Monthly Archives: September 2015

So Creepy…and It’s Not Even Halloween Yet!

No, this isn’t about the further adventures of “whatever-it-is” that rattles around the apartment, though “it” will be mentioned briefly, in the introduction.  No, this post is about online bullying.

Let me preface this to state, it’s not been a good week.

I got restless on Sunday night – late Sunday night – and decided to go down and leave some mail out for the postman to take.  So I opened my apartment door and left it open for the kitties to ramble up and down the stairs if they wished, went downstairs, opened the front door, went outside to set the mail out, turned around and…

…realized I had locked myself out.

I was dressed only in pajamas.  Barefoot.  It was about 1 AM.  About 58 degrees without wind, though that would pick up later.

My downstairs neighbor and friend Nancy was at work, working an overnight shift.  So I spent about 8 1/2 hours outside, on the porch, until she came home.  We live in a 2-story house with two apartments, one upstairs (mine) and one downstairs (hers).

The good news is, I don’t think it’s possible to break into our house.  I tried, even attempting to throw a patio table (with metal legs) through the door window – it just bounced off.

The bad news is, I got quite ill from the experience.  “Exposure” is a real thing, folks.

We now have extra keys hidden outside to prevent this from happening again.

And the “ghost”?  You’d think that something that can fling a bunch of objects off a dresser would be able to unlock/open a door, wouldn’t you?  Useless thing!

So, not a good start to the week.  But it was starting to “go south” earlier that evening, when I was online.

Before I so stupidly locked myself out, I had engaged in a conversation of sorts on Facebook, with some fans of, yes, you guessed it, General Hospital.  It was a subgroup of people who like two of the actors on the show, whose characters are engaged to one another.

These people are a bit on the strange side, I think, but I also think their behavior is rather typical of social media childishness.

You see, they like the pairing so much, that they are “enemies” with another group of fans who would like to see the actor’s character paired with another actress’ character.

And both “sides” are quite nasty about it.

That wasn’t why I joined.  I thought this group was just a positive expression of fan appreciation.

Boy, was I wrong!

Someone had posted an article about the actor’s storyline (back from the dead, new face, no one recognises him, etc), and tried to say that if it were her husband, in real life, she would know who he was from his mannerisms and so on.

The implication was, “Not like that dummy he’s married to” – which, of course, is the character’s on-screen wife – and the female character that this group really hates.

I commented that it would be very unlikely that would ever happen in real life, but even if it did, how many people actually would think that a stranger in town is really their dead husband with a new face?  (Who, by the way, has amnesia, so he can’t tell anyone who he is because he doesn’t know)

I also said it was not really fair to compare a soap plotline to real life.  And that maybe it would be good to be more positive and not focus on the character people dislike, but on the character who is supposed to be the focus of the page.

I ended it with, “We’re better than that!”

It was not a tirade, by any means. But, wow.

Someone wrote a long missive about why she thought the author was right, and so on, and I commented, “Ok, well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree”, after actually agreeing with one thing she said (I was trying to be nice).

Then someone jumped in and wanted to know why I thought the author was bashing the character.  Because, in the online world, if someone implies something (and it’s quite clear what they meant by it), and you want to start an argument, then you have to get literal and demand to know exactly what was said, line for line, so you can state that, oh no, that really wasn’t the implication.

I have neither the time nor the energy to respond to that.  I recognise abuse when I see it, and this kind of thing routinely happened to me when I was in my last relationship.  He would challenge and pick and on and on and on until I was in tears over the most trivial of things.

So I stated that I just was expressing an opinion and wouldn’t say more about it, since I had upset people.

Wow, was that the wrong thing to say!

To prove how “not-upset” several posters were, they flooded the page with demands that I tell them exactly how the author was bashing the character, and also demanding that I tell them exactly how they were upset.

Ignoring it was fruitless, as it just kept snowballing.

So I quit the group.  Sent a message to the admin stating I wasn’t going to be bullied, but I did appreciate the work she has done on the page – as she is a nice person and wasn’t involved in any of this.

