Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The end of an era. A brief, unpleasant era.

Nothing big. I just stopped taking those new meds when I realized that this exciting new nightmares and insomnia era began immediately after I started taking them. And then of course I had started taking the other old thing to fix the insomnia and the nightmares, then no one would renew it for still inexplicable reasons, so I had to withdraw, which causes...nightmares and insomnia.

Anyway. Hi! Apparently the p-zac wasn't for me. Boy were those some horrible and terrifying nightmares! Have you ever woken repeatedly during the night, utterly petrified and unable to get yourself out of it? Have you ever stayed up until four a.m. because you're afraid to go to sleep because of the men with razor blades and the monsters and zombies and gut-wrenching terror?

Well I sure hope not. Goodness! Get some help for that, would you?

It's already hilariously obvious that it was those meds. For one, my friend OCD is back and in fine form. Whee! And I'll get up and get something if I need it, instead of going Ehhhhh and eventually groaning my way out of the chair and straggling over to fetch it.

Also? Tension tamer tea totally tamed my tension! I apologize, tea. It was not your fault in the first place! What a lot of red herrings and confusion.

I just saw the word "timeously" in a book, meaning "in a timely manner." I'm sorry, but no. I forbid it. You may not apply those suffixes to that word that way. It turns the time part of the word into something that looks like a latinate root. Maybe it was a joke, but oh, these books! They used to be some of my favorites. But the more I read, the more irritated I get.

Is that the author being slapdash and lazy, or me getting bored with the repetitive stories and the way he has to hit a given set of scenes in each book like checking off a list? He probably does check off a list, actually.

Well. No, the first two books are fantastic, the third is very good, and after that, they get perfunctory. And even worse, he kind of forgets what makes the main character wonderful and turns her into this crabby judgy impatient self-satisfied dithery thing. She's short-tempered and rude to someone and then in the next scene gets self-righteously superior and annoyed with someone else for being short-tempered and rude. In other words, you would hate to deal with her in real life.

It's very very very annoying. I'm annoyed. Because the first couple of books are an absolute pleasure to read.

Timeously, my aunt! My foot! My aunt's foot!

It's brutally cold again. I've been thwarted a lot by the cold and/or snow lately. Let's just say it's not a good time of year to need to do things outside without your gloves on. Things involving things you don't want snow on. Oof. Also there's ungodly clutter everywhere and suddenly, after what, two weeks? Three weeks? It's UNBEARABLE. Which will mean a major fixing and tidying and packing and putting everything away tomorrow, I'm sure.

There are all these things that need to be done in sequence. That's part of the holdup. If Thing A can't get done, I try to work on Thing B as far as possible but get stopped at some point, so it's sitting there partially done also. And then I do as much as I can on Thing C and so on. You can just imagine. There will NOT be pictures. 

I'd love to put my navy lambswool cardigan on the dog so I can work outside longer. He gets cold. He doesn't have a thick coat! But the sleeves are too long and also the ground is underneath him, where the cardigan isn't. He looks awesome in a navy cardigan, though. Corgi-adjacent dogs look so adorably nerdy. They almost have bow ties. 

After all this horrible sleep and lack thereof, and the razor blades and Stanley knives and torturers and things, I'm delighted to tell you I'm getting verrrrrrry sleepy right now and might actually conk out. Let me just register a wish that my dreams will feature happy fun things like cozy couches and fuzzy bunnies and hot buttered rum and sci-fi on dvd and cushy quilts and sleeping warm furry animals. Yes. Nice things. Friendly, comforting, non-violent things. Okay? Okay.

Another clue that things were not right: I read John Green's Looking For Alaska and I was like, eh. Did not care. It amazes me that they can make medications that make you totally not care about things. Also I never want to take any again. For why because? What on earth? I know, anxiety, but the opposite of anxiety is not I don't care about anything whatsoever, not messes, not packing, not books that normally would have me bawling. That is not the answer! The opposite of anxiety is what? Awareness? Healthy reactions to things, that's what it is. Bad things, bad reaction! Good things, good reasion! Mess? Clean it up! Hungry? Cook food! And so on. 

Honestly!

