Mid-week check-in

Clever Manka, · Categories: Check-In

This is the weekly post for those of us who are traversing together this hellscape called Personal Growth. Brag about this week’s accomplishments, ask for support, talk about what worked, what didn’t. Tell us how things are going for you.

178 Responses to “Mid-week check-in”

  1. Doc_Paradise says:

    Does anybody here have a graduate degree in the social sciences? I want to know what a non-engineering thesis is like and what is required for one. (ie basically, how does it differ from a STEM thesis)

    In other news, it snowed here this week. I'm not a fan of winter so I'm trying to find reasons and tricks to avoid never going outside again until spring. I'm getting my hair dyed tomorrow and I'm going to make myself walk to it by telling myself that the parking prices are obscene (they are).

    • CleverManka says:

      For the dissertations, maybe check out stuff on ProQuest? I'm pretty sure at least some of those are available to the public (I accessed tha page without logging in and I don't think I saved my credentials to that site).

      I'm trying to find reasons and tricks to avoid never going outside again until spring
      This is basically my rule whenever the Burgomaster talks about relocating. I'll live pretty much anywhere but if we move to a colder/snowier climate, he needs a job that ensures I won't have to work outside the house because I am not (literally) plowing through that shit to get to work. Weekly grocery trips, sure, okay, but a daily outing to go to a job? NOPE.

      • Xolandra says:

        Aw, and here I am a snow princess; I love that shit, provided it doesn't fall below -20(celcius, idk what that is in F, I sorry) ^_^

        • CleverManka says:

          Whatever it is, it's too fuckin' cold for me, whatever it is. =D

        • Räven says:

          TEAM SNOWPRINCESS!
          That's just a little below zero, F, and also about as cold as it naturally gets where I live. Which is quite cold, with the wind on the avenues. I love it though.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            I tried to find a gif of the snowman from Frozen in a princess costume for this thread… but my google-fu turned up NSFW snow queen comics from Oglaf.com … which is why I don't do gifs…

          • Xolandra says:

            Being at work, I appreciate that you did not add an auto-load, BUT. Frigging love that snow queen.

        • RoseCamelia says:

          I love snow! I even enjoy shoveling. As long as I have adequate time.

          • Xolandra says:

            Me too! I dislike shoveling with GentlemanX because he does everything at 11. I prefer to put afrobeat on my headphones and take my time 🙂

          • RoseCamelia says:

            Especially important to take one's time when one is an apple-shaped person of a Certain Age. I have a horror of becoming a stereotype: Middle-Aged Woman Hospitalized After Overdoing Snow Shoveling.

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        Thanks. *goes to check out link*

        I hate the cold. I would like the snow if it didn't fall any place I walk and only when convenient to me. Alas, it doesn't comply. I bought myself high sided boots with flip out crampons this year to (hopefully) make things more comfortable.

    • Xolandra says:

      Yes, but i did a coursework MA, no thesis needed.

      Pretty sure that most uni libraries have published theses available to the public; maybe you could browse some theses? Pretty sure the requirements and norms vary widely depending on the discipline.

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        Ha. Yes. Dissertations from the program I'm looking at are online. Thanks for the suggestion. Looking at them won't tell me what the experience of writing one is like (if it is like STEM – Hell and Frustration) but they will give me an idea of the quality and requirements.

    • LaxMom says:

      OOOOOOkay, this is my wheelhouse. I will do my best to do my theory advisor proud.

      I have a master's and am working on a PhD in Geography. We are a special case because a lot of departments disbanded in the 60's and schools often think geography should be dissected into types and shoved into other departments (like geology, sociology, etc). My department has glacier scholars, climatologists, big data analysts, human geographers working on traditional regional studies (spain or new zealand come to mind), medical geography. I do geoarchaeology and remote sensing.
      Off the top of my head, here are some recent theses, in no particular order:
      touring new zealand to interview and study the people's attitude to the independence vote
      monitoring the area of thawing tundra in alaska
      studying interventions in charter and public schools to reduce violent "disciplinary" tactics
      crunching years worth of tornado data to develop a better prediction algorithm
      travelling to a lot of european football games to interview and get a better idea of the culture of soccer hooliganism
      Using spatial statistical analysis to locate areas at risk of childhood lead poisoning by mapping low income and house age and other factors
      spatial video mapping the experiences of law enforcement officers responding to overdose calls in a town hit badly by the opiod epidemic
      Big Data: analysing millions of tweets last year to identify patterns of bots and fake accounts, and then mapping (in real and network space) their transmission through the twitterverse over time
      Identifying and mapping mass graves from the cambodian genocide
      mapping and interviewing and forensic analysis of genocide in guatemala
      identifying paleo sand spits in current farmland to determine extent and formation of ancient shoreline before Lake Erie.
      using satellite analysis to map shrinking glacier extents
      using satellite analysis to map deforestation in cambodia
      interviewing and preserving a particular dialect in a particular area of spain

      These are all very very badly summarized but what I can think of off the top of my head before much coffee. PM me and I can link you to my department.
      The difference in mathematical, coding, and analysis requirements isn't a clear cut thing–they use very advanced coding for some of the spatial video interviews, for instance, and I use some nasty algorithms for spatial analysis of archaeological sites, plus adding space to any statistics means you add complexity to the math. However you don't need math very much at all if you are doing economic geography (which you'd think would use a lot) but looking at the trends of dying malls and how municipalities are repurposing them.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Not what you asked for, because I know nothing on that subject. But I know this: you'd be an excellent social scientist. Wait, you *are* an excellent social scientist, and formal study would only enhance your skills. I hope you find a program that values you.

