scarlettina: (Madness)
Tired. Overscheduled. A little cranky.

I've been out so much lately, what with a full Memorial Day weekend and much SIFFing, that I'm just tired. I ditched last night's SIFF film to go to bed early, and yet still found myself awake with texting. And then, of course, being roused by cats at the crack of dawn.

I'm scheduled up for the next three, maybe four days. It all promises to be delightful, but something's got to give. The answer is almost certainly to stop making plans and accepting invitations for a little bit--but where's the fun in that? Life is for living.

I just wish it didn't take so much damn energy! :-)
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: (Rainy Day)
Dr. Strange: Saw the movie last night in the company of SA. Absolutely stunning visually. Interesting, compelling origin story. Cumberbatch, Ejiofor, Swinton and Mikkelsen were all terrific. I love Ejiofor's diction and delivery; I could listen to him forever. I also loved--in a peculiar way--the make-up effects used on the eyes of Dormammu's zealots. It was so effective that I found myself rubbing my own eyes after the movie was over to make sure I hadn't somehow assimilated that distressing look. Hated the made-up names Mordo and Dormammu. They are holdovers from the comics and weird attempts to create exotic-sounding names. Something about them bugs the hell out of me. But these are the only things that bugged me about an otherwise entertaining film that is absolutely delicious to the eyes, both in terms of the visual effects and the male leads. Cumberbatch's cheekbones could cut glass.

The holiday season: I'm having trouble assimilating the idea that Thanksgiving is this Thursday. I saw my first Santa Claus of the season yesterday, in context of a mall Santa photo set-up, and it felt anachronistic somehow, as if I were seeing a Santa in the middle of July. But then this whole year has felt bad and wrong, truncated and surreal. No reason the holidays shouldn't as well.

Spoons: A friend observed this weekend that I don't have a lot of spoons lately. She is right. I have been tired, fragile. I am in mourning. I am working hard to resist the urge to quietly cocoon myself away from people and life in general by keeping myself busy-busy-busy. But a lot of things feel hard for me right now, and my tolerance for stress is very, very low. I'm looking forward to the long weekend. I don't have a lot of plans. I may take some time to just sleep.
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: (Creating yourself)
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.

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.

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: (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.
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 [ 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 [ 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.

On where I'm at

Sat, Feb. 20th, 2016 02:54 pm
scarlettina: (Creating yourself)
I just came back from having lunch with my friend DVS. She and her family moved to the D.C. area about 8 months ago in what was really a whirlwind move. She'd gone there to visit friends, loved it, came home, told her husband she wanted them to move and--voila! House sold, move done! She and her daughter came back to visit and I was one of the few people on her to-be-seen list, about which I was really quite delighted.

We had--as I often do with DVS--a very frank conversation. We talked about where I'm at right now, how work is uninspiring, how challenging certain situations in my life have become, how I just don't know where I'm going or what I'm doing. We also talked about the likelihood of my finding the things that I want here in Seattle. Conclusion: the odds aren't even as good as they were when I first moved here. At least, when I first moved here, there was the potential of the new and unknown. Now, well, I've been here more than 20 years and I have a pretty good idea of what the region has to offer. It's beautiful and I have the love of invaluable friends. But I feel like I'm stuck in the middle of a Sargasso Sea, going round and round but not getting anywhere.

For years, whenever someone asked me if I ever thought about moving back east, I'd say, "Every day" with no real consideration. It was always a vague idea. Today I find myself wanting to sit down and figure out what that might actually look like, what it would involve, where I might want to be, what it would mean. I don't know that moving somewhere else would answer all the questions I have or help me narrow down what it is I want to do with the rest of my life. But it's something to seriously consider in a way I haven't before.

Is this my depression talking? Well, maybe some of it is. But the fact that I know that it's not all that's happening says a great deal.

No decision is being made here. An option is being considered. That's all.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Just finished reading our own [ 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: (Angel)
This is getting to be the norm and I don't like it. I've had so many things I've wanted to write about: Bernie Sanders as a Jewish presidential candidate, seeing "Hail, Caesar!", see the Kehinde Wiley exhibit at SAM, among others. But writing has been challenging lately. I've been wondering if it has to do with the medication I'm on. I may call my doctor tomorrow to get some input about it. If it's helping me with my blues but hindering my creativity, it's an Issue. In a big, big way.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Weather: It's been insanely dark the last few days. Cliff Mass, Seattle's weather guru, says that Monday, December 7th, was the darkest day in Seattle in 9 years. If this morning is any indication we may break that record again. I've got my happy light on as I type. It's helped me before. Looks like I'll really need it today.

