Monday, April 28, 2014

Perfect storm

I shouldn't even say that, because that's just BEGGING for some other traumatic thing to happen. There are several poised on the brink of trauma as we speak, of course. The dog who keeps having seizures, though it's been over a week now and I'm seeing great improvements in his behavior and general health. The aged mother I totally walked off and abandoned because she's such a meany. Just to name two.

Otherwise the perfect storm this week consists of:

1. my birthday is Saturday. ALWAYS traumatic except in L.A., where it was awesome because of excellent friends. Here? I predict doom because of circumstances.

2. complete financial meltdown due to not finding work yet. Will be unable to pay rent, car insurance, various utilities. The new Online Job situation contributes materially to that by pushing income dates far into the future.

3. new job at Online Job, meaning a whole new thing AND doing it in a whole new way, on top of my current old one I'm doing in the old way. So double work suddenly plus tenfold extra stressful because it's all strange and new and unfamiliar

4. this is dumb but Online Job spent all last week saying We're sending you a present! Your present is here by now! You all totally got a present already! and mine didn't arrive until this morning, so I was so grumpy every day about that. It's not a CAR or anything and who cares anyway but there's something about being told constantly that you're getting a present and not getting it that really gets to me

5. I'm out of gas for the car, speaking of cars, also eggs, flour, I don't know what else. I would just get gas but there's some giant discount or something from this one store but I have to go to frelling Keizer to get it, or else across the highway to commerce land. On no gas. So I'm kind of not doing it, am I? Also spending the money is not a good idea, but having no gas in the car is weirdly stressful for me

6. There's something wrong with the front suspension, from being transported cross country on a trailer. They lock the car down by putting these web nets over the front tires, so basically the whole weight of the car is hung off them. Not surprising something is wrong. Wobble wobble shiver wobble.

7. Also that flat cover thing underneath the car that I had the mechanic bolt down last year has busted loose again. VERY LOUD RATTLING.

8. Also there's something amiss with the exhaust system, probably busted loose from the drive. ALSO VERY LOUD.

9. Did I mention the dog seizure situation? I really hope that's over. I got him fancy new food that he loves, on the Change A Variable theory and also some online research. The cat loves it too, actually. I should try it!

Well, that's plenty. I mean, it's pretty much the perfect storm, like I said. Add together anxiety about an animal to a broken car and no money and a new, stressful work situation AND put my birthday on top of it and that's pretty much maxing out my ability to cope.

Then I read books that ruined writing for me for a day or two, until the author kindly posted completely different early drafts today. You don't even know what a difference that makes! It reminded me that WRITING IS A PROCESS. You don't write amazing things first time. You make amazing things by reworking and rewriting and fixing and changing and editing. And you feel the whole time like you have no idea what you're doing, just that THIS is better than THAT. And that's all you need!

All you need is the ability to look at something and make it better. Not the whole thing at once. Nowhere near. Look at this sentence. Make it better. Look at the shape of the thing. Make it better.

What a relief!

Good thing, because I spent hours last night playing angry Sudoku all folded up in the comfy chair. It was a massive failure to cope reaction.

I'm failing to cope. It's true! I'm sleeping 12-14 hours a day and not eating enough or drinking enough water. I have the tea covered, though, not to worry!

I think I will try to figure out the gas situation, then just decide not to pay the bills until late, then go buy ingredients for birthday cake. Which I will later this week bake and then eat. It's okay!

It's supposed to be 84 two days this week. Can that be right? It's so freaking cold right now in here, I can't even tell you. I've had frozen feet for three days.

Well. I'm going to grapple with Online Job and get that nailed down piece by piece. And then work out the other things. It's a plan, more or less, eh?

Bunnies!

Compass pointing toward AWESOME

Oh oh oh, I finally read these amazing books this weekend, the first two of a trilogy, only to discover that the third was not just released as I thought--the author had some other book released recently--but will be coming out in OCTOBER. This is UNACCEPTABLE because these are the most essential books I've read since, er, Rainbow Rowell's. And you know I've reread all of Rainbow Rowell's books up to and including multiple times per week since I read them the first time.

These books, what can I even say? They're so utterly well written. English professor here. Well written in the kind of way that means no one anywhere would disagree. Which is irrelevant to quality generally but happens to be true here.

Oh, I'm being utterly unclear. Sorry. Okay, well, a cowboy movie might be an excellent cowboy movie but not everyone would agree it's an excellent *movie* in a general sense. But there are some cowboy movies that are just brilliant and you have to admit it whether you like the genre or not. Right?

That's how good the writing is. It's so well written that even crabby English professors who only like Nabokov or whatever (this is not me I'm referring to, though I may be crabby) would be forced to admit that the writing is brilliant. Truly blindingly gorgeously written. It puts you right exactly there in the scene, with those people, feeling what they're feeling. It does what it does so well that I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone do it better. For real. I'm astonished, too.

Mostly because I bounced off a previous series by the same author. I got a few pages in and thought, "Oh, nope, no no no," though I recall having to defend myself to some stranger in a bookstore over this once. She argued that the author was unspeakably brilliant and I had to say, "I know, I know, but I'm afraid the dogs will get hurt and I can't handle that. It's a *me* problem, not a her problem." I think they were wolves, anyway. Possibly werewolves. People were out hunting them with guns. There was yelping. Closed the book, had to walk away. Canines in peril: I'm out.

Especially when it's so vivid and real and you're right there with them.

I seem to recall bouncing off the horse book, too, for much the same reason. Fear of dogs and horses getting hurt! I read The Red Pony at an early age, not to mention Old Yeller, what can I tell you. It was made clear to us growing up that the dog was a higher priority than any of us, so, you know, dogs!

Anyway. Okay!

So I read book one and book two, also known as Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves. I stayed up far too late Friday reading Raven Boys because I was too scared to put the book down. Like terrified of my house. Terrified there were things behind the doors. Deep, dark terror. I have to finish the book when a book brings that on because who knows what could happen if you don't? (I am not responsible for my logic when terrified.)

Then I slept super late because I'd been up so late. Then I ended up staying up until 4 a.m. finishing The Dream Thieves, which is far more deep dark terrifying than Raven Boys, though with less domestic assault, something that is a wee bit of a trigger for me shall we say, being belted across the room by a parent and all that. But it has to do with the terrors in dreams coming out into the real world and oh, that hits some more of my buttons, ow. Actually I think the whole series is probably playing Tchaikovsky on my buttons. Virtuosity!

Brilliant writing, characters who are far more real than most real people I've met, terrifying stories, Tchaikovsky on the buttons, and deep dark terror. Those are good books. That is a good writer. Possibly the best writer. Today, right now, I'm going to say she's the best writer out there in any genre.

However: atrocious Latin. English professor, right, but with a background entirely in Comparative Literature, specifically Latin, German, Anglo-Saxon, French, medieval German, medieval French, medieval Latin (yes it's different from classical), and some modern Portuguese and Norwegian because why the hell not. Only a little Greek, though, to my shame.

The Latin is almost all wrong. The bits that are right are quotations or idioms, like gratias ago, which is how you say thank you. Wrong in conjugation, case, number, tense, mood, use of deponent, declension, number again, agreement, and so on. I don't know how it happened. I can imagine, but I don't know. Anyway it's so very wrong that it jerked me out of the books *every time.* It's like when you see those pictures of faces where the eyes are mouths. Know what I mean? I'm just like--I'm out. I'm kicked out of the world of the books and it's jarring and cold and makes me furious, because there's no real reason for it.

The world is full of indigent Latinists who'd be happy to fix the Latin for totally free. Every university has a Classics department. We are, in fact, everywhere. I've checked the Latin for friends publishing articles and their dissertations. I'm in the acknowledgements. You can check! (Can you check? You might have to trust me on this one. It's true, though. And that was freaky Renaissance Latin, which is a whole mess of its own.)

