Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Molto agitato

Because of the unresolved question about What To Do. I hate those!

Here, I will try to help myself figure it out by laying out the facts and whatnot.

Problem: living under siege from psycho aggressive neighbor who loves attacking my yard and destroying my vegetation because he wants it to look a certain way and because he likes proving that he can do whatever he wants to me

Solution: obviously there are only two.

1. move away
2. make him stop somehow

I'm exploring option 2 as much as I can. Though it distresses me that a call to my landlady yesterday has not been returned. I talked with lovely therapist about how to help fix the situation and came up with big tall ugly arbor vitae trees, or other tall hedges, or a fence, and/or blocking in the gaps in the back fence. Can't do anything large without permission, of course. Which seems not to be forthcoming?

Here are the problems with option 1, move away:

1. don't wanna
     a. stubbornness on my part
     b. great area
     c. don't like letting bullies win
     d. expensive
     e. where to?
2. no money right now, so I actually can't
3. since I can't right now, I'll have to wait, and if I have to wait, why do it at all?
4. working full time, in school full time--earliest good time would be between Christmas and early January, the two weeks of vacation.
5. moving that time of year is pretty miserable

Where to? I know, great question!

1. somewhere else in town. I only like this neighborhood, though. That's a tricky thing.
2. somewhere outside of town, like in the country, or another smaller town
3. Forest Grove, where school is half the year, because then I could use the library and campus
4. back to Hoth (aka Maine) but with a great job this time, because it's portable

Don't even tell me about moving cross country in December, either, because I did it in February, so there.

I have other fantasies about this, like trading in my car for a Jeep Grand Cherokee again and then doing the thing where you ship everything except furniture and dishes, like I did out of L.A. It's awesome. I'm a little leery of the car carrying trailers since two out of three fell apart and one actually caught on fire and had to be put out with snow.

There are great summer vacation homes in Maine that are for rent in the winter for cheap. Jeez, I could probably get the same one I had before. If I wanted to. Which I kind of don't.

So that's my situation. Complicated! And with decisions and timelines and financial questions! All things I dislike extremely!

Also I just signed up for a two year contract for tv, but I think I'm still within 30 days so I could cancel that. I probably should anyway. I am just not watching tv. Like, ever.

I put a dent in my forehead yesterday when I took my shoulder bag off and bonked my laptop right into my face. Ow!

Then yesterday I went to the dog park, first time since The Incident last week, because I haven't left the damn property since then except to walk places, dentist, therapist, park across the street where I could keep my house in sight.

WHICH IS A PROBLEM. I realized also that I never turn my back on that house, though of course I mean because of the people. How crazy is that? I feel entirely menaced all the time. They were nice for like two weeks this summer and I had a respite, but now, criminy.

They left town this morning at 6 a.m., though, which I know because of car doors slamming ten feet from my formerly sleeping head.

Of course, I moved here from living with my mom, where I was also constantly threatened and afraid of her attacking, because she does attack, all the time. I just didn't really grasp that this was the same situation until this weekend when I wouldn't go anywhere.

Wait, I did go to Walmart to get prescriptions and weird half price perennials. Yay! Go me! I was afraid of what they'd do when I wasn't here, though. I'm constantly worried about what they're going to do next, because they definitely like to do stuff to my yard when they know I'm not here. HATE.

Oh! Other good reasons to move away:

1. have not socialized to the area except at the dog park
2. it's too expensive
3. the house is falling apart, honestly
4. it's kind of too big and too small at the same time, in the sense that there isn't a lot of usable space
5. the weather is FAR too hot here now, 106 predicted for tomorrow. I would not have moved here if I'd known it would have Los Angeles weather.
6. no garage, no storage space, no privacy
7. far too much traffic outside this house all the time
8. plus people walking by four feet from the window is exhausting, seriously

Wait, I have another reason not to move away: I really like my therapist.

And at the dog park yesterday, a couple of us walked down to this pebbly beach on the river to let the dogs swim. So fun! I went out about knee deep and Gawain went out about chest deep, deepest he's ever gone. Good boy! Then he sat right down in the water, which is hilarious. I nearly fell about sixty times because I'm having severely wobbly legs lately.

One dog park buddy has M.S. but no symptoms, except aphasia, which I don't think she knows she has. But I have all the symptoms, without a diagnosis, so she was actually holding on to me to keep me from going over at various points.

I'm bringing water shoes next time. That will help. In fact, I plan to wear my bathing suit! So I can just jump in! I'm excited to go swimming a little bit. Haven't been since the lake in Maine with the kids. But I have multiple options for suits now and I am thrrrrrrilled at the idea! Even if I go by myself. Yes, I'll wear a life vest. And so will Gawain. We are a ridiculously nervous pair.

