I recently spent ten days or so in the Northeast: not quite a week with [personal profile] adrian_turtle in the Boston area, and then a couple of days with [livejournal.com profile] cattitude and his family in Niskayuna (it's near Albany, N.Y.). There was no specific connection between the two visits, but Boston and Niskayuna are a lot closer to each other than either is to Seattle; flying across the country once, and a train from Boston to Albany, seemed more feasible than two cross-country trips close together*. Adrian and I had a pleasant week together (despite the heat), without much worth posting about.

We were in Niskayuna for an informal memorial gathering for Cattitude's mother, who died in February. She hadn't wanted any sort of funeral or memorial, but at least one of her children did, so the compromise was to get people together, and go to a nearby park that she loved and talk about her, just conversation. We dressed up a little—"a little" meaning I put on a silk shirt, and some of the other women wore skirts, and my nephew Ben complained a little about his nice clothes not being comfortable, but got to keep his blue sneakers. (He'd have been happier in shorts, I think.)
cut for length )
[personal profile] adrian_turtle came to visit me for the weekend, and to go with me to my aunt's seder. It was very good to have Adrian here, and spend a few mostly quiet days together [livejournal.com profile] cattitude was at Minicon).

cut for length )
redbird: photo of the SF Bay bridges, during rebuilding after an earthquate (relationships)
( Oct. 2nd, 2011 08:08 pm)
Yesterday morning, [personal profile] adrian_turtle called and asked if she could stay over that night, depending on how some stuff outside her control went later in the day (mostly the demands of someone else's job). I checked with [livejournal.com profile] cattitude and then told her that would be fine; we agreed that she'd call later, and Cattitude and I went on with our day. I had to go to the store anyhow, so I bought soy milk, just in case, although she had sounded pleased that I even thought to warn her that we probably wouldn't have any. About six o'clock Adrian called to confirm she was coming; she got here a little after ten.

I made a pot of herb tea, and the three of us sat up talking happily for a couple of hours, then Adrian settled on the couch while Cattitude and I went to bed.

Today was low-key family time, and I felt very much loved. Moments like leaning on Adrian while Cattitude held my hand, or her saying "Isn't she wonderful?" to Cattitude, meaning me, and him agreeing. Moments like that aren't why I'm poly, but they're a very nice extra of the way these particular relationships are working. Sometimes I just look up and grin.

I woke first this morning, as usual, then Cattitude, then Adrian. I drank more tea than usual, and we had breakfast and lunch, read our books and some online stuff, walked in the park and talked about all sorts of things, some more serious than others. Adrian used my computer to buy a Greyhound ticket home, and left around 4; I sent her home with two kinds of black tea, and a couple of tea balls to brew it in. Then Cattitude took a nap, after which we played Scrabble: a normal weekend afternoon in Inwood.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
( Sep. 26th, 2011 06:51 pm)
I'm just back from Farthing Party, [livejournal.com profile] papersky's small science fiction convention/large party in Montreal. [livejournal.com profile] cattitude and I had a wonderful time, and I think [livejournal.com profile] julian_tiger is in the process of forgiving us.

long con/travel write-up, in no particular order )
The state legislature has passed a same-sex marriage bill, the governor has signed it, and it goes into effect in 30 days. For everyone who is saying this will "destroy" marriage, I have no problem with our divorce rates reaching the shocking levels currently seen in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

If this was a threat to mixed-sex marriages, I'd have divorced [personal profile] cattitude and run off to Massachusetts years ago. Of course, our relationship isn't really what the people who talk about "traditional" marriage believe in either, even if their speeches suggest that gender difference is both necessary and sufficient for their idea of a good relationship.

Also, a shout-out to Republican State Senator McDonald, who announced his support for the bill by saying he was going to do the right thing, and "They can take this job and shove it."
redbird: a two-gendered cardinal, female one side and male the other (two-gendered cardinal)
( Apr. 20th, 2011 09:39 pm)
[personal profile] adrian_turtle came down to New York for a seder at my aunt Lea's. (Lea specifically invited her as well as me and [livejournal.com profile] cattitude, who was too swamped by work to come with us.) Again, not only do my family like Adrian, they seemed glad that I bring someone who can sing. My cousin Janet was talking about my grandmother on the other side of the family's singing, and I said something about that being the job of my side of the family (broadly defined).

