Thursday, March 31, 2011

Which book?

Yeah, I don't want to write that happy daffy book right now. I think it's the major depression, but who can say? But I have a lovely book in mind about a possibly insane classics professor at a small liberal arts college in Oregon. It has Jamie Bamber in it! Let's write that instead!

I also have this super good YA novel in my head but it's going to have to wait until I no longer talk in Eeyore voice. Maybe after I get a dog!

Today I finally made soccas. Have you been here for the endless socca wait? But you are aware of the way that works. I get an idea to do something and then ten million years later I finally do it one day with no plan or fanfare or anything. Actually I was going to make oatcakes because my cousin was talking about them and I emailed the recipe and then I remembered how completely freaking good they are, and also how I can't eat any damn crackers because of the damn sulfites, except the Triscuits, which are off the menu due to the wheaty thing. So I went and washed all the dishes (missed yesterday, and possibly the day before, so sad) and then made soccas.

Which are STUPIDLY EASY. Here's what you do: oil two large pizza pans. Mix 250 g of chickpea flour with 500 ml of water and some salt and pepper. (My recipe was from Europe, okay?) Cook them in a very hot oven for some vague and unspecified amount of time, but NOT until they're crispy, because they're much better bendy. There you go!

Yes, I had to get out the scale for the flour. So sad. And then I was like, "Why did they say a very hot oven when it's only 300 degrees?" They meant 300C, which is higher than my oven even goes. That's like 540F. But I put my oven on 425 for absolutely no reason other than I bake biscuits at that temp.

Anyway the soccas are insanely supremely good. And my cat went bananas and kept licking them. I gave him his own piece because stop licking my food, kitty! He ate it up. Fortunately I was on the phone with my friend the vet so I was able to ask whether it's okay to give the cat a crepe made of chickpea flour. She said sure.

Yum, soccas!

The oatcake recipe calls for a tablespoon of bacon fat. Hey! I have that fez in the freezer still! Mmm. Also it calls for a little leavening but that's just daft, I am sure my ancestors did not leaven their freaking oatcakes, who are you kidding? Anyway I know I never used to use it.

I'm curious whether I can make the socca recipe with other flours. Probably, don't you think? Using bean flour is fascinating because I made a great big bean flour pancake which seems like eating a regular carboriffic pancake but in fact is pure beans. I think that's awesome.

How's your day?

Oh! I'm sick. I had to miss work. It's boring. Next topic.

The Grey's Anatomy tonight was awesome and full of everyone singing and I absolutely loved it, right up until they were like, "Well, let's wait a day and see what happens." See, you killed the stress and the momentum right there. After that I was not bawling my eyes out as you would have preferred!

Also I got completely 100% resmitten with Scottish doctor guy whose name I've forgotten. Holy cow, he has the loveliest voice ever in the whole world. You know how much I can't stand Nicole Kidman, right? Do you know that? Well, it's true. Well, I watched that whole Moulin Rouge movie because of that other Scottish boy's gorgeous singing voice. Ewan McGregor. Well THIS boy's voice is nothing like his but somehow has that same effect, that same depth and easy heart to it. Love!

Kevin McKidd! I had to look it up. He's lovely.

Oh, so it was all gorgeous and horribly upsetting and the cat had to sit on my lap through the whole entire episode, I got so upset.

I will tell you the even more horribly upsetting thing I imagined happening, but it's VERY SPOILERY: I thought Arizona would be hurt too but lucid and would sacrifice herself in some dreadful doctor way to donate whatever to save Callie. Isn't that awful? I know! Plus it's absurd, what are the odds they'd be whatever-donor compatible, but it's what's been on my mind all week.

End of spoilers!

So anyway, screw the daffy book, forget whatever, I'm going to write my wonderful Apollo book and live happily ever after. I'm not fond of the real world these days anyway. It's 98% boring, grim, awful, miserable, with occasional large birds of prey flying around to admire, and that raccoon, and of course Mr. Kitty. A good time to sink into a book! Books make me super sane because I have a place to go that doesn't suck. Hurray!

I was thinking I'd drive out to Bar Harbor this weekend for an Adventure and to putter around, but a) vicious chest infection which means walking across the room gives me an asthma attack, and b) there's supposedly going to be a giant snowstorm tonight.

Actually my friend D. asked if it was snowing yet, so I had to go turn on the light and look out the window, and I started gasping for air so badly that I couldn't talk for like five minutes. Sheesh! It wasn't snowing yet, FYI.


I am all about the obvious truths lately. So here are some I've figured out. Some are not new but bear repeating.

1. You're either writing or you're not.
2. People can be really mean and awful, but what you do with that is up to you.
3. If you're not writing the thing you're writing, write something else.
4. If you wash the dishes every day, it isn't a giant heinous monumental task.
5. If you cook food, there's food to eat. Whoa.
6. If you don't bake the pie, there isn't any pie. (Same goes for cake. It's true.)
7. Finishing things is AWESOME.
8. Starting things is super fun!
9. It's that middle part where you have to pull on the bootstraps and all that.
10. Having an actual cushion on your couch makes all the difference to how long you can stay there = books.

No Bones today. SIGH. I mean, I watched Bones episodes, tchah, yeah, duh! But there wasn't a new one. There wasn't even one on in its time slot, which is quite bizarre. Gimme! I think there are seven in a row coming up, though. MORE PLEASE! Also did you hear Emily is pregnant? Hurray! My first thought was: I wonder if they'll write it into the show? And my second through fiftieth thoughts had to do with possible emotionally complex storylines involving that, because obviously it wouldn't be some nice, straightforward thing.

I still think my way was better than the Grey's we saw today, but mostly because mine killed off Arizona, who is nothing but a screamy whiny complainer and anyway committed the cardinal sin of being mean to Callie. I ADORE Callie. Callie!

I mentioned Grey's Anatomy to my friend and she said, "Is that the show with the really good-looking guy?" which made me laugh and laugh. It's tv! What show *doesn't* have a really good-looking guy? But I knew what she meant. Dempsey!

And since I'm in Maine I have to say the thing you have to say: He's from Lewiston, you know.


Time to go see if it's snowing and then write the book. Every day!

Hey, wow

I found this thing I wrote on Story On the Brain from, er, fall 2009, from before (let's say) vitamin D deficiency and social isolation effectively lobotomized me. And I want to remember it so I'm putting it here.

Since writing this I've read the Tiffany Aching books, in which a witch is exactly like a mailman, so obviously I'm onto something here. Now I just have to remember to remember it!

I was thinking about what doesn't work in YA SF (though I never said that specifically) after reading a whole heaping ton of it.

Quoting from myself from here:


I like to consider social metaphors in the sense of trying to fit an imaginary segment of society into our real society.

So, what if witches are like plumbers? What if they're like academics? What if they're like the gay community? What if they're like the post office? What if they're like the NBA? What if they're like symphony orchestras?

I always thought that was sort of poorly imagined in Harry Potter, the way that the magical world interacts with the real one. She didn't so much gloss over it as whistle and look the other way.

Suppose you find out you're One Of Them. Like a super tall athlete, or a gifted violist, or a boy attracted to boys? How do you join that community? How do you build (or fight) that thing in yourself? How does it change your life, your family, your choices for the future?

What if you're a gifted violist from a family of plumbers? Or vice versa? What if you have to get hired by an orchestra to support yourself as a violist, and teach lessons, and carry your viola everywhere, only your viola is witchcraft?

I'm trying to decide which metaphor to use. Don't you think that's the hugest question you can possibly ask in modern urban fantasy? It affects EVERYTHING.

If being a witch is like being gay, it's innate, it's something she knows and others recognize if they have witch-dar too. Then it might be more accepted now but still subject to persecution. You can't join the Army (if they know) and certain things will be very difficult. And what about passing? It's a fun metaphor, huh?

If being a witch is like being a symphonic violist, then it takes a huge amount of work from a young age, and a lot of people are going to think you're out of touch and elitist, plus what you do will seem esoteric, but when people actually experience it going on, they are always blown away. You can do something magical and awesome but the utility is not obvious to everyone. Plus you have to have a viola! Expensive, fragile, personal.

If being a witch is like being a mailman, it's prosaic and reliable and you will work in one particular community, where you know everyone and take care of specific things for them, in exchange for regular money. It's a day job. Anyone can do it if they learn how. You go there, you do stuff, you go home. Maybe you know more about people than you really wish you knew! Maybe that gets you into certain situations. Maybe you can transfer to another district with other problems!

I guess I'm trying to decide which one serves me best.

I could certainly imagine someone suddenly discovering this skill and having a community try to adopt her into it, and seeing her dig in her heels and refuse to do things on anything but her own terms. The violist who joins a punk band, right? Can you be in the NBA without being part of the culture? I always think of Adam Clayton, being part of U2 all those decades without buying into their whole Christian thing. I really admire that strength of character.

Personally, I really hate being offered a whole lifestyle along with any life choice. You are a professor? You must drive a Volvo (now an Outback) and vote this way, exhibit a certain style, behave a certain way! You like this music? You must wear a big ugly hat! I mean, come on. We don't HAVE to shop for our lives as a package deal. What a gross idea!

Oh my, I really am writing YA, aren't I? Well, there you go.

**************

I'm appalled at how much better my brains worked a year and a half ago. I'm serious. If my doctor wasn't useless and I didn't just lose medical coverage anyway, and if I hadn't just (I hope) found the solution in the massive vitamin deficiency, I'd be seriously worried right now. Thank goodness I'll forget soon! Wait.

But I *did* write an amazing book on this basis last fall. And that makes me very happy. The secret to writing anything is a solid outline and the secret to YA SF is a good metaphor.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tiffany Van Gogh

That puzzle, man. I am so close to done! But I think I worked on it for six hours yesterday, so by the time I had only a hundred pieces left, I was practically blind and certainly incapable of concentration.

I really wanted to get done. So that I'd be done. Done! I LOVE getting done. Which is why manageable daily goals (aha!) are so important. One of the reasons that confounded puzzle has been tormenting me is that there are no steps, no markers, no way to know when you've done it for the day. All of that just means I'm incredibly task-oriented, even in the leisure time activities, which I knew, duh.

