Sunday, September 28, 2014

Yoga pants?

I love how I'm always five years behind the times. My friend D. and I went shopping yesterday, which was an odd experience for reasons I shall detail in a moment. But on the clearance rack in the exercise clothing section I found a bunch of yoga pants my size and seized them instantly.

Yes! Not only do they fit, they are actually LONG ENOUGH which is pretty much unheard of. Pants are never long enough. Unless they are officially Long and labeled as such, and then they're about half an inch too long. But that's okay! I have a sewing machine.

My sewing machine has not yet managed to make pants longer, though.

I got home and put them on right away and haven't worn anything else since. So comfortable! So well fitting! So very...long enough!

Seriously, you'd think I was some sort of official ankle flaunter, the way I am queen of the floods.

The funny part is that Laurie of Crazy Aunt Purl advised getting these years ago and I still didn't quite manage it. And my friend Katie from several horrible jobs ago said the same thing. But did I listen? No!

Now I just have to get to Target online and see how many I can scrounge up.

Oh! Odd shopping. Yes! My friend was in one of those zones where she could not be pleased by anything. I think it was mostly budgetary, though. That's a great way to stick to budget. Nothing is good enough so you don't get it. Yay!

I did some Christmas shopping. And then I came home and put all the Christmas things into a basket in the cupboard with the CDs. In case I forget where that stuff is later, you can remind me. Yay again!

It just got me thinking about Refusal To Be Pleased, since I kind of grew up with that wielded as a weapon, see. Nothing is ever good enough, because if it's good enough, the person loses the power over you. Isn't that ugly? I know! This again has nothing to do with my friend, who was being smart about shopping.

I'm inordinately easy to please. A thing! Hurray! Awesome! Think of the possibilities! Like I got magnifying glasses for the kids, and these triangular crayons with a hole in the middle that you stick your finger through. Cool, eh? I have stocking plans for those kids. Including the Dwarven Battle Helmets that I'm knitting. Very slowly, because the pattern is a nightmare, but it's coming along.

Nightmare = right and left facing increases, neither of which I can remember how to do for one single second, which means I have to look at page one of the directions every five stitches, which means I lose my place in the pattern. I've already ripped it back three times.

I might have to make some changes to the pattern. Like just always use one boring kind of increase. For sanity. For sanity! A good battle cry!

I put all the stuff to make canvas stretchers on the living room floor and haven't touched it since. Too much to do! Unexpected outing with friend!

Much to do today in terms of cleaning, grading, and laundry. None of that is big or overwhelming, but taken together it has logistical complications.

Last night I built the bookcase that D. and I got for my office. It's one of those ladder kind. Surfaces for putting things on, what a glorious thing! The funny thing about the office is that I'm so sure about the couch that's going to be there that I keep almost sitting on it. Like I'm constantly surprised it isn't there yet. But since I'm apparently good at imagining things into being, I'm sure it's on its way.

So there's a list for today:

1. grading
2. dishes
3. cleaning
4. laundry
5. more book
6. canvas stretchers
7. hang the kayak sling

That should keep me occupied, eh?

I thought of a way to hang the kayak that simultaneously blocks the deck (and my office, when the door is open) from neighbor surveillance. Yay!

I don't like people looking at me when I'm in my house. Why is that such a difficult thing to achieve? I cannot IMAGINE looking at other people when they are in their houses. I would die of impropriety. Yet I have neighbors constantly making eye contact with me when I'm inside rooms of my house. The burgeoning greenery is helping quite a lot with that. And the shade/screen thing on the deck. But I need more! I have many plans to implement on this subject. Add that to the list.

8. block invasive eyeballs

Actually I have to add another thing:

9. relight the fireplace

I'll get there! Meanwhile I just have all the animals sprawled all over me in the evenings, as I'm the best and only heat source. Which coincidentally keeps me warm. But it's a little bit squashed. Cozy is more important than squashed any day, though.

 Right! On the job. Knock that list down! Hup hup!

Friday, September 26, 2014

A slight flaw in my plan

I am busy with all of the LIVING HAPPILY EVER AFTER over here, I know! But then I discovered a slight flaw in my plan. It's good, though, it takes the pressure off!

I had that daft plan to get a book under contract to qualify for this thing with the place I used to teach, right? Well yesterday I read the job description again and discovered I get a very low score on reading comprehension. Because actually you have to have an MFA at minimum *and* a book at least under contract. Not or. And.


No, it's good, really. Because I set up this schedule to get the Greenwitch book completely revised and whatnot and immediately fell into a hopeless depression. Which also coincided with starting to take that horrible inhaled steroid again.

Do not take the horrible inhaled steroid! It causes immediate and horrific mood plummeting to the point of sitting there wondering what the point of anything is.

Oh and because that was so bad, I tried taking the SSRI again. Do not take the SSRI! It causes immediate and drastic increase in blood pressure and axe to the cranium style splitting headaches. I forgot!

I stopped taking both of those. And now I'm much better right away. YAY!

Also work computer arrived today, thank goodness. I need work computer! I got it all set up and ready to go, whiz bang, and now I'm just working through all the administrative stuff to do. It's awesome! I love checking things off my list, you know it.

The worst possible thing for me: tell me I have to do the thing, but make it impossible to do the thing. And that's where I was all week, even though everyone was like, "Not to worry! It's okay!" But still. Want to do the thing! Cannot do the thing!

Now I CAN do the thing. And I'm collecting research for this paper I want to write. Yes. Scholarly paper. Can you imagine?

Other things I found out today: when I write things in the Notes function on my phone, they arrive mysteriously in a folder in my Gmail. How? How did that happen? Without my knowledge? It's cool and all, but...there were shopping lists in there.

On the other hand, my shopping lists are great fun to read.

One said things like this:

fence boards
keyhole saw
white blinds
steer poo

That's for the garden, the steer poo. Except the bags say steer manure. It's just more fun to say steer poo. And then if you have no short term memory, you will come back to your list and read it and laugh inordinately. So easily amused!

Steer poo. Hee.

My job this afternoon (besides my actual job) is going to be to build stretchers for those dang canvases flopped all over the living room. It's not even hard, dude! That's like my mantra, isn't it? It's not even hard, dude! But actual job comes first. Right now I'm just riding the sugar high from finishing up the last of the peppermint patties. Do not let me get any more of these! So addictive! So unhealthy!

Really, since vowing to quit the meat and the sugar, I've been eating a lot of meat and sugar as part of my goal of getting rid of all of the meat and sugar. Seriously. Boggling, no? Anyway I think the meat is gone since I finished that soup at lunch and now the peppermint patties (SO GOOD) are gone. There are some sausages still in the freezer. Sausages for supper!

Honestly, I'll feel much better without either one. No joke. For real. Truly.

I'm still allowed to have sugar in coffee or as an ingredient. Just not idiotic sugar feasts like, oh, peppermint patty Halloween candy. For example.

Pumpkin pie for breakfast is TOTALLY fine, though!

Mmmm, pumpkin pie.

Anyway now that I've recovered from the shock of realizing what a dolt I was over that whole daft plan (the book contract, not the meat and sugar) I'm okay working on that book again. Though to be honest I'll be much happier about it when I replace the leaning tower of busted laptops. I think I have three now. Four? I really frantically need to replace my laptops with A Laptop.

That is where the writing happens. It's true.

