marnanightingale: (Default)
From now on until some as yet unknown time in the future, I will be crossposting between Dreamwidth and LJ and reading in both places, though as people become securely established over on DW I will probably trim the lj list down quite a lot to avoid duplication.

If this is our first introduction, hi!

You may want to read my DW profile before deciding if you mean to keep me or to toss me back. I find that over the years I have been holding house on Livejournal I have developed strong Opinions about how I want my journal to work, so unlike my lj profile, which sort of grew haphazardly, this time I have actually written a position paper of sorts.

Also, I am the sort of person who thinks this is funny:


(This journal is queer. And friendly.)

Spread the Net: Donate ten dollars. Buy one mosquito net. Save three people from malaria.

Got a couple of hours? Volunteer in the developing world from your own computer desk.

Got 25 dollars to spare? Donating money once is good. Lending it over and over is better. Microcredit from microlenders. Like you.

marnanightingale: (Default)
Because apparently fic is a thing I do again.

First It Was a Question Then it Was a Mission

Fandom: Captain America (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Explicit

Relationships: Peggy Carter/Steve Rogers


Steve Rogers would crawl across Occupied France for Peggy Carter. By comparison, the distance between the perimeter wall and the rear fire door looks pretty trivial.

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I see Fred Phelps, Sr., has met his Maker.

. . . AWKWARD.

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Le jour du BOOK RELEASE est arrivée!

The March North, which I recently wrote about copyediting, is now available on Google Play for the Incredibly Reasonable Introductory Price of $3.55 CDN.

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Sephora has given me a sample vial of Dior Hypnotic Poison (eau du toilette)

Experience and the ingredient list suggest that if I try to wear it I will

A) react violently
B) make at least one spouse react violently
C) smell like a brothel on payday. (That's a comment on me+Dior X Poison, not on the stuff itself)
Also D) I have more perfumes I love than I have chances to wear it.


I will mail it anywhere on the planet (it's light) ideally but not necessarily in exchange for any similar small light amusing thing that cost little or no money: makeup/skincare sample, unloved single skein of yarn, silly fannish toy from a cereal box ... I dunno. Make me an offer.

Comments screened.

ETA: it's an atomiser, and if that's the "eau du toilette" the parfum must have a kick like a missouri mule.

ETA: rehomed, thanks all!

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Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
C is for Cookie
*all three of us rush to the kitchen*

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I have spent the last three weeks working on a copyedit for [personal profile] graydon; the book is called The March North, it's been GREAT fun to work on, it'll be out soon, and I shall be linking to it here. He described it to me as Egalitarian Epic Fantasy, which is quite true but perhaps too simple; it's got some deeply twisty, subtle world-building, characters of whom I got extraordinarily fond, and A FIVE-TONNE SHEEP NAMED EUSTACE, who is a) NOT comic relief, and b) awesome like an awesome thing.

I was inspired to commit fanart:

a line-drawing of a battle-scene, with Eustace in the centre

And the very large stuffed sheep we keep around for Oscar and Vivien has a new name now:

me, working on a laptop whilst leaning on a large stuffed sheep

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I am enthusiastically in favour of addressing people as they wish to be addressed, and referring to them by the pronouns, etc, that they prefer, or, if lacking data, using 'they'.

And there has, thankfully, been a lot of discussion of the matter to help me get this right.

So now I am wondering about formal modes of address for general and specific addressing of people whose genders are non-binary.

[personal profile] staranise sensibly points out that when addressing groups, "Honoured Guests" may reasonably be used along with, or instead of, "Ladies and Gentlemen/Mesdames et Messieurs". (ETA [personal profile] anne adds "Amis Distingués")

Suitable substitutes for "Sir", "Madam" "Ma'am", "Mr." "Ms", "M.", "Mmme", and so forth, however, elude me.

Has anyone seen anything good on this?

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[personal profile] davidklecha is the best enabler.


Is all.

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Litany For A Season of Night and Storm

For the hand that speeds the plow, and the shovel, and the sand truck,
We give thanks.

For the hand that repairs the transformer, tames the downed wire, and directs the traffic in the cold,
We give thanks.

For the hand that drives the firetruck, the tow truck, and the ambulance,
We give thanks.