How to make me crazy:

Well, first, there's the torture options, about which the less said the better because once you realize how common and widespread these are, you might fall into Humanity Sucks despair. I would except I kind of live there already due to lots of negative and very few positive interactions on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis. I mean, the negative hugely vastly enormously outweigh the positive by any kind of yardstick you want to use--number, time, quality. That'll bring a person down, y'all. An email or a phone call every week or two can't begin to counteract the weight of everything else.

Aforementioned torture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_suppression_techniques

Second, cognitive dissonance and the double bind. They're used as weapons, don't think they aren't.

But what fascinates me about all this is that everyone internalizes what's done to them and does it to themselves. Well, unless you're super mentally healthy and well-rounded and stuff. And maybe your life doesn't completely utterly suck. But in the event of suckage, people tend to repeat internally what happens externally. It's like the way bullying works, where the kids who do it are the ones who receive similar treatment from their parents or other authority figures.

So it's incredibly important to be aware of those things. Discounting what you say? Setting up unrealistic goals so that you are bound to fail? Presenting contradictory impossible directions? Belittling? Dismissing concerns? I would want to take a spear and slay anyone who did that to anyone I cared about, in the manner of St. George and the dragon. Stabby stabby. But anyone who's ever looked in a mirror and said or thought awful things to herself is doing exactly that, internalizing and reiterating the external abuse from others.

STOP DOING THAT!

I think it's going to be very hard to stop. Betty Fokker just wrote that brilliant piece on how despite endless evidence to the contrary on a daily basis, she thinks she's gross and un-lovable because she's overweight, so that's what got me started thinking about it. When I hear about someone thinking that way, and realize how completely common it is, I wonder how on earth we ever got to that point. Like, people actually don't think they're okay. Looking at the apples in the bowl, they'd say, "This one is no good," and throw it out. Except it's herself. And you're stuck with yourself. But you can't change what's causing those effects because you've already decided you're no good.

I realize that decades of feminist theory has already said all this but hey, it's a revelation, man! Who's Tiffany? I am just agog.

It's odd, though. I remember being absolutely secure inside myself that I was completely fabulously awesome and anyone who disagreed was wrong. I think that's because I didn't get the external reinforcement of the positive, so I wasn't depending on it, know what I mean? I didn't have to try to please anyone because no one was going to be pleased, but that meant they were cracked in the head. Obviously they were the ones with the problems. How did that change? Well, you can't control someone who is peaceful and secure within themselves. I could tell you the saga of how that was done deliberately and with intent over years but I think you get the gist. After that, I thought everyone's problems with me were my problems. Which, not to be obvious, but they are NOT.

I kind of want to make everything into a mug lately. I want a mug that says THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM in really big letters. Almost everything that we perceive as problems from the inside are actually only problems that belong to other people. Oh, you don't look/act/feel ideal in some way? That's not something that affects you from the inside. It's what you imagine is a problem based on imaginary reactions from other people that you then internalize and project outward. Seriously. Nobody cares how you look. If they act like they do, they're using it as a means of control, not as an actual helpful criticism, you know. It's true. Your friend thinks you look fine. People who care about you think you look fine, act fine, ARE fine. Anyone else is just using that because they know it'll get to you. They're using it as manipulation or control, from advertisements to the jackass in the Walmart who makes a comment to a friend. If someone really does think that? THAT'S THEIR PROBLEM. Not yours. You don't have to please anyone, but you certainly don't have to please some imaginary asshole stranger.

Anne Lamott says to think of God or whatever judgy figure you're imagining out there as someone you like and admire, like, oh, Jimmy Carter (I adore him) or, I don't know, Neil Gaiman, or Anne Lamott herself, or the Dalai Lama, or your grandma, or whoever. Anne Lamott is not going to look at you and think, "Man, throw that apple out."

Replace the Evil Judgy Asshole on your shoulder with Nice Anne Lamott and shut down the internalized master suppression techniques. I can't even stand how much and how often I do that. The whole finish the puzzle thing that had me up until 1 a.m. on a work night is all that. I don't know if I'm a "good girl" unless I get done with my assigned task. It's like I'm NOT a good girl unless I can finish my assigned task. There is no good unless the task gets done perfectly and correctly and on time. I'm all about DOING because there is no way to just BE and be good.

It's kind of fun to think of explaining that to the Dalai Lama and seeing him sort of put his head to the side and smile and say, "Let's make some lunch." Because it's like OCD people who have to wash their hands exactly sixteen times or some unspecified calamity will happen. IT WON'T. We all know it won't. The calamity is internal, not external. How can we not see that about ourselves?

You are already good just the way you are. SMITE those frakkers who are trying to make you think you're not just so they have a way to get at you.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Go go go!

We are having mutual encouragement cheering sessions going on here. Go! Go get 'em! Do that thing you love to do!

Yes, I washed the dishes AGAIN today. Holy wow, the dishes just keep on recurring! It's amazing! I made stoemp even though I intended to make bubble and squeak, but then it turned out it was more like clapshot. I dare you to try to remember the word clapshot an hour from now and not come up with crapshoot. See? Yeah!

I know, on Grey's Anatomy they're having this early onset Alzheimer's trial where Meredith keeps having to say these same three words to various patients and then they have to say them back an hour later. I think it's cabin, truck, spoon, but only because of Prisoner of Trebekistan where I learned that the way to memorize things like that is imagine a scenario. So I have a guy like American Gothic standing next to his truck by his cabin, holding a gigantic spoon.

Oddly enough my brother took a whole series of American Gothic pictures with people holding pitchforks or canoe paddles or whatever, but in one of them the couple is each holding the giant fork or giant spoon from one of those weird sets of giant wooden forks and spoons. Know the ones?

So anyway.

Oh, the crapshoot. It was kind of terrible! I mean, it was good, but it didn't work, and then it made my stomach hurt. I grated up potatoes, parsnips, and carrots. That is not what the recipe said, so it's not the recipe's fault that it didn't work. The pancakes didn't stick together after the first two (why?) so I basically ended up shoveling a bunch of veggie root hash around on the griddle. I guess it tasted okay? I was hungry.

I want to make actual ones, like colcannon and rumbledethump. I love the names. Love them! And the vegetable creations are pretty good too.

I wrote a bunch of stuff, worked on that outline that needs so much work, yawned a lot, stared at things, and wondered whether I should quit writing the story that sort of bores me and go write the amazing book that makes me wild-eyed and excited. I'm not feeling the romance. Well. OBVIOUSLY. When have I ever? But actually I am feeling the one in the other book. Oh, my literary navel, I gaze at you intensively!

My stomach hurts. It's true. I'm not entirely sure that a plateful of marginally cooked grated root vegetables is the best thing for dinner! Should have stuck with the chicken. Mmm, chicken.

Somehow miraculously I've done lots and lots on this puzzle but it's not visibly any done-er. Much like the bookery. But that's okay! Getting done is only one part of it and working on it is not about getting done. Well, obviously, or who would ever do a gigantic impossible puzzle like this one?

I love the part where I look at an empty space where a piece needs to go and I think about that piece and then I look at all the pieces arrayed in front of me and I pick up that piece and put it right where it needs to go. First of all, that seems impossible. So: cool! Second, I wouldn't think I could do that, given that I can't remember a phone number long enough to dial it. But I'm exceedingly good at it. So it's kind of like watching myself do this amazing, weird thing, which is entertaining and also very strange on top of strange.

Good fun!

I went to the library and somehow the librarian and I got talking about going to the pool--oh, because I said I'd exercise a lot more if I had a book rack for the Nordictrack (which is true)--and then she was talking hypnotically about swimming at the Y every day, the whole time looking straight at me with this blissed out expression while checking out book after book without even looking at them, handing each one to me, which I filed in my tote bag one after the other, standing each one on end.

It was the loveliest thing, perfectly scripted, with perfect things for us to do throughout the scene. It was much more like Pushing Daisies than real life ought to be. And now I really want to go swimming at the Y! Must acquire swimwear. And Y membership. I only do the backstroke but you probably knew that already.

I wish the black holes in this How The Universe Works show didn't look so much like a giant rolling eyeball. Quit looking at me! It's kind of Sauron-like.

It's adorable how this show keeps saying "scientists." The whole world view of all of the Science channel shows just fill me with cuddly warm feelings like a Peanuts special, because they see things as complex and infinite but also known and explicable. There are experts! They have ideas about these things! They can explain them to you in manageable steps! It's all inexpressibly comforting.

Plus they say things like: a black hole is as dense as if you'd crushed the whole Earth down to the size of a golf ball. Yay! A peanut in Johannesburg! Dizzying concepts! I should have had a margarita.


Downside: terrible, terrible, terrible commercials. What's the logic of tying someone to the railroad tracks again? I am unclear.

Today as I was driving home for the umpteenth time, I suddenly realized that the protected wetland signs across the street are uphill from me. I'm downhill from a wetland that's just across the street. Well. No wonder things can get damp. But you know, they're not damp since I caulked the house. Except when the basement floods. Pff! Whatever.

Oh man, I'm exhausted. Tomorrow is coming. Let's do it again!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mattress

I got me one. It was inexpensive, relatively speaking! Also not the highest quality! But the nice older gent and I spent a long time talking about how what makes a good (expensive) mattress is the springs and all that, and how you really don't want that if you're primarily going to be sitting on it. They don't do well with sitting, it seems.

He owns a dozen furniture stores and was talking me down in price, plus I already sort of thought this was true, so we're in complete agreement on this one.

So I got an actual twin mattress that's foam, not springs, but is light enough to carry in one hand and works perfectly. Kitty and I are on it now!

It's great because:

1) it's cushioned, much like those cushions were not
2) it covers the whole daybed, much like those cushions did not--how fun is it to have to figure out the two spots where you can sit, in a nest of quilts and comforters that are there to cushion it more? (see 1)
3) it can go with me when I move, very easily. I mean, I put it in the Outback. Awesome. I could put it in the Outback and sleep on it, because it's so light and bendy.
4) it's perfectly comfortable. I admit I was slightly worried about that due to the not costing $50 more. Yay!
5) it makes the daybed into a reasonable piece of furniture

I'm having all these thoughts today about inner/outer and how I utterly neglect outer. It's true! I don't prepare food in advance, I don't put things away, I don't make the house nice, I don't take decent care of myself in terms of exercise, and so on.

