juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
There have been a number of interim posts since my last post that have not been written outside my head, because I am a perpetual bundle of busy and tired, consistently overstretching my limited capabilities to do politics and be scared about the state of the world.

One post: I did skip Thanksgiving, and my parents didn't come up after because inertia is a thing. But Dee went up to Washington for the holiday and Devon did drive up to see me for the day, just for a few hours. We made in-no-ways-traditional vegetarian hot dogs and mac & cheese (with hot dogs in it); it wasn't enough, but it was significantly better than nothing and I'm grateful.

Another post: practicing by doing the easy political phone calls on answering machines does (barely) make it easier to call real alive people. Somehow, that doesn't make it any less terrifying to forget about time zones and call places which are still open and unexpectedly staffed by alive people.

Another post: I have managed to leave the house, once or thrice. Snow helped (as sidenote: cats staring at snowland), because I missed the end of autumn and refuse to miss winter, too. We had snow + freezing rain, but then snow that stuck around, approximately pristine, for a few days. The latter was lovely.

* * *

Today my parents came through Portland and had lunch with me; they're headed northbound to spend the holidays traveling, including a trip to see my sister in Seattle. It was exhausting but in productive ways, almost entirely my fault—because over coffee I nonchalantly asked why I had which aspects of Jewish upbringing and how my extended family/various cultural aspects affected it, as one does.

I have, for obvious reasons, but especially as Hanukkah approaches, been thinking a lot about what it means to be Jewish and particularly to be Jewish in the face of forced assimilation and, you know, facism (how are these are sentences I'm writing and why is this the real world and can it stop), and also of the narrative of "Hanukkah isn't our most important holiday, and its cultural importance is actually a symptom of forced assimilation, but this year it certainly has extra thematic relevance"—because I was raised with Hanukkah and Passover and not much else, although my parents say there was an occasional Rosh Hashanah, which I think I remember; for me, there was no "more important holiday." It seems like some of that was because of how things lined up with Christmas/Easter and thus with school schedules, but it's also because that's what my father grew up with; his experience was inconsistent (Sabbat sometimes, but not always; Hebrew school and a bar mitzvah for him but not his brother; Hanukkah/Passover/Rosh Hashanah was all he celebrated, too) which has passed through the generations (Allie and I never had any formal religious education; our cousin did).

I grew up on the opposite side of the country from my Jewish grandparents, who always wished they could see us more often, who tried to cram a lot of Jewish Things into the whatever contact they had; they sent me Jewish novels and celebrated holidays with us less, I think, because those specific things were important—they weren't religious, their own practice was inconsistent—but because the identity was important.

White-passing half-Jewish cultural Jew is approximately as distant from the thing as one can be, and I understand the factors, the time, the literal distance, the way that assimilation works and why I have the background that I do. But I also have that identity, and its ... cultural expectation, I suppose, of persecution and persistence. My ancestors came from Russia, and immigrated before the Holocaust; that was not their personal story but it was their cultural story, and they taught me that, too.

I suppose I wanted an easy answer, an, "ah yes, your grandparents always wanted to practice these aspects of the faith with you, and you can now cling to them at least for their cultural significance even if you don't believe." But I didn't get that, I didn't get a "more important holiday" that can enable to me a real Jew. And I don't know where that leaves me, except that this diaspora experience is as real for me as it has been for my father and for his parents, and they are real Jews, so, maybe, I am too.

We also talked about how, for me, politics et al. isn't something to be countered by optimism or hope; that I live within communities where everyone will not (and has not) survived difficult times, and that but for the grace of Devon and August and my parent's financial support that could include me; and I think it's the first time I've ever mentioned suicidal ideation to my parents. My sister's cancer changed things for my family; we've learned to proactively accept and value of each other as we are, and the way that's effected how my parents view me—that they take me at my word when I talk about my experiences and health—as been huge. These are not things I would have felt comfortable sharing, years ago. I'm glad I can now, and the conversation wasn't all politics and Judaism and fascism, I also told them about Dare's antics and Dad showed me this video of him falling off his bike on the way to work. It was a worthwhile afternoon. But I am now very tired, and nothing really feels better.

