Monday, January 15, 2018

No doy

Hi, it's me! I'm here with a profound piece of advice: focus on the good stuff. I know! Brilliant!

Twitter is my main source of entertainment, which is kind of sad now that I spell it out like that, especially since it's turned into 24/7 anger and misery and frustrated helplessness. Are those fun emotions? NO THEY ARE NOT. Are they helpful or useful? Again with the NOPE.

Recently I came across a Twitter feed of women's artwork and followed it, and oh my goodness, it completely highlighted how much Twitter is generally a firehose of suck. (Nicely mixed metaphors there, self.)

A picture comes across my feed, and I think, Ah! Art! Gorgeous! Bright colors! Shapes! Representation of things and ideas!

More of that, please, and less of the suck!

I'm reminded of that made up legend about the old man who says there are two wolves inside us, a good one and a bad one. And which one wins? The one you feed.


Every word in that four-word sentence had four letters. Ahhhhhhh.

I'm just waiting for my jasmine rice to cook in the rice cooker and soaking up that delicious smell. Does any food smell better than jasmine rice? No, it doesn't, so just give up right now.

I completed absolutely gigantic quantities of work (not rice) in the past week, so I'm trying to take today off from it, except I actually can't because it's work, which has its own schedule. Oof. Maybe I can tomorrow.

I'm in this weird year where everything totally jolts me off kilter. I mean they are big jolting things, though it's also true it's very easy to throw me off. But the biggest one is all this startlingly new and unfamiliar material. Whee! It's exciting because I learn a tremendous amount and it's never, ever boring. Hurray for not boring! Hurray for learning! But it's also about ten times harder than familiar material. So there's that. Whoop!

Anyway the rice is done. I'm going to do my work and then stretch a tall skinny canvas to paint some carven saints. Still considering what color that is. Grayish tones but of what color? Bluish? Greenish? Not yellowish, though that's probably most accurate. I dislike yellow for some reason. Anyway I have to stare at some photos of stone with blurred out eyes to get that answer.

Meanwhile, there's jasmine rice, and books to read, and this crazy sweater I'm knitting for Grandma, and some paperwork that I need to burn up because I don't have a shredder, but the metal firepit thing is frozen to the ground by the shed. Hmm! Should I build the little baby black Weber grill I've had since about ten years ago when I was going to use it as a spaceship in a stop motion video? Maybe I should.

Also on my list: replace the batteries for that camera so I can do even tiny amounts of stop motion, because it's flipping fun, if exhausting. But what isn't? I know!

Focus on good stuff, you guys.

Thursday, January 11, 2018


It's over 40 degrees out when there's a yard of snow on the ground, which means everything is mush mush mush. I tried shoveling some off the porch but the mush is on top of solid ice. All of this means that a) hopefully the snow depth will go down so my dog can have his yard back, and b) things are going to become very slippery very soon, when everything freezes back up. Good times!

Last night we had a whirlwind visit to the emergency vet. I'd been working all afternoon and into the evening, after working all morning and half the afternoon on money math and bills and things. I got up from my desk to discover big spots of blood on the floor.

What do you say when that happens? I said, "Who's bleeding? Is it me? Nope. Is it you?" (That was to the dog.) And then I called: "Kitty! Why are you bleeding?"

There were big blood spots all around my office, which is mystifying, and in the bathroom, and up the stairs, and into the little tiny bedroom I use as a writing room. Kitty was all stretched out and cozy on the bed in there, looking totally unconcerned. He somehow had punctured the pad of his paw with a claw and the claw was still deep in there.

I got pliers to try to pull it out, but realized one second in that that was a terrible idea. (Kitty agreed.) So I packed him up in the kitty carrier and we went to the emergency vet.

I wasn't too worried. It wasn't even strictly an emergency, except for the blood. I mean he wasn't bleeding that much, really. But once we got in the place, holy crap. Mr. Kitty was fine, and I was undamaged, but everyone else in there was people with dogs who were seriously injured and/or dying, or worst of all, had just died or been put to sleep. The people were all just wrecked. Even writing about it the next day I'm starting to get leaky eyes, sheesh.

