Monday, November 28, 2016

Sure, I can't see, but....

I might just need a new prescription. Surely I do! This one is very old, and so am I! Har har. It's true, though my trifocals are from 2013 and my eyes have gotten worse very rapidly. Well, as soon as my dang car gets fixed, I'll get working on that.

I have an appointment with the ophthalmologist for next week, because half the time my left eye is all blurry like there's vaseline on the camera lens, right? That's not just needing a new prescription. But I don't know whether the car will be done in time. Might have to reschedule.

Anyway, sure, I can't see, but I did just finish NaNoWriMo, woohoo!!! So awesome!

And this novel draft is nearly done. I am endlessly amazed at all the stuff that needed to get told that I didn't even know had happened. How did those two get busted up? What led to zooming off in opposite directions before our story even started? Now we know!

I feel like there's still a lot left to write, unfortunately. The last two chapters, at least. Oof. Well, maybe I can get that done next and next and next.

This is like the quilt thing, huh? Here's what I need to do:

--write chapters 19 and 20
--sort out all the extra stuff I just wrote and figure out where it goes
--create one linear document
--chop out the unnecessary plotline that V. told me to chop out last spring
--rewrite to smooth and coordinate everything so it all makes sense
--make it better
--better than that
--yep, more better still
--and more
--call it done! yay!

What a battle this thing has been! Whaaaaaaaa!

By far the most complicated and dysfunctional manuscript I've ever written or worked on or rewritten. I suspect that anything else will be a giant piece of delicious cake after this thing. Ecchh, get that cake away from me, I'm still full from all the sweet potato pancakes I made tonight!

Ooh. You should make this. I should make this! Remember this, future me!

Make mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar, maple syrup, crystallized ginger, and butter.

Then make sweet potato pancakes with that. Except when it calls for milk, use heavy cream cut with water. Yep.

These pancakes were all thick and gloppy and pale orange and I did not really know for sure they would be good at all. But they turned out to be the BEST THINGS EVER. Oh my goodness gracious me.

I think there's a way to make waffles out of leftover mashed potatoes, too. But I'm not sure whether you have to turn them into batter the same way. I feel like maybe not? But I just went with the first sweet potato pancake recipe I came across. SO GOOD.

Also I think this demonstrates that actually taking my medications really improves the whole Enjoyment Of Life thing no end. Jeez! Also the Doing Stuff aspect. Oh and apparently the Writing Books thing, since I wrote like 5000 words tonight.

I left some things out of the new pill manager thing I bought last week for 99 cents. Some crucial things. Some things that would have made last week go much smoother. But since everything was so neat and official in its little boxes with the days of the week and am/pm, I didn't question it until today when I went to refill things. Whoops!

On the plus side, now I know those PTSD meds really work. Like, really really work well. I had some very bad days in there. It's nice to do a little controlled trial, I guess, huh? I thought I was taking everything I was supposed to be taking!

I also got to go back to work today, which makes me very happy, even if I did spend hours on the phone with the IT guy. He was like a dog after a rabbit, too. I wanted this one simple thing done, but he kept chasing after other stuff, to the point where I said more than once, "Can we please just fix X?" Jeebus. I actually took the dog for a walk and came back and he was still noodling around.

Ultimately it did get done. So there's that.

And I did call the animal control guy to see about those two huge dogs who keep chasing us and this other lady and her dog, too. They had us all four on the run today and growled at the other lady's dog, which was the last straw for me, so I called and the guy is going to check on the situation tomorrow. I don't know why DAILY TERROR wasn't the last straw, but hopefully now something will get done. Like, I don't know, tie up your dogs, or put up a fence, or get an invisible fence or something. Or put them inside the house, how about that?

The only day they haven't been out there was Thanksgiving day. We've been cutting our walks to every other or every third day, and then only going a block or two down the road, which is unfair and stupid. Of course it'll snow mountains any minute now and the point will be moot, but still!

I will most likely move this spring, when my lease is up. I need places to walk, dude! Non-busy streets! Quiet! Rent that is significantly lower! And stuff like that! Though I do like how new and clean and tight this house is, it also has no walls. No interior walls. I've never seen anything like it. I'd have to draw you a blueprint to illustrate, but the couch is against the only interior wall in the living room and kitchen, the one in the dining room is a hallway, and the only other one is in the office, where the daybed has it covered. Upstairs there's even less because of the low sloped eaves.

Moving, ugh. But on the other hand, if I get all those great things like places to walk, then that's good!

Anyway. I'm psyched to see bananaologist tomorrow (rescheduled due to meeting conflict Weds.) and drop off the car Weds. (also a conflict with both) and go to this shindig Thurs. Nothing like house arrest to make you appreciate going out! Now if the car could just please not self-destruct or implode tomorrow or en route to the mechanic Wednesday, that would be great.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Super great

It's one of those dumb days where I don't do anything and then get mad that I haven't done anything, and then I do absolutely everything but still feel like I've done nothing because of all the pre-existing sloth. Good times!

It's all because when I first took the dog out this morning, I tried to move the basketball hoop so the base could drain, which meant putting part of it up on the deck, except I kind of got it tangled up in the power line coming into the house and nearly knocked that down and, I don't know, gotten electrocuted or something, which would have been bad.

After that, stunned by my ineptitude, I flopped about on the couch for a while and watched Netflix during daylight hours, which is forbidden in my mind for some reason.

Then I was so grumpy that I started doing stuff just to prove how grumpy I was? Or something? I don't even know. There, I washed the dishes! See??? Like that.

