A nailbiting milestone for me today: I filed my nails down last Tuesday and they've grown unhindered for an entire week! Tonight I filed them down again while watching Double Indemnity
(much better than biting them when the movie got intense). I have "file nails" on my weekly checklist for Tuesday nights, since they're my alone-time nights and it's easy to file my nails while doing something else.
Filing is definitely working better for me than clipping. I'm going to wear out this nail file pretty quickly, but the result is so much neater and smoother, with no corners to gnaw on, and it's easy to get exactly the length I want. (I file all the white off, no more and no less.) A week's worth of growth gets me to the point where I start being really aware of my nails when I'm typing, and then I file them down before noticing them becomes biting them.
I'm also trying to make myself pay attention to the times I use my nails, to remind myself that they're useful and I want to keep them around instead of biting them off.
I put December 1 on my calendar as my "quit date" and so far, so good. Hopefully the weekly filing routine will keep me on track. I always do better with routines.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
On another forum, someone asked for breakup songs. I searched my journal archives and realized that I never got around to putting up my entire "Not that I'm bitter
" playlist, which I have found a great comfort in times of stress and sorrow. So here it is, for your listening... um, pleasure? Obligatory caveat: everything is quite splendid in my relationship and work lives at the moment, and I haven't felt a need to listen to this in ages. I'm sharing it as a gift to others, not as a reflection of my own state of mind.
It's pretty strong medicine and I don't recommend listening to it all the way through unless you are actually mid-breakup. However, it does make great driving music, especially if what you're driving is a moving van full of your stuff.
Happy, Darling? - 1:00 - John Fortune & Eleanor Bron - Dead Parrot Society: The Best Of British Comedy
North Dakota - 4:00 - Kris Delmhorst - Appetite
Voodoo Doll - 3:54 - Adria Malcolm - Adria Malcolm
Horseshoes - 4:25 - Moxy Früvous - Live Noise
Ain't It A Shame - 5:33 - The B-52's - Bouncing Off The Satellites
In My Own Way - 2:11 - Various Artists (Shock Treatment) - Shock Treatment
England 2 Colombia 0 - 3:46 - Kirsty MacColl - Tropical Brainstorm
Queen Of Rain - 4:51 - Roxette - Tourism
Supergloo - 3:48 - The Kimberly Trip - Catastrophic Behavior
You mistreated me:
Something I Should Know - 2:59 - Great Big Sea - Play
Drama! - 4:06 - Erasure - Pop! The First 20 Hits
Easy There, Steady Now - 4:56 - Richard Thompson - Austin City Limits: Live From Austin, TX: Richard Thompson
Never Enough - 6:34 - Dream Theater - Octavarium
Untouchable - 4:03 - Garbage - Beautiful Garbage
Karoke Promises - 3:46 - Hit Me - Greatest Hits Vol. 17
Bitchin' In The Kitchen - 2:31 - Various Artists (Shock Treatment) - Shock Treatment
Who Needs Love (Like That) - 3:07 - Erasure - Pop! The First 20 Hits
Run-Around - 4:41 - Blues Traveler - Four
Show Me A Little Shame - 3:44 - Ben Harper - Burn To Shine
Dam That River - 3:09 - Alice In Chains - Dirt
Would I Lie To You? - 4:27 - Eurythmics - Eurythmics: Greatest Hits
BJ Don't Cry - 3:21 - Moxy Früvous - Live Noise
I hurt and so should you:
Cry Me A River - 3:37 - Various Artists (Swing) - Swing!
Would? - 3:28 - Alice In Chains - Dirt
Hard On Me - 3:49 - Tom Petty - Wildflowers
Take Me Or Leave Me - 3:43 - Various Artists (Rent) - Rent
Change - 8:50 - Oingo Boingo - Farewell (live)
Walking Away - 5:05 - Information Society - Information Society
I've Got a Match - 2:37 - They Might Be Giants - Lincoln
Looking For Trade - 2:56 - Various Artists (Shock Treatment) - Shock Treatment
It's Over Now - 4:09 - Cause & Effect - Trip
Get The Funk Out - 4:24 - Extreme - Pornograffitti
One More Minute - 4:02 - "Weird" Al Yankovic - Dr. Demento's 25th Anniversary Collection
Time To Move On - 3:15 - Tom Petty - Wildflowers
Fly - 5:23 - Moxy Früvous - Live Noise
Interstate Love Song - 3:16 - Stone Temple Pilots
Big Daddy - 5:38 - Talking Heads - Naked
Getting some distance:
The Last Time - 4:15 - Eurythmics - Revenge
Wrong, Wrong, Wrong - 4:19 - Adria Malcolm - Adria Malcolm
They'll Need a Crane - 2:33 - They Might Be Giants - Lincoln
Near Wild Heaven - 3:20 - R.E.M. - Out Of Time
There's a Fine, Fine Line - 2:40 - Various Artists (Avenue Q) - Avenue Q
Don't Call Me Baby - 3:12 - Voice of the Beehive - Let It Bee
Key To The Highway - 3:40 - Eric Clapton & B.B. King - Riding With The King
Twisting - 1:57 - They Might Be Giants - Flood
Walking The Long Miles Home - 4:01 - Richard Thompson - Austin City Limits: Live From Austin, TX: Richard Thompson
In A Big Country - 4:45 - Big Country
A Little Respect - 3:32 - Erasure - Pop! The First 20 Hits
Change the Locks - 4:57 - Tom Petty
Goodbye, Goodbye - 3:31 - Oingo Boingo - AnthologyYou're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
On the past three nights, according to SleepBot, I slept 9.1, 9.1, and 9.7 hours. In a row. In my own bed. In my own safe quiet non-pee-smelling room. All by myself. SUCH JOY.
