Saturday, December 3, 2016

All decorated

Okay, not quite done--but I have to hem the kitchen curtains before I put them back up and can't hang those things until that is done.

But I got to do my favorite decorating thing, which is to put up the dangly twinkly lights and then decorate the lights with little blue ornaments, red apples, and silver bells, plus all of my usual Christmas tree ornaments saved up over the years.

I started doing this when I lived in my teeny apartment in Los Angeles. The lights went over the archway between the room and the closet. I said it was teeny!

Anyway doing all that made me very happy, plus I made pesto pizza and it was ridiculously good.

I also decorated my funny tree, which is like a scale model of a gigantic Douglas fir. I have teeny tiny ornaments that I use on that, like miniature ornaments. I love it!

What else did I get done today? I put the basketball hoop into the basement and did a ton of laundry and washed a mountain of dishes. Tested all of the Christmas lights. I seem to have many strings of green-wired lights that go on Christmas trees. Why didn't I get a real tree this year? Besides of course that I've been carless for two weeks. Carless, not careless!

Um, I feel like I did a lot more things than that, but can't figure out what they were. Oh, well, I put up tension rods for the curtains so I could put up the Christmas lights. That was quite a production.

I know, it's thrilling, isn't it?

Do you ever get a moderately rational but also irrational conviction about something? I totally do! I mean they're based in absolutely rational fact, but there's also an element of weird obsession out of nowhere. Isn't that annoying?

Anyway my latest one is a conviction that I'll have to go stay at my mom's house without her in it. Just in a sheer actuarial tables kind of way, it's reasonably likely. But as soon as I thought about it, I was suddenly alarmed at the idea of leaving my house, even though not a week ago I was adamant that I had to get out of here. Ugh, brain, must you? Could you not?

But I realized a new thing, which is: after a year, often you get to go month to month, which would be VERY handy if I needed to go take care of the house in PA and not pay rent while I was not living here. See what I mean?

Also I have this completely irrational terror that my job could disappear, even after two years and no indication of anything of the sort. Best to be able to scram in that case! Maine, man. There is no chance at all that I'd find a good job here. I had a horrible time even finding bad jobs and ended up unemployed and going hungry. I have bad memories of that time, dude.

So once again I'm utterly galvanized to get rid of anything extra and pack up anything that can be packed up. Oh BOY have I ever gotten rid of stuff this year, though. It's amazing. Amazing!

I can't get over the clothes situation. I've been buying J. Jill clothes in my size from Marden's, where the returns and seconds go to get sold for $10 instead of $90 or even more. Gorgeous! Beautiful clothes! Long silky t-shirts, long silk blouses, lovely deep colored long-sleeved t-shirts in heavy luscious fabrics, heavy silky long pants, sleek leggings, silk sweaters, cashmere sweaters. I am not even kidding. They're gigantic and absolutely gorgeous and they FIT ME. So I've gotten rid of all my usual stuff that doesn't even go on me anymore.

I know, so weird, right? Why keep many fezzes full of clothing that a) does not actually even fit me, and b) mostly came from Goodwill or similar sources. GONE.

And all the fabric, been chopping that all up. Other things, just sending them to Goodwill and really enjoying having them be gone FOREVER. I could do more, though. Must do more!

My car has been at the mechanic off and on for two weeks now and he still hasn't started on the thing, so Monday I plan to go swipe it back if he hasn't done anything to it by that point. I'll take it somewhere else. Boy is it annoying, when I was ready to get this done two weeks ago. Jeez.

Here's what I should be doing right now instead of typing things on the internet: knitting my niece's sweater! Making my sister's present! And then getting started on my nephew's sweater! Hup hup! I really seriously need to hurry up. I have the last season of Leverage on, where they're based out of Bridgeport Brewery, where I've actually been to drink beer! Yay! I love when tv and reality overlap!

I'm still in limbo about school, waiting to hear about this semester, which also tells me about next semester. I'm sure everything is fine but then also I'm worried that it isn't, but it'll be a few weeks before I hear for sure. Gaaah! Stressful!

Anyway aside from the crying, which seems to be happening at weird intervals and triggered by who knows what, like some cheerleaders on Leverage today, things are chugging along okay. Work! Writing! Oh, I got done with NaNoWriMo and that was awesome. I'm working super hard on finishing the book. Must finish the book! By the end of this year! Gooooooooo!!!!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sure, I can't see, but....