Ooooh, a yawn. Crinkly eyes watering. My dog is asleep. My cat is asleep. I might also be asleep soon. It could happen! Oh, more yawns! Hurray!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The zen of ehhhhhh

Oh, fine, I literally had my tarp on sideways. I was all concerned because it was too long on the sides AND too short front to back, criminy! And then eventually figured out...oh.

I managed to cut 1/3 of a fingernail off somehow. Maybe twisting a zip tie off? Well, it was dark, so be glad I didn't use a knife or who knows what would be missing right now. In fact I didn't even feel the fingernail go because my hands were so numb. Then there was all this blood and stuff and anyway let's not talk about it.

Actually I was finishing up the plumbing extravaganza a few days ago and noticed there was blood all over one side of the inside of the vanity. Whoops! I cut my fingers a lot doing that job. It's all done now, though. Except for one or two eensy details, namely: find a strip of that perforated metal stuff and bolt the pipes to the wall so they don't jiggle loose; tape a piece of cardboard over the remaining little gap after I put that board in there; squirt acrylic caulk all around the pipes and seal them onto the tub.

Otherwise, totally done.

What else do I have to do before scramming? Which might be in two weeks, depending on when my dang tax forms get here.

Must get some windex or ammonia or something and clean the horrible old glass shower doors so they can go back in. Whatever, homeowner wants them in, pff, don't care. But cleaning them is non-negotiable.

Cut some red rug for the laundry room to replace what got ruined when water poured down through and washed all that mouse effluvia into my hair and down my back. Urrrrrgh, horrors, shiver, gross.

Caulk that other basement window. What a difference it makes!

I still have eight million things to do, too. And I know perfectly well that things as they are currently planned and arranged WILL NOT FIT. They just won't. I am sorry to say.

Which is why today when some pharmaceutical perfect balance was achieved (I guess) I had the urge to go through all of my things one by one and be present in the moment and zen and stuff and really think about whether I wanted that particular thing or whether I could LET IT GO.

Basically I tend to hang on to things because I can't manage to do that exact thing. I can't look them in the eye and let them go. Well, I do--I have done it quite a lot. But I much prefer not to. I much prefer to stick it in a fez and not deal with it at all.

Except that today I got one of those overwhelming epiphanies or something (honestly I do think it's just the p-zac kicking in) that said:

If you only have the things you love and need, they will fit in the trailer.

It was this big conviction that came over me. Except all big and glowy and with enchanted clouds wafting around and sparkles and stuff. Which coincidentally is a lot like the puzzle I'm currently working on. Huh!

Today in Be Kind To Yourself school (I'm homeschooled) we learned about being aware of things like having medications in flux since frakking September, and how nice we'd be to someone else going through that, and how hard change is for some people (me, in case I'm being vague) and how change makes people cling to stuff because it feels like consistency and continuity.

Then! The next part was imagining/remembering how fabulously fun it is to go rattle around thrift stores for things and how fun it is to build things myself. Right? I know! I love that kind of thing! I can build couches. I can make lovely things. If necessary!

Another reason I think the p-zac has kicked in is that one of the side effects listed is anorexia. Seriously. I went and looked up the side effects when all of a sudden I lost interest in eating of the foods. Which makes a super nice change from the last medication, with its horrible constant raging ravenousness.

Actually the effect right now reminds me most powerfully of when I had this gigantic crush on this amazing boy in college and I just couldn't really eat. For, like, months. I ran a lot with my dog and couldn't force much food down my throat. I have odd memories from that time, like the time I tried to eat cheesecake with my friend A. (different A.) and could only manage like two bites and she got annoyed but then finished mine as well as hers. So weird. Or the time I went to the co-op for breakfast before a rugby tournament and only got the top third of a piece of bread down. I took the rest of it with me in case I could manage it later.

I don't know what's up with that. Some switch in my brain seems to be off or on without a middle setting as far as food. It was set like that up until around about November of my first semester of grad school and then I got MISERABLE and then a few years later met the future ex-Mr. Fiance and things went even more to hellier.

I'm not even sure of cause and effect with this. Maybe it reinforces itself both ways. Maybe I'm thinking too much about it and should just roll with it! Okay!

So, yes, I've done a lot of packing and unpacking and now I'm about poised to take everything off that I put on (a bunch of fezzes, two trunks, and the ziggurat--not even hard to move) and do the Thinking About Things and Facing Things kind of whatnot.