I'm headed down to Corvallis soon, but we put it off a day and Devon is coming to get me, at some crazy early/late hour when we can skip holiday traffic, so that I can still see him and get my gifts without trying to navigate Amtrak/exhaustion/crazy.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
The very great catch-up post.

March, 7: Saw the Twilight Sad in concert
at the Doug Fir. Most of the bands I see with Dee are ones I don't much listen to or only listen to live; I have never yet been disappointed by a performance. This is in part because Dee has great taste, and in part because live music is its own energy and sound—and this show was a great example. The energy flow between musicians and audience was joyful and near palpable; the band was so obviously happy to be there, with us, and I felt somewhat responsible for that—a phenomenal experience.

March 8: Made trip to Corvallis
A brief one, as it was right before finals week for Devon. The very first thing that happened as I walked in the door: Devon's mom asked, "oh, how is Mamakitty doing?" and Devon went "WELP it seems I forgot to tell you something." A weird trip, not entirely in a bad way; I missed seeing my sister but did see my parents.

Family Stuff under the cut. )

March 13: Traveled back to Portland, got sick
Started with a tolerable cough; remained a tolerable cough until directly after:

March 21: Saw The Decemberists in concert
I can't remember how many times I've seen them, now. Many! At least four, if you count Meloy's solo show. I occasionally listen to them, but not often; Meloy's twang sounds raw on record. But I adore them live, and this concert was no exception. It was in the Keller Auditorium, which is quite stately, but they still got everyone on their feet. Their concerts are performance art, despite the minimal performance (whale excepted): presence, energy, vivid dark humor, self-awareness, an appetite for the absurd, a proactive engagement with content and audience.

Then was really sick
Polite of it to wait until I had free time to be miserable. Complaining about a cold feels trite, because no one enjoys them. But post-Mama, still unsure how I've recovered; post-travel, which is exhausting even if positive; post-two big, beautiful, but energetic concerts: I'm already bereft of energy and cluttered with unexamined feelings, and being ill and nigh unable to sleep didn't help.

My saving grace is that I've been consuming a lot of engaging, enjoyable media—and while I don't have the energy to spend time in my own life, escaping into another is welcome. The problem is that I should be reviewing, or at least making note of, all I've consumed, but I feel disorganized and feeble, and can't set my thoughts to order. So, I thought, writing some of that down may help, and I wrote.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
This is my life:

Yesterday was my birthday! Devon and I went to have dinner with my parents; we went to Laughing Planet, which I discovered last time I was in Corvallis and fell a bit in love with. I had the cheese and pico quesadilla that I always get, and it was a fantastic meal: enjoyable but low-key. As much as I think my parents wish I did something with my life (which is a valid desire), they're still pleasantly surprised just to see how much I've improved in recent years—I think they're relieved to see that I'm more vivacious and simply happy, and dinner had that vibe to it: it was a relaxed pleasure which I couldn't've managed some years back.

As if to prove a point, I noticed in the middle of a completely different discussion that the restaurant was playing Florence + the Machine, and so I broke into a lengthy recounting of this experience, explaining (mostly to my mother, who's more emotional and emotionally-receptive than my father—that's not a condemnation: he's a happy well-rounded person and so, frankly, doesn't "get it," for which I envy him more than anything else) how it came down to the fact that I needed that concert to be beautiful, and it wasn't beautiful in the back, and I couldn't tolerate that—because F+tM is about living life with foolishly and joyfully, not in halved in experiences; not because you have no fear or regret, but because you swear to yourself to throw them off.

The song they were playing? The Dog Days are Over. Then after that, I shit you not, they played Shake It Out, which at the concert was the song that told me about throwing that devil off, and has become my secondary theme song.

The bakery we went to afterwards didn't have the dessert I wanted, because F+tM and no chocolate deliciousness apparently now go together, but who the hell cares. In my life, a restaurant plays Florence for me on my birthday and reminds me of everything I should never forget, bless.

