Archive for the 'Life' Category

Dec 09 2008

so fresh and so clean

Well, so far our attempts to take a picture of my own contributor’s copy of the Unspeakable Horror anthology have resulted in not enough lighting.  You can use the handy link here, though I see that it is listed as temporarily not in stock.  I will try to find out if there is an in-stock link available for folks before the holidays, if I do I’ll post it here.

In the meantime, the maids have just left, the house smells good and looks great, and the hot tub is warm and with a new filter.  It’s a great day for socializing with friends while lounging around the house alternating with bouts of creativity.  Perhaps some of our long-absent friends will decide that today is the day to end their sabbatical away from our awesomeness.  If not, ah well, there’s plenty of awesomeness to keep us busy regardless.

In other news, laundry is much less of an onerous chore when it’s in-house.  There’s the typical 10 loads to do, but amazingly, not having to haul it across town just brightens my mood about the chore right up.

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Oct 03 2008

strange sensations

Published by under health,Life

I woke up this morning (in the morning, even!) with a very strange sensation.  So strange, in fact, that it took a good few minutes to identify said sensation.  If you lived near enough to be aware of how closely I’ve been cataloging my body responses and sensory readings for the past several weeks (and months and years, it’s all the same on the Galactic clock), you’d know how odd my unidentifiable strange sensation is.

And then I finally figured it out:  I’m fully rested.  Like, really.  For the first time in, months?  Ye gods, I can’t possibly remember.  Maybe years.  I’m a little stiff, but nothing more than the norm these days given current conditions; a tiny bit congested, the part that doesn’t go away that I hope will be fixed when I can afford to go to a sinus expert doctor; but alert, not grumpy, not feeling like I’m overwhelmed and behind (which I still am), with the energy enough for two people to get through a day that I remember having in my healthier days.

I’m sure this is a phase state that can be easily disrupted and drained under certain conditions, but I hope we’re done with those conditions anyway.  Today I feel like I can get up and work really hard all day, get a ton of things done and feel a reasonable level of tired at the end of it.  I miss those days.  (Okay, that’s a bit maudlin, and not entirely true, as I really haven’t given myself too many healthy breaks or jobs until recent years.  And even the healthier careers are high stress in their own ways–owning a business and working for yourself brings a lot of positive benefits, but also brings stresses that more “normal” employment doesn’t.)

So, cheers to well-restedness!  I don’t know how you got here, but please tarry in your stay.  I think I’ll stretch while doing my morning online ritual, then check the to-do list and see where would be good to start the day’s work.  Just as soon as I finish checking out this email from someone named Dolores…

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Sep 25 2008

Alive in SF (better than the alternative…)

Published by under conventions,Life,travel,Writing

Well, our flight here certainly could have been MORE eventful, but I’m glad it wasn’t. Specifically the first leg out: we had last-minute deals on plane tickets, which meant we were doing a bit of airline hopping during our transfer, and also meant that for the first leg we were stuck with US Airways. Seriously, I have a strong inclination not to book another US Airways flight again, regardless of the bargain advertised. In addition to the plane’s layout contributing to us feeling like so many sardines in an overfull can (and the flight wasn’t even sold out), the seats were less comfortable than the airport seating. It felt like we were sitting right on those inflatable vests, rather than cushions.

But you know, when I think “plane travel”, the first thing I think to prioritize isn’t a flat, rock-hard, lumpy seat; nor even the inconvenience of legroom just about right for a toddler under age 5. The inability to keep the plane in the air definitely tops the list for me as far as flight no-nos go, and there were severe questions about that during this flight. Thankfully, we were too sleepy to do more than doze most of that leg, otherwise I’d be twice as physically stressed from worrying for two hours whether we’d just fall out of the sky at some point. (Keep in mind I normally love flying.)

We spent about 20 minutes at the gate, waiting for a guy to “fix some computer issues”.  This involved, at one point, shutting off all the lights and air circulation on the plane, one presumes to “reboot”.  The take-off was choppy, and I was jolted awake from my dozing every time we hit a pocket of turbulence that was poorly corrected for. But the landing I wasn’t sure we were going to walk away from; definitely the worst landing I’ve experienced without something actually going very wrong. We circled at least 5 times, during one approach actually doing a sudden pull away and upward climb like we were avoiding a collision with someone. We finally hit the runway like we were going to keep diving into it, and the braking process felt as if it were panicky, too little, and too late, surging and slowing like a rank beginner sat at the controls learning to drive with Mom or Dad. I just grabbed Kit’s arm and watched through the window, my hand on my phone. We made it! (The flight attendant giving the farewell talk as we taxied to the gate sounded very shaky, so I watched her, and when she put away the intercom handset she wiped her eyes as if she had been crying. Coincidence? Or barely-avoided fiery death?)

