Mid-week check-in

Clever Manka, · Categories: Check-In

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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.

249 Responses to “Mid-week check-in”

  1. damngoodcoffee says:

    I am meeting w/RoseCamelia on Saturday to go to a lovely lunch!

    Other than that, work, work, and more work. But, I am managing to still read/relax when I have down time, which I find helps my anxiety quite a bit more than surfing different social media sites & reading fic (which I still do, don't get me wrong; I just force myself to fit in reading books [fiction & non-fiction] as well). I have been managing to keep up w/journaling, and also am most of the way through the doc on HBO go, 'Beware of the Slenderman,' which is equal parts creepy, depressing, (b/c of the true crime aspect) and fascinating (b/c of the 'digital folklore' aspect). I am feeling pretty worn down by all the work busy-ness, still, though. Hopefully a full-night's sleep tonight will help.

  2. jenavira says:

    I am kind of surprised at how sad I am about Ursula Le Guin. I think I thought she was going to live forever? (Although I did appreciate the number of people I saw on Twitter saying "I didn't realize what happened, I just thought, yes, good, this is the appropriate amount of time to spend talking about Ursula Le Guin.")

    Medication changes continue to mess me up pretty good. Fortunately I take notes obsessively, so I have a decent record of my mental state. Last week I was hypomanic and halfway convinced that what I needed was to go off of antidepressants altogether. Today I am blah and exhausted and mostly numb again. So it goes.

    (I think I have completely forgotten how to actually focus on a single thing. I can remember having done that in the past, but right now I can't spend more than five minutes on something without needing to do something else. Which is…sub-optimal.)

    • dirtymagpie says:

      I'm so sorry you're going through the medications merry go round as well. I know only too well how that's going for me. I'm still trying to get off Cymbalta without experiencing the horrid "withdrawals" and the Wellbutrin hasn't quite made a difference yet.

      • jenavira says:

        The stage where you're getting withdrawal from one med and the other one isn't effective yet is so terrible. Surely there's a better way to do this?!?

        *solidarity fistbump*

    • CleverManka says:

      That (lack of) focus thing sounds terrible. Has that been a long time happening/developing or is it pretty new?

      • jenavira says:

        It's hard to say. I know focus comes and goes for me. Sometimes it's relatively easy; more often it's a struggle, but when I do get focused I can work really well. (And then someone breaks me out of it and it takes even longer to get back in.) As for how long it's been going on… I've been in the professional world for six years, and at least that long. I never had to study in school, so I don't know if it was a problem then, the only thing I spent time focusing on then was novels and writing fanfiction.

        (Yes, I am about 85% convinced that I have undiagnosed ADHD, but I don't know how to go about getting it diagnosed when my psychiatrist just…will not respond to my questions about it. I told my therapist that when I really need to focus I drink huge quantities of caffeine, and she laughed and said, "Yeah, that's ADHD." Non-medication coping strategies welcome.)

        • CleverManka says:

          WTF, psychiatrist. Still? I remember you mentioning that before and it sucks that they're still not listening to you. I would be willing to bet it's that whole "women don't have ADD' mentality. Would it help if your therapist contacted them? Or would that make things worse?

          I'm sorry I don't have any coping strategies for you. =(

        • meat_lord says:

          Fire your psychiatrist? I don't know if that's feasible, but it's the first thing that comes to mind.

          • jenavira says:

            It's a possibility, once I get stabilized on the new medication. (I do not have it in me to doctor-hunt while in the middle of changing meds.) Ugh, I have this horrible feeling that it looks like drug-seeking behavior, though, especially with how appealing amphetamines are on the black market.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          I have only one book in my library on ADHD… and it is on the non-medicine perspective. "Scattered Minds: Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder" by Gabor Mate MD. I don't know much about ADHD so I can't tell you anything about the quality of the medical advice, but Gabor Mate is an excellent writer. I got a lot out of his other books and this one is just as well written.

          • jenavira says:

            Hm, I am enjoying the book of his I already have out, I will have to look for that. Thanks (again)!

    • Heathered says:

      I hope you find a path to meds that work! Herbal ones are proving to be surprisingly similar to their prescription counterparts in terms of side effects, which is something I did not anticipate at all.

      • jenavira says:

        That is…well, I guess if anything has an effect it's going to have a side effect. Right now yoga is the thing that's helping the most, and the side effect is that my shoulders are sore, like, every day.

        • Heathered says:

          Yoga = very good for everything (except possibly shoulders). Still trying to figure it out in my limited space. St. John's Wort is *supposed* to offer a nice mix of SSRI/tricyclic benes with dramatically fewer side effects, but when I got enough in my system to feel the depression lift my stomach immediately went kerplooey. And cutting the dose has flattened my mood out big-time. The one thing I like about this shitshow is, having never been in a science fair as a kid, it kind of feels that way to me. We poured acid on this potato to see what will happen! Stay tuned!