Anyway, yesterday while we were walking I told them about the situation and they were all like: MOVE. MOVE NOW. YOU HAVE TO MOVE. And I was like, aaaaaah!

I mean, I have other reasons why I don't want to:

1. my tomatoes aren't even ripe!
2. more squash coming all the time!
3. the freezer is full of squash!
4. my Dr. Seuss perennials!
5. ugh, packing

Packing is the worst because I have to face that giant rubbermaid tote full of pants that I haven't worn since 2002. They have to go. I know it! I know. And so does a LOT of other stuff. Like my set of blue glass dishes that I don't actually like and got at a thrift store. Seriously, I could give away the entire set and I'd be fine for dishes without them.

So, like, that kind of thing.

Sweaters I don't like. Easy.

A lot of books. Easy to give away, library or Value Village.

A lot of yarn and fabric. A place called CAWS takes them to make quilts/blankets for animals in need.

That elliptical that I don't have room for. Put it out on the curb.

The old very loud vacuum. Ditto. Put a sign on it. Works! Very loud!

Here's the dumbest reason of all that I don't want to move:

I haven't finished my 2000 piece Van Gogh Starry Night puzzle.

Honestly, I worked on it for MANY hours last weekend while mulling and also soaking up lots of Leverage, for the massive competence contained therein.

Remind me about the raccoons on the roof, the possum under the sink, and the rats or squirrels scrabbling around the underside of the bathtub, also, next time I forget.

FINE. I guess I have to move. UGH.

How long will it take me to save up enough? Er, basically Christmas, really.

Now I'm imagining driving cross country in December, then driving back out to go to school, then going cross country again, with another load of stuff. Boy would that be a lot of driving. But it would still cost less than a flipping moving truck and two plane flights, which is the other option.

You know, I was actually considering Seaside instead of Forest Grove, since school is there half the year, but in that New Yorker article about how we're all DOOMED Seaside was the poster child for utter tsunami disaster, since it's entirely built, like, on the beach. I mean, the name kind of gives it away. It's in the "inundation zone" is what I'm saying. Seaside is a goner when the big one hits.

So what I'm hearing is that Forest Grove would be the most sensible option because it's the one place out of the two places I have to be regularly in the next two years that won't be underwater in case of tsunami.

Well. I'll look into it. Okay. And I'll work on the ridiculous puzzle. And I'll eat LOTS of squash.

Isn't it handy that the vanity totally flooded and I got rid of everything out of there already? I know!

I bet I could get a rubbermaid tote, aka fez, out of the shed, which basically is only holding a mountain of them and the old vacuum, and fill it up with stuff to give away. I betcha I could do that. Or a box. Fill up a box! One box for books, one for other stuff. Clothes into big plastic bags. Okay.

I just have to interrupt this out-flipping to mention that I made a giant pan of the best refried black beans ever last night, to eat during this week of hellish heat. YUM. Good planning. Good beans! Oh boy!

Monday, July 27, 2015

My aesthetic: Dr. Seuss

It's true, I'm smitten with plants that look like they came out of a Dr. Seuss book. I used to have this ridiculous giant spindly palm thing that I had rescued from the side of the street, potless, in Center City Philadelphia. I took it home and potted it up and brought it out here and ended up finally selling it or giving it away at my big yard sale when I left town.

I get really confused about attitude and the state of things. Like, now I'm positive that things are very, very, very scary and dangerous and perilous and could fall apart at any moment and chaos and mayhem will result. Hence the massive anxiety medications and the hatchet by the bed and the terror of all things.

But I remember very clearly living literally just down the road and being so calm and blissed out and feeling like the world was at peace and everything would be all right. Same town. Same neighborhood. Completely different view of the world. Poles apart.

That, of course, is the definition of PTSD, but that's another story.

Anyway I'm doing this unholy terrifying ridiculously stressful thing: planting flowers in the planter at the front of the house. I never have! Oh, I have, some pansies now and then, and those bulbs, but everything always croaks because there was no way to water it.

So today I got a curly boingy hose like a telephone cord to go on the faucet hidden back in all the bushes under the bathroom window at the side of the house. And now I can water the planter. So I got a bunch of wacky looking half price fuzzy spindly perennials covered with bees and put them out there and watered them.

Notice I did not say *planted* them. I do not like being in my front yard because of the hateful jerkface next door who is always out on their front porch. This isn't new. Landlord pointed out that he attacked my yard about this time last year, too. Jackass. Anyway! I'm standing my ground, which means roots, or something. I tend to get literal with my metaphors. It's amazing I can be sitting right now while talking about standing my ground.

