Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Misery loves more misery

I am actually not miserable, because I got AWESOME NEWS on the job front. Hurray! Two jobs! Happiness loves more happiness!

But I am miserable because of the stupid heat and humidity. It was 88 yesterday and today with high humidity and a million biting bugs, so you can do the math. = BAD. Do not like!

When it gets super hot, I won't cook, so I don't eat, because I'm not allowed to eat bread or whatever, even though sometimes I totally forget and go eat a lot of pizza, and then I feel like I'm going to die for three days, so then I don't do it again for a long time. When there are no sandwiches, what easy fast cold food is there that takes no effort because I'm not doing anything because it's hot?

Well, today I made a massive salad out of irritation with that lying crook, the attorney general. Oh my goodness. He's a liar and a gaslighter and a racist and a misogynist. Half of those he would admit proudly, too. YUCK. I hate his little pink goblin face.

I was languishing in front of a fan and doing absolutely nothing but watch that testimony when it irritated me beyond endurance and I got up and chopped up everything in sight and made it into a the aforementioned massive salad. Which I then ate up, every bit. Yum.

Salads aren't as good without apples. I really like an apple in a salad. Plus bell pepper, cucumber, chicken, and whatever else is around.

I don't know what I'm supposed to eat before going on the plane. I might make a mess of eggs with horseradish cheese in them, on the understanding that I won't be hungry again for a very long time. (It's true.)

Things I did today out of sheer irritation even though it was too bloody hot to move:

vacuumed the whole house
moved the tv so I could get into the yarn trunk
trawled the yarn trunk for travel yarn
picked out a pattern
took the dog for a walk through tick-infested woods and down the black fly infested road
changed the sheets

Irritation apparently motivates me quite effectively.

I'm having yogurt for a late dinner because I'm still not going to cook anything. Forget it. Though in retrospect, rice sounds nice.

Ever since I took those ridiculously huge doses of antibiotics FOR NOTHING on the word of a nurse who didn't know what she was doing, I've had to eat very plain food like rice or yogurt or fruit or my innards get very upset with me. I hope that things will calm down eventually. Maybe they'll even forgive me for the pizza!

Oh boy, it was good, though. At least the first two pieces that I had for dinner.

Anyway the dog loved our walk and the house looks very nice.

I'm on a mission toward increased fitness, though my mission has to battle extreme desire to do nothing at all physically. I mean I do tons of stuff, just I prefer to be sitting in the comfy chair with an iced beverage while I do those things.

Anyway, that's the plan. Egregious sigh of dismay. I'm hoping to use the pool at school, in my absurd bathing suit with the red and white striped cups and the navy blue dress part. It's not exactly low profile, but it's on MY terms.

So that's my day. Incredibly uncomfortable weather and annoying pests, not to mention the bugs (ha ha) resulted in a tremendous amount of work getting done. For which hurray!

I want a bath, but not a hot bath, and not a cold bath, and also not a warm bath because those are just cold baths waiting to happen. Maybe what I want is a shower, come to think of it.

Meanwhile I keep remembering about job thing and yippeeing to myself. I get these little jolts of excitement. Eep! Yay!

Maybe I can reintroduce my stealth fitness methods to my life, like the rule that I have to do jumping jacks while the kettle boils for tea, plus standing up at my desk. Ugh...I have no desire to do any of those things. Where is my get up and go? Did the antibiotics kill that too? I've been downing tons of probiotics every day, both the gummies (which survive best into the gut) and the yogurt. I suspect my meds need to be tweaked, by which I mean lowered, because I'm mellow to the point of zombification now that the severe pressure is off. MFA is over, training for Online Job is over, I'm hired officially, and now Traditional Job has hired me also.

It still won't be as much work as old Online Job plus MFA. Or like in the past when I worked full time in an office AND did a full four iterations of Online Job, back before they hired me on full time.

A couple days ago I wrote a story about that whole thing blowing up, how that horrible lady made me change my name and manipulated everyone and bullied everyone and then turned vicious on me when I got sick and got the full time Online Job, and got me pushed out early. Boy was she a piece of work. And I mean, from the beginning. All the signals were there. I just pushed past because I needed the job.

I do that a lot! I'll put up with badness for my own ends. It's kind of a form of not listening to yourself. I've been realizing I am super bad about that. I don't know when I'm hungry or thirsty because I learned from a very early age that what I wanted didn't matter. I'm not even aware of those signals. It takes feeling woozy to notice I haven't eaten all day, for instance.

Luckily I have tea! I want tea, boy oh boy. But I have to eat first, or it will make me throw up. So I do eat breakfast. And then I want another cup of tea so bad in the afternoon, so I have to eat again. Dinner, however, often goes forgotten.

I suppose being more active would make me hungrier, too. YAWN. It would be easier if I could go outside, but thirty seconds out there and I'm covered with black flies, whose bites leave insanely itchy welts the size of quarters. Now the mosquitoes are starting, too. GOOD TIMES. Frelling Maine, I tell you what.

Today I wondered why black flies don't live further south of here, like in Pennsylvania. They seem to be a northern thing. Do they not like the heat? If so, maybe we'll be rid of them, because it's hotter here every year.

Though it's lovely and cool right now. 70!

One of the fun things about Maine is talking to cashiers about our perfect temperature. We all agree on 65, in my limited survey. I think that's awesome. 65 is cool enough to wear long pants, while 70 isn't. For me. And other cold-adapted life forms.

It's supposed to get down to 52 tonight. Yes, please! And 45 tomorrow night. Oh boy!

Maybe I actually can have a bath. Glory!

This yarn I'm taking with is fine and soft, sage green. I'm going to knit some pretty lace for a scarf. Ooh, must remember stitch markers, thanks for reminding me! I was afraid my knitting days would be on pause because I crushed my right middle finger's last segment (what are finger segments called?) pretty good today putting the lawn mower into the shed. The mower has an end section that tilts up 90 degrees to self-propel. Well, you can lock it, or you can forget it's not locked and use the handle to push the mower up a steep ramp, upon which it will slam down that 90 degrees and crush whatever digit happens to be in the way. It's not broken or anything, and didn't damage the joint, but it sure hurt a lot. I thought it would stop my knitting but that seems to be okay after all. And writing with a pen. Both useful activities!

Stay safe, little bunnies! Eat your salads and drink your water and do your jumping jacks while the kettle is on to boil. I'll certainly try--cue exhausted eye roll--but presumably it'll get easier each time. Oh YAWN!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Oh hi

I weed whacked so much over the past two days (not counting today, a DAY OFF) with my new weed whacker that I can barely lift a leg high enough to step over the edge of the tub. Why does weed whacking use those hip muscles? That seems so weird. But you have to lean over in a particular way to avoid whacking all your toes right off, I guess.

It's terrible out there. It's a very bad year for the black flies, which swarm and bite and get in your mouth and ears and eyes and nose and hair. So even covered down to my wrists, with a hood over my head and a head net over that, in rubber boots up to my knees, I STILL get bitten. Ridiculous.

The lawn is not so very much cut right now. I've been catching up on the super tall areas, but the regular flat part is growing fast. Today landlord came over with extra tomato plants (nooooo!) and I showed him the wiring/switch problem in the front hall, where my new weed whacker also was, which led to a lawn conversation, and anyway I'm going to go borrow my old mower that I gave him and mow the grass properly tomorrow.

Except not the steep parts. I'm sticking with the weed whacker for that. The mower is heavy and wrenches my arms out of their sockets when I have to yank it around on that steep slope.

Good times, eh?

In other news, I have an awesome interview coming up, and I got a rejection notice for a short story today. I instantly (five hours later) went and submitted all the stories I could to all the places I could. Including that one. Bounce them right back on out!

Then it became clear to me that I need to write more stories. Like, every day. I should write a story a day. I wonder how long I could do that? If I made it a huge priority I might be able to pull it off. They can be short, after all. Flash fiction is bananas short.

I wrote my presentation and it's 1776 words. That feels like INDEPENDENCE so I'm unwilling to edit it even one tiny bit. I have a little bit of weird number OCD.

Oh and today I suddenly regained the ability to play fast sudoku. Nothing exciting happened to bring this about. I have no idea.

I keep doing all the weird packing things, like counting out enough vitamin gummies and probiotic gummies to last me while I'm away. And picking out earrings. And hand washing scarves, then neatly folding them up.

It'll be a relief when it's late enough for me to pack clothes. Even though I know I only need like seven days' clothes, I want to take absolutely everything. I pulled a million things out of the closet as part of my psychological pre-packing process. It's enough stuff for a month. Come on, now. It's almost like I don't want to leave anyone behind, though. Nooooo!

And I got the upstairs finally cleaned up and everything (almost) put away. Jeez. After I switched the day bed into the writing room, there was massive chaos. In part that's because I had a lot of clothes in the drawers of the day bed that suddenly needed to go elsewhere. I dealt with all of that last evening. It was kind of hellish, to be honest. It meant moving absolutely every garment in every drawer, reorganizing, refolding everything, storing a bunch of stuff in a Rubbermaid tote in the closet.

Okay, so that's a pretty mild version of hell, I admit it. But my knees and hips were already in agony from the weed whacker extravaganza and it was all kneeling and bending. Oooooof. Ouch.

I hope all these people publish all my stories and then I'm all story-published and thrilled and delighted. I want to be a story publisher person. Write the stories, send them out! That should be me. I can do that. Boy do I love writing stories. Whoop!

Especially since now I don't have to write about dreadful autobiographical material, which was admittedly cathartic, but some of those are definitely not publishable, alas. I cannot send them anywhere. I don't think. Can I? Maybe. I have to think more about it. Right now I don't feel like I can.

So get this: if I wear capri leggings from Walmart ($4!) and a giant oversized t-shirt that I usually sleep in (KMart, men's 2XL tall) then I feel like a million bucks. I feel like I can run and jump and ride bikes and do absolutely anything. If I wear my fancy expensive J. Jill linen trousers, all baggy, which okay I paid $8 for, but they were $80-120 new, then I feel ugly and awkward and terrible and like I can't do anything at all.

What is that all about? Is it just about sporty garb versus frumpy garb? I practically want to put my hair up in a scrunchie in this getup. It's awesome.

I figure I'll stick with the speedy garments. I'm not even packing any of my giant linen trousers. I will dress like an aerobics instructor circa 1985 and be happy instead.

Not really. I'm taking all my nice silky blouses, plus the silky tank dresses that are actually tops on me, which I wear as undershirts to cover my retreat.