I might just need a new prescription. Surely I do! This one is very old, and so am I! Har har. It's true, though my trifocals are from 2013 and my eyes have gotten worse very rapidly. Well, as soon as my dang car gets fixed, I'll get working on that.

I have an appointment with the ophthalmologist for next week, because half the time my left eye is all blurry like there's vaseline on the camera lens, right? That's not just needing a new prescription. But I don't know whether the car will be done in time. Might have to reschedule.

Anyway, sure, I can't see, but I did just finish NaNoWriMo, woohoo!!! So awesome!

And this novel draft is nearly done. I am endlessly amazed at all the stuff that needed to get told that I didn't even know had happened. How did those two get busted up? What led to zooming off in opposite directions before our story even started? Now we know!

I feel like there's still a lot left to write, unfortunately. The last two chapters, at least. Oof. Well, maybe I can get that done next and next and next.

This is like the quilt thing, huh? Here's what I need to do:

--write chapters 19 and 20
--sort out all the extra stuff I just wrote and figure out where it goes
--create one linear document
--chop out the unnecessary plotline that V. told me to chop out last spring
--rewrite to smooth and coordinate everything so it all makes sense
--make it better
--better than that
--yep, more better still
--and more
--call it done! yay!

What a battle this thing has been! Whaaaaaaaa!

By far the most complicated and dysfunctional manuscript I've ever written or worked on or rewritten. I suspect that anything else will be a giant piece of delicious cake after this thing. Ecchh, get that cake away from me, I'm still full from all the sweet potato pancakes I made tonight!

Ooh. You should make this. I should make this! Remember this, future me!

Make mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar, maple syrup, crystallized ginger, and butter.

Then make sweet potato pancakes with that. Except when it calls for milk, use heavy cream cut with water. Yep.

These pancakes were all thick and gloppy and pale orange and I did not really know for sure they would be good at all. But they turned out to be the BEST THINGS EVER. Oh my goodness gracious me.

I think there's a way to make waffles out of leftover mashed potatoes, too. But I'm not sure whether you have to turn them into batter the same way. I feel like maybe not? But I just went with the first sweet potato pancake recipe I came across. SO GOOD.

Also I think this demonstrates that actually taking my medications really improves the whole Enjoyment Of Life thing no end. Jeez! Also the Doing Stuff aspect. Oh and apparently the Writing Books thing, since I wrote like 5000 words tonight.

I left some things out of the new pill manager thing I bought last week for 99 cents. Some crucial things. Some things that would have made last week go much smoother. But since everything was so neat and official in its little boxes with the days of the week and am/pm, I didn't question it until today when I went to refill things. Whoops!

On the plus side, now I know those PTSD meds really work. Like, really really work well. I had some very bad days in there. It's nice to do a little controlled trial, I guess, huh? I thought I was taking everything I was supposed to be taking!

I also got to go back to work today, which makes me very happy, even if I did spend hours on the phone with the IT guy. He was like a dog after a rabbit, too. I wanted this one simple thing done, but he kept chasing after other stuff, to the point where I said more than once, "Can we please just fix X?" Jeebus. I actually took the dog for a walk and came back and he was still noodling around.

Ultimately it did get done. So there's that.

And I did call the animal control guy to see about those two huge dogs who keep chasing us and this other lady and her dog, too. They had us all four on the run today and growled at the other lady's dog, which was the last straw for me, so I called and the guy is going to check on the situation tomorrow. I don't know why DAILY TERROR wasn't the last straw, but hopefully now something will get done. Like, I don't know, tie up your dogs, or put up a fence, or get an invisible fence or something. Or put them inside the house, how about that?

The only day they haven't been out there was Thanksgiving day. We've been cutting our walks to every other or every third day, and then only going a block or two down the road, which is unfair and stupid. Of course it'll snow mountains any minute now and the point will be moot, but still!

I will most likely move this spring, when my lease is up. I need places to walk, dude! Non-busy streets! Quiet! Rent that is significantly lower! And stuff like that! Though I do like how new and clean and tight this house is, it also has no walls. No interior walls. I've never seen anything like it. I'd have to draw you a blueprint to illustrate, but the couch is against the only interior wall in the living room and kitchen, the one in the dining room is a hallway, and the only other one is in the office, where the daybed has it covered. Upstairs there's even less because of the low sloped eaves.

Moving, ugh. But on the other hand, if I get all those great things like places to walk, then that's good!

