“Button, button, who’s got the button?”


As long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to the rosary and the crucifix & prayer beads and ornaments in other spiritual practices. I like jewelry and talismans that serve a functional purpose in addition to aesthetic ornament. Counting prayers and blessings and being mindful of mistakes, and meditating on how to do better next time, are all very important skillsets in which I am lacking. 

I don’t attend Catholic mass regularly, and I don’t have a rosary, and I don’t know all the prayers prompted by the rosary format. But when I try to take time to be still and quiet and repeat a mantra or prayer, my childhood training usually takes my mind to the Lord’s Prayer; it’s what’s easiest for me, it’s what I know. Having something in my hand to focus my physical fidgets and keep count is one less thing I have to hold in my head. 

The evening I recently wrote about, when I spent entirely too long focusing on the certainty that kids went to bed hungry as a result of technology requirements to attend public school during the pandemic, I felt an overwhelming need to work on that prayer counting skillset. I dug a remnant piece of flannel, some buttons, and thread out of a sundries box and whipped up the most rugged set of prayer buttons you’ve ever seen in your life. If that first set of buttons was a pig at a fair, we could name it Wilbur and hope that Charlotte spins a web. But twenty minutes later, when my eyes were closed and I was praying like the world depended on it, didn’t matter what the buttons looked like, only mattered the buttons were in my hands. 

Since then, I’ve been inspired to make all kinds of prayer buttons. Suuuuuuuper long strings of buttons that take about three hours for me to get through. Tiny pocket size strings of buttons that I can fiddle pray with when I have a minute to just sit outside with the sun on my face. Medium length buttons that sit nicely on my bedside table and are more accessible than a three hour sit when I feel less ambitious, but longer than a pocket size when my heart hurts. 

The process of making the prayer buttons has become almost as therapeutic as using the prayer buttons, and my life has changed substantially since I made an effort to sit with those buttons several times a day. I can’t promise the same result for anyone else, that’s just been my experience; my life changed substantially when I made a conscious commitment to spend more time in prayer. 

Wilbur: some pig
Ruth: birds & trees & bicycle dreams
To Whom It May Concern
Long Forms
War & Peace
The SS Minnow
Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
The Rise & Shine
Cruella de Vil

More soon, much Love,

-Effie

When my time comes around, lay me gently in the cold, dark earth…

Been thinkin’ about Grandpa collapsing by the wood pile and tryin’ to die in that backyard, only to be moved to the hospital bed and his body buried in Arkansas. 

There’s something really strange about cemeteries… putting bodies in boxes and digging a predetermined hole like a garbage landfill, instead of leaving the body where it fell to give back to the earth from which it took. 

I’m as certain as I can be that ancient Mayan, Incan, Egyptian, Roman, Greek, etc etc etc temples and pyramids, which no one can explain the geometry and physics of where the bricks came from and how they got there… I think each brick is a body, I think those temples aren’t just built by slaves, but of slaves… enough time and heat and pressure and those stacked coffins compress into bricks. Stone in the earth is compressed and fossilized bone and exoskeleton materials; enormous stones above ground which no one can explain, is compressed and fossilized bone and exoskeleton materials. 

When the Lord calls me home, just leave my body where it falls. 

More soon, much Love,

-Effie

Knock knock. Who’s there? Ask someone else.

A few years ago, I shaved my head and stopped talking and my “friends and family” tried to have me institutionalized. Being called insane in an insane world is an enormous compliment. Today was a very important day:

“Hey, here’s an update I’ve been working on for a while & it’s important to start communicating with you about it:

Late 2014 and 2015, the first time I shaved my head, stopped talking, and started writing everything with a pen a paper, those choices weren’t well received by “friends & family.” I believe that was because it was too sudden of a change for everyone to respect, and instead of trying to understand why I made those choices, everyone expressed their beliefs that to shave one’s head and stop talking was psychotic. As a result, I [grew] my hair back out, [until I could] look and behave the way everyone expected, and slowly begin the process again at a pace which was acceptable to everyone else… we learned how to rebuild our relationship as much as we could, and I’m so grateful for that time.

