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. :)
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.
Today Kit had their first real playdate! ( It went great! )
Yesterday was one of those days where you have to say "Everyone is fine" before talking about how the day went. ( But don't worry, everyone is fine )
I am trying really hard not to think about the election. Really really hard. I have plenty of other things to think about. But it intrudes constantly.
I have phonebanked and texted and done everything I can to get the vote out for Clinton. I will do a little more tomorrow and Tuesday. I have researched all the down-ballot candidates (including the one who's on the judicial ballot by mistake
). I have a plan to vote
. I just need to remember to wear white
I will be so glad when it's Wednesday and we can at least stop waiting for the results, whatever those results are.
The Brooks Brothers shopping trip consisted of me walking into Brooks Brothers, saying "I don't belong here", and bursting into tears. The way Brooks Brothers does masculinity is really not the way I do it, for all sorts of reasons. Also, I couldn't bear the idea of letting their tailors anywhere near my body. On the way to the store I'd gotten really tense trying to figure out how to project the "right" sort of masculinity and when I realized that was impossible the tension kind of went boom. So we walked out again, and J will find some way to sell the gift card, and then we'll spend the money at Bindle & Keep or on getting good tailoring for the shirts I already have. In the meantime, I went to Express and got some really nice curve-hugging turtleneck sweaters in gorgeous colors. And then I ordered more sweaters from the Express website and a couple other things from H&M (they were on sale!) so now I have a fall femme wardrobe and am very pleased about that.
Ever since I decided not to go on T, I've been feeling very femme. I don't think it's coincidence.
I'd hoped to use the DST change to get myself back on an earlier sleep schedule, but X was totally wiped today because of being up with the coughing teething baby all night last night after the whole ER happy fun times, and I'd gotten plenty of sleep, so I said I'd take the overnight shift. Staying up until 5 is much harder when 5 feels like 6. But J has just woken up, so I'm going to hand off the monitor and go fall asleep a whole lot.
- thinking about:
behavior.activism, behavior.parenting, body.body clock, body.sleep, experiences.disaster, experiences.dst, experiences.hospitals, ideas.politics, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.gender, people.kit, people.xtina, stuff.clothes
I have been tweeting only a bit, and posting here not at all. I have some draft posts saved as text files, which is very unusual for me, but I've been too wiped out to finish any thoughts that are longer than a paragraph or two. So here, have some random catch-up blather.
The baby's great--eight months old now and much more interactive, so I'm enjoying time with them a lot more. Story Hospital is going really well and I'm really enjoying doing it. (Ask me questions!
) My arms are doing super duper great and I have officially graduated from occupational therapy; I can stir pots and write by hand and carry shopping bags and fold laundry and all sorts of exciting things like that. I have been hoping to try knitting again but haven't managed to find the time. The weather is finally cooling down, which means we can cook in our kitchen and eat in our dining room and stand to touch one another for more than two seconds at a time. This is doing wonders for our feelings of family togetherness.
J and I have started shared therapy for some longstanding issues around physical intimacy that we just were not managing to tackle successfully on our own, and it's going fantastically well, but it's also bringing up a lot of feelings I have about my body that I had been mostly ignoring. One outgrowth of this is that I'm hoping to make an appointment for a consultation with Zil Goldstein at Mt. Sinai Hospital's new Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery
to discuss low-dose testosterone supplementation. I also bought some shiny new men's shoes, including a pair with lifts in them, which I've been wanting for years. They are fancy shoes for fancy occasions, same as my femme high heels, so don't expect me to be 5'7" all the time--my knees would never forgive me--but I'm really glad to have them for when I want them.
I am, as always, struggling with workload and time management. I keep staying up until 5 a.m., or even later (today I went to bed at the appalling hour of seven ack emma), even though I don't need to anymore; months on that schedule got it into my head that 5 a.m. is when I stop being responsible for the baby and am allowed to go to bed, and even though I'm now permitted to turn X's monitor on after either Kit's mid-night feeding or 2 a.m. (whichever comes first), I still find myself staying awake way past that. I am so tired, all the time. I want to go to bed earlier. I want to sleep more. I don't know what to do about this. I keep rejiggering my schedule and setting up alarms and nothing works.
And here it is 3 a.m. and I haven't done any work yet tonight. And I need to take the trash out. I will go do that first, and hope that moving around helps me wake up enough to do at least some editing and then go get a lot of sleep.