…to Phoenix. Now of course we didn’t learn our lesson from the Phoenix airport last time, but the message is this: never, never fly into Phoenix if you are on a time-crunch transfer. Double those nevers if you plan to transfer airlines. Triple them if your airline has delayed your flight in an attempt to kill their passengers. The short story is, with both Kit and I on gimpy feet, we landed with 27 minutes to get to our other flight–which was two terminals away and through security again. Amazingly, we reached it two minutes before they closed the plane door behind us.

United was a much better (and less eventful) experience, with seasoned professionals in the cockpit that took us up and set us down again with a feather-light touch. Plus they didn’t charge us $2 for three gulps of juice. And we arrived 17 minutes early, rather than half an hour late. I could keep delineating the differences, but you get the idea.

We grabbed pitas on our way out to wait for the hotel-airport shuttle, and had plenty of time to eat our snack before it arrived. Another revelation: don’t sit at the back of an airport-hotel shuttle if you can avoid it, especially if you are on bad streets with a maniacal driver, and triply so if you are large-breasted. But they did NOT bounce off, and we made it to the hotel by the charmingly quirky San Franciscan navigational technique of driving directly past it first thing, then looping back around making sure to service all other hotels on the route first.

Check-in was surprisingly fast and un-eventful. We are staying tonight and Monday night at a hotel near the airport, with these two nights gifted us complimentarily by Kit’s mom. Thanks, Siun! (We also figured not having a long way to travel between airport and hotel during arrival and departure days was a smart-monkey thing to do.)

We’re meeting with Kit’s sister this evening, and we haven’t seen her since she came to visit Kit a couple of years ago, so we may or may not manage to reach the conference in time to watch the fucking-machine contest. I’ll be disappointed if we miss it, but family takes precedence over things you can watch later on video. And we’re here in plenty of time to take in the rest of the conference.

Now to quit procrastinating and get back to talking about this presentation with Kit…hopefully we’ll see any of you Californian readers at the conference this weekend! Hmm, perhaps a snack…wait. $9 for buttermilk pancakes? SRSLY? You can, even here in SF, buy two entire boxes of pancake mix for $9. Methinks I will not dine upon hotel fare, here. (Kit’s favorite entry from the breakfast menu is “The Healthy Start”: one grapefruit half, one bran muffin, one low-fat yogurt, and one small box of Special K cereal with milk…for $11.50!)

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Aug 10 2008

inchworm progress

Well it feels that way, but only because the projects I work on are so huge. We finished the second, much longer pass of the business models monstrosity gargantua paper, yay! Now we only have to follow up on all the tangents and make another complete pass through it before my mom comes down with flowchart and red pen in hand. In two weeks or less. Then another for the rest of the paper. Then we’ll be traveling, so better damn well be done. Argh, so much to finish before travel upsets the creative routine again! Wait, chill, panic is another post.

I’ve got about 2.5 more things to catch up on at the shop, which is good improvement there as well. And not falling to pieces more than a few times a week, which is an improvement from 1+ times daily. And, hmm…ah, the maid service thing for the house was totally some of the best money we have chosen to spend to help our family out. Really, any of you families out there that don’t just totally bond lovingly over housework and can save enough pennies for should look into it, at least to help with the deep cleaning and little tidying details that daily life often makes difficult to keep up with. We have them over twice a month, and it’s quite affordable especially when you calculate the time it would take for us to do the same amount of work.

This week I’ve gotten the dining room to a state of completeness lacking only the tabletop and bookshelf organization to be done. My room is down to one bookshelf’s amount of boxes to unpack, (plus laundry to put away) and we hung all the large pictures in the main room (and I’m a third of the way through re-hanging Steve’s book-cover pictures so they look better) so that room is done except for any small finishing touches we think to add.

There’s still so very much to do, but that’s for another post as well. This post is about taking the time to appreciate the minutia of progress.

*tap, tap, twitch*

Okay, enough of that for now, back to work!

PS – I rolled a 1 last night and actually talked about my novel with Kit. That’s a short step away from writing on it, so should be considered good progress as well.

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Aug 08 2008

brains, eating

Published by under falling down,Life,Writing

This business models paper is eating my brain. Not in a bad way, it’s just a bit hard to shift gears and work on other things.

