Saturday, April 30, 2016

Behousened!

You guys, I rented a HOUSE. It is a very fine house! The road it's on is kind of too fast for me, but even in the half hour I spent there waiting for the property management lady (I was early) I kind of got over it. Lots of people were walking their dogs on it and so did I. And there's a nice quiet road around the corner that turns out (map consulted) to be very long. Walks: sorted!

So at about 4:00 I rented this house and got the truck this morning and have spent all day loading up the most difficult stuff, the heavy boxes of books and the heavy *and* unwieldy fezzes, of which there are oh so many. I'm going to have to get rid of everything. I can't take it anymore. Ugh, stuff!

Anyway I'm moving in tomorrow. Well...she was going to email me the lease today so I could sign it, then leave me a key in a drop box tomorrow. Let's just say I'm going to get confirmation before driving all that way in a dang gigantic truck.

Actually I should call her right now. Where is my lease?

I took a break from all the heaving and oofing partly because I'm wiped out and so is my dog, but partly because I discovered I was getting terribly sunburned. If I had the slightest idea where to find my sunscreen, I'd use it, even though I'm allergic to it and I sweat it right off.  But still! Where is my sun hat? Where is anything? Well, most of it is in the truck, by sheer number of items. But the big ones are still inside.

Here's how I load a truck, in order:
boxes of books
fezzes (aka large rubbermaid totes)
cat litter buckets (containing fragile things packed carefully)
furniture
everything else

Though I do a lot of filling in the upper space as I go, to make sure it gets used and not wasted.

I know, it's a shame I don't plan on moving again for a LONG time.

I didn't tell you about house! It's awesome. The guy who built it (with his sons, aww!) is a contractor and a really thinky thinker, like my kind of person, my kind of thinker. He did all sorts of odd and wonderful things, like instead of wasting space under the eaves, or what do I mean, upstairs under the sloping roof, where normally the walls would come down and cut off this whole triangle of space? He made all of those into storage spaces. So great!

There's a hobbit sized door in the back down into the basement, perfect for putting your kayak in and out. I love that the solution he came up with was to make a smaller door. The basement is the least scary basement ever. The kitchen is huge and open and merges into the living room. There's a big bedroom on the ground floor which will be my office, probably, and two upstairs, plus two full bathrooms, which is great for when you want to put the litter box in the downstairs bathtub to avoid hauling litter (and gleanings) up and down stairs. And to avoid the combination of litter and wet feet. Ew.

So anyway, awesome! I'm arranging furniture in my mind and not sure where the dining room table is going to go. Not that there isn't a spot for it--I'm just not sure which one to use. But otherwise it all seems perfectly lovely.

I have to buy a washer and dryer, like a grownup. Gosh!

Actually I used to own some but sold them off ages ago.

Since the builder is a contractor, everything is buttoned up tight. You can't even hear the road inside the house! Amazing! I suspect it will be insanely cheap to heat.

Actually he called me last night and we talked forever. He and his wife live next door! I think he's a super sweet Asperger's kind of guy, like about 65% of my friends, so we will get along supremely well. He offered me rhubarb because they have a ton of it and wants to show me his beehives. I had already admired the beehives--they're blue! Bees don't bother me. Remember in Salem there was a bee colony that moved into my back yard, so they were all over the place? And I never got stung, even when mowing the grass. Of course, I'm the sort of person who will patiently wait until a bee moves off a flower before mowing that section. Or I'll go around.

There are WOODS behind the house and a path I could already see going back there. So great! Gawain and I love the woods. We have really enjoyed falling in love with the ocean and the beach, and there is something very special about this little spit of land, something particularly about the light. It's so weird to drive inland and then come back on the same day, because as soon as I cross the bridge onto the point, I see that special clear bright light. I'm sure it has to do with being surrounded by water. I'm really going to miss this area! I would say all things being equal, this is where I'd settle down if I could. This island.

My brother likes to argue that it's not an island, it's a point. But you can go around it in a boat without getting out. That's an island, by anyone's definition. One side is a little river instead of harbor or cove or narrows, but still. If you absolutely have to cross water to get to it, then come on, it's an island.

My poor dog is exhausted from following me around all day long while I've been loading the truck. He just fell asleep across two dining room chairs. Now that I'm not moving, it does seem insanely cold in here, so maybe that's why he's not on the comfy chairs--they're by the open door.

Oh dear, furniture dread! It's okay. It'll be over reasonably quickly. I went to great effort (and also expense) to pack every possible thing into fezzes, so that there would be no lifting and carrying involved. They are strictly a hand truck item. So I think I'm much more done than I think? But I could be wrong. Finishing always takes forever, all the medium things that are too big for fezzes, all those trips back and forth.

I guess it's cat litter fez time! Lots of trips, but very few up that horrible ramp, so that's okay. And then wrestling with the furniture. This is when it would be so helpful to have someone else working with me! I packed every single thing into the truck on my own in Salem except for the little boxes of DVDs, which Bruce down the street carried for me. But I have more stuff now. A whole new daybed, a treadmill, a recumbent bike, and a blue bench. The daybed is disassembled, which just means one million things to carry, oof.

Still not sure what to do with that wet painting. I think it's dry on the surface, but I touched it a little too hard when hanging it up and it squished out below surface paint onto me. In other words: potential for extreme messiness.

Anyway. Yay, house! Must keep going so that I get done before I collapse! Does that make logical sense or no? Maybe not! It might be like knitting faster when you're running out of yarn. Oh well, I'll get there one way or another! Behousened! I like it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dwelling search continues

You won't even believe how this unfolded. It wasn't even a simple yes or no. Instead, the owners of the house decided they didn't want to work with the property managers anymore. They also decided to do major renovations and put the house on the market. They even came out and said that they probably wouldn't give 24 hours notice for a realtor to come through. Even though that's actually the law. Given their terrible behavior so far, screwing over the property manager and doing the "I'll tell you by end of day" thing, I opted NOT to rent directly from them.

In other words, the only way to get that house was to accept unacceptable terms. So I didn't.

Self-preservation! It's a good thing.

Anyway there are finally a few others popping up now, thank the blue furry lords of Kobol, so I'm going to see one Friday and another one next week. I'm at the end of my rope anxiety-wise so I'll probably just write a check to the first house that is reasonably decent. And both of these are awesome, but expensive. I mean, I can do it fine, but I'd rather put money in the bank, see what I mean?

It would be fabulously awesome to move out this weekend and start a new place on May 1st. Yes! I really will write a check to the place on Friday if I can. Fast turnover would be great, even if it makes my head spin.

