12.23.23 [on the F train]

it is too early to make good decisions! the anti-abortion extremists who harass patients outside the far-flung clinic to which i am en route would never yell something like that and i'm not about to suggest it, but–they wouldn't be incorrect? i nearly grabbed the wrong train just now as i was congratulating myself for waking up without my alarm for this morning's escorting shift. of course, i'll never rise naturally because birdsong summons and the sun warms my bones or whatever; worry is the only thing that gets me up without assistance. i don't mind that so much, as it sort of means that the worst moments of my day are inevitably the very first ones. once i know i won't sleep late i can pose for the river with the cats and contemplate late-stage capitalism with my microwaved day-old coffee. we are staying put for the holidays as we usually do, and it's even lower-impact than in previous years: we'll go out to a movie on christmas eve but aren't doing one of the fancy dinners i invariably hate. i still haven't figured out how to strike a balance between joe's interest in complicated-food-and-drink-related celebration and mine in comparative frugality (in that context, at least) and temperance, but i hope we're getting better at meeting each other halfway.

i didn't think i was going to have much free time here at the end of the year, but work is mostly done? i have to turn in a revised draft of my MUSHROOMS IN SPACE! essay back in over the first week of january, but it feels like the tweaks my editor and i talked about aren't going to break my head. i'm hemming and hawing over what my next passion projects (or at least the ones that i pitch instead of just accepting) will be and...meh? it was humbling to eat it with my first new yorker humor submission, though my dad made a valiant attempt to console me with the repeated story of how some friend of his has submitted hundreds of thousands of cartoons to them and is still waiting for a nod. i appreciate his point, but i am a very special girl and this is totally different.

speaking of special girls, my favorite former staffer from the bird hospital, a woman i haven't seen in person since well before the pandemic, popped up in my instagram feed as a full-fledged (heh) urban ranger in central park. i have absolutely nothing to do with that, but hot damn did it activate my proud-auntie parasympathetic system! one day you're swooning at the smell of crow blood in front of a gal and the next she's in your phone delivering a totally polished minilecture about weird duck season. i'm very curious to know if she's blown the whistle on mouse park, i.e. the spot where we'd sneak behind some trees and release the mice we'd caught nibbling on bird seed in the hospital's basement treatment room, but my feeling is that i should let sleeping liberated rodents lie. god i'm happy for her.

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