A thousand blessings upon the person who first tried giving Prozac to anxious cats. ( Kitty happiness, at lastCollapse )
Today I hung out with X for a while; they've been ill for the past few days but were mostly over it today, so we took a short walk to run a couple of errands and then hung out in their room on our separate laptops. Eventually I got hungry, as did J, so he and I reheated shepherd's pie for dinner (mmm, pie) and ate together in the living room. After a couple of pwnies (mmm, more pie) he wandered off and I stayed at the table, reading an old favorite book as the Hanukkah candles burned slowly down next to me. It felt like an unexpectedly sweet callback to adolescence: after the family candle-lighting and gift-giving and dinner-having, peaceful time to curl up and read, with that lovely alone-in-shared-space feeling of the warmth of other people's recent presence without the pressure to interact. Sam hung out in my lap for a while, which would have made adolescent-me delirious with joy. I reheated some stew for X when they got hungry and then went right back to my book. I must have sat there for two or three hours like that. It was perfect.
And then suddenly it was almost 10, and I felt a wave of anxious certainty that X and J would both be jealously resentful of my time alone. ( On solitude, and not owing anyone my timeCollapse )
In the meantime, I've spent two hours on this, and that was very worthwhile but it has me up two hours past my bedtime. The danger of four-day weekends is the sleep time and wake time both slowly creeping later. If I don't want to be thrown entirely awry on Monday, I'd better get myself to bed.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
- thinking about:
behavior.relaxing, behavior.self-care, body.sleep, events.holidays, events.holidays.hannukah, experiences.joy, experiences.reading, experiences.solitude, mind.feelings, mind.feelings.loneliness, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.depression, mind.wiring.introversion, people.cats, places.home
Thursday was a Thursday. I hear some people had a holiday. We enjoyed having a Thursday off work and otherwise refused to partake in celebrations of religious gratitude, colonialism, or conspicuous consumption.
Today was an epic cooking day. J did several rounds of grocery shopping. X gave us a clean kitchen to cook in, and took the trash and recycling out whenever we filled the bins. I compiled a shopping list (last night, so J could shop while I slept this morning) and then organized our mise en place.Before: container allocation.After: ready to cook.
The letters A through T are to keep track of what goes in when. (Recipes looked like this: "Heat [Q] oil and cook [R] shallot, carrots, and mushrooms until the mushroom liquid has cooked off and the vegetables have caramelized, about 12 minutes. Add [S] rice...") The letters in the right-hand corner are to keep track of what goes with what: L for lentil soup, S for shepherd's pie, C for chili, and R for risotto.
We started prep at 15:30; it took about an hour. Cooking took another three, at a fairly leisurely pace. And now we have eaten a delicious dinner (I had chili for the first time in years! I'm slowly getting over the Arisia cooking trauma!) and have vast quantities of food all tucked away in containers. We're definitely getting our money's worth out of the upright freezer.
As a bonus, last night I made pumpkin pie squares
(a.k.a. pwnies), which came out beautifully, though I didn't compact the crust quite enough. Time to invest in a pastry roller! But they are super delicious, even the ones with slightly crumbly crusts. I maaaaaaaaay have eaten two and a half squares instead of the one I intended to have for dessert.
Now that we have a sense of how much time and effort is involved in a marathon cooking day like this, I think we'll probably do one every couple of months just to keep the fridge and freezer well stocked. The investment totally pays off in money saved on eating out, and reduced stress because we know we always have safe, tasty food available when we need it.
J is washing the cast iron. The dishwasher is drying its second load, and in a bit I'll unload it and start a third. In the meantime, we bask in the warm glow of a job well done.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
The last few days have been good days. The week before them was not.
Thursday was especially difficult due to a combination of work stress and X getting extremely ill while out with coworkers, to the point where I had to go pick them up and bring them home because they were in no shape to get home on their own. If that had to happen, it happened as well as it could have: illness only temporary, all lost items recovered, and colleagues tremendously kind and supportive. It was still pretty wretched, and scary. We spent most of Friday recovering.( Foundling cat update: he's just not into us.Collapse )
I feel awful about not being able to keep him, but it really just is not working for him to be here. He needs to be an only cat and have a home where he can run around and own everything, with no other-kitty-smell anywhere to set off his territorial urges. He'd also be a great working cat in a place with mice, and a great indoor/outdoor cat in the countryside. (I'm usually vehement about keeping cats indoors, for their own safety as well as for the sake of songbirds, but this guy really needs room to run.) If you know anyone who would be interested in adopting him and would be able to provide a home that would make him happy, please point them to his Petfinder ad
. We're glad to help transport him anywhere near NYC.
In brighter news, as I said, the last few days have been really good. It's been a nice quiet weekend. We really needed one of those. J had gaming both days and got social time with his new friend D, I got to go out and bustle around, X got time alone, and we had a lovely family dinner last night. X and I went shopping yesterday, as we both needed new jeans, and X's shoes were so worn that the holes had holes in them. We found everything we wanted and then some. I should not be allowed in the menswear department at Macy's without a minder; even with X hovering over me I still managed to impulse-buy hat-friendly earmuffs (which I needed) and suspenders (which I did not need but they're very smart and they were on sale and I've been wanting them for ages and... this sort of thing is why my Twitter handle is now Dandy McFopperson). J and I got in a good stroll to the grocery store today in the bracing cold; the thermometer said 27F but it felt like about 15 with the wind. We've discovered a brand of vegan pesto that was well worth going out in the cold for. Dinner both last night and tonight was pasta with pesto and sausage because it worked so well once that we figured we'd do it again. Tonight I added cashew ricotta and that was pretty splendid.
