Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chip, chop, shovel, go

Chipping away at the cedar chest work. The interior veneer had a learning curve. The outside layer has to be pried off and if it gets wet, that gets harder. The layers beneath that need to be soaked and then it will come right off and otherwise it'll be a nightmare. I've been watching all the Buffy while doing it so some areas have certain episodes permanently affixed, like the left of the latch opening has the one about that evil cyborg guy Ted now fused into it.

One long side is done and one short side is nearly done, on the inside. The outside is almost totally done but some of the glue could still use soaking off.

I just finished reworking my story that's due tomorrow and sent it off to my friend K. to read. It's so much more fun than the true-to-life stories I've been writing! Also I got to destroy the enemy and find people for the heroine. And a lovely silky doe goat! I'm in love with the goat. And the guy. And the troublesome child raised by demons. And...anyway, I'm crazy about the story, so that's awesome.

What on earth am I going to write next? I have to think about it. Like, a lot, and fast, and with great energy, dude!

Oh, I had an idea. Well, we'll see.

I wish I'd finished chopping the wire fence out of the ice yesterday before the storm. I was out there going chop chop chop and saying: "Chop chop chop!" out loud, but I was wearing the wrong gloves, with the slippery palms, so my hands kept sliding right down the ice chopper. I need to be able to move the fence to get the trailer out to go to my cousin's for the trunk and down to grandma's for the snowblower (and hopefully mower) and who knows what-all else she will foist upon me. Probably many things.

Chip, chop, shovel. Oh! I shoveled out the driveway but not the area at the top where the car is supposed to go. At least, I cleared enough of a spot for the car to fit. But not enough room to turn around or the usual place I like to keep the car. It was TOO MUCH. The plow wall was easily seven feet wide and five feet high. I did the narrowest possible opening for my car to fit through, but it was still murrrrrderously hard work.

Afterward I had a hot bath and drank tea and read about the Blitz. I mean, simultaneously. Baths are so weird. You're going about your day as normal and then all of a sudden you are sitting in a big puddle with no clothes on. What is that about?

I really love the baths. But it's sort of an odd endeavor.

Then after that I couldn't really walk or think or anything until finally I overcame inertia and ate a can of peaches and suddenly I was a human again. So now I know about exercise hypoglycemia and how to avoid it. I will take steps never to have that happen again! After I shoveled I did eat some cheese, but I guess that doesn't give you enough sugar or something.

I'm feeling positively giddy about the prospect of being able to exercise without feeling like the heavy boot of doom has come down to crush me afterward. Combined with the stupidity effect, it's not great. I even googled "stupid after exercise" to see whether this was a thing, and lo, it's a thing! The solution is to eat some accessible carbs after working out. You just run out of glucogen, that's all. I mean it's a simple physiological thing. Presumably more healthier people are better able to cope, I guess? I didn't bother reading up about them. Ha.

Anyway then I got my work done and my writing/rewriting done and then it was now. I ate all sorts of things in an effort to cure my exercise stupidity. So I guess I don't need dinner, eh?

Tomorrow I'll try to do the rest of the shoveling, possibly while waiting for my brother to appear to take me to get my car back. Car is done! I'm only slightly confused about why they called to say my registration had expired, since I put the stickers on the license plates when I registered it. Whenever that was. November? It was the day I walked down to get my car back from the terrible mechanic who didn't fix it. I stopped in and registered it on the way home. Anyway it's done, I'm just not sure why they didn't know it was done. I'll have to ask.

Now that exercise stupidity is over and I'm all full of writing bliss, life looks pretty wonderful! Dog is sleeping in the green chair. Cat is sleeping in my usual spot at the other end of the couch. I'm at the unusual end of the couch because the folding table here had space. My usual writing table is covered with cedar chest legs and glue and paper and clamps and things.

Oh boy, I'm going to be a car-having person! I can go for frivolous drives if I want! I can get a job I need to drive to! Oh boy! We can go to the beach! I love going to the beach. Though I probably won't go while there's still two feet of snow on the ground. I haven't even stomped down a path for the dog yet. He just has the one I shoveled last night, plus his own self-plowed path into the woods.

There's a hard icy crust on top of the snow from some freezing rain last night. It hurts my legs to walk through it. I can't imagine it's comfortable at all for Mr. Dog.

I have a terrifying new medication to take. I mean, it isn't--it's totally normal. But one in a thousand people who take it get a horrific reaction to it that starts out like the flu and turns into a terrifying disfiguring skin necrosis thing where you can totally die. I mean, I probably won't get that. I understand statistics and probability. But I'm scared enough of this medication that I'm waiting to start it until I have my car back. Yep.

What a recipe for paranoia, I tell you. If I get anything flu-like I'll just be freaking out, especially since I have no insurance, which usually means I wait and see when anything seems amiss. Waiting to see is the wrong way to go with this thing. It shows up as a rash before you get giant disastrous zombie-like black rotting skin craters, though. Oh boy. I wish I had never seen those pictures.