I'm busy with INNER. But outer affects inner! Look at the couch, even. I will write infinitely more if it's comfortable to sit here, I'm positive.

Outer doesn't tend to make me that happy, it's true. I don't get that happy glow from, I don't know, dressing up, or making the house all spiffy, or whatever. There's no one to worry about outer FOR, which might motivate me. Nobody comes over and nobody cares even the tiniest bit.

As evidence, I present the following scenario: people invite me over. I say, okay, for Sunday lunch, because when I go for dinner they always poison me with things I'm allergic to. Whereas Sunday lunch, I will make pancakes, which everyone likes. So I get up early, I make a double batch of pancakes for everyone, I drive thirty miles, and they're not there. Nobody is there. The door is unlocked, so I go in. I holler, Hello? Hello? Hello? I walk all around. Nobody home. I put down the pancakes on the kitchen island and I go away.

No word from anyone in any way about that. Hey, were you here? Sorry we weren't there! XYZ emergency came up!

I went to the furniture store and got my mattress instead. And then I came home and made MORE pancakes so I would have some for me. (I couldn't figure out how to take some and leave some, and certainly didn't need all of those, so taking them all wouldn't work.)

And then I washed the dishes again, even though I just did it yesterday, because since then I've made curried chicken and peas and two bouts of pancakes. And I'm working on taking care of the outer, see.

Puzzling. People: what is their damage? What is the damage of people? Everyone here is this way. You think you can trust them then they either turn vicious or blow you off. Why? What's wrong with people? I don't know. Once I'm no longer in certain situations I will tell you some hair-raising tales that will make your jaw drop until it hits your feet and knocks your socks off. Just viciousness and cruelty and unconscionable behavior on a daily basis.

Anyway this week is dedicated to trying to pay attention to the Outer somewhat. The Outer Hebrides.

If I invited someone over, I would pretty goddamn well be there when they showed up. If I wasn't, I'd be falling over contrite. Wouldn't you? Would you just not care?

I read this excellent book yesterday, The Story of  a Girl by Sara Zarr. It's amazingly fabulously awesomely good. It's about facing horrible sucky stuff instead of turning away from it. Which seems thematic but I don't know if I care enough to bother with that. I don't care about people who don't care about me, that's the thing--I care about people who DO care about me. Which is why when people behave egregiously badly to me, they're sort of off my map.

I don't mean any little thing, honestly. I have the highest threshold you ever saw. But once you reach it, boy, I'm done.

Which reminds me, another one of those write-off people, who behaved so badly for so long in so many ways that I had to stop dealing with them for my own protection and sanity, tried to contact me again. I don't understand this. People I adore with hearts in my eyes don't try to contact me. But these outrageous assholes keep on trying. Why won't you go away? Why? Why?

Now I'll tell you a funny story to take away the pancake pain and the part where you walk around the empty house going, Hello? Hello? Hello? Which is just too sad for me. I mean! If you wrote that, it'd be all bathos and over the top! It's such a metaphor made real that it's almost embarrassing! Like when my friend D. called me yesterday and said they'd be home all evening and I called back and she didn't pick up! That's like, really?

Oh right, funny story. Well, it has its roots in a really ugly episode but we'll pass over that. You can ask Jen. These motorcycle boots I got at Goodwill are very hot and so became dampish and so I wanted to dry them out, so I poured some powder in them and let them sit for a while. Except I wanted to wear them today, so I tried to whack the powder out into the bathtub. No go, it wouldn't fall out. So I got a rag and tried to wipe it out, but all I did was bend my fingernail over backwards, ack. So then I thought, I'll vacuum them out, but the vacuum scares the kitty, so I thought, I'll just use the hair dryer instead, since it's right here!

Yay!

Wait, no. Because guess what happens when you aim a hair dryer into a motorcycle boot with a couple tablespoons of powder in it? POWDER CANNON! It all shot out of there in a huge whoosh and filled the air with a cloud of slightly boot-flavored powder! Aaaaah! So I turned the hair dryer on the cloud, towards the bathroom door, being a logical person, and so now the powder is all over the house. A fine layer of boot powder.

Maybe that's another mild motivation to get cracking on the cleaning, what do you think?

I'm nearly done with my 2000 piece Van Gogh Starry Night puzzle. Makes a great gift to someone you want to drive insane! Holy cow. I just love that moment when a piece fits so much, though. It's very hard for me to stop. More, more!

Do you think of that Star Trek TNG episode The Game whenever you do a puzzle? Do you think of Riker going Ahhhh? I'm afraid I do.

Kitty absolutely loves the new mattress. He's lounging all blissed out. What should I put on it, I wonder? I mean I have a pillowtop cover thing on it but I'm thinking about permanent blanketage. Maybe just the usual blanket that I wash every week (FUR) but maybe I should make a fitted kind of thing to go over it.

The wind is whamming the house, has been for days. Everything is a whirl of dust and howling. The best is when it sort of body slams the house, though. Wham! Cat and I both look up and meet each other's eyes, watching to see where to look next.

Here's a useful fact for you: you can add almond flour to your pancakes, but don't think it will substitute for flour like the label says. No! You will have crepes. It's more like an extra thing, not a substitute for flour. By the way, experimentation says: wheat is fine, it's yeast that's the problem. Weird. Very weird. But reinforced by data, so.

I guess I'll go do the laundry and clean up the house more. Blah blah blah. Unrewarding, feels like ants moving one piece of sand from here to there, but must be done anyway. Who knows, maybe it'll inspire me somehow, right? Also, I forgot light bulbs again, or maybe I was distracted by subdued rage, but the gist is: must get done before evening. I'm seriously on the verge of having to light candles, of which I have many, come to think of it.

Shopping list:
light bulbs
spray starch
printer ink
MORE CHICKEN

Oh! I had a food conversation with myself. It went like this:

Me: Well, what do you want to eat? What would you eat if you could have anything you wanted?
Myself: Chicken! Greek yogurt! Fruit! Vegetables! Scones and pancakes! More chicken! MORE CHICKEN THAN THAT!
Me: That seems perfectly reasonable.

And so I made scones yesterday (mmm) and pancakes (y'all know) and all this chicken and oh my lands it is just so frelling good I might keel over right here on my new mattress. I don't think I can stand red meat anymore for whatever reason, or pork, ew, but I love chicken more than is strictly seemly. MORE! I always think Must Be Vegetarian but given all the other overwhelming restrictions, it's not remotely working out for me.

The food I want is so ridiculously good for you. Let's try that whole eating good food you want thing. Hey! It's crazy but it just might work! Yum.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Where did it go?

I'm puzzling over where the most recent (and highest word count) draft of that novel went. Unknown. Maybe on the desktop computer. I always save new drafts with the date, so it couldn't have been overwritten or anything like that, and I always email new drafts to myself.

Of course, I'm basing this all off the word count over there --> which I suppose could be a typo. But no, I remember this part where that one guy is at the airport in a muscle car. I even searched my files for "muscle car," which is not a term that comes up in my writing often, believe me. But I haven't searched on the desktop, just the laptop. So there we go.

It involves going into the other (unheated) room and turning on the (noisy, annoying) computer, so I'll do it tomorrow. Ha! It's just one block of text, no big deal. I'll find it one of these days.

Well, I figured out how to change everything to make it a cozy! And I love it! It's much more suitable to the audience now, while also giving lots of fun wish-fulfillment, yay!

I carefully got Online Job all done and out of the way, woohoo! And working out all of those details was my big job for the weekend, except I just got it done due to Jane's writing sprint, hurray! Isn't that awesome? I love how I see on Twitter that she's about to start one and even though it's completely arbitrary and comes with little warning, I'm completely compelled to join in, to the point where I'll drop what I'm doing and start writing on the dot of the hour. I love that!

Plus you know I owe that whole last book to Jane because of one of those sprints where I hammered out my whole outline double-quick lickety-split.

It's highly irksome that I'm not making constant daily progress on New Book, isn't it? I'm irked! Constantly! Daily! Yes! I need to knock that flaky stuffing out of my slack self and get down to business. JUST DO IT.

Ooh, I did all this crazy research today on the wheat question and the yeast question and even the grain question. There is a wacky proponent of any kind of exclusionary diet you can think of, that's my consensus. I'm going to go with the tried and true "see what works" system, how about that? I know!

There was this one theory that made a lot of sense until I looked into the science underlying it and then it all fell apart because it's been basically disproven. The theory was that you should avoid complex carbohydrates because they get into your intestines more or less intact and ferment there or feed bad bugs or something. Honestly I tried not to pay attention to the details, because, gross! (Though it directed me to the Upper Canada Lower Bowel Society or something like that, which delighted me.)

Anyway it's bunk and the medical community has stopped even talking about simple versus complex carbohydrates. AND you can basically solve any of those problems by cooking your food. And, like, chewing it. Or mashing it up if you like.

Like I said. Bunk. But interesting until the bunkitude became so clear. It was one of those systems that would be incredibly hard to follow, no grains, no sugar, nothing processed, but apparently has great effects if you can do it. Which no one but diehard fanatics could do. Also it's based on daffy paleo-whatever foundations. I don't know, Lindow Man ate a bunch of grains and so did all the other bog people. The grains are still in their stomachs. What are you even talking about? Pre-cultivation doesn't mean pre-grain. Use logic. Why would people begin to cultivate what they didn't eat? See.

Plus, I mean, molars. That's what they're for: grinding up things like grains. The evidence is just south of your brains.

So I learned much blarney balderdash hooey today and then scoffed at it, but I still believe my friend Amy's article about the alterations to wheat proteins in the last fifty to a hundred years and how a lot of people have trouble digesting these new alien foods. Because of how my innards react like, "Aaaaah, I cannot cope with these new alien foods!"

So anyway I got some weird non-wheaty flours today at the store with my Rich Lady Groceries of fancy this and fancy that on my pittance salary, tricky. Also it's not a salary technically. I even got white flour because I'd just promised someone to bake a cake.

But I'm going to avoid the wheats the rest of the time and be a very good girl, I promise. Because today I realized all over again that Benadryl = STUPID PILLS. At first I thought, "Gaah, I don't want to have to take these stupid pills!" and then I realized they make me STUPID, which changes the syntax somewhat, no? Stupid pills! The Benadryl hangover alone is a killer, even if I just take them at night.

