Snow day

Dec. 10th, 2013 09:11 am
beetiger: (beertiger by Tod)
Son and husband home from school. Trying to balance getting work done and kidtime since I have him here.

Life is in a slow kind of flux, and I'm not really sure where I'm going next. But I'm moving, and that's a good thing.

If I were to start posting real content here again, would anyone be reading?
beetiger: (Default)
So, our new neighborhood has a lot of deer. A LOT of deer, brave enough around people that they are in the street and on the lawns and pretending to play soccer on people's driveways. We can see them though the windows into the little wild strip in our back yard most of the day.

R. went to play out front yesterday, and was outraged to step into a pile of deer droppings.

"Why do they have to poop in the front yard? Can't they just go in the back yard?"

Sarcastic mom (that's me, of course) responds: "How are we supposed to tell them to do that? Make a sign?"

R. usually does not understand sarcasm all that well, and also likes to call my bluffs whenever possible. Nevertheless, I was still surprised to find this attached to our front fence, later in the evening:

2012-10-09 07.24.55

By the way, R. gave me permission to post this here, but not Facebook, "because LiveJournal has 34 thousand users but Facebook has 33 million users". Where he gets his statistics from, I have no idea.
beetiger: (Default)
7:30 AM.

Walked the boy to the bus stop, kissed both partners goodbye and sent them off to work. Too early to make phone calls. Probably neither the right time to start scrubbing the floors nor to start drinking. Feels a little ambitious to get right to work considering my schedule's not all that full right now, and a little unambitious to just start reading the internet.

If I were a "going to the gym" type person, I suppose it might be a good time to do that.

I am not a fan of unscheduled time at 7:30 am yet.

New House!

Aug. 14th, 2012 06:04 pm
beetiger: (Default)
We have moved to Dobbs Ferry! Having a little housewarming on Sunday, 2-5 -- if you aren't on other social media where I hang out, and want to come, shoot me a line and I'll send you the address!
beetiger: (roar)
Medicab tells a friend of a friend that they won't take her to Planned Parenthood.
beetiger: (Reading)
[personal profile] projectmothra and I will be up in the mountains this weekend. If you'll be there too, and you know us, I'd appreciate it if you were willing to 1) help me keep an eye on him and 2)explicitly make a point to socialize/reality check with me.

I'm in a pretty bad space in terms of medication adjustment for depression/social anxiety, as well as trying to navigate a house sale and move. If it weren't for the fact that R. really really is looking forward to this, I'd be skipping it, but I can't. None of the rest of the family is coming, so I'm just crossing my twitchy fingers and hoping it will all be okay.
beetiger: (Reading)
Reading things like Facebook/Twitter lately seems to both lull me into thinking I'm having passive interactions with people and I'm not, and depress me because I see that other people I know socialize with each other, help each other with projects and problems, and otherwise are easy parts of each other's lives.

And more and more I realize that I just don't know how to do that at all.

And when I see so many long distances friends? Acquaintances? People I used to know? come to New York or even up to Westchester to do something and then they write what an awesome time they had, when I didn't even know they were here...I feel so unimportant, so disconnected, so lost.

I'm having some pretty serious bouts of depression and social anxiety, which are almost certainly part situational and part endogenous and part me just being whiny and useless. I feel like I'm falling most of the time. But I can't afford to be that way right now; there's a lot of organization and competence that needs to happen or things are just going to fall apart.

I'm not sure what exactly I want to say about that, except that maybe if you are local, please reach out anyway, even if I'm acting kind of weird. It would mean a lot.

New icon!

Feb. 8th, 2012 02:13 pm
beetiger: (beertiger by Tod)
[ profile] ninjahijinx made me a beertiger! Hooray!

ETA: And it's already Icon Day again!

Tod is insanely efficient and talented and should take over the internet. Starting with wherever you use icons.
beetiger: (Default)
[personal profile] lediva and I are taking a mini-vacation to Chicago this upcoming weekend. You guys know us. Anything in particular you recommend we do?
beetiger: (Default)
What is the optimal number of slices of bacon in a BLT?
beetiger: (Diesel Sweeties)
As is traditional for schoolchildren at this time of year, R. was asked to put together a list of things for which he was thankful.

