Recovering My Scriptures

I have a set of scriptures I’ve been neglecting to read for a long time, and I think it’s about time I gave it another go. I’ve read all of the books before, once upon a time when I was in seminary – but I read it for the sake of reading it, and not with a particularly inquisitive mind. I’ve gained a renewed interest in reading them in recent years, now that I have enough life behind me to know which questions I want to ask, so to speak.

I’m not very outwardly religious, but I’ve missed religious practice of late. I’m not entirely convinced at this point that there will ever be a “church” or other formal religious organization that is a good fit for me (unless I make up my own – oh, and I would probably have to be the only member), but I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I also love the Bhagavad Gita, and The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul (both of these would be considered sacred texts in my religion as well, among others) – but the teachings of Christ speak to me in a way that no other body of words ever has. I cannot say with any objective certainty whether this is because they are true, or merely because they suit me; nevertheless, I think either is reason enough for further investigation.

The thing about this particular set of scriptures is that they were given to me as a gift by a man I dated for a couple of years – with my first name and his last name engraved on the cover. We were never actually formally engaged, but as you might surmise, I seriously thought I was going to marry him. Instead I ended the relationship before he had a chance to propose, and before he moved across the country to be with me. I had a lot of reasons for breaking up with him, but it was still one of the harder things I’ve done – although it turned out to be a wise decision.

Presently, I AM engaged – to a rather different man; hence the reason these scriptures, engraved with my would-have-been married name, have been tucked away out of sight for a good long while. I’m not sure if it would actually bother my fiancé, but it seems most respectful to not display something like that. Which brings me to my most recent project. This is still a perfectly good set of scriptures – and the only set I own. Although I eventually realized that I couldn’t marry the man who gave them to me (and parted with most of the other mementos from that relationship long ago), I certainly couldn’t throw a set of scriptures away – and wouldn’t want to donate them without removing or covering the engraving anyway. I’ve never had any reservations about keeping them and using them. Just… not with that name on them.

As it happens, I’ve recently taken a shine to leather working. And by recently, I mean I’ve been slowly accumulating knowledge and materials for several years and I’m finally getting my hands dirty. I’ve been working on designing a pair of walking boots for myself, and I took a break from that project yesterday because I reckoned I’d learned just enough from doing THAT, to be able to do this without completely screwing it up, and I wanted to do something quick and easy.

Basically, I glued a big piece of leather over the existing cover. I also extended the back cover and added a closure for edge protection. I want to be able to throw this in my backpack and take it with me places. The closure is just a button (sewn to the cover), and a strap (with a buttonhole on either end). The simple line detailing was done with a little gouge that was included in a box of leather working trinkets (a more accurate description than “tools”) I ordered, which arrived in the mail yesterday.

The main thing I learned from this project is that I need better tools. This is more of a confirmation than a revelation, since the “tools” I ordered were quite cheap. I find that playing with cheap tools is a great way to figure out which ones are worth upgrading. No matter what sorts of materials I’m working with, there will typically only be a small handful of tools, among dozens, which I actually use. Leather working seems to be no exception. Overall, though, I am pleased. It came out looking and functioning just like I hoped it would. I also happen to enjoy the residual smell of contact cement.

Tomorrow it’s back to boots.

 

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My Favorite Addiction

I love coffee. I’ve loved coffee since I was a little girl and my parents let me try some, thinking I wouldn’t like it. This tactic worked great for alcohol, which I thought was nasty and avoided like the plague until I was in my mid-twenties. But not for coffee. Oh, no. When I was younger, I preferred it with cream and sugar – but even the blackest, bitterest stuff was passable.

For a long time I only allowed myself to have coffee (or any caffeine) occasionally. I was highly averse to the idea of being addicted to anything, and I’ve seen my dad struggle to cut back on caffeine several times over the years, so I was wary. But I love the taste of the stuff. There’s no getting around that. It’s not that I CAN’T quit – I’ve stopped drinking coffee for months at a time – I just don’t WANT to.

I remember the first time I got an espresso drink from a small café. I was blown away by the depth of its flavor. I didn’t understand the difference between espresso and regular brewed coffee, and I was in awe that you could put so much milk and flavoring in it and still have the coffee flavor come through so strongly. I would try to make something similar at home and it would taste weak and watery.

Eventually I learned the difference, and that I would have to get a different kind of machine to get the results I wanted. I put it off for a long time, opting for a simple French press instead, but the rich, bold flavor of espresso still called to me. A few years ago I buckled down and did some research on espresso machines and grinders, and down the rabbit hole I went.

