Friday, May 27, 2016

Math

Not the numbers kind. More like algebra, maybe? Figuring out that if 17x = whatever then x = duh.

Yes, I did not know what to expect of physical therapy so I was taken unawares. Did you know it would involve a strange man doing painful things to you in a dimly lit room without explanation or permission?

Put it that way and you'll understand why I had horrible nightmares all night and also by the way am never going back again. I mean, never until I get my brains detangled. Which might as well be never.

I'm excited to Pay My Rent, speaking of math! Here's a funny thing. I don't know who to make the check out to! I have their names, on the lease, but whose name goes on the check? You can cause complications when you write both names sometimes. I think. So anyway I wrote a check with no name and the dude is coming by tomorrow so I'll figure it out then.

I'm actually having triple conniptions because I have three things scheduled for three successive days and NONE of them have told me what time, which means I have to keep all day open. Which: screw that, man. Especially three days in a row. It's fine if it's one day when I have to be home working anyway, but the whole entire holiday weekend? I DON'T THINK SO.

However, at some undisclosed time tomorrow, possibly when I'm out turning manure into the garden--no doubt, actually, no matter when I do it--the landlord is coming by.

Hopefully we're fixing:

1. the floor of the bathroom that is peeling up, which I don't really care about that much except I'm afraid water will get under it and then there will be a problem. If potential for damage, I report.

2. the dishwasher that doesn't. I would like it to.

3. I guess I forgot to tell him that the upstairs bathtub stopper doesn't stop up the upstairs bathtub.

Honestly, this house is utterly glorious. But there does seem to be a water theme.

Dog and I just rearranged the office and like it much better now. I just physically refused to sit at the desk where it was, no idea why. Now it should be much better. I think. And the treadmill was too crowded to use. Now it's not. And Gawain's chair is at right angles to mine and much closer. And I can put a water glass on my desk while I'm in the comfy chair. And so on!

That is the writing room so somebody better get doing some writing in there pretty darn quick. So far I've done writing in the spare room upstairs, on the startlingly bad for writing day bed/couch, and sitting up in my actual bed.

I cannot believe I need more furniture, but I kind of need more furniture. Oof. We shall see. There is nowhere to put anything in the living room or dining room. Like, no shelves or cupboards or drawers or anything. Nowhere to put a candlestick or a tablecloth. I can't picture the furniture that would be needed, however. Presumably I'll know it when I see it, for $35 at a yard sale?

At some point I have to put the leaf in the table so I can do a puzzle. I know! Whee! And once there's somewhere to put all the things that are ON the table, covering it from end to end.

I made apple pie (no crust) tonight and oh oh oh, the smell is so delicious! It's in honor of all the apple blossom snowing all over the yard. This is going to be apple house, you guys! Land of a million apples! I can absorb all the apple pie (no crust) that you throw at me so I have no complaints whatsoever.

Instead of throwing it, you can place it before me neatly on a plate. That would be better. Or just bring the whole dish! That would be best of all!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Poke, poke

I went to my first physical therapy appointment today to get my knees tuned up. Apparently my pelvis is all weird and is making one leg shorter than the other? Who even knew? Besides my knees, apparently.

I was like, "My knees hurt," and the dude, who was short and stocky and avoided eye contact, was like, "No they don't." Which really just meant that he thought other things were out of whack and were making my knees hurt.

They really do, though. I wish I could light things up with highlighters for doctor types.

Anyway he poked and pushed and did all this weird stuff like stand there leaning on iliac crest for a long time, exactly like when my dog stands on me and puts all his weight on one paw. In other words, so it hurts. Ow!

Dang, I can never remember which one is ilium and which one is ileum. That's because I always think of Troy and getting destroyed and therefore poop so I think Ilium should be the intestinal one. But nope! It's the other way around.

Anyway. The PT place is next door to a combination hardware store and ice cream shop, in case I needed any tools/deliciousness to comfort me after getting wrenched around by a genial fireplug. WHICH I DID. Not tools, really. But I did get one of those things that you attach to the wall so your tension shower rod sits in it and doesn't punch holes in the wall or fall on your head. I described it to the guy with much mime! There were hand gestures. He knew exactly what I meant.

I have to tell you, I absolutely LOVE when the guy in the hardware store listens to me and watches my elaborate mime and then says, "I know exactly what you mean." I love that so much!

And then I got ice cream. And then the whole girls' softball team straggled in and each time a new person came in they all told her about how the one girl got hit in the nose with the ball and just fountained blood everywhere. And each new girl said, "Why wasn't she wearing her batting helmet?" and they would explain that she had taken it off to look up for the ball. Apparently there was a POOL of blood on the field!

I'm actually not clear on why the person batting would be looking right up into the sky like that, come to think of it. Hey, girls! Come back and explain some things to me!

Eventually the nosebleed girl came in with only minimal blood on her shirt (she had changed it) and everyone was glad to see her.

Maybe she was on base. That makes sense.

And then because it was such a ridiculously beautiful day, I went to buy cake ingredients and a half gallon of ice cream and a bunch of meat, I don't even know, and dropped that off at home when I picked up Mr. Dog and went down to the fort and ran around for a long time. We love the fort! Where else can you take your dog where you can run up and down granite staircases and poke your noses into the powder magazine and trot around the ramparts?

I was only slightly miffed that the gate attendant had gone home and could not acknowledge my moderately pricey pass. I waved it at the locked door and closed shades in the little kiosk anyway on the way by.

Then we got behind a logging truck on the way home (ugh, terrifying things) so we stopped and explored a weird layby on the river. It seems to be where the giant blocks of granite came to get chopped up into smaller pieces, from the tons and tons and TONS of granite chips everywhere, many with those holes they drill for the charges, many with squared off corners. It's a nice little area. I might take my kayak down there one day, if I can organize my massive anxieties around the tides (it's a tidal river--you gotta know or you end up in Massachusetts) and the flies and the sun and generalized utter lack of time and whatnot.

