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Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 00:48
1. Carla made chicken adobo for dinner tonight and it was so delicious.

2. We went to the store this afternoon and went over to See's Candy while we were there. I had a gift card left from Christmas but I had no idea how much money was left on it, so I just got what I wanted and it turned out to be almost exactly the right amount!

3. It was rainy today, but only sprinkling when we went out. It looks like we're supposed to have a few clear days before more rain this weekend, which is also nice (both the clear days and more rain).

4. Chloe and Jasper are just too cute when they sleep together. I really hope to eventually see him and Molly cuddled up like this, too.

Monday, February 20th, 2017 17:35

On the request of one of my father's carers
Monday, February 20th, 2017 12:47
If I have to read/hear one more variation on how being binary trans is "less progressive" than non-binary identities or "too mainstream" or "upholding the gender binary", and labels such as gay & lesbian are "too restrictive" and "outdated", and cis gay men are "the straights of the LGBT community" --


I'm not even an active activist and I'm already burnt out on this shit
Monday, February 20th, 2017 22:30

Originally published at Spinster's Bayley. You can comment here or there.

It’s been a long time since I posted, but I’m trying to get going again so I’ll just dive right in.

It’s been a slow, cool summer. Tomatoes hardly ripening (just a few handfuls, mostly cherries) and I wonder whether I’ll have any to preserve this year?  Despite the cool weather, things are slowly coming along including the corn my neighbour is growing for both of us (I’m responsible for pumpkins), enough zucchini (but not too much), and self-seeded greens starting to sprout.  Thanks to the cool weather I also had a crop of mushrooms off a compost delivery, which quickly made it into several meals.

I set up a weighing station by the back door, inspired by hearing of a Melbourne acquaintance who grew 350kg of food on her 1/14th acre block, but I have to admit I’ve only weighed in a couple of kilos in these first two months of 2017.

Corn in my neighbour’s backyard
A cool summer
Weighing station by the back door

Pasta with pesto genovese, zucchini and mushrooms.

A friend left me a basketful of plums, which got made into plum mead. There’s a funny story involving condoms as airlocks – check my instagram.  Just recently, I’ve been picking with a group who are starting a project called the Hidden Orchard, which aims to harvest fruit from unloved fruit trees in people’s backyards, as well as pruning and maintaining the trees throughout the year.  I’ve also been picking elderberries, to make elderberry syrup and perhaps elderberry mead.  I posted an elderberry recipe on my Tinyletter – check the archives.

Plums and op shop books from Carla
Elderberries don’t smell of anything, despite what Monty Python say
Hidden Orchard harvest is donated to community groups

A month or so back I moved into the smallest bedroom of the house – really very small, just enough room for a single bed and a chest of drawers – just to see how I felt about it.  Conclusion: I like being in a small room, like curling up in a nest, with nothing else in there but my personal effects. It is very important to keep it tidy, though, as there’s no room for a “floordrobe” or any other clutter to pile up.

I’ve also been making salves from calendula oil (calendula harvested and dried in spring, then infused in olive oil) and beeswax left over from candles. I made two kinds, one very thick that I use on my cracked heels, any small scratches, or even as a lip balm; the second is less waxy and I use it just as a general moisturiser.

My nest
Keeping things tidy, konmari style
Calendula balms

Visiting Jonai Farms’ happy pigs
Touring Yonke’s property as part of the PDC

Finally, I’ve been out and about. A few weeks ago I paid a visit to my friends Tammi and Stuart at Jonai Farms, then on to Daylesford where I spent a great day with Patrick, Meg and Woody of Artist as Family. It was so interesting I didn’t even take any photos, but they gave me heaps of great info and reassurance about living car-free in smaller country towns, and they have a house that’s very similar in style to what I want!  More recently I’ve been doing a Permaculture Design Course with the local permaculture guild, which means regular treks out to a friend’s farm where most of the course is held, plus additional site visits to other properties.  Everywhere I go now, I think about how I’d get there by bike. Next month, I hope, I’ll have the opportunity to try it!

Monday, February 20th, 2017 09:19
but for London people, the big demo today: Facebook event page: Defend migrants, stop Trump

There's also Families Against Reckless Trump (FART), a "family-friendly" demo from 11am to 1pm designed for people who can't attend the evening demo for childcare or other reasons.

And associated Stop Trump and/or Day Without Us events all over the place: https://www.stoptrump.org.uk/map/ , searchable by postcode -- for example, the Tates are running guided tours "celebrating the artworks which have been created or influenced by migrants".
Monday, February 20th, 2017 08:42
So this morning Buttercup has confirmed the guesses that (rather that confusing Sehwan and Sweden, the other top speculation) by "happening in Sweden last night" he meant that on Friday night he saw a Fox news segment claiming that there's a crime wave in Sweden caused by immigrants but being covered up by Teh Libruls.

(According to Swedish data, crime rates have changed little in the past decade. COVER-UP.)

There's an important logical implication of this which the article doesn't address, namely that if "happening last night = "he saw a TV report on it last night", Buttercup apparently believes that when a thing happens is when he sees it on TV.

