Sunday, October 30, 2016

Data

I have a weird relationship with data. Not Data, the android, but data, the facts and information. I try to operate empirically, which of course is impossible unless you're actually Data, the android. But how else are you supposed to make decisions? Based on what?

I keep having conversations with Lovely Therapist about patterns in the past and how to figure out what to do in the future based on that. Like, to me, it's perfectly logical. Do thing, get bonked on the head with a rock, do not do that thing again. Right? Especially when it happens over and over and over. Not once, that could be just random happenstance.

Anyway she's into CBT which is all about challenging our perceptions of those patterns and finding ways to see things differently. The upshot is I have a lot of arguments in my head where I try to make my point that YES these things keep HAPPENING and that is FACT and therefore it's LOGICAL to base future CHOICES upon them.

Obviously Lovely Therapist is exactly what I need right now, but boy is she up against it with my insistence on understanding things a certain way. On the other hand, I'm super aware of what goes on in my head, so that should be very helpful. I mean I'm not unconscious of my thought patterns and everything happening in the cranial space.

On the other hand, I feel like my insistence is sort of like clinging to this utterly illogical system of understanding the world, one that incidentally does not result in happiness, so why not chuck it out the window? It would result in a lot fewer 7 a.m. head arguments, anyway.

I think I can do that. Just, pfft! Let it go.

On the other hand, there is the inarguable fact of things as they stand right now. Lovely Therapist is the only person I talk to each week, which kind of sucks. Well, I've been making an effort. I went to the NaNoWriMo kickoff meeting last week, whenever that was, and I went to the dog park on Saturday. Conversations with strangers! I do enjoy those. Also writers and dogs are two of my very favorite things in the whole world. Good job, me!

I got done with work this evening, a huge milestone, and now I'm into research week, which means Much Writing Oh Boy! And of course NaNoWriMo starts Tuesday. And my new work thing starts the Tuesday after that. Exciting! Stressful! And then travel! Blargh! Very very stressful!

See, this is the kind of argument I keep having in my head with Lovely Therapist who isn't there. I have no fear of flying because pilots are professionals and extensively trained and the data on flying says that it's incredibly safe. Right? I have HUGE fear of lunatic enterprises like, say, relationships, because they have WITHOUT EXCEPTION crashed and burned horribly.

If plane flights were like relationships, I would never get on a plane.

Apparently I don't have that particular logic circuit that others have that says, "Just because every other instance of this thing has been UNSPEAKABLY HORRIBLE AND DESTRUCTIVE doesn't mean the next one won't be beautiful and awesome!"

I can't actually think of anything where I'd keep on trying it even though every instance was unspeakably horrible and destructive. Brands of cars? Frozen pizza? Flu shots? Of course not.

Imagine being like, "Sure, my last five surgeries/cars/skydiving jumps were horrific failures, but THIS ONE will be awesome!"

Also, I am a constant in these scenarios. And I would be there in the next one. Why would it be any different?

Leaving aside the slight detail that there are no candidates of any kind. I mean, I can't imagine anyone would be interested, and nobody else can either. And the feeling is mutual. What is up with therapist type people and this obsession with relationships? It's hard enough to find a decent doctor or mechanic. Or friends to hang out with, which I'd much prefer. Jeebus.

Yes, let's imagine that. We make pizza and watch tv! We go on (short, level) hikes with dogs! We go write books and eat cake at Governor's! I am imagining such a wild and crazy lifestyle!

Heck, I even have a couch now.

I also have a new Connie Willis book, Crosstalk, which is flipping awesome so far, like all of her books. AND a new A.S. King book to read after that. Amazing! Glorious!

Now that I'm in a much less scheduled week, I have all sorts of plans, like, um, vacuuming! Mopping! Taking pictures of all of those hand knitted blankets I bought for the seniors in state housing! I have stories to tell, but not right now, because the dog needs to go out. Raised his paw, told me so.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Undaunted!

Oh, it's been a month. What the heck, me?

I'll tell you, it mostly has to do with the power cord for the laptop. My work laptop has been using it on the dining room table, while the work laptop one has been in a complicated arrangement in the office. I've been unplugging work laptop and charging this one sort of surreptitiously. But the result is that this laptop runs out of juice all the time and has been dramatically less useful for that reason.

I got it out yesterday and hooked this critter up right by the couch. Coincidence that I'm here now? And that I wrote 5K words of new/old novel? I think not!