For the hand that leaves the safety of the sidewalk, the warmth of the car, and the comfort of the house when a stranger needs a push,
We give thanks.

For the hand that brings warmth to the shivering, makes welcome the stranded, and feeds the housebound,
We give thanks.

For the hand that counts the candles, splits the firewood, and fuels the generator,
We give thanks.

For the hand that knits the sweater, zips the snowsuit, and finds the lost mitten,
We give thanks.

For the hand that pulls the toboggan, throws the snowball, and laces the skate,
We give thanks.

For the hand that lights the fire, makes the cocoa, and bakes the cookies,
We give thanks.

For all the hands that build, protect, and maintain the community by which we live and thrive, we give thanks, and we pledge the strength of our own hands, be it great or small, to work and to play together, in this season and in all the winters to come.

Many thanks to [personal profile] karnythia for beta.

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And this.

Nov. 11th, 2013 10:42 am
marnanightingale: (Default)
Early in September word came that the Canadians had been shifted to the Somme front and anxiety grew tenser and deeper. For the first time Mrs. Blythe's spirit failed her a little, and as the days of suspense wore on the doctor began to look gravely at her, and veto this or that special effort in Red Cross work.

"Oh, let me work—let me work, Gilbert," she entreated feverishly. "While I'm working I don't think so much. If I'm idle I imagine everything—rest is only torture for me. My two boys are on the frightful Somme front—and Shirley pores day and night over aviation literature and says nothing. But I see the purpose growing in his eyes. No, I cannot rest—don't ask it of me, Gilbert."

But the doctor was inexorable.

"I can't let you kill yourself, Anne-girl," he said. "When the boys come back I want a mother here to welcome them. Why, you're getting transparent. It won't do—ask Susan there if it will do."

"Oh, if Susan and you are both banded together against me!" said Anne helplessly.

One day the glorious news came that the Canadians had taken Courcelette and Martenpuich, with many prisoners and guns. Susan ran up the flag and said it was plain to be seen that Haig knew what soldiers to pick for a hard job. The others dared not feel exultant. Who knew what price had been paid?

Rilla woke that morning when the dawn was beginning to break and went to her window to look out, her thick creamy eyelids heavy with sleep. Just at dawn the world looks as it never looks at any other time. The air was cold with dew and the orchard and grove and Rainbow Valley were full of mystery and wonder. Over the eastern hill were golden deeps and silvery-pink shallows. There was no wind, and Rilla heard distinctly a dog howling in a melancholy way down in the direction of the station. Was it Dog Monday? And if it were, why was he howling like that? Rilla shivered; the sound had something boding and grievous in it. She remembered that Miss Oliver said once, when they were coming home in the darkness and heard a dog howl, "When a dog cries like that the Angel of Death is passing." Rilla listened with a curdling fear at her heart. It was Dog Monday—she felt sure of it. Whose dirge was he howling—to whose spirit was he sending that anguished greeting and farewell?

Rilla went back to bed but she could not sleep. All day she watched and waited in a dread of which she did not speak to anyone. She went down to see Dog Monday and the station-master said, "That dog of yours howled from midnight to sunrise something weird. I dunno what got into him. I got up once and went out and hollered at him but he paid no 'tention to me. He was sitting all alone in the moonlight out there at the end of the platform, and every few minutes the poor lonely little beggar'd lift his nose and howl as if his heart was breaking. He never did it afore—always slept in his kennel real quiet and canny from train to train. But he sure had something on his mind last night."

Dog Monday was lying in his kennel. He wagged his tail and licked Rilla's hand. But he would not touch the food she brought for him.

"I'm afraid he's sick," she said anxiously. She hated to go away and leave him. But no bad news came that day—nor the next—nor the next. Rilla's fear lifted. Dog Monday howled no more and resumed his routine of train meeting and watching. When five days had passed the Ingleside people began to feel that they might be cheerful again. Rilla dashed about the kitchen helping Susan with the breakfast and singing so sweetly and clearly that Cousin Sophia across the road heard her and croaked out to Mrs. Albert,

"'Sing before eating, cry before sleeping,' I've always heard."

