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 is...buy 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.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

When is a story not a story?

When you forget to put the story part into it, I guess. You know, the part where thing A happens and then because of that, thing B happens?

I have this great story but it doesn't have a story in it, not really. I might be able to make it have one. It's due on Thursday.

Such a weird time right now. We all (170 of us) got laid off as of yesterday, with the option of staying on at greatly reduced pay in a different position, which I'm doing. It's a big jolt, though. The different position is super intermittent and not guaranteed, so for one thing it's impossible to say if or when I'll be working.

When I found out, I was in such a tizzy that I made all sorts of mistakes in my Quicken, putting debits in as credits and credits as debits. I was in a panic because I would have to move right away, because on the if/when/maybe job I wouldn't be able to afford my rent.

Then I was outside standing on top of a giant plowed up snow pile along the road, digging for my mailbox that the plow knocked off its post, when my landlord stopped to see what I was doing making a spectacle of myself, so I had to tell him. And he reduced my rent by a lot, which it turns out he was planning to do after a year anyway. So that's super nice and I was able to stop my frantic packing and sorting stuff to donate, which was basically all I'd done since I heard about the layoff.

Now the car is full of stuff to donate and my mailbox is around the corner next to his. A different mailbox, that is. Mine is still deeply buried somewhere in that five foot high mound of snow. I was worried it had mail in it still from Monday, but luckily we didn't get any mail delivered Monday due to the massive blizzard.

Blizzard! It was crazy out there. The snow is still much deeper than my dog is tall, though it's been squishing down with temps in the 30s. It's too deep to walk in, though, even under the trees. I tried today.

I did not get the car fixed after all. It was supposed to get new tires yesterday. But that would have meant not being able to pay the rent, so nope! I did get the smart idea to get all of my prescriptions refilled with a 90 day supply while I still had insurance, though, so I got all of those yesterday. Phew!

Anyway I should be able to do that in two weeks if things go the way I think they're going, meaning if I really am on for part time, which I think I am, but who really knows anything anymore. I would say the whole place is anarchy but I really doubt that--just that some people are super overwhelmed with questions and confusion and unable to keep up.

It would be much nicer if I could at least pretend to be in control of what's going on in my life, y'all. I mean it's hard enough to make decisions without having those decisions countermanded or not followed or whatever.

Anyway. I'm reading this excellent craft book for school because since the inauguration I've had the absolute worst time reading fiction. Normally I read a book a day. I mean, not Dostoevsky, but you know. A modern book. I did just finish a fun Meg Cabot book. I was halfway through before I realized it was in present tense. How weird is that?

I'm actually reading two craft books, but one is a distillation of the patriarchy and the other is awesome. The awesome one is called Vivid and Continuous. Highly recommended! I'm going to reread Save the Cat! also because it's brilliant. Reading good craft books makes it very hard to keep reading them, though, because I run off and work on my own writing.

As in all times of crisis and uncertainty, I've been browsing Airstream trailers on Craigslist and looking at pictures of tiny houses. I mean, I'd rather live in a house, right? But I'd rather live in a Wonderfalls Jaye Tyler Airstream than nowhere at all, or with my mother, heaven forbid. Anyway I'm seriously thinking about getting one of these gutted and mid-renovation Airstreams that are for sale around here and making it into my home away from home type home. In case of no home.

I have far more stuff than would actually fit into an Airstream even if you stacked it all in there floor to ceiling with no room for humans, cats, or dogs. But in this scenario I imagine storing things, right? In storage? Which means my brother's extra lawyer house. Don't ask me why he's has this extra unused house for six years without renting it out or using it for lawyering. Renting it out would have been incredibly smart. Go figure. Anyway the garage is good for storage.

This terror of homelessness sucks, but I'm doing my best to find a good job and avoid dealing with any of those scary options. Still, my method is to look things straight in the eye before I need to deal with them, so that things go better in the long run. I spent a lot of time this week getting rid of everything it was easy to get rid of, for example. The next level down is a little tougher. But I also took down shelves and spackled holes and did all of that kind of thing while there's lots of time and I have lots of angsty energy to burn off.

