How to Make DIY Tinted Lip Balm with Sun Protection

I'm going on a beach holiday in a few days, and I got it in my head to make myself some lip balm that'll protect me from the sun. Had I made this before? No I had not. I think the uncertainty of it is much of what made me determined to do it.

How to Make DIY Tinted Lip Balm with Sun Protection – http://www.kimwerker.com/blog

(I mean, I've made plain-old lip balm before, so it's not like I went into this totally cold. But I did wing it quite a bit, all the same.)

First snag? The titanium dioxide I have is water-soluble, not oil-soluble. I was going to use only a teensy weensy bit of it, but I didn't want it to go all screwy on me so instead of using both it and zinc oxide for a sun-protection dynamic duo, I used only zinc oxide. Honestly, I don't think this made a lick of difference to the lip balm, but I thought I'd mention it.

Why these white powders, you ask? Well. There's a reason all the super-natural sunscreens for kids use them: they're effective, and they aren't harsh chemicals that might irritate skin.

Only thing is, as I'm sure you've noticed at parks or summer camps with kids whose parents hate "chemicals": pasty, pasty kids. The sunscreen makes skin look a ghastly white no matter the wearer's skin tone.

Which is why this lip balm is tinted. If I didn't add colour, the balm would be a pure, opaque white, and it would make my lips look like a clown's foundation.

How to Make DIY Tinted Lip Balm with Sun Protection – http://www.kimwerker.com/blog

So I used that white as a base, and added iron oxide and carmine dye to bring it back to some kind of natural colour – even, depending on your opinion, to a lovely shade of blush.​

Below is the recipe, a video of me making the first (of two) batches, and here's an option to get a printable PDF of the ​recipe and instructions (you'll get my weekly newsletter, too, which I think will be utterly delightful for you):

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE & INSTRUCTIONS AS A PDF

Recipe & Instructions

​Note: I have no idea exactly how much protection this lip balm provides against UVA and UVB rays. What I do know is that it should provide more than a similar recipe that doesn't use zinc oxide, because zinc oxide protects against exposure to the sun. At this concentration? I don't know how much.

Supplies*

Ingredients

Note: See instructions for compensating for leaving out any optional ingredients.

Make the Lip Balm

Fill the small saucepan with a couple of inches of water, and start heating on medium-low.

Into the glass measuring cup, add beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, argan oil and sweet almond oil. (If not using argan oil, just use 5g more sweet almond or olive oil. The idea is to use a total of 21g of oil that’s liquid at room temperature.)

Place the measuring cup into the saucepan. Stir occasionally while the wax and butters melt. (The wax will be the last to melt.)

While that’s going, in the small bowl combine the vitamin E oil, castor oil and zinc oxide (if you aren’t using vitamin E oil and/or castor oil, sub in the same liquid oil you’re already using – olive, sweet almond, etc. – so that you’re adding a total of 4g of oil to the zinc oxide). Stir into a paste. Now add the tint in small increments until the hue and saturation are to your liking. (Shown here: the pinkest tubes contain a smidge of burgundy iron oxide and about 30 drops of liquid carmine dye; the browner tubes contain about a teaspoon of burgundy iron oxide.)

When the waxes and butters are fully melted into the liquid oils, remove the measuring cup from the pot and place on a heat-proof surface.

Quickly stir in the zinc oxide/tint mixture, mixing thoroughly (quickly because as the oils cool, they’ll start to harden – if that happens, no worries! Just put the measuring cup back into the saucepan to remelt everything).

If you’re adding essential oil or flavour oil, add that in now (I used about 8 drops of spearmint essential oil), and stir well.

Pour everything into lip balm tubes.

Let the tubes cool thoroughly before using.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE & INSTRUCTIONS AS A PDF

How to Make DIY Tinted Lip Balm with Sun Protection – http://www.kimwerker.com/blog
How to Make DIY Tinted Lip Balm with Sun Protection – http://www.kimwerker.com/blog

Pussyhats and Photos from the Women’s March

What a thing, the Women’s Marches, eh? What a day. What a force. What a feeling. (My photos from the Vancouver march are below.)