Anyway. I'm psyched to see bananaologist tomorrow (rescheduled due to meeting conflict Weds.) and drop off the car Weds. (also a conflict with both) and go to this shindig Thurs. Nothing like house arrest to make you appreciate going out! Now if the car could just please not self-destruct or implode tomorrow or en route to the mechanic Wednesday, that would be great.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Super great

It's one of those dumb days where I don't do anything and then get mad that I haven't done anything, and then I do absolutely everything but still feel like I've done nothing because of all the pre-existing sloth. Good times!

It's all because when I first took the dog out this morning, I tried to move the basketball hoop so the base could drain, which meant putting part of it up on the deck, except I kind of got it tangled up in the power line coming into the house and nearly knocked that down and, I don't know, gotten electrocuted or something, which would have been bad.

After that, stunned by my ineptitude, I flopped about on the couch for a while and watched Netflix during daylight hours, which is forbidden in my mind for some reason.

Then I was so grumpy that I started doing stuff just to prove how grumpy I was? Or something? I don't even know. There, I washed the dishes! See??? Like that.

--washed all the cooking pots and pans from Thanksgiving. Gross, dude, don't leave dishes around for three days.
--vacuumed and mopped the living room, kitchen, dining room.
--did some laundry.
--brought the gigantic heavy sewing table (the kind with sewing machine inside) downstairs.
--wrote my book for the day.
--knitted some more on niece's sweater.
--ate leftovers, like that's an accomplishment.
--drilled a hole in the base of the basketball hoop so it could finally drain properly.
--got out the socket set and lowered the hoop so I won't take out the electrical lines when I move it again.

I still have to get the whole giant unwieldy thing down into the basement. Well, down should happen more or less on its own. Up is another whole thing, though.

Thanksgiving was weird and dumb. I made all this food, and then I had no appetite at all, plus I was flipping exhausted for no reason. I ate little bits of everything to be polite--to myself, I guess? The animals really enjoyed the turkey that I gave them, though. Actually the turkey came out amazing. I have endless mountains of leftovers. Food has been making me kind of ill lately. Like turkey sandwiches, normally my favorite thing ever, keep making me nearly throw up. Go figure. 

It's pretty awesome to have the sewing table down here and in the living room. It's at the end of the couch and so now I can have beverages within easy reach, and can also sew in front of the tv. There is sewing I need to do!

Here is what needs to happen in sewing land:

--press the flannel quilt backing
--seam and flat fell the flannel quilt backing
--press open all the seams on the quilt top
--sandwich quilt top
--baste quilt together
--quilt the quilt together
--sew on the binding

Quilts clearly take far too much effort. Or too many steps, maybe. The pieces are all over there on the ironing board smirking at me and incidentally blocking the front door. Sheesh!

This house still suffers extremely from Nowhere To Put Stuff. Maybe this winter I can go on searches.

Right now I'm super cranky because I'm under car-repair-induced house arrest that is going to be going on for a LONG time.

This is how long: I took the car in last Monday to be assessed. Walked 5 miles to pick it up Wednesday. It's not safe to drive, so I have not been driving it, obviously. I'm supposed to take it back in next Wednesday, but the dude is always super way behind. Which means I am quite sure I won't have it back in time for my appointments on the 8th and 9th. I should just reschedule.

Anyway for those keeping track, that's nearly three weeks of no car in a place where nothing is within walking distance and there are no buses either, whee! I do have a bike, but the road is far too busy and dangerous to bike, even if there were anywhere close enough and safe enough to bike to. Yeah.

Luckily I have ten million years worth of supplies here, huh? I even bought 24 rolls of toilet paper on my last day out in the world, the day I picked up the car. I am all set, dude.

Christmas shopping makes me tense, but mainly because I have no brain. Obviously online is very easy and takes no car, but brain is essential. Where is brain? Brain seems to be AWOL.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were taxis or something? It's $40 each way with Uber and that's the cheapest way I've found. I'm just not going to do that.

Anyway. I put up my little Christmas tree and put up all the tiny ornaments. I love all the tiny iced gingerbread cookies and little sparkly clear toys, and all the little brass bells with red ribbons, and the miniature candy canes and cardinals smaller than your pinkie fingernail.

Must find Legolas to be my elf on the shelf. Heh.

