a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
fresh cuttings 
me and xtina
R: I love you even though you're not a very good Klingon.
X: I love you even though you're not a very good cyborg.
R: Goodnight, spousebot.
X: Goodnight, squishlord.


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me and xtina
X and I are home from three days in Montauk celebrating our elopeaversary. For various reasons we couldn't go on our actual anniversary (11/12), and by the time we were able to head east, the place we stayed last year in Hampton Bays was closed for the season, as was most of Long Island. Apparently December 1 is the cut-off. But we found a very similar setup in Montauk--a motel with efficiency apartments that included full kitchens--and ended up being upgraded to a 2BR by the very friendly manager, Jamie. The second bedroom was wasted on us, but we appreciated the thought, especially when the enormous king-size bed in the main bedroom turned out to be hard as a board. We slept in the smaller bedroom, where the queen-size bed was decently comfortable, and used the larger one as something like a dressing room.

The kitchen was pretty great, though the stove had some issues, and the dishwasher wasn't bolted into the counter and tended to lean forward in an alarming fashion whenever someone pulled out the top rack. We mentioned these issues to Jamie, and a charming handyman named Leroy soon came by to fuss with the stove (he didn't really fix it, but at least he didn't make it worse) and make note of the dishwasher problem and change a burned-out light bulb and WD-40 the squeaky front door. He modestly took credit for the improvements in the motel that have led to considerably more positive online reviews in the past year, and I believe him; he was clearly one of those people who doesn't rest until every last fixable thing is fixed.

We had assembled a meal plan and a shopping list in advance, so one grocery run in Southampton (where we acquired our rental car, the Montauk branch of Enterprise being [all together now] closed for the season) on Tuesday was almost entirely sufficient, though we did stop at the general store in Montauk on Wednesday to pick up a few extra things. I made eggs and sausages for breakfasts and chicken soup and pesto pasta for dinners, and convinced the very skeptical waitress at the restaurant next door that I really did want to buy an entire baguette and take it home with me; I dipped pieces of it in olive oil for an excellent midnight snack. Some more of the olive oil went to fixing another squeaky hinge on the door to the bedroom we were sleeping in, since by the time we realized how bad it was, it was late and we had no desire to ring up Leroy for more WD-40.

We also had no way to ring him up, since there was no landline and our phones couldn't get any signal. Jamie was reachable by going over to the office and hoping he would be there, which he usually wasn't. But during the day the office was unlocked, so I could use his desk phone to call his cellphone and leave a message, and a few hours later he'd hit a pocket of signal and get the message and then swing by. It was a very informal sort of place, which suited us fine.

The motel mascot was a delightful fluffy dog (a labradoodle, maybe? or maybe just a mutt) named Alyssa; I don't usually describe dogs as "delightful" but she was just super sweet, friendly and polite and eager to bounce around and chase tennis balls. We hugged her and patted her and missed our cats a lot.

The weather was mostly nasty and wet and cold. We got in a little beach-walking time near the motel, but when I drove around on Wednesday afternoon scouting out hiking spots, I had to contend with drenching rain. Fortunately, Thursday dawned shiny and bright (and cold). After breakfast we bundled up, drove out to the point, avoided hitting any of the several deer that were strolling across the road, and walked down to the stony beach, where we found a great many shells and pretty rocks and fragments of crabs that had been gobbled up by gulls. ("Want to bring home a crab skull?" "NO.")

We came back to the motel, had lunch, and went out to watch the sun set over Fort Pond Bay. I tiptoed out onto the beach for a bit and found a shell that echoed a few of the purple-pink shades of the sky. I also managed to get a slightly blurry panorama photo, though it doesn't do the colors justice or convey the pure loveliness of sitting in a warm car, squeezing X's hand, and watching the afternoon gently settle into evening as a gibbous moon rose into the clouds behind us.


Click through for a larger version.

We drove down to town for a few things and by the time we headed back to the motel it was almost full dark. This did not discourage the deer from wandering around the road, so I drove very slowly and carefully, and got us safely back.

(I was very pleased with my driving on this trip. I parked perfectly every single time--albeit without having to parallel park at any point--and felt really at home behind the wheel. And my knees didn't twinge a bit, even in the molasses traffic along Route 27 on our way back to Southampton.)

Late that night I went out to get something from the car and was delighted to see that the clouds had cleared enough for me to see some gorgeous bright stars. The moon was much too bright for me to see the Milky Way, but Orion and the Big Dipper stood out clear and proud. I didn't think to look for Cassiopeia, and anyway it was too cold to stand out there for long. I made a mental note that next time we should try to time our trip to the new moon and hope for clear night skies.

As is traditional, we spent a lot of time snuggling and watching movies. This year it was The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, which X first showed me a couple of years ago, and Desk Set, which I love and X had never seen. Both good choices, with plenty of humor and warmth. Both very cis and het, of course, but not aggressively so; the Desk Set script explicitly establishes that Bunny is interested in men (Peg saying "I don't like cats. I like men, and so do you!") and Richard is interested in women ("Why have you never married? Don't you like women?" "Oh, yeah. Sure, sure. I like women, specifically as a sex and specifically.") in a way that almost feels like hetereosexuality isn't the default, the primary romantic triangle in Desk Set is a man and a woman and a computer (with a happy poly ending!), and of course Lost Skeleton is skewering the hell out of gender roles along with everything else. So until Hollywood makes us some genuinely queer movies that aren't tragedies, these will do very nicely for elopeaversary watching.

It was very peculiar being out in the middle of nowhere, with almost no phone reception and very shaky intermittent internet, and catching glimpses of the protests and other happenings in New York. Sometimes we were glued to Twitter. Other times we just had to turn it off and lose ourselves in doing anything else.

There was plenty of "anything else" to do, even when it was too rainy to go out and about. I fussed a bit over X, who felt unwell on and off. J Skyped with us a bit, which was lovely. X got a lot of knitting done. I got X hooked on Transport Empire. I read a good chunk of Mary Brown's Playing the Jack (December is "research cross-dressing romance" month for me) and some SF/F stories with non-binary characters. I got to WaniKani level 11. I even did a bit of work so I won't be entirely and completely overwhelmed on Monday. We also picked up a 750-piece jigsaw puzzle at the general store; it was the perfect size for the big coffee table in the apartment's surprisingly spacious living room, and we got it assembled in two leisurely sessions while listening to Great Big Sea and Flogging Molly, which felt very appropriate for our coastal location.

The trip back was long and dull, something like six hours door to door, but we are home at last. We managed to get something like sufficient food into ourselves, though travel really makes that very difficult. J gave us delicious welcome-home smooches. I snuggled Sam and played with Alex and was magnificently ignored by Sophie, all par for the course. I also unpacked my suitcase because I always unpack right away, and took out the trash because recycling night comes but once a week. The dishes can wait for tomorrow.

It was a really good vacation, and a most appropriate celebration of a really good year of spousality.


