scarlettina: (Hot!)
Bathroom renovation
Stage one of the renovation is officially finished. The door is hung. Extra tiles have been returned. The clean-up crew has come and gone. Last Friday was the first day in about two weeks, maybe a little more, that I didn't have drop clothes across every floor and strangers tromping in and out every day. I didn't have to get up at 5 AM to be washed and dressed when the project manager arrived at 7 AM on the dot. It felt like a luxury, like a special event. I basked in my privacy. And I basked in the new bathroom: tiled and grouted and pretty as could be. Stage 2 will be glass installation. Stage 3 will be painting, though, in truth, I'm going to try to do some of the painting before the glass installation because some of it will be easier to do before the glass is installed. My blue-and-white bathroom continues to morph into being. Yay!

HydraCap
I have exactly one friend who isn't upset or outraged about the most recent turn in the Captain America story from Marvel. He is a longtime comics author and fan, and he is impressed and curious. I don't know if there's anything to be read into this other than as someone who's sat on the other side of the desk, his experience informs his perspective in a way that it doesn't for a lot of other people. For myself, knowing Cap mainly from the movies, from what I've read about the who created the character and how he developed, and what comics-reading friends have told me, I loved the character and am unhappy with the latest developments in the print version. But since there's nothing I can do it about, I won't fret about it. I'm just deeply disappointed that this most principled, honorable character has been so completely subverted.

Heat and cats
Here in Seattle, it is ridiculously hot and dry for early June. The cats have been shedding for a while, but for the last three days it's been like a fluff storm around here. Brushing has been regular. I'm lucky they both love to be brushed so much. And they have been remarkably cuddly with the heat. It is a reminder that many domestic cats descend from desert creatures.

SIFF 2016
I am behind in posting my film reviews. I will post more after I complete this entry.
scarlettina: (Creating yourself)
Food
So yesterday was a better food day. I ate a variety of things in a variety of colors. I watched the nutrition counter in MyFitnessPal carefully so that I didn't overdo it on the carbs as I had the day before and stayed relatively balanced. I made a point to get out of the house and take a walk along the canal, which was lovely and restorative. I need to do that more often. And I stayed hydrated. All in all, I felt better and I slept well last night. We do these things one day at a time.

The house
Stage one of the bathroom renovation pretty much ended yesterday. It really is a different room. That was the point, of course, but the contrast is striking. As is to be expected, now I want to do the rest of the house right this minute! My finances, however, need some time to recuperate. But with the need to get the glass installed and the upcoming trip to Ireland, recovery is going to take some time. But I digress. Yesterday, the project manager replaced the toilet, installed the new heater in the wall, and showed me how the clasps in the medicine cabinet door hinges work so I can remove them if necessary. The tile guy came and finished the tiling in the shower shampoo cubby; it looks beautiful.

But when they both left, two things were apparent: they had forgotten to rehang the door to the room and they had left me with no extra tiles for repair should it become necessary. Now, I knew for a fact that there was at least a sheet of the fancy blue Tantrum sliver tiles left, as well as a number of the floor tiles. So there were phone calls and negotiations and explanations. Suffice it to say that the project manager will be back today to clean the room and deliver the leftover tiles (which, it turns out, I hadn't paid for, but which they were going to just trash--which makes no sense to me when they might be useful in the future).

On to stage two of the project: I need to arrange for the glass surround in the shower to be installed and to get new mirrors for the medicine cabinets. Stage 3 will be me prepping and painting the room. I've already picked up some paint chips and am thinking hard about how much white and how much blue the room will have. We shall see.

Beading
Last night, in the wake of all this, I had a class at Fusion Beads in a technique I've heard a lot about but never tried: right-angle weave. It's actually very simple and makes a lot of sense. It also produces a beautiful effect. Lastly, it lays the foundation for other techniques I want to learn. It was nice to be somewhere where I could wholly focus on producing art. The last time I did that was at Rainforest which, while ideally about wholly focusing on art, is always an alloyed experience. Last night was perfect, and I'll end up with a beautiful product, too.
scarlettina: (Fork You Back)
Me and food
I've been doing a lot of self medicating with food lately. I realized yesterday that most of what I ate had been bread of some kind. I didn't leave the house. I napped for three hours after work and then didn't fall properly asleep until past 1 AM. My body felt like stale pita. I was sluggish and unhappy. I had stopped tracking my food via MyFitnessPal and had just gotten really complacent. Yesterday was a low; last night was ridiculous. This morning, I got up, had a measured breakfast--cereal, soy milk, cantaloupe--and logged the meal. I have to work at home again today: the renovation is rapidly coming to the close of the first stage and I need to be here. I have promised myself that at lunchtime, I'm going to get out and take a walk in the sunshine.