I’ve been operating at the nadir of my efficiency and output in many areas for probably about a year now. I think it’s probably burnout, or brown-out; I didn’t get any recovery time after the drawn-out process of business-buying, and not since then, either. I think I’ve also been depressed, possibly clinically, for the past six months, but if I had to guess I doubt that a mental health professional would consider me so. After all, don’t I get out of bed? Stay cognizant of eating, clothing, relatively clean hygiene? Retain some semblance of interacting with people? I’d fail the checklist, which is part of why it’s taken so long for me to figure out myself, but I think that just as the regular depression signs are to a normal mental state, so is my current state compared to how I remember functioning when things internally worked better.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve considered official anti-depressant medication, which I never expected to have to think about, given my naturally sunny disposition. But if I’m not willing to take hormonal birth control medication due to the crappy side effects (let’s hear it for women’s health!), I’m quite adverse to the idea of the mood chemical-cocktail and all the adjustments most people have to go through, with concurrent side-effect rollercoaster. Plus, as I understand it, one really needs a cooperative and skilled head shrink to facilitate the process, and I just don’t tend to be someone with doctor-luck. In addition, it really irks to rely on chemical solutions when I haven’t explored the non-chemical options (like altering diet, exercise and activity levels, and so on) fully.

So I muddle through, and when you look at it, there really isn’t all that much wrong with my life, and quite a lot very right with it. I just wish I could access how to enjoy (in joy) it all again. This fake-it-til-you-make-it shite doesn’t always work as well as advertised. And I am so not an artist that works well when morose. But I also don’t work well, or at all, in silence, and I’ve been quiet on what’s up with me for a long time now.

I realize that it doesn’t help me in sharing common humanity bonds to confess that my accomplishments of the past year and more have been achieved under sub-optimal (sub-sub-sub-optimal, sometimes) conditions, and yes that does mean that I would have gotten a magnitude-order more done had I been healthy. But not-talking about it doesn’t help, and things are about to get way more intense for my creative career, so the time to fix my head is past due. I refuse to be a “flame big and flame out” rock-star. I much prefer to shine bright and keep glowing.

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Jul 31 2008

climbing monkey adventures

Published by under climbing monkey,Life

Kit and I went climbing, though we arrived with only enough time for him to go up the wall once and me twice before the rec center closed. He went first and did a challenging path that had him straddling a ridge for nearly a third of the way, but he made it with only a couple of cheating feet moves (where he used rocks not on the path).

Me, I’m not really at the point where I’m good with following paths yet. I’m just trying to get my arse up the wall. The first time, I only made it about as far up as last time, and I came down nearly in frustrated tears. I hear my head say, “I am so tired of being afraid of this,” while my outside voice instead of crying asks Kit to tell me what he thought I was doing wrong.

There’s time for another quick one, and that “pushed to the fustration point = new learning plateau” concept Steve talks about proves true in my life once again. This time I seem to have a more intuitive understanding of what I’m supposed to do, and I make it up the wall an entire bodylength further than I could previously go before I decide to come down. Another bodylength and I’ll be past the first major ridge, scant meters from the top.

Conclusion: I don’t have a fear of heights. It’s been the distrust of my body all along, and my body is healing.

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Jul 11 2008

editor-hat super-geek

It was all very simple, really. I was sitting here, reading this story from someone wanting to join our writer’s group (clever story, literate, not quite ready for publication but easily able to be made so, good style overall, can’t see why we wouldn’t let said applicant in). Five minutes after finishing, something was still tickling the back of my editor brain, and I went searching the crevasses of the internet. (Ok, I found most of what I needed on Wikipedia, but moving on…) (Reader Beware Warning: Thar be discussion of arthropoda and bodily fluids in the words ahead.)

Dark secret revelation time (no not THAT one): In another life, I was an entomologist. Or perhaps even in this life, if I ever decide to go back to school. Yes, I really am that weird. I used to collect roly-polys (in a jar at first, and later outside under the bricks in vast colonies). I wore cicada shells in my hair and on my clothes as a child–I had a jar where I collected each season’s found shells. (Looking back, I bet my mom liked that habit about as much as she liked my inability to quietly burp, but that’s too much tangenting for now. But wait, check out this cool cicada-molting animated gif!) Though I’ve not taken many formal entomology classes, they were very memorable for me, and pieces of what I learned there were reinforced in some of the other animal science classes I took when we got to the pests and parasites lesson sections.

To paraphrase and completely take out of its context the bit of the story that was poking me (and get back somewhere near my point), at one point in passing “horse flies” are equated to “stable flies”. My fidgety mind finally bursts out with “Hey, I think I remember learning that a stable fly was a different species from a horse fly. And aren’t horse flies those really huge fuckers that bite worse than a fire ant, and the stable flies are the ones that suck blood?” Quick, to the Wikimobile!