This week, I have again begun the process of not speaking & writing everything with a pen and paper, or typing electronically. [The service pup] is doing really well with hand signals instead of verbal commands, and [her pup buddy] is tethered to her harness so he does whatever [service pup] does. It’s kind of awesome. I am spending the rest of this month & early next month, while I am still in [town] meeting with a handful of friends and acquaintances to let them know that the next time we see each other I’ll be writing instead of speaking. I learned a lot from the response the world expressed the first time I tried to do this, and I’m hopeful that this new approach will make the change more graceful & loving.

I’ve told you that the furbs and I are hoping, planning, and intending to move next month with hopes to start a community garden. This feels like an important moment and opportunity for me to begin that journey as I am most comfortable, in silence. My new neighbors will meet me as I am, and I will be able to start a fresh chapter without having to explain why.

Here’s the very, very important part: while we are so far apart, I will always make an exception to my choice so that I may speak with you on the phone. It is my choice to live in silence, and I never want to silence you with that choice. I love hearing your voices, and knowing how you’re doing, and letting you know that I’m here for you anytime, no matter what, to help any way I can. So nothing will change with our communication at this time, we can still talk and text on the phone as often as you want. But I want to let you know how my life is changing here so that when we see each other in person again you’ll know what to expect.

I love you so much, and I’m so proud of you, and I’m so grateful that you let me be your [parent.]”

More soon, much Love,

-Effie

Tech Companies stole the kids’ lunch money, while the government laughed and shoved everyone in a locker.

I recently spent a long evening talking about my opinion on the adverse and disproportionate punishment the pandemic brought to the lives of those who are struggling the most, families who are already just barely hanging on to the bottom wrung of the economic ladder and barely clinging to social mobility with the worn thin enamel of our teeth.

I’m not certain how families juggled the sudden crisis of childcare. With no warning, families—who are already just barely able to hold together the piecemeal patchwork of a life not designed to simultaneously fund the costs to raise kids, sleep inside, and eat food—had to scramble and find a way to have kids at home and still work enough hours in the week to pay the bills. On top of that life breaking stress, suddenly families had kids who were in remote learning programs facilitated by expensive electronics most people don’t have.

When a tablet becomes required to attend school, not a school supply to participate in class when already present (like a pen and paper), but a gatekeeping so enormously entrenched that the tablet becomes required like the actual school building itself, to even sit in class and listen to the conversation; when the tablet becomes the school building; when the parents have paid property taxes and been promised a public education for their kids; when the parents then have to purchase another school building in the form of a tablet which is equivalent to at least half a month’s rent, then the government & the tech companies who profited from those tablets owe the parents a refund.

Surely the tech companies could receive a tax credit for the charitable donation of a new school building to every kid in the United States, surely the government shouldn’t keep the taxes collected from the parents who had to buy a private school building with no notice to budget or plan; one way or another, someone stole the kids’ grocery money and should give it back.

Yesterday was the standard annual IRS deadline to file taxes and claim refunds, and I have yet to hear anyone mention any compensation for every kid in the United States’ school system forced to purchase a building to attend public school. It is possible someone has mentioned the necessity of said refund, perhaps I just couldn’t hear the conversation over the growling of all those hungry bellies. No kid wants to be the oddball out, when wearing your older siblings hand me downs & eating free lunches is a slow death via peer pressure, almost no kid is going to say, “I haven’t eaten dinner in a week, and our utilities got disconnected, because Mom had to buy a new tablet so I could attend school.” Almost no kid will say that for fear of being the only kid who experienced that, but rest assured and for certain that many kids went to bed hungry in houses with no utilities because they couldn’t eat the tablet & the school system wasn’t serving lunch.

More soon, much Love,

-Effie

Andrés Manuel López Obrador Schools United States President

I watched this video clip yesterday wherein Biden is very diplomatically credited for the changes in border policy. The most interesting content—in a two and a half minute package— wasn’t the spoken words.