  2. CleverManka says:

    Re-introductions of foods is going slowly and tbh, not that great. I tried sauteeing some lacinato kale on Monday which caused minor but noticeable discomfort (I think I should have cooked it longer–next week I'll try baby kale). So I went back to roasted vegetables last night, but a new vegetable I hadn't had in a while, only because it hadn't been in the store: green beans! Mmmm. I love roasted green beans. Too bad they gave me some significant GI distress.

    So tonight it's back to roasted root vegetables. I need a change from carrots so am trying some golden beets. If anyone has seasoning suggestions for those that don't include seed spices (like cumin) or spices from nightshades/peppers (like paprika), hit me up. I liked the red beets I roasted with cinnamon and thyme, but I've been using that combo a lot and need a break.

    In website news:
    1. Amy is taking a hiatus from the Feminist History posts. Please send her good vibes and wishes as she navigates her health issues. If you would like to send me a guest post for Mondays please do so! No theme or anything required.
    2. I will put up an OT on Friday but might not be around much for it. Doc Paradise and redheadfae have graciously agreed to ask as hosts in my absence.

    Safe travels to those of you who'll be on the roads or in the skies for this week's holiday.

    • meat_lord says:

      Good luck with the golden beets! Too bad about the green beans–green beans are yum.

      To Amy: Thanks for all your great posts, and good luck with your health stuff!

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Can you have tamari? We like that on all sorts of veggies. Garlic powder perhaps? (I'd suggest garlic powder + salt + parmesan but I don't think cheese is back on your okay list yet.)

      What would happen if you kept eating green beans (or something that causes distress)? Does it keep flaring up? Get worse? Or get better over time?

      • CleverManka says:

        No tamari because it's from soy and also we're limiting fermented stuff (so no vinegars except apple cider vinegar when making bone broth). I can have coconut aminos, though (just added those last week). I'll probably never be able to have dairy again at all (with the exception of ghee).

        I've been eating a lot of garlic powder (and onion powder) so I'm really hoping it doesn't turn out that I also have FODMAP issues. I wasn't sure how garlic would work with the sweetness of beets, tho…

        I might be able to eat green beans again once my guts are healed. But right now anything that causes a noticeable increase in bloating, gas, etc., gets taken off the menu because we're trying to give my intestines a break from stressing themselves out.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          Well… that sucks and eliminates much of what I'd suggest. Dill? Are sugars (like honey and maple products) out too?

          Edit: Summer savory?

          Nori powder might be a source of umami to enhance other flavours. http://www.cooksscience.com/recipes/9554-nori-pow

          • CleverManka says:

            I've used dill in a lot of stuff, but again I'm just not sure how it would go with beets. If you've tried it with beets and liked it, I'm willing to give it a try, though!

            And yeah, all sweeteners are out.

            I am supposed to be eating more sea vegetables, though! I cannot abide granulated kelp (ugh) but I haven't heard of Nori powder. Thanks!

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            I'm guessing, partly. I haven't tried dill but I like summer savory in lots of stuff. I've added nori flakes to things and, while they taste strong on their own, they mostly end up being an enhancer rather than a dominant flavour when mixed with things. Nori isn't gritty. Just make sure your nori isn't stale or all you will taste is stale.

          • CleverManka says:

            Good to know, thanks! I haven't tried summer savory at all so maybe I'll pick some up. Thank you!

        • Absotively says:

          So mostly herbs, then?

          Rosemary might be nice on beets. Thyme is nice in many things. Sage, too. And I'm personally not a huge fan of tarragon or (savory) mint, but they both might make a nice occasional change. And of course, basil and oregano combine nicely with onion and garlic.

          • CleverManka says:

            Pretty much all herbs are okay, yes. I'd never thought of rosemary on beets, but I bet you're right. Thank you!!!

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            Yes, rosemary! You could grind some with some salt and pepper to sprinkle on top. I loved a local places picked rosemary beets.

          • Absotively says:

            It has just occurred to me that I didn't mention cilantro. If you're not a cilantro hater and it doesn't bother your digestive system, then it's definitely a good herb for adding a flavour that you don't get from other herbs and onions and garlic.

          • CleverManka says:

            I la-la-la love cilantro and I would never have thought of putting it on beets! Have you tried it?

