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Hello out there!

Glitch is closing, and I can't believe how sad I am about it. I can't even write this without tears welling up... gaah. Almost two years ago I started playing this wonderful, creative, funny, adult-oriented, international MMO, and it's going to leave a huge hole in my heart when it is gone. All I can do is hope that Stewart Butterfield has something new up his sleeve...

So last time I wrote, I'd just had the worst UTI of my life. The week after I finished the course of antibiotics, I managed to kill a batch of yogurt AND four loaves of sourdough... I have to wonder whether the Cipro somehow extended to the good bacteria I was trying to work with in the food. I threw out the yogurt, made the family eat brick bread for the week, and tried again a few days later. My fermentation mojo came back, thankfully... but that was really weird.

One of the things that I have found makes me relax faster than anything else is deep, warm water. This turns out to be one of the best treatments for fibromyalgia, and I wonder if I've been self-soothing myself through this condition for years with my desire for hot tubs. One of the ways it is diagnosed is by "tender spots," and I have had a dozen times in my life when chiropractors, yoga teachers, lovers, and massage therapists, all trying to help me, have pressed on one of those spots and inadvertently sent me into paroxysms of pain. We've just laughed in the past about how crazy sensitive and "goosey" I am, but now looking back, I can see that I've been favoring those spots since high school.

Sadly, there is no way to set up any kind of a hot tub or deep water container for me to use in this house (believe me, I have tried and tried to figure it out; if you have any brilliant ideas, bring 'em on!). The only way I can become fully immersed is at a spa or someone's home... and it's kind of socially odd to ask to take a bath at people's houses (this is also a source of extreme jealousy for me... I have several well-off friends with large homes and deep tubs, and when I say something about how lucky they are, often times I hear something like, "Oh that thing just takes up space. What a waste!"). So I go to King Spa, a Korean bathhouse that opened right after we moved here. It's $25 a visit, although sometimes I can get $15 passes on Groupon. It's not optimal... I really need this relief daily, and just before bed, so it can relax me and I can lay down without pain; having to get dressed and drive several miles can often undo a lot of the good the soak does, but at least it can take the edge off when my joints have been screaming at me for days.

A few weeks ago, I used one of my passes and had a lovely time. But just a few days later, I came down with an ear infection that has now been going for four weeks... and Cordell pointed out that the bladder infection set in a few days after the last time I went there. Now I have to wonder whether I am somehow immuno-compromised, and picking up opportunistic infections at the spa. I know the place is clean... they clean it constantly while we are there, and shut it down for a few hours a day to do a total cleaning... but two-for-two is not a good score. I'm trying to clear up the ear thing before I go back and give it one more chance... but if this avenue to hot water becomes inaccessible to me, I don't know what I will do.

We moved all of us to a family practice doctor close to our house, and associated with the closest hospital. But on my first trip to see him, the assistant dropped the height measurement device attached to the scale onto my head, which REALLY hurt (and caused a lump!)... then got defensive and nasty at me, never saying "I'm sorry" or "are you OK?" I know this is a normal human reaction, to get defensive and try to deflect blame when you do something dumb, but you'd think a healthcare giver would a) have a better grasp of how to use her equipment without hurting people, and b) a tiny bit of empathy for her injured client. So the visit got off on the wrong foot. Then the doctor came in and immediately prescribed weight loss (my needs involved management of fibromyalgia, migraines, sleep apnea and psoriasis), even before taking a history. He had no knowledge of current obesity science (specifically, that short-term weight loss of more than 10-20 pounds rebounds to a higher long-term weight gain in nearly all cases, and that weight cycling is associated with all kinds of diseases in the long run), and no interest in educating himself. So... he is clearly not a good match for me.

Fortunately, we were able to change our health insurance enrollment to a PPO after January 1, which will give me a lot more freedom in choosing an empathic, HAES-friendly care provider who is familiar with fibromyalgia and comfortable with a wide range of body shapes and sizes (got any recommendations?). Ultimately, I have a fantasy that Blue Cross will somehow pay for a way to get a tub in this house... maybe swap out the downstairs shower for a Japanese-style soaking tub? Yeah... not holding my breath, but a girl can dream.

So these repeated infections have made me very wary of any long road trips. Additionally, money is, as always, tight. So we've jettisoned my grand plan of driving out to California and Washington for Christmas, which is also making me really sad. I haven't seen my dad since May for a quick visit, or Julia in over a year; Clay hasn't seen my dad since my mom's memorial a few years ago, and Cord and Linc haven't seen him in over a year. I'm unreasonably jealous of Bill and Linc, who will go see his parents and sister (which they are VERY kindly paying for), and I'm not proud of it. If things are better in the spring (both health- and money-wise), maybe Linc and I will try to head out then.

