scarlettina: (Default)
1) I had a perfectly marvelous 55th birthday, and I'm hoping that as I have begun, so shall I continue.

2) I have acquired new tap shoes that fit me better and I'm delighted with them. I took my first class in them yesterday. My feet felt better, I didn't get unreasonably tired, and I mastered the steps we were doing a little quicker, I think, for not having to compensate for shoes that were too long. I'm actually looking forward to practicing!

3) I am excited about the new Doctor. It was time for a woman and I find myself ready to reengage with the series. I liked Matt Smith well enough but found the storytelling in his seasons weirdly disjointed. I liked Peter Capaldi, but after disengaging with Matt Smith's Doctor, I found myself unable to reengage. I am curious and excited about Jodie Whittaker as 13. I'm in and look forward to her premiere. When, now, is the regeneration episode?

4) Farewell to actor Martin Landau and director/auteur George Romero. Landau looms largest in my experience as Commander Koenig of Moon Base Alpha in Space: 1999 and, of course, as Bela Lugosi in the film "Ed Wood." I know, I know, Mission: Impossible--but I was too young to be captured by it at the time. As for Romero, he changed the world with "Night of the Living Dead." He certainly changed the horror genre, giving us a new kind of monster that has survived generations and multiple iterations. Respect to both of these gentlemen.

5) I need to devote a couple of evenings to finishing laying down the ideas for the board game I've been thinking about. This idea will not let go.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) I have not seen a movie in far too long, and I'm not sure why, except to say that I haven't been overwhelmed by the choices that theaters are offering me. I've heard really good things about LOGAN which, somehow, surprises me but has made me curious. What would people recommend I see?

2) It's getting toward annual review time at work. I've gotten stuff done this year, but I kind of feel like I've been a pill, too, mainly because I've been frustrated by my lack of movement and the lack of opportunity for same in the organization. I've been sniffing around for making a move of my own, because I don't like getting up in the morning unhappy about my prospects. I don't expect a major raise this year. I'm kind of expecting to get slapped down. Perhaps if I keep my expectations low, I'll be pleasantly surprised. Only time will tell.

3) More than ten years ago, when I left therapy, I promised myself I'd never do it again because I felt like I'd covered the landscape over and over again. Well, I'm back in, and taking a completely different approach. It's been interesting so far, educational. I like the people I'm working with. It's expensive but I'm worth the investment.

4) Creatively, I'm in this weird landscape where I'm in for small projects, not large ones, and even those, I don't feel invested in. I've never been in a headspace like this before, where creativity feels like an essential part of me but doesn't feel accessible right now. Everything feels tentative and effortful. I'm hoping that maybe I can put together some time to do some creative work this weekend.

5) But on the subject of this weekend, this needs to be tax weekend. I want to get it done, and done earlier--much earlier--than I did it last year. Which means creativity may need to take a back seat. :: sigh ::
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Most of the things I want to write about are probably too private to actually write about here. Which is a problem for me personally because I really want to write about them. This is a display of self-consciousness possibly not previously displayed in this blog. Ever. And that's saying a lot. It's one of the reasons you haven't seen much of me lately. I have entered this weird "I'm not telling you" phase. :: sigh ::

2) I'm deeply unhappy about the new administration in the White House. I suspect this is a surprise to no one. I have been more politically active in the last three weeks than I have been in years. On the one hand, it's been exhilarating. On the other hand, it's been exhausting and disheartening.

3) I have been having such trouble writing the last few months that I'm off of fiction writing for a while. Every time I try to do it, I get about 1,000 words in and stall. It's frustrating, it's painful and I'm woefully self-conscious at the keyboard. There's so much baggage around fiction for me at this point that I feel itchy in my skin trying to write. Poetry is happening a little bit but not enough. So I'm turning my attention to other kinds of creativity for which I have some aptitude: jewelry, coloring (some evidence of which you may have seen here or on Facebook), drawing and painting--things that aren't wrapped up in words. I figure that if one of these takes, maybe the pipes through which fiction flows will loosen up enough for me to try again. Right now, though, not so much.

4) I have been spending a lot of time distracting myself with iPad games. Probably not good for me, but it keeps me from doing other things that are probably a lot more self destructive. I have been playing Fishdom, a match-three game with an aquarium theme that I find addictive and just entertaining enough. I've also been playing Plants vs. Zombies 2, which I find challenging and, occasionally, a little more stressful than I want my light entertainment to be. I'm choosing my play times carefully as a result. I've been thinking that I need to add some kind of adventure game to the mix. Must ask the gaming cohort what they'd recommend. (Hey! Gaming cohort! What do you recommend?)

