Sunday, June 30, 2013


Oh boy oh boy! And also: oh boy oh boy.

I'm helping my mom clear out some stuff from my dad's old office so I can use the room. I'm really squeezed at the moment. So that'll be awesome, truly!

It's HARD though. Especially for my mom. I mean I stopped doing the work I was doing (work as in paid) so I could go in there and assist and be helpful and supportive and whatnot.

We found all sorts of things, including the passwords to his computer, in my handwriting. Whoops! We were looking everywhere for those in, er, 2008. They were on a clipboard right there in plain sight. Well, behind a foot tall Wile E. Coyote.

So much dust! And many things to throw out. And many things I just stuck in the drawer because, hello, they were my dad's and they aren't going ANYWHERE.

Useful things acquired in the clean out:

3-ring binder for editing in progress, yay!
3-hole puncher (I know, I have two, but they're in Maine, yo)
a much more comfortable office chair (though it isn't blue)
one of those big white solid plastic laundry baskets



Which has been there all along, except I thought my mom was talking about the one I have (broken) and she keeps talking about this new/old one in terms that refer to the broken one's history. So it was all very confusing and now LAPTOP.

It's old and who knows, might not work or whatever, but I suspect it's far less broken than any of the three I have.

I need to take the hard drives out of those suckers and make them go away. I'm serious. Is there any better symbol of clinging to the past than broken laptops?

If I were a computer builder type person I'm sure I could somehow Frankenstein them together and have one excellent working laptop. But since one just emerged from the woodwork, I don't have to. Woohoo!

My brother took one of his to Office Depot or somewhere and got it turned into basically an external hard drive. That would work for me.

Yep! So yay, huh?

I'm also going to gain tremendous desk space and shelf space. Sloooooowly. There is no need to rush this type of thing. In fact my mom just put down what she was doing and went down to her comfy chair to take a nap. I am all for that. Nap on!

I keep saying we don't have to do any of this and she keeps saying either we do it now or someone's going to have to do it later. Which is true.

She found the hospital receipts from when my brother and sister were born, but not me. Don't put that together with my totally fake-looking photostat birth certificate or anything. You know, the one that's nothing like my brother's even though he was born in the same hospital. Ha!

I think the roses did eat that guy who was clearing a path with a chain saw next door. I noticed yesterday that the old gravel logging road up into it was totally overgrown to the point that you couldn't possibly walk in there. It's for sale, this soggy piece of land with the other neighbor's spring on it in a big concrete bunker like ours, with a right of way to it dating from the 1920s, plus it was logged over maybe six or eight years ago, so it's all scrub and brush and giant wild roses and slash and bog.

In short, I do not expect it to sell any time soon. Plus they want some gigantic sum of money for it. The neighbors on the other side up the mountain (third ones up, though) are also selling. The ones with the hunting platform on our land, remember them? Also unlikely to sell.

Anyway I'm glad that guy was over there cutting stuff with his dog. Because that means that no BEARS are hanging out over there, painting their toenails and laughing their furry bottoms off about how they scared the twilights out of me last night.

At least, I don't know what it was that suddenly went RUSTLE RUSTLE RUSTLE six feet high in the hedges along our field where I saw the bear last time. I was coming home from that long walk and thinking "No bears, no bears, no bears, the bull will scare away the bears," and suddenly this whole mess of trees and vines and roses and bushes shook like crazy, like four feet away from me, the whole mass of it from ground to top.

Much like it would if a bear wanted to scare the twilights out of you.

It was twilight, see.

I screamed. Oh, how embarrassing.

I'd just been up the hill earlier in the day, looking at the tree the bear has been shredding and noticing how much more shredded it is now. I really wish I could convince myself it's a porcupine. But it is not. Woe.

So anyway I'm hoping that the herd of cows plus the bull on one side and the chainsaw and human activity on the other side will reduce ursine shenanigans in the immediate vicinity.

I'm so relieved the bull is nice and mellow. Though I'd still prefer there to be an actual electric fence instead of a string. It's a string about waist high, strung on those skinny white plastic poles about a quarter inch in diameter. Just a string. They're supposedly conditioned to think those are electric fences and will stay away from them because they can't tell the difference. But I've SEEN a cow duck under a string like that and walk right out into the road, so I'm nervous when a half ton of beef and testosterone is on the other side of one.

He seems like a really nice bull, though. Very interested in the bovine ladies! Oh my! I am not kidding about the testosterone. Doesn't care about humans or dogs for which let us all be truly thankful.

What I think is interesting is that my dog also stares at the bull as we go past. In a herd of cows. I don't know, I wouldn't have thought a dog would know the difference, but he sure does. Dog picked him right out and watched him as carefully as I was watching him.

I vow that in future I will talk less about cows. Probably.

And more about NEW/OLD LAPTOP oh happy day!!!

There's just stuff everywhere. My mom cleaned out this big hall closet and so that stuff is everywhere, until the office stuff gets moved in there and it all gets rearranged and combined. She's doing so much work! And it's that no fun kind of cleaning and sorting where you have to deal with things that you stuffed in a closet in the first place because you didn't want to deal with them.

Somehow I got poison ivy on my hip. Like, inside my clothes. It's mystifying and irritating. I suppose I ran inside and went to the bathroom and had the oils on my hand. Which just makes me exceedingly grateful I didn't get it anywhere, you know, else. Yoicks. The mind reels.

Did you notice I went for a 3+ mile walk and I was fine? I KNOW! So much better! I kind of can't remember the past couple of weeks, which made me wonder last night if it was sort of like the Doctor regenerating. Like maybe you come through slightly different, right? I mean it is happening in my BRAIN. You kind of have to wonder.

This seems like a really good regeneration though, if so.

1) ginger (okay, I was before--but I am still!)
2) much more cheerful
3) getting stuff done

Maybe I'll just think of it as a twice-yearly regeneration cycle, like the way lakes turn over. Did you know lakes turn over? It's called lake turnover in one word like that, which makes me want an apple turnover. Look, illustrative linkage!

And now I really need some very late lunch. Darn you, buttered toast! You make me not eat forever and I miss my lunch! But oh so good. Buttered toooaaaast. Mmmm.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Oh and a flat

All of a sudden yesterday I jumped up, put the dog in the car, and drove up the mountain to find the overlook you can see from here. Except I didn't know how to get there, so I went past the turnoff and ended up in a town that completely surprised me because a) I thought it was 180 degrees the other direction (twisty mountaintop roads) and b) I didn't realize it was *on top* of the mountains like that. Though thinking about it, I guess that makes sense.

Quite surprising to be snuck up on by a town.

So then I went back and found the turnoff and discovered that the road was very very very very rocky and also that my shocks are absolutely shot and and that I had a soft/flat tire even before I got halfway up the mountain and also that there is now a big yellow barrier across that road. Which explains why I don't see the lights of the pickups of the drinking kids up there anymore.

I could actually hear them from here. It's a quiet valley. And it's the narrow upper end of it. It's something like eight miles to drive there but about one at most straight across. Steep and hairpin turn filled.

There was nowhere to turn around. This rocky road, hoo boy. Consider pavement. Consider gravel. Consider rutted, washed out gravel. Now take away the gravel and most of the dirt and just leave rocks poking up through clay to the point where sometimes it was all rocks and no clay.

I did finally get to someone's closed up cabin and turned around there. Then had to go judder judder judder at five miles an hour back to the lovely gravel. I think the dog and I cheered when we got back to real pavement.


1. Very cool to know the back way over the mountain! It's much shorter. It's even much faster.

2. There was nowhere to stop and let the dog run around, which is what I wanted in the first place.

3. After about 1/3 of this trip I desperately had to pee, which made the rocky road especially challenging.

4. Driving on rocky road makes you want rocky road ice cream. I do have Moose Tracks in the freezer, though. Yay! It's the chocolate kind, with peanut butter cups and chocolate chunks in it, which incidentally is EXACTLY what that road looked like.

