Gratitude

This last week has been really, really rough on me.  It’s been very hot, very humid, and left me feeling like my everything hurts.  My bones hurt, skin hurts, teeth, hair, everything.

Pain meds barely took even the edge off.  i struggled through chores, had a terrible time sleeping through the night, and spent far too many hours curled up in a ball.

On the plus side, i have some fantastic support.

My very lovely kitty friend always makes me feel special, and just having chronic health issues there is a lot we understand about each others lives.  Just not knowing if you will wake up with any energy at all is taxing mentally.  It means a lot to me to just be understood.

Earlier in the week, Sir Raven came home with an amazon box.  Inside, was a snuggly perfect pooh.  Delighted beyond measure, i texted my favorite kitty.  As it turns out, the amazon seller was new, and had mailed me two poohs.  One was sent to her house by mistake.

Except, i don’t think it was a mistake.  i think Winnie wanted to bring me all of their hugs, cuz her Master is a giant teddy bear and hugged winnie too.

So, while we waited for the mail to send me a second surprise box, “Imposter Pooh” was cuddled and snuggled and loved mightily.  That is, before Sir Raven decided that Imposter Pooh needed to become hers, along with the Winnie i got at the Magic Kingdom, and am not allowed to touch without permission.

Sir Raven says i have girl cooties, and she doesn’t want her poohs contaminated.

i was beside myself with excitement when the second box came, and it was covered in stickers.  The card had stickers i could feel.  i’m not one of those kinds of girls who gets misty often.  i can sit in a room full of crying females and am the only dried eye person there.  However, i am very sentimental.  i knew that putting stickers that were bright and big, and ones i could feel was deliberate.  It meant so much to me, that i got misty.

Then, inside, was a new pooh.  This one i get to keep.!  Sir Raven said so.  Horrah.

Now, Sir Raven has 3 poohs.  One from the Magic Kingdom that she stole, one from kitty and her Master, and a teeny keychain with a half blind winnie.  Sir Raven pinned her name tag onto the “real pooh,” and decided mine is now the Imposter.

Hurumph.

Anyhow, i have a winnie of my own now, and he is soft and velvet and doesn’t get thrown out of the bed by Sir Raven.  And i have a baby winnie from Karida.

Winnie-the-imposter and Summer Rain are fast friends already.  And on the Master’s side of the room, OG pooh and new pooh are developing a hot bromance.  See? Dreams do come true.

You know what else was in the box?

A ball with a taco inside of it.  And it lights up when it hits the ground!!

Guys, do you know how much a giant whiffle ball hurts when you get hit in the face teaching your boys how to play ball?  Just take my word for it.  Nerf is also not so great.  But taco ball?  Man, i wish i had it with my boys.  We lost a lot of balls together.  Heh.

i was playing with it just this morning when Sir Raven reminded me that people live under us.  i thought waiting until 9:30 in the morning to be quite considerate, since i had been up at 8.

My new dress arrived and i finally feel like i’m not dying and/or don’t want to die and am wearing it.  So soft.  So light.   i can’t wait for Sir Raven to come home and see it.  It’s a summer slave tunic.  🙂

i ended up taking two pain pills this morning, so i could shower, dress, and get marketing done.  Whatever.  i just don’t give a shit.  i can’t spend my life in a ball, rereading the same thing fifty times and not being able to get anything sensible down on paper.

My work is a full week behind, owing to the previous week from hell.  i’m not sure what the instructors will accept from me.  Fingers crossed.

Sir Raven has cooked dinner twice last week, was lax about me getting the clean laundry put up, and was overall understanding.  However, there is a limit to her understanding and i very clearly heard the warning tone in her voice this morning when she was leaving for work.  She expects me caught up in school-period.

So, i’m trying.  Just sitting here and writing this is more mental work than i have produced all of last week, really.  which is a shame because i really tried.  i also had tech issues, which i think i finally figured out.

i am just really grateful to have a Master who loves me anyhow, understands the best she can, and friends who make my cup runneth over.

And teddy bears.  ❤

Trauma

So, in case you didn’t already know, i work with a lot of research dealing with trauma.  i have lived through more than my share, to say the least.  i want to infuse these experiences with meaning, to use it to help others, to be a better activist, scientist, future mental health professional, and human.