I'm in a squeeze between my foot and my kidney, which sounds funny but AIN'T. I have this broken foot and busted up knees that hurt like hell, but if I take ibuprofen my bum kidney pitches a fit. I woke up last night screaming every time I moved. My whole right side around the back of my waist was on fire. That was a new experience!

This morning I fully intended to go off to the ER but then after about sixteen glasses of water it hurt a lot less so I didn't.

It would be a super good time to move because I'm down to carrots and potatoes and some cans of baked beans and two clam chowders. And cereal! So much cereal! Oh and two more frozen squash bricks. I should put them on my knees!

At least I'm not sitting here waiting for someone to contact me "by end of day" who never gets back to me. This feels a lot better! Truly.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Wait wait wait

They keep doing this HILARIOUS thing. The property manager says to me, "We'll know for sure tomorrow!" And so the next day I wait all day long, jumping every time I get an email, except I never hear anything. And then the next day: "We'll have an answer for you by the end of the day, for sure!" And then no answer. And it happens AGAIN the next day.

Today was the third day in a row and I'm pretty super sick of it.

It's really not that easy to piss me off. But a guaranteed method is to tell me you'll call me and then not call me, or tell me tomorrow for sure and then have it not be tomorrow. The very best way ever is to do that repeatedly. HATE.

So anyway I'm all packed and I ate up all my fish from the freezer and I'm clean out of spinach. It's a world of fezzes in here. Fez world! Wall of book boxes. Wall of yellow cat litter fezzes. Wall of great big Rubbermaid fezzes.

Of course not everything everything is done. I still have stuff downstairs to bring up. Like...some fans? Some fans. And a box of records. LPs! And the laundry detergent. And my bike. I don't know, the Christmas tree? Man, I hate stairs.

Who knows whether it'll even be this month I'll get to move. What if it's May? I don't want to wait that long! Where is my rice? Where are my DVDs? Where is anything?

Limbo. NOT my cup of tea at all. Nope.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tenterhookery

I should know about the awesome house tomorrow morning! Tonight I'm on the tenterhooks for real. As my neighbor says, there's no reason I shouldn't get the place, but you never know, and I certainly never believe anything until it's for sure. Sometimes not even then! Dude!

But I'm working hard to get really ready and done and all set to go. I even got the boats upstairs. The boats! I have much left to do, of course. Pack the clothes, haul the downstairs things upstairs. Okay, it's not that much. Pack the last dishes, put the groceries into reusable grocery bags for transport. Um. What else? Oh, the sweaters and coats that are left in the closet.

I also need to take the legs off the tables. That feels so final! I'm a fan of final in this circumstance, though, believe me.

If I get the place, and things seem favorable, I might get to move Saturday, but it depends on the owners and what they're doing. They've had all week to finish up, so here's hoping! If not, I could wait for next weekend. Then it will be a week of tenterhookery and such.

There's a bunch of stuff downstairs I should be hauling up right now except my neighbors have people over and I don't want to bring their party down with my manual labor and huffing and puffing and sweaty red face. And my dog who will immediately bounce over there and knock over all their drinks and eat their hors d'oeuvres. They'll probably go inside soon, though.

You know I've been thinking about getting those boats upstairs SINCE I GOT HERE IN OCTOBER. And now it's finally done. It was easy! Holy goodness gracious me.

Things are cluttery and disorderly in here, which I do not like, but it's sort of inevitable.

Oh oh oh, I am so in love with new house, I can't even tell you. Especially because it's not for sure yet.

But I will say nice things about it now in a vague and not emotionally committed way. There's a great big parlor kind of room with French doors and all kinds of built-in cabinets and shelves and A PIANO. There's a nice office room that's pale BLUE. With a day care outside the windows! There's a big old dining room (which I think used to be a kitchen based on the fireplace big enough to roast a goat) with wainscoting. Wainscoting!

Upstairs there are three bedrooms but one is really teeny, like maybe a twin bed could maybe fit in it. The others are so great that all I can think of is how great it would be to have to choose! Ah! The bathroom is nice and big such that someone will not constantly be telling the dog to get out of the way so that someone can even move.

There's an utterly terrifying ancient basement from the time of Alexander flipping Hamilton with a washer and dryer in it. And out back is a barn. A barn! And two acres of space, including a patch of woods out back and room for gardens and whatnot. Places! Room!

Anyway that's a house out there that who knows, maybe could be mine for the renting thereof, tomorrow or whenever? Who knows! Today is today!

Hee, I'm the least able to live in just today of anybody I know. Silly.

It might be late enough now that I can carry stuff up the stairs. Like, you know, the shovel. The post-hole digger. The pitchfork! All those essentials.

I'm really enjoying the part where I Finish Things Up and also Put Things to Bed.

How sure am I that I'm getting this house? Preeeetty sure? But on Tuesday it disappeared from Trulia and I was sure it was GONE. I am confused! Also the psycho landlady reappeared today and told us she's putting both houses on the market. We the tenants are sad! But I suspect it's worse for the neighbors who are staying here. Ugh, dealing with all the major renovations she has planned is bad enough, but they'll have to deal with prospective buyers coming through and all that malarkey. Yuck. Do not like!

Kitty is barfing right now, that's how bad the landlady annoys me. Heh.

Gosh, it was just the most beautiful day today. Dog and I sat out on the deck in the sun and glowed! So beautiful! I sure will miss the dang ocean! I hereby vow to live by a lake at some point again. A lake, which is not full of crabs my dog will eat, nor seaweed he will wallow in and get all fishy smelling.

Isn't big change traumatic? I know!

News as events warrant. Let's hope it's good! And soon! And awesome! Yes!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Progress and its opposite

That reminds me of the thing about sleep and his brother death, but in actuality this is much less morbid and worrisome. But still caused great big anxiety spikes on my personal Richter scale.

The super great house I wanted? They rented it out. The app sends messages when a place you've been ogling has a status change. That's how I found out! They took it down. Nobody called or anything, despite the guy promising last Thursday to my ear (not to my face--we were on the phone) that he would call me. Ugh!

Then the terrible house by the dump rented out also. Which alarmed me because that was not a good house, seriously. Even not good houses are going super fast! Ack!

I did get in touch with the people about the one house in Bangor that the kids and brother like so much. It's near all their favorite stuff or something? I don't even know. It's near the big mental health place, that's all I know. My brother mentioned that as a potential down side but hello, I've worked for actual years in mental health offices. This is not a concern for me and shouldn't be a concern for anyone. It's the people who *don't* go to the mental health places that you have to worry about!

Anyway apparently the place isn't fit to show, so next week is the plan. Guh. Why do people list places that aren't even available to look at? Delay, delay!

