I posted on Facebook yesterday, "The difference in my life from last December to this December is really huge and 100% positive."
I've been thinking about this a lot lately - turn of the year and all. But it was brought sharply into focus by two things, one yesterday, one a few weeks ago. The one yesterday? I thought "where did I go for NYE last year?" and realized that I had turned down all party invites and stayed home on Gchat with Michael. This year, I still don't know how many parties I'm going to make it to, but I am hella going out.
The other one requires a bit more unfolding.
I go to a lot of parties! Some of these parties have an element of friendly makeouts and the pressure-free option for more than makeouts. I actually want to write about these parties and the way they're sex-positive without the sexy element being intrusive for those who don't want to take part in that, and the nifty consent-culture rules; I need to write up a draft of that post and send it to the hosts for approval! The particular parties that are relevant to this topic happen... quarterly, I wanna say? Every few months. And last December's, there was some crappy weather, enough so that I didn't want to go without getting a ride. Which I secured.
And then Michael and I had the biggest fight we'd ever had.
fought over these parties. (This is why I was late to every one of them in 2013.) He did not want anyone else touching me, ever. I was fine with committing to nothing below the waist, but being able to kiss people and get touch-comfort was important to me, especially in the wake of Judah (Judah and I went to one of these parties once; he was petulant that I got more attention than him and insisted upon leaving early). I needed to be able to make choices regarding my own body.
But this fight was different, was worse; he had a complete meltdown. He refused to believe me that the weather was safe for driving. ("It's barely snowing," I said; "The Weather Channel says it's unsafe," he said, and I kept repeating the actual reality of the weather, and he refused to listen.) He wandered off from Lynne and the other people they were out with to yell at me. He repeatedly blamed me for upsetting him.
I finally got off the phone with him just before the friend giving me the ride showed up. I was visibly not-okay when I got in the car; my friend could tell. And Michael kept texting me, and I kept texting back, and my friend kept glancing over at me in deepening concern. Finally he said "Y'know, 'song..."
And I automatically responded with "He's not always like this."
And we both looked at each other in perfect horrified knowledge of the script we were reciting.
Because we know this script, we know it, we know that's what they always say, and I had not fully realized, until the words from the script flew out of my mouth, that that was really where I was. Judah hit me. Judah raped me. This wasn't that, so it had to be okay, right? Even if it was tense, even if things like this happened, even if things were always my fault, even if my fooling around made him angry so it was always my fault he was angry...
My friend just looked at me like "you know
," and I looked at him like "if you love me, don't make me say this or look at this tonight. Just let me go and drink and kiss people and not have everything collapse right now in this car."
And bless him, he let me.
I hadn't thought about that in a year; more dramatic stuff was soon to follow, et cetera
, and it faded. But the same friend gave me a ride to the same party this year. He looked back at me and quietly said "This is better than last year."
Another friend in the car said "Oh yeah, the weather
last year!" and we all nodded, but I met my friend's eyes in the mirror, and we both knew.
Y'know, it was. It was all around. The weather was better, yeah. And good friends from out of state were there, and I was bold enough to make eyes at a cutiepie I'd met at another party, and we ended up all having delicious fun that it would be inappropriate to recount here without the permission of, um, a bunch of other people. ;) And the next morning, gizmometer
and I Skyped with ashlyme
and told them all about our night, and though we'd missed each other, though everyone wished ashlyme
was there with us, they were happy for us; we were all happy.
was worried, when we started dating, that their anxiety would be a problem for me, after things with Michael. No. And there's an example of why. They missed me, but were happy for me. They did not scold or shame me.)
This has been a Year of Being Brave in so many ways. And it's been a year of freedom. It's a year of being accepted and respected by my partners - I looked very hard at everything before taking the plunge with beloved ashlyme
, and to my relief and delight, they've been very, very good for me. <3 And so has everyone else. I've experimented... kinda a lot. Most of those experiments totally worked. One didn't, but in ways that gave us both interesting data, and we are still friends, so that's still a great outcome. (There is something oddly freeing about "Yeah, wow, that was a mistake for both of us! Fascinating. Still wanna go get a drink?")