I have not been able to shake this allergic reaction despite taking them all week. I don't know, maybe because of the BREAD I've been eating every day. STUPID. (Unless it's just the yeast. Who knows?)

I'm quite impatient with myself. If X thing makes you turn all red and puffy, dude, don't eat X thing. That is not really complex higher reasoning.

But I did stop and get an air filter for the car. I got stopped in my tracks because it's a Subaru Outback but it's also a legacy in the most literal sense. Except it's not a Subaru Legacy. Shouldn't it be a Legacy? I know! It's a Subaru legacy but not a Subaru Legacy. It's an Outback that's a legacy. I went around and around with it in the auto parts store in my head.

Today someone said, "Don't you want your Mumma when you're sick?" and I was smitten all over again with the Maine word for mama. Mumma!

I also very nearly said, "So don't I," to agree with someone. Help! Am going native! It's a consequence of being so hyperlinguistic and having intensely language-oriented ears. A while back I said, "I shut them windows," but only because I meant to say, "I shut them," only to realize halfway through the sentence that the person I was talking to had no idea what I was talking about. Anyway "I shut them windows" is perfectly proper local dialect, so there. You get it, don't you? So don't I.

Mm, you know when you squeeze grapefruits and the juice is at least half pulp? YUM.

I'm going to use the weird flours to make various types of pancake things. I will be strangely pancake oriented! I will make grilled cheeses out of strange pancakes! Mmm, pancakes. I love the idea of opening my lunch box (I do not have a lunch box) and taking out a stack of grilled cheeses made of strange pancakes made out of, like, millet flour, or garbanzo flour.

First I have to wash the appalling stack of dishes, like always. Good intentions ran bonk into the stupid pills and the zombiedom. But that's going to change! Yeah! Rock!

Ooh, it's vitamin megadose day. Must go take that. Then it's puzzle time again. It's weird how into this puzzle I am, I know! It's very very very very very very hard, though. I mean it's not like where does Elmo's nose go. Does that make it any more respectable? Oh right, I don't care! Yay!

Must buy light bulbs. Do you think I'll have more ideas when I finally have enough light bulbs? I've had to move them from less used to more used lamps but I'm down to very few now. I really think I'll have more ideas. Maybe if I just hold one over my head?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Canis familiaris interruptus

Almost, but someone else adopted both of those dogs before I got there today. Which is great! Yay, dogs going to good homes! But then I came home dogless and that's very sad. Leaving the Humane Society without a furry animal just crushes me, which dates back to taking dogs to the vet and coming home without them because they had to get put to sleep, see. I know this but it doesn't help.

Very emotional person at the Humane Society! I'm sure the girls running the place were like, Whoa. Though to my credit I was only wobbly until I got into the car. Well, it was when I had to take the collar and leash out of the pocket of my jeans and put them back into the pocket in the car door that I lost it.

Then there was this one wonderful brindled coon hound who I was kicking myself for not adopting the whole way home, such that I was about to run back there tomorrow, only I looked up the breed and it turns out they're very "prey oriented" and should not live with cats unless they grew up with them. "Prey oriented" means they will kill your cat. No no no.

Suffice it to say Mr. Kitty and I have been snuggling to beat the band. He's so good with me when I'm upset. He's all, "Aw, you're upset, and I'm a warm furry animal who likes to snuggle you. Are you feeling better yet? Snuggle snuggle. How about now?"

Obviously the cat is primary in this situation.

There were some kind of pit bull/Lab mix puppies but I don't want a puppy, and anyway puppies will always get adopted.

It's okay! I will keep going back. When the right dog is there, I'll bring her/him home. That's how this works! Apparently by the time they're on Petfinder it's kind of too late, so I'll drop by twice a week or something. Maybe I'll even get over my whole Humane Society trauma thing. That would be good! Honestly I think the first time was the hardest and it'll get better. Maybe I can volunteer or something.

Actually they only had five dogs, which is some kind of miracle. I've never seen a shelter so empty. Isn't that great? That really is good news all around.

Hi! How was your day?

Bones is a rerun, yawn. I mean, I'll still *watch* it--hello!--but that's a little disappointing. I never check in advance, do I? I wonder why that is?

I turned on the tv and there's a Law & Order episode with this woman with EXACTLY MY HAIR. How can that be? It's called "The Dead Wives Club" so I guess I can look it up in case I'm curious who else belongs to the sisterhood of exactly this hair.

Season 15 (whoa) Episode 2 from 2004. How come shows I love don't get 15 seasons? Or 22 or whatever they're at now? Okay, her name's Amy Carlson and apparently usually she's blonde, so go figure, maybe it was dyed or a wig or something, eh? Too bad, because her hair was exactly my color AND it was doing that thing where both sides curve the same direction! As in, not symmetrical but as though standing in a high wind coming from one side!

Do you think this hyperphagia rage like a bear emerging from hibernation will pass? I mean, am I emerging from hibernation? Or am I going into it? Or am I stressing out over things and maniacally eating because of it? Or is it all this healthy food and stinginess with the calories that's driving me into a calorie rage? GIVE ME FOOOOOOD.

I'm eating plenty. But tell my stomach that! Stomach says noooooooo, she is staaaaaarrrrrrrving me. I am not, actually. Not even close. Vegetables! Grains! Leftover corned beef! Sweets, even! So quit it, stomach.

However, I did sprain my knee. I know! HOW? It's absurd. I thought it was just sore or something, like creaky knees, but it's worse every day and now it's a cantaloupe. A cantaloupe that hurts. Dislike! It tries to drop me but fortunately right knee is on the job to counteract it.

OH NO. It's the dog episode of Bones! This is very very very bad timing. Oh noooooo. Can't do it. I have to shut this episode off at a certain point every single time. Plus that older guy grad student is incredibly irritating.

It's freezing in here. What's up with that? Oh, I forgot that I have this dumb cold. WHATEVER. I have bigger fish to fry. (Also it's freezing in here. Power bill came yesterday. It went down from the last one, but not far enough.)

Okay, see, I'm going to have to go to bed at some point, which means facing the dog bed which is right by it. SEE. Tricky. It's just a matter of time! It'll work out!

The hardest thing about the Humane Society is that all the dogs totally know why you're there and what's going on. They all stand up and wag their tails and look charming and excited and hopeful and make eye contact and all that stuff. And then after a couple of minutes, when it's clear you're not going to do anything useful like take one of them home or out for a walk or anything, they sit down and look discouraged and then go lie on their beds, chins on paws. IN JAIL. Totally betrayed and sad and refusing to look at anyone. "People suck," they think. "I thought you might be the one. You could be doing something about it, but no."

Another time. We'll make this happen!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eighteen cows!

Today everyone was freaking out and having eighteen cows! Eighteen!

It makes me want to crawl away and hide. Also I tend to think the following: "Oh no! It's totally my fault! I'm going to get in trouble!" I don't know where that came from because I never ever used to think this way. What's up with that, huh?

So I am dog-proofing the house, but it's a big job. Also I have that Pixies song in my head but with updated dog-centric lyrics, like, you know, gigantic! gigantic! gigantic! a big big dog!

I have no idea what the actual words are. Who cares?

I have math to do still but I'd say I'm on track for SOON. Soon! I don't really know where to put the cello, though. That one is stumping me. Also I'm going to need a collar, a nylabone, biscuits, and food. Nylabones are excellent for the kind of anxious chewing you might do in a strange new place.

Must put the shoes in the closet instead of by the door. Must put away yarn baskets. Must pick up all the little balls the kitty plays with. And about ten zillion other things. At least I got the bedroom fixed up and clothes into the wee tiny dresser and off that big plastic shelving unit. It involved negotiations like taking things I don't/can't wear out of the closet (almost everything in there, as it turns out) and putting my t-shirts on hangers. I prefer that, honestly. They get wrinkly otherwise. How is that okay?

I started reading this book called Catch which is, er, YA for boys. I hate it so much! The hero is a complete jerky jackass, which makes me think about how often regular YA starts with a character who is flawed, but almost never hateful. I'd say the hateful thing is pretty rare. And when it happens, it's self-aware and the person is doing it for reasons like fitting in. Which makes me wonder, is this hero supposed to be a flaming jackass just to fit in? Are we supposed to think he's just acting like that so he'll belong? Because there is not one single redeeming trait in this character so far.

Brrr, ugh, I hate this book. It's the kind of book that makes me lose hope for the human race, because of course I know that millions and millions and MILLIONS of American boys and men are exactly like this guy. Which gives us what kind of hope? Worry!

See, it's not like if you read about some horrific psycho killer lunatic, because then you can go, "Phew, I'm so glad most people are nothing whatsoever like that!" Or like the disgusting sick people you read about in the Bangor paper headlines every day. (I cannot even articulate how sick the latest one is. It makes me physically ill thinking about it. Don't go read the headlines online for the Bangor Daily News, that's all I can say.)

Well. Books, man. Newspapers. Faith in humanity. What can you do? Stay far away from people and news of them and fiction about them in order to maintain a positive outlook?

Harumph.

Must put bunnies up high! Oh my goodness. Here I nearly forgot.

Things are going to get chewed up. It's the natural order of things. I just hope it's nothing important. I almost want to leave sacrificial items around, know what I mean? I guess we call those "dog toys," come to think of it.

I have two great names in mind. One is pronounced differently in Maine. The other is commonly mispronounced even by educated people. Basically unless you have a thorough grounding in medieval European languages and know the descendants of this name, you're going to say it this one wrong way. Of course, if you never see it written down, you won't, so maybe that's the solution.

Mostly I'm excited about doggedness. Dogs! So very awesome in so very many ways! Plus once the initial eighteen cows phase is over (I fully expect to have eighteen cows--it's a huge adjustment) I'll be so much more secure and relaxed and safe. A big big dog!

I'm totally getting sick, which sucks, that flaming chest infection thing again. What dramatic coughs I've been dragging out of myself! Gracious.

In bookery news, I think I've finally decided once and for all to make my too-hip cozy heroine into a dramatically less hip and therefore appropriate cozy heroine. The book fundamentally does not work as a cozy as is. And there's no sense in doing that. Make it thing one or thing two but not thing eight point seven six on a scale of A-E. Right? Right!

I'm zonkered. Maybe it's a good night to do dopey things like work on the puzzle and watch Bones reruns, huh?

