Monday, July 28, 2014

Fiction!

Oh no, I read the new Rainbow Rowell book and I hated the guy! I did. It's so hard for me to figure out why she would write such an utter jerk as the love interest, when normally she writes such brilliant, lovable, interesting, peculiar guys with all kinds of depth and variety and strangeness and insecurity and heart. Heart! Especially heart!

So Neal is the guy. He hates everything. Like, that is actually said several times. At one point he says: "I hate everything." You guys. That is not an appealing trait. Also he is not nice to our heroine FOR THE WHOLE BOOK. Sure we get cute flashbacks but he spends the entire present blowing her off while her heart is breaking over being separated from him and the kids over Christmas...FOR WORK. For her absolute DREAM job. Which he RUINS by being so awful.

So that's the other thing I hate. She basically has to destroy getting her utter dream job, the chance of a lifetime, to fly out and try to make up with Sulky McCrabbypants who is being a passive aggressive asshole to her even though her job is completely awesome and supports all of them. He resents her and hates her writing partner and holds taking care of the kids over her head and dislikes everything about her and what she does.

I cannot stand this book.

I tried to read it again tonight in case I was just tired the first time I read it (I was) or being unfair to the jackass guy (no, I wasn't--in fact I was overly generous to him the first time through) or who knows what. I don't even think I can read it again.

Our heroine self-destructs and gives up her dream to go be with this absolute shit of a guy who is withholding and negative and awful to her ALL THE TIME. If I had a paper copy of the book, I would want to burn it with fire. What on earth is the story trying to say? I mean, what did it want to say and failed to say? True love wins? Okay, maybe if true love isn't toxic and destructive to everything else in your life. Maybe it's supposed to be about co-dependence and it's really an ironic send-up? Um, no.

Anyway.

I also went to an actual movie today, the first time since 2007 because this is the first time since 2007 that I've had friends! I KNOW!!! It was Snowpiercer.

Here's some great things about it: utterly ridiculous premise. Chris Evans. Amazing giant metaphorical social commentary that makes you go hmmmmm. Visual references to Firefly's The Train Job, I absolutely kid you not. Clairvoyant half-Inuit half-Korean girl who is the heroine even though you maybe aren't sure about that the whole time. Chris Evans's big black beard and short stubbly hair. Everyone's dirty faces and dirty old clothes and crappy lives. Chris Evans's incredible monologue near the end where he breaks your heart and then you know what's going to happen to him, and then it does, and it's amazing and tragic and satisfying and so so so so sad. A polar bear who is thinking about eating some people but then doesn't. A movie that lets you imagine that maybe Chris Evans and the unspeakably amazing and gorgeous Korean star are maybe okay after all in the end. Someone taking a baby out of a steel drum and Jamie Bell kissing the baby quick. Tilda Swinton in all her amazing, outrageous, hilarious, toxic, toothy glory. Oh, Tilda Swinton!!!

I can't even mention everything wonderful about this movie. The black humor that had me laughing my head off in the mostly empty theater, the only person laughing, because it's funny stuff in the midst of horrible tragic awful stuff happening. Oh, it's perfect. And when you're the only one laughing in the midst of nightmares, that just adds to it. 

And the ghost of David Weddle, who is perfectly fine as far as I know, turning around in his seat and giving me the baleful glare for reacting to what's going on up on the screen. It's so funny how present he was in that theater, given that, you know, he wasn't there. But of course as I said I haven't been to a theater since that time, and the vast majority of things I did see in groups on big screens were Battlestar episodes over at his community center with the Battlestar people. And somehow we always ended up sitting near each other, and I always managed to annoy him by gasping, laughing, and otherwise reacting to the episode. Like, I will say Yikes! if I am thinking Yikes! Quietly. You'd have to be right in front of me. 

He wasn't always annoyed, actually. Just that one time when I stomped my feet along with the Universal theme before the episode. He turned around slowly and glared at me. Or more of a Dad-ly exasperated kind of stare. I don't know, it was funny at the time. The Universal theme, you know it, right? It goes music music music music DRUM DRUM, and then does it again. And I was kind of excited. I am excitable! I get excited about things! So when it went DRUM DRUM I went STOMP STOMP. And around he goes and there's the stare.

Anyway watching this was highly evocative of that such that I kept practically seeing David Weddle turning around and giving me The Look the whole time.

Funny memories! 

STOMP STOMP. 

See if you can possibly not do that along with the Universal theme the next time you hear it!

The premise of Snowpiercer was completely ludicrous, which freed me up to enjoy the whole thing without my usual excessive empathy or whatnot. I mean, also it was Chris Evans, aka Captain America, plus Tilda Swinton and so on, which certainly whammied my suspension of disbelief a whole lot. The ludicrous premise did me in from the start though. The last remaining humans on Earth! Are all living on a train! And the train never stops! And it's been seventeen years!

Once you're done going "Okay, that would not work for these umpteen million reasons," you can just enjoy the movie.

Once you accept the premise and start thinking about how humans in a closed system would behave, you are into very interesting social theory and psychology and human behavior. Also there's this excellent premise that our guys start out in the back and need to get to the front. It's a nice, clear goal with amazing, unexpected everything along the way. It's glorious.

It's flipping midnight and I have to go to bed like two hours ago, but I knew if I didn't get this fiction off my chest I would never get to sleep. And sleep I must! Oh boy, tomorrow's going to be hard, with only six hours of sleep. Jiminy. Oh well. 

I did actually vacuum today, with the jackhammer vacuum that made me slightly deaf afterward, which means I'm getting a new vacuum, jeebus. I got my Online Job work done. It took me all weekend to do it, though. That can't happen again. I need time off! I washed a lot of the dishes but not all of the dishes. I got all the laundry done. I went for walks. Two miles again today. And watered the garden. And got bitten by mosquitos. 

My friend D. suggested that my mysterious squash/melon is actually a pumpkin. Because it's turning orange! I don't know why I never thought of that. Clearly the previous people carved a pumpkin and put the seeds in the compost pile. Very cool! I gave B. and D. some of my homegrown purple potatoes, yay! And another ripe tomato. I am exporting produce!

My house is reasonably clean but so very untidy. It's kind of making me bananacakes. But I'll clean it up tomorrow or whenever. Right now I have to go to sleeeeeeeep. Look, all this fiction processing has me actually tired now, despite my liter of Pepsi at the movies. 

I get popcorn and eat it for like the first hour and forty-five minutes, then drink the whole soda in the last fifteen minutes, or else I'll have to run out to pee in the middle of the movie. This theater even puts nutritional yeast on the popcorn like I do! Hurray, hippie theater! The one in Haight Ashbury with the comfy couches and chairs used to do that, too. 

I'm all proud of going to the movies with my friends. You know I totally thought that I should say no and get my work done and maybe clean up my messy house, but I was already mad that I wasn't going to get to go kayaking this weekend as I planned. Because of WORK. And fiction, friends, and fun are a great combination. We had a great time.

Life! Doing stuff! Wooooooo! Oh right, sleep. Must get on that. Good night!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Map my run

Oh oh oh, I have this new app to play with! It tracks your runs (or walks in my case) using GPS and then tells you all the mathy stats like your speed per mile breakdown and that kind of thing. Fancy, eh?

I don't have it quite figured out because it didn't track tonight's walk accurately at all. I think I changed the right setting so it won't go to sleep or whatever it did. Next time we'll see. Aha!

And be so proud, because I overcame A Thing and took dog for a walk down to campus. And went to my old building. And put a hand on the brickwork. And then touched the door. Because, magic, or something? I don't know. It felt like this big powerful thing to do, walking down there using my old route and going to my old building and showing Gawain Dog the windows of my old office. Which I realized just now I still picture exactly the way I had it, even though hello, obviously it is not that way. But looking at the window from outside, of course that's what I imagine. With my artificial vulture perched on the top of the bookcase, looking down at the student sitting in the comfy chair.

I just this moment realized my laundry, including my sheets, is still hanging out on the line. Whoops!

I worked all day at Online Job. I got a lot done. I also did all the laundry and some important cleaning and some big jobs I could not quite fathom. Like digging up the potatoes. I dug up two potato plants' worth and cooked them (maybe 2/3 of them) for supper. That's all that would fit in my big pot!

Potatoes, yowza! This is how they work: you plant one small sprouted potato in April or whenever and then in July you dig up ten great big potatoes. 

I don't know why this is blowing my mind, considering it's how agriculture works. I guess because I'm used to the more complex way you plant a seed then get a plant and the plant grows fruit. I've never planted tubers! Tubers are miraculous to me!

I wonder how many more purple potatoes are down there? 

Ooh, I also picked the first ripe tomato, a Roma tomato because I don't like the big fat juicy ones. And it was so good! I ate it right then and there, still warm from the sun. Agriculture for the win! Deliciousness!

We've been eating peas off the vine all week but they seem to be over for the moment at least. 

This is apparently the week where the stupid M.S. TAKES A HIKE. It has lifted! It's away! Hurray!!! I went for a walk in the big awesome relatively wild park (compared to the one outside my door which is more parky) over lunch on Thursday and Friday. Thursday's walk was great, less than two miles, and I had enough time to eat lunch in my car after. Friday I took a wrong turn and accidentally went nearly three miles and got back ten minutes late. Unacceptable!

Also it was kind of grueling because I realized halfway through that I had gone way too far, but the only way back was, well, the same distance as going out. And I was in the sun the whole way back, which is not ideal as I am the whitest person in Whitesville and burn very easily. So my left arm and the left side of my face and neck are burned. Ouch! 