The DeLonghi EC-155 is my machine of choice. It performs decently out-of-the-box, and with a few small modifications it blows away every other home-model machine I’ve used. The modifications I’ve done have been more or less to remove the “idiot friendly” components. It comes with pressurized filter baskets and a big plastic tip on the steam wand. These make it easier to achieve a perfectly mediocre cup of espresso without as much risk of totally screwing it up, but they also put a cap on the machine’s performance. So I’ve replaced the stock steam wand with a compatible part for a different machine (and rerouted it to the other side of the machine, where the useless built-in tamper used to be), and I sawed off the bottom of my portafilter and replaced the stock basket with a slightly larger, unpressurized basket.

The result is a more finicky machine, but paired with a decent grinder and a real tamper, and a solid set of barista skills, it can pull shots and texture milk on par with large commercial machines. The main thing it lacks is capacity and speed. It doesn’t really have enough steam power or vertical space for more than a 12 oz pitcher, and trying to remove the spent puck to pull extra shots right away can get messy. This isn’t an issue for me, since I like my espresso drinks short anyway. My standard is a double shot with 5-6 oz of frothy half-and-half. Sometimes I skip the dairy and drink it straight.

I’ve since worked as a barista for a couple years, on a couple different high-end machines, and I actually find that I prefer the espresso I get from my little machine at home. Of course, the biggest issue with these little home machines is that they’re not made for heavy use. At a rate of 2-3 cups per day between me and my fiancé, my little DeLonghi doesn’t have a whole lot of DeLongevity. My first one stopped working properly after being used so much and so often that the wiring actually started melting.

Since then I’ve purchased FOUR MORE. Machine Number Two is still functional, but I went ahead and ordered another one so I’d have a backup… and then I found two more of them at a thrift store for $15 each. Machine Number Two has been acting like it needs to be de-scaled (mineral buildup), so I pulled out Machine Number Three (also outfitted with a new steam wand) – but found that it has a small problem with a valve in the boiler and leaks steam and water from the grouphead.

I’ve thought about investing in a more durable machine, but the step up in price to actually get something better is substantial. At least a few hundred dollars, if I can find a used machine that I like. I think that for a few hundred dollars, I’d rather do some research and buy some components and build my own. SOMEDAY…

But for now, here’s my project for today: opening up all of my machines, cleaning them out, and putting all of the best/least worn components back into one machine – which will hopefully function optimally long enough to order some replacement parts and put together another backup for when that one dies.

My fiancé went out and bought me a new set of driver bits and hex keys a few days ago, because I couldn’t find mine anywhere, and I needed security bits to open the housing and a hex key take the boiler apart. I get a lot of weird looks from people for doing stuff like this, so I love that he humors me. I think he actually LIKES it. He’s even on board for helping me build a machine one of these days.

I guess it helps that he loves my coffee, too – and I really enjoy the process and the ritual of making him a cup in the morning with his breakfast. It never fails to put a smile on his face. I mean, he’s not marrying me JUST for the coffee… but it’s a strong contender.

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Merry Christmas!

I woke up this Christmas morning feeling lighter than I have in years. My fiancé gave me the green light a while back to quit my job at the end of this year. The 23rd was my final day.

People have asked me what I’m going to do next. So far I’ve been mostly replying with “whatever I want.” I’m ambivalent and nonspecific about answering because it’s an awkward topic. People always seem to get really uncomfortable when I talk about my desire to be a homemaker, like “shh, you’re not supposed to want to do that!” But you know what, screw those people; I’m going to serve my man and teach my children and tend to my home and family. I never wanted money or independence, and I’ve had more than my fill of both.

I’ve been feeling more and more as the years roll by that I am approaching a critical juncture, where my children will need me to be more active and take more initiative in teaching and guiding them. Eventually I suppose they won’t need much of that from me, but this period before they start truly becoming men seems especially important.

This Christmas season has really driven that home for me. They aren’t so little anymore, and I’ve already missed so many opportunities for teaching because I’ve had to work for money to keep a roof over our heads, and I simply can’t wear all of the hats at once.

(As an aside for anyone wondering where their father is, we divorced a few years ago for reasons which I will elaborate on eventually, and he subsequently moved to another state. I send the boys to visit him for 3-4 months out of each year. We’ve filed all of our divorce and custody paperwork jointly and are quite amicable at this point. The boys both seem to have a good relationship with their dad and I do whatever I reasonably can to support that.)

They’re starting to ask questions that veer into religious and philosophical territory, and I find myself caught unprepared to field their questions or adequately engage them. Not really for lack of knowledge or perspective to share, but for my overall lack of time and focus.