And I found that there was rightness on both sides (or wrongness, depending on your viewing lens). According to the Demi-gods of Wikery, it is a true statement to say a stable fly is also known as a horse fly, but not true to say that a horse-fly is the same as a stable fly. Or even more nerdily explained: both flies in question are of the order Diptera, also known as “true flies”. However the stable fly (sometimes called a horse fly) is of the Family Muscidae, and are bloodsuckers with mouth-parts similar to mosquito construction. The horse fly (which is similar to a deer fly, but is not a stable fly) is of the Family Tabanidae, where the adult female (but not the male) fly has mandibles that are serrated and designed to tear a piece of flesh off and drink the blood that oozes forth. So it all depends on your perspective (or which fly-borne transmissible disease you prefer), and mine is I’ll stay away from both the muscidae piercers and the tabanid masticators, thanks.

I think I crossed the line from geek far into nerd with this admission. Why yes, that was fifteen minutes of my life spent seriously contemplating fly mouths, why do you ask?

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Jul 08 2008

writing wall wrecking…

Published by under Life,Writing

I wrote 7.5 pages (so far) today on my story in the collaborative project. I spent 2+ hours giving some editing advice to a friend who is newly discovering her prose writing talents, hopefully she’ll go back later and read all the thoughts people gave. It’s gorgeous to see her blooming and turning out quality, literate first drafts, learning how to revise, and having obviously lots of fun playing in the created(-ing) world sandbox. We (DreamCafe) did many household calls and errands and shopping. Had a writing date with fellow Voluptuary Jennifer and cleaned up more parts of rooms and moved a freezer with her help.

A productive day, however you slice it.

So far I’m not worried about my individual writing work, so long as I start on it within the next few days. The whole point of doing this mindfully is to balance being able to work on both personal and collaborative projects without either one suffering from Creative Attention Deficit (or CAD-like behavior). (I’m already doing daily work on the business work.)

The day’s work seems like good stuff, too. Fun to write, full of exciting cool bits, a new genre (for me) to explore, positive feedback on the first written parts. Even if it was utter tripe, I’m glad to be writing again. It’s all (pointy-teethed) kittens and (man-eating) butterflies from here on out!

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Jul 04 2008

Fear and excitement

Published by under climbing monkey,Kit,Life

Fear-of-heights check: inconclusive

Body-seriously-fucked check: affirmative

I rather think that I won’t know if I have a fear of heights until my body is working more the way I’m used to, and it’s quite possible by that time I’ll have engendered a phobia from not trusting my body. I’ll keep climbing, keep stretching, pick a little higher rock as a goal each time. We’ll see whether my body bends or my mind breaks first. Yay self-experimentation.

In other interesting climbing news, I talked Kit into taking the orientation class last night, and he took to it like a monkey in a tree, like Andrea did to her spinning, like a cliche clings to a bad metaphor. It was really nice to see him excited and charged up on the exertion high afterward, hopefully he’ll keep coming back. Yay catalyst goodness for others.

Especially because I think I need a smaller harness; mine fits fine now, but if I lose any more weight at all (likely) I won’t be able to tighten it at the waist any further. So if we take Kit shopping for gear then he can have mine and I can get a new one.

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Jul 03 2008

climbing into Faerie

Published by under climbing monkey,Life,Writing

I bought my own climbing gear today. Harness, ATC, chalk and bag, shoes. My climbing shoes are awesome; small orange and black shoes that cling to my feet, delineating the high arches and insteps. They even come to tiny points at the toes for greater precision; on my feet, they look like little elf shoes.

My carabiner and chalk bag match my little orange shoes; I wonder if I can spiffy up the plain gray harness without causing problems…

Tonight’s the last night before the holiday weekend the wall is open. My legs and feet aren’t doing well today, but I’m hoping with some stretching I can get some wall time in.


I’m also thinking seriously about a punching bag in the backyard. I have gloves from when I was a kid, I think I even vaguely remember proper form. My need for touch is so pathologic right now I sometimes grasp too hard when reaching out; the emotion-skin connection too easily overwhelms. My awareness of my own physical strength is shifting and I have to learn the body controls anew as I discover previously unnoticed changes. Violent visions begin to invade my dreams. There’s too much screaming inside.

Or wait, are those my characters instead?  Writing will tell the tale…but I think the “sound body, sound mind” philosophy is looking mighty attractive.

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