Holiday Week Hindsight

So this past week has been one for the ages as far as I’m concerned. Not only is Jon still recovering from knee reconstruction surgery (quite well, but still, he’s got a limited range of available activities) but I managed to do some fun damage over the course of the week:

  • I somehow managed to fuck up my hips and back where moving and walking is painful
  • then tripped and fell so badly (while walking the dog, poor Kizu) I ripped the palms of both hands and my right knee and foot
  • then dropped a cast iron griddle on that same foot
  • then wrenched my back *again* trying not to fall down the basement stairs

So while actual Gluttony Day worked out okay, the following days? Not so much. I’m sporting some pretty decorative bruises, and the muscle soreness from the fall and the wrench is something else. My back is hurting badly enough that I didn’t dare drive the two hours to see one of my favorite living writers read from what is probably my favorite SFF world.

Which was extra depressing.

But here we are, Monday monday, and the week is done. I know that in a year’s time what I will really remember about this past week is that Jon and I, together, figured out how to manage both our weesmall kitchen and our physical limitations to deliver a damn good Gluttony Day feast – duck! amazing mashed potatoes! sauteed mushrooms and onions! and we did PIES this year! I did a pear custard tart with almond crust and Jon did a pumpkin pie with graham crust. Plenty of homemade whipped cream to go with it.

We were also able to figure out how to share a table rather than eating side by side on the couch with our plates on our laps. If we’d had to eat like that it’s not the worst thing in the world, but the thing I like the most about sharing a well-composed meal is the face-to-face aspect.

I might still be in pain, but I do count both of those as big wins. Wins I’m grateful for.

 

Being Prepared – The “Oh Crap” Version

Soooooo

Turns out that it doesn’t really matter how prepared you are if you don’t have a table big enough to put all your planned food on, and neither your kitchen counters nor your refrigerator have enough space to hold the food either.

Time to switch mental processing hats from “foresight” to “seat-of-pants ingenuity” :x

Being Prepared – The “Doc’s Ofc is Closed for the Holidays” Version

Every week I get an allergy shot, in order to reduce my immune response to my allergies and lessen the intensity of my breathing issues. (It’s made it easier to breathe on a regular basis, but the runny nose I got in exchange was annoying, and I still have bad reactions to mold.) Usually both Jon and I get these on Thursdays, since the local office is open until 5:30 pm then. But, yknow, Gluttony Day is always on a Thursday, so this week Tuesday before 1 pm is our only local option.

Which means I was up earlier than usual, and Kizu will be walked earlier, and also benadryl wooze will be a thing because the shots are not fun with Claritin, and I don’t want to spend my afternoon struggling with symptoms. By 8 pm I am going to be SO wiped out.

So yesterday? Got a rotisserie chicken so I don’t have to think about food. And I have a bok choi already out and staring at me, which I will saute when I get home so the veggie part will be taken care of too. *thumbs up*

 

 

Being Prepared – The Low Spoons Version

Knowing myself and my energy level these days, I’ve started prepping for Gluttony Day (so called because Thanksgiving has a racist history, but I still love food) WAY early. Did you know that mashed potatoes actually freeze really well? Therefore, mashed potatoes for Jon made and frozen! 
For tomorrow, I’ve got some plans for the carrots I keep getting in my “ugly produce” boxes. *rubs hands together gleefully*

RIP Stan Lee

Many people have said all the things about this guy, better than I could. But there’s one aspect to Stan I haven’t seen mentioned explicitly yet, and want to get my take out there.

What always amazed me about Stan was how many amazing, sympathetic characters he created in collaboration with other creatives. I often think about how many more of his creations I identify with than other worldbuilders. (Even more than Le Guin, and that is really saying something.) I mean, sure, when I was very young and watching superhero media, I loved Wonder Woman more than any other icon. But she was aspirational. I actually identified more with the Hulk, because the Hulk was always messing things up for Bruce Banner, even though Banner tried really hard to keep things together.

Yeah. As a kid, that really hit home.

Jean Grey/Phoenix and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch were similar. I identified with them because even though they had a lot more power than nearly anyone else, they also didn’t have the best control of it. Shit could blow up, sometimes despite their best efforts. As a kid with poor hand-eye coordination and not great fine motor control, in a family who had both in spades, that was kind of a balm. Knowing that sometimes, even people who are super can fuck things up.

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby brought these characters (and more) to me, and gave me a context to understand myself in a different way. Kirby was gone before I really had gotten my arms around my fandom, but Lee? I got to see him as separate from the comics, and for that I’m grateful.

Thanks for everything, Stan.

The Length and Depth of Grief

One of the (many) things that annoys me about how we teach children about life is how rarely we talk to them about the different ways in which grief, as in you’ve lost someone grief, represents in different people. We don’t talk about how to deal with it and how to help others with it.

This has become a tough time of the year for me because Oct 26th is not only the day I finally realized I had to let Amelia go. It’s also the birthday of a beloved relative who is sorely missed. It’s additionally the birthday of someone I knew in college who passed almost 10 yrs ago, and while I don’t grieve him, many of my dearest college friends do.

So yeah, my brain plays tricks on me as we come up on this day, and I don’t really have good ways to deal with those tricks. Like making me forget about the date and then dumping something on me like the dream I had two days ago, in which I “discovered” I had forgotten Amelia for months underneath a bed in my parents’ house, but she was still alive. Just typing that sentence out brings back the horror and despair I felt in the dream. (I’ll spare folk any further description.) Or like when I’m having a particular beer and I think “Oh I should text Nicole and J— oh no.”

It feels WEIRD to say “I’m crying because in my dream however long ago I was a terrible companion to an animal who’s been dead for four years.” Or to explain to whomever I’m with at the bar “No, it’s nothing you said, I just thought….”  There’s no good scientific framework for it, either – I look up shit like this study and so far, nothing offers more clarity.

On the other side of it, I don’t have good things to say to my wonderful friends. “I’m sorry for your loss?” Well, I KNEW him, so that comes across as insincere. Offering support and presence? I am most emphatically NOT the person they want to go to if they want to talk about him. And if someone were to say either of those things to me concerning Amelia, I would honestly feel like a fool. There’s only one person – besides Jon – who could offer that to me and have that feel like a support.

But I’m me. And other people are different. The length and depth of their individual grief does not show up like mine. The differences are as varied as each of our specific relationships.

Because there is no way to know, all we have are stock responses to offer each other, and self-dismissive ways to deal with that moment when we’re plunged, unexpectedly, into the crevasse the loved one’s absence has created.

If you are grieving alone because of poor responses from others or, hell, if you’re simply trying to be a brave face? Please know some folks understand how long it can take, and that you never truly get over it.