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      I haven't read much Le Guin, thoughtI should change that, so I'm vaguely sad. Ellen Kushner's FB post, and Charles Vess's comments (he's working on illustrations for some of Le Guin's works, I think) made me feel sadder for her friends and colleagues.

      The med stuff sounds awful, I'm sorry.

      • jenavira says:

        I just made myself cry writing a review of her poetry collection for the library blog, so here's a sample:

        January Night Prayer
        Bellchimes jangle, freakish wind
        whistles icy out of desert lands
        over the mountains. Janus, Lord
        of winter and beginnings, riven
        and shaken, with two faces,
        watcher at the gates of winds and cities,
        god of the wakeful:
        keep me from coldhanded envy
        and petty anger. Open
        my soul to the vast
        dark places. Say to me, say again,
        nothing is taken, only given.

      • Räven says:

        I'm SUPER excited for the Vess Earthsea collection. And I don't even like the later ones that much (don't @ me, chacun a son gout, maybe the one-volume will change my mind). It's due out this year still, I think.

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          I met Vess a few times though the PA Fairie Fest, and he is such a nice guy. We had a discussion about accurately depicting knitting in artwork.Thinking about all these artists and writers I admire being sad made it hit home a little harder.

    • meat_lord says:

      Ursula :((

      I regret never writing to her. I wish I'd tried to express how much her work meant to me. Man, I knew she wasn't long for this world, but I don't think I really processed what that would mean.

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I'm so sorry the meds have you unsteady – I think is the hardest time of year for us North Hemispherians with the rest of the long dark winter yet to go, and a long stretch of blah for people to behave badly in…

    • vladazhael says:

      I think I have completely forgotten how to actually focus on a single thing.

      SAAAAAAAAME. I can focus on several things or I can HYPERfocus on one thing. Middle ground? Not so much.

  3. Kazoogrrl says:

    I'm feeling a little despondent about job hunting. I despise my job but get paid just enough to cling to my not-extravagant lifestyle. Looking at jobs for which I'm qualified and that interest me would involve a paycut. Then I get into a whole spiral about the shit pay for most jobs, especially in female heavy/led fields. I also get down on myself for not being more career oriented and sort of drifting through jobs, getting stuck in positions because I'm too lazy to push myself, etc. Sneaky job hunting hate spiral. THE WORST.

    I'm also deploying sarcasm at an American white dude who is all "whine whine whine" about a "don't use spirit animal non-Native people" meme a friend posted. *pause to check FB* Oh I'm really going in now. Anyone got a space laser I can borrow?

  4. vladazhael says:

    Manfriend and I still have not gotten word on our apartment application, other than requests for more info and a notice that it's "going well" except for his current landlord being shitty, which is absolutely expected. And in the meantime we found this other PERFECT place that starts too soon for us and I really want to talk the guy who's renting it out into waiting a little. And then there's this other landlord I contacted weeks ago who is finally getting back to me and wanting to set up showings.

    This is fine. Everything's fine. We're all fine here. How are you?

    Meanwhile I have been eBaying ALL THE THINGS, fiddling around with watercolors and art supplies in preparation for the February make crap mission, and doing my best to nurture what I am fully aware is a barely sane mental state while I hyperfocus on relocating. Good times.

    • Heathered says:

      Waiting to hear about a place and then seeing other places = torture. Why isn't residential polyamory a thing? I hope the right one comes through for you.

    • jenavira says:

      You're doing better than I do when moving! Every time I move I wind up calling my parents crying at 11pm while sitting in a fortress made out of moving boxes. (And I'm 33.)

    • CleverManka says:

      How is the eBay stuff going? I'm looking at shedding a ton of stuff (mostly fabric, perhaps some clothes) this spring/summer but I haven't been on eBay in donkey's years and I wasn't sure how active it still was.

      Could it hurt to ask the guy with the perfect place if he could possibly hold it?

      • vladazhael says:

        eBay is still very much active, and I've found things very easy with the app and the option to estimate and (optionally) pay for shipping through the site. My regular clothing is definitely not selling as well as collectibles and vintage clothes, though. I can't say either way on fabric. I would say list a few things to get a feel for whether the effort is worth it for you first, and go from there. I've found it easier as I go along and I got some decent cash out of it mostly due to a pair of rare Doc Martens I happened to own that never fit right, but I've definitely pulled a few things out of the eBay pile and moved them to the donate pile because I know it won't be worthwhile to take pics and all.

        I actually did ask the guy about Place B as soon as I saw it, and he was pretty hesitant to leave it vacant for the time period in question, but Manfriend is thinking about calling himself and working some charm, especially since he knew people who lived there before (which I was unaware of when I called). That's assuming the hellscape that is his work week gives him the chance, though. And the place we have an application in for *is* still pretty cool – it's just not this other one that he's had his eyes on for 5 years and that I noticed months ago when we walked by it.

    • Kazoogrrl says:

      Whatever you end up with will be great, though the journey there may stink. Fingers crossed it resolves itself with a minimum amount of fuss!