Having my world kicked out from under me yet again in January gave me the opportunity to reframe, restructure, rethink, rebuild. I waited a while before becoming involved with anyone even long-distance, and even longer before becoming involved with anyone in person, because I needed to look to myself first and make decisions about what I wanted, what I did not want, what was best for me. And I've been fairly ruthless about cutting out the things that don't serve me. I joked recently that I turned a guy down for wearing those Vibram shoes, that's how picky I am!, but really, yeah, I will no longer cut off parts of my Self to be with someone. It isn't worth it.
And I am so much happier this way.
Adam wasn't sure I should write this, because it's me talking about the exes again, but: I have been carrying this, and if I never say it, I'll never get to set it down. And I want to set it down. I've had a fair amount of bullshit from people this year that's been directly attributable to the fact that I talked about a bad breakup amongst people who were pretending to be my friends. I never got the memo that we're not allowed to talk about our lives and about shitty things that sometimes happen. And I think the shame here should lie with people who play at friendship to get intel. Lots of people should look at their lives and look at their choices. It's helped me to do so.
Last December was bad in ways that I didn't have a handle on yet, because I was kept in crisis mode. This December? I had a great visit with my Florida family. That party was huge for me in all kinds of ways. The second issue of my magazine came out. I've revising my novel - you guys, I wrote a novel, I'm still chuffed about that. And I have a well-earned calm and happiness.
Last New Year's Eve, I stayed in. Tonight, I'm going out. I will wear glitter; I will dance, and I will have champagne, and I will have a midnight kiss.
Agh Arisia is only a few weeks away.Friday
7:00pm: State of the Muppets 2015
In the 25 years since Jim Henson died, there have been five Muppet theatrical movies, a TV series, multiple TV specials, and a series of YouTube videos. The Muppets themselves were also sold to Disney. While the renewed big screen success certainly speaks to the profitability, how are the Muppets doing creatively since Henson's death? Have they been well-stewarded, or used as a cheap property for Disney to exploit? What are the highlights and lowlights of the last 25 years of Muppet productions? (with ckd
, Deirdre Crimmins, thespian
1:00pm: Unruly Places: When the Setting Does Not Behave
Streets that shift in the night, pathways that change destination, hills that certainly weren't there yesterday: some places just don't behave. What works of genre fiction have explored these unruly places? What stories can only happen where our rules just don't apply? (with cucumberseed
, Elektra Hammond, Greer Gilman, Adam.)
2:30pm: The Girl's a Monster
What's a monster? One of the undercurrents in YA fiction is that the monster is a girl, and vice versa. All manner of supernatural afflictions have been coded to the maturation of young women -- if you're not a perfect little lady, you can easily be viewed as monstrous. We'll discuss monster as metaphor and how girls are claiming the title of monster as a positive signifier. (with Genevieve Iseult Eldredge, Jeanne Cavelos, Heather Albano, Kiini Ibura Salaam.)
4:00pm: True Detective
The first season of HBO's "True Detective" grafted a tinge of the supernatural onto its hardboiled story structure, and managed to create a nationwide frenzy over the works of Robert Chambers. We'll talk about the way the show played with genre tropes, and talk more generally about the show's structure, characters, and fascinating visual elements.
(with John P. Murphy, Steve Sawicki, Megan S. Markland, Morgan Crooks.)
