Holidays

Dec. 27th, 2015 04:48 pm
vintagewitch: (Gilmore Car)
This was a very odd Christmas.

Went up to see Grandma. She has a really bad cold at the moment, and was up coughing most of Christmas Eve. She is much more frail than the last time I saw her.

I'm mentally bracing myself for her funeral. She's 93, mostly blind, mostly deaf, and since she broke her arm, hasn't been able to do much of anything. I think her activities around the house are largely to thank for keeping her alive and happy, and this time she just seemed ... a little defeated. Frail is the really the best word. 

So it's important that I make time to call and see her. 

There wasn't much for around-the-dinner table debate, except for when my uncle came out for lunch. He and dad got into it over taxes. Of course, these are things that I know about, but it was much more about them duking it out than about learning. So I zipped my lip and didn't really participate, which I think was probably the best move.

Had a weird health thing happen last night. Had a friend over to make pierogies, and right after we made some to eat and were to continue with the second half of pierogi forming, I had to go to the bathroom and throw up a bunch. He actually stayed and finished making the pierogies (we figured it happened waaaaay too soon to be food poisoning from the pierogies), and left.

I woke up this morning feeling tired, but not bad. So that was odd. It's almost like there was dehydration or some vitamin weirdness going on. 

So that's weird. Today I've just been cleaning and prepping the remaining pierogies to be frozen. They'll make for nice, quick, tasty food when I'm too busy to cook. 

This evening, I'm going to take it easy, maybe continue cleaning a bit, and get ready to head out for Christmas/gift exchange with my folks. I'm taking Wednesday with me in case we get snowed in. 
vintagewitch: (Default)
 Went to see my grandma today. She is such a sweet woman, and really quite remarkable. Cut: Medical details )
There was a steady stream of visitors all day - five people other than my mom and I came and went while I was there. I got a good hour alone with her, which very rarely happens and is nice.

I hope I can go up and see her again soon - she does so well most of the time that it's easy to forget just how old she is, and how limited our remaining time together could be. I hope she's able to gain full movement in her arm - she still cooks everything from scratch, bakes all her own bread (and the bread for many others), reads, crochets, and plays cards. She's really worried about what it could mean for her if she can't gain mobility back.

My gratitude list is pretty closely related for today:

1. I am so so so grateful that my grandmother has good medical care, and an extensive network of family and friends that can help support her. 

2. I am also grateful that I live within a couple hours' drive of her, so that I could actually go see her.

3. I am grateful for my mother. She is an incredibly caring woman, and watching her help my grandma gives me new appreciation for just how loving and wonderful she is.

My pride list is mostly related to school:

1. I am proud of myself for managing my anxiety this week. Holy wow it's been stressful, but I somehow managed to be present for family and get my things done and sorted and move along for grad school.

2. I am proud of how I finished up my first week of grad school. It was hard at the start, but I'm feeling much more confident now after speaking with my academic adviser. 

3. Milestones. Just gonna recognize how much work it's taken to get here.
vintagewitch: (UP Coast Perhaps)
 I've been meaning to write a sort-of retrospective on the year since my birthday, and haven't gotten around to it because summer is Crazy. (I'm 27, y'all, when did that happen?!)

I spent all last weekend at or traveling to the Remember the Kalamazoo event. Five years ago in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, the largest inland oil spill in US History happened, and because it was tar sands oil it sank to the bottom of the river, where it still sits. In order to get it out of the river, they need to dredge it, and even that isn't working.

So it was a weekend of sitting with allies in Michigan as they remember what was once here, fight to stop the pipelines and to stop this from happening again, and looking forward to a future. We also took a toxic tour of the BP-Whiting refinery on our way home, led by the only activist in the small company town. It was horrific - to see what refinery communities have to deal with, have to live with. I stepped off the bus and could barely breathe because of the particulate matter in the air. There's an oil spill that's been sitting there for basically five years, with no real clean-up efforts because it's on industrial land. 

The whole experience was chilling. Some might even say Orwellian.

But that all deserves its own post!

There's an all-day climate change solutions visioning workshop today that I RSVPd for when I got back from Kalamazoo, but now that I've gone through a week of intense stress about grad school logistics, I'm feeling like I really just need to have a quiet morning with my coffee, my computer, my notebooks, and my plans. I feel more like reflecting, and then getting a ton of job applications done, some of my commissioned research, and maybe even writing.

