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

219 Responses to “Mid-week check-in”

  1. Doc_Paradise says:

    Kitten game news: I'm a Sun God.

  2. CleverManka says:

    Not much new to report this week.

    AtN is on vacation and I won't see her until January. Until then I'm sticking on the basic FODMAP diet with no introductions planned until the start of the year.

    I slept through the night last night for the first time in a couple weeks, that was nice. The Burgomaster told me I've started snoring, which I've never done unless I had a cold. He says he hasn't heard me the past two nights, though, so I don't know what's up with that. Sleep apnea is just about the last thing I need to develop right now.

    The Burgomaster also reports that I'm seeming "more present" lately, so that's good news. I've been miserably tired the past week, though (probably related to the not sleeping well), and when I wake up from my afternoon nap, I'm groggy for–well, pretty much until bedtime. I'm going to try skipping the nap today. See how that goes.

    I am so uninspired lately, y'all.
    <img src="https://ic.pics.livejournal.com/clevermanka/1047329/113471/113471_900.gif"&gt;

    • Heathered says:

      Ooh, I just tried to look at a low FODMAP shopping list and the type was so small I thought under Grains it was suggesting "fish." Will try to find larger type soon, but when you eat a fish sandwich is it just two fish with mayo spread in between? That could be decent, if weird! <3 I hope your inspiration returns.

    • jenavira says:

      Good luck with food and sleep! FODMAP is having A Moment right now, so there are a ton of recipe books at my small library. I hope you're able to have something moderately feast-worthy for this, the tail end of the feasting holiday season.

      • CleverManka says:

        Oh, nice! I'll see what mine's got, thanks! I always forget libraries have recipe books…

        • jenavira says:

          Fun library cookbook story*: last winter when we were having our major renovation, we hired movers to come in and move the shelves, books and all, so the carpet could be replaced. This is a delightful procedure involving a very sturdy wheeled frame, a couple of serious-business jacks, and half a dozen guys in hard hats. (Google "library stack moving videos" and be amazed.) Except our building has several weird weight-bearing pillars in the middle of the floor, and we had a very, very long run of shelves. That just so happened to contain cookbooks, right in the middle of the run. Someone miscalculated the turn to get around the column, and the torque on the shelves was just such that the six-shelf section of cookbooks (which weigh, on average, 3x your average hardcover book) just…crumpled. Into a sad little pile in the exact middle of the shelf, which was now sitting at a bizarre angle in the middle of the concrete floor. And, because of the way stack movers charge, the shelves had to stay there.

          We had the whole thing cleaned up in twenty minutes, but oh man, watching a half-dozen construction guys scramble desperately to save Jamie Oliver's latest from being crushed underfoot while a pack of femme librarians laughed at them was actually a highlight of the whole experience.

          *could be interpreted as sarcastic, but honestly at that point we were all so drowning in chaos it didn't matter and it's mostly just a funny story

          • CleverManka says:

            Cookbooks are super heavy! I guess they have to be, but I'm sometimes surprised when I try to pick up a couple with one hand and I'm like nope.

            I would love to have a video of that particular library stack moving.

          • Onymous says:

            It's the glossy pages. They are coated in kaolinite, a rock.

          • redheadfae says:

            OMG. Hilarious!

            I needed them when we had to move just across the street to a bigger house, but we couldn't two-wheel our FIVE floor to almost ceiling bookshelves, so we packed all the books in paper boxes. By the time I finished labeling "Books", "More Books", "Yet More Books" etc,.. the last box of books was simply labeled
            "Fekkin' enough!"

          • jenavira says:

            Yeah, I know that problem. That's why my friends won't help me move any more.

          • redheadfae says:

            I dare not ask either.

        • Räven says:

          My library has a fuckton of cookbooks as E-BOOKS which is amazing. I have a few favorites saved to my account list so I can grab them whenever I need ideas.

    • littleinfinity says:

      The snoring thing is weird! I didn't use to snore either, and then about a year ago J started complaining that I snored loudly and all the time. I have no idea what provoked it, or whether I still do it now and he's just gotten used to it.

      You could try playing around with skipping the nap, but doing something else restful but not sleepy? Meditation/ reading/ music in a seated or prone position? Maybe that would give your body some rest without making your brain as groggy.

      • CleverManka says:

        Good idea on the sitting quietly. I'll make a little nest on the couch and see if I can finish up The Orchid Thief (thanks to whomever suggested it–Lee, I think?). I know if I try to read in bed I'm setting myself up for failure in the staying-awake department.

        • RoseCamelia says:

          See, this is where you need to borrow my CuddleBoy. He's all about nesting on the couch, lying quietly against your leg, stirring only to remind you to pet him. You end up relaxing more and more, loath to get up because that would end the affection exchange. He's so focused on you and all he asks in return is a small touch on his shiny, smooth, black fur.

    • LaxMom says:

      maybe you can look at the snoring as an indication that when you do get sleep, you're sleeping deeply enough? Snoring doesn't have to mean apnea. Could just mean you're back sleeping.

    • vladazhael says:

      I come from a long line of human chainsaws, so I'm not inclined to necessarily equate snoring to apnea. Certainly if it coincides over time with poor rest, it might be a thing to look into, but it could be a number of other things that don't really need to be fixed, too.

      I hope the sleeping through the night and the being present continue, and the uninspired fog lifts soonishly.

      • CleverManka says:

        My dad is a big snorer, but my mom and I are (well, used to be I guess) such quiet sleepers that I've had to warn people who are new to sharing sleeping accommodations with me that I'm not dead, just very very still and quiet (when I sleep). So this is very new and very weird and I am not a fan of new and weird things when it comes to my mortal coil.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Snoring doesn't have to indicate apnea, and I think apnea doesn't have to come with snoring, and this is making me think (regarding your crushing fatigue): have you done a sleep study or has it been suggested by a doc? A friend just did one, has severe apnea, and is feeling significantly better with a CPAP. Yes, it would SUCK to have this.