--washed all the cooking pots and pans from Thanksgiving. Gross, dude, don't leave dishes around for three days.
--vacuumed and mopped the living room, kitchen, dining room.
--did some laundry.
--brought the gigantic heavy sewing table (the kind with sewing machine inside) downstairs.
--wrote my book for the day.
--knitted some more on niece's sweater.
--ate leftovers, like that's an accomplishment.
--drilled a hole in the base of the basketball hoop so it could finally drain properly.
--got out the socket set and lowered the hoop so I won't take out the electrical lines when I move it again.

I still have to get the whole giant unwieldy thing down into the basement. Well, down should happen more or less on its own. Up is another whole thing, though.

Thanksgiving was weird and dumb. I made all this food, and then I had no appetite at all, plus I was flipping exhausted for no reason. I ate little bits of everything to be polite--to myself, I guess? The animals really enjoyed the turkey that I gave them, though. Actually the turkey came out amazing. I have endless mountains of leftovers. Food has been making me kind of ill lately. Like turkey sandwiches, normally my favorite thing ever, keep making me nearly throw up. Go figure. 

It's pretty awesome to have the sewing table down here and in the living room. It's at the end of the couch and so now I can have beverages within easy reach, and can also sew in front of the tv. There is sewing I need to do!

Here is what needs to happen in sewing land:

--press the flannel quilt backing
--seam and flat fell the flannel quilt backing
--press open all the seams on the quilt top
--sandwich quilt top
--baste quilt together
--quilt the quilt together
--sew on the binding

Quilts clearly take far too much effort. Or too many steps, maybe. The pieces are all over there on the ironing board smirking at me and incidentally blocking the front door. Sheesh!

This house still suffers extremely from Nowhere To Put Stuff. Maybe this winter I can go on searches.

Right now I'm super cranky because I'm under car-repair-induced house arrest that is going to be going on for a LONG time.

This is how long: I took the car in last Monday to be assessed. Walked 5 miles to pick it up Wednesday. It's not safe to drive, so I have not been driving it, obviously. I'm supposed to take it back in next Wednesday, but the dude is always super way behind. Which means I am quite sure I won't have it back in time for my appointments on the 8th and 9th. I should just reschedule.

Anyway for those keeping track, that's nearly three weeks of no car in a place where nothing is within walking distance and there are no buses either, whee! I do have a bike, but the road is far too busy and dangerous to bike, even if there were anywhere close enough and safe enough to bike to. Yeah.

Luckily I have ten million years worth of supplies here, huh? I even bought 24 rolls of toilet paper on my last day out in the world, the day I picked up the car. I am all set, dude.

Christmas shopping makes me tense, but mainly because I have no brain. Obviously online is very easy and takes no car, but brain is essential. Where is brain? Brain seems to be AWOL.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were taxis or something? It's $40 each way with Uber and that's the cheapest way I've found. I'm just not going to do that.

Anyway. I put up my little Christmas tree and put up all the tiny ornaments. I love all the tiny iced gingerbread cookies and little sparkly clear toys, and all the little brass bells with red ribbons, and the miniature candy canes and cardinals smaller than your pinkie fingernail.

Must find Legolas to be my elf on the shelf. Heh.

So anyway after being so grumpy about not doing anything, I did a ton of things, but not the annoying ones lurking right in my line of sight. Also I'm still grumpy, naturally. What can you do? Watch more Leverage, knit niece's sweater some more, I guess? Keep on keeping on. Fake it until you fling it across the room?

Hang in there, you guys. Another six weeks of this to go. We can get through it! Oh jeez, and then I have to go to fricking school on a stupid plane, or two or three planes or whatever. UGH. With all those horrible advisors who were so awful to me and will be smirking about and trying to catch my eye. I have MAJOR DREAD. Not as bad as New York or anything. But major dread.

There is also a slight winter situation brewing. Last winter was exceptionally light on snow plus I was on the ocean, where it's even lighter. I shoveled what, four times? That's nothing. That's a week's worth of snow normally. This winter feels like it's coming for us like some giant juggernaut. I may need to go buy a snowblower at some point.

Until then, I'm going to (this is true) work out with my sledgehammer, moving it like a shovel full of heavy snow, so that I'm in better shape when the real snow comes down. I'm just having very vivid memories of months of snow up to your butt and shoveling over and over until there are mountains all around the driveway and nowhere to put it.

I did finish raking yesterday, though. Except for the last few oak leaf stragglers around the front edge of the yard. OCD says go rake them up! Maybe tomorrow. I'm not GOING anywhere, that's for sure. Grrrrrrumph.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The baritone oracle

I did walk to get my car! And it was five miles, which is more than 4.5, thanks very much iPhone maps!

I had it telling me the directions on the way there, which was very funny because of course it believed I was driving, so it kept on saying I'd be there in five minutes the entire time. In fact it took 1.5 hours and was very cold and tiring and I sweated a lot and now everything hurts except my knees.

That's actually quite awesome because I had all that physical therapy on my knees, and now they're pretty much my only body part that doesn't hurt. Mostly my lower back and hips and rib muscles hurt. And my neck. Oh and especially my feet and ankles. Anyway, that will pass.

I'm very psyched because I did it!

And I'm very annoyed that I discovered immediately after doing it that it's okay to walk along the power line cut, which would have made this walk about 1.5 miles at most. The power line cut goes essentially directly from here to there, cutting off the long loop around that I had to make. Maybe .2 miles away at each end, maybe less. Next time!

I stopped in to register my car at the town office after picking it up and asked the kid there about whether it's okay to walk on the power line cut and he said sure. Oh well! Also yay, my car is registered! What a weight off my mind! I always forget about it.

So I'm considering waiting until I'm away at school to get the car fixed and just not really going anywhere until then. That's because my one day without the car made me totally panicky, I'm not even kidding. Apparently I need to know I can get somewhere if I need to get somewhere!

Like what if I run out of carrots? Know what I mean? There is no store close enough to walk to. The closest gas station with a little mini mart store is four miles. The grocery store is seven. And it's not safe or sensible to walk on that road either direction.

