Saturday, May 20, 2017

Do everything all at once ah!

Isn't it odd? I feel like I get nothing done and I move around in slow motion and everything is excruciating all the time. Also every little thing feels monumentally huge and insurmountable and impossible to accomplish. And so doing things is unnecessarily fraught with difficulty and drama.

Today I did some things, though. I mowed a bunch of the grass. I can't really estimate how much of it because it's all in different sections, plus some are insanely hard due to slope, but not large. Anyway. Some. The part in front of the house. That felt most important to get done.

I hoed part of the garden so I can plant my potatoes. It's so odd, the ones grown from eyes have turned into awesome whole plants, while the ones grown from whole little potatoes are much slower to come along. I have a big plate in the sun in the kitchen with a paper towel on it and water on that. There are some onion bottoms turning into new onions also. And some carrot tops that I stuck on there because they were growing a whole little forest of frilly leaves anyway, so why not?

I have to write this presentation, so I keep going over it in my head, except it's not very happy material and it kind of gets me down thinking about it. Obviously that's something I need to fix also! Because making it a giant downer will not get my audience thrilled about life. Well, I do have a terrific way to go through to the end, don't worry.

The whole thing is called This Way to the Egress because one thing I figured out with this spring's writing was that in the worst times, even as a very little kid, I always managed to find a way to tell a story that made things better. I think that's awesome. I never realized I did that until I had to write out all these things.

I also never realized that I only use the simple past and not more complex forms. That's really just part of my dialect somehow. Obviously I read the more complex forms all the time, but I don't use them in speech, and neither do my brother and sister. It's very odd.

I brought cookies. I have brought cookies. I had brought cookies. I would have brought cookies. Maybe that last one, in the form of "woulda brought," but otherwise, only the first one. It's so odd to discover this absolutely unconscious speech habit at this late date.

In other words, we don't come from educated, articulate people, and all the education in the world can't erase those roots from our speech.
 
I'm a happy articulate speaker, though, so I expect the presentation will go fine, if I can stop being hyperaware of this particular tic. I love an audience, especially a bunch of writers. It's odd because I will have to talk about how I can't really deal with people, but people in an audience are at a nice safe distance, plus I'm in charge, so that's fine.

I don't even know where these talks are, because I never went to any in the previous two summers. (I have not ever gone to any? I feel like an alien.) It would help if I could picture the space. I suspect it's going to be in this giant echoey awful linoleum and folding chairs room.

It'll be fine. I once had to defend a paper to the entire Princeton history department while they were in hostile blood in the water mode, so I'll manage. I still think of something one guy said, though. He questioned my use of the word "stylized." What exactly do you mean by "stylized?" I still think that was an idiotic question, since I was using that word in the dictionary definition and there isn't really a lot of wiggle room there. Did he not understand the word? (Answer: he was Princeton faculty. He understood the damn word.) Was he just being a dick? (Answer: he was just being a dick.)

Also, that is an insanely difficult concept to articulate on the fly. I should have asked him to define it.

"Depict or treat in a mannered and nonrealistic style." Yes! Thank you, the internet. Guess what, there really isn't any other way to use that word, so shut up, Princeton professor guy in like 1999.

That experience was a little bit like I imagine the Salem witch trials must have been. For the witch.

So anyway, a nice fluffy presentation about this spring should be cake, except that the material is so fraught. I imagine the committee defense thing should be all right too, unless anyone decides to be a Princeton style dick, in which case I will use my laser eyes to incinerate them right then and there.

My biggest concern is making sure my potatoes will be watered while I'm away.

I did so much today that I'm sitting in my comfy chair going ow every time I move, or even when I don't move. I made roasted veg, cleaned out the fridge, washed all the dishes, worked on the gas mower, failed to make that sucker work, did the aforementioned mowing and hoeing, took the compost out, took the cat litter out, put away two baskets of laundry, folded up and put away all the sweaters, changed the sheets on my bed and the guest (cat) bed, folded up all the blankets, made every conceivable phone call, wrote for hours and hours (though not fiction), moved a bunch of books upstairs, AND SO ON. Like after I had a bath to soak out the ouches I went on and made a huge batch of refried black beans, and then washed all of those dishes, too. And cleaned up the kitchen utterly. I ran around putting things away a lot, too, and assembled a bunch of stuff to take to writer camp, like sheets and inflatable bed and inflater and mug and lanyard.