2) Self care: I started on antidepressants about two months ago. Yesterday, I forgot to take my medication and only realized it when I was already on the bus on the way to work. I took a dip last night that was murderous and had a really tough evening. Self care has always been a challenge for me--but I can't let that happen again.

3) Photography: I've been (finally) creating photojournals of the Europe trip I took in 2012, including pictures and my LiveJournal entries from the trip. I've completed and received the Paris book. (I use Blurb, which offers a lot of flexibility in design that other applications don't. It's more expensive but it's worth it for me.) Now I'm working on the one for Lithuania and Amsterdam. I'm enjoying looking back at all these pictures and journal entries. The weather was beautiful in Paris; it was dark, rainy and overcast almost the whole time I was in Lithuania and Amsterdam. I'm using PhotoShop and iPhoto to try to lighten up some of the photographs; it's an interesting exercise.

4) Work: Everyone I work with these days either telecommutes or lives and works in Portland. I'm the only one on our team that works from the office anymore. It's very lonely. There are other folks at the office, of course, in other groups. I'm trying to make connections. But it's really challenging: I go to the office and there's no one there. I come home, and it's just me and the cats. I need to make more plans and see more people. It's not healthy for me to be so alone so much.

5) Books: I'm reading very slowly these days. I started Silver on the Road by our own [ profile] suricattus recently and am enjoying it hugely. It's very good indeed, with rich and layered character building, and an atmosphere of delicious mystery in her version of the Weird West. I'm taking my time with it and I recommend it.
scarlettina: (Daffy frustration)
So, it was quite the storm today: major winds and rain, just as predicted. Many folks I know lost power and still haven't gotten it back yet. My power flickered a couple of times but it remained on. Glad I didn't have to deal with an outage.

So here's a thing going on that I haven't mentioned: I'm interviewing with Facebook tomorrow. It's a second interview--a first with the hiring manager. The position is based on Menlo Park and if I took the job, I'd have to move. Here's the thing: I had a first interview with the recruiter and told her, point blank, that though working for FB would be exciting, the role we're discussing would be a lateral move for me and I'm really interested in something that would be a promotion. She insisted that I talk with the hiring manager, that though it might be a lateral move, Facebook is so big that it was likely I could move in the organization within a year or a little more.

In email, I received links from someone else on the recruitment team that they suggested I review before the meeting. I'm looking at them now, knowing what my role would be, and I find I'm just bored. I've done this all before. I agreed to talk to the hiring manager, but I can't imagine much that would motivate me to take the job, sell my home (or rent it from a distance--bleh), and move my entire life to northern California unless promotion would be guaranteed and the money would be spectacular. But no one can guarantee promotion and money can only make up for so much.

What all this boils down to is that I find myself wondering if I'm done with working on the web. Or, at least, working in content. I've been so dissatisfied with my day job lately that I find it hard to focus and not to snap at coworkers. I just get impatient with people (especially the woman who recruited me for the job I have now; she doesn't realize exactly how condescending she comes across and it's infuriating). But I don't know what I'd do next. There's a piece of me that would like to toss this 40-hours-a-week thing, but I have a mortgage and other bills to pay and, at my age, I admit that I've become accustomed to living in a certain way. I've been building security for retirement and I don't want to stop that. Also, I don't do well with financial uncertainty.

So there we are. I know I need to do some evaluation. I'm not even sure how to start. But I do know one thing: I can't go on being frustrated and unhappy at work. Something's got to give.
scarlettina: (Autumn)
Water's in the kettle for tea, cats have been fed and watered (though if you asked them, not nearly enough), and I'm dressed. Thus starteth the day. While I did my morning blog roll, I turned on the happy light to help get me started. I can already feel it working. It's so bizarre how something as simple as light can make such an enormous difference. And yet, I can feel bits of me perking up, waking up, getting antsy to be active. Meanwhile, it's 7:30 and it's still dark outside. On November 1, we fall back--another hour of darkness in the morning. Way up here in the north, the benefits of daylight savings are few.