Even in the wilds of Orrington and Hancock where I lived there were stores closer than that. Jeez, someone should open a little store near my house! Sell beer and frozen burritos and things like flour and sugar and bread and milk and soda. You'd make a mint. I wonder if it's zoned for that? Clearly there's a need!

Actually there's a place for sale with a decent sized parking lot not far from here.

The other consequence of The Epic Walk is that I've been utterly frozen ever since, with a new personal best/worst for low body temp, 96.2. Wow! I put that chilly self into a hot bath for a long time. But I find that rather worrying. I mean I came home and drank tea and changed into dry clothes and everything.

You're supposed to be able to exert yourself without succumbing to hypothermia in a warm house, it seems to me. I'm not sure what the problem is there.

Come to think of it, the doctor called and left a message this morning. I should probably go see what that is about.

Anyway the guy who was fixing my baritone called while I was out walking and so I went to pick up my horn after the town office, with a quick stop in the grocery store for lots of carrots (what is with my fixation with carrots?) and Kahlua and essentials like that. He and another guy were talking cars so I put forth my question: should I spend $2500 to fix a nine year old car?

We considered the question carefully. I did not pay for this car and have not put much money into it, so probably $3500 investment over time, which is extremely small. The other guy pointed out that if I went out to buy a car the same make and model and year as mine with no problems--basically the car I will have once I fix this one--it would cost me $8000. So it's much smarter to pay $2500 and get that car.

I am so glad I got to talk to those guys! I went in there fully intending to ask the instrument repair guy, because he knows a lot about it, but the other guy also seemed to have a lot of really good inside knowledge about the situation.

Today I will be creaking painfully about the house and saying "ow" with every movement, especially any time a foot hits the floor. I will also take my dog for a decent walk (ow) and hope his paw has healed up after three days with no walks. Poor guy! He went over and nosed his leash yesterday. Bawwwww! Sore paw! What a pair we are!

And I will totally make some of the Thanksgiving foods in advance, like the szechuan green beans and the cranberries and the mac and cheese and the pie. Yay!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, except I guess Canadians yours was ages ago, whoops! Canada! Well, happy neighbor Thanksgiving to you and happy local Thanksgiving to the USA! Whee!

Monday, November 21, 2016


My mental health went for a plummet today when I learned that not only does my car have a bad head gasket and need expensive repairs, it also needs new bearings on the front wheels, on top of the brakes and tires that I already knew about. Holy empty out my bank account! That is so much money!

Ugh. I went into a tailspin. Actually I almost immediately went to the day bed in my office and summoned my dog and took a nap.

I got various unhelpful responses. One was to just deal with it. Which, why would anyone say that? What is wrong with people? One was to stop moping and rent a car and go to PA for Thanksgiving, which I've been saying all along I don't want to do, and also now absolutely cannot afford. And stop moping?

It is not possible to mope in the first ten minutes after you hear very bad news. That is by far too early to mope!

Then the person who was going to give me a ride back down to get the car (because the mechanic is busy until next week) flaked on it.

So on top of terrible news I had a sort of mini tidal wave of all the things I don't like about people. People! There are things I don't like about them! They tend to be callous, dismissive, flaky, etc. And that was just today!

Anyway. It'll be fine. I can afford the repairs. Whatever. Jeebus. Good thing I already bought my plane ticket to the next thing I don't want to do, which is to say, school in January. Good times.

I'm actually very excited about Thanksgiving because I get to STAY HOME and be BY MYSELF which is when Thanksgiving is by far the most fun, because of how people are terrible. Well, my sister-in-law might come over, except I'm positive she won't. But she would be okay. We have intelligent conversations. So rare!

I made a list of what to make on my little blue dry erase board so I don't forget things, like the cranberries, which I already almost forgot. Mmm, cranberries.

What I really enjoy is strategizing and planning everything, so that's going to start tomorrow, making the first things and putting them in the fridge all ready to go. Whee!

I might have to walk or bike down to the mechanic tomorrow to get my car back since I don't want to pester the person who was going to do me a favor and drive me. Given my utter inability to sleep lately, I might just get up at dawn and walk over. It's 4.1 miles on the scary dangerous road and 4.5 on the nice quiet road. I think for an extra .4 miles I'll go for the quiet road.

Gosh, I had such a backsliding in the mood today! Which made me realize how well I've been doing for the past few weeks. Too bad, because I suspect that new drug is what's making me the Insomnia Queen. Also it costs $175 a month, which is obviously absurd.

So anyway. My car! It is super broken all kinds of ways! I might trade it in next year after I'm done with school, when I no longer have a university to support. I should be able to save up between now and then so I (hopefully) won't have to get a car loan, or not a big one, or for long. Ugh!

Here's how totally stalwart I was before this hit me: yesterday I went to a pool party for my nephew's birthday! And I wore my new swim dress! It's like a suit plus a same length dress over it, sort of? It's not as burkini as it sounds. It's called a pin-up style if that helps illustrate. Anyway the suit is super cute and I made all kinds of alterations for various excellent reasons and it was comfortable and got many compliments.

This is me responding to someone saying they like my swim dress. "Thanks!" (Internally: "STOP LOOKING AT ME.")

But I got to swim and have fun with my niece and nephew and that's what matters.

The book, the book! It's coming along so well. I'm making good use of all my insomnia awake time for thinking about the book and how to fix various things. Seriously, last night during all of the HOURS I was awake in a totally comfortable bed with my dog snoozing next to me, I figured out solutions to two major problems. I'm so pleased! Making lemonade out of lemons, or something!

The insomnia has got to quit, though. It's kind of wrecking me. So far every anti-depressant gives me insomnia. Sometimes they then give me something else to make me sleep, which turns into this whole arms race where I'm the battlefield, so forget that.