You have to understand, this group does things like post pictures of their beloved character brandishing a gun (photoshopped, the character doesn’t use guns on the show) with captions implying she ought to murder this other character.

I do not see that as “harmless fun”.  I do not see that as “it’s just the internet”.

These things, these ideas, come from peoples’ minds, and it takes a particularly warped mind to come up with violent posts like that.

I mean, really – do you ever have those kinds of thoughts about anyone, TV character or not?

I don’t thnk most normal people do.

To then attempt to defend it by stating, “It’s only a TV show”, or “It’s only the internet” is really disingenuous because the fact of the matter is, someone is expressing a violent fantasy of theirs.

And that’s scary.

Most of us who were taught from a very early age to empathize with others and to not use violence to resolve conflict do not ever deal with anyone, fictional or not, animal or human, in a violent manner.

It just doesn’t occur to us.

I brought this up in a post on Facebook last night, stating only that I didn’t understand fans who wished violence on characters, or called them names and so on, and that I had quit a group because of it.

I didn’t name the group.

One poster responded she didn’t mind character-bashing, what she didn’t like was fans bashing the actual actor/actress.

I agreed and added that my problem with it was, once you do not agree with what someone has said (such as calling a character a slut) or suggest they not bash characters that way, then they turn on you.

Oops.

The next thing I knew, my post was flooded with these people from the group I just quit, and as soon as I saw the first name I knew it wasn’t going to be nice.  So I didn’t read any posts but the last one, which read “Maybe you should quit this group too, because you complain too much.”

This situation I found myself in is really mild, as far as bullying goes.  I have read some things that “trolls” and others have posted online that ought to be criminal (and probably are), such as threatening to rape or kill someone.  Things that have driven women offline, or caused them to change their addresses/phone numbers and so on.

So, in the grand scheme of things, this is not important.  And, like I said, I didn’t bother reading any of the posts – why upset myself that way?

I have a sneaking suspicion that, as described in my previous blog posts, some of these women are of the same ilk as the room mothers who told me not to come back to the school carnival (see the post entitled “Just Bring Cups”).  Women who really do not like other women, outside of their own little clique.

Sometimes I wonder how far we’ve really evolved, when we are still behaving like the kids in “Lord of the Flies”, ready to pounce on anyone who doesn’t fit in.  Trying to drive people offline, or worse.  It’s really pathological, and scary.

And thinking that these people do not do real damage in their real lives, I think, is a mistake.

As a therapist, I find it all disturbing.  As a woman, I wonder why we seem to be disproportionately singled out.  As a human, I am sad for everyone who’s a target.

Today’s weirdness comes from a website called “Science Alert”, and it’s an article stating that NASA is fairly sure there is water on Mars (everyone cheer!!), but that they can’t get a sample of it (everyone boo!!).  It has to do with contamination, and a treaty signed in 1967 forbidding “anyone sending a mission, robot or human, close to a water source in the fear of contaminating it with life from Earth” (“Here’s Why NASA’s Mars Rovers are Banned from Investigating that Liquid Water”, BEC Crew, Science Alert website, 9/3/2105).

My recommendation for the week is a cute cozy mystery about a chef, his friend, and a pig called Hamilton: “Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle”, by British author J. L. Lang.

Be good.  Be kind – online and off.

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Hijacking the Conversation: Please Be Quiet

I was going to discuss the “Men’s Rights Movement” today, dispel a couple of myths, and explain why women do not see men as “the enemy”, but I got sidetracked by something else.

It is a small firestorm of reaction to something one actress “tweeted” about another actress, and it has caused anger and disappointment amongst some segments of fans, and dismissiveness amongst others.

The Emmys were on TV the other night, and one of the people who won was an African-American actress by the name of Viola Davis, for her performance as lead actress in a show called “How to Get Away with Murder”.

She gave a moving acceptance speech, in which she quoted Harriet Tubman, saying

“ ‘In my mind, I see a line. And over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no-how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’ Let me tell you something: the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” – “Emmys 2015: Viola Davis Makes History as First Black Woman to Win Best Actress in a Drama Series”, Megan Daley, Entertainment Weekly, 9/20/215.

