Saturday, August 30, 2014

Bite your face!

Some animal I did not see tangled with my dog last night and left him with two or three gouges down his face.

Now! I am a catastrophist, so of course my thoughts go: raccoon bite! rabies! fatal! Because I have only been able to afford his shots since last week and have not been in to get them yet. Gaaaaahhhh!

But I do not know what animal it was. Possums don't carry rabies, apparently. Also it could well be scratches, since the thing that caused them was very skinny and sharp. Like, are teeth that sharp? Also the scratches are kind of far apart. Are raccoon canines even that far apart? I actually don't think they are. And possum mouths are tiny, like cat mouth size or smaller.

The distance is much more like a large dog's canine distance, or even more. 

Critters I have seen in my yard: possums (a lot), raccoon only in the parking lot on the other side of my back fence once.

Trying to logic reality makes no sense, but probabilities are very calming to me.

I got back into the far left corner out there and discovered that whatever it was has completely knocked down the strip of fence between my chain link pole and the wooden fence belonging to next door. The space is about a foot wide, with a big chunk of concrete in the bottom two feet of it. Any critter could go right over it.

So here is my plan:

1. freak out and imagine doomsday scenarios in which my lack of funding/time has caused the doom of my beloved dog because I could not get it together to get him shots in the last week

2. think up ways to block off that gap in the fence, even though critters will go right over any fence, but still

3. consider ways to put a giant bright floodlight out there that I can turn on when we go out, thus scaring off and/or illuminating any potential critters, even though you could hide an army in our massive grapevines all along the back fence

4. cut down all the grapes so that the critters will get the hell out of my yard and stop alarming and biting/scratching my poor dog

He's fine now. I mean, scratched up. But fine. Cold nose, feeling great. Last night he was scared out of his wits and freaked out for like an hour. Also I shouted in my super loud former drum major former rugby captain voice and woke up everyone all down the block. I distinctly heard my neighbor--the one who cut down all the vegetation in which the fucking raccoon could have gotten away from my dog and therefore NOT BITTEN/SCRATCHED HIM--say, from his bed, "What was that?"

Our houses are close together. It's very quiet at night. I am chagrined! But of course not that much considering that the situation was totally his fault. Jackass.

Ahem! And I'm also a little mad I didn't get it together last week to buy those tall obnoxious arbor vitae trees, though that would not have helped. I'm not sure what exactly to do back there to make it so that dog and critters do not mix. 

It's obvious to me now that this house is on a total wildlife trail just like my house in Maine was. How do I do it? The possums trundle right through my yard all the time. Maybe it's just the easiest route amongst the choices available.

Well not any more! I will solve this! TODAY!

After Operation Do All The Online Job, of course. Operation Put Everything Away has been underway since I got up this morning. It was growing untidy in here. 

I'm so excited about the long weekend, I can't even tell you. I covered for my peoples yesterday so they could be off, which meant a much harder (but much quieter) day for me. So I might consider being off this coming Thursday and catching up on the massive Online Job backlog that will have developed. 

It's the end of one iteration and the beginning of TWO MORE this week. Which if you are not bewildered by the math as I always am equals four at once. Four!

Here is the silly thing I never realized until I was talking to a friend who I wanted to get Online Job too. I explained it was 10-15 hours a week, but more like ten, usually. And she said, "How many are you doing?" And I said, "Right now three, but as of Tuesday, four, though actually it's five because one is ending Monday and I have to do massive amounts of work after it ends." And she looked at me with sadness and math in her eyes, thinking but not saying: "That's thirty, forty, or fifty hours a week on top of your forty hour a week day job. You loon."

Yes. I admit this had not actually dawned on me until that moment. I'm working sixty or seventy hour weeks and have been since June. On top of an exacerbation from the M.S. fairy that lasted longer than any have previously. I WONDER WHY.

In fact, thinking back to when Major Anxiety really began to affect me, I vividly remember sitting in the urgent care with a sinus infection and a kidney infection (why just have one?) back in Maine, with my laptop on my lap in the treatment room while I waited to see the doctor, working away frantically because I was doing two Online Job iterations while also working at a full time day job as a temp. That was the first day I got prescribed anti-anxiety medications.


Well, clearly the solution is to have only one job that earns as much as my two. And only takes forty hours to do it. Yay!

As it happens, Online Job asked me to apply for a bigger and more official version of what I already do. It's actually exactly the same only four at all times, with presumably much better pay and much more reliable pay instead of the current deal with the cutoff dates and the weird breakdowns by percentages and the long delays between work and pay. 

Though none of that was specified so I'm not sure. But why would anyone do it unless all of that were true? See. From previous ads, I'm pretty positive. But of course I don't know about pay, benefits, whatever else. None of that was in the ad.

I absolutely LOVE having my employer email me and ask me to apply for a better version of the job I'm already doing. Hurray! Awesomeness! And actually I could probably read the employee manual and check on all of that because everything is in there.

Also, this is hilarious: I got a raise in July and didn't even notice because of the weird pay system. I was sort of expecting one but couldn't find any confirmation of it anywhere. I finally looked somewhere else by accident and there it was. Yay!

What else is going on? I'm about to lose one of my eyeteeth, or whatever, the one that they bashed loose back in Maine when those hamfisted butchers were pulling some other ones. The chisel or whatever they were using (my memory is a chisel, but surely not? I was on nitrous and massive doses of ativan to get through it) slipped and they knocked this tooth loose. So even biting into cheese jogs it loose since then. And then lately it has been hurting right down into the jaw. So that has to go. 

Also I really need to buy some more teeth. Like, I don't know, implants or dentures or who even knows what, I have no idea. This one is going to be kind of visible if I smile, though I have a small smile, not like those actors who smile and you can see all of their teeth including their molars. 

And my one remaining lower molar is on its way out too. No more chewing after that! It'll be pudding for me! Not actually pudding, because I'm always allergic to the cornstarch they put in all of it, but soup and purees and smoothies and scrambled eggs and only soft food that requires no chewing at all. Yep. Like, cheese will not be possible. See what I'm saying? Fresh veg: nope. I'm considering whether a nectarine might be possible. Maybe!

I've been just a hair's breadth away from that for years now, so it's not a surprise to me, but still: ugh!

Anyway. Yep! Working super ridiculously long hours. Insanely worried that my dog might have gotten rabies from a raccoon bite. Losing teeth. Lots to do around the house. But long weekend, yay!

Ooh, and I even found my old address in Vienna. Doblinger Hauptstrasse 71, for anyone who's curious. There are plaques all over that town showing all the places Beethoven lived. It's kind of funny and kind of sad because that guy moved a lot. I used to walk up to the hills where he would go walking. It's been fascinating to look at the map of Vienna and see my 18 year old psychology all over it. Like, there is an absolutely gigantic hospital complex I never noticed was there. There are all sorts of ridiculous museums on my route home that I only vaguely remember. Like the pharmaceutical museum, which I would totally go to now and enjoy. I forget the others. 

