Monday, December 29, 2014

Positive forward looking resolutions and whatnot

Hi! I am making up my mind about things and it's feeling good and powerful and stuff!

Here are some plans, mostly already in progress, but that's the best way to make sure they happen all year long in 2015.

1. Finish things. Oh, this is so important! Unfinished things are terrible for you, truly. It's so important to finish things that have been hanging around. Or rip them out (knitting only) or trash them or whatever. Finish it or get it gone.

2. Get rid of anything I don't love. I've been working on this! Books, clothes, dishes, yarn, fabric, whatever else might be around. You know that slight reluctance you feel? Getting rid of those things is MUCH more powerful and lasts forever. Yay!

3. Let it grow. Good golly, this big old auburn mushroom head of hair. It's driving me crazy, so this is the hardest point to stick with the growing plan. I'm working out different ways of getting through it/past it, from hats to barrettes to scarves to "product," which is the vaguest name for anything I've ever heard. Product. What, like frozen carrots? They are a product. Washing machines and cars are also. Ahem. ANYWAY. Plan: Do not cut my hair (except vital trims) for the whole year of 2015. Using the hair dryer helps a lot somehow. Do that.

4. Move! I'm good at this, truly. In fact I'm very bad at sitting still. But I'm trying to build strength and muscle in movement, so, like, on the elliptical and on my bike. I have to build up butt calluses or something to ride that bike, seriously--how come bike seats hurt so bad? And although I walk miles every day, the elliptical uses different muscles somehow. Anyway. Muscle! Grow it! In motion!

5. Relax. I used to be a champion meditator back in the day. I'm doing it again, though it causes disquiet amongst the menagerie. I'm also working on the baths and naps. Most importantly, I'm working hard on derailing the stress spiral, where I get too anxious to do anything and that makes it worse. Break the cycle! Do a thing! Taking the dog for a surprise walk around the block is an excellent solution for many problems, for example.

6. Take care of the thing. Like, today I called the pulmonologist that I got referred to and made an appointment. It's better to do it asap than to have it lingering and making me worry. Do the thing. Then the thing is done! Yay!

That's the easy stuff, more or less. Here is the hard stuff:

7. Go out and do things, especially peopley things, but at the very least, go out and write, go to the library, go to the store. I have a terrible tendency to stay home and see no one ever, then do all errands in one trip. Fight the hermit tendencies! 

8. Make big plans. Boy do I not do this! Boy oh boy. Like, for instance, I have a vague idea that I'd like to drive down to Crater Lake this week. But I haven't made a plan. It's very good for you to make plans and then carry them out. I avoid this whenever possible. Even planning a painting and then carrying it out is good for you. Planning a sewing project and carrying it out. Even planning meals and carrying them out. Of course I avoid that in case the plans fall through, but that's just daft. Make a plan!

9. Clean every day. UGGGGHHHHHH. Wash the dishes every day. BBLLLLLLAAAAAARRRRRGH. Keep up with yard work all the time instead of once every three months. AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHH.

10. Here's the very worst one. The VERY hardest one for me. Have a regular sleep schedule. Don't wanna! And the main reason I don't wanna is: as soon as I try, I get terrible insomnia and then I'm screwed. But I know everything is better if I can do it. I will try. I really will. It's SUPER HARD though. I like the quiet at night when there aren't a hundred runners and dog walkers right outside my window and neighbors right outside my other windows. I like the quiet and the peace. Honestly, day is not so bad, though. Especially in the winter. Dooooooooo eeeeeeeeeetttttt. Also the sooner I get up, the sooner I get done with work, and then I'm free to gallop around doing fun stuff!

Here's my happy fun easy resolutiony thing:

11. Follow ideas down the rabbit hole. I don't know why I even resist this. It's so fun to follow some idea through link after link, on Wikipedia and everywhere, and try to figure things out. Even just learning things like how to adapt a school bus into a home is very cool. I resist this a lot out of some fear of not being on guard, or something--it's a major anxiety thing. Like if I concentrate, I won't be on guard, and then something TERRIBLE will happen. Yikes, that's awful. I'm not always aware of it. So my goal is to be aware of it and allow that deep concentration that I love.

12. Oh, play music! It's the same thing, anxiety won't let me disappear into it the way I need to. Plus I don't want attention from others, for real. That adds up to making it pretty impossible to play music. I really want to fight that and get over it and just do whatever the hell I want to do, for crying out loud. 

Twelve is enough, eh? I think so too!

I hope you all have a happy new year and get cracking on all sorts of good things! 


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Who are these people?

I'm watching a Newcastle game because in my mind I'm a Newcastle fan, but honestly, who are these people? And what are they wearing? They have on some hideous green and blue shirts and green shorts, while the other team is wearing white shirts and black shorts. To me black and white is Newcastle so it took ages before I could reconcile which team was which. Especially because none of the players but the keeper are familiar to me. So weird.

Also Newcastle is being pretty terrible. It's all very confusing.

It's been so peaceful and lovely over the last week! Knitting with the soccer on, or a Harry Potter movie. Sitting by the fire in the comfy chair. It's blissful. Bliss, I tell you! Dog and cat and I are spending all day in the living room because it's the only warm place, variously arranged over the three comfy chairs and one ottoman. Kitty really enjoys lying on my sweater, the most beautiful sweater in the whole world, while dog is mostly on the ottoman on the quilt on my legs. Oh, it's wonderful.

I feel amazing today because I didn't eat any solid food. What is up with food? I don't get it. I've been feeling horrible whenever I eat lately, hence the diet of pudding. The food is still full of calories and fat and things, but it's like: smoothie, soup, pudding. And I feel great. No wheat. Ugh, holiday wheaty food! Get out of here with that evil poisonous stuff!

I still had bread in the freezer from the Party That Wasn't, so made grilled cheese, but also a lovely friend brought me a basket of delicious treats, most of which were wheaty wheats from wheat. I'm an idiot about food but I do have enough sense to develop a flinch reaction when certain foods are a nasty punch to the gullet. (Eventually.)

Anyway we are having a SERIOUSLY good time over here, all peace and quiet and deliciousness and fun times. I started the royal blue/sky blue/grass green/white mitred squares afghan. It's going to be endless fun but also the mapping problem. You can't make a map with fewer than four colors and even then it can take some maneuvering. (Look it up!) So I suspect I'll constantly be tempted to add in navy blue or something. It's okay as long as I add it in soon enough. We'll see how it goes!

It's a long term project.

I have a couple of other things lying around that need to get finished. A pair of awesome mittens, half done. An acorn cap, nearly done. Three started hats that need to get pulled out or finished. And the chain mail cowl, nearly done. There are other things lurking about, I'm sure. Anyway those are Out There and will get worked on at some point but I'm not feeling my usual Finish Everything By The End Of The Year pressure.

I keep being convinced that I have a red knit hat, but then I search around and I don't. Aren't convictions like that peculiar? Where does that come from? Did I ever have one? Who knows? Anyway I feel the need to knit one so that my conviction is then TRUE. Logical!

I've been reading so many books, oh my goodness. I'm doing what I always did growing up, which is go all around the house and do everything with a book in one hand. I used to read on the walk to and from school!

There's more soup in the future and someone really needs to wash all those pretty blue dishes in the kitchen. Yawn! I bought more soup spoons because I only have two or three. I'm super excited to have more spoons, too, I tell you what. Because SOUP. Soup is an integral part of the maximum cozy regime. And I am a very good cooker of soup. Mmmmm, soup.

Back to cozy land for me, bunnies. I'm enjoying it and no mistake. Fabulous vacation so far! I did kind of work that first day off, but managed to stop myself after that, phew. I have to read this book over break but it's something I wanted to do anyway. All is well.

And one of these days I'll get Hulu and watch this season of Once Upon a Time to get really truly utterly caught up, so that I can go back to making apple tarts on Sundays for episode day. I know! So great!

I hope you're having a lovely holiday also!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Cheese slice acquisition battles urge to stay at home

It's a Herculean battle going on over here. I was thinking I'd make baby grilled cheeses and tomato soup for Christmas dinner, but that means going to the store for sliced cheese. And I really, really, really don't want to. There aren't a lot of other good dinner options in the house. There are a couple of bricks of soup from Trader Joe's. And a little gouda. And some brie. A can of baked beans. 

There are lots of garbanzos, for some reason. I must have planned to make hummus a lot over the summer. But my summer got eaten by working two jobs. Who even knows what I ate!

I could maybe summon the energy to make a pot pie out of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It's been frozen, don't worry! And it survived the power outage just fine. I ate some yesterday to be sure that I wouldn't perish on Christmas from food poisoning. 

Or there's tuna. Lots of frozen veg. I'm made weirdly happy by frozen veg, mostly because you don't have to worry about it turning into a toxic sludge in the crisper and because you don't have to do any prep work. Just cook it. Yay!

That sounds to me like a pot pie is in the offing. Ugh, grilled cheese would be so much less work! Except for the leaving the house part, on the day before Christmas, when stores are not the place to be, I'm sure. 

This is where you need the gravely misspelled shop we had in Orrington, the nearest store to my house out there. It was always full of hunters and snowmobilers and they would happily ignore customers if someone more important (i.e. someone they knew) had ordered pizza or subs. But you could get basics without driving all the way into town and that's awesome.