The nice vet tech looked at Mr. Kitty's paw and took him back for the vet to fix. They clipped his nails. I guess they had grown extra long? And he got an antibiotic shot and they cleaned up his paw and put something on it to prevent infection.

Kitty was totally calm the whole time. I mean, he didn't love it, but he did great.

Meanwhile I was a basket case because there were dogs in pain (not that I could see them, but I could hear one crying) and a guy came in to pick up a bag with his dead dog's blanket and collar, which is the worst thing. Oh boy. A couple left without their dog and was just barely holding it together long enough to pay the bill. It was horrible.

Hoo boy.

When we got home, I was all upset and so the dog got upset and the cat was just like, "Jeez, you guys, could you cool it?" We shared a giant can of tuna and everyone got on my lap and stared at me, which is another reason I adore these boys. They're so sensitive and so nice. I snuggled the boys and they squashed me with their furry weight and everything was fine.

I didn't even have nightmares, which made a nice change, because since I got back from Grandma's house, holy badness, I've had horrible nightmares and have had to take the anti-nightmare meds, which make me feel weird and hyper and zombified all at once.

Also I've been chopping ice with the ice chopper, trying to clear the mailbox out so I can get mail finally. Have not received mail since about December 15th or whenever it was I left town. Chopping ice is even worse than shoveling or digging or snowblowing, but those four are the things that kill my hands the most. My hands feel like giant mittens full of razor blades and keep on going numb all night, which wakes me up. Must not shovel, chop, dig, or snowblow for a good long while! Must grow new hands back!

Yes. This is going to be a year of weirdness and everything getting shaken up and turned upside down. Bizarre cat injury! Unexpected courses to teach! Everything is jolting me out of where I think I am and putting me somewhere new!

For example, I just took dog out (his request) and got the mail, which included a notice that the state of Oregon is auditing me for 2014. Did I even live there in 2014? I never know where I lived when. I must have, right? Add that to the list of 2018 bizarrities.

I just went back into my office and discovered that although I cleaned up the blood from the hall, bathroom, stairs, and upstairs bedroom, I did not clean it up in the office. Whee!

I can do this. I can manage all the weirdness. Right? Cat somehow self-inflicts an injury and bleeds all over the house. No worries! Brand new courses I've never taught before take a lot of steep learning curve work. I'll handle it! Grandma might be selling her house and moving to New Hampshire. Okay! My sister, who mostly manages Grandma, is going to be out of the country about 3/4 of the time this winter and spring. No problem! Brand new used car develops a terrifying rumbledethump and shakes me to bits, but can be cured with a car wash and hot water to the wheels! Why not!

Have I mentioned how much I love that car? Aunt Beast! She is a beautiful Beast. And warm and safe and mighty. Hurray for the Beast!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Too damn cold

There's still a twin mattress in my car because it's too cold and too snowy out there.

I want to bring it in. But all the Yakima bars and ski holders and whatnot are ON the mattress. But there's too much snow to get to the shed.

I tried to move stuff around and unbury the mattress, but dog insisted we come inside.

He tried to get into the car, too. He and I both believe the car should be warmer than the world. But it isn't! It's the same temperature as everywhere else! Which is to say zero. Zero degrees F.

It's not pleasant.

I almost decided to teach Please Ignore Vera Dietz, but then started reading it and remembered how seriously negative it is. It's a massive downer every step of the way. I still love that book, but you know. My students last semester pointed out how depressed Glory O'Brien was, something I had actually never noticed, which is kind of funny, or else not.

Anyway outside: nope. Inside: been doing all the laundry (especially putting away all the laundry I've done for the last few days) and building every syllabus. Work! Working at the work that is work. I mean, unpaid, of course. Pre-work work.