Oh, I still keep on having to shovel things, too. I had to dig a path to the compost and a path to the shed, on top of the long path to the gate and a couple of paths for the dog to use for his business trips. Having a path to the shed is great because I keep wanting to take the recycling out or go get things from there and now I can. My hands wake me up all night long from going numb, though. Last night my left index finger in particular kept going numb. I think that's from knitting, though.

I'm trying to finish my nephew's sweater as fast as I can. Finish everything! Knit it all up! Quilt it all up! I got more quilt basting jobbies on Friday, then spent twenty minutes standing in a muddy slush puddle in the parking lot of JoAnn Fabrics pumping up my tires with the little compressor that plugs into the cigarette lighter. It works!

I'm pretty much not planning to go anywhere until I can replace those dang tires, though. In fact I've been looking into replacing the bearings and rotors myself, since I already know how to do the brakes. I wonder if I can? There are plenty of videos out there telling how to do it.

I am just realizing that this sounds incompatible with the already numb arthritic carpal tunnel hands. Good point.

Another absurd idea I have is to buy and fix up those Airstreams and resell them for a massive profit. I know, right? Airstream flipper. What a business plan! Guess what I know nothing about: how to fix up an Airstream. I mean, I'm good at fixing things, but I'm not familiar with these things at all. I do love the idea of fixing them up, though, making them so homey and cozy.

Ugh, this story I'm working on is hard to write. I mean it would be hard for anyone to make it work. But it's also really hard material for me to deal with. Good times, good times.

Does anyone have any pizza or anything? I'm in this weird food zone where I haven't really cooked much of anything lately so I end up eating snap peas or pepper jack that isn't made into a meal. It's highly unsatisfactory. Also I haven't done the dishes so the rice cooker is dirty and I don't feel like making soup or whatever because it'll take too long.

Pay no attention to me. I have two dozen cans of Progresso soup in the cupboard, easy. I will go warm up one of those. I think of things like that as For Emergencies, like the end of the world, but as my landlord said, the world just ended for me, so it's okay to eat the soup.

Also I'm down with some kind of cold, unless it's asthma and general raw breathing apparatus from doing massive amounts of shoveling in severe cold weather. I mean, I think it's both, actually. So give me one of those chicken soups, man!

I'm putting all this excess energy left over from the shovel fest into the house and the stuff contained therein. I sure do love seeing everything gradually get cleaned up, tidied up, fixed up, put away, organized, mended, sorted, and ironed out. So very satisfying all around.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Oh, writing is hard, big news

I am actually more sympathetic to my own plight than that sounds. Why so mean, title of post? Back off!

I'm starting on my Very Difficult Writing Assignment with a non-stellar 1200 words of utter malarkey that turns huge events and mysteries of my life into trite observations in an entirely inappropriate jocular tone. Bah! Suck! Fail!

So that didn't go so well.

I started reading my assigned work and got very distracted by a) random sentences in another language, b) that's definitely Turkish, c) yep, confirmed, d) this is self-edited and self-published isn't it? because wow, needs copyediting, and e) one character's job is to put dogs to sleep, how am I supposed to read a whole book about that?

But fortunately: the drugs are kicking in. I can read about that without being a sodden mess the entire time. Is that good? I don't know. It's where I am.

There are a few pictures of me from this bout of education over the past few weeks. Okay, one that I didn't take myself. But still! One! That's progress. I was better off in terms of how well I managed things. In other words, I still went ACK UGH NO any time I had to go to anything (all day every day) or be around people (ACK UGH NO) (even though I really liked 90% of everyone 90% of the time) but I was able to hoist myself up out of ack-ville and make myself go. And the post-game was better.

Do you do the morbid post-game? Where you dissect everything and relive every stupid thing you may have said and find the worst possible interpretation you can put on anything that may have happened? Me neither. Okay, I lie, I totally do that. It's what makes being around people so exhausting. Well, that and the part where I have to be around people.

All I can think from the pictures is: a) that is one big pink face, b) wrapping shawls around my already broad shoulders as I always do makes me look about four feet across, c) I have tiny little pig eyes. Really it's good there's only one picture.

Me and my giant pink face. I don't know.

