“I’m not up for sex,” she told me. “I’ve had a lot of medical issues lately. It’s more painful than not to even try.”
“Cool,” I said, and we spent the day going to a street festival.
I woulda liked sex. But life happens.
“I’m in the middle of my seasonal affective disorder,” I told her. “You show up, I might not be able to leave the house. I might just curl up and cry all day.”
“Cool,” she said, and I was pretty morose but we cuddled a lot and eventually managed to go out to dinner.
I woulda liked to have a working brain. But life happens.
“I’m not sure I can make it through this convention,” they told me. “My flare-ups have been really bad this season. I might not be able to go out with you in the evenings.”
“Cool,” I said, and I went out for little hour-long jaunts before heading back to the room to cuddle them, then charging out again to circulate.
I woulda liked to have them by my side when I hit the room parties. But life happens.
I’m a massively flawed human with a mental illness. I need to have poly relationships that include for the possibility of breakdowns. Because if I need to have a perfect day before I allow anyone to see me, I might wait for weeks. Months. Years. And then what the fuck is left by the time I get to see them?
I know there are people who need perfect visits. They have to have the makeup on when you visit them, and they’ll never fall asleep when they had a night of Big Sexy planned, and if they get out the toys there’s gonna be a scene no matter how raw anyone’s feeling.
But I can’t do that.
My relationships aren’t, can’t be, some idealized projection of who I want to be. If I’m not feeling secure that day, I can’t be with a partner who needs me to be their rock so the weekend proceeds unabated. And if they’re feeling broken, I can’t be with someone who needs to pretend everything is fine because their time with me is their way of proving what a good life they have.
Sometimes, me and my lovers hoped for a weekend retreat of pure passion and what we get is curling up with someone under tear-stained covers, holding them and letting them know they will not be alone come the darkness.
We cry. We collapse. We stumble. We don’t always get what we want, not immediately.
But we also heal. We nurture. We accept.
And in the long run, God, we get so much more.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
Mech Cadet Yu #2: Written by Greg Pak, Illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa, Colored by Triona Farrell & Lettered by Simon Bowland. Training montage!
Lumberjanes #42: Written by Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh, Illustrated by Ayme Sotuyo, Colors by Maarta Laiho & Letters by Aubrey Aiese. Continuing time weirdness shenanigans!
the Unbeatable Squirrel-Girl #24: Writer Ryan North, Artist Erica Henderson, Color artist Rico Renzi & Letterer Travis Lanham. Dino-Ultron vs. USG & Antonio the Doombot!
the Lobster: What the hell was all that? I'm too baffled and hurt (poor dog brother) to give this a positive or negative review. Just weird all around.
the Good Place s.1: Ahhh, now this rewatch is the motherforking shirtballs. Hurry up season 2!
This year I want to try something a little different and give the graveyard a theme. This gives me a month to create some new props and gravestones for the display.
I am sorting out what I can get done with that and a puppet that is on the table and Caroline’s annual Halloween costume. The difference is that Caroline is getting use to working with the sewing machine and soon will be making her own costumes.
I have been given permission to do a Scary Godmother puppet show which may see the light of day this year possibly by Halloween.
So I have ideas and some motivation now I just need to get the energy to move this project forward.
Along with this is the open call for “They Keep Killing Glenn” and my Nemo novel.
Let’s see what I can get done. I will check in next week with progress on all these projects.
I am grateful for things that motivate me.
✔ Count Dracula (1977)
✔ Renfield (Count Dracula 1977)
✔ Jonathan Harker (Count Dracula 1977)
✔ Dracula (Count Dracula 1977)
✔ Mina Westenra Harker (Count Dracula 1977)
✔ Dracula (TV 1968)
✔ Jonathan Harker (Dracula TV 1968)
✔ Mina Harker (Dracula TV 1968)
✔ John Seward (Dracula TV 1968)
✔ Lucy Weston (Dracula TV 1968)
✔ Dracula - Bram Stoker
✔ Golden Krone Innkeeper's Wife (Dracula - Bram Stoker)
✔ Jonathan Harker (Dracula - Bram Stoker)
✔ John Seward (Dracula - Bram Stoker)
✔ Dracula (Dracula - Bram Stoker)
Age: 55 (Good G-d, how did that happen?)
Location: Seattle, WA
Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I’m a New York transplant living in Seattle with two cats and way too many books. I am creative and opinionated and still express myself like a native New Yorker, which makes some Seattleites uncomfortable despite my best efforts. I am a theater geek, a movie buff, a lover of tabletop and board games, a reader, a writer and a jeweler.