Also, I remember Vienna very strongly because I actually starved there. I mean I went hungry. There was no money and therefore no food and no way to get more because of the postal strike. I lived on 17 Schilling salads from the student cafeteria and a bag of white rice and some seaweed I'd brought with me from our co-op, and eggs. I couldn't afford the bus, so I would have to get home up this very long hill. I remember becoming so light it felt like I wouldn't bend grass if I stepped on it. Oh, that's when I ate all the Chernobyl strawberries because they were basically being given away because they were radioactive, but I didn't really understand because I had no newspapers or tv or anything.

Fun times! Two months of operas, starvation, baths but no shower, no way to do laundry except in the bathtub, and walking miles all around the canyons of old stonework.

I mostly remember the big cathedral. I spent a lot of time there. 

Now I would want to go mess around much more in the prehistoric settlements and the Roman ruins. I mean, I went, but I didn't have the big picture at that time. Now I pretty much want to go all over Europe and share meaningful gazes with prehistoric stonework. Menhir! 

Menhir irresistibly wants to turn into mijnheer. Dutch, man! It gets into your very bones!

Anyway I suppose I should go do my work now. I have laundry in the dryer and a cup of tea made. Work! Get it done! Then do some fun stuff, eh? Sure!

Oh and I finally figured out what to call that odd room with no outside windows, where I have all the instruments, oil paints and easels, fabric and quilting supplies: the Room of Requirement. I know!!! 

I was just watching the last Harry Potter movie again and Helena Ravenclaw (founder of my house, of course) told Harry the diadem was in the room where everything was hidden. And I was like, "I have a room exactly like that!" It's true, too. 

Today it is Not Too Hot for once. And rained. There's hope! I'm able to wear my royal blue Captain America hoodie and my red capri leggings and not melt! Hurray for the coming coolness and rain of the nine month rainy season, aka fall, winter, and spring. My favorite time of the year out here!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Don't touch!

I'm feeling so vindicated because awesome cartoonist Elizabeth Rosema wrote a brilliant thing about DO NOT TOUCH ME which brilliantly illustrates how I feel. Except I feel that way more vehemently.

Do not walk up and touch me. 

Especially do not touch me if I can't see you. This is especially dangerous because I will throw an elbow and you will get your nose broken. Don't say I didn't warn you. You will get hurt before I even know what is going on.

Don't stand behind me for any reason. I don't mean like if we're standing in a line. Though don't get too close. Just don't walk into a space where I'm working and therefore concentrating and stand behind me. The reason is: you go invisible, and then you suddenly appear, and that is NOT OKAY.

If you stand behind me and go invisible, and then walk up and touch me, I will hurt you and scream, again before I even know what is going on. 

Honestly, why would you do that anyway? What would make someone do that?

I've had to speak to two different people in the past two days about hanging out behind me. STOP. DOING. THIS.

Here is a list of the people who have been allowed to touch me without direct invitation, from the past ten years, inclusive:

small children
domestic animals
Jamie Bamber

I'm not actually even kidding. 

I don't know how Jamie Bamber got on that list but he kept putting his hand on my shoulder and it was okay. 

Hey, dude, it's a huge compliment. The do not touch me person finds you as okay as a cat or dog or small child! Though also Lucy Lawless kept jabbing me with her elbows and patting me to apologize and that was okay too. It is now impossible for me to see Lucy Lawless without thinking about her elbows. 

People from alternate science fiction universes are okay apparently! But not regular this universe people? 

Or maybe it's because they are from my television and so I've spent much more time with them than any real people? Could be. Hard to say. I don't spend time with real people. Except at work.

Also I had seriously self-medicated in order to be able to go to that party at all. 

I need giant inflatable spikes like those lizards with the ruffs that puff up. I don't know how else to communicate to people that they should not stand behind me or come up and touch me. The worst was a nurse with super cold (recently washed) hands who missed my scarf and put an icy hand on my trapezius, shooting me into the stratosphere. 

I'm still getting the shivers from that one. Like just now I had one of those involuntary shoulder shaking shivers from it.

I should probably get a massage. It's supposed to help with this type of thing. I used to! I would get chair massages, which sounds like they massage your chair. Anyway it was awesome. Must look into this.

Anyway I'm having trepidation about the square dancing that I promised the mysterious fairy tale old lady in spangly gauzy foofy skirts that I would go to. I'm having trepidation because people might have to touch my hands. Strangers. Potentially with dry skin. The worst feeling is dry skin. It's horrible. Also they're probably all old. Old knobbly dry skin hands. See. I am not convinced I will be able to do-si-do without freaking right the hell out.

Even this nail polish I put on is freaking me right the hell out. It's sparkly clear purple, but it sort of pooled at the edges so I look positively livid and diseased, plus the plastic feeling of it makes me bananas. I have to be super careful never to touch the backs of my nails against any skin. So basically it's like you might do if you had wet nail polish, but all the time.

I nearly drove someone bonkers today in a meeting by picking the polish off the skin next to my nails. It sure gets around when wet, nail polish. Why do I have this stuff again? Why do I put it on? 

It's stupidly hot and I ate cold shepherd's pie, which makes me feel quite a lot like I'm a piece of upholstered furniture. Isn't it sit in front of the fan time? I think so too. But ice cream sure would hit the spot. There is just no earthly possibility that I'm going to get in the car and drive to the store to purchase the foodstuffs tonight. It's over 90 degrees out still. I will manage with whatever I have until the weekend. I have bricks of soup! 

I'm just going to do Online Job sitting in front of a fan, drinking lots of water full of ice, thinking about the Arctic, ice floes, penguins, walruses, freezing blue water, the aurora borealis, snow banks, glaciers, polar bears, and kind young actors who are sweet to anxious writers in noisy, crowded rooms. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hello darlings

I like how appalling that would sound coming from a character in a Harry Potter book. Like you would just know the person was creepy and insinuating and fake. I love how understated kindness is in those books, like Molly Weasley shouting at her sons for egregious rule-breaking while giving Harry more bacon.


I'm doing all the laundry in the whole world. I bought clothes yesterday. I know! It's amazing! I didn't even go and return them all today, like I did two weeks ago when I bought clothes. Nope, these are keepers. I pulled off the tags and washed everything. Everything! Including one of the tags, which made a mess in the dryer. Oh well.

I'm also washing all of the everything that has somehow been put off. A whole fez of it. I don't know, blankets that were on the couch? Etc.

I found AMAZING skirts at Value Village, which is like Goodwill but much more awesome. I always suspect when I find a whole batch of excellent clothes in a place like that, all in perfect condition, all the same size, that they all belonged to the same person. Let's just believe that she suddenly lost a lot of weight and didn't, for example, die tragically. Please do not haunt my hips!

They really are wonderful skirts, very high quality, brand spanking new. I got to the checkout with my pile of skirts and a cow creamer, and only then noticed that all of the clothes were black, with occasional white. Huh. The cow creamer, too. I know, I already *have* a cow creamer, stuck to the dashboard of the car with blue-tack, but mine is plain white. The cow creamer in Wonderfalls is black and white. Hence the secondary cow creamer!

It's constantly entertaining to see people eyeballing my dashboard cow creamer and commenting to each other about how odd it is. I just know that one day I'll meet a fellow Wonderfalls obsessive and we will bond in the manner of me and Allison when she was having her picture taken on our front steps with the Wonderfalls monkey when I was wearing my homemade Blue Sun shirt. I know! 