It's like if I were writing about the Camaro in the books and casually gave it an automatic transmission and heated seats and a wifi hotspot out of pure just not knowing any better. And did not bother to check. Maybe it's the not bothering to check that really blew my mind, because the books are full of things that clearly were checked. Is it: "It's a dead language! Who cares?" I can't really guess.

Latin is kind of hard. You can't really just pick up a dictionary and a grammar and slap some sentences together. They come out like that David Sedaris story about his French class, where people were from all over the world, where they discussed different Easter traditions. I love that story so much, I kind of forgive the books for the atrocious Latin because the way that Latin (and the Anglo-Saxon translations, but nowhere near as bad, because they're translations) reads to me sounds just like that.

Yes! There's the piece called "Me Talk Pretty One Day" but much more so, "Jesus Shaves," the next one in the book, which is also called Me Talk Pretty One Day.

I'm not trying to be mean but whatever I say about this comes out mean. Jeez. But look how awesome David Sedaris is, I say, pointing over there:

A Moroccan classmate wants to know: What's Easter?

"It is...a party for the little boy of God who call his self Jesus and...oh, shit." She faltered and her fellow countryman came to her aid.

"He call his self Jesus and then he die one day on two...morsels of...lumber."

"He die one day and then he go above of my head to live with your father."

"He weared of himself the long hair and after he die, the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples."

"He make the good things, and on the Easter we be sad because somebody makes him dead today."

"Easter is a party for to eat of the lamb," the Italian nanny explained. "One too may eat of the chocolate."

"And who brings the chocolate?" the teacher asked.

I knew the word, so I raised my hand, saying, "The rabbit of Easter. He bring of the chocolate. [...] He come in the night when one sleep on a bed. With a hand he have a basket and foods."

*****

I don't know if you're totally wetting your pants laughing over these the way I did when I first read it--maybe context is everything--but this is how the Latin reads to me. This is how the Latin IS. This is what it says. Except for when it's so egregiously wrong it's actually not saying anything. I'm not exaggerating the wrongness here. Alas.

I'm going to have to buy these books, because of the aforementioned fabulousness, but I might also have to replace the wonky Latin with leetle strips of paper carefully printed up and cut out and stuck in with a glue stick on matching paper in matching font. Because it is like being in the midst of some enormously painful and dramatic moment and having someone throw in some banana peel slapstick. Except worse.

Anyway. To everyone else who loves these books, which I would suspect would be everyone else who has ever read them, it doesn't matter, who cares, it's just Latin, it's not meant to convey content so much as *spooky fundamental language of all things* which is how it's always used in YA, and we have translations most of the time, so who cares, Professor Grammarpants.

Fair point, except if you're going to put it in there, do it right. If you don't know how to do it right, get someone who does.

I had an odd discussion over the Latin in Harry Potter with a Classics professor once. Er, in this town, in our building over there *points* right by the second floor elevator, which he was about to take to the third floor, but he'd just had a baby, cut him some slack. I don't care that the Latin in Harry Potter is complete garbage because it's not meant to be real Latin. It's more mangled up medieval/Renaissance Latin that's been garbled by usage, which is exactly how it comes out. And half of it is nonsense words anyway. He didn't like it because so many people would read it and learn bad Latin. But I argued (goodness, I remember this clearly, considering it was what, 12-13 years ago?) that learning any Latin at all would be good because it sparks your interest in the language, which is what happened to me with The Once and Future King. Hic, haec, hoc, pass the port. Right?

You can learn a lot about Latin just from "Hic, haec, hoc, pass the port." Hic means this. Why are there three forms of it? Masculine, feminine, and neuter singular nominative, that's why. You learn noun declensions by learning a pattern like that. Nominative singular first, in order of masculine, feminine, neuter. Then genitive singular, same order. Dative, accusative, ablative, vocative singular. Then you go back up to the top and start again and do the plurals, same order.

You learn Latin by rote. You learn these sort of tables so you can say them off the top of your head, so they're there to consult. If you learned the declension of "hic" you would go exactly like that:

hic haec hoc
huius huius huius
huic huic huic
hunc hanc hoc
hoc hac hoc

Plural!
hi hae haec
horum harum horum
his his his
hos has haec
his his his

It's not hard. It's just memorization. But what's it for? So you know which form to use depending on what case it's in. "To this," use the dative = huic. Object of the sentence, use the accusative, hunc. Object of the sentence but modifying a feminine noun, use the accusative feminine, hanc.

Different prepositions take different cases depending on how you're using them. An easy way to learn these is to memorize short phrases that contain them. Er, let's see. Want to remember what case e or ex takes? Remember e pluribus unum. The -ibus ending tells you the case is dative or ablative. Memorizing those charts tells you what that form looks like.

Anyway us still does this in English all the time. For example with pronoun cases! You can tell he from I that it are true! Doesn't that sound weird? And wrong? Isn't it annoying??? Put it all throughout the best book you've read in forever and see how you feel.

POINT BEING. There's a lot more to know than just which word means what. If the endings are all higgledy piggledy, what you write MEANS SOMETHING ELSE than what you intend.

Latin is awesome because it has nice clear rules, unlike, say, English, which is a big mess. Latin has all those lovely grids of words you can memorize and then write out, maybe a full conjugation of a verb in active and passive, including the subjunctive, in every case, number, and tense. Maybe some of us used to do that for fun and because it's incredibly calming! Maybe! Maybe Professor Grumpypants is undersocialized and overeducated! Maybe she makes illegal words by adding parts together all willy nilly!

Look, here's the verb amo conjugated out in full. Notice how it doesn't really tell you anything like what all those forms of amo mean? I know! That's because you kind of have to know already. Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant is just first, second, third person singular followed by first, second, third person plural. Plus you have to know what the gerundive and conjunctive are and when and how to use the perfect participle and all kinds of other things.

I will probably shut up about Latin now. I really love Latin though. (Notice I signally failed to shut up about Latin immediately after announcing I would.) Really REALLY really. David Sedaris likes to write out French in literal translations, word for word, in order, to get across how silly it would sound if we just switched out the words. Like this, in "Make That a Double," the next essay: "No, not to him I no go it him say now." Which is actually exactly how you would phrase that in French. Or wouldn't you switch the it and him? My French is rusty. So is my Latin or I'd probably be in worse shape right now.

Professor Grammarpants feels like a jerk! But at the same time, it matters. Kind of. In a dead language not commonly read kind of way. I just hate thinking of those imaginary trees speaking in terrible broken Latin, that's all. Even if it is their second or third language after Romani or Old Entish. I am positive that imaginary trees would totally get it right.

Go read those books, man. You won't regret it! I'm in agony knowing I have to wait until October to read the next one. I would have sworn I'd checked out all three, but looking at my shelf, and also reality, nope. I AM SO SAD NOW. I will make it up to myself by going to the library and checking out the rest of the books by the outstandingly amazing writer Maggie Stiefvater who is so incredibly talented that I'm going to sit here sighing at my computer hopelessly the rest of the night, or possibly writing out verb conjugations, or maybe I'll just go knit a goddamn hat.

That's the terrible thing about reading such good books! I want to write good books! Sometimes I read good books and think, "Hey, I can do that," and sometimes I read books like these and think, "I wonder if Walmart is hiring." Oh oh oh. So very good. More, more, more!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chairs and the long road around back to hummingbirds and luck

I needed three chairs. Three! I have one chair and it's a sort of office chair. I needed chairs for eating dinner from the table.

Office chair was going to be one of them despite inappropriate size/shape/leaning backness.

The sewing table stool worked for another one, even though it didn't have a back.

But the third?