It's already been noted that people in his team are leaking like sieves partly because the only way to get him to register information is to have it on TV, but this seems like a new insight into the terrifying solipsistic void of his inner life.

(Really, I could have gone through life happily without ever having to think about Buttercup's inner life, but such are the times; we are not to be spared these things.)
Monday, February 20th, 2017 01:06
1. We went to Target today to get various stuff and while we were there, I remembered to look at the shoe section to see if there were any good house slippers and there were! I have some flip-flops for wearing outside, but for indoors I like the sort that doesn't go between your toes so I can wear socks in cold weather. The pair I've been wearing are actually nearly twenty years old and have served me well, but they are really falling apart. These new ones are very comfy, so I'm pretty happy about that.

2. I finished another book! At this rate I think I might have to re-revise my goal from thirty books to maybe forty. I know the rest of the year I won't be reading as much as these two weeks of vacation, but I'm hoping that I'll at least continue to read a couple books a month.

3. I spotted my favorite cranberry orange cookies on the clearance rack at the grocery store. They're those thick cakey ones that are almost like a muffin top. So good. *_*

4. I had a Marie Calendar's chicken pot pie for dinner. Those things are so ridiculously delicious. We went to the store yesterday, too, and I suddenly got a craving for one as we were walking down the freezer aisle...and they didn't have any! They had every flavor except the original, which was of course the only one I wanted. I mean, the others are probably good, but when I get a craving for a chicken pot pie I just want the original! But today we went to a different store and they had them, so I bought a couple. :)

5. Jasper just tried to shut down my computer, but thankfully there were unresponsive programs, so it popped up the "do you want to force quit these or cancel?" box and I was able to stop it from shutting down. (Also, amazingly, even though it did shut down Firefox, this entry didn't disappear when I relaunched it. Woohoo!)

6. The innocent face of a dastardly computer turner-offer!

Sunday, February 19th, 2017 16:23
dear Dreamwidth, I owe you a massive entry catching up with all my shit over the past goddamn too long forever, including our awesome photos of our awesome vacation and pics of the new cat we SOMEHOW WOUND UP WITH (don't ask, the internet was involved), but that will have to wait for when I have more time. Instead, I am making this entry to say that I started Concerta for my shiny new official ADHD (combined type) diagnosis yesterday, and HOLY SHIT IS THIS HOW EVERYONE ELSE'S BRAINS WORK? Like, thinking of one thing at a time?

(Weirdly, it has slowed down my reading speed. Apparently "taking in an entire paragraph at a time" is an ADHD symptom.)

I've had the symptoms my whole life (allllll the way back to elementary school) but was one of the generation of undiagnosed girls because the diagnosis was based on presentation in boys, and my various coping mechanisms have gone to shit in the last few years as my neuroplasticity wanes. It always seemed like way too much effort to pursue the actual diagnosis until now, but holy shit the difference with the goddamn meds.

Sunday, February 19th, 2017 17:34
The Guardian: 'Sweden, who would believe this?': Trump cites non-existent terror attack

Sub-sub-header: At Florida rally president refers to attack in Sweden that did not happen, possibly confusing it with Sehwan in Pakistan.

(I would be interested to know if that's going to be the official White House explanation, particularly because Buttercup's speech makes it clear that he's referring to a European country which "took in large numbers" -- presumably of Muslim immigrants, because obviously, who else would be responsible for such an unspeakable imaginary attack? "Slip of the tongue, he meant Pakistan" won't cover it.)

Attempting to cover what actually happened in Sweden, a Swedish news agency reported a story about a bull moose that took a fancy to a wooden moose, but admitted that this story took place in the autumn and they just thought we would like it.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Swedes and their moose in this tragic time.

I laugh because it's an alternative to screaming. For a grimly-credible analysis of what's going on with this sort of shit, see this piece from a few days ago: Europe's biggest paper ran a bogus refugee 'sex mob' story. What now?

Terrifyingly, the comments (never read the comments) feature multiple occurrences of exactly the line of thought the article analyses: okay, maybe this didn't actually happen, but other things like it probably did, and it would totally have been Muslim immigrants who did them.

From the article:

If the lie sticks, that’s great. If it does not stick, that’s no loss. The point was always to add another rhetorical layer of doubt and suspicion to the sediment of our national bigotry. There was no Bowling Green massacre? Well, OK, but there could have been one, and it would have been a Muslim who did it. In the flexible world of bigotry, we can even condemn people for crimes committed in our minds.
Sunday, February 19th, 2017 17:14
Date clan thug life with @pinnedtogethercosplay #cosplay #katsucon #sengokubasara
Sunday, February 19th, 2017 16:21
I am notoriously terrible at talking about media I love. Observe the empty space where my review - which I've written like 3 times and never managed to finish - of Top of the Lake is supposed to be. Similarly I've consumed so much media I've LOVED recently (Hidden Figures, Chewing Gum, Crazyhead to name just a few) and yet all I have the energy for right now is to talk about what I consider to be "brain vacation" media, that's mostly terrible and not that well made, but that's fun to stare at, for me.