So I have to plant the flowers. I would have done it today, too, but my back was killing me from mowing the grass, or rather the crazy wild spindly tufty Dr. Seuss dandelion field that was my lawn.

It looks much nicer now. And also ow.

And with the new hose, I sprayed all the various gunk and crap off the front picture window, and all the dust and dirt off the siding, and all the grass and stuff off the stoop and steps. And now it looks lovely out there! Lovely! I just have to get the flowers in the ground and water them every day.

It's going to be brutally hot for days and days and days, starting Wednesday. Right now I have the windows closed and I'm in a flannel nightie because it's a little cool out.

I'm totally overreacting to the cooler weather by running around in long pants and such. It's wishful thinking. I'm like those people who wear shorts as soon as the sun comes out, except in reverse.

We even had some rain today and yesterday, just a bit, first since May. Dramatic! More, please!

How about instead of brutal heat we get several cool, rainy days? That would be awesome.

There were just a million bees on those fluffy flowers. I waited for them to leave, but then new bees showed up. This was the Walmart garden area, so, outdoors. Finally I just picked up a plant and put it in my cart. The bees were like, humph, but did not get mad and sting me, so yay!

In fact, I picked out those plants because the bees liked them so much.

Ooh, plus I guess I don't have hornets in the fern out back but bees, because hornets would have come after me for mowing near them. Good news! That hive is going to get super wet when the rains come, though. What do they do then? Surely there's a way for them to use my sieve-like house as a place for hives? Like underneath or something?

It's probably kind of wet underneath right now because of a fascinating sequence of events. I got my new art fair volunteer shirt muddy picking squash to foist on my nice neighbors. So I put it in the sink to soak and scrubbed off the mud, then left it there. Then when I went to get in the shower, the water had leaked out of the sink, so I turned the faucet on, turned the shower on, forgot the faucet was on, and got out of the shower to find the bathroom flooded from the sink. The shirt had blocked the overflow hole. Whoops!

Fortunately the water mostly just, like, ran out. Through the cracks between boards and stuff. This is why my bathroom is so flipping cold in the winters! But I had to suck up the rest of it with the carpet cleaner. Very useful! And then throw out half of everything that got ruined and sit the rest of it everywhere to dry out.

Messy. Though I was actually considering cleaning out the vanity this weekend. It was on the tentative list. And then it got flooded out, which took it straight to the top of the required list.

I guess that was a lot to do today, come to think of it. Plus it was a work day, plus I was doing extra to cover someone who was out. And watered the gardens. And went to Walmart for prescriptions and alien looking perennials.

I like the plant called hen and chicks because it looks like it's alien also. I have some planted out back. They're these short little muppety things and then suddenly one will shoot up a foot tall in the middle of the clump for no apparent reason.

Thinking about Dr. Seuss makes me want to dress in droopy union suits and stand around in Anglo-Saxon attitudes in surreal landscapes. I have a red union suit somewhere, come to think of it.

That is my dramatic day of non-events. Seriously, my major overcoming terror thing is actually literally going into my front yard. I dislike hateful neighbor. I guess you know! But just generally I dislike unpleasantness and confrontational jerks and awful people. I mean, who doesn't?

I hope nice neighbors like the yellow squash. There will be a lot of tomatoes coming up in August so they'll probably like those better.

I need to bake them a cake or something, seriously. I think I will. Just not while it's brutally hot. There will be no cooking, let me tell you.

Here is my miraculous story of the day: my ring made of a circle of nuts (as in, like bolts) fell right off into a massive fern while I was wrestling with the curly hose amongst the greenery. I could not find it and my hair was full of spiders and twigs so I came back out later with this extendable magnet thing. It's for picking up nails and screws and things under a car. It looks like a tv antenna or magic wand, or both.

Anyway I fished around for my ring and actually found it, even though it is not attracted to magnets, or vice versa, or both. I mean, they don't really like each other, that's all. They can still be friends.

Miraculous that I found my ring, the exact same color as a heap of dead fern leaves, in a heap of dead fern leaves.

I lost my sunglasses somehow while shopping on Thursday in a post-dental benzo haze, though. Ugh! Second pair of blue reflective sunglasses lost this summer! The third pair is missing a screw and got all mangled up, but I think I unmangled them enough to wear. I mean, try to stop me.

I'm going to put that string on them that makes you not lose your sunglasses. Around my neck. Because this is getting absurd.

Anyway tomorrow I have to go into my front yard! And do things! Argh! I wish someone could come with me. Besides the dog, who can't, because no fence.

