Thursday, September 28, 2017

8th of Tishri 5778

Rosh Hashanah or our New Year started on the night of the 20th, and ended the night of the 22nd. The 2nd day is usually not as big. Many people don't go or even have services that day. I think I only 'attended' the first evening and first day's services online. It was with Central Synagogue in NYC. I liked most of it. There were a couple of weird songs in English that I skipped over. It still feels weird to have so many rabbis and cantors leading, a choir, and an organ playing in the background. The drash (sermon) during the evening and the one in the morning were both great. The retired cantor that volunteered to help, was amazing. His voice was so soulful, and somewhat in a more traditional style. I think he did the same thing last year, and it was just as great. 

Tomorrow night's the start of Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. One of the holiest days of the year for us. Like usual, Shabbat starts that night, too. Yom Kippur is sometimes referred to as the Shabbat of Shabbats. So, it's even more so this way? I'll attend Central Synagogue's online services again for it. Most people are told to fast during the holiday. Can't have food, water, gum, etc. The ones who are exempt from that are little kids, people who are pregnant, the elderly, and those with health conditions. If these people do fast, it's as though they sinned. Just like it would be for someone who eats when they aren't exempt from it. I have to eat something with my meds, food helps regulate it as well, and it's not good to fast when you have colitis (unless a medical professional instructs you to). I still feel guilty that I have to eat during that day. 

I'm up to 205 pages, altogether, with writing the sequel to Alliance and the memoir. (100 for the sequel, 105 for the memoir.) It's roughly twice that for paperback versions. Yay! That's good considering I started writing both in mid-May. I also didn't write for a few weeks, because it was so hot (not good to have my desktop computer on in the hottest room of the house) and I was sick. I wrote about half as many pages the first month, and for a while didn't write on Sundays. (The only day I don't write is on Saturdays, before it was both days.) It's the first time I'm writing two books at once, and I'm progressing much faster than I did for the other two books. (Alliance took the longest...) I wonder how much longer it'll take me to finish both? Not sure if one will be longer than the other. There's also the editing and reformatting...Still, it's exciting. It's a milestone for me.

I like how both books are turning out so far. The sequel has been unpredictable, but still follows the plot well. A little too well at times...Things that seemed unrelated are coming together. Makes it more fun and interesting. I'm remembering more parts of my life than I thought with the memoir. The topics for chapters have worked well for it. I'm in the midst of writing the physical health chapter. It's already longer than I thought it would be.

The non-binary facebook group I'm apart of has been interesting. I might look for a more active one in future, though. Most of the posts have also been intros and selfies. Not really much to them. One topic that came up was being non-binary and sexual/romantic attractions. If you had sexual/romantic attraction, what word would you use to describe it if you're not binary? Like, could someone be gay or straight if they weren't binary? This can be slightly controversial. Some people said they go by the 'genitals' that might interest them sexually. If they're afab (assigned female at birth) and are attracted to women, they'd call themselves lesbian. Similar with amab (assigned male at birth), and attracted to men feeling they're gay this way. Or, with afabs attracted to men, being straight. (And, vice a versa.) This can be a bit problematic on many fronts. Would trans men or women be included in this even if they might not have the 'matching' genitals? Why reduce it down to genitals? It seems so cold. Also, the non-binary person themselves is not a man or woman...Many non-binary people take issue with this. Many use the labels androsexual (or androromantic), gynesexual (or gyneromantic), and skoliosexual (or skolioromantic). That's sexually/romantically attracted to men, sexually/romantically attracted women, and sexually/romantically attracted to non-binary people. It seems better to me. Skoliosexual can be a bit controversial outside of the community. Since it's hard to tell until they tell you, and non-binary people might congregate together more...It still sounds complicated. I'm glad I'm aro ace. I don't have to deal with that. Also, with the strongest attraction I do feel, platonic (it's different than being 'just' friends...), I'm pan. I'm attracted to people this way regardless of gender. It's good to know for qpr's or queer (or quasi-) platonic relationships, which I would love to be in. So, even with this attraction I don't need to think of the right label. It's already applicable to me. I'm attracted to men aesthetically, though. This way, I guess, it'd be andro-. Hardly use that sort of attraction, though. It's not as important to me. 