- thinking about:
behavior.planning, body.arms, body.body clock, body.body image, body.sex, body.sleep, experiences.work, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.gender, people.family, people.josh, people.kit, projects.story hospital, stuff.clothes
I'm on vacation! For two whole weeks! I hardly know what to do with myself. But here is a list of things that I would like to at least think about doing:
* do some writing, or at least continue working in my writing journal
* spend time with friends
* phonebank for Hillary Clinton
because when Michelle Obama says to get to work
, I get to work
* take Kit to visit my mother and J's relatives
* maybe start a Patreon-based advice column for writers, if that seems like a thing anyone would be interested in
Despite the prominence of sleep on this list, it is difficult to keep my sleep schedule intact when I'm not working. I mean, it's hard enough when I am working and even harder when I'm not. But I'm going to do my best. Yesterday I stayed up until 7:30 in the morning, which was a bit excessive, but I think I can drag myself back from that an hour or two at a time.
I wish the weather were at all conducive to going outside and walking around. I just renewed my membership at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens but I can't enjoy it in this oppressive heat, and today's storm was so fierce that even I didn't want to be out in it (though it was lovely to watch from indoors). Maybe next week it will be cool enough for me to take a couple of long walks.
Now that I have Zipcar membership again, it's very tempting to drive somewhere upstate or out on Long Island where there're lots of trees and it's cooler and the air has more oxygen. But if I do something like that I think I'll probably take the train; it's easier on my arms and more eco-friendly even if I do always rent a Prius. I just really like driving. And I'm much more comfortable with it now that I've done the drive back from Readercon. I drove out to New Jersey this past weekend to visit J's grandmother and it was amazingly easy. Anything less than six hours of evening/night driving with the baby in the back of the car feels like a piece of cake.
- thinking about:
behavior.activism, behavior.planning, behavior.relaxing, body.body clock, body.sleep, experiences.driving, experiences.seasons, experiences.seasons.summer, experiences.weather, experiences.weather.heat, experiences.weather.rain, people.family, words.writing
Everyone is completely fine.( A fun trip to the ER )
I should probably eat something--I've barely eaten anything at all today--and then go try to sleep some more. If I'm lucky this whole thing will have reset my sleep schedule back to where it should be. Not the way I would have chosen to do that, but I'll take what I can get.
- thinking about:
behavior.love, behavior.parenting, body.body clock, body.sleep, events.cons, events.cons.world fantasy, experiences.disaster, experiences.kindness, people.josh, people.kit, people.xtina
Readercon is like my New Year's, in that I say "After Readercon I will totally go low-carb again/get to bed on time/start going to the gym/start meditating again/stick to my daily and weekly schedule". So far I've been doing pretty well on the sleep, and Wednesday and today I went to the gym (trying to get in the M/W/F habit), and yesterday I started Headspace over from day one. I'm still catching up on work but determined to really get and stay on track, and good sleep at good hours is helping with the scheduling. I also ate pasta for dinner and half a bar of chocolate for dessert, so I remain an imperfect human being. It was really tasty and I regret nothing.( Pumping iron, with numbers )
I'm doing Headspace as walking meditation, or on the exercise bike on gym days, so that gets me out of the house and moving around every day. The three of us are also going to try to get in the habit of post-dinner walks on family dinner nights. Yay, solidarity in fitness. :)
So far I think the exercise and meditation is making it a lot easier to calmly wind things down and go to bed when it's bedtime. I have not played a video game in over a week, which is pretty major. I've only had a couple instances of opening Twitter or leaving it open well after I'm supposed to be asleep. Setting up my new phone led to a couple of days of my alarm not waking me (my "sleep" profile in Profile Scheduler+ was blocking alarms, oops), so I've been very well rested if also somewhat late. :) I just need to stay on track.
- thinking about:
behavior.accomplishments, body, body.arms, body.body clock, body.exercise, body.legs, body.pain, body.sleep, body.strength, events.cons, events.cons.readercon, food, food.nutrition, food.nutrition.carbohydrates, stuff.games, stuff.games.video games
Readercon in bullet points.( Lots and lots of bullet points )
Last year I cut way back on my Readercon volunteering and left the concom, and I just now sent an email resigning from the program committee and safety committee. It feels really good to be done, and to go out on such a high note.
- thinking about:
behavior.accomplishments, behavior.hosting, behavior.planning, behavior.volunteering, body.arms, body.body clock, body.digestion, body.legs, body.pain, body.sleep, events.cons, events.cons.readercon, experiences.dancing, experiences.driving, experiences.fun, experiences.joy, experiences.socializing, experiences.transit, ideas.feminism, people.family, people.friends, people.josh, people.kit, people.xtina
A freelance check came in, so I bought men's pants! Men's Wearhouse was having a two-for-one sale and the 31–30 slim fit 100% cotton slacks fit me perfectly. Another gap in my wardrobe has been filled.
