FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: I’m a Non-Resident Alien, and So Can You!

Hi. Have you had enough water lately? You probably have, but you should still drink some. Go ahead and get it. I’ll wait.

Hi, again. Where are you right now? I am in my childhood bedroom sitting amidst an amalgamation of middle school bulletin boards, pictures of high school friends, a kickass The Clash poster, and a giant gorilla stuffed animal that used to belong to my brother but now just kind of chills with me. My parents live about two hours north of Mexico City in, what I have come to think of as the Newark of Mexico. It’s got pretty poor urban development, it’s tremendously industrial, and when anyone asks where you’re from you say The City. It’s pretty silly.

I’m back here to renew my work visa so that I can keep working in the U.S. (yay, America?), and so I can keep living my life as I have made it. I don’t technically have to renew it until mid-January, but guess what happens around mid-January? That’s right! My entire future and job security become precariously balanced on the clarity and judgement of a group of people who don’t seem to think I am a person! Oh, and I turn 27.


Honestly, I’m just bummed to have to leave my life in New York in a type of suspended animation, ya know? I just started seeing a very sweet girl that teaches me about all kinds of things, my girlfriend is still working til Christmas (Hey girl! You’re working so hard, I’m so proud of you!) and I super really hope that she’s watering the plants. Thai and purple basil, y’all.

But enough about me. I honestly just want to hear about you, because I have a consular appointment on Monday and if I keep thinking about it, I’ll start chewing my nails, which (go, me!) I just recently stopped doing. What are y’all doing nowadays? You look fabulous, by the way. Are you going anywhere for the holidays? Are you allowed to travel because the consulate hasn’t seized your passport? Do you have any new interests that you’ve been developing? Have you learned anything new? Are you busy texting with a new cutie? Did you go out on a date with your honey?

WAIT. Do you like birds?? I love birds. It feels like coming out all over again when I say that I go birding, because the only people that go birding are your retired neighbors, and they never seems that happy to go in the first place. Here’s the thing though, birding is awesome. It’s like a worldwide scavenger hunt, and it literally never ends.

Here’s one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken:

Caught napping on the job.

Tell me things. I’m ready. I am a sponge ready to soak up all your awesome. Get in here.

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Isabel is a Mexico City native and current Brooklyn dweller, stands about 5-feet tall and gets really mad when her girlfriend stores the olive oil on a high shelf. She's a documentary filmmaker by day and expert quesadilla architect by night. She runs a small production company with her brother and has worked with Paper Magazine, A&E, History Channel, Bon Appetit and The New York Times. You can find some short, dry sentences on her Twitter and her fauxtography on Instagram. She's a mediocre bowler.

Isabel has written 12 articles for us.


  1. Chanukah exploded on my desk. I work at a Jewish non-profit, and there are over 600 bags of chocolate gelt, 60+ huge candles that I have to shave the bottoms of to fit in the chanukiah/menorah, and hundreds of jelly donuts to order. I want latkes, but Cuisinart has recalled my food processor, leaving me to hand-grate dozens of potatoes. Chanukah is hardcore, you guys.

    Tinder doesn’t have any more potential matches for me. Apparently I’ve swiped every queer girl in NYC. I do not know how that’s possible, but Tinder has indeed failed me. How am I supposed to not be single if Tinder bails on me? Plus, I sent a bunch of really sweet, thoughtful OkCupid messages this week, and no one has responded. Online dating (and dating in general) is really hard. At least for me. Every year, I think that I won’t be single the following year, but my wish fails to come true. Sadness. :(

    It’s like 15 degrees farenheit. That’s cold. My dog’s pee froze on her walk this morning. And my heater either makes my apartment too hot or too cold. I need to figure out how to regulate it.

    I think in the next few years, I’m going to transition careers…within theatre, don’t worry. I would like to get into theatre education. I can’t afford to go back to school, although the idea of a doctorate is really appealing. I think I’ll take come non-degree courses and try to take lots of meetings in theatre ed.

    • Loving your Hanukkah dedication. Thanks for keeping the oil burning etc etc now I want latkes. Also to play strip dreidel (okay, so I’ve never actually played strip dreidel, but I came up with robust rules and I just need naked-er friends).

      • Strip dreidel?! Please enlighten me! (get it, en-“light”-en” – I love a bad pun!) I’ve always wanted to use this pickup line: “You can spin my dreidel.” This is why I’m single.

        • My strip dreidel rules are:
          Gimel: take off a piece of clothing
          Hay: put on a piece of clothing
          Shin: assign someone else to take off a piece of clothing
          Nun: Nothing!

          Simple but effective. I imagine. No one will play with me.

      • I saw a good set of strip dreidel rules floating around tumblr this week. It’s pretty much takes the rules for dreidel gambling and replaces with taking or putting clothing back on. And the last person with any article of clothing still on wins.

    • Try looking for friends instead of dates. It might help. Some people end up dating someone when they weren’t even looking.

      It’s too cold up there. Stay warm! :O

    • I run out of Tinder options ALL.THE.TIME. Every few days I go back and there are a couple new gals but a lot of times I can tell they aren’t actually queer and I ain’t got time for that. Good luck in your dating adventures, it truly is the worst.

    • The cold sounds terrible, but the chocolate gelts and Chanukah stuff all over your table sounds delightfully festive!

  2. I’m working from home today because I had to be home for an appliance repair appointment — my dishwasher died last week. Turns out it needed a simple fuse replacement. I’m happy to have it back in working order.

    The huge event of this week for me was formally coming out/transitioning at work. After 2+ years of anxiety about whether it would ever even be possible at that workplace, it ended up being almost anticlimactic.

    The interesting follow-on development is that my Mom has decided that she wants to come out to her side of the extended family as the parent of a trans person. At least, that’s how I’m interpreting it. What that means in practice is that the Christmas cards my folks are sending out to my aunts, uncles and cousins will have my new name included and something about “seasons greetings from our transitioning family.” Part of me is like, “Hey, folks, thanks for unilaterally deciding to out me to the rest of the family,” but most of me is gobsmacked (in a positive, grateful way) that their acceptance of my transition and my identity has expanded that far.

    I really hope your consular appointment on Monday goes exceedingly well!

    • Parents are often clumsy, but I’m glad to hear that yours are being a loving kind of clumsy.
      Congrats on the anti-climax coming out too.

  3. Does this mean I’m first? o.o;

    I just started teaching a kickass DIY mending class at my library, so I’m pretty chuffed about that. It’s amazing because I get to teach people how to sew for the first time in their lives, and big manly dudes come in and take selfies with their projects because they’re so proud of learning how to mend their own pants! I swear, my patriarchy-scarred heart grows another size every time I teach this class.

    • What a fantastic idea re; sewing class. I keep thinking I’ll give sewing a go when we finally move and set up the art/makers room we want.
      I don’t know if you’d be interested or not but I came across The Great British Sewing Bee or something that sounds very like that on You tube the other day, watched the first episode which was really engaging. Maybe it’s also on one of the US services. Anyway I can imagine the sense of achievement those blokes are experiencing with their projects, I’d be thrilled with myself too.

  4. I love birding too!!!!! Here are some of my favorite pictures I have taken.

    These are Bohemian Waxwings, they travel in large flocks and it is super sweet when you are in the middle of one.