Janet (our leader) said she didn't think we needed to adjust the language much for feminist purposes, in part because this was very much a women-run seder. (We started with one man present, and Dave never says much.) So we used the traditional Maxwell House haggadah; Lea noted that this is the one the president uses.

I heard a bit more about Frieda's history, and good things Grandpa did. (Frieda isn't blood kin as far as I know, but my mother and aunts refer to her as their "fourth sister.")

There were some new-to-me people at the seder, neighbors my aunt knows from her Shakespeare class. So she gave them the apartment tour, and when we sat down noted that almost everything in the room was from other members of the family, including my grandparents' expanding table and some of their dishes. (My aunt has bought furniture, it's just mostly in other parts of her home.)

Partway through the seder Janet's boyfriend John arrived. As in past years, he was loud and seemed to feel the need to be at the center of attention. This involved, among other things, asking questions some of which I realized afterward he had to know the answers to. Maybe he didn't know that humans are the only animals with a menstrual cycle, but I refuse to believe that a recently retired science teacher doesn't know what the male and female parts of a flower are. That's fourth grade material. But because it's fourth grade material, and I had it on my desk an hour earlier, I just answered without stopping to analyze.

A little later, the topic of eggs, egg-laying, and male animals that carry or protect eggs (I think) led to my aunt saying that egg-laying animals are defined as female. John's reply was "Well, what about transvestites or transsexuals or whatever they are? They don't lay eggs—are they female?" Adrian answered that a person's gender is whatever the person says it is. John challenged that idea (which I know is not universally accepted), and then asked something clueless about (IIRC) the difference between "transgender" and "transsexual." My first response was "Do you have a few hours?" Then I and Adrian settled in to do a bit of Trans 101. That's not what I'd expected that afternoon, but it may have done some good—probably not with him, but with some of the other people there, who seemed uninformed but not hostile. For example, one of them said she thought transgendered people were "confused," and I just said that my trans friends didn't seem confused, though other people sometimes are. Adrian suggested on our way home that he had probably been leading into some kind of ignorant "joke," but that he hadn't been counting on throwing those questions to a room where the answers included "Well, my doctor is trans, and…," me talking about trans friends, and my aunt being calm and thorough on biological questions.

I think we did a decent job with that bit of education, and I'm fairly sure it was better than if we'd left the topic lying there after John tried to heap scorn on the idea that a person can say "I'm a woman" and have that be meaningful. If I'm less practiced at Trans 101 than some people, I'm also less worn out by having to do it, both for the same reason: I'm cisgendered, and most people read me as female, so I don't have a lot of these conversations. And I was talking in third person, which in some ways is safer.

I also had a nice catching-up talk with my cousin Karina before the meal, as well as chatting with Janet; the one thing I regret is that I barely got to say more than hello to my cousin Anne. Had the conversation not veered the ways it did, I might have asked Janet how her father is doing; I tentatively attribute his absence to introversion and/or not liking crowds of his wife's relatives, even if he's known them for half a century.

Because food also matters: I ate lots of charoses, in part because it seemed most other people had forgotten that there was any left, and of a good cucumber salad. My only contribution was some Ceylon teabags; I wanted something good that wouldn't need milk, so threw a half dozen in my bag. One of Lea's friends made a very nice ground walnut and lemon cake. And my aunt Lea made a point of giving me one of the few remaining glass teacups and saucers (again, stuff from Grandma and Grandpa) to drink from.

(Edited to change title: I'd thought I was writing an outline, and it turned into a real post.)
I said on Friday that I was feeling lonely, and [personal profile] adrian_turtle asked if I would like company. I would, and I checked with [personal profile] cattitude, and we made some quick plans.