Laptop, ottoman, comfy chair, cat, dog, hot giant mug of zinger tea. PARADISE.

I'm going to have a sticker shock attack when I have to go get a comfortable office chair and a laptop all in one trip, though. And then I have to go to the Encore fancy used furniture place and check for a couch. I want a couch! Actually two.

Today I was polishing the dining room table (aka using Endust and a duster to clean the bits of cat litter off it) and thinking about how much more furniture I have now than I've had in years. Again, since I lived here before. It's like this is the land of real life, where I have real jobs and furniture.

Also, I have to go join that cute little gym again. I have to do this for the following reasons: a) get out of the house, b) exercise, c) see humans. I should request the awesome trainer again, to keep me honest. I will go if Nice Mike is counting on me!

I didn't dare go anywhere this whole week because I was waiting for work computer #2 to arrive and did not want to miss it. But now it's here! I am free! Once I get my work done. Yes. I'm going to go finish that now, yep.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Woo and also hoo

Oh hi! I'm working on this whole DAY JOB thing, as in: you do your work during working hours, and not all evening long and all the dang time. It's pretty wonderful. Because you get DONE. Online, of course, but it's a day job, regular hours.

I'm also working hard on the writing job. It's tricky to wrap my head around things, though. Like I don't have proper processes. I'm all flaily. I need to figure out a plan and then carry it out.

So I'm coping with New! Job! and also trying to cope with Writing! Dream!

I got as far as printing out the latest draft of the thing I want to finish up.

What do I do next?

Okay, let's make a plan.

1. outline. Seriously, finalize an outline so there's something to work from. Make it and stick to it. Get it done by the end of the week.

2. Big changes. I know there are some major ones I want to implement. Plan them out.

3. Passes. Do a pass on each major change, working it into the whole thing. I know I need to do huge changes right on the main character already. I'll make a solid list of passes. A pass list. For my passing game.

4. Rewrites. Yeah, I need to do some hard work on that. I'm going to say four runs through it at least.

5. Edit and polish and shine. Yay!

I think I'll write up a syllabus with all the things I need to get figured out and actual dates for when they need to be done. A plan and dates and organization, that's what I need to combat the flaily flail. Otherwise it's like I'm trying to give the octopus a bath and put it into its eight-armed onesie and put it to bed, all while it's twining around my arms and head and the faucet and the crib and pulling out the plugs from the lights and everything else.

I've been getting some things done. Yay, things!

1. My office. Nearly done. Nearly! I just have to do these things:

a. finish wrestling with the molding on one door, which fell off completely when I went to tape it to paint.
b. put screws into the other door's hinges, because 2/3 of them have fallen either through the hinges or out onto the floor
c. put this socket cover back on
d. scrub the last of the misplaced paint off the molding etc.
e. oil the wood

I realize that looks more like things I haven't done than things I have, but that's okay.

2. I found this awesome ottoman for $27 instead of actual hundreds of actual dollars. Did you know they cost insane amounts of money? This one had had its little leg skirt cut off with scissors, leaving a raggedy inch wide remnant. I took that off last weekend and reupholstered the whole thing last night. Awesome.

It looks like this now:

See that excellent stylized leafy frond pattern? Notice how it matches the carving in my comfy chair? I KNOW!!! I bought the fabric as a remnant from Value Village (aka thrift store) before I ever found the ottoman. How cool is that?

Also I like how perspective makes the ottoman look bigger than the chair. It's not. But it is as wide as the cushion and twice as long. It's HUGE.

3. I dunno, what else have I done? Painting and fixing up the office is most of it. I painted! I fixed it up! It now has curtain rods and beautiful crinkly faux silk curtains--from KMart, don't get too excited. And I got some fake candles, the kind that glow and flicker like real ones but run on batteries. Because fire is bad. And re-hung the canoe. That was weirdly difficult. Oh, because I had to fix the tackle so I could hoist it up, instead of tying knots in clothesline around a 2x4 while holding a canoe over my head. Doy.

4. Somewhere in there I got a pegboard and hung up most of my tools. It all needs to get reorganized, but I knew that would happen. And I rearranged the whole laundry room slash tool room so now I can find things and not have things fall on my head.

5. And I got some sawhorses so I can cut stretchers for my paintings without sawing a finger or a foot off. I'm still working on scraping and painting the old blue legless picnic table from the yard, so it can be my workbench. Then I can bolt down the vise and the miter box and lose even fewer digits to saws.

6. One of these days, once I've recovered from the redecorating sticker shock, I'm going to get a couch for in here and one for the living room. Honest! I really will! For sure!

That's about it. Oh and a working laptop I suppose. Ugh, things cost money. I hate that. I want to leave the money in the bank once it gets here. I have PLANS. Plans! But since most of my plans are really about writing things, laptop it is.

Work sent me a computer but it was broken so they have to send me another one. Work is all done on the desktop. It's awesome actually because there's a place I go to work and this is it. Once I can arrange to write elsewhere I will certainly do that. The iPad is terrible for writing anywhere but at a table/desk and I'm pretty much sick of sitting at a table or desk already after two days. I want to sit in the comfy chair! With my whole entire legs and dog and cat on the ottoman!

We do like to cluster together, the three of us. Wait, here's a picture of me and my office staff in our new office:

Notice the crappy random furniture acquired from yard sales and the side of the road in Maine. Remove all of that (except kitty's boat chair--he loves that chair) and pretend the generator is an end table--wait, no, put a table over the generator--and replace the Poang chair with a lovely couch. And put that whiteboard somewhere else. And lo! It will be all lovely.

Dog biscuit on the floor in the foreground for character detail.

Oh and the length of 2x4 is to prop the door open when we're outside. I suppose it should really live outside. Or I could put up a hook or something. The door falls closed otherwise, the sign of a house with leveling and skewing issues.

Okay, I'm going to work on my outline for the rest of the day, if I can do it without my head exploding. And also I'm insanely tired due to barely sleeping last night or the night before OR the night before that. Last night I got so utterly grumpy and down, for no real reason except my work computer came broken. But hey, I upholstered an ottoman even with that going on. And baked a pumpkin pie. So I figure there's plenty of hope, eh?

Today during my lunch break I picked tomatoes from the garden, cut up and blanched a bunch of green beans, made a ridiculously good salad out of them with pepper, salt, and rice vinegar, and ate it up for lunch along with some jasmine rice and peaches to follow. Operation Eat All the Veg So You Don't Eat Anything Else is progressing apace! And pumpkin pie for breakfast, of course. I could get used to that.

Since I got about six or eight cans of pumpkin, I actually could have pumpkin pie for breakfast for quite a while. Mmmmm.

And, and! The RAIN is back! It's been all cloudy and rainy, especially today! It's delicious! It's glorious! It's beyond awesome! I'm going to put on my rubber boots and take the dog for a walk in the park!

My desk is up against a huge window looking out onto the back yard and the trees and grapevines. I hope it still looks good when all the leaves fall. But there will be lots of sky, anyway, and that's the main thing. Must have sky!

Picture the bridge of the Enterprise. It's like that only smaller. Okay, picture a shuttlecraft, with the control console and the big screen/window. Right? Like that. I am driving us west! Except technically we're going east, but never mind that.

One other acquisition: a couple of boxes of various zinger teas. Mmm, the zingers in cold weather. Raspberry Zinger! Lemon Zinger! Wild Berry Zinger! I forget the other zinger! I drink buckets of them all evening once it's cool out. And now it is! Soon I can relight the gas fireplace and then the coziness will know no bounds.