          • Absotively says:

            Well, no. I'm just brainstorming at this point. Maybe try it on one beet chunk while you're roasting a big batch?

        • redheadfae says:

          Amy, I have LOVED the lessons and learned about so many awesome women.
          Manka
          I'm sorry about green beans, but hope for the future. What about beets in coconut milk? aminos? It seems like a good combo.
          Why not talk to Penzey's about a suggestion for a spice blend, or is that another "not in the budget"?

        • jenavira says:

          Beets want a fat; if dairy is out (though ghee would be good, I think), maybe olive oil? TBH I like them just on their own, but I can see where you'd get bored of it after a while.

    • Rillquiet says:

      All best wishes to both you and Amy. If there's anything that we can do to help either, I hope you'll feel comfortable letting us know.

      Here's to a safe and healthy Thanksgiving for all of us and our loved ones.

    • Heathered says:

      Feel better, Amy! Thank you for your service, I have learned a lot from those posts. And feel better, Manka! I sometimes put Old Bay seasoning in my hand and just lick it off, but I'm not sure if it has nightshades in it and I don't want to kill you! I hope your gut cuts you some slack soon. (I'm doing poorly at the moment but will leave myself a note re: writing something for a future Monday, because that would be fun.)

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      Good luck Amy, feel better soon!

      Maybe I just have travel on the brain lately, but it seems like there are a few of us who have traveled recently, or are planning to travel in the near future. Would anyone be interested in doing a little "travel series" for Monday posts? I was thinking it might be fun to have a list of 15 or so questions about the small travel moments, like "best thing you ate", "favorite micro-interaction with a stranger", "best thing you saw from a bus/plane/train window" that we could answer. Would anyone else be interested in doing that? I can make up the list/start a thread for travel questions.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Sending good health thoughts to Amy, and thank you for all the feminist history posts!

      Not sure if this dressing might work, I'm not sure of all your food limitations. I could see replacing the vinegar with lemon or lime juice, maybe.
      https://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/maple-tahi

    • Lynn says:

      Good luck Amy! I've been there and it sucks — hope you get a good resolution soon.

      Manka does nutmeg count as a seed spice? I find it works unusually well on all kinds of things and you don't need much to get the flavor (can't speak to beets because I've never been able to get into beets). Unfortunately being a Cajun-adjacent household our most-used spices are probably all on the no list.

  3. meat_lord says:

    As you all may remember, I have been bemoaning the state of my apartment for months. I finally swallowed my pride and let my friends help me conquer the mess (I am fortunate beyond words to have not one, but two people who volunteered to help me clean). The personal growth part comes in now, though–I have to build better habits and keep the damn place tidy.

    I want to become a better housekeeper, both for my own sake and so that I'm fit to live with in the future. I'm happier and more motivated in a clean, neat environment, and I would really like to have good habits established so that when Datefriend and I eventually move in together, I'm at least in the same neatness ballpark and they don't strangle me over dishes. So I have to start from the beginning and do the stuff that my mom tried to teach me when I was a kid: Put things away when you're done with them. Don't leave your clothes on the floor. Etc., etc.

    Wish me luck, y'all.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Good luck. I find it useful to have designated areas for piling things like clothing that has been worn but isn't dirty.

    • Xolandra says:

      So I have to start from the beginning and do the stuff that my mom tried to teach me when I was a kid: Put things away when you're done with them

      I was just talking with my papa (responsible for the household maintenance because my mom preferred to work two jobs) about this; I have never ever EVER lost these childhood habits. I was, however, fortunate enough to have found someone who will tolerate my near constant shedding of bras everywhere except where the go.

    • CleverManka says:

      Good luck! Putting stuff away is a major point of contention in our household, so understand the stress that puts on a relationship. I hope you find a good way to help incorporate that habit!

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      GOOD LUCK! I am very bad at this thing. I think my main problem with housework is that I pretend that it doesn't take any time!? So I don't mentally schedule tidying up/cleaning into my day. But it does take a real chunk of time!

      I'm so glad you have awesome friends to help you!

    • Räven says:

      I too struggle with the prevalence of objects.
      One thing I have found helpful is a common tip, 'containment/group like with like'. There is now a little bin where hair clips go, and a basket for lip glosses, and I'm always amazed that the one I'm looking for is usually there, because… they're all supposed to be there. Amazing. Works with larger stuff and nonsense, too.
      Another, far less common suggestion, is to bring "this IS put away/where it belongs " as close as possible to "this is where it naturally ends up". I have tried so mnay ways to deal with the mail -a charming inbox in my bedroom, a tray on my desk, etc – but at least 90% of the mail that comes into the house gets thrown on the green chair in the living room. (Something about the trajectory of coat closet/take off boots/don't trip over cat on way to bathroom, apparently…) Now the mail catch tray is in that sector, and behold: the mail gets put in it. Would the desk in the study be better? Sure, I'd love that! But this actually works.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      As you might remember, I move often. New house means, where the fuck do I keep this now? Repeat at least once a day for two months, then once a week or more for another few months.

