Mid-week check-in

Clever Manka, · Categories: Check-In

I like Stitch’s attitude when it comes to negative self-talk

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.

235 Responses to “Mid-week check-in”

  1. jenavira says:

    I accidentally turned off my alarm instead of snoozing it, overslept until the very last possible minute, and squeaked into work just barely on time. I have not yet finished my coffee. I decided to dive right into wrangling our website's increasingly labyrinthine and nonsensical Javascript search function. Mistakes Were Made.

    (I blame the power outage yesterday, which was resolved about three minutes before we all got sent home for the evening. I almost had a free evening! So close! Disappointment is exhausting (thank you doc_paradise for the recommendation for When The Body Says No, it's fascinating so far).)

    Other than that it's been a pretty good week. Managing my energy levels appears to be a matter of determining which mental illness is in ascendancy at the moment, and right now it seems to be the ADHD, so keeping myself busy and engaged is key. My knitting advent box is helping a lot – I get new pretty string to play with every couple of days! I might be convinced to buy a subscription yarn box at this rate.

    • CleverManka says:

      Managing my energy levels appears to be a matter of determining which mental illness is in ascendancy at the moment
      Yay! That sounds like a great skill to recognize and develop. Congratulations! Best of luck with the code wrangling. Ugh.

      • jenavira says:

        Websites should not be made by the lowest bidder, kids! A good website is gonna be expensive! You get what you pay for! (And right now what you're paying for is me. At least expectations are low.)

    • redheadfae says:

      An artsy advent box sounds like a super idea.

      • jenavira says:

        It's a glorious thing, really, I'm surprised more people haven't done them in the past. Not cheap, though (mine's the cheapest I've found at $75. Reasonable, given what they include, but anything worth having is going to add up over 25-31 days).

        …I wonder if this is the kind of thing that could be done as a Secret Santa swap?

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I love getting packages! I got a sock of the month club once, and Sketchbox which was full of art supplies – all fun things to have arrive!

      Is your knitting advent box a thing you organized or a thing you found to subscribe to?

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      "thank you doc_paradise for the recommendation for When The Body Says No, it's fascinating so far"

      I'm glad. I found it really useful for my own healing.

  2. Fancy_Pants says:

    As discussed, oh maybe a month or two ago, I am going to start a weekly creativity check-in on the Wednesday open threads. My goal is to spend a minimum chunk of time (maybe 30-45 minutes) every day doing something creative. I'd love to hear about what you all are working on!

    Last week I rudely thread jacked Jenavira's post about practice and how hard it is to dig in and focus on one thing at a time, and talked about my own creative woes and how hard it is for me to find the right creative partner/project. And then some of you had the audacity to ask me what I wanted in a creative partner and/or project! What a question!

    What are your dream creative projects? Are they solo projects or do they require a community or partner?

    • CleverManka says:

      I love this idea for a thread and I look forward to the day I can participate in it! In the meantime I shall eagerly await other people's input because one thing I have learned from All My Life Shit is to genuinely enjoy living vicariously through others. Thank you for starting this.

    • jenavira says:

      Threadjack away, that was a great discussion! If I didn't participate much it's because I have always conceived of my creative projects as solo endeavors (although I do sometimes long for a partner to do a Yelling About Elves podcast with).

      Right now I'm dreaming for the creative stamina to work on a big project, but I have a few things still hanging out in my brain that I still want to make happen. I want to write that Gondorians In Space generation ship/AI novel I semi-drafted at one point. I want to embroider (or possibly weave? this is a fiber art but I'm not sure which one) a series of wall hangings representing druidic virtues. I want to paint a series of skyscapes with tiny houses that I've had in my brain for years and have not yet put together the technical skill to actually reproduce.

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        Goddamn these are all delicious ideas! I wish I were enough of a Tolkein nerd and also had sufficient humor chops to Yell About Elves with you.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      A brief and non-comprehensive list of my ideal creative projects:

      (1) Compose and/or produce music for films, video games or stage productions
      (2) Make environment art for video games or paint background sets for theatre
      (3) Make a podcast! Maybe doing some voice stuff, and maybe also doing some sound design stuff

      Those are the things that jumped out at me, and it's interesting to have them written down because it it glaringly obvious that (a) I want to collaborate, (b) I love narrative art, but (c) I want someone else to do the narrative-crafting while I work in a support role.

      Which means that I either have to figure out some satisfying solo projects, or I have to get out of my house and go get involved with the local creative community if I am to be fulfilled.

      • jenavira says:

        Would fanart scratch some of the itch? I know a lot of fanart is of characters, but I personally adore good landscape/setting fanart, all the more so that it's so rare.

        • Fancy_Pants says:

          If it was fanart for someone I knew, personally, then it might feel collaborative enough to scratch that itch, otherwise I think it would feel a little one-sided. Although I guess there is a large and thriving fanart community out there. I've never gotten into it because, like you said, it's usually very character heavy, which is not my forte.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        This reminds me, I think I'd really like to do set/costume/production work. Actually, I wish that had been presented as an option when I was younger because I think it would have been the creative, yet not fine art career that would have worked for me. The emphasis was always on being an actor or singer or dancer, and nothing on the production side. I'm sure I could get involved with local theater, but right now I just do not have the energy for that level of involvement if it's not paying me.

        • Fancy_Pants says:

          HARD SAME. It's a little wild to me that the most obvious career path that led from my music training was…be a classical concert pianist, which like, there are 20 jobs in the whole wide world, and also who even has the personality for that?

      • Lee Thomson says:

        Pretty much every local theater needs people backstage, and if you can find one they will take every hour you have to offer and grovel for more. The collaboration, and the exhilaration of working big like that is hard to match!

        Also I just realized I could want to make the art or video games.

