Thursday, October 30, 2014

Giant cork board of DESTINY

I think it's my third. Third? It could be my third giant cork board of destiny! They're so fragile and so much not a particular item but a generic item, I don't tend to move them long distances. They can get wrecked so very easily in a moving truck. 

Today I got Another One. I had the dog with me so I put it in the way back of the car, which is a baby station wagon type thing. Dog was in the back seat. So when I got in the front, I shoved the cork board back as far as possible so it wouldn't fall on him.

When I opened the way back, it fell out directlly onto my foot. Heavy object, narrow edge, much force, ow!

I don't think anything got broken. Doc Martens for the win! Even the Mary Janes are awesome and tough.

But my right toes are kind of smashed, which could put a slight crimp in my No Potato plans. I've been doing so well with No Potato! Much walking very far! Much doing of other exercising! Weights! Stretches! Stretches and weights! Wearing shoes during the day so that my left leg continues to function as a left leg!

So weird that I have to do that. But whatever, it works!

Today I had this massive meeting all day long that I was supposed to be in for the past *three* days but I forgot to register on time and it took them until last night to get it done. So oh man, so much work to do and watch and catch up on! Work! On top of regular full day of work! Which will partly get done yesterday. I mean tomorrow. 

So when I went out to get cork board I also got me a bacon cheeseburger at Five Guys. ARE YOU SO PROUD RIGHT NOW? I went out to engage in the purchasing of good and services! I bought a thing! Then I went to another place and bought another thing! In fact I had to sit there for like five entire minutes in a public restaurant full of people and huge glass windows, waiting for my cheeseburger. And I did not freak out!

You don't even know how proud I am right now.

Also! Also! I got connected with the Boys and Girls Club in town through my job, even though it insists I'm in a zip code beginning with 8. I do not live in Tempe Arizona. I don't have many strong memories about Tempe other than motels but I kind of recall not finding it entirely engaging? But then, I don't like desert. I like the temperate rainforest where I live right now! Yes!

And I am BEYOND excited because what have I been saying for years? I want to help disadvantaged kids who want to get to college get themselves to college. I'm exactly 100% qualified to do this specific thing. Do you know I've been teaching college for NINETEEN YEARS??? That is the whole entire lifespan of a traditional freshman! What? How? (Counting gestation.)

Anyway that turns out to be the very thing they want. The very thing! They need exactly that! So I can do other mentoring too but I can really help the kids who think they aren't the kind of person who goes to college. That's such a barrier, feeling that way. I know how to knock that barrier down. I'm extensively trained in knocking that barrier down. 

We're going to get together next week and flip out over how excited we are about each other. I mean, I'm guessing. But I think so.

It occurred to me belatedly that this is how you meet people, other people who are doing the same things that you're into. Like, peer type people of a similar background with similar values. Dude!!!

I know!

The dog and cat and I really enjoyed our bacon cheeseburger as a team. We demolished that thing! And now there's 35 minutes until Bones for me to assemble push pins and 3x5 cards and work on a visual representation of the outline I've been hammering out all week.

I've been outlining the book, then starting over and outlining it again without looking at the previous one. Over and over and over. Pursuing the character arcs for the two main characters is my favorite thing ever. I love outlining! Putting together obstacles and actual, you know, events--that's the harder part for me. Even though I know the broad physical plan for the events that will transpire, I'm not that clear on the actual events of each step of the way.

I'm hoping that putting the two main characters' arcs on the board, I can figure out good obstacles and events. That's how my mind works apparently. I have to have the dang board. It's also essential for remembering what the heck is happening in the book, what just happened, and what should happen next. Because otherwise I have no idea. 

CORK BOARD!

Remember the Battlestar whiteboard of awesomeness? The whiteboard in the writers' room of my favorite show ever? I reached out and touched it and made a noise like choirs of angels singing. And I forgot her name, she said, "You're funny," and turned away, in this way that meant, "You're a crazy person, I can't look," but I didn't even care. What the heck was her name? Ann? 

The longer I sit here, the more my foot hurts. It is my first NaNoWriMo wound of the year! But probably not the last.

Today I tackled some irritating tasks that have needed tackling for a long time. I removed the bent skinny nailgun nails from the molding around the door in the office. The molding has been down for like six or eight weeks because it fell off when I was taping to paint. Then I had other stuff to do. Now the nails are out! I can put it back up any time! Any time after I do more caulking of that huge gap around the door. I need to get more caulk so I can do that. Or use the clear I got for the deck roof, maybe.

The other thing was taking apart the drains in the bathroom. Sink and tub. Took them apart, took out the appalling enormous clot of vileness that was blocking the sink and the smaller but no less vile clot blocking the bathtub drain. Shivered extravagantly, or do I mean shuddered? Ugh, I just did it again thinking about it. And put them back together. Now the water that runs IN also runs OUT.

