We left home on October 7th to drive to Austin for my surgery the next day. We then spent a week in my family home while I recovered before driving back to Santa Fe. We arrived around midnight, slept for about 3 hours, then drove to the airport in Albuquerque to fly to Illuxcon in Reading, PA. We only got back a couple of nights ago, and woke up Tuesday morning to see our home transformed into a new autumnal world to explore.
But let's catch up a little:
If you're a backer on my Patreon, you probably caught my series of posts from the week before my surgery, when I was crunching out updates trying to get a painting done before leaving town, since I'd had to do it traditionally at the last minute due to my video card going out. After surgery, though, I fell off of posting for a bit, preferring to focus on recovery.
Surgery went well without any hitches-- my doctor, Dr. Caroline Kaufman, was really wonderful and had a great bedside manner, as did the nurses I interacted with. It really shows when you're dealing with a staff which isn't phased by your being trans and is legitimately excited to see your mother and partner in the room with you, since not everyone shows up with supportive family.
My family (especially my mom and Jonathan) did a great job of taking care of me while I was unable to do a lot of basic things for the first few days-- getting up and down from a seated or laying position was probably the worst of everything.
I really enjoyed the time with family at home and the opportunity to have an excuse to just avoid dealing with my phone at all for the first couple of days. Instead I hung out with family and worked on mini-originals for the most part. The total lack of stress really had me thinking about how stressful online correspondence is for me in general these days, and what I might be able to do to reduce that stress in my daily life. Maybe setting aside an hour a day to deal with such things and trying not to check on stuff outside of that.
Still, I had to do the work of keeping on top of the numerous doctor appointments I had lined up that week, and making sure to hit con application deadlines. As we reached the day of departure back to Santa Fe, I was stressed out about having to make the 12 hour drive right before a flight, wishing I had another week for recovery. But I knew it was best to get it over with.
We met up with our regular con rooming friend, Eric Strother, and drove there rest of the way to Illuxcon.
I don't have a lot of pictures of the con. Actually, most of our pictures from IX are of Eric, so you'd think we just followed him around and watched him experience things for most of the time. That isn't true, but we did get our usual mileage out of watching him experience things.
We also gave a talk! Jonathan had been wanting to do this for several years, and it finally manifested this year: Part process breakdown for dealing with clients, part motivational talk about integrating intention into your life and interactions, and part love letter to Illuxcon itself. It's sort of an inversion of the 'Is Your Furry Art Stale?' talk we gave at cons this year, with more of a focus on the meaning of personal work and talking about how to cultivate therapeutic interactions with clients (or yourself, for that matter!)
As usual, IX was a reinvigorating family reunion, only a little dampened by our exhaustion of having been away from home for so long by the end of the trip. I got to have good, meaningful conversations with friends, and deepened some conversations I've wanted to have for a while with a few people whom I look up to.
Afterward, we drove to Chadd's Ford to spend a couple of hours at the Brandywine River Art Museum. I had been before, but still got a lot out of spending some extra time focusing on the Andrew Wyeth collection up close.
Jonathan also took these photos of a Jamie Wyeth painting and the resulting tweet has gone crazy viral, so that's a thing.
Prior to leaving for surgery, I prepared for the onset of first frost to happen while I was away, pulling all of the nightshades that would die and converting that space to garlic beds for the winter. I also pulled more than 130 cups of mixed greens from the yard in the week or so leading up to leaving, giving a few bag fulls away to neighbors.
Keeping a garden has forced me to be more directly in tune with even more minor shifts of the season and weather, which I greatly welcome. This on top of already being alert to getting to see my new home change seasons in a way I've never seen before leads to a sort of doubling-up, leaving me feeling extra attuned to the shifting of the outside world and eager to just wander around and explore my environment.
As I focus on getting the house back in order and getting myself back up to speed, I have to balance these experiences of wonder with assessing my current priorities and responsibilities. Since we'll be going to our next convention (Midwest Furfest in Chicago) directly from Austin after Thanksgiving, that means I have only three weeks to do con prep, in addition to making further progress on commissions.
I've also been thinking about my personal work priorities. After talking to my friend Jenna, who organizes Month of Fear, I feel better about not trying to push myself and crunch out my second Month of Fear piece just to hit the deadline. Instead, I'll keep working on my current piece until it's finished, before moving to the other one. That said, I won't be making a huge push back to personal work until December, when I'm not also balancing con prep in that mix.
I've also been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days, since the article about the current administration's plans to create a legal definition of gender. But I'll expand on that in a separate post in the next few days.
In the mean time, please enjoy these photos from our short walk to see the intense afternoon light, as well as the large batch of sketches and mixed media mini originals I'll be posting here over the coming weeks.
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