a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
fresh cuttings 
25 November 2014 04:41 - "With a bunch of lace at his throat"
slipping
No indictment in Ferguson. A speech from the prosecutor that was pretty plainly incitement to riot. A barely comprehensible statement from the president, who looked like he was in shock. Not shocked in the sense of surprise, but in shock in the medical sense: the thousand-yard stare, the bone-deep exhaustion of the body, the mind trying desperately to grapple with trauma.

Or maybe I'm projecting.

The thought of going to a protest is nearly enough to send me into a panic attack. I think I'm carrying a lot of fear around right now, somewhere very deep where I mostly don't see it until I contemplate anything that's even slightly scary and find myself overreacting by orders of magnitude.

(If you feel differently, here's a list of protest events.)

My biggest fear is that nothing will change. There will be no revolution, no sea change, no way to close or cross the chasms in American culture. We will just keep on like this, murders and protests and murders and protests, on forever.

I don't know how to deal with any of this. I've been listening to Brian Eno's remarkably soothing Kite Stories on endless loop because I don't know what else to do for my brain. It kept me from completely flipping out tonight, so that's good.

Beyond figuring out what the hell self-care looks like right now, my plan is to love people who are hurting, to clear space for people who are angry, and to think about how to raise a kid who won't kill anyone else's kids. That seems like the very fucking least I can do.

Dear white friends: if you can, please put some money or time toward actively making any community or space safer for people of color, and for black people in particular. This is on us.

Dear non-white friends: if there's anything I can do to help or support you, please let me know.

Comments off.


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10 November 2014 02:23 - "In conclusion"
illness, safety
Things that broke this weekend:

* My phone
* My water bottle
* The pumpkin pie

Plus I had wrenching awful nightmares this morning about loved ones dying. And I have a sore throat and have been sneezing all day--not sneezing so very frequently that I'd notice if I didn't have a sore throat, since I'm generally prone to sneezery, but enough that in the context of the sore throat I am somewhat concerned.

Of course the sore throat might just be from breathing in the smoke from the pie mishap. And broken water bottle means less hydration, though I downed two large mugs of ginger honey tea as soon as my throat started bothering me.

Oh, and my hands are covered with seasonal eczema--it flared while I was in Boston, I got it under control with steroid goop, and then two pies' worth of handwashing (which is a lot, since I was working with very oily dough) turned my entire right hand bright red, and the left isn't much better.

Otherwise it was a lovely weekend; X and I got some nice time together yesterday, J and I got some nice time together today, I slept well other than the nightmare, and we made an absolutely killer quiche and had a great family dinner last night. But I could have done without all of the things that went awry.


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9 November 2014 23:42 - "Quivering malevolently"
disaster, steampunk
I was going to call this "how not to make a pumpkin pie" but that title is taken, so I stole a phrase from that story--which is wonderful, and you should all go read it--for my subject line instead.

Tonight's gluten-free dairy-free pumpkin pie recipe:

0) Assemble all ingredients. Preheat oven.

1) Put dough ingredients in freezer to chill.

2) Make filling. Taste filling. Make a face like this:

Sylvester the Cat with a scrunched-up face from eating alum

Determine that the store-brand tinned pumpkin had soaked up too much metal flavor from the tin. Regretfully throw out the filling. Turn off the oven.

3) Go out to dinner. While out, buy organic pumpkin in a box (not a tin).

4) Assemble all ingredients. Preheat oven to 450F.

5) Make filling. Taste filling. Approve.

6) Attempt to make dough even though the coconut oil has now frozen entirely solid. Manage it with the help of the trusty Cuisinart food processor.

7) Grease the pie plate with a bit more coconut oil, since yesterday's quiche (made with the same dough recipe) stuck to it a little. Roll out the dough. Attempt to neatly transfer the dough to the plate. Mostly succeed. Patch up the holes.

8) Pour the filling into the plate. Put it in the oven. Set timer for 15 minutes, after which you intend to reduce the heat.

9) Notice that smoke is filling the kitchen. Quickly determine that the coconut oil used to grease the pie plate bubbled over the edge and is now burning on the floor of the oven.

10) Shake baking soda over the oil and see whether that does any good. Learn what burning baking soda smells like. (Spoiler: terrible.)