It really does sound like camp when I list those things.

I guess it could be fun? I have major social anxiety dread about the whole thing right now, from the plane to being there to graduation and friends coming to saying goodbye to everyone.

Also I have a powerful conviction that a dreaded event will happen exactly during my presentation, but we shall see. Hopefully not. I'll turn off my phone in any case, so I won't know until after.

What am I gonna do tomorrow?

I started reading Strange the Dreamer but it made me miss Karou something fierce. Like the writing is awesome and all, but where is my friend? Where is she? Though I am a big fan of Laszlo and looking forward to seeing how his story plays out. I'm on the fence about the blue people, though you'd think I'd be all on board, but where I am so far, they seem like lazy whiners, so we'll see.

Tomorrow I expect I will have to loll about going "oof" and "ow" because of overdoing it today. I will write books! That is a sitting still activity. I have to warn you, though. I'm also probably going to plant some potatoes, which means both digging and raking, so. We'll see.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Balmy

It's all balmy out! For Maine levels of balmy. That means it's like 72 and not actively trying to drown us. Hurray!

I have to get the dang mower fixed. It's possible I broke it by strapping it down on the trailer across a delicate spring, which I couldn't see because the whole thing was covered by a tarp. Anyway all the gas falls out through the air filter when I start it up. And then it stops. Something is amiss!

I won't be able to get it fixed until the end of the month-ish which means I've been mowing with the old-fashioned push mower, the kind with no engine. It works, more or less. I mean the lawn is walkable again, but sort of patchy. That thing requires shorter grass to work optimally. When the grass is too long it just pushes it over.

We'll fix it. But it's going to take some time.

Today I was puzzling and puzzling over the green stripe on the dog's paw until I remembered that we were over at my brother's on Sunday and my nephew was simultaneously playing with markers and melting down. So I have my suspicions about what may have happened there. He probably used erasable marker thinking it would wipe off. Dogs are not erasable, though!

My brother denies the possibility but the circumstantial evidence is very strong. I do own markers, but haven't had them out in years. Except the odd Sharpie to label a fez or whatnot. But those don't sit around with their lids off and if they had, they'd be well dried out by now. Anyway. GUILTY! Nephew is GUILTY! Of a totally minor and harmless thing, of course.

Today I found out I didn't get the job from last week's interview. It was sort of a long shot. It's okay. I had qualms, but just because it was going to start part time and ramp up to full time by December. What happens between now and then, see?

My other job, New Online Job, is still in the unpaid training stages, but OH OH OH, I love this place. It's better in every way than elsewhere. Philosophy, training, everything. I'm such a fan. I hope it starts up fast and becomes super awesome and turns into a lifelong partnership and adventure.

Meanwhile, I'm under orders (mine) to write more short stories and rewrite/finish book(s). Today short stories started bubbling up in my head again, which is very nice because there was no real bubbling for a while there. But I turned in my thesis yesterday (yaaaaayyyyy!!!) and so I am feeling giddy with possibilities.

And much less giddy in general. Did I mention giving up ibuprofen? Did I spell it right? Well, holy wow, I'm totally off it and feeling better than I did when I was on it, in terms of pain and general wellness and stuff. And my eyes have returned to normal. I can't even tell you what a relief that is. For one thing, I can read. For another thing, I'm not terrified that I'm going blind or something.

Don't take NSAIDs as a regular thing, even if your doctor prescribes them, like mine did! Of course this doctor (not a doctor) was an idiot. I'm not even kidding. She's very very bad at her job.

The first thing that happened is that all the extra drug-induced fluid in my body jumped ship. That was an interesting night with very little sleep. The second thing was that everything hurt like hell. The third thing was that I had to push through and exercise (mowing the grass with the analog mower) anyway. And the fourth thing was that I had less pain after all that than I did before all that and my eyes came back. Madness! Except I knew this, intellectually--pain meds are only useful in the short term. But sometimes we can be dense, eh?

Yum, stroopwafels. Stroopwafels in the breadbox! I had totally forgotten about them and then yesterday remembered out of nowhere. I wish I could have been recording that moment on video.

Oh! And I cut bangs again. Because my hair looked terrible without them. It's growing in gray around the edges up top but the gray is also sort of curly. When it was pulled back, gray was all you saw. And it just was not flattering one bit. So I watched videos and learned about how professionals cut bangs, because I'm me and I never do anything without preparation, and then I think Saturday I did the deed. And I look so much better!!! I even took selfies that came out awesome. Woohoo!