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28 September 2014 00:28 - "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!"
accomplishment, craft
Tonight we hosted a Rosh Hashanah dinner for my mother, her inamorato, and my brother (who ended up working late and didn't arrive until dessert--his loss). It was the first my-family holiday dinner hosted by someone of my generation, so we wanted to make it extra special.

The menu:

Pomegranate sangrias. Alcoholic: Sauvignon Blanc + pomegranate juice + honey. Non-alcoholic: white grape juice + pomegranate juice. I just happened to have frozen pomegranate arils*, so I put them in an ice cube tray, filled it with pomegranate juice, and made ice cubes that wouldn't dilute the sangria as they melted. These were a big hit.

* Having written this, I think I am no longer allowed to tease my mother about the time she said, "Of course you can come over for dinner, I just happen to have roasted a turkey."

Apples and honeys. This was set out for people to nosh on while we finished cooking. The Ginger Gold apples, from our local greenmarket, were peeled and cut into thick circular slices, and the core sections removed with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. We had dishes of pohutukawa and blue borage honey from New Zealand (brought to us by auntyglory), buckwheat honey from New England, and Brooklyn wildflower honey from [personal profile] regyt, whose hive has supplied our Rosh Hashanah honey for years now. We served the apple slices and honey on small dishes laid out on a carved wooden tray, all filched from J's stepfather's apartment in Osaka.

Dinner was served with dishes passed at the table, very comfortable and cozy and informal.

Chicken stewed with apricots and autumn spices. We based this on the Moroccan chicken stew that was such a hit at Arisia. Six pounds of chicken thigh filets from the neighborhood butcher, one yellow onion, a great many quartered apricots, homemade chicken stock flavored with Balinese long pepper and dosed with honey and lemon juice, and a spice mix of sweet paprika, za'atar, cumin, ginger, urfa-biber, ground coriander seed, and cinnamon. We cooked it all together until the chicken was falling apart, and then I shredded the meat by hand and returned it to the pot, where it happily soaked up all the broth. The texture was very similar to pulled pork. We served it garnished with toasted silvered almonds and chopped parsley, with lemon wedges for those who felt like lemoning it a bit more. It was incredibly rich and delicious.

Sweet noodle kugel. A very basic recipe, with cashew ricotta and almond cream + cider vinegar and coconut oil substituting for cottage cheese and sour cream and butter, and Jovial gluten-free egg noodles. It was mostly custard and raisins, with noodles more for the sake of tradition than for flavor or texture. My mother arrived while it was baking and said the house smelled like Cinnabon; I'm pretty sure this was a compliment.

Maple-glazed carrots. Carrot coins with a glaze of maple syrup, Earth Balance, cinnamon (this was a very cinnamon-heavy meal), and fresh thyme (though not NEARLY enough of it; I blame myself). I love this recipe, but it was completely drowned out by the considerably more complex flavors of the chicken. Oh well. It'll be great to snack on.

Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper, roasted for half an hour, and garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds. Simple and perfect.

Greenmarket salad. My mother contributed this: long beans, watermelon, pears, micro greens, picked watermelon rind, some other delicious things. It was a lovely refreshing finish to the meal.

Dessert was delayed while we waited for my brother to arrive, and it's just as well because we all ate a whole lot of dinner and needed some time to digest it.

Apple crumble with vanilla ice cream. More Ginger Golds, tossed with cornstarch and sugar and (all together now) cinnamon, topped with chopped oats and gluten-free flour and almond meal and brown sugar and a bit more cinnamon because why not. The directions say "Mix topping with coconut oil until it resembles wet sand" and that's basically what it was still like when it came out of the oven with syrup bubbling up all around it: delicious, delicious sand. Of course we do make twice as much topping as the original recipe called for. Anyway, it was phenomenal, and we had Häagen-Dazs Vanilla Bean for the dairy-eaters and Soy Delicious Purely Vanilla for me and X, and I had a second helping even though I was super intensely full.

Our agenda looked basically like this:

08:00: X and J get up.
09:00: J goes to the farmer's market. X lets in Angela, our superb house cleaner.
11:00: R gets up.
12:00: EVERYONE EATS LUNCH. NO EXCEPTIONS. (Cooking while hungry is a bad, bad idea.)
13:00: R and J start cooking. X naps.
14:00: Angela leaves.
15:00: R and J take a break. X cleans up.
16:00: R and J go back to cooking. X sets the table.
18:00: R and J take turns showering and getting dressed while cooking continues.
19:00: Guests arrive.
20:00: Dinner is served.
21:00: Dessert.
22:00: Everyone go hoooome.

We didn't stick to it precisely--we started cooking at 12:30 because we were all energized, and for a while we were way ahead of schedule so we took more breaks--but dinner was on the table at 20:02. I am very, very proud of that.

My mother and D left at about 22:30; my brother stayed and chatted with me for another hour or so.

I think X ran the dishwasher four or five times. Maybe six, counting the current load. J and I cooked together splendidly, as we always do, and whenever we sat down for a bit, X whisked in, tidied up, and whisked away again. The three of us are such a phenomenal team. We were relaxed and happy the whole time, joking and smooching and smoothly navigating around one another. I don't think a single cross word was spoken all day.

My mother was thrilled and impressed, and she stayed at the table the whole time--no bustling in the kitchen!

My feet hurt and my back hurts and I ate too much and I'm basking in the glow of getting exactly the holiday dinner I wanted.


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4 September 2014 00:25 - "I'm not a rabbit!"
metaphor queen
R: I am very tired.
X: Yes.
R: I am... non-Euclideanly tired.
X: Um...
R: Layers of tired cake held together with tired and frosted with tired frosting. Sculpted into tired.
X: Promise me you'll stay off Twitter.

(Edited to add my metaphor userpic.)


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3 September 2014 01:58 - "Your cat though"
threesome, analytical
Random assortment of stuff.

1. It hit 92 today, and felt hotter than that. There was an air quality advisory until 10 p.m. Even my aggressively air-conditioned room felt warm and humid. I didn't go out for my midday walk, and missed it. My knees are doing better and I am desperate to be outside and moving around except for the part where the actual air is made up of equal parts murder and hate. Usually I get this kind of cabin fever in the winter; I'm not used to it in summer.

2. A work deadline that I thought I had missed by several days turns out to be tomorrow. That was a very nice email to get.

3. Sam peed on the old suitcase she likes to sit on, and then on the one Alex likes to sit on, and also on the top of my dresser where Alex's suitcase was. So the suitcases are out by the trash bins, and Sam is confused and sad because her usual sitting places are gone. I think it's stress, not another UTI, but I have no idea what to do about it. If I shut her in my room at night she gets upset because she can't get to her litter box (of course I moved it into my room but she doesn't care because it's in the wrong place). If I leave my door open at night Alex chases her around and sometimes chases her out of the litter box while she's using it because he is a jerk. So... I have no idea. I should probably just keep shutting her in my room until she gets used to it, and put up with the inappropriate peeing in the meantime.