11) Remove pie from oven. Turn oven off. Start toaster oven heating at 350F, since it was more or less 15 minutes. Give up all hope of the custard setting properly. When the toaster oven has heated, put the pie in the toaster oven--on top of a foil-lined baking sheet, since you are capable of learning.

12) Clean the oven floor.

13) Timer goes off. Pie is not remotely done. Heat the oven to 350F and confirm that there is no more smoke. Put the pie in the oven. Belatedly remember to turn the toaster oven off.

14) Ten minutes later: pie not done, according to a toothpick, although the top is dark brown. Also bubbly, in a fizzy-tiny-bubbles sort of way. You have no idea why.

15) Ten minutes after that: declare the pie as done as it's going to get. Put it on the windowsill to cool. The filling almost immediately breaks away from the crust. Of course.

16) Chase the cat off the windowsill. "Trust me, kitty," you say, "you don't want this pie. Probably no one wants this pie."

17) After a suitable amount of time, cut into the pie. The filling resembles Indian pudding autumn pudding in taste, texture, and color; it has the classic curdled consistency of a broken custard. The crust is soggy and mealy on the bottom and overcooked around the edge. A puddle of coconut oil rapidly fills the gap left by the "slice" of pie.

18) Decide to put the pie in the fridge, mostly for a sense of closure. Lift it up and discover that the cork trivet is glued to the bottom of the pie by coconut oil. Reach for paper towels and realize you never replaced them after using up the roll cleaning the oven. Get more paper towels. Wipe off the bottom of the pie plate, put a sheet of paper towel in the fridge, and put the pie in the fridge.

19) Write up a version of the recipe that you think will actually work. Vow to try it... tomorrow.

20) Go to bed.


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18 October 2014 02:42 - "Cours, petit lapin, cours"
slipping
In the past two weeks:

* Still working overtime. Expect that to continue for at least a couple more weeks.
* Did a big, difficult, emotionally draining freelance project. Have another one due late November.
* Am in the process of making my picks for the Best Books issue, which is always agonizing.
* grahamsleight visited.
* [personal profile] karnythia and P. visited.
* SFWA Mill & Swill.
* Two publisher events.
* Had a cold for about 12 hours. I think I scared it off.
* As X's ragweed allergies wind down, my leaf mold allergies wind up.
* The days are getting shorter. I'm lightboxing and going outside as much as I can but it's still tough.
* Started going to the gym three times a week, to keep building strength now that I'm done with PT.
* Still trying to keep up with Wanikani, though it's been a struggle.
* Got aggressively hooked on Spacechem and stayed up until 6:30 a.m. playing it. More than once. That shit is dangerous. I'm glad I finally beat it and got through the two full days of twitchy withdrawal.
* Never enough sleep, in general. Fridays are supposed to be freelance days but they keep turning into "catch up on sleep" days. Today I slept until nearly 2 p.m., and by the time I ate and went to the gym and came home and showered, my workday was done. That's a problem.
* Still wrangling a Readercon safety committee thing that's been in process for months.
* Massive PMS that's amplifying all my emotions.
* Had a big scary talk with J and X about a money thing (everything's fine, I just got myself worked up over it).
* And the big one: my community is eating itself in horrible ways, with a lot of people I know feeling extremely distressed. I'm personally feeling pretty anxious and frightened even though I think the risk of anything actually doing something awful to me is very low. But when three people in three days tell me they're being stalked, and doxxing and threats are everywhere, it's very hard to stop myself from constantly looking over my shoulder. Plus I know lots of women in tech and gaming and comics and right now that feels like saying "I know lots of people who live in a war zone". It's just really scary out there right now. Even on my super-filtered private Twitter feed, it's constant.

So I'm going to hide with the family for the weekend--no public Twitter, turning off RTs for a lot of people on private Twitter, no LJ/DW/blogs, no IM, no guests or socializing--and try to recuperate a bit. I keep forgetting that I'm not a journalist anymore (in the sense of being a reporter of news) and I can do that. It's okay if I miss something. I'm not on call.

(I have spent zero days, zero minutes, and zero seconds missing being a journalist. Chronicling my own life is difficult enough.)

Expect my presence here to be pretty minimal through at least the end of October while I recover from the beginning of October.