      • CleverManka says:

        I've thought about doing a sleep study but the GI/nutritional stuff has seemed the more likely culprit, everything considered. If I'm still hsving sleep issues when that stuff clears up, though…

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          I mentioned it because my the change for my friend was so dramatic. I hope it's the food stuff AND it resolves, it would make things so much easier!

    • redheadfae says:

      In hopeful news, I sometimes snore as well, but from what Jbird reported to my shrink, no other signs that point to sleep apnea, ie, I don't thrash around or stop breathing or sound like I'm having trouble breathing.. so there's that.
      Speaking of the shrink, I like him, but his office people are, I swear to Dog, the most incompetent dipshits of any medical group.. and you know how bad some of them can be!

      • CleverManka says:

        Oh, geez, worse than FirstMed? YIKES.

        • redheadfae says:

          Five phone calls and two by the pharmacy to get my med straightened out that I was out of because I told them A WEEK AGO that I was running short for the month. They are trying to tell me that the pharmacy misunderstood them, but I'm pretty sure it was a fukup between the messenger and the doc/nurse. With all that and being off the med for nearly 24 hours (dangerous with this shit), needless to say I collapsed into a Big Ugly Cry last night. Probably good for me in the long run, since I don't cry much even when I feel like it.

  3. jenavira says:

    You know how last week I couldn't decide if I was just exhausted or getting sick? I was getting sick. I'm now at the stage of a cold where I'm not exhausted so much as I feel like I'm living in a submarine. The outside world exists, but I don't much care.

    Solstice tonight; my best friend came down last night and will be lighting the Solstice candle for me, since I'll be at work at sunset. Then we're going out to a light show at the arboretum, then home for mulled wine, sausage and leek pie, and the fanciest cheese board I have ever prepared, and we will stay up and talk and knit until dawn. And there are no plans whatsoever for tomorrow, except for ordering pizza for dinner, so we can sleep. I'm excited. It's the first time in a long time I'll have company for the solstice vigil.

    • CleverManka says:

      Oh my goodness that sounds delightful! Please raise a glass and a piece of pie (and several bits of cheese) for me.

    • Heathered says:

      God, even the submarine-y part of this sounds great, though I hope you feel better soon. Happy solstice!

    • LaxMom says:

      can that be what I do for my birthday? That sounds amazing.

    • littleinfinity says:

      That sounds like a lovely solstice celebration! And your cheese board comment reminded me – yesterday at a sale I got a cheese board that is also a Ouija board!!! It's a wooden board with one unfinished bark edge and Ouija alphabet markings on it. It is entirely Too Witches and I'm going to cover it with cheese. Enjoy your night! 🙂

      • jenavira says:

        oh my god I love everything about that. 😀

      • redheadfae says:

        Oh goody! I'm glad someone here is doing a vigil, because I just had the worst day, am out of my AD meds til tomorrow and so I just took a Xanax so I imagine I'll be asleep soon whether I want to or not. But it's better than the big ugly cry I was having earlier.
        Your night sounds so wonderful! All hail the return of the Light!!

      • redheadfae says:

        You Ouija cheese board sounds AAA+++mazing!
        Our desktop mousepad (yeh, we still have one) is a Ouija board.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Yay for company for the solstice. I'll be with you in spirit. And envy.

      But boo for the sickness. I choose to believe mulled wine and fancy cheese are therapeutic, will hustle that illness right out of your system right quick.

  4. Heathered says:

    Welp. it's Wednesday and I'm not going to therapy and it definitely feels weird. I canceled for the first time ever this week and she's out all next week, but we'll meet in the new year and finalize a goodbye and I will cry like a broken fire hydrant but it will be Okay. I'm planning to write a book this year (actually two books, but trying not to get too far ahead of myself) and am looking for a very part-time job to give me a little stability. Preferably work from home since I still collapse like a souffle without warning a lot, but I could handle a real world gig if I'm allowed to sit down occasionally. Everything is being flushed down the toilet with this tax plan, but this is giving me a sense of hope and purpose so yay for life rafts.

    • jenavira says:

      Yay for life rafts indeed!

      What kind of book(s)?

    • vladazhael says:

      I still collapse like a souffle without warning a lot

      I am here for playful metaphors for emotional distress. Me, I lose cabin pressure sometimes.

    • CleverManka says:

      Oooo! I am very interested to hear what kind of book(s)! I am trying really hard to avoid thinking about the repercussions of the tax plan…

    • Heathered says:

      One book = middle grade novel, though there's no idea in place yet. The other is nonfic, drawn in part from my recently writing nine short posts for the group I'm a rosary weirdo with online. Not religious at all (I was so uncomfortable doing this that I shared a video of Roseanne Barr singing the National Anthem with my first post), really a way to talk about loneliness and connection and trying to find one's place. Scary scary. But fun so far, too.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Hope and purpose! I like this plan! Not that my approval is at all important. Just want to add my support.

      You are such an interesting writer and so dedicated to the work that I believe anything you choose to write will be very, very good. And kids need books at your level of quality.

      And yesyesyes a part time gig. It does wonders for organizing, not to mention budget. I love the structure a traditional job provides. It forces me to prioritize and schedule and budget time carefully. I get more done with less time on my hands. ::sigh:: I miss being employed. I think I'll live through you vicariously for a while.

      • Heathered says:

        I hope you'll be in a situation that allows you to reconnect with the work force soon! Looking on Craigslist is bumming me out tremendously, though I saw a janitorial gig that sounded good. 2 days a week would be enough, but finding them is gonna be needley-haystacky.

