Cate
04 July 2015 @ 09:30 am
In the U.S. we're celebrating the Fourth of July today, the day that the Declaration of Independence was formally disseminated to the people of the former British colonies. And I've seen a lot of images of familiar white guys pop up on my flist and tumblr feed - Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Washington. You know the sort of thing.

And I can't help thinking of all the people - whether voluntarily or through coercion - who had to work to make it possible for those guys to write the Declaration. You don't just get to up and absent yourself from where you live, leave your work, travel to Philadelphia, and set up shop there for days on end without the labor of others making it possible.

So here's to the wives, the servants, and the enslaved, whose actions made the Declaration possible, and without whom no such document would have ever have been made.
 
 
Cate
03 July 2015 @ 11:09 am
The New York Times has a lovely little essay in it today about asexuality, and one person's journey toward self-acceptance. It's [here] for anyone interested!
 
 
Cate
02 July 2015 @ 08:16 pm
Last night I saw the Weepies in Iowa, and it was sublime. They sounded exactly as they do on their records, except with that burst of energy and vibration of sound that comes from being live. They obviously adore each other, and their three kids even made an impromptu contribution from the back of the auditorium ("YAY MOMMY AND DADDY!") It was incredible.

Some of you might remember that back in the day there was a soundtrack to accompany each chapter of the Iowa 'verse, and that The Weepies' 'World Spins Madly On' was on the first chapter's playlist. That song is so tied up with the experience of writing Iowa for me that I'm flooded with feels whenever I hear it. To hear it live, in Iowa, at a Weepies concert, after Deb Talen and Steve Tannen had moved to Iowa - there aren't words. It was an amazing confluence of things I love.

The opening act was Lucy Wainwright Roach, singing alone with her guitar. She was absolutely incredible, and wholly adorable - I wanted to put her in my pocket. I bought her most recent album today and it's lovely, but there are many more instruments and much more production than with her standing on a stage, and I hope she makes an album that's just her alone.

Now I am back in my wee, sunshiney house, and I am experiencing all the tireds I have put off for a week while I unpacked and traveled and concerted. It's pretty epic. But yay for a holiday weekend where I can be lazy and soak up the beauty of gorgeous weather and soft breezes!
 
 
Cate
30 June 2015 @ 07:54 am
Good morning, livejournal! I come up for air!

Last Tuesday, I started painting my new place, and on Friday, I moved in. That afternoon siriaeve arrived in town to help me unpack everything and we proceeded to kick booty. Every room in the house is done right down to the art on the walls, and my house is just beautiful. It is everything I could have hoped, right down to the lovely front garden, and the lack of traffic noise, and the gorgeous views from every side of the house. I am absurdly lucky. I've built little reading nooks into both bedrooms and the sunroom, and my dining room is so bright and yellow it makes me ridiculously happy. I'm surrounded by my brother's photography, and pictures of my friends, and art that friends have bought me, and rugs that friends suggested, and it just makes me SO HAPPY. :D I wish I could have you all over!

Today we're headed to another state so that I can be of grocery-shopping and mall-going service to Siri, and tomorrow night we are going to see the Weepies in concert. Weepies! I am so excite! And then I return home and actually get down to the business of real life and work, but even that won't be so bad given that I'll be coming home to all this beauty every day.

Most crucial tool in moving house? A box cutter. Oh my gosh, we used those things like nobody's business, not only to open boxes but to cut through all many of cords and straps and ties that were holding purchases together. Second best tool - my gorgeous new drill, a gift from flaming_muse, that made it possible for me to hang curtain rods and my big 19th century map that goes on one wall of my dining room, and lots of other things besides. Could not have done without it.

I've saved all my boxes and packing material to pass along to some work friends who are about to move, and that seems lovely and fitting, to help them in some way.

I am SO HAPPY. What a beautiful end to so much stress and worry. ♥s
 
 
Cate
21 June 2015 @ 07:03 am
To everyone who has a complicated, difficult, or perhaps even absent relationship with their father, you're in my heart today. ♥

-----

I'm really, really struggling with packing. It's not a logistical thing (although I have had to give up wanting an organizing principle for every box; some are just going to have to be miscellaneous) but a psychological thing. Ends up that knowing my inner five year old is freaking out about the move hasn't helped me very much. I still end each day fraught, frazzled, and unhappy, and while I know there's a reason for that now, I don't seem able to do anything about those feelings. I've meditated on them, and all I get is more of the same feelings when I do that - and while there is value to simply existing with the emotions, always, part of me wants a solution, a balm, a way to feel better. I also keep grasping for control where it's not needed - trying to anticipate every need in every room, for example, and buying the perfect solution ahead of time. While that will make my house very cozy eventually, it's not where the lack of control I'm feeling is right now - that feeling is totally in my brain, and not solvable by practical means, I don't think. I'm caught in a loop - I feel bad, I look for a solution, I find a solution to a different problem, fix that problem, but ultimately don't feel better because it's not the reason I was feeling bad in the first place.

