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[sticky post] Jan. 1st, 2030

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Today is the first day since the beginning of July that hasn't included houseguests or planning for a major holiday, trip, or family event. Adam is at work, and I'm spending my day off accomplishing a combination of homework, fighting back house-entropy, and taking brief breaks to laze around and stretch like a cat on any available soft surface. I've become a sleep nomad lately--I'm not sure if my problems lately have been insomnia as much as they may be the fact that my body actually works optimally when I sleep from 3-11 AM--but either way, I haven't been able to get to sleep anytime near when Adam gets tired for quite a while. So to avoid disturbing his sleep by tossing and turning and kicking the covers irritably around, I've begun letting myself fall asleep whenever and wherever I get tired. When I wake up, either in the middle of the night or when the cats ambush me for food in the morning, I crawl into bed with him and sleep with whatever time we have left. Last night I fell asleep curled up weirdly on the fainting couch with a few candles burning nearby, which felt pleasant and romantic (although sleeping contorted like that was not kind to my joints and muscles, and I was probably providing an awful fire hazard).

My brother and his girlfriend should be boarding a plane back to Phoenix by now, my cousins are on their honeymoon, and the family is dispersing back to its regular routine. My mom's side of the family is, in general, great to get together in large groups; we even have funny stories involving funerals, and of course, weddings are tons better. I got to reconnect with uncles and cousins that I haven't seen since my mom's stepmother passed away five years ago, we finally got to meet some of my newest cousin's family (some of whom insisted that next time we visit NYC, we need to let them take us out for authentic dim sum), and just spending so much time with the people I see comparatively regularly was great.

It's now on the far end of July, and I'm beginning to be aware of how summer is slipping away far too quickly. We have season passes to Kennywood, which we haven't even been to yet, and city pool tags, which we've only used once. Fall is my favorite time of year, but I used to love summer a lot more, and I want to recapture that. This is the last season that I'm going to have to spend taking accelerated classes, though. Next summer, we'll be able to take better advantage of Adam's time off school, and as long as I'm still with the sub pool, I'll try to schedule more shifts in the morning so that both of our evenings are free.

I should get back to homework. What I really want to do is to continue attacking the guest room, now that I am confident that the ceiling tiles aren't asbestos and I know how to remove them easily. The attic is calling me, too. It's creeping closer and closer to being a finished room, and until babby is formed and old enough that we can put it up there, I might commandeer part of the attic as a crafting room, because my string and cloth stash has taken over our entire bedroom. I know a bunch of women of a certain age whose eyes and hands won't allow them to craft anymore, and they know that I have an insatiable compulsion to accept their unfinished projects and materials.

But homework. I have a lot of library work scheduled this week, as well as the potential for a playtest of one of Adam's games, and I want to feel relatively sane and unencumbered this week.

I am the shadow on the moon at night...

Happy Halloween!

I am in a self-congratulatory mood today because scholarinexile and I took a major financial and cultural step that we've been contemplating for a while, expedited by 1) the fact that we've been trying to be more responsible with our finances in order to make things like vacations, home repairs, and babies easier in the nearish future, 2) the fact that I'm beginning to realize that truly decluttering my life means more than getting rid of old clothes and books, and 3) the fact that my recent #occupytogether-mindedness has made me think a lot more about my place in the capitalist society and the kind of inefficiency and waste I'm promoting by mindlessly giving our resources to a corporation that gives us a product we simply don't use very often. We called Comcast last night and scaled back to the barest minimum plan they offer: 20 channels, plus HBO (because we are not ready to give up True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, and Game of Thrones).

Because of our insistence on keeping HBO, we can't do the barest minimum and get rabbit ears yet, although if their streaming service is successful enough, I hope they'll eventually decouple it from the big cable companies. I'd be willing to pay them directly for a subscription if it doesn't end up with something like Hulu or Netflix. If that happens, though, I'm fine with getting rid of cable entirely. It still bothers me a bit that we're stuck with the evangelical and home shopping stations even on the bare bones plan, and it bothers me that the Comcast representative actually tried to lie or at least throw up huge roadblocks to make reducing our plan more difficult.

But yeah...it occurred to me more and more recently that I was watching a ton of stuff on NF and very little on the actual TV; pretty much the only time it was on was when I was cleaning up things in the bedroom or when I had the On Demand music stations on during Craft Night. The only thing I felt like I would miss was HGTV, and that was even an artifact of nostalgia. I realized that most of the shows I remember liking--the ones that have to do with unusual houses or decorating for people with a budget less than 10% of what we paid for the house--are long gone. It's all House Hunters-type shows with buyers going through an infinite number of identical McMansions that people are trying to unload after the real estate crisis, boring programs spun off from random ideas posed by Design Star winners, and horribly depressing programs where that big bald guy in overalls shows you all of the awful things wrong with your house that the inspectors missed. It's the same with all the networks that once, we ostensibly were interested in watching: the "SyFy" network doesn't show science fiction anymore, the History and Discovery Channels only intermittently show decent stuff between endless showings of Sarah Palin Presents: Alien Nazi Crab Hunting Pawn Shop Wars, and I can only watch so much of that one guy trying to eat fifty-cut supreme pizzas by himself on the Food Network. Those few paltry options aren't worth continuing to pay almost $100 a month for half a dozen ESPNs, Faux News, the Bass Fishing Channel, the unwatchable messes that MTV and VH1 have become, and the rest of the channels that now subsist almost entirely on boring reality TV. I have no interest in propping up that failing system anymore.