This is a page one rewrite of a book I loved that had major, major problems. Starting from scratch, with the story imported more or less intact, such as it was. (That was one of the major problems. Insufficient story.)

Anyway I am very happy with how it's going so far. To the point where I want to fall asleep right here on the couch at quarter to five in the afternoon. It's all rainy and darkish outside but that wouldn't knock me out. Post-writing stupor!

I might also be hungry. I had potatoes and apples for breakfast/lunch, both of them from! my! yard! Awesome! I made apple pie with no crust, and I made this purple potato cheesey casserole thing where you slice up potatoes thin and layer them with grated cheese and cream, except I had no cream and used sour cream.

Maybe I'm not hungry! That was a substantial meal.

I used the mandoline without severing any body parts or even bleeding! Score one for me! At the drop of a hat I will show you the piece of my knuckle that I sliced nearly all the way off but then just stuck back on. Are we entirely sure this is reality? But then Roald Dahl had his nose cut off twice, so there you go. I guess the second time it was smashed in, not cut off, but had to be reconstructed either way.

I couldn't slice up the apples on the mandoline because they had all sorts of stuff that needed to be cut out. Yeesh. Don't ask!

They taste wonderful, though, as do the purple potatoes. Maybe I AM hungry after all! Even after talking about Roald Dahl's nose!

I just read Boy and Solo, his collections of stories about his life. Hair-raising tales! And interestingly bounded by institutions. I'm fascinated by that because I'm writing about a magic school, except that makes it sound fun and awesome, like Hogwarts, but it's more like a terrifying last chance to save troubled youth from themselves by training them to control this crazy power that's burning them up from the inside.

Not quite as whimsical. Dude, I might have to watch the Harry Potter movies tonight. My niece has the first one, but I often skip the first one anyway. It's too cutesy and whimsical for my tastes and spends too much time goggling at the awesomeness instead of telling a story. I see why, and I still love it, but I don't really watch it like the others.

I have a nasty cold, oh dear! I will certainly survive. Though it seems to want to creep into my chest as they always do. You must not! Maybe I should make popcorn with lots of cayenne and chase it out that way. Or does that really work? Unknown.

Anyway I'm a coughing fool and it's not that pleasant. But! It gives me a good excuse not to go out into the pouring rain and nasty tick-infested yard to do all the things I needed to do today! Like replace my brake pads, dig up the rest of the potatoes, rake the leaves, put up the new fence extension, and put in the driveway markers. You know, for when the snow is so deep I can't figure out where the edges of the driveway are? You kind of have to have those here.

I nearly bought a snowblower the other day. Now I kind of wish I had? But I'm kind of glad I didn't. I don't know. Large heavy items of machinery are nice and all, but it's something I really can do by hand, unlike, say, mowing the grass. That would be impractical.

Shoveling is impractical when you have to commute every day, but I don't.

I sort of feel like if I get half way through winter and can't take it anymore, I'll buy one, but otherwise I'll consider it a workout and try really hard to go without. They're expensive!

Humph. I don't even have a garage, though, so it would have to live outside. No way to get things up the steps into the shed. When I finally give up on mowing for the rest of the year, I'll have to use boards as a ramp to get the mower up there. It's not doing so great, that mower. Might just need a belt, though.

The landlord tried to offer me a hundred dollars off the rent per month for five months if I would hire someone to plow, but I don't want to do that. For one, it would cost more than that. For another, again, I don't need to go anywhere any particular time. Which is lovely and rare and wonderful!

Except to see nice kind therapist, who is a genius at taking a situation and showing me other ways to interpret it. I'm so amazed by this ability! It reminds me of the therapists I worked for, one of whom used to listen to disasters that had happened and then say, "But you did all the right things. It's a win!" I used to LOVE that, this reminder that as long as you do the right things, even if the ultimate outcome is terrible, you still did it right and can call it a win.

I totally want to get UNDAUNTED tattooed on my left arm. Also that means no blood donation for a while. Six months? Something like that. It's what my old best friend used to say that I was. No matter what came along, I would just keep charging forward. A trait I would like to regain!

Apparently I'm good at standing up for myself now, though, which is something I never used to be good at in the old days. Stand your ground! I approve of that. Good job, me!

