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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in V.'s LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
10:27 pm
Pesach ramblings
Yesterday, a couple of hours before I had to be at my aunt's house, I went -- practically on a whim -- to the grocery store to do some Pesach shopping. Every year I declare that next year I will actually plan this sort of thing in advance, and every year at the last minute I think "You know, I'd really like to keep Pesach -- maybe I should buy some matzah and stuff?" And of course as a vegetarian a little more forethought is helpful, to eat well for a week without chametz; I also go back and forth on kitniyot for this reason. Mostly I skip actually eating rice, corn, legumes, etc, but I don't avoid them as ingredients. I don't check labels, in general. I don't burn the chametz, or even put it away and tape the cabinets shut, as we did while I was growing up. But I'm conscious of what I actually eat. I went to the store, and thought about what I could buy that would get me through the week -- lots of eggs for matzah brei (one of the best things about Pesach, as far as I'm concerned!), ingredients for a crustless quiche and for matzah lasagna, and lots of green things.

Of course, for dinner tonight I had gefilte fish, vegetable soup, and buttered matzah. I don't know why I even bothered to shop; of course my aunt sent me home with practically enough leftovers to last the week. And these foods taste so familiar. I'm an atheist; I don't keep Pesach (to the extent that I do) out of a belief that God commands it. I do it because I find the ritual comforting, because I enjoy the foods and the break in routine, because it connects me to my past and my history.

So tonight I'm thinking about the special dishes we had for Pesach -- I loved the glasses with the smiling fruit on them, and the green glasses that with the graceful shape that fascinated me. (I didn't like the yellow ones; I've never liked yellow.) I remember the glass dishes -- glass because it can be used for both milchic and fleischic, and my mother refused to keep two sets of dishes in the house that would only be used a week a year. (I wonder what happened to all of those dishes. I don't think she has them anymore...I might have liked to have them for everyday.) I'm remembering the jelly candies, and the chocolate covered kosher l'Pesach marshmallows -- Pesach desserts have come a long way, but those are still the ones I think of. I remember opening the door for Elijah. The pride I felt when I was the one to recite the four questions, and the relief when my sister got old enough and the spotlight was off me.

...I'm remembering my father. Because that's what this all comes down to, isn't it? My father, leading our congregation's Seder. My sister and I arguing over who got to go up to the front of the room with him for the parental blessing, and who had to stay at the table with my mother. My father and my favorite babysitter showing off during Who Knows One at the first-night Seder her parents hosted: she always did the twelfth verse, and he the thirteenth, and we were always impressed they could do it without taking a breath. My father, his grin and his hair always in his eyes (how boyish he is in my memory, now that I'm as old as my earliest memories of him!) and one of the most beautiful singing voices I've ever heard in person. The safety and warmth of his suit jacket when I was cold (another thing I wish we still had). The other kids' envy that the Cantor, the one who gave them their Bar or Bat Mitzvah lessons, was my father -- I had such a cool dad! The thrill and fear I felt watching the car's speedometer creep up past 80 as he exercised the lead foot my mom's mother still insists was his only flaw. That time he and my mother told my sister and I we were going on a picnic, then drove for hours "looking for a good spot" until we got to Disney World. The time he had my sister and I secretly write a "cat manifesto" before we went on vacation with my mom and grandmother...and we got home to two adorable kittens. Long after we had to give the cats away because we were both allergic, the way he'd fall asleep on the couch watching football, with our pet boa constrictor curled up on his chest. And the singing, always the singing. In the shower, while making breakfast, in the car. How funny to remember there were times I fled the kitchen because it was so loud it hurt my ears...I'd give anything, now.

No holiday brings all of that back like Pesach. I have so many memories of the Seder we went to in a congregant's home, which I'm convinced must have been 50-75 people, all of whom sang and took turns reading and participated, and only grumbled a little about how hungry they were getting as we took our time exploring and explaining all of the ritual. Pesach is one of my favorite holidays, but also one of the hardest...with my grouchy uncles who complain through the whole service and insist we skip most of it, and no one singing so that you can really get into it, and everyone pretty indifferent, and just nothing like I remember it. My cousin and I threw our own Seder for two years -- open to any of our friends who were actually interested in participating, regardless of religion -- and that was everything I was looking for, but it's the only time since I was 13 that I've found it. And I don't think I could do it down here, on my own. I could go to my orthodox aunt's house, but I don't think that's really what I'm looking for, either. I just want to find a Seder where the people actually care, and enjoy the singing, and want to tell the story and discuss the ritual. Not this perfunctory race to the meal. Buttered matzah tastes like home, but that's the home I really want. And I can't seem to find it anywhere.

(1 walked by my window | peek in)

Friday, January 27th, 2012
1:20 pm
I think I'm doing something wrong with my life.
This piece on friendship (warning: I needed tissues) has me thinking about friendship and chosen family, the people on whom we can count for the really important things. I stayed for years in New York -- a city I loved less and less, and in which I was less and less happy -- because I was rooted there. I had a roommate who was more like a lifemate, and friends I centered my life around, with whom I did important work and shared important things. As those connections fell away I found myself able to leave New York, which I think is ultimately best for me. But I wonder what happened to those roots. I know how things went south with my roommate, how I went from feeling married to feeling divorced, though I still regret the loss. Some people moved away, and while those connections are important to me, they're not central in the same way -- which I think is partly the nature of the beast, and partly my own inability to maintain that kind of connection on the phone. And there are people I had that kind of connection with -- for whom I would have and did drop anything when they needed something or just happened to be free, who made time when I thought my relationship was ending, and came over in the middle of the night to help me check my bed for bedbugs when I was panicking too hard to sleep, with whom I talked and laughed and cried and watched movies and organized and kept nothing back -- who just left me. And I still don't know why. Even the people I used to talk to all night in my teens, to share all of my hopes and hurts with and listen to theirs...none of those connections have lasted. And again, sometimes I know why, I can point to what happened (and given my taste in men/friends in my teens it was kind of inevitable), but as a pattern it still feels tragic. And I feel the loss of my connections here, as I've gotten out of the habit of posting on LJ, which if nothing else is a good way to maintain ties. (Though this is not a rant about technology. It may be true that Twitter leads to less meaningful connection than longer-form platforms, even as it helps me keep in touch, but it's not the point.)

I'm in a new city now, and I have new friendships to build. And maybe I need to go easy on myself, to remember that those things take time. But I wonder about my priorities sometimes, that other than my sister my closest connections seem to be the ones that involve romance, that I don't have the kind of network of friends you can count on through anything, that I lose touch with people or drift apart. Maybe it's cities, and the busy lives we lead in them, that make having even weekly plans with anyone nearly impossible. Maybe it's me, and the choices I'm making. I don't know, and I don't know how to change it. But this isn't the way I wanted my life to be shaped, it isn't what I wanted my support system to look like or how I wanted to support other people. I never wanted the kind of life when any time my partner was otherwise busy I was lonely, and I never wanted to value that connection above others that aren't sexual or romantic. And I don't think I used to. So I have to figure it out.

(7 walked by my window | peek in)

Friday, October 21st, 2011
1:03 am
Major life changes!
I'm getting awfully bad at keeping LJ updated on my life. Maybe the ubiquitous they are right and Twitter is killing longer writing -- it's a lot easier to post updates there. But, for those of you not on Twitter: big news!

I'm moving to DC!

Well, the DC area. Takoma Park, MD, to be specific.

I've been getting increasingly tired of NYC for a long time, and I'm finally giving up on it entirely. (Well, not entirely; I'll come visit. But honestly I can't wait to be gone. There's not much here for me aymore.) I was pretty decided to move to Philadelphia for a while, but then I figured out what I want to do next in my life, and MD was a better place to do it.

I am not, despite the assumptions of pretty much all of the straight, monogamous people in my life (mostly coworkers and patients), moving in with Girlfriend, Esquire. We are excited to have a local relationship, but I'm not even moving primarily to be near her. There have been lots of exciting developments in the last few months and especially in the last couple of weeks, including: Deciding to go into ultrasound as a career! Plans to go back to school next year! (That's what I'm moving for, pretty much, though Girlfriend Esquire and having family in the area are strong enough perks that they were factors in the decision.) New job! (I am very excited about my new job. I have found one of the approximately half-dozen massage jobs in the world where you're guaranteed a reasonable minimum income and get benefits.)  New apartment! Packing all of the things! Gosh things get dusty!

All of which means, of course, that I'm paring down my belongings in anticipation of paying for them by weight in a week. And that means getting rid of books. I can't ferry things around, but you can have anything you're willing to pick up a my office on 34th St. If I really, really love you and/or you're willing to pay shipping, I can probably even be convinced to ship (or haul things with me to DC, if you're located there.)  I'd be happy to provide information on what kind of condition something is in, what I thought of it, or why on earth I own it in the first place.

