Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Face to face with what I do not know

Ack! I do not know how to write a short story. Which I suspect means I don't know how stories go, really, because short stories (I think) are just shorter versions of long stories, aka novels, right? Anyway I bonked into that realization and went and looked up how to shape a short story, and then realized I was not going to do it that way anyway.

I'm in the process of translating a tv spec script I wrote in 1996 into a short story. Very interesting and strange process. For one thing, this is when I really started writing, around 95-96. I'm constantly banged on the head with the terrible way things went back then, which distracts me from the actual writing, which is how I ended up here, trying to sort it out so I can get it OUT OF THE WAY.

I was on track and doing all the things and everything went right. Actually I was doing two huge things at once. One, I was in grad school, in a PhD program. Two, I was pursuing tv writing. And then three, this dude pursued me and even though I had forsworn relationships entirely, to the point of going to the clinic for a vial in order to pursue offspring on my own, after a year of being chased around in a sort of tone deaf way by this guy (and getting no results from the clinic) I decided to give him a chance.

That sounds like 20/20 hindsight but it was that pragmatic. Like, heck, maybe this will work. I don't have a lot of illusions about me and men. I mean, they are socially programmed to be assholes, it's just a fact. They have to win all the time, especially over women. Imagine spending all your time around someone who wants to get you to do everything and also wants to be a lazy jerk. Just my experience 100% of the time, heh. So, you know, blame the culture or whatever but why would I want to deal with that? In fact, as a nanny, I would never even work in a household that had a man in it. Single women or lesbian couples only. Seriously.

I don't know how everyone doesn't see this, but whatever. Blah blah, not all men, yawn. Read that emotional labor article. Listen to any conversation where the guy constantly talks over the women. I could have a llama in the living room, too, but why would I want to? Why?

Anyway. That relationship turned out very badly because the dude was a raging narcissist with no empathy or even a grasp that other people had whole lives of their own. I'd say only a bit to the right of the middle of the spectrum of normal guy stuff. Before he bailed on the plan, however, he got me to give up my assistantship and therefore my income and also incidentally my degree, it turned out, as well as my house and my support system and all my friends, and got me to sign a lease in another city and accept work there. And THEN bailed.

That derailed my education and obviously my tv writing plans.

My advisor was already fighting me on the writing, though. She hated it that I liked to write and tried to sabotage it every step of the way.

I work so hard these days to avoid getting into positions where people can control and/or sabotage anything I do. It's seriously one of my biggest motivating factors. Do not control me or wreck things that I want to do! I'm sure a nice therapist person would argue that I'd have to allow for the possibility of things getting wrecked in order to get good stuff. Like llama fur. But then I'd have to have the llama. No thank you!

Writing, man. I LOVED writing all those specs during grad school. I even liked writing papers and things for grad school. I was doing all the right things for both. I only stopped when that dude bailed and the whole emotional rug got pulled out from under me in every possible way. I think I'm still looking for a rug, you guys! I do not trust any rugs no matter what! I am rug wary.

Also I'm super associative so I didn't really want to write either type of thing after that. I started working on novels instead. Also full screenplays. And teaching a lot. I love teaching. And here we are.

I write lots of things, but I don't finish them, and I don't do anything with them. That's my central issue. I'm in school for writing and it is FLIPPING GLORIOUS because I'm learning so much and because I'm actually doing the work, which did I mention I love to do? I love it. There's nothing I love as much as writing, except maybe my animals, and tea. And not being controlled or manipulated or bullied or whatever. Right.

The only thing that keeps sidelining me is that I'll be charging along and then I'm like, "Wait," and I look around, like something is creeping up on me. Like I have to be ALERT or it will GET ME. Writing is scary because I'm submerged, see? I don't like going off guard duty to sink into it. Same with music, painting, even watching tv or movies, or reading.

I don't know how to solve the security/confidence problem of writing. I want to stop and go do something else, fidget and rattle and distract myself.

It certainly helps a lot that I got off those meds that were making me so freaking anxious. But look. Right now. I'm on the couch. I'm not that comfortable physically, so I want to get up and do something else. (My back always hurts, so that's typical. The couch is a day bed, which hurts less than any other couch. New mattress coming tomorrow for it!) There's a plastic skull looking at me. That's really bothering me, just at the edge of my peripheral vision. The dog stopped fussing at me finally, thank goodness, but now the cat wants his dinner. I'm balancing the laptop on the edge of the table and on a pillow to get it close enough to me to write on. It's tippy and not working very well at all. I will stop in about two seconds because there's enough annoyance to bug the crap out of me.

This is the most perfect writing house I've ever seen, especially now that there's snow on the ground, which makes it infinitely quieter. I will get up and sit in the red chair by the fire soon. And turn on the fire. That will help me sit still. Headphones also really help, so I should get those out. Look, problem solving! I always have to thank Laurel Violet in my head every time I start figuring out how to fix things. That was just not how I was raised, y'all! I was raised to focus on the annoyance.

I'm working on it. Focus on the goal instead. I need 7500-10000 words of this story. I have 9353 words of spec script. Obviously a lot of that has to go, because it's all scripty layout words and things.

Lordy, I'm so focused on pushing away the bad stuff, I have no frame of reference for going to get the good stuff. You can definitely date it to 1998-99. I wish I could delete some files! Change some habits! Fix my wagon!

I do actually need to fix my wagon, in the sense of get the Outback fixed. Apparently they'll fix it while you're out of town if you park it at the airport. How about that? Must look into it.

Anyway. I feel like a coach who is looking at the amazing player who is running around the field carrying an anvil and somehow unable to play the game up to her potential. PUT THE GODDAMN ANVIL DOWN.

It doesn't matter why you have trouble doing something. Just make it better. Set a timer. Put a seatbelt on your writing chair. Kick rocks. Set pictures of past offenders on fire. Draw pictures of your goals. Put the tiny little soccer goal back on the table. Do something to make it happen.

Oh, and I need my desk back. I just decided. Screw this stupid writing on the couch thing, man. Where did I write all those specs? Where did I write every book and every movie ever? Sitting at my ancient oak desk. The one my neighbor and I rescued from the salvage at Penn State the day I moved into that house where I wrote all the specs, while I still had the truck. The one I stuck under the window in my tiny kitchen in L.A. and wrote at even when the sound of typing kept the guy in the house next door awake. The one with the Christmas tree on it right now. And the skull, for that matter. I WANT MY DESK.

Guess what? I get to have it! Yay!

I want that frame of mind back. I have so many of the parts of that life right now, it's amazing! I live somewhere quiet, with wonderful neighbors. I have one big room, just like then. I have excellent work to do that I enjoy. I have mental free space. I have my dog and cat with me. And I have windows with lousy glazing, oddly enough. That house is where I learned how to glaze windows because the panes were falling out. Huh!

Someone loves moving furniture, it's true, but it's all in service of the good. Laurel Violet! This one is for you! I really feel like this will help me, in a Room of One's Own kind of way. Plus I'm going to think about this story the whole time. Oh, that's the other thing I used to have: lots of boring physical activity for thinking time, since apparently my brain is connected to my feet. I mean, everyone's is. But you know. Mine works best when I'm in motion, and then I get tired enough to sit still and write. Exactly! Right.

Please please please let me remember all of this tomorrow and not have to work through the whole dumb series of thoughts again, okay?

Here, I'll write a reminder code:

idea in brain
exercise
sit at desk
headphones
write

Focus! It's like the gas fireplace. Turn it ON. When you're done, turn it OFF.

I will get this thing written, you know it. I read it through and the last page made me tear up, oh my goodness. Something I wrote twenty years ago! Amazing! I didn't even know what happened in it anymore. Ah! Go go go!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Many sharp and pointy things

Ooh, you cannot take those on the plane! I just took everything vital from one bag and put it into another, except I had to keep out all of the dangerous and confiscatable items. So many! I think I packed this backpack (like a purse but for someone who has to be ready for ANYTHING) for my move, so it had every possible kind of survival gear in it.

handwarmers, four
nail clippers, three
butane lighter
tiny crowbar
epipen, two
safety pins, five large
very large bowie knife, good grief
multitool, large and heavy, with, like, a SAW in it
swiss army knife
about six chapsticks
about thirty giant lifesavers
dental floss
dental picks
two bottles of ibuprofin
four bottles of xanax, all nearly empty (what an image, actually)
seven sets of earbuds/headphones
two backup power sources for cell phones
two pairs of glasses
three notebooks
a bandanna
a handkerchief
a million pens
two and only two hair elastics
a rubber band
a blue carabiner

Well. I took out all the scary, pointy, dangerous, forbidden, or insane items. I'm a little alarmed to discover I've been going to Walmart with a giant flipping bowie knife in my backpack. I'm pretty sure that's illegal, for one thing, hello! The laws are different everywhere but generally you can't carry a knife more than about six inches long unless you're out in the woods and vouched for by a dead deer.

I mean, honestly.

Anyway my bag is much more innocuous now. And not surprisingly: much lighter.