    This little guy managed to photo bomb all of the pictures I took the day I took this.

    I am a little bit jealous of people that have a childhood bedroom with posters still on the walls. I moved around a lot as a kid so I always had to take down my posters and by the time I finished high school I just did not have it in me to put them back up. At one point, one of my walls was a giant collage of bands and magazine clippings. It was magnificent.

    • I love waxwings. One of my favorite childhood memories is walking past a flock of them on the way to school one morning.

    • Yes! Birding! Waxwings! Nuthatches!

      The downside to seeing your childhood bedroom just as you left it, is that you get to be low-key mortified about the tiny The OC poster (that came with the soundtrack) you put up on your wall, so your parents would think you were straight.

      On the flipside though, you get to high-five the MASSIVE Avril Lavigne poster on the back of your closet door. The LITERAL closet, team.

  5. I’ve decided in this moment to double down on crafting. Like a month ago I decided I was gonna make my best friend a themed Guess Who but with all Buffy and Angel characters, and I bought the board and then promptly forgot to do the magic to make it Buffy-themed and wonderful. And I bought my partner yarn two years ago to arm knit him a blanket and like…never did that. But this weekend I’m going to a kinky crafting munch, and I’m gonna photoshop Scoobies into a board game and make new friends and it’ll all be okay.

    • I would play solid money to play that game.

      “Have you ever been dead?”

      “Do you have, or have ever had, fangs?”

      That could be anybody!

      • Right?! Like I want to set a new rule that you can’t say anything like “are they a brunette” and instead has to be things like “have they ever been evil?” or “are they a ridiculous dancer?”

  6. Yesterday I took my final exam for Biology 2. Today I finished wrapping gifts and am currently packing for Christmas with my dad. My little sister turned 16 on Wednesday, but she unfortunately fell sick. She said that she still enjoyed her birthday though.

  7. Good luck Isabel with the visa thing. I hope it all works out!

    I’m home in Brazil for the holidays and it’s super weird. While I came out last year to most of my family, are they are cool with it, I’m still weird about it when I’m home, because I’m used to not being out. That and I feel very judged about my androgynous style. Like tomorrow a have a big party, but instead of wearing a suit, i have to wear a dress.

    • I submitted before finishing ? So basically I’m really uncomfortable. But also, I get 2 weeks off of work, so I’ll be resting which is nice and the weather is very mild which is good!

      • Omg I hear you so much on the family thing. It’s kind of the same for me too. I was visiting my cousin yesterday (she just had twins) and a whole bunch of family was there – and the casual question, “do you have any roommates?” and answering with, “well I live with my girlfriend” led to the most deafening silence I’ve ever experienced.

        But, alas, we bounce back.

        2 weeks off?! What are you gonna do with all that time??

        • A lot of visiting with family and friends, and hopefully some resting too. Probably replaying Dragon Age Inquisition a bunch ?

  8. Guess I am a hot mess, but it’s better than being a cold mess. Right????? Hehehehe. Well, I’m trying to get over someone (I know, I know! I’m bad!) and spend more time with my wife (Seriously people don’t judge me). She is really happy that I’ve been showering her with lots of affection now that I have the time. She loved the letter I wrote. Plus I’ve written her little love notes and leave them next to her ring in the morning. She really loves that. We are going to bake some cookies tonight!!!

    I made 2 A’s for 2 of my classes and I am still waiting on my other 2 final grades. I laughed a lot on my last exam day. For some reason a lot of people kept congratulating me on my grades for economics and the whole time, in my head, I was like “who are you people?”. It’s like high school all over again, where I know no one but everyone knows me. Which reminds me, I still feel like I need to go out and make friends but I also gave up on it too. Making friends is hard, especially queer friends, so I am just going to keep being social but not really expect anything at the same time.

    Been on tumblr a lot too. It’s been helping me with my depression because I can gather my thoughts better and I’ve been able to chat with some other lesbians about random stuff. It passes the time until Christmas! This week was long.

    Happy Friday peoples!!!!!

  9. I hardly ever remember my dreams, but last night I had a great one! I dreamed that I was walking through a field where a game of kickball was being played by a bunch of adults. I kinda got in the way and the ball came at me and hit my hip, which didn’t hurt at all. Then this cute woman talked to me for a while just to make sure I was okay and totally flirted with me and I had the confidence to ask her out. Whatta dream!! If only beautiful kickball woman was in real life!
    The highlight of my week has been watching my friend’s cat, he’s really lovey and cute! So fuzzy!

  10. Since the last Friday open thread I:
    1. Kissed someone for the first time ever!
    1.5. Kissed a girl for the first time ever!
    2. Became exclusive with said girl.
    3. Exchanged Christmas gifts with said girl.
    4. Won’t get to see said girl until late January when she comes back from Christmas break :'(
    But life is AWESOME because I HAVE A GAL PAL!!!!

  11. You are talking my subject when it comes to birding, as it’s a favorite pastime of mine. Where do you like to go shooting? What is your favorite bird type? What equipment do you use?

    One of my all time favorite images I took was this one of an Osprey(fish eating hawk) in flight. It was at the Sepulveda wildlife basin, which btw is neighbors the busiest freeway intersection in the US(405-101 interchange). I got lucky cause I was talking to a guy(which the wildlife book at the time suggested) who’s work has been in nature magazines. He mentioned there is an osprey hunting right now and most if not all the time grabs the fish in this manner for better aerodynamics.
    This was shoot handheld+manually with a Panasonic G2 and a Vivitar 70-210mm Series 1 lens for the mid 1970s.

    Same location, and lens, different year and camera(Fuji X-E1). This one’s of an Osprey at rest.

    I’m at work so I don’t have my external with me, which has more pics of birds I have taken saved. It rained this week, which is refreshing, but also not good cause it means less people want to go out and shop, at least in my neighborhood.

    On another note in my spare time I’ve become the tumblr manager for a lbtq woman’s entertainment group(the mostly throw lounge and club parties) QueertianmentLA. Surprisingly there are a lot of lbtq people who aren’t too familiar with the lgbtq events that go on in the area, beside the ones that are mostly oriented to men in the community, and it’s a shame. But, it also tells me that there needs to be more weekly events(and ones not in the middle of the week) for lgbtq people who aren’t men/men aligned. The group is trying to solve that, but that’s not going to happen if enough people don’t show up.

    Speaking of which anyone know of an lgbtq event going on for new years in SoCal?

    Speaking of birds again I went hiking this week, and didn’t see many birds I was quick enough to capture, but we did finally get fall here, sort of. And this thread has me wanting to go to a wildlife reserve or basin with lots of birds.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

    • Yes! That Osprey pic is unreal. I have a Canon 60D, and shoot with whatever lense I have at the time, but my best pictures are with my 70-200mm, not gonna lie.

      I JUST saw this red-crowned parrot the other day here at my parent’s house (this one I took with a little point-and-shoot)

      But feast your eyes on the American Avocet.

      I’m so lucky that I get to travel so much for work, so I get to see all kinds of shenanigans :)

      • That parrot must have been close, cause most parrots I see here are someone’s pet who is free(actually been a while since I’ve seen one free).

        I am not familiar with the Avocet. Are they like ducks? I will have to look them up. Thank you. I would say you are lucky for work, specially if you can take even half an hour to bird/animal/nature watch.

