A whole bunch of stressful stuff has decided to happen all at once and I really wish it would stop being like this.
fluffy rambles (travel?)
Rambles that are fluffy, by fluffy
I made it back home today. My cats were briefly happy to see me, then insistent that what they really missed was going outside. Okay, then.
A thing occurred to me the other day: driving in a Nissan Leaf, especially on the highway, feels less like driving and more like piloting. It’s a very different feeling for me. And I like it.
Also ProPILOT made the whole thing way less stressful and I never want a car without at least level 2 self-driving ever again.
The weather forecast for today was pretty dismal, but it was also wrong. I took a drive out to the Madison Creek Falls to have a nice low-intensity hike. It turns out the Falls trail is incredibly short, but there’s another longer set of trails (service roads, actually) that follow the Elwha river quite some ways. And that was a lovely walk.
A funny thing happened when I went back to my car, though: I went up to what I thought was my car but then had a “wait what’s going on?” moment when its interior was beige fabric instead of black leather. For several seconds I was actually thinking that maybe I’d forgotten what the upholstery on my car looked like… and then I realized that it was someone else’s black, second-generation Leaf. Oops.
Today the weather in Port Angeles was absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t enjoy any of it because I was stuck inside with a migraine all day.
Last night I didn’t sleep very well because of asthma issues due to the fabric softener the AirBnB host used. So this morning I did a load of laundry and sent a suggestion to the host about not using fragrant fabric softener; she apologized for it and said that normally she gets fragrance-free but her wife had picked up the wrong stuff and she didn’t want to waste it. Not a huge deal, at least.
Today I made it out to Port Angeles. Here are some highlights of what happened.
The insurance company put me up at the SeaTac Marriott, which is way fancier than anything in SeaTac has any right to be. Swanky as heck. Also the room’s decaf is surprisingly good!
I brought my work and studio laptop here so I could maybe get work done without having to reverse-commute if possible, although there’s definitely things I need to go back to the house for (hugging the cats, mostly, and also meeting the contractor, and so on), and of course I’d much rather work on my music in my actual studio with huge screen and proper 88-key keyboard instead of on my tiny portable keyboard and tiny laptop screen. But there’s worse situations to be in right now, I guess.
The insurance company also sprung for the pet fee in case I want to bring my cats here, but that seems like it’d be a disaster. They’re finally getting along with each other and after I left them home alone overnight on Monday they got a lot closer, and it’s also good for Tyler to NOT have me available 24/7. He gets pretty bad separation anxiety even when I go downstairs to the studio or if I sleep with the door closed, and he needs to learn that it’s okay to not have me there sometimes.
Anyway I have up to 9 days here but hopefully I won’t need all of them. If all goes well I’ll have running water again on Monday, and the bathroom should be done soon after. Given the original scope of work was a near-complete gutting of the bathroom, and now the scope is an actually-complete gutting, I can’t imagine what else would possibly go wrong that wouldn’t involve me, like, moving back to the condo for a while.
You know what I miss about the pre-9/11 days?
People being able to go to the gate to greet the traveler as they arrived.
It was always so nice to welcome people, or be welcomed. After 9/11 that little ritual went away, because now only travelers themselves were allowed beyond the security checkpoint, and nobody wanted to wait for their loved ones outside of the security checkpoint, so that very quickly made way to people waiting in the loading zone, which then turned into waiting in the cellphone lot, trying to make the whole greet-and-pick-up process as soullessly efficient as possible.
There’s a bunch of other stuff that changed so much that people are talking about, but this is a thing that I haven’t seen anyone else mention. Just this little bit of humanity that was part of the travel experience.
Then again, everything we’ve lost comes down to little bits of humanity, in the end.
This morning I decided to leave the AirBnB at around 9:30, and I got home at around noon. My new iPhone 12 mini was waiting for me (along with an extremely needy Fiona, who needed a couple hours of lap time), and after getting the iPhone set up I went for a nice long walk, and ironically got more exercise today than I did the whole time I was in Port Angeles (a city I ostensibly went to in order to get plenty of outdoor exercise). Oh well.
After dinner I realized I’d left my fancy Nalgene bottle in the fridge at the AirBnB. Dangit. Not really worth trying to get it back (shipping probably would cost more than just getting a new one, I think?), although I let the hosts know in case they want to figure out how much it would cost to ship it or if they just want to keep it for themselves. It’s mostly frustrating because it was a gift from someone around 10 years ago (when my major health issues were starting up and it seemed like better hydration would be the key), but they gave me two of them and I still have the other one. Plus a pile of other water bottles I’ve picked up over the years. Mostly I hate accidentally losing thoughtful gifts.
