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Aug. 9th, 2015

It is so much more fun to be obsessing over how best to clean mouse pee off My Little Ponies instead of what the surgeon will say tomorrow.
I stop by to skim briefly and catch up.  An hour later, I realize that I can't even say "Hey, good job with what you're doing, I support you" without writing seven paragraphs, combining two and deleting one, and rearranging the whole thing to convey my message in the reverse direction.

It's not that I don't know how to edit, it's that even the simple thoughts are more nuanced, and carry more tendrils of related thoughts and ideas, than I can fit in the length of a tweet or even a Facebook screen.  I've always said that I'm writing for myself, and it doesn't matter if anyone actually reads it.  So if the time I have to think is after midnight, or in the waiting room, or in the shower, then it shouldn't matter if I never sit down at the computer to compose the prose.

And yet, I feel increasingly isolated.  I'm having a hard time getting to sleep at night.  So maybe I need to write, for me, in that time when I'm not sleeping anyway.  Maybe I need to throw my ideas into the wind, and see what happens.  And maybe I do need to figure out who's listening, and what they want to hear -- because the addition of reply-to-comment functionality on Facebook has made me happier than anything else in social media since LiveJournal was relevant.

So if I were a tweet, who would I be?

  • They don't tell you that the physical and mental exhaustion of chemo applies to the caregiver as well as the patient.

  • Being a single-partnered polyamorist has led to a lot of guilt feelings as that relationship gets serious.  Also, fuck cancer again.

  • I just subscribed to two "middle-aged" magazines (Smithsonian and Nat Geo) and might give up a subscription I've had for 25+ year (GAMES).

  • The more controversial the Hugo awards get this year, the less I want to read the nominees and form an educated opinion.

  • The stronger my opinion on any topic in fandom, the less likely I am to be able to say anything about it at all. This applies to topics in my professional capacity as well.

  • That force which I call God and others might term "fate" or "the Universe" is telling me that it's time for Tiny Ministries to be in the world as well as my head.

  • Cherry Jello of Love, vs. Lime Jello of Dubious Implications.

Oops

So, that last post was supposed to be under a filter, and I ended up submitting it too late at night and missed that.

Apologies to those whose real names inadvertently appeared in a public post.  I try not to do that ever.

It's been corrected.

Misc.

So:

  • Composing a post in my head is not the same as typing and posting it.  For reference, see the posts titled "Isms" and "Cats and Penguins" -- except you can't see them.

  • Related, if I were a deadly sin, clearly I would be Sloth.

  • I should not be allowed in a pet store alone.  There are too many lonely cats.  And a beautiful little ball python.

  • I left with only the cat treats and laser pointer I went in for.  Since then, I think I've worn out the cat's batteries.

  • Cellos!  They make work go better.

Mar. 9th, 2014

I can't even blame Daylight Savings Time.

Friday night I was out late at the PSFS meeting. Saturday afternoon we were at an anniversary party, and went straight from there to another event. We ended up covering for staff emergencies and were working past closing time. By the time we got into bed it was about 4:30 a.m. It wouldn't have helped if it had still been 3:30. I'm used to winding down around midnight.

So, having used up all of my energy, and having no reserves since I've been sick for too long, I spent almost all of today asleep.

Writing with intent should resume tomorrow.

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When last we left our heroine, she was full of energy and enthusiasm, planning to get back into the habit of writing with the goal of eventually launching the TWO subject-specific blogs she's had percolating for ages now.

Then came the flu. Followed by a cold, and conjunctivitis. And if today's nasal extravaganza is the beginning of something new, instead of the last throes of the previous bug, then so help me God, I cannot be held responsible for my actions if I find the plague vector. (I blame the Bryn Mawr girls. I know they were the source of the cold&pinkeye.) I would say I can't even remember the last day I truly felt well, except that I know it was the Sunday of Arisia, so actually I can remember it with a fair amount of detail.

So let's try this again. And since, not entirely coincidentally, this is the first day of Lent, I am going to try to keep myself motivated by designating this as my Lenten observation. Yes, it counts if you take something on instead of giving something up. It's mostly about making something a regular reminder that this is a season of reflection and penitence. I'm focusing on reflection, by writing about myself for others. I'm not good at telling people about myself. When the meme went around Facebook for telling people X things they should know about you, I honestly couldn't guess what everyone would already know and what would be new and interesting. So I would appreciate feedback, if you think of it, on whether what I come up with is something you knew or something new, and whether it's interesting in either case.

