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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in gra_is_stor's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, August 16th, 2012
1:52 am
odd but productive day
The dog got me up around 8am ish, which is NOT anywhere near enough sleep from when I went to bed last night.  But, fearing he may be in desperate need to go out (he had a little tummy trouble the day before), I got up, and took him out.  To discover he was fine, little brat.  But once I saw the rest of the bright shiny world starting its day, I couldn't go back to sleep.  I was also having quite a bit of anxiety from things I had not gotten done yet since I got back from CA, like tons of calls to make, bills and errands to catch up on, etc.

So, I started at it, and got done:
- ALL the calls on my list (some will have to be repeated to get a productive response, but I made them all from my end in one day)
- All but one of the bills (and seriously, has anyone ever heard of a credit union that can't figure out how to accept bill payments from other financial institutions?  WTF?)
- a preliminary look at the housing market for the area I want to move to, ruling out 2 complexes by internet research before I got into my overexcited state I'm often in when I'm looking for housing, where I overlook the kind of stuff I found out today
- called and even got in today to see the doctor
- got paperwork finally done that I had been trying to get straightened out for over a month
- finally got to the bank (like an adult! ;) )
- various other calls
- got some stuff from my place
- a bit of cooking
- a bit of cleaning

and this was all with my usual daily activities of catching up online, and taking care of the dog.  

I failed to make it to my Irish class (crashed out for a nap for 3 hours, conveniently during rush hour), but I had cleverly seen it coming that I would not be up for teaching my class this soon after the CA trip, and had already arranged to have ingvisson in charge of teaching this week. 

Oh, and for added fun, I discovered a new iTunes 'feature' that I actually like.  I had been largely unimpressed and annoyed with their "genius" feature.  For those who don't know, they try to see what else you have in playlists with certain songs or artists, and make associations based on the information they have collected from _everyone_ on teh interwebz whose iTunes account they have access to.  This has annoyed me quite a bit.  Also, I listen to a lot of indie music, and the genius feature has put some strange things together that have pretty much nothing to do with each other, but someone somewhere with eccentric taste probably put them together in a playlist, and since those of us listening to some of these bands were relatively few in number to begin with, the sample pool was skewed.  This has very much annoyed me when genius was newer.

It made sense this feature would improve over time, as they invade more information from more people's iTunes playlists.  At some point when 'genius' was new, I had let it make a list for a particular song I liked.  I went to do that for the same song tonight, and saw that now there is an iTunes folder called "genius mixes".  I wondered if that would give me the same list I'd had before.  I found out no, it makes its own playlists based on categories.  Some of this came out hilarious in my collection - Kíla ended up in the New Age mix, because they combined "New Age" and "World" into the New Age mix (my own music that I made has thus hit the same fate).  And Gaia Consort came out in the "Mainstream Rock" mix.  I'm not sure if Chris (one of the leaders of the band, and now a friend of mine) would grin or have a heart attack, or both. :D  

But some of it was surprisingly awesome.  I have to say, I'm loving the "New Wave" mix.  They've made a few interesting judgements for "New Wave" (Melissa Etheridge?  And it's her coming out album from '94, not the ones from the 80's. Huh?).  But given how much I love New Wave, I've been pretty happy with it.  And it was just the right energy for getting a bunch of stuff done tonight. :)

So, an odd, but productive day.

And tomorrow, my sweetie comes back.  Yay! :)

Current Mood: accomplished
Sunday, August 12th, 2012
1:18 am
Making the best of a stressful situation (re: my recent trip to CA)
I am home and have just enough braincells to rub together and light a small candle, using wire_mother's metaphor from last night. :)

I had wanted to write a little bit about my recent trip to CA.  Overall, I would say it was a successful trip.  I did get the voucher, and am hoping to move on to the stage where I can actively look for housing this coming week (still have to get that worked out between the CA housing authority and the WA housing authority).  

To be honest, I had _really_ not wanted to go to CA at this time.  I had just moved, had not unpacked my stuff and still haven't found things that are important to me, that I have now been without for 2 months and may go on for an indefinite time period.  I was exhausted already from moving.  I was housesitting and dogsitting, and working on training the dog, in which consistency counts for a whole lot.  I did NOT want to spend an indefinite amount of time away from all of that.

But, since I knew going would eventually lead to a very significantly good long-term outcome, I went.  I was also determined to make the most of having to go.  I would say I succeeded.

First, I will start with the cute - there is the animal lover in me.  I stopped at a bunch of places while traveling down and up the west coast.  I got the dog I was training to someone else who could continue his training with relative consistency.  While still covered in dog hair (and probably smells) from that dog, I got to pet and play with a pitbull/great dane mix who refused to believe he was injured and shouldn't be excitedly trying to walk around greeting the visitor (his person and I got him to lie down and I petted him there, so he wouldn't keep trying to walk on his injured leg), and his housemate/packmate, a very hyper little rat terrier (ok, "hyper" and "rat terrier" may be redundant, but wow that was a very bouncy dog, but very cute).  Both of those dogs were also super sweet; their people are very compassionate friends of mine.  Then I stayed with someone with one black cat and one orange tabby cat.  Apparently the orange tabby is well known to be friendly to everyone, but was especially interested in me even compared to his normal behavior toward guests.  The black cat is apparently usually skiddish, but did come hang out with me too.  I'm not sure which one of them dumped my water bottle on my head while I was sleeping, but apparently my response scared both of them out of the room.  But then they both came back.  That's cats for ya.  Then I visited my sister, who is living with 3 dogs (2 little chihuahuas and one medium-sized mutt), at least 2 or 3 cats (2 came out to greet me), and 6 chickens.  One of the chihuahuas decided my lap was his.  He was very put-out when, on my return visit back up the coast, one of the cats got my lap first at one point.  Eventually the cat moved, though, and the dog got the lap again for a little while.  Then I stayed with friends who have 2 cats in San Leandro, with both cats interacting with me quite a bit there (and trying to get into my luggage), and then I spent a couple of days with a friend with 2 cats and a dog, all of whom spent some time with me, even the very skiddish one.  And the friends I stayed with in Eugene have 3 cats, only one of whom is usually friendly, but their skiddish elderly back cat actually requested, in cat, that I pick her up for a little bit, and she purred while I held her.  I decided on this trip that, now that I will be living without human housemates, I will have to get my own pet instead of being pet-auntie to whoever I live with.  I decided I should get a cat, since I'm concerned about not having enough energy or long-term consistency for a dog.  I've also owned cats before, and not dogs, and it's easier to find rental homes that allow cats than dogs.  Plus, I can still be doggie-auntie to my girlfriend's dog, who clearly already believes I'm in his pack anyways. :)

