a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
fresh cuttings 
22 September 2017 03:07 - "Home away from home"
rosefox: A bearded man in a yarmulke shouting L'CHAIM! (Judaism)
Selichot )

Rosh Hashanah )

It's genuinely disorienting to encounter all these spaces where I don't have to educate anyone or fight to be seen for who I am. Other people have already done that work, and leaders have clearly been receptive to it. (Rabbi Lippman is queer, but I don't assume that cis queer people will be welcoming to or understanding of trans people, especially nonbinary trans people.) I get to just show up and be a human being in human community. What an immense privilege. What a gift. Honestly, that might be the thing that gets me to stick with this—just the pure pleasure of being in a place where I didn't personally have to claw out a space for myself.

Josh met me and Kit in the park and we walked for a while (GMaps Pedometer says I walked 3.2 miles today, most of it pushing a heavy stroller with a heavy toddler; my feet and arms are very tired). I teased him that he should be glad I didn't make him meet the rabbi. But this is my thing, really. Maybe it's my latest three-month hobby. Maybe it'll be more than that. We'll see.
rosefox: A man's head with a panel open to show gears, and another man looking inside. (examined head)
I don't want to write another huge long entry tonight, because last night's took 90 minutes and then I went to bed super late, but I do want to leave myself some quick notes on a thing. When Kit was off from daycare for a week, I was up and dressed by 11 every morning so I could do childcare. I put on real clothes and left the house every day. I did social things and I did actively fun things (not what I'm coming to think of as enjoyable sloth things, like playing video games or hanging out on Slack). My body and brain were engaged. I felt GREAT. I enjoyed every day and ended the week feeling like I'd been on vacation—like I'd gone on a holiday to New York and done all those things I'm always too busy or tired or whatever to do. And I did it while working (at night) and staying totally on top of my deadlines, even the ones accelerated by the holiday.

So I need to figure out how to do that more. I hoped a week of early rising would reset my body clock but of course I'm right back to going to bed at 5 a.m. (or later—Monday morning I went to bed at half past nine, which is not okay and has set me up for feeling like crap all week) so I will have to work on that part because I think it's pretty essential. Having something fun to get up for really helped, a thing that has been true going back to my childhood; I would be late to school every weekday morning for months but happily get up at dawn on a weekend to go to the Stormville flea market with my mother. Even more crucially, I would care enough to go to bed early—a thing I did during Kit's week off too—so that getting up early didn't wreck me and wreck the event I was looking forward to.

I don't think I can get up before 10 on a regular basis, but if I got up at 10 or 10:30 to be out the door by 11 for a ~12:00 thing someplace, that sounds doable. It just has to be a fun thing. I have an OT appointment at 13:00 and I genuinely enjoy OT in addition to it being kind of vital for my health and well-being, but it's not the exhilarating kind of fun, so going to bed early and getting up early and getting there on time are all challenging.

What are exuberant fun things that could happen around noon? I think I need something where I'm making a commitment to someone else, at least at first; I've tried setting schedules through sheer willpower before and it's never worked out. Lunches with friends? Classes of some kind? (Ideally free or cheap ones.) Swapping language lessons with someone who wants to improve their spoken or written English and help me learn to read kanji or sign ASL? A teaching or tutoring gig? (Maybe the local library needs volunteers in their adult learning center. I've sent them a note.) A crafting meetup? A chorus or other singing group? A walking club? Doing storytime or otherwise helping out at Kit's daycare? It doesn't need to be a big thing or a long thing or a very structured thing. It just has to start at around the right time of day and get me out of the house and engage my body and mind and bring me real joy. Nothing will do that as well as time with Kit, but some approximation should be possible. Suggestions are very welcome, keeping in mind that I used to write the learning section of the nonsense nyc weekly events newsletter and already know about basically every source of free and cheap educational experiences in the city. :)
10 September 2017 02:45 - "That's rather nice, actually"
rosefox: Autumn leaves on a wet sidewalk. (autumn)
What a lovely week it's been. What a lovely thing to be able to say that!

The weather has been 100% autumn and I am HERE FOR IT. Today I wore my hoodie! And zipped it up! While it was still light out! I've had my window open for three nights running. So much delicious aaaaaair.

J and I had a real date last Saturday (we went to a friend's BBQ for a bit, which doesn't sound like a date but was amazingly nice to do as two adults with no child in tow), and X and I had a real date today (we went to Coney Island for the first time in ages), and we even got a real family date last weekend where we snuggled up in my bed and watched Pacific Rim and ate popcorn. There have been lots of cuddles and hugs and smooches lately as we all savor finally being healthy. The week Kit was off from daycare was splendidly vacation-like and I came off of it feeling rested and relaxed and happy; now they're adjusting well to being back in daycare, and eating and sleeping like they're being paid for it, which means they should have a big growth spurt pretty soon. I'm having lots of fun writing fanfic for [community profile] crossovering and I just nominated fandoms for [community profile] yuletide for the first time in something like 12 years. J has been cooking a lot, and tonight we axed our towering tottering basil and made pesto, which was easy and delicious; I threw in some macadamia nuts on a whim and didn't bother measuring anything and it worked out great. [twitter.com profile] schanoes came over on Friday and we had lunch and talked nonstop for three hours. I figured out how to comb my hair while it's starting to grow out. The meeting for Kit's IFSP went extremely well and all their PT services have been renewed. They're starting to play with their food sometimes, which is a big improvement on being wary of it. It's just been a nice week.

I have to keep the focus pretty tight to write about things this way, because the land is being destroyed by fire and storm and a great many people we care about are having a really hard time right now. But that makes me cherish our little oasis all the more. We're able to offer other people shelter and support again, after months of barely being able to cope with our own stuff, and it feels so good to be able to help our friends and to have our feet on stable ground. For however long this lasts, I plan to bask in it and store up good memories to get me through the next round of challenges.
rosefox: Autumn leaves on a wet sidewalk. (autumn)
Forgive me, Dreamwidth, it has been a long damn time since my last substantive entry. Two weeks? Two weeks, I think, because it was a week of not letting that goddamn cold turn into a sinus infection and then I immediately came down with ANOTHER cold that I am just getting over. This has been the summer of sick and I am heartily tired of it.

But pretty much as soon as August ended, things felt calmer and happier in our house, even with all of us fighting off germs. Cooler weather helped, and I've been getting a walk in nearly every day, which is so good for my mental health. Getting an air conditioner for the living room/dining room/kitchen helped immensely; three years ago some ignoramus at P.C. Richard's told J that the room couldn't be air conditioned without ruinous expense because it's so big and the ceiling's so high, so we put up with three summers of not being able to cook in the kitchen or eat at the dining table or sit on the couch, but it turns out that 15,000 BTUs is enough to get it genuinely pleasant in here. We keep it set at 70F so as not to wreck our budget, and fortunately the weather's cooled off recently—what an atypical August it's been, with temperatures and humidity both well below the 90s—so we haven't even needed it much. But when it's warm out, it's cool in here, and that is delightful.

We've been spending a ruinous amount on ordering in over the past few months, because we've been too sick and tired to cook and the kitchen has been too hot, so the a/c will pay for itself that way anyway. J's cooked dinner twice in the last week! We've all been eating at the table and hanging out in the living room! It's been absolutely lovely. I think the next step will be going through our cookbooks to find appealing new cook-in-bulk dishes, because even after a summer off we're all kind of bored of the ones we've been relying on for the past five years. (No advice, please; our culinary needs are too specific for general advice to be useful.)

Kit's easy walking and improved communication have been fantastic for all of us. We really feel like a family of four now, rather than a family of three and a half. And they're so much happier and more relaxed; being able to exert independence a lot of the time means they're a lot more willing to tolerate being stopped or redirected now and again. The incidence of screaming meltdowns has dropped considerably. They've been home all week, their daycare's intersession break, and I've been doing a lot of afternoon childcare because I can work at night, and it's just been a delicious amount of time with them. We'll be glad to get back to the regular daycare routine, but in the meantime I'm cherishing all the hugs and cuddles and books and walks and meals. Even with work every night it's felt like a real vacation.

I'd hoped that getting up at 11 every day to do childcare would help push my body clock earlier, but nope, I'm right back to going to bed at 4 or 5. I think I really am stuck there. I don't like being stuck there. Maybe I should try for two weeks, or a month, of enforcing bedtime between 2 and 3 and wake time at 11.

We've gotten to see some friends this week, despite our various illnesses. I did have to cancel one date, but the rest have gone well, including a four-baby playdate and a friend's Labor Day weekend BBQ. J and I went to the BBQ on our own and it was amazing to be social without a toddler to keep an eye on. Of course I immediately leapt up to keep another person's toddler away from the grill, but I caught myself and managed to have a good conversation with other adults that had nothing to do with kids or parenting at all.

A local friend told us that she's pregnant, and I'm looking forward to gleefully passing all our remaining small-baby and postpartum gear along to her. Have a car seat! Have a shower stool! Have a bouncy chair! Have a baby backpack! Yay, more room in our hall closet!