Today I keep thinking about how Anglo-Saxons described people as having one head, two arms, two sides, two legs, and so on. Two sides. We don't think of our sides as body parts so much. I probably would have said "one torso" or something like that. But I will tell you, right now my sides are lit up in neon from the coughing. It's hard coughing, kind of uncontrollable, so all the muscles in my sides and chest and back are very sore, symmetrically. Two sides. Maybe the Anglo-Saxons coughed as much as I'm doing right now. When were chimneys invented?

Lithuanian has a dual case! I just discovered Lithuanian is sort of a modern living fossil of Indo-European! Anglo-Saxon had a dual case but it was dying out by the time we got all the writing we still read. Now I'm all fired up to learn Lithuanian, with all of its outrageous number of cases and tenses and things. They have the aorist! They have like three locatives! So great!

There's a Leverage episode that hinges on some guys arguing in Spanish about whether something is "in the car" or "inside the car," thinking it was one, then finding out it's the other. One would be on the back seat, but the other would be in the chassis, see? I love it that this argument happens in Spanish and is about this distinction as it happens in the Spanish language. Awesome.

They are very good at casting Russians with people who have this one particular Slavic white/Asian look, do you know the look I mean? It's something I honestly never even knew existed until this show kept casting people with this look. Of course I keep thinking about it because of Bronze Age migrations, naturally! Everything comes back to Bronze Age migrations. Unless it comes back to paleolithic and neolithic writing systems. But that's all one obsession, really. I keep trying to figure out who went where when and where they came from and what language roots they had and what writing systems they used.

It's perfectly reasonable when you think about it.

Culture can stay in place even when populations move, but other times culture moves with the populations. Which is why you'll find me staring at language roots and migration paths and hunting for cultural clues that have withstood multiple layers of migration and colonization. Like place names. This area of Maine is totally full of place names like Sedgeumkedunk and Penobscot and all that. But on top of it is names like Calais and Hancock that show where the people came from who moved in.

So I look at maps and look for patterns of root words and distributions. Oh yes I do! Especially along the Danube.

Some people build ships in bottles! Some people read Reddit!

So I was exceedingly excited to learn about Lithuanian and its crazy living fossil existence. I must immediately study it and learn learn learn! I was struck immediately with how Indo-European rooty it is, and then realized, oh, of course, they derived Indo-European roots from Lithuanian, duh. There are certain patterns of vowels and a lot of z and dh and so on.

I do love my Dictionary of Indo-European Roots. More than one person has tried to buy it from me. Nope! Mine!

Anyway, today was the day I got to feeling better finally, after being knocked flat for a week. Hurray! Not 100% yet, still coughing a lot, and I talk like a frog, but I got the dishwasher emptied, washed the rest of the dishes, did some cleaning up and tidying up, found and paid all the bills (which was like one bill, but it took a LOT of finding--it was in a tote bag underneath my library books) and set up autopay for everything. That kind of thing. Cleaned the vile kitchen counters. Took out the trash. Sorted the recycling. Found the thread. I was going to sort it in color order as usual but hit the wall right about there.

I do have a LIST, though. I have a blue whiteboard (shhhh) about five by eleven inches, with its own little marker in a holder on the top. I'm knocking things down, bang, bang! Very satisfying. I might have to fall asleep soon, though. I was going to drag the tv out and watch Community but it might have to wait. 

It's sort of extra exciting taking the dog out now because a) it's 16 degrees and b) yesterday's sleety snow froze into a slick ice coating on the deck. It is useless to remind dogs of the layer of ice on the deck! You can say, "Watch out for the ice or you'll fall on your cute little fuzzy butt!" and he will still dash out the door and slide around and fall on his cute little fuzzy butt. Fortunately he's like five inches off the ground so he doesn't fall far.

The days of shoveling a path for the dog are coming fast. Possibly tomorrow. We're getting a storm of some kind. How big? How bad? How much? Don't know! There's fuel oil and propane so I'm not too worried. Also half a turkey. Jeez, food is gross when you can't taste or smell. I had chips and salsa tonight just to experience a flavor. And guacamole that was half onion. I actually ate onion sandwiches last week, hoping they would clear out the breathing apparatus. Nope! They sure are good, though. I love an onion sandwich.

Yes, I was IN LOVE with the book Jennifer, Hecate, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, when I was that age. And I still have a copy. Two copies. It's a really good book, okay? Onion sandwiches are super good.

I'm burning my bayberry candles down to the socket as required by family myth. I think it was supposed to be finished on Christmas, but I didn't remember to light them until about 5:00. And then I couldn't find my butane lighter anywhere. Then I couldn't make it light. Today I found the butane and filled it up, but it's still acting very iffy. You click it on and it only makes a flame for a second. So I had to click it on about seventeen times to light a candle with it. Then I remembered where all the matches are: in the round nut brown container, on my work station ladder bookcase. In other words, right in front of my eyes for most of the daylight hours of every single day.

There's another lighter in the box of incense, but where is that? NO IDEA. I may never find half this stuff in this house. Seriously. It's bad. I'm just going to have to wait until I can fully unpack. Unacceptable but oh well.

It was very funny when I was running all over, trying to find matches or lighters or anything that would start a fire, even my survivalist firestarter stone, wherever THAT is, with the magnesium or whatever on it that you shave off. Because the whole time, there was a blazing fire in the fireplace, but it's a gas fire--you can't get at it. So I would run around and then stop and stare at the fire, trying to figure out a way to light candles from it, then decide I couldn't, then run around and search hopelessly through fezzes for matches, lighters, or firestarters. Repeat.

I felt like a disgrace to our neolithic ancestors, who could start a fire any day of the week with a bow drill. I know how to do that! I did not go that far, though. Anyway I'd probably use my more recent ancestor's drill that goes left right left. Um. Do you know what I mean? Round handle on top, then it goes straight down, then makes a right angle out, then a right angle down, then a right angle in again, then back to straight down. You hold the top and put a drill bit in the bottom and turn it around with the middle piece. Yes?

What on earth is that called???

A hand drill!

Yes! So I did not get as far as starting a fire with this kind of drill, since I had an actual fire already going IN THE ROOM. But the possibility was out there. Just so we're clear.

That is a very cool invention, by the way. To put a bend in a straight pole and be able to turn it? That is super smart. Don't you think we're still going to invent things that clever and seemingly obvious that we just haven't thought up yet? I do!

Wonderful sharp and pointy things.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Making a list

I really like living in a room that has a whole wall of windows. And a giant tall ceiling that goes to a point in the middle. It's a big square room with almost no walls made of walls. It's all space and doorways and windows and the fireplace, with one corner of walls where all my boxes of books are still stacked up.

I'm making a list of optimal housing traits, based not just on this place, but on everywhere previous. That's a long list of places I've lived.

Things my house needs to have:

wall of windows
gas fireplace (natural or propane, doesn't matter)
body of water outside
extremely minimal neighborage
quiet
DSL

No wonder I'm happiest in a vacation home on the ocean. But then again, who wouldn't be?

There was this Icelandic man screaming about how the super short days mean he has to spend an hour a day under ultra-violent light. Yes. He said that. I think he meant ultraviolet, though. Yesterday I woke up at 2:00 and it got dark by 4:00 so I started looking up the effects you get from those artificial don't go crazy from the short days lights. But apparently my wall of windows has the same effect. Tons of natural light! No worries!

Getting off that medication was rough for a little while and then became TOTALLY AWESOME. It turns out it was making me super agitated. And now I'm not! At all! Not agitated at all! Not anxious, really, either. Like I'm all mellowed out and able to do stuff like:

sit in a chair and read a book!
work on a puzzle for so long that the dog comes to get me and makes me stop!
cook fancy meals!
not eat!
go for walks!
write things!

I didn't know it would be this awesome or I'd have done it a long time ago. I'm thrilled. Thrilled! It's like happiness in a lack of pill! And just...mellowness. Calm. In other words, my own usual self. I remember you!

Yesterday I sorted out a lot of the mess in the basement, then sorted my sock drawer, finally. After I moved I just dumped all the socks in there. Dear oh dear. I put the Vlogbrothers on my phone and watched a couple of videos while matching up and organizing all my socks. And now: order. Yay!

The basement is not 100% orderly and I still haven't found the putty knife, which I need to pry the last of that horrible veneer off the cedar chest. It's probably stuck somewhere strange, since it was one of the last things I used before moving. I may never get quite unpacked here. I'm only here for 5.5 more months after all. Heck, it's nearly time to start packing again.

Last night it rained rocks and this morning there were shoals of sleet all around the house. The lobstermen were out in it, brrr. They came back and leaned their rowboat on a tree, which is driving me a little nuts. Lay it flat! But the tide was super high and there wasn't room. Also I bet that boat is an awful lot heavier than I think it is. I was making raisin toast and watched the whole thing from the kitchen. I mean, I did say, "Not on the tree!" but only inside my kitchen, so they didn't hear me.

They made the barge disappear. Where did they take it? How did they get it there? So many mysteries. I miss a lot by not being in the kitchen all day long. Now it's just the two fishing boats and the open motorboat tied out there, with the two rowboats on the shore.

