That's when I overeat. When my stress levels get too high. Between the problems professionally and the election, I had more bad months than good months, and I pretty much stopped caring about anything after November started. When I'm stressed, I want something to make me feel good, and food does that. Exercise sure as hell doesn't. I do not know what these endorphins are everybody but me seems to get to experience.
But I'm trying to make 2017 better. I started double-tracking today--both on my app for WW and in the new workout/food diary I got for myself--and I went back to the gym. Twice, actually. Once for yoga this morning--gentle because I've not been in over six months--and once again this evening for some cardio. I have lost any stamina I might've had, but hey, I got to read two chapters so I'll take what I can get.
Food was on point, too, oddly enough. I got a new cookbook for Christmas--But I Could Never Go Vegan--and I tried the first recipe from it the other night. Broccoli and quinoa tabbouleh with a tahini-lemon dressing. I had leftover dressing--that's my one quibble with it, I only used half the dressing it made--and most of the veg, so I made another batch of it tonight. We won't be going full-on vegan, but I'm drastically cutting back on animal products again. As long as I can keep food interesting, it's easier for me to stick to eating more healthily.
Menu is all planned for tomorrow, but I might not get to the gym the way I want. Tuesday is the cheap night at the theater, and I haven't seen a ton of recent releases. I'd dying to see La La Land, and Hidden Figures, and I still haven't seen Moana...the list is very extensive.
In an effort to post more often, I'm doing these thefridayfive things.
1) What would/did you name your first child? ANSWER: Alicia Marie. I had a massive spreadsheet of names that Craig and I went back and forth crossing stuff off of, until we finally settled on one. In all honesty, he loved the name more than I did (the ones I loved most tended to be a little too androgynous or unusual for him), but I can't imagine one more fitting now. The middle name is both a family tradition in mine and a variation on his mother's first name.
2) What do you think makes a good name for a baby? ANSWER: Easy to pronounce, easy to spell, no obvious ways to tease the child about it.
3) What do you think makes a bad name for a baby? ANSWER: Anything you have to explain. Or spend too long having to justify.
4) What's a name that you love, but would never give a child? Why? ANSWER: I have been madly in love with the name Isabeau since I was a teenager, but I'd never use it. People have a tendency to only glance at names, and she'd be saddled with being called Isabelle a lot of the time in error.
5) Did your parents do a good job naming you? ANSWER: I'm going with no here. I HATED my name growing up. In my whole life, I've only ever met one other woman in this country with my name. It's much more common in Nordic/Scandinavian countries, but here in the US, people look at it and either completely mangle the pronunciation by adding letters that aren't there (because male variants on my name with those letters are more familiar to them) or don't even try. To this day, my name is a conversation piece with strangers. In addition, it's easily distorted to create truly awful nicknames that I was teased with as a child. For decades, I wished I could've been a Laura or an Elizabeth. It's gotten easier as I've aged to appreciate the individuality of my name, and adults are certainly more complimentary about it, but I went through almost thirty years of torture because of it.
So. The recital happened without me. Around 3, anxiety started to win, but I still managed to get ready and go. There were random crying jags before that, but I was mostly in control when we arrived. Way too early, unfortunately. My nerves exploded into a full-blown panic attack, and I had to go outside because I couldn't control the hyperventilating or sobbing. It wasn't pretty. And I couldn't stop. My friend L came out and tried to hug me, but I couldn't handle being touched. I had to start pacing and counting in an attempt to get the hyperventilating under control. After I'd been outside for half an hour, Craig came out to find out how I was doing and told me he was going to tell my teacher that I wasn't doing it. It took me another half hour to get to a point where my heart wasn't racing and I could breathe again.
I never went back into the performance space. I stood outside in the cold to listen to the kids perform.
I'm not proud of my reaction. Part of my panic came because I couldn't deal with looking like a coward in front of my kids, that Alicia might view me with disdain because she never lets her fear hold her back, but I couldn't go through with it. It's been a long time since I've had such a strong panic attack. The last time was three years ago when I got triggered at a birthday party by two dogs getting into a fight. (I was attacked by a German Shepherd when I was five. The barking and crying of the dog that got bit set me off this time.) I know it was all on me, but I still feel like an idiot.
Craig was wonderful through it all. When I told him how afraid I was of looking like a coward in front of Alicia, that I feared she would look down on me for giving in to fear, his answer came back reasoned and assuring. That nobody who loved me would want me to be as miserable was I was. And that if Alicia wasn't supportive, she would have to answer to him, because nothing was more important to him than making me feel loved.
That helped. A lot. But I'm still mildly ashamed I couldn't do it.
I want it to be 24 hours from now more than I've wanted anything ever. Because in 19 hours, my guitar recital starts and I would literally prefer to have open-heart surgery right now than have to do this recital. I'm not ready. I'm going to be sitting there, screwing up or not even playing because I've lost the rhythm, and there is very little I can do about it. I've been knocking myself out trying to learn what I'd been given, only to find out first on Monday that I was doing an additional solo near the end, and then today that I had the wrong chords for all the verses. So he gave me the music he gave EVERYBODY ELSE (but not me because I hadn't been to lessons since October), 24 hours before the recital with the intention that I'd be comfortable with it all by the time to perform rolls around.
Which I will not be.
I even begged Craig to call him and tell him to let me out of it in order to save our marriage because I was going crazy, lol. Which he refused, telling me, "You're the one who agreed to do this. How many times have I told you to say no to people?"
None of this helped by the fact that Aunt Flo decided to visit yesterday. The past thirty-six hours have been a muddle of agonizing pain, desires for crying jags, and complete lack of motivation, with real life happening all around it, including a board meeting tonight that meant I couldn't practice after my lesson this afternoon until 10pm tonight.
Craig is right, of course. But that doesn't change the fact that I would do anything--including trying to bribe the band teacher at the booster meeting tonight to get him to play for me--to get out of this recital tomorrow. This whole nightmare has even made me hate Hotel California. Which I have always loved.
This past week was our trip to Tahoe. For anyone who hasn't heard, a ton of snow dumped in that region beginning in the middle of our drive up. What should have taken us four hours at most, took us eight, and it didn't stop snowing for over two days. In the end, we had forty inches dumped in the front yard of the cabin we rented, which managed to bury all three cars. Literally. Not a single inch of any one of them was visible when the snow stopped Thursday morning. It took over three hours of ten people digging and moving snow to get them out.