7:00pm: Marvel Cinematic (and TV) Universe, 2015
In 2014, we saw *Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.* and *Captain America: The Winter Soldier* deal with global corruption, while *Guardians of the Galaxy* took on Thanos and Ronan. As this panel takes place, we'll have Agent Carter on TV, with a Netflix Daredevil show hitting in May. We'll talk about where this increasingly complex and connected universe goes from here, and how things are looking after the last year. (with Heather Urbanski, Elektra Hammond, Ed Fuqua, Kevin Cafferty, Gillian Daniels.)Sunday
4:00pm: The Arisia Curmudgeon Panel
Do you hate one of the holy grails of fandom? Can't stand the original Star Wars movies? Think the answer to "Kirk or Picard?" is "neither"? Want to revoke Peter Jackson's Oscar? Cross the street to avoid Browncoats? This is the panel for you! Expect a mix of vitriol, snark, and actual media criticism at this wide-ranging panel. (with Adam, Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez III, Mark Oshiro, Abby Hafer.)Monday
11:30am: Reading: Lipkin, Salaam, Vanderhooft
Authors Shira Lipkin, Kiini Ibura Salaam, and JoSelle Vanderhooft read selections from their works.
Clearly Saturday you should bring me offerings of coffee and GF snacks. When not on panels/reading, I plan to attend a bunch of panels - Lit Track has some great stuff! - and I will be hitting the parties all night. :)
Copied from my official pro-type website.
2014 was actually the most productive writing year I've ever had - it just doesn't look that way from the outside! Since I barely wrote in 2012 and wrote nothing in 2013, I only had two stories actually come out in 2014, both written in 2014. Those are "The Final Girl"
and "The Cartographer's Requiem"
. "The Final Girl" is now the story I point people to when I want them to know what exactly I write.
This year I wrote a complete novel, my first ever; I'm currently working on revising it, and then I get to wander around looking for an agent!
I also wrote a record five stories (I know, I don't write fast/often/much). Two were published (see above), one will be out next year, and two are on submission. I've written a number of poems, mostly for a chapbook project that's not close to complete yet.
made my nonfiction debut with "Israel is Not My Birthright"
fellow poet Mat Joiner and I started a magazine! Check out the first two issues of Liminality: A Magazine of Speculative Poetry
I had a lot of reprints this year!
* "Becca at the End of the World" was reprinted in Zombies: More Recent Dead
, and it received an honorable mention in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror
* "Wool and Silk and Wood" was reprinted in The Best of Electric Velocipede
* "The Angel of Fremont Street" and "Fortune" were jointly reprinted as The Selves We Leave Behind
* "The Library, After" was reprinted in Mythic Delirium #30
and The Nebula Awards Showcase
* "Valentines" was reprinted in The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women
And what's on deck for next year? Look for "Never Chose This Way" at Apex
, "Four Chambers" at Mythic Delirium
, "The Binding" at Lakeside Circus
, and hopefully I'll be able to tell you more soon!
The second issue is here!Go read!
“Entreaty” – Sandi Leibowitz
“The Haunting” – Lev Mirov
“The Martyr of Baikonur” – India Valentin
“Entwined ‘Neath Stars and Empty Suns” – Merc Rustad
“Pentimento” – Charlie Byrd
“Ada” – Kit Hamada
“The Sirens’ Song to the U.N. Security Council: Monday, July 10, 2017” – Cindy Potts
“The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra” – Thomas Zimmerman
“Hypnos and Thanatos: The Embrace” -Lynette Mejía
“Auspicious” – Joshua Gage
“The Lark, The Peat, The Star, and Our Time” – Neile Graham
(The rest of my day = cleaning, packing, etc. I have a series of meditations on this year that I'll be writing up, but for now: magazine!)
Every time I pause to write here, I ponder, and I think "my thoughts on that are not complete yet".
Which, from the outside, must look like absence when it's more like heightened presence.
So. This post is an ask-me-anything, in case there's anything you were wondering about.
Anonymous commenting is on.
Copied and pasted from e-mail, why I might blow off my sleep doctor appointment Tuesday. Additional context: Not only is doctor useless, doctor is leaving this practice in three weeks, so honestly I have no idea what could possibly be accomplished by another meeting.
Brief version: I have terrible insomnia and haven't slept without aid since 2006. Trying to get to the bottom of it so I can stop being chemically dependent.
Sleep doc: "We're gonna test for apnea."