  5. vladazhael says:

    Good day, fellow Mankanauts. I get to see my manfriend in 3 days, for which I am insanely grateful, especially as we have both just been not at our best in this most recent interval between visits and could use the mutual mental unclenching of being together.

    Moving text wall to a comment…

    • vladazhael says:

      My mom, however, is (quietly but oh so obviously) less pleased with my holiday visit choices as she a) forgot I booked this flight way back in August before I knew I'd be doing the other trip last month for the extended working remotely experiment, and b) is generally having a very, very rough time with the holidays exacerbating her existing depression and stress and trauma from a whole mess of legitimate and extended Life Stuff, and though she is being responsible and seeking therapy, some of the angst is leaking over to me as the sort of neediness and mom guilt I (probably foolishly) thought we had moved past. It's so bad right now that the words "seems like you don't value family closeness" were used, and I just… oy. No? No, not as a concept in and of itself. As a thing where I happen to value people who happen to be my family, sure, even if it doesn't manifest as whatever idealized relationships her stress-brain is conjuring up. But I think filial loyalty for its own sake is a toxic thing, and I had been under the impression up until recently that she was aware of that as well, having dealt with entirely too much family bullshit over the years and having expressed in no uncertain terms across multiple Xmas seasons that she wasn't really feeling in the holiday spirit herself and would rather skip the whole shebang and didn't mind if I did. When I went to Chicago last year to just GTFO for a while after my cataclysmic breakup, she encouraged me and expressed envy that I got to do something new and different like that. She doesn't seem to see it that way now, though, because she's bogged down in the despair of health issues and money issues and way too many personal losses and a difficult relationship with my brother (the provided of grandbabies) and political unrest, and somehow I've gone from being a source of rational semi-therapeutic help for her issues with other people to, over the last couple days, a target for external validation requests with the added oomph of former-Catholic Mom Guilt. I know it's a stress response, and I HOPE it's temporary and not a relapse into old bad habits, but it is EXHAUSTING. We've always had this thing where she's never been at ease with my cold Vulcanishness (dare I say, skittishness) about most forms of emotional expression, and she presses for more emotional intimacy than I'm comfortable with, which makes me back off even more, which makes her want it even more, and that cycle has been a thing on and off for decades – less so in the past few years, and I thought we had found a happy medium, but apparently it flares up again when she's going through a rough patch, and I hate to have to reinforce the walls yet again, but it looks like that's where I am. (I suspect, as I type it out, that this cycle is a part of why I've had to work on emotional intelligence later in life, because I just could not let my guard down before.) Anyway, I have agreed with her upon a more than fair strategy of texting as usual and calling more often (I am admittedly a slacker about that) and I'm going to try to stay in therapist mode rather than getting entangled in my own issues with her concerns over my choices (admittedly a thing I got caught up in earlier in the week) and we'll see where it goes from there. I really do not need this when I'm working on my own arc of emotional growth and healing from past shit, but whatever. This is why we drink. (Which I also can't talk about, because that's an as yet unresolved part of her trauma.)

      • CleverManka says:

        It's always a bit of a shock to read a comment like this and feel like I could have written it. My mom is less needy/in need of therapy, at least. I hope you're able to navigate this with minimal stress.

        Also hope you have a fantastic time with Manfriend!

        • vladazhael says:

          The emerging commonality of this dynamic is helpful to me. The power of basic empathy coupled with mom guilt make me feel deep down like I'm doing something wrong by just moving away and living my own life, and incidents like this are just my own filial slackitude catching up with me as a form of justice. But I need to keep in mind that that's not the case – I get to do my own thing – and a lot of people struggle with the difference between what we do and what our parents would have us do, even (perhaps especially) as adults. And even my mom intellectually recognizes a lot of the feelings of abandonment as her issue, but that doesn't mean it's not a thing that can also reach out and grab me. I just need to keep slapping it down, compassionately.

          And thank you. I am sure time with Manfriend will be very good for both of us. 🙂

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        Oooff that sounds FRAUGHT. You seem super on top of being conscious of the dynamic and what causes it and all that. So big kudos for the vulcanishness and the self awareness! Enjoy Manfriend time!

        • vladazhael says:

          Thanks. I think it caught me off guard a couple days ago, hence the stress, but I am going to do my best to avoid carrying someone else's baggage (ironically, a thing I have had to remind her to not do).

      • redheadfae says:

        Ooh, I am so sorry, and holy hell, that sounds like the final two years of my Mum's life as well. Now I am rather stuck with Giftmass holidays with my Daddy until he shuffles off this mortal coil, since there is no one else, no siblings, and his are all in Pennsylvania. Pfft. In other words, I am so sorry and I hope that staying in therapy mode helps you.

        • vladazhael says:

          So far, so good. Mom seemed a lot more cheerful today and was more focused on quilting than on panicking when the tax bill vote came through, so that's a good sign.

      • RoseCamelia says:

        Oh vladazhael, that's hard. So difficult.

        You got this. Just a reminder, in case you forget: Your relationship with your mom goes two ways.

        I see you focusing on her needs. I see you tending to your own, but I don't see any mention of how mom is giving what you need from her. You don't owe us any details. And mom may not be healthy enough to give anything right now.

        But. It's ok to alert her that you need a break, if that comes to seem right for you. "Mom, I'm taking a break. You won't hear from me for a week / two weeks. I will continue loving you all the while and we'll talk again after my break."

        Again, you got this. You know all this. Just a reminder.