I wish they had In and Out here. Do they have them anywhere in Oregon? Must investigate later.

That Five Guys bacon cheeseburger was happiness in a bun, though, I tell you what. Oh man.

I'm a little bit afraid to look at my surely purpling toes. There are neatly packed boxes of books in the way back of the car, boxes so covered with tape that the cork board slid down like greased lightning. Yes! And karate chopped my poor toes. 

I'm really trying to build up as much muscle and endurance and wind as I can before the next bout of M.S. when I'll go all wobbly and can't find my feet and fall down and limp around all Gothic. But guess what, the replacement cable for the elliptical came today! Wait, I mean, the elliptical.... There, that's better. So I can watch time and distance and steps and all that stuff on there. It's a great machine for no-balancey times because you never lift your feet off the surfaces, plus there are two sets of handles.

The cork board is calling and I must answer! Did I tell you my book is a Gothic novel? Girls meet house! Things are strange and creepy and they're kind of trapped there! Some people are dramatically menacing and untrustworthy!

Here is a clue: for me, the people you can trust are the weirdos and the people you can't are the slick guys in suits. Guy in suit = EVIL. Ties are the devil's flags marking them as his own. 

Okay, I know, not really, but that's my reaction to a man in a suit. He is the devil, run away! This has nothing whatsoever to do with ex-fiance and his Armani though. Shut up, it does not! Brrrr, shiver. Yes, a man in an expensive suit elicits the exact same physical reaction from me as that giant clot of disgustingness that I pulled out of the sink drain. EXACTLY.

Have you ever seen steel wool that people use to scrub pots? It looked like that. Except utterly gross.

It predates me, clearly. It might predate civilization. It might be a new life form, sadly snuffed out by my callousness. Die, clot, die!

Anyway I'm super excited about my heroines and my big old Gothic mansion in upstate New York that needs massive renovations (imagine what's down *those* drains, ugh....) and my crazy King Lear guy and the evil stepsons with the expensive suits and vile thoughts, and the nerdy girl's burning obsession with musicals and the goth punk girl's burning obsession with film. The creation thereof, by them, both. 

If you're a NaNo personage, please befriend me on the NaNo! My book is called Summerlands which is the name of the mansion, with no relation (that I know of) to the neopagan mythology or whatnot. It's up the Taconic Parkway where FDR had his house, that kind of Sleepy Hollow creepsville area. I drove up and down a dozen times I guess, between Maine and PA, and got the shivery horrors every time. Perfect place for a dilapidated Gothic mansion. I have floor plans! For the frontispiece! 

Strange how difficult it is to nail down (ha ha) what exactly you'd do first when renovating a dilapidated Gothic mansion. I am unable to find clear directions online, possibly because no sane person would ever do it. I'll have to hit the library tomorrow for a BOOK.

Cork board! Push pins! Three by five cards! I am on the job!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Oh oh oh, what a great book! You know Maggie Stiefvater is a fabulous writer, right? And the Raven Boys series is amazing! And now the latest one is out and OH it's very very very very good.

I stayed up super late reading it on my tablet such that when I was on the phone with my manager today, I sounded kind of like I had aphasia because I could not recall any of the words I wanted to use. I kept saying things like, "It's, you know, what's that word?" Which is AWESOME. 

Maggie Stiefvater gave me aphasia by writing too good of a book. Gah!

I also had word retrieval problems talking on the phone to several other people today, people who are not my manager, so apparently I'm just going to be tongue-tied today. Blather blagh argh blah!

On the plus side, I took a lunch break and made a little buffalo steak and some broccoli and now I have to go lie down until my last remaining lower molar recovers. 

Not really. But dang it is exhausting chewing with only one tooth. 

After a certain point here, it's going to be MUSH ALL THE WAY.

I'm getting insurance next month, including dental insurance, but they were very clear that they do not treat teeth that are already missing when you sign up. Which I thought was a very funny way to put it until I realized it means they won't give me new ones. I need some new ones! Maybe implants? Or a set you can stick in your mouth to chew with? Also it would sure help with articulation on the French horn. Blttthhhhhh. That's what my articulation is like on the French horn. Apparently you need lower molars for articulation. Bltttthhhhhhhhh.

The kitty is taking everything out of the bathroom vanity. Stop that, kitty! Anyway, back to work. Go read Blue Lily, Lily Blue, but first read the rest of the Raven Cycle. She's so good! Actually I tried to read some other ones of hers and they were extremely well written but I can't stand anything about faeries or werewolves, so. I still have the horse one out of the library though! Maybe it will help with the withdrawal. 