This afternoon I finally created a page on our household intranet that lists known-good meals. That's partly in anticipation of spending much of Thanksgiving weekend stocking the freezer, and partly because we tend not to plan meals much in advance and sometimes get caught up in cycles of "I dunno what to make"/delaying/getting hungrier/getting less able to make decisions. I went through the past five years or so of recipes on my journal and linked them from the page, tagged things V(egan) and F(reezes well) and S(picy) as appropriate, and now have an excellent resource that I suspect we'll refer to frequently. It felt really nice to just do a thing because I felt like doing it.
Oh, and I broke my nearly yearlong reader's block this past week
. Yay for reading. It feels very good to be able to enjoy books again.
Next up: a three-day week, then a four-day
weekend. How is it Hanukkah already? It feels like only a few weeks since I lit the last of the candles I bought in Paris. I'm not complaining, though; any light we can make against the darkness is very welcome right now.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
- thinking about:
behavior.planning, behavior.preparedness, behavior.shopping, events.holidays, events.holidays.hannukah, experiences.annoyances, experiences.disaster, experiences.reading, food, food.cooking, food.cooking.pasta, people.cats, people.josh, people.xtina, stuff.clothes, stuff.clothes.accessories
Vacation, part 2!( MondayCollapse )Tuesday
We woke up to light snow, which was alarming in that "how is it already winter?!" way as well as the "I hope I don't have to drive in this" way. By the time we finished packing up, the snow had stopped, and though it was cloudy, it wasn't too windy. The proprietor was just coming back from an errand as we departed around noon, and we thanked her effusively and promised to visit again. It was really a great place to stay.
We went back to the beachlet, found a nice place with a little bit of everything--sand, shells, rocks, seaweed, trees, leaves, pine cones--and then we spoke from the heart about how much we love each other and love the relationship we've built and want to keep doing this thing we're doing. We talked about trust and equality and goofy in-jokes too. I don't remember what either of us said exactly, X probably doesn't either, and there's no recording of it. We served as our own officiants and our only witness was a seagull. It was exactly the wedding we wanted.
We hugged each other and shivered a bit, both from belated nerves and because it was getting pretty cold. Then we retrieved my phone from the car and I took a picture of us. "Smile like you just got married!" I said.
I called Josh (who had known that we were planning this, of course, and has been marvelously supportive) and my parents and brother (who were entirely surprised and very happy for us), and we headed home.
Eloping is pretty awesome. :D I don't plan on doing it again--I'm pretty sure two spouses is my limit--but I recommend it highly.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
X and I are on vacation!( FridayCollapse )( SaturdayCollapse )( SundayCollapse )
Misbehaving bodies aside, it has been quite a splendid trip so far. We're already talking about making it an annual thing, budget permitting. Tomorrow, depending on weather, we might go take a walk in a nearby county park. We head home Tuesday afternoon.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
In an effort to fight seasonal depression, I've put "do something fun" on my daily checklist.
Acquiring a stray cat counts as doing something fun, right?
This is the foundling cat. We have so far resolutely refrained from naming him. We weren't going to get a fourth cat until we moved, you see. The rule is one cat per bedroom, and we have three cats and three bedrooms, so we are full up.
But he rubbed on my ankles and practically demanded to be taken in. I was pretty sure he was the cat we've often seen in and around the nasty deli on the corner (which we suspect of being the deli that kicked out Jasmine, not least because this cat looks just like her; compare video of Jasmine
and a photo of the foundling
), so I went in there and said "Your cat's been loving on everyone up and down the block, did he get locked out?". The counter guy shrugged and said "Not our cat". At that point I became so suffused with rage at people who toss domesticated cats out on the street that I felt a moral obligation to give the kitty at least a temporary home.
We agreed that my room would be the quarantine zone, so X and I lured him in. It was remarkably easy, as he's quite a tolerant cat; he clearly doesn't like being picked up, but while he struggles and looks uncomfortable, he doesn't bite or scratch. I set up a litter pan and a couple of dishes of food, and rubbed him down with a washcloth in lieu of a full bath, and resigned myself to sending all my bedding out to be washed once it became clear that the grubby and indubitably flea-ridden cat was also a bed-exploring and person-snuggling cat.
Within 24 hours we'd taken him to the vet, gotten confirmation that he's neutered and FIV/FeLV-negative, gotten him some medication to combat fleas and worms, and all completely fallen in love with him. He's incredibly sweet. His purr is amazingly loud and frequently deployed. He's an adolescent boy and still recovering from his time on the street, so he literally eats as much as our
three cats combined, but he doesn't demand food; he just waits for us to notice that the dish is empty and fill it again. (See that "other"? I already think of him as our fourth cat, despite myself.) When I go to bed he rustles around a bit and then settles down and doesn't keep me up or wake me up. When we let him see the other cats he hisses a bit and then runs away; there's been one bout of territorial spraying but he was considerate enough to do it on a bag of things that already needed to be dry cleaned. He's curious about everything and wants to stick his nose everywhere, but on his own terms, and when he encounters evidence of other felines he runs away. He's SUPER friendly to people. He's quite athletic but doesn't like being up high; he'd rather hide on the bottom shelf of a bookcase or behind the radiator. He's death to toy mice as long as they stay still long enough for him to sneak up on them. When Josh and I bathed him he made a few squeaky noises and squirmed a lot but was about as well-behaved as a cat being bathed can be expected to be, and within a few minutes he was purring and loving on us again. He's sweet and adorable and smart and great.