      I do better when I take the time to think. Not just react. The chaos is often so hard on me that I have to leave the new house in order to think. Libraries and coffee shops are my go-to thinking spaces.

      I sit and breathe. Once calm, I take out a stack of paper and a pen. I seldom do anything I'll keep, but holding a pen and writing random words help keep me focused. Sketching rooms and closets would help most people, but I think exclusively in words.

      So I must force myself to picture the end result I desire, picture the newest iteration of my home office. Where do I want my desk? Do I need a differently shaped desk? Does my usual bookcase go in that room or in a guest room?

      My shoes cannot be stored as they were in the last house. What will work here and how will it *look*, Rose? Picture it, then work backward. This way I can go to The Container Store and Ikea *before* I'm surrounded by a floor full of unboxed belongings with nowhere to put them.

    • Absotively says:

      I've found Unfuck Your Habitat a pretty good resource for that kind of trying to become a better housekeeper. The site is all full of checklists and challenges and articles and stuff, and the Tumblr provides regular reminders of what to do when if you Tumbl. It's largely meant for people who either never learned cleaning skills, or never made them habits (like you!), or who have illnesses that make cleaning hard. I haven't read the book yet, but if it's like the site then it's probably also pretty good.

    • LaxMom says:

      I am still doing that. I tend to dump everything on the bed and only put stuff back on hangers when it starts to feel too heavy to tuck my feet under the blanket at night.

      I try to make the "designated places things have to go to" pretty/nice so that I like contributing to them (putting stuff away). I'm much more likely to put my craft stuff away in a pretty basket than a rubbermaid container, for example, or my coffee back in a jar rather than a ziploc. YMMV.

    • jenavira says:

      Good luck! I actually kind of love housekeeping, when I have the spoons to do it. Feel free to ignore any suggestions that seem like Too Much/counterproductive.

      I find that making sure to take time to enjoy the clean space really helps, because it cements that state as Normal, and makes it easier to motivate yourself to pick things up before it gets to be a nightmare. If you have spoons at the end of the day, a little tidying up before going to bed is nice, because then you get to wake up to everything looking nice. (If you only have spoons in the morning, coffee-brewing time is a good time to tidy, too.)

      The greatest rule I ever made for myself is: dishes never touch the bottom of the sink, unless it genuinely is something that needs to soak. (Virtually nothing needs to soak if you wash it as soon as you're done using it.) I don't have enough counter space to let dishes pile up very far. Or, put all your dishes in storage except one of each thing for each person living in the house. If you only have one bowl, you have to wash it.

      If it feels more interesting than intimidating, I love the book Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. Someone once described it as "housekeeping for INTJs" and I went out and bought it immediately. It's so thorough and entirely practical that it doesn't feel pressuring to me. She doesn't recommend cleaning schedules as much as suggest optimal timings for things and describe the cheapest/most efficient way of doing something, with plenty of suggestions for good places to cut corners. (She started doing housekeeping seriously as a single working woman, and she has no patience for cleaning just for the sake of doing it.)

  4. Heathered says:

    I am currently a combination of that lady in the form-fitting outfit wielding a giant flamethrower and the cat on a table who knocks everything off because fuck it all. Looking at a long month ahead & not very hopeful about any of it. I "won" NaNoWriMo and it was nice to have a sense of purpose for three weeks, so tomorrow I hope to brainstorm ways to regenerate that feeling while doing something useful that I might get paid for. Question for slow cooker fans: Do I have to foil-wrap potatoes to bake them in there or is it OK to just wash and poke? I hope to barricade myself against the coming weeks behind a wall of spuds.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      I haven't tried baking potatoes in a slow cooker, but google suggests that foil is the way to go.

      Although cooking them with a flame thrower would be faster.
      http://allrecipes.com/recipe/215314/slow-cooker-b

      • Heathered says:

        Space laser potatoes might work well, too. Thanks for the link! One of the first comments said "I never bother with the foil and mine come out great!" so it's an option to try for sure.

    • CleverManka says:

      I've never wrapped anything in foil for CrockPot cooking. I'd just wash and poke, myself. I fully endorse barricading yourself with spuds. Potatoes are THE BEST. I can eat them plain, just out of the oven. NOM.

      My fave potato cooking trip that I learned from my grandma is to bake the potatoes (wrapped in foil in the oven, I don't know if this works with a slow cooker) until they're just barely tender. Then take them out, let them cool, and put them in the refrigerator at least overnight. Once they're good and chilled, chop them up into bite-sizes or quarter-inch slices and fry them in a generous amount of fat (bacon grease if you've got it). They wind up nice and soft (not to firm but not soggy, either) with a crispy outside. Perfection.

      • Heathered says:

        A cafe near an old bookstore job used to make home fries like this topped with salsa and green onions. Perfect hangover absorption.