5) I have tasked myself with trying things I haven't done before. This has resulted in my signing up for some Meet-up groups and joining friends to attend events I haven't been to before. I would like to report on them as I do them, though my writing here has been much more unreliable over the last eight months than ever before, so I won't make promises. Still, it's a project. Also, I'm thinking about one thing I have done before: taking another Earthwatch expedition. More on that depending upon whether or not I actually decide to do it.
scarlettina: (Five)
The to-do list: I made a "To do" list this morning. It has 16 things on it. I've done four. They were time-consuming, but they are done. I still, however, am staring 12 things to do in the face. I am comforted by the fact that some of these things are things I can't do on a Sunday. Some require leaving the house (I'm still in my nightshirt and sweats [see time stamp]). And apparently I needed an epic nap today (three hours). So of the things that require neither leaving the house nor doing on a Sunday, that leaves only eight things. I, um, ought to get right on those.

Halloween: Attended the one and only Halloween party to which I was invited last night. (Well, two, actually, but the first one was more of a stop-and-hop.) It was . . . not quite what I expected, but that's OK. I wore the black leather halter top with a white peasant shirt, black leggings and black leather boots, and called myself a generic fantasy villain. If I work in the office tomorrow, I have a different costume planned. Will I do my annual Halloween post here? We'll see. I don't believe I did one last year. Hm.

Sophie: Sophie has developed some unfortunate bathroom habits. I'm going to call the vet on Monday to get her checked for UTI and possible referral to a behaviorist. This CANNOT go on. At the same time, I find myself wondering if she is keying off of my own personal distress. If that's the case, this might go on for a while.

Exercise: This weather (dark, cold, rainy, wolves) is not encouraging me to exercise. Tonight, I'm going to try on every piece of workout clothing in the house, pack my gym bag, and hit the gym at the office. The price is right (free) and it's stupid not to take advantage of it.

David Delamare: My friend WI has made it public, so I wanted to make a note of the passing of her incredibly gifted husband, artist/musician/writer David Delamare. Wendy, David and I have been acquaintances for years, but we'd only begun to really get to know each other in the last two years or so. I was one of the proofer/editors on their Alice in Wonderland project, something I was delighted to be a part of. When I learned of his death about a month ago, it was a shock because it was so completely unexpected. My prevailing feeling is one of disappointment because, as we'd been getting to know each other, I was discovering how much we had in common and how wonderful it would be to get David's perspective on things we both enjoyed. Wendy's mourning for David has in many ways been more of a celebration of his life, and so I am following suit, remembering our brief friendship and trying to pursue my own arts in whatever way I can to honor him.
scarlettina: (All my own stunts)
Back to work
Went back to work yesterday via telecommute. I had three weeks of email to catch up on. It's hard to read three weeks of email and not be able to do anything about what's already happened. I wanted to butt into every thread and yell, "No! That's wrong!" But not having been there, things went on without me as one would expect. I don't have to solve every problem or make everyone do things the way I would. But being a slight control freak, it's hard to sit back and do nothing. And my energy gave out at both 11:30 AM and 4 PM. I know what to expect today.

Back to life
The challenge of having people who aren't me cleaning my house has been that I'm discovering things done differently than I would have done them, things stored where they oughtn't have been stored, things opened and assumptions made that were incorrect, and trying to find ways to remedy those situations. I hugely appreciate all the work done on my behalf while I was ill. It was mitzvah on top of mitzvah. But I am a creature of habits and methods and practices, and when those are disrupted or diverted, I get angsty. So I'm trying to slowly deal with all of that.

Hospital resolutions
Toward the end of my stay in the hospital, I made some resolutions:
1. To get a new mattress and box springs. Life is too short to sleep in a bed you're not 100% comfortable in. My current mattress and box spring are probably about 10 years old, so it's time.
2. To get air purifiers into the house. I need two. Those things are expensive! I bought one this past weekend. I haven't set it up yet, because I need to figure out location and power sources. But it will be done, and it will be helpful.
3. To reorganize my main floor. It needs it. There's a whole corner of the room that doesn't work, and that disfunction has been exacerbated by the challenge of having people who aren't me cleaning and organizing the place. I need boxes and shopping time and time to cull and curate the books and other stuff in that corner.
4. To enjoy my balcony more. I've been doing that, between sitting in the shade on the balcony on hot days, and planting and repotting plants. I'm also enjoying watching my strawberries get red and ripe. I've been keeping an eye out for squirrels and Stellar's jays to make sure I get to the fruit before they do. Living with two little predators who love the balcony certainly helps as well.
5. To get a housekeeper to come in. I have one referral and one avenue I need to explore. Haven't done anything about this yet, but once other things are organized and in place, I will.

My weight
All pretense of trying to deal with my weight has gone out the window. I can't even think about it right now.