Actually the real store is as close to me now as that store was to me then. It's the crammed with people aspect that gives me trouble.

And the fact that I'm still in my jammies.

See, don't those grilled cheeses sound good right now? I know! Hence the quandary.

I was just thinking about the last human interaction (besides sales clerks and phone calls) I've had and it was Thanksgiving day. Hmmm! No, the neighbor came over to look at my old cello. Does that count?

What I mean is: time with friends. 

It makes me a little grumpy. I did actually reach out to some old colleagues on facebook but haven't heard back. Humph. Oh well!

Guess what I did yesterday? Moved my desk out into the living room! I know! Crazy, right? But I love it. I can still use the spare room for everything wonderful like painting and music and napping (tried that already--works great) but now it's not packed solid with furniture. The main reason I did it was that I wasn't keeping up with my checkbook. That sounds silly, right? But it's on my desktop computer, which was in there, and I would not go back in there after I got done working. I've already taken care of a bunch of things that reside on the desktop computer, just because it's out here. 

You have to work with the brains you have! There aren't actually any other options! If it's not working, change a variable!

M. reminded me that I've already lived in a tiny space, in my apartment in L.A. The tininess wasn't the problem there. It was (I'm detecting a theme) all the people everywhere all the time, with no way to shut out their noise or their constant presence. 

Yesterday I was getting ready to go on our dog walk and put on my orange hat out of holiday habit, to avoid getting shot by hunters, which is when I realized that for the first time since L.A., I haven't had to worry about being shot by hunters this time of year. Wow! That's huge! It's such a constant threat when you live in the woods. They don't *want* to shoot you. (Mostly.) But they are often drunk and/or confused and turned around and/or over-excited and/or super wanting to get a deer. 

Have you ever had a hunter stop in his tracks and look at you the way they look at deer? He realized almost immediately that I was NOT a deer, but I have to tell you, that moment has stuck with me. And I was in my yard! In a brown coat. With the hood up.

I got an email from my mom hassling me about not sending my brother-in-law a present, for real. The inexpressible crassness of that gives one pause. How do you even respond to that? It's my choice? It's nobody's business but mine? I forgot he existed? (That's actually true. I completely forgot him. But if I *had* remembered he existed, I would not have sent him something, because of how awful he was to me personally. Honestly, is that even a question? Do you normally send presents to people who are personally awful to you in ways that completely redirect your plans? I would say: no.)

This is a theme lately. I tell people things, major life events, and then they don't have any idea. My friend D. wondered why I was having a hard time lately and thought things were going extremely well for me. And I was like, seriously? Did you miss everything that went down at Thanksgiving? And with the adoption situation? No, she didn't miss it. She knew all that, and said so. She just didn't get that any of that was a big deal. Holy goodness. I cried for a week. And my friends blew off our plans and then dropped me when I got upset about it. Sure, it's been a great time lately. It was so bad, and I had no way to fix any of it, that I started this massive medication.

Samantha Irby wrote a very funny solo holiday post today so you should go read that instead! I'll just say right up front that I'm very glad that my biggest worry is whether or not to brave the crowds to procure sliced cheese. (Odds are excellent that I will in fact NOT go out there.) I'm going to nestle in and max out on cozy and have an awesome time with dog and cat and books and knitting and movies and writing all the things. Hurray! Dog and cat are awesome. I sat on the daybed to meditate yesterday and they both got so worried, they kept coming over and staring me in the face and putting gentle paws on my hand or leg, going "What are you doing? Are you okay? This is not normal behavior from our human." I love how I can feel an animal stare even with my eyes closed. It completely delighted me. 

I guess I am feeling a little twisty and grim. And this is so weird: I blame the medication, but I can't seem to eat sweets. Ha! What timing! I don't seem to be able to eat much at all. Good job, meds! They incidentally cure stress eating, how great is that?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Trippy plus cookies plus awesomeness!

I baked sugar cookies, the kind you cut out with cookie cutters. Ridiculous amounts of fun for something so easy to accomplish! I made bunnies, angels, holly leaves, Christmas trees, stars, and sheep. I don't know why the sheep. Bunnies are obvious, of course!

I still have to ice them, while there are some left. It's exceedingly likely that I'll have to make more. Oh no! Mock horror!

The thing in progress right now is the round oatmeal sheet cake. I got as far as pouring the boiling water on the oats. They've been sitting there on the stove all day, but don't worry! The only difference between my fridge and my kitchen is that one has the other one in it. 

I'm a little loopy because apparently I'm totally allergic to that Greek Gods honey vanilla yogurt, but not the regular honey kind. I got done with Online Job and looked in the mirror to see what crazy things my hair was up to post-shower, and discovered hives all over my face. Awesome! So: benadryl. It hasn't knocked me flat yet, but I've been sort of sleepy and happy all day anyway, so it could happen any time.

Walked a mile with the dogue. He is a good boy! We got all wet and muddy. The soil is so saturated that any slight slope is exceedingly slippery. The ground just shoots out from under me rather often. It makes walking a little more interesting than I'd like. 

I made the rounds of my usual adopted storm drains during last night's deluge. The wet leaves form an effective seal over the tops, see. There's one in the park, at the bottom of the soapbox race hill, that had sticks and leaves and had formed a large lake with water eight to ten inches deep, with lots more coming in, because that's the drainage for half the park. So I stuck my hands in that icky water and pulled out all the junk and then watched the water drain down to nothing. So satisfying!

I love keeping storm drains clear. It's one of those things that either you totally get or you find bewildering and mystifying.

Things I did not get to this weekend: vacuuming the dirty house, or picking up the last of the giant brush pile and putting it in the green bin. I fill that green bin utterly every single week. But the brush pile was formidable! Maybe I can finish it off this week. Then I can go on to cutting more of the tumbleweed tumors out of the trees out back, and/or trimming the camellias back even more. Two are done, but one is still a sprawly kraken monster. 

Tomorrow is my last day of work before break! Wooooohooooooo! I love my job but I am also very excited about a break. I have big plans! Want to hear the plans? You know you do!

1. Eradicate clutter in a systematic way. That means drawer by drawer, sorting, organizing, and mostly tossing or giving away the stuff. I'm very good at this lately, the getting rid of stuff part. Satisfying!

2. Sort the pictures. I have this big oak box my dad made me, all full of photos. Must sort and organize them by date. Possibly also label them if I'm feeling energetic and have the right type of pen that won't smear. 

3. Cull books. I do this regularly so it's not that big a deal. But I'm working on getting my books down to "can't live without it" with an eye toward living in a small and mobile space, see. 

4. Start my excellent stripy mitred square acrylic afghan out of blue, green, purple, white. There are multiple blues and greens. And I don't have any purple. But I can get some! Actually blue, green, and white would be better. Never mind about the purple! I'm very excited to knit this thing. It's for me me me and it's going to be constant fun to knit. Still mulling the size of the squares, but of course I can do fun things like make four little ones and then one big one the size of the four put together, and so on. Synesthesia about numbers will come into play as I decide on size. It's just how it is!

5. Sort and clear out fabric. Why I accepted a friend's fabric that she was getting rid of, I do not know, but it has to go. Didn't buy it, don't want it, won't use it, goodbye! Except the blue, of course. And maybe some green.

Yes! Those are my plans. I have great big huge writing plans too, but nobody needs to hear about those, because they are subject to a) the way things go and b) whim. 

I'm actually quite excited about the drawer by drawer project, though that sounds kind of daft, I know. But there are multiple drawers where I sort of unpacked and stuffed things here and there. It's not logical and there's no good way to know where things are. So it all needs to get sorted out. I love it when things are sorted out!

Ugh, I forgot eggs at the store. This could put a crimp in my baking plans. Maybe I'll go to the nice hippie store instead of braving the madness that is regular retail. Or maybe I'll just delay baking for a while! The cake is in the oven (brief pause in the middle of this to bake!) and I have the sugar cookies. Maybe I can check the chocolate cookie recipe and see if it needs more than one egg....

I had a hilarious (in retrospect) dream about Captain Hook where he was super into me and things were getting interesting, and then I was like, "Wait just a minute! You're a pirate from the 19th century! You are probably riddled with venereal diseases!" And he was all taken aback. But didn't deny it! Aha!

Always use protection with swashbuckling time travelers. Or any time travelers, come to think of it. The ones from the past would be utterly diseased and the ones from the future probably carry some kind of vile, vicious superbugs we will have made from antibiotic overuse. (So much to remember!) 

Actually I have a sneaking suspicion that our beloved and delicious Hook might be doing something bad at the moment. I'm rounding the curve toward the end of season 3. We shall see! And then I'm going to have to figure out how to get season 4. Surely there are ways! Like Hulu! I don't think it's on Netflix--99% certain it isn't. 

I'm so droooooooopy today! I did Online Job, walked the dog, and I've got the cake in the oven so that's my responsibilities out of the way, heh. It's probably time to go sit by the fire and knit Fox's fox cowl. They go fast--this is my third one--so it's even possible I'll get it done tonight or tomorrow and get it into the mail not long after. Yay! 

Actually, I would love to make shortbread. Mmmmmm, shortbread....my grandmother always made that and fudge for Christmas. But I'm almost certainly not making any fudge.