Aside #1: Harriet Tubman was a leader in the American abolitionist movement – she led slaves to freedom, helped house escaped slaves, was a scout/spy/nurse for the Union during the Civil War, wrote books and gave speeches, and established a home for the aged (if I missed any other achievements, please let me know).  

This is the first time in 67 years that an African-American woman has won an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama Series.  That is a really big deal, and I know I do not need to explain to my readers why it is.

Aside #2: It’s not the first time an African-American woman has won an Emmy, ever – that honor went to Gail Fisher in 1970, who won for her portrayal as Peggy Fair in the TV show “Mannix”.  She won Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in Drama.  She was also the first African-American woman to win a Golden Globe (in 1971 for Actress in a Supporting Role, and in 1973, for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – those were for “Mannix” also).

At any rate, she gave a terrific speech, and that should have been it, along with congratulatory “tweets” from others and so on.

But it wasn’t.

Along came a daytime actress (read that as “actress in a soap opera”) named Nancy Lee Grahn, who plays a lawyer/mobster’s girlfriend in the soap opera “General Hospital”.   She tweeted this:

“I’m a f—-ing actress for 40 yrs. None of us get respect or opportunity we deserve.  Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity. ALL women belittled.” – “General Hospital Star Slams Viola Davis’ Emmy Speech”, Jacob Bryant, Variety Online, 9/21/2105.

And, if that isn’t bad enough, she continued with this:

“I heard harriet tubman and I thought Its a fucking emmy for gods sake. She wasnt digging thru a tunnel.” – “General Hospital Star Rips Viola Davis’ Emmy Speech: ‘She Has Never Been Discriminated Against’ “, EURPublisher01, EurWeb, 9/22/15.

So, not only did she inject herself into someone else’s happy moment, she also tried to hijack the conversation and make it about all women.  Which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is pretty dismissive and ego-centric of her.

She then goes on to reduce the achievements of Harriet Tubman (whose name she doesn’t even capitalize – and, no, I don’t think that’s a small error, as she manages to capitalize “I”, and the first word of a sentence) to a “tunnel digger”.  A tunnel digger!!  Grrrrr.

What on earth is the matter with this woman??

This is what this actress tried to do – hijack the conversation and make it about women.  In fact, she praised Patricia Arquette that same night for addressing women’s issues in her Emmy speech.

And it didn’t stop there.  She also “tweeted”

“I think she’s the bees knees but she’s elite of TV performers. Brilliant as she is.  She’s never been discriminated against.” – “General Hospital Star Slams Viola Davis’ Emmy Speech”, Jacob Bryant, Variety Online, 9/21/2105.

So, Nancy Lee Grahn knows Viola Davis’ life history??  Of course not, she doesn’t even know the woman.  Yet she thinks she can declare that someone has never been discriminated against. How does she know this?  She doesn’t.  A clue can be found in her characterization of Ms. Davis as “elite of TV performers”.

She’s jealous, pure and simple.  Not only that, she’s an example of one of those idiot white people who says things like “we live in a post-racial America”, or who cites the fact that we have an African-American president to “prove” that racism doesn’t exist anymore.

Now she has just proven, very publicly, that racism is alive and well.  As if anyone needed reminding.

Well, apparently some do need reminding, actually.   Because I see this all the time.  And it infuriates me.

I won’t go into all Ms. Grahn’s subsequent attempts to apologize and backpedal.  Suffice to say it was pathetic, and indicative of her ignorance.  She wasn’t apologizing because she knew what she said was racist, she was apologizing because she wanted to squirm out of her remarks.

You know how I know that?  Her “apologies” were basically her saying she is an advocate for all women and she rephrased things badly.

Those are not apologies.  Those are defensive statements that dismiss the reactions of all the people who understood exactly what she was saying and were outraged by it.

So she continued to try to hijack the conversation about race.  To make it about her, and what she sees are important issues, and the hell with anyone else trying to address anything she doesn’t understand or think is a big deal.

Laughter Was the Best Medicine – Now It’s an Illness.

I have written about this before – violence and peoples’ attitudes towards it.  I will continue to write about it, because it bothers me a lot and I am trying to understand and/or come up with solutions.