My emotional life
Sunday night was hard for reasons I won't get into here. I'm still dealing with the fallout. I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm resentful. I'm frustrated. I'm resigned--because there's nothing I can do about the situation that provoked the incident in question. It just is what it is. But I'm upset with people who felt they should get involved in something that wasn't their business. And in the end I just feel empty. I wanted to be creative last night, but nothing I tried felt like it had a point: beading, drawing, writing. Even coloring felt stupid and pointless. I went to bed and read for a while and then fell asleep. I'm glad I'm going to have company tonight. This bashing around trying to make something out of nothing by myself is destructive.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Just finished reading our own [livejournal.com profile] jimhines's (Jim C. Hines) Unbound and enjoyed it quite a bit.* I really like his Magic Ex Libris series, with its book magic and its librarian hero, Isaac (who looks incredibly hot on this volume's cover--guy's been doing upper body work at the gym, I see). They're fun, fast reads, peppered with history and humor. They're thoughtful and clever. I like all of the protagonists, and I also like the matter-of-fact portrayal of a working polyamorous relationship. Looking forward to the fourth and final volume in the series, Revisionary, which was just published in hardcover. And now, I'm on to Stephen King's 11/22/63. I'm late, I know, but I figure better now than after the TV series premieres.

2) I want, very much, to love my day job and I just don't. Doesn't help that it's the slow time of the year and there's just not much for me to do. I will occasionally propose a project and be told that there's no budget or that it's not the direction we're going in, or that it needs to wait until another group's plans are solidified. There's no question that it's a way to pay for my roof and cat kibble and all that. But every day I find myself less motivated and less interested in going to the office. Even working with people I genuinely like, I just . . . my heart's just not in it much anymore. And I don't know what other direction to turn in to change things up.

3) Plans for travel continue apace. It's going to be a busy year. Next week I'm off to the rainforest for Patrick Swenson's Rainforest Writers Village retreat. Next month I'll be at Norwescon (first time in years I haven't been on programming and I find myself remarkably OK with that). In April, I'm off to San Francisco for a trip with family. And it looks like, in July, EB and I are off to Ireland. I'm reading and learning and trying to prep. I'm hoping plans will pick up after EB and I are both back from the retreat.

4) Lately, I just want to hibernate, hibernate, hibernate. It could have to do with my weight gain. It could have to do with my depression. Even medicated, I struggle sometimes. I need to find that therapist I've been trying to find for three months. After two false starts, I'm weary and wary, I admit.

5) My one solace right now is the crafting. I've been working on a modified version of a woven beaded necklace that I've made a number of times before. It's painstaking, meticulous work, and I exhausted myself the other night figuring out how to create the effect I wanted, but in a really good way. Had Sophie not insisted on cuddle time, I would have continued last night. So there's that.


* Every now and then, I'll refer to an author as "our own." This generally means they're part of the LiveJournal community. But it also means that I'm pleased and proud to be associated with them in this, the most tenuous of connections, even if I've never met them in person. In these latter days, with so few of us still here, we are--in my mind, anyway--a special group. We get to know each other in ways we never would on something like Facebook. It's awesome.
scarlettina: (Rainy Day)
1) Here in Seattle this morning, it is, in fact, raining like the Biblical flood is coming. Here's the thing: Seattle rain isn't usually torrential. Usually, it's mist or drizzle that just lasts and lasts. Actual, umbrella-requiring rain happens rarely here. Our volume comes from duration, not saturation. So to wake up to the sound of hard rain on the roof (and the balcony, and the pavement in the courtyard) is unusual. I am not looking forward to braving the storm to get to work.

2) Zeke has been super-needy lately. I have to play with him all the time. I wake up to him snuggling and kneading me, which then requires petting and scritching until he settles down to sleep. It's made it hard to give cuddle- and playtime to Sophie. I dislike his monopolizing my time. He's gotten very possessive and I have no idea why or what's going on. I want some time with my girl and need to figure out a way to get it.

3) Next week is the final measure for the bathroom renovation. It means that work will start within 2-3 weeks. I'm excited about this; it's been a long time coming and when it's done, I'll have a lovely new bathroom--with real tile and everything. Right now, that bathroom has linoleum and one of those one-piece shower-stall insets. And the shower surround is safety glass, with visible wire running through the panes. It's not ugly per se, but no one could call it pretty. It will be more attractive when it's done, and far more usable overall, I think.

4) I am reading Marie Brennan's Voyage of the Basilisk, the third volume in her Memoirs of Lady Trent series, and enjoying it quite a bit. I like her dragonologist and her rich world descriptions. It's a fast read and an engaging one.

5) Passages: The news of editor David Hartwell's death has spread like wildfire through the science fiction and fantasy community. Though I didn't know him well, and had mixed feelings about our few encounters, there's no question he was a major influence in the field and leaves behind him a legacy of novelists and editors whose careers were made or changed as a result of his work. Respect.
scarlettina: (Five)
[livejournal.com profile] varina8 asked me five questions. The answers are below. If you would like five questions, let me know in comments. If you have comments about my answers, let me know in comments. In general, commenting is encouraged all around.

1) You’re snuggled under the covers and the radio alarm goes off, what song is playing?
"Sleep All Day" by Jason Mraz. Why? Because, mainly, this year, it seems like I want very much to be hibernating. Which is what I may do over the Christmas weekend. When I'm not attending gatherings, that is. (Funny, reading the lyrics, I realize this song is bleaker than its happy-go-lucky melody and performance would suggest. I'm going to stick with it, though, because what has always stuck out about it to me was that happy-go-lucky chorus and it's appropriate right now.)