I think I decided to take between Christmas and New Year's Day completely OFF. I have work to do but it's going to be outside those boundaries. I never, ever take actual time off. Also I'm super sick which helped motivate me, heh. So instead of racing around and doing every possible thing like building those bookcases and sewing dresses and baking pumpkin pie and going to Other Acadia to walk the dog, I'm pretty much taking it easy.

Oh, I got the bronchitis. It's not too bad. I mean, I don't have a high fever or anything and the cough is annoying and gaggy but not too painful. It's only on the right side. Honestly, it could be much worse.

I'm busy obsessing about the paleolithic and neolithic civilizations of Europe and the near east and figuring out their symbology and scripts, anyway. I'm nearly done with Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age and then I can move on to this book about the Sea Peoples that I got myself. Ooh!

Also, of course my Dictionary of Indo-European Roots is one of my treasured possessions, but I really wish I had a comparable dictionary of Finno-Ugaric roots because that would really help. And I want to learn some Parsi and Sumerian vocabulary. Even just knowing the most basic words helps enormously with pattern recognition. Give me some 3x5 cards cut in half or in quarters and a pen and some word lists and I'll have flash cards and learn them up.

It's just a puzzle that I keep working on in my back of my mind, sliding pieces around and seeing if something will click. I need more pieces, though, see?

I keep wanting to call the lobstermen the Sea Peoples.

It did occur to me that a wall of windows with a body of water outside could describe *a boat* but I like having the water over there where I can see it and potentially can go away from it, on walks, among trees and blueberry bushes and things like that. It's true I'm itching to get out on the cove in a boat, but when it's warmer out, for sure.

Candy canes are exactly perfect for a nasty cough. Also the Tiffany Aching books by Terry Pratchett. I'm not saying I'm going to start them over again after I've read all five, but it's a definite possibility. Very very very good books!

Time for more tea. Isn't life cheerful and undramatic like this? I know! Reminds me of, you know, basically ALL OF IT, except the past year. Ha ha! Awesome! Oh yeah, I have a painting I'm working on, too. Yippee!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Break!

I'm on my break! Sort of! I mean I am, I'm officially on my break. Two weeks of doing things that are not my usual work things but other things, some of them for work. Though today I worked as normal anyway because I have to get it done because of other stuff coming up that will overlap and conflict.

Things to do! Lots of things! To do! I'm enjoying great swaths of sloth, though, have no fear.

I am just terrible at sloth, heh. I have plans. I want to sew some more jumpers like the ones I made that I wear all the time. I'm thinking of some shorter ones, too. Hmm. Might be good! The long ones are good for my freezing drafty house where the wind and the *actual rain* blow right through the windows. They're replacing those windows but I don't know when.

Yes, as in: I wonder what the dripping noise is and then discover that rain is pouring in. It's not even a window that opens, so it's not like it's not shut properly. Ha! Cups of water. Raining into the house. Through the window frames.

I keep on meaning to make Christmas cookies, to the point where the butter has been on the counter for days, but then oh, I'm reading a book, or cleaning (pre-sister visit) or working on my puzzle of a snowy cabin by a creek.

We are having NO SNOW. It's tons of rain (as mentioned) and just a little bit of snow that doesn't last long here and there. I want snow. I mean, not on days when I have to drive anywhere or anything like that, though. But other times! Pretty, picturesque snow! Okay, I want the scenic kind of snow and not the annoying kind. Really it's ridiculous to have rain at Christmas, though. The ground isn't even frozen. What the heck?

We are all going to bake and croak, I'm afraid, planet Earth. It is not good out there. This feels all armageddony to me, unfortunately, much like last summer's unbearable heat and fires in Oregon, which is now underwater. I guess they got over their drought, ha ha!

It used to start snowing in October. The bulbs are blooming. Bulbs in the ground!

I saw it's supposed to be 70 in New York. That's proportional to how much hotter it is here than it should be. It's 45-50 lately and should be about zero to twenty, maybe.

Not sure what I can do about it except not commute, which I've already got under control, so yay for that!

I had a totally fun visit with my sister but she made killer margaritas and I'm still recovering from those a little bit. Woo! Goodness. I am a total lightweight. I made our mom's recipe of chicken enchiladas and boy was that ever good. Finished the last of it for lunch today. Stupidly good food, mmmmmmm.

I'm going to get my work work done tomorrow and my other job done this week and then hopefully will take all of next week to do this other writing project, if I can. Where is my energy? At? I thought I'd be diving into everything that I've been waiting for time to do. But instead it's like Olympic slacking around here. Oh well!

That is my lack of news. I walk the dog! I drink my tea! I consider vacuuming up the great clouds of black fur that my sister's dog left behind! But then I don't! Snuggling ensues! I'm on break!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Impossible!

Apparently the impossible is not as impossible as I thought. We shall see. I have been doing scary things like calling up mortgage lenders and whatnot. At some point I really have to get inside that house and see what it's like, how it feels, beyond the hideous wallpaper and unfinished renovations.

Seriously, I'm thinking about wallpaper steamers and where you rent them. Actually I think I know. Sunbelt? Is that the name of it? I used to rent things from there for a place I worked.

This town, man. I was thinking about neighbors on that road for obvious reasons and the I was like, "Oh yeah, Sheila's son lives up the way and does snow plowing." She trained me at one job. And her husband is the guy who fixes small engines for me and my brother. And remember I bought my generator from my current landlady's brother.

I got in touch with someone I worked with back at the casino who is from that town to ask whether there was anything weird or ooky about that house, but she hadn't heard anything. Good to know! Actually I should bug her brother, who has done construction with his dad's company (down the road from this house) for many years and knows all the insider scoop on this sort of thing.

Or I'll ask her to ask him.

I told the mortgage lender lady about my old landlord kind of as a reference since I rented from him for 3.5 years and of course she totally knows him, so that's good.

I have no idea whether any of this will lead to anything whatsoever, but I was out running errands in Bangor yesterday and went to see the bunnies and talked to my brother about the whole deal and he was basically like, Just get the ball rolling, and then you'll know. What! Do a thing to find out whether I can do the thing? That's crazy talk!

Presumably at some point I'll have to produce pay records and tax records and whatnot. I should probably find my box of paperwork. But I can print probably almost everything off the computer.

Guess what else? I got overwhelmed yesterday, between the actual house possibility and the giant new information thing and worrying about this other thing (but I asked and got it fixed and all is well) and buying a plane ticket for school and visiting the old vet for my dog and getting info on where to board them. Yes. It overwhelmed me.

And then I fell down. Twice! Once I landed weird half on a chair and reinjured that old spot where my friend Richard hugged me so hard he busted two or three ribs off the cartilage on my sternum. It gets costachondritis and now it has it again. I laid away yesterday forever whimpering with pain. At least I figured out what it was and stopped worrying I was having a pulmonary embolism or something.

And then today I fell crossing the creek on the beach. I had a cup of tea in my hand, too, but only spilled a little into the creek. I smashed up my knee pretty good, in a bloody mashed up kind of way. Not cut, but smashed. And got all bruised up on hands and knees and elbows.

I got the dangly icicle lights put up yesterday, hurray! Now I get to hang up my lovely sparkly glass ornaments that my godparents always give me. I only hang them on the string of lights because there is far too much kitty disaster peril down here on earth. And they are SO pretty up there! And some big sparkly snowflakes.

Another thing I did yesterday that I think wigged me out was make a list of everything I have to do, so I could cross things off. But instead looking at three pages of things to do just made everything completely too much. Even though it's not, honestly.

Operation finally replace the frakking evil corsetry that's been persecuting me is underway! The first options arrived today. One is all stiff and itchy and the other is perfect but not far enough around. So I ordered another one farther around. Soon I will have proper delightful supportive comfortable corsetry! It'll be so nice!

I don't know timelines on things like house buying or whatever. How does that work? Like should I be thinking about getting ready? I imagine these things take time but what do I know.

Maybe I can get in there this weekend or early next week. UGH, driving all that way. It's not that it's so far, but the route is narrow and congested. Also my car needs fixing so I can stop breathing exhaust, which is unhealthy, dude.

I have to nail 24 slider things onto the feet of my dining room chairs so I can get up from the table. And do, like, a million other things. I am jitterbugging. My sister is coming in a week so I need to get her room put back together and cleaned up as well as cleaning everything else. Jitterbugging out! This is *with* xanax, too, so be afraid.

Do one thing, then cross it off. Do another thing, cross it off. I've got it. And I have the most interesting and glorious work to do, very mentally engaging, very cool indeed, so that helps a lot. I can really focus on that stuff. I did a ton of it last night while being insomniacal in the extreme.

No more falling down. That alarms me. Because of falling down patterns in the past. It's been gone for quite a while now, almost a year, so I would like it to stay away forever. No more of that! It is hazardous to tea and knees. And sternum cartilage.

Oooooooh, I love decorating for Christmas SO MUCH!!!!!!! Eeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Wait until I start baking gingerbread people and sugar cookies in the shapes of stars and trees and bunnies and snowflakes and such! And decorating them with icing and sprinkles and all that! Wheeeeeeeeeee! So fun!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Slightly caught up, but not really at all

Oh, poor internet, I have neglected you terribly! I am so sorry. I seem to have an absolutely insane number of things to do every day. I did get mostly caught up with one of them today, as caught up as I can possibly be, which is a great feeling. But that just reminds me that I have umpteen million stacks of things to do in all these other areas.