I remember being keenly interested in such things myself in childhood, and one of the things I love most about my father (who raised me after my own parents split up) is that he would often take time just to talk, sometimes for hours, about all sorts of things relating to God and the workings of the world and the universe.

I want to do that for my children. I don’t want to push dogma on them. I want to offer them the sorts of dialogs that stimulate them to think deeper about things and question things and draw their own conclusions.

I’ve always been adamant about homeschooling, to the point of getting a college degree when I was younger JUST because having those credentials qualifies me in the eyes of the state to teach my own children without school district meddling or oversight. But recently I’ve worried that I might have to send them to public school just because I haven’t had time to focus on their education. They’re very bright children, but they need more structure and direction than I was able to give them with a full-time job.

Now I don’t have to worry about that.

Now I don’t have to worry about an awful lot of things that I was honestly beginning to worry myself sick over.

I don’t have to worry about not having enough time to keep the house as clean as I would like.

I don’t have to worry about not having enough time to cook meals from scratch every day.

I don’t have to worry about never having time to exercise.

I don’t have to worry about getting in trouble at work for offending people with my opinions.

I don’t have to worry about dividing my loyalty between an employer and the man I love.

It’s the best gift he could have given me. I can’t even think about it too hard without crying. It’s not a common thing these days to find a man who is so willing and able to be a traditional provider – especially considering my children are not his. I’ve worked hard to be the kind of woman a man like that wants to marry, but it still feels like something of a miracle.

After the kids ripped open all of their presents, I got to tell them that I was officially “retired” from my job, and that I would be staying home with them again. Judging from their reaction (jumping up and down, cheering, hugging me), they liked that news just as much as any of the presents they received.

I’m so looking forward to “just” being a wife and mother again.

Merry Christmas. ❤

Keep Sweet

For a while now I’ve been on some kind of miniature crusade against… something.

My life didn’t follow the path I chose, and that’s been hard to swallow. I’ve been misled and lied to and hurt deeply by people I’ve loved dearly. I’ve done things I never thought I would do, and some of those are things I am deeply ashamed of.

I’ve been lashing out emotionally. For me it tends to come out in a way that is measured and targeted. I don’t fall to pieces and stomp my feet and cry anymore like I did when I was a little girl.

These days arguing on the internet is my emotional outlet of choice. And while my arguments may come out sounding rational and well-thought-out (because they usually are), the impetus behind them is very much a kneejerk emotional reaction to the things in my life which have caused me pain.

I can make it all sound as academic as I please… doesn’t change the fact that at the heart of it, I really am just running around in tiny circles desperately searching for catharsis; for healing.

Arguing on the internet isn’t the worst thing for it. Forming an argument relating in any way to the things that have caused me pain requires me to examine and process my own experiences. It’s not a futile effort. I have found peace of mind in articulating my arguments to perfect strangers – even if I know I’ll never sway them.

But often I find myself writing long arguments, and then deleting them. Why?

Honestly, I don’t like my tone. I’ve become too bitter and too aggressive (and perhaps a little volatile). If you went back and looked through everything I’ve written on the internet in the past couple of years you might not see it, but if you could read through the stuff I’ve deleted before posting… hoo boy!

The pseudonym I chose, “Kitty Tantrum,” is a bit of a play on “Pussy Riot.” It’s an acknowledgement that in my heart of hearts, I’m not much different from those girls. I was hurt by something, and here I am reacting to it. Maybe the only real substantive difference is that I don’t take myself too seriously. I have the self-awareness to understand that all the rage I could muster would be ineffectual in the grand scheme of things, just like a little girl throwing a temper tantrum because she didn’t get something she wanted. Like a kitten that’s angry at a ball of yarn. I’m able to laugh about it and poke fun at myself for it instead of stripping naked and assaulting people in public places.

In real life I come across as pretty stoic. Lashing out emotionally on the internet is like a dirty little secret that I keep hidden away from most of the people who actually know me.

Another reason I’ve deleted so many of my writings is simple fear of backlash. I have unpopular opinions. The sorts of opinions that tend to get people (and all too often their families as well) thrown into the public eye and targeted for humiliation, doxxing, censorship/deplatforming, even violence. As a mother of young children, I can’t take the risk of instigating philosophical challenges or using language that the crazies of the world might try to kill me for. Lots of people have wanted me to be some kind of pen-wielding warrior, but I’m not. I’m a mother. I have too much to lose.

Free speech isn’t free. There are only so many things I can afford to say. Some words are far more costly than others. What I find myself trying to do now, as in nearly every area of life, is to determine the best way to use this resource (words) to maximum effect, without incurring unacceptable expense. Being aggressive and bitter and negative and sarcastic does me no favors.