I have mentioned that I used to teach anger management.  I taught that in inpatient and outpatient places, mostly because the higher-ups decided that this had to be a weekly thing.  I never did get a straight answer when I asked why this was mandatory.

It’s not a bad thing to learn to identify your triggers and learn to control your behavior when angry.  In fact, it’s something that I think all adults should aspire to do, and to teach their children how to do this, too.

But there are some problems with this simple idea, the idea that one ought to control oneself and not harm others, and a major one is…

…people will not admit that they can control it.

“He/she made me…”

“I wasn’t thinking…”

“I was out of control…”

None of these things are true, actually.  People say them because they think those are good excuses to behave violently.

They’re mistaken.

And that’s the key stumbling block to teaching anger management.  If people will not admit that they are solely responsible for their violent behavior, no amount of group/individual therapy, classes, or workbooks are going to make any difference.

Why do they think like this?

Family, friends, social media, the media in general…all promote this idea of violence as a necessary part of life.

And it feels as if, sometimes when someone is angry, that they aren’t thinking.  They are, of course – you can’t blink an eye without an actual command from your brain (which I characterize as “thought”, because technically it is) – but what’s happening is they are not consciously aware of what they’re thinking.

Sometimes.

I think that, in reality, people who are violent actually DO consciously think things, they just won’t admit it.  Consider this evidence…

Someone hits another person and then runs away when he/she hears the police are coming.

Someone gets into a fight and responds to commands from bystanders (“hit him again” and so on), and later asks to see the video of it recorded on someone’s phone so he/she can post it on Facebook.

Someone hits his partner but makes sure the blows fall on places that won’t show when clothed.

Are you actually going to tell me all these people weren’t thinking at the time they were involved in violent acts?

Of course not.  When I put it that way, it’s clear that all those people engaged in violence knew perfectly well what they were doing.

Because…if you can stop or leave when the police arrive, you’re in control of yourself.

If you remember the fight being recorded by your friend, you are consciously aware of what’s going on.

If you know where to hit so the bruises won’t show, how much more in control can you be?

Still…people will just not admit that they are the ones who are responsible for their own violence.   People are loathe to do that.  And, in a way, that’s kind of a positive thing.

Think about it.  If you cannot admit you are the cause of the violence, might it be because you think what you did is wrong?   And that other people will judge you to be a “bad person”?

Well, that’s the good news.

The bad news is, there are entire segments of the population where violence is becoming more acceptable.  So that reluctance to admit you are violent may become a thing of the past.

Aside #1: It won’t become a thing of the past in psychiatric hospitals or outpatient clinics, because the counselor doesn’t want to hear anything that isn’t the “right” thing to say regarding anger.  Otherwise the patient/client could be stuck there a lot longer.

The thing is, not doing something because you might get caught/punished/condemned for it is not a very effective way to control your actions.  And it’s not a very evolved way of thinking, either, but we won’t address that (much) today.

If fear of being caught and punished was such a good deterrant, then most of our laws would be so effective that the jails would be empty.  Clearly this is not the case.

My opinion about what’s at the bottom of all this is…entitlement.

Aside #2: No, not “entitlements” as in “food stamps”.

Entitlement, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary is “the condition of having the right to have, do, or get something; the feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something (such as special privileges).”

I had a psychology professor once who stated that people become violent when something or someone is blocking their goals.  I contend that he didn’t look deep enough into that.

Again, entitlement.  “I deserve to get my goals met.”

In the case of people reacting with violence to such minor behavior as a “dirty look” or a perceived insult of some kind, the thinking is, “I deserve to control how you act around me.”

So, in a weird way, it’s still about control…even as people state that they were out of control when they hit someone.

“She looked at me funny so I hit her.”  I heard that a lot when I taught anger management.

“Why would that bother you, though?” I would ask.

“I know she was thinking bad things about me, I could see it on her face, and she doesn’t have the right to do that.