Me: "I had a negative sleep study in 2010, and none of my partners have ever reported any snoring."
Sleep doc: "Okay but we're gonna test for apnea."
*home sleep study*
Tech: "Yeah, you don't have apnea."
Sleep doc: "Okay we're gonna do this other test for apnea."
Insurance company: "...yeah, we're not gonna approve that because she pretty clearly does not have apnea."
Sleep doc: *comical shrug*
Signal-boosting for wired_lizard
- her house, not mine!
(But mine is walking distance from hers so that's cool.)
Originally posted by wired_lizard
at PLZ HALP: Housemate needed in Watertown, MA, by January 1
URGENT! I am looking for a housemate here in Watertown (suburban Boston) starting January 1. Geek house, queer-friendly, a well-furnished and well-established household in a great location. Rent is $920/mo. including electricity, internet, and gas; does not include heat. More below the fold.
link and circulate this, email it to anyone you know who's looking, etcetera! Due to some setbacks out of my control, I'm starting this housemate hunt on the late side, and I'd really like to have somebody lined up in the next two or three weeks. Send me a message here on DW or LJ, or email me at arkady [dot] lizard [at] gmail if you're interested!( DetailsCollapse )This entry was originally posted at my fandom journal on Dreamwidth. Please comment there if possible.
I have a bunch of things that are all sort of pending, but I haven't updated in a while, so!
* CT results in brief: I do not need emergency cardiovascular surgery at this time. Good! I need to call the doctor's office after this post to make an appointment to talk about next steps and also get my flu shot.
* Liminality just finished its second reading period, and we are delighted.
* We have heat now! Got it the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Very relieved.
* I've been putting off revising the novel because I have no idea how to revise a novel, but I need to get on that. I am starting today: re-reading with a red pen in hand.
* I blinked and apparently I have been dating someone for two months as of tomorrow? Man, he really needs a code name.
* (And Mat and I have been together for eight months today.)
* Bash's eye is looking better, but he still needs near-constant medication. That wears on a body.
* Every Thanksgiving is the best Thanksgiving yet.
* Check out yendi
's LJ for all your shopping needs, BTW; using those links means we get a little Amazon credit for each purchase.
And it is time to call the doctor, then get to work!
I'm with Adam here.
Originally posted by yendi
I went to bed last night before the Ferguson lack of indictment was announced. But I can't say I was surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. Between the decision to announce at night and the gathering of police, it was pretty obvious that they were not going to indict Darren Wilson, and that the local government was doing its best to make the situation as awful as possible (The Onion's pre-decision headline, "Heavy Police Presence In Ferguson To Ensure Residents Adequately Provoked
," was dead-on).
As Newsweek noted a few months ago
, prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch pretty much sides with the cops every time. And as just about everyone has noted, damned near any prosecutor can get a grand jury indictment. the famous quote by Sol Wachtler about prosecutors convincing grand juries to "indict a ham sandwich" being pretty accurate. Of course, as 538 notes
, cops are the exception. It's almost like they're a protected class, allowed to abuse the law with impunity. If you prefer more right-wing sources, here's Reason noting the same thing
. If you prefer less integrity-driven right-wing sources, National Review is all over things arguing that cops are the victims here. I won't link to their bile.
I'm disgusted and disappointed and horrified and angry. And (as Colleen Lindsay noted
), the very fact that those, and not fear, are my emotions is about as much of a sign of privilege as anything.
Doing a rare thing and disabling comments here; between work and other stuff, I don't have a lot of web time today, and frankly, there are plenty of places for folks to have a conversation if they want it. Take care of yourself.
Bash, whose nickname is Murder Cat, apparently has a corneal ulcer caused or exacerbated by ocular herpes!
The kitty opthalmologist said he's almost certainly had flareups in the past; we adopted him at age 12, so... *shrug* He has some thinning of his cornea and may develop cataracts, poor giant jerk kitty.
He has a lot of medications.