I have no idea if I'm making any sense.

This father's day I'm looking around my living room, at stacks of boxes and bags of things yet to be packed, and I just feel sad, knowing how much of my feelings are rooted in a father who hurt me so deeply. I remind myself that I am doing an awesome thing, stepping further and further away from the situation I found myself in as a child, and that helps. But still. I sit here with my heart beating too fast and my palms clammy because of a deeply selfish, screwed up set of actions in which my father engaged.

Today is recover from father, day for me. May it be so for all of us who need that healing.
 
 
Cate
17 June 2015 @ 11:48 am
My brain continues to fascinate me.

I saw my psychiatrist, Dr G., this morning, and told her that I'd bought a house and was preparing to move, so I'd been pretty stressed out. Before I could say anything more she said, "and the little girl inside you who was abused can't believe this is happening, can she?" Dang. Totally right, though I hadn't conceived of it that way. "She lived in what she thought was a hopeless situation," Dr G said. "She was trapped - emotionally, physically, geographically. You're doing what she thought was impossible, and she still can't believe it. You have to console her, reassure her."

I thought about that the whole way home, and how meaningful it is for me to think of the new place as a definitive rejection of what I thought was true as a kid, as well as how the kid in me truly cannot fathom such a lovely, airy, light place as mine. It helps a lot to think of it that way, and it gives me new strategies for coping with the things that are making me anxious. Little Girl Cate does not need a glass of wine, for example - she needs naps. She needs cupcakes. She needs coziness.

I also mentioned that during the tremendous upheaval at work over the past couple of months, I began to feel enormous guilt toward my dad - old, old stories I wrestled with when I first started dealing with the abuse; I'm making a big deal out of nothing; I've ruined his life.

We didn't get into why that came up when it did, but she was unequivocal in saying the guilt had to stop. She said that if I wanted to, someday, I could forgive him, but I should never tell him, because I would be handing him a weapon with which to hurt me all over again. She said forgiveness in my heart could be healthy for me sometime down the line, but it wasn't happening today, and I had no reason to try and make it happen, and besides which, he had earned what had happened to him.

I thought the guilt was connected to work somehow, but now I wonder if it wasn't connected to the house stuff - to the little girl in me wanting to retreat to somewhere she knew, rather than this strange new world. So much to think about.

Today I am ordering paint, and a rolling barn door installation kit, and packing up more boxes. And I will be very kind to Little Me, who is clearly flustered by this whole situation!
 
 
Cate
16 June 2015 @ 10:47 am
Last night I dreamed that I went to sleep at my new house on the third floor (there is no third floor), and when I woke up there were snakes all over the carpet (there is no carpet).

I would say I have some anxiety about this move :D
 
 
Cate
15 June 2015 @ 07:40 am
First - I am a homeowner! All the paperwork was signed on Friday afternoon, and I have a key and everything. It's both exciting and incredibly unreal, though I expect the latter will improve when I actually move in on the 26th.

Second - my friends came over this weekend, and between us we packed up everything save my bedroom and the bathroom cabinets. My house is now a sea of boxes, and it makes me feel very satisfied and weirdly despondent. It's very strange to be living in the shell of a house, even though I'm excited about moving to the next one. We also packed all of my red wine, which is ridiculousness to the highest degree. What were we thinking? :D

Third - shit, moving costs money. I mean, I budgeted for the moving van and that kind of stuff, but I forgot about stuff like, say, curtains. Whoops. I'm proving very good at finding sales and making the most of 2 for 1 promotions and the like, so that's good! But unexpected financial costs for $500, Alex.

I am a jumble of feels!
 
 
Cate
11 June 2015 @ 11:57 am
I just got back, late last night, from a conference. It was a great conference, with useful, interesting, fun panels, all focused on one of the parts of my job that I love the most. I got to luxuriate in thinking about nothing but that part of my job for three whole days and it was glorious. And I got to see kassrachel, too!

This morning I went and did the final walk-through on my house. Omg, I am, for real, going to be a homeowner tomorrow. I may be quietly bugging out.