I was talking about Allison the other day and could not remember her name. Also I think I'm spelling it wrong. Isn't there a Y? I would have to go grab her book. But I'm busy pretending I'm not taking a break from the epic grading to eat a lot of festive peppermint patties and write nonsense on the internet. So I can't get up or that'll wreck it. Plus I'd have to go put more things in the dryer and start the washer again. GIVE ME A MINUTE'S PEACE, WILL YOU?


I took yesterday off and it was glorious. Partly for the shopping. The shopping went on for hours and hours and was completely exhausting. I flumped down in my chair all limp. Then I realized I was going to worry about my time sheet all weekend, even though no doubt it won't get touched until Monday, so I leapt up and grabbed the dog and ran out to the car to drive to work and turn it in. 

Except! I had forgotten my keys! No problem, though--I have a spare hidden outside. So I got the spare, feeling all smug and triumphant for my disaster planning. Except! The spare key would not work. No way, not in any of the doors. Argh!

But fortunately I had left the car unlocked, so I got out my mini crowbar and removed a window and reached in and unlocked the door, feeling smug and triumphant for my car-based disaster planning, at least. Then I got the keys, put the glass back in the window, hammered the window back together, and drove off to work, with plans to go to the big park with my dog afterward.

I took him in to work, knowing there would be nobody there but front desk, and my beloved Work Mom said to him, "Did Mama give you too many pancakes?" Awwwww! No, he is not fat, he just has very short legs and a solid bulldog body. The proportions make him look stout but he is actually just muscle. Aww, Mr. Puppy! He was delighted and ran around charming everyone, then sat under my desk happily while I did what I needed to do.

Oh, and I took him down to visit Therapy Dog's office so he would have the full picture. Dogs like to know these things. He sniffs Therapy Dog on me practically every day, so I knew he would want to put all the pieces together.

And then we went to the big park! And that one path that was covered with water last time was clear, so we went down that way. Cool! A quiet, cool, shady path! And a duck blind! And the river! And look, sort of a tamped down path through the flowers on the riverbank. Let's follow it! Oh, it ran out in these woods. Let's go through the tall grass to get to the paved path I am sure will be there! Whoops, no path. 

It was fairly alarming to be pushing through grass up to my shoulders, but more so for poor little short dog who doesn't even reach my knee. At one point I turned around and couldn't see him--he was following me, using my stomped path to clamber through the grass--and I FREAKED OUT. But he was just resting. I couldn't see him for the grass, though. So we turned around and went back along the ridiculous game trail, through the woods, along the riverbank mud, and back out to the car, all scratched and covered in grass seeds and pollen and dust and sticks and leaves.


At one point a stick poked through my earring and hung me up. I had to break the stick and gently remove it from my earlobe. It was completely ridiculous bushwhacking, considering it's a highly civilized park that used to be a couple of farms.

Later I discovered we had gone right off the edge of the park and into some private land that used to belong to a paper mill. Whoops! I think the park is buying the paper mill land, though. 

So our simple easy walk in the park (a walk in the park!) turned into a jungle adventure, filled with the constant terror of the mountain lions, of course. They make these sort of nests in the long grass, crushing it down, kind of like deer do, but you can tell it's not deer because the path through the grass is wide. Deer have those long skinny legs so they don't bash the grass apart two feet off the ground. Also deer leave deep skinny hoof prints in the mud, not big wide flat paw smashings the size of plates.

Mountain lions! Jiminy.

I'm still in Schrodinger's Table limbo, with no idea whether my friend's friend will be selling me her table or not. They moved days ago so presumably someone somewhere knows, but the info is not getting to me. I did text my friend again to ask about it. I'm kind of not that worried about whether I get it or not, but I would like to know for sure one way or the other. Like, I don't care what the answer is, I just want to know which way to jump.

I was going to go to the furniture consignment place where I got my chair and see about getting a couch. But then I kind of have sticker shock from the clothes shopping.

My goodness, though, it'll be nice to wear tops that are not An Oversized Solid Colored Polo Shirt. FOR ONCE.

None of those amazing skirts go with any of the new tops, however. The new tops are not as dressy. But I have all these plain black knit scoop neck tops that will work fine. I'm really hoping that work will get cooler as the weather cools down. Please oh please! It's still too hot for me. Also my temp has started to do these amazing swoops and drops. Or it did one day. It seems kind of early for The Change plus I would not expect it to just start out full blown like that. Right? Who knows!

I went birthday shopping for my little niece. It kind of didn't go the way I wanted. I mean, I found what I was looking for, but then it felt cheesey, so I added to it, and now it feels like a pile of random crap, know what I mean? There's an awesome soft gentle colored rainbow backpack, though. I totally wanted to get myself one, too. All soft pinks and purples and blues. 

I have to wrap all that stuff and put it in the backpack and mail it all off next week. Fun times! I might put in a knitted hat, also, because I Am Like That. A hat knitter. A knitter of hats. Hats! We got 'em!

Well, I'm on the warpath as far as cleaning and decluttering, mostly in breaks from the eternal grading, which is nearly done but I can never really grasp it because I'm all done/not done, very binary, very black and white, so if it's not done all the way it sort of doesn't count. Except obviously it does. I'm working on it! I'm a work in progress, man, go easy!

Anyway I've been doing massive amounts of cleaning and tidying and putting stuff away. It's all very satisfying. And if I do get that table, or another table, then I'll be much more ready for it. For which, hurray!

I have another two buckets of paint to slap all over the deck and the roof beams and the other door and possibly that inside wall that used to be an outside wall. I should do the front door, too, but I weirdly don't want to. I can't articulate why. And the underside of the front porch/overhang, which is ancient and blue and rattier than ratty. It wouldn't be hard or anything. It just feels like more of a commitment than I'm ready for. The deck was a disaster, and the back deck door, so I improved them no end. But the front is nice unless you look up. Don't look up!

The carport is starting to bug me, too. It's also ancient and crappily painted and all peeling and ugly. I can see it from here! It's hideous! Paint makes such a difference. I keep bargaining with myself, like: I'll only paint what I can see from the window! I'll only paint what I can reach with the roller! It's hard to do things halfway. Though clearly the previous owners did not feel that way AT ALL.

I nearly bought some big ugly arbor vitae trees on clearance (twelve bucks each!) but I have all of this stuff half done and I really don't want to add more to my plate. Deck: 7/8s done. Camellias: 1/5 pruned. Pegboard: barely begun. Old homemade couch repurposing: barely begun, hardly past the destruction stage, parts not in a usable state. Unacceptable!

Not to mention all the half-done sewing projects strewn around the living room. And the knitting. Don't even talk to me about the knitting!

At least ten million tons of laundry got done and put away. PHEW.

I find it reassuring to look at the bathroom and the kitchen, too. Those were big projects that I planned and carried out and they look wonderful. Choices! Plans! Execution of those plans! Excellent. And the deck really is glorious already, so when it's fully done it's going to be brilliant. That glossy white! So beautiful. 

For a while today I was grading and grading while the neighbor on one side used every kind of irritating yard tool from weedwhacker to lawn mower to leaf blower, while the neighbor on the other side was playing the drums. I am hereby commending myself for not losing my cool. Good job, self!