My last full day in Port Angeles was just like… okay I guess. I went out for breakfast and got a decent eggs benedict at a café in the industrial district. The weather was pretty nice so I started looking into other hikes I could do but all of the trails that were both open and not expert-level were a two-hour drive away, and I was feeling pretty tired, so I took a nap to mull it over.
When I woke up it was raining, so I just stayed at the AirBnB and worked on some more music and just generally hung out and relaxed. Then for dinner I went to a barbecue place (the one I had planned on going to turns out to be only open for lunch) which was pretty decent. There was also a huge print of their “mascot” on the wall, which looked suspiciously furry. I posted a photo of it to my Discord and right away a friend recognized the original art. (Update: For once, it turns out it was properly licensed. Good on them!)
Anyway. Tomorrow I check out and head back to Seattle. I’m not sure I feel substantially better than when I left, but at least it was nice to get away for the first time in well over a year, and to have my first actual not-actually-an-unpaid-job-in-disguise, not-a-family-disaster vacation in a long time.
Today the weather cleared up so I finally went hiking for an hour or so. Only one trailhead I could find was open from the Port Angeles side of the forest (most of the roads into the forest were closed due to snow), and when I got there the parking lot was filling up. I wandered around a bit and took a bunch of photos and audio recordings, but quickly found that my camera’s battery did not like the cold (or maybe it’s just getting old and needs to be replaced). According to the trail map I made it maybe a third of the way up before my legs were telling me that I was in no way fit enough to keep going, and then after I turned back I found that the parking lot was overflowing and a whole bunch of people were now on the trail. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.
Hopefully tomorrow I can go to a different trailhead but the weather report is saying it’s going to be raining again, so my last day here might be like all the others.
Also I really should have worn thicker socks, as my feet were pretty cold the whole time. If it isn’t raining I’ll definitely bring the thick pair I brought for this very reason.
Last night I couldn’t fall to sleep until 4 AM due to how much my ears were ringing (plus the bedroom got really cold), and at 7 I woke up with very cold feet due to the thermostat in the bedroom automatically going to 62°F. I found some warm fuzzy blankets and doodled some music until I fell back to sleep and didn’t get up again until like… 11. And I was still heckin' tired.
It was also raining all day, so I didn’t end up going hiking at all. Instead I just worked on music for most of the day, and had a late lunch wherein I went to the grocery store and bought some bread and cheese, which was pretty good. When the rain cleared up a bit at around 4:30 PM I decided to walk around the neighborhood, but I quickly ran out of sidewalk. Oh well, at least I got 20 minutes of exercise-ish in.
For dinner I got some rather underwhelming sushi and a pile of constant misgendering. Now I’m back at the AirBnB and will just work on some more music.
Tomorrow I’m going to check out some more local restaurants; I have rough plans to go to a steakhouse for dinner, and probably a sandwich place for lunch, and hopefully get some actual hiking in during the hours between. I mean, that is why I came here, right?
Today I drove out to Port Angeles, which was pretty uneventful. I’d been deliberating whether to deal with the stress of driving South on I-5 through Tacoma or the stress of dealing with the ferry to Bainbridge, and decided to just go whichever route Siri put me on. She ended up doing a third option, using the Kingston ferry, which ended up being both a very pleasant drive to the terminal (aside from a couple of near misses due to construction changing the lanes in unanticipated ways) and a much faster option. I guess Apple Maps knows the ferry schedule and is able to just like… figure out what’s the best at any given time? Neat.
The Kingston ferry is also a lot shorter than the Bainbridge one, and I got lucky enough to have a very good view of the trip from my car; the whole thing got recorded on my dashcam, as well, which is perfect for a music video (and cover song) I’m going to be making over the next few days for Song Fight!.
Anyway I guess it turns out that it’s not that I’m bad with driving, I just don’t do well in downtown or South Seattle.
I’ve been at 30mg of nortriptyline for 6 days now, and I’m trying to figure out if this is how I felt on it before. Going through my nortriptyline tag I see that I actually was up to 40mg on my initial tapering, and after sitting there for a while I decided it wasn’t doing enough for my pain and that’s when I tapered down to 20. In one entry I complained that it wasn’t helping my sleep at all, and how it was making me constantly dizzy and tired and headachey.
This time around it’s definitely helping my sleep, and I’m not dizzy, although I am quite tired (despite actually getting a full 8 hours of sleep every night, for once!) and today I had a headache all day. Also plenty of nausea. But at least I got a nice long walk in.
Today i had a followup appointment with the pain clinic. Unfortunately, as soon as I started working again my pain flareups came right back. But the doctor was able to pinpoint a few things which are probably the underlying causes, and gave me some more exercises to try. We also decided to try increasing my nortriptyline dose again; I’m on 30mg for the next week then going up to 35 after that (update: and mentioned an eventual target of 40-50, forgot to mention that).
