every second tuesday

supercat week 3: day 6

Friday, April 21 – dating agency, either Kara or Cat runs an agency that tracks and matches soulmates

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Hestia

“So…we’re supposedly soulmates.”

“Supposedly…”

Your soulmate plays with her cutlery. You purse your lips and scratch at the skin beneath your watch. Alex had insisted every time you went on a date to wear it, in case you want to…do stuff afterwards. Alex likes to embarrass you with stuff like this all the time and it’s…nice, but still, it’s embarrassing. The kryptonite hurts, too. It’s a constant drain and you have no way to stop its effects until you get back to her flat to put it away in its lead-lined box.

“What do you do for a living?” You try to get the conversation flowing, voice cheery but audibly nervous. Rao, I couldn’t have been less obvious?

Cat gives you a surprisingly strange look, however. “I run my own business. You?”

“Professional tutor,” you reply, relaxing slightly. “I mostly work with high school students, but I’ve got a small group of university students that come to me for help and some middle-school kids.”

“What do you tutor them in?” Cat questions, eyebrow rising. “I’ll assume you went to college if you tutor university students.”

“Hmm, yeah, I’ve got a few degrees,” you skirt around that part. “Mostly science and mathematics. The older ones, uh, astrophysics.”

Cat, who had been sipping her water, coughs a little, grabbing a napkin to press to her mouth. You flush a little, waiting for her to reply.

“Astrophysics?”

“Physics of space,” you explain briefly, before swallowing. “So…what do you do in your free time? I like books and museums.”

“Books and museums…” Cat mutters, “My free time is sparse. I have a son, you see. I like to spend the majority of my free time with him, when he’s not with his father in Las Vegas.”

“Oh!” You start, eyes wide. “You have a son? What’s his name?”

“Carter,” Cat replies slowly. “If we decided to…see each other again, then you’d have to meet him.”

“That’s fine,” you say, thinking about another Carter you know – you tutor him in advanced mathematics every second Tuesday and Thursday evening. “What’s he like?”

Cat visibly tenses, before taking out her phone from her handbag. “He’s special. He has a social communication disorder.” She goes onto her phone briefly, before holding it up. You blink in surprise.

“…would Carter’s father happen to be called Lucas Miles?”

Cat takes her phone back sharply. “Excuse me? How do you know that name?”

You reach for your own phone, taking it out and swiftly going to your own album, bringing up the selfie you took with Carter a few months ago. Handing your phone over, you wrap your fingers in your napkin, holding it tightly as Cat stares.

“You’re Carter’s tutor,” she surmises quietly. “Well. At least we know he likes you. He’s been wanting me to meet you for a while now. You’re brilliant, apparently.”

Flushing again, you shake your head, taking back your phone when offered. “I’m not, really.”

“But you are. You got Carter to open up. He likes you.” Cat says, eyeing you now. “No wonder he got excited when I told him the name of my supposed soulmate. He said we should go out tonight, convinced me to agreeing to it, the hellion.”

“He’s amazing,” you say, before looking down sharply. That was too much, probably. Definitely.

But Cat hums, sounding happy for the first time this evening. “He is. So – astrophysics? How did that happen?”

You look up and see her face, her lips quirked up pleasantly, genuine interest sparkling in her eyes. Your heart flutters and you think, maybe.