He's been our tenant for four days, during which time we've gone from "of course we can't keep him" to discussing possible names. At this point it's really just a question of how well the other cats tolerate him and vice versa. I hope hope hope it works out.
I have been doing non-cat fun things: going to a totally rocking TMBG concert where they played every single song off their first album plus a whole array of crowdpleasers, having an amazing dinner with Miriam and supertailz
, knitting, and, on one slightly desperate night, playing with that day's animated Google Doodle and deciding that was fun enough to count. But mostly I am all KITTY KITTY KITTY. And that's okay.
EDIT: Of course, immediately after I post this he got to the "PEE ON ALL THE THINGS" stage. Time to pave the room in puppy pads.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
Today I KNIT A ROW OF A SWEATER. I realize this doesn't sound like a big deal but it is for two reasons.
1) The last time I worked with this yarn it gave me terrible eczema on my hands--actual tiny blisters!--because my wool allergy decided to become way more sensitive all of a sudden. So I spent months treating the eczema (because I was also allergic to the first ointment we tried >.<) and then weeks searching for gloves that would fit my tiny hands and protect my skin while leaving me nimble enough to knit.
2) I've been battling seasonal depression that makes knitting (and everything) seem boring and dull.
BUT my skin is healed up, and I got Gorilla Grip Gloves
that aren't a perfect fit but are close enough, and I've been using a lightbox and taking SSSRIs and making sure to do at least one fun thing every day to beat the depression.
Last night I found myself wanting to knit while watching Doctor Who
, which I haven't actively wanted to do in ages. It was so nice to want that again that I didn't actually do it because I was savoring the feeling of wanting--not feeling obligated, not seeing it as an item on my checklist, but genuinely having an internal urge to do a thing. And then today I took my knitting bag on my commute and put the gloves on and knit a row of my sweater.
So far there's no sign of irritation on my hands, and the gloves are impressively easy to knit in. And I enjoyed knitting! It's nice to be able to want things and enjoy things again. I'd missed it.
The question remains whether I will actually be able to wear the sweater. It's a sweater vest, so I think that if I wear it over a collared shirt and an undershirt I should be fine. I've had no trouble wearing a wool waistcoat over collared shirts even without an undershirt. On the other hand, last week I rolled up my shirtsleeves and then put on my fully lined wool coat, and my arms broke out in a rash (though not nearly as bad as my reaction to direct contact with wool). But if it turns out I can't wear the sweater, I'm sure I can find someone who wants a cabled sweater vest knit out of gorgeous gorgeous green wool, and I don't mind that thought nearly as much now that I can actually enjoy the knitting process without either sinking into ennui or having my hands catch fire.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
Today I only wore my Halloween costume on Twitter.
My costume consisted of clothes from my own closet--clothes I happily wore not so many years ago--and a wig. The wig doesn't look anything like my hair looked when I wore it long, but it works well enough for this purpose.Click the photo for a larger version.
Keep in mind that at the moment I usually look like this
When I first put the costume on, I felt very awkward and strange. I hate it when cis people wear drag on Halloween. It feels like they're making fun of trans* people. I didn't want to do that even a little bit. I mean, yes, if I were cis and femme these would just be my clothes, but I'm not and they're not.
Looking at myself in the mirror was really weird too. A few years ago, when I weighed more, I would have LOVED to have this body to put those clothes on, so from that perspective, I admired the way I looked. I knew just how to stand and walk, so from that perspective, I felt comfortable and confident. At the same time--it was like a split-screen in my mind--I could feel the weight of all the baggage that I carried around when I presented as female and femme. Presenting as masculine has its own baggage, of course, but it's like I've swapped a backpack for a rolling suitcase. My muscles aren't used to the heft of femme baggage anymore. Picking it up was hard
, and I was immediately repelled. How did I stand it for all those years?
I took a few photos and then I took the costume off and went to bed. The split-screen was still going. On one side: "I wish I still had those strappy red satin sandals. They'd be perfect with this outfit." On the other side: "Am I appropriating drag culture? What am I doing? This feels so weird."
When I woke up I realized how to answer that pernicious Halloween question, "What are you dressed as?": performative femininity. That was the weirdness, the queasiness, the anxiety, the strange twisting feeling in my gut. The split screen. On one side: confidence in myself as a performer, knowing that I've successfully internalized society's mandates and am presenting myself accordingly. On the other side: nervously waiting to see how my performance is judged.
I know you're supposed to dress as something scary for Halloween, but performative femininity scared me so much that I couldn't bear to put it on. I carried the whole costume to work and carried it home again. I just couldn't do it.
I still have all those femme clothes in my closet because I assume my gender is not a trend from feminine to masculine, starting with the velvet dress I loved at age 3 and ending with the suit I'm planning to buy at Brooks Brothers, but a pendulum swinging in a complicated oscillation. Having such a strong reaction to five minutes of femmeness makes me wonder whether I'm right. Now that I can see the Matrix
, I'm that much more aware of my performance anxiety, and that much less willing to engage in the performance at all.