My house is untidy so tomorrow maybe I can work on fixing all of that. It's easy stuff. The quilting stations are all over the place and filling up the room. I could do it tonight! Maybe I will. And there's laundry hanging up to dry that needs to vacate the premises before I start cooking or I will have pumpkin pie pants or sage stuffing shirts.

Actually that sounds kind of great. Mmmm!

It will be a relief to get the car back, even as broken down as it is. I keep being freaked out by its absence in the driveway and so does my dog. I say to him, "Where is the car? The car is gone!" and he looks all over for it but it is NOT THERE. Car is one of the words he knows. He is a very smart dog. Good boy!

I'm actually thinking this thought right now, even though I know it's daft: There's no traffic right now, and I'm not going to sleep anyway, so maybe I should go get my car now. Um, no. It's snowing, it's very cold, and I'm not walking down strange roads at any time of night. With bobcats and coyotes and who knows what out there, jeez. Though of course cars and trucks are the only really dangerous things out there, plus of course the people inside them.

But early in the morning is looking super good right now. When I wake up before six and can't get back to sleep. Yippee.

Anyway I'm gonna take a calming bath and half of an anti-anxiety pill and see whether I can achieve some level of more or less continuous slumber in an amount that adds up to more than a couple of hours total. JEEZ.

Friday, November 18, 2016


I feel like such a dolt! I was at the doctor's office this morning explaining about left eye blurriness and left arm numbness and tingling and pain, and my lower leg and feet going numb, and not until this evening did I remember that once upon a time I used to have all those symptoms and a lovely neurologist examined me and said, "Yep, you have M.S."

I forgot. I ALWAYS forget. I swear that must be built into it somehow. I forget that this was ever a thing, to the point where the obvious symptoms completely went over my head. Wow.

The eye thing is pretty unpleasant. My left eye blurs out like a lens with vaseline on it. I can't really see through it at all. It is not awesome! That's happened twice in the past week and a half, I think? Once it lasted for about ten hours. I was in a bit of a panic at the time because it's super hard to read or drive or do anything, especially work, when one eye doesn't do its looking and seeing thing. But then it came back. The second time was when? A couple of days ago?

I am just agog that I didn't realize OR remember. One or the other would have been good enough to keep me from freaking out over my arm hurting so badly out of nowhere. That is a thing! Falling over in the yard is a thing! They are not new or scary. Well, they're old and scary. Nobody likes falling down. It's undignified and then you get scraped and bruised and the dog worries about it.

Well, that's stupid and annoying, not least because I super hate MRIs. I was just telling lovely therapist how much I hate MRIs, to the point where I can't really even talk about that time it all went wrong. And even that didn't jog my memory!

Amazing. Stupid and annoying, but amazing.

Jeez. Oh well. How long has it been? Wasn't it the summer before last that I last dealt with it? I can't really remember. OF COURSE.

Anyway. Finishing the book: proceeding awesomely. Getting really cold for no reason: occurred again. Am under electric blanket and two afghans now. What happens is I get up to go to the bathroom, and while I'm up, I get so unbelievably cold that I shiver really hard and my teeth chatter. Again, this is not normal for me. AT ALL. Also it is objectively NOT COLD in here. And I am quite warmly dressed. Absurd!

They drew more blood today to check for low thyroid. This was the best phlebotomist in the world! She stuck me painlessly and did not find the vein, but then managed to move the needle and find the vein without the usual screaming agony that this maneuver causes. Yes, someone moving a needle around inside your arm is exceptionally painful. Anyway I told her thank you for being extremely good at her job.

Since I had the go-ahead to engage in strenuous activity after being officially declared "totally fine" today, I raked a bunch of leaves. Strenuous indeed! That is effortful! I used to rake them onto a tarp and then haul the tarp over to the designated leaf pile, back in my old house across the river. I have a small yard here, though. There are only a few areas that even need to be raked. I think I did a quarter of it today.

Lovely therapist will be delighted to hear that it was a period of meditation that made me remember the old M.S. malarkey. She urged me to do breathing exercises and meditate. Meditation involves doing absolutely nothing! I am terrible at that! But I put one hand on my dog and did it for a while anyway. It was exceptionally calming. I liked it very much. Left arm did not want to cooperate and kept going numb and tingly and then a few eternities into doing nothing I remembered other times in the past when limbs would go numb and/or tingly and refuse to cooperate. Good gracious!

So that was useful.

I'm completely reveling in finishing The Last Word (novel) and filling in all the holes and finishing the story, bringing the story to a huge conclusion. I got to write a funny scene wherein the character's estranged grandparents have died and her cousin is flipping out. Which is weird. But awesome. And the best scene today, wherein our character puts all the pieces together and comes to an absolutely incorrect conclusion. She will get there eventually, don't worry. It's awfully fun to watch her go up the absolutely wrong tree, though.

And I got falafel! Frozen falafel from the supremely clean health food store (I mean, in the sense of no dirt, not like "clean eating" nonsense) and falafel mix, same. I went to the checkout and said, "Apparently I needed some falafel." Which made the guy laugh because I had four boxes of frozen falafel and two boxes of mix. Hey, I don't get out there very often!

They might have it here in my area. But also they might not. Away from the coast equals less cosmopolitan. That was the nearest grocery store to MDI. Unless they have one out there. Do they? I find it very difficult to imagine, but maybe.

Yes, there is a Hannaford in Bar Harbor. Never mind! I suppose Ellsworth is just more cosmopolitan than the Bangor area all on its own.

Man, I want fresh hot falafel from the vendor at the campus end of Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley, so I know this will be disappointing, but maybe it will help with the massive cravings. I was looking up distances to likely falafel-having cities last night. They are all so far away!