EDIT: I cried on J a bit before I went to bed--at 8:30 in the morning because I was too anxious to sleep--and said I felt like if I don't go out there and Activist It Up because I'm scared of being targeted, then I'm a coward and the terrorists have won. He said that regardless of whether it was safe to be an activist right now, I'm exhausted and burnt out and he'd be telling me to focus on self-care. With 8-a.m.-haven't-slept logic, I said, "Oh, I see. I have activist laryngitis. Until I rest up and get my voice back, I don't need to worry about what other people would want or not want me to do with that voice." So I am clinging to this order of operations: rest and recuperate first, then decide what to do once I am capable of doing anything at all.


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10 July 2014 02:30 - "N O A P NOAP"
no., charts
Dear Boston friends: I'm sorry, but I won't be seeing you at those big annual parties anymore.

I do plan to make occasional trips to the Boston area, alone or with J and/or X, so if you'd like to get together one of those times (or suggest a particular weekend that would work well for you), let me know. I'll also see you at Readercon, and maybe one of these days I'll make it back to Arisia. And of course I'd love to hang out with you anytime you're in NYC.

This post is not a space for discussing recent events or the people involved with them. I'm leaving comments open solely for use in planning future travel.


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18 March 2014 00:14 - "Tie a knot and hang on"
exhausted, spoons
Fun things, Mar 13: interviewed Helen Oyeyemi for PW Radio
Mar 14: none, bad vertigo hit the night of the 13th and I spent the 14th recovering
Mar 15: took a walk with X in the sun
Mar 16: nice family dinner
Mar 17: pinged Tea to say "hi! I miss you!" and had a great catching-up chat

Just to recap, vertigo bouts of the past three weeks (how has it only been three weeks?!), on a scale of 1 to 3 where higher numbers are more horrible:
Feb 24, early morning, level 3
Feb 28, early morning, level 2
Mar 2, late night, level 1
Mar 8, early evening, level 1
Mar 14, late night, level 3

Specific symptoms for my referenceCollapse )

To each of those, add 12 hours of meclizine hangover--meaning total non-functionality--per level. So you can imagine how tense I am right now, waiting for the next one. Anxiety ideationCollapse ) I was going to go off the Zoloft and now I'm considering cautiously increasing the dose because the anxiety is so bad. I have no idea how I'd be coping right now if I weren't taking it.

I'm out of paid sick leave for the year. The YEAR. It's MARCH.

I have been strenuously resisting adding an "experiences.vertigo" tag. I guess I really should at this point.

My otologist wants to enroll me in a study for an experimental treatment that might help a lot. TW: injectionsCollapse )

The minimum symptoms to qualify for the study are two bouts of vertigo in four weeks, each bout lasting at least 20 minutes. Cue hollow laughter and envy of people whose vertigo only lasts 20 minutes. I could handle that. I could handle it without drugs, even, and then I wouldn't lose an entire additional day or two to the meclizine. I asked the otologist whether there were other sedatives he could prescribe and he said they all give you hangovers. Maybe I didn't sufficiently make it clear that it leaves me completely non-functional for an entire day, and at maybe 80% functionality for a day after that, and I cannot mentally or financially afford this. Surely they can't all be that bad. I realize the meclizine is the only thing that actually stops the vertigo, but if something else would sedate me so that I don't have to be around for the vertigo and then leave me feeling human the next day, I'd consider that a pretty big win. I will attempt to explain this again when I see him next week.

I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss me. I miss being able to make plans without caveats. I miss being able to assume that if it's Monday and I feel fine, I can safely make a lunch date for Thursday. I miss not being utterly undone by anxiety. I miss my back not being a mass of fiery knots. I miss making deadlines and not having to rely on the flexibility and kindness of colleagues and clients (all of whom have been splendid).