Patti Nelson breaks her silence

 Pretzeled inside an old, orange cupboard inside the Columbine High School library, her body bleeding, sweating and shaking and her mind wondering and wandering - a terrified Patti Nielson vividly heard the shots echoed round the world. A few feet away, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were committing conjoint suicide in the early afternoon of April 20 and in the aftermath of the nation’s most horrific school shooting spree. But the ordeal wasn’t over, and still isn’t, for Nielson. A color-splashed abstract hangs in the powder room of the pristine suburban home shared by Patti and Shane Nielson, their children Josh, 9, Elise, 5, and Mallory, 2, and Cody the dog. Patti, who majored in art at Metro State College before she became a teacher, brush-stroked the painting into life years ago and titled it “On Second Thought.’‘ In the middle of the night this week, Nielson woke up with a start. She was having a second thought about the tragedy - again. Nielson was on duty as a lunch-time monitor in Columbine High School’s north hall when she noticed a man in black, with his back to her, outside the school. He apparently was shooting a gun into the parking lot. Her first reaction was that he was involved in the production of a video or in a senior prank. Nielson headed in his direction to tell him to stop “because I thought he was doing a dumb thing.” As she reached the door leading outside, he turned and grinned at her. Then, Eric Harris shot her. This was no movie or stunt, she realized. “It was very real.’' The 35-year-old Nielson - an intelligent, personable woman whom hospital personnel later would mistake for a student - made the first 911 call from Columbine that fateful Tuesday. She was among the first shooting victims, enduring a frightening 3 hours in the school library - where 10 people were murdered, nine were injured and from which 32 escaped. She was the closest person to the shooters when they died and one of the last survivors to leave the building. When she finally felt free on Pierce Street outside Columbine late in the afternoon, Nielson noticed a blind boy from school standing alone. Police ordered her to get into an ambulance and go to the hospital. "I can’t leave the blind student,” she said. The young man turned toward her and said: “I prefer “visually challenged.’ ’' Nielson smiled for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. Nielson is one of the most pivotal witnesses to the Columbine shootings. She was deluged by requests for interviews in the early days but was too traumatized and wanted to grieve for the slain students. Now, Nielson feels she can reflect more thoughtfully about April 20. "I have second thoughts about what happened all the time. I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s there.’' Under a job-share, Nielson taught three morning art classes each day. Her last class ended at 11:10 a.m., and she stopped to tell a fellow teacher a joke she had heard on the radio that morning. Normally, Nielson monitored a hall every other Tuesday during second lunch period. But she traded with a colleague and worked both lunch periods. Columbine is a "good school where everybody cares,” she said. “We have high test scores, and our athletes do well, but that’s not all. We have a great music department and drama department, and our art students have won several awards.” The only trouble she had experienced as “hall policeman” was students bringing soft drinks or food from the cafeteria downstairs. “The principal (Frank DeAngelis) wanted to keep the school clean, and it was.” At about 11:20 a.m., Nielson was standing in the hall looking at a multicultural art book she was considering for her classes. Brian Anderson, a junior, lingered nearby. They heard “pops” from the stairs outside the building and saw the man in black through the double glass doors. “What’s that?” Nielson said. Anderson replied: “Probably a cap gun. It’s probably for video productions.” The speculation “made perfect sense to me,” Nielson recalled. “Students do little skits and stuff for video class.’' Nielson and Anderson walked quickly toward the doors "and just as we got to the second set of doors, (the gunman) turned around and looked straight at us. He did not have a mask over his face, but he was wearing some kind of black hat. I thought he was small, but I found out later he was pretty tall. But he was thin and kind of lean,” Nielson said. “He smiled at me and pointed the gun.” It was a TECDC9 semiautomatic handgun.  He fired and Nielson twisted to see a large hole in the glass door. More shots, and Anderson was hit in the chest. Nielson felt her back burning. “I didn’t know what it was, maybe the glass from the door. The second I looked at the kid, (Anderson) he arched and dropped, and I screamed.’' A bullet grazed Nielson - there are scars streaked across her back - and another stuck in a necklace Anderson wore. "He reached down and plucked it out himself.’' The teacher pushed the student back inside - "he’s 16, and I’m 35, and it was maternal instinct,” and they sprinted around a corner into the library. “It was the fastest place to go for help.’' If Nielson hadn’t been hall monitor, she would have been home with her children when the shootings started. "I couldn’t understand why I was there. But there must have been a good reason.” The library was full of kids. “I screamed there was a man with a gun, and the kids were looking at me shocked.’' Nielson didn’t know this section of the school well - her class was on the other side of the building. But she knew there was a telephone behind the library’s main checkout desk. "I had used the phone several weeks before to call my sister.’' The librarian was at lunch, and there was no conspicuous adult supervision. Nielson hollered to the students: "Get down. Get under the tables.’' She grabbed the phone. "We had done fire drills, and I remembered instinctively to call 9 to get an outside line, then 911.’' Nielson could hear shooting "and whooping it up” beyond the library doors. She knew then that more than one person was involved and they were definitely students. "I have said that it felt like there were more than two, but I cannot account for that… . There was adolescent-type shouting,“ she said. "I don’t remember exactly what was said, but it was like kids enjoying themselves and having a great time.’' The library doors were open and secured in place. Nielson since has had second thoughts about whether she should have tried to lock the doors, but she had no key and the doors had glass windows. Someone trying to get in wouldn’t have been deterred. Besides, she knew that a shooter was just behind her and Anderson. While the students huddled beneath tables and behind chairs, a police dispatcher answered Nielson’s call. She spoke loudly and unhaltingly, for the benefit of both the dispatcher and the frightened young men and women. "I wanted everyone to know I was serious.’' "Yes, I’m a teacher at Columbine High School, and there is a student here with a gun. He just shot out a window. I believe … ”… The school is in a panic, and I’m in the library. I’ve got students down. Kids under the table. My kids are screaming. Under the table, kids. The teachers are trying to take control of things. We need police here.“ Fire alarms were blasting. Strobe lights that went on in the library gave it an eerie disco appearance, and smoke wafted in from the hall. Nielson slid under the backside of the checkout desk and continued talking to the woman dispatcher, who told her police, paramedics and firemen were en route. "I could hear shots, and I could hear bombs,” she says now. “I felt like we were going to die.’' Students began peeking over the tables, and Nielson shouted again for them to take cover. She heard gunmen enter the library and the shooting began. Nielson started to recite The Lord’s Prayer. The dispatcher told Nielson to "forget about the Lord’s Prayer for the moment and talk to her.” She then whispered to the dispatcher: “They’re in here. They’re killing kids. I need to go now.” She left the phone off the hook and crawled beneath the desk, where a stool normally would go. The tapes continued to pick up the havoc in the library for another 20 minutes - until all the victims had been shot. When the line was disconnected, Nielson said, it wasn’t from her side. That means authorities have a 26-minute taped record of the siege in the library. Had they not lost the connection, they would have heard what transpired at the end of Harris’ and Klebold’s lives. Nielson couldn’t see the shooters, but she could hear them. “They were saying the most disgusting, vile things … You could tell they were having fun.’' The two saw a black teenager and called him a racist name. "Then they killed him.” The shooters ordered any jocks in the room to stand up. Two who were identified were shot. “But it wasn’t just athletes,” Nielson said. Harris and Klebold picked out one young man because he wore glasses and accused him of being “ "a geek - you think you look cool’ ” and told another student he was “ "pathetic, fat boy.’ ’' "You’d hear them yell something terrible,” Nielson said. “Then, boom.’'  When one girl said "Oh God, Oh God,” an assassin asked her: “Do you believe in God?” When she said she did, she was shot. But another girl also cried “Oh God, Oh God,” and “I didn’t hear shots, so I knew she was alive. Every time one of them would say something, I’d hear shots, and I knew kids were dying.’' Many students believed Nielson had been killed after shots were fired into the desk. Again, though, she was spared - by inches. The two gunmen were "reloading and talking about watching each other’s back to keep anyone from jumping them. They were on a power trip,” Nielson said. When a student said: “Don’t you think you’ve done enough?” he was shot.  