Then in the evening, I don't know what possessed me but I took the pupper for a good long walk, another two miles. Which adds up to five. Which is a lot of miles when you've been a walking-impaired pudding for a while now, yo.

So that was what, two, five, and another two today. Madness, I tell you what. It feels great!

It is SO WEIRD to have legs that did not work and then now they work. But that's how it goes at the beginning, too. They work fine and then they just kind of wilt and wobble and won't walk. And now they're back. And now I suddenly want to go running around all over the place because I've been all Pent Up stuck with the DON'T WALK sign. 

So now it's nearly 11 and I need to get to bed, but I'm watching the fouth Harry Potter movie for the howevermanyth time. Gosh they have great hair in this movie. All the boys have long hair and it looks fabulous. And Fred and George have fantastic outfits all throughout, corduroys and dorky sweaters and great hats. Actually all of the Hogwarts students wear these terrific lambswool sweaters and Hogwarts logo sweatshirts. And I love the soft brown Durmstrang outfits and the curvy light blue meringue Beauxbatons hats. Even the color block rugby shirts that Harry and Cedric wear to compete are awesome. Great style, I tell you what.

It's going to be a busy week as far as Online Job due to one finishing, which means tons of work, while another one is starting. So basically I'm back to three for a week. I'm hoping things will not be as scanty as they seem in August but they might be. Which really is okay. Except: want to work! I feel like a slacker if I'm not working essentially as much as I possibly can.

It would be useful to get the dishes done and vacuum the house and also I want to sew some excellent cute dresses at long last with that pattern I've had forever and the fabric I've had even longer. They can be sleeveless summer dresses! That's great! I just need them to get done while it's still actually summer. Though of course I'll wear bright yellow and white and blue daisies all year long with leggings and whatnot.

Tomorrow I have to remember how to make mayonnaise in the blender. I seem to recall it's INSANELY EASY. Like you turn it on and drip stuff in. I just can't recall which into what. But I have the recipe. Easy.   Still haven't washed the blender from when I made whipped cream a few days back. Oh boy. Not keeping up. Life! Stuff! Cleaning! Dishes! I'm having a bit of trouble keeping on top of it all.

Speaking of which, yes, I really ought to go take the laundry down, or possibly leave it up since it might be damp again by now. But the sheets for sure need to come in, eh? I know!

Anyway I can't watch this part where creepy feeble fetal Voldemort gets dropped into the kettle again. The more that dude talks, the less interesting he is. Also I'm pretty sure he's to blame for my nightmares. Got no nose!

My purple cabbage and carrot sauerkraut is fabulously delicious. I have to get more started this weekend, come to think of it. Gaaaah! More to do! I wanted to get all of Online Job done today but did not, which puts a lot of pressure on tomorrow. In fact I had a plan to go kayaking but I'm not sure I can make that happen. And I haven't been to the store yet for foodstuffs! Or to buy gas for my empty empty car. Must do that tomorrow. Gaaack!!!

Busy busy busy, but it's all good stuff so it's okay. And my puppy, he is suddenly so good at going for long walks! He just trots along next to me willingly, with a loose leash! Instead of stopping all the time and yanking my arm off, he is just fabulously good! I wonder why? Anyway I'm very glad and it's as good for him as it is for me to go for nice long trotting walks.

Going to campus was awesome. I'd forgotten so many things, like the giant sculpture of eagles and a giant eagle nest in a fountain. All the ducks along the stream. The sound of the clock bonging out the hour nearly knocked me flat with how familiar it was. Even the bricks and the handrails and the steps. Everything is so beloved and familiar. 

And there are weird spots, like that place in the parking lot where we filmed my math buddy getting killed by a car on his bike, lying in front of my car with all this vivid scarlet fake blood poured around his head. We made it out of Ivory dish soap and red color and something else I think. What was the other ingredient? Can't remember. It was very disturbing, though. Jeesh. I still look at that one spot in the parking lot kind of askance. 

Actually yesterday I went walking up by both my old houses and B & D's old houses, and the spot on the road where my kitty got run over right in front of me, where there was a real big pool of blood and it was unspeakably horrible. Siegfried was there and saw it happen that day. And Elsadog of course. We were all walking together. 

I walked Gawain past all of these things and told him all about them. This is how you are supposed to deal with PTSD in all of its many delightful manifestations, they say. Face things down and make them part of the nice calm present. Or something. Instead of piling them up and getting a head full of terrible things you can't deal with. Right?

We went by the little bridge on campus that features so prominently in that Apollo novel. In fact quite a lot of locations on campus feature very prominently in the Apollo novel, so much so that I half expected to see Jamie Bamber come around a corner and give a diffident, friendly hello. 

What a strange and wonderful place my head is, to be sure. And scary. But wonderful! So very full of vivid things, huh?

I also really like Dumbledore's robes and his embroidered and beaded round caps with the tassels. 

Harry, Hermione, and Ron are amazing in this movie. Amazing. Amazing! 

Must go harvest my laundry. Doesn't it feel like that, when you take it down off the line? Feels like harvesting to me. Picking it off the laundry tree. 

Right! Sleep. I'm on it. Hup hup!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Suckage abatement

Today registered rather high on the suckage scale. I woke up from horrible nightmares with every muscle clenched in terror. Nightmares are horribly pervasive for me and carry through the whole day and often into the next night's sleep. If I can even get to sleep from that state of terrorization. Also they come with tremendous nausea. I don't know which one causes which, but it's a less than fun combination.

Then I got told off repeatedly all day long in snappish ways for things that were unclear in any way. In other words, doing what there was no reason not to do and every clear reason TO do. The snapping was completely uncalled for and counterproductive, obviously. If you snap at me for not doing your job for you when I wasn't supposed to and you are slacking off, I think it's pretty clear where the problems lie. 

Then I got told I wasn't allowed to have soda or my once in a blue moon Fritos at work. I went out at lunch and bought them to try to stop the nausea since I was seriously close to vomiting most of the morning. The salt and sugar and bubbles do seem to help somehow. 

I don't think you get to tell people what they can and cannot eat at work. There is way too much food police activity around the place anyway. And someone put some vile chia tapioca goop on my desk and I nearly hurled. Give me some nice sanitary Pepsi any day of the week.

It was a stupid, stupid day. I have a blistering headache and the remains of the nausea. I think it's kind of like getting a migraine in your sleep or something.

Oh my golly, the nightmares. They featured a huge, symmetrical house full of excellent spiral wooden stairs next to fireplaces, one on each side. Lots of large cats. Flooding. Betrayal by people I loved and trusted. Cats ripping my flesh. Fire escaping the fireplaces and filling the halls, blackening the woodwork, smoke everywhere in thunderheads. Terror, blood, fire, smoke.  

I half expected nightmares and terrors as fallout from the art fair, going to a crowded place with limited exits, but I thought since I was with friends and it was a familiar place--like, every tree is familiar--it would be okay. Maybe it wasn't that. Maybe it was where I went today and what went on there. I do have dread. 

Here is where nightmares and night terrors are a problem: there is another night coming tonight. Think about if you went to, say, a certain restaurant, and tremendously horrible terrorizing things went on there. You might hesitate before going back, eh? That's how I feel about sleep after this type of thing. And I was doing so well with sleep, too! Ugh. I'm not subject to the logic that says "Well, the last 28 nights were fine--it was just the 29th that was unspeakably horrible--so probably tonight will be okay!" No, I think: "Something horrible happened there. I don't want to go back there ever again." 

I don't even like walking into my *bedroom* after a night like last night. Maybe I'll sleep out here on the bed that is the dog's.

You would have to go firewalking or stick your arms in tarantula tanks to approach the level of apprehension going on here with basic things like Going To Art Fair or Going to a Doctor's Appointment or Eating Lunch In A Restaurant. 

Making A Phone Call. Buying A Tank of Gas.  

The nightmares and night terrors feel like an attack from within, when I'm having enough trouble dealing with external situations, for goodness sake. I thought I was on my side! What the what, self!

Anyway I found out where to go kayaking Saturday so that's on the cards, woohoo! Should be good.

I need water. I have failed to drink any water all day long and only had one cup of tea. Of course I had my delicious Pepsi but that makes thirst worse, not better. Though it distracts you from it for the time you're drinking it.

I'm not going to have personal hostility in my life, you guys. That is not happening. Nor will I have the arbitrary and tyrannical. I've spent far too much time around my mom already to have any more of those exact favorites of hers. So. We shall see. 

Bunnies, bunnies, bunnies.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tremendous!

What a tremendous amount of stuff got done this weekend! Holy wow! Catching up and doing stuff and more more more!

Just a moment, I have to go open the back door to help air out the charred zucchini smell. 

Ah! I am back!

The zucchini was actually very good. I think a little piece flew under the burner and got charcoaled that way.

I will now regale you with the heroic tale of my exploits this weekend. Voila!

1. closet reform, and how. I cleaned out and reorganized the poorly planned closets (two out of four--I am rich in closets) (ooh plus I forgot the coat closet!) and sorted out all the random ugggghhh and en-fezzed the rest of it. Neatly. So proud!

2. Broke down all of the boxes and stored them away neatly in the back of one of the spare room closets. It's glorious. It's such a relief.