There's a possibility on the horizon that is so good, I hardly even want to mention it in vague terms, but it's giving me lovely ideas. We'll see if it pans out. Vague but positive, that's me! I'm hoping, anyway.

Meanwhile, peppermint patties notwithstanding, I'm determined to cure the wheat and sugar issues I've been having. By which I mean: eating them, feeling terrible from it, and then eating them some more like an idiot. Hello? STOP DOING THAT. I have an extreme inflammation response to both of them and so wouldn't it be wonderful not to have that at any point ever? I know! So let's do that. Ugh! Stop it!

At least we've been going for tremendous long walks and getting lots of exercise, me and the dog, so that's very positive. He keeps me honest. I would definitely try to weasel out of it by having too much work to do in the evenings, but my pupper is adamant that we get our good long walk. He even insists on turning to go the long route instead of taking the shorter way home like I try to do sometimes. He's like, Nope, we're going this way--come on, it'll be awesome! Who could argue with a dog like that? And then we go the extra mile. It's a walk in the park! Heh.

Ooh, plus my fingers have almost grown back where I sliced pieces off. The thumb is missing a big chunk still, but the piece I sliced off my middle finger grew back together, mostly. There's going to be a big C shaped scar. But the edge where it was still attached really helped keep the slice stuck on. The thumb piece came right off, though, including a piece of the nail, which was still attached to the chunk of flesh. It's all exceedingly grody and painful. And I am the bandaid queen. And I'm still finding big splotches of blood on the linoleum. Gross! It sure was gory. I don't understand how murderers get away with anything ever! Two half-inch wounds and it looked like someone got slaughtered in here. 

The purple cabbage and carrot sauerkraut is glorious, though. The color! The cabbage is totally glowing fuchsia! And it's deliciousness incarnate. Incabbageate. Mmmmm. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Oh yes

Tweaking the meds is rough. They tweak back! But the doc said I could double one and so I have for the last two nights. And yesterday was the best day in just about forever. And then today looks even better. Win!

I'm still at half of one of them, working up to a whole one. But it really whammies me when I take it. Like you might as well pour me a significant quantity of whiskey. It's tricky to know when to take it because although it knocks me out, it also keeps me awake, so night is a no go. First thing in the morning is out because of thyroid meds. And I don't want to drive after taking it. So I take it at work. Which has obvious disadvantages.

I seem to remember going through all this a year or two ago. Or whenever that was at the heinous place.

My dreams are much more manageable now. Like I'll still have dreams where I show up half an hour late to class without the papers I spent all night grading. But last night I sent a student to my office with my keys to get them. That is something I have only ever done in the university in this here town, come to think of it. 

Funny to remember how when I taught in Maine, I didn't even have a shared office. I had no office at all. I hung out in the student center and became Watch My Stuff buddies with various students who were working there. It was a pretty good place to be, except for the whistling arctic winds and the noise.

Also I remember when the Waynes decorating for the Christmas party (which I did not attend) knocked the leg off the grand piano. That's a sound that you don't soon forget, a grand piano falling onto a concrete floor.

This morning: made pancakes! As is my habit! Except that I haven't in just about forever! I have a stack to save for tomorrow. Yum, syrup. Yum, butter. Yum, pancakes on Sunday morning.

So yesterday was flipping awesome. It just so happened that it was a very light week in Online Job land. Instead of eight or ten hours of work, I had maybe an hour and a half. And I was planning to go to this quilt show in Corvallis, so I got it all done first thing. Then I got all showered and dressed and just checked the address online before leaving, which is when I discovered it was in private homes and gardens. Which is, as they say, Not On. I just won't. 

Which meant I had a WHOLE DAY to stay home and do stuff! YAY!!!!!

And I did! I sewed a dress. I finished a blue skirt. I sewed another blue skirt with a white muslin lining that shows below the blue. It just needs hems. I have exciting plans for today, also, since again, no eight or ten hours of work to do!

It's because one iteration of Online Job happened to have did it/didn't do it work. And the other two just started last Tuesday, so there's nothing to do for them yet. 

Looking ahead is interesting because for a couple of weeks, the first two in September, I'm going to have FOUR iterations of Online Job. Which is a little boggling. And they are all the super high labor intensive ones that end up with eight or ten hours of work on the weekends.

It does not escape me that the math there means 32 to 40 hours of work on the weekend. Which is unpossible.

So more likely I'll have to ramp up the evening work in order to enjoy the weekends even a little bit. It's a tradeoff!

My day job schedule is also going to get weird starting the last week in August. Weird as in adding an evening, which means losing the next morning. Somehow I have screwed myself out of 3-4 hours of work each week by volunteering for this, which does not seem fair. However, I earn a LOT more per week doing Online Job. And I keep on taking all the Online Job they will give me. I have never said no!

Summer is the slowest time for Online Job, particularly August, but I've been running as fast as I can this whole time. What does it mean for fall? How much can I reasonably do? 

I was talking to a fellow hard working workaholic Friday about this. We have the same work ethic. Many people do not! My feeling is: take the work if it's offered because it might not be there later. And she's a farm girl so her feeling is: if the work is there to be done, you get it done, period. We are in accord. 

I do not turn down work unless I physically can't manage it. 

I'm already dreading the next M.S. bout. This past one was TERRIBLE. They say at work that I'm a different person now that it's past. I feel like a different person! I was sleepwalking (sleep-staggering) for a long time there. But next time it will be cool out, which should help enormously.

Ugh, though. This even figures into my dreams. Imagine walking along and then your legs start dragging and not responding. I mean, it's a nightmare scenario everyone has, trying to run and not being able to. Now have it happen in your real life! In my nightmares I fall and can't get up. Oh, arms and legs. Do what you're supposed to do!

Anyway here is my exciting list of exciting things to do today, woohoo!

wash the dog
anoint the dog with flea treatment
vacuum the house again, just because I can
make purple cabbage sauerkraut using my new fish bat cabbage whacker
wash all the dish
cut out more skirts
possibly sew some more skirts, though I'm okay if I just get them cut out
watch the last two Harry Potter movies during the sewing fiesta
make some oatmeal with apples in it for the next couple of breakfasts
make some kind of quiche thing, possibly tomorrow

I just realized I have another Online Job iteration starting a week from Tuesday. But I think one ends right then. Then the two new ones start a week after that.

You realize that if I hadn't had that one disappear on me, I probably never would have gone to Day Job. I suppose technically in the most basic sense I could live without it but it would be very chancy and iffy and unreliable to depend on Online Job, which has been terribly flaky in the past. I cannot function with that level of financial insecurity, clearly.

It is quite possible that Online Job will hire me on full time at some point following this insane workload. It's how they find people for the full time position. Which is another reason to keep on saying yes. 

I just think that Online Job is a really wonderful thing for someone whose arms and legs like to take twice-yearly sabbaticals without leaving a forwarding address. And I do really enjoy the work on a daily basis. Like, every day there are terrific things. 

Anyway. I'm most excited about the cabbage whacker right now. Though the mandoline I got last month for slicing up all the veg is really the most exciting thing going on today in an empirical kind of way. Oh boy!