A gunman announced: “We’re going to blow up the library,” Nielson said. The killers “were just gross. There were theatrics involved, and they seemed to be acting out some war game. One second they were mean, the next they were laughing. I thought they were on illegal drugs, but I guess the autopsies show they were not, which is also kind of bizarre, because you can’t believe anyone in their right minds would do this. They were so crazed.” At one point a shooter said: “Look at that head blow up. I didn’t know brains could fly.’' Nielson was trying to remain as still as possible while trying to plot something to do. But there wasn’t anything anyone could do. "I thought the police would show up at any moment. But they didn’t.’' Police told the Nielsons as many as 100 shots were fired in the library, and at least one pipe bomb exploded. Finally, Nielson heard one of the youths say: "Let’s get down to the commons.’' But the other replied: "I have one more thing to do.’' One of the pair walked over to where Nielson was hiding. "He stopped in front of me, and I’m thinking I’m dead. His black combat boots, with the pants tucked in, were right by my head. I still don’t know if he knew I was there. It was pretty open from that side. But I had no place to run or hide.’' The gunman grabbed a chair and smashed it atop the desk. At that point, about 10 minutes after they had entered the library, the shots stopped and Klebold and Harris left the room. Nielson didn’t dare move. But most of the students who were unharmed or injured ran out of the room and downstairs to an exit. Nielson was in shock. "I never knew the kids got out.” After several minutes of calm in the library - although she could hear shots in the distance - Nielson crawled from behind the desk. "I saw two tennis shoes sticking out from under a table.“ Everyone seemed dead. The young people were lifeless, and blood was splattered everywhere. Nielson believed she was the only person alive in the library, though she later found out two students had not died. "Everyone else was gone, and there was nothing else I could do.’' Inside the library area are several smaller rooms. Nielson crawled around corners and spotted a cupboard under a kitchen sink. She sat on a paint tray, twisted her body into a fetal position and shut the cupboard door as much as she could. "There were no handles on the inside, so I couldn’t shut it all the way. There was just a crack of light.’' She looked at her watch. It was 11:45 a.m. Nielson was certain the gunmen would return at any moment. "I got as quiet as I could and prayed until I couldn’t think of anything else to pray about.’' She could hear shots in the distance - downstairs, it turned out, in the cafeteria - and more pipe bombs detonating. "There was a definite difference between bombs and shots.’' From police, Nielson eventually learned that two barbecue grill-sized propane tanks had been lashed together in the commons area, and that Harris and Klebold had fired at them hoping to cause a major explosion. The tanks were beneath the library. Harris and Klebold "couldn’t get close to them because they would have been blown up, the officers told me, and they were such bad shots they didn’t hit them. If they had, everything might have gone up.’' As it was, the cafeteria was 6 inches deep in water from the fire sprinklers, and the alarms continued to blare. "It was so noisy,” Nielson said. In her cocoon in the cupboard, Nielson searched for a pencil - in vain. “I wanted to write down a record of what went on, and I wanted to leave my husband a message telling him how much I loved him.’' Shane Nielson, whose family-owned chemical laboratory is in Brighton, had learned of the tragedy on TV and took off for Columbine about the time his wife was wedging herself into the cupboard. He got behind a police car and "broke every speed limit,” Shane said. “Like a lot of other people, I didn’t think it was that serious at first. Then there were reports about people injured.” At Leawood Elementary School, Shane Nielson waited with students’ parents and teachers’ spouses. Nielson considered coming out of her cubbyhole to call her husband, “but I was afraid they might come back while I was on the phone.’' So she waited "and started to talk to myself. I thought that Mallory wouldn’t remember me if I died. I wanted Josh to get closer to his father and I hoped that Elise would remember the time we spent together before I was gone. "I could hear helicopters up above, and I thought they were probably from the TV stations, and I wondered why the SWAT teams weren’t there yet. I thought at any time someone would come in and say "It’s all right to come out.’ It didn’t take that long to get to the school. Then I thought that the gunmen might come in and say it was OK to come out because they were the police, and they’d have me. I was scared to death, and I was thinking about all those students dead in the library.’' Her legs and feet went numb, and Nielson tried to reposition her head. "I thought if I had to run, my legs would give out on me. I thought I would have to spend all night in this cupboard, and I was determined not to let it make me go insane.’' She believes, because of the sounds she heard, that the gunmen returned to the library briefly, thought that no one was alive, and departed. At one point - Nielson doesn’t know when because she couldn’t see the time on her watch - she heard glass breaking. She was unsure if the gunmen had returned or if police were shooting out the windows. That was when injured student Patrick Ireland went through the window to safety. Through the crack in the cupboard door Nielson saw two older women who worked as library aides creeping past. She motioned to them, and one said they were going back to an inner room where they had been hiding. Nielson considered joining them, but decided to remain where she was "because then I thought maybe they (Harris and Klebold) would come back to the broadcasting room.’' For the first time since she hid, Nielson could see her watch. It was 1 p.m. In the library is a makeshift TV studio - the Rebel News Network - where students taped programs that were televised on a cable channel in the school and nearby neighborhoods. "What if they wanted to go in there and broadcast their demands or just take over and say what they wanted to on TV? So many things were going through my head,” Nielson said. Then she knew they were back. Nielson could hear commotion in the library. Followed by a reverberating shot. She feared the library aides had been killed. (They believed she had been killed.) "I didn’t hear any conversation, any yelling, just rat-tat-tat.“ Investigators are convinced that at that time, between 1 and 2 p.m., Harris and Klebold killed themselves - simultaneously. Over the next few days police and some media outlets claimed that Harris and Klebold were dead within 30 minutes after the shooting started, at approximately noon. "I knew there was no way that was possible,” Nielson said. “When I looked at my watch and saw 1 o'clock, they hadn’t come back to the library.’' Harris and Klebold, by her reckoning, were alive well into the afternoon - even though, by then, SWAT members were in the school. There is speculation that police exchanged fire with the two. Nielson constantly heard shots from afar, but police told her they were "laying down ground cover and shooting into the floors.” She doesn’t question the police tactics, but has “heard that the SWAT team at the building wasn’t getting the information that people were dying inside.’' At approximately 4 p.m., the library aides approached the cupboard and said to Nielson: "Come out. Come out.’' Hesitantly, she emerged. At the library door SWAT officers pulled her into the hallway, ordered her to put her hands behind her head and frisked her. She never looked around the library at the dead bodies - and didn’t know that Harris and Klebold were among them. Nielson and the other four remaining survivors in the building were told to go down the stairs and out of the building. "I could see hundreds of backpacks scattered everywhere, and at the door there was this backpack we were told to be careful of.” She ran into the sunlight, climbed into the back of a police car and was told to duck. “I still didn’t feel safe at that point. I could barely see out the window, and we were driving through the park. When we stopped a policeman said to me "The building is secure.‘ "I had figured all along - because there were so many dead - that the two shooters would be killed. They had no hostages.’' Nielson was taken away in an ambulance because of her back wound. "The paramedic who treated me asked me if I believed in God, and I told him I did. He said it was a good thing because only God could have saved me. The bulled had grazed me. An inch more, and I would have been dead.’' After being released from the hospital, Nielson went home, hugged and cried with her family, watched the TV accounts of the day and saw that Harris and Klebold had caused all the carnage. Harris was the man In black who shot at her. She remembered his face when he smiled and shot. But she also remembered Klebold. "Several days before this happened, I was walking down the hall, and I saw this boy sitting there, saying nothing. He wore a black trench coat and a beret. I didn’t like the way he dressed, but I figured he was just trying to be different, just trying to get attention.’' That teenager was Klebold. "I guess he got the attention.’' When Columbine classes resumed at a neighboring school the next week, Nielson felt it would be therapeutic for her art students to sketch their reflections of the tragedy. "Some were very interesting and insightful,” she recalled. Although she is an accomplished artist, Nielson herself has not painted her own memories of the events of April 20. “I may someday, but I’m not ready yet.’' The ordeal is in her mind, not on canvas, and Patti Nielson continues to have second thoughts