Tomorrow afternoon two friends arrive from Chicago to help me pack. How fabulous are they? We planned this weekend more than six months ago, with no idea that I'd be moving right around now. But they are unfazed, and totally ready to go on the packing, and it should make things move along really quickly (and be fun!) I have bought them all the beer and all the wine, as is justly warranted.

I have known one of these friends for twenty years this month. The things we have seen each other go through, the highs, the lows, the middlin' bits, the really staggering stuff - it's amazing. So today I am feeling pretty bloody lucky. Thank you, universe, for days like these.
 
 
 
Cate
27 May 2015 @ 10:11 am
I just got off the phone with my new lawyer - paid for by my employer. They're going to file my citizenship application, and I should hear from ICE in about four months about an interview and civics test. Omg! 2015 is the year of ALL the changes.

Appropriate icon is appropriate.
 
 
Cate
26 May 2015 @ 08:30 pm
I just went to dinner with seven people with whom I have never had dinner before, although I know them all in various ways. And oh my god, did we laugh. We laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed, and it was all so deliciously silly. It could not have been better medicine if it tried. ♥
 
 
Cate
23 May 2015 @ 04:01 pm
Hallo, interwebs! I am sitting enjoying a G&T with lots of lime, having wrestled a new mattress onto the guest bed, started all the laundry going, and cleaned up my kitchen. What are Saturdays for if not doing the cleaning while working on a pleasant buzz?

Things are suddenly going very well with my house purchase. My loan officer pulled my credit score to start a new application, and discovered my credit rating had gone up by 72 points. (What?! I have no explanation for this.) So that meant I could get a conventional loan (much less hassle, and means I only have to buy PMI for the first 20% of the mortgage, not the whole thing) AND I qualify for the Illinois homebuyer program that will pay $5000 of your downpayment. Wheeeeeeeee. I will need to cover a little more of closing costs than had been anticipated on the last loan, but I'll sink less money of my own in overall - about $2700 instead of $4000. Things are moving very swiftly, and the presents owners got the tuck-pointing done on Friday, and I booked a moving company and sadlhfkjhashf it's really happening! I move on June 26th, and someday soon I should start packing. I am so loathe to live amid chaos, however, that I'm putting it off as long as I can. I have friends coming to visit on June 12th, who've offered to help me pack, so that weekend will be the grand kickoff. That seems doable.

Work is still awful, with a side of awful, and I am looking forward to two weeks from now when the busy season will be over. I mean, I'll fly to a conference then, so it's not as if I'll actually stop working or anything, but the rhythm of things should change pretty dramatically, and I'll be so glad.

I bought a pair of bright red patent leather slingbacks to wear with my cherry dress in a couple of weeks, and oh, they are so delicious. I don't know that I can wait til the event to wear them - I might have to sneak in a bit of a wear before then. I feel Peggy Carter would be proud of my choices.

Today was the first day warm enough that I dug out shorts for the year. They are so comfy! I'm going to a BBQ tomorrow, and you better believe I'm going to wash these shorts tonight so that I can wear them again right away. Yay summer!

Two friends of mine recently gifted me a week of Blue Apron, and oh my gosh, it's SO FUN. Blue Apron is a service where you get sent all the fixings for making three dishes for two people (on the package I chose, at least - you can choose family-sized helpings). You're sent absolutely everything you need pre-measured - just the right amount of mushrooms, the handful of chervil, the sprinkle of parmesan - with a laminated recipe card giving you clear instructions (with photographs) as to how to make the dish. I had a blast just pulling everything out of the refrigerated box and enjoying the beautiful packaging, much less cooking it all up (the first meal of which I will make tonight). This could be life-changing for me, because I am easily bored when it comes to cooking, and live in a place where you can't get things like, say, chervil. That someone will ensure that I eat three new things a week, that weren't the things I ate the week before, and those dishes will include ingredients far more varied than I could get on my own - bliss! So I've elected to pay for the next few boxes myself to see if I want to continue things. I know I do now - I just need to make sure it still works for me after the excitement of the first couple of boxes has worn off.

How are all of you? How goes work and home and family (chosen or otherwise) and friends and books and movies and yarn and weather and horses and dogs and cats and everything?
 
 
Cate
13 May 2015 @ 05:33 pm
Yay! - I have pink fingernails.

Boo - The temporary crown on my tooth broke into four pieces on Monday night.

