a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
fresh cuttings 
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

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.

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?

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
Xtina: oh boy
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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exhausted, spoons
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 cooking marathon 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.

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me and xtina
Vacation, part 2!

MondayCollapse )

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.

Me and X with big big smiles

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.

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me and xtina
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.

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29 September 2013 02:11 - "Who came up with Person Man"
depressed, cranky
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.

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23 September 2013 02:38 - "A whirlwind of activity"
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 and waterzooi, 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 [personal profile] regyt, supertailz , nojojojo , and my mother, who are helping us stock our freezer. [personal profile] 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. [personal profile] 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.

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23 August 2013 03:11 - "But she's only a dream"
wistful, longing, seeking
Last night/this morning I stayed up until 6 because I was sad and lonely and didn't want to wake anyone, so I evaded Leechblock and sat around on Twitter on the theory that Twitter is something like being around people. But it isn't, really, and being more tired just made me more sad and more lonely and more reluctant to put away the last vestige of connection and lie there in the dark feeling lonely and sad until I managed to fall asleep.

I'm pretty sure 1 hour of sleep deprivation for me = 1 shot of whiskey for most other people. And when I'm alone, I'm a maudlin drunk. (When other people are around, I'm completely loopy and hilarious.)

Around 6 I wondered whether Josh would be getting up soon; maybe I could get a hug from him before I went to sleep. Then I remembered he'd taken a sleeping pill because he hadn't slept the night before. Then I got my usual flash of "maybe he's dead" anxiety. I knew that was ridiculous, but I still thought about going into his room just long enough to hear him breathing and know he was alive. I was surprised to realize that imagining that was very nearly as comforting as doing it. It was comforting enough that I could mostly let go of the anxiety and go to bed.

(I was still awake 20 minutes later when his light went on, and he did give me a hug before he left, which was really nice.)

I was talking with X about the sad/lonely thing, and X said, "You can come in and wake me up anytime. I'll give you a hug and go right back to sleep." This is an extremely kind offer! (Especially after the events of last fall; the transgression mentioned there is that I went into X's room without knocking. Tonight X said, "You can come in even if the door is shut. I trust you." I will hold those words to my heart.) After 12 years with insomniac J, though, I am very firmly programmed against waking anyone up unless it's an emergency. I'd worry a lot that X wouldn't be able to fall asleep again, and would then be late for work or underslept or otherwise unhappy/stressed out. Also, lying awake next to a sleeping person is one of the loneliest feelings I know, so I think that would probably cancel out the comfort of the hug.

But I can imagine it, just like I imagined going into Josh's room last night. I can visualize myself going down the hall, tiptoeing into X's room, startling Sophie off the bed, getting a sleepy hug and a few comforting mumbles. I can visualize us snuggling up together and falling asleep together. I can get almost all the positive parts of waking X up--not as good as the actual hugs or cuddling, of course, but not a bad imitation--without the worry or loneliness. That sounds like a win.

So I've put Twitter away, and I'm going to go engage all those LDR-trained imagination skills, even if down the hall is not quite as long a long-distance relationship as 3000 miles away. Another way to describe "I'm alone" is "someone I love isn't here". And when I put it that way, I know how to cope with it.

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Yay new shirts! I wore the short-sleeved one today and my mother, who has seen me in men's clothes many many times, literally didn't recognize me. To be fair, I don't remember the last time I wore a shirt untucked; it was extremely hard to make my dapper self be that casual, but that shirt is clearly meant to be worn that way, so wear it that way I did. I probably wouldn't have recognized me either.

Boo hormones! But yay the reminder that sports bras make excellent binders. In the past few months I've had a strong preference for not binding--I guess I've been less dysphoric and more in the frame of mind of accepting/appreciating my body as it is--but I'm sure that'll change at some point.

Also boo hormones because today I was entirely peopled-out and cranky and headachy and then I burst into tears for no reason at all. Yay X and J for putting up with me and giving me lots of time alone and gentle non-boob-squishing hugs and cuddles, and extra yay for X firmly safewording when I started sliding into passive-aggressive snappishness.

We've been living together in Brooklyn for almost 19 months. House Dreamland lasted 19 months exactly, from optimistic start to miserable end. Making that comparison today helped me let go of most of my lingering anxiety that X and J will somehow decide they're totally incompatible and unable to live together. If we've made it this far, through this many difficulties, we should be pretty well set.

The three of us had a really nice dinner together tonight--picnic-style on X's bed, as we've taken to doing because we have wildly different notions of what a Proper Dinner at the dining table should be and it's much easier to be casual about our various different habits when we're propping ourselves up on pillows--and afterwards I leaned against Josh and said "I like our family". It's a good family. I think I'll keep it.

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12 August 2013 04:40 - "All's well that ends well"
It's been a really, really good weekend. Yesterday was X's birthday, and we did just about everything on their list with the exception of getting a haircut: low-key hanging out, bangers & mash and Brussels sprouts for dinner, the three of us watching a movie together (Beetlejuice, which is still amazing), cuddles, excellent useful conversation1. Also the freezer was finally delivered after a week's delay, and late at night after everyone else went to bed I did a whole bunch of ironing while watching DS9. Today X got an amazing super-short haircut, and J and I had fun making a whole bunch of lentil soup and chicken stew for eating and freezing, and the three of us had a good dinner together. J and I cuddled for a bit and then I baked brownies2 because I was fidgety3. After J went to bed, X and I had our first workout together in ages, and then there was hanging out and watching Monty Python and mocking the cats.

No weekend is perfect, of course. Yesterday I foolishly said an inconsiderate thing to J and upset him, and he was already unhappy due to a painful upset stomach. But we sorted out the former and antacids helped with the latter, and all was well today.