3. Sorted the damn fabric into properly labeled boxes and put those all away neatly. Oh the joy!

4. Fixed the easel. Just in time for art fair inspiration!

5. Put everything away and out of sight and made it all neat and tidy, which does my little OCD heart no end of good. Ahhhh. 

6. Cut my hair. About which more anon.

7. Cleared everything possible out of the canoe room (aka back room, sun porch, whatever) thus rendering it comfortable and usable. The dog and I immediately got into the two blue canvas chairs and sat there feeling smug.

8. Hauled all of the etc. into the shed and discovered that it locks with my house key. It is now locked, lest some miscreant make off with my empty plant pots or that ancient bocce ball I unearthed in the field by my tumbledown hovel in a swampy forest in Maine. 

9. Put all the painting supplies out on the deck. Also dragged the falling apart picnic table off the deck and onto the grass. It needs bolts before it can ever be moved again or it will actually fall to pieces.

10. Put the ShopVac out on the deck. I need to vacuum all the crap down off the ceiling out there before I can caulk before I can paint. It's a process, man. Life is a journey.

11. Fixed the broken red table that cost $5. Two screws, two washers.

12. Fixed the broken TV tray that I got when someone put it out next to the dumpster (unbroken at that time--that happened in the move) back by that heinous place I worked in PA. One screw. Already ate lunch off it.

13. All the laundry, all the dishes. I even finally faced the vile Dutch oven that has been lurking evilly in my kitchen with roast remnants for THREE WEEKS, three of the hottest weeks this town has ever seen, incidentally. Yes. It got scarier every day. I did not even dare open it for fear of what might leap out and grab me by the throat. In the end it was just a little liquid and some big blotches of mold, though. And a smell that I won't soon forget. It's unspeakably clean now, though.

14. Sauerkraut, maybe! I made two half-gallon jars of purple cabbage and carrot sauerkraut. It's bubbling away happily so I guess it's working? I am going by stuff I read on the internet here so I think I'm supposed to leave it out for four days or something and then stick it in the fridge? I remain concerned it will go boom, or at least blow the lids off. Imagine the mess!

15. Holy goodness, no matter I'm so tired. 

16. Oh yeah, mowed the grass Friday. Go me!

17. All the Online Job you can shake a stick at. I have a bunch more to do tonight, sadly. 

18. Repotted two orchids, scattering bits of bark over a vast area of house somehow.

Things that did not get done:

vacuuming
ironing
library visit
post office visit
cleaning the microwave, which is appalling
laundry room reform
tool storage reform, which requires a pegboard to hang hammers and things

What else? I saw so many awesome boots at the art fair, where my friends and I engaged in some fabulous people watching, that I have now Determined that I will wear my own awesome boots this summer, damn the torpedos. I love my boots. I don't love any shoes that I can wear without socks, alas. I mean my shoes are awesome, but they need tights or socks, and there is no combination of shoes and socks that looks even remotely okay with my skirts or even capris or whatever.

My boots, though. I have the most awesome boots. I am totally thrilled to wear a pretty dress and motorcycle boots, for example. (They are very heavy, though.) Or my brown River Tam boots. Or my lovely tall black fancy boots. Or those weird black boots with the blocky high heels, one of which fell off during a conference with one of my students when I was teaching at Temple University lo these many years ago. Or the brown lace-up ones that look sort of Victorian.

The boots I want to go out and buy RIGHT NOW are the ones I saw on at least two girls. Brown, maybe halfway to the knee, with good sturdy soles and shoe heels, lace up but with those things where you pull the lace around the hook thing. What on earth is that called? And not tight around your leg. Oh boy, I would wear those every flipping day of the week.

I notice boots and rings. And dogs. But dogs weren't allowed. The sign said:

NO DOGS
NO ANIMALS
NO SKATEBOARDING
NO ROLLERBLADING

And so on. But I was already full of glee because dogs and animals are separate entries. Yay!

We discussed my possible future dining room table, how much the owner wants, how much she's likely to get, how likely she is to make much effort at selling it, how soon they're moving (15th of next month), how much I should offer, and so on. We settled on a price and figured I'll probably get it but not until the day before they move, when they realize they can't get the price they want. So it might be three weeks until I get my table. Or possibly never!

That would be okay too.

Tonight I have many things yet to do. Like for example: cook and eat some food! Maybe eggs. I don't like eggs but sometimes they sound good. I ate a religious spring roll and a waffle cone with chocolate ice cream at the art fair. I don't know, some church was selling the spring rolls. My friends split a Jamba Juice and a spring roll and I ate ice cream while walking with a cane in a crowd and still somehow miraculously managed not to drip it on my purple dress. I WIN.

Plus! Plus! The flipping bagpipe band!!! They marched all the way through the crowd on the paved path, playing, with all of the volunteers marching in front and clapping along with the pipers and drums, and then they turned around and marched all the way back again. It filled me with UTTER JOY. I feel like my eyes are going to strangle out of my head with unbearable ecstasy from live bagpipes. It's the absolute best thing and I get tremendously emotional. You guys, the bagpipe band started playing The Blue Bells of Scotland right in front of me! I was BESIDE MYSELF. It makes me want to scream with joy. 

The very first time I heard bagpipes was when my dad put his record on when I was little and I reacted exactly the same way then. Like I jumped to my feet and ran over to the record player and I was riveted and ecstatic. Now I have that same record on my phone. Maybe I'll change my wakeup music to that from Wilhelmus since I just get sad and miss Ruud when I hear that now. Aww, Ruud!

Still, he's out there somewhere. And that's awesome. 

I keep getting all sad because I go to turn on the soccer machine and it is broken! It plays things like golf and tennis and other utterly substandard athletic events like that. Or commercials. Ugh, commercials! My soccer machine is broken. Today it came to life and played a National Women's Soccer League game, though. Yay! There was Heather O'Reilly! There were other players whose names I recognized from other women's national teams! Yay! Yay! Yay!

I will have to train it to record all soccer and then I won't be utterly disappointed every time it refuses to do what it was clearly put here on earth to do: play soccer games for me. Live the dream, television!

One of these days television shows will be back, too, eh? But I'm one or more seasons behind on everything I want to watch, so I'm in a Quandary. I suppose the wise quandarian would restart Netflix and catch up on everything before the fall shows start again. Hup hup!

Apparently I'll be not so very over-employed in August due to Online Job having a scanty season then. It used to be scanty all summer before I had these new types of things to do. I would not call my employment this summer scanty in any way whatsoever. Jiminy! June and July have been EXCESSIVE if anything. And August might be too, who knows? I might not know until shortly before things happen. Or I might get a bit of a rest. I am okay with that, honestly. Sheesh!

There's all kinds of banging and tearing down going on in the park as they're taking apart the art fair. A giant truck went along and picked up all the sections of fence. Good riddance to the damn fence! But I did get a sticker that says GET YOUR ART ON to put on my car in support of the Art Association and generalized arty goodness. I'll have to clean off a spot first, though. Car: dirty.

I'm kind of failing to feed myself, so I really ought to go make some food. For lunch I had zucchini and tortilla chips. See. But breakfast was raspberries and yogurt. There is actually nothing better than raspberries and Greek Gods yogurt. That is peak deliciousness right there. But yesterday's lunch where I opened up a can of baked beans and poured them into a bowl and ate the whole thing cold was maybe not so inspired. Quite good! Yes! But not so much with the veg and the health and stuff. Basically you should eat veg and some other stuff as accompaniment. Lately I seem to eat a lot of delicious popcorn with butter and nutritional yeast. Like two out of the last three dinners. Hmmmmm. The other one featured homemade guacamole, though. 

Much to do still, gaaaah! But I accomplished a whole hell of a lot. Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!

Have a good week, bunnies!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Art fair!

I started getting excited when all the tents went up! But then tonight it turned out to be excruciating--tremendously loud pounding bass for hours and hours, right outside my house. Imagine some dudebro in a jacked up truck with speakers the size of the Dakotas (one each) parked outside for several hours. Exactly!

Well. I watched Iron Man, in honor of the utter dudebroliness of the whole scenario. Because even though the concert in the park was attended by exclusively middle aged white people, I had this image of the guy in the low-slung pants sitting outside in his truck, drinking a bottle of beer and waiting for his buddies to come by. I can picture this guy so clearly! He's very polite and cute, head shaved, white tank top, perfectly neat and clean and soft-spoken. He's like second or third generation Central American or something. I like him so much when I look out the window that I won't even say anything about how the pounding bass is driving me insane.

Anyway I watched Iron Man because of that guy, who does not exist, or at least wasn't parked outside my house in any literal fashion.

Iron Man is kind of a perfect movie. If I were teaching screenwriting right now we would analyze that one. I've seen it a million times and it never fails to knock me sideways with the perfect structure. I hate how man-o-centric it is in the hero and his bad boy stage, transformation to hero, treatment of women, destroying of bad brown people, and defeating his ersatz father figure by violence. But, you know, other than that. I mean it's classic hero's journey, eh?

It's a fabulous movie full of things I completely hate and yet it's so good I watch it over and over, hating pretty much everything from the fantasy Malibu mansion and the row of cars to the narcissistic poor little rich boy thing to the treatment of Pepper. Also, in the tv version, they cut out Stan Lee! Bastards! And oh my lord just looking and Favreau makes me wish to commit violent mayhem. I just hate that guy so much. He gets worse with each movie, too.

It's so pure and streamlined, though. And it's so blatantly and unapologetically what it is. It's perfect.

I also can't stand Terence Howard for one instant, so that's great. I was so pleased to see they replaced him in the second two movies. Ugh, that guy.