  5. dirtymagpie says:

    Well, I'm off to my surgery followup today and I hope I'll hear that this swelling, which is almost as big as my hernia was, will go down in time. Meanwhile, I'm still shoveling pain meds and anti-constipation junk down my maw in order to function. I didn't know it was going to be this rough to have open surgery, I sure am glad I didn't have that for my hysterectomy, but then, I probably wouldn't have had this hernia, LOL.

  6. Heathered says:

    Monday's visit from RoseCamelia was a small island of goodness in a week of mostly poop emoji.

    I am getting specific goals in place for making crap in February (it will definitely be embroidery, but those little books reminded me I've bought two books on Coptic binding and never done it, so that's going to finally happen, too–I made an awl out of a cork and finish nail last night!).

    Eating down my freezer and pantry (KonMari for food! But instead of joy it all sparks indigestion.) is going well. Chicken thighs in a honey glaze in the crock pot today.

    Trying to translate my excitement about making crap into making a life for myself, but it's a hard leap lately. Depression has its hooks in and nothing seems to be lifting it. If it's driven by my circumstances, they are what has to change. But there are limits to what I can do with the resources I have. Just, a tight spot to be in. Maybe I can embroider my way out.

    • CleverManka says:

      I hope you're able to shake those hooks off without too much stressing of your limits. So glad the visit with RoseCamelia was fun–hurray for islands of goodness!

      Remind me what sort of embroidery you do?

      • Heathered says:

        None! So I'm hoping to do it badly for 28 days by way of learning! If I can learn half a dozen stitches and make a patch for the hat I'm wearing right now it will be a huge accomplishment.

        • CleverManka says:

          =D I've always loved freehand/outsider-art style embroidery and have thoughts of someday trying it myself. Someone I know did kind of flash-style tattoo embroidery on a denim jacket and I've always thought it looked so fun. My nana did counted cross-stitch for ages and mad respect for people who can do that, but I am not one of them.

        • Lee Thomson says:


          lots of embroidery help on youtoob, if you need it!

    • jenavira says:

      Just, a tight spot to be in. Maybe I can embroider my way out.

      I love this and now I am imagining an embroidery-sorceress stitching windows and doors and better jobs and new friends. (Oh! An embroidered hedgehog familiar! Not usually all that prickly but when he's startled his spines are needles.)

      • vladazhael says:

        This needs to be a story or webcomic or something.

      • Heathered says:

        Just heading out to the yard with my needlepoint ouija board and my hedgehog familiar. Would absolutely try this lifestyle.

      • Kazoogrrl says:

        Like a WAY better version of the Lady of Shalott. She embroiders herself a window into a new world, and takes off with a big "Eff You!" to Lancelot and his bro squadron.

        • pseudonymica says:

          I love you all. Sorceress Lady of Shalott stitching liberation piques my imagination like nothing else AND it's a reasonably attainable goal for me. (Unlike almost everything else right now).

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Heathered! I am so glad we met. You are as likeable and interesting in person as online. I feel privileged to have your trust.

      I hope you embroider a hedgehog familiar like jenavira describes.

      • Heathered says:

        You literally brought good weather that immediately up and left when you did. I like that in a person.

      • Lee Thomson says:

        I also think an embroidered hedgehog familiar sounds splendid! Ooh – also there is a book from Dover,

        OK I just lost a half hour to looking for it and it might not be in print any more, but it was these little animal toys, hand sized, made from felt, and embroidered with lovely designs. Also my google-fu is failing me at the moment, but yes, have word salad while I continue to try to find this wretched book…

        • Heathered says:

          nom nom nom *eats word salad* If I get even halfway decent at stitching it will be nice to be able to embellish sock monkeys, which I have to stop making because they take up space. Lee, I made a tiny book today! It is decidedly Not Great (as with crochet, I struggled to get the right tension on the thread and ended up with a floppy mess, my awl broke in ten seconds, etc.) but it's a thing I've wanted to do for over 20 years! Thank you for inspiring me to Art! I kind of understand how the binding process works now, which is really cool.

          • Lee Thomson says:

            Yay!!! You can find all kinds of pointy things that are not that expensive – I have something that looks related to exacto knives, with a knurled top and long solid spike (I call it my Stabbity) but there are also small screwdriver relations that are pointy and I think even an ice pick that might be available in the grocery store!Still looking for the wretched book

          • Kazoogrrl says:

            Lee, this is not the book you're looking for, but I thought of you when I remembered this post, where the critter was made from Winsome Douglass's Toys for Your Delight. Used copies are on Amazon of three different books.

          • Lee Thomson says:

            I found it!!

            it is oooold, and from Dover, and the illustrations are oddly stilted, but they have some very sweet things in it, and their ideas of embellishment are delightful!

          • Heathered says:

            Ooh, I could make the elephant of self-care! Dang, I actually have plans for a sock elephant somewhere… Thanks for this, I love those Dover books. Their oldness meets mine in the right place so a lot of what they suggest is easy for me to understand.

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          Is it the Snappy Critters book?