Because dreams are good to have (I just rewatched Tangled, because I just visited my mom, ha ha!) I've been looking at houses for sale. I am in no way even remotely situated to buy a house, let it be stressed. Like, I have no deposit, just for starters. But I like looking because of education and starting early and learning things and so on.

I accidentally found the perfect house yesterday and told my brother and he said, "Jump on it!" because it's a really good deal in a perfect spot and costs $69,000. Unlike on the street where I'm renting now, where houses go for 1.5 million actual dollarses. And then some are shacks, too. It's quite a mixed street. I like it. There is an actual falling down shack two doors down from me, and lots of tiny little houses heated with wood stoves along the way, and then plenty of medium normal houses, and then ludicrously gigantic mansions.

There's a total tumbledown hovel for sale "as is" (alarming) for $40,000 up on a different road a ways but it is deeply unprepossessing to say the least. There's a mystifying pile of children's bikes and ladders in the driveway. The house is not cleaned out. Where are the people? Why didn't they take their ladders and bikes? What on earth is the story there? Why do I suspect it involves blood spatter?

The perfect one was built in 1899 and apparently someone has been flailing about trying to fix it up but has failed. Like, there's a bathroom that they totally didn't manage to put in but all the stuff is there and comes with. Okay!

The biggest employer over by where I used to live went under, so a lot of people got laid off and moved away and foreclosed upon and it's a giant property free for all. I can't even believe how many houses are for sale over there.

Anyway that's where the perfect house is. I shouldn't even call it that. I've seen it a million times but never really stopped and gave it an assessing stare, know what I mean?

It's glorious to imagine getting to peel off wallpaper (why, people, why? wallpaper is like being hit on the head repeatedly) and paint things and rip out horrible old carpets and lay down floors and get an antique bathtub with feet and put that in there and be terrified of the ancient basement made of actual rocks and go adopt kids to put into the kids' rooms and have bookcases and family and stuff. I know! Right? Can't you picture it?

You can only get into the basement from a little shed entrance outside. As it should be! Basements, brrrrr.

Mmmm, dream house. I sure like thinking about it!

Meanwhile my wee rental house is fantastic. It's more or less whacked into shape. Okay, I lied, not really. I mean I'm not unpacked by any stretch of the imagination. At all. I keep making big bunches of progress, like getting the laundry room cleaned up and moving the tools in there, but then I still haven't found my *washcloths* for crying out loud. I had to buy new ones weeks ago. Washcloths! Where are they?

I'm going to unpack the fabric into this empty dresser in the freezing cold sewing room. It has a faulty sliding door. Actually the carpenter is supposed to come by soon to replace the sliding door and I think all of the giant windows in the one big room, the main room. The room where my office is, and the dining room table, and the couch, and the writing chair, and the tv. The room where it happens!

Sorry, I got the Hamilton soundtrack for my horrible drive for Thanksgiving, should have been 13 hours, was more like 15 or 16 due to traffic and disasters (not mine), slept in a rest area, then spent my time there sleeping on a couch. Urgh, physically disastrous trip for me, haven't been right in the back/hips/knees since then from all the awkward and painful sitting and sleeping arrangements.

I guess I've only been back a week and a bit. Catching up from being away was also horrific and exhausting. Oh my goodness gracious me.

And the nightmares! Do not vacation with your lifelong abuser! That is a poor choice. They've faded out now, but I had a week of the worst nightmares, ugh, horrible. Nightmares and night terrors, both. Not good. I took some of the dreadful pills to help with it but the side effects are awful. Anyway I had to make all my phone calls Friday and Monday so I have to take the xanax for those or I won't do them, so apparently that fixed my wagon. Yucky!

I got most of the chocolate and liquor required for the holidays. Except I need those little foil wrapped Hershey chocolate balls. I have to get those! I couldn't find them in Walmart at all. This gigantic fancy Walmart, seriously, I need a map. And the raisins are not near the nuts. Why? Why are the raisins by the coffee and tea? It makes no sense. I don't even eat raisins and it drives me crazy.

I got slidy feet for the dining room chairs because if I have fuzzy socks on (as always) I can't get traction to move my chair back from the table and I'm stuck. Don't laugh, it's happened many times already! I end up shoving the table away to stand up, which is just silly. Friction!

I finally got my Christmas tree out of the basement today. Baby steps! I haven't fluffed up the branches yet, never mind decorating or anything. Ooh but I got a wreath and hung it on the fireplace. Looks so great! And a swag for the door. Swag!

I feel like such a muttonhead, being unable to get everything done EVER. No catching up at any time! So much to do that I just want to lie around staring at the walls! Like, Christmas shopping? Must fall semiconscious and horizontal amongst the pillows and blankets!

This R2 unit has a bad motivator. I seriously need to figure out how to get myself moving. I might even try drinking coffee. IT'S SERIOUS. I am doing a whole lot of work, but I'm also doing a whole lot of nothing, and doing nothing makes me angry and anxious. It's not fun or refreshing for me. It just makes me mad. Because I'm not getting anything done *and* I'm not enjoying it! Like procrastination, I guess. A miserable experience!

Coffee it is. Thanks, internet, you're such a good listener!

I did get the standing desk set up this week. I just could not sit another day. Sitting murders my back and my knees. Apparently I push my feet way way back under the chair, which puts maximum stretch and pressure on my knees and strains my lower back extra hard too. Let's not!

The very worst thing is carrying anything down into the basement, going down stairs with weight. Oh my heavenly days. I really damaged my knees with this move, I'm not kidding. I hope they can recover, that's all.

Standing helps, also ibuprofin, walks, not sitting, and knee braces. Jiminy.

Also I'm officially old as of today because I had to ask this nice woman in Walmart to read a label for me. I didn't have my glasses with me! And then tonight I went back to my stupid trifocals because I need the middle distance part for my laptop. I can't see the middle distance with my new glasses because they're only for close up. And then I get a major headache and eye strain from trying to type anything. Awesome.

Old! Old and creaky! And I have to find a new place to move to for June. Unless some kind of miracle falls down from the sky it won't be the perfect house, but you never know, I suppose?

I wonder what presents the yard there would come up with? Remember how my old yard in that town used to produce presents for me all the time? Model T license plates, many whetstones, all sorts of springs and coils and gigantic bolts and things?

It's funny, I looked at my old yard on Google and you can see the path I cut around the field as well as my garden. So either the next person kept the garden and mowed that same path (it wasn't there until I put it there) or their image is several years old. I wonder which?

Now I want to look at the aerial view of every place I've ever lived and see if I can see any of the marks I made on the landscape.

Mostly I kind of want to shake myself and get some FOCUS so I can get this project I've been working on all semester finished up and put together into something gloriously publishable so that someone can give me a nice advance for it and I can buy my perfect house! Hello!

Actually I just read Valerie Laken's novel Dream House, which is kind of a nightmare house and things do not go well, but that is coincidental, and oh my, amazingly well written! Glorious writing! Miserable people one and all, but that's normal for contemporary fiction. Jeez. It's so funny, I feel much more capable of tackling home renovation after reading this book. I should actually watch how to videos instead of constantly rewatching Leverage on Netflix. How to hang drywall. How to lay flooring. How to tile. How to do all of this when your knees feel like they've been hit with sledgehammers, ha ha.

I get to see niece and nephew and brother all the time, yay yay yay, like for walks in the woods and lunch and stuff like that. So great! On this last hike, little nephew held my hand walking through the woods and told me he wished I could come live with them and be part of their family. Bawwwww! Little niece is the best ever, too. My golly. GOOD CHOICE, self! The bunnies!




Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cozy on the cove

For a while there I was calling it "Squalor by the Sea" because holy goodness was there ever a mess. To be honest, there still is a mess. It's messy. I'm working on it! Try moving into a place that's already furnished *and* full of stuff some time. Like, the closets are full of pillows and blankets. The cupboards were full of dishes and stuff. I had to pack everything to clear any space to unpack anything.

Also it was truly quite grody, in the not very clean sense. I've cleaned lots, but since then my kitty has been busy barfing in exciting new locations for me to find each day.

This morning--true story--I went and opened the curtains and said, "Maybe nobody barfed today!" and *as I said that* stepped in kitty barf. Woe! And then hopped across the house to the bathroom going "Yuck! Gross! So gross! Why is everything so gross!?"

The trip here was the most grossest trip ever. Like, I don't know why, but everything just went maximum disgusting wherever possible. I had brought some string cheese and cashew butter and carrots, for example. The carrots went evil and leaked sickly sweet rotten carrot juice over everything. The cashew butter leaked gross oil all over everything. And the string cheese turned wet and vile and rotten and disgusting. And that was just one bag of food.

Kitty managed to kick litter over everything, and also track wet litter prints on everything. I mean, wet from the litter. Are you following? Ew. We all slept in the truck, which meant it got damp and steamy from all the breathing, even with windows open. Then of course it rained, the dog got diarrhea, and I threw up on the comforter one night while choking on a piece of plastic inhaled from my inhaler. Awesome!