5. I have to get new shocks.

6. I definitely needed an alignment before and now I quadruple need one.

7. Also need to pump up that tire.

8. There is a huge reservoir on the map but the sign to it says no cars, no domestic animals, and so on. So does that mean I can walk down the path with my kayak? Can you kayak in reservoirs or is that someone's drinking water? See. Things to consider.

9. I marked the spot on the rocky road where I turned around with "Ouch" on the map/compass thing on my phone.

10. There's another road on the map that supposedly leads sort of near there, but it starts in the neighbors' driveway across the road. Hmmmmm. I think not. Anyway I'd see a road leading up there from here.

11. You know that day like eighteen years ago or whatever when I saw that hang glider take off from the outlook, back when they had a platform up there, only it landed like fifty feet down the mountain and then there were ambulances and stuff? I only recently realized that guy died. They took down the platform not too long after that and nobody flew off the outlook anymore.

12. Hang gliders are therefore listed with motorcycles on the short list of "things which I've seen people get killed by using right in front of me."

13. We did drive up there once in my Jeep or possibly the old Honda SUV? years ago. My sister had conniptions the whole way because after the road turns gravel, there's an incredibly steep and long drop-off to the right as you go uphill. She does not like heights and edges together. I didn't even notice it on the way up, but I did on the way down. My brother took a picture of the house from there. I know you used to be able to get there by car.

14. There's this one really nice camp way up in the deep V of the valley that I remember walking through with my parents' dog before last (so a while back) after we hiked up the woods to the power line trail, climbed up the rocks, whereupon I had to push the dog up the last part from behind because it was too steep, then hiked all along this old logging road on the ridge, then came down cross-country and was delighted to end up in that camp because it meant roads and home were nearby.

15. Right after that camp it's state forest for miles and miles. And miles and miles.

Why are these things numbered? I don't know!

16. Anyway NOW I know how far it is and have a sense of the map and distances and it's not remotely scary anymore except for the steep plummet, which, face it, is incredibly easy to avoid when you are a person walking on your feet.

And the upshot of all this is: I'm gonna walk up there with my dog and take you a picture. Yes I am.

Not to the overlook. That would be brutally far, at least for a while. But upward! Up the mountain!

This is where it occurs to me that I tend to park myself in the same relation to a mountain all the time. There is the same walk up the mountain here as there was in Maine and in L.A. How? How do I keep doing this? How could I do this repeatedly and not even notice until just now?

So that's the mountain story for the day. Drama! Excitement! Not getting out of the car! Hee.

Today I just forgot to eat all day after breakfast toast, then made these excellent pepper jack quesadillas, plus a whole lot of the crudite kind of veg. My dog begged for carrots. That's my boy! And now I'm so full I might fall over.

I really miss my Jeep all over again, man! It would have made NOTHING of that rocky road. Pfft, that's what my Jeep would have said.

Depending on what ails the Outback (oh dear) then we shall see. I caught sight of a gorgeous used dark blue Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale the other day and slowed down to go ooooooooh.

My goodness. Reading all that backblog (snort) was highly interesting and told me Many Things. Among them are:

1. Denial is a powerful force because it's obvious even from the description that it was M.S. that whacked me in December of 2009. Doy.

2. I hate being broke, isolated, and scared. Again with the DOY.

3. Some places I worked in Maine were ridiculously abusive, to a degree that's shocking to me now, looking back on it, but I was stuck and had to put up with it. NEVER AGAIN. Life is too short. Even if it wasn't and I were granted eternal life (and health and youth and funding) (gotta wish carefully) then I still wouldn't put up with that. NO MORE.

4. I really love teaching.

5. And making food. It's funny to read about because I get excited about making things much more than eating them. Like you almost never hear "Oh this food was so good!" but you hear about how fun it's going to be to make this and that.

6. I really miss awesome people! Where are you, awesome people? You can get in touch again! It's okay! I think people kind of stopped emailing like they used to all over, though. Do you think that's true?

7. More doing, less talking about it. I'm going to take my doggerel for a walk, since we didn't manage to get out of the car yesterday. There's a lot of firecrackers and fireworks blamming out there so at least, probably, no bear? Right!

8. Oh my goodness shut up with the complaining! What the hell? Stop it right now. Awesomeness: yay! Complaints: shhhh.

9. Life is good. I want more, please. Yay!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Experimental marmalade

Well, I was freaking out and this doctor-like person gave me one of those little foil bubble things with a pill inside. The foil said MARMALADE but I was deeply suspicious and turned it over and read the teeny tiny fine print, which said LITHIUM something something.

That was my weird dream.

I don't actually know anything about lithium except I've seen some people who are on it whose hands just shake like a shaky thing. Probably better than the alternative.

Anyway I woke up and thought, "Hmmm," which is kind of my most common thought process, and then I took those thyroid meds that I quit taking a couple of loooooooonnnnng days ago.

Here's what happens when you quit taking your thyroid meds: you turn into a zombie. And you puff all up. And your innards stop working. And you get super depressed. It's pretty dire, actually. Today, however, I'm feeling ten thousand percent better and I'm very pleased with my brilliant idea of, you know, taking my perfectly common medications as directed.

Status quo achieved! Woohoo!

There are all these outrageous thunderstorms blowing through. I've moved to the living room with my newer busted laptop, its monitor, its keyboard, its little cooling platform thing, a fan, my phone, a big glass of water, and a cup of tea. And some quilts and of course my dog, who is loving the COUCH LIFE.

He has always been the world's biggest fan of couches and beds. He is right now on top of two pillows and a quilt on the couch. Earlier he brought one piece of dog food in and carefully buried it in that corner of the couch. I have no idea what that's about, but it's amazing watching him bury things in furniture because he moves the pillows and quilts around so deliberately in multiple directions. This dog, he's a thinker.

I might have to wash these windows. And I mean, get on a ladder outside amidst the bushes. I will probably go bananacakes trying to fend off the wasps with my electric tennis racket and could possibly get eaten by a rhododendron. But I might try anyway.

The cows are all hollering at each other from field to field today. What is up, cows? It always sounds like they're right outside the door but they're actually what, 400-500 yards away?  I keep hoping they'll get moved across the road to our side because the presence of a whole lot of cows should keep the bear visits down, right?

I have the powerful urge to go hiking up the mountain road. But then I also have a powerful urge not to be kidnapped and murdered by a drunken hillbilly on his way to or from his hunting camp. That's the only place that road goes. And it's exceedingly isolated. And narrow. And overhung with trees. And then there's the bear who went walking right up that road.

And then I think, Hmmmmmmm.

Mulling. I'm a muller. I should go to the Isles of Mull and Kintyre. Or possibly mull some wine. Wine, hmmmmm.

Okay, now it's raining, so never mind the mountain hillbilly bear walk. My dog does not like rain.

There are huge floods here. I think we got six inches of rain yesterday. Roads are washed out and houses fell down. It rained pretty hard and then it just kept on raining pretty hard for hours and hours and hours. It's fine here of course but down in the next valley there are bridges washed out and all that. This county is in a state of emergency, for real, how about that? It never feels that bad up at this elevation. Except with snow, where it feels Much Worse.

Hi! Gosh it's nice to be all chipper and myself again! I have projects in mind! Like writing more of my Camp NaNo thing! And working much more on editing and integrating the old bloggery with this one. Yes! I would like to be reunited. It feels so good, they say. And...cue that Chuck Mangione song that's been playing nonstop in my head lately, Feels So Good. Do you ever wonder how things would be different on the flugelhorn from Uttar Pradesh timeline?

Yes, I finally watched the last three episodes of Community. Yes, it was so off and painful and creepy, exactly like bad fanfiction. Exactly. And weirdly misogynist in the way some things are, where they don't act like women are real people. Like Evil Annie, so gross that I can't even talk about it. Anyway.

Terrible! Hated it!