If the latest round of murders of black people have finally woken up people with privileges, then i hope they choose to stay woke.  i totally get that white people grew up believing we live in a county of legal rights, where everyone is equal under the law.  They believe we live in a benevolent world, that good people avoid bad things most of the time, and that if everyone just tries their best and works hard, anything can be accomplished.

And now some people are starting to wake up.

Friends, i suggest we treat them like someone who has just come out of a coma, because in many ways, that is a good analogy.

It is a given that those of us who grew up terrorized by the police, have intimate knowledge of poverty, have to deal with the many indignities of visible disability, have experienced multiple traumas-are angry.  Very, very, angry.  Scared. Disgusted.

Part of what we are angry about is that other people have profoundly different experiences.  While white people may encounter racism, people with white privilege get to enjoy a life where they don’t suffer from systemic racism.  i think that this lack of distinction is one reason talking about race and racism goes totally off the rails.  i also think that if we respond to people of privilege waking up from their coma by screaming at them, repeatedly telling them they will never understand, and so on….guys, they are going to go right back to sleep.

i have white privilege.  This, by the way, does not imply that i am white.  There is a difference, and the distinction lies in that some of the time, i have been able to interact with systems and not be victimized by it.  It doesn’t mean that i haven’t experienced racism first hand, or that i haven’t experienced systemic racism, because i have.

When people speak of alienating allies, it is really easy to knee jerk, get disgusted at their delicate sensibilities, and give up.

That is putting a whole lot onto a person just waking up, and it may or may not be true of their experiences.

i don’t think that people learn well when they consistently receive the message that they can’t understand something.

i don’t think people learn well when they are not permitted to understand what is going on at a personal level first.  That is how human beings minds work, guys.

Changing systemic racism in America is going to take every single person to wake up and get involved.

i have experienced major traumatic events on a timeline of at least every 2 years of my life for 39 years.  Every Two Years.

i have experienced trauma so severe that i was terrified to go to the bathroom alone for weeks, and had to chant, “the bathroom is my friend,” the entire time i peed.  i was 12.

My brother and i were terrified to be in our front yard after dark, and we both grew up afraid of the police.  So afraid that i didn’t go to the emergency room when i clearly needed to get medical help.  So afraid of systems making things worse that we avoided them.  Lied.  Faked.  Whatever it took.

i have spent my entire life trying to help.  My first political act of rebellion was to take in the only black baby in our hispanic and poor white trash neighborhood.  i was five, and i insisted we take her in to our home daycare.  i already understood that she was going to be treated badly, because we were.  Our Italian family was different, and no one let us forget that.  i took care of baby Lauren myself, learned how to change diapers and bathe her.

i have lived to afraid of the police, of systems that failed me, that i didn’t know how to get help for my nephews without it putting them in greater danger.

When you loose a limb, you can have phantom pains.  Your body sends louder and louder signals, trying to find what was lost.

i have phantom pains in my soul, where i often literally feel the weight of my youngest nephew, his baby body snuggled into me.  My gemini child, whose original due date was my birthday.  My stubborn, beautiful, bright baby who wanted me to hold him constantly.  i figure this phantom pain is his soul and my soul finding each other, at times when he needs that mommy warmth around him.  i sure hope so.

i lost my boys because the system failed us.  Because i was poor, gay, disabled, and unable to fight back.  Police had every proof and didn’t care.  The judge wouldn’t speak to me when i stood up in court, desperate.  i have to live with failing.  Every day.

i am so fucking tired.  i keep thinking of my mother telling us of the End of Days, little pills, comfort.

Every time i want to give up, i think of the generational trauma dealt to black lives in America, of the need for trauma aware counselors under Trumps tyranny, and the unhappy truth that you often have to work within systems to change anything.

 

Good times

Sir Raven and i have been massively busy.  Every moment i wasn’t reading research, doing chores, doing laundry, we were out doing events.

We are both quiet homebodies and Sir Raven really, really doesn’t like crowds, so there is a lot of stuff that we don’t go out and do.

June is the exception.

Thursday we had a bar night for the Onxy Pearls, which turned out to be really nice.  i played with a spinner all night and found it soothing in my hands while i chatted, and ran out for food for the Masters.  It was a long night, took us 20 minutes to hail a cab, and then we got caught in horrible traffic after an accident.  We were so exhausted when we got home, she went straight to bed.  i wrote three papers for class that day, and had another chapter to finish reading before i could sleep.