With September comes a sudden awareness of how much is happening in the fall that we need to plan for: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (I may actually see if I can go to Yom Kippur services this year, for what I think is the first time in my life; it's conveniently on a weekend and I am feeling really extremely Jewish and in want of Jewish companionship these days) later this month, Sheep and Wool Festival in October, for which we're planning a big weekend trip with friends, my anniversary with X in November. My "best books of the year" picks are due in six weeks or something totally absurd like that. We should make sure to schedule in plenty of downtime, especially if Kit keeps bringing home daycare colds, which of course they will.

It's Labor Day and that means J'Ouvert. NYPD tried to get people to start it at 6 a.m. this year but of course lots of folks are ignoring them. I swear we're going to go out of town next year. So far Kit hasn't woken up, but the revving motorcycles keep setting off the monitor, so I can't imagine X is sleeping too well. I hope my room is quieter and I can sleep. I think I'm finally well enough to skip the 20 minutes of cold-fighting efforts and just go to bed.
2 September 2017 15:42 - "You're a one-man show"
rosefox: A white adult and a white toddler, both with flat caps on, grin at the camera. (me and kit)
X: *blows hand-farts*
R: *blows hand-farts*
K: *giggles, puts their hands over their mouth and blows hard*
X and R: *cracking up*
K: *rearranges their hands and deliberately blows a mouth-only raspberry*
X and R: *gasping for air*

We are the BEST PARENTS.

Five minutes later, Kit is drawing.

R: *blows raspberries*
K: *level stare, pointed tapping of the crayon on the page*
R: ...right, fun time is over, it's drawing time now, message received.

Five minutes later, Kit bangs on the paper to get X's attention, then puts their hands up.

X: Do you want up? Are you all done?
K: *signs "all done", then claps their hands*
X: "You figured it out! Good job, parent!"
18 August 2017 14:48 - "Warding gestures*
rosefox: A person in a gas mask. (safety)
My body: A tiny bit of post-nasal drip leading to slight throat soreness, probably just allerg—

Me: NINE HOURS OF SLEEP, STEAMY SHOWER WITH PINE AND MINT ESSENCE, NASAL RINSE, SALT-WATER GARGLE, ANTIHISTAMINE NASAL SPRAY, STEROID NASAL SPRAY, CLARITIN, AGGRESSIVE TOOTHBRUSHING

My body: —look, forget i said anything, okay?


I refuse to get sick. REFUSE. R E F U S E. J has had a horrid cough for a week and is on antibiotics and prednisone (when they prescribe prednisone to the guy with insomnia, you know it's bad), X is wrapping up a course of antibiotics for a throat infection, and J had to do that for his own throat infection last month. So far I've been fighting off all the respiratory bugs Kit brings home from daycare, but I don't take my ability to do that for granted. And I can't take most antibiotics without serious mood effects because apparently I depend on my gut flora for emotional management, so I have to be extremely diligent about my preventive care.

I'm going to go have spicy curry for lunch and drink some ginger honey tea. Fuck off, germs.
17 August 2017 20:38 - "Have I told you lately"
rosefox: A white adult and a white toddler, both with flat caps on, grin at the camera. (me and kit)
It's my late night at the office. I videocalled home to say goodnight to the baby. They were tired, so after a while they waved bye-bye. I said "Okay, Kit, bye-bye! I love you!" and signed love you.

And they signed love back.

Me: [tears]
X: [tears]
Kit: [earnestly signing love at the camera]

My baby told me they love me. I'll just be here in a little melted puddle forever.
rosefox: a green and white highway sign that says THIS LANE FOR ROSE (driving)
We are in the woods. Every summer J's mom comes to the U.S. and stays at her house upstate, and we always spend at least one weekend here with her.

Last year it was our first driving trip as a family and we stressed a lot trying to plan it. This year we had three ready-made shared checklist documents for packing (for the car), packing (for the stay), and prepping the house. I said I wanted to leave by 7:30; at 7:20 we were pulling away from the curb. Flawless. Bonus: we didn't have to bring a portable crib or changing table because we'd already brought them on previous trips.

Last year we drove through beautiful summer sunshine, but the trip took five hours because of wretched traffic. This year we left after dinner, so even though we drove through torrential rain (I very nearly pulled off the highway at a few points) and then amazing thick fog (through which we were guided by a ghost car) it only took abut three hours. I like night driving and I like cutting two hours off our travel time but whew, I-87 is pretty terrible in nighttime rain, with no streetlights and very faded lane markers and water sheeting across the road.

Last year Kit was a perfect travel bean. This year they were also a perfect travel bean. During our mid-drive break for sandwiches and stretching, we took them into a gas station convenience store that they examined with the same serious yet optimistic expression they brought to the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. Then J got them a bag of Goldfish crackers and they were so excited that they hugged it all the way out to the car. Everything is magical when you're a baby.

Last year we got here in the afternoon and Kit was astonished by the trees. TREES. SO MANY. SO TALL. This year we got here at night and a very sleepy Kit was astonished by Glory's collection of teddy bears and other stuffed animals. When they went to bed we had to stop them from pulling every bear within reach into the crib with them (in addition to Toronto and Hug Face, the bears we brought with us).

(One of Glory's bears has similar fur to Toronto's but is a bit bigger and has a snazzy black beret. "Toronto's uncle!" X said. "That must mean Toronto is French-Canadian," I said. The beret bear is now Uncle Georges and I suspect he'll be coming back to the city with us to meet Toronto's recently acquired identical twin [always have a spare of your child's favorite toy/blanket, always always always], whom I tried to name Ottawa but J and X call Toron-two. We are very silly with our bears.)

(Toronto actually has nothing to do with Canada; I call it that because of T.O. for "transitional object". I will never get tired of this joke. Hug Face is because Kit hugs it with their face. It has a fraternal twin named Face Hugs for the same reason. We are very silly with our bears.)

Last year I wrote, "I didn't mean to type so much; I should go do my OT exercises, ice my arms a bit more, and get some sleep. I'm just so glad that at least in our tiny little corner of the world, everything went okay today. I needed that." This year I say: yes, that.

Tomorrow the rain is supposed to ease off in the morning. I hope Kit gets to go out and romp a bit in the grass and be astonished by the trees all over again.
rosefox: Me looking out a window, pensive. (thoughtful)
I cracked my phone screen a few weeks ago. Today two people I follow on DW posted about having broken their phone screens. We all have toddlers about the same age, but the toddlers aren't the ones who broke our phones. I think we're all just wiped out and clumsier than usual.

It's interesting knowing people who are in the same stage of parenthood, and looking at what else is similar and different in our lives. We all have occasional stress with our partners but nothing doomful. Paying off debt is a big topic right now. And housing comes up a lot, but with a wide variety of plans and thoughts: wrangling with family over property, saving up for a down payment, planning to rent forever.

Also, all our kids are falling off beds and walking into walls and otherwise injuring themselves. It's hard learning how bodies work! But at least I don't feel unusual (or like a bad parent) (much) for having a kid who's doing those things.
25 July 2017 02:26 - "You get nothing!"
rosefox: A cartoon figure slipping toward a gaping hole in the paper. (slipping)
I'm having one of those "parenting is so hard, when does it stop being hard, oh right, never" days.

I was watching Kit play on their own and glumly thinking that happy Kit is independent and only wants parents when they're sad. Then they toddled over and handed me a stuffed fox, just because. So I know that what I'm feeling is just a feeling and has very little to do with reality. But it's still a big feeling.

Relatedly, having a tantruming toddler scream directly into your ear for several minutes is really quite challenging.

"Kit is so chill," I thought, once upon a time. "Maybe they won't really get toddler tantrums." I was so wrong. Soooo wrong. Tantrums aren't about personality. They're about cognitive and emotional overload. A scream into the void.

(My right ear is the void, apparently.)

(But was I going to stop cuddling my screaming child? Of course not. My ear can cope.)

And now I feel like the worst parent in the world because I couldn't really help my kid, even when they were bottomlessly miserable. There is no cure for the tantrum because it's an existential crisis. You just hold on and say "I'm here" like it means anything. And eventually they stop crying long enough for you to get some calories into them, which almost always helps. It turns out that kids are always basically one minute away from a massive hunger crash, and that rather exacerbates the existential angst.

You could not pay me enough to be a child again. No way. It's genuinely a wonder that kids are ever happy at all. Their bodies do weird things, the world is baffling, everything is too big, they have no control, safety is elusive and fleeting. It's like a fucking horror movie, 24/7. And yet my child comes over and smiles at me and puts their head on my knee for sheer love.

I guess maybe they wanted to say "I'm here" like it means anything.

I guess maybe it does.
23 July 2017 03:13 - "Close enough for jazz"
rosefox: Me snuggling a giant teddy bear, entirely contented. (sleeping)
Vacation to-do list/wishlist summary: not too bad! Especially given that today was totally eaten by stressful unexpected circumstances. (Everyone is fine now.)

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender and do some knitting
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (I didn't do this but did go read in the park near our house)
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
* Read (three books! in one week!)
* Cook
* Lunch with my mom
* Sleeeeeeeep

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Shower and dress in real clothes every day (mostly)
* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Unpack
* Vacuum (well, I swept, but it's pretty clean underfoot now)
* Catch up on laundry
* Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
* Call insurance company about that bill
* Call doctor's office about that prior auth
* Finish setting up Tinybeans
* Remake OT appointment for next week
* Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem
rosefox: A Victorian woman glares and says "Fuck's sake, what a cock"; someone out of the frame says "mm". (disapproval)
Archiving some Twitter threads here regarding cons and congoing.