* Serum eyedrops 4-6 times a day.
* Ofloxacin eyedrops 4-6 times a day.
* Terramycin ointment applied directly to the eye 3-4 times a day.
* Atropine ointment applied directly to the eye once a day.
* Buprenex in his mouth twice a day.
* Lysine chews twice a day.
If you see me this week, hug me. And bring band-aids. Because medicating him is exactly as fun as you think it is.
(Also, DAMN, $600 in the past few days for this cat.)
Not much this year; I wrote nothing in 2013 for reasons
, which overlapped with barely writing anything in 2012 for Judah-reasons. So no poetry this year (unless one of the two pending poems comes out in the next month), and just two short stories."The Final Girl"
."The Cartographer's Requiem"
I like the latter just fine, but the former's where my heart is, if you've a mind to pick one, and if you haven't read it yet, I hope you do.
(As far as the Rhyslings, let me point you to Liminality
! We'll have another issue out on the winter solstice (which we are reading now for; submit!), so hold off on your nominations til then. :))
* We have been without a furnace for over three weeks now. >.> The part that failed was installed in 1961, and apparently there were structural and safety concerns. Landlord and contractors went back and forth on repair vs. replacement for a while until the contractors flatly refused to repair ("we don't wanna get sued"), so the old furnace was hauled out on Monday, and they've been working on installing the new one all week. They're down there right now. A lot of stuff needed updating, apparently. We're managing with a couple of space heaters and electric blankets. It's been good to save money on the gas bill? But we will really appreciate warmth when we get it (hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow).
* Poor Bash has a scratched cornea! :( This apparently works out totally okay with application of topical antibiotics and atropine, sometimes, so I am squeezing things directly onto Murder Cat's eyeball 4 times a day, which is exactly as fun as you think it is. He has a follow-up at the vet tomorrow at 3 - anyone local available to give us a ride? Adam's out of town, and Bash HATES being confined - bus is a possibility, but takes much longer than car and I worry about Revenge Shitting.
* My full-body imaging will be this Thursday. Wish me luck!
* I've mostly been posting recommended long reads on Facebook; feel free to friend me there or just pop over and look.
* Liminality is halfway through its reading period for our winter issue! Send us poems! Tell your friends!
* I need to write a post about me and dating, because I have a lot of big thoughts about how my needs and desires have been affected by recent relationships and have shifted just within the past year. In the meantime, I am dating someone local now apparently! and have two first dates in the next two weeks. Fascinating.
* Holy crap Thanksgiving is coming up soon. This is a very fast year.
Enough details are emerging around the edges that it pretty much makes no difference whether I say what I have or not at this point, so: my mutation is on COL3A1. That's Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type IV, vascular
, aka vEDS, which is what I'll be referring to it as because otherwise that's a lot to type. La la la more links
We were already looking at EDS due to the hypermobility, but in addition to fitting so many of my physical oddities, vEDS also explains why I don't have other common EDS symptoms, like the stretchy skin, and why my hypermobility is not as extreme as many EDS folks' - in vEDS, there's less of that. Instead, our blood vessels are stretchy/fragile.
So the Major Complication in vEDS is aortic dissection
, which, if you're not feeling clicky today, basically = blood vessels go boom. This is why the median life expectancy is 48, because aortic dissection is so frequently fatal.
And that is why having this data is a GOOD THING! Because aortic dissection is pretty low on the differential diagnosis for the ER docs, re: otherwise-healthy-looking patient presenting with severe pain. If I or whoever I'm with can tell them "look for this first," that can potentially buy enough time to save my life. There are advances in medical science. Fewer people die of aortic dissections now than did ten years ago.
80% of people with vEDS have had An Incident by age 40. I'm not kidding when I said that going on beta blockers in 2005 almost certainly saved my life. It's funny, with all the problems with my brain and guts, we never looked at my cardiovascular system again after I got an accurate-but-incomplete diagnosis and got on a medication that worked right off the bat.