I told you it was gross. SO GROSS.

I washed and washed everything. I'm only using the comforter for the first time today. And I've been here what, nearly two weeks? It was a little off-putting.

Oh plus I was on the road from Monday to Sunday without a shower. Ha ha! With lots of on-the-road soapy sponge baths and whatnot but still.

I loved our truck, but BOY was I glad to get out of it. Also it was 26 feet long, a massive diesel truck with two steps up into the cab. Which if you're keeping track means how many times a day I had to lift my dog up to a seat the level of my head? Oh my. He weighs 45 pounds.

My house is beeping now. I love my house! But it is somewhat gross, as mentioned! Mold, dirt, grime. It needs a scrubbing to the bone. Once I can get to it. I mean, physically, as well as time-wise. It's beeping because I bought a UPS power backup unit today, because the place is wired boneheadedly such that the internet goes out every time a piece of machinery starts up. That means: dishwasher, fridge, microwave, sump pump, well pump, oil burner, water heater, water softener, and some mysterious "concrete" system that I don't even know what it does.

Something starts up, usually of its own volition, and the power dips dramatically. I mean, the lights dim a lot and the dog wakes up. And then the modem and the router restart and I have to log into my work phone again. Dozens of times a day. Now we have the UPS unit so instead it just beeps a lot every time the power dips. Or surges. Sometimes it surges.

It needs an electrician. I suspect something is amiss! Yes I am an ace detective.

Anyway. Today I tackled the bedroom at last, which has been stacks of fezzes and an awkwardly placed bed and piles of bags and who even knows. It has eaten many of my socks, though. Where do they go? I got everything hauled and moved and rotated and put in place. And now I'm sitting on the bed writing my NaNo (or I was) with the dog and cat sacked out on the very very clean comforter cover. And the dishwasher whirring away and making the power go dim every so often.

Ooh, plus I had hot chocolate with little marshmallows. Went to the store today! I got everything for Thanksgiving except cranberries, because I forgot. I haven't even decided whether I'm going to the Enchanted Forest for Thanksgiving.

Well, I have a mechanical issue, namely that the car has a tremendous exhaust leak that fills the car with exhaust. Unhealthy! And for people, too! I have to keep all three windows that work open when I'm driving from here to the nearest town. That is clearly unsustainable in this state, also. Moose are gonna be sticking their big droopy noses in the windows! Moose!

Anyway I don't think I can drive thirteen hours each way with the windows open. I know, supposedly I could go out and get it fixed, but I find that even more overwhelming than imagining getting some exhaust piping and fixing it myself. Which I can't do because you have to weld that stuff. I do not weld.

So I might ask the reasonably friendly lobsterman who is always outside my window who he recommends for car repairs nearby. Urgh.... Though actually, maybe he welds. Hey!

We'll see.

The fourth window goes down but not up, so I don't use that one. In the car.

My house! It's one big room, my very favorite way for a house to be. With a wee little kitchen off the south wall of the main room, a tiny little bathroom next to that, and three bedrooms of various sizes off the west wall. There's the most gigantic deck around two sides and a small yard and the vast and gigantic Atlantic Ocean just spitting distance away, down a slope of giant rocks. There's a little path through the vetch where the dog and I can go down to the rocky beach and go snooping around the mussels and clams and seaweed. It's FLIPPING AWESOME.

The road is super quiet and everyone waves as they go by, when there's anyone going by, which is rare. We've walked all the way down to the end of the road, where you can see Mount Desert Island off lumping across the bay. It's so close! If I walk down our beach around the point like two houses down, I can see it.

I absolutely love this area. It's an island, though nobody seems to think of it as one, because one side is a smallish river. But if you can paddle your kayak around it, then it's an island, hello. I am in love with this island is what I'm saying.

The house feels like a ship, not just because of the ocean and the decks, but because the basement is full of all that machinery plugging away of its own accord. I have determined to imagine Scottie down there running all of it, so that it doesn't make me anxious. Anyway those power surges and dips are so Enterprisey! What's next, something wrong with the transporter or the holodeck?

I have lobstermen instead of Klingons.

What else? Oh! NaNoWriMo! I'm doing it. It's so hard not to stop! I always get all exhausted and want to quit, like every single day. Especially since I have school due a week from tomorrow and I am not NEARLY done with any of it. Holy goodness. Well, I'll have to get cracking! Things to do! Things to get done! And then the landlady announced she's coming over Saturday, so I really have to finish tidying up and vacuum and also get the carpet cleaner out, ew.

It's a huge relief to have the bedroom mostly knocked into shape, I tell you what. That was not restful. I have boxes of books picked out for the bookcases. And the rest piled into a wall behind the comfy chair. La la la, pay no attention to the wall of boxes of books!

I'm insanely super tired all the time and then perform massive herculean feats of box flinging and fez heaving and dragging all kinds of things downstairs. I've been fighting closing eyes since about 6:00 tonight. But that might be partly carbon monoxide from the car. Hey, I should bring my carbon monoxide detector out there with me! That is bad, bad, bad, bad stuff. And it takes forever to get out of your system. Ugh! Must get car fixed.

I found all sorts of ludicrous items that I'd forgotten about from Before The Move, like a mustard yellow sweater dress? Where on earth? I mean I know, Value Village, it was probably three dollars, but honestly, what possessed me? I will look like a corn dog in that dress. Warm though. A nice warm corn dog!

It really is amazingly cold in this house already, by which I suppose I mean drafty, because it's not that cold temperature wise. But you get super cold sitting still. Dress warmly! I wear my gigantic slipper boots all the time and shamble around like Sweetums from the Muppet Show.

One of these days I'll get my pictures moved over here so you can see all the amazing gorgeousness and beauty and ahhhh! But today is not that day. Thank you hot chocolate for that second wind that allowed me to type this out! And now I must join the dog and cat in horizontality, now that the dishwasher has stopped setting off the UPS beeping every few minutes. Not restful, house! Calm yourself down! Shhhhhhhh.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tick tock

Closing out various things, like tabs, but in real life. It's great!

I keep forgetting the existence of my day bed when dithering over the red couch. I have a day bed! It is a couch! A couch where you can sit cross-legged, which is not the case with most couches, in my experience--yet this is what I want a couch for. Tricky, eh?

Also it has those walls on three sides, which is like a medieval box bed. That of course makes me very happy. In addition, it is easily roofed. Aha!

Red couch. It's okaaaaaaay. But inessential.

We'll see.

Hi! I'm working like a crazy thing over here, doing job and school and packing. And I got this awesome extra thing to read and think about this weekend, so that's super fun. It happened to hit a bunch of my favorite ancient and medieval literary tropes, so it was a little like uncorking the volcano around here for a while, in a scholarship sense. Very cool. And gave me MUCH insight for my spring project.

I have to dig in more and work to finish this big rewrite for next week, which is not next week but the week after. I never know what week anything is and always think it's sooner than it is. Which it isn't!

Tried to explain to dog park buddies that I'm hard to help with packing because I'm super uptight about how everything gets loaded into the truck. It has to go a certain way or it won't all fit, because of stacking issues. Some things can go on top of others. Some cannot be underneath. Some cannot be on top. See what I mean? It's a puzzle I've been doing in my head for two months already.

Anyway I don't think I'm super good company when loading the truck, and my dog will be spazzing out. But I suppose it would be handy in case I have a heart attack. Not that I plan to! But oh, my chest and these panic attacks. Very funny, human body, making panic have the same symptoms as a heart attack.

If my doctor wasn't such an awful human being, I'd probably go get it checked. I don't have any cheese or meat 98% of the time! How could I possibly have issues like that? I mean! What?

I started researching treadmills for when I'm stuck inside the house on the ocean for nine months. I seriously think it's a good plan to get one, even if I just walk on it, though I fully plan on running, starting slow and short (of course) and moving up gradually.

It's awesome to knock down this and that last thing every day. Done, done, done. That's a great feeling. I have an actual list on a dry erase board, in case my memory falls out, of course!

I'll be fine once we're on the road. Honestly. And this time I'll make sure to take the batteries out of the alarm clock and the hair clippers so the dog can't set them both off thirty seconds away from home and lose his tiny mind over the noise. Though that was very funny in retrospect.

Right! Time for rice. Mmm, jasmine rice. I'm nearly out, which is great. I love when things run out all at the same time. I made that delicious cold sesame noodle thing and as usual was totally allergic to it, because as usual I forgot that I'm totally allergic to some of the ingredients (sriracha and rice vinegar) so I ended up on benadryl last night with a red and welty face. But the point of that was, the peanut butter is almost gone! Hurray! And the jam! And I ran out of sesame oil! Hurray!

Ideally my last meal here would consume the last of the food, but I don't think it's going to come out quite that neat. If I make a big pan of refried black beans, though, it might. Use up all those cans of beans. I can do that! Today would be ideal. Mmmmmm.

It's going to be amazing to stick just about everything into the basement and forget about it. And then gradually realize that I can get rid of a lot of that stuff, right?