My arms still don't work properly since yesterday's clearing up the blizzard festival. And if my neighbor hadn't come by and done half the work, I would probably still be out there digging, because half of my snowblower broke and that made it basically not work at all. It was an issue. Oh, I found some replacement shear bolts but haven't gone out to try them yet, and also they're not shear bolts, which means it could damage the gears. Shear bolts sacrifice themselves to save the gears.

Must go out and buy shear bolts.

I might have worked enough today. I think I've been at it all day. Maybe I should go drag stuff out of the closets and give it away instead, eh? Then when I finally get the mattress out of the car, I can put the bags and boxes of things INTO the car, and give them alllllll away.

Probably I should cook, too. Though presumably a person can live on delicious liverwurst sandwiches piled high with spring mix lettuce for a very long time. Mmmmmm.

I have all these plans for what to do to clear up this cluttery house, let me tell you. And I have my phone in a little bag that goes over my shoulder because PANTS DON'T HAVE POCKETS so I can listen to MBMBaM all day long and move around doing the things.

Dang, my Poang chair is mostly in the shed too. I might just need to go out there and dig out the shed. Dog can stay inside. Eventually he's going to have to pee, though. He has refused two times now. I mean, just pee, dog. It's kind of stressing me out.

Thursday, January 4, 2018


I just got home from the Enchanted Forest last night and there's a blizzard today. Currently a blizzard is blizzarding outside! Madness! My reaction to the blizzard is to fill every possible vessel with water, take a lot of showers in case that's the last one I get to have for a while, boil water and fill thermoses, water all the plants, and launder every possible thing in a terrific hurry.

Unpacking seems to be taking forever, but that always happens. And stairs! Why are stairs? I've started throwing things up there from the bottom of the steps. Some of them tumble down again, but then I just throw them again. Whee! It's fun!

When the blizzard stops I have to clear everything in a hurry because in a day or two the temperatures are going to drop to like -20F which is just bonkers. It's blowing a lot right now and drifting all over the place. My brother came over and snowblowered out my driveway while I was gone, so I could actually drive up it when I got home. So yay! I think he also came over yesterday to borrow my dad's old giant flat pump jack for a friend who got a flat on ice. It's that kind of jack that's like two feet long and on four wheels.

I brought home wacky stuff from the Enchanted Forest, like a much wider set of Yakima roof rack crossbars for New Car, since the Outback bars are pretty short. I'll probably give them to my sister-in-law if she wants them for her new Outback. Both of our Outbacks totally pooped out at the same time. I mean, we bought cars within a week of each other. But instead of another Outback I got a massive Pathfinder. The Outback always felt like getting into a sleeping bag to me, and anyway I want to be able to tow a trailer. A camper! Tow a camper and go camping, man!

Outside looks like a snow tornado right now. The snow is blasting all around in every direction including up from the crazy winds. Dog and I are staying inside as much as possible! He really resented having to go out in snow up to his back to go to the bathroom. He'll plow through it, but then he'll turn around and give me this outraged, annoyed look. And he's been sulking on his trampoline/dog bed all day today. He even refused to lick out my lunch bowl.

Actually he may have an upset tummy from stealing my chicken tenders yesterday, so I'm not all that sympathetic. While I was kicking the thick crust of snow off my driveway gate so I could let him out, he and the cat ate my chicken. In fact I didn't mind that much because what chicken I ate gave *me* a horrible tummy ache too, but still. 

I had totally planned to get McDonald's as my "I just drove twelve hours and now I'm facing a blizzard tomorrow" dinner, but the rest area didn't have one, just Burger King, and their food makes me utterly ill, like in an involuntary cleanse kind of way, so I got the Chicken of Regret instead. Never again, obviously!

Oh! I went to the Enchanted Forest because my mom had big surgery so my sister was there for that and for a week after, and then I took over for another, um, two and a half weeks? Something like that. Was it three? I have no sense of time. FOREVER, basically. And the water system went out while I was there, OF COURSE, so I got to climb the mountain eight times and lead Larry the Plumber through the woods up to the spring and all that good stuff. Haul jugs of water up two stories for my mom to use to flush with and everything. But also I was there for Christmas, oof, and just endless time, seems like.