The information I read said that this almost always happens, when it happens, in the first two weeks of starting the medication. So that should be fun, eh?

Yesterday I was talking to a guy who had a terrible allergic reaction to an antibiotic and was still covered with big black spots the size of dimes months later, even after benadryl and steroids. just seemed like an alarming juxtaposition to see that the same day I picked up this prescription.

The nice nurse thinks it'll help me a lot, though, so here's hoping.

Reminding myself right now that cars are much more dangerous than any possible side effects and yet I'm excited to get my car back. Of course, my car just got a lot less dangerous, so hurray! On the flip side, I've lost my excuse for staying home when it snows. No more bald tires! Also, though, no more pumping up my damn tires every single time I need to leave the house. If I go out to the car two days from now and a single tire is low, I'm going straight back to the mechanic, let me tell you. I am DONE pumping up the tires all the time.

I had to do it literally every time I went anywhere, and sometimes again to get back home. Yes. It was awful. It's snow or mud out there without any other real options. I mean, where the car parks here is not paved. There's no garage. Mud! Snow! Ice! Gaaaah!

I keep having a funny series of thoughts where I think: "I'd like a tent, but more solid than those fabric things, so like, I don't know, wood. A wooden tent. But maybe taller, so there's more room, so give it walls on the sides, and then like a door on one end, and a window on the other. And a floor, give it a floor. Okay, so: a house. I want a tent that is a house. Okay!"

Then I think about how to build it with hinges and latches so it folds down and sets up again, and should the roof have shingles? What about along the center where the hinge is? Or should that not be hinged? It could have a raised vent top like a chicken house.

Then I realize I've gone down the same rabbit hole again that I always go down and I'm imagining buying lumber to build myself a wooden tent house with hinges and a window and curtains and a rug on the floor. I could build it on my trailer!

There's actually a wonderful little shed for sale that would fit right on there and only costs like $250, and it's light, so I could haul it with my current car. Can you imagine? I think it would be brutally hot or brutally cold at any given time.

I like buildings. Actual buildings. It's true. Buildings are GREAT. More songs about buildings and food!

Please don't let me work on that dang cedar chest any more tonight. My hands! My poor hands! They are in such bad shape from yesterday's excessive chipping fiesta! But it's going to be such a nice thing when it's all done.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The day of doing many things

I did too many things! I had a 2:00 appointment and then a 6:00 meeting so I figured I'd run all my errands in the middle there. And I did! I went to the library, the pet store, the grocery store, the fancy hippie store, the post office, back home to walk the dog, back up to the meeting, to Lowe's, to the gas station, and then to Five Guys for a distinctly sub-par but still relatively awesome dinner.

It was sub-par because I asked for fried onions and mushrooms on my cheeseburger and they let the patties get cold while they fried the onions and mushrooms. The cheese didn't even melt. I mean, I ate it! What am I, a person who doesn't eat a cheeseburger after not really eating all day?

Anyway. The meeting was good. I'm training to be a literacy tutor. Good times! It means twice-weekly meetings for a month, which is already exhausting to contemplate, but then I can do the thing, hurray!

I seem to have contracted some sort of ailment of the innards this afternoon and now I feel like death's sickly maiden aunt who ate some iffy squid. Yes, I think that sums it up nicely.

I have to get up super early tomorrow to take the car to the car fixing people. For fixing! Finally! If it works out. If the snow starts early (we're getting some massive blizzard tomorrow) then I'll have to postpone. But I don't want to postpone!

Exhausted and sick and have to get up early tomorrow to spend like $3K. Yippee!

I got my work done tonight, though. You know, I should print out my story so I can work on it even if the power goes out and we revert to the 14th century all of a sudden.

Everybody and their dog was in the grocery store this afternoon. Man, I bought all the kimchi. How come my grocery store doesn't carry that kimchi like all the other stores in the same chain around town? I just have to ask. I bet they'll get it for me. And then at the fancy hippie store I bought six huge jars of Bubbe's fermented kosher dills. I had half a jar for supper, along with cheese curds, which given the information I have now about the state of my insides, in retrospect I would not have done.

I suppose that on the plus side, my ailing innards might make it easy for me to get up early in the morning tomorrow?

I returned all the beautiful but too flimsy hinges I had bought for the heptaptych and got shutter hinges instead, which I think should make it so the paintings can fold up into a screen like fold-up shutters do. I think? It might take some hefty three-dimensional thinking, but I like that, so.

Much rewriting and editing to be done on story before Thursday, ack! Usually I like to have a whole week to let it simmer and bubble so I can get some distance. I've been struggling to write the thing for weeks now and only was able to get to the end last night pretty late. Yes, must print. I'll do that tonight. As a girl in the store and I were saying today, it's not so much the snow that knocks out the power as some idiot driving too fast on snow (Maine macho) and hitting a power pole. Human error!

So I have plenty of bread and cereal and cheese and apples and fermented pickles and kimchi. Everything a person could need in case of power outage, but please let's not have one anyway. Do not want.