So anyway after being so grumpy about not doing anything, I did a ton of things, but not the annoying ones lurking right in my line of sight. Also I'm still grumpy, naturally. What can you do? Watch more Leverage, knit niece's sweater some more, I guess? Keep on keeping on. Fake it until you fling it across the room?

Hang in there, you guys. Another six weeks of this to go. We can get through it! Oh jeez, and then I have to go to fricking school on a stupid plane, or two or three planes or whatever. UGH. With all those horrible advisors who were so awful to me and will be smirking about and trying to catch my eye. I have MAJOR DREAD. Not as bad as New York or anything. But major dread.

There is also a slight winter situation brewing. Last winter was exceptionally light on snow plus I was on the ocean, where it's even lighter. I shoveled what, four times? That's nothing. That's a week's worth of snow normally. This winter feels like it's coming for us like some giant juggernaut. I may need to go buy a snowblower at some point.

Until then, I'm going to (this is true) work out with my sledgehammer, moving it like a shovel full of heavy snow, so that I'm in better shape when the real snow comes down. I'm just having very vivid memories of months of snow up to your butt and shoveling over and over until there are mountains all around the driveway and nowhere to put it.

I did finish raking yesterday, though. Except for the last few oak leaf stragglers around the front edge of the yard. OCD says go rake them up! Maybe tomorrow. I'm not GOING anywhere, that's for sure. Grrrrrrumph.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The baritone oracle

I did walk to get my car! And it was five miles, which is more than 4.5, thanks very much iPhone maps!

I had it telling me the directions on the way there, which was very funny because of course it believed I was driving, so it kept on saying I'd be there in five minutes the entire time. In fact it took 1.5 hours and was very cold and tiring and I sweated a lot and now everything hurts except my knees.

That's actually quite awesome because I had all that physical therapy on my knees, and now they're pretty much my only body part that doesn't hurt. Mostly my lower back and hips and rib muscles hurt. And my neck. Oh and especially my feet and ankles. Anyway, that will pass.

I'm very psyched because I did it!

And I'm very annoyed that I discovered immediately after doing it that it's okay to walk along the power line cut, which would have made this walk about 1.5 miles at most. The power line cut goes essentially directly from here to there, cutting off the long loop around that I had to make. Maybe .2 miles away at each end, maybe less. Next time!

I stopped in to register my car at the town office after picking it up and asked the kid there about whether it's okay to walk on the power line cut and he said sure. Oh well! Also yay, my car is registered! What a weight off my mind! I always forget about it.

So I'm considering waiting until I'm away at school to get the car fixed and just not really going anywhere until then. That's because my one day without the car made me totally panicky, I'm not even kidding. Apparently I need to know I can get somewhere if I need to get somewhere!

Like what if I run out of carrots? Know what I mean? There is no store close enough to walk to. The closest gas station with a little mini mart store is four miles. The grocery store is seven. And it's not safe or sensible to walk on that road either direction.

Even in the wilds of Orrington and Hancock where I lived there were stores closer than that. Jeez, someone should open a little store near my house! Sell beer and frozen burritos and things like flour and sugar and bread and milk and soda. You'd make a mint. I wonder if it's zoned for that? Clearly there's a need!

Actually there's a place for sale with a decent sized parking lot not far from here.

The other consequence of The Epic Walk is that I've been utterly frozen ever since, with a new personal best/worst for low body temp, 96.2. Wow! I put that chilly self into a hot bath for a long time. But I find that rather worrying. I mean I came home and drank tea and changed into dry clothes and everything.

You're supposed to be able to exert yourself without succumbing to hypothermia in a warm house, it seems to me. I'm not sure what the problem is there.

Come to think of it, the doctor called and left a message this morning. I should probably go see what that is about.

Anyway the guy who was fixing my baritone called while I was out walking and so I went to pick up my horn after the town office, with a quick stop in the grocery store for lots of carrots (what is with my fixation with carrots?) and Kahlua and essentials like that. He and another guy were talking cars so I put forth my question: should I spend $2500 to fix a nine year old car?

We considered the question carefully. I did not pay for this car and have not put much money into it, so probably $3500 investment over time, which is extremely small. The other guy pointed out that if I went out to buy a car the same make and model and year as mine with no problems--basically the car I will have once I fix this one--it would cost me $8000. So it's much smarter to pay $2500 and get that car.

I am so glad I got to talk to those guys! I went in there fully intending to ask the instrument repair guy, because he knows a lot about it, but the other guy also seemed to have a lot of really good inside knowledge about the situation.

