fabric designs

I've sold fabric designs on spoonflower for several years now - my shop is at It don't remember if Etsy or Cafepress got me into it... probably both.

This year has been AWESOME for spoonflower. And thank goodness, I needed it, between my furloughs and marc not DJing, I am eternally grateful that fabric sales came up to fill the gap, I'm making 10-20 times the commissions I did before. I will have to pay taxes on it eventually and that will be tough, but I'll deal.

I got curious what people were using fabric for so I messaged some of the folks who'd bought at least a yard of my Feminist Button design, that's been out there since 2013 but this year it's a bestseller.

Their answer? Masks! For real, I guess we cannot estimate the sheer number of facemasks that have been sewn in homes this year, it's infinite! I received one response back from a gentleman who said his feminist button facemask is his favorite to wear out while "counter-protesting trumptards". my heart grew three sizes.

Just in the last three months, nearly 70 yards of feminist button fabric has been printed and sent out to various corners of the world. I feel better now, don't you?


updated my lj profile. I used to have a whole big section about my faith in God and what a devout Christian I was. I don't need that anymore. I haven't been to church regularly in years. I still monthly auto-give to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the humanitarian organization tied to the Methodist church, because they do very good work. Disaster relief, medical aid, feeding the hungry. It is good work. And as charities go, they run lean. They spend very little on fundraising and advertising, because they're mostly supported by church people who feel a spiritual obligation to donate their income. That is one thing I like about Christianity. Humans don't seem interested in supporting each other until they think a hypothetical greater power may demand it.

I donate because I think it's a good idea. 10% tithe seems like a nice goal. Along the same lines, the State of Kansas says I can write off up to $6K per year in contributions to my kid's college fund. So $6 a year is now my goal for college funds. Kansas is not demanding 529 contributions, and God isn't demanding charity. I just like it when somebody suggests a number.

And speaking of God... I once had a friend describe himself as an "apathetic agnostic". He was not interested in going to atheist meetings to pick apart and re-assemble a new spirituality based on the Ultimate Truth. He didn't care much about the ultimate truth. God? No God? Shrug either way. That is where I am getting to.

If we can't know the ultimate truth, I think, we should step back and decide from an impartial perspective what the good ideas are. What will make the world a better place?

Deciding that this life doesn't matter because there's a better one we can't see? That's a bad idea. It's been used to justify violence and killing. Don't worry about the war, those soldiers got to go to heaven! Nope.

Teaching people from a very young age that there's a structure and hierarchy to the authority they must blindly follow? That's a very bad idea. That's how powerful people get to abuse their power, husbands get to cheat on their wives, parents get to beat their children.

Using an ancient text to justify arbitrary rules against everything from yoga to tattoos to same-sex relationships? Really terrible idea.

So in the end, belief in a higher power just felt like a bad move. And I stopped going to church. And took it out of my profile. On the other hand, atheist discussions about how we should treat each other had good ideas, with the right motivations.

I realize it's not someplace where I have to pick sides right now and forever, but if there's doubt happening around me, I'm going to pick the side with the least jerks, and not worry about the questions I can never truly answer.

gender reveals

I just wanted to make a timestamp lj entry about gender reveal parties in the US, and how confused I am by them, nothing to do with the disastrous news, the timeline is just weird.

I was pregnant in 2010 and 2013. Looking at google trends, these were BARELY a blip during my first pregnancy so I didn't give it any kind of thought. Nobody did this. Sometimes if you were nuts you'd wrap a photo frame for your parents with an "it's a girl!" message or something because grandparents like surprises. But nobody had parties or had an ultrasound tech put a secret message in an envelope for a bakery's eyes only.

In 2013, I remember these becoming an idea that was discussed in pregnancy forums, but I immediately knew it was not my thing. First, you're not revealing gender since that's a construct, you're revealing anatomy. So my sister and I joked that instead of pink or blue, the theme of the party should be inspired by genitalia shapes, right?

But now they seem to be a required THING during every pregnancy, and the sex of a fetus is determined like the day after a woman passes a pregnancy test through some blood chromosome workup or something, instant! Then you have months to plan the party!

Compare that to past generations... I know a woman who had twin boys in 1978. Not only did she not know she was having boys, she didn't know she was having twins.

So that's why I'm here to say that the world has changed and BACK IN MY DAY I had to wait until the terrifying 18-week anatomy scan before I figured out what sex my babies would be. In both cases, my mother's intuition told me I would have boys. In both cases, I was wrong.