I started this entry with a catalog of fun things for a reason. Life has not been unremittingly awful. There's been a lot of good stuff. Spring is slowly springing, at last, at last; the crocus shoots have become crocus blossoms, and sometimes the air is warm and soft instead of bitterly harsh. I've been getting in good snuggle time and talk time with X and J, though I always want more. My mother has been very sweetly fussing over me via email and phone in a way that leaves me feeling loved and understood and supported; I can tell she's worried about me, but she doesn't express it in a way that makes my own worries worse, for which I am profoundly grateful. The baby planning is really exciting, even the dull paperwork parts (we just went to a lawyer and started the process of getting wills drawn up!). I managed to get a final copy editing pass done on Long Hidden and it's off to the printers; we're getting in some wonderful reviews and blurbs. Sara Eileen brought me copies of the last issue of #24MAG. I've been working on some really enjoyable freelance client manuscripts. The cats are adorable, even when they bicker. I'm still playing S&P2 and enjoying it, and I've moved my shop to a pretty excellent town full of other dedicated players who are fun to chat with. No matter how groggy I am, I can usually manage to converse a bit on Twitter, so I don't feel entirely cut off from socializing. It's not all doom and/or gloom. I need to remember that. But boy, the hard parts are just really, really hard.

The taurine and tiredness are kicking in--I was up until 4 a.m. working on Long Hidden, probably the last time I'll be able to say that--so I'm going to wrap this up and go to bed. I don't have any proof that being really tired makes me more vertigo-prone, but it's not like getting enough rest is going to somehow be bad for me.

Comments are off because I can barely deal with writing this all down and I really can't deal with discussing it. Your well-wishes are sincerely appreciated. Your offers of help are also appreciated, but there really isn't much anyone can do beyond the well-wishing. Emails from local or visiting friends with offers of flexible lunch/dinner plans would be lovely. Emails with advice on medical or psychological matters will be deleted.


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ear, overheard
Fun things, Feb 22: had a lovely time at a friend's birthday party.
Feb 23: read a book.
Feb 24: no fun :(

I woke up at 5 a.m. on the 24th with terrible terrible vertigo. Gory detailsCollapse ) Once I woke up again mid-afternoon, I had the meclizine hangover to contend with--it makes me all balloon-headed and spacy--and that ate the rest of the day. So my nearly two-month streak of daily fun is broken. :( I mean, I did things that on other days would count as fun, like playing S&P2, but I wasn't really capable of enjoying them.

On the evening of the 23rd I got a wave of what was either really bad PMS or a mild mixed episode. (Everything is relative.) All my feels were Very Big Feels and I went through a few oscillations of giddy and upset. I wonder whether there's some link between that and the vertigo. I also haven't been watching my salt intake, which apparently I need to do for the rest of my life because this is yet another chronic condition that I can manage but no one can cure. (I get so upset and angry when I think about this. I try not to think about it.) And the virus that gave me bronchitis might also have inflamed my eustachian tubes. So who knows, really.

Book report coming when I can think more clearly. I'm still a bit muddled. Meclizine is a wonder drug but the lingering effects are lousy.


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illness, safety
Rose: today i went to the store and made lunch and ran the dishwasher and took out the trash and took out the recycling and took out the bathroom trash and took out my bedroom trash and it all felt SO GOOD
Xtina: yep
Xtina: next time you get sick, we're strappin' you to the bed

I felt so good, you see, that I foolishly said to J, "Let's go for a short walk, just down to the park next to the museum; it's nice out, 44 degrees and something like sunny." About 45 minutes later I was back home and completely freaking out about being short of breath. Cut for details of non-emergency breathing issues and panicCollapse )

Part of the problem is that I'm getting several kinds of weak/wobbly at once:

1) nose is stuffed up and lungs are inflamed, so breathing is more work than usual (though when I was at the doctor's my blood oxygen level was 98% so again, nothing genuinely scary going on there)
2) anxiety makes me dizzy
3) my right ear is blocked up and that makes me a different kind of dizzy
4) I'm low-energy from fighting off the virus
5) I didn't eat much for two days and I'm still getting my caloric intake back up
6) ditto sleep

So when I feel woozy I don't know what to do: eat? drink tea? take a hot shower? lie down? distract myself? push through it? sleep? freak out? stay home? see a doctor? It's very annoying, especially because so many of those things contradict one another. And I am so. tired. of sitting here doing nothing. It felt good to get to work yesterday, and good to move around today. I don't want to be sick and weak and wobbly! I want to be better! I drank orange juice with lunch; shouldn't that have instantly cured me of all ills and woes?

I think I should add "panic attack triggers" to my list of things to work on with my therp. Maybe at the top of the list. Especially if I'm going to go off the Zoloft, which I do really want to do.