        • Fancy_Pants says:

          Thank you for the local theatre encouragement! I am so timid about the idea of trying to bust into a community where I know no one and have very little experience, but maybe they would be happy to have me, who knows?

    • Heathered says:

      I'd like to take the drive I found during NaNoWriMo and write some middle grade fiction, which could be done solo. But I still also dream of finding a collaborator for something that emphasizes humor. I'm not a great talker but a podcast could build that skill set; otherwise, something written but with enough built-in structure that I'm not just sitting there strangled by my lack of ideas.

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        I've been listening to a lot of D&D podcasts, which seems to hit the sweet spot between improvisation (because you're playing a character) and narrative structure (because you're playing a game), and I'm always like ooooh I wanna do that! But I have to remind myself that they are all professional comedians, and that's why the end product is so engaging.

        But something similar, like a semi-improvised radio play could be interesting.

        • Heathered says:

          Fake podcast (i.e., a friend to have coffee for an hour and try to be consciously funny with, yet not broadcast or record anything) would also be a welcome stocking stuffer.

          • Fancy_Pants says:

            In person? Or would a Skype/FaceTime sort of thing suffice?

          • Heathered says:

            I think I need the human connection so much in general that to do it electronically would be really sad. If my IRL socials were boosted and I knew how to internet, that would definitely work.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Right now I'm knitting mostly, I want more yarn so I have to use the yarn I have, and I have some nice stuff that deserves more than sitting around in tubs. I'm working up to my first sweater, hopefully. That's solo work. I want to learn how to really sew clothes, which is something that would start out with another person or people, but would be mostly solo.

      Any dance thing I do is a group project by the nature of the style (it's group improv). I've only worked in leaderless groups, though what I crave is good direction. I think that works best for me is a small, tight knit group, so responsibilities can be divided up but it's not a shit show. That's pretty much how the podcasting works, though I do want to learn how to record and edit out audio so I'm not dependent on J for doing it.

      Speaking of, here's our snack spread from recording Saturday. We usually don't eat during recording, but we kind of went all out this time.

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        I've been trying to use up all my art supplies before I buy new ones, but hahaha I'm bad at following my own rules.

        That's a great snack spread! I wish that Hannibal was a thing I could get into so I could listen to your podcast.

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          J is starting one called Radio Star Death Pod, where guests talk about their favorite music videos. My co-host and I are going to do Bitch Better Have My Money.

      • redheadfae says:

        That's a lovely snack spread. We often do that for supper. One of the local food-to-table restaurants does an amazing "picnic plate" that includes interesting cuts of meat (such as duck bacon) and sauces, along with some cheese and nuts.

      • jenavira says:

        Oh that is a delicious snack spread. I think I'm going to steal it for my holiday parties.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      I need an audience, a test group, and something to do with the pieces that I do as means of honing and learning my skills.

      All my creative goals aim at being able to express emotional and experiential content in a way that weasels its way into people's brains. The medium is not as important as that.

      Which is good because my usual format of writing has fallen off a cliff. I have a novel idea but I can't get it out and probably won't be able to put it together until the massive translation engine that sits in my brain, between me and the outside world, finishes refactoring. Its motivations have changed and therefore it is switching from one setting to another. Being able to talk but not as able to write has been frustrating.

      So I've mostly been doing visual medium work. And mostly practice and technique pieces as I get myself back up to speed in doing this and learn new mediums. But I don't know what to do with those practice pieces. They don't advance my goal directly (indirectly yes).

    • redheadfae says:

      l haven't the energy or mind focus to think about creative projects yet, but I'm going to be interested. I need something tiny and portable to start out, I think, although I love afternoons with others just each doing our own thing.
      I'm terrible on a team, my competitive side tends to get out of control and ruin it for me and others.

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        I've been getting more into sketching in the last year as a tiny and portable (and low-commitment) creative activity.

        I keep talking a big game for like a year now about how I'm going to organize low-key crafternoons where people just hang out and work on their arts together. I really need to just do it!

    • meat_lord says:

      I want to produce high volumes of (short) fanfic on the regular, but I also really just want to finish writing a damn novel. My default is to work by myself, but I wonder if having a partner might help me get things done?

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        Writing seems to be the most solo art out there. Although maybe you could recruit a swarm of hungry beta readers for your fanfic to keep you motivated?

      • RoseCamelia says:

        Don't forget about the Ideas Roundtable. You gather people you like and trust. Give them a problem to solve, along with any parameters. Example: Protagonist must learn X from a character she meets on the way to City. Roundtable offers ways that X can be transmitted and describes a variety of characters who might disclose X.

        • Fancy_Pants says:

          That sounds like a fun GAME! I wonder how many of my friends could be convinced to drink beer and brainstorm plot ideas? And I'm not even a writer…

    • Xolandra says:

      All of my creative projects (with the exception of my gamelan) are solo: I write, I knit, and I play the piano. I need more time to write, a better TV set up to knit, and some direction with my piano practice. The last is the hardest; I have good skills and fundamentals instilled by RCM training, but I don't have any _creative_ skills on my keybaord, which sometimes makes me sad. Also sad making is that the queen of my heart (Frau Doktor Professer Dee Dee Wiesel Cat) used to sit in a chair beside me and purr as maestro and now I just feel sad and miss her when I play 🙁

    • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

      I almost always do solo creative projects. All I want is to be an author at Terry Pratchett or Ursula Vernon's level of productivity (and skill and general awesomeness). I want to write loads of interconnected fantasy novels in the same universe. But this is what I have wanted for…15 years now…? And I haven't published a single thing. So I beat myself up about that a lot, because I can almost never even get a full first draft.

      But I'm working on it! I'm currently working on one fully plotted novel, so I need to find strategies that get me to sit down and write. The story is all there, it's my focus that's a problem.