I'll just bring my machete to chop down some of that crazy greenery. Yes. That's why.

You shouldn't need xanax to flipping GARDEN is all I'm saying. Which is actually a really good realization for me because I've just been dealing with this as status quo for a year now and it is time for it to STOP. Terrorizing people in their own yards is ridiculous. Ooh, and I'll bring my mace, in case of banditry or whatnot, you know.

This is why I kind of thought I might move. But. It's not the right time. And I don't wanna. So I'm not going to. Hello! I get to live here! And people have to leave me the hell alone! Yes!

Glad we cleared that up.

I look forward to sharing photographic evidence of my lovely Dr. Seuss garden in short order!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Assface evilspawn

As you might have guessed, my horrible neighbor is up to it again. This time he cut a whole lot of branches from a tree on my property, including branches that weren't over the line onto his property, which legally he's allowed to cut. But not mine. Hello! Just not okay.

He was also an extreme assface evilspawn when I went to tell him to stop cutting my trees. Very very evil. Very obnoxious. And gets off on upsetting people, or at least me, which makes him lower than a squished slug on moldy dog poop. THE WORST.

At first I just was going to move. And then I got mad and decided not to. But that means living with the hateful fountain of hate right next door, right outside my windows, within earshot all the time. I hate this guy so much! And he's always there. And I work at home. So I can never get away from this raging hateful volcano of evil stupidity and obnoxiousness.

Yippee!

I don't want to move because I love my little house, I love my landlords, I love the location, and also I just don't want to put all the time, energy, and money into moving. Also I don't want the disruption and dislocation and insecurity of moving somewhere new. I'm in school full time and working full time. I don't have the time or energy for that, seriously.

Today I sat out on my deck, which is now like putting a steak on your head and going to where the mountain lions hang out. I did hang up shower curtains purchased ages ago for this very purpose, so that they can't see me when I'm on my deck anymore. I might need a stronger solution, though. Like bricks. Or those nice fences you can get at Lowe's. I'd love to put up a wall of bricks, just because it's so funny. Can you imagine?

I'd get a couple of pallets of bricks delivered and just keep stacking them up up up. I can totally see myself doing that. Because wooden fences have gaps.

Alternatively I could put up plywood or something solid like that. Wavy plastic roof stuff. I need a physical barrier between jackhole assface and my world, see?

So that is kind of getting me down, because it's inescapable. And because my friend D. completely blew me off when I was melting down. Like I texted her about six times on Wednesday and haven't heard a peep back and it's Saturday. To me that means either somebody better be in intensive care or she doesn't want to be friends anymore. Or both.

No matter what is going on in your life, there is time to send a text that says: "That sucks! Dad in hospital, gotta go!"

I suppose her phone could have died. That's the only possibility that would make this okay.

People, man! Either they're being evil or letting me down. My other neighbors are SUPER nice though and the guy happened to come home for lunch (he walks home for lunch every day) right when this was going on so I went over to ask him what I could do, should I call the cops, etc., because he knows all this kind of thing. So I did get to talk to someone nice and sympathetic. That was good.

And my landlords were super great about it. This is about the fourth run-in they've had with this jackass, maybe more than that, actually. The landlord guy came over and talked to me (he is flipping awesome) and went and talked to him.

Apparently everyone everywhere hates this neighbor of mine. Isn't that amazing? I hear things from around town. People say, "Oh *that* guy. Yeesh!" Which is somewhat heartening but does not make it any more pleasant to live next door to a sucking chest wound of a person.

So then Thursday I had dentistry and got all drugged up and went for an emergency visit with my lovely therapist and bought some strange items at the friends of felines store, as one does on the dental benzos, though I really like the white curvy serving bowl. I have no earthly use for serving bowls (and do not own any) because who am I going to serve? Myself, that's who.

I'll probably put fruit in it. White bowl, very pretty with colorful fruit.

SO ANYWAY. Now I'm all sad because this whole thing sucks, and I kind of want to move anyway, to get away from the unpleasantness. And my rent is more than I should be paying, and there's the raccoons and possums.

But I have this PLAN to stay here until I can buy a house, which might be if and when I get back to the real world classroom, unless I like my current dream job too much, which I might! Either way I want to stay put until I finish school.

Though it is too hot here nowadays. Honestly, I would not have moved back here if I'd known it was going to be this hot. This summer has been insane. And August is usually when it's the worst. Woe!

It's funny to think about buying a house and being stuck somewhere. Like, what if you get a poo for brains neighbor then? My only consolation now is I can walk away any time. What if you couldn't? Eeeeeeek!