Tonight J and I made lentil soup and then I made mint chocolate chip ice. Both came out reasonably well but could have been better. ( Recipes behind the cut. )
Ever wonder whether something is really as awful as you remember? X and I watched Blues Brothers 2000
tonight. It is actually more
awful than we remember. Considerably more. That said, we're now very inspired to hunt down some good live music when we're in New Orleans for World Horror/Stokers Weekend next month. (Will you be there?) And it turned out she hadn't seen the video for "Q.U.E.E.N." so we rectified that as soon as the movie was done, and that made the world considerably better.
Last weekend I got both my inboxes down to zero, and I've kept them there all week. I have also been way WAY more productive at work and more relaxed at home. (I read a book--no, two books! I watched two episodes of DS9
!) I don't think this is coincidence. I really had no idea how much stress I felt looking at unanswered things in my inbox until they weren't there anymore. Now I tab to my inbox, smile, and feel like I really get to choose what I do next--no pressure, no stress. I recommend this highly. (I explain my process in the comments on the DW version of this entry
After consulting with my therp, I'm tentatively planning to go off the Zoloft once Readercon is done. (The timing is not coincidence.) I'll wait a month to make sure I'm doing okay without it, and then try very carefully drinking some flavored tea and see what happens.
Readercon stuff is not actually that stressful right now, because we're in the part I love best: collecting data and building the program. I'm also organizing a really exciting thing for Saturday night that I hope will be stupendously awesome. Yay for friends who know what they're doing and can reassure me that my plans are feasible and unlikely to become "a clusterwhentwopeopleloveeachotherverymuc
h". Yay for feeling much better about trying this new-to-me thing now that I've actually got the ball rolling.
I wonder what I will do with all my free time and energy once Readercon is done. I'll still be on the concom and progcom and safecom, but I'm stepping down as program chair, and that's a huge weight off my shoulders. I don't go dancing anymore, and even if I took it up again, I wouldn't volunteer to nearly the extent that I used to (if at all). I don't cook for Arisia anymore. I have Long Hidden
to co-edit, but that's a freelance project and I'll do it in freelance time. For the first time in a long long while, I will have no unpaid volunteer gigs to occupy me.
Maybe domesticity will be my next thing. It's what I most love doing right now: bustling around the house, talking with X and J about household projects, cooking, building and buying things, having people over, family time. More of that would be really nice.
Maybe I'll knit more, read more, do a better job of keeping up with the rewatch.
Or maybe I'll just improvise, be spontaneous, do whatever I feel like doing. I'm not very good at spontaneity, but the only way to get better at it is to make space for it.
Augh, is it really getting light out? I am not doing very well with sticking to anything resembling my sleep schedule. Having a week off from work isn't going to help with this. Oh well.
- thinking about:
behavior.accomplishments, behavior.organization, behavior.planning, behavior.volunteering, body.body clock, events.cons, events.cons.readercon, experiences.drugs, experiences.drugs.zoloft, experiences.movies, experiences.music, food, food.cooking, food.cooking.ice cream, food.cooking.soup, food.cooking.soup.lentil, food.recipes, stuff.clothes, stuff.tech
By which I mean that we started cooking at 9 p.m. and had dinner at the astoundingly early hour of 10:30. This is not at all uncommon, and is why my food schedule is actually about nine hours offset from most people's despite my sleep schedule only being about six hours offset.
Yesterday our farmshare included hot peppers and basil. "Thai green curry!" I exclaimed, and today after work I headed to Chinatown to get kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and Thai fish sauce. (We already had a jar of pickled galangal in the fridge, of course. Doesn't everyone?) The lovely thing about curry is that you can put anything in it, so we threw in bok choy and turnips and potatoes from last week's farmshare, a purple pepper and green beans from this week's, and more store-bought potatoes and red bell pepper and broccoli and zucchini and chicken from the market.
There are two parts to making Thai green curry.( Step one: curry paste )( Step two: curry! )
The only mistake we made was using both a red bell pepper and the red hot peppers from the farmshare. Before we tucked in, we carefully went through our bowls and pulled out the pieces of hot pepper so we wouldn't eat them by mistake!
You can vary the spice levels to taste, of course. We ended up using six serrano chiles for the paste and four of the red peppers in the double batch of curry, and there was a bit of heat but not a lot.
I think we'll be getting a lot of mileage out of this recipe as the fall harvest comes in.