STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)

Smurfs and Celebration Cake

Hello world.

First off, I might be half smurf.

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See, my hand keeps turning blue. It is not always blue... and it doesn't hurt or tingle or feel cold when it is blue. But, yeah. It gets all blue and weird looing.

While they figure out if I have Raynaud's Syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome (by way of taking more and more and MORE of my blood), I am keeping busy designing a new website for Gay Central Valley and working on all the other projects I have going on.





In light of preparing to be a bit more professional and all, I merged my multiple blogs into the one. Yay! Apparently someone else owns the rights to kayliametcalfe.com and even kayliametcalfewriter.com So.... while I figure out what I should name my new snazzy website I will celebrate this little factoid:


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This is my 1112th blog post!


Mmmm celebration cake...







And... yeah...this post is a little short and nononsequential but I really wanted to use that cake photo that has been in my gallery for eons.

Mmmm cake.

You know, I might be a little woozy from all the stupid blood tests. Maybe I should go eat some cake.

Yes.

Yes, I should.

Update

In my non-professional world of writing, I have done a few things recently.

First off, I wrote (another) poem about current events... or rather the past events that mirror the current ones.

Also, a vent about the school system where my spawn goes: Racist or Clueless?

And lastly, but of more interet to many, I have been working on getting "Maddie and the Too Many Mommies" ready for release on Kindle through Amazon.

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Oh, and my glacoma infused eye will need surgery but we are gong to put that off for as long as possible.

When it happens, naybe I will finally get around to attemtping to use that "voice to text" software I bought years ago... /shudder/



If it's today.

I want to take a moment and remember
The other "first days"
and "day ones"

I don't think we often know exactly.
It's more of a dawning
a creeping in of news stories
background noise that swells until it drowns us

out

but really, despite the fact that there have been several
dozens?
in my life, there are only a handful of realizations
that
this
is
happening.

No formal declarations in my lifetime
That isn't how it's done anymore
Just trending topics
Hashtags and photos that need content notes
and bipartisan bickering
blaming
and of course empty promises and threats

and fear

He called me from sleep, told me to get my glasses, a tower had fallen
I didn't understand but I never got dressed that day
I sat by a rotating fan and watched TV, watched the replay for weeks
Occasionally rousing myself to finish planning the move to the new city, the new chapter of my life
It seemed wrong and yet important that we keep the plans we made
Country music swelled with hate but I prefered the "where were you when the world stopped turning" song
and sang it
without words, letting the melody carry as I packed and mourned and waited for what would happen next

The first gulf war was heralded on TV with breathless pomp
It broke into Wheel of Fortune
and we ran in, meatloaf left on plates in the dinning room
I was in 5th grade
they taught us to sing "To Everything, There is a Season" and I worried about my uncles in uniform
My cousins and I recorded a radio show on cassette tapes, where we parroted our parents
Mixed platitudes with sound bites from KGO's radio voices
And wondered why it even mattered

I was in college when the second PG war became real
I had gone to the marches,
Held the candles
Shaken my head and muttered and argued on message boards (no such thing as Facebook)
But then one day a friend called
his voice a stone on the phone
Adam was dead. Killed in uniform
Fighting
Protecting
Serving
And my bitching about homework and lack of diet coke at the campus deli was
gone
wisps of smoke
I sat on my bed and sang "dust in the wind" until I couldn’t cry anymore.

Today my daughter is sick.
Today I wrote about systemic racism. I listened to podcasts. I weeded and in my zealousness I pulled out gentle dainty lily plants
Today I read about Syria

It's the begining, they say.

But we all know better.


Syria war: US launches missile strikes following chemical 'attack'

Racist or Clueless: You Be The Judge

Our daughter attends a neighborhood school. While the school is not the best (highest ranked school) it is also not the worst school in our area. As a public school it has its benefits and its drawbacks.

One of the drawbacks, at least in my opinion is the amount / level of parent notification. I feel like it borders on systemic racism, but that could be my liberal guilt talking.

Let’s play a game of “You tell me if this sounds messed up!”



Before the school year began we were invited to visit the classroom and have our child meet the teacher. This was to help the transition, to let the kid feel comfy at the new environment, etc. The appointment was set by the school and we were informed of our appointment by the school. They called us at 430 on a Friday afternoon to inform us that our appointment was 8:30 Monday morning.