My plan was to borrow all three from my neighbor, but she was out. Backup plan: borrow one of her plastic upright lawn chairs from her porch. But that seemed kind of iffy, even though I know she would not have minded in the least. And they looked too short anyway.

Things I did not think about which would have worked: pump up a giant blue yoga ball! I use those as chairs all the time. And I have at least one, maybe two, packed in the SPORTS fez.

Anyway I ended up folding a dog bed in half and putting it on top of the Poang chair, then putting one of my little legless rockers on top of that. Strangely comfortable!

I do have chairs and a table coming. My friends bought a place that used to be a rental, so it came furnished. Much of that assorted plain but solid furniture is coming my way. That includes a round blond wood dining table with a leaf that makes it much bigger, and four chairs. Imagine the most standard wooden dining table and chairs ever. That's them! And some of those tall stools that swivel, two with backs and two without. I will have SO MANY CHAIRS.

There's other stuff, too, I think? A big futon couch, and a soporific twin sized futon folded into chaise longue shape. It knocks you out immediately. Also it's pretty much impossible to get out of.

Though I'm hideously squeamish about used upholstery. I just can't do it. But they have big thick covers that unzip off, so maybe. I dunno, though. I came home from our visit to the place with a bite on my hip. Hmmmm. Maybe if I don't take the cushions, just the frames.

Anyway that is a ways away because they're having it all contractored up and need places to sit until then. Except once the contractor starts in, they really need all that stuff out right away. So at some point it'll be time for me to run out and rent a trailer and zoom out and get the stuff hup hup hup.

It's pretty awesome overall. I brought home this big old CRT tv that makes tv watching much more pleasant than on my wee little placemat sized one. Smaller than a placemat, actually. I just looked. Gosh that's small. Anyway.

So I've been watching all kinds of Torchwood! Torchwood Miracle Day, first three discs, last one arrived today. I'm excited to finish it!

It's oddly un-BBC, as you might expect since it's not BBC doing it. The difference is surprising to me, though. Like there's all this focus on tight skirts and long legs on women. Ridiculously so. It's things like that that jar me out of Torchwood mindset if that makes sense. Something about the way it's blocked and shot.

I had to go back and watch season one of Torchwood to try to articulate it to myself. And I'm going to say: Miracle Day is shot like a movie, all these dramatic long shots and high contrast lighting. But original recipe is about the content, not the look of it. The look serves the content in the original. I'm not sure what content the leggy long shots serve in the new one. Nothing at all, actually. That's what's bothering me. Why have all these glamour shots that don't fit AT ALL with the story line? She's a doctor. The story right then is about medical squalor.

Yes. That's what bothers me. I got it!

Otherwise, it's totally fun to watch and go: "Kira! Q! Cheeks!" as people appear who I recognize from other places. Yep! Also Captain Jack sure got all kinds of naked. Woo! Also the show overcame that thing I always object to in sci-fi, where they go, "Sure, we're all open-minded and stuff, the boys can have sex but we will just refer to it in a distant kind of oblique way and certainly not see it like we see straight people Doing It nonstop all the time, because GROSS." Not here! Boys in bed together! Doing stuff! And being sweet and lovey! Go, Torchwood! Sci-fi is like the last bastion of institutionalized homophobia. And DOWN go those walls! Yay!

I sure do love Torchwood and our beloved Gwen and Jack. I want to see Children of Earth again now, though it'll kill me all over again when Ianto and Tosh and Owen, er, I won't say in case of spoilers for others. As if that wasn't spoilery enough.

I have to go out and cut some branches that keep skreeeeeeking on the kitchen windows. Ugh!

Yesterday one skreeeked and woke up the dog and then he had a mini-seizure, very odd, like it only went halfway on. So just as long as usual but half as bad. The other bad part is that it was not long after the last one. I do not want them to become any more frequent! Less would be good! Never again would be best! Goodness.

Dog seizures are not a good thing AT ALL. And now he officially has epilepsy, which just means seizures happen, but giving it a label is more upsetting somehow. Also I know the bad things that can result, namely: if a seizure lasts too long, he can overheat and get brain damage. Ugh! So he could be basically fine for another ten years with seizures sometimes, or he could get brain damage and die (or need to get put down, realistically) any day.

WHICH IS UNACCEPTABLE. But is also the reality. UGH.

I'm coping with that in various non-coping kinds of ways. There's nothing they can really do for it. In dogs they give phenobarbital but only if they have 1-2 seizures a week and even then, it doesn't really control it. So basically all I can do is make sure he doesn't have his collar on when I leave him alone. Yikes!

My dog has turned into a ticking time bomb. Oh! There's also the interesting aspect of the aggression toward other dogs. It might just be from not being around them much. Or it could be behavioral changes from a brain tumor, which would also cause the seizures. So that's something to think about.

We just cuddle a lot and try not to worry about it. What else can we do?

I may have gotten another iteration of Online Job for next week on top of this one, hurray! I mean I did, but they don't always happen, depending on forces outside anyone's control. I should know for sure Friday. If so, it's awesome in quite a few ways, not least of which is: reduction of financial pressure. But there are lots of other good sides to it which I can't really explain, but oh! They are there!

I have to go downtown and drop off all the various nautical crap we hauled out of the new place. This was my idea. I figured it's not going to feel like it's theirs until all the various fish-based decorations got gone. So I climbed on chairs (my future chairs!) and pulled things down and threw things out and we shoved anything donation-worthy into my car (I wanted it out of their lives entirely) and I'm going to take it. Except that involves leaving the house. Which I really need to do more often than, you know, NEVER.

But I have a carful of nautical crap that really needs to go. So presumably I'll pry myself out of here some day soon. Also I'm out of cinnamon! Alarm! Alarm! Ding ding ding ding ding!

Can I just say, I hate my jeans. They're these colorful ones. I like the colors. Dark purple, deep dark teal, dark brown, dark raspberry, whatever. I love the colors. But they fall off. This is a negative attribute in jeans. They just slide down until I look like those boys with their pants around their knees. Except, you know, not quite that bad. I feel like that, though! And when they don't fall down, they're too short. And you can't belt them because there aren't enough loops, plus then they're really really too short. Like I said, my jeans: not a happy relationship.

I'm wearing the purple ones right now. They're okay as long as I don't stand up or walk around. Which I'm about to do. Grumph.

Also, you know how I was taking all those antihistamines religiously for like a week? They really work. And I'm a useless zombie when I take them. I forgot yesterday and was all startled to discover actual thought processes and stuff.

Then I went and did all this yard work and got all sniffly and itchy and stuff. Of course, take them all week, then don't take them on major yard work day. Raking up the dang camellias. Shaking my fist at the sky and shouting: "Camellias!!!"

Apparently my job is sending me some sort of trinket this week? I'm not sure. I'm on the lookout, though! They told me to check the mail yesterday. Which I did. And today I checked again. Not seeing any trinket, though.

I just checked the front porch. Nope! I really need to sweep out there, though. I did get a box the other day and the UPS guy, bless his heart, hid my box underneath the doormat, which is sort of a lacy affair, like all this braidwork and lots of empty space, right? So that made me laugh my head off. No one would suspect this box was hidden under there! This box that you can totally see! Not to mention that the box is about 2/3 the size of the doormat.

It was a gesture, I guess.

I should probably get the doorbell fixed at some point. Eh.

My library books are due today, Shakespeare's birthday (and deathday). Just remember: he was only the first person to write down all those turns of phrase. He did not make them up. If he had made up all of those usages, no one would have understood a word he was saying.

Check the OED. Does the first appearance of any word or phrase mean that person made it up? No, never. Infinitely approaching never, anyway. Like in Clockwork Orange, sure, the author made up some of those words. But that's vanishingly rare.

So stop saying that Shakespeare invented all those usages. Someone misunderstood on a basic level once and spread it around and now people like me spend every April 23rd going no no no.