Okay, no, my DAISY SKIRTS are the most exciting thing. One is blue with white daisies with yellow eyes and green leaves and white speckles on the blue. It's the prettiest thing that ever was. I might have to wear it tomorrow. Yes! Good times, I tell you what!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

House of yay!

I got sent home from work by Work Mom because my new meds are completely kicking my butt. Like strobing vision, no deep sleep, zombified, and so on. 

First of all I love the thing that everyone does where they're like, "You are in no condition to be at work! Get behind the wheel of a ton of steel and maneuver it down the parkway." Hee. 

It's not even a new medication. I just stopped taking it when I left PA because I would be without a doctor for a while at least. And I figured I didn't want to run out, or something? Anyway I still have two full months' worth of it and got another one today. I will not run out for a while. 

Honestly, I'd have to go back into the archives to figure out what I was thinking about that. Though there seems to be a gap not only in the archives but in my bank records. I mean, in Quicken. My bank remembers. I think I took apart my desktop computer, where Quicken lives, and so did not enter anything into it for a good long while. 


Anyway Work Mom was right and so I went to Walmart and talked to the pharmacist about strobing vision and excruciating headache and sleep disturbances and she stood there and read the handout that came with my meds, which did not engender huge confidence in me. Also I told her I'm taking this new one plus an old one, which is a combination KNOWN for serotonin syndrome, but she did not even mention that. So she is a pharmacist to avoid.

So she said if it's still going on tomorrow, go to the doctor. Which. I can't. Because I'm the only one running the shop tomorrow. Ha ha! Don't worry, there are medical providers every which way you turn and a full doctor's office downstairs, plus the super cute EMTs were in just last week, so they know the way!

I'm kidding, of course. If I thought I were in any danger, I'd be over at the Urgent Care right now. I think these meds just take some adjustment time. Anyway I've delegated Work Mom to tell me to stop taking them if I don't come out of this fog in a couple of weeks. If that seems odd, just realize that she's the only person I spend any regular time with. And she's also an RN! And super awesome. So! 

Hi! So I also bought a new vacuum while I was in Walmart, finally. And then I vacuumed the heck out of my dirty house. I had to keep emptying it. Apparently my noisy broken vacuum was not doing a good job either, on top of sounding like a jackhammer. So much dirt! And dust! Now things look lovely and neat and clean again and I am much relieved.

I also bought a royal blue hoodie with Captain America's shield on the front. I am already completely in love with that thing, in the manner of a little kid. The lady getting trained at the register was like, "Captain America!" and I said, "Yes! He is my favorite! Except the Hulk of course." And she was like, "..." and I went out of there just full of Captain America hoodie excitement.

But then I was thinking what a Hulk sweatshirt might look like. Would you make it purple with rips printed on it showing green skin underneath? I would totally wear that. I might wear my purple shirt tomorrow with green pants just in honor of the Hulk. Who is AWESOME.

Captain America!!!

Also, whoa, I got a look in a decently lit mirror while there and discovered I have become super gray super fast! What the what? Actually I was checking to see if the paint was really gone and was quite surprised to see a whole lot of the silver among the copper. Increase in value, though, eh? 

Gosh, afternoon off. Pharmacist, vacuum, hair alarm, then I mowed the grass, yay! It looks great. Then vacuumed. Then did all the laundry. 

I do not think I am fully versed in this afternoon off thing. However! My weekend will be MUCH less stressful now.

I sure do like to work, don't I? I need to figure out the rest and relaxation thing. I don't really do that much! Though I am scheduling in a bath with book and beer (cider actually) these days, once a week. 

Other things I would like to do but won't get to because of massive Online Job yet to do today, which I refused to do on my afternoon off because it's just WRONG to go home from one job and do another job. Yard work and cleaning is okay, though. No, it is, I checked.

Right, other things:

sew skirts
finish quilt
build some kind of pegboard or other place to hang tools
put up six plant hangers so the plants can stop falling on my head
finish painting the deck
buy more paint
do another coat
at least
then stop
make some lentil soup (will accomplish this on the weekend for sure)
dig up more potatoes
so much mending you would not believe it
knit awesome dwarven battle helmets for the niece and nephew for Christmas
clean out the fridge
and the microwave

Anyway I've been doing better and better each week post-exacerbation, catching up more and more, and also keeping up better, all of which adds up to a much less stressful living environment because I'm not surrounded by things looking accusingly at me in their neglected state. 

Dang, someone is cooking hot dogs. I might have to make the last of mine from the freezer too. 

It feels like the whole house is going \o/ triumphantly because I got this big thing done at last. It is house of yay!

Now I want to see the first Captain America movie again and then get to see the second one for the first time. WEARING MY SWEATSHIRT. Like a giant nerd.

Oh! You know I went with B. to see Guardians of the Galaxy last weekend! It was great. It was very fun. And had some issues, yes, but overall was terrific. She did not know you have to stay until the end of the credits at a Marvel movie to see the extra bit! But then she was impressed because about half the theater stayed, too. So it was cool that we were in the know, see. 

I wish that Really Literal Guy had been completely consistently literal throughout. What a ball to drop! That's a great joke but it's utterly wasted if you let it slip at all. I loved the humor all through it, especially the brilliant undercutting and the timing jokes and the wordplay and the kind of jokes on contrast, like when something is inappropriate somehow and it's funny. What is that called? Anyway, those! 

Groot was my absolute favorite, but Very Literal Guy might have been my second. He was like the Hulk only embossed in red! And sad and wrathful. Little baby twig Groot dancing to the Jackson 5 while Very Literal Guy sits nearby polishing his knife is just about my very favorite thing in all of ever. 

I feel like I went in expecting all this heinous sexism, from Tumblr rants, but compared to other sci-fi movies it was tremendously inclusive and generous. It succeeded in a lot of the ways that are important to me. Families were present everywhere. Families were important to the characters. There were women in important positions of power. And women weren't objects or goals, not to be rescued or chased. They were real characters. I mean I caught one or two winces at things, but that's nothing. For further details, see my published works.

Oh, sorry. Just reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And I do actually mean there's a lot more on the subject in that essay published in Serenity Found. 

I sort of ran over my bare foot with the vacuum, but I keep saying lawn mower. That did not happen! I did not run over my foot with the lawn mower. I ran over it with the VACUUM. I feel like saying it wrong will somehow cause me horrific foot injuries. Though actually it got kind of grated up as it is. Ow. 

Gosh, now I really do want to wear my green pants and purple shirt tomorrow, as a sort of reverse Hulk. I wonder what shoes you wear with green pants and a purple shirt? Hmmm. I mean, my motorcycle boots, obviously, right? I'll have to get them out and polish them up tonight.

So of course Work Mom was totally right! I feel like I'm much more on top of things now and ready to tackle the weekend's heavy weight of work much more capably. Not to mention tonight's. Which I have to do right now.

House of yay!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hey yo

It feels weird to mow the grass when the grass has not grown, but there are big tall weedy yellow flowers all over the place. I mean, I am pro flower. But I suppose it looks pretty raggedy. I'm positive it's giving the Invasive Neighbors apoplexy, which of course is a good reason to let them keep on growing.