Siegfried just came and laid a beseeching paw on my hand, which is my cue to stop typing things and go snoogle the furry housepets.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What.

I've been seeing it written like that, all flat and inflectionless, and I think I like it. What. It's not what? Just what.

Totally going to make a t-shirt that says that. WHAT

Speaking of chimeras as we were: there's this dog I'm intrigued by at the local humane society who is five years old and half retriever, half collie, which just sounds so much like Siegfried the cat. He (I think it's a he) is described as being yellow, tan, fawn, blond, white, or cream, and with a long coat.

So difficult to picture! There's no photo. But I'm already smitten! Five years old, man, that's awesome--they're over the psycho puppyhood that I could not begin to keep up with anyway. They're the ones who desperately need homes. I'm nearly won over already despite a) wanting a girl and b) have no idea what collies are like except for the long fur. I mean, are we compatible in personality? Who knows!

Then there's this dog who is half Airedale and half Lab and looks completely gloriously hilarious, like he's wearing fake muttonchops. I keep thinking the pictures are photoshopped but they're not. I feel like his name must be Mr. [something tweedy].

I've been putting my Goodreads reviews (if I can dignify them with that name...maybe "responses" is more like it) up on Story on the Brain. Pretty much assume spoilers. It's all school, really. I'm reading all of YA. Well, not really. But kind of. And in the process figuring it out and studying it and all that. And seeing what NOT to do.

Namely: do not write something that is all worldbuilding, or all about someone figuring out who they are. Those are fine in the service of a STORY but are absolutely reading momentum death on their own. I've stopped reading a couple of books lately that committed those deadly sins. I simply can't care if there's no story.

I just tried to read the history of some Irish king named Ruaridh or another spelling (as if the records agree) and my eyes glazed over the same exact way. Flavorless facts mean I shut down. Somehow the history of Irish kings is particularly dreadful for this. I suppose because I have no context. I'm like a child! It goes like this: in the year [no context,] [someone with no context] did [something with no context] at [location that means nothing to me], defeating [someone else whose name I don't know] and leading to the [tiny short-lived epoch] where [some group of people I have no context for] [did something else.]

And then became extremely obscure. I think that's understood in most of it. Oh the sad history of dead kings no one even really remembers now!

I was looking for a Scottish epic hero since that's the tradition, name your furry animals after epic heroes and heroines. And collies are Scottish, aren't they? Am I delusional or is that a thing? So anyway I went looking and lo! There is no such thing!

See. You only get epic heroes if you write your dang epics. And you only get epics if you have a story with some good meat to it, meaning a STORY and not a HISTORY. Meaning you will care about these people like I still care about Hector. Oh Hector! Sob!

Yeah, like that--the way that Hector is alive and Aeneas is a two-dimensional dud trotted around in a propaganda piece. Hector is alive, Achilles is alive, Priam and Hecuba and little Astyanax and Andromeda and Cassandra and Menelaus and Odysseus and everyone else. Know what I mean?

I don't think it's the bones of the story so much as the meat of it, the humanity of it. Okay, it's good writing versus bad writing, that's what it comes down to. Good writing makes you feel those characters as people, feel what they feel, see what they see.

If someone could make those boring Irish kings come to life in an epic, I'd be all over them. Maybe that's what Scottish history needs. I mean, look what Shakespeare did for Macbeth, right?

The thing is, I imagine Shakespeare trawling through the histories and this one story catching his eye, not the other way around. I mean I don't think it was purely his attention that made it a great story. The kernel of that was there.

I think the oatmeal is nearly done, speaking of Scotland and collies. I might have to play my bagpipe chanter later.

Oh! I got to go serve food at a soup kitchen today. It was amazing! It was somehow like being in church except obviously not, in any way whatsoever. What do I even mean? Doing something good. It was like what being in church should have been but almost never was due to rampant Other Stuff malarkey. I should have been a Quaker, obviously. I would be right now except the nearest group is down in Bucksport and you know how un-inclusive Mainers are. Anyway somehow it arranged itself so that I ended up being the one who gave the trays to the people and said, "Here you go," and gave them a big smile. Also I got to serve the mixed carrots and peas, which are such a gorgeous pair of colors together, bright green and bright orange.

I wish I could remember which medieval text I was reading in the original language when I ran across the description of blood on grass and how bright the contrast is under a blue sky. Of course I'd noticed it when doing some bleeding of my own in rugby games but it was one of those things that reverberated across all that time with me. You know, when you want to stand up on your chair and point at your book and say, "Yes! Truth!" That kind of shock of reality.

So I was thinking about medieval stories and blood on grass when serving peas and carrots to the homeless people, who, gosh, how do you even do that in this state? I don't even know. It's frelling cold out there even now. It snowed a ton last night. Gack. How? (Also this place has NO state funding at all and does it entirely on donations which is why we were there, see.)

I'm always greedy for interesting new experiences as long as they don't hurt/suck/scar/cost money, so I call today a win.

I like the idea of me and cat and dog all curled up on the gigantic day bed together, on or under quilts, writing many books (me) and making dog and cat dream noises (them) and generally being all warm and furry (them) and type type typey (me).

You realize if they matched that way I would never cease taking pictures of them. Collie tails! So plumey! Local adoption of dog over 4 years old: $100. I wonder if collie/retriever mixes like to swim? Do they?

Ack! It's super late. I strongly suspect the oatmeal (now without added poisonous dates ["Bad dates." --Sallah) is done!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bakery

But, I mean, in the sense like bookery and bloggery! And drudgery, come to think of it. Jewelry! It's true, I'm baking bread, out of some kind of misplaced thrift and the enormous allergic reaction I had yesterday to NOTHING. Jeez! All so pure and this? Humph.

True, I got a sudden dose of that hideously disfiguring angioedema, with the asymmetrical elephant man face and puffy red features. Oh so lovely. I have no idea what set it off. The peppers I cooked in the beans? The dates that I made sure were unsulphured, but maybe someone refilled the bulk bin with the wrong ones? The figs that the label assures me are unsulphured? The chips that proclaim no preservatives?

Unknown.

It makes me all ragingly furious at the unfairitude, even though I know perfectly well that it's cumulative and therefore the chocolate eggs the day before did half of it, no matter what. And all that fresh hot bread I ate at work last week, that one day, when I'd forgotten most of my lunch and they put it near my desk and I was practically drooling and I had to see the neurosurgeon the next day so I talked myself into believing it was smart to eat bread (and not even my own pure of heart bread, either) so I'd be really screwed up before I saw him. Oops. Yeah, I know.

So I was going to throw out the flour and then I thought, no! I will bake it into bread instead! Mmm, bread.

I question my motives and logic sometimes. It's true. Well, not really. My motive is: BREAD. Everything else kind of gets shoved to the side when we're talking about fresh hot home-baked bread.

The sugar craving is far worse, though. Faaaar worse. I know it'll pass, though. I suppose the bread one would too.

What are you up to? Watching the snow fall? Me too! Snow snow snow. I cooked zucchini but I'm in that state where everything sets off the FACE OF DOOM all over again. The only solution, I know this, is to eat at close to nothing as possible, white rice if anything, avoid hot water and cold and any kind of friction (which will take my skin right off) and keep the benadryl coming.

Benadryl does not do wonderful things for my mental acuity! Here is an example:

Person's office door is shut.
Person walks into the room and says, "Why is my door shut?"
I say, "I don't know, aren't you in there?"

That actually happened. Today. Brilliant! I fell about laughing my fool head off for like an hour afterward because it was completely unconscious.

Afterward I said to someone else, as a weaker follow-up,  "I'm going to call home and see if I'm there!"

Benadryl causes slowness of brain, is all I'm saying. Also nausea. So I ate a random candy cane from my desk drawer. Genius! Yes! Next I will put out this fire by pouring gasoline on it!

It's not so bad, just like having a serious puffy burn all over your face. Zing! Ow! Ack! Eek!

I'm contemplating the purchase of a twin mattress for my day bed, as the day (bed) approaches wherein such a thing would be possible. Hmmmm.

pro: infinitely more comfortable, might even be able to sit still without limbs going numb all the time.
con: costs money, would rather save money, will either have to move it or abandon it when relocation time comes, neither of which makes me happy

pro: dang, man, just buy it already. It's worth it if it makes writing happen for the next x months!
con: okay, I have no rebuttal to that one, except: what if it's uncomfortable and not worth it? but it's impossible that it will be less comfortable than these squashed flat cushions that I bought early in grad school, crikey

This is going to turn out to be one of those things I agonize over for ages and then settle in like two seconds and then wonder what the fuss was about, huh? Yeah, probably.

So my chimera dress came out terrible! I mean, it worked, but...it didn't. Why? Because the stitching wasn't stretchy. I can't sew stretchy stitching! I don't have the technology. And therefore the skirt was the right tightness but with no give and I can't stand that. And the shirt had to be bloused over, which kind of obviates the whole point of a jumper in the first place. I dunno, it worked but it didn't. Good execution, poor design, something like that.

I might wear it kayaking, though.

It's snowing like gangbusters out there, did you realize? Gangbusters: they snow! Yes. They said 3-6 but then that got revised upward to 6-9 but I have no idea how deep it is right now. Nor how deep it'll really get. Nor does it matter. I'll just drive through it in the morning. It's supposed to be in the 50s tomorrow, so there's no point shoveling.

You realize that since I suspect the peppers in the beans and the dates in the oatmeal, almost everything I cooked yesterday is off limits for one reason or another. Dang, those dates were really good, too. But not pitted. Or rather, pitted, not pitless. Pitted means without a pit but shouldn't pitted mean with a pit?

I'll tell you another troublesome side effect of benadryl: visual flashbacks all day long. Does this happen to anyone else? It happens to me all the time, actually, but benadryl makes it a lot worse. I'll be working away and BAM, I'm in the middle of this nightmare I had when I was ten. Or I'm seeing and smelling and experiencing the alternating hot sun and cool shadows of Princeton. Or Gettysburg College. Or Willamette, obviously. Or Penn State. Or Penn. Or Temple. Or Lock Haven, especially the soccer field and the gym. I don't know why institutions of higher learning and nightmares are especially prevalent in these flashbacks. Probably you could write an interesting paper on that.

