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Our community blogs

  1. As I may have mentioned before, I am not a morning person. As the kids' summer break from school has gone on, they and I have been going to sleep a bit later and yet later than we should. :pb_redface: Our travel plans wisely took this into account.

    So, day 1 of our trip did not start early. We got up at about our usual time, and I packed for myself and the 2 kids while my DH swiftly packed for himself. We then travelled about 30 minutes and then stopped for a meal and a full tank of gas. (This is also the first trip that we've taken as a family when I have done the majority of the driving. My only requirement of my husband was that he do all the "big city" driving.)

    On the plus side, we only had a 4 to 5 hour drive to our hotel in the beautiful Wallowa Valley (Oregon). On the minus side, the only picture I got that day was at a rest area:


    By the time we got to Wallowa Lake, it was dark, all the lovely scenery was not visible, and the hotel registration desk was closed. (We did see a deer by the side of the road in the dark. Fortunately, it stayed on the side of the highway.) On a different plus side, the hotel staff were trusting enough to leave our room key where we could get it and have a nice night's sleep. Thus ended day 1 of the WWJCD family trip. (royal flourish)

  2. HermioneSparrow
    Latest Entry

    Today I talked to someone who doesn't believe in God about why I do believe. It's funny because I'm feeling hopeless right now, feeling like if there is a God, he might not like me at all. I believe in him, I guess. I find peace in praying and trusting in him but sometimes life hits me really hard that I can't assure his existence anymore. When I get these feelings of loneliness I start to question everything about my life.

    I've never had emotional stability or feel less lonely. I'm just here waiting for the moment when everything will go downhill because that's the way my life works. Something good then everything goes horribly. Life was going great, now i'm having the worst day I've had in a long time. It's like I can't even enjoy happiness or joy anymore because I know what's coming next. It sucks so much seeing everyone being loved one way or another, and here I am alone as always, feeling like my mother should have aborted me because maybe the world would be better and I wouldn't be suffering this much. I know I shouldn't feel that way but I can't help it. I have SO MUCH love to give, and heck! I give so much love! I'm such a loyal and sweet person, I don't know why things go this way and I'm not good enough, not even for my family.

    Maybe I'm just destined to be abandoned or alone and that's it. Everyone I know can get their happiness but me. And I try to be completely stoked about my career that's moving forward but I guess my career won't hug me at night. Can I just get a break? From life?

  3. Destiny
    Latest Entry

    By Destiny,

    It grieves us to share that long time poster and helpmeet @Arete has passed due to complications from cancer.

    Arete joined FJ in 2012 and described herself as "I'm in my early 40s, live in the Northeast US, and work as an ebil scientist. Born and raised Greek Orthodox Christian, and still am, got to have my smells and bells in congregational prayer. Politically liberal."

    She was glad to provide information about her church, her experiences in gardening, and her Greek family traditions.

    In respect for her family's privacy, we won't be sharing any additional details, but we know you will join us in honoring the memory of a graceful woman.

  4. So it's been a while since I have updated.

    Motel Dad and I have been going back and forth with how we wish to proceed in the next few years.

    The motel isn't doing too well. Built in the 70's (that's 1970) when things were a little simpler where accommodation was concerned.  40 odd years ago, being out of the main shopping district was a bonus especially with the river across the street. A beautiful bit of river it is too. 



    The golf club is 2 mins by car away and we are up the other end of the street from the show grounds/racing club. People drove after drinking all day (not that that is a good thing)  let their kids wonder around by themselves and kids entertained themselves with very little adult supervision. 

    Now we get complaints that the 5 minute drive into the main street means we are too far out of town. People want to be able to walk (mind you it's only a 20 min walk to the main street) to get dinner so they can have a drink and as one women told me "enjoy the shopping district" she must have meant window shopping as even though we are a tourist town, our shops are all shut by 5:00 unless you want to "enjoy"  the supermarket. We built a wonderful uncover BBQ area in the hopes that this would help with the problem. With a custom made table to seat 16 people, the BBQ is free, there is a mushroom heater for winter with cafe blinds to keep you toasty warm. In summer the fan keeps away the flies and keeps you cool as well. We provid everything but the food, as well as mozzie repellents and mozzie coils. I planted a herb garden for guests to help themselves to, we have a small orchard that guests can also utilise however nobody hardly uses it. We also put in a fire pit area last year, but again about 3 people have used it. The guests love how clean it is and also compliment us on the decor and little touches we have in the room, but, there is always a but, we are too far out of town. We do have some guests that have been coming for 20 odd years but they can't come every weekend and one group came this year but cancelled the previous 2 years leaving us empty on a long weekend. 

    It's also time to do a refit of the soft furnishing and some of the carpet will need replacing, especially room 5 where the guest dropped the iron and burn it. Mind you according to them they don't remember doing that (and the implied tone was good luck proving it!) so any decisions needs to be made now. Time to stop dithering. So Monday morning at 10:00 am we will close the doors and cease to operate as a motel.

    As you may know we are off for 8 weeks to look after my in-laws (MD's older brother ...and I do mean older he is about 22 years his senior) sheep station while they go on a much deserved holiday. My BIL is not in the best of health and a few years ago we thought that MD might have had to pack up and move out there and help out until they could sell the station. Luckily BIL rallied and was able to continue on but it was very much on the cards. The in-laws would like to retire in about 2 years ( as long as health will allow) but they would like to stay on the property  as they love it so have asked if we would like to come and take over the running and become partners. We can't afford the 3 or so million to purchase outright and we would have to borrow some money to invest in the stock but it is doable. So if we think after those 8 weeks that this is something we can do we have a plan, if we hate it we also have a plan. We are going to convert the motel into 3 non serviced holiday houses / or 1 holiday house and 1 double block property for us.