      • Lee Thomson says:

        Oh bb – you are aiming REALLY high, which is noble, but they both started out, and their early work is … not their best. Keep at it. Keep in mind too that Ursula Vernon had a bunch of stuff available online for free before she started getting paying gigs.

        I have nothing useful to say, but I'd be happy to test read anything you'd like.

        • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

          Oh thank you!! <3 Yes, I had the realization a couple years ago that I didn't even *like* the first Discworld much, that I actively disliked Jonathan Stroud's first book, that Tamora Pierce's first book was almost painful to read when I revisited it outside childhood… that was a very freeing realization. I know I don't actually have to write something great to start out. But I do still have to get something finished in the first place, and I still beat myself up too much over my failure to do so.

    • SquirrelGirl says:

      This is a GREAT idea for a check-in. Thank you!

      After what seems like ages of non-creativity, I finally sat down the day after Thanksgiving and (thankfully) remembered how to knot a pearl necklace. I have lots of supplies–but no time–and I was concerned I might've forgotten how to do it. Luckily when I took a workshop to learn how to do this, I recorded my hands working through the actual knotting process. There are steps I didn't record, but I had some notes for those. It was nice to have a new necklace by the end of the night (or, more accurately, the wee hours of the morning).

      And then I had a vacation day on Monday and made some print blocks (for fabric printing). An ink pen leaked on our fabric-covered ottoman. I figure I'll try and 'fix' it by making a design. It's ruined already so might as well try something different).

      Other artistic loves: writing (a few plays i have to revise and/or finish–again, no time), baking, and metalwork (jewelry). Most of what I like to do is solo, but I do like collaborative writing. It's nice to bounce ideas off of someone and get excited with.

      But…too many ideas and too little time. I'm taking my vacation at the end of the month and I plan on knocking the rust off my skills. Work was so busy this year I'm not taking all my vacation days (and they do NOT carry over).

    • ru_ri says:

      What with the Everything Dumpster Fire (thanks GOP!), all I want to do is play loud, stupid rock n roll. I need to find a band.

    • Räven says:

      I make I guess puppet or object theater works that are mine – my ideas and fabrication – and I really value the collaboration with sound designers, lighting designers, engineers etc. While i don't generally dictate what anyone else makes, though, I would say they're definitely working on my shows.

      But I'm currently working on a project where I actually need a writer… and i really don't know how to make that happen. Like, I don't just want to hire a writer. I don't really know what the text should "be" – what the show "is" would depend a lot on the text. However it seems incredibly unlikely I'll meet anyone who happens to want to write about this particular subject but wants my visuals. I think it would be a lot easier to just hire someone, but what do I look like, a Medici? I'm super controlling about some things, but the rest, not at all. But presumably a successful collaboration is more likely to start with "we are two who want to work together" and then finding your way to "on what" – rather than "will you write my thing that is in my workshop already"…

      I worry this one isn't going to happen.

      • Heathered says:

        That's a super-interesting problem to have (though probably more frustrating on your end). I hope you find the right person. Maybe sketch out qualities you'd want in a collaborator and then start scanning people with your red Terminator eye?

  3. Doc_Paradise says:

    I"m feeling ranty this morning for reasons that probably mean I have to write someone an email about their behaviour. Sigh.

    In other news, my household is binge watching a Stanford University video course on Behavioural Biology like it is a Netflix Marvel series. We are delighted. I'm going to recommend it to anyone who wants to understand some basics about and be able to criticize psych and science articles about humans.

    Also, for those of you who are still playing the Kittens game… I now have a Sky Palace. It is built from the tears and recycled ivory of 180K sacrificed unicorns.

    <img src="https://i.pinimg.com/736x/f9/ae/28/f9ae2853837b11756008e9528d632117.jpg"&gt;

    • jenavira says:

      Oooh, video! I can do that while knitting!

      (That picture will never cease to delight me.)

    • Absotively says:

      You are making much faster kittens progress than me, I am still saving up to research Biology. I should probably leave it running more.

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        I leave my game open in a tab when I'm doing other things. However, if you have the Time menu then there is a closed tab option called Tempus Fugit which allows you to speed up in game time based on how much time the tab was closed.

        The game is HUGE. I've been glancing at the wiki (link at bottom of main screen) now and then, and that is one of the main reasons I decided that murdering unicorns would be very satisfying to me.

        • Absotively says:

          Yeah, I always forget Tempus Fugit. But it doesn't add up to that hugely much anyways.

          I leave it running when I'm doing other things on my home computer, usually, but I let the computer's power settings put it to sleep when I'm doing non-computer things, which is a fair bit of the time right now. Maybe I should give in to the temptation to start another village in my work browser! (I should not.)

          I've only been looking at the wiki when I get confused, mostly, but that's enough to have seen that the game is enormous.

      • Lynn says:

        Hee I've been meaning to tell you that that game has taken over my life since you linked it. (Probably helps that I had a lot of alone time including two long train rides immediately after starting it.) I play it on my phone because that's actually less distracting for me than having it on my work computer (and my home computer is so old I think it would just lock everything up).

        It goes slow on the phone though since I don't want to leave it running and sap my battery too often — I'm still trying to get to the point where I can craft Titanium on my own without trading the stingy Zebras for single units at a time.

        Also I recently started Animal Crossing Pocket Camp which is amusing because it's like both games started from a similar concept and went in exact opposite directions.

        • Absotively says:


          Getting the ability to make titanium is very satisfying. Those zebras are jerks. I'm not producing titanium very quickly, but I'm not using it too quickly either, so it works out.

    • CleverManka says:

      NICE. Adding that to the watchlist, thank you. I love complaining about science reporting and this sounds like it will give me good ammunition.

  4. CleverManka says:

    I introduced nightshades in the form of a roasted red pepper last night and not only was it fucking delicious, it provoked no negative responses in my body. REJOICE!

