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More plans cancelled

We were supposed to go to the UK for Christmas so that B could meet his Nana and Grandad, his Great-grandma, his auntie and uncle and cousins. So that he could meet Billy and Rae, and our friends. So that we could go for walks on the moor and sit by the fire and visit the Stanza Stones and cook with family.

We’ve had to cancel it, with the new variant.

When will this end? I’m so tired.

At least B has no idea what’s going on.

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Cutting out the noise

in general I look at things now like “is this something I like or enjoy” “does this affect me in any way” “can I do something about this.” if 1 is false, and either 2 or 3 is false, I literally do not care. this excludes almost everything most people on here talk about

A private account I follow on Twitter put this out in the world, it is such a simple and useful framework for cutting down the noise. Not just on Twitter, anywhere. It’s so easy to get stressed / outraged / cynical / tired etc when there is so much to keep up with. Ignore it, keep the good vibes.

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Keeping up with fuzz head

One of the main reasons I’ve kept writing here pretty consistently since 2014 is because it is an incredible memory aid. Being able to refer back easily anywhere, whether it’s to show something to someone else or to myself, is invaluable.

More recently though, I’ve been finding it hard to write things down. Extra frustrating because I want to refer back to this time possibly more than anything.

I think part of it is just the lack of time. It is incredible how much time it takes to care for a little person, even when you have help (daycare three days a week right now in our case, and I’m working those three days).

And the sleep deprivation… it’s interesting, we’re pretty fortunate, I’d say. He’s a very decent sleeper, but it’s still so hard.

B is about 4.5 months old. He goes down between 7 and 8pm and is waking up 1–2 times a night, sometimes once as a bit of a yelp and resettling on his own, and almost always once properly where he needs to be changed and fed. Once his needs are met, he tends to go right back down without rocking/bouncing, which is amazing.

Sam’s job is more demanding right now in terms of a strict schedule (I’m working part time, though that will change soon), so I’m handling nighttime wakeups. For me, that usually means 1–5 hrs of sleep, a brief wakeup when B yelps since I hear it on the monitor, then another 1–3 hrs of sleep. Cumulatively, I generally get 4–7 hours, usually around 6 or 7 I’d say. That sounds alright for a parent of a baby, and it is! But when it happens to be multiple 5 hour nights with a random 4 hour night thrown in… it gets rough.

You can feel the shift. You’re a very different person on not enough sleep than you are on 7–8 hours a night. I get short, blank, forgetful.

Forgetful is the thing I hate the most, I think. I’m relying on apps like Reminders more than ever, not that it totally works. The forgetfulness and lack of patience are the worst. When I lose patience, I have to try to remember that my frustration often isn’t logical, it’s purely lack of sleep. But it’s hard to make that small mental leap in the moment.

All of this is an important reminder of how much even tiny changes in an environment can shape one’s identity, behavior.

Anyways, back to the original point.

I’m learning so much right now. I never grew up around babies, so this is a whole new world for me and it has been fascinating. But it is so hard to keep up. The moment I “learn” something, that thing changes and before I have a moment to jot it down, that knowledge has exited my head and I’m off to learning about the next thing B has thrown at us.

It’s a trip. Keeping up with our little fuzz head, and everything else.

Edit: I had to go back and fix more typos on this post than any other I’ve ever written 💀

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TIL about the U.S.’s 22-year HIV travel ban

TIL that the U.S. had a 22-year travel ban preventing HIV-positive immigrants, residency/work permit applicants, and visitors from entering the country.

I’m incredibly embarrassed that I didn’t know about this before. The travel ban was enacted in 1987. President George W. Bush started the repeal process in 2008, and President Obama finalized the end of the ban in 2010. It is WILD that it took so long for it to be repealed.

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Parental half-life

If you’re lucky to have them around for long enough, you will eventually reach an age where you have existed for more than half of your parents’ lives. You suddenly go from being around for less of their experiences to being around for most of their experiences.

There’s something significant in that, but I’m not quite sure what… Ask me next summer.

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Leave a stone unturned

I think the best creative advice I ever got was from my tutor at CSM.

Don’t dot every I and cross every T, don’t tie up every loose end. Leave some questions unanswered. A piece of art, a movie, a song, a performance, they all tend to be more compelling when they leave you wondering.

I tended to be very goal-oriented in my visual art practice, with an idea of exactly what I wanted the final product to be. This usually left me with frustration when I couldn’t quite get it there, and a piece that was overworked and somehow boring, despite my efforts. When I spent a little more time just focusing on the process and letting go of the result, it was both more fun and far more interesting to look at in the end.

I don’t have much of an art practice at the moment, though sometimes I look at this website as one big, long-haul creative endeavor.

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4+ month update

It’s been a little over four months since B arrived. These are some of my experiences or things I’ve learned so far, plucked at random.

I’d say that the books, conversations, and classes prepared me pretty decently in theory, but the physical and emotional reality is almost impossible to prepare for. Being a parent has been much more visceral than I expected.

A woman walking in to James Turrell’s “Three Gems”

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Dried mango superpow(d)er

Dried mango (amchoor) powder is a sneaky all-star ingredient.

It adds a tangy-ness to food without being sour. Instead of lemon or lime’s brightness, it adds depth. And unlike sumac, it changes almost nothing about the food visually since it’s such a fine powder.

Obviously it’s super in curries, but I’ve also added it to non-West Asian food like chili and smoothies with great effect. I imagine it would also work well in marinades, salad dressing, all sorts of things.

Another sleeper ingredient (at least to my palate!) is black salt. It’s got a pink tinge, confusingly. It has a distinct sulfurous smell which makes it super useful in vegan egg salad recipes, but I imagine it would be great in other stuff as well.