There is the greatest silky doe goat in this story. I'm such a fan of the goat. I never know where these things come from but now I am in love with the wonderful doe goat!

Dog and cat and I are zonked out on the daybed in the office, but I must insist that we relocate this party to the actual bed upstairs. Really this is the coziest room, though. And I'm not tempted to watch eight million Buffy episodes on the big old tv in the living room when I can't see it. Nor am I tempted to wrestle with the cedar chest and neglect my studies. Cough cough!

Fine! Print story then bed. Oh, morning is going to be rough!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

So many things!

This is so typical of me. I'm doing so many things! But I don't feel like I'm doing any things! I fight this by making lists of all the things I've done at the end of the day. Then I'm amazed and impressed and also completely surprised, because truly I never feel like I'm getting anything done.

I am, though. Raaarrr!

I just took the tarp outside and shook off all the chipped off bits of cedar chest veneer. Guess what, you can't shake dust off a tarp. It's staticky in here. Dry, I guess? Time to make soup! Or beans. Or bean soup! Actually I'd like to make chili tomorrow in case of power outages to follow. Nice thick meaty chili full of big red beans. Mmmmm.

I have to go do things tomorrow. I have a LIST. Item #1 on the list is drop off two (at least) fezzes of things at the transfer station, in the little shed where people give things away. I'm pretty excited about that part because it'll clear out my own shed even more. For which hurray!

No reason anyone but me should remember this, but I tore the place apart last summer looking for the magnifying glass that goes on a stand. I found it this week! It was in the other box for my work computer that I forgot about and didn't use to send it back! There was a laptop and a dock, with separate boxes, but I fit them into one and it was fine. No worries. Anyway the magnifying glass was in the second box. And now I can use it to look at that map with the tiny tiny lettering!

Very satisfying to know where that is. Dang!

Also I found the jigsaw, which I knew I'd seen recently but could not lay my hands on. Now I can cut that lumber to make the stretchers to paint the saints for the heptaptych! I know!

Again, very satisfying. I also have to cut the bottom to fit in the cedar chest. But that's not urgent because I'm still peeling veneer out of the inside of it. I finally stopped last night when the chisel slipped and I slammed my thumb into the wood. It's all big and purple and shredded up now. I had to put a bandaid on it so I wouldn't have to see it, because it gives me actual physical involuntary shivers to look at it.

I'm the exact color of these bandaids. So weird. It's weird because I'm super white. Shouldn't they have made them more toward the middle of the spectrum? Or do they manufacture special super pale and sickly ones for melanin-challenged states like Maine?

Though I suppose it would have to be purple to be flesh colored for that thumb, come to think of it.

Today is actually Sunday but I've felt like it was Monday all day long. Quite irritating because I get in a panic that I forgot all the stuff I have to do on Monday. But also perplexing because I did all of my Sunday stuff. Who can fathom the ways of the brains.

I'm in the weirdest limbo. Am I moving away? If so, where? When? Or not? If I'm staying, how the heck am I affording that? Nobody knows. I don't know. I go like this: tizzy tizzy tizzy, okay, focus, just do the things you need to do either way, like working and getting rid of crap, and then do the things you'd need to do to move, like packing up and sorting everything so you know where it is, and label all the fezzes.

The upshot is that I'll be either super ready to move or super ready to stay here and be very organized.

My landlord came by a few days ago to ask whether I was leaving, even though I had already told him I wasn't planning on it, because there was a possible new tenant in the offing. And that gave me much food for thought. Not good thoughts. The thoughts were: he's afraid I won't be able to pay the rent and doesn't want to be stuck with me if I can't.

Those are reasonable thoughts, if that's what he's thinking. And then I realized: what sane person would rent to a person with no job? Which also means: how do you move when you have no job? Tricky.

Then I went and sorted and culled more stuff, because those were alarming thoughts.

Right now I need to be finishing my current story for school. And editing/rewriting other stories to go into my senior thesis. That's mostly done. Half of it is due this Friday and I certainly have half of it done. This current story is being slightly difficult.

However, this semester I've learned this whole new thing, which is to take stabs at a story, see what works and what doesn't, and then stab again, over and over until I find the way that works. Yes, this is new to me! How about that?

The other main thing I've learned in school is how to rewrite without being tentative or trying to save everything. I mean, I'll just jump in and chop and cut and rewrite and won't even care. It's awesome.

And restructuring. That's super valuable also. I'm a big fan! In summary, many new skills acquired, truly awesome, yay!

What else is going on? Oh, I cut the ratty back parts of my hair that were clearly just overgrown and grown out, so now it's a very cute haircut that looks quite deliberate. Dude! I was worried yesterday because one side was sticking out, but today it's fine. It might be a little emo, but I can live with that. At least it looks like a thing that *someone* would do on purpose, if not necessarily me. Definitely progress.

I even sorted out my rocks this week. I mean, seriously, that takes some sitting still and focusing. Everything has become infinitely easier since I stopped taking the terrible antidepressants that were giving me daily panic attacks with chest pain and speeding heart rate. I'm going to see the person who prescribed them tomorrow. I don't know what she might suggest instead, but I'm highly dubious. I do not do well with antidepressants for whatever reason. They always cause intense anxiety.

