Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Adventures in Homeownership: Reseal the Deck or just get covered in red paint

The last time I posted a house update, it was February. Time becomes an abstract concept when you plan a vow renewal and then dive into a work conference that results in 17 hour days.

But the husband and I realized we needed to reseal and clean up the deck. We hadn't done anything to it since moving in nearly three years ago and it sat, unloved for nearly three years before that.



This is what it looked like, after we'd taken the trash cans/tables/etc off.

We then took a long handled scrub brush and plain water and scrubbed to our heart's content. The stuff that came off was green and smelled. I was glad to bid it adeu.

(another angle, pre-cleaning)

The husband, scrubbing. We continued cleaning Friday night until 9:30 or so.

Behr was offering rebates this weekend and had the color we wanted.

We chose Barn Red and it came out a lot brighter than was pictured in store, but we'll see if it ages nicely in the next month or so. We have a semi-transparent (the red was solid) light brown we can brush over it, too.

And this is Sunday, after it dried overnight. We painted the benches and the lower step, seen in the center right, with older stains we had on-hand. The wood feels so much better and while some spots will need replacing or touch up, I feel much better about the heat of the summer doing its worst to the deck.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Snippets: Three Day Weekend Cometh

And I'm very stoked for it.

I think about this all the time

And for the man in the back, fuck you too

According to Loeb, Vergara refuses to relinquish possession of the embryos. “These are issues that, unlike abortion, having nothing to do with the rights over one’s own body, and everything to do with a parent’s right to protect the life of his or her unborn child,” he wrote in an op-ed published by the New York Times.

#Dontrell Stephens 

Exclusively-obtained dash-cam video shows Dontrell Stephens, 20, talking on a cellphone while riding his bike on a Friday morning in September 2013. He can be seen turning onto Norma Elaine Road near Haverhill Road and Okeechobee Boulevard as PBSO deputy Adams Lin trails him. Moments later, Stephens realizes he’s being followed. He pulls over, gets off his bike with a cellphone in his right hand. And then, right there, Officer Lin begins to unload his gun into Dontrell Stephens. With nowhere to go, he gets shot in the back over and over and over again. Immediately, Officer Lin lies and says that he told Dontrell to get on the ground multiple times, but nothing of the sort happened.

The Larger Problem in Baltimore

Imagine that, cops non-violently disarming a situation

What a wonderful thought

This happened right up the road from me

The few media reports on Hall's death have been tinged with transphobia, with a Washington Post article continuing to describe Hall and Fleming as "men dressed as women," a revelation which it referred to as a "shocking twist." The Post also described the street scene where Hall and Fleming worked as a "choreography of cliches," focusing on the high heels, short shorts, and heavy makeup of the women.

In contrast to the outrage that the deaths of black men like Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and Gray have prompted on social media, there has been very little attention given to Hall's death. As a black trans sex worker, she and Fleming have been written off as "troubled." On Tumblr and Reddit, platforms that are usually supportive of transgender victims of violence and black victims of police brutality, Mya Hall's name is notably absent.


Violence may be wrong, but the powerful are given permission to use it, and the powerless are condemned when they fight back.

In what could be an exciting linguistic turn for trans and gender-nonconforming folks, the Oxford English Dictionary is considering adding the gender-neutral honorific Mx. to future editions.

Pronounced “mix” or “mux,” the term has been gaining mainstream traction in the U.K. in the last several years. According toBritish newspaper The Sunday Times, government departments, the postal service, and some universities and banks all accept the term on official forms.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday Snippets: Baltimore

In solidarity. 

Goddamn white people

Fuck you Nestle

Nestlé is the #1 bottle water producer in the country and own the brands Arrowhead and Pure Life. The company's response? Don't worry, folks. Nestlé "monitors its water use and the environment around the springs where water is drawn." The California drought has gotten so bad we've been warned there is only a one-year supply left in the reservoirs. In Sacramento, Nestlé has recently been under fire from environmental activists, calling the company's unregulated tapping of California aquifers a "corporate giveaway":

Fuck yes Jesse Williams


Brb, vomiting everything I've ever eaten

they would steal the babies during the course of the day, some would be infants, some would be a yr old, some would be toddlers they would grab these children, take them down to the swamp & leave them in pens like little chicken coops.

I think I've drunk all of those wines at one point or another

#YesAllWomen Posters

I'm not crying, it's raining on my face

Not all cats are jerks


God forbid we pay attention to the real problem


On November 26, 2013, 38 year old Ervin Edwards, partially deaf and mentally ill, was arrested by police for sagging his pants and taken to the West Baton Rouge Parish jail in Louisiana. He only lived for a few more minutes inside of the cell.

For 18 months, police have lied over and over again about what happened the night Ervin Edwards died in their custody. Now that a video of their despicable actions has been released, ( Warning very tough to watch ) it’s clear they murdered this man and left him to die all alone in his jail cell. 