Friday we were supposed to go to a Leather Invasion, but Sir Raven came home early from work not feeling well and napped for hours.  She often comes home and rests, goofs around on her laptop or whatever, and she may lay down.  But she almost never really sleeps, especially not for hours.  i wasn’t too surprised when she changed her mind about going out, and decided to try and get all of the weekly chores completed early, get certified with NIH on using human subjects in research done (six tests! six!), and head out shopping for snacks.  The week before had been so disgustingly hot that i had not done laundry, and we had extra loads from covering the leather sofas with sheets.  Four loads washed, folded, and put up.  All of the house dusted, two hours spent fixing and cleaning our room, entire house mopped, walls washed, and meals planned.  Then i quietly went out at 10:30 to get fancy cigars and everything i needed for the picnic at Folsom.

i forgot the bus quit running back home at 11pm, and ended up walking the mile home with a whole foods cooler bag.  i sort of tip toed in, got everything put away, and then the curtains fell down with an enormous bang!  Sir Raven slept through me opening the door-which NEVER happens-and that giant noise too.  By the time i had all of the summer sausage, cheeses, and stuff cut up and the fruits washed, it was going on 2am.

Saturday brought storms, and me running out for bottled water and wine in it.  i was getting a bit stressed, because we had invited Sir Josh and Ro to Chihuly Nights, and those tickets were not refundable or transferable.  Once it seemed to calm down, and Sir Raven suggested i go out for the remaining few things i needed to purchase.  The very second i opened the door, the sky opened and it rained even harder than during my first soggy trip out.  Boo.   Then, a happy little miracle-the rains ended and the temperature cooled.  We went out for burgers from a delicious food truck inside the gardens, listened to a really cool steampunk/techno sounding band, and walked 5 miles through stunning exhibits.  i took so many pictures but wordpress is not cooperating with me so i’ll be posting them on my tumblr.  We didn’t end up getting home until around 11pm, and i was so immersed in taking a test that i never noticed out guests leave.  Oops.

Sunday was Folsom, and while the weather was supposed to be storms all day, the Leather Gods smiled upon us and we had just rancid heat instead.  i got to see Karida and her Daddy, Lady Sabrina, and other friends.  i was happy we had a tent, that Sir Raven let me shop and i finally (FINALLY) got her the cuff i have been waiting permission for two years to buy! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Sir Raven let me walk around with Karida and her Daddy, which was nice.  It let me have the time i needed to ask questions, look at goods, and decide which cuff i think she would want to flag with.  Shout out to Rubio Leather for quality leather goods and customer service.

Karida surprised me with a beautiful card and a teddy bear for my birthday.  She knows how sad i have been about my sister bear, and hoped my new friend would help a bit.  i named her Summer Rain. ❤ She is fitting in here perfectly and loves to take naps.

Sir Raven even got me an ice cream cone and i have to admit it was the best vanilla ice cream i have ever had in my life!!

Yesterday was just a nice quiet day at home.  Sir Raven went out and got me a slice of  chocolate cake with chocolate icing after i served our coffee.  She was wanting to get me a cupcake, but they didn’t have any 😦  Still-one can never go wrong with chocolate cake.  i had worked so hard on everything that she agreed that i needed some time to not work.  So we watched movies, i got to color (!), and i ran out for Chinese takeout in between more storms and a flash flood.

Today, Sir Raven had a check up and is doing great.  i texted her to ask if she wanted to have another yummy burger and finally get a first-of-the-year tram ride in.  She called me to say that she was just  thinking the same thing.  We do that a lot lately, and it feels sensational.  So, we trotted off to the botanical gardens, enjoyed lunch, and enjoyed the perfect weather.

i did not enjoy the obnoxious woman on line for the tram talking about Trump, and how she came to  New York to sit on the golden toilet in Trump Tower, put in a wig, and take pictures. i’m not sure what bothers me more-that i had to listen to this story, that we have a President of the United States who is a low brow tourist attraction, or that the big mouth telling the story voted for him.  

i had a moment where i wanted to turn into Charlie, from Firestarter, and just extinguish her.  i wasn’t even nullified when she admitted her error in voting for an asshat.