I have clothing issues, apparently. I just reread a story I wrote about that. Yep. I have 'em. The part that is weird to me about today's navy blue leggings with red and white stars all over them, worn in honor of the Comey hearings and the defense of democracy against that utter jackass T***p and his abuse of power and all his various crimes, plus the giant navy blue t-shirt, is that clothes have such a powerful effect on how I feel when I never ever actually look in a mirror. Right? Like the received wisdom is that how you LOOK affects how you feel. But nobody sees me. So that's irrelevant. How I dress is entirely about how I feel instead.

These leggings are hilarious. But not as funny as the royal blue ones with the red and white hearts and curlicues all over them.

A lot of my clothes have turned out to be red and black, which mystifies me. That deep glowing crimson, though, I can't resist it.

I even reglued my Adidas Sambas for the trip. One sole was flapping in the front. I should wear them to see whether the glue stays stuck. I have superglue that I can use if necessary.

All those submissions tonight, that was pretty awesome. It was like work, in the sense that it had clear cut parameters and clear beginning and ending points and I could just work through it methodically and then be done.

Heck, maybe I can send out those others. I'm all torn about it. I mean, don't pre-reject something, right? Let them do it. There we go!

I'm craving pizza so badly that I'm in serious danger of going out and getting one tomorrow. I've been in pre-trip no desire to eat mode. Basically it's just been rice and yogurt, though today I made eggs with horseradish cheese and it was utterly delicious. I might make that again tomorrow, to be honest. If I don't get hot food and protein, I get all frazzledy and quietly frantic and then can't focus or do anything.

That is actually the sign of NOT TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF that I'm learning to watch for. I was not raised to take care of myself, or to think that I needed to be taken care of in any way. I'm only gradually starting to figure out that I have the right to want and need things and then get them. No duh, you might say, but it's a side effect of neglect and abuse, so whatever, I'm working on it. You treat yourself the way you have been treated, until you train yourself otherwise. It takes work.

Speaking of taking care of myself, I'm heading to bed. At a reasonable time. New mattress is freaking amazing that way. I can go to bed and just go to sleep. Outrageous! Glorious! Wonderful!

I spent the whole Comey hearing running around the house, cleaning everything up, sweeping, tidying, putting absolutely everything away. That hearing agitated me, even though I think it was the giant push we need to get that orange knuckledragger out of office and gone from our lives. I'm still amazed we haven't seen some kind of idiotic backlash from him. I imagine a team of lawyers actually sitting on him to prevent him from making things even worse for himself. What a jackass.

Comey was impressive, though. I feel like we might be seeing a lot more of him coming up. But that may be because I mistake anything I see on my iPad for fiction.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Embedded

The project isn't complete, because I want to build and then carve a headboard and footboard for the bed. And probably sideboards too, let's be honest. Once I get carving I'm not going to want to stop. But I got a new mattress yesterday after a sudden dawning awareness that all this major body joint pain and a ten year old mattress were causally related. Except then the mattress wouldn't fit on my ad hoc bed that I've been using for a year, the boxy white daybed. So I had to disassemble the daybed and move it into the other upstairs room, the tiny writing room, and build the metal feet/frame thing, which I bought specially because it has bolt brackets on each end instead of just one, and then I had to cut twelve long boards to support the mattress on the bunkie board, which is like a super thin box spring, and THEN I had to put all those pieces together, find the sheets, and finally go to bed.

I know!

I was in SO MUCH PAIN by the end of all that. I'm sick of pain. Get rid of it!

And I'm not even done. It's up too high, so I have to adjust nine screw feet adjusters to lower it down. And there's stuff everywhere in the writing room that needs to be rearranged and get put away. There are bookcases all askew. Also I might need to bank the far side of the bed with bookcases because it feels very precarious not having that extra buffer zone of pillows like on the daybed.

The daybed is a very happy place to sit and write in the writing room now, though. That mattress is fine on the edges.

One odd effect is that now I have three beds in three rooms. The third one is my office. I could have guests! Multiple guests! What is that about? Actually there's a fourth old thin twin mattress in the closet up there, too. And the downstairs daybed has a pull out trundle bed where that could go. So four, four beds! What is that about!

Nobody comes to my house, so I don't know what I think I'm preparing for. Last visitors were...Christmas, when my brother and nephew came over with presents for me. Has my sister even been here since? I don't think so. I think she visited before Christmas.

I also got a proper desk chair, a comfortable one, instead of using those hard flat dining room table chairs as I have been doing. I know! I was just figuring, everything hurts so much all the time, and where am I all the time? In bed or in my desk chair. So those things are fixed now.

First night on the new bed was blissful. I did take ibuprofen because I was in screaming agony after carrying all those heavy things up the stairs and rebuilding the daybed and so on. (The furniture boys brought the mattress up. There is NO WAY I could get that massive thing up those stairs.)

Anyway now I get to think about my headboard and footboard and consider what to carve and how. I had originally planned to make it like the Franks casket. I could do that! I'm not sure whether I want to use one solid board or what. Also it's kind of a long process, carving things like that. But so fun! But hard on the hands, with the hammers and chisels. Last time I had this setup where the board I was carving was blocked in place on my quilting table. I could clamp a longer board down there. Or use the trestles. I probably won't start this until fall, though, because I have to finish the cedar chest first. There's massive sanding to do, which I hate, so I've been putting it off.

Must stop putting it off!

Sanding kills my hands. Anything where I have to hold tight to something like that is excruciating. Good times!

I got my printed and bound copies of my thesis this week and positively squealed with delight. I hope I get to keep one. I think I will. I think both get signed and then I get one. Oh boy!

Actually I have to go mail the box of those right flipping now so they get there in time. It might cost a fortune. But they'll charge me $25 for a bag that's over weight anyway and this way I won't have to carry them.

Yes, travel prep--horrendous. I hate it. I hate leaving my house anyway, but traveling is the worst. But after this residency I won't have to do this again. No more dorms, no more cafeteria, no more planes. I mean, we'll see about the planes, but I managed to avoid flying extremely well for many years. It's just so unpleasant in every conceivable way.

Having to leave the house and be around people means of course that I suddenly notice that I have no sandals (remedied) and no summer shorts except those cut-offs (have acquired capri leggings) and no sleeveless versions of the giant long silky undershirts I've been wearing all winter (have acquired slinky rayon tank dresses that are like tops on me, and camisoles) and so after that visit to Walmart (yes) I'm all comfortably outfitted. Plus linen capri pants at Marden's.

Those clothes are alarmingly cheap. Like the silky camisoles are $3. I almost got a bunch of the white linen pants to wear while painting because they were $8. I never want to get paint on any of my actual clothes, no matter how old or funky, because that's a line that can't be uncrossed. Once there's oil paint on something, it's there forever.

It's funny. Why not just designate one of the existing pairs of linen pants as painting pants? But that would cross that line. They'd be gone from the rest of the world forever! I don't know where this comes from because I'm not exactly a snappy dresser, and it's paint, not baby vomit or something--I mean, it's not gross. But still.

I have the same problem with shirts. Though probably I can allow paint on my ancient black t-shirts at this point. I don't wear them out of the house.

I really, really want to paint, so something has to give here. Every day I'm like: okay, but not in these clothes. And then I never do.

Mostly I'm busy writing BOOK. New comfy chair of lack of pain makes an enormous difference in how long I can sit still, at least physically. It doesn't do much for my psychological need to get up and run around. Physically not being uncomfortable is a game-changer, though. Same with the bed.

So now I expect great things! Sleep! Writing! Great things!

And finishing of lingering projects: the cedar chest, the flannel quilt. I will get them done.

I should be starting New Job soon, which is very exciting and will set my mind at ease. I'll have to buy a monitor for that since my laptop screen is so small and the site is fixed width, but that's okay. I want to make massive progress on all three things, cedar chest, quilt, and BOOK, before that starts. So we shall see. I also have to put pockets into my shorts and such things. This morning I ripped out the seams in the fake pockets. That was the hardest part. I'll use some muslin or whatever to make new pockets and sew them in and voila! (In which "voila!" means "several hours of careful work.")

One of these weeks I'll get my mower back from the shop and then I can cut down the jungle growing all around the house. I've only been keeping this one patch in front clear and now the rest is too tall for the push mower. I could try to figure out and gas up the weedwhacker and cut it all down, but I would not hold my breath on that one. Who knows, maybe I'll do it! I *should* do it. But so far I never *have* done it.

Anyway. To the post office! Except not the one in town because I mailed a box to my mom priority mail and it took ten days to get there. I don't know what happened, but that's not going to work for this situation. I guess the next town up is my best option. They seem to be more on the ball.

Happy summer, and happy comfortable places to sleep and write!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dr. Crusher

What an odd name to give to a character. Beverly Crusher. Dr. Crusher. I wonder what on earth lies behind that name? Bet there's a story in there.

I have to go see Dr. Crusher or maybe Dr. Squeezer on Friday. Or more like Dr. Tortilla Press. I've been making lots of corn tortillas lately so I feel like in some sense I've brought this on myself. (Not actually true. But I do see the parallels.)

At any moment I'm going to have to leap to my feet and run outside to grab the laundry and bring it in due to imminent rain. Maybe it won't, though. Maybe it will!

The black flies are so bad that it's torture to go for walks with the dog, so he's not getting walks unless we go to parks or places like that. My niece's school, one day when we picked her up, for example. But our usual walks down the road are horrible, even when I'm drenched in bug spray, so nope. Even going out in the yard is not much fun with the bugs.

The grass is super tall everywhere except the front flat part which is reasonably easy to mow with the motorless mower. But today I got the trailer onto the car and the mower onto the trailer, so I'll take it in tomorrow and get it fixed all up. Soon, I hope. I mean presumably the rush is over, right? I did my best and took it all apart and cleaned it and replaced bits but that thing is beyond me. Off to mower camp!

I have to go to writer camp and the boys have to go to dog and cat camp soon. DON'T WANNA. Though I am hatching a plot to drive down to Crater Lake, somewhere I've always wanted to go. It's only 4.5 hours away but you can't take dogs, so I never managed it, because: always dogs. It was too far to go and leave him home, and I couldn't take him, which means I didn't go. Same with previous dog, obviously.

I've got this shirt on today that is just completely enormous. I have no idea why I've never worn it before. There are a couple this sort of color but one is smallish, so I think I conflated them. I wouldn't wear a smallish shirt so I skipped this one too, I guess? Anyway it's delightfully vast in the acreage and I'm pleased.