And in only a related food note, I had exactly one strawberry on my balcony strawberry plant yesterday. One. I got up this morning, having planned to have it at breakfast, only to have discovered that some thief of a squirrel stole it. :: sigh :: How do you know when it's time to pick a strawberry? Maybe I just left it on there too long.

Renovation
The renovation work continues apace. Yesterday, the project manager reattached the linen closet door, newly refinished, and attached the medicine cabinet doors. He also mounted the new shower head and control. What remains at this point is the grouting of the bullnose along the floor, the tiling and grouting of the shower shampoo cubby and the replacement of the toilet. A last payment is due when the work is complete. And then I still have to get the glass people in to finish up installing the shower surround and the mirrors on the medicine cabinet doors. And I have to paint. I'm concerned about the glass people. They have not been impressive about keeping in touch. I dropped them email last night to get the estimate that they had promised to send me and didn't. Today I call them.
scarlettina: (Happy Sun)
The bathroom renovation started last week and we're, probably, about 3/4 finished! It's gone so quickly. We're not done yet; there are still some key items to be addressed. But the cabinets have been refaced and much of the tiling is done. Grouting still has to be done, the floor has to be replaced, the toilet and light fixture installed, and then all the glass has to be taken care of. And I'll be painting the room myself. But in the meanwhile, I thought it would be fun to post some pictures. These will go under a cut so as not to annoy anyone who doesn't care.

Pix under the cut--click to embiggen )

I will say this much: As much as I'm enjoying watching all this--and occasionally participating in a fairly benign way--it's far more stressful than I realized it would be having strangers in my house all day and living with all the attendant mess and clutter. The contractors are nice guys and they're getting good work done. But, boy, am I looking forward to having my place all to myself again!
scarlettina: (Sleepy)
The bathroom renovation started yesterday. The contractor is arriving every day at 7 AM. This means I have to be up, showered, dressed and ready to go when he arrives--which means getting up around 5:30 AM. This is about an hour earlier than I usually rise. I haven't been getting much sleep the last couple of nights mainly because I've been so wired about the reno that I'm just hopped up like I'm on caffeine. And work has been stressful due to a couple of high profile projects. Around 3 PM, I begin to fade. Tonight when I went to get my hair done, I fell asleep in the chair while my color was setting. I forgot to take my med this morning and didn't get to it until about noon. Now it's 9:35 PM and I feel all unfocused and weirdly distracted. I have so much going on the next few days, but all I want is a full night's sleep. I'm going to bed when I'm done with this post. I hope to G-d I can stay awake tomorrow.
scarlettina: (Just Keep Swimming!)
San Francisco trip: I had this idea I was going to finish blogging about the San Francisco trip. Events (and my own laziness) have conspired against me and I have not done so. I'm afraid that a lot of trip detail has been lost in the days intervening between today and my homecoming. I am disappointed with myself in this omission.

Food and me: I had a major binge on Saturday night. It was the first time in a long time that I actually felt completely out of control of my food and eating. While I have gained back much of the weight that I lost several years ago, this was the first time I felt like I was eating obsessively and automatically. I ended the evening by crying myself to sleep, this in the wake of watching the Nebula Awards livestream and wondering what the hell I'm doing with my life. I realized, as if from an objective distance several blocks away, in the midst of this bizarre episode, that I had missed taking my antidepressant for several days running. I was careful to take my medication yesterday and now this morning. I can't let that happen again, because when things go dark for me, things go dark and I go to dangerous places.

Movies and good company: In contrast, I had a perfectly lovely evening with SA last night. We had dinner at his place (pasta with homemade pesto and sauteed vegetables--he really is a good cook), and then we went to see April and the Extraordinary World which, if you haven't seen it, you ought to try. It's a beautiful animated alt-history steampunk adventure from France, completely charming, about a world where scientific advancement has stopped at the age of steam and about the Dangers of Science. In this sense it's old fashioned, but in the very best ways. Our heroine, April, is brave and plucky, diving in where angels fear to tread. Well worth your time for the beautiful visuals, the adventure and, yes, the talking cat.

Bathroom renovation: The bathroom reno starts on Tuesday. I spent a good portion of this weekend cleaning out the room, rearranging the adjacent room for a staging area, and trying not to be anxious about strangers coming and going in my place for the next few weeks. I'm not done with the work yet, but I'm mostly there. As much as I'm looking forward to this, I'm also feeling aversion to the tumult and disruption. I have a feeling that the next few weeks are going to be the least restful I've had in quite some time.

