Might Be Halfway

We bought four blueberry plants last year and this is the early one. We had a little bit of snow last night and I intended to get out there and get a photo but I was too distracted by writing and the sun has melted almost all of it away.

The goal for the weekend was to get a handle on everything I have so far and hopefully be at least halfway. I’m still not sure if I’m there yet. I rearranged some things which meant I needed to rearrange other things so I’m only about halfway to my goal of being halfway. As soon as I hit post I’m going right back to it.

If you haven’t heard from me, that’s why. The situation will not improve for some time.

This is the flowerbed out front. These will be daffodils and tulips. I meant to throw more bulbs in last fall but I don’t think I ever got around to it.

Here’s the latest on the neighbor situation. After the party I did some research and talked to the leasing agent and learned how to make a non-emergency phone call to the police. I didn’t know you could do that. So the following weekend when I was woken up again in the middle of the night, I called the police. I honestly hated to do it and there was lots of handwringing but I figured if there was going to be change someone had to do something.

I do not know what happened but the tenant came over and introduced herself this weekend and apologized for the noise and left a phone number. She has a son. They woke me up again but it was before midnight so I sucked it up. This is me trying to be reasonable. But at least we have a dialogue so looks like there is hope.

This is the daffodil situation in the backyard. That one little flower. When it snowed the flower drooped over and was buried in the tiny accumulation. This is a metaphor for everything.

I haven’t even had time to watch much Olympics. It seems like whenever I remember to turn on my DVR it’s a bunch of things I don’t care to watch. I have a list of skating programs I want to go back and find online but I haven’t gotten to that either.

Hope you’re keeping your feet warm.

Posted in doing it wrong, garden | Tagged | Comments Off on Might Be Halfway

Freedom

Last week I forgot my update on my month of giving up non-essential Internet.

It was brilliant. Why don’t I do this all the time? I don’t know. At the beginning of this month I signed back in and gave up on giving up. Why is it so hard to give up the things we know are bad for us?

I decided to sign back out of everything. I should probably nuke all of my accounts but I can’t decide. I need to recommit to that “non-essential” thing, too but I need my cute animal gifs after I have my lunch and one thing leads to another …

I’m still not clear on how my new DVR works and somehow I have it set up to tape every freaking NCAA gymnastics meet that is aired within my cable package which turns out is 5 or 6 a week. That’s about 3 or 4 more than I can watch. If I keep my the remote in my hands I can power through a meet pretty quickly and whatever I haven’t finished at the end of the week I delete so I can be ready for the fresh batch.

Does anyone out there watch The Magicians? It’s based on the books by Lev Grossman that I would love to re-read if I can ever get back to reading more than one book a month. I had a funny reaction to the books which is that much as I loved them, the whole time I was reading them I kept feeling like I was on the verge of losing my mind but never got there. So yeah, I criticized the books for not being even greater than they were.

We’re in the third season of the TV show and I’ve always liked it but this season is so insanely good I am losing my mind. I don’t keep track of what’s changed from the books since I finished the last book years ago but whatever is going on in the show is working for me. Margo is my idol.

That middle photo is my apple tree stump. I had a guy come over and grind it out so it’s a big hole in the ground waiting for me to plant a new apple tree. I thought I would get to it this weekend but I had some other plans and urgh. I have got to get in the groove with this dang book. I can no longer tell if I’m still panicking or if I’m moving ahead. On the current timeline I need about 5000 words a week to make it which is doable if the stars are in perfect alignment and I have no distractions which is not possible in this universe.

I’ll figure it out.

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged , | Comments Off on Freedom

Sunshine on the Water

Destination reunion weekend turned out spectacular. Sunshine and beach views were incredible.

It was fun to spend time with people I share history with – there were a lot of great memories and laughter. It was also validating to be in a room of all women my age and most of them didn’t understand how their smart phones worked, either.

The only problem with going away is coming back. I’m still trying to get my act back together. The writing project has stalled and I haven’t managed to get it restarted yet. Oof.

It’s a predictable part of my process but I panic every time which leads to more stalling which makes me panic more. Not a great loop to be stuck in. I’m hoping some good quality sleep and a healthy diet and some magical beans will get me going again.

Last night there was another party at the rental house next door. I thought things had settled down over there. It seemed like there were semi-regular cars parked out front. They woke me up at 2:30 and kept going until 4am when they moved to the front and then stood around talking and shouting and laughing for another half hour. I am now regretful that I did not complain at the beginning. I hate being confrontational but I also hate being woken up by people who aren’t even pretending they care about being considerate. That is all changing. Knowing my luck these will be the kind of people who react by putting dog poop on my lawn and throwing rocks at my car.

There was a commuter bus that was scheduled for 5 minutes after my work day ends. Every day I would walk up the hill to catch this bus and every day it would pass me going to the next stop. I started leaving my desk a few minutes early hoping to catch it. I still missed it.

I began to build up some major outrage that the bus was so consistently leaving ahead of schedule.

Then I remembered that time this lady complained that her bus was late every single day and I suggested that if it was late every single day, maybe she was expecting it at the wrong time. I checked the bus schedule and guess what? It was changed five minutes earlier. “File complaint about bus” has been removed from my list.

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Back Sliding

When I was in CA this little guy was hanging out on Aunt Janet’s back porch in the middle of the day, fearlessly digging up little snack nuggets and having a great time.

The crud cough has been downgraded into a plain old nagging cough. I can sleep through the night and I started exercising again although I get interrupted by a fit every few minutes.

I successfully secured a single value-pack of Fisherman’s Friend at the market — the only one they had. I figured out I can cut the lozenges in half since even just a little bit will keep me from coughing.

I’ve been back sliding on non-essential Internet. Nothing terrible but I have marred my perfect record. Mar — that’s a word, right? It looks funny. Like I typo’d married. But why would I marry my record of non-essential Internet? I cheated when I was trying to draft something difficult for work and thought it would be fun to peek at some nonsense. It’s good to understand your weaknesses.

I’ve been hearing a frog out in the yard all week. It’s hard not to want to poke around out there and find it. But I don’t want it to go away. Don’t they croak when they’re looking for a partner? I hope there’s another frog hopping around that wants to get it on.

Writing is plodding along, steadily forward but never as fast as I would like. I backtracked a bit this weekend because the chronology felt off and I swapped the order of some things — I tend to doubt myself when I make changes like this and stare at the screen fretting for prolonged periods.

I think the fretting is finished. I wish I had more hours today because I am really into it but I have some other stuff to take care of.

Next weekend I am going to California to reunite with my college gang, several of whom I haven’t seen in eons. I’ve been trying to remember the last time and going through old photos. It’s frightening how the time passes. Here we are in Vegas in 2000. I know there was a wedding in the last ten years and I saw some of them in SoCal in 2012. Should be fun.

Posted in doing it wrong | Comments Off on Back Sliding

The Crud Crisis

The crud finally got us. We’ve both been coughing our faces off for several days now. I went to pick up an extra stockpile of Fisherman’s Friend and–disaster!–they were out. I still have one unopened bag plus a half bag.

As a back up we have three tins of what we are calling Tante Hilla cough drops. Those are sorta low rent Ricola that Tante Hilla sent us from her Apotheke in Germany.

We’re remaining calm for now.

Before I went down with this cold, I had planned to write something about flu shots (Since this is the Internet, I will clarify that I know colds and flu are not the same thing but both fall under the general heading of crud and are being combined in this post.) But now that I have the crud, I don’t have the energy for the whole manifesto.

I have become a huge fan of Health News Review which is a website where medical professionals discuss how health news is portrayed in the media. I think it should be required reading. This article from 2015 talks about flu shots and I will just pull this quote:

“…under ideal conditions (when the vaccine matches the main viruses circulating that season) you need to vaccinate 33 healthy adults to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.”

I’m actually in favor of flu shots. What I hate is when you get sick and someone says, “Oh, didn’t you get a flu shot?”

Moving on.

For one calendar year I saved all the mail sent to our work suite that was addressed to the previous tenant, the people who moved out in September of 2008. That cruise company sends stacks of huge catalogs. I tried to notify them that “No one here cares. Your fancy catalog goes directly into recycling.” I guess no one there cares either.

Finally, I was at the bookstore last week and there were a bunch of kids there doing some sort of program. A little girl approached me to give me a card she’d made.

She wanted me to know it was Martin Luther King’s Birthday on Monday. Here’s the quote on the front of the card:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

She wanted to remind me to remember his message and pass it along. I wasn’t sure if she wanted me to pass the card along but it was so cute I kept it but I’m sharing it with all of you. Peace.

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged | Comments Off on The Crud Crisis

Cookie Sales

I can’t believe I’ve lived long enough to see Hugh Grant staring in a movie with a talking teddy bear.

Yesterday one the neighbor kids came over selling Girl Scout cookies. I was so sad Bob wasn’t here because this kid is a character and we’ve seen her around the neighborhood since she was teeny. He would have loved to be in charge of this transaction. I asked to buy two boxes and she asked if we would buy one from her and then another from her younger sister who was selling cookies for the first time. How cute is that?

Younger sister still hasn’t appeared but it’s been cold and wet so maybe she hasn’t gone out for her lap yet.

I’m sure it will come as a surprise to no one that abstaining from social media is brilliant. Staying away from discussion boards and not reading the news is great, too, although probably not the best idea in the long run for a responsible adult to skip reading the news.

Finally making measurable progress on Book #3 but I’m still working out of order so I don’t have a precise sense of my word count. Maybe a third of the way done? I’ll have a better idea when I have a couple more good productive weekends under my belt.

Posted in doing it wrong | Comments Off on Cookie Sales

Searching for Consciousness

I was going to break my social media ban to tweet these today but a ban is a ban so I am posting here. (Anything that involves opening Twitter is banned. Blogging is fine.)

Item 1 is this article that was in the NYT food section and caused me to almost sprain myself from the full body shudders of WTF?

It’s hard to pull the best quotes when the entire thing is best quotes but here you go:

“…glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as “raw water” — unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water, $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill…”

“He said ‘real water’ should expire after a few months. His does. “It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” he said. “If it sits around too long, it’ll turn green. People don’t even realize that because all their water’s dead, so they never see it turn green.””

And here is an opposite article — a really good one about great progress with Native voting rights, also from the NYT:

“[I]n late December, after a federal judge ruled that San Juan County’s longtime practice of packing Navajo voters into one voting district violated the United States Constitution, the county was ordered to draw new district lines for local elections.”

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged , | Comments Off on Searching for Consciousness

Little Black Backpack

This is Percy, all piled with leaves to keep him warm. I don’t know why Bob named our fig tree (is it really a fig tree when it’s this small?) but now I drive up and I think, poor Percy is just some sad little sticks.

One of the good things about driving home from the coast was I got to drive along Highway 101 between Eureka and Crescent City which means I had some beautiful ocean views and drove through the redwoods. I know the world is filled with amazing beautiful things and places but there are few places or things that can compete with the redwoods in NW California. One of my very favorite places to be.

~~~

I made an off-hand remark a couple of days ago that I was considering giving up all non-essential Internet for the month of January. I can’t really give it up completely because I use it for work and streaming exercise classes and certain kinds of research and apps for writing.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I have unsubscribed from almost everything. I cleaned out my feed reader and left only friends and work related. I took Instagram and Twitter off my phone. I’m keeping a list of what’s allowed and what’s not. I am making an exception for Timbers and NCAA gymnastics — which starts NEXT WEEKEND. Here’s a link to my case for watching NCAA gymnastics.

Bob asked what I was going to be doing to fill the void I was creating and I’m like: getting my brain back. I let myself get so distracted. Hopefully I will do more reading and writing and learn new stuff.

My brand new backpack, which is not little or black. Did I ever write about what a hassle it is to find a new backpack? I started looking two years ago but it was like looking for a car with all the different kinds and configurations. Last year I found one to buy — it was nothing special but had nice colors and would carry my crap to and from the office every day and was reasonably priced. But the first three comments said: don’t even think about using this backpack in the rain.

Clearly, that wouldn’t do.

Then I started looking at waterproof backpacks which weren’t pretty and said things like, “Mt. Everest compliant.” I need to keep my stuff dry while I walk from the bus to the office. I don’t need to keep it dry in a monsoon.

Finally I found one I liked and bookmarked it and when I went back the company was out of business.

Then I found this one and it was not cheap but I figured, I have a big girl job, I can treat myself to a nice backpack that I will use and enjoy every day. So I bought it immediately, months ago. I opened the box to make sure it was the right thing, then I gave it to Bob to give to me for Xmas. I have been counting down ever since.

I can’t wait to use it. It’s from Waterfield. I bought several laptop sleeves and a laptop bag from them. I have never been disappointed.