        • CleverManka says:

          That sounds so delicious I could weep. I haven't had any starchy vegetables, much less potatoes, in over a month. Please feel free to regale me with more stories about those delicious delights.

          • redheadfae says:

            Oh my. The Global Cafe's potato bowl breakfasts are awesome. I know green chile sauce is off your menu as well, but I love it so much there, I have drank it out of the side container. *sigh*
            But yes, once you can do spuds…

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        This year I discovered frying tiny cubed potatoes in lard or tallow, HOLY CRAP SO GOOD.

      • jenavira says:

        …I'm doing this next week and adding the leftover brussels sprouts from Thanksgiving.

        (Just this morning I said I'd never look at a carb again. Hah!)

    • Absotively says:

      The foil might make the skin crispier, I guess? But they'll certainly cook without it.

    • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

      Congratulations on winning NaNoWriMo!! That's such an awesome accomplishment.

  5. Fancy_Pants says:

    I'M HOME! My trip was wonderful but I am SO HAPPY to be home! I get to cuddle with my partner and sleep in my own bed and go to my favorite restaurants and use my own frying pan and go to my gym! I went from wearing a sundress on a perfect summer day in Santiago to a light dusting of snow in my hometown, but I don't even care.

    Reading personal essays on travel has conditioned me to believe that you go away on a trip and then you realize that you've been living your life wrong, and you come back ~*changed*~. Not for me! I'm doing just fine!

  6. Rillquiet says:

    At practice on Saturday I got in some useful work with my dance crush; he's giving me fewer corrections these days, so when we meet up I get more chance to feel what it's like to dance instead of worrying about the steps. It's delightful, though I still bork the occasional cue, particularly when it comes to leg wraps and flicks. As we were chatting afterward, he said that he had been dancing for several years before he first found a partner who fit, and that as soon as he did a lot of moves that had been difficult seemed effortless: "And we fit that way. I come to this practice specifically to dance with you." Needless to say, I went home on cloud nine–and recommitted to gutting out the frustration that comes with learning new skills.

    • CleverManka says:

      Wow, what a fucking amazing compliment! I'm so happy for you! Cloud nine indeed.

      • Rillquiet says:

        He's also commented that he notices a difference in my dancing week to week, so credit to my profoundly patient teacher (who, speaking of delights, cued up Metallica, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen for last night's class) and hurrah for putting in work. People who say "oh, if you can walk you can tango" are lying.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      Oh wow, my heart went all fluttery just reading that. Yay for you! Getting better at hard stuff is just the best feeling.

      • Rillquiet says:

        Isn't it? The moment when you realize you're doing something that used to seem impossible.

        The whole thing reinforces how much kindness to other people can help. This guy's been dancing with me for most of a year, and I know for a fact I was clumsy AF when we started (and I'm still a decade behind him in terms of practice), but he's never made me feel bad for being a beginner. Finding opportunities to pay that generosity forward is useful work.

    • Xolandra says:

      O my glob, I now have a new lifegoal because of this story: have someone tell me that my dancing "fits". This will mean I have to learn to follow a lead, hahahaha. Thank you!!!

      • Rillquiet says:

        Good luck–following is certainly not the easiest thing to learn! But some of the "fit" (particularly in close embrace) is luck of the draw, because it's the geometry of how one person's height and build works with the other person's. Ya gotta Goldilocks 'em: "Too tall. Too small. Juuuust riiiight." (ETA: and I think there's some personal chemistry, too. Some people your body just nopes about.)

    • redheadfae says:

      ohhhhh. That's so lovely.

  7. Kazoogrrl says:

    DNGAF at the moment and am working on a cover letter at my desk, which is in an open office, where I sit with my back to the room. Boss's micromanaging email this morning has be on a work rage spiral. The fact that I'm absolutely flat out tired from cleaning and prepping for the past *counts* 5 days isn't helping my mood.

    So, I am hoping to redeem the week/end with family time, as much relaxing as I can, and a big job application push.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Go you! Cover lettering out in the open. Do what you gotta do. I'll be over here, quietly thinking protective space lasers. I mean, piss off the micromanager, but keep the current job until the next one is lined up.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        My partner also checked that, if I walk, he can add me to his health insurance as a domestic partner. So, back up plan!

    • Flitworth says:

      Niiiiiice. In the final weeks of the first job I ever quit I started working on a coloring book at my desk. (and I'm so good the company hired me back 10yrs later so neener:) )

      Good luck w/ job apps. Something to note: Hiring is slow in Q4/end of year so if you don't get much response right now, don't let it get to you. There's so many people involved in getting things arranged that at the holidays it's harder to align for candidates (at least for larger places).