I've been keeping the ear controlled with hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, and isopropyl alcohol, which is what doctors would prescribe anyway... but I'm probably going to have to suck it up and go see Dr. Clueless soon for a proper debridement and either steroids or antifungal drops. When it's not hurting, I've been working on trying to do things that will bolster my mood: I found some Nia videos online and do them a few times a week, along with yoga (but I HATE doing it where people can wander in and see, and we have NO place to do it where the noise does not wake up someone, so doing it very early doesn't help much), meditate, take a walk, help others (Linc and I have a weekly meals-on-wheels-type route for a local senior center), and make stuff (three little baby girls needed booties STAT!). I really threw myself into making a nice Thanksgiving dinner, challenging myself to go as scratch as possible (homemade ricotta, stocks and ice creams), and I think it worked out well... no complaints from the eaters, at any rate.

I'm hoping to do a nice Christmas for us, too. Bill and I decided to hit the savings account a little so we could do a few nice things for the people we love... I don't have the time to really pull off much knitting, and I think everyone is sick of knitted stuff anyway (and if you are NOT, and are wishing for a certain knitted thing, TELL ME SOON!). But I can bake, and decorate, and wrap, and I hope to do a little puzzle party for my lady friends when Bill and Linc are in Washington.

I need to find a way to pull myself off of Facebook and the Internet more... it's way too easy to just fall into the wash of images and ideas and stories that flow by endlessly (not to mention catchy music and kitten photos). I haven't done any calligraphy or painting or sewing or beadwork in weeks... I feel like I need some kind of jumpstart. The tools and materials and time are all here, but the creative spark... the juicy motivation... the step into flow is missing. When I'm in pain, it morphs into feelings of uselessness and depression. Any brilliant ideas from all you amazing creative types out there?

Anyway, thanks for reading. Sometimes I think LJ is dead, but there isn't anywhere else I can put this, so here it is. Sorry for being such an Eeyore today... still, writing anything is better than just mindless surfing, right?


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2012 09:42 pm (UTC)
I have mostly migrated off LJ but I still write prodigiously because I use it as my main procrastination device. :)

If it's ok I would like to gently nudge you towards thinking about things as cycles. In order to have up you need to sometimes have downs. It is annoying. I like knitted things and I can't knit. :) and I have adorable small children who look fabulous in knitted things. :) I don't actually expect you to find time. It was just fun to say.

I sometimes need to have a whole string of bad medical experiences before I feel challenged enough to really hunt for a good provider. Then it lasts for a while. Then I move. Cycle starts again. Or we change insurance. Oy.

Good luck on getting to see your family soon-ish.
Nov. 29th, 2012 09:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, remembering about cycles and circles and rhythms is often very helpful, thank you for the reminder. I do tend to get pretty low during the winter months, and I must say that feeling this way in November is making me quail at the thought of February... but as my partner says, we'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

I would be very happy to make your girls some hats! I don't know if you can see this page, but if you can, there might be some ideas of something they might like:

I could do matching or complementary. I have a stash of several colors and weights of yarn, so if you're willing to be flexible on colors, I can probably get close to a requested range. If you can measure their heads at the widest part, that will help me with sizing as well.
Nov. 30th, 2012 02:26 am (UTC)
I aten't dead! It's good to hear from you, even if the news isn't great. I heard about Glitch--I've never tried it, but a friend who plays it posted this, and it looks lovely. Sorry to hear about that, and about the health stuff--that doctor sounds like a dick.

Have you been meditating at all? I find that my creative process tends to get kickstarted by time alone with my thoughts, without access to screens--I get a lot of my best ideas in the shower, or on the bus, or when I get sick of sitting around on the computer and decide to flop on the living room floor for a while. The research shows that creativity is facilitated by novel environments, so maybe try taking your art supplies somewhere else, or putting on some new music, or switching up the furniture.

What's the deal with the full house, anyway? Weren't Clay and Cord talking about moving into an apartment together or something at one point? They're both card-carrying grownups now, you can kick 'em out if you want some room to breathe. They're paying rent or something, right? Without tuition to deal with, they better be.
Nov. 30th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
Getting a stretch of uninterrupted time to go into deep meditation is a challenge around here, but I do try to make it happen regularly. I should focus on it more...