If you want to read through the links, you'll see the lists of things I'm not allowed to do, which I won't reproduce here; just: if I say "I can't, doctor's orders," please believe me.
The further testing I'll be getting is full-body imaging, to see if I have any blood vessels that look especially fragile. If I do, we may opt to do some surgical intervention, replacing bits with artificial blood vessels or stents. I say "may" because surgery is very risky for people with vEDS, so it may not improve my prognosis to do surgery. Depends on how strong my cardiovascular system is overall.
So that's where stuff is.
Today I finished Atul Gawande's latest book, Being Mortal
. I love Gawande's work
- he has a stunning compassion about him, in the way he writes about medicine. I first heard about the new book via this excerpt
, which is worth reading to begin with.
I'm a fast reader, but it took me a while to finish this book. Not because it was bad or difficult! Because it was just exactly right, and I kept setting it down and thinking about my own end-of-life decisions, running scenarios in my head, pondering choices I've had the luxury of not pondering quite so much in the past.
I know what I want to happen after
I die. I know that I want my body donated for cadaver dissection - my organs will not be useful for donation, and that's a way I can still help. I read and loved Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab
by Christine Montross years ago, and it resonated with me. So: that. My remains will be of service, will teach someone who can use that knowledge to help other people. Then I'll be cremated, and Adam will get my ashes, and he'll give some to anyone who wants some, so people can sprinkle them in their favorite places. In the meantime, my wake should be a party.
Studies have shown, unsurprisingly, that people reevaluate their priorities when they have a finite amount of time left. I went through this a little when I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I'm glad I did, because it's prepared me for now, to be able to handle current stuff with grace instead of panic. Mostly. More grace than I might otherwise have had.
Median life expectancy of 48, is the thing.
My doctor prefaced that with "this is a bad one," meaning my particular mutation. And ended by pointing to the report and saying "This is not your story. These numbers are not your story. You're writing your own story."
I am waiting on further testing. Full-body imaging, to see how much to worry, as I've said, and if I need or should have surgical intervention. And I have a list of things not to do, which unfortunately rules out some of the Year of Being Brave stuff I wanted to try; the sudden drops in aerial silks would be a problem, for instance.
So I adjust. And I sit with myself, and I think.
What is my best possible day? What is my best possible life?
I don't have a conclusion for this yet. But not talking about it was wearing on me. So.
Still not talking about Monday's results, but there's this:
I spent a few weeks massively fatigued and light-headed, with that just-can't-get-started feeling all day. This coincided with the weird neurological event, which was shortly after massive stress that caused my weight to drop again, from ~107 to ~101.
An unusual thing about my doctor visit for the neurological thingie - he was walking another patient out and saw me, so he fetched me back and we went straight into discussion. I had my vitals done after he left, so he never saw that my blood pressure, usually 100/70, was 85/55.
And at my neurologist appointment the next week, it was similarly low - and my heart rate was 60, which is atypically low for me. And
I was highly stressed at the time, because new neurologist. So it really should've been higher than usual.
I was brainfoggy enough that it took me like another week to put this all together, then call my doctor: "Hey, my meds were prescribed when I was like 130 pounds. I'm at like 102 right now. I think I am overdosing? Because these things are all symptoms of extreme low blood pressure
and relative bradycardia
? Even possibly the seizure-ish thing?"
Which was nerve-wracking, because I'm already on a very low dose of the beta blockers - if that was too much, the next step would be cardiac ablation, and even a little heart Procedure is scary. But! I have managed to put some weight back on, and I am back to "normal", and my doctor agrees that I was totally right.
So. I just can't go below ~105 ever again. (Not that I want to.)
Semi-related, and related to Monday stuff: it is actually quite possible that I'm alive today because I've been on beta blockers since 2005. So hey thanks big stressor of 2005!