This weekend I got a mild talking-to, or a mutual talking-about, really, about over-thinking and paralysis and that kind of thing. And immediately dove right back in and got all kinds of writing done. For which hurray! Then I worked like crazy for hours on my outline and getting the book to match the outline and the outline to match the book. That's because the best laid plans go straight out the window as soon as I get writing. Sometimes I have to backtrack and fix the writing, but sometimes I just change the outline because the writing went a better way.

I have about three more chapters to write. I think they're like 15-25 pages? I wrote 20 page chapters last fall, right? Didn't I? I have no idea what I did last fall. Everything has been changed around and re-chaptered. Who even knows? Point being, though: telling myself I have to write three 20 page chapters gives me huge relief because it's not some nebulous vast unwieldy cloud of accomplishment. It's clear! It's doable! I have an outline to tell me what has to happen!

So that is a WONDERFUL feeling and I'm on the home stretch, bunnies--all that massive restructuring and rewriting I've been doing all semester has really truly 100% paid off.

I decided that I want to be done by June 6th, even if that means working like a crazy person to take out the dumb murder. Or not! I don't know. But what I want is a complete draft.

Those new meds! I had to stop taking them, not coincidentally the same day I started writing again. Dun dun! But then last night when I was taking the dog out at midnight I ran into my neighbors and they wanted to know what the hell was up with crazy landlady coming in here with three men, so I had to explain it was pure intimidation, and they were like, "That's what we figured," and commiserated all kinds of ways. Except it's like I experienced it all over again by talking about it and had a kind of a meltdown. Jeebus, that day was traumatic. So I took the meds again last night, forgetting that they cause utter lack of sleep, which meant I was up half the night. And then I got all wigged out again today by all the houses disappearing and all this Kafka-esque stuff for school having to do with medical insurance waivers and websites that don't exist and passwords that aren't real and shouldn't be there.

Anyway. SHEESH. I think that's all behind me now. Don't look, it's behind me!

I hate it when stupid bureaucratic things and also failure to rent houses send me into a tailspin, because that makes it much harder to deal with, oh, you know, stupid bureaucratic things and failure to rent houses. How counterproductive can you get, brains? Cut it out.

I did get all that stuff done, though. I mean, the Kafka stuff. And I had fun conversations with the tech help desk and the mail room, because the tech help desk transferred me to the mail room, inexplicably, and then with the business office, who said I don't need a password for the thing, except there was the site, looking at me, asking for a password. They finally called me back to say what to use for the password, something that is not explained ANYWHERE, so at least I know for sure I'm not the dummy in this scenario.

So there you go, everyone else who is going to have to go through this (which is everyone) can rest assured that now the business office knows the answers to your inevitable questions because I went through all that. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Very tempting to get out on the cove in a kayak, you guys. Remind me that the water will still be about forty degrees or something, okay? Not that I would intend to be in it. But sometimes that happens despite our best intentions.

I've never rolled a kayak, heaven forbid. The worst I've ever done is gotten one leg wet when getting out. Getting out while it's floating is pretty seriously difficult. I think I only did that once and afterward decided to beach the thing like a sane person. Getting in and out at a dock is even worse somehow. This nice seaweedy beach would be great. I wonder if it would be fun to let the dog run along the shore while I paddle along five feet away? He might love that, or he might freak right out. Hard to say.

There's no way I'm moving away from here without putting the kayak into the cove at least once, though. And since I might only have two weeks left here (GOSH it's great not to have any idea! WHEE!) that means time is short. First I have to get it up out of the basement. Then recover from that. Then get it down to the water with all the associated parts, like paddles and things. Then not freeze from wind and drips and such. I can do this!

Might be out as soon as the end of April, but will definitely be out by the end of May. In case anyone is wondering about the panicky state of affairs here. Jeebus!

Right, back to something simpler and more doable: finishing this novel draft. Okay!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Your move

I wish I had good news for you, but in fact I've been spending my time in slack-jawed ineptitude. Have I accomplished anything at all since our last communication? I painted a painting. Um. I cleaned the house. Twice, I think. Oh and I watched eight seasons of Bones. I think I'm into the 9th season now, which at least means I'm past the very terrible episodes sprinkled throughout the 7th and 8th season, some of which are so eye-rollingly terrible that I don't even know what to say.

Wait, I do know what to say! There are two terrible villains. One is a super sniper who instead of shooting targets chosen by the government goes after people he decides are bad people. It's an interesting philosophical point, but a terrible character. It's basically a character who only exists for that point.

The second terrible character is a super magical hacker who can do anything any time to anyone to a ridiculous extent, like erase all record of someone's existence, when that is just not even possible. I mean, their former landlords have checks, know what I mean? You can maybe make someone disappear in the present, in a witness protection type of way, but you certainly cannot erase the past.

As I said, eye-rollingly bad villains, which makes for supremely terrible episodes when things hinge on the magical superpowers, especially.

Anyway other than that I've really been enjoying my Bones total immersion experience. Good times! Seriously. They are very very good at what they do, except for the very rare moments when they're not. Go, team!

Today I finally articulated what's stumping me about writing, so that's good. Apparently it's a thing that's common with people who were always good in school growing up. We just know how to be good when the parameters are clear. When I get into situations where it's not clear how to do a good job--with writing, for example, or when I get hit or miss praise or censure and I don't know why--I get absolutely flummoxed and can't move. I get paralyzed.

I keep thinking of those experiments where the rats get rewarded randomly for pressing the lever, so they sit there pressing the lever forever like a slot machine. Except I don't work that way. I would never use a slot machine. If the rewards are arbitrary, I refuse to participate. You can dig into my obvious historical and psychological causes for that, I guess. Blah blah blah. Point being, if I don't know what I'm doing right or wrong, or I don't know the parameters of the external adjudicators, or I don't understand what constitutes "a good job" or "a bad job," then we have a problem.

It's really exactly like walking in that bog and having my foot go through. Guess what, I did not trust any tuft of grass after that, and I never will again. You cannot trust tufts of grass to hold you up and not drop you through into a submerged bog!

So anyway. That didn't get me any solutions, but it might have interrupted the Bones marathon at least.

The painting is not very good at all, though I like the big blobs of green, white, yellow, and brown that made the leaves. I went blob blob blob. The path came out worst because it was the last thing I painted and I was tired, but also because I didn't have the colors I needed, which I have since acquired. Yippee!

You would think that painting that thing would have caused me to find a place to live instantly! I mean! I have a wet oil painting, practically impossible to move without smearing, or at the very least covering it with loose animal fur! Plus! My brother and family are going out of town, or have already gone, who knows, so I have no help at all, which means that OBVIOUSLY this is the week I'd be moving, duh! If I break an ankle or something it will just seal the deal.