Then I realized, I would never buy a house in a town, with neighbors right outside the windows like here. I could throw a pencil and hit the houses on both sides from this couch, if not for the walls in the way. They are CLOSE.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll mine the awfulness for some terrible characters in the future.

Which brings me back to school. I have a "packet" due in a week, which means getting 25 pages of work ready for someone else to read, holy macaroni, plus a bunch of lit reviews. I've been working steadily on both so it should be fine, except of course that I always worry endlessly about whether it's Good Enough.

I have a history of dramatically irrational behavior on the part of educational authority figures, remember. It's as bad as if you were like, "Here, have some parents!" Gaaaacckkkk! I have issues about this sort of thing. So. I think we have five packets to submit this semester so that should be interesting.

It's very good I have my lovely therapist, who is super smart and perceptive and listens and asks good questions.

Next week I get to get molds made for my "partial" which to me says manuscript request, but actually means teeth. Teeth! I get lower teeth! It costs a freaking fortune even with insurance. Also I have an eye appointment so I can get decent non-sucky glasses, which will be terrific too.

Yes, I will be able to see and chew, possibly at the same time! Can you imagine?

Today I figured out that if I take four ibuprofin I can get around without screaming from knee pain. Terrible doctor still won't refill my arthritis meds, so really I should get around to getting a new doctor. The whole point of the arthritis meds was so that I wouldn't have to take four ibuprofin all the time.

Pretty much right now I just want to be asleep all the time. Or eating food. Mmm, I got great fruit and vegetables, and some hamburger patties. And in my physical activity coping mechanism time period on the day of neighborly fuckwittery, I dug up my whole purple potato patch, because piecemeal wasn't cutting it.

Yes, I'm supposed to do physical activity to burn up anxiety. I mean, it was my idea, but therapist likes it, and it works really well. I got a ton of potatoes, considering I'd been harvesting them pretty regularly all summer. So many potatoes!

I have purple potato salad in a bowl in the fridge now. Mmmm. That and two hamburgers (no buns) made for a fantastic dinner.

And today I washed all the dang dishes. ALL of them. And the laundry is nearly done. Good job, me. Took out all the trash and compost and recycling. And raked the potato patch so it's smooth again. And staked all the tomatoes.

I wonder what I could plant in that half of the garden for the second half of summer? Something! Maybe quick harvesting things like carrots and radishes. I have more squash than I can possibly deal with and there will be a million tomatoes coming up soon here.

Put anxiety into garden, get vegetables out. I don't think that's what they mean by "you reap what you sow." Because I'm sowing stress and reaping purple potatoes and yellow squash. Maybe it's like those chemical conversion things where the arrow means [magical transformation happens here.]

Ooh, I even watered the hanging plants today. Seriously. So productive. And so very, very tired now.

Not a great week, overall, though getting my crown at the dentist was pretty good, because now I am YOUR QUEEN.

I'm going to bake molasses cookies because: molasses cookies! Hello! Mmmmm.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Vicarious whee!

Are you enjoying secondhand SDCC as much as I am? I'm definitely much more into it than I have been in the past. I might conceivably imagine attending at some point in the future? But then I'm also considering flying to Norway for Christmas, so this is no predictor of actual events.

I just want to go to Norway! And I'm off over Christmas. Plus, I think from here you get to fly over the north pole, so that would be completely freaking amazing, just to get to BE there. I want to see the aurora borealis, that's the thing. And I know it happens closer to here than Norway. But I also pretty desperately want to go to Norway!

Possibly December is not the ideal time. 

Fjords! Cave bears! Saber toothed tigers! No?

I have school coming up fast here. It's a matter of sending work in every three weeks from early August until late November. And while I was not at all worried about the writing part of things, now I'm suddenly unsure about the writing part of things! 

But a bit part of that is just growing back enough spoons to cope with writing on top of catching up with work work and massive amounts of undone house/life stuff since I got back. Oh my goodness me. It has been completely overwhelming. And included dentistry!

I was balancing the checkbook yesterday preparatory to writing a stack of checks and noticed that I'd apparently been to the Konditorei for cake one day. No memory of it until I saw that. Lost cake time! Then I remembered chocolate cake and Earl Grey tea (even though I asked for English Breakfast) but not getting home, except for wrangling the grapevines that are trying to eat my back gate. 

I think it must look so funny from the other side, to watch someone emerge from or disappear into that mass of greenery, flailing and tripping over vines. Like a fairy tale only with grapes. Hmmmmmmm. Idea! I should write a hermitess/anchoress thing anyway, except clearly the story is she figures out how to get out, and I have no idea about that part.