        • vladazhael says:

          Thaaaaaank you. That is an excellent viewpoint that I had neglected somewhat. I did tell her flat-out that, look, I have a lot going on right now with the upcoming move, and I am focusing on building a healthy foundation for a relatively new relationship. Which she understands and supports on an intellectual level, but can't always keep in focus on an emotional level when things get particularly tough. And yeah, she's definitely not in a healthy enough place to be giving anything, at least not consistently. But that doesn't mean that it's on me to compromise my well being. Thank you for reminding me that I am actually well within my rights to do the things I want/need to do and am allowed to state outright where my focus is and I am not being a neglectful monster just for having a life that maybe doesn't veer as close to hers as she would like.

    • jenavira says:

      Oof. I recognize a lot of myself and my mom in your story, and yeah, that is A Thing. Strength to you and your mom both to get through this with relative coherence and goodwill.

  6. Kazoogrrl says:

    Ugh. UGH! I am not handling even my low key holiday season very well. I think the continuing simmering level of stress is just getting me down. I do have some fun things planned, but I wish I could shake off this funk. It looks like we are "celebrating" the solstice with going out for burgers and poutine and Star Wars, which is not the fire and holiday foods and gathering in my head, but will do.

    I also need to sit down and make sure all my bills are paid this month, I've been kind of blowing it off since almost everything is no automatic payment right now, which is Not A Good Habit To Get Into. On the other hand, I have my Hobinichi planner to dig into, the bullet journal I started is languishing in my purse. I think I need someone else to do the set up work in order to use a planner, so hopefully this one works out.

    • jenavira says:

      Star Wars is a good Solstice thing, I think.

      New planner season! New planner season is my favorite time of year. I'm just waiting until after the holidays to put in a ridiculously large JetPens order…

    • CleverManka says:

      Oh, god, thank you for the reminder to pay my credit card…I almost forgot. Again. My old credit card used to send an email the week before the payment due date but my new one just sends the account balance info at the beginning of the month (even though the due date isn't until the end of the month). It seems like a system designed to encourage late fees (and maybe it is).

    • LaxMom says:

      I just did all that yesterday/this morning. Most of it. I have to pay the bills in waves once I estimate them in the budget, because otherwise it's too overwhelming.
      I am going to try to do something to honor the solstice tomorrow. Cynic me/mom of teens has been slacking on solstice for a few years.

    • vladazhael says:

      am not handling even my low key holiday season very well.

      I have an emerging theory that even for those of us who manage to shrink our own holiday situations and stressors down to a bearable minimum, there is so much collective stress going on around us that it tends to rush in to fill the void. More on this as the story develops…

  7. littleinfinity says:

    Today is my second-to-last day of work for the year! The solstice is tomorrow! We may yet emerge alive from 2017! <fingers crossed>

    I'm mostly done with Christmas shopping because my family and J's family live basically everywhere in the US except for here. So there has been a lot of wrapping/ packing/ address locating/ shipping for the last few days. Also cookie eating. So much cookie eating. I am a happy rotund little cookie monster.

    What is everyone doing for the holidays? Are you all going to be around next week? I'm staying in town and very much looking forward to my staycation.

    • jenavira says:

      Fatigue has meant I am woefully short on cookies this year, but that should be made up this weekend. (My mom has my cousin's kids over to decorate cookies every year and we get the leftovers.) Solstice tonight, family Christmas this weekend, friend Christmas next weekend, and then a blessed, blessed staycation.

    • CleverManka says:

      Yay for eating cookies!

      I am doing pretty much nothing for the holidays. I bought one small thing for the Burgomaster (which I may or may not wrap), and I'm Skyping my parents on xmas day. Oh, and touching up my roots either the 23rd or 24th. Exciting times.

    • meat_lord says:

      Ooh, what kind of cookies did you feast on? I'm staying in town, so I'll be around. I'm actually taking quite a lot of time off.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Fri night hygge hang out with friends (making Swedish meatballs); Sat lunch with friends and shopping (mostly food); Sun, baking for Christmas dinner, doing any food prep needed, yearly Rare Exports watching; Mon, going to parents for the holiday; Tues, not moving off the couch.

      • littleinfinity says:

        Sounds like a great line-up! I love that you're making Swedish meatballs!!  I don't know anyone else who makes those. My mom's side is Swedish so I grew up eating Swedish meatballs, herring, Wasabrod, and other Scandinavian foods on Christmas Eve.

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          I've never made Swedish meatballs, and I am in no way Scandinavian, but they know how to do Christmas! Last year I did a Danish Christmas evening dinner. This year I'll skip the herring because we're the only ones who would like it. Maybe next year I'll do Iceland or Norway, and then put together a meal of what we liked best.

    • Heathered says:

      Staying home, laying low, and eating a lot of pfeffernusse.

    • redheadfae says:

      I am doing one more thing until Giftmass Eve when Daddy will show up at our place. Since we are on our second one without Mum, I will make a new tradition of the three of us wearing silly elf hats while we open presents ( I went a little more than usual for Daddy since he won't get any other pressies). If I have the energy, I'll try to make mince pies, but that might not happen til Sat.
      Then on That Day, we will have tea and toast in the early AM and head for our hotel room at the casino, where we will mauo down on their Christmas Buffet and gamble a wee bit, then hang out in our room overlooking the city until the morrow. We may go shopping the day after. All of this is out of Daddy's pocket since he got a forgotten IRA payment out of his account now that he's of age and has to get it.
      So.. not so bad because I am so not the big meal cook. I may attempt a stuffed pork loin on Boxing Day so that I can send Daddy home with a good deal of it.
      Then we just collapse until Jan 3rd.

  8. Doc_Paradise says:

    Trauma is the "gift" that keeps on giving.

    *Content warning for everything past this point*

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    I went to the doc last week about something minor, but irritating that I'd been experiencing and which was likely another side-effect of my previous horrible illness. He *immediately* sent me to the gyno. I had the appointment yesterday.

