Long Days

I’m still, in some ways, processing the death of Queen Elizabeth and the change that brings to the sensation of what I’m calling the touchstones of normality. That said, my work has required me to be involved in making sure that protocols and agreements are rolled out effectively in how my libraries operate and communicate at this time.

There’s nothing outrageous, just a lot of communication and relaying of questions up and down the chain – and thanking everyone working for me for their hard work and resilience during some fast-changing times.

That’s partly why today I herded the polycule all into one place so we could just spend some time together at Geek Retreat to chat, gossip, and support each other. One touchstone may have gone, but we have each other and the affirmation of being in each other’s company as another touchstone.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day of recharging batteries and, for me at least, some prepping of options for the D&D game in the evening.

Thoughts on the New Destiny Season

We’re just about three weeks into the new storyline in Destiny – the Season of Plunder – and what a contrast there is to the previous one. The Season of Haunting traumatised our little fireteam with tales of loss, regret, and the healing of old wounds. By contrast this is a bright and merry jaunt into space piracy – even down to music that wouldn’t be out of place in Pirates of the Caribbean. No more gothic horror with merciless ghosts, now we have big explosions and jumping between spaceships to capture treasure…

And yet…

The lorebooks unlocking are tales of the Eliksni diaspora after the fall of their civilization when The Traveller abandoned them in the face of The Darkness. We have narrators wondering if it would have been kinder to kill their offspring, and stories hinting at cannibalism and the pillaging of less capable craft just to survive – of the emergence of a harsher and crueller nature needed to survive.

The mighty Eliksni hero Misraaks (known to the people of the Last City as Mithraks because they can’t pronounce his name properly) has taken centre stage this season, and his daughter who acts as the historian/scribe of his people is starting to ask questions about his past. Like our superficial reaction to the new themes of the Season, she is caught up in the romance and drama of pirate life – and the more she digs into history, the more Misraaks is trying to deflect her attention.

On one level this is a much-needed change of pace to the gloom of last Season, but thematically we’re rapidly closing in on the end game of Destiny, and the next expansion is called Lightfall. We look to be heading towards a new Collapse of human civilization as the forces of The Witness gather around our system – and I wouldn’t be surprised to find these seasons foreshadowing and preparing the ground for the turmoil to come.

But that’s to look forward as the story unfolds. I’ll even stake my tinfoil theory right now that the Darkness-infused relics we’re recovering are remnants of the mythical Nezarec scavenged by Eliksni during their pirate rampages and it was the experience of drawing on Darkness from them that inspired Eramis to seek Stasis powers in the first place. Given I just unlocked an ornamental piece meant to be Nezarec’s robes, and we also have his helm as an exotic armour piece, and his glaive, we’re having a lot of breadcrumbs dropped.

With all that, yes we’re enjoying the new Season and all the explosions and mayhem that comes with it.

New Term

It’s all very exciting. Along with many others, the cub has started at his new school today. As is traditional,all his clothing is of the “he’ll grow into it” fitting, but he still looks proud and perhaps happier than he expected.

Another new facet is that we’re now in that process of building his confidence to be home alone. We’ll get there. Right now I’ll settle for him getting in the habit of knowing where his house keys are. Small steps…

In the meantime my own learning journey continues with more elements of a Leadership course. It’s been made available to me both as part of the day job and in connection to the staff network role. I wasn’t entirely sure about it but I’m not one to turn down free learning opportunities. I’ve been pleasantly surprised and energised by the course so far so that’s a nice bonus.

Quiet Improvements

After the whirlwind of the last few weeks these last few days have been quite pleasant. That’s not to say there haven’t been moments that prompted the odd eye roll, but in general my stress levels have been a lot lower

Mostly that’s because the frenzy of events has finished for a little while, and also because my staff reminded me I can actually give them jobs to do on top of their day to day stuff. This was all wrapped up in a concern for my health that was heartening.

In the meantime I’ve been carrying on with a piece on Allyship that I’m starting to socialise now I’ve got the basic copy done, and have spent an afternoon wrangling accessibility issues. I need to get some more sensitivity reading done but I’m feeling confident in the piece at the moment.

And this evening we had the regular Destiny stream on Lady B’s Twitch where we pretended to be space pirates for a while.

Tomorrow we need to get the cub’s school clothing sorted ahead of the new term in Monday. He is not looking forward to it.

Write-ups and Sign-ins

So, back to work today following my unexpected derailment with a kidney stone yesterday. That was my body telling me to be sensible in hot weather (like the whole of Saturday at Pride and then a glass or two of wine on Sunday). Cue a day of painkillers, a hot water bottle, and the consumption of my own bodyweight in water to flush everything through.

I had (mostly) meetings spread through the day, but also got asked to put my Staff Network hat on to write up the corporate Pride report for the network. It seems to now be an annual tradition to get me to write such things, and as I was halfway through doing something specifically for the library intranet anyway it was only a quick skip and a hop to turn it into something more extensive and stick some photos in there.