So anyway I watched that and drank my Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, my second favorite beer after Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout. I am such a nerd. Remember when my neighbors and I used to hang out in the back of our apartment building in L.A. and we'd take turns going on beer and steak runs and then grill steaks and eat them and drink far too much and have a fantastic time? Remember how fabulously fun that was? Mmmm, good times. Also everyone knew mine was a Nut Brown Ale, or Newcastle if they didn't have that.

You guys, I might get this amazing dining room table. My friend B. took me over to her assistant's house to check it out in case I wanted to move in when they move out soon. If you follow all that. But the house was kind of a train wreck. The narrowest staircases, everything including wallpaper out of the 50s, everything falling to bits. It's in a great location so it's surprising to me. Anyway they're moving to a small apartment and then back to Argentina (OF COURSE) so they're selling off all their big furniture.

I sure didn't want to rent the house but I loved the dining room table and chairs.

It's gigantic, though. I can't remember if it seats eight or six. Either way it is a lot more than one which is how many I am. I was joking today that I could have a place setting for each day of the week and move around the table mad tea party style. More likely I'd have a work station, a puzzle station (or two), a stack of mail in another place, and so on. But maybe not! Maybe I would keep the table clear and dust off the cat fur regularly! It could happen!

Don't even talk to me about how this art fair is going on for two more full days. You know I had a panic attack driving home when I could not get down the side street to get to my street. It's too narrow to have cars parked on both sides. That only leaves one lane down the middle. Someone turned in the other end the same time I did. And we're off!

I'm supposed to work on resolving and intervening in panic attacks so they don't get the better of me. Ha ha! Maybe later.

Anyway then I made fresh guacamole for my daily avocado intake (I will look like the Hulk soon, but pear-shaped) and had that plus green salsa and lovely Mission chips for supper. Mmmmmm. Gosh, it's the first day in forever that I haven't crammed my face full of vegetables! I guess green salsa and guac kind of are veg though.

I bought amazing produce on the way home. It was like a produce dreamland. The strawberries smelled so good they made me practically lightheaded. The raspberries are luscious. The cherries looked so good that the teenage checkout clerk commented on how good they looked. Then the clean-cut well-spoken teenage bag boy and I got discussing fermentation and making sauerkraut at home (he was intrigued by my multiple purple cabbages) and now he's going to go home and Google it. I hope he makes some! Yum!

I went to the pricey store because they have such unbelievably flipping fabulous produce. Which is all I buy. Produce. And a quart of whipping cream to have with my fruit. Oh, the paleomaniacs have me! They got me! I am a convert!

I hope my purple cabbage and carrot sauerkraut doesn't explode. As a former brewer, it makes me VERY nervous not to have an airlock on those jars. Sealed jars with active fermentation going on inside is just a terrible idea and can go boom.

I hear you can get lids with airlocks. I might have to do that. Opening it to let the boom out lets in oxygen which can frell with your fermentation process.

Also, I am now out of salt. I swear I bought a huge box of pickling salt but maybe I put it back.

See the dread? I can't quite manage the idea of driving out in this utter traffic jam tomorrow to buy salt. I'll wait until next week.

Also I forgot to put some yogurt whey into the jars. In the morning I will, when I have some yogurt.

La la la! Fun times!

Tomorrow I want to go down to the library just to get out from under the art fair for a while. And get my Online Job done. And check out some fiction, yum! I'm not concerned about the walk. I would walk farther if I parked at a Walmart and walked to the back of the store to get cat litter and then back out to my car. The library: it is close. Even I can stagger there and back.

My friends and I are going to the art fair at some point but it's kind of up to them since I pretty much don't care. Also I've got this deck to paint this weekend, except I washed it down and suddenly a third of the paint is coming off in pieces the size of matchsticks. And the shape of matchsticks. It's kind of hard to imagine something the size of a matchstick but not the shape of a matchstick. Like, what, a dime? Exactly.

What was I saying? Oh! The deck. It's looking like a lot more work. Boring! So I'll vacuum the rafters and paint that and the back wall and the doors and possibly also the canoe room. Then I will lie down and wait to die. But I will not die! I will just be very tired and overly dramatic.

Today I mowed the grass so GO ME. Some people walked by whom I recognized from teaching with them ten years ago, except they looked ten years older and I couldn't place them. I have no idea if anyone can recognize me. Can they? I had waist length hair and dressed in big floaty dresses. Now I have short hair and dress like your gym teacher. Also it goes without saying: am ten rough years older. I don't know, though. I bet that I looked as familiar to them as they looked to me. But with me it's easy to know where I know them from because I didn't know anyone else. But they live in this town so it's going to be a little harder to place familiar faces.

Square dancing! Because I am a giant dorkus and because I met a lovely wiry old lady from Idaho in the park, wearing her big foofy twirly dress, and we got talking, and totally bonded, and I've always thought I would love square dancing with its order and people giving you directions all the time and nobody getting too close and how it's all aerobic and has silly outfits and is ridiculous and awesome.

I mean, that is dork nirvana right there.

I promised her I'd come when their lessons start up in September, so obviously I have to do it! You know I live in this absurd magical kind of world so when you meet an old lady in a fabulously bizarre outfit in amongst the trees and the banners and ribbons (art fair put them up) and you make a promise to her, you HAVE to keep it or TERRIBLE things will happen to you. My word, have you not read your Grimm?

I love how absurd and magical the world is for me and I really resent people who are all boring and mundane and insist on everything being prosaic and crass and dull. Why are they so into that? Why would you like that at all, let alone make it into a religion? The people who are all hur hur, that word has a potential dirty interpretation. Really? That's interesting and fun to you? You deserve the world you get.

Bunnies, I do not know whether my salt was iodized. I got it bulk from the hippie store and keep it in an old lingonberry sylt jar that says SALT on it in Sharpie. Iodized salt inhibits bacterial growth. I do not want my bacteria inhibited! So that could make my sauerkraut not happen. In which case I put a lot of effort into making some compost! But I hope it works anyway. The salt might not be iodized after all. It's probably sea salt, come to think of it. It tastes that way, that sort of softer kind of salt.

I also was unable to fulfill the whole Beat Up Your Cabbage portion properly. Some recipes say to whack it with a mallet. Others say to knead it. I kneaded it for a while because I don't want to stain my avuncular wooden mallet orange and purple. But my hands are no good at that type of thing. They quit. So it may not have been beaten up enough.

I am definitely going to buy that fish bat that I saw before that I was just dying to think of a reason to buy. It's the perfect cabbage whacker! In fact, I hereby dub my future fish bat the cabbage whacker.

There is simply no way to top that sentence so I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This is what I need to feel like a person

Honestly, I have kind of a low bar here. I mean, I would guess that most people don't even spend much time actually not feeling like a person. 

What on earth are you talking about? you say. Well! I'm so glad you asked!

Zombietude, I guess. Not feeling capable of basic activities like walking, driving, doing work at work, holding a thought for more than a fraction of a second, managing basic tasks like laundry, dishes, food, housepet maintenance.

As you may have gathered (from how I keep saying so) things are not going all that well for me in terms of zombietude and personhood. I do not feel like a person physically much of the time lately! It's true! Sad but true. 

Actually I was trying to remember this one evening when I felt good last week, that day when I gave away the Argentina shirt to my neighbors and went for a great walk in the park and actually ran a little bit. What happened? Why did I have that good day? Why did that go away again?

You realize I was raised by a process chemist, so I'm always studying processes and how to improve them. Clearly something is amiss and I'm not sure what.

The tiny nutritionist is sure it's diet, but of course she would say that--and I don't mean that in a derogatory way, simply that this is the lens through which she sees the world. Others are sure I'm working too much. I don't know about that, either, because I can utterly fail to complete life's basics even when completely unemployed. And I can totally charge through life when massively over-employed. People see the problem as the thing that they think is the problem.

I look at the whole system and make decisions based kind of on things they're not thinking about. For instance, I'm pretty well shot by Wednesday, so I asked for Wednesday off work, not because it'll necessarily make me better (though I think it will) but because I don't want someone to pay me for being there as a zombie. See what I mean? So that's a good choice for me in terms of personhood. Unless it costs me my job, which would be bad. Obviously. 

Also, despite being the least lazy person you will ever met, with the most comprehensive 24/7 work ethic thing, somehow people (ahem, my mother) always think I'm being lazy. I think this is because I'm fat. People always read fat as lazy. Whereas if I worked less I could probably run around more, if my legs worked, I mean. 

My right leg and right arm are pretty well checked out. One reason I made sure about today (Wednesday) was that my right leg failed to operate according to orders twice in the first twenty minutes yesterday and nearly knocked me to the floor. Things like: I step over something, my foot does not go where I say, it catches, and I nearly fall. I stand up from my chair, my foot tangles in the legs of the chair, I knock it over and nearly fall. Right leg: disobedient! Defiant! Not available for comment!

Right now I feel mighty peculiar all down the right side, to the extent that I'm concerned that maybe I had a tiny stroke or something? It feels like my left side is normal sized and my right is all curled in on itself or shrunken up, like if you baked only one side of something and it shrunk in all tight. Right arm can't manage glasses or cups well. They are too heavy and my arm is too weak. 

I know that right now I'm leaning way to the left in my chair to counteract that feeling of pulling in together on the right. My right leg feels shorter and smaller. 

