Don't go anywhere and don't click on anything

While I am a bit laid up with accidental gluten ingestion, feeling sorry for myself but also irritated by feeling sorry for myself, I thought I’d take a moment to write to you and justify the existence of this website.

So here we are, the weekend before Thanksgiving in the US, and no one is going anywhere. In this household, at least. The New York Times has produced yet another steaming pile of self-righteousness in the form of this op-ed.

To save you time and brain cells I’ll summarize: “Dear reader, I’ve traced my COVID-19 bubble and it’s enormous! Here’s my anecdata to show you how much my actions impact others’ lives in the midst of a deadly pandemic. And yet, I’ve got to go with my gut, so I’m traveling to see my parents this year.”

Considering the carnival of callousness that 2020 has been, I did not think it was possible to be further disappointed by the New York Times, by writers who flaunt their cognitive biases in dangerous op-eds, or by people in general. But hey, I clicked the link. (What am I doing still clicking links?)

FunkyPlaid and I have exercised an overabundance of caution since mid-March. Overall, I would not call it a fun year (although I have fun with him anywhere, including “stuck indoors for months at a time”). We have given up things we really wanted to do and people we really wanted to see. Also, because of my job, I’ve been plugged into public health reports since March. In April and May, I was still so hopeful for the summer months. I had this dream of being “back to normal” (ha!) by September.

I don’t want to go back to normal. Normal was horrible and unacceptable for so many people. Let’s go forward to better. And by April 2021, please? Earlier this week at the Portland Book Festival, Margaret Atwood said we would enter the ending penumbra (or some similarly brilliant wording) by April 2021.

Readying myself for that ending penumbra, I’ll share a few lessons I have learned this year:

  1. I am allowed to rage at the US government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. My aunt died from COVID-19. You’ve likely lost someone too, or you know someone who has Long Covid. And many, many more will suffer and die because the people who were elected to keep us safe didn’t. This outcome was not inevitable; this outcome is inexcusable.
  2. People are willing to prioritize their own convenience over others’ lives. (I had already learned this lesson, but this year kept reminding me with such panache.) We can break ourselves of this terrible habit by asking, “Who benefits from this? What is the cost to everyone else?”
  3. Everyone defines “friendship” differently. Find people whose definition matches up with yours, and love them so much.
  4. When you are given the opportunity to improve someone’s life, even in the smallest of ways, take that opportunity. It may seem like nothing to you at the time, but your nothing could be someone else’s everything.

Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t go anywhere and don’t click on anything.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about that Maya Angelou quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” I need to learn how to do this before it happens again. My heart is so sore.

For me, it’s not elation, but relief. Not pride in voting, but gratitude for the grassroots activists who fought so others could vote. Not rest, but resolve for harder work until “for liberty and justice for all” is real.

When I’m feeling overworked, anxious about the upcoming election, and enraged about the lack of federal leadership during a pandemic, I like to start a 50,000-word writing project. 😱 #NaNoWriMo

Earlier today I talked myself out of buying a Hobonichi Weeks planner with a cover from Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival”. It was a close call; I love the graphic novel so much.

Yesterday my aunt died of COVID-19. I’m not sharing this for sympathy; I’m sharing this because people are still prioritizing their convenience and comfort over others’ lives. I am begging you to take this seriously. #WearAMask

Criminy hopes you are finding a bit of calm today.

Criminy the tabby kitten looks at the camera.

I don’t know how I feel about algorithm-powered soundscape app Endel. 🎧 Listening to its “Relax” mode helped me breathe through a panic attack earlier this week. But the “Focus” mode makes my brain itchy. #ADayInTheLife photo challenge! I enjoy because without the use of “likes” I push myself to interact more.

📷 my analog workspace 📍 Portland, OR, USA 🕚 19:20 PDT

photo of a leather notebook cover, a Passion Planner, and four fountain pens

Had a dream last night that I was sorting through a giant box of adapters, looking for just the right one that would allow me to continue working. 🙄 Why is my subconscious such a hack?

One year ago today. 💔 I still miss you so much, Zenny.

Cygnoir holding her beloved tortoiseshell cat, Zen, who died one year ago today.

Hey, Micronauts: Is there a way to embed an RSS feed in a site?

Currently reading: Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman 📚

Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted — It’s Why You Feel Awful – Tara Haelle

How do you adjust to an ever-changing situation where the ‘new normal’ is indefinite uncertainty?

“In periods of recovery or extreme vulnerability, one may temporarily disappear as a means of self-protection.” Amethyst from I forget where. The skies clearing, then we hear news of RBG.

Card that reads Invisibility Mode and has a blank space.

Update from Portland: AQI still at Hazardous level. Haven’t been outside in a week. About to start another remote workday. Hoping for better air soon.

Screenshot of weather app showing Hazardous AQI

House smells like a campfire. (But no one made us s’mores; I checked.) Throats are scratchy. Kittens are unbothered.

Screenshot of weather app showing AQI of 332 (hazardous).

Failed to focus. S’okay; blurry is how I feel today.

Blurry photo of a dry brown field surrounded by trees and a yellow sky.

After mere moments outside trying to capture the wildfire skies I was left with a feeling that has not subsided. Not really emotions, more a state of the body: ready for flight while shocked into stasis.

Pale orange sky due to Oregon wildfires

“This is not a dream, but you still need to wake up.” Labradorite heart from The Raven’s Wing Magical Co. Portland.

This Is Not a Dream card with a labradorite heart.

Check to Self: a card from the Postcards from the Liminal Space deck. Pictured with a raw opal, a treasure from a friend.

A card from the Postcards from the Liminal Space deck.

Change, a poem set to music

“Change” is a poem I wrote about my experience in parochial school, all guilt and God and bad kissers. I chose a fixed form, the sestina, for this poem because of the themes of restriction and obligation. Also, fixed forms are fun.

Some time ago, my friend Gav recorded me reading the poem, then scored it, and I loved the result! It took me a while to share it because I feel tenderly protective about that past self. I hope you enjoy it.

cygnoir · Halsted M. Bernard with Gavin Inglis - Change

New lounging spot for the Bottlebrush Brothers.

Tabby kittens in a window.

Today I am grateful for stable internet, which I took for granted in the before-times. Working from home is frustrating without it! I am looking forward to reading for pleasure tomorrow after work. I don’t do enough of that these days.

Seen on our walk today.

Lawn sign that reads OMG Make It Stop 2020

An IndieWeb Webring 🕸💍

I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.