Great Things About This Last Year:
  • Took a couple of great vacations with Matt - to the UP, and again to Lutsen Lodge
  • Applied to and got in to grad school
  • Deepened some friendships, let go of one particularly toxic friendship
  • Quit the horrible, soul-sucking job back in January
  • Was extremely productive with my writing - I am >thisclose< to finishing my first novel!
  • Got much more involved in environmental activism again - finding my place in the movement, after I was forced out by my previous job
  • Committed in a new way to my spiritual practice, with rituals almost every month. It feels like I'm really taking charge of life through spirituality.
  • Got commissioned to work on a huge march, which was really gratifying - yes, I have worth and am offering something to the movement.
  • Found out about Dreamwidth! This has been fantastic - and has also kicked my butt to journal a whole lot more.
  • I've seen some GREAT music live this year.
  • Women's weekend was fantastic - spending time with family was definitely a priority last year.
  • Figuring out that I need to cut dairy out of my life, and committing to being a healthier person physically, mentally, and emotionally. This has become more of a constant in my life, and I'm so thankful for that.
Challenges From This Last Year (OR: Why I'm a Much Stronger Person Now):
  • The parts of this year when I was working at Horrible Job were horrible. Dealing with constant ageist microaggressions, trying to change my boss' racist ways, feeling completely controlled and helpless, trying to work toward justice with people I was organizing with but being undermined by my boss and my organization's goals ... all bad news that meant almost daily anxiety attacks. That was hard, y'all.
  • It was really, really hard to break up with my old friend, but it had to be done. I'm still feeling really emotional about this in some ways, but it's getting easier.
  • This year, Matt and I went through a streak of being either apart or having tension in our relationship for 5 months. I think we've rounded the bend, have had some deep and open conversation, and things feel like they're finally coming back to a normal place.
  • MONEY. I had saved enough to cover a couple of months before I quit the job, but finding money and making ends meet has been a near-constant problem.
  • Depression has reared its ugly head, but I continue to work through it.
Looking FORWARD: The Year To Come
  • HOLY SHIT Y'ALL I START GRAD SCHOOL IN A MONTH.
  • Trying to find a balance with grad school and my volunteer work - which, while stressful, really gives me a sense of purpose.
  • Unforeseen opportunities: internships, research assistantships, meeting new people, building my network, all those great things
  • Finishing my novel! And starting the editing process.
  • Continuing my spiritual practice. I'm particularly excited to start in on the Alternative Tarot Course by Beth Maiden.
  • Matt and I are going to try to fit in some awesome backpacking trips! We're probably going to do an overnight this coming week, and will be doing a section of the Superior Hiking Trail. More camping and nature in general!
  • More live music, travel, festivals, play with friends, good times yay!
  • More writing - I want to write more about things like climate change, spirituality, feminism, anti-oppression work, my experiences as a queer woman, etc. Not only that, but I want to write more short stories - I'm not ready to dive into another novel, but I want to keep my chops up
Whew! What a year it's been, what a year it will be! I'm so excited for the things that I don't know about, and I'm so grateful for all the experiences of the last year. I'm a much stronger person now than I was before, and I look forward to this next year.

Thank you, everyone who's had a part in this, and to the Dreamwidth community! You're wonderful, and supportive, and this site has been a truly fantastic discovery.

Peace and love and kindness to all of you!
vintagewitch: (log lady)
I've been really down lately. This weekend was pretty restorative, and my week is starting out nice and gentle. 

Here are some things I'm excited about:

1. Saw my friend April this weekend - we've been friends for a long time now, and it's been a while since we got to hang out. We did our nails, we watched Twin Peaks, and we talked. A lot. It was great.

2. Went to a ballgame with my family and some family friends. This was fun - a little strange, since sports were never really a thing I grew up with, but whatever.

3. Saw my friend Mel yesterday. We got brunch, and watched several episodes of American Horror Story: Coven. 

4. My new tarot deck is pretty amazing. The images are surreal, and bright, originally from oil paintings. Here's a link so you can check out this amazing artwork.
On Friday night, I went for a bike ride down to a somewhat secluded park by the Mississippi and did my first reading with it. It was a sort of "get-to-know-you" reading, and I think this deck is exactly what I need in that practice right now. 
I've started doing a one-card-pull for daily readings, and that's been really on point so far. Today's draw was the Ten of Fire, which represents attention and success on an all-consuming project, but it seems to come from a place of strength, rather than negative obsession.

5. Finished reading "Neverwhere" last night. Absolutely lovely.

6. Have been pretty successful at keeping my habitat un-fucked. Considering how busy I am these days, that's a MAJOR accomplishment. Dishes are not piling up, and I'm about to get at cleaning the bathroom.

7. Bought tickets so Matt and I can go to a festival curated by one of my (our?) favorite artists in September. 

8. Have somehow managed to keep in contact with him, even though his schedule is super weird and he's on the road. It sounds like he might be home around June 28th? Which is earlier than I thought.

9. Rewatching "Twin Peaks." The world of Twin Peaks is really inspiring - I might need to do some writing prompts or something. Also toying with the idea of writing Twin Peaks fic. Fanfic is something I haven't contemplated in a LONG time, but there you go.

10. Haven't spent much time online this weekend - nice break.

I should get off to some of my cleaning before I have to go in to work. I'm being pretty strict about not putting in overtime (they've basically said they can't pay me for overtime), so I've got to be really effective and on while I'm at work. That's not a bad thing, and I'm kind of proud of the boundaries I've set and kept with this job. It's so easy when working for the cause to end up working round the clock just because you care so much - but that's not good for the organizers, because you burn out quickly and you end up devaluing your work. So yes: Boundaries are good.

Off with me! To the bathroom with scrubbing brushes!

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