The living room is pretty hard to focus in right now between the deconstructed cedar chest, its various legs lying on my work table all glued and clamped, the tarp the cedar chest is on, the tools everywhere, the little baby vacuum to clean up the dust, and so on.

Actually I've been completely allergified and sneezy and coughing all week, but after I took the broken off veneer outside today, it suddenly got a lot better. GO FIGURE. The reason I removed the outside veneer (mostly last year, but the last of it this past week) was that it was crappy and falling apart and awful. The reason I started removing the interior veneer yesterday was that I realized it was split apart from the main boards on the bottom six or eight inches and mold had gotten in there.

It's very pretty paper thin cedar veneer on the inside, but it had to go. It's not going willingly, the rest of it, though. They glued that stuff on there pretty fiercely. I'll try water, heat, and steam, which I suppose is water and heat. (Another cure for the dry air!) And I'll try not to smash any digits doing it.

Right now my hands are so sore and swollen, they feel like I'm wearing oven mitts, or Mickey Mouse hands. I worked on it forever last night. I'm on a mission to watch all of Buffy before it's taken down from Netflix streaming on April 1st. I'm already 1/3 of the way through season two. Progress, huh? It's really fun to rewatch it. I haven't seen most of these episodes in years!

I think I'm older than Giles and Joyce both now. Gosh! I was always older than the kids, so that's the same.

It's amazing how many rocks are still all around the house. I took tons of them, about half, outside and put them in the rain ditch out back, where rain hits the ground from the roof. I mean, there are no gutters except around the front door. I thought I had collected the rest of them, but I found more in here (my office) and by the front door and in the kitchen and I just remembered a big one upstairs. They're everywhere! Rocks! It's like the bunnies! They're everywhere!

Seriously, I just turned my head to the right and there's one on the printer, a fist sized water-rounded granite rock that is very nice to hold. It fits perfectly in my hand.

I even sorted out the contents of the filing cabinet one day. Can you imagine? I didn't get around to labeling all the folders yet, though.

Nor have I tried on all those tights in the basket upstairs. So many tights!

I'm getting my car fixed Tuesday, though because of the giant storm I might not get to go back and get it until Thursday. I have a big phone interview the week after and then we'll see about going out into the real world, like with parking and tights and a lunch bag. Dang, where is my lunch bag, the blue one with the insulation and the little zippered compartments?

This house does not have enough places to put things, I tell you what. It's true! There isn't even a coat closet, or a pantry, or a linen closet, none of the usual places to put things like that. And the tape rollers to remove fur from a person's garments. And so on. Harumph! I bought a free-standing coat rack thing (very flimsy) and put it in the mud room, with the shelves of shoes. And the generator. I mean. I'm not sure I've ever lived anywhere this awkward, though it seems like such a big house. There's no way to make use of a lot of the space, though. Well, anyway.

I might switch the filing cabinet (huge) with the treadmill because there's this nasty pointy arm of the day bed right behind the treadmill and I'm unsteady and I'm constantly terrified that I will fall right back onto it and brain myself. Let's not do that! Okay!

Don't you think about ants when you're wrangling stuff? I sure do! I think about ants rearranging their little pieces of sand and dirt. So anyway!

Off to write the story, or at least that's the plan. I have to figure this story out. I mean I know what it is, but getting from A to B is another thing entirely. Here's hoping!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Perpendicular Gothic sculpture

Thursdays, man

I'm all up in anxiety's grill today with the various things that are about to happen. To wit:

1. Waiting for feedback from last week's writing submissions. Which is totally okay, there's no rush, but I am just eager to hear back and see what worked and what didn't. (There's a lot of what didn't, I suspect.)

2. Waiting to get paid tomorrow. How much will it be? I did the math as carefully as I could, subtracting taxes and whatnot, but I don't know how to figure it exactly. I hope it's a lot more than I think. But in the general course of events, things tend to be less than, not more than.

3. Trying to write these dang stories while my brain is fizzing and bubbling about everything else going on, or rather not going on. Oh, I've been writing things. But they suck. Plus I'm super avoidant about the usual topics even when I'm all, "I will specifically write about these topics!" It's kind of funny, except not.

4. I keep on refusing to do anything fun until my work is done, because that's sort of my rule, you know? Do your work and then have fun. But that system doesn't work when it's always work time because of online job (still extant, just not reliably and for half the pay) and writing for school and also hello, trying to get this dang novel rewritten and sent out. Which means I NEVER do the fun things because I'm never off the clock.

I need to get off the clock.

Here are some fun things I really want to do:

1. Refurbish this cedar chest that is upside-down on a tarp in my living room. I already put drops of oil on the screws and ancient nails so I can get the feet/brackets and the broken bottom off it. And I have a board to go in its place except it needs to be cut up with the circular saw, which means I need to get the folding trestles out of the shed and set them up with studs for support and find the giant clamps....anyway I could go ahead and take the feet/brackets and broken bottom off, is all I'm saying.