I did not bake cake again tonight.

Maybe Saturday. Tomorrow is a very heavy work day, though at least all my workshops and things will be over, ending today. Why do I never remember how much extra time and work those take? They should put it right in the name. Leisureshop. Napshop. Pieceofcakeshop. Nope, those aren't quite right.

One was about publishing, academic publishing, and now I am ALL FIRED UP and ready to get into doing that again, woohoo! It sounds so much easier than publishing fiction, which it actually really is. I mean, given the educational background and academic training, it's much easier to publish an article than write and publish a work of fiction. Just by sheer numbers.

Also I've done it before. But not for holy goodness a lot of years.

Step one is figure out what the conversation is on your given topic, so I have to go find and read all the articles on the thing. Which means finding the MLA database thing. My golly. It used to be on CD ROM back in the library at Penn State. That's the last time I used such a thing. It was called Silver Platter or something. That library was so dreadful, or I mean, it wasn't, but going there was so dreadful for me. I hated it so much. I used to get some kind of comatose panic attack every time I went in there, such that I'd just freeze up and could not function. Which made research a little interesting, as you can imagine.

I still get a version of that when I do online academic research. It's like I get hypnotized and paralyzed and I'm utterly freaking out at the same time. It's like an asthma attack but in my brain. So fun! No wonder I haven't done this in a very long time.

I know the drill, though. The way to do it is to find a really good article on your subject in a top publication and then study their references and see what's getting attention. Then you read all of those and study their references. Already you'll see overlap. Do it again and maybe a fourth time and you will be absolutely conversant in the publications on that subject. And/or lying huddled on the floor.

I sort of want to wait until I'm AT school this summer, with an actual library, but that's daft. I have the same materials available. Plus you know that library syndrome. Why let academic research interfere with my creative writing degree, eh?

Really, though, they overlap, because of course I have my essay semester coming up. I swear I sat up straight and got utterly determined the instant I heard about it and was absolutely adamant that I would publish my essay. I don't even know what it's going to be on yet. Hence the mad researching I'm doing!

You can't write about something nobody's writing about, and you can't write about something everybody's writing about. You have to find this interesting take on something that's in the current conversation so that journals will want it.

Like, is anyone publishing on Harry Potter still? Were there a million articles ten years ago and now that's all passe? I kind of suspect that could be the case. See, I need to get my mitts on the last twenty issues of PMLA or whatever and see what's in style.

This is a thing I know how to do. Which is very comforting, in a way, because I need to do it. Okay! Even though I specifically left academia because I thought this was kind of a terrible way to use your brain and time and energy. So there's that. I mean, I also know how to bake and decorate birthday cakes grocery store style. Which is at least enjoyable and delicious.

It was while I was trying and failing to get integrated back into my graduate program (they would not let me, even though I was registered and all, or return phone calls, or emails, or deal with me in any way--it was an ugly time) that I was working in the bakery decorating cakes. So the two things are tightly bound up in my mind.

No wonder I keep thinking about baking cake lately, huh? Chocolate cake. Fancy chocolate cake with ganache! Yum. I had to buy milk and cream today because every recipe called for one or the other or both. I should have bought more chocolate, too. Some of these recipes, just the icing has ten ounces of chocolate in it. Jiminy!

I'm in the middle of Operation No Jello Socks. I know, right? My legs swelled up ridiculously last week and the week before--really every week since I moved. It was bad. It felt like, well, wearing knee socks or rubber boots made out of jello. SO GROSS. So I had to cut out every possible food, all wheat and alcohol, for example, and I had to stop taking ibuprofen because apparently that was what was doing it. Ibuprofen was making my legs swell up. That makes no sense, but as soon as I stopped taking it, the swelling went way, way down.

Genial fireplug said I still have "pitting edema," which makes me crave olives, and said I should actually take the diuretic the doctor prescribed, instead of just drinking a lot of tea, which was my substitute. It's just that I'm allergic to so many medications so I dread taking a new one. But I have actual lovely slender ankles again, which is very nice! So I must be doing something right.

Doctor (not a doctor) and I are in disagreement about my bum kidney. Basically she does not think it exists, but didn't do any blood work to check. (I KNOW!!!) But I think it has a lot to do with the jello socks. That's one of the signs of kidney trouble. I don't know what it means when stopping ibuprofen fixes it. Mostly. Apparently I still have jello knees, according to genial fireplug, who went poke, poke, and showed me how the divots stay. Which I knew! Iced tea, man! Lots of it!

I also had to explain the MS thing to him, which may or may not be MS, which one doc based on absolutely nothing decided was psychological, but which a neurologist and two doctors said was MS, and on and on. And then how The Latest Research (me reading the internet) suggests that it was probably the result of a bad reaction to Cipro in 2009. Neurological side effects are a thing with that. And how any time I try to get a doctor to figure out why I fall down all the time (which is why it came up in our discussion) they're like, "Huh." And do nothing whatsoever to figure it out.

You know what? The sound of a ticking clock has been driving me nuts for like an hour, except I don't have a ticking clock! I would never have a ticking clock! Where is it coming from? I just realized that I found my watch in a drawer and left it on the table to take with me to school. TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK.

Anyway I have to go back like ALL the time to get poked and pushed at some more. Plus I have to ride my recumbent exercise bike, now that he said it's okay. (My own not a doctor said not to until the PT said okay.) And walk on the treadmill. But with, like, an armchair behind me in case I fall down, which we all know I do all the dang time.

I actually have my big green armchair right there by the treadmill. If I fall, I will fall onto that. Is okay!

It's so weird to have to explain that I don't really worry much about things hurting, just about injury, causing damage. Like if it just hurts I'm fine, but if it's causing damage, I will stop in my tracks. Fortunately I had exhibit A with me: my left hand. Which is one gigantic purple-brown bruise because I hit it with a hammer while putting up fence posts. Did I stop putting up fence posts? Hell no! I flexed it, it worked fine, so I kept right on going.