But again, there's baggage on the performance of masculinity, the rolling suitcase in which is packed both the elevated status of masculinity and the societal disapproval of gender transgression. I can only safely engage the second because of the security provided by the first. Why is that so much easier to bear right now than the backpack full of approved gender conformity and denigration of femininity? All of that stuff is gross, really. It's all patriarchy and cissexism and gender essentialism. Both the suitcase and the backpack are unpleasantly squishy and smelly and leaking suspicious fluids. I don't know why I can tolerate one better than the other.
I know there are female-presenting people who celebrate femininity as a way of thumbing their noses at patriarchal disapproval of women. I suppose there's some of that in my foppishness, my refusal to let my masculinity be defined by rejection of "girly" things. The most common caricatures of gender transgression are the butch woman and the dainty man, and I'm definitely more the latter than the former (though I have a very butch dislike of spending more time than absolutely necessary on grooming; for example, any hairstyle that requires dye or gel or product is not for me). But the transgressive part is key. At least when people look at me they know I'm nonconformist to some degree. I get "sir-uh-ma'am" from shop clerks often enough to confirm that.
Maybe if I could figure out how to comfortably present as a nonconformist femme woman, I'd be okay with that. I just don't want to buy in, or look like I'm buying in, to patriarchal norms and assumptions. And I never ever want to feel that backpack on my back again.
I don't have any answers. Just questions and questions and questions.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
[Note for those coming here via a direct link: this post contains explicit weight numbers and a brief mention of weight loss and eating disorders in the context of trans* dysphoria.]
I had my annual physical today. Passed with flying colors, as my mother would say. My weight has stabilized ( at a numberCollapse )
; I still associate that number with "a little low", but I'm pretty happy with the shape my body has right now, so I'm working on focusing on the shape and getting comfortable with the number. Dr. L says that as long as it's stable and I'm healthy and eating and exercising and so on, she's not concerned. I'll be staying on the Zoloft through the spring, as we agreed that winter is a bad time to change up brainmeds; same dosage, etc. She prescribed me an Epi-pen mostly because I get anxious about my allergies, but my insurance won't pay for it (!) and I don't feel like paying $350 out of pocket to soothe my anxiety, so oh well. I asked about mammograms, given my family history of breast cancer, and she said that since it wasn't early-onset I don't have to worry about visiting the boob-squisher until I turn 40.
Then the most amazing exchange happened.( Cut for mention of weight loss and eating disorders in the context of trans* dysphoriaCollapse )
Then we went on to discuss the small lipoma on my back (it doesn't hurt, so we're not going to mess with it) and confirm that there's no health news from my close relatives and update info on my over-the-counter medication use. Just a routine physical where my doctor offered me easy no-pressure access to gender confirmation surgery and hormone therapy.
I want every trans* person in the entire world to get friendly, accepting, knowledgeable medical care like this. Dr. L's always been great about gender things--she's even made a point of instructing her staff to call me "Rose" instead of "Ms. Fox", and one time when she mispronouned me while talking with X she corrected herself without being prompted--but this is kind of another level of awesomeness.
I think I'm going to write her an actual thank-you card. And try to figure out how I can clone her.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
I got to see Janelle Monáe last night at the legendary Apollo Theater! Unfortunately I didn't really get to hear
her, as the sound board operator was completely incompetent. When the mix makes it impossible to hear one of the foremost vocalists of our time, something's really wrong. But she put on a great show despite that, I got to dance my ass off to "Cold War" (which made me cry) and "Tightrope" and "Dance Apocalyptic", and I had a very good time hanging out with Pablo D. before and during the show.
The concert was my reward to myself for being together and productive this week. What with the Monday holiday and the Best Books issue being due and hosting a webcast, I had about 150% of the usual amount of work to do in 75% of the usual amount of time. I got it all done thanks to my new system of outsourcing both willpower and decision-making, the one to Chrome Nanny and the other to a to-do list that I put together late at night when I'm anxious about daytime-me being a disorganized slacker
For ages I've had a vague idea of my weekly routine--Mondays I process incoming reviews and invoices, Wednesdays I format and fact-check reviews, Thursdays I do the radio show, etc.--but I finally wrote it all down on a master list. Every night I set up a daily to-do list consisting of that day's tasks plus anything not done the day before. During the day, when I'm at work, whenever I feel like procrastinating I hang out on Twitter until Chrome Nanny kicks me off (I'm allotted 10 minutes per hour) and then I do the next thing on the to-do list. Not having to figure out what to do next, and not having to tear myself away from tasty procrastination things, leaves me lots of energy and focus for actually getting stuff done, and I'm reassured that an hour from now I'll be able to get another procrastination fix without watching the clock. No more "what do I do next?" anxiety; no more "am I running behind?" anxiety (because I've carefully distributed my workload so I don't have too much to do on any given day, so as long as I stick with this plan I'll never be running behind); no more "how much longer do I have to be disciplined before I can indulge myself?" anxiety. I get to relax and be a cog in the machine of my own making. It's pretty splendid.
I did a similar thing with my nighttime routine--a combination of explicit planning and technological barriers--with the result that last night I went to bed at 2:35, just twenty minutes past my nominal bedtime, despite the concert keeping me out late. I woke up at 11:50, which is earlier than I've woken up on a weekend in recent memory. I feel rested and ready to tackle my weekend to-do list. Woo!You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
Tonight I made bangers and mash for dinner. Rightly expecting that there would be no leftovers, I also made a pressure cooker risotto that's going to be tomorrow's lunch. I'd been skipping risotto recipes because I assumed they all had dairy, but this one is vegan and easy and DELICIOUS.