It's worrying me how I'm going to dress for the hideous heat out among people at writer camp. I hate that part. I have a fantasy of sewing lovely soft knit camisoles by hand. I mean, it's not a far-fetched fantasy--it's perfectly possible--except that I have no energy or motivation at all lately, so I haven't taken the slightest steps to make it happen. Yawn!

I did buy twelve more boxes of tea out at Marden's in my old town yesterday, though. Cool! There's another year of tea in the bag! They had it for half price so I'm thrilled. I'd have preferred to get all of them and just back the car up and shovel them in, but for some reason I felt a little constrained after twelve. Like twelve is okay but twenty-four would be weird? Or forty-eight? That's only four years' worth of tea, you guys.

I would love to have the shelf of this closet all totally stacked up with boxes of tea. How great would that be? Of all the things anyone could hoard, tea is the most reasonable. She said, realizing that saying that makes her sound completely daft. But listen! It keeps perfectly well, it's light, it's non-perishable, and it's the thing I would miss the most if civilization fell apart, after my various meds. Possibly more than my various meds.

Boy, I really need to wash this window that I really needed to wash a year ago. It hasn't gotten any cleaner. How weird.

I hope the TSA doesn't mind that I'm bringing an inflatable bed and a pump in my suitcase. Not in my carry-on, so they shouldn't care. Also a box of tea (ha) and an electric kettle and sheets and a mattress pad and who even knows what else. I can't imagine anyone would care, but then again, they probably do care. Then again I just read that some vast percentage of actual illegal items that should be screened out get missed, like 95%, so maybe my camping equipment is okay.

I've been chopping away at the forest of weeds that is my book all day long, making excellent progress, but it has come to my attention again that this B story needs to be developed because without it the whole thing falls apart. So I'm working on that. Villains! Creeps! Jerks! But they feel so aggrieved and unfairly done by. Nothing makes people less sympathetic in my mind than that when it's not true. Good times.

Since I was out in my old haunts, I went back to that TJ Maxx and got more delicious smelling liquid soap and shower gel etc. for baths. Which is why I reek like a rose today in case you're wondering. Which you're not. This time I used what I learned from last year's collection. No citrus, no rosemary, no basil, no coconut. Go for flowers, anything sea breeze flavored, lavender, bergamot even though technically that's citrus, ginger, roses, spice. The Crabtree and Evelyn sweet almond kind is just the most delicious smell ever. Mmmmm. I also found incredible bottles this time, the prettiest things you ever saw. And some came in blue glass bottles that will be keepers for sure.

That is my bath bubble acquisition adventure for the year. Pretty thrilled! It took ten minutes. Read, sniff, into the basket.

Later this week I get to go pick up my printed and bound thesis and see whether Gaiman's law holds true. Supposedly the first time you open up a printed work, you see a typo or other mistake. I hope not! Maybe it doesn't count if you only printed and bound two copies.

Here's hoping that Dr. Crusher doesn't find anything amiss and life can go on as planned without major upsets. We do not want that! My friend far away is also going through exactly the same thing, only different, so we're lab rat buddies. It sucks! But hopefully it'll all be okay.

Character traits to write into these villainous types because these are things I dislike the most: greed, malice, jealousy, callousness to the sufferings of others, clannishness, cruelty. That should be plenty to go on with.

I realized my book is short on EVENTS. And when there aren't any EVENTS happening, nothing is really happening, which is weird and strange and why? So I'm working hard on EVENTS. People doing stuff! And then because of that, they have to make choices and decisions!

Personally I prefer when nothing happens ever, but I'm discovering that's not ideal for fiction. NO DUH.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Do everything all at once ah!

Isn't it odd? I feel like I get nothing done and I move around in slow motion and everything is excruciating all the time. Also every little thing feels monumentally huge and insurmountable and impossible to accomplish. And so doing things is unnecessarily fraught with difficulty and drama.

Today I did some things, though. I mowed a bunch of the grass. I can't really estimate how much of it because it's all in different sections, plus some are insanely hard due to slope, but not large. Anyway. Some. The part in front of the house. That felt most important to get done.

I hoed part of the garden so I can plant my potatoes. It's so odd, the ones grown from eyes have turned into awesome whole plants, while the ones grown from whole little potatoes are much slower to come along. I have a big plate in the sun in the kitchen with a paper towel on it and water on that. There are some onion bottoms turning into new onions also. And some carrot tops that I stuck on there because they were growing a whole little forest of frilly leaves anyway, so why not?

I have to write this presentation, so I keep going over it in my head, except it's not very happy material and it kind of gets me down thinking about it. Obviously that's something I need to fix also! Because making it a giant downer will not get my audience thrilled about life. Well, I do have a terrific way to go through to the end, don't worry.

The whole thing is called This Way to the Egress because one thing I figured out with this spring's writing was that in the worst times, even as a very little kid, I always managed to find a way to tell a story that made things better. I think that's awesome. I never realized I did that until I had to write out all these things.

I also never realized that I only use the simple past and not more complex forms. That's really just part of my dialect somehow. Obviously I read the more complex forms all the time, but I don't use them in speech, and neither do my brother and sister. It's very odd.

I brought cookies. I have brought cookies. I had brought cookies. I would have brought cookies. Maybe that last one, in the form of "woulda brought," but otherwise, only the first one. It's so odd to discover this absolutely unconscious speech habit at this late date.

In other words, we don't come from educated, articulate people, and all the education in the world can't erase those roots from our speech.
 
I'm a happy articulate speaker, though, so I expect the presentation will go fine, if I can stop being hyperaware of this particular tic. I love an audience, especially a bunch of writers. It's odd because I will have to talk about how I can't really deal with people, but people in an audience are at a nice safe distance, plus I'm in charge, so that's fine.

I don't even know where these talks are, because I never went to any in the previous two summers. (I have not ever gone to any? I feel like an alien.) It would help if I could picture the space. I suspect it's going to be in this giant echoey awful linoleum and folding chairs room.

It'll be fine. I once had to defend a paper to the entire Princeton history department while they were in hostile blood in the water mode, so I'll manage. I still think of something one guy said, though. He questioned my use of the word "stylized." What exactly do you mean by "stylized?" I still think that was an idiotic question, since I was using that word in the dictionary definition and there isn't really a lot of wiggle room there. Did he not understand the word? (Answer: he was Princeton faculty. He understood the damn word.) Was he just being a dick? (Answer: he was just being a dick.)

Also, that is an insanely difficult concept to articulate on the fly. I should have asked him to define it.

"Depict or treat in a mannered and nonrealistic style." Yes! Thank you, the internet. Guess what, there really isn't any other way to use that word, so shut up, Princeton professor guy in like 1999.

That experience was a little bit like I imagine the Salem witch trials must have been. For the witch.

So anyway, a nice fluffy presentation about this spring should be cake, except that the material is so fraught. I imagine the committee defense thing should be all right too, unless anyone decides to be a Princeton style dick, in which case I will use my laser eyes to incinerate them right then and there.

My biggest concern is making sure my potatoes will be watered while I'm away.

I did so much today that I'm sitting in my comfy chair going ow every time I move, or even when I don't move. I made roasted veg, cleaned out the fridge, washed all the dishes, worked on the gas mower, failed to make that sucker work, did the aforementioned mowing and hoeing, took the compost out, took the cat litter out, put away two baskets of laundry, folded up and put away all the sweaters, changed the sheets on my bed and the guest (cat) bed, folded up all the blankets, made every conceivable phone call, wrote for hours and hours (though not fiction), moved a bunch of books upstairs, AND SO ON. Like after I had a bath to soak out the ouches I went on and made a huge batch of refried black beans, and then washed all of those dishes, too. And cleaned up the kitchen utterly. I ran around putting things away a lot, too, and assembled a bunch of stuff to take to writer camp, like sheets and inflatable bed and inflater and mug and lanyard.

It really does sound like camp when I list those things.

I guess it could be fun? I have major social anxiety dread about the whole thing right now, from the plane to being there to graduation and friends coming to saying goodbye to everyone.

Also I have a powerful conviction that a dreaded event will happen exactly during my presentation, but we shall see. Hopefully not. I'll turn off my phone in any case, so I won't know until after.

What am I gonna do tomorrow?

I started reading Strange the Dreamer but it made me miss Karou something fierce. Like the writing is awesome and all, but where is my friend? Where is she? Though I am a big fan of Laszlo and looking forward to seeing how his story plays out. I'm on the fence about the blue people, though you'd think I'd be all on board, but where I am so far, they seem like lazy whiners, so we'll see.

Tomorrow I expect I will have to loll about going "oof" and "ow" because of overdoing it today. I will write books! That is a sitting still activity. I have to warn you, though. I'm also probably going to plant some potatoes, which means both digging and raking, so. We'll see.



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Balmy

It's all balmy out! For Maine levels of balmy. That means it's like 72 and not actively trying to drown us. Hurray!

I have to get the dang mower fixed. It's possible I broke it by strapping it down on the trailer across a delicate spring, which I couldn't see because the whole thing was covered by a tarp. Anyway all the gas falls out through the air filter when I start it up. And then it stops. Something is amiss!

I won't be able to get it fixed until the end of the month-ish which means I've been mowing with the old-fashioned push mower, the kind with no engine. It works, more or less. I mean the lawn is walkable again, but sort of patchy. That thing requires shorter grass to work optimally. When the grass is too long it just pushes it over.

We'll fix it. But it's going to take some time.

Today I was puzzling and puzzling over the green stripe on the dog's paw until I remembered that we were over at my brother's on Sunday and my nephew was simultaneously playing with markers and melting down. So I have my suspicions about what may have happened there. He probably used erasable marker thinking it would wipe off. Dogs are not erasable, though!

My brother denies the possibility but the circumstantial evidence is very strong. I do own markers, but haven't had them out in years. Except the odd Sharpie to label a fez or whatnot. But those don't sit around with their lids off and if they had, they'd be well dried out by now. Anyway. GUILTY! Nephew is GUILTY! Of a totally minor and harmless thing, of course.

Today I found out I didn't get the job from last week's interview. It was sort of a long shot. It's okay. I had qualms, but just because it was going to start part time and ramp up to full time by December. What happens between now and then, see?

My other job, New Online Job, is still in the unpaid training stages, but OH OH OH, I love this place. It's better in every way than elsewhere. Philosophy, training, everything. I'm such a fan. I hope it starts up fast and becomes super awesome and turns into a lifelong partnership and adventure.

Meanwhile, I'm under orders (mine) to write more short stories and rewrite/finish book(s). Today short stories started bubbling up in my head again, which is very nice because there was no real bubbling for a while there. But I turned in my thesis yesterday (yaaaaayyyyy!!!) and so I am feeling giddy with possibilities.