There is also another way to look at this. Like: I can't take everything. What can I leave? It's kind of the same question but a little bit tweaked a different way.

Stuff! Man.

Tricky!

Tonight I sewed lovely dark blue fleece cases for all the guns. They're kind of like thick polarfleece socks, really. With pretty pretty ribbons sewed into the seams so that I can tie them up all snug with bows. It was an old fabric remnant. Now they look lovely and innocuous and I'm going to put them into this old ski bag and thus they will be a) legal for transport in the car, because invisible and inaccessible, b) safe from getting scratched and banged, and c) easy to take into wherever I'm staying so they don't get stolen and stuff.

In sum: pain in the neck. Uncle guns.

It's all stuff like that yet to do. Fiddling, fussy, necessary, oof. But I get to check a big thing off the list, yay!

Really, the necessary/unnecessary division would be easy if it were just exactly that, but things that are unnecessary (like the guns) are coming along too. I have far too analytical a brain to say things like that are necessary. Even in case of zombie apocalypse, my wee arsenal would do next to no good.

My mom did a very funny impression of me trying to defend myself with one of the sort of highwayman pistol things my uncle made from kits. She was like, "Now just stay right there, I have to find the black powder and the patches, oh and the shot, of course. Where did I put that shot? Don't move. Stay there. Would you like a chair? Something to read? Actually maybe you'd better come back later."

Hee.

They're matchlocks, for goodness sake. Not even flintlocks, which I actually understand. How do matchlocks even work?

So really the division is more like:

Category A: necessary, cool, awesome, heirloom, precious, fun
Category B: ehhhh

I opened this one fez and discovered that a big casserole dish had gotten broken--and I practically cheered. One less thing to worry about! Isn't that the attitude of someone who wants to shed a whole boatload of stuff? I KNOW.

Part of the problem of course is that I go "I will take the trailer!" "No, too small--I will rent a truck! Tons of room! Pack everything!" "No, wait, too expensive, I will take the trailer! Unpack everything again!"

Both are true. The truck IS too expensive. The trailer IS too small. Hence the difficulties. Hence the sorting.

This is just the type of project that causes me to keel over sideways very slowly while making a faint keening sound. But! I will give it a shot. The sliced off fingernail is outrageously painful and my shoulder is causing issues again, so something nice and sedentary and ungodly tedious might be just the zen Facing Things exercise I need right now. Don't you think?

Plus then everything might fit and I'll be all YAY instead of all URRRRGGGGHHHHH because of constantly doing a project that won't really actually work. Ha ha. Devotedly pursuing the unfeasible! That's me.

Here's what I'll do: label some fezzes NEXT TRIP and go go go. That removes the possession/give away difficulty and reduces it to now/later. I might even be able to manage that. Cool!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

And just like that...

I did something very very easy that solved a whole lot of problems. Isn't that glorious and/or irritating? I'm irritated with myself for not doing it any of the times I could have done it in the past bazillion years. Oooof. 

Why, I ask you, do I think things are so much harder than they really need to be? Why this perception of tremendous difficulty when there are such easy ways? Is it just fear? Fear that the easy way won't work out and then there goes my ace in the hole? But if you never use the ace, there might as well BE no ace. I know!

Well anyway I credit the new drugs the nice PA put me on. I finally started taking them--classic behavior when you need to take them is not to take them, we know this--and about a week later, did the thing.

The thing! The thing. This is the thing I did: found my lovely old landlady from ten years ago (and a half) and emailed her asking if she had any houses for rent in my old town. And she did! And now I'm going to move there.

Is that not the simplest thing in the whole entire world? I could *easily* have done this when leaving Maine and skipped the last umpteen months of dreadfulness...though I did manage to pay off all that horrible medical and dental debt, so maybe it was all for the best. 

Dude, though. Wow. 

And also the loud screams of YAY!!!!! that resound in my head! Can you hear them? You can hear them, right? Loud!

And then the ack-filled agony of trying to fit everything into that dang trailer again. Oh it's so hard. Because it might fit, just barely. Or it might not. Well, I've already been storing things back in the closet and the basement because I only have so much stamina for the 3 degree temperature ice-covered snow-covered stuff wrangling to try to make it all fit. Plus the bum shoulder and the knee that has gone wonky. Anyway. Stuff!