    It is something something minor, but irritating, and I have a follow up test and appointment to check/confirm that there are no cysts… BUT… from the moment I walked into the office I was hit by EVERY medical trigger I have and several gender triggers. I didn't have any support people with me but I was madly texting my partners. I managed to hold it together until the doctor (male) started reassuring me through minimization language and I lost it. I'm there without my pants and losing my ability to talk coherently and crying and panicking at the same "reassurance" and minimization that doctors gave me when I HAD a life threatening illness AND I'm stuck having to use my own extensive training to manage the doctor when I *know* (true or not) that I'm just being seen as an overemotional crazy person. Dissociation to the rescue. The calm emergency bit of me that trained for this, got me through, got me out, got me home, got me drugs, got me into bed, and got me help (partners came home early to care for me and feed me). The triggered part of me in control of my body, panicked, cried, relived past traumas, thought I should be dead for the sin of wasting people's time and being anxious, and sweat fear sweat all the way through my clothing and bed sheets until the drugs kicked in and I turned into a zombie.

    My memories of yesterday are fuzzy (thank fuck). I'm calm today and recovering, but the panic attack set off my inflammation and body pain. I'm being careful not to do too much and mostly focus on easy and non-emotional tasks. I hate this. I hate this so much. I hate how much distress undermines any and all belief I have in myself.

    • vladazhael says:

      Oooooyyyyy. I'm so sorry. Astral hugs and good vibes to you. It sounds like you're doing the best possible stuff to alleviate a shitty situation, and I hope it recedes into the past very soon.

    • LaxMom says:

      That happened to me several times in 2008, during the height of my post-accident worry and trauma and divorce abuse. I still have not been able to go get a pap smear. It's been 9 years and I will probably trigger the minute I walk in the office. It's not something you can blame yourself for. I am glad you had people to care for you and meds to get you through it.
      I understand, I spent years hating my brain for undermining me.

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        I don't have a diagnosis of it… but the Kudzu of Joy keeps referring to it as PTSD (in his opinion). I wish neither you or I went through this. I don't wish it on my enemies. Gah.

    • meat_lord says:

      Oh, jeez. That sounds absolutely dreadful. I beam whatever vibes you would find most soothing, healing, and validating your way.

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        Thank you. It was.

        If the medical distress hadn't wiped out everything, I still probably would have needed a steak and whiskey cure… the place was BRIGHT pink, every wall was covered with baby photos, saccharine christmas carols were playing, and it smelled of talcum powder.

        • meat_lord says:

          Eesh. Wow, that's excessively saccharine. Steak and whiskey would be just the antidote.

        • redheadfae says:

          Blech! I hate gynos offices for that, and the (to me) disgusting body part 3D figures and posters. I got rid of those unhappy parts by degrees and do not wish to be reminded that my innards started out like that. I hand over my Feminist Body Positive card for that.

          Perhaps in the future to come, there will be an exam room that doesn't have baby reminders and models of uteri, and more gender-neutral colors.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Biology diagrams are fine for me… that's SCIENCE and these ALIEN HUMAN BODIES are strange and weird.

            I'm kinda new to trying to understand biology. Before I had an interest in it, I didn't take high school biology because I couldn't spell latin words and David Suzuki's show on gestation with in vitro video was a horror show to me as a child. Before recently, my default question for biology based things was "Can I eat it?"

            This office didn't have many diagrams. It was filled with THOUSANDS of proud parent new baby photos of newly born babies that I assume the doctor delivered.

          • redheadfae says:

            LOL… different views are so interesting! I think the baby pics would be even worse. Gack!

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      I'm sending you hugs and also all the FEELINGS OF ENTITLEMENT I can muster. You are entitled to medical care, you are entitled to be listened to, you are entitled to respect, you are entitled to have small issues checked out before they become big expensive and time-consuming problems.

    • jenavira says:

      I am so, so sorry, that is so hard and miserable (and fuck doctors, anyway). You did good, getting yourself home and getting help. I hope your recovery from this is swift and reassuring.

      • Doc_Paradise says:

        Thanks. I'm doing better than I have in the past and recovering faster. The Kudzu of Joy just pointed out that being able to cope with and function through terror isn't incompetence.

    • Heathered says:

      Whew, I'm sorry this happened to you, and even more sorry that you had to dig so deep into your reserves to get through it. You absolutely deserve better treatment and kind assurance, and to enjoy life with your tank topped off.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Oh no. Gentle hugs for you. In any format you prefer: physical, virtual, imagined, etc.

      I have modified the space laser. It now has a dial for obliterating triggers. Medical and Gender are included on the dial.

      ::pushes laser across to you::

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I am so sorry that happened to you – you don't deserve it and it feels unkind to add it to the trauma that exists for regular people going to the doctor about regular worries. Sending you visions of whales, leaping in cold water.

  9. LaxMom says:

    Tomorrow is my birthday. I have my kids. I usually don't. I want to be doing all the things, the solstice vigil, the knitting, the tree decorating, the cookies. Instead I am trying like hell to get my proposal done, cleaning out the garage while listening to abba because it's warm and sunny here and I do need to get the car in it over the winter when we get our 2 ft of snow. Bawling my eyes out with mom-crying as I go through kids' toys, empty boxes, kill stinkbugs, and drag my way through the stuff to the christmas decorations. (yesterday I was able to reach them with nothing faling on me. I probably have 2 more carloads of give away and several large toys to donate/sell (like a gigantic rubbermaid bin full of car track).
    Also instead of the birthday things I'm trying to apply for jobs, zero out the year with the ex (always pulling teeth), support girl through her first midterms, and fight the lacrosse coach. ugh.
    Someobody tell me how to find that person who can go out and celebrate solstice properly, because I haven't seen her lately.
    although if it stays clear here I might see if there are any beach solstice ceremonies, since we are getting inundated with snowy owls and that would be really cool.