And hey, if anybody out there isn't already on my friends-list, and you want to see this stuff, drop me a comment. Most of my journal has been friends-only for years. Much of it is custom-filtered beyond that. I like to know who I'm talking to.

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Arisia 2014

Once again I have survived visiting Boston in January.  Arisia is a magical place (like Tahiti) and it's difficult to come back to the real world afterward.  It's been a bit easier having been sick yesterday and sick/snow day today, but tomorrow I'll be back to work.

There was a lot going on:

Working:  Philcon did not have a presence at Arisia this year.  Instead, my table and party duties were for the DC 17 Worldcon bid.  This was not particularly onerous, since there were so many committee members present.  I do think I managed to prove myself a little, by being available, ready to help, and competent, whenever something came up.  I am not the world's best salesperson, but the behind-the-scenes work (like umpteen trips to the ice machine) is just as vital.  I also got the chance to meet some of the people from the other bids, almost all of whom were friendly.

Programming:  I attended three panels and a concert, which is more programming than I've managed to get to at any con in the last couple of years -- pretty much since I started working at Philcon, in fact.  Occasionally I've had trouble even picking out that many I wanted to attend.  In this case, there were plenty of other things I was considering, but passed up in favor of social interaction, or food, or whatever.  After all, there's always another chance to talk about any given topic.  The ones I did get to were (titles thoroughly mangled): The Secrets of Cities; Building a Galactic Empire; and Polyamory 201.  The concert was Murder Ballads, the folk-ish duo of slipjig and (quick research) cluegirl.  I already knew I liked slipjig's music, so I assumed his musical partner would be good too, but HOLY CRAP, she is not just good but amazing.

Social:  This is, after all, what we're really all there for, isn't it?  Despite the crowds and chaos, there were quiet times and places enough that I got to sit and chat with several people who I'd really only known in passing before.  Twice, I was sitting by myself typing into my iPad and someone sat down and started chatting.  I'm used to that when I'm with Hugh, but when I'm alone I'm usually invisible.  It was odd.  Good, but odd.

I miss you.

Dear LiveJournal:

I miss you.

Our relationship hasn't been the same for several years.  It's my fault, I know.  I have been too busy living my life to spend time writing about it.  And I've cheated on you, playing with other social networking sites, even starting to dabble with a different blogging platform.

But you've changed too.  You used to be the home where I could talk to my friends, let them know what was going on with me, and get their comments and advice, without feeling badly about taking up their time if they weren't interested. Now, when I drop something in, I can almost hear the echo.  Are you out there?  Can you hear this?  If I'm talking to myself, I don't need to do it on the Internet.

As much as things have changed, what I want to talk about isn't all that different.  I still need reassurance that even an ugly fat chick can still be desirable.  I need reassurance that I'm worth more than I fear in depression and doubt.  I want to vent about confusion over men -- this one who I've had a crush on for ages, that one who I flirted with -- and to figure out how on earth, in the unlikely event that I should ever find a SECOND person who can put up with me, to negotiate the pitfalls of balancing my time between a Shiny New and my beloved partner. And speaking of whom, I want to be able to find help to solve his problems and calm his insecurities as well as my own, and I want somewhere where I can gripe about little things -- or big things -- without anyone thinking it's a Problem.

I may not be in touch often, but I still love you.  You're irreplaceable.

Love, Steph.

Finding the spirit

Advent is the liturgical season of anticipating and preparing for Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Now, I don't have kids myself, nor do I want to. But I know about the excitement, and fear, of waiting for a new person who brings change and responsibility and above all, love. My godsons all had their places in my heart before they were born. This year, Advent is almost an anticlimax. I spent most of the year waiting, for my niece and for Jared's twins and for the children of my co-worker and some of my dearest friends and one of my oldest friends... Nine babies in all this year. I already know of three coming in 2014.