I bet I will find out there is falafel in Bangor somewhere, in a place Google could not find. I'll ask around at the nephew's birthday party on Saturday. Those parents, they know where stuff is!

Oh oh oh, my fancy swim dress arrived in the mail. I hope it fits properly, or really at all. I am fully prepared for it not to fit, beyond the reach of alteration. But we shall see.

We shall see!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Good grief. I was just jumping in to write about how I decided to stop doing the rewrite that I was working on for NaNoWriMo and instead switched to finishing the novel I worked on all last year in school. And then I remembered I kind of had A Week last week.

I will tell it backwards. On Thursday I was admitted to the Emergency Department with chest pain and a numb left arm. I spent most of the night there, reading Fangirl and trying to keep my heart rate down, while they took blood every couple of hours to see if there was heart tissue damage. (There was not.) I drove myself home at 3:45 a.m. and did not see a single moose.

The E.D. doc forbade me to fly, so I could not go on my trip to NY, which was one of the major reasons I was so stressed out that I ended up with chest pain and a numb arm in the first place.

Other reasons included a new temporary reassignment at work and the horrific, unbearable election results. Oh and the mechanic told me my car had a blown head gasket and therefore possibly severe damage that could mean I'd need a whole new car.

It was a stressful week. I had the same chest pain and numb arm five days earlier, on Sunday, though. So it's not all down to the stressful week. Well, sort of, except I didn't know about the car yet at that point. I knew about all the other stuff.

I can't really overstate the terror I feel at going to NY, sharing a hotel room, being at a conference, being around all those people in confined spaces, flying on planes, and so on. I've been managing the flying on planes more or less to get to my MFA program. I mean, I hate it beyond anything (except possibly the president-elect, if I may dignify that human stool sample with that term) but I can still make myself get on the plane and go there. But NYC, oh good lord, I have trouble. Add all the other things I have trouble with and we entered a world of pain.

It has not been a good couple of weeks. Today the whole thing flared up again and I had to take action. I'm forbidden to engage in strenuous activity, not allowed to fly, under orders to return to the E.D. if the chest pain returns, and so on. I mean, it's kind of here a little bit right now, but it's no worse than you might feel if your brassiere was too tight.

So anyway. I'm taking steps to reduce the major stressors in my life. And I called the local mechanic my landlord recommended three times and finally talked to him today. He told me the other mechanic was young and inexperienced--he knew that without knowing who it was--and that my car is likely not perishing untimely and just has a bad heater coil or something. And I'll take it in on Monday, when my landlord will give me a ride home, after which I'll be carless for who knows how long and will have to get a taxi or get my brother to drive me to therapy, which is kind of funny. But I probably won't be able to go to writing group up in Orono, alas. I like my writing group. Even though I've noticed that every time I go there, my stress levels shoot way high up.

However, that could also be because my car is burning coolant and I'm breathing it on the long drive up there. Who knows?

Today I cooked this random ham I found in the fridge. One of the other things the E.D. doc told me was to take xanax every day, which is absurd, but I've been taking it every 3-4 days or so. Apparently I bought a ham on one of those days. It was super good. Ham is too pink, though. There is a boatload of ham left if anyone wants some.

Actually I would love a ham sandwich, so maybe I should bake some bread, huh?

I have to go to a six year old's birthday pool party on Saturday, therefore bathing suit, so I'm staying away from the wheat-bearing foods that expand my circumference dramatically, so maybe I'll bake bread Saturday night and become spherical then.

I have a super cute swim dress coming in the mail from Amazon, but I don't know how well it'll fit. We shall see. If you search for pin-up swim dress you will find ridiculously cute swimsuits, let me tell you. There were a bunch I would have bought had they come in my size. This one has red and white striped cups and a blue dress and a white halter tie, which I will probably alter to be attached to the back for strategic cantilever purposes. That's what I did to my green paisley one (quite small, but wearable in a pinch) and it worked very well. Cross the ties in the back and sew them down. It works.

Tonight I got so flipping cold even after sitting under an electric blanket for an hour that I was shivering uncontrollably when I got up to go to the bathroom, so I took my temperature and it was 96.7, which is just silly. I bet my thyroid is low again. I'll have to get the doctor to check on Thursday when I'm in. Hypothyroid can also mess with your heart, did you know? 'Strue. It's ridiculously awful being so ice cold in a warm room. My hands were frozen. Absurd.

I was all excited at the prospect of buying a new (used) car and had picked out the ridiculously large and expensive Honda Pilot as my vehicle of choice, until I looked at car payments and realized I'd be much better off fixing the car I have and saving up to buy a new (used) car in two years or something.

Anyway I could not get warm, so I drank some wine, which did the job nicely, and now my feet hurt like hell. That is just stupid. My circulation must be nil. Though I did walk 1.5 miles today, in a non-strenuous fashion. I mean, I ambled. My dog sniffed. It was low key. All the other dogs were out on the street where we walk, all of them wearing orange vests because it's hunting season. I was wearing my orange hat and all the humans were in bright orange sweatshirts and hats. I need a bright orange sweatshirt, man! I feel insufficiently orange!

It's the law here that you have to wear at minimum an orange hat in the woods during deer season. It's also just sensible. Though I've heard barely any shots, which is weird considering it's all woods around here. Maybe the deer have scrammed.

I did see a bobcat last week, though. Very cool!

So anyway. I'm thrilled to be making progress toward finishing my novel. I have to rewrite/undo the changes that Terrible Advisor made to a great short story, so I can submit it for workshop in January. That way a lot of other fingerprints will erase the fingerprints Terrible Advisor left on it. I kept doing what Terrible Advisor said to do, even though it was obviously making the story much, much worse. Undoing that is going to be a job for me on a strong-minded day, let me tell you. It's going to be hard to look at that file. Maybe I can just go back to an older version that I emailed out and start from there. I think I'll do that, actually.