    I was out in the carpark with MD after cleaning the rooms yesterday (he had an RDO) and thinking that fuck only 3 more sleeps and it's over. I then remembered standing in the carpark on our first day of ownership and being in awe over the fact that this was all ours and that we were going to be so happy! That was back when I still liked people :56247956409be_32(13):

    Fingers crossed for us folks, hopefully all goes well out there. 


    P.S had a giggle picking a tag, never had to do that before. I think "walking through" could have worked too

  5. When I woke up this morning this was the sight that greeted me. I have never seen Alfie sleep this close to the kiddo before, usually he sleeps at the bottom of the bed or curled up at the side of me. I'm wondering if he was trying to say that the pillow is his (he sleeps on it during the day) and I will lie here even with you on it or I love you and I'll protect you from bad dreams trying to enter your head. Whatever his reason it was super cute and a nice way to wake up!


  6. Today here it's a day of Festa Nazionale or as you say a bank holiday. That must be the reason my daughter felt the compelling need to wake me up at 6am :my_confused:.

    Anyway this year's Festa della Repubblica is particularly felt because it marks 70 years since we got rid of the Savoia, elected a committee to write our Constitution and Italian women finally perused their right to vote. With this voting sheet we closed forever a chapter of our history not many are proud of. It was bilingual to accommodate Südtiroler German speaking citizens.


    70 years ago started the process that in 1948 gave us a new Constitution, a new government and a new National symbol: the Star of Italy, a symbol strictly linked to our Risorgimento, the olive branch symbol of peace, the oak branch symbol of the unity of Italian people and the gearwheel symbol of the work of the people that is the foundation of our State as explicated by the first article of the Constitution.


    Honestly I am not much of a patriot, for many reasons, but I think that that day of 70 years ago our people did something right. I am quite proud of the first part of our Constitution, that deals with the principles of our State. And I am proud that five women were very vocal members of the Constitutional Committee, their names:  Maria Federici, Angela Gotelli, Nilde Jotti, Teresa Noce, Lina Merlin, are probably unknown internationally but are easily recognisable to Italian citizens because of some very important laws that were named after the women who proposed them and in particular Nilde Jotti was the first woman President of the Camera dei Deputati the third highest rank in our State, position currently held by Laura Boldrini. Sadly it's still the highest position ever held by women in our Establishment. 

    Reading FJ made me research more about USA Constitution and history. Today I wanted to reciprocate the pleasure for whoever may be interested. Here is the original writing of Italian Constitution as was approved by the Constitutional Committee in 1947 translated in English. It's under spoiler because it's composed by screenshots. 



    Changes have been made over time ie Military Service isn't compulsory anymore. But the parts I am proud of are still unaltered. This is only the first part of the document as you can see from the Table of Contents.  The second part designs the structure,  the power balance and the functions of the different parts of the State. It was crafted carefully doing everything to prevent the possibility of another dictatorship in the future. Unfortunately this requirement makes for an extremely bureaucratic State that in hindsight is the principal cause of the political mess and stagnation of the last 70 years. But that's another very very long story for another day.

  7. The Long Dark is a first-person survival simulation video game by a Canadian company called Hinterland. It's currently in alpha release (available on Steam for both PC and X box platforms), so there are constant changes, updates, and tweaking. The game is frequently updated with new areas, new mechanics,and new looks/feels.

    The setting is the frozen far-north Canadian wilderness after some kind of freak global disaster (currently not much info is yet available about that). So, there's no electricity or anyone else around (which they capture really well with an isolated/desolate feel to the game--you're on your own!), and you have to scavenge food, water, clothing, and other resources that will keep you alive all while protecting yourself from the elements.

    Oh, and the wolves. And did I mention the bears? Yeah, those godless killing machines, too.

    Currently, there are only 2 modes available:

    • "Sandbox"--you have the freedom to explore the world as you wish, with the goal being to survive as long as you can. And when you die, it's perma-death. No saves for you! (This perma-death/no save feature really pissed me off when the game glitched out on my longest survival run yet--529 in-game days, which put me on the leaderboard on Steam in the 42nd place).
    • "Challenge"--you can choose two pre-set challenges and try to beat the clock to accomplish the set goals (Oh, and watch out for that bear on "The Hunted, Part 1," because it's a bitch).

    There will eventually be a "Story" mode that will provide an RPG-type experience (and will allow saving, from what I understand), but that is still in development. I think the first chapter is due to be released sometime in the next month or couple of months.

    Let's take a look at just a few visuals, because the game is pretty visually stunning.

    Here's a gorgeous sunset over a frozen lake in an area called "Mystery Lake." There's a lot of walking, climbing, running, hiding (and falling and starving and freezing and dying) through these beautiful landscapes.


    Overlooking ML 1.jpg

    A more typical snowscape, with a peach-tinged sunrise in the background.


    peachy sunrise.jpg

    Here, I was trying to make it to a safe location in the dead of night, and turned around to catch the moon rising in between some stark trees.


    moon on old connector.jpg

    Here's a typical shelter that provides refuge from the cold (and usually food, drink, and supplies). Actually, this is one of the swank digs in the game. A lot of the time you're kickin' it in a quonset hut, a little shack, or even a cave. Hell, I've been caught up in blizzards when out running for supplies and had to make due with a hollowed out tree. Oh, and there are also some "prepper caches" hidden in two of the maps, so you can luck out and find some really good stores of supplies.



    There are currently 5 well-developed play areas (Coastal Highway, Mystery Lake, Pleasant Valley, Desolation Point, and Timberwolf Mountain), with more (from what I know) still in development. You can do fun (or terrifyingly dangerous, depending on your level of adrenaline junkiness) things like rappel down mountains, climb up mountains, ice fish (there are some cool little ice fishing huts on the frozen lakes), or try to find the wreckage of your airplane to scavenge for supplies.