I first learned about the Pussyhat Project right after it launched in late November, 2016, and though I cast on for a knitted hat right away, it was only when the project reached its tipping point in the couple of weeks leading up to the marches that I felt compelled to do way more.

The crocheted Pussyhat pattern I released was downloaded a few hundred times before the march, and a few hundred times the actual weekend of the march. As of the time I’m writing this, it’s been downloaded well over 700 times.My blog traffic has nearly double over the last week. As far as I can tell, the Pussyhat is more popular than any crochet pattern I’ve ever published.

There was a time when I felt I had to be very, very subtle about my feminism in my crochet work, and I’m proud, relieved and downright excited that those days are over.

Don’t get me wrong – my work isn’t going to stop being about the fun of creative exploration and turn into 100% activism all the time.

It’s just that I may bring activism – which is a big part of my personal life and has been for a long time – into my work a bit more than I used to.

But also separately. If you’d like to get occasional emails from me about simple steps to take and about the intersection of art/craft and activism, sign up right here.

Anyway. It feels simultaneously like the worst of times and the best of times. I have so much to make, and so much to do.

Onward!

 

My Take on a Crocheted Pussyhat

With a super stretchy, simple to make ribbed brim, you can whip up this crocheted #pussyhat in no time!

Updated 1/13 to add a video on how the hat is constructed (see below!)
And again on 1/19 to add a troubleshooting video. And this link.

Perhaps you've heard about the Women's March on Washington on January 21st, with solidarity marches planned in hundreds of cities around the world? And perhaps along with that you've heard about the Pussyhats people are feverishly making to wear?

The official Pussyhat Project site offers patterns both for knitters and crocheters, but I don't love the look of the crocheted hat. I'm not a big fan of post-stitch ribbing, see. So I made my own using my preferred kind of ribbing, and I figured I'd share the pattern here in case you, too, prefer a ribbing that's good and stretchy (I've offered to send a PDF to the official project, too). Find the text version below, or download the PDF by clicking here:

CLICK HERE TO GET THE CROCHET PATTERN AS A PDF

If you have questions about your ribbing curling at the corners, or your edges coming out all wonky, watch this (and feel free to ask me for help!):

Pattern

Sizing

To fit an average adult head. It’s very stretchy, so will fit a range of sizes. And it’s easy to adjust: make the ribbing sections shorter or longer than 8” to fit smaller or larger heads, respectively.

Materials

Yarn of any weight in a sufficient amount to complete the hat, and an appropriately sized hook. Shown here in worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220, about 180 yards), worked with a 5 mm hook.

Gauge

Varies based on the yarn weight you use. Just work to the dimensions specified.

Special Stitches

Single crochet through the back loop only (sc-blo): In next stitch, insert hook through back loop only and pull up a loop, complete single crochet.

Sc-blo ribbing: Work sc-blo in each stitch of every row.

Abbreviations

American terms are used.

ch = chain

hdc = half double crochet

sc = single crochet

sc-blo = single crochet through the back loop only (see above)

First Ribbing Section

Make a chain slightly longer than 4” (10 cm). Work in sc-blo ribbing as follows:

Row 1: Skip first chain, sc-blo (see sidebar) in next chain and in each remaining chain across, turn.

Row 2: Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sc-blo in first stitch and in each remaining stitch across, turn. (Note: The final sc stitch can be hard to see – be sure to dig for it and not skip it!)

Repeat Row 2 until piece measures about 8” (20 cm) from foundation-chain edge. Fasten off and set aside for now.

Second Ribbing Section

Make as for First Ribbing Section but do not fasten off. Without turning at the end of the last row, begin working Middle Section of the hat as follows:

Middle Section

Ch 2, rotate work 90 degrees to crochet across the ribbed edge. Placing your stitches consistently as you go, hdc in each row-edge across, turn.

Hdc Row: Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), hdc in first stitch and in each stitch across, turn. 

Repeat Hdc Row until piece measures about 17” (43 cm) from bottom edge of ribbing, fasten off.

