Opening Doors

Lola rocks the Llamacorn

A couple of weekends ago, I had the joy of hanging out with a whole crew of incredible, awesome people. Many of them are associated with Otherworld. I had some feels about that and was going to write a post, but then realized I already wrote basically the same post last year but never published it. I think I was waiting for a picture or something. But anyhow…

Mentally, I’ve had a rough couple of days. [Ed. note: Not sure what was going on last year, but this year I was inspired to write/edit this by a group event (looking at you, Rabbitcon) that has become even more comfortable for me than Otherworld ever was. There was a lot of talk about and references to Otherworld* this weekend,  which is unsurprising given the number of staff members and former participants in this group. So now let’s pick up where I left off…] I was reminded (again) that stepping forward about being sexually harassed cost me membership in an organization that I loved, believed in, and worked hard for. I’ve never been one to make friends easily — I’m shy AND introverted AND have a heaping helping of social anxiety on top of that. Otherworld was a rare, magical group where I was none of those those things. I knew that when I stepped forward it would destroy my relationship with the organization, and possibly with many of the people I’d come to know because of the organization. I have been extremely fortunate that while the former was certainly true, the latter has been much less so (and I absolutely treasure every single one of you). But still, I do occasionally hear about Otherworld and the goings on* and think, “I could still be a part of that thing I loved, if only I’d kept my mouth shut.” Which makes me sad partly because it’s true, but also partly because really, I’m going to victim-blame myself for this?

So that happened the other day (not for the first time) and then I thought to myself, “Self, what the hell are you doing? Think about the amazing things you’ve done and gotten involved in since you opened your mouth.” And that seemed like a good idea, so I made a list of things I’ve done and am doing that make me happy and proud of myself:

  • Participated in the Red My Lips campaign
  • Changed my name
  • Became a clinic escort (also, read this story to get a feel for what it’s like)
  • Got registered with the VA & allowed myself to be proud of being a veteran
  • Started donating money to causes I believe in — not just big charities like Worldbuilders/Heifer International, but less well-known causes like Lady Parts Justice and the Unslut Project
  • Started actively supporting artists whose work I enjoy, like Eddie Japan and Devil Doll
  • Roller derby!
  • Exercising daily
  • Eating healthy foods rather than just low-cal foods, because it’s not all about being skinny (and scurvy sucks A LOT!) (My new slogan is “Curvy > Scurvy”)
  • Speaking up when I have a grievance or see an injustice (oh, the scathing letters I wrote to the Board of Ed the other day!)
  • Telling people who inspire me that they do so, and telling people when I see they’ve done something awesome or even just something that makes me smile
  • Actively engaging in making friends (I think I’m still not very good at this, but I’m actually putting some effort in — if you get an email or text from me, or sometimes even just a comment on FB, please know that I am probably having a nice lie-down after because sometimes it just takes that much out of me. Anxiety SUCKS.)

These are all things I didn’t do while I was part of Otherworld, and things that I think make me a better, stronger me. Some of the things are, I think, directly related to the circumstances surrounding my departure from Otherworld — not just the harassment, but the way it was handled when I reported it. This exercise reminded me that I am proud of myself for opening my mouth, even though I knew what it would cost me. And I am proud of myself for continuing to explore and find news ways to be the person I want to be. Mostly, though, it reminded me that very often a door closes only to open several better ones.

*Don’t worry — this doesn’t mean you need to be on eggshells around me or that Otherworld is a verboten topic…just that sometimes I get wistful and nostalgic and start questioning my decision, and I just need to remind myself that I still feel I did what was best both for myself AND for the organization. Updated to add: also, this happens much less often now that I’ve gotten involved in other groups that I’m very comfortable in.


Make’n’Tell: Oops!

Er. I totally forgot I was doing this — I just got wrapped up in the past week and all the awesome stuff I was doing and clean forgot! To be fair, very little of it was crafty and on theme. I’m having a tooth taken out in a couple of days, which always does me in, so I think I’m going to scrap the rest of the month BUT! I will complete the Make’n’Tell during the first part of April (1-15). And I’m going to add an additional couple of rules:

  1. At least one project per week must be from my stack of projects I’ve already got laying around.
  2. At least one project per week must be from Pinterest (or another internet source).