Alex is resolutely napping on top of the dresser as though his suitcase was still there. I'm torn between "poor kitty" and "that's what you get for being a jerk and stressing Sam out so much that she peed on your favorite spot".

(The suitcases themselves are no big loss; they were coated in a thick layer of shed fur and I had no plans to ever use them again for travel. I knew this was how they would eventually die. Still, it's sad.)

My room smells of pee despite aggressive cleaning and spraying Anti-Icky-Poo on every surface that might possibly have been contaminated. I am really not happy about this.

I'm taking Sam to the vet tomorrow just to make sure it's not another UTI. At least they'll be happy about her weight gain.

4. J and I had a very nice date tonight: endless punning, dinner out, a lovely lazy stroll around the fountain at Grand Army Plaza (the mist made the warm evening quite bearable), buying ice cream, tasty makeouts. Sex TMICollapse ) It was one of our best dates in recent memory.

R: I missed you.
J: I missed you too.
R: I missed me. I thought you were the one who was gone, but really it was me all along.
J: Yeah.
R: I'm really really glad I got off the Zoloft.

Punning and joking! I'd just plain forgotten how to do that--I'd forgotten to do it. It's good to be back.

5. X had a panic attack tonight because it's been a shitty stressful couple of weeks. J and I wrapped them in hugs until they felt a little better. I prescribed a low-stress diet, by which I mean farming out or postponing anything that can be farmed out or postponed. Hopefully that will help.

6. I reached level 5 on WaniKani! This whole kanji study thing is pretty cool. I am purely astonished that a language can simultaneously have so many pronunciations per word and so many words per pronunciation. (Does "sen sei" mean "thousand correct" or "previous life"? I would have thought the former was a more likely term for "teacher" but it turns out to be the latter.) A lot of any language is figuring things out from context, but the number of meanings for e.g. こう is making me really impressed that anyone can comprehend spoken Japanese at all. Understanding the kanji is actually easier in some ways, and when I mess up on the quizzes it's almost always because I've mixed up on'yomi and kun'yomi or otherwise forgotten how to say the word, not because I've forgotten what the character means.

7. Biweekly Skype dates with karenbynight are one of the best ideas I've had in years. It's just so lovely to hang out and talk with a friend.

I'm tired and I have work and chores to do and I need to do my knee exercises, so I should probably go do the dishes, eat ice cream while exercising (the joy of low-impact exercises one does sitting down), do my work while post-exercise ice is on my knee, and go to bed, in that order.


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17 August 2014 03:11 - "Everybody bask in the afterglow"
laughing, joyous, frubbly
Five points of hysterical laughter: achieved! with the coinage of "squam", tinned meat for giant squids. Also known as submarines.

I love family Saturdays. I slept in a lot (after sleeping very poorly), and when I got up, X and J came in to hang out in my room while we sorted out what we wanted to do with the day.

J: Do you want to take the first shower?
R: Nope.
J: Hm, neither do I.
X: Okay, Rochambeau! One, two--
J: *paper*
R: *scissors*
R: I win!
J and R simultaneously: You get to take the first shower!
R: Nice try.

J and I planned and shopped and cooked, turning a whole bunch of leftover chicken bones (from a ten-pound pack of chicken thighs that were supposed to be boneless and, uh, weren't) and the carcass of a roast chicken into glorious soup stock. We roasted the bones at 350F for about an hour, browned some mirepoix, threw in fresh thyme and fresh oregano and freeze-dried cilantro and two bay leaves and a corn cob, added a lot of water and a box of low-sodium broth for extra flavor, and simmered it down for nine full hours.

X logged and shelved a great many books, clearing off the shelve-me cart and the dining table. J and I culled some cookbooks to make room for more cookbooks, that being the cookbook cycle of life.

The stock wasn't ready in time for dinner, so we nuked up some insta-rice and homemade frozen meatballs, tossed in butter and a bit of sauteed spinach, and called it a food. I had a slice of banana cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert, which was pretty excellent. After that there was lots of good family snuggling and smooching and so forth.

R: Who wants to be in the middle?
J: I do!
X: I do!
*slightly awkward pause*
*slightly hilarious pause as we all realize the obvious solution*
X: Oh okay FINE. One, two--
J: *rock*
X: *paper*
X: I win! I knew you were going to play rock because Rose played scissors earlier.
R: You know, this is exactly what people think polyamory is like.

After everyone else went to sleep, I wrote a 1000-word piece on knitting innovation for #24CC, the spiritual successor to #24MAG. I miss the intensity of #24MAG but it's nice to be able to do #24CC from home. And look, I did a creative thing instead of just being what [twitter.com profile] SpaceCraftETK calls "a creativity-doula"!

I watched some of the livestream from Ferguson and wrote some angry tweets about the long-term effects of tear gas residue on poor residential communities. (One of those tweets is at 120 RTs and counting. O.O Didn't expect that.) When I hit my limit, I closed the livestream tab and let my rage cool down.

Around 03:15 I realized the stock was probably done and decanted it. There's about a quart and a half, and it's intense; we were planning to make chicken soup with it but I could happily just drink it on its own. I did the dishes and took the trash out (it was full of delicious-smelling chicken bones and I didn't want Alex to attack the trash can) and now I'm relaxing and just feeling good.

hysterical laughter + hot sex + spontaneous creativity + joking around + household productivity = +15. No negatives at all today--I haven't even felt dizzy. My boobs are still sore, but if PMS is affecting my mood at all, I really can't tell.

It was a very very very good day.


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10 August 2014 17:42 - "Three's company"
family-subtlehouse
New userpic for Subtle House, courtesy of [syndicated profile] kimchicuddles_feed. :D It's even in the right colors! (Green for me, blue for X, purple for J.)


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25 July 2014 22:40 - "Go kitty go!"
hug-happy, cat
Kitty micturition TMI--all good newsCollapse )

Other than that, it's been a very lovely day. My mother came over for lunch and was thrilled by the new place and impressed by our kitchen layout and equipment. Always nice when an FCI-trained chef is happy to cook in your kitchen. :) After she left, X came home early from work and I sobbed all over them for about an hour--going to the vet's office is very hard on me, plus it's just generally been a rough week--and then wiped my face and declared myself done with crying. We spent the rest of the evening snuggling and knitting and attempting to make gluten-free bread in the bread machine (the dough was too wet, so it overflowed and scorched on the heating element; I'm letting it dry out overnight in hopes of that making it easier to clean up, since right now it's basically yeasty glue).

Pre-pregnancy things have shifted X's sleep schedule around a lot. We used to have tea five nights a week from ~10 to ~midnight, but now they're exhausted and ready for bed by 10 or 10:30. This is our first time trying a weeknight date, on the theory that one long date a week could replace shorter but more frequent teatimes. I had been very very reluctant to delete the "time for tea!" alarm from my phone because it felt like such a loss, but if all our dates are as good as this one was, I'll feel a lot better about the change.