2. Quilt my flannel quilt. Come on, man! My knee even healed up, which was my biggest reason for not crawling around on the floor to baste the quilt together.

3. I dunno, read some books. Granted the last fiction I read was traumatic. But I should still be reading for school. (Whoops, back on the clock.) Basically I won't read for fun because I should be reading for school which means I don't read at all, which is not like me one bit.

4. Paint some perpendicular saints! There is a good pragmatic reason not to do this, in that oil paint takes forever to dry (react/oxidize/whatever). But it's March. I'm definitely not going anywhere until the end of April at the earliest and probably not even then, because where? Why? How? See. I also don't have the lumber I need to build the stretchers to stretch the canvas to paint the saints. Why not just buy lumber? No money, not sure how much I'm getting paid, or really even when, because of the wacky way online job works.

Jeebus. No wonder I'm a basket case.

I did pay my rent, though. Hurray for that! I mean, I always have a terrible time organizing walking over there because of the treacherous snow field and the dog and whatnot, plus it has to be after the mail has arrived but before they have taken the mail in, or the mailman might take my envelope in the morning. So tricky!

Sometimes I just tape the envelope to their door. But not when it's windy, like today.

Probably I should just get in the bathtub with a Meg Cabot book and an adult beverage and stay there until things look less complicated and thwarty. Oh, I got a rejection from a job today, which is no big deal, it was a strange thing and whatever, but I hate rejections. Nobody likes rejections, doy!

Today I started looking at lots of land for sale in the area. There are some for less than $10K! Dude! Of course that's without a well sunk, which costs at least that. And no house. Then I started looking at the high cube 40 foot shipping containers available right up by the grocery store. They will rent them out for $125 a month, and will put doors and windows in them. Wow, huh? It doesn't say what they cost to buy. But I know it's not too much.

This is my relatively pragmatic way of fantasizing about having a place to live that doesn't cost me a ton of money every month but is within the reach of a person who can't buy a house.

Houses are nice, though. I like houses.

I wonder why that land is so cheap? I sort of want to drive over and look at it. Are there bodies buried on it or what? Is it by a gravel pit or a landfill?

There's a beautiful piece of land for sale at the end of my road for $76K, right on the river, but also with no well and no house. I mean, I'm not in the market, nor do I have $76K or even $1K, but I'm curious.

I had the best talk with my landlady yesterday about introversion and the workplace. It really validated a lot of the things I've been thinking about that. We really get along great but we're such devoted introverts both of us that we've lived next door for almost a year and seen each other only twice, both times by accident.

I was over there getting my mail from the temporary the-plow-knocked-down-my-regular-mailbox mailbox. But I've since put my real mailbox back up (again) and today got an actual bill in it, woohoo! It wasn't a large check or anything, but it did arrive right on this property and didn't require slogging through the treacherous snow field where I keep falling through up to my knees and flailing about comically.

That's the first mail I've had on this property since what, the beginning of February? Except for the UPS/FedEx guy bringing my boxes to return my work computer, and my severance paperwork that I had to sign for. Woo flipping hoo.

In summary: outlook feels grim, future is uncertain, anxiety levels are high, but I'm working and earning income, rent is paid, bills will be paid, stories will be rewritten and written again. I'll get feedback eventually and have a conniption over it, no doubt, and then later realize it's fine. And that is the state of things. It's a Thursday of a time of my life, that's what!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Two ideas

I have two story ideas and I'm still struggling with which one to write.

One is a vaguely formed short story that's sort of dark fable kind of material. It's something I thought of a while ago, but then yesterday I had a great revelation about how to change it to make it infinitely more awesome.

The other is a chapter in a rewrite of a book. Yesterday I had the sudden brilliant idea about how to fix the troublesome character that's been holding it back. And then I thought I might rewrite this book into chapters that are self-sufficient short stories but that connect together like a string of pearls, know what I mean?

Anyway I need to pick one and get going on it because Time Is Of The Essence. I'm behinder than I've ever been so far this semester. Or any semester. Because I don't usually have to start from scratch and come up with a whole new story every three weeks. Ahhh! Actually I can do both of them, but I need to do one NOW and one NEXT. Woohoo!

This weekend my chest has gone all tight and I've been all shaky and weird. I don't quite know why, because nothing has changed. Well, I'm worried about my friend who's in a bad situation with an emotional abuser spouse, but that's also not new at all.

Actually a dreadful thing happened. We were texting and trying to figure out solutions going forward and he got hold of her phone and read our whole conversation. Which sort of proves her point, actually. But oh boy. I was trying to help, you know? And now things are at least out in the open, but I suspect so much worse. Maybe that needed to happen to break the deadlock.

I don't do relationships, so maybe others can confirm how awful a thing that is to do. What would you think if someone picked up your phone and read your whole text conversation about them with a friend? I mean, that's breaking every kind of boundary if you ask me. I call it a betrayal of trust. And not just that, but a deliberate violation. I mean, it's not like accidentally overhearing a phone conversation.