That's where you'll find me outside work hours: in the comfy chair, with dog and cat snuggled nearby, ottoman deployed, laptop on lap going type type, giant mug of a zinger, gas fireplace causing it all to be warm and cuddly, big heavy curtains pulled over the dark windows, but you can still hear the rain.

Soon, bunnies! Soon! We're 95% of the way there! And then, look out for books, because there will be books, oh yes. It's all coming together! Amazing! I really am amazed. But mostly just happy about it. Yay!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Peak sloth

Not really--I've done a tremendous amount. But I've also been tremendously slothful in glorious ways, as is required by my last week of half time work before the full time or more than full time starts. They did say it was forty hours, but more like sixty. Which. I don't know what that means. Probably sixty?

Anyway, the sloth! I got streaming Netflix for the first time ever, since it finally occurred to me that I have decent internet for the first time ever. No, I had good internet in L.A.... BUT NOT SINCE.

Speaking of which, I had an excellent dream about driving through Dream L.A., which is all candy-colored and parks and bright happy lights and beaches and fronds and nearly empty freeways. And all the places I want to be are right near each other. Except in this dream I kept trying to call J. and my phone wouldn't let me, plus I was on some insane bike tour with these idiot guys and my bike kept almost getting stolen or broken, or I'd be riding it down the freeway holding on to the truck with one hand. 

Heh. What did you expect, a non-anxiety dream? My dreams are all anxiety dreams. Anyway I was excited to see Dream L.A. again and had a rude awakening when I saw a picture of Santa Monica Blvd today and remembered: oh, right. It's actually not all candy-colored. Dust and traffic and zones of intense peculiar smells. But so much awesomeness! So the candy-colored one is perfectly true in a metaphorical sense.

l'm resorting to lovely Netflix for people time. It's already becoming clear to me that my people time needs have increased! Or at least my tolerance is higher. How I'm going to deal with that, I do not know. I talked to some people in the park a couple of days ago. Do I get credit for that? They asked about my dog's ancestry. I was like, "Corgi and....?" illustrated with a shrug. 

Shrugs are weird. People do not actually shrug much, do they? Have you ever seen anyone do that in real life, or even fictional life? I shrug. I'm a shrugger. It's so expressive! It's not like nobody knows what you mean when you do it. They just don't really do it. I think that's odd. 

Eh! *expressive shrug*

I'm waiting for new job to deliver my "equipment" with bated breath. Where is it? WHAT is it? How am I supposed to go collect my prescriptions when I don't know when it'll be here or in fact whether it's small and will fit through the letter box (a phone) or large and will sit on the porch (a computer and a phone)?

They used the vague term "equipment" so I really have no idea. I'm sure it includes a phone but not sure at all whether there's a computer. If not, I need to go buy a replacement CPU for my old one. You see the problem here, no?

Just went to check whether it was sitting innocently on the porch while I was dithering. But no!

l've been doing a million things. I mowed the grass, cleaned up the yard, cut down all those blackberries, purchased many items for office reform, washed all the dishes, have cooked all sorts of glorious foods, and so on. 

I painted the office until the bucket of paint ran out, then went to finish it up with the second bucket while watching a million Bones episodes. It happened to be right during the wedding when I was opening the paint, though I'm not sure that's an excuse. Also the paint goes on light and dries much darker. So when this went on white, I didn't think anything of it.

But yes, I accidentally painted a bunch of leftover bits of the office with the glossy white oil-based deck paint. Whoops! Without noticing!!! That amazes me. I had the iPad propped on windowsills and on the desk and at one point on top of the fuse box so I could see it while I was working. And I didn't notice that the paint was fundamentally wrong in smell, consistency, or color until I went to wash out the brush. 

Even then, to be honest, I was mystified and just washed my hands and left it to soak in the little bucket while I took the dog for a walk. It was only on the walk that I really grasped why a water-based paint wouldn't wash out of a paintbrush. Ohhhhh...

By then the paint on the walls was sticky. It's a lot like that marshmallow whipped icing we used to use in the bakery, actually. Or like marshmallow fluff. Now it's dry and hard, though of course I know from experience that it isn't dry all the way down. So soon I get to change my clothes and go see whether latex paint will bead on oil-based paint. I suspect it will, in which case I'm kind of hosed in complicated ways.

But we'll see! The buttercream colored paint (aha! more cake icing!) also contains primer, so maybe it will work just fine. And maybe I'll get it all done today and have the office totally put together and finished by the weekend, including those sagey colored curtains that I forgot to get curtain rods for! Note to self: get some when picking up prescriptions. 

Hmm. What else is going on? Besides the unfocused freak-out because I don't know when to do what next week, or where, or how, or any of that. I assume they'll tell me. They've been marching right through all the steps. All my upcoming iterations of Online Job have been cancelled. And I got certified to do a new type of thing. It's all happening. The wheels are turning. I'm just a little out of the loop.

That's okay, I have an office to finish up.

I also went to the Humane Society's thrift store by some powerful compulsion I still don't understand, given that I've never been in there before. I found the perfect giant ottoman for $27. Isn't that a strange amount of money? Its little leg skirt had been cut off with scissors down to about an inch, but if you've ever disassembled upholstery you know what I know: you can just pull that right off. It was stapled on and came off with no sign it had ever been there.

And now the flowery ottoman is a central part of our lives. Who knew? Like the dining room table that I didn't need, but now spend all day working on. I guess I did know I needed it because I went and bought it. And then immediately got the job that required a dedicated office. 

In retrospect I think they meant: a place to work where you aren't surrounded by kids and people and noise. Which technically describes my entire house. But I'm thrilled to have my canoe room converted to a decent space where a person would actually like to hang out. I just have to figure out what to do with the archery target and skis and generator and oh yeah that canoe and the very large kayak. Well, very long kayak. 

It has to go live on the deck. I decided. But it has to be locked. It's locked to the fence right now with one of those long cable bike locks, which is why the bike is in the mower shed, which is why I whacked the hell out of my head on the doorway of the shed putting the mower away. Ow. 

I have the giant hooks for hanging up the kayak. Had them since Maine, actually. Here's the thing though: WILDLIFE. When I hang the kayak on those hooks, they have to go in the well where you sit, which means the cover can't be on it, which means possums and raccoons and every sort of creature will be inside there. Not acceptable!

So maybe I need to build a new swing for the kayak like the canoe has. You know, two by fours with holes drilled in the ends, rope through the holes and up over a beam or ring, so the bars hang like triangular swings. If you're smart you make it so the whole thing can be raised and lowered with one rope. It's not hard or anything.

Maybe I should do that.

Maybe I should do that TODAY.

Also I got a piece of crown molding to use as a picture rail in the Room of Requirement. That just needs a stepladder, the big level, and a lot of knocking on walls to find the randomly spaced studs. 

This house, man. I'm trying very hard to believe that the neighbors sometimes knock on their basement walls or something, but at least three different times I've heard very loud and unmistakable knocking from inside the walls. Now, I've also definitely had possums under the house and I'm sure they could get inside, those wily bastards. But do possums knock? It's more likely than any other possibilities. 

It's just that the first time the knocking happened was right after I had knocked on the walls to find studs to hang pictures, right after I moved in. So I get jumpy hanging things since then. I mean, I knocked on the wall. And something knocked back. How is that okay? It's not!