As a work from home parent, that was fine. I was not only available to answer the phone but to attend the classroom visit. Had I a more “regular” job, my ability to do both things would have been reliant on the friendliness of my boss. How many people can just come in late on Monday with no consequences? Not a lot of notice here.



Later we were informed of a parent teacher conference appointment. Meeting times were posted outside the classroom and were  again, right in the middle of the day; 1030 am. This time we were given slightly more notice but we are still talking less than a week, a mere matter of days.

I am going to say that it is a fair assumption that there was a lot of scrambling on the parts of the parents to be able to make these appointments… and that those who didn’t have the luxury of being able to take time off of work might be missing out on getting important feedback on how their child is doing in school. Not going to say that those kids might be more in need of said conferences, but I will say that IF a kid is struggling for ANY reason, making it SUPER hard for the parent to find out about that or get feedback is certainly not going to help anyone.

Today we had another encounter with the school that left me scratching my head.

The kids had their spring pictures taken a few weeks back. Today they were sent home with a packet of prints and an order sheet.



To clarify: We have been given the pictures and an envelope telling us to attach payment for the ones we want to keep and to return the rest within a week from the date of receiving.

My issues:

First off this is a terrible / brilliant business model. Do you have any idea how much crap ends up in the backpack? Do you know how often things gets overlooked? We are going to be billed for something we didn’t ask for, that may or may not actually make it home? We will revisit this in a sec.

The instructions are only in English. This is of note since EVERY SONGLE OTHER FLIER or paperwork of ANY format from the school has been printed in both English and Spanish.  But sure, way to not easily communicate with a bunch of the population.  Way to set us up for success!

Lastly: they are asking us to return the payments within a week. Tomorrow is the last day before the kids have more than a week off for spring break. Like, for reals. Tomorrow is school. Then all of the next week and the following Monday they are off. Meaning you have to decide how much you are going to spend TONIGHT.  This makes point 1 and 2 even worse. It’s like they are setting the kids up to fail.



I called the school.

First I clarified the schedule. (Maybe I jumped the gun, maybe they are aware of the ridiculousness of the time constraint and will offer more time).  Is it true that the packets / payments are due within a week? Yes. Even though next week is spring break? Yes. So… does that mean that we pretty much only have tonight? Yes.

All righty then.

Then I asked if the instructions only came in English. (Maybe I jumped the gun, maybe they just profiled my kid as an English speaker). Yes. Apparently the photo company only provides English instruction. Do you include instructions written in Spanish? No. Why not? Well, the parents know the English. Then why has every other piece of paper come in both?

She asked my name.

My turn to say no.

How about this question: is there any negative repercussion if I keep the photos and don’t pay?

She seemed confused. You can just put the money in the envelope.

Yeah, I get that… but what if I don’t. What if I don’t do it in the time limit or do it at all. What if I don’t read English and I don’t know I am supposed to do anything? I mean, paid for pictures earlier in the year, they sent home a proof (one lone photo with a watermark) and then asked me order. This time around you just handed me ALL the photos. So, what if I don’t pay or give them back?

We are counting on the parents to be honest.

Right, ok… but will anything bad happen to my kid if I don’t?

She said they have a list.

I made a noise that was both unflattering and hard to type.

Again she asked me who I was.

Again I declined to answer.

Then she started talking to someone else in the room about a printer. The conversation was pretty much over.

Am I alone in that this all seems pretty crappy?


Ella’s photos, btw, are SUPER cute.


Thanks Dude

Recently I wrote a blog post about two things: the "wear red for women" day of action and the scary news that there is something worrisome going on with my optic nerve.

The first subject was given less than 75 words in which I said I was taking part but wasn't sure the action was going to be all that impactful.

The second topic was given more than twice the number of words and featured some of these !!!! to illustrate my worries.

And guess what!

A stranger wrote in! How nice!

"So, tell me, what does your SUPPORT really look like? What are you supporting and WHAT ARE YOU DOING PERSONALLY?"

Holy crap.

Thanks dude.

Thanks for missing the point of my post. Thank you for ignoring posts like this one where I talk about what I do. Thanks for yelling at me. Thanks for making me feel defensive, like maybe I am not doing enough in your eyes.

No really, actually thank you.

Thank you for reminding me why women don't speak up. Thank you for proving that people don't read past the teaser blurb. Thanks for reminding me that I am still linked into google plus for some reason. Thank you for reinforcing my choice of audience. Thank you for making me angry... I am strong when angry.

I don't know what I could do to prove to you that I am a legitimate activist. 

And you know what? I'm ok with that.