My row of giant fezzes full of stuff: lots of them are kitchen things, two sewing/fabric, three tools and hardware, one stuffed bunnies, one Christmas, one baskets etc., and so on. Like, normal life stuff, only with more bunnies. Oh and I think three or four are clothes. Dude, I got rid of everything in the clothes department! It's amazing.

Rice! Right. Got to eat. Don't you want pumpkin pie right about now? I sure do. I will be unpacking the pie plates soon after I arrive and making myself some pie!

In other words, the usual! Carry on!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Drum solo!

Let me just start by saying I have big anxiety, I know it! I have panic attacks! It's a known thing.

Lately my heart keeps going kerflippity thumpity thump, like hiccuping while falling down the stairs. And although I know perfectly well it's probably just stress and panic and all that, even though actually it just seems to happen when I'm not particularly flipping out, I have this weird conviction that instead of mistaking a panic attack for a heart attack, I'm doing the opposite. What?

I might go get it checked out. But probably not. I think it's just little drum solos. It feels weird, though! I can feel it coming on and then there's a pause and the bumpity bump and then back to normal.

I'm a little bit of a stress bunny lately, too true, too true.

Ooh, I just figured out how to do the latte colored paint thing. See, I have stuff in the way of a lot of the places where I need to dab a dot of latte paint on a spackled up screw hole. But I don't want to wait. And I don't want to do it twice. But I have all these jars! I will stir the paint in its giant bucket, then extract it somehow into a jar, then close up the jar tightly. That way I can do a bunch of it now and the last of it later.

I know! Brilliant! I've been working on this problem in my head since yesterday when I discovered the latte paint is in five gallon buckets. Yowza! I hope I can get that sucker open.

I totally want to bake oatmeal cookies. Or maybe bars. Bars are less work *and* you get lots more inside and less edge. Toothless people like the inside better. I have no earthly idea why I got two pounds of butter last week unless I really was planning ahead to bake cookies without telling myself. Possibly! I may have just forgotten. Oatmeal cookies are perfect to take on the road, see. Mmm.

I'm nearly out of everything, which is awesome. Today I get to take all of the things out of the fezzes so I can wash and then pack the fezzes. So, for instance, rice. Into a ziplock bag.

Two weeks. I'm a little bit of a basket case, but not too bad. For my own personal basket range, I mean. Mostly I just keep wondering whether I can afford to zoom off to Crater Lake before I move. Like, I absolutely want to, but they closed off part of it last weekend and this weekend for bikers and hikers, which is awesome, but I want to drive around and look at everything, not get stuck somewhere. Also, snow! I believe there's snow on the ground there now.

Trying to get myself organized to drive to Crater Lake in the midst of finishing packing and doing all my school work and my job work is a pretty massive undertaking. I always feel like ongoing work is sort of like a fire in the fireplace, like you can't just run off and leave it. You have to stay and take care of it! Which probably needs to be addressed psychologically in some way, heh.

In sum, I could really use a day OUT OF MY HOUSE, which is all full of WORK and SCHOOL and PACKING in every direction I look, especially before my workload doubles next week. So let's try really super hard to make this happen tomorrow, eh? Okay!


Paint

I'm painting the spots I spackled. It seems like I must have had white walls everywhere until now because I don't think I've ever had to deal with this before. And I am a master spackler, an avid spackler, have putty knife, will spackle. But most of this house is a kind of latte color except the rooms I painted blue and the creamy one in the back.

The blue and creamy ones are now touched up. Fantastic! I love how the marks just disappeared. Holes became spackled splotches became smooth sanded spots became nothing whatsoever. Smooooooooth.

I might wait to touch up the latte walls. Or I might not, come to think of it, since they're going to do a walk through at some point. Oh! I pushed the truck. I mean I called and made it official when I'll pick it up, which is to say, that Friday. I was going to push it to Monday but I think I would lose my various marbles if I had to sit around all weekend with no truck to pack. Friday it is!

I'm slowly realizing that my packing is stellar and my ridding myself of stuff has been spectacular and everything should fit just fine. See how laying out tape the size and shape of your truck helps with the stupid OCD? Go, me!

Anyway that's two weeks and two days before I get my truck so I'm going around doing medium last minute things, like washing the dog biscuit cookie jar and the tea ginger jar so I can pack them. Unfortunately, given how utterly associative I am, there was a Fresh Air about the Black Panthers on the radio when I was washing those things, so now every time I take a biscuit out of the jar for the dog, I will think of the Black Panthers, which will make me think of mountain lions, aka panthers.

Though actually the Latin name for mountain lion is puma concolor. Panthera tigris is the tiger.

Let's not think about puma concolor so close to bedtime. I've been sleeping so well!

I actually have two movies that I bought for money dollars and have not even opened yet because I'm quite sure that such an influx of images and sounds will keep me awake for a week. Mad Max Fury Road is one (might save for after road trip!) and Jupiter Ascending is the other. I could maybe watch Jupiter. But who am I kidding, I'm going to read familiar things and watch Leverage a lot until it's time to get in the truck and drive away.

Today I found out they changed things so that I can use my cell phone as a wireless hotspot without having to request whatever blah blah blah. This is awesome! This enables early leaving! Because I can then do my work anywhere. Amazing! Powerful! Terrific!

I just have to change to more data before I go. I can do that! I need Pandora for the road anyway. That's Pandora, not panthera. Stop it. (Same Greek root in the first half of the words. Guess what panthera means? Predator of everything. Everything includes me! I know!!!)

Anyway ahem things are fine, it's all fine here now, how are you?

I have stuff to give away but I might stick it out on the curb. Does that work here? You know where that works super well? Philadelphia!

I'm excited to do my 3D puzzle of a truck. It's going to be awesome. It's going to be a RELIEF.

I read a flipping awesome book today and yesterday that was so utterly full of misery that I'm agog. Why are you so in love with misery, literary fiction? No one will ever be able to convince me that there's a good reason for it. It's just how we do things. Isabel Allende is the only one I can think of who is able to be joyful and full of life while still writing lusciously literary fiction and she's a magical realist, so maybe she doesn't count. I don't know, does she count? She's awesome.

Misery: characters trapped in their miserable lives, lots of stupid rape and sexual abuse, lots of stupid controlling sadistic awful people, people with no interest in anything whatsoever, boring lives, squalor, wealth, stultifyingly boring social occasions, lies, deception, concealment, and then finally vengeance. I liked the vengeance part. But the rest of it, holy yikes, people. If you think life is that boring and awful, DO SOMETHING. Like, learn to parasail, or learn French, or knit some hats for the homeless, dang!

Honestly. If you're bored and miserable, change a variable, man. It's not that hard to figure out. Public libraries, full of knowledge, free of charge. Charities, always willing to put you to work. Or maybe just go watch people for thirty seconds and you'll realizing people are mostly having a pretty good time, or else they're looking forward to something great, even if it's just a tv show and a beer. Or football or hockey or something. People are defined by what they love, madame misery! We love stuff! I don't even think it's possible to be a person and not love something. It's like swimming to a shark.

Anyway I'm all full of indignation because nobody cared about anybody else in this book and everyone was utterly blind to the suffering of others around them and it was ridiculous and stupid and annoying. And gorgeously written. Why oh why? Why the cult of misery? Stop it!

The modernists have a LOT to answer for.

I'm on deadline and everything but I might have to read a Jenny Crusie book to clear the palate. I did the most tremendous amount of work this weekend, holy goodness me. I mean, school work. I have much more to do, of course, but I really tackled a lot of it early. Hurray!

Also, I washed the kayak. And then had to pump it out with the kayak pump. You cannot dump water out of that thing. It doesn't dump. It's not shaped that way. There's an edge that comes down in the cockpit. Anyway, pumping out the kayak is always weirdly fun. It's odd to have a self-contained waterproof object bigger than a bathtub. Two. I did not wash the canoe because it's been living in the back room, not outside.

I packed all my shoes in gym bags, those kinds of things, like a bag you'd take on a two day trip. Shoes are so heavy and unwieldy and bulky. I have too many. Etc. Take the rest as read.

Gosh I'm thrilled to have the truck moved and finalized. I still have to call the utilities to get stuff turned off. How odd that I moved here without ever seeing the place, and I'm moving there without ever seeing the place, and when I moved from L.A. I went without ever seeing the place. What the hell, man? What's this new habit I have of moving 3400-3700 miles without ever seeing the place I'm moving into? I mean, pictures, sure. But we are as a species INCAPABLE of portraying the feeling of a house via pictures. It can't be done. Apparently we can't even convey the layout, or the number of rooms. Come on, people!

I don't know how many bedrooms are in the new house, even. Like, I think more than one? Maybe three, but one is tiny? I DON'T KNOW. So weird.

Are there closets? Who can tell???

I'm pretty vague on the timetable given that I'm not even sure which day I'm leaving. I'll have to vacuum and stuff after everything is out. And sleep. And wake up. And have a shower. And then drive for a very long time relatively slowly.

I hope my busted shoulder gets through this okay. Torn rotator cuff or whatever. Eeeeeesh. It hurts like fire right now already. Doing essentially anything hurts. So I'm sure moving 30 rubbermaid bins and 30 boxes of books and all this furniture will be fiiiiiiine. Well, I intend to use a hand truck, so it's not nearly as bad as it sounds.