In other words, I'm not that worried about falling, except if I get hurt, and also I'd rather not fall all the time, doy. Because: ow.

Holy ow, speaking of which, getting up from the chair to close the window just killed my knees. So painful! I really have to go get those x-rays done. Maybe next week? Maybe Saturday? No, the landlord is coming over Saturday. The dryer is coming Sunday. I think the fam is coming Monday but who knows for sure with them. Maybe we'll have hot dogs and potato salad and watermelon and cake! At least, I will, if I remember to go buy some hot dogs.

I got a library card this week when I missed the turn to go get x-rays and ended up in Bangor by accident, so I've been reading Shannon Hale's Bayern books. SO GOOD. I finished Enna Burning last night. Next please! Mmmm, I've been starved for good YA. I devoured Carry On and absolutely loved it, especially as commentary on Harry Potter. How can one person write such good commentary and another one (The Magicians) write such disgusting, derisive, boring, hateful dreck? I think he must be an acutely miserable and wretched person to think that those people are cool somehow. That is so messed up that it truly strains my brain. Who reads something wonderful and thinks, "You know what would be better? If everyone had it super easy but still was miserable and jaded and bored and hated everything."

You may be proud of me right now for not (yet) putting that book in the firepit and lighting it up. I'm sorely tempted. How repellent in every way. Terribly badly written, for one thing. Elitism. Dismissive scorn. Derision. GROSS. Guess what, I love books that care about people and things, hello!

Must get up early and put in one million hours of work tomorrow. And figure out how to raise up my desk so I have a standing desk again. Only without cat litter fezzes this time--that was wobbly. And consider baking cake. And put away more things, once I find places for them to get put. And write write write! I did write a whole bunch of New Book, way to bury the lede there, but it's all thinky first draft stuff, working out ideas and things. Good to get it written, though! I need to finish Old Book really darn quick, hup hup! There isn't even that much left. I don't like finishing things! But I will get on it, I will. Plus I have to dig up the garden with my broken knees so I can get the potatoes and onions planted. Gah! So much to do!

TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK

Friday, May 20, 2016

That's a strange way to get there, but okay

This is weird, huh? I don't really like my living room. I can't even explain what I mean there. I guess I mean: I don't really like my living room. It doesn't feel homey or warm or comfortable. It's literally very cold in there, though of course I could turn the heat up any time. I just mean that the end where I sit, where I can look out all the windows, is the coldest spot in the house. And it's in the 60s out!

I just discovered that a bunch of what I thought was foundation above the ground is actually just insulation with this sort of concrete coating painted on it. It's coming off in spots, that's how I know. Isn't that weird? I thought so too! Now I want to pile up bricks or put up more of that insulation or something. I don't know, I have all summer to think about it I guess.

Anyway it was just this moment that I realized I don't like the living room. Yet again as soon as dinner was over I repaired to the upstairs, where I've been sitting on the bed for hours, writing. Which I guess is fine? I mean, my feet were super cold, that's why I got them under the covers. The bedroom is LOVELY. I have all those short bookcases against the short wall, all full of my favorite fiction, which is nearly all YA so it's all bright warm candy colors. So nice!

The living room is my red comfy chair, and sort of like, all this furniture, so it would be good to have people over if there were a gathering, I guess? I mean it's very nice and peaceful in the daytime when I'm working. That's where I work. The dog sleeps on the dragon bench or the blue bench. The cat visits and goes off to find somewhere cozier to hang out. I work. And then for meals and whenever I'm not at work, I'm out of there.

Maybe it will change whenever I get a couch? Though I suspect it will always be warmer upstairs, what with physics. It will also be cooler upstairs if it gets too hot, because this will be the only space I cool with AC. So.

I guess that's fine, right? I'm using the living room as an office every day. Except Saturdays. I'm off on Saturdays.

My actual office is a back bedroom on the ground floor which contains the big blue trunk, my desk/table, the treadmill, and the big green comfy chair. If I go in there and sit down, I immediately fall asleep. Well, first the animals curl up all over me. And then I fall asleep. Not conducive to writing. Isn't it odd that I can sit on the bed for three hours writing and not fall asleep one bit? I think so too!

Oh, the house is so lovely! Now I'm working on fencing in the yard since the dog gave me conniptions chasing after a deer in the pitch dark. Gasp, ack! And I'm working on a garden. All of that meant that I had to go get my trailer out of my brother's lawyer house today (check!) and buy a bunch of fencing (semi-check--they did not have more than 100 feet of what I wanted) and stakes (check!) and a bunch of aged manure. Super check! See how handy it was that I had the trailer right then? I know! It had the trellises and the heavy duty dog fence on it already when I stored it, kind of by chance.

I also went on a tour of Places That Have Fired Me today, never my favorite tour. In fact I have been putting off going to the weird store of oddments even though it's the only place I know that (used to) carry those Indian food MREs that I like so much. I went today and made grimacey faces at all the places of firement. Hate you all! It's convenient that they're all right smushed together. Makes them easy to avoid.

What else? I went out to the transfer station and got a sticker so I can get rid of the garbage finally. Which I did. And the recycling. So now my plan is to drop it all off regularly on the way to Fort Knox, happy fun place for me and dog to run around. It's on the way! Sort of.

Since the washer arrived yesterday I've been doing laundry with great energy and persistence. And ingenuity, because there's no dryer yet. Still haven't figured out sheets. I know, a clothesline, but also: ticks. See. I lack enthusiasm for that combination. I think if I hang my sheets outside I will never sleep a wink because I'll be completely covered with imaginary ticks.

So I have to figure out another plan there.

Recall I went an entire winter in Oregon with no dryer and hung everything on clotheslines indoors. It can be done! Especially for two weeks or whatever.

I'm counting down to school and getting major school dread, as usual, sitting around going, "I don't want to go!" and all that. I mean, I'm going. And it'll be fine. Or not. Whatever. It's all the going that makes me so tired. Logistics, man!