    You can also trap rabbits, hunt wolves (usually *they're* hunting *you*, though), or hunt bears, and their skins can be made into useful clothing that can mean the difference between freezing to death and being toasty warm as you explore the landscape.

    I have been greatly enjoying it, and even though it's still only in alpha release and Sandbox mode is the most in-depth game play mode right now, I haven't yet gotten tired of it. Well, not *too* tired of it. They just recently did an update, so that's made me a pretty happy camper.

    I plan to post more (I've got some more interesting screenshots and will probably post a couple "Day in the Life Of" type posts), but here's a video of the most recent update, which will give you a feel for what the game looks like in action:


  8. Feministxtian

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    Latest Entry

    The years of bullying took their toll. All these years later I can stil hear the words, I can still feel the blows. What was so wrong with me that I was singled out for that? The words spoken over that young girl all those years ago broke her. Abused in the same way at home, her spirit was killed and left her a hollow shell unable to feel anything besides anger, rage and fear. Where others found passion, she found pain. She carried a knife for protection but wanted to use it on herself. All these years later she still feels alone and scared of people...just knowing that they will hurt her at the first opportunity. She makes jokes on herself, cutting herself down so no one else will. The words that were said killed me just as surely as if someone had shot me. Everything I could have been, should have been died then. The drugs, booze and men didn't revive her, the family she dearly wanted but didn't have just drove more nails in the coffin of my life. The neverending sense of loss is the dirt over my grave, where nothing grows.


    The ones who tormented me never knew the damage they did, they just went on with their lives. They don't remember the girl they killed. They don't know that their torment still affects her now, 35 years later, and 35 years later, she is still waiting to die. What was so wrong with me that I was singled out?


    I have tried to forgive and go on, but the words still ring in my ears.

  9. Read Harder Challenge

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    Read a horror book:

    Read a nonfiction book about science:

    Read a collection of essays:

    Read a book out loud to someone else:

    Read a middle grade novel:

    Read a biography (not a memoir or autobiography):

    Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel:

    Read a book originally published in the decade you were bron:

    Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award:

    Read a book over 500 pages long:

    Read a book under 100 pages long:

    Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender:

    Read a book that is set in the Middle East:

    Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia:

    Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900:

    Read the first book in a series by a person of color:

    Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years:

    Read a book that was adapted into a movie then watch the movie & debate which is better:

    Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes:

    Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction):

    Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction):

    Read a food memoir:

    Read a play:

    Read a book with a main charter that has mental illness:

  10. ShepherdontheRock
    Latest Entry

    About a week ago, a former classmate of mine's parents were murdered; shot to death by her brother in their own house.

    The story was on the news, complete with his mugshot. (I'm not going to link to it here out of respect for her and her privacy)

    What gets to me is this: the murderer was known to be severely mentally ill, had been convicted of stalking a woman before and drug dealing, and had apparently sent death threats to his parents.

    And he had somehow gotten access to a firearm.

    I'm just baffled at the ease with which the wrong people can get these KILLING MACHINES.


    Honestly we are in dire need of stricter gun laws here.

  11. Inspired by @Maggie Mae, whose blog post gave me the warm fuzzies and a reason to dig out some old photos.

    I believe everyone has at least one fascinating relative... mine just happens to have several thousand acres partially apportioned to an animal preserve. A few years ago, I tagged along in the truck on a feed and took some photos. (I survived unscathed, despite a camel stampede and a 7-year-old with a BB-gun in the backseat).

    I'll start with the tapirs, but some of the other ones were just too good to resist.
    Apologies in advance for any inevitable misidentifications.






    Cousin D is popular with his critters.















    Friendly neighborhood Watusi cattle



    Cute water buffalo family.






    Mom wants to know why we're looking at her calves.



    I think these are Przewalski's horses.



    Llama mama.



    I recommend avoiding herds of Bactrian camels if at all possible. 



    This guy seemed to be in charge.



    A nice, normal dromedary camel hangs out with some muddy zebras.






    Capybaras are the weirdest.



    Happy deer.




  12. Ali's Corner

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    My first was a girl. It was easy to find cute clothes for her, and many times I had to use self-control to resist buying adorable outfits for her that she did not need. After having a boy, I have been a little frustrated with the lack of cute clothing options for him. Girls clothes seem to be so much cuter than boy clothes.

    I wanted to get both of my children a cute outfit for Easter.  It was easy to find an adorable dress for my daughter to pick out. Costco had lots of cute girls Easter dresses for a decent price, but no boy Easter clothes. I went shopping this week for an outfit for my son, and all of the stores I went to had limited options. The suits were too big for him and there were hardly any dressy outfit options. I found something that would work for this year, but I am still frustrated that there were so few options. Do people only want to dress up their girls for Easter? 

  13. Not added to the Colorists' page because of the profanity, but ... I'm really loving the Harry Potter coloring books ^_^


  14. "Dreich" is what the weather is like. It's a Scots word that describes the grey misery of a miserable cold, rainy day, when you feel like the damp will just seep into your bones and stay there forever. And ever. You will never get warm, or fully dry again. The rain will always teeter on that fine line between mist and drizzle. Not enough to warrant opening an umbrella, enough to get you soaked and chilled regardless.

    Since there is nothing I can do about the weather, I decided to cheer up our winter diet with a "Gratin Langedocien". Also known as the French version of an Italian Parmigiana. It was going to be a break from the endless rounds of cabbage that I feel compelled to cook in winter. Just a reminder that we will see the sun again, eventually.