That's the leg that the doctor whacked with his little hammer and nothing happened. Normally I'm all kick kick! Not even a tiny reaction. No reflexes. That's the foot that flaps when I walk.

So anyway, I'm at home today, but working on Online Job of course because I kind of can't imagine not working for a WHOLE DAY. So I did a ton of Online Job and I'll probably do more.

Also I did the second batch of dishes to catch up from the terrible Epic Kitchen Sink Blockage that prevented me from washing all of last week's neglected dishes last weekend. This is the second huge batch of dishes I've washed. I have one more to go, mostly pots. Man! Dishes! 

And I ran some laundry and hung it out to dry, except work clothes which got to go in the dryer for a while for a) fur removal and b) wrinkle prevention in knits like my nice tops. 

I am having an absolutely terrible time walking. And my right leg feels like it's on fire and burning up, especially my foot and toes. I feel all twisted up. Spasticity is the thing going on, where your muscles sort of clench up and tighten up on their own. Like imagine you grab something tight in your fist for three weeks. That's what's happening. It might not be as bad if it were bilateral but this is a very very right sided thing. 

I keep considering muscle relaxants available to me. Um, beer? Hot baths are out--nothing makes it worse faster than heat. So also heating pads are out. Icing would be excruciating and probably cramp me up more.

I'm waiting for this neuro consult to happen. Old records have to get here from old places. Maine already sent them, but not Pennsylvania. They are all electronic records so I don't see why the delay. Hmmm. And then referrals can take a while. I have been that person who deals with those so I know you might have two a day and turn them right around or you might have a hundred piled up, depending on how good the office is. For all I know, the neuro office got a referral a week ago but can't schedule people in until September or October, if they're really backed up. It happens!

In other words, don't hold your breath.

Tiny nutritionist said to eat lots of good fats, avocados and fatty fish like salmon. I am eating lots of avocados and smoked salmon! I really am. And tuna, yum. And veg and fruit. This is more a function of having grocery money than needing to be told, actually. Mmmm, delicious groceries! Breakfast is fruit (lots) and some yogurt. Lunch and dinner are either tuna salad (a giant can of tuna) or the cream cheese/salmon/avocado combination. And veg all around and about. 

In other words, check!

Last night I came home and laid on the dog's bed (which is an actual mattress) and read this whole Chelsea Handler book. Good times! Fun and relaxation! Then I did Online Job a little bit and fell asleep. I kind of took half a day off! I took a whole day off from one half of my two jobs! Today I'm taking the other half of my two jobs off, but doing Online Job. This is what I need to feel like a person, apparently, except of course it hasn't solved the physical problems at all. But I do feel a lot better in terms of abilty to cope and think and get things sorted out.

Like when I couldn't find the clothespins, which are in a ziplock bag, I looked everywhere and then started wondering whether my invasive neighbors (as opposed to the awesome ones) who object to having my laundry hanging up (looks trashy, apparently--which I think means poor--even though nobody can see it from anywhere without actively trying) abstracted them from the yard. Which is paranoid, except that they really did do all of that invasive destruction because they didn't like some *plants.* In other words, I put NOTHING past them. 

But no, I had just put them somewhere strange and put something else on top of them. Sorry, invasive neighbors! Except not really. Because of vile actions in the past.

I'm going to do some stretching, very carefully, because it is extremely easy to damage/injure yourself when half of your limbs are weak and clenched up and unreliable as far as following orders. My foot is curling down and cramping. I dislike all of this intensely. I may actually have a beer or hard cider purely for muscle relaxant effects. And deliciousness! Anyway my hard cider is 5% alcohol so I suppose deliciousness wins out over any potential muscle relaxant effect.

Tiny nutritionist would say to meditate. I do enjoy that a lot. It's like getting a sense of where all the furniture is in your head. Oh look, there's that trunk. Look, let's open these curtains. It'll be easier now that my actual house is not absolutely outrageously full of neglected major household chores, which does tend to limit my involvement with a metaphorical house. And once I fix the vacuum for real, having inspected a newer version last time I was in Walmart and discovered that it has a screw holding down the noisy flapping piece mine does not even have a screw hole *in*, then I can even make the carpet more pleasant to be around. And less of a great big mess. And that will make it easier to do things that are not plagued by an undertone of: this is all very untidy. I know!

Time to get the drill out. I hope this solves the jackhammer sound effect! I'm not excited about vacuuming, but I'm even less excited about not vacuuming. Right.

I won't even tell you about the idiotic flaky MS/diet research that's out there. But maybe I will. There's one guy who says to cut out all fat. Then the other side says eat lots of good fats. There's no reliable research supporting any of it. You know how irritating bad science is to me? VERY. So that's great.

Good thing I'm not telling you about that! Yay!

Hopelessy mired in the mundane over here. I think that's what happens when something goes wrong in the wiring. It's pretty hard to think past "My arm and leg don't work" when pretty much everything you do involves either an arm or a leg or both, and everything involves the zombie-laden head. Oof!

We'll get through it, bunnies! And hop on out the other side! Hop as in a bunny metaphor, not as in only being able to use one dang leg, I mean. Right!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The done and the not done

Things that got done:

Online Job
watched World Cup
walked dog every day
cooked a food
laundry!
fixed the blocked up sink
dumped the cat litter, scrubbed the box, refilled. Yay! (I concur. --the cat)

Things that did not get done:

cleaning (any)
washing all those dishes (any)
cooking food to take for lunch tomorrow (nope)
get rid of that old gross soup that's still in the pot on the floor because the sink got blocked up before I could dump it and now I'm scared of it (hahahahahahahaha! oooooh....)
exercise besides dog walks
yard work (any)

Fortunately it totally rained today so I could say that's why the lawn didn't get mowed. Yay!

I did truly heinous amounts of Online Job work. Part of it included checking the correct format of 240 citations. My eyes, they bleed!

Surely I must have done other things, I think. BUT NO.

Okay I read part of Fangirl, the hardcover version, while eating my fabulous steamed green beans with cashews, honey, coconut oil, soy sauce, and pepper. Oh man so good!!! I kind of made it up as I went along and all I can say is good job, me! So very deliciousness!

I am now cranky because I didn't get a weekend. This happens every weekend. 

Oh yeah, also I did all kinds of shopping for essentials without which no food, no cat litter, etc. 

Still cranky that I just got done and it's flipping 11:00 on a Sunday flipping night. Flipping flap! Flump.

Off to bed, eh?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Heat management

I spend an inordinate amount of time (which is actually probably quite short) running around opening and closing windows and curtains to manage the movement of cool air through the house and to block the movement of hot air. Yes! Close windows in the morning, open up at about 9:00 at night. 

The down side is that it's annoying. The up side is that while everyone else is baking or paying through the nose for air conditioning, I'm staying ridiculously comfortable in my dorky old house! I'm so pleased!

It got even cooler when I shut off the gas to the fireplace, doy. Which was so scary to me! And I made it harder than it should have been. I went outside and shut off the main feed, then only later realized there was a simple shutoff right inside the fireplace, or under it really. And fortunately I didn't use any hot water, so when I turned the gas back on outside, I didn't need to relight the pilot on the water heater. Yay! 

I was all set to do it, too. Even though TERROR. Am terrified of natural gas somehow. Who knows? That's why it took me until mid-July to shut off the giant blazing pilot on the fireplace. It was heating this room tremendously. Ugh!

Now it's off. Yay!

I also shut off the water for the whole house so I could fix the dang faucet out back, but did not succeed in doing that. Bummer. I mean I took it apart and replaced the interior washer thingy but it still sprays everywhere. I couldn't get the faucet off the pipe or I'd have replaced the whole thing. Because of broken!

Also the kitchen sink is unrelentingly blocked up after I put some gross leftovers down it this morning. I really wish I would have washed the WHOLE WEEK'S DISHES before I totally broke the sink. But oh well! Maybe in the bathtub. Maybe I'll put them in boxes and take them to my friends' house and run them through the dishwasher. 

I've put two huge bottles of Liquid Plumber down there and it's only going at an infinitesimal trickle. I need a snake! Or at least a wire hanger. I do not have a wire hanger. Not even one. I bet my friends do, though. They might dry clean! I do not dry clean. 

This is exciting buy stuff that I have run out of weekend. And buy stuff I did! Food, in tremendous quantities, things that will last forever as well as lovely fish and avocados and berries. I kind of live on fish and avocados and veg and fruit and cheese. I don't see anything wrong with that, do you?

And I bought, like, cat litter. Dog flea treatment. Maple syrup! The world's cheapest little coffee maker because I broke both of my French presses that I got when I worked at Starbucks in Seattle in 1994. Gosh!

And a lot of those little claw grippy things for hair. Barrettes are just on my enemy list lately because they fall straight out of my hair, or else slip halfway out and hang there making me look demented, and anyway they give me headaches. The little grippy claws more or less stay in, though. I'm in that terrible stage of hair growing where it's too long to be left alone but too short to pull back or even tuck behind my ears. Dreadful! 

Once I got through this by pulling it up in scrunchies into a little tufty ponytail at the top of my head. Needless to say that is not my current M.O.

Well! I'm still operating at about 150% of capacity, with the expected fallout, though it's down from 200% capacity before the semifinals of the World Cup were over. So, Wednesday. Okay, I'm not down too far or for very long yet. And 150% is definitely not ideal. But I'm feeling better already and that's not nothing.