Thread 1: You are not entitled to be a panelist at a convention.  )

=====

Thread 2: Cis People Please Don't Do This. )

Comments are off because I'm on vacation and don't feel like moderating them. Feel free to share the link to this post.
18 July 2017 04:26 - "R&R"
rosefox: Me looking out a window, pensive. (relaxed)
Once more unto the vacation to-do list/wishlist. A whole week of vacation when I'm not ill! Such luxury!

Things with deadlines:

* NONE AT ALL

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender and do some knitting
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (needs to happen today if it's going to happen, because the weather's going to be too hot and unpleasant the rest of the week)
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
* Read
* Cook
* Lunch with my mom
* Sleeeeeeeep

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Shower and dress in real clothes every day
* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Unpack
* Vacuum (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Catch up on laundry
* Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
* Call insurance company about that bill
* Call doctor's office about that prior auth
* Finish setting up Tinybeans
* Remake OT appointment for next week
* Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem
17 July 2017 02:29 - "The travel-model baby"
rosefox: A zombie from a Nintendo game. (zombie)
We are HOME. I have rarely in my life been so tired, and I have spent much of my life being tired. This is non-Euclidean tired that collapses in upon itself. I'm sort of impressed by it.

As usual, Sam was thrilled to see me, Sophie was thrilled to see X, and Alex pretended to have entirely forgotten our names until we ordered pizza and he decided he wanted some. Tili took very good care of them. She also pointed out that our inexplicably huge basil plants grew enormous flower spikes during the three days we were gone. The leaves are yellowing a bit; might be time for more fertilizer.

I cannot overstate how tremendously lucky we are to have such a good travel-bean. They were really clearly Done With Everything around 2 p.m. yesterday, and very polite about our inexplicable failure to take them home right then. They didn't nap much on the train today, though they did sleep on me for about half an hour—it's such a pleasure to be slept on by a baby, and we were all jockeying a bit to be the one that Kit napped on; I only won because J needed to get up to get something and I snagged the sleepy baby and the blanket—but they were generally cheerful and amenable to distraction nonetheless, and as soon as we got home they chugged a bottle and sacked out. They even signed "train" while we were waiting for the train, and they made friends with another toddler who was riding in our car, trading many high-fives and handshakes. They really liked the train trips; we should do more train travel with them.

Next year, more and better planning. Definitely. But on the whole it was a very good con.
16 July 2017 02:11 - "Gonna fall down any day now"
rosefox: The Readercon logo flipped to read R F. (readercon)
We are at Readercon! We are having a very good time.

We took the train up instead of driving. There was a mess leaving Penn Station—we had to get off our broken train and get onto another one at the last minute—and a friend couriered much of our luggage, so that was all a bit of a logistical headache, and it's stressful being bound to an external schedule. But I actually haven't missed having a car (or even thought much about leaving the hotel) and I definitely haven't missed being the only licensed driver for a long trip. Maybe the train again next year; maybe not.

Me being sick for the crucial two weeks (two full weeks! June 26 to July 10! let's never do that again!) when we would usually do all our planning led to many hilarious planning failures, including not packing enough underwear, packing the wrong bra, not bringing enough warm clothing for a freezing cold hotel, never getting around to going swimming (after much fuss about making sure we all had swim gear—though of course we forgot Kit's swim diaper!), not bringing toothpaste, not bringing enough cash for housekeeping tips, forgetting that my new eyeglass prescription means my hoarded last pair of contact lenses was useless, and not scheduling enough babysitter time. Rarely has my behavior.planning.agley tag been so apt. X and J did their very best to make up for my incapacity, but we're all used to me being the primary planner, and at this age Kit is very distracting and makes it hard to focus on planning. I suspect that we're going to go home, sleep for a week, and then plan out our entire schedule for next year in advance.

I gave a talk on habit reversal training for writers that was extremely well received. That was very gratifying and enjoyable, and set a good tone for the rest of the weekend. I attended a few panels, was on a couple more, read none of my book and knit none of my knitting, had a really lovely time hanging out with friends, stayed up very late—the usual.

Some of it has been a bit strange. I'm now at the age where my friends tell me about their divorces; I was not quite aware I had reached that age, but it's happened twice in two days, so here we are. (To be clear, I am very glad I could be there for those friends. I just wasn't expecting it.) No one's slept much except Kit, who remains an absolute champion traveler and has taken a solid two-hour nap every day we've been here, including on the train on the way up (and will ideally do so on the train home). But we're coping.

I was nearly falling asleep during my own room party, and then after it was done I went out to the patio because 1 a.m. Readercon patio conversations are a superb vintage I only get to taste once a year. We talked about consciousness upload and replication, which led to digressions on neuroscience, parenting, and karma. Good times.

I must go sleep a lot now. A whole lot. Tomorrow: home.
5 July 2017 16:16 - "Passed with flying colors"
rosefox: An extremely delighted white toddler with messy hair beams at the camera. (kit)
A couple of months ago when Kit was being evaluated for eating difficulties, the speech/eating specialist suggested getting an occupational therapy evaluation because Kit was holding their wrist at a slightly odd angle. The OT eval happened today and Kit did great! We're not surprised, but it's always nice to hear an expert say "Your kid is totally fine".

Kit was in a very good mood and followed directions really well, including stacking rings on a peg, sticking pegs into a peg board, drawing with crayons and a marker, putting blocks away in a bag (Kit's really into tidying up and putting things where they go right now), putting shapes into a shape puzzle, and turning pages in a book. They couldn't quite pull the cap off the marker, but they tried very hard. The only thing they didn't want to do was stack two small cube blocks; they preferred to pick the blocks up and bang them together.

The OT was impressed that Kit can self-feed with a spoon, which is apparently unusual for 18 months. Kit's been doing it for ages! What an excellent child.

This is all separate from the physical therapy that Kit's continuing to get for gross motor skills, but they're doing very well on that front too.

Now I just need to get our service coordinator to make the speech/eating services happen. Kit's doing better with finger foods but still finds non-mush solids pretty challenging.
rosefox: A man's head with a panel open to show gears, and another man looking inside. (examined head)
No 18-month Kit update yet because they've got a fierce UTI and the antibiotics have only just started kicking in, and I've been sick all week with a weird stomach bug or something, and assorted other things have been going on. But there will be one as soon as they're better. They're holding up like a champ, but they are also still a wee baby and being sick is rough. I'll be so glad when their fever is gone and their tolerance for things going even slightly not their way comes back.

~~~~~

Recently I've found myself thinking in religious terms a lot more than I used to. Not sure what to do with that. It's odd to feel my own sincerity when I describe Kit as "a blessing" or think "God willing, I'll be well enough to do laundry tomorrow". It feels very natural and reasonable, and I wouldn't look askance if I hadn't been agnostic/panentheist my whole life. Also, given my OCD and anxiety, I am generally suspicious of things appearing in my head that feel reasonable but have no rational basis.

I wonder, too, how much of this is about my Jewish identity mattering a lot more, politically, than it used to. If I'm going to be endangered by the fact of being Jewish, then I'm going to double the fuck down on my Jewishness.

But I don't feel a stronger inclination toward ritual or ceremony (or not much of one... though I have gotten more interested in celebrating holidays and learning about Jewish traditions, hm). I'm just more conscious of a... sense of a benevolent deistic presence in the fabric of the world. I mean, I've always had that sense, that's what panentheism is, but I feel it more strongly now, and I'm more inclined to invoke it.

Well, if it's a fun new kind of mental illness, it doesn't seem to be a harmful one at present. Mostly it's about joy and gratitude. I think sometimes I just feel so humbled and glad for all the things in my life that are due to chance as much or more as my efforts, and there's no real personification of chance to direct my gratitude to.

So all right, little beneficial brain worm, I'll keep you around for now. Just don't get too big, okay? I've only got so much brain.

~~~~~

This evening I managed to eat some soup AND some bread, AND I drank ginger ale. This is an improvement! It has been a pretty w/retched week. Now I'm kind of energized and of course it's nearly 1 a.m. Maybe I'll burn it off by sorting some laundry. Amazing how fast it piles up when I'm sick.
22 June 2017 00:15 - "In over my head"
rosefox: Steven's three guardians all ruffle his hair together as he grins (parenting)
Dear fellow caregivers for toddlers: I would love advice on two distinct things.

1) What makes a good potty? The number of variations is overwhelming. We want something pretty simple, I think: looks like a toilet, no branded characters, doesn't play music, sits on the floor, is basically a bucket with a seat. In the more distant future we'll need one that folds up or goes over the toilet seat or something, for when we're on the road, but right now this is just for Kit to examine and contemplate and get used to the idea of.