But I will probably go outside right after this and mow at least the front yard. Which is tiny.

The back yard is off limits for mowing because:

1. I have those pruned off camellia branches all over the place, drying out so they'll drop their leaves, in preparation for (and some in progress of) my fancy woven withy branch fence of neighborly exclusion. Art! Art in progress! 

2. I'm about to do more laundry and hang it out, which precludes mowing because of flinging dust and grass bits all over the clothes.

3. Must accomplish Poop Patrol before mowing. But it's too hot. Also, not to be indelicate but the smell of baked poop is unappealing to me. Hot sun. Dry ground. Baked poop.

4. I'm going to paint the deck more/again in about half an hour, so I don't want dust in the air or grass bits flung about. 

I started painting last night. I painted a whole bucket of paint! But then I ran out. So the wall got painted, mostly, the beams of the roof got about half painted (which took 90% of the time) and I put one coat on most of the very bare area of the deck itself. Which sank right in. 

I'm pretty excited about the next coat, I tell you what. For one thing, I got small rollers, which means it'll be super fast instead of agonizing and grueling. No more gruel! For another, it should start looking super good any time now. Hurray for super good!

I am unfortunately completely exhausted from shopping. Shopping!

I talked with the nice therapist lady yesterday about how I'm all terrified all the time and can't stand crowded places or limited exits or being in big enclosed glass spaces with long sight lines or being in small spaces or being in places with no windows, or with my back to the door, or places with only one exit. And so on. And how I'm obsessed with mountain lions and live in complete terror of them even though I've never seen more than the tracks and the poop. And how I have strategically placed hatchets and machetes and things around the house, which I do not like to admit but hey! It's true! Because of FEAR.

And how I don't have a good sense of what is actually dangerous because everything is completely terrifying all the time to me. Like I'd probably be less afraid of skydiving than of, say, going to Comic Con. Because skydiving has limited risks and clear parameters. And is not crowded!

Plus there's the nightmares and how I'm terrified of going to sleep because that's where they are, see. So I don't want to go to sleep. Or to bed. Even with my axe right there!

Anyway she asked about traumas in my past and I acknowledged they exist (you do not know about them) and she looked at me kindly and sadly and said, "You have PTSD."

Which is not a surprise to me. I read the books! I read the things. I don't know how you fix it, but I am aware that people can get treated and get better. And then maybe not be so terrified all the time, eh? Which would be niiiiiiice.

So Monday I have to make all these calls and get that set up and figured out. But meanwhile I'm sort of trying to Take Control and whatnot and so I decided I would go do some shopping in the Burbank of our town, Keizer. 

Keizer is exactly as far up the 5 from my house and in the same exact location/orientation as Burbank was up the 5 from my apartment in Los Feliz. Except there are about 1/1000 the people, if that. Maybe  1/10,000. At least at the shopping place. It's one of those outdoor mall kind of places with a Target and Ross and Marshall's and all these big stores and lots of parking lots. And two Starbucks but no food except Taco del Mar which is terrible.

So I went to Target for ages and even went brassiere shopping, which everyone knows is one of the deepest circles of hell. We'll see how they work out. And got some shirts here and there. And some other things I'm fairly certain won't fit so I'll have to return them, but I was not capable of the little fitting room cubicles, so. 

The paint guys at Lowe's were suitably horrified when I told them about the big blob of paint dripping onto my head and spreading through my hair. The one guy said, "And you had oil-based paint!" in tones of alarm. He had just mixed my new paint so he totally knew. They sold me one of those painters' hats to prevent future calamities. 

Ugh, paint in the hair! Fortunately kind Twitter people told me to use oil on the big blob of paint. There were other patches that had already dried, though, and those had to get cut out. Man. Paint! I did not notice the big blob I guess because it was room temperature? Until I was walking the dog in the park and felt it start to pull my hair a bit and discovered about a butter pat's worth of paint right on top of my head. Oooof....

I put some wheat germ oil on it and that felt so amazing, I want to do it ALL THE TIME. Seriously. Pour oil on your head. You will not regret it. It washed out just fine, too. 

Isn't there some Ayurvedic thing about pouring oil on your head? I should sign up because MAN was that ever amazing. Bonus, it got all the paint off that part of my hair! 

I don't think you can even tell that I cut all these pieces out. I'll get the hand mirror and check the back of it later. I'm just relieved I didn't have to cut a whole section right on top down to the scalp to get that paint off. That would have been pretty obvious and pretty awful. 

In sum: HATS.

I would be proud of all the shopping outing except I'm completely wrecked now. Oh well. Plus as I say I might have to go return half of it tomorrow. I don't mind returning stuff because they give you money. Yay!

The other bad thing is that I didn't get my traditional weekend mountain of Online Job done yet. So, tomorrow, eh? It's going to be ungodly hot again tomorrow. Good day to sit still in front of the fan and drink iced tea and work work work. 

Which means I have to get the rest of the stuff done today. I can do zat! I can do zat!

But I'm going to need an adult beverage later. Or possibly during the painting. Painting! It uses your arms way too much! I'd have finished the roof/ceiling beams (a million) but my arms gave out. Painting over your head is exhausting to the armature!

Today I should also wear those nice nitrile gloves so I don't have to scrub my hands with cleanser that is intended for sinks and tubs and floors and things. 

An unrelated revelation I had this evening: Chris Evans as Captain America looks exactly like my unspeakably beautiful college boyfriend. Except he had sort of a mohawk/topknot thing going. Oh so beautiful, that boy.

He remains on record as the only boy not to completely eff me up and twist my brains into pretzel knots. Hurray! Captain America! Though it did pretty well break my brain when I had to go to his wedding. Ouch.

I am SUCH a fan of Captain America. The superhero. Seriously. That guy is Helo and Apollo and every good boy ever. I love a hero who is actually a hero for once! Yay!

I got into a conversation about cosplay one day when I wore socks with Mary Janes (long story) and had to list every character I have ever dressed up as. To wit:

Superman (third grade)
Spiderman (fourth grade)
Jadzia Dax (grad school)
a Borg (grad school)
and then as a regular adult:
Kaylee Frye
the Black Rabbit of Inle
Temperance Brennan
Professor Minerva McGonagall
Allison from Orphan Black

I'm sure I'm forgetting someone now. But who?

I did dress as a therapist the first time I went to see the therapist. You would have to work with a lot of therapists for a while to get the references in my outfit. And I was kind of doing it to be funny for myself as audience. I do this a lot. I'll do something just as a reference in my own mind. Like wearing my cupcake skirt the day we had fascist paleo lunch. I entertain myself no end!

Hey, if they can cure the horrible hypervigilance then I will be able to relax enough to retreat into writing. That's the scariest thing about writing--I get so focused that I'm oblivious to my surroundings. Which is NOT OKAY at the moment. Constant vigilance! Must be aware and alert at all times! See. I live in a lovely posh neighborhood with good people everywhere and it's all totally safe and stuff. I am not in a combat zone. But my brain thinks I am. 

Also maybe I can go back to grad school and survive intact, eh? 

