Ashe Elton Parker

A Writer of LGBTQ+ Characters in Speculative Fiction

Category: Miscellany (page 1 of 5)

Housing Recertification

I live in government subsidized housing, and could literally not afford to live in almost any other apartment. My building is in the Mod Rehab program of my city’s Housing Authority. I’m not exactly sure just what “mod rehab” means, aside from the fact that the owner of the building has to keep the building up to certain standards in order for it to remain under contract with the Housing Authority.

This is not the first time I’ve lived in this building. I moved into my current apartment here sometime I think in July or August of 2014. So that I may continue living here, my apartment must undergo an inspection and recertification process each year. The current caseworker who manages the paperwork for my building and its tenants at the Housing Authority is a woman who keeps up with things very well.

Jasmin had me in for my actual recertification appointment last week, on, I think, the 7th. For this, I had to take in some verification of income paperwork. This basically meant I had to take in a letter from the VA stating my income through them, as Jasmin can access my Social Security income statement on her own.

The next step is for my apartment to be inspected. My inspection is slated to happen next Tuesday, from 09:00-13:00. Basically, an inspector who is certified with the Housing Authority will show up and test my appliances for functionality, ensure the smoke detector still operates, and will ensure I’m keeping my apartment tidy enough it doesn’t contain any health or safety hazards. It won’t be any trouble for me to pass this inspection.

Once the inspection is complete, Jasmin will to through all the paper work and the inspection’s results and adjust my income. Then, the month before my move-in anniversary, she’ll send me my rent adjustment. After that, I’ll be able to live here for another year.

One Week In

Well, I’m one week into my new writing habit, and I’d have to say it’s gone fairly well. Not perfect, but not too badly either. I’ve done something with my writing almost every day over the past week, and I’m pretty pleased about that. The only day I think I missed was Thursday, and that was because I was so completely exhausted that I just couldn’t focus on anything by the time I got around to working on my writing.

So, over the past week, I’ve looked at the last few chapters of Unwritten Letters, hunted out the sketchy “outline” I made for the last few scenes, and have determined (yet again) I need more because the leaps between the scenes are too great. Since Wednesday, I’ve been backbraining what I need to fill in the gaps. In the meantime, I’ve edited a chapter of DH02 to to up on Wattpad later, posted DH02CH17 on Wattpad, and worked on some side stuff for the D&D campaign I’m running a character in with my pride center friends.

Unfortunately, due to the appointments I’ve had the past week, and all the other stuff going on, I haven’t been able to work much on my own D&D campaign for my long-time gaming friends. I hope to get that done a bit this week. There’s maybe half the dungeon they’ll be going through to finish, and right now I’m going through the Monster Manual page by page to add some variety to their adventure.

This week, I plan on getting at least 2 plot cards on UL, working at least 3 days on my D&D campaign for my friends, and writing out a “letter” about the most recent adventure my character had in Kit’s D&D campaign (pride friends). I’d also like to read a little more of the Monster Manual. On Monday, I have an appointment, and I’ve got my volunteer shift on Tuesday, a Housing recertification appointment on and then meeting a friend to play Magic: The Gathering on Weds, with quilting on Thurs. I’m supposed to fit crocheting in there somewhere. I’ve sort of taken up the duty of coordinating D&D with my pride center friends, so I’ve got to finish coordinating with them for our gaming session that’s supposed to happen next week. And I’m going to try to fit some crocheting time in there somewhere; probably at my volunteer shift.

In case you were wondering, one of my goals with this weekly posting is to make myself accountable. Even if nobody reads this, I’m hoping that posting my weekly writing goals and my progress with my writing will help keep me focused on the writing goals. I’m doing this because I’ve noticed that I tend to focus better if I’m accountable, and I think that even though this is something I’m doing on my own, knowing I must post here will help me become more disciplined with my writing. the main reason why I’m including mention of other things is because I want to show, in a loose fashion, what other things I have as goals. But, really, any appointments I have, my volunteer shift, and my writing are my priorities.