Also on this trip to CA, I got to see all of the closer people I wanted to see this time.  I had missed one of my "inner circle" people when I had gone down to PantheaCon, but this time, I got to see her twice - once to go out dancing, which I had dearly missed, and once before I left, to say goodbye for now.  I got to go out to karaoke with another dear friend, got to go to brunch twice with 2 other dear friends, and got to feel closer to the friends I stayed with for most of my time there.  I also had a big fallout with my ex, which I have written about in previous entries, in my first 2 days there, but it led to me having much more explicit conversations about chosen family with everyone in CA who I wanted to consider a part of mine.  So it actually ended up being a pretty good thing, on several levels.  And I got to meet the current housemate of the family I stayed with, who was also very cool, while I was there.  This was nice too, since my ex and I were this family's first housemates, when their situation first opened to that. :)  When it came time to leave, I got to say a personal goodbye to each of the people I consider chosen family, even though there are now at least 6 of them, and they do not live conveniently all that close to each other.  That was impressive, and very satisfying for me.

And I got to see most of the people I wanted to see in other west coast cities on my way down or up the coast.  I missed mlerules and lupagreenwolf, and I had to drive right by FaerieWorlds without getting to go in and say hi to people I love there. :(  But, I did get to see a whole lot of other people, including my sister, my friends in Eugene who I had missed during PantheaCon travels, and quite a few other awesome people, including martianmooncrab.  

Importantly for me, I got to experience something I had kind of dreamed about years ago.  I'd had a dream of someday being able to travel, and having people I felt a level of comfort with like chosen family, or who were chosen family to me, anywhere I needed to go travel or stay.  On this trip, I had offers for places to stay from people I felt that level of connection with in Portland, Eugene, Ashland, Cottonwood (near Redding, CA), and quite a few places in the bay area (all at least 45 minutes north of Santa Cruz, though).  I had even made arrangements to stay in Portland on Thursday night, and when exhaustion won out and I didn't get that far, I was able to get very comfortable hosting on short notice from my friends in Eugene.  So, I had friends/family every 2 - 3.5 hours, up and down the coast.  That's living a dream almost at a level with playing the harp, for me.  That is pretty significant.

And the silly: I happen to love puzzles, and love doing puzzles with other people (as long as they aren't competitive or grabby about it).  I started and finished a puzzle of musical instruments with my musician friend while I was staying with her, and I helped the daughter of my friends in Eugene with a puzzle of a national park while I was there.  I was very happy to get to share puzzles; I hadn't done that in a while.  When I get a place, I need to invite people over for games/puzzles some time.

And even a more difficult area for me, food, worked out surprisingly well on this trip.  I ate very yummy food on the trip down (revisiting places erynn999 </lj> and/or martianmooncrab had found for us during the PantheaCon trip), was able to get just the right amount of food while in CA even though I didn't know how long I would be there when I first went shopping, and ate well again on the way back up, including fresh eggs from my friends own chickens.  And even today, ingvisson and I discovered a gluten-free food shop here that we had not previously known about.  We both got yummy food there. :) 

So, quality time with people I love, acknowledged chosen family, quality time with animals, dancing, karaoke, puzzles, good food, AND a housing voucher.  I'd say that was a pretty good trip, then.  I may not have wanted to go in the first place, but I definitely seem to have made the most of it, and had a very successful trip, on many levels.  Yay. :)  

I am glad it's over, and very happy to be back in the Pacific NW, but I am also very happy with how this trip turned out overall. 

Current Mood: content
Saturday, August 11th, 2012
12:43 am
Home safe
Just a quick note to let everyone know - I got home safe.  Very, very tired, but safe and home, yay!  I will post more when I have articulate braincells to rub together. :P

Current Mood: exhausted
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
6:17 pm
I get to go home, yaayyy! And closure, in a good way...
Today was the waste of time pain in the ass meeting at the Housing Authority that I had to attend in order to actually get my housing voucher.  I did it, and I am now free to go back to WA, yay!!!  I had originally planned to spend tonight at my sister's in Redding, but I might not actually make it that far.  I'm still in Mountain View now, waiting for rush hour to get out of the way so I can actually be driving and not parking on the highway with a bunch of impatient bad drivers. :)  I definitely do not miss the traffic patterns in this area. :P

The housing authority was located such that I had to drive by where my ex is still living in order to get out of town.  I was going to skip by and drive right on out, but I got that intuitive little tugging feeling, like I should try to wrap things up while I was there.  I drove to their parking lot and called, and her roommate/also ex (my ex-roommate and ex-metamour) called me back, came out with  the rest of my stuff, and then stayed there and talked to me for a bit.  He told me she hadn't meant to hurt me, but he could see how both of us had an epic communication fail in our last round of emails.  He did help actually, clarifying a few things, listening to my own concerns, and even offering a bit of empathy.  He said he could see that she had made this impossible for me (asking for space and then blaming me and saying I was wrong for not continuing to stay in touch), and he did offer empathy for that.  He said he thought this would not actually be permanent, but that she would still need quite a bit of time.  He also said something that sounds like she may not actually be chosen family with her other ex who totally screwed her over, which is somewhat of a relief to me, but also kind of not relevant any more at this point.