I don't actually care much about a lot of it, turns out. But I'd like to take as much as I can. I realize that makes no sense. Oh well!

Let's return to YAY!!!!! 

I love this town. Love it. Love it so much! The only place I loved living like this was Los Feliz and that was definitely flawed because apartments are not so much my cup of tea, what with all the people peeing within earshot and all that. And like when I said bless you to the guy who sneezed in the house next door, and then froze because I had breached the invisible line of pretending we didn't live in each others' pockets. Or more like each others' laps. Like sitting by someone on the plane for twelve hours every single day but giving each other their space.

Right! I'm not complaining about L.A., though--I absolutely loved it there. It was nonstop awesomeness left and right. Though as I'm considering, I realize a thing that's probably obvious to everyone: both had excellent communities that I was part of, both had big campuses (studio lot = same) that I got to belong to and run around, and both had gigantor fabulous parks practically right outside my doorsteps. And just a million awesome people to be friends with. Hurray!

I can't predict anything with certainty except that this time the park will actually be right outside my door and that's a wonderful thing.

Jeez, I never go back. Do I ever go back? I remember I hated Philly and then accidentally got a job there and had to move back and hated it even yet still more and just left one day. And there's here. Which you know about. Don't go back there! But DO go back to fabulously awesome happy places that you never should have left in the first place. This is the place I left when I accidentally got that (terrific) job in terrible hateful Philly!

Actually Philly would probably have been fine if I'd been able to afford to live somewhere not a ridiculously awful rat and cockroach infested slum full of college students. Just saying. Never live with the college students.

Right! No turning yay to ack! Always turn ack to yay.

Stuff: it doesn't matter, because I'll be back this summer to pick up the rest and visit and all. It's okay! At least that's my plan. And like I said, I'm not actually worried about whether I have x or y with me. Dishes, tools, furniture, enough to do what needs to get done. The rest is just finagling the packing solutions.

And then covering everything with tarps. And being freezing the whole time. Today it warmed up quite a lot so I did a lot. Tonight it's snowing again. Yep. This really is a lot harder to do outdoors! Man. 

Also, slight delay. I was supposed to move in around the 7th but the current tenants asked for two more weeks, via lovely landlady, and of course it's fine with me. I might even be properly packed by then! Anything could happen! So more like the end of the third week in February. But I'm going to stay with D. en route for a decent visit, hurray! So maybe like three weeks from now? I'm not sure.

Tonight I took apart the bed. This cracked me up. I was sitting on the floor with pieces of bed all around me and my mom walked in and said, "What on earth are you doing?" And I said, of course, "Giving the baby a bath," because it was blindingly obvious and I never understand why anyone asks really outstandingly obvious questions. 

Do you know? Can you explain it? 

Like if I see your car pulled off the road with the hood up, I would never say, "Having car trouble?" That seems sarcastic to me. So does "Is everything okay?" because it obviously isn't. I would say, "Do you need any help?" 

I don't know. It's one of those things. I'm all buttons these days! So we went around and around. But where are you going to sleep? Well, the bed was on one of those metal frames before I got here with my pretty wooden bed frame. Wouldn't you assume I'd put it back on that? Why is this even a conversation? 

Times like this I really do wonder about how well that brain is working, though I think it's more likely to be pure cussedness. 

I think I really just hate people playing dumb. Don't play dumb with me! You know the funniest thing to say? "Don't play dumb!" What are they supposed to answer? "I'm not playing! Wait..." Heh.

No, it's just one of those manipulative things to force someone else to go into long explanations about things that really don't need to be explained. A similar maneuver is to attack so as to put the other person on the defensive, when you don't actually care one bit about the subject--you just want to see them squirm and explain. 

So anyway that irks me because it's designed specifically to irk. Success!

People. Endlessly fascinating! And other stuff!

Now I get to contact all sorts of people, speaking of people, who I haven't spoken to very much in the past ten years, and say, "Hi! I'm coming back to town!" And that's a little terrifying to me, obviously, since everything is a little terrifying to me. 