  12. I just saw Rogue One last night and I am riding a wave of pure Star Wars bliss right now.

    I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS. GOOD ONES. And also sad ones. But they’re good sad feelings. This movie is straight-up going to change how I feel when I watch the first movie and that’s kind of overwhelming.

    Basically it was amazing and I’m going to be looking for excuses to see it again and I can’t wait for my dad to see it and for it to come out on DVD and I have to go watch the original Star Wars again and maybe cry a little bit.

  13. Maybe my favorite avian photo was this, of some brand new swallows being fed by a parent who never actually landed, instead feeding them while hovering in position. ^_^

    (And those wingtips are really moving! That’s a 1/1250s exposure)

    Admittedly, bunnies are more my focus.. here are a few youngsters from last April, gathered together by one of the warren’s entrances.

    And sympathies on the visa front.. it’s not much fun having one’s personal and professional life hanging by a bureaucratic thread.

    • “Admittedly, bunnies are more my focus” is the sentence I’ve always wanted to read but I didn’t know it.

    • That is a great shot. I think I read somewhere the faster birds don’t land to fee their young. Where is this that bunnies just hang out like this? If you don’t mind me asking, but what equipment do you use?

      • Thanks! It’s quite something to see. Such precision, and love. ^_^

        That location’s down a little country road – that shot, surprisingly, almost right by it! But, they’re safe, with the warren right there – if there’s anything troublesome, they can make themselves scarce in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, being that young, they actually didn’t mind me passing by them, very slowly.

        My usual wildlife setup is a Nikon D7100 with a Nikkor 300mm f/4D AF-S. I’ve been pleased with it – the high resolution sensor was a real step up from my previous D90, giving me that much better shots even when cropping right down. And the lens is easily a Nikon classic – beautifully sharp, again suiting my needs well, given I’m often having to crop down, whilst also being light enough to carry around for hours, and more or less affordable, insofar as camera kit ever is. =:)

        • I agree, for me it takes patients to get the small quick birds like these. There is a humming bird that comes to my backyard, that is very had to get up close or in focus(at least manually).

          I need to get myself a 300mm lens as cropping can only go so far.

  14. Hi Isa(bel)! It is horribly cold here in Princeton, and I had to get the car jumped this morning and get a check engine light and possible battery problem checked out, all while bearing in mind Erin’s struggles with patriarchy at auto shops. I think – no, know – my sweater was probably a unisex number from The Children’s place, but the guy there still talked down to me. Anyhow, given how cold it is here, the Newark of Mexico still sounds like a great place to be right now. I’ll be in NJ until Tuesday, then I’m going back to Colorado Springs until January 5. I have mixed feelings about Colorado Springs, as you perhaps can guess… Did you ever take CONAT in high school, by the way? The bird picture made me wonder.

    • Hey, hey, hey! I always like running into you in the comments :)

      I’m with you on the CoSpgs ambivalence, it’s a fine line to walk.

      But omg CoNat! I actually never formally took the class, but it met during my free period Senior year and they let me sit in on it and go on the trips – I even made the bug box! The nerding that Fountain Valley encourages is unparalleled.

    • If a power problem persists, you probably have a bad alternator. Always go to Autozone first to check out codes or parts. Research and listen to your car. Use yelp for mechanics and look for reviews that are positive from women. Most of the time, if you research the problem and symptoms before hand and relay your findings, the mechanics will not give you a hard time. My father was a mechanic and he told me you have to build credibility with them first. Oh and never let them order a part without your consent or without showing you the problem. That’s how you hustle people out of money. I should know.

      • Indeed, AAA (my portable jumper didn’t work this morning, and I was parked between two cars) had said there was a problem with the charging system and that the alternator was one of the possible causes of the battery getting drained (it has only been a week since I last drove). Yet when I mentioned this to the guy at the shop, he acted as though I could have no idea what I was talking about and that I just needed to replace the battery.

        Incidentally, I was really happy to see that the AAA service provider was a woman!

        • That does sound like an alternator problem and I am willing to bet it is. If a battery light, ALT or GEN appears on your dashboard it is the problem. You need to have the mechanics check the belts for any cracks, wear and proper tension since it works with the crank shaft. Replace the battery if and after you replace the alternator for safe measure. Eventually that battery will be no good. Depending on the make and model of your car it should not cost much to replace. If you have anything made by Ford, labor will be expensive since parts are harder to get to.

          And if the mechanic cannot find a problem that is causing the Check Engine light to go on, it might be an emissions problem. If you have an older model car, it will probably be the secondary air injection system.

          • I just heard back that they replaced the battery for free since it was still under warranty but couldn’t find errors with the charging system. I don’t know how much I trust them, but oh well. Free is good, at least. It’s a 1999 Honda Odyssey.

          • Battery drain problems are very common for you car. Just be sure to keep track of whenever you get car work done. I forgot to tell you to check for corrosion or chemical build up on the battery connectors.It can cause a problem. If it drains again and the belts and alternator are fine, it will be an electrical issue with the wiring or some fuses. Hope for the best and start looking for mechanics as back up.

            FYI the cost of replacing your alternator should be $224 and $555 on average.
            Drive Belt Tensioner Replacement costs between $131 and $178 on average
            Depending on the electrical problem, you can see a cost of about $800 at most.

          • Thank you for the price ranges; that’s good to know ahead of time, por si acaso… From personal experience the past few winters, I’ve definitely seen that the battery does drain.

  15. BIRDING YES!!!! When Pokemon Go became a thing I was confused but also got it because birders have been doing this since the dawn of time. Fun story– this summer I was doing field work in northern Alaska and during some time off wanted to travel down to the south coast. A friend in Fairbanks hooked me up with a friend who had just started teaching at the University who was driving down to Seward. The mutual friend was like. “oh you’re both queer, you’ll get along GREAT!” However, my introverted self was feeling rather nervous about spending 10 hours in a car with a stranger, even a queer one. About 15 mins into the drive, she turned to me and said, “Just warning you, I may need to stop the car suddenly from time to time if I see a cool bird, I’m a birder.” Me: “….ME TOO!!!” –> instant friends.

    (I’m a fan of raptors and sea birds… anyone?)

    • That sounds fantastic. Alaska, too! I am also guilty of pulling the car over, which makes trips so much longer but also so much fun. Last year my brother and I followed a red-tailed hawk for so long we got lost on some road in the mountains in Colorado. It was wild. But worth it, ya know?

    • I’ve done that too. I many times prefer to hike alone, or with other birders, because sometimes I will stand at a spot just to see what the bird is doing(kind of trying to catch another grabbing lunch).

  16. I finished the final edits on my thesis in the early hours of this morning…. and now I’m full of adrenaline and can’t stop gardening. I am planning on skipping all holiday celebrations (except for the straddler orphans pjs, boardgames and cocktails that I always host on christmas morning…)and sleeping for a fortnight to recover from the chaos of the past year.