I have more Warehouse 13 coming via Netflix though, woohoo! I'm rewatching all of it because I can't really remember any of it, and then I remembered I did exactly that, like, when? Last year? Year before? I don't know why it won't stick to my brain.

Oh! And I read a thing arguing that magic doesn't need to make any logical sense in literature because it's magic. To which I say: you are very very wrong. And the reason is: you need some rules or your writing will all be one big cheat. You will write magic in appallingly convenient ways and your plot will make no sense. And that's why magic has to have rules. I don't even care what they are. But there has to be some consistent sense to things or it makes the writing suck. Why would you want to do something that would make your writing suck? Exactly.

The same holds true for technobabble so don't think I'm picking on magic.

Hey! Did you go read all of Shannon Hale's books yet? WELL WHY NOT??? I'm the biggest fan, holy wow. I just read Book of A Thousand Days and got utterly blown away. I loved Princess Academy but this one is just amazing. There's a character who follows the rules and that leads her to all sorts of good and bad and terrible and wonderful and terrifying and redemptive places. I love that. I love it when a character's true nature holds throughout the writing and drives everything that happens.

Which is another fabulous thing. The main character, Dashti, absolutely drives the whole story with her choices. And her choices are informed by that respect for the order of things. How amazing is that? It's brilliant.

And there's an almost irredeemably annoying person, which makes me very happy. Considering that I have a character in a current work who is named Shithead by the other characters and goes by that name throughout. TO THEIR DOWNFALL as it turns out. I did not see that coming, honestly. Books! Always surprising me! Who's driving this thing?

I am so comfortable right now, I can't even tell you. Sitting on a couch! Jeez, I've been so physically uncomfortable for so long, up in that hot hot room, where all the bugs go at night because it's the last light on, where all the heat goes because that's where the highest window is. And the terrible chairs. The terrible chairs! And the impossible computer configurations! And the crampedness.

Clearly I'm a dope with hummus for brains for not using this great big totally unused room sooner. Don't even argue. You know it's true. Undeniable puddingheadery.

Yeah, I'm going to have to wash those windows. I have a great memory of sitting on this couch with D. back in, ooh, the 80s? Before either of us had dogs so I guess the 80s. A huge thunderstorm was rolling up the valley so we ran and made tea and popcorn before the power went out, and once it did, we sat here on the couch eating popcorn and going Ooh and Ahh at the thunder and lightning out these windows.

Yes! Much exciting work to do! I can't shake the feeling that if I eat some marmalade I'll undergo some kind of excellent transformative experience, but that's because I have very persistent dreams. Boy, the other night I dreamed both my phone and my ipod got stolen at a party and when I woke up I went around clutching them all day long. Even though the part of my ipod in the dream was actually played by the little remote for AppleTV. Which I think is quite odd. Why would it turn into an ipod nano? I do not have one of those. Mine is the kind that looks just like the phone. Weird.

Oh, sure, that's the weird part. Not the part where I had a great big angular axe and challenged the naked six foot four Viking who we all thought was wrecking the house and robbing it in classic Viking manner. He said, "What is that?" and I said, "It's an AXE" and he kind of shook his head and had another beer. But no, he was just lulling us all into a false sense of security with a party that was really fun until we realized his minions had stolen everyone's phones and ipods and various electronics while we were drinking Kahlua and eating bonbons. Giant misdirecting party-throwing sneaky naked electronics-plundering Viking bastard!

Dang it, even though the thunderstorm has stopped, now I want popcorn. Thanks a lot, Thor!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


What a night and day for events!

Two things worry me:

1. Wendy Davis is incredibly awesome. But how does someone go 12 hours without having to pee? Seriously. I'm worried about her health today. And just outrageously impressed by her in every way, not just physical stamina, though of course that was phenomenal.

It reminds me that when you train, you train for the unknown as much as the known.

2. Repealing DOMA is awesome but it's really putting things on the states. Like it's kind of a victory for the states' rights people, who tend to be massive racists/sexists/haters of all kinds. Also, it gives more strength and power to the state legislatures like the one in Texas. See why that worries me?

Though the way the national legislature has been going....yeesh.

Amazing stuff. Amazing!

Did you know that the right to vote is NOT guaranteed by the Constitution? It's true. My old friend who works in Washington politics (brave!) pointed out that it too can be taken away by the state legislatures. Given the other horrific things they happily vote in, I'm pretty scared. Again, strengthened by the Supreme Court decision.

Anyway I just hope everyone is fired up enough to take on their individual state governments and fight through all the grossness and corruption and power-hogging that goes on there.

Are there people who don't know we're in a total war right now? Like do they not see how the straight white men are fighting dirty everywhere to get control back as it's slipping away from them? It terrifies me to think what they will do. They're the scaredest people anywhere so they'll do anything. ANYTHING.

Brrr, ugh.

So YAY for the achievements of awesomeness today! I hope we have many more!

I really want to help. Is there a way I can help while still hiding under my bed? Hmm.

I'm not sure what's happening around here, as in, in my life, ha. I've been in a heat and benadryl induced stupor over the last couple of days due to the ungodly hot weather and the poison ivy.

Nobody tells you this so I will: poison ivy doesn't just itch, like a mosquito bite itches. It burns like hot nails are being driven into your leg. And get this, the liquid benadryl dries and pulls the skin tight so that it itches even more. It's ridiculously awful. And I have like three spots of it, which have turned into big hard knots. It looks like the tips of ONE LEAF dragged along my leg for about half an inch. Yoicks. What is it like if you get a whole lot of this stuff?

Maybe I've gone all auto-immune on it and physically over-reacted to it, like with most things. I mean, allergic hyper-reaction kind of thing. SO BORING. Tired of it.

I finally drove the car in a normal manner! Hurray! Well, it was iffy at first. But then settled down. I bought actual foodstuffs, whee! And then consumed some of them! It's a great day.

I do not feel normal. Heat really wrecks me these days. I'm not kidding, being overheated (and I sit in front of one or two fans at all times) screws me up really badly now. I feel like a big sopping drunken sponge, all weak and dopey and immobilized. I hate it.

Did you know that the test for M.S. used to be that doctors would make you take a really hot bath? Then when you got out, if you were all staggery and doped out, they went, aha! Heat really sets this thing off. And all this benadryl is not helping at all.


So I've been doing essentially nothing but read, and sometimes knitting a little. I read John Green's Paper Towns last night. Good book! I like how his main characters get along really well with their parents. I don't know why that tickles me so much, but it does. It's not that common in young adult. And I just adore the characters all throughout his books. Brilliant characters, and this wonderful writing where every third sentence is hilarious because of how it's phrased.

John Green makes me want to write. Maureen Johnson makes me want to write. Sarah Dessen makes me want to write and go ride my bike. Justine Larbalestier, A.S. King (the BEST!), Sarah Rees Brennan, Melina Marchetta, on and on! Amazing, amazing, amazing.

You know what? Writing is physically very uncomfortable where I am now. It's true. Might as well face that. Writing at this desk is hideously uncomfortable because of my dad's old desk chair and the height of the desk and how the desk hits the tops of my legs but is still too high to type comfortably. The laptop is just torment because I can't use its monitor or keyboard but I *have* to use its touch pad, which means I'm trapped in a tangle of wires with a heavy monitor that isn't close enough to me to see properly.

And so how much do I write? Very little.

Here are some solutions:

1. fix my old laptop, the one that works fine until it suddenly freezes up (may involve reinstalling Windows etc., the disks for which are...not here)
2. get a new laptop
3. try to figure out a new chair solution, like, I don't know, go buy a chair that isn't so uncomfortable

I'm really grounded for a while, though. I don't think I can properly convey what the heat does to me, though I tried a bit above. Run a marathon then stay up all night drinking then get hit over the head with an i-beam, maybe.