Note: The hdc section of the hat will be wider than the ribbing section. It’s supposed to be that way!

Finishing

Layer First Ribbing Section behind Middle Section, lining up one long edge of the ribbing with the last row of hdc.

Holding both pieces together and working through both thicknesses at the same time, with a yarn needle sew the two sections together using whipstitch. Use stitch markers if needed to distribute the narrower ribbed fabric across the wider hdc fabric as needed if the stitches of each piece don’t line up perfectly. Don’t sweat it! When you get to the end, fasten off.

Fold the hat in half so the ribbing sections are lined up. Whipstitch the two sides of the hat together (or use whichever seaming technique you prefer), keeping the bottom edge of the ribbing open – that’s where you’ll put your head!

Weave in loose ends.

If your seam is on the outside but you want it on the inside, turn the hat out, et voila.

Wear your hat with pride!

With a super stretchy, simple to make ribbed brim, you can whip up this crocheted #pussyhat in no time!

2016 in Review: Best Apps and Software

The best apps and software for creative work and life – http://www.kimwerker.com/blog

These are the apps and programs I used the most, relied on, or simply found the most valuable in 2016 – both in my writing and creative work, and in my personal crafty life. All of these are available on pretty much any platform (I use a Mac laptop and an Android smartphone, in case you find that relevant!)

Leave a comment at the end and add your favourites, too!

Some of these are referral or affiliate links. I don't recommend anything I don't actually know and love!​

  • CoSchedule – Though I've used this editorial and social-media calendar for quite a while, this fall I started using it hard. With their introduction of the ReQueue feature, which loops designated posts to be reposted automatically, I cancelled Edgar and haven't looked back. In 2017, I intend to use it for blog planning, too (because in 2017 I intend to get organized).
  • Trello – I use this list-making app every day. It's where I keep track of links I'll share in my Friday newsletter, and I use it to manage the editorial content for Clarinet News. I also use it with my client to keep track of everything else we work on together – from files to to-do lists to contact information. The free version of Trello is robust on its own; I only upgraded to the Gold version (worth every penny!) when I needed to exceed the free version's file-size limit for uploads.
  • Evernote – I've used Evernote for years and it continues to be a catch-all for a huge variety of information I need to capture, and I draft a lot of things I write in there, too. I wrote about it a while ago (um, five years ago!), and I pretty much still use it the same way, pretty much every day.
  • Canva for Work – I started paying for this browser-based graphic-design tool as soon as they launched their paid version a couple of years ago, and I've never questioned the decision. Canva for Work makes it dead simple to set your brand's fonts and default colours, and to apply them to a huge number of predesigned templates for all manner of imagery and documents (including the image at the top of this post, for example). For people like me who aren't graphic designers but rely on great graphics, this is a must-have tool. I even used it to design the cover of my latest ebook.
  • Facebook Live – Live video isn't new, and I was eager to try out Periscope when it first came on the scene. But Periscope rapidly fell to sexist trolls, and it's only accessible to people who have the app (or maybe they broadcast to Twitter now, too? I stopped following it). Everyone is on Facebook, though. And Facebook weights videos very favourably compared to other kinds of media content, which means that when you go live, and when you archive your broadcast on your page, there's a pretty good chance people will actually see it. And watch it. And comment on it. When I make stuff live on Facebook, my videos get far more engagement with people than any other kinds of posts, and I gain followers. Live video requires no postproduction, so it's a very easy way to enter the world of video. I highly recommend it!
  • Overdrive – When my family went on a six-week road trip in 2015 a brilliant friend recommended we borrow audiobooks from the library for our kid to listen to in the car. Overdrive is the app most public libraries use to allow their patrons to borrow ebooks and audiobooks. This year, I finally got into audiobooks for myself, and I'm so grateful that I can borrow them without cost from the library! So good.
  • ConvertKit – When I first committed to writing my weekly newsletter back in 2014, I used TinyLetter to send it. Eventually, it became clear that the newsletter is central to my business, and I switched to MailChimp for its more robust features. MailChimp is a bit of a beast, though, and I never managed to take the time to learn how to do the fancy things I need to do to make email work for my business, especially because I'm not a one-trick pony. Enter ConvertKit. All the things that broke my brain in MailChimp are simple, basic features of ConvertKit. ConvertKit allows me to reach people about specific topics that interest them – like crochet or bullet journaling – while also reaching people with my more general newsletter. It's also what I use to send email content for my online classes. The lower-level plans are more expensive than MailChimp's, and I consider them to be 100% worth the extra expense. I've used ConvertKit for a year now, and I look forward to using it for a long time into the future.
  • Harvest – Thought I've worked as a freelancer for a long time, this year I took on a major client. I keep track of my hours and send invoices using Harvest, which has super simple apps for my phone and laptop so I can track my time even when I'm on the go. Bonus: Because I'm only working with a single client these days, I can do all this with the free version.
  • Boardbooster – Pinterest is the single greatest driver of traffic to my website. I used to use Tailwind to manage and track my pins, but after a while I stopped taking the time to use the analytics, and I switched to Boardbooster. It doesn't have as sleek an interface (in fact, though it does very contemporary things, the design of the app seems super dated), but it has great features and it's less expensive than Tailwind. I use the pin-queueing functionality almost daily, and have my biggest boards set up to have older, successful pins automatically reposted. Whether you already rely on Pinterest as a central social medium for your business or you're looking to up your game with it, I recommend checking Boardbooster out.
  • Chatbooks – This one isn't work-related (though it could be if I wanted it to be...), but it saves me so much time and makes me so happy. Chatbooks is a phone app that takes the snapshots you take, and when you've queued up 60 of them, it prints them in a book and sends it to you. I spend a few minutes each week curating which photos I want to be used, and I love it when a book arrives. No need to worry about printing photos! I get hard-cover books printed, and the quality is great. Shipping to Canada isn't prohibitively expensive, and I've come to rely on this simple service to bridge my digital and physical worlds. So good.
  • VSCO – Speaking of photos, VSCO is my go-to app for editing photos on my phone for posting on social media. Its interface is a little too designy for my taste – it uses its own icons and gestures instead of more standard iterations, which is like the opposite of user-friendly, but whatever – but it has great filters and straightforward editing tools for functions from cropping and rotating to adjusting exposure and white balance.

