[sticky entry] Sticky: About this Space

Sep. 5th, 2017 10:33 am
ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
Environmental scientist who's also passionate about astronomy, math, and all manner of nerdery. Ridiculously overworked, full of anxiety-bees, and frequently Wonder-Womaning against the darkness in my head while multitasking six other things. Mum to three teens who I love ridiculously but who will likely be the end of me. Badass vegan intersectional feminist and social justice ninja who works really hard not to be an asshole. I run to keep sane and try to outwit genetics.

This is a Day-in-the-Life journal; more measured posts may happen but my brain is usually not that organized. I write here a lot about family, particularly parenting, including one child who has been diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar NOS. (I keep most of the specifics of this on a filter for our privacy, though sometimes, vents outside may happen.)

With these considerations, this journal is largely access-only. All protected content is confidential and may not be shared or reposted without permission. (I don't mind sharing of public posts, but a heads-up would be nice).

No strict access/subscribing policy - I love interaction. If you'd like access, please leave a comment below.


Oct. 8th, 2018 08:45 pm
ofearthandstars: Photo of pink and white blossoms against a bright blue sky. (blossoms)
The very last voicemail I have saved with my mother's voice is from January. In it, her voice is kind, but mildly exasperated.

"Tracy, we are just fine." Emphasis on fine, with a hint of annoyance that I have called her several days in a row to check in. I had good reason, as someone had taken advantage of her kindness, and her bank account, in an online scam that lasted for days. This just mere weeks after her own father's death.

Her voice changes tone, right back to sweetness. "We love you, okay? Don't worry about us so much. Call me if you need me. Bye."

I know she would tell me not to worry. I know she would tell me not to cry so much. I know she would hug me, hold me, maybe scold me in that same gentle way to tell me to keep moving forward. I know she would tell me that she would never want me to hurt in this way.

And yet, I do. I have mentally kicked myself a hundred times a day for not having more voicemails, for not having more photos, more videos.

I had the first dream about her the other night. In the first half she is gone, and yet, as dreams do, later she is there, alive, standing in her kitchen with her hair in a ponytail, saying something to me. When I wake up, I try to recall what was said, hoping there is some message hidden in the dreamscape that will help me feel better. I can't recall, and so I end up breaking into tears.

I want, so desperately, to feel that comfort of her presence. I sometimes wonder if I am listening carefully enough. Right now I still feel empty, raw. I have stood in front of her grave and talked to her - one minute sharing how everyone is coping; one minute letting her know how grateful I am for all that she gave to us; the next falling back on an apology, the fear and guilt that linger from the decisions we had to make, the questions that we couldn't answer, the things we couldn't know, in those last horrid few days.

I had expected that I would help take care of her, and dad, for at least another twenty years. It's hard not to run outdoors and scream out loud and shake my fists and kick at the sky.

I try to think of her patience, her calm, her assurances to "don't worry". My mother - my mother could rival Mother Theresa in levels of patience. I wish I had half the ability to conjure up that level of calm. Perhaps if I did, it wouldn't feel as if everything was spinning so wildly. My mom - even when annoyed, was never mean. And she was always positive. She always helped to push my anxiety away. She looked for the best in people, and she gave her best to people, and I think that is probably one of the greatest gifts she shared with me. I am trying, as I walk this walk, to follow in those footsteps. To give and accept kindnesses. To loved and be loved. To take care of others. To hold onto hope. It's hard - so unbearably hard, and yet I have her voice right there to remind me.

"We love you, okay? Don't worry about us so much."
ofearthandstars: The letters W and T followed by a fork. (WTFork)
Did you know that if you have an electrical outlet overheat in your home, it can smell fishy and/or like a dead animal? This is because the plastic components in the wall socket are often made of a urea-formaldehyde composite, that smells like death when it breaks down.

FYI, the smell will come and go from one day to the next - it may last a few minutes or a few hours, and sometimes it will disappear for a week only to return full vengeance -- all while you freak out about your cleaning skills, tear apart your cupboards, and entertain fears about the poor animal that may have climbed in your wall and died. It will intensify when there's a heavier load on the same circuit. Check the outlet. If it's hot, it's likely your culprit. Also, get it changed out ASAP, it is a huge fire hazard.

Kale yeah*.

