Sunday, September 25, 2016

Travel gruel

Such a short trip, but so grueling! I think it was more the staying up super late drinking lots of wine that was grueling, though. I'm back home now with my beloved animals and my couch and my stuff (and have already been back to work because I always work Sundays) and had an accidental nap on the couch with the dog, too, whoops! Very very tired!

My dog was insanely happy to see me and pretty much screamed with joy, making these high pitched barks like someone had stepped on his paw. Which I did not! The caretaker ladies both said they had never heard him make a sound like that before. I only have when, well, stepping on his paw! So happy the dog!

I had the most amazing conversations with my friends. These were my tight group of friends from high school, most from junior high, though actually I think four of them have known each other since kindergarten. But we only turned into a group of friends starting in junior high when three of us started chess club together. I know! Proto-nerds!

There's an amazing amount of frontloaded information with people like this, so that when I described one situation to one friend, he was able to respond with forty years of knowledge about my life and family and background. I swear he saved me about 800 therapy visits in one quick conversation because he had so much pre-existing insight into the situation. Well, and he's just a super smart guy with a lot of learning in the area.

Actually, our families have a lot of commonality, but he's been able to get past a lot of that, very consciously, and told me what he studied and how. See, it certainly helps that for example I shared a stand with his mom in the community orchestra for ages, right? I know stuff. He knows stuff. All of us know a tremendous amount. It's amazing!

So I'm pretty thrilled to research that material he told me about and figure some stuff out. I took notes!

Jeez, I so want to move back to where they all live and see them all the time. I mean, like, tomorrow. Almost all of them live within a few hours distance of each other. Actually as I was looking at the town where the farthest of the close together bunch live, I noticed it's just about 40 minutes north of where my long lost grandfather lived.

And my friend who's out west, the one with the brilliant ideas mentioned above, he's going to come to my graduation next year! Yay!!! I was already practically in tears this past summer at graduation when I realized that nobody was going to be there with me. It's a thing where everyone has family come in and we all have this lovely dinner on tables out under the trees on campus and it's just lovely. Except for that knife to the gut realization that certainly my siblings or mother would definitely not be showing up. (I mean, I asked later, and the answer was for sure no, too--I'm not just assuming this.)

But this friend and his wife and another friend who lives an hour south will be coming and I will have PEOPLE and it will be AWESOME.

I had to try to explain to everyone that things have been so sucky since I left L.A. (until two years ago when I got my current wonderful job) that I didn't want to see anyone because everything was so awful. It made sense at the time, certainly, but looking back, I'm like: what were you thinking? Anyway.

So it would be glorious to be near them, but on the other hand I just took the dog out and looked at the Milky Way from my driveway--with the porch light on, even!--and of course my little niece and nephew are here. And the heat down there is brutal, even now. I have no tolerance for heat at all. Friday it was 88 and humid, while here it was 64. I like 64. It's probably 64 inside right now! With the heat on. It's so cold, I had to turn it on. Whoops, there's the downside of Maine!

Well, we shall see. I have a lease until the end of April. I feel like events will probably precipitate a crisis before that time, to be perfectly honest. There's nothing like getting together with a group of friends all the same age to realize our parents are dropping like flies. Several of them have had severe health crises and several have up and died. At least two are teetering on the edge right now. It's awful.

So that was completely amazing. I'm so glad I did it. It's funny, the flying was the part that I dreaded the most, of course, not so much being there as getting there. I managed to fly down without xanax, which is close to miraculous, though I was so obviously flipping out that the person I was sitting next to asked if I wanted to hold her hand. Awwww! And how embarrassing! But then it turned out she was a therapist, ha! I asked: "Are you a therapist?" because she was so awesome and kind, and of course she was.

Then on the way back today it wasn't even an issue. I wasn't even scared. I almost missed the plane, to be honest, which I think is why--the very worst part is getting on and sitting there in that cramped space with everyone blocking the aisle. That's the secret, huh? Just board last! I'm seriously going to do that from now on. Last one on the plane!

Also, talking with one of my friends who is terrified of flying, I realized that I don't care about the flying part myself. It's being shut into that little space with no way out. I'm claustrophobic to a fairly alarming degree. That was sort of an interesting revelation, anyway. So in future, check bags, go on with just a backpack, and get on board last.