I really wonder what on earth is at risk. What do I actually fear in these circumstances? Rejection? Maybe. Indifference? Eh. (Joke!) Not having a place somewhere where I used to have a place? So what? Like I already have this impulse to dress like Somewhat Elegant Professor Lady of the past, which is absurd because a) I'm pretty sure I wore the same four dresses every week--ask any of my old students--and b) I'm exactly like I am right now, right now, so what's this anxiety about? 

Well, I'll tell you! Going back to a place where you were An X but now you're not pokes you right in the insecurities, especially if (like me and D.) you are making with the downward mobility, ha ha! But deep down I actually do not care at all. Guess what? I'm a writer. That's what I'm doing. That's what I've BEEN doing. And working as hard as I can at it, while also paying the bills. 

Fortunately DirecTv has been courting me assiduously and offering me this and that, so I will be able to watch the World Cup no matter what. Phew, huh? How about that?

I am SO EXCITED to see my old friends again! And meet lots of new ones! And visit all my old haunts! And haunt some new haunts! With the haunting! And walk and walk and walk and walk. This is a walking town, I tell you what. Exactly (again) like Los Feliz, where the store and post office and park and art store and library and everything were just a couple of blocks away.

I found out that one beloved friend is in BC for family reasons, which makes me want to warn her about the Cylons that are everywhere there, only you can't tell they're Cylons, and some of them don't even know themselves, except then I realized she could be a Cylon too, though she's from much further east, so it's not too likely...and then I remembered that although we only see Cylons living in BC, some come from eastern Canada and of course Number Six is from Alberta. SO LOOK OUT.

Mostly BC, though. My concern stands!

Hmm, am being good and therefore already took my nighttime handful of pillage, which means I might be fading out right about now. Not that you can tell or anything, ha ha! I'm hoping that Writing All This will help with the sleeping, since I've been awake until 6 or 7 the last two nights. Patently NOT AWESOME, you guys. Must get to sleep soonish. Okay!

I'm going to go around to my prior houses and put up historical plaques that say I LIVED HERE and the dates. Oh my goodness, can you imagine if I had to do that everywhere I've ever lived? Better pack a lunch. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I think it´s a metaphor

Holidays are full of my paternal grandmother´s traditions. Nobody else seems to have any and my family never developed any either. Isn´t that weird? I think so, too. Other than refusing to stop the car on long drives, and of course emotional abuse, which come to think of it includes refusing to stop the car on long drives. Fun!

I've been doing grandmotherly traditions because I like traditions. I do! They tell you what to do when and you get to feel all connected and stuff. Which is nice. My grandmother's traditions include:

1. Smorgasbord on New Year's Eve, with should contain limburger (I did not get any) and MUST contain herring in cream sauce, which I did get. The rest can be completely flexible. 

2. Shortbread, a concession to her Scottish husband, my grandfather, whom I never met and in fact we were told he died before we were born (which was patently not true) and we were also never, ever, ever, ever to mention him, not his existence or anything about him, and never told why, either. Huh! Anyway, shortbread.

3. Fudge. Homemade. I did not make fudge.

4. Chocolate chip cookies, homemade. I did not make those, either.

5. Bayberry candles burned down to the socket on New Year's Day. There's a rhyme she used to day: bayberry candles burned down to the socket/ Put joy in the heart and gold in the pocket. My sister sent me some that came with this instead: Bayberry candles burned down to the socket/ Put love in the heart, food in the larder, and gold in the pocket. Okay!

6. When you all gather around the big dining room table and someone says (as someone ALWAYS does) "Where should I sit?" you all chorus: "Where the Kaiser's mother sat!" And in the rare event someone doesn't grasp where the Kaiser's mother sat? "On her behind!" Yes. 

7. There are other excellent sayings that my brother has done a great job indoctrinating my niece with, such as: when it's freezing out, you say it's colder than mung. When it's hot, you say it's hotter than bloody blue blazes. And when you're fake mad at someone, you say you're going to rip their arm off and beat them over the head with the bloody stump. So Grendelian!

Anyway I'm currently immobilized waiting for this last candle to burn itself out. The first one was in a taller glass candlestick with a much deeper socket, meaning more candle down in it, so when it got down to below the level of the top of the glass, I blew it out so it wouldn't crack the candlestick. The second is in a bizarrely awesome candle holder my brother gave me ages ago, a patinaed green leaf with a bunny on it, rowing the leaf with an oar. And a flower cup for a candle socket. 

