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My sister died yesterday, a few minutes after Munchkin The Elder left to pick up his father from the doctor. She died while being given CPR, which strikes me as a violent kind of way to go, but she had been unconscious for hours at the time, so I doubt she felt anything.

Today, James and I will go to the hospital to fetch her belongings. Monday, the social worker will contact me about arrangements for her disposition.

The kids are fine. James and I are fine. My mom is alternately fine and wrecked, which will probably be the way of things for a while.

We lost her a long, long time ago. There's some finality in the past day's events, but not much has changed.

Munchkin the Younger came up yesterday to check in, to tell me that I am her real mother, and to get comfort in talking to someone who understands not having any emotion left for the person we lost all those years ago.

I'm sorry there was no way for us to reach her. I'm sorry her life was sad and hard, and that she caused so much damage in our family.

My sister

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:18 pm
serene: serene (ooh)
If you and I are close, you probably remember first hearing about my sister and being kind of surprised that my feelings for her range from deep apathy (almost all the time) to raging anger/hatred (during any of the crises in my family that she caused or precipitated over the years). Mostly, once the kids I helped raise were 18, she hasn't affected my life in any direct, practical way, but her fingers are in most of the shitty turns my family's lives have taken, for as long as I can remember.

She's in ICU right now, unlikely to regain consciousness, unlikely to live out this day, and I'm sorry that she had such a mean, small, painful life, but I'm not at all sorry that she'll be gone, because it's hard to cause fresh hurt and injury once you've died. Not impossible, but hard.

I'll go with my mom this evening so she can say good-bye. For myself, I don't find it necessary; Barbara's been out of my life since my kid turned 18 (gosh, almost 8 years ago), and for the last couple years, she was in prison, so there's nothing to say good-bye to. For my mom, this is so so so fraught. She blames herself for my sister's mental illness, dissipation, and alienation. She feels like if she'd been a better mother, it would have gone better.

Honestly, my mom was a better mother to my sister than to me -- children who act up often get more attention and effort than the compliant, goody-two-shoes ones. I haven't made any secret of my sorrow over my mother's mistakes in parenting, but they're not the reason my sister is who she is. Not saying none of it was ever a factor. Just that picking one person as the cause of another's bad deeds is pretty much never the way to bet.

Anyway, I'm totally fine, emotionally. I'm just feeling pensive about the ripple effects we all have on the people in our circles, even years after we have any contact at all, and I'm feeling a renewed desire to be a positive force in my loved one's lives, instead of a negative one.
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I started a daily poetry prompt Twitter feed: @PoemADayPrompt, and here's the first draft of my first poem for it. (The prompt was to write a poem using the words yellow, clover, and engine.)

She loved that truck,
small, yellow, with a sunroof, of all things.
It was her second car, and the first 
she'd bought for herself. A thousand dollars.
A year of saving her tips, her minimum wage, 
her sharp tongue, grace.

That truck taught her how to feel a car,
because of no power steering,
     (her arms got strong)
because of a loose clutch,
     (she can take hills like a pro)
and now she can tell when the transmission
is getting loose,
can feel when an engine
just isn't right.

She's a city girl, from a small city,
in the Southern California Land of Cars,
where walking just isn't a thing,
and fields of clover only exist on the median,,
and she's older now,
can afford decent cars
can afford to pay people to get up under her car,
tinker with things,
make them run smoothly,

but she still thinks back 
on the days when she lay on her back in the driveway,
oil and sparkplugs close to hand,
the gapper like a large coin,
the currency of independence
in a car culture, her way of saying,
"Look, I'm good enough,"
of making boys surprised,
and girls impressed,
of taking care of the things she loves,
because she can,
and because it costs more
for someone else
to do it.
serene: we're having hot lesbian sex. and by lesbian sex, we mean tea. but it's hot. (lesbian tea)
I didn't get the job. I don't really mind. Changing jobs is stressful.

This post has some spoilers for The Hate U Give and Lincoln in the Bardo.

Reading )

Watching )

Listening )

Playing )
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tl;dr I may have found a treatment for my vertigo that I don't totally hate )
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In the past week, I:

Wrote 5K+ words (not as much as I wished, but I did a lot of editing)

Finished 3 stories

Submitted 3 stories and 4 poems

Wrote almost every day (not today so far)

Worked on organizing my writing, including putting old on-paper-only writing into my electronic documents
serene: liberty-justice is my femslash (liberty justice)
...keep looking out for us. Dear, darling judges, keep keeping the law and the Constitution in the front of your minds. Keep being unbowed by the tyrant. Please keep fighting for us.