The kids had two great days, though. While it was snowing, it wasn't windy and the temperatures stayed in the twenties. The reason we ended up leaving a day early, however, because when we woke up on Thursday morning, we discovered the power had gone out in the middle of the night. A line had snapped on the road, and they couldn't tell us whether or not it would be fixed by the end of the day or not. Since temperatures were supposed to dip to zero (in Fahrenheit) that night, we decided it wasn't worth sticking it out. So home we came. It was so bad the day before we left, they'd even closed I-80 for almost 24 hours.
Tomorrow starts my new year for real, though. Healthy eating, getting caught up on writing (I can finally get back to my Spuffy story, I do not want that to languish any longer), getting life back on track. I'm going to be knocking myself out the next few days to get the introduction to Hotel California under my belt for a performance on Thursday night, too. I made a promise and as much as I'd rather not play, I have to do it. Even if I suck.
Hopefully posting will happen more. I know there's been another LJ/DW migration, but frankly, I'm not going anywhere. I'm not a fan of DW, and I just paid for another year here. I'll be sorry to lose anyone, but I can't say that it would be shocking, considering how many people have drifted away from LJ over the years. I'm not such an integral part of any one community to feel the need to make the move.
ETA: Oh, and I wrote a few things for the holidays.
The Space Between (1440 words) by eurydice72 Chapters: 1/1 Fandom: Humans (TV) Rating: Teen And Up Audiences Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply Relationships: Leo Elster/Mattie Hawkins Characters: Leo Elster, Mattie Hawkins, Anita | Mia (Humans), Laura Hawkins Additional Tags: Post-Season/Series 01, Epistolary, First Love Summary: Set after the end of series 1. Leo and Mattie try to move on with their lives. It's not nearly as satisfying as they'd hoped for.
For camelot_drabble's Holiday Exchange fest, I wrote fluffy Arthur/Percival.
An Elf in Wonderland (3170 words) by eurydice72 Chapters: 1/1 Fandom: Merlin (TV) Rating: Teen And Up Audiences Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply Relationships: Arthur Pendragon/Percival (Merlin) Characters: Arthur Pendragon (Merlin), Percival (Merlin) Additional Tags: Christmas Fluff, Alternate Universe - Human Summary: Modern AU. When Arthur starts his Christmas shopping, the last thing he expects to find at the market is a wondrous world and the more wondrous man who helped create it.
More arguing with the FIL. This time about something stupid.
Next week, we are going to Tahoe for a few days. We are *not* skiing. It's a sledding kind of holiday. He is insistent that all of the kids need snow pants because otherwise it'll be too cold and wet. I refuse to buy snow pants to wear for three days out of the year if it's only sledding. The sledding will happen behind the cabin we rented, and there is literally no way these kids are going to be out for more than a couple hours at a time. He thinks I'm being unreasonable, even though we have to literally buy everything else--coats, boots, gloves, hats. I just don't see the point in spending even more money for something that isn't as necessary. Especially since we live in California and finding them cheap in a store nearby is a bitch. We're going to have a hard enough time finding appropriate coats and boots right now.
I grew up in the snow. We did not have snow pants. You wore jeans and layers if you went out. I have zero problems buying thermal underwear and more jeans for the kids, because I know they'll wear them beyond those three days. And yet, I'm the one being unreasonable because I refuse to coddle them.
What am I missing here?!?
At least Craig agrees with me about not buying anymore. As it stands, we have three pairs the adults wore the last time, none of which fits the kids properly, but FIL thinks will have to suffice since I'm being mean and not getting them new ones. Alex will wear my MIL's--which are four inches too short--Alicia will wear Craig's--which are way too big in the waist and hips--and our exchange student will wear FIL's--which are three inches too short. Apparently, these ill-fitting pants are better than nothing to him, a point I disagree with since it's worse to get snow up your pants legs and Alex and our exchange student will probably struggle to get them tucked into boots properly.
Why my experience of having grown up in snow isn't valid, I don't know. He's lived his whole life in southeast England. His only experience with snow is as a tourist.
I've written 24k in the past five days in order to meet two deadlines. On top of handling a dentist appointment, guitar lesson, three trips to the grocery store, two school runs for emergencies, a trip to San Jose on Saturday night to see the Dances with the Stars with Alicia and our exchange student as one of their Christmas gifts, a minor catastrophe with Alicia when she dropped her saber while practicing and clobbered herself in the eye (huge bump, big gash, and now a black eye), and a hair appointment that ended up lasting three hours.
So...yeah. Officially dead.
Tomorrow morning I have to read through line edits on a 40k story and then finish cleaning my house to prepare for 75 teenagers descending on us in the afternoon for a potluck dinner. Then I have one more Christmas fic gift to write at which point I can finally start thinking about wrapping gifts and finishing up the grocery shopping for Christmas.
Fingers crossed I actually make it to Christmas this year. :P
I feel like I'm barely holding it all together. My professional life is overwhelmed with stuff that needs to happen, most of which will be late. I've been killing myself trying to get Thanksgiving ready--entertaining/feeding 13 people for 4 solid days. I had to take a break from writing fanfic because of the professional stuff I need to get done, which makes me feel like crap because I don't want to look like I'm not going to get my Spuffy story done again not to mention I haven't even been able to start my Merlin Holidays story which is due in a week.
And then there's all the election shit. Every day is something else that makes me wish I was anywhere but here. I'm in a red section of California and it's frustrating as hell to hear so many local people denouncing those of us who hate Trump and what he's normalizing and the threat of what his administration will do to so many people.
I'm eating to self-medicate, which isn't good at all and I know it.
I have no time for anything for myself. Craig offered to send me for a pedicure and facial the other day to help me destress and I turned him down because the prospect of losing three hours to something that would only put me further behind on other obligations made me anxious.
My FIL arrives tomorrow from the UK. If he brings up Trump, I'm going to lose it. He's going to say something like how on earth could we have elected someone like that here, and I'll explode on him because he voted for Brexit. He's against all the immigrants and how they're hurting the UK economy, which was his primary reason for voting for it, but if I dare to bring up the similarities between those who voted for Brexit and those who voted for Trump, it's going to be a miserable three months.
I'm whining. I know. But it just builds and build and builds and there's no place else for me to put it.