I do not want to break an ankle. Jeebus.

I do however want to get this one house I'm crazy about. I drove down to see a different one today and it was so utterly deeply subpar that I'm too depressed to tell you about it, though the drive was utterly gorgeous and fun and I got all sunburned on the left side of my face from driving south. Ooh, plus I found the best rock ever on the beach down there. It's granite, white with speckles and sparkles, and it's worn down into a lovely perfect oval, just the size and shape to hold in your hand.

Must be funny to see someone walking along the beach who suddenly goes, "Ooh!" and pounces on...a rock. As though it's my long lost treasure! Maybe it is, huh? Perfect stone is perfect! Now I want to go back and work on The Book of Stone some more. Mmmmmm, this stone!

Yes, so I'm in love with the lavender fractured quartz, but I don't want to hold it. The smoothed out rounded granite is the stuff I can hardly put down. So nice!

I keep finding larger and larger pieces of the lavender quartz, to the point where today I found one the size of my shoe, which is just silly. I mean, it's this giant rock. I put it on the boulder shaped like a chair on the beach to get washed by the tide but not lost. We'll see. Maybe I'll bring it home. I feel absurd, though! At first I was finding fingernail sized pieces and now this gigantic one. The ocean is getting desperate! It knows our time is short and is plying me with gifts to keep me here! Unfortunately it's not up to me, ocean. I will visit! I know, it won't be the same. I'm sad, too!

I am sad, ugh. The medication I'm on means I only sleep a couple of hours. I have actual multiple bags under my eyes, which I did not know could really happen. I can't sleep for beans. It sucks. But mostly I'm sad because I can't pull off a simple and necessary thing like finding a dang place to live. They mostly just don't even respond, presumably because they got five hundred queries or else rented it immediately, or both. Guess what, I can't rent a place that won't call me back.

This one today, oh dear. You know it had to be bad, given that situation, eh? Well, it was right next door to the city dump, it was microscopic, it had a terrifying dirt floor basement reached by ladder (yes), and there was this interesting thing with the stairs to the second floor where the beam caught me right across the forehead coming down. How can I explain that better? Coming down the stairs, the beam at the edge of the first floor ceiling caught me across the forehead. In other words, only tiny people could live there. It was built in the 1780s, so there you go, tiny historical people building tiny houses with horrifying basements.

Anyway YES a gorgeous drive! Beautiful sparkling warm day to drive down the coast and back up again! Gorgeous! Wonderful! Yay!

I think I'll make pizza tomorrow. Maybe?

No, tomorrow I have to get my writing packet put together and finished up for Sunday. Basically these days I'm writing by staring off at a ninety degree angle and going La la la la la as loud as I can, because otherwise I can't do it at all. Mostly I don't do it at all, alas. It's all very distressing and upsetting. If I knew how to fix it, I sure would!

Mmm, pizza. Today I took in all of the recycling, very good thing to do indeed. This week I took back my library books and paid $1.20 in fines, oh dear. I cooked some mushrooms with a lot of garlic. I did a bunch of laundry. Jeez. I'm not even reading, am I?

Here's a big thing I did: today I took all the horrible water softener salt out of the bin where the insurance guy dumped it, because he put in three months' worth at once. I don't know how it's supposed to work, but it's not supposed to taste super salty all the time, I'm sure of it. Well, first of all, the cold water is supposed to be bypassed, so you don't drink or cook with softened water. But it isn't in this house. Because of suckage! And second, it made me absolutely inflate like a balloon, and third, made me sick. So I had to get that out of there. Don't worry, I'll put it back before I leave. Yech.

This should improve my outlook. Today I bought a big jug of water to drink and that's when I realized it was TIME TO FIX THINGS. When was he here? Last week, right? The week before? Well, it's been getting gradually worse day by day.

So here's hoping I get good news on the house front soon so I can move and unpack and be done worrying about it. Then I can move on to worrying about school! I know! It's coming up soon, just eight weeks. Hoo boy. Flying, boarding the animals, staying in that dorm sort of place. I realized I was dreading the actual workshop part so I signed up for this novel structure studying thing instead. I know, I know! But be fair, I dreaded the workshop part long before I ever even went to school. It's why I put it off so long.

Yikes, all I can think about now is how sick I was during the whole entire last session. That was horrible! Let's not do that again.

I have to go to bed because along with the crippling insomnia comes this total exhaustion all the time, WOOHOO. I'm half passed out all the time, but can't fall asleep. What a wonderful combination. Whee.

Your move, houses! Make this happen!


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Two trees stood

I think I found my mythic story thing for the book. It's something I made up to calm my brain down back in January, I think? At school? Or on the plane? I can't remember, honestly, but it works really well somehow.

You just say: there were two trees, and then you say briefly what they're like. As in: there were two trees. One was leafy, one was bare. There were two trees. One had flowers, one had fruit. It's weirdly meditative.

I'm so cold I can hardly type! But it's because I just ate all this coconut ice cream, so don't have any sympathy or anything. Seriously, though I'm shivering so hard! Jeez! It's cold in here, true, or what I mean is: it's cold outside and the cold is leaking in, even though the heat is turned up. So it's warm with cold coming in and swirling around.

I went for a walk with the dog on the beach in just my lovely smoky blue cashmere sweater dress (Marden's, J. Jill, thank you!) and a sweater and leggings and hat and scarf and gloves. And, I mean, boots. Point being, no coat. My sweater doesn't even fasten across the front. It was 20 degrees at most, with wind, and I was fine. Now I'm shivering to bits!

I'm sure it will pass, or I'll get the electric blanket, or I'll turn on the fireplace, or all three.

I tried one of those muscle rollers today and holy cats, they really work! That's crazy! How does that work? I can't quite reach to do my calves, which really need it, but it did my quads and hamstrings just great. And arms. Oh boy!

Yep, fireplace: on. Shiver me timbers.


I'm on this new medication. I seem to be incapable of remembering the name of it. The doctor was awesome, asked me a bunch of questions, answered all of mine, said things like, "So it's situational," asked how the old drugs worked, and prescribed this new thing that seems absolutely perfect. At least on paper. I mean, I've only taken one so far and all I've done was eat sushi and ice cream. (Could be a lot worse, right?)

This morning was a holy terror because my brother was late, so the landlady showed up with three guys as some weird posse. Two were there to check out the fireplace in the basement they're going to fix, I guess? And one was the lobster guy. We stood in my kitchen and looked out at his moorings and tried to figure out where the halfway one should be, but isn't. And I told him how some guys were messing with his boats one night and I went all scary neighbor lady on them with the outside lights and the flashlights and making sure they knew someone was watching them. And I said I'd have called him even though it was midnight if someone had done anything to the boats. I like the lobster guy.