Mid-April update

Mon, Apr. 18th, 2016 07:26 am
scarlettina: (Just Keep Swimming!)
Time continues to fly. I think it's partly because our perception of time changes as we get older and partly because I've been keeping enormously busy. Yesterday, my body finally said, "Enough!" I spent the morning alternately sleeping and getting little things done (and Skyping with [livejournal.com profile] skidspoppe). I spent the afternoon being productive. I spent dinner with [livejournal.com profile] suricattus and later an hour or so Skyping with [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine--good visits, both.

Things in general can be summed up as follows:

Work: Someone at the office may be keeping tabs on my LJ. Why do I think this? Because within days of my last post, whence I complained about not feeling challenged, I was named product owner for the shopping experience on the website for 2017. (Of course, I mentioned in my annual self review that my biggest challenge at work was that my ambition and skill set outstripped my authority, my influence and my reach. That may have had something to do with it.) It's a big responsibility, and I suspect that it's a test run for work yet to come. I'm excited and scared and hoping that I can rock it like a rocking thing. We'll see.

Travel: My trip to San Francisco looms. I'm looking forward to seeing the family and to seeing local friends. I'm looking forward to sightseeing as well. My brother and sister-in-law travel a little differently than I do, so it will be interesting to see whether or not our styles mesh. But overriding it, I suspect, will just be getting to see them and my niece. Also, EB and I have purchased our tickets to fly to Ireland in July. Very excited about that. I've been reading a history of Ireland; I'm up to the early 1600s. That's a lot of warfare for such a small place! Next on the planning schedule is figuring out where we're going and staying. We've made up a wishlist of things to see and do; more to come when I get back from California.

Bathroom renovation: I've gotten the prep instructions from the contractor. The letter is calling for my clearing 200 square feet of space so they can stage the work. Also, to cover anything near the work area in plastic. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to do all that, but it seems clear that it will be necessary. I've got a weekend put aside specifically for this work, so I'll get it done, one way or another.

Ecumenism R us: I attended the baptism of MG's son on Saturday. I've never attended the actual service for such a thing before, only the after-party. But MG needed someone to be a photographer and I stepped up. Religious ritual in general interests me, always has, and getting a glimpse into Catholic practice was fascinating. There is some commonality with Jewish practice, but where there are differences, they are dramatic. It was lovely to see MG so happy and excited, and I was happy to be present. At the same time, there was a moment when I was distinctly uncomfortable. The reading from the Gospel was, well, pretty hostile to Jews. I was a guest; I didn't say anything about it. But clearly I was not the audience for this particular thing. And it was not in anyone's interest for me to rain on what was, for MG, clearly a special day. I took about 130 pictures, winnowed them down to the 30-or-so best of the bunch and shared them. The after-party was small but pleasant. And I learned a thing or two about Catholicism that I didn't know before. As long as I'm learning, I'm good.

I go into this week with a pretty clear schedule of Things That Must Be Done: dentist appointment, haircut, Pesach plans, and then a flight to parts south. It's going to be busy, but I'm hoping it's all going to be good. Fingers crossed!
scarlettina: (Angel)
I wonder this every time the months change: How did it get to be February, March, April? Simple answer: one day at a time.

And what have I been doing as the days fly by? Let's see:

Norwescon: I attended Norwescon as a fan this year, a novel experience. I got to attend panels I wasn't on, which almost never happens, and in each case brought its own rewards. I was especially taken with the panel on characters bearing witness to tragedy or bad things in general. Good discussion, invaluable food for thought for character building. I came home with two new pieces of art and a lovely, handthrown pot with Gallifreyan heiroglyphs on it for the renovated bathroom. I also got to do some figure drawing, which I haven't done in years. It felt good. Best treats of the weekend: getting to see [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine, in costume, rap-filk about his forthcoming novel (by way of a Hamilton filk) (but generally seeing DD is always good for me), seeing BK and meeting his wife KK, having excellent meals with friends. It's all about the people; it always is.

Work: The day job continues alternately interesting and frustrating. It helps that I like my coworkers. They're generally smart, capable people, and they're what make the frustration bearable. I'm trying to find ways to demonstrate the value I add, as well as leadership qualities and a strategic approach in the hopes that someone will figure out that I'm more than just a knowledgable pair of hands for building web pages. I've gotten to do some writing and editing lately, which has helped, and got to do some problem cracking as we deployed some new code earlier this week. There's got to be more, though.

Bathroom renovation: I finally have a start date for the bathroom renovation. It's not until next month, but it's finally scheduled. I can't wait.