Here's how I stayed sane and did not actually just pack up and flee like I almost did twice: I knitted a complicated and interesting pair of socks for my sister on tiny needles in a week, reading Harry Potter books the entire time. I read four and a half of the books while knitting those socks. And I made it in time! She came back for the weekend of New Year's and loved the socks.

So I must remember that for the future. You can survive anything if you have a time-deadline project to focus on and sufficient reading to get you through.

Now, besides doing all of my accumulated laundry and unpacking just an outrageous quantity of stuff and putting everything away, I'm getting all my spring courses set up. I didn't have internet at the EF except through my phone, so I couldn't do most of the online parts without incurring ridiculous charges. There's still a tremendous amount of work to do, but I have about ten days, so I can get it done. Even when you copy someone else's syllabus there's all the work of changing the dates and making sure you don't forget spring break and figuring out whether all the pages are right and all that. I'm making good progress, though. I started before I drove back, knowing that twelve hours in the car would make me insane if I hadn't done the groundwork.

Now I'm knitting my mom a sweater like this ancient ratty one she made herself many years ago, using the same pattern and a bunch of yarn from her stash. I'm going to need to hit Walmart or A.C. Moore or somewhere to add to this amount, though. I just couldn't wait to get started and wanted to make sure I could try it against her and see whether it fit right. Which it does.

I can't get over the floating and flying clouds of snow in the air outside. Is it blowing off the roof, too? I can't tell. Crazy and awesome! Soon I'll have to take dog out again. He's not thrilled.

We'll be fine unless the power goes out. Then I'll have to get the gas from the shed and drag the generator out and make it go in a whirling blizzard, which doesn't sound fun to me. I need a generator shed! Oh, dang, I was going to bring my dog's old crate back from the EF, but then didn't, but it would make an excellent generator protection frame. Rats.

I did bring ski attachments for the roof rack, although I do not ski and I'm not sure I have keys for them, as well as a hitch extension that allows you to put a bike rack on the hitch, although I do not ride my bike and absolutely need a new bike that isn't excruciating on my wrists, like more of a sitting up shaped bike. It's on my list. And I brought a pair of my dad's old giant mittens with waterproof mitten covers, for snowblowing. Gosh snowblowing is excruciating on the hands. Good times.

The Pathfinder is amazing and wonderful (and used, did I mention used?) and very good in weather. I feel infinitely safer in this big old beauty. Eventually I'll probably be able to recognize it in a parking lot, too. I seem to have some kind of face blindness about my own car. The roof racks will help, come to think of it.

So weird. I can't see the road or the house across the street, and now I can barely see the trees or the shed. They did warn of whiteout conditions. So I'd better walk my dog soon and possibly use a leash. This wind is ridiculous. I have the heat turned up in case the power goes out. Actually that part is really nice. My mom had the heat blasted at 80, literally set to 80 degrees, so we're not used to our usual 60 anymore. But mostly it's in case of power outage from the high winds.

Please do not go out, power! Please do not knock down trees or power lines, high winds! Okay!

I'm totally going to go out and take pictures while I walk the dog. Yep!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Unbearable quantities of work to do

Yes! There is too much to do this weekend. But I will get it done because I HAVE to get it done by Sunday night. But it might be kind of brutal, y'all. I've been zombified all week due to stress from this thing today, to the point where I've been taking backup no nightmares drug #1 in a half dose for the past three nights, then a full Xanax last night. Anyway the result is sleeeepy all day so I'm way behind on my work and now ack ack ack, it's due soon. It's due!

 I had the dumbest saga of internet and television. How long did I have tv? Two weeks? One week? When I got tv, I had a hellish entire weekend of struggling to make it work. Then the internet was so bad and kept cutting out so I decided to get phone internet. But then it was terribly unworkable and so I had to get rid of that, too, and so I got rid of tv also.