It’s also pretty clear that stress is a huge factor, and boy howdy have I been under a lot of it. Fortunately my new workplace is hugely into giving generous vacation benefits and making sure people actually use them, so in a couple weeks I’m taking a trip out to Port Angeles and staying in a tiny house for a week. I’ll probably bring a guitar and my iPad and try to just, like, decompress, and Be, and spend a bunch if time in the olympic peninsula and enjoy the small town vibe.
Everything I’ve seen about Port Angeles indicates it is a pretty good place with a lot of comfort potential. Maybe even the sort of town I’d want to retire to. And apparently it’s even pretty trans-friendly! I look forward to seeing this year’s Clellam county election results.
I will be tabling at two upcoming shows in the Pacific Northwest area:
- On October 20, I’ll be showing CATcher at the Portland Indie Game Squad “indie arcade” booth at Retro Gaming Expo, alongside a bunch of other indie games. Come check us out at table 3500 in the arcade (right by the concessions)!
- On November 16 and 17 I’ll be running my own vendor table at GeekGirlCon, where I’ll be selling comics, pins, prints, and possibly some other stuff. I’ll be at table 101, right in the corner nearest the escalators; see this handy map!
Wow, I’ve been traveling for most of the past week and a half. Aside from a brief stop back in Seattle between IndieWeb Summit and visiting San Francisco for family gatherings, I’ve mostly been away from home since June 28. Yikes.
I didn’t really get to see a lot of friends on the San Francisco side of things (although I had some good times with my brother and my friend Mark) but that’s okay, since I got a lot of stuff done on Publ. Or, specifically, on Authl, the authentication layer, and the Publ integration with it. I have sign-in by email, IndieLogin, and Mastodon working! I will also probably add direct auth for IndieAuth at some point, now that I know how easy it is to implement an OAuth basic authentication flow. Hopefully soon I’ll have friends-only entries going up on this site!
Pain-wise I’ve been doing a lot better. I’ve been tapering off the nortriptyline, but I’ve been taking magnesium supplements. I still hit a crash point in the evening pretty easily, so it’s not like this has, like, solved everything, but it’s at least doing more for me than the nortriptyline alone was. I’m currently at 20mg and taper down to 10mg tonight, so this is where I’ll probably start to see if it really was a placebo early on.
Gender-wise, something rather interesting has been happening this trip: I’ve been going into the men’s room as usual (because when I travel and am in “boy mode” clothing I don’t want to cause a panic), and pretty much every time, someone’s taken it upon themselves to point out that I was in the men’s room and redirected me to the women’s room. At the same time, I still keep getting “sir"ed a lot, although I don’t know how much of that is people changing their mental alignment for me after they hear my voice. (Probably a lot.) I don’t feel like my appearance has changed at all over the past year, so I dunno what’s going on there.
Also gender-wise, a lot of people have been respecting the use of she/her pronouns for me, and that just feels… off. Still. I think I’m back to thinking of they/them as my primary pronoun. Honestly, the main reason I switched to she/her was because if I was requesting they/them, people would just treat it as unspecified and still default to he/him. I think my way of specifying pronouns is going to switch to "they/them, but she/her is fine.” Because if someone’s going to misgender me I’d rather it go to the femme side of things.
And a really cute thing happened at my nephew’s 1st birthday party: Camille, one of my nieces (who just turned 6 yesterday), wanted to get to know me better, and the first question she asked me was, “Are you a he, a she, or a they?” And I sort of fumbled over things and I eventually said “it depends but ‘they’ and she are ‘fine.’” Anyway, I wonder where she picked that up from. Wherever it was, it fills me with hope for the future. It’s also what got my mind grinding away about, like, which situations call for which pronouns. I think generally it’s they/them for folks my age or younger, and she/her for folks who are stuck in their ways regarding “proper” English.
Anyway, I guess that’s all for now. Unless something else occurs to me in the next
hour fifteen minutes, apparently before my flight boards.
Edit: oh yeah, I think I need to switch to a backpack as my only conveyance. They’re kind of cumbersome for keys and wallet and stuff but purses are heavy and lopsided, and having both a backpack and a small purse is really awkward. My current backpack is great for just carrying my laptop to work but it’s garbo for actually organizing all my needs. My larger purse carries my iPad and all my other regular needs but it hurts my back after a whole day of using it. Any recommendations for better backpacks (ideally ones which are femmy and have room for an iPad, a laptop, some sketchbooks, and makeup et al) would be appreciated. (The preceding Amazon links are affiliate links.)
Edit 2: oh and another thing: fuck all the plastic straw bans, seriously. I’m gonna start just carrying my own plastic straws with me everywhere. I swear, people see one injured sea turtle and suddenly all people with disabilities and sensory issues just get completely thrown under the bus…
Edit 3: oh god only 4 weeks until my next big trip why is everything happening all at once
So last Thursday I flew to San Francisco to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew.