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Transitioning into liminal space

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(no subject) [Oct. 20th, 2016|11:21 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |amusedamused]

*Piper barks at the door to the hallway. I follow her over to the door*

"Is someone out there? What's going on?"

"Woof! Woof! Grrr-ooof!"

"Ok, you don't have to bark. I'm alerted. "

"Woof! Woof!"

"I'm alert! Really! Look how alert I am!"


*Piper walks back over to the couch.*
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(no subject) [Oct. 20th, 2016|10:13 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
[State of Being |angryangry]

I'm going to write a more public and post explaining my thoughts and feelings about it later that will go on Facebook too. If I get to it. But seeing all the people on Facebook making fun of the university that invited students to talk to counselors if they're having trouble with the Halloween costumes they're seeing make me mad. What business is it of yours what people talk to their counselors about? How dare you make fun of people for wanting to talk to mental health professionals, or of mental health professionals for reaching out to a vulnerable body of people, in this society we live in that not only makes it hard to access mental health care, but then stigmatizes people for seeking it? How dare you take actions that could discourage people from reaching out for help they need in an environment where, as college students, possibly far from home, they may not have another way to gt that help? Not everything you talk to a counselor about needs to be of earth shattering importance. How dare you imply that, not only are people not allowed to express offense or discomfort about costumes in public, but that wanting to do so in a safe and strictly private place with someone who's job is literally to listen to you talk about things you're having a hard time with is self indulgent, or is even somehow a symptom of a degrading society? How dare you?

(Or maybe, having thought about it more, I'll just post this on Facebook. Maybe toned down a little bit. I think it's a viewpoint people need and I'm not sure what to add to it to make it better or more effective.)

((Alright, so it's up, with a few changes, additions, and an introductory apology for Facebooking while angry [as well as a note explaining that this does make me really angry]. I am aware of two people on my friends list who have made fun of this university. I hope they remain friends with me and listen to what I'm saying.))

(Talking to Danae and clarifying my thoughts about this, I want to add that it's not just about the costumes. It's about behavior in costumes, and toward people wearing costumes. Think about how people who are cosplaying at conventions are treated (for my nerd friends). Justification should not be required for conversations with a therapist, but there's a lot of it there if you want some. Imagine the kind of behavior that would happen in a space without a sexual harassment policy and security who'll kick people out of event space.)
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Piper Update [Oct. 19th, 2016|03:21 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |busybusy]

I was so glad to see Piper looking so happy, head out the car window and hair blown back by the wind, as I drove back from the vet. She's had a long day.

She was having diarrhea last night. I took her out around midnight in the hope she'd be ok overnight, but by the time I woke up her crate was a doggie disaster area. Then she tracked poop onto the carpet before I could grab her and bring her outside. She wouldn't eat breakfast, so the vet said not to give her insulin and that I should come pick up some wet food for her. Danae helped me get her into the bathtub where I lathered her up with dog shampoo and wiped her down. She was terrified, but put up with it like a champion. At least her hair is all smooth and shiny now. We had to cut a little bit of matted stuff off of her, but it was minor.

Then I locked her in the bathroom while I went to my therapy session, since her crate is uninhabitable. It was a long day for me too, or at least a stressful one. My therapists supervisor and a couple other students, with my permission of course, were observing the session, so I was stressed and self-conscious. Regardless, it went well, and I had a brief conversation with her supervisor too, who seemed really nice. More stuff to think about regarding emotions.

Piper's been back in a diaper all day, but seems well and is happy to be out of the bathroom (where she did not make a mess). She just ate a bunch of her wet food, so I'm going to keep a close eye on her while I try to clean out her crate and scrub the carpet again. She's lucky she's so adorable. As the shelter staff said in email when I asked them about potentially box-training her and how that would affect her adoptability, she is a special-needs dog and will require special people. Learning to eliminate on a pee-pad or in a box would be the least of our issues in that department.

My special puppy dog....
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Open Doors Chicago, Piper, mental health [Oct. 15th, 2016|09:19 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |awakeawake]

Today is the first day of Open Doors Chicago: it's an architectural tourism event where over a hundred architecturally remarkable buildings are open for free tours to the general public throughout Chicago. I've wanted to get to Open Doors for years, but somehow there has always been an unavoidable scheduling conflict. Now, finally, I'm in easy distance, don't have other commitments, and could make a list of cool places and jump on my bike to see them.

And I just don't feel motivated. It's so strange for me to have the chance to do something so awesome related to architecture and just not be feeling it. But I also haven't been doing much bicycling at all lately either; I just haven't really felt motivated. Maybe I'm having another depressive spell? I mostly want to sit at home and play Factorio.

Danae and I have a really nice evening yesterday. It was the day of the NU anime club, and they were viewing four episodes of different TV shows to decide what series to watch for the rest of the semester. I'd been really tired and a little headachy, so I took a long nap during the day and was up a little late for the five o' clock start. I'd been hesitant about whether I really wanted to go, but in the end I decided that both of us get out and see other people so little that the chance to do so together is one I shouldn't pass up. I walked to the campus and met her there, seeing the end of the first episode and the other three with her. One of them, Occultic 9, was so fast and disjointed that trying to keep track of it was a bit like scouring my brain with something abrasive. It was tiring to watch. The second, Drifters, was kind of interesting but not inspiring. The last one, the first episode of a show about an alternate World War II with a witch/sorceress helping the princess of a tiny mountain kingdom standing against "Germania" was really good and I enjoyed watching it. I hope that ends up being the series they see more of.

Danae and I walked home and stopped at Chipotle for a buy one-get one burrito deal (you can get a coupon if you go to their site and play a silly game) and then snuggled on the couch for more Anime. My dad had found Vampire Hunter D for me, a wonderful post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasy horror western romance from 1985, and I wanted to share it with her. But it turned out the copy he gave me was a newer redub and I hated the voices immediately. To my delight, I found the version that I new in whole on Youtube, so we put it on the TV and curled up with Piper. Once it was done, it auto played the newer movie with the same character, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. I'd never seen it so we watched that one too. I prefer the original, but I have to admit that the newer one is really pretty! As is D. If I have any 'type' when it comes to guys, it's vaguely feminine long-haired men. Even as a kid and before I had long hair myself, I loved seeing long-haired men in fiction.

Anyway, here I am this morning. Piper woke me again as usual. She's calm and quiet most of the night in her crate in the living room, but she tends to start barking around 8. I'm hoping both that I can train her to stop doing that, and that I can also leave her out for the night once she's not in heat and her diabetes is under control.

She's doing better in the last week or so I think. When I took her to the vet on Tuesday, I found out that I was only giving her half the does of insulin that she was supposed to get. She needs five units, but I was drawing insulin up to the fifth line, which on these syringes, mark half-units. I thought I'd been taking such good care of her, and when I found out I'd been doing it wrong I felt deeply awful. I was depressed for a lot of the day, and napped on the couch where I had nightmares about her bleeding and peeing on everything while I helplessly looked on.

The shelter staff reassured me that it wasn't my fault, and that they had incorrect information. I don't know where it came from; maybe it was from the previous owner and that's why her diabetes was not managed well. Anyway, she's now getting her full dose and I do feel like she has more energy and is feeling better. That's a huge relief for me. There are things I get from being with a big dog that I don't get from her, but I really care about her a lot and felt just terrible when I learned that I was doing things wrong. Small or not, I can still bury my nose in her fur and sniff, and the smell of dog is reassuring and soothing in a way that I just can't explain. I'm glad she's here, and I'm glad that we're able to take care of her. However imperfect I am at it, I know that she needs special care that not a lot of situations could ensure she gets.
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(no subject) [Oct. 12th, 2016|07:04 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |thoughtfulthoughtful]

In therapy today, we talked again about my choice to pursue geography rather than library science. She asked what I find appealing about geography. There are a number of reasons. The fields basis in place, space, and history is very much in-line with my own interests in historic and modern cities. I feel that academic geographers are able to pursue an activist research agenda aimed at furthering social justice, which is important to me for numerous reasons. There's a lot of literature in the field that appeals very personally to me, and I could enjoy being a part of that metaphorical conversation.

She asked what appeals to me about library science. I love being around books, I said. I love to be around them, to organize them, to take care of them, to share them with people. When I was a kid, my books were sorted by genre and alphabetized by author. A friend of my parents lent me something once; I don't remember what. "Take care of it like you take care of your books," my dad said.

"Better than your books," said the friend. My dad expressed that he didn't think that was possible, and I smiled both because I agreed, and because that felt like high praise indeed.

When I was working in the archives, I told the therapist, I got to go back into the closed stacks and handle such amazing material. Tax rolls from the 1800s, in bindings done by the WPA. Original letters to and from prominent citizens. Police reports from the middle of the last century, rare books of all sorts of backgrounds, hundred year old glass plate negatives, and so many other things. I felt like one of the cool kids. I felt so special, that I was trusted to work with these things. I felt so good about myself when I could find information about patrons' families that they'd never known. I felt appreciated and valued.

I think that maybe geography is something I think I want to do. That I think I ought to want to do. It's easy for me to decide to do something just because I think I should want to, rather than because I do, in fact, want to. That's led to some really negative experiences. Archival work is something that I don't have to think about in that way; I simply love doing it. I loved working in the archives at Parkside more than I've enjoyed doing any other work in my life. I felt more competent there than I ever have doing anything else too. Feeling like I know what I'm doing and am doing it well is such a wonderful feeling.

Thinking about actually choosing to pursue a library science degree makes me feel selfish. Why should I do something that makes me so happy to think about when there are other things that I want to do, and which I'm capable (theoretically) of doing, and which would put me in a better position to potentially improve society on a larger scale by influencing urban public policy?

So that's what I'm thinking about this week. It connects to questions I've had since before I went to New York about obligation versus desire and how to know what I actually want (which I'm still not good at).

As part of that, as the therapist suggested, I'm going to have some conversations with people about balancing sacrifice and obligation with happiness. How they have managed that in their own lives. Some phone calls with my parents, and maybe talks with others, will be in order there.
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Walking with Piper [Oct. 11th, 2016|03:14 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |happyhappy]

Piper and I walked to fountain square in downtown Evanston. I put her on top of the concrete surround to get photos of her with the plume of water in the background, but my favorite one of the set turned out to be just her furry face.

Piper at the Evanston Fountain

I met a woman just outside the pharmacy on Sherman Avenue. Elderly and wearing a CVS uniform, she came hurriedly over to ask if she could pet Piper. I told her Piper's story in brief, and she talked about her Lhasa Apso who she'd had for more than a decade who had died around last Christmas. It was nice talking with her. Walking a dog really encourage random social interaction. I think it gives people something safe to approach a stranger about. I really like that.

Meanwhile, Piper seems to appreciate the attention from any source. I do think she's slowly feeling better. More energetic and enthusiastic maybe, though it's subtle. She'll be coming to the vet with me tomorrow for a glucose curve test and so I can talk to the vet about a few questions.
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(no subject) [Oct. 7th, 2016|12:25 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |hopefulhopeful]

This past weekend, I got to Kenosha to visit my parents on Sunday. I also got together in person with my undergrad advisor. I was deeply anxious and nervous about seeing her again. We've been in contact on Facebook and she's been really supportive and encouraging of me, but I have such strong feelings of shame and failure about Syracuse, and she was so important in encouraging me to go and telling me how much she believed in me and writing a wonderful recommendation letter. I felt really bad about myself whenever I let myself think about she and other faculty at Parkside who were so proud of me and believed so strongly in me.

I was going to go over to her place, but she suggested coming over to my parents' house and seeing everybody (they'd met her before). I'm glad she did. Being there and having my parents around helped make the experience more manageable. I still couldn't bring myself to answer the door when she got there; my parents did that. And as people made conversation about caught up, I kept looking down at the floor or playing with the dog. Finally, I started feeling more ok about being a part of the talking. When the topic connected, I told her about my feelings around Syracuse and how much I was worried I'd disappointed her and how ashamed I felt. She was nothing but encouraging, and reminded me again of how much I'd helped her too. That she hadn't realized how much anxiety was affecting her life until she saw my struggles with it. That She cares about me and I haven't disappointed her and she'd really like to talk more. That she'd like me to be a part of continuing work on, and talks on, Pike Creek if I'm interested.

I don't feel completely better; I have no idea how to make that happen. But I feel a lot better. And I'm going to plan to get together with her again when I'm in Kenosha, maybe at her place, to have a deeper conversation. She and I are both motivated by making society a better place. She's had a lot more experience than I have, and she has not given up. She believes in the ability to make a difference. I think talking to her specifically about what she thinks we, as people, can do, will help me. Plus I just really like her and miss her. Now that I'm not feeling nearly so ashamed and scared about seeing her, I'd really like to see her!
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Piper Update [Oct. 7th, 2016|11:02 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |awakeawake]

Piper has been more of a handful than I expected. She's diabetic and has to pee a lot because of that. I knew that. However, she is also too unhealthy to be spayed, and so is intact. Yesterday, she came into heat. Now she's peeing even more. I have a timer set on my phone for every forty minutes to take her outside to ensure she doesn't pee in the condo.