* Well, I got my genome-sequencing results back. It is... not good. I'm not sharing publicly until I do another test (full-body imaging to determine exactly how much to panic) and have some family conversations. It will be public eventually, in that it'll sorta have to be - the most likely potentially-fatal complication is something that's low on ERs' differential diagnoses, so I'll need people to be able to say "Look for X first!" when they call 911. And that is my silver lining, I guess, is that knowing where to direct ER attention might save enough time to save my life. So, well, I am a bit fragile this week.
is open for submissions for issue #2! Our guidelines are here
. You have til the end of the month! Submit!
* "Becca at the End of the World" got an Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow's Year's Best Horror
! I am chuffed. It was reprinted in Zombies: More Recent Dead
(ed. Paula Guran), if you like your stories in print form, and is still readable for free at Apex
* Speaking of, Apex bought my story "Never Chose This Way", which is one of the two I wrote this summer during my streak of exploring the justifiable rage of teenage girls.
* My poem "Four Chambers" just sold to Mythic Delirium
. It is not completely
* The novel is still sitting. Waiting. I might try re-reading it tomorrow or Friday? I'm at a place of Totally Done with it, in my writerbrain, which is jarring after it being my primary focus for so long. Like, no sequel, this story is told, boom goodbye. But it does need an edit, and some stuff layered in.
* And I should write some short fiction and poetry before diving into revisions? I think? I am supposed to? I'd like to do something for Accessing the Future
, just because, but I'm not sure what
yet. The one piece of short fiction that's knocking at my brain is one I'm trying to not do yet because it is at least
a novella, and I want to do something shorter, but. It's a bit insistent.
* We got to see Elayna for Halloween! And will see her again on Saturday for a concert!
And now I must go walk the dog. (I remain excited about the fact that I have a dog. Nicodemus is super awesome.)
I have been meaning to deliver an update! I just hadn't done so because we were in the middle of it all. There's a lull, now.
So, how one becomes a foster parent:
Apply, get interviewed, have a home inspection (which results in a list of things you gotta do: get a lock for that door, figure out where you're going to keep stuff you need to access daily that the kid can't have access to (like my meds), etc.), then the training.
The training is a big part of what ate our September! Three hours every Wednesday night, eight hours every Saturday, covering a multitude of topics. And this is just the basic training. I, um, had to suppress a lot of hand-raising, because my background with BARCC and caring for medically-complicated kids meant that I knew a lot of the answers. But we learned a lot, too, and have a three-inch three-ring binder stuffed with information and resources.
In addition to that, we were given considerable homework, which mostly consisted of case files of actual kids to review and a huge questionnaire about us, our lives, our upbringing, and our parenting styles. The files were illuminating - not just in what they reveal, but in what they don't. They're put together when everyone's in a rush, of course. Some had information that was just not there - some had old information that hadn't been updated. So I had lots of questions to bring back! "This concerning behavior from 2010 - have they done it since?" "This kid's gone through puberty now - any behavioral changes?"
We were told at the end of the class that it would be a few weeks before they'd move on to the next step - the home study interviews. But we were called for ours just a few days after class ended!
The home study interviews are the penultimate weeding-out point. This is a series of multi-hour conversations with the foster care folks. Remember that in-depth questionnaire? Basically expanding on that for three three-hour sittings; one for me, one for Adam, one for both of us. That's... a lot of talking about my childhood family dynamic. And, since we have a kid, a lot of talking about parenting, discipline (Adam and I both grew up in pro-spanking households, but are anti-spanking ourselves), etc.
And that's where we are now. The foster care place is typing up those results; we can probably expect a call or e-mail to clarify stuff, because there was a *lot* of talking, and they might not have gotten quite everything down! Then they'll send us our file for fact-checking, and then we get fingerprinted, which is the final weeding-out point - if we have criminal records, no foster parenting for us! And, well, we know we don't, but it must be proven.
After our fingerprinting results come back, we'll be cleared and certified. (We'll need to take monthly classes to maintain our certification.) The process from there:
* The foster care place will match us with kids they think will be a good fit with us. (We've specifically told them that we're LGBT-friendly, so if they have a queer and/or trans kid that they're having trouble placing, that kid goes to the top of the list for us. LGBT kids are, statistically, the hardest to place, because many foster care households don't understand them or want to "fix" them.) We'll get ~5 case files to read.