I'm getting really tired of biting my tongue around people I know it's a waste of breath with, but I'm so sick and tired of people telling me that I need to suck it up or that voting for a misogynistic, hateful man for a reason that is not about hate means his voters are completely blame free or that I'm the one being hateful for continuing to talk about "so-called hate crimes" when most of them aren't real anyway.
In a desperate bid to not think about the election and have it ruin my day completely, I'm throwing myself into holiday planning. There's one item I'd like my flist's help with.
Every year, I buy Alicia a new book set to read. It's typically been a YA series of some sort, like Hunger Games and Daughter of Smoke & Bone. I'm looking for suggestions because I've been ignoring the YA market the past year or two. She loves fantasy and strong heroines, and typically isn't a big fan of stories that center on romance. Other types slip in there--some John Green, for example--so if a series is fantastic, please feel free to recommend it. Then I can take the list to compare it to her library to see what she might not have.
Oh, and the series should be complete or mostly so. She's not a fan of having to wait, lol.
I spent most of my night sick to my stomach. And crying. And then getting sick again. While Hillary was definitely not my first choice, when the electoral college process means the president will either be someone who has never done a day of public service in his life and wants to stack the Supreme Court with conservative judges that will take back the rights women, LGBT+, non-Christians, and minorities have fought to have for decades, or a woman who at least is familiar with how our government works and will be a balance against a Republican-controlled House and Senate, the choice was obvious.
My vote wasn't about me. It was about everybody. Though I might loathe the misogynists and religious right on principle, I voted for a country that would uphold their rights as much as they would uphold the rights of others. I'm saddened I was so wrong about our country that they would fall prey to the fear.
At least California got it right. Plus, we legalized marijuana tonight. I am never leaving this state unless I absolutely have to. :P
I just want 2016 to be over. What an awful, sucky year.
I'm thisclose to canceling a double date tomorrow because I'm angry/upset with the female half of the other couple. I talked to her yesterday--in what I thought was confidence--about something a mean girl said to Alicia, mostly because I knew her daughter had problems with the mean girl too and she'd be a sympathetic ear. I just needed to get it off my chest.
She turned around and told her daughter, who then went to the friend who'd witnessed the exchange (whose mother had been the one to tell me) and demanded to know what was going on. The other friend turned on his mom, who then called me and told me what happened. It was all a mess. And ugly. And I was furious that what I thought was between two adults got tossed back into the teenage ring, and even more furious that I didn't see it coming and said anything to her in the first place.
She apologized profusely but doesn't think she really did anything wrong, telling me I should've been clearer with her. Which is ridiculous because she only hears what she wants to hear sometimes and has been known to blame me for not telling her things other people have communicated multiple times (seriously, she never reads emails or checks our parents' band group so doesn't find out about things until it's too late and then gets mad at me for not keeping her up to date; I am not her damn secretary).
All of this on top of the news about my aunt's breast cancer, dealing with family, trying to get writing done (I have my Spuffy story I'm working on, a 55k short novel due on 12/1 that only has its outline done, edits for a different novel, and another set of line edits that I got today), keeping up with the kids' schedules (currently comprised of band/color guard/election canvassing/leadership/basketball/college testing), two different fundraisers for band boosters, a guitar recital in a month (though it looks like now there's a scheduling conflict with that), the annual Christmas basket/gift program for my hometown, and just feeding and clothing my family since nobody else will do it.
Then there's the election. Which makes me want to cry.
Halloween isn't quite the same with the kids now being teenagers. We walked around a little with the younger children, but then the girls came back to our house and are currently ensconced with a couple of friends in the living room, eating leftover candy (for some strange reason, we didn't get very many kids this year at all) and watching A Nightmare on Elm Street.
But my day, which I meant to be productive before we headed over to our friends' house, got derailed by some bad news this afternoon. My aunt texted me, wanting to talk. She's my mom's youngest sister, the one I spent every summer living with from the ages of 9 until 17. I always thought of her as an older sister since she's only 15 years older than me, but we're not as close as we used to be. Distance will do that.
It turns out that my other aunt, the oldest sister of the group who just turned 70, has breast cancer. ( Read more...Collapse )
A bit of chaos around our house today. Alicia's BFF was in a car accident right by our house this afternoon. She's had her license for less than two months and was test driving a car her parents were thinking of getting her. She pulled into an intersection she thought was clear but someone coming too fast around a curve hit the front driver side of her car. Both cars needed to be towed away, though thankfully nobody got hurt. Needless to say, BFF was very shaken up by the whole incident, and Alicia went with her to the ER, just to make sure everything was all right.
That threw an anchor into my work plans for the day, but like I told BFF's mom, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that nobody was hurt. Everybody got to walk away from it. The rest of it is details that will get sorted out one way or another in the long run.
Well, I actually started posting new Spuffy over at Elysian Fields. I can't believe I did it. Frankly, I'm terrified about the whole thing. It's been almost a decade since I wrote anything substantial for the fandom, and my bunny for the challenge grew of its own accord. It won't be anything nearly as long as most of my Spuffy (it still boggles me to think that most of my multi-chaptered fics ran as long as they did--Rhapsody was shortest at around 125k and Rook is nearly 300k), but I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being 70-90k when it's complete.
If anyone is curious, it's called Razing the Veil. The first chapter is up, and I'm going to be updating on Tuesdays and Fridays. I think that's a reasonable schedule for me without losing my mind. I waited to start until I had a few chapters done, too, so I have a cushion in case I fall behind a bit. Fingers crossed I can maintain it. I have a 50k novel due 12/1, and this week I got a galley, a set of line edits, and another set of first edits, all due by November 1. When it rains, it pours, lol.
Alicia passed her driving test today! On one hand, it's such a relief that she's going to be able to help in getting to her different activities. On the other, I don't want to think of my baby out there on the road with crazy drivers. It won't be right away, either. Craig has to get her added to the insurance, but that's not going to happen until after he gets back from his business trip Saturday night.
Oh, right. He's leaving for another trip early tomorrow morning. Three days gone. It'll just be me and the kids for that time period.