That made for a positive end to the day at work, and since then I’ve caught up on TV and started to set up for a second D&D group to run monthly, with some colleagues from work. That’s a nice little side project. With any luck we’ll also be back into the adventures of the DDC this weekend as well.

Busy, busy.

Good Start

So, I forgot yesterday that it was a Bank Holiday and that seems to be setting the tone for the week. Very little got done yesterday, but that’s fine.

This morning I woke up in excruciating pain and recognised it as a kidney stone. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised after the heat and direct sunlight of the weekend and drinking at a barbecue round the ex-Mrs M house along with the Charleesi.

So so much for getting anything done today. I’ve mostly been semi conscious under the influence of some very strong painkillers and a hot water bottle. Oh, and many pints of water to help flush it through.

I think the worst is past now, but I’m completely wiped out. I have at least been entertained by the flow of pictures from Pride on social media. There’s lots I remember, but so much more than I saw while we ran the stall. It was a fantastic day.

Camberley Pride

I was wearing three metaphorical hats today and no physical ones as a sunny day dawned on Pride in Surrey at Camberley’s Recreation Grounds.

Eight in the morning saw me assembling the library stall as part of a wider group putting together stands in the Surrey County Council marquee and there was very little let up from that point.

My metaphorical hats were those of being one of the Library Group Managers, of being co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network, and part of my extended polycule as we coordinated various vehicles and modes of transport to get there. Somehow the plate spinning didn’t get out of control and I was able to slip between the competing roles with ease, which was helpful.

The whole day has been amazing – a much bigger site than last year at Godalming and thankfully all on a level rather than the entertaining slopes we coped with previously. The route of the parade was also far longer, weaving through the town and shopping centre before heading through residential streets to the park. Barring one very small group of teenage boys trying to be edgy we also had nothing but support and cheers from the crowds who had turned out. If there were counter-protestors (as had been threatened) they didn’t disrupt or dismay anyone.

Instead I was able to support colleagues, network with politicians and other organisations, mind our library mascot for their appearances, and still spend time with my loved ones and the assorted children we had with us.

We may even have persuaded our political portfolio holder to get his face painted with flowers and he very gamely let us decorate him in celebration of his being a fantastic ally both of libraries and the lgbtq+ community.

I’m home now, footsore, slightly sunburned, but fed and watered. Everyone has been delivered home to where they need to be, and I’m having my last cuppa to round out the day. It’s been a good one, and so’s the cuppa.

Bracelets

I’ve recently started wearing some bracelets made of wood, leather, and fabrics following our trip to Alton Towers. They’re similar to a similar set boy s is wearing addition should be no surprise therefore that there’s the link. In addition there’s a bracelet that was a gift during lockdown from Mre B that has a small reserve mental spoon attached to it.

We’ve talked about doing something like this for a while as a casual marker of our relationship – and the styles are eclectic enough to appeal on an aesthetic level but I’ve found it difficult to wear things on my wrist for years.

In large part it’s a holdover from when I was attacked – memories of wrists being held making it very uncomfortable – but the work I’ve been doing in therapy has contributed to putting some distance in recently.

I’m choosing instead to use the sensations at my wrist as a focus. On the one hand it’s a reminder of the boy. On another it helps to imagine all the skin crawling anxieties gathering there in one place rather than uncontrollable and everywhere. In effect it can be imagined as a shield

It’s a whimsy, it’s a way of focusing. It’s a distraction, and it’s a statement. I take them off at night before bed so I can settle, metaphorically removing the cares of the day. It’s a small and positive ritual that brings a measure of calm.

And I think they look good, and I enjoy seeing the counterparts on the boy

Approaching Pride

Even with having a part in preparations for work’s presence at Pride In Surrey this year I’m still feeling unready – but mostly because I’m not sure how I’m actually going to get there. There are train and bus disruptions so I suspect I may have to get a taxi, and this just considering me. Somehow we’ll get the whole Entourage there

In the meantime I have a stack of flags in my bag to use as table cloths on the day. So that’s useful. I need now to start thinking of what I’m going to wear on the day and use as props. To be fair if these are the biggest worried I need to deal with I’ll be fine.

Then next week starts my Leadership training, which I’ve gained access to with my Network Chair role as well as my managing and mentoring a group of managers in the day job. While I’m not expecting anything life changing, I am looking forward to it, and it is already opening doors.

Now, if the anxiety and depression could all nip off down the shops and not come back, that would be helpful.

New Goal

I was at a social gathering last week when someone mistook a filtered photo for something that I had drawn. While complimentary it tweaked that perfectionist side of me that looks at what I currently do when input pen to paper.

Now, the second image is something I’m a lot closer to these days since I started using brush pens and trying some new things in the sketch book. It reminds me of some of Tim Sale’s artwork but not, perhaps, as clean with some of the lines.

The nearest I’ve got so far

So my new challenge to myself is to practice until I can create something similar freehand, just to prove to myself I can.

Shouldn’t be too difficult to make that leap from where I am – but then doing it consistently whole cloth from imagination rather than from a reference will be the step that will make me happier.