Thank you.
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I've decided to take Thursday nights off from the Resistance Manual work, partly because Friday is my early day and I am wiped by the end of the week, and partly because I just think it's good practice to take breaks from things to keep from burning out.

So I spent the evening submitting poetry instead. Partly because of the following conversation I had in email yesterday, but I mean, I've been submitting stuff a lot anyway. Still.


P = Professor at the college where I work who was also my English professor twenty-odd years ago
M = Me!


P: P.S., are you related to the Sandra Vannoy I taught twenty-some years ago, who was a really good poet?

M: I'm Sandra! And thanks so much. I loved your class, but I was too timid to bring it up before now.

P: Oh, wow! I still remember your poem about puddle-jumping. [goes on to be chatty for the rest of the exchange.]


My writing professor knew the name of one of my poems. Twenty years later. I was blown away. (I don't actually care that much for that poem now, of course, but still.)
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Oh, my gosh, what a day.

No spoilers in post; possible spoilers in comments.

Reading )

Watching )

Listening )

Playing )

Good stuff

Feb. 7th, 2017 07:42 pm
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  • Kicked butt at work today.

  • [personal profile] piglet did something really nice for me.

  • James made yummy pasta and I made equally yummy garlic bread, so dinner was a win, and lunch was good, too -- leftovers from last night's amazing beans with salsa verde

  • I finished a short story and sent it out into the world.

  • I think I'm figuring out how to wrangle my statistics for my Resistance Manual pages



There were other good things, too, but I just wanted to remind myself that these relatively easy and joyful days do exist.
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Forgot to make my writing update yesterday, but that's okay, because I barely wrote at all last week. It was the first week of school, and these first two weeks are always some of the hardest. Add to that the shakeup at work that I may or may not talk about later, and it's set to be a really intense week. Again. I like my job, but it's really stressful. Might need to do something about that.

Gonna be testing out some DIY ramen cup thingies I made last night for work lunches. This batch has chickpea miso, chickpea tamari, oyster mushrooms, cilantro, spinach, rice ramen, and a half a hard-boiled egg. Oh, and sriracha. The kid is enchanted with the idea of making our own cup noodles, so I'll share with her tomorrow (she has school on Tuesdays and Thursdays).

Speaking of the kid, she made the Vice President's List (3.5 GPA or better last semester). So proud!

Okay, off to work. Much love!
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The numbers )

A ton of my time is being devoted right now to the Resistance Manual. At least a couple of hours a day, and more on the weekends. It is what is keeping me from despair, but I also think it's what's making me feel productive enough to get some writing done and some pieces submitted.

I am trying to be careful not to burn out, but being busy with something that matters is so enriching. I used to pine for something like this when my friends like [personal profile] wild_irises were out meeting and marching and paying off people's home loans and stuff, and I could barely get out of bed. Now I have something I can do that doesn't actually require getting out of bed (or comfy chair), and it's something I really believe in, so I feel so good about it. Plus, working on the disability stuff means I'll be providing resources so that more people with disabilities will be able to resist without feeling like they have to be able to march or get arrested or do things their bodies don't want to do.

One thing I want to make more time for is a big chunk of time per day to really work on improving my writing. I consider myself a writer of medium competency and very little... giftedness? or something? But I know any writer can get better by really working at it, so I want to do that more in the weeks and months to come. I have a lot of writing projects in various stages of completion: my finished but unedited NaNo novel, a few chapters each of two other novels, a first draft of a nonfiction book, and so many early drafts of poetry that I can't even tell you. This is me pep-talking myself into making that stuff more of a priority.
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My Muslim friends, co-humans, strangers: I stand with you.
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Happy Lunar New Year!

I spent the first half of the day just sleeping or staring into space, but I'm a lot less sick now as a result, so that's a good thing.

I was just made disability team lead on the Resistance Manual, and I would love it if some of you came and joined me in building those pages to be really great, as well as checking to make sure other areas on the RM are intersectional with regard to disability.

I have been writing every day and submitting several things a week, and I still don't know where the energy is coming from, but I'll take it. Maybe the cold weather really is my friend.

