I'm sleeping in my leg brace tonight. It's not been a good day for my lower half, and my right hamstring is threatening to wake me up in the middle of the night in agony if I don't immobilize it. I'm not sure what it is. It happens a 2-3 times a year, almost always in the middle of the night. A shooting pain, like the hamstring is being twisted, pretty much sets my leg on fire and makes it impossible to walk. I've always attributed it to the way I twist my body when I sleep, but for whatever reason, it's been threatening me during the day today. Like...it's starting to tense up in anticipation of that twisting pain but never quite makes it. Craig massaged it, and I'm currently okay, but who knows what will happen later?
I hate the breaking down of my body. Getting old sucks.
Yesterday was a loooonng day. I worked at the library until mid-afternoon, at which point I came home and worked for 8 hours organizing/researching donor relations/fundraising in preparation for the theatre's board meeting on Tuesday evening. I had been putting that off so it needed to get done. I can't do very much at this point other than research and organization, though. I have too many questions they need to answer first.
Today was another shift at the library until mid-afternoon, but I came home and crashed afterward, taking a nap until 5:30. Craig had already done dinner, so I ate but that turned out not so good. I ate way too much, and it upset my stomach. Blech. Then it was game night since Alex goes back to school on Monday.
So because I'm pretty much brain dead, I'm just going to share pretties of good-looking men that have popped up recently in my various feeds.
First, Colin Morgan aging very nicely...
Then, Hozier, who I absolutely adore...
And finally, this was on Stephen Colbert a month or so ago, but I'm just now catching it - James McAvoy, when he was promoting IT: Chapter Two. Man, he just gets better with age, doesn't he? Plus, anywhere he's talking in his original accent is totally worth viewing just to hear him speak.
Today was all kinds of productive. Lots of laundry, starting to reclaim my house. I'm going to bed feeling accomplished, even if I didn't get to writing stuff.
Last night, we went out with friends to see the Queen musical, "We Will Rock You," in San Jose, with dinner at Morton's first. Dinner was good, but not nearly as good as I expected for the price point. As for the show...it was slightly disappointing. Craig and I saw it when it was first released in London in 2002. The show is cheesy as hell, but because of the music, it was a ton of fun. So much fun that we saw it two more times in London, including taking Alex and Alicia when they were still pretty young. So when the tickets for the touring show became available last winter, we jumped on them.
Well. They've updated and changed the show. Some of the changes are good, modernizing references and such. Some of them drag the show down. They changed out at least three of the big numbers in the first act with practically unknown Queen songs which completely kill the pacing. And the pacing is the one thing the show has going for it besides the music under the best of circumstances. They also turned the character of Pop from an older, stoner-type guy, into a young surfer type, which completely changed the vibe of the second act.
Throw into that the fact that there were serious sound issues in the first act, and we were really worried that we'd made a huge mistake by going when intermission came around. We were in the 4th row of the orchestra in the middle, and we could barely hear any of the principles in the first act. We couldn't hear Killer Queen at all. They seemed to fix it for the second act, which helped a lot. The female lead, Scaramouche, was replaced during intermission with the understudy who, while a good enough singer, was so shrill for her speaking lines, everybody was bitching about her as we were walking out of the theater. I overheard the phrase, "shrieking banshee," mentioned more than once. The guy playing the lead had a great voice, but he played the character with crazy eyes which made Galileo come across as a psychopath (especially when he's doing it and smiling during the beginning of Bohemian Rhapsody when he's talking about having just killed a man) and not very sympathetic at all.
So maybe not the best way to experience the show. I don't even know if I'd recommend it. I know the sound issues won't affect every performance, but there are still other factors that drag it down. Which is such a shame, because the original production was just so much damn fun.
Swathes of the Bay Area are losing power tonight for anywhere up to five days. PG&E is doing it as a precautionary measure against wildfires because we have expected winds over the next couple days of 40-70mph. Apparently, these shutdowns are part of their safety measures ever since the massive 2017 Northern California fires. Even the Caldecott Tunnel is getting shut down which is going to massively screw up commutes. We're lucky that we're not in one of the shut-off zones, but it still makes me furious. PG&E's greed over the years is why the state is in this damn spot now. There are some things I love about this state, but there are others that make me REALLY wish I lived on the east coast again.
