Twenty-Six Little Mags & Finnick Things [PINNED POST]

September 3rd, 2017 4:15 pm by Kelly Garbato

2017-07-14 - For My Dog Mags (Fetch) - 0009 [flickr]

2017-07-28 - Treeloot Monkey Rodeo - 0004 [flickr]

Dear Mags,

It seems you have become my Kaylee 2.0. (That bitch again!) That’s not to say that you guys are interchangeable, or even all that much alike. Yet you are now the little old lady I love to spoil, whereas it used to be Kaylee. You’re not huge on snuggling (though definitely more down than Kaylee), yet we have a whole morning routine that’s worthy of a Folgers commercial. You’re here for me when I need you, and do I need you like whoah lately. It’s been a time, these past eight months/four years+++, and I cannot tell you how much it helps to have you by my side.

Wait, yes I can. You guys – you and Finnick and O-Ren – are the reason I’ve made it this far. The reason I choose to hang around, day after day after day.

You’re turning fourteen this year, and fourteen was Kaylee’s last. I can’t lie and say that doesn’t make me more than a little nervous. I hope you’re still here next year, and the year after that; long enough to see Trump’s impeachment (yea right!) and our move to New York. Long enough to get to know Hash and Roxie – and loathe them with every fiber of your being, on account of they divert some of the spotlight away from you. (See, you and Kaylee aren’t so very different after all!) At least until the sixth Bitch Planet TP comes out, so I can photograph you noming on it.

And if you’re not, that’s okay too, or will be in time. We’ve made so many wonderful memories in the past six years. And I have to disagree with Steve Earle on this one – they’re enough to warm my soul. I learned that from Kaylee. (Sorry!)

Love you, noodle.

– Mom

 

2017-07-13 - Outside with the Dogs - 0021 [flickr]

2017-07-08 - Finnick Does Not Want the Pool - 0004 [flickr]

Dear Finnick,

Dad should be here to write your letter this year, and it breaks my heart that he isn’t. I hope I’m doing right by you, though I know some days, not so much. (Friday was wild, right? CenturyLink really knows how to drive a girl crazy.)

You remind me more and more of Peedee every day. I always thought you two were so much alike – enough to repel each other! – but now you’ve taken on his role as comforter, too. Your rough edges are still in need of some light polishing, but I appreciate how willing you are to set your fear aside and snuggle on up to me when I’m having a bad day. Of all the dogs, Shane’s death hit you the hardest. And how could it not? You are a daddy’s boy, through and through. But it’s also led to a strange, sad kinship between the two of us. We are bound by loss, you and I.

But I don’t want for that to be the bond that defines us. I promise to try my best to soothe your hurt, the way you do mine – and also build some wonderful new memories, just the two of us. I love you so, so much, little buddy.

xoxo

– Mom

 

2017-08-07 - Walking at Jesse James Park - 0025 [flickr]

2017-07-19 - Rennie, Mags, Finnick - 0004 [flickr]\>

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Fifteen Little Peedee Things [PINNED POST]

August 30th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

2015-08-30 - The Birthday Boy & His Cake - 0010 [flickr]

Dear Peeds,

So you were kind of the best, weren’t you? I don’t think I fully appreciated your awesomeness until after you were gone, and that’s on me. You were hecka smart and kind of a handful, but also the most empathetic and comforting dog I’ve ever met. It all goes hand in paw, I guess.

Part of me wishes you were still here, because I could use a soft, furry shoulder to cry on. But I’m also glad you’re not, since these past few years have been terrible – that last eight months especially – and you don’t deserve all this. So it’s a relief, too, I guess, on account of I couldn’t stand upsetting you with all my tears and temper tantrums and fits. Mags and Rennie mostly ignore my hysterics, which is nice; they spare me the guilt. (Finnick, on the other hand? He takes after you. Which is why you hated each other, I suspect.)

Oh boy, this is pretty morose for a birthday letter, ain’t it? Just know that I love and miss you, and think about you all the time. You’re always with me, sweetheart, through good times and bad. Especially the bad.

I guess you’re my daemon, too.

Love Always,

Mom

2015-05-31 - Peedee on a Boat - 0018 [flickr]

 

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Everything is The Worst. [PINNED POST]

August 17th, 2017 4:06 pm by Kelly Garbato

2002-06-30 - KCTrip-Day08 - Stop01-Nelson-AtkinsGrounds-016 - Kelly&Shane [kim]

Oh, to be twenty-something again.
——————————

Just a few days into the new year, my husband, partner, and best friend Shane P. Brady passed away of natural causes. I’m tempted to add scare quotes because there doesn’t seem anything natural about being struck down by a heart attack at 41. It feels pretty got-damn unnatural to me. I went to bed worried about our foster dog, B., who had been vomiting off and on all day; by the time I woke up, Shane was already gone.