Probably it's time for cheese and apples and some sort of holiday beverage! Whee!

If I can stay awake until bedtime, it'll be a miracle. My eyes were closing at 2:00! I nearly napped with the dog and cat on the daybed, but I had wet hair and didn't want to wake up looking like a sea anemone since I had grocery shopping to do. 

I love this so much. When I go into the office to do Online Job, the animals assemble on the daybed and promptly curl up and go to sleep. They're so flipping adorable the way they do that. Today the kitty had his paw stretched out and resting on the dog's hind leg, too. Snuggle buddies. Bawwww! Look! Plus the dog was flumped face down in a pile of comforter. Ridiculously adorable beasts! See, how could I resist cuddling up with them? This! This is my life! It's so....cuddly!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Excellent show

I'm really really really enjoying Once Upon a Time. Seriously a lot!

My favorite thing so far (among many contenders) is how the entire show is about people who love other people in terrible ways. Like, they love someone, but then they do everything wrong to show it. They act on it in all the wrong ways. They often do terrible damage to the person they love because of it.

I just saw the episode where Emma's old boyfriend (and Henry's father) is revealed to be Baelfire, Mr. Gold's lost son. Which is SO FLIPPING AWESOME and perfect and everyone is so destroyed by it. 

That same episode showed us Rumplestiltskin crushing his own leg to avoid going to war, because he doesn't want to leave his son fatherless. Except crushing his leg causes his wife to leave him and leads to the whole string of events that make it so his son is fatherless. He moves worlds to find his son and then his son wants nothing to do with him because of the abandonment.

Regina's mom is a nightmare hell woman who screwed Regina up no end. And I'm waiting for Snow to show some damage from that upbringing as well. I'm sure it's going to come out eventually.

Gold abandoned Bae. Snow abandoned Emma. They both abandoned Henry. 

Everyone has so many issues with their parents, and does so much to screw up their kids, it's just completely awesome. 

Very very bad bad love, all around. 

Right now I want to know where August is. I'm wondering if he got stuck in the grave instead of Archie? Hmmm.

I want Baelfire to come back to Storybrooke with them all because of the utter disaster that would be all around. That guy is seriously messed up. 

There are hilarious moments that go by so fast, you almost miss them. Also one possibly unintentional whoa moment, where Red and Snow are on the run and Snow looks at Red and says, "Let's go find that cabin," and gives her a suggested eyebrow waggle, and Red is like, "Wooo, yeah!" Which is hilarious because it looks like they're running off together for some sexy fun times. 

Red is awesome so many ways. And I shrieked with joy when Regina told her to take herself for a walk. Red is becoming my favorite character next to Emma. 

I love how Emma and Henry are the only normal people in this ridiculous collection of total loons with the most awesome and absurd backstories and magical identities. 

Aurora seems like a total dud so far, but I'm hoping she'll grow a personality at some point. Mulan is also totally lost on me since her character seems to be Tough Soldier and nothing else, like nothing personal at all. I kind of don't get those two at all. Philip is another zero as far as I can tell. 

Ooh, look at Tiny the giant, another one with a terrible screwed up family, who ended up getting them all killed by trusting the wrong people. Ouch! 

Here is what made me burst into tears: Pongo the dog at his owner's funeral. Gaaaaah! My dog came over and stood on the ottoman staring into my face all worried. He's so good at comforting me. Good boy! The whole time Pongo is doing stuff I'm hollering "Pongo is a good boy!" even though, I could be mistaken, but isn't that dog a girl? Most dogs on tv are girls from what I've noticed. For obvious reasons.

I suspect I'm going to run out of Once Upon a Time just at exactly the wrong moment, the way these things work. I don't even know how many seasons there are. I'm scared to check! I'm well into season two right now. I absolutely can't watch any current episodes until I'm all caught up. 

Okay! I'm going to go sit by the fire and knit this giant thing that's nearly done, so I can mail it tomorrow, and watch a bunch more episodes, and recover from fasting all day by accident.

I actually meant to go out to this French Press place and get crepes and coffee, but time got away from me and I had to get to the post office. So I missed a) food, b) caffeine, and c) getting my dang Christmas cards done. I wouldn't do them except I moved and that's the easiest way to tell people where I am. Though that was back in February. 

My brother sent me a card that says Peace on Earth and has TWO BUNNIES on it. Awesome!!!

The project I need to do next is hook up Apple TV and see if I can watch Netflix through it. And possibly Hulu. It's pretty old so I don't know. I seriously don't even know why I have cable at this point. I've only watched Bones in months and you do not need cable for that. I'm resisting getting rid of it because of the women's World Cup next summer. But maybe I'll be able to watch that online also? 

Who knows the answer to that question? I wonder if the answer even exists yet out there to be known?

Life. FULL OF MYSTERIES.

Monday, December 15, 2014

That was a negative experience

I went to the doctor. And she kept me waiting for half an hour, which would be fine if it wasn't a 9:30 appointment, and then talked over me every time I opened my mouth. Interrupting and talking over me.

I nearly said, "Hey, you interrupt a lot." It almost came out of my mouth. Instead I just shut my eyes every time she did it and waited for a while before I started talking again. 

I hate going to the doctor. I hate it! Because they don't listen and they argue and they interrupt and basically I'm the least important part of the equation. I hate that. 

I did just realize that I never have to go back there. To me, that was a bad experience that I don't have to have again. Like, would you ever have a second date after a first date like that? No way in hell!

There were so many terrible things about it. Like I said I had been trying to get a therapist and she barged in and started telling me how hard it is to get a therapist in this town, plus she insisted I needed a prescriber, which means a psychiatrist, which narrows the options even more. 

Well, thank you for a) interrupting again, b) not listening to what I was saying, c) making things sound even worse than I already thought they were, when THINKING THINGS ARE TERRIBLE is a big part of the problem to begin with. 

It's true, I think everything is terrible all the time. Except if I'm home alone in the evenings by the fire with the dog and the cat. Otherwise things are bad. 

I need some help. She told me to take green tea capsules to help with anxiety. I don't know why doctors are so stupid about this, but I told her it's depression PLUS anxiety, so if you just take away the anxiety, the depression is much worse. There is no room for that to get worse right now! 

Maybe I'll take the stupid meds I have already. Like maybe I'll try the one that made me not sleep for three days. Is that a good idea, idiot doctor? She didn't even ask how the meds didn't work out.

ANYWAY. This is a long answer to a short question. Should I go back there? NO. Done!

I was supposed to go in for blood work Wednesday but I think I'll just find a new doctor instead. 

Okay! That is a huge relief. I liked my last one, didn't I? And the one in PA. And the one in Maine. I am not the problem here. 

Ugh, she argued with everything I said. I HATE THAT. Stop arguing, doctors. Just listen.

Anyway I got a flu shot and a tetanus shot out of it, so, win! 

The next big job I have to tackle is figuring out how to transfer my prescriptions from Walmart to this online thing I have to use because of my insurance. Or maybe I won't, since my insurance is changing in two weeks anyway. Hey! Let's do that! I'll just pay cash if I have to for prescriptions. Okay! 

You've been very helpful, internet! What a good LISTENER you are, for one thing!

I've been super sad lately about my friends not wanting to be friends anymore because I objected to them throwing out the plans we made to cook together on Thanksgiving. I didn't know they would totally never be friends anymore after that, but I still know that my feelings on that occasion were perfectly legitimate and people who can't accept that they have to treat me like a person aren't actually friends anyway. So maybe that's what I'm sad about. Either way: fewer people. My new friend, I asked last week if she wanted to have lunch but she couldn't and said maybe this week. Okay. Maybe!

One thing I have been thinking about is getting in touch with some of the lovely people I used to teach with. I just found out that my neighbor two doors down is someone I know perfectly well from teaching at the same school. Faculty all used to hang out together all the time. It was awesome. He's great. His fence fell down in the horrible wind storm so I was over offering help with gloves and rubber boots since it was a morass of mud. And that's when we realized we actually did know each other years ago. Ha! 

Been here since February, only met him last week. Pretty funny.

I might have to go to the post office and library. I love it when trips out sound like something that would happen in a Fisher Price toy town. Just like I love it when someone's job is something there would be a little Fisher Price person for. Teacher! Mail carrier! Fire fighter!

I'm really enjoying watching Once Upon a Time, speaking of people who have jobs that would be Fisher Price people. I think that's typical of tv people, though. Man, I love that show! I'm seriously agog at the awesomeness of all of the women characters, and I love how the men are not very interesting love interests most of the time, except for Mr. Gold. It's so much the opposite of how it usually is!

Robert Carlyle can easily look straight through stone walls with those burning eyes. And I absolutely love Emma and Mary Margaret beyond all comprehension. And the mayor is awesome in how utterly screwed up she is. She is fascinating because she actually gives me a tiny bit of sympathy for my mom, which is hard to come by! It's because she's completely unable to experience affection without trying to control and bully and mistreat everyone. At least, I have to assume that that's what's behind my mom's Evil Queen behavior. 

Gosh, I went to all the trouble of getting them to call me Emma at the doctor and now I'm going to have to start over again. In the ten months I've been here, 95% of all the time I've spent with other people has been where they called me Emma, all day every day, for months straight. It had sort of faded what with how nobody calls me anything because there is nobody there, but OUAT really brought it back. I jump out of my skin whenever anyone says Emma. Which, hello, they say ALL THE TIME. Often shouting it. Because of the peril!