I haven't had much secular Christmas spirit either. It's been a rough fall, and I just haven't had it in me even to go through the motions. No cards, no decorations, no cookies, no music. I barely got the shopping done, and the last box arrived this afternoon. We opened the boxes tonight, to find what needed to be wrapped for tomorrow. There, nestled in with the uninspired choices for my family and Hugh's, were the gifts I feel excited about -- board books with dancing penguins and hippopotami, Lego wrapping paper, tiny little onesies with geeky sayings. The bigger boys will care, but the infants surely won't. Yet that's where I found the joy this year.

I listened to a Lessons and Carols service after Hugh went up to bed. The old familiar words echo inside me. Some of the music I've sung so often that I can almost see it on the page as I hear it from the choir. The layered harmonies and descents built on each other and let me slip into memories of years when the joy of preparing for Christmas saturated my soul and my heart. I wonder, will these tiny new people understand anything of my faith and traditions? Will the secular rituals, like counting the jeeps in White Christmas, survive either? Is any of it something I can even ask to bring into someone else's home?

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More or less

Friday evening when I got to Hugh's place, I decided to go eat somewhere a little more expensive than the frugal options he suggested, because I wanted pasta, not a sandwich. And I remembered something on the way there.

We had a good meal, appetizers and seafood pasta and dessert. As we walked through the parking lot back to the car, I said "Happy more-or-less anniversary."

"Oh, yeah," he said, "I guess it must be two years since that Steampunk World's Fair."

I smiled and held up one finger. "Just one. It only seems like forever."

It seems only appropriate that we measure our relationship by conventions and not by calendar days. Three years, four months since the Arisia when I got brave enough to introduce myself to a stranger with beautiful brown eyes. Two years, three months since the Wicked Faire where I turned myself into a photographer's assistant and earned myself a second chance at a friendship derailed by an unhealthy crush. Twenty months since the New York Maker Fair when I saw a tie with tentacles, and realized that against my better judgment, I'd fallen in love with someone who doesn't just have issues, he has the entire print run. Eighteen months since the Philcon when he didn't say, "I just don't feel the same," but instead said, "I'm not there yet, but please don't give up on me. Fifteen since Wicked Faire when he told me the first time that he thinks of me as a partner. A year since Steampunk World's Fair, when both of us were finally pretty sure that the thing between us was actually a relationship. Nine months since Summerfest, when dealing with awkward questions made us stop quibbling over terminology and go public about it all over the Internet.

Every day that we're together is a lovely gift that I never take for granted. I had mostly lost hope that anyone would ever again find anything about me desirable. It's still hard for me to believe that he isn't going to come to his senses someday and stop wasting his time with me. I still get nervous about making plans more than a couple of months out. And yet, for the first time in a very long time, I'm willing to ignore my conviction that nothing lasts forever. He makes me want to promise always.

It gets harder from here. His financial situation is worse than dire. Mine is OK only as long as my job lasts, which will probably be no more than six months from now. Things have to change, very soon. And they're going to get worse before they get better. I am afraid, not just about what the future holds, but also that I might not be strong enough. There's going to be a lot to cope with, and coping is not my best skill. But by God, I will fight tooth and nail to hang in there and hold us together to deal with whatever is in store. He makes me happy. He helps me be the person I want to be. I love him, so damn much that those little words are too tiny to hold all I feel.

And a year from now, more or less, I want to look back at the fears and worries I have today and laugh about them together. Or cry, or anything. As long as we do it together, it'll be just fine.

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Here's me

Around this time of year (around two weeks ago, actually) I usually write a year-in-review post. It helps me see patterns when I go back looking at who I've been.

This year, I'm not caught up to November yet. And really, that pretty much sums it up. I spent most of 2012 about three months behind where I should have been, one way or another. Job plus move plus relationship plus Philcon... A lot happened quickly, and I've been either too busy or too exhausted to put thoughts in order.

The weather has been kicking my ass this fall and winter. At this point, I can pretty much tell you what the weather's like any given morning before I even get out of bed. Even though I've got blackout curtains up. Naturally, it didn't occur to me until the day AFTER my doctor's appointment that perhaps it's time to try another round of "your blood work is perfectly normal." So that'll be a thing to remember this summer. Other than the pain problem, though, my health's in decent shape. Well, and I need to lose weight.