After it's all over I can unpack and slump all relieved and then move on to worrying about my usual suspects:

1) perishing of the cold or starving from a massive ice storm that knocks out the power for a month
2) finding a longer term place to move into in June
3) school in January, aaaaaah! flying, boarding the animals, aaaaaah! being around humans, aaaaaah!
4) general human interaction stuff in new places, i.e., where is the dog park? what about knitting group?
5) writing! though that's not a worry anymore because I have gained essential skills in the management of material department, infinitely more manageable now, seriously

By the way yesterday was my one year work anniversary, in my new position, hurray!!!!! I love my job. Here's to many more!

And since I'm inexplicably waking up at 6:00 all the time now, I'm going to assemble my dog and cat and conclusively hit the hay.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Many is how many

Oh yes, nearly done, nearly done. I'm proving that infinity exists once again by ever approaching done but never quite getting to done. Or is that something else I'm proving? A paradox, maybe. Achilles and the tortoise. Zeno's paradox. All that.

For example, I could not believe how many rubbermaid fezzes I had in the shed. I will never need all these fezzes, I thought! How could I ever have needed so many fezzes? Now I'm pretty well out of fezzes and resorting to using (gasp) cardboard boxes for all the things that still remain. Shock! Horror! Awe!

I know!

Then I remember that a) I have gotten rid of at least four fezzes, because they broke or whatnot. At least four. Maybe more. And also I recycled nearly all of the cardboard boxes I brought out here. So actually I'm ending up with far less stuff. But also furniture.

I would sleep better if a master of three dimensional measurement would come over and assess my items and their ability to fit into a given three dimensional space. I'm super good at that but the things are all over the house and although I'm positive it'll be fine, I'm also in an agony of indecision and constantly on the verge of abandoning the couch.

Dang this couch! It's too low. It's too shallow, as in, you can't sit far back enough. And it's the color of tomato soup. Maybe St. Vincent de Paul or someone can come pick it up and take it away.

I was sitting on it earlier (as every day) and writing, but the dog keeps squishing right up against me and making me extremely hot and crowded. So now he's stretched out in the whole middle of the couch and I'm in the comfy chair. I've also been writing on the dragon bench because nobody bothers me much there. On the couch it's all United Housepet Writing Prevention League all the time. Jiminy. Let me walk on your chest while you're trying to write that!

I'm super irritable today because yesterday I had a panic attack (psycho neighbor came up behind me when I was on the deck--I mean, on the other side of a fence, on their property, but STILL) and took a .5 mg xanax, which knocked me flat and overdrew my allotment of calm for today. Which is why I only take it if I'm actually utterly freaking out, like, can't breathe properly. Panic attack, like I said. Breath whooshing, shaking all over, and so on.

Panic attacks can't hurt you. They really can't. But when they're happening it feels like YOU'RE GONNA DIE. A grizzly bear is standing behind you, drooling on the top of your head. There's a time bomb with seconds left on it, under your chair.

I'm working on better things to do than race around trying to do normal activities to distract myself. Like, it should be the rule that I have to play Bach on the piano or something. Or I have to walk around the block. That's a bad idea, actually. Going outside while in a panic attack is a terrible idea. Never mind. But if I had a treadmill or something, do x amount of time or distance. Jump rope. Anything to focus.

Ugh, I feel so uninspired with my writing lately, but I'm sure it's not possible to tell from looking at it which parts are inspired and which uninspired. I realize this. This is one of those super cool secrets. Also: you only have to make *this* work. This part, right here. Worry about the rest later.

I'm in love with the dragon bench, seriously. It's been in the back room until about a month ago. It's such a great medieval looking thing. And it's insanely comfortable for sitting, oddly enough. Yay, dragon bench!

I saw the most fantastic couch for sale used for $1800 or something, all kinds of twined wood carving and crazy lush upholstery and these wonderful slopey arms. It was a couch you could live in. Good thing I hadn't been to the dentist, huh? I don't think I'd spend that amount on anything that didn't come with either an operating system or an engine, though. Or a front door!

My new driver's license came today. It's way flimsier than the old one. What a gyp! I wonder if I can keep on using it until I have a permanent home? I mean, longer than this short-term place? I'm certainly going to consider waiting to register the car and all. It's hundreds of dollars in Maine.

I just realized I know exactly where to go, because I've lived in this county before. Gosh.

Well, I keep reconfiguring my rental/leaving/travel/arrival schedule to try to make it make more sense. I've overestimated the gas by about four hundred dollars, I realized yesterday. That's awesome. I don't know, everything seems kind of ludicrous and absurd and unreal. But I'm doing all of the nuts and bolts stuff, hard at work every day. Then again, preparing for the ludicrously unlikely is exactly my cup of tea. So there you go. Obviously I AM going. It's for sure. All I keep picturing is the boring long drive, the stuffy/cold nights sleeping in the truck, lots of physical labor at both ends of the trip, and sitting there bewildered in the new house, looking out at the terrifying ocean right outside the windows.

The Atlantic tends to stay put in its bed, at least, unlike the Pacific, which is having earthquakes and tsunami RIGHT NOW in Chile and Hawaii and all around the shop. Burns, Burns, Burns. Ring of fire! Complicated joke. Never mind. But the Ring of Fire is acting up and the sooner I get away from it and the regular on-land wildfires, hoo boy, the happier I'll be. MORTAL PERIL. I mean, not really. But KINDA.

Like I actually do have to consult the USGS wildfire maps to determine my route out of the west. I mean, it's a thing I have to do. They close roads for wildfires, plus, hello, you don't want to drive in all that smoke anyway.

Let us consider events and objects that are not in any way connected to MORAL PERIL. I made an awesome salad out of artichokes, garbanzos, and garden tomatoes. Yum! The whole idea was to use up these cans of olives, but once I looked at them, they were actually black beans. Whoops! We have no olives. Three cans of pineapple chunks, though, inexplicably. Must eat.

I made a list of emergency supplies to keep in my basement at the ocean house in case of getting totally snowed in and frozen out and trapped by winter's MORTAL PERIL. Oh heck, I'm back there again. It's a good list, though. It has olives on it. Also pineapple. And peaches! I'm going to have SUPPLIES.

Today I even used my roll of shrink wrap imported from Bangor, Maine to wrap up things that come in multiples, like those little shelves, or the three doors from the drawers for the day bed. Things that need to be protected and also need to be one thing, not three loose slithery things that will get dinged up. That was fun. Still have a lot of shrink wrap left. I used to get to wrap whole pallets in this stuff. That was a lot easier because you could walk around them. Yep.

I think I've arranged it so I can drive through horrible Illinois and Indiana during the weekend. I hope that's better. Yuck, I hate that part worst of the whole trip. Oh, must remember to have eighty dollars for tolls, too. I think that's what it is. So many axles, see. Truck plus trailer. It'll cost a lot in tolls through Illinois and Indiana and Ohio and New York. And Maine.

And then it'll be snow and muck and hard work and then sharp crisp beauty and quiet and blue blue blue. And sitting by the gas fireplace. And playing with the kids.

I watched a video today of cars sliding around in the snow and people falling on ice and laughed my head off, my goodness, what a sucker for a pratfall I am! Turn into the slide, drivers. A whole city bus went sliding, though. Jeepers.

I've been staying home and walking the dog in the park instead of driving the stupid detour roundabout route to the dog park. It's easily eight to ten times farther by the detour and it just drives my OCD self crazy. So incredibly peaceful not to be driving every day, I can't even tell you. I love it. I'm out and about, but I'm not driving. So great. Look forward to lots more of that, heh heh.

And I've been up at dawn every day, which is bananas, until today, when I slept until noon. I mean, I woke up at dawn, of course, but then went back to sleep for another six hours, which is hilarious. It's already half past midnight so I'd better conk out soon or I'll be backwards diurnal again, which sucks. I liked waking up at dawn, even if it was tremendously weird for me. We shall see.

Keep your life jackets handy and stock up on supplies, bunnies. Don't you feel like this winter might be a tricky one? I sure do!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cross country

Dude! I found these amazing pictures from my trip east in, um, I don't know what year. Wait. Let me think. 2005? Something like that. I had a mostly empty rental truck that I slept in and I went by way of Idaho and Yellowstone and South Dakota and it was TOTALLY FUN.

Look what happened in Yellowstone! See that motorcycle ahead of my truck? The buffalo was coming toward us so I hollered at her to get in the truck with me. It was heading straight for her motorcycle (as you can see) when she bolted for the truck.





Buffalo! So big! It was pretty exciting and I was very glad to be in an enormous truck, even though the night before I'd been totally afraid that grizzlies would rip the sides off the truck and come in and eat me. They see plastic grocery store bags through car windows and break in, see. It's a known thing. There are signs that say to hide your grocery bags! Ack! The bears are smarter than your average bears.

What else was fun from those pictures? Oh, I got this nice lady to take pictures of me with the GIANT FLIPPING DINOSAURS that I remembered from when we went on a family road trip when we were very very small.
















They were absolutely magical when I was tiny and a completely fantastic experience to come back and see them again. So much fun!