We missed watching the debate tonight. I forgot to set it up to record in time. From the sound of it, I didn't miss much except to hopefully put the final nail in Trump's coffin. I just want this whole election over. It's been awful from start to finish, but the worst part is, I don't think things will improve soon. Trump's campaign has cut open the ugly underbelly of everything that is wrong with America and made it all right to be openly misogynistic, racist, and violent. These are not people who will go quietly into the night. I also hate that I'm so disappointed in so many people I know because of their choices during this campaign. It kills me how selfish I find them because they refuse to look at the bigger picture, that somehow their needs are more important than the needs of the many. I've rarely let a difference in politics get in the way of friendships (it always shocks some of my liberal friends that I have so many Republican friends and that half of my family is Republican as well), but this year has been different. I don't want to judge them because they're buying into lies or voting third party as an act of rebellion, but I seem to be doing it anyway. It makes me question how I can be friends with someone who could be so willfully ignorant or selfish.
The hardest part? Even though California is pretty firmly for Hillary, my town has a TON of Trump supporters. I had to listen to local people go on and on about Killary and how Trump is what this nation needs for way too long after the debate tonight. It's not surprising. These are the same people who refuse to pay the necessary taxes to get proper fire coverage for our area, leaving us woefully uncovered. I have to listen to them scream about how all the "libtards" are trying to steal their guns and repeal the 2nd amendment just because some of us advocate for stronger gun control mandates.
I like California in a lot of ways, but sometimes, I really hope both of my kids go to college in New England. Then I'll have an excuse to move back east. :P
A good part of my week was spent running teenagers around. Craig was in Seattle for work, so it was all on me. Alex had color guard practice three nights this week, our exchange student had tennis every day as well as a party tonight, and then there was Alicia. On top of her band stuff (three days this week) and STEM meeting (one day), she has a new internship with a local(ish) candidate for State Assembly. She had that three days this week. She takes her driving test next Tuesday. Keep your fingers crossed she passes.
Craig's home, but tomorrow we're all in Santa Cruz for a massive band review competition. On Sunday, Alicia has to work on the campaign in a town that's near where we used to live, and I'd told our exchange student I'd take her to the mall over there while Alicia was working, but I'm considering seeing if I can beg off and stay home to work. I need the time. I have so much to do.
There were two bright spots of news this week, though. This morning, Craig got a call from Universal saying they'd matched a wallet with my lost and found report, so they are mailing it back to me. Craig didn't ask whether or not my driver's license was in it. At this point, since I already have my replacement bank cards, that's the only thing I'm desperate to find in it.
The other bright spot? Craig's boss went straight to the CEO about me working for them, and she has no problem with it. It's about 85% settled at this point, which is kind of nice, though it's going to mean more juggling with my time again, lol. The money will be a bonus, though. And having something recent on my resume is always good.
We went to Universal today. It was turning into a pretty perfect day - gorgeous weather, the new Harry Potter section, got to see Dermot Mulroney - to discover at 1:30 that my wallet was missing. We walked back to the car to make sure I hadn't left it in there, but no luck. Nobody had turned it in by that point, either. It still wasn't turned in by the end of the day. :(
I can handle my debit and credit card being gone. Canceling those and getting a replacement is relatively easy.
It's the zillion store cards and my damn driver's license that annoys me to no end. Craig is away next week, and there's no telling when I can get into the DMV. And I have no idea how I'm even going to replace a lot of the cards.
I guess the universe wasn't happy with how good my mood was. :(
I figured since I just made my Yuletide letter public that I should probably check in to let people know I'm alive. The past week has been crazy busy as we left on Saturday for our family vacation. We are currently in Los Angeles and will be here until Sunday. So far, it's been shopping, hanging out at the pool, and Downtown Disney. We hit theme parks for the next three days---Disney tomorrow, Universal (and Harry Potter, woo hoo!) on Wednesday, and California Adventure on Thursday. Friday is the beach, Santa Monica Boardwalk, and college tours at UCLA and USC. I have no idea what is happening on Saturday. Recovering from the week, probably, lol.
Because of our long days, I'll be mostly incommunicado until next week again. Unless I get motivated and post pictures/updates along the way. But I think I'm going to be exhausted frankly. ;)
Alicia ended up being home for two days, but on Tuesday at lunchtime, Alex called me from school saying he didn't feel well, too. I kept him home for two days with a fever and the same stomach problems (though not as severe, thank goodness), but both kids seem to be good now. I don't seem to be getting a full-blown version of it. I've got minor cold symptoms, but those are manageable and I think more likely to be caused by poor sleeping and eating habits from the past week.
I got other work done in the middle of all that, like a completed set of edits (though I got another set back to me today) and another chapter of my M/A fic, "Let's Get Personal," posted. I signed up for a word war and gave myself an insane goal of 10k for four days, of which I've managed to get 1.6k done so far. To be fair, I never really thought I was going to hit it (even though I have two more days to go). I just wanted a high bar to shoot for to push myself.
Tomorrow is another busy day. It's the first of three marching competitions, which means I'm up at 6am to get Alex over to his coach's house to get ready. Craig is with Alicia, helping to move instruments and then get the kids ready for the actual competition. I may or may not have to go. I won't know until after I get to Alex's coach's house. This is our first year with color guard so I have no idea what the standard practice is. Regardless, I have to take our exchange student out afterward to get groceries for a project for her Spanish III class. I'm going to need Sunday as a day of rest, lol.
On the plus side, Alicia and I did watch some new TV this week.
Gotham: Still enjoying it, though I hate the kids. I watch for the bad guys mostly. And Harvey. The Good Place: It wasn't quite what we expected, but we laughed out loud in a couple places so we're sticking with it for the time being. This Is Us: We LOVED this. ( Mild spoilerCollapse ) Designated Survivor: Craig and I are giving this one more episode. So far, we're not that impressed. It's too heavy-handed, but maybe that improves. Blindspot: I did not realize Luke Mitchell was going to be on this season. I love him. And it kills me how torn up Jane is about everything. She's so screwed. ( Mild Patterson spoilerCollapse ) How to Get Away with Murder: My favorite trashy TV. God, I love this show. And I love even more that Conrad Ricamora is now a regular. Have you heard him sing? God. Love him.
With the fall TV season starting up, I finally sat down to figure out what I need to program into the DVR. And I'm soooooo embarrassed by how long the list is, lol. I know most of them won't make it, and some of them I freely admit I'm only watching because of who are in them, but...well, you just never know when you'll fall in love with something if you don't take a chance.