Anyway. There was stupid drama where supposed professionals were just outrageously, gratuitously unprofessional to me. I can't imagine why these people still have jobs. I have the same job they do and if I had done what this person did, I'd have been fired on the spot. Honestly.

I did pour out half a cup of cold tea on a parking lot and call down the wrath of the first wrathful deity who came to mind on that person. But I don't really think that will have any effect. Still, you never know!

And I lost my giant beloved green/blue plaid blanket scarf on the plane. Woe! So I bought two more on Monday. You can't get them online, only in stores (Target), and they were already on clearance. I sort of panicked. I nearly bought three. Smart, or madness, to put one of those three back? Consider that in addition to those, I got a gray one, a white one, a red and blue one, and a thick knitted snuggly wrap about half an inch thick. Clearance, man!

There's just nothing as warm and snuggly as these great big blanket scarves.

I'm still exhausted and caught a little bit of a cold, but not bad at all so far. I'm gradually catching up with things like dishes (ran and emptied the dishwasher) and laundry (not even started) and getting my actual non-metaphorical house in order (hahahahahaha).

The best thing is that there is all this roasted veg that pre-trip me made for post-trip me, for which post-trip me is eternally grateful. Isn't that funny? I know it was me, but I feel so touched by that person's thoughtful kindness! I feel like someone did something super nice for me. Awww!

Anyway besides the roasted veg there's a bunch of cheese and some potatoes and squash and not much else, so I need to go to the store. I've been dipping into my emergency cereal and soup stash so I have to replace that stuff in case we have a nuclear war next week when the cheeto tries pressing the button on the nukes just to make sure it works.

I watched the most bananas clip of Putin today. He was explaining that Russia wouldn't have been surveilling the cheeto because he was just a rich guy back then, plus the cheeto has access to plenty of women so why would he need to hire prostitutes, but also Russia has the very best prostitutes, of course. Like...what? I thought this dude at least was relatively sane in comparison to the cheeto, but no, he is utterly bananacakes in the brainpan. What kind of logic is that? Not one single part of it makes any sense.

It's fascinating to watch someone speak when you don't know the language, though. He was obviously lying about the first part and then just making nonsense points the rest of the time, just saying stuff that seemed to be tangentially related and made sense in his mental space.

We are in deep hraka, you guys. This is like the Cold War only it's the Crazy War. The Manchurian Candidate meets Doctor Strangelove. I had better buy a lot more soup and cereal.

The hotel bed spoiled me for my busted up old mattress, which now seems utterly uncomfortable, even with my lovely animals snuggled up against me. And the time change screwed me up too. I mean, it was easy to go to sleep right away when I was going to bed at 10 Pacific, which is 1 a.m. Eastern. In both places I wake up at 5 a.m. and can't get back to sleep, which is very irritating, let me tell you.

I just downloaded an app this morning in that nightmarish still dark can't sleep wide awake time. It plays all sorts of burbly water sounds or wind through the trees or rain on the roof or whatnot, which already this morning made a huge difference. The trouble is that it's dead silent and the RRRRROOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM a semi races past at 60 or 65 mph and shakes the house, and then it's dead silent again. I could probably get used to constant noise, but this is not great. I did not miss that one bit!

At some point soon I'll have to score the various things about this house and decide what to do in April, stay or move. Positives: I'm already here, good landlord, great house, nice garden, small yard, power stays on, etc. Negatives: the road, the road noise, the trucks shaking everything, the dust from the road, THE ROAD IN GENERAL, fear of dog and road, interrupted sleep, nowhere I can walk, nowhere I can walk TO, and the rent is too high.

I think bobcats go in the positive column. Anyway they're everywhere. Ubiquitous bobcats! That's my new band name.

Tomorrow I hope to suck at writing a little bit less. Here's hoping!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Twice in two days

Shoveling, that is. Though two days ago, the landlord and his sons did the hard part, which is to say the 3-5 feet where the plow fills the bottom of the driveway several feet deep with heavy, hard packed snow.

I went out to do that part first instead of last today, and then a nice man with a plow on his pickup truck stopped and cleared most of it for me in two passes. Jeez! That was AWESOME! Thank you, nice man!

