Happy Days Project – Day 2

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About two years ago we were acquired by two barn kittens who were in dire need of a home. They were cute as hell and I’m sure they would have found a home if we hadn’t swooped in, but we did, and lo – now we occasionally look around our apartment and ask ourselves, where the fuck did all these cats come from?

Rhetorically, of course.

I’ve always wanted cats and never had them due to family allergies and moving and living in dorms and moving again. So when the above opportunity arrived, I was instantly on board. And it’s been two + years of cats, yet I’m still surprised by them. In a good way. Usually.

Like in today’s photo. It’s finally that time of year when I come open the windows in the morning. So I do, first thing, then turn on the coffee and plug in the happy lights – aka, string lights – and go check email. When I returned to the kitchen a few minutes later, a certain black cat had clambered up onto the little windowsill.

They used to both fit when they were kittens, and they’d be up there all the time. Now it’s rarer, but for some reason it still makes me really happy to see either of them up there.

 

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Happy Days Project – Day 1

I’ve seen people on Facebook and Tumblr and WordPress listing something they’re happy about / grateful for on a daily basis and I thought that’s cool. Then I saw some using photos, and I realized I had to do this. Partially because this is a good time for finding happy moments, partially because I need the reminder for gratitude, but mostly because I want a reason to get out my camera and mess around with it more every day. Ever since I got the sensor cleaned I’ve been using it more and more, but I need something that will (hopefully) get me to stop longer and stretch myself.

What I didn’t realize is that the Happy Days project is actually a thing: 100 Happy Days. It’s fairly straight forward and not much more than what I already described: take 100 days and find something that makes you happy each and every one of those days.

Well, I’m cheating a little. 100 feels too daunting, so I’m just going until the end of the year, which is closer to 70 days. For me, it’s a way to close out this year – for which I am so anxious to be done with – while remaining in the present and, hopefully, remembering each moment is important.

Today is day one. I’m starting first thing in the morning because a) I love mornings, b) I thought I might try working my way through the day, but really c) I have class all day (and all this week [so I'll be unusually quiet again]).

My boo mug is one of my (many) favorite things about autumn. It makes me so, so happy when I first get it out on October first and use it all through Halloween, and usually a few weeks beyond. I’ve had it since we lived in Florida, which, for those keeping track, is years. Many of them.

But this isn’t just about the mug – it’s also the coffee inside and the cool autumn morning and the quiet and peace and moments I have to myself very first thing. I’m grateful to have such things right when I wake up, and I recognize that I am very lucky to have them.

But especially the coffee.

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Legal in Arizona!

Now THIS I did not expect!

A federal judge this morning voided Arizona’s prohibition against gay marriage, paving the way for same sex weddings — immediately.

From here.

And of course, I’ve learned over the last dozen years or so to always keep an eye out for a stay, BUT:

More immediately significant, Sedwick denied a request by the state that he delay the effect of his order to allow for an appeal.

No stay! So cool! Right now it looks like our county will begin issuing licenses on Monday. I’m just – I can’t even begin to describe how exciting this is. The fact that AZ has had a constitutional ban was one of the major reasons why I wanted to leave this state. Now that they don’t - well, we still have to leave, but maybe we’ll come back someday.

Still, this means that if we get pregnant in AZ, the state will recognize that we were married at the time. And it means I don’t have to remember to mark “single” for state things. And it means this state is just one step closer to being pretty awesome. And it means everyone gets some fucking equality here. And it means… I’m just going to go over here and have all the feels.

 

 

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A Little Rejection First Thing in the Morning

I mentioned (months ago) that I’d received a manuscript request on one of my queries. I sent it off and tried to forget about it for the next few months, but that’s nigh impossible. I was giddy initially – this was my first request! a milestone! – and then resigned. I knew I’d hear back, eventually, but I also knew it wouldn’t be an offer.

Alas, I was right. But the rejection was still very positive and left me with a lot to think about. This turned into a first in many ways: my first manuscript request, my first manuscript rejection, and my first actual agent comments, telling me both what they liked and why they ended up passing. And like when I received my very first rejection to a query letter, over a year ago, it stings in a lingering, uncomfortable way because they’re right.

So now I’m going to let that roll around in the back of my mind, try to write out my feelings to help let it go, but eventually just sit down and keep writing. Someday (soon!) I hope to get my second manuscript request, followed by my second manuscript rejection, and so on and on, until it escalates to the next level – editor rejections. These are my hopes, small they may be.

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Can’t Turn it Off (TTC)

One of the side effects of TTC that they never mention is that even on a break, you’re still hyper aware of every little thing. Thankfully, every little thing doesn’t stress me out like it did prior to the break, but they’re hella more stressful than they were prior to TTC.

Take, for example, my apparently currently irregular cycles. Prior to TTC, I was happy to just be having them more than twice a year again. After starting TTC, on the other hand, I’m highly attuned to the fact that they range anywhere from 28-50 days, and I have no idea why. According to the gyno, my hormones are normal. According to the nasty voices in my head, however, it probably means I’m infertile and/or already pregnant with vampire twins.

I’ve even been temping, although not nearly as religiously, and supposedly just to have an idea of when to keep pads nearby. But really to make sure everything is normal. So seeing that things are not normal has me worried. I’m sure it has something to do with the diet changes I’ve been making and not because I have, say, PCOS, but it’s still difficult to turn off that part of my brain. I even briefly considered using an OPK, because why the hell not.

My last cycle – the one I threw up my hands on and went fuck this – was 50 days. This one is at CD33 with no temp raise/end in sight. I’m sure it’s fine. I’m sure it’ll be fine. But then that nasty voice starts to chime in with its opinions and it’s hard to make it shut up.