But Rilla Blythe shed no tears before the nightfall. When her father, his face grey and drawn and old, came to her that afternoon and told her that Walter had been killed in action at Courcelette she crumpled up in a pitiful little heap of merciful unconsciousness in his arms. Nor did she waken to her pain for many hours.

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YPRES 1915

The age of trumpets is passed, the banners hang
like dead crows, battered and black,
rotting into nothingness on the cathedral wall.
In the crypt of St. Paul’s I had all the wrong thoughts,
wondered if there was anything left of Nelson
or Wellington, and even wished
I could pry open their tombs and look,
then was ashamed
of such morbid childishness, and almost afraid.

I know the picture is as much a forgery
as the Protocols of Zion, yet it outdistances
more plausible fictions: newsreels, regimental histories,
biographies of Earl Haig.

It is always morning
and the sky somehow manages to be red
though the picture is in black and white.
There is a long road over flat country,
shell holes, the debris of houses,
a gun carriage overturned in a field,
the bodies of men and horses,
but only a few of them and those
always neat and distant.

The Moors are running
down the right side of the road.
The Moors are running
in their baggy pants and Santa Claus caps.
The Moors are running.
And their officers,
Frenchmen who remember
Alsace and Lorraine,
are running backwards in front of them,
waving their swords, trying to drive them back,
at the dishonour of it all.

The Moors are running.
And on the left side of the same road,
the Canadians are marching in the opposite direction.
The Canadians are marching
in English uniforms behind
a piper playing ‘Scotland the Brave.’
The Canadians are marching
in impeccable formation,
every man in step.
The Canadians are marching.

And I know this belongs
with Lord Kitchener’s mustache
and old movies in which the Kaiser and his general staff
seem to run like Keystone Cops.

That old man on television last night,
a farmer or fisherman by the sound of him,
revisiting Vimy Ridge, and they asked him
what it was like, and he said,
There was water up to our middles, yes
and there was rats, and yes
there was water up to our middles
and rats, all right enough,
and to tell you the truth
after the first three or four days
I started to get a little disgusted.

Oh, I know they were mercenaries
in a war that hardly concerned us.
I know all that.
Sometimes I’m not even sure that I have a country.

But I know that they stood there at Ypres
the first time the Germans used gas,
that they were almost the only troops
in that section of the front
who did not break and run,
who held the line.

Perhaps they were too scared to run.
Perhaps they didn’t know any better
– that is possible, they were so innocent,
those farmboys and mechanics, you only have to look
at old pictures and see how they smiled.

Perhaps they were too shy
to walk out on anybody, even Death.
Perhaps their only motivation
was a stubborn disinclination.
Private McNally thinking:
You squareheaded sons of bitches,
you want this God damn trench
you’re going to have to take it away
from Billy MacNally
of the South End of Saint John, New Brunswick.

And that’s ridiculous, too, and nothing on which to found a country.
It makes me feel good, knowing
that in some obscure, conclusive way
they were connected with me
and me with them.

Alden Nowlan

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It's cold and raw and windy and my allergies are still horrible, so I am making

Outaouais Onion Soup

(Not strictly canonically French Onion, but close and pretty damn' good.)

This can be easily doubled; I'm actually making twice what I'm giving directions for, so as to have soup for four and soup to freeze.

1800ml/2 quarts/2 boxes of beef broth. If you don't eat meat there are some fairly good 'beef flavour' broths you can use, or you can sub veggie broth, in which case it won't taste the same, but it will taste good.

4 large onions, sliced

1-2 T cooking oil.

1/8 C dried mushrooms, any vaguely European sort, powdered in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. If you lack either, chop them as finely as possible and you're good. This is pretty much what I do for mushroom broth these days, having given up on finding an affordable commercial version that isn't full of sugar and salt.

1/8 C or I head garlic, minced.

1 Tablespoon bouquet garni (which you can buy or make or fake: savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill weed, marjoram, sage and tarragon, in that order, or as many of them as you have. As long as you wind up with about a tablespoon total, you're good.)

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

I don't generally salt this: even no-salt-added beef broth has a salty taste. Use your excellent judgement, carefully.

If you have 1/2 C red wine around, you can add it. I usually don't, so I usually don't.