Today I had tentative plans to pack up the dog and drive to Sisters for the quilt show, but a) I don't wanna go anywhere, b) I'd have to pump up the car tires, get gas, get cash, and get moving, and c) I seem to have a kidney stone? Or something? I don't know. It's something that 750 ml of water makes feel better so it might well be a kidney stone. I don't really claim any biological knowledge and am constantly surprised at where organs actually are. Except for that kidney, which tends to hurt a lot quite a lot of the time.

So now I have a vow to get myself a new doctor on Monday. And probably a new therapist, since the one I only saw once has been impossible to schedule for two weeks. By which I mean: she does her own scheduling and only calls back at 6:30 in the evening, a time when I'm never by the phone. When I call back in the day, same thing. I think seven or eight rounds of phone tag might be enough. 

Though I did think maybe I'd just call and tell her staff to tell her to schedule me for any time any afternoon and just tell me when. Then we can schedule the next one when I'm in the room and so on.

Annoying, though!

Possibly the kidney thing is more urgent. Boy, yesterday it really really hurt. Apparently if you want kidney stones the thing to do is drink a lot of tea, which I always do, then start taking lots of calcium in the form of tums when your jackass doctor refuses to refill antacids for no actual reason, then drink some soda with caramel coloring on a hot day and get dehydrated. And don't take your usual magnesium because it keeps you awake for hours. It's the perfect recipe! That's what I did on Thursday. 

If I were smart, I'd take the magnesium in the DAYTIME. Not at night. Like I did last night. Jeez. Another reason I did not boing out of bed this morning.

A good day to spend on WRITING!!! I KNOW!!!

Sorry, I hit the capslock button. I had to switch to this tablet holder thing that looks like a book. Like a leatherbound book. It's from Brookstone? I love it. But I'm not used to this eensy keyboard and I keep hitting capslock instead of shift. 

I also have a fever, which is weird. Normal for me is like 96.8 and now it's up to 99 plus. There's no point telling doctors that, though. They see one degree of temp, not three. When I turned on the thermometer it said 97 from the last time I checked. 

Anyway between fever and pushing fluids and also hello pain and generalized reluctance disorder, and worrying about the writing, it looks like today is a writing day, hurray!

Oh! I was excited about the drive up to Sisters, much more than the quilt festival. I fully admit this. Guess what though? You're allowed to drive up into the mountains any weekend! Especially next weekend when all the people in the whole world will be in my front yard!

Good times.

Though we also want to drive to Seaside, where the next residency is. I'm excited to see it.

I have been having awesome stress dreams about going to school, even though I'm already there, and I already went, and it's unlikely three cute Korean boys will find my purse and be unable to crack my security code and then stab me through the hand with a pen when I show up to get it back and then we become best friends. Mostly I was just dragging blue wheely luggage through giant endless concourses and being unable to find places I wanted to be, places I just had been, and places where I had left things. Later I got to rollerskate through these giant endless concourses, though, so that was cool.

The first day I was on campus at Penn State has utterly scarred me forever. It's conflated with airports in foreign countries and the Stockholm subway and getting lost in Ikea and everything else big and endless and terrifying and full of people who would quite happily switch from being horrible to being sweet and back again. 

You know the best cure for school anxieties? WORK. Yes. I've been doing some of the things that need to get done, namely reading and studying books and writing up the thinking about them. Since that's totally fun I've been knocking some of those down while in panicky stress mode lately. (And dentistry. Don't forget dentistry. Or withdrawal, hello. That was brutal.)

I have to go to the store at some point, which bumps up against my school austerity measures. I have to be super ultra frugal on top of my normal cheapskatery in order to save up for school. I think the loans only cover the first year of two. So for example, goodbye tv that I don't watch anyway! World Cup is over. Where's the joy?

Working full time and going to grad school full time is going to slow down any resocialization efforts I might have been thinking about. Though I am going to join the Park Patrol! Since I basically do that anyway. Look, a joining of a thing! Another call I'm going to make Monday.

There's no laundry detergent or I might put off going to the store until I have scurvy. One of the hallmarks of austerity is being super careful about food spending. And all spending. Good thing I got a bumper squash harvest! Not actually joking about that!

Mmm, so good, these big yellow squash I'm getting from the garden. Yesterday I sliced one up with the awesome mandoline into perfect smooth circles and cooked it up and set off the smoke detector and ate it up and was so happy. Yum! The most local of local foods!

I really want to do a good job on this writing project. I have big aspirations! Also one of the most awesome parts of my dream last night was that as I was chasing my lost stuff all around the airport slash campus, one of the officials brought me some things that had my signal on them. And one was a bag of food I could actually eat, clearly prepared by Future Me for this moment. The other was a boxed set of book and action figure from the future, of a book that I am currently writing right now! Action figure of a character from my book! SO GREAT!!! That also means movies or tv, incidentally.