I'm going to go soak in a hot tub very soon here in hopes that it will end the day on a good note. I worked at the library today and took a wrong step at some point early in my shift, which completely messed up my hip. I've been on the couch for most of the evening, because I'm trying to do everything I can to stay away from ibuprofen for a while. I take too much of it, and I worry that I'm developing an ulcer as a result. I won't know until my physical at the end of the month, but it's not going to do me any harm to avoid ibuprofen until then. I'll just go back to all the hot water therapy for the next few weeks.
On the plus side, my weight loss continues. I'm down 13.6 pounds since starting at the library in June. That's about a pound a week without even really trying. I'm convinced it's because of the fact that I'm moving constantly for 4 hours a day, 3 days a week. It's not big movement, but I'm on my feet that whole time, lifting books, pushing carts, squatting for lower shelves, reaching for higher ones. My knees are SO much stronger as a result. I think I'm going to start adding in some extra exercises that specifically target my hips and thighs so I can strengthen those muscles, too. Hopefully, that will help prevent incidents like today where a single wrong step can turn my day into agony.
Most of the people I know are getting ready for Halloween. I'm not. It's not really my holiday. Instead, I've started my Christmas stuff.
I'm starting a new tradition this year. I hate doing gingerbread houses, so when the kids were little we switched to crafty things. Now that they're older, we're switching again. I bought the Lego gingerbread house, and it got here this past weekend. It's so damn cute. We can build it every year and have fun with it at the same time.
We had to run to Costco today, where I got my annual decoration. I needed a new wreath for the front door, so I got this three wreath lighted set. But that was to replace something so I could still get something else. I ended up choosing this clock with Santa. It's so much nicer in person than it looks in the picture. It's 20" tall and has some heft to it.
We also knew we wanted something for the piano so I got onto Etsy and bought this table topper. We've been putting displays on it for years, but it really needs something to protect it.
Today was a stay in my pjs sort of day. I woke up without a voice and my chest/ribs/diaphragm are killing me from all the coughing I've been doing. However, I'm feeling better in general. My congestion is clearing up, and I had more energy for the most part. It's all good, because I'm starting to feel inspired about throwing myself into new projects. Like the donor program for the community theatre they asked me to work on.
Also, writing. It's funny how much my creative well has refilled doing the play. Maybe it's because I took a break [translation: was forced to take a break because I had no time], but whatever it was, it worked. I'm chomping to put words down for the first time in months.
My house still needs rescuing, though. We had to fix the sofa table that I used in my play since it literally got broken getting taken off the stage after the very last performance. One of the pedestal feet snapped off, so Craig and I fixed that today. I then had to find a new place for it because I bought a different piece for the show that I wanted to keep and put where we used to have the sofa table: this wood tea cart.
It has a tray that slides underneath that I have to bring in from the garage, and I have to put the display on it yet, but I've wanted a tea cart for AGES. This one was at the antique store for only $100, so I couldn't resist.
Well, the play is over. It was exhausting and wonderful and hard work and fun and did I mention exhausting? I literally couldn't do anything else this past month, including all the paperwork I needed to finish for upcoming releases, the story that was due on 9/1, laundry, cooking, and oh yeah, LJ.
And then what happened on Monday, the day after we closed? I got sick.
Alex had a cold last week, and I finally succumbed to it. I've been pretty miserable this week, trying to catch up on sleep while trying to get a grip on everything that fell to the wayside during the play. Plus, I had picked up extra shifts at the library ages ago to cover for someone who wasn't around, so had to keep working through it all.
I haven't looked at LJ in a month, so I know I have no hopes of catching up, but I'm going to see how far I can get.
Remember how I was complaining about how busy I am? Apparently, I can't say no to opportunities.
On Thursday, the artistic director for the community theatre company I'm working with asked to speak to me. I was terrified it was about something negative with the play, but she assured me that it wasn't related to that at all. She came over to my house for coffee before rehearsal and proceeded to lay out plans for a new board position they're trying to fill, one that would deal specifically with donor/sponsor relations and, in the future, potentially become the grant writer for the organization. She wanted to talk because she thought I would be an excellent fit for the position, but she more than understood that I had just come off the band booster board and was very relieved to be done with it.