Fortunately, Sir Raven gave me her wireless headphones just then, and i finally got to sit down and listen to music and rock until the tram came.  Thankfully, my replacement part for my birthday earbuds are coming today.  i’m telling you, its an introvert needful thing.

Tomorrow, the botanical gardens farmers market it back! Pie season for SR.  And sauce!

i told her that we have our blogging anniversary today, five years at WP.

You know how i think we should celebrate?  (Me, sweet smile)

By Blogging? (Sir Raven, nonplussed)

…..

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Puzzles

I’ve been doing tons of research, consulting everything from prison journals, nursing journals, studies, trials, All The Things-

and i’m seeing a puzzle just begging to be put together.

i have a class in research, and it inspired the searching and reading and synthesizing.  From it all, i have deduced that Hebbian learning can take place in people with antisocial personality disorder with traditional CBT, social training, and combining therapeutic touch with music and movement.  Since i can’t actually carry out the research, and my professor seems unlikely to want a tome on the topic, i decided to scratch the idea.

i was explaining it all to Sir Raven last night, but she was nonplused.  She thinks that if it was all combined early enough, it could work.  And i’d agree.  But-but-i can’t just write off the idea that sociopaths cannot learn to understand at least two forms of empathy and learn to experience remorse.  Even if it is just for those in their tribe.

i think that with enough time i could put together a comprehensive review, because i found some really excellent studies on empathy, ways to measure it and teach it.  It was conducted and published for nursing and doctoral students, so it is highly unlikely to reach segments.  Just as the journals of studies for the Penal system may not be reviewed by people conducting therapy with clients with personality disorder.  i can see how it all works together, and i’m positively itching to be able to put it all together and get it published.

i just can’t do it for this class.  Sigh.

Anyhow, i was delighted to discover i’m not the only person interested in this topic in the class.  i think i have an odd advantage, in that i have some thinking patterns from being raised by and with people who are antisocial.  i have definitely acted against social norms and rules in favor of protecting family members.  i have some autism traits, and there is sufficient overlap there, though much of that could be from being actively taught to disregard rules that were not family rules.  i experience all forms of empathy and tremendous remorse though, thankfully.

i want to believe that even the most complicated cases of maladaptive behavior can be changed, if the person wants to change.

So, anyhow, i’m knee deep in research.  i’m still loving our new place, working hard to keep it clean and organized, and jugging two classes and a full schedule of Pride Events coming up.  i’m trying to stay caught up and work ahead where i can, so i still have time and energy to enjoy Pride events.  Every year i plead to go to the march, and every year Sir Raven reminds me of all of the reasons why we can’t go.  😦  Somehow, i really wish i could get a few days a year of not being in pain or disabled.  If i did, i’d totally use one for Pride.  Last year, we saw the very end, and i was overwhelmed to see how many people simply didn’t hate us.  i was kind of hoping Sir Raven would let us peek at the end again, but she scheduled a lot of other stuff instead.  Bar nights, botanical garden visit for their pride night and the Chihuly night exhibit, Folsom East, and my birthday.

Sir Raven went to work on the hutch, and i took before and after pics, because it was so beautiful.  i smile every time i walk into my Cinderella kitchen.  She is making great strides in not putting things off.  i think i finally found a quiet way to let her know about my needs.  She has discovered that our bedroom is big enough to use her whip, and i continue to get a delicious reminder days later, when i sit down.  We haven’t jumped over the edge together in a damn long time, and my sense is we both need that, but we are getting there.  i appreciate her taking our relationship and making it more of a priority, taking the time for us.

We are both more affectionate with each other overall.  We are happy, working hard, playing hard.  It is so much more than enough.

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Brain dump

First, my break from school was absolutely lovely.  I had tea with Karida at our favorite place, had mani pedi and lunch with Lady Sabrina, got work done on our new house, helped collect condoms and stuff for the Pearls to pass out at Folsom East,  enjoyed the Botanical Gardens with Sir Raven, enjoyed time to just be.  The only bad part was my very special teddy bear is MIA and so are my coloring books and crayons.  😦