Fox News didn’t have the decency to even mention his name in the headline, nor in the written paragraphs of video description. I have never heard the man’s name before. I have also never seen a United States federal press release translated into sign language, and I’m assuming that Fox News didn’t bother with the voice dubbed translation.

Government-Manufactured, Fuck Your Constitutional Rights, Bullshit Propaganda

There aren’t many rooms I could sit in and be considered a gun freak. I’m not opposed to guns, I used to be, but my perspective on firearms has changed a lot over the years. I’m firmly in the Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People camp now. I believe that unless more is done to assess, address, treat, and heal the part of humanity which manifests murderous behavior, projecting all of that onto an inanimate object and blaming guns, or any other weapon, for human shortcomings is shirking our responsibility to be better and do better. “It’s not that *I’m* a bad person, or that *you’re* a bad person, it’s the guns!” I could go on for far too long giving this context, so for now, I’ll stop with my personal narrative and move on to my point.

I watched a clip of a press conference with Rapey McBiden & his new General of Attorneys talking about an executive order on gun control. It was a very brief clip, but I could write an epic tome on the content. I’ll try to be slightly more brief than an epic tome.

First of all, executive orders are tantamount to Presidential Post-It notes. The Obama administration practically rewrote the entire federal everything with Post-It notes & cocktail napkins. It was really impressive and kind of amazing to watch. Everyone just acted like the Post-It notes were real, actual laws in some Bizarro Government Twilight Zone. But yesterday’s Post-It note on “guns” (maybe the least specific, least accurate, doesn’t instill a lot of faith in the legislative suggestions) was so toothless it doesn’t even have dentures. It wasn’t an Executive Order, there was no order. It was a televised brain fart. He just kind of said some stuff about “guns.”

The new General of the Attorneys, however, had some interesting stuff to say. It’s a very valid point he made about plastic and 3-D printed guns with no serial numbers and kits you can make at home. How’s the government going to regulate that? Can’t. So, how’s the government going to justify regulating and restricting law abiding citizens who access firearms legally, through the system as it currently functions? Only the above board, documented, tax paying purchases of forged metal, serial stamped, highly regulated tools will be *more* regulated, but the super off-grid radical extremist (I don’t mind it, but that’s what it is) homemade plastic/3-D printed weapons are as accessible as a BIC lighter and a Molotov Cocktail. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

Keeping in mind that I’m just barely to the right of center on this topic, I have to say I’m not a huuuuge fan of “guns,” I am a huge fan of Civil Rights. The Executive Post-It Note that didn’t contain an order at all, but hinted at the possibility of reforming absolutely nothing, highlights several Constitutional Violations and flat out disregard for Civil Rights; but I’ll focus on one that really chaps my ass, because it’s everyone’s favorite Get Out Of The Constitution Free Card.

The Saturday Night Live sketch absurdity of the slogan that the government should, “take guns out of the hands of violent criminals” is the most epic level of Government Manufactured Fuck Your Constitutional Rights Bullshit Propaganda ever, on several levels. On a purely superficial functional level, refer back to the plastic 3-D printers and shut up. So let’s dive a little more deeply into the real point.

That argument, to disarm violent criminals, all things being equal, just means you’re disarming the weak sauce criminals who got caught and therefore are not a threat to anyone. “Violent criminals” don’t get caught, convicted of felonies, and sent to prison for your moronic Disarm The Public registry; violent criminals cash government paychecks. But that also isn’t the point.

The point is that convincing the general public that brazenly violating the 2nd Amendment & denying a large population of people almost every Constitutional Right, is an incredible long-game engineered Civil Rights violation the likes of which we haven’t seen since Jim Crowe laws at voting booths, separate but not equal everything, and public lynchings in town squares. Because when you’re talking about the statistics of convicted felons, the people the government is so keen on disarming, you’re talking about Black & Brown Men.