--American Housewife - I've heard mixed things about it, but I'm hoping it'll be funny. --Conviction - Hayley Atwell. The absolute only reason. I haven't heard good things about it, though, so I don't know how long it will last. --Designated Survivor - Kiefer Sutherland. That's the only reason I need to try it. --The Exorcist - I've been waffling on this, but Father Tomas is played by one of my favorite actors from Sense8 so I'm going to try. --The Good Life - The trailers made me laugh. Plus, Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. --Man With a Plan - I've heard this trashed more than once, but it's Matt LeBlanc who I adore so I'm trying it anyway. --This Is Us - I'm hoping to find a good family drama for a comfort watch. Plus, Justin Hartley! --Timeless - Because I'm a sucker for a time travel story. --Van Helsing - Bloodthirsty vampires. Need I say more? --Westworld - It looks utterly fascinating.
I've been writing professionally for the last decade, but I've never been the breadwinner in the family. In my best year, I still would've made more money working full-time in a fast food restaurant, but it was never about money anyway. It was about flexibility and doing something I loved, and hey, it paid for itself and a few vacations along the way, so no bad there.
I've been out of the normal workforce since before Alex was born. By choice. Craig and I agreed early on that we wanted somebody at home with the kids, and since he made more money, the choice was easy. In the past couple years, however, Craig has started bringing up the idea of me working again. He's not nagging or anything like that, and we certainly don't need the extra money, but in a way of, "The kids will be out of the house soon and you like to be busy so wouldn't it be a good idea to start thinking about it now."
(And it freaks me out to think about the kids being gone. I've always known Alicia would strike off as soon as she could, but the notion of Alex moving out to go to college leaves me sick to my stomach.)
I've brushed him off, for the most part. I don't know how good I'd be in an office environment again, to be honest. I like working on my own, and frankly, I hate working with idiots which happens way too often.
That might change.
Today, the topic of Craig's work came up. One of his guys is in the process of moving (into a rental while his new house is getting worked on, which means he's moving again in December) and Craig wishes he had somebody like me to pick up the slack. He makes comments like this often. I'm highly organized, very detail-oriented, and smart enough to learn the rudiments to get the job done. I asked questions because I was curious how I could possibly do P's job (P is a friend so I know what it often entails) and Craig explained this was new stuff that had been turned over to him, that they'd already tried getting someone to help him but she'd been shuttled into other projects. It could be part-time work if I wanted it to be and solid money, with the added bonuses that I'd work from home on my own hours and that Craig is right here to answer questions so I would never have to chase him down.
The more we talked, the more of a good fit it felt like. So on a whim, I told him to run the idea by his boss.
His boss loved it. His only concern was that he didn't want Craig and I to start fighting because we worked together, so Craig explained that we'd worked together before and thrived (so well, in fact, that the owners of that company asked us to move to Sydney, Australia to start up an office there and run it, an offer we ultimately turned down because I'd only been in the UK for two years at that point and didn't feel like uprooting so far away so soon).
So the next step is HR. From there, we'll see.
It really does feel like a good match. The crux of the job is about research and problem-solving, two things I'm very good at. Craig thinks I could swing the job into something full-time (if I wanted) or even convince them I'm the perfect choice for the technical librarian he's been dying for the company to get.
Who knows. All I know is that for the first time, it feels doable. It would mean keeping a tighter rein on my schedule than I already do, but the extra money would be really nice to have around, especially with two kids so close to college.
I'm so far behind on my annual book goal that I've decided to give up on logging them here. I'll just talk about the ones that interest me instead.
Like the one I finished today. "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It was a popular book club choice when it came out a few years ago, but of course, it's been languishing on my TBR pile until now. It's about an eighteen-year-old girl who's a product of the foster system as she gets emancipated from the program. She's antisocial, ill-educated, and angry. All she cares about are flowers and the meanings they hold, as she was taught by one of her foster mothers. She finds work with a florist, but being on her own is hard. The story alternates between what is going on now in her life and when she was ten and living with the woman who taught her everything about flowers.
I'll admit, I almost gave up on the book after the first couple chapters. I don't like reading about excessively angry people, especially when they seem so willfully self-destructive like Victoria did. But I stuck with it and before I knew it, I was sucked into her story. She ends up running into a boy from her past and their budding relationship was so delicately wrought that I found myself holding my breath in their scenes. This relationship was what kept me into the story, especially as the whole thing began to unravel. Victoria was a very difficult character for me to care about in general, for the very reasons I almost gave up on it.
But when I finished it? I was crying. I don't think it's indicative of the book's skill, though. Instead, it triggered one of my issues--that of abandonment--and I pretty much lost it.
Was it a great book? Not really. But I liked the author's voice, and I adored a lot of her secondary characters. I'd probably give it a solid B if pressed.
The vet appointment this morning did not go as I'd hoped. While her edema is better, the meds aren't affecting the pressure, which means something else is going on. According to the vet, it's a common generic symptom in dogs, kind of like a low-grade fever, so they drew blood and urine to test. She's going to call me tomorrow to let me know if they found anything. Fingers crossed it's as simple as a minor infection they can treat with antibiotics.
I was off to the game store after that, to pick up games from another ding and dent sale as well as Christmas gifts. Got home an hour later only to run Craig out to the dealership to pick up his car from getting serviced.
I was home a grand total of two hours this afternoon before we had to head down to the school for the band uniform walk-thru and our Booster meeting. I got home from that at 9:30, starving since all I'd had to eat all day was a little bit of celery with guacamole and a boiled egg. I never got around to most of the paperwork I had to do, I didn't have time to cook dinner, and I owe people messages who reached out to me.
And to top it all off, today was the first day of Aunt Flo's monthly visit.
Today was jam-packed. I had to take my car in for servicing, so that was two different trips out. On the first, I made Craig help me do all my errands so we would only be out for an hour instead of the two if I'd had to do it on my own. At least it cost less than $50 for my car. That's always a bonus.
I managed to get my drabble posted over at camelot_drabble today, too. I need to stop writing bits that can be the intro to longer stories that intrigue me. This was a simple thing about Merlin and Percival going out on their first date, but the possibilities there for a sweet, mildly angsty modern romance make my heart twinge. I can't do it, though. I've got two other WIPs I need to work on as well as a Spuffy story. Not to mention all the original work I'd like to get back to one of these days.