I still really like how Gwen says "Owen" in such a way that it validates my pronunciation of the medieval spelling of Gawain which became Gowen. Not that I need the validation, because the poems make it clear it's impossible to pronounce it any other way. She says it the way it's spelled in medieval English but in this middle kind of way where you can see it's both.

Spelling should be representational, anyway. Some day when I'm linguistic dictator!

Have I mentioned that there's a hummingbird nest made of moss hanging from the rose bush outside the big window in the living room? And that when I go outside to water the plants underneath it (the eaves block the rain) the hummingbird gets mad at me and yells at me in hummingbird? I know! I still feel extraordinarily lucky and all that, if a little bit squashed by worry about money and seizures. But still! Lucky! Right? Right.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pink and blue and purple

It used to be blue and green and purple, and more jewel tones than these brights. For evidence: see all garments owned and quilts produced up until, ooh, I don't know, four or five years ago?

Now there's this odd bright pastel thing going on. I'm sure a Photoshop guru could identify the thing. It's sort of lighter in tone but full saturation, or something like that. I am no Photoshop expert! I can't make any sense out of Photoshop at all, to be honest, even though I'm kind of a software savant. Even reading all the manuals etc., I get absolutely nowhere. Isn't that odd?

Anyway.

Look at this:


Those just happened to be next to each other. Kind of hard to miss the similarity, huh?

Putting up post-its of scenes: excellent. Exhausting. And full of alarming discoveries, including the following:

1. The outlines I have are a) completely different from each other, b) completely different from the actual book, and c) completely USELESS.

2. This book has not been rewritten basically at all, which means that I changed my mind about HUGE things and never went back to edit everything before that point to make it fit with the change.

3. This book is awesome.

Point three is not alarming. I take it back.

Point two is seriously alarming, because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BOOK. Which means I keep making these post-its for scenes that it then later turns out need to be completely changed, because I made huge changes that were not retroactively edited into sense-making.

It's a good thing there's no alcohol in this house (except for all the dark beers in the fridge, I guess, and that one bottle of wine) because I would feel like a vodka and jellybeans frustration festival might be in order.

I love how much that poster frame looks like the quilt. I love it!

Also I'm wearing my bright pink dress today and my bright blue hoodie. And bright pink socks. Magenta I suppose. Is there a character named Magenta or did I make that up? You realize you can't google this, right?

Book editing: overwhelming frustration and confusion and overwhelmedness. But it's better than previous states of overwhelming frustration and confusion and overwhelmedness because I have a better sense of what to do next. Progress! Yay! Also pretty post-its!

I started out working from the outline, then quickly realized it didn't fit the book, then went to another equally unrelated outline (one I wrote before the book) and then pretty much hit the jellybeans and started working FROM the book, with all of its major need-to-fix issues.

I'm starting to wonder whether it might be worthwhile to sashay on up to Office Whatever and buy some printer ink (I am 99% out) and print out the whole book, then mark it up. I might do better with a physical object. Since a lot of this flaily flaily flaily is being lost and confused in the document, maybe that's the best option.

Well.

What else is going on? I got a hundred dollar water bill. Isn't that a lot? I know! I did endless tons of laundry when I first got here. All those things that reeked from being in storage. All the blankets that got filthy being used to wrap furniture. And so on.

And I'm trying to cope with this ridiculous level of social anxiety that is overwhelming me lately. Unfortunately I don't have the tools to do this. I mean, it's like saying, "Fix this broken car!" and handing me a celery stick. Maybe I'll know what's wrong with the car, but maybe not, and also, this is a celery stick.

But taking those antihistamines, what a difference! They get rid of the thing called ascites, do you know ascites? It's when your abdominal cavity gets all kinds of fluid in it. I get that from histamine reactions, long history of it, dating back to when I lived here before, come to think of it. The effect is that you just look about seven months pregnant and it's hard to breathe because there's no room for your lungs to expand. The other lovely effect of histamine reactions is angioedema, where your face and neck swell up, sometimes asymmetrically. But mostly not, for me. I just look all big and bright pink (there's that pink again!) and puffy.

And really, really fat. Both of those, they make me look like I weigh about 75 lbs more than I do, no joke. It's GREAT for your self-image, let me tell you.

I could tell when I woke up this morning that the ascites had gone waaaaaaaaay down. I could suck in my stomach! You cannot do that with ascites because of the fluid. See also the way that brakes work. Fluid does not compress.

And my face, it looks much more like my face! I wish I could take a bunch of corticosteroids and really get it back where it ought to be. But I think if I keep up the antihistamines, maybe I can look more like myself over time. It's only been a couple of days!

Isn't that awesome? I think that's awesome. Also I think maybe some doctors need to be slapped, because if someone shows up with endless huge histamine reactions to everything, plus angioedema and ascites, you should really have figured this out years ago. Jeez!

It's funny to remember taking benadryl to be able to manage social anxiety in the past, specifically Battlestar parties. I wonder if I really should take it all the time? The zombie effect supposedly wears off if you take it regularly. Like, if you take it to combat insomnia, it only works for a couple of days. Or so they say. I don't know if that's true. (Them! You know how they are!)

Rain today, so much rain! It's a day to sit by the fire (must turn the fire on!) and work on yer dang book. I'm still pretty agitated, all things considered. I mean, it's the equivalent of enough tranquilizers to take down an elephant and I'm still buzzing around and wigging out over stuff.

Office Depot/Max/Supply/Whatever, huh? Hmm, I bet I can get toner ONLINE without having to drive anywhere or engage in social interaction! Let's do that instead, eh? Heh heh. I started getting my prescriptions delivered for the same reason.

Look, when I need to do a book tour, they can rent an RV for me and the animals to drive around in and send a resident psych handler with a hypodermic. It'll be fiiiiiiiiine. (I can tell you that as things stand right now, though, I wouldn't even think about leaving my dog and cat and I'm not getting on any planes. Public speaking, no problem, seriously. Meeting strangers, no problem, again seriously. I'm GREAT at both. It's acquaintances that just wreck me. Also flying. Yeah.)

So, ink or toner or whatever for a Canon MX300 printer....PG40 cartridges....I might have to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. This. THIS is what I'm talking about. Utter failure to cope. I looked up the print cartridges online and there are too many choices and complicated options and I have no idea and bed is looking mighty nice.

If I could figure out whether/when the state got my health insurance sign-up materials that I sent in three weeks ago, maybe I could figure out whether there's any kind of failure to cope doctor that I could see, as if arranging that wouldn't be pretty much impossible, too. Failure to cope! It comes with its own built-in reinforcements!

Also it's quite cold in here so seriously, let's go sit by the fire. Let's go turn the fire on, then grab the ipad and the keyboard, and write things, instead of coping with any complicated tangles at all. Are you sure writing is still good when it functions as a displacement activity? Heh!

Mr. Puppy wants to go out. That decides it!

And we're off.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pastel post-its equal power

That's the hope, at least. I've been easing up on this project sort of at a stealthy angle, sidling up all nonchalant so that it won't get spooked. Or so that I won't get spooked, to be honest.

I don't know where all this agita comes from. Okay, I'll figure it out. I know what the problem is with rewriting. MEMORY. I don't remember anything and it's very frustrating. Try to edit a giant document when you don't remember what happens in it! Try! 

And so I grumph away from it, but then I want to work on it, so I come back, but I don't remember why I had such a bad feeling. The bad feeling remains, however. I'm good at emotional associations but terrible at all that other memory kind of stuff.

For example, I did not remember even the tiniest bit that Laini Taylor was going to be speaking in at Powell's in Beaverton today at 4:00, until my phone went jingle jangle playing a little tune to remind me...at 3:30. When there was no possible way for me to get there in time. GGGGRRRRR.