I had a workshop teacher last summer whose motto was "Never explain anything ever," which I absolutely agree with. Explaining is SO BORING in creative work. Stop doing it! Tell the story, not the backstory. Anyway Terrible Advisor was super into explaining and wanted me to shoehorn all this boring exposition into my story, which stops it dead in its tracks and adds nothing. I have to cut it all out and get it back to just telling a story, or rather making you experience the story.

That's another thing good workshop teacher said. Writing isn't about the story. It IS the story. He said it better than that, though. I'd have to check my notes. But the explainy way is all *about* the story instead of making the reader experience the story, which is what I want to do. Reading should be experiencing what happens instead of reading about someone experiencing what happens. I have strong feelings about this!

Maybe I can dive back into the fray pretty soon. I heal faster than I used to! Bastards, though. Keep destructive bastards away from me in future! Thank you!

Meanwhile, I'm excited about Thanksgiving coming up. I have the food! I have the plans! I have the food and the plans! Here are the plans: I will make the food. Then the dog and cat and I will eat the food. Mmm, food! That's the plans, pretty much. Probably going to be some knitting. Definitely going to be some writing. It'll be fantastic. And then turkey sandwiches the next few days! Win!

I wonder how long I'll be carless? I wonder how long before I'll care? Come to think of it, Monday is the week of Thanksgiving, isn't it? So I need to make my plans before then, like go find yarn for my nephew's sweater at Walmart, since JoAnn doesn't have it, though I'll check there again before then just in case it has self-generated. Poof! He told me he wants bright neon green. Okay! I can do that! He pointed to some 8-bit image from Minecraft on his t-shirt. Okay!

Onward, eh?

Friday, November 11, 2016


I seem to have a bad left wing at the moment. My left arm hurts a lot, which in combination with chest pain last night sent me to the E.R., where they made me go through a metal detector on my way in. Like, thank you, adorable young fresh-faced cops, for protecting me, but could we skip this when I'm having some sort of cardiac event, please?

I was pretty sure I was NOT having a cardiac event or I would not have driven myself there, even on the totally empty roads. I've had plenty of panic attacks, though, and this was not one of those.

Damn, even typing is hard with my left arm. So weird. It was extremely painful and then numb last night. My heart rate and BP were incredibly high so they gave me nitroglycerin and that brought those down and then my arm felt better.

So the gist I guess was that extreme stress gave me angina. From what I understood. Though it was 3:45 a.m. when I got the full results and drove myself back home so it's entirely possible I was mixed up. Plus the xanax I took before even going to the hospital in case this really was all panic.

Funny thing, though. Anxiety was the cause but the symptoms are very real and dangerous, even life-threatening. This is a connection I hadn't really made before. Almost everyone I've talked to about my absolutely crippling anxiety levels this week has blown me off with trite statements like "you'll be fine!" or "stop worrying so much!"

That's a whole separate issue, because I get full of RAGE when people dismiss me that way. Major anxiety is not the same as worrying. It's chemical. It's a chemical thing happening in my brain. It's not something I'm doing. It's something that is happening to me.

This week shot my anxiety levels through the roof, between the horrible election stress and the unspeakable results, the new job I started (it's a temporary reassignment), the news that my car has blown a head gasket and might need extremely expensive repairs to the point where it might be a goner, and the scheduled trip to New York, which is in the midst of massive protests and violent police reactions, including police beating up passersby who had nothing to do with the protest. Awesome. Oh and I was supposed to fly there.

The doctor told me in no uncertain terms not to get on a plane today. So that was a relief, that I didn't have to make that decision myself. So weird, right? Every part of me was screaming DO NOT GO. In no way did I want to go.

Here's what I did want and why I agreed to go: to hang out with my friend K., to eat fancy cool international New York food, and to go to the Strand bookstore.

Here's what I did not want: the conference itself, the hotel, the flight, getting from the airport to the hotel and back, being in Manhattan for several nights, sharing a hotel room even with the most awesome person ever (dude, I am clearly the problem here, not anyone else!), being awake for three entire nights, boarding the dog, leaving the cat home alone, spending vast amounts of money, going to talks, being in crowds, elevators, sidewalks, cabs, noise, air pollution, asthma attacks, riot police, tear gas, civil unrest.

I've been to many conferences and hated them all. I've flown on many planes and hated them all. I've been to New York a bunch of times and hated it every time. Ditto hotels and so on. I do not fall asleep in hotels. I have professionally diagnosed fucking PTSD, you guys. These are not fears of the unknown or "just anxiety" or whatever dismissive thing people are thinking. I do not like or enjoy these things at the best of times.

So anyway, the doctor told me not to fly, so the rest of it was out, too.

Then I spent today making phone calls. Cancel the boarding for the dog, the car repair, the plane ticket. (They are not charging me the standard $200 to cancel/change my flight because I have hospital paperwork saying why.) I made an appointment with my regular doctor for next week. What else? It seems like I was on the phone all day. And I always hold the phone with my left hand, but I could not because it went numb immediately, so that was alarming also. Speaker phone!

Oh and I emailed the conference to see about a refund, but that seems unlikely. Never hurts to ask, though.

The doctor told me to take baby aspirin every day, which feels silly, especially on top of 1800 mg of ibuprofen every day. And he said to take a xanax every day. Every day! That is so much xanax! I will be a bowl of pudding! Which is preferable to having a heart attack, sure, but I don't know. I might actually call the psych med people and ask them about that because they will know for sure if I should do that, and also they are the ones who have to prescribe it.

Benzos should not be taken long term like that. I have serious doubts about that order the doctor gave.

Oh, remember my rule: only get psych med orders from actual psych med experts, not from generalists, even lovely E.R. docs.