State of me: Weirdly, I seem to be becoming an introvert, spending a lot of time by myself and missing all of my friends. I don't like it, not a bit. I have spoken to my doctor about adjusting my depression medication, because I find myself watching TV more and creating less (no writing, little jewelry making, little photography--it's bad). I can't even find it in me to make plans for movies or theater or anything. We've made a change but it has yet to kick in. We'll see. I'm trying to be more mindful about food and hydration, and trying to walk a bit more. I turn on my happy light when I remember to. The sun's slow return is definitely helping.

Midnight Special: I did manage to make one plan this week, which was to see this film at The Egyptian last night with [livejournal.com profile] oldmangrumpus. It's a quiet, understated, well-made movie about an extraordinary child and the efforts of his parents to get him back to where he belongs. The script is minimal, allowing actors to do what they do best, and they all bring it. Recommended.
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.

Foggy Friday

Fri, Oct. 23rd, 2015 08:14 am
scarlettina: (All my own stunts)
Bless me, LJ, for I have sinned--it's been 14 days since my last post, two weeks. How the heck did that happen?

Well, I'll tell you.

Work
October has been the busiest, most stressful month of my work year. At work, a bunch of federal regulations came down that we were unprepared for, so I'm spending a lot of time updating the company website to be sure we're in compliance. And every day I get asked, over and over again, will we be ready? Will you be done? And every time someone asks me, it adds stress that is not helpful. So I go to work, deal with the massive stress, come home and, basically, shut down. I binge-watch TV or I make some jewelry or play with the cats. Writing has been really challenging. I've been saying that I can't wait for November 1, which is the deadline I'm working toward, but it's become clear that the work is going to continue in this high-pressure fashion for a while yet.

My computer
My laptop, a Mac Book Pro, is at capacity. It's so full that I can't even open the finder without getting a message to shut down some applications because there's so little room for application operation that it freaks out at even the most basic functions. What am I writing on now? Sshhhh--my work computer. I need a new machine. This costs money. But here's the thing...

Costs
I am anticipatorially house poor. What that means is that I've got a bathroom renovation looming on the horizon that I have to pay for, and I hadn't planned on an extra 2.5K in computer costs. Plus there's some lingering overflow from my burn earlier this year. (Don't get me started. Trust me. I don't want to talk about it.) I have a bunch of travel I want to do next year and things are just getting very tight. So I'm trying to watch my pennies but, you know, life. So that's stress there.

Headspace
Besides the work stress, there's been some personal stress. And there's been depression, honest, real, clinical depression that's been going on longer than I care to admit, for which I am getting help. And it's made a difference. But it's a slow crawl back to functionality, much less cheerful, healthy, ambitious functionality. One step at a time. That's my mantra these days.

Writing
I've had one story--my Mary-Lincoln-and-the-automaton story--out on submission. Four rejections now, but mostly encouraging rejections. I may go back and do some revision before I send it out again. We'll see. I love that story, and I don't want to kill it with revision as I have other pieces I've loved. And I'm doing some exploratory writing on a thing about a cat herder and a dragon hunter. No idea where that's going, if it's going anywhere at all.

So that's the brief rundown. I still want to write about the maybe-crime to which I was a witness and my reactions to it. But I've got to get through this work time, and I've got to get through the needless business trip next week. And I've got to give myself enough breathing room to enjoy tonight's outing, which does promise to be fun.

So that's where I'm at right now. Not a great place but not a bad place. "One day at a time" is my motto these days. One day at a time.

PS--Also? I need new slippers. I had wonderful shearling slippers that kept my feet toasty warm and I wore them until they fell apart. I need to go get another pair. It's getting cooler here--so cool that the heat has come on without my turning up the thermostat--so it's time.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Bad sleep: The end of last week was challenging and emotionally exhausting. I had plans for the weekend that I very much wanted to execute on and so I pushed through, but my sleep was poor and Ezekiel didn't help.

2) Road trip and party: On Saturday, I caught a lift with MD and JF south to Portland for a party celebrating the near-year anniversaries of the marriages of MD and JF, DD and WI, and [livejournal.com profile] calendulawitch and [livejournal.com profile] markjferrari. The party was at WI's parents house, which is situated on a low rise above a river, with beautiful gardens and lots of forest around them. The ranch-style house was gorgeous. We had a delicious potluck dinner on a table decorated with centerpieces from Mark and Shannon's wedding last year. We made s'mores over the firepit. We all talked a lot. I don't think I had nearly enough alcohol. But the company was good, the food quite fine, and the party a reminder that life goes on.