So, overall, I am happy I got some acknowledgement and closure.  I am also grateful for the clarification and empathy from my former roommate/metamour.  I'm honestly not holding my breath about this cut connection with her not being permanent; even if she came around at some point, my own trust got broken here big time, and it would take some acknowledgement and work to heal that.  I do have a pattern where I can be friendly to someone I lost trust with when we happen to be in the same place at the same time, but I don't just regrow trust over time - either we deal with healing it, or it stays broken.  I've just been through too much to ignore certain triggers and warning signs.  I can heal broken trust when someone actually does that work with me, but only if they do it.  If they aren't interested in helping heal it, they're not getting it back.  I am pretty sure she knows that, though.  So, we'll see, healing is nice, but I'm not holding my breath.  I'll be moving on, putting my energy into reciprocal relationships.  Which I have plenty of, so yay! :)

Then I got back to Mountain View where I had stayed with my best friend in CA, and we finished a very cool musical instruments puzzle that we had started last night.  That was fun. :)  I'm now waiting out rush hour, then will be heading to San Leandro to get the rest of my stuff and say goodbye to my family there (also a positive side effect of the fallout with my ex - more explicit acknowledgement of chosen family here, yay!).  I was hoping to get to my sister in Redding tonight, but we'll see how I'm feeling after I repack in San Leandro.  I slept really crappy last night, with lots of anxiety dreams, and I've been having extra pain today, but I did catch up on eating enough, and I'm hoping that helps.  

So, not too bad of a day, and I get to go home now, yay! :)

Current Mood: accomplished
Saturday, August 4th, 2012
1:44 am
Dancing Yay!
I went to a dance tonight, and am very, very happy about it.  Same-sex dancing was the best thing I discovered in CA, and I love love loved it.  Sadly, there was drama in the so-called "community", and things got broken up a bit just before I left.  Other dances have cropped up since, but I had been uncertain how things had landed after the drama (and my coincidental escape at the same time).

The friend/dance partner who I had caught up with on Thursday after missing her in February told me about tonight's dance.  I had seen it listed online, but was uncertain because I remembered someone trying to start this one as drama was hitting.  My friend confirmed that yes, this one was hit by drama when it first started, but the drama queen had burned her bridges and left, and the rest of the community continued to just dance and have a good time, and my friend loved it.

So, I decided to give it a try.  Parking was hell, but once I was in, the dancing was excellent.  I got to dance with many people I had missed dancing with, and got to dance dances I have been missing since I moved to Seattle.  While most things in my life improved significantly when I moved to Seattle, dancing has yet to catch up.  Seattle does have queer Tango, so I haven't been lacking in that, but there's very little same-sex swing, no more nightclub 2 step, and the options for country are rather over-crowded (fun, but very crowded).  So, I was especially happy to get to dance tonight.  I even got to cherry-pick certain dance partners for certain dances - I caught my old Latin competition partner for a Tango (both of us switched more primarily from Latin to Argentine Tango after we stopped competing together, but we had also danced Tango socially together), and it was awesome.  I got to dance with the friend who invited me in the first place to a whole bunch of different dances.  I also found a few other follows, who wanted me to lead them.  I consider myself a better follow than lead, plus I get nervous leading on account of being so short, but I did choose to learn both, especially since my ex would only follow.  I chickened out the first time I was asked to lead, for a nightclub 2 step, but later a Waltz came on, and I _know_ I can lead a Waltz (at least 3 different kinds of Waltz, in fact).  Later, the same follow came back and asked me to lead her in a west coast swing, which I was able to do, though not at the same level as my following in that dance.  Still, I'm guessing it couldn't have sucked too bad, or she wouldn't have come back and asked again.  So, yay for gaining a tiny bit of confidence as a dancer too. :)

My feet were kind of hating on me after the dancing, so I am off them now, and going to bed.  On the plus side, my knees are fine, and I found after I got there that I had left my knee braces at home and danced without them, so this is a very good sign that my knees are healing/getting stronger, yay!  And, I get to dance more tomorrow, with a different community and with my Heart-fan friend/dance partner, who was not there tonight but will be at tomorrow's dance.  Yay!

So that is my happy bubbling about getting to dance for tonight.  Yay! :) 

Current Mood: happy
Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
11:52 pm
Ha, I figured out how to share this for those not on Facebook...
martianmooncrab , I saw this and immediately thought of you, especially with your new tattoo:

http://icanhascheezburger.com/2009/09/27/funny-pictures-monkeys-are-all-on-vacation/  . 

:)

Current Mood: accomplished
11:41 pm
updates, and a very silly, amusing dream this morning
So, I had my appointment at the Housing Authority on Tuesday, and got that out of the way.  Next, I have to go to a briefing, which is scheduled for next Wednesday, August 8th, at 10am.  I'm thinking I should probably try to stay in Santa Cruz Tuesday night, or at least closer than where I am now.  I will have to see who I can reach out to in that direction.

I also got the paperwork to transfer this voucher back to WA.  They still can't/won't guarantee anything, which still doesn't help my nerves, but there is no foreseeable reason why there should be any problems.  I want to call them tomorrow while their office is open to go over a couple of things in the paperwork, mostly just to see if I can get this moving faster so I can head back to WA asap.  I don't want to have to wait beyond the 8th for any further paperwork shuffle, if I can help it.

In the meantime, things have been going relatively well in CA.  I've been reconnecting with some friends here, including an important one I had missed when I was here in February, and we may go dancing tomorrow night, so yay for that. :)  2 of my other previous dance partners have had to stop dancing because of health problems, which sucks. :(  But we did get together for brunch on Sunday, and may get together again while I'm still in town.  There was one more friend/dance partner that I hadn't heard back from yet, and was getting kind of worried about.  But then she called while I was writing this.  I love still being synced in with people I care deeply about, even after moving 900 miles away and not talking to each other as regularly any more. :)

And my silly dream this morning almost ties in here, because this particular friend is also a huge fan of Heart, and one of their songs totally changed the course of my dream, in a way that still amuses me. :)

In real life/waking reality, I was up late last night catching up with the friend/dance partner who I had missed in February.  After she left, I got the reminder that my apparently once-and-future housemate (at least temporarily; the one I'm staying with now (again), in CA ;) ) had a medical procedure that I had said I would accompany her for, scheduled such that I needed to set an alarm to get up this morning. Oops.

So, I went to bed, but set my alarm for 9am.  At 8am, I woke up, checked the time, and checked in with my body.  My body said 'hell no I'm not getting up now, go back to sleep'.  I knew that if I did go back to sleep, the alarm would go off in the middle of a sleep/dream cycle (I regularly wake up like that and then sleep for 2 more hours with vivid dreams, so having only 1 more hour meant half that cycle); but, if I forced myself up, bad things might happen, so I went back to sleep.