It doesn’t take a lot of explaining beyond that point, but if you need any more food for that thought to grow inside your gut, think about the social engineering that the United States government has ever so gently painted with a light handed watercolor pastel for the past, what?, six decades? since the Civil Rights Act of 1963.

As a nation, we sat around pretending that The Emancipation Proclamation had an Obama Level of Executive Post-It Note power, when in reality it had a McRapey No Dentures Brain Fart level of did nothing. When warriors sat at lunch counters, refused the back of the bus, and went on national television at the expense of assassination, to say, “Hell no,” the Civil Rights Act was an unnecessary, and equally Unconstitutional national platitude of a cocktail napkin. People of Color didn’t and don’t need yet another separate and not equal 40 Acres and a Mule legislation which segregates portions of the population. We the People all need the laws we already have to apply to everyone. No new laws, just enforce the laws we already have. That’s not legislative, that’s judicial.

Too many people cash paychecks for writing laws (how many friggin’ people are in the Congressional buildings now anyway??), and have to justify those paychecks by writing lotttttts of laws. And too many judges cash lifelong paychecks while the Judicial Branch enforces fuck all nothing. Because the bigotry, the bias, the deep seated hatred in the human heart which brings Civil Rights violations to the courts, begging for enforcement, exists in the hearts of the humans sitting the bench.

So the Judicial System, which is the Branch responsible for enforcing our Civil Rights is *also* the gateway to being labeled a felon, and is therefore the branch of the government exclusively responsible for stamping a person’s Civil Rights Card with a big red rubber stamp of Violated For Life. That’s only the first half of the hugely messed up professional conflict of interest and whole-system failure in this one tinnnny point. But remember that first half when we get to the second half in a bit.

Take a look at those statistics & the way the penal code and Judicial System has changed ever so slowwwwwly and polittttely since 1963. You wanna talk about felonious collusion? How about the gradual erosion of the public, via the now privatized for profit human eugenics farm of the United States prison system. Black & Brown Men are disproportionately targeted & culled from the public, and shoved out the back door with absolutely no rights.

Taking the race and ethnicity filter off for just a moment, which is almost impossible to do, the Constitution does not have any stipulation that Constitutional Rights are for everyone except for someone who ever committed a crime. You wanna know why? Because the people who wrote The Constitution were revolutionary radical felons who committed treason by writing the document!! The entire premise of the Constitution is to protect people from this exact kind of total disregard for individual rights, and we’re all too busy drinking Starbucks to notice.

Here’s the second half of that two-part conflict of interest and What The Fuck Failure mentioned above: The federal penal code, as enforced by the Judicial Branch, is written on the premise that the time served is time served, equal and proportionate to the crime charged and convicted (which is a whole other pile of bullshit, but whatever for the purposes of this point). If a person has served the time, and been deemed rehabilitated and released back into public society, then the person has served their time and should be reintegrated back into public society with all the same rights and freedom as everyone else. It’s not catch, tag, and release. If the Judicial System is so ineffective that the time served isn’t time served, then there’s no justifiable point in prisons at all (newsflash, there absolutely isn’t a justifiable point in prisons at all). A lifelong scarlet letter definitely isn’t part of the deal.

The Judicial Branch is supposed to invest every work day enforcing Constitutional Rights. Our current system squanders lifetime appointments to the bench intentionally removing those rights in an effort to segregate and enslave large portions of the public, who are then, very conveniently, left with no right to vote.

More soon, much Love,

-Effie

Disclaimer, growth plan, and rebuilding

I’ve noticed on the stats tracking that strangers have stumbled on this content, so I feel compelled to give a disclaimer. I can’t imagine that anyone is interested in the moment-to-moment daily evolution of the thoughts in my head right now; I’m writing this stuff for myself, not you… so if my journal is boring to you then just go read the package label on your toilet paper.

I’ve spent the bulk of the day writing out: planning for the next month to move out of the house (gave the landlords notice), the next 3-6 months build on the garden lots & bed designs, and a manageable projection for growth, cost, and logistics for the next one to three years.

