October 7th, 2009


Odin's Day

Happy late birthday to ellen_kushner!

Hello to new readers devils_sidekick, trochee, and xzarakizraiia!

Hangin' in. I took an extra Robaxin last night, because stress made me ouchy.

I am, as of today, six months seizure-free.

She spent her afternoon playing Portal, chatting with friends, watching Gilmore Girls. She even did what homework she could. And she's in school today! She insisted, and it's a half-day, so not too much to wear her out. She's sore, but that's about it. No new injuries surfacing. We're keeping a close eye on her.

A number of people have gently or not-so-gently nudged us to get a lawyer. Okay, okay! We have two recommendations from local friends who've been through accidents, and we'll call today.

Adam drove her to school today, and the accident site is definitely within the school zone. So he'll have double the speeding ticket, too.

She got a visit last night from a police sergeant! He was one of the people on the scene, and wanted to see how she was doing. Benefits of living in a small town. Something like this happens, and the whole PD is buzzing about it. Our town is four square miles. Nothing else has happened this week. The rumor at school is that she broke all of her ribs and got stitches in five places! Again, small town, nothing to talk about but "OMG Elayna was hit by a car!"... I predict that she'll be very fawned-over today.

I had my shaking-like-a-leaf episode and my silent-weeping episode. Neither with her around. The latter was triggered by rinsing out her hair in the bathtub; the rusty dried blood made the tub-water look like tea. And I thought about her looking up and seeing her reflection in the cop's sunglasses, with the blood pool around her head and shoulders (which is when she realized that she was bleeding), and I thought about the hours in the hospital where she just kept bleeding and kept bleeding, and how much they had to pull her ragged scalp together to staple it. And I patted her on the back (non-injured right side!) and sent her upstairs to shower in clean water. And I bent over the kitchen sink and very very quietly lost my shit for a little bit.

Adam is sort of taking over interacting with the police department; it is important for each of us to Do Something or Have Done Something. (For my parents, too, hence sending emergency flowers and bear.) He's staying home today, and we'll get the police report and call the lawyer and everything.

She's okay. So we'll be okay. I am just every so often being struck with "my daughter was hit by a fucking car."

Speaking of Doing Something, I feel the need to direct everyone's energy to something constructive, like "Donate to Charity X!", but I can't think of anything appropriate for this. I'll ask Elayna this afternoon. Maybe her Girl Scout Silver Award project can be about crosswalk safety.

It's a Major Award!
This is the news I was going to post yesterday morning! Copied and pasted from the draft post. Is why the tone is different and all bouncy. Because the child had not yet been hit by a car.

So my volunteer coordinator asked me to come in a little early Monday so she could ask me something. Turns out that one of my fellow volunteers and I are absolutely deadlocked for the Volunteer of the Year award! We got the same number of votes from our peers. We've logged the same number of meetings, and the same number of hours on BARCC engagements and outreach projects. Every criterion my coordinator could think of, we were evenly matched on. And she wasn't allowed to give the award to two people!

(Mark: "Wow. Who's that much like you?"
Me: "The guy I voted for!")

She apparently been going nuts figuring out how to resolve this, and she finally hit upon an idea. My particular gift is in communicating; my coordinator finds my speeches moving and my stories eloquent.

So she asked if I'd be the keynote speaker. :)

This is not a thing volunteers do. I'm a first! I'm giving a modified survivor speech, focusing on transforming the experience through working for social change. This way we both get honored. :)

(First thing I said when informed that there was a tie, and who I was tied with: "Give it to him, he's been here longer!"
First thing he said: "Oooh. Let's have a dance-off!")

Tied for Volunteer of the Year. :) This is one of those things where it's not even just an honor to be nominated - but the work really, truly is its own reward. And having the work I do recognized by my peers is really freakin' awesome. I bounced all the way home!

The Gala is November 4. I must get a pretty dress taken in and knit a stole for the occasion. Tickets are $150, if you happen to have $150 to spend on social change! And you can buy ad space/message-to-volunteer space in the program for $50.

Friends Having Etsy Sales
* sihaya09's gorgeous jewelry, to pay vet bills.
* eilonwy's beautiful yarn, for her birthday.

Link Soup
* This story, by the wondrous tithenai, is just stunningly gorgeous.
* My Vegas, then and now.
* Scented cellphones?
* Beautiful pictures of a Ukrainian village.
* Superhero Facebook status updates.
* Sneak peek of one of the routines from tonight's Glee. Admit it, you never knew how perfect those two songs would be together, either.

Link Soup: Daily Science Edition
* Americans Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak won the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discovering a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells, an insight that has inspired new lines of research into cancer.
* Images from the Herschel observatory, obtained during the performance verification phase, reveal previously unseen detail in a region of the Milky Way near the Galactic Plane.
* Ten of the finalists from Nikon’s 35th Annual Small World Photomicrography Competition.
* Saturn's gigantic infrared ring.

Dealing with accident aftermath. Probably having an office-cleaning or closet-cleaning spree, because that helps. Having lunch with a friend. Seeing feste_sylvain tonight.
One Person can Make a Difference

Speaking of BARCC.

The meeting Monday night was about BARCC's Clothesline Project and how to make it even more awesome, and more of a proactive thing. There are five volunteers working on this, and everyone had really great ideas! And we all came away with tasks.


Get new shirts.