  17. Evening folks. I had an excuse to get dappered up last week which was cool. Here’s me;

    It was a work night out, my wife and I were plunged into heteronormative land hard. It was…an experience.
    I have no more events between now and Christmas, just lots and lots of dayjob. Ugh. I can’t wait for my holiday to start on the 23rd. 2 weeks of relaxation, one of which I get to share with my wife. Win!
    I got a new exhaust system for my van which was painfully expensive but now I can hear my stereo.
    Speaking of- I’m making a mix cd of only queer lady and nonbinary human music for my friend for Xmas and having not repeated an artist I’ve filled a whole disc and I am super pumped about this, but I’ve missed folk off and I am now having to curate down to stuff I’m positive they won’t have heard… it’s a fun little mission. I’ve taken off a couple of tracks because of language and the fact they may play it in the car with their infant son… I think I’m going to include a must haves list with it so they can get more of the artists they like. Is there anything or anyone you guys think I should absolutely include?
    Have awesome weekends everyone :)

    • You look fucking awesome! Do you have an instagram? I would be so up for seeing your selfies on a semiregular basis.

      • Thanks. I don’t post so many selfies, mostly trees and buildings and stuff but it’s the same handle as here. :)

      • For sure I can ping you the list when I’m at my laptop. I was thinking of making a YouTube playlist at some point if I can find the tracks and work out how. I reckon most people will have heard them all, but I have friends, very good, gay as all gay can be friends who have never heard Tegan and Sara. I mean for real. So this is a queerducation cd. Because what in the world.

  18. My week was pretty cool but also very intense.

    On Tuesday I went to see musical based of my favorite book, “The Master and Margarita”. I’ve waited two months for that, I was so excited and it was literally a thing that kept me alive during these awful weeks (fall and winter aren’t very good for me). It was in the other city so I had to travel like 2-4 hours by train. When I came to the station, it turned out my train was 25 minutes late so I was like “okay, I can wait”. Well, I was waiting for an hour on the platfom and it was freaking cold. Finally I decided to go back to building and hey, quess what? The whole station was paralyzed, no trains, no information… There also was no buses or any other way to get to my destination city. I was so angry and I wanted to cry in front of all these people. But then my train finally came! After almost 4 hours, yay! I would have probably make it on time but for the first hour the train was so, so slow and stopped at every station. After all I only saw the second part of the show but IT WAS WORTH IT. So awesome. I already ordered a soundtrack and I hope I’ll able to see it again soon. I was so tired and stressed out and angry but at the end it wasn’t that bad. And I got to see my Internet friend and it was very nice!

    I was mostly sleeping this week besides that, so.

    Good luck with your consular appointment, Isabel! Have a nice weekend y’all!

  19. Hi! I’m not a birder, but I did take an ornithology class in my last semester of college. We took weekly birding trips. My favorite bird that we saw was a barred owl perched on a very low-hanging branch over a creek. I don’t have any pictures, unfortunately.

    In other news, I took my GRE test and did slightly better than the last time I took it on the instantly graded parts. We’ll see how that goes.

    I haven’t spoken to my dad in three weeks after he repeated something I said to my emotionally abusive step-mother and she started harassing me again. I’m planning to see him this week for Christmas, but I’m expecting some sort of backlash from her for ignoring her/them and very pro-Russian commentary/complaints from both of them.

    I also have a long list of movies in theaters that I need to see. There’s a local theater that gives discounts and free popcorn on Mondays. I’m thinking of making a day of it and going to see several of the movies in one day.

    • I have yet to see an owl. I’m so jealous.

      Seeing multiple movies at the theatre in one day might be one of my favorite things. What’s on the film docket?

      • Depending on what’s still at the theater by the time I get to go, Fantastic Beasts, Moana, and Rouge One. If I’m remembering all of them. And I think I totally missed Dr. Strange.

  20. I’ve had a pretty crappy week and I’m forever frustrated by how long it takes to get in to see any specialist. But I’m not letting my body prevent me from doing the plans I have and I’m going to a Holigay meetup today and I am excited for that!!

    • Ugh. I know what you mean about specialists. Twice now I’ve waited 4-5 months only to hear some variation of “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, and I’m not going to bother trying to find out.”

      Sending you hugs and spoons as needed.

  21. Straddlers! Give me your advice for how to construct a rad-looking inspiration board. I am not savvy with the Pinterest or the Instagram and this sort of thing. But a lot of you are!

    I know what kind of content I will put on my inspiration board, but I hope to have the final appearance / construction be aesthetically pleasing, and not just a messy cork board. The only requirement is that I can hang it on my wall, and I can relatively easily add and remove items (probably mostly paper / photos).

    I think framing it with string lights might be nice?

    I am also very broke. I am handy with building things / making things.

    • So my friend makes these note boards from a cork board, fabric wadding and then fabric on top. Then across that she puts ribbon or binding tape in a cross cross pattern. So you can pin stuff on, tuck stuff in and make it as cool as you like. Maybe an idea? Not sure if it’s what you’re after.

        • Yeah, I mean if you used a coffee sack or a fabric you liked and then cord or string or webbing it could totally be more masculine. I was going to make a coffee sack one with 8mm rope vertically and horizontally rather than diagonally-hence it popping to mind. Painting cork is doable, but ive seen it go chippy so maybe a flexible paint? It’s so porous, that’s one aspect I’d look up for sure. I made a notice board from an old print drawer, did half in magnetic chalk board paint and half cork, painted the edge in teal. That was kinda upcycly industrial and masculine, also free because it was all from skip (dumpster I guess – sorry British) diving, and paint I had lying around.

      • Is there a more masculine variation on this? I was thinking maybe painting the cork flat black and instead of ribbons, using special gold and silver tacks to look like stars, with like a cool frame?
        Idkkkkkkkk lol.

    • My cork board isn’t a pretty “inspiration board” so much as kitchen bulletin board, but what I did was to save the cork from every bottle of wine we drank for over a year and glued the corks inside a rustic second-hand frame.

      The quick and easy version is to simply buy a bag of wine corks from the supermarket, but you don’t get the wine stains and the different vineyard stamps that way.

  22. So today was one of those stop at the liquor store after work kind of days. I had a student tell me he had candy canes for breakfast and acted like it. With students excited for Christmas, it’s like pulling teeth to get them to pay attention and do classwork. I feel my heart becoming two sizes too small as I slowly evolve into the Grinch. So instead of talking about that, I’m going to talk about my new series obsessions and a couple of ones I’ve been watching for a while that just out of the blue got some queer representation that if you’re any bit like me you might be interested in/need a distraction from the world. But I’m also more than a little worried we’ll lose them to Dead Lesbian Syndrome.

    Timeless, NBC

    This is a time-traveling show with the main protagonists trying to prevent another time traveler from changing history a la Legends of Tomorrow with out the super heroes. As a history buff I come for the history, which is pretty accurate and includes a few Snapple facts here and there that I hadn’t heard before, if some of the settings and clothes might not be the best. In the last episode is federal agent in charge of our team of time-travelers, Denise has a wife and a daughter. While I’m feeling “Yay! Representation!” But with the way her storyline is going I hope we don’t see too much of Denise or her wife because the only possible storyline in sight for them is if her wife is killed by the antagonist or if the past is changed and her wife doesn’t exist anymore/ they never met.