Future Me is so great, looking out for my mental health like that, huh? Reminding me to stop eating things I am bleeping allergic to, criminy, and also showing me that this road leads to fabulousness and publication and action figures. You know it! Thanks, Future Me! That's just what I needed to know! I'm on my way there, staying strong and true to our goals and all that! Working hard! No bagels! Doing the things that need to get done! Taking magnesium the right time of day!

Now I'm all inspired and need to get into the shower and get going with my day, at 3:00. Hey! It's working!



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What's your damage, Heather?

Right, I'm backish. I mean I feel like I dreamed the last two weeks. I might have. Don't tell me. It was pretty dreamlike in that there were a million things I had to do and places I had to be and no time or energy enough to do them all. Also: people! So many people!

I liked the people.

What's hilarious to me is realizing ONLY NOW that the whole problem was grad school. Grad school was a horrible experience in pretty much every possible kind of way, although I made some terrific friends and learned a lot of excellent dead languages. Otherwise, though, very very very bad no good awful terrible experience. AND THEN it up and decided to destroy every part of my life. Good times!

I know, I'm like, what is this thing in the center of my face? Has it been there long?

So it was only upon return home that I realized why I was so utterly deep down terrified of going in so many ways. I suppose it was kind of obvious to everyone else. See above, re: nose, face, location on.

The piece I'm working on is about someone's advisor getting murdered to death so I wanted to warn my nice new non-evil advisor person about that advisor murdering since you don't want to stumble across that unawares. And only in the explanation did I realize just how thoroughly that whole thing has messed me up over the years.

Like, I have not dealt with it in any way, and I mean pragmatically, in terms of things like, "Oh, I see my planned career is no longer possible. I should make other plans." I was stuck on square one. Going to write for television is not a pragmatic career plan, seriously. I had a fantastic time and learned a whole lot and earned a lot of money temping, so in every possible way it was the opposite of grad school. Funny, I hadn't put that together until just now either. But it wasn't really a pragmatic career path type of thing, unless the lottery had decided to win me.

This, now. This IS a pragmatic career path type of thing and coincidentally is fantastically awesome and I'm learning a lot and it's very very good for exactly what I want to do with my time. It costs a bunch of money so that's a bit of a down side. I mean I'm going to run out of student loan ability in a year, which means I have to save every possible cent between now and then to pay for next year and even then it might not be possible. Which just means delaying to save up.

It would be wise to live somewhere cheaper. Or get a roommate. I dunno. Like, a roommate would basically pay for school, sort of, if I also save every penny.

I'm not good at math. Let me get back to you on that one. I mean, I did the math, in a late at night worrying over Quicken kind of way, but I kind of don't remember because of the whole dreamlike quality of the past few weeks.

That also has a lot to do with the medications I was taking to be able to walk into the place at all. And into classrooms. Especially the classroom. Oh my goodness. So hard to do.

Though there was one seminar on the last day where I walked in and the only spot was at the head of the table so I marched over and put down my cup of tea and everyone looked up at me just like they do at the professor, as I happen to know. And I kind of blanched and picked up my cup of tea and found a quiet spot off to the side somewhere.

One role at a time.


It's safe to say that going is the RIGHT choice. And very hard. And very awesome. And it's making me face my work every single day now, because of course school goes on all year long, not just during the time you're physically there in the dream state. I have a study plan and a book list and I have to present blocks of work at regular intervals. School! It takes hours and hours per day!

I am hoping that I will never again have to take those stupid drugs. I'm already through the worst of withdrawal. Hey, maybe the vicious heat is helping me sweat it out or something? I'm trying to look on the bright side but it's so ungodly hot. No, heat! You are too much heat!

It's entirely possible (right?) that by overcoming the enormous barrier of getting back to school in the first place I've totally cured my crazypants bananacakes issue collection and now I'll be totally fine. Ha! Hey, it could happen. It would make for a good three act structure.

I never did send that letter to A Certain Actor. Maybe I could rewrite it and send it now. I did buy printer ink, the one thing that was preventing me before I left. But I'm glad I didn't because holy cow how embarrassing. Even though Every Word Was True and there were lots of true words that weren't even in there. You get your inspiration where you need it, when you need it, and you don't complain about it. Just go!

I have some glorious memories from amongst the fog. One person put on music and made us write for the duration of a short piece. I sucked at the first one then got awesome for the rest. T-Bone Burnett made me write about A Certain Actor. What can you do? We know my head is full of a million images and stories and ideas going on all the time.