So anyway, tonight I think I might sit here on the comfy day bed in the brightly lit office with dog cuddled up next to me and write as much of the NaNo novel as I can. I got super behind because of my insanely busy day on Tuesday and then watching the election returns, the terrible aftermath and misery on Wednesday, and then a write-in where we just chatted the whole time and commiserated about the horrible election results. And as writers tried to imagine scenarios where the whole thing would just GO AWAY in various ways. My favorite one that someone else came up with was an international terrorist would take the guy out. I would not cry.

Right! Sit here, listen to music on headphones, because headphones make me sit still, and be calm. As it happens, one of the things I did yesterday to try to deal with the tidal wave of anxiety that was absolutely wrecking me, even before it got so bad in the evening, was to download various apps for dealing with anxiety, from a list I saw on Tumblr. Pretty awesome!

Except now I can't find that post. Crap!

Well, here are the names of some of the apps. They seem to be mostly iPhone oriented.

ACT Coach (released by the Dept of Veterans Affairs)

I haven't tried any yet, not even while sitting for five hours in a hospital bed with ECG monitors stuck all over me, which come to think of it would have been a great way to test how well they work. Oh well! Missed opportunity!

I'm pretty beat today. Not surprising. Does nitroglycerin give you a hangover? It made me feel pretty weird and gave me sort of like a headache in my brain stem, which probably doesn't even have pain-sensing nerves in it.

On Tuesday I was all dressed up in my pantsuit facsimile and went over for my scheduled volunteering at party headquarters. I was super nervous but ready to do my part, hurray! But then they said they didn't need any more drivers and sent me home. So disappointing! So I went to the grocery store, which I had to do anyway, and on the way tried to figure out the next thing to look forward to, which is when I realized Thanksgiving was just over two weeks away. What! Therefore I bought all my Thanksgiving food and now I'm good to go for that. Yay!

I like reporting successes like that to my therapist. I will not like reporting this total physical crisis and failure to do the thing. Rats.

I tried to do the thing, but I was so utterly bone deep terrified and it involved so many things I have enormous antipathy to, I guess that all added up to massive anxiety so strong that it caused the angina. So yippee. And now maybe everyone who pooh-poohs my severe anxiety disorder can back the hell off. Makes me so mad.

Here's just an example of what's happening in New York about 12 blocks from the hotel where I was going to stay.

It's always awesome to see paramilitary police stationed on a city street. (No.) The FAA has made T***p tower a no-fly zone. If I were writing a story, I know what I'd write, but in reality I don't want anyone to get hurt. But yeah, a lot of people have a tremendous amount of anger at this guy. It's amazing how everywhere I go, everyone is in the same state of disbelief and shock and anger. The guy who is going to fix my baritone just blurted it out to me! Do I just have the look?

Anyway. I guess now I'm up against trying to figure out what to do when I have to do things that completely terrify and overwhelm me beyond my ability to handle it, because obviously that stress goes somewhere, and that somewhere turns out to be my heart. Did you know torture victims nearly always die of heart failure, not from the actual injuries done to them? Stress, man. But sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do. I don't know. I have some thinking to do about all this.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Tidy tidy

Oh, I cleaned up the yard for winter today. Hurray! I mowed the grass one last time. I shoveled up bushels of squashy apples with a snow shovel and dumped them into the compost. I swept all the crap off the house, mainly spiderwebs full of pine needles, while waiting for the mower to run out of gas. I cleaned out the garden one last time. I swept the deck and the steps and the doormat and put away everything that could be put away.

It's all very satisfying. I was about to tip the rain water off the little plastic table and put that away, too, but a bee was enjoying a refreshing beverage, so I refrained. Bees! They come from the beehives next door and get drinks from that table all the time. It's a perfect shallow bee birdbath. A bee bath.

The plastic chairs are still out there, too. I probably won't bring them in until it snows. The deck will look bereft without them!

Also the soccer net and the basketball hoop are still out there. I don't know, I suppose I should drain the hoop's base and put away the net. But I have this fun week of doing stuff and I want to get out there and play! Especially now that the apple mess is cleaned up and an errant ball won't scare up a horde of wasps.

Seriously, the apples. It actually looks like someone, possibly the guy with the pigs, came by and raked up a bunch of them and then only took half of that. I sure didn't do it. I don't rake apples. I shovel them. They get all stuck in the tines of rakes.

There are leaves to contend with still, but I'm not sure they need to be raked up. Maybe raked off the grass and into the woods, if I'm feeling extra zippy and in need of yard work. All the mowing etc. today racked up my highest pedometer count since I started using it. The thing gave me a shower of confetti and streamers! Yay me!

So weird, considering how short the distance was, and how far I used to walk every single day in Oregon. I told the nurse yesterday that I live in a stupid place, and that's true. There are not nearly enough places to walk around here. No sidewalks, busy road, only this one half mile long side street to walk down, and nowhere close to drive to for walks either. I mean, it's absurd. I've never been anywhere with so few walking opportunities.

We drive to the dog park or wherever once in a while, but it's not close or easy to get to. Humph.

Last night I washed the last remaining forgotten fez of fabric that got wet LAST YEAR on the day I moved into the last place (jeebus) and dried it and now I have a big mess to sort through, but it's all done, so that's awesome. And today I washed some windows when the low light around 4:00 made it abundantly clear how filthy they were. I think a smoker lived here before. I certainly don't do anything that would cause that kind of dirt. Maybe they burned candles, too.

I got to start my NaNoWriMo novel today, hurray! I mean, I started last week or whenever, but I wrote new material that gets to count for the month. Awesome! There's a cat that isn't there! It's a very comforting non-existent cat, though. No harm done.

Ooh, yesterday I also pulled a ton of clothes out of the closet to donate. Success! They're even folded up and bagged and in the car already. I know, right? Am mighty!