Experiment over, thank goodness. I hated looking in the mirror and trying to take a selfie for work purposes was a nightmare because they all suuuuuuucked. Now I look like myself again. There I am!

I guess it's been kind of a dramatic week, huh?

This morning on the radio the BBC announcer said, "And now more on American President [you know who,]" except when you say "more on" it sounds like, um, "moron," which made me laugh out loud in the car.

Then I went to the book sale at the library in the next town and got all these great books. 501 German Verbs! 501 Spanish Verbs! 501 French Verbs! Teach Yourself Chinese! A bunch of Bloom County books I didn't have! And various other things. Good stuff!

There was a funny moment because there was a book from one of the authors in my MFA program there, so I got all excited, and then remembered: oh yeah, I had two, so I donated that one to the book sale. Not actually even a coincidence!

This is the nicest library in the whole world, honestly. It's a private mansion someone donated to the town, on a lot of wooded land, up on a cliff over the river. I should ask them if it's okay to walk the dog around there on the paths on the property. There are benches and all, so people are okay, but you never know about dogs.

Especially the kind with one green stripe down one back paw.

I made coffee for my meeting this morning as kind of a high-octane option, but forgot that the coffee is decaf, whoops! Why don't I label these things? Sleepy. Also I was up late finishing Mockingjay. That book is a mess. It has no storyline. It's a jumbled series of events, loosely connected. The structure clearly comes from the previous books, as it's the same, but that structure doesn't work with the story of this book.

Also I know I've said this before, but the way the author chokes in the clinch of the second and third books really bothers me. Write yourself into a corner, good, yes, but then find a way out, a way in which the heroine has agency, without knocking your heroine unconscious and having her removed elsewhere to be cared for by a team of professionals.

And don't even get me started on the epilogue.

Overall Mockingjay is exceedingly disappointing just as a coherent novel. I guess it's probably good if you're just desperate for more of those characters. The choose a boy thing got old super fast for me, though. It made sense in the first two books but felt shallow and fake in the third. And nobody else had any depth either. Yes, a problematic book all kinds of ways. Needed another round with the editor and some more rewriting to determine the actual throughline.

Easy for me to say, haha. But I've been rewriting a lot lately and it's how I see everything. You know what is tightly written? Community. At least most episodes. There are a few that sort of come loose and unravel a bit, but mostly they're super tight.

By which I mean: all the pieces have to belong where they are. All the pieces have to be necessary for the story. Nothing extra to mislead or distract. The beginning leads logically and inevitably to the end based on the overarching premise.

I just got more ideas for how to fix Book so I have to go do that right now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Maps!

I finally unfurled a roll of giant nautical charts that Penn State was giving/throwing away back in like 1996. Oh boy! I think I might have had some of them hung up ages ago, but not for a really long time, if ever.

If you can't remember whether or when you might have hung up your maps, then maybe you never hung up your maps.

They are AWESOME charts. Oh boy! I vaguely remember picking them out by coastline. As in, the deep parts of the water are white, and the land is white, but the shallow parts by the coastline are blue. Coastlines are lovely and crinkly and full of edges. And so now I have charts of the coastlines of Sudan, Korea, and many other wonderful places. Ah!

Also Mt. Desert Island! Oh boy!

I have a whole blue box of maps and sewing patterns, but where is it? I think maybe in the closet of the sewing room, but who knows? Anyway once I find that, I'll put up a lot more maps. More maps!

I will not put sewing patterns up on the walls with thumbtacks, though. Why does that seem so Silence of the Lambs?

Boy howdy...I'm a little addled by stress these days. I just got SO CONFUSED about why my weekly pill box had the days backwards. Like Sunday was on the right! And then Monday came before that! Yes. It has a row of AM and a row of PM days written opposite each other, as in, upside down to each other. Everyone already knows that I had it with the PM side facing me. Boy was that confusing, though.

Why so stressed? Halfway through a massive online training thing! It's awesome. Waiting for a big deadline thing to come up Friday. Another big important thing Friday. Monday I go get the pillage refillage. And Monday I turn in all of the last and final assignments for my MFA. Wooooooooo!!! From now until Monday I'm going to keep on revising and reworking and la la la! Make it good! Make it the best it can be!

No pressure or anything but I have to get it printed up and BOUND into HARDCOVER and all that. Dude! Actually I have to hustle on that.