Trigger Warnings Wouldn't Have Helped

Ten and a half years ago I was attacked in my home.

Because of this, I am very twitchy about answering my door. But on the whole, I feel I have recovered as well as can be expected and I don't live my life in abject fear.

Really.

So today I took the kiddo to school and then went grocery shopping. (Wild life, I tell you). At the store the solar panel company called to let me know that a city inspector needed to come by for a final inspection. Sure, I said, I will be home after 12.

Oh, well see he wants to come by between 10 and 11.

Yeah, but I have to leave at 1030 to go get the kid from school, so...

Ok, we will tell him to come this afternoon.

Awesome.

Groceries in hand, I go home where I strip down and prepare for a much needed shower. Just as I am getting in, I hear what might be the door. Well, it is 9 am, so way too early for the inspector, but typical mail man time and I know he will just leave my package on the porch. Plus, I hate answering the door and, again, I am totally naked and might not have actually heard the door anyway.

So I take my shower.

Less than ten minutes later (CA is in a drought you know) I emerge from my bathroom wrapped in a towel and walk through my bedroom.... only to realize that there is a shadow and footsteps visible through the back window.

There is a man in my backyard.

My body starts to shake. and I can feel all my muscles clenching.

Calm down, I tell myself. It is probably the inspector.

But...

The gate is locked. Don't they need permission to enter your backyard?

It's the middle of the day, middle of the morning... surely this isn't anything nefarious.

But.

Let's take a moment to reread the beginning statement of this little essay. That day I opened the door around 4pm on a Monday afternoon, my hair dripping from the shower, wearing the nearest sundress I could find to throw on my still sudsy body when that unexpected knock had come at my door.

But it's almost ten years later. I live a much safer life now. I live in suburbia for goodness sake. And there is a very real reason for an inspector to be here.

Pushing aside thoughts of him jumping the fence, I throw on a tee shirt and jeans and muster up the courage to open the back sliding door.

Hello, I say, in a voice I hope is haughty and stern

Hi, the man on the step ladder fiddling with the area next to the electrical box says, I'm patching this hole.

Gentle reader, you might wonder, as I did, what the blazes he was talking about.

Well, see last week an electric company had come out to instal a new electrical box on our back wall to pave the way for the solar panels. The team had arrived almost two hours later than they said they would, had stayed late, and someone on that team had peed on the sidewalk near our side gate.

Yes, the sidewalk. Not the grass, or the dirt, or the trees or behind the other side of the house... but the sidewalk between the side gate and the backyard... you know, the place where people walk. Matt almost caught the guy doing that and we had already called and complained. Not wild about any pee in the backyard but VERY displeased about the choice of location.

Realization dawned on me. The man who had clearly jumped my fence and was patching a hole in the wall, was part of the Pee Team from last week.

And he didn't seem all that worried about my frosty glare.

Over the next hour or so I swung back and forth between rage and terror. I called the solar company who called the electrician company. The electric company said they would call him and have him wait in the front yard for further instruction. I found the safest room in my house to barricade myself into although I knew intellectually that there was no need. I had no idea if Fence Hopper Man  was still back there or not. I

The inspector, btw, showed up at 945. He assured me that there was no one in the backyard, but the electrician truck was still parked on the street. Matt got home and made his own round of angry phone calls.

When questioned by my pretty upset and imposing husband, the guy denied jumping the fence but offered no other way he had gotten into the back yard.

The hole is patched, the inspection has happened. All's well that ends well.

But I am still twitchy.

I know I am bringing my baggage to this. I wish I could just shrug it off. I wish I didn't feel the need to have a few cathartic sob fests today. I wish my hands would stop shaking. I wish my mind wasn't plunged into memories and that this was a funny story

But it's not.

We are always one bad moment away from reliving our past trauma.
And one good moment away from hope.

Here is my good moment for today. 

Art on Display at Gillis Branch Library

Some of my artwork is currently on display over at the Gillis Branch Library.

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I'm very pleased.

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I did find it funny that they hung a few pieces "upside down" but I actually think it might say something about both me as an artist and them as the audience... so I only fixed one.

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Anyway, hope you local people can swing by and enjoy the show while it is up.

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Sunshine Energy!

We got ourselves some fancy solar panels!

Woot!

I'm so darn exited to see the savings.... in 15 years or so when we pay them off.

Ahem

Actually it is nice to know that we are helping the earth in a tangible way and that our carbon footprint is less.

Also, they look hella cool.