2) Like most 18-month-olds, Kit is full of energy. Unlike most 18-month-olds, Kit can barely walk unassisted and can't run or jump. They've only just started climbing around on the most low-level playground equipment and are very uncertain; they can get up five steps to the top of the baby slide but haven't yet sorted out how to slide down it. When they can't burn off all that energy, they get very agitated and fussy. How do we help them get something like vigorous exercise on the weekends? So far my only idea is to take their walker wagon to the park so they can toddle along at a fairly fast clip for longer distances than our apartment allows—there's a good smoothly paved straightaway there—but that's a pain because the sidewalk between here and there is very uneven and narrow, so I'd have to figure out some way to carry the (heavy, bulky, non-folding) wagon while pushing Kit in the stroller, and that may surpass my own physical limitations. Maybe a lightweight folding medical-style walker? Is that a ridiculous expense for a kid who probably won't need it anymore by the end of the summer? And what do we do when it's not park weather? The nearest real play space for kids is the Brooklyn Children's Museum and it's kind of a haul from here—two buses, and you have to fold the stroller on the bus. They can only crawl around our apartment for so long.

EDIT: We did have a great dance party to the B-52s on Sunday—their pure sincerity is a perfect match for toddler sincerity, plus a good beat—so I should remember that's an option for indoor days. Friends on Twitter and elsewhere also suggested walking while holding Kit's hands/arms; playing follow-the-leader movement games ("Stretch WAAAAAY up high! Now bend WAAAAAY down low!") or doing movement to songs; setting up a tumbling mat and big foam blocks to climb on if we can get some that fit Kit's room (need to measure the open floor space); getting a cheap flimsy lightweight doll stroller to use as a walker in the park.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions on either or both fronts!
11 June 2017 22:26 - "They didn't stand a chance"
rosefox: A fox writing book reviews. (writing)
A Lesson in Logic (1102 words) by [archiveofourown.org profile] rosefox
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Characters
Additional Tags: Polyamory, Parenthood, Education
Summary:

Polyamorous parents have an unfair advantage at parent-teacher conferences.



I wrote this for All in the Family ([community profile] familyex), an exchange of family-themed stories; I didn't hear about it until it was too late to sign up, but saw a prompt about polyam parents and couldn't resist. It includes four Jewish parents (of varying backgrounds and degrees of belief, though I wasn't explicit about that), a Nigerian-American teacher, enby rep, wheelie rep, one very bad joke, and a little boy who likes sparkly erasers.

It's the first time in ages that I've written a fully original short story. I sort of snuck it past myself. :) It was lots of fun. I might try signing up for more exchanges that are open to original work and see what happens.
rosefox: An extremely delighted white toddler with messy hair beams at the camera. (kit)
Well, Kit decided to grow up this week.

So much growing up )

I don't precisely feel superfluous as a parent, but I certainly need to let go of any idea that my job is to teach them how to grow up. They have a very good idea of how to grow up. My job is to get the hell out of their way.
8 June 2017 04:57 - "Goooood niiiiiight"
rosefox: A silver spoon labeled "my very last, very small spoon". (exhausted)
Finalvacationing to-do list/wishlist tally:

* Prepare BookCon handout by June 1
* Read ILL book due back June 1
* Return book by June 1
* See [twitter.com profile] grahamsleight before he leaves on June 1
* Do BookCon panel and booth duty on June 3 (went very well)
* Go to a toddler's birthday party on June 4
* Meet first work deadline by June 5 (wasn't done early, but got it done)
* Go to arm doctor June 6
* Meet second work deadline by June 7 (see above)
* Write guest blog post by June 7 next week
* Read ILL books due back June 8
* Return books by June 8

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Hang out with X, who also has this coming week off
* Watch the StevenBombs
* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens on a day with nice weather
* Ditto Prospect Park
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
* Read a book for fun? I hear people do this? ??? (tried but the book was boring. alas)
* Knit
* Sleeeeeeeep (actually managed this somewhat this week)
* Get a manicure

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Vacuum (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Change sheets (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Move clothes from valet to closet
* Clear off standing desk (newly added to the list)
* Catch up on laundry
* Promote Story Hospital
* Clean out inbox (and kept it pretty tidy)
* Watch Baby Signing Time and practice signing on my own and with the family

This week has been less than relaxing: I've had that work deadline to meet, I got way overpeopled on the weekend, J's been very ill with a horrid non-strep throat infection, X did something awful to their sciatic nerve, the arm doctor visit took three goddamn hours and effectively ate my entire day yesterday, and today was a comedy of errors without the comedy (train delays, my nail polish is insufficiently sparkly, no food until 4 p.m., I got a call from the daycare because Kit faceplanted and bit their lip and bled everywhere, meds I was supposed to pick up weren't ready yet, probably other things I'm forgetting). I wish it had been more vacational. I also wish I'd done any of that room-tidying stuff.

But on the bright side, I didn't have to deal with non-project work on top of everything else! I suppose sometimes that's all one can ask from a vacation.
6 June 2017 05:13 - "You knock me out"
rosefox: Me snuggling a giant teddy bear, entirely contented. (sleeping)
A word we used a lot for Kit in the early days was amiable. And they still are, in many ways; they're particularly good at dealing with being redirected away from something they want. But in the last month or so they've started voicing some very strong opinions, one of which is wanting to do some things for themself. In particular, they will shun food that one of us tries to put in their mouth but then happily pick up/spoon up and eat that same food on their own. Eating is great. Being fed is apparently for little tiny babies and not for great big toddlers like Kit.

I was not expecting the next iteration of "I do it myself" to happen at bedtime. Until a couple of weeks ago, if I said "Are you ready to go into the crib?" they'd complain, and then I'd give them a few more minutes of cuddling before putting them down to fall asleep. This past week or two, they've been calm at the thought of going into the crib, so I'd put them down while they were more awake, and they would take a few minutes to wriggle around and then conk out. Tonight they were so tired they almost fell asleep while I was changing their diaper, but once we'd read two stories and turned out the light, they stretched and squirmed and wriggled in the way that usually means "put me down so I can crawl around and play". I said I wouldn't let them crawl around but I could put them in the crib to play with their bears until they fell asleep (which I expected would take a while, maybe as much as half an hour). I put them in sitting up... and they gently lay down and grabbed the bears in their usual sleep position. So I put the blanket over them, said goodnight, and left. There was not a single peep from their room and after five minutes I shrugged and started the sleep timer.

Frankly, I would have liked a few more minutes of cuddling! Greater independence has meant a decrease in enjoyable cuddle time (as opposed to soothing cuddles when Kit's angry or upset), and I miss it, though from what I can tell Kit is still on the huggy end of the typical toddler range. But I am mightily impressed by their earnest eagerness to go to bed on their own. We'll see whether it becomes a trend.
2 June 2017 03:52 - "Strong in a real way"
rosefox: A woman's muscular arm. (strong)
Me for 15 years of tendonitis: "I wish I could build arm muscle. It's the best way to support my tendons. But I can't figure out how to exercise without aggravating the injury."

Me after 1.5 years of hefting a 95th-percentile-weight baby: "Wow, I have biceps!"

Last year's round of OT really helped me heal to the point where I could work out, and this year I have my magical Mueller elbow braces, which have let me knit and do housework and type a lot and pick up the baby without being in pain. (I did have a bit of a problem where they were offloading onto my wrists, but my Handeze gloves took care of that.) But I don't think the braces are the only reason I've healed a lot faster from the latest flare-up than ever before. I think I've just plain got more muscle. The braces have a strap that goes around the bicep and another that goes around the meatiest part of the forearm, and I was a little startled the first time I put them on and realized that flexing my bicep made a real difference to the fit. Over the winter I fell out of the habit of doing daily exercises, so I probably haven't strengthened the parts of my arm that most need it, but picking up a wriggly 25-pound toddler every day has definitely done me some good. I don't look quite like the stock photo in my icon, but I look more like it than I used to. One of these days I could even replace that icon with a photo of my actual arm.

I'm still going to the arm doctor next week and asking for a prescription for another round of OT, because when I take off the braces and gloves, I hurt, and I would rather not need assistive devices to do everyday things. Also the wrist pain is a new thing and I definitely want to get that checked out and mitigated before it gets worse. But injury notwithstanding, I feel strong in ways that I haven't in nearly 20 years, and it's pretty great.
1 June 2017 03:34 - "Let's pretend"
rosefox: A white adult and a white toddler, both with flat caps on, grin at the camera. (baby-whee)
Previously on "Kit plays pretend", we have seen Kit pretend to do things that Kit does for real. They will eat air from an empty bowl, and wash their hands at a toy faucet. I've also seen them get sort of vaguely conversational with a bear, maybe? That's about it.

But TODAY. Today X and I took Kit to a toy store, and my mom gave them a doll and a toy bottle. And Kit FED THE DOLL. Repeatedly and at length. That is an entirely different sort of imaginative play and we were really floored to see them do it.