Top 5 fandoms: I’m a second-wave slash writer (second-wave as in: the first wave was in the early 1970s, the second in the mid-’80s to early ’90’s; everyone else came after) who hasn’t written fanfic in a while, but when I was doing that it was Star Trek, Starsky & Hutch and, more recently, Doctor Who (see my fanfic journal at scarlett_key). I have loved watching and discussing Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, so many more. How do you pick just five?
I mostly post about: My personal life, which also tends to be sprinkled with bits about politics, the science fiction community, movies, theater, books, travel, cats, my family, writing and observations about life in general.
I rarely post about: sports, math, the giant hornbeam tree in front of my condo, jackalopes, and my collection of porcelain hands (yes, really).
My three last posts were about: I occasionally do the Friday Five so this morning’s post was answering last week’s questions, two particularly striking dreams, and discovering the pile of get-well cards I received when I was in the hospital last year.
How often do you post? I currently post about once a week, though I’m aiming for better.
How about commenting? I try to comment on at least half to two-thirds of the posts that I read.
I knew musicals could cheer me up, but I’d never heard of one that gave me new tools to deal with chronic illness and depression. Yet when I saw Groundhog Day last Wednesday, I was so stunned by what a perfect, joyous metaphor it was for battling mental illness that I immediately bought tickets to see it again that Saturday.
I would have told you about this before, but it was too late. The show closed on Sunday. A musical that should have run, well, for as long as Phil Connors was trapped in his endless time loop only got a five-month run.
But I can tell you about it.
I can tell you why this musical made me a stronger, better person.
So let’s discuss the original Groundhog Day movie, which is pretty well-known at this point: Bill Murray is an asshole weatherman named Phil who shows up under protest to do a report from Punxatawney, Philadelphia on Groundhog Day. He’s trapped in town overnight thanks to a blizzard. When Phil wakes up the next morning, it’s Groundhog Day again. And again. And again.
Phil goes through several phases:
- Incredulous as he can’t believe what’s happening to him;
- Gleefully naughty as he uses his knowledge of people’s future actions to indulge all his greatest fantasies;
- Frustrated as he tries to romance Rita, his producer, but he’s too cynical for her and nothing convinces her to hop in bed with him unless everyone else in town;
- Depressed as he realizes that his life is shallow and there’s no way he can escape;
- Perplexed as he tries to rescue a dying homeless man but realizes that nothing he can do on this day will save this poor guy;
- And, finally, beatific as he uses his intense knowledge of everything that will happen in town today to run around doing good for people.
Naturally, that’s a great emotional journey. It’s no wonder that’s a story that’s resonated with people.
Yet Groundhog Day changes just one slight emotional tenor about this – and that change is massive.
Because when Bill Murray’s character gets to the end of his journey, he’s actually content. He’s achieved enlightenment where he enjoys everything he does, toodling around on the piano because he’s formed Punxatawney into his paradise. He laughs at people who ignore him. He’s satisfied.
And when Rita, who senses this change even though she doesn’t understand why, bids everything in her wallet to dance with him at the Groundhog Dance, the Bill Murray Phil is touched but also, on some level, serene.
Andy Karl’s Phil is not happy.
We spend a lot more time in Andy’s Phil’s headspace, and at one point he breaks down because of all the things he’ll never get to do – he’ll never grow a beard, he’ll never see the dawn again, he’ll never have another birthday. Anything he does is wiped away the next morning.
Bill Murray’s Phil gets so much satisfaction out of his constantly improving the town that his daily circuit has become a reward for him.
Andy Karl’s Phil is, on some level, fundamentally isolated. People will never know him – at least not without hours of proving to them that yes, he is trapped in this time loop, he does know everything about them. No matter what relationships he forms, he’ll have to start all over again in a matter of hours. There’s no bond he can create that this loop won’t erase.
And so when Rita finally dances with Bill Murray, it’s shown as a big romantic moment. And in the musical –
In the musical, Rita moves towards Phil and everything freezes in a harsh blue light except for Phil.
This is everything Phil has ever wanted in years, maybe decades, of being in this loop – and instead of being presented as triumphant, everything goes quiet and Phil sings a tiny, mournful song:
But I’m here
And I’m fine
And I’m seeing you for the first time
And the reason that brings tears to my eyes every fucking time is because this Phil is not fine – he repeats the lie in the next verse when he says he’s all right. Yet this is the happiest moment he’s had in years, finally understanding what Rita has wanted all along, and this moment too will be swept away in an endless series of morning wakeups and lumpy beds and people forgetting what he is.