A Few Odds and Ends

I’m still struggling with depression and the lack of desire to write, but my overall mood is better. Instead of being depressed periodically throughout the day, the past few days the depression has faded for good once I’ve gotten out of bed. Really, getting out of bed is the hardest part of the day for me, and it’s even more difficult in the winter. I think getting plenty of sleep is important, and I tend to need a lot of sleep, especially in the winter, when my sleep tends to be more akin to hibernation than simply sleeping. In point of fact, I went to bed at six last night, was asleep by seven, and after two or three brief periods of wakefulness that ended by ten, slept through until just after four this morning. I managed to doze for about another 45 mins or so, then laid awake (with my eyes closed) until about 05:40, when I finally got up. It’s only when I get this much sleep that I find it easy to rise.

The past few days since my last post have been pretty good for the most part. Of course, it’s difficult for me to say a day has been bad, because I can usually find something good in every day, and that tends to leaven any ill feelings I could have had about it. I think Sunday was the best of the past few days, though. I got to spend a lot of money on “frivolous” items.

What were those items? They were books and stuff related to Dungeons and Dragons gaming. For me, spending anything over $100.00 is “a lot” and I spent around $117.00 on this stuff. Only about $48.00 came out of pocket, thanks to gift cards from Mom and my sister, Erin. I’m still having mixed feelings about DMing, but am also still more excited over the idea. It’s going to be a fun challenge to come up with stuff for my players to do. According to the Goodreads site, I’m 68% through the Player’s Handbook, which I’ve continued taking to Oasis Games to read.

I’ve also been working on setting up a Bullet Journal for next year. The link will show you the basics if you’re interested. For myself, I’ve got some different things I like adding, such as monthly budgets and weekly goals lists, but the system is flexible enough to permit such things. I’m hoping that with my new schedule, this will help me have a more structured, and thus more productive, lifestyle. Of course, none of this is written in stone—if I get an opportunity to hang out with a friend or something, I’ll go do that, but I’ll also try to be productive when I do so. The main challenge to making progress on the setup of my bullet journal has been Hendrix’s periodic visits to my desk. If I have writing utensils laying about, he’ll try to play with them, and if the journal’s open on my desk, he’ll try playing with its wire binding or eating the pages. LOL

One of the things I’m planning on changing this year is somehow acknowledging holidays and birthdays for my family. I don’t really keep mementos such as cards people send to me, so I don’t really “get” keeping such things. However, I do understand that people do keep such things as mementos, so I’m going to try to conform a little bit and send holiday and birthday cards to at least my sister and her family and my mother. To my surprise, I’m actually looking forward to doing this.

It’s going on 06:30, and I’m hungry, so signing off for now. I may write another post before New Year’s, but am making no promises.

Remiss

I have been horribly remiss in keeping up with posts, and I apologize. There will be no promises that I will do so from now on; I’m not going to promise something that may not happen. Suffice it to say that the rough period that I’m dealing with right now isn’t over.

This rough period began back in October. I’ll be honest here and admit I struggled through November. Even though I did participate in Nano, and I did find the writing somewhat easier than I expected, it was a chore to write each day, and I experienced several days throughout the month when I didn’t write at all. About a week or so toward the end of the month, I threw in the towel. In part because I’m near the end of the wip I was working on for November, which always is a struggle to write, because I don’t want the story to end, even if there’s a sequel. The rest was just emotional exhaustion. To be vulgar, I simply had no fucks to give by that point. Since it had been such a struggle to write on fiction, it was even more difficult to keep up with blog posts, which takes more out of me, even if my post is relatively short.

December has been no different. I’ve written a little, but nowhere near as much as I wanted. I was hoping my creative mind would “switch on” sometime around the 15th, but that didn’t happen. And, to be honest, I don’t really care. I still don’t have any fucks to give about writing. To be honest, this blog post is the most I’ve cared about any writing all month.

Instead of writing, I’ve been doing other things. I spent most of the month making my mom’s Christmas gift—a bunch of wash cloths—in crochet sessions with a new friend whom I helped teach how to crochet. The Pride Center is officially closed, aside from a therapy office in another building they’re renting the space from while their new building is being renovated, and the games store that bought the old building has opened up in the ground floor. Katie went in to check things out and as a result, I joined her and her husband for a D&D demo game DMed by one of the store’s employees. Oasis Games sells board games and a variety of role games and things like miniatures that go to the role games. They’ve installed a cafe and also sell other items related to games and gaming, including Funko Pop figures, dice, and Magic: The Gathering cards.