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25 July 2014 01:43 - "A wide variety"
noisy brain, agitated, manic-bad
Good things:

The one (1) knee doctor in NYC who takes my insurance was great. He says I have patellofemoral pain syndrome, which means "That pain you told me about, where your knee meets your shin bone? It's pain where your knee meets your shin bone". I love medicine. ℞ is physical therapy to stretch and strengthen my quads, biweekly for eight weeks. Conveniently, the one (1) physical therapist in NYC who takes my insurance is also 20 minutes from my house by a single very direct bus.

This particular variety of knee pain is like most back pain: the best day-to-day treatment is to pretend it's not there and keep doing what you'd usually do. So I've been doing that and my knees are doing better, though still really not fond of stairs.

X and J and I had a really really nice family date night last night. We made a tasty dinner and watched "Encounter at Farpoint", and then J went to bed and X and I stayed up for a bit and snuggled and watched Northern Kings metal covers of pop ballads and giggled together. It was just right, and sorely needed.

I bought new sandals: Naot Karenna, dark brown ("buffalo"). They're very comfortable, though it's taking me a little while to figure out how tightly to fasten the straps; I'm used to the shift-and-give of buckles, not the firmness of Velcro. I had the toe strap on the left one too tight today and it rubbed a bit. But they suit my gender perfectly and my knees feel great when I'm wearing them. And I already had a dark brown belt to wear with them, because this dandy is prepared.

Therapy today was of the wrenching emotional variety and also the being gently scolded challenged by my therp. "Be messy," he said, "and stop policing your emotions." New therp is very very good. I am very very full of feels and now very very aware of being full of feels and very very nervous about letting them out. Augh. Oh well, this is what therapy is for. It is still a good thing, though it's hard.

After therping I decided that what I really needed was a steak and a book where people are nice to each other, so I went out to Outback (not the best steak in the world, but in my price range and right across the street from work) and read a good chunk of a romance novel, and felt considerably better after that. Yay self-care.

Annoying things:

Rose, mid-May: "I'm going to cut back my FSA contributions a lot, since I'm finishing up with my therapist and generally in good health."
June 1: annual FSA contribution adjustment deadline passes
Rose, mid-July: "I'm seeing a new therapist who doesn't take my insurance and now I need 16 sessions of physical therapy. Um. Welp. Guess I use post-tax money for that."

Can't foresee everything, I suppose.

The Naot sandals are made in Israel. I struggle a lot with the whole boycott idea, which has some significant downsides, but it's still hard for me to buy Israeli goods right now. I can talk around and around the politics and morals and practicalities and it comes back to that point of pure emotion: it's hard for me. And I'm so sad that Israel is doing such terrible things. And I'm going to stop here because I can't even really bear to think about any of this right now. (So no comments on this topic, please.)

Sad things:

My poor little Sammycat has a UTI. I think this is the first time she's been ill in the nine years she's lived with us, so she is confused and perturbed. I had to put her in kitty jail overnight because she was leaving sad little pink-tinged puddles all around the house in hopes that maybe if she pees in this spot it won't hurt. I lined the entire thing with wee pads and gave her food and water and a cardboard box to sleep in. It's going to take her a while to figure out that kitty jail is a place she can't get out of, and then she's going to whine and wail for a bit, and then hopefully she'll be able to sleep.

Alex is completely freaked out by the sight of kitty jail--he spent several days in quarantine there when we first got him, and clearly has not forgotten--and really confused by being on the outside of it and another cat being on the inside of it. I hope he leaves Sam alone. I placed it as far from all our bedrooms as possible, and well away from the cat tree that's Alex's most likely perching spot. Usually he and Sam both sleep in my room, but I have my door shut so I can't hear her crying. My poor tiny cat. :( :( :( I just hate making her sad, but I can't stay up all night and follow her around with paper towels.

One of us will take her to the vet tomorrow and get her some tasty antibiotics. Good thing we've trained her to think of Pill Pockets as treats. Since she's never been sick, we've never had to pill her, but I can't imagine she'd handle it well.

Augh, even with the a/c and fan on "high" I can hear her agonized lonelyhowl, the sound she used to make at our old apartment every night because I couldn't let her sleep in my room. This is awful. At least I know from that experience that she'll give up once it's clear that I'm not coming out to free her.

I keep telling myself that this is character-building and will help me prepare for being a parent. Or something.

Time to sleep so I can be a good cat-parent in the morning.


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23 July 2014 00:36 - "Next!"
accomplishment, craft
The last piece of IKEA furniture is DONE. DONE DONE DONE DOOOOOONE.

(Well, we may put knobs on the drawers at some point. But whatever, that's minor and easy to do and we may decide not to bother. Everyone seems happy to open the drawers from the side right now.)

The very last remaining things to do:

* I put the base and lids for our old blender up on Craigslist Free Stuff, and someone is coming to get them tomorrow.
* The IKEA boxes go out with the recycling on Friday.
* On Saturday J and I will haul two huge bags of fabric recycling to the farmer's market.
* Possibly there will be some vacuuming.

And then I will take photos of the living room/dining room/kitchen/library and you can all see what a splendid apartment we have, now that it's populated by furniture and books and appliances rather than boxes and boxes and boxes.

=====

My knees were feeling somewhat better today (yes, plural--I'm putting more weight than usual on the left to spare the right, so the left is complaining too), despite poor sleep. I've been trying to work from my very comfy office chair instead of in bed, and I think it's helping. After J and I met for dinner, we took a very small stroll in the park. I had the brace on my right knee and was careful not to overdo it, and my caution was rewarded by an almost pain-free climb up the subway stairs on our way home. I rested for a few hours and then got up and did a bit of tidying (no heavy lifting). So far so good.

I can feel my shin muscles aching now that I know what I'm looking for, and the heating pad helped a lot yesterday, so I'm increasingly certain that working from home in a one-flight walkup has simply made me too sedentary and my muscles have weakened to where they can't adequately support my joints. I also need new sandals, which I will hopefully get on the way home from the knee doc tomorrow. I don't like any of this season's Merrell or Timberland sandals, and I've been wanting something a bit more solid and butch, so I'm seriously considering my first Birkenstocks. Fortunately the knee doc is at 33rd Street, so I'll pop over to Eneslow and try on shoes there to get a sense of Birkenstock sizes and how they feel on my feet.

=====

Yesterday was a pretty rotten day for me and X, and we were both staggering a bit today from the emotional hangover. But we managed to pull through it with a great deal of support from the always amazing J, and there was even a bit of cuddling and laughing later in the evening. Tomorrow we inaugurate our weekly family date night, which is probably going to be like a typical night except with more snuggles. I think that sounds excellent.

=====

I didn't get to bed until 7 a.m. yesterday, so I've been groggy and fleh all day. Time to try the yoga nidra mp3 of [personal profile] norah's that [personal profile] rydra_wong pointed me to, and see if it can put me to sleep at something approximating my best bedtime.