The most recent time it happened was actually right near where I'm sitting. It came from behind the wall right near all the built in cabinets in the dining room area. I went and banged back. Like, kicking the paneling. I'm still not sure why. Something knocks, you knock back, right? I was thinking of submarine movies or something like that. Banging on pipes to get someone's attention. 

Also if it was a possum or something, possibly a possum with brass knuckles, then I would want to scare it away. Do not arm the invasive creatures!

A possum with brass knuckles is STILL more likely than any of those ridiculous possibilities that nobody is mentioning, thank you very much.

Well. Much to do! And many more Bones episodes, I hope! Oh this Netflix app. It automatically plays the next episode. How much self-restraint do you think I have, Netflix? Not that much! And so I ended up watching about twenty episodes yesterday, while painting, washing dishes, cooking, knitting, and having a very long lavender bath. 

Oh, I have a list of things I want to get done today. It's a little overwhelming! However, the great thing about the Netflix is that it makes me keep going on projects that otherwise I would walk away from. Hurray! So here's the list:

1. laundry (half done)
2. cut down that giant painting where there's only stuff going on in the left 1/3
3. cut and build canvas stretchers for all the paintings spread all over the house; stretch 'em
4. hang that picture rail
5. repaint yesterday's disastrous office paintwork
6. go get prescriptions and curtain rods
7. hang up those curtains
8. cope with all the tomatoes from the garden--sauce, freeze, other?
9. pack up all that dumb cut glass to take to the Humane Society thrift store
10. cut off the rest of the capris into shorts; try not to bang head against wall realizing how much more they'd have been worn for the past two years if I'd done it ages ago, since that wakes up whatever bangs back
11. laundry room reform. No, seriously, it's a disaster in there with tools and hardware everywhere.
12. watch the rest of Bones and move on to catching up on the past 2-3 years of everything else I've missed so I can watch the new seasons this fall. Yay!

Painting is up first. WITH THE RIGHT PAINT. I just checked the bucket twice. Okay. Fire it up!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Much more ball to foot

Sports! Where the foot and the ball meet! I love them! Except that one, which sucks.

Yes, another realization that American football is actually the stupidest sport there is, unless ultimate frisbee wins. They are very similar though, did you realize? They are both full of so many rules and regulations that you can hardly move, so everyone is forced into these same little dances every time and you want to scream.

Screaming was a feature of the football game I went to today, since a player's mom was sitting directly behind me. Oh, lord. She screamed something approximately every other minute. For HOURS. In a horrible piercing voice. It was seriously hard to take. I sat there with my fingers in my ears for the whole last quarter. 

It was worse than that time when those pre-teen girls sang Come on Norway, You can do it, If you put some Power to it, over and over and over for 45 minutes straight. Holy goodness.

HOWEVER. It was still super fun and I had a blast being with my friends and we ate all this great banquet food at the outdoor tables with all the alumni there for homecoming weekend. I feel alum-ish about WU because I taught there for more consecutive years than I ever went to my own undergraduate college. Which is to say: three. And two. Though it seems like I was in grad school forever. 

I did not run into any old students as I'd hoped. Oh well! But they might have walked right in front of me and I might not have known. The difference between twenty and thirty is more than the difference between 37 and 47, for sure, but they might not have recognized me, either, supposing they had even imagined the possibility. I dunno.

However: lots of soccer, yay! Arsenal game recorded! I have all these MLS games recorded, but went straight for the Arsenal. Maybe I'll overcome my MLS reluctance one day. 

And rugby! I was walking the dog in the park, of course, and noticed boys in uniforms in the stadium. The University's stadium is in the park. Did I clarify that? You can hear the announcer from my house. Well, you can hear the soccer announcer from my house, too, and that's a mile from here to the scoreboard, so. Right! Rugby boys, playing a game, in the stadium, in the park! So we went.

The little side gate was open so dog and I went in (dogs are not allowed) and leaned on the inner fence by the track and watched. I'm sure I had giant hearts in my eyes. I'm equally sure that the players took one look at me and thought: "Former player." I have the look. I don't know what to tell you about that.

Oh, rugby! Glory!

I did not go to either of the two soccer games tonight because of Work. I had to work a lot! At Online Job! I just got done.

My friends are already worried that I'm going to become a hermitess again. But I think that was mainly because I was so utterly broke before. Too broke to go anywhere or do anything. I will not be broke in this scenario. 

Still, I take their point, and so I'm making PLANS. 

1. Join that little gym again. It is .75 miles from here. More or less. Make it a rule that I have to walk down there every day and lift and bike or run or whatever, then have a shower, then go do the other things like go to the library or post office or store, then go home. 

2. Join the Willamette Writers' Whatever It Is. I know, I really need to do this. Am antisocial hermitess, though! But I will make myself. Unless severe dread overcomes me. We'll see!

3. Date night! Well, date day. And it's not a date. This is something from this great writing book I used to teach from ages ago. You have to have a day where you go do some new fun thing every week. Maybe you go to a museum. Or you go hike the waterfall. Something fun and outside your usual circle of experience. I will absolutely have to do this. And it'll be awesome!

4. Different dog walks. Like, sometimes we can go to the big park! Despite the mountain lion sightings. We can drive to the beach! We can drive to other places to hike! We can go to that old growth up in the mountains! We can go on fun outings together. It's a plan!

It's not like I won't have tons of work to do. I certainly will. It's funny how everyone has reacted as though I will be entering a life of leisure. Noooo, I will simply be AT HOME while I'm working forty hours (they say more like sixty) a week. 

I'm working hard at getting the back office ready. But I keep running into difficulties, most of them involving my breathing apparatus, which has suffered a major setback. I'm sure it has to do with the aforementioned sportsball extravaganzas, so let us draw a veil over all of that and simply try to sit still a little bit and not go to game for a bit, eh? Or possibly drive there, that's an option. Well, not to the stadium. I am already basically AT the stadium. 

I have to go to bed. Which is another thing to watch out for with the hermitessery. I will stay up later and later because I want to do more and more fun things (or, as tonight, get work finished) and then I become a nocturnal blinking creature who doesn't remember mornings. This cannot happen! It won't anyway because I'll be working mornings, but still. Fight the tendency! Fight!

Somehow I got a sunburn today, which is impossible because I was under a tent then under the stadium cover all day. Unless astroturf reflects solar radiation up at you from a distance. That seems implausible. I walked over, I walked back. I stayed under the trees, for crying out loud. On purpose. 

Okay, yes, I am feeling a little time crunched right now because I have only a week to get everything squared away before Things Begin. And the things keep unsquaring themselves. Like the moulding around the back door fell off, which is when I discovered a) there's a half inch around the door frame where cold air whistles in, or maybe whooshes in, and b) the moulding was hovering a half inch away from the wall, which is why it fell off. So I need to get caulking (you know I enjoy that sort of thing) and then go buy some lath or something and cover up that inner frame area and then put the moulding back on.

Might as well paint first, though. It fell off when I was vacuuming cobwebs in preparation for painting.

Things I should not do in my current state of respiratory parlousness: vacuuming, painting. Nor raking, sweeping, or basically anything else, apparently. Sheesh!

