Oct 10

Love and Life and Loss

I’ve had an unusually high (for me) amount of familial loss this year, made worse by the fact that the bulk of my family is about a 12-13 hour drive from where I’m currently residing.

I got to go home to Alabama over Christmas last year, and got to see most of my family. My oldest sister’s kids had the flu and they didn’t want to pass it, so we didn’t get to see them, and my mom and aunt have basically been on the outs with their oldest brother most of my remembered life, and last Christmas was no exception to that. Looking back, I kinda wish it had been, or that I’d been able to connect and forge the same sort of bond to my uncle’s kids as I’ve managed with my aunt’s daughter and family.

In January, my Uncle Ray passed. He’s had issues for years, a combination of PTSD from military service and seeing things I don’t even want to imagine and a love of alcohol to escape those demons to the detriment of life and family. He just… completely let himself go. By the time there was enough worry for a wellness check and medics got to him it was too late, and I’ll always hate that I didn’t get to spend more time with him during the good parts. That my memory of him is a family reunion and some old photographs and fantastic hugs.

At the beginning of September, an old family friend passed away. I’d known her… gracious, since I was four, I think? She opened her house to mum and me for a few months after some mess with one of mum’s ex-boyfriends, and her oldest kid watched me a handful of times after when mum would be working weekends or overnights. She was a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, and lost control of her bike. She was at least wearing her helmet, but that doesn’t always save you. Mum met her through Daddy, I think, and some of his other biker friends, and those friends of Daddy’s have been an extended family to me for almost my entire life. I can’t even count on one hand how many of them we’ve lost to motorcycling accidents though, either because they were being stupid and not wearing helmets, intoxicated, or otherwise lost control of their bikes, or because someone else was being stupid and not paying attention and either hit them or ran them off the road. We almost lost Daddy to one of those idiots that doesn’t pay attention a few years ago, and we lost one of my brothers-in-law after he lost control of his bike for reasons we’ll never figure out. The only saving grace to his passing was that he’d just dropped his oldest child off, because I don’t think my sister could’ve handled losing both of them.

Earlier this week my Nanny passed away. I guess she’s not really my Nanny–she’s Daddy’s mum and Daddy’s not actually blood or marriage related anymore, but then my family tree is basically made of the brightly coloured branches of people we’ve found and loved and glued on of our own accord, and not because silly blood or marriage ties compelled us to keep them and call them one of us. Still, he’s the only Daddy I can remember, other than C-Dad, and he’s helped raise me and so she’s my nanny, end of story. Nanny lived a long, full life. I didn’t even know she was sick–she broke her leg a few weeks ago, but she was 82 and that’s not the most unexpected thing ever, and the last I heard from my sister she was recovering as well as could be expected at her age. But she got to see her grandkids mostly become adults (I’m the second youngest, at 27, and the youngest just turned 25 or 26), got to see the oldest two get married and have children, and she out-lived Pe-Paw by just a little under a decade (cancer is an asshole). So I’m not sad she was taken from us too soon or any bullshit like that, because she got to see a lot. I’m sad I didn’t get to see her one last time when I was at home over Christmas, that I didn’t get to tell her a last time how much I’ve always fucking loved her tea cookies, that I didn’t get to follow her around the kitchen and write down all of her amazing recipes and help her shell peas and wash greens and make sun tea or listen to her gossip on the phone with her church buddies (old ladies gossiping after church was basically the highlight of our Sundays growing up–she had this old rotary phone with a cord that could stretch almost across the entire house, and she’d be on the phone for hours after lunch chattering to her church friends) or just hug her damn neck one more time and tell her I loved her.

It’s times like this I hate being so far from home that making a trip back to go to a funeral or memorial isn’t even something I can contemplate. One day I’m going to find a recipe for tea cookies that tastes almost like Nanny’s, and I’m going to dunk them in a glass of tea and think of her.

Sep 01

Surprise Cookie!

So Binks and Ril conspired together to surprise me with a “care package” from New Zealand! From what I’m told, a few months ago Binks got our address from Ril so he could send us stuff. 🙂 Ril’s been making noises about expecting a package, and it arrived today.

The package!

Corner of the package… didn’t want to accidentally share my full name and address.

I tweeted about the surprise, then proceeded to open and unwrap. Oh boy. Bink knows what ladies like, so now I’ve got three packages of Cookie Time cookies, chocolate covered pineapple bites, and delicious Whittaker’s chocolate. Plus tiny plush versions of the Kiwi and Kea that chirp, along with a card. 🙂


Cookie Package

Cookie Time! Triple Chocolate flavor… these cookies are massive and delicious.