Today I will be creaking painfully about the house and saying "ow" with every movement, especially any time a foot hits the floor. I will also take my dog for a decent walk (ow) and hope his paw has healed up after three days with no walks. Poor guy! He went over and nosed his leash yesterday. Bawwwww! Sore paw! What a pair we are!

And I will totally make some of the Thanksgiving foods in advance, like the szechuan green beans and the cranberries and the mac and cheese and the pie. Yay!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, except I guess Canadians yours was ages ago, whoops! Canada! Well, happy neighbor Thanksgiving to you and happy local Thanksgiving to the USA! Whee!

Monday, November 21, 2016


My mental health went for a plummet today when I learned that not only does my car have a bad head gasket and need expensive repairs, it also needs new bearings on the front wheels, on top of the brakes and tires that I already knew about. Holy empty out my bank account! That is so much money!

Ugh. I went into a tailspin. Actually I almost immediately went to the day bed in my office and summoned my dog and took a nap.

I got various unhelpful responses. One was to just deal with it. Which, why would anyone say that? What is wrong with people? One was to stop moping and rent a car and go to PA for Thanksgiving, which I've been saying all along I don't want to do, and also now absolutely cannot afford. And stop moping?

It is not possible to mope in the first ten minutes after you hear very bad news. That is by far too early to mope!

Then the person who was going to give me a ride back down to get the car (because the mechanic is busy until next week) flaked on it.

So on top of terrible news I had a sort of mini tidal wave of all the things I don't like about people. People! There are things I don't like about them! They tend to be callous, dismissive, flaky, etc. And that was just today!

Anyway. It'll be fine. I can afford the repairs. Whatever. Jeebus. Good thing I already bought my plane ticket to the next thing I don't want to do, which is to say, school in January. Good times.

I'm actually very excited about Thanksgiving because I get to STAY HOME and be BY MYSELF which is when Thanksgiving is by far the most fun, because of how people are terrible. Well, my sister-in-law might come over, except I'm positive she won't. But she would be okay. We have intelligent conversations. So rare!

I made a list of what to make on my little blue dry erase board so I don't forget things, like the cranberries, which I already almost forgot. Mmm, cranberries.

What I really enjoy is strategizing and planning everything, so that's going to start tomorrow, making the first things and putting them in the fridge all ready to go. Whee!

I might have to walk or bike down to the mechanic tomorrow to get my car back since I don't want to pester the person who was going to do me a favor and drive me. Given my utter inability to sleep lately, I might just get up at dawn and walk over. It's 4.1 miles on the scary dangerous road and 4.5 on the nice quiet road. I think for an extra .4 miles I'll go for the quiet road.

Gosh, I had such a backsliding in the mood today! Which made me realize how well I've been doing for the past few weeks. Too bad, because I suspect that new drug is what's making me the Insomnia Queen. Also it costs $175 a month, which is obviously absurd.

So anyway. My car! It is super broken all kinds of ways! I might trade it in next year after I'm done with school, when I no longer have a university to support. I should be able to save up between now and then so I (hopefully) won't have to get a car loan, or not a big one, or for long. Ugh!

Here's how totally stalwart I was before this hit me: yesterday I went to a pool party for my nephew's birthday! And I wore my new swim dress! It's like a suit plus a same length dress over it, sort of? It's not as burkini as it sounds. It's called a pin-up style if that helps illustrate. Anyway the suit is super cute and I made all kinds of alterations for various excellent reasons and it was comfortable and got many compliments.

This is me responding to someone saying they like my swim dress. "Thanks!" (Internally: "STOP LOOKING AT ME.")

But I got to swim and have fun with my niece and nephew and that's what matters.

The book, the book! It's coming along so well. I'm making good use of all my insomnia awake time for thinking about the book and how to fix various things. Seriously, last night during all of the HOURS I was awake in a totally comfortable bed with my dog snoozing next to me, I figured out solutions to two major problems. I'm so pleased! Making lemonade out of lemons, or something!

The insomnia has got to quit, though. It's kind of wrecking me. So far every anti-depressant gives me insomnia. Sometimes they then give me something else to make me sleep, which turns into this whole arms race where I'm the battlefield, so forget that.