Put the sliced onions and the oil in a frying pan or chef's pan and cook them at just under medium until they go clear, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile combine everything else in a large pot or slow-cooker and set it to medium (pot) or auto (slow-cooker). Add the onions when they're clear, bring it to a boil, turn it to simmer and leave it all to cook for 1-3 hours (pot) or put the lid on and walk away for 4-6 hours (slow-cooker).

Meanwhile slice 1/2 loaf of slightly stale bread (I like whole wheat, white's fine, sourdough's great, use whatever you have) into largeish cubes and put them into a 250F oven to dry out and toast very slightly. If you're using sandwich loaf, dry it out really well and then toast it golden-brown: sandwich loaf tends to sog easily.

Grate about a cup of cheese, too: whatever you have that's firm, not *too* sharp, and melts well. You can combine types. I can't really suggest a vegan alternative: if you want vegan you should probably google "vegan french onion soup" and do what they tell you.

When the soup is cooked turn the oven to 400 degrees. Put the bread on the soup and the cheese on the bread, and put it in the oven for roughly 30 minutes, keeping an eye on it. The cheese should be bubbly and a little brown.

Eat it on its own or with a salad.

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Boring Chicken Soup

This recipe has two major virtues: it's tastier and somewhat healthier (because fewer odd additives) -though probably not cheaper - than canned and the prep time is roughly 1 cup of tea, so the cook can leave it to simmer and go back to bed before they fall over.

A certain amount of advance hoarding is desireable, because cold and flu season, and if you're making this you don't feel like shopping, but you can skip pretty much any ingredient you don't have, including, oddly, the chicken (in which case add the beans if possible). Veggie broth and canned beans is a completely valid approach, if you want vegetarian soup, too. Turkey works fine and then you'll get a dose of tryptophan, which can only help. Chicken boullion is ok but salty: watch how many salted things you add or it's going to taste like ass and you'd have been happier with canned.

Depending on head-count, you need:

1-3 litres of chicken broth, which you made or bought a club pack of and squirreled away when cold season started.

1-3 lb frozen skinless boneless chicken pieces, which ditto. Thaw them and chop them into cubes. Chicken sausage works, if it's not too heavily spiced with something you don't feel like eating right now. I am not responsible for what happens if you use chicken or turkey dogs, though it will probaby be edible...

Celery, fresh, frozen or dried (you can buy three heads, chop it, bag it and freeze it, some day when you're feeling healthy and it's on sale, if you like. The dried is pretty useful though, and cheap and easy to store.)

Carrots, fresh or frozen. Babycut are pricey for soup but *very* handy.

Garlic, the prechopped stuff.

Dried or frozen onion

Fresh and/or frozen vegetables , as many as you can fit in. Pretty much anything you like enough that you have some around.

A can of beans, if you feel like it. Six-bean mix is good, but whatever you keep handy. If they're packed in anything but unsalted water, rinse them. Otherwise toss the liquid in, it's tasty.

Spices: figure out what you like when you're sick and keep it on hand. I use Penzey's Adobo and pump it up with extra ancho pepper and cumin, which is pleasantly decongesting without being super-hot, but anything works: curry, italian, french ...

Herbs, dried: herbs de provence, bouquet garni, fines herbes, italian herbs, cilantro, dill, parsley, whatever you like and keep around and think will go with the spices.

Noodles. Or pasta, or rice, or quinoa, or diced-up plain oven fries or, oddly enough, tortilla chips or ripped-up corn tortillas, which will go very noodly in the soup but don't disintegrate. Mind your total salt if you use tortilla chips, especially if you're also using canned beans and commercial broth. Should be okay, just don't add more til it hits your bowl. It's going to condense some.

Salt, pepper, dried parsley to taste.

Bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, simmer at least 60 minutes, go back to bed. Serve with ... actually, people can serve themselves, you did your bit.

Freezes well, keeps 3-5 days in the fridge.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Lemon-Rose Shortbread Cookies

(Note: I am working on my Cooking For People Who Don't technique. This recipe is (hopefully) written so that a person who has never cooked could use it, even though it is primarily for [personal profile] skud, who actually cooks better than I do. People of all skill levels are entreated to let me know how the style works for them.)