I also managed to stain a few panels of a trash & water bin I’m gonna build next time I’m on site, and the furbs and I had an awesome day of bonding and continuing the work of rebuilding routine and structure which got stressed to the point of near FUBAR this past year. Solid day.

More soon, much Love,

-Effie

Houses, and stuff, and healing

I used to be really good at moving. Relocating was just a throw a dart at a map and go process. Now the stakes seem so much higher. It’s not just moving; it’s a whole new life, a whole new structure and philosophy and definition.

I’ve never wanted to own a house, a building that breaks in ways I can’t fix. I’ve never understood the appeal, and I tried to adjust who I am for a long time so I could fit into that required structure & it’s just not who I am. I don’t understand the constant process of cleaning a house inside so the outside (dirt) won’t be inside. I don’t understand the process of having neighbors who are always one wall away… that’s not a neighbor, that’s a housemate, that’s double the stuff I don’t want. I like sharing my life with the furbs, humans always try to kill me and I’ve learned it’s not wise to try and share my life with humans who want to kill me. So this move isn’t just a move, it’s a constant process of resisting the lifelong force to be someone I’m not.

I start falling into that almost unbreakable formula I’ve been taught as a muscle memory solution to how I should proceed. I need a place to store my stuff? The solution to that is a house with a locked door and utility bills and air conditioning and plumbing and a mortgage! When I know the solution to that is the entire premise of the belief that I need a place to store my stuff.

When my kiddo took an interest in riddles, we spent some time talking about the construct of riddles. It’s usually a layer cake of complexity with multiple “right answers” depending on how you look at the world, and usually the better solution is in the first sentence or two. The belief that I need stuff at all, the belief that I need a place to store that stuff, is the problem. I don’t want a house, it’s just hard for me to let go of all the emotional attachment to the life I couldn’t do & the stuff I accumulated in an effort to have that life. The sudden detachment from everything is too much too quickly and that feels like dying, hanging on to all of it for fear of dying feels like dying. So, for now, the middle road that works for my antennae is to drastically downsize (did a lot of that) & put a small amount of stuff in storage while I transition from the indoor crappy life I don’t want into the glorious life in a garden I want. I have a card that fits in my wallet which entitles me to 83 million acres. I absolutely don’t need nor want a house. I just want a space where people will leave me alone and stop trying to murder me.

Owning stuff makes life easier sometimes, it’s expensive and inconvenient to go to the grocery store three to five times a day. Storing stuff in a house I don’t want is equally expensive and inconvenient. Finding the bridge between those two expensive and inconvenient miseries is complicated, but not impossible.

I’m almost as certain as I can be that I’ve figured out the way forward into the life I want, instead of just away from the life I don’t want. I keep listening to my body as the closest thing I have to a natural antennae. When I feel anxious, sad, frustrated to the point of stressed out about something? That’s my antennae receiving a message sent to my soul, “hey, dumdum, don’t do that.” When I feel happy, relieved, calm, peaceful, excited with a sense of urgency? That’s, “hey, dumdum, do that.” It’s a really simple decoder ring I’ve ignored for a long time.

I can’t heal the world’s problems, which is a frustrating truth to accept; but I can try to heal my own problems. Constantly yelling at the world, “YOUR BULLSHIT IS KILLING ME & YOUR BULLSHIT HAS BEEN KILLING ME MY WHOLE LIFE & YOUR BULLSHIT IS KILLING KIDS!” is the only thing to do sometimes, but my kids need two live parents for now so they can focus on becoming who they need and want to be. So, for now, my personal solution to that murderous world is to try and remove myself from as many of those points of murderous conflict as possible.

I’m gonna try to build a space where I can exist, in a way that makes sense to my antennae, and maybe that’ll be a space where some other people who can’t exist in the murderous spaces might be able to exist too. If not, it’ll still hopefully be a space where I can exist. For now, that’s all I can hope for.