    Vikings, Lagertha and Astrid

    I’ve followed this show from the beginning. Female viking warriors? Yes please! After four seasons, the viking warrior/Earl in her own right/ex-wife of main character King Ragnor, Lagertha has a female lover, Astrid. This show is only for history-lovers who don’t mind a bid of cable grade gratuitous violence. It doesn’t have storylines you could just jump into, you’d probably have to go back and watch previous seasons. What I love though is that Lagertha has been around for a while so she’s had other storylines, is a well-developed character and isn’t just a token queer character. Lagertha is in the mood for revenge against Queen Aslaug and probably wants to take back her kingdom. She’s been training Astrid to fight lately so I’m also a little worried we might lose Astrid to Dead Lesbian Syndrome.

    Sweet/Vicious, MTV

    I’m obsessed. Two college girls out to dole out punishment to college frat-boy rapists who need to learn that “No” means no. With such low conviction rates for rapists, watching two characters doing what I think a lot of women secretly imagine doing is satisfying.

    • I want to watch that show Vicious solely based on the premise, but I know sadly that in real life they would probably get more in trouble. If I knew I wouldn’t get caught, I’d join a group like there.

      • I know IRL this wouldn’t work. Otherwise I’d probably go vigilante too. But it’s still pretty satisfying to watch. I also feel a little silly admitting, this but I’m already shipping these two characters when so far they both seem straight.

    • I’m counting down the minutes until I can leave work and hit up a brewery for some cherry beer on the way home because it’s been one of those weeks.

  23. My vacation from work startwd today so I’m pumped to not have to go back there until Jan. 3rd.

    My girlfriend and I were planning a backyard wedding for June next year, but have decided to do a smaller ceremony before the new year because who knows what happens after January. But now I have to tell my parents and I wasn’t super prepared to do that yet.

    My parents and I have a weird relationship. Its not bad, just different. Like a don’t ask, don’t tell about personal feeling. Even though I’m in 30’s and have a good life, I still feel like a teenager when have to yell them something I think they won’t agree with. I still feel like that 16 year old sitting in front of them crying my eyes out while my mom asks me if I’m a lesbian and I say no because I don’t even know what is happening with me at the point. My dad couldn’t even be there for the conversation, he went to a differnt room. That was the first and last time we talked about my sexuality. But the conversation made it clear they didn’t approve.

    But I hope thats changed even though we don’t talk about it. My gf and I have been together for almost 10 uears, and lived togethwr for almost 9. My parents treat her just like me or my brother. We don’t hide that we sleep in the same bed when they come to visit us. I just don’t want my parents not be supportive.

    I know other peoe have it way worse w/ regards to family support. So I am thankful for what I have. Just needed to vent. Thanks for lostening ya’ll :)

    • “I still feel like that 16 year old sitting in front of them crying my eyes out while my mom asks me if I’m a lesbian and I say no because I don’t even know what is happening with me at the point.” I hear this hard. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and good luck with your parents ♥︎

  24. My job search has had a lot of mixed news lately, which is kind of depressing, but I’ve also reached the point where I’m looking forward to taking some time off from it over the next two weeks. I’m exhausted. Some of that is winter, since this happens every year around this time. However, it’s usually a bit later, after the New Year, and I think I can attribute that to job search and helping my mom cope with chemo. I’m also sad that I’m missing the Durham Autostraddle Meetup tonight because of freezing rain. Boo!

    I am excited for this book, I hope it doesn’t disappoint:

    I’ve been reading a lot of Harry Potter trans/queer fanfiction lately. My attention span has been too short for real fiction, unfortunately.

  25. It is snowing really hard, so I left work early and now I am sitting on the couch with the Big Gay Christmas Lights turned on and a kitty in my lap, now that she has finally decided to stop trying to drink my eggnog, which is good because the rye whiskey therein is decidedly Not For Kitties.

    We won our roller derby game handily last weekend, and I got MVP Jammer, not because I scored many points (though I did score some!) but because my rookie ass did all of the things my captain told me to do successfully. :)

    I’m kind of dreading going home for Christmas because I’m not out to my extended family. I’m certain someone is going to ask me about my dating life, and I’m not sure how to handle it. I feel lucky that my mom is super supportive and great, but her mom and sister are, uh, not.

    • I hope your family meet up goes well for you. I remember how difficult and uncomfortable Christmas always used to be too and spent years with a fixed smile and dogged endurance. Things eventually got better.

      Congrats on your sporting achievement, I used to really enjoy roller derby but haven’t even seen it now for ages.

      What really got me commenting though was the image that you drew with the heavy snow, curled up cat, warm fire and warmer drink. Too, too beautiful. In Sydney today we’ve had a very hot day as it’s nearly mid summer and my least favourite time of year. Your warm and toasty in the cold image, has just given me a glow to look forward. Meanwhile I’ll crank up the A/C and pour myself a G&T.

  26. I finished exams! I have nearly three clear weeks of unplanned guilt free leisure time. I don’t really know had to do with myself!

    I skyped some of my siblings today. It was so good to see them after only the occasional phone call since September. I was so pumped in fact that I bought another train ticket to travel to my parents house for Christmas tomorrow instead of next Thursday. Usually I’m quite careful to make sure I don’t stay too long as us all in a house for more than a week can lead to stress and arguments. I’m hopeful though, and since my girlfriend (!) went on holiday I’ve barely got out of bed so a full house with things to do and people to motivate sounds like a good choice right now.

    Oh family dynamics.

    Rugby finished for the semester two weeks ago and I’m missing the exercise and the social aspect. And I’m missing hanging out with a whole bunch of people four times a week who call me Gilbert. That’s a conversation i need to start having with my friends and family because this old name business is starting to grind me down.

    • Gilbert is a great name for a rugby player. Awesome! How did you get that name? I have wild tackle pad/ball theories. My team called me taz-as in the cartoon Tasmanian devil-and they still do. I cropped 2 syllables and 4 letters out of my actual name to get to Hat after uni, (easier to explain than taz) and it’s sufficiently non feminine that I cope now. Most of my family respect that. I hope it goes ok with yours-by it I mean everything you mentioned!

      • Haha and I did mention a lot!
        There’s no fun story behind Gilbert I’m afraid. Apart from its a name I came across at work (after ignoring it for two years on all the rugby equipment obviously!) and it stuck in my head for six months until I accidentally responded to it and I decided enough was enough. Somehow, similarly to the way that the wand chooses the wizard, Gilbert chose me.

  27. I was actually chewing my fingernails while reading this.

    Guys, it’s Christmas time, almost, again.
    This is the time for Holiday cheer, cheesy songs, assorted baked goods and showing your loved ones how much you care and to feel the glow of their love.

    For the rest of us, it’s a heavy storm to be weathered, a cold to be bundled up for, a darkness made somehow more dire by Christmas lights.
    To me, this, the festival of Love shows me just how liked I am.
    Not Loved.
    People like me, I’m very likeable.
    However, I’m also so,so complicated, and I am also, mentally ill.
    I don’t know if my family honestly thinks that depression is that episode that happened so and so many years ago and now we can spend Christmas however and wherever we want and invite Doreen along from the kindness of our hearts, disregarding that I’m deadly allergic to my brother’s cats, or can’t travel 500 miles at the drop of a hat to be spending it in a hotel room with my aunt at the other end of the country.
    I had SUCH a hard time last year.
    I wasn’t exactly keeping that a secret either..but yeah, I’m spending Christmas with friends again this year and it is f**** depressing.
    What about:Hey, why don’t you host? And we’ll be spending it at your place this year?
    My brother and his family live in my city.
    They rather celebrate with my sister in law’s family.
    As does my aunt.
    Who travels 500 miles to a hotel because the food is so great there.
    My mom lives 8000 miles away and is sending me pictures of her Christmas decorations to guilt trip me for not coming over for Christmas.
    Freaking Holiday…
    I’m so good at ignoring the lack of genuine, deep affection in my regular life.
    Except for this time of the year.
    But I’ve made arrangements to meet with friends for movies and coffees, and I made sure not to have too much time off.
    I’ve bundled up for Christmas.
    Hoping that the winds won’t blow too cold and the nights won’t get too dark.