We absolutely tried the cookies first… followed the suggestion to pop them in the microwave and had glasses of milk. Holy cow. The chocolate is great, and for a mass produced cookie I’d say they’re pretty on par with some of the nice specialty cookies here, just not quite as fresh. Now I have to figure out what to put into a return package! 🙂

The package!

Kiwi Care Package, unboxed. (Minus one pack of cookies that are already in the cookie jar.)

There are some other cookie appearances planned apparently, so some special twitter folks will be all about loving on Binks once they get their packages as well. 🙂

Jun 08


Why white people shooting unarmed people of other skin colors bugs me

It’s not just a race thing, it’s not me trying to force my privilege… It’s just. We’re all a little racist, avenue q didn’t lie when they sang that song. Don’t lie and say you don’t think stereotypical things about other people because you do. But there’s something intrinsically disturbing about a white guy shooting a black kid who had their hands in a fairly universal gesture of surrender. About a fair skinned guy walking free for weeks after following and shooting an unarmed black guy with a can of tea and a bag of skittles as his only potential weapons. About anyone shooting anyone else that is unarmed and not in the middle of a violent crime (Miami face muncher) or in the act of breaking into someone’s house (because I don’t care if you’re armed, the second you break my window or door and try to sneak in my house I’m going to shoot to disable you because at that point you’re inside my property and clearly mean to break at least one law.)

And not accidents because I get that sometimes people make mistakes when there’s an arrest going bad or a lot of chaos going down, but these one on one crimes where the person murdered is unarmed? It disgusts me. And yeah some of it or more is racially motivated, if not by the perp then by the police that allow that perp to walk free for weeks or take things out of the house that should be a crime scene or relentlessly interview a mother who watched her child get shot, saw him bleeding out on the lawn while she’s questioned and her house is searched and searched again or while cops make up lies for why they shoot someone and then are protected by the laws instead of being punished the way a non cop would be…

This shit is scary and it’s wrong and it’s happening every day and people are too busy arguing about stupid shit like is someone racist or not or how same gender or same race crime is higher to actually see what is actually going on, and what is going on is that some people are being allowed to walk around like the laws don’t apply because the laws aren’t applied and other people have to live in terror that this might happen to them, their kin, their friends and classmates and that nice young person down the street who mows lawns to earn spending money. And that’s wrong and I don’t understand why people aren’t doing something about it, aren’t raising their voices to stop it, to say this isn’t okay and we’re not going to take it and we are going to hold you accountable and you aren’t above the law or able to use the law to protect your wrong doing anymore.
Evil has a face and a name and it used to be the mafia or murderers or kidnappers and rapists but now it’s cops and politicians and the people that are supposed to represent and protect.
And maybe that’s the scariest thought of all.

May 09

Summer Lovin’

Finals are done, yay! Projects are submitted, folders turned in, etc. I’m DONE. No more until August.

Moving to Dallas TOMORROW for the entire summer, which is parts terrifying (Because it’s far away and Dallas is big) but mostly super EXCITING (like omg I am bouncing everywhere and having trouble sleeping, etc.) So yes, in less than 24 hours I’ll be in Dallas and there will be a Rilgon and maybe a Glaci and if Ril and I get frisky maybe a trip to Austin to visit Drew. I’ll be working about a half hour from where I’ll be staying, which isn’t a bad commute at all.

Also synagogue! I can go! Dallas has… I have never seen so many temples in one city, let me just put it that way. They’ve apparently got a really large conservative and orthodox community. It looks like most of the reform temples are about 20-30 minutes away (but hey, that’s better than 90 minutes, right?) I’m excited to get to go and DOUBLE EXCITED that Ril is interested in coming with me. 🙂

May 06

Endings and Beginnings

So I’m moving tomorrow. Exciting, right? A new (to me) apartment with someone that reminds me almost painfully of myself at times, closer to campus and hopefully with less shenanigans.

I don’t have the best track with roommates, but C and I were friends first, and hopefully will get along well enough that I won’t resort so much to certain behaviors (i.e. basically locking myself in my room 24/7 and feeling like I’m an unwanted guest in my own living space, which is how I feel now). My very first roommate ever (that wasn’t a sibling and for something that lasted longer than summer camp) tried to get me kicked out of the boarding school we both attended. She would later get herself kicked out for being stupid (there was a hamster involved, and I should really tell what I know of that story at some point). My second roommate and I got along okay, she was always off with her boyfriend and we had a fairly quiet companionship. The third… good grief. I’d moved halfway across the country and he was a complete slob that expected me to do all of the cleaning up around the house. I’m not a neat freak by any means, but I’ve always been taught to wipe up after myself in common areas. My suitemates after that weren’t terrible–the one I was unfortunate enough to share a bathroom with had a boyfriend that seemed to like loud, rough sex (thank goodness we each had our own bedroom) and was prone to taking showers that seemed to last for eternity. None of us spent much time in the common area of our suite, mainly because we didn’t have a TV or anything to bond over.