I don't mind a story that goes: a bad thing happened, and then she came back and became awesome again. I've read a lot of those. I've written a lot of those. The first book on my book list that I could find in a hurry today was Speak, which is exactly about that.

When that story doesn't have the second half, or the third act, or whatever, it's just awful and miserable and no one wants to read it.

I'm also studying narrative therapy on my own, for neither work nor school, in terms of treating or coping with anxiety. (I think I just figured out why my days are so full. World Cup is almost over, though.) Think of yourself telling the story of your life and think about what stories out there are like it. As in, which stories out there are like yours? That tells you a tremendous amount. AND you can make the story change while you're in it, which is my very favorite part.

Today I stopped a panic attack (perfectly justified one, too) with carrots. Baby carrots. A little white bowl of baby carrots. I was freaking out for about an hour and it wasn't going down, just kept on bubbling up as I worked away at doing everything I needed to do. I mean, I kept on working. Work that would fix the freakout. I didn't stop. From the outside you probably wouldn't even know a freakout was in progress.

My friend HW used to say that when I got upset, the only way you'd know was that I'd get even quieter and my eyes would get big and I'd hold very still. I know, like a rabbit.

Anyway I finally stopped working away in freakout mode and MOVED, ran around the house putting things away (oh, the chaos) and made some tea and then stood there looking at the bread box and said, "Have some carrots. You'll feel better." And so I did. Put some in a bowl, ate them like a rabbit, nibbling with front teeth because of course I'm sadly deficient in the molar department. I hope to get some soon, though!

Eating the carrots did it. I could feel the panic attack dropping down. So maybe I just need to carry around a bag of carrots instead of a little orange bottle of benzodiazepines.

I have a TREMENDOUS amount of work to do, in every area of life except laundry. It's true. Work, school, chaotic house, unpacking, moving things around to finish the carpet shampooing or whatever, dishes, etc. There's a lot of bread, peanut butter, and jam, and very little else except baby carrots, and no money at all, so I guess that's what I'll be eating until what, the 10th? Okay!

It's far too hot to eat anyway. I think there might be some frozen ravioli in the freezer, come to think of it. Ooh, and I brought home a box of mac and cheese from school. And there's rice and lentils. See, I'll be fine. Lizard brain gets very worried when food supplies are low, though. Lizard brain does not believe in payday. You know what lizard brain really likes? Lunch in the cafeteria! Not that I eat much. But you know, it's there--that's the important thing.

I had a lot of fish and chicken and veg at those lunches.

Wait, lizard brain, you daft loon, there's also tortillas, refried beans, and a pound of pepper jack! Pay attention, eh? That is a ton of food.

I had a whole theory worked out about people living as though in the paleolithic, mesolithic, or holocene, based on their attitudes to food and survival. You can see it through all cultures if you look. I'm clearly a mesolithic kind of person because my response to threats to survival (even imaginary ones) is to grow food and store food and worry about where the next meal is coming from.

Look at back woods Pennsylvania where you have hunters and farmers. See what I'm saying? Though the farmers also like to hunt. They haven't given that up.

ANYWAY.

Legit state of lots of baseballs being fired at my head today, is what I'm saying, and resolved it partly by placating lizard brain with carrots. Oh, I also finally looked up what that marble is under my eyelid. It's been there about a week but is getting larger. Even I can't ignore a marble under my eyelid forever. It's nothing to worry about, apparently. Hot compresses. Heck, just sitting in this room is like putting a hot compress on it. I wonder if I could get the dog to lick my eye? That would be the world's best hot compress.

I kid! Sort of.

Right! So now that I've overcome major mental obstacle #1 standing between me and actual financial earning capacity and regular employment and security and all those other things, namely grad school, notably *after* already getting my dream job that provides all those things, shhhh, and now that I've developed the lizard brain baby carrot placatory offering system, I should be all sane and functional and able to cope with the ridiculous amount of work and psychological pressure I'm under now, right? Right!

I do feel more like my table has the right number of legs under it.

For example: yesterday I went back to the dog park and talked to the person who had offered to take care of the animals then never texted me, except she did try, of course, but it didn't go through or something? Anyway, hello, the thing I'm least likely to do in the whole world (next to go to grad school) is to go deal with someone when things are Fraught, and I did it. And got her number. And texted her. And no response. But it doesn't even matter! Because I did the sane and coping-capable non-avoidant thing.

Woohoo!

Now it's honestly just too bloody hot and the dog is staring at me like FIX IT so I'm going to go have a nap. It's coolest in there. Ahhhh.