Cut for those who don't care for baby anecdotes )

What a great day.
31 May 2017 00:11 - "It's one of those lazy days"
rosefox: A tiny turtle and the caption "Tiny Turtle is Pleased". (pleased)
Updated vacationing to-do list/wishlist:

* Prepare BookCon handout by June 1
* Read ILL book due back June 1 (I decided not to bother reading any of my ILL books and just returned them all; between when I requested them and when I got them, I temporarily but completely lost interest in that project. I'll reorder them when the project front-burners itself again.)
* Return book by June 1
* See visiting friend before he leaves on June 2
* Do BookCon panel and booth duty on June 3 (if you'll be there, come say hi!)
* Meet first work deadline by June 5 (ideally much earlier)
* Go to arm doctor May 30 June 6
* Meet second work deadline by June 7 (see above)
* Write guest blog post by June 7
* Read ILL books due back June 8
* Return books by June 8

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Hang out with X, who also has this coming week off (planned for 5/31)
* Watch the StevenBombs (WHAAAAAAAAT and also I want Fluorite to be my gem grandma forever)
* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender (omg Allura would you STOP HASSLING PIDGE whose gender is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS thank you)
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens on a day with nice weather
* Ditto Prospect Park
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time (planned for 5/31)
* Read a book for fun? I hear people do this? ??? (still pretty sure this is a myth)
* Knit
* Sleeeeeeeep (ahahahaaaaaa I am so totally failing at this)

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Vacuum (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Change sheets (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Move clothes from valet to closet
* Clear off standing desk (newly added to the list)
* Catch up on laundry (The hampers are almost empty! It's a Shavuot miracle!)
* Promote Story Hospital
* Clean out inbox but of course it's cluttered up again
* Watch Baby Signing Time and practice signing on my own and with the family

That's more than I thought I'd get done! I am pleased.
rosefox: A white adult and a white toddler, both with flat caps on, grin at the camera. (baby-whee)
I took Kit to

A BOOKSTORE

today!

Specifically to the splendid shiny new Books Are Magic, which has an amazing children's section complete with big bean bags and a squishy couch to sit on. I recommend it highly.

Kit was very serious and focused on the subway, the way they are in new situations. [twitter.com profile] grahamsleight was with us and kept trying to get their attention, but they were too focused on absorbing all information from the surroundings. But when they saw the books, they lit up with delight. They've been to libraries, and of course at home they're surrounded by bookshelves. They understand bookshelves.

They zoomed over to the shelf of board books and picked out some familiar ones before looking at the rest. After a little while of watching them pick books up and drop them and bang them on other books, Graham said "Kit, look!" and rotated the revolving rack of Little Golden Books.

Kit: 😮

So then they pulled down some books and rotated the rack and that was fun. They were very puzzled by the Little Golden Books being so thin and would grab several at a time, thinking they were one book.

Eventually they went back to the board books. They liked grabbing multiple copies of a single title and waving them all around. They turned pages in a book they'd never seen before, got to a (fairly crude) drawing of a kid in a bath, and signed "bath". I nearly fainted. The other day I saw them turn to a book page that shows people dancing and start doing their adorable chair-boogie dance, but it was a familiar book. This was completely new. MY BABY UNDERSTANDS SEMIOTICS. WHAT.

(I later had some deeper thoughts about how if Kit can look at a picture that looks nothing like bathtime at our house and still understand it as "bath", that makes it all the more imperative to show them books about kids and families of all kinds so that they internalize broad concepts of "happy kid" and "family", and that ended with me buying two board books about kids with same-sex parents and emailing Rebecca Sugar via Cartoon Network Books to ask whether she could make a Steven Universe board book that shows Steven and his amazing loving cobbled-together family.)

[twitter.com profile] kissane and [twitter.com profile] dailyjuna joined us, and Graham read books to the kids (who were impossibly good together) while Erin and I kvelled. Kit spotted a little chair and pushed it all over the place. They repeatedly tried to go behind the counter. (I told them "You don't work here yet.") We eventually decamped to 61 Local, where Kit tried to drink some of my orange juice and had a remarkably contained meltdown when the noise got to be too much. Juna was tremendously sweet with them and I really hope they get to have another playdate in a quieter place. As soon as I took them outside they calmed down, and they stayed very chill on the bus and home. What a good Brooklyn baby.

Every time I wear them in the front carrier, people express amazement, because they are enormous and I am small. But it was so nice to be able to just go up and down stairs instead of wrestling with the stroller and have them "on my lap" when I sat down instead of needing to take the backpack on and off (which is really tricky in transit), and my arms are very grateful to my hips and knees for taking the load. As soon as they can walk up and down stairs with help, the subway will be much more manageable with the stroller: it folds up small and slings over my shoulder, and that frees me to hold their hand on the steps. But carrying both stroller and baby is just impossible for me, I don't want to rely on strangers to not drop my baby down a flight of stairs, and most stations don't have elevators. So in the meantime, I'm building up leg and core strength. Maybe I should start working out again.
29 May 2017 05:36 - "Living in a bubble"
rosefox: Me looking out a window, pensive. (thoughtful)
[personal profile] siderea linked to this post:

I know you want to, and you are constantly being told that you must, excel at and be committed to, for example:

1. earning a living wage
2. healing from and/or dealing with injury, illness, emotional trauma, disability
3. basic self-care and adulting (laundry, financial management, etc.)
4. family relationships (finding/maintaining romance, caring for kids and/or elders, dealing with family drama)
5. a social life beyond that
6. a fulfilling and fulfilled creative life
7. service to the community
8. social and political activism
9. self-improvement and continuing education
10. physical fitness (maintaining and building)
11. fun hobbies
12. spiritual growth

...plus enough downtime to keep you functional.

But excelling at each of those is equivalent to a full-time job and you cannot physically do them all. In fact, our society considers basic competence at
two of them to be a passing grade. ONLY TWO.

The idea is that you're supposed to look at this list and agree that it's impossible to do it all and then feel relief from the pressure. But I'm really pleased to realize that I'm doing very well in almost all of those categories. My social life isn't as busy as it used to be, but that's fine, it'll come back as Kit gets older. Creativity and hobbies are one category for me and I've always got something going; since I'm doing historical research for Valour Advances right now, that brings in continuing education as well. If I expand #12 as "spiritual and psychological growth" I've got that covered. Tomorrow I'm going to get a new prescription for occupational therapy and add physical fitness back onto the list in a formal way, but I've informally been doing fairly well at it (picking up a 25-pound toddler is great for building upper body strength). About all I'm missing is activism as distinct from service to the community; my Twitter and DW PSAs, and my Story Hospital posts, fall into the latter category rather than the former. I do wish I could do more direct political activism but I'm coming to accept that I can't right now, not with everything else I have on my plate.

[personal profile] siderea proposed a 13th category of "recovering from catastrophe". I'd add a 14th of "coping with oppression, marginalization, danger, and/or abuse". I feel like the secret to doing everything I do is that I don't have to manage assholes in pretty much any part of my life. My spouses are great, my friends are great, my family drama is minimal, my boss and colleagues are great, I'm not being targeted by trolls, etc. I'm a queer trans polyamorous weirdo, but I'm in a place where it's pretty safe to be that way. I don't have to worry about my home being unsafe for me, or about being kicked out of it. I have health insurance and a savings account. Safety is what lets me get a ton of shit done. I'm not having to manage my safety. If I were—I know from experience—it would be the other 13 categories' worth of work all in one.

So I suppose this list represents my political philosophy too: the job of society is to take on category 14 for everyone. Reduce oppression, marginalization, danger, and abuse in order to enable people to lead fulfilling and satisfying lives in every possible dimension. I live in a tiny magical bubble where I've made that possible for myself and my family, and it's great. I want it for everyone.
27 May 2017 02:59 - "I'm going to Disneyworld!"
rosefox: A heart-shaped Roomba. (housework)
I'm on vacation! That means I get to do things I don't get to do when I'm working! Like... really clean my room. Which doesn't sound very vacational, but I will feel much better after I do it.

What I wanted was to take a week off. What I'm getting instead are two half-weeks off, Mon-Wed of this coming week and of the following week. BookExpo and BookCon are intervening, as is a big work project with deadlines that can't be moved. Such is life. It's still a vacation.

Things on my to-do list/wishlist with deadlines:

* Go to arm doctor May 30
* Prepare BookCon handout by June 1
* Read ILL book due back June 1
* Return book by June 1
* See visiting friend before he leaves on June 2
* Do BookCon panel and booth duty on June 3 (if you'll be there, come say hi!)
* Meet first work deadline by June 5 (ideally much earlier)
* Meet second work deadline by June 7 (see above)
* Write guest blog post by June 7
* Read ILL books due back June 8
* Return books by June 8

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Hang out with X, who also has this coming week off
* Watch the StevenBombs
* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender (I'm five episodes in; it makes great knitting TV)
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens on a day with nice weather
* Ditto Prospect Park
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
* Read a book for fun? I hear people do this? ???
* Knit
* Sleeeeeeeep

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Vacuum (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Change sheets (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Move clothes from valet to closet
* Catch up on laundry
* Promote Story Hospital
* Clean out inbox
* Watch Baby Signing Time and practice signing on my own and with the family
rosefox: An old woman knitting. (knitting)
I have entirely fallen off of doing 30 in 30, which is a bummer, but "I can write a sentence a day" is not the same as "I can write a one-sentence story a day" and honestly I haven't been even wanting to write a sentence a day. I got new arm braces that let me knit without damaging my arms, and apparently knitting and writing take up the same space in my head, because since then I have had no interest in writing at all. The sweater's coming along great, though. I realized that I wasn't going to have enough yarn, and that entire brand has been discontinued, but some Ravelry stash-sleuthing turned up someone who had two skeins of it (after several responses of "Huh, I thought I had that but I can't find it now"), so I should be able to finish the sweater at least as a vest, and might even have enough for sleeves.