Denver post 99 article with Patti Neilson.

Shoutout to sororityalpha over at the Supercolumbinemassacre forum for the find.

Columbine Teacher/Eyewitness
Library Survivor Breaks Silence
By Woody Paige

“Pretzeled inside an old, orange cupboard inside the Columbine High School library, her body bleeding, sweating and shaking and her mind wondering and wandering - a terrified Patti Nielson vividly heard the shots echoed round the world. A few feet away, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were committing conjoint suicide in the early afternoon of April 20 and in the aftermath of the nation’s most horrific school shooting spree. But the ordeal wasn’t over, and still isn’t, for Nielson.

A color-splashed abstract hangs in the powder room of the pristine suburban home shared by Patti and Shane Nielson, their children Josh, 9, Elise, 5, and Mallory, 2, and Cody the dog. Patti, who majored in art at Metro State College before she became a teacher, brush-stroked the painting into life years ago and titled it “On Second Thought.” In the middle of the night this week, Nielson woke up with a start. She was having a second thought about the tragedy - again.

Nielson was on duty as a lunch-time monitor in Columbine High School’s north hall when she noticed a man in black, with his back to her, outside the school. He apparently was shooting a gun into the parking lot. Her first reaction was that he was involved in the production of a video or in a senior prank. Nielson headed in his direction to tell him to stop “because I thought he was doing a dumb thing.” As she reached the door leading outside, he turned and grinned at her. Then, Eric Harris shot her. This was no movie or stunt, she realized. “It was very real.” The 35-year-old Nielson - an intelligent, personable woman whom hospital personnel later would mistake for a student - made the first 911 call from Columbine that fateful Tuesday.

She was among the first shooting victims, enduring a frightening 3 hours in the school library - where 10 people were murdered, nine were injured and from which 32 escaped. She was the closest person to the shooters when they died and one of the last survivors to leave the building. When she finally felt free on Pierce Street outside Columbine late in the afternoon, Nielson noticed a blind boy from school standing alone. Police ordered her to get into an ambulance and go to the hospital. “I can’t leave the blind student,” she said. The young man turned toward her and said: “I prefer "visually challenged.’ ” Nielson smiled for the first time in what seemed like an eternity.

Nielson is one of the most pivotal witnesses to the Columbine shootings. She was deluged by requests for interviews in the early days but was too traumatized and wanted to grieve for the slain students. Now, Nielson feels she can reflect more thoughtfully about April 20. “I have second thoughts about what happened all the time. I can’t get it out of my mind. It’s there.”

Under a job-share, Nielson taught three morning art classes each day. Her last class ended at 11:10 a.m., and she stopped to tell a fellow teacher a joke she had heard on the radio that morning. Normally, Nielson monitored a hall every other Tuesday during second lunch period. But she traded with a colleague and worked both lunch periods. Columbine is a “good school where everybody cares,” she said. “We have high test scores, and our athletes do well, but that’s not all. We have a great music department and drama department, and our art students have won several awards.” The only trouble she had experienced as “hall policeman” was students bringing soft drinks or food from the cafeteria downstairs. “The principal (Frank DeAngelis) wanted to keep the school clean, and it was.”

At about 11:20 a.m., Nielson was standing in the hall looking at a multicultural art book she was considering for her classes. Brian Anderson, a junior, lingered nearby. They heard “pops” from the stairs outside the building and saw the man in black through the double glass doors. “What’s that?” Nielson said. Anderson replied: “Probably a cap gun. It’s probably for video productions.” The speculation “made perfect sense to me,” Nielson recalled. “Students do little skits and stuff for video class.” Nielson and Anderson walked quickly toward the doors “and just as we got to the second set of doors, (the gunman) turned around and looked straight at us. He did not have a mask over his face, but he was wearing some kind of black hat. I thought he was small, but I found out later he was pretty tall. But he was thin and kind of lean,” Nielson said. “He smiled at me and pointed the gun.” It was a TECDC9 semiautomatic handgun. He fired and Nielson twisted to see a large hole in the glass door. More shots, and Anderson was hit in the chest. Nielson felt her back burning. “I didn’t know what it was, maybe the glass from the door. The second I looked at the kid, (Anderson) he arched and dropped, and I screamed.” A bullet grazed Nielson - there are scars streaked across her back - and another stuck in a necklace Anderson wore. “He reached down and plucked it out himself.” The teacher pushed the student back inside - “he’s 16, and I’m 35, and it was maternal instinct,” and they sprinted around a corner into the library. “It was the fastest place to go for help.”