The rest is aggravatingly awesome, because the landlady suddenly reversed her course on selling the house, plus she's totally fine with me moving out early if I find a place--which I did not suggest, she did. Even though the point of that was that she was selling the house. I can't begin to fathom the workings of her brains. Why put me through hell? Why not tell me long ago if the plans had changed? Ugh! So anyway that's GOOD eighteen million kinds of ways and everything is now way less stressful than it was before.

Of course even today she sent another guy over to check out the house for the insurance or something. I don't know, but we had an awesome, highly therapeutic time talking about how daffy she is, plus he refilled the water softener and changed the filter for me. I was about to open the filter thing and do it myself when he was like, "Wait wait wait!" because the filter is under pressure, whoops! There would have been a fountain everywhere.

There were leaves in the water filter. What is going on in our well? There should not be leaves in the water supply! Actual maple leaves! Dude!

The doctor was between the landlady and the insurance guy. What a busy day I've had! No wonder I am a useless hypothermic benchwarmer pudding brain. I did do a bunch of writing in the restaurant where I always go, where the lovely waitress brought me a fricking gigantic slice of cake, literally a sixth of a cake. It was outrageously huge, to the point where the nice older gent at the next table facing me commented on it. You could see it from the space station. I'll be eating it for days.

The ideal size for a piece of cake is the same as a piece of pie. You wouldn't want a quarter of a pie, would you? It was super good, anyway. The fraction of it that I ate. Mostly I drank giant buckets of tea (she brings those giant latte cups for me, with two tea bags--excellent waitress!) and wrote things and talked to the neighboring table guy about the usual Maine small talk stuff like where my family is from (everywhere, nowhere) and how long they have lived here (many generations) and did I mind the cold (no) and the snow (I work at home!) and all that kind of stuff. Except then it turned out he lives in this town I really like and wanted to live in, and he got outraged that the only good house I could find was halfway across the state, so he started listing real estate agencies off the top of his head, including phone numbers!

I was thrilled and so sure that I'd instantly find a place and it would be awesome, but unfortunately I'm better at researching rentals than that. Those places he named had nothing at all for year round rentals. Oh well!

Blue Hill. Has there ever been a town name more evocative of what I like? Except maybe Dog Bed. (Joke.)

I'm so curious to see how the new medication pans out. This town! I called the pharmacy from the cake place to see if it was ready, so I could stop and get it on the way home without having to wait, see. And somehow ended up talking to the actual pharmacist. I said, "No rush, I'm just here at Governor's eating cake!" So when I went to pick it up, she called out from behind the racks of pills, "How was that cake?" Ha!

Wouldn't it be great to have a pill that magically makes everyone awesome and not awful? I would love that! My actual interactions with people ARE mostly awesome, nearly always. It's when people aren't there that they're so terrible, most of the time. Does that make sense?

It should be much more sing song: Two trees stand, or two trees grow, or two trees blow. Change it up as it goes. Can't you picture the Ezra Jack Keats cut paper artwork that would go along with it?

I'm always agog when people don't know his books. I ADORED his books when I was little. All of them! Look, look, look!



Just the first two that grabbed me. Go ahead and do a Google image search on his work and be amazed!

Yesterday I did some major chop chop chopping on my novel draft and took out some totally dumb stuff that came from later additions to the book that never quite grafted on right. I've been dreading working with those sections, and then struggling to make them work, and then I realized that whole subplot was Of The Duh and needed to get gone. The same will probably go for the stupid murder plot, or else our heroine will be removed from suspicion since that's dumb. I might make it so that she is incredibly ineptly framed such that nobody even slightly wonders whether she's guilty at all. That could be okay. Then it's just someone hating her, not someone trying to get her the electric chair. Quite different.

I am DELIGHTED to relate that my niece has picked up this most excellent joke formation that my brother invented years ago and I brought back to live recently.

Ages ago, I was making potato salad and said, "I need some dill weed." My brother said, "Yer a dill weed," and I laughed inordinately.

A few weeks ago, he looked out my kitchen window and said, "Look at those pointy headed duck things," and I said, "Yer a pointy headed duck thing," and everyone giggled their fool heads off.

Now my niece has picked this up. So many occasions where this works very well! "I need a roomy cake fez." "Yer a roomy cake fez." Endless permutations! Try it with your friends!

Tufted mergansers, that's what those pointy headed duck things were. (Yer a tufted merganser!)

So today after yesterday's outrageously thorough and exhausting cleaning frenzy with concomitant massive anxiety attacks, I have a totally clean house and no realtors or anybody coming through to torment me. As it should be! There will still be a total parade of guys coming to do this and that and the other thing, rake leaves (there are no leaves to rake) and who even knows what. But I'm on the road to elsewhere, soon, I hope, so that I can stop THINKING about it and just get on with things. Gosh!

Also the doc today told me I can use those old meds for when the nightmares start up and it's totally fine. THAT IS AWESOME. I have a weapon against the nightmares! I am thrilled to bits, I tell you what.

Excellent wish fulfillment, universe! I really hope you're also working on that awesome house as part of the package deal, right? I will make you an Ezra Jack Keats children's book of the story rhyme poem thing that features in this book I'm writing. Ooh, cut up patterned paper and tissue paper and all kinds of things, eh? Oh so nice! Okay, it's a deal!

The very best artwork I ever did, or you might even say the only good actual representation of a human, was made of cut up pieces of canvas glued to another piece of canvas, mosaic-wise. It was fantastic, truly. I wish I had a picture of it. Something about slowing down the process makes my brain understand the shapes better.

I thought of a way to learn how to draw people, by the way. Trace images on the iPad. I was thinking about light tables and realized it basically is a light table, sheet of paper size. Voila!

Do you know the Brandi Carlyle song Turpentine? I love that song! But in it she says something about how wine turns to turpentine, when of course we all know wine turns to vinegar. But guess what? I just saw a name I've never seen before: Grapentine! That is clearly what Brandi Carlyle was talking about. In fact, I'm pretty sure Grapentine should be what vinegar is really called. Wine vinegar, anyway. Not rice vinegar, though.

Speaking of which, I need to get some turpentine to clean my brushes once I get painting. I left it behind in Oregon for fear of boom. Or spillage. Or fumes in the truck. Any of those would be bad.

I wonder if I'm much less anxious now or just slept poorly and got up super early and had a busy day wherein my major stressors were summarily removed?

I put a pillow on one end of the dog bed and the dog has his head and front paws on it. I perish of the cuteness! Also he looks excessively snuggly and makes me want to take myself off to bed. Until next time, ducklings!