That visit to Oasis Games with Katie has inspired a new interest in D&D. I purchased a Player’s Handbook with part of the money from a gift card my sister sent me for my birthday. That demo game kicked ideas into my head—ideas I need to be a Dungeon Master in order to execute, so I’ve brought up a suggestion to my Vampires gaming friends that I DM D&D for them, and they’re tentatively enthusiastic about the offer. I just need to get the Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual. In the meantime, I’ve been reading the Player’s Handbook from cover to cover, usually in reading sessions with the bottomless cup of tea Oasis Games offers. I’ve got some notes, a number of prize items, and I need to draw up a map for the first quest my gaming friends are going to take their characters through. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about DMing, but most of them are positive, and I’m feeling excited to do it. Even just a year ago, this is something I wouldn’t have considered doing.

Another thing I’m trying to do is schedule my days. Thinking it would be quite easy to switch my sleeping habits around, I originally scheduled myself a rising time of six in the morning. Mornings like this are flukes for the most part—though I did put myself to bed last night, I didn’t actually sleep all that much; overactive mind. So, in paying attention to my natural sleep habits, I decided to rework my schedule for a ten AM rise. Much as I like being up early in the morning, it just doesn’t happen with any regularity, and the fact is, I tend to get to sleep more quickly if I go to bed later, so even on nights when I got to bed around ten PM, I was still getting up at around ten the next morning because I simply didn’t fall asleep until one or two AM. I don’t understand it either; this is just the way my mind works with regards to sleep, and I’ve decided I’ve got to learn to live with it because trying to twist it around into something it wasn’t and couldn’t be was only stressing me out.

I’m glad about a few things, though. The D&D thing, for one. And I’m crocheting more. It’s been nice to wield a hook again, and I’ve even made a bit of progress on my monster bedspread afghan. Currently, my “portable” project is an afghan that’s been languishing to be finished that I’m going to give to a friend in return to all the kindness and patience they’ve bestowed upon me. I’m looking forward to giving it to them and am sure they’ll appreciate it.

So I’m dealing with my lack of interest in writing in constructive ways that are taking me out of the house more frequently, which is another reason why I’m not upset about not caring about writing. And I think all these things are signs of an improvement in my mental health state, which I’m sure everyone will agree is a good thing. The rough period may not be over, but at least I’m dealing with it in healthy ways—another improvement in my mental health state. And, to be honest, I’d rather have that improvement than a regular writing habit, mainly because I can teach myself to have the latter, but the good mental health status comes only with time, the correct medication regimen, and a lot of effort in therapy.

Some Thoughts (Oct ’17)

I have a need to meander through my thoughts. Some of this stuff will seem to be the same stuff I’ve discussed recently here before, but it’s actually coming at things from a slightly different direction (I think).

The past few weeks have been stressful for me, but not always negatively so. I’ve been staying away from the news as much as possible, mainly because I could not have handled it well with all the other stuff I was going through. For a moment, I wanted to chuckle at my use of “all” when the primary issue was Einstein and his care and ultimate loss, but that comes wrapped up with a bunch of other stuff. Overall, I’m not as broken up about my first cat’s death as I thought I would be; despite the stress of going to the vet three weeks in a row and the resultant financial outlay for his care and euthanasia, I was doing pretty well. Though definitely not happy about it all, I wasn’t a basket case. I’m not sure just what to attribute my mostly-composed reaction to his death to, but I’m going to say it’s a combination of a number of factors, including my overall mental health and the fact I went the following Saturday to get another cat. The most depressing thing about losing Einstein was not his loss, so much as it was the emptiness of my home without another life form in it. While I cannot replace Einstein—he was a unique cat and there can be no replacement for him—I can say that the new cat definitely fills my heart and my home in such a way that my grief over losing Einstein is greatly leavened.