Another topic that came up recently was in a comment to a post. They told the person they aren't trans. They're non-binary. They went into this weird thing about how we don't have gender dysphoria, and don't need surgeries. Apparently, there isn't 'treatment' for us, too. There was so much wrong with their comment and many people jumped in to correct them, including me. We are under the trans umbrella. Trans just means you identify as a gender that's different than the one you were assigned at birth. That boils down to anyone who isn't cis. Sure, some non-binary people might feel uncomfortable with being under the trans umbrella, and not identify with that community. That's completely up to them, but they don't speak for the community. 

I'm afab (it feels like it should be 'was', but I've only heard it as 'am'), and agender. I'm not a woman (and never was, although sex is different), therefore by definition I'm trans. It took me a little while to realize this, though. For a while I thought trans people were binary. They had to be transitioning in some way, too. This was wrong. I remember reading that the person who came up with the trans flag, made a point in saying the white stripe represented non-binary identities. This made me feel a bit better about it. I just mostly see binary trans people at trans meetings and events, so it's easy to feel like you don't belong this way. 

Many non-binary people experience gender dysphoria, and some binary trans people don't. I mentioned recently on here about how I feel about my breasts. I think I'm dysphoric about them. They don't feel right, and weird me out sometimes. I don't feel it as bad as some people I've read about, but I think it's there. Some people who are afab and agender, want mastectomies. Some I've read want be smoothed out surgically, too. (Don't know what that's called.) That seems unique to agender people. Maybe some androgynous people do as well? There are specific ways that non-binary people can transition. I'm just starting to learn about it. It's fascinating, even if I don't go that route. 

By the way, I noticed that comment was eventually deleted, and the person might have been banned. They're very strict about the rules. They don't even allow allies. Especially, not cis people. They have a separate group that allows allies. Both binary trans people and cis people. There was a cis person that made it into the group that's an exclusive space for us, and she complained about people negatively posting about cis people. The thing is many people have been semi positive about cis people. There are some that, understandably, vent at length about cis people. They need this sort of outlet, and to talk to people that understand. So, she immediately was attacked by lots of people. A few mods stepped in, suggesting the other group. She proclaimed that she'll quit the group since we hate our allies so much. It was strange. If you're an ally, you have to realize people are angry about how they're treated. They don't hate you specifically. They hate the system, the world is set up for binary people, and it seems most cis people are against or at least think they can debate our very existence. They understand binary trans people more than non-binary ones. So, you can see how this can affect the community. Even some binary trans people try to invalidate our existence, yet they're just a very small vocal minority. 

Rosie recently went to the vet's for a check-up. She hadn't had one for 5 years. Basically since Mom passed away. She's the worst of all the cats we've had about getting into the carrier. (We thought Drifter was bad enough about it.) Dad managed to get her in after a major struggle. She threw up a little, pooped, and peed in the process. She was that scared. It was painful to watch. We think she may have been abused by her previous owners by making her stay in a carrier for far too long. She may have had to use it as a bathroom sometimes. Which might be why she claws at things after using the litter box. She may have tried to get out of a carrier once she did her business in it. That makes me feel worse somehow... 

Anyways, she's a little overweight, just like Tasha. So, the plan is for both of them to have weight loss cat food soon. Her teeth were unusually healthy for her age. She's about 9 or 10. We got her around my birthday in 2011. She's updated on her shots now. They clipped her nails, too. She felt better afterwards, and has become even more loving towards me which is kind of creepy in a way. Mostly nice, though. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

21st of Elul 5777

The last day of Elul will be on September 20th, and that night will be the start of Rosh Hashanah or our New Year. (For us, it'll be the year 5778.) It'll also be the start of the month of Tishri. As well as the start of the High Holy Days, which lasts for 10 days. They begin with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is lit. the Day of Atonement. Those 10 days are a time of introspection. Reflecting on the previous year, and thinking about what we can do better in the coming year. It's kind of a bittersweet time. Happy, yet somber. 