    It all sounded so good. After hours of reading through different recipes, making sure I had all the ingredients on hand, I did what I usually do: I ignored all measurements, combined the different steps in several recipes to make it as easy as possible, and set about it. It was beautiful, it smelled gorgeous, and when I lifted the dish out of the oven, my fingers found a threadbare bit of oven-mitt, and...splat. My lovingly crafted aubergine/eggplant casserole lay on the kitchen floor, and I jumped across it to cool my burnt finger.

    In times past, this would have been a greater catastrophe. But back in the day, throwing away two days' worth of food was unthinkable. In the West, these days, we are quite used to throwing food out. It isn't a matter of life or death any longer, so I got the luxury of just feeling sorry for myself, rather than thinking "what am I going to feed everyone now?", and possibly scooping the whole mess back into the dish. The latter would have been horribly unsafe, since we are still battling a mouse. But in past centuries that was a luxury to consider.

    Spices and sauces used to be a great way to hide spoiled food. And in an age before refrigeration, especially meat spoiled quickly. Daniel Defoe, the author of "Robinson Crusoe" and "Moll Flanders", complained in 17th century England that:


    in extreme hot weather, when meat will not keep from Saturday to Sunday, we throw, or cause to be thrown away, vast quantities of tainted meat, and have generally stinking dinners, because the butchers dare not sell a joint of meat on a Sunday morning.

    So, food did get thrown out, but apparently only when it had rotted so badly that it was past salvaging. Or dressing up with sauces, like this:


    Beef à la mode

    Cut some buttock-beef a quarter of an inch thick, and lard it with bacon, having hackt it before a little with the back of your knife, then stew it in a pipkin, with some gravy, claret-wine, and strong broth, cloves, mace, pepper, cinnamon and salt; being tender stewed, serving it on French bread snippets.

    Besides sauces, there was advice for how to make your tainted meat smell less. You had to bury it, over night. That would take away the smell. While the advice is to wrap the meat up before burying, I doubt that even that would pass any modern "Health and Safety" check.

    As for fresh ingredients, well, peas were quite the thing in the 17th century. They were a fad food, made popular by the French King Louis XIV. Vegetables were plentiful, but expensive, in 17th century London. And salads were usually a boiled dish.


    To make boiled sallads

    Boil some carrots very tender, and scrape them to pieces like the pulp of an apple; season them with cinnamon, ginger and sugar, put in currans, a little vinegar, and a piece of sweet butter, stew these in a dish, and when they begin to dry, put in more butter and a little salt, so serve them to the table; thus you may do lettuce, spinage or beets.

    Londoners who could not afford expensive ingredients, would eat fish. The sea-fish was usually already dried, salted or pickled. Fresh fish was expensive, since it had to be kept alive in water-tanks or carts, as the fishwives went around town hawking their wares. Or in the case of fish-tanks, stood around Billingsgate market. Apparently, Billingsgate market was infamous for the foul-mouthed fishwives, who would curse and swear at their customers during haggling. It was not a place for delicate ears.

    Or as Defoe said:


    Not only strumpets, but labouring women, who keep our markets, and vend things about the street, swear and curse at a most hideous rate.

    Personally, I quite like the image of working women, who shocked Defoe's sensibilities. After all, they weren't there to pander to his imagination, but to make a living. And their customers had families to feed, and meals to cook. For someone who wrote a rather sympathetic book about "Moll Flanders", he really didn't seem to know much about the realities with which women lived. On the other hand, "Moll Flanders" is very sensationalistic, so he probably had a romanticised idea, imagined all hardships that life could throw at a woman, and ignored the most obvious ones. Like, trying to make ends meet. But, I digress.

    After all, this is about food, and one very popular and cheap food were oysters. They were plentiful and very cheap. Here's a recipe:


    Oyster Pies

    Parboil your oysters in their own liquor. then take them out and wash them in warm water, dry them, and season them with pepper, nutmeg, yolks of hard eggs and salt; the pye being made, put a few currans in the bottom, and lay on the oysters with some sliced dates in halfs, some large mace, sliced lemmon, barberries and butter, close it up, and bake it, then liquor it with white wine, sugar and butter.

    Not only rather rich, but the ingredients in this, like in the other recipes, speak to a wealthy household. Pepper? Nutmeg? Just using the yolks? Salt? Mace? Lemons?

    Those ingredients were luxuries in 17th century London. If you were poor, your oyster pie consisted of oysters and greasy bacon. If you could afford that. If you were poor, your bread consisted of more chalk than flour. Chalk made bread look whiter, which was more desirable. If you were poor, your wine was likely stretched with lead - to make it sweeter. If you were poor in 17th century London, you were falling down a bottomless hole. The few charitable societies were never going to catch everyone, especially not women, who had children out of wedlock.

    If an unmarried woman had a child, the parish was responsible for the upkeep of said child. What did parishes do? They drove pregnant women across their borders, so someone else would have to deal with them. Or, they made you and your children beg, by handing out licenses to beg. You had to have a licence, otherwise you were a criminal, and gaol cost dearly. You got charged for board in gaol. By being poor, you could work up a real debt and stay in gaol indefinitely. Or, you could go for prostitution. The Bridewell gaol in London, a women's prison, charged 2 shillings to visitors, to pick any woman that caught their fancy. The two shillings went to the turnkeys, mind you. But you could earn a little on the side. If you made it tip-worthy for your rapist. 

    Let's not even go into all the punishments you could get for being pregnant out of wedlock, in the first place. Suffice to say that if you were a poor woman and set one foot wrong, trying to dress up rotted meat with a sauce was the least of your problems. So, what did poor people in London eat? Difficult to tell, since they weren't the ones bothering to write down their recipes. As mentioned, oysters were cheap. Kippers as well. And the undesirable cuts of meat, or offal. In the absence of the potato, which was not very popular in London back then, I'd also guess pulses and whatever grain was cheap.