This year’s been pretty rough. I’m living with a friend’s fiance and a classmate of his, and I honestly wish I had never, ever agreed to move in up here. Commuting the 90 minutes to class every day would’ve been preferable, even when it put me on the road at 6 or 7 AM most mornings and not getting home until after 10 PM some nights. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that, right?

I potentially have a job offer in Dallas for the summer, but some details have to be hammered out before I can accept it.

I’ve always hated moving. You’d think I’d be a professional at this point, since I’ve moved so many times in the past 26 years, but I absolutely dread packing and loading and unloading and placing and unpacking and cleaning on both ends and all the assorted headaches involved. I’ve been procrastinating pretty badly on packing, and now I’m down to the wire and will have to bust it out quickly, like those 2AM term papers one writes that are due at 8AM that same morning. (Okay, maybe I’m the only person who does that, but I just can’t write papers slowly in short blocks, and I don’t work well from more than the broadest of outlines.)

This is one new beginning I’m looking forward to though, especially if I get to take the job offer on top of it..

Apr 30

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Apr 20


This post definitely requires many thanks to the fabulous Vitae, because I wouldn’t be blogging again without him. He’s been after me for a bit to write more, with less than subtle poking at his wonderful hosting services. Obviously, I finally gave in, and I’ve been working to get my little patch of internet up and pretty so I could release it to the masses (and by the masses, I mean Twitter, and maybe Facebook if I get the nerve). LS over at Papers & Pencils also deserves my thanks and appreciation, as do well.. a lot of other folks. 🙂

I’m far too scatterbrained to stick to a particular topic with regularity, so Amber & Wine will host various ramblings about life, cooking, gaming, and other things, and will also be well I post fiction and other writings. For now, those things are separated in the menu at the top of my blog. Musings will have posts about things going on around me, from general bitching to discussions on politics, religion, books, or other miscellany. Scribbles will contain things I write–poetry, fanfiction, original fiction. Games will primarily talk about MMOs I play, but will probably also discuss board games, other video games, and (if I can ever find one) tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons. Cooking will contain recipes, talk about interesting restaurants I visit, and other food-related stuff. Expect a lot of pastries and butter… after all, I do subscribe to the Paula Deen school of Southern Cooking, y’all! 😉

I hope you enjoy poking around my little corner of the internet. Come in, have a cookie, and get cozy!


Feb 16

More birth control ranting

We fight against those that want to cover our women from head to toe and deny them voting/driving/working/other rights, but when it comes to reproductive freedoms we are silent or dismissive. That doesn’t make sense to me. 

If I deserve the right to dress as I please (within local public obscenity laws), drive a vehicle, vote, work where I want (provided I can find a job and get hired), then why shouldn’t I also have the right to control my reproductive and medical choices? 

We don’t live in a Catholic nation. For years, America was terrified of what would happen if we let Catholics in control of our country. Have you ever seen political campaigns and cartoons from when JFK was running for president? They were pretty vicious for the time. But now, we’re bending over backwards to satisfy Catholic bishops who think that all contraceptive, no matter the reason, are wrong and immoral. You know what? I don’t care. I’m not Catholic, and most Catholics use some form of birth control regardless of the doctrines of the church.

Your “religious/moral conscience” ends where my right to make my own religious and moral decisions begins. Also your “religious/moral conscience” should have NO RIGHTS when it comes to my medical health and safety. I take low-dosage hormone therapy that has the side effect of making me temporarily infertile. It keeps my reproductive organs relatively healthy. You know what? I don’t mind that temporary effect. The world isn’t ready for a Mini-Me, and neither am I. 

Men don’t get menorrhagia or endometriosis, but they can get testicular cancer (and I assume that they may get cysts, but I’m not a doctor and haven’t studied men’s reproductive organs as much as I have my own, so I don’t know that for absolute certain). If a low-hormone pill was introduced that could help prevent testicular or prostate cancer, I wouldn’t fight against it. I would be doing everything in my power to make sure the men in my life had easy, inexpensive access to such a drug.

That’s what birth control is for me. It keeps me healthy by reducing the size and quantity of my ovarian cysts. It keeps my menorrhagia in check enough that I can have a relatively normal life. It also helps reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers. Why wouldn’t you want the women in your life to have easy, inexpensive access to such a drug? 