Again, I won't be able to fast for Yom Kippur this year. I have to have food with my meds, and the meds wouldn't work as well for me without food anyways. Not good for someone with IBD to strictly go without food for so long, either. It'd be considered a sin if I didn't eat, because of all this, too. A similar one to if someone was healthy enough to fast, but didn't. It still gets to me every year for that holiday.
This is my wallpaper for September. From left to right: Takasugi, Gintoki, Katsura, and Sakamoto from Gintama. This is when they fought along side each other during the war against the Amanto (aliens). They're in their more traditional samurai outfits. This was also before they had split up. Takasugi becomes a rather complex enemy through most of the series. Gintoki is the leader of Odd Jobs, and helps people in his neighborhood usually. (He's the main character, and just in case people didn't know about him.) Katsura sometimes helps Gintoki from the sidelines, and they actually seem like they're still close friends. Katsura's basically a terrorist who hates the government. Sakamoto's hardly in the series, yet he's important too. (He shows up a lot more in the last season.) He's a space pirate who's good at doing business with aliens. He has helped both Gintoki and Katsura occasionally. He's a goofball, but very clever. I miss this show. It's my fave anime. There's going to be a new season soon. It'll most likely be the last one, sadly. The last couple of seasons were really serious. Not nearly as much comedy as they normally have. I miss that humor, too. Although, it was still awesome! 

The Pusheen calendar has her in an apron and chef's hat. It says: "Let's bake!" over her head. There are all sorts of baking utencils around her. Apparently, she made some sort of mixture in a big bowl, there's a cracked egg shell near it, and she was rolling some sort of dough with a rolling pin. She's happily sitting in the middle looking at it all. Also, has her front paws put together. There's a cupcake in the actual calendar part. It's cute. There's definitely a theme for some of the last few months. What with her own cafe and now baking stuff...Last month was different with the mermaid, though. (Or is it mercat?) 

The month-long holidays for September are: National Biscuit Month, National Breakfast Month, National Chicken Month, National Honey Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Cheese Month, Classical Music Month, National Piano Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. 

I've had my iPhone for 3 years now. It's a 5c. It's been amazing, and I can't really imagine life without it now. I never had a smart phone before it. The mobile phone I had before wasn't the greatest. At least, it had a calendar, calculator, a few games, and notes on it. It was a lot harder to navigate. Feels kind of novel just to touch the screen. It really is like a mini computer, too. It feels like I've had it for a longer time than that. 

I've been sick with a nasty cold since the 3rd. It's a lot better than it was towards the beginning, but it's still lingering. It has mostly affected my nose, sinuses, made me dizzy, warm, the air hurts my eyes, and given me a sore throat. At one point, I did have a fever. Luckily, that quickly got better. Occasionally, I've felt cold and hot at the same time. That has felt weird and annoying. 

When it was at its worst, we were having a heatwave of about 90 degrees each day with heavy, sometimes hazardous, smoke. Normally with the heat and smoke, that would be a miserable combo. However, being sick during that time felt horrendous. Almost like nature was against me, too. The smoke was from the eastern Washington wildfires this time. (I'm from the western side of the state.) Before, it was the wildfires from Canada and then Oregon. For the last couple of days, it's been nice and cool, and there doesn't seem to be much smoke. A lot more tolerable. I'm still sick of being sick. Makes it difficult to do stuff, or even eat at times. I've gone through probably an entire tissue box already, and I still have a very runny nose. 

The week before last I managed to practice my clarinet every day, except during that weekend. That was nice. Hadn't gotten to it in a long time. Played better than I thought I would. Obviously, it wasn't perfect, but much better. 

I didn't get to it last week. Mainly because of how sick I was. I managed to practice yesterday and today, though. It was hard to play while at the same time I could barely breathe normally, and my nose was going. I had to take a lot more breaks than usual. Couldn't finish a phrase in one go, either. I'm still happy I was able to do it. Today, I mostly played jazz tunes and a few pieces from my advanced classical music book. It was pretty decent sounding today, too.