Anyway. I hate to hit the xanax when I'm not getting on a plane or something otherwise traumatic, but I feel exactly like I felt when I ended up in the E.R. last fall and had to be given all these teeny tiny nitroglycerin pills to get my blood pressure and heart rate down. Like my accelerator is stuck and the engine is screaming for no reason.

Otherwise everything is actually quite delightful! I'm working away and getting all of that done. And I'm accomplishing other jobs like working on this cedar chest refurbishment and fixing up a gummed up practically brand new super expensive Dyson vacuum I found yesterday that was put out for the trash.

Dog and I went for a long walk yesterday and found it, but it was far too heavy to carry all that way back, so I went and got it when I was out in the car getting white bread and turkey at the store. (I bought sandwich makings last week, but completely forgot bread, which is hilarious. And they were out of turkey breast that day, too. Now I have them.)

It took a long time and lots of fiddling to get the vacuum fixed up, but oh, what fun that was. I love fixing up machines so much. Why can't editing writing be so straightforward? And now I have a $600 like new fancy vacuum. I'll probably promote my smaller battery-operated Dyson to upstairs and use this one downstairs. And therefore will actually vacuum the upstairs more than almost never.

I also got the mailbox out of the snow pile where it had landed and fixed it up and put it back on its post, this time with stronger and longer screws. I hope it stays in place longer than two days this time!

Dog is up on top of the big green comfy chair again, draped over the cushions and the arm of the chair, with his back end on a stuffed bunny. It's flipping adorable. That's the spot with the best view outside.

I was thinking back to the last 5-6 office jobs I've had and how universally terrible they were, except for Warner Bros., which was the 7th one ago. Just appalling behavior, from people being vicious and awful to people giving me all the work and sleeping until noon. Lies and treachery and personal attacks and so much ridiculously terrible drama that I've never experienced in any other kind of job. I mean, this didn't happen at Starbucks or in the grocery store where I decorated cakes for years. It doesn't happen in teaching. Professionals don't behave like that. Nor do people who work with their hands, in my experience.

Is it an office thing? Is it a small town office thing? I'm starting to wonder if that was the problem. They were all in small towns in three different states. Different fields, different types of job (temp or permanent), and so on. Though all fairly small to very small companies.

Just something I've been thinking about and trying to figure out. People! So tricky! It doesn't take too many of them turning into giant many-headed screaming lizard people before you start looking at all of them and wondering when the scaly lizard heads are going to start to appear. And I've seen it happen a LOT.

Oh, it's probably the stupid cold cuts, isn't it? I got the fancy no preservatives kind, because I'm deathly allergic to most preservatives, but I bet there's something in them that's setting me off. I just noticed hives on my face. Good times! Well, dog and cat will enjoy the last of the chicken slices. That kind of allergic reaction definitely causes racing heart. Not to worry! I can fix that.

Sandwiches on this super white Canadian white bread are insanely good, though. With lettuce and mustard and mayo. If you have sandwiches regularly, you might not be out of your mind over them the way I am, but oh my goodness, they are superb. (Actually I'm probably allergic to the mustard, too. Dang it.) The super white bread means my innards don't rebel. And it's all soft and friendly and makes sandwiches that look like in cartoons.

Me and my Platonic ideal of a sandwich, yep.

Okay, I will go for a dog walk and decide for sure which idea to work on, then start it when I get back. Raaaarrrr!

Friday, February 24, 2017

That lovely post-submission lull

I get a few days or even up to a week after I turn in my writing for school before I get feedback. And I feel so good in that time! Ah! It's bliss! I definitely should be working on my next story already, but I woke up ungodly sick this morning and spent the day (when not working at work) doing a puzzle of the Grand Canyon and gently moving the kitty off the middle of it.

I even managed to take dog for a walk and take out the recycling and the compost, so woohoo! Go me.

The field between the woods and the road has a somewhat hard packed path where we've been walking, but underneath that there's a foot and a half of snow. So as I'm walking along, one foot or the other will suddenly sink in almost to my knee, which is very disconcerting, especially when it happens eight or ten times in a hundred feet. Gaaaah!

Also I get snow in my socks. Do not like!

I just had a whole jar of kimchi for supper, plus some terrible Easter candy. What a combo! I know! Oh my golly, that boughten kimchi is amaaaaaazing. I should have bought all the jars. My own kimchi is also highly delicious but there is far too much red pepper flakes and especially the seeds, which sort of sandblasts my stomach lining. I suppose I could just take out the cabbagey goodness and sieve out all the peppers. I might have to do that. The juice is delicious, though. Mmmmm.

Next time I'll use chili powder and a little cayenne and not red pepper flakes. It's what the recipe called for, though! I mean!

This is one of those coldy flu things that feels much worse first thing in the morning. I was afraid I had caught man flu or something, the way I was huddled on the couch. But I needed tea, and for that I needed food, and so I opened a can of soup and got my day going properly and felt better. Mmm, tea.