Yay! - The dentist's office got me in very quickly

Boo - I drove up there this morning (an hour's drive) and only when I got there did someone check when my actual crown would be arriving. Ends up it was this afternoon so they asked me if I could come back tomorrow to get that fitted instead of having a temp put on. Yes, yes, I could do that, I said, and then drove another hour back home.

Yay! - I leave for a retreat tomorrow

Boo - While I will not think about it for four days, the amount of work I leave behind to greet me on Monday is fucking ridiculous

Yay! - I get to move into a bigger office this summer. It has just as much character as the one I have, and will maybe have room for a little cozy lounge area. Bwee!

Boo - My friend just lost custody of her children in a divorce case presided over by a judge we have discovered is a MRA. I vascilate between being heartbroken for her and furious for her every few minutes.

Yay! - I'm going to Whole Foods this weekend to buy scads and scads of tonic water for gin and tonics

Boo - my loan officer is still not giving me straight answers about when my new mortgage application can begin and will be done

Yay! - I feel, for reasons I can't explain, pretty sure I will be moving into my house, regardless of all the angst surrounding it right now. New house!

So, all in all, I think I'm holding even?
 
 
Cate
10 May 2015 @ 07:24 pm
This week, I discovered a new kind of person to avoid - someone who seems utterly pleasant, but behind your back will say the most loathesome things. I said it's a new person - of course it's not if we include, say, grade school in the calculation, but I really haven't encountered this for about thirty years. Said person, while talking about my opinion of . . . let's say cheese, said, "She only thinks that way because she's a victim of sexual assault." Further comments on that theme were repeated. I only [like cheese] because I'm a victim.

Now, of course the issue wasn't really cheese, but cheese is a good representation of the subject in question in that it has nothing to do with my experience of sexual assault or recovery. But this person disagrees with me about cheese, and so took a fact they knew about my life and turned it into a weapon. That is mind-bogglingly vile.

(And let me say that I discovered this information under the very best of circumstances - no one was running tattle-tale or trying to upset me.)

It's a new facet of rape culture for me, this use of perhaps my most vulnerable moments in life to score a political point. I know I'm not the first to whom this has happened, nor is my experience particularly egregious - this level of in-person trolling is not akin to anything that's happened to Anita Sarkeesian's for example. But it is staggering.

Despite everything I've experienced, I guess I still expect to be able to see the perpetuators of rape culture coming. And it still trips me up that you really just don't ever know who those folks really are.
 
 
Cate
08 May 2015 @ 06:34 pm
So, my sellers did indeed freak out about the ask to change the closing date, although I'm fairly sure my realtor has calmed them down. My bank agreed to do the appraisal already - which they usually wait to do until after the loan has been approved - so that has made things go a bit more smoothly. I just have to get one more answer from my loan officer (exactly when did the 60 days begin for my money to "season"?) and then I will have done all I can. It will officially be out of my hands.

Work continues to be as bad as it was before, only perhaps even worse, because of a new development that I can't even begin to think how to allude to. I can't write down the details, because I'd break a person's confidence, but it's all about people being appalling. I wish everyone would just be kind to one another, you know? We could get so much further with a little kindness.

And then the Tories won the UK general election yesterday. Ugh, Britishers, I am so sorry.

Still, it is now the weekend, and I'm not checking work email for twenty-four hours. I have friends coming over tonight to drink wine, and a pair of sandals I ordered online arrived and actually fit. siriaeve's birthday present came in the mail today and is exactly as lovely as I'd hoped. Agent Carter got renewed for a second season, and I found a dress for a special event I'm going to in early June that is covered in cherries and and makes me happy. It ain't all bad. ♥
 
 
 
Cate
30 April 2015 @ 04:31 pm
Thank you to everyone who's poked and asked where I've been and what I'm doing - you are all awesome people, and I send ♥s.

Truth be told I've been waiting for something good to happen so that I can be all 'yay! look at this good thing!' It's bee a while, however, and I clearly cannot wait to write in this journal until then, or radio silence will continue.

My life has been swallowed whole by a political situation at work. It involves my boss, and my boss's boss, and because of my position, me. It also involves soliciting the opinions of over a hundred of my colleagues, managing those colleagues, and trying to ensure fairness in the process. It is depressing as all get out, and crushing me. There is nothing to do but go through the process, and there should be some resolution before the end of May, but in the meantime work is not a happy place. There are pockets of goodness, and I treasure every one, but generally I come home each evening and feel utterly depleted.