3) Closing the circle: I stayed the night at [livejournal.com profile] kateyule and [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine's place. We got up early to have breakfast with [livejournal.com profile] radiantlisa. I haven't seen her in a year and it was nice to catch up. She looked good; she looked happy, and she's clearly got a good start at starting over again. She returned to me a piece of art that I'd made for [livejournal.com profile] jaylake years ago, a collage inside a silver pocket watch case. When I opened the packaging to look at it for the first time in years, I discovered that he'd attached a chain and fob to it so that, apparently, he could wear it like a regular watch. For some reason, something about that discovery lent closure to a lot of things I've been feeling and thinking about Jay over the last year. I need to find the right place to display the watch in the house now.

4) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell: D&K and I watched the first installment of BBC America's production of the eponymous novel. It's a handsome adaptation and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm delighted that it's on a cable channel I actually can watch, and I'm looking forward to the next episode. With something like Game of Thrones on HBO, to which I do not subscribe, my options are to wait a year to see the season, rely on the kindness of friends (and who has time for this?) or rely on less reputable means to see the series. I've done this last before but it has lost its appeal. I was glad to be able to watch it with D&K. Our impressions of the piece were similar: good production, good performances, and a nice, economical adaptation of a book with a reputation for being a little too long for its actual content.

5) Light!: After a hiccup in delivery, I've finally received the new light fixture for the kitchen. JF has kindly offered to install it for me next week. It's a pretty thing, and I'm looking forward to enjoying its light (and to not sitting under a bare bulb as though I were in an interrogation room anymore).

---------------------
Note to self: next things to post about:
--Ancestry.com and Grandpa Morris' letters to Grandma Sadie
--The Night Circus
scarlettina: (Creating yourself)
1) Loving my swing dance class. The last session is next Tuesday, and the instructors suggest that students proceed to Jitterbug 1. I'm thinking about that. I'm thinking either that or West Coast swing because one ought to be bicoastal. No decision yet but it's coming. Also, many of the take-aways from my first class (see second-to-last paragraph) still hold.

2) My Halloween costume was a huge hit. Haven't taken the time to write about putting it together--especially the makeup--yet but I still really want to, even though Halloween is nearly two weeks in the past. For those who haven't seen it, here's a glimpse: What if Jane Austen were assimilated by the Borg? She'd be Austen, Powered....

Austen, Powered
Austen, Powered: prosthetic by me and [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden, makeup by [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden, dress created by and on loan from [livejournal.com profile] akirlu

More pics, and a how-we-did-it post to come...

3) By every reasonable measure, the Kobold Guide to Combat book signing at University Bookstore was a success. We had five of the contributors plus me at the store and ran a panel on combat in games. We all signed books. Other events around the signing conspired to take some of the celebratory sweetness out of it for me, and I'm still sort of recovering from that. A lot to process, but it's not my stuff to talk about. Here's a pic of all of us.

KoboldPanelPic
Left to right: John A. Pitts [livejournal.com profile] bravado111, Rob Heinsoo, Chris Pramas, Jeff Grubb, Steve Winter, yours truly

4) My kitchen light fixture broke in my hands when I tried to clean it last week. I've got a temporary fix in place that is satisfactory for the moment, but it looks like I'll be spending some money to replace it. I wasn't a big fan of the fixture in any case; I just wasn't planning on attending to it right now.

5) There are things about which I'm feeling discontent and impatient about in my life right now, but some of them are just beyond my ability to change. It's making me cranky.
scarlettina: (Angel)
I have been rearranging and reorganizing the art in my great room, almost certainly as a precursor to rearranging the room and the furniture. I've taken out a framed photo of old Seattle, circa 1917, that was turning green, and replaced it with a print of a David Delamare mermaid, a gift from friends. I also removed two fantasy prints. I moved my two Don Maitz paintings (color sketches done in preparation for creating the book covers for Magician: Apprentice and Servant of the Empire). I moved my Mardi Gras leather mask and a photograph of a flower that I took, and took down a plaque I got in Kenya, and replaced these three pieces with a large needlepoint that my Aunt Shirley did, an interpretation of Fragonard's A Young Girl Reading. It's a piece I've always been fond of, now a gift from the cousin who was married last week. But when I hung it up, something interesting happened.

The energy of the room changed--primarily with the addition of the needlepoint. The spot that I chose for the piece is exactly the right dimensions; it frames the art perfectly. But instinctively, I feel like it's on the wrong wall. I take it down, and the space feels better. I try it in a different spot, where I've already got art that I'm happy with and where it would make things a little crowded, and the room feels more correct. It's so odd.