In the meantime, I'm going to go take a hot shower to try and de-stuff my nose, and then go to bed.

I am really ready to be done with being sick. Really a lot.

(How glad am I that we got a 15-month lease and will be moving May 1 instead of today? SO glad.)

EDIT: See, this is what I mean. I'd been avoiding the shower because if I'm dizzy, humid heat often makes me feel dizzier. I finally took a shower and immediately felt my lungs open up like flowers in the sun. Wish I'd known it would work that way, oh, eight hours ago. My body's diagnostics are crap. "Feel bad!" "What kind of bad?" "Dunno! Bad!" *sigh*

And then Alex got out and went up four flights of stairs because what I really needed was to climb stairs. (For once the building hallway was cool rather than icy, probably because it was above freezing and sunny today, so at least I wasn't sucking in cold air while doing it.) Fortunately he took his time about it, so I could follow him slowly rather than attempting to run up the stairs--which I wouldn't want to do anyway as he is not a very graceful cat, and I didn't want to risk him freaking out about being chased and attempting a dangerous jump through the stairway railing--and the roof door was closed. I stood with my back to the wall and gave him a nice clear path back down the stairs, and eventually he decided going back down on his own was better than me carrying him, a sentiment I heartily shared. So that was my exercise for the day. Somewhat to my surprise, I'm not especially short of breath after that. I guess the shower helped a lot.

Grrrr, cats.

Anyway, he is back inside, and I'm in bed with moderately functional lungs and a moderately clear nose (also thanks to the shower). Of course I'm all wound up from cat-chasing, but I'm pretty sure the tiredness will overwhelm that soon.


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exhausted, spoons
The last few days have been good days. The week before them was not.

Thursday was especially difficult due to a combination of work stress and X getting extremely ill while out with coworkers, to the point where I had to go pick them up and bring them home because they were in no shape to get home on their own. If that had to happen, it happened as well as it could have: illness only temporary, all lost items recovered, and colleagues tremendously kind and supportive. It was still pretty wretched, and scary. We spent most of Friday recovering.

Foundling cat update: he's just not into us.Collapse ) I feel awful about not being able to keep him, but it really just is not working for him to be here. He needs to be an only cat and have a home where he can run around and own everything, with no other-kitty-smell anywhere to set off his territorial urges. He'd also be a great working cat in a place with mice, and a great indoor/outdoor cat in the countryside. (I'm usually vehement about keeping cats indoors, for their own safety as well as for the sake of songbirds, but this guy really needs room to run.) If you know anyone who would be interested in adopting him and would be able to provide a home that would make him happy, please point them to his Petfinder ad. We're glad to help transport him anywhere near NYC.

In brighter news, as I said, the last few days have been really good. It's been a nice quiet weekend. We really needed one of those. J had gaming both days and got social time with his new friend D, I got to go out and bustle around, X got time alone, and we had a lovely family dinner last night. X and I went shopping yesterday, as we both needed new jeans, and X's shoes were so worn that the holes had holes in them. We found everything we wanted and then some. I should not be allowed in the menswear department at Macy's without a minder; even with X hovering over me I still managed to impulse-buy hat-friendly earmuffs (which I needed) and suspenders (which I did not need but they're very smart and they were on sale and I've been wanting them for ages and... this sort of thing is why my Twitter handle is now Dandy McFopperson). J and I got in a good stroll to the grocery store today in the bracing cold; the thermometer said 27F but it felt like about 15 with the wind. We've discovered a brand of vegan pesto that was well worth going out in the cold for. Dinner both last night and tonight was pasta with pesto and sausage because it worked so well once that we figured we'd do it again. Tonight I added cashew ricotta and that was pretty splendid.

This afternoon I finally created a page on our household intranet that lists known-good meals. That's partly in anticipation of spending much of Thanksgiving weekend stocking the freezer, and partly because we tend not to plan meals much in advance and sometimes get caught up in cycles of "I dunno what to make"/delaying/getting hungrier/getting less able to make decisions. I went through the past five years or so of recipes on my journal and linked them from the page, tagged things V(egan) and F(reezes well) and S(picy) as appropriate, and now have an excellent resource that I suspect we'll refer to frequently. It felt really nice to just do a thing because I felt like doing it.