In addition, there is a wrinkle in my buying the house. The loan I applied for allows you to use gift funds toward your downpayment, and I was blessed enough to have a friend donate to that cause. But then the underwriter said that because it wasn't from a family member, it couldn't be used - which is screwed up, since not everyone's family has wealth (and in my situation I wouldn't have been able to accept money from overseas, either, even if my family had that kind of money, which they don't). So the money has to "season" - sit in my account for 60 days, at which point it's considered "my" money and not gift funds. That means I can't apply for a mortgage until the very end of May, and the terms of my contract said I'd have one by May 15. So I need a) the sellers to not freak out and back out of the contract and b) for the closing date to be moved to the end of June. I've been trying to get hold of my realtor, but he's AWOL, so I'm in limbo for the time being. Happily, my loan officer said the underwriter reported everything with the rest of the loan was great, it's just the matter of the gift funds. Ugggh. Do not want.

These feel like the totalizing factors that make up my life right now - work pressure and house pressure. I did get my nails done yesterday, so that was a nice, relaxing thing, and I'm going to see Age of Ultron on Friday night, and that should blow away a lot of cobwebs. But the light at the end of the tunnel is not yet apparent, and so the best I seem able to do is come home from work early when I can, and hole up in my house with a good cup of tea or a gin and tonic.

Send limes.
 
 
Cate
15 April 2015 @ 06:06 pm
Therapy last night was very confusing. I've been noodling on the experience all day, and I've come to no conclusions. Except to say I took a mental health day today and it was wonderful.

We talked about many things last night - some political stuff going on at my place of work, my buying a house, the dentist's visit. And then I brought up the fact that I was just done with match.com.

There's background to this. I believe that sexuality is fluid, and can change over the course of a lifetime. I know that I like both men and women, but I also know I'm asexual at this moment in my life. I've been in relationships with men before, but the crushing normalization of heterosexuality in our culture never left me with room to actually think "what do I like?" when I was younger. I don't believe anyone's sexuality is something that needs to be "cured". And that's how we end up at match.com.

My therapist very much thinks that I need to date. And my saying to her that I was done with match.com was my attempt to say, hey, I'm asexual and I'm content, can't we just leave it at that? There's something that rubs me all the wrong way about being told that what I need to be whole is to be in a relationship with someone - that negates the identities of millions of people, myself included, and feels more like a trope than a truth.

But my therapist said that I had never known a real relationship - that in my childhood, when I should have been learning mutality and comfort and reciprocity I was being taught something very different, and so I never had that baseline to work from. My choices as an adult were uninformed - and okay, I'll give her that - since I didn't yet realize my identity as an abused person, and I kept picking people who would replicate what I had been sold as 'love'. So from where she stands, my asexuality is not my choice, but rather something thrust upon me by the actions of others, and she wants me to choose it, if that's what my sexuality truly is, by first trying out other modes.

On the one hand I can see where she's coming from. On the other, I think of the story someone told me this week of when they were a teenager and found the asexuality page on Wikipedia, which told them in no uncertain terms not to declare themselves asexual before 18 because they'd just be narrowing their choices with no evidence to go on. What evidence do you need but your own happiness?

I ended up crying, and when she asked what the tears were rooted in, I said that the conversation left me feeling that I was broken. And she didn't say "you're not." She said, part of you is, and that's really sad. Again, I see where she's coming from, but what?

I believe so much that we have to be sufficient unto ourselves before we can be anything to other people, so the idea that I am broken and can only be unbroken by dating someone goes against so many things I hold dear. So I've been struggling all day with where I stand, and what feels my truth, and what is useful extra information to have.

My mental health day has at least given me the space to be able to think about all of this, rather than shoving it to one side as I try to get through a work day. But I have no conclusions, and I'm impatient with the process, and my head and heart are not in agreement about anything. Sigh.

In better news, three of my good friends are coming over tonight to help me clean out my basement and garage. My landlord's realtor is coming over tomorrow to take pictures and take a look at the house, so I've been cleaning upstairs all day. But tomorrow is the day that the city will pick up any refuse you put by the curb, no matter how much of it there is (a bonus that happens twice a year), so I'm hoping to get rid of a lot of stuff I don't want to move. Win win all around!
 
 
Cate
06 April 2015 @ 06:07 pm
Thank you to all who sent out good vibes this morning. My root canal was in many ways much better than I had expected - the dentist and her assistant were fun and efficient and very attentive. They gave me ibuprofen before we began, and covered me up with a blanket while they worked, which was very soothing. More behind the text, cut for people who hate reading about dental stuffCollapse )