(recipe from Laura Washburn's The Pressure Cooker Cookbook
.25 cup olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
2 large carrots, 1 cm dice
10 oz/300 g shiitake mushrooms, chopped
3 cups/600 g arborio or other risotto-suitable rice
6.5 cups/1.5 L broth
10 oz/300 g fresh or frozen peas
In the pressure cooker over high heat, cook oil, onion/shallot, carrot, and mushrooms until the mushroom liquid has cooked off and the vegetables have caramelized, about 12 minutes. Add rice and stir a lot to coat the rice with the oil. Let cook 1 minute. Pour in broth and cover. Pressurize and cook at high pressure for 4 minutes. Quick-release pressure. Add peas and heat 3–5 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the remaining broth has been absorbed. Let sit, covered, 5–10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and fresh parsley to taste. Makes six hefty or eight ordinary servings that are going to be even better after they sit in the fridge overnight.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
The Friends of Captain Awkward forum
(hereafter FOCA) is all kinds of great. I started a thread there about difficulty going to bed--as distinct from difficulty falling asleep--and got some terrific thoughtful supportive comments. It's easier going to bed at night just knowing that there are people out there who share my struggle and are quietly cheering me on.
Inspired by that thread, I've also rejiggered my nighttime schedule a bit:
22:00–00:00: Tea with X or alone-time00:00: Phone plays quiet alarm sound
00:00–00:30: Bustling in the apartment: loading the dishwasher, filling my humidifier tank, scooping the catbox, collecting my stuff from the living room, that sort of thing
00:30–01:30: Alone-time: Twitter, FOCA, LJ/DW, games, that sort of thing01:25: Soundless reminder pops up on my phone that Chrome Nanny kicks in at 01:30 and I should wrap up what I'm doing
01:30–01:45: Pre-bed bathroom stuff01:35: Soundless reminder pops up on my phone to make a to-do list
01:45–02:15: "One last thing": making a to-do list for tomorrow, maybe making a quick post like this; try to wrap it up by 02:00 if possible
The "one last thing" is because I realized I was getting into bed with everything done and then feeling like I wanted some sort of capper to the day. Having no direction for this urge usually meant I circumvented Chrome Nanny and went back on Twitter until I was totally exhausted. I also often did things like putting l*undry away that could have been left until the next day, because I was afraid I'd either forget to do them or neglect to do them. (I think the theory goes that if I slack now and foist things off on future-me, of course future-me will also be a slacker and put them off further instead of being responsible, so I should be responsible now and avoid the slippery slope of slacking. Never mind that future-me is actually pretty responsible, and that going to bed when I need to go to bed is also the responsible choice...) Making a to-do list seemed like the perfect way to do one last thing before bed, a finite thing (Twitter has no natural stopping point, but it usually takes me no more than ten minutes to run out of things to put on my to-do list) that would also help me to step back from doing non-urgent chores late at night. Writing a DW/LJ post is also a good one last thing if it's quick and not too introspective: a diary entry, not a blog post. Like this!
And now I'm off to bed, basically on time. Pretty cool. It'll be even better if I can do it more than one night in a row--which is also very dependent on how well my new mosquito-catching device works, since most of my late nights recently have been driven by the desperate need to kill the little fuckers before they drain me dry--but one night is good to start with.
(Subject line is from Conrad Aiken's "Tetélestai". mrissa
said something that reminded me of "King Borborigmi", and then I wrote a sestina for her about moths and hard-boiled crime novels and the meaning of life
, like you do--or at least like I do--and now I'm slowly working my way through more of Aiken's poems
. You have to go slowly. They're too rich to guzzle.)You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
I took Java to the vet today. She was very impressed with how well he's doing, which is always nice to hear.( Updated diagnosis and prognosisCollapse )
I'd call that all pretty good news, probably the best we could have hoped for given his age and medical history. Now my biggest concern is that he'll start doing poorly next spring right when we're packing and moving... but we'll deal with that if it happens. Right now we just need to make the shift from "crisis!" to "new status quo".
I was so distracted by writing this up that I briefly left a flame on under a greasy pan. Oops. *opens all the windows and turns on all the fans*
Turning off comments because you've all already said lovely kind things (thank you!); I don't want you to feel pressured to say them again, and I also can't handle reading those comments very often. Your well-wishes are understood and appreciated.Comments are disabled on the Dreamwidth version of this entry.
- thinking about:
- feeling:guardedly optimistic
While looking for something else entirely, I stumbled on a journal entry from 2006 that made reference to my right ear being blocked up during or after a head cold. A cursory search finds a number of similar references going back to 2002--that is to say, for about as long as I've been keeping this journal. (I've got them all tagged with body.ears
now so I can find them again.) There's no seasonal pattern, no other correlation that I can spot at a glance.
My ear started getting blocked up about halfway through my Arizona trip, and has been blocked and ringing consistently since I got home. That's eleven days and counting. I tried sleeping on my left side and the right ear didn't get any better but the left started clogging up a little, so I'm giving up on that. My guess is that in another week it'll be entirely unblocked and normal again.
This is apparently just... what my right ear does in response to cold viruses. Half the time I don't even get proper cold symptoms anymore--maybe a bit of sniffling, no sneezing, no achy misery. I just get a blocked ringing ear and a bout of depression, and two weeks later (give or take) I'm fine.