The National Guard compound reminds me of a studio lot every single time I drive past it, with its laid back  security gate and all the beige. Fortunately I only drive past it twice a day most days.

The bread is rising over on the bay window where the cat hangs out, the warmest spot in the house. Nearly time to go preheat the oven. Oh boy! Yum yum yum.

I think it's the peppers in the beans. They're these little peppers that look like hot peppers but aren't, have you seen them? In a produce section near you! They made my lips go numb and swell up, even though they don't taste spicy. So I thought cooking them would cure the problem. I cooked them into the beans. And then ate the beans yesterday, and for lunch, and more for dinner. Evidence suggests that they are the problem. Alas! Such delicious beans, too.

Oh well, I'll get more black beans when I'm at the store again. And will cook them up without the experimental vegetables of vengeance. The peppers of pain!

It seems to be writing night at the homestead. Therefore let us write! Okay!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hey yo what's up

It is exceedingly peaceful here. Exceptionally. It's one of those lovely weekends where I don't go anywhere or see anyone, which helps a lot to counteract the weeks where I'm cheek by jowl with people all the blessed day long.

I like people. I do! In MODERATION.

I suppose alternating two excesses is sort of like moderation, once you average it out.

Today I've been cooking the foods, oh yeah! The oatmeal with the dates in it! The black bean dips! The leeks! The sweet potato! It is all highly satisfactory and delicioso.

I read this book Fat Cat, you know, about the overweight teenager who decides to tackle a paleo diet to win the science fair. I wrote up a long thing about it over at Goodreads if you're curious. It's all about self-image and that sort of thing and is actually really good (the book, I mean) and it comes to a conclusion I kind of didn't expect.

Well, think about what you'd expect. Do you figure the overweight teenager loses all that weight? Do you think it solves her problems with self-image and boys and such? I won't say except that it surprised me with its depth of insight into the whole thing. Which somehow it managed to do while still pulling all of the usual expected tropes with this sort of thing. Brilliant! Having your paleo-cake and eating it too!

I mean that seriously. It's a YA novel so obviously it has to hit some of the usual buttons. But it deconstructs those buttons while hitting them. Isn't that brilliant? I think so.

Anyway, good book! So say I.

Oh yeah and it inspired me to cook a lot, which can only be good. And to get my head around the confounded dietary restrictions and frelling COPE. I have been utterly failing to cope in any meaningful way. I don't prepare properly. I don't eat properly. I don't make sure I'll have good, nutritious, rule-following food around. Gaaaaah! It makes me kind of bananacakes. (Also forbidden.)

Well, a diet comprised of purely vegetables and fruits and grains does sound kind of tiresome to me. But that's what we've got, with the occasional un-evil dairy product if one can be found. They're rare since pectin is in everything. I mean, butter. Milk, but I hate milk. Eggs, but I hate eggs.

In sum, it all makes me very tired and discouraged and then I don't cope and then I get utterly hosed by eating bad things. Oh, sigh.

I don't know, everything I've read says things like, "Make sure you have a good support system!" Nope. Don't have that. "Make sure you're well supplied with options!" Okay, part of that comes from the aforementioned failure to cope. And partly from not going to the store and buying food. Must get on that! Yeah!

Okay. I'ma try harder! Will do! Raaaarrrr! And I say that after cooking up a bunch of food this afternoon, so I guess I've already started. Hurray! Go me.

The leeks were really good. Mmm, leeks.

Seriously, you'd think the misery attendant upon failure would be motivation enough. Gaaaaah!

SO ANYWAY.

What else is going on? Hanging out, cooking, reading books, writing books, snuggling Mr. Kitty, watching the Science channel, doing Online Job, going for walks. I might be bored out of my gourd! It's possible.

I'm wicked sore and limpy today (those Hershey chocolate eggs yesterday...oh sigh) but I still have sewing I want to do, mainly refurbishments (defend the battlements!) and those chimera dresses that I really want to wear. I know!

Okay, I'm on it.

Well, that took all day

Nearly! But there's time for bookery before beddery. Swell!

Trying to describe to D. how the massive vitamin dose makes me feel...like having an egg white in my mouth. You realize that to me eggs are one of the grossest things on the planet, especially when raw, right? There's a certain unpleasantness involved with taking the vitamin dose.

Also I am still awaiting my superpowers. Where are you, superpowers? Though I did see the supermoon from underground (while in the basement, moving laundry from washer to dryer) which I decided HAS to be some kind of fantastic luck-giving event. Absolutely!

So I'll be looking forward to the results from that. Woohoo!

I went for a walk to see supermoon but of course it came up much later, after dark. I was thinking of those moons you see rising when it's still light out. The moon rises different times each day, I know, but still. I remember getting very confused by seeing the moon in the daytime when I was a kid. Shouldn't the moon be out at night? How can it be out at night AND out in the daytime? I know!

Well, I understand it now, but I didn't then.

I'm reading this super good book so it's very tempting to go read that now that Online Job has finally been put away. Oh the argh! So distressing. Well, I can't say why but PEOPLE did THINGS and I had to do STUFF and that's all there is to say about that. Blargh! Anyway it's done now.

My current iteration of Online Job (that was the last one I was arghing about) is by far the tiniest ever, which gives me palpitations lest it disappear on me. Let's hope it does not! Stay, stay!

That combined with some severe unsteadiness about That Place I Go makes me wonder whether some forces are conspiring to keep me insecure. But why? What do you get out of it? More and better books? Not in the short term. But maybe in the long term. Honestly I think some security would be nice and peaceful and would let me write things more calmly, but maybe the powers that be have different ideas about that.

See, this is why I need to write that book about Apollo.

Hey, guess what happens when you sleep until 2 in the afternoon? Heh heh. I am tired, though.

Did you see Supermoon? Did you like it? I was out in the yard at dusk, taking pictures of how grungy and dismayed the yard looks. And the sad melting snow piles. I got to scamper around earlier, flinging the fallen branches off the lawn and into the woods.

And I went to visit my baby white pine that sprouted up all voluntarily over where Schrodinger's snake was/wasn't, the one I probably was supposed to mow over when it was two inches high because it's in the lawn but OF COURSE I couldn't possibly do that, so now it's growing up to be a tree. I put a tomato cage around it for the winter to keep the snow from squishing it down. It got a little bent over but it's been boinging back up to the vertical in the past few days. Yay! Go, little tree!

No interesting wildlife on my walk. No wildlife at all, actually. Deer tracks and dog tracks and human tracks on the shoulder of the road. Birds too far away to identify. It's not like the walk where two ducks were walking down the road squabbling, is it? Or where I saw a kettle of eagles going around and around on a thermal up in the sky? Still, going for the walk is what counts. So yay for me! Hup hup! Go go go! Left, right, left, right! Yeah!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Revise that plan

Revise that plan. Feeling kind of like a series of trucks ran over me, bumpity bump. But I think it's just from getting sick, not *anything else* like a whacking huge megadose of a certain vitamin. I mean, I was all coughing and cold and feeling terrible yesterday. So obviously sleeping 14 hours and all that is just from the beginnings of being sick.

Hoping I can fight it off like last time. That was awesome! Well, not that awesome, since I was down for three days, but that was three days instead of ten to fourteen, so I totally win that one. Anyway this is just some cold/chest thing. Blargh, but eh.

I speak in grunts sometimes. Argh!

Waking up at 2 p.m. isn't the greatest. Cat tried his best to roust me from 10:00 on but no dice, cat. Generally I'll get up and feed him and conk back out but not this time. I'm seriously steamrollered.

A working brain would be very useful for Online Job today. I'm going to get that work done no matter what, though. It might take all day but I'll get there. I hate having it hanging over me!

So I woke up and ate a whole perfect avocado and some fritos and squeezed a bunch of oranges and drank up the juice. I like pink grapefruit juice better. I'm still puzzled why I didn't get like twelve of those grapefruits. Is it because only about four fit into a bag and I didn't have a cart? Hmm.

I'm reading Emily the Strange which is AWESOME though maybe should have kept back the magical realism in those few tiny places where it went too far. I'm not done yet so who knows, though? Love this book! Apparently there are others, too. Oh boy!

Your magical realism line may vary.

I think it's interesting in a meta-meta-fiction way that everything I write lately is about someone who's obsessed with a book series or tv show or ancient text that doesn't actually exist in our world. Why is that so outrageously compelling to me? Well, one is obsessed with an ancient text that doesn't exist and a tv series that does exist. In fact they go together much more than you'd expect. You know, that ancient text that is the classical source of the Battlestar Galactica series, right? Literary retcon in ancient times!

I'm having tremendous fun with all of this. Hurray! It's one of the most powerful forces in my particular world, right? Love of books! Love of tv shows! Love of classical texts! And that's something that makes a character accessible to me. And sympathetic. I don't think I consciously thought: "Well, I can't relate to the whole friends, family, or relationships thing, but I *can* relate to being hugely into books and tv and the writings of the ancients. And connecting to people on that level."

Plus I have Allyson's book as a guide for the Ojai book. Inscribed by the author, y'all.

Hey, I wonder if my Connie Willis book has arrived in the mail? Want! It's the other half of the Blackout pair. Blackout and All Clear.

Did you read that article on how evil wheat has become due to breeding it to increase proteins? Or whatever? Which is why so many more people are sensitive to it now? And how you can have horrible reactions to it but still not test positive for celiac? I know!

Well here it is: Study sheds light on gluten sensitivity.

My brilliant doctor friend Charlie worked with Dr. Fasano and says he's ace.

I'm completely convinced. They've tested me for celiac and said no, but all those issues remain, so you know, gosh! Easy enough (though SUCKY) not to eat the wheats. Woe to my lack of Triscuits. Woe, I say. Yay to my corn tortillas and hot bowls of rice! Yay to soccas and whatnot!

I was just telling the lovely endocrinologist that I would do anything to get the zombie attacks to stop. She's hoping that Plan D will do it and so am I, but that's going to take a long time so maybe Plan W is a good one to implement in the meantime. Except it should be W in a circle with a slash through it, like when we hated that maroon of a president.

Kind of like that. Yeah!

Meanwhile there's Fritos. And books.

High hopes, my bunnies. High hopes.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Melty

It got all warm and a lot of the snow melted! Whoa! The ground on both sides of the driveway is all squashed down from the weight of the giant snow piles. Isn't that cool? The driveway used to be lower than the grass but now it's many inches higher. I just think that's awesome.