This is going to be hellacious, having to go through all that blargh with someone. But maybe can get better then. I mean, I believe in the process. I've seen it work for people. Do you think I secretly went to work for therapists for the past 2-3 years to learn more about this stuff and assess whether it was a worthwhile pursuit? Possibly.

When in doubt, research. You know that's my modus operandi.

Right, time to mow the front yard. I love how Fraught it all seems, when it's completely simple and will take literally ten minutes from start to finish. Silly bunny.

I was feeling all fight or flight when embarking on The Shopping Trip of Doom so I wore my bunny earrings. Run!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Blame the fish

I got a different kind of salmon and whoa, I am regretting that! I regret le poisson!

I gave the dog and cat each a bit of it before I ate mine. I should maybe have taken the hint when the dog threw up. And later I found out the cat had thrown up also, but he's a cat, he throws up all the time.

Anyway. Fish! And fish redux. Woe!

Today I was once again persecuted by my corsetry, before even the fish debacle. Ow! Underwires, man. One worked its way out endwise last week and stabbed me under the arm for half a day. Today one broke in half in the middle and was merely uncomfortable for a couple of hours, until it poked its way through the fabric and stabbed me very painfully.

Then I borrowed D's Leatherman and did some rapid undergarment surgery in the bathroom. I had to take out the broken pieces and the other whole underwire for symmetry's sake. Then I was like: Whoa! So comfortable without those horrible wires!

So I may be rethinking the entire corsetry question. I've just about had it with the stupid wires and the pain even when they're not broken or escaping. They hurt. Do underwires hurt everyone? Or is it just that they are straining to contain my marvelousness?

I'm going to have bone spurs on my rib cage from those frakkers.

It'll be interesting to see what I decide to do corsetry-wise in the morning, supposing I've recovered from the murderous salmon by then. Oh oh oh. The fish of misery!

I came home from work and took off my tights and flumped down on the bed right away and stayed asleep for an hour, which is a sure sign of something amiss. The animals harassed me mercilessly the whole time because it was unacceptably deviant behavior and not according to our usual daily routine, which involves feeding the cat immediately upon arriving home. AND NO LATER. Jeez! Bunch of fascists.

I'm deeply unwell. I'm drinking water.

Yeah, I'm going to bed. In a second.

I'm delighted to discover today that I was wrong about two major things. (I am wrong about minor things constantly--that is not newsworthy.) One: I will get paid Friday after all. Yay! Two: I did not have a new Online Job iteration starting today. I misread an alert email that said one was ending today and thought it said one was starting today. Though one did not end today anyway. It ended yesterday. So I have no idea what they were doing, sending me that. Silly people. I mean robots.

Actually I had a startling imaginary revelation today, where I suddenly wondered whether Online Job has been me and a bunch of computer programs all this time. I mean, I don't talk to people. How would I know? I wouldn't! Sometimes I see material that reads a bit like that garbled word salad you get in computer-generated spam. So who knows? Maybe it's all one big experiment and I'm the subject!

Unlikely, but it was a funny thing to think of suddenly, five years in. It would make a terrific twist in a sci-fi story. Don't even think the words "It's been done" or you will get my tirade about originality not being the point in any sense of the word in any work of fiction ever. It's not the damn science fair. It's about what you DO with an idea and how you execute it.

At dawn, by firing squad. No! Wait.

Did you see the movie in high school about the German or Russian soldier who was ordered to be part of a firing squad against a prisoner of war (the implication was it was someone undeserving, like he was Jewish or gay or something, not a violent war person) and then he got put out there with the prisoner and they both got shot?

I think about that movie strangely often for something I remember only vaguely. Like, what was the message supposed to be? I think it just wanted you to think about what you would do in that situation. Because if you look at it as a fable of some kind, it's kind of saying: don't stand up for others or you'll get shot too. Which I seriously don't think was the point. Clearly it was more about standing up for what is right even if you end up paying the highest price for that.

I think more and more lately about my Perfect Monster story, about the guy who does the worst thing to save everyone, the most extreme antihero, or possibly villain? Not sure. An antihero does good things reluctantly. This guy does horrible things purposefully, but for the best reasons. And he really does save everyone. Sort of. And they're into it, it's not like he's doing it against their will. But it's a horrible thing to do and he takes the fall for it.

Delicious chewy moral dilemmas. Mmm!

I ate a bunch of bread today. There is this huge peer pressure paleo thing that irritates me no end, just because it's a constant, judgmental, critical presence. Imagine having your food choices constantly criticized from a supposedly superior moral position, all day every day. I get sick of it. So when they got lunch, I asked for bread, just because I'm so tired of being told what I can and can't eat. (Yes. Literally. Told: you may not eat that here.) So I got bread and ate up the delicious bread and butter and now it looks like I swallowed a basketball, because I can't really tolerate wheat. I should just stick to sugar when the paleo-fascists are on my case!

Seriously, people. SHUT UP about other people's food. Never, ever, ever comment on someone else's food. Even if you say something like "That looks good," or "That smells good," you are kind of crossing the line. Unless you go out to dinner together or something. Then it's okay. But never, ever say rude, judgmental things about what someone else is eating.

Honestly, if you are past kindergarten you should not have to be told that.

I suppose if you're saying rude, judgmental things, you are a lost cause, so never mind. Just stay far away from me. Out of earshot would be good. Like in the next county. Next state, maybe.

Here, I'm thinking back to the Perfect Monster guy again. His fellow citizens begged him to do what he did, to solve the situation they were in where they were all certainly going to die. It's like if you were losing the war and your civilization was about to crumble away and you went to your scientists and said: Do anything. Do whatever you have to do. And they did. Like if the atomic bomb was dropped only when the United States was down to a fear of actually no longer surviving.

It still doesn't make it okay, ever, to commit atrocities. Hello. Again with the obvious. Don't we all agree that the atomic bombs dropped on Japan were completely atrocities and completely unconscionable? Wait, is there even any disagreement about that?

I have always just understood that it was unspeakably wrong. It only just now occurred to me that anyone could think otherwise. Really?

This story seems to be resisting getting written, for all the different times I've made a stab at it. But I'll get it one of these days. It's like turning the wingnut around and around until you line up the threads and it screws on smoothly.

Really everything can be boiled down to a wingnut analogy if you try hard enough.


Well, then you're not trying hard enough!

Right, off to bed. Today sucked! But it was at least cooler, which is such a blessed relief. Ten degrees made all the difference in the world, from unbearable to just a little hot. And now it's actually cooled off enough that I might not have to sleep in front of a fan all night long. Or in other words, not sleep well at all.

It's going back to the 90s later this week, but I'm pretending I don't know about that. Lalalalalalalala!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Several species of small furry animal gathered together in a cave and grooving with a Pict

(This was unpublished from November 2013 or something.)

Because it's the best title ever, that's why. Reason enough!

I had weirdly aggressive (on their side) interactions with confused medical personnel today. Whee! I know: again? Yes! Again!

As it turned out, this oddly aggressive and overbearing RCMP (okay, no, but I can't remember what her actual initials were...R and maybe C and something NP?) has gravely misdiagnosed my very own mother in the past and caused her no end of actual pain and difficulty.

If I'd known that, I wouldn't have gone to see her.

