Back At It

The school year has started. TeenBot is apparently happy to be back in his element. Mouse is a bundle of nerves. They* are sufficiently in touch with and in control of their feelings that they could tell me about what made the day nerve-wracking, and that’s a major improvement over this time a year ago. It’s still painful to watch the horrors of adolescence unfold without being able to help, though.

* “They” are Mouse, who rejects the gender binary and has adopted “they/them” pronouns accordingly. I already mentioned this usage a couple of posts ago, but it still sounds weird to me when I see it written down.

(I got Mouse into therapy last year because they were missing so much school from anxiety that our family was on the verge of being referred to Child Protective Services. I know I was supposed to do it as a responsible parent to help them be healthier and happier, but I think I really bit the bullet and did it because (a) we were attracting attention from The Authorities and (b) it’s important to Mouse’s future livelihood that they be able to keep functioning through whatever storms their psyche stirs up. That imperative to keep at it is so much more persuasive to me than the idea of achieving a sense of personal well-being! My poor child.)

Plugged Back In To Matrix

Never have I so jonesed for a smart phone as I did for my refurbished iPhone 5s after the Blackberry died. Accordingly, my phone was the only one of the four that were mailed to us that couldn’t be left at the doorstep by the mail carrier, and I forgot to take the pick-up slip to work with me the following day, and then I forgot to take the SIM card with me back to the office so I could activate the new phone after my lunch-time sprint to the post office, and then I forgot to bring a paperclip or something similar with me so that I could open the SIM slot and put in the card while I was waiting to pick up TeenBot from his job, and then the lead from the pencil I used to open the slot broke in the phone when I was trying to get the card back out so I could write down its number (the phone refusing to serve up this info until I could offer it wi-fi or a cellular connection to the world). I was in such bad shape that my 16 year-old rightly chastised me for being overly dependent on my smart phone. Happily, I found a paper clip in my car while waiting for my dinner partner to meet me at the Red Lobster last night, and thus I was reconnected to the zeitgeist.

(I trust it will not violate the Hatch Act if I say that I got all weepy listening to the coverage of Hillary Clinton being nominated by the Democratic Party. I genuinely believe I would have felt the same had she been a Republican. I guess it’s like my reaction to reading about women being admitted to combat roles in the military – it just touched a raw spot and made me sob out of nowhere. It feels good to see those doors opening after a lifetime of knowing they were closed.)

Tomorrow I’ll be going to an open house for would-be election officers. The city of Alexandria is offering us “patriotic refreshments.” I assume they don’t mean corn whisky or hard cider, but I’ll go anyway.

Fermenting Things

(Did I say I was using my work phone as a stop-gap until my “new” phone shows up? Ha ha ha ha ha nope. That was before it decided to download a new operating system and never finished. So much for that. Now using Mouse’s rejected iPhone 4.)

Some middle-aged ladies take up running marathons. Some get tattoos. Me, I’ve been learning to make Russian-style sauerkraut (selyonnaya kapusta) and kombucha. I failed at water kefir and half-sour pickles before that. The kapusta is reliably good, plus the juice is a fantastic stomach-settler.

(Yeah, I’m drinking sauerkraut juice. It’s kind of fizzy, actually, so maybe I should call it a sauerkraut spritzer. I wish they sold this crap in the store because it really is magic.)

I followed some instructions I found online for growing a SCOBY and making kombucha. I let the first batch of kombucha ferment too long and got fizzy vinegar. Half of it I used to marinate chicken on Sunday. The other half I am trying to fix with fruit juice and more tea. I grew a SCOBY from a bottle of the store-bought stuff. The SCOBY totally fascinates me. It reminds me of when I saw the placenta after Soldatik was born, only smaller and, you know, not a body part. It’s intriguingly repulsive.

Pokemom

The Mascot from Liquid Egg Product

Mouse has finally gotten to hunt for Pokemon. I swapped phones with them* two weeks ago because their iPhone 4 could not run the necessary iOS to download Pokemon Go. Alas, my 4S fell out of their pocket on their very first PokeWalk, ushering in many days of darkness. Mouse got the old iPhone back until their “new” refurbished 4s showed up from Amazon yesterday. I have been using my Blackberry Q10 as a stop-gap and waiting for the Amazon phone fairy to bless me as well.

*I am attempting to honor Mouse’s preferred pronouns. It bugged me a lot at first as a grammar traditionalist, but I’m starting to get a kick out of vicariously rejecting the gender binary.

Uncle Sam’s Blackberry doesn’t let me download Pokemon Go (or any other apps of any other kind), but I think I caught a Pokemon in my comments section:

The Mascot from Liquid Egg Product
The Mascot from Liquid Egg Product

 

In Which I Find My Personal Brand

I have alluded in the past to my effort to cultivate Ye Blog as an exercise in Personal Branding, through which I might hawk my professional wares and opine on things professional and work-life balance-y. At long last, I have it figured out.

I am a human being, mother f*ckers!

Brands are for commodities and institutions, neither of which I currently am.

Screen-Shot-2012-08-24-at-4.58.39-PM-640x340
Now, she’s a brand. (Picture looted from “The Gloss” via Google Images)

I’m going to just stick with TMI and random musings on life, where I belong.

Mercy

I went to a funeral Monday. It was the first funeral I have ever been to for someone who committed suicide and for someone of age to be my son. I hope it is the last such funeral I ever have to attend. With the recent exception of a beloved cousin and contemporary, all of my dead have exited this life in an orderly manner, having given notice in the form of terminal illness and/or old age. It begins to terrify me that I haven’t lost anyone closer or more out of turn – with every day the odds increase that my luck will run out.

But this is not my main thought. The thing that struck me most during the service was the compassion of the pastor’s sermon and the sympathy for the suffering of the deceased that seemed to prevail among the mourners. The religious tradition I grew up in was not forgiving of suicide. Today, the Church takes a far more nuanced look at the roots of suicidal intent, to a degree that similar sentiments could easily have been spoken at a Catholic funeral. What struck me is the difficulty of striking a balance between recognizing and attempting to ease another human being’s psychic pain on one hand and appearing to accept impaired life function or suicide as natural potential consequences of that pain on the other. Maybe I wouldn’t fixate on this on this balance if I felt that life was its own best argument against suicide? I wonder.

Loss and Wonder

Salary Mom at Zion National Park
Dang, nature!

I was overloading on work and then I visited a bunch of national parks in Utah (highly recommend) and then I came home. I know that the experience of all that beauty was restorative, but I have been playing a lot of solitaire and oversleeping since my return. And falling asleep in front of the computer.

But a friend’s son killed himself Tuesday. How horrible! I am so terribly sorry for my friend and his son’s mother.Whatever ennui or parental frustration I’m feeling as I wait for my nest to empty, it’s a blessing compared to the finality of  losing a child.