And much less giddy in general. Did I mention giving up ibuprofen? Did I spell it right? Well, holy wow, I'm totally off it and feeling better than I did when I was on it, in terms of pain and general wellness and stuff. And my eyes have returned to normal. I can't even tell you what a relief that is. For one thing, I can read. For another thing, I'm not terrified that I'm going blind or something.

Don't take NSAIDs as a regular thing, even if your doctor prescribes them, like mine did! Of course this doctor (not a doctor) was an idiot. I'm not even kidding. She's very very bad at her job.

The first thing that happened is that all the extra drug-induced fluid in my body jumped ship. That was an interesting night with very little sleep. The second thing was that everything hurt like hell. The third thing was that I had to push through and exercise (mowing the grass with the analog mower) anyway. And the fourth thing was that I had less pain after all that than I did before all that and my eyes came back. Madness! Except I knew this, intellectually--pain meds are only useful in the short term. But sometimes we can be dense, eh?

Yum, stroopwafels. Stroopwafels in the breadbox! I had totally forgotten about them and then yesterday remembered out of nowhere. I wish I could have been recording that moment on video.

Oh! And I cut bangs again. Because my hair looked terrible without them. It's growing in gray around the edges up top but the gray is also sort of curly. When it was pulled back, gray was all you saw. And it just was not flattering one bit. So I watched videos and learned about how professionals cut bangs, because I'm me and I never do anything without preparation, and then I think Saturday I did the deed. And I look so much better!!! I even took selfies that came out awesome. Woohoo!

Experiment over, thank goodness. I hated looking in the mirror and trying to take a selfie for work purposes was a nightmare because they all suuuuuuucked. Now I look like myself again. There I am!

I guess it's been kind of a dramatic week, huh?

This morning on the radio the BBC announcer said, "And now more on American President [you know who,]" except when you say "more on" it sounds like, um, "moron," which made me laugh out loud in the car.

Then I went to the book sale at the library in the next town and got all these great books. 501 German Verbs! 501 Spanish Verbs! 501 French Verbs! Teach Yourself Chinese! A bunch of Bloom County books I didn't have! And various other things. Good stuff!

There was a funny moment because there was a book from one of the authors in my MFA program there, so I got all excited, and then remembered: oh yeah, I had two, so I donated that one to the book sale. Not actually even a coincidence!

This is the nicest library in the whole world, honestly. It's a private mansion someone donated to the town, on a lot of wooded land, up on a cliff over the river. I should ask them if it's okay to walk the dog around there on the paths on the property. There are benches and all, so people are okay, but you never know about dogs.

Especially the kind with one green stripe down one back paw.

I made coffee for my meeting this morning as kind of a high-octane option, but forgot that the coffee is decaf, whoops! Why don't I label these things? Sleepy. Also I was up late finishing Mockingjay. That book is a mess. It has no storyline. It's a jumbled series of events, loosely connected. The structure clearly comes from the previous books, as it's the same, but that structure doesn't work with the story of this book.

Also I know I've said this before, but the way the author chokes in the clinch of the second and third books really bothers me. Write yourself into a corner, good, yes, but then find a way out, a way in which the heroine has agency, without knocking your heroine unconscious and having her removed elsewhere to be cared for by a team of professionals.

And don't even get me started on the epilogue.

Overall Mockingjay is exceedingly disappointing just as a coherent novel. I guess it's probably good if you're just desperate for more of those characters. The choose a boy thing got old super fast for me, though. It made sense in the first two books but felt shallow and fake in the third. And nobody else had any depth either. Yes, a problematic book all kinds of ways. Needed another round with the editor and some more rewriting to determine the actual throughline.

Easy for me to say, haha. But I've been rewriting a lot lately and it's how I see everything. You know what is tightly written? Community. At least most episodes. There are a few that sort of come loose and unravel a bit, but mostly they're super tight.

By which I mean: all the pieces have to belong where they are. All the pieces have to be necessary for the story. Nothing extra to mislead or distract. The beginning leads logically and inevitably to the end based on the overarching premise.

I just got more ideas for how to fix Book so I have to go do that right now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Maps!

I finally unfurled a roll of giant nautical charts that Penn State was giving/throwing away back in like 1996. Oh boy! I think I might have had some of them hung up ages ago, but not for a really long time, if ever.

If you can't remember whether or when you might have hung up your maps, then maybe you never hung up your maps.

They are AWESOME charts. Oh boy! I vaguely remember picking them out by coastline. As in, the deep parts of the water are white, and the land is white, but the shallow parts by the coastline are blue. Coastlines are lovely and crinkly and full of edges. And so now I have charts of the coastlines of Sudan, Korea, and many other wonderful places. Ah!

Also Mt. Desert Island! Oh boy!

I have a whole blue box of maps and sewing patterns, but where is it? I think maybe in the closet of the sewing room, but who knows? Anyway once I find that, I'll put up a lot more maps. More maps!

I will not put sewing patterns up on the walls with thumbtacks, though. Why does that seem so Silence of the Lambs?

Boy howdy...I'm a little addled by stress these days. I just got SO CONFUSED about why my weekly pill box had the days backwards. Like Sunday was on the right! And then Monday came before that! Yes. It has a row of AM and a row of PM days written opposite each other, as in, upside down to each other. Everyone already knows that I had it with the PM side facing me. Boy was that confusing, though.

Why so stressed? Halfway through a massive online training thing! It's awesome. Waiting for a big deadline thing to come up Friday. Another big important thing Friday. Monday I go get the pillage refillage. And Monday I turn in all of the last and final assignments for my MFA. Wooooooooo!!! From now until Monday I'm going to keep on revising and reworking and la la la! Make it good! Make it the best it can be!

No pressure or anything but I have to get it printed up and BOUND into HARDCOVER and all that. Dude! Actually I have to hustle on that.

And I have to buy a plane ticket for Oregon, except I'm waiting on this money to come in and I don't know if it'll be here before my rent is due, so I don't want to spend the money on the plane ticket just in case, see. So I'm on tenterhooks and the upshot will probably be that it will arrive in time anyway and I will have to pay way too much for a plane ticket I could have bought for much less.

Ooh, I'm also toying with the idea (terrible idea) of driving out instead of flying. See, it's a terrible idea. I told you it was terrible. But also awesome, because: road trip! Mattress in the back! Snuggle with the dog! Board the dog out there! But that is exceedingly unlikely to the point where there's no real reason to think about it except it's fun and I love a road trip.

 Also toying with flying out of Portland or Boston. But as I wrangle the math, it's not sensible. It doesn't save any money. It costs more by the time I get down there and pay for parking. Here my brother fetches my car so I don't pay for parking for all that time.

Anyway that's what's happening around here.

I'm having a TERRIBLE time with my eyes, and to a lesser extent my sense of balance and my legs. I haven't quite fallen yet but there were many close calls last week with a little stepstool. I have no idea which way is up. Most of the time that's okay because I'm sitting at my computer, doing my online training thing.

But oh, my eyes are killing me. I haven't been able to read for a week, which is torture. You know I usually read a book every day. I just have to buckle under and download some audiobooks from the library or something.

I'm not doing anything different, obviously. I went from working on my laptop all day to working on my laptop all day. Hello. It's just that usual neurological firestorm I get a couple of times a year. It'll pass. Meanwhile I'll use handrails and walk carefully and generally be a careful person. Audiobooks! Yes. And I have a cane in case I need it. I've used it plenty in the past.

Stress can set that off, I know. Last week was about the most stressful time in forever, it's true. This week I've kind of just settled into it and decided that I'm going to make things okay no matter what, which is a useful skill to acquire belatedly. But last week was my birthday, and I had literally six dollars in the bank, and all these huge bills coming up with no way to pay them, and this and that and the other thing, plus starting that new training and another whole thing and blah blah blah. It was a rough week! And then my body quit working, which made it even more stressful in a lot of ways.

My eyes are by far the worst of it, though. I should go get an eye exam, huh? I will do that as soon as I can.

Once I get the MFA work done, I suspect my stress levels will plummet exceedingly. Oh BOY do I want that to be good. Then I can worry about the talk I have to give, which, no big deal, really, and the books I'm writing. Books are good! I like books. I like having binders with full drafts in them so I can grapple with the manuscripts pen in hand.

This is always the story of my life. Things get hectic and stressful and insanely difficult, and I'm all baffled by why I'm so stressed out. Oh, you left one job and started two new jobs in one week when you were broke and couldn't afford to pay any of the bills, in the thesis-writing portion of the last two weeks of a two year long degree program? Why should that be stressful? Sheesh. I also chipped a tooth. Wonderful! It's one of my front teeth.

So I'm being very kind and gentle with myself and making myself meatballs and palak paneer and reminding myself to drink lots of water, because when I get stressed out I totally forget. And now I'm going to go get in the bath and maybe read some middle grade books or something because they have nice big print. No, wait, I will not be able to read. I can't see long enough. Like I could maybe read for five minutes before my eyes quit. I'll probably put Leverage on the iPad and listen to that instead. I'm super cold right now so a hot bath sounds wonderful!

Wait, let's look into the library's audiobooks right now! It's a good plan. I adore audiobooks. They make me very patient, I do not know how.

Oh! I just read that taking lots of ibuprofin every single day (three times a day in fact) hugely increases risk of heart attack. So I skipped one dose. We'll see how well that goes. I'm not sure what will happen to my busted up hands and knees if I quit entirely. It's for osteoarthritis. We shall see!

The funny thing is: what's easiest to do is write. I don't have to see to write! I could write with my eyes closed, gosh. The only issue would be if I had to edit or rewrite or otherwise have to see what's on the screen. I've been managing so far with the training but hoo boy am I not in great shape with this, you guys!

Anyway I should know a lot more this Friday about what's going on and when and all that kind of thing. We shall see! It will all be all right. Yes, it will. And I will write many awesome books and stories! And it will be awesome.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

May Day

May Day is full of multiple variable meanings this year! International Workers' Day, of course. And I'm feeling it in the m'aidez sense quite strongly. Mayday, mayday!

I have to make a tremendously huge decision tomorrow which will change a lot of things, but most of all, will mean I can stop going crazy over money. I keep being strung along with the hope of more and the delays and the uncertainty are just getting to me way too much. And also now they are not actually giving me any more, which is what caused me to Draw The Line.

I hate making decisions, especially big ones, especially when those have ramifications for what happens next down the line, etc. But I did an enormous amount of math and considered all of these various options and came to one conclusion, so that's a relief, I guess.