So, the entitled attitude is that you have the right to control what other people think about you. Or about your mama, your partner, your kids…

So there’s that.  And then there’s an unfortunate twist on that way of thinking…

Reiki Don’t Lose That Number

Oh boy, just when I thought things could not get any stranger…

I went to the pain management clinic yesterday, with the intent of discussing tapering off meds, because frankly I am tired of having to schedule my life around my prescriptions (especially since I had to decline a trip to Memphis last Christmas, due to the clinic not understanding how to handle things).

I want to try, because I’m pretty sure my back isn’t getting better – I mean, disks don’t regenerate, unless you’re Dr. Who – and unless and until the DEA stops being so stupid and people are able once again to get meds from chain pharmacies while they are on vacation, I don’t want to be chained to my medication.

This would not be a problem if Walgreen’s, Rite Aid, CVS, and so on would just refill out-of-state prescriptions.  But instead of figuring out a way to do this, and putting practices into place that can prevent fake scripts and so on, they are just cracking down and treating everyone like drug addicts.

As I have written previously, even the DEA misinterprets their own data, which indicate that this “most heroin addicts started on pain medication” idea isn’t true (or is at least suspect, considering it is based on interviewing addicts).

What I mean by this is, when one does admissions interviews for rehab, the question is asked, “How did you become addicted?”

Most people will not state that they became addicted because their family members and friends already do heroin and they felt pressured to try it (surprisingly common in PA, to have entire families addicted).

Most people will not state that they thought heroin would be a decent escape from boredom, or something to do at a party.

No, what most people state is that they had pain, became addicted to pain medication, got cut off by the doctor, and then switched to heroin.

Because they are ashamed, or they don’t want to appear “weak”, or any number of reasons mostly related to saving face.

Yes, even in a rehab setting, there is still this fear of being stigmatized – and, as many of you know, this isn’t an irrational fear.  I have written about the contempt with which many counselors hold their clients/patients.

So, ok…that is my take on why the data are so skewed, and why everyone is freaking out over “pill mills”, opiate addiction, and pain management.

But I digress, sort of.

I went to the pain clinic yesterday, and the first thing I noticed was that there were very few cars in the parking lot.  And very few patients in the waiting room.

And new staff.

As I was signing the monthly “yes-you-can-drug-test-me” form, I noticed at the top that the physician’s assistant in charge was a name familiar to me – he ran an urgent care clinic years ago, and I was a patient of his.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like this guy.  He’s personable, he’s smart, and likeable.

But he’s a walking advertisement for the Skeptical Enquirer, under the heading of “quack cures and woo-woo science”.  He is someone I would never have thought I would see dispensing pain medication in a clinic.

This guy wears many hats – he’s a Reiki master, a hypnotherapist, and a proponent of “energy healing at a distance”.

I said to him, “Hey, I know you!  You wrote the letter to the unemployment people when I got fired, telling them that I really did have a bad back and that the methadone clinic doctor had brought me in that day.”

Aside #1: The excuse for firing me was that I hadn’t called in to say I was being treated for a disk problem that occured WHEN I WAS AT WORK.  They got me on a technicality, stating that sending the clinic doctor back to pass the word that I wasn’t coming in the next day “wasn’t proper procedure”, and that they had had NO idea where I was.)

I had a hearing with the unemployment people, and my former supervisor lied stated that she had tried to call me numerous times but I wasn’t answering.  I had phone records to disprove this but the guy in charge of the hearing wouldn’t look at them.

I asked him what he had been doing, and what he was doing working in a pain management clinic?

Aside #2: I kinda knew what he was doing, as he’s all over the internet giving lectures on podcasts and at UFO/Paranormal conferences and such, but I wanted to hear about what brought him to this clinic.

He stated he had been living in New Mexico for 3 years.

Of course, probably Taos or some other new age community.

He didn’t say what brought him back here, but he did say that if anyone had told him years ago he would end up working in a pain management clinic, he wouldn’t have believed it.

I agree.  I was rather gobsmacked myself at seeing him there.

I told him I was thinking of tapering off, due to the whole vacation thing.

His suggestion?  “Just don’t take any more.  Detox and get it over with.”

What??