BARCC has about 200 shirts in their Clothesline Project. Of those, about 50-75 probably need to be pulled just because they're ~15 years old and repeated handling has done them in; they may be made into a quilt for the office. The rest of the shirts, while not quite as old, have still been all over Boston many times over. And while the message is still the same, and still powerful - we need new shirts.

Whenever we take it out, people want to make shirts, so we expect to see shirt-making events popping up as we tell places that we now have storage space (which is what was stopping us before). But my coordinator wants to cycle some fresh new shirts in ASAP.

Which is where y'all come in.

If you are Boston-local and want to make a shirt, please comment below with your e-mail address! Comments are screened. Once I gather up some e-mail addresses, I'll e-mail the lot of you and see about nailing down a day and time for a shirt-making event at my house. We can have music and baked goods and support. The Clothesline Project is for survivors of rape, sexual assault, incest, domestic violence, any kind of sexual violence, but can also be for loved ones of survivors; there are shirts by parents, partners, and friends of survivors. (Note: I am hoping for shirts from male survivors and anyone else whose experience challenges people's assumptions of "the typical rape victim", but I will take any shirt you want to make.)

If you aren't local and want to do a shirt - we actually have something in the works for that, and I'll let you know as soon as it's all set up. For now, just please comment if you're local or can get here.

Thank you so much for your help. The Clothesline Project displays are one of the most visceral and powerful things we do. I have a shirt in Atlanta's Clothesline Project, and I'll be making one for BARCC's. It's a cathartic experience, and I am proud to be part of making this more visible, of helping to give permission for conversation. I hope you'll join me.
Wind Tunnel Dreams

Wind Tunnel Dreams: Undertow

She did mixed-media art, she said; she mostly showed and sold shadowboxes. She was secretive about what she called her real work. Most of us left our studio doors open; walking down the hall, you could see paint being splashed around, hear the guitarist trying different chords, hear the incessant clacking of my keyboard. Only Liana kept her door closed and locked.

And yes, the clacking of my keyboard; I was writing again, after a torturously long drought. She had rekindled my mind, and words were spilling forth almost faster than I could type them. Everything seemed filled with poetry, and every minute that I wasn’t with Liana, I was immersed in story. Submitting my work was almost an afterthought - April pressed me to do it. I just wanted to crack myself open and let the stories out.

And the deeper I got with Liana, the deeper I got into that headspace. Almost a trance state. Until I was tearing things out of myself that I hadn’t known existed.

My stories sold. They were nominated for awards, and won some. There was some poetry. There was a burgeoning novel.

Between falling in love with Liana and falling headfirst into my writing, it took me a while to realize that something was wrong. I was tired all the time, and I started to stiffen up faster than I should have, but it all seemed like small stuff, creeping up on me a little bit at a time.

And Liana let me in.


Her studio was suffused with light and overflowing. Her art was brilliant - she gave a self-deprecating laugh when I said so. She refused to consider showing it at the local gallery, showing it to anyone at all.

Beyond her shadowboxes and sculptures… she worked with mannequins. Blank mannequins lined the back wall, finished ones against the side walls, every one radically different from the next. The one nearest the door was covered completely with labels from one of those old-fashioned label-makers, words and phrases that she'd found particularly appropriate. I could picture her making it - hair tied into a messy knot, teeth denting pretty lower lip, intently peeling and applying label after label. She was quiet, intense - a perfectionist. Every mannequin attested to it. Guitar-string tendons and torn sheet music for clothes. Film-strip eyes. Shining gears forming a tumbling brass nervous system.

The center of her studio was full of tables, and the tables were full of ingredients. Elements. Little bowls of beads and milagros and twisted metal and broken glass, twigs and herbs, slim silver needles and tissue-paper hearts.

She wouldn't let me watch her work. It drove me a little nuts. She set up a shoji screen so I could watch her from my vantage point on the red velvet sofa, but could not see the mannequin she was working on. Slim and incandescent, and every movement graceful, every flick of paintbrush or turn for more supplies. The elements rustled and tinkled in their little bowls when she dipped slim fingers in to select them, cupped in glass, in ceramic, in copper, in leather. She would flick her eyes up to me as she chose the perfect bead or gear, with that secret smile. I took to working on her sofa rather than in my studio. I liked the company, and the rows of little bowls, and the soft velvet. Sometimes I’d fall asleep there and wake up with her sari-silk robe draped over me.

Part three of five. And yes, you're allowed to dislike the characters; I don't think there's a purely sympathetic character among 'em! (And yeah, one thing I need to work on here if I decide to actively work on this story is the passage of time... part of the thing is that time is blurring and slipping past for him, but that's hard to get across in first-person.)
Elayna - Oct08

Elayna's in the paper!

Or in the town blog, and probably in the newspaper when it comes out. Article here. And I quote:

Watertown fourteen-year-old struck while crossing the street
By Meghann Ackerman, staff writer

A Watertown man was cited after running into a girl crossing Common Street at 7:35 a.m. Tuesday.

According to two witnesses stopped at a red light in the northbound lane of Common Street, the girl, a 14-year-old from Watertown, was crossing the street in the crosswalk and when she got to the southbound lane a driver suddenly hit his brakes and skidded into her.

The driver, a 67-year-old Watertown man was cited for a red light violation and failure to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk.

When police and firefighters arrived on the scene, the girl was laying in the southbound lane and had cut on the back of her head and complained of elbow pain. She was taken to Children’s Hospital.

([sic] all over the place, obviously.)

Elayna has been informed that next time she wants to be in the newspaper, she should find a better way of doing it.

Thanks for the link, pixelfish!