There will be blog posting between now and then, but I’ll see you in April for more Make’n’Tell!

Make’n’Tell Day 15: New and Renew

Another twofer today, since I missed a couple. I’ve been really overwhelmed since last week and I’ve been doing a lot but not making a lot.

Tonight I attacked my mending pile and got everything done except one shirt that it’ll be easier to run through the machine.


Not only that, but I designed and swatched a sweater! It’s actually been on my to-do list for awhile now, but it got bumped to the top due to a seekrit (for now) thing at work. I’m super excited about it, and will do a longer post about it in the future. For now, here’s a little sneak peek:


Make’n’Tell Day 12: In Which I Am the Canvas

After the parade, I went and got a tattoo. Well, the start of a tattoo. This is another big one like my Vader, so it’s going to take a few sessions. I had it all scheduled and everything — it’s not like I went out and got drunk after the St. Patty’s Day parade and decided I wanted a huge tattoo.. In fact, the place I’m going (evolvInk — really nice place, recommended) wasn’t taking walk-ins yesterday for that very reason.

This tattoo is really special to me, because it’s got a ton of very personal symbology. Although I’ve drawn several of my tattoos, this — like Vader before it — really needed a tattoo artist to make it what I wanted it to be. So I did a very rough layout of what I wanted and took it in to Johnny. Because we were downsizing quite a bit from my sketch I knew I’d lose some stuff, which was fine (in fact, some of the stuff I put in was add-ons to take up some of the white space, because my model was quite large).

We talked about what the most important parts were, and he did a TON of work revamping it to make it fit and also retain the important symbols. He did even more reworking yesterday when I came — he’s a true collaborator and just a joy to work with on this. He’s not afraid to express his opnion and share his knowledge about how things will work/not work in the medium, but he’s also super open to changing things up in order to make it fit my vision. I absolutely LOVE his reinterpretation of it and can’t wait to show you the finished piece.

For now, though, a little teaser…my original sketch:


Make’n’Tell Day 11: Paintin’ Up

Not my best work. But still fun.

Yes, this is going up two days late. It’s been a crazy busy weekend. But it *is* going up, and kind of the point is to not just flake out if I miss a day or whatever. 

I painted my nails a week early for St. Patty’s Day because Morristown has their parade on the 12th and Jerzey Derby Brigade (that’s my league!) marches/skates in it. (No, I didn’t skate. I am not yet skilled enough. Next year!) (Except for the part at the end with the hill.)

Beautiful day for a parade! (I am not in this picture. I was taking this picture.)

Make’n’Tell Day 10: Pedi on My Piddies

Spring has begun sprunging here in the Northeast, so I’m back to flipflops for the duration. Which means I need more than basic red on my toes. It’s been awhile since I did a fun design, so hey, there it is. It’s really subtle, which I’m not sure if I’m pleased with or not. But I’m not changing it now!


ALSO, I re-did the two rows I ripped yesterday plus a few more, and have now completed the first mosaic section. YAY ME! (I’m actually writing this before it’s done. Let’s see if I’m prescient or just indulging in some wishful thinking.)

And in other, non-makey news, I have a big hole in my mouth (no, you don’t get a picture of it). This one tooth has been a problem for YEARS. I’ve gone from fillings to root canal to post & core with crown…and the other day the crown popped off and I swallowed it. Ulp. To make matters worse, my beloved dentist (who did all the recent work on the tooth) hurt his back a few months ago and hasn’t returned to dentistry. So I went to his associate, who tells me the reason the crown fell out is because the tooth broke, and now there’s not enough tooth to mount a crown on. My options are: gaping hole, bridge, implant. Oh, and by the way, the remainder of the tooth needs to come out and it’ll have to be a surgical extraction because the root has fused to the jawbone. GOOD TIMES. Good, very expensive times.