Which set me up for this lovely dream scenario: I was worried about running late for my friend's appointment, so I got up rushing, trying to make it on time.  At some point, it switched from me looking out for my friend, to me looking out for my paternal grandparents.  They actually took off in their van while I was still putting food together to bring with me for breakfast, since I'd gotten up too late to actually eat at home.  I was 18 again and didn't have a car, so I had to ride my bicycle to the hospital, to find them and be the support person they needed for their procedure(s).  But I was also unsure how to get to the hospital, and when I found it, it was huge, and had a lot of different entrances for different departments.  I found one entrance, but it was the wrong one, and by then I was having a blood sugar crash, feeling queasy from getting vigorous exercise (cycling) before breakfast, and easily emotionally distressed.  I sat down on the stairs and started crying.  There was overhead music playing, and the song "Alone" by Heart came on.  I thought maybe if I sing along it would help me stabilize (singing does this for me sometimes).  The first verse didn't help me much, but the chorus got interesting.  I sang the first line: "'Til now, I always got by on my own", and realized, 'hey wait, I have been getting by on my own.  These people have a house, a working van in good condition, a whole bunch of money in savings, and 3 grandchildren out on the streets [this was actually true when I was 18].  Why the fuck am I doing shit for them?  Fuck 'em."  And then I woke up.

In real life, I did get my friend to her appointment on time, and all was well.  But I also told her about my amusing and silly dream. :)  I think the recent letting go of connection with my ex has contributed to this dream as well -- it's gotten me reflecting a lot on family, and what that means to me.  Today gave me a very meaningful example, as being a support person for this type of medical appointment is something I have done so far for family members (chosen or genetic), or dating partners.  For me, it shows them trusting me at a level that I deeply appreciate, that was often missing from my family of origin.  The support that I was able to provide has also been something I myself desperately needed for years and couldn't get many times, but since I've had more explicitly negotiated chosen family relationships, this issue has completely resolved itself when I'm in need.  So today really did turn out to be a kind of confirmation for me, in terms of who is family to me, as opposed to who isn't.

And now I must sleep, but first I thought I'd share the updates, as well as the entertainment from my warped and silly brain. ;)

Current Mood: amused
Monday, July 30th, 2012
2:35 am
alive, with heartache
I had meant to update here when I arrived in CA, but forgot (mainly due to exhaustion).  So, here it is: I have arrived safely in CA. :)  On Friday night. :P

And then I spent way too much time and energy once again on trying to work things out with my ex-wife.  Some of you may remember I had posted about this last summer, thinking she had abandoned any possibility of considering ever being friends again.  That was not actually the end of that.

In November, I figured out a major piece she had been insisting I was missing, that she needed acknowledged and resolved in order to move on.  I spent many, many hours in November and December sorting that out with her.  In the end, she essentially said, "well, I feel a lot better now, but I don't want to be friends with you now".  She also said she would respond more later, but needed space at the time, given things going on in her life.  At the time, she said she was a lot less angry, but needed some space.  I figured I could certainly respect that.

Sadly, more stuff built up from there.  It hit a peak recently when I tried to contact her, since I have to be in Santa Cruz this week anyways, where she lives, and there is even a possibility of her and I being in the same briefing.  I found out some things that caused  me quite a bit of concern for her, for months, turned out to be her deliberately blocking me on Facebook, by a stealth 'filter' instead of a block I could know about, so it looked like we should still be able to see each other's pages but actually we weren't, but only she knew about it [it looked to me like she hadn't been online since December of 2011, which was out of character for her, when actually she was posting regularly throughout this entire year].  She also knows that the most traumatic things I've ever been through involved people cutting me off completely and not telling me why.

And then it got worse from there.  All attempts to talk this out were met with blaming, taking 0% responsibility even for things she had just said _in writing_, apathy, defensiveness, and/or justification.  I admit I wasn't at my best either, but I was at least editing and sending stuff that was an improvement over my first drafts, and made some effort to still consider her needs too.  I was pretty shocked at what was coming from her; this is not at all what I would have expected from the person I once knew.

I finally decided to cut all remaining cords today.  I'll be getting my CD's back from her some way or another, and we will exit each other's lives in all ways.


The one good thing that has come from this is it got me talking to more friends in CA about chosen family, and why it is so important to me.  I've now gotten direct confirmation from 3 - 4 people that they also consider me chosen family, and they are all cases where I had wanted it but been afraid to ask.  So at least that is a very positive thing.

Yet another fucking opportunity for growth.  Or something. :P

Current Mood: sad
Wednesday, July 25th, 2012
1:43 am
Trying not to freak out...
...which, let's face it, I'm just not very good at. :(  Even if I can interact with people in a calm manner, my body is giving away big signs that I am NOT ok.  I am feeling a little bit better, though, that as the day approaches, that means it's closer to being done so I can move on with my life.

In case anyone doesn't know yet, I've had a bit of excitement in the past month and a half:
1. I was moving out from my apartment in Seattle, and away from my previous roommate.  We are still friends and chosen family, but not living together any more.  We did this so he could stay in the city, and I could move closer to my band and girlfriend, and where there is more nature.

2. To make this possible, I got a car.  The car cost as much to repair in its first week in my possession as it did to buy it in the first place.  Not exactly a confidence builder.

3. I started housesitting/dogsitting for my girlfriend while she was out of town.

4. Roommate got sick last week of old apartment, so I had to coordinate moving out the rest of his stuff, and cleaning and fixing ALL THE THINGS.  While also housesitting and dogsitting, and my stuff in boxes at my new place.

5. Finally got rid of old apartment, in good, cleaned, fixed condition.  Sweetie came home temporarily.  Spent days with my sweetie while she was in town, and planned to actually move in to my new place.

6. Sweetie left, I had a sad.  But, I was looking forward to moving in to my new place, while still taking care of hers.

7. Tried to move into new place, hurt myself (my back, and psoas apparently), couldn't move and open boxes.  Dammit.

8. Got letter from Santa Cruz Housing Authority.  Housing voucher I had applied for in Feb. 2008 had finally become available.  But to get it (possibly my last chance at a voucher in this lifetime), I have to go to Santa Cruz, physically, NOW.  And once I have it, I have to move AGAIN.  