If Nielson hadn’t been hall monitor, she would have been home with her children when the shootings started. “I couldn’t understand why I was there. But there must have been a good reason.” The library was full of kids. “I screamed there was a man with a gun, and the kids were looking at me shocked.” Nielson didn’t know this section of the school well - her class was on the other side of the building. But she knew there was a telephone behind the library’s main checkout desk. “I had used the phone several weeks before to call my sister.” The librarian was at lunch, and there was no conspicuous adult supervision. Nielson hollered to the students: “Get down. Get under the tables.” She grabbed the phone. “We had done fire drills, and I remembered instinctively to call 9 to get an outside line, then 911.” Nielson could hear shooting “and whooping it up” beyond the library doors. She knew then that more than one person was involved and they were definitely students. “I have said that it felt like there were more than two, but I cannot account for that… . There was adolescent-type shouting,” she said. “I don’t remember exactly what was said, but it was like kids enjoying themselves and having a great time.” The library doors were open and secured in place. Nielson since has had second thoughts about whether she should have tried to lock the doors, but she had no key and the doors had glass windows. Someone trying to get in wouldn’t have been deterred. Besides, she knew that a shooter was just behind her and Anderson. While the students huddled beneath tables and behind chairs, a police dispatcher answered Nielson’s call. She spoke loudly and unhaltingly, for the benefit of both the dispatcher and the frightened young men and women. “I wanted everyone to know I was serious.” “Yes, I’m a teacher at Columbine High School, and there is a student here with a gun. He just shot out a window. I believe … ”… The school is in a panic, and I’m in the library. I’ve got students down. Kids under the table. My kids are screaming. Under the table, kids. The teachers are trying to take control of things. We need police here.“ Fire alarms were blasting. Strobe lights that went on in the library gave it an eerie disco appearance, and smoke wafted in from the hall. Nielson slid under the backside of the checkout desk and continued talking to the woman dispatcher, who told her police, paramedics and firemen were en route. "I could hear shots, and I could hear bombs,” she says now. “I felt like we were going to die.” Students began peeking over the tables, and Nielson shouted again for them to take cover.

She heard gunmen enter the library and the shooting began. Nielson started to recite The Lord’s Prayer. The dispatcher told Nielson to “forget about the Lord’s Prayer for the moment and talk to her.” She then whispered to the dispatcher: “They’re in here. They’re killing kids. I need to go now.” She left the phone off the hook and crawled beneath the desk, where a stool normally would go. The tapes continued to pick up the havoc in the library for another 20 minutes - until all the victims had been shot. When the line was disconnected, Nielson said, it wasn’t from her side. That means authorities have a 26-minute taped record of the siege in the library. Had they not lost the connection, they would have heard what transpired at the end of Harris’ and Klebold’s lives.

Nielson couldn’t see the shooters, but she could hear them. “They were saying the most disgusting, vile things … You could tell they were having fun.” The two saw a black teenager and called him a racist name. “Then they killed him.” The shooters ordered any jocks in the room to stand up. Two who were identified were shot. “But it wasn’t just athletes,” Nielson said. Harris and Klebold picked out one young man because he wore glasses and accused him of being “ "a geek - you think you look cool’ ” and told another student he was “ "pathetic, fat boy.’ ” “You’d hear them yell something terrible,” Nielson said. “Then, boom.” When one girl said “Oh God, Oh God,” an assassin asked her: “Do you believe in God?” When she said she did, she was shot. But another girl also cried “Oh God, Oh God,” and “I didn’t hear shots, so I knew she was alive. Every time one of them would say something, I’d hear shots, and I knew kids were dying.” Many students believed Nielson had been killed after shots were fired into the desk. Again, though, she was spared - by inches. The two gunmen were “reloading and talking about watching each other’s back to keep anyone from jumping them. They were on a power trip,” Nielson said. When a student said: “Don’t you think you’ve done enough?” he was shot. A gunman announced: “We’re going to blow up the library,” Nielson said. The killers “were just gross. There were theatrics involved, and they seemed to be acting out some war game. One second they were mean, the next they were laughing. I thought they were on illegal drugs, but I guess the autopsies show they were not, which is also kind of bizarre, because you can’t believe anyone in their right minds would do this. They were so crazed.” At one point a shooter said: “Look at that head blow up. I didn’t know brains could fly.” Nielson was trying to remain as still as possible while trying to plot something to do. But there wasn’t anything anyone could do. “I thought the police would show up at any moment. But they didn’t.” Police told the Nielsons as many as 100 shots were fired in the library, and at least one pipe bomb exploded. Finally, Nielson heard one of the youths say: “Let’s get down to the commons.” But the other replied: “I have one more thing to do.” One of the pair walked over to where Nielson was hiding. “He stopped in front of me, and I’m thinking I’m dead. His black combat boots, with the pants tucked in, were right by my head. I still don’t know if he knew I was there. It was pretty open from that side. But I had no place to run or hide.” The gunman grabbed a chair and smashed it atop the desk. At that point, about 10 minutes after they had entered the library, the shots stopped and Klebold and Harris left the room. Nielson didn’t dare move. But most of the students who were unharmed or injured ran out of the room and downstairs to an exit.

Nielson was in shock. “I never knew the kids got out.” After several minutes of calm in the library - although she could hear shots in the distance - Nielson crawled from behind the desk. “I saw two tennis shoes sticking out from under a table.” Everyone seemed dead. The young people were lifeless, and blood was splattered everywhere. Nielson believed she was the only person alive in the library, though she later found out two students had not died. “Everyone else was gone, and there was nothing else I could do.”

Inside the library area are several smaller rooms. Nielson crawled around corners and spotted a cupboard under a kitchen sink. She sat on a paint tray, twisted her body into a fetal position and shut the cupboard door as much as she could. “There were no handles on the inside, so I couldn’t shut it all the way. There was just a crack of light.” She looked at her watch. It was 11:45 a.m. Nielson was certain the gunmen would return at any moment. “I got as quiet as I could and prayed until I couldn’t think of anything else to pray about.” She could hear shots in the distance - downstairs, it turned out, in the cafeteria - and more pipe bombs detonating. “There was a definite difference between bombs and shots.”

From police, Nielson eventually learned that two barbecue grill-sized propane tanks had been lashed together in the commons area, and that Harris and Klebold had fired at them hoping to cause a major explosion. The tanks were beneath the library. Harris and Klebold “couldn’t get close to them because they would have been blown up, the officers told me, and they were such bad shots they didn’t hit them. If they had, everything might have gone up.”