The Latin is almost perfect in Blue Lily, Lily Blue except for one word that made me wince. That makes me feel kind of bad because I feel like maybe my shouty rants got through and made the author feel bad, which was not my goal at all. Just good Latin. Good Latin is my goal. It's good to have goals!

This morning while working I had an excellent revelation about New Book which completely snapped it into place for me. All of my brainstorming and thinking and mulling and considering has resulted in really good Big Ideas that are entirely character-based, which is what I like. Still working on some major things like Goals and Actual Events In The Story but getting character down is primary. Yay!

Actually the search for Ivan the Terrible's library is giving me ideas, too. Thanks Vlogbrothers!

Can I just say that while I was putting up the curtain rods I knocked a painting off the wall and broke the top of my Ode to a Grecian Urn urn which is actually from Cyprus I think? Which was already smashed to bits from the shipping so it came Some Assembly Required in the first place. So I have to fix that, which will take as long as putting up the curtain rods, so that's sort of a wash. Humph.

Right! Back to work!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Just a little faily

Yeah, I'm not so happy that I didn't manage to make myself go to the thing Saturday. Though I am pretty seriously happy not to have gone to the thing. I did not want to go. 

Here is when I should not try to make myself go to things: when the only reason to go is a "should" and not a "want to." There, it's a plan. 

I think Anne Lamott is coming to Portland in the next two weeks, so I'm planning to go hear her speak at the bookstore. 

Things I actually go to include but are not limited to:

sporting events
women authors speaking at bookstores
places B&D haul me to bodily

Actually that's pretty much it. I'm not really doing the reintegration into society very well, am I? For years I've lived in the back of beyond with no access to anything I'd actually want to go to, so my ability to go has seriously diminished. And it was always a matter of force of will in the first place.

I would like to go to lectures (are there lectures? there must be) and concerts (surely there are concerts) and things of that ilk. But probably not as much as I would like NOT to go.

Anyway I was forcing myself to go and miserable about it but was gonna do it and then when I was out getting gas and anxiety meds on Friday, I forgot the driver's side window was broken and rolled it down to pay the gas guy. It almost fell out. When I did get it to roll back up at all, it went all sideways and cockeyed. If you put a rectangle at an angle in another rectangle, all the whole monsoon rains in, did you know? 

Slight amount of research revealed that a window that loose can fly out at highway speeds, potentially causing accident and injury. Especially if it flies in and smashes me in the face while I'm driving.

In sum, the car is benched until I get that fixed. Which of course I could have done a month ago except I'm terrified it's going to cost a fortune. It probably will. I do not want to pay a fortune. 

I'll probably still drive to the store though. You know. 

I suppose this means I won't actually be going to see Anne Lamott. Hmmmmm.

Well! I had a very fun day off yesterday, something I missed out on last weekend. No days off last weekend! I mean I had a day when I didn't work but I spent it building Ikea furniture for my friends. It was fun but you know introverts, gotta have that alone time to recharge. I know, I work alone, but that's work. 

My job is an amazing amount of work. It's constantly surprising to me that it takes all day. How can that be? And then it takes all day tomorrow, too. Gosh!

Well, I'm all out of the heinous wheat I've been eating all week like a dummy. So I should be feeling better any minute now. Probably by tomorrow. What a terrible choice that always is! Holy yikes! Bad, bad! Do not eat the wheat! It makes me look like a pilates ball with legs. It makes me hurt all over and feel terrible. Too bad it's so delicious and central to the American diet. Woe! Stopping now. Stopping yesterday, actually.

Yesterday was a tremendously fun day off. I finished the pink and blue quilt top, hurray! And I watched approximately one million Vlogbrothers videos and knitted a whole bunch of a Christmas present. Good girl! Both are exceedingly fun projects and make me very happy. It's so weird when I don't knit or quilt. Now I have to scout around for backing for the quilt. I was making it to send to my sister-in-law's sister for her baby who must be how old now? Maybe not that old. Not a year yet. So I'll do that. 

Hurray!

And I got through the terrible hard part of the knitting project, at last. It goes so much faster after that part is done. Yay!

My dog objects to the Vlogbrothers because a) there is sometimes a dog jingly his tags in one video and b) all the shouty talking. The guys talk all excited. And c) the videos are short, only 4 minutes max, so it constantly puts him on alert that something is going to happen. Which is why we watched a Harry Potter movie and quilted.

The massive unexpected benefit of Vlogbrothers was that it made me suddenly think that there might be okay guys out there in the world. What??? I know! John and Hank are awesome, though. And it's just not statistically likely that they're the only ones. Cool!

My experience tells me otherwise, but I guess it's therefore likely that there are some men out there who don't need to get violently subdued and removed from the scene by law enforcement professionals. 

This is quite a world-changing and alarming change in the weather. 