A friend came over for dinner tonight, so I tidied the living room and dining room before she got here, and did the dishes after. Now everyone's asleep and the house is tidy and the dryer is humming and it's so peaceful. We had really good conversation, full of belly laughs and deep feelings, and the late-night calm is the perfect counterpart to an exuberant evening.

Everyone's mostly asleep, anyway. Kit's working up to unassisted walking, and that tends to come with sleep disruption. They've been whimpering in their sleep a lot, and sometimes fully waking up. They don't generally need anyone to come in—they're a pro at self-soothing to sleep, and very good about doing it on their own if they can—but it's clearly not super restful sleep, and they've been pretty tired during the day.

All the adults in the house have also been sleeping badly. This morning I went to bed at 5, woke up at 8, and then went back to sleep and had a really horrifying nightmare about the end of the world. TW for solar apocalypse ) And then I woke up going ????????. Eventually I went back to sleep and had another dream about going around the city with some friends I hadn't seen in a while, and that dream also tried to turn into a nightmare (about it being our last hurrah before I died of heart disease that I'd allowed to go untreated) and I refused to let it. I don't often have conscious control of my dreams but for that one I explicitly would not let the scarybad storyline happen. So that wasn't terrible, at least, but it was not what one would call a restful night.

And J's had awful insomnia, and Kit's whimpering sets off the monitor and wakes X up. J and I have suggested giving up the monitor altogether, because if Kit actually yelled X would hear it through their bedrooms' shared wall, but X doesn't think it's time for that yet, so I think we're going back to me turning their monitor on when I go to bed, rather than them having it on all night. Anything that helps any of us sleep is a good thing.

I'm going to do the last of my chores and get to bed; I have Kit-time tomorrow afternoon while X and J have a date, and it'd be nice to get up early enough for some family time before that starts. Maybe if I go to bed a little earlier, I'll sleep better. Stranger things have happened.
rosefox: Origami boxes. (helpful)
[personal profile] solarbird has put together a mobile solution for Dreamwidth that's now in beta. Go try it out!
rosefox: A cartoon figure slipping toward a gaping hole in the paper. (slipping)
Long Hidden's last day in print is TODAY. *sob* If you want to make my final royalty check a nice big one and benefit We Need Diverse Books while you're at it, buy your copy now. (The bundle with Hidden Youth is an especially sweet deal!)

A couple of months ago, I joined the [community profile] space_swap fic exchange and wrote a 7500-word story about Steven Universe and the Gems going to the Empire City Polyamorous Families Conference, because once I got bitten by the idea it would not leave me alone. The story is about figuring out how to be happy even when you feel weird and different and alone. It's also a wry love letter to all the polyamorous folks and communities I've known, with their joys and flaws, and has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it alt.poly shout-out. The tags include "fusions use they/them pronouns" and "I didn't mean to write an entire episode". (In fact, I was actively trying not to write an entire episode. But I couldn't really do the idea justice in a shorter space.) It's the first work where I've ever gotten past writer's block by outlining and I am extremely proud of how well I outlined it and stuck to my outline and pulled it together.

The only snag is that my gift recipient, for whatever private reason, declined the gift. I've been really sad all week that no one was enjoying the story and I couldn't promote it because author names hadn't been revealed yet. My only goal with fanfic is to make people happy and it stung to have that rejected. So now that the anonymity period is over, I would really appreciate any of you Steven Universe fans taking a little time to read the story, leave kudos or a comment if you're moved to do so, and share the link with anyone who might like it.

I grew a plant from a seed. It is a tiny adorable little plantling, visibly larger every day. It will, in theory, grow up to be a great big nasturtium bush. I'm just astonished that a little dry seed can turn into a little plant that can turn into a big plant. It's the same astonishment I feel when I watch my child practice standing up and remember that they used to be a little white dot on an ultrasound. Like... how?! But that is how life works, somehow, some amazing way.

Our repotted basil is also growing so well that I may need to set up some sort of trellis for it. I used to feel too protective of it to actually eat any of it, and now I'm eagerly pulling off the big leaves so that the smaller ones have more room to grow.

It has been a rough few weeks of mostly bad sleep and occasional panic attacks and arm pain and not going outside enough—not just because of the unseasonably cold wet weather, though chilly rain does not encourage me to take walks—but there are many good things. I just want fewer unpleasant things, is all.

EDIT: Apparently my gift recipient has sent some people over here (or they came over just because they felt like it) to explain how and why my gift was not the correct gift, and some of them have left useful comments and some have not. I appreciate the useful ones and am now disabling comments on this entry.
8 May 2017 04:55 - "Hello, CD listeners"
rosefox: A mouse in a doorman's uniform holding a door open for another mouse. (welcome)
I'm cleaning out my email inbox and a bunch of it is subscription and access notifications from people I don't know. Hello, people I don't know! Please say hi and introduce yourselves.

Also, if you were able to see filtered posts on LJ and can't see them here, let me know.
6 May 2017 02:32 - "Those were the days"
rosefox: A woodblock print of a woman surrounded by roses. (nostalgia)
It's rainy and cold. Perfect fireplace weather.

I spent a lot of time in upstate New York when I was growing up, and our house had a fireplace. In the evenings I would sit in front of the fire and cross-stitch and drink hot chocolate and listen to my mother's records. And then I would go down to my room and dial in to AOL so I could telnet to my BBS and get on IRC. (Calling the BBS directly would have been an expensive long-distance call. Remember those days?)

Right now I have a fireplace video going, and I'm playing one of the albums my mother used to listen to a lot (Keith Jarrett's Köln concert), and I'm on IRC, and I'm drinking hot chocolate. And I'm knitting (or would be if I weren't typing), which is not cross-stitch but scratches the same itch. It is basically 1997 over here right now.

My brother's birthday dinner was tonight, just him and me and our mother and her gentleman. I misread the reservation email and got there half an hour early, so I found a quiet place to sit and knit. I'd had a really stressful day of feeling extremely anxious for no reason whatsoever, and that half hour of knitting was about the best thing I could have done for myself. Dinner was delicious, and we managed to have good conversation despite the noisy restaurant; we teased one another about old jokes and talked about politics that we could all agree on. When I pinged the household Slack to say I was on my way home, I found a message from X saying "we did all your chores, hope you had a good time". And it's Friday so I have no work deadlines. So I'm full of happy warm family feelings and relaxation, and have walloped myself with massive nostalgia on top of it. What a lovely way to end the day.
rosefox: In 1813, a lending library clerk discusses books with a customer. (valour advances)
overwhelmed anticipation exhaustion humiliation optimistic surprised
confused sympathy anger sad energetic hyper
pleased thankful mischievous bliss tired broken
calm lonely defeated cold love hope
shock relief tears laughter thrilled remorse


4: Anticipation.

Nathaniel's heart pounded as he found a place on the benches that passed for pews in the shabby room that passed for a church, and he scarcely heard a syllable of the homily, where ordinarily he would have been riveted; perhaps it was sinful to neglect the word of God and bend all his thoughts toward the moment an hour hence when he would dare to accompany Sir Henry upon his afternoon walk, but men were dead in sin by nature, and in this he was very much a man.

5: Calm.

Many young women of the noble classes began their days before a looking-glass, managing their posture and expressions as maids managed their hair and dress, but Sìnàkide was likely the only one who practiced an air of distant, untouchable serenity rather than a winsome smile; her ambition was not to win a man's heart or awaken a woman's jealousy but to escape their attentions altogether, as though she herself were the looking-glass from which all other gazes were reflected away.
4 May 2017 01:16 - 30 in 30, day 3: tired
rosefox: A zombie from a Nintendo game. (tired)
overwhelmed anticipation exhaustion humiliation optimistic surprised
confused sympathy anger sad energetic hyper
pleased thankful mischievous bliss tired broken
calm lonely defeated cold love hope
shock relief tears laughter thrilled remorse


3. Tired.

Henry's daily walks exhausted and pained him, but nothing could be more wearying than a rainy day spent immobile on the detestable lumpy sofa, his propped-up leg hidden beneath the card table as Miss Silverthorne bested him in yet another interminable game of draughts or chess; and no night was less restful than a night that followed such a day, as though his body were attempting to balance his inaction by contorting and shifting endlessly upon the mattress until the light of dawn brought him a few hours of incongruous slumber.
rosefox: Fiona from <I>Shrek" with mouth wide open, singing. (singing)
I think I forgot to mention that I recorded a story for Glittership! It's Rose Lemberg's "How to Remember to Forget to Remember the Old War" and it was super fun to read. I really appreciate that Glittership wanted a nonbinary reader for a story with a nonbinary protagonist. It's about 23 minutes long; take a listen when you have some time.
3 May 2017 00:41 - 30 in 30, day 2: shock
rosefox: In 1813, a lending library clerk discusses books with a customer. (valour advances)
These one-sentence stories are almost impossible to do with dialogue, which makes me realize how dialogue-focused my stories are! Fortunately the nature of Regency English allows me to abuse sentence-lengthening punctuation with impunity.

overwhelmed anticipation exhaustion humiliation optimistic surprised
confused sympathy anger sad energetic hyper
pleased thankful mischievous bliss tired broken
calm lonely defeated cold love hope
shock relief tears laughter thrilled remorse


2: Shock.