Now, my aforementioned beloved dentist would totally cut me a deal on the implant (or bridge, but I’ll probably eventually go implant b/c it’s lower maintenance and only a couple hundred bucks difference which at that point isn’t worth quibbling over), because he’s awesome like that and even though it’s not his fault he always took responsibility for when his dentistry didn’t stand the test of time (seriously, though, it’s not him — it’s this tooth). But the new guy has no reason to do that, which I totally understand — it’s just irksome because I’d be going to my guy if he was available.

On the plus side, though, it’s not at all painful, so it could definitely be worse. I mean, it’s going to be painful when I have the extraction, so I have that to looks forward to, but at least it’s not an emergency type situation. Small favors and all that.

Make’n’Tell Day 9: The Little Things


No post for yesterday. I swallowed a crown and, well, dealing with that took up most of my free time.

Today I just did a couple of rows on my shawl and a rough re-work of part of the tattoo I’m getting started Saturday. You can see a bit of the full rough under the tracing paper — the tat is going to be quite a bit different from my sketch, but I’d planned for that going in so that’s fine. I met with the artist last week, and I’m really excited to see how he reworks my ideas. We’re doing the line work Saturday, then we’ll fill in the color in a few weeks (I have to make sure I schedule for when I’m going to have a couple weeks off derby — don’t want to risk falling on it fresh!).

On the shawl, I screwed up the last two rows I did. It’s in the mosaic section, which really doesn’t read strongly with the yarns I chose, so I’m not sure it’s worth it to rip back. OTOH, if it does end up being more obvious, like maybe in the light where the solid is more gray than pink, it will always annoy the hell out of me. Sigh. Time to do some un-making.

Make’n’Tell Day 7: Too Tired to be Clever


But I did get some knitting done. This is Emiliana by maliha designs. I’ve been working on it for awhile now, and I’m about halfway through. The slip stitch pattern is really simple but fun. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the mosaic pattern is getting lost because of the variegated yarn I’m using but we’ll see how it turns out. The best part is, I’m using two yarns from my stash! The variegated is Socks that Rock mediumweight in Tanzanite, and the “pink” is actually a color changing yarn that looks grey in some light. I got it at Rhinebeck a few years ago, and of course I can’t manage to put my hands on the label right now. Will update when I find it.

Make’n’Tell Day 6: Sooooouuup!!!


Family trip to the market today resulted in Zack asking if we could make vegetable stew. So, we did. I’m posting this late on my phone, but will update tomorrow with the “recipe.” So, now I’ve actually tasted it and no, you don’t want the recipe. Ick. I think where we went wrong was using green beans instead of peas. I let Zack pick whatever he wanted to put in, so I’m going to chalk this up as a learning experience (for him, I mean). It’s not inedible, but it’s not good, either. (The short version is: pick out some veg you like, cut into bite sized pieces, throw in crock pot with some broth, cook.) I also taught Zack to use a knife (like a good, sharp butcher knife, I mean). Because someone’s going to have to cook me delicious meals when I’m old(er) and decrepit(er), so I gotta start training him now.

Make’n’Tell Day 5: Intangible

Today’s make is a little different. Today I made a difference.


About once a month, give or take, I volunteer at a local women’s health care clinic that (among other things) provides abortions. We help women and their companions get into and out of the clinic safely, and do our best to offset the gauntlet of screamers and guilters our patients have to get past in order to access healthcare. For the better part of four hours* I get called a “deathscort” and told I’m going to hell, and most offensively, I have to listen to incorrect medical information stated as fact and I can’t correct them because that’s not why I’m there.

I am there, simply, to help make accessing healthcare as painless as possible for the women who need it. Sometimes they thank me, or a companion does, or even a random person walking past. More often, they just want to get through the gauntlet of protesters as quickly as possible. I facilitate that. And I know that it matters. I know that it makes a difference to these women and their companions.

This is truly the most fulfilling thing I do outside of my family. It is also exhausting and enraging, but it is absolutely worth it. I hope that someday — the sooner the better — I’ll have to find something else to do, because women will no longer be harassed for accessing healthcare. Until then, I will keep showing up on the sidewalk.

*I hear this for four hours once a month. The clinic staff hears it every day. I have such respect and admiration for them — I can’t even imagine.