I'm starting to work with this lovely nutritionist, the one who has been sitting on my shoulder in tiny form in the manner of the cartoon angel or devil. We'll see how that goes. I'm intensely skeptical of woo and she teaches yoga, but she already told me about studies showing decrease in the amygdala after just a month of yoga and mindfulness training, *and* she has taught college, so I know we're going to do great. I'm very interested in her take on M.S. and how to deal with it.

The heavy gears of medical paperwork are turning and so I might find my way to another neuro consult in the next I don't know how long. I've been having a pretty rotten time with the M.S. lately and not enjoying it at all. I would pretty much do just about anything if it offered respite from it.

Let's see, I'm not running into much bad in the way of vision problems or tremor, which is great because that used to be just horrible. Remember when I couldn't drive or read or watch tv? Yeah, no you don't, because I probably never even wrote about it. And I had such bad tremor that I couldn't write my name. 

Now I only get the tremor when I'm completely exhausted (ha ha, which is like every day lately) and ditto with the vision problems, which is to say: blurring, double vision, feeling like my eyes work separately but not together. Fun times!

The worst lately is that my right leg has checked out. It's very weak and wobbly. When I walk--and I still walk 1.5 miles every day, dammit--my right foot flaps down. When I get tired, my right leg shakes uncontrollably. Ditto right arm, which also goes numb a lot. Leg gets shooting lighting and feels all lit up with fireworks sometimes. Sometimes it feels (but does not look) all giant and swollen and fiery hot. 

Basically there are monkeys in the communication systems, I guess.

I get all stupid from exhaustion, too. It's not good. And it's not tiredness--I get enough sleep. It's built up exhaustion, like you would get if you ran many miles every day, or moved ten million boxes of books. That kind of exhaustion. From going to an office and doing office work! It's not normal.

I also feel like every chair is tipped over to the right, or softer on the right. Which they are not! I really doubt it.

In sum, rare discomfort, lots of broken dishes, lots of bruises from walking into things and falling getting into the car, large loss of function, still doing all of my everything but completely strung out by how exhausted it makes me. 

Anyway fish and avocado are supposed to help. Plus I'm supposed to get this particular coconut oil. I feel kind of super woooooooo about the coconut oil thing, but eh, why not? I like using it to cook. Yum.

Not that I have time to cook. But I will soon. Once I get all the dishes washed, for crying out loud. Fix thyself, sink!

Maybe I could use coax cable as a snake! Those are stiff enough. Hey!

I am prepared to take the pipes off under the sink if necessary. But I really hope it doesn't come to that. Because a) super insanely gross, b) slightly redolent of possum under there still, c) possum PTSD, d) all that Liquid Plumber I poured down those pipes.

So you see. My cup runneth over! With work and complications! Soon I will have fewer projects to do all the time and no more World Cup (saaaaaaad) and more free time and rest and relaxation--at last!

I got a third Online Job iteration to start Tuesday and accepted it after a moment's agonizing, but then it got cancelled yesterday, ha! Okay then!

Down to 8% battery, which is pretty much emblematic of how I've been running lately, so I'm off to bed. I feel like things are going to improve now! I mean, I have beets! And gouda! And I ate gouda during the Netherlands game today, in my orange shirt that I'd carefully laundered already since Tuesday! I know! And I sang Wilhelmus along with the team for the umpteenth time, which is such a strange and wonderful pleasure, that joining in a group and singing in unison even if it's with people far away. Watching their mouths move the same as mine, you know? And in Dutch. It's a thrill. I'm thrilled! I already miss them so much!

And beloved Ruud, of course. He has lost so much weight during the tournament! I will share my gouda with you, Ruud! He looks lovely. It's his tenth anniversary! He has two little kids! He's such a strange happy obsession for me to have, huh? But I just found my old Manchester United team photo from when he was there, along with Beckham and just flipping everyone awesome at the time. So this is not new. In fact the not-newness is part of what makes me so very happy about it. Continuity!

Whoa, 6%, gotta go. And I didn't even tell you how I put my bounce-back together again and now I can play soccer in the yard with my shinguards on and feel excellent camaraderie between our heroine and, you know, THEM. 

I keep kind of looking at this and going, "Awwwwww...." all fond and indulgent. Bawww!

Off to bed, my bunnies. More work tomorrow, of course, but also World Cup final! Glory! The end!

















Sunday, July 6, 2014

One more week, my bunnies

Barring catastrophe, of course. Ha ha ha! As if that would ever happen.

One more week until things calm down enough that I can behave like a person and not an over-torqued Tasmanian devil type creature. The cartoon one, not the real life ones, I mean. The cartoon one zooms around looking like a tornado. That's me!

Here is what I got done this long weekend:

1. all the Online Job FINALLY as of just right exactly now, phew
2. washed the dog
3. washed all the laundry
4. washed all the dishes
5. made some hot dogs and ate said hot dogs, except the ones I'm going to take for lunches
6. watched some World Cup games, though I still have Argentina/Belgium left. Those two teams leave me cold.
7. put all the laundry away except what's actually drying on the line right now
8. took the bed apart to fix it. Have not yet fixed it or put it back together.
9. hung up a shade thing on the deck to cause constant surveillance to cease
10. hung up my old muslin shower curtain next to it, ditto
11. the muslin works a lot better, so I might bring the shade inside and use it in my bedroom
12. slept a lot, I guess? 
13. read some books, yay!

I know, I have not accomplished much of anything, especially not relaxation, because that is in very short supply due to the following:

1. too much to do by a power of ten
2. new meds oh man
3. allergic to something, possibly the mustard
4. therefore benadryl
5. apparently I can't digest meat anymore so I'm pretty much dying of agony from that
6. cannot go to sleep, stay asleep, or not wake up super early, despite new meds
7. way too much to catch up on, criminy
8. my right leg and much of my right arm essentially might as well not exist for all the use they are

Ugh!

I have a lot left to do. Well, some. And bedtime comes early. Here's what's left to do:

1. bake apple pie
2. take the very damp dog for a walk
3. take apart the pieces of the old couch and put the dog beds out in the yard (fleas discovered during dog bathing process)
4. put the bed back together, fixed, and make the bed
5. deal with the leftover roast somehow. I was going to make shepherd's pie, but that seems unwise given the extreme heat
6. sew some of the things I have all pinned. Note: this will not happen
7. iron the last five garments so I can wear them

Except I'm kind of in a tizzy from working all weekend and knowing I have a full week of work coming up, too. Five full days, man! And all this Online Job! But I must remember: there are only two World Cup games this week, right? And they're on two different days. That is a HUGE diminution in time pressure. It will be okay!

Keep telling me that. You just keep on telling me that. Eventually I might believe it. 

Oh, I did successfully buy groceries yesterday, so I got to eat fabulously awesome food, i.e. yogurt with fruit. My favorite! I'm feeling grumpily anti-paleo due to pro-paleo peer pressure, and also that extremely painful stomach episode over Friday and Saturday where I seriously thought that this time I had appendicitis for real. I was so sick and had so much abdominal pain. It was dire. I feel much better now. It might be Day Job causing the issues more so than the paleo food. I mean, the stress and whatnot.

Let's talk about fun, exciting things! Like dirtbag houses! I learned all about how to build a house using earthbag construction. It's earthbag, not dirtbag, but come on--how can you not say dirtbag? So evocative of my time in dreadful Pennsylvania, in the dirtbag capital of the world! Yucky. 

Anyway earthbag construction is completely awesome. You get a million feed bags or seed bags and you pack a bunch of gravel into them for the lower couple feet of the house or dirt for the rest of the way up, and you lay them out flat in a ditch you have cut and drained and all. And you whack them hard with a tamping thing. Then you lay two strings of barbed wire down along the row of smacked flat dirtbags and hold them down with bricks. Then you lay down the next row. The whole time you have to make sure it's all level and straight and plumb. And you use these simple flat anchors for doors and windows, so you can attach them to the dirtbag walls. And then you plaster the whole thing over with cement and oh yeah put on a roof. AND YOU HAVE A HOUSE.

It's awesome. It's so clearly a ton of work and my back hurts just thinking about it, shoveling all that gravel and dirt and whatnot. But then: dirtbag mansion! I'm beside myself just thinking about it. Living in the comparative luxury of my shiny blue bus all the while. Enjoying baths in my antique cast iron clawfooted tub in the bus and all that. 

You know there's nothing I like better than a fantasy about a) making myself a home b) using lots of tools c) without contractors and fuss d) the exact way I want it. So this is catnip to me. This is my cup of tea!

Oh, there's sad stuff. I called my old friend D. on her birthday, even though she's been ignoring me for months now and did not call on my birthday for the first time since, ooh, 1986? And I was in Austria for that one. She didn't even reply to my message. I'm sad! I was talking to a work friend about it Friday and we considered all the options, like not calling at all, but that would make me feel like a bad guy, so this was better. But now, oh man! I think I know what's going on over on her end and if I'm right, things are going to go nuclear any day now because it's seriously bad badness. But of course I don't know since she WON'T TALK TO ME. Sheesh!

Well, anyway. 

I have to make plans to make this week go smoothly.

Plan #1 was to prepare lunches in advance. I have a couple days of them ready. Must consider the other days, whoops! Tomorrow evening is a good time for that. 

Plan #2 is to fix sleep. Fixing the bed is a big part of that. I also blocked the big window over the bed that the neighbors' motion sensor light glares through in the evenings. That helped a lot. Though it also makes it hard to wake up. Oh well! 