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wistful, longing, seeking
J went upstate this weekend to spend time with his mother and grandmother, and X and I got a weekend all to ourselves. It was pretty excellent. We talked and snuggled and giggled and made out and accidentally fell asleep on each other. We went shopping and I cooked tasty food and X did all the dishes. We built the last bookcase and shelved all the trade-size novels (SINGLE-STACKED AT LAST) and hung heat-blocking curtains, so the living room is less of a sweatbox and X's poor little air conditioner doesn't have to work so hard. We played video games. We were kind and loving and patient. We spoke up about our needs and desires. We were satisfied with our accomplishments. We had fun.

I wish I felt satiated and glow-basking; instead I just want more more more. I want more weekends like this. I want this weekend to keep going. I want the things we thought about doing but didn't do: going to a museum, watching a movie, knitting. I want more of the things we did. I want things we didn't even think about doing, like going to the beach and playing cards. More. More. More love, more togetherness, more getting things done, more of making our home a better place to live, more silliness, more sweetness, more.

Every time I think I've finally settled into believing that X and I live in the same house instead of three thousand miles apart, I find another pocket of starvation mentality. There will be next weekend, and the weekend after that! But this felt like a holiday, somehow, a special occasion, and now all I can think is that it's over too soon and the next big dose of time together is unfathomably far in the future. And that there is really never any such thing as getting enough of my beloved spousebot.

I'll feel better tomorrow, when they come home from work and we have our evening tea-date and I'm reminded that we really do get as much time together as any two working adults can. J comes home tomorrow and that will help too; I'm sure some of the loneliness I'm feeling right now is from him being away, and family time always cheers me up. It's just hard right now, with Sunday night winding slowly down and feeling so much like an ending.


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17 June 2014 17:01 - "ABZs"
love, family, community
A typical afternoon in our family IRC channel:

(5:00:33) Josh: Hey
(5:00:36) Xtina: bee
(5:00:39) Rose: sea
(5:00:49) Josh: :P
(5:00:56) Rose: no no, P comes much later
(5:01:03) Josh: #
(5:01:05) Xtina: you don't get to teach kit the alphabet


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loved, happy, satisfied
Miscellaneous things:

1) We made chicken and vegetable stir-fry tonight and it tasted just like it came from a restaurant, only better! Recipe here. It's adapted from a recipe for cashew chicken in Easy Chinese Recipes by Bee Yin Low, and it's delicious. Since I'm on a low-sodium diet and X can't have gluten, Chinese restaurants are mostly off-limits to us, and we were both SO HAPPY to be able to have Chinese food again. I can't wait to try more from that cookbook, which in addition to having lots of interesting recipes is full of hilarious snarking at nasty greasy over-sauced American Chinese restaurant food (so of course we tripled the amount of sauce because we are uncultured Americans).

2) Yesterday I built a cabinet for my room, a new china cabinet, a new hardware cabinet, and a new liquor cabinet. My palm is bruised from pressing against the butt of the screwdriver, and I still want a version of [twitter.com profile] crimershow where it's @IKEAshow and every episode ends with people shouting "IKEAAAAAA" and shaking their fists in rage, but the furniture looks really nice. I'm especially pleased with the cabinet door knobs, which I had to place and drill; they are exactly even.

3) It's been ages since I did a cat update. Short version: the new place is perfectly suited to cats, and all is well.

Sophie is still entirely X's cat, but she's getting more tolerant of other people and other cats; these days, when I go into X's room, more often than not they have both Sophie and Sam on the bed, and earlier today I was in X's room alone and Sophie came over to curl up near me. Alex is slowly learning that when Sophie corners him she's not going to attack him--she just wants to gaze adoringly at him--and so he can just walk past her. When he does, she follows him around like a lovesick stalker. It is utterly ridiculous.

Alex mostly hangs out on the enormous cat condo or the window behind it. He also likes the window in X's room (where he watches cars go by like he wants to chase one down and drag him home) and the window in my room (where he watches birds and the stray cats that like to run across the garage roof). He's not really a people-cat, but he's willing to indulge us when we pet him and pick him up. He trusts me the most, probably because X doesn't have much patience for him and J likes to tease him, whereas the worst I do is drag him onto my lap and hug him. Whenever we cook he hangs out in the kitchen hoping for scraps. I call him "the dog I never wanted". At some point we gave up on any notion of rehoming him; he's here to stay.

Sam is still my kitten, but she's very fond of all of us. When I'm asleep she'll go hang out with X or J, and if they're not home, she'll hang out on the suitcase in my room. She's thrilled that I've started working from home most of the time, since it means more time near an awake person. When I go to bed she curls up next to my head for a bit, but she always leaves before I fall asleep. She also naps on the book boxes in the living room. She and Sophie get into spats occasionally, but they're mostly of the "aaa you startled me! *batbatbat*" sort, and she's stopped growling at Alex when he goes past her to get to the window. Her life is mostly placid and uninteresting and she seems to like it that way.

(Right now she's lying comma-style next to me, purring and looking hopefully at my hands. I pet her after every sentence.)

4) It recently emerged that both X and J had harbored a few quiet "what if we...?" thoughts about each other. And now, catalyzed by the baby-planning and baby-making, they're all smoochy and giggly and cuddly and flirting and roughhousing and affectionate and hilarious and adorable. I am about 98% "eeeeeee! they are SO CUTE" and 2% "ngh insecure", which as I recall is pretty typical when one of my partners hits NRE with someone else. We're all dealing fine with the 2% as it comes up, and the rest of the time I melt with delight.

I never expected this in a million years, or hoped for it. They so obviously weren't interested in dating or being lovers. They'd only just gotten to be friends! (I told J that if this were a book I'd have instructed the author to go back and put in more foreshadowing, because it came out of nowhere and that makes it hard to suspend disbelief.) But all my well-honed poly mechanisms are kicking into gear like they hadn't been lying dormant for years. It feels like relief, like the first warm breeze of spring after a long, long winter.

I can't express how marvelous it is to watch them making each other happy. I thrive on the joy of the people I love. To see it doubled, and doubled again--my heart overflows.

Our family already felt like a family, and it was already a good solid family. It's just a differently configured family now, and full of squee. :)

I am also reminded that I can tolerate being someone's only partner, but I always relax more when I'm not; it helps me step down from thinking I have to be available 24/7, and I worry less because I know they're in good hands when I'm not around.

(Now Sam is kneading the blanket over my leg, and Alex has come up onto the bed and thence to the windowsill.)

5) I don't quite know how much is too much to say in public about babystuff, both because I don't want to reveal more than X is comfortable with and because I know it's triggering/upsetting for some folks. I will just say that we're at a stage where all we can do is wait, and it's daunting and terrifying and frustrating and I hate waiting so much. Also, everything important happens much earlier in the morning than I would usually be awake for. I really ought to go to sleep because I have to get up in about four hours, but it's hard to sleep because I'm so nervous.

(Now Sam is asleep on the pillow to my right, and Alex is asleep on the pillow to my left. Earlier he was purring and licking my hand. What good kitties.)