The weather's broken somewhat, down to reasonable warm-because-summer, not hot-like-burning levels; it's the sort of weather that almost lets you glimpse autumn on the horizon, and that's a gift in itself. Devon's gift is still in the air, or may be a number of various long-needed necessities. (After seeing my parents last evening, we did a late Fred Meyer run and came away with three nail polish shades I've wanted for a while—no necessity by far, but yaaaay.) My father gave me spending money (BPAL Halloweenies in my future, perhaps?), including credit at The Book Bin which I will go spend today; my mother gave me, with assurances that in a few months it would be lovely instead of torturous, a black knitted cowl which doubles around the neck and is squishy and warm—and I actually had the chance to wear it already, when Devon and I went to an early morning breakfast today while the air was cold and fog was still on the fields, oh bless. Later today when we finally get moving we have many shopping trips planned, to the bookstore and elsewhere.

So. That's all I could ask for: love from friends and family, time with the boy, good food, things I want, and Florence.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
For all of that (that: having nearly $700 in electronics stolen on the train), I had a remarkably nice time when I was in Corvallis. The trip had a rocky start, of course, but I stayed two extra days to make up for it, and it was ... well, a week of being aware of the concessions others make for me and of the support structure I have.

Devon bought me a 3DS, as a late anniversary and prompt Valentine's gift (we usually celebrate them together, as they fall only two weeks apart) and to replace the DSiXL that was stolen. It's something he would have given me eventually, because he admires the tech and there will be games for it that I'll want (Animal Crossing 3DS, I'm looking at you), so it wasn't a gigantic gesture—just a large one, and it did the trick: a shiny new toy and distraction (he got Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, too, which we'd been planning to pick up while I was in town) just when I needed it most, and the reminder that, despite my emotional attachment, these are still material goods and they can be upgraded and replaced, and perhaps more than anything else a sign that it wasn't the end of the world: he forgives me, and look a pressie, and everything will be all right.

I visited my parents on Wednesday (the 15th) in part so that Papa and I could start the process of switching my insurance. For those who remember that saga, Regence accepted my application; I don't know where the other applications stand, I don't think any of us care because this is an opportunity to finally put the issue to bed. Because I'm a legal adult, I had to be present for the phone call to the insurance agency—which amounted to stating my name, spelling my surname because have you seen it, and giving verbal permission for the agent to discuss my private information with my father. And that was it. Through this entire process, Papa has gone out of his way to make things as easy as possible—and, for a change, the system cooperated. It was the best it could have been, and I consider that a minor miracle and a blessing.

The 3DS tracks steps and playtime, and charts them on a pair of graphs. I had forgotten the addicting nature of pedometers and statistics: for someone like me who's always compelled to add one more to the collection (Pokémon, pictures, pennies), it's a thing of glory. I have near-zero interest in the in-system rewards—play tokens for onboard minigames, and the ability to share Miis with strangers on the street (that feature would delight me were Miis less ugly)—but so help me, I carry my 3DS in my pocket now and I have sudden urges to go on walks and I check my graphs a dozen times a day.

Accordingly, we kept going out and about. Part of that is that while in Corvallis, I spend most of my time trapped in a single room—there are people coming and going, and the rest of the house is a mess; hiding in the room protects me, but even as introverted as I am it's stifling, especially as I've grown used to freedom of movement here in Portland, where I can leave my room with little fuss. But part of that was the rare desire to see and do and go—and add steps to my graph, of course. We browsed video games. We went to coffee twice, and I'm changing my usual Starbucks order to a double tall soy mocha (no whip), which balances out the sugar of the chocolate syrup and delights the long order-loving hipster in me.

And I came back to Portland with a similar sense of restlessness-cum-energy. I'm making tentative pledges to try to get out of the house by myself at least once a week—which now that I've said aloud will certainly fail—because I am happier when I do. The Portland house is slightly more spoon-consuming day to day—in a contest between hiding in the room far away from the noisy strangers and interacting with a wonderful person every day, the latter is slightly more taxing but greatly preferable; still, it means that I have a little less energy and drive to get and out and do things on my own. That just means I'll have to try harder to do so, and maybe do something crazy like take Dee up on her offer to drop me off and Starbucks so the whole process gets a bit easier.