And I have to buy a plane ticket for Oregon, except I'm waiting on this money to come in and I don't know if it'll be here before my rent is due, so I don't want to spend the money on the plane ticket just in case, see. So I'm on tenterhooks and the upshot will probably be that it will arrive in time anyway and I will have to pay way too much for a plane ticket I could have bought for much less.

Ooh, I'm also toying with the idea (terrible idea) of driving out instead of flying. See, it's a terrible idea. I told you it was terrible. But also awesome, because: road trip! Mattress in the back! Snuggle with the dog! Board the dog out there! But that is exceedingly unlikely to the point where there's no real reason to think about it except it's fun and I love a road trip.

 Also toying with flying out of Portland or Boston. But as I wrangle the math, it's not sensible. It doesn't save any money. It costs more by the time I get down there and pay for parking. Here my brother fetches my car so I don't pay for parking for all that time.

Anyway that's what's happening around here.

I'm having a TERRIBLE time with my eyes, and to a lesser extent my sense of balance and my legs. I haven't quite fallen yet but there were many close calls last week with a little stepstool. I have no idea which way is up. Most of the time that's okay because I'm sitting at my computer, doing my online training thing.

But oh, my eyes are killing me. I haven't been able to read for a week, which is torture. You know I usually read a book every day. I just have to buckle under and download some audiobooks from the library or something.

I'm not doing anything different, obviously. I went from working on my laptop all day to working on my laptop all day. Hello. It's just that usual neurological firestorm I get a couple of times a year. It'll pass. Meanwhile I'll use handrails and walk carefully and generally be a careful person. Audiobooks! Yes. And I have a cane in case I need it. I've used it plenty in the past.

Stress can set that off, I know. Last week was about the most stressful time in forever, it's true. This week I've kind of just settled into it and decided that I'm going to make things okay no matter what, which is a useful skill to acquire belatedly. But last week was my birthday, and I had literally six dollars in the bank, and all these huge bills coming up with no way to pay them, and this and that and the other thing, plus starting that new training and another whole thing and blah blah blah. It was a rough week! And then my body quit working, which made it even more stressful in a lot of ways.

My eyes are by far the worst of it, though. I should go get an eye exam, huh? I will do that as soon as I can.

Once I get the MFA work done, I suspect my stress levels will plummet exceedingly. Oh BOY do I want that to be good. Then I can worry about the talk I have to give, which, no big deal, really, and the books I'm writing. Books are good! I like books. I like having binders with full drafts in them so I can grapple with the manuscripts pen in hand.

This is always the story of my life. Things get hectic and stressful and insanely difficult, and I'm all baffled by why I'm so stressed out. Oh, you left one job and started two new jobs in one week when you were broke and couldn't afford to pay any of the bills, in the thesis-writing portion of the last two weeks of a two year long degree program? Why should that be stressful? Sheesh. I also chipped a tooth. Wonderful! It's one of my front teeth.

So I'm being very kind and gentle with myself and making myself meatballs and palak paneer and reminding myself to drink lots of water, because when I get stressed out I totally forget. And now I'm going to go get in the bath and maybe read some middle grade books or something because they have nice big print. No, wait, I will not be able to read. I can't see long enough. Like I could maybe read for five minutes before my eyes quit. I'll probably put Leverage on the iPad and listen to that instead. I'm super cold right now so a hot bath sounds wonderful!

Wait, let's look into the library's audiobooks right now! It's a good plan. I adore audiobooks. They make me very patient, I do not know how.

Oh! I just read that taking lots of ibuprofin every single day (three times a day in fact) hugely increases risk of heart attack. So I skipped one dose. We'll see how well that goes. I'm not sure what will happen to my busted up hands and knees if I quit entirely. It's for osteoarthritis. We shall see!

The funny thing is: what's easiest to do is write. I don't have to see to write! I could write with my eyes closed, gosh. The only issue would be if I had to edit or rewrite or otherwise have to see what's on the screen. I've been managing so far with the training but hoo boy am I not in great shape with this, you guys!

Anyway I should know a lot more this Friday about what's going on and when and all that kind of thing. We shall see! It will all be all right. Yes, it will. And I will write many awesome books and stories! And it will be awesome.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

May Day

May Day is full of multiple variable meanings this year! International Workers' Day, of course. And I'm feeling it in the m'aidez sense quite strongly. Mayday, mayday!