    AtN is having me do another nutritional evaluation survey. I think we might be heading in a new direction. Possibly a FODMAP diet. A year ago I would've been like "no alliums? TRAGEDY!" but at this point I'm just kinda "eh, whatever."

    My energy is really good so far today and that's a nice change from Monday and Tuesday. I wonder if it's related to actually enjoying something I ate last night.

  5. meat_lord says:

    I've had a few interesting moments in the past week or so where I experience a mental illness symptom at less-than-Totally-Overwhelming intensity. Kinda strange. It lets me get a much closer look at them than I've had before. (Tangentially related: New Therapist thinks I don't have anxiety at all, but OCD. She might be right.)

    I'm trying to build neatness habits. There is progress–I am putting more items away instead of leaving them where they lie–and there is also the realization that hey, I barely spend any time in my apartment. Kinda hard to clean if you're not there to do it.

    T update in comment:

    • CleverManka says:

      I have no idea why IntenseDebate suddenly decided you couldn't post without moderation. You're still showing up on the all-clear list so hopefully this just resolves itself.

    • jenavira says:

      That one-stage-removed level of symptom is so encouraging to me – Here Is The Thing, We Can Handle The Thing! (The hard part is remembering how you handle the thing when it goes back up to 11, but.)

      Kinda hard to clean if you're not there to do it.
      …that is definitely an important insight. 😀

    • meat_lord says:

      So, T stuff! I'm happy with my results so far. Now comes the part where I have to navigate being visibly gender-nonconforming in ways that aren't just my clothes. I have different choices and calculations to make about my safety. I'm worried about being clocked in ways that I just wasn't before. I really like my voice and my peach fuzz, but I'm hyperconscious of them around cis people.

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        How are other people reacting?

        • meat_lord says:

          I have started to get a lot of comments on how I've "lost my voice" from people who don't know what's up, or surprise when I introduce myself with my feminine dead name over the phone. So… I know they're noticing that change, at least. Makes me nervous. More people call me "sir" when I'm out and about, too. So far, no hostility or harassment.

          I am worried about the whole bathroom thing, though. At some point, I'll be sufficiently androgynous that I'll look out of place in either one.

          • redheadfae says:

            These slight changes sound like they are well received. I hope that gives you more confidence as you navigate your way.

          • Fancy_Pants says:

            Or maybe you'll look like you belong in either one? *Fingers crossed*

            These changes sound so exciting and FUN. I hope your transition continues to be hostility-free.

          • Flitworth says:

            Where in this timeline did your deadname die? (If you're comfortable answering) I realized I assumed a particular order of operations.

            I really hope a solution presents itself to the bathroom quandary. (Now I am quizzing my husband on standard public bathroom behavior for M identified "when the door shuts what happens is between them and the porcelain" he states)

          • meat_lord says:

            I can't speak to the experiences of trans men and women, but when you're nonbinary all bets are off and you make it up as you go along.

            At work, I've chosen not to come out. I don't think my workplace is ready for a binary trans person, let alone a nonbinary person. I present as a butch cis woman and I use my deadname. (Which is, I suppose, not all that dead. Kind of a zombie, or protective ghost?)

            In the rest of my life, it went kind of like this:
            1. I realized I was nonbinary
            2. I started using "they/them/their"
            3. I changed my name
            4. I started HRT

          • Flitworth says:

            Thank you, as always, for sharing. 🙂

  6. LaxMom says:

    UGGGGGGGH so so so tired.
    Advisor 2 came back from out of country and announced a hard deadline of today for some major map stuff–which I have been a. slacking on because I've been writing my proposal and b. He hadn't updated me on in the past month.
    Also he moved the goal posts. So I met the goal but I"ve only had 2.5 hours of sleep and I"m about to puke. Also Advisor 1 is on vacation and she's responsible for the final touches on my efforts to get this out the door to the publisher. In other words, my work isn't ready because she needs it to do her work, and she's on vacation, and he wanted to get this to the publisher today (which he told us yesterday).

    Tired. Going to crash in bed now. Will feel sick today but don't even care. Who just hand digitized 400 polygons over an entire country in the past 24 hours? Me. Cross eyed doesn't begin to cover it.

  7. meat_lord says:

    For some reason I failed to log into IntenseDebate when making my post… whoops. Need more coffee.

  8. Lee Thomson says:

    I finished the tarot cards and I feel like I've had my strings cut – I always forget how hard I crash after I finish a big project, and this one isn't even really done yet. I still have the thousands of tiny design issues required to take the tiny arts from tiny arts to printed cards. Ugh.

    Yesterday I sat still and mourned my dad's missing memories, and ate cheezits and nuts. Also it rained.

    Today will have slightly more motion to it, in part because I have to finish a pile of emails.

    I remain cute and fluffy. By force of will.

    • CleverManka says:

      The cards are so beautiful. I hope you find your new strings soon. Hugs for the mourning.
      <img src="https://ic.pics.livejournal.com/clevermanka/1047329/356472/356472_900.gif"&gt;

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      What is crashing like? Is it getting depressed or just losing interest?

      *hugs* about your Dad.

      • Lee Thomson says:

        you ask the BEST questions!

        It is less like inability to see or think about what comes next – more like losing motivation more than anything else. I know intellectually what I should be doing for next steps, but I don't have spoons or intellect to think about anything that is too hard to do or requires design decisions. It is how I wound up doing some desultory tidying before I sat on the couch alternately sulking and feeling deeply sad.

        Today is better, I can return to checking off the things that are more or less mindless, and I'll be able to think more design/creative thoughts in a couple more days. I find the liberal application of sugar and hot buttered carbs speeds the whole process along, as well as mild exercise and organizing a couple of things that go completely right.