    "Dreich" is too harmless a word to describe what things used to be like, in the good old days in Western Europe. Before Health and Safety. before women's rights, before human rights. In the spirit of the Billingsgate fishwives, I got to shout a few obscenities as I dropped that dish, but neither was there a Daniel Defoe around to complain, nor was it a cause for devastation. I just went to the shops and re-did the whole thing. It was indeed the perfect antidote to the dreich weather. And I was glad that I don't live in those times. So, in the grand scheme of things, all is well that ends well.

  15. I've been lacking on my posts, and this is completely off topic from essentially anything on this forum, but I am completely obsessed with watching plane landings at the Maho Beach via EarthCam (mahobeachcam.com). I like watching planes lane (as established in the great duggar aviation thread 2015/16 RIP) but watching these planes land in a tropical paradise with the beach noises from the webcam is like heaven compared to the 4 inches of snow we have falling outside. Best of all, it only costs your internet connection. I've been to Sint Maartin, but never made it to this beach-- If I ever go again, I will have to go there in person!

    The other cams have cruise ships coming and going, but not as frequently, so they can get a little boring. When a cruise ship is actually leaving port though and you are able to catch it, it's pretty cool to watch!

    I need a vacation I think.



  16. Among the Saints and Unicorns

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    Hi, all.

    I'm a long-time lurker here on Free Jinger and an even-longer-time insomniac. So while I stayed up late last night, yet again scrolling through 'Quiver Full of Snark' and stifling my snorts and chuckles to avoid waking my sleeping boyfriend, I realized that I had yet to comment or use any of the new site features (including the option to create this blog). Honestly, I have to admit I've been a bit intimidated by the daunting number of in-jokes, acronyms, fundie-knowledge and general awesomeness I've only observed from a distance (self-admitted creepery, right there) . I know that's what 'SOTDRT' is for, but I guess my super-strength social anxiety can carry over to the Internet, too. Here we go...

    First, about the blog name: Fort Tryon Park is easily my favorite place on the planet and also where I spend a lot of my free time. It's stunningly beautiful in any season and home to the Cloisters Museum, which houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Medieval Art collection including the famed Unicorn Tapestries and painted reliquary busts of female saints. Access to the park and the Cloisters grounds is also 100% free (which makes it the perfect place for a broke twenty-something like myself to hang out) and just two blocks over from the shoeboxed-sized one bedroom apartment I share with my boyfriend, our cat, and our two ferrets. Plus, with the Met's "pick-your-price" donation policy, you can pay as little as $1 entry fee for the Cloisters. If you're ever in New York, make sure to take the A train uptown all the way to 191st Street to check out this totally underrated cultural gem. 

    Speaking of reliquary busts, the Catholic Church has a long history of peddling the body parts of dead saints. Having been raised in an extremely religious Irish and French Canadian Catholic family, I'm no stranger to the bizarre and frankly kind of icky practice of venerating relics. My mom gave me the middle name "Thérèse" as a tribute to one of her favorite saints, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, aka "the Little Flower of Jesus." The devotion to this particular saint was apparently inspired by her visit to the Carmel De Lisieux, the site of Thérèse's tomb and the Carmelite cloistered convent (say that ten times fast!) in Lisieux, Normandy where she made her claim to fame by basically being a model nun from the age of tender age of fifteen until her untimely death in 1897 from tuberculosis. She was 24 years-old when she died, which also happens to be my current age. #Goals. 

    So, my largely Irish-and-Italian-American hometown had a designated boutique for Catholic knick-knacks right in the middle of a prime commercial real estate zone on Long Island, NY. It closed about six years ago, probably due in large part to the recession, and because all of the enthusiastic Catholic consumers have since retired and moved down to Florida. Pretty much everyone I went to Catholic school with has either lapsed in their faith or is a full-on Atheist. Unlike its neo-Evangelical counterparts, Catholicism isn't exactly hip. Over the past few years, Catholic Church closings have been commonplace in dioceses throughout the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. 

    Although, it is pretty amusing to imagine Catholic goods stores blowing up on Yelp: Hipsters raving about growlers of filtered, ionized holy water and the energizing properties of the signature tea blend made from powdered remains of the Canonized. "The house blend StigMatcha red-green tea is literally the ONLY way I can start my day." and "Saint Boneventure's Bone Broth™ has been nothing short of miraculous in helping to cure my leaky gut syndrome!"

    Anyway, whenever someone we knew received a sacrament, my mom would run out to the Catholic store to get the appropriate gift for that occasion. At least for a Baptism, First Holy Communion, Confirmation, (First) Reconciliation, or Marriage... Anointing of the Sick gifties would be too morbid even for an Irish Catholic, and all of the family friends who took Holy Orders did so after the Catholic store had already closed. (Thank God for Online Shopping, am I right, ma?) So, for my first communion my mom handed me this delicately wrapped box from the local Catholic store. Inside was pair of rosary beads with a portrait of my middle-namesake in the center. When I turned it over, I noticed a small, reddish-brown dot coated with a clear lacquer. I naively asked my mom what the spot was, and she proudly explained to her stunned seven year-old daughter that it was a drop of St Thérèse's actual blood. Apparently, the addition of this hundred-year-old bodily fluid made it extremely special and holy.

    Looking back, few things illustrate the total incompatibility of my mother's and my world views quite like the fact that she fully expected me to be thrilled, and not, you know, totally horrified. I've since spent a good chunk of time playing the Elder Scrolls series, and can confidently say those rosary beads bordered on some straight-up fantasy RPG necromancy shit. But this is par for the course with the Catholic Church. Europe is littered with cathedrals, monasteries, and other pilgrimage sites where devoted Catholics gather to gaze upon the airtight glass displays showcasing the remains of "incorruptible" saints. While I'm no longer one of the Faithful, I still very much enjoyed visiting several of these sites, especially St. Denis’ Basilica just outside Paris.