About 90 -120 minutes of work, depending on cookie size, spread over three - four hours of time.


Makes about 3 dozen large or 7 dozen tiny cookies, depending on thickness. Thinner cookies are crisper, but tend to have a higher icing:cookie ratio; I advise thinning the icing to suit (dip one or two cookies and see what you think).


Requires no exotic equipment or ingredients except the rosewater, which can be found at most Indian groceries; everything else can be gotten at a Western grocery store. Can be successfully made by a careful absolute beginner. Does require some arm strength for mixing and rolling a fairly stiff dough. Can be made sitting down. Does not require significant lifting or great physical precision. Rarely if ever fails: is not sensitive to drafts, humidity, room temperature, things getting dropped near the oven, etc. Can be doubled or halved easily.


1 large mixing bowl,
two cereal bowls,
wooden spoon,
cookie sheet,
paper towel,
cookie cutters or a water glass (large cookies) or shot glass (tiny cookies),
rolling pin,
2'x2' clear surface you can spread flour on,
thin metal lifter, such as you might flip an egg with.
oven, with a rack set 4" from the bottom element.
oven mitts or hotpads.
A working timer, or a visible timepiece, preferably with an alarm (because you'll be working while the batches bake).
two dinner plates lined with paper towel or a baking rack, to cool cookies on.
Waxed paper, to set cookies on while icing hardens.

Preheat oven to 375 F. With a paper towel, grease the cookie sheet with a thin layer of butter.


2 C table or caster (granulated) sugar
1 lb unsalted butter, let stand outside of fridge until it is at cool room temperature, so that it is workable but not completely soft or - god forbid - runny, which will make greasy cookies.
5 C all-purpose or cake flour
1/4 C vodka (this will evaporate during baking and the final product will be alcohol-free non-alcoholic.)
1 T vanilla

1/2 C flour for rolling, in a small bowl or coffee mug.
3 T butter for greasing cookie sheet, on a piece of paper towel.

2 C icing (powdered) sugar
2 -3 T rosewater
2-3 T lemon juice
Optional: a few drops of yellow and red food colouring.

Cream the sugar and vanilla into butter (put the butter in the bowl, mash it up until it's a paste rather than a block, add the sugar 1/2 C at a time, mix it in thoroughly) with a pastry cutter or two knives or a wooden spoon, as you like.

Work in flour until mixture has the texture of cornmeal.

Add vodka slowly, mixing with a wooden spoon and with hard strokes, until you can make a soft ball of a teaspoonful of the dough. You may not need all of the vodka, or you may need a little more.

Let the dough stand while you clear, wash, and arrange a space to work in.

Wipe your surface clean and make sure it is completely dry.

Take a small handful of flour and spread it evenly over the surface. Flour both of your hands, as well, and the surface of the rolling pin.

Take a small handful of dough (1/8 - 1/5 of the total) and form it into a soft ball. * Place the ball in the centre of the work space and flatten it gently with your hands until it is a large, thick circle of dough.

Flatten it further with the rolling pin, being sure to a) roll gently, away from you, b) give the dough a quarter-turn every few strokes so it doesn't stick to the surface c) add flour to the top of the dough if the rolling pin begins to stick d) toss some flour under the dough as you turn it if the dough is beginning to stick. Don't flip the dough over: because we have carefully avoided activating the gluten (this is why vodka instead of water) it is much more fragile than bread or pizza dough and will break.

When your dough is about 1/4 inch thick, dip your cutter or glass rim into the flour and start cutting cookies. Cut each cookie as close to the others as possible to get the maximum number from each rolling. Place the cut cookies on the cookie sheet with your lifter, being careful that they have at least 1/4 ' of space between them so they won't expand into each other and stick together while baking.

When you can cut no more cookies, gather up the scraps, take another small handful of dough from the bowl, mix them together in your hands to make a ball of dough, and go back to the *.

Keep doing this until you can cut no more cookies.

When the sheet gets full, put it on the bottom rack for between 8 minutes (tiny cookies, baked but not browned) and 15 minutes (larger cookies, baked crisp and slightly brown).