I really want to get completely unpacked before then. I mean, honestly. For one thing I still haven't found my skirts. Or all my many and varied grains. Where the heck are they? Not together, I suspect.

The grains are in a bunch of giant tins, the kind you get massive quantities of Christmas cookies in, so there must be a whole big fez of them somewhere. Oh well, I'll find them. The only fezzes left are in the back room office.

The store of oddments did not have palak paneer, the one thing I went there for. But I managed to find a lot of other excellent things, including a bocce ball set, a rug to go under the treadmill so it doesn't destroy the floor, a bunch of weird sauces and things like that, and all those stakes I'll be using to put up the less robust fencing. Robust fencing between here and the street. Less robust in other directions. Flimsy, actually. Quite flimsy. More like netting.

I guess it makes sense that the happiest place to be is near my beloved fiction collection. My lovely second house in Salem (2001-2003) had short upstairs walls like this, below sloping ceilings, and I had these short bookcases there with all my fiction too. I mean, that's where I got the idea.

It's not that I don't like my downstairs books. They're just not beloved like this. You know, non-fiction, dictionaries, language books, cookbooks, knitting books, writing books. I am quite attached. I just don't adore them like these. I ADORE my fiction collection. I can't stop looking at them. I want to pull all of them off the shelf and read them all.

And not, for example, The Magicians, which I tried to read and gave up on 3/4 of the way through when guess what happened? Infidelity! Because it's not literary fiction unless someone is banging someone they ought not. That was the most terrible book I have read in my memory. I mean, back to like Sinclair Lewis and all that junk, which at least was well written, if hateful. What a waste of oxygen for those people to breathe while writing these terrible, terrible books! They actually reduce the level of awesomeness in the world just by existing.

I should go on some kind of mission where I travel the world, destroying every copy of The Magicians. It's like a hymn to hate. It's so grotesque! Awful boring people who hate everything. That's the gist of it. It's also completely ripped off from everywhere else. Not homage. Theft. I went and read a bunch of Goodreads reviews and discovered that a) there are a million others who hate this book just as much as I do, for exactly the same reasons, and b) even though everyone knows the whole thing was ripped off, nobody caught that he even stole the goose transformation from The Once and Future King. I mean, honestly. It's not even creative and terrible. It's flat, pointless, utterly lacking in plot, utterly lacking in narrative drive of any sort, without insight into anything.

Why does this book exist? How could this happen? How did this dude write THREE books in this series when nothing even happens in the first one? THERE IS NO STORY.

Ahem, cough. I'm okay! I left my copy on the toaster because I kept thinking about going out to the little metal firepit thing and burning it up. The last book I burned up was The War of Art which was similarly horrible.

Well, anyway. Then I thought I'd read Carry On, but it's also a school for magic and I was too scarred by that horrible thing. So I picked The Mysterious Benedict Society off the shelf with no idea what it was about. And. It's about a school for magic. I think. I got to the point where an 11 year old is taking a mysterious test given by mysterious people and then put it back on the shelf and came upstairs.

Guess what my book is that I'm rewriting next? It's about a girl who suddenly gets magical powers. EXCEPT. I got so rageful and thinky after that horrific hate piece excuse for a novel that I had a million ideas about how to do it right. Plus I was thinking about Maggie Stiefvater and how she knows what The Youth are thinking and feeling. And I had just driven past Hampden Academy twice. It's on the way. And then I knew how to do this right, in a way nobody has even come near to thinking about, except possibly Maggie Stiefvater with Ronan in the Raven Boys books. Which is a private boarding school, and there's magic, but they don't teach it there, oh good heavens no.

How odd, I didn't put together the boarding school and magic combination in the Raven Boys books until just now. Hmm.

It's so interesting to think about all those books that way, though. Private boarding school equals privilege, right? No matter how you slice it. Even in Harry Potter. The people who get to go there are special in some way. I have to learn a lot more about Hampden Academy, since it's right there to be learned about. I wonder if they have tours? Could I pretend to be a mom? I could absolutely pass as a mom, actually. I can't seem to pass as NOT a mom.

I really want to drive down to Castine and look at Maine Maritime Academy. Boy oh boy do I wish I lived right there by that! I mean, it's college, not high school, but still. It's not that far. Maybe this weekend I'll sock the dog in the car and run down there. I have my pass for all the state parks in Maine now, so we're on a mission to see them all. (Not actually.) I got the pass at Fort Knox because otherwise you pay every time.

Man, I love Fort Knox! I should totally set some of the book there. It's a gigantic stone fort that never got used. Massive granite blocks! Cannon emplacements! A pentagon shape! Spiral stone staircases! A very weird and eerie mannequin wearing a straw cowboy hat, seated improbably at a desk! And much, much more. Including one of my favorite things: a pyramid of iron cannonballs all welded together. What if we needed them, you guys???

It's not unlike (though much less cool than) the massive fort up in Halifax, whatever that is called. Plus from Fort Knox you can watch them deconstructing the gigantic paper mill or whatever that used to employ half of Bucksport, where everyone just lost their jobs. There was a huge ship parked over there, presumably taking away all the metal from the factory.

Wait, I have pictures.




That is the oven where they would heat up the shot to shoot hot shot at evil enemy ships. I just typed the word "smips" and laughed inordinately. Smips! Anyway they did NOT heat up hot shot to shoot at hot ships because the fort was never used, so there we go.

My battery is running out, oh no! Must be time to go to sleep. In my insanely cozy house in my insanely cozy bed with sleeping blond animals wedged all around me. With rows and rows and rows of the best books ever just over there. Ooh! Happiness!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Clutterby Pie

We're nearly done with the hardest part of moving in, but there is a clutter issue that needs eradication. Pow! Die, clutter!