1: We figured out a disconnect that had been bugging us for ages. When I say something like "I can meet up with you this evening, if you like", I assume it's obvious that I want to meet up--otherwise I wouldn't offer--but I'm giving the other person an easy out if they don't want to meet up. X hears it as me offering to do a favor that I don't really want to do, because if I wanted to I'd directly say so with a phrase like "I really want to have dinner with you tonight". So X turns me down and then I feel unhappy and rejected and confused.

Similarly, if X says "I'd like to hang out with you" I see that as opening a conversation and launch right into making plans, but X sees it as a general statement that doesn't necessarily need to go anywhere at that moment.

Now that we know where the confusion is coming from, it'll be much easier for us to catch disconnect moments around this and fix them. We're also working on generally saying more affirmative and enthusiastic things to each other so that we both remember that at any given time the odds are good that we both really want to spend time together!

2: You totally can't tell that the brownies are GF and DF. They're genuinely delicious. Alas, something in them makes my mouth itch. This is REALLY annoying. It's definitely an allergic reaction. The only things in them that I hadn't used before are Trader Joe's gluten-free all-purpose flour (which is rice, potato, and tapioca--all pretty innocuous) and Fleischmann's kosher parve unsalted margarine (which does include tiny amounts of "natural and artificial flavors"). So X will bring the rest of the brownies in to work to share with a colleague who has celiac, and I will wait a few days and then try making something else with the flour. If it turns out I can't bake with the ONE unsalted dairy-free butter substitute in the world, I will be Very Put Out.

Fortunately the reaction was mild and a dissolvable Claritin tablet cleared it up almost immediately. I will never stop being annoyed at the allergist who told me there was nothing that could be done for oral allergy syndrome and that there was no reason antihistamines should do any good. Grrrr. Anyway, if you have OAS, try the Claritin Redi-Tab or equivalent: I find that letting it dissolve on my tongue and coat the affected areas brings very quick relief.

3: Oh hypomanic swings. The other night I was having trouble falling asleep and realized I was anxious about the possibility that I might get too much sleep and then be buzzy and hypomanic. Well, that's basically what happened today: I slept nearly ten hours, launched straight into time with people, did a whole bunch of stuff that involved physical motion, and by late evening was still literally too fidgety to sit still for more than about five minutes. I was supposed to do an upper-body workout tonight but went with lower-body instead because when I'm buzzy I use my arms a lot and ignore all signs of overuse. I was speaking so quickly and interrupting my own train of thought so often that X half-seriously offered me some Adderall. (No, I didn't take it; that stuff would be pure poison for me and even if it weren't, 10 p.m. is not the time to be taking it.) Working out helped, and baking helped, and emptying and reloading the dishwasher helped, and taurine helped, but it's 04:30 now and I'm still typing at superspeed.

The thing is, though... this really isn't that bad. I didn't injure myself working out, because I had enough sense to swap workouts and pace myself. I didn't go on an online shopping spree or do anything physically or emotionally self-destructive. I didn't route around Leechblock and get into a stupid argument on Twitter; I didn't open up IM and feelingsdump all over a friend. I got a lot done and didn't break anything. It's not fun feeling so driven and twitchy, but it's not awful. It's hypomania, not mania. It's not anything to be afraid of.

So the next time I get anxious that I'm going to sleep too much and be hypomanic, I need to remember that this is what hypomania is like: not the best thing, but definitely not the worst thing either.

Now, more taurine and an attempt at sleep.

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17 July 2013 02:54 - "Makes the heart grow fonder"
me and xtina
My [personal profile] xtina is fabulous and magnificent. We had a really splendid tea date tonight, involving no actual tea but a lot of cuddling and holding hands and being sappy and then working out together for the first time in weeks. It's funny how we were so good at being apart when we wouldn't see each other for a year at a time, but now that we live together, a week apart has us positively clinging to each other when we're reunited.

It can be scary to admit that you love someone that much. It can feel strange and vulnerable and uncomfortably possessive to be so lonely without that person around, even when you're doing plenty of social things. It can be painful to feel that longing and missing and sadness. But when the time apart is over and we can let ourselves talk about those feelings and lean on each other and be reassured that all is well, the reconnection is tremendously powerful.

I am so fortunate to be so well loved.

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boots, potential, travel, feet
(I bet X knows the song the subject line comes from. It's been stuck in my head off and on the entire weekend, for reasons that will become obvious.)

There are two ways I could describe the trip that [personal profile] xtina and I took this past weekend, to New Orleans for World Horror/Stokers Weekend.


The glum versionCollapse )


The happy versionCollapse )


Both versions are true, of course.

The reason that version #2 feels more true to me is that traveling with X turns out to be just plain wonderful. We'd never taken a trip like this before, and it was very much a trial run for next year's London/Paris trip around Worldcon, so there was a bit of pressure on us to Do It Right. X has frequently been known to say "I hate travel!" and we're both anxious types, so I was worried we would just stress each other out. But no, we're totally compatible, we relax each other, we want the same things out of a trip, we like the same mix of scheduling and spontaneity. X soothed me through bumpy flights and I supported X through a massive social situation full of strangers. Our good cheer barely faltered throughout the entire weekend. It's a cliché, I know, but as long as we were together we really didn't much care whether we were in Miami or New Orleans. We joked around and loved each other and relaxed, and came home full of affection and gratitude for each other. Despite everything, it was in some ways one of the best vacations I've ever taken.

I mean, yes, it would be nice if the next vacation we take together involves neither illness nor flight mishaps. But now we know that if those things come up, we can handle it just fine and still find ways to have a good time.

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