Over the past month or so, I’ve also developed the habit of leaving my home more than once a week on social excursions if possible. Most of these have taken me up to the pride center, where I’d hang out with the receptionist on duty and whomever else happened to show up to hang out. Sadly, the pride center is closing services in the building they’re currently operating from, I suspect for a number of reasons, at the end of this month. I think this is the last month of their six month lease on it, for one thing. Also, they’ve moved most of their mental health services to offices they’re renting about a block and a half down the street from where the current building is. Right now, the new owners of the old building are in the midst of renovating the downstairs for their use, so it sometimes gets rather noisy, what between all the power tools and the rapid-fire Spanish talk radio the workers usually play while they’re going about their business; I can only imagine what sort of fun the people in the Chinese restaurant the old building is attached to are having with all this construction work going on (LOL). The pride center is expecting to be able to move into its new location in January, though there is some doubt as to whether move-in will actually be able to happen that month. Either way, I’m looking forward to it opening up again.

Settling in with Hendrix, my new cat, has been interesting as well. When the shelter person called to check on things this past Monday (they call at 2 days, at 2 weeks, and, if I’m remembering right, 2 months), I had a concern or two about him. Unlike Einstein, who seemed to have no trouble settling in, Hendrix didn’t seem to have a very good appetite. The woman who I spoke to assured me it would take only a few days for him to settle in well enough for his appetite to return, and it certainly has! He’s eaten almost all his 1/2 cup of dry food and all of his two servings of half a can of moist food the past few days. Also, he isn’t as needy as he was when he first arrived—yes, he still likes to cuddle, but he’s not all over me most of the day. Really, Hendrix is a bit more independent than Einstein was, and generally cuddles with me only once or twice a day for anywhere from 30-45 minutes. I’ve learned that if he won’t stay still, or if he’s a bit bitey (he doesn’t break skin), that means he’d rather play instead. His favorite toy is the laser dot. Also, he’s a bit easier to deal with at mealtimes; where Einstein, before he got so ill, would not leave me alone when I ate, Hendrix will go to his own food after a couple of times of me putting him on the floor and making it clear he’s not going to get any people food.

Unfortunately, my writing isn’t going very well. I’m very glad I realized what I am beyond “writer” a couple months ago, because I’d be going bonkers if I didn’t have writing right now if I hadn’t. But instead of getting anxious or upset over not writing, I simply either go out or I entertain myself with my cat—Hendrix is always up for a good play session. Sometimes I lie down to see if I can galvanize any ideas or nap a bit; other times I’ll call or text a friend. I’m also much more willing to take care of daily chores and attend to things like making appointments these days. Before, I saw them only as bothersome interruptions to my writing flow and hated to attend to them.

I’m also getting back into Spanish on Duolingo, thanks to a friend’s efforts to refresh herself on hers. Though I’m not very competitive, I have just enough of a competitive streak that I hate having done nothing when someone else has. If not for the XP Duolingo assigns to one’s lesson modules (10 XP per completed module or review), I wouldn’t have cared. But it’s been fun getting back into it, and I beat the 150XP challenge that my Duolingo phone app has been offering for the past few months!

Though I completed my reading goal on Goodreads a couple months ago, that hasn’t done anything but given me a sense of accomplishment. I meant to keep reading beyond that and use the number of books beyond my goal for this year to base next year’s goal on. I’ll have to get on that.

On the other hand, I’ve been crocheting more often. I’ve completed about half a dozen or so cloths and a couple of scrubbies. I’ve even worked a little on my main big project, the afghan I’m making for my bed’s summer bedspread. Even with my “aggravated carpal nerves,” it’s been nice getting back into the crocheting.

And I think I’ve exhausted topics. I hope you’ve enjoyed this meandering through my thoughts.

(Part of) Reorienting AEP

I’ve been doing a lot more thinking about this site and what I should do with it. To be honest, some things are probably going to remain up in the air for quite some time to come; I’m just undecided on a lot of things about it. One thing I’m certain of, though, is that I need to move away from placing personal posts on here. The results of November’s election made me aware that I have too much to say that I don’t want to adversely affect people’s reaction to my writing, especially since I have plans on putting it out there.

So I’m not posting any more personal stuff up here. No more health reports, no more mentions of goals outside of writing, no posts about what I’m doing in my daily life. I’m moving all that to a blog on another site. Someday, I may connect the two—that blog and this site—from there, but I don’t think I’ll be providing links here to that site. There’s too much stuff that will upset future readers for me to do that.