Also she's all dysfunctional with the trust issues and the damage and has "run away" as her default option, so I can relate. 

I don't think that car she has is really her, though. It's incredibly impractical for Maine. It's too light to drive through snow and would never start in that killer cold. Also, VWs from that era have terrible heat, because the engine is in the back, so you would actually freeze. Like, to death. Or lose limbs at least. 

It's hard to grasp that murderous cold when you're not in it, I know! 

Also that yellow bug needs its rings tightened. I could do it! It's a messy job and harder to get under a bug than my old bus, and it's a fiddling, annoying job, and you tend to drop the screwdriver on your face (handle first) all the time. But I kind of enjoy doing it.

You have to loosen the thing holding the other part down, then adjust the other part to an extremely exact measurement, then tighten it back up, except that tightening it changes the adjustment and you have to do it again. This one, they're locked down too loose, which is why the engine sounds like it's jingling a bunch of change.

What?

People aren't nearly mean and poor enough in this show for it to be Maine, except for Granny, and her accent is Canadian, but to be fair, they're all from another world. 

Canadians don't move to Maine, except Acadians in the 1700s, who still speak French. Canadians are like: "It's so utterly crappy here, and the weather is even worse than Ontario, and no health care. But we'll buy a lot of stuff before we go back home." They have more sense. We should probably give Maine to Canada. Make it another Atlantic province. Or at least the northern half. Shift it over to be part of New Brunswick. Nobody would ever know. 

Now I'm sitting here staring out at the park and watching the people and dogs and trying very hard to figure out which car Emma Snow would have. See, Ruby's car is totally fabulously her! So is Mary Margaret's early 90s white Grand Cherokee with wood panels on the side. And David's broken down old brown Ford truck that needs work on the exhaust system, probably from rust. (Listen to it!) But Emma's isn't. She'd have something she could sleep in, in a pinch. Something with a lot of horsepower to chase bad guys. Something high up, because she's defensive, but practical, not flashy. 

Okay, I have cast her car. A Honda CRV like my brother drives. Good in snow, good every kind of way she'd need. It's so boring, though! Maybe one of those RAV-4 things instead. I love how she only has two bags of stuff and actually wears the same things all the time, with a variety of hats. 

There's a very funny part in Fangirl where our heroine's writing partner gives his quirky story girl an old VW bug as a car and our heroine insists that every bug in the world is being driven by a quirky girl in a story. And she changes it to a rusted out Neon. 

I would drive that bug here, though. Since I never drive and there's no snow. I'd still freeze. I like my dad's old Outback with the heated seats, thank you very much! Even if I do have to open the door and hoist the window back into place every so often so the wind and rain don't pour in.

Just think how annoyed my neighbors would get if I got to lie out on the driveway working on a car! Yay! The cranky neighbors (who killed my plants) don't even like it that I hung up twinkly dangly lights in the front window back in September. OR that I leave them on all the time. It's barbaric! That makes me gleeful and then I start to wonder what else I can do to annoy them. I bet they HATE my Hagrid wreath! Yippee!

There is one guy who's a full-fledged person on OUAT: August. At least, he's the complete twin to Emma, so I really like him. He's a good guy, even if the writing thing seems sort of flaky, as in, does he ever do it? Is it a thing he does? And I know he's Pinocchio. Hey, is writing lying? No wonder he totally turned into wood. Anyway I like him and want him to stick around, unlike that awful mouth-breather sheriff and stupid David. (David sucks, but Charming is awesome.) The genie is excellent but has no backbone or self unto himself. Mr. Gold makes up for all of that, though!

I could go on all day about Mr. Gold. What a brilliant character! But the women are by far, miles and miles better and more interesting and infinitely more awesome in every way. 

I would rant on, but I have to go to work. Work! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Eccchhhhhh....

Tonight I'm not going to the sixth (of eight) training session for adoption. And here is why:

1. I have to work. Unfortunate, but true. I always try to get done before dinner but it didn't happen today. I have hours more to do. Blargh.

2. I got lost on my way there yesterday and ended up on the 5 going north, mysteriously. I'm still not quite sure how that happened. I do not know my way around the northern part of town at all, obviously. But I also think that getting lost on the way to a place I've gone multiple times shows some deep ambivalence.

3. They keep telling us that we have to deal with our major issues before going through with this. I have not, doy! I have more issues than yarn. And I have a lot of yarn! Basically un-managed major issues will mean you don't get certified. 

4. You also have to have a good circle of support. I have zero support. I'm not even kidding. I haven't heard from my friends since Thanksgiving. Well, a couple of days ago while I was in the shower B. texted she was bringing my ShopVac over, and then left it in my recycling bin, and then texted that she had done that, all before I got out of the shower. I don't think that really counts, though. Someone who wanted to see me would have found out things like: are you home? Are you not in the shower? Etc.

5. You also have to have financial stability. Have I had my job for even ten weeks yet? Sixty days was right before Thanksgiving. Anyway.

6. The instructor was a dick to me yesterday. I know, so what, but it's already hard enough to go all the way out there (even without the involuntary detours) and sit through three hours of unfocused blather and all that without someone being a dick to me. I asked how long our training was good for, since I already knew all of the above about issues etc., and wanted to know: should I finish, or should I deal with the issues/lack of support/financial stability first, and then come back? Instead of answering, she looked at someone else and grinned, and said nothing. Yes, thank you for treating my serious question about major issues and therapy like a big stupid joke. Fuck you.

7. The instructor after that lovely interaction said something that was so completely untrue that it destroyed all of her credibility. She said that eagles will hold up a tired eagle in the air. Wait, back up. She first said, you know how geese are in a V, and the leader when it gets tired goes to the back. Okay so far. Then she said, Well, eagles when they do that, when the leader gets tired, other eagles hold it up with their wings. Which is just so utterly stupid on so many levels that I don't even know what to say. And then, this is the kicker: she said, "I've only seen it happen once, in Alaska." Really? You saw this impossible thing that doesn't happen and can't happen? And you saw it in Alaska? Really?

Explain to me what those eagles are doing flying in V formation, when that does not happen. Explain how the other eagles are going to keep flying while holding another eagle up with their wings. Explain why these solitary birds, who only pair bond, are migrating in a fucking vee formation, while you're at it.

SO RIDICULOUS.

And we all just sat there, because what are you going to say? Call her out on being totally wrong? In a real class you would, but this is more of an endurance test. 

The complete loss of credibility is what got me. Honestly, how can I believe another word she says when she not only says something that wrong, but lies about seeing it, to back it up? Do you think someone told her this as a joke once, to be kind of mean? Like snipe hunting or something? 

She has multiple advanced degrees, but I guess there's a gap in there somewhere. Jeez.

I'm just picturing eagles migrating in a V formation now. I've seen juvenile eagles hang out in a tree, and of course they like to do the kettle thing on thermals, but wow. 

If she hadn't been such a dick to me an hour earlier, and laughed about my major damage, maybe I'd be a little more sympathetic to her raging ignorance. Goodness knows there are plenty of things I don't know. I know better than the parade ignorance in front of a class and pretend it's knowledge, though.

So! Major damage. I've been talking to this lovely therapist lady over the phone. She came highly recommended, but unfortunately she's moving to Tualatin. Bah! She gave me two names, though. And also recommended the big therapy hive connected to the place I used to work. I saw the names of the four psychiatrists listed there and got an immediate huge negative reaction. One is awesome but is a flake who loves the sound of his own voice. One has this big fake mean grin. One is lovely but way too much like my old graduate advisor. And the other one is a mean old bastard. 

In sum, I'm not going anywhere near those people. Psychiatrists are an odd bunch anyway.

I would see the graduate advisor one. I liked her. But the thing is, they all get together and talk about their patients. It's part of the deal. Doctors gossip anyway. I'm not having that with people I used to work with. Come on, now.

So I'm looking into the others that the nice therapist recommended. One is downtown. And I mean, a mile away. And I was like....no. Did I mention the issues and the damage? I don't like going north of campus. It's true. Though I'll go to the capitol if necessary, across the street from campus. Anyway it's on the same street that's between campus and the capitol, so that's irrelevant. All I know is I looked at the address and went: no.

Ask me about my crippling social anxiety! It's hard to go anywhere at any time and if there are people and cars and complications, it's a hundred times worse. Downtown is all one way streets and I don't know why but it makes me all weird and tense. Danger coming from every direction!

I had to drive past my friends' house yesterday and went waaaaaay over to the far side of the road. I really am not kidding about the issues, okay? You don't know because you're not around. I feel safe in saying that because NOBODY is around. Aha. Got you there, huh?

Anyway. 

Goals:

1. Figure out a dang therapist. If this nice one who's been helping me can help me even more, and get me to one who is nearby and takes my insurance and isn't someone I used to work with, then awesome! Otherwise I can go through Psychology Today, which helpfully lists therapists, their credentials, their locations, and their specialties. Yay!

2. Fix my wagon. 

3. Get over enough baggage so that I can go back to school, for crying out loud. I can't now. I suspect that's obvious what with how I keep getting in and not going. I really want to get back into the actual classroom and have an office and colleagues and real life students, though. And I need to go back to school to do that. And I need to fix my wagon so I can do that.