(On that note, I'll preface this by saying that it's difficult to make a historical drama set before the 20th century (later than that doesn't count as "historical" for me, sorry) that I won't at least glance at. Historicals are my comfort food, especially the military/adventure/politics genre (I'm a lot more wary with romance)).

I've been watching The Last Kingdom on netflix.

It seemed like an extremely generic story about England in the Middle Ages with Vikings on top, and I don't particularly care about that period, but I was like, if you manage to hold my interest by showing this history in an even remotely refreshing way..." and they did, and so I kept watching.

Anyway, the expected element I want to talk about is the female protag.

spoilers? I'm on ep 3 )

Gosh, I do love her. And the actress is great as well. Even though this show (and the books it was based on?) was clearly written by a man who doesn't understand why unplanned pregnancy is a big deal in pre-industrial times, I still really enjoy what this show does with Brida. Or at least, I have so far.
Saturday, February 18th, 2017 23:52
1. We started watching this new show called Powerless and it's so good! It's set in the DC universe but it's about regular people, in particular, the regular people working at a company that makes products for people to use in case of supervillain/superhero incidents (like an umbrella to keep rubble from falling on you). I'm surprised I hadn't seen anyone talking about it, since superhero shows are very popular, and it has some fandom favorites (Alan Tudyk and Dany Pudi), but I might have just skimmed over it because I'm not that into superhero stuff myself. But it's a sitcom, not a drama, so it turns out it's actually right up my alley.

2. Look at this silly Jasper.

Sunday, February 19th, 2017 06:14
Had fun cosplaying this smol nerd tantou tonight~ #katsucon #cosplay #toukenranbu
Sunday, February 19th, 2017 00:07
Okitagumi 4 life #katsucon #toukenranbu #cosplay
Saturday, February 18th, 2017 19:15
The Guardian: McCain attacks Trump administration and inability to 'separate truth from lies'

“The president, I think, makes statements [and] on other occasions contradicts himself. So we’ve learned to watch what the president does as opposed to what he says,” he said.

Without mentioning the president’s name, McCain lamented a shift in the US and Europe away from the “universal values” that forged the Nato alliance seven decades ago. McCain also said the alliance’s founders would be “alarmed by the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies.”

He's not, is he?

ABC News: McCain slams Trump in Munich speech without using his name

... is he?

Is this just an odd coincidence, or is McCain joining in with the un-naming? It seems exceptionally unlikely, but ...

Also, while I am quite taken with "Buttercup", I also like this thought from [tumblr.com profile] doitninetimes:

Look, I am about as petty as it gets and The Current State Of Affairs have only been pushing me toward my Worst Self. I love! a petty asshole nickname, especially for one so worthy of mockery and distain. But let’s pin this one where it belongs. He is our current Republican President, and you fucking bet I’m going to take every opportunity to bring up that little fact.

"The Current Republican President" (I've also heard suggestions of "the Republican administration"). Because until/unless they impeach him, they fucking own him.

And of course one could always split the difference and go for "Buttercup [or appellation of one's choosing, whether his legal name or not], the current Republican president". So many fun options!
Saturday, February 18th, 2017 16:36
Thanks to everyone who discussed on my last post about perfumes. Today I went to Les Senteurs and tried lots of things, and came away with a bottle of Amyris and a couple of other samples. I may need to try out Bloom and get more samples of other things to try. But I really like this one.

The lady I met was younger than me, really friendly, happy to geek out about the smells and teach me stuff, and is the grand-daughter of the founder and is a singer who's doing this to fund that, which is pretty cool.
Saturday, February 18th, 2017 12:54
And can highly recommend this to anyone as a fun and interesting way to kill some time (assuming it was sufficently Before Your Time that you didn't watch it all go down live). Even if you know the rough outline of what happened, it's still fascinating getting into the details (Chapstick microphones!).

Also, of course, it's important that we all learn how to impeach a President.

And I was reminded that if a President can be proved to have colluded in a break-in at the DNC headquarters, there is extremely specific form for impeaching them (I'd somehow not consciously made this connection before, and I don't feel it makes a terrific difference if the break-in is cyber rather than "tape over the latches" ...).

Educational and uplifting!

I'm still down the hole (and plotting a viewing of All The President's Men and re-read of contemporaneous Doonesbury, because hey, might as well go for the full mini-fest here), but here are some links for anyone who wishes to join me in partying like it's 1974:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watergate_scandal ("The Administration and its supporters accused the media of making "wild accusations," putting too much emphasis on the story, and of having a liberal bias against the Administration.")
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_for_the_Re-Election_of_the_President (Note: Buttercup has already announced his candidacy for 2020, which means he is now open for donations to fund his re-election campaign -- given his track record with charity donations, anyone want to bet on how much of that money will be used for other purposes?)