Very frustrating thing along the way over the last couple or three days was that I kept trying to talk to a friend about this and she kept putting me off and saying she had to deal with more important people, and although I get that I'm not important to her or to anyone, it's not nice to hear that said straight out, know what I mean?

Ooh, that would make a good book title. Nobody's Anything. I'm some people's aunt and sibling but not even in the top ten most important people for any of them. It's true! It sucks, but that doesn't make it any less true.

So that made me very sad and very angry and then very sad again. And then I fixed a lot of lamps (five, I think) and then I spent all day at the table with the lovely warm glow of my newly fixed brown colonial candlestick type lamp, with the paper draft of Novel and actual scissors and tape. I did so much work rearranging scenes and solving problems and so on! And I figured out some major roadblocks that have been with Novel since the beginning. Now I have to write all sorts of new things. I'm making a shopping list of new scenes that I need. Then I can jigsaw those into place and then dig into the heinous but satisfying task of merging everything together and smoothing it all out. So hard!

It's this process that makes me appreciate short stories, where you can just rewrite in the course of an hour or two. With a novel it's far too easy to lose focus because you have to stop and do other things. Life and whatnot. You can't go through the whole thing in one sitting to check on the throughline of X character or Y concept. And that is why novels are hard.

For me, at least.

Writing mountains of stuff is plenty easy for me. It's just making it all fit together and make sense that's difficult. Or remembering essentially anything, ever, whee!

Right now I'm slightly worried that I may have taken my evening pills twice. No real harm done if I have, but I hope I haven't. That's the downside of all this concentration.

Mmm, I can't even express adequately how wonderful it is to be sitting under the warm glow of this lamp. Friday when I was out signing paperwork for New Job (which has scheduled me for an utterly paltry number of hours my first week, making me VERY FROWNY) I bought incandescent light bulbs at last, and then that motivated me to fix the lamps at last.

One lamp is still missing its sockety part on top. Where did that go? I brought the fez of hardware things in from the shed but I still have to go through it. And I have a suspicion that there is more hardware somewhere else. Maybe? I don't know. I remember a cat litter fez of hardware but then I think I combined it with this one? I DON'T KNOW.

Moving a bunch of times is exactly like rewriting a book a bunch of times in that I have no idea where anything is or whether I undid the thing I remembered doing or not. So that's fun.

I plan to sort out the contents of the hardware fez into cat litter fezzes, complicating the problem, but they will be clearly labeled so that should help. Labels!

That would help Novel quite a lot, too. Labels on stuff. I've been doing that all day with post-it notes. Navigation aids! They help with navigation! What an amazing concept, you know?

Now I'm figuring out how I can move things around without totally losing the plot, so to speak. I mean that figuratively and literally both, which is kind of fun.

I am gonna bake Mississippi Mud Cake for my birthday, you guys! I make awesome MMC. I have some amazing little birthday candle candelabras that I'm going to use, too. Where are the tiny candles? Somewhere! With the icing stuff, I suspect. I might even ice the cake, even though that's, you know, icing on the cake, just so I can decorate it up. I love doing that. Many colors! Tiny flowers! Little leaves! So pretty!

My brother is supposed to be taking me out but he has a tendency to bail on me very regularly, so I'm not necessarily counting on it. My plan in the quite likely event that I end up being home alone on my 50th birthday is to make falafel in the fondue pot and make more delicious salad that I can't get enough of lately. That sounds fabulous to me. Mmmmm. And that's why I'm baking cake the day before! Or possibly tomorrow since I'm starting New Job with a paltry half day on Tuesday.

Look, I have medjool dates! I love dates so much! And figs. I wonder if I can get figs around here? I was surprised to see the dates, to be honest.

Anyway tomorrow begins a new thing for me. I'm very excited about it and determined to make it work out the best possible way. I'm feeling exceedingly fierce about it. And I have the lovely warm glow of lamps now! So look out, world!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Eliot!

I've been watching lots of Leverage on the iPad as I work on my impossible puzzle--one of several impossible puzzles I own. The upside is that if you watch enough Leverage, you dream of Eliot Spencer. Hurray!

Not Stephen Fry's dude. That guy has two Ls in his name and is bound to reality. I'm talking about Eliot Spencer of Leverage, the impossibly wonderful character.

This is one of the good things that has happened lately. Dreams about Eliot! Yay!

I'm super down today for no apparent reason, though I may be sick. At least when I speak out loud I sound terrible, so presumably I'm sick? Allergies don't mess up my voice. And oh, I feel awful!

Yesterday I laid out my flannel quilt and sandwiched it and basted it together. I figured I'd start quilting it today, but apparently not! I did essentially nothing today. Well, I made brown rice pudding. I ate leftover salad. I summoned enough gumption to cut up an avocado into my salad. I went for a very short walk with my dog. And I worked, of course, at my job. Very busy work day at my job! Tuesdays always are the busiest days of the week.

Otherwise I just sat there working on a puzzle with Leverage on. I know! Not the activity of a person who is full of beans!

I'm very sad the job hasn't called me. You know, the one I was supposed to start today. Never even called to confirm that I was hired! Should I call? They told me they would get back to me when the background check was done, so who knows, maybe there's some holdup and all will be well in a couple more days or something. I shall endeavor not to draw conclusions based on evidence I do not have!

I got all ready, ironed all my shirts, did all the laundry, moved my purse stuff into the popcorn flower purse. Bought a lunch bag! It's very pretty.

Soon I'll have to go out again and buy more salad fixings, because OH BOY am I in love with the salads these days. Why? Why now? Why not for the past, um, really long time? So good!

I've been making them from romaine, celery, red bell pepper, cucumber, and whatever protein I have handy. Can of tuna, or some chicken, whatever. Or the handy avocado today. UGH SO GOOD. I just can't get enough of it. Most of all I'm perplexed about why I didn't want them for so long and then suddenly it's all I want. Weird, right?

Also I quit Facebook after a couple of different relatives were taking shots at me in this weird, goading kind of way, like saying things purely to rile me and upset me. It's something I will absolutely never understand and would never do if I did understand it. Life has been very peaceful since getting out of reach of them! They would never bother to email, call, or text, so I imagine I'm safely out of claw range.

Quitting Facebook right before my birthday (a week from Wednesday) might be a little poorly timed. But whatever. I was actually shocked at the nastiness, totally unprovoked. Like this: send me a message out of the blue in order to be mean. Really? That's how you want to spend your one precious life? But guess what, that's not how I want to spend MY one precious life, so I have opted out. It's kind of an amazing feeling.

My job (besides my actual job) right now is to send stories out for publication and also revise and complete novel for publication. In other words, publication looms large! Must get the thing done! Go go go!

I'm also heavily invested in finishing Summerlands, the totally awesome YA novel, so that's exciting, for real. I love that book! I know what made me say hmm and pause in the writing. I'm so much better now (nearly post MFA) about cutting and chopping and rewriting ruthlessly. I just do it. In the past I used to just balk and wander away from a piece when the awkward happened. I would just stop writing it. Now I chop that part out and stick it into another file in case I ever want it (I don't) and charge ahead. Raaaarrrrr!

Dog is sleeping next to me under the blue crocheted blanket, head on white fuzzy pillow, his chest and neck on my gray sweater. He always manages to get my sweater or scarf or something and curl right up on it. Baawwwwww! Dog is so good! Cat is also so good but sensibly curls up in the giant green comfy chair where nobody will squash him.

We have to go to bed. Maybe Eliot will visit again in my dreams! He has this characteristic I've never seen in any other actor or character for that matter, where he's supremely calm and confident and generous and gentle. Lots of people have one or even two of those, but nobody else has all of those, plus fearless and strong. Even The Rock is sort of a hyper spaz compared to Eliot, but he's getting close. Terrific character! Oh my goodness.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

It's away!

I submitted my thesis to my advisor just now. It's due tomorrow but it's done today. There's an up side to being laid off, I suppose!

It's 92 pages of new material written this spring on the assigned subject of my mother. I'm already mulling another story on the same topic, out of sheer habit by this point.

Anyway I feel totally weird about being done like this. There's more work left to do this semester, but it's easy as pie. I have to read another six or seven books and write them up for the annotated bibliography. And do some paperwork or something? Like semester assessments and whatever. Other than the bibliography, that stuff is not even worth thinking about. You do it, it takes five minutes, and you're done.

I feel like I should do something to celebrate? Or run wild and have fun? I don't know what either of those things would be so I suspect I will do nothing instead. Though I did get my cello out today and play it, which mostly meant taking the strings off and peg-doping the pegs and tuning it forever and ever because it will not stay in tune. The D string especially is sort of unraveling up near the top and that peg refuses to stay in place.

I need new strings, but it's a super low priority right now.

I should play the brass instruments instead. I really love those. So loud though! I'm still in be invisible so the monsters don't get you mode. I want to hide, generally speaking.

Speaking of hiding, I haven't heard anything from Real World Job about starting tomorrow, which is the date we talked about having me start. Nothing that even confirms whether I've actually gotten the job. That's weird, right? I mean it's been over a week. Huh.

I'm sort of addled in the sense that I'm so tired suddenly that I'm falling over, I don't want to do anything at all, my eyes keep going out of focus and closing on me, and my legs are all wobbly and noodly. Probably from finishing school, eh? I mean one must assume.

Not actually done yet, I tell my legs! But my legs do not listen.

I had to read back in old journals and here over the past couple of weeks and one feature really stuck out: I had a tremendous amount of trouble breathing back then. And by "back then" I mean for the past maybe 13 years. The best breathing has been here, in this current house, by miles and miles. I've barely had any trouble at all here. Whereas in the past, good golly, I had bronchitis every other month and bronchial pneumonia, walking pneumonia, atypical pneumonia, and every kind of asthmatic awfulness, just like ALL THE TIME. Could NOT breathe.

Now I can totally breathe! I really appreciate that. I suspect it's from: nice new house with laminate floors. No old moldy gross house, no old gross carpets, no vile wet nasty basement, no mice or snakes living in the walls. Clean house! Well, it's kind of gritty from all the driveway dirt the dog and I track in, but beneath the grit, it's so clean!

Let that be a lesson to me. No, really, let me remember that, okay? Gosh I have a terrible time remembering things, but I think this one should stick.

Definitely no carpets. Those are the worst. And just my little rugs that I can easily vacuum. (Not that I do very often, but you know what I mean.)

Seriously, my legs feel like they're about to secede from the union. They feel quite loose and wobbly.