2) If you were given $35 to go to the grocery and buy whatever ingredients strike your fancy, what would you make?
Lasagna. Comfort food. Mine's pretty good. Those ingredients are inexpensive enough that it'd leave me money for a not-half-bad bottle of red.

3) Knowing that you’ve traveled extensively, which destination is highest on your wish list and why?
My wish list. Hm. I have to pick just one? Lately I've been obsessing about Bucharest, where my paternal grandmother was born. But I'd like to see more of the ancient world, which has interested me since childhood--Greece, Italy. Someday, Macchu Pichu, Angkor Wat. I'd love to go back to France because there's so much history there and because I'd like the opportunity to learn and speak more French than I have. I'd like to see Morocco for the architecture and culture. Yeah, picking just one? Impossible.

4) Do you have a favorite Chanukah book for children?
"The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming" by Lemony Snicket

5) If you could take a whole year off work with no penalties to learn something new, what would it be?
Something new. Hm. Sculpture, maybe. I've been thinking that I need to get out of my intellect for a while and into my visual life more lately. Sailing might be a thing. It involves physical activity and travel, both of which appeal. Making movies. Or maybe--diving into my intellectual life even more--rabbinical study, not so much because I'm so very religious (I'm not), but because the discipline and the tradition of challenging and debating ideas appeals so much to me. Which makes me think about studying law and civics. What? You thought this was going to be a simple answer? Have you met me? :-)
scarlettina: (Daffy frustration)
1) I've slept deeply the last two nights, but I've had disturbing, unhappy dreams. I don't want this trend to continue. I usually fall asleep quickly and deeply and sleep well, but this dream trend is harshing my mellow something fierce. Also, as much as I sleep, I don't feel rested and content.

2) I'm having trouble getting my bedroom in order--and I'm actually making an effort! Usually I don't and it's a cluttered mess. It looks like a 15-year-old lives in there. I'm trying to make it look like an adult bedroom and I find myself resisting the effort. Still trying to figure out what that's about and ways to solve the problem.

3) It's dark, dark, dark. Yes, I'm using my happy light, but that doesn't stop the dark, dark, dark afternoons and the dreadful, persistent overcast.

4) I need to improve my home technology set up. It's just not optimal in so many ways.

5) Work kvetch: Don't tell me I'm all empowered to do stuff, and then tell me exactly how I'm supposed to execute on a project. That's not empowerment. It's irritating and frustrating. Maybe I need to keep doing informational interviews around the company.

Thankful Thursday

Thu, Dec. 18th, 2014 06:41 am
scarlettina: (Five)
Seems like right now, a thankful Thursday post wouldn't come amiss.

1) I'm thankful for my health. Yes, I'm unhappy about my weight. Yes, I'm unhappy about this damned chronic cough, which nothing seems to assuage. And yes, last night I got home and slept for an hour because I didn't feel very well, and then didn't actually fall asleep until nearly midnight. But in the grand scheme of things, I'm healthy, functional, present and available for all adventures foreign and domestic, and it's recently been reinforced to me how fortunate I am in this regard.

2) I am thankful for reasonable and supportive coworkers. My boss and grandboss are both smart, kind people. My peers are funny, geeky, and impressively capable. That's huge.

3) I am grateful for my brother and sister-in-law, who love me and get me. How fortunate am I to have such a family?

4) I am thankful for English Breakfast tea, my daily sipper of choice. The English understand: sometimes a cuppa is exactly what's needed.

5) I am grateful for my ratty old bathrobe, which is too big for me by at least two sizes, but keeps me warm in the morning and is a daily comfort.
scarlettina: (Snowflake 2)
1) Vague-booking about social drama: The phrase "I thought this was a safe space" is often--not always, but often--deployed as a guilt trip when someone says something or does something inappropriate and is called on it. That shit just makes me crazy. And it makes me crazier when it's used by someone whom I thought was either more straightforward or less manipulative than their use of the phrase indicates they really are.

2) Weather: The entire rest of the country is being challenging by extreme weather. In Seattle we've got sub-freezing temperatures, which is pretty extreme for this part of the nation, but it's been dry and clear. The fact is we're getting off pretty easy compared to, for example, New York, Pennsylvania, and so on. This doesn't lessen the fact that it's freaking cold and I'm wearing more layers than I would prefer.

3) Cat-sitting: My cat-sitter has sent out a card announcing that she's retiring at the end of June. I knew it would come--she's an older woman--but I'm really sad. She's been a fixture of my time in Seattle, and though our relationship has mostly consisted of phone calls, I'll miss her. I've contacted her about two more kitty visits before she retires, and I've put into motion the obtaining of what I hope will be an appropriate farewell gift for her.

4) Making things: I recently picked up a knitting loom and am nearly done with my first scarf, a stretch of brown and pink wool that I'm looking forward to wearing. I don't know whether or not I'll keep up with this, but it's been a fun project, and I expect to finish it this weekend. We'll see what happens from here.