Because I am apparently not the only one feeling retro: The NYT: What Did Trump Know, and When Did He Know It? and Tom Brokaw: The Offer From Nixon I Refused

Also, can we offer a prize to the first journalist/interviewer/Twitterer who can get Buttercup to say (or Tweet) "I'm not a crook"? It's got to be possible to goad him into it. Got to.

(Or amusingly impossible: "Mr. President, are you a crook?" would probably get a ten-minute ramble about the electoral college and "fake news", interspersed with shouted orders to sit down.)
Friday, February 17th, 2017 20:33
Because although I am not one of you, I seem to know a lot of you. I mentioned the following currently-useless bit of psychiatric trivia in comments, then thought it might be worth sharing more widely.

Because sometimes it's nice to know this shit, even if it doesn't (yet) have any practical implications for how to deal with stuff.

DID YOU KNOW that there's a very well-documented correlation between joint hypermobility and anxiety (and also autonomic and "somatic" problems -- stuff like fibromyalgia, IBS, migraines, etc.)? As in, if you are hypermobile you are way more likely to have the others? Trufax:


It's to the point where one group of researchers have even proposed giving it a name, the "neuroconnective phenotype":


Researchers don't have a clue why there's this connection; it's just one of those weird but strong correlations where they know that if they figured it out, they might know a lot more about what's going on in both conditions. But (at present) they don't. Also, collagen is weird.

So if you're dealing with this cluster of stuff, it's probably not just random coincidence: there is a reason. We just have no idea what the reason is yet.

At any rate, it's yet another reminder that the brain is part of the body, and that even the stuff that's in your head isn't "all in your head".
Saturday, February 18th, 2017 01:11
1. Today was my one-week post-surgery follow-up visit and it looks like everything is healing up really well.

2. It's a long drive to see the surgeon and it was predicted to rain a ton today, but thankfully it mostly held off until we got home. No rain on the way down and while there was some heavy rain on the way home, it was off and on, and just getting started so there wasn't any huge puddles built up yet or anything yet. Once we got home it just kept pouring all afternoon and evening, though. I'm glad we didn't have to go out in it!

3. Look at this sweet Chloe face!

Friday, February 17th, 2017 15:23
I take some small solace in the fact that no matter how mad I am, there is a character in Shakespeare's oeuvre to match my mood.
Friday, February 17th, 2017 19:28
Previously unread.

Sequel! Squeal! This is the book that follows A Darker Shade of Magic, starting approximately four months after the end of the previous book. Like the previous book, there are multiple strands of narrative that braid together. And it's been out for a year and I didn't notice. Weird, how that happens.

Anyway, eminently readable. If you liked #1, you will liekly like this one. #3 should be out in a week or so ,so all is good.
Friday, February 17th, 2017 12:01
More of the same old Requires Hate bullshit (people are still giving her platforms), but the writeups this time are a bit witty: here from the lovely Zen Cho, and here from the lovely Rachel Manija Brown.
Friday, February 17th, 2017 12:47
and then failing to get round to it, and also it's where I got "Buttercup" from:

[tumblr.com profile] plaidadder: Buttercup vs. the U. S. Constitution


Conclusion: there are some grown-ups somewhere in the chain of command who have tried to put the handbrake on this constitutional-crisis train. These grown-ups don’t want another national story about Buttercup’s administration violating the law. They are therefore trying to make it look, at least, as if Buttercup is running a normal presidency that will try to promote its agenda through normal channels and challenge court decisions they don’t like IN COURT, as the Constitution demands, as opposed to just ordering people not to comply with them.

And then here’s Buttercup on Twitter:

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

Buttercup is not on message. Buttercup is not a grownup. Buttercup thinks checks and balances are ridiculous. Buttercup thinks that if he says something it should come true. Buttercup thinks that the executive is “our country” whereas the judiciary is…what, exactly? Buttercup isn’t sure, but he does know that the “so-called” judiciary has no right to tell him what to do. They’re not even his real dad.

Buttercup is spoiling for a constitutional crisis. And of these days, Buttercup is gonna get himself a big one.
Friday, February 17th, 2017 00:09
1. Tomorrow is my follow-up doctor visit, which means I finally get to take the dressings off and maybe be a little more comfortable! I am pretty excited about this. Also I will be able to take a shower for the first time in a week. I've never been so excited to wash my hair, but dry shampoo really, really is no substitute.

2. I finished translating yet another chapter of something, scanned a chapter of something else, and did some other assorted translating.

3. I read a whole lot today! So much, in fact, that I decided to raise my goal for this year from twenty books to thirty, and including all the graphic novels I read today, I'm already a third of the way to my goal! (Goodreads says I'm seven books ahead of schedule!)

4. We got McDonald's for dinner and had Shamrock Shakes. Last year for some reason the entire LA area (and I think maybe all of southern California?) did not sell Shamrock Shakes, so I'm glad they're back.

5. Molly moved and made this picture blurry, but I still like it.

Friday, February 17th, 2017 01:38

With every photograph, every paragraph, I feel like I am documenting my own demise.