How about that pink and blue quilt, huh? Pretty great!

Social interactions, brrrrr. I keep trying to remember the exact line that Eric says in Wonderfalls, the episode with little Spencer Breslin, where Eric tells Jaye something like: "Frankly, any type of human interaction with you is pretty iffy." It's okay, it's a declaration of love! 

And in unrelated content except that it's about social interactions, I got in touch with an old college friend who lives in Portland. We're talking about getting together for dinner or something. At least, I suggested it and she vanished, so who knows? Heh heh. 

How can I express the DON'T WANT TO better? About all social interactions? I don't want to. I don't want to A LOT. Like you know how you kind of don't want to go to the dentist because it's going to be uncomfortable and there are needles and it will hurt and cost a lot of money? Then you know how you don't want to have surgery because it's going to be uncomfortable and hurt a lot and you'll be unconscious and could die and you have no idea what really goes on and then afterward there are pieces missing and enormous pain and and ugly scars and weeks if not months of recovery?

It's like the surgery one. Except, it's like it's elective surgery! Why would you do it if you didn't have to?

It's not that rational. I just know I DON'T WANT TO. Guess what happens when you make yourself do things you really don't want to do? Go ahead, light a candle and then stick your finger in the flame. Oh, you don't want to? Take a drink of super hot coffee that you just poured. Oh, you don't want to? 

I'm going to the NaNoWriMo meet-ups even though (obviously) I don't want to, because I feel like anything that encourages the writing is worth pushing through for. At least I'll go once. I've never actually gone to one of these more than once, come to think of it. Because it always ends up being college students and homeschooled teenagers with bathing aversions. But that's just my experience! It might not be that way this time! 

Anyway I said I'd bring cups and plates so I have to go. UGH.

I say hi to people in the park. What more do you people want from me?

It is NOT raining today (for now) so we'll probably spend more time cleaning up the yard after yesterday's thrashing winds. And I'm cutting back all the blackberries again. That goes like this: cut, pick up, ouch! cut, pick up, ouch! And I'm not picking them up with my hands but with some little rakes and prongy digger things. They just like to flail around and slash me up. Bastards!

I got all the potatoes dug up this week. I still have to cope with the tomatoes somehow. I've been ignoring them completely because I kind of can't look at another tomato. 

Kitty and I just both jumped out of our skins because the heat came on. It's very loud! And it never comes on! Whoosh! Gawain is snuggled up in the comfy chair on a quilt for maximum cozy. More power to his fuzzy self!

So I have to work a half day today and then we'll see about other things. I have big ideas about exercising but that tendinitis up the side of my leg seems to be back. Why, leg, why? 

Leg: "Because you don't wear shoes all day and you don't always stretch at night. We talked about this."

Oh, right.

Well, anyway. I've been on the elliptical, a strangely difficult word to type, though of course I know how to spell it. My fingers aren't sure how to type it, though. Elliptical. Elliptical. I want to write This Machine Cures Anxiety on it but then I got worried that...go ahead and write your own joke there. 

I do like the elliptical, though. I can do it for minutes at a time! I even fixed up a book/tablet rack on it though it's kind of too close or something. EPL on DVR works best. Look at those beautiful boys running around and playing their hearts out! Go go go! And I've been doing weights. Yawn!

It's possible I'm kind of bored. But not bored enough for elective surgery! I did think I might invite the nice people (i.e. not all of them) from Old Job over for hanging out in a party-like situation, but I really have to get a couch first. I mean, really. (Odds that I will actually invite those people over: extremely low.)

That's a funny thing. My friend D made this whole plan for me for saving up for a house, like actual numbers and all, and then I learned that the amount she said you need for a downpayment was hugely low, like by 15 percentage points. So that's hilarious and makes the whole thing seem completely ridiculously impossible. That is just an enormous difference. Several years of difference. 

Let's talk about something more awesome! Book in revision: coming right along. Book about to go into first draft: coming right along. In fact it's about two people, two main characters, but one is clearly in focus and the other isn't really. I need to work the second one out. Like I can picture the first one and it's all very clear, actions and motivations and everything, but the second one keeps wavering. Must do more brainstorming and thinking and imagining and casting. Casting like with actors. It helps!

The clouds are moving in and covering up scary burny yellow face! A good time to get to work!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Walk it off

That's my approach lately. Freaking out? Walk it off. That involves taking the very willing dog to the park and then dodging loose dogs in such a way that my Map My Dog app shows some erratic mapping. Why did we make that sudden right angle turn? And then swoop around that clump of trees at high speed? Loose dogs!

I took Gawain to see the radio controlled cars since he was very interested and trying to pull my arm out of its socket. A nice man let him walk up and see his car, but it wasn't interesting holding still, then it was too scary when in motion. There was some high pitched yelping in surprise and alarm is what I'm saying. 