Perhaps this is what people mean when they talk about feng shui. My sense of it is that something isn't quite right psychically with the room with the art in that spot. Maybe it's just that it's new and unfamiliar. The piece feels so . . . innocent somehow compared to the rest of the room. It's just really . . . odd. At this writing, it's still hanging in that spot. I think I'm going to go upstairs, take it down, and rethink it a little bit. I want to hang it in the right place and I thought that spot was it, but now I'm wondering. I need to figure this out.

The last ten days

Tue, Jun. 10th, 2014 07:11 am
scarlettina: (Just Keep Swimming!)
It's been . . . rough. There's been goodness, but the tough stuff has been . . . pretty tough: Jay's departure, the shootings at SPU. Still, I want to focus on good things; good things are where life reaffirms itself.

The last films of SIFF: Well, these are notes about the last films I saw at SIFF; many more than this played. First, I want to note that I missed two films for which I had tickets because my mind was, predictably, elsewhere: Seeds of Time, a documentary about the seed bank beneath the Arctic Circle, and Garden Lovers, about a Finnish couple and their garden. The films I did see included To Be Takei about actor/activist George Takei's life and career, which was utterly charming, and House of Magic, an animated film about the adventures of an abandoned cat who finds himself in an enchanted house, embraced by its kindly owner but rejected by the owner's other companion animals. As I said on Facebook, clearly created for the younger set, its logic did not bear close examination and it was obviously manipulative. The good guys and bad guys were painted in broad, clear strokes. At the same time, it was sweet (with all the predictable messages about the importance of honesty and friendship), entertaining and pretty. And it had a cat so, there you go.

The house and the new appliances: The new fridge, dishwasher, and range are now in the kitchen and all the old ones have been hauled away. In prep for the installation and so on, I'd moved furniture and removed things from the wall to ensure space for movement and that nothing got broken. As often happens, having deconstructed a couple of rooms, I find myself examining everything with a fresh eye and thinking about a complete reorganization of the main floor. I've rehung some of the art that I took down, but--yeah--I suspect that more changes are afoot.

Visitors: I had a lovely visit with [livejournal.com profile] davidlevine this weekend. Between seeing movies, taking a sun-drenched mini-hike at Carkeek Park, and attending [livejournal.com profile] papersky's reading at University Bookstore, we kept ourselves busy, out and about. My allergies got in the way of our lounging around on the balcony in the way we'd hoped, but all in all--an excellent time. If anything lacked, it was that I didn't get a little more of a proper visit with [livejournal.com profile] papersky, but we did get to see each other and at least say hello. It was all good.

The Sekrit Project: Work continues on the Sekrit Project, which I and my co-conspirator hope to announce in a timely fashion. I'm pretty pleased with the way it's turning out thus far. There have been a couple of glitches, but they're working themselves out, one way and another.

Transitions

Mon, May. 26th, 2014 10:15 pm
scarlettina: (Angel)
Changes. Exchanges. Progress.

There's a lot of change around here right now. Yesterday I said, "I'm freaked out about getting the new appliances. It's not rational and I don't entirely understand it, but what should be a good and cool thing feels scary and disruptive." Today, as good and productive as it was (and it was), was the start of that disruption because the appliances arrive on Wednesday.

I started measuring the right of way between the front door and the kitchen to discover that I had to dismantle a bookcase and get it out of the way. This meant unpacking the thing, moving it, vacuuming the area because the carpet was filthy underneath. Tonight, I unpacked the bottom drawer of the range to remove my pots and pans. I've also removed all the magnets from my refrigerator and all the drawings from my niece and from a friend's daughter that were posted there. I need to remove the art on the walls of my stairwell to be sure nothing gets knocked down and broken.

And, of course, when disruption begins, it foments all sorts of other disruption and change. I find myself looking around the main floor of my condo thinking about why parts of the room just don't work for me and how to organize things better. I need to move this over there; I ought to replace that with this other thing; and so on. The dismantling of the bookcase, once done, made other movement possible.

I am not a big fan of change. A friend recently asked me why the acquisition of the new appliances was such a big deal: you go shopping, you get what you need, and you have done with it. But I don't do change well, especially change that I wasn't expecting. And when it means I have to reorganize things, it means more than moving something somewhere else. There's a change in my mental and emotional landscape as well. I get stupidly attached to inanimate objects. The appliances were here when I bought the place. They are like old friends. Two are dead, but the third still works just fine, and I feel guilty about replacing something that still has life in it.

But it doesn't. It's a tool, an inanimate object of the same vintage as the two other appliances that don't work anymore. It's not alive. There's no reason to feel bad about retiring it; it's not like I'm putting down a pet. And the truth is that, given its age, it's probably time to replace it anyway because it's likely to go soon. I'm trying to be practical, but there's a part of me that's just not rational about any of it.