I should probably put my whole self into a hot bath. Last night when I went to bed I was so utterly frozen that I was shivering all over and seriously wondered whether the furnace had gone off, but the dog wasn't cold. I just wrapped a fleece blanket around my head and huddled under the comforter with the dog until I got warm.

Next story: maybe I'll do some weirdo supernatural demon kind of thing. I think I will. I wrote the beginnings of a kind of terrible poem about the demon's daughter a while back, like maybe last summer. It didn't really go anywhere. But I think I could turn it into a story. These things have a way of turning into stories on their own without my intervention.

The thing you do is describe a situation and then what happens next just happens. I don't know, I don't get it. I keep thinking I need to understand what I'm doing in order to do it, but apparently not. And then when I get stuck and stop, when I come back, the ending is obvious, so I write it and I'm done.

I'm especially excited I got to include the Jonah and the whale modern art metal wall sculpture from our church where we went when I was little. I was crazy about that thing. I wonder if there's a picture of it online?

Apparently not! Though the church is on Facebook, which seems bizarre to me. All the pictures are of people, not artwork, except for a series of weird crosses I had totally forgotten about until I saw them again.

I wonder if my friend Lindsay would go take a picture of Jonah and the whale for me? I wonder if it's still hung up outside the fellowship hall?

I wonder if I should up and move to Michigan again?

Anyway! The boxes arrived for my work computer, so that got shipped away, woohoo! Now I just have to wait for the severance thing and figure out COBRA and get my car fixed so it's safe to drive and then I can see about going out to work, unless one of the awesome online jobs hires me before then. Which I would much prefer, yes!

Obviously it's best to keep on doing the thing I know how to do and am good at and enjoy, rather than the thing that is not ideal in oh so many ways and tends to go south in various ways. Yuss.

Anyway my focus now is to write these stories for school, three more of them, and to get my dang novel revised and finished and SENT OUT. SOON.

I need bigger caps for that. SOOOOOOOON!!!

I'm pretty thrilled that I took three giant bags of stuff to the Salvation Army. And I have a ton of non-clothes stuff ready to go, but it's all jumbled into random boxes untidily. I have to sort it out and box it up so it doesn't all fall out and get smashed. And then!

What weird dreams I keep having. Last night I signed on as a production assistant for a movie musical that Neil Gaiman was shooting in my old high school. I was all wrapped up in packing my blue backpack with every possible thing I could need, plus dressing for the part.

It was totally a flashback to the time I dressed as a P.A. to talk my way onto the studio lot where Grey's Anatomy was shot so I could deliver a scrub cap I had sewn for the actress who plays Bailey. It worked, too. Pretty awesome. Then the next time I was there was for an interview at Grey's Anatomy. Hurray!

I wish I could get as excited about writing books as about writing television. But writing books is just staying home and doing work. This is why I gave up composing music, and even then there were always times I could get ensembles together to play things! Sheesh!

Well, once I get the dang car fixed, I'll go back to my writing group once or twice a week, if they're still meeting. February is a rough time in Maine. Lots of people get laid off seasonally and of course everyone is paying for heat and still broke from Christmas. And then the weather got hairy for a while there. Though now it's all just ice and mushy deep snow and meltwater lakes. And that's just the path from my house to the front gate!

It really is a lot of deep water out there. I tried shoving a bunch of snow into it but guess what? Snow melts in water. Now there's more water. I know, genius move, eh? I sort of thought since the snow wasn't melted in the first place, it would...never mind.

Open ground is warmer than ground with snow on it. Doy.

I could go to sleep on this couch again RIGHT NOW. Oof. Do not go into my chest, ailment! I forbid you! My chest does hurt a lot but then I've been hitting the inhaler to fight that. Raaarrr! Breathing!

Anyway I'll have a hot bath and get all bundled up and write things this evening and it'll be lovely. Until I get my feedback, which no matter how productive it is always makes me all devastated, woe! We shall see. Who knows, maybe it'll be awesome this time? I am not a pro at short stories, man. I can write you novels all day long but I don't get the short stories. I don't know what they're for except to make people feel like crap. That seems to be the usual goal. How is that a reasonable thing to do? See.

So there we go, back to the Infinite Monkey Cage podcast and nice big ideas about science and the world and books I have to read and books I have to write and weirdo stories to figure out and dogs and cats to snuggle. Go go go!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Nothing continued to happen unabated

Yes. I'm doing the same amount of work for half the pay and no benefits, which always gives a person a real thrill. I'm putting lots of time and energy into The Search, which led me to post a lot of writing about books over on one of my other blogs, Story on the Brain. Oh, you can find that here.

I read a bunch of the old posts there and marveled at how my brain used to work much better than it does now. Amazing! Exciting! Awesome! Good times.

But now I have Dramatic Renewal of Purpose in writing about the books I read so I guess that's good. Oh, I seem to be rather grim and gloomy today. Well, it'll pass, I suppose?