The upshot is I'm right back where I started after a lot of headaches and like five hours on the phone with various people who could not fix things. GOOD TIMES.

I finally got a computer that works with a wide enough screen for the stubbornly super wide website for my work, so I don't have to scroll left and right literally hundreds of times to do my work.

It is VERY wide and large in the screen and makes me feel like a moth bonking my face against a lightbulb. But I don't have to scroll left and right all flipping day long, so yay! And I finally got Chrome downloaded for the fifth time and it seems to be working and all.

At first it wouldn't do anything but would just crash immediately. Then it took a minute to crash but wouldn't do anything until then. Blah blah blah!

Is there anything more frustrating and boring than dealing with this sort of thing? Tech issues! UGH!

I ate my supper of chicken and dumplings soup out of a can cold while I was dealing with it. So basically I am super done with today.

I like how these days computers don't have disk drives and so when you buy software it comes on a card with a code and then boom, you download that and you have Office.

Guess what, I went swimming three times and my swimsuits are all TOO BIG already. But then Target had a lot of swim tops on the sale rack and so hurray! I can't get a one piece suit because if the top fits, the bottom is way too loose, and vice versa. So I am VERY happy that there are these pants and tops kind of things with swimsuits. So great.

Swimming, mmmmm. I suspect I will enjoy it more when my top is not trying to float away right off of me. Though maybe I can take those too big suit tops in a bit and shorten up the straps.

I keep thinking of Bridget Jones and her sadly deflated cleavage. Dude, deflation is okay by me! Overall deflation is kind of the goal here in general. Good good good.

Come to think of it, the shorts are kind of loose already too.

Anyway I got some more. Swimmy swimmy swim swim.

The other thing about swimsuits is: they get wet. And then when I want it again two days later, it's still wet. I know you can officially put a damp suit on, but grossssssssss. Noooooooo.

Dang, I forgot to get a YMCA hair dryer at Target. I'm gonna need one.

These are the exciting travails going down around here.

If I can dig out from under the massive pile of work I am very excited for the writing this weekend. The things to write. Writing the books! Yes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Apparently we need weekends

I worked half of Saturday and then the prospect of doing all the rest of that work the whole entire weekend long, with no down time, totally depressed me, and so I stopped. Well, I'm not alert enough to realize things like that at the time. I figured it out after. At the time I just got really really down and slowed to a stop and didn't want to do anything at all. I worked on a puzzle and listened to MBMBaM podcasts the rest of the weekend, until I had to work again Sunday night.

It would have been a lot more fun if I'd said, "Hey, I don't want to work all weekend. I want to do fun things instead!" And then had planned fun things to do.

As it was, I did get the tv programmed to record some English soccer, so that was great, and I watched the new Star Trek show premiere, but now I'm flummoxed because it's not going to be on tv, apparently? It's on some streaming thing? Can I put that on my tv? Probably, because my tv is one of those smart ones, so I'll try to figure that out when I get more energy. Soon, I suspect, because I want to see it. But not soon, because holy crap, that work did not go away!

Today I've been dawdling about the work also. It's not like me to procrastinate! I don't do that anymore. In fact I did a ton of it yesterday.

You know what it is? If I put on the podcast, then turning it off means those fun boys disappear and stop entertaining me with their chatter! It's so quiet once they're gone! All I can think is: I want the fun boys back!

So I have to remember not to play that until I'm done for the day, for sure.

Still no news on the sudden fame and wealth front. Really I should send more queries today. I also thought I might look up the time frames they say they will answer within (some say they will not answer unless they're interested) so that I know when to worry.

I'm pretty positive that my deep down dive into misery from about Thursday to Sunday came from sending those queries out. I did the thing! Why did I not get the benefit from the thing? Woe!

Some other maladaptive coping mechanism got tired of not having a pan of chicken enchiladas in the fridge (stands for ready and delicious food I can reheat) and so I went out and bought sandwich makings. So now I can have easy fast meals, is the thing. I was getting crazy hungry for a while there.