Salad! Let's talk about salad. Friday I got this sudden massive craving for salad with chicken on top, so I bought lettuce, celery, apples, red bell peppers, cucumber, dressing, and chicken. And made it into the most tremendous salad. SO GOOD. I ate way too much of it. The next day also. And today I made more and ate too much of that. Oh boy! Today I made more chicken, too. Why is that so good? SO AMAZINGLY GOOD.

Anyway. Mmmm.

Yesterday I finally got out the ironing board and ironed almost all of the linen clothes I have, which turns out to be a completely surprising quantity since I got a bunch last year from Marden's for super cheap. Pants, blouses, skirts. I will be the linen wearing queen at new job, supposing it is going to happen. That was the goal: clothes to wear to work.

I've also been looking over my shoes to see what's good for being on your feet all day and the answer is pretty much Dr. Martens. Boots or mary janes. I think there is one pair of brown oxfords from when my feet were smaller--not sure they even fit any more. Linen pants, silky tunic tops, and Dr. Martens mary janes? I am not sure that's an outfit, really. I mean some of the pants are cropped length. Maybe?

I'm very weird about regular shoes with visible socks and ankles. Like I have a whole thing about it. I remember at last Day Job I finally got brave enough to wear folded down white socks with my light suede tan mary janes and still felt totally weird about it. And that was with a skirt.

Yes, there are whole realms of neurosis to navigate still, once I manage to get myself out of the house! That's the major hurdle, though.

I'm so zombied out, I'm breathing slowly. I guess I did take an anti-nightmare pill last night, when things were getting nightmarish even before I went to bed. Does that happen to anyone else? Just me, right? I start getting scared by everything, and then I start thinking things are moving that aren't moving, which the doctor said was my eyes playing tricks on me, not my brain, but it sort of causes a cascade of badness and then I'm jumping out of my skin because the lamp crept up on me...without moving, of course.

Anti-nightmare pills don't usually mess me up the next day, however.

You know what would mellow me out in a good way? Guaranteed employment! Yes! I would like that very much. Also a six figure book deal. That would be very nice indeed.

I keep hoping Old Online Job will shoot me a new iteration to start when one of my current ones ends a week from tomorrow. See what I'm saying? And then New Online Job starts with training May 1st but training goes three weeks and who knows when that will turn into delicious filthy lucre for me. Soon, I hope!

Gosh, I keep wanting to play all my instruments! Is it kosher to play instruments in the evening in a quiet country area though? I suppose nothing could possibly be louder than the road, really. I feel like the urge to play French horn very badly should always be indulged and encouraged. Play!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gut-punched into a chair

This is a thing that happened to Rockford on The Rockford Files a lot, apparently? I don't remember it despite seeing every single episode of that show when I was a child. Anyway John Rogers references it all the time in regard to Leverage, where Nate Ford gets gut-punched into a chair on the regular.

I sure do love Leverage. Yep!

I also really love this upstairs writing room, I tell you what. I am become one with the comfy chair! Finally I realized that the struggle between the ottoman and the palette-shaped laptop table was a futile one. It only took me like nine months or something. So I brought that table up here and now I have physical comfort while writing! Imagine!

I expect this will increase my writing hours by approximately a million percent.

Really it's not great trying to write when the laptop is always slithering off somewhere else, or your legs are pretzeled up, or you're trapped because the ottoman has pinned the table against the couch. I will FREAK OUT if I can't easily exit my sitting location, which is why flying on planes is so fun!

Next I just have to take the lapdesk downstairs for the couch. It's making me want to punch myself in the head that it took me this long to make this switch. The ottoman gives perfect leg support so the lap desk will work great down there. Doy!

So how are you, internet? I'm in a WRITING FRENZY as the due date of my thesis rapidly approaches. I did a ton of work on one of the hardest stories to rewrite today, so good job, me! Last night I wrote another story that I love. I had sort of done a bullet point outline a while back so when I went to write it, I got to just go ZOOM and get it done. Very satisfying, I tell you what.

Oh, I got gut-punched into the chair last night by several things. To wit!

One, my 50th birthday is in two weeks and I have not one single plan or friend closer than Philadelphia. I may or may not be invited out to cake with the fraterfamilias and his sprog, but almost certainly won't know until the day before. I might have to work? If I get to start new job? Nobody knows anything! There's nothing I want to do anyway! And nobody to do it with even if I did! It's a whole realm of suck.

Two, I was right behind a car accident last night and had to stay and give a statement to the police and all. The guy was fine. It was so much less horrible than it could have been. He fell asleep at the wheel and hit a power pole, rather than plowing into oncoming traffic, for example. And it was at low speeds, like 25 or 30 mph. But accidents send me into a deep dive because of how many times I've seen people killed right in front of me. It's bad.

Three, we do this thing at my school where seniors have work reviewed by a team of one faculty member and a couple of peers. You get to pick your team from people in your genre and your semester. I picked my team and submitted it, and then when we got the list yesterday I was all excited to see whose review teams I was on. Guess what? Not one single person picked me for their review team. And I'm the only one nobody picked. Wow, huh? That's a BAD feeling. Two years at that school. Seriously.

I went back and looked to see who else nobody picked to try to make myself feel better, but I guess that backfired. Ha ha.

But then I wrote a great story so WHATEVER.

I'm supposed to start New Job in the Real World next week some time presumably but I haven't heard back from them after submitting my I'm Not A Felon information for background check. Ugh, I hate not knowing things. But I think I will really like this job if it actually happens. I have not committed any crimes so I can't think what the problem is, but who knows.

I've been doing pretty well right up until I got gut-punched into a chair, though. Being productive, getting all my stories rewritten and edited and all. Okay, I revised and edited a whole lot of them that aren't actually going into the thesis, because I didn't get the parameters until recently despite asking from day one (don't get me started, this is a constant issue with this school, unclear directions) but it's okay because it means I have a STACK of finished stories that could get sent out.

Which, whoa! I can send stories out? Is that a thing? That's a thing! I should do the thing! I never think about it! I can get my marketplace book and research online and see which kindergarten my little one would fit in well at. Never mind that I'm already sad about their rejection. Are they going to be misfit friendless weirdos like their mama, who doesn't get picked for any review team? Let's hope not!

I might have to color in my rude coloring book again soon the way things are going. This one is on my fridge:


Yeah! Sad bear full of pretty flowers says fuck them!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The drawing board

Ooh, my cousin gave me a drawing board she salvaged from a dump somewhere--not quite sure how that works, but there is a system in Maine whereby you take things to the transfer station or wherever and leave them in this little building for others to take rather than throwing them away or giving to Goodwill. Or, like, having a yard sale. I guess it appeals to a particular sliver of mindset.

My cousin has/had a used furniture store so she saves stuff, fixes it up, and sells it. Except now she's closing it down so I went to rescue my grandmother's hope chest that my sister gave her to sell, and while I was there, got this awesome drawing board, too.

It's like a drafting table sort of but smaller than that. It looks like an old-timey cartoonist would have used it. I oiled it up with furniture oil and moved things around and now I have it in the corner of my office with a stool. I still need to bring the art supplies downstairs, I guess. I haven't painted upstairs yet so I suspect I'm never really going to.

This house is odd that way. Spaces seem like they would work for X or Y, but they really, really don't. I've used the treadmill infinitely more since it got out of my office and into the middle of the kitchen. Might as well bring the painting supplies downstairs and see what happens. I'm sort of wishing I had a great big pad of poster-sized paper, though.

Anyway I'm kind of in love with this thing! It rises and tilts both. The only design flaw is that you can't get as close to it as you should because of the cross supports. I could move that, though. Or drill new holes in the table support beams. There are options. I need to bring the massive orange clamps out and also figure out some sort of edge thing to keep paper or canvas from sliding off. All easy enough.

I was doing awesomely great for a while there and then yesterday somehow a whole ton of bricks fell on me, for no apparent reason at all. It's so weird! The only big variable I can think of was the ham pot pie I made, but even that was 24 hours before that. I don't know! I really don't get it. It's odd because it's exactly like I forgot to take my pills, except I know for sure that I did not forget to take my pills.

Even my legs just turned to lead. They refused to run around the way I have been lately. They don't want to do anything. I'm just all limp and useless and all out of gas. It's so weird. Yesterday I was doing all sorts of things and then just ran down right in the middle of doing things and haven't come out of it.

Maybe I'll go to bed early tonight and see if that helps at all. I stayed up late last night out of sheer inertia and being too sluggish to drag myself up the stairs. Jeebus.

I ate a lot of chocolate in case it was Dementors. You know how that goes! It was just like that, though. Like they swooped over and I turned all gray and useless and limp and couldn't do a single thing. Waaaaaaaah! The chocolate did not actually help, though it's good to get it eaten, since I still have chocolate from the Christmas before last, not to mention candy canes from last Christmas. Must eat them up and get them gone, you guys. Seriously.

Anyway I need to do a ton of work. I need to rewrite/edit I think four more stories in a week and a few days, plus write a new one. And I need to read and write up 14 books in a month. That's a piece of cake, though. I'm going to tackle all of the short story collections in my house first. That'll take no time at all, because I never read short stories, because bleah. Oh! I forgot Joan Aiken's short stories! There, it'll take twice as long.

I have this massive shoulder rash situation going on. If you google "shawl sign" you will see what it looks like. (Warning, grody pictures.) It started at my mom's house and then went away somewhat and then came back with a vengeance over the past few days. It's so itchy and wretched and comes from what exactly? Nothing? Anything? Nowhere? I have no idea. I should maybe go to the dang doctor for it but I'm not a person who goes to the doctor for a rash. I'm more likely to drive in there with a severed limb in a bag of ice. I mean, exaggeration, obviously! Sort of.

Things I have driven to the ER with:

concussion (multiple times)
inch-long hole in my forehead from skull on skull collision during rugby game (8 stitches)
broken nose
inch-long hole in chin, gushing blood, from large dog bonking top of his head against my chin (7 stitches)
rib cartilage busted off my sternum
massive abdominal pain
cracked ribs (not sure I actually went for that)
severe allergic reaction from many hornet stings
major chest pain/elevated heart rate

I think that's a more or less comprehensive list. But then, I've had a lot of head injuries. Har har.

Anyway I should maybe think about taking the massive shawl sign rash to the urgent care if I don't start feeling better soon. From my totally uneducated research it's pretty much only the symptom of one thing and that thing is super unpleasant so I'm in denial, lalalalalalalalalalala!

Bed certainly sounds good. And a bath sounds good. They are relatively close to each other! Oh boy, leaden legs do not like the sound of the stairs, however.