I have to make a tremendously huge decision tomorrow which will change a lot of things, but most of all, will mean I can stop going crazy over money. I keep being strung along with the hope of more and the delays and the uncertainty are just getting to me way too much. And also now they are not actually giving me any more, which is what caused me to Draw The Line.

I hate making decisions, especially big ones, especially when those have ramifications for what happens next down the line, etc. But I did an enormous amount of math and considered all of these various options and came to one conclusion, so that's a relief, I guess.

Very frustrating thing along the way over the last couple or three days was that I kept trying to talk to a friend about this and she kept putting me off and saying she had to deal with more important people, and although I get that I'm not important to her or to anyone, it's not nice to hear that said straight out, know what I mean?

Ooh, that would make a good book title. Nobody's Anything. I'm some people's aunt and sibling but not even in the top ten most important people for any of them. It's true! It sucks, but that doesn't make it any less true.

So that made me very sad and very angry and then very sad again. And then I fixed a lot of lamps (five, I think) and then I spent all day at the table with the lovely warm glow of my newly fixed brown colonial candlestick type lamp, with the paper draft of Novel and actual scissors and tape. I did so much work rearranging scenes and solving problems and so on! And I figured out some major roadblocks that have been with Novel since the beginning. Now I have to write all sorts of new things. I'm making a shopping list of new scenes that I need. Then I can jigsaw those into place and then dig into the heinous but satisfying task of merging everything together and smoothing it all out. So hard!

It's this process that makes me appreciate short stories, where you can just rewrite in the course of an hour or two. With a novel it's far too easy to lose focus because you have to stop and do other things. Life and whatnot. You can't go through the whole thing in one sitting to check on the throughline of X character or Y concept. And that is why novels are hard.

For me, at least.

Writing mountains of stuff is plenty easy for me. It's just making it all fit together and make sense that's difficult. Or remembering essentially anything, ever, whee!

Right now I'm slightly worried that I may have taken my evening pills twice. No real harm done if I have, but I hope I haven't. That's the downside of all this concentration.

Mmm, I can't even express adequately how wonderful it is to be sitting under the warm glow of this lamp. Friday when I was out signing paperwork for New Job (which has scheduled me for an utterly paltry number of hours my first week, making me VERY FROWNY) I bought incandescent light bulbs at last, and then that motivated me to fix the lamps at last.

One lamp is still missing its sockety part on top. Where did that go? I brought the fez of hardware things in from the shed but I still have to go through it. And I have a suspicion that there is more hardware somewhere else. Maybe? I don't know. I remember a cat litter fez of hardware but then I think I combined it with this one? I DON'T KNOW.

Moving a bunch of times is exactly like rewriting a book a bunch of times in that I have no idea where anything is or whether I undid the thing I remembered doing or not. So that's fun.

I plan to sort out the contents of the hardware fez into cat litter fezzes, complicating the problem, but they will be clearly labeled so that should help. Labels!

That would help Novel quite a lot, too. Labels on stuff. I've been doing that all day with post-it notes. Navigation aids! They help with navigation! What an amazing concept, you know?

Now I'm figuring out how I can move things around without totally losing the plot, so to speak. I mean that figuratively and literally both, which is kind of fun.

I am gonna bake Mississippi Mud Cake for my birthday, you guys! I make awesome MMC. I have some amazing little birthday candle candelabras that I'm going to use, too. Where are the tiny candles? Somewhere! With the icing stuff, I suspect. I might even ice the cake, even though that's, you know, icing on the cake, just so I can decorate it up. I love doing that. Many colors! Tiny flowers! Little leaves! So pretty!

My brother is supposed to be taking me out but he has a tendency to bail on me very regularly, so I'm not necessarily counting on it. My plan in the quite likely event that I end up being home alone on my 50th birthday is to make falafel in the fondue pot and make more delicious salad that I can't get enough of lately. That sounds fabulous to me. Mmmmm. And that's why I'm baking cake the day before! Or possibly tomorrow since I'm starting New Job with a paltry half day on Tuesday.

Look, I have medjool dates! I love dates so much! And figs. I wonder if I can get figs around here? I was surprised to see the dates, to be honest.

Anyway tomorrow begins a new thing for me. I'm very excited about it and determined to make it work out the best possible way. I'm feeling exceedingly fierce about it. And I have the lovely warm glow of lamps now! So look out, world!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Eliot!