9. The housing authority can't commit to whether I would be able to use the voucher here, where I got my life re-established, or not, until I get there (it's likely, and I have made contacts here to make it even more likely, but they can't guarantee anything until we're face to face with paperwork in hand).  They also can't tell me how long I need to be there, until I get there (there's a briefing that can't be scheduled until after my initial interview).  I'd like to be here to pick up my sweetie from airport in August; they can't say if I will or not.  NOT helping my stress level AT ALL.

10. I rearrange dogsitting, housesitting, the Irish language class I've been teaching, and possible backup plan to get sweetie from airport if necessary, cancel holiday plans with spiritual community, and make plans to go to CA.

11. I had to find stuff I need for the trip that hadn't even been unpacked from moving yet.  Grrrr.

12. Tonight, I have found the things I need for the trip (I think), got most of it organized and packed or ready to pack.  Still need to clean a bunch of things, and it's freaking me out.  Tomorrow, have to get my car back (a friend was cleaning pet smell out of it from previous owner), take care of dog care handoff, teach my last Irish class, and pack my car.  I am also getting a massage after class, because dammit, I really need one, and I can.

13. Thursday, I will be leaving.  I am hoping for a) a safe and easy drive there, b) a quick, easy, effective, and surprisingly pleasant set of interactions with the housing authority, c) a safe and easy trip back home, soon, and d) and easy time finding, renting, and moving into a suitable apartment, where I can happily stay and NOT MOVE AGAIN for a very, very long time.

But first I have to clean things, to be ready for more packing.  Ugh. :(

Current Mood: anxious
Sunday, July 22nd, 2012
12:10 am
Ella's surgery bills
Originally posted by issendai. Reposted by gra_is_stor at 2012-07-22 00:10:00.

Update on 9/5: Six weeks after her accident, Ella is now wandering the house and leaping up on beds and bunks and other things that need cat hair on them. She has a limp, which is probably permanent, but she's not letting that stop her. Read the full update here.

Update on 8/1: Ella is doing well! Anne got a second opinion from a surgeon, who said this type of pelvic fracture would heal better without surgery than with surgery. Ella's leg has moved back into the correct alignment, and she's getting feeling back in the leg. Anne is keeping Ella confined to a large dog crate during the day to prevent her from leaping or running and worsening the fracture. It will take four to six weeks for Ella to heal, and she'll need several more vet visits, but if things keep going as they have been, she won't need surgery.

I'll be posting Anne's updates later today. For now, you can read them directly on her Facebook.

The amazing outpouring of support you all have shown Ella enabled Anne to get a second opinion that she otherwise wouldn't have been able to get. She says, "I don't have to go with 'if it was my cat I wouldn't bother.'" It's also covering vet visits, painkillers, and all the other things that an extended injury brings. Anne isn't going to make a final reckoning until Ella is well and truly out of the woods, but right now, it looks like your donations will more than cover the rest of Ella's care.

Thank you all so much. Your generosity on behalf of Miss Ella is wondrous and staggering. As a personal friend of the little grey lady, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.





This is Ella.
Ella in the fullness of her dignity

More pictures of Miss Ella.Collapse )

On Thursday night, Ella came home dragging herself by her forelegs. Anne rushed her to the emergency animal hospital. This is Ella's pelvis...
Ella&quot;s pelvis

...which is not supposed to look like that.

It will cost $1500 to $4500 to get medical care for Ella's broken pelvis--$1500 to amputate her leg, $4500 to pin the bone and save her leg. Anne just got hit with a ton of bills and doesn't have enough to cover either operation. Please, donate whatever you can to help save Ella's leg. (Or send a check if you don't want to use Wepay. Message me for the name and address.) Every little bit helps.

And if you can't donate, please repost. Friends-of-friends have already been a huge help.


Donations are now more than enough to cover Ella's medical expenses. Thank you all so, so much.

If you want to link to or repost this from any other platform, please do. Thank you to those of you who are getting the word out, and many, many thanks to those who have donated.

Send questions about donations to morgansong, who's handling the fundraising for Anne. She can no longer accept Paypal donations because Paypal is having issues. Crisis averted.

Updates on Ella's condition and photos are in the comments: Sunday evening, Tuesday morning, and Tuesday evening. She's hanging in there. Brave little kitty. We've raised $1,548 $2,178 so far*--and by "us," I mean all of us, those who've donated and those who've spread the word. Thank you all so, so much. The kindness of strangers has been wonderful. The Internet has made the world a smaller place, and sometimes, it's a smaller, better place.

* $1,771.45 from Wepay and $406.16 from Paypal.
Monday, July 9th, 2012
3:43 pm
"emo on the couch"
alfrecht has described a common behavior routine of erynn999's DoDC+3 (Dog of Devastating Cuteness, +3), when she goes away, as "emo on the couch".  The dog sits on couch, usually with his head resting directly on the couch, looking wistfully out the porch doors, waiting for erynn999 to come back.

This morning, I got up painfully early to drive erynn999 and joyful_storm to the airport.  They wanted to be there by 9am, and got there by 8:30am (we were miraculously gifted with little traffic, but were prepared just in case).  Then I drove back to erynn999's place, thinking I would Do Things, and instead took a nap until 2:30 in the afternoon.  After which I managed to drag myself to the couch and try to become more actually conscious.

At a certain point, I realized the DoDC+3 and I were both doing "emo on the couch" (in my case waiting for consciousness, but I do miss her too).  Very, very silly. :D


So, I had been taking a few days' break from moving to spend time with my sweetie while she was only in town for a few days, between trips (first to CA, now to Europe).  Now that she's gone, I should get back to that whole moving thing.