Work continues stressful. I've been working at home the last few business days and will do so today as well. It's not my usual mode and I don't plan to make a habit of it, but right now, it's easier for me to work at home and get started earlier in the day. After my business trip this week, I'll be back in the office more regularly. At least, that's what I've promised myself. I want to like my day job more than I do right now. Maybe I will after all the open enrollment work is done. We'll see.

I've been spending too much money lately. Bought a dress for the business trip (red, long sleeves, cowl neck, with a nice, if strange, hemline that actually drapes very well), tights, and a new winter coat, mainly because my lovely red coat is now too small and my old winter pea coat is too big. The sleeves on the new coat are being shortened and it should be ready this coming weekend--not a moment too soon. Possibly not quite soon enough. It's been getting colder. (Well, not so very cold--58-62 degrees, but cold enough that the heat in the house is coming on without my touching the thermostat.) But the new coat is sharp and stylish, not to mention necessarily warm. And I still have my Eddie Baur rain anorak, though it's so old at this point that I notice it's absorbing as much rain as it's deflecting.

My living room floor is littered with cat toys. (Well, OK, not littered precisely, but there are toys here and there.) So what is Ezekiel playing with this morning? The remains of the mouse-snake bestowed upon him by an ex-boyfriend as much as five years ago. It's nothing more than a scrap of fake fur at this point, but apparently it's far more interesting than the more-recently-acquired intact catnip toys just a foot or so away. Cats. :: sigh ::

ETA: Sometimes I want to save corworkers face. Sometimes I want to smack them in the face. Sometimes, the distance between the two desires is not so very far at all and can turn on a dime.

* "Random thoughts before the tea kicks in," with a hat tip to [ profile] puppetmaker40 for the acroynm

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.

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...

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.

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.

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: (Autumn)
It is definitely autumn. I find it harder to get out of bed in the morning; it's staying dark later every day. It's colder; the next time I change my bed sheets, it will be to put on the winter bedding. I need to dig out the winter jammies. And the kitties are cuddling with me more than even just a week ago. I find that all I want to do is hunker down under the blankets and hibernate.
scarlettina: (All my own stunts)
It's Superman! by Tom De Haven: A licensed Superman novel published, like, 20ish years ago that takes a very realistic, pretty literary and at the same time almost pulpy approach to Superman's original story, starting at when he's done with high school and as he heads off into the real world. De Haven's voice cracks both wise and perceptive, and is rich and fully flavored with period jargon and slang, trivia and detail. I enjoyed it hugely. I studied with De Haven in college and thought he was a terrific teacher. Reading this one of his several novels makes me feel like I didn't understand how lucky I was to study with him. Wish I could have studied with him more. I've found his website and really need to drop him a note.

The Just City by Jo Walton (our own [ profile] papersky): The first of a new cycle that explores the ramifications of Athena and Apollo deciding to try to build a society based on Plato's Republic. It is probably the most cerebral of Walton's books to date, even given some of the very dramatic and, on occasion, traumatic things that happen to the characters. It's a fascinating exercise that ends a little too abruptly, from my perspective--but the next book has already been published and I'll probably pick it up at WorldCon. My challenge with The Just City is that it feels a little like an exercise to me, a thought experiment made manifest. And while there's good story here, I didn't find myself as attached to the characters as I was with other of Walton's works. I felt a little emotionally distanced from them, which is always a deficit in a work for me. I did like the working through of the many ramifications of Plato's rules, though, and the negotiation of the tougher ones to follow. The Republic is itself a thought experiment, and once you throw humans into the mix, well, things are bound to go pear-shaped. It's an interesting read, not my favorite of Jo's works, but a challenging one in many ways.

Worldcon is coming, but there are so many challenges going on right now for me and friends around me, it's hard for me to anticipate the trip with pleasure. It's one more thing I need to do, at the moment, in a world where friends and relations are dealing with cancer, where another is getting ready to move out of state and is feeling just abandoned by a lot of local folks, where work is busy and pressure is being brought to bear in ways that piss me the hell off. I don't want attending WorldCon to feel like a chore, but as the days dwindle toward departure, it's feeling like another thing I have to do rather than a thing I'm looking forward to.