There is now about a quarter of an inch of liquid wax in the bottom and the wick leaning up against the side. Still soldiering on! I feel quite seriously superstitious about letting this one burn out. Even though the other one was totally down to the socket! It was! But it didn't burn itself out. I don't quite know the rules of this superstition, like are you allowed to blow out and relight the candles? Or does it have to be all one burn? See. So I'm making absolutely sure. 

I'm really thinking a lot about having a bath after that, though I still haven't managed to finish fixing the bathroom taps so that there's running water in the tub. Whoops! It's only been since...er, middle of November. I know. I suck as a plumber. It's true. Also I'm super claustrophobic and having to lie down on my mom's filthy bathroom floor and work with my head and upper body inside the vanity with all the mouse poo and whatnot is just VILE and HORRIBLE and I HATE IT but I really do need to get back in there and finish it, even if it means cutting off more pipe and redoing the whole thing. Because where it is now, the pipes are slightly too high for me to connect to the taps. SLIGHTLY. Like, half an inch. Less. 

Or I could cut larger holes in the fiberglass shower/tub, which shouldn't matter in the slightest because those roundy things cover with lots of room to spare. Maybe I'll do that. Instead of losing my mind over it.

My next online job iteration starts Tuesday, which means I have to DECIDE THINGS and FINALIZE THINGS before then. Like absolutely commit to a moving truck, which means driving up to Maine with my trailer to haul my millions of boxes of books back down, and whatever else is still lurking up there. My vacuum cleaner, lawn mower, and beginner cello, for example, just off the top of my head. Possibly a hot plate and my old rice cooker? 

It's math. It's all math. 

In column A: 

rent a truck
pay massive gas prices
take all my stuff

In column B:

take the trailer
pay cheap gas prices
have to replace large items like the bed
have to ship books, possibly everything that's not furniture and dishes
go insane trying to pack the trailer Tetris-wise
fill the kayak and canoe with yarn and tie to the roof, worry incessantly until arrival
also worry incessantly about thievery from totally insecure trailer/roof, water/weather damage, rodentia, grizzly bears, etc.
and can't take the plants

Obviously I have to go with the truck. It's obvious to me and everyone else, which is to say, me. 

Oh! The candle finally burned out. The love/joy, food-filled larder, and golden pocket are mine!

I feel so accomplished. What lengths I went to! Carrying those candles around in a puzzle tin and babysitting them all evening.

Okay, those aren't huge lengths, especially given the future state of my future larder, heart, and pocket.

Right, the metaphor! Keeping these candles lit all evening reminded me of this Friends thing, at least I think it's a Friends thing, or it might be Unitarian or Universalist or who even knows what, I don't remember and I have friends (small f) of every possible denomination or lack thereof. ANYWAY one of them told me about this idea of your flame and keeping it lit. Like your flame is the good, peaceful heart of you and you have to let it shine out and also keep it fed and strong and whatnot. 

I like that idea. I know a lot of things jog and slosh me, like basically everything, so it would be fabulous if I could keep this in my mind AT ALL EVER and try to stay even the teensiest bit calm and centered. Boy am I ever the worst at that. The worst! So maybe carrying a candle around is a good idea. Unlit, though. The number of times I nearly lit my fleece on fire does not bear considering.

Anyway I ate up all the herring and the shortbread. And some obscure distant cousin of that same grandmother has been in touch lately. He found one of my dad's cousins whom I'm in touch with by searching the name, I guess? And so today I got to read a 50 page genealogy in German, which was of course completely awesome for the following reasons:

1. A whole lot of them had my name, going back to 1500 and something. Margarethe mostly, but still! And it was cool to see various other great-aunt names appearing over and over and over. And my sister's name. That is so dang cool. Different last names all around of course since it's my grandmother's family, but you know.

2. Wacky to read this whole list with over 500 people on it (not including my dad or his brother or any of my siblings or cousins) and realize they all descended from this one guy, Hans Wahl, way back when. And apparently he was tall because he was called Lang Hans. I love that. 

3. Also fun to go look at the map of the town in Germany and realize immediately that all the names show up in the streets and things and I'm related to the main hotel, for example. It's a hyphenated last name which appeared only about four pages in so that goes way back. 