I do think it's gotten worse in the past few years: blocked more frequently, blocked for longer, blocked without obvious sinus or nasal congestion. The Menière's has emerged concurrently, and given that, I can see why my ENT is inclined to blame it for most or all of my ear problems. My money is still on Menière's plus eustachian tube dysfunction, though. The decade-long correlation of right ear blockage, specifically, with head colds is too clear to ignore.
Next time I see my ENT I might press for a more direct examination of the eustachian tube. It can't hurt to take a look.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
A couple of months ago, I started shaving my face every week or so. (Not my eyebrows, obviously--just my whiskers.) I really enjoy it as a practice and I love the way it looks and feels. Today was the first day since I left for Arizona that I had the time and steady hands to shave, and it's amazing how much better I feel about myself now that my face is all smooth.
The only drawback is that when I towel off my face after shaving, lint sticks to my skin. J claims not to have this problem.
I stopped shaving my legs and underarms ages ago. The very expensive laser hair removal treatment that I got several years ago did almost nothing to reduce the amount of hair on my legs, so my choices there are daily shaving, stubble, or fur. I'll take fur, and generally not mind it. That said, this is really making me miss the lovely sensation of just-shaved legs under a flowy skirt on a breezy day.
I'm rather enjoying the irony that I'd rather do male-coded shaving than female-coded shaving because my female-coded hormones mean I only have to do male-coded shaving once a week. If my facial hair were as coarse as my leg hair I'd probably either grow it out or be really annoyed at having to shave it every day, and if my leg hair were as fine as my facial hair I'd totally shave my legs every week. It's convenient that having hairy legs and a hairless face matches my generally preferred gender presentation, but mostly what I care about is sensation. I used to say I wanted to be completely hairless from the neck down. I might revise that to "from the nose down". Smooth skin is so wonderful.
Now I just have to remember not to fondle my face in public.
(Subject line source.
)You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
Java is basically back to being his old self, eating everything in sight and pestering us for attention and food and licking Sam's head and jumping onto and off of beds. It's amazing. He's not happy about having to take a pill every night, but if a higher steroid dose is going to keep him healthy and happy, then pills it is. Still no idea how long we've got him for, but right now he seems to intend to live forever, and no one here would dream of dissuading him from that ambition.
The humans are all still exhausted and stressed out, of course, but we're slowly recovering. Big thanks and <3s to Nora and Tea and Dave and Danielle and Nina and Sooj for cooking for us and giving us hugs and helping us clean and being generally splendid. We have an awesome Team Us.( TodayCollapse )
Mostly I just wanted to say that tonight I pulled contentment from the jaws of depression, and I feel really good about that.
Now I sleep, before the upstairs drummer starts drumming again.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
- thinking about:
body.ears, body.sleep, experiences.annoyances, experiences.seasons, experiences.seasons.autumn, mind.dreamtime, mind.wiring, mind.wiring.depression, people.cats, people.groups.foca, people.josh, people.xtina, words.editing, words.editing.venues.long hidden
I'm home. I'm very, very glad to be home. My week in Arizona was wonderful, but being away from home and my partners and our cats was really hard. It's so good to be back.
Java's pancreatitis took a turn for the worse while I was away. He's still sick but doing a little better: eating and drinking on his own (though still not eating enough), mostly angling himself correctly in the litterbox, moving around slowly but still getting himself from place to place, snuggling and purring up a storm. Prognosis is unclear at this point--as with any unwell 18-year-old cat--but he's getting the best possible treatment short of going to a hospital, and we're all quite certain that he's happier at home with his people than he would be anywhere else. He's a fighter and clearly determined to stick around as long as he possibly can.
J and X are worn out from kitty care and worry, and I'm rested from a week of vacation, so I'm taking charge of household things. Tonight I made big batches of lentil soup
and vegetable soup
. I'm very pleased with the innovation of leaving out the garlic in the vegetable soup (I wasn't at all in the mood for garlicky things) and stirring in a teaspoon of miso paste to replace the missing umami. We had a hearty dinner and have 12 servings of soup in the fridge and freezer. I also bought ingredients for chicken stew
, so I'll make those tomorrow or Tuesday. It's easier to make stew on a weeknight when you're having something else for dinner and so it doesn't matter if the stew's not ready until 10 or 11 p.m.
I'm focusing on food because X doesn't cook and has intolerances that make ordering in impossibly risky, J is too preoccupied and worn out to cook, and I get home too late on weeknights to do much; keeping us all fed is a tricky proposition. I'm very grateful to regyt
, and my mother, who are helping us stock our freezer. teaberryblue
is going to come by on Wednesday and help me clean so the place isn't a total wreck when s00j
gets here on Thursday. novalis
is going to cat-sit on Thursday when all three of us have to be at work. I am so fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life.