The Farmer told me once he'd never seen me manic. I cackled in my head and thought, "No, no, you've never seen a descent into madness. Thank god, amen, hallelujah." But I really only nodded at him. Madness is, of course, the maker. It is the magic.

We are merely the cracked and broken vessels.
Friday, February 17th, 2017 01:28
I cut my hair tonight. Just a little.


But the whisps and waves fell like feathers, like tendrils, like vines, like whispers let loose carelessly


And I was reminded of the days when I cut off colors, leaving myself a little pile of sad on the floor. The days when I cut off the bluebird of happiness that lived in my head.


I looked at my own sticky lipstick and my own jagged bangs and my own worn freckles and my own left-over face.


And maybe it's good to clip my wings so that I don't soar away from everyone.
Thursday, February 16th, 2017 15:34
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading The Mayor of Castro Street, though aside from one chapter early this week, no progress has been made. A lot of my reading this week has been on the couch after turning off the lights, so physical books just aren't gonna cut it.

Also reading First Class Murder, the third Wells & Wong mystery, which takes place on the Orient Express (something which is much commented upon, since Agatha Christie does exist in this universe). I'm exactly a quarter of the way through and enjoying it greatly. I would probably be finished by now if I had not been reading manga and comics as well, but I have been.

Lastly, I am on issue 16 of the Rick and Morty comics. They are okay, definitely better than any other cartoon tie-in comics I have tried to read, and for the most part feel like they could be actual episode plots (though if they were, they'd definitely be among the worst episodes). I think for now I'll continue with them, but we'll see.

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished Arsenic for Tea, which puts me at four books read this year. My goal is twenty, so I'm doing great!

I also read the first fifteen issues of Rick and Morty, which I think would put me at the first three graphic novels based on the number of pages per. (I do like to add the graphic novels to LibraryThing when I think of it, just to keep track.)

Before that, I read a few issues of Invader Zim that I still had on my ipad as I hadn't yet made up my mind on whether to keep up with it or not. However, after reading them, the decision was definitely "not". In twelve issues, exactly one story was really funny, and the rest were just meh. (Now that one story had me laughing so hard I was in tears, so it was a really great story, but still, that's just not a good ratio.)

I also read quite a few volumes of manga: 7 Seeds 32 and 33, Kinou Nani Tabeta? 11 and 12, and one that was new to me, Otouto no Otto (just the first volume so far).

I highly recommend Otouto no Otto to anyone who is interested in manga focused on gay characters that is not BL or yuri. Like Kinou Nani Tabeta? it runs in a regular seinen magazine, however, the author is Tagame Gengoro, a very famous gay author, mainly known for his pornier works. Otouto no Otto is the story of Yaichi, a single father who one day opens the door to discover a strange Canadian man on his doorstep. That man, Mike, is Yaichi's estranged twin brother Ryoji's husband. Ryoji has recently passed away and Mike has come to Japan to mourn and to visit the places they never got to visit together. The story is told through Yaichi's POV and over the course of the story he gradually becomes more comfortable with the idea of his brother being gay and with gay people in general. It's clearly written for a straight audience, but I really like it.

What do you think you'll read next?
I think I'll finish up what there is of Rick and Morty, then read the next two volumes of Otouto no Otto. Not sure after that, but I'm excited about clearing some stuff off my ipad! :D
Thursday, February 16th, 2017 11:53
Been spending all my free time on DW development lately, which is always fun for as long as I can sustain it.

Will had a very enjoyable if low-key birthday. Hard to believe he's twelve. His major present was a new Windows 10 laptop, which he can use for both homework and games. The inherited Windows PC we had set up for gaming is old and rather flakey, and the old Mac laptop he was using for homework was also starting to fail. With any luck, his new computer will last him through most of high school. (oh God I'm old)

Of course we saw the LEGO Batman Movie. It wasn't as great as the LEGO Movie, but it was still pretty great. And thanks to the whims of fate and my mom, we now own 3 Pink Power Batgirl minifigures, for round-the-clock pretend patriarchy smashing.

Next week is Connor's birthday (plans for which are still up in the air) and the annual local handbell festival.
Thursday, February 16th, 2017 08:20
It is ridiculously lonely being this much of a fuck-up.

4-5 people I talk to a lot/kind of adore aren't speaking to me because they are really angry with me. 2-3 more are hovering because they're afraid I can't be left alone.

I want none of this. I want normal.
Thursday, February 16th, 2017 00:17
1. Carla made fried chicken today and it was so delicious!

2. I posted manga and translated another chapter and did some cleaning for another series, too. Plus I got a lot of reading done.

3. Look at this sweet little guy! He can jump up on the window table now, so he just loves spending the morning soaking in the sun and watching the view.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 21:29

Title: Koi-iji: Love Glutton
Original Title: こいいじ (Koiiji)
Author: Shimura Takako
Publisher: Kiss
Genre: Josei
Status in Japan: 4 volumes, ongoing
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Migeru
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: 31-year-old Mame has been in love with her childhood friend Souta ever since she can remember. Despite multiple rejections, her love has stayed constant. It's become a habit more than anything, but is it one she'll ever be able to break and get on with her life?