My dog is reacting to the cooler weather with his usual velcro tendencies. I am warm, hence he wishes to be squished up against me or preferably on top of me at all times. The kitty is reacting by waking up from his aestivation and bounding around the house happily. Soon we'll relight the fireplace's pilot and get all snuggly and cuddly and ridiculously gemutlich left and right. With an actual couch soon, eh? We hope?

Ooh, I figured out what to do with the old one. I'll take it all apart and use the slats for canvas stretchers. It's brilliant! Thank you, thank you. 

Well, here it is ungodly late at night and I'm still awake. Off to bed with you! Off! Go go go!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Oh hi! I got out the turpentine and tried to clean off my old oil paints today. VERY MESSY. And very smelly. Smells like turpentine. I scrubbed my hands afterward, but I can still smell it. Turpentine. Ugh! At least I did it outdoors, eh?

I will not have to do that again, thank goodness. In fact, it wasn't even all that successful. I got a lot of the heinous sticky off, but that left things just being kind of a little sticky. Which is still...sticky.

Touching my old paints is an unpleasant tactile experience, like putting your hand in pudding. Except more like putting your hand in caramel. Or glue. Rubber cement, maybe.

I keep trying to celebrate new job! Hurray, new job! Oh, I didn't tell you. Monday I got the call offering me the job, and of course accepted, yay! I went into Therapy Dog's person's office to call them back because that's the most comforting of spaces. I'm going to miss that person and that dog! 

I was beside myself when I got offered the job. I know, I had thought I'd get called Monday while I was in my appointment, but as it turned out I did not--also I got much sicker over the weekend and got in to see someone about it Monday morning, after therapy appointment. So that was good. Except the second appt was running 45 minutes late, and then I had to go pick up some steroids (of course) at the pharmacy, and that took another 40 minutes after I got there. And this whole time I was supposed to be at work. I called in and all, but the result was, I didn't get in until noon even though I did everything as fast as possible.

So the person I worked with was already mad at me. And then I was having a terrible time breathing. Oh, it's viral bronchopneumonia, basically huge inflammation in my lungs. Which is what it feels like. It feels like my whole chest is on fire with ice, or something. Like it's burning but feels ice cold. It hurts worse than anything really strictly needs to hurt, too. And I have bad shortness of breath. The steroid inhaler seems to make all of that much worse somehow. Is that fair?

Anyway so I was having a lot of trouble breathing and especially talking, so I asked if I could not make all the phone calls. Apparently that was taken in extreme offense, for whatever reason. I don't know, if someone I worked with had a massive respiratory infection, I would want to help out any way I could.

It also seems very likely to me that this person thought I was lying. About being sick, about going to the doctor, everything. Sometimes people just get a stupid idea in their heads and stick to it. 

The job offer was apparently the last straw for her. I was shaking the whole rest of the day. I can't really express easily what a big deal this is for me. I've been doing temp work since when, 2003? Yes. I did work in that horrible place in Maine for a year, but that was even more clearly temporary than the real temp jobs. So temping in various places, including teaching college temporarily, since I left here in 2003. That, for those who can't count, is eleven years. Eleven! That is a lot of years!

I've had such horrible financial insecurity for all that time, you would not believe it. 

Anyway nobody has to earn the right to get a good job. They just get to have a good job! I have one now. I am very very very very excited about it. Someone else got very very very very angry and jealous about it and decided to turf me out. I gave two weeks' notice on Monday, had my exit interview first thing Tuesday, and then yesterday that co-worker decided to get rid of me because I was having trouble breathing. She sent me home, saying, I quote: "Go home and don't come back until you can do your job." This is a shared job, three people there doing it--there was plenty I could do if I was having trouble breathing. There's no earthly reason for this behavior except anger and jealous rage.

I've been trying to process it and actually am doing a good job. This is a person who is not educated, who feels extremely insecure about anything intellectual, and who thinks that people who get paid a lot of money are always overpaid. Isn't that interesting? I know lots of people who think that way. They also nearly always think that if you have a fancy job (doctor, lawyer, professor, executive) you don't do anything.

Ask an angry Republican with no education and you will find this same constellation of beliefs. Rich people don't do anything. Rich people don't work hard. Rich people don't deserve what they have, unlike the angry un-educated Republican, who deserves all of it and more.

I'm not sure how that logic works, because it fundamentally doesn't make sense. But anyway.

So that is how that ended. Yesterday I was in getting chest scans, since I was off work, and telling the radiologist all about it, and when I got out into the lobby I had a message. I'd called the HR guy to talk about this ridiculous thing, angry people kicking me out of work, etc., and he said that I should just be done. Just be done with work, go in and clean out my desk. 

Which. Okay, I'm fine with that. But what a ridiculous thing to do. To turn around and instead of being my good friend, become an angry enemy who has to throw me off the premises. Because of a good thing happening.

I did go in and get my stuff and talk to the lovely boss last evening. He's a good guy. He gave me a hug and was very nice, and also hilariously kept using Mental Health Professional skills to keep me from talking about it. I wanted to talk about what happened, because a) upsetting and b) ridiculous, but he is far too skilled a dancer to let a conversation go anywhere he doesn't want it to go. It was deeply funny, actually. Excellent deflection skills!

I think the last boy hug was from my neighbor in L.A., right? No, it was KXEC, hugging me goodbye! But wait, neighbor hugged me goodbye after that. Okay, so we reset the boy hug clock. 

It's all just ridiculous because there was no need for anger or resentment, but I suppose if someone feels a general jealous rage toward people, it's easy to turn it on someone else. It's not like I didn't sit there listening to her jealous rage toward our other co-worker for months. So spiteful and angry! Very unpleasant.

What I'm taking away is: when someone is a constant firehose of angry, jealous, petty comments about everyone else, that person will turn that on you, too. So stay away! Don't get drawn in. Don't let them try to co-opt you into their narrative.

And goodbye!

I'm getting ready for New Job! New Job is the same as Online Job only full time and with a giant heckload of pay and benefits and associated awesomeness. I need to fix up my home office. Right now it is strangely full of boats and sort of slapped together. It may not work out long term if it gets too cold in there this winter. I'm just saying that upfront. The doors are hollow and not fitted tightly. And the room itself is an old porch walled in, so the floor is not as thermally sound as you might wish. 

In fact I kept the door from the office to the house shut when it was cold out. Gosh! Well, we'll see how it works. I have a space heater! The outlets out there just stopped working, come to think of it. Hmm.

Anyway I'm going to replace my ancient creaky desktop computer, just the box of it, with one that actually functions and incidentally doesn't make that horrible high-pitched whine. I'm going to paint the office a lovely gentle yellow instead of the egg yolk color it is now. I traded my cheese to B&D for some paint they had left over. I'll wash the windows and try to find new homes for the air compressor and archery target. And ideally I'll put a loveseat out there. It's really a nice room. The desk is by the window looking out at the back yard. It's quiet and private and should be great. Except for the cold. But there was no heat back there and now I'll use the space heater. Could be great!

I have to tape miles of woodwork before I can paint, plus moving little things like the kayak and the canoe. And the desk. Oof! And there's new carpet, of course, so it'll all involve drop cloths and trying not to put the stepstool feet through the plastic.

I am mired in other people's resentment and pneumonia pain and my own dithering about redecorating, when really my head is full of YAY! YAY! YAY! YAY! YAY!

This is amazingly, life-changingly awesome. It's AWESOME. It means doing terrific work that I care about. It means having colleagues I can talk about work with. It means professional advancement instead of this murderous downward mobility. It means earning money and putting it away. It means one day I can maybe think about having a place of my own. 