I might need some sort of hutch or something. Not as in bunny. As in a cabinet thing for the clutter to go into, right? NOT SOON though. I swear every new item that comes into the house is a flipping burden on my sooooouuuuuuul.

A burden that can only be lifted by watching awesome soccer clips on YouTube. Oh my! I think I practically levitate when I see some of those. Plus instead of my baseline of mmmmmmmmm I suddenly am all go Go GO GOGOGOGOGOGOGO!!!!! even though I know perfectly well it's a game that happened years ago because I saw it. I mean, come on!

That happens with tv shows I've seen a million times too, though. I sort of feel like I'm watching myself watch a thing and glancing sidelong in amazement, like, dude, you know what is going to happen, why the suspense? But then I also think it's kind of awesome that I can get caught up no matter how many times I've seen it.

Anyway the soccer thing is becoming a slight issue in the manner of any addiction, with the craving and the constant thinking about it and then bargaining with myself, like: how about we get tv after summer residency, so we will have that draft finished first?

Even though I know that soccer is the book delayer, the thing that happens instead of writing, not with it. It makes me so happy that I don't even care about anything else. Addiction is no joke and I'm not even really kidding here because I will starve or stay awake all night or (heavens!) get up early to watch games.

Remember, self, it's kind of the off season! What if we wait until the EPL comes back in the fall? We can check the dates...we can think about it...we can see how much it is....

Bargaining, like I said.

Meanwhile I've only unpacked half the books, though I did build all four of those 3 shelf bookcases upstairs for the best of the fiction, hurray! The bed frame seems to be coming apart now that I've built those and fixed the dresser, though, which means hauling the mattress off and doing whatever surgery needs to be done there. Preferably with bolts and screws and power tools! Yay! Well, actually it probably just needs a couple of those Ikea joiner things turned.

Anyway, yes. Clutter. Did you ever read Midnight is a Place? It's sort of part of the series of Wolves of Willoughby Chase, or at least set in the same world. Clutterby Pie plays a role. I can't stop thinking about it because every time my eye alights on clutter (CONSTANTLY) it pops into my head.

I had the same problem yesterday when I had to go to one million large box stores in pursuit of necessary items, because the first automatic door I went through made the song "Let my love open the door" come into my head, and then EVERY automatic door brought it back.

I used to sing that song all the time except it was "Let my dog open the door." Ooh, ooh, let my dog OPEN the door. Let MY DOG open the door. To your house.

It's quite annoying and takes up the brain space that remembers things like the name of that movie with Bogart and Bacall with the planes and the Marseillaise and Morocco or wherever it was. Casablanca, you are all thinking, but my brain went around and around because all of the bandwidth was dedicated to Let MY DOG open the door.

However, I'm delighted to discover I spelled Marseillaise correctly on the first try. Well, there you go! I wonder if I remember the words?

Right, where was I? I have a ton of paperwork to do for school, due tomorrow, so I have a PLN about how to get it done. The PLN is to go upstairs and build the day bed and then sit upon it with my dog and cat and get all that work done in relative convivial fur-bedecked comfort. Their fur. Not, like, ancestral sables or anything.

There's a whole windowsill full of rocks from the ocean at my old house. Including an ancient tea cosy upside down and full of smaller rocks. The rocks are mostly fist sized and either a) lavender fractured quartz, or b) rounded and smoothed granite. Oh, sorry, don't get me looking at those rocks. There was a long pause there you couldn't see while I stared at a windowsill full of rocks.

Like, where do you put all your rocks, though? Where do rocks go? It's a quandary. It's a koan!

So much decluttering to be done. I could put up some of those narrow shelves I have, intended for a row of pictures. Now they would be great for rocks! But these walls are that stuff, I don't know what it's called, but when you hammer a nail into it, it goes straight in and wouldn't really hold up any weight. You can basically push a nail in without a hammer. I guess I could find studs and put up the shelves that way except, see, they're these Ikea shelves with their screw holes already in place. Are they made to line up with standard stud distances? I do not know!

There are more crucial things to be done than putting up picture shelves for rocks, in any case. Like unpacking more books! I've already read one of my to-read books and I'm slavering over the rest of them, but I know there are even more still packed, ooh! I sure do love having a to-read shelf. Because what do we want? To read!

Also more sorbet, but they keep that at the store, and I am not really in the mood AT ALL to get in the car again or go to a place where they sell things, where I will walk up to the building and the door will go whoosh and I will think: "Let my love open the door." Gaaaaaah!

The water here still tastes funny to me, but downstairs more than upstairs. Which is weird, since it comes from the same well. Huh.

The washer is coming on Wednesday but the dryer isn't coming until the end of the month. Fortunately I'm exceedingly adept at drying things without a dryer. I mean, they dry themselves. I'm just good at festooning the place with shirts on plastic hangers and such. Not sure what to do about sheets. I'm on my third set already and I'm not entirely sure I even own any others. Do I? Who even knows?

Before I go upstairs I'll put in more time in the unpacking and the battle against the clutter down here. Flattening cardboard, stowing things where they go, figuring out new places for other things to go. We'll get there! There's an enormous quantity of rhubarb outside, too, so I might have to pick some and cook it up, or even--ooh--make it into sorbet with that absurd ice cream maker I have. I could do that! It's a thing I could do! It wouldn't even involve automatic doors! Mmmmm, rhubarb sorbet....

Oh! And I got my notes for school! YAY! They were flipping awesome again. I sure do like the approval of awesome people, yes I sure do! I like it very much indeed! Yep!

Right, back to the wrangling of stuff. I'm filling up boxes and bags with things to get rid of, fear not. I am completely overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of things and want that quantity to diminish, never mind the carload of stuff I brought home yesterday. That was stuff like an ironing board (finally) and cat food and dog food. And a trash can. And purple seed potatoes and red onion sets. Garden time! I have to plant bush peas for my puppy. He loves peas and beans so much! Soon we will fence in the entire yard and my blood pressure will drop and we can garden away without leash or fear. Yay!