Maybe tomorrow. :P  I'm tired.  But at least I'm also amused.  Dogs are good at amusing sometimes. :)

Current Mood: amused
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
1:08 am
I am still alive, just haven't been posting much

I just figured I would post a quick note, since I haven't in a very long time.  For a brief explanation: my roommate and I decided to move out of our current place in May, as our apartment has been blocked from the sun by construction, and we both live with seasonal depression that needs to be managed better than that.  (yes we have a happy light; it's not the same)

We hit some very strange and weird crap that prevented us from actually getting housing, even though my roommate actually does have enough income that it shouldn't have been as difficult as it was when I was in CA with a disabled wife at close to the same income level I've got.  My roommate also wanted to stay very near here (the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle), where his boyfriends are (and where housing is ridiculously expensive).  I have a sweetie 30 - 45 minutes north of here (depending on traffic, usually), and a band that practices weekly an hour and a half north of here.   And between my sweetie and the band and their communities, meetups, and friends, I have a reasonable amount of community further north too.  So far, I've also been steadily exhausted every week after band practice, often for days after I return.

To get cheaper housing, my roommate was willing to go south a bit, but not north.  Each week that another band practice went by, I got even more resistant to moving further south.  Eventually, we decided to split up.  (amicably, it's all good, we're still family)

So, I am now moving 45 minutes north, to Marysville, WA.  The drummer in my band has a poly/pagan household, and they had a room open.  I already know his housemates, who love me, and it's cheap rent.  Plus, I can most likely hitch a ride with the drummer to band practice, completely eliminating the days of exhaustion from driving to practice and back (and even if not, it's a MUCH shorter, 30-minute drive now).

Oh, and in order to make the move possible, I now have a car again!  There has been much drama in getting the damn thing road-worthy, but it is now, so yay!  I now have my first Honda Civic.  I suppose it was doomed to happen eventually. :)  And one of my friends dubbed the color of my car "stealth green", which I love. :D  It looks black unless it's in broad daylight, but in broad daylight, it's actually dark green.  Thus, "stealth green".  I love that. :)

There has been much drama in the whole moving process too, but I'm hoping that will all be over soon.  I am attempting a moving party tomorrow night (my roommate has already started, and will use the truck first tomorrow afternoon for his furniture, then it's my turn).  We will then have just over a week to clean this apartment out thoroughly, with the goal of getting all of our deposit back. :)

So, I've been a bit obsessed with moving, getting a car, fixing the car, and dealing with shifting configurations of life, the universe, and everything.  But I am still here, sometimes. :)

Oh yeah, and if anyone would like my updated address and contact info, email me or send me a private message.

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
1:51 am
an attempt to tune the gadulka
I don't think I ever actually posted it here, but a couple of weeks ago, I finally got my gadulka, yaaaayyyyy!  And it arrived in a box that had been smooshed and took more than twice as long to get here as the longest estimate given, and a piece had come out during travel (a sound post).  So, I took it to get repaired, and the repair guy actually set the soundpost for free.  I have sent my roommate over to the same guy now with his viola, and will be sending 2 of my bandmates over there with an oud and an antique violin. :)

And then the gadulka sat on a chair for a while.  My roommate thought that was precarious (he's right), so he made a thing for me to be able to hang it, and all of its pieces (bow and tuning thingie), on the wall next to where I have my computer.  I should note my harp is behind me in this arrangement, so they can now gang up on me, and both try to drag me away from the computer more. ;P  Or I could even say 'harps' - my 'cruit' (Anglo-Saxon lyre replica-ish) is also behind me, above the clairseach (the clairseach being the one in my profile photo, and on my CD's).  The computer and I are getting outnumbered here.  I think this actually is as it should be, though. :)

But tonight was when I finally took the gadulka down and tuned it.  Well, attempted to tune it.  Which I had not done in the time that I've had it so far, and stringed instruments generally need to be tuned down for shipping.  And oh it was down - most of the strings were down by a 5th or so, some by slightly more than that.  I got them all up to within a third or second of where they should be (after looking up a tuning chart online, since the book I ordered from Bulgaria never got here either - what is it with shipping from that country to this one?).  I decided to leave it there to let all the strings and wood adjust, and I *might* try again tomorrow, or not.  I've also got a miserable housemate with a migraine the VA refused to treat, and band practice tomorrow, so the gadulka may fall off the priority list, depending on whether I need to take further care of the roommate, which would affect whether I even go to band practice. If I don't get to it tomorrow, I'll try again Wednesday or Thursday.

But yay!  I've at least started getting a bit more acquainted with the instrument.  Of course, once I got all the strings at least into a musical range, I did in fact try again making noise with it -- I wouldn't call it music yet, but I was going for deliberate noise, as opposed to "oops!" noise.  I got a little further in figuring out how this thing works.  Our band's drummer suggested we start taking a portion of our time at upcoming practices for each of us to practice with the instrument we are most paralyzed on, since each of us has primary and far less primary instruments -- 2 of us have brand new ones (my gadulka and the bass-player's oud), the drummer feels rusty with bass, guitar, and other things he plays, and the keyboardist could join us with her antique violin, after she gets it fixed. :)  And then maybe help me figure out good bow technique, since I've never done this before, and she has played bowed instruments since at least the age of 12.

Yay musical developments. :)

And since I don't have an account that can post photos, I'll just post a link: http://www.ebay.com/itm/BULGARIAN-GADULKA-Rebec-instrument-13-strings-Antonov-/220537864565?pt=UK_Musical_Instruments_Sting_Instruments&hash=item335914c175#ht_1633wt_650 . If you want to see what a gadulka is, it's there. :)
Saturday, March 31st, 2012
3:37 pm
The harper and dancer does NOT have arthritis - YAAAYYYY!!!! :)
I went to the rheumatologist yesterday and got my test results.  I now have an actual diagnosis of fibromyalgia/CFS.  He checked over the very thorough set of x-rays of my hands and feet, though, and determined that I do NOT have arthritis.  Yay for no arthritis!  I know fibromyalgia sucks, but (as has now been pointed out by several people who love me) at least it's not necessarily degenerative, which arthritis often is.

It seems from my own observations, of both my own symptoms and those of people I care about who also have fibromyalgia/cfs, that symptom patterns may change and shift over time.  Symptoms can certainly get worse, especially when exposed to whatever one's triggers are, but the condition itself isn't necessarily degenerative.  The shifting can certainly get annoying, as things that used to work stop working, but it can have the plus side too, where a specific trigger response might calm the fuck down and stop being triggered by the same stimulus, or specific bad symptoms lighten up and are not as bad as they once were.  