To say that the last two hundred-odd days have been difficult … well, “difficult” doesn’t even begin to cover it. In less than four years, I’ve lost four dogs, a grandmother, and now my husband. My life – my heart – is in tatters.

I knew that 2017 was going to be terrible, but I had no idea. We had Trump to look forward to, of course; the guy who blundered his way into the White House, buoyed by a swell of white nationalism and misogyny, and was all but guaranteed to fuck everyone’s shit up. (I had to give up on the news for awhile; it was just too much for me to bear, on top of everything else.)

On a more personal note, I expected continuing dog drama into 2017 and beyond: my youngest remaining dog is Finnick, who will soon turn twelve; he’s followed by O-Ren (13) and Mags (13 going on 14). It’s not unreasonably fatalistic to think that I’ll lose one or more of them this year; sooner rather than later, certainly. And there have been some health scares, though thankfully nothing fatal thus far; most notably, O-Ren’s heart murmur worsened to the point that she had a rather alarming fainting spell in June. Now I have to monitor her resting respiratory rate on the daily, which focuses my attention on her health issues even more, thus feeding into an awful, gut-churning cycle of stress and anxiety. I’m also pretty sure that Mags is going blind (though I can no longer afford to take her to the ophthalmologist for something as frivolous as confirmation), and probably deaf too, but that at least is manageable. It just breaks my heart to watch their old bodies start to fail them, you know?

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tweets for 2017-09-22

September 23rd, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-09-21

September 22nd, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-09-20

September 21st, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-09-19

September 20th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @GavinNewsom: Graham-Cassidy allows insurers to NOT cover:
    -Pregnancy
    -Newborn care
    -Mental health services
    -Prescription drugs
    -Rehab
    -… ->
  • RT @elongreen: would like to see an analysis of lost productivity because every few weeks we have to call our lawmakers and beg them not to… ->
  • RT @samswey: Capitalism is a room of white men extolling the virtue of ventures built with black labor while black workers serve the food &… ->
  • RT @Lexialex: White Americans are more concerned about Nazis getting punched than about black people getting killed by cops. And they don't… ->
  • RT @PaperFury: HOW TO CULL YOUR TBR LIST:
    • cautiously enter goodreads
    • delete some books
    • no no i said DELETE
    • did you just add books??… ->
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Book Review: Writing to Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery by Mark Matousek (2017)

September 19th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Writing Exercises for Self-Discovery

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for client case studies that sometimes include disturbing incidents, including rape.)

When I was a child and magic was afoot, the word abracadabra was synonymous with the power of manifestation. I could wave my magic wand over Doris the princess doll, or Boris the stuffed panda, and practically feel them come to life under the gravitas of the spell. Later in life, as a Harvard-trained scientist and researcher in the field of mind-body medicine, I discovered that abracadabra is more than magic-speak or a song by the Steve Miller Band. These Aramaic words mean, “I will create as I speak.”

Tell a story. Believe the story. And voila! It manifests in your cells, your brain, your heart, your behavior, and the choices you make…or don’t. We embody our stories quite literally, as these days we have the brain scans and hormonal assays to prove it. Mark Matousek, who is a writer rather than a scientist, knows this as well. He sometimes refers to us humans as Homo Narrans—the storytelling species. Stories slay and stories heal. Their transformative magic resides in our ability to identify them, learn from them, and—when necessary—change them.

– Joan Borysenko, PhD (“Foreword”)

— 3.5 stars —

I picked up a copy of Writing to Awaken about the same time as Getting Grief Right; I thought that the two books, when taken together, might provide some guidance in using journaling and storytelling to cope with the recent loss of my husband – and perhaps figure out what comes next for me.

Divided into twelve chapters and forty-eight “lessons,” Matousek challenges the reader to dive deeper; to find the truth behind your life story, which is often unreliable, watered down for mass consumption, and altered to omit certain uncomfortable truths. Though I suppose the exercises could help to overcome writer’s block, you don’t necessarily need to be a professional writer to find value here. Rather, Writing to Awaken is for anyone interested in journaling with a heavy emphasis on self-reflection and radical truth telling.

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tweets for 2017-09-18

September 19th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-09-17

September 18th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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September 17th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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September 16th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Mini-Review: Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy: A Journal by Robie Rogge & Dian G. Smith (2017)

September 15th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Well, I like the *idea* of it…

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books. Click on the images to embiggen.)

— 3.5 stars —

As a naturally gloomy and anxious person – one of my nicknames, and one I wear proudly, is Kelly Killjoy – a “happiness journal” seems like something I could really use in my life. I tend to only journal when things are going sideways, carrying merrily on my way when everything’s coming up roses (or Dave Kim, as it were), resulting in a record of my life that’s skewed heavily toward the negative. And that’s no fun, right?

Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy: A Journal is a pretty swell idea. From its bright yellow cover, decked out in shiny silver and vibrant rainbow text, to its white and orange insides, Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy more or less oozes unicorns and birthday cake and that one REM song. Each page features a happy quote or graphic, along with a writing prompt inspired by said quote. There’s a space to pencil in the date for each exercise and, with the exception of the New Year’s themed ones, you can pretty much pace yourself how you want: work through each page in chronological order; skip around to your heart’s content; or only write when you feel inspired (though skipping days kind of negates the “do one thing every day” part, don’t you think?).

The prompts run the gamut; here are just a few to give you a taste:
* Where scratching felt sweetest day.
* A pleasure of mine that no one can understand.
* My life would seem longer without.
* Why I laughed at myself today.
* A luxury I don’t need in order to be happy.

As much as I love the idea of this journal, as per usual with Clarkson Potter journals, the execution leaves something to be desired. The journal is very small – about 6″ x 4.5″ – making it somewhat difficult to write in. Additionally, many (but not all) of the quotes/graphics take up an inordinate amount of space on the page – usually somewhere around 2/3 to 4/5 of a page, leaving precious little room for your response! The lines are pretty small too, maybe college ruled at best.

I wish they’d go all out and make some oversized journals, preferably with nice, roomy lines – and lay-flat binding, too, while we’re dreaming! Until then, this one will do.

Killjoy, who me?

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

tweets for 2017-09-14

September 15th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-09-13

September 14th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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September 13th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale (2017)

September 12th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

“We aren’t historic figures; we are modern women.”

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for allusions to violence against women, suicidal ideation, genocide, and racism and sexism.)

It’s strange to me how people always want me to be an “authentic Indian.” When I say I’m Haudenosaunee, they want me to look a certain way. Act a certain way. They’re disappointed when what they get is . . . just me. White-faced, red-haired. They spent hundreds of years trying to assimilate my ancestors, trying to create Indians who could blend in like me. But now they don’t want me either. I’m not Indian enough. They can’t make up their minds. They want buckskin and war paint, drumming, songs in languages they can’t understand recorded for them, but with English subtitles of course. They want educated, well-spoken, but not too smart. Christian, well-behaved, never questioning. They want to learn the history of the people, but not the ones who are here now, waving signs in their faces, asking them for clean drinking water, asking them why their women are going missing, asking them why their land is being ruined. They want fantastical stories of the Indians that used to roam this land. They want my culture behind glass in a museum. But they don’t want me. I’m not Indian enough.

(“The Invisible Indians,” Shelby Lisk)

Because history moves like a fevered heat down through the arteries of generations
Because PTSD to the family tree is like an ax Because colonization is the ghosts of buffalos with broken backs
Because today only burning flags could be found at the ghost dance of my people

(“Stereotype This,” Melanie Fey)

I feel like I should begin this review with a word of caution: If you see any complaints about formatting problems ahead of the pub date, disregard them. The Kindle version of this ARC is indeed a hot mess, but this is par for the course when it comes to books with a heavy graphic element. The acsm file, read on Adobe Digital Editions (which I loathe, but happily suffered for this book!), gives a much clearer picture of what the finished, physical copy is meant to look like. And, if Amazon’s listing is any indication, #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women will only be released in print.

That said, #Notyourprincess is fierce, vibrant, and nicely organized. It feels a lot like an experimental art project, and I mean that in the best way possible. Within these here pages you’ll find an eclectic mix of personal essays, poems, quotes, photographs, line art, watercolors, comics, portraits of activists and athletes, and interviews with Native women. #LittleSalmonWoman (Lianne Charlie) even adopts the format of an Instagram page, while “More Than Meets the Eye” (Kelly Edzerza-Babty and Claire Anderson) profiles ReMatriate, which shares images of modern Native women on social media in order to reclaim their identities and broaden our ideas of what a “real” Native American woman looks like. (The quote in my review’s title comes from Claire Anderson, a founding member of ReMatriate.)

The topics touched upon run the gamut: genocide, colonization, forced assimilation, cultural appropriation, kidnapping, rape, domestic violence, mass incarceration, mental illness, sexuality, addiction, street harassment, homelessness, and intergenerational trauma.

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tweets for 2017-09-11

September 12th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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September 11th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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September 10th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-09-08

September 9th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-09-07

September 8th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @dog_rates: We only rate dogs. This is quite clearly a smol broken polar bear. We'd appreciate if you only send dogs. Thank you… 12/10… ->
  • RT @GadGooner: 13/10 would park on this level. @dog_rates https://t.co/54VXTc0nkd ->
  • RT @TheRealDerv: lol if you think i actually hired a photographer to take pictures of my new puppy then you're exactly right bc i totally d… ->
  • RT @dog_rates: Meet Czar. He would've turned 30 this year. Here he is looking innocent as h*ck and overwhelmed by a giant tennis ball. 13/1… ->
  • 92% done with The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, by Stephen King: "Dad’d been putting the extra i… https://t.co/Pvm5WMUaQ8 ->
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tweets for 2017-09-06

September 7th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato