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Attempting the postdating thing so that this will stay at the top:

Hi. Welcome to my Livejournal. I maintain this journal mostly to read those of my friends, and to post that friends-only stuff that is not appropriate to my other outlets. However, most of my writing these days goes to The Living Artist, which started off as an art blog but also deals with my thoughts on feminism, disability, parenting, and sociology.

You can also find me on Twitter.

And if you've actually met me in person, or we've had significant personal interaction online, try Facebook.



Happy birthday to me!

35. Wow. It seems I have issues with 35. It seems adult in a way I'm not really prepared to deal with. The beginning of middle age. Old enough to be President. Closer to 40 than 30. Like I should have something to show for my life by now. Just three months ago I was deeply depressed by this upcoming milestone. While the shape of my life hit everything I "should" have needed to be content, I was unhappy. Beaten down by daily routine, desperately lonely, and frustrated by my inability to find fulfillment in my adored husband, vivacious son, and beautiful house.

And then everything started falling into place, things I'd given up on ever getting back or having in the first place. There are two posts from 10+ years ago outlining what I wanted from life; and today those dreams not only still hold, but as my 36th year dawns I find that I have fulfilled them; in spirit if not in letter.

Here's the first post, from February 2nd, 2002: http://jnanacandra.livejournal.com/132730.html. (This one, from a year later, is also relevant: http://jnanacandra.livejournal.com/318356.html) If you ever ask my husband how we got together, he will place that first post at the center of the story, as being when he realized there was at least one other person out there who had the same vision of family as he did. And we've spent our lives since in search of that family; building what we have ourselves, of course, but trying to hold space for others to join us. Thanks to the accident and a few heartbreaks, though, I at least had pretty much given up on that part of it. I wasn't even sure if I would ever date again; my resources were stretched too thin as it was.

And then D, S, and K started coming over for dinner, and convinced us to go camping with them, and the dominoes started falling too fast to follow, and now I cannot conceive of our life without them. They are our family. And as much as I normally loathe the metaphor of a romantic partner being your other half, for its implication that you are not a complete person by yourself, I still cannot think of a better way to put it than that I had a hole in my heart that was D-shaped, and never knew it until it was filled. Our children, only six months apart in age, are best friends (and fight like siblings). While we don't (yet?) have the single household envisioned in my dream, it almost doesn't matter; we spend most of our non-work time together already and the biggest thing a single household would net us is less time driving!

With the support of a larger family, my physical limitations no longer chafe every moment of every day. Every little thing from doing dishes to having a bad pain flare has become less stressful. My house is cleaner. I've had energy and inspiration for painting, even with Aiden out of school for the summer. My garden and my one remaining fish are sadly somewhat neglected, but now it is so much easier to find which things in my life are truly sources of joy and which were just filling the empty spaces. Every moment of hell and heartbreak in the last four years is worth it, now, if it got us here.

My wish, my one wish for my 35th birthday, is that I never lose this feeling of joyful wonder at what my life has become. I am incredibly lucky, and this may well be the Best Birthday Ever.

Note: D, S, and K will remain pseudonymous here for privacy reasons, but if you know me in person (and don't already know who they are) feel free to ask privately.

Wiscon 2012

Wiscon approaches (yay!), and I will be on both hanging-art kind of panels and the group-talking kind of panels this year! Details: http://www.fireseastudios.com/livingartist/?p=1512



I'm going to Wiscon!

..that is, if I can find a roommate or three.

Are you going? Do you know someone who is? Do you/they have a bed spot going unused? I will stay at the Inn on the Park if I absolutely have to, but I want/borderline need a spot at the Concourse so I can crash mid-day without saving spoons for the walk down the block.

Prefer relatively quiet, non-smoking roomies; gender doesn't matter. Need a room for Thursday-Sunday nights, but I can find somewhere else for Thursday if your room doesn't start til Friday. For references, see my roomies from last year: dancingsinging, jinian, and meganbmoore; shadesong can also vouch for me being a decent-ish sort of person, if painfully shy.

(Yes, I've posted to the Wiscon community. Got one nibble which I saw too late to make use of.)

Signal boosting appreciated as well.


Note: This is primarily of interest to Pittsburghers, but I'm leaving it public so I can point people here from other social media.
(Whoops, I thought I posted this last week. shows you how organized I am.)

We're in the process of moving across town, like, now - we're shlepping carloads over every day, and the movers will be taking the furniture over on Saturday (PANIC!) The new house is a tad smaller than the current one, so we're getting rid of a lot of stuff, some of it in pretty good condition.

skip unless you're local to PittsburghCollapse )

Those of you with reason to have our new address should be getting email in the next couple of days. If you want to make sure you're on that list, comment or email :)


My, it's dusty 'round here.

If there's one thing I'm going to try to give up on for 2012, it's this compulsion to explain why I've stopped posting, writing, reading, or doing any particular thing on- or offline. Shit happens, life happens, and explaining it is more exhausting than just getting on with it. Not to mention I get so tangled up in the prospective explanation that I never start writing again.

2011 sucked. Big time. In more ways than I care to explain. But it also put a lot of things to rest, big, painful, terrible things that I think I can finally walk away from.

My post from the beginning of last year still haunts me - "2011 is going to be awesome", I said. Awful was more like it. But I'm doing my best to look at it as the final inferno that burned away enough debris to make room for new growth. The Blasted Tower that crumbled beneath my feet, making room for the Star.

Ahem. That's enough of that.

Anyway, rethinking many things these days. My business model is likely to get a complete overhaul, as it's still causing me too much stress, and the number one thing I can do to improve my health is lower my stress levels.