Let's focus on the things I'm excited about:

1. All these stories I've written. I'm super pleased with them.
2. The paintings I'm about to do, with the perpendicular saints
3. Playing various instruments. Yeah!
4. Getting this book finished up and out the door, once school is wrapped up.
5. Graduation, man! In June! Robes and bagpipes and regalia and the tiny dean standing on a box!

This Friday I will hit another one of those moments of decision based on whether or not I get the iteration of Online Job that's supposed to start Tuesday. If so, goldenish. If not, crisis alert. Crisis alert! I know! It's a terrible position to be put in and I do not like it one bit. I also have an interview Friday for a bookstore position that I'm totally excited about, so here's hoping.

Bookstores: full of books. Yay!

You know what I like to do? Go look at the spot on the shelf where my own book will go. Yes! I do enjoy that very much indeed!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Pillage

Oh, my pillage is getting me down. I've been having horrific nightmares and night terrors so I had to take my nuclear option medication and that has completely whammied me to the point where even typing this seems like an overwhelming challenge.

I took that pill two nights in a row. That's all. Guess what, I used to have to take it every single night. But that's when I was on some horrible mis-prescribed antidepressants that made me utterly frantic and incapable of sleep.

Pillage, man. I do not like it.

I need to go out to the craft store and buy some sticky-backed mounting board for the lovely thing I embroidered. I got a frame there last time (Friday?) but completely forgot about the mounting board. Wait. Actually...my mom sent some home with me, but I think it's too small a piece and also it's really thick instead of the thin kind. I'll check before I go flying out there, though I already have my shoes on so at this point leaving the house seems inevitable. (It is not.)

I think I'm going to try a new approach to nightmares and night terrors, which is: when they happen, just get up out of bed and be awake. What I generally try to do is go back to sleep, but then they recur. I want to sleep! It is night! But then the next night I will absolutely not go to bed at all because that's where the nightmares and night terrors are, see? I know.

I might also try sleeping on the guest bed. A change of scenery might help.

Night terrors are so bad, you guys. Go look them up. It's like the nightmares bleed into awake time and then these things are happening all around me while I'm awake. One that stuck with me from the latest bout, the second night in a row, was a triangular patch of a man's angry face, just the eye and eyebrow, but it was in my pillow or right there, and very real, like he was really there looking through the sheets and pillows at me and so angry at me.

How do you get away from something like that, right?

There's the usual huge menacing shapes around the room and very loud sounds that didn't happen. Remember when I kept getting exploding head syndrome, or whatever? I would hear incredibly loud crashes and explosions and horns and things and would jerk upright in bed terrified, but they hadn't happened. The dog and cat would look at me like I was bananas. The dog barks if a squirrel hops across the lawn so he would not let a loud explosion go un-barked-at.

Yesterday my super sympathetic (no) brother said, "What do you have to be scared of?" As if there's any need for an immediate cause. Nope!

I've been trying my usual cures of 1) lots of exercise, 2) reading a lot, 3) soaking in lovely tv shows full of found families, because of how our brains can't actually distinguish between spending time with friends and spending time with tv show friends.

It's funny to watch Bones on the big screen with Deschanel and Boreanaz's giant heads filling my living room. No one else really gets the extreme close ups on that show. And actually they tend to pull back a little bit on Deschanel, but Boreanaz gets cut off below the hairline, that's how close in they are. Chin but not hair. Deschanel always has hair in her extreme close-ups because they're not as close.

If you had those giant faces in your living room, you'd notice this too. So much larger than life!

Anyway I'm all zombie drugged and very unhappy about some comments made yesterday that made me feel really bad. That's more debilitating than the drugs, to be honest. It would be good if people could not be so destructive please. DO NO HARM, you jerks. I mean, come on.

Anyway off to the craft store, land of useless crap and possibility. I had so much fun embroidering that thing, seriously! I want to do the kind of freehand embroidery, though, the way that's more like painting. I don't even know the terms or have any of the skills, so I don't know what I'm talking about here, but it was extremely pleasant to sort of paint with the thread in the parts where I got to do that.

I'm also looking forward to painting with paint, once I work out a few kinks in the stretcher making process. I made one as a test and it had some issues, to wit:

1. The corner blocks stick out too far so they'll poke the canvas, which obviously isn't okay. I can take them out and move them back, or take them out and cut them smaller. Either way.

2. The frame itself seems warped, so I'm not sure what's behind that. It has some torque and tension to it that's making it twist. I might just have to reject one of the boards if it has some inherent twist. I thought letting it rest for a while might make it conform, so I'll have a look at it and see.

3. I'm not sure about the width of the painting. I wanted it to be skinny, but then when I was building it, I kept thinking, "No, that's too skinny!" and made it wider, but now I think it's too wide. I might have to paint one to see how it comes out. But I'm pretty sure it's far too wide for what I have in mind.

4. Not sure which orientation of the joints is best for stability in a screen, or whether it'll need feet or flat brace supports or what. I can decide that after, though. I'll still have access to the inside of the stretchers to attach feet/supports/whatever.

Building things is fun! Painting is fun!

Of course the cedar chest is not finished and is still standing in the middle of the living room, though I did clean up the tremendous mess I'd left, so good job, me. But I have to get that done so it's at least out of this room. I'll take it down to the basement to paint it and put on polyurethane. If that's what I decide to do. Right now I'm leaning much more toward sanding and staining the thing and then covering the top with a padded fabric.

It would fit in much better with my aesthetic! Do I have an aesthetic? I guess I do. I have some stain. Have I ever stained anything? I mean, besides spilling tea on white shirts? I don't think so.

That pillage makes me look horrrrrrrible, all puffy and sludgy. I wonder if there's a better way to purge the monsters? Like what if I wrote all those terrors as though real? It's an idea. This stuff comes in waves and I do not know what sets it off, possibly nothing at all, but apparently it's part of the furniture so I need to integrate it into society somehow.

We're supposed to get snow tomorrow. I heard 5-8 inches and then today my weather app said 3, so I don't know. We got totally gypped with the last storm and just got the tiniest dusting! I brought my mom's old (beautiful, practically new) snowblower back with me, as well as the (ditto) lawn mower and (likewise) tiny baby rototiller. She wanted to clear things out and I needed all three rather desperately. I loaded up my trailer and towed them away.

Loading the trailer was hilarious because it wasn't attached to the car at the time, so when I rolled the snowblower up the ramp and onto the flatbed, the whole trailer tipped so the tongue pointed up in the air and the ramp went flat on the ground. I laughed myself silly. Then I tried again, going faster, but obviously physics was still in effect so it happened again and I laughed even more. Then I put bricks under the ramp end and it worked just fine. Oh boy, though. Made me laugh so hard.

Anyway I hope it snows so I can use the snowblower, obviously! I had some plan for making grip holders out of pvc pipe on a string around my neck like mittens, so I don't have to hold down the grip things to make it go, but I'll probably wait until next winter to do that.

I'm driving down to my sister's soon to deliver her birthday present and picking up my cousin on the way. My cousin is super fun but her house is entirely saturated with smoke and I'm super asthmatic and especially sensitive to smoke for some reason, so it's very hard to hang out without making her come to my house. Road trip!

Plus I always like taking a personal detour and driving through Exeter NH to see Phillips Exeter. Something about it twangs my brain strings. And I can avoid the ridiculous and extra long route through Boston madness. Give me a slower pretty rural route through an old school town over a longer speedy manic city route every time.

Also I can pick up my great-grandmother's cedar chest thing from Germany on the way back, and get it out of my cousin's hair. Woohoo! I have to think about what to bring my cousin, though. Her house is the tiniest place you ever saw, and I mean you could not do a jumping jack in there or lie down on the floor without bonking into the walls. It is SO SMALL. So giving them things is highly tricky. Must be consumables! Also she doesn't eat sugar. More thought required. And my brother-in-law is having knee replacement surgery this week, so he might really enjoy some treats I can think of.

So much thinking and planning required, eh? I know! I do love the strategizing and the planning and prepping. Ooh, plus I must clean out my car, which got very messy on those two twelve hour drives.

Massachusetts has this obnoxious thing now: a toll road with no toll booths. They take a picture of your license plate and send you a bill. Mine was for two dollars and change because of the trailer. Is that really sensible? I suppose it costs more to pay humans to stand there and take your money but still. It feels like getting a ticket. And also like a surveillance state. But it's also quicker. I'm of two minds about the whole thing.

Also, oddly, it cost about five times as much in tolls to go south as it did to go north. Why would that be? Are they encouraging people to visit Maine and only fleecing them on the way out?

The cat is eating the dog food. It's an upside-down day. I forgot to take my day off early enough last week so I have to take it today. I'm down to one iteration of work and feeling quite strange about that and at loose ends.

Though I also have a writing packet due this week and still have to finish my story. It's very weird. In it, I have a half-deaf Norwegian lumberjack/forestry professor boyfriend named Thor, for one thing. That's the least weird thing about it. Anyway I have to get it finished and find out what happens. Act one, done. Act two, done. And now I need to write act three. I took out this big plot thread that was providing a lot of the juice and now I'm thinking I need to put it back in.

Work to be done!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Destructive conditioning

Good grief.

This is from Shahida Arabi's fantastic blog post on narcissists' tactics. There is a great big picture of you know who on the top of the page. Okay, there isn't, but there should be. This one hit me the hardest because I hadn't been aware there was a name for it before.

Link here.

"10. Destructive conditioning.

Toxic people condition you to associate your strengths, talents, and happy memories with abuse, frustration and disrespect. They do this by sneaking in covert and overt put-downs about the qualities and traits they once idealized as well as sabotaging your goals, ruining celebrations, vacations and holidays. They may even isolate you from your friends and family and make you financially dependent upon them. Like Pavlov’s dogs, you’re essentially “trained” over time to become afraid of doing the very things that once made your life fulfilling.

"Narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and otherwise toxic people do this because they wish to divert attention back to themselves and how you’re going to please them. If there is anything outside of them that may threaten their control over your life, they seek to destroy it. They need to be the center of attention at all times. In the idealization phase, you were once the center of a narcissist’s world – now the narcissist becomes the center of yours.

"Narcissists are also naturally pathologically envious and don’t want anything to come in between them and their influence over you. Your happiness represents everything they feel they cannot have in their emotionally shallow lives. After all, if you learn that you can get validation, respect and love from other sources besides the toxic person, what’s to keep you from leaving them? To toxic people, a little conditioning can go a long way to keep you walking on eggshells and falling just short of your big dreams."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

And she's back!