The debt-elimination project is going well. I'm blogging sporadically about it, but the best result so far is that after 2 months, we paid off 10% of our highest-interest card, and it's only going to get better.

And I got a stellar performance review at work, and applied for a better job on campus.

Let's see, is that it? Well, other than my mom possibly having a MRSA infection, yes. I think that's it for now. Now I'll go read your journals to see what you're up to.

Sick day?

Jan. 26th, 2017 06:49 am
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I'm allergic to missing work, so I'm going to try to go in today, but I'm feeling pretty terrible, so we'll see.

I've been spending a lot of time reading and writing poetry. The best stuff I see both inspires me and makes me despair that I'll ever be really good at it, but I know better than to let that discourage me from practicing the art and improving as much as I can. It's a really satisfying pursuit even if I stay just-okay at it forever.

All of which is to say I want to start sharing some of the really good stuff I see as I go along, so I can find it later and so you can have the chance to see it. Here are a couple I've really really enjoyed lately:

“My Mother Makes a Religion” by Leila Chatti

“Menarche” by Melina Papadopoulos

These particular ones are from Rattle, which offers a poem-a-day email you can sign up for if you want at http://www.rattle.com

If my head feels better soon, I'll work on the Resistance Manual. Otherwise, I may just go back to bed.

Have a good day, my lovelies!
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I can't believe it's only Wednesday. This week is dragging, like whoa.

No spoilers in post; possible spoilers in comments.

Reading )

Watching )

Listening )

Playing )
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I'm lucky that my bosses give me comp time when I work at home. "Lucky." :-)

Last night, I came home and spent a couple hours catching up on a project that I have a meeting about today, so it'll be nice and clean when I hand it off. Then this morning, I ran a report for my director so he doesn't have to wait for me to get in at 10, and did a little more on the meeting stuff. And I really enjoyed myself. As my mother sometimes says, I'm not wrapped too tight.

After the paid work, I then spent an hour on the Resistance Manual, and now I'm getting some writing in before I go to my actual day job. I wish I were always this energetic and productive, but I'll take it when I can get it.

Yesterday, got my first rejection letter since I started submitting my work again. I genuinely love them (but not as much as acceptances, of course) because (a) I know they are part of the package, so they don't bother me because I know some acceptances will be there, too; and (b) it reminds me I'm putting my work out there, and that's my goal, when I get down to it.
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progress )

I should start getting the rejection letters soon. I've got a binder I'm gonna keep them in. They help me remember I'm sending in my work, which makes me feel like a real writer.

I have been energized by my work on the Resistance Manual this week. I'm learning a lot about both editing wikis and the impact of the impending Obamacare repeal, which is the issue I'm currently helping with, in addition to helping add contact information for everyone's elected officials. If you have any interest in helping out, I've been really happy with the helpful/welcoming/collaborative environment over there so far. Those of you who have been doing this sort of thing for a long time will probably have an even easier time of it than I'm having. And even though it's a very small task in the grand scheme, my little contribution makes me feel like I'm doing something concrete to help the Movement, and that's important to me.
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[personal profile] firecat reminded me that I really do want to do this most weeks.

Reading )

Listening )

Watching )

Playing )
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I just got this email from Deray McKesson, and I have found my new project. I hope some of you will join, too.


Today, we launch the Resistance Manual -- an open-source platform to collect information/resources to resist Trump's agenda & to continue making progress towards equity and justice in America.

Explore the manual to learn about the policies the incoming administration plans to pursue, how they'll impact our communities, and what you can do to stop them through federal, state, and local advocacy.

You can also find and contribute essential readings in resistance, learn and contribute information about policy issues in your state, and view a growing list of tools and organizations that can help to strengthen your advocacy efforts.

The manual will grow over time as more and more people contribute updates, facts and resources to it. As such, we encourage you to contribute important information for others to read.

If you would like to assist us in growing the content within the Resistance Manual, please reply to this e-mail directly. [The email came from deray at thisisthemovement dot org, but the wiki recommends info@staywoke.org as a contact address.]

We also urge you to dial (844)-6-RESIST to tell Congress to support the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and to vote against Jeff Sessions.

Get educated. Get organized. Take Action.

// DeRay, Netta, Brittany, & Sam

P.S. Shout-out to Chi/Donahoe for assisting with Design.

# of American adults who support the Black Lives Matter movement: 104 million
# of American adults who voted for Donald Trump: 63 million
# of reported incidents of hate since the election: 1094+

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