          This Dover book seems appropriate for all the kitten game players

    • Räven says:

      I really liked this random banner that I saw courtesy of Ivey Abitz who I know about from Manka and other commenters here – https://imgur.com/a/KnhNx

      Embroidery has more of a place in the world than people may think!

    • Onymous says:

      I don't eat down my freezer all that often but I do end up trying to eat down my pantry every so often. Its… Never satisfying but in as much as it's prep for me to buy a new different set of Staples it's some what exciting?

      • Heathered says:

        Yeah, I like it as an affirmation that spring will come someday, and when it does I won't be hosting exploding cans of beans or incredibly stale crackers. But the meals leading up to that are…beans on crackers.

    • ru_ri says:

      I'm sorry about the poopy week. Depression is an evil clawed beast indeed, and I wish it would let up on you.

      I love the way you wander through these threads dropping brilliant little gems, BTW. You reliably make me chuckle or contemplate, or both. Thank you.

      • Heathered says:

        You're kind to say that, thank you! It's usually 8:30 my time when things go up and I might comment when there are only 3 other comments displayed and think, "Well, that was fun." Then I look later and there are 200! It's like I still don't understand that the conversation continues whether or not I am watching it., so I do a mad dash of yelling "Hi!" at everyone and get all winded. Good times.

  7. meat_lord says:

    The elephant of self-care reminds me of my sister–she loves elephants. I'm listening to the Hamilton soundtrack today, which also reminds me of her and gets me energized. You haven't lived until you've seen Meat Sister (a shy, excruciatingly polite, prim white lady) enthusiastically, word-perfectly rap along with Lin-Miranda Manuel.

    I'll be going to visit my family soon, which will be fun, but boy do I wish I'd picked a different time. Big changes are afoot at work and everything is chaotic; I'm reluctant to step away. Oh well, I've got the plane tickets and the time off, so here goes.

  8. CleverManka says:

    Guess what, beloveds? I have a positive update! In the comment because it got long.

  9. sherwood21 says:

    The Mini-Brit is a year old. Mum (my tiny adorable British mother-in-law who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, and swears like a sailor) has been for Mini-Brit's first Christmas and birthday, and gone home again. The Mini-Brit is actually turning into his own little person with his own likes and dislikes and very strong opinions.

    Physically, I'm 85-90% recovered from my c-section? I still have to pay a lot more attention to how much I'm doing, and whether my body can handle it. Most of the nerve pain at the surgery site is gone.

    I've had a lot of people around me lately talking about their need to not be overwhelmed by stuff. I can't logistically help people with that, because I've got this house and a very curious little person who strews chaos in his wake to manage. So I made a facebook page last week where I'm starting to talk about my attempts to deal with all this stuff I need to get rid of, and hopefully encourage other people who are feeling overwhelmed by stuff too.

  10. Fancy_Pants says:

    Creativity check-in! Who is fired up about #dailyFeb2018? What are you planning on doing? What are you doing to get ready?

    I am planning to write and record four (probably terrible) songs in February. I have all the necessary gear ready and available, except that I should really finish soundproofing my bedroom. Maybe I'll do that this weekend, finally.

    The main thing I need to do to prep is to give myself some writing constraints so that I don't get stuck. And I would love some suggestions! I need, like, a piece of writing to respond to, or a narrative theme, or a story to tell in music, or a short film to write a soundtrack to.

    Tell me about all your February plans! And if you're not planning on doing it, what have you been working on this week?

    • jenavira says:

      I am so excited!

      I need to set up my studio space still. Since I haven't had the energy to do a big furniture-moving day, I'm doing it piece by piece – last night I cleared off the table I'm planning to move. Tonight I think I'll clean out the corner it goes in.

      In the meantime, I joined a group on Ravelry that's doing virtual knitting retreats, and last weekend I finished one and a half fingerless mittens. With any luck I can finish the other one this week. And then I really need to have a blocking session – my to-wash pile has gotten huge.

    • sherwood21 says:

      I just saw the #dailyFeb2018 thing today, so I'm still contemplating if I can do it. My default for creative tasks is sewing, and I think the biggest challenge for me will be setting the bar low enough that I can get something done every day. The combination of 12 hour shifts and taking care of an almost toddler is pretty challenging time-wise.

      • Lee Thomson says:

        that is a lot of stuff to handle!

        When you sew, is it handwork or sewing machine things? I found when my kids were tiny I could make small stuffed snimals out of felt or fleece, and hand sew them together in small amounts of time between them being asleep and me passing out.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      I went to life drawing last night and worked on using green based colours in my drawings.

      I made two cards and a postcard that I'm putting in the mail today. I'm going to make postcards for #dailyFeb2018.

    • Lynn says:

      I made an instagram – wlsmakesstuff, if anyone wants to follow. I've been contemplating making an instagram just to post crafting things for awhile so this seemed like a good time.