I mean, the guy used to work as a consultant to the rehab company I worked for (which actually gets him a lot of points with me, as he did stick up for me at my hearing).

But he ought to know that one does not just stop taking 60 mg of morphine, cold-turkey.  Yet that was his advice to me, and he added that tapering off is a “form of torture”.

What??

Hey, I don’t even go off antidepressants without tapering.  I don’t need my blood pressure skyrocketing like that, and whether it’s “withdrawal” or “discontinuation syndrome” (withdrawal off “nice” drugs like antidepressants), it’s damn unpleasant.

But he was nice enough to let me decide how to do it, so I went with tapering.

Um…his idea of tapering is cutting the dose in half, right away, and adding a stronger shorter duration opiate like oxycodone “for break-through pain”.

That’s not my idea of tapering but I figured I would give it a shot.

Pumpkins, Incense, and M&Ms: The Sweet Life of Autumn

One year ago tomorrow I started this blog.  Thank you to everyone who has read, commented, and encouraged.

I was going to have a giveaway to celebrate, but I don’t have enough readers yet to make that seem anything other than pompous and silly.  Maybe next year.

Before I get into today’s topics, I want to offer this humorous, gentle reminder from ZDogg, MD, because September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month:

Guys, my dad had this, and they treated it until it was gone.  So, please, don’t let your ‘nads slip through your fingers (pun intended!).

In a related subject, I emailed the American Cancer Society and asked about volunteering.  I heard back from the local maven today (in a rather snooty tone, but oh well, this is Central PA after all), who sent me a PDF page explaining the office volunteer work.  Basically, filing/shredding/stuffing envelopes and so on.

That’s exactly what I was looking for.  Doing work that cannot, in any way, shape, or form, cause controversy or conflict.  Just me going into an office and doing office work.  And possibly sweeping.

I told her I wanted to do this once a week, with more hours if there was some special event/project that needed more people etc.  Hopefully, I can start soon.

I plan on riding Coco over there, since it’s just a little over half a mile.  Um maybe after they get to know me, and won’t think it’s too strange.

I am still very self-conscious about Coco and her training wheels.  I get a lot of odd looks and snickers and it gets me down.

Work for the sake of work.  It’s a good thing and helps everyone involved.

Now that autumn is approaching, I feel a sense of renewal – I could spin it as some spiritual holdover from my Druid ancestry, but actually I think it’s more due to the feeling I had as a kid when I was starting a new school year.

School – up until junior high – was a place I was safe, never got into trouble, and was “Teacher’s Pet” every year, no matter what teacher.  So, I loved it.

Getting new clothes (dresses, of course – back then we had dress codes, and no one I knew wore jeans even at home), and then going to the school one evening before the start of the school year to see what classroom I was in, and to meet the teacher.

Crisp, clear autumn nights in the Bay Area.  Skipping ahead to my designated classroom in black patent leather Mary Janes (it’s a type of shoe) and a new dress, with bobby socks with frilly lace on the tops (what are now called “anklets”).  Barrettes in my hair.  So excited!

Many, MANY years later, when I had to start over after my divorce, and I went back to college, those old feelings resurfaced.  And college never disappointed me – even as an older student, I had the time of my life.

I know it sounds corny but I just love learning.

So, every time the weather cools in September and October, I feel those old feelings of excitement and “starting over”.

This year, it will hopefully be with a small volunteer gig, a redecorated space, and a new routine.

I had let my illness drag me down, and it might do that again, but right now as I am less sick than I have been for awhile, I am taking advantage of it.  I am stuck here in Hollidaysburg, so I may as well make the best of it until I can find my proper path.

My living space has always had to accomodate other people.  Now, it doesn’t – and it’s never, EVER going to, again.  What I mean by this is, simply, NO SHARING.

I am not dating, I don’t plan on dating, and even if I do date again, no one is sharing my living space ever again.  This is MY space.  Period.

And so, since I want to use all battery-operated candles for lighting at night, and fairy lights around the top of my canopy bed, that’s what I am doing.  There will be none of this “but I can’t seeeeee” whining, no “let’s hang MY posters here”, and definitely no complaining about incense.