We got our two miles in so that's awesome, hurray! Even if I had to walk back and forth across the living room for the last two hundredths of a mile. As if I'm going to let it stand at 1.98! Don't be absurd!

Walking is quite a lot more stressful than it needs to be because of squirrels and loose dogs. But I'm hoping that when the downpours come to stay, it'll be just me and my bedraggled dog.

I got to wear my new Captain America letterman jacket today. Or maybe it's a baseball jacket? I don't know. It's navy blue with white sleeves and red rings around the cuffs. And there's a great big Captain America shield on the left chest. It's flipping awesome. I needed pockets for my phone, poop bag, and flashlight, but also, hello, how am I going to pass up a chance to wear that?

Yesterday I helped my friends B & D build all this furniture at their condo, which was fun and grueling and involved wielding lots of allen wrenches and deciphering maddeningly oblique directions. I love putting together those Ikea things with a million little screw-in latch holders and tiny dowels and all that kind of thing. I brought them two beachy puzzles as housewarming, one with pebbles and one with sea glass. Yay! We love puzzles. Sometimes we get together all three of us on one puzzle and drink the adult beverages and put a puzzle together and have WAY too much fun. It's best if there is sportsball on the tv. Whee!

Guess what I got my tiny nephew for his birthday? A parachute that you hook around your waist so that when you run, it billows out behind you and gives resistance for strength training. Except he will just have fun running and making it billow out. I promise you, any little kid would love to do that. Dual purpose of total fun and exercise, eh? 

He's the only person I know who I met when he was one day old. Baby!

So it was totally fun to go out with my friends and go to the beach and get rained on and have fish and chips and Guinness in an outdoor Irish pub, which is some kind of mental pretzel right there, plus I didn't even have to sit with my back to the wall. There were PEOPLE behind my BACK in an outdoor setting. It's UNHEARD OF. I've also gone to football games and stores with them and we're going to see George Takei when he comes to town, if we get tickets. Awesome!

I wish they could go to this work thing I have to go to next week but nope, I'm going alone. Mulling the panic, I've been wondering why this is so much scarier than, say, driving across the midwest and crossing the major continental mountain ranges in February. 

And I think I've figured it out. Tension as you would include in writing adds tension to me! So you put in a ticking clock, a strange and unfamiliar location I have to get to, lots of strangers I have to interact with, a large room with a table with one of those skirts on it and some pitchers of water, possibly a lectern, a million roving academics with nametags, and a meeting with someone I only know from online.

Major stressors! It's easier to drive across Wyoming because you don't have to get to any specific place at any specific time. You don't have to interact with anyone if you don't want to, the whole way across the country. Seriously, except for buying food, it's all solo. You're never trapped anywhere, as in a conference, where you're stuck in those conference chairs. There are NO academics. And there's nobody to meet up with.

Wyoming for me every time. 

Academic conference type things are of course something I'm extremely familiar with. I've given bunches of papers at conferences. Mostly good experiences. A few minor mental scars, but mostly they are stories of me being awesome and excelling in my chosen field. Oh and of course there was the conference where my fiance broke up with me the night before I had to give an 8 a.m. paper. So maybe that's a slight flinchy issue. 

After that one, in Montreal, I also gave an invited paper at Princeton, for the history department. So that's about the scariest thing anyone can do. A grad student, and not even a history grad student, presenting a paper to assembled history faculty of Princeton University? Hello? It went great. A few hostile questions afterward, but they were egregiously nitpicky questions and nothing to worry about. 

Next academic conference was in New Orleans, where I didn't give a paper, but went to see my friend Richard give one. And I interviewed for a job which I was subsequently offered. And I ran into a Chinese friend from my grad program and alarmed him by giving him a hug right there on the street. ALL GOOD THINGS. Except I have vivid horrible memories of the crowds and the noise and the packed conference rooms with no air and the horrible kind of academics everywhere.

Me, I love academics, truly, most of the time. Just not the glossy shellacked shrill kind. So maybe what I mean is not New Yorkers, heh. Not really though! There's just a certain type of hard-shelled self-consciously overconfident academic that makes me break out in a cold hatred. I've never even had professors like that, so I think it's just visceral loathing. The Princeton profs weren't like that. They were all normal tweedy and frumpy and intense and intelligent and really deeply awesome. Though I recall the chair was kind of overly polished and insecure, but so it goes. 

They will NOT be like that at this thing. This will be nerds. I love nerds! Not in big groups, but one on one.

You only really have to deal with people one on one. It's like the guy with the remote control car. People are lovely one on one. I get along great with strangers. It's true. 