I've bought a bunch of blankets to donate to seniors who are isolated and don't have anyone, but haven't quite figured out where that is yet. I know there's a need because of a conversation I had like a millllllion years ago with a nurse I used to eat lunch with at some terrible temp job. And then one of the places I talked to today suggested I call the visiting nurses' association, which is when I remembered that nurse was a visiting nurse. Which of course made me think of Cherry Ames. I read all of those books when I was in second grade, which I only know because we were still living in Michigan and we moved right after I turned eight.

Anyway I will follow that trail and get these lovely blankies to the people who need them. Two or three of them might be too big, I don't know. I'll see. I will not be brokenhearted if I have to keep the two big blue ones, let me tell you. My golly, hand knitted blankets are wonderful. I use the one my mom made me to take to college almost every single day. That Red Heart acrylic wears like iron! My dog and I are always snuggled up in that thing.

In other words, I know there are old people out there who have nobody and REALLY need these blankets! Hand knitted blankets are just the snuggliest, cuddliest, warmest, most comforting things around. And I am on a MISSION with these things. Seriously!

They also suggested hospice places, which is a good idea. Ugh, imagine going into one of those places when you have nobody. I suppose this is Maine and everybody has a million family members, but what if they don't? Am I projecting? I might be projecting. I'm sure there's a need, though, because of that visiting nurse who told me so LO these many years ago.

So yeah! Good progress around here! More to be done! But good progress.

It's so funny to sort through these baskets of rocks I picked up when I lived on the beach. I remember the overpowering need to pick them up and take them home, almost like I was hungry for those particular rocks, but now I'm like...why do I have these? So I'm putting most of them outside where the roof pours rain down because Mainers don't believe in gutters. Well, there are some, like around the deck and the front door. But none along the back of the house. There's a line of bare rocks where the rain has pounded away all the dirt.

They will be VERY pretty there. All white and sparkly. I'm keeping some of the lavender quartzite ones, though. Basically I'm keeping any of them that I want to keep and not keeping any that I don't want to keep, which seems like a sound basis for making choices. Same with giving away tons of clothes. Yeah!

I wish I could remember where I was last week where I got these wonderful thick merino wool socks. It was on dentistry day, so I was looped as heck and I have no idea. Possibly the Brewer Goodwill? I have very little memory of that day. But I have a bunch of brand new, tremendously thick, warm socks! I hope I didn't rob any banks or anything while completely unaware what was going on. I have tiny bits of memory, like paying at that Goodwill, but for example an entire visit to Lowe's is just a blank. (They really enjoyed my story when I went to return all the stuff I bought that day, though. Dentistry anti-anxiety meds blackout!)

I returned everything to Target, too. What the hell was I doing that day? Good grief.

But I'm very pleased with the knitted blankets.

Here's a new goal I have to tackle: borrow audiobooks from the library and listen to them while on the dang treadmill and recumbent bike. Or watch tv or whatever. Doesn't matter, just so I get on them and do some working out type behaviors. BORING. How will I fidget in agitation when I'm burning off all my stress that way? Which reminds me of something I need to put into my book....

I'm so pleased I got the mower all cleaned up, run out of gas, and up the steps into the shed. YAY ME. It's glorious that I'm done with that for the year. Well, I should still clean its underside and see what's up with the rattling. Maybe in the spring, though. Yes. Replace the filter, clean the spark plug, etc. Sharpen the blade. Definitely spring activities. Right now is battening down the hatches time.

I wonder if I should/could take down the screens? I kind of want to, at least some of them. They get all full of snow and then you can't see out.

Why is it so hard to believe in winter this year? I'm really puzzled by that. I just don't really buy that it's coming at all, which is patently absurd, but there it is. I mean, I'm getting ready for it left and right, but I can't quite imagine it happening. Very strange.

Tomorrow I have to start taking some new medication that will no doubt mess me up and freak me out in umpteen ways, or do nothing at all. Speaking of things I don't believe in. Gosh it was nice to talk to real experts about this yesterday, though! Smart, smart people with lots of experience and expertise. This is why I should only ever let professionals deal with mental health, and not some general practice nurse practitioner who means well, of course, but just doesn't have the depth of experience or expertise needed.

Which reminds me, I need to get the car worked on and get that exhaust leak fixed. Ugh! Oh and I need brakes. Which I could do, but...I might not. It's so cheap to have someone else do them. Whereas lying on the gravel driveway in a panic attack for fear the car will slip off the jack and squash me and the dog is somehow not high on my list. Yes, I have chocks. But anxiety does not listen to reality, that's the thing. It's still real, and something to deal with, but it's not necessarily about reality.

Like nightmares! They're horrible and they're a real factor in my life. Telling me the things that happen in them aren't really happening is so irrelevant! Boy is it not about that at all.

I'm suppose to take more of the anti-nightmare medication that I've been taking for a while, too, but I don't know how much or when or whatever until I fill that tomorrow. I guess? Why don't medical people write out instructions? I need written directions, man. I could start taking the larger amount now if I knew what it was supposed to be.

Molto agitato, Mr. Roboto.

What's for supper, anyway? Who has a plan? Oh, leftover Halloween candy? That sounds great! Yesterday I utterly failed to eat a bunch of Halloween candy as I had planned. I think that's hilarious. I was there watching a Harry Potter movie with my bowl of candy for the imaginary trick or treaters who I knew perfectly well were not going to show up, but I only ate three tiny Almond Joy bars. Am I just being difficult, or what? "Eat lots of candy!" ".......No!"

Anyway I ate a bunch of the peanut butter cups today after my epic strenuous yard work fiesta, so there.

Right! Book to be written! Must go write book. Befriend me on NaNoWriMo if you are doing it! I need all the support and camaraderie that I can get! Dude, I spelled that right first time! But then did not believe it and had to look it up anyway! Story of my life, man!