His list featured: bacteria, elements, electricity, and equal rights.

He expressed some confusion at his peers who mostly expressed appreciation for their families, pets, media devices, and sports.

And much as there's a teeny bit of wry sadness at "Mom" not making the short list, I have to admit, in the grand scheme of things, bacteria are really more important.
beetiger: (Reading)
I'm one of those folks who is a little bit mall-sensitive. I'm not sure if it's the mild claustrophobia, the mild social anxiety, the fact that I suck at parking, or the ambient noise, but generally I've got a limited tolerance. And during the holidays, it can get ridiculous. Hours of lingering misery and vague illness from a short lunchtime shopping trip.

So a few years ago, I started a personal tradition of not stepping into a mall or large chain department store from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving until Twelfth Night. I'll be doing that again this year.

It's not anti-consumerism, per se, though I do indeed have too much stuff and prefer any gifts to be wearable, consumable, virtual, or in the form of donations to organizations I believe in. I'll still be shopping for the holidays online and in smaller independent shops. It's personal care. I'm just happier that way.

Maybe you might be too.
beetiger: (Default)
I know I haven't written anything here in quite a while, and frankly I'm not sure if any of you still have this journal on your reading list. But I've been giving a whole lot of my time to The Doula Project in New York City in the past year and a half, and I've recently joined their Leadership Circle. We're doing a fund drive right now, to help us have the money to train more people locally and nationally in this work, and to be able to offer the women who volunteer long hours of their time on this emotionally challenging work at least a small stipend for their efforts. And I'm putting this here because we could definitely use your help on that. But mostly I'm using this as an excuse to spend a little while sharing about the work I do.

As part of the Doula Project, I work as a full-spectrum doula. That means that I provide free, compassionate care and support for pregnant women no matter what the outcome of that pregnancy will be: abortion, adoption, or parenting. I'm physically in the room, holding the hands of women undergoing abortion procedures and reminding them to breathe, listening to their stories. And I'm in the hospital, helping low-income women through the pain of labor, making them feel safe and comfortable even if the system's been screwing them over, and being there for them even if they don't have anyone else. Sometimes I'm there to cry with women dealing with the loss of a wanted pregnancy due to medical complications. Identifying all of these things with the work of a doula is what the budding full-spectrum movement is about.

I started training as a doula because I needed to find a new way to get out into the real world while being able to meet my mommy obligations and not buy back in to the nine-to-five I seem to have opted out of, and I discovered that although I loved the work, I wasn't very interested in building it as a suburban business. I found the Doula Project when I was looking for groups to work with that needed doulas, where I wouldn't be dealing with the business end as much. And when I looked at my life, I realized that I'm incredibly lucky, that I don't actually need a substantial income right now, and that my reserves, the modest amount of freelancing I do, and the people who are happy to support me in this work were sufficient to meet my personal needs right now.

I never expected to become an activist again, here in my mid-forties. I'm kind of an outlier in this organization of inspired twenty something Brooklyn feminist graduate nursing students. But this work feels so important, and day to day every individual I share a loving connection with, however brief, makes a difference. Really, I'm here to be an ad-hoc mom to some young women who need it, but given the nature of the American discourse both about abortion and about the families of low-income women and women of color, it's an activist thing to care this way.

In any case, here's the link to the appeal, and if this calls to you and you are able, I hope you'll help. And if you know anyone in the NY area with limited income who is pregnant and could use some free support, be sure to send them our way.

I'm leaving comments open, because I'd love to hear your feedback, answer any questions, and frankly get a little support for being brave and putting this out here. But if it becomes any sort of debate on the ethics or politics of abortion, I'm going to close it off, so I'd appreciate it if you respect those parameters.
beetiger: (Default)
Saturday afternoon [ profile] lediva and I took the generous and talented [ profile] bethofalltrades up on her offer to queer couples in celebration of marriage equality in NY, and had an bonus 10th anniversary celebration and overall awesome time traipsing around the East Village being all adorable and having our pictures taken. It's a part of Manhattan I like a lot, and it was a great excuse to walk and enjoy the weather as well as the company while peeking into interesting corners I usually don't notice.

Beth's also apparently really organized and efficient too, so we've already got the pictures edited and back from her.