I have returned from the deep south of Pennsylvania, where I liberated a snowblower, lawn mower, and rototiller at the request of their owner, my mom. I think we took away a bunch of other stuff, too. I hauled a lot of stuff that she wanted gone over to the Salvation Army, and took all the recycling, and emptied a year's worth of bagged compost out of the chest freezer into the compost pile, and also emptied the contents of some ancient turkey stock (including BONES) into a hole I dug in the woods. Ew!!!

Oh, we brought home the stock pot. Funny, she didn't want it anymore.

I'm the one who made the turkey stock, which tells you how long it's been in the freezer. Does it? No? Well, let's see, since probably late 2012 early 2013? Anyway MUCH too long, but in my defense, I didn't live there after that. Oh so gross, though. First of all, digging a hole in the woods and burying it (homeowner's request) felt way too much like a sort of funeral. And second, just gross, all that antique stock and skin and bones. Brrrrr, shiver, gross.

I also got shredded by wild roses on my way to the hole digging site. And the dog picked up ticks. It got super warm there, as you could have deduced from the very fact that I dug a hole in the ground. You cannot do that here! In fact the jack stand that was holding up the trailer is still frozen to the ground.

The trailer performed like a champion and now I'm thoroughly laden with lovely lawn and driveway and garden machinery that will enable me to manage my environment with mechanically assisted vigor.

I did not get much sleep there on the horrible (but brand new...hmm) guest bed, and had terrible nightmares the whole time, and sweated like crazy because it was ungodly hot in the house. Very old people, huh? They like hot houses! Anyway now I'm home and super comfortable in my 62 degree house.

My friend and I are having resolutions about fitness so I'm doing all this working out and stuff, by which I mean lifting tiny weights and walking half a mile on the treadmill. You have to start somewhere, man! Also trying to channel anxiety into exercise instead of into, you know, the fridge.

I'm way backed up on both writing and reading because of the trip, argh! And I'm not going to have time to watch all of Buffy after all before the 1st of April when it goes off of Netflix. Drat.

Oh and I'm making this utterly fantastic thing for my sister but it is a SEKRIT until after it has been received. I am super excited about it, though. Because of how it's super cool.

I'm down to one class as of this week so that's making alarm bells ring all over my whole head. My cohort of fellow laid off people are having a terrible time finding work, so that's distressing. They're all going through the same stages of shock and distress as I am, though at slightly different speeds. Aww. I hate to see that.

Anyway I have a story to write today, woke up with it in my mouth this morning and wrote all kinds of notes before even getting out of bed. Those are the best. I've been mulling and putting it together for days now. Must remember to count that as writing, because it is! The type type typing part is only one facet of the whole process.

Must walk the furry hound as required by a) the furry hound, b) compulsion, c) fitness and whatnot. We will get totally filthy from all the dirt they fling all over the roads, but at least there's no new snow. The field I walk through is ridiculously perilous, though, layers of snow and ice with deep holes punched into it but covered up with more snow, so we are going to go AROUND today on the actual ROAD where there are actual CARS. I do not like doing that. I bet you I come back through the woods and the field despite all that. If I'm feeling energetic I could clear out the spiky burdocks and walk through where they are, a much less treacherous route. But I will be covered with burrs if I do that. Which is why I haven't.

Mmm, must collect many outdoor physical details for story en route. Such an odd phenomenon. I know all this stuff, but I never think of it until I'm looking at it, know what I mean? I think that's odd.

Happy Wednesday!

Saag paneer and butterscotch chips,

Your homecoming queen

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Chip, chop, shovel, go

Chipping away at the cedar chest work. The interior veneer had a learning curve. The outside layer has to be pried off and if it gets wet, that gets harder. The layers beneath that need to be soaked and then it will come right off and otherwise it'll be a nightmare. I've been watching all the Buffy while doing it so some areas have certain episodes permanently affixed, like the left of the latch opening has the one about that evil cyborg guy Ted now fused into it.

One long side is done and one short side is nearly done, on the inside. The outside is almost totally done but some of the glue could still use soaking off.

I just finished reworking my story that's due tomorrow and sent it off to my friend K. to read. It's so much more fun than the true-to-life stories I've been writing! Also I got to destroy the enemy and find people for the heroine. And a lovely silky doe goat! I'm in love with the goat. And the guy. And the troublesome child raised by demons. And...anyway, I'm crazy about the story, so that's awesome.

What on earth am I going to write next? I have to think about it. Like, a lot, and fast, and with great energy, dude!

Oh, I had an idea. Well, we'll see.

I wish I'd finished chopping the wire fence out of the ice yesterday before the storm. I was out there going chop chop chop and saying: "Chop chop chop!" out loud, but I was wearing the wrong gloves, with the slippery palms, so my hands kept sliding right down the ice chopper. I need to be able to move the fence to get the trailer out to go to my cousin's for the trunk and down to grandma's for the snowblower (and hopefully mower) and who knows what-all else she will foist upon me. Probably many things.

Chip, chop, shovel. Oh! I shoveled out the driveway but not the area at the top where the car is supposed to go. At least, I cleared enough of a spot for the car to fit. But not enough room to turn around or the usual place I like to keep the car. It was TOO MUCH. The plow wall was easily seven feet wide and five feet high. I did the narrowest possible opening for my car to fit through, but it was still murrrrrderously hard work.

Afterward I had a hot bath and drank tea and read about the Blitz. I mean, simultaneously. Baths are so weird. You're going about your day as normal and then all of a sudden you are sitting in a big puddle with no clothes on. What is that about?

I really love the baths. But it's sort of an odd endeavor.

Then after that I couldn't really walk or think or anything until finally I overcame inertia and ate a can of peaches and suddenly I was a human again. So now I know about exercise hypoglycemia and how to avoid it. I will take steps never to have that happen again! After I shoveled I did eat some cheese, but I guess that doesn't give you enough sugar or something.

I'm feeling positively giddy about the prospect of being able to exercise without feeling like the heavy boot of doom has come down to crush me afterward. Combined with the stupidity effect, it's not great. I even googled "stupid after exercise" to see whether this was a thing, and lo, it's a thing! The solution is to eat some accessible carbs after working out. You just run out of glucogen, that's all. I mean it's a simple physiological thing. Presumably more healthier people are better able to cope, I guess? I didn't bother reading up about them. Ha.

Anyway then I got my work done and my writing/rewriting done and then it was now. I ate all sorts of things in an effort to cure my exercise stupidity. So I guess I don't need dinner, eh?

Tomorrow I'll try to do the rest of the shoveling, possibly while waiting for my brother to appear to take me to get my car back. Car is done! I'm only slightly confused about why they called to say my registration had expired, since I put the stickers on the license plates when I registered it. Whenever that was. November? It was the day I walked down to get my car back from the terrible mechanic who didn't fix it. I stopped in and registered it on the way home. Anyway it's done, I'm just not sure why they didn't know it was done. I'll have to ask.

Now that exercise stupidity is over and I'm all full of writing bliss, life looks pretty wonderful! Dog is sleeping in the green chair. Cat is sleeping in my usual spot at the other end of the couch. I'm at the unusual end of the couch because the folding table here had space. My usual writing table is covered with cedar chest legs and glue and paper and clamps and things.

Oh boy, I'm going to be a car-having person! I can go for frivolous drives if I want! I can get a job I need to drive to! Oh boy! We can go to the beach! I love going to the beach. Though I probably won't go while there's still two feet of snow on the ground. I haven't even stomped down a path for the dog yet. He just has the one I shoveled last night, plus his own self-plowed path into the woods.

There's a hard icy crust on top of the snow from some freezing rain last night. It hurts my legs to walk through it. I can't imagine it's comfortable at all for Mr. Dog.

I have a terrifying new medication to take. I mean, it isn't--it's totally normal. But one in a thousand people who take it get a horrific reaction to it that starts out like the flu and turns into a terrifying disfiguring skin necrosis thing where you can totally die. I mean, I probably won't get that. I understand statistics and probability. But I'm scared enough of this medication that I'm waiting to start it until I have my car back. Yep.

What a recipe for paranoia, I tell you. If I get anything flu-like I'll just be freaking out, especially since I have no insurance, which usually means I wait and see when anything seems amiss. Waiting to see is the wrong way to go with this thing. It shows up as a rash before you get giant disastrous zombie-like black rotting skin craters, though. Oh boy. I wish I had never seen those pictures.

The information I read said that this almost always happens, when it happens, in the first two weeks of starting the medication. So that should be fun, eh?

Yesterday I was talking to a guy who had a terrible allergic reaction to an antibiotic and was still covered with big black spots the size of dimes months later, even after benadryl and steroids. Guh....it just seemed like an alarming juxtaposition to see that the same day I picked up this prescription.

The nice nurse thinks it'll help me a lot, though, so here's hoping.

Reminding myself right now that cars are much more dangerous than any possible side effects and yet I'm excited to get my car back. Of course, my car just got a lot less dangerous, so hurray! On the flip side, I've lost my excuse for staying home when it snows. No more bald tires! Also, though, no more pumping up my damn tires every single time I need to leave the house. If I go out to the car two days from now and a single tire is low, I'm going straight back to the mechanic, let me tell you. I am DONE pumping up the tires all the time.

I had to do it literally every time I went anywhere, and sometimes again to get back home. Yes. It was awful. It's snow or mud out there without any other real options. I mean, where the car parks here is not paved. There's no garage. Mud! Snow! Ice! Gaaaah!

I keep having a funny series of thoughts where I think: "I'd like a tent, but more solid than those fabric things, so like, I don't know, wood. A wooden tent. But maybe taller, so there's more room, so give it walls on the sides, and then like a door on one end, and a window on the other. And a floor, give it a floor. Okay, so: a house. I want a tent that is a house. Okay!"

Then I think about how to build it with hinges and latches so it folds down and sets up again, and should the roof have shingles? What about along the center where the hinge is? Or should that not be hinged? It could have a raised vent top like a chicken house.

Then I realize I've gone down the same rabbit hole again that I always go down and I'm imagining buying lumber to build myself a wooden tent house with hinges and a window and curtains and a rug on the floor. I could build it on my trailer!

There's actually a wonderful little shed for sale that would fit right on there and only costs like $250, and it's light, so I could haul it with my current car. Can you imagine? I think it would be brutally hot or brutally cold at any given time.

I like buildings. Actual buildings. It's true. Buildings are GREAT. More songs about buildings and food!

Please don't let me work on that dang cedar chest any more tonight. My hands! My poor hands! They are in such bad shape from yesterday's excessive chipping fiesta! But it's going to be such a nice thing when it's all done.