6) I reached level 72 in Swords & Potions 2, and "beat" Gemcraft Chasing Shadows in the sense of completing the level that it thinks of as final. There are some other levels I haven't even unlocked yet, but I'm carefully staying away for now. My arm needs to recover from the cabinet-building.

(I patted Alex and woke him up. He's purring like gangbusters and kicking my hand away whenever I try to pet him. He gets like that sometimes. Silly cat.

(Ah, he's rotated so I can reach his back without threatening his tender belly. Everyone's happier now.)

7) No but really I should go sleep as much as I can. I hope I can sleep at all.


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8 June 2014 04:15 - "No news is no news"
peace, garden, home
The lack of posting is not due to a lack of things going on; rather the opposite. Yesterday I created a calendar item that goes from mid-May to mid-July next year. It's labeled "RT, BEA, romance feature, announcements, Readercon, RWA" and it takes up the entirety of my freelance calendar for those eight weeks. I didn't even go to RT this year, and I barely went to BEA, and I'm still drowning because I made the mistake of taking on big freelance gigs during summer crunch time. While adjusting to working from home. And nesting, which is a surprisingly time-consuming occupation.

Today the three of us started the day with lovely giggly cuddles. In the afternoon Nora and Tea and Josh S. came over and unpacked and shelved books under X's direction while J and I built bookcases. The job isn't finished by any means (not least because one of the bookcases we got from IKEA is missing a significant part, and we won't be able to go there and pick up a replacement for another two weeks) but the library is starting to look like a library! I also organized the guest room so there's room to build the couch, and J gleefully demolished an enormous ratty old cabinet we referred to as "the white thing" and are all really glad to be rid of.

After everyone left, we ordered food and napped until it arrived. I have a fabulous sweet photo of X and J all cuddled up and dozing. I can't decide whether to share it with the world or just hug it to myself forever. After we all ate dinner at J went to bed, X and I watched Nueve Reinas and managed not to fall asleep on each other, though it was a near thing.

This is what I mean by nesting: alternating between upgrading infrastructure and snuggling, with the goal of increased familial happiness and comfort. It's one of my favorite ways to spend my time. X is all hopped up on hormones and cuddly and affectionate, and X and J recently clicked in a way they hadn't before and are being totally adorable with each other, and our new house is just so wonderful, and we have all this furniture to build. I could happily nest forever.

That said, I'm feeling a little short on alone-time, which I've been getting late at night and into the early morning. (It's 04:30 right now and that's not the latest I've gone to bed this week.) I've stopped going to therapy (at my therp's instigation), so I'm not getting my Friday solo evenings out anymore. Last weekend was BEA, which was the usual glut of meetings, and there's something social going on every weekend in June. Working from home helps to balance that out, but of course work time is not entirely restorative. And when I'm in nesting mode it's so hard to make myself go into my room and shut the door, even when I know it's what I need. But I do need it, and I also need sleep, so I should probably figure out some way to get both.

Oh hey, it's getting light out. That's my cue to go to bed. I will be glad when we're past solstice and the nights stay nights for just a little longer.


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22 April 2014 03:54 - "Dona nobis pacem"
love, family, community
Today was a lot better than yesterday. X fought off gluten-poisoning to meet me after work and brave the perfumed chaos of BB&B, and we got curtains and curtain rods and various other useful things. We took a cab over to the new apartment and installed curtains and were happy.

I got some hooks that hang off of cabinet doors (super useful!) and while I was figuring out which doors to put them on, I realized that I hadn't yet had a chance to ask X the all-important question of "which drawer do you assume the silverware is in?".

R: Hey, I have a question for you that I asked Josh already.
X: Yes, I will marry you.
R: *stammers and blushes and grins like a fool for several minutes*

We held each other in our new kitchen and it felt like home, our home, our family home.

And then I asked about the silverware drawer and we both felt (as J had) that it should be one of the middle ones because towels go nearest the sink and cooking utensils go nearest the stove. We all tend to be very in tune around things like that. It makes things so lovely and easy.

Later on, as we were walking back to the old place from the subway:

X: Huh, there was something I was going to ask you...
R: Yes, I will marry you.
X: Well, FINALLY. I've been waiting for ages!

And there you have the difference between the two of us. :) But it's just a different kind of in tune, really. Sappiness and silliness, melody and harmony.

Just five more days.


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21 April 2014 02:07 - "I don't even give a care"
stress, late
Moving stress is THE WORST. I HATE IT. I HATE IT SO MUCH.

Tea and Daniel and Stacy C. came over and packed a ton of book boxes, because they are marvelous people, and now the "how will we pack everything?!" stress is gone because we can clearly pack everything that's left with minimal trouble, but instead there's all the stress of being surrounded by boxes and chaos and tiny ants (we have a bonus! infestation thanks to a hole in the baseboard that we don't have time to patch). I hate it all so much.

This apartment was never really home, not like our place in Inwood was. We always knew it would be temporary, so we overlooked or put up with a lot of things, and now all the cumulative impatience and dissatisfaction is crushing. The physical disarray of moving is crushing. The anxiety--what's going to break? what will we lose? how far will we fall behind our schedule? how much is this all costing us?--is crushing. We're all struggling a lot. I suppose later on I'll be able to look back with intellectual curiosity at the different ways our various neuroses manifest under this sort of pressure, but right now we're all at the emotional level of your average underslept five-year-old and it's kind of awful.

I'm just so glad that no matter how defensive or agitated or scared or sullen or cranky we get, we don't get mean. We're never cruel. We gripe but don't snipe. Some days that's all that saves us.

Today X and I got into a stupid verbal spiral and couldn't pull ourselves out of it, and then J knocked to ask about dinner plans, and we were so happy to be interrupted! We were utterly hating the conversation we were having and didn't want to be having it and couldn't figure out how to stop, and being jarred out of it was a huge relief. It was actually very heartening how glad we were to pull him into the room and talk about dinner and hug one another and let all the rest of it go. We were so eager to stop making one another unhappy. Everything was better after that. Not 100% better, but better.

The stress is making me slightly dizzy all the time. It's not vertigo. I know it's not because whenever I go over to the new place I magically feel better. I'm just lightheaded. But of course I keep checking to see whether it's vertigo.

Tonight I burst into tears and sobbed on X's shoulder, wailing, "I'm homesick! I want to go home!" But by this time next week I will be home, or at least in a place that we can make into a home instead of a place that we're dismantling. And then I hope we will stay there for many many many MANY years. Ideally without any ants.