We had the crew over for a podcast while i sat on the floor and made “pussy pack” kits with condoms, female condoms, and lube.  Sir Josh joked that this was likely the first time i had been around so many condoms and it was actually true.  i had made them for hours, with Sir Raven watching closely.  She had me redo about 30 of them to fit more in, patiently sitting next to me and showing me exactly what she wanted.  Then Ro came over and helped, Goddess Bless her.  Sir Raven commented on how great Ro was doing, how great everything is that she does, per usual.  She goes out of her way to compliment other slaves, listen to them, solicit their thoughts, and it gets to me at times.  i try and joke it off by my routine of exaggerated remarks in my best Sir Raven voice.  It can be frustrating at times.

i kept thinking of something SR had told me weeks ago, that one of the Masters she talks to thinks I have too many opinions, but did not say who.  I could hazard a guess that its the Master who knows us and our personal lives the least, but whatever.  It didn’t feel great.

i find that Masters don’t ask slaves how we are really doing.  Masters tend to praise and expect the slave to praise their Master as well.  There is very little room to share if you are never asked directly how you are doing, what is going on in your power exchange, what is working, what isn’t working, and so on.  i think this begets a negative cycle, in which everyone thinks that everyone is okay and never checks in.

i know when i have a different opinion from Sir Raven, it doesn’t go over well with her.  Her first reaction is to tell me it isn’t true, without even a second or two to consider what i said.  That is our normal.  Yet, she believes she gives me much freedom in the capacity to speak honestly, and in some ways this is true.  i have authored books, been on numerous panels, led discussion groups, and so on.  One on one though?  Not so much.  With our crew? Not so much.

i used to talk in the podcast, because there was a rule in place that i contribute, because it was Sir Raven’s intention that we have numerous opinions and thoughts from all sides of the leash.  i’m there the whole time, just quiet.

This time i was putting together pussy packs for hours, and off pain meds, and my right leg goes to sleep from my waist to my foot.  i was sitting on the floor and needed to stand up to serve.  Realizing their was no way to get up in a ladylike fashion with my leg asleep from a pinched never, i said, “Gentlemen, avert your eyes, please.” I stood up with my ass in the air, and quickly discovered who the only Gentleman in the room was.  Or, at least, she wasn’t the person who blurted, “Wow. Did that just really happen?”  Heh.  And these are my crew!  lol.

In other news, i have been researching on sociopaths again.  i think we focus too much on the lack of empathy, because cognitive empathy can be learned.  i believe high functioning, highly intelligent sociopaths have cognitive empathy.  What they lack, is remorse, and the ability to feel badly naturally when they have hurt others.  They seems wholly unable to accept full responsibility for their actions.  No matter what a sociopath has done, they will always point to someone who did something “worse” and/or blame the victim.  So, i have also noted that many Masters diagnostically meet the criterion for having Conduct Disorder as children and Antisocial Personality Disorder as adults.  i don’t give a flying flig in they like this or not, to be honest.  i know what i’m looking at.  What i can’t understand is why in the hell they would deliberately put themselves in a position of having a slave, where they have no choice but to accept full responsibility for their actions?  That is the litmus test of who is a Master, to me.

i don’t automatically think that meeting the criterion of being a sociopath makes someone inherently bad in any way.   It can lead to cruel actions, of course, but it doesn’t have to.  i find that most high functioning ones find a tribe, develop their own sense of right and wrong, and can understand another persons sense of right and wrong.  It’s something they have to actively think about and work on, and it won’t ever be natural.  What i wonder is if remorse can be taught?

i certainly tried.  The latest research suggests that i did the right things, with the research that i had done and with my own hunches.  i used a ton of repetition, explaining internal thoughts, mimicking facial expressions, trying to replicate remorse tied to negative consequences.  The latest research says i did the right thing, to give constant touch, to be consistent.  Maybe those years were enough to rewire my boys.

i don’t know.  i’m having a hard time pulling myself together today.  Everything seems overwhelming and frustrating.  i get meds in two days.  Horray.  It will be okay for sure, just need a few days of meds back in me.  In the meantime, i’m trying to get reading done, homework done, chores done.  i went 3 days without smoking at all, realized i was starting to have a panic attack, and ran out for cigarettes.  Go me.  Not.  😦

Changes

We survived the move.  i  feel like SR and i should have matching tee shirts that say so.  Or a bottle of champagne.