Also I'm excited to see the ground again. Most of it. Half of the garden is a snowmelt puddle!

So I have twelve green gel capsules. Okay, eleven. I don't think I feel any different, which is good, because in general when I can tell I've taken meds, it's a bad thing. Isn't that confusing? But I'm hoping for my superpowers to kick in any time now. Maybe tomorrow! Who can say?

Actually you have to take it for ages before levels get back up. I can do that!

I had an awesome conversation which I must paraphrase:

Me: "I did it overly zealously because those people...."
Someone else: "Because they don't have any idea what the fuck they're doing."
Me: [laughing my head off] "Well, I wasn't going to say that exactly."
Someone else: "I thought you were supposed to be the literal one!"

Yay!

Ten million reasons to love this, but also because: I am the literal one. Which everyone knows. Which is the main reason that's so very awesome. Because you can't be overly polite and literal at the same time! Which is when I realized I'm literal in how I interpret things but not in how I say things because I'll allow for politeness and tact and such on the way out. Know what I mean?

Anyway it was totally hilarious and I loved that so much.

It was a very nice day today. Unfortunately that doesn't counteract the horrible days because it's for a reason that just reinforces the other days. SIGH. But I'm invoking the YOUR STUFF clause which conveniently happens to be TRUE. Ha!

Probably this isn't the best test of this medication since I chased it with a bowl of garlicky popcorn and then a fabulous organic toffee chocolate bar. Holy yum! Green & Black's. The wrapper is orange and brown. I know, literal and whatnot!

I have yet to wear these brand new bizarre orange and brown Born shoes I got for seriously $2.99 at Goodwill back in October or whenever that was. They're insanely comfortable but also so very freaking weird looking, like ballet bowling shoes. I was in love on sight. I wonder if I can find a picture online? Hmm, I found black ones, but they don't give the full effect of the two-toned leather sections. Oddly enough I've been too chicken to wear them except around the house. Heh.

People are waaaaaaaaay more conservative about shoes (and everything else) here, it's true. People will point and stare at unusual shoes. Which is sad because I'm crazy about strange shoes but not crazy about the whole pointing and staring thing. So it goes.

Aha! Which leads me to my new project, besides cannibalizing despised undergarments and harvesting their underwires and putting them into beloved undergarments to extend their lives. In addition, I like to sew knit shirts to short skirts and make dresses. It's true! I have these lovely comfortable but TOO SHORT skirts that I got for ridiculously cheap one day. I realize there's a theme here. But wait! I'll sew them to the exceedingly comfortable but ridey-uppy black tank tops and make lovely dresses! I always wear a sweater or a shirt or something over top, buttoned or unbuttoned, so this is one of those fabulously all-purposeful things I'll wear all the time. Like those reverse mitosis t-shirt dresses!

Chimera dresses. I love them so much! Coming soon to a sewing machine near me.

I did the crucial "gathering elements" portion and also the crucial "thinking it out" portion and now I just have to accomplish the crucial "actually doing it" portion. Hey, they're in the same room as the sewing machine. I want credit for that.

Van Gogh puzzle: COMING RIGHT ALONG.

Bookery: never enough to make me as happy as I could be! So that's holding steady. Oh oh oh, I love the booking. Must book!

Did people say that in your past? Gotta book? Meaning hurry? Where on earth does that come from? Does anyone have no context for that at all, like you never heard it even once?

Well, I have to book. So there we go.

Tomorrow: superpowers! And massive quantities of Online Job! And laundry and cleaning! It's what we do. But I really enjoyed my whole evening wrapped up in the quilt of JUST FINISH IT and getting kitty snuggled and doing silly things. And drinking more grapefruit juice, because, mmmmmmmmm. They are 54 cents at Walmart, you guys. That's significantly cheaper. I got four more. Also Fritos, because no preservatives, and I'm avoiding the wheaties.

It's awesome to check out at the register with four grapefruits and a bag of Fritos. Reminded me of that day I bought candy canes and chocolate and turnips. Yay!

Does vitamin D make you feel all drunken? Or am I just super tired? I'm super tired, that's a fact. I kept talking about margaritas today (because it got over 50 degrees for once) but in fact I just squeezed some grapefruits and drank the juice unadulterated.

Wait! I nearly forgot. Bones! They managed to take these two characters whose maybe/sort of relationship we've been all wrapped up in for FIVE YEARS and lock them in an elevator together and somehow remove all chemistry entirely! How? How? How? Amazing! And terrible! They were like, "It would be fun to have sex together. Because we are fit and compatible and have stamina." And looked at each other purely chemistry-free. Yucky! So gross! What the what, Bones? How did you suck all the frisson out of those two? And why? FIX IT.

And then Brennan said, "I've improved a great deal," or something like that, and I got all mad again about the normalization of Brennan. Hello, people do not need to be normalized. People are awesome just the way they are, especially brilliant wonderful people like her. Maybe you should interesting-ize Booth while you're at it. Make him break out of his usual ways and grow as a person, instead of presenting him as an already just right done deal. ARGH, this episode really bothered me a lot of ways. 

Also I saw in a preview that they're doing an episode at a body farm, which was totally an idea I had too and wrote up an outline for back when I was doing that sort of thing! Along with everyone else who's ever heard of a body farm, because it's so glorious! If you haven't heard of them, forensics people get donated cadavers and put them outside in various environments/coverings and study how they decompose, because of course then they can learn a tremendous amount from that. Brennan would love that so much, right? Very cool.

So seeing the preview was all jarring and full of HEY! but that's how it works, great minds think alike. Yep! But I remembered "seeing" my episode and so it was odd and strange to see it so different.

Can I say one more thing? I just rewatched the one with the Prada police and I think the location people need to get out of Los Angeles once in a while, because that house could not possibly exist any other place. That's not a house that could ever be in D.C. Go to D.C. and look at the houses. Or look at pictures. On the internet!

I'll allow the Craftsman houses because I love them, but they don't really scream D.C. either, you know. Okay, I only lived in Adams Morgan and Southeast and Falls Church and Woodbridge and my brother lived in Arlington for umpteen years, like ten, so what do I know? Plus you know there are actually houses in L.A. that look like they could be elsewhere. Walking from my apartment to the park I always passed some that had that rosy brickwork and mullions and all that, like that one across the street as you go up the main road. So there you go, there's no excuse.

I'm just cranky because there was not much to love about this past episode except for T.J. Thyne being utterly amazing and talking work stuff through tears. And there was Wendell. I always love a good Wendell episode. Plus they dyed him blue. Just for me! Aw, thanks, Bones! Hearts despite the awkward lack of chemistry and the non-D.C.-ness!

Oh right, gotta book. Must rant about metafiction later.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

D!

D as in the vitamin! It turns out I am terrifically deficient, what with living in the dark frozen northern wasteland here. Amazing! Who knew!

I'm really, really, really deficient, too. Like seriously a lot. Like the number that's supposed to be a hundred or whatever is 12. Plus then she's making me take 50,000 [unknown units] of it except when I went to pick up the prescription they hadn't gotten it. Huh. I guess I'll follow up with the office tomorrow.

I was all excited to go take this gigantic megadose of vitamins. It just sounds so 1962 sci-fi! Like then I would develop superpowers of some kind, wooo!

In fact the superpowers I should develop include: muscles working right, joints not hurting so bad, bones not hurting after exercise any more, lower back pain diminishing quite a lot. Ha ha ha! Hurray!

I have to point out here and now that I asked Regular Doctor about vitamin D deficiency before and she said, "Do you take vitamins?" and I said, "When I remember," and she said, "Then you should be fine." I asked about it because vitamin D deficiency CAN MIMIC MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. Jeez. Pah! It sure would be awesome to have the one instead of the other, and how.

So instead of picking up my prescription I bought soap (not soup) and came home and fed Mr. Kitty and put on my running shoes (do not be afraid: I did not run) and took two large vitamin D capsules in lieu and once again contemplated all of the possible ways I could take the kitty with me on my walk. To wit:

1. roll kitty carrier along the road next to me on its little wheels (not a pleasant experience for anyone)
2. put kitty carrier in the wheelbarrow (old, crappy, flat tire)
3. put kitty carrier on some other wheeled apparatus around the house, like the lawn mower (except, only has three wheels) or that trash can support roller thing I bought many years ago to use as a camera dolly (impractical)
4. go buy a used flatbed-type stroller and use that (not today, but I'll keep an eye out in Goodwill)
5. get a red wagon (ooh! I really want one)
6. contrive some sort of claw-proof escape-proof Snuggli type baby sling or screened backpack (my favorite!)
7. consider whether the cat actually wants to go for a walk (he does, I promise you, but he wants to walk, not ride)

There wasn't that much in the way of wildlife out today, just one overly dramatic deer that was like, "Oh God it's you oh no oh no panic panic run this way run that way bound bound bound aaaaaaaah!" While I was kind of standing there going, "Um?" Silly deer.

Actually Saturday morning en route to the post office all these deer bounded across the road and so I came to a complete stop and looked for the rest of them, and sure enough another one was standing in the woods, waiting. It looked me in the eye, determined I was not going (I may actually have waved it across the road and said, "Go ahead,") and trotted across the road.

Deer have the best big black noses.

I met a neighbor, you guys! Who grew up on this road and just came back and bought out his siblings when their parents finally passed away. He bought that big farm I always admire. I'd been watching the house as the old people got really old and then weren't there anymore and then it was for sale and then it was sold. He came out and said hi and told me how his family owned most of the acreage up this road. In fact they used to own the land where my house is. One of his aunts and uncles owned the farmhouse that was over by the rhubarb patch before it burned down. I mean, that's why the rhubarb patch is there, see what I mean? Over where the half a snake was/wasn't.

So very cool! Gosh, I never knew half this mountain was related to each other but of course it makes total sense.

The walk was lovely. It was 54 degrees when I left work, miraculously warm. Mmmmmm. My body was like, "What? Left, right? Huh? And again? Which? How?" but eventually got the hang of it until I was walking along just fine. It's like riding a bike! Hee. And I saw the gorgeous horses, who stood there staring at me as I walked past, which always makes me feel like the world's biggest celebrity. My public! I like their Joni Mitchell bangs.