Therapist, wagon, school, classroom. That's the order.

4. Unless of course I can get all published and stuff. That's preferable (and a lot faster) and actually pays you instead of you paying it. So maybe I should just do this:

Therapist, publication, classroom. 

Why do it the long way, especially given my apparent zero tolerance for human fallibility? I know!

So anyway.

I have to get in the shower. I get all hot and sweaty out walking the dog and then come home and sit around and get utterly frozen. Dang, I had an outfit all picked out for class, too. I'll wear it tomorrow. I think tonight is Be Kind To The Crazy Person night. After I get done with work, of course. Gaaaah!

Ugh, today was stupidly hard. I found out that I've been left out of the loop for a lot of really important things at work, which just makes me feel terrible, even though it's not just me, of course. That kind of doesn't matter. I don't know all this stuff I should know, so I feel lousy about it! I'm an overachiever! Hello! We have to know stuff! We can't be without essential data!

It was so ungodly frustrating that I was sitting there working silently for hours with tears just leaking slowly out of the corners of my eyes. I didn't realize until it had been going on for a while. 

And realizing that I'm too poor, crazy, and friendless to adopt wasn't exactly a happy realization either. I mean, it's actually true. I would not be certified because of major outstanding issues from major traumas of various types, because of lack of financial stability, and because of absolutely zero support. 

I texted some distant friends to prove to myself that I actually do have friends and they did not reply--have not even replied yet--which is hilariously awful. I haven't yet started smashing my forehead into the wall, but it's close. What. A. Sucky. Day. 

A shower is always good, though. 

If this is the day I fall and break something in the shower, feel free to enjoy the irony. It's true my right arm and leg are failing to operate within acceptable parameters today. And every day lately. But come on, just get me through the rest of the day, limbs! 

I went and dropped off another bunch of books in the tiny library. All the ones I left previously are gone already! Oh boy! I'm going to need to tank up again soon!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Knitting this


Red Heart worsted, 7 mm needles.

Knitted from the top down.

Cast on 5. Join.
Knit in front and back of each stitch around. 10 st.
Purl next row.
KFB, K1 around.
Purl.
KFB, K2 around.
Purl.
Repeat in pattern, increasing at those 10 points every other row until 80 st.
Alternate knit rows and purl rows until long enough over forehead. 

That's as far as I am right now! I'll come back and add directions for the cowl part when I get them figured out. It looks awesome so far, though. Shapeless blob photo does not do it justice!



Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sneaky fun

This is my lovely sneaky fun thing to do. I can't believe I never told anyone about it until I mentioned it on Twitter the other day. SO FUN.

There's a little library in someone's front yard near the high school slash middle school. It's both, connected. I think. Anyway. The library is a little house on a pole, at about elbow height for me, which says to me: aimed at the younger as well as the older kids. It has a window in front that you can lift up to get at the books. You can borrow whatever, return whatever, not return whatever. 

I see it when I walk the dog up that way. It's actually across the street from one of my old houses. There used to be a big dog living there who would bark like a maniac and hurl his body at the fence. It's a chain link with those slats through it at an angle. Most of my strongest memories involve which dog lived where, you will not be surprised to hear. 

At first I just went through my shelves and picked out any duplicates of middle grade or YA fiction. But then I started buying them for cheap at thrift stores. If I see anything good, I get it. Latest haul included several Judy Blumes, Julie of the Wolves, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and other excellent books. 

So now I pack a bunch of them into my pockets or a bag and we walk down that way and put them into the little wee library. And then I kind of scuttle away with a gleeful cackle. SO FUN.

It is national take your offspring to a bookstore day or something like that, coincidentally, so there, that's my contribution. It's awesome to have this great way to put fantastic books out there for these kids to get. You know kids that age will most likely not read a book if you say, "Here, read this book! It's amazing!" Because they just won't. But if they get to look through them and pick one out, they're all over it. 

No surveillance. No pressure like due dates. And honestly I'm just as happy if they keep them. 

The people who put that little library out there are awesome. Awesome!

There are some terrible old crappy books in there that I always want to take out and get rid of. Like, someone just cleared junk off their shelves. Adult books that nobody would want to read. But at least my happy books get to go in there too. And disappear! They totally disappear. I love that. 

That is my sneaky awesome fun time activity. Whee! It also gives me an outlet for my positive compulsion to buy these amazing books when I see them in paperback. It's like I can't leave Julie of the Wolves on the shelf. Or Roll of Thunder. Ooh, and incidentally, I get to put all these diverse authors out there so that the kids can read them without any commitment, see? Roll of Thunder is an amazing book. I think I own two hardcover copies, come to think of it. But there is a black girl on the cover (at least in some editions) and for a lot of white kids, that says Not For Me. Unless it's a free paperback you can borrow.

My favorite classrooms had a bookcase where you could borrow books if you were done with your work. lt's an awesome thing. It's just dramatically less pressure than going to the school library or even the public library, where adults are scrutinizing everything you do and making judgments and comments about it. UGH. Even now I don't like that. I'll use the self check out in the library!

There, that's my awesome thing. Hurray!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Twist!

I've been taking these classes about fostering and adopting and I'm certainly learning a lot. About myself. Ha!

Well, it's true. Also I cleaned up the house entirely for the nonexistent party and now it's all sleek and tidy and that means: peaceful.

And all I keep thinking is: I really like it this way. I have a great life. I don't have to lock up the cleanser and saws.

I don't know. This weekend you know usually is all Woe, Why No Peoples? But instead I came out of it going, Oh boy, no peoples! I got to finish my NaNoWriMo project right on time. I got to make all the Thanksgiving food and party food.

You know what I don't like? And maybe you're a people person, so this is fun to you, but I cannot STAND when you're doing something, like getting ready for a party, and making decisions, and someone else is like, "No, do it this way," and questioning everything and making you second guess everything and making everything a hundred times harder than it needs to be.

Maybe I've just always been around annoying people. Or maybe I'm not a people person so much! I do like the people. I just don't enjoy group work. You know? Teamwork! I am not the biggest fan!

To me, doing something hard with someone else is not easier. It's like it's twice as hard, because not only do you have to do the job, you have to deal with personalities and egos and ideas that aren't actually an improvement, and you have to waste so much endless goddamn energy on discussions of every little thing. It's exhausting just thinking about it.

Driving cross country alone, for example, is about four times easier than with someone else.

Cooking dinner, the same.

I think there's a mathematical formula for this but I can't articulate it. Me plus them = 4 times the work.

At least.

Anyway. I don't know. It's interesting! And I'm about 50/50 split on the whole thing, to be honest. Which doesn't mean I get out of class ambivalent. I'm either 100% for or 100% against, pretty much all the time. Probably there's a brief transitional period if you want to be picky.

I also think things like: Well, sure, you had utterly toxic and destructive family dynamics, so no wonder you're in dread of family dynamics. Why would you think otherwise?

Actually, that's an interesting question. I do think otherwise about half the time! I imagine things going the normal stressful exhausting kid way, but fine. Going to things for school. Buying clothes. Figuring out which bike. Making really boring food. The usual!

One thing they're really good at in the classes is making us imagine all the horrible stuff. Yay! I mean, ugh! They explain how these kids feel, which is such an interesting mind-bending exercise, I wish everyone could go through the class. I mean, I'm overly empathetic if anything, but I hadn't stretched my imagination that far because this is completely outside my experience.

The class keeps dropping and dropping in size. I hope it's not just me by the end. I'm going the whole way through for the pure education of it and because I find it intensely interesting, whether or not I decide to go through with things. Others seem to be getting talked out of it and dropping out.

I'm seriously super solitary and enjoy quiet and non-abrasive circumstances. It's true. I've had roommates, but never lived with anyone. And honestly having roommates sucked. Though Leslie was a really good roommate, come to think of it. She came from a co-op background like me, though. Maybe that's the key. The co-op mentality, where everyone pitches in. It's like the opposite of people in general as far as I can see, where they want to do their own thing and get out of whatever they can.

Did I mention I'm not a people fan? Leslie though! Come on!

Silly. I have so many awesome friends. I just don't want to live with them.

I have to go make a million phone calls. And then go to the dentist. (UGH.) And go pay the rent that I should have done yesterday but I had too much work to do. Which is also true about today! Too much to do! But I will get it done. I got yesterday's done through heroic effort *and* went to the class, and bought a new binder as required, and returned my slightly overdue library book. I know!

I got the Christmas tree out but still have to unbend all the branches. Can't quite figure out where to put it, but I'll work it out.

Let me tell you, though, nobody better invite me anywhere for Christmas because I am absolutely not falling for that again! I'm staying home and nobody is allowed to come over, either. I predict lots of cups of tea and working on a puzzle in my jammies, man.

And crazy knitting for myself! I really want to knit an Edith (from Despicable Me) hat and sweater. Totally. And those rotating fingerless mitts are so cool. And I don't even know what else because the chain mail is eating my life! I got a lot done during class, though. And I'll get even more done during the next one because it's going to be very upsetting.