Weeks were spent with her rising early, going through hordes of stuff, editing, and then rushing out to work.  Then i would dutifully carry bags of donations down to part of the solution and pack.  i managed to pack the way i was told to, which was radically different from what i have ever done.  What i mean by this is i was generally the only person who packed for a family of five, two of whom were hoarders.  So i would pack, smoke a lot of pot, drink several pots of coffee a day, and color code everything.

Indeed, not only i without pot for the first move ever, i was also without pain meds for at least half of it.  It was hellish at times, but my mantra was, “these are all problems I am lucky to have.”  That helped me keep perspective in the box filled house, while i was simultaneously in the most stressful part of my classes.

WEE!

Sir Raven and i managed to communicate well with each other, overall.  We finally made arrangements to see apartments, saw four in one  day, and the last one was what Sir Raven chose without any conversation with me.  It was perfect for us.

By the time the movers showed up, we had pushed through boxing everything left.  The only part i hate in moving is when you are down to the last 5 percent of boxing stuff, where you are basically throwing shit into boxes and are too exhausted to care anymore.  Sir Raven didn’t falter in her ability to make quick decisions, explain what she wanted, and help tremendously.  She took the lead, showing me that our M/s is very much intact and thriving.

The movers were professional, after a bit of a snag that SR managed to work out seamlessly.  We managed to fill an entire truck, even though we got rid of the narnia cabinet and her loveseat.  Then we worked like maniacs, from the time we woke until we were ready to drop to get everything set up, with the few days she took off from work.

SR insisted the kitchen was clean, and could not seem to process what i was telling her, that there were dead roaches in the kitchen.  So i basically had to unpack the kitchen twice.  I got everything put up, while i washed everything down in the cabinets, and then had to wash most of our dishes and pans to put them up.

By the time she went back to work, we had almost everything done.  i thought we were down to one box, and became determined i would surprise her when she came home by having everything done.  Five hours later, i emerged, triumphant.  She was really pleased.  That night in bed, i remarked that our Ms was in a far stronger place than i had realized.  We were able to push through as a team, under extremely stressful conditions on both of us.  No one should mix working, moving, grad school, and disabilities at the same time.  SR injured her thumb, so we were both disabled, and had to try to work around it.

She chose a perfect place that already  feels like a home.  It’s bright and airy, on the top floor, so we get to see the sky and buildings around us, and we have an elevator.  There is a small laundry mat in the basement, and a large one just around the corner.  The kitchen is the largest and finest i have ever had, and came with a brand new stove and frig.  i have never gotten to decorate a kitchen by myself or set one up with my own ideas, so it was a lot of decisions i wasn’t used to.  i decided to do a Cinderella kitchen, something i picked on my own, and without just doing what i knew someone else would want.  When it is done, i will take pictures.

Sir Raven has helped so much with the nesting.  She chose baskets, dealt with ways to organize, took me to TJ Max and bought everything i saw, plus she gave me a sixty dollar gift card for TJ Max, so i could go back for anything else i need or want.  She has put together all of the ikea furniture, all of the bookcases, made space for me to have an extra drawer in the dresser and in bins, hung art, and has been totally involved in lovely ways.  It seems she has genuinely turned a new leaf, by being present, being aware, and helping so much.  In response to my babygirl energy, she has been far warmer, even telling me she loves me from work yesterday.  i know she loves me, but it feels good to hear.  She said i was a real trooper in all of this.  And in an exhausted heap one night, she asked me a question, and then said, “baby, love of my life, please just tell me what you need the bins for.”  Heh.  i told her that every moment of exhaustion was worth it to bring her to her knees in exhaustion so her true feelings came out.  🙂  i never thought i was the love of her life, which was my immediate reply, but she just brushed it off and told me to just hold it in my heart and enjoy it. ❤

We had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend together.  i made waffles, got roses for the house Altars, her Ancestors, and then we went to the Botanical Gardens for our first trip this year.  It was so nice.  She fried fish when we got home, and then surprised me with a light and sexy play session.

It seems we both needed a fresh start.

My stress level has gone down considerably, the light and brightness helps, and that when i clean it is obvious that i did it helps.  So does not having a constant exaggerated startle reflex going from seeing mice or evidence daily.  It also helps that everything is less cluttered, we have much more space, and it validated that we are very much in this together.

i’m really happy.  She is really happy.

Oh-and i made an A in that class, by the narrowest of margins, but still.  My GPA is up to 3.7, which is very decent.