5) Foolscap: The convention was last weekend. It marks a year since my last car accident and the start of my experiment in carless living. We know how the experiment turned out. It was a fun weekend, but the convention came up so quickly, with so little fanfare from the concom, that it was an unexpected occupation of my time and I'm behind on a number of projects as a result. This weekend, also crazy busy--but at least planned busy-ness, will be partly spent catching up. But I'm going to be behind in stuff for a while yet.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) I have a long list of books about which I want to post capsule reviews. Suspect this won't happen until the long weekend.

2) How can Chanukah be starting tomorrow night? It's not even December yet! On the upside, I got my brother's holiday gifts out the door early enough to be there for him as the days tick by.

3) The last two mornings, the fog locally has been so thick that visibility has been less than a block. As I look out the balcony door, I can see as far as the cabin behind a house two doors down. Beyond that, the fog casts a white blanket over the neighborhood so thick that Cthulu might sleep just beyond its edge and I'd never know.

4) I yearn for the long weekend. With our annual Thanksgiving feast in Kent on Thursday, some crafty plans for Friday and no plans at all for Saturday and Sunday, I want very much to Be There already.

5) I have this seed of an idea for a post on belief in God, spurred partly by [livejournal.com profile] jaylake's musings on the difference between faith and science, and the questions each answers, but I have to get dressed so I can catch the 8:30ish bus. Oh dear, how the time flies!
scarlettina: (TV Watcher)
1) Tomorrow I depart for a company retreat at the McMenamin's Edgefield Resort outside of Portland. It's an overnight trip, and the resort looks cool and interesting, with art all over the place. [livejournal.com profile] jaylake was there recently with [livejournal.com profile] radiantlisa and their pictures of the place make it look just lovely. I'll be carpooling down and back with three other coworkers whom I quite like and I expect it will be fun. It'll be work, but it'll be work in good company.

2) Last night's episode of Castle was kind of a nergasm. In a nod to Terminator 2, we've got a double-murder, a suspect who claims to be a time traveler from the future (Joshua Gomez of "Chuck"), a physicist targeted as the Cause of It All (Tim Russ of "Star Trek" in a lovely copycat role of Joe Morton's engineer Miles Dyson from T2), a big, stoic, Germanic type hunting the innocents. And a nice, Twilight Zone-type twist at the end. If you get a chance, catch it online. The ep is called "Time Will Tell."

3) This weekend, in preparation for the coming Thor movie, I rented and watched "Captain America" and "Thor" to fill the holes in my Avengers education. Neither of these movies had any right to be as good or as much fun as they were, but I enjoyed the hell out of them both! I find myself thinking more about Thor than Cap, I think, because of how it ended--with a sort of romantic moment that wasn't at all saccharine. But also because the film made the patently absurd remarkably believable. I suspended my disbelief and didn't second-guess it for a moment. I had a moment or two of hesitation with Captain America, but only a moment or two. Lots of fun. And last night I watched "The Avengers"--my third time seeing it. I was impressed once again with how the director treats Steve Rogers, shooting him and lighting him like he's still a 1940s-era hero, always in sepia browns with brilliant yellow lighting (see especially the boxing scene)--except when he's in uniform. I remain convinced that both the actors and the script have created a canon for Stark/Banner. They're adorable together. It's rare you see two men so blatantly flirt with each other the way they do--you can see their brains sparking off each other--and I love it that the Hulk roars Stark back to consciousness (like waking him with a kiss) and that they drive off together. I loves me my dark-haired, dark-eyed geniuses (even one with breathtaking anger management issues and even if the other is kind of an asshole). ::grin:: Prime, tasty work by RDJ and Mark Ruffalo.

4) Last night I talked with BB, a friend I've known since childhood. I continue to be struck by how different our lives are. I'm not surprised--we were never on the same path by any means. The things we have in common are elemental--where we grew up and the culture there--but other than that, we couldn't be more different. She is a sweet, good-hearted woman and just having a really rough time this year, with family illness all around. I've tendered yet another in a long list of invitations for her to take a break and come visit me, even if it's just for a weekend. As usual, she said it sounded wonderful but will probably never accept, which I regret.

5) My thoughts around the above-noted invitation got me to thinking about getting out of one's comfort zone. It's a challenge for me to do that, but I push myself to do so because I think it's important for me to stretch myself--and it's resulted in amazing travel and wonderful personal experiments. Comfort zones are by definition comfortable, though, and some people--many people--just don't see the need to break out of them. I hope that I never stop pushing myself, even if it's just in tiny increments. When we stop learning, we die.

Bonus! 6) I'm thinking about 2014 and the possibility of international travel again. Certainly there's the WorldCon in London as one option, and [livejournal.com profile] fjm has already planted a seed about it that I continue to consider. On the other hand I've been to London twice and there are other places in the world that I want to see (though I surely haven't seen nearly enough of London--can one ever?): Morocco, for one. That idea is really taking root. But I also find myself thinking about Tanzania and the Great Migration (though safari trips are insanely expensive). It's funny. There are all these places in Europe I want to see, and yet when my mind turns to travel for real, I always find myself thinking farther afield. Apparently there's something about Africa generally that I find compelling. Still haven't figured this out yet, though. More thought to come.