    • CleverManka says:

      Best wishes for a happy birthday tomorrow that isn't terribly stressful.

      • LaxMom says:

        Thank you.
        You know, you'd think I'd be used to it by now! My main memories are grade school blizzards and high school exams/concerts. I just every year think this is the year it will all be balanced….ha ha ha ha joke's on me!

    • jenavira says:

      Happy birthday! I hope you're able to find a couple of hours of peace. If not, know that you are doing important and life-giving work and you are appreciated. It's not the same, but it helps.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      Happy birthday! I hope you get some beach and owl time, or at least a *slightly* less stressful day than usual.

    • vladazhael says:

      May your birthday and your solstice be healthy and renewing in whatever way you can manage!

    • littleinfinity says:

      Happy birthday! I hope you can carve out an amount of time in which you pay attention to no one but yourself and your wants and needs.

    • Heathered says:

      Happy birthday and solstice! Happy Bowlstice! (Maybe for the owls, or maybe you need to just go out, have a beer, and bowl a few frames.) Whatever you do I hope it offers you a nugget or two of happiness.

    • meat_lord says:

      Happy birthday! You'll be in my thoughts tomorrow–wishing you all the good things for the next year!

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Happy birthday and solstice! I hope you can carve out even a little bit of time for yourself, the beach visit sounds very cool!

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Have a good birthday, despite everything. Perhaps get some unexpected good news.

    • redheadfae says:

      Well, by golly, I sure hope that your beach and owl time don't combine to cause "bowel" time, because that would suck.
      So better off find some downtime that doesn't involve so much at once.

  10. Fancy_Pants says:

    Creativity check-in​! I continue to play guitar a few days a week and do some songwriting. This week was very busy for me, socially, so I had less solo downtime for creative stuff. This afternoon, I plan to pull out my mic and record a little song for a Christmas present for a friend, but we'll see how the day goes (I definitely need a nap first!).

    How is everyone progressing on their creative projects? Are you crafters out there feeling the crunch time for Christmas presents?

    • jenavira says:

      I have not even cast on the knitting project I want to make for my dad! Fortunately it should go pretty quickly, and I have all night tonight to work on it, so. Fingers crossed?

      My executive dysfunction is still such that my creativity is focused largely into simple, repetitive, tactile things. I've been knitting, and also frogging some old half-started knitting projects that are never going to be finished. I did a little baking this week, but it was more "for need" than "for creativity," so it doesn't feel like that counts.

      I really, really want to write. My brain is not letting me. Partly I think it's because I built up some bad habits when I was very depressed, and partly it might be a medication thing, but I have some ideas for how much mental space I need to get going again and…it's gonna have to wait until that week of vacation in January. And there's a good chance I'll take another week in, like, March, just for writing. (Apparently I get four weeks of vacation a year now?? No one told me this! I'm an American, I don't know what to do with four weeks of vacation a year!)

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        Maybe the knitting will give your brain a chance to work on writing ideas in the background?

        Do you find you need big empty chunks of time to get creative work done, or is it just the setting-up phase? I really want to train myself to be one of those awesome people who, like, set aside an hour first thing in the morning ever day to work on their novel. I don't know if it's an organization problem, or a discipline thing, or just an inherent mental "type".

        • jenavira says:

          I have no idea! I used to be able to chew on writing ideas while doing other things, but it's been a long time since I've been able to do that. I think what I need now is big empty chunks of time to figure out literally how to write again. Like. Do I start with a character or an idea or a setting? Do I know what I'm doing before I get going? Do I visualize first, or do I write the draft and then visualize and then refine? I genuinely do not know how to do these things, which is baffling, because I used to write a lot, all the time! I've written three novel drafts and more than 100,000 words of fanfiction! I don't remember how. Depression and medication have re-wired my brain and I need space to re-learn.

          (I have found that visual art doesn't need the same setup time for me, right now; I can have an idea out of nowhere and sit down and work on it as soon as I can find time. It's just language I can't wrangle at the moment.)

          • Fancy_Pants says:

            OH WOW. Ohhhhhhhhh. That is totally wild that you have to re-learn the whole process. It never occurred to me that it's possible to lose that.

            Good on you for being willing to roll that particular boulder up the mountain again. I wonder if your writing style will end up being different the second time around?

          • jenavira says:

            It is wild! Brains are weird and amazing! But I definitely never learned how to write the first time – it's something I remember doing for literally as long as I could string words together into sentences. So I'm hoping that I can come at it intentionally this time, with some idea of what I want to achieve. Which means also making the space to figure out what I want to achieve.

            A couple of years ago, at WisCon, Sofia Samatar gave a speech about learning to dream her own dream and not Isaac Asimov's dream. And she writes these gorgeous, lush, diverse post-colonialist fantasy novels that aren't like anything else in the world. And I've been mentally chewing on that speech for a while, trying to figure out what dreams I have that I want to put into writing and how I want to do that. That's taking time, too.

            I fully expect my style to be different when I figure this out, but I'm hoping that means I'll have a style this time; mine was always pretty derivative.

          • Fancy_Pants says:

            I initially felt like oh god, I would be devastated to lose something like that, but you are making it sound like a great adventure. This is SUPER interesting and I'm excited to hear how it all works out.

          • jenavira says:

            It's been…a process, getting here, for sure. (It helps that I was too depressed to even want to write for a few years. Now I'm less depressed but I want to write, so…progress?) And it helps that I've seen a couple of pro writers I admire talk about doing something similar for whatever reason. So it's rough, but…interesting? And exciting? It feels like being given a reset button, like yes, everything you did before doesn't count, but also, everything you did before doesn't count. You can do something totally different this time if you want to.

