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!

Reunions

Jul. 7th, 2015 07:37 am
vintagewitch: (coffee and cream)
 Matt's home! He's finally here!

I picked him up at 1:30 in the morning on Saturday, and we stayed up until 4. I had, of course, planned ahead, and taken naps earlier in the evening. But it was this ... instant connection, like we'd never been apart. Then, on Saturday, we spent most of the day lazing around. I got some writing done, he caught up on the Internet (after not having it most of his time away), we went for a hike, went to a barbeque. I love even just lazing around with him - it feels like I've been on vacation.

I was starting to get really worried toward the end of our time apart - nervous that things had changed somehow, or that he was getting fed up with me, or that there was something wrong in our relationship. No, it just turns out that 8 weeks apart is a really long time, especially when your partner doesn't particularly like opening up on the phone.

I'm relieved, and happy to have him back. 

The last couple of days, we've had terrible air quality because of the wildfires in Canada. I think today it's finally starting to clear up. I'm still facebook friends with a professor from college (anthropologist that studies China primarily) who said that our air quality was actually WORSE than Beijing's yesterday. 

That's ... wow.

Writing has been going spectacularly well. I'm actually ahead of my Camp NaNo goals, and the words just keep coming. I've got a trip planned for later in July, so it would be nice to be at least three days ahead before that. Unless, of course, I finish the novel before I hit 30,000 new words - which is looking more and more like a possibility.

Though I have to say, in order to write this much this quickly I'm really swallowing my fear of the editing process. I hit 300 manuscript pages - and immediately after the celebrations, I thought "oh fuuuuuck now I'm gonna have to rewrite over 300 pages".  I am excited to tackle that process, but also ... wow. I've never had to edit anything on this scale before.

Fanfic is interesting - I've been thinking about that a lot. When I was writing fanfic, I definitely didn't plan it out as much as I've planned out this novel, but I meticulously edited it as I go. It was all about getting each chapter up to speed. I suppose, if I had a strict plot outline, I could write this that way too. But I don't trust my original fiction - I'm assuming that everything will change once it's done.

And it has changed a lot over the course of my writing this. 

I have a lot of work ahead of me.
vintagewitch: (lotus)
Putting this here because it was a pretty good read. Very much about the author's personal experience, but these are things I've been thinking about lately with Matt having been gone for so long.

What does it mean to be partners?

Bigger post later today - I've got some errands to run, some writing to do, some grad school stuff to figure out, and I should get cracking.
vintagewitch: (flapper reading)
I dropped Matt off yesterday morning. He's now gone away for 8 weeks working on a road trip movie. I miss him already.

We've spent so much lovely time together in the last couple of weeks, trying to make the most of every moment. I'm already sad that he's gone, but I know I'll have plenty with which to distract myself, especially now that I'm working on this rally project.

I went to a lovely backyard BBQ last night. I was worried about it, because there's this friend that has been very difficult who might have been there, but she wasn't there. I was feeling a little brave with the foods I ate - I've been feeling a lot better lately, so I was less careful last night about what I ate.

Well, I woke up this morning feeling Very Sick. But it was a different kind of sick, at least. I was actually really worried it was food poisoning, but it died down and I was able to roll over and go back to sleep. Must be careful today with my body.

At least I had this interesting sick dream. Read more... )

And that, my friends, is the most vivid dream I've had in a long while.

I know there were other things I wanted to write about here, but the morning is getting away from me and I have things I've got to do. I have to plan what I'm doing for food for the week, clean up the apartment a bit, and hit up the farmer's market before heading out to see [personal profile] syntaxofthings and watch anime (eeee!). There's this lovely farmer's market right by where I live, which makes healthy eating really easy during the summer. We'll see what they've got for veggies, I know it's still really early in the season.
vintagewitch: (UP Coast Perhaps)
I'm writing this from my lunch break at work. Things have been just nuts this week! Part of that might be that Matt and I went home for the weekend to see my folks, and things move at a much slower pace out there. (My parents live on this farm about 10 miles from the closest town of 400, so ... yeah. It's quiet.)

This is the last full week that Matt's in town. He's headed off to work on another movie for 7-8 weeks. With how disjointed the communication has been, he's not sure exactly when he needs to leave, which is stressful. He got an itinerary, but from word-of-mouth from other crewmembers it sounds like it's likely to change.

I've been trying to spend as much quality time with him as possible before he goes. He's been depressed lately, and so I'm trying to give him some extra love. I think it's been good for our relationship that we both struggle with mental health issues - we get it, you know? - but it is also difficult when we're both up and down.

Anyway, I want this weekend to be really fun and special and romantic but we're both broke as hell. We'll figure something out - definitely don't need money to have a good time. It's more important to both of us to be mindful/thoughtful than it is to be flashy.

Some things, in no particular order:

1. While I was home, my mom and I looked through some of her natural healing books to see what to do for my gut troubles. And we found a couple of remedies that are working (for now!). This is especially important because on Friday, the pain was so bad I had to have Matt come and walk me up to the apartment from the parking lot. So I have an appointment to see my doctor again on Wednesday, but thanks to some natural remedies it's at least been tolerable this week.