So here"s what I"m getting rid of.Collapse )

And, if you live in the DC area, I want to make plans. I'm so excited to explore a new city, even if it's one I've spent a lot of time in. And I'm so excited to get to know some folks better who I've previously not seen enough of due to distance.

(6 walked by my window | peek in)

Monday, April 25th, 2011
11:30 pm
Help me, LJ
Do any of you know of resources for trans*/genderqueer young people (20ish, not still living under their parents' roofs young) to give their parents, that aren't so terribly binary as most of the resources out there? Something that won't say "Your child is a man born in a woman's body," or anything like that? A friend is trying to explain their gender (and, specifically, their decision to have top surgery) to their mother, and is looking for resources that will help their mother understand, and accept that her child is in the best position to make their own decisions and won't be ruining their life. I'm on good terms with their mother and she seems to respect me as a responsible adult who's knowledgeable about queer stuff and knows her child well, and of course I'm happy to talk to her about this, but I'm not sure where to go for other things she could read/watch/listen to. And for that matter I should probably brush up myself, if I'm going to be talking to her about this.
It has been my experience of this friend's mother thus far that she loves her child and wants to support them and do what's best for them, but she's so steeped in heteronormativity that she worries about each development in my friend's queerness -- what does it mean, are they healthy, can they be happy, how can she relate to them, are they sure, are they going to make decisions they'll regret for the rest of their lives, etc. So that's the angle I'm looking to come at this from.
Thanks, LJ.

(1 walked by my window | peek in)

Monday, December 27th, 2010
4:26 pm
If by any chance you are sending me packages (and aren't you sweet to do so!) please either send them to my office or via USPS. UPS has twice been unable to deliver things to me due to a strike in my development, and it's been an adventure trying to get them.

(peek in)

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
2:06 am
There's so much happening in DC next weekend (including a great party and a get-together with friends) that Girlfriend, Esquire and I are toying with the idea of switching our visit down there. The problem is that that means finding either a cheap hotel room or someone to put us up. Preferably with enough privacy for us to, um, be a couple.

At this point it seems like enough trouble that I'm thinking we might rather just stay at my place in New York and relax, especially with the Stewart/Colbert thing also in town possibly really making things chaotic...I'll be back to visiting DC soon enough, and we can see folks there then. But I though I'd see what our options are.

(2 walked by my window | peek in)

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
2:45 pm
Hello LJ sounding board
I've been gearing up to move. My lease is up, my commute is long, the street harassment in my neighborhood is pretty serious, and maintenance issues are not always attended to in a timely manner (it still colors my feelings about this place that my ceiling leaked for basically the entire first three months I lived here.) And I thought that, with the way the bottom fell out of the market not long after I moved, I might be able to get a place that was if not nicer and cheaper with a shorter commute, then at least two of the three. But the apartment I really wanted just fell through -- the owners decided not to convert a basement into a studio and rent it out after all, but to use it for storage. And the few apartments I've viewed plus the extensive looking I've done on Craigslist, it doesn't look like I can improve my situation as much as I thought. I'd almost certainly end up paying more, there's not much available significantly closer, and no reason to think the apartments that are available would really be any nicer or better maintained than the one I'm already in (and I do have to admit that the maintenance office has improved since I moved in). Suddenly it doesn't look likely that moving could get me a significantly better situation. And if that's not a sure bet, it just seems like entirely too much expense and too much to put myself through. Two years ago I put myself under so much pressure while moving that I barely got out of bed for the next two months. That is not an experience I particularly want to repeat.

It's key that I'm alreadyunder a tremendous amount of pressure in my life right now. I'm just not sure I can manage to find another apartment and get my life packed up in time, nor that I have any chance of maintaining my mental health while doing so. Maybe in a year I will have the sense not to plan a six-day trip toward the end of moving month, I can bring myself to start packing earlier so come October I can concentrate on finding a place (and if I do end up feeling like staying was a mistake and I'm trapped here, it should be much easier to get motivated about getting rid of things and starting moving prep earlier so it doesn't happen again), and HJ and I will be at a less precarious place in our relationship so that making it work isn't already demanding all of my energy. Maybe I will have figured out whether I'm going back to school, and so have a better idea of where I want to live and what my price range is. Maybe I will have a better chance of making a move a positive change in my life, rather than courting serious depression for not much gain.

I think I'm going to get ready for work and get out of here, so I can at least drop by the management office and see if it would be possible to renew even though I've already declined, whether the "preferential rent" mentioned in the original renewal offer is still available, and what it would be. It can't hurt to know what my options are.