Yet that mournful tune is also defiant, and more defiant when the townspeople pick it up and start singing it in a rising chorus:
And I’m fine
Phil knows his future is nothing.
Yet that will not stop him from appreciating this small beauty even if he knows it will not stay with him. Trapped in the groundhog loop, appreciating the tiny moments becomes an act of rebellion, a way of affirming life even when you know this moment too will vanish.
Can you understand that this is depression incarnate?
Which is the other thing that marks this musical. Because I said there was joy, and there is. Because when Andy Karl’s Phil enters the “Philanthropy” section of the musical (get it?), he may not be entirely happy but he is content.
Because he knows that he may not necessarily feel joy at all times, but he has mastered the art of maintenance.
Because tending to the town of Punxatawney is a lot of work. He has to run around changing flat tires, rescuing cats, getting Rita the chili she wanted to try, helping people’s marriages. (And as he notes, “My cardio never seems to stick.”)
When Bill Murray’s Phil helps people, it seems to well up from personal satisfaction. Whereas Andy’s Phil is thrilled helping people, yes, but his kindness means more because it costs him. On some level he is, and will forever be, fundamentally numb.
This isn’t where he wanted to be.
Yet he has vowed to do the best with what he can. He helps the townspeople of Punxatawney because even though it is a constant drain, it makes him feel better than drinking himself senseless in his room. He doesn’t get to have everything he wanted – also see: depression and chronic illness – and it sure would be nice if he could take a few days off, but those days off will make him feel worse.
He’s resigned himself to a lifetime of working harder than he should for results that aren’t as joyous as he wanted.
And that’s okay. Not ideal, but…. okay.
And I think the closest I can replicate that in a non-musical context is another unlikely source – Rick and Morty, where Rick is a suicidal hypergenius scientist who’s basically the Doctor if the Doctor’s psychological ramifications were taken seriously. And he goes to therapy, where a therapist so smart that she’s the only person Rick’s never been able to refute says this to him:
“Rick, the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family, you included, use intelligence to justify sickness.
“You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse. And I think it’s because the only truly unapproachable concept for you is that it’s your mind within your control.
You chose to come here, you chose to talk to belittle my vocation, just as you chose to become a pickle. You are the master of your universe, and yet you are dripping with rat blood and feces, your enormous mind literally vegetating by your own hand.
“I have no doubt that you would be bored senseless by therapy, the same way I’m bored when I brush my teeth and wipe my ass. Because the thing about repairing, maintaining, and cleaning is it’s not an adventure. There’s no way to do it so wrong you might die.
“It’s just work.
“And the bottom line is, some people are okay going to work, and some people well, some people would rather die.
“Each of us gets to choose.
“That’s our time.”
And yes, Groundhog Day the musical is – was – about that lesson of maintenance, as Andy comes to realize that “feeling good” isn’t a necessary component for self-improvement, and works hard to make the best of a situation where, like my depression, even the best and most perfect day will be reset come the next morning.
And yes. There is a dawn for Andy’s Phil, of course, and he does wake up with Rita, and you get to exit the theater knowing that no matter how bad it gets there will come a joyous dawn and you get to walk out onto Broadway and so does Phil.
But you don’t get to that joy without maintenance.
And you might get trapped again some day. That, too, is depression. That, too, is chronic illness. We don’t know that Phil doesn’t get trapped on February 3rd, or March 10th, or maybe his whole December starts repeating.
But he has the tools now. He knows how to survive until the next dawn.
Maybe you can too.
Anyway. There’s talk that Groundhog Day will go on tour, maybe even with Andy Karl doing the performances. He’s brilliant. Go see him.
The rest of you, man, I hope you find your own Groundhog Day. I saw mine. Twice.
Perhaps it’s fitting that it’s vanished.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: James "Bucky" Barnes/Steve Rogers
Characters: Steve Rogers, James "Bucky" Barnes, Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, Bruce Banner, Betty Ross, Peggy Carter, Sam Wilson (Marvel), Sharon Carter (Marvel), Georges Batroc
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - No Powers, Work In Progress, Alternate Universe - Romance Novel, Grief/Mourning, Second Chances
Sweet, shy Steve Rogers had had it! He now held the dubious title of oldest unmarried man in Oakdale — and a virgin, to boot. It was high time he shed his scholarly shell and unleashed the temptor within. Problem was, he didn't know the first thing about men, let alone seducing one….