It's weird, but life is pretty good. I feel like Devon and I are on an upward trend—we've gotten better at this semi-most-long distance thing, and I'm continuing to resolve the many issues that developed when I had my mental breakdown lo these years ago, and more important than that even when things are not all well, when I feel like in a small and petty way the world is sort of ending, he is there. My father for many years could not understand what concessions I needed and why in order to survive in the adult world—not because he didn't try but because he didn't understand; now, he is considerate and supportive, and while he shouldn't have to go out of the way to shoulder burdens it floors me that he will. That doesn't make things easy, but renders doable what otherwise would not be, and sometimes things actually work out. I live with a friend and don't feel the need to retreat to my room and never come out, and she's willing to pick me up at train stations and feed me, and I have a cat and a city, and I have real world interactions and friendships. My id says: What are you people doing, you must be crazy, I am horrible and you should not care about my welfare or, goodness knows, do what you can to protect it. But my superego has occasional moments of clarity, when I see further and without the constant veil of pessimism, and realize that I have a support structure, and great loves, and that I'm happy.

Even when someone steals my things. I am vengeful and angry, but I'm getting over the sadness, because so help me there isn't always too much to be sad about.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
My father has tried to make the attempt to get me health insurance as easy for me as possible, handing as much of it as a third party can and then finding me a professional to help with the rest, and I'm beyond grateful for it—because not only is it wonderful in its own right, it shows a knowledge and tolerance for my inability to handle ... well, you know, basic adult responsibility. That's not something he's had, at least not so explicitly, until recently—and while it's not something he should need to have, it means a lot to me that he does.

But neither he nor the professional helping us can do everything, and the little bit that still falls to me has me tied up in knots inside. I need to contact my old doctor to try to request info they probably don't have* in order to give one insurance company information they don't actually need**, and it's been weeks now and I just ... can't do it. It means making a phone call, to talk about my health, with an old doctor because I haven't seen a doctor in years, because being a grown up and doing grown up things is literally beyond my abilities—and once that's done I have to do more paperwork, and send it in, and then wait to hear what else I need to do before this business is finished—meanwhile both of the other people involved with this keep sending me emails checking in and asking for updates. It's like a checklist of things of things that make me anxious, and would you look at all those tick marks. Instead of being grateful about the enormous kindness my father is showing me, I'm failing to do the few tiny things I do to repay him and I have no excuse for it other than lalala I can't hear you.

It came at a bad time, at the end of a busy month when all I wanted was just to sleep for a week and do nothing social for two more. I don't even know. When I write it, it sound small and I sound irresponsible, but there we go. This is the sort of thing that keeps me up nights.

I mean literally. I'm trying to right my sleep schedule after spending a few days in reverse: sleeping at dawn, waking an hour before dusk. I sleep better during the day (read more) and like shit at night (read more) and for those reasons among others I do this sometime, wander around the clock. I'm lucky that I can, no responsibilities or schedules, but it's not a good thing, no matter how peaceful it is to sleep in sunlight. It means that I'm worn so thin, that the anxiety is worse than usual and sleep is even more inaccessible, and that I have to go into full isolation- and indulgence-mode to get by.

So I stayed up a day and a half and took a nap and stayed up some more, eking out half hours of waking daytime, half-lucid and very tired—and then as soon as nighttime proper rolled around and it was okay to sleep I didn't want to. And here it is at 3a the next day and I'm doing the same. It's not even a present sort of anxiety—I've been procrastinating this so long that I honestly am forgetting to call instead of thinking about it all the time and trying to make as though it's slipped my mind. It's a background thrum, a general depression, a desire to be not here and not me for as long as possible—but not via sleep, now now, not while it's not safe to sleep.

Every time I write a post like this, I end by saying: I have no big conclusions. It sounds pathetic when put in words. I'm writing for my own records. And each time I find myself in this cycle I feel betrayed anew: by my body, for creating the problems that need doctor's signatures; by my brain, for finding every reason—the problems, the signatures—to be upset about it.

My sister comes back from studying abroad in Italy on Saturday. My parents are picking me up, then her, and we'll go out to dinner and then take her home. We'll decorate the tree while I'm in town, and Hanukkah begins on Tuesday. My father's birthday is on the 21st. There are many reasons why I need to be rested up and sleeping nights; reasons why I want to be happy. Instead, I'm still not sleeping.