    Well, if you’re struggling this season, just know you’re not alone.
    And also, if you need something to warm your Scroogey heart, the donations section on this has comments:
    I wish I knew the stories behind those 5$ and 10$ anonymous donations. Are those closeted school kids? Single moms trying to make ends meet? College students? Queer people from parts of the world where being out is unthinkable?
    Those are interspersed with “This is my husband’s Christmas gift” comments and I don’t know, I find something about that mixture very touching.
    Have a good week/weekend everyone!

    • I know what you mean about Christmas and family and depression and, well all the rest too really. Now that I’m old and have out lived the family it’s just the Darlin Girl and me with occasional meet ups with friends. This time of year is still an effort but it is much easier, though I don’t have work to take up the slack either any more and this year volunteering is out too! Never mind, Acopia begone!!! I hope that you manage well and still screw some pleasure out of the most difficult time of year. Best wishes, Diane.

  28. Like my job-hunting pal above I am also looking forward to taking a break from job searching while everyone else’s offices shut down for the holidays! Starting to feel like I have a social life so that’s cool and also it gets me out of my crappy shared house. I met another queer-looking straight girl who flirted with me for a night and spent an entire weekend talking about her to a non-straight girl and then by Monday I’d forgotten about it and declared the crushes on queer-looking flirty straight girls of 2016 over and HEY only 2 more Fridays of 2016 left ALL OF ITS BULLSHIT IS ALMOST OVER.

    I’m trying to get myself excited about navigating Christmas stuff around a web of family conflicts and celebrating all the stability in everyone else’s life. I don’t think they’re very interested in me so I hopefully don’t have to answer too many uncomfortable questions, unless I mention my upcoming book and then I have to explain how it is Very Queer and No I Would Prefer You Don’t Read It. I haven’t decided where I’m going for Christmas yet but I did buy the tofurkey to take with me wherever I end up. To be honest birds are creepy and a tofu simulation of one is the closest I really want to get.

  29. Hey Isabel, good luck with your visa probs. I wish the US was much better about making it easy for people to come live and work here legally. Even if it doesn’t always feel like it, you are important and you are contributing to the US and for that we (ought to) thank you.

    Speaking of international issues…I’m torn, guys. So, I kind of have a hate-on for Communist China, because I mean, oppressive authoritarian regime consistently ignoring human rights and all that. That makes me rather amused at the whole Taiwan blow-up (Trump is an epic orange d-bag but I do support Taiwanese independence and I’d love to see it happen), and the fact that the yuan is about to tank, and now today I hear that we had some kind of naval incident with them. I’m not gonna lie. I want to see something happen that will bring down the regime. The Chinese people deserve so much better.

    But my friends, the people I care about over there, what happens to them? I don’t want things to get harder for them. I don’t want their country to be plunged into chaos – what if they get hurt? Because the people I run with over there are very likely to be hurt, what with their being intellectuals and involved in environmental conservation and whatnot. If our countries go to war, will I ever be able to see them again? Though I have no immediate plans to go back to China, that doesn’t mean I never want to go back, or that I’m OK with losing all contact with my peeps over there.

    The other night my buddy and I were chatting and she sent me a pic of the smog looming over Beijing from a distance. It looked like the world ending slowly. Hyperbole, I know, but…it was like WINTER IS COMING except in random picture of a filthy city format. We don’t talk politics but I know she has to be worried about some of what’s going on over there. You guys, seriously, there is a part of me that wants to just march over there and bring her back. I know that doesn’t really work that way, but it doesn’t stop the wanting.

    I left a military jacket with her that has my (dad’s) name on it. I hope she wears it and it keeps the wind and the cold and the danger off of her back, until we meet again.

  30. i am going on a date with a cute girl today!!! i am v nervous!!! it is my first date with a girl, and kind of first date ever because my ex and I started dating before we dated, if that makes sense?? AAAH!!!! what if she doesn’t like me?? what if i don’t like her?? what if she turns out to be a serial killer who wants to abduct and kill me??????

    • This will probably arrive too late to matter but what if she turns out to be really really great and you really have a good time?

      Anyway, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Best of luck with each other!!

      • it went really well!! i don’t think i like her romantically (for one thing, she reminds me a lot of my ex bf, and that is a relationship i do not wish to repeat in any way), but it was fun! and i feel more like, confident~ about dating, and hopefully soon I will find a cute girl that likes me and i like back!!!!
        also afterwards i went to a rlly great indie bookstore and got a copy of jeanette winterson’s new christmas book, so i’m writing the day as a general win.
        (but also. ahhhh!!!! i went on a date with a cute girl!!! i am living my best life!!!!!)

  31. Hi!! I hope your visa stuff works out and that picture of a bird is really pretty!

    I was accepted to Tufts yesterday and I am sooo excited about it! I was so anxious leading up to the decision being released because this is sort of the culmination of all my hard work in high school and on my application, so I am very excited to know where I am going to be going next year. The college notifications coming out has also been bittersweet because some of my friends got into where they really want to go, but a lot didn’t get in to their top choices. I am sure they will get in to places that they will really enjoy, but know it’s disappointing.

    If anybody goes to/went to Tufts or lives in the Boston area and has any advice/suggestions about Tufts/Boston or college in general, I would appreciate it.

  32. This week, let’s see…downside: it’s -30ish (celsius) right now (because, Canada)

    Upside: first post in a comment section here on autostraddle (woo! Also, hello!). Decided to cancel my Spotify subscription so I could use those funds for an A+ subscription instead. Annnnd I have been somewhat obsessively checking the status of a UPS pkg, for it has my ‘happy holigays/happy birthday (…because my birthday is Christmas…) to me’ autostraddle merch. It’s been the Week of Autostraddle, apparently.
    I also spent some of my early birthday funds on a spiffy new bowtie. In the past 2 months I’ve gone from zero bowties or ties to 4 bowties and 3 ties – all in response to a friend who, in a very well meaning way, tried to help me pick out clothes for a big work presentation that were way too flashy/frilly for me. The night before the presentation I had a moment of ‘wtf do I wear?’, decided on a suit and tie type outfit and thought “…well, damn”. And here we are.

    • Welcome to the wonderful world of FOT. Look forward to hearing from you more often.
      PS. The out fit sounds great.

    • I love ties and bowties and tying them, but my neck loves its freedom more. I can never keep one on (or a button-up buttoned up). I am a little jealous of those who can.

  33. Ahhh, late to the open thread again.

    I have this one student who sleeps in late at nap, and when you force him up, it turns into picking him up, and then he hugs you and falls back asleep on your shoulder.

    He’s two, but he’s super small, and weighs like 15 pounds.