I've been watching lots of Leverage on the iPad as I work on my impossible puzzle--one of several impossible puzzles I own. The upside is that if you watch enough Leverage, you dream of Eliot Spencer. Hurray!

Not Stephen Fry's dude. That guy has two Ls in his name and is bound to reality. I'm talking about Eliot Spencer of Leverage, the impossibly wonderful character.

This is one of the good things that has happened lately. Dreams about Eliot! Yay!

I'm super down today for no apparent reason, though I may be sick. At least when I speak out loud I sound terrible, so presumably I'm sick? Allergies don't mess up my voice. And oh, I feel awful!

Yesterday I laid out my flannel quilt and sandwiched it and basted it together. I figured I'd start quilting it today, but apparently not! I did essentially nothing today. Well, I made brown rice pudding. I ate leftover salad. I summoned enough gumption to cut up an avocado into my salad. I went for a very short walk with my dog. And I worked, of course, at my job. Very busy work day at my job! Tuesdays always are the busiest days of the week.

Otherwise I just sat there working on a puzzle with Leverage on. I know! Not the activity of a person who is full of beans!

I'm very sad the job hasn't called me. You know, the one I was supposed to start today. Never even called to confirm that I was hired! Should I call? They told me they would get back to me when the background check was done, so who knows, maybe there's some holdup and all will be well in a couple more days or something. I shall endeavor not to draw conclusions based on evidence I do not have!

I got all ready, ironed all my shirts, did all the laundry, moved my purse stuff into the popcorn flower purse. Bought a lunch bag! It's very pretty.

Soon I'll have to go out again and buy more salad fixings, because OH BOY am I in love with the salads these days. Why? Why now? Why not for the past, um, really long time? So good!

I've been making them from romaine, celery, red bell pepper, cucumber, and whatever protein I have handy. Can of tuna, or some chicken, whatever. Or the handy avocado today. UGH SO GOOD. I just can't get enough of it. Most of all I'm perplexed about why I didn't want them for so long and then suddenly it's all I want. Weird, right?

Also I quit Facebook after a couple of different relatives were taking shots at me in this weird, goading kind of way, like saying things purely to rile me and upset me. It's something I will absolutely never understand and would never do if I did understand it. Life has been very peaceful since getting out of reach of them! They would never bother to email, call, or text, so I imagine I'm safely out of claw range.

Quitting Facebook right before my birthday (a week from Wednesday) might be a little poorly timed. But whatever. I was actually shocked at the nastiness, totally unprovoked. Like this: send me a message out of the blue in order to be mean. Really? That's how you want to spend your one precious life? But guess what, that's not how I want to spend MY one precious life, so I have opted out. It's kind of an amazing feeling.

My job (besides my actual job) right now is to send stories out for publication and also revise and complete novel for publication. In other words, publication looms large! Must get the thing done! Go go go!

I'm also heavily invested in finishing Summerlands, the totally awesome YA novel, so that's exciting, for real. I love that book! I know what made me say hmm and pause in the writing. I'm so much better now (nearly post MFA) about cutting and chopping and rewriting ruthlessly. I just do it. In the past I used to just balk and wander away from a piece when the awkward happened. I would just stop writing it. Now I chop that part out and stick it into another file in case I ever want it (I don't) and charge ahead. Raaaarrrrr!

Dog is sleeping next to me under the blue crocheted blanket, head on white fuzzy pillow, his chest and neck on my gray sweater. He always manages to get my sweater or scarf or something and curl right up on it. Baawwwwww! Dog is so good! Cat is also so good but sensibly curls up in the giant green comfy chair where nobody will squash him.

We have to go to bed. Maybe Eliot will visit again in my dreams! He has this characteristic I've never seen in any other actor or character for that matter, where he's supremely calm and confident and generous and gentle. Lots of people have one or even two of those, but nobody else has all of those, plus fearless and strong. Even The Rock is sort of a hyper spaz compared to Eliot, but he's getting close. Terrific character! Oh my goodness.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

It's away!

I submitted my thesis to my advisor just now. It's due tomorrow but it's done today. There's an up side to being laid off, I suppose!

It's 92 pages of new material written this spring on the assigned subject of my mother. I'm already mulling another story on the same topic, out of sheer habit by this point.

