Thursday, August 29, 2013

sunday funday!

last sunday awesome husband @_antgas suggested that we go on a little field trip.  we went to the old bethpage village restoration.  it's an awesome living history museum.  i grew up in bethpage (so did my parents) and went to public school.  it was practically mandatory that we went every single year with school.  even @_antgas went a few times when he was in elementary school.  for those of you who won't click the link, the short story is that these historic houses were found on different parts of long island, moved from their original location, and restored to what they would look like mid-1800s.  my mother, aunt, and one set of grandparents volunteered there.

@_antgas and i used to go there a couple of times a year.  one of the last times we went before we moved down to florida was halloween of 2002.  we went to old bethpage village restoration and planned to go to my mom's for dinner.  we stopped off at his house where he tied my engagement ring to the collar of our first dog and tried to propose to me.  i was a little thick and it took me forever to notice the ring.

anyway, we haven't been back since we moved back from florida and it wasn't too hot on sunday, so i thought it would be fun.  we loaded up on sunscreen and off we went.  get ready for a photo heavy post filled with fun sort of historical facts.

a room in the schenck house, c. 1765

an old high chair

potty training 1800s style

the back room of the conklin house, c. 1853

an actual outhouse.  it was filled with spiders, not poop.

the bedell house c. 1835, not open

the parlor at layton general store, c 1866

a beautiful old desk, layton store

kitchen of the layton store.  they had pump water and a bathing tub

stove, layton store.  in addition to cooking, this helped heat the house

bedroom of layton store.  such an amazing old sewing machine!

boy's room, layton store

secretary desk, layton store 
these old shipping crates are over the doorway between the house part of the layton store and the actual general store

something awesome and old that i can't remember what it does.

old storage tins and weights for selling herbs and spices 
this housed needles of different sizes for sewing, embroidery, etc.

luyster general store, c. 1840.  hey! i use borax in my homemade laundry soap!

the old safe in the luyster general store which was across the street from the layton store (the intersection of 106 and 25a in east norwich).  the luyster general store was described as the home depot of the mid-1800s, where the layton store would have been more of a supermarket or target.

parlor, noon inn, c. 1850.  dominos, bitches!

the meeting room, upstairs noon inn.  if needed, they would also rent the benches for inn guests to sleep on.  we also learned that back then, any place that served alcohol had to offer at least two beds to sleep in.  the noon inn had one bedroom for rent with two beds, as well as benches in the meeting room if needed.  we were told that you could go to sleep in the bed alone and wake up with friends!  inn guests did not pay for the entire bed - just a spot to sleep.

bach blacksmith shop, c. 1875.  this is the first time we've ever seen it open and working!

ritch house, c. 1830, next to the hat shop.  mr. ritch was the hatmaker.  sadly, the hat shop was not open because they did not have a hatmaker on staff that day.

the powell farm kitchen, c. 1855.  the powell farm house is the only house that was originally on the property.  there are still goats and chickens there - as well as the two largest pigs on long island (900lbs+ each!)  the round metal drum looking thing is basically like a roaster: you would put it in front of the fire for indirect heat and use it to cook a bird.

this is the door to the bake oven.  it was an open brick oven alongside the fireplace which was used for, well, baking.  my mother told me she used to help bake at the old bethpage village restoration, and i think this is the house she cooked in.  i remember her telling me stories about how many logs they would load into the fireplace to heat the bake oven to the right temperature.  i don't think about that often, but seeing the kitchen at the powell farm brought a flood of memories about my mom.

a quilting table at the powell farm.  the end could be rolled around a wooden dowel to expose more of the blanket to be quilted.  because there are so many chairs around the table, i'd expect that quilting was a big social even at the powell farm.

an old desk at the powell farm.  obviously i love old desks.

the potter, in a side building next to the noon inn.  we've never seen a potter before but it was amazing.  the round piece on the bottom would be pushed by foot to spin the top.

@_antgas thought this was cool because it has a leaf spring, which is still used in cars today.  the plaque says 'r.g. powell, undertaker - hempstead'.

manetto hill church, c. 1857.

old bethpage village restoration cemetery.  supposedly the headstones were relocated from an old family cemetery.  

the hewlett house, c. 1840.  @_antgas and i were very interested to learn this house has been opened recently - it was never, ever opened when we used to go.  my mom told us that in the 1970s everyone thought the hewlett house was haunted.  they'd set it up to be opened - put the furniture in the right place, etc - and then the next morning, everything would be moved.  it was not open on sunday because of staffing, but we're planning on calling before we go next time to ensure it's open.