      I'm trying to decide how much/if I want to do any precutting of my felt pieces for my felt flowers or if I'm going to work that into my low bar (i.e. one day is just cutting the felt for the rest of the week). But I do intend to pull all my materials out and find a portable box for them.

    • vladazhael says:

      I am fired up! I wasn't sure if I was going to do the thing, but once I thought on it alongside all the other shit I'm dealing with, I decided it was more healthy than burdensome. I bought one of Lee's little Coptic stitch books and will be making an Art on one page every day. Focus will be watercolors because I'm trying to learn to use them, but any medium I wish to combine with those or use instead is allowed. I had planned for a time limit of 15 minutes unless I'm testing a new technique, but after a couple days of mucking about with paints and such, I realize this is probably not necessary and the size constraints will be enough. I'm not going to limit my painting time if it helps me climb down out of my manic mental state, which is part of my intent for this project. While I absolutely do NOT need one more thing to do, I'm realizing that the procedural, getting-stuff-done nature of the things I have on my plate (even knitting, once I really dig into it) is not a healthy diet for my brain if I don't give it some other stuff to balance things out. And I even signed up for Instagram! Like, just now! (I am jayne.doe.383)

    • Heathered says:

      So Excited to try and learn to embroider a little (concrete goal: Get good at six stitches and design a rectangular patch for my hat). (And then also learn to bind a book and, oh yeah, get 15K toward my manuscript down. Gonna be a pretty full four weeks.)

      Would the seasons be too clunky a prompt for songwriting? What about the stories in Stephen King's Different Seasons?

    • CleverManka says:

      Fuuuuck y'all are gonna convince me to join Instagram aren't you?

  11. Lynn says:

    Well I had some kind of sinus ick for four days (it never quite felt like a full on sinus infection and included body aches but also never quite felt like a full on cold or flu), so that kind of derailed some of my week, but I continue to reintroduce parts of my old "responsible adult" routines that got lost in the craziness of last year. The latest has been taking my own morning coffee and sometimes my lunch to work (mostly because it is too cold to walk all the way to the few places that have both healthy and inexpensive options).

    Also we found out our monthly rent is only going up a very reasonable amount for the price point we're at in this city which has allowed me to proceed with some of the larger scale decorating projects I was holding off on in case we had to move for the fourth time in 18 months. We're going to try out temporary wallpaper in our bedroom – I am super excited to have one (small) wall that is not beige/white paint or red brick for the first time in over a decade.

    • CleverManka says:

      Hurray for decorating! Having a space that speaks to your soul is so important.

    • jenavira says:

      Oooh, let us know how the temporary wallpaper goes! I've been tempted many times, but I haven't tried it yet.

      • Lynn says:

        I will — we are currently testing the adhesive on one of the samples they sent because their website says it is intended for high gloss or semi gloss painted walls, which is not what we have, but it seems to be sticking well and also coming off without damage. Then we have to pick the one we want.

        Part of the reason we picked a small wall is that if it goes poorly and we do have to do a major scrape and repaint job before we move out at least it won't be too onerous.

        • Kazoogrrl says:

          A FB group I'm on has some people talking about this. A few people used starch to adhere fabric to walls (I did this with lace on my front door side lights and it worked great), another used Blik decals and liked them, and a third person said:

          "I had a nightmarish experience with temp wallpaper that I ordered from CB2. It's made from vinyl so it stretches out as you apply it and then you can't get the pattern to match up. I finally ended up peeling it all off the wall and sending it back!"

  12. Xolandra says:

    Friends! I have stories! I will tell all about the house in one comment, and all about the poetry reading (*cw warning for white people being racist dicks and refusing to own it) that I went to last night in another.

    In a similar vein, I learned the BEST word the other day. I learned it because a dj that I stalk had gone to see Calypso Rose at the National Arts Centre (home of our symphony, fancy drama, etc, tix for local stuff start at $25 and go up if you want a seat where you'll actually be able to see/hear anything, just for context about the kind of crowd one might expect to see there), and while leaving, apparently some woman wandered up to him, touched his dreads (in her defense he has _great_ hair – I would like to further note that this is not a defense at all) and said "well _you_ certainly look the part" and walked on without waiting for a reaction. He was… understandably upset. And of course his facefeed is replete with "not just a white person thing" crap that I won't get into here, but one of his mates? Responded simply, eloquently, with "O, the caucacity". Which. Y'all. it is perfect. You get to say cock AND ass, and the two words (caucasian and audacity) smashed together mock the thing that they are made out of. I love it so much, it is the perfect neologism and I will give another more egregious example in the comments (cf above re: poetry night)

    • jenavira says:

      Oh my GOD in two different tones of voice:

      1) for that woman (jesus effing christ, I have never understood this willful disregard for other people, what is wrong with folks)

      2) for "caucacity," officially the Word of 2018

      • Xolandra says:

        Honestly. Like, the hair touching was bad enough, but the "you certainly look the part" that comes with the intimation that said dj was acting rather than just, like, wearing his hair, or somehow part of the fucking decor laid out for her entertainment? That lady can suck it.