These bake FAST. Set a timer for 3 minutes less than you plan to bake the cookies and check them, just to be safe. When they are crisp and golden and move easily when you shake the cookies sheet, they're done. Take them out and set them to cool, being careful not to pile them on top of each other. Regrease the cookie sheet lightly and start arranging the next batch.

When the final batch comes out of the oven, you can start making icing.

In a small bowl combine 1 C of your icing sugar with the lemon juice. Stir until it is completely dissolved. You should have a thin, rather watery icing, more of a glaze. Add more juice if necessary. If you like, add 2-3 drops of yellow food colouring to turn the glaze a pale yellow.

Dip each cooled cookie halfway into the lemon icing and lay it on the waxed paper to dry.

When all cookies have been dipped in the lemon icing, make the rose icing in the same way you made the lemon icing: icing sugar, rosewater, food colouring to make the icing a soft pink if you want.

Dip the bare side of each cookie into the rose icing, starting with the first ones you dipped in the lemon icing. Lay each cookie on new, clean waxed paper to harden again.

Allow 30 minutes for the icing to set from the time you dip the last one for the second time, then pack them in layers, seperated by paper towel, waxed paper, or tissue.

They will keep about a week, if they're well protected from humidity.


Instead of icing each cookie with lemon and rose, divide cookies into two batches and ice one batch with lemon, the other with rose, leaving half of each cookie un-iced.

Use orange blossom water, or another food-quality floral water, instead of rosewater.

Use lime or orange juice - or another fruit juice - instead of lemon.

Add 3T powdered basil or dill or powdered rosemary to the cookie dough at the butter-and-sugar stage, use citrus icing only.

Or 1T cinnamon, 1T cardamon, 1T black pepper, citrus icing only.

Ice only two corners of each cookie, not both halves.

Try whole-wheat flour or demerara sugar or both in the cookies.

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marnanightingale: (Default)
Between the awful verdict in the Zimmerman trial and various states passing variously awful bills limiting access to abortion even further, all on top of the usual low-level awful that has become the background music of politics, there has been ... a lot of trolling about, especially of women and POC, especially especially of WOC.

This is respectfully dedicated to them, with love.

Profuse thanks and credit are due to my amazing beta @sairaforreal. All blame rests firmly with me.

Content below cut may not be SFW (text only)
Here, however, are the Muppets singing Yes We Have No Bananas, which totally is, unless your boss hates Muppets:

cut for a truly ridiculous amount of swearing )

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(lightly edited for coherence and to add full citations)

[personal profile] zingerella: "Exchange between humans and gods: In the later version of Stark’s theory, religious life is analyzed in terms of the conditions influencing the nature of the exchanges envisioned between humans and gods in terms of the relative rewards and costs of the different kinds of transactions imagined."
[personal profile] commodorified: I seem to recall this. Rodney Stark, as in Stark and Bainbridge? Or as we used to oh-so-sensitively refer to them, Stark and Raving?[1]
[personal profile] zingerella: Stark, Rodney, The Sociology of Religion. It's from the glossary to the textbook I'm proofreading.

[personal profile] commodorified: Alternately, awesome prompt for Tony Stark/Thor.
[personal profile] zingerella: That was kind of where my mind went.

[1] The Future of Religion: Secularization, Revival, and Cult Formation is... a very ODD book.

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My Hero

May. 31st, 2013 06:25 pm
marnanightingale: (Default)

Cat in ORD, being quietly heroic about how her wife keeps fucking greying out at her.
Sorry. Y'all can't have her, I grabbed her first. I'll share, but I'm keeping her.

Have had three app'ts and a Nexray. Ppl keep telling me to take deep breaths. Hilarious.

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May. 30th, 2013 05:50 pm
marnanightingale: (Default)
I have some really awesome notes from Poly501 to clean up, expand and repost.

They might be a trifle late. Once I can think they'll probably be a good thing to do while not moving much this week, though.

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marnanightingale: (not coping)
Wiscon was great, and I feel like the panels I did went well and were worthwhile, although 5 panels over 2 days left me feeling like I didn't get to really get immersed; I didn't go to anything I wasn't on, there were several people I hugged but didn't get to talk to, and I was so incredibly tired the whole weekend and my throat hurt like hell and I kept waking up coughing, which I attributed to my lingering cold. Somehow I managed to magically overlook that I was sufficiently over said cold to have spent the weekend before hiking, including walking to the top of Dome Rock.