    Between assigned course reading of Peter Brown and finally having the option of NOT attending Mass on Sundays, I have finally begun to appreciate these wonderfully weird relics for what they really are: a source of fascination, intellectual curiosity, and yes, even abject horror. 

  17. Goofing On

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    Latest Entry

    Some of you may have noticed I have been on an REM kick lately.  For the past week, versions of the REM classic Man on the Moon have been swirling through my head and I didn't know where to share it so I am sharing it here.  The second verse is not what I was going for, but nothing in life is perfect, right?

    I have thought about starting a blog before, but never did.  Not sure if this will be it or if I will continue.  Anyway, if you start the video (scroll to bottom) and then sing these lyrics real loud, you will drown out the original :P 

    Miley Cyrus and some Cards AH yeah yeah yeah yeah 
    Joshley Madison on the internet yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Adultery, illicit fun, cheating, and smut yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    The Prodigal Son in a big ass mess yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Let's play Rehab, let's play Sin yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    I'll see you heaven if you make the list yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    Now, Joshley did you hear about this one?
    Tell me, are you locked in RU?
    Joshley are you goofing on porn stars? Hey, baby
    Are we losing touch?

    If you believe they'll put Josh back on TV
    Back on TV
    If you believe there's nothing up their sleeve
    Then nothing is cool

    Gothard went walking like he owned everyone yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    The Board got nailed by his victims good yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Duggers were troubled by the horrible press yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    The FOIA had the gall to ask yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    Now, Joshley did you hear about this one?
    Tell me, are you locked in RU?
    Joshley are you goofing on porn stars? Hey, baby
    Are you having fun?

    If you believe they'll put Josh back on TV
    Back on TV
    If you believe there's nothing up their sleeve
    Then nothing is cool

    Here's a little agit for the fundie believer yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Here's a little lie for the offering yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Here's a new series instead of Saint Peter's yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
    Mister Joshley Madison's gone repenting yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    Now, Joshley did you hear about this one?
    Tell me, are you locked in RU?
    Joshley are you goofing on porn stars? Hey, baby
    Are you having fun? 

    If you believe they'll put Josh back on TV
    Back on TV
    If you believe there's nothing up their sleeve
    Then nothing is cool [repeat to end]







  18. So, as I have mentioned in some threads about fundies and such that restrict food or go for a certain ideal, thin, look, that I have a complicated relationship with food. Mainly, the thing is, due to my parents' restricting food, especially junk, growing up, plus severe money issues in 2015 that created food security problems for my spouse and I, my mindset with snacks that taste remotely good is "Eat it all now so you can get enough/while you have it/before someone takes it." This, of course, is a problem when one buys anything larger than snack-sized! But, it's more cost-effective not to, and anyway, some snacks only come in bags with multiple servings.

    But, lately, although I usually still eat all the snack within 2 or 3 days (I seriously don't understand someone who can buy a treat and then leave it in the kitchen for several days/weeks?), I am no longer eating the entire bag/box and then hating myself. Yay?

  19. I haven't felt much like posting picture of the day entries recently for some reason, but my husband just scanned this one for me and I really like how it turned out so was motivated to post today.

    I did this one with prismacolor premier colored pencils.  I did use blending with the big flowers.  The rest is just plain old coloring.


  20. well okay so my ex and i are on good terms i guess

    this is going to be weird as hell because i'm still salty but we shall see

    pray that i'm able to keep my composure and not try anything stupid

  21. Elvis Presby
    Latest Entry

    For any of you interested in traveling vicariously I thought I would share some pics from our trip to Italy last month.  It was absolutely splendid!  I only missed eating gelato one day, but ate it twice on another day to make up for it.  :icecreamsandwich: (Ice cream sandwich emoticon will have to do).

    We spent 4 nights in Rome.  One of our days in Rome we took a day trip to Naples and Pompeii.  That particular evening we were able to eat dinner at usual time for Italy.  We tend to go to bed early and it was really hard for us to wait until 7 or 8 to eat dinner!  We spent 3 nights in Florence and on our last full day we took an afternoon trip to see Pisa.  We also stayed up late enough that night to finally get to try the restaurant directly across the street from our hotel.

    It was really hard to believe we were seeing all these amazing things.  It's humbling to walk the same roads, and be in so many places where such important historical figures have been.  I think that the oldest thing I have ever seen in the US has been the San Antonio Missions.  I was moved beyond words when we visited the missions.  Visiting all these breathtaking places in Italy had me moved to tears a few times.

    The Firenze Marathon was during our time in Florence.  There were people from all over the world running the race and also cheering the runners waving their flags.  This wasn't long after the Paris attacks, and there was a great show of French flags there.


    I really could write about this trip all day!  If you would like more details about any of the pictures, just ask!IMG_0766.thumb.jpg.ae74a64f27e144a90e516IMG_0768.thumb.jpg.d9bdb35f1d62ea550ac91IMG_0778.thumb.jpg.a1d1aad086234fe8476e9IMG_0795.thumb.jpg.356129106d95f6eb8d93cIMG_0834.thumb.JPG.88c459cbc3b630883fed4IMG_0860.thumb.jpg.9ffc24b11994b295da72eIMG_0880.thumb.JPG.87753050584604121a16aDSC_0126.thumb.JPG.e97bd0e27e4731fa10711DSC_0142.thumb.JPG.67256dbfe4c1baadbe85bDSC_0178.thumb.JPG.148619f76f8ddb1d67584DSC_0210.thumb.JPG.29a83a2c865d7ec722250DSC_0210.thumb.JPG.29a83a2c865d7ec722250DSC_0235.thumb.JPG.0a5f343aef172bd332a0fDSC_0248.thumb.JPG.bc356b1e989a00e1d2c97DSC_0279.thumb.JPG.698cf0a4c8981f35de852DSC_0282.thumb.JPG.941579696821823bb8d4aDSC_0291.thumb.jpg.8d12dae26d1e1959159e4DSC_0317.thumb.JPG.ed44b2eda45fb89400e88DSC_0321.thumb.JPG.abdfd4a055a37041ef871DSC_0344.thumb.JPG.30a9a4e649b0a07238071DSC_0347.thumb.JPG.f55060fb494a7268bc9d3DSC_0363.thumb.JPG.8d766a44eff7c79b1be57DSC_0369.thumb.JPG.fd6469e7b7fe8c25f3042DSC_0387.thumb.JPG.9e5d5e21e0bbbba0b04c9DSC_0090.thumb.jpg.d74518e275445b04e83a4DSC_0153.thumb.JPG.6fbf4ef6bab4d2fcf715e