More soon, much Love,

-Effie

Hillbilly Pesto

I’m on a newsletter via text message town-cryer spree this morning, telling everyone the good news from my morning; so, I’m gonna tell you too:


When I was a kid, I was told that ground cover plant with the purple blossoms was a weed/clover and that I should pull it out of the flower beds. We used to pull the flowers and suck the nectar (maybe the first hint it shouldn’t be pulled and thrown away!). Anyway. This morning, I pulled a bunch from the flower bed, chopped it up with some dandelion greens and some olive oil, and it is the best fuckin salad green I’ve ever had in my entire life. Ever. Better than spinach, kale, and lettuce of any variety.

I added a little water and used an immersion stick blender to get a green smoothie consistency… added it to my pups’ food, they loved it.

Added a tablespoon of powdered coconut milk, and a tablespoon of sweet potato powder, and a teaspoon of dried ginger with the green smoothie until it was a thick pudding consistency, and I’m gonna make a dessert sushi roll outta that Jazz later.

Then… then!!!… I made pesto with it for lunch. Best pesto I’ve ever had in my life. Bunches of that stuff, sunflower seeds, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, some dehydrated lemon zest from last year (though could use marigold blossom later in the season), and nutritional yeast flakes. Indigenous Vegan Missouri Pesto. Outrageous.

So, I did some research, it’s a kind of mint (lamium purpureum):

Sage and oregano are both in the mint family, and this stuff tastes kind of minty and kind of sage-y and kind of oregano-y all at the same time. Just grows everywhere for free my whole life and I never knew. Thrilled and irritated all at the same time. Getcha some if you’ve got it in your yard!

These are my mason jars of green bounty. Left to right: Some vegan burger flour mixture I made from beans and pulses, soaking up the green goodness. The coconut milk/sweet potato/green goodness mixture. The best pesto ever. I just realized this stuff would make a great base for a “Green Goddess” salad dressing too. Dressing salad with salad is the best idea anyone ever had.

More soon, much love,

-Effie

Wildflowers, Marigolds, and ouch my soul hurts.

At this moment, my opinion of the state of Missouri, the government as a whole, the Church as a whole, you and yours as a whole (yeah, *you*), and the world at large as a whole, is a lot of pissed off to cover the hurt… which is only a reflection of my opinion of myself and my relationship with God at this point in time.

None of this four decades of lifetime & what I was sent into the world to say and do had anything to do with me; and none of my internal conflict right now has anything to do with anyone else. It’s some shit between me and God, and I don’t know how long that’ll take to sort through. My hopes and plans and intentions are still the same… when I’m sad, scared, angry as fuck, happy, excited with a sense of urgency, anxious, depressed, tired, whatever… my hopes and plans and intentions stay the same. I find comfort in that. I don’t feel like I’m chasing my tail as much anymore.

The plan is to pack the furbs and move south this summer. We’re gonna start a community garden if the community will let us. It’s a daunting task, I’ve never actually started a community garden. I’ve started a few personal gardens and managed to grow juuuuust enough food for maybe a meal or two. A meal or two, from the therapeutic process of digging in the dirt and throwing some seeds in the ground, is nothin’ to shake a stick at; but it’s not the impressive bounty that would instill a sense of, “Absolutely! Effie is an amazing gardener and should totally start a community garden!” My secret hope is the community won’t know much about gardening either (seems like if there’s no community garden there yet then that’s maybe true), and we can all suck at it together & learn as we go.

My specialty last year in my home garden was wildflowers & marigolds. I don’t know how much you know about wildflowers and marigolds, but I could probably throw a packet of wildflower and marigold seeds in the garbage, take the garbage to the dump across town, and somehow wildflowers and marigolds would still magically sprout and bloom in the flower beds outside. Doesn’t take any knowledge, wisdom, or skill at all to grow wildflowers and marigolds; except for the knowledge, wisdom, and skill to choose wildflowers and marigolds when you don’t know anything about gardening. So, that’s where we’re starting.

More soon, much love,

-Effie