Adrian was here for a couple of days (Saturday afternoon through Monday morning); she was very good for my mood, on a number of levels. (Cattitude also helped, and there was some synergy there.) We walked in the park some (not too much, as my knees had been bothering me), and ate chicken soup, and sandwiches, and lentil stew, and the nice chocolate chip pumpkin loaf I get at the Greenmarket (which is conveniently dairy-free), and drank tea, and talked. There was Scrabble, and I caught up on my email while they read.

Adrian and I had a few cozy hours alone together, but mostly this was family time.

Next weekend will have to include one rest day (we did enough cleaning and such on Saturday that it really didn't count as that). It will also have to include a bunch of time that I spend with just Cattitude, but those can be the same day. Or maybe the weather will be nice, and we'll go to the zoo one day.

(And now my knees are better and I've got weird itching going on. *sigh*)
Last night, both my knees were hurting, for no apparent reason, and I was feeling lonely (for reasons both understandable and not anyone's fault as far as I can see). I mentioned this in IM to [personal profile] adrian_turtle, and she asked "Would you like company?" After a bit of back and forth with her and then [livejournal.com profile] cattitude, she bought a bus ticket and will be here in a couple of hours.

Time and maybe NSAIDs seem to have taken care of the pain in the left knee, and eased the right knee. It now hurts when I bend it in certain ways, rather than almost all the time: sitting is no longer a problem, for example. (I am maxed out on naproxen until this evening.) So, I have been doing some cleaning, carefully selected to be easy on my knee, and on my back (second-order effects from not bending at the knees), and stroking the cat.

Cattitude and I played Scrabble this morning, which we hadn't in a bit, because he'd been feeling too tired in the evenings.

So, yes, it could be worse. I need to make more of an effort to see more people. But sometimes saying what I need works remarkably well.
"I really think the best course is to act as if you are living in a functional world. Act as if the people around you are of course sane adults who own their choices. Often, they will surprise you by being just that." —marshlc, on the "Tell Me About It" discussion board
This is probably the first of several posts about Simon's death, and being there with Mom, and my reactions then and after. (Mom, you don't have to read these; if I write anything I think you'd rather not read, I'll flag it/use a cut tag.)

It took me a few days after my return to realize that I wasn't jet lagged anymore, and it wasn't just tiredness from missing sleep while traveling: grief is draining. I'm feeling a bit slow, mentally. I'm still doing good work, I think, but it's taking me longer than usual. Fortunately, my boss Wendy is understanding of what I've been through, and how it's affecting me. (My direct boss, Marilyn, is out sick right now, so a less sympathetic person than Wendy might be leaning on me: of a team of three, two of us were out all of last week, and Marilyn is still out and we're not sure when she'll be back.)

When I realized some of what was going on, I emailed my beloveds, partly so they'd know and partly because writing things down helps me remember them. I got a thoughtful and sympathetic reply from [personal profile] adrian_turtle, who pointed out that being present at a death is hard. I don't know if that's always true, but it seems to be here. In some ways, it's not something we're prepared for, culturally. On some levels, yes. I knew enough that when Mom asked me if I was sure that Simon had stopped breathing, I first thought of the old idea of seeing if the person was fogging a mirror, and then realized that I could check for a pulse at wrist and neck. And in the minute, where patience and compassion were needed, I had what I needed: from my family, and choices since. (Adrian and I were discussing this in another context, the last time I was in Massachusetts, and she suggested that compassion may be partly inborn, and partly upbringing, but we keep making choices, and mine tend to be in that direction. Not all of them, but enough.)

On my way to buy lunch today, I noticed myself blinking away tears, and thought "It's okay to cry." I haven't cried, much, over this: a little bit last week, while [personal profile] rysmiel was visiting: no specific trigger, just a minute of "hold on a moment, I need to be hugged" and then the tears ebbed and we went on with what we'd been doing.

[personal profile] cattitude has been holding me, and encouraging me to cut myself slack, and I'm basically figuring that I will go to work (and concern myself more with doing the work well enough than with how fast it gets done), go to the gym, and otherwise take it easy: read some, play scrabble if we're up for it, play with the cat, be glad it's finally spring.