@_antgas discovered that he could take decent pictures through the window.  we were nerdily excited because this is the first time we had ever been able to see inside - the last time we were there, we weren't even allowed to walk up to the house.

the hewlett house

@_antgas being ridiculously adorable and excited about looking in the hewlett house 
the hewlett house

the hewlett house

overall, it was an excellent day.  awesome husband @_antgas and i had a fun time just walking around, spending time together.  and we learned new things.  it seems like every time we go there, we learn something new.  i've been going there since 1987 and i still learn new things.  they usually have special things going on in the fall and around halloween, so we're planning on going back then - especially if the hewlett house is open.

anyone else have any fun, historical, educational things that they like to do?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

sorry, i sold out.

i finally added advertisements to my page.  i feel kind of bad about it.  but i've been talking about it for over a year and finally decided to see what will happen.  i'm hoping that it doesn't disturb the reading process too much, and hoping to make a few extra bucks while i'm at it.

i have a problem, and the problem is called 'home goods'.  i can't walk out of there for less than $50.  last night awesome husband @_antgas and i went in there looking for ONE THING (something to hold all of our plastic grocery bags) and walked out poorer.

and without a thing to hold our plastic grocery bags.

but with one surprise present for a friend, a silly sign to hang in the kitchen, a spatula (which i needed), and a copper colored flying pig piggy bank.

yes, you read that right.

photos to come, i think.  i also recently unearthed my olympus digital camera.  it's specs make it practically a dinosaur, but it took great photos and i'm hoping to use it to take pictures of things i like.  (cats.)

Thursday, August 15, 2013


i love pinterest.  a lot.  i pin lots of stuff.  guess what my pinterest handle is?  go on, guess.

steph gas.

surprising, i know.

anyhow, i have a few different boards: body modifications, meat-free food, stuff i love.  whatever.  one of the biggest problems i have with the tattoo and piercing pins are that they're all the same shit.  it's the same handful of tattoos over and over.  the same mermaid drawings that say 'omg this will be my next tattoo'.  the same photo of a skinny girl with text on her ribs that says 'i love the placement but not the words'.  and even the 'i don't like tattoos, but if i ever got one, it would be like this'.

if you don't like tattoos.... why the everliving fuck are you looking at tattoos on pinterest??!

it's the same with piercings.  tons of triple forward helix piercings, double lip piercings, cute earrings, and some surface piercings.  and of course, the play piercings.  often with a comment about how bad they are or how stupid they look or 'ew' or something like that.

i think play piercings are exquisite.

****photos may not be safe for work/family.  also may be triggering to some people.  proceed with caution***

some are kind of lame...

from  pretty basic.

some are kind of strange....


.... and some are seriously exquisite.  specific, carefully planned works of art.

posted on a random blog, originally from body

discovered on tumblr:

found at

it is mainly done for artistic purposes.  the needles used are small gauge and will stay in place for a few hours at most.  then they are removed and the holes close up.  

perhaps even more intriguing to me is pulling or suspension.  this is when piercings are used to anchor string or something like it.  the piercings are not like normal piercings - they are done with special hooks.

pulling is a ritualistic action where play piercings with hooks are used to connect a person to another living thing, often other people.  one person may lean back, 'pulling' on the piercings of the other participant(s); then another leans back and pulls on the piercings, etc.  it's done in a rhythmic way and often is used to raise and pool energy.

another FYI, if you do google play piercings, some of the images are disturbing.  i think some people do it as a form of self-mutilation or as a part of blood play or something.  because there is really no reason for that much blood to be all over the place.  some of those photos.... ugh.

last sunday the tattoo parlor i apprenticed at held their annual tattoos for cancer research fundraiser.  select tattoos are done for a set donation.  last year and this year they added piercings, which i was honored to perform.  i did about 15 piercings for a great cause.  it was actually the first time i'd pierced in about a year, and it felt great.  i was a bit worried that i might be rusty (hahaha get it?  but really, surgical stainless steel doesn't rust) - i wasn't.  it was like riding a bike; once i got in the piercing room and familiarized myself with where everything was (this was in a new shop), it was like i'd never stopped piercing.

it made me wonder, for a moment, if i'd made a mistake.  maybe i shouldn't have stopped piercing.  then i remember how much money i was making (none) and all the neat stuff that's happened in the last year.  not that most of that stuff wouldn't have happened if i kept piercing, but it's not like i wasted a year.  i'd like to go back to piercing a day or two a week, just to get back into it and make a few bucks. because social work ain't paying the bills either.

but piercing will never pay the bills.  professional piercers are few and far between.  i've only met three people that eek out a living by piercing.  many tattoo artists also pierce, but it's not their bread and butter.  i could spend years perfecting my technique, even do another apprenticeship under someone who specializes in something different: surface piercings, genital piercings, whatever.  i could spend years becoming a great piercer - but to what end?  there's not a huge market for body piercers.  i'm never going to retire off the money i make sticking extra holes in people.  if i was or wanted to be a tattooist as well, that would be a different story.