I think what might be the problem is being alone in a setting where everyone else is in pairs or groups. That's very hard. It was like that in the restaurant. People in pairs in the restaurant. They were looking at me a lot. Probably I was wearing something odd, since I'm basically Luna Lovegood (see above re: Captain America baseball jacket, which I paired with gray corduroy leggings, purple sneakers, and a blue t-shirt) but it's also that people do look at people who are alone much more, possibly because if you're alone, you're looking around the room and accidentally make eye contact.

Note to self: BRING A BOOK NEXT TIME.

There, problem solved. A book and massive doses of medication. I'm going to call the doctor's office tomorrow and see about some as-needed rescue meds. I used to have them, for years in fact, but I worked very hard to get off them. But apparently I'm not there yet. 

The chorus sings out: "NO DOY!"

It's very hard for me to read or even stare at my phone in a public place where people are moving around, because how can I watch everything and keep an eye on all the exits if I'm reading a book? No, really, I tried it in line at the pharmacy Friday and it was a serious no go. You don't cure hypervigilance by reducing a person's ability to be vigilant. That only makes it worse. Like, headphones? Don't be ridiculous. 

This is why medication is also difficult in these situations. I have to be alert. 

I used to take benadryl for this all the time in the past, before I got on the serious medications. Throwing benadryl down my throat while on the PCH to Malibu was STANDARD. If I drove that road today, I'd probably take some just out of habit. And it's not like it mellowed me out any. Normally if I take two benadryl I'm asleep. In those situations, it just made it so I didn't hyperventilate and could be somewhere other than with my back to the wall. 

Taking Emily also really helped. But I still took the benadryl.

I have to read all of the material on my new benefits that'll start next month, but I'm pretty sure I didn't see mental health coverage on there anywhere. Can that be true? I would be surprised. Maybe I just missed it, or it's not separate so it's not mentioned. There was an awful lot to read. 

I'm already on the maximum amount of PTSD medication and still have terrible nightmares most night, and I wake up in the morning with tears dried all down both sides of my face.

I'm surer than sure that exercise (WALK IT OFF) is a huge cure for this. We talked a lot this weekend about all the things I want to do but don't do because of terror, like taking my bike to the big park and riding there. Or going to the coast with the dog. Or going hiking. All of them include lots of helpful exercise. Doooo eeeeet. 

Oooh! I also asked D lots of questions about how to be a grown-up! Because now I am one, apparently? I don't know, I have a 401K. I think it's inescapable. And she explained how much you need for a downpayment on a house and how you go about finding the one you want and how to build up bad credit and all this great stuff. And now I have A PLAN. 

We drove back from the beach through the most beautiful parts of this country, I kid you not. The road to and from the beach from here goes through this valley near Dallas that is pretty much the promised land if you're me. And I am! It's actually where I've been imagining living ever since forever. I mean, I like living here in town, except for all the people and cars and other dogs. See. And sirens. And surveillance. 

Yesterday I came to grips with how much I hate having people outside my windows all day and night, so now I'm going to close every blind and curtain when it gets dark. People walk past my windows just a foot or two lower down than me, and only four feet from my giant front windows. I'm not overstating it at all when I say I'm in a fishbowl here. So now my rule is: close it up as soon as it's dark. And what a relief!

I was joking with them about my future twelve foot palisade all around the property, but oh, what a relief that would be, too. Jeez.

Speaking of Luna Lovegood, I totally get this stubborn dig in my heels reaction about going places. I'm like a kid who says, "I'll go, but only if I can wear my princess costume!" And then you take the kid to the store in a princess costume. That's totally me. I'll go, but only if I can wear my Captain America jacket! It's like pushing back against it or something. 

I will have to dress up as the professor that I am next week. That's fine. It's protective coloration! Blend, blend! I might still wear my jacket over top, though.

So I have the bank set up to take basically all of my paycheck each time that doesn't go for necessities like rent and put it into savings where it will sit there muttering "Property...property...property..." I am sure it's perfectly reasonable to imagine a vault like Scrooge McDuck has, or possibly Smaug.

According to D's math, and my projections, I can put a downpayment on a house by the end of next year some time. When are people least likely to buy houses? That sounds like a good time. Like, February of 2016 or something. That would have me in this house for two years. Always supposing I stay happily employed with the firm. So far, so good! It'll be a month tomorrow! Not counting the five plus years before that, I mean.

I had no idea this was even possible, ever ever ever, never mind that soon. Which just goes to show that I'm really not a grown-up and don't know about grown-up things. It makes me wonder what else is possible that I don't know anything about and can't even imagine right now. Who knows? 

At some point, I'll probably even get a couch. You know the dog and cat and I are often all in the comfy chair and/or ottoman together, right? It's very cozy and unspeakably adorable. By the fire, all snuggled up. With exciting new tiny laptop for writing things! I did in fact write a whole bunch last night. The operation was a success! Now I just have to figure out strategies for thwarting the United Housepet Writing Prevention Organization. 