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peace, garden, home
Fun things, Mar 21-24: I have no idea. That was a million years ago. This week has been a whirlwind of apartment hunting and vertigo and freelance work and aaa.
Mar 25: went to an apartment we really liked and met the landlord and got his approval. :D And then had a marvelous joyful celebratory dinner at Dutch Boy that I will remember happily for a very long time: all of us in top form, joking with the server and speaking in sync and laughing and snarking and being so good together.
Mar 26: got the draft lease from the broker!
Mar 27: went out and had a proper actual restaurant meal with J at Blue Water Grill, since I no longer need to be hyper-careful about salt.
Mar 28: read a book, first over dinner on my own and then in a lovely long hot bath.
Mar 29: did a walkthrough of our new apartment, took lots of measurements, and made a floor plan.
Mar 30: SIGNED THE LEASE.

LOOK AT THIS APARTMENT. (The link has been working for 90% of people--if you have trouble with it, try refreshing.) It's GORGEOUS. Our black wood bookcases will look utterly stunning against the white walls and black beams.

Obligatory floor plan. Furniture arrangement subject to change, of course. We're getting nearly 180 additional s.f. of usable space!

The landlord and his family will be our downstairs neighbors: two adults, both of whom are extremely nice, and three kids. We've only met the youngest child so far; she's adorable.

I love my family so much, so much. I can't wait to move to a place where we will be happier and healthier. More light, more air, more space. Enough wall space for both books and artwork. Fully separate bedrooms; no more walking through another person's room or the building hallway to get from one part of the apartment to another. (The layout of our current place is... a thing.) No more narrow hallway. A big tub to soak our cares away. A big open kitchen for collaborating on making healthy food with love. Instead of upstairs neighbors, rain on the roof. Instead of clanking radiators, baseboard heaters and sunlight. Instead of a temporary space where we nervously hope we can live together without bloodshed, a family home where we feel comfortably settled and solid and confident in one another.

As a bonus, it's thunderstorming right now--the first of the season. :D I've always loved spring rain and its promise of splendid new things.

All the squee! :D :D :D :D :D


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13 March 2014 02:54 - "Happy happy joy joy"
laughing, joyous, frubbly
Fun things, Mar 11: EVERYTHING. It was warm and sunny! I got work done! My client was really happy and said lovely things! I sat out on the back deck for an hour in short sleeves and got very very slightly sunburned! I vacuumed the living room and hallway! J left work early so we could have a walk in the park while it was still daylight, and the walk was great! We made a kickass dinner! We had super hot sex! It was a day of win. :D :D :D
Mar 12: had a really good family conversation over dinner

Also good today, though I wouldn't call it fun: X and I spent most of two hours consulting with an excellent fertility specialist. She was extremely smart and extremely thorough, and we now have a PLAN, which is what we didn't have and so desperately needed.

Less good: Alex got into something smelly, and while X and I were washing him he managed to scratch my chin. It's just a little scratch and I'm sure it'll heal up quickly, but it's annoying, not least because I have Liquid Skin on it and I keep wanting to pick at the edges. Bah. Stupid cats.

Ungood: It's 4:20 a.m. and I'm still awake. Must go fix that immediately.


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1 March 2014 20:13 - "And you, you're always right"
me and xtina
Rose: i don't need more shirts, right?
Xtina: ...
Rose: http://workingperson.com/port-authority-shirts-lightweight-cotton-denim-men-s-shirt-sp10-81060.html
Rose: http://workingperson.com/key-shirts-men-s-cotton-chambray-long-sleeve-shirts-517-45.html
Rose: http://workingperson.com/port-authority-l608-womens-dark-green-easy-care-woven-shirt-42922.html !!!
Xtina: you don't need more shirts
Rose: i don't not need more shirts?
Rose: *hopeful*
Rose: *single paw*
Xtina: you just cleared clothing out!1
Xtina: goddamn cats
Rose: to make room for shirts!
Rose: y/y?
Xtina:

a picture of a giraffe pointing at a duck, captioned LOOK AT THIS DUCK

Rose: hahaha
Rose: that's your answer to everything!
Xtina: and, i'm always right
Xtina: CONNECTION?!?!?!??!
Rose: *blogs this*


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13 February 2014 01:31 - "Love is kind"
kindness, love (expanded), polyamory
Fun things, Feb 12: had a marvelous lunch with Joe Monti, watched Ocean's Eleven with X.

Media log:

16) Ocean's Eleven. (Movie.) Rewatch. X showed this to me for the first time last year, I think, and we've watched it at least twice since then. I had a craving for it because [personal profile] kate_nepveu mentioned Danny and Rusty as the perfect drift-compatible couple. Other than the Tess subplot, in which two men treat a woman like an object until one of them says he cares more about money and she decides the other one is suddenly awesome, it's basically perfect. The con is complex and just enough things go wrong to make the outcome uncertain. The complete lack of chemistry between Danny and Tess is more than made up for by the Danny/Rusty friendship. Carl Reiner is so wonderful that I even forgive him for his involvement in The Adventures of Captain Cross Dresser. And unlike the original Ocean's 11, the pacing is great, the acting is terrific, the dialogue is hilarious, and I can tell all the actors apart.

Verdict: A++++++ will watch again and again.

For FutureKid: share, tolerate, discourage? Share, probably until they're sick of it.


17) Ancillary Justice. (Book.) DNF. I could pretend that I'm going to pick this up again, but I put it down weeks ago and feel no urge to go back to it, so it's time to DNF it and move on. My hopes were raised by everyone squeeing about how adventurous and radical its treatment of gender is, but while that might be true compared to other SF, it's pretty bland compared to the conversations I see among trans* folks on Twitter and Tumblr every day. It also goes ON and ON about gender in a way I find tremendously grating. A lot of SF forgets that technology is a tool, and gets caught up in technical jargon that no one would actually use in real life. I don't remove a pressurized can of carbonated sugary beverage from the home refrigeration unit; I take a soda out of the fridge. The way Ancillary Justice's protagonist talks about gender is precisely equivalent to the worst sort of jargony space opera. Actual quotes from page 3 (3!) of the ARC:
She was probably male, to judge from the angular mazelike patterns quilting her shirt.
I am already bored. This is boring. I would rather put down the book and call my egg-producing parent, whom I refer to as my mother because blah blah blah. Oh, and in this totally radical far future, clothing is apparently a very reliable indicator of gender identity. How... convenient.
It didn't help that cues meant to distinguish gender changed from place to place, sometimes radically, and rarely made much sense to me.
CRY MOAR. This whining is pure cis privilege, the gender equivalent of "I don't see race, so stop talking about it like it matters!". I realize the protagonist is supposed to be non-gendered, so I guess as a genderqueer person I'm supposed to identify with them? But since they come from a culture that "doesn't mark gender in any way"*, their approach to gendered cultures is sneering and disdainful, which is incredibly rude as well as being completely foreign to my experiences as a member of an actual minority who has always lived in an aggressively gendered culture.

* When translating that culture's language, Leckie has made the peculiar choice to use female pronouns, words like "sister" and "grandmother", etc. for everyone. This is how you get constructions like "She was probably male": "she" just means "this person", and "male" is a foreign gender-concept being applied to a foreigner. Since English has perfectly good gender-neutral words like "they" and "sibling" and "grandparent" that could have been used instead, I assume Leckie's intent was to mess with the reader's head. I find this annoying. I also think it would have been genuinely more effective to use gender-neutral terms for and among the Radch, for the sharp contrast to the gendered terms used in gendered cultures. But then the reader would be much less confused, and much more sympathetic to Breq's struggles with gendered language, and that would be... bad?