I don't remember much else about that trip except that I stopped at D's place and had to sleep in the truck because the house was too gross. The part from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania is awful and forgettable though. Seriously, there's like two days of hellish driving. Everywhere driving east of Iowa is awful. Don't go!

I keep looking at the map, trying to figure out of I can go by way of Sault Ste. Marie, but it's unfeasible. If I were driving animal-free and without all my stuff and with a passport, I'd totally go by Sault Ste. Marie and across that piece of Canada, just to avoid all the Illinois/Indiana/Ohio hell, though Ohio's not as bad as the other two. Ugh, Illinois and Indiana, though. SO AWFUL.

I also went to Devil's Tower. Wooooooo!

That was a terrific travel day. If a trifle hot.

Oh! The reason I went the northern route, besides that it was more awesome and less well-trodden than 80, was that I went to visit an old student in Coeur d'Alene, which is way north. But October isn't a great time to do that, especially heavily loaded with a trailer.

We might skip the Columbia gorge, though, and go via Burns, the way I drove out here. We'll see. Everything's on fire and the Columbia gorge is always getting shut down for accidents and ice and snow and also pure terror because it's a very busy highway on the edge of a massive precipice over rocks and water.

So weird to study the map (I stuck an ancient Cracker Barrel U.S. map on the wall over the couch--found it in the car) and have every route and road filled with associations and memories and things I'd completely forgotten. How could I forget Devil's Tower?

Anyway this feels very doable. Very very doable. BOY am I packing. I just can't wait to get it all out of the way so I can forget about it. Otherwise all around me is stuff going "Take care of me! Ooh, me first! I have to get done too!"

Yet somehow I'm able to ignore all those dishes in the kitchen. Hmm.

Guess what's in my new house? A DISHWASHER. Temporary house. Winter house. It's going to be awesome, I hope. If I can stop being afraid of the giant ocean right outside the door. It's blue, though, so that should help. What does the ocean do in the winter? I have powerful memories of Lake Michigan freezing into giant rocky spiky craziness when I was little. How frozen does it get? Are there seals?

Always excited for a new experience and new things to learn! Ooh, if I were really smart, I'd decide in advance that it's RESEARCH and then write about the new thing after that. Aha!

I do actually have a wonderful idea for a middle grade novel series about witches set in Maine. Did you know the mascot for the Brewer high school is witches? Yes. The Brewer Witches, it says it on everything. Brewer is just over the river from Bangor. Funny, it's Saxons at the school nearest to me in Salem. Huh.

I think I just made a plan. Woohoo!

Anyway I have a ton of work to do still tonight, post dog walk, so hup hup hup! Not to mention those dishes, oh dear. I really should just use those paper plates I have in weeks like this one. Too much to do! Planning, thinking, packing, and other forms of active worrying! I just watered all the plants! When do I get to go room to room and remove nails and screws and make with the spackle?

I'm finishing up my fourth bag of wintergreen lifesavers. Dear oh dear. Must switch to less damaging crunchy items to chew up as a stress response. Carrots, or celery, or I don't know what. I did eat a lot of carrots last night. Crunch crunch.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Smoke 'em out

In case I had any lingering regrets about relocation, the entire state is on fire and you can't see two blocks at my house. The wind changed direction last night so now it's going west instead of the usual east. Very very smoky. I can taste it on my lips. We are going nowhere today, let me tell you!

Except maybe to Lowe's to get new filters for the air cleaner. But probably not that either.

Today we finalized rental plans for the house! Hurray! The one I'm going to live in over the winter, I mean. It's a short term plan, obviously, since even in Maine winter only lasts so long. It's on the ocean, or almost. I mean, the ocean comes right up to the yard, but it's a bit of a bay. You can see straight out into the Atlantic, though. Terrifying, huh?

I know, who is scared of oceans? I am! I'm scared of everything, doy. That's just the facts. But I'll still pay close attention to tides and go kayaking when the tide is coming in, even if that means stepping in the squishy low tide yuck. Plus the smell might be interesting. And there are lobster fishers right out in the bay all the time.

I love new experiences, which is great paired with total mortal terror of all things known and unknown.

Living in a potentially fatal cloud of smoke with terrible asthma right now is just proof that danger is everywhere, or else proof that you can't fear everything properly because you'll forget some things. I'm still working out the details.

My brother went to scope out the house this morning. There are all kinds of new images and angles that I'm trying to fit together. I need blueprints! I can't make sense of random pictures of rooms with no context, alas. But it looks lovely. And it's not as isolated as I feared, since there are neighbors right there, winter renters like me.

Also I discovered I bought my generator from the landlady's brother, which is flipping awesome, really. I mean, come on! Which means I met her mom, because she works in the office, and half her sisters and cousins who all work there, too.

Fantastic!

I'll take it to the husband of that terrible woman I worked with to get it tuned up before winter. And I need a new non-rusty gas cap.

I'm excited to work out logistics and things. I love that. And I'm excited not to be so worried about whether or not I have the place anymore! I did a lot of puzzles in the past couple of days, let me tell you. I sort of conditionally said absolutely yes pending my brother's visit this morning. Which is a state of being that drives me completely bananacakes. Oh and then I called and she was at the store and was going to call me back and then didn't for an hour, which was NOT a good hour because aaaaaaaah! And then I called and she had just forgotten, heh.

Temporary location, yes, but I'll be there until June and can make plans from there.

Anyway I'm back on the stuff purge. It's amazing to imagine: What if I only had stuff I love and use? Both, ideally! It feels just fantastic to let stuff go. I didn't know it would. Well, it didn't before, because I was afraid I could never replace that stuff and then where would I be? Now I feel very different about it. And stuff is just going, going, going. I keep filling up the car and dropping it all off at Value Village. It's awesome.

I have another carload ready to go, come to think of it, but again: not going out in the smokefest.

Talking to lovely therapist this week was mighty enlightening. I think she must be super good at her job! Another reason I'll really miss talking with her. Just things like: my eternal fantasy about an RV with my furniture and the animals and the freedom to go wherever, whenever. How incompatible that is with the worried hoarding of stuff for fear I won't be able to replace it. How those two things cause an inordinate amount of stress because they are fighting with each other. Right?

There's also simple math involved. You don't pay to move stuff you can't use/wear that you're worried you can't afford to replace. Like, that just makes no sense. I'm super susceptible to logic so that argument (my own) really works for me.

Also, about moving all the time: it's how I am. And that's okay. Ha! Isn't that classic therapist talk? I love that. It's true, I'm always vaguely shifty about how often I move, but I do love to move to new places and learn new areas and pick up all that stuff that you can't get just by visiting. I just have to resolve the conflict between 35 boxes of books and the need for speed, heh.

As I'm packing I'm discovering I have a TON less stuff than before. More furniture, though. I'm okay with that. Furniture: good; stuff: annoying and draggy.

Oh! New glasses: also awesome! Very very light. They're single focals or whatever it's called when they're not trifocals or bifocals. They are much easier to wear and less headachy. The reading part of my trifocals was not between my eyes and the book/computer, which meant constant discomfort and annoyance. That's now gone. Hurray!

The stress of the past few days has meant chewing up lots of wintergreen lifesavers as well as doing several puzzles. I think I'm going to give both of those a rest for a good long while. I have work due on Friday for school, also, which is well underway but not done yet.

Psycho is being the worst passive aggressive self he can be. Examples: if I'm in my bedroom and I cough, he coughs too, from the front porch. This morning my alarm went off, which means my phone played music, so he went out onto his driveway near my window and played music. See how obnoxious? And I'm not doing anything wrong, hello. Just existing. He's being as in my face and annoying as possible without leaving his property.

Now I realize I should have put on bagpipe music, but get this: real bagpipes started playing in the park right then! YAY!!! I love that so much. And with drums this time! And then a live band started playing about a half block up the park. I'm just tickled.

Bagpipes are excellent deterrents for weasels and possums and passive aggressive assholes nearby.

I'm somewhat comforted by the fact that this horrible person has to spend 100% of his time with himself, the worst possible punishment anyone could confer upon him. And thrilled that a self-professed "likes to poke the bear" person will be living next door soon. Awesome.

I shut the windows any time they are standing right outside them yammering at the top of their lungs.

Anyway that was the delay in saying YES to the new place: fear of nearby neighbors, especially cranky ones, but they're apparently nice young professionals who move a lot like me. My people! I hope!

I hope it's not too salty and damp and fishy and lobster-smelling. I hope it's bright and windy and blue and there's horizontal snow such that I have to shovel the windows. (Maybe brush the windows.) I hope we love it, love it, love it. I hope it's so quiet I wonder what that noise is and it's my heartbeat. I hope we're super comfortable and productive and cozy. I hope we see seals in the bay.

The live band has started up again, so I'm just also going to hope for QUIET on a profound level, though presumably ocean noise is excellent for covering other sounds.

Right! Back to writing despite smoke, irritating neighbor, live music nearby, parties in the park outside my window, including a half keg of beer that I don't think they're supposed to have, and one million things I need to be doing. It's so good I *have* to write right now, so I'll actually sit still.