Tomorrow is going to be even worse. I have to take our dog to the vet for a follow-up appointment from last week for her eyes. Hopefully, the meds have been doing the job. Then I have to get ready for the band boosters meeting in the evening by cleaning up the minutes and getting the copies made before heading to the school ninety minutes before the meeting starts for the marching band uniform checks. I have a ton of paperwork to do for some upcoming stories as well as need to update my website with my latest re-release this past weekend. And somewhere in all that I have more errands to take care of, dinner to cook, and calls to make. (Our library is looking for volunteers for their Books for the Homebound program. I don't really need another responsibility, but seriously, how can I say no to an hour or two of my week getting books to people who otherwise wouldn't have them?)
Well, crap. It's September already. How on earth did that happen?
First up for Merlin peeps...sign-ups opened today for merlin_holidays. Unlike previous years, there is no cap on the number of people who can sign up for it, AND you have a whole week to actually sign up. I already did mine. I've done it for the last couple years and loved every second of it (my Mergana story from last year, Black Doves, still haunts me; I really should write a follow-up some time).
We had a quiet Labor Day weekend. My big project was for me and Alex. We organized all of our board games and created a spreadsheet to inventory them. Then I ended up going out and buying a few more today, lol. Oops. The final number was bigger than I expected. 117. And that's not each game individually. We rolled extension packs into the main game when we play with them altogether. I don't want to think about what that number would be with those pulled out, lol. But the spreadsheet allows us to filter by number of players and time to play, which will help when we're trying to figure out what to play. And for those times when nobody can decide on a game, we added a random function. Yes, we're a couple of geeks. And loved every second of it. :)
Our exchange student is adjusting well. She made the tennis team and has had either a match or practice after school every day. I barely see her during the week, lol. She's starting to adjust to the amount of homework, too, though she frets over her grades not being perfect. She's got 5 As and 2 Bs (her 8th class is as a TA), and the Bs bother her. She's not used to them. But they're in calculus and American History, so I'm trying to reassure her that they're great considering she's having to learn American math processes and has had no exposure to a lot of the historical facts most American kids take for granted. She's not really listening to me. I guess that makes her a typical teenager, lol.
For the first time, Alex's grades have higher letter values than Alicia. He's got straight As, with 3 A+s so far, while Alicia has a B in her AP Calculus course. It's weighted more heavily than a straight class so it balances out to be the same, but I stressed to Alex how proud I am of him. I always suspected he'd thrive when he got to high school--he's blowing his math and engineering courses out of the water, those are his A+ grades. It's nice to know I was right. :)
He's also joined the color guard (the flag corps that performs with the marching band). He didn't have room to keep band in his schedule, and he said it sounded like fun. I'm a little chuffed he stepped outside his comfort zone, and he claims to be really enjoying it. I think he loves being the most flexible one in the group. All the girls are jealous of how limber he is. And at least he's not the only boy, though there are only two in the squad.
Meanwhile, Alicia is killing it. She's busy as hell--Homecoming is in under two weeks and she's uber busy helping her class plan and get ready for it--which unfortunately means she's coming increasingly familiar with the fact that a lot of people just don't have her work ethic. Or her best friend's, for that matter. They're having to cover the work for others who aren't pulling their weight, and it frustrates them.
And...it's far too late, so I should probably sign off. I'm going to try and be better about updating. Even if it's only a little thing.
I had a revelation this morning at my WW meeting about my mood swings and doldrums lately.
See, my success last year came at a time when we went mostly vegetarian. I was doing mostly whole foods and mostly limiting complex carbs to beans, lentils, and green vegetables. It worked well for me and in many ways resembled my diet when I went low-carb in my late 20s and got my health under control. (Seriously. Before I went low-carb, I had no regular cycle. I could have three cycles one year and fifteen the next. Six weeks after I eliminated most sugars from my diet, I had a 30-day cycle that has been consistent for the most part for the last 18 years.)
My diet for the past month has shifted. Having a third teenager in the house, especially one who lives on carbs and has a metabolism that doesn't quit, has me cooking more of them. With WW, as long as you track and don't go over your points for the day, you can eat whatever you want. So I started eating more carbs.
I'm convinced that's the root of the problem. In spite of being on track in every possible way--and at the middle of my cycle when my weight is lowest--my weight is actually four pounds higher than it was three weeks ago. Plus, I know for a fact--from monitoring my blood sugar for three years straight with my pregnancies since I had gestational diabetes--that my body reacts very negatively to sugar in any form. My mood swings are very indicative to my blood sugar going bonkers. It's happened in the past, but it's been a while and I'd forgotten until this morning.
So I'm cleaning everything out. I just have to deal with the fact that I can't eat like the kids do and make my own food. My health and wellbeing pretty much demand it.
I was too curious not to try the self-knowledge quiz when I kept seeing the result spring up around LJ, and then my results were not quite what I expected.
You have a strong sense of potential and an intense drive to accomplish difficult things. The core of this is your ability to hold together the big goals and the daily efforts. Where other people’s hopes collapse when they encounter the tedium of the journey, you keep coming back. Oddly, it is actually your ability to endure feeling unheroic that counts. You know the power of working away solidly on what’s in front of you.
You don’t set out to be different for its own sake; you are more easily guided by what interests and moves you. You are more concerned about what is right for you than about the pressure to fit in. In sex you are more aware than others of impulses which are not entirely conventional. You know the value of selective irresponsibility, of forgetting occasionally about being ‘good’.
One part of your character is anger in all its forms: frustration, outrage – and when anger is suppressed – bitterness, grumpiness, and bodily aches. Fundamentally, frustration comes from hope: you get upset because you expect your life will be more than a valley of tears. One way to deny aggression is to direct it inwards, as self-criticism. But you’re at your best when you acknowledge anger, and act it out clearly and in a focussed way, with honor.
So...I think ambition is spot on. I am highly ambitious. Always have been. I love succeeding at things other people fail at, and I tend to be pretty good at whatever I set my mind to.
Independence is mostly right, too.
It's that aggression one that stopped me when I saw it. My first reaction was, I worked that out a long time ago. But...maybe not. I know when I saw a therapist to deal with my MIL dying in 2012, the first time I'd ever lost someone close to me and I just wasn't dealing with my grief very well, some things came up about my parents that I had never verbalized before and frankly shocked me. I learned early on that showing anger resulted in too many negative responses--my father was abusive, my grandmother was abusive, I was chided for not being more of a grown-up when I was 9 and 10 years old because my mom needed me that way (note: my mom never said that those things to me; it was my grandmother who I saw more than my mom). I swallowed and suppressed a lot of anger. Then I hit that sentence about self-criticism, and oh boy, that's right on the money. I am my own worst critic. Always have been. And I constantly find myself coming up short.