I do not like tourists. Breq is not only a tourist but the former AI of a military ship that engaged in some very unpleasant culture-suppressing invasion and colonization. Oh, and they're basically emotionless, as far as I can tell from the 70 pages I read before giving up, and also a caricature of the bored (and therefore boring) hypersmart nerd forced to do menial work for less intelligent bureaucrats, and also insane. This isn't a character I have any interest in identifying with, or reading about. Is it supposed to be some sort of trans* revenge fantasy, where agender entities now have all the power and privilege and get to throw their weight around? Blech. Not my thing, at all.

But if you thought 2312 did shocking things with gender (a man who's given birth OMG WOW *eyeroll*), and you found the protagonist of The Magicians extremely compelling and sympathetic, then you'll like this, I guess. I'm just tired of supposedly speculative fiction that's less interesting and complicated than the actual people I know in actual real life in the actual present day. And as someone who cares a great deal about gender, I am not the slightest bit interested in this portrayal of the superior agender culture and the constant snubbing of all gendered everything.

Verdict: Didn't throw it at the wall; just never got hooked.

For FutureKid: share, tolerate, discourage? Tolerate, I suppose, though any child raised in this household will probably not find the conceit terribly interesting.


To end on a happier note, here is what love looks like in my family:

J has had a hard day. I want to do something good for him. On my way out of work, I spot an ARC of the new Dresden Files novel, which I know both X and J want to read. Usually I'd leave it up to them to decide who gets it first, but I make the executive decision to give it to J because he could use cheering up. (I've also spotted Changes on the shelf where X usually leaves in-progress books, and I'm pretty sure X will want to finish reading it before moving on to the new one, which gives J time to read it first.)

X and I spend at least half an hour affectionately teasing each other over this decision while J is buried in the book. Reading and teasing are briefly paused for dinner.

As usual, I say goodnight to J at 10, which is his bedtime, and go into X's room for tea. We snuggle up to watch a movie. Just past midnight, J--who's usually quite scrupulous about going to bed on time--comes in and hands X the book, which he has finished reading.

Reader, I melted. :) I love them both so much, and all the more when they're sweet to each other. My spouses are so great.


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22 January 2014 00:26 - "First, take two hundred eggs"
hug-happy, cat
R: Sam was very very focused on kneading. I tried to pet her and she glared at me. Kneading is apparently hard work!
X: Well, sure, it takes a lot of concentration for that little kitten to "make biscuits". She probably got the recipe off the internet.
R: *cracks entirely up*
X: Epikittyous!
Sam: *glare*
X: I'm sorry, kitten. I'm sure your "biscuits" are just fine.


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awkward, dismayed, what did i just do
I slept from 3 to 13:30 and spent the day feeling fidgety and restless and anxious, but it was too cold to go for a walk. I vacuumed the hallway and scrubbed the tub, but I didn't feel any better afterwards (which is quite unusual; housework is my therapy). I thought I was just overslept and underexercised, but after a bit of talking with J, I realized that I'd just been suppressing anxiety over a stressful interpersonal situation.* It's not a thing I can do anything about right now--I have to talk to the other people involved, and that means scheduling a time to meet up, and our schedules are complicated--so I was left kind of stewing in it. It wasn't a very enjoyable way to spend our date night. :( But J was understanding and supportive, as he always is, and after he went to bed I spent a while venting at X and they were equally understanding and supportive, as they always are, and that helped a bit. I know that X and J have my back and will support my choices no matter what. I'm profoundly grateful to them for that.

* If you haven't gotten an email from me saying "When can we talk about this extremely stressful interpersonal situation? Here is my availability" then don't worry, it's not about you.

Maybe next Tuesday it'll be warmer and I can go for a walk while it's light out. I miss light and air. Right now the air appears to mostly be made of ice shards and sandpaper, and the light is coming back slowly--it wasn't fully dark yet at 17:00!--but there still isn't much of it.

Fun things, Jan 7: I closed my laptop around 1:15 instead of waiting for the Nanny plugin to kick in at 1:30, and I spent about an hour reading The Quartered Sea. It's not as good as the other books in the series, but I remember actively disliking it, and this time around I'm finding it not half bad. Further comments to follow in the media log entry once I finish it. Anyway, I suppose that counts as fun, or close enough. It was a thing I did to be good to myself. Not entirely successfully, but I tried.

Oh, and X and I did dishes together, which seems like a silly thing to consider fun, but it is. There's a collaborative rhythm to it: X rinses dishes at the sink and hands them to me, and I find the best ways to load them into the dishwasher. It feels homey and comforting and good, and it made me happy on a difficult day.


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23 December 2013 23:19 - "And whuffled as it came"
illness, safety
Timestamps are relevant.

23:17:32 Rose: ...i think i am hungry
23:17:38 Rose: that's annoying
23:17:42 Xtina: indeed
23:18:03 Rose: i bought chicken nuggets
23:18:11 Rose: would you mind nuking up 8 of them for me? or asking josh to?
23:18:12 Xtina: shall i make you some?
23:18:18 Xtina: damn, you beat me to it
23:18:21 Xtina: SICK PRYDE
23:18:24 Rose: i'm sick, not DEAD
23:18:25 Xtina: i shall nuke 8 of them for you
23:18:28 Rose: thank you :)
23:18:29 Xtina: hahahahaha

I have a cold. I hate having colds. This is a pretty minor cold--I have something like half a degree of fever and very slight congestion--but it's still a cold and I still hate it. It'd take a lot more than a nasty little virus to slow down my typing speed, though!


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19 December 2013 19:17 - "Is Elsie home?"
clever, thinking too much, identity, trying too hard
Rose: i'm going to be SUCH a helicopter parent
Rose: i pity our child in advance
Rose: "i broke my shoelace" GET ANOTHER ONE BEFORE YOU TRIP AND FALL AND CRACK YOUR HEAD OPEN
Xtina: oh boy
Rose: NO WAIT VELCRO FOR EVERYONE
Rose: IT'S THE ONLY WAY
Xtina: gigantic bubbles for all!
Rose: yes!
Xtina: imagine coming out to the other children's parents
Rose: ...
Rose: okay, so, no lie
Rose: i IMMEDIATELY wanted to stock up on extra oxygen canisters for the bubbles
Xtina: ...wow
Rose: my brain is a special place
Xtina: suuure
Xtina: i figure we'll just keep you on taurine for the first fifty years of the kid's life
Rose: that seems like a good idea
Xtina: here i thought i was gonna be the anxious one, all "just sit in a corner for the rest of your life, you don't NEED to learn how to cross the street"
Rose: meanwhile i'm shoring up the ceiling over the corner
Rose: just in case


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