Also done today: got plenty of sleep, showered and dressed, bought incontinence pads since Sam is anxious and Java is clumsy and that means lots of peeing on the floor, got J out of the house for a grocery store run, arranged for X to have some uninterrupted time alone, gave them both lots of hugs and helped them sort through all the messy difficult feelings that come up at a time like this, reached out to the abovementioned folks for help and to further-away friends for e-hugs and support, sent regrets to the friends having weddings on the next two weekends, emailed my boss about swapping my day off from Tuesday to Friday (X is working from home Tuesday, so if I can move my day off to Friday then that's an extra day of around-the-clock kitty coverage), ran and emptied the dishwasher twice and washed a couple of big things by hand, emailed the Readercon concom saying that I won't be able to call in to Sunday's meeting, bleached my humidifier, took out the trash and recycling, tidied the dining table, left a loving note for J and X, remembered to put my MetroCard back in my wallet, cuddled Sam a lot (I missed her SO MUCH), and very gently patted Java and encouraged him to keep fighting. I feel quite productive. Of course now it's an hour and a half past when I meant to get to bed, but I can blame that on jetlag, right?
I have made a to-do list to stop myself from further bustling. It's long, but that's fine; it doesn't all need to get done in one day. Really. It doesn't. No, really.
Locals, do you have an inflatable bed we can borrow in case the one I just bought doesn't get here before our lovely houseguest does? We meant to order one sooner but it's been a week.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .
(The subject line refers to this amazing extended metaphor
I just emailed a version of this to a friend who asked me what I mean when I say "genderqueer". It's not definitive--no definition of gender terminology ever is--but it might be a useful starting point for conversations with cis friends who are trying to wrap their minds around trans* concepts. I'd be glad to revise it if others have suggestions or corrections (especially about the last paragraph).
Most people think of gender transition as getting on a train in Femaletown and getting out in Maleville. Well, even the fastest train takes many months for that trip; the route is very roundabout and the train makes several stops along the way. Some people get out to stretch their legs at the intermediate station of Queerburg and like it so much they decide to stay.
Others commute so often between Femaletown and Maleville that both feel like home; they practically have one foot in each place. Sometimes they wear a shirt for the Femaletown hockey team with a hat for the Maleville soccer team. They couldn't possibly declare allegiance to just one.
All three of those cities are in the state of Genderia; some people consider themselves residents of Genderia rather than of any particular city, and they wander around the whole state as they please. (You might think that everyone lives in Genderia, but quite a few people live in the distant states of Agenderia and Neutroisland. I visit both occasionally, but as Tom Lehrer says, "a charming spot but clearly not the spot for me".)
I grew up in Femaletown and have spent many years slowly progressing along the train line to Maleville, with numerous side excursions and occasional doubling back. Right now I live in Dandy's Crossing, a suburb of Maleville (though I am unlikely to ever move into the city proper). I wear clothing made for men and describe myself as a dapper dandy. I spend summers in neighboring Masculin, where I ditch my fedora and dress slacks for a short-back-and-sides haircut and cargo shorts that show off my hairy legs. I've also lived in Femmea, Butch Bay, Elegantia, Jeansland, and pretty much everywhere else in and around Femaletown. I prefer the culture of Femaletown but adore the fashion of Maleville. I seem to be happier living near the big cities than in quirky little Queerburg, but I often visit it for the joy of being around other people like me.
I've been talking about gender lately with my friend Q, who was born in Interburg and raised in Femaletown. They're planning to have chest surgery that would help them fit in better in Maleville, and they wear a packer, but like me, they hate the Maleville culture of violence and casual oppression and don't feel like they belong there. Honestly, I think they'd be happiest in New Maleville over in Agenderia. They care a great deal about physical shape but not at all about presentation. I'm the opposite; I enjoy the cognitive dissonance of wearing "male" clothes on a "female" body and rarely bother to bind my breasts (though if I needed a mastectomy for medical reasons, I wouldn't be sad to see them go). My ideal body would be totally hairless from the neck down and have neither breasts nor broad hips, and while we're at it I'd like to be four inches taller, but that's all because I regard my body as a paper doll to hang clothes on. I don't feel dysphoria very often now that I have clothes that fit.
Now guess which one of us is having a baby. Surprise: it's Q. The chest surgery is being put off so they can breastfeed. "Might as well get some use out of the damn things," Q says. Me, I'd ditch my reproductive anatomy in a heartbeat. The idea of something growing inside me gives me the creeps.
Genderia is a big place and people live all over. If you've only ever been to Femaletown or Maleville you might be surprised just how many other parts of Genderia there are (not to mention all the places that aren't anything like Genderia). Respecting trans* people is just like respecting people from other countries: our customs may be unfamiliar to you, but that doesn't mean we're wrong to do things the way we do, and if we put a lot of effort into speaking your language, kindly do us the favor of not pointing out our accents.
Speaking of other countries, I should note that this is an extremely mainstream U.S. way of looking at things. People raised in non-U.S. cultures or subcultures within the U.S. (such as religious communities where gender roles are very strong) will have their own concepts of gender and approaches to gender identity and performance. Respect for a person's gender means respect for how they think about their own gender, and that includes recognition that their native culture's approach to gender-related things will have affected their upbringing, their understanding of what is possible, their life choices, and their efforts to fit in, stand out, or cherish their own uniqueness. That doesn't mean you should go quizzing them on all those things! Just be aware that gender is cultural and social as well as a matter of one's innate feelings.
Now I want someone to draw me a map of Genderia.
EDIT: I am reminded that booklectic
used a very similar metaphor
in an article she interviewed me for a couple of years ago! I'd totally forgotten; at least consciously, Genderia came from my frustration with the "taking the train from point A to point B" envisioning of transition, which in turn came from discussions on Twitter about how completely ignorant most cis people are of what transition is
. ("I bet they think it takes about six weeks," one person grumbled.) But I'm sure Katy's post planted a seed somewhere deep in my brain, and I'm glad to give her credit for it.You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is .