I bet they're going to get a million purple potatoes at my old place this year, even though I did my best to dig up and eat every one I could find. There's no stopping the purple potatoes! I'm like Miss Rumphius, the lupine lady, except with purple potatoes. Not a bad legacy, eh?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Put it away

Still an unreal number of items to be put away, mainly books, shoes, and kitchen things. Why so many? Go away, some of the things!

I've been yanking things and stuffing them into big black plastic trash bags to go to Goodwill. But I seem to be terribly outnumbered.

Also there seems to be a ridiculous amount of stair work involved. Oh, stairs. Why was I so happy to see you? So much up! So much down!

I went climbing up a mountain by accident on Saturday. My brother invited me and I figured that since a five year old was going, I could manage it. HA HA. Children scamper up and down mountains that the rest of us have to stagger on. It nearly killed me dead with all the UP UP UP and then on the way down we had to climb down a several hundred foot descent made up of large craggy rocks. Madness!

Yesterday the doctor looked gravely at my knees (and my busted right foot) and said I need x-rays because they are significantly effed up. I guess when things hurt so much that they make you nearly throw up that's a sign I should have done something about this ages ago. I'm doing it now, though. Probably just in time to get both legs in casts before going on a cross-country flight.

No no no. Maybe one foot in a cast. Though I'd be surprised at that also. Ugh, it hurts, though. The knees stop hurting when I sit down but the foot gets even more upset. I don't know, because of neglect, maybe? Who knows what is going through its footy mind.

Yesterday I ran around like a lunatic all day long. To the DMV, then the doctor, then to fetch niece from school, then nephew, then off to a string of activities for both of them, until by the time my brother showed up at very small soccer, I was lying on the grass by the field as though dropped from a great height. It was all super fun though. Just, you know, exhausting.

Getting my driver's license etc. taken care of is a very good feeling. Wait, I have to do the registration and all that too, don't I? But in Maine that's this big involved thing where you have to go to the local town hall and pay excise tax. Except do I have to do that when I'm just moving from town to town? It's across county lines, though. Jeez, I don't know. Tomorrow is town hall day for me, doing all the various town hally things. Ugh! Bureaucratic oof already. Even though it'll be fine, they're very nice there and said welcome to town when I was in before, with absolutely no proof of residency so I couldn't do a thing.

As it turned out, I did have proof of residency. At least, showing the DMV my lease on my phone worked fine. But that is the nicest DMV in the whole entire multiverse right there, back where I used to live.

Must also acquire gas so that I can mow the lawn.

I have to tell you, I'm feeling much more positive now that I've scoped out the side road for walks and it's not full of loose dogs and ravening moose and whatnot. We need our walks! Everything I have hurts, partly from not getting enough walks, and partly because I've inexplicably stopped taking handfuls of ibuprofen all the time. Maybe not so inexplicably. But oh, I am all crippled up from the pain and it's very hard to move at all. Like, even just walking kills my back and my legs and arms and feet and neck. I told you, everything hurts!

The doc (who is awesome and also not a doctor) is pursuing the I Can't Breathe angle vigorously and putting me on all that stuff I was on back in L.A., which is the last time a doctor cared the tiniest bit whether I could breathe or not.

I'm reading Dumpling right now--have you read it? It's full of all this awesome stuff that only the sizable know about. Like if you go to the doctor with asthma and you're skinny, they treat the asthma. If you're not skinny, they tell you to lose weight, which of course is tricky with ASTHMA because you can't BREATHE so EXERCISE is kind of DIFFICULT is all I'm saying here. Oops, rage. Anyway this lovely doc is very aware and stuff and actually gets it about the breathing and so now I get to have things to help.

Presumably once I have working knees and foot and can breathe, movement will become less traumatic and more possible.

It was 80 degrees outside today. Dude! I stayed inside with the windows shut. It stays nice and cool in here, or has so far, so I have high hopes for the summer. I'm totally ready to buy an R2D2 freestanding AC unit if needed but I'd rather spend the money on books. Even if it means (especially if it means) getting rid of some of the ones I have. I have books that I look at and go, "Ugh." Hey, I have an idea!

Also I might get one of those bookcases of cubes but for shoes. Except it would have to go at the end of the dining room table. Doesn't that seem like a conflict of interest or something? I don't know, it seems wrong. Maybe it can go in the office closet. Where do shoes go when your bedroom is upstairs and you don't wear shoes in the house? It's a mystery!

A big part of my job today was bringing the fezzes of shoes back downstairs. Agonizing. Yeah, let's not think about how badly that hurt, because I will throw up and that would be bad.

I'm in terrifying school limbo because my mentor vanished on me. I should check when I sent that last email but it was at the old house and it wasn't the week I moved, which makes it in April, obviously, maybe the third week of April? I haven't heard since then. Not even when I sent my last packet on Sunday. Ack, ack, ack! I mean, first of all, we have to record all of our communications and I'll have to put on it that I never heard back, which is bad--I don't want to get her in trouble or anything.

But worst of all is that it's a dramatic reenactment of my PhD program's terrible crash and burn. This is exactly how it went. I can't have that, you guys. I don't have a phone number or anything so I can't call, either. I mean, I have no other ways of moving forward except contacting the school and that seems a lot like calling someone's boss to rat on them. Not cool!

Our stuff isn't due until Monday so I'll wait as long as I can. It's probably just that she's super busy with the end of the semester, right? No doubt that's it.

The whole thing makes me want to have a slow motion panic attack. Maybe I'll bake instead! I unpacked a lot of (all?) the cookbooks today. Remember when that used bookstore was going out of business and all the books were $1? Ahahahahahaha! I have something called The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Cookbook that seems to be calling my name!