          • Lee Thomson says:

            except…. Except that everything you've done so far is practice as well as not counting? I've been making everything for the last several years telling myself "this is just an experiment." The making is practice, and skill building, and experimenting and developing… I want to say it counts for experience? and it counts for the quantities of crap I/you/everyone has to produce to get to where we want to be? that 10,000 hour part, or the 100,000 words of crap before you begin to write well.

          • jenavira says:

            I mean, that's true, but it also… it doesn't feel the same way it did before, when I would just Not Write for a while and then go back to it. This is different from that in a big way. A lot of the things I've learned no longer apply and I have to throw them out and learn new things.

            But I do know more about storytelling and practice than I did when I was seven, that's for sure.

          • redheadfae says:

            Craft report, I momentarily considered sending a homemade card to a letter-writing friend of mine, but quickly discarded the idea.

    • LaxMom says:

      Yes pressure, but not too badly, because my family pretty much rules that homemade presents and christmas cards are perfectly acceptable up until valentines day, so it's not too bad. My coffee table is a sea of afghan pieces (I am making three identical ones for my mom and her sisters), and that's bugging me because it's keeping me from making any other stuff. But we have a craft day planned for friday when the kids are out of school, so I will get my chance to do non-yarny things then.

    • vladazhael says:

      I crocheted an afghan for my manfriend, which accidentally turned out HUGE, but I guess now it can be a bed blanket instead of a throw, and I can always redo it if needed because it was super easy and super quick. I finished it in time to pack it up and take it to the post office on Monday with all my other Xmas mailings, but it turns out it'll be cheaper to take it on my trip with me as checked baggage, so I'll be wrangling that through the airport.

      I've been on a big knitting/crochet kick lately, but that was the only thing I needed to complete for this round – everything else is just projects for me and then a smaller baby afghan for my brother's kid, who isn't due until February. Manfriend has agreed to drive me to my favorite craft shop in Wisconsin – which I like to call Yarn Valhalla – where I will stock up on the knitting needle sizes and accessories the big box stores here don't sell, and also probably buy a bunch of yarn I don't truly need. It will be glorious.

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        You all are utter champions, just making afghans like it's no big deal! I hope you have a very cozy flight, all snuggled up in an enormous homemade afghan.

        • vladazhael says:

          Hmm. I was going to leave it in the shipping box like "look, I wrapped your present", but you've given me another idea…

    • pseudonymica says:

      I'm crocheting a doily for my dad and I am ridiculously pleased about that because it sounds absurd. He would be appalled if he heard those words, but I think he'll love it because it's a spiderweb with two spiders on it. We have a mutual enjoyment of spider watching. Nothing formal, but kind of like a father and daughter who go fishing together now and then. He likes to catch prey for the large spiders he encourages to live on the front porch, and no one appreciate that pasttime add much as I do. Plus he always saves dead spiders for me in jars if they are interesting looking.

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        I love…everything about this. It started off awesome and then every sentence got better. I am so happy that you and your dad share this weird thing and I'm so glad you are making crafts about it. Oh gosh and you dad keeps pet spiders! Thank you for this.

    • exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

      I am completely stalled on my main writing project, thanks to a combination of busyness and stress. But yesterday I thought of a silly Star-Wars-related text post and posted it, which I'm really proud of. It's hard for me to turn ideas I have into things out in the world other people can see/hear, so this was a good baby step.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Baking has really been it for me, though I'm getting a few rows of knitting out every couple of days. Man, chunky yarn is so gratifying!

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        Baking at this time of year feels so primally satisfying for me. All the coziness and the pleasant associated memories and the sharing with people at all the seasonal gatherings. It's like we all want to fatten up all our loved ones to survive the winter. I made GINGERBREAD a week or two ago and it was like mmmmhmmmm YES!

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I've been knitting, finishing off a pair of socks – the pattern is easy but finicky? I need to pay more attention to it than I want to.

      I am working on the LWB for the tarot I finished, and the little light-box/studio thing for photographing the cards preparatory to sending them to the place that will make them into decks.

  11. jenavira says:

    Oh, and I don't remember who it was here who mentioned I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats, but thank you; it's fascinating and brilliant, and "The Best-Ever Death Metal Band in Denton" is my new favorite song.

    • Rillquiet says:

      I hadn't realized how much Christianity was part of Darnielle's life, so finding that out AND hearing how it informed the "hail Satan" line was fascinating. And that thing about the wise thief (who is a big touchstone for the faith in which I grew up) be a marker for how sin can actually lead to redemption was an angle I'd never heard discussed before.

      And this week there's Dessa, eeeee.

      • jenavira says:

        Yeah, I have just enough residual Christianity to find that discussion heartwarming. (Also I'm a sucker for people, especially guys, getting really emotional about Meaningful Things, so that was an A+ podcast experience overall)

        I just saw that! So excited!

        • Rillquiet says:

          The wise thief's story was never the thing that got me leading up to Easter, but I had my guaranteed crying moments too, and it can be difficult to discuss them in public, because they feel intimate. So credit to Darnielle for being able to share that openly.

          My other fave cover so far has been the Ibibio Sound Machine version of "Color in Your Cheeks." Joseph Fink really deserves kudos for coming up with and developing this show.

          • jenavira says:

            Yes! That was fabulous.

            I'm probably going to wind up pre-ordering the album tonight; so far I've enjoyed the hell out of all of the covers.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Huh. I didn't know about that podcast.

  12. Rillquiet says:

    I've gotten my holiday cards out on time and updated the spreadsheet so that I don't keep having to look folks' addresses up next year; done the bulk of my shopping for gifts, including presents for the family visit next week; gotten Himself's photo taken with the barn Santa (this year I spared him the silly hat, which he tolerates with the same "there'd better be peppermints afterward" expression of forced patience as he does most other things); and made my second batch of krupnik for the year. Sol Invictus and the gods of capitalism propitiated, I am officially allowed to take the rest of the holiday celebrations off.