TW: minor injury and blood )
rosefox: An irritated Vulcan slaps a thick-headed D&D-style elf. (dopeslap)
Sunday: I SLEPT. It was glorious. I spent time with X and Kit while J was gaming, and Pablo came over and we all hung out for a while, and then J and I put Kit in the stroller and walked Pablo home (it's so cool that we can do that). We kind of wanted to cook, but the good market had closed by the time I got there—I wish they didn't close so early on Sundays—so we ended up ordering in Chinese food. Kit had a nightmare or something and woke up crying at 1 a.m. but X got them back to sleep quickly enough. I got totally caught up in researching interactions between Europeans and First Nations in early-19th-century Canada but eventually made myself buckle down and get work done. These 10 a.m. Monday deadlines that my new boss is so keen on are hard to get used to. But I got to bed before 6, so that's something.

Monday: I SLEPT AGAIN. Two days in a row of good sleep meant I woke up super perky. I was awake at 1:30, up by 2, and showered and dressed and fed by 2:45. I did some work and made some calls and was generally useful. Kit went right down for their post-daycare nap with minimal fuss, and I Skyped with Miriam for a bit, with the baby joining us after they woke up. They were teething hard, so I had to cut the call short and go ply them with books and Tylenol and milk and food and cuddles and crayons. Poor thing. We ordered in again because Mondays are no-cooking days. J took out the trash and recycling because my arms were pre-ouched and I didn't want to push them into being fully ouched, and then X and J went to bed and I found myself with no obligations other than needing to do some laundry, which mostly does itself. So I put my arm braces on and sat down with my protagonist journey outlines for Valour Advances and reconciled them and made a timeline... and realized I forgot to put the romance in my romance novel. *sob*

Writing blather )

And now the second load of laundry is done and I get to go to bed at only 3:30 a.m.! So early! Maybe I'll sleep well for the third night in a row! I sure hope so, because tomorrow's workload is looking pretty intense and it'd be nice to have both time and brains for it.
1 May 2017 23:39 - 30 in 30, day 1: hope
rosefox: In 1813, a lending library clerk discusses books with a customer. (valour advances)
I decided to do this May writing challenge from [community profile] fffc (found via [personal profile] miss_s_b) because surely I can manage a sentence a day. Of course, they're supposed to be "one-sentence stories", which is harder than just a sentence! And I'm doing it for Valour Advances the Man, so no one but me will have much context for it. But let's give it a go anyway, because I really have to get back to writing after bogging myself down in research (though the research is fascinating). I'll bold the prompts as I do them, to keep track.

overwhelmed anticipation exhaustion humiliation optimistic surprised
confused sympathy anger sad energetic hyper
pleased thankful mischievous bliss tired broken
calm lonely defeated cold love hope
shock relief tears laughter thrilled remorse


1: Hope.

In the quiet hours between when Miss Waters went to bed and Mrs. Waters returned from the tavern, when the only sound in the house was the occasional creak of old timbers settling, Nathaniel sat in his chilly little attic room, by his cloudy little window, staring out at London's fog-haloed street lamps; and he allowed himself to picture a much finer house in which, perhaps, another man sat by a much larger and clearer window, staring out over another London street and thinking of him.
rosefox: Lots of hearts with lines connecting them and the caption "Love begets love". (love (expanded))
[personal profile] jasra posted this copy-and-paste support meme:

My door is always open. The house is usually half clean. Coffee/Tea could be on in minutes, and the chairs are a comfy place of peace and non-judgment. Anyone who needs to chat is welcome anytime. It's no good suffering in silence. There is always food in the fridge, coffee/tea in the cupboard, and a listening ear or shoulder to cry on. I will always be here & you are always welcome!!

If you want to, could at least one friend please copy and re-post (not share)? I'm trying to demonstrate that someone is always listening! We need more love 💛


My version:

If we are friends, my home is always open to you for a hug, a chat, a cat to pet, a cuppa, a meal, or a couch to crash on for a night or two. Stairs and cats and baby mean my space won't be accessible to everyone, but we will all do our very best to be welcoming and supportive in every other way.

If you have been harmed or kicked out of your home and need a safe place to go, I will gladly provide that safe place or help you find another one.

I'm always up late. (Always.) If you need someone to talk to late at night, call or text or DM/PM me.

My spoons and time can be pretty limited. But I care a lot about helping other people, and will always do as much as I can. And you can count on me to be clear and compassionate when setting boundaries, so you never have to worry whether you're being a bother or intruding or taking resources I don't have to spare.

Feel free to post and share your own version if you're able to help others who are in need. 💚
rosefox: A mouse in a doorman's uniform holding a door open for another mouse. (welcome)
I have disabled crossposting to LiveJournal and am in the process of making all my posts there private. (That doesn't work on custom filters, but if you delete a filter, it effectively makes filtered posts private. If you do want to delete all your entries, here's a Selenium script that runs in Firefox, courtesy of [personal profile] xtina.) For the moment I'm not deleting my account, but I will no longer post or comment there. I agreed to the TOS only so that I could retrieve my content. I will not make more content for them to run ads against or judge by horrible anti-queer laws. If they delete it, then they delete it.

Welcome, new folks! If you're just moving here from LJ, some tips:

1) Claim your LJ handle so that comments that you made on LJ are attributed to your DW when they're imported. Your OpenID URL is the URL of your old journal, username.livejournal.com. I believe you'll need to be able to log into LJ to do this, so if you've deleted your account, you'll need to temporarily undelete it, and it might not work if you haven't agreed to the LJ TOS (*spit*).

2) Look for your old LJ friends in this post on [community profile] 2017revival and the comments. You can also post a personal ad to [community profile] 2017revival or read the ones posted there if you want to make new friends.

Also, if you were mad enough to delete or mothball your LJ account over anti-queer provisions, please take a moment to support Russian LGBT Network, which does very valuable work. Right now they're running an emergency hotline for people endangered by the anti-gay purges happening in Chechnya. If you can donate, please do (perhaps the amount you would have put toward your next LJ paid account renewal). If you can't, please signal-boost.
6 April 2017 02:58 - "It'll never be over, will it"
rosefox: A fox writing book reviews. (writing)
Arms: *hurt*

Two novels: *are barely started*

Brain: Hey, it would be cool to write a contemporary romance that inverts the childhood sweethearts trope by making them childhood buddies in an urban neighborhood, one of whom comes back to the 'hood after failing at farming.

Me: What. No. No no no. I am not starting a new project. No.

Brain: You know how there are a million books about men who return to small towns after failing to make it in the big city, and the women who've always loved them save them from their dangerous unmasculine ambitions—

Me: YES AND I HATE THEM

Brain: Okay, so, these two girls grow up next door to each other, one boy's Jamaican immigrant parents run a grocery store and the other boy's Chinese immigrant parents run a Chinese takeout place, and the Jamaican kid tries to become a farmer and totally fumbles it and comes back to the 'hood, which is gentrifying, and they both try to keep their family businesses afloat while falling in love.

Me: Another M/M romance, though? Why do I keep thinking those up?

Brain: Make one of them trans, problem solved. Or both, both would be fine.

Me: ...

Brain: I think the Chinese kid's "aunt" is actually her dad's girlfriend.

Three novels: *are barely started*
rosefox: An extremely delighted white toddler with messy hair beams at the camera. (kit)
Kit is visibly taller today than they were yesterday. It's been a while since that happened. No wonder they've been so cranky and tired for the past week or so.

Baby anecdotes )
4 April 2017 17:01 - "No and also fuck you"
rosefox: A Victorian woman glares and says "Fuck's sake, what a cock"; someone out of the frame says "mm". (angry)
Hi there,

I have a permanent account, which I paid for. The new terms of service say "Paid Services are not subject of this Agreement." So why do I need to agree to the new TOS in order to access my account?

Please disable the requirement to agree to the new TOS for paid users of the service, including those of us with permanent accounts.

Thank you,
Rose Fox

_____


Thank you for inquiry.

According to User Agreement, user unconditionally accepts the Agreement in its entirety just by using LiveJournal, regardless of any packages bought for account. As using LiveJournal requires to accept the Agreement, it is not possible to disable it for any users. I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

Please let us know if we can help you with anything else.

Regards,
LiveJournal Community Care


So much for that.
rosefox: Me hugging a giant teddy bear, very sad. (sad)
Well, 16 years almost to the day since I started my LJ, I'm shuttering it. As a queer person who posts about being queer, I can't agree to the new LJ TOS.

We've had a good run.

EDIT: I have found a way to post comments without agreeing to the TOS—use uBlock Origin to block the element that makes the screen look grey—but it won't let me post or edit any of my entries. So I'm leaving comments for people who don't use DW, and presumably the rest of you will see this. Here's how to do that, once you've installed the uBlock Origin browser plug-in:

cut for images )

This also works for editing tags on a post, so I've screened all the comments on my top post, left a comment with my DW handle, and added tags that say "see comment for directions to dreamwidth, this livejournal is out of service". Best I can do for now.