    • Xolandra says:


      I had to call the project manager and chew him out because he went on vacation and… didn't bother to set anything up before that happened? But now the carpenter started Monday, he's a Newfie and he calls me love and it is charming as all get out. He also locked himself out of the house Monday while heading out to get supplies from his truck, which is a thing that I have strewn keys about the city with Trusted Friends in order to Never Have Happen To Me, so I am sympathetic, is what I am saying. They are projecting three weeks for the reconstruction, but I have also been told that the plaster molding that I am insisting on (against the carpenter's advice, because it'll crack as the house breathes and settles? Idk, I wasn't clear why he thought wood moldings would be better – any of y'all out there have ideas?) is done by like 2 people in the region, so the moldings, at least, will be done at the convenience of the people who do them.

      O yes, and the key that I gave the carpenter is in his pants, while the key that I gave the electricians is in a lockbox, so he won't have the same issue again, hahahaha. Otherwise things are a-ok! I need to find a contractor to repair the holes the electricians left, but all in good time, you know?

      • Flitworth says:

        against the carpenter's advice, because it'll crack as the house breathes and settles

        I would think your house had done the majority of its settling…?

        • Xolandra says:

          Nope! Winters are a harsh mistress; the house settles every year as the ground freezes and thaws.

          • Flitworth says:

            I feel like that should be on Canada's warning label.

            Bienvenu! Welcome!
            Everyone has healthcare, our attitude towards guns is reasonable but also Winter is a harsh mistress and everything tastes like maple syrup (fact).

      • Absotively says:

        I have plaster walls, and they do have cracks. I've been meaning to learn how to fix them, but it is my understanding that if I patch them it will be a temporary fix because they'll eventually crack again due to the building moving with the seasons.

        But I'd think if there was plaster molding there before, and it hadn't cracked, that would be an indication that that bit of the house doesn't move enough to cause problems? Maybe the new wall will change that though, I don't know. I also don't know if molding is less susceptible to cracking than walls. It does make sense that wood moldings would flex better.

        • Xolandra says:

          Yep. My plaster walls and ceilings also have cracks. But, like, those moldings didn't crack in the 7 years that we've owned the house, and they are so much more aesthetically _pleasing_ than wood, imo. Am I wrong?

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Perhaps it isn't that wood is better for *you*, so much as for them?

          • Xolandra says:

            Yeah, that's what I'm wondering. Idk, though, they're insurance paid, so i honestly don't see what the advantage for them would be. I should call my mom. She might now.

          • Doc_Paradise says:

            Maybe is isn't a money issue but a "pain in the ass"… er, labour and scheduling issue. It might take more work in some way.

          • Xolandra says:

            It is definitely a pain in the Project manager's ass, but he's not the one tryna convince me to go with wood molding. It's the carpenter.

    • CleverManka says:

      Am 100% sharing causacity with my black friends thank you for this gem.

    • Xolandra says:

      Poetry reading!

      So last night, a friend and colleague invited me to see her "favorite poet" perform nearby to where I work, so I bailed on gamelan (it was cancelled anyway because inclement weather) loaded up my knitting and roared off down the street. When I got to the venue (laid out in two tiny rooms – you have to get through couch/bar space to get to table/performance space), there was one other human there, and her nose was buried deep in a book. Normal, yeah? So I sit, dig out my knitting, and begin casting on a sock. Other humans begin filtering in, but, like, this is a poetry gig so we're all introverts; one person has a phone, another a sketchbook, a third a guitar, and we're all just quietly sitting enjoying not interacting with each other when the organizer says we can head to the next room. We all shuffle off, find our spots, I accost teens talking about makeup (and started following a new human on Insta!) and then abandon their conversation when my friends showed.

      Eventually the MC took the stage, and laid out the ground rules for the event – snapping or stomping not clapping, mmmmmmmmmmmmmms or other gutteral sounds not woooooooooooos, and no hate speech because safe space, but not everyone is at the same place in their journey and maybe if you have an issue with anything that is being said you could speak to the poet after the event instead of interrupting their poem or heckling.

      So stuff happens, i spend the evening having poetry of differing quality read to me while I knit away on my sock (this is one of my happy places, y'all, I would knit forever if someone read to me while it happened), some of it excellent, some of it terrible, some of it _clearly_ cries for help from people who need a psych and cannot get one, some of it entitled "misunderstood genius" garbage, but, like, generally tolerable. And then. And then this woman, the only middle aged performer, never mind the only middle aged white lady performer, gets up to speak. And my friends, right then and there, I was reminded a) that white ladies are the problem and b) that these people continue, somehow, to exist.