I really don't want to buy a snowblower because a) it's almost as much work as shoveling, truly, b) it's big and heavy, c) it's expensive, d) I need and want and enjoy the exercise. But the plow truck really had me thinking about whether I might not want one of those. Can you put a plow on a Jeep Grand Cherokee?

One minute of research reveals that you can but it's kind of a bad idea because of the way they're built. Good to know!

Basically I want a great big pickup truck but with a roof on it, and not a cap, either--an inside that I can move around in. I wonder what that would be? I bet the local Ford dealership would be happy to help me with that question. When the time comes!

Meanwhile I just have to resist the constant pressure to go get a snow blower. Nobody likes to see a middle aged plump lady out shoveling snow, apparently! I will just have to get less plump so nobody worries so much, jeez. Right now I'm eating the rest of the Pecan Sandies that I bought in flipping August in preparation for No Stupid Food 2017.

We shall see how that goes. Stupid food includes anything from the snack aisle, as well as anything with wheat because I'm very sensitive to it, as well as anything with preservatives because I'm highly allergic to them. I know, I know. Pecan Sandies fail on all three counts! But I'm finishing them up anyway.

No Stupid Food should be a lot of work but also awesome. I do not want to eat stupid food! But then I get super hungry and irrational and eat things I shouldn't have, which also I shouldn't have bought in the first place, so there. Anyway my apocalypse pantry is full of cans of soup and things now, so I can always go to that stuff instead of putting a whole block of cheese in my mouth. (Cheese is not stupid. Cheese is glorious. But being immoderate about cheese is unwise.)

I just packed my suitcase in a manner that I have never even dreamed about before. Six tops, neatly rolled to fit exactly and stood up on end and in a row. Six long silky white shirts that I wear under the tops, neatly rolled and in a row. I broke the pattern and laid the pants out in the other third of my carryon, though. Maybe I should get back in there and roll them. It's so ridiculously neat and orderly and it's so easy to find everything! Madness! All my things so neatly arranged! It looks like Pinterest did my packing for me.

Don't remind me that I still have to get a sweater and a raincoat in there, though. My raincoat folds up super small. My sweater does not. Outside pockets of suitcase are still empty, however! All three! There is plenty of room still available. The inside isn't even full. I can bring my giant black watch plaid blanket scarf that I can't live without.

Anyway, the dishwasher is running, I've eaten almost every bit of the food and leftovers in the fridge, except the cheese and root veg, which will keep, and I've shoveled the driveway and packed my suitcase and even moved wallet things into my tiny old Etienne Aigner wallet on a string that I got at an outlet in the 80s. I'm really really working hard on traveling light, huh? No big bulky wallet even! I usually use one of those big ones that can hold a checkbook.

Even so, I will have to dump out new purse (black fake leather from Target) and take out the fifteen chapsticks and other crazy things that have no doubt wriggled into it already.

This is a war between "but I might need it!" and "there is no room." Also "but I might need it!" tends to come with imaginary scenarios where I desperately need that one thing and don't have it. If I had my way, I'd be bringing an inflatable raft and life jacket and crash helmet, in case of tsunami, you know.

Here is the official USGS document on how to survive a tsunami. https://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/c1187/

Basically it says to get to high ground immediately and stay there, and remember that there will be a whole series of waves, mostly likely, not just one.

I really hope we don't get earthquakes and tsunami while I'm sitting right on the Cascadia fault, but it could happen.

Business as usual in my anxious brain, huh?

I just heard that the utter jackass who was so awful to deal with all fall was a complete and utter jackass to a friend of mine this week, too, and so now people believe me, which is...nice? Awful for my friend, but vindicating for me, I suppose. This behavior, it's just completely rude and aware of the rudeness and unapologetic. Like a cartoon rude guy. Like an internet troll. From someone we have a professional relationship with, who should be much better than this.

I actually seriously wonder now whether he has a brain tumor or something. This behavior has to be kind of new or there's no way he'd still be employed. Though come to think of it, they totally did not believe me when I reported it, so who knows.

I remain so very grateful that I did not let either of the jackass twins touch my novel this fall. Sheesh!