My house is untidy so tomorrow maybe I can work on fixing all of that. It's easy stuff. The quilting stations are all over the place and filling up the room. I could do it tonight! Maybe I will. And there's laundry hanging up to dry that needs to vacate the premises before I start cooking or I will have pumpkin pie pants or sage stuffing shirts.

Actually that sounds kind of great. Mmmm!

It will be a relief to get the car back, even as broken down as it is. I keep being freaked out by its absence in the driveway and so does my dog. I say to him, "Where is the car? The car is gone!" and he looks all over for it but it is NOT THERE. Car is one of the words he knows. He is a very smart dog. Good boy!

I'm actually thinking this thought right now, even though I know it's daft: There's no traffic right now, and I'm not going to sleep anyway, so maybe I should go get my car now. Um, no. It's snowing, it's very cold, and I'm not walking down strange roads at any time of night. With bobcats and coyotes and who knows what out there, jeez. Though of course cars and trucks are the only really dangerous things out there, plus of course the people inside them.

But early in the morning is looking super good right now. When I wake up before six and can't get back to sleep. Yippee.

Anyway I'm gonna take a calming bath and half of an anti-anxiety pill and see whether I can achieve some level of more or less continuous slumber in an amount that adds up to more than a couple of hours total. JEEZ.

Friday, November 18, 2016


I feel like such a dolt! I was at the doctor's office this morning explaining about left eye blurriness and left arm numbness and tingling and pain, and my lower leg and feet going numb, and not until this evening did I remember that once upon a time I used to have all those symptoms and a lovely neurologist examined me and said, "Yep, you have M.S."

I forgot. I ALWAYS forget. I swear that must be built into it somehow. I forget that this was ever a thing, to the point where the obvious symptoms completely went over my head. Wow.

The eye thing is pretty unpleasant. My left eye blurs out like a lens with vaseline on it. I can't really see through it at all. It is not awesome! That's happened twice in the past week and a half, I think? Once it lasted for about ten hours. I was in a bit of a panic at the time because it's super hard to read or drive or do anything, especially work, when one eye doesn't do its looking and seeing thing. But then it came back. The second time was when? A couple of days ago?

I am just agog that I didn't realize OR remember. One or the other would have been good enough to keep me from freaking out over my arm hurting so badly out of nowhere. That is a thing! Falling over in the yard is a thing! They are not new or scary. Well, they're old and scary. Nobody likes falling down. It's undignified and then you get scraped and bruised and the dog worries about it.

Well, that's stupid and annoying, not least because I super hate MRIs. I was just telling lovely therapist how much I hate MRIs, to the point where I can't really even talk about that time it all went wrong. And even that didn't jog my memory!

Amazing. Stupid and annoying, but amazing.

Jeez. Oh well. How long has it been? Wasn't it the summer before last that I last dealt with it? I can't really remember. OF COURSE.

Anyway. Finishing the book: proceeding awesomely. Getting really cold for no reason: occurred again. Am under electric blanket and two afghans now. What happens is I get up to go to the bathroom, and while I'm up, I get so unbelievably cold that I shiver really hard and my teeth chatter. Again, this is not normal for me. AT ALL. Also it is objectively NOT COLD in here. And I am quite warmly dressed. Absurd!

They drew more blood today to check for low thyroid. This was the best phlebotomist in the world! She stuck me painlessly and did not find the vein, but then managed to move the needle and find the vein without the usual screaming agony that this maneuver causes. Yes, someone moving a needle around inside your arm is exceptionally painful. Anyway I told her thank you for being extremely good at her job.

Since I had the go-ahead to engage in strenuous activity after being officially declared "totally fine" today, I raked a bunch of leaves. Strenuous indeed! That is effortful! I used to rake them onto a tarp and then haul the tarp over to the designated leaf pile, back in my old house across the river. I have a small yard here, though. There are only a few areas that even need to be raked. I think I did a quarter of it today.

Lovely therapist will be delighted to hear that it was a period of meditation that made me remember the old M.S. malarkey. She urged me to do breathing exercises and meditate. Meditation involves doing absolutely nothing! I am terrible at that! But I put one hand on my dog and did it for a while anyway. It was exceptionally calming. I liked it very much. Left arm did not want to cooperate and kept going numb and tingly and then a few eternities into doing nothing I remembered other times in the past when limbs would go numb and/or tingly and refuse to cooperate. Good gracious!

So that was useful.