      • Xolandra says:

        Her poem was long, boring, poorly formulated, anti-black, and ageist. It was so rambly, but mostly focused on The Youths and how they Don't Know Their History and Why Did John Lennon Have To Die, Gunned Down So Tragically? and why don't The Youths remember the 4 who died so that they wouldn't have to die in Vietnam (Neil Young remembers) and now they're just wasting their lives on gangsta shit and killing each other over bags of weed and then, my friends, she starts talking about leaders and starts being all "Bob Marley was ok and Nelson Mandela too, probably, and Spike Lee was Real Angry Once But He Seems To Have Worked It Out but instead The Youths Seem To Like Kanye and it Makes No Sense" and I had to put my knitting down because I was like NO. Knitting is for paying attention and this just makes me deeply unhappy (side note: at one point I was chatting up the young featured poet and I was like "I had to put my knitting down, which is not a compliment" and she was like "yeah, I saw you, it was really soothing!" and I was so pleased because I always worry that performers will take it as an "I'm bored" when really it's a way to occupy my fingers so I don't fidget). At one point I leaned over to my friend and was like "as the old white ladies in the room, do WE have to say something about this?" At another point I made eye contact with the MC/organizer who… just shrugged as if to say "it's an open mic, we don't vet this stuff" Y'all. She used the n word. I – and at least one other human in the room – gasped. The featured local poet got up and walked out until she was done. It was horrible

        So this lady finishes her crap "poem" and one of the Youth that is friends with the folks I was chatting makeup with before stands up as an awkward hush is descending and declares "Nobody clap for that. I don't want to hear any applause for that." the room remained silent. Said Youth then continues to be like "that poem was anti-black" and not acceptable and stuff, and they got a little support from their friends and eventually the "poet" returns with "you are too young to understand" and I leaned over, knitting in hand, made eye contact with her, and was like "NOPE. Old lady here (I'm 38, I figure is time to start using this here social capital!) and I am with the Youth on this one. What you just read was totally unacceptable" and then the MC defused with "let's do this later" and so we heard two more poems (the one that followed was like a breath mint after eating raw onions – jarringly delicious) and of course the poet bounced before anyone could talk to her after the show was done. But I did accost the Youth to be like "what you did was hard and necessary and thank you, I know it was terrible and I am sorry that the featured poet's mom came up to you to tell you to respect your elders because that human deserves NONE".

        Tuesday nights, y'all. It's not all Netflix and textile arts, O_o.

  13. Fancy_Pants says:

    In other (non-creativity) news, I'm not doing so great this week. I don't know if it's just a transient hormonal thing, or if I'm sliding into a depressive episode, or if this is just who I am as a person, but I am just feeling…stuck.

    I keep comparing myself to where I was this time last year, and I'm no closer to finding a stable job, no closer to feeling capable of dealing with full time work, my finances are a mess, I feel alienated from my friends, even my progress at the gym has stalled. The only thing I've really made progress on is my mental health, and if that goes away, then, well…I can't really tell the difference anymore between self-care and coddling.

    I feel like I've just been treading water, but I am finding it really hard to know how to move forward when my perspective on things changes SO dramatically with my moods. Everything seemed fine, like, 2 weeks ago. Fortunately, I have been keeping up (more or less consistently) with my mood/energy journal, so at least I have some data to work with this time.

    • jenavira says:

      I can't really tell the difference anymore between self-care and coddling.

      Hoo boy, do I know that feel. [advice incoming: ignore rest of this paragraph if advice is not wanted] The best thing my therapist has done for me so far is convincing me that there is no such thing as lazy, there's only incompatible with current demands, and maybe constant self-improvement is not actually a goal worth pursuing at all times? I have been, by my usual standards, slothful and neglectful for the past four months and change, and I am starting to see glimmers of actual desire to do things again. My friends have been shockingly supportive (and you all have been wonderful), and I have not actually gotten worse, so. Maybe the world is just shitty and it's okay to not be doing better? [end advice]

      *internet hugs if welcome* I hope things take a turn for the better soon, that is a lot to deal with.

      • Doc_Paradise says:


        The idea that one must earn one's care and support is horribly insidious.

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        "there is no such thing as lazy, there's only incompatible with current demands"

        Oh, I love advice, particularly this. My major "progress" of sorts is that I believe this, like, some of the time now, instead of not at all. It reminds of a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert (of all people, who I apparently am quite fond of…) about how you just need to make enough money to pay your bills, and then you are free to do whatever you want with your time (with respect to making art, specifically, but I think it can be broadly applied).

        At the moment, I'm feeling like…but what if the desire to do things never comes back? What if there is actually no such thing as "desire to do things" and everyone else is just endlessly slogging?

        But you're seeing glimmers! That's exciting and gives me hope 🙂 I've had the odd glimmer here and there as well. It doesn't seem like Enough right now, but I have to remember that Enough is a lie.

        • jenavira says:

          That part of depression where you no longer believe in the desire to do things is so, so hard, but it is a lie. One of the more insidious ones, because it doesn't sound like a voice in your head but like a conclusion you came to on your own. It's so hard to remember, sometimes, that you're working with incomplete data.

        • Doc_Paradise says:

          >but what if the desire to do things never comes back?

          Doing things sometimes creates the desire to do things. Recursive, I know.

    • Flitworth says:

      I feel alienated from my friends – I find this is a symptom of depression for me.