I have cleared out an extra room off my bedroom that was being used for storage, and will use that as a space for an as-yet-unbought altar.  Without anyone arguing with me, disguising a fear of paganism as anger, or making fun of me.

You see, I kept seeing my apartment as a layover place until I started my life again.  My younger son lived here with me for awhile, and that kept things on the generic side, in terms of decorating.  It’s not that he would have objected, it’s just that I decorate differently when other people share my living space.

When I was married, I had to consider my husband’s wishes when decorating.  Then I had one (yes, just one) brief, live-in boyfriend who completely redecorated the space in my apartment when he moved in with all his stuff.  Finally, the last place I escaped from lived in was someone else’s house, and he controlled everything and everyone in that space.

I have lived alone before, yes.  And, in general, I have to say I like it pretty well.  For one thing, when I live alone, there’s essentially no possibility that I will be attacked or hurt in any way.

Especially not in Hollidaysburg, where there are fewer than 5000 people, and where you can leave your door unlocked and not worry (though I think everyone locks theirs anyway).

And since my mind was always in the “I have to get out of PA” mode, I didn’t put a lot of thought into making my apartment a comfortable, eclectic space for me to relax in.  And, considering how much time I actually spend at home (nearly all my time), that made for a somewhat depressing living space.

I have been gathering up this and that from here and there, and using these things to decorate as I go along and toss things/pack things I don’t need.  I should have it all done by next week, and then I can see what other components I need (like a trunk for a coffee table, for example).

And……I bought a TV antenna, which is coming tomorrow!  I want a comfortable space in which to watch my 3 stations I am hoping to pick up.  Along with Netflix.

So…goals for this autumn: clean, organize, decorate, create a ritual space, volunteer, continue the exercise routine.

You’ll notice that nowhere on that list is “meet new people”.

Much as Boy Wonder wants me to make that a goal, I am still extremely wary of others, particularly male others, and I am loathe to engage with any of the small-town matrons who populate this tiny town.

Because I know they won’t like me, I won’t fit in, they’ll talk about me behind my back, and eventually someone will end up in tears (most likely me).  That’s just how it is here.

I told BW I would maybe, MAYBE join a mystery book club at the library.  We’ll see.  I won’t lie, I do get lonely.  It would be nice to have a few more friends here (not that I don’t appreciate Nancy, I do – she’s a terrific friend).

I joined a Facebook page that purports to be about a group of neo-Pagans in Altoona who get together or something, not really sure.  Last post I read was about some other group of people my age and a bit younger who live communally in rural Pennsylvania (who knew?).

The commune people are technically “a church”, own the land on which they live, and seem like they do a lot of interesting things (though I was a bit downhearted to see the picture of the “Wiccan ceremony” that appeared to be led by a male person).

It would be nice to be around other neo-Pagans, for sure.  But I won’t hold my breath.  They can be just as “clique-y” as anyone else.

I am much more excited about doing solitary spellwork again. And about upcoming Samhain.

Next week, I think I will write about Wicca, women, and power.  I have a few thoughts on that.

Oh and, incidentally, the only activity lately was perhaps an editorial comment: I turned on the monitor to watch CBS (the only station I can get with rabbit ears), and left the room to get coffee while “The Price is Right” was on.

Suddenly, it’s quiet.  I pop my head out the kitchen entryway, and the monitor is shut off.  The remote control, which was on the sofa, is now all the way across the room and sitting next to the monitor on the repurposed desk.

I don’t think my cats did that.  And one of them could be seen staring “at attention” at “nothing” at that end of the room.

Today’s weirdness comes from CNN, of all places, about the “Blood Moon” due to appear on September 27.   Apparently some Christians believe this means the end of the world is coming. This idea is based on a few sentences in the Bible – Joel 2:30-31 and Revelation 6:12.

You can look them up if you want, I can’t be bothered.  And they think pagans are silly!

Recommendations?    Hmm.  Aside from the new Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms and Pecan Pie M&Ms, I got nothing.  But…aren’t those enough?  Yummy!!!

Be good.  Be kind.   Think apple cider, hayrides, pumpkins, and Halloween.