A belief in kindness

I think a lot of hate comes from nobility

From need

From denial

I think the world is shaped in part by control and oppression

I worry about what the fireworks might really be about

I have heard conspiracy and I’m inclined to agree

Without proof, without reason

Because the shape of history is shadowing the sun

I hope for kindness

I believe in it

In individual people trying to do right by each other

In institutions and even corporations trying to do the right thing

But they have wrong reason

And I fear the goodness will be lost

Slactivism & Poetry & Activism

Lena got grumpy on Facebook today

I don’t want to be like France. France’s color-blind racism is awful.

Color-blind Racism in France: Bias Against Ethnic Minority Immigrants

Taking the race question off of applications isn’t going to prevent racism.

Minorities Who ‘Whiten’ Job Resumes Get More Interviews

Taking the race question off of applications doesn’t help, it makes it so white people can think even less about their role in systematic oppression.

There is box I want banned.

I’m doing my best to provide and share intellectual resources. I’m studying and crying about the past, the atrocities of the present. Feeling sad about how shock dissipates, as the past and present echo, horrors feel predictable. Arguing with friends but mostly avoiding bigots. Writing poetry when I can’t not. Sometimes I protest, but not as much I feel I could. I still have more first-hand experience than most of my ivory tower peers. Honestly, mostly I hide. I hide out of fear of the state / the ugliness of police / the intensity of the feeling of protest and sense of community that overwhelms me. Right now? I hide because there is a plague. Often, I vote and worry I’m doing nothing.

What’s in a name? Hellmaggot

Okay, I’ll explain it. First, a visual aid: a picture of myself and my paternal grandmother.

Grandma Margaret & Little Lena
“See how pale she is and her hair was almost white, doesn’t that remind you of a maggot?” my mothers words in reference to this picture “here she is in her larval stage”

I have a joke about my first name: it is spelled Helena, but I take the He off because smash the patriarchy. Also, Helena is for Hell.

When I was little I didn’t want to be called any cute nicknames. I only accepted awesome nicknames, like monster and maggot. I have my grandmother’s name Margaret as my middle name. Margaret is for Maggot.

That’s why my blog is HellMaggot.

Some Days Having a House is Really Hard

Today I had 2 of my ACs serviced, one had stopped working and one was being weird. I got a quote to replace the third one, which had got a temporary repair on Monday, but the furnace is older than me, it needs replacing. The other AC I replaced back in 2017 and it is the only one behaving. After that, sewage started bubbling up in my basement. My champion handyman came quick and roto rooter’d it.

Now, now things are quiet. The house is cold. The toilets can flush.

Next, the sewer lateral needs to be scoped, as likely some section of it has collapsed and that will need to be fixed.

I am overwhelmed. And yet. And yet. I feel lucky. I feel lucky I bought too much house. It feels like almost enough house for being stuck in for a pandemic. I feel grateful for the people who help me maintain the ecosystem of this house. To the handyman and the hvac fella, my father who watches the porch, my husband who is making me dinner right at this moment, my friend who is trapped here with us who makes amazing coffee and brought me a glass of water explaining that without AC hydration is non-optional. Her and ET alternate making dinner and I have maybe never had such varied delicious homemade meals.

Thinking of the house as an ecosystem makes it much much easier to engage with.

I have big plans.
I have small plans.
I like having plans.
I have plans interrupted.

I want to get the garage roof replaced. I want it to have a green roof. I think I might be able to get a grant to help pay for replacing the garage roof with a green roof. I want a set of steps I can use to go up there. I want a hammock up there, a hammock with mosquito netting. May a rig for a yoga swing? Those seem cool.

I have little plans. I am getting a rain barrel later this month. I want to put it at the downspout from the roof. I need to fix the gutter on the balcony.

I want to paint my front steps (as they are new, but ugly).

I need to get my neighbor’s trees trimmed so they’ll stop kissing my house in storms.

One day I need to have more tuckpointing done.

I ought to learn how to repair plaster, and fix some of the water damage that has been addressed by the new roof.

I need to fix my taxes. Something is wrong with almost every year going back to 2015. I need to file the 2019 taxes, I have an appointment. I’m supposed to get a tax credit for my solar panels.

My solar panels are running!
My bills are lower.
I need to look at those bills. Another time.

I have too much to do. I am overwhelmed.
But I also know.
I can do it all.
I don’t have to do it all.
The house tells me what can’t wait anymore.

I’m busy at work. Overwhelmed. I’m in a pandemic trying to work from home. I found a project I can do.
I am loving this project. http://umsldigitalhumanities.org/openaccess/
You can look at student activity logs, and see what they’re all up to. You can also see that I am meeting with multiple students every day overseeing a massive effort to discover and showcase faculty works, identifying what of it is open access.

It’s a good project.

I got a new project yesterday. Make a library guide: “focused on the 2020 protests across the United States and the social issues surrounding them. It focuses on racial disparities in the criminal justice system, the relationship between police and people of color, and understanding the death of George Floyd in the context of institutionalized racism.”

I’m happy with how the guide is turning out. I’m working on it with two coworkers. I have great coworkers.

I think it is time for me to look into getting a new mortgage. Since getting the place I got a new roof, with solar panels too. I think the appraisal price would go up, and maybe the interest could go down. I need funds to replace the sewer lateral, the garage roof, maybe pay other debts? Probably not the student loans, I hope I can stop paying for my education one day, but for now at least another 2,533 days until those are gone and another 9,469 or so until the mortgage is paid off, if I don’t get a new one. I am going to have an involuntary pay reduction at work for the next year. It is a weird time and a hard time for planning. I’m overwhelmed. I am not under-prepared.

I am able to work on things that align with my values. I’m able to support a household I love. I am overwhelmed, but I am not alone.

Next, I’m going to go play a silly VR game or pet a cat or look at my strawberry plants. I am not going to look at refinancing and repairs and taxes tonight, because too much has happened today, but I did spew it all out on my blog, and that’s pretty good. Writing this all out was good.