Yep, I'm doing some thinking. It's food for thought! Thoughts for the thinking thereof.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Absurd

I have to admit right up front that part of the problem here is that my brains are addled by the mice chewing on the insulation up there. It makes it so that even yesterday was so very long ago, ancient history, and tomorrow is unfathomably far away. I don't remember anything about anything and it's all very open and empty and peaceful. Like eastern Oregon.

So here's the absurdity: I invited three different groups of people to a get-together at my house today. Except I have only the vaguest recollection of doing so because of the brain mice. And I feel like they were sort of vague about it, too, not like "Okay, we have a plan!" but "Oh, okay...." and then nothing concrete ever came of it.

Which puts me in the odd position of having to get ready for a party that will almost certainly not happen. I was in the store yesterday to get a) dog biscuits and b) a big bag of peppermint lifesavers, when I remembered about the imaginary shindig.

I thought, of course, "But nobody is going to come." I mean, they're really not. Except maybe my neighbors. But then I had to get food for it anyway, in case they do. So I got veg and something to dip it in, some cheese and bread, some stuff to make that excellent spinach dip I like so much, some bottles of wine, and the makings of a bunch of grilled cheese sandwiches.

That's my fun party thing, not that I've ever done it. Because seriously, when did I ever last have a get-together of any kind? I'm going to have to say....my birthday in 2003, just up the road from here! It poured and I had about forty people over--and their dogs--and so we were all in my little house and it was hilarious.

Actually, I had a birthday party in L.A., too, but that was outside in the back patio and people I didn't know were there, so I don't know if it qualifies. Did I get stuff for that? I think I did. That was my 40th I'm pretty sure. Wasn't it? I think so. Which would put it seven years ago. Jeebus!

So anyway my idea was to make tiny grilled cheeses, by making big grilled cheeses and cutting them into wee triangles. I know! I heard the idea from J. who had them at a wedding. Like A MILLION YEARS AGO.

Here I am now cleaning up the house, which I've been cleaning and tidying all week in preparation, and getting the food and whatnot together, for an event which will almost guaranteed not happen in any way whatsoever.

My friends, obviously, are not exactly on my happy list after throwing out our Thanksgiving plans and all that. Even though we talked specifically about them coming over for this, I'm positive that they don't even remember and even if they did, would not be coming.

My neighbors have their two kids home from college, so I was really counting on some prime food consumption from them, but they are all out, at least right now. But that means I can't go over and say, "Hey, are you coming tonight?" to remind them and find out.

And my other friends, with three tall sons I was also counting on to devour a lot of grilled cheeses, I don't think it sank in with them either that I had invited them. Because when we talked Thursday, nobody mentioned it.

I think I must be giving half-hearted, negligible invitations.

She was raised with the same thing about your thoughts and feelings and needs do not matter. We were talking about how these horrible people disasters keep happening, and how we know we're the common factor, but we really don't think we're doing anything.

But she had the same sort of seismic shock that I did upon hearing that. Like, yes, this is exactly how we were raised, to think our needs don't matter. When you feel like your needs don't matter, other people are ALWAYS like, "Okay, then we'll take care of MY needs." And you have no recourse because you always say things like, "Okay, whatever, I don't care," because that's how you've been trained 100% of the time.

It's amazing to look back and realize just how many things that has utterly wrecked in the whole history of forever.

It's amazing to think that I probably would have been much better able to get what I wanted if I had any grounding whatsoever in believing that what I wanted mattered, that it was important to get what I wanted and needed out of situations, that other people were doing it wrong if they treated me like what I wanted and needed didn't matter.

That is messed up.

See, I set this shindig up B.R., before realization, and now I'm dealing with it A.R., where I'm mad that I did that, that I didn't tell people in no uncertain terms that there was going to be a wee grilled cheese fiesta and get your bodies over here at such and such a time.

This is why I hate living in the east so much, see? Because my family has this belief like a RELIGION that my needs and thoughts and feelings don't matter. Being around them is overwhelming to my perfectly natural belief that yes, in fact, those things DO matter. They outnumber me and they reinforce over and over and over that no, I don't matter, nothing I want or need matters.

Look at all the awful things they've done. Of course they did those things. It makes perfect sense now.

I'm a giant squid of anger right now, though I know it looks like I'm just sitting at the dining room table typing away.

Gosh it's cold in here! My feet are cold. I want my cup of tea. Which is also fairly cold! It snowed today so presumably it's pretty chilly out. Ooh, 40, not that bad, but it's been 60 for a couple of days.

So my goal is to deal with this terrible habit and fight it at every turn. I feel like I'm squatting down in front of a little kid who is about to burst into tears and putting my hands on her shoulders and saying, "What do you want?" In a super nice way. I know that could sound mean. But in a really nice way. What do you want, honey? What do you want to do?

I met some awesome people exactly like me on Thursday, meaning they are solo people who either have adopted or are about to adopt children. And they're obsessed with tiny houses. And they're flipping awesome and interesting and we had so much fun talking! My people! I mean, they're going out, so not as solo as some people, but still. Adopting alone! I hope we all get to be friends.

We were talking about the steps in a commitment like this, and they are so fricking awesome, they totally got excited that I'd bought the Hemnes daybed, because they got what it meant! It's a huge step to buy the furniture that can be the furniture for the kids!

The next step is to rent a place with three bedrooms, so that they can each have their own room. This is a big step too! Ack! But it's one I need to do.

I also have to get set up with a therapist person. They were able to recommend someone just right for me, which honestly is the only way to get one of those, right? Personal recommendation? And she's nearby. I just have to get onto my work computer and look up through my insurance to see if she's on the list. But I feel certain she will be.

Last week I tried really hard to get set up with an actual doctor, because that's a huge step. I'll work more on that Monday. They were being really flakypants.

And I start with the dentist on Tuesday. Woe! Stress! Pain! But then maybe teeth? Teeth are on the horizon! I don't know if they'll pull these two terrible ones that day. Probably not. But maybe soon.

Must chew everything now!

Seriously, though, things like nuts and meat are going to be out. Except maybe liverwurst.

I have to get a couple of things pre-adoption, like a gun safe, trigger locks, and a metal tool cabinet that locks, as well as another toolbox to lock up all the medications, even over the counter. These are very doable!

I shouldn't need carseats or any of that because they'll be older. But I keep thinking: okay, hangers for their closets, and another Hemnes, because how secure does that thing feel! Seriously, that pew-like box makes it so secure and comfortable. Though the edge around the top of it needs to go because it digs into you as you lean back. More pillows, twin sheets, actual twin mattresses instead of this ancient thin thing.

Right!

Since I was off work the past two days, I decided this was a good time to cut back on the zombie meds. I was taking two before bed, but cut to one. The first night, I only slept six hours and woke up before six a.m., wide awake and ready to go and do everything. And I was up until 1 a.m. But then today I slept until noon.

The zombie pills are good against nightmares but they make it impossible to get up in the morning. It's been making it hard for me to get my full day of work! So that had to cut back. No real change in the nightmares yet, by which I mean they're holding steady, but I think it takes a while for the levels to drop.

Last night I wrote another big block of my NaNoWriMo novel. Two more blocks of 5000 words and I'll be done! I'm going to do as much as I can tonight, though. I'm weirdly out of story, which is what slowed me down. I think I'm just going to move on to the ending and cause a lot of mayhem and disaster and do everything I can to prevent the happy ending, and then find ways for the happy ending to come about after all. But look out, characters, terrible things are about to occur!

I've been making lovely things happen for them, resolving major terrible lifelong blocks for them, getting them out of horrible situations, and so on, and now it's time to turn things around again. Just when you think you can relax, wham! Yes, I got you out of those terrible situations and into what seems like a dream come true, but look out!

It's great to be working toward the end of a draft. Even though obviously a full draft is another 20K words longer than the 50K I have to have done by tomorrow. It's great to watch it all unfold and the words pile up and everyone's crazy complicated lives pushing forward toward this and that. It's the best.

Did I tell you I got to talk to little niece over the phone on Thanksgiving, and she played me two songs on Grandma's piano? I know!!! So great!

Put a piano on my list, once I live somewhere where it wouldn't punch straight through the floor and land on the ground underneath. You can always get a free piano. That is one of the weirdest and most awesome things about this country, let me tell you. People always have pianos they don't want and can't sell and they put them up on Craigslist for free every day of the week. So once I'm somewhere well floored, that's a plan! I'm terrible at piano but I love playing, whether just noodling around or playing crazy Bach or even playing Hanon finger exercises. It's awesome.

Okay, time to take the plastic off the Christmas tree (OH BOY!!!) and hit the showers and then set up dishes and whatnot for my Party of One! Or possibly more! Who can say?

Honestly, even if it's me and a glass of wine and a grilled cheese, I'm going to have a fun time. Hurray!

Holy sweet potatoes, amen!

I put this recipe together from various other recipes I found online. This combination is my own synthesis of a lot of ideas. And OH BOY is it ever good. So good!

So you cook up your sweet potatoes the usual way, boiling large chunks, then peeling and slicing them when they're cool. Though actually I don't know if that's necessary. Next time I'll just cut them up raw and bake them and then put the sauce on top. 

Chop up a lot of crystallized ginger, depending on your ability to handle the strength of it, and layer it with the sweet potatoes in the pan. 