I've been watching her Twitter etc. to see whether she'd be speaking in the area, too. Actively interested. Just bought the book. Just LOVED the book. Criminy. I'm really mad that I utterly forgot.

But there are many substitutes for memory. For example, pastel post-its! Those bright glaring colors actively hurt my eyes. Actually I suspect they would hurt me all over, even if I couldn't see them. Neon colors! Ow!

But I have these pretty pastel ones in blue, purple, and soft greens. 

I'm going to go through the Minerva Greenwich book and make major scene post-its. I'm going to stick them on this poster frame to my left <--- which you can't actually see from in there inside my ipad, but believe me, it's there. Then I'll have a manageable visual representation of the book, so I can figure out what goes where and how to change things around.

Otherwise I'm left with the utterly unwieldy thing I've been trying to do, where I start at the beginning (because I have no idea where I left off) and work my way through the file as far as I can get. Obviously there are some issues with that approach! Namely that I have no idea what happens at the end, though I think there's a lake. I'm pretty sure there's a lake.

So that's the plan.

Why the anxiety over actually doing it, I do not know. Why any reluctance at all? It features many of my favorite things! Post-it notes! Using this stupid poster frame which is the wrong size for any actual extant posters that I own! (The second set of two wrong-sized frames I have bought, which just mystifies me as I measured, wrote down the measurements, and had the piece of paper with the measurements on it IN MY HAND when I bought them the second time.)

Actually I can explain that a little bit. I went to the Wrong Walmart. I went to the one waaaaaaay down in strip-mall hell, and I went at night. And it's the scuzziest, crummiest, most neglected, most do not care employee-ridden, most awful Walmart outside of the horrible one in Philadelphia where incredibly poor people have to sit outside with their mountains of stuff, waiting for their taxis to come back and get them, except they won't.

It's one of those fonts of despair at the human condition, is what I'm saying. And now I know better and I haven't been back, just that once, but for whatever reason, I cannot handle that type of thing even one tiny bit. The human despair thing. The thing where people have to live in these horrible miserable conditions, all packed in together and screaming at each other and clawing each other's eyes out. Brueghel would paint that Walmart if he lived today. Wasting extremely limited resources on crap to try to make a horrible situation a tiny bit better, fully aware that it won't help. I think that little bit of hope in the midst of all the despair makes it even worse.

I went there to get: the electric griddle, the awesome red Black & Decker toaster (they did not have either at the regular non-Kafka Walmart) and the poster frames. AGES ago. Like a week after I got here.

So anyway! I don't go there anymore, ha ha! But I do have these frames and now I have an excellent use for them! Look how cool: instead of sticking them on the wall, where you are then tied to that location, they're portable! And can be hung up out of the way! Excellent.

Now I just have to do it. Seriously not sure what the anxiety attack over this is all about. 

Anyway I'm all mellowed out now, relatively speaking, which is to say I still don't want to leave the house or talk to people or interact or drive or talk on the phone or go anywhere at any time, but I'm way less stressed about it now! Because of this sudden histamine research thing that made me remember that nice ER doctor who told me to take H1 and H2 antihistamines because I have some kind of overactive histamine response. (For whatever reason. It kind of doesn't matter why since you deal with it the same way no matter what, unless it gets super super bad.) He listed the ones I should take and I went out to the Walmart back there, a whole different brand of human misery, and got them.

And then I didn't take them very often, because guess what happens when you take four antihistamines while also taking anti-anxiety medications? You are a mellow zombie!

Except! Perspective! Histamine reactions cause all these interesting things like hyper-anxiety, fast heart rate, panic reactions, and so on. At least in me. I know this perfectly well. But I did not put two and two together to figure out that the reason I'm having these hyper-anxiety reactions all the time is the histamine reactions. It also turned out, in a cruel twist of fate, that the anti-anxiety medications (which I'm not taking anymore) also make the histamine reaction much worse.

I know!

So I took all the pills and got all mellow and non-itchy and my stomach didn't hurt and my face un-swelled and un-flushed and that is just insanely cool. Like, dude, taking the pills to stop the histamine reaction actually undoes all the things that I thought were totally just anxiety.

I can have anxiety all on my own, you know! I do not need histamine-y help!

Could be great. Could be amazing. We'll see. 

Already I'm noticing good effects much like when I would take the panic pills. I will go around the house doing things that need to be done, instead of--this is awesome--sitting there fretting about the things that need to be done, being irritated that they're not done, but, crucially, NOT DOING THEM. Now I do them. Yay!

Anxiety totally paralyzes me. It's like I'm the bunny and the mountain lion is watching. You have to hold still! Or the mountain lion will get you! 

You can tell me there is no mountain lion all day long but my limbic system retorts: Then why am I so freaked out? OBVIOUSLY BECAUSE OF THE MOUNTAIN LION. QED!!!

Yes, there must be something to fear because I am afraid. Logic! It's awesome.

Yesterday I went out and got all the eggs and potatoes and butter and apples and tea and stuff. And also ice cream and decaf coffee beans and garlic and whatnot. It was great. I make a list in the Notes function of my phone and then I have to keep it open, of course, and then without fail I touch it and delete half of it. But this time I already had everything, cool! Also butter and my brand of tea were on sale for a lot off. I love it when that happens. More butter! More tea!

I plan these expeditions like I'm scaling Mt. Everest. It's kind of great. And kind of sad. 

Of course there's a histamine food list, and of course there's a major authority with some really stupid failures to grasp how food is prepared, but then there are other more sensible lists, like the one in England, though it does contain something called quorn which cannot possibly be a real food, can it? Quorn? That sounds like it's from Lord of the Rings. Of course there was quark in Germany, pronounced kvark. I'm still not sure what that was. Cream cheese? Try to ask someone in German what cream cheese is. They won't ever describe it using the words "cream" or "cheese" because it's neither. What is cream cheese, anyway?

Life's unanswered questions. 

According to one of those major authority dolts, it's fermented, which just isn't true. 

These pastel post-its remind me of pastel jellybeans, which reminds me that I might just have to resort to base bribery to get this project started. UGH. 

I wish I understood all of this writing reluctance. It's up against major positive writing force, whatever the opposite of reluctance is, so it's not like I just don't want to. I really really do want to, but I also really really want to avoid it. I don't know. I think I need to bake and decorate a cake this weekend and really get the pastel sweets out of my system. And concurrently *into* my system! Aha!

I ate a pear. And now I have the hiccups. Yesterday in this thrift store (more great YA books!) one of a pair of teenage girls near me had the hiccups, which you would think would set them off into gales of giggles and/or embarrassment, but they weren't saying anything to each other beyond the odd syllable or two--that's me, all eagle ears, surveying my surroundings and assessing threat levels at all times--so I looked around at them and they were both deaf, signing constantly about the clothes they were picking out, but not saying anything out loud. Hiccups were irrelevant!

I also got good square baskets so my quilt squares and fabric and strips can quit intermingling and causing me giant headaches. Yay, $1.99 square baskets with no handles! I am so pleased. 

I think I'm about one second away from combining two poster frames into one to make a frame to fit my beautiful starry night and trees poster that has never yet been hung up due to epic transcontinental poster frame fail! You can probably Frankenstein them together, right? Wouldn't you think? Overlap the black plastic strips and whatnot? Maybe! We shall see. But I'm doing the pastel post-it note extravaganza first. 

Go!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

God-like aliens

If you immediately heard Ben Browder as John Crichton saying, "Man, I hate god-like aliens!" then we are on the same page.

God-like aliens! So annoying! Infinite powers! Infinite capabilities! Sure, that makes them harder to overcome, but it also makes them utterly stupid in terms of story! A giant nebulous blob of infinite powers that somehow still feels it necessary to thwart our heroes in the tiniest ways!