So maybe I've internalized my aggressive tendencies in that respect. I can see that. Though I'd still like to think I'm not an aggressive person, lol.
Tuesdays are discount nights at the movie theater, so that's the night we always try to go. Craig was the one to bring it up last night, in fact, so I figured I'd get a date out of it at least. Turns out, that didn't happen. He had to stay home because our exchange student needed help with her pre-calc, and neither Alicia nor Alex wanted to go to the movies with me. I had nobody else to ask, so I went by myself. Not my favorite thing to do, but I wanted to Hell or High Water before it disappeared, so I went.
I asked one thing before I left. As I was walking out, I asked Craig if the kitchen could get cleaned while I was out. His response was, "Well, the kids can do it." I even put away the one bit of food so all they would have to do was unload the dishwasher and load it up again.
I just got home. Nobody touched the kitchen. When I asked Craig about it, he said, "I thought you were going to tell the kids to do it." When?!? I was walking out the door when I asked, and I was gone for almost three hours. I don't think it's asking too much when I know for a fact Alex had his homework done and was playing video games all night, and Alicia was just goofing around. It's not like they had a ton of other chores that I asked them to do.
Between that and not having anybody to call to see if they could join me for the movie...sucky way to end the day.
Mood downswings are not fun. I've been fighting the doldrums for a week now, and while there have been some ups--we went into San Francisco yesterday and did some touristy stuff we've never done in the 12 years we've lived in the Bay Area, for instance--for the most part, it's been me trying not to sink too low and actually start crying in front of anyone. I don't know why. Nothing seems to have triggered it. I've been mildly productive in getting more of my backlist rehomed, and I got some lovely comments yesterday for that fanfic writer appreciation day thing that was going around. So why the blues, self?
I think part of it is general anger and distaste with my body right now. The hardest part about losing weight when you've been heavy your entire life is all the loose skin, and for me, it's hit hardest on my thighs. They look terrible, and it's increasingly hard for me to not fixate on how awful they look. I know losing weight is better for me--my joints and my general health need it--but seriously, it sucks that it looks so bad as a result. It's not helped that the cysts that have plagued all the women in my family hit me worst on my thighs, too.
My fear and anxiety about dipping my toes back into Spuffy fiction isn't helping, either.
I just realized I'd forgotten about Colin Morgan's project, "The Living and the Dead," so I did a quick search and discovered it wasn't picked up for a second season. For those who have seen the first, is it worth looking for? I heard it ended on a cliffhanger, but with shots like this, it's hard not to want to see it anyway...
I rather adore him with facial hair, I must admit.
So first round claiming is closed over at Elysian Fields, with round two of what's left opening August 12 at midnight (site time). Since our names are now attached to them publicly, I figure it's okay to share which one I got. It's by respice finem, and it's here. I'm really excited about it. Yes, it's most likely an all-human AU, but I couldn't resist a kilt-wearing punk Spike.
And if all goes well, maybe this means I'm back in the fold this time. There were a number of prompts that I thought were interesting, and I still have a few new bunnies that have been hopping around since I started the rewatch. It's fun to be inspired again. :)
I did something crazy last night. I sent in a claim for the Elysian Fields Artistic Anniversary Challenge. The rewatch has made me hankering to write something, which honest to god is a little terrifying because I haven't been following Spuffy fic for at least seven years so I have no idea what's already out there.
The one thing I hate more than anything else is writing the same old, same old. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get one of the banners I picked. Though in all fairness, my shortlist was double what we could ask for, and the list of banners/claims I liked but decided against while narrowing it down was four times longer, lol.
The best games store in the area for us is about 20 minutes away, and today was their semi-annual Ding & Dent sale. They had 20,000 units--mostly board games--from the warehouse that were slightly damaged for 30-70% off. Our kind of deal. Since the girls were at the overnight camping trip, Alex and I made plans to go just the two of us. It started at 11, but I didn't want to be insane and arrive early. So we got there at 11:10.
It was insane. It's not a huge store to begin with. The floor plan for sales and display is probably 20 feet wide and 40 feet deep. Then there's a large area in the back about half the size of the display floor for gaming when they have it. (They're currently in the process of expanding considerably. It's going to be glorious when they're done.) People were already checking out when we arrived, and the checkout line wound back and forth across the width of the store four times. We had to fight our way through just to get into the line that would get us into the ding & dent sale in the back area. It took us twenty minutes just to get back there and start browsing, then an hour of queueing to buy our stash. Apparently, people started lining up to get into the sale at 7:30. Yeah, I don't think so. Not for board games.
But Alex and I still managed to get away with quite a haul:
We got up at five this morning so we could get to the airport on time to pick up our exchange student, who is now here, safely ensconced in our house. She's absolutely adorable. She's also tall, lol. More than ever, I'm the shortie in the family.
She's leaving with Alicia first thing in the morning, however. They're going to Santa Cruz for a camping trip with the leadership program from school. Then on Monday, I'll take her in to get registered for all her classes. She doesn't get much of a break, but she's so eager to throw herself into everything I don't think it's much of a problem. Turns out, one of the three kids in the area who arrived today has already had a falling out with his host family. Our poor coordinator has him staying at her house while she tries to find another family. Obviously, she didn't go into detail about whatever the conflict was, but I don't envy her position. It must be awful.
The funniest thing was when we got to talking briefly about politics. The one thing her father wanted her to find out was whether or not we supported Trump. She was very relieved when I expressed our very negative opinion of the man, lol.
I'm exhausted. I didn't sleep great because I was so worried about making a good first impression. Overreaction, of course, but now I'm dragging so I better call it a night.
I've made it up through "Flooded" in Season 6 of Buffy, with hopes that we'll get to the musical episode tomorrow night. Alicia made me promise when I started the rewatch that I wouldn't watch it without her, so I've been trying to juggle watching with when I knew she'd be available.
It's easy to see why Spike got to me as hard as he did. And you know what's surprising? Just how much I empathize with Buffy this time around. I adore Willow, don't get me wrong, but her arrogance and hubris are oddly infuriating on this rewatch. Giles's speech about her getting lucky never rang as true as it did this time (which only has me hankering for his appearance at the end of the season, still my absolute favorite moment of his in the entire series).