Chapter Summary: How Shun met his wife.

Chapter 14: Punch-Drunk Love
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 23:00
[personal profile] kore asked for yoga you can do in/on your bed, for those of us who are short on floor space.

Really, you can do almost any kind of reclining, seated or prone pose in bed (anything in my Yoga for TV-watching post would work). Anything that's listed as "restorative yoga" would probably work well. The only poses you can’t do are the ones that involve standing (unless your balance is very good and you want to challenge it with an unstable surface, and also aren’t going to hit any furniture if you fall off) or otherwise require a solid base to press off.

In some cases, doing yoga on a soft surface can be positively helpful: it’s gentler on cranky knees and wrists, for example, and the give can distribute stress across a wider area so torque doesn’t get forced into particular joints.

Bed yoga is also obviously good if you can’t face getting out of bed yet or just feel safer there.

I generally like starting yoga at a point where it’s basically “vague rolling around on the floor groaning and moving just to feel slightly less stiff and rubbish”, and then building from there as my brain and body permit.

One of the meds I’m on makes me stiff and achy in the mornings, and I am severely not a morning person, and I have a hard time starting activities at any point in the day (executive function, what’s that?). Beginning yoga like this makes the starting threshold so low it’s a lot easier to get over it: I am almost always capable of lying on the floor.

So bed yoga seems like something that could work well with that approach.

Anyway, here’s a sample of possible bed yoga for you all!

I’ve given it a vague order, based on how I tend to link things (including ideas stolen from innumerable yoga teachers over the years), and divided it up into different blocks which you can dip into, take or leave depending on how you feel.

But this is just an example to inspire people to invent the sequences that work best for them (and hopefully pass on a few more ideas to be stolen).

N.B. I am not a yoga teacher, and also this is basically a collection of "stuff I like and do that works well in/on a bed."

Bruce Lee rules apply: take what works for you, add what is uniquely your own, and discard the rest.

General yoga rules also apply: go to the point where you start to feel a stretch, and hang out there for at least a few breaths, or until it stops feeling nice/fun/useful, then move onto the next thing. Pain is bad and a reason to immediately back off. However far you do or don't get in a position -- that's where your body is today. Don't hurt yourself because you think you should be able to stretch further or do a more impressive version of a pose.

If you want progressions or modifications or alternatives for things or clarifications of baffling descriptions or "I love this pose, suggest more like that", please ask!

You will need a yoga strap/belt or something that can substitute for one, which can be a regular belt, a tie, a piece of cloth, a rolled up sweatshirt, whatever.

Note: it is really fucking hard to find online photos demonstrating yoga poses which are not of thin bendy white women under 40. I did my best, subject to limitations of time and spoons, but damn. Sorry about that.

Cut for length )
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 21:19
The Guardian: Damning reports emerge of Trump campaign's frequent talks with Russian intelligence

Which is mainly reiterating:

The New York Times: Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

Also: CNN: US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier (spoilers: none of the juicy bits -- yet -- but at least some of the dossier's claims about which Russian figures talked to which other figures when appear to be confirmed)

Buttercup, naturally, is responding with a screaming meltdown on Twitter, though he seems to be trying to divert attention to complaining about the leaking, as opposed to denying the accusations.

I find this very, very interesting:

The Observer (not the UK one): The Spy Revolt Against Trump Begins

Does anyone know how solid the author is? (Google tells me that he has historically skewed right-wing, pro-NSA, anti-Snowden, and also may have sent someone a dick pic. Which doesn't indicate whether his claims about what his current contacts in the intelligence community* are saying are likely to be reliable.) Because if he's for real, holy shit:


What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.

(I mean, it's a totally fucking reasonable assumption for them to be making, not least on the basis of Buttercup's ridiculous Android phone, which is so insecure that computer experts have advised that the only safe assumption to make is that it's already compromised. But there's been a widespread shortage of people in positions of power making what I would consider to be common-sense inferences, so.)

{*I admit I find it kind of hilarious that they're a "community" now.}
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 20:28
Reading: When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time by Michael Benton. This was recommended as part of The Primeval Writer's Bookshelf on [livejournal.com profile] primeval_denial. I'm only two chapters in so at the moment it's mostly doing a quick history of paleontology.

Listening: I listened to an episode of Doctor Who: The Writer's Room which I discovered via The Doctor Who bookclub. The idea is to look at the writing on Doctor Who. This particular episode was on Terry Nation and was focusing on his two non-Dalek stories. Although the writing was discussed it was a lot closer to a more generic episode discussion than I expected. Still, I've downloaded the next and we shall see.

Watching: We watched Persuasion last night on the grounds it was Valentine's Day. I had forgotten (or not noticed) how often this story involves two characters involved in some interaction which is causing other characters to map the outcome onto their own thoughts about their own affairs. This made the experience a little exhausting since G. kept needing all the nuances explained to her.
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 14:00
I may be active on IRC at other times this coming week, but these are the dates and times I'm fairly sure I can commit to being open to conversation.