4. Odd to think I stayed not too far away (though across the iron curtain) for two months, with a family that told me I looked like a Hapsburg (not a compliment I don't think) but who, given the relative proximity and the intervening 514 years, are certainly relatives. They sure felt like relatives, but when you have a German grandma, even though she wasn't born there, everyone German feels like a relative. At least in that region. Her father was born there and came over at age 16 and I know she grew up speaking some. And we grew up getting "Raus!" yelled at us when we were annoying. Which is short for heraus which is short for geh heraus which means GET OUT.

It's bizarre to feel even remotely connected to a place. I like places very much but none of them are mine if you see what I mean. I don't have a home town. I don't even stay anywhere all that long. I haven't lived anywhere more than three years since, oooh, high school. I'd like to go hang out in that town for a while, though. Go look around. See who looks like my grandmother. See who looks like me. 

I would actually prefer to figure out where the mysterious grandfather came from, ancestrally, and go there, and walk around the streets looking people in the eye in a disquieting manner. I bet I could get myself hollered at in incomprehensible lowland Scots! Without even trying!

If I weren't so plentiful about the tum (an instant giveaway that you're American) I could even probably pass just fine. I pass everywhere in northern Europe, duh, but I mean, I get mistaken for a local. English people in New Jersey mistook me for English, which tickled me, but it was probably the red England jersey I was wearing at the England-Portugal game, heh heh. Still, it was very fun to have them jump every time I talked and say, "Jesus, you're American." To which I never did say, though I wanted to: "I am. And don't call me Jesus."

At least I have dreadful and/or missing teeth now. Phew!

Actually one of those cousin people lives or lived near Oxford. Speaking of looking people up who you're related to. I wonder if he had/has children? I am so out of touch with this entire extended family except my dad's cousins and I've only met one of them. The only ones my mom and dad really stayed in contact with are her cousins, not that I've met any of them, and it is repeatedly made VERY CLEAR to me that they are not "my" family. Like I was not invited to the family reunion, but my brother and sister were, because they look like them. As in, my sister went and people constantly walked up to her and said they would have known she was family just by looking at her because she looked just like all of them.

Uh-huh. I don't know, do you think this contributes to my sense of alienation? Just possibly maybe?

It's lovely to feel the German language flooding back into my brain. Or out of my brain, I suppose, because where else would I have kept it all this time? It was in long-term storage. Anyway it's still there and I can read things straight off without any fuss until I run into all the missing vocabulary, oops. I want flash cards. Flash cards! And audio. Fortunately we have the internet and I can get all the German audio I want any time, right? Yeah! I'm sure of it. Podcasts and all sorts of things.

And so, darlinks, that is the latest news from here. It's far too late for a bath. In fact I need to hit the hay. And tomorrow I should be feeling MUCH more human, on top of already feeling much more human than this morning, since I took the last of the heinous dreadful monstrous nauseating antibiotics of misery with my breakfast. Goodbye, miserable pills that made me feel so utterly dreadful, taking each one reminded me of Dumbledore drinking that nasty potion to get the horcrux in Half-Blood Prince. It's horrible horrible horrible but you have to keep on going. Ugh! I did it, but I put it off so long each day that I ended up staying up half the night. And still am. But I'm really hoping to get back on normal human time now that the ordeal is over. Right? Right!

I don't think I've even written anything since those pills started. Have I? I haven't felt like doing anything whatsoever. Bluck. Maybe now I will feel like a SUPERHERO! Maybe I'll be able to fly! But most likely not!

Here is how I'm hoping to roust myself out tomorrow: there is cinnamon raisin bread, which I can turn into cinnamon raisin toast and then top with butter, which results in the most delicious thing in the history of breakfast and possibly also lunch. Oh oh oh, it's so good! It's so very very good. We'll see if it renders me vertical. That and the thought of a hot cup of mighty strong tea ought to do the trick.

I hope you are all having a lovely new year so far! I have high hopes. Keep that candle burning or whatever your metaphor might be. And whatever your equivalent of finishing the plumbing repairs is, I hope you get cracking and fix that up right away too, and get that cranky thing off your back. What a relief that's going to be!