Here are some things I would do if I had the energy to get out of (or work in) this uncomfortable chair:

write things! many things! awesome things!
go slaughter more wild roses (wearing long pants or tall boots)
clean up the last wild rose massacre (messy)
dig up and bury that cat skellington
go pick up that dead mole (every day, what is up with that?)
go clear that path by the pond except for the snapping turtles and possible bears
work on this quilt
knit a thing
paint a thing
make plans to get my stuff all in one state, at least
exercise, ha ha!
make sweet potato apple curry soup, mmm
make pumpkin pie (no crust) because it's so very good cold
fix the dang printer
walk the dog
wash the dog
sew some excellent light-weight skirts

Uh, yeah, first on the list would actually be GO TO WORK if I could. I hate feeling like such a stationary object and disaster area. Sheesh!

Clearly the first solution is MORE TEA. That's my first solution for everything. Make tea, then deal. Okay!

I hope to report back soon with improved results. Soggy old oof!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


We could sure use some coolth around here. Is there coolth? Maybe in the gross basement. Warmth we have plenty of. It is ungodly hot.

Also nasty biting and stinging insects, very high humidity, thunderstorms, mold, rodentia, and wild roses full of thorns. And I have poison ivy, to add injury to unpleasantness. And a blister the size of a quarter on the back of my heel. Well, I mean, it burst, so now I have a massive hole in the back of my heel and have to wear sandals.

Well! On the plus side, I lost that auction for the flugelhorn, thank goodness for that. It was priced so low, that was maybe inevitable, but the shipping was high enough that I worried it wasn't. Together they were still a total bargain for a flugelhorn. If one really wanted such a thing. Okay, I mean, I would love one, sure, but I would love a French horn MORE. Want! Must acquire.

Poison ivy turns out to be hideously itchy, which you knew. And gross. It weeps. It weeps it knows not why! Pull it together, poison ivy.

I had some mixed grains for breakfast out of an overheated desire not to cook anything. And then some pistachios for dinner. Actually I just remembered there's something not hot I could eat: a pbj. I'm going to do that next.

Heat! I hate it! At least when combined with murderous inhumane humidity! It's supposed to be up to 91 all week plus thunderstorms every day, which is just a wretched mixture. The ground is crunchy dry but the air is a wet blanket.

So anyway. More sitting still in the near future! What will power could not command, heat and humidity can.

Goodness, I am just full of aphorisms today.

I really feel like watching Hellboy for some reason. I do not have Hellboy. Did you know it can be incredibly soothing if one is agitated to recall the events of a book or movie or tv episode in sequence? According to the professionals, it's something about accessing that particular type of stored memory. It's immediately calming.

Last night I watched Tin-Tin, which has only been sitting here since April or something. I have another thing queued up. Somebody and Somebody is the title, except actual names, but I forgot what they are. Toni Colette plays a claymation little girl? Anyway Tin-Tin was totally fun and Snowy the dog in particular was fabulous and kept on joining in the conversation with dog noises, which made Gawain the dog perk up his ears in the most adorably classic doggy way. Like part of it was in his language for once! Cool for dogs.

And speaking of musical instruments (what?) I might have to get my soprano sax back from my (older) nephew. He left it behind when he moved out so he probably wouldn't mind. Must ask.

I wonder how my astonishing lack of teeth will affect playing wind instruments? Quite a lot, I'm sure. I suspect it'll be a lot harder to create a solid column of air for brass, but I don't know. I'm looking forward to getting all that lung capacity back, though. Hurray! One of these days.

I just paid a stack of bills but I ran out of stamps, so I used this amazing collection of very old stamps that my grandmother stuck in a box for years and years. And I mean she'd buy sheets of stamps and stick them in there. So I put together odd ones to make up enough for postage. It should entertain the mail carriers, at any rate. (Ha ha, mail joke.)

My disappearing leg is getting better every day lately. Or at least it lasts longer. Though I got totally shaky legs this afternoon. But if I go early tomorrow I should be able to drive to the store for squash and cat litter and that type of thing. We'll see how it goes. Oh and getting the car inspected, which is now Quite Late and Not Okay. I mean I had a good reason, but I don't really want to discuss it with the nice officer, either.

I'm waiting to hear on a couple of things which is a good feeling but also kinda tense and makes me feel like I shouldn't do anything else in case that interferes with the waiting. Daft, I know.

So instead I keep urging myself to get things done by saying "I can do zat! I can do zat!" and imagining Chekov running around the Enterprise at top speed, because that totally tickles me.

And I really don't know why but speaking of cute boys from film, I keep having dreams that I'm hanging out with Harry, Hermione, Ginny, Ron, Fred, and George. Especially Fred and George. They're absurdly prosaic dreams where we're eating pizza and drinking butterbeer and sitting around on couches getting silly and cuddly. Clearly I need a life. Goodness me.

But since that is not available at the moment, for right now I'll settle for that pbj.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Nothing to see, move it along

What a surprisingly vigorous day, considering I fully intended to sit around and not get dirty. Ha! Yeah, that didn't work out so well. If it's this hot again tomorrow (and it will be) then I'm hoping the heat if nothing else will render me stationary.

I got out yarn and needles to make hats for the refugee kids through Afghans for Afghans. So there, that's a start. What little kid doesn't want a Jayne hat?

Actually I think they request that we not put earflaps on them. I'll have to check.

Okay, I've been watching these old Stargate Atlantis episodes out of the generalized lack of thinky cells around here. And because my goodness, even when things are implausible and illogical, it's very funny and smart, the dialog is completely hilarious, I adore the characters--especially McKay--and there are lovely jaw-droppingly gorgeous Shephard and Ronon to get you through the slower bits.

I love that show. Truly. There are sometimes hilariously wrong medical things, and technobabble, and this and that, but it's the DS9 of the Stargate world, no question, and I adore it. Yay!

I wish I had a bottomless fund for downloading tv because I'd totally get Warehouse 13 and Eureka and all the Stargates and Deep Space Nine and all kinds of things. Oh man! What would I even get after all that? I'd love to watch Smallville all the way through, for example. The last year of EVERYTHING since I've missed it all. Once Upon A Time, which you know I completely adore. Apple turnovers, people! Mmm, I need to make some of those. Bones, though it did get excessively domestic and also formulaic a bit in patches. What else? Everything! I'd even like to watch Game of Thrones, catch up on Downton Abbey, everything, all of it, sheesh!

Mmmmm, SF tv. My FAVORITE! Yes.

Well, I cleaned out most of the junk in the tack room in the barn and bagged it up for the trash. And sorted all my stuff that's stored in fezzes and trunks and things. And put a lot of things into the old cedar chest that is apparently going to be mine. And I hauled some stuff up from the barn to clean it up and see if I want to keep it or what.

We've really been going through all sorts of mountains of stuff over here and getting rid of 90% of it. It's exhausting but apparently I can't stop. My mom has ideas about moving stuff from my dad's old office (also where he spent 24 hours a day for his last months and actually died) into a closet in the hall, which she's been cleaning out.

There are eight pillows stacked on a chair in the hall. I keep thinking it's someone standing there looking at me. Which, along with flugelhorns from Uttar Pradesh, is something I HATE about those emergency anti-anxiety pills. For the whole next day I'll think I see faces in things that are not faces, and people shapes in things that are not people. Cat faces, dog faces, and so on. I do NOT like it. I swear you pay back any good that drug does with 200% interest. I'm not even really sure it's worth it. Is it? Maybe.

Grumph, though. I thought there was a black cat down by where the creek comes out of the field. It was some yellow leaves that fell off a bush onto the dark rock, making exactly the layout and color of a black cat's face, except only if it were a two-dimensional silhouette made out of those pieces, which were not two-dimensional. Know what I mean? Like the way we see constellations as though they're flat on a plane, but in reality one star might be many light years further away than another one.

This is exactly why when I saw that bear I hesitated and stayed where I was, looking carefully to make sure.

Anyway. Faces! They are not there. Just say no to medications you are specifically ordered to take by your primary care physician, apparently!