Monday, April 4, 2016

Okay, yeah!

It's not even officially day one of research week yet, since I worked a bunch of hours today for work, as in job work, as in where I work for my job. Work! And yet I've accomplished a massive amount in the realm of getting toward finished draft of novel, wooooooo!

People saying "Wooooooo!" is one of those things I hate, so let's replace that with a stalwart, "Well done, ye!" or possibly, "Good show!"

Word count is 56213 at this very moment. I am pleased! I also did lots of that pesky kind of work where you look at the outline, then you look at the book, then you fix the outline so it matches the book, then you change the chapters so they make sense and one of them isn't, say, someone eating a donut. However meaningful the donut might be.

There are way too many donuts in this book for how gross donuts really are, seriously. There's that same issue with donuts as with cake. Cake sounds like it should be moist and rich and lovely, with icing, but most cake is fairly dry and tasteless, with icing. Donuts sound like they should be light and fluffy and have that luscious slight chewiness, that mouth feel that makes them so good, but in reality most of them are dryish and have soaked up a lot of grease, plus the filling is gross or the icing is oily.

Live up to my expectations, life! Stop it with the dry cake and the greasy donuts!

Good cake is not like that at all, fortunately. The place I keep going out to eat (as in, more than once! amazing!) has fantastic cake. Really, really good cake. The place in Salem where I used to go had amazing looking cake, but it was fairly dry and flavorless.

You cannot beat this cake, though. Oh my goodness gracious me. Well, if I bake it myself I can break even with it. But I think they make better icing than I do. And I am the acknowledged cake master among all people I know. So there we go.

I kept wanting to bake cake to make petits fours but ugh what a lot of work and also see above re: icing and also I don't have a cake slicer. Of course you *can* use a knife, like a long bread knife, and Joy of Cooking even suggests cutting a cake into three pieces before slicing it into two layers for petits fours, and of course I came up with the idea of using a cello string to cut it--very effective it would be, too! But overall the work to cake ratio was far too high just for myself, especially since I'd probably eat all the petits fours way too quickly. AND because both my food coloring and cake decorating supplies are packed.

I actually found my anti-banana pills today, but then fortunately remembered that you're not supposed to take the one kind with the other thing I'm already taking. Basically I was taken off the old thing and put on the new thing. If you take them together, complications can ensue. Yay for remembering! I totally took them together in January at school, though, because I forgot. Oops. Complications did not ensue, however. I survived! Yay!

Reading up on complications and interactions and side effects always makes me think I should just take scotch internally for anxiety. Very limited side effects! Easily controllable dosage! I think it's a good plan, at least until I get to a good psych doctor who can change my meds around so that I'm better able not to freak out and have a complete meltdown over things like I did yesterday. Though granted in my defense that was a great big atomic bomb dropped exactly right on my buttons. As in, the buttons that get pushed? Right.

It's good I'm done doing actual writing for the day. (Done doing! Yes, it really is good that I'm off for the day!)

I do have one job I want to do tonight, whoops, never mind, it's 1 a.m. already. I've been sitting in this chair (with breaks, though) writing since like, I don't know, five o'clock? Something like that. Before the ham!

That ham reeked so bad, I really hope it wasn't bad or something, because the dog and cat and I all ate a bunch of it and it's going to be bad times around our house if so, roll up the rugs and put on your rubber boots. Good thing I just bought a squeezey mop, eh? I think it's fine. I mean, I'd know by now. For all I know, it was something inside the crock pot that smelled to high heaven. I hope I didn't bake a mouse but that could have been it, yowza.

Then when that was put away and cleaned up, I opened up the sliding glass door to let the howling gale outside clear out the dreadful stench, and then as long as that was going on, got to work with the lemon oil for the furniture, and the dark wood stain cover stuff, too. The dining room chairs look amazing now! I don't know what those boys did in the previous family but there were deep gouges along the backs. Maybe it was rivets in their jeans or something. Now those are invisible and everything looks great.

Except I still want to re-cover the seats. Easily done, given time, which I am not in possession of in great quantities right now. Research week means get this book draft done, bunnies, not re-cover chairs. Mmm, they will look so nice blue, though. My brother's chairs need to be done, too, but his are from dribbly children. Mine are fine, I just like blue better.

Tomorrow I get to (heh, "get to") vacuum and mop, and run the carpet cleaner in a few little spots where Mr. Kitty decorated the rugs. Mr. Kitty, please go back to barfing on the bathmat, okay? So much easier to clean up! Or even on the generous areas of bare flooring! Imagine! Criminy.

Yesterday I tidied up everything and the effect is just glorious. Today I even did stuff like move the bread box and wipe down the counters underneath it. In other words, I cleaned things far beyond mortal ken.

There is no bread in the bread box. This is what's in the bread box:

Lindt orange chocolate bars (several) (because I forget they're in there)
tiny marshmallows for hot chocolate
crystallized ginger
caramels left over from Halloween, possibly purchased in Oregon
candy corn from Halloween
some packets of instant oatmeal, I do not know why
a Clif bar
half a bag of Hershey kisses in Christmas colors, from Christmas

I don't think I had any Valentine candy, did I? Easter of course had one tiny chocolate bunny that I think was from last year (truly) and those horrible delicious candy coated marshmallow egg things that mercifully ran out ages ago.

Thank goodness there are no food holidays coming up for a LONG TIME. Except my birthday in one month, hello! What should I do for my birthday, besides of course baking Mississippi Mud Cake if I haven't packed the pan already, which I think I did? Anyway my cake decorating stuff is packed so that's no fun. Well, we'll see! Maybe this is the year of strawberry rhubarb birthday pie!

I just want A HOUSE for my birthday, ahem, too vehement? No? A HOUSE THEN, PLEASE.

That brick one from 1790-whatever would be just right, thank you. Yes please. Let me know tomorrow. I'll drive out tomorrow with a checkbook. Yes I will! Have no doubt. And then I'll move this week, even if it means putting off finishing my draft by a week or two. Yes yes yes. HOUSE WISHES: GO!!!

Plus, big yellow truck! Always a bonus!

Oh my goodness gracious me. I need a nice house and security, mostly security, a nice place where I can sit down and stay there for a good long while, seriously. PARK IT AND WRITE BOOKS. That is my goal.

I sure did well today, huh? I think that earns me a house! House me! Bring it on! Yes!

Okay, it's time to go try to sleep without benefit of the xanax I've taken the past what, four days? Five? Something like that. Guess what happens when you stop taking it? Hahahahahahaha! I might be awake for a while, which honestly is much better than the more likely alternative of horrific nightmares, whee! But let's hope that doesn't happen. I do not like them even one tiny bit.