What else can I do to fix sleep? Take my meds early. No electronics within two hours of bed. (Jeez, that cuts me off soon.) Sleepy knock-out tea. Warm shower an hour before bed. Gentle exercise would have been good but I've been doing Online Job all day, plus it's over 80 degrees, plus I can't feel my right leg, so that's iffy. Taking care of things that irk me also helps with relaxation, if done early enough that smugness can set in. Heh. And the right kind of dinner that doesn't keep me awake. What on earth kind is that? Carbs, right? Don't they make you sleepy? Protein wakes you up, I'm pretty sure.

Probably if I could just STOP WORRYING that would take the place of all of that. 

I am aware of the irony here.

What is Plan #3? Get everything ready the night before! That's a great plan, actually. That's a really important thing to do. Lay out my clothes, put my lunch together in a bag in the fridge, get breakfast all ready to make, set up the hot beverage of choice, pack my purse properly.

Pretty much dog walking time now. I'm still making apple pie tonight, though. At least apple crumble. I love that stuff! Mmmmm.

That is the saga of my current state of basket. As in, case. Ridiculous! Frantic! Bananas! But getting everything done, so, success, I guess! Wheeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Planning

I have actually started dreaming about my future school bus, you guys. Last night I dreamed about being in it and it had this excellent deep grass green shag carpet. It was awesome. I might have to get that when the time comes. The logic was that deep carpet would keep things from sliding, I think?

I'm full of ideas for the bus. Today I realized I can just put my trunks in it and presto! So much storage! My gigantic blue trunk and my grandmother's old sea chest will hold many things. I also realized that my mattress has pretty much perished in the last few months somehow *and* that my bed frame is terribly designed.

It truly is. It has those slats across it, you know, in lieu of box spring, but there is a center support that is held on with three screws that stripped out almost immediately. The things the screws go into stripped out from the light wood posts, I mean. I should get that all taken apart and squirt wood filler in there and bang them back together. But the terrible design means that any time you get in or out of bed, or turn over or whatever, there is lateral pressure on that joint. The joint cannot begin to manage that pressure, so it rips out. And there you are with a bed with no support down the middle of it.

I put my old WB dvd-on-posts mailer boxes full of old mail, records, and symphony parts under the center board to try to support it instead of the three disastrous posts. 

But that didn't work well either. It's just a terrible design with no real sense of how to do this thing. 

So I need to make a change of some kind. I could just get a box spring. But then the bed is too high for the dog to jump on. I could get a box spring and a set of those frame legs that people use for beds, with the metal shelf thing, and just have the current headboard and frame around that, all useless. 

The headboard is also useless for leaning against because there's no support to the mattress for the first eight inches of the frame, which means your bottom will sort of sink down into nowhere, causing you to scrabble forward in alarm lest the bed devour you, starting with your bottom.

What a terrible bed situation! I know!

I'm making Plans for improvements, see. Fix the bed situation. Replace the utterly broken couch frame thing with an actual couch that is actually comfortable.

Then I thought: I should make sure to get a couch that will go well in my imaginary future bus! So maybe it should be a day bed. I kind of like the idea of day beds. Kind of. But they're too deep to sit back on comfortably as couches. So maybe not. Really I need my adorable little loveseat that I got at the WB lot sale for $35 or whatever it was. I'm sure if I look around I can find something almost entirely exactly like that one only not white. Let's do that! That's the couch that I want.

I'm plotting Tool Reform, also. Right now all my tools, especially my late uncles' tools, are on this bookcase in the laundry room. Like, all piled up. It's terrible. So I'll get a piece of peg board and some hooks and hang those up properly. Honestly, people!

The biggest plan is for the deck, though. It's completely ramshackle and warpedy. I'm going to paint it, possibly starting tomorrow if I go buy the paint, but next weekend is more likely. And the picnic table, which is also completely falling apart and propped up on bricks at one end to make it level on the warpedy deck. I'm just going to paint everything a thick shiny glossy white and damn the torpedoes. In fact it does feel rather boaty the way it's going to be.

Then there's the issue of the fucking evil neighbors right the other side of the fence when I'm out on the deck. I was out there peacefully eating a tuna wrap (homemade, which means it was a tortilla) and reading my Sarah Dessen book (the author of choice for summer!) when stupid hateful asshole guy came outside. MERE FEET AWAY. I held perfectly still. But there are giant gaps between the boards. I mean I can see what's on the tv in their kitchen from my picnic table. 

So I'm also going to hang breezy white muslin curtains out there. After I build screened walls so that kitty can go out. Paint first. Then build screen walls. Then hang curtains. Though I might hang some curtains just so I can build the screens without having them looking at me all the time.

I hate surveillance so much, I can't even tell you. Except from surveillance bunnies. And deer. Those are okay.

I might plant bamboo in the gap between the future screen and the fence. It's only about a foot of space but I think bamboo will fill it in very nicely. Though I'm open to any other tall screening greenery that the Lowe's people can recommend. It just has to get tall fast and not need a ton of light.

I'm not sure how to fill in the gap between the fence and their garage. I think about it all the time. There is a piece of board nailed there by the previous person to keep his dog in, except there's about ten inches of gap at the bottom, doy. And I don't like the gap at the top where they are always a) watching, watching, watching, and b) climbing over to destroy my greenery. So I might nail some big tall boards up onto that. I fantasize about this constantly, but I don't want to use my two good big tall boards.

I'm a lumber hoarder. 

Also maybe I can just block off the whole gap in the fence by planting tall, obnoxious things and putting up major trellises or something. 

All of this is temporary construction that will totally go with me when I leave. Long-term readers will recall that I pretty much planned the same screened porch in Maine, for the same reasons, except there we also had several types of vicious killer biting flies to contend with. Gosh, Maine is awful!

I did not make my apple pie yet because I'm completely out of sugar. Oh, man! But I did have hot dogs for breakfast and cereal for game-watching snack and then of course tuna wrap for lunch on the deck, which feels so gloriously summery to me!

The dog wants to go to the park but oh boy, it's going to be horrible, ten million people and loose dogs and possibly even firecrackers because I've been hearing them already. I thought about going kayaking today but I've been doing a million huge backed up chores instead. I'm only halfway through the dishes because I couldn't stand that long, for example. Ha ha! Dysfunctional legs are awesome!

I'm surprised to discover that the medication they gave me that is totally supposed to knock you flat sleepwise is in fact having the opposite effect. Isn't that odd? I think that's odd. I finally got up and took benadryl last night. I never took this medication without the other anti-anxiety medication, so I wonder if that's what's wrong? I'm so utterly exhausted you would not even believe I could stand up, after getting very little sleep all week and working two jobs. My legs know, though. They keep quitting!

It's pretty terrible to be unable to sleep when you're that tired, let me tell you. My legs go crazy in the evenings. I'm up and about plenty, but not overly much, so I really don't know what they have to complain about. I guess they're just having their own issues, actually. The nurse practitioner I saw is waiting for my medical records to get sent from PA and Maine and then she'll send me to a neurologist who will probably go, "Eh? I dunno," though I'm trying not to be negative about all this and hoping that I'll actually get some help at some point. Jeez, it's been FIVE YEARS, I would think someone could maybe think up something helpful to do eventually.

Anyway it's the worst now legwise that it's ever been. So yay? Yay only in the sense that maybe a doctor can figure out what's wrong now.

Oh oh oh, I'm so worried about poor little baby Neymar! I adore that kid. I can't stand it that he broke a vertebra. He must be utterly beside himself. I hope they're taking fantastic care of him. I'm also brokenhearted over poor little baby James Rodriguez, that cute kid. The image I'll keep forever from this World Cup is him crying his eyes out into his shirt and those two Brazil players coming to comfort him, just hugging him and holding him and kissing his forehead and talking to him. Holy goodness, these boys are so glorious. Then they swapped shirts and he cried into that shirt instead. 

I'm totally in the World Cup for the hugging and kissing and crying, but this was above and beyond. Oh that poor kid!

And because it's Colombia and nobody can ever forget Andres Escobar, I'm worried about the player who hit Neymar in the back with his knee and broke his vertebra. The announcers said that in a country of 200 million people, at least one quarter of them are wearing Neymar shirts right now. 50 million shirts with his name on them. He is universally beloved in Brazil. He's the boy everyone loves and is proud of, who carries all their hopes, brightest star of the national team in a country obsessed with the game. And this guy broke his vertebra in a pointless and violent challenge. I'd be afraid someone would be out for blood. I hope not though!

What do you have to do for a broken vertebra? I can't imagine. Body cast? Confined to bed? 

What do you all have on tap for the rest of the weekend? I'm totally going to sew some stuff that is all pinned and ready. And iron some shirts. And draw up actual plans instead of just mental plans for construction. And do a heck of a lot more chores, though since I've already done all the laundry, swept and mopped the non-rug rooms, and washed half of the dishes, that's a lot of progress already. Oh and watered the orchids and cleaned up the yard. 

I have a ton of Online Job work to do every day from now until another two weeks, but then it'll ease off slightly--unless they give me more, which I'll probably have to take because I'm not capable of turning down income right now. Who knows if I ever will be? Anyway once World Cup is over, I'll have nothing but time. Though I might have to get more cable to get EPL etc. so I can keep on watching all my boys in their club teams. 

I put on my American flag shirt and my navy blue jumper this morning and then promptly spilled mustard down both of them within ten minutes. But now they're already clean again. Yes, me and my stain stick. We got! The mustard! Ouuuuuuuut!