2. I got a TON of writing done on Sunday! I did some word sprints with folks on the @NaNoWordSprints twitter account, which really got words out in a short amount of time. The writing has been going well now that I have decided that the novel will be JUST in first person, and I feel like I have a better blueprint to finishing the draft.

3. I might be brought on for a short-term environmental organizing gig. It would be part time, but pay well, and I would be able to keep part time hours at the accounting firm. Had a hurried conversation this morning with one of the supervisors, and am waiting to hear from her again.

4. I started rereading "The Spiral Dance" b. Starhawk. I noticed that I have a lot of pagan/Wiccan reference books (grimoires, herbal encyclopedias, mythology compilations, etc), but not too much for theology (thealogy). It's been very comforting, and I definitely want to read more of this kind of writing. Not just instructions - but spiritual.

I really miss having a coven to practice with. It's been 8 years since I had a good group. Sometimes I feel selfish practicing solitary - I want to send my energy up to a group of people. I want to commune, to build others up, not just myself.

There are Reasons why I haven't sought out a coven where I live (a former abuser is in the community here and I would rather not cross paths), but I think I need to take baby steps into the finding a coven. There is a strong community of pagans here, I just need to find the right group to join up with.

A friend and I are going to visit a local pagan bookstore soon. I've been wanting to pick up a new tarot deck to practice with, and she's got other things to be looking for. Perhaps I can start asking questions or learn how to find people.

Anyway, lunch break is up. Back to work with me.
vintagewitch: (UP Coast Perhaps)
Today was the kind of morning where I didn't feel like a person until I had my coffee. Now, coffee in hand, I'm getting to writing this journal entry.

NaNoWriMo was a bit of a bust this year. I never did get back into the habit. But I got 25,000 new words, so that's good I suppose. I'm not really beating myself up about that at all. This was just a very busy year to do that, and grad school comes first.

The Thanksgiving weekend has been fantastic for me. Of course, Thanksgiving day is always amazing, and having an extra day out at the farm was wonderful. I played games with Matt, talked with my parents, went on a hike in the woods with dad, ate good food, and got some good peace and quiet.

I'm really excited for a time when I live in a rural area. It's in my bones - I miss the quiet, solitude, the woods ... I've wanted to for so long, and I finally have a plan for doing that - and a partner who's also interested in it. I'm making connections again in the environmental movement, and starting to edge my way into potential contracted positions. I have a limited amount of time every week that I can currently dedicate to the movement, but I'll have more time once I have my application complete and I'm waiting to hear back. And in the mean time, I need to save as much as possible.

Things with Matt have been fantastic lately. We've been doing a lot of movie nights, and yesterday we had an unexpectedly romantic day. We were both getting sick of sitting around working on things, and decided to grab some lunch out and go for a walk. It was a beautiful day, so we ended up walking all the way down West 7th looking for that good Chow Mein place I remember. It ended up being too far, so we ate out at a nice Italian restaurant. We headed back, and I worked on things for a bit, then we watched The Maltese Falcon.

Laughing, happy, fun. It's been like that constantly in our relationship. Pretty much since the decision that I would only apply for the U of MN, and our conversations at Lutsen about moving North together, it's been good. It's been better than good - it's been a dream.

This has been a very strange week. I'm not sure how I feel about going back to work tomorrowRead more... )

No one who's reading this will recognize the userpics that I'll start using, but it's pretty fabulous. My dad got my old (very first, giant 17" Toshiba) laptop working, and asked me to pull any files I might want. Well, let me tell you - it was definitely a trip down memory lane! I found all my old LJ userpics - so of course THOSE will now be a part of the rotation here.

Seriously, they bring back so many memories. I'm glad that even if I can't access my old journal entries, I can still see the images that accompanied them.
vintagewitch: (crystals)
Wow, it's been a super busy week! This week has been full of unexpected excitement and general goodness (with one really awful Monday, but ... I'll take what I can get).

I don't have too much time to update right now - I've gotta get ready for work, then head down to city hall. But I did want to break the silence of this week, because I haven't had any time or brain space to update, and I'm sorry for that.

But I have been thinking about some things pretty critically this week, and I started some entries. They're ... not exactly journal entries, but more just thoughts that don't really fall into any category of writing. Like, thinking about social media, and my interaction with it. I've also been struggling with a lot of issues of racism and privilege this week. Specifically, there's been some ridiculous stuff going on at work and I so desperately want to do something about it, but I just can't right now.

In real life news:

1. I officially did not get the job in Duluth. Not too upset, because it would have meant a HUGE change that I'm not sure I was ready for.
2. Matt and I applied to adopt a cat, and our application was accepted! So now we just have to schedule a time to pick him up.
3. Because I didn't get the Sierra Club job, I will probably start moving in with Matt slowly. I'm seeing him tonight, so we will have to talk about the exact whens then.
4. I went through a really great job interview yesterday! I'm hoping it will work. I should know within two weeks whether or not I get the job. Good vibes, please, friends!

So ... kind of a lot of big stuff! I promise I'll have a more extensive post later, but I just wanted to get some basic thoughts down and some plans for future journal entries.

Also: What is this livejournal look upgrade?! I don't like it. I'll get used to it. But I don't like it.

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