That's why I was looking into the anti-nightmare drugs, but apparently I'm already taking the best and most reliable one. Sucks! I'll have to ask the doctor about upping the dosage or whatever because dude, this drug cannot handle the stress and awfulness of this current situation with the power-having life-ruiner crankypants able to insist on coming into my home and boss me around. It's so awful and invasive and I can't stop it and that hits every single button I have like the cat on the keyboard. At least my brother will be here to be menacing and lawyerly and that should help a lot. Obviously it has already helped a lot because I got so much done today.

But maybe I'll have that xanax after all. Guess what, dread of horrible nightmares is a great big cause of insomnia in 100% of people who are me! I will literally stay awake all night with no trouble whatsoever rather than have a repeat of the nightmares. The latest one was a crowded coffee shop with 360 degree glass walls and a whole lot of doors, and then ZOMBIES attacked, and I couldn't get people to stop opening the doors and letting them in, even though it was such a simple way to be safe, see? But no, they wanted to run away, so they'd open the doors, and then the zombies would get them and the zombies would get in.

It's not a METAPHOR or anything though!

Actually I never did see any zombies in the nightmare. They were just there, terrifying everyone and causing a panic and making people do stupid and dangerous things.

It was totally fun to imagine all the ways to fling that ham into the ocean today, if it had been as bad as the smell implied. I can see why people build trebuchets. I might have to build one myself. Ooh! Also I decided that instead of carving a chest just like the Franks casket, or possibly just *before* carving a chest like the Franks casket, I want to carve myself a headboard for a bed! I don't have one right now. Wouldn't that be amazingly fun?

I wonder if I have a picture of the sign of the prancing pony that I carved for my brother? I might not. Must ask him to take one next time he's up at camp.

Wood carving is exceedingly satisfying. I think it's because you get to make cool stuff by hitting things with hammers. What could possibly be more up my alley?

I played the French horn yesterday, too. Exceedingly badly. And oh so out of tune. Where is my tuner? Where is anything? I will not know until I have a HOUSE and can unpack! Gaaaaah!

A headboard made of oak trees and saplings with ivy vines and bunnies in relief would be most satisfactory.

My favorite Greek history cartoon is a bunch of guys seen in profile in bas-relief, with one guy in front yelling: "Frieze!"

Ha!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Self portrait

Let's see if I can manufacture a self-portrait from pictures found on the internet or my old files.









































Operation Do Very Little

I know I always think I'm not doing anything and then it turns out I'm doing a lot, but not this time! No, really! It is slothville around here and I am not even kidding!

First of all there's the sleep, which is a giant issue lately, like I can never get to sleep and then I sleep half the day. It sounds like that should come out even, but guess what, the hours when you're lying awake not sleeping are not exactly productive or an even exchange for daylight hours. No!

Then there's all the nothing I keep doing while watching Netflix, which again is totally normal, the Netflix, I mean, but I always used to DO STUFF while watching it. Like I'd be making quilts or whatever.

I did buy a real mop today, so I can at least embark on Operation Clean The Dang Wood Floor soon. Without crawling around on my hands and knees, which face it, was not going to happen. Because ow.

I've been doing well with the treadmill and all but that might mean walking half a mile or a mile. I don't know, it feels absolutely monumental while I'm doing it! So far! So very energy using! I guess it seems like a lot because it takes so dang long, ha ha! Because I'm so dang slow! Gah!

The house is utterly cluttered and untidy and making me bananacakes. I should be packing up every last thing and being all totally ready to go. Like that stack of pillowcases on the bookcase, that should be put into a fez and packed to go, see? I certainly do not need six or ten pillowcases at the ready at all times. I need two. Maybe four so that I'm not waiting for laundry to get done to make the bed. Not ten, though.

Why is that hat sitting there? Why is that shadeless lamp there? Why have I not put away that neatly folded skirt since I was in Seaside in January? Where does the slingshot go? I HAVE QUESTIONS.

Tomorrow I should go room to room and get all scorched earth, putting away absolutely everything, with a laundry basket for things that go into other rooms and a fez for things that can get packed. It's a good plan! We'll see how it fares against the mighty power of sloth, though.

Today I absolutely had to go out in case someone bought the comic paper out from under me that I saw the other day. They didn't! I got two packs. So psyched! Tonight I did a lot of doodling and tried to come up with a cartoon version of myself but I can't draw people, or at least I forgot how, but I am very good at drawing my dog. Maybe I should just write something about my dog, eh?

Which reminds me of a very sweet story. I sent my mom a whole box of loot for her birthday and included a very cute little stuffed dog that looked like my dog. I even undid the stitches that held the ears down in Lab position so that they would poink up like my dog's ears. I got a thank you card this week that said everything was lovely but that the dog was the absolute best thing ever and she loved it. Awwwww! I only sent it because I couldn't go and I know she loves my dog so much! It was a little surrogate! That is just adorable.

I was carrying it around the store in a cuddlesome manner such that the lady at the register shrieked because she thought I had a real dog. Ha!

I got the best notes I could possibly have imagined getting on my writing packet this past time around. Oh boy! I'm supposed to be diving in and getting the whole entire novel draft finished up during this week and next week, which I just realized is almost half over already and I have done, as mentioned, NADA. I mean, all of my actual work work, of course! And this great big meeting thing that has taken just an enormous amount of time, far more than I ever imagined it would. Maybe I'm doing it wrong! All I know is I've been working flat out all week and I'm still not done.

Today of course I went out to do stuff because of the emergency comic paper issue. I found all these ridiculous things. I don't even know. Like, did I ever mention the candle that smells like a really good boyfriend, only without the pesky boyfriend? I found another one of those and grabbed it. And then I made this other lady in line smell and and said, "Smell this, it smells like a perfect boyfriend," and she agreed, and then we agreed that there'd be no earthly reason to have one if you had the candle. Oof, it smells wonderful. And is not annoying! Win!

What else? I found a terrific couch but it had too low arms. The arms have to be high enough and curved out enough that I can lean back against them. Otherwise it was pretty good. Except it was a sofabed, which to me means: it will become uncomfortable to sit on FAST. Okay, so basically it had a good back (very rare) and it was blue, but otherwise, nope. And then I got this bench. It's like five feet long or something and opens up. I feel like by analogy it should contain very wide piano music? But no! I don't know, it's a very very very good bench. Blue, obviously, that goes without saying.

My quest was for actual cushy running shoes because now that I can walk half a mile *without a break* I'm clearly a marathoner and destined to be all lithe and speedy and gazelle-like. I've very nearly worn out the shoes I got when I started going to the dog park. Boy, I put in some miles in that dog park. Lots and lots of miles. Remember that? I'd head off around those paths and just walk forever, fully in terror of imminent mountain lion attack the entire time.