Needless to say, I was a bit gobsmacked. Flattered as anything, but gobsmacked all the same.
I hadn't thought she actually liked me that much - which, in all honesty, she still might not - but this means at least she respects my skillset. I told her I'd have to think about it and talk it over with my husband, which she more than understood. He told me to take it. No hesitation. Even after my whining about how overwhelmed I was.
So I asked Alicia. She said the same thing.
I proceeded to ask my youngest sister. According to her, accepting is a "no-brainer." She even went as far to say that she had no idea why I was balking since this was such an excellent opportunity.
My friend L told me to accept, too.
I know why I was hesitant. I was stressed out from having so much to do and feeling like nothing would ever get finished. I'm still stressed. But after talking more to Craig, I decided to try. It really is an excellent opportunity, and considering not one person in my life thinks it's a bad thing, it's probably my own self-doubt that was holding me back. I wrote back this afternoon and accepted the offer, contingent on two provisions: that I don't have to think about it until after the play is over, and that if by the end of the season it's impacting my life too negatively or I don't think I'm being effective I will be able to quit.
She said those were more than acceptable. So...it looks like I'm about to become a board member of the group as the Development Director.
I've just spent the last half hour skimming through the past nine days of LJ posts, because I couldn't let it get even more behind. That is probably going to be my only piece of spare online time until this coming weekend (and I'm not even sure about that). I leave for work at the library in a little over an hour, then as soon as I get home this afternoon I have to turn around and head over to the theater where we will be unloading set pieces and rehearsing until 9:30 tonight. Food apparently is not a thing for me today (no food is allowed in the theater). Then the rest of this week is more work, more rehearsals, and set painting when I'm not doing either of those things. Plus the normal family stuff.
But this past nine days has been insane for me - two galleys to do, all the play stuff, a novella that was due to my publisher two days ago that I still have to finish the last chapter on, house stuff (my kitchen sink is finally fixed, woo hoo!), and making sure my family can eat/has clean clothes. I did take some free time away from everything this weekend to play games with friends on Saturday night and with Alex during the day. I seriously needed the distraction. Because every time I think I have some free time to actually get on LJ or do something fandom-related, something else comes up that I have to take care of. Last night, it was discovering our PR person can't get the headshots done this week for the cast, so I spent two hours scrambling to find someone amongst people I know. Luckily, I got a friend to do it for ad space in the program in lieu of payment. She's only done natural lighting photography, but she's got a great eye, she's smart, and she'd love the experience. AND, most importantly, she can actually do it this week, lol.
To save my sanity, I've decided I can't play in fandom for a couple months. I have two fics I HAVE to write after this novella, so those have to have my creative juices. I don't have time to read online, which makes me sad. And I can't spare the time for Seasonal Spuffy this round. Hell, I haven't even had the time to pick up my Buffy rewatch yet. I'm just before all my favorite stuff in S5, too.
“Bit by bit, putting it together…. piece by piece, only way to make a work of art. Every moment makes a contribution, every little detail plays a part. Having just the vision’s no solution, everything depends on execution, putting it together, that’s what counts."
First week of rehearsals for the play are over. We got all the blocking done (the actors' movements in a show). Definite highs and lows. I felt super empowered the second night, not so bad last night, but tonight...well, I'm barely not crying and that's mostly because I'm focusing on writing this post since I haven't done it all week. There was not one, not two, but three separate incidents where I either looked like a complete amateur or got questioned (and subsequently voted down by my co-director) on my choices. I'm currently at a point where I want nothing to do with any of this, so it's very good that we don't have rehearsal again until Monday.
I just feel like such a stupid novice, like I'm completely out of my league and am fooling nobody about my inadequacies. This is not a new feeling. This is the way my head has been for as long as I can remember. This is how I start to spiral down, though I'm much better about not staying in those pits for long. I would love not to go into them at all, but that's not something I've yet managed to master. Especially when I have such recent, very valid examples of my uselessness at hand.
I have to work tomorrow, then go serve dinner to the marching band. It means being happy and smiley and social when I just want to crawl into a corner and forget the world exists. I have no idea if I'm going to be able to manage it.