Here are the links back in time to those entries. One post about my thoughts before the scan, and then a "big reveal" where I just wrote in my livejournal what I was having and then everybody moved on with their lives.



morning ice coffee ritual

Summer is over so it's almost time for me to switch my morning drink back to BLACK COFFEE. Okay, maybe with a tiny hit of pumpkin spice creamer if I feel fancy.

All summer I start my mornings with ice coffee, which I make totally wrong according to all sources. Apparently ice coffee is a special thing which must be specifically brewed using some very fancy method, not just regular drip coffee that you drink cold.

I just use regular drip coffee that I drink cold. shrug emoji.

Nightly ritual:
- Arrive home from work. See what coffee is left in the coffee pot. Either fill my cup about 1/3 of the way and stick it in the fridge or freeze some of it in small plastic cups.

Morning ritual ingredients:
- 1 24-oz tervis tumbler that I got off facebook marketplace (normally $20, mine is $4, I am very proud of myself)
- 4oz plastic kid cup of frozen coffee from the night before. I stick the cup in a larger cup of warm water for about 60 seconds, then the sides melt and the whole thing comes out and I have Giant Coffee Ice
- About 10oz cold coffee that's been in the fridge all night, OR the same amount of hot coffee that I made this morning and just left out for an hour while I was getting ready
- 1 tbsp hot cocoa mix, or 1/2 tbsp each sugar and cocoa. Same diff.
- 2% Milk to top it off

The hot cocoa mix does not dissolve well in cold coffee so sometimes I'll add it to a tiny bit of hot coffee first, sometimes I mix it in the night before to the room temp coffee going into the fridge.

If there is any way to improve on this and make my coffee experience that much more amazing I'm all ears, but I also don't care.

book list lately

I like writing about the books I've read, but I feel this pressure to write AN ENTRY (introduction, three body paragraphs, conclusion) when I write about a book, and it can't happen... so what if I just blitz it and list them out with a three sentence review? let's try it...

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
YA fiction. Schoolboy conjures an ancient tree monster to help him deal with the pain of slowly losing his mother to cancer. Terribly sad. Occasionally and beautifully illustrated. A little scary, while explaining the deep complexities of life.

Leadershift by John C. Maxwell
The best leaders embrace change and change management, instead of trying to find one method that works. Stop setting hard stop goals and make constant growth your target. Have the hard conversations with your people and don't allow complacency.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
A woman gets a job as governess for her upper class friend's stepkids. When they're angry they spontaneously combust. A weird but delicious story about female friendship and finding love in odd places. I'd highly recommend it.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Shortly after a married couple moves from New York to Missouri, the wife disappears and the husband might be to blame. I didn't like this book, despite being written by a female author I thought it was misogynistic and I saw the ending coming a long ways away.

Becoming by Michelle Obama
An optimistic story about a girl living the American dream. Hard working parents who wanted a better life for their kids, she achieves all the success in all the right educational, and then career, places. Falls in love with Barack Obama and life takes on what can only be described as a wild ride. This is the cutest, most wholesome book! It's both escapism, and a true memoir about a woman making the world a better place.

Game of Thrones Book 1 by George RR Martin
I read this because everybody reads it, and although it had some characters I liked I didn't feel like I would gain a lot as a person if I kept going. So I wikipedia'd the rest of the books to see how life turned out for my favorite and least favorite characters, and moved on.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Mother and son escape from Acapulco, Mexico after a drug cartel massacres their entire family. I read it because it was a mega bestseller. Definitely a riveting page turner. It gave me nightmares to read about this innocent family in such a corrupt, violent country, who couldn't escape to the US because we are assholes. But then I read that it's a controversial book because Latinx writers are accusing the white author of stealing minority stories and perpetuating stereotypes. FINE THEN DON'T READ IT. It's horrifying anyway!

My Ántonia by Willa Cather
Strong pioneers can't achieve everything they dream of, but find pride and strength in the places where things do turn out well. A lovely portrait of the midwest that made me feel connected to the roots of this place.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn
Historical fiction about nazi-hunters after WWII, with a LOT about the life of a queer Russian "night witch" female pilot. I loved this book!