Heartbreaker Bucky Barnes had been away for twelve years, and boy, had things changed! The innocent boy who once had tutored him in math now was a man in need of his help… to snare a man! He'd always admired Steve, but his stunning transformation was too much for any man to resist — even a sworn bachelor like him...
Adapted from The Oldest Virgin In Oakdale by Wendy Warren
I find that when days vastly resembled each other I forget to come here and write. To be fair, during the same ol’ same ol’ weeks it probably would seem like someone just went wacky and hit the re-post button over and over if I did. No one wants that.
So I will attempt to catch you all up in my daily ho-hums in this post….
Let’s see (I’ll just skip past the usual household chore rambles for this, shall I):
- Oh! I can’t recall if I mentioned in older posts or not, but my car is totally paid off now (as of July 14th). So no more monthly car payments for us. Aaron’s car was paid off the year prior, so… now we just need to figure out the best way to smush the mortgage with out lots of penalties …. smush smush
- Aaron’s mom was supposed to be over for a two week visit at the beginning of September because she had time scheduled off at work, but caught a nasty flu and couldn’t make it. And so she’ll be over mid October for a weeks visit instead.
- So far the deer are staying out of the fenced area I made. So I actually have a few tall Canna plants growing in there right now, as well as gladiolus and mini roses!! In a last ditch effort to get ‘something’ to grow a while back (when the fence bits first went up) I had scattered some left over tomato and pepper seeds any where/every where. One pepper seed seems to have germinated next to the big Canna, and has flowers on it. I am staggered. That, to me, is amazingly cool.
- I seem to have killed off my poor iceland poppy plant. But I think the seeds from it have sprouted in a few spots, so maybe all is not lost?
- This year has been pretty smokey and miserable outside due to all of the fires around the US and here, and so for once I can honestly say I am looking forward to the rainy days of Fall.
- Inside the house I have been continuing the downsize of useless clutter.
- It’s going well, although I’ve pretty much given up on the donation place I used to use. They have been a no-show at least four times (Probably more than that, but I am feeling generous). And so now I just post things to the local FB group when I want to get rid of it. More of a hassle, as things take several days (or more) to be gone, and not everyone who says they will show up does. But hey, it get’s the stuff gone sooner than that donation truck, so at this point I’ll take it.
- We upgraded the TV in the bedroom to a 55″ one. I’m the only one that really watches TV in the house, so no beaking about how TV’s shouldn’t be in the bedroom because blah blah blah please. Aaron’s not a big TV watching person, period. We generally don’t watch TV when we are hanging out together, unless we have decided to watch a film, and so there is no intimacy issue there. =P
- The old TV from our bedroom has been moved to the guestroom now, and the old guestroom TV will be donated some time soon.
- I’ve also been rearranging most of the rooms in the house. Aaron’s office and the exercise room still need a bit of a reorganize. But the rabbits live down there with him, and we don’t want to really change their space just yet. So that will be left alone for the time being.
- I’ve been taking various barely used shelves and stands, ones where the sole use seemed to be as a clutter catcher, and tried to find them a more useful spot in the house. If I couldn’t find a spot where they were more than a clutter catcher, then I posted them on the FB group to get rid of. I also went through the damn clutter piles and got rid of what was just a waste of space.
- I got a few small profile comfy chairs for the downstairs front room, moved around a couple of the larger comfy chairs so that there is seating in Aaron’s office, and one more place to sit in the upstairs livingroom now. It’s funny, we had lots of shelves/bookcases scattered about the house .. but very few places to actually sit and read. I don’t know what that was about, but it’s been remedied now.
- I downsized my nail polish collection, and made some local ladies on FB very happy in the process. My collection is now half the size, which is still quite massive. I also went through all of the makeup and passed most of those on to them as well.
- I’m winding down a bit more on the whole go crazy and decorate everything outside on holidays thing, too. We’re at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, most of the neighbors before us don’t decorate, and so decorating to the nines is just too much for too few views. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ll still do it. The people across the street do enjoy it. But I won’t be going as crazy as I would have if we still lived on a busier road. I will be going through the boxes of that stuff and getting rid of what ever has not been used in years of holidays (I’m looking at you ‘skinnier me’ halloween costumes.. time to go bye bye.)
- Bongo kitty is still reacting well to the pills that keep him alive. One and a half pills every day. So he may see another couple years through with us. Knock wood. He’s more of a cuddle bug these days. He will play with his toys for a bit, but it wears him out pretty fast, and so he doesn’t bother most times. As the weather changes his joints get a bit more creaky, and so there are some failed jump attempts here and there. We just lift him up to whatever chair he was trying for, and he happily nestles down for a nap.