This is the same exact reason most writing about magic is just terrible. It's huge! It's all-encompassing! It can do anything, any time, for any reason!

UGH.

And that's why the end of season 8 of Bones just wrecked my suspension of disbelief.

I have a powerful and robust suspension of disbelief, too. I can see the baby looking at the boom mic and not be bothered by it because I am so invested in the relationships on the screen.

Bones made their seasonal villain stupid and unbelievable by giving him infinite power in the last episode. He knows all, sees all, controls everything down to the traffic lights. He started out a hacker. I can believe a hacker. Even when he did ridiculous things like carve code into bone so that when they scanned it, the code ran, which is (as I just said) ridiculous. Still, it's a *thing.* He did a thing. It's a crazy thing, but it's a thing.

But this, jeez. He sits in front of a bank of monitors that somehow have cameras everywhere, at every angle of every bush and rock, so that he knows where our heroes are at all times. See how it just veered into cartoon Superman territory? He even has a scarred up half a face, which I suppose puts him more into Batman territory, come to think of it.

I don't even remotely begin to buy any of that. And! He can call anyone at any time, even on their most secure phones that are intended for one-time use. Really? And he can make any computer records disappear, even from the most secure locations. So there are no records of his existence anymore in the whole of the justice department? Really?

This is worse than that pudding that one time! And that pudding nearly broke me. I *want* to believe!

Insert obligatory Mulder poster here.


Oh, I can't find it on this computer. Let's just make it so Hollywood is run by me and my personal limits on suspension of disbelief! There. Good.

Anyway. Pelant is only a reasonable villain as long as he has limitations of some kind. The whole end of the season pivoted on him calling Booth and ordering him to do something, then saying, "If you tell her, I'll know."

You know what? No you won't. One person can tell another person something and there's no way for anyone else to know that. You may think you're a god-like alien, you may have convinced a fictional character that you're a god-like alien, but you, sir, are no god-like alien! You have limitations! And that is one of them! You cannot possible see all, know all, control all.

I lost his motivation ages ago, anyway. Why on earth does he want to torment these people? He could do literally anything he wanted to do. So where's the profit in this? And don't try the angle that he's a psychopath who blah blah blah, because that's just saying: god-like alien. It means he doesn't actually have a motivation.

WEAK.

He started out as a hacktivist, if that's how you spell it. Why not make him keep on being one? He could be motivated by...oh, I don't know, whatever drives those WikiLeaks kind of people. Transparency in government! Bringing corruption to light! Give him a reasonable motivation and I'd be with you all the way. He can still be utterly hateful and disgusting and awful. He will be, because of the things he's done. But it would make some kind of sense why he'd be doing these things.

And think of the trouble he could cause bringing completely legitimate bad stuff to light that our guys have done.

Now all I can think of is Giles smothering that Ben guy with his hand. So terrifying! The Bones team would totally do exactly that kind of thing. Bones herself is 100% that person who would do that. She is completely clear on where she stands ethically and morally and would not hesitate.

And Booth already shot half of the guy's face off.

The only thing I didn't believe about that shooting the guy's face off scene is that Booth would forget for even half a second to put his scope in place.

Our characters are awesome but they have really strong strengths on top of really troubling flaws.

There's another aspect to the whole Pelant thing that bothers me a lot. The kids. There are two toddlers in the mix. He walks in and out of people's houses at will. (Erasing the records on the video surveillance afterward...give me a break. Half the time, Angela reconstructs deleted data from mashed up burned up chips!) So why are the kids safe? Why are they safe at day care? I know it's because it's a tv show and they don't put kids at risk like that but it's a glaringly obvious blind spot the whole time. All I can think about is that the kids are in terrible danger, but nobody talks about it or considers it.

This also damages my suspension of disbelief. If there's a big tempting vulnerable target right there the whole time, but the villain ignores it, I'm going to wonder why.

Well, I'm all disgruntled after the season ender, not least because once again it went to Booth's POV instead of Brennan's, which is just annoying. Stop that, show!

Well! Okay! I got that off my chest, huh?

Time to make tea, hit the showers, wonder why my tea is cold, go run errands, finish the baby sweater (just need to bind off the last button band! and yes, you will get pictures) cut out my dress pattern, figure out which fabric of the many possibilities to use (why do I have all this gorgeous fabric? never mind! not complaining!) and then fix the baby quilt's ironing status so I can keep going on it, sew the quilt top, baste the quilt, quilt the quilt, and *then* make me a pretty twirly dress.

This dress pattern has sort of a New Girl vibe to it. Speaking of the Deschanels. Also I never, ever have the waistline at my actual waist, but I'm considering it this time. Assuming the pattern lines up with my blueprints in any way. Which is unlikely. They never do. Never. Tweaking will be required.

I'm pretty excited about the possibilities of making these dresses with different fabric above the waist and below the waist. You know, like the skirt is patterned and the top is solid. Or whatever. I have to do some measuring and make sure it'll fit around the various topography properly. But what fun to make pretty dresses, huh? I know!

The neighbors are thumping, thumping, thumping, which means they're fighting with the hedge stumps again. They cut down this monster flailing laurel that was eating everything that came near it, but then the stump underground was (they said) like trying to dig up a buried elephant skull. Isn't that vivid? So they go out and whack at it with an axe every so often. It shakes the ground when they do that. I mean, I feel it here, inside my house, twenty feet away. Yep. Roots!

I have a lot of yard work to do today, but boy am I having trouble with the sun lately! I don't know if I'm allergic to sun (or whatever) or if being in the sun just sets off a reaction that's sort of lurking. Actually I'm not sure there's a practical difference there, though there is a difference in cause. Anyway the result is: go in the sun, get all raw and puffy and hivey. So we're trying to keep my face in the shade a bit. Isn't that weird? I know.

I also want to sew more skirts, light-weight, happy cheerful skirts. All of mine are so dark and gloomy! Even my flowery ones are navy blue. Gosh!

Ugh, it's going to be SO LONG before I can see what happens next on Bones! How will they bring that guy down, now that they've set him up as a god-like alien? Can't wait to see the last of him, I tell you what. They need a distributed villain next time, like a network. Like Anonymous, only evil. Now that would be a hard villain to beat!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Historical comical tragical

Things I learned about my house from neighbors yesterday while pushing my new chair and a half up the street on a dolly:

1. My house used to be the parsonage for the church behind us. Wow!

2. It also used to be located next to the church. They physically jacked it up and moved it over here so they could build a parking lot.

3. This lot used to be a street. A street! The street that deadends into the church parking lot used to go right through here where I am currently sitting.

4. I learned the name of the older woman who bought the house from the church, when it was in its terrible falling down state.

5. She had to pay cash because the house was in such bad shape, no one would mortgage it. Duuuuuude.

6. No one will say what happened to her which I suspect means she died in the house. Which, hello, I already suspected for reasons having to do with too much imagination or something. Because it is impossible that my neighbors who know everything don't know what happened to her. They just don't want to tell me, which is totally sweet of them.

My response upon hearing that my house is where a street used to be was: That must be some wicked bad feng shui. Don't you think? If that's real.

Where is the main water cut-off? I got the hairy eyeball from drivers-by yesterday when I was walking down to the library for looking around the base of everyone else's house. Isn't there a water cut-off? Is it in everyone else's basement? There is no basement here.

I wonder if they dug up the road or just plunked the house on top of it? Also, how do you reverse a right of way like that? Seriously. Did they buy the land from the city?

I have to go down to the city building and/or the library and see if I can find out. And see old pictures. Because I'm curious about a couple of things, like: did they rotate the house? Did it originally face west and now it faces east? Do you rotate houses when you jack them up and move them?

I bet the church itself knows all about it, actually. I should go over there and ask them.