There were lots and lots of animal faces around for real, though, with the giant herd of cows (I watched the bull warily as always) and all the chickens and calves and dogs and cats and baby turkeys (the white industrial kind, not the wild ones) and birds and chipmunks and things. No exciting wildlife today, thank goodness. Just the usual baby bunnies in the yard and the big bunny down by the barn. And a dead mole. What's a day without a dead mole or snake? Oh and I got bitten, or rather STABBED, by a deer fly, while I was examining that cat skellington in the window well. Yes, I went to look at (and remove) the skull and then discovered there was the whole rest of a cat skeleton down there, too. Oh dear.

I'll have to dig it out and bury it at some point.

WHAT A RIVETING EXISTENCE I DO LEAD. I shouldn't mind the odd alarming pareidolia experience or wildlife encounter or meteor fireball, the way they liven up the days.

I found packets of seeds in the tack room that were marked with the name of the town where we lived in Illinois, so, like 1979? Something like that.

Too many dead things. Too much grossness. Too many things to deal with and put away, throw away, or give away. Things! Sheesh!

Two more days for someone to outbid me on the flugelhorn in Uttar Pradesh. Please feel free, brass players of the subcontinent! It would not take much! I think right now the bid is at $2.75. You read that right, but let's not discuss the shipping. I know, it balances out really well if the price stays that low. Still. Yoicks!

I need a new warning label

I cannot believe I did this again. Or actually I can, because I know perfectly well that the emergency anxiety pills make me lose some vital inhibitions.

Like the ones that say, "Do not bid on a flugelhorn in Uttar Pradesh on Ebay."

You wouldn't even need to be told that, would you? Well. Nor would I. Except I was stressed out to the point of sitting there with all my muscles clenched, so I took two teeny tiny pills as directed. And they worked! And it was awesome!

And then I bid on a flugelhorn in Uttar Pradesh.

I can only hope that someone outbids me. Though it would be awesome to spend the rest of my life going, "Do you like my flugelhorn? It's from Uttar Pradesh!"

Really I wanted a French horn. Though I do love the flugelhorn. Did you know I performed a whole concert with Chuck Mangione? It's true. I have all of Children of Sanchez memorized, and I mean, every note.

However, I think in my dazed state I was conflating the mellophone with the flugelhorn. I did play the mellophone before I played the French horn. It was one of those situations where we were standing around bored and boiling in our wool uniforms and I tried my friend's mellophone and everyone got mad (not actually mad) because it sounded glorious on my first try.

I have a long history of picking up instruments I've never touched before and making them sound glorious on my first try. Isn't it odd that it always makes people mad? Usually people who have worked very very hard to sound good on that instrument. Okay, not so odd.

I've played the flugelhorn too, of course, duh! What haven't I played? (I'm thinking. Bass flute! I think that's about it. Oh and English horn.)

My memory of playing flugelhorn is that the sound is amazing but it's too much back pressure, but then I'd been playing the baritone for ages then so I was used to a much larger column of air. French horn is all tiny and constricted too, anyway.


Isn't it nice that Ebay emails you so you know what daft thing you did this morning? I know!

So I have to put some kind of symbol on the pills. Like a circle with a dollar sign in it and a slash through it. Do not do things while taking this! Or draw in a little flugelhorn with a magic marker and follow it with six or seven exclamation points.

Oh, a flugelhorn, being hugged by Chuck Mangione, the flugelhorn's best friend. He looked exactly like that when I played with him. Exactly. He was awesome.

And this is Uttar Pradesh in the middle there:


Well, we'll see, huh?

I did all this ridiculous work today, hauling and scrubbing and sorting and cleaning. I don't know why I consistently fail to understand TAKE IT EASY. I'm like, okay, no cutting roses! Good. Instead I shall do sixteen more onerous tasks and frell my knee all up again! And get sunburned.

These are the choices I make.

My, what excellent persistence you showed today! Goodness, what a hard worker you are! Nice job!

This is me focusing on the positive.

Plus, stay off your goddamn wobbly and unreliable legs was pretty much Imperative #1 and I've been failing utterly at that (pradesh) to the point where I'm wondering what exactly is up with that. I know get restless and antsy but seriously, dang. GO SIT DOWN.

Tomorrow I think we're taking all the cardboard to be recycled, plus the electronics recycling, plus I don't know, I need to buy some squash or something, don't I?

Last time I took that stuff I ended up with that crazy skateboard, which is still in the car. It looks like this except blue, and it was less than $20, so, I mean, anyway.

You are correct. The front and back halves each only have one wheel. And each half tilts independently of the other half.

Have you ever seen anything less appropriate for a person who is not allowed to go to work because she can't WALK OR BALANCE and falls down all the time? Yet I was wandering the store at an unsteady but exceedingly un-anxious stagger, waiting for my prescriptions to be filled, saw that in the sale aisle, and decided it was exactly what I needed. Also clearly it was destined because it was ROYAL BLUE.

So anyway.

Meanwhile, until my flugelhorn gets here from Uttar Pradesh, I got out my bagpipe chanter to play on. Bonus, it's unlikely to harm me physically unless someone throws a brick at my head to get me to stop playing the Skye Boat Song.

It's a hazard of the trade.

Chuck Mangione in more current pictures looks surprisingly like Luc Besson. Or possibly they share some spiritual attributes that make me say that. Or their presence, all that amazing talent so calm and self-contained and unruffled.

See what I'm saying there?

I will just have to meditate on the zen of Chuck Mangione and Luc Besson for a while. And warning labels to myself.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I'm all excited because I saw this wide bright green flash of a meteor going over the mountains to the northeast. Yowza! I wonder how far away it really was? Of course from here it looked like it was going to flatten the tiny town of Castanea but it was probably a mile in the sky and would have landed in Canada, if it had landed, which it didn't or I'd have heard the boom. Unless it squashed Toronto, but I hope not! Gosh!

I keep trying to figure out how to describe how wide it was. Stick your arm out full length and stick out your thumb. That wide. Except, you know, that wide up in the sky.

Anyway I totally filled out the form and stuff and reported it to the people who know about this sort of thing. Woohoo! I wonder if anyone else saw it? Because of course I think: no, that whole area of mountains is totally uninhabited (except by my friend the bear and his/her friends and relations) but then I remember: probably visible from really far away. If you happen to be out in the yard at 11:15 at night with your dog and keeping a sharp eye out for Ursa Major, local variety.

Astronomy joke!

How big was that bear? Well, yesterday I saw a deer in the same spot. This is totally Enchanted Forest. The deer looked at me and I looked at the deer, examining it carefully to make sure it wasn't a bear in disguise, and then my dog and I continued on our short walk. When we came back up the driveway, the deer was still there, watching.

That's when I realized that the tall grass in that field comes up to the top of a deer's body. And the bear's head was over it. Over the tall grass. Bear as tall at shoulder as a deer.

I find this alarming.

Welp, I'm waiting for the meds to knock me out. Meds say knock you out! Oh dear, I seem to be loopy.

I spent the evening dissecting my printer. It ate a tissue. Very unhealthy for printers! The operation was a success, in that the tissue was removed completely, but I'm not sure the patient survived. I mean I got it all put back together (go me!) but now it insists that the paper out door is closed, when in fact it is open, and it will NOT print while that door is closed. Nope.

So I might have joggled a sensor or befraggled a wire or something. Crap!

I only broke two parts off, too! But they were totally inessential irrelevant plastic flappy things.

I did manage to knock over the ten pound baby dumbbell that was holding the printer up. And it fell into the dog's water dish, causing a minor two foot high water spout effect, all of which startled me very much because I'd forgotten the weight was there at all.

So that was fun! I do like taking things apart and all that. Whee! Ooh, I also got my new license plate today, with the otter on it for Wildlife Conservation, though honestly that was before quite so much wildlife started interacting with me on a daily basis. Oh, I kid, I want to conserve it, truly! Just maybe outside a nice twenty-five foot radius? I can be flexible on that, depending on size and weight and toothiness and clawedness of the wildlife in question.

Baby bunnies? Fine. Frakking huge black bears? Farther away, please.