Do you use any of these apps? Got tips or tricks? Use and love something that's not listed? Share in the comments!

Free Pattern: Simplest Crochet Hat!

Free pattern for the simplest crochet hat! http://kimwerker.com/blog

My friend recently pulled a hat out of his coat pocket and said, "Kim! I hope you can help me. This is my favourite hat, and I want a few more of them. What's it made out of? Where can I buy more?"

It was the simplest crocheted hat ever. Beanie length, double crochet with a single crochet brim in a contrasting colour. By my best guess it was made from soft acrylic yarn. I was like, "Friend, you can probably find more of these at any craft fair in town, and probably at the farmer's market when the weather warms up. It's the simplest hat ever! You know what, I'll make you one."

So I went home and dug around for some yarn. I'm pretty sure his original hat was made in DK or sportweight yarn, but I found some of my favourite worsted weight, and whipped this up in an evening of Netflix.

Then before I gave it to him, I was like, I should write this pattern up. It's so simple!

And so I did.

Get the Free Pattern:

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FREE SIMPLEST BEANIE CROCHET PATTERN!

To crochet the hat, you'll need about 100 yards of worsted weight yarn, plus a small amount in a contrasting colour – about 10 or 12 yards. That and a 5mm (US H/8) hook, and you can whip one up in one sitting.

Don't know how to crochet but want to make awesome projects like this? Take my beginner crochet class at Craftsy, and I'll have you crocheting in no time!

Already crochet but want to seriously up your game? Take my class Crochet in the Round: Basics & Beyond and you'll learn how to size this hat so it'll fit a head of any size, from newborn to gigantic – and you'll learn so much more, too!