Also, now we know why there are footstep shaped paving stones going from the house to the back fence toward the church. Parsonage! Apparently it was the parsonage until ten years ago or so.

Jeez, take better care of your pastors, or whatever you have!

I really love my little house. I do. Especially now that I have this massive and awesome new mossy looking chair! What a difference it makes to have a comfortable place to sit, huh?

I moved the homemade couch thing out, but then yesterday while I was knitting the sheepie sweater and watching Bones, my pup kept giving me the look of Utter Betrayal. HOW COULD YOU??? So I dragged it back from the canoe room and put it under the window, where it doesn't really fit, but he's very happy now so I'm okay with it for the moment.

There's some nebulous potential other couch coming my way depending on this or that? Maybe? We'll see.

Anyway what was I saying? Oh! I love how the main part is all one big right angled room. It's awesome. I have all my baby quilting materials out, including ironing board, folding table, all those fabric squares, and so on.

I just realized how fast it will be to go from squares to quilt top since the squares are already all cut up. Yay! Because baby #1 of the two I'm making quilts for has already arrived! In Thailand! And yes, I know it's daft to send quilts to Thailand but I made her brother one and so she gets one too. I wonder if I have those pictures?






Aaaaahhhhh! Cutest baby in the giant hat! Also I need to take better pictures of quilts I make, but they're always better in the wild with the actual babies on them. (Aaaaaaaaahhhh! Little baby B!)

Anyway. Am very excited to make his new baby little sister a quilt too. Wheeeee! I predict much tromping on quilt squares by dog and cat. And I predict many Bones episodes, though boy have I already been watching many Bones episodes! I've been watching season eight on dvd, never saw them before, so of course I run through the whole batch of episodes over and over.

Knitting the sheepie sweater is very fun, too. I rarely knit baby sweaters. Because who doesn't need sweaters? Babies! But they're little and fun. And this one has the aforementioned sheepies.





I'm using a bright deep green instead of that one, of course. Bright deep primary-type colors! Yes! See above for illustration! Saturation, yes yes yes!

The pattern breaks the rules of stranded knitting, so I nearly did the sheep heads intarsia, but then I didn't. But I might rip back a row and do it, because I really hate doing three colors in stranded knitting. You end up with thick twisted ropes on the back and it twists all weird. The only reason not to do intarsia is that you have to pull in all those ends, which means the only reason is laziness. Well, and I guess if you're not familiar with the way intarsia works you would get holes and a big mess, but I'm an intarsia pro, man! So I think I'll do that.

Well, I'm all full of pancakes and showered up and the house is mainly picked up, all of which is crucial because I have visitors coming at some unspecified time to admire my lovely new chair. Chair! I like it that it's a chair and a half because that sounds like hyperbole rather than an accurate description. It's a chair and a half! But actually it's just glorious, all big and roomy and comfortable.

At one point yesterday I was curled up in it with the dog snuggled all amongst my legs and the cat snoozing on my chest. All of the beings in the house (not counting the spiders, ants, or plants) snuggled into one mossy green hug of a chair.

I predict several things about this lovely new chair:

1. I'm pretty much always going to be in it.
2. I'm never letting go of it if/when I move.
3. Mr. Kitty is going to get his velcro paw nails trimmed much more regularly now.
4. So much writing. So much writing!

Oh, speaking of which, I'm making huuuuuuuge strides in my current rewrite, but I'm flummoxed as to how to track that on Camp NaNo. Like if I plow through 25000 words of book, rewriting constantly, but I know I'll have to go back over it again (obviously it's not in final form yet) then do I put 25000 in my word count? Or what do I do? I'm mystified. But it's working out, so I guess I don't really care. Woohoo?

It's a gorgeous day out. The park is full of people. My friends are here! Gotta go!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Picture this

For those wondering what my haircut actually looks like, here's a handy photo!



Wait, no, that isn't it. Here I am.



















Wait, sorry. Here is an actual representation of my haircut, just not on my actual head. Some English guy is wearing it, I dunno.



Well, if I combed it back. It's all flopped down in front on me. Though I think I do have some weird little pot of "product" somewhere. I like how his hair is totally not behaving and being randomly wavy about things, just like mine. Odd little cowlicks! Strange finer spots! Enthusiastic leaping about! Complete disregard for the intentions of the person underneath it!

That dude has my exact hair. That is kind of freaky. Mostly I see him with those dyed dark curls from the show.

Also I don't think that the strangers here are mistaking me for Benedict Cumberbatch due to certain noticeable aspects of upholstery if you see what I'm saying. Put the head from picture #3 on the body of picture #2 to the scale of picture #1 and you might be getting there.

I guess on me that haircut would be dramatic and eye-catching, though. Huh. I don't realize. It's just my head! And Benedict Cumberbatch's, apparently.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

After School Special

You would not believe the Issues I'm having. I'm having issues like an after school special. Like there's an issue of the day and I'm totally having it! Except a bunch. Not to mention the ongoing background radiation issues. Gosh!

Well I got pushed over the edge from Can Totally Go Out And Do Stuff and back into the realm of Not Going Out There by three things. Three!

1. That lady with the huge loose dogs in the park. Now I don't want to go to the park in case some mean lady is mean to me and also oh yeah, lets her huge scary dogs run right over and get in my dog's face.

My poor dog. He is undersocialized! Like his mama! He is scared of other dogs! And gets aggressive in response! Again, like his mama, except with people in her case!

Also there is this young dude who walks a huge scary dog who hates my dog's guts. Like, he goes insane snarling and dragging on the leash and practically pulling his owner's arm off trying to get at my dog. From across the street, even. The dog who came at us off leash, that nasty lady's dog? Looks exactly like this scary dog.

Okay!

That is all one thing. My undersocialized dog can snarl and lunge at other dogs when he's scared or intimidated. (Put away the mirror, jeez!) So loose dogs, that's a source of badness.

Also nasty people being nasty to me. Yuck! Free-range unpleasantness!

2. I got my glasses fixed, those big tortoiseshell ones. They are hideously uncomfortable. It feels like a big plastic thing is clamped to my face. My eyes get all puffed up from them and water all the time. I think the trifocals are just too heavy. Also my nose is sore and achy. Too much!

They also don't necessarily look great but I'm not really a good judge of that.

It's nice to be able to see, though. Gosh!

Anyway this adds a lot of weight to the generalized dysmorphic issues in my world. When you get new glasses, your whole appearance changes. And these are dramatic.

3. I cut my hair! It's a good haircut in the sense that it's well-executed. It's even, it's neat, and it looks deliberate. Well done, me! However...it makes me look...how can I put this? Like I'm sending a SIGNAL. And the signal is to the ladies! Come and get me, says the signal!

Something about a particular type of short haircut combined with my particular set of features says gay so loudly that I had to laugh when I got done cutting and looked in the mirror. Like it's hilariously over the top butch or something. I can't even articulate how strong this effect is.

Last time I cut my hair short I just looked like a second lieutenant in World War I, but now, oh my goodness!

So anyway. That's funny. And it'll grow. But meanwhile, everywhere I go I get (from straight men) this long direct stare of assessment. I was invisible before, but now I'm attracting this aggressive stare. And I've only gone out twice since the chop chop.

People don't usually give you long direct stares. Have you noticed? Actual eye contact between passersby is not even all that common. You might glance and say hi. But this! The first one was one of the popcorn guys in the movie theater, who wasn't even serving us. He stopped what he was doing and stared at me. It was not a flattering stare. The second one was a dude in the parking lot at the nonjudgmental hippie store (a huge step up from the Judgy Hippie store in Bangor, yay!) I was walking across the parking lot, and this guy was going the other way, and he felt the need to stop in his tracks and give me the long stare.

Don't even think about trying to tell me it's a compliment, because it definitely is not. It's either threat or threat assessment. And they don't care if I see them staring. Most people would look away, right? No.