* I have minor scoliosis and major lordosis. Scoliosis is frequently diagnosed and, when diagnosed, measured in degrees of curvature. Lordosis is a rarer diagnosis, has more complex points of curvature, and as such is rarely diagnosed with a degree of curvature. ** One insurance agency wants the degree of curvature for my back, by which they assume scoliosis, which is basically asking the wrong question: that number alone doesn't warrant a diagnosis; it's that it aggravates a more severe back problem that makes it an issue. In other words: fuck you.
juushika: A black and white photo of an ink pen. (Writing)
I have a kitty again! She has already pinned me down for two cuddle sessions, and followed it up with a O.O LET US CHASE ONE ANOTHER AROUND THE HOUSE session. Now she's sacked out on my best pillow. I love her. Which is to say: I am back in Portland! My time in Corvallis was crazy busy—so busy that I decided to stay an extra day, that I would have time to simply relax and see my boyfriend.

Devon picked me up late on Friday, and then we drove to the Portland airport to pick up his friend Nathan, coming into town after a two-week vacation. Nathan may be my favorite of boy's friends—not that we're particularly close, but he's an all-'round good guy and I respect him. Great trip back as a result, but we got home late.

On Saturday I went into town with my father as planned. We hit the farmer's market with Jamie in tow, and it never fails to delight me to see how others interact with her: kids that actually ask to pet her! parents that ask if she's purebred, because they've never known a lab to be so soft. But I can feel it, these days, that Jamie is growing older. I see her less often; the changes are more obvious when I do. Her chin is white, she's both skinnier and flabbier without the allover sleekness of youth, she grumbles more. She's hardly dying but it's still a bitter thing. Old age was hard on Cokie, our last lab, and I feel death all around me these days (without dwelling, it was miserable to be in town and not have Madison there)—and I know that's an exaggeration, what with August in my life, but the impression remains and weighs on me.

Then we ran the dog and food home and returned for the Fall Festival. The theme this year was crows—not literally in any sense, but once I noticed them I never stopped. Last year we bought One for You from Barton DeGraaf; Murder of Crows was new this year, but we managed to walk away without a copy. I fell in love with Cameron Kaseberg's work; this is some of why, but the piece I want most to share with you isn't online. Papa was in search of three-dimensional outdoor art to decorate the back deck—an ongoing project that is finally nearing completion—and the best of what he picked up was a pecking crow from Cote Fine Sculpture (ours holds a red bead in its mouth). The artist's other work tend towards Wonderland-esque surreality; the crows meanwhile are surprisingly lifelike, with a fantastic feather texture. Unfortunately, we were at the Fall Festival through the hottest part of a sunny day, and I got my first sunburn of the year on the advent of autumn—of course. Eight hours of activity also wrecked havoc on my back.

On Sunday, Devon and I went over for a traditional family pancake breakfast. It was fantastically overcast and quiet, and I brought some muffins to leave with my parents. Sunday evening was a friend's birthday barbecue, which was—let us say: strange. I don't much miss my Corvallis acquaintances, but the social interaction was surprisingly pleasant for an evening, but I have no desire to do it again. It makes me want more social stimulation, and a more intellectual social circle—so the usual, I suppose, but the first reminder of its kind in some time.

On Monday, I dropped by the house around noon. I had some low-key time to talk with my mother, and it was fantastic. Our relationship has improved significantly in the last few years, and it may be conversations like those that I appreciate most: we had a tumultuous mother/daughter relationship, but we have a lot to say to one another as equals and I enjoy it. At half one, Papa and I swung by his place of work to do some paperwork, and he gave me a tour of his new job. He was working on the Halo project (video conferencing, not first person shooting) before HP sold it; now he's working with large-scale printing technology. He'd described it to me, but seeing it in person is different—in no small part (hah) because these beasts are huge. Room-sized huge. The scale is awesome; it could only have been better if I hadn't been in pain.

Between daily activity and poor sleep, and instigated by a particularly long Saturday, my back was miserable through the entire trip. Cocoa butter massages helped (and smelled fantastic, ohgod why did no one tell me), as did medication, by rights I should be resting now and will soon, but it seems largely resolved. Still: not a pleasant companion for a long weekend.

On Tuesday all we did was run an errand and go out to dinner, bless. I left for Portland early today, Wednesday. And now I have a week before I take a long train to San Francisco—but the panic about that trip has begun.

But I have a cat, and she loves me.