Vacuum wrangling is also on the list. Trying to fix it so it doesn't sound like a jackhammer. I think some strategic jamming of things in between other things might fix it. We shall see.

While sewing I might also get to watch a thing on the television which is not the international football? WEIRD. Like a Moving Picture type of thing? Or possibly a serialized drama aired sequentially? I know! What the what! No promises, but it could happen. 

Enjoy your weekend, Gentle Reader. Until we meet again!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Out to lunch

Not right now. Tomorrow. I might go out to lunch tomorrow, in the sense of driving by somewhere and grabbing some sort of high speed portable foodstuff. It could happen! I should happen! It will happen! Because I forgot to go pay my rent today, then I went by later looking for a mail slot but did not find one, so I have to run over there tomorrow.

I am so tired and sad and exhausted and down these days. Oh, it's terrible. I have a ton of work and not enough time to do it, that's the main thing. But also: hostility, frustration, other people's cranky moods, major unmanaged anxiety, stupid neighbors who sprayed Roundup on my blackberries (yes), extreme heat, four bills still to pay (late) and major uncertainty about what the future holds. Even the near future. Even tomorrow. What does it hold? I don't know!

I will tell you a very good thing, though: I finally got in to see the nurse today and she turned out to be utterly fabulous. She totally grasped what was going on with me on two major counts: one, the M.S. which is utterly kicking my butt lately, and two, the anxiety that derives mainly from being always criticized and rejected by my mom, and I mean, even recently. Always, constantly. She picked that out without being told at all. In fact I just told her I prefer dealing with strangers!

Yes. We were talking about anxiety and work and she thought maybe I would be anxious in interviews and things and I said no, I love interviews, auditions, performances, all that kind of thing. I don't get panicky in those situations. I DO get panicky in situations where I'm constantly judged and criticized and nobody is actually rooting for me to succeed. See what I mean? Like if there are actual judges, that's fine. But if it's people who are supposed to be on my side who are judging and being nasty and critical and withholding support and encouragement, that is a recipe for utter disaster.

Unfortunately I seem to be in one of those situations. It's a recipe for utter disaster! Oh, I said that. Also it was super super super hot, which sets off the M.S. Like I probably told you before, back before MRIs and all that, the test was to put you in a very hot bath and see if you could walk afterward. Which I cannot.

So I got really really really super hot for a whole week or more and then someone fixed that and I baked her a cake! Hurray!

I don't know what to give paleo people instead of cake. I am good at cake but not so good at not-cake. Also if you give up stuff regularly like that, you have an eating disorder. I'm just saying. It is textbook eating disorder to deprive yourself that way. There's not the slightest shred of evidence that paleolithic people refused to eat fruit, you guys. Or nuts. Of course they ate fruit and nuts. 

It makes me very impatient to hear people talk pseudo-science as though there's any basis for it. It might even Piss Me Off. Have some intellectual rigor!

So right now I'm clearly hugely overworked, with three Online Job iterations at the same time, all different, too, and full time work, and a pretty well full blown MS exacerbation, and World Cup, and it was 98 degrees outside today, and I had that appointment to meet my primary healthcare provider, which stressed me out no end because most of the time those people don't listen or think I'm bananas or a hypochondriac or whatever. Stressful!

I'm so glad she turned out to be completely flipping awesome. I have to get all my records sent and then I'll get sent to a neurologist and no doubt have to have an MRI again and it'll all take so long, I'll be fine by then, and the neurologist will get mad at me like the last one. Or maybe not, I don't know.

I'm feeling quite DOOMY because of the overwork and constant unpleasantness and major physical discomfort. My leg has gone completely nuclear. It's like all the muscles cramped up at the same time--and without a lovely buff footballer to hold my foot and lean down on my outstretched leg! 

By the way I'm in love with Tim Howard after his incredible performance today. He saved just outrageous numbers of shots on goal. I can't even believe how he played. Now I know what US jersey I want! Also every time he saved a goal I had to scream TIMMEH in the manner of the South Park character, Timmy. Know the one? TIMMEH!!!

I did a lot of screaming during that game. Oh man. I think I watched it at 5:00, which is an odd experience because I'm urging them on and hoping and screaming and hollering and of course it has already happened. My influence is too late! And also doesn't exist! I mean I cannot influence events in Brazil from Oregon. But especially not four hours later. But of course if I were watching a movie, I'd been cheering on or pushing back against characters and wishing for things to happen and not only is it not live, it's scripted. Someone decided what would happen before it happened. Wishing is not going to change anything.

Oh my golly I'm exhausted. I got my old no stress go to sleep meds back again. When the nurse told me she had renewed them, I said, "Bless your heart." I'm really hoping that they will help reduce the completely debilitating anxiety I'm having lately. I mean it is unmanageable for me. I cannot wrestle it to the ground or overcome it in order to do what I need to do. 

It was very funny to detail my ridiculous crisis load to the wonderful nurse. 

Here is what I've been dealing with for the past two weeks:

new job
new Online Job (not ones I've done before)
more Online Job than ever before
neighbor incursion into yard, including massive destruction of greenery
confrontation with neighbors
opossum in house
unable to pay any bills for three+ weeks
sudden drastic change in sleep schedule
unable to buy more than the most basic food for three+ weeks
heat wave such that I keep thinking I'm in Burbank or Glendale
neurological dysfunction to the point of not remembering my own address or being able to walk unaided
being sent home from work due to neurological dysfunction

AND SO ON.

I imagine I've forgotten some things off that list.

The nurse seemed worried that I was so far from my family (ha!) and lacked any social support (ha! and again I say ha!) but I did not have the time to explain that being away from my family actually causes a net increase in confidence and security, plus it's not like I walked away from any social support to get here--there was zero in PA, zero in Maine. I have not had it since I left L.A. in what, 2008?

Though when you put it that way, it's not a surprise I'm completely falling apart physically, emotionally, and mentally. Alas! Too stressed out.

Anyway I have my beloved friends B. and D. here! They might even come over for hot dogs on the 4th! That would be totally fun. Or I'll wear my ludicrous American flag shirt alone and eat the hot dogs by myself! That is much more likely!

I have high hopes for these meds. I remember they really helped me with the night terrors and the generalized failure to cope anxiety levels. I can't actually fix the enormous roaming herds of free-range assholes that the world provides, but I can (I hope) learn not to care about them, with the aid of appropriate pharmaceuticals. 

The heat is another story. Depending on what events transpire, I'm hoping to go buy an AC for the bedroom in another week and a half or so. After World Cup ends, probably. I have July and August to survive here. August is going to be rough. Though today was unrealistically hot and it's only the first of July. Ruud van Nistelrooy's birthday! Happy birthday, Ruud! You adorable big lug!

I painted my toenails bright royal blue but now my toes are all red and swollen up so maybe I oughta take that right off of there. And I painted my fingernails sparkly clear but they are swollen up and red, too. I'm thinking maybe nail polish and I are not meant to be. 

I trimmed my bangs, too. That should improve my outlook quite a lot. It's amazing what a difference it makes when they are too long and droopy and unmanageable. 

So, gentle reader, things are stupidly hard and extremely stupid and I'm just hoping to get through the next couple of weeks intact. I have two weeks of triple Online Job and then it'll cool down to the much easier double and then down to single in really not that long a time. And there's very little soccer left to go! I'll be all bereft when it ends (the word bereft looks extremely Dutch to me now after all my surreptitious Dutch iPhone app language study) but life will certainly be easier and less pressured. And that will be a good thing for me since I'm about to explode from the pressure, leaving words and bunnies and pies scattered all over the place.

I'm totally making apple pie for the 4th. Of course I am! How could I not?

I kind of had to finagle Online Job today because of the heat exhaustion and formless rage. It's okay, Friday is a day off! That makes a huge difference. It means I have two more days to work with and you know I can totally do that, bunnies. I can always do two days. I'm considering setting up Wednesdays off just to cope with the physical wreckage that I've become. We'll see. Maybe I'll pull out of this exacerbation quicker than I think, eh? 

Invisible flaming stabby needle pretzel leg begs to differ. And my right arm has joined in with invisible flaming stabbly needle pretzel leg too for the first time. Whoopee! Flipping unreliable limbs, I tell you what!

I have a date with some nail polish remover so I'd better scram. Oh but I should mention: instead of the program I was considering, I found an online MFA in writing here in Oregon, low residency, with some outrageously awesome faculty. I looked at the faculty for all the programs I could find and just could not even stand the stupid people in a lot of them. Recall I have some major insight into the professorate. But this one had people I would love to work with. Oh! And someone who I *did* work with, since we taught together years ago right here in this very town! I would have a friendly advocate on board. That pretty much clinched it for me. I still have his book that he kindly signed for me way back when!

So that would start in January, assuming I a) get in and b) overcome my aforementioned massive anxieties about being in situations where people who are supposed to be teaching and encouraging me resort to vicious backstabbing and undermining instead. Cough cough, PhD program, cough cough. And some other places I could name. 

Jeez, who wants others to fail? Who thinks, "This person is on my team, but I want them to do a bad job and screw things up." I will never understand that. 

Here is something I do understand: a flour tortilla with half an avocado and a bunch of tuna salad in it. YUM. Alternatively a flour tortilla with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and half an avocado in it. Oh man! So good! 

I'm REALLY enjoying having interesting food again. Nothing against gruel, but...okay maybe something against gruel. Mmmm, fooooooood.

Also sleep. Must go attempt sleep. Whee!