So, while it sucks to have fibromyalgia and CFS, I've already had the symptoms for years; what's new now is that now I also have a diagnosis.  I'm surprisingly happy to have such a diagnosis.  Talk about a mixed bag. :P

But I can say I am genuinely super happy to NOT have arthritis (which does run in my genetic family, so there was a real risk there).  Yay!

And, this comes after the news a few months ago that I seem to have gotten my blood sugar to stabilize enough that I am not officially hypoglycemic anymore either.  Yay for small things actually working in the body, woohoo!

I seem to have gotten not the best of luck in terms of (possible) auto-immune disorders; I am now officially diagnosed with endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, CFS, and costochondritis.  But, other things that could improve have, things that could have been scarier are not, and even the auto-immune disorder soup is standing a better chance of being better understood and managed.  And acknowledged, which is HUGE.  I consider all of these to be steps in a positive direction. :)

Current Mood: relieved
Monday, February 27th, 2012
6:51 pm
ah, being physically embodied...
I was sooo proud of myself.  In my first 48 hours back in my own home, after about 2 weeks of traveling and Cons, I actually for real:
-- cleaned ALL the things (laundry, dishes, put stuff away, put luggage away, etc.)
-- went to the m-----f---ing bank like an adult
-- did grocery shopping

For these, I wanted the adult trophy. ;)

I also went dancing, and yesterday I spent 4 hours on Skype catching up with my roommate, with whom I had not had a long conversation in about 3 weeks, since his boyfriend was visiting him in Mexico for one week, and then I was gone for 2 weeks.  There was much to catch up on.  We didn't even finish yesterday, but we made good progress. :)

Today, I had to make phone calls and catch up on errands that had to be done during business hours.  I slept much more than I have in a while and was slow getting up, but once I was up, I got many things done, yay!  I still needed to do many other things, including cook, and catch up on band stuff, especially for our practice tomorrow.

In amusing news, apparently 3 out of 4 people in my band have a thing for women born in the spring.  Our drummer wanted us to do a live set for his sweetie's birthday party.  Which happens to be 2 weeks after my sweetie's birthday, and one week before our bass player's wife's birthday.  Whether we do one event for the drummer's sweetie and give a nod to the rest of our sweeties, or try to coordinate a slightly bigger celebration, will most likely be discussed tomorrow, but we will be having a live gig some time in April, involving celebrating at some of the sweeties of various band members.  Yay!  :)


Inevitably, after I got many things done, I needed to eat again.  And then oh did my body slam me, like I (thankfully) have not been slammed in quite some time.  On the positive side, I remember when I used to feel like that every time I ate, and at this point, this really is the first time I remember it being this bad in several months.  So, hey, at least I got a vivid reminder of the progress I have made, right?

Ugh.

Now to see what I can realistically do tonight.  Including the paradox that I need to eat again, even if my intestines were not terribly cooperative the last time I tried that.  Fun fun...

Current Mood: drained
Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
12:13 am
On the road and well
I'm just posting to let people know erynn999 and I are doing well so far, and should be arriving safely in CA tomorrow evening/night.  Yay!

I also feel like I must comment on my girlfriend's ability to find super yummy food that *I* can actually eat in restaurant settings.  Even on the road!  Wow.  Thank you Sweetie!
Saturday, February 4th, 2012
12:19 am
Updates from the scary doctor thing

Well, my "umbrella" trick worked - the doctor today was not scary at all, and was respectful and knows that the conditions I was concerned about are real (though he loses points for not knowing what CFIDS is, but that wasn't my own concern anyways).  

What was scary for me was this was my first time seeing a rheumatologist ever.  It finally occurred to me that I may have fibromyalgia myself, and have had it the whole damn time (at least 15 years now) that I've known I shared symptoms with others who have it, but kept thinking that because my main problems were digestive, that I must have something else.  Now that it has been confirmed that I do in fact have something else, that has been treated, and I *still* have all the same symptoms in common with my friends with fibromyalgia, plus now that my gut has stopped trying to kill me, my fatigue and joint pain has been able to get more of my attention; it finally occurred to me, oh, maybe I have that *too*.  Duh.  

And I had been forewarned, but he really did run a large bunch of tests.  Lots of labwork (lots of vials of blood drawn), and I even got x-rays, because he's trying to cover all the bases where I have pain (which is still mostly everywhere, just not as much as what had been in my gut before surgery).  And I'm being referred to specialists who look for sleep disorders too.

So, after 3 hours in a medical facility I finally got to leave.  If he doesn't see something else in the various tests and x-rays, I'm looking at a potential triple diagnosis, of fibromyalgia, costochondritis, and possibly mild arthritis in my hands.  Not terribly happy news on that last count.  And, I won't have a definite answer for a couple of months, because their office is just slow like that.  My appointment where I got to see him today was made at the beginning of December.

So, good news bad news.  Good news: getting confirmation that this really is not just in my head, and hasn't been this whole time, is nice.  Getting actual names of actual conditions gives me new ways to understand and organize my symptoms in my own head, and it feels less overwhelming to me to be trying to manage about 4 or 5 conditions, rather than trying to manage about 20 or 25 independent symptoms that aren't terribly consistent.  This is one of those situations where I can clearly see how naming something can give you power over it.  It could also give me better starting points for looking stuff up for even better understandings, and possibly more ideas for how to manage them.  

Bad news: I sooooooo don't want anything acute to be wrong with my hands, wrists, or anything involved in playing the harp or dancing.  Those are two activities I would like to keep doing for a long time.  I know having systemic issues, those activities may always be somewhat limited for me, but I still want to keep being able to do them.  Now, even if it were arthritis, we don't know yet what kind.  We still have to wait and see.  I hate that part. :(  I would like it to be something that is NOT doomed to get worse, and to be something that be managed sustainably.  Something that can be totally reversed and go completely away would be awesome. ;)  But with the auto-immune disorder soup I've already got going, I'd be ok with I just have to be mindful of how I manage it in the future.