Free pattern for the simplest crochet hat! http://kimwerker.com/blog
Make the simplest crocheted hat! Get the free pattern at http://kimwerker.com/blog

Free Template: Carve a Stamp and Make Cards for Any Occasion!

Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog

A few weeks ago I was asked to teach a class on block printing holiday cards. The class ended up falling through, but not before I decided to try my hand at carving a more detailed lino block than I'd ever attempted before.

I don't celebrate Christmas and don't assume that all of my students do, so I wanted to create an example block that can be used for a wide variety of occasions. (The actual projects my students would complete would be far simpler!

So I took to the computer and designed a 4x6" block that features a blank box I can fill in with anything I want. (Download the template and instructions below!)

HAPPY HAPPY happy Christmas!

HAPPY HAPPY happy birthday!

HAPPY HAPPY happy Hanukkah!

HAPPY HAPPY happy joy joy!

Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog

My finished block isn't the best – there are some nicked edges, some wonky lines, some not-clean-enough-for-my-liking details – but I'm glad I finally took the plunge and tried it out.

Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog

If you're new to stamp or block carving, I highly recommend using Speedball Speedy Carve for your block. It's way easier to carve than a lino block. I may make another of these in the pink stuff, actually. I'd be able to use a huge stamp pad for it then, too, instead of the more intense-to-use block-printing ink (though using the ink is super fun, and messier).

DOWNLOAD THE STAMP TEMPLATE & INSTRUCTIONS!

  

Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog
Carve a card stamp for all occasions! http://kimwerker.com/blog

2016 Gift Guide for Creative Adventurers

Creative adventuring involves lots of play, experimentation, and curiosity. Here are some gifts I think are ace for anyone you know who’s into such things. And I assume you’re into such things, so share this gift guide with people who are shopping for you!

2016 Gift Guide for Creative Adventurers - http://kimwerker.com/blog

Field Notes quarterly subscription

A quarterly subscription to Field Notes limited editions. Notebooks are key to creative adventuring!

Nicely Said is a fabulous book about writing (anything at all) on the web. Creative adventures are best when shared!

Starter block-printing kit. Everything you need to get started.

I’m sure I’ve included Show Your Work in recommendation lists before, but who cares? It’s fabulous.

What better way to spark imagination than by turning the expected on its head? A notebook of black paper seems just about perfect. (See gel pens for a great accompaniment!)

Danielle Krysa’s new book is outstanding, and will help everyone in the world quiet their inner critic and get down to making stuff.

A fountain pen! The Pilot Kakuna is inexpensive and a total delight to write with.

Sound isolating headphones. These don’t rely on electronic noise cancellation, but rather cocoon you in a comfy state that’s removed from the noise around you. Perfect for getting into the creative zone!

Creations are best when shared. A lightweight, flexible gadget like this wee GorillaPod allows for endless possibilities for using a phonecam!

Watercolour brush pens. These are super convenient, and make experimenting with watercolour paints that much easier and exciting.

uppercase

A gift subscription to Uppercase magazine. It’s one of the best magazines for sparking the imagination, and for demonstrating that any interest is a good thing to spend time on.

No explanation needed.

Free pattern for the simplest crochet hat! http://kimwerker.com/blog

Make a hat! If you don’t know how to, learning will be a gift to yourself (plus you’ll get the hat!)

Gel pens are amazeballs no matter what you enjoy making.

Sales on Ebooks and Online Classes!

Happy Thanksgiving, American friends! I hope you’ve had a fabulous holiday with people you love and food that was delicious. Canadian Thanksgiving was several weeks ago, but as you read this I’m on my way to surprise someone I love this holiday weekend. Good times.

So, let’s buy experiences and not stuff this weekend, yeah? (Or, let’s buy stuff and also experiences?) I’ve got some awesome sales for you of the experience variety – treat yourself!

(Some of the following are affiliate links. I never recommend things I don’t actually think are ace!)

 

Online Craft & Cooking Classes at Craftsy

All Craftsy online classes are $17.99 or less during Black Friday weekend!