As for my head, things are going pretty well there overall. It's amazing how good a stable relationship can be for happiness and positive outlook. And for combatting lousy self-esteem. So are the days (and today was one) when I am reminded that I am VERY good at the work I do.

There are, of course, many things left undone. I owe emails and visits and so much. And there are things I'm not proud of, and some I regret. And that's just 2012. But, you know, it was such an awful year for so many people I know. I've been damn lucky.

And I hope 2013 is better. For everyone.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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Christmas shopping

In what is perhaps a new record for lack of holiday participation, Christmas Day begins five days from just one minutes ago, and I have just gotten started with the holiday season. Christmas shopping completed in under an hour. Please, someone tell me quickly if I forgot anyone: two parents, one grandparent, one brother and one sister-in-law, two godsons and one older brother of a godson. And Hugh, or course, but he already got his gift.

I am not thrilled about the minimal Christmas. I love buying gifts for my friends. I can't say I love the epic six-hour gift wrapping marathon, but I love having a small mountain of presents under the tree to give away. Most of what I ordered tonight is getting shipped directly to the recipients, and I am not even planning to put up a tree. I did get wrapped gifts from my brother and sister-in-law in the mail today, and I'm thinking about taking them to Hugh's to put under his tree. That's where I plan to be Christmas morning anyway.

I haven't done any baking. I haven't sent out cards. I did at least locate the cards I bought last year and didn't send out.

I hope that next year I'm still living in the same place and life is relatively stable. This is the one holiday that I really care about. I like spending an entire month celebrating. Being short of time and money and energy and space is just no fun.

Symbolism

I have a set of sheets that I haven't been able to make myself use in nearly ten years. I need to donate them to the Salvation Army or somewhere similar.

I bought them with Jeff, the same day my bed was delivered. The last time I used them was right after we broke up. Within about two weeks thereafter, at some friend's recommendation, I went out and bought a new set of bedding. The comforter that coordinates with the sheets is now part of the bedding I use with my inflatable mattress. But the sheets have been on a shelf or in a box ever since.

It's not that it was a bad relationship, or even a bad breakup. Jeff and I are still good friends, and the biggest reason we aren't closer is that I'm lousy at maintaining individual communication over distance. But because changing the sheets was the symbol of changing my life and moving on, I just can't bring myself to use them. I've kept them in case of emergencies, but with three other sets, how likely am I really to have to resort to the ones with a psychic aversion field?

And as averse as I am to using them myself, that's nothing compared to how I reacted when it crossed my mind to put them on the bed and make some new memories with Hugh. I recoiled so fast I nearly fell out of the shower.

It seems so ridiculous, and I think that may be the only reason I haven't gotten rid of them yet. There is NOTHING wrong with the sheets. The problem is in my head. But then, that's the point of symbols, isn't it -- to get into the head deeper than what the surface would indicate.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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What am I doing this week? Blitzing my way through as many Hugo nominees as possible, so I am an informed voter. Voting closes next Tuesday night.

I have every intention of writing about this in detail, both why I'm doing it and (brief) reviews of the works. I just can't read and write at the same time. So by the middle of next week, I might be posting some stuff. Then again, I might not. My track record for finishing what I mean to blog is not great.
Watching Star Trek:Voyager, specifically Seven of Nine's first date. This does make me feel marginally better about myself -- I may be direct and awkward, but at least I'm not that bad.

Of course, the fact that I have to compare myself to an ex-Borg speaks for itself.

Jul. 11th, 2012

Okay, I know I complain too much about advertising in general. I really do expect a higher standard, and I should know better, especially when I'm watching something with broad appeal. However, this one really bothers me.

The commercial is about adoption, and becoming a parent to a child who's already a person. This is good, I support the message, and it's very positive. Then at the end they say "In Pennsylvania, thousands of children and their siblings need their love."

I KNOW what they mean. They're classifying teenagers as not children because what they need from the process is different, and because it is much more emotionally difficult to parent and bond with teenagers than the little ones. They're much less likely to find a home. And people considering adoption SHOULD think about taking siblings if they have the resources, because breaking up family units is bad.