As it was, the cafeteria was 6 inches deep in water from the fire sprinklers, and the alarms continued to blare. “It was so noisy,” Nielson said. In her cocoon in the cupboard, Nielson searched for a pencil - in vain. “I wanted to write down a record of what went on, and I wanted to leave my husband a message telling him how much I loved him.”

Shane Nielson, whose family-owned chemical laboratory is in Brighton, had learned of the tragedy on TV and took off for Columbine about the time his wife was wedging herself into the cupboard. He got behind a police car and “broke every speed limit,” Shane said. “Like a lot of other people, I didn’t think it was that serious at first. Then there were reports about people injured.” At Leawood Elementary School, Shane Nielson waited with students’ parents and teachers’ spouses.

Nielson considered coming out of her cubbyhole to call her husband, “but I was afraid they might come back while I was on the phone.” So she waited “and started to talk to myself. I thought that Mallory wouldn’t remember me if I died. I wanted Josh to get closer to his father and I hoped that Elise would remember the time we spent together before I was gone. "I could hear helicopters up above, and I thought they were probably from the TV stations, and I wondered why the SWAT teams weren’t there yet. I thought at any time someone would come in and say "It’s all right to come out.’ It didn’t take that long to get to the school. Then I thought that the gunmen might come in and say it was OK to come out because they were the police, and they’d have me. I was scared to death, and I was thinking about all those students dead in the library.”

Her legs and feet went numb, and Nielson tried to reposition her head. “I thought if I had to run, my legs would give out on me. I thought I would have to spend all night in this cupboard, and I was determined not to let it make me go insane.” She believes, because of the sounds she heard, that the gunmen returned to the library briefly, thought that no one was alive, and departed. At one point - Nielson doesn’t know when because she couldn’t see the time on her watch - she heard glass breaking. She was unsure if the gunmen had returned or if police were shooting out the windows. That was when injured student Patrick Ireland went through the window to safety. Through the crack in the cupboard door Nielson saw two older women who worked as library aides creeping past. She motioned to them, and one said they were going back to an inner room where they had been hiding. Nielson considered joining them, but decided to remain where she was “because then I thought maybe they (Harris and Klebold) would come back to the broadcasting room.” For the first time since she hid, Nielson could see her watch. It was 1 p.m.

In the library is a makeshift TV studio - the Rebel News Network - where students taped programs that were televised on a cable channel in the school and nearby neighborhoods. “What if they wanted to go in there and broadcast their demands or just take over and say what they wanted to on TV? So many things were going through my head,” Nielson said. Then she knew they were back. Nielson could hear commotion in the library. Followed by a reverberating shot. She feared the library aides had been killed. (They believed she had been killed.) “I didn’t hear any conversation, any yelling, just rat-tat-tat.” Investigators are convinced that at that time, between 1 and 2 p.m., Harris and Klebold killed themselves - simultaneously.

Over the next few days police and some media outlets claimed that Harris and Klebold were dead within 30 minutes after the shooting started, at approximately noon. “I knew there was no way that was possible,” Nielson said. “When I looked at my watch and saw 1 o'clock, they hadn’t come back to the library.” Harris and Klebold, by her reckoning, were alive well into the afternoon - even though, by then, SWAT members were in the school. There is speculation that police exchanged fire with the two. Nielson constantly heard shots from afar, but police told her they were “laying down ground cover and shooting into the floors.” She doesn’t question the police tactics, but has “heard that the SWAT team at the building wasn’t getting the information that people were dying inside.”

At approximately 4 p.m., the library aides approached the cupboard and said to Nielson: “Come out. Come out.” Hesitantly, she emerged. At the library door SWAT officers pulled her into the hallway, ordered her to put her hands behind her head and frisked her. She never looked around the library at the dead bodies - and didn’t know that Harris and Klebold were among them. Nielson and the other four remaining survivors in the building were told to go down the stairs and out of the building. “I could see hundreds of backpacks scattered everywhere, and at the door there was this backpack we were told to be careful of.” She ran into the sunlight, climbed into the back of a police car and was told to duck. “I still didn’t feel safe at that point. I could barely see out the window, and we were driving through the park. When we stopped a policeman said to me "The building is secure.’ "I had figured all along - because there were so many dead - that the two shooters would be killed. They had no hostages.”

Nielson was taken away in an ambulance because of her back wound. “The paramedic who treated me asked me if I believed in God, and I told him I did. He said it was a good thing because only God could have saved me. The bulled had grazed me. An inch more, and I would have been dead.” After being released from the hospital, Nielson went home, hugged and cried with her family, watched the TV accounts of the day and saw that Harris and Klebold had caused all the carnage. Harris was the man In black who shot at her. She remembered his face when he smiled and shot. But she also remembered Klebold. “Several days before this happened, I was walking down the hall, and I saw this boy sitting there, saying nothing. He wore a black trench coat and a beret. I didn’t like the way he dressed, but I figured he was just trying to be different, just trying to get attention.” That teenager was Klebold. “I guess he got the attention.”

When Columbine classes resumed at a neighboring school the next week, Nielson felt it would be therapeutic for her art students to sketch their reflections of the tragedy. “Some were very interesting and insightful,” she recalled. Although she is an accomplished artist, Nielson herself has not painted her own memories of the events of April 20. “I may someday, but I’m not ready yet.” The ordeal is in her mind, not on canvas, and Patti Nielson continues to have second thoughts.“

fox213  asked:

Hi I was wondering if you might have some information on herbs and their properties because I want to grow an herb garden but don't know what to grow?

Oh damn, that’s pretty broad! Any specific herbs you have in mind?

If you’re new to growing herbs, my advice is to start small and manageable, with culinary herbs that have a lot of writing on them online as educational tools. Your question suggests that you’re new to growing herbs in general, so I’ll assume you’ve never had a herb garden before and need some basic, entry level advice.

——–

My first piece of advice, therefore, is don’t be impatient. Take your time to learn how things work – based on your blog, I’m assuming you’re a Northern hemisphere witch, which means you’re going to be in winter right now. This gives you a few months of snow and ice before you’re able to plant anything in February and March (many plants need a late winter/early spring planting to develop good roots), and therefore lots of time to study!