I've also sent Support a message asking why people with paid and permanent accounts have to agree to the TOS if it doesn't apply to paid services. We'll see what happens with that. Either way I'll back up and delete everything other than a signpost, because the service is clearly dead, but I'd rather not have to click "agree" to do that.

Sixteen years is a long time.

:(
rosefox: Batman feeds a baby while saying "We'll both be just fine" (baby-yay)
A thing I just wrote elsenet in response to someone who's ambivalent about parenthood and wanted to know how other people went from "no kids" to "yes kids":

I have a kid and I still don't know whether I would have, abstractly, in the absence of all other input, wanted kids. But no one lives abstractly, in the absence of all other input.

In my case, my partner X (who didn't live with me and J at the time) was very firm about having a kid and the only question for me and J was how involved to get. I felt very awkward around babies and was uncomfortable around kids in the abstract, though, like you, I had started to realize how much I enjoyed the company of my friends' and relatives' individual kids and was sort of rethinking that whole "not fond of kids" idea. I had absolute body horror around the idea of being pregnant, so I was never going to produce a child of my own. J and I certainly liked being double-income-no-kids and traveling internationally and doing a lot of evening and weekend social events, and we could have decided we liked it so much that we wanted to keep doing it while X single-parented. But when X crashed on our couch for a couple of months, we all liked living together and being a family so much that we decided to keep doing it, baby and all.

And now the three of us are all parents to an amazing 15-month-old and just yesterday a friend said that in every photo of me cuddling the baby, I have a huge smile that says "I GET TO CUDDLE A BABY". I could not have predicted this in one million billion years. I thought I was going to be uncomfortable and distant around the baby until they were able to speak coherent English. But nope, turns out that I am totally besotted by this baby. When they're sad and they crawl into my lap and bury their face in my shoulder and cry and fall asleep, that communicates love in ways that don't need words, and I'm genuinely honored to be so trusted by someone so small and vulnerable. There's something absolutely pure about our relationship right now, because they're too young to have emotional baggage. They just drench us in love (and drool). And I really get babies now, in a way that I didn't at all before, and am much more comfortable around other people's kids, though I'm still not going to leap to volunteer to babysit a baby. (Teenagers are different. Teenagers are amazing. Send all your teenagers to meeeeee.)

So if you're concerned that being ambivalent about parenthood means you will be ambivalent about your particular kid if you choose to have one, I am living proof that you can be uncertain right up to the moment of birth and even after—I spent most of Kit's first two weeks frantic because I hadn't bonded with the baby yet—and then fall madly in love and be ready to fight anyone who tries to get between you and your child.

I'm eager to get back to international travel and am entirely capable of discussing things that aren't bottles and diapers. I remember very clearly what it's like to not be a kid person, and I never inflict baby photos or anecdotes on people who'd really rather talk about anything else. But I'm 110% a my kid person, in ways that absolutely astonish me.

Parenthood should, in an ideal world, be a deliberate decision, but it's okay if you make that decision without feeling super-eagerly committed to it. You can say "Okay, I think having kids will be better than not having kids, probably, so let's do it and hope for the best" and that's a deliberate decision. A lot of people make the decision that way. There's nothing wrong with you for feeling like that about it.

I do workshops for struggling writers, and at the last one, someone asked, "How do I know whether to commit to being a writer?" I said that the question is not "Do I become a writer?" but "How am I a writer?". So perhaps a good question for you is, how would you be a parent? How would parenthood fit into your life, what would it mean to you, what would it give you and demand from you? What you imagine as you try to envision your possible parenthood life will help you see how it might work out for you, or not. When we were talking about having a child, I kept thinking of one-on-one bonding time with a small kid—making cookies, walking in the park and pointing out cool leaves and birds, explaining how plumbing works—and those visions filled me with joy. That hoped-for connection was my compass and was at the heart of why I said yes to being a parent. And I was right; bonding with my child, one on one, is the best part of parenthood for me. You know yourself and what you want from relationships—and parenthood is absolutely a relationship, first and foremost—so harness that knowledge to your imagination and see where it goes.
rosefox: A person in a gas mask. (illness)
That cold virus has gone through our house like wildfire. Kit was slightly warm for a day and then fine, but it knocked the rest of us out for a week or two each. Apparently this is just going to be our new normal, according to other parents of daycare-age kids. It hit me first and hardest; I managed to keep my bout of it from turning into a sinus infection, but only barely, and my voice was impressively low for a while. J got over it fairly quickly, and X is mostly past the worst but still pretty soggy.

The February-like weather has helped nothing. We've had to keep the heat on pretty high, and that dries the air out, and that plus mouth-breathing because of stuffy noses has been just dreadful. We're cranking all our humidifiers and drinking gallons of water. I even got a bout of February-like depression, which totally missed me (and I did not miss) in actual February. But this weekend looks to be the start of a warmer, wetter stretch, so hopefully that will make everything better. I am putting considerable effort into planning a Brooklyn Botanic Gardens trip in mid-April with [twitter.com profile] saraeileen and maybe [livejournal.com profile] vschanoes and their babies, because all I want right now is to be sprawled on the grass under the cherry trees and if I can't have it right at this moment then I will make very sure I get it as soon as possible. Spriiiiiiing, I neeeeeeed it.

I went up to Hunter today to do live-action Story Hospital with a group of teens I hadn't met before. It was amazing and great and emotionally exhausting. I came home so wiped out that after dinner I took a 90-minute nap on the couch—from 10:30 to midnight, not exactly prime napping time—because I was genuinely too tired to get up and go to bed. That is absurd. Of course then the nap wired me up, so I took the trash out and started laundry and did the dishes and took a shower and now it's 4 a.m. and I ought to go to bed for real. I hope writing this entry will help wind me down.

My day job workload is going to be decreasing after next week (YAY), and I plan to put all those hours toward sleep. That will help.

Kit's body continues to think it's older than it is. In addition to being the height and weight of a two-year-old, they've got the teeth of a two-year-old. All eight incisors and three of the four first molars are in, and their lower canines just cut through, which apparently hurts a whole lot. Poor sad bean. :( But ideally this accelerated teething schedule will mean they get all their teeth in quickly and then they can just enjoy having them.

I got new glasses and they keep feeling like they don't sit on my face quite right, even though I've had them adjusted several times at different shops. Maybe I just need to get used to them. They've got plastic frames and I think the last time I wore glasses with plastic frames was close to 20 years ago. I do really like the way they look. The neighborhood eyeglass shop where I got them completely messed up my beloved prescription sunglasses, so sometime this weekend or next week I need to go shake them down for not only a refund of the lenses (which make my eyes physically hurt, and made me dizzy when I switched back to my regular glasses) but the cost of replacing the frames, which they managed to warp while trying to fit the lenses in. So much for patronizing my little local business.

When I was sick I missed my regular manicure appointment and went a full 2.5 weeks without a manicure, but I didn't bite or break my nails; I was very proud. This week I had them done up in H&M's Wildwood polish, which is my perfect green, and have been wearing green clothes that match them exactly and feeling excessively stylish. Alas, the polish has already been discontinued, so I will cherish this bottle of it and try to find the right balance between not using it all up right away and not letting it sit so long that it becomes unusable.

I think I have wound down, finally. Time to refill the humidifier and get a great deal of sleep.
rosefox: Me laughing joyfully. (joyous)
Five things make a post.

1) First, the ending. Long Hidden goes out of print on May 9th. *sob* The last copies are being sold at a steep discount, with proceeds partially benefiting We Need Diverse Books. You can get discounted copies of Hidden Youth while you're there. Go help Bart and Kay clean out their warehouse while they're still allowed to sell the books! All details at that link.

2) Now, the beginnings. J has a new job! He got laid off at the end of last year and the last few months have been challenging. We are all very super excited that his nonstop hustle has landed him an excellent gig doing work he enjoys at a company he likes for good money.

3) X got a bonus and a raise! They inch ever closer to being paid what they deserve.

4) I joined a Slack for queer writers (if you want to join, let me know! All I need is your email address and i can add you) and it's been amaaaaazing for my productivity. People do 20-minute productivity sprints and then share snippets of their work and praise/critique one another in very supportive ways. Sometimes I use the sprints for day job work and sometimes for writing. I've outlined both my novels and passed the 10k mark on Valour Advances the Man (though a good chunk of that is in scenes that probably won't make it into the book but shhhhh), which is my current focus project. I haven't forgotten the Persuasion retelling but it's on the back burner right now. They'll inevitably swap at some point. I'm just so pleased to be writing! And it feels so good!

5) I reworked my Story Hospital Patreon tiers and got more people into Story Hospital Slack, hooray! Now to figure out how to keep conversations going in there. For some reason they just don't catch fire. I will probably be better at that once I'm over this rotten stinking head cold.

6) Bonus sixth thing: the DST changeover happened and I didn't hate it nearly as much as I usually do, probably because I slept 11 hours that night to try to shake the cold. (Didn't work, alas.) Kit's body clock is on the same schedule, of course, so now they're going to sleep at 9 and waking up at 7 and it's WONDERFUL. They have dinner with us! J gets to sleep in instead of waking up at 5! Not sure what we'll do in the fall when the clocks go back but for now we're just enjoying this.
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