Not to mention the increased long-term savings by the government. Birth control averages $50/mo. A kid costs WAY more than that per month. Childcare averages $150+ per WEEK around here, plus diapers, formula, doctor’s visits for baby checkups, clothes, and other baby costs. Hm, give a woman $50/mo to plan babies on her own terms, or fund a brand new baby. No brainer! If I had the money, I’d pay for all of my female friends/family to have contraception until they were financially and emotionally ready for a baby.

Feb 10

The big BC debate.

I almost typed BS, because that’s exactly what this is.

Look, if you’re a man? I’m sorry, but you have zero right to tell me what I can or can’t do with my body. If you’re my partner (and you’re probably NOT, because my partner lives halfway across the country), or my doctor (which you might be, because I don’t know my gyno’s internet habits), or maybe my Dad (which you definitely aren’t, because my parents don’t have internet and definitely aren’t savvy with social media), then I’ll listen to what you say and take it into consideration.

For clarity’s sake, my Dad, my gyno, AND my partner are all down with my use of contraceptives for any reason whatsoever. Even though my dad likes to pretend that I’ll Never Have Sex Until I’m Married.

Here’s the thing. Birth Control is Smart Family Planning. Take it until you want to have children, come off it so you can get pregnant and have babies, then take it again. In a relationship (committed or not), it helps prevent unwanted pregnancies. A woman on BC that gets raped is less likely to have to deal with the agony of carrying her rapist’s child. Don’t say “well you shouldn’t have sex if you don’t want to get pregnant” because hello? You are probably not innocent of having sex when you have zero interest in Making The Babies. If you are, congratulations, you have awesome control over your sex drive. You’re probably also not a rapist, but then again you probably DO know a woman that’s been sexually assaulted (although I bet they haven’t confided in you). Are you also anti-abortion? Then you should be all about Smart Family Planning, because inexpensive access to the Pill and other contraceptives (including condoms!) can and will help lower the abortion rate. I’m all for a woman’s right to choose, but I’d also love it if women didn’t have to make that choice because they already had access to affordable family planning that wasn’t someone spouting off something inane like “don’t have sex.” Married couples use birth control too!

Birth Control Saves Lives. I know, I KNOW. I can’t possibly be right, yeah? Is that what you’re thinking? Well I am. My birth control (Sprintec, it’s a generic form for who-knows-what name brand) helps reduce ovarian cysts, controls some of the symptoms of PCOS (so that women who HAVE it can possibly have children later), controls the symptoms of menorrhagia, helps control the issues that crop up with endometriosis, AND provides use as birth control, should I have sex.

Ovarian cysts are fairly well known—cysts that grow on your ovaries. Before I got onto the Sprintec, I had a cyst that was twice the size of my actual ovary. That’s pretty damn large, and it was really painful. My BC has helped shrink it to something more manageable without any intrusive surgery.

PCOS, for anyone that doesn’t know, is short for Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. A lot of doctors don’t know much about it, but some pretty common tells are erratic or practically non-existent periods in women who have reached puberty. Untreated PCOS often leads to increased difficulty (or impossibility) for women to have children. Birth control can help get their reproductive systems on track so that when they WANT to have children, their likelihood of success in conceiving naturally is greatly increased. And we want our family/wives/other female friends to be able to have a baby naturally if they want to do so, right? At least, I do.

Menorrhagia isn’t terribly life-threatening, but it’s pretty fucking gross. Basically, when a woman has her period, her uterine lining sheds in a “whole” pieces (like a snake shedding its skin, if that works for you as a visual. A woman with menorrhagia (like me) sheds her uterine lining in stripes, which basically means she has a period that never ends. We’re not talking trickles of blood either, we’re talking about filling a super plus tampon (which is ~20g absorption) in 90 minutes for weeks on end. Birth control helps by regulating the system and basically forcing (to my understanding) the uterine lining to shed normally.

Endometriosis can be life-threatening. It’s actually one of the first things the doctors thought I had, and after looking it up, I’m pretty grateful that I’m just dealing with cysts and menorrhagia. Basically with endo, the cells from your uterus (called endometrium) appear outside the uterine cavity on things like your ovaries. This leads to extremely painful periods, chronic pelvic pain (including lower back and abdominal pain), frequent urination, constipation and bowel obstruction, and can also lead to bigger issues like ruptured cysts and a particularly icky thing called a chocolate cyst of the ovary. (Feel free to wiki that last one and wince in sympathy for your lady friends. Just imagine that happening to your balls.) Oh, and it also increases the risk for infertility. 

Birth control helps control all of that, and it also allows for folks to plan for families on their own time. When that family can afford a child, when that family is ready. Now I’d like you to tell me that you don’t think those things should be a right to women, that women and families shouldn’t have inexpensive, easy to obtain means of taking care of themselves and doing what’s best for them and their families. I don’t think you can.