That said, I’m not thinking about TTC and cycle stuff nearly as much now that we’re well over two months into our break (just two to go!). But I wish I could turn it off completely. So far TTC is a bit too much like Pandora’s box for my tastes – once it’s free, there ain’t no way it’s going back in the box.

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National Coming Out Day

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Saturday was National Coming Out Day, which I missed because I was too busy hunting down the only fall color we have in this area – high up in the mountains, hidden within valleys and off the sides of trails. A handful of maples were just starting to turn and we caught the tail end of an aspen forest’s yellow display.

I didn’t know there was a  national day for these sorts of things when I first came out, but I wouldn’t have waited for a specific day. I’ve since never really made use of the day, aside from occasionally noticing it as it flew past. That doesn’t diminish its importance – it’s just never been important to me.

I haven’t seen anyone actually come out this weekend who wasn’t already out, but I have seen a lot of stories of past revelations. I’ve enjoyed reading those stories and mostly seeing just how much we have in common through them. As well as being humbled and feeling grateful that my own experiences coming out over the years were less than exciting.

Over all, coming out was pretty easy for me. It is an ongoing, never-ending process, of course, because even if you’re as out as a unicorn vomiting rainbows, there’s still that awkward moment with anyone new in your life that spans between you not knowing whether they know (or care) and you knowing very firmly that they know. I’ve dealt with this awkward and tense moment over the years by getting very good about bringing up my wife earlier and earlier. I’ve done it so many times now that there’s barely any hesitation any more, and only a brief flash of oh god what if they care.

I’ve found that, in my life and where I’ve lived, most people don’t care. But I am also very lucky to have lived in liberal areas for the most part. The only trouble I’ve ever had was with some super conservative parts of my family, but even they have been courteous and polite, and we still talk if forced into the same room. I rather think all our other differences get in the way much more than my being queer.

Frankly, the hardest time I had coming out was to my parents, and that was because I wasn’t sure what to expect. They’re loving people, and I knew I wouldn’t get thrown out of the house like I’d heard happen to other friends, but considering the kinds of comments made about gay and trans people at the dinner table… well. I’d figured out I wasn’t straight in my junior year of high school, but it wasn’t until my first year of college that I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies with mom and blurted out to her that I liked girls. She cried. I cried. But it was mostly because we were both startled. She hugged me and then she said she’d tell dad, which I am still so grateful for.

And you know what my dad said? The man I was afraid of telling because he is very conservative, enjoys listening to Rush Limbaugh, and makes trans- and homophobic jokes? He said that I was his daughter and he loved me. And since then I haven’t heard a single homophobic joke come out of his mouth and he and my mother both have changed their attitude about gay marriage.

I hate that the way I have chosen to live my life is inherently political. I hate having to come out again and again and again. But then I remember how much its changed my own family’s perception of LGBTQA issues and people, and I know it’s worth it. Even being out to that random person in the store or at work is enough to put a human face on us.

 

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What is Healthy?

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Been a little quieter here than usual, I know. My nose has been pressed against the proverbial stone as I chisel away at the rewrite of my current WIP, and my extra time has been spent on French lessons and writing and rewriting (and re-rewriting) my query letter. I’m not on a journey right now that needs (semi-)daily updates. Well, I could be, but I doubt anyone would fine “I wrote 1200 words today!!” that exciting.

Amongst all of that, I’ve been thinking about health a lot lately, specifically as it relates to weight. Lady and I both had a pact to lose 5 pounds each in September, and we did… moderately. I did lose those pounds several times in the month, but by October first my weight had crept back up, just shy of where it had been. Yet I was feeling better, my skirts were hitting my waist just right, and my energy levels were back on track. The scale insisted I was 168, but I felt like 160. Who should I believe?

Myself, of course. Or at least, that’s how it should be. But I still struggle with that number on the scale. I see it and I know how very close it is to being technically overweight. Just two years ago, my height was consistently measured at 5’8, and 165 is the cut-off. For some reason (*cough*weightlifting*cough*), my height has since been consistently measured at 5’9 instead, and thankfully that means I don’t get a lecture from the doctor or nurse every time I weigh in. I know how bollocks the BMI chart is anyway, I’ve read the studies about ladies with higher BMI’s living longer and healthier, I’ve seen the body comparisons and watched several “overweight” Olympic athletes lift amazing numbers.

And yet.

What does it mean to be healthy? At what point can we stop and point and say, look, I’ve reached it, I’m healthy? At what point do we allow ourselves that luxury?

Is healthy what my BMI says? Is healthy what my bloodwork says? Is healthy how I perceive my body, whether or not I accept the amount of pudge on my belly that day? Is healthy my ability to squat heavy and deep? Is healthy my mile time? Is healthy whether or not I can climb nine floors worth of stairs without being winded? (Hint: I can’t.)

While we were doing Crossfit I felt healthy, even if I sat on my ass the rest of the time and ate gf pizzas. While I was doing the Whole30, and subsequently the paleo Autoimmune Protocol, I felt healthy. When I was running every day, I felt healthy. When I had those frameworks in place and didn’t have to think about it – I felt healthy.

On Tuesday I woke up feeling unhealthy. I weighed myself and the scale told me to feel that way. Then I went to the gym and picked 220 pounds up off the floor, twice. That made me feel healthy. But which is it?

I think we all have to decide what is healthy for ourselves, and no two versions will ever look alike. I know I have had a terrible, lifelong relationship with the scale. I know I am terrified of ever seeing that number go over 170. Is that a rational fear, though? What if I hit 180, but I could deadlift 250? What’s better? What’s worse?

I have a feeling I know the answer, but I’m not sure I’m ready to accept it. I was called fat for too many years to ever fully trust that I’m not anymore. But I have to, I think.

In the meantime, I’m easing up on dieting, at least until I know what my goals are again. Maybe I should hide away that scale, too.

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