I'm completely reveling in finishing The Last Word (novel) and filling in all the holes and finishing the story, bringing the story to a huge conclusion. I got to write a funny scene wherein the character's estranged grandparents have died and her cousin is flipping out. Which is weird. But awesome. And the best scene today, wherein our character puts all the pieces together and comes to an absolutely incorrect conclusion. She will get there eventually, don't worry. It's awfully fun to watch her go up the absolutely wrong tree, though.

And I got falafel! Frozen falafel from the supremely clean health food store (I mean, in the sense of no dirt, not like "clean eating" nonsense) and falafel mix, same. I went to the checkout and said, "Apparently I needed some falafel." Which made the guy laugh because I had four boxes of frozen falafel and two boxes of mix. Hey, I don't get out there very often!

They might have it here in my area. But also they might not. Away from the coast equals less cosmopolitan. That was the nearest grocery store to MDI. Unless they have one out there. Do they? I find it very difficult to imagine, but maybe.

Yes, there is a Hannaford in Bar Harbor. Never mind! I suppose Ellsworth is just more cosmopolitan than the Bangor area all on its own.

Man, I want fresh hot falafel from the vendor at the campus end of Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, so I know this will be disappointing, but maybe it will help with the massive cravings. I was looking up distances to likely falafel-having cities last night. They are all so far away!

I bet I will find out there is falafel in Bangor somewhere, in a place Google could not find. I'll ask around at the nephew's birthday party on Saturday. Those parents, they know where stuff is!

Oh oh oh, my fancy swim dress arrived in the mail. I hope it fits properly, or really at all. I am fully prepared for it not to fit, beyond the reach of alteration. But we shall see.

We shall see!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Good grief. I was just jumping in to write about how I decided to stop doing the rewrite that I was working on for NaNoWriMo and instead switched to finishing the novel I worked on all last year in school. And then I remembered I kind of had A Week last week.

I will tell it backwards. On Thursday I was admitted to the Emergency Department with chest pain and a numb left arm. I spent most of the night there, reading Fangirl and trying to keep my heart rate down, while they took blood every couple of hours to see if there was heart tissue damage. (There was not.) I drove myself home at 3:45 a.m. and did not see a single moose.

The E.D. doc forbade me to fly, so I could not go on my trip to NY, which was one of the major reasons I was so stressed out that I ended up with chest pain and a numb arm in the first place.

Other reasons included a new temporary reassignment at work and the horrific, unbearable election results. Oh and the mechanic told me my car had a blown head gasket and therefore possibly severe damage that could mean I'd need a whole new car.

It was a stressful week. I had the same chest pain and numb arm five days earlier, on Sunday, though. So it's not all down to the stressful week. Well, sort of, except I didn't know about the car yet at that point. I knew about all the other stuff.

I can't really overstate the terror I feel at going to NY, sharing a hotel room, being at a conference, being around all those people in confined spaces, flying on planes, and so on. I've been managing the flying on planes more or less to get to my MFA program. I mean, I hate it beyond anything (except possibly the president-elect, if I may dignify that human stool sample with that term) but I can still make myself get on the plane and go there. But NYC, oh good lord, I have trouble. Add all the other things I have trouble with and we entered a world of pain.

It has not been a good couple of weeks. Today the whole thing flared up again and I had to take action. I'm forbidden to engage in strenuous activity, not allowed to fly, under orders to return to the E.D. if the chest pain returns, and so on. I mean, it's kind of here a little bit right now, but it's no worse than you might feel if your brassiere was too tight.

So anyway. I'm taking steps to reduce the major stressors in my life. And I called the local mechanic my landlord recommended three times and finally talked to him today. He told me the other mechanic was young and inexperienced--he knew that without knowing who it was--and that my car is likely not perishing untimely and just has a bad heater coil or something. And I'll take it in on Monday, when my landlord will give me a ride home, after which I'll be carless for who knows how long and will have to get a taxi or get my brother to drive me to therapy, which is kind of funny. But I probably won't be able to go to writing group up in Orono, alas. I like my writing group. Even though I've noticed that every time I go there, my stress levels shoot way high up.

However, that could also be because my car is burning coolant and I'm breathing it on the long drive up there. Who knows?

Today I cooked this random ham I found in the fridge. One of the other things the E.D. doc told me was to take xanax every day, which is absurd, but I've been taking it every 3-4 days or so. Apparently I bought a ham on one of those days. It was super good. Ham is too pink, though. There is a boatload of ham left if anyone wants some.