        Thank you for dad sympathy – I'm going to need a lot of it for the foreseeable future.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          So you've gotten through the bit that you are invested in? How do you usually feel when the *whole* project is complete and out the door?

          BTW what is your instagram name?

          • Lee Thomson says:

            lee.thomson.art on Instagram

            I generally get sick after really big things, or it feels like I do – I sleep for hours and walk in aimless circles and pick things up and put them down again with no attention-span at all, and eventually binge-watch Leverage or something that will make me laugh, and knit a lot. It takes a couple of days to maybe a week to get started on something new.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Losing pieces of a good dad is worth mourning. I'm sorry you and he have lost those pieces. It's good to include nuts with your carbs, and good to sit still and honor your feelings.

      Rain here, too. My little dogs congratulate you on cute and fluffy, but do not understand the requirement of effort. Cute-and-fluffy is their birthright. They offer warm bodies to pet and cold noses to catalog your scents. Would that feel better?

    • jenavira says:

      Good luck with the post-project crash, and best wishes for the mourning. I salute your fluffy willpower.

    • ru_ri says:

      Congratulations on finishing the tarot! It makes sense to me that you would feel a bit in the doldrums after such a large effort. But at least you know it will pass…
      Cute and fluffy to the end, I say! 💕

  9. Heathered says:

    I am having a terrible week but here's a good story: On Friday I complained about ill treatment at a rummage sale. It got worse because these duck boots are slicing my feet to ribbons & may prove unwearable. Sunday the same sale is usually "fill a bag for $1" but now it's $2–however, I'd resolved to stay home, drink tea and read because I have been so sad lately. Therapist called me that morning to recommend I go to a clothing swap I'd mentioned because her roommate was offloading a bunch of shoes. Instead I got dressed and went back to the rummage sale. Loaded up a bag with some odds and ends, including a pair of Joseph Seibel shoes they wanted $5 for on Friday and a filthy, ratty copy of Gone Girl because I wanted to reread it. Paid my $2, was flipping through the book, and there were two $50s and a single dollar bill inside. I got a donut and gave one of the 50s to the organization my therapist works through since she couldn't take the money personally. Justice? Maybe.

  10. Absotively says:

    Still feeling pretty great with the new iron supplements. Got blood drawn for iron level tests Monday morning, haven't heard back from the doctor, so that means my iron levels are at least ok-ish. Or the lab is very slow this week, but that seems less likely. (Doc explained that he probably wouldn't call for this test unless the results were bad, and also when I should go back to see him anyways, so the not hearing back is fine.)

    Read somewhere online that anemia often causes anxiety, irritability, and inability to focus. That about covers the difference in how I feel mentally from two weeks ago to today. My doctor asked at one point if I felt anxious and I said I didn't really think so, but in retrospect I was at least a bit wrong about that.

    Also I don't get out of breath quite as easily, of course. And my plantar fasciitis has got much better, which was a bit surprising but I'll take it.

    Slowly making progress on KonMari and also cleaning. I'm hosting a board game night/afternoon in a week and a half, so I've been focused more on the cleaning side of things. Am planning to do much more intense KonMari-ing during the staycation portion of my time off later this month.

    More blankets + hot water bottle have mostly fixed the cold-at-night thing, but I'm still not great at not staying up later than I know I should, so I'm still unhappy about sleep.

    • Heathered says:

      Wow, congratulations on the anemia/plantar fasciitis two-fer! Those are both royal pains in the butt. (Following your KonMari-ing more closely since I gave away 2 bags of definite non-joy clothing, but then realized almost nothing I kept inspires much of it either. Joy sparking is a high bar for my clothes to clear!)

      • Absotively says:

        Clothes are hard! I think I'm keeping too much at this point. I may just half-ass the rest of it and then re-check all my clothes in one whirlwind sorting session later in the month.

        Kondo's advice for people who end up with not much after is basically, at least you know now that you have a shortage of joy-sparking clothes, so you can start to consider what to do about that. I'm not sure how useful that is, though.

    • jenavira says:

      Hooray for continued improvement! It's so nice to realize that some of the crummy feeling was actually abnormally crummy, and can be fixed.

    • CleverManka says:

      Hurray for progress! Echoing jenavira. Sometimes just knowing that yes, something was wrong, it wasn't your imagination, and yes, it can be made not wrong is beneficial in an of itself.

      • Absotively says:


        I am kind of looking forward to when I get to see the specialist about the PCOS, because I'm curious as to whether anything else will move to that same category. March is so far away!

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I never expected going to bed to be a tricky part of the day, but yes, definitely. Hooray on KonMari-ing more things. Following your example, I am going after my clothes, and it is freeing. However the clothes that spark joy are also the ones that make me look most like a crow, so.

      • Absotively says:

        I will figure out bedtime eventually, probably.

        I do like that KonMari makes me keep a different set of clothes than most of those "have you worn it in the past six months?" checklists/flowcharts would.

  11. Kazoogrrl says:

    I haven't yet totally abandoned cooking yet, but I got J to make chicken and dumpling casserole Sunday night. Last night I made toutiere, a French Canadian pork pie, and I'm making Shepherd's Pie tonight, so we have vats of food to eat that involves minimal thinking later. It's more carbs than I'd like, but right now I just can't be bothered to do more than that. I did hit a store sale Sat where boneless pork loins were buy 1, get 2 free, so I'm thinking a batch of Nom Nom Paleo's char sui pork is in my future.

    I also took 10 min at my desk this morning to make some lists of holiday time things I'd really like to be doing, and personal projects I'd like to be doing. I need to copy it and, I don't know, tape it to every surface so it reiterates the things I really want to be doing over the things I do out of habit or laziness or time wasting.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Toutiere is delish. My best friend made it for me once. Meat pies in general are great winter food, IMO.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        I almost made it as written, then realized it was for two pies, which makes sense as it's my grandmother's recipe and she was feeding 7 kids and a husband.