I've been pushing back lately in ways I don't typically push back. I'm always inclined to say yes, to help friends, to do things even when I don't want to just because I've been asked. Lately, I've been saying no more. It's hard. But it's necessary. It's necessary mainly because I've been feeling really tired, really wrung out, like I don't have the time or resources to take care of myself and my own life. I need to say no more. It's hard for me, but I really need to. The fact that I spent the better part of this weekend sleeping demonstrates that I'm running out of spoons faster than I can wash them and put them away. I need to stop that.

I had the worst blood panel of my life a couple of weeks back. It was the annual blood draw, and suddenly, my cholesterol is up, I'm anemic again, and my doctor Isn't Happy. I'm trying to resolve this issue with vitamins, food changes and exercise, but in the midst of feeling like there's no room in my life for taking care of me, it's an enormous challenge.

And now, off to work.

State of me

Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2015 07:37 am
scarlettina: (Creating yourself)
First of all, it's hot. I know, I know, it's summer, it's supposed to be hot. But in Seattle, summers are typically warm and mild. The last week or so, the weather has been scorching: sunny, uncharacteristically without rain and, yesterday, humid--at least by Seattle standards. The level of the strangeness of this weather cannot be overestimated. Let's put it this way: when I want it to get overcast and rainy? You know something is wrong.

The day job
Work has been strange and stressful. Our team was reorganized a couple of months back--or perhaps it's more correct to say that our team was nuked from orbit, because it was the only way to be sure that the new chief marketing officer had the team she wanted, and refocused the company on sales. The result of this reorg is that a team that worked like a well-oiled machine, a team that everyone was pleased with, has been split into four, maybe five other groups. There is no more web team. We're all pieces of other groups now. No one communicates with anyone the way they used to, mandates and goals for the website aren't being shared effectively and many of us are feeling like we've been set adrift, occasionally pushed in what may be the right direction, but no one knows for sure. Either the workload has increased, or we're feeling the loss of protection as a group that we had while our old director was still with the company. (She was laid off as a result of the reorg. She was a friend and mentor to me and I miss her keenly.) It has been stressful and has resulted in all of us feeling like we're casting about in the darkness for the right handhold so that we don't fall down an unseen hole.

I threw a fit earlier this week because, as the result of one (smart but poorly considered and incompletely conceived) mandate, our design team forgot a key piece of the design for a new feature on the website. I talked to every manager who would listen to me. As the message was communicated up the chain, the reaction was, "What? Wait. We missed . . . what? That's important? Well, crap. OK, you're right. Let's fix that . . . when we have time." It was a slow realization, like management was waking up from a drugged stupor, and I'm still not convinced that it's going to be properly addressed. Why did I make a fuss? Because I was asked to write copy for this incomplete design and couldn't finish my work because the workflow obviously had holes in it. I actually lost sleep over it. I had trouble speaking about it because I was so upset about it. This is so not me, and it's a result of the new environment at work. It's like people just aren't paying attention to anything except what management turns its fickle, ADD-addled eye upon next rather than focusing on steady progress to key goals. There are squirrels in the process everywhere.* It's making work a less-than-pleasant place to be.

Writing and editing
Well, the Kobold Guide to Combat wasn't nominated for an ENnie Award. I'm disappointed but not surprised. I know that an award nomination is not an indication that a project has been a failure. It's a good book; it's just not at the very top of its category--in a year that was very strong indeed. It was an ambitious project and, of all the books in the series, it was the hardest to pull together. Some writers whom I thought could deliver just didn't. Others didn't deliver what was asked of them. From this I learn that I need to better scope out the writers I choose for projects. I learn that some writers are great storytellers but not non-fiction writers. And I learn that when I make an assignment, I have to be crystal clear about the requirements and the goals of the essay and the project. In some cases, I probably wasn't.

I also learned that I need to make better choices about how and when I take on a project. This was the right project at, I suspect, the wrong time. It's why I'm taking a hiatus from the Kobold series. I love working with the Kobold team and [ profile] the_monkey_king. I loved those projects. But they meant that I wasn't writing. And the time of the year that the work came meant that I spent a beautiful summer indoors editing, which made me restless and dissatisfied.

