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.
This userpic has never felt so apropos.
Our plan for Election Day included a plan to make sure we ate dinner, and I am very glad for that, because I haven't managed to eat a full meal since. Maybe I'll be able to eat tomorrow.
I haven't cried. I guess I'm not shocked enough to cry. Or maybe I wasn't personally invested in Clinton enough to be devastated when she lost. I don't know. But whatever it is that's making people cry, I'm not experiencing it. I've been anxious all day in a sort of abstract way, and now I've talked to both my parents—the Clinton voter and the Trump voter—and somehow both those conversations calmed me way down. I can't explain why that's as true of talking to my father as it is of talking to my mother. Maybe because he couldn't actually bring himself to tell me he'd voted for Trump. He said, "Each of us knows how the other voted, so let's just leave it at that." My father's never shied away from a political conversation over a long lifetime of holding contrarian and often outrageous opinions. If even he feels abashed about this vote, maybe there's a little hope yet.
My mother, with six decades of leftist activism under her belt, assured me that this, too, shall pass. I needed to hear that, and hear the sincerity in her voice.
I've been glad to see so many people posting to LJ/DW today. We need spaces like this to get all our many thoughts and feelings out.
I called in sick to work—I am actually sick with a dreadful head cold that just will not go away, which is the other part of why I'm not sleeping or eating well—and spent the day activisting on Twitter. Replicating some of that here just to get the various words out:
I'm really pleased to see so many white cishet people saying "We need to step up". Step 1: LISTEN TO THOSE WHO WERE ALREADY DOING THE WORK. Don't let your guilt or eagerness or habituation to privilege con you into thinking you lead this movement. The movement against white supremacy did not just begin today. It has been around for decades. Respect and follow those who are already in the know. Educate yourselves. This thread
points to a major area where white people need to do the work: talking with our white relatives. I will personally add the caveat that I know there's significant overlap between "my relatives who hold different political views" and "my relatives who are so toxic I can't safely interact with them" and I continue to support people in not interacting with relatives who are not safe to interact with. But if you can have those conversations without significant harm to yourself, do.
I guess it comes back to, again: if you are less vulnerable and marginalized, you need to do more of the work on behalf of those who can't. Challenge your Trump voter dad on behalf of the trans teen who can't safely come out to their Trump voter dad. Speak up in your Trump voter cousin's Facebook comments on behalf of the queer cousin who doesn't read Facebook anymore. If nothing else, you're telling the queer cousin who does still read Facebook (but never comments) that you're an ally for them.
If you can't or won't reach out to that Trump supporter in your family or social circle, maybe you can reach out to their kids. Tell the marginalized teens you know that you're there for them. Tell them directly and plainly. "I see you. I've got your back." If you suspect a conservative's kid is queer or trans, never EVER put them at risk—but do show them extra love. If you're a white parent, put your kid in the least segregated school you can find, and fight de facto school segregation in your city/town. Write letters in support of prosocial children's television. Tell Nickelodeon how much you love those gay dads on The Loud House
. Buy #ownvoices children's and YA books and donate them to school libraries. And join campaigns against whitewashed, queerphobic, and transphobic children's media.
Organizations that are doing useful things:https://our100.org/
and its various signatorieshttps://www.hias.org/http://www.bendthearc.us/https://www.plannedparenthood.org/https://www.cair-ny.org/https://www.lambdalegal.org
Donate if you can. If you can't, sign up for mailing lists and click every one of those petition links when they come through.
Some people are talking about writing to electors in swing states and urging them to break faith and vote for Clinton. I don't see the harm in attempting this, but it's important to remember that electors are ordinary citizens, not public officials, and that hunting down their home addresses or calling them is a really terrible idea and certain to be counterproductive. I think the best way to write to them would be via the state GOP office.
has good info on taking care of your mental health right now.This
is a useful illustrated guide to bystander intervention if you see someone being harassed in a public space.This post
has some interesting post-election thoughts. Not sure I agree with all of them, but I think they're worth reading.The #TransLawHelp hashtag
connects trans people with legal help if they'd like to get name or gender changes before Trump takes office. I've seen recommendations to prioritize getting a passport with the correct gender marker, as that's usually faster and easier than a name change and the passport can be updated with the new name later. Good info on that is here
from someone in the U.K. is lovely and kind.Some wise words
is collecting suggestions on activism for introverts
I picked up Kit from daycare. Their daycare teacher (a Black woman) and I just stared at the babies with teary eyes for a bit. I told Kit, "Reagan was elected when I was two and I got through it. We'll get you through this."
"Really?" the teacher said. "I liked Reagan. I remember my grandma had Reagan things all over the house."