Suddenly staying here another year seems much more possible than moving in the next three weeks. I could enjoy my Vegas vacation in October without going into it ready to fall apart, do work I can be proud of for my Nov 5 writing deadline (more on that soon!), and start blogging again sooner, and turn my attention back to working things out with HJ. And it's not just that it would make this one month easier. I think I could still try to go through getting rid of things to make it easier to keep the place neat, get all of the maintenance things I've been putting off done, maybe get internet hooked up (since the available unlocked connections have gotten gradually less good over the course of my stay here until it's not really working anymore), do something really nice for myself with a fraction of the money I'd save by not moving and save the rest, and be happy for another year.

As long as my upstair's neighbor's radiator doesn't start leaking again the moment I sign the lease.

(4 walked by my window | peek in)

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
10:38 pm
Girlfriend, Esquire and I have been together three years today.

I, um...kinda can't even believe it. I had never had a relationship last a whole year before this, though I'd come close a couple of times. Three seems like something out of a story, or someone else's life. Especially when I reflect that I still love her as much as I ever have, and more, that this keeps getting deeper and better. I still can't help smiling every time I see her name on my caller ID, I still forget to breathe for a moment when she walks into the room, I still think (and talk, I know, I'm sorry -- sorta) about her constantly. And it's quietly stunning every time I realize that I want this, want her, in my life as long as possible. I don't remember the last time I was in something that I believed might work out in the long term, that I was willing to put this much work and this much of myself into. And I give it to her gladly.

I can't wait until I'm there this weekend, and we can celebrate together. Maybe that will make it feel a bit more real.

I'm so lucky.

(8 walked by my window | peek in)

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
8:58 pm
New username. It's still me. I still have the same fabulous shoes. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

(peek in)

Saturday, October 17th, 2009
11:21 pm
it's strange to think how many other bodies I've trusted against mine as I slept. And how many of those people are strangers to me now. It's much odder than knowing some of the people I've had sex with are strangers to me now (maybe because some of them were strangers to me then...) There are people out there moving through the world, living lives I know nothing about anymore, who once held me against them, warm and defenseless. Over and over again.

Relationships are weird, you guys. The things we trust people with, the things we give them. The things they take with them when they go. The memory of how my hair smelled, the weight of my head on a chest or a shoulder, where we fit and didn't fit when we folded together. I wonder where all of that is now.

Or maybe it's sleep that's weird. Leaving our bodies like that, in the care of whoever is there. Being wired to let anyone be there.

(3 walked by my window | peek in)

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
1:36 pm
I should think about how I want to be perceived in certain blurry-line-between-real-life-and-online fora, and particularly whether I want opinion to be divided between "that spot-on girl who tells it likes it is" and "that snarky, mean girl who jumps on nice people for no reason." Because I stand by everything I've chosen to say, but that may be the result of it, and that may not be what I want.

(4 walked by my window | peek in)

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
11:24 pm
Does anyone want to check out Atlantic Antic with me on Sunday, earlyish? I'm thinking 11 or 12, I'll have to leave for work around 2.

Also, does anyone with a paid account like me enough to make an LJ feed for the NCTE blog? I keep forgetting to check it, and given how I feel about one of their bloggers...I'd rather not miss anything ;-)

(2 walked by my window | peek in)

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
12:55 am
Does anyone know if Questioning Transphobia, the NCTE blog, or The Angry Black Woman have LJ feeds? I've found LJ syndications of everything else I read, and I've discovered that if it's not on my LJ friends page, I don't remember to check it. I at least subscribed to ABW by email, but with the other two I couldn't even figure out how to do that.

(2 walked by my window | peek in)

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
4:34 pm
(cross-posted from my blog)

I’ve written a lot here about my experiences trying to come out to my father’s side of the family, particularly my paternal grandmother. Short version: she doesn’t hear me, and even if she did, she wouldn’t want to talk about it.

That context makes a conversation I had with my maternal grandmother the other night even more lovely and refreshing. I already know she got it that I’m queer — she’d asked me what my “friend” did for a living, but I figured that was good enough. Then two nights ago we were talking about the small family get-together she’s planning. One of my favorite cousins is going to be in town briefly and has a couple of hours free Sunday morning, so we’re all going to my grandmother’s house so we can see her. Yay. And while we were working out the details, out of the blue, my grandmother says to me “You know, Aviva, I don’t know if your girlfriend is in town this weekend, but of course she’s invited.”