Oh, and I broke my nearly yearlong reader's block this past week. Yay for reading. It feels very good to be able to enjoy books again.

Next up: a three-day week, then a four-day cooking marathon weekend. How is it Hanukkah already? It feels like only a few weeks since I lit the last of the candles I bought in Paris. I'm not complaining, though; any light we can make against the darkness is very welcome right now.


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30 September 2013 16:00 - "Sad cat is sad"
hug-happy, cat
Sad kitty newsCollapse )


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legs, boots, potential, travel, feet
(I bet X knows the song the subject line comes from. It's been stuck in my head off and on the entire weekend, for reasons that will become obvious.)

There are two ways I could describe the trip that [personal profile] xtina and I took this past weekend, to New Orleans for World Horror/Stokers Weekend.

-----

The glum versionCollapse )

-----

The happy versionCollapse )

-----

Both versions are true, of course.

The reason that version #2 feels more true to me is that traveling with X turns out to be just plain wonderful. We'd never taken a trip like this before, and it was very much a trial run for next year's London/Paris trip around Worldcon, so there was a bit of pressure on us to Do It Right. X has frequently been known to say "I hate travel!" and we're both anxious types, so I was worried we would just stress each other out. But no, we're totally compatible, we relax each other, we want the same things out of a trip, we like the same mix of scheduling and spontaneity. X soothed me through bumpy flights and I supported X through a massive social situation full of strangers. Our good cheer barely faltered throughout the entire weekend. It's a cliché, I know, but as long as we were together we really didn't much care whether we were in Miami or New Orleans. We joked around and loved each other and relaxed, and came home full of affection and gratitude for each other. Despite everything, it was in some ways one of the best vacations I've ever taken.

I mean, yes, it would be nice if the next vacation we take together involves neither illness nor flight mishaps. But now we know that if those things come up, we can handle it just fine and still find ways to have a good time.


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15 April 2013 15:34 - "Come in, please"
lonely, sad, hug
Reports are hitting Twitter of explosions at the Boston marathon. (No links because there are a lot of graphic descriptions and images floating around right now. If you Google it up, click with care.) Boston-area folks and marathon runners, please check in. I'm worried about you all. And if you're in the area and can give blood, please do.


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10 November 2012 02:19 - "The years have changed you somehow"
awkward, dismayed, what did i just do
I should have taken the storm week to work. Instead, I... didn't. Mostly I was glued to Twitter, with occasional forays into cleaning, organizing, cooking, and other domesticity. On the one hand, I think I need to curb my Twitter habit. On the other hand, it means I collected a bunch of handy info on volunteering and donating. Occupy Sandy is doing tremendous work; I put in a couple of hours at their Clinton Hill hub and was very impressed by the scale and organization of their efforts. They were out in hard-hit areas before anyone else, and they keep going out day after day. Yay socialism! Other organizations that could use your help include the Ali Forney Center, a drop-in center for homeless QUILTBAG youth, and the ACLU and NYCLU, all of which suffered considerable storm damage to their facilities. If you want to help pets orphaned or left homeless by the storm, donate to Adopt NY or ask them about adopting and fostering pets.

Of course this means I'm up against a deadline and not as far along as I would like, but I hope the client will understand that hurricane = work disruption; and if the deadline is unbudgeable, I think I can still make it. I put in a good couple of hours tonight while Xtina napped next to me (I had not realized "quiet companionable company while you work" meant "unconscious" but clearly she needed the sleep) and the project is coming along well.

Also disruptive: my mother badly injured a finger and needed surgery, so I spent a chunk of Thursday running errands for her and fussing over her. She won't be able to use her left hand for six weeks while it heals, but the procedure seems to have gone well and she says she's in remarkably little pain. I am entirely convinced of her resilience--how could I not be, given how brilliantly she coped with ten days in the lower Manhattan blackout zone?--and at the same time all fussy and fretful. At least she still has full use of her dominant hand.

Not disruptive at all: several inches of wet November snow. I feel awful for everyone who's still without power or stuck in a shelter, but the rest of the city took it right in stride. It's supposed to be nice for the rest of the week, which means I get the fun of spring-like thaw and also have time to waterproof my winter boots before snow and cold start up again for real.