        • Lee Thomson says:

          That … is a large household.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            Catholic family on a Vermont dairy farm! My grandfather, who was from Quebec, was one of 18 kids. He moved to the US, got a job in logging, then was in the military where they assumed he knew how to ski, or should know since he was Canadian, so he was put in a ski troop. Afterwards he worked in a granite quarry, and then my grandparents bought the farm. He didn't do anything the easy way.

    • jenavira says:

      I had a Fall Things list this year and I really enjoyed having it and checking things off. It's one of the "holiday planning" recommendations I picked up from somewhere that seemed the silliest thing at the time and yet has turned out to be really rewarding.

    • CleverManka says:

      GOOD LORD I'm saving that Char Siu recipe for the (ever hopeful!) day I can eat fruit again. I love St. Dalfour preserves.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      I have a website blocker chrome extension that gives me like 15 minutes a day on time waste-y sites (not THIS site, obviously), and if I want to get more time on those sites, it makes me manually re-type a list of things that I could be doing instead that would bring me more joy.

      So much tasty food!

      • jenavira says:

        …mind sharing the name of that Chrome extension?

        • Fancy_Pants says:


          The real achilles heel of this solution is that you can't install it on mobile devices, so I can always just go waste time on my phone. But then at least I'm snuggled up on the couch and not lying to myself about "working on my laptop". Baby steps!

  12. Flitworth says:

    I think this being the first Xmas since my mom died and a year since the family were all here is going to be pretty emotionally awful. I'm not excited and I don't even feel like there's time to do stuff like decorate etc.

    We have a half-scale plywood & plaster model cow that my in-laws made in the 80's and it is taking up valuable real estate in our living room. Husband is trying to get his dad to take it back, I'm trying to get permission to give it to a kid at daycare who is fixated on getting a pet (real) cow for Xmas. This kid, hilariously, is terrified of animals in inverse proportion to their size so kittens are a no go but cows are a-ok. I actually love this cow and wish we could reliably shellac it and put it outdoors.

    We still haven't done our nativity shoot with the kids & goats.

    Work continues to be demoralizing.

    I've discovered the joys of drag artist music. Many of the competitors from RuPaul's Drag Race seem to have albums. I like Alaska Thunderfuck and Adore Delano (not sure if she competed).

    Finished Broadchurch S3. Enjoyed it! I felt a bit less harrowing than previous ones with maybe a few more light moments between the lead characters (what is Tennant's character's name? afaic names are 'sir' and 'Miller').

    • Absotively says:

      I just want to say that I am in favour of the cow being shellacked and put outdoors.

      Or maybe fibreglassed? Thin fibreglass, carefully applied, might be a good way to weatherproof it, though it seems like a fair bit of work and you'd lose some detail. (This is mostly just based on looking at boat plans I'll likely never build.)

    • CleverManka says:

      Oh, bb, that sounds like a lot of rough stuff.

      Best wishes/luck dealing with the cow thing. Even a half-size cow is a large thing to have in one's living room.

    • jenavira says:

      "Sir" and "Miller" are definitely what I call them.

      Best wishes for an emotionally rough holiday season. You don't have to decorate if you don't want to. There will be other holidays, ones that are less raw. Take care of you and yours. <3

    • damngoodcoffee says:

      I am sorry for potential emotional awfulness, and I hope it ends up being less difficult/exhausting than expected. I also hope the cow finds a good home, whether that's outdoors or as an xmas gift. 🙂 I just finished The Defenders on Netflix so maybe Broadchurch S3 will be next (though I also just watched the first ep of Alias Grace, which I liked v. much).

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Best of luck on navigating the holiday, it can be tricky under the best of circumstances.

      If you like Alaska, you may like this podcast episode. http://www.wnyc.org/story/nancy-podcast-gavin-gri

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I got nothing useful, but could I come click a camera for you while you wrangle kids and children? I'm in the Happy Valley in MA and willing to travel… Drop me an email if it might help.

      lee thomson art at gmail etc.

      • Flitworth says:

        Thank you for the offer. The key issue is scheduling with my sister in law since our nephew is slated to be Joseph:) I just don't know when we'll fit everything in. Bonus: I caught some virus and now have no interest in doing anything.

  13. faintlymacabre says:

    One day in on the new/old job and it is already a shitshow. It will get somewhat better after the training period, but…. fuuuuuuuuuuck.

  14. damngoodcoffee says:

    I am feeling more tired than usual and needing a bit more sleep at night. My concentration has been off a bit at work as well, but honestly I'm used to that kind of thing ebbing and flowing, and thankfully things aren't too busy rn so I'm just kind of going with it.

    I'm thankfully getting more used to the Invisalign, and though my teeth are still sore, they're not nearly as sore as they were last week. The hardest thing continues to be timing my meals to make sure they only add up to about 2 hours, so I can wear the Invisalign for the requisite 22 hrs a day.

    Other than that- I just finished watching The Defenders on Netflix, which ultimately just made me really glad I didn't watch the Iron First b/c that guy is not interesting at all as a character. It did make me miss Jessica Jones, though.

    • jenavira says:

      That is a great attitude to take. Especially in the middle of winter like this. It's a hibernation kind of season.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        This is what I'm going for. Just, I'm not always going to be super productive. There are going to be times where I'm going to give what feels like pretty minimal effort and that's okay b/c we're all human here, no point in pretending otherwise.

    • CleverManka says:

      Wow, that seems like some seriously short meals. Not much chit chat going on at dinner, I imagine.

      • Heathered says:

        Whoa, I was thinking that's about 30 times more time than I need. I guess you live alone long enough and these things happen. Is it too late for finishing school?

        • CleverManka says:

          Good point! When I'm eating alone, I can usually finish in 20 minutes, and that's with my extremely thorough chewing.