So now we've got the local networks and PBS, we've got the one station that actually produces content that keeps us eagerly coming back week after week, and between Netflix and Hulu Plus, I think the *only* shows we're mildly interested in watching that we can't get through either option are The Big Bang Theory and Community. And our queues of available shows probably already provide us with enough TV-watching to last the rest of our natural lifespans (not even counting all of the unwatched DVDs we have), so I don't feel too deprived.

I'm just so happy about this, which is why I'm talking about it incessantly. I'm proud that we're capable of making decisions that fit our actual lives. It's not always easy to do that. While we were in the decision process, I became aware of a motif that was running through my thoughts about canceling. Even before my mind was occupied by the #occupy movement, I was interested in the idea of moving economic systems from a free-market mode of eternal growth to one that relied on sustainability (in a macro sense) and being happy with enough (in a micro sense). It's related to the motif of decluttering my life and time that I've frequently talked about on here. I became aware that my sense of the ideal cable TV-watching strategy was related to my misguided sense of the "American Dream." As an intelligent kid who had the "Most Likely to Succeed" banner hung on her more than once, I figured that my smarts and my comfortable experience growing up would transition flawlessly into having an increasingly good job and improving finances throughout my life. It seemed like a natural progression. When I was growing up, we only had 13 stations on our TV for a long time. Most of our relatives had cable long before we did. We only got it when I was around 10 or so, and even then, the only premium network we ever splurged on was the Disney Channel. I felt like it was a big step toward the "good life" when Adam and I started getting HBO a few years ago, and thus, that when we finally "made it" to financial success, we'd get to have the top cable TV tier and a nice HDTV and we'd pretty much have it made. Nonstop growth until we reached the top, basically. The only reason I could think of to reduce our cable bill instead of increasing it was some sort of shameful financial trouble where we had to cut costs.

So it might be clear, then, why the idea of reducing our consumption being a *good* thing is kind of revolutionary in my mind. I feel like I'm beginning to be able to put the brakes on the destructive instinct to keep amassing as much as we can, even if it's stuff we don't need. I feel like I'm beginning to improve my ability to prioritize, which is extra important given that even more than money, Adam's time is a resource we need to cherish if he's going to have to continue shouldering massive workloads as an adjunct. I feel like this is a way--small, but with much larger ramifications, I hope--that we can reduce the amount of stress in our life. I'm happy to be doing something that could lead to better health and having more time for all of the non-sitting-on-the-couch things I want to do with life. And I'm grateful for the opportunity to conduct an experiment in simultaneously living as small and simply and as happily as we can.

Of course, the fact that I've just massively expanded my access to things I actually do want to watch might mean that the experiment massively backfires and I turn into a corpulent couch potato watching Battlestar Galactica and old episodes of Daria. ;-P But I'm still feeling pretty happy about it right now.

Shadow today, light tomorrow

It is perhaps a sad state of affairs when I start recycling Facebook statuses as LJ posts, but nonetheless...

Whether you call it Imbolc, Candlemas, the Feast of St. Brigid, or just Groundhog Day, have a good one...winter is half over, and the light that was only a distant promise a few days before Christmas is now here, and still growing.

Dec. 25th, 2009

To all who celebrate it, Merry Christmas! ::hugs and/or kisses to all::
Blessed Yule! May the days get brighter after this long night for everyone. :)


Reposted from Facebook on account of my friends list here doesn't quite overlap the one there.

So during the last few years, I've discussed separately with at least Kat, Wendy, Amber, and possibly others the idea of getting together and having a "sewing circle"-type thing, since I know so many cool and creative people, and our busy lives mean that we often only get together for gaming or going out. The season, which features increasingly earlier nighttime and cold cocoony weather, has made me want to bring this to fruition. Even though this semester is not as bad for Adam as last year's were, I've still ended up having a lot of free evenings while he works, and have spent a lot of them working alone on my crafty projects. But it would be more fun to have company, so would people be interested in coming over and working on creative stuff some night this week or later? Since we are living in the Enlightened Twenty-First Century, guys are welcome too! I know there are a lot of you who paint miniatures and stuff. Come over and sew, knit, draw, découpage, scrapbook, write structured poetry, etc.! There can even be tasty refreshments.

I'm usually completely free Monday and Wednesday nights, and occasionally on Tuesdays. Fridays and Saturdays are less reliable, and Thursdays and Sundays are, of course, gaming. It's been indicated that Monday the 12th may be a possible good night for some. Let me know!


Damage Report

This is the first time in my life I've ever lived in a valley instead of the top of a hill. Until last night, I didn't fully appreciate the benefits of the latter option.

pghkitten's favorite way of dealing with insanely sucky situations is to make a good story out of them.Collapse )
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

It's called the "Apache Wedding Prayer", and even though I know it probably has nothing to do with the Apache Nation or any other native tradition and was probably created by a Hallmark copywriter, it still gets me teary-eyed every time I hear it. It was the closing reading at our wedding, and it comes to mind today, on the third anniversary of the day we got most of our friends and family together to celebrate the love we share. Here's to many more.