Plants are living creatures, and it’s not just as simple as “put them in the ground and give them water”. Every plant species and cultivar (cultivated variant; that’s kind of like breeds for dogs, but for plants) has different needs, both nutritionally and environmentally. A few of the most common things that are different between plants are:

  • Levels of sun – some plants can’t stand direct sunlight, others will die without it.
  • Levels of water – some plants are water-hungry, others drown in a light shower
  • Soil acidity – that is, how much acid or base is in the soil, which usually varies between 6 and 8
  • Nitrogen fixing – this is when plants use bacteria in their roots to “eat” nitrogen from the air. Nitrogen is an essential ingredient in proteins, and if your plant isn’t a nitrogen-fixing species then it will need extra nitrogen from fertiliser.
  • Carbon needs – plants use carbon to make the cellulose that builds up their cell walls. Some plants need their carbon intake from the air to be supplemented with carbon from their soil.
  • Insect susceptibility – some plants, like marigolds, are basically impervious to insect damage. Others, like common mint, can be absolutely obliterated before you know it. Take care to companion plant (I’ll explain later), or to use chemical insecticides to protect your harvest.
  • Perennial vs annual vs biennial – many plants, like lavender, will grow year after year without worries (perennial). However some plants, like parsley, only live for two years (biennial) before dying and need careful cutting and pruning to make sure they live beyond that “deadline”. Some only live a year before dying back, and need to be replanted every year (alliums like garlic for example, because you harvest their bulbs).


…And these are just a few of the common issues! Plants aren’t as easy as “plonk in the soil and forget”, but in many ways this makes it a LOT more rewarding! You really have to CARE about your plants to keep them happy and healthy, and when you finally harvest that first crop of naturally grown, hand-raised mint or feverfew or oregano, it’s one of the best feelings in the world!

Learn about what the plants you want to grow require, and learn to get into the habit of checking up on them to make sure they’re getting it. Set reminders on your phone, write down important dates on your calendar (“every Sunday, make sure to spray some insecticide; every second Tuesday, do the weeding”, that kind of thing). Remember that plants can’t tell you when they’re in distress, and need you as a good, careful grower to care for them and keep them safe and healthy. Read up on what your plants need over the winter, and when spring comes you’ll be ready!

——-

Beginner Plants for Beginner Gardeners!

As for actual plants that a beginner might want to start with…

Well, because you don’t want to go wasting money on expensive medicinal herbs before you know how to actually care for herbs of ANY sort, I recommend starting out with a nice, simple culinary herb garden. Culinary herbs are easy to obtain, there’s lots of information on the Internet to help you, and they tend to be quite hardy and difficult to kill if you do things right, which gives you a lot of leeway when you’re starting out.

My recommendations for beginners are parsley, sage, peppermint, marigold and thyme. Each has its own reasons, and I’ll explain why below:

  • Parsley: This is a hardy, well-known and very frequently used herb that grows extremely well under almost any soil conditions. It needs little attention, and so long as you keep it well-watered and in full sun it shouldn’t have any problems with growing like a weed. However, it is also a biennial plant, and this means that two years after the seeds first germinate, it will start trying to produce seeds of its own. It does this through a process called bolting, which is where a part of the plant tries suddenly to grow very very tall, very very fast. When it does this, the flavour of the parsley goes absolutely to rubbish, because all the energy of the plant suddenly goes into trying to produce bolts and then to produce seeds to put on those bolts. Additionally, if it succeeds in producing seeds, the plant will be dead by the end of the year and you’ll have to replant the whole thing! So, parsley makes a great beginner plant for those who want to learn about what bolting is, how to spot it, and how to prevent it from destroying their hard work.

  • Sage: Sage is another hardy culinary herb, and like parsley it grows very well in full sun provided it has enough water. However, it is also quite nutrient hungry when compared to parsley, and whilst it’s a very forgiving plant it will eventually die if you don’t give it some decent organic plant food. Seasol, which is a seaweed-based fertiliser, is a great one that I use at home, but you can also use horse manure or similar. Unfortunately, most fertilisers do smell pretty pungent! Sage is also an insect-repelling plant, and so if you plant it around the rest of your herb garden as well as marigold (see below), you can use what’s called companion planting to keep your herbs safe from insects without having to use insecticides. Companion planting is when you pair one plant species with another in order to strengthen both – for example, geraniums produce a toxin in their roots that will kill off almost any other young plants around it, including weeds and vegetables. However, cucumbers are immune to geranium poison, so if you plant a couple of geraniums in bottomless pots inside your cucumber patches, you’ll never have to weed them! Sage, mugwort and marigold are common companion plants to help protect against insects, and usually you surround your herbs with a sparse ring of safe and marigold and put a mugwort plant in the middle to ward off flying bugs like blackfly. 

  • Peppermint: This hardy plant is sun-tolerant but prefers moderately shady conditions. It likes water, being as it is a hybrid between spearmint and watermint (peppermint seeds don’t exist, because they can’t produce seeds). However, like all mints, peppermint is also rhizomal, which means it spreads through horizontal, underground roots called rhizomes. Using this method, it can cover an entire herb bed in a matter of months and choke every single plant in the bed to death if you’re not very careful. This makes it an excellent plant for teaching the values of bottomless pots – literally large flowerpots that have had the bottoms cut out but the sides left on. This means that whilst the plant can grow downwards towards supplies of water, the shallow, horizontal rhizomes can’t spread out and cause havoc in the plant beds! Peppermint contains high levels of a chemical called menthol, which is a natural insecticide. This means that peppermint beds rarely suffer from insect problems! It’s also delicious, and enjoys being planted around about the 1st of February when the ground is still icy cold. If you want a plant that has all the same effects, but will also grow from seed, use spearmint instead.