What I hear is different. What I hear is "Thousands of orphaned children in Pennsylvania have adult siblings who aren't able to take care of them." While this may be true, I don't think it's the message they mean. Of course, when it is true, those are generally the ones who need it most. My aunt and uncle fostered teenage boys for about twenty years. They adopted 8 or 9 of them, including a set of three brothers. At least two of them weren't adopted until they were over 18, because their mother was alive and would not sign over parental rights. It's valid. Just... not quite what goes with the video of the five-year-old.
With more sadness: My former employer, Joseph Mezzacca, Jr., died yesterday. He had been in the ICU since having surgery two days after Easter. While I have been expecting this news for weeks now, it's still upsetting. He was a good friend as well as a good boss, and I'm going to miss him.

Article posted in the local paper

Looks like Saturday I have both a funeral and a wedding to attend.
I am feeling lonely and unloved. Largely because I've been alone most of the day in the office I just can't seem to leave.

Is anybody wandering by my little corner of the internet this afternoon? Talk to me, please.
I won at shopping tonight.

I don't enjoy shopping, as a rule. Rather than browse for hours, I prefer the surgical strike method. Go directly to the item, purchase, leave. Unfortunately, clothing seldom works that way. Sizes are approximations at best, so finding something that fits and looks good can take a very long time. It takes longer if you need a specific item.

I have an interview scheduled for Friday morning, and I didn't have a suit or blazer in my current size. So I went to the mall to find a black blazer that fit, was of reasonably good quality, and didn't break the budget.

I went to the mall, parked near the first department store I wanted to try, went more-or-less directly to the store, to the women's section, and with very little delay to the right article of clothing. And it looks GOOD. Not just adequate but actually good. Sadly, finding it on a 25% off rack was a lie, but it was still within what I was willing to spend.

So now I am ready. Plus or minus choosing the rest of the outfit, brushing up on the firm, having my references ready to provide, programming the destination into the GPS, and assorted other minor details, of course.

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I had a theory that my high blood pressure was due to stress from my now-former job, and that it would come down when I left the job and took some time to relax.

I was waiting for a prescription in CVS this afternoon, so I tried the machine there. And got a reading ten points higher on both numbers than the worst I'd had in a doctor's office before they started treating it.

Given the number of cardiac-related incidents in my social circles of late, I'll be making that appointment to see a new doctor sooner rather than later.

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Geek cred

Just finished watching DS9. That's one heck of a story. I can see why people were pushing it on me for so long. Real politics and moral dilemmas and a view of the universe less shiny than the Federation.

Besides, I like root beer, but only once in a great while.

I don't think I'm going to go on to Voyager or Enterprise at this time. I'm pretty sure they'd only be a disappointment.

I'll have to think about what's next.

Life with cats

I had a half-dozen heavy and bulky objects to bring into the house, so I went in, caught Murphy (the adventurous cat) and shut him in the downstairs bathroom so I could leave the front door open.

As I brought the first load in, Alex (the timid cat) came down from the second floor and looked around. He circled the living room twice while I carried things, edging closer and closer to the front. Finally, while I was making my last trip, he started down the stairs to the front door, cautiously, one step at a time. I came up behind him, he started to run, and I actually encouraged him to go down and take a look. He made it to the landing, poked just his face out the door to look around, and then bolted back up to the living room.

I shut the door and came up, to see Alex sitting square in the middle of the room with a horrified look on his face. I let Murphy out of the bathroom, and he immediately headed toward the door to see if maybe I'd either left it open or else let some birdies in for him. Alex gave me a glare, and promptly followed Murphy and herded him back up the stairs and into a chair.

I realized that Alex had thought I'd been irresponsible and let his little brother escape, and the only reason he went near the door was to show me I needed to go out and look for Murphy.

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Mar. 3rd, 2012

So far this evening:

5/6 of the party survived the gaming session.

Head-scritchers and gin-and-tonics have been deployed.

Also, I'm pleasantly warm and don't hurt, for the first time in days. Apparently gin should be a more regular part of my diet.

Feb. 22nd, 2012

I'm shy and insecure, so I usually don't add a lot of people because I'm afraid of rejection. But I want my internet to be full of interesting people. So I'm going on a friending spree on all my social media today.

If you're reading this because I just showed up on your list and you don't remember me or can't place me, you've probably seen me wandering around events with Hugh Casey or working at his photo booth.