In the short term, it means paying bills right when they come in, going to the store for groceries when I need them, and fixing what's broken, which right now includes the driver's side car window, the suspension on the car, and the heat shield, which is loose and rattles like a tin roof in a windstorm.

I kind of don't have a lot of exciting ideas to do with money because I'm just not a spender. I got some oil paints last week. And I guess I might replace my stupid broken sewing machine. Of course I have fantasies about a school bus--that's very fun to think about. And I really do need to get a couch so I can have my friends over. There is still only the one upholstered chair. 

See, these are not exciting ideas. They are sort of basics. They are things I would have done long ago if income had permitted. I have some deferred maintenance type things to catch up on! Including getting some teeth. And getting the dog his shots!

I didn't call my mom with the news because I feared she would do exactly what this co-worker did, just pour jealousy and bile and rage all over it. So it's handy to know that there are plenty of people available to do that if I ever need it again! Heh. Anyway she doesn't get to steal my glory. I am having some major glory feelings about all this. I earned it with five years of hard work in the trenches. 

In fact, I need to get back into the trenches and do a lot more work today. I put in about four hours already but there's a ton to do still. Doing both jobs was getting increasingly difficult and became basically impossible over the past week once I got so sick and miserable. I'm mostly caught up but I have a ton of this week's work to get done before the weekend.

There, now all that is out of my system and I can focus on awesomeness. I'm going to paint some birches for my friends! I'm going to paint everything, everything, everything! I had the oddest experience, thinking about painting and not knowing what to paint. What? I never ever have blanks like that. You give me paper, I will write all day. Give me canvas, I'm ready to paint. I got past it but it was a surprise and a jolt. 

Maybe I've been hopelessly mired in the mundane this summer. Maybe I've been marinating in someone else's judginess and negativity! That is exceedingly toxic, you know. Like second hand smoke!

Oh boy...that's my other sudden new anxiety. The radiologist let me see my scans as soon as they were done and I got sudden terror because my lymph nodes looked extremely f*cked up even to me, a complete radiograph innocent. Then she said that thing you should never say to me: "This isn't necessarily anything to worry about." That to me says: this is terrifying and awful but we don't want you to worry about it yet. 

Then I started Googling. Never do this! I know better! And I got to see all these earlier/later comparisons of lymph nodes that have gone over to the dark side. Yes, mine looked like the later pictures. But they have to wait and get the earlier pictures from Maine to compare. 

I'm trying REALLY hard not to worry about this, but hey, no areas of consolidation in the lungs, so that's good news! I mean, that's what we were there for. Doy. Anyway, don't lymph nodes get all riled up when you have a massive viral infection in your breathing apparatus? See, I do not have the background to think things about this subject! 

I promise my sense of humor will grow back soon. It got a big jolt yesterday. Trusted friend turns on you viciously, says mean things, takes away your job! Place where you belonged and felt at home suddenly kicks you out! Pack up your desk! 

It's interesting, I've talked to others about this and they have all said that this is one of their most traumatic experiences. People have said things like: "Worst experience of my life, by far." Getting unfairly kicked out of work. It's giant social rejection, of course, ostracization from the group, as well as loss of income and general loss of continuity and context. It's pretty ridiculous how comprehensive the awfulness is, really. 

And it's a sign of the utter AWESOMENESS of my new state that I kind of don't care anymore, just a day later. I texted one of my work friends to let them know what happened, which helps. Obviously anyone who knows me and my insane work ethic knows that I would never (how absurd) feign illness, for one thing, and feign illness to try to get out of work, for another. It's laughable. It's so laughable, maybe that's why it doesn't really bother me. Of course everyone knows it's ridiculous. In your eye, crabbypants. I bet she feels terrible now, don't you think? She has to sit there in this sour puddle of vindictive rage and everyone around her knows she was way out of line. Sounds pretty uncomfortable to me!

Aww, sympathy for the aggressor. It's nice to be the bigger person, and then even nicer to get to feel smug about that. Hee hee. 

Maybe if I wash the dishes I can get this turpentine smell out of my hands, eh? I feel like I'm going to melt fingerprints into the keyboard. Don't worry, I will totally post pictures when I get painting! I am BEYOND EXCITED to get to paint pictures! Smooshy oil paints! Mmmmmmm!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Grapple grapple

Oh oh oh, I'm a little bit behind, because for no clear reason I texted B. a picture of my finished puzzle (B and D were working on it with me one day) and she texted back inviting me to go to a WU soccer game. Oh boy!

Things I love about that:

live soccer
my beloved university where I used to teach for three years and loved it
going places with people I like
sitting in the stands with a lot of people
college students

In fact we ended up sitting with The Other Team's fans, which is uncomfortable a lot of the time because team parents can be unmitigated assholes of the sort that scream abuse at the ref and insist that their team cannot possibly do anything wrong. Intellectual dishonesty! Bad behavior! Dislike!

It's just as bad with one's own side, I have to admit. But at least you're cheering for the same team.

On the other hand, it was funny to be so very audible when cheering for our girls. So if I yell something like, "Good job, 5!" then 5 hears me very clearly. Because she's ten feet away and everyone else around us is silent.

5 was awesome, by the way. Also 23 and 16 and 19. 23 got a yellow card for aggression toward the keeper, which shows some serious hustle. Not that we condone that! Of course!

They don't get names on their shirts in this division. Do they ever in college soccer? I'm not sure. It doesn't seem like it should cost that much but it probably does.

Anyway that was awesome and I saw a bunch of faculty I used to teach with, none of whom recognized me, but then again it's been ten plus years and I used to have, as I said to B, hair down to my butt. I used to have super long isosceles triangular hair, widest at the bottom, of course. Sort of wavy and a bit frizzy because of the constant rainfall.

I look a bit different now. Plus it's been ten plus years! I don't even remember everyone's names. B is their tennis coach and always around and knows everyone--she is massively gregarious. She was talking to the row of other-team boys sitting right in front of us and that was really fun.

Actually ten minutes into the game, I suddenly wondered whether this long row of utterly fit boys in front of us was the men's soccer team from the other school, come to support the women's team. They do that sometimes and it's awesome. So I said to B, "Is this the men's team?" meaning those boys, and she looked at me and said, "No, this is the girls," meaning on the field, and wondering whether I'd bonked my head or something. And then we had fits of laughter over that for like twenty minutes.

Now I have the upcoming games in my phone and I'll remember to go. Gosh! If you go early enough, meaning not ten minutes into the game, you even get to sit with the WU fans! Yay!

So I'm all brave for going to an event on campus. Go, me!

Anyway, yes, I'm behind! I have to finish what I was doing yesterday, and then do a whole huge whack of other work, plus my daily everyday Online Job work that I do five days a week. I'll just make a list, shall I?

1. finish yesterday's work
2. do today's huge job
3. do the daily work (1-4 hours)
4. laundry
5. pancakes for breakfast (done!)
6. wash dishes again (again???)
7. clean the old sticky linseed oil off my old oil paints so I can stand to touch them--must be done outside in the daylight due to turpentine fumes
8. set up brush cleaning jar (found an old sauerkraut jar that will be perfect)
9. bake acorn squash as part of research-based push away from meat/fat and toward veg/fruit (there is a new study that shows correlation between animal fats and inflammation, especially in the brain, which makes MS much worse--so goodbye, stupid paleo police!)
10. I would really love to get to paint and/or play some music today but it's kind of a brutal workload

So right now I've got laundry in, I'm full of pancakes, the acorn squash is in the oven, and I'm freaking out about how much work I have to do.