I meant to use this post to write up recipes for my latest experiments in dairy substitutes--today I made a scrumptious croque monsieur with vegan béchamel and vegan gruyère!--but apparently I have other things on my mind. And now it's 2 a.m. and my schedule says it's time for me to go to bed. I was getting really good about keeping to the schedule until this past week, when I ended up staying awake until 6 a.m. Monday and Wednesday nights so I could get work done. Weekly magazines don't stop being weekly just because the power's out. The week post-Sandy, week of 10/29, we were supposed to be putting together features for the 11/5 issue (best books of the year, a major major issue) and editing reviews for the 11/12 issue. The best books issue came out because some of my coworkers are absolute heroes, but we couldn't edit reviews, so this week I was scrambling to edit reviews for 11/12, plus features for 11/12 because it's the fall romance issue (that was Monday night), plus the reviews I'd generally be editing for 11/19 (that was Wednesday night), plus the prep I'd generally be doing for 11/26. But I think we're mostly caught up now, and I caught up on sleep last night--to bed just after 2, awake at 11-something--so I can get back on track.

I put the cover over my air conditioner and put plastic over my windows, so it's no longer freezing cold in here, which should make sleeping easier and more pleasant. Still the coldest room in the house, though. I've been pre-warming my bed with my electric heating pad (always turning it off before I go to sleep, of course), and wishing mightily for a heated mattress pad like the one fjm has. The cats would love that too.

Okay, am rambling, need to stop and sleep. Recipes another time.


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18 October 2011 02:43 - "Health to your bellybutton"
exhausted, spoons
Today I sneezed on myself twice and the cat sneezed on me once. It was still better than yesterday.

The weekend was extremely stressful for reasons I won't get into here. Today I told work I was taking the day off to deal with a family emergency, by which I mostly meant "recover from spending the weekend dealing with a family emergency". Fortunately the person who was in the hospital is now home and seems to be recovering well, and outpatient treatment should be fairly straightforward once we find the right people to provide it (always the tricky part). Also fortunately, Xtina was entirely fine with leaving me to hide in my room all day, which was mostly what I needed to do, and then going out into the world with me to breathe some fresh air and get something to eat, which I also very definitely needed to do.

I spent most of the day battling stress nausea, but eventually managed to ingest about 3/4 of a hamburger, and just now had a big bowl of chicken soup. A walk in the park with Josh also helped a lot: cool air is wonderfully restorative, and walking in the park in the evening is just a totally normal, relaxing thing for us to do. We stopped and chatted with neighbors, and looked for egrets in the marsh, and it was just... an ordinary evening. And I really, really needed that.

Tomorrow I will go to work and catch up on everything I meant to do over the weekend (I am tremendously grateful that my boss is understanding about things like "sorry, missed deadline due to unexpectedly needing to take someone to the hospital") and then I will come home and a very jetlagged grahamsleight will be here, which will be lovely. And I will make sure to keep hunting down those moments of normalcy. And everything will be okay.


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10 October 2008 01:48 - "Caressing my frontal lobes"
peace, garden, home
Today I went by my mother's place to lend her sinboy's old laptop, since hers just bit the dust, and we asked each other "How are you holding up?", as you do at times like this. I told her that I was doing pretty well, and a bit surprised to be feeling generally calm and steady. This was before I got the call from Rosetta, but that just made me shaky for a few hours and then I came home and sinboy hugged me and I got some useful things done and had dinner (and drowned my sorrows in Haagen-Dazs chocolate chocolate chip ice cream) and the calm came back.

It's a very strange feeling. It's like... antidepression.

I don't usually do research for my post-top quotes; they come from my memories. (I am so very much shaped by the things I read, see, hear.) Often I get quotes going around in my head like snatches of melody. The one that's in there right now is from John Varley's "Press Enter", where the narrator describes being on tranquilizers and thinking of his lover's suicide: "I felt a vast calm, with a howling nightmare just below it." Right now that doesn't even feel like it applies, though, because I don't have the nightmare. I don't feel as though someday the wall of calm will shatter and I'll drown in the black tide of emotional effluvia that's piled up behind it. I seem to genuinely believe that everything will be okay. I believe it all the way down, like turtles.