Peculiar St. Patrick's-adjacent/inspired dinner ensued: peculiar brisket, which I guess is corned beef but I didn't prepare it the standard way because eeeewwwww; szechuan green beans yum; tortillas, of course, homemade!; some fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, naturally; and Talisker, which I didn't actually drink any of because grapefruit juice is a fairly comprehensive beverage experience. Why Talisker? I don't know, because Skye is sort of over that direction, isn't it? See.

(Turns out I'm thinking of Islay. Never mind.)

I forgot to make my leeks. Someone asked me: "What's a leek?" I said, "It's like a giant scallion." How can you not have heard of leeks? But then I hadn't heard of fishers so there's that.

Oh and I have baby pumpkin pies still but again, that grapefruit juice is quite comprehensive. It's the kind of thing where once you drink it, all of your food and beverage needs have been taken care of for a long time to come.

Corned beef, szechuan green beans, tortillas, pink grapefruit juice, pumpkin pie. It might just be the most American meal ever! Hurray!

The grapefruit juice is hilarious because I really wanted some but then I was worried about the stupid things I'm allergic to, how do I find one I'm not allergic to? Woe and dragsville and I just want juice! And then I thought: oh yeah. Get some grapefruits. Squeeze them. Genius!

I would drink that every single day. Oh my goodness I love that. Mmmmmmmm. All I can think about is getting more. There are still two grapefruits but I'm saving them for later. Mine. Mine! Go get your own! I neeeeeeed them.

Actually illegal drugs would probably be cheaper than pink grapefruits in March in Maine. They're $1.60 each.

Hey, guess what? Vitamin D deficiency also causes depression, apparently. Or whatever. (Heh. That was a tiny joke.)

I'm so pleased that Online Job has decided I can do this other thing that is the thing I do best! Hurray! I don't know when and I'm sure there are monumental hoops to jump through first, as they move at the pace of a glacier heading uphill, but still! It will be so very very awesome once I can get it up and running.

As full of excellent doctors' epiphanies (who's Tiffany?) and fun outings and weird food as today was, I'm exceptionally tired and ready for the conking out. Someone please tear me away from this puzzle. I'm making great progress on the central swoopy sky part now, fitting large chunks together that I've been building up gradually. It's highly satisfactory. Maybe I will have just a drop of that Talisker and work on it a leetle bit more. Sleep very soon, though, I'm telling you. Sleep. 

Take your vitamins!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

*is excited*

Strange how people write that to describe their own actions, no? Every so often I realize all over again how odd yet appropriate it is.

*realizes*

Like that. It's omniscient action!

Well I *am excited* because of suddenly figuring out a whole book that's been on my mind forever and ages and also some days and because I get to do ridiculously awesome things like make the heroine totally into Battlestar because she's a classics professor (naturally) such that when real Apollo appears to her he takes the form of Jamie Bamber. I KNOW! And I get to do all that crazy glorious stuff that Caprica made me think of that never got to happen or would have been more world-buildy and less of the storytelling kind of thing anyway. Except here's world-changing, not world-building.

And! And! And! You know how the world keeps finding this one kind of statistically really unusual boy person and putting them right in my path so I can get all smitten? Maybe you don't! But it does! And so I figured out how that works into it too. Let's just say I can write a lovely relationship that makes me go all wistful sighs instead of the usual where every time I try to imagine it working, I get all stabby because even the imaginary (pre-fictional) stupid boys refuse to be good and instead insist on being horrendously suckful.

Yes! To the point where I was going to this appointment today with a doctor whose last name is the town in Argentina that late unlamented evil former fiance person's father was from--no joke--and I was all full of dread in no small part because I was quite sure I'd be facing Senor Argentina and it'd be all FRAUGHT because that's one of those triggery things for me, really, I get all wigginsy when I run into Argentinoids or even hear that particular accent of Spanish on the soccer tv, only to discover he was from somewhere clearly subcontinental. I know!

He was quite thoroughly awesome. And he determined via a series of rapid tests that there's nothing neurologically making my leg hurt on a regular day like today when I'm not having a zombie attack. I don't need surgery, which: duh. No one thought that except my old doc who cannot diagnose me. In fact this doctor was all, "You have arthritis in your right sacro-iliac joint," and I had to resist throwing my arms in the air touchdown referee style. Called it! Win! I mean, no, because it hurts like hell and crunches all the time but he wants them to inject whatever it is into it and make it hurt less. Eh?

But the COOL thing was, he is of course a neurosurgeon and asked about the whole zombie attack thing and I explained, and he said, "Have you seen a neurologist?" and I had to say that no, despite asking to see one since SEPTEMBER I have not been referred, and then he said, "Have you had a spinal tap?" and of course I had to say that despite asking for diagnostic tests for M.S. since the beginning, due to the whole *textbook case* thing, I haven't had any besides the MRI. So he ordered one. ACK.

I'm totally renting This Is Spinal Tap for that day. I tell you true.

So anyway out of pure perfection and happenstance I made corned beef brisket and szechuan green beans today. Corned beef for tomorrow of course. I say of course, even though I've never made it in my life and possibly made it wrong, because it's kind of terrible and seems to consist largely of connective tissue, so I might stick it in the oven and roast it instead, and anyway I forgot how gross meat is, and also I don't celebrate St. Patrick's day as such and will be wearing orange. And szechuan green beans because a) veg, b) unspicy fatty meat needs spicy veg, and c) although I completely didn't intend this at all, it fits with Glorious Book Revelation Times in a way that possibly I won't even remember when I read this again, I'm being so oblique.

The gray goose flies at midnight! Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun-dried tomato!

Also, I washed all the dishes. Washing the dishes is excellent for thinking through lovely bookery.

Oh, I left out the part where I forgot the paperwork for the doctor's office and had no idea where the office was and went to the wrong building entirely--to the place where I had that neurological sleep test thing, in fact--and someone very nice there walked me all the way back through the endless mazes that were so over the top in terms of spatial disorientation, I looked out the window, located the river to orient myself, and took the stairs on the way out. Insane! Building! Aaaaaah!

Spinal tap, brrr. You don't suppose the pain scale goes to eleven? I've heard they hurt like bloody hell. Eep! Here's how I'll decide about it: will it definitively diagnose it or rule it out, so I can start getting treated, frakking finally? Then I'm in. Otherwise, I'm out.

Got booking to do. Though I might also stick that roast in the oven to, um, roast for a while, too. Boiled meat looks vile. It's not browned. I have to face the fact that I'm not going to be able to stomach meat for very much longer. And if I had any memory at all, I wouldn't keep on trying.

Anyway. Onward! Upward! Excelsior!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fisher cat weasel bear

Guess what I saw today? A fisher! Also known as a fisher cat. It's an ottery creature but with a big long bushy tail and a face like a baby bear.

Lookit!

It was running across the road by the creek down by the volunteer fire department, next to The Nearest Store. So I stopped and ran around looking down into the raging creek but I didn't see it, or even its footprints, but the ground is still frozen hard and those guys run fast.

It was maybe more weasely and mink-like than ottery, long and skinny instead of short and heavier. But then it also had longish legs and that raccoon/bear face. It might just be my new favorite animal since it's so weirdly unclassifiable. It's a bearcat. A lemur wolverine! Look at that TAIL!

Well, yowza! I was only going that way because there were all these police cars on the other road and I'd seen enough of them lately. I had to stop yesterday on the way to work because a Jeep Liberty had flipped upside down in the ditch off a patch of ice on Mill Street. Holy yikes! That's because everyone goes double or triple the speed limit on that stretch of 25 mph road. So the police have been out pulling over every other car along there. They did that thing where they go blink blink blink with the lights behind me and I go, "Oh holy crap," even though I was very carefully not speeding, and then they went around me and pulled over the guy in front of me.

Well, you can see their point. I don't know if the driver survived that flipping over or was fine or what. In any case it was NOT GOOD.

So anyway the flipped Jeep got me cops which got me a different route which got me a lifetime new animal sighting in the wild. YAY!!!

Also David Gedge is on Twitter, you guys. Holy cow! I saw that today and ran home to play the entire Wedding Present at cat-irritating volume. It's on the Cheers theme right now. How come I don't have Watusi on the computer? Or that other one?

As you know, Bob, I named the hero of my first novel after this guy. I used to take Fountain when going to have lunch with J. because of the album Take Fountain. I went to see them live in Seattle in a tiny club and didn't understand a thing Our Mr. Gedge said between songs except, "We're not playing Kennedy." Why do I perk up my ears to that northern voice whenever I hear it, from Boromir to the 9th Doctor? It is again You Know Who.

In sum, formative music. First cd I ever bought was Seamonsters, you guys. With beloved Lars of course, who appreciated the momentous occasion and approved the choice. My friends' band used to cover Blonde and Suck. I was totally dressed in corduroy. For years!

Criminy, I forgot to say: they're PERFORMING AGAIN, but only in the UK, which is criminal. Criminiminal!

What a day!

Hahahahaha, actually the day once again proved that no matter how bad it gets, such that I always think, "This is the worst day ever!" there are always exciting new depths of suckage to plumb. It plumb sucked!

But I wrote a bunch of Ojai over lunch. It takes tremendous emotional focus to be in this hellstorm and go, "No, I am going to think about THIS awesome thing, and I'm going to make more of it, so frak you, unclefrakkers, you stupid frakking robots." Wait, I got my quotations mixed up there.

Since I was at The Nearest Store it was apparent that I ought to go in and get Moose Tracks ice cream, but they were tragically all out, and also had no Guinness, so I got shortening so I could make biscuits. And make biscuits I did! Slightly weird biscuits, with soy milk and light whole wheat flour. Plus I still have no butter. So I put horseradish cheese and honey on them.

My stomach hurts now for rather obvious reasons.

So the flipped Jeep got me biscuits as well as a fisher. Awesome!

I also baked little pumpkin pies but the flipped Jeep can't take credit for that.

Did you see that video from Japan during the earthquake, where the earth opened and shut over and over again like a mouth? Aaaaaaaaaaah! You must see it. Around minute 2:40 is the part that blows my mind, but it's all amazing. Just mute it and don't listen to the doofus narrating, who can't seem to grasp that the part where the earth is opening and shutting might be cooler to look at than some gazebo shaped like a sun hat. Ahem.