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


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


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. 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!