So, to sum up, the doctor was not evil or scary; my interactions with the doctor, the lab techs, and even the people who had to schedule me for more appointments were all positive; and the end result was another round of good news/bad news/wait and see. ~:P

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
3:19 am
Yay Tango medicine!
I've been missing Tango for the past couple of months, largely due to noncooperation from my body. :(  Tonight, I finally made it to a Tango event for the first time in a couple of months. Man was I missing me some Tango. I finally got some, yay! :D

Tomorrow I have a big scary doctor's appointment.  That's probably why I'm still up now, nervous about it and not going the f*ck to bed like I should be.  It's a weird, counterproductive form of stalling.  But, I did fill out the scary forms already, so at least that's done.  And, I have a backup referral name and number, in case tomorrow doesn't work out so well.  I'm hoping it works like an umbrella: if you're not sure whether it's going to rain while you're out, and you bring your umbrella, it doesn't rain.  If you leave your umbrella at home, then it rains.  So, I'm bringing the other referral info as an "umbrella", kind of hoping I get surprising pleasantness instead. ;)  We'll see.

And, I finally got enough done on a new song to Brigid that I think I can do it as an offering on Sunday at the group Imbolg ritual.  I practiced it tonight, and it definitely needs more practice right now, but it's also much better tonight than Tuesday night.  And I have a couple of days for more practice. 

Ok, I suppose I should actually try to go to bed now. :P
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
11:56 pm
Writer's Block: Doppelganger Week

Katie Lennon (Massachusetts-based artist) is my official Doppleganger, and we actually address each that way, as in "Thank you Doppleganger!".  It's fun. :)  It all started at FaerieWorlds in 2009, in which a mutual friend we both met at that event that weekend actually thought we were both one person.  Zie was very confused until the 3rd of the festival, when zie finally realized there were 2 of us.  That was pretty funny. :)  Especially given we had attended the ritual together, with me standing next to our friend's wife, and Katie was _in_ the ritual, and our friend still didn't get that there are two of us.  We ended up granting hir photos of me and Katie next to each other, so zie can always tell now that there are two of us.  That was very fun. :)

Who is your look-alike?

I also used to get a lot of "You look like that woman in Braveheart", which was really annoying when I hadn't seen the damn movie (I've still only ever seen the first half of it).  But having since learned that such people were referring to Sophie Marceau, I can live with that. ;P  I also had a guy at a music industry conference try to convince me I should try to get a job as an acting stand-in for Jennifer Connolly.  He was struggling to get careers going on both acting and music, but he was involved in some project with Jennifer Connolly, and apparently he found it striking to meet another long-haired brunette with green eyes, which he thought was very rare.  Granted, my eyes actually change color, so most likely I was just wearing green that day, but that's fun too. ;)

Saturday, January 7th, 2012
11:08 pm
a question to consider

I have now been working with a new band that I am super happy and super excited to be working with so far, and this seems to be a mutual thing for them as well. :)  I do still have one issue that I'm kind of stuck on, though, and I wanted to post it here and see what my friends here think.

I'm still stuck on the Rede song that I mentioned before (the Wiccan Rede).  They really want me to add to it, and there are certain lines of it I really don't want to sing.  Which are of course the exact lines that need harmony vocals in my voice range more than anything else in the song.  *sigh*

I've listened more carefully, and the song itself is mostly not something I would be opposed to at all.  The basic premise is that being polyamorous and pagan doesn't hurt anybody, so if that's what works for you, go for it.  That it itself I can totally get behind.  It's just the way some of it is worded that I take issue with.

Oddly enough, the verses I have no problem with at all, and there's a pre-chorus that I'm totally happy with, lyrically speaking.  It's the chorus itself where the lyrics go where I do not want to go, at least not with my voice.

It is a song that has already been released (The Rede by Gaia Consort), so if anyone has it, you can probably follow it easily enough.  As I said, basic premise, verses, and pre-chorus I'm all good with.  Chorus itself not so much.  They repeat the actual Wiccan Rede at the beginning and at the end ("an it harm none, do what you will"), which really really isn't my thing.  I personally found this to be a total utter failure as a system of ethical guidance.  It did inspire a different way of looking at things than what I had been taught as a kid, and it was a step up, but given how low the bar is when we're talking about what I was taught as a kid, that really isn't saying much.  I still found it to be abysmally lacking as an actual system of ethics.

And there's the line "As the circle has bound us, bound we are still".  Oh boy do I have problems with that.  I don't take binding in magic lightly; I have done it for protective purposes, but I don't find it something to be taken lightly.  Plus, I've done quite a bit of removal of energetic cords, which can result from inappropriate binding; not cool.  I also don't really find it fulfilling to cast circles, and I don't like the idea of needing a cast circle in order to feel like you're in sacred space (I know they didn't say that here, but I could see some people understanding it that way; the circle does seem to be meant to symbolize sacred space in my interpretation of this line).

Melodically, the line with the circle could go without a higher harmony and the chorus wouldn't necessarily sound off balance.  Both of the times they actually say the Rede, though, it is almost begging for a high harmony.  And there are only 2 women in the band, I have the higher voice, and the other one is already doing the main melody on this. 

I had thought about just doing something with my harp instead, but the chorus itself is really where the band is coming together vocally, and missing a voice really does stand out.  I've also thought about just doing vocables, particularly vocables that have some assonance with the words (ah during "an it harm one", for example).  But that also sounds lame and limited, and there really aren't good English vocables for things like "will", "circle" or "bound".

I also thought about changing the words just for me, but a) I think people would notice, and b) that would make it a derivative of the original song, which the band is doing because the guy who wrote it is a friend who went atheist and won't do his Pagan catalog any more, but has a great one and wants other pagans to be able to continue to benefit from it.  And our band is full of poly pagans, so this song would be great, if there wasn't a nit-picky CR for the soprano. :)

And I thought about just singing the actual Rede part, as being ok in this one specific context, even though I still find it lacking as an ethical system in general.  Part of me feels like that's selling out, though.

I really do want to support the band, but I also really don't want to sing stuff I really don't agree with.  Does anyone here have any suggestions?

(I'm deliberately not posting this to Facebook because my bandmates are over there, but not here :) )


Update 1/8/12, almost midnight: I just wrote to the band directly about this.  Wish me luck.

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