I'm also utterly freezing for no good reason. I'm all bundled up in coats and quilts and scarves in a nice warm room. And I had a good walk with dog! So what the what? Is it all part of the glooooom? Could well be.

No sign yet of the boxes I need to receive to ship my old work computer back, without which I can't receive a lovely check. Without the check I can't fix my damn car. Without my damn car I can't go out and temp or whatever, or even go get more Canadian White bread, which is just ridiculously delicious for something that looks like slabs of marshmallow.

Seriously, I've never been an eater of white bread but there was a sandwich in one episode of Community that set me off and I desperately wanted one. And this bread! It doesn't make me deathly ill like whole wheat bread, or worse, the kind with all sorts of seeds and grains and things. People: mill your grains. This is 2017.

I get these evenings where I'm frozen solid with icy hands in a warm room and have hot rosy cheeks and then take my temperature because Something Is WRONG and it's 96.7. 

My story that I have to turn in Thursday isn't great. I mean it's about two things but only starts the second one halfway through and that isn't integrated into the first half, so either that needs to happen or the second thing needs to get taken out. I guess I should say it's not finished, really. Very gloomy also because at least with the first story I was super happy with it. Now I'm not very happy with it AND I know it's not going to go over well at all.

This book I read recently mentioned having an ideal reader, and oh, I got all depressed about that, because I don't have one at all. I mean there isn't some awesome person out there who I imagine reading my work and loving it, or even liking it, or someone I want to charm and entertain and make happy and impress. Because I don't believe those things are possible, and who would that be anyway?

I'm in one of those mind zones where I feel completely invisible and not on anyone's radar, because--well, logically--I'm not.

We got directions for setting up graduation today. I have to pick two peers to be on some committee with me, from my own genre. And that's when I went...oh. Who on earth? I am friendly with a lot of people at school but I only am actually friends with like three and they're not in my genre. I guess I could think of some I sort of know, who might work out? Will anyone put me on their committee? Obviously not, because I'm not friends with anyone in my genre. Gosh!

Another thing I can't do until the boxes arrive and the computer gets sent back and the check comes a plane ticket to school for all of that senior thesis stuff and graduation. I don't even know who to pester about getting the boxes. They kind of cut us off. It's weird.

Getting laid off is tremendously rejecty, everyone knows. It's getting kicked off the team or out of your group of friends. It's exile and ostracization on every level. Add the tremendous uncertainty to it (we don't know if/when we will get work assignments) and the halving in pay for those times when we do have work assignments and it's pretty much a recipe for thunderstorms in the brains.

Take last night, when I had a nightmare that I was sitting in a bath and took off my head to rinse my hair in the water more easily. Then I cradled my head like a baby and nursed it.

Don't ask how I was seeing my head when I was holding it in my arms. Dream logic!

I've been going off one of the optional sleep and nightmare meds so that's definitely part of it, which is why I take them in the first place. Terrible nightmares, ugh. Do not like. I actually go to quite a lot of trouble not to access terrifying images and all that stuff, to try to keep this sort of thing down as much as possible. I mean it's not like I'm out there watching movies about severed heads or whatever. At most I'll watch Community or Leverage or something like that.

I can still feel the weight and heft of that head. Heads are heavy! And hard. And you have to be careful of the nose and eyes and mouth when rinsing the hair in the bathtub, see.

I'm sort of considering taking that thing again tonight. Oof. Why are things so vivid? Things that I dream are more vivid than things that happen, but that's mostly because nothing happens. I mean, I eat clementines and sugar snap peas and I make cups of tea and I cook mac and cheese and oatmeal and soup and stuff. And I work on my laptop. And the animals skirmish around me all the time. Dog is snuggling me right now on the couch. The cat likes to get between my book and me when I read at the table. My boys!

Anyway I'm feeling like I'm going to do a lot of writing coming up here, now that I'm working as of today. Not working is BAD. Psychologically. I think it gives the lizard brain conniptions about survival. Then the lizard brain is like: EAT! Eat everything! Eat it all now! So maybe it'll all be calmer after today. I definitely feel like I've cleared off the table in some sense and I'm ready to focus on some stuff that I've been too panicked to work on for a while.

Mostly I just want to read books in a hot bath. Or sleep. Though I haven't been sleeping a whole lot, come to think of it. Just normal amounts, not the great swaths of sleep I would have expected.

See? See how boring? I know! I'm wearing a stripey pink and purple shirt if that helps liven things up at all. Colors! More than one! At the same time! Ahhhh!

Yawn. Maybe I'll make some quilts, since I'm too zombified to organize myself to baste and quilt this flannel one. Snap out of it, man!

Actually I was a complete panicky maniac for a week and a half or two weeks and ran around doing every possible thing for eighteen hours a day, so I guess I deserve some zombie time to recover from it. And the moral of the story is: go easy on yourself, jeez! Eat protein! Drink water! Have more baths if you want them! It is okay to make pumpkin pie! Or go to the Walgreens and get that terrible Easter candy!

Ooh. I have to do that soon. Very soon. Oh, it's really terrible, that Easter candy. I totally want some.