  22. FUNDIEFARMER.thumb.png.a6c0d5ce56c6bb082

    Hello friends.

    You know, school is great. I am a huge proponent of lifelong learning, and I appreciate all of those things that I learned in school. Henry VIII had a pet marmoset (awesome!). We put a man on the moon (also awesome!). Photosynthesis (extra awesome!). But you know what? Aside from my passions, that's not really what I've needed in real life. 

    Yes, the knowledge is invaluable. But it's not, say, opening a savings account that has mad restrictions on it. Or finding out what it's like to have to replace a whole air conditioning unit- and completely restructuring the air conditioning design of your house. 

    Ah, life.

    Some of these lessons you probably already know. You'll read the posts and think, "Honestly FundieFarmer, I thought you were smarter than this!" Others you'll read and be like, "...and then there was that", and leave scratching your head. And I mean maybe at some point you'll learn something. At least you can laugh with (or at, your choice!) me the whole way through. 

    I know I'm young, so some of you adultier adults are probably wondering where I'm getting off writing this blog (especially since a previous edit said "wiring" this blog, which really says something about this whole idea.). Well, it's because I'm hoping anybody who has to go through this can circle back to this chronicle of trial-by-error. If you want to add a blog, holler at me. I think that's allowed in the TOU? If you don't, well that's just bully for you. 

    And who knows. One day when you have to do insert-weird-thing-I've-done-here for the first time, this might just be a hilarious resource for you.

    Or maybe just hilarious.

    Whatever works.

    Catch ya later, alligator.


  23. Grad Student, Bad Student.

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    This is my first blog post here and that is because I am very on edge here and cannot complain anywhere else as all my other blogs are linked to my life and people that know me. So, allow me to paint a picture for you -- one of an insensitive, rude, obnoxious character who has for some reason decided that we are friends. We'll call him Nettles for a code name to represent how annoying he is.

    I cannot explain how much I am not friends with Nettles. I do not speak to him unless spoken to. We are not Facebook friends. I do not have his phone number. He just happens to be in my program. We. Are. Not. Friends. 

    A Brief List of Infractions:

    (1) On the first day of class, the professor handed out handouts for us to take notes on that follow along with his powerpoint. As this is graduate studies, this is above and beyond the call of duty for him to do. Nettles immediately asked if he could also pre-three-hole-punch these handouts for us. (Spoiler: Professor cannot, and will not, do that.)

    (2) Nettles has a tendency to hijack office hours and prevents anybody but himself from getting help due to his endless questions.

    (3) We are more than 3 days behind in class because he also asks many useless questions. They may be about something Professor has just said 5 seconds ago, or they may be about something that is physically impossible, or they may be weird personal questions for Professor about his life and, oddly, spelling preferences.

    (4) Professor is colorblind. Nettles has asked, "If we draw diagrams, can we do them in two colors or just one color?" Professor gave exasperated sigh and said, "I...don't...care" because he probably won't notice the color difference anyway and if it's color coded he can just borrow one of his own grad students to read it. Nettles does not seem to understand how colorblindness works.

    (5) Nettles lives with my three friends. He borrows their food without asking.

    (6) Friend Berry brought beer over one night for movie night with the other three friends in Nettle's apartment. Nettle's was not invited, but since he lives there, we can't really stop him. He, however, invited himself to Berry's beer, coming out of his room by saying, "Oh I'll have some beer" and pouring himself a glass.

    (7) A second guest had food there for himself which Nettles simply started eating off the counter without asking.

    (8) Nettles consistently brags about having lost his job.

    (9) Nettles continually interrupts other students working on group projects and asks things like "WHEN IS THAT DUE?" when he isn't even in that class.

    (10) The worst infraction, by far. This is the reason I am writing this and not my paper. I cannot focus. I am still upset. Today, we were sitting in our classroom before the arrival of our professor. 

    It is known to my closer friends and co-workers that my grandmother has very advanced dementia, likely Alzheimers, and she is in a nursing home not far from my program. My friends, being my friends, asked how my Thanksgiving was and I explained to them, privately, that it was strange and macabre and quite honestly depressing to make a centerpiece in a conference room of a nursing home and try to ignore the fact that Grandma keeps trying to eat the cloth napkins. Nettles hears me say, "Yeah, Thanksgiving was kind of weird..."

    so Nettles says, very loudly, loud enough for the entire class and Professor who has now shown up to teach, "OH ANTIMONY I HEARD YOU HAD SOME FAMILY STUFF GOING ON FOR THE HOLIDAYS DID THAT GO OKAY???"

    a) I don't know how he heard that because I never would have told him this private information because We. Are. Not. Friends.
    b ) now all of my peers know this...thanks.
    c) oh and my professor. great.

    My first reaction to this is to freeze and not respond...so he goes,


    forcing me to say between clenched teeth, "It was fine." because now that Professor is in the room, I can't say things like, "Don't speak to me."