And there it is & times two

Friday, May 1, 2015

"Choose what to keep, not what to get rid of"

I chose quality as my 2015 word. Part of doing so was to hone my focus on my "favorites" this year. And a hefty chunk was of that was decluttering. I'm like the best flow chart ever.

Clothing wise, I've been paring down for well over a year now. Now that I've gotten most of the extraneous out, I'm making sure to keep my closet small; for example, I only own three pairs of jeans. I won't shop for another pair until one of those pairs wears out and is unusable.

Another aspect of quality is experiences; making time for friends instead of bingeing on Netflix or sitting down with a book instead of web surfing. I always feel better by the end of the day, if I checked at least one thing off my to-do list that actually needed to get done.

But what has ended up being the hardest is online clutter. Pamela Druckerman says,
           "But the more stuff I shed, the more I realize that we de-clutterers feel besieged by more than just our possessions. We’re also overwhelmed by the intangible detritus of 21st-century life: unreturned emails; unprinted family photos; the ceaseless ticker of other people’s lives on Facebook; the heightened demands of parenting; and the suspicion that we’ll be checking our phones every 15 minutes, forever. I can sit in an empty room, and still get nothing done."

I am aiming for a complete purge of my online accounts this summer. I already use UnRollMe (great service btw) but I want to get rid of more. Courtney Carver has some great tips here. I recently discovered this blog and really loved what she had to say about possessions (but I suppose it could apply to online items):

          "But, if we are being honest … if you need to figure out how to fit everything you own into your living space, your storage method isn’t the problem, neither is the size of your house (in most cases at least) … it’s the amount of stuff you own....By putting the focus on what things you want to keep instead of throw away, you are diverting your attention to the positive aspect of decluttering, which makes the whole thing a lot easier and more effective."


Choose what to keep, not what to get rid of

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


My heart goes out to the protestors. They've been ignored and killed. And then when they try to speak out, the same damn thing that happened in Ferguson happened; people hijacking the protest, to riot and act like idiots.

I pray that each child finds their way home, unharmed


White people need to speak out against the shit that is going on

Yes, not everyone is trying to riot

The hypocrisy is stunning  We don't condemn the entire white race when one of them shoots up a movie theater.

Goddamn white people

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Snippets: The Year of all of the Things

I have two first birthday parties, a bridal shower, a wedding, our vow renewal, and a huge work conference in the next two months. I miss sleep.

Belgium is abolishing all prison sentences under one year

“A short prison sentence, a try-out in jail, rarely leads to good results. It does not contribute to re-integration, but helps inmates to learn bad habits,” Mr Geens told MPs on the announcement of the measures.

Cats in a nutshell

I love dogs When I lived with friends during college breaks, they had the most hyper dog ever. She was a sweetie but a nut. Whenever I had bad endo pains flare, she knew immediately and would come and lay her head on my lap until I felt better.

My jaw hit the floor  In what universe is this ok?

Very cool! And not just because I'm married to a mechanic.

Important PSA

Yeah, fuck Indiana

Stuff it: Millennials nix their parents’ treasures

Because this makes sense

Color me surprised that this was a response


22-year-old Ramsey Orta, the young man who filmed the NYPD killing Eric Garner, was arrested shortly after on trumped up charges. He has since been locked up at the notorious Rikers prison in New York.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Origins of #TeamSchwopkins

Given my penchant for talking...ranting about the last name debate, I would have thought everyone from here to Pluto would know how Schwopkins came to be.

I was coming home from a wonderfully pleasant bachelorette party (and no I wasn't even drunk!) and the topics of names came up. When I gave the tl:dr version of Schwopkins, one of my friends looked surprised and said "Oh, that's where it came from. I didn't know."

So in non-tl:dr format, the origin story.

I actually, once up a time, toyed with the idea of changing my name upon saying I do. My father isn't in my life and hasn't been for a long time. The Schweitzer side of the family was not all that kind to me and my brothers after my parents split up. Etc, etc.

But then I kept trying to say Jillian Hopkins without choking. I didn't know who that person was. I have been published under Schweitzer. My three names flow together very well. There is also the fact that frequently women are told, "Well, it's just trading one man's name for another." I've never heard a man being told, "Well, your surname really isn't yours, it's just your father's." I've accepted that we have a patrilineal naming system but I've made my name my own and to be told I needed to pick one man's name or another makes my damn teeth itch.


Once I graduated, I had decided that I was keeping my name. All things were hunky dory until our first Christmas. Cards were rolling in to the new Mr. & Mrs. Hopkins. I may have growled repeatedly at the mailbox.

And then a dear friend sent a card.

She came up with Schwopkins all on her own.

I texted her my undying love and we started jokingly using Schwopkins whilst in our social circles. And it has since stuck. We use it for our holiday cards and I've been tempted to use it for our future kids, too.

I really really love the idea of a team name. I get the excitement many women have when they get to declare themselves TeamNewLastName. I'm glad I get to have that team feeling, but with a name that is literally both of ours.

Like our marriage, it's a team effort.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Snippets: Harry Potter

I decided to start this year with a reread of Harry Potter and catch up on most of the movies, since I've only seen three.