Craig was reluctant to watch these episodes with me because he can't stand depressed Buffy, and I was kind of agreeing with him. But then we started and, seriously, my heart is breaking for her. What a truly awful place to be in.
The scene with Spike at the tree where he's confronting Xander about why Willow shut him out reminded me of one of the most haunting fics I ever read. It's called That Thing with Feathers by Fallowdoe. It's short and compelling, so if you haven't read it before, I highly recommend it. I mean, think about it. It's been thirteen years since I first read it. It's not even 2000 words long. And I *still* think about that short story from time to time.
I even went back and found my original review of it over at FFnet. This was what I said then, and I think it's still more than valid:
I had to read this through a couple times, because I finished it the first time in shock, my heart just on the floor.
This was absolutely rending, and painful, and so beautifully written. Thank you, even though I think my heart is still in tatters.
Both of my kids are officially registered for high school now. All I have to do at this point is get our exchange student registered early next week--hopefully on Monday, since that's the first day of school--and we'll be all set.
Alicia's schedule is tough. She has four AP classes, but three band classes to help counter that. I had more than one parent express concern for her today when we were talking about it, but honestly, I'm not too worried. Alicia thrives under pressure, and both she and Alex see education as something to be taken advantage of, not avoided. Craig spent a lot of time talking to the principal today--she really likes him, though I tease him it's just the accent that gets to her, lol--and she kept referring to our kids as "special cases." Which makes me both sad and annoyed. Sad that they're working so hard just to make sure most kids graduate that accelerated kids are seen as the exception, and annoyed because wanting the most education you can get shouldn't be considered "special."
I'm looking forward to having our routine back. Life will be busy, sure, but the fact of the matter is, I miss the structure and predictability. Only one more week before I get it back!
In unrelated news, my cousin's wife had their third child earlier this week. We'd been debating names for it when we were visiting in Michigan a couple weeks ago, but nothing was decided. This is my very progressive, wants to live off the grid cousin whose oldest daughter is named Luighseath--pronounced Lucy--and his son is named Phineas--with an unofficial middle name of Strawberry Five. They actually picked a really pretty name for the baby. Cosette Estelle. I just cringe thinking of how many Les Miz comments she's going to get her whole life. Though I wouldn't be surprised if they just call her Cosie, to be honest.
In all my catching up today, I found out that there's only going to be one more season of Black Sails. Cue my sadness.
It's selfish, I know. Better to go out on its own terms, and it's not like it doesn't have a built-in deadline since it's a prequel. It was always supposed to be about the rise of Silver and how he became Flint's enemy, but I'm still uber bummed that I'm only getting one more season. Ten more episodes in 2017. I'm mourning it already.
I'm sure I'll get my Tom fix in other ways. He's working pretty consistently, even if it's not always the greatest show. I even sat and watched his part in Barbarians Rising, which considering the show was pretty boring says a lot, lol. But how could I not when we got shots like this?
Tom doesn't help my fangirling, though. Have you seen some of the pictures he posts on his Instagram? Shots like this make me hanker after working on that daddy Percival story I started before life got crazy:
Maybe once school starts I'll be able to get some actual writing done again. I want to work on that, plus we're just finishing up season 5 of Buffy, which has my favorite version of Spike, and it's hard not to be inspired by that, too. Not to mention all the original stories bouncing around in my head.
Man, every time I intend to come back these days, I end up getting caught up in busy real life stuff and failing to post again. All I can say this time is that I hope this time sticks. :P
We are six days away from our exchange student arriving. We're all more than a little excited. There was a host family get-together today with the local coordinator, though Alicia couldn't make it. She's currently at drum major camp and won't get home until tomorrow. But it sounds like our families have a lot in common, all the way down to some of our planned getaways for our students, lol. I'm not quite ready for her, but hopefully I'll have that fixed by Tuesday.
Alex had his registration this past week for school, and unsurprisingly, they messed up his schedule the same way Alicia's got messed up last year. For whatever reason, the school finds it hard to believe that any student would want to take two math classes at the same time. We put in a change so he can get his algebra 2/trig class along with his geometry class. Fingers crossed it goes through. His eighth grade teacher approved of it already so it should be a formality. Hopefully.
Alicia's registration is Monday. Craig and I have to work the Band Boosters table on Monday, too, though different shifts. We'll have to wait for a lull in the lines so the one of us not working can take her through.
Otherwise, life goes on in our house. Craig goes to Sacramento tomorrow to pick up Alicia from camp, while I need to buckle down and get some edits done. And I'm going to get back to my posting routine tomorrow. I mean it this time, lol.
I am home from Barcelona, and while it was a lovely trip, there's something to be said about being around your own stuff, lol. I'm in major catch-up mode because I'm so far behind on everything, so I won't post what (few) pictures I have until tomorrow. I still have a crap-ton of things to get done and as I'm still struggling a bit with jet lag, I'm not quite up to it tonight.
I'm considering being a masochist and signing up for pornalot. I didn't do summer pornathon last year, and little snippets of smut are always doable, especially since this isn't team based. Anyone else doing it?
One of my favorite parts of Barcelona? Discovering that one of my favorite brands, Desigual, has a store on practically every corner and that our hotel was across the plaza from the flagship store. I didn't buy any clothes for myself--even though I was tempted--but I did get myself a new purse, as well as a few gifts for other people. I love their style. So funky and fun.
After a whirlwind weekend of getting Alicia and Alex to their summer programs (Alicia flew to Baltimore for a leadership course, while we drove Alex to LA for a computer science course), we are now in Michigan for the start of our vacation. We're staying with my aunt and uncle at their house on Silver Lake, while my baby sister and her family along with my mom will come up from NC on Thursday. Craig and I are in the RV so the others can have rooms in the house, which is just fine by me. We've got privacy for the most part, though we still have to go inside to shower.
We're here until the morning of the 4th, when we drive back down to Chicago and get on a plane that night for Barcelona. Craig will be in their office Wednesday-Friday during the day, but we'll have the evenings, the weekend, and Monday to be tourists before we fly back on Tuesday the 12th.
I'm relaxing already, to be honest. I adore my aunt and uncle, and it's been too long since I've seen anyone on this side of the family other than my sister and my mom. We figured it out. The last time I was here was in 2008. It's nice to get back to my roots for a little while.