First up, Craftsy’s having their biggest sale ever. Through Monday, every online class – there are well over 1,000 of them! – is $17.99 USD or less. Here are some I particularly recommend (do browse around the site – there are so many classes):

 

Online Classes at CreativeLive

CreativeLive is also having a sale from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, with up to 40% off classes. (Including my class: Embrace the Ugly: How to Break Through What’s Holding You Back in Business!)

 

My Ebooks and More!

Through Monday, take 15% off the ebooks in my shop using the code notstuff2016!

And get over 15% off the Daily Making Jumpstart + Year of Making e-course and ebook bundle. It’s never the wrong time to establish a solid creative habit. Take advantage of this deal, and you’ll already be well on your way to meeting your 2017 resolution… before New Year’s even comes!

 

Awesome Novels You’ll Love Reading Aloud with Kids

Click here to get a PDF of this list + 3 more great book recommendations + my 3 favourite picture books!

A list of great novels to read aloud with kids - http://kimwerker.com/blogFor the last couple of years, I’ve been reading novels with my currently (almost) six-year-old at bedtime. We still love picture books, but the vast majority of the time we spend reading together is accompanied by novels. New, old, fantastical, everyday – we read it all.

Soon he’ll be reading on his own, but we’ll continue to read novels together at bedtime. I’m sure of it. For now, I wanted to start a list of the books we’ve most loved together. The ones that mesmerized him and me both. The ones that were so delicious to read aloud I’ve wanted to shout from my front porch that everyone should join in immediately. (And also some that seem determined to be listed despite a lack of adoration on my or my kid’s part. Because not all books become beloved, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun or important to read.)

(I’m using Amazon affiliate links here; I’ll be paid some change if you decide to make a purchase after clicking.)

Roald Dahl is perhaps the reigning master (so I declare) of writing books that are meant to be read aloud. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one that’s accessible even to the youngest children, and it affords a fabulous opportunity to discuss what it means to be poor, and kind, and selfish, and greedy.


The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, by Charles de Lint is a bit more sophisticated and subtle than some of the other novels on this list, and I think a fair amount of the story went over my son’s head. That said, he thoroughly enjoyed it. There are heavy themes of death and resurrection, and I found the book to be absolutely stunning.


No list would be complete without Harry Potter, and I highly recommend the illustrated versions. The Philosopher’s Stone was released in the fall of 2015 and The Chamber of Secrets a year later. I hope they keep to a yearly release schedule, so my kid’s maturity level can keep pace as the stories get more intense.

This is a short one, and a sweet one. The Pirate Pig was our introduction to Cornelia Funke’s writing, and though I thought it was merely okay, the kid loved it and insisted we read it again immediately. Three times over.

Though the story centres on travel through space and time – a concept wholly over the heads of most primary-grade children, let alone preschoolers – Fortunately the Milk, by Neil Gaiman is so delightful, and so amenable to reading silly voices, that even if half the story is lost to confusion it’s still super fun to read aloud.


There are several books in the Princess in Black series about a frilly princess who hides a monster-fighting alter ego. These are short books relative to most others on this list, but they’re terrific. My son loves them.


The Year of Billy Miller, by Kevin Henkes, is about Billy’s time in second grade. It’s a lovely family portrait that I as a parent could relate to as much as my son could as a kid. It’s a quiet book about normal life, and it’s great for sparking conversation about the everyday ups and downs of school and friends and work and family.

I loved From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as a kid growing up in New York City, and started thinking about it when I took the kid to Manhattan for a few days last spring – and to his first major art museum (the MOMA, not the Met). We told our neighbour about our trip after we returned home, and he thought the same thing. The next day he came over with a copy of this book, and the kid loved it.

The six-book Imaginary Veterinary series by Suzanne Selfors is truly outstanding, and I don’t know why it’s not a more prominently popular series. The protagonists become great friends, and the books are full of humour, fantasy, and great problem solving. Especially recommended for kids who aren’t ready to be scared.