The medium that I've chosen for scheduling office hours is a site called Sign Up Genius. It is pretty easy to use in my experience, and all of my kids' teachers use it for conferences, parties and such. You don't have to have an account on the site to sign up for time slots, which is pretty great - just give them your email address. They will send you a confirmation and a reminder, and nothing else. But if for whatever reason you have trouble claiming a time slot using that site, you can also comment here and I can take care of it for you.

I am only doing signups for a week at a time, because that's about how far in advance I can be fairly confident of my availability. Each week will start on Friday, and I'll post the signups for the following week on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Each signup slot is scheduled to run 90 minutes, but since they're non-adjacent, it's OK if we need to go longer. Anything Dreamwidth-related is fair game: we can talk about code you're writing, code you want to write but don't know how to proceed, code someone else wrote, or things that don't involve code at all (I hear such things exist). My only request is that you don't take more than two slots in a single week, to make sure there is enough of my time to go around. Of course, you're still welcome to catch me on IRC at other times if I seem to be around, and PMs are open 24/7. :)

Here's the link for my available meeting times for the seven-day period starting February 17:

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 19:48
Previously unread.

This is the 3rd collection volume of McGuire's Velveteen stories. Superheroes aplenty. And some crass corporatism. And all.

That aside, it's pretty darned good reading, so that's brilliant. All I need to do now it remember to track down more.
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 19:09
[personal profile] ironed_orchid's cat Mason has a head injury and needs surgery.

If you can spare the money, please chip in to help cover the bills.
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 01:13
1. I really got a lot of translating done today. Finished up one chapter that I'd had partially done and did another one from start to finish, plus worked a bit on a third. I wasn't sure how much I'd feel like translating during these two weeks, so I actually worried I'd get less done than usual, but I think at this rate I'm actually going to be able to get all my usual monthly stuff done as well as a lot of work done on lower priority projects.

2. Overall I'm doing really well recovery-wise.

3. Yesterday I got a pic of all three kitties together, though not as together as I would like them to be.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 09:38
Tomorrow I'm supposed to have my fifth session with my pilates coach who's also a physical therapist. Have I mentioned how expensive these sessions are? They are so ridiculously expensive.

But in less than a month, my god. MY GOD.

I can't really describe all the billion little things that are different, the tiny minute changes. But I will say: I remember this. I was like this about two years ago. I remember the habits that go with this level of disability, the pace, the outlook on life. It's so odd to be here again, to go back instead of progressively getting worse.

I'm trying not to push myself, to be careful, to not pile on too much at once. I don't know whether this progress will stop after the next sessions, or after the one a month from now. I don't know if any of this progress will keep, if without my expensive personal trainer I'll be able to maintain this level of functionality. (I mean, I'll obviously keep doing various forms of exercise she recommends, but without someone tailoring workouts for me, who knows. I've learned not to trust improvement.)

In less than a month she's already taught my body to do so many things I didn't think it was capable of anymore.

There is honestly no limit to the amount of time and energy I'm willing to invest in becoming functional again. When my back problems started, I changed my living situation, my daily routine, I incorporated an hour of exercise daily, each evening, at least 6 times a week. If I had a penny for every person who's since met me, heard about my health problems and recommended I start working out to make it better. With each of them I've wanted to go "friend, how much money do you wanna bet that I spend more time exercising than you do?"

So, after all those years of progressively getting worse instead of better, despite many trips to insurance-sponsored physical therapists, you have to understand how bizarre and suspicious this feels.

A friend recently told me over sushi "whatever happens in the future, this has changed your life now. Objectively, it has. So make the most of it, enjoy it, however long it lasts." I'm trying to, I guess. I just have to keep telling myself not to get attached to this level of functionality, because getting attached and losing it again would be... let's not even go there.


Since I've moved like 9 times in the five years, I've kept my physical possessions to a bare minimum (I don't own any furniture except for my bed, for example, and no kitchen appliances except the kettle I got as a gift recently), which has been particularly painful when it comes to books. I've learned to be very selective about which books I get in a physical format.

However, I've also learned that there's one category of books that I HAVE to have in physical format if I'm going to have them at all, because I can't read them in any other form: poetry books. I have zero regrets or uncertainties about the small number of poetry books I own (unlike most other books which I'm sometimes torn about keeping).

Which is all a way of saying: Warsan Shire's first collection of poems, Teaching My Mother to Give Birth is only 6$ on Book Depository (with shipping, to anywhere in the world!) and I have zero regrets about purchasing it.

I can't recommend Shire enough for anyone who likes modern poetry. If I were to write an Authority-style comic about poets with supernatural powers, she'd be The Spirit Of the 21st Century. She started so young, and her poetry resonated so much online and was initially rejected by publishers. In a way, more than any other modern poets I know (including spoken word poets) she reinvented the form and made poetry a Thing again for an entire generation. As evidenced by the work she's done for Beyonce's "Lemonade", I guess.