The meteor totally feels like a joke. Like, so you're wigged out by a bear? Try THIS! It's purely awesome though and in no sense threatening. I just mean, the constant ramping up of the natural phenomena around here was getting pretty silly already and now this! What next? Seriously! What tops a big green meteor flash?

And I have this thing tomorrow. A Thing is what I have. It's a good Thing! But it's a bit stressful.

Is dumbbell really a word? Hmmm.

Oh! We ran a million errands today. Oh so many! I needed this prescription without which doom, also apples and bananas and face soap, but I cannot drive, as observed whenever that was, so my mom had to drive me. Oh the humanity! But then she was able to make use of my relative sprightliness and I got to do some stuff for her that would take her all day just from getting in and out of the car, like mail a letter, go to the liquor store, drop off a ton of recycling, put money in the car wash for her, leave some stuff at Goodwill, and so on.

The drastic uptick in wildlife directly correlates with my daily regime of making myself take Mr. Puppy for a walk. A real walk on the road with a leash. He loves it so much! He is able to tell me that it's time for a walk somehow, not exactly sure how. He does this thing where he looks out the window and sighs, then looks at me, then sighs and looks martyred, then puts a beseeching paw on my arm, and so on. Anyway. My dog: an excellent communicator.

I did NOT fight the roses today. Yay for self-control, huh? I wanted to. I stalked around the yard and pointed at them with my pointy cane and said, "I've got my eye on you," all threatening-like. But I already look like a cutter with a nasty cat so enough already! For now.

I DID get rid of two dead moles that appeared overnight. It's official. Harch is a mole and snake chupacabra. It's the only possible explanation.

Bite the roses, Harch! Bite them! Bite them! Grrrrrr!

I have to get up early for The Thing which means I dread the usual stress-induced inability to sleep. But maybe I'll just conk out, eh? It could happen! We don't KNOW for SURE that I won't just fall asleep! Right, yeah! Yaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwnnnnnn.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Maybe the pills finally kicked in! Maybe I cut down so many wild roses that I exhausted myself into a state of Oz-like cool! (The Buffy guy, not the nation.) (Though you're cool too!) Maybe I just didn't get any sleep last night and I'm all kinds of OVER IT due to insomnia.

It's hilarious to take massive doses of anxiety/insomnia-specific medications and a hard cider (which is totally not allowed, but keep reading) and then still be awake at 3 a.m. and take some benadryl on top of all that then wake up at 8:30. Oh man.

Anyway I'm all mellowed out now. Except when I take the dog out in the dark. I used to just let him out to run around, gosh! Now he's on the leash and I have a big flashlight and my pointy cane and the bear whistle my mom provided on a lanyard around my neck.

There are big things crashing around out there at night now. This is new! And my dog will not leave my side. So I'm out there on the grass in my Professor McGonagall robes and my pink shoes, going "Come on, go pee. Pee on the grass." As if specificity were the problem in this scenario. Oh, on the *grass*! Thanks for clarifying that!

Also the dog keeps wanting to go out at night because there are really interesting smells. I don't know how good your nose is. Hey, how good is your nose? But I can smell when a fox goes by. I mean from inside the house. And I'm getting to know that musky rich petrichor type bear smell, with top notes of carrion, ooh!

I'm not sure where it's from but I've got horrible hivey face. Quite possibly the fancy Indian mangoes my sister's friend brought us. Or all the stupid cookies. (We must stop eating these cookies!) Or the new brand of thyroid medications.

Unless of course it's all the poison ivy I was rooting around in while slaughtering wild roses. It's great when you see that shiny vine by your foot and realize you just stuck your hand in it. Hmm. And then forget again until two hours later, during which time that oil could have been spread anywhere.

I'm all scratched up from the dang roses. But I've cleared out a significant chunk. SO much more to go.

See, did you hear that just now? Er, no, you didn't. Something big is crashing and rattling outside. At this juncture I really wish I'd taken the cashews and pistachios out of the car. Jeez.

Okay, I'm conflating grizzlies with our much milder black bears. Grizzlies will see a plastic grocery store bag on your car seat in Yellowstone and rip the doors off to get at it, even if it's just full of dirty socks. Black bears are more into knocking over your trash and spreading it all over the lawn.

I spent a long time yesterday learning how to distinguish various species of skulls so I could identify the one I found in the window well yesterday. I'm leaning toward cat. Of course the examples I had were like tiger, leopard, wolf, polar bear, etc., but it's amazing how much you can learn from studying those.

Koalas have totally bizarre skulls. But it's cool, Oz! You're cool!

Here's how you tell a wolf skull from a bear skull: the bear skull has herbivore molars for chewing up plants. Wolves and dogs don't. Or cats, of course.

Here's my rough method for telling a small domestic dog skull from a domestic cat skull: dog skulls have the muzzle while cat skulls have short faces. Of course there are dogs with very short faces too, but they'll have that muzzle nose bone. I have to go back out and look at this one and see what I think it is, now that I've learned a tiny bit. I'm leaning toward cat, though. No idea where the rest of it is. No idea why this skull is in the window well. That's just weird.

Hurray, Harch is back, harching it up outside RIGHT NOW. What are you, Harch? Why do you serenade me nightly?

I'm alarming my mom again with my trouble speaking. Not physical trouble, but trouble organizing the words in a sentence. There was one thing I tried to say and it came out all mixed up, then I tried again and it was mixed up another way, and then I just said, "You know what I mean." And the walk, oh man. Like a toddler on ice. Well. My legs are kind of inoperative but of course I'm out chopping down roses and pushing the wheelbarrow across the bridge and up into the woods.

I definitely wasn't going to do any of that today after yesterday's overdoing it, but of course I totally did twice as much today anyway. More than twice. Oh, self. SIT DOWN AND WRITE THINGS.

Okay, memory question: how long do these M.S. bouts last? Anyone know? I have massive puddinghead right now so I have no memory and no idea. Weeks? Months? I nearly forgot to do all my Monday night work that I do every Monday night and have since umpteen years ago. Actually I did forget, but then I was doing something else with it and suddenly went OH HECK and got it done. Dude. Not cool.

Also I suddenly suck at sudoku. My normal time is 4-7 minutes but now I'm at 30. See. And I went off the road (just a little) three times when I drove down to the Amish store and to drop off the recycling. That store is close enough to walk to! Sheesh. No more driving until this lifts quite a lot.

I got awesome stuff at the store, though. All this Raspberry Zinger tea for 89 cents a box. Rice cakes. More damn cookies. A bunch of Ghirardelli 100% cacao baking chocolate for 39 cents a bar. I had to laugh when I came home with cookies, tea, chocolate, rice cakes, cayenne pepper, and a pound of butter. That's so me!

I couldn't get to the tea at first because these two Amish girls were having an animated discussion in dialect right in front of it. And me with my flapping ears, listening, while examining some horrific muesli. I actually couldn't understand a word, unusual for me, but I totally knew what they were saying just from tone and volume and the back and forth. Someone had done something that upset the one girl and she was telling the other about it, all agitated, and the second girl was commiserating and soothing and asking questions and agreeing that it was terrible.

That was completely fabulous. Except for not understanding. The dialect is really thick but I can usually get a quarter or a third of it, or sometimes all of it if it's short sentences with easy words, like the boy who said, "Das kann ich nicht tun." But that was a few weeks ago.

I keep wanting to say "Flowers for Algernon!" in a Middleman exclamation style. Middleman!

I read Shannon Hale's Princess Academy yesterday, so much more awesome than the title led me to believe! I was imagining a princessy Harry Potter or something. But the girls are fantastic, from a tough mountain mining town and highly skeptical about the whole thing. And the characters! So amazing. Anyway I loved it and I'll try to be more articulate about it At Another Time.

Meanwhile shall I to the bed go. German my syntax rearranges, truly.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hurry up

Oh boy I'm waiting for these new anti-anxiety meds to kick in. Maybe two weeks? I was up Googling it last night at two in the morning. I bet that happens a lot, ha ha!