Right, shower, writing, bed. I'm on it!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Time lapse

I don't know what happened. What happened? Where did all the time go?

Well, I started my new job, and it's awesome! And there was a whole week of training that was kind of grueling just in the having to sit still aspect. I mean, it wasn't digging diamonds out of mines. I'll shut up about that now.

My new job: I love it! It is many many hours of work every day! And I do that in my home office, all freshly painted and fixed up, at my ancient oak table/desk, with the dog constantly asking to go out or come in. It's okay that he does that, though, because you shouldn't sit still too long. In fact, I might just call him my trainer. Trainer says up! Trainer says up again! 

Trainer would be an AWESOME dog name.

Actually I somehow got massive tendinitis along the outside of my lower leg. I don't know, it was excruciating, and then today it was gone, so yay! I changed three variables at once, though, so I don't know what fixed it. 

Variables I changed:

1. started wearing shoes all day instead of going barefoot
2. wore my Doc Marten mary janes instead of those slip on cross trainer sneakers or whatever
3. stretched last night

See, now I'll never know. But you know what's great? NOT having excruciating pain! Hurray! More please! I mean, less!

I got running shoes today, as part of my overall Not Be A Potato effort. I would like to not be a potato. Be thou not a potato! Whoosh!

I'm scared of my running shoes. Where is my excuse not to run for sixty seconds? Well, okay, breathing issues, but EVEN I can breathe enough to run for sixty seconds. 

That's what I'm supposed to do. Just run for a minute, then walk until I don't feel like I'm going to die anymore, then run for a minute again. Assuming the excruciating leg pain stays away. Stay away, excruciating leg pain!

It's totally okay to run on the trampoline instead of in the real world. Guess who doesn't like to run in the real world? Fat people! Plus if I'm going to keel over and die, I'd rather land on carpet. It's softer.

I suppose this could work out okay. I was thinking about my ancient running shoes and how they are all worn out and then went to Sports Authority (because the other store is called Dicks) to get a big solid yoga ball to sit on instead of my hideously uncomfortable office chair, or my other two big squashy yoga balls that don't work at all because: squashy. And lo! There in the clearance section, very comfortable running shoes for fewer of your Earth dollars than I expected. 

Now that I'm more or less sane as far as work goes, since two major leftover iterations from my previous Online Job life ended yesterday, I'm putting NoPotato high on my daily priority list. I was kind of overly burdened with the work is all I'm saying. Though someone today just told me she once did seven iterations! At the same time!

I still think doing three and then four while working 40 hours a week was an insane level of work. Actually that adds up to about the same as doing seven. Oy!

Anyway yesterday I went on this major push to get all of that done and out of the way. And now it's done! And out of the way! I got done in time for Bones, but it was a less good episode. It was the kind where people are wondering things out loud to each other while I'm saying the answer to the television in increasing volume and irritation. It was like a Scooby-Doo episode, man. No tension, because there was absolutely no peril of any kind. 

You know Bones is about murders. Well, there has to be tension about it, either a) we must find and stop the murderer before he or she strikes again! or b) we must protect this vulnerable person we care about and that means finding the murderer! or c) we know who did it but we have to use Science to figure out *how.*

This had none of those things. There was no indication that anyone else was in jeopardy. No one to protect. And we didn't know who did it, so figuring out how wasn't interesting.

Oh well, even weak episodes give me the opportunity to think about structure and tension, plus I got to have a bowl of popcorn with nutritional yeast on it, so I call it a win.

Other projects while all the crazy workload has been going on: building stretchers to stretch all of my paintings. So much harder than it sounds! Normally you build stretchers and slap some canvas on there. But with a completed painting, you have to match the size exactly, including how much the already painted canvas will stretch. That is some fancy math. But I've been doing well, just going a little slowly.

Also building stretchers and stretching canvas is LOUD. Hammers and nails and saws and drills. I have two completely done and one almost done. The results are fantastic. A flabby loose painting has nowhere near the effect of a stretched painting. What a difference! 

I painted a million paintings years ago, all in a couple of years, but gave 90% of them away. These are just the ones I have left, mostly because they were my favorites and/or had me in them. They're not self-portraits in any traditional sense but I would say it's extremely clear that they're me. 

They make me want to paint a lot more, that's what.

I can hear the baseball team doing some kind of team yelling down in the stadium. Awwww! Dog and I saw them warming up, all wearing their bright neon pink socks for breast cancer awareness. Pretty cute!