So all of this is what's been going on in my head. The prospect of the disruption and change has been stressful to me. The prospect of strangers coming into my house, even if it's to do a job I want them to do, freaks me out a little bit. In the end, goodness will result. But it's the getting through it that is hard for me. I need to see it as practice for the renovations I want to do. That's the way I need to think about it. I'm in training for bigger projects. If i can get used to the idea of disruption and change, I can deal with it all better.

This is hard.

Perspective: There are other things happening around me that are much harder to deal with. Much harder. I am running out of spoons to deal with it all. I'm healthy and I thank God for that. But the emotional well is only so deep and my reserves are just drying up. So I'm dealing with what I can deal with. The other stuff, well, it'll crash on me later.
scarlettina: (All my own stunts)
The microwave is too big. It hasn't arrived yet, and won't for another three-and-a-half weeks, but this morning I checked out its measurements online and realized that it's too tall for the space in which it's intended to go. If I get it and install it, then I'll have about 16 inches between its bottom and the stove top to cook--and that's not enough. Yes, the cabinets are pretty low. ::sigh:: I need to call over to Home Depot and change out the order for the microwave with an order for an ordinary stove hood. It's either that, or start shopping for kitchen cabinets and a kitchen designer stat.

So, a couple of things about the microwave. First, until now, I've never had one. Honestly, I haven't missed it. Everyone keeps telling me it will change my life, but I've used microwaves occasionally and my experience has been that they're imprecise and when I heat water for tea in them, the water always tastes funny. My experience has been that they're good for cooking frozen food and for making baked potatoes. For this I need a whole separate appliance? Second, I felt pushed into getting the microwave. I'm more likely to use the dishwasher that I didn't buy than the microwave I did.

As someone on Facebook said, this is how renovations get started. I'm not emotionally ready for that. When I renovate the full kitchen, I want time to prepare, I want to make choices that I'm happy with, not just choices that I had to make because I HAD to make them. That's how I ended up with my last car: feeling pushed and like I had to solve a problem immediately rather than feeling I was getting what I wanted when and how I wanted it. I'll be damned if I'm going to pushed into this project. I want to walk into it on my own propulsion with my own motivation and in my own time.

I'm frustrated and irritated. Some of it might have to do with this morning's overcast. But some of it has to do with this sense that I don't have any control over a process that is mine to control. This sense that I've been told I don't know what I'm doing. This sense that my choices aren't valid by someone else's standard, whether or not that's actually the case.

There's a bigger issue going on here. I haven't felt right in weeks, not physically, not emotionally. I have an inkling of what's going on and I'm not ready for that either.
scarlettina: (Angel)
So yesterday I did some research, went out with [livejournal.com profile] ebourne, and found myself a refrigerator, a range, and a microwave. They will be delivered at the end of May. I did not replace the broken dishwasher, mainly because I never use a dishwasher anyway, though I may think better of this decision before the end of the month, purchase one, and have it delivered at the same time. We'll see.

I spent a half hour this morning cleaning out the refrigerator. Food had spoiled, cheese and salad dressing had gone off. It was bad. I've turned off the appliance completely. A tremendous sadness descended upon me as I did this. I've had the fridge 15 years. I can't imagine that I've actually gotten attached to it, but stranger things have happened.

Now I have to figure out some sort of stopgap for refrigeration between now and May 28 when the new stuff is delivered. I've made a couple of inquiries about cube fridges on Craigslist. We'll see what happens.

I think I'm sad because it's work I hadn't planned to do this weekend, work that's gotten in the way of other stuff I wanted to do. I'm sad because it's an end and a beginning. I'm also probably sad because it's gray outside and, well, that's what happens when it's gray.
scarlettina: (All my own stunts)
. . . new refrigerator shopping begins today. ::sigh::

Yesterday I worked at home and heard the refrigerator making sounds I'd never heard before. It sounded like it might be the fridge equivalent of a car trying--and failing--to start. When I opened the fridge this morning? Warm. Not even cool. Warm. There go all the groceries. In fact, it's still making that sound, even as I type--a low buzz-then-click and nothing. Time to go appliance shopping.

The frugal shopper in me thinks I should just go get a cheap fridge and forget about it. The homeowner in me thinks: you know, all your appliances are nearly 40 years old. Your dishwasher hasn't worked in forever. Maybe you should quit while you're ahead (the range still works) and get yourself a whole new suite: fridge, range, dishwasher.

Of course, there goes the dent I'd made in my debt--debt that I could finally see the end of. I'd be furious if I weren't so tired of something money-related getting out in front of me every time I think I'm nearly finished. There go my plans for Saturday--no editing, no writing, just . . . appliance shopping.