Editor's note: When I post a Five Things list, often each entry in the list includes a bolded phrase. Usually, this bolded phrase is kind of the subject of the bullet point. I figure it makes it easier to parse the post and see what might be interesting to read about. I don't know if this is true. But what I do know is that people seem more inclined to respond to my Five Things posts when subjects are bolded than not, which I find a fascinating phenomenon from a usability standpoint.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Autumn has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. It's 7 AM-ish and it's dark outside. Well, more like twilight. It's wet and cold. It's definitely autumn and nearly October. I'm actually rather delighted about the start of the haunting season.

2) I have minimal plans for this weekend. Dinner out tonight; writing and day-job stuff tomorrow. Everything else is negotiable, but my negotiating position will be a tough one for anyone who wants my time, as I am feeling stingy. I want this weekend for myself, to do things that need to be done or that I want to do, like the crafting and creating I mentioned in my last post.

3) I need to gin up some ambition. I have gotten out of the habit of wanting things overmuch. I'm not talking about wanting a book or a skirt or the aforementioned crafting time. I'm talking about ambitions for myself, my writing, the idea of my making a difference in the world, of doing something really special with my life. Maybe it's age. Maybe it's being told "No" over and over again. It feels . . . bad. I need to learn how to Make Things Happen again, learn how to be OK with being determined and pushing through.

4) Still looking for a car. I have learned that the model of car I was looking at is notorious for electrical problems and that it's known for just being badly engineered. Oh well. Back to the drawing board. At least I hadn't purchased the one I was looking at. The search goes on. I don't want to buy something new; I don't want to go into that kind of debt when I'm finally beating down the debt I have. If I look at newer used cars, I may still go into debt, though not quite as much. Must strategize.

4) Still haven't made any decisive moves on the house renovation. I really should do that.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) I am in the process of cleaning up my bedroom. It's fascinating what such archeology can turn up, especially given my epic levels of clutter tolerance. Here's one thing I've realized over the last couple of days: Leaving things in piles for stupid-long periods of time enables me to detach from them emotionally, making them easier to dispose of when I finally dismantle the piles. I don't think I ever consciously understood this before. It's not a technique I recommend but apparently it's one way I deal with separation anxiety from clothes and other emotionally-freighted inanimate objects. Back in the dark corners of my head, I fear this is the first step toward my becoming a hoarder.

2) Cats are creatures of habit. I have always known this; it's a thing you come to understand after living with them for decades. But Zeke takes it to a whole new level. Mornings are models of clockwork efficiency:
--Wake up human at 5 AM on the dot by confirming that gravity still functions. Method: Knock the glasses case off the night table.
--Meow for breakfast.
--Eat breakfast and then attempt to eat other cat's breakfast.
--Meow for playtime. Ensure that gravity still functions by attempting to knock toy dalek off shelf, thereby rousing human from breakfast table.
--Playtime: chase feather toy. Fetch feather toy.
--Meow for attention.
--Settle into human's lap, knead arm, soak sleeve with drool.
--Retreat to quiet corner and chill.
This pattern occurs every morning. Every morning. There is no breaking it. This is why it's hard for me to write in the mornings. Zeke must be attended to. If I put him in the carrier, it's 20 minutes of piteous meowing, which also interferes with writing.

3) Sophie attempted to rip open my arm yesterday. Actually, she succeeded in a pretty spectacular fashion. As I removed her from the kitchen table, she inflicted upon my wrist a three-inch gouge that, 24 hours later, is still sore, not to mention the lighter, 5-inch scratch further up that same arm. I look like something out of Frankenstein's laboratory. It will most certainly leave a mark.

4) Winter is coming. My bedding is in transitional mode. Yesterday I removed and washed the summer bedding and replaced it with summer sheets and a winter quilt. It's not quite yet cold enough for me to put on the jersey sheets yet, though I suspect the time is coming. Must start transitioning the closet as well.

5) I'm starting a work-out routine again. I'll probably write more about this at some point soon, but there's a gym in the basement of my office building equipped with not just the usual gym accoutrements but a full-time manager and trainers. I have an appointment with a trainer today. I'm hoping to kickstart my weight loss again. Should be interesting.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Non-binding Reading Poll: The results are in. In a tie for first place was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Ha'penny. The latter won my attention and I started it on the bus this morning. Quite enjoying it so far.

2) Entertainments: In the last couple of weeks, I've taken a tour of the historic Paramount Theater here in Seattle (fascinating and moving), visited EMP for the "Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic" exhibit which I thoroughly enjoyed, had a fabulous weekend on the Olympic Peninsula in Quilcene and Port Townsend, and took a marvelous tour of historic homes in Portland. It's been a good, busy time.