I did some very basic calculations tonight while rearranging all our bill payments. My PW salary minus our monthly bills--paying only the minimums on our debts--comes to a shortfall of about $1500 per month. Off the top of my head, I'm going to guess that our expenses amount to about another $1200 per month. That should terrify me. I should be in a tailspin of panic. I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder! Where's my anxiety?! It's like I want an anxiety blanket, like I'm so used to the panic that I feel a bit lost without it to react to.

Really, between my freelancing and sinboy's unemployment benefits and a recent loan that we decided to keep a fair amount of in cash rather than paying off the Visa card (which after all is only at 12%), we should be okay. I know that. It's just so weird to believe it.

I finished and turned in my last pre-vacation freelance project, so it's time to ice my arms and pass out. The stress may not be triggering me, but it sure is tiring.

EDIT: I do note that an email from OkCupid got me thinking briefly about how nice it would be to go off and have a quick fling with a hot woman I don't know very well.* There's the self-destructive/self-indulgent/procrastinatory/denial impulse! I knew I'd find it if I looked hard enough.

* Not that I'd be opposed to a quick fling with a woman I do know well, but I seem to be low on options on that front just at the moment. The point is for it to take as little time and effort as possible. Just about everything is hard work right now and I would just like something fun that really isn't much work at all.

Oddly enough, I feel better now.
9 October 2008 16:46 - "Done now."
scared, desperate, trapped
Rosetta Solutions has laid off pretty much its entire development team, including me.

Time to start working my LinkedIn connections for freelance gigs!

EDIT: I do still have my job for PW. sinboy has gotten some numbers on his unemployment benefits and severance pay (which includes all ten vacation days he was owed, hallelujah), and those will definitely tide us over until freelance checks come in, which should in turn tide us over for a good few months.

At this point I'm not looking for another part-time job, though if one falls in my lap I'll certainly consider it. I'd prefer freelance gigs. In addition to the medical writing and editing, I can do pretty much any kind of freelance wordsmithing you want: proofreading, copyediting, copywriting, tech writing, PR, etc. If you hear of anything, please let me know.
19 July 2007 02:35 - "A time for big decisions"
green, books
I neither saw nor heard the steam pipe burst near Grand Central; I work about a mile south of there, on the other side of a hill. It's right across from sinboy's old office, though, and we saw lots of police cars and ambulances going past; we knew something was going on but didn't know what. Apparently the scene was chaotic, but no one said a word about it at KGB or during dinner. I didn't get all the details until I got home, six hours after the fact. I only knew anything was going on because my mother called to see if I was okay, and then amalthya texted me a quick summary. It's a bit blasé, I suppose, but I figure if anything really major happened, everyone's phones would be ringing. They weren't, so I didn't fret.

It took me until I got home to wonder how I would have reacted if I had heard about it while sinboy was still working around there. I guess I would have called him, but I don't think I would have been too afraid, at least not if the scale of it was fairly immediately apparent. Impossible to know, though. I'm glad he was with me.

The reading itself was nothing special, but I got a lot of knitting done. Dinner was great fun, as was the beaver-filled trip home on the 1 with maryrobinette and meritahut.

Misc.:

* PW isn't putting anyone new on their in-house blogs, so I'm going to start making more book- and publishing-related posts here and mirroring them on my Blogspot site. Any day now.

* I wonder whether I'm the only person to have deliberately sought out spoilers for HP7 while having no plans whatsoever for reading the actual book. I haven't even read book 6. I really just want the Cliffs Notes version so that I have any idea what all of my friends are going on about. If you have reasonably authentic spoilers, feel free to email them to me (but please don't post them in comments, since I'm sure many of my friends don't want to see them). Then I can nod my head knowingly when otherwise sensible people suddenly start using words like "horcrux".

* Being woken by thunder this morning was awesome. It would have been even more awesome had it not been an hour and a half before I needed to get up, but it was awesome nonetheless. When I finally staggered out of the house, my iPod tossed "Rainy Season", "Rain When I Die", and "Water" at me in quick succession, plus the slightly less relevant "What A Day That Was" ("Down come a bolt of lightning, now an electrical storm"). Despite all that, I did not actually get rained on very much. Maybe there will be more rain tomorrow.

Must go sleep now. Busy day tomorrow, hanging out with weegoddess and pisicutsa; probably lots of walking. Sleep is good and important in preparation for such things.
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