  8. Lynn says:

    Hi all, I'm yo-yoing back and forth between fine and not fine at the moment. Last week I got to take a trip to DC for a conference at the Nat'l Academy of Sciences that was actually super interesting and gave me some much needed time to myself both personally and professionally. But Sunday would have been my cousin's birthday and that hit me harder than I expected. And there's really no escaping the fact that I haven't had a real vacation where I wasn't sick since this time last year so mentally I'm just over it.

    Needless to say I've been relieved this was a no travel Thanksgiving for months now; we did our shopping last night and have opted for a simpler menu that will not require us to create a schedule for using the oven (roast instead of turkey, cookies and a super easy pudding cake instead of pie). Also we are getting plenty of alcohol. Which, if we decide to venture over to the parade balloon inflation thing tonight I may make sure I have some of before we hit the crowds.

    • CleverManka says:

      I'm relieved with you that you're not traveling. That's a lot of stuff going on. Hugs.

      • Lynn says:

        Thanks. I'm going to take almost two weeks vacation around Christmas so if I can just hold it together a little longer I can get a real break and not come back until this disaster of a year is over.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Oh I'm sorry about the sad birthday. But I hope you're proud of yourself for prioritizing your time and energy with the simpler menu. The food will taste just as good, likely better, than the turkey would have. You'll have more wherewithal for enjoying its textures and flavors.

      • Lynn says:

        Thanks. I have been trying for awhile to recognize the places where I am the only person telling myself I "have" to do certain things and this is definitely one of them.

        Besides which pudding cake is delicious and magic and I haven't made it in three years, totally worth a no pie Thanksgiving.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Go you for good self-care. I'm so sorry that you are going through this.

  9. Onymous says:

    So a couple weeks back I got a text that my mom had died for about 5 minutes, alive but in the hospital and we were waiting to see if there was neurological damage.

    Thursday B calls me and says our stepdad told him she was alive but if we wanted to say goodbye one last time we better do it quick. I assumed weeks/months. Friday C calls me mildly freaking out because our Aunt had talked to the hospital and was tell C that she had 50/50 shot of seeing Monday, and did I have a ticket yet.

    So I called B to confirm, he had been drinking for the last 8 hours or so, which pretty well confirmed that.

    I bought him a ticket because he was refusing to say yes or no on if he wanted to go so I made a decision for him.

    That meant A) I'd be the only one not going and B) I still needed to get him from Atlanta to Chattanooga. So I bought a ticket too.

    We got there, my Aunt (a hospital pharmacists) spots it right off: says this nursing care is atrocious and they've had her hopped up on hydromorphine. She raised hell, got my mom off so much painkiller and got her transferred to a different hospital.

    She's fine now, perked right up.

    So that was a fucking hassle. Also there's a pretty good chance that part of the reason she was so hopped up on narcotics is because she's been abusing her pain meds and can longer be trusted to report pain level. She also clearly hasn't been doing any sort of physical therapy in the last year at least. My step dad isn't helping matters a lot. He dotes on her which great, but he also won't do anything that might make her uncomfortable, like force her to do PT or keep a tighter hand on her pain meds.

    And also… I just didn't care. Thursday-Sunday I just spent the entire time vaguely annoyed at, not her, just the whole dance of mourning really. She's been dying quickly for the last two years at least, I think this is the third or fourth time she's been clinically dead… I just don't care at all at this point. Which is awkward because my brothers still aren't over this yet at all. My sister is pretty much over it but she's got so much crap built up from living in town with our mom that she's got her own issues with it.

    So yeah. My mom isn't dead and I don't care and I don't know what to do with those facts.

    • CleverManka says:

      Oh, geez, bb, that is a lot of shit. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. That's all just…really, really terrible.

    • Lynn says:

      Oof. That's a lot to deal with. Hugs and a virtual libation of your choice.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Shiiit… Would commiseration or advice be better for you right now?

      • Onymous says:

        That's thing… I dunno even know at this point.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          Compassion fatigue is a thing that can happen in these situations and numbness can come from that. How are you doing with self care?

          The crew here might be able to make suggestions about self-care and/or having a plan in place that works for you the next time this happens.

          I also have links to Siderea's writings on geriatric care and how medications work on the elderly.

    • Xolandra says:

      Holy snakes. That is a LOT. We are here with whatever you need.

    • Flitworth says:

      OK so I pretty much have dealt with exactly this in my family (except i have no siblings) – abuse of pain meds, multiple hospitalizations functionally self-induced by lack of self-care….and my mom did die and it's complicated. If you are on twitter, dm me @FatuousTwaddle or get my email from manka if you want to talk about this.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Oh damn, that is a lot.

      The ignoring PT, weird nursing care making things seem imminent and terrible, that sound exactly like what I was dealing with this year, with my mom. Right now I'm hovering between "please don't die, I can't deal" and "can't handle the back and forth, her lack of self preservation, and the emotional burn out". If having someone else in the same crappy place helps, I'm there for you.

    • redheadfae says:

      I'm so sorry, that's a lot of emotional bounce to deal upon.
      It's fine to feel nothing at this point as well, especially if it's hard to hear your siblings grieving and you just don't share that emotional state.

