southern gothic

“I want a bamboo forest behind the house that blocks out all light and heat.”
“You want a dark forest in our backyard?”
“Will it have the usual inhabitants?”
“Yes, but they’ll keep to the forest. Actually, I want to live in a castle.”
“I’ll get right on that.”

One Year

The one year anniversary of my father dying is the end of the year of ‘first time without’ milestones. The veil between reality and memories is threadbare right now. This time last year, he was standing right here. This time last year, we were all watching a movie. This time last year, mom called me. It’s an inescapable torrent of emotions that we all endure in our own ways.

A few days ago, I prepped my planner for the coming week.

Next week

A photo posted by Cathy McCaughan (@cathymccaughan) on

Saturday, I spent the day at a WGI event. The entire family was there at the beginning of the day. After A performed, everyone took off to do other activities and my mother stayed to keep me company. Out of the blue, one of the performances had Jonathan Pryce reading Dylan Thomas as their performance music.

I came unglued.

I’m sure their routine was lovely, but I was too busy trying to maintain a false facade to notice it. While we’re all haunted by my father’s ghost, my mother is definitely not on ‘put an extra plate at the table’ terms with the ghost. She’s still constantly sweeping up the shards of her shattered heart. “It never stops hurting.”

So, with my planner as some kind of absurd art therapy, I will get past this week. It will be like walking in two timelines simultaneously, but this too shall pass.

Inauguration Day

Friday is PE45’s Inauguration. Until such time as he is impeached, there will be resistance.

As much as it pains me to say it after 33.7K tweets since I joined in June of 2007, Twitter needs to be shut down completely. PE45 is infatuated with Twitter. If he behaved the least bit Presidential, that would be fine. His “unpresidented” behavior on Twitter is more than unseemly. It is a danger to everyone, especially since he uses it to paint a bullseye on any person, company and country that isn’t kissing his ring. For our national safety, his tweeting must stop. He won’t leave Twitter of his own accord. If all of us who recognize the damage he does with his elementary school maturity tweets left Twitter, it would create a bubble of “Yes men.” That would only make things worse. Twitter needs to go.

Until someone wealthy and wise purchases and closes Twitter, there is one thing that everyone needs to learn to do on Twitter. Do NOT reply to or RT PE45. He doesn’t read anyone’s replies. He doesn’t care if the RT is attached to praise or criticism. He only sees the number of RTs and replies he gets. They feed his bottomless pit of attention seeking. Stop feeding the troll. Attach screen caps to your tweets instead.

DO tweet hashtags that are not about PE45 all day Friday. Look at the trending topics and push the ones that are not about the narcissist. Tweet Civil Rights quotes and protest songs. Anything but he-who-loves-to-be-named.

Television ratings
Don’t watch the Inauguration. Don’t think that watching something else will be noticed by anyone either. Turn off the tv.

Embrace the work of artists who are going to put themselves in harm’s way with their political protest cartoons, poems and music. Buy it. Wear it. Display it. Don’t underestimate the importance of this action.

Contact YOUR elected officials
Call and email with specific concerns about the Hatch Act, Emoluments Clause, Anti-Nepotism Laws, Treason and Impeachment.

Vote EVERY election
Don’t vote once every four years. Vote in every election. Care about local politics.

Update: Searching for more ideas or a way to refer to the wannabe gangster? Luvvie has you covered.

Planner People

I’ve always used a paper calendar. In high school and college, I used different styles of Day Timers. After children, I used BusyBodyBook and MomAgenda. Last year, I switched to Erin Condren and discovered planner people.

While I use my planner aka vagenda as a calendar to keep track of future activities and appointments, it has always been something that I modified with pockets, tabs, glue and cartoons. Yes, I add cartoons. I discovered in high school that there is a cartoon for everything. Instead of studying, I would find the perfect cartoon for chapters in textbooks and glue them into the book. I also spray painted the covers. I was never seen at book buy back at the end of a semester.

So, after years of carrying a heavily modded planner, discovering other people who were personalizing their planners was a delightful surprise. Planner people plan forward and journal backward. They scrapbook their lives and carry it in their purse. Each and every planner person has their own way of using their planner.

My monthly layout is color coded inks for different family members’ schedules. It coordinates with the large marker board by our front door. I also keep a current picture of the marker board calendar on my phone. Weekly layouts in my planner aren’t strictly functional like the monthly. Weekly begins as a scrapbook style layout. It ends completely journaled with thoughts and conversations. I’m not going to post after pictures. Instead, I’m going to start occasionally posting the before pictures. For example, here’s what the last week of 2016 looked like before the pen.

Planner for last week of 2016

Other people knit when they watch movies or television. I like to play with digital paper and clip art to put down the canvas that will become my week in time.

Planner for the first week of 2017

I am one of the planner people. It makes me happy.

Crafting Day

“I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense. When Alexa is on, the Silhouette cuts rhomboid. Listen to music with your headphones for the next hour.”

“What do you think of this? Should it have a different design? Is the color wrong? Is this a good size?”
“What is it?”
“Nevermind. If you don’t understand the project you’re going to say that it’s nice. I’m going to have to go Billy on the Street for useful opinions.”
“I’m going to get a coffee for you.”

“I’m having technical problems. Can we turn off all the Hue lights to see if they’re interfering with the Silhouette?”
“Would you like me to explain wi-fi again?”