We're moving next month (just across town - Churchill, for Pittsburghers) to a house I've been involved with redecorating for the last few weeks. It's felt like my own HGTV reality show without the cameras, and it's not done yet. But I will have a brilliant gold living room that I can't walk into without smiling. And our bedroom is deep red, and the upstairs bathrooms purple, and that's not even half of the gorgeous colors I will be surrounding myself with!

We also recently got a new car, as our second Prius was totaled, again. In an effort to stave off the pattern of people slamming into my car as if it's not there, the new one is the anti-Prius - a big, red minivan, a 2012 Chrysler Town and Country. It has some awesome features, from the heated seats which are a quick path to happiness on frigid winter mornings, to the endless parade of safety features which take on a whole new level of relevance when you've been in three car-totaling accidents, none of them your fault, in the last ten years. I feel safer in this car than I have in a long time on the road, and that is worth every penny we spent on her. (Her name is "Aurelia", because the voice of the GPS system reminds me of the character by that name in the movie "Love, Actually".) And she has a bumper sticker which sums up my philosophical approach to most things these days:

Trust those who seek the truth. Doubt those who have found it.


Cars hate me. Apparently.

Yet another bad car accident today. There is at least a chance that the car isn't completely totaled this time; nonetheless, I am done with black Priuses, as something about them seems to attract drivers who just don't seem to notice that there is a CAR RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM.

First things first: I seem to be physically okay, though I was scared shitless at the thought of something else happening to my spine or making the syrinx worse. I'll have a better idea in a week or so, but I'm hopeful, anyway.

Not a recommended way to avoid a Pap smearCollapse )
I've started a mailing list for my art-related pursuits. If you're at all interested, you can sign up here: http://www.fireseastudios.com/livingartist/?p=1324.

This is a once-monthly thing, so less of a time commitment even than reading the blog.

In the first newsletter, all my Sekrit Planz will be revealed! Mwahahaha. Maybe. ;)



Months ago, I saw someone with a totally awesome Steelers hat. For my birthday, lordandrei commissioned C.S. to make me one.

The best part? It's reversible. Wear one side out when we're on offense, then flip it when we're on defense!

And it is *warm* - in this thing, I might actually be willing to go to a game! The downside of a July birthday; I keep putting it on and then taking it off, scalp sweating, 30 seconds later.

As you can see in the above, Aiden was "helping." He continued to "help", in fact:

Other birthday goodness included a strawberry milkshake and happy feet in the Water Steps on the North Shore.

34 is such a boring number; I will instead concieve of it as 2^5 + 2^1.

There's a lot of stuff in my life right now that is seriously fucked up, but I'm working on a new mantra of be here now. So much joy in each moment, if I only stop to feel it. As mlerules would say, BAPAMAP (Be At Peace As Much As Possible).

[Pittsburgh] March for Choice

I somehow managed to never post about this here. Whoops.

If you're in or near Pittsburgh and care about little things like having control over whether or not you have children, Pro-Choice Pittsburgh (of which I am a member) is holding a March for Choice in Oakland, Saturday at 10am.

Facebook event page
Non-Facebook event page

I don't normally get my activism up in my Livejournal, but this is serious shit, people. Pennsylvania has just passed some very restrictive abortion laws, along with most of the other states in the country. If I have to tell you why reproductive rights are important... well, chances are you aren't reading this anyway. But Arwyn says it better than I could, anyway.

the final Wiscon report

Panels attended: 6 (a personal record)
Paintings sold: 3
Meals eaten: um.... 4?
Books bought: 4 (would have been far more if I'd had the $$)
Books added to my wishlist: 15
New projects: 3

Plus a few new dear friends, a mad crush or two, a good heavy dent in the depression that's been miring me down for the last few months, and my Memorial Day weekends can now be considered booked for years, if not decades, to come.

Thanks to shadesong and all the others whose ravings about Wiscon finally convinced me to give it a shot. At this introvert- and disability-friendly feminist science fiction convention, I feel like I've finally found a home.
Home from Wiscon - exhausted, exhilarated, inspired. I want to write and paint and clean and dance and SLEEP; but at the moment I think that last one is going to win out.


inclusiveness: Wiscon does it right

Okay, it's early yet, but so far I think this is the best con I've ever been to.Collapse )

Wiscon, day 1

Here at Wiscon, but that cold I thought I'd fought off a couple days ago has come back more insistently. Going to have to take it easy; so much for not being online this weekend, eh? Damnit. Well, just being here is a vacation - I got nearly 12 hours of sleep last night, and a nice long stretch of reading.

I managed to miscalculate when packing and am short a pair of underwear. Um, oops.

Madison - at least the central few blocks of it I've seen now - is a beautiful city. It's an interesting counterpoint to the labor protests that have been happening here for the last month that it comes across as a very progressive city; clean, open, lots of bike racks and buses, plenty of public seating and covered bus shelters. But in almost every non-chain store window are handmade signs supporting the protests.

This morning I'm setting up in the art show, and then hopefully will still have the energy to walk down to the feminist bookstore. Activities at the con proper start this afternoon.

One of my roommates scored a copy of seanan_mcguire/Mira Grant's Deadline yesterday, and has already finished reading it and passed it to me, so I can hold off buying my own copy until Tuesday when it will count towards her sales numbers :)

All three roommates, who I'd never met before yesterday (one not until this morning) are awesome. Very tickled to have stumbled into this situation.


firesea: self-portrait
Heather Keith Freeman
Fire Sea Studios

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