You know how there used to be this thing about how some foods were BAD and some foods were GOOD? At least that's how we were raised. Obviously it's nonsense but I still have it in the back of my head. Like if you don't eat BAD food, i.e. fried food or fast food or junk food, then there's no way you can be overweight, right? Except: nonsense. I don't eat any of those things (except for yesterday when I totally ate a Big Mac because I had approximately sixteen seconds for lunch on the run) and I'm still on the plentiful side from eating too much of everything else. Doctor types always 100% of the time take one look at me and assume I'm hitting all the usual suspects mentioned above.

The doc was able to look at the actual numbers and notice a) normal blood pressure b) normal lipids c) normal everything else, though. She got it. Just not right away.

I did so much during this move. I performed miraculous feats of stamina and strength. Plus, I climbed a mountain last weekend, hello! It's very annoying to do all that and to push through ridiculous pain and not be committing the delicious dietary sins that they assume I'm committing and still be put into this box of lazy immobile french fry snarfer. I don't even have a couch! I can't sit still more than half an hour before I have to get up and run around! Ugh. Look at my muscle tone!!!

Brrrrr, a tick was just walking up the back of my neck, like a mobile scab. YUCKY. I got it and squished it, do not worry. We cut through the woods to that road but we won't be doing that again! Bad woods! Too many ticks!

Don't think about this...but in order for us to pick up ticks pretty much guaranteed whenever we go out into the woods, they must be just absolutely everywhere. Know what I mean? It would be impossible for us always to just happen to be in the exact right spot where the one tick was. No indeed. The entire woods must be covered with them. The entire Eastern seaboard. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

If only they would use their powers for good!


Anyway, yes, sure, let's bake some fabulous chocolate cookies! Although come to think of it, I hope I have ingredients. We shall see!

I'm so excited to have so many of my books out and about! Ahhhh! It's been way too long! Tonight my plan is to build the two new small white crappy bookshelves upstairs so I can put out some of my favorite fiction. Favorite fiction goes upstairs. And if I can get it together, I'd love to build the day bed in the spare room so we do actually have a couch. ("Aha!" say all the medical professionals. "Shut up!" I say.) Otherwise the dog and cat and I spend about fourteen hours a day in and on the bed as it's the only group lounging facility in the household.

I'm going to reread all my favorite books, see if I don't! Quick, before school starts again! Assuming I don't get kicked out because my mentor hates me now! Or whatever!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

What if I put it over *there*?

That's pretty much the soundtrack running in my head since I moved in. For example, right now I'm considering moving the dining room table from this odd space where it is right now, which is sort of a dining room but too narrow, really, to the giant empty space in the kitchen. Except I don't like bumping into furniture. I don't like things to be in the way. And nobody sits at the table except for me and sometimes the dog. I don't actually need six chairs to be pulled out, ever. What if I put it over there, huh? Would that be good?

I'm miles from unpacked. Miles! I did do a lot of stuff. I unpacked and hung up a good portion of my clothes, mostly the ones I don't really wear, like dressy or work clothes. I unpacked the dishes I actually use, which of course leads me to wonder: what are all those other ones for? They might get gone. We shall see.

I haven't found, for example, a whole fez of long skirts that would be perfect to wear right now. Where are you, o skirts of mine? Where?

I do not know their whereabouts.

This house is flipping awesome, truly. It has some odd quirks, though. Like the dishwasher does not wash the dishes. So I thought, rather than deal with that, I'll wash the dishes by hand! But there were three drain stopper thingies, you know the kind, with the black rubber bottom and the sort of round basket thing? And none of them worked. The water leaked out. Hard to do the dishes without water. So today I went out to acquire various items and also acquired a big stopper and a flat stopper. Neither of those worked either. All the water fell out. They did not even work when I used them both together! Dude!

Next up I'll have to try a dish pan, but I really hate dish pans. I associate them with greasy plastic and bad smells. Yucky. My mom has always washed dishes in lukewarm water in a greasy dishpan because she skimps on the soap and it makes me kind of ill to think about it.

Maybe I'll just get the owner to have a look at the dang dishwasher. Or maybe it just doesn't wash tea stains off mugs. There is very hard water here. It took some scrubbing even by hand to get the tea stains off. Maybe I'm judging the dishwasher by results it could not possibly achieve! Oh so unfair of me.

Meanwhile, I also don't have a dish rack, because there's a dishwasher, see?

Anyway.

Kitty thinks there are mice under the stove here like at the last place. I can't tell whether he's onto something or basing his conclusions on pattern recognition. What do we think?

Today on my outing I acquired a vacuum! I hate vacuuming. I abhor a vacuum! But: dirt! So I got the little lightweight Dyson thing. It's flipping adorable. It's like Apple designed a vacuum by way of a juicer. Also it's cordless.

Okay, here are the things I hate most about vacuuming: the cord getting caught around everything and getting yanked out, the hateful noise, and the clunky awkward unwieldy nature of vacuums. Also that it often does not even pick up the dang dirt! Hello! So this little baby Dyson stick creature is cordless, turns off as soon as you let go of the trigger--very cool--and doesn't sound like regular vacuums, much easier on the ears, and it's very light and well balanced. Ooh, it's also bagless, has a canister thing that just drops open like the trash disposal thing in Star Wars. Flap open, dirt and fur fall out.

I used it as soon as I put it together, but it only had five minutes of battery charge and then it ran out. Now it's charging.

Note to self: vacuum the stairs from the top down, silly bunny.

I got my fifth and final writing packet out this afternoon, woohoo! And made fancy dinner to celebrate! Spinach ravioli and prosecco, with raspberry sorbet for dessert. Okay, not that fancy, but certainly low effort! Win! I don't know why prosecco except I was looking at champagne and this was Cupcake brand, which randomly charms me. I'm easily charmed. It's fine. Cheers!

I'm all let down now that my work is away, even though I wrote some great stuff this afternoon to finish up my page count. I wrote the big revelation scene! Ah! Dun dun! And it kind of didn't end? But so it goes. It got to a good stopping place.

