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.
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.
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.
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.
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 saraeileen
and maybe 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.
- thinking about:
behavior.housework, behavior.teaching, body.hands, body.illness, body.sleep, experiences.annoyances, experiences.seasons, experiences.seasons.spring, experiences.seasons.winter, experiences.weather, experiences.weather.cold, experiences.work, people.kit, stuff.clothes.accessories
- feeling:sleepy, finally
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.
- thinking about:
body.illness, body.sleep, experiences.dst, experiences.endings, people.groups.qwc, people.josh, people.kit, people.xtina, projects.story hospital, words.books, words.books.valour advances, words.editing, words.editing.venues.long hidden, words.writing
I've been hanging out in the #yuletide IRC channel even though Yuletide is over, because it's a nice community of writers and that encourages me to keep thinking about writing.
Tonight it encouraged me well enough that I signed up for the Chocolate Box fanfic exchange
(I'm on the hook to write 300 entire words over the course of a month, which is something like 20 minutes of writing for me on a slow day, so I didn't feel I was overcommitting myself) and then did a few rounds of "word wars", 20 minutes of writing as many words as you can. So I have 1100 words of Persuaded
that I didn't have before, and 350 of them are pretty good.
The others, though... talk about your shitty first drafts. Maybe 400 words are okay and then the last 350 are awful
. I could hear the dialogue going clunk clunk clunk
as I typed it, and dialogue is where I'm usually strongest. The characters have no characterization. It's very sad. I said on Twitter that I was going to try to consider the shitty first draft a canon that I then get to write much better fanfic of, but characters are what make a canon worth ficcing, and Austen's characters are why I want to write this book, and if I don't have the characters at least somewhat clear in my head then I need to fix that before I tackle this.
I think I need to go give Persuasion
a good close reread (thanks to Project Gutenberg, I just downloaded it to my phone) and maybe rewatch the 1995 film for good measure, and then replace the clunky bit with something worth reading.
In my defense, I'm fighting off the sort of head cold that has few physical symptoms (I had a sore throat for less than 12 hours) but leaves one utterly exhausted and oatmeal-brained. So it's pretty impressive that I wrote 350 words I'm happy with, and that I wrote 1100 words at all.
I need a better writing userpic. (This is not my writing userpic. I'm just aware that I need a better one.)
Now I'm going to go sleep a whole lot. A whooooooole lot.
I have a thread on kaberett
's love meme post
if you feel like leaving me a comment. Lots of other good people are there too. Spread the love around. Also check out swan_tower
's tikkun olam open thread
I'm offering free training over Skype for anyone who wants to learn how to effectively call their elected representatives and ask them to support bills or otherwise take useful action. If you're interested, PM me. Feel free to let others know about this offer; it's available indefinitely.
I downloaded a URL blocker for Chrome and set Twitter and Tweetdeck to redirect to an eight-hour video of birdsong
. It's doing wonders for my mental health. I also ate two full meals yesterday, took the baby to visit my mother for lots of intergenerational hugs, got a haircut, and solidly slept seven and a half hours. Now I just need the last of this head cold nose-cloggery to go away and I might actually start to feel human again.
Hi. It's been a while.
J's job rather unexpectedly ended at the beginning of October, and he's been pounding the pavement looking for a new one (and getting lots of interviews because he's awesome). I was sick for a week with a horrid intestinal thing and then had to put my annual best books lists together, which is always quite an undertaking. X has been in work crunch as well, and has been bringing their new boss up to speed. The baby has been absolutely lovely but also, well, a baby—and teething a lot, poor thing, which is no fun for anyone. The cats all needed their annual checkups and so did we, because last October was when we did the whirlwind round of all our doctors to get it out of the way before the baby arrived. I've barely been finding time to breathe, let alone chronicle all the busyness. But October is nearly over, and we're in the calm before the winter storm of holidays and birthdays and anniversaries.
The Story Hospital patron drive was a smashing success. I'm at 54 patrons, and it's not even the end of October yet! So I am definitely going to do NaNoWriMo posts and am very excited about it. I love this project so much. It just brings me pure joy.