Maladaptive because I can't really eat bread. It's not for me.

Today when I went back to get lettuce for sandwiches, I also mysteriously bought a two-liter bottle of Sunkist orange soda. What? Why? It looked so good! I cannot really explain.

And I got a great big container of blue raspberry lemonade Kool Aid mix, not for drinking, but for dyeing some dresses. I'm not entirely sure it's going to work out well, but we shall see. I have two white dresses that need to be Not White anymore. I suspect they will not be white after this. The internet is vague on whether you can dye linen with Kool Aid, but it works extremely well on cotton and wool. Again, we shall see.

I'm pretty sure they will be some color, at least, even if it's faint. I mean, if I spilled blue Kool Aid on my linen dress, that would surely stain the hell out of it. So there you go.

The blue I got might not be purple enough, so I might have to mix in some cake decorating dye, or I guess some red, come to think of it. I think this blue is sort of a bright ice blue.

What are they doing, putting colors like that in food? (she said, drinking neon orange soda....)

Ugh, bread, why? My stomach immediately swells up. Like immediately. It's not good.

Anyway last night I got up and exercised so that's very good. Jeez, I'm sleeping less and less. I have to watch that because it can be a sign of some swooping brain chemicals. But brain chemistry is exactly why I made myself exercise. Spicy food also makes your brain release more of the good stuff. Look out for lots of exercise and spicy food in upcoming days and weeks.

So anyway. BACK TO WORK with me.

What I need to do, in addition to eating lots of popcorn with cayenne pepper, watching English soccer with outrageously fit dudes dashing about totally determined, and exercising, is READ BOOKS. This always happens when reading is my job. I avoid reading that isn't my job. Must put more books in my face, or watch movies, or something. I think I'm starved for non-work fiction.

Right! Back to work. As we said. Go!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

What is a "weekend"?

I'm staring down the barrel of a LOT of work. Well, it's not that much work. And I already did a block of it. Two blocks of it. But the rest, ah! So much, and not thrilling? But also not immediately crucially urgent or anything, so maybe I can push it at least a day.

There, I rationalized that really well. Nice job, me!

I'm doing laundry while completing all those major blocks of work. See how it already feels like what I've done is bigger than it was a moment ago? The power of rationalization!

This morning I made eggs and grits and ate them all up. I feel like that should give me MIGHTY POWER for the rest of today. But in fact I was up super late (for me lately) and woke up at the same time anyway, even with the alarm turned off. Gah! I was awake at 6:00. Thrilling.

So instead of getting more sleep, I ended up getting much less sleep. Nice job, me! Wait, no.

Last evening after dog walk I decided to jump in and write the book that I dreamed about the night before. I dreamed about actually writing it, like typing the words, and I knew what the words were and made edits and things, and then woke up with it still very clear and vivid in my head. It's a sort of ancient fantasy except with no actual fantasy. So like about social structures on a city and empire level? Give me prehistoric social structure fantasy any time!

It is thrilling being me!

So last evening I sat in the big red office chair and wrote nine thousand plus words of that book. Only there's all this unusable stuff in it, but still! The rest is awesome. I can see and feel and understand this place and the character who is growing up and changing from one place to another and another, moving through the different areas of the city and only then learning the stages of its life.

I sat still for like five hours writing that. Four and a half? It got dark all around me and the dog totally lost patience with me by the end. I had to get up and stagger to the bathroom in the pitch dark by the light of my laptop screen. Also being dehydrated really helped enable my writing binge because I didn't have to stop sooner than that, despite my cup of tea. Dehydrated!

Right now I'm far too cold and shivery even though it's going to be 84 today, because it's super cold in here right now. So let's go do some housework and/or yard work and then come back and write much more of the book! Not that book. The other book I just started. The one about the miserable PTSD stormchaser-widowed constant runaway RV-having adjunct who investigates a murder on campus!

Must do that. But first, very cold. In sweater, on hot day, because indoors. Go mow the grass!!!