"I was in Greenwich Village," I said. "People had AIDS. No one was a Reagan fan."
And we looked at each other like "nothing's ever simple, huh?" and then talked about how we're going to take care of our kids.
It's horrible but true that there are people who didn't survive Nixon and Reagan and GWB, and there are people who won't survive Trump. All we can do is try to keep our communities together, to support our most vulnerable. Pay one another's bills when we have to. As an EMT once told me, you can't save them all. But you don't stop trying to save the ones you can. And we will keep making art and arguing ideas and having children and otherwise creating things that will live on after we're gone.
I put a post up on Story Hospital about writing goals and deadlines in a time of strong emotions
. It's nominally about NaNoWriMo, since I had a NaNo post to do and I think people doing NaNo are going to feel particularly stressed by the combination of deadline pressure and election fuckery, but it's pretty broadly applicable. I hope it helps someone.
I wish I felt up to writing tonight. I suspect Nathaniel and Algernon would be talking about the raid on the White Swan
This, too, shall pass. Let's do everything we can to make it pass faster and with minimal harm.
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
We went to Readercon and we are home.( Things that went wrong (a partial list) )
And yet despite all this, we had a genuinely very good time. J's mother came to the con and was immensely helpful with Kit. J and I both did several panels that went well, and I got to have the baby on my lap for part of the "Writing While Parenting" panel. My "Story Hospital" experiment was largely successful, though there are definitely ways it could be improved. X remembered how much they like socializing (sometimes) (with the right people). I got to tell Tim Powers how much Last Call
means to me. We got to see old friends and meet internet friends, most especially the luminous mrissa
; it wasn't a year for making new friends, but that's fine, there will be other years for that. We finally introduced Kit to roddenberrypie
, who absolutely lit up. Lots and lots of people cooed over the baby, who smiled at everyone despite teething pain and crowds and loudness--I was especially charmed by ninocipri
's gasps and exclamations over Kit's cuteness ("How DARE that baby!"). Our usual little room party was a little subdued because we were so tired, but we still got to introduce some of our friends to one another and hear some tasty industry gossip. The drive back was very smooth. And on the way home, we went to the Mystic Diner again and Kit discovered that a plastic packet of oyster crackers makes an excellent rattle. I immediately sent photos to my New England–born mother. :)
Notes for future years:
* The drive can be done with two stops. One of them should be the Mystic Diner. It has a changing table and a kids' menu and food all of us can eat, everyone there is really nice, service is quick, there are lots of families with kids, and it's right off I-95. Not sure where the other stop should be, but it definitely should NOT be the Fairfield highway rest stop. Look for another diner somewhere around Stamford, maybe.
* The "take I-95 until the end of time" route works pretty well other than the twisty bit through Providence getting kind of hairy. Might be worth trying out I-84 and I-90 as alternatives.
* Pack two big ice packs for post-drive use when we get to the con. Leave the other two in the freezer for when we get home.
* Do a better job of packing the things we might need for the baby where we can get to them at rest stops.
* We never use the carrier or the car seat cover. We use the stroller and the bouncy seat a lot.
* The natural foods store in Quincy is A M A Z I N G and we should stock up on things from there for room snacks etc.
* X and I both really like driving the Prius.
* Sleep more. Eat more. Have more fun!
- thinking about:
body.digestion, body.sleep, events.cons, events.cons.readercon, experiences.disaster, experiences.driving, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.anxiety, people.josh, people.kit, people.xtina
I was weeping on J and X tonight about how hard it is having my empathy cranked to maximum so I can try to understand what the baby wants/needs and do the right thing. J pointed out that the consequences of guessing wrong are really pretty minor. Oh no, I fed the baby even though they weren't all that hungry! I put them down when they wanted to be held! So what?
Then he said, "But you have a hard time around people who aren't in control."
X and I both whipped our heads up.
People who aren't in control. People who are volatile. Worrying about doing the wrong thing and not making their distress go away. Staying attuned to the tiniest shift in their behavior and leaping into action. Telling myself stories about what they're thinking. Oh yes, I know exactly how that one goes.
Kit's had a cold for the past few days and I've been a total wreck. When they get sick, my anxiety goes through the roof. I think this is part of why. They need something I can't provide, and in an abusive situation, that's doom forever. And I begin to see the illness as the abuser that I desperately need to appease or it will take the person I love away from me. It doesn't matter that all Kit has is a very minor cold and they're in zero danger. It doesn't matter that there is absolutely nothing I can do to speed the healing along. The fear is bigger than reason. It's big enough to swallow the sun. My world has been very dark recently. I can't stop hovering over the crib, can't make myself sleep, can barely eat--the moment I stop being vigilant is the moment something bad will happen, I just know it. And I berate myself for my deficiency, my anxiety, my lack of cheerful calm (my lack of a protective mask, my failure to protect Kit from my feelings), my failure to make everything perfect, while hardly realizing whose voices I hear those words in.