The week before last, I managed to write more of both books each day. (Again, except for that weekend.) I didn't write at all last week. I did end up getting to it yesterday and today, though. I've written about 170 pages all together. That's roughly 340 pages in paperback. Quite a lot. Got to another chapter today for the memoir. The previous one was about college, and this one will be about mental health stuff. This will probably be the toughest chapter for me. After this one, it'll be on 'physical' health. That one will have a lot to it, too. The college one was about 12 pages long, and I think it's the longest chapter so far. Moving along quickly with the sequel to Alliance, as well. I'm not sure where it's headed, but it has been fun so far. Also, had some ideas on the cover recently for it. All I'll share on that is it'll still incorporate the teardrop somehow. While writing out the ideas for it, it sounded cool. 

Went to the Washington State Fair on the 3rd. That was fun, even though I was starting to get sick then. I was a little disappointed that the cats and dogs weren't there. They would be later on that week. It was really warm that day. It seemed to take a toll on the animals. They looked so hot. The barns they were in weren't air conditioned. It sometimes felt warmer than outside. I can't imagine having fur in that sort of heat, either. 

We also went through the big insect exhibit. That building had ac. The insects looked happier. I didn't want to see the big spiders alive or their dead mounts, but I liked seeing the other insects. I don't have the same 'issues' with them. They had the big versions of stick bugs. I had the small ones as pets when I was little. I thought they were cool until they multiplied. They ended up getting into everything, and I didn't expect them to do that so quickly. They were worse than the stereotype with bunnies. 

The best animatronic there was probably the preying mantis. The arms completely unfurled, and the movements were cool. The worst was probably the caterpillar. It didn't do much besides loudly grumble and wiggle slightly. Sad. They could have done a lot with that one.

The produce displays were cool. So was seeing the largest pumpkins and largest cabbage there. The cabbage broke the state record. If I remember correctly, it was 65 pounds. That's a lot. 

The collectors' exhibit was really interesting. Some really went all out. There were collections on pez dispensers, legos, Elvis, Paddington Bear, clocks, matchbooks, Americana, and so much more. I was surprised by this one. 

I had an M&M's caramel apple there. I was surprised that they'd cut it for people. Made it easier to eat. It was really good. I don't have caramel apples that often. Makes them more of a treat when I do have them that way. That's the only thing I ate there. There were a lot of tasty looking stuff. I don't know if that was because I was starting to feel sick or something else. I just didn't feel like eating more.

Eventually, the heat was getting to us, so we left a little early. I needed to be somewhere with ac, and was thirsty. So, we went to Elmer's for dinner. I tried their special, which was pumpkin pancakes. It was pretty good. 

Before going to the fair, I got new sunglasses. This time, I didn't care about which side I looked at. That being the women's or men's section. It was a nice and freeing feeling to not care. I think I chose a pair that could have been found in either section. 

I think only looking at the women's section (or women's stuff in general) was influenced by my mom, and just wanting to conform. My mom only looked at the men's watches and shirts occasionally because they were cheaper. Everything else had to come from the women's section. She was strict on that stuff. I don't think people know that freeing feeling unless you're trans. Especially, for me, being agender or other enbies. It's hard to describe. Like I was forced to be a certain way either by society in general, or family and friends unintentionally. Then, the idea that I can 'allow' myself to not care breaks that. It was a small thing, but a nice step I think. 

When I wrote about it in a status on facebook, a couple of people seemed to not really 'get it'. They said things like: "I like men's bathrobes more." "I love men's pj's and dress shirts." I know they probably didn't mean it this way, but it felt like it was similar to women can like men's stuff, too. Yeah, that's true they can. That's great if they do, too. I'm not a woman or a man, though. It kind of feels like the argument that there are all types of women out there, and you're still one you're just confused. Like there's no such thing as being enby. That doesn't sit well with me. Again, I know they didn't mean it this way, but that's how it comes off to me. I honestly want to explore more of what might give me that freeing feeling or good (not sure if that's the right word...) feeling towards 'gendered' things again. It was great. Didn't get much of a response on this in the enby group I'm in on facebook. They don't seem that active, so I might look for another one. There was one person who loved it, and gave me a nice comment at least.