Nov. 7th, 2015 04:13 pm
ofearthandstars: (tofu love)
Today I made a (vegan) "smoky" cheeseball. It is glorious.

*Despite the title, this cheeseball contains no kale. I wouldn't do that to anyone!

Sad day.

Oct. 9th, 2015 09:12 pm
ofearthandstars: Paper cranes hanging from a blue ceiling (cranes)
This morning it sort of felt like I'd jumped off the great big cliff of anxiety and into the canyons of depression. In hindsight, I am probably grieving.

A few days ago we noticed that one of our hamster babies, Mini, was feeling a bit heavier. By Wednesday night I noticed that she had a severely swollen belly. I took her to a Banfield vet in Wake Forest yesterday and they were able to establish that her heart and lungs were healthy, but they recommended us to a different vet b/c they did not have the tools to make a true diagnosis. So this morning I drove Mini up to Avian & Exotic Animal Care in Raleigh, where they were able to get an x-ray and see what was going on in her tiny abdomen. (She was sedated for this because her although her first favorite past time is sleeping, her second is running.)

The news was not good. Based on the films and a more thorough abdominal exam (easier when a hammie is asleep), we're pretty certain that Mini has a tumor/mass on her liver. It's probably been there for some time, but it's likely only recently began growing more rapidly and encroaching on her other organs.

At this point, there is not a lot that can be done for her that is curative. That said, we have some medications and supplements that we will be giving her to help her quality of life (she is currently, for the most part, still eating/drinking and coming out to engage with us/obtain treats, although she is much slower and has a harder time carrying herself around). Although the medications we have will help manage her pain/swelling, it is anticipated that the tumor will progress.

I know it may seem a bit crazy to be so enamored with such a tiny creature, but we don't have dogs or cats or other pets. Our hamsters are our furbabies. We spoil them and they in turn spoil us with their affection and adorableness. Mini has only been around for a couple of years, but she is a most precious part of my life. Holding a sweet hammie after a long day at work or having one snuggle up against you to fall asleep (as seen here) is pretty good therapy, and she never seems to mind it, either.

I cannot begin to tell you how sad I am.

ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
"The thing I think we have to remember is that there is no finish line with depression, anxiety, or any other sort of mental illness. We’re on this path, and the path is constantly changing. Sometimes it’s flat and well-marked, and we can see all the way to the horizon....Other times, it’s so heavily shrouded in fog and mist, we can’t even see past our fingertips and we need someone to show us where the path is. And sometimes, we come to a wall that we don’t think we’ll ever get over. I’ve been staring at the base of that wall for weeks, and just now you helped me remember that there are always handholds to get up and over it."

-Tears in Rain, from wilwheaton.net


Aug. 9th, 2015 02:39 pm
ofearthandstars: (Avocado)
So my partner, L., has really fantastically taken over the cooking since it's been difficult for me to stand around the kitchen with all my weight on one leg and trying to carry plates/etc. with crutches in hand. He decided to not only cook, but to pull together what he called a "Vegan Around the World" menu that we've been enjoying. He's done the shopping, the prep work, and even come to the table armed with a few facts about each country/region the dish represents.

Here's the stuff we had last week:

Tonight I think we're going with General Tso's Tofu since we just finished watching The Search for General Tso.

I decided to help do some of the searching for the coming week and this is what we have for the que (am updating w/ reviews as we work through!):

Sure, many of these (especially having been veganized) may be more of an Americanized version, but I also tried to find traditional dishes that were "accidentally" vegan.

Now I am very hungry. And excited about dinner.
ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
[personal profile] rainbow could use a little help with funds to help cover vet bills for kitty Jack. GoFundMe w/ rewards linked here.
ofearthandstars: View of starry night through treetops (Default)
Don't mind me, just meal planning for the week...
I think that is a good mix of good-for-your-body and good-for-your-soul. (Who am I kidding? The Pizza Buns are far from healthy but soooo good!)

"The Knowledge That...

...the atoms that comprise life on earth - the atoms that make up the human body, are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars- the high mass ones among them- went unstable in their later years- they collapsed and then exploded- scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy- guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems- stars with orbiting planets. And those planets now have the ingredients for life itself. So that when I look up at the night sky, and I know that yes we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us.”

― Neil deGrasse Tyson


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