From now on, this blog here will mostly concern writing. My writing, topics about writing I have an opinion on, et cetera. If you have a deep need to see my personal posts, use my contact form to provide me your email address, and I’ll give you the link to my journal/blog thing. But don’t do this on a whim. If you are not liberal in your social and political views, if you have any issues with people who have mental health problems, if you’re in some way fundamentally religious and have no room in your mind and heart for an alternate view (even one you don’t happen to agree with), or if you merely have a history of getting all riled up from the opinions expressed by a writer whose works you enjoy, please don’t ask for the link to my blog. In my mind, it would be far better for you to continue in your life with your idealized version of me in your mind than for you to be in any way disillusioned by the real me.

If you’d like a peek at the real me without going full-force, follow me on Twitter. I’m not there much right now, but I am on occasionally, and may come on more frequently in future; take a look at my previous posts. On Twitter, I’m a little more real. It should give any who are curious about my social/political and religious leanings a good idea what I’m like and where my feelings on certain aspects of life and the world lie. My Twitter handle is at the right.

I’m Still Alive

Sorry I haven’t been very active on my site or Twitter over the past few months. The whole presidential race took it out of me, and I’m really only now starting to come out of my little mental self-protective ball. I’m not making any promises I’ll be back in any way permanently on Twitter until after January 20th, and I’m not willing to give a specific date. My bipolar is doing its thing, making me not care about crap to the point where it’s taken quite a bit of effort to type this message up. I have some goals for the year, and I’ll get around to posting them once I’ve managed to organize them enough to do so.

I think, for the site, I’m going to be pretty random with posts for a while; I’ll try to get something up at least once a week, but there’s just no way I’m mentally capable of keeping to a schedule at this time. Still not sure just what I’m going to do about the site, though I intend to make some decisions about it this year and do some sort of overhaul on it. Last year was just not a good year for anything, really, except my writing, and I’m hoping that this year will improve shortly.

2016 started off with a bang on the writing front, but so far 2017 has proven to be very lackluster on that front. I’ve managed to write maybe one or two scenes and done some editing of one of my complete stories since the 1st, but not much else. It hasn’t been a completely uncreative writing downswing, though, so I’m not feeling depressed quite yet. I’m hoping my Creative Mind will wake up pretty soon though. I’d love to write some more.

So that’s where I stand.

Decisions About the Site

When I started my hiatus from this blog back in February, I was in the middle of slowly changing the site around a bit. Mostly in regards to my Projects section. I thought, at the time, that the reason why I was feeling disinterested in my site was because I didn’t like how it was set up. To be quite honest, I found the original way I had it set up too labor-intensive. I also didn’t really like having so much of my work on display, even if it was only excerpts. In an effort to try and make the site a bit more self-sustaining and less strenuous on my attention and time, I decided to remove the excerpts and started a redesign of the entire Projects section.

Well, I’m now not sure just what I want to do with it. One of the things I want to do is go through it and see what I was doing and at what point I stopped. I may decide to keep it in the format it’s in right now, with projects sorted by which world they’re on, or I may do a complete overhaul and figure out something different to do.

Part of my issue is that a lot of my projects are long ones. Trilogies at the very least, if not longer series. And, with the way my creative mind ducks out periodically and randomly hyperfocuses on things without my will, most of these will be in the works for years to come. For example, my creative mind is currently hyperfocused on something I haven’t touched since June of 15. I could not predict my mind would return to this project, and I don’t know how long I’ll be working on it. I’m just going with the flow here.

Add to that issue the fact I’ve got about 14 worlds with stories in various states of progress on them. Yes. I said 14. Could even be more at this point, I haven’t counted them in a while, and I’ve added one or two new worlds since then. I’m seriously tempted to throw up a full project list on my website to show what’s going on in my writing.

So, that’s what’s going on with the site. I’m hoping to get some work done on it in the next few months, but that really depends on where my creative mind goes and how much time I have.

The Hiatus is Over

Beginning Monday the 23rd, expect to see weekly posts. I changed the posting schedule so I will hopefully be able to keep up with it easier. Depending upon how things go, I may change it again, go back to posting 2 days a week, but I’m not making any promises. For more information on what to expect with this new posting schedule, visit This Site.

The Saga of the Lost Internet

On the 7th of this month, I awoke and came out to my computer to discover that it had lost its internet connection. I have a hard connection for my internet—run it through a landline phone connection and use the wifi the router provides on my laptop when my desktop is down for some reason. My previous internet provider had a long history—a good six or so years—of reliable service, and whenever I had an issue, such as my router dying a few years ago, they did their best to correct the issue. This was the case from 2014, when I moved, even. I was without an internet for a week or so when that happened, but my internet provider gave me accurate instructions on how to handle that issue and I soon had internet, and then they applied the fees for the days I did not use internet to next month’s service so I actually paid a discount that month. They were a good company.

First, I did all the troubleshooting I could think of on my own. I switched out the wires at the splitter and reconnected them to match the device they now belonged to at my desk (phone and router), made sure all the connections were good, reset my router, even tried a new router, which Mom had at her place and kindly brought to me the same day.

Then I called my internet service provider. The tech support guy I spoke with advised me on other troubleshooting I could do—connecting the router line directly to the phone outlet in the wall—and I called him back and told him that didn’t work. He promised to look into the issue on his end and get back to me. As a result, I had no internet. Friday, when I got up, I checked to see if they’d been able to fix it the day before, but they hadn’t, and I waited until evening to call back, at which time I was told they were “still looking into it.”

I contacted the phone company Friday after my call to my internet provider—while Mom was researching local internet providers—and learned that someone from my internet provider had called to cancel my internet service. I explained to the CSR that I had not asked for this to happen, and she told me that I’d have to call them to fix it. So I did. I called my internet provider and asked that they order a reconnect. Before, this would have happened quickly—I’d have gotten a response like, “Of course! We’ll contact the phone company right now and you should have internet again soon!” I didn’t get that response. I didn’t get anything even remotely similar to that. I got “We’ll see what we can do.”

Well, Mom spent most of Friday researching internet (online at her home) for local providers, because our previous provider operates out of Ohio (if I remember correctly), and she was getting fed up with how they were treating me. Our theory at this time was that someone at our phone company had decided to arbitrarily cancel the internet service (which makes no sense, as you’ll see further on), though we couldn’t figure out why they’d do this, especially once Mom realized, due to her research, that they carry internet service for local companies for a $25.00 fee, usually paid by the customer.

By Saturday, I was fed up. I wanted internet back as soon as possible, and the internet provider was giving me the runaround on the phone. Also, Mom happened to call on Saturday to speak with one of the techs about my lack of internet service, and the tech she spoke to told her that we may want to start looking for another internet provider because some things were changing at the internet provider’s company.

This of course now gave Mom the impression that someone there, and not at the phone company, canceled my service. See, when I ordered service for my new home, my service incurred that lovely $25.00 fee—which was apparently instituted sometime during the period I had internet service at my old apartment—but Toast failed to tell me about it. They raised my internet fee by about $10.00, but otherwise ate the fee charged by the phone company. Just to be clear, Mom and I both called over this raise in internet fee, but we were both told that since I had moved and they’d raised the price recently, Mom was grandfathered in at the original price, but my new address in a way made me a “new” customer. We dealt with it, and I paid the new fee, which was still about $10.00 cheaper than internet prices elsewhere. But now my internet provider was no longer getting the full fee for my internet. Combined with the fact it sounds like the new owner of the internet provider is changing things, that was incentive for them to cancel my service—just like I was told by my phone provider: someone at the internet provider’s end canceled my service.

Ratty thing to do, isn’t it? Mom thinks now that the new owner of the internet provider wants them to get rid of certain accounts, and since mine had a fee that they were swallowing attached, I was one of the first to go. On Saturday, I ordered internet from a local provider—the phone company. It was about the same amount as I’d have been paying for another provider with that fee to deal with, they had a number of bundling specials to choose from, and I’ve been a loyal customer of the phone company ever since I got my first apartment here.

My new internet equipment came in last Wednesday, and I spent the evening setting it up—which required me to rearrange my apartment. But now I’m online, and I’m happy to be back.

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