On the practical side, I called Delta Airlines today, with the ticket number (I called yesterday and was told I needed that), and got a helpful person who looked at the records she could see, called in her supervisor (who can see older information), and told me what I would need to do to get a refund. This is a relief after the dismissive people I'd gotten on the phone when I called to change the return flight while I was in London.
[livejournal.com profile] alanro called last night, and we caught each other up on stuff a bit. The problem with only talking every couple of months is that there's time to pass on news/information, such as there is (less in my life than his at the moment, since my situation is stabler), but not to get into how we're feeling about things, either in our own lives or much of the world around us.

This morning it was sunny and warm, and [personal profile] cattitude and I went for a bit of a walk in the park. Not very long, but more than I'd done in a little while. I am breathing better, either because I am healing or because it is warmer. (I'll find out which in a few days, I expect.) It's mostly blue sky, brown leaves, and gray rocks and tree trunks; we saw the usual geese, ducks, and gulls next to the marsh, but no interesting birds in our little while in the woods. We did hear a tree branch break off and fall to the ground, far enough away that we didn't see it. Odd and a little disquieting: yes, it's winter, but there was no wind to speak of. The ground may be somewhat waterlogged, but it didn't sound like a whole tree coming down.

Cattitude and I then had lunch at a local diner, and he came home while I went downtown to meet [personal profile] roadnotes for tea and conversation. (We had pencilled this in a week ago, and then thought we might have to cancel because she was under the weather yesterday.) I was running early, so I stopped off for tea (and bought probably more than I needed; I'm not sure why I got a pound instead of my usual half pound, but we will use it, it'll just take a few months). Then to Barnes and Noble, where I found a nice calendar, a year of wildflowers; Cattitude's comment when I brought it home was "it has enough purple," and it met my basic qualification for a flower/landscape calendar, namely, it doesn't show me snow and ice during the winter when I want leaves and blossoms.

We had a good conversation, touching on ongoing stuff about relationships and trust, and the ways drama in life can appeal to people, and different attitudes toward secrets. I'll keep them when it's needed, but while I value being a friend who can be trusted with things, I don't specifically like having secrets, because it means keeping track of who knows/is allowed to know certain things. I have at least one friend (hello, [personal profile] serenejournal who won't keep secrets and warns people of that up front; at the other end of the scale are people who seem to take great pleasure in knowing lots of secrets, and hinting at "I know all this stuff." I'm not taking Serene's approach, but it's honest and I can work with it.

Somewhere in there, I realized, not for the first time or even the tenth, that there are quite a few people I've sort of drifted away from, and might be happy to catch up with if we happened to be at the same con, but neither of us feels the impetus to reach out specifically. This feels like an observation that should lead somewhere, but I have no idea where, so I'm just putting it down here.

About 4:15, we said goodbye, and I walked over to Varsano's for chocolate (it's near the A train) and a quick chat with Marc Varsano, and then took the train to midtown and my gym. I had enough time for a workout, though with a shorter cardio session than I normally do; I exercised, showered, changed, and walked out the door at 6:00. That's the official closing time, though as I headed from the locker room toward the front door, I saw one person still on a treadmill.

gym: numbers, with one basically meaningless achievement, and maybe a new exercise )
I was just reading something a friend wrote, talking about some significant backstory in zir life, and why zie doesn't usually talk about it. The reasons made sense, and I might well make the same choice in that situation—and I'm feeling honored that I'm one of the people zie has talked to about this, that it was worth it to zir to do that.
I was just reading something a friend wrote, talking about some significant backstory in zir life, and why zie doesn't usually talk about it. The reasons made sense, and I might well make the same choice in that situation—and I'm feeling honored that I'm one of the people zie has talked to about this, that it was worth it to zir to do that.
I was exhausted last night, and am still tired today despite having done little. Happy, though. seder, and Alan, cut for length )
I was exhausted last night, and am still tired today despite having done little. Happy, though. seder, and Alan, cut for length )
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redbird: closeup of me drinking tea, in a friend's kitchen (Default)
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