Actually I would love a ham sandwich, so maybe I should bake some bread, huh?

I have to go to a six year old's birthday pool party on Saturday, therefore bathing suit, so I'm staying away from the wheat-bearing foods that expand my circumference dramatically, so maybe I'll bake bread Saturday night and become spherical then.

I have a super cute swim dress coming in the mail from Amazon, but I don't know how well it'll fit. We shall see. If you search for pin-up swim dress you will find ridiculously cute swimsuits, let me tell you. There were a bunch I would have bought had they come in my size. This one has red and white striped cups and a blue dress and a white halter tie, which I will probably alter to be attached to the back for strategic cantilever purposes. That's what I did to my green paisley one (quite small, but wearable in a pinch) and it worked very well. Cross the ties in the back and sew them down. It works.

Tonight I got so flipping cold even after sitting under an electric blanket for an hour that I was shivering uncontrollably when I got up to go to the bathroom, so I took my temperature and it was 96.7, which is just silly. I bet my thyroid is low again. I'll have to get the doctor to check on Thursday when I'm in. Hypothyroid can also mess with your heart, did you know? 'Strue. It's ridiculously awful being so ice cold in a warm room. My hands were frozen. Absurd.

I was all excited at the prospect of buying a new (used) car and had picked out the ridiculously large and expensive Honda Pilot as my vehicle of choice, until I looked at car payments and realized I'd be much better off fixing the car I have and saving up to buy a new (used) car in two years or something.

Anyway I could not get warm, so I drank some wine, which did the job nicely, and now my feet hurt like hell. That is just stupid. My circulation must be nil. Though I did walk 1.5 miles today, in a non-strenuous fashion. I mean, I ambled. My dog sniffed. It was low key. All the other dogs were out on the street where we walk, all of them wearing orange vests because it's hunting season. I was wearing my orange hat and all the humans were in bright orange sweatshirts and hats. I need a bright orange sweatshirt, man! I feel insufficiently orange!

It's the law here that you have to wear at minimum an orange hat in the woods during deer season. It's also just sensible. Though I've heard barely any shots, which is weird considering it's all woods around here. Maybe the deer have scrammed.

I did see a bobcat last week, though. Very cool!

So anyway. I'm thrilled to be making progress toward finishing my novel. I have to rewrite/undo the changes that Terrible Advisor made to a great short story, so I can submit it for workshop in January. That way a lot of other fingerprints will erase the fingerprints Terrible Advisor left on it. I kept doing what Terrible Advisor said to do, even though it was obviously making the story much, much worse. Undoing that is going to be a job for me on a strong-minded day, let me tell you. It's going to be hard to look at that file. Maybe I can just go back to an older version that I emailed out and start from there. I think I'll do that, actually.

I had a workshop teacher last summer whose motto was "Never explain anything ever," which I absolutely agree with. Explaining is SO BORING in creative work. Stop doing it! Tell the story, not the backstory. Anyway Terrible Advisor was super into explaining and wanted me to shoehorn all this boring exposition into my story, which stops it dead in its tracks and adds nothing. I have to cut it all out and get it back to just telling a story, or rather making you experience the story.

That's another thing good workshop teacher said. Writing isn't about the story. It IS the story. He said it better than that, though. I'd have to check my notes. But the explainy way is all *about* the story instead of making the reader experience the story, which is what I want to do. Reading should be experiencing what happens instead of reading about someone experiencing what happens. I have strong feelings about this!

Maybe I can dive back into the fray pretty soon. I heal faster than I used to! Bastards, though. Keep destructive bastards away from me in future! Thank you!

Meanwhile, I'm excited about Thanksgiving coming up. I have the food! I have the plans! I have the food and the plans! Here are the plans: I will make the food. Then the dog and cat and I will eat the food. Mmm, food! That's the plans, pretty much. Probably going to be some knitting. Definitely going to be some writing. It'll be fantastic. And then turkey sandwiches the next few days! Win!

I wonder how long I'll be carless? I wonder how long before I'll care? Come to think of it, Monday is the week of Thanksgiving, isn't it? So I need to make my plans before then, like go find yarn for my nephew's sweater at Walmart, since JoAnn doesn't have it, though I'll check there again before then just in case it has self-generated. Poof! He told me he wants bright neon green. Okay! I can do that! He pointed to some 8-bit image from Minecraft on his t-shirt. Okay!

Onward, eh?