I'm having one of those precious evenings where everyone is asleep and the washing machine is chugging away and there's nothing I need to do except keep an ear out for the baby. I could even go to bed early for a change, except that X has been fighting off the 24-hour cold virus I had on Thursday—it quite literally hit at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and was gone by 4:30 p.m. Friday—and really needs a full night's sleep. So I'll stay up until J gets up, just like old times.
A couple of weeks ago I spent a weekend in Boston with emilytheslayer
. It was my first time away from the baby. And I slept
. Oh, how I slept. I entirely ignored the deadline looming over me. I hung out with my hosts, we went shopping at Goodwill for fall femmewear (a previously unnoticed deficit in my wardrobe), I did some knitting, I phonebanked a bit, and I slept. The second night there, I ran out of things to do around 1 a.m., so I decided to start getting ready for bed. I was in bed with the lights out by 2:30. And then I slept until nearly noon. It was magnificent.
Of course then I came home and stayed up until 10 a.m. meeting my deadline. (I am very pleased with my selections
.) And since then there have been a few up-until-6 nights. But I think it's gradually getting better. It was so good to be reassured that I can
still go to bed that early. Apparently I'm much less anxious about needing to be awake in case something baby something something when I'm a few hundred miles away from the baby. And the baby was perfectly fine while I was away (though my spouses were extremely happy to have me come back and resume my share of babycare duties). So on those nights when I feel the anxious urge to stay awake, I remind myself that if I were in Boston everything would be fine, and therefore I can sleep.
I joked today that six months from now I'll be writing a clickbait article called "How Sleep-Training My Baby Cured My Sleep Disorder". It's kind of true, though. Every time I say things like "Your bed is a nice place to sleep" and "It feels good to rest" and "The clock says it's sleep time now" I feel like I'm talking to myself. I've also been feeling a lot of regressive urges to have someone tuck me in or cuddle me to sleep. Maybe it's time to finally replace my dear departed teddy bear, which the cats kneaded into threadlessness. I try not to entirely indulge my parenthood-induced regressions—and incidentally I am so glad
my therapist warned me to prepare for those, because otherwise I'd be totally baffled by what seem like random bouts of feeling like a little kid—but when they don't require anything from anyone else or do me any harm, why not?
On the more adult front, I have killed an unexpected amount of time contemplating tomorrow's long-awaited shopping trip to Brooks Brothers. I'd been meaning to get a suit, and have a $900 gift card that will very nearly suffice for that purpose. (Brooks Brothers suits: not cheap.) But I hardly ever have a reason to wear a suit, and for $900 I could get a sport coat, a waistcoat, a pair of very nice trousers, and two or three shirts, all tailored to fit me, all of which I would wear frequently. I already have a sport coat, a waistcoat, trousers, and shirts, but they're nearly all secondhand and the fit is far from perfect, so upgrading is not a bad idea. I'm also undecided as to whether to present as my indefinable self or as a trans guy. Probably won't wear a binder, but probably will bring one with me, though the very wise ifthenelsa
pointed out that a shirt or jacket that fits me at my bustiest will also fit me if I'm binding, whereas the reverse is not true. And I should bring my elevator shoes, because if I get a suit I will want the trousers tailored for the 3" lift. So many factors to factor in!
The thought of hauling around my elevator shoes (which are somewhat heavy) is enough to put me off of getting a suit, actually. I guess that tells me where my priorities are. And when I was wandering around the Brooks Brothers site, I liked the look of the sport coats and trousers much more than the low-end suits. (I also started coveting a $300 skirt, but I can get skirts anywhere.) Okay then, waistcoats and shirts and sport coat, and maybe trousers if I find some I really like. No binder, no lifts.
The baby woke up just now and needed to be cuddled back to sleep, and that is beautifully simple. I nearly fell asleep myself as they snored on my lap. The need to teach Kit good sleep habits (and to spare my neck the ache from sleeping in the rocking chair) won out over the urge to stay like that until dawn, but it was a close call.
I was going to knit for a bit, as a thing to do to stay awake, but I'm too sleepy now and it would be all dropped stitches. And it's 4:30, so J will be up soon. I will do my bedtime things, and by the time they're done he'll be awake and I can actually go to bed. And then I will sleep a whole lot.
- thinking about:
behavior.parenting, body.illness, body.sleep, experiences.work, ideas.gender, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.anxiety, mind.wiring.gender, people.kit, projects.story hospital, stuff.clothes