Remember how I got all terrified of the snapping turtle and kept thinking they were coming up behind me? And now I've met A BEAR right in the yard.

In retrospect I should have realized there was a bear in the vicinity. Look at the evidence!

1. bear poo along the road
2. bear track by the pond
3. dead tree all shredded up by a bear up the hill

I feel like I was presented with all this evidence and then was like, "Hmmm, what can it be? What? It's a mystery!"

Anyway I was already a complete bananacakes wreck from my arm and leg going numb and fiery and tingly and awful and non-working. I was off work all week from it because I can't really, you know, DO STUFF. Or drive a car with my intermittently non-existent right foot. Problematical. Panic-inducing.

And now a bear. A bear!

Bears can whack your throat out with one paw, but more importantly (and more likely) they can kill your little dog with one swipe of a paw. I mean, I'm not likely to bound up to one and sniff its nose. Except I guess I kind of did that today when I saw it walking through the field and instead of running away I stayed to see what that really was.

And I'm not impressed with what I actually did when it walked out onto the driveway. I know what to do when a bear appears! You stand still and hope it goes away. If it's interested, you make yourself larger by waving arms and stuff and you shout and holler.

Instead I ducked into the bushes *after* it had seen me, and then after it turned away, I ran as fast as possible the other direction.

Man. Sheesh. Unimpressed.

And now the terror, which is absurd and over the top and also, hello, POINTLESS. What purpose does it serve?

Just last night my mom and I were listening to all these animal noises on my phone, trying to identify our friend Harch. We listened to bear sounds, fox sounds, coyotes (knew it wasn't that), and so on. Who is Harch? The closest was a vixen barking.

I got scared that the fox got shot today not long after I saw it, because not long after I saw it, there was a very loud shotgun blast from across the street. But then I heard Harch tonight, over harching at one of the neighbors' houses way down the road. So I hope Harch is the fox because that means it's okay! Logic!

Why a fox would go bark at houses in the middle of the night, I do not know, however.

I'm not wrapping my head around the M.S. thing properly either. I keep hoping I imagined it. Or I got so stressed out that it's all just stress! Never mind the mountains of evidence and whatnot. And the fact that stress and heat can set it off. And the indubitable fact that my arm and my leg and especially my foot are being REALLY WEIRD.

I'm pretty good with denial--see above re: bear evidence--but I think I just ran out on this subject. Even my mom believes in it now and that's saying something. All these years (holy wow, what, 3.5? it started in December 2009) I've been staggering around and falling down and had various limbs go on hiatus and couldn't drive or see at various times and used a cane for literally months at a time--months!--and my family didn't think it was real. That blows my mind.

Of course maybe it's just third person denial, come to think of it. You don't want it to be real so you hope it isn't and so you treat it like it isn't? My dad complained about this so much when he had exhausted chemo and radiation and was basically sent home to die, because no one would admit there was anything wrong or talk to him about it. Denial! It's a family tradition! No it isn't, what are you talking about? Nonsense.

The new meds are supposed to help with insomnia (ha ha ha ha ha ha! ha! and again I say ha! it's 2:05 a.m.) and the horrible nightmares. We shall see!

Meanwhile I'm working on the whole Keep As Active As You Can directive from the lovely doc. This includes building my soccer bounce-back thing just like the one I used to have that rusted/rotted out from being excessively used a whole lot. I got so wiped out from building it that I couldn't summon the energy to find a soccer ball. Gaaaah!

Tomorrow, though.

And I've been good about the dog walks, along the road, on the leash, with cane and probably with that can of bear scare from now on. You know, it makes a really loud noise? Though maybe that canned noise they use at basketball games would be a cheaper option.

Wildlife! You are so awesome! I love to see you in all your glory! I just get kinda scared is all.

Here, let's list the amazing wildlife I've seen in the wild, shall we? Sure!

prairie dog
sea lion
whale (very distant, not sure what kind)
milk snake
rat snake
garter snake
all those snakes I saw in Maine (forgot their names)
gray squirrel
red squirrel
snapping turtle
box turtle
bald eagle
turkey vulture
gray fox
red fox
gray wolf
bobcat (heard only, not seen)
mountain lion (I thought it was a German shepherd for about ten of the forty seconds I saw it)
black bear
wild pig
cottontail rabbit
snowshoe hare
and those bright orange newts or skinks or whatever they are, little salamander things

Now that's cool. That's a LOT of wildlife. I like seeing it! It's exciting. I may never go get the mail again, but it's exciting, huh?

According to my dog the bear also went through the yard and past the clothesline and down that little stone path I made and then across the bridge. I can check tomorrow for prints and claw scratches. If I leave the house. My dog used a litter box when he was a puppy--surely he can do it again now? No?

Crikey. HURRY UP, anti-anxiety meds. That makes three now, though one is for emergencies/panic. When do you have to do something to deal with anxiety? When it gets in the way of doing what you want to do. That's the rule about a lot of things, isn't it? I wish they could fix my bleeping leg, since it is definitely interfering.

So anyway. I'm working on it. Yes! Work work work. But it could hurry up.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Warning, contains blurry picture of vicious killer snapping turtle on a snow shovel!

Well, I'm doing some heinous no fine motor skills required tasks about the house and grounds, cane in one hand, phone in my pocket. Excitement! Such as: cutting back the evil roses, picking up the dog poop, and getting rid of whatever various dead animals have appeared on the premises overnight.

Harch has now been officially named Harch, which is totally awesome. It reminds me of when my student was making a movie and kept needing my car but we always met up in this little area that wasn't a parking lot and didn't have a name and was hard to identify. So we called it Bolivia. Because of Butch and Sundance. Except there wasn't really any logic to it.

So anyway we're wondering if Harch will be back tonight.

And I'm wondering if Harch is a chupacabra. Except more into moles and very young snakes, because that's what I find dead the most. Maybe Harch is a mole and snake specialist chupacabra!

Harch is developing a whole mythology around here. We were all trying to see it last night as it was going around the house hollering HAAARRRRCH at us. No dice! Impossible to see! Perhaps staying just out of range of the lights! Mysterious, Harch. Well played.

Anyway the tiny errands wiped me out and I came staggering out of the underbrush all haggard and sweating in my boonie hat like some jungle adventurer. Like Indiana Jones's Great-Aunt Audrey, with my rose clippers and my cane. And a dog leash instead of a whip.

Oh man, I am IN LOVE with that character already and must now vow to write books about her.

It's my non-cousin Audrey who sells the hockey socks, about which everyone always says hacky sacks? thinking they've misheard. No, I'm just from Michigan. We say hockey socks pretty much just like hacky sacks. At least after living in the north again for a couple of years.

What other grim errands have I completed? I threw out the grotesque moldy and dead-bug filled oil and water mixture in a peanut butter jar. It dates back to when I blew out the water line that one time, with the baby water pump. I drained the oil like you're supposed to, after, then neglected it. And so on. EW.

And I've been disentangling the fringe of my old twilight blue chenille throw. The fringes are all matted up! Aaaaaaah!

In other news, the anti-anxiety meds seem to be working. I don't know about the rest. The others are for Symptoms, see. Shhhh. I hate meds but I sure do like not to be freaking out! I'm hoping this feeling like my head is a lead balloon will stop soon.

Is it popcorn o'clock yet? Popcorn may require a level of manual dexterity I cannot yet aspire to. But I have been known to eat a whole bowlful left-handed. So don't count me out just yet.

Hmm, the working meds are giving me that lovely "things are possible" feeling, along with that "the day is long enough for everything" feeling. I think they're helping with that "most textured surfaces contain shapes that look like faces" side effect of the emergency panic meds. Also things moving that aren't moving. Yes, the panic meds make me hallucinate, which does not exactly HELP, jeez. They're not even interesting hallucinations. Pareidolia (which is not a hallucination) and the illusion of movement (which, maybe, I dunno.)