Wanna see some?

Four )
Doing the portrait thing in Tompkins Square Park.


Jun. 3rd, 2011 09:57 am
beetiger: (Default)
[ profile] rosefox has been writing some really lovely stuff about her lovely buzzed head, and hair, and gender, and it made me realize that maybe I wanted to write a little about the aesthetics of my hair too.

I don't have good hair, and never really have. I wore the standard issue girly medium-long with heavy bangs, center part as a kid. Looking back at pictures of it, it always looks a little scraggly. Around puberty, I lost a lot of hair around the midline. Whether it was too much brushing at the center, or weird hormones, or making a lot of tight and sloppy braids, or what, I'm not sure, but it never came back. I pulled at breaking bits nervously probably more than I should have, which didn't help.

I started wearing my hair in a side part glued to my head with way too much hairspray, which too a lot of time and really looked way too synthetic for what was really a very poorly composed, non-makeup wearing high schooler. At one point around then I got my one and only perm, and I looked distinctly like a poodle for a few months and wore it with stringy little shoelace bows that didn't really look good but I guess I thought looked at least intentional.

My father was bald, partially from illness as a child, though I am guessing the genetics would have caused baldness eventually. He wore a hairpiece for most of his life, a deep dark secret of our family. After my parents got divorced, sometimes he would take us into the hair studio in New Jersey, where the guy he trusted still worked even though he lived in the city now, and we'd wait for twenty million hours, or at least 45 minutes, while he got it cleaned and styled. A few years before his death, he finally gave in and went bald to the world. It suited him.

My sister tried to get me to wear a hairpiece to my wedding. I declined.

It's especially noticeable, of course, because most people are taller than me, so the majority of the adult population is looking at the top of my head when they approach me. The second year I went to the wonderful Transcending Boundaries conference, where many, but certainly not all, of the participants are trans, I was surprised and kind of amused to discover that several people had tagged me as MtF, because of my thinning and slightly patchy hair. It's just such a bizarrely powerful male cue for people, and in that context, it was the most likely read. Passing except for the hair.

It got worse during my pregnancy, enough that I had some testing done, and it pretty much came back that I have alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness, and also slightly high testosterone. I tried Rogaine, the female formula and the stronger male formula, and it just made everything horrible and greasy without doing anything helpful. Sometimes I use Nexxus conditioner, which as far as I can tell does nothing except maybe make me feel like I threw money at the issue.

Soon after Rhys was born, knowing that I wasn't going to try to go back to work for a bit, I bleached the tips of my mid-back hair and dyed them bright green. I looked like a suburban peacock with a baby in tow, and I loved it. It marked me as different in a way I really needed right then. In recent years, I've frequently but not meticulously had my hair colored in near-natural shades of red and orange, and once a tigery gold with black stripes that suited me for the 3 weeks before it started to grow out. I stay with the salon folks that don't bug me about the hair loss more than once, don't offer solutions when I say I'm not interested.

I keep saying that once the loss got bad enough, I'd shave my head, but in reading Rose, it reminds me I'd need to do true bald, which takes a lot of maintenance, and since I barely ever get organized to shave my legs, I'd never do it. A buzz cut would not work for me -- it would look patchy. Also, I kind of think I'm too fat to get away with showing my face without a frame. For a while two winters ago, I was rocking the hats, but it didn't really stick.

And right now, I've got a weird pink and orange and brown and gold mess that was supposed to be lavender highlights by a friend who didn't really have this kind of thing as down pat as she thought. It looks really unusual, and not quite good enough to pull it off, but some mornings I wake up liking it enough that I haven't done something else yet. But it's a bizarre elephant in the room, or maybe a case of "if you can't say anything nice" syndrome, but almost no one has mentioned it to me unless I explicitly bring it up. Except the kids at my son's school, where I volunteer, who exclaimed "Mrs. Bloom! You have pink hair!" the moment they saw me. This is how I know it's not just a matter of it not being as bold as I think.