All in all: When I said I wanted to see my family, three days in a row was not quite what I had in mind—but a fantastic trip all told, in no small part because I discovered cocoa butter along the way. Nonetheless I am just as glad to be back. And now I can fall down, go boom.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (I should have been born a cat)
Sending an introduction to Florence + the Machine email to my father, who keeps asking "What is Florence + the Machine?" given that he keeps running into her—on my shirt on the cruise, on TV during the Oscars when we were over for dinner last night. Crying like a child (well not a child, of course: like a woman, growing) while I listen to "Dog Days Are Over" from the list of videos I've dig up videos to include. Ah, what else is new? You'd think eventually this would wear off, this unavoidable swell of emotion but ah—not yet. Despite myself I'm not really complaining, but it did make it ... well, difficult really, to include that track in my email. It felt almost too personal, almost too raw.

Have yet to reach sniffling, but I'm miles deep into the land of shivering and aching. I'm probably running a fever, but I don't know for sure. I much prefer this to mucus: I have a lot of experience dealing with pain, especially muscle aches and general stiffness. With pain, I have high tolerances and many ways to cope. Mucus: less so. But I tell you, today of all days? Today, the one day in my menstrual cycle where I get cramps? When my cramps always show up not in my stomach but my lower back? Fuck you too, body; fuck you.

At least my chocolate is dairy-free and therefore safe, because I need it today.

Ironically, I look lovely today. My hair is gorgeous and my pain-drained (even) pale(r) skin tone is quite flattering against it, and despite the discomfort of today I slept well last night and my eyes are clear. I tend not to think I'm beautiful, in part because few people, especially women, in this culture ever do, in part because I don't fit my own aesthetic taste. But I am sufficiently divorced from my appearance, for better or worse, that sometimes I see my reflection and know, objectively, that I look pretty good. Today has been like that all day long. I guess ... uh, I'll just have to come down with colds more often?

I am Posty McPosterton today, I know. Tumblr has been teaching me to think it little blurbs as well as overlong essays, which is an improvement I suppose—but it does mean you all have to suffer my list of A Billion Things To Say.
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
I'll just put The Crow on the background while I go about my business and entertain myself this evening...

Or I could watch the whole thing through with my complete attention. That works too.

But I will pause it to blather for a bit.

Autumn for me—or rather, this general time of year—is more than a season or an event. From the first rains (which usually come when it's still rightly summer) through the dark dead of winter marks a time when the world is cooler, blazing out and dying, darker, wetter, quieter—and I am more alive. I come alive under with the lowered sun, the falling rain, the colder air. As there are places which are home to me, there is this time of year: I can live elsewhere and elswhen, but it's here that I thrive.

This dying and dead time of year comes, for me, with many things: brighter colors, better clothing, more beauty and comfort in and out, but it also marks a change in my media consumption. I'm oddly sensitive and must match my media to the seasons, probably because when I consume something I do it not in bites but by gorging. I read dozens of books, I watch a movie dozens of times. If what chosen media doesn't fit my mood and the world around me, then it is distinctly out of place.

I started this year with Sleepy Hollow. Ironically when the film first came out I didn't see it—the whole thing (action-y film about classic literature? hah!) seemed vaguely daft to me. But at some point Devon and I bought it on a whim because it's Tim Burton, and when is Tim Burton ever bad? (Well, rarely, at least.) Now I watch it constantly through autumn, but it's the beginning of the film that I really come to see. The plot is interesting, the casting is delightful, but it's the setting, mood, and scenery which I love—honestly, it's the opening credits which get me each time:



Let's keep going while we're going: +6 more screenshots. )

This is not quite my autumn—the world around me is paved, for one; trees here are denser, younger, and, in the autumn, redder, and our mist is never quite Hollywood perfect. But we create media (as artists, as viewers) and media creates us: this is autumn in my mind, the tones and atmosphere, the onset, the color, the wet, the beauty. So much beauty.

I pulled out The Nightmare Before Christmas when seeing Halloween candy on shelves no longer made me rage about painfully premature advertising. I once burned out a DVD player by watching Nightmare on repeat for, approximately, a solid week. Now I have the soundtrack and revisited soundtrack to add to the rotation and so spare Devon's DVD player, but still: Nightmare is not something I take lightly. I can watch it with completely attention, or just have it as background noise; I can delight in the Halloween aspects, or the Christmas themes; I can, and do, keep it on all the time. It, for me, encapsulates the season.