Yeah, I know they'll self-launch eventually. Some kind of contribution would be nice and we've dropped hints but they haven't taken root. I'm definitely not feeling up to the confrontation it would take to actually set up an arrangement... they are both pretty focused on school and we're glad to be able to give them the support to do well (straight As again!) . Asking for help with cleaning or doing any other chores (besides watching Linc or doing dishes) seems to get blown off; Bill and I have pretty much given up on asking and just do things ourselves. We will have to move if/when he gets another job, or at the end of this lease, whichever comes first, so I figure we'll hold on until then. Feel free to sow some ideas if you think they might be receptive!
Nov. 30th, 2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
I know you're down with the whole hands-off parenting thing, but dude, at 18 it stops being parenting and starts being freeloader-enabling. If they're actually focusing their energy entirely on school, I guess that's one thing, but don't they have jobs? I know Clay was a lifeguard for a while and Cord had a tutoring thing going--is that still happening? If they're bringing in income, they should be paying rent. Christ, way to shore up the stereotypes about homeschoolers living in their parents' basement forever, bros. >:(
Nov. 30th, 2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
You make me happy just by existing and talking on the internet. :)
Nov. 30th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
Excuse me?

Yes, we do both have jobs. Yes, we do chip in what Mom will accept. Yes, we have offered to pay regular rent, on top of covering our own expenses aside from food. And yes, we're doing that while attending university full time; between the job and four simultaneous advanced physics classes, I apologize for occasionally coming home to sleep.

I don't know what chores are being blown off. Beyond the obligatory minor grousing about scrubbing down bathrooms, we do whatever is asked of us and much more on top of that. What is asked of us mostly consists of watching Linc, and the dishes do themselves every day. I suppose those don't count, though, so how about volunteering for Linc's soccer league and tutoring her friends? Cooking? Trash? We aren't "freeloading," we're pursuing our dreams of astrophysics and French in the only economically viable way possible. Bill was so very kind to get us this opportunity, and like hell we're going to spit in his face and run off to "independently" rack up debt for no good reason.

As for stereotypes, I hope you can forgive us. We're also busy shoring up stereotypes about homeschoolers getting straight A's and succeeding in fields like science and foreign language. Never getting out of the basement? Japan and France were nice, thanks for asking.

We love each other very much, and one of the advantages of being adults is that we're capable of talking to each other and working out any differences or miscommunications that might arise. While we appreciate the fact that you care enough to show your concern, talking shit about us on a public message board is frankly a little bit beyond your call of duty.

So you can pull your self-righteous head out of wherever the hell it's stuck, Ms. free-as-a-bird. How are those student loans working out for you?*

*Sorry, my tongue slipped. I meant to say Merry Christmas, beloved sister!

Nov. 30th, 2012 06:05 pm (UTC)
Come to think of it, didn't I fork over half my paycheck from Price Chopper when I was sixteen and bagging groceries? I'm pretty sure I remember giving you some of that, and I still managed to skid out the door at 17 without looking back. Fuck idea-sowing, they need ass-kicking.
Nov. 30th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
Feel free to take aim. My heart ain't in it right now.
Nov. 30th, 2012 05:35 am (UTC)
I don't think LJ is dead. Although there may be few of us who are swimming around the drain here.

How many pairs of booties do you figure you've knitted? We appreciate ours around here.

I talked to Julia when you thought you were coming; You and yours are always welcome in our home, and are good guests, so keep that in mind. We are bummed around here that you won't be making it.

I am not sick of knitted things. I am also really not expecting a present, but i want to say it because i don't want you to devalue your efforts.

*sigh* Good luck.
Nov. 30th, 2012 05:40 pm (UTC)
Not everyone gets the silk booties! ;) I'd love to do more things for your kiddos... can you see that link in the previous post? Let me know which hat with which head circumference, and I'd be happy to knock a few out for you! (I'd also LOVE to do a hat for you if you'd like one... I own a pattern that is fun to do, and I think it would look good on you... let's see if I can find a link to it... aha! found it! just need to know what color! or link me to another pattern if you find one you like better...)

You will host Bill and Linc for a while on this trip, right? Thank you so much for taking care of them, and be sure to squeeze a few batches of focaccia and bagels out of Bill while he's there! And of course you know we will mooch off of you whenever we are in town... just gotta get there first!
Dec. 1st, 2012 06:57 am (UTC)
My older kids love their new bags!
I can't see the ravelry patterns. =(
But i like the hat pattern inspired by the Seattle Library. neat!

Seriously, though, you don't need to knit for us. You do so much for us already. I don't know how to say that i deeply and truly appreciate anything you want to make for us, while entirely understanding that you may not choose to do something. I hope you find only projects that inspire you and make you at peace.

(and then to be completely self-contradictory, or something, i would wear the hell out of a hat you made for me, in a yarn that you loved working with - maybe something that stands up to rain.)

And yes, we would be disappointed if Bill and Linc spent time in Seattle without staying with us.
One of these days we're gonna get to Chicago and hit you up, i swear.
Dec. 1st, 2012 06:18 am (UTC)
Yeah, I have a bunch of friends who seem heartbroken about Glitch. Very sad!

For me, I've found that creativity is motivated by feedback. If I don't have anyone to show my drawings to, I don't draw as much. Who gets to share the stuff you make?
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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