    • faintlymacabre says:

      I'm sorry. It's hard not to burn out in a situation like that. I wish I had something better than commiseration to offer you, but barring that, I'll mentally send you floofy animal cuddles (if that is something you would enjoy).

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Oof. What a very difficult situation.

      Your feelings are not wrong. It's ok to feel what you're feeling. It's ok that you don't care. I had similar feels for a dying parent. And it's ok if your feelings change. And ok if they don't.

      However, your feelings need expression. And your immediate family is not likely the best outlet. I'm glad you're typing them out here.

      Do you have an appointment soon with a counselor? Make this a priority, please. I don't know how to say that forcefully, but I feel it strongly.

      Please take care of yourself while you are being an excellent support for B. You are important, Onymous. Your well-being is important. Only fools contradict me.

    • jenavira says:

      Oh, I'm so sorry, that is a lot to manage. Please remember that you do not have to do the emotional labor for your brothers that they are not willing to do. I hope that you have someone who can take care of you if you need it (and it sounds like it might not be a bad idea to treat yourself as if you're grieving even if you don't feel like it. Worst case scenario, you get to go easy on yourself for a bit.)

  10. Flitworth says:

    No pics cuz it's been rainy and wet lately but, the goats are 50% fluffier now that their winter coat is in and they look sooooo fuzzy.
    I swear there were a dozen little things where I thought I should tell y'all and then I forget because it's not open thread.

    Work is beyond irksome and has gotten to the point where our team on another continent started telling people not to expect answers to questions because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
    <img src="https://media.giphy.com/media/4HiTOv4QZc2LC/giphy.gif"&gt;

    We met tiny human's new lawyer (endless saga of pre-trial changes) today. Seems nice, I dunno. I don't have a lot of faith in the system right now. I'll toss my whinge in a comment.

    • Flitworth says:

      There was a twitter thread associated with Nicole Chung where everyone piled on about foster parents who wish bad things about the biological family because they've built a life around their foster kids. * When kids enter the system, it is shit for everyone on a varying continuum for different issues. I think that every foster parent vents about bio-family or the courts at some point because it is bloody awful. Personally, I have had uncharitable thoughts and I defend them because I have had to respond to emails about accusations of fleas, send the same medical documentation and answer the same questions a thousand times because biofam don't have their sh*t together. I have had my confidential information shared with unstable individuals, and had the tiniest details down to what kind of diet we have at home scrutinized because of the biofam despite the fact that to care for this child, unlike them, I had to apply, get my house inspected multiple times by multiple people, get letters of recommendation from my boss and friends, take 30 hours of classes, have a federal and local background check, have my finances reviewed, take calls and schedule monthly visits with not 1 but 2 social workers…All that and I still field questions designed to indicate that I'm not able to care for a child. And I still acknowledge it's a thousand times worse in most cases for the biofam. I just get annoyed/defensive at people with only a theoretical relationship with foster care piling on. There are no heroes and no villains in this world, just people, and we have a right to be uncharitable in our thoughts sometimes.

      *Initially a discussion of adoptive parents who are treated as/believe they are saints for rescuing kids or the white savior stuff with transracial adoptions. Someone said being adopted is the only kind of trauma you're expected to be thankful for and that's a good summary. Kids don't owe their parents, adoption/fostering doesn't make you a saint, there are not many systems in place to help differentiate between choices made due to poverty vs. negligence and this creates another trauma cycle for families that get stuck in/with the system.

      • CleverManka says:

        I will fight anyone who says I *shouldn't* occasionally think bad thoughts against people who negatively affect my life. Fuck that thought police shit. Ugh.

        But…hurray for fluffy goats at least?

        • Flitworth says:

          Yea. 🙂 I'll get some pics when they dry off. I'm looking forward to goatcam action while we're away for Thanksgiving.

  11. faintlymacabre says:

    I was looking forward to Thanksgiving, but got a call from my father that seems to indicate he is doing his usual holiday shenanigans (weird territorial pissing stemming from the fact that my mother's side of the family is far preferable to his) and I am so tired of difficult men. This one in particular.

    • CleverManka says:

      Ugh. Are your folks still together? If not, can you just ditch him this year?

      • faintlymacabre says:

        No, my parents are divorced, but father, sibling, and I are going to maternal aunt's to celebrate. (Mother decamped to different state, for many reasons, but getting space from my father is a not insignificant one) Aunt and Uncle very graciously have invited him for the last couple of years (for good reasons, they are not his biggest fans) because they know it creates a lot of work for sibling and I if he doesn't have somewhere to go. It could be worse, but… I just have no patience for his shit right now.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      "I'm taking a vacation from men" is something I have said out loud. To men. To men who often loudly avoid women for Guys Night or some such. Of which I remind them if they get whiney. Can you say that to your father?

      If not, can you indicate you're sorry he's not feeling calm enough for your visit and you'll set up something another time when he's feeling more serene?