        • damngoodcoffee says:

          I normally eat alone, and I totally get you, but there are the following factors:

          – I can only drink water while wearing the Invisalign. I have to take them out for coffee and tea. Which SUCKS. Esp. for tea, which I do not usually have with meals or drink particularly fast.
          – I also have to take time to clean them, which factors in to the 2 hours.
          – This is not so much a time thing, but I sometimes (like tomorrow) have to go to conferences/workshops and figure out how to discretely take out the trays and eat on the go. This is how I ended up scarfing down a banana in the Back Bay restroom while rushing for the train home the other day. I'm sure the bathroom attendant appreciated it.

          • Heathered says:

            Oh, I get that you have to change things around, I just never thought about how much time is "average" to spend eating or drinking, and then noticed that I eat like a fire hydrant going in reverse.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        Yeah- normally I eat alone, but when I do go out to eat with other people, it's like as soon as the food gets there I have to run to the restroom to take out the trays. Also, as I mentioned to Heathered below, I cannot drink coffee or tea with them in. Which is super freaking annoying.

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I feel like I always sleep more in winter! Hibernation feels real to me.

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        Right? I've never tracked it, really, but I know I sleep less in the summer (to a point that is not healthy for me; I really need blackout curtains), so it makes sense that the opposite would be true now.

  15. redheadfae says:

    I'm plugging along and managing my symptoms a bit better now, or maybe the change in meds is kicking in and I'm not so overwhelmed.
    Sad thing: the kitty I catwatch was put to sleep yesterday. We comforted OwnerFriend and buried the little one in our backyard with our 3. He was so old and frail, and I'm glad I had a little kitty morphine so we could let him sail away on a soft blissful fog.
    Complication I must go to doc for now and so can't comment more til later:
    I have some sort of hernia under my hyster scar, about the size of an egg. Ugh.

  16. Xolandra says:

    My house is exploding. I have scheduled replacing the electrical (SO LONG KNOB AND TUBE), the furnace (SHINY NEW EFFICIENT FURNACE), and yesterday the contractor came re: insurance for fixing the flood damage. Also yesterday, the city sent me a notice that was all "we cannot help but notice that your water consumption has trebled in the last few weeks – is there a leak?" and i thought hunh! Maybe that constantly running toilet sound wasn't my imagination! So I did some rummaging about in my toilet and I think I diagnosed the problem and today I bought the part and tonight I try my hand at plumbery!

    I. Am. An. Adult!!!

    I am also not an adult, because I damn near ran out of cat food and must stop en route home for that, lest my gregs eat my eyeballs while I sleep in some unholy marriage of vengeance and deliciousness.

    O YEAH, and GentlemanX and his buds released some P.U.N.K R.O.C.K. https://belannana.bandcamp.com/releases Track 1 has already been played on the (local, community) radio: https://belannana.bandcamp.com/releases. I am, of course, terribly proud *beams

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      I need to get some or all of our electric redone, I'm just cringing over the cost. Excellent adult behavior!

      • Xolandra says:

        TELL ME ABOUT IT. I asked the electrician if he took payment in the form of firstborns, and he just stared stonily at me. Which, tbh, is part of why I chose him, and not the other one who asked if he could lay hands on me (he's trained in reiki, you see)

    • Flitworth says:

      Did you seriously still have active or connected knob & tube?! /houseDork

      Grats on adulting!

      • Xolandra says:

        O hello house dork, yes, yes I did. And i ~kinda~ knew about it as well. When we did the walkthrough, the house inspector was all "I can see the remanants of some knob and tube and from what I can see it may not still be connected, but it may as well!" and since our house was SHADILY split into three (one of which apartments was our unfinished basement which apparently one used to be able to walk past and buy crack from, according to a chatty cabby) and then re-grouped into one home by someone who did the cosmetic, but not the structural stuff, I was fairly certain that the first time we had any electrical issues, it'd come out. And lo! Here it is. The electrician who I would up hiring was like "this isn't as bad as some that I have seen, but I just wouldn't use this light at all, were I you".

        Turns out knob and tube is fairly common in our hood. Let's just hope it doesn't burn to the ground.

        • CleverManka says:

          Okay now I really wanna come visit you someday bc your house sounds amazeballs.

          • Xolandra says:

            Any old time, you are always welcome. Well. Except maybe when the house is being pulled apart for construction work. Don't come then.

            And thanks! Old houses can be weird, but several humans of different ages and backgrounds and walks of life have complimented me on the cozy atmosphere, so I think I'm doing something right 🙂

        • Flitworth says:

          Keep us up to date on this pls:) I am always up for old house stuff. Houses with knob and tube are like ghost stories for homeowners.

          • Xolandra says:

            Hahahahahahaha, this is but the tip of the iceberg, I am relatively sure. I live in total terror of the first plumbing problem I have, because I'm relatively certain that at least some of our plumbing has lead in it. On the plus side, people are ~fairly~ certain that my house is pre-asbestos, so the odds that I won't have to deal with that are fairly good. Which means, of course, that my "insulation" is newspaper and horsehair (when they were renovating, they found a piece of newspaper in one of the walls that dated from 1896, so our house was probably built around then), which means of course that I have no insulation. This is a problem for future me to deal with.

            Also, idk wtf is up with my toilet, but my toilet is like no toilet i have ever seen before. It is still broken.

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            What's insulation?

            I have a 1910 foursquare that was apartments for most of the 20th century, which means stupid work was done to the house.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        My house does too. It's partially redone, so we have grounded outlets on most of the walls but we think all the ceiling fixtures and the attic are still old. *saves money faster*

    • jenavira says:

      A+ adulting, well done, go you

      And congratulations to GentlemanX! I can't wait to get home and play punk rock at the volume it deserves.