That was actually very funny. I finally got to my gate, after being dropped in the wrong place by the rental car bus. I had to take another shuttle back there. And when I got to the gate, there was nobody there at all except this gigantic man who was sitting there with his arms across the seat backs, looking at me. I looked all around wondering where everyone was, and he said, "Are you [my name]?" Aaaah! I said yes, and he said in about two or three minutes I'd have been late for the plane. Jeez!

Then I just sat on the plane and read Glory O'Brien's History of the Future the whole way and tried to pour water down my gullet to make up for our middle-aged wine fest debauchery of the night before. Though I was very good about drinking lots and lots of water throughout all of the wine quaffing.

I'm going to call and email my friends all the dang time now, I'm serious.

It also occurs to me that if I live in an area with a bunch of friends, with a support system, I'd be so much better off, and better able to become a foster parent if that's what I decide to do. Of course my writerly imagination immediately put me 40 minutes to the south of my one friend, and then provided distantly removed cousins as foster children. My grandfather's father's family was gigantic and sprawling from what I can tell and basically populated this whole region. Googling people in that area with our last name is kind of futile because you get a zillion hits.

It's also not that uncommon a last name.

It's too bad my third cousin or whatever in Germany with the genealogical bent is only on my father's mother's side of the family. He sent me incredible records going back centuries for that side, including a Hessian soldier who fought in the American Revolution as a mercenary for the British. Ha! Not necessarily a point of pride, eh? Not cool to start with, and they lost!

The records are all in German but of course I read German. Which sort of loops around in my head. Of course I read German, because my dad learned German, because his mother's family was German, so of course I can read our genealogical history because it goes back to Germany....

I mean, I also read French, though.

I have to travel again in like two months, then two months after that. Oh dear! I'm going to be okay though! No worries. I have this! The dog and cat manage fine now. Well, kitty stayed home. My brother and the kids came to check on him and feed him and whatnot, which was very nice. I think that cat is a stress eater because he still almost ran out of food in his bowl.

The three of us had clam chowder for dinner. It's one of those family meals we all like, along with tuna. I share! I'm pretty sure I moved that clam chowder here from the house at the coast, so it's good to get it eaten up.

Upshot, yay for me for overcoming terror of seeing old friends and flying on planes and boarding the dog and sleeping in strange places and all that kind of stuff. Good job!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Thirty seconds, thirty firsts

It doesn't mean anything. I'm tired and my brain is playing with words, without involving me in the process.

I moved a lot of furniture around today, which is both progress toward a perfect organization of objects in space and a way of coping with work I was having trouble tackling. But now I've both tackled the work in many bouts during the day and put all the furniture where I think it needs to go.

I put those big plastic red/blue/yellow/green shelving units together in the middle of the kitchen, being an island. Very useful, this kitchen desperately needs an island. I'm just not sure this is the island it needs. But it works very well for now.

The living room curtains were inside out. So now they're right side out. I'm not even sure I would have noticed if I hadn't been standing on the furniture to take down the plants to water them. But surely now the universe resonates at a slightly better frequency?

I cut out so much fabric that my right hand is already kind of numb, so it's going to wake me up by falling asleep all night long. Very annoying. But I'm on this weird fabric cutting tear. I cut out a million 4x4 squares, then lay them out on lightweight fusible interfacing so they stay put and get sewn together straight. And then, apparently, I never quite finish the quilt making process. There are two all put together and sewn and pressed, one of them even quilted, but I haven't finished making them into finished quilts with bindings and stuff.

Really I should bring the sewing machine downstairs to the table and just get it done. I should have done it in the past, to be honest. Because things are about to get busier. Ack!

Oh, I'm not really writing much lately, but I have been rewriting. I think I'm about to get back to writing new material. These obstacles in my head! It's annoying. I have to do thing x before I can do thing y, in my mind, even though it's nonsensical and there's no earthly reason. But think x is now done. It had two parts. I'm pretty happy with the work, I guess? I'll work a lot more on it tomorrow, though.