About a couple of weeks ago I started getting baby ads through the mail. Last week I got a big and heavy box of baby formula samples. The last time I got this stuff was when I started college, and it didn't stop until a few years later. I kind of understand at that age. Now...not so much. I also was getting Marlboro ads and samples back then. It got so bad, I had to call them. I've never smoked, and I've never had an interest in it. They were giving me things a lot more often than the baby product people. That's the weird thing with that time and now, the baby product stuff has been from different companies. A little more difficult to stop. Plus, baby and smoking stuff at the same time was bizarre. Maybe they were confused? 

Personally, I'm still iffy about having a baby. I've kind of always wanted one. For the mom and baby stuff, it can be very gendered. That seems like a slight headache for me. The idea that something might be growing inside me is scary. Sometimes, I think of it as like the Sims or an rpg where you can see what a couple's baby will look like. A fun sort of experiment that way, but not in an emotionless way like it might sound...I think it'd be cool to have a little me, too. I'd want them to have their own personality and such, but it still would nice. I think I'd have it done medically and not the 'old fashioned' way. It can be strange for aro aces to not do it medically. I wouldn't want to have a baby now, that's for sure. But, then there's the whole nature's 'clock' thing. If I wait long enough, I suppose I'd settle for adoption. Something about biological ones feels better to me.

It can be difficult for people with IBD to have kids, too. Although, some can have them. I also feel like someday I'm going to want my uterus/ovaries out. Mainly because of health issues, not necessarily gender. Although, recently I have thought about getting a double mastectomy. The main reason's because my mom had breast cancer, my mom's mom had it, and one of her sisters had it, too. I don't even know about others, because they never share that stuff. I saw what it did to my mom, and I don't want that. That's a pretty big reason in itself. 

Gender-wise I feel they're too big. I'd probably want a reduction if there wasn't a family history of breast cancer. This way I can fit into things better, and they wouldn't weird me out as much. Without them, it might still be better for me. They wouldn't get in the way, either. If I did have a baby, I would use formula instead. The whole thing about breast feeding weirds me out anyways. Something about it...I know it's healthier for them, but it just wouldn't feel right for me. 

Recently someone, in a general LGBTQ+ group on facebook, asked when people realized their sexuality, and how late in life is too late. Like, what's the cut off age or something. I think the first time I knew I was like this was when I was 8 or 9. Much earlier for my gender. Essentially, when adults started splitting boys and girls up, and treated us differently. Just didn't have the words yet. At 16, I denied it. At 31 (just over a year ago), I realized and embraced being ace. Realized I was aro around late October that year. Realized my gender much more recently. I think it can take an entire lifetime, and even then someone might never know their sexuality. Some might deny it their entire lives, too. This can also be applied to gender. It's sad. I think I read an article a while back about a man who realized he was gay on his deathbed. He didn't know what he felt towards men was actually sexual attraction. He just thought every man was supposed to get married to a woman and have kids. Just going through the motions. It's cool he realized it, but sad it took so long. 

Finished watching Shetland on Netflix. It was pretty good. Sometimes, it dragged a bit. It was interesting to see the landscape, and the accent was cool to hear. Most of the cases were 2-parters. However, the last season was all one case. So, it was 6 episodes long. Not sure if there will be another season. 

Also, started watching a Taiwanese mystery series on Netflix called Close Your Eyes Before It's Dark. It's surprisingly good. It's about a high school reunion of a hiking club that vacation at a cabin in the woods. They used to play a game that has the same name as the show's title. Where they pick cards, and whoever gets the joker is the killer. Once everyone closes their eyes, the killer picks the victim he killed during the night. Then, they open their eyes, and the victim is revealed. They have to guess who killed them. In the present, people are actually being killed. They realize it's actually one of their own, but they don't know who yet. It has been kind of comical when they cut to the corpses, and they're talking to each other. The first person who was killed was even more funny by herself. They don't actually move, which makes it creepier. So far, only 2 have been killed. I think another one will happen very soon. They set it up in an interesting way. Each episode is an hour and a half. Really long, but they keep the tension going the entire time. I like the opening sequence, too. Very artfully done, and a bit edgy. Although, it seems to have spoilers. They hint at the deaths. With the first 2, I've noticed that they've shown things related to them. Like a gun firing off. The background music is great, as well.