Anyway, probably her best known poem online is For Women Who Are Difficult to Love, but I think my current favorite is a different one, under the cut.

What They Did Yesterday Afternoon
by Warsan Shire

poem )
Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 19:14
We took L to Denny's to celebrate. He demanded French toast, ate maybe one bite, then said he was done and could we please go to the park so he could splash in puddles? We are mid-Chinook here after a big dump of snow, so there are puddles galore. As a Valentine's gift to [personal profile] bell, I took L on his push-bike to the park while she had a break. As her gift to me, she shared her I-run-a-daycare chocolate plunder (familiar to any grade school teacher). Now I'm exhausted & full of burger. Even though I should be peer-reviewing, I'm contemplating an early bedtime. Evidence just keeps piling up that I'm a nine-hour-a-night kind of girl, ten if I can get it, and my consistent 7.5 only scrapes me by. Yet you will probably still find me at the computer at 9 PM, refreshing meme or something really intelligent like that. Oh well, it was a beautiful day and a lovely (if wet) walk in the park, so really, things are pretty good.

L watching for trains. )
Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 09:02
Cognitive-behavioral therapy often gets pushed, to the exclusion of all other therapy modalities, for a range of mental health issues: depression, anxiety, insomnia, phobias, addiction.

I can't speak to how well it works for all of those issues, but one of the things wrong with it -- not with it, rather, but with the privileged place it's been given in the current medical model of mental health issues -- is that it's close to useless for people with a trauma history, and trauma is the underlying cause of all five issues I mentioned for many people. (I could write a separate post on why it's been given that privileged place, but I'll leave that to your imagination for now.) I am not a medical or mental health professional, just someone with a lifetime of personal experience.

[personal profile] azurelunatic's post about being prescribed a CBT workshop for insomnia is a great example. When I read it, I thought about my own sleep issues and how useless every behavioral approach -- both CBT-type approaches, and "sleep hygiene"-style approaches -- have been for it.

I have obstructive sleep apnea, so no behavioral approach can address the fact that untreated, I wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed, because I wake up many times an hour unable to breathe. But the main issue is that my body learned when I was a child that sleep was dangerous, and neither cognitive nor behavioral approaches can make my body unlearn that -- it's something I learned before I was developmentally able to use cognition or to reflect on my behavior.

As a child, I had an abusive parent who would force me to go to bed hours before I was actually ready to go to sleep, because she thought it was good for children to be on a regular sleep schedule. (Or because she wanted to control somebody and doing things to children that are generally believed to be for their own good is a socially acceptable way to do it. I don't really know.) So I learned that sleep meant lying in bed for hours, awake and intensely bored but not allowed to get up and do anything. When I got a little older I would get up and night and go into a walk-in closet in our apartment and read for as long as I could get away with it. When my mother figured out I was doing this, she unscrewed the light bulb. I learned to associate sleep, as well as going to bed early, both with an abusive parent who I knew was incapable of knowing what was good for me, and with hours of boredom and anxiety.

Therapists (and others) who apply CBT simplistically would tell me that the lasting, physical residue of these years are "cognitive distortions" that I need to reason my way out of. They would be wrong, because there's nothing distorted about mechanisms I learned in order to keep myself safe. Being awake is safer than being asleep in an environment that is dangerous for you, and for a child, there's nothing more dangerous than an environment that contains an alternately intrusive and inattentive caregiver and nobody else.

It's safe for me to relax now, and has been for the past twenty years, but because trauma changes your body in chemical and physical ways, just telling myself that won't make me go to sleep. I use chemical solutions to a chemical problem: medication. Maybe someday, I'll have had enough trauma therapy that I won't need it as often. But in the meantime, I'll be able to get enough rest and avoid some of the constant physical stress that arises from inadequate sleep.

CBT is politically attractive because it individualizes responsibility . Better to blame people's suffering on their own cognitive distortions, and teach them that they need to do work to overcome them (under capitalism, any solution that gives already-overworked people more work to do gets conferred with near-religious levels of praise), than to recognize that abuse culture harms people in long-lasting ways. If we recognized that many parenting practices widely considered to be non-abusive, or even helpful, in this culture are actually traumatic, we'd have to rethink a lot. Better to avoid confronting that by privatizing trauma and recasting it as individual pathology, ignoring the patterns in front of us.

Mental health is (I suspect) not the default state of human existence in the first place -- our brains are complicated and have too many failure modes for that. But in a society that depends on denial -- of the lasting effects of slavery (denial of the effects on white people, mostly), of the violence done by income inequality, and of the corrosiveness of toxic masculinity -- self-awareness is rebellion, and thus it's not surprising that to find therapies that foster it rather than providing a few tools to be economically productive while hurting inside, we often have to look outside the mainstream.
Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 15:50
Self-promoting, but this discussion may be of interest to other people too -- we are nerding out in comments about how to learn yoga inversions if you have shitty proprioception and panic when you go upside down, which is an excellent topic and highly relevant to my interests! Join us!