    • Heathered says:

      Listening now, this is great! Also, I got mail from you–way to under-promise and overdeliver, it was delightful. Props for your adulting skills!

      • Xolandra says:

        Yesssssssss! I am glad you like it! They're currently looking for a singer, hahaha.

        O, I am so pleased you like my holiday card! I put a lot of effort into it (despite its haphazard and cavalier appearance), it is so nice to hear that it is appreciated ♥

    • Lee Thomson says:

      holy guacamole did you really have knob and tube wiring??? that stuff is TERRIYING! I saw examples in a friend's house and reused to go in again evar. Also when I found a knob in the basement here we nearly didn't buy it until I realized it was an old thing attached to recycled wood. phew.

      Also toilet parts are just not. that. hard. replacing the whole thing is, but the bits inside the tank are cake.

      I think that is some A+ adulting and totally makes up for remembering cat food at the last minute.

      • Xolandra says:

        Wrong tense, my darling. I do have knob and tube wiring, probably for around another month. Here's hoping nothing burns down in the interim.

        I think my toilet might be special. I have never ever ever seen a flapper like the one that is attached to my toilet. I have a friend coming over tonight to see if they can't make more sense of it than I can, but at this point, I'm halfway to "JUST RIP IT OUT AND PUT IN A NEW ONE". I could upgrade to a dual flow!

  17. Xolandra says:

    Also, it is Dec 6th, the day in Canada where we mark one of our most horrific, deadly gun attacks. They happened at the ecole polytechnique in Montreal. I won't go into details here, because you can google (cw gendered gun violence), but. Je me souviens.

    • Absotively says:

      Here's the article I've taken to sharing on Facebook on December 6. It's by a journalist who covered the shooting early in her career, and I found it really good.

      • Xolandra says:

        Yes! I shared that last year! It is SO GOOD. This was this year's thoughts:

        Today, I remember: Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan,
        Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward,
        Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganière, Maryse Leclair, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Annie Turcotte, and Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz.
        These women were sorted from their peers, lined up against a wall, and gunned down for daring to take up space that a man figured was his.
        As we struggle to deal with the resurgence of some pretty nasty political movements and as we try to deal with rape culture and the recent stories of sexual assault and coercion that are (for some) rocking the art world, I will invite you to ponder the question that the inimitable Diana Relke (prof at the UofS) once asked me when I was raging in class about a man complaining about being unable to get a job on campus because affirmative action was putting other people in his job: "What makes him think that job [or space, or body, or whatever] was his to begin with?"

    • jenavira says:

      Remembering. Thank you.

  18. jenavira says:

    Spotted today on Twitter, possibly of local interest:

    <img src="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQUc_z5WAAAHKwm.jpg:large"&gt;

    (link since the embed isn't working)

    • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

      Reminds me of one of the most strangely inspirational tumblr posts I rely on: "fun fact: the only thing standing between you and success is a small, angry gnome which has dedicated its whole existence to ruining you. you must not let it win"

    • Lee Thomson says:

      that feels related to the discussion (was that here or Tumblr?) about pretending to be a demon masquerading as a human, and having to take care of your body so it could carry you, and follow social conventions so you were not found out

  19. Onymous says:

    I've been on 50mg of Zoloft since the week before Thanksgiving, I don't know if it's doing anything just yet but I just had my follow up, which was the first time since May i've seen my NP. That went well enough.

    Tried to soft sell my step dad on seeking grief counciling. He said my sister and husband neighbors were sufficient which: I know for a fact my sister thinks he should too but if anyone came out and said it he'd just dig in.

    • Heathered says:

      It took +/- 3 weeks and bumping my dose to 100mg to finally feel Zoloft working, but I hope you get good results soon with no or limited hassle.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      You did all you could. You tried to nudge him toward what he needs; you're a good person. There's nothing more you can do. Unless he asks for your input.

      If the subject comes up again, you can avoid oppositional defiance by opening your messages with expressions of confidence that he knows his own needs. Then tell him what he needs. Close by expressing certainty he'll do this when he knows he's ready.

      Saving face is important. Your goal is to ensure he will think about what you said, not that he will do what you said. Better he thinks about it. That way it's his idea when/if he does it. Ownership has better outcomes, IME.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Glad you have medical attention and are giving Zoloft a try. Thanksgiving seems too recent for drawing conclusions. Unless Zoloft is a drug that has immediate effect. If it needs to build up, you'll need a few more weeks before knowing how it affects you.

      This is the hardest for me: waiting, wondering if there's any effect, deciding how long to wait. It's not fair that those questions occur while struggling with mental health.

      I'm pulling for you, Onymous.

    • meat_lord says:

      I hope the Zoloft + Lilo and Stitch work some magic for you.

    • CleverManka says:

      Dr. Sexy said it might take up to three months for me to see definite/consistent improvement with Wellbutrin. I sure hope it doesn't take that long for you to see the Zoloft effects.

      Best wishes on the dad stuff. Ugh, dads. Why you gotta be so stubborn about ~emotions~?

    • redheadfae says:

      Best wishes with the Zoloft! It will take some time yet.

  20. Onymous says:

    Also: going to go home soon and watch Lilo and Stitch for the umpteenth time.

  21. ru_ri says:

    I am at the tail end of a six-hour layover in Detroit. Almost home…

  22. Absotively says:

    Other minor health issue: My tooth that I had a root canal in has been feeling off lately. It had a bit of a rough spot where filling met tooth, and a teensy bit of soreness in the surrounding gum. My regular dental checkup is scheduled for next Thursday, and I figured it would probably be fine until then, so I've been ignoring it.

    The filling and a bit of tooth just came off. I have now made a dentist appointment for this evening. I am not in pain, but my office's Christmas lunch is today, so dealing with the baby back ribs I ordered may be interesting.

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