    I was so upset after this incident that I spent the rest of the lecture short of breath and increasingly dizzy. 

    That is all. 

  24. Sew and Sew

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    Latest Entry

    I am getting ready to buy what will probably be the last sewing machine I will ever own and it has been a gut wrenching decision.  There are machines that cost as much as a good used car (upwards of 10,000 dollars) and there are cheap plastic pieces of crap for a couple of hundred.  There are also many, many in-between.  So I started my search on the internet.  First piece of advice that made sense to me…determine what type of sewing I would be using the machine for.  Now on the surface that sounds like good advice and it is good advice but it required me to get honest with myself.  How's that you might ask.  Well, my knee jerk response to that question is I want to do it all.  I want to be able to do beautiful embroidery, I want to be able to sew every type of material from sheer to canvas, leather, and denim.  I want to do it all!  But the question for me is…will I really actually do it.  Honestly, no I won't.  I'm good enough with hand embroidery that anything I want to embroider, I can do without the aid of a machine.  What I do want is a machine that can sew a wide range of fabrics so that's what I focused on.  


    When seeking advice I found that most folks I sought out were brand loyal sometimes to a fault.  "Oh, brand X won't handle canvas or leather but I love this brand so much you should modify your wants and buy this brand."  One brand loyal person told me that no household machine can handle the really heavy stuff and if I really want to sew those materials I should get a used commercial machine (after buying the brand they loved for every thing else).  I can only buy one machine so I kept looking.  And after looking high and low and reading every review out there…I found the one.  And I am in love.  I can't buy it until after the first of the year.  I'm counting the days until it's mine, all mine.  I go to the makers website everyday to look longingly at it.  I watch the videos and blow kisses cooing that it will get to come home with me soon.  Yes I know I'm no better than those other dewy eyed fools I spoke of I guess  it is like finding a life mate when the right one comes along you just know in your heart of hearts.  Hang in there Hazel (she has a name all ready) we'll be together.

  • Posts

    • Dandruff


      12 hours ago, Petronella said:

      The problem here isn't that actors had high educational hopes for their children. The problem is that they spoiled them rotten (Olivia Jade's general take on life is appalling), and that they ignored the kids' actual strengths and interests, and that they forced their fantasy of success onto them.

      I'm not sure they had high educational hopes, maybe just educational hopes, but since they had $$$s they went for top schools.  Perhaps Olivia's parents wanted her to have an alternative career path in case her current one went sour.  Unfortunately, it did go sour, as did the educational hopes, thanks to the scandal.  The upbringing seems to be a whole other issue, though they're not unrelated.

      I'm curious why so much media emphasis has been on the actors and their kids.  Not excusing them at all, but weren't most of those implicated in the scandal non-Hollywood types?  Is this an example of one's fame working against them?

    • Bethella


      46 minutes ago, VBOY9977 said:

      Susanna Keller is engaged, again.

      hope this one works out for her 

      Do you know if she’s still with Keegan Perry or is this someone new?

    • ViolaSebastian


      If I had to guess, when she talks abut how she can't keep the same schedule with Millie, I believe she's referring to a breast feeding schedule. It seems that she has to breastfeed for five minutes and then pump, as well as carefully monitor how much she's eating and for how long- which I imagine is very different than doing on-demand feeding.

    • Galbin

      Posted (edited)

      I am so jealous of the American way of learming to drive and getting your licence. I know rules vary from state to state, but overall it seem so to be a much fairer system than in my own European country.

      Here, people don't tend to learn until their 20s and the test itself is a nightmare. Most people have to take the test three or four times to pass. Peole are failed for the smallest of reasons too, not just for dangerous stuff like running red lights or losing control of the car. 

      I am currently in the process and it is so stressful it has literally made me sick. Multiple instructors have confirmed I am a very safe driver, but that is different from passing the test.

      ETA: If you want a full and non restricted licence you have to do the test in a manual car too. Otherwise, you don't get a full licence.

      Edited by Galbin
    • Timetraveler


      I still cringe seeing Tabitha with that creep.

  • Recent Status Updates

    • Destiny


      The decision is made. They are coming Wednesday at lunchtime. 
      · 2 replies
    • erunerune


      · 0 replies
    • erunerune


      I’m on spring break and applying for a BSN I do not want. Any off-duty rescue ferrets you can spare are appreciated.
      · 2 replies
    • Destiny


      I’m so torn because she’s still getting around but at the same time I’ve seen signs that she’s hurting. Am I doing the right thing?
      · 10 replies
    • HerNameIsBuffy


      My power on and everything will be okay approach is punctuated by bouts of terror.  This one is lasting longer than normal.
      I am afraid: 
      That I won’t be able to find a house, that we will end up homeless which will be a death sentence for my elderly dogs and older cats, that the current landlord will keep bothering us with maintenance requests so they can fix things adding to my stress of scheduling and keeping the house as perfect as possible while we pack, of losing everthing we own, of losing my job due to having no where to live and ending up in a spiral from which I won’t recover, of having no survival skills, of physical issues getting worse due to pressure to keep house perfect in meantime and lifting things I shouldn’t when I pack, of ....failing my kids and animals that depend on me to keep them sheltered and safe.
      Mostly I’m afraid that all the worst case scenarios going through my head atm aren’t tulpuas my anxiety is conjuring to torment me but just clarity and a realistic view of my life.
      This is what I do when life shits the bed.  Always.  I vascialte between confidence that things will work out, because they always do, and  and abject terror that this time they won’t because my luck has to run out sometime.
      its when the balance shifts below 95% confidence and I spend more time in the worst case realm that I have a bad time.
      I have been listening to a lot of podcasts about true crime to feel better about my life - no matter what at least I’m not a sociopathic monster.
      so there’s that.   
      · 0 replies