Anyway I feel totally weird about being done like this. There's more work left to do this semester, but it's easy as pie. I have to read another six or seven books and write them up for the annotated bibliography. And do some paperwork or something? Like semester assessments and whatever. Other than the bibliography, that stuff is not even worth thinking about. You do it, it takes five minutes, and you're done.

I feel like I should do something to celebrate? Or run wild and have fun? I don't know what either of those things would be so I suspect I will do nothing instead. Though I did get my cello out today and play it, which mostly meant taking the strings off and peg-doping the pegs and tuning it forever and ever because it will not stay in tune. The D string especially is sort of unraveling up near the top and that peg refuses to stay in place.

I need new strings, but it's a super low priority right now.

I should play the brass instruments instead. I really love those. So loud though! I'm still in be invisible so the monsters don't get you mode. I want to hide, generally speaking.

Speaking of hiding, I haven't heard anything from Real World Job about starting tomorrow, which is the date we talked about having me start. Nothing that even confirms whether I've actually gotten the job. That's weird, right? I mean it's been over a week. Huh.

I'm sort of addled in the sense that I'm so tired suddenly that I'm falling over, I don't want to do anything at all, my eyes keep going out of focus and closing on me, and my legs are all wobbly and noodly. Probably from finishing school, eh? I mean one must assume.

Not actually done yet, I tell my legs! But my legs do not listen.

I had to read back in old journals and here over the past couple of weeks and one feature really stuck out: I had a tremendous amount of trouble breathing back then. And by "back then" I mean for the past maybe 13 years. The best breathing has been here, in this current house, by miles and miles. I've barely had any trouble at all here. Whereas in the past, good golly, I had bronchitis every other month and bronchial pneumonia, walking pneumonia, atypical pneumonia, and every kind of asthmatic awfulness, just like ALL THE TIME. Could NOT breathe.

Now I can totally breathe! I really appreciate that. I suspect it's from: nice new house with laminate floors. No old moldy gross house, no old gross carpets, no vile wet nasty basement, no mice or snakes living in the walls. Clean house! Well, it's kind of gritty from all the driveway dirt the dog and I track in, but beneath the grit, it's so clean!

Let that be a lesson to me. No, really, let me remember that, okay? Gosh I have a terrible time remembering things, but I think this one should stick.

Definitely no carpets. Those are the worst. And just my little rugs that I can easily vacuum. (Not that I do very often, but you know what I mean.)

Seriously, my legs feel like they're about to secede from the union. They feel quite loose and wobbly.

Salad! Let's talk about salad. Friday I got this sudden massive craving for salad with chicken on top, so I bought lettuce, celery, apples, red bell peppers, cucumber, dressing, and chicken. And made it into the most tremendous salad. SO GOOD. I ate way too much of it. The next day also. And today I made more and ate too much of that. Oh boy! Today I made more chicken, too. Why is that so good? SO AMAZINGLY GOOD.

Anyway. Mmmm.

Yesterday I finally got out the ironing board and ironed almost all of the linen clothes I have, which turns out to be a completely surprising quantity since I got a bunch last year from Marden's for super cheap. Pants, blouses, skirts. I will be the linen wearing queen at new job, supposing it is going to happen. That was the goal: clothes to wear to work.

I've also been looking over my shoes to see what's good for being on your feet all day and the answer is pretty much Dr. Martens. Boots or mary janes. I think there is one pair of brown oxfords from when my feet were smaller--not sure they even fit any more. Linen pants, silky tunic tops, and Dr. Martens mary janes? I am not sure that's an outfit, really. I mean some of the pants are cropped length. Maybe?

I'm very weird about regular shoes with visible socks and ankles. Like I have a whole thing about it. I remember at last Day Job I finally got brave enough to wear folded down white socks with my light suede tan mary janes and still felt totally weird about it. And that was with a skirt.

Yes, there are whole realms of neurosis to navigate still, once I manage to get myself out of the house! That's the major hurdle, though.

I'm so zombied out, I'm breathing slowly. I guess I did take an anti-nightmare pill last night, when things were getting nightmarish even before I went to bed. Does that happen to anyone else? Just me, right? I start getting scared by everything, and then I start thinking things are moving that aren't moving, which the doctor said was my eyes playing tricks on me, not my brain, but it sort of causes a cascade of badness and then I'm jumping out of my skin because the lamp crept up on me...without moving, of course.

Anti-nightmare pills don't usually mess me up the next day, however.

You know what would mellow me out in a good way? Guaranteed employment! Yes! I would like that very much. Also a six figure book deal. That would be very nice indeed.