I'm pretty sure it's not a training/behavior thing. Every time we go outside, as soon as she gets to a grassy spot, she pees. She's definitely waiting. But if I don't keep a close eye on her and take her outside a lot, I find pee spots on the carpet. That's happened three times now, and I'd like to not have any more of them. Compounding the problem is that I'm not sure about her signals for wanting to go out. I think she often tries to get me to follow her over to her food (which won't help her because she needs to eat at specific times for diabetes control), and I'm not sure when it's a 'feed me' dance and when it's an 'gotta go outside' dance. But either way, her dancing and her head tilting when I say her name are so cute. She's lucky she's so cute. *grins* I may try training her to jingle bells when she wants to go outside as one of the volunteers at the shelter last night suggested. I read about doing that online and it makes sense.

She's doing well with the insulin. She's pretty calm when I inject her, though sometimes she squirms and I worry about hurting her if she moves with the needle inserted. Once I had to re-poke her because she squirmed away before I could inject her. Danae helped hold her last night, and I think both the restraint and the touch and reassurance may help.

I asked about her backstory at the shelter last night. She was a surrender by people who had had her since she was a puppy. She's about 6 or 7 now, and when she became diabetic, her people couldn't/didn't know how to care for her. She wasn't eating much of anything except treats because she wasn't feeling well, so that's what her people were giving her. They were trying, but that was not good for her, which is why she was so skinny and unwell. She has a vet checkup on Tuesday to see how she's responding to insulin and adjust her dose if necessary.

I'm really hoping she's well enough to spay soon. I've never had an intact dog before, and this is new and frustrating. She seems to be cleaning herself pretty well, but I have found just a couple of blood drops on the floor. The shelter sent some doggy diapers home with me for her, as well as some shampoo. I'm not noticing it (I'm probably just acclimatized to dog smells), but Danae says she has a pretty strong smell, possibly due to her heat, and I'm going to try bathing her. At least she's small enough that I can do it in the bathroom sink. (I've also never had a dog who needed regular bathing. Kuma just needed brushing. We took him to the self-wash at PetSmart once in a long while, but usually only if he was dirty for some reason. I like brushing dogs. Bathing, I'm not so sure about.

All that said, I'm really glad that I'm in a position to help make things better for Piper, and I do really like her. She's a good girl; friendly, sweet, attentive, and really good to pet and snuggle. She has her issues, but don't we all?

Piper in a Diaper

Piper in her Diaper
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(no subject) [Oct. 5th, 2016|03:31 pm]
Transitioning into liminal space
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[State of Being |happyhappy]

Piper's worn out after a two-mile walk to the lakeshore and back. I had to carry her along part of the return route.


She had a good time walking, but is scared of the crashing and hissing waves on the shore. Not a hardcore adventure-dog, she. I walked to the edge of the breakers and let her approach at her own pace. She moved near a couple times, but when a larger wave would break, she'd jump and scurry backward.

I love the way her tongue pokes out a little bit as she sleeps.

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First Day with the Dog [Oct. 5th, 2016|08:20 am]
Transitioning into liminal space
[Tags|, , ]
[State of Being |happyhappy]

Since I'm still not sure about her waste elimination habits, I was going to put Piper in her crate overnight with a toy and soft pad to lie on. She's a fairly quiet dog (I was worried about that, with the yappy small dogs I've known!), but once she was in there, she started making sad little noises: I'm pretty sure they were almost-whimpers. I lay down in front of the crate for a little while, talking to her and petting her through the bars. Then I gave up on being able to leave here in there without ending up in tears and let her back out. Danae encouraged me to sleep in the couch with her for a few nights, so that's where I was this morning when Nathan got up to get ready for work. That got me up early, which is good; I like being an early riser, but it's hard to do for me. Maybe the dog will make a difference there.

She just got a couple of walks around the block, breakfast, and her insulin and is looking pretty happy. We played with one of her toys a little bit; she loves taking her little stuffed turtle and whipping it back and forth in her jaws. She's definitely a terrier!
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