In other circumstances this shopping would be fun; this means more modern appliances that will be reliable and more energy- and cost-efficient--and I can choose colors I prefer to the bleh-almond I have now. But I've got research ahead of me. I've got fears about spending too much because I don't know enough. I just . . . wilt at the thought of all this.
scarlettina: (Writing)
I realize that I don't post quite as often as I used to, so here are five things that are going on around here to catch you up a bit.

1) New light fixture: Since about a year after I moved into my condo (and this is a long time ago now), the light fixture in my great room has been broken--not smashed-broken, just non-functional broken. I finally decided a couple of weeks ago to do something about it. A neighbor of mine does electrical work, so I had him come in to look at the thing; it was definitely time for it to go. (I thought there might be a wiring problem in the wall, but it was the fixture itself.) Last weekend, I went light fixture shopping and purchased this really cool pendant light (except mine won't have the yellow stripe in the catalog shot) that I think will look great up there. I'll probably end up buying a couple more to replace the light in the kitchen and in the main downstairs room (though that second one will require more work than a mere replacement). Very excited for its arrival and installation.

2) New glasses frames: I recently had an eye exam and my prescription has changed--as my prescription is wont to do. It amazes me that my vision could get any worse than it has been, but there it is. New glasses frames--a serious departure from what I have now--are on order. I promise pictures where they arrive.

3) Rainforest Writers Village and writing: On Wednesday, I depart for my annual retreat to the rainforest. I'm looking forward to it for many reasons, but I also go with some trepidation. I've had increasing trouble writing fiction, wound up with feelings of inadequacy, despair about success (a self-fulfilling prophecy when one doesn't submit, I admit), poor discipline and so on. I'm looking forward to some concentrated time to not only write, but to evaluate what I want and what makes sense in terms of my energy and effort. So much of my self-image is wrapped up in writing and editing. I need to examine it all much more closely than I have lately. I don't know if it's a signal of my trepidation about it all, but I've been having trouble even cleaning the house in preparation for my absence.

4) Knitting: I continue my experiment in loom knitting by working on an infinity scarf, a how-to which I found in, of all places, a cooking blog. I know I've already made a scarf, but this one teaches me a new stitch on the loom as well as requiring me to learn how to do a different kind of cast off and how to flat seam a piece together--three new techniques in one project, so a second scarf project is justified. There will be pictures at some point.

5) Reading: I have been a restless reader lately. I abandoned the Jenny Lawson memoir "Let's Pretend This Never Happened"--I found the voice just repetitive and obnoxious after a while--and have moved on to the third Aubrey/Maturin novel, "H.M.S. Surprise," which I'm enjoying just as much as I did the first two. After a string of unfinished reading, this one I may complete. I've picked up so many new books lately that I'm actually a little cowed by deciding what comes next. Something surely will come next, however. Surely.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) LJ and post-writing: I'm getting lazy about my LJ posts, posting a lot of "5 Things" lists and not going in-depth. Bad me. But I've got two in-depth posts brewing that I hope to add this weekend: one on the Oscar-nominated Animated Short Films, which I saw last night with [livejournal.com profile] varina8 and one on all the evangelizing going on online about self-publishing and about writers who can't bother themselves to take an interest in the success of their own work.

2) Light-fixture shopping: Today I'm going light-fixture shopping. It should be fun, but I also admit that I'm a little intimidated. What if I get the wrong thing? What if the people in my life disagree with my choice of light fixture? What if . . . what if . . . what if? My plan is to photograph the room where the fixture will go, measure said room, and to engage the help of knowledgeable sales people wherever I go to look at fixtures. I may be intimidated, but I won't let that stop me. I'm laying groundwork for larger work to come.

3) Craftiness: I knitted a thing. Well, I knitted a scarf. I did it with a knitting loom, which somehow made it easier and more sustainable for me than using needles. It's a pretty thing in brown and pink. Will I knit another thing? Not sure, though I have a mild, incessant urge to go yarn shopping. I fear it.

4) Smashed penny stuff: I find myself once more on the Board of Governors of The Elongated Collectors. As such, I am the administrator for the club's annual coin design challenge. Members submit designs and the board selects a winner, said design to be turned into a smashed penny and distributed to the club. I really enjoy this event. My greatest regret, especially this year, is that as the administrator I can't submit a design. Why do I regret it this year? Because the theme is celebrating science and science fiction! :: sigh ::

5) Cats: Zeke and Sophie are both happy and healthy. But I am required by Their Royal Highnesses to rise from my bed at stupid-early in the morning, even on a holiday weekend. This makes for a cranky [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina. I may go back to bed for a bit before I actually go out to face the day.

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