Not the baby's voice, though. The baby can't say those things and doesn't think those things. The baby is maybe thinking something like "I don't like the way my body feels" or maybe just "Blaaaarh". The baby doesn't blame me; they don't even have the concept of cause and effect yet. And what baby hasn't been cried on by a parent at one time or another? "If running out of cope makes you a bad parent," X told me tonight, "there are no good parents."
So I figured I'd post this for other parents who have also been in abusive relationships and might find this dynamic familiar. Because as soon as I realized that was what I was doing, I realized I could stop doing it. The baby can't hurt me. They're a baby. I have all the power in the relationship. I have to behave responsibly, but for moral reasons, not because I'm scared. If I try to do the right thing and sometimes get it wrong, the baby won't rage at me, or punch the wall, or spit cruel words, or shut me out. They won't take my wrongness as a sign of my deficiency or think I don't love them anymore. They'll just do their best to communicate that they still have unmet needs, and when I figure out the right thing to do, they'll go right back to smiling at me and trying to grab my glasses.
I have been holding the baby and whispering "I've got you, you're safe" a lot. Maybe I needed to tell myself too.
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
I was going to call this "how not to make a pumpkin pie" but that title is taken
, so I stole a phrase from that story--which is wonderful, and you should all go read it--for my subject line instead.
Tonight's gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin pie recipe:
0) Assemble all ingredients. Preheat oven.
1) Put dough ingredients in freezer to chill.
2) Make filling. Taste filling. Make a face like this:
Determine that the store-brand tinned pumpkin had soaked up too much metal flavor from the tin. Regretfully throw out the filling. Turn off the oven.
3) Go out to dinner. While out, buy organic pumpkin in a box (not a tin).
4) Assemble all ingredients. Preheat oven to 450F.
5) Make filling. Taste filling. Approve.
6) Attempt to make dough even though the coconut oil has now frozen entirely solid. Manage it with the help of the trusty Cuisinart food processor.
7) Grease the pie plate with a bit more coconut oil, since yesterday's quiche (made with the same dough recipe) stuck to it a little. Roll out the dough. Attempt to neatly transfer the dough to the plate. Mostly succeed. Patch up the holes.
8) Pour the filling into the plate. Put it in the oven. Set timer for 15 minutes, after which you intend to reduce the heat.
9) Notice that smoke is filling the kitchen. Quickly determine that the coconut oil used to grease the pie plate bubbled over the edge and is now burning on the floor of the oven.
10) Shake baking soda over the oil and see whether that does any good. Learn what burning baking soda smells like. (Spoiler: terrible
11) Remove pie from oven. Turn oven off. Start toaster oven heating at 350F, since it was more or less 15 minutes. Give up all hope of the custard setting properly. When the toaster oven has heated, put the pie in the toaster oven--on top of a foil-lined baking sheet, since you are capable of learning.
12) Clean the oven floor.
13) Timer goes off. Pie is not remotely done. Heat the oven to 350F and confirm that there is no more smoke. Put the pie in the oven. Belatedly remember to turn the toaster oven off.
14) Ten minutes later: pie not done, according to a toothpick, although the top is dark brown. Also bubbly, in a fizzy-tiny-bubbles sort of way. You have no idea why.
15) Ten minutes after that: declare the pie as done as it's going to get. Put it on the windowsill to cool. The filling almost immediately breaks away from the crust. Of course.
16) Chase the cat off the windowsill. "Trust me, kitty," you say, "you don't want this pie. Probably no one wants this pie."
17) After a suitable amount of time, cut into the pie. The filling resembles
autumn pudding in taste, texture, and color; it has the classic curdled consistency of a broken custard. The crust is soggy and mealy on the bottom and overcooked around the edge. A puddle of coconut oil rapidly fills the gap left by the "slice" of pie.
18) Decide to put the pie in the fridge, mostly for a sense of closure. Lift it up and discover that the cork trivet is glued to the bottom of the pie by coconut oil. Reach for paper towels and realize you never replaced them after using up the roll cleaning the oven. Get more paper towels. Wipe off the bottom of the pie plate, put a sheet of paper towel in the fridge, and put the pie in the fridge.
19) Write up a version of the recipe that you think will actually work
. Vow to try it... tomorrow.
20) Go to bed.