    This weekend I strapped on my heels for a practice and two milongas; my plans to attend a third gave way to the realization that I was too tired and footsore to actually want to go. It's humbling to sneak out of a party at 2 AM, exhausted in spite of a disco nap, while know that people 20 and 30 years your senior are on track to make the official 5 AM closing time with no problem.

  13. Lee Thomson says:

    oh hai – I thought yesterday was Friday because my family all appeared at what felt like the end of the week and I had a minor freakout because I thought I'd missed the dishwasher dude, but it was in fact only tuesday. Now I get to beat my way through a week of Saturdays, which will be amusing, and then with very little warning XMas will happen, and boom! I won't know what year it is either. Yay?

    In more serious news, in honor of the Black vote in Alabama, I went and gave money to three different Black voter and candidate funds. So.

    • LaxMom says:

      Oh my gosh, I had that same reaction. On Monday I thought the week was over and it was vacation (super stress holiday stuff needs to be done by) time, and I hadn't finished anything yet…several deep breaths later I'm trying to keep an even keel.
      Is your dishwasher broken? I am sorry, that is a very sad state of affairs.

    • CleverManka says:

      Yay! If anyone else is in a donating mood, the SPLC is matching donations right now.

      Hope your family time is wonderful!

  14. meat_lord says:

    Hey, everyone! My convention adventure this weekend was successful! As cons go, this one was extremely small & low-key, but that was actually a plus. My group and I had a great time. I'll post cosplay photos here later, when I'm not at work.

  15. pseudonymica says:

    LIFE, my witches. Seriously, I started writing and realized it should go in a comment. Don't click if parental illness and sibling alcoholism are too upsetting.

    Here is something nice instead, if you like Christmas music. I sought out pretty instrumental and vocal arrangements without too much schmaltz, mostly.

    • pseudonymica says:

      My dad is in the hospital with really bad pneumonia and keeps trying to escape due to fever delerium + stubborn personality + …being in the hospital.

      It's a five hour drive away and I've been instructed not to go yet for various reasons including me not getting sick, which is wise because I am getting over some crud I had after some other crud following a cold.

      But my mom and brother are clearly struggling with resurfaced trauma from when he had a heart attack a few years ago and my mom kept his body going for over half and hour with CPR. That same week my niece was born and my brother started drinking a lot due to the stress, which culminated in his current alcoholic crisis of marriage disintegration etc etc. He was supposed to go to rehab tomorrow but that is not going to happen.

      He's been staying with my parents and they've been awesome because they're awesome but he is their Baby Boy and they have no experience with that kind of thing so, yeah, the enabling has been getting out of hand. Everything is "poor baby this, poor baby that…" Blech! But he is making efforts to quit, including repairing his relationship with me, which I very deeply value.

      Meanwhile my brain still doesn't work right and I don't have any money and I realized my doctor is right and I definitely have PTSD from my car accident/finishing my PhD and my attorney sucks. But I have a full neuropsych eval and a new attorney lined up in January, physical therapy is great – wait, I lied! It's extremely painful! I had no idea my muscles and nerves were so screwed up, but I'm grateful that I'm getting that fixed and it isn't normal for everything to hurt after all.

      Anyway, right this moment I feel surprisingly okay. Maybe it's the high of accomplishment (just talked to local news about why the tax plan is terrible for health) and these iron supplements I'm taking again after I thought maybe I didn't need them anymore because they are too expensive. It turns out I definitely need them. Or maybe it's the catharsis or writing and sharing. Thank you for listening.

      • CleverManka says:

        Oh my gosh, bb. That is…a lot. I mean it would be a lot any time of year but add holiday feels to that mix and ooooof. I'm very glad to hear you're surprisingly okay.

      • jenavira says:

        YIKES. That is a whole, whole lot. I'm glad you're feeling okay even so. Best wishes to you & your family.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        Woo, that is a trifecta of crap, I'm glad you're feeling ok!

      • vladazhael says:

        Oy. I am glad you're getting through this all fairly intact and best wishes to your family. Some of this rings familiar, as my uncle was a long-time alcoholic but was the golden boy to my grandparents (mostly grandmother), and they enabled him and heaped all the real responsible work on my mother. And, well… the uncle isn't around any more (bear in mind this is after several decades of almost entirely untreated abuse and also untreated medical effects), nor is another sister who died suddenly under unaddressed boozy circumstances, and my mom has huge amounts of trauma and bitterness from her siblings' issues with booze and how that blew back on her, so absolutely GOOD ON YOU for not jumping on the enabling train and instead supporting your brother's efforts to quit in a healthy way. I really think had my family been more open and proactive about dealing with such things and addressing addiction head-on, more of them would still exist, and I love to see other families doing a better job of that, even if some enabling habits need work.

      • Heathered says:

        Wow, I'm knocked out by your self-advocacy and ability to find okayness in the midst of so much chaos. *runs to take an iron supplement* I hope things calm down for you and your family.

  16. exitpursuedbyaclaire says:

    I'm glad this post exists, because it got me to realize I have actually accomplished a lot in the past week. Fiancé and I did a six-hour marathon of Christmas shopping this Saturday. I ordered a gift last night and have only one remaining. I sorted the massive mound of my laundry in the bedroom and am steadily working my way through washing it. I helped a friend bake on Monday, and even though she's a great baker and I never bake, I was helpful. I had a good conversation with my boss today.

    Typing all this out makes me feel less daunted about the days to come. I have almost all of my wrapping and a decent chunk of my laundry left that I have to finish before Friday. I'm exhausted, but I can do this.

  17. LaxMom says:

    ugggggggh
    happy birthday to me, the basement toilet is flooding.

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