3) Uncommitted: Monday, Tuesday, and tonight are the first uncommitted evenings I've had in weeks, and it feels like an absolutely luxury. I have an appointment tomorrow evening (hair cut and color), and then the weekend is pretty loose--and I'm working hard to have it remain so. I need the time, mostly to decompress and find myself a little bit again.

4) Sophie bit my nose: I was sitting here on the computer and I started whistling. Both Sophie and Zeke started meowing. Sophie jumped up and settled on my lap. I continued to whistle ("I Feel Pretty," to be specific). Then she got up, perched her front paws on my chest, opened her mouth, tilted her head and chomped the bridge of my nose! She didn't break the skin, but she bit hard enough for me to get the message that she didn't like my whistling. Which makes me sad. I love to whistle. Ow. Maybe she just doesn't like Leonard Bernstein but I am not inclined to experiment to find out, if a chomp on the nose is the consequence. Ow.

5) Gardening: I have harvested several salads from the lettuce I planted on the balcony earlier this summer, and it's been delightful to have fresh salad right at my fingertips. I'm looking forward to the carrots getting large enough to pick. I hope they succeed. I suspect they will be kind of small, given my balcony, its exposure and so on, but it was worth a try. We Shall See.

Post-script: The unrepentant beast:
The Unrepentant Beast
scarlettina: (Five)
1) My birthday is tomorrow and I still don't know what I want to do with the day. On the one hand, I feel like the best gift I could give myself is a trip to University Village for a haircut and a meeting at the Genius Bar to deal with my borked iPhoto (assuming appointments are available for each so close to the date). In other words, the best gift I could give myself is to feel better about how I look and to get a daily-use tool back in working order. On the other hand, I feel like I ought to go have an adventure somewhere, whether it's a trip to Woodland Park Zoo to see the new jaguar cubs or to sit on the beach and sun myself at Golden Gardens or maybe rent a car for the day and take a day trip: Centralia for antiquing (not that I need anything, mind) or somewhere I can take pictures (maybe the Skagit Wildlife Area. Treats, I suppose, are more the order of the day than practicality. Must make a decision soon, though. Last year my birthday was a perfect, perfect day, full of celebration; this year I want to be fairly low-key--just simple.

2) Last night, I went with [livejournal.com profile] varina8 to see Fill the Void at SIFF, an Israeli film made by a Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox Jewish) woman director with a cast and crew of both Haredi and secular members. It's a practically unprecedented project and a very, very good film. There was a lot of press about it when it first came out, which is how I first learned about it. (Excellent interview with the director and with the star of the film.) It tells the story of a young woman, Shira, who's about to get married when her older, married sister dies in childbirth. When her brother-in-law tells the family he's going to take the new baby and move to Belgium to marry again, Shira's mother, unable to deal with this second loss, proposes he stay and marry Shira instead. Shira must choose what she's going to do. The film is sensitive and beautifully shot, with lovely, understated performances. It's won all sorts of awards and, I think, deserved the recognition. Recommended.

3) Sophie's had digestive issues lately. An impromptu visit to the vet on Saturday resulted in getting some medication for her. I know she's OK; her behavior is otherwise normal and healthy. But she's clearly had digestive distress. I'm glad I could take the time to get her looked at.

4) Zeke broke the malachite lion figurine that I brought home from Kenya. I'll be getting out the epoxy to fix it. I have something else I have to fix that way, too.

5) It's busy, stressful days at work right now. I'm trying so hard to be focused and productive, but there's stuff all around that's distracting, stressful, personalities at the office who intend to help but just make things more fraught. It's the way of business, I know. Generally speaking, I'm liking the work and the people. It's just a tough time there right now. I'm going away for the weekend in two weeks; I can't wait for the break.
scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
1) Norwescon was great. As usual I spent time with a lot of awesome people, old friends and new, and didn't have nearly enough time with any of them. I did two panels, three critiques, and finished a short story that I've been bashing away at for a month (on which more in another LJ post, I suspect). I attended two panels, the Fannish Fetish Fashion Show, and the Molly Lewis/Tony & Vixy concert. I had some good meals and great conversations. I am crispy, but I'm still here.

2) Congratulations to all the Hugo nominees, especially [livejournal.com profile] kijjohnson, [livejournal.com profile] jaylake, [livejournal.com profile] maryrobinette, and [livejournal.com profile] grrm. And congratulations all the editors nominated for awards, as well as all the editors whose authors are nominated, because every time an editor is acknowledged for his or her work, the importance of that work is emphasized, and in this new self-publishing world of "crowd-sourced editing," quality that results from the application of training and experience cannot be over-praised.

3) At some point this week, I want to write a post about invisibility vs visibility as it relates to weight. My mileage will almost certainly vary from others', but I had some fascinating experiences this weekend that I really want to unpack and talk about.

4) I came home with three new books, two of which I got at the Baen party as freebies, one of which was the new edition of [livejournal.com profile] papersky's novel Farthing, which I've never read and very much want to. I also came home with a hard copy of a magazine--Mike Resnick's new invitation-only, bimonthly magazine Galaxy's Edge. (Hardcopy. How old-skool of me.) The line-up in the premier edition is impressive and I look forward to reading it.