This has not been a good month for our budget. On a whim, I decided I wanted to see Lisa, my German exchange student from a couple years ago, before she starts university in October, so I bought her a ticket to come spend 2.5 weeks with us in September. She'll be here to see my play, I'll get to spend some time with her, and she'll get to see all her friends before life starts getting more hectic for her.
Then, just before Craig took Alicia back to DC, the check engine light came on in my car. I drive a 2012 Ford Flex, and it's been a really solid car, without a ton of stuff that's had to be done on it. Well, we took it in last Tuesday and discovered that it was the fuel sensor that was shot. That was $700 to fix. On Thursday, they called back and said the sensor was fixed, but the entire cluster on the dashboard needed to be replaced. Grand total: $1300.
The tap on our kitchen sink has been leaking for ages, and we've reached the breaking point with it. So this week, we went and bought a new tap, and we'll have plumbing charges to get it installed and the sink resealed before the month ends. Total for that: $750
On top of that, I went to Sur La Table yesterday to exchange a birthday gift I got. I wanted new saucepans, but they weren't something I could buy as part of a set to save money. I had to buy them all individually. I ended up spending more than the exchange by way more than I should have. But they're quality pans, and I haven't had new ones in almost ten years so it really was time. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
But I will be watching money like a hawk for the rest of the month, that's for sure.
Someone at my college is scanning all the publicity negatives from the MainStage shows from the 60s through the 90s, and as a teaser, she posted the opening shot from the show I had my very first lead in, "The Death of Zukasky." Behold, baby-faced Eurydice (I'm 21 in the pic):
Our first read-through of the play was tonight, and it went amazingly well. We didn't have one of our actresses, but even with her missing, there were so many laughs and "aw" moments. I had a long talk afterward with the woman who plays the lead. She's been in a rough spot since we cast her because she doesn't see herself as this role at all. It's been taking everything we have to try and convince her otherwise. I see some of her points, and she's willing to work on things, but I just wish I could get her to see herself the way we do. It'll come. Eventually. She's too much of a professional for it not to. But it'll take time.
It's going to be such a funny show. I'm having to pick my battles with my co-director - he gets an idea in his head and sometimes it's really hard to shake it - and I've had to make a couple concessions so far that I deemed not worth the fight. I've stood my ground on others, though. Like tonight, we were talking costumes, and he wanted to put one of our actresses in black leggings for the final scene. Which takes place in North Carolina in the middle of August. And the character is 77. Who has recently had a hip replacement. I put my foot down. Because there is NO WAY she would be in such restrictive clothing so soon after hip surgery, let alone wearing something so clingy and dark in a hundred degree heat. He let it go, thank goodness.
Don't even get me started on the argument I had with him about his certainty that one of the other characters was getting abused by her husband.
Rehearsals start next Monday. My schedule will be crammed for a while. :)
TITLE: Good Omens AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett DATE FINISHED: August 10 BLURB: According to "The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch" (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.
So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.
And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .
Damn it, I got busy again. I didn't mean for it to go this long.
So what's happened?
1. Alicia left for DC Friday night. I was trying to spend as much time with her as I could, though it was a busy week. She had to leave early because she's got RA training for a couple weeks before school starts. I miss her already.
2. Our auditions were this week, and our play is cast! I'm really pleased with the final result. One of the actresses who was cast is my friend L. I had encouraged her to audition as practice since she hasn't done anything in twenty years, without any intention of it being for real since her schedule is a little nuts, but then my co-director absolutely fell in love with her. So on the plus side, I get to see her way more often now. I just have to be very careful about not looking like I have favorites.
3. I got pulled into doing some band stuff this past week, though that is tapering off big-time now.
4. One of my publishers is doing more republishing of out of print backlists, so I talked to Pepper and we decided to send our 60+ out of print to them. That's been work, though she's been doing a big part of it. She can't do the dozen titles of mine, though, and so far, I've been lagging. Thankfully, the publisher is only doing one a month, and I got September done, so I have a teensy bit of breathing space there.