Did I ever write about The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah? I read it last year - a mentally unstable man makes his wife and daughter to move out to middle of nowhere Alaska to be survivalists, and as life gets harder they eventually stick up for themselves. I really liked that one too. Historical fiction is a favorite genre, with lots of bestsellers so they're easy to find good ones. I like when they take me to a different place. I liked Water for Elephants, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress... do I write about all these? I don't think I have. Okay they are all good. I'll do this more often.

friday 5: all the best

from thefridayfive...

1. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
I tried to think of anything so beautiful it's made me cry. I thought of newlyweds slicing their wedding cake. What is it that gets me? Is it that love is beautiful? Or that I know I'm about to have cake?

2. What is your greatest dream in life?
Someone telling me I made an honest to goodness difference in their life. Inspiring people. Every time I get to do a great speech in front of a crowd, I am living my greatest dream.

3. What is the best book you have ever read?
There is no one best book! But this reminds me, I should re-read Contact by Carl Sagan.

4. What is your most cherished childhood memory?
Running through the back yard in our St. Louis house when the cottonwoods were dropping all their cotton. I used to pretend like I was in space zooming through the stars.

5. What is your best character trait or strength?
Poor attention span. It keeps me from being discouraged too long.

toronto lake

last weekend we camped out one night at the cross timbers state park in toronto, KS. we've done this a million times. we have our favorite campsite, it's pretty close to the playground. we wanted to stay two nights, but Olive let us know she was against ALL CAMPING. We debated whether to tell her tough, it's good for you, get off the damn minecraft and give your brain some nature time. but then marc and I decided to give in and compromise and camp one night. because it is good for her brain, but we also don't want to drag our kids kicking and screaming into something all the time. does that make us weak parents?

anyway she was fine. she still whined and complained and said she wanted to go home, but also asked if we could go on a "star walk"... which, unfortunately, was not great. full moon. we saw some stars but the moonlight beamed down on us all night, I even woke up at one point in the tent just bathed in light and had to move closer to the tent wall to find a shadow.

we showed up, went swimming, ate hotdogs on a fire, slept okay but it was still a little hot. in the morning Josie and I went on the short trail that's about a mile long, but marc doesn't like it because "ankle death". he lives in constant fear of rolling and angle, and steep rocky trails are the enemy. I don't understand why such a big guy has such skinny ankles. design flaw? one little roll and he just swells up. he doesn't even like walks on brick streets. I love walking on everything, all the time. Josie doesn't say much but surprisingly likes to go with me on things. so that's what we did in the morning. then her and I went swimming again. I read on the beach. we packed up and ate sandwiches for lunch and went home.

judy the dog is another family member who's half in, half out when it comes to keeping up with me. the first day she had fun on the beach, made new friends, other kids wanted to pet her and she was sweet. the second day she went on the trail with us. but when josie and I changed to go swimming again, judy just laid down by marc and olive in the shade. she didn't know exactly what we were up to, but she was tired of the action.

five uplifting subreddits

I realize this is a scattered category, but it's basically happy things going on, right?

first world anarchists

subreddits for positive people
BuyItForLife items that have been in use and held up for a very long time
DeTrashed before/after photos of areas where someone picked up a lot of trash
HappyCrowds celebrations
FirstWorldAnarchists people breaking silly rules (as illustrated)

a completely random honorable mention
HydroHomies excitement over drinking water. it's good for you!

if someone's name is in an email, make sure they see it?

A few weeks ago there was some Crisis At Work and engineering called me up, I explained all that we had done and how the world would soon be perfect again, and hung up.

Hours later I got an email... the engineer I'd talked with on the phone emailed all his colleagues to say "don't worry spacefem is all over it", they emailed their friends, who emailed their friends, who emailed their friends, and finally one guy sent it to me. It was harmless, but he said "I just think if someone's name is in an email they should always be CCed."

I jokingly told him I only needed to be CCed if they were talking shit on me, but the more I think about it, that's a good rule.

Because days later another thing happened... a customer emailed their sales guy with "and I'm still waiting for spacefem to call me back from Monday!"

sales guy sent me the email, asked when I was going to call him, I didn't know I was supposed to, apparently another rep said he'd have me call him. Well that's easy. I gave the guy a call.

I also like it when people say "Do I need to talk to your boss?", I usually take the liberty of cc-ing my boss on the reply. Might as well, right? We're a team, he can know if I'm messing up, I might need his help. If I have screwed up, he might as well hear it from me.

Of course this only works if you have good bosses. I count myself fortunate on that front. Life has been good.