This one is a true delight to read aloud, and provides a solid invitation to discuss guns. Not that we all want to discuss guns with our kids, but when I discovered the role the farmers’ shotgun plays in this story, I decided it was time to discuss the power of those weapons. Also, we laughed a lot through this story.


This one is an exception, because The Hobbit is actually a total slog to read aloud. The book could have a third of its text cut out without affecting the story at all. But it’s saved by the parts with the Gollum, which are truly inspired to read aloud. And if you’re familiar with the story you can skip parts as you read.

Ok, no this is the best Roald Dahl book the read aloud. The fantastical vocabulary of the Big Friendly Giant is the best, and this was the first novel to elicit uncontrollable giggling from the kid. I suspect that when he gets older, he may consider this one of the first books he truly loved.

Is It an Emergency?

I don’t usually copy my weekly newsletter into my blog, but this week is different from most weeks, and my email provider doesn’t make copies available for linking. To give you the full newsletter experience, I copied the text in full, including the links at the end. To get my emails every Friday, sign up here.

Hey,

I smelled gas this morning when I was walking the dog. It was around the same place in the next block over that I thought I’d smelled it last week, but had dismissed it as a false alarm.

I walked back and forth a few times, trying to figure out if my mind was playing tricks on me. I couldn’t figure out where it might be coming from, but I smelled it. I did.

Too big a risk, I forced myself to accept. Too big a risk.

So I phoned the city’s non-emergency line, just in case they have a way to check in on things like this that doesn’t rely on emergency services. They don’t. They told me to call 9-1-1.

Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, even though I had the blessing of the city, I still hesitated for a beat. What if it’s nothing? What if I’ll have wasted the fire department’s time? What if my neighbours feel put out?

Stop. Make the call.

I made the call.

It was the right thing to do. Even if I was mistaken, even if I felt uncomfortable that I wasn’t certain. I did the right thing.


I got a concussion once. I was in college.

It was my first year, I think, and there was an upperclassman who liked to flirt with me. I didn’t reciprocate, but he was harmless.

He was the first (of, astonishingly, several) college men who would, at one point in conversation or another, interrupt to tell me, “Your eyes are green!”

No shit, Sherlock.

I didn’t date much in college.

One day I was walking through the common area of my floor in the dorm, and he was walking by in the other direction. He asked for a hug. I said no.

He demanded a hug. I told him I had somewhere to be. He was in my way.

He said aw, c’mon.

I was like fuck it. Fine.

He swung me around during this hug, and lost his balance. We both went over, him on top. The back of my head smacked the floor and I literally saw stars.

I didn’t get to wherever it was I was headed.

I left the dorm in a neck brace, strapped to a backboard.


I’ve been thinking a lot about that stupid hug these last few weeks. And about the hug a guy at camp forced on me when I was in high school, which I met with a swift and well-aimed kick to his genitals.

I’ve been thinking about what’s benign and what’s malignant. What’s acceptable and what must be met with even uncomfortable intervention.

What’s normal and what’s not normal. And what shouldn’t be normal.


We’re in charge.

We’re the only ones who can force ourselves to do the right, often very uncomfortable thing.

To use our words to assert ourselves. And if our words fail, to use our feet.

To suspect that something’s not right, and to do something about it even if we’re not sure.

We can convince ourselves sometimes that life can be convenient, but this past week became a stark reminder that convenience is an illusion.

Let us all accept the inconvenience, for failing to is simply unacceptable. Let us get our hands dirty in the mess.

It’s the only hope we have of ever cleaning it up.

Onward.
Kim


In my haze of grief and dismay this week, I finally finished my new ebook. It’s a compilation of all the emails I sent to you in 2014, including all the links. That year was a big one for me, and many of the seeds of my whole creative life were planted during those months. Grab a copy now on Amazon or in my online shop!

(Patrons at the $5 and $10+ levels, you should have already heard from me with your download or discount. Let me know if you didn’t get the info!)


Try This Once:

I’m having a hard timing coming up with the fun this week, my friends. I’m going to skip this one, and get myself into better shape to bring it hardcore next week.


Items of Note:


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Is it an emergency? http://www.kimwerker.com/blog