But today, Devon dug out a box from the garage, one that I packed for easy access storage but then got buried: these are things I wanted nearby, but didn't need on hand—and then I didn't see them for a fair few years. This afternoon, with Devon and his dust-allergies off visiting a friend, I organized the closet to celebrate. Our media—games, movies, and CDs (remember those?) are now in polite, neat stacks. But what matters most in all of this (at the moment at least) is that, found and freshly organized, I now have my boxset for The Crow.

My best friend in England was the one that introduced me to the film. I remember her with great fondness, but that movie night (The Crow, The Matrix, and some random episodes of Buffy) is perhaps my favorite memory of us—for a variety of reasons, but this film is one of them. My father gave me James O'Barr's original comic a year or two later—he had to track it down used and at a not-insignificant cost, because it was at the time out of print, and it is one of the most wonderful gifts I've ever received. It was one of the first comics, also, to make me cry. I say all of this because my love for The Crow as both book and film (and my fondness for the sequels, even the silly Salvation) is very personal. It's a goth classic I'm sure, it's melodramatic and gritty and wonderful, and I am not the only one that's seen the film hundreds of times.

But my love for it is intense, and intensely personal, and I have been away from it for so long—and so tonight, as I go to start it up again, I watch it with my complete attention. It is a dark and rainy Devil's Night.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Evil headache demons say, "Arrrrg! Die kitten, die!" But, regretfully, they have not yet managed to kill me.

Ergo, a little bit more posting and picspam—in the hopes that both will distract me from the headache.

Visit Home
I made a visit home today, for Sunday breakfast with my family—a long-time tradition—and to see my sister in one of her few days in town before she heads cross-country for the summer. Breakfast was wonderful, pancakes with whipped cream. But seeing my sister in baseball season means sitting near the TV and reading a book; I'm the only one in the family with no interest in baseball, I'm used to it, but still. Papa and I then took Jamie (the black lab) out for a walk: the source of this headache. Social events, sun, and exercise can be pleasant but they also tap out my resources—and there was much sun.

My mother I can sometimes talk about what I "do"—learn, read, think, create. With my father, we have dual one-way communication. "I read this book and it was interesting because." "That's nice. I test rode this bike and it was interesting because." "That's nice." The responses are authentic but they're not productive, they're not a dialogue. So, instead of talking, we do. We take the dog on a walk. The silence is companionable, and the changing environment offers us a few more ideas for our one-sided but well-intentioned communication. It may sound unfulfilling, but it's not. My father and I are as different as my mother and I are the same: he thinks concretely, I think theoretically; he is content, I am discontent; he balances, I unbalance. And so he balances me, and I find peace in our interactions.

We walked downtown. It was bright, but beautiful, with enough shade that I didn't burn—the headache is the worst of it. We met a huge and handsome golden retriever, walked through a waterfall caused by a misplaced third-story balcony sprinkler, and explored a youth home's vegetable garden. Pity the sun was so bright and overhead—it was poor conditions for taking photos. Nonetheless I did get one:

Photo taken in the vegetable garden. )

My relationship with Devon's family.
I never asked to live with Devon's family—I just lived here his parents moved in, and didn't move out when they came. I love it here, and I get along well with his folks, but I also harbor doubts that they resent me for imposing myself. They have every reason to: I take up space and contribute little.

Devon's mother went to the coast for her first vacation in almost a decade—and came back with trinkets for the boys and a bracelet for me. She knocked softly on my door, so as not to wake me if I was napping; she worried I'd not like it; she was thrilled and talkative when I said it was wonderful. And it is.

Bracelet, worn
Plus one shot of the bracelet close-up. )

I'd mention the maker if I know, but I only know where it was purchased. I will admit: rigid cuff bracelets aren't my style (I have a bony little wrist, so they never lie right) and with seams all along the inner edge the quality isn't spectacular. But as an unexpected and thoughtful gift from a mother-not-in-law? It is fantastic. Coppers and browns delight me, and the woven silver strands are unusual and quite beautiful. I was touched, and shall wear it. Perhaps I shouldn't need reassurance that I'm welcome and wanted, but I am thankful for it when it comes—especially unprompted, especially small, when it feels most sincere.

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July 2017

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