* We'll narrow it down! Adam and I will pick the kids we think we'd work best with, then talk to the foster care place and get more information on them, gradually narrowing it down to one. (We'll be certified for two, but intend to start with one unless we have a perfect match with a sibling group.)
* We'll get to meet the kid. In an ideal situation, there are three meetings before placement: one in their current placement, one out and about (park, McDonalds, whatever), and one in our home, ideally a sleepover. There can be more if the kid needs more. There can be fewer if the kid needs an emergency removal. Three's the goal.
...and then we'll have a foster kid.
The goal with the organization we're working with is eventual reunification with the family of origin. So we'd have a kid for a few months to a few years while DCF puts supports in place for the family and everyone gets to a point where it's healthy to be together again. Conditions vary! It may be that the goal changes to adoption, or to independent living, especially with older teens. We might have a six-year-old who goes home or to a grandmother in six months. We might have a sixteen-year-old who we help apply for college. (There's a great program for that at a local university.) So far we're open.
Oh, and if you're at our house more than once a month, you are considered a Frequent Visitor and will have to be CORIed (criminal records check).
Timeline-wise, we're probably looking at January for a placement; fingerprinting takes six weeks, and we would be loathe to take a kid close to the holidays - one is allowed to take kids on family trips, but it's not a great idea to do that in the first few weeks of placement, and holiday trips can be fraught for kids who don't feel secure in the family yet.
Well, another thing.
When Adam and I got married, I was sick, and we thought I'd never get better.
I'd been diagnosed with epilepsy the prior year, and was still on the nightmare drugs that took most of my brain away. I was down to 85 pounds, and glad of the Jewish tradition of one's parents walking one down the aisle, as I honestly didn't know if I could make it by myself (dizziness, balance issues, severe fatigue); I was supposed to walk in a circle seven times around Adam, but the rabbi said three was okay, and I was so glad I managed that. My health was steadily deteriorating.
When Adam signed on for this, he thought that I would be an invalid.
He signed on anyway.
I'm stubborn, but he's always been there to lean on. We divide tasks based on whatever my body is doing in any given year. He understands when I can't do things. And he supports me fighting to do the best that I can.
In 2006, the chronic pain hit, and almost nothing worked at all. I kept switching anti-seizure meds, and each one was worse than the last. And Adam was always by my side.
But in 2009, I got the celiac diagnosis, and most of the pain stopped.
In 2012, I stopped taking brainsmashy drugs.
And this year, I found out that the rest of the pain was due to hypermobility, and we fixed it.
I am doing so much better now. I think of where we thought I'd be in ten years when I walked down that aisle, and - I could never have predicted this.
But I absolutely could have predicted that Adam would be with me no matter what.
As Adam said, we've moved, we've changed jobs - I actually got off my ass and started writing again, and that's working out! - we sent a kid to college... there've been a lot of changes in our world, so many of them good.
It all pales in comparison to the fact that, ten years ago today, I needed to lean on my father's arm just to get down the aisle... and last night, I walked the two miles home from my anniversary dinner with my wonderful husband, talking all the way about what's next for us.
All of this. Best friends for 18 years, partners for 14, married for 10 today. Very, very happy. :)
Originally posted by yendi
at Ten Years
Ten years ago today, shadesong
and I said our vows as the sun set in Arizona
. Since then we've moved, changed jobs, dealt with all sorts of "fun" medical issues, sent a kid to college, and more. And through it all, she's been my partner and best friend, and one of the best damned things to happen to me.
We celebrated with a obscene meal at our favorite restaurant
last night (because Jewish holidays begin the night before, of course. And because it was easier to get a reservation on Thursday). Taking the day off work to spend more time together, with a show tonight.
We agreed last night that we're totally up for another ten years (and more). <3