It makes me wonder how many more of the weirdnesses about how I present myself make people uncomfortable but unwilling to say anything. I don't much care, in the grand scheme of things, but I'm pretty sure I'm not passing as a suburban grownup very well, even on the days when I don't have sorta-pink hair.
beetiger: (sunbee)
Last week, I went in to check the hive. It was looking really full in there. Crazy full. Maybe I'd fed them a bit too much pollen in the early season, so they may have overproduced brood, but hey, it was May, the apple blossoms were getting pollinated, and I had gotten my bees through the winter.

I added a super on top of the hive in case they needed more places to start putting honey, with a queen excluder on so Her Highness didn't go up there, and a top door so they could get in and out correctly. They'd built a lot of extra comb in the compartment where they used to have spring food, so I made my first little candle of the season and kept a piece of pretty perfect round comb for [ profile] projectmothra to share at show and tell.

Yesterday afternoon, I was out at appointments during the morning but decided to come home for lunch, and when I drove into the driveway, there was a huge cloud of mellow bees in the front yard. Around the car, around the bushes with the lovely red flowers, around the big spruce tree. I had never seen anything like it.

I called my main bee mentor, who didn't answer. I called the hippie bee guy I take classes with sometimes, and he told me to quick get out my frame drum, sit under the tree, and play a heartbeat like he'd shown me. And sure enough, the swarm began to settle into two cone shaped clusters dripping from branches, almost low enough to get at with a ladder. Magic. My mentor said if they stayed two, probably one had the old queen and one had a virgin queen who got away from whomever the new queen in my hive was. But after about ten minutes, one cone won and all the bees moved over.

There's nothing wrong with bees swarming; it's the natural way hives reproduce. And swarming bees are pretty much the calmest bees ever; they have no home to protect, and they are about to head out. When you see photos of people putting bees on as beards, those are swarms. So it was not scary at all, really. But beekeepers don't like to lose bees, and suburban beekeepers don't like to worry that they've just given their unwilling neighbors a free hive of happy honeybees in a hole in a wall of their house or anything. So it's generally considered a good idea to collect your swarms if you can. It's like a free hive.

Once they are sitting on a branch, you usually have between about 12 and 36 hours to collect them. So I took a few pictures, then I called up a taller-than-me beekeeper friend to drive over and help, and then I got the empty hive box into the front yard, and the ladder out, and....the bees had already left, within about half an hour of landing. Which is very unusual, but not entirely unheard of.

So they are gone. Probably somewhere close, since the scouts gave the okay so quickly. I walked my property and the neighbors to confirm they weren't still right here, and I didn't see them anywhere obvious. I'm hoping they went to a dead tree somewhere in the power line right of way not too far from here -- they'd be happy there and out of people's way. I'm pretending I don't know about it unless someone comes and asks, because I do not want my neighbors freaking out, and they would. And I'm still planning to collect the nuc of new bees from Connecticut that I'm supposed to get a pickup call for anytime now.

The main hive looks a little quiet, but normal, from the outside. I figure I'll give them a few days to settle down before opening it up. I feel like a good steward of the Earth, sending more honeybees out to pollinate the world, if a little bit of a failure as a beekeeper for not collecting them. I still have a perfectly good, healthy hive in my yard. I had a reason to pull out my frame drum for the first time in forever. And I feel very very blessed to have been able to see this process from my hive. If I'd decided to take my reading to Panera instead of coming home, I'd have missed this entirely.

Party Bus

May. 3rd, 2011 01:11 am
beetiger: (Default)
10th anniversary bus party is on! Lunch Saturday June 18th in NYC, then party bus around the city, to Boston, and around Boston, and lazy exhausted brunch Sunday June 19th. If you don't know me or [personal profile] lediva on Facebook and thus haven't seen the actual invite, but you think you want to come to any or all parts of this, leave a comment or drop me a line and we will get you the details.
beetiger: (Default)
John Snead, aka [ profile] heron61, a family friend and overall awesome person, has been writing really good RPG stuff all over the industry for decades. He's doing his latest, Eldrich Skies, a Lovecraftian SF game, via a Kickstarter campaign, with 16 days and $616 dollars left to go. Get the PDF for a $15 donation, or the physical book for $40.
beetiger: (thrill)
So, if I have not actually played Portal, but am already familiar with the basic concept and the overall plot and spoilers...will I have trouble going straight to actually playing Portal 2 now? Or do I really need to go back and play through the original first?
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