'just a piercer'.  that's probably all i'll ever be in the body modification industry.  just a piercer and an enthusiast.

i feel like that happens to me a lot.  i wonder if i made the right choice, went in the right direction.  wondering if i should have taken out all these student loans.  wondering if i should have filled up the gas tank on the way home in case prices jump overnight.  wondering if i should clean the litter boxes tonight or tomorrow morning.  wondering if i'm ever going to make a living as a counselor.

so many unanswered questions.  life is a fascinating journey, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

you know i hate people... but omfg these people.

nothing is static.  everything changes.  i know this.  i've experienced this.

everything changes.

the non-profit i currently work for (very part time) pays me, like, nothing.  seriously.   the amount of money i spend in gas plus the time i spend commuting is almost not worth it.  so it's all about the experience.  sadly, what i'm doing is not only the absolute bottom of the ladder, but it's not really with the population i (think i) want to work with.

i think i've outlined it before, but let me go over my job again.  i make drinks.  i make iced tea, diet iced tea, fruit punch, and lemonade.  i put some chips and pretzels in bowls and dump a handful of individual sized bags of chips on a table.  i open a couple of packages of cookies and put them on said table. i ensure ice is available, as well as utensils, plates, and cups.  then i play dominos or 'socialize' with the attendees.  i then help serve dinner.  i wash the majority of the dishes, then socialize a bit more, then drive a few attendees home.  then it's back to the center to do nothing (or play candy crush) until it's time to go home.

i commute 35/40 minutes each way, three times a week.  it's putting miles on my leased car and it's evenings.  three nights a week i'm not home.  awesome husband @_antgas gets to go to the gym and play video games - and eat whatever is in the house.

now, it's not a bad job.  i like most of the people i work with.  it's the people we serve, the population we work for.  the non-profit i work for is a 'behavioral rehabilitation' center.  they have programs for all types of mental illnesses, psychiatric disorders, and substance abuse.  the people who come to the social program are not necessarily clients of the center - some of them are just people in the community who want to socialize (or, more accurately, get free food).  many of the people live in group homes, or 'community housing'.  most, if not all, are on some sort of public assistance: disability, welfare, medicaid, whatever.  so i get that they could use the food.  but they could be nicer about it.

and some of them are just plain crazy (remember, i'm crazy too).  but these people.  one hums like all. the. time.  and not along to anything - just hums.  one never washes.  one has had a double mastectomy and still smokes (and also doesn't wash).

i feel bad feeling this way, but i don't want to hang out with these people.

i don't want to drive people home in my nice, fairly new, expensive-monthly-lease-payment car.  the day after i washed it, someone put their hand palm down on the window.  i had a huge hand print for days.  some of these people have had bedbugs in the past.  i don't want to bring them home (the people or the bedbugs).  some of these people just don't wash, and i don't want their stink in my car.  one of them wears too much - way too much - perfume.  so much that it's infused the passenger seat belt and @_antgas can smell it when he rides in my car.

it's interesting that this started bugging me recently (an entire month after i started the job).  i was thinking about how to finish school.  should i bust my hump and try to finish this year?  what should i do about a masters program?  i made an appointment with my advisor and met with her.  we were thinking social work, taking my time with the classes so as not to risk my gpa, and starting my masters program in fall '15.

now?  not so sure.

do you know what social work means?  i mean, really?  a social work degree means serving those less fortunate.  it means working with the homeless, the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled.  it means working with the people i work with now.  it means working to gain them rights and respect and services.

these are all wonderful, nobel things.  but do you know what's missing from that list?


sure, social workers can counsel people.  they can hang their own shingle, as it were, and provide counseling.  but social work degrees really focus on the social aspect of it.

do you know what i want to do?  my first stop is addictions counseling.  but do you know what i really think i want to do, something that really interests me?  i'd like to counsel privately.  i think i'd really like to study sexuality and gender issues... perhaps counseling lgbt adolescents.  maybe working with women and gender-related issues.

i don't think a social work masters will work.

there's another option on long island - a mental health counseling masters.  only one school offers it (and it's not as cheap as the nice, big, state school which has it's own school of social work). it focuses on counseling, on providing counseling, that stuff.  not so much the advocacy, the getting-of-services, stuff like that.  it focuses on counseling - and allows one to hang their own shingle.

i could go for this degree and go into practice for myself if i wanted.  i could study sexuality and gender identity issues and addiction and women's issues and whateverthefuckiwant and go counsel people about it.

i think i know which way i'm leaning, but it's not anywhere near where i thought i'd be:

  • i used to think i'd be dead by 30, either from drugs or suicide (i'm 33).
  • i always thought i'd commit suicide if my mother died because i couldn't live without her (she died when i was 30).
  • i used to want a doctor to put me on disability so i could sit around and want to die in peace.
  • i never thought i'd be in school at all, let alone for what i'm going for.
  • i thought i'd always want to kill myself, have obsessive thoughts, hear my own voice in my head telling me horrible things about myself.
i just thought that was how it would be.  

it's not.