Hi! We're about to get a giant thunderstorm whammy hereabouts.

Oh! My sister sent a picture of that snapping turtle that tried to bite my face off. Note that I picked it up in the snow shovel back end first and it turned around to face me, the sneaky little critter. And also that it's ignoring her and glaring at me off to the left. Memorizing my face. I'm now turtle public enemy #1. Yipe!

It's also possible that a flash picture in the face may have contributed to turtle's anger, don't you think?

The shell alone was bigger than a dinner plate. Oh oh oh. How did our little chipmunk ancestors survive amongst all these scary dinosaurs? I'd have gone straight up the trees too. Good call, ancestors!

Can I just mention how much I like my doctor? She just laughs when I call the staggery/stupid/clumsy mode of M.S. "zombie-ing out." (It's totally apt.) And when I describe heart arrhythmia as my heart taking a drum solo. Well, it's true! Most of the time it just hangs out beating out the tempo, but once in a while, wooooooo! Take a solo! And everybody stops and listens, believe me. Everybody meaning me.

So now when it happens I yell, "Drum solo!" and worry a lot less.

Oh, it's raining already. Time to make popcorn! Can you tell my typing ability is mostly back, even though the whole back of my hand and wrist are totally numb? Yay, fingers! I'm so glad the snapping turtle didn't get you!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Our friend the mysterious and unidentifiable animal known only as Harch is back. Haaarrrrchhh! It's been walking around the house going Harch in an urgent kind of way for quite a while now. In fact, Harch and Gawain have been exchanging one-syllable barks.

I picture it as a sort of small ankylosaurus or triceratops, or possibly a wolverine. What on earth makes that noise? The most likely answer of course is a bird. Birds make quite unlikely noises. Or at least unexpected. By me.

Hi! I can type again. Oh man. Actually it's not 100% and my hand is already tired. But Sunday I couldn't feel my hand and arm at all, so yay! I could not type. It's a good thing I was absolutely positive this would pass, because, seriously. Not okay. My foot and then leg went numb first, the day before. I was not unalarmed. I went around going, "My foot is numb!" And then poking it with pins, cat claws, dog claws, forks, and so on. Then I ignored it.

I could not go to work since you can't drive (or work once you get there) when you can't feel your whole right leg and right arm. I mean if the fate of the world depended on it, I'd have given it my best shot, preferably with a dramatic movie soundtrack and some great angles.

Now I'm awaiting the verdict on tomorrow because although I start the day with pretty good arm and leg, once I've done some stuff, like walk around Walmart waiting for my prescriptions to be ready, my arm and leg fade out fast. Right now they are not so good at all.

This isn't ideal for work, for obvious reasons, including getting me home afterward.

Okay so with this on top of some other unpleasant symptoms better left unsaid, I went off to the lovely doctor person today and told her all, which went basically like this: 1) total anxiety uncontrollable anxiety help aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!! and b) also my limbs go numb and I fall down and heat brings on zombietude and then I can't see and stuff! And the aforeunmentioned bits!

And she went, okay, here's a good prescription thing to take at night to help with all those outrageously upsetting nightmares and the insomnia. And you have M.S.

Which I kind of knew. But denial! I love denial. Or rather, overcoming or something. Because I'm all, Oh yeah, take that! and I go for a hike. Or at least that was the case when my limbs were all present.

I can walk fine. Fine-ish. Okay, it's a little staggery. But the right hand thing sucks. I dropped so many dishes I'm back on plastic. Using the mouse is particularly painful and causes lightning to strike all over my hand. Oooh, and rain hitting my hand and arm felt like fire. Like fire!

It's all very weird. I disapprove. Harch!

What on earth would some animal have to announce to a house full of humans and a dog and a cat? Harch! Woof! Harch! Woof! Harch!

Yeah, I don't know.

I did all these errands today. They were light duty. Returned library books, for instance. (Overdue. Oof.) Put in the papers to get the otter plate for the car. Exchanged those ridiculously bright sneakers that I accidentally got in a men's 10 instead of a women's 10. Picked out a ton of books from the library book sale, all kinds of incredible scores like a couple of Sarah Dessens, Alyson Noel, Louis Sachar, a Meg Cabot, Erin Morgenstern, and Chicks Dig Time Lords. Hurray!


And a soccer kickback and the weirdest purchase I might have made in the whole history of ever: one of those skateboard things made up of two flat paddles connected at the middle. Is there even the slightest chance I won't instantly break a major bone on that thing? I'm going to say it's unlikely. I actually don't even understand how it works. Or what on earth possessed me. Except that it was enormously on sale and (oh dear) royal blue.

I also got a bunch of cookies and shampoo, which are my panic about the future signifiers. I put the cookies in the freezer. 

This sounds like a lot but it took practically zero time and was mostly accomplished while waiting for the prescriptions. Also I planned it so it was all stops along the one road home, boom boom boom, in a row.

Yesterday I was in such a tizzy that I got out the Rem Oil and oiled all the guns. Then I did all the ironing. Then I watched all the Community episodes.

It's sort of lobotomized, isn't it? Like an edited for the airplane version of some brilliant, sarcastic, bitingly funny show. It's so weird. It's kind of sweet, too. It's not actually funny, either, except extremely rarely. I mean I think I laughed once in what, ten episodes?


I still have to get the car inspected. I did try, but didn't find an opening. And then I had all those melty cookies in the car, so home I went.


I'm under orders to be as active as possible. If funding had permitted I'd have come home with a recumbent stationary bike and a free-standing basketball hoop, too. But a soccer kickback is my favorite thing ever. I love it! I got some totally cheap little shinguards since mine are in Maine and some blue and white striped socks that gloriously turned out to be hiding a second pair of white socks with blue polka dots! Oh boy oh boy! How great is that? Boot!

So anyway I have double Online Job from now until, oooh, six weeks? A long time. I can type it on my phone with my thumbs if I have to. Manual dexterity enough for typing is not essential.

I was talking with someone about how we internalize things, and then I was like, yeah, and now I'm going to internalize these cookies. And I did! Today after I got the news and the prescriptions and the cookies, I sat in the car staring into nowhere and internalized quite a few of those damn cookies. It was kind of not so ideal! Probably should have had lunch, eh?

Well, my right fingers are on strike. I'm anxious about taking my new anti-anxiety pill! Neither doctor nor pharmacist told me that the combination of this and my other one has major risks of serotonin syndrome. Are we worried about that? Are we NOT worried about that? What's the status of the worrying there?

I suppose giving an extremely anxious person something more to worry about would be dumb.

I told the doctor about how I'm just all wrought up all the time, just a basket case, and then there's a giant snapping turtle by the front porch so I go get a snow shovel and the wheelbarrow and just take care of it. Of course I shrieked and dropped the shovel when it snapped at me. (My sister shrieked and ran inside, though.) But the snap is terrifying. First it stares you right in the eyes all unblinking, head raised. Then it opens up its big sharp beak and hisses. And then it STRIKES, like a snake! It shoots its head out faster and farther than you want to know. The second word of its Latin name means snaky-necked. True that.

Dropping a snapping turtle into a wheelbarrow does NOT improve its disposition, in case you were wondering.

Anyway my point was: get terrified of faces in tree bark! Get terrified of sounds and looming branches! Get terrified of mud and rocks! Deal calmly and briskly with turtle who could easily bite through your arm bones! Freak out at the silhouette of a stuffed bunny in a darkened room! Drop toothbrush and scream and jump at the noise! Roll over in bed and shriek when encountering something furry and warm, even though that's my dog and he's ALWAYS THERE.

Maybe the diagnosis will be a relaxing thing. Finally knowing for sure, right? Though honestly my instinct is to research the hell out of it. I will get on that tomorrow.

I have a very fun painting project to undertake now that use of my right hand is ever so iffy, ha ha. We'll see how it goes, eh?

Damn, I forgot to get orange sherbet at the store. Gaaaaah! Harch!