Anyway we got all kinds of new info about school when we discovered that a huge email had not been forwarded from the University's email to our regular email, for either of us. Isn't that weird? I wonder why? It wasn't in junk or trash or anything, either. I think that's odd. But now I know that I'm staying in the hotel further from the ocean (thank goodness--TSUNAMI) and I get my own room, which is awesome. The school had asked whether I'd share, so I said I would if it was my one friend, but she wanted her own room too, so we get singles, yay!

Post-shoveling exercise stupor is holding me down pretty good right now. It's such a mellowing agent. Also the hot bubble bath that follows does not hurt. My job right now is to drink water (got that going) and make any last changes or additions to the novel draft before tomorrow. Wait, before Tuesday! It's due Tuesday, not tomorrow. Yessssss! I always want one more day. I guess everyone does!

There was the bluest sky this morning when I was shoveling! It was so bright out with all the snow and sun that I kept squinching my eyes shut involuntarily. I got totally pink in the face, from exertion as well as possibly from sunburn, at least it feels like that now. My dog is so beautiful!

It's supposed to snow again Tuesday, maybe, though the weather reports keep changing from rain to snow and back again, over and over. I don't have to shovel rain, but snow is much less messy.

Whoops, I just fell asleep sitting up in my armchair, ha ha. I might be a little bit tired out, eh?

Friday, December 30, 2016

I have to book

Did you have that as slang growing up? Book, as in: get out of here? Hurry, run off? Yes. Anyway every day I say to myself, "I have to book," but it means: go write that book.

It's not so much writing, which I find pretty fun and easy, but restructuring, which is sort of too big and like juggling with my brains. I am not good at it, for sure, even with outlines and things. Oh the complications!

Also I'm still weirdly resisting cutting out this dumb subplot that actually used to be the plot. Like, that was the whole plot. I guess that's why I'm resisting it. But it's maybe 75% gone so now there are just odd jaggedy shards of it poking up through the smooth soil.

I like to pretend that this novel was just especially complicated and mixed up. But probably every rewrite process is just like this. Shhhh, don't tell me.

I have a complete draft except for some patches that need to be inserted, and there's a cemetery scene I'm finding it very difficult to make myself write. I don't even know why. Funerals I have been to: many. Cemeteries I have been to for burials: few. Just my grandmother and one uncle, as far as I can remember. Unfortunately I'm extremely good at not remembering things I don't want to think about, but I'm pretty sure that's all.

I don't mind burials as much as funerals with open caskets, which are NOT COOL and give me the horrors for years afterward. I mean. I don't like seeing dead people at the best of times, but when they're all made up to look alive, that is super upsetting and awful. It was only one grandmother and one uncle I saw in open caskets and I did not appreciate it one bit.

Honestly, what is up with that? Is it so we believe they're really dead? I don't know. I think it's utterly  barbaric.

Anyway in this scene, which I have in my head perfectly well, it's all closed caskets and everything is as antiseptic and WASP-y as you could possibly want. Even though I suppose these people should be Catholic, come to think of it. I've never been to a Catholic funeral, though. Weddings, yes. Well, fine, they're long lapsed Catholics and just go to a funeral director and have a totally non-religious thing.

One thing I do know is that there's no sacrament involved once the person is already dead, so there you go. Unction is for the alive.

Hello, I'm exhausted! I've been working on Book all afternoon and evening. All morning I shoveled, then spent forever in a hot bubble bath reading a Meg Cabot book and drinking tea, then it was bookery all the way. Oh, I washed some dishes, too, while dinner cooked itself. This brain work wipes me out! Though also the heavy labor of shoveling wipes me out. According to my phone, I walked a mile and a half while doing it.

Your options are: stand and throw, or use the sliding scoop shovel. The scoop takes a lot of walking. I do that rather than, you know, get a heart attack and croak. No croaking!

I'm supremely out of shape after three semesters of school. I'm going to make it a huge priority to work out. Not today, because hello, the shoveling. And it's going to snow again tomorrow, whoopee! But after that.

Tomorrow is New Year's eve, which means herring in cream sauce and I don't know what else. I'm trying to clear out the fridge before my trip, so probably it means: all the leftovers. Mmm, I should roast my butternut squashes and potatoes and carrots. Yummy. And then freeze them so I have them when I get home. Excellent idea, me! Let's do that!