Really it makes me think of wolf pack behavior. And they are going: strange wolf! Alien wolf! Something is not right here! Alert! Alert! Not like us! Alarm!

It's not pleasant.

ADD ALL THAT UP.

What do you get?

Dysmorphic alienation social anxiety party surprise!

RESULTS:

I don't want to leave the house. EVER.

I ran out of tea and therefore absolutely had to leave the house yesterday. (Note: I have a ton of tea. Just not Red Rose, my preferred drink. Never imagine I would completely run out of tea! Impossible.) Conflict! Must leave house. Absolutely do not want to leave house and go where there are people who will be awful and/or make me really uncomfortable/terrified/miserable.

That conflict is a recipe for disaster. Must do a thing meets powerful desire not to do a thing.

So I did go out. The first place was the nonjudgmental hippie store, where the aforementioned alarm wolf gave me the evil eye even in the parking lot, before I got to the store. AWESOME.

Actual interactions with people are fine, of course. Found what I needed. Bananas, dried mushrooms, evaporated cane sugar in bulk!

And major stomach pain. Hey! It's okay! I can do this. I just have to get the tea. Next store!

There is an odd little red schoolhouse right outside the door of the fancy expensive grocery store. What on earth? I was looking at it and trying to figure it out--something to do with donating recyclables with deposits so the schools will get the deposits?--and this cart-fetching boy I was going to ask about it scampered away. No worries! Get the tea! Get the food!

The checkout boy was one of those direct, super cool boys whose self-image is contingent upon being smooth with everyone. I am now a big fan of those boys! Yay, checkout boy! The girl who packed up my bag was terrified and ran away instead of offering to carry my bag out like they always do at that store.

I'm not sure what exactly is going on with my insides at this point but it's something very bad. I was going to go get some stuff for Mr. Kitty but let's just go home instead.

And then I spent the rest of the day having brutal food poisoning, or possibly a panic attack in my innards. The effects are exactly the same. So there we go!

I did manage to take the dog for a walk in the park, avoiding the picnic/party area where the idiots with the loose dogs tend to hang out. And when we met an older couple whose black Lab was off the leash, they kindly leashed it up before we got close.

Let's not think too much about What if they hadn't? I do NOT want my dog to lunge at or snarl at or provoke another dog. How did I end up with a dog who would do something like that?

Dog walks are not really that fun anymore, I have to tell you. It's more like terrifying than fun. Though he enjoys it because he's not aware of all the ramifications.



WHAT ABOUT SOLUTIONS?

1. I might go get new glasses. Keep in mind I got these in what, November? November. And they were never right. They have never been comfortable. I might also not get trifocals because what the hell is the point of that? I don't wear them to drive. I don't need glasses for distance, or really anything more than a yard away.

They have all kinds of awesome fancy cool glasses at the place where I went to get these adjusted, just across the road from my back yard. Amazing stuff there! Maybe I'll see if D. can go with me. Glasses! You can't really see what they look like on yourself, can you?

These glasses are not really working too well for me.

2. I don't know, how do you socialize a dog? (Or yourself? Though I don't snarl or lunge. Honestly!) We would have to meet a dog and get along with the dog for the owner to suggest a play date. Even the dogs we've met more than once are not options because although he accepts that I'm going to pet the puppy, my dog will stand behind me and yodel about it, objecting in every way to the presence of another dog in my vicinity.

Actually a lot of it might be that he's protecting me from other dogs. I don't know.

Like, how are we going to go to the vet???

Jeez. This is actually the biggest, most upsetting issue of all my Issues right now.

3. My hair will grow. Eh. I'm not that worried about this one long term. Short term it seems to be a great big THING for other people, strangers, though I'm not exactly sure why anyone thinks they have a right to any kind of opinion about me and my hairdo. Get a life, strangers!

Alternatives: hat!

It did occur to me in my irrepressibly optimistic way (this is true) that maybe they think I'm famous! It's exactly how tourists used to look at me at WB. And then take pictures. Which still completely flummoxes and entertains me, because who on earth could they possibly imagine that I am? I don't look like anyone.

Must be that indefinable aura of AWESOMENESS!

I will take awesomeness over pretty much anything. Ooh, I should offer them signed photos or something. Wouldn't that be hilarious? With an illegible autograph! I should wear sunglasses and gaze off into the middle distance meaningfully. Or talk on my phone about abstruse matters of import!

I do not do well with hostility, it's true. Your average New Yorker lets ten thousand harsher things bounce off on a daily basis. Just recall I recently escaped from an abusive situation where hostility was a weapon. I'm a little more reactive than your average anyone. I really hate it. And I will work on strategies to cope with it other than, for example, staying in the house until I'm old and gray.

For one thing, my library books are due tomorrow.

Oh! I had a plan to walk down there today. Return library books, check out more, go to the gym (oh my lord, I am not going to be able to handle the gym) and walk back up. This is a matter of literally ten or twelve blocks of walking. And if I need to inspire myself, I can stop and get cake on the way back! Cake! Fancy delicious cake!

Somehow that plan has shifted itself to tomorrow. Because I do not want to go out where there are people. See?

After school special, I'm telling you.

Is there a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle story about this? I bet there is. Someone just referenced the one about the kid who wouldn't take a bath, where Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle told the parents to sprinkle radish seeds and grew radishes on her neck.

Anyway the nice therapist guy ages ago said don't give in to it because that makes it stronger.

WELL.

Actually I can tell you what started this off. The trainer! The trainer at the gym! I had to meet up with him when, last Tuesday? Yes. For an assessment. I spent an hour with this really nice young guy who really knew his stuff and it was all fine except it was me in front of mirrors with someone whose job it was to judge me physically and tell me what was wrong with my body.

If that's not a recipe for hermitage, I don't know what is. And he was nice, really. He even said good stuff like explaining why I can't do those dance class type things--I really can't, I have no ability to imitate other people's actions, especially in sequence. He said it's because I'm analytical and analytical people, well, analyze, whereas non-analytical people just move like they see the person in front moving. It's like looking at your feet when you're going down the stairs. You can't do it and think about it at the same time.

Isn't that smart? Isn't that insightful? Too bad the rest of it was such a tremendous bomb in the psyche. It's not his fault, I swear.

Right, so start with that, add in the face-clamp glasses that turn everything parallelograms again and give me tremendous headaches, add the high profile gay pride haircut and the alien wolf alarm long hostile stares, give me food poisoning or the moral equivalent, undermine and problematize my biggest pleasure, daily dog walks in the park, and threaten my poor little dog with canine assault every time we leave the house.

Maybe I will go back to bed after all.

Or maybe I'll make barszcz! I'm going to! I have beets and I've already soaked the mushrooms, mmm. It's what, Polish borscht? It's so good! I have a recipe that I've been making for lo! these umpteen million years.

There were some kind of little dumplings that I used to make, too. What were they? There were lots of excellent Scrabble letters in those, too. Mmmmm.

Anyway while I was at the fancy store I got sushi, always a great choice when you have food poisoning, so I ate that up last night. SO GOOD. And, in some kind of fugue state apparently, I got a brisket. What the hell? So I can make that soon. But tonight is barszcz night. Yummy! Uszki, that was the dumplings. Mushrooms and onions, mmm.

We were watching a movie on Saturday and the characters went into the kitchen of this rented house and stood around a big butcher block island thing and I said, "That's my butcher block table!" and D. said, "I was just thinking the same thing!" We had been talking about what furniture I need, see. And then we were shopping in the movie! I love that. Actually three of us went out to see a movie, but it was too full, so we bought popcorn at the theater and brought it back to their place and watched a movie there. Yay!

It would be a lot easier to cook in my kitchen if I had that butcher block island from the movie, that's all I'm saying. Come on, reality, keep up!