One fun thing I did was print out a lot (but strangely not all) of the pieces I've written since summer. It's pretty mind-blowing to see all of these things stacked up. I definitely have to spend some time with the research and figure out what to send where. I'm utterly clueless about that, but I have a reference work to get me started. You honestly cannot Google this type of thing when you have no context and no way to know which ones are more desirable publication locations than other ones.

It's the time of year when I wish I had long hair. But I have hats! The leaves are changing and there was a moose or deer out honking across the way tonight. I don't know what that's called, when they make that loud honking noise? They holler somehow. It didn't sound like a deer at all, bigger and louder and deeper, so maybe it was a moose, I don't know. I mean, they're everywhere! It's moose city around here! But this particular one, I don't know.

I've been trying to buy proper brassieres that fit and don't torture me, but good golly, these people who are selling them are not good at fitting them on me. So far they've sold me two and both are varying degrees of horrible. And I don't just mean, oh, it pinches or it chafes. I mean they literally don't fit, which you would think would be a basic requirement of fitting. Jeez! I tried a new one today and have nasty gouges from the pointy sharp ends of the wires. Ugh!

I'm seriously sick of going into that place (twice now) because I didn't even want to go in once. And they won't stop helping me, even though they suck at it, so it's all weird and awkward. Like I will say that a certain type of thing doesn't work for me, and then they insist that I try it anyway, and lo! It does not work! What a shocker!

I also got a case for the replacement phone that's coming. It feels like it won't stay together, but it's super blue, so I got it anyway. Except I was like, "This feels like it's just going to come apart," and the guy was like, "It needs the phone in it to stay together," which sounds like a big lie to me. I was dubious and asked again but he was all, pfff! No worries! So I fully expect that when the phone gets here, I'll try this case on it and it will fall apart right away, and then I'll have to take it back. Awesome!

It's really wonderfully intensely blue, though. Seriously.

New phone is super huge, like hilariously huge. But I can hardly see, so it should be better for that. Also this very old one that I replaced many years ago because it sucked? It really doesn't work very well at all. It keeps having seizures, both small and large, and just, like, ceasing to work for various periods of time. Bad old phone! Bad! Well, good for backup for a while, but otherwise seriously not in good shape.

I cannot even believe the painful lesions those stupid underwires gave me today. Ridiculous. I really don't think that corsetry should cause visible lasting damage to a person. It shouldn't hurt at all to begin with, and then it definitely shouldn't cause actual harm. First do no harm, stupid brassieres!

They seem so comfortable in the stores, but then once you spend time with them, they suck so bad.

Anyway. I guess I have to rewrite everything else, too, rather than just going LALALALALA and pretending it doesn't exist. Rewriting is hard because you have to look your own work in the eye. Who wants to do that? But I really like the results. You know, things that are more or less finished? More finished? Heading toward the finish line? Better? Improved? It's all a mystery to me, but I'm working on it.

The pumpkin growing on the volunteer vine is completely ginormous but also deep, dark green. When will my pumpkin turn orange? Is it just going to be a green pumpkin? I have questions.

I also have to dig up all of my purple potatoes in the next few weeks and eat them up, because frost is coming fast if it hasn't been here already. Ah! I have too much to do! I still have to finish stripping the rust off the trailer and painting those spots! On a non-rainy day! And I have to get rustoleum spraypaint for the meshy parts. Gaaah! And then tarp that puppy all up for the winter. Winter! It's coming fast, I tell you what. It feels exceedingly imminent here in the frozen arctic northland, where we are north of some parts of Canada, dude!

Wait, I didn't even tell you my amazing theory about how eating protein cures anxiety! Wait, come back! Tiny little steaks grilled on that little baby grill thingy that closes down on itself so it grills from above and below! Everyone else knew about these ten years ago or whatever! I am IN LOVE with having a little steak. It seems to go directly to my anxiety centers somehow and soothe them right the heck down. Why? What is that? But if that's what it takes, boy, I will cook a little steak every day of the week. They are delicious.

I also learned to boil zucchini instead of sauteing them, which is much less messy and then they're not bitter. Jeez! Why did I only learn this today? So good. I bought stacks of squash and spinach bricks, so there's some handy veg to be had.

Oh boy, so much to do. That's a good feeling, though, right?