    He’s also a total maniac.

    Like, imagine owning a sort of changeling sprite / hobgoblin / troglodyte / elf baby? Who runs around with a mischievous smile and colors on the floors and sticks his finger in his friends mouths while screaming “TRY IT!!”?

    That is this baby.

    Also he smells like his dad’s cologne, and I don’t know how to make my need to know what his dad’s cologne is not weird, because he’s the best smelling baby, and I want this cologne for me.

    These are the things I think about to distract from my coworkers asking me if I have a boyfriend, “HAHA NO”, if I’ve EVER had a boyfriend, “uhhhh, NO”, and then reacting to my never having a girlfriend by assuming I’m a Virgin, which was confusing, and then reacting to my “wtf” reaction by saying “we’ve decided that technically you are still a virgin”


    “Mickey you are BLUSHING”

    • But also their follow ups re: my perpetual single Pringle status are bumming me out like??

      “so why don’t you have a girlfriend”

      “well, in my ideal imagined future, I move into a remote cabin in the forest, ghost my entire family, and then Stay There, maybe one day die”

      Like why would I want to date when I could be napping or crying in the shower or crying AND THEN NAPPING (in the shower)

  34. I’m!!!! Almost finished with finals!!!! I just have a paper to write and then I have to clean the dorm and then pack and FLY HOME for an entire month….I’m so excited. That’s all I really have to contribute to this thread. I want to go home and feel festive and celebrate the holidays and actually relax for once.

  35. VISAS ARE THE FUCKING WORST. I couldn’t get any company to hire me my final year in SF, let alone hire me with a H1B visa, so I was forced to leave. I still miss it dearly.

    HOWEVER. Somehow miraculously I got a sponsorship to attend an event in Chicago/SF (well, technically on a train travelling between the two) and they’re paying for everything – AND I GOT MY US VISA. 10 years multiple entry! It’s a tourist visa, so I can’t exactly work or live there long-term, but I CAN SHOW UP WHENEVER as long as I have airfare zomg

  36. Oh my god can we actually talk about the visa thing though? I get what you mean about suspended animation. I moved to the States to go to theatre school in the Midwest a couple of years ago, and I’m a few semesters away from finishing up my degree. I know I can work in the States for a year on my F-1 visa after I graduate, but the prospect of trying to get an O-1 (artist of extraordinary ability) visa after I graduate to try and stick around is SO daunting, especially knowing that now I’ll have to try and accomplish that almost superhuman feat under a Trump administration. This is the part of my degree where the focus on the “real world” really ramps up, and it feels like every conversation I’ve had lately is about my “type” as an actor, or where I should be moving after graduation, or how to make myself more marketable as an artist and administrator. It’s really terrifying to know that I’ve made a life for myself here in the US over the past couple of years, and that I could eventually just be faced with going home, and leaving behind all my connections…in a relationship business like theatre, that’s a tough reality to face. And it’s not even like I can plan for one outcome or another, it’s just this amorphous dark cloud that’s eternally floating on my horizon. Ugh. It’s not that I don’t love my home theatre community, it’s not like it’s not a great market to work in…but the Canadian theatre infrastructure is definitely very different from the American theatre infrastructure. Ugh.

    Anyway, I’m home for a few weeks on winter break, and much as this might seem contrary to what I said above, I’m really looking forward to reinvestigating how much I love Toronto. I go to school in a small Midwestern college town, and it’s taught me how much of a city girl I am at heart. I can’t wait to go to the Christmas Market in the Distillery District (yes I know, so basic), get a good Toronto brunch, visit all my favourite places I used to frequent when I went to Ryerson before I transferred to my current school in the States, and even do simple things like just take the SUBWAY again (even though the TTC is…the TTC)–I hate that when I’m at school, it’s so hard for me to get around, even to get groceries, because I don’t have a car and the public transportation where I go to school is atrocious. I feel trapped. It’s one of the reasons why I want to work in arts policy and advocate for arts organizations being made accessible (from a disability standpoint and from an urban planning/transportation standpoint). I love the freedom that living in a city brings. But–three more semesters before I can be living in a city again (even if I don’t know which city yet)–which, hey, is a much more manageable amount of semesters than four, let me tell you. I feel like I’m finally going to finish my undergraduate career, which is great, because if I had stayed at Ryerson, I would have been graduating this year. So it’s nice to know that while a lot of my friends are finishing up, at least I’m starting to SEE the finish line in the distance. God, I’m tired.

    • The O-1 process is EXACTLY what I’m doing right now, and you’re so right – it’s exhausting.

      I went through all that’s stuff you’re talking about, F-1 to OPT, to finally getting the big one. It’s daunting and difficult and such a pain, but “lucky” for us O-1s are pretty much staying the same. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about how much harder immigration is going to be, but from what I’ve read and gathered, it’s the H1-Bs that are gonna have the most changes. The rest of us should be cool.

      Good luck with the rest of school, you’re gonna breeze through all this nonsense. You’ll see.

      • Hey, thanks for this! That makes me feel better. It’s tough, because I’m an artist AND an administrator, so there are potential employment avenues for me where it would make more sense for me to try and get an H1-B visa than to try and get an O-1. But I’m definitely just gonna try and stop freaking out about it until graduation gets a little closer.

  37. Hi! This is my first comment!

    I’m currently in the middle of a business trip to Japan, which is great, but also in the middle of a tough negotiation that could explode in flames at any moment! Recently we found out my company is being acquired, and at the time I was really stressed about about the election (I got the news the Sunday after election day) and just work in general, so I thought, well, would it really be so bad to get laid off? Now that I’m here I’m remembering why I actually do love my job, even though it makes me crazy with stress sometimes. I don’t think that there’s another job in my area that would value my Japanese-speaking skills and pay for me to go to Japan four or more times per year, and it’s scary to think I could lose it.

    In other news, I get to go to the monthly lesbian party that Ellen Page went to on Gaycation tonight, which is awesome, but what do I do with my hair?? I have an undercut which I keep long for work, and I have no idea how to pile it on top of my head or do a French twist or anything. Does anyone know good queer hair tutorials? It’s Christmas-themed, so I bought reindeer antlers.

    Finally, I love birds so much and would love to go birding! Everyone’s photos are so amazing. I saw a really cute street pidgeon today. They’re not that different from American street pidgeons.

  38. I keep forgetting it’s friday and missing the open thread!

    I got a promotion the other week, and I was pretty conflicted about it because the main reason I was promoted was because we just had to fire like 5 of my friends and I replaced one of them. But the last couple weeks I’ve been seeing the increase in the money I’ve been making…let’s just say I’m not so conflicted anymore because they could have chosen someone other than me and I’m REALLY grateful to be making this extra cash. Also I’m pretty good at it, and even though I had a rough week in the beginning, I’ve learned from my mistakes and have only gotten better.

    I need to go Christmas shopping because I’ve only bought like 2 gifts and I keep thinking I’m way more ahead of where I’m at because I bought one of the gifts (which is a kind of big one) at the beginning of December.

    I also haven’t been able to think of things to ask for from family because this election has sucked all the joy and happiness from this holiday season and I can’t think of ANYTHING giftable that I want. Like, does CostCo sell a sense of purpose? It’s also made it so hard to think of things to get other people because I’ve just been trapped in this haze of depression and hopelessness and where does a thing like Christmas even fit into that?

    It makes me wish I was out to my family because I would ask for all the Autostraddle merch.

  39. Hi, open thread! I’m here at the emergency vet in the middle of the night with my cat. Usually I’d call someone as a sanity check before rushing off to emergency, but at 3am I wasn’t sure who to call. So they’ve got her in back and I’m out in the waiting room posting on the open thread. Thanks for being here.

    • I hope everything goes well for you both. There’s nothing scarier than being worried about a loved one.

    • Thanks for the good vibes and well wishes. She’s doing better now. It turned out to be a yeast infection that got into her inner ear and made her dizzy. In the middle of the night she threw up and started walking like she was drunk which is what got me worried. But it’s a relatively easy thing to cure with medicine, so I’m grateful.

  40. HELP! I just heard that a girl I was seeing almost a year ago who very unceremoniously dumped me with a facebook message because of a guy has now broken up with that guy, and we’re having lunch next week. I’M SCARED. She has apologized for how she treated me and seemed truly sorry for that and we’ve reconciled. There are still feelings lingering over here at my end but I don’t know about her. She’s just out of a relationship and our on-off-thing was always a bit messy but fuck if she doesn’t still do things to me! Argh. I’m trying to crush all hope so I don’t get hurt again but my mind’s wandering to all kinds of directions and fantasies!

  41. This week I experimented with making lime and ginger cookies with rather mixed results. Don’t know if was cause of cuccidati dough I used or my methods of infusing the flavors. Rolling lime zest in sugar is so much fun tho. I can’t explain it.

    Last week I had a feeling something bad was coming. Turns out I was right, something (rat most likely) died in the walls. Kitty litter only does so much. >_>

    Oh I and had cramps so bad that I don’t remember screaming, but I’m hoarse so I must have been screaming pretty good.
    And even now I feel kinda stiff and bruised. Fuck you soy lethcin tained brownie, and fuck you too uterus. Fuck you very much.

    Fun fact I learned this week tostones have more potassium than raw cavendish banana that I find icky. Which is great because some of my medical troubles aren’t a side effect of the prednisone, but low potassium and I love tostones so very much.
    The “hard fried” plantains yo.

  42. Well let’s see, life is still fairly quiet in our corner of the world. I’m gradually getting better but still pretty much confined to the house thanks to my latest autoimmune disorder but do have some hope that the worst is over and we can actually get our house moving plans back on track for March next year.

    New home, new state, new beginnings. I really hope it can happen this time, since my health nasties have put us back a bit more than a year in planning and preparation.

    Still, being housebound has had its upside, I’ve cooked up a storm or two in between bouts of louseyness this year. I’ve also found a really great Website that acts as a broker for Indigenous artists from the Central Desert of Australia and have bought two paintings for the Darlin one for Christmas this year. One of Women’s Dreaming and another of Women’s Medicine Dreaming. I hope she is as knocked out by them as I am.

    Well if I stay up much longer, I’ll be still awake when you guys are ready to read the Saturday cartoon and I might as well start cooking Sunday breakfast. Have a good week all and to all in the Northern Hemisphere, wrap up and keep warm. I’ll be trying to do the opposite down here.

  43. The Universe may granted us a cat? What looks a whole lot like a very dirty 12 week old ragdoll kitten with no collar has moved into our outbuildings and convinced both us and our neighbour—hardened dog people, all of us—into feeding her and making her cosy little nests to shield her from the cold.

    If we can get her tame enough to get her inside, I’d like to take her to the vet and check for a microchip because this is decidedly not the type of cat you find roaming the countryside, especially not at a helpless kitten stage. We’re all a bit worried, because she doesn’t use her right hind paw if she doesn’t have to, it’s getting colder, and also she’s about meal-size for the birds of prey and foxes around here.

    • Thanks for taking care of this little scrap. I hope s/he’ll be calm enough for you to really help soon. I just get too upset when I think about all of the worlds waifs and strays who need help. Thanks again for doing all that you can.

      • She seems to be doing all right. With both us and the neighbour putting out food, her options are apparently abundant enough that she’s now picking and choosing which food she likes best and leaving the rest. Still dirty, still occasionally limping, but relatively pampered for a stray! The neighbour just came by and while he doesn’t want a cat, he has named her and he wanted to make sure we’ll keep taking care of her when he goes away for the holidays.

        So, things are looking up for the itty bitty kitty, but I obviously still want to get her tame enough to get a vet to look at her, because if she belongs to someone they should get her back and if she’s now ours I want her vaccinated, de-wormed, possibly spayed/castrated, and all that responsible pet-ownership stuff in due time.

  44. hi hi hi!

    We just went to a “tweets and treats” thing that our local audobon society chapter puts on once a month where for a few bucks they provide coffee and donuts and take you out for an hour-ish walk where they ID bunch of different kinds of birds and have binoculars you can borrow! It’s pretty fun!

    Gf loves birding, manages the hummingbird feeders that are around our porch, I am less invested but will broadly participate in any of her interests that involve being outside.

    Also I learned about a birding app called ‘merlin’ (it’s free!) and has a 5-step process to ID almost any bird. It’s really easy to use!

    Also I’m so sorry about your situation. I hope it gets resolved quickly and painlessly. :/

    I’m pretty good! We’re puttering for a little while and then headed to a noDAPL pottery fundraiser, which’ll be nice. We got a Christmas tree yesterday, and I broadly do not care about xmas but do like making my gf happy, and it makes her really happy, so that’s cool.

    Also, it’s snowing in Seattle! Again!

    We’re watching my friend’s hilarious dog while she’s visiting her family for a couple of weeks, she’s this neurotic spaniel mix that turns her head practically upside down so you can scratch her throat and who loves the stalks of leafy greens. (like I made collards last night and gave her the stalks and she was like YES THIS IS THE GREATEST.)

    So ridiculous. Anyway, I hope you all are having a lovely weekend.

  45. Happy Saturday all!

    Alas, in a week that has felled many a co-worker I woke up this morning with either the cold from hell or the flu. I’d like to think it’s the former, since I got my flu shot and I’ll be very unhappy if I got stuck with a needle for nothing. So now I’m stuck on the couch. Previous medicines failed to resolve my symptoms, so I’m taking the advice of Lord John Marbury (West Wing FTW) and going straight for the shot of whiskey!

    It’s not helping my cough but I no longer feel my sore throat so I will take it as a victory!

    Aside from that miserableness, I had a coffee date yesterday that went for 3.5 hours! I will take that as a victory.

    P.S. As I am currently couch-ridden, I am looking for things to watch on Netflix if anyone has any suggestions!

  46. I love birds and birding!!! I frequently bore my wife on our outdoor adventures with fun facts about Birds!

    I feel inspired to fight back since the election and so I have started (what I hope will be), a health based lecture series for senior citizens at the local LGBT community center. My first talk was on how to prevent falls. I had such a great time talking with the senior center participants. They had great questions and were so welcoming. I can’t wait for my next one which I think will be on depression.

  47. Good Luck Isabel, with your visa applications. Hope all goes well for your meeting. Have a great week Everyone. Keep warm/cool whichever’s appropriate where you live and those of you who aren’t feeling too great, hopefully things will have looked up by next FOT.

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