The thing to do is plan and take it one step at a time.

Finish yesterday's stuff first.
Then do the huge job, because that can't wait.
Then do the daily work, if possible. If not, I can do it tomorrow instead of having tomorrow off.


Other things I have to do: call work and leave a message reminding about my doctor's appt because if I forgot, no way they will remember.

I'm freaking out because I have way too much to do. Maybe going and doing it will help, eh? We shall see! It's going to be a SUPER HARD WEEK, I know, because it's a week where I have to work 80 hours with a massive upper and lower respiratory infection, but if I manage it properly I should be able to survive without completely losing my coconut. We'll see! And.....go!

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Not doing so well with the breathing, alas. It's all shortness of breath and chest pain over here. Also that comes with the hilariously named but accurate "sense of impending doom" that you get when you can't breathe properly. It's exceedingly not awesome!

Today might be go to urgent care day. I'm not sure! I am going up Everest without any oxygen right now. 

Obviously if you are thinking, "I should go to urgent care," then you should go to urgent care. In fact I'm in a Situation lately that arose from exactly that. Someone sobbing told me about a medical situation and said they didn't know whether they should go to the hospital. I said: YES. GO. I was in tears myself by the end there. And then moments later, I got shouted at in anger. Not by that person. By someone else.

Here are the situations where it's okay to shout at me:

1. there is a dangerous apex predator headed my way (mountain lion, grizzly bear, "nice guy" in fedora, etc.)
2. there is a venomous snake near my feet/dog and I haven't seen it
3. incoming meteor, flash flood, forest fire, tsunami, or other natural disaster
4. vehicular dangerousness
5. falling tree limbs, power lines, etc.
6. I am on fire (or YOU are on fire)
7. I left my wallet/bag/computer/phone behind
8. I walked off with your wallet/bag/computer/phone
9. You need help saving someone's life or other medical emergency
10. A child/old person/animal/adorable large-eyed alien needs help

I think that pretty well covers it. Though I left out playing. Like if the kids and I are running around playing, we might holler a lot. Throw me the ball! Woo, that one had some pepper!

And that one time in L.A. I hollered up to my neighbor's open window in her apartment to tell her the Comcast guy was there, rather than run back up all the stairs. Though that was actually hilarious because I was immediately chagrined and she thought it was funny and said it took her back to her childhood in Liverpool with her mum screeching at her like a fishwife.

That is just awful enough and funny enough for her to say that it turned out okay. 

Anyway. No voices raised in anger. This should not have to be said, by the way.

It is okay for me to yell at wild animals attacking my dog, though. 

In other news, which is unrelated causally, but connected by logic, I had the most awesome very long phone interview on Thursday, on practically no warning. By which I mean I heard lateish Wednesday evening and it was for the next morning. I had scheduled Thursday and Friday off because I am TOTALLY NOT BREATHING and hoped the rest and whatnot could sort me out. (Which it has not.) 

I took myself out for mac and cheese and cake at the Konditorei, which is when I realized that the last time I went there it was for exactly the same reason, interview that went well.

I'm in Wait And See mode now, my least favorite and most fraught with psychological cliffhangers and yawning crevasses and pumas on the tree limbs and vast dusty chests that turn out to contain Victorian ostrich plumes and spats and so very much treasure. 

I'm already coughing from the dusty chest with the ostrich plumes. Gasp! I know, this chest thing. I feel like there are so many story elements tied together here that obviously I *have* to go to the hospital, like that is mandated by the common story elements, see what I mean? Obviously! 

Oh and while I was out at JoAnn Fabric buying a ten inch by ten inch piece of "craft plywood" to serve as a palette (have you seen my palette knives, by the way? they are somewhere!) I got a call from the doctor's office reminding me of my appointment Monday morning. Which I had totally forgotten about!

It's the nice therapist lady, not a medical professional, alas. I will do my utmost Monday to try to get in to see one of those if I haven't gone in already today or tomorrow or whatever. I'm not above going to the ER if the assorted breathing trouble/chest pain get above a certain point.

Don't yell at me but I'm worried there's pneumonia going on, because it hurts sort of in cold ways and through to my back, but I'm not coughing, which is surprising for this type of massive pulmonological shutdown. It just hurts a lot. All the time. My head is all stuffy, too, which makes me suspicious that it's just a cold and massive allergies conspiring to make me miserable. But I don't know! Or it could be an embolism, I guess. Or I'm allergic to my puzzle.

Oh, I don't know if I have a fever, thank you for asking! Possibly. I'm clearly sick. But I've also been deeply looped to the point where I made every wrong turn/wrong lane choice possible yesterday. It got so silly, I started wondering whether this was A Sign or something, because I'm such a writery writer person, see? Take a different route! Change your path! And so on.

It can be hard to explain writer brain to the nice therapy lady. Like, I often think of terrible things happening because I'm thinking storywise. I'm so involved in story all the time, I don't necessarily think about what is likely or best or worst, just what would make a good story. See? This means that terrible things come to mind, but also ridiculously awesome things, all the time.

Like, yes, there is pain through my chest and to the right side of my back, but have you ever stayed up until 4 a.m. doing a puzzle? Are you right handed? My right arm is also numb from the puzzle doing. 

I finished the puzzle and then I was myself puzzled because there were two empty spaces left and one piece, but it didn't go in either space. The carpet is exactly the color of the back of a puzzle, so I searched around, joined under the table by the dog and cat who were interested in whatever was going on under there. Guess what? Under the table is a great place to be! I like it. I should drink a lot!

But then I picked up my hard cider bottle off the puzzle to put it in the recycling and lo! An empty space! That made three. But the spare piece fit there, yay! Then I picked up some other stuff and found one more piece, but to my extreme frustration, I could not find that last piece and went to bed.

This morning I picked up a saucer to move it closer to the writing zone and lo again! The last piece! Snap, ahhhhh.

The kitty likes to lie on the puzzle and walk all over it and things stick to his fluffy paws, so I was sure I'd lost at least one piece to the great kitty paw puzzle piece migration of 2014. But no! I was to blame! Me and my beverages. 

I love that cider, but man, I am a reluctant drinker lately, of anything including water. Yesterday I got dehydrated from refusing to drink anything but tea all day. And that bottle of cider, I opened it at around six and actually drank it from midnight to three, over the course of three hours. Silly problem to have, huh?

Today I vow to drink a lot of water because yesterday getting dehydrated made me feel TERRIBLE and that sends me down the rabbit hole, especially with the respiratory thing going on.

You should have seen the beverages arrayed for my phone interview. A little dish of honey, in case I started coughing and couldn't stop. A glass of Coke, on the advice of my agent back in the day, who trained me in phone interview techniques for my pitch to Deep Space Nine, though he actually said to use Sprite or 7Up. Water, of course. Orange juice. And hot tea. Well, it looked funny all lined up along my giant conference table. 

 Other advice agent gave: stand up, don't sit down. Walk around. Smile, because people can hear you smile, it turns out. (This is true in the sense that you sound like you're smiling.) Have somewhere to take notes ready. I had my whiteboard of awesomeness. Glory!