Anyway she kept grilling me in the most absurd ways. Like this:

"Do you have M.S.?"
"Probably. I have M.S. symptoms."
"But do you have it?"
"I don't have a firm diagnosis."
"Then why do you think you have it?"
"Because several doctors including a neurosurgeon have told me I have it."
"Then why don't you think you have it?"
"I do think I have it."
"But then why...."

DUDE. BACK OFF. Also LISTEN. Also, you are the medical professional. Why don't you diagnose it if you're so smart? Also you should know that the same doctor has to see it happen twice before you can get a diagnosis. Also SHUT UP.

So then she sent off for my medical records in Maine. Okay! I don't know what an inconclusive MRI from 2010 has to do with right now, but do whatever you think will make you happy.

On the plus side, I got absolutely ace results on all my blood work. Even on the blood sugar, after eating candy corn the whole week before. Awesome! I love how mystified they are when my blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. are totally fine, but I look like a great pudding. They tend to get all grumpy about it if they're a certain kind of person. Like this one today.

Grumpy because: how can a great pudding be totally healthy in all the ways we think she should be totally unhealthy? NOT COOL.

I keep forgetting I had the flu shot, too. Flu shots make me feel terrible even though they're not really supposed to. I keep going, "Guh, I have a fever, what's wrong with me?" And then I remember, oh, flu shot. Repeat!

Hi! Gosh, I miss my regular medical person! Come back from maternity leave soon!

Anyway they upped thyroid meds and renewed the massive doses of vitamin D, so I should be feeling more like a human shortly. Once my blood grows back. That's one blood donation and two draws for bloodwork in eight days. Stop taking all my blood!

Ugh, medical malarkey.


Here's how focus has totally screwed me over the past two days. Ack!

Yesterday I had to catch up on the dishes that were from all of last week. And some from the week before if we have to be brutally honest. It took three bouts of dishwashing because the rack and the towel and therefore all available counter space ended up full each of the first two times. I know!

Focus. If I could have left it another day, that would have been good. But I got started and then had to finish.

The other thing I did that I really shouldn't have done until today was scrape the loose paint off the back wall of the house that backs on the deck. I thought I might paint that first, since it seemed easiest. And so it would be, if not for all the loose paint. Again, once I started, I could not stop until I finished. Hours and hours. My right hand is numb from the elbow down, even though I switched hands a lot.

I also seem to have acquired some sort of je ne sais quoi of the skin from the heat, in the areas persecuted by clothing. I wear as little as possible in the heat but some areas are always covered up, if you see what I mean. This led to the need for a pickling salt and baking soda bath last night, about which I can only say: blessed relief. Now if I could just find a way to *stay* in the bath all the time!

I am quite logical of course so because of the heat and the cooling effects, I left the back door on the screen door instead of locking it up during bath time as is my wont. So I brought my hatchet with me and sat it on the bathroom scale in case of marauders. See? Logical!

It was awesome to prepare for a bath this way. First Harry Potter book, check. Bottle of cider, check. Hatchet, check.

Skin inflammation is horrible. And I'm always in dread of it getting as bad as it did that first summer in L.A., where my skin came off in sheets wherever any elastic touched it. Badness! Lymph! Yuck! Horrors!

So anyway yesterday I did not get my work done. And that means instead of getting paid this Friday, I get paid two weeks from then. It's going to be a leanish month, eh? But that Friday, look out!

Oh! I also went to the Couch Races in the park. I could not for the life of me find out online when they started. The organizers were not organized that way. I heard the cheers start and grabbed the dog and my cup of coffee and ran over there. That's the benefit to living this close!

The Couch Races were ridiculously awesome. The premise is simple: put wheels and a way to steer on a couch. Two couches start down the soapbox hill at the same time. It was (I noticed) mainly families and groups of hipsters. The hipsters always won. But everyone had a fabulous time. I also noticed (belatedly) that I was directly opposite the CCTV camera person filming the event, so inquiring minds would be able to turn on the local cable access station and see me crying with joy watching this and my dog having a social anxiety panic attack about all the people.

I really have to get back down there (to CCTV) and get involved with them again. I don't know why but I have this mentally scheduled for fall, along with square dancing. What exactly I think is going to change in my over-scheduled life by then, I do not know. But I've been either in school or teaching school my whole entire life bar three years in L.A. and a semester off here and there, so I suppose I'm pretty much hard wired to see Labor Day as The Beginning Of A New Year.

Here's the dumb thing that set off my panic and subsequent excessive focus and OCD symptoms yesterday: my sister emailed to say she and my mom would be Calling Me today. I do not know why she has to act like I'm some kind of CEO where you have to schedule in time. I'm busy, yes, insanely busy, but I'm working at home. You could just call like a flipping normal person. But no, instead I get the DREAD.

I don't know, it sounds so doomy when they set it up like that. And I do dread it. I dread the way they always reframe everything to make me into a loser. Hello, I am not a loser! They are sure of it though, because I don't have a house and a 401K, and/or a man to open jars, I guess? Here is when my life sucks: when I'm around them. Here is when my life is awesome: when I'm not.

Fortunately I spent a lot of last year on the phone with the clinically insane so I'm experienced with the unpleasant reframing technique ("You are trying to kill me by refusing to let me have my meds!" --everyone) and have the skills to move things along and have that useful distance.

I'm still not happy about it, though. It's like someone called and said, "I'm going to mug you at 2:00 tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know." Really? That's supposed to make me feel better?"

Anyway if I had been more Present and Mindful and all that useful hooey yesterday, I'd have been able to manage my reactions better and wouldn't have gone into an OCD tizzy and attacked all of the clear targets that needed to be completed in my field of vision. And my Online Job would be done and I'd have today off. And I'd get paid Friday instead of on the 22nd.

So I guess I'm pretty mad about that. At myself. I mean, possums are possums. You just have to manage them. They're always going to be there. You just minimize the damage they can do.

Right! On to my work. It's not at all distracting or stressful that the phone is going to ring at some unspecified point in time and deliver disquiet into my ear.

Never mind the je ne sais quoi, which is somewhat like having a bees nest in your drawers. Well, je sais exactly quoi. It's like a yeast infection but elsewhere. And you get it from messing up your body's pH and/or eating sugar when it's hot and sweaty out. I get it where there's any elastic or friction.

In the unlikely event this ever happens to you (may the Lords of Kobol have mercy on your drawers) the cure is yogurt, probiotics, no sugar, baths of salt and baking soda (epsom salts, but I ran out, hence the pickling salt), cotton, skirts, wear your underwear inside out so the seams and elastic are on the outside, loose clothes, as few garments as possible, stay cool, change often. Also clortrimazole, though I think there's another -zole that works better, but I haven't needed it in years so I don't have it at hand.

This horrible heat. It's been baking us for weeks now. It's been essentially unbearable and yet, here we all are still! As far as I know. I haven't been getting local news, so I don't know if it's killing people, come to think of it.

It's supposed to be down into the 80s later this week. YES PLEASE.

Let's put that focus to work on the work now, eh? Yes! Okay! Get it done! Then I can put the focus to work on writing things, which after all is what I would most like to do right now. That and play music. Fun times!