The inimitable sauce:

Heat up in a saucepan

1/2 cup honey (all crystallized is best)
1/2 cup butter
a lot of powdered vanilla, like 3 T
1 T cinnamon
1 T cardamom

Melt it all together until you can stir it with a whisk. I used crystallized honey, not on purpose, just because mine had gone all solid, so it took a little while before I could get a whisk through it. 

Once it's liquid, take it off the heat and add about 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Whisk that in there gently.

I also whisked in about 1/4 cup of flour to thicken it up. Just this very second I realized I reinvented the usual butter/flour/milk sauce, but oh well!

Pour it over your pan of potatoes and ginger. It does not need to be baked, though you'll want to heat it up before serving. 

YUM.

I know, who would have thought that a lot of butter, honey, cream, and delicious spices over sweet potatoes would be so good? Heh. The vanilla really makes it. I think it might actually be a dessert, now that I think about it. Hmmm! I just had a bowl of it for lunch, though, so nyah!

My family's version of sweet potatoes was always to tile them in the pan, then put pats of butter and brown sugar over the whole thing. When baked, this gives you circles in soup. It's messy and you leave the best part in the pan. So part of my goal was to make sure the good stuff sticks to the sweet potatoes. I've been adding ginger for years because the combination is wonderful. So now I've moved up a level with this new approach. Oh, it's so good! 

I put far too much cayenne in my szechuan green beans this year, though. Am sad! Maybe I can have them over rice and that will spread out the pepper a bit more. Good plan!

Also, I put some leftover pesto into the mac and cheese, which turned out glorious, oh man. 

I'm definitely on board with making everything in advance and eating leftbefores while cooking more. That way you can enjoy Thanksgiving a lot more, without having to race and plan and spend all day in the kitchen. Not that I was with any humans, but even alone I really like to have my holidays OFF.

I'm definitely going to cook ahead for Christmas, too. Don't think I'll make turkey, though. I think I'll just stick with my fabulous array of side dishes. There are others I want to try in the Thanksgiving Cookbook, as well as some I haven't made in years but want to do again. 

Cooking! So fun, and then there's food! Whee!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Your thoughts and feelings don't matter

Can you imagine someone saying that to you? They usually use other methods, though. But BOY is the message clear.

So anyway I'm having Thanksgiving at home, which of course is what I originally wanted, and I should never have agreed to go elsewhere, because I hate that. Holidays = I STAY HOME. That's my rule!

I had plans with my friends to go over to their house. We had a time, and we divided up the food to cook, and all of that. Tonight I got a text saying they'd invited someone else, and we would be eating 3-4 hours earlier, and my turkey breast wasn't big enough now, so we had to get another one, and I had to cook the turkey at home and bring it over.

I lost my full set of bananas. I got very very angry. Fortunately, I got that text in the middle of a three hour class at the DHS where I was learning all about how foster kids are often treated by their original families like their thoughts and feelings don't matter, their needs don't matter. And so I was surprisingly able to articulate to myself exactly how I felt about all of that.

I'm very angry at being treated like my thoughts and feelings don't matter. Hello! 

It's fascinating to me because like a lot of people in the class, I was raised exactly that way. My mom's needs were the only important ones. Nobody else was even on the radar. If you were upset, you had to shut it down because it was not okay in her world for anyone else to be upset. It only factored in at all because it interrupted whatever she was doing. This is classic, apparently. 

Did I ever tell you I was almost taken away and put into foster care? It's true. She bullied me into telling the doctor all my injuries were accidental by saying that I'd never see my brother again. 

The giant fight we had last fall, the one that decided me once and for all never to have anything to do with her again, was over this exact same thing. My thoughts and feelings and needs were not even on her radar at all. She was put out by seeing a musical instrument of mine in a room that she never even used--not for one second of any day, ever. And she wanted me to put all of my belongings into storage because my possessions were inconveniencing her.

Telling me that our Thanksgiving plans are suddenly completely different, WITHOUT ASKING ME, and telling me I would have to make the turkey, and the turkey I have is not good enough suddenly, was way over a whole lot of lines, not in the essence of any of those things, but because it tells me every kind of way that what I want is not even on the radar enough to ASK me whether any of it is okay in our mutual plans. I'm livid. I'm shaking. 

The poor dog doesn't know what's wrong! He's such a good boy. I swear, animals are the best, because they live IN REALITY, not in some imaginary world where everything just falls into place and people are as convenient as furniture to be put here or there or thrown out or rearranged the way you want. 

Anyway I'm glad I stood up for myself. I said none of it was okay. And I'm not going over there, in case that was in any doubt, but I haven't said so yet. 

We had a similar problem last summer, with all the damn furniture, remember? We had a plan, and then all of a sudden my way was no good, we had to do it this other much more expensive way, and it had to be on their schedule, and then it turned out they wanted to give it to some student anyway, so I just GOT OUT. I wanted nothing to do with any of it. And I was angry then, but not as angry as I am now. 

It's not malicious, just cluelessness. Like, why wouldn't I want to get up at eight in the morning on Thanksgiving and roast a turkey and haul it down the street? Well, I don't want to. And that is perfectly legitimate and okay. I don't have to. I am absolutely not doing it. I don't eat Thanksgiving at lunch time. I eat in the afternoon. AS WE HAD PLANNED TO DO. 

Isn't it great that I already had bought all of my Thanksgiving ingredients? I know! I'm all set to bake pie tomorrow, and do all the prep for the stuffing, and make creamed spinach and mac and cheese and cranberries! And I'll make sweet potatoes and mashed blue potatoes (home grown!) and stuffing and szechuan green beans and possibly even rolls. 

Oooh, I love making rolls!

Okay, I sent a text saying I'm not coming for Thanksgiving, and saying I'm pretty mad and don't want to talk right now. Not disappearing. Woo, being responsible. If avoidant. 

These classes are amazing. But they are also telling me I have a lot of serious crap to work through before I can go too much farther. I might have to talk to the nice feisty lady teaching them about that and see what she says. Well, she'll know when I start busting out crying at some point. Though I think a lot of us had a really strong response when she talked about the people pleasing false attachment thing and people being raised to believe their own needs don't matter. 

She said there's a strong correlation between people who reach out to help others and people who have been raised to believe their own needs don't matter. Isn't that upsetting? I know!

I just keep thinking about the oxygen masks on the plane. Get your own mask in place before you try to help others. Right? 

Well. The classes are amazing and I'll go the whole way through (so many more massive long evenings of classes!) but I might need a little time to get my own mental and psychological house in order (not to mention my actual literal house) (and financially, also, by the way) before I go too much further. 

Now it's time to cut up bread for stuffing, am I right? Yum!

Anyway I have to go back to what my fabulous therapist said, after I told her about marching right over next door and yelling at the neighbors for chopping down all my vegetation. She said: Then you did the right thing. You stood up for yourself. That's a win. 

I always feel like when people try to bulldoze me I've already lost, no matter what, but I'm trying to see things her way! Standing up for yourself is a win. And I don't have to watch any fucking football! Yay! So there's another win! I hate football. Truly despise it as the stupidest sport in existence, far less interesting than any other sport I've ever watched. 

I think it's time to knit more chain mail and read more Harry Potter. We're allowed to knit in class, so I've done acres of the chain mail and that's just awesome, because it's garter stitch and really very boring. It's good to do with my hands while I'm having mental and emotional gymnastics, though!

This chain mail is going to be flipping awesome when it's done. So excited! I have to make sort of surcotes or whatever to go over top, though not with a big red crusader cross because the crusades were totally gross. I'm thinking about a Welsh dragon on my nephew's and an English or Scottish whatever it is on my niece's. Are they gryphons or what? I have no idea how to spell that word, I suddenly realize. I mean, I know several options, but none of them seem right. You know, the spiky clawed lion thing that there are three of on the England crest. Is it a lion? 

Research required. Will report back!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How to cure creative panic

Yes! Polish Chick asked about this and I realized I have not only a ton of experience coping with this, but a ton of experience teaching other people how to cope with this. So here, let me share some ways to fight that terrible feeling when you sit down with a pad of paper and utterly freeze.

This is about painting or drawing but writing will come after.

1. Copy something else. Just draw a book or a mug or your other hand. 

2. Copy a painting or drawing you like, just getting the lines and dark/light down.

3. Draw a face from your computer or a book. 

4. Try cutting out shapes from paper and moving them around on the page to give yourself the ability to play with layouts and shapes without having to draw.

5. Use finger paints to remove the pressure of skills or lost finesse. 

6. Play with clay instead, squishing shapes around and not thinking at all.

7. Just shut your eyes and imagine what you would like to draw/paint/see. Imagine what the finished canvas or paper looks like. Then try to replicate just the most basic lines of it. Shut your eyes again and again to imagine it again.

8. Draw what you see out the window, just one square of it, in terms of lines and shapes, not worrying about anything else. 

9. Set a timer and say you're going to draw ten things within that time limit. Then hurry!

10. My favorite: block out frames for a comic strip and start telling a story about something that happened to you one time. You can do all sorts of fun things with this, like storyboarding, with angles and shots and close-ups and everything. Do it just with stick figures, or whatever you want! SO FUN.

My advice for how to get out of a writing mud pit is pretty much the same, except instead of making your hands do things in order to shut your judgy brain up, you need to get your brain working with you instead of against you.