I’ve been following Roosh V for a few years (if you’re a feminist who wants a reason to hate me, just think of me as something like the female/feminine version of that guy and have at it), and over these years, I’ve noticed other women who seem to be doing the same thing I am. I’ve spent some time in the comment sections on articles that invited discussion relevant to me. I’ve encountered other girls and women there who seem to share my own pains and fears. Their individual experiences may be vastly different from mine, but they are facing a struggle that is principally similar, and are reaching out in the same way.

I want to reach out to these women somehow. I understand that Roosh is going to be publishing a book for girls soon, and I’ve heard rumor that there may be a website/community popping up somewhere that is inclusive of women. But right now there’s nothing.

I mean, I don’t want to be too harsh, I’m sure there are people out there with the right idea. But if you look at the online communities available to women right now that deal with male/female relations to any degree from a traditional/conservative standpoint, they’re either niche religious communities, or they’re small and poorly managed, or they’re utter garbage/tradthot covert cultural subversion propaganda.

I can already hear people telling me that I ought to start my own online community for women. NOPE. Ask me again when I’m fifty, if nobody else has done it by then.

So what do I do? For now I’m just going to start trying to be more positive. I’m going to try to write less about the things that make me angry and more about the things I’ve learned. I like to think I’ve learned a few things worth sharing. I should be sharing things that have the potential to help build good women up into better women, not worrying about whores and degenerates.

This website may end up just being my own personal journal. I might post lots of bad poetry. Comments are disabled as a rule. There’s no email link. I will resist any attempts to try to contact me. I religiously avoid even reading the stats for this thing because if anybody is reading it, I don’t really want to know about it. I do hope for the words I share to benefit others in some way, I just like to imagine that nobody will actually read them until after I’m dead and buried.

Fffffffffffffffffffff

I come from a long line of brainy, outspoken, ambitious women. I remember my mother saying to me when I was a wee little thing: “Don’t let anybody tell you that there’s anything you can’t do just because you have breasts and a vagina.” Let me tell you right now – I took those words to heart, and I threw myself fully into every endeavor and passion that lit a fire in me, no matter how difficult. I was always the smart one, the strong one, the clever one, the capable one. The prodigy. The gifted child. I’ve had people clamoring for me to be some kind of feminist poster child MY ENTIRE LIFE because of this.

The thing is, I’ve never wanted that. It’s been right there my whole life, on a silver platter, just waiting for me to reach out and take it. I used to joke with people that I was going to be an astrophysicist, or a neurosurgeon, or the first female president of the United States of America. Alternately, I’d toss around the idea of working in a male-dominated trade – maybe as a plumber, or an electrician. And I guess they couldn’t tell I was joking, because they’d eat that right up and beam with pride and approval (“you go, girl!”). It has always been PAINFULLY clear to me that society EXPECTS me to defy gender norms – as if I have an obligation simply because I am arguably more qualified than most women to do so.

Well. You know what *I* wanted? I wanted to meet a nice man who wanted a large family, and I wanted to marry him and have his children and live a quiet, traditional, productive domestic life – preferably on a small rural homestead in the middle of nowhere. Imagine my surprise when I began approaching womanhood and actually reaching for my dreams, and the oft-repeated mantra of “you can do anything, you can be anything, don’t let anyone say you can’t!” gave way to cries of “No! You can’t do THAT! Anything but THAT!”

OH REALLY, NOW?

As a strong, intelligent woman perfectly capable of standing on my own two feet, I’m not SUPPOSED to do the ONE THING in life that I feel called to do? Is that what feminism is all about? Telling women what they can and can’t do? (Spoiler alert: yes, that’s exactly what it is.)

Oh no no, they said… of course you CAN… that’s what feminism is all about. Having the CHOICE! And aren’t you so grateful that feminism lets you make that choice?? You know, it’s just that there must be something wrong with you, you must have been brainwashed by the Big Bad Patriarchy to voluntarily waste your intelligence and abilities on a life of domestic servitude, weakness, oppression, and perpetual rape. We’re only trying to LIBERATE you! Oh, and it’s such a shame that you won’t set a better example for other girls…

Really? Cause that sounds an awful lot like manipulation and oppression to me. And that’s exactly what feminism is. That’s all it has ever been, and that’s all it ever will be: an underhanded bid by the weakest and most wicked among us, to subjugate the strong and capable to their own purposes. Feminism is a lie. It is fraud on the grandest and most terrible scale. It owes its successful foothold to the fact that it blatantly exploits women’s innate weaknesses – all while denying that those weaknesses exist. If it takes a woman of my intelligence and fortitude to resist this poisonous ideology, then most are doomed to be ensnared by it.