I keep hoping Old Online Job will shoot me a new iteration to start when one of my current ones ends a week from tomorrow. See what I'm saying? And then New Online Job starts with training May 1st but training goes three weeks and who knows when that will turn into delicious filthy lucre for me. Soon, I hope!

Gosh, I keep wanting to play all my instruments! Is it kosher to play instruments in the evening in a quiet country area though? I suppose nothing could possibly be louder than the road, really. I feel like the urge to play French horn very badly should always be indulged and encouraged. Play!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gut-punched into a chair

This is a thing that happened to Rockford on The Rockford Files a lot, apparently? I don't remember it despite seeing every single episode of that show when I was a child. Anyway John Rogers references it all the time in regard to Leverage, where Nate Ford gets gut-punched into a chair on the regular.

I sure do love Leverage. Yep!

I also really love this upstairs writing room, I tell you what. I am become one with the comfy chair! Finally I realized that the struggle between the ottoman and the palette-shaped laptop table was a futile one. It only took me like nine months or something. So I brought that table up here and now I have physical comfort while writing! Imagine!

I expect this will increase my writing hours by approximately a million percent.

Really it's not great trying to write when the laptop is always slithering off somewhere else, or your legs are pretzeled up, or you're trapped because the ottoman has pinned the table against the couch. I will FREAK OUT if I can't easily exit my sitting location, which is why flying on planes is so fun!

Next I just have to take the lapdesk downstairs for the couch. It's making me want to punch myself in the head that it took me this long to make this switch. The ottoman gives perfect leg support so the lap desk will work great down there. Doy!

So how are you, internet? I'm in a WRITING FRENZY as the due date of my thesis rapidly approaches. I did a ton of work on one of the hardest stories to rewrite today, so good job, me! Last night I wrote another story that I love. I had sort of done a bullet point outline a while back so when I went to write it, I got to just go ZOOM and get it done. Very satisfying, I tell you what.

Oh, I got gut-punched into the chair last night by several things. To wit!

One, my 50th birthday is in two weeks and I have not one single plan or friend closer than Philadelphia. I may or may not be invited out to cake with the fraterfamilias and his sprog, but almost certainly won't know until the day before. I might have to work? If I get to start new job? Nobody knows anything! There's nothing I want to do anyway! And nobody to do it with even if I did! It's a whole realm of suck.

Two, I was right behind a car accident last night and had to stay and give a statement to the police and all. The guy was fine. It was so much less horrible than it could have been. He fell asleep at the wheel and hit a power pole, rather than plowing into oncoming traffic, for example. And it was at low speeds, like 25 or 30 mph. But accidents send me into a deep dive because of how many times I've seen people killed right in front of me. It's bad.

Three, we do this thing at my school where seniors have work reviewed by a team of one faculty member and a couple of peers. You get to pick your team from people in your genre and your semester. I picked my team and submitted it, and then when we got the list yesterday I was all excited to see whose review teams I was on. Guess what? Not one single person picked me for their review team. And I'm the only one nobody picked. Wow, huh? That's a BAD feeling. Two years at that school. Seriously.

I went back and looked to see who else nobody picked to try to make myself feel better, but I guess that backfired. Ha ha.

But then I wrote a great story so WHATEVER.

I'm supposed to start New Job in the Real World next week some time presumably but I haven't heard back from them after submitting my I'm Not A Felon information for background check. Ugh, I hate not knowing things. But I think I will really like this job if it actually happens. I have not committed any crimes so I can't think what the problem is, but who knows.

I've been doing pretty well right up until I got gut-punched into a chair, though. Being productive, getting all my stories rewritten and edited and all. Okay, I revised and edited a whole lot of them that aren't actually going into the thesis, because I didn't get the parameters until recently despite asking from day one (don't get me started, this is a constant issue with this school, unclear directions) but it's okay because it means I have a STACK of finished stories that could get sent out.

Which, whoa! I can send stories out? Is that a thing? That's a thing! I should do the thing! I never think about it! I can get my marketplace book and research online and see which kindergarten my little one would fit in well at. Never mind that I'm already sad about their rejection. Are they going to be misfit friendless weirdos like their mama, who doesn't get picked for any review team? Let's hope not!

I might have to color in my rude coloring book again soon the way things are going. This one is on my fridge:


Yeah! Sad bear full of pretty flowers says fuck them!