      But you don't owe him any explanation. Silence is eloquent.

      I'm sorry your father is difficult just now. ::Mankanaut hugs::

  12. redheadfae says:

    I'm sorry I'm not present for all of you today. Self-care initiated.
    I had a sudden hearing loss in one ear on Monday, and trust me, if this happens to you, get to an ENT specialist. It's nothing to fuck around with and they only have a 48 hour window to treat it if it is nerve damage. I'm on short-term prednisone and he did the first of two Intratympanic Steroid Injections,which .. ouch.
    Do not google this if you are squeamish to needles and seeing into your head innards.
    I got a whole 2 hours of sleep this morning and did my best to be present for a friend who is *this close* to suicidal over some disability BS.
    In lovely news, we are going out to eat for the American Gannett Day.
    And my gym is looking for a new yoga instructor so I'm hoping to guide a good 'um their way so that I will feel good with taking classes again.

  13. Onymous says:

    Oh fer fucks sake. Now a stool sample says she's got a bowel infection that's gonna kill her in days to weeks. palliative care nurses and shit.

  14. Heathered says:

    It's late! But therapist challenged me to be honest in a potentially caring space, sooo…I had to quit my meds Sunday, and have also quit the telepsych program here because after three different 'scrips I am feeling as bad as I was over the summer (I was largely silent here, but It Was Bad), but with less hope for relief than I had when I was at least trying things. I don't need anything specific, but if you are of the thoughts and prayers persuasion I could use a few as we go into the holiday tunnel. Just, really feeling hopeless at the moment.

  15. faintlymacabre says:

    Welp, true to form, my father somehow managed to not notice that his house was filling with water (cough drunk cough), so 25 buckets of toilet water later, I am pissed. He also managed to insult my degree and deny that the water was a problem in the space of 30 minutes. I kinda wish that he had been electocuted before I got here (40 miles away). Deep breaths! Deep, fucking breaths.

    • CleverManka says:

      Ughhhhhh. So sorry to hear you had to deal with more shitty stuff with your dad. Hugs.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Oh no. You have every right to be pissed off. Any better this morning?

      I have a couple of fuzzy little dogs who would let you pet them, if that helps. They'll tell you you're so important and necessary, since their regular humans are neglecting them.

      Translation: Mr Rose is busy cooking; I am busy cleaning. Our dogs only get attention 3x/hr instead of on demand. Such a hard life they have.

    • LaxMom says:

      In my own house, with plain old non-toilet floodwater, I was angry and done and we only had a few inches in two rooms. You have my permission to bail (sorry, but I'm leaving that pun there) and get the fuck out of dodge. YOU did not flood the toilet, you aren't the drunk who made the situation worse by not noticing, and you don't live there. You don't need to stay somewhere to be insulted and electrocuted and made sick by floodwater germs, no matter whose house it is.

    • faintlymacabre says:

      Much better this morning. I made cranberry lemon meringue pie, which turned out not quite as visually appealing as I might hope, but the taste is good, so all is good. Made a bouquet for aunt. Took long walk with pup dog. Life is fine, much to give thanks for. Thanks for listening to the venting. And I would gladly take care of bestowing attention on fuzzy dogs if I could. Not to toot my own horn, but that is an area in which I excel.

  16. LaxMom says:

    too late but small update: Teengirl and I have a cold/big allergy attack (could be either) and I blew off work/school to sort knitting supplies, eat chicken soup and watch miss fisher. It was lovely and I plan to continue the laziness interspersed with vaguely crafting and occasionally unpacking or cleaning the random spot I need to put more craft supplies in. Teenboy is still spending much time at his girlfriend's house and talking to her parents. Because Teenboy is dating Teengirl's friend, they actually talk to each other, both at school and after school and (gasp) at home! Will wonders never cease!
    Teengirl decided not to quit karate, did I say that? I'm pretty proud of her (and I didn't twist her arm, it was all her).
    Olderboy and his gf are coming to dinner at my mom's today, so I get to be totally lazy and cook nothing. My favorite kind of holiday.

  17. phantom says:

    Hi, well I found this. Or it was linked rather.

  18. Lee Thomson says:

    I'm in Friendship Maine, staring over a piece of tidal river, and at the moment the only thing that would prove my life is the presence of Mr Crow and the younger Crow who has been sick and thus at home. But the elder Crow and their Young Man are here, and I'm looking forward to seeing my brother and family and even my mother.

    I'm sorry to hear so many of you are struggling with parents, or life. I can offer you sundrenched but chilly coastal hugs from Andrew Wyeth country.

    • CleverManka says:

      sundrenched but chilly coastal hugs from Andrew Wyeth country
      Gorgeous! Thank you for this gorgeous phrase. I'm fortunate to be spending the day nearly utterly alone and the only activity I can count are a few forays on the internet. It's been lovely.

      Best wishes to the Crows.

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