  • Marigold: These are strictly speaking not culinary, but any herb grower worth a damn knows how very, very useful these wonderful flowers are. Whilst they do have medicinal usages as a form of topical poultice for the treatment of skin disorders (I’ll write about that later), the BEST usage of marigold is as a form of living insect repellent. Slugs, snails and flies seem utterly repulsed by marigolds, and won’t dare go near them or any plants that are close to them. This means that by planting a few marigolds around your herb garden, you can effectively ward off any possible invasion by hungry gastropods. Fantastic! They’re also hardy little blighters, and quite hard to kill (though their powers against insects do not extend, unfortunately, to caterpillars to my knowledge, you can use mugwort to defend against them). 

  • Thyme: Thyme is probably the hardest plant on this list to care for, and that’s why it’s here. Thyme is a good plant to demonstrate to people what growing most medicinal herbs is like, because whilst culinary herbs have been bred to be easy to cope with medicinal herbs don’t have that same feature, and can be very difficult. Any beginner herbalist or herb grower should be able to care for thyme before they advance onto anything more complex. Thyme is a woody plant, and due to uneven germination it is quite hard to grow from seed. Therefore, the best way to get thyme is to take a cutting from a friend, buy some powdered rooting hormone from a garden centre, and plant the cutting rather than a seed. This takes a fair amount of skill to know how to do, so don’t worry about getting it wrong a few times! It might also work if you use the “pinning” method, where you take a segment of the plant’s stem, cut it HALFWAY through, then “pin” the broken (but not severed!) stem under soil for a few weeks. If you get lucky, the broken stem will start to sprout roots but the bit of stem that was left would have kept the pinned cutting alive long enough to do that. Just cut off the rooted section, and replant it as a separate plant. Google plant pinning for more information. Thyme also requires fairly regular maintenance, requiring pruning at the start of every spring and summer to prevent it from growing too wild and out of hand. This is also when you take any thyme you want to dry. They don’t like hard winters, so you need to plant mulch around the stem and over the roots if you’re going to have snow or hard frost to prevent the soil freezing. All in all, it’s not an easy plant to master, so if you can master thyme then you should be equipped for dealing with most of the more difficult medicinal plants.

I hope this helps! This is the most full guide I’ve ever given regarding beginner herbalism and herb growing, but if you have any other questions (please, for the love of the gods, specific questions - I can’t take more 2,000 word essays), don’t hesitate to ask! Thanks lovelies!

– Juniper Wildwalk, herbalist and nature witch

P.S. Seriously, this was like 1,900 words and if I wasn’t time-limited I could probably have gone to 4,000. However, please please please don’t tempt me, otherwise I’ll go writing-mad and my timetable can’t take it!

my expectations about the cursed child
  • i want teddy to be like the coolest kid ever. (like half of hogwarts has a crush on him and they even have a fanclub who meets every second Tuesday. Jamie is the president obviously)
  • I want albus to be sorted in slytherin
  • albus and scorpus being in the same dorm
  • scorbus becoming a real couple
  • both draco and harry being surprised but actually liking that their kids get to be friends and are without prejudice

the term poc is used by many who identify themselves as poc, it seems to work for some people, though i’ve also seen quite a few complaints about it being problematic

since i’m white, i don’t really feel it’s my place to say that this particular turn of phrase is good or bad as it relates to the people who identify themselves as such, we’ve generally adopted it as a phrase to mean non-white and that seems to work in the us (i won’t pretend to know)

however, as someone who is greek and slightly more aware of race relations within the mediterranean and europe compared to most us-bloggers, i find it simplistic at best to use the same term to describe people living in that region

skin color has little to do with how these civilizations have historically interacted and how that affects the relationship between the modern countries. jingoistic islamophobia for example is high in greece, though people have to take into account that this has mostly to do with being occupied by the ottoman empire for 400 years with tensions between greece and turkey skipping between heightened and actual war every so often (though it doesn’t mean both sides are not racist af- greeks at least are)

it also largely ignores the complexities of actual race in a region that played let’s-invade-the-neighbors every second tuesday. greeks can have very pale or nut brown skin, quite a few of them have light colored eyes, or curved noses, or very very curly hair. we’re a genetic potluck of the people that invaded us and that we invaded.

both the players below are as greek as can be, but one is as pale as i am and the other looks like what you probably assume the average greek to be. 

thing is: both consider themselves white and within greece enjoy the same privileges. we might have some problems with europe, but that isn’t the rest of europe exercising their white privilege, because it has shit to do with race the way americans perceive it. it has a lot more to do with othering and socioeconomic factors.

that is not to say that there isn’t for example anti-blackness in europe, far from it. it’s a discussion that needs to happen. but mediterrenean europeans consider themselves white (and are racist) and people label them poc anyway cause they’re tan. and while polish people are as white as can be, if you think that within europe they are privileged boy do i have news for you.

similarly, i have commented before about how much i hate the term “white-passing jewish person”, because any white privilege an american might assume they have is simply not in play here and given the well known historical parameters it is beyond insulting

it’s also amusing to me how the portuguese and spanish have achieved poc status by people who claim to know history. hint: the oppression had been coming from their side for centuries before they and the rest of mediterranean europe became scapegoats for a failing system (and the much revered ancient greek culture everybody loves was built on slavery in case someone thinks i’m being biased)

and yet certain american bloggers insist on making the distinction between poc and non-poc in europe(and i assume the term doesn’t really apply in other continents from the little i know about the relationship between china and japan) cause it suits a narrative they know, without giving a damn about the truth and how their false narrative affects a discussion they should observe and not insist on trying to rewrite

Too Hot, for SoMa Week Day 4: Dragons

[Day 1: Latin Jazz] [Day 2: Cocoon] [Day 3: Hella] [Day 4: Too Hot] [Day 5: Purgatory] [Day 6: Undamaged]  [Day 7: A Beat]

This was inspired by the complete lack of ideas for this prompt, volleyball games I’ve played, and a desire to write a fluffy-ish college au because I absolutely love those, and procrastination. And of course, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.


When Maka Albarn meets Soul Evans, he’s snarling by himself to no one in particular and emanating a don’t-look-at-me vibe, but she decides that his eyes are too dreamy to admire from afar and soon she’s crossing the gymnasium and dropping down beside him, folding her legs and grinning.

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