What else has been going on? Christmas shopping! I'm getting it done. Good girl! Otherwise I panic and get sticker shock and stagger about all glazed. Instead I've been finding excellent things and stashing them away all together in a cupboard. I suppose I could wrap them right now, but then I'll forget what they are. It's a danger!

Next week I get to use my double extra job that I just finished paycheck to replace my broken laptop, which makes me Very Excited Indeed, because that means WRITING TIME.

It's not that I can't write on the ipad. It's just that it's ridiculously difficult to do so. Physically difficult, especially now that I'm already spending all day at my desk. I don't want to sit at a desk in the evening after doing it all day. And difficult because I can't print anything, I can't move files anywhere else, and I can't keep track of things. 

I'm overcoming my reluctance to admit that I'm utterly unable to navigate long documents on the computer. It's true! I don't know why. I could posit reasons, like that I'm very visual and spatially oriented and so when the pages change every time something changes, I get very disoriented and confused.

I mean, this is certainly true and a serious problem dating back to dissertation days. I could NOT figure out what was where or remember what I was doing in that first long document. 

It's probably really hard to rewrite a 300 page document anyway, but if you lose your place every time you close the file, it's impossible. And I can't seem to figure out how to keep track of anything. Where was I? What was I doing? It's like I have writing Alzheimer's, and I'm not even joking about that, because the way I behave in a long document is like a person with Alzheimer's going about their day. Exactly.

I don't think it's my neurological issues, either, because it dates back to way before that. 

ANYWAY. Why and how doesn't matter. How do I fix it is the important question. And the answer to that seems to be PRINT IT OUT.

My printer isn't wireless, or I might stand a chance. 

Word has utterly broken on the old desktop computer. Of course, work supplied me with a new one. So I could print from there. But then you're back to trying to navigate one document that looks one way and another one that looks completely different, including very different line breaks and page breaks and everything. 

It's a problem. I'm admitting that. It's a problem with my BRAINS. But if I can print and get something that looks like what's on the screen where I actually write (which would NOT be my work computer) then I stand a chance of being able to edit and rewrite without going completely bananacakes.

I'm working on a printed out copy right now, but I keep getting distracted by little things and forgetting that I need to read straight through and make bigger changes. Oh and where exactly should I be writing notes about those big changes?

I'm having a situation here. I feel like I need someone to explain how to rewrite a book to me. It's safe to say that I'm completely inept at it, flailing about and bonking into walls. Having no short term memory to speak of does not help. And no medium term memory either, come to think of it. 

When I was little I kept trying to think a thought VERY strongly at night so that it would still be there in the morning, so that I could be sure I was the same person the next day. And it never ever worked! It still doesn't work. I don't know how people do that. How do you tell yourself something one day and still know it the next? Intentions, ideas, memories, they all fly right out the window. 

I write story ideas down in the Notes function on my phone, which is pretty awesome because it somehow puts them into a folder in my email, but the truly serious problem is that I DON'T REMEMBER WRITING DOWN THE IDEAS so I have no idea that I should go back and look at them.

Here's when I discover those ideas: when I go to make a shopping list, like today. 

I did remember to go buy Batman stamps for my sort of niece type person who used to live me with in 2000, though. Hurray! She's in Canada and could not get them herself, see. How come I could remember that? Maybe because it's a clear go there and do that type of thing? I remember those things.

Maybe I need not so much a mind palace as a mind campus. Like, go to the cafeteria and write a scene about tater tots. Go to the gym and write a scene about swimming. Go to your office and do some editing.

Holy goodness, that might just work. Of course I'm using Willamette because that's where my mind goes when it relaxes. It's downright eerie to walk around remembering how well I remembered the campus and this area when I wrote that book about the god Apollo showing up and taking the shape of Jamie Bamber showing in a possibly insane ABD classics professor's life. 

I still keep thinking the liquor store I wrote about is downtown where I put it, though. It isn't. It's a couple of streets over. That was for literary convenience!

I should walk down to campus again, now that students are back and all. It was quite distressing to cross the little bridge where my character's imaginary student drowned in the six inches of water in the Mill Stream. 

Hurray! MIND CAMPUS. The tater tots and swimming scenes are totally in the book already, of course!

Speaking of which, I'm starving, so I have to find some food. I was planning to make pizza but time got away from me. And then while I was out, on a whim I ate a tiny bag of Funyuns because I've been craving onion rings. Funyuns are not onion rings! They are, however, extremely sharp and will cut up your mouth no end. Unless you have teeth. Then they might be okay. Me, though, ouch. And now I feel like a giant onion like Harriet M. Welch.

I think I got the wrong yoga ball, also, but we shall see. 

Guess what? IT'S COLD. Inside! Dude! I have to shut the windows! If this carries on, I can light the fireplace and get all cozy! I am SO looking forward to all the cozy writing time. One more week! Whooooooop!