I can’t tell you how much I lit up. The moment I got off the phone I called Girlfriend, Esquire; I couldn’t wait to tell her. That step from knowing to accepting and welcoming feels warm and fuzzy and wonderful. I wish Girlfriend, Esq. was going to be in town this weekend (thought of course if she was I’d already have called and announced my intention to bring her). I’m almost upset that we’ll be away queer camping when the family gets together for Rush Hashanah, which is finally on a weekend. But I’ll bring her to something and introduce her around eventually. And it’s lovely that she’ll be actively invited, instead of me informing them she’s coming.

And it gets cuter. My grandmother continued on to tell me that she’s joined a mailing list for discount theater tickets, and ask me if there was anything I wanted to see. She made a point of telling me about The Temperamentals, a new play about the two men who founded the Mattachine Society.”It sounded interesting,” she told me, “I thought of you.” It does sound interesting, but I’m sure it was the gay premise that made her think of me. And, um, aw. I’m not the Mattachine Society’s biggest fan, but right now I am my grandmother’s.

(peek in)

Monday, July 27th, 2009
1:46 pm
I'm taking advantage of my unwanted time off this week to bring maintenance a list of everything that's wrong in my apartment, while I'll be home to let them in. And two guys just came to fix both the front door lock (the door frame side of which keeps getting bent out of shape and not working -- I used a hammer on it the other day so I could close the door. The last guy who came to fix it bent it back into place without affixing it correctly to the door frame, which lasted about two weeks before I was right back where I started) and the toilet (which has been running since I've moved in. The last guy who came to fix it told me that this model of toilet just runs, there was nothing to be done...and I was so exhausted by staying on their case about the leaky ceiling that I never followed up).

While one of them was still in the bathroom flushing the toilet, the other came back in here to tell me it was fixed. "Really?" I said. "Yeah, go see for yourself!" So I started to walk back into the bathroom -- through the wide open door, mind you -- and saw....a stream of  urine arcing into my toilet. Fortunately, due to the way things are laid out, that's all I saw before I turned around and headed right back out of there. But really, now. Maybe you should wait until your colleague is done using the toilet before you send me in there to check it?

On the other hand, both the front door lock and the toilet are now actually fixed, and seem likely to actually stay that way. If I'm lucky there will be no more peeing, but I hope whoever they send to look at the leaky ceiling is as good.

(peek in)

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
4:54 pm
My ceiling is leaking again.

Yeah, I'll pause a second to let that sink in.

After it leaked regularly from November to April, it is now leaking again. Someone please shoot me now.

I suspected the problem had returned when I noticed two nights ago that a bit of the new plaster/paint had fallen down, and remembered the dripping sound that, in my sleep, I'd assumed was rain on the air conditioner. But this morning the dripping woke me and I went and checked, so I'm sure.

On the bright side, at least in the summer I can turn the air conditioner on to drown out the sound and still get pretty decent, mostly-not-fretting sleep. And I'm free during the day two or three days next week, because my boss is out of town (anyone wanna hang out? At my place, probably?) So I can be there to pester the maintenance office until they deal with it, let people into the apartment, etc. I may even make a list of my other maintenance needs and try to get them all taken care of at once. And maybe, maybe, maybe it's something that can be fixed quickly and I can get on with my life.

Cross your fingers for me that I'm not re-entering the same endless cycle of trips to the maintenance office, being told it's fixed, and nights up listening to the dripping that sabatoged my efforts to pull myself hand over hand out of depression.

Please, please let me get this effectively resolved before I fall back into that crushing despair.

(4 walked by my window | peek in)

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
2:20 pm
Anyone who's heard me panicking about text message usage: the charges were not on my line. I was right that I have a package more than big enough to cover my usage. Message at will.

(peek in)

Monday, June 22nd, 2009
6:56 pm
Oh, my goodness. Do you have any idea how often I ride the red line in Takoma Park? It's a relief to know that harperjean  and lilyofthewest are nowhere near there right now, but are the rest of you who are down there ok?

(2 walked by my window | peek in)

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
1:08 pm
Check out this cazy foot fetishy ad I saw.
I keep walking by this ad on the way to work, and I finally had to take a picture and share it. I'm not sure what this has to do with sunglasses, but whoa. (Sorry for the reflections, I had to take the picture through the window.)

(1 walked by my window | peek in)

9:08 am
Submit's getting rid of a GYN table. Do I know anyone who would want such a thing? (And could pick it up in Brooklyn before next weekend?)

(peek in)

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