So then I said goodbye to everyone, packed my stuff, went to Benet's, and crashed.

... And woke up coughing and retching four times in the night, despite glugging down some antihistamine and cough syrup when it started.

I'm allergic to mold. Viciously. And Madison, being on two lakes plus whatever else goes into these things, has a thundering black mold problem.

The last couple of times I've been to Madison have been okay, one being WisCon 36 which was warm and dry and the other being October, but after Wiscon 35 I had the horrible awful allergies of doom and eventually changed my ticket and left early after coughing so hard I badly strained a rib. Which is incredibly painful, btw, and having done it once I'd do almost anything not to do it twice.

So I kind of freaked out.

So then I texted Cat and she came and got me and we went to breakfast and then to Nelle and Izzy's so I could nap on the sofa surrounded by air purifiers, and I got worse, and started having actual trouble breathing, and so Cat called Aeroplan and changed our tickets so I could go home the next day and she could stay an extra day to escort me.

And I cried a lot, which was ill-advised, but. And we went for supper with Benet so I could at least say goodbye and the pizza place was full of spores and we finished our pizza and Cat noticed that my lips were turning kind of white and we went to urgent care, where they put me on a nebuliser and gave me a prednisone scrip and an inhaler and I went back to Nelle and Izzy's and lay miserably propped up on the sofa until Cat got us packed and we headed for the airport.

And Chicago had a ground-stop on and we were delayed a bunch leaving and the Dane county regional airport has carpets. Which have spores. So I was back to shallow panting and trying hard not to think about how this would be going if I weren't prednisoned and albuteroled to the gills, because when your lips are already a fetching shade of white around the edges is not the time for panic attacks.

Apparently it was for a VIP, the pilot said Air Force One. I must really like Obama. That extra ninety minutes sitting over a rug full of death was unutterably awful, but I forgives.

So we got into, and eventually out of, Chicago, and my Favourite Ex came and picked us up and we had pho and I came home and crashed hard, but not as hard as Cat, who is now and forever my superhero.

Seriously people, she spent 36 hours basically making sure I kept breathing. She made me let her spend the money to change both tickets. She kept Ian and Rayne and Andrew updated. She made me go to urgent care and didn't give me shit when I did that Canadian thing about how I couldn't pay out of pocket for medical care it would ruin us and never be reimbursed and just get me home I'll go to the clinic and she got my stuff from Benet's and did all the packing and bear-led me home and sympathised with me when I bitched about the prednisone and held my hand when I felt like I might die and now that I can spare the energy to notice I begin to realise how fucking awful this has been for her. Please send her ALL the love ever in comments. She is my Captain Marvel forever.

Other awesome people: Nelle, Izzy, Benet, Ian (by phone from Toronto where he's working his ass off at CUPE50), Gibbs.

So now I'm home, and I'm on all the meds, and I'm still not breathing right. Plus my chest and face are full of crap, but hey, now I feel like I have pleurisy, instead of like I'm being smothered.

It sucks, but I'll take it.

I don't know what my future holds wrt Wiscon. I was semi-ok in the hotel this time, but this keeps getting worse; I'm not acclimating, I'm getting more sensitive.
I don't know what I'm going to do about the fact that people I love very much live in Madison, either. There must be some safe period to visit in. Maybe.

I'm not thinking about it right now. I'm not thinking about much. All I'm really thinking about is breathing.
Later, I might ask for advice. Right now, I don't think I can deal with it.

Yes, I have totally utterly quit smoking again. Horrible junkie that I am, even I can recognise the line between 'this might kill you someday' and 'this might kill you some day this week' is crossed.

It was a wonderful WisCon. It was worth everything. Later, I want to do some panel writeups, but right now all I can do is lie here and breathe, and watch Cat sleep.

ETA and then things went a bit South again and we went to the walk-in. So now I'm also on Advair and have instructions not to do things. FML. I'll just sit here and pant, then, shall I?

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May 2014

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