On the writing front, I've been working on my Mary Todd Lincoln story all spring in fits and starts due to time constraints and it's making me unhappy. I should be done with the story by now. I want it out in the world. But it's not finished and, as a result, I'm falling a little out of love with it. I've never been a fast writer. I'm hoping that this torturous process won't kill this story for me the way it has others that I've adored. ::sigh::

Other stuff
There's other stuff I want to write about--my weight, the challenging emotional environment I'm dealing with right now, my utter inability to declutter the house, my lack of travel and the empty prospect for same--but it all seems kind of overwhelming. I think what it all boils down to is that I may need to do what I promised myself I'd never do again: get back into therapy. The level of "I don't want to" is pretty high in that direction, and yet a lot of what I've been thinking and feeling has suggested that I really need to do it soon. It doesn't anger or frustrate me. It just makes me sad.

The holiday weekend is upon us, and I'm looking forward to some dedicated Me Time--which I haven't had in weeks. I may be inviting some people into this time, but I'm going to be careful about who. I need to foster the relationships that nourish me and, for once, listen to my inner self about not letting those that don't drain my energy completely. I need it for me.

* In case anyone, years from now, reads this journal entry and doesn't understand the squirrel reference: SQUIRREL!
scarlettina: (Blue)
State of me: There's been a lot going on emotionally lately, things I have a hard time talking about. It's left me feeling tied up, strapped down. There are a lot of things I can't say to anyone ever. I've thought about finding a therapist, but I've spent so much of my life sitting in therapist's offices that the thought just exhausts me. And so here I am, with my . . . stuff. The worst of it is that I'm self-medicating with food. While I haven't undone everything I achieved a few years ago with my weight loss, I've undone a lot of it, which is another source of personal unhappiness.

Work: One thing I'm not afraid to vent about is the day job, the thought of which also exhausts me. When I took this particular job, I had some very lofty goals in mind. Those lofty goals got lost in the minutiae of the day-to-day and in office politics. This team isn't actually very political, but there's one person who's a little bit of a nightmare to work with. Personally, we get along well and share common interests. Professionally, she's kind of a minefield. I've already had informational interviews with another manager in an effort to explore my options outside my team. I hate the thoughts of leaving my team because I like most of them very much, but it's clear that my role is a dead end, and it's clear that if I stay I'll be subject to Miss Minefield's behavior regularly. It's making me anxious and angry. I've spoken with my manager about it; I've spoken with my grand-boss about it. I'm also considering broadening my search.

(As a side note to [ profile] allanh, I'm developing a finer appreciation for what you're experiencing at work. This morning, I'm all out of f*cks to give. Today's mantra is, "If they want this sh*tty copy on the site and are willing to escalate to get it, that's exactly what I'll post. And I'll make a point to let everyone know whose responsibility it is. 'Cuz it sure ain't mine.")

Work on an uber-scale: I'm 52 years old. For much--not all but much--of my life, my day job has been that most necessary of necessities rather than a true vocation. My true vocations have been relegated to avocations: writing, art, photography, singing. I lay this at the feet of the loud old voices in my head that have proven harder to shake off than I ever would have believed. Part of it is that I haven't done the necessary work to not just shake them off, but silence them well and truly. It's hard. But at some point, I just have to shut them all up and make some decisions about what my priorities are. Time is growing shorter by the day (a fact which has been hammered into my awareness the last few years and especially lately) and if I want to achieve any of the dreams I had, I've got to get on the stick. Do something different. I've done two things so far: 1) I've started perusing the classes at My thinking is that if I'm going to make a significant change in direction I need to dip my toe into a couple of different areas before I submerge myself; Coursera is one way to do said toe-dipping. 2) I've picked up some colored pencils and have been coloring mandalas in a Dover Publications collection. I have found it to be meditative and calming. Also quite satisfying. By the time I finished coloring my second mandala, I found myself wanting to do something more original. We'll see where that takes me.

Writing: I am in a tough spot. This is another area where I just can't . . . talk about what's going on. I hate it (being in the tough spot, not writing). I want to write. It's a struggle every damn day.

Edited to add: Here are the mandalas mentioned above. I can't take credit for the designs, but I did the coloring.
IMG_1135 IMG_1134


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