It is not a sustainable ideology, however. It must eventually collapse. Why? Because women are weak. Gender equality is a social construct. A lie. A facade which requires a painstakingly-constructed foundation of societal dependence on modern infrastructure (technology, cash economy, fossil fuel, etc.) to maintain. It’s not a question of IF that will fail – it’s only a matter of time. Truth prevails because truth lasts.

As a girl who’s lived a hard life down here pretty close to the bottom of the economic ladder (in my neck of the woods, at any rate) – as someone who has either chosen or been forced to scratch out an existence by the sweat of my own brow, I have no patience for feminism. Do these poor, misguided children even understand what independence is? What it means to be strong? What it means to ACTUALLY defy the gender norm and WORK HARD instead of playing the hysterical damsel in distress?

I’d like to invite every woman who has spent even ONE MOMENT of her time wailing and gnashing her teeth over this recent Brett Kavanaugh debacle, to stop and reflect for a good long minute on how pathetic she is.

Strength and independence never left ANY woman howling petulantly over not getting her way, or not being sufficiently coddled or accommodated – nor led any woman to sacrifice her honor and dignity to engage in a political smear campaign (Christine Blasé Fraud is a lying whore, just saying). Strong, independent women don’t cry wolf for personal gain. Strong, independent women stand tall in the face of adversity. Strong, independent women don’t need anybody to build their platforms for them. Strong, independent women don’t put on a hysterical show of crumpling and crying for someone to come and rescue them – even when their pain is genuine and their anguish warranted.

I’ve had to carve out my own path in life in spite of feminism. It has been an uphill battle. I could point to countless laws and social standards and institutions which have served as roadblocks to every goal I’ve set and every dream I’ve dreamed (marriage age, public education, women’s suffrage, sexual revolution, normalization of women in the workforce and the dual-income household, Hollywood, women’s fashion… I could go on). As much as feminists would like for everyone to believe that the Big Bad Patriarchy has women under its thumb, that’s simply not true. Maybe in some remote corners of the world and certain rapidly-growing extremist religious sects (*cough*), but not here in America (yet). Here in America, even a woman who actively seeks to submit to patriarchal authority is likely to find herself funneled into the machine of modern social conditioning (feminism) instead.

But you won’t see me screeching and crying for attention, or making sad faces and begging for money from strangers because I’m too weak and fragile to support my own existence in the face of a little opposition and austerity, or (heaven forbid) the mere absence of a system which allows me to do as I please without consequence. I put my every faculty to the grindstone every day to earn my freedom. If you’re not willing to do that, you don’t deserve it.

I am a woman who has been oppressed by feminism, and I am not alone. My grandmother had eight children. My mother had four. I have only two. How many countless women who dreamed of motherhood have found themselves categorically shortchanged by a society and an economy that exploits their talents and their labors and leaves them with nothing on which to build their dreams – as societal resources are aggressively channeled into efforts to stifle and choke out the institution of Family – and to prop up the extravagant lifestyles of those who renounce it?

Feminism (with all of modernity as its cohort) is a blight on humanity. Every woman who subscribes to its tenets is a traitor to all of humankind. THESE are the women who have chosen to waste their intelligence and abilities. THESE are the women who have chosen weakness – of body, of mind, and of spirit. These are the women who will find themselves impotent and without influence when their towers of lies begin to crumble under the weight of their own bloated self-importance and the cold, hard, heavy truth which all their votes and feigned equality shall never unrest: the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

Feminism has tricked women into abandoning their feminine power and influence in favor of desperately trying (in vain) to attain masculine power and influence instead – and it has cost them dearly, though most refuse to see it. They have been tricked into prostituting themselves, and waging war as hired mercenaries against the very men who stand between them and the bonds of slavery.

What would my grandmother, and my great-grandmother, and all those strong, outspoken women in my family of generations past who campaigned so passionately for equality… what would these women think if they could see and comprehend the ache that fills my heart when I look around at the world they left for me – the world they eagerly helped build for me – where men and women wage war with one another, where money and ego reign supreme, where love and marriage are mocked and derided, and where precious children are disparaged as burdensome and discarded like so much trash?

THIS is the greatest violation against women and against womanhood. THIS is the misdirected agony that fills the guttural cries of the women who feel wronged and marginalized and victimized by society.

I go walking in the places of my youth
and I look upon the trees.
Beards of gray moss hang
where once their supple branches gave no purchase –
now rough and gnarled
from the sunshine and the rain.
The wisdom of their roots runs deep
to have weathered well and strong
to stand and bend against the wind
long after I am gone.