I'm going to list some ways to cope when you're stuck writing a draft.

1. Storyboard, just like #10 up above. Block out scenes with pictures, even if they're just floor plans or stick figures stabbing with tiny knives or driving in the car. You probably have images in your head for everything you've written so far, so draw the spot where you're stuck and see what suggests itself.

2. What's the worst thing that could happen to your characters? Why? I find I'm protecting things to give my characters one last safe haven. That's where you should go, even if your characters have to fight to protect that haven.

3. Draw the arc. You're in the middle of a story so you're showing an arc from A to B. If you're stuck, you've probably lost track of the arc. So lay it out on paper so you can see where you are and where to go.

4. Write the ending, even if it's impossible to get from here to there. Your mind will start filling in the gaps.

5. Write the islands between here and the ending. There are spots you can see, so fill them in.

6. Let their backstory pay off, in good ways and bad ways. Today I'm beating myself up over not telling an old lady to shut the hell up when she started body shaming me at a party. That hit me in most of my sorest spots, and I really want to be the person who will tell people off when they cross lines, but I'm not. Do that to your characters. It sucks!

7. Mine the location. You can use the arcs that all locations have. A house? The mail comes, there's a vacuum, there are neighbors, there's a lawn mower, there's a weird old box of stuff waiting to go to Goodwill. A store? A park? This also gives you the chance to go to one of those places and notice what your brain has forgotten. Those rhythms drive things forward.

8. Your characters are more complex than you thought. People are always much more complex than we can grasp, even after knowing them for years. They don't admit everything. They have ugly secrets and beautiful secrets. They always slow down to stare at certain types of cars. They get freaked out by sports mascots with the giant heads. Think about the richness of people you actually know and try to bring that out of your characters and let it drive things.

9. Think about the things you may not like about yourself. Maybe you're lazy, or uptight, or sneaky. Maybe you really don't want to do that nice thing for your neighbor but now you're trapped by promises you've made. That's great character tension, things that they wish they were but aren't, things that they are but really wish they weren't. Anything that pits a character against him or herself is gold.

10. And last, my favorite: put fundamentally good people in impossible situations. What do they do? It's a hard story problem but it's also a hard character problem. What would you do? What would that guy that you hate do? What would your real life heroine do? What would a homeless person with two kids do? Put the screws to your characters and make them really show you what they're made of.

As for how to get out of a rewriting muddle, I'm working on that. If I ever figure it out, I'll let you know!




















Saturday, November 22, 2014

Achievement in the field

Yes I can proudly claim achievement in the field of socialization! I went to two things. Two! In one day! And one was full of strangers! And the strangers were old white ladies, who I have a flinch response to due to being relentlessly tortured by one!

Only one of them tortured me, though, so that was good. Another one tried to tell me that it was naive to consider that police often act out of fear, but I think she thought I was trying to excuse their behavior, which I'm certainly not. They're bullies because they're afraid all the time. It's just psychology. 

Mostly I just had a really good time and now I know who to avoid next time, if I go again. It's not really up to me so we'll have to see. It's a neighborhood thing but I'm sort of at the edge of it, invited by someone who's in it. ANYWAY.

Not belonging is MUCH more comfortable for me than belonging because once you belong, they get their hooks in you. Guh!

But there were at least two people there who I'd totally be friends with and lots of others it would be fun to talk to regularly. 

That was the second socialization interaction.

The first was lunch with an actual new friend in town. We have so many brain tweaks in common, it's hilarious to have conversations, because we both have these weird things like always having to carry various survival gear around with us--and a history of having done that since childhood. My family used to call it my survival kit. I have not changed one bit on that count!

Anyway that was super amazingly fun and interesting and she's awesome. 

Because I'm a worrier, I wonder whether two people with such similar traits would ever run into trouble because of it? That's more of a writing thought, though. I immediately want to write two very similar characters who get headaches from their similarity.

The book I'm currently writing is about identical twins raised in very different but equally fucked up households by their two dysfunctional aunts. So they have the same blueprints but very different reactions to the alarming new situation they're in when they get brought together. It's SO FUN TO WRITE.

So I should probably get back to writing it one of these days. Christmas knitting overwhelmed my panic mode this week. But yesterday (late last night, actually, or more specifically, this morning) I finished the biggest one. What a relief! I don't think staying up that late is good for me at all, though, Agents of SHIELD or not. 

I'm not going to write all the periods in that word. Forget it. But you can tell it bothers me not to. Heh.

Right, so I finished one thing at lunch, because my friend showed me how--I do not speak crochet to the point where I can't make heads or tails of the simplest instructions. And then I finished the second last night/this morning. And that's awesome!

One has to get washed and blocked, but the other can be wrapped today, once I get the fur off it. Yay!

I have rashly invited people over a week from today. I've been cleaning and tidying all week because of it. Which is to say: tidying, or excavating various disaster areas, more like. There are zones of chaos that must be eradicated! I'm off Thursday and Friday, which will help, but today is the heavy lifting day. 

Whee!

Two nights ago I discovered that when I'd messed with the fireplace this fall to try to light it again, I had not put the glass front back in properly. It has two tension clamps on the top and two on the bottom, but I'd only replaced the top ones. Whoops! Guess what? Now it doesn't fill the house with fumes, so I should be breathing better, and also now it heats the house much more. I don't know how that works, but it's true.

I had my carbon monoxide detector running the whole time, don't worry! And, I mean, you can cook on a gas stove and such. The worst danger is carbon monoxide. But still. 

We actually got so warm that I had to turn the fireplace off. How cool is that? It has not been warm in here like that all fall.

Someone's out in the park photographing squirrels.

Okay, here's my major work day heavy lifting to do list, though I have to say I'm pretty much missing one whole leg at this point and very shaky and weird. Right leg is AWOL! Standing at the shindig yesterday was very difficult. Oh and then there was a huge flash flood and my friends' basement had a waterfall and I had to take my friend's car and drive home and get my ShopVac and drive back and vacuum up the lake. Which was alarming and exciting and I did way too much because of adrenaline and then paid for it later. 

That's actually very funny because B. and I were sitting on the couch talking about a) how leg control has gotten so bad that I'm back using my cane again as of yesterday, and how it's not quite bad enough that I can't drive but getting close, and b) how I used to ShopVac lakes out of my basement in Maine all the time, and c) why I have overwhelming irrational terror of basements: namely, because my mom used to shut me in the terrifying dirt cellar back in Michigan in a 100 year old house and turn off the lights and lock the door. Hello!

So it's pretty funny that I immediately had to run around, drive a car, and do a lot of physical labor in a basement.

Right! To do list! To do today, existence of leg permitting!

1. Wash all the damn dishes again.
2. Pick up everything, seriously.
3. Vacuum.
4. Clean/fix the pictures that need it and rehang.
5. Make some food or something?
6. Wash/block that knitting project, yay! Also other woolens.
7. Wrap some Christmas presents that are sitting around.

That's plenty. Yep. I'm excited to wash dishes, which I just mistyped as "watch dishes," because I'm going to watch more Agents of SHIELD. I hereby promise I will only wash dishes for as long as my leg holds out. And therefore I'll probably have to do about three shifts. It's okay!

I'm also working on the next big project that has to get done, namely knitted chain mail for the niece and nephew. Hurray! It would be funny to make tiny chain mail for my great-nephew. I have to decide what to do for him since they never said thank you for the adorable little sweater I knitted when he was born. Sheesh! It's impossible to resist knitting for babies, though. I'll address the package directly to my great-nephew, how's that? 

I'm excited to do some wacky afghan knitting once these things are done. And knit up this blue and white sweater that I got the yarn and pattern for at Rhinebeck last year. And other fun stuff! It's great to make progress on things and finish them, though. Seriously. So satisfying!

I'm really enjoying Agents of SHIELD. Of course I'm a long-standing fan of Clark Gregg and watched lots of Old Christine because of him and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. So brilliant together! He's hilariously funny so it's great to see him bring that to a serious role. I like Skye a lot and I'm in awe of Ming-Na and I love the two adorable science kids. 

I find the tall dude worrying because a) he has the most disturbing ears, and b) he makes that pouty face all the time. Dude, you are supposed to be this big commando, stop making the pouty face of a three year old. I'm not sure why his ears worry me so much except that they aren't quite human. Heh, I guess that's why. It's the sort of thing you'd do on a Star Trek alien to show that they are alien. Elf ears are just as bad. Which actor had the elf ears that used to worry me so much? I can't remember. 

I'm just so used to clocking alien ears as a thing you're supposed to notice that it's hard not to notice them. Trained by Star Trek, what can I tell you! 

Anyway alien ears guy is the weakest link but he's okay too. 

I love how Ming-Na is always making that one face, but is able to show infinite emotions with the tiniest variations. She is so brilliant. She says so much with so little. I adore her. 

Gosh, now I really seriously want to wash the dishes! See how that works?

I'm going to get a thing that lets you watch Netflix etc. on the actual tv. And then one day get an actual tv instead of the historical relic with its built in VHS player. (Awww!) But probably not soon because my Ikea visit really left me with major sticker shock and I don't want to spend a dime on anything else ever. 

Oh my goodness, so much to do! Hup hup! Get going! Go go go!