Just recently I figured out why people like boats! I mean, boats with motors. I don't fish so I never understood what people saw in them when they weren't fishing. Like, why? Then I realized that I could go straight down the river to the ocean and drive/motor/whatever verb is appropriate to any island I liked. It would be stupidly fun to boat down to Bucksport, for example, which is a long drive all the way around and across the bridge from here. But it's just across the river and down a bit, really. I mean you could throw a baseball across the river if you had a good arm. A good arm for a Little League pitcher. I could probably throw a baseball across the river, come to think of it. At least at low tide. Heh.

I do not think I will acquire a boat, don't worry. Though it's true they are for sale along the side of the road wherever you go. Which kind of makes me think people don't really need or want boats as much as they think they need or want boats.

There's a thing at the library on Wednesday that I totally want to go to. A captain is giving a presentation on what to do if you ever find yourself suddenly at the controls of a boat! Don't you want to go to that? I know! I'm having dentistry earlier in the day so I don't know if I'll be up for it, but maybe.

I was actually there the last time they gave this thing, but the dog was in the car. I was checking out books when this captain looking guy walked in and they directed him to the community room or whatever. Captain hat! You know I like any opportunity for dressing up in special hats.

I wore my ludicrous but extremely effective rain hat today. I think it's waxed canvas or some analogue of that. Wide brimmed, has a cord that goes under the chin and can be tightened up. I love my rain hat!

There's a nearly done quilt I could work on today. Should I do it? I need to press open a set of seams, then make a sandwich and baste it all together. It's the quilt made of my old flannel nightgowns and flannel sheets. I know, right? Utterly cuddly and snuggly. I'm in the process of turning vast quantities of fabric that a friend gave me into 4"x4" squares which will then get made into lots of quilts. I don't know how big a number of quilts.

Well, think how big that would be. Each square when sewn up is probably 3.5"x3.5" so 225 of them makes a quilt 52" square without the binding, which would add at least four inches for 56 square. 20x20 is 70 inches without the binding which is too big for a lap/snuggle quilt. 17 is probably about right. 17x17 takes 289 squares.

So maybe not that many quilts after all! Wow! 18x18 is 324. Goodness me!

Of course, I have no idea how many squares I have beyond A WHOLE LOT. It will be extremely fun to sort them out by fabric and then organize them by color and tone and all that, and then figure how which ones go together the best. Oh yes. That's the payoff, I tell you what! SO FUN.

Right now I'm pretending that I don't have spots of pain on the right side of my chest from the lung thing. Maybe it's just pain from coughing! Maybe it's just coincidence it hurts right at my bronchii! Ugh, I'm so susceptible to bronchitis. So hurty! If it gets to being snap crackle pop I'll go to urgent care because that's pneumonia, but right now it's not nearly that bad, thank goodness. I'm taking Mucinex all the time to keep it that way.

What else is going on? Goodness me! Everything! I went whale watching a week ago, so flipping awesome. I did a ton of work for school, though there's still a ton to go. Hopefully today's writing will be part of that. I've been hanging up pictures and shelves and making the house more livable. I still need a bunch of those cubbyhole bookcase things for, like, everything. There is nowhere to put anything away around here! I'll get them one of these days.

I'd have gotten them when I was out buying fencing and not buying a snow blower the other day, if I had remembered. Wish I had thought of it!

Also I read some of the most awesome books you ever saw this week. I already knew Andrew Smith was brilliant, but his books Winger and Stand-Off are AMAZING. Especially Winger, which just wrecked me. I can't stop thinking about it. Stand-Off is amazing too, though. Both are well worth a read. They're what's best about YA, seriously. There's a point in Winger where the main character sort of visibly grows up as a person, like his ability to see and understand other people develops in complex ways, almost like a cell dividing and multiplying. It's something I've never seen done quite so well, except maybe in We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Dodie Smith. (Another Smith! Coincidence??? Um, yeah, I would think so.)

I've been sitting around gazing enraptured at Ellsworth Schist. By the way I just saw Manhattan Schist for the first time (online, not in person) and it is deeply inferior. Pah! But I would like to go see it for myself and then I'll know for sure.

I get to see one of my buddies from school and one of my buddies from work next month! Yay! Yay yay yay! I might be an idiot for doing both school and work online and from a long distance! No wonder I'm a basket case of bananas. All the stress and effort, with none of the other people's birthday cakes and going to lunch and assorted goodness. Well, it's all in service of getting back to that eventually. As is publishing my dang book!

I'm going to work on finishing that beauty, the old one, in the next couple of weeks. I can do it! Undaunted! Raaaaaarrrrrrr!!!