~~~

This post is kinda all over the place but I will conclude with some podcasts I listened to while doing so much driving lately.

My favorite is Gymcastic which is for gymnastics nerds. I love the hosts – they are shameless fan nerds, they are extremely knowledgable, and they are funny but have covered the criminal abuse case with dignity.

My Dad Wrote a Porno — I feel like I might have mentioned this one. SO SO FUNNY. I haven’t listened consecutively but you can drop into any episode and get a good laugh.

My friend Tina does a podcast Toasted Cake which is spec flash fiction. I like that the episodes are short so if the story doesn’t work for me, it’s over quick, and I get to hear so many different writers.

I especially like long car rides for listening to writing podcasts because during my regular life if I have time, I’d rather be writing than listening to a podcast.

I like Writing Excuses because they keep it to 15 minutes and almost always hit something interesting even if the topic isn’t something related to what I’m doing.

Finally, I recommend with reservations, Narrative First. This one discusses stories using Dramatica which is story theory that I love. It is not for everyone. It takes some effort to learn. Narrative First works hard to make it more accessible but it isn’t something you study over the weekend and then get. Recommended only for deep story study nerds.

I will try to post once a week going into the new year. I’m still getting my bearings on my manuscript after my trip down south. As soon as I get a grip, I will start posting my word counts. I’m way behind where I want to be but I think I’m further along than I realize.

Happy New Year.

Posted in doing it wrong | Tagged | Comments Off on Little Black Backpack

Hips Don’t Lie

Here’s an update for anyone interested in what’s been going on with my family.

My dad had a hip replacement at the beginning of the month and was doing great with his recovery. Unfortunately, one day he misjudged the place where he was going to sit and he fell. He was taken to the hospital.

My folks live inland and the nearest medical facility is on the coast, about 90 miles one way.

I was off work for the holidays so I rearranged my holiday stuff and went to California to see what was going on. He didn’t have to do another surgery but he has to keep weight off of his leg for 4-6 weeks. When I got there he was still in the hospital but the next day he was released to adult physical rehab facility.

If you don’t know what that is, you should stop reading right now and wrap your arms around yourself and take a moment to be grateful. Chances are you will know someday, and you will yearn for this more innocent time.

While I was in CA we did several day trips to visit and then I spend several days in a motel and shuttled back and forth to the care center. Mostly to keep him company but also to help get situated and communicate with the staff on any issues that we wanted to bring to their attention.

The good news is that Dad is doing great with his physical therapy, getting more upper body strength to get in and out of the wheelchair, practicing walking with a walker using his good leg, and getting better mobility with both legs. The therapy staff is super terrific and seem to genuinely like working with Dad.

He had another X-ray while I was there and we were hoping for an Xmas miracle but unfortunately, no luck. The bad news is he’s stuck there at least another 4 weeks which was hugely disappointing.

During all this another family member had a health bloop but is recovering well. Also during this time my husband was moving his mother into assisted living. He stayed here while I was gone.

So, all-in-all it was a strange holiday season and not very holiday-ish with all the concerns.

BUT, we had a great meal with the extended family on Christmas eve and got a chance to celebrate being together. Then the immediate family went to spend Christmas day with Dad. The important stuff worked out.

I finally returned home on the 27th and it’s taken a few days to get back into the groove here. I plan to enjoy a lazy holiday weekend and then get ready to go back to work next week.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have a companion post about my trip down south.

Posted in pamily | Tagged | Comments Off on Hips Don’t Lie

You Can’t Stop Time

This is fabulous photo of my family taken in 1969. My Dad used a timer with a camera on a tripod. I remember him setting it and then hurrying to get into the picture.

I love my sister’s “you wanna mess with me?” face, my bowed legs and missing tooth, our bangs! and my Mom and Dad all young and healthy and happy.

I adjusted my plans and I’m headed to California tomorrow. Dad’s having some health issues and I want to be able to see him and help out Mom. Chirstmas is going to be weird this year.

Don’t stand by the mailbox waiting for our xmas card.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Posted in doing it wrong, goofy face | Comments Off on You Can’t Stop Time