I might have to join the deliberate non-believers who think they can prevent there from being mountain lions here in Maine by pretending they don't exist. Even though I saw their tracks way back a million years ago. Ooooof. A great big print like a dessert plate with no claw marks, dude. Brrr, let's not think about it.

Overall I think Operation Do Very Little is because I'm basically holding my breath in hopes that I'll get this house that I want SO BAD. Like, crossing fingers and holding my break and playing ten million games of Unblock Me. Do you know that game? Get it on your phone! Or don't, and then be glad you didn't. It's pure spatial logic, my favorite thing ever, even better than Sudoku. It makes me want to write music and paint and carve things out of wood and every kind of thing. I've started laughing again since I started playing this game again.

That sounds bananas, right? But I hadn't noticed I haven't laughed in a really long time. I mean, why would I? I'm not around people. But today I was on the flipping treadmill and watching Bones and something made me burst out laughing such that I scared the animals. Then that happened again later. Then I was out with the dog and taking the trash out and looking all over for the dog, where was the dog, hello? I whistled for him and turned and he was standing right next to me, looking around with me, all concerned, searching the yard just like I was, and I lost it and laughed myself silly.

Playing Unblock Me could be purely coincidental, or maybe your brain scientists know what it's all about, I don't know! Maybe the blue bench is magical.

Anyway I got thick cushy sneakers so maybe I won't break all my bones and stuff when I try to run six steps. Physics is not on my side here! But I have hopes.

There was the most tremendous thunderstorm today, completely out of character for around here this time of year. It was a total gullywasher, very bad conditions to drive in, so deep on the roads even just where it was flowing that it sent sheets of water up into the air. I mean, it wasn't some standing puddle doing that. It was just raining so hard so fast that the water was deep everywhere on the road. Crazy!

Well, I'm going to try very hard to channel my worrying (about the house) and sloth into tidying up this hellish clutterfrak and then cleaning it up too, the ridiculous things like dozens of fractured lavender quarts rocks all over the kitchen, and the oil paints out on the dining room table even though I can't find the brushes, so how am I going to paint anything? And also there's no red, orange, or purple. I only have blue, green, white, and brown. Even scenes that are actually blue, green, white, and brown are not just blue, green, white, and brown, know what I mean? It's true.

My dog has discovered the joy of chasing waves as a flat wavefront crashes into a curved cove, which means there's a white crashy part moving along the beach very fast that he can chase. It is ADORABLE. He knows it's coming when he sees a big wave coming and barks at it and chases it as fast as he can. I love it so much! I took a million pictures today from the edge of the yard. He ran down the rocks to go after the waves. What a good boy!

He's now on this groovy no grain dog food and gets baby carrots for treats, which is a huge step up if you ask him. Also the cat doesn't eat up all of his dog food now, which means the cat food is disappearing much faster than before. It keeps surprising me. How much was that cat eating? Also, and I realize I've fixed a lot of things with one little change here, the cat is not barfing every single day like he used to. HURRAY to the umpteenth power!

Who knows what cascade of goodness might happen next? Maybe I'll get that awesome house! Maybe I'll get to move and finally flipping unpack! Maybe I'll wake up during normal waking up hours because I won't be up late worrying about stuff and being frazzled from not doing anything to burn off my energy because I was too focused on hoping for my house! I know!

Tomorrow I'll begin Operation Fix One Room at a Time. Actually I already did the guest room and turned it into the gym room with the big tv. And I already did the tiny room and turned it into the room where all the giant fezzes are stacked for easy egress. Which only leaves bedroom, kitchen, and great big room of requirement which is dining room, office, living room.

Instead of thinking about finishing the whole book I'm going to think about writing the next scenes. And I think deleting the thing that originally came next, because, eh. It's so big and complicated and doesn't really pay off. I don't know, we'll see. What would come next if that didn't come next, that's the thing to consider. I think I have some ideas. These old parts, sometimes they really get in the way, because they're there, see what I mean? If they weren't there, I'd have to think about what COULD go there, and then I'd get to have more interesting stuff. I know!

For example, when I was out at the diner I like again today, I was eavesdropping shamelessly and also helplessly because there was no way to avoid hearing, and I thought: instead of just a bakery, the place in the book should be a restaurant like this one. Plastic menus, bottomless sodas, a great big case full of cakes. There was one like it in State College, not that I can remember the name...they had good macaroni and cheese and some kind of famous sticky bun thing that was excessive. It was probably called the College Diner or something. There was the College Inn in my college town. That kind of place, no?

It's such a good and handy venue. Everyone goes there. The waitresses know everyone and everything.

For example, today this cranky waitress tried to seat me right by the bathrooms, and I said no, not there, so she put me in the middle of the room, and I was so uncomfortable that the assistant manager came by and asked if everything was okay, and I said I wasn't comfortable in the middle of a room like that and did they have a spot against a wall? So he put me in this nice booth with nice safe walls around three sides of me and I was totally fine.

But you know that the wait staff are going to remember a thing like that. I've been in a bunch of times now and never had a problem before, but then they never stuck me in the center of a room with people behind me before.

I need a wall at my back. That's just how it is. Though probably if I'm with someone super awesome who makes me feel safe and unworried, I wouldn't even notice. Anyone reading this who has ever gone out to lunch or dinner with me is immediately thinking back and realizing how safe they make me feel. Awwwww!

I wish I could climb Mt. Hollywood. I mean, I wish I could, and I wish I could. In two different ways. Must regain strength and also breathing capacity! Is okay, I have big cushy sneakers now! All is well. Anyway I climbed Acadia Mountain just last fall and that is highly comparable except much steeper and with fewer tourists. But it's been a pudding of a winter, I tell you what! No snow to shovel, no really long walks. Good call on the treadmill and the recumbent bike, I tell you what. Now just hup hup hup hup hup!

Oh my other furniture dream (besides a bed frame, which I actually do need when I move) is a drafting table that goes up high enough to be a standing desk. And is sturdy enough, not all wobbly and tippy. I design them in my head all the time, believe me! My designs are definitely a lot sturdier and more practical than what's out there. So maybe I should just build one. The idea is a big flat desk area with bars under the top and bottom so that the four legs can attach at any height and tilt. Yes. Actually I really should just build that. Another option is to make the legs adjustable in height but that gives a lot less range.

How do you learn to draw actual faces that look like faces? I should probably look at some faces, huh? It's not surprising that drawings of my dog look exactly like my dog. He's such a good pup!