I really, really, really love roasted carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. The rest of it I can take or leave, but those three orange veggies, oh boy! SO GOOD.

I'm taking new meds as part of the regularly rotating pharmacopeia cornucopia where they try things, the things don't work, and then they try new things. Whee! Fun times. I'm back taking this as-needed medication that really improves quality of life tremendously. So I wish I'd been taking it all along. But it also zombies me out pretty good. I mean, in a good way. I do stuff? But I can also not do stuff? It's awesome. So that's two new things and the result is fantastic. I feel all normal and stuff.

I'm so tempted to cut my big floppy mop of hair before I go see all my friends, but I'm trying to grow it out, so that's contraindicated for sure. Do not do the thing that is the opposite of the thing you want to do! It's pretty goofy, though. But on the plus side, the pretty copper color really comes through when it gets longer.

My deadline for a complete draft of this book is Monday, so HUP HUP, seriously. I can write the dang funeral scene. And the missing bits. And I can figure out where the last two or three new pieces fit in. And if I'm brave enough and strong enough, I can go through and cut out those last shards of the old plot still sticking up through the substrate. I cut out at least 5000 words just this evening by doing that. Ugh! Ack! Ouch! But it's good. Remove the bad stuff, add in more good stuff. Get to where you need to be. Go go go!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Enter the finishing phase

Oh BOY do I have a hard time finishing projects. I dislike the finishing phase intensely. I don't even know why! Of course it should be good to finish things! What's not to like? But I find it exceedingly difficult and awful and unpleasant.

So that's what I get to do for the next two weeks, whoopee! Finishing a draft of the novel. I'm full of DREAD. I'm just having dread in general today, for no clear reason. Why??? We're entering a two week break starting tomorrow, in which my main (but not only) task is to get this novel finished and all the pieces put into order so that it's a completed (but not final) draft. I also have various and sundry other jobs to get done, but those are normal and not alarming to the depths of my soul like this apparently is.

I may also be getting sick. It's quite likely all of this comes from incipient illness. I can't get warm, even under an electric blanket turned up as high as it will go, even under quilts and blankets and wearing a half inch thick wool sweater. So let's blame all the doom and gloom on that! And the headache and the hurty eyes and everything. Yucky!

I ate all this leftover lasagna so it can't even be that I'm hungry, which is my usual thing to blame when I can't get warm. And I took the dog for a walk, so it's not that I've been sitting still too long, my other go-to thing to blame. Argh!

Anyway. I'm still waiting to hear about my grades for the semester, on December 19th, which makes me very grumpy. I even contacted them this morning to ask what was going on, since last year I heard on November 30th. They said they're putting them into the mail today. As for the content, I have no idea. We shall see.


I bought two things of printer ink so I can get the draft printed out. I'm still considering when it's best to do that. Before or after I figure out where to insert the new material I wrote this fall after my semester of torture finally ended? I don't know. Before? Because wherever it goes, obviously it doesn't go tacked on at the end, where it is now. I just kept adding the new material that I knew I needed, without trying to slot it in where it belonged.

This all makes me want to pull a stack of quilts over my head and expire quietly. I will not be starting until tomorrow, unless I get a surge of energy tonight. (Do not hold your breath.) Tonight I need to finish my niece's sweater, which is down to one cuff and a big wallaby pouch pocket over the tummy where you put both hands. Like on a pullover sweatshirt. What on earth is that called? See, I am not in the right mental space for writing. Because of how I'm too grumpy to function at all. Ha ha. Ooh.

When is Christmas even? Sunday, right?

Maybe I'll make a hot buttered rum next time I emerge from my cocoon of quilts and blankets and see if I can both cheer and warm myself up that way. It's impossible that I'm cold in this warm room under all these blankets and sweaters, but I am. I don't even see how anyone who ate all that lasagna can ever be cold again! Surely the fires of pasta and cheese would warm me from within!

Anyway. Maybe by this time tomorrow I will have accomplished major activity on the finishing front and I'll feel like a million bucks. It could happen! I had a triple flu shot, dammit! I should not even be able to catch the flu! But gosh, I kind of feel like I caught the flu. Noooooooooo!

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!!!!!