Anyway if I were writing all of this, I would have the phone call of yes yes yes come during my appointment with the nice therapy lady on Monday for maximum drama. And then, this would be good in a story but not my life, I would wheeze and cough and get taken out on a gurney with an asthma mister mask, jubilating through albuterol.

And then she lived happily ever after!!!

I hope so very very very very much that this works out, I can't even express how much. It's the same thing I've been doing for five years with the same company, just a bit more formal and structured and of course full time with major financial deliciousness. 

Thursday in joy I bought more oil paints. I'm so happy! Yesterday I cleared out the Room of Requirement, which was as cluttered as when they went looking for the lost diadem of Ravenclaw, and set it up so that I can sit there peacefully with my back to the wall (not the door or window, hello) and paint. I have a plan eventually to get a daybed in there, but that's so far from urgent it's sort of behind urgent because it came around again. 

I have my childhood easel, which is child height, but works when you're sitting on a chair. I have the table easel sitting on the floor. I opened up these two canvases I've had since, ooh, Maine? Big ones. I set up the little paper holding stand thing for typing from (shhhhh) with a binder clip so I can use those terrible canvas paper sheets. And I'm working on how to build frames to stretch canvas.

Actually I used to build them all the time with no skills way back in the day before the other day. In fact as I was buying paints I told the nice young lady in the store that the last time I bought paint was so long ago that actual whole entire people walking around today weren't born yet. Only later did I realize that included her. 

So I don't really remember what I did to build those canvas stretcher frames. You can buy them, but that's daft. I have all this wood! So I'll build some. I only have one painting from then still stretched but it's one by ones just nailed together, like no fancy mitering or anything, just T-boned together and nailed with two long construction nails.

I can do that! I can also miter now because I have a miter box. But I'm not sure how I'd connect two mitered angles of wood together. Slight research revealed they hammer these wavy pieces of metal into them to grip them together. I would probably do something like: make a box out of them, then screw them to blocks in the corners. It should work. 

I had to put the turpentine outside because even though it is closed and has never been opened, the smell was too strong. I have fears of volatiles igniting when they are a short distance from the gas water heater, which starts with a spark. Hello! So that will live in the shed, apart from some in a jar with a plastic scrubby in the bottom so I can clean brushes. 

My favorite part so far was sitting on the blue rug on the floor in the Room of Requirement (my rug--no paint on rental carpets!) and thoughtfully feeling all the brushes one after the other, getting sense memory back about which brushes I like and what I might do with all these weird big bristle brushes and where on earth they came from anyway, since I never use them. 

I am also in love with my bucket of gesso.

Last bucket of gesso: I used it up painting my VW bus that terrible horrible awful no good semester I went back to school and it was an utter disaster, where I simultaneously attempted to consider a) going back to the composition program (music), and b) doing a German major, since that seemed most doable. But composition was impossible for me, because of the horrible faculty, and I hated both the German professor I had and the literature we were reading, which included transcripts from the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

Do not read those if you ever want to be a positive human being! That did some damage. 

Was that also the semester where I walked in on my old boyfriend cheating on me? I think so. Oh, and I was broke and starving, as per usual. It was a bad time. And I had to sell my beloved bus and then the asshole guy who bought it only paid me 2/3 of what we agreed, CHRIS CAMPOLONGO. Ahem. 

There are times when shouting is necessary.

Bad times! Bad times! I was trying to remember why on earth I ever stopped painting when I love it so much. I still don't really know. Money, probably. Paint and all the supplies are expensive. But also just loss of heart. I know I did buy paint in DC after that, and I painted some good things on boards and things that I found around DC. I gave Dennis the best one of those. Wait, I painted that one back in SF, never mind. 

I'm perfectly happy to paint on gessoed boards. Why on earth not? I will paint on anything. There is some cool old viridian and yellow kind of painting I did on a piece of copper that I found somewhere. I just ran across that the other day. Probably in the Room of Requirement.

I adore the idea that everything I've ever lost, which, face it, mainly means painting and music, can be found in the Room of Requirement. 

In there right now:

all the handwritten orchestra parts to all of my symphonies and chamber work
two cellos
french horn
soprano saxophone
bagpipe chanter
eletronic keyboard
easels (see above)
canvases already hung on the wall
staff paper
all sheet music ever
sketch pads
book on drawing comics
chairs for sitting on the floor
blue rug to protect the carpet from paint, spit valve products, valve oil, and cello endpin piercings

The only thing I still need is one of those giant double clipboards like they have in art classes. I used to have one, of course, so you would think it would just appear in there, right? Room of Requirement!

All the writing materials are at my desk in the kayak and canoe room. In fact the kayak is sort of underneath the desk and serves as a footrest. It's not ideal. But I suspect it will become far too cold back there soon, so I'll move the desk into the Room of Requirement too. 

So basically I have created a DREAM COME TRUE space for myself. It's a me-cave. It has everything! I just need an electric kettle in there. My other one is at work.

Paradise used to be me sitting on the floor against my bass amp, with a pot of tea, staying up late and painting or writing music. That's it! Though back then I would have said I needed a dog and a cat to make the scene perfect. I know! 

The landlord even fixed the heater in there. You guys. I am going to make it after all. I get to do stuff! Fun stuff! Awesome stuff! I have a whole roll of canvas, six yards! 

The poor guy at the art store, he wanted to sell me some two yard lengths, and I had to say no, if I don't have a lot, I won't use any at all, for fear of running out. Which is some scarcity starvation psychology right there but there are reasons for that. 

I'm nearly out of tea, can you believe it? It's shocking. I'm shocked!

I'm going to stretch my old paintings so they're not all rolled up and getting wrecked. I'm going to have to do some touch-ups. It's probably a good place to start, come to think of it. 

Anyway you know the psychology, right? They set up two painters and say to one of them: make the most paintings you can! And to the other one: make the best paintings you can! And the one who sets out to make the most ends up making the best work by far. This is true. And the most-paintings person is also by far the happiest, both with the process and the results. So you paint a lot. You write a lot. You do lots and lots of the things you do, because you like doing them as well as liking the results. And days are like: Woohoo! What can I do? What else can I do? How much can I do before bedtime? It's awesome!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Crying with potential

I am full of sudden belief in change what with how some things are HAPPENING.

A majorly tremendously game-changing thing is in the works. We shall see!

Then tonight I got the daily HigherEdJobs email and my absolute dream job appeared, the one I would describe if you ever said, "Go ahead, what would you imagine if you could have absolutely anything?" What makes it the dream is that it's right here in this town. At the university where I was happiest ever. Teaching the things I'm utterly happiest teaching. See.

The only way I would ever get it is if I published a book (under contract is okay) by November.

If the majorly tremendously game-changing thing happens, which YES PLEASE, then I can and will make publishing a book by November happen. It will be like the earth has rolled this way just to make it possible. And I will roll right back and do my part. I will make that happen. 

l have to go to sleep now. To get ready. For tomorrow's THING. Holy wow of awesomeness. 

I am not actually crying with joy but only because I'm stunned and also superstitious a little bit and also nothing is at all certain but you know, I feel the tectonic plates shifting or something. I have strong feelings about this. 

Thing A: tomorrow's Thing.
Thing B: if Thing A, then publish a book
Thing C: that dream come true of absolute gloriousness

I will tell you. The only thing that keeps me from publishing all these books is various flavors of damage. I will overcome the damage. I will make this happen. You can count on me.