5) It is April 1. With the exception of this post (because I suspect I emptied my credibility store with my stunt several years back), I strongly urge skepticism toward anything you read online today.

Post-script item: I missed the premieres of Doctor Who and Game of Thrones. I pout in poutiness about it.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) The Bus and Books: With the new commute--a bus and the streetcar into downtown Seattle, and then a bus home--I'm getting a lot of reading done. And my reading pattern is becoming more what it was like back in New York, which is to say that I have a commuting book and a bedtime book--back to reading two at a time. I feel more like myself. My last two books were Redshirts by John Scalzi and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. My current two books are Murder in the Marais by Cara Black and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. (Yes, I'm preparing for the release of "Catching Fire" in the theaters this summer. We're all allowed our lighter fare.) In the background, I'm still reading, a couple of pages at a time, Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It's so dense and delicious that I need to parse it out, which means it's going to take forever to read. I don't care. John Adams took forever to read (except when I'd devote entire Saturdays to making substantial headway) and I enjoyed every moment of it. Same thing with the Goodwin. I read slower than I used to, probably because I'm using bifocals now, so there's no insanely impressive reading list as I've seen on some of my friends' LJs--but a bit at a time is still progress and pleasure. Good enough for me.

2) The New Job: The new job is going pretty well. I'm getting along well with my coworkers and I'm beginning to receive more challenging assignments and more responsibility. I'm having to learn more quickly and, also, having to be patient when someone assumes I don't know something that I know very well. It's a balancing act. But it's good. I wish I enjoyed the commute more. Even with the reading, I'm not entirely happy with walking to the bus in the pouring-down rain. Must take advantage of telecommuting a little more.

3) Zeke: Getting bigger; almost as big as Sophie, but still lean and rangy in an adolescent-cat sort of way. Plays fetch at his own instigation. Hasn't broken anything lately. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.

4) Good company on Pi Day: Had a wonderful sushi dinner last night with [livejournal.com profile] markferrari and [livejournal.com profile] calendula_witch at Chiso in downtown Fremont. Lovely atmosphere, and with only one exception, everything was superior, from drinks to dessert. (And the exception wasn't dramatic; it was still delicious, just not up to the standards of the rest of the meal.) Highly recommended. Of course, it was Pi Day, and so we walked across the street to a tiny bakery called "Pie" where we hoped to observe the day's required ritual. Alas, a sign in the window said, "Due to the craziness of Pi Day, Pie will be closing early, at 8 PM." And sure enough, the doors were locked. We went away heartsore and yearning for sweetness. Mark consoled himself with ice cream. Shannon and I suffered in silence. ::sigh:: But dinner itself? Delicious. And the company was quite, quite fine.

5) Another carless weekend: And so begins a second carless weekend. I'm actually looking forward to it. Learning to be resourceful about my transportation is good for me, I think, and I'm getting a lot of walking done. I'm still waiting for my ZipCar card to arrive, and now more so than ever since I need to take Sophie to the vet. But like all things in life, it will come with time. One way or another.
scarlettina: (Madness)
1) [livejournal.com profile] twilight2000 held her annual white elephant gift exchange last night. The company, as usual, was quite fine. The gift exchange was, as usual, entertaining. I came home with the lemon of the evening, a doll so ugly that it will not pass "Go" or collect $200; it will go directly to Goodwill. But I'm the only person I know who can go to a White Elephant party with a $5 salsa bowl and come home with a Wilton Armetale serving platter, as I also did last night. One year I came home with a Lenox dish. Another year, a collectible teddy bear. And another a pair of gloves that I wear to this day. One person's white elephant is another person's gold.

2) An essay about The Big Bang Theory is making the rounds on social media, specifically about what the show is and isn't when it comes to nerds and nerd culture. I have a lot of thoughts about this, which will comprise another post, possibly later today, but I wanted to post the link here now so that if people are curious, they'll have context for when I go off about it. :-)

3) Zeke is growing like crazy. He is now, to use [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine's description, a small cat rather than a large kitten, and he definitely has a mind of his own. I've resorted to using a squirt bottle to keep him off of counters and the craft table. I kind of hate doing it, but it's apparently the only effective deterrent. The nearly imperceptible stripes I noticed on him as a kitten are showing a teeny bit more as he grows, but he still looks like a completely dark-gray cat. Must post more recent pics of him.

4) I have an enormous To-Do list and, as I look around the house, I find myself despairing a bit. While I know that creativity, whether it's writing, jewelry-making or photography, is more important than housekeeping, sometimes housekeeping helps keep one sane and provides comfortable space for the creativity. I get myself into such a prioritizing spiral about this that often nothing gets done. I need to fix that, most probably with incremental, alternating task completion; I suspect it's the only way to make any progress toward any goal right now.

5) I spend far too much time on social media. I need to unplug for a couple of days and just get stuff done. Must schedule this. Hm.....

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