- Our lop rabbits have become slobs of sorts. And so they keep us on their toes more than a few times daily as they potty wherever they please and proceed to lay in it if we are not quick enough to catch it. Bunny baths are becoming a regular thing. Cocoa Banana is still a sweet gentleman dwarf bunny, and we have no such troubles with him.
- Since moving here we’ve gotten at least six new families moving into the neighborhood. So far we’ve been lucky and they’ve been pretty nice people (even the bear ignorant ones are nice, they just are not used to living near wildlife yet is all). Just recently a house a few doors down just sold, but we have no idea who has purchased it yet. Fingers crossed it’s more good people.
- Oh, The people who purchased the empty lot beside us have been visiting there and spending the day there every now and again. Trying to get a feel for the space as they plan their new home setup, I assume. They recently brought their camp trailer and set it up, and so we’re getting a mini preview of what it’ll be like with neighbors there. Still have lots of deer that go through there, even when the new neighbors are hanging out, and so at least for now that isn’t changing.
I can’t think of anything else at the moment to add, and so I best post this. I can always continue on page 2, as it were, if I think of more.
Anyway - here it is...
It can start as just a barely perceptible itch
That one cannot quite scratch
Then the first skritch-skritch of pen on paper,
That scratch of graphite on vellum
That first clickety-clackety of the keyboard,
That initial thought gotten down
That becomes a raging torrent of words
Pouring forth so fast
That my aching fingers cannot keep up.
Then at last the paper, the ink and I are sated, satisfied.
Wait! I wrote that!? Oh hell no. Time for a re-write.
The struggle is real y'all.
I've been listening to Court Junkie, another good true crime podcast and it's less on the salacious retelling of the actual murder/crime side and more about the court proceedings. For some reasons the true crime podcasts, even the humor ones, seem a lot more tasteful that shows from the Investigate channel? It's hard to explain, but I just watched one about women who kill and the reenactments were just... bad, the framing and the shots felt fetishy, and while even podcast hosts can fall into ableism, it's not coupled with other things that give me cause for double take. Fewer chances to make me roll my eyes, I guess? XD
My reading week was not a really good one. I kept wanting to like a book that I really, really should have just DNF. But I'm a stubborn reader. I have to finish it even if I don't like it. Crazy reader.
I have a few things on my to-do list for today :
- Make my apple sauce. I have the apples. I just have to peal them and put them in the slow cooker. It's apple time here. Yum.
- I have 2 bananas ready to be made into tiny muffins. But I have to go to the grocery store to get the stuff I need like eggs, brown sugar.
- I need to go shop for the lighting for my bathroom. The renovations are almost here. I did get all the plumbing things on Wednesday. The shower plumbing, the sink, the plumbing for the sink. In the end I ended up with 2 000$ of stuff. But lovely, lovely, burned brass to go with the white ceramic and coloured brass inserts.
Garrett by Sawyer Bennett. Hockey romance. But by name only. This is the book I stubbornly kept reading. I really wanted to like it more. But.... so much sex... I ended up skipping 40% of the book. Scene one, good it's perfect for the plot and the angst the author is setting up. Scene two. Good one too. It establishes the hero's changing. Scene three... well... four... god not another one... five...skip, skip, skip, repeat until the end for every scene.
Not that Olivia and Garrett aren't interesting. They are but their relationship is sex and sex and sex. It drowned what the author wanted to show: the journey of a man who doesn't do relationship, commitment, (cliché, but Garrett is not an ass so I can deal with this trope) and the journey of a woman faced with a challenge (medical crisis and done well). But ... unlike Alex and Sutton, both Garrett and Olivia were paper thin. It was angst and sex. All the time. It got boring. Cherry on top... the epilogue. Just no. As for the hockey, the hero could have been a football, baseball, basketball player or an architect wouldn't have changed a thing.
A few contemporary romances that were either free or really cheap in ebooks. I got #2 and #3 of Monstress which is probably what I'll read for a change of pace.
A Bibliotherapy essay.
In "Is it October Yet?" news....
I got my Funko Sidney Crosby figurine.
Training camps started on Thursday with media day and really on Friday. It's really funny to hear Ryan Reaves say this but not a surprise. So not a surprise. I think he was the only one who was surprised.
Is it October yet? Pre-season games are starting today.