      I keep comparing myself to where I was this time last year

      Maybe this is just the standard New Year/New You vibe that is present in America (presumption on my part) that is making this seem relevant rather than arbitrary? There are no absolutes about when shit gets in order. It's good that you are aware that changes in work, finances, the gym are important and good goals. And mental health progress is incredible and an important foundation for all future endeavors.
      Perhaps make a note of objectives and goals and worry less about how you feel about them?
      RadioLab did a report about a woman who did ultra marathons (stay with me here). She was very successful as a competitor and had started because she found that running actually helped manage her seizure condition. Eventually, she had to have surgery to address the seizures and it wrecked her sense of time…..And that's when she started doing ultra marathons. Nothing about her body changed, it was her perception of time, and the fact that she just didn't get that feeling of "I've been running for hours and am not at X yet."
      So you have all these goals that are not unrealistic but are challenging. I think the perception that so much time has passed and you are not at the goal yet makes the perception that you've barely moved but if you changed the perception of what time it can/does/should/could take, then maybe you would be more content with where you are?

      • Fancy_Pants says:

        Oh, that is REALLY interesting. Time. Time is a problem for me.

        I'm not sure if it's that thinking about progress in terms of time makes me feel bad, or if feeling bad makes me more likely to ruminate on the passage of time, but they are definitely linked.

    • Heathered says:

      It looks to me like you're making a lot of progress, but I know how it always seems to be receding into the distance when you're staggering toward it. Keep tuning in to how your mood can help or hinder that sense that things are okay, so you can learn to sing over it when it's being a jerk.

    • CleverManka says:

      my perspective on things changes SO dramatically with my moods
      Ugh, same. I hope you find a way to deal with that in a way that goes beyond "I know this, I know this, I know this, but it doesn't actually help in the moment."

  14. Doc_Paradise says:

    Whee. I can breath easier today. Oxygen is good. I went to my GP yesterday and got some meds for a lung infection. They are working. I am less zombie.

    It looks like I will be sponsoring and running a two week art showing at my local art cafe sometime this spring. I proposed the idea of a showing of the work that the artists in my drawing group do in the life drawing session and I got some excited responses back from both the cafe and the artists. So it looks like that will likely be a go.

    I'm trying out being "productive enough" these days. I feel better when I'm productive and shitty when I'm not, but I also exhaust when I do too much. So I'm trying to find that sweet spot of "enough". I've been doing that with exercise too and that has been working so I'm confident that this will work.

  15. Absotively says:

    More gym updates: Am debating going with the 8/month gym plan instead of the 4/month. Went to the gym on Sunday so that later today I will see how three workouts with half-weeks between them made me feel. I think it will be ok, so I'll probably switch my plan. Muscle soreness from workout two was milder, but my upper abs sort of area is still a bit annoyed at me. I do have the promised vague complaint about bike seats to make, but hopefully I'll get used to the damned thing soon enough. It did leave my foot feeling much better after the workout. It was harder to get my heart rate up on the bike, though, which is annoying.

    Aside from that, I've been trying to fix my sleep schedule, with limited success. I didn't do as well at eating home-cooked food the past week, but I finally made soup for lunches Sunday night and had a very lazy home-cooked dinner yesterday, so I'm getting back on track. Went to the doctor, got more blood work, iron levels are much improved again.

  16. Doc_Paradise says:

    I'm pretty optimistic that I'll be able to get the show off the ground. I like the group and this is a combo of community building and my own selfish desire to see other people's work.

  17. Lee Thomson says:

    Whatever Lynn has, I have also. My nose is drippy, my throat hurts, and yet I can amble about in slow motion and continue to accomplish things. Although Mr Crow refuses to let me touch his food, so he's been bringing in take-out for two nights. Sushi last night, Chicken picatta and tiramisu tonight.

    The news from my friends is that He voluntarily committed himself Saturday, has started the long slow slog of improvement, and is enough better to wonder why it isn't going faster – a thing we can all relate to. My friend herself is slowly picking up the pieces off all the things she abandoned when the shit hit the fan, and seems in good spirits.

    I've started playing the kitten game, and have acquired some ships (HOW does one have .94 of a ship, please?????) and the Zebras hate us.

  18. Onymous says:

    I finally, finally made an appointment with my counselor. I've been putting it off for ages because… well because; since November I've been putting it off for a combination of not knowing what I wanted to work on and seeing if the zoloft would help.

    I still don't know what I want to work on but the zoloft either didn't help or made things worse. I have an appointment next week to switch meds and while I was making appointments I made one for my counselor. We'll see how that goes but at least I made the appointment, which is a relief.

    • ru_ri says:

      High five on making the appointment! Maybe there's something in the air. Yesterday I finally got a primary care physician after two years of having health insurance. Lots of things to bring up with her but a referral to a therapist is high on the list, cause treading water ain't cutting it anymore.

      I hope the med switch goes smoothly and is a better fit for you.

    • RoseCamelia says:


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