I don't know, I got pretty negative notes the last time around, so I was grumpy and hanging back this packet. Apparently I will be a rock star given praise but will be all sulky and miserable when berated. Lacking emotional self-regulation, in other words. I mean, I was absolutely trained to be this way, because it makes you incredibly easy to control, see? But it's something I'd like to edit out of the general fabric and machinery.

My kitchen could really use an island. That's what it needs!

I've basically been nowhere but at this dining room table (where I am now) since I set it up, whenever that was. Thursday? Friday? Impossible to know. I sure missed having a table for the week or however long it was I went without one!

I definitely need to go do a million errands of the changing your location/digits variety, change my voter registration, driver's license, insurance; get a pass to the transfer station, get a library card, get some dang books to read. OH!!! I just realized, I can read The Raven King now that my work is in! HURRAY!!!

It came in the mail last Monday to my old house. I went out there Tuesday to get it and found it in a plastic bag on the ground outside the front door. But I would not let myself read it until all this work got turned in. Boy, I hope I did a good job. I am always super unsure about people and their reactions, which is the biggest reason I stay the heck away from them. Like, I'm probably pretty sure you're mad at me right now, unless you have reassured me in the last 24 hours that you're not. Bananacakes, right? But then add in those negative notes and I'm pretty sure I can never get back into that person's good graces, even though I know perfectly well she could not possibly care less and has long forgotten those notes and didn't think they were that negative to start with.

This is why I like strangers. They aren't mad at me yet! Also dogs. Dogs are awesome.

Add to list: find therapist.

Oh and reserve the boarding place for the animals during school. I got a plane ticket, which cost way too much money. And I bought a washing machine, which cost less, but still too much. Add them together plus little baby vacuum and I need to go lie down with a wet washcloth over my eyes. Money! Stop going away from me! I decided to wait for as long as I could to get a dryer. Things dry on their own, generally. Though it's been raining practically nonstop since I moved. That's because the rain gods love me and want me to be happy and pour rain on me to make me glow. Possibly.

It would be super awesome if I could find the cords for the printer so I could print out my lease and get all that driver's license etc. stuff done. Anyone know where they are? Anyone? No? Me neither! I also can't find a lot of basic things like, oh, most of my underwear, so I bought more today. It was that or go to a laundromat. Brrrr.

What the heck with the sink stopper thingies, though, right? I've never met a sink before that wouldn't seal up. How can that even happen? Like, maybe one sink stopper could be damaged and not seal. But not three! And it's both sinks, not just one side. I'm flummoxed.

But very happy with my adorable little vacuum. And I'm sure I'll be thrilled to bits by the washer once they bring it over, a week from next Wednesday or whenever. I have lots of clothes. Including this odd ankle length red linen sleeveless dress that is insanely comfortable, from that haul of J. Jill clothes at Marden's. I'd never even tried it on before. With my black corduroy leggings and a black sweater it's sort of a charwal chemise effect, actually.

Is it time for my raspberry sorbet yet? I'm feeling more let down than celebratory but hup hup, got to do the celebratory things! Live up to my own plans!

I'm extra super drained and tired because yesterday despite having utterly wrecked myself moving, I went hiking up a mountain with my brother and his family. I call it hiking but a five year old was among the party and he wasn't even really that tired by the end. JUST ME. I was tired at the beginning, though. UGH. About a quarter of the way up I was ready to sit down on a rock and cry and wait for them all to get back, that's how tight and painful my calves were. It's good I didn't, though oh my golly I thought that climb was going to kill me dead, and then we came back down a different way that was just a jumble of big rocks you had to climb down for hundreds of feet. The view was great, and I wasn't a quitter, but today I'm even more wrecked than before. Holy goodness.

Let's just take a moment to acknowledge how utterly flattering my haircut is! Okay! Maybe I should pull the curtains, eh? That is a good shape for me, though. Good haircut!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled dithering.

What is the plan? The plan is to unpack and find places for things. Possibly over there! Possibly over here! I have to build some bookcases. From kits, I mean, flat pack from Walmart. Let's not get too crazy. I got two short white ones today for upstairs. The goal is to put my happiest books up there in my bedroom, and then knitting and sewing books in the spare room, which supposedly is going to be my sewing room at some point. I mean, it will be! Yes!

Recall it is only one week I've been here, self. One week which was also the last week of my semester, and during which I had to work. And I climbed a mountain. I had a lot of super great baths, too, oh boy! This bathtub! So good! I know you're supposed to ice sore muscles, but it's more my joints that are unhappy, and they like baths. At least, it's a lot easier to get out of the bathtub than it is to get into it, which tells me it's working great. With Leverage on the iPad on a bookrack on a cat litter fez for company! And the dog to come in and lick my shoulder and see how things are going.

Kitty loves our new place. He has been racing up and down the stairs and tearing around corners, when he's not camped out sleeping in the comfy chair, or wriggled into the space under the daybed we're using as a bed frame. I swear my kitty loves moving to new places. He's discovered all these great caves for hiding places, like in my closet. Happy kitty!

Puppy is quite anxious in the new place and hates to be left home, but he does really like that I've installed a sort of dog bed throne in the corner of the kitchen, where he can see both doors, so there's no possible way for me to go out without his seeing it. He strongly approves of that. Also he looooooves the bed. The old day bed is a Hemnes from Ikea which is twin bed size when pushed in, but pulls out to queen bed size. It's somehow just luscious and comfy. I agree with the dog on this one! We're in maximum snuggle land up there, with the fluffy comforter and all the pillows. He'll wake up and look at me and stretch luxuriously until his toes shiver, then snuggle back into the comforter.

Doesn't that sound good right now? I know! It's only 9:00 but I'm sorely tempted to head up to bed soon. I have a ton of work to do at work tomorrow, so I wouldn't mind getting started on it early. And I could unpack more in breaks. Who knows, maybe I'll find my long skirts, or even my underwear! Or my scarves! Or my coats and sweaters! Or my shoes! The world is full of possibilities.