I'd forgotten how much I love this series. Also, werewolves start on page 394.

Marissa Alexander: In Her Own Words So very powerful.

"To all the women who silently made history"

Well, damn, there it is Absolutely shameful

Remembering International Working Women's Day

Pictures from the March from Selma


19-year-old unarmed teen, Tony Robinson, was shot and killed by police in Madison, Wisconsin last Friday night. According to several news sources, Madison Police Chief Koval said they received calls looking for a man who had committed battery and was jumping in and out of traffic One of the police officers, Matthew Kenny, spotted Tony and then proceeded to follow him into his apartment and forced his way in after claiming to “hear a disturbance inside”. the unarmed teen then “got into an altercation” with the Officer who then shot him 5 times in the chest, and dragged him out to the street while he bled out. He was later rushed to the hospital where he later died.

File under badass people I would have liked to learn about

God bless Jessica Williams

Yup, because rape culture isn't a thing at all

The victim was able to escape the male classmates after fifteen minutes of torture, running into a fifth grade classroom and alerting a teacher of what had happened. The principle of the elementary school said he had a “man to man” talk with the boys and their parents, giving them two days of suspension. He neglected calling the local authorities claiming “it did not seem like a police matter, just simple rough housing gone a little too far”.


Powerful photo

This week in Things We Should Have Been Taught in School


Heartbreaking For taking a picture of snow?

TW: This 21-year-old woman faces decades in prison for trying to escape her abuser

“If there’s a court order protecting a woman, at the very least the woman who is the beneficiary of that order shouldn’t have to retreat,” Gerety said. “Fifty percent of these orders are disobeyed. The woman should not have any duty to retreat from the person who is told not to assault, harass and threaten her. It’s as if that order didn’t even exist.”

FEELS Not all cats are assholes

Between 1971 and 1991 in Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic and Slovakia, the “reduction of the Roma population” through surgical sterilization, performed without the knowledge of the women themselves, was a widespread governmental practice. The sterilization would be performed on Romani women without their knowledge during Caesarean sections or abortions. Some of the victims claim that they were made to sign documents without understanding their content. By signing these documents, they involuntarily authorized the hospital to sterilize them. In exchange, they sometimes were offered financial compensation or material benefits like furniture from Social Services – though it was not explicitly stated what this compensation was for. The justification for sterilization practices according to the stakeholders was “high, unhealthy” reproduction.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Snippets: Dear Spring, Is that You?

I was able to shed my winter coat on Saturday. And it's supposed to be in the 50's all this week!

Bonus: National Women's Day is today!

And there it is

Flying kitty!

TW: Rape in the American Prison System A very hard read but a necessary one

Fucking this


Dear God, fuck the phrase "choreplay"

Besides, those men who will only pick up a broom because the faint promise of fellatio is in the offing are not the type of men who are likely that interested in ongoing equality at home. There are but a few men who don’t know that the cultural expectation today is that they’ll do a fair share of the housework; saying that it’ll take a little T&A to convince them to vacuum just reinforces that women are supposed to provide sex and do all the housework in the first place. That’s not leaning in as much as it’s going in reverse.

You have a problem with children being children?

Selma Anniversary

Even as the nation continues to deal with the harsh realities of racism today, the quality of life for black Americans has improved in many ways since Selma's "Bloody Sunday" 50 years ago. But we still have a long way to go. As the ceremonies begin this weekend to celebrate the landmark civil rights march, it is important to reflect on the progress -- or a lack of it -- that's occurred when it comes to true racial justice and equality for all African-Americans.

So sad, but a happy ending Also file under, Fuck People

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Snippets: It's been a week

Um. So this week. I got food poisoning, bruised myself shoveling snow, my car's hatch dropped on my head and I also gave myself a minor concusssion and dented a table, when I bent down to put my snow boots on.

Which goddess did I royally piss off?

An interesting concept


A Moroccan man in France was brutally killed after being stabbed 17 times in front of his wife at his own home by a neighbour in what is described as a “horrible Islamophobic attack”.

Oh, kitties.

Powerful haiku

Sandy beach picture So calming

Welp, there it is

Peaceful woods picture

5 Black Trans Women Who Paved the Way

Well, this baby is hysterical

Horrifying (TW)

The media attention surrounding the Isla Vista shootings was a twofold gift for the group, driving new recruits to the movement and allowing A Voice for Men to present itself as the moderate middle. Some men tried to distance themselves from Rodger with a hashtag, #notallmen. Many more women—a million within days—responded with #yesallwomen, as in, yes, all women have experienced variations of the misogyny that led Rodger to his crimes. The manosphere did not like this. "Men are your benefactors, your protectors, and your providers," a writer at A Voice for Men explained. "So the next time you trend a hashtag about us, maybe you say 'thank you' instead."

“The truth is: Even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women,” Arquette reflected. “And it’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

*rubs eyes* BUh-what?! No, no, no, no. Has she never heard of intersectionality?!