslighted, verbally abused, financially raped, physically intimidated, sleep deprived, starved of food and affection, beaten down emotionally, isolated from my family and friends, and kept on a very short leash “for my own good” which led to my questioning every belief I ever had. I was a shadow of myself and I knew it. My life was a dark hole I was determined to crawl out of at any cost.

On January 20, 2017 I was on a news blackout so I did not see Lord Cheeto* sworn into the office of the President of the United States. By all accounts (not his, as he reminds us with every TV appearance by himself or his minions) it was a shining shit-show that was poorly attended. Meanwhile the first of what will become hundreds, if not thousands, of protests was quite well attended the very next day. On all seven continents! I attended my first protest on a day that should have been a celebration of one more year of freedom from a narcissist.

This has become my life –

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I really didn’t want to get all political here (hence my silence) but I find silence impossible, just as I found mute acceptance impossible four years ago. Others are much more knowledgeable and well spoken than I am, and on some level it feels like shouting into the Void, but I don’t think I’ll be able to keep my mouth shut any longer.

I’ve done some research, read a lot of articles, talked to many people, watched hours and hours of political coverage on TV (and not just the “lying liberal media,” but FOX and other conservative outlets as well), hoping that the crawling in my gut is just an overreaction to a situation that *feels* like being back with the narc, hoping I really am just being “too emotional,” that life will go back to normal (whatever that is) and I won’t wake up with a feeling of dread, wondering what our so-called leader has blown up in the night. Sadly, the nightmare just won’t end and I feel compelled to put a voice to my fears and concerns, if only to get them out of my head.

Never having been overly concerned with politics, I am sadly under informed on the subject. Alarmingly, Lord Cheeto appears to be even less informed than I am, and that should scare the shit out of everyone. The difference is that I am working hard towards an understanding of our political system while he is signing Executive Orders and pissing off everyone he comes in contact with while hiding what he’s REALLY doing behind closed doors. Hint: he’s making deals that will one day be called treason.

Way back when he was just Candidate Trump he made many statements that showed his true colors. I was horrified that a man who said “grab them by the pussy” got the republican nomination for the highest office in the land. “Blood coming from her wherever…” didn’t disqualify him in the eyes of his supporters, either. WTF?!? There are too many examples to recount here – you’re all familiar with how trashy and small-minded he is.

But, okay. Fine. He got the job. Not exactly fair and square, but we have a process and that process landed him in the White House. No one has to like the results, but we must all respect the process. And surely he would surround himself with Smart People who would guide him and counsel restraint and common sense. Right? He said he’s a “really smart guy” and smart people know they don’t know everything and he, being a “great businessman” knows that he will need savvy advisors to help guide him in his quest to “make America great again.” Right?

Oh, but wait! Turns out everything logical or moderate he said while on the campaign trail was just a big ol’ pile of bullshit and he really does intend to rule America like a king, appointing his favorite courtiers to choice positions in his kingdom; stripping the country of all its resources to line his own pockets; killing off the peasants by relaxing regulations for all his friends so they can continue to poison the air, water and soil with no consequences; well, the list just goes on and on, doesn’t it?

But that’s not why you’re here, is it?

The bottom line is that Lord Cheeto is just like Captain Bligh** and I feel like I’m back in that Dark Place. Every time I hear him speak his lies to the press (and it’s about everything, even things that can be easily refuted) I’m reminded of being told that I’m “not remembering that [incident] correctly.” Every time he dismisses a reporter with that damned snort and eye roll as soon as they say what organization they’re with I’m reminded of how Captain Bligh would do the exact same thing when I was trying to defend myself against yet another of his wild claims of my “misbehavior.” Every time he answers a legitimate question with word salad about how great he is (and, really, can someone please give him a few new adjectives?) I’m reminded of all the late-night speeches Captain Bligh would grace me with, telling me, over and over, how I should just toe the line and do what he said so that one day I would finally be worthy of him. Every time one of his minions lies on TV about something he said, or did, or didn’t do (taxes, anyone?) I’m taken back to the times Captain Bligh’s loyal minions backed him up about something he’d told them that was completely false.

The list goes on and on, folks. I’m sick at heart. Those of you who have lived with an abusive partner understand how I feel – they all read from the same script while telling anyone who will listen how very unique and special they are.

Short of leaving the country, what can I do? I’ll tell you what I can do: I can raise my voice in protest along with the thousands and thousands of others who will not sit down and take abuse from men like Drumph and his minions. It’s an overwhelming task and it’s easy to get burned out as every new lie comes to the surface, as each executive order seeks to take away another civil liberty for everyone who is female or has brown skin, as projects like DAPL get pushed forward at the risk of the water we all drink, as refugees starve and die because our borders have been closed to “those people.”

Because there are so many protests, so many reasons to march and advocate, we all have to pick our battles or get burned out by the emotional roller coaster – anyone who has lived with a narcissist or other abusive person knows the cycle they use to wear you down, and this is no different – we shut down when it becomes overwhelming and then we’re caught in the trap, too busy trying to survive with the shred of sanity left to us to protest each new atrocity.

I’ve chosen Women’s Rights and Clean Water as my causes because no one can support ALL of the issues we’re facing today. I will be marching in Eugene and attending rallies and supporting my representatives any way I can. For the very first time as I was filling out my tax forms online, I sent donations to Planned Parenthood and the Oregon Food Bank because if those of us who have a little bit to spare don’t support those who are desperate for food and health care, we’re no better than the monsters in the White House.

*I can’t even say “President Trump” out loud because he is not deserving of the office. I will not glorify him in this way, therefore I will use various nick-names in place of the honorific. I hope you don’t mind.

**Still not ready to out that asshole, but calling him “narc” just ain’t cutting it any more. I actually called him Captain Bligh to his face once and he was confused. “William Bligh was an amazing sailor and led his men on an epic journey – they would have died without him! He was a superlative navigator and masterful captain. How is that an insult? We all should aspire to be as great as Captain Bligh,” or somesuch, was his reply. My jaw dropped. “Everyone hated him!” was all I could muster in reply. “So?” He really didn’t care, so long as he got his way, but everyone who knows him knows exactly what I mean when I use that name.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Why Emotional Abuse and Forced Sleep Deprivation Are Effective Tools to Gain Compliance: Part 1

This. Just a small taste of what my life was like.

Picking Up the Pieces

Commonly minimized as “nothing really serious – not like physical abuse,” verbal and emotional abuse are perhaps two of the most used tools in the abuser’s arsenal.  Too many feel that it’s not really a big deal, because there are no visible wounds seared onto the flesh when these tactics are used – although crushing amounts of them can cause a victim to self-harm.  This is problematic, because in general (with exception to the more severe injuries), the wounds on our flesh – bruises, swelling, cuts, bite marks, burns, and welts – heal, even if they leave behind some tangible evidence in their wake while the emotional trauma slowly corrodes and compromises our well-being like acid from the inside where no one can see it happening.

Even as we feel it and know the harsh reality of what has been done to us, those on the outside – those who have…

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Posted by on January 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Updates, 2017 Edition

Happy New Year, faithful readers! Is your 2017 all you hoped it would be so far? This Year of the Rooster promises to be better than I thought it could be!

Having recovered (outwardly, at least) from the Election Debacle, Juan, Sabu, Mr. Big and I have made some major changes to our lives and it’s finally time to update this here blog. Or give it up entirely in favor of something lighter. That ball is still in the air…

So. I met a guy. For the purposes of this blog, he will hereinafter be referred to as Roman. He’s lived his whole life in Eugene, Oregon and we spent the Summer exploring around town. He’s a good tour guide and quickly learned what I might like to see and I think he slanted his tours around places and events that would showcase how dismal life has been in the tiny, backward, inbred burg of Lebanon, OR. He hinted that I should move down there and begin to enjoy the Culture full time.

I began a search for suitable housing and hit roadblocks at every turn: renting a house was just too expensive (buying is not an option at this point) so I went looking for apartments only to discover that 97.6% of them won’t rent to anyone with a dog over 35 pounds, even if said dog never spent an unsupervised minute alone in the apartment. ALSO, the way they advertise rent rates is shady as hell – no mention of the “fees” for sewer/water/garbage/parking and the extra rent and deposits for pets – making the total rent way over budget. Now, I could spend $1400 for a deluxe one-bedroom apartment, but that’s not gonna happen because for those rates I should be able to rent a 4-bedroom house on half an acre! Supposedly there’s a housing crisis here in Oregon, which I usually take to mean there aren’t enough houses for all the people, but the sad fact is that most people just can’t afford the housing that’s available and nothing cheaper is being built. It really sucks, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

Then one day Roman’s cousin posted on her personal Facebook page that she had half a duplex to rent out. I never would have known about it as she didn’t advertise anywhere else, but Roman forwarded it and I made contact and was finally successful in scoring the perfect living situation. Three bedrooms (I can have a Sewing Room! Yay!) one-car garage with hookups for washer & dryer, radiant ceiling heat (more on that in a minute) hardwood floors, fenced yard and permission to plant anything I want come Spring. A full-sized oven! A full-sized fridge! Closets! Shelves in the garage for all of my tools! A real bathtub and extra large hot water heater! All for a Reasonable Price! You can bet I jumped right on it and Juan and I spent Christmas Eve there for the first night.

That first night was quite an eye-opener. I guess I didn’t realize how very Scotch I am. You see, living in what is essentially a hard-sided tent, any heat you put in (electric space heaters and/or propane furnace) quickly leaks out via the…well…every surface in contact with the outside air, and it costs a small fortune to keep the inside temps much more than 20* warmer than outside. This leads, as you might imagine, to a compromise – we put on extra layers rather than pump heat in only to have it leave very quickly and expensively. For the past 4 Winters the thermostat inside the trailer was set to 60* no matter what, and even lower than that if the outside temp was 30* or less as it just costs too much to try to get it any warmer.

Imagine my surprise that first night when I was stripped down to bare feet and only one thin layer of clothes! I don’t ever recall being warm enough for that to happen in December except that one year I lived in Phoenix! Poor Juan had to close his bedroom door, turn off the heat in his room and open a window just so it would be cool enough for him to sleep. As the week went on, I kept turning the heat down and down and down (it was never set over 60* in the first place, according to the thermostats) to try to bring the inside temp below 70*! I know! First World Problems for sure! Mind you, I’m not really complaining, just showing how very different our life is now compared to last Winter. I even carefully folded Mr. Toasty and put him on a shelf in the closet!

It feels like I’m having to re-learn what it’s like to live inside Real Walls.

Roman was a trooper through the move: loading, unloading and driving the moving truck; helping me find the perfect sofa; driving me all over town to pick up this or that thing; talking me down when my Moving Baggage had me in a bit of a frenzy. I know y’all are dying to ask – no, Roman and I did not move in together 🙂

I know have a 40 minute commute, but there are lots of Audible books on my Kindle and the drive is a good time to wake up or unwind before having to Adult at work or home, so I don’t mind. It’s an easy drive and I don’t anticipate changing jobs in the near future.

Towanda is in storage for the time being, safe behind an electrified chain link fence. I closed the Studio on Halloween and put everything in storage – much of it fit on the moving truck, but a few things remain and I’ll bring them down a bit at a time over the next month after work.

None of this would have been nearly so easy if The Boss hadn’t closed the office between Christmas and New Year’s and I’m so glad the timing of everything worked out so well. That it went off without a hitch obviously means The Universe has finally decided it’s my turn to be happy!

I hope 2017 will be as good to you as it has been so far to me 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 
 
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