5. I am massively behind on writing fic. I have a novella due at the end of this month that I need to finish, and then I have to throw myself into writing two stories that I've promised before the end of the year. I'm finally finding a rhythm with work, but with nightly rehearsals for the next six weeks, I have to be smarter about how I use my time.
6. I did manage to read a teensy bit of fic yesterday, though, when I was playing catch-up on LJ. My TBR pile is still massive, but I have to share this short gen fic written for Summer for Giles. It's called A Second Chance by aaronlisa, and it's a wonderful rewrite of Faith's introduction to the gang and Giles's reaction to her. Check it out. :)
"I think of acting and writing as pretty much the same thing. It’s all about getting inside the skin of your characters, and seeing where they are, and knowing how they’ve grown up. You have to know all this, like, in your bones, what they’ve come up against, who they are. And then you just start talking as them. And you write until the rust comes out of the faucet and it’s clear water. And you write down the clear water.”
I checked out the ebook of Jill Lepore's The Secret History of Wonder Woman a couple weeks ago. I am most definitely not a comics person, but I did read a few WW growing up, watched the show, loved the recent movie, and knew a teensy bit about the creator, so I figured, "Why not?"
Apparently, the answer to that question is, "Because you will tear your hair out for two weeks, trying to get past the crappy editing."
The book is basically a biography of William Moulton Marston, with photographs and comic strips interspersed that relate to the telling of the story (which, in Kindle's defense, were actually legible; they often are a jumbled mess). He was a pretty out-there guy, defender of feminism, convinced of his own superiority, believer in polygamy. He created the first lie detector. He was into bondage. He wasn't nearly as smart as the women he loved. He was, in my opinion, a real asshole.
Not for these reasons. No, it's mostly because I have very little tolerance for people who are convinced they are the best thing since sliced bread. And boy does he fit that mold. He habitually lied to make himself look better. He also gave his wife ultimatums about bringing other women into their relationship. She convinced herself of the one he eventually "married" by saying this was the only way she could have children and a career at the same time. All of the women dote on him like he's the second coming, and it's infuriating.
But I'm not judging the book on the man she's trying to talk about, even if much of what went into Wonder Woman were aspects ripped from his everyday life (for instance, he gave his second "wife" bracelets that she wore all the time). No, the book doesn't work because the author, in all the research she did, all the letters she dredged up, never found a fact that wasn't worth putting into the book. The first 2/3s meanders all over the place, introducing people that have absolutely no bearing on anything before making a sharp left back to one of the principals. I got a deep dive into the rise of the birth control movement, the evolution of psychology on college campuses, various criminal trials, politics at Harvard, and so on. By the time it got to the WW stuff, I dreaded picking it up.
I just spent the last hour playing catch-up on LJ, but I know I missed stuff. I hate being gone for more than a couple days.
I wasn't sure if the antibiotics were actually helping until Sunday. I wasn't getting worse, but the streak from the bite wasn't shrinking either. On top of that, I did something to my lower back at work on Saturday, so I wasn't feeling great in general. But Sunday night, I checked it out again (I've been keeping it bandaged because it's under my bra strap and the bandage protected it from rubbing raw), and it looked better. This morning, it was almost gone completely. So yay!
One of the coolest things I read while I was catching up on online stuff was this post from Tom and Lorenzo. It's about these wedding photos from 1957 that only recently resurfaced. The "married" couple are a pair of young men, and the glimpse into gay culture of the 50s is both fascinating and sad. These two were so obviously in love, and yet had to hide. It breaks my heart. I only hope they got to live a long and happy life together.
Urgent Care took almost two hours. I got called in 20 minutes late, then at the end, got forgotten because they thought I was done. Oops.
Anyway, the doctor confirmed the infection. I was definitely bitten by something and have developed cellulitis. I had to get a tetanus shot and I'm now on two antibiotics. They also drew around it so I can monitor it over the next few days. If I develop a fever or it gets worse in the next couple days, I have to go to the ER so I can get IV antibiotics. Fingers crossed I don't have to.
At least it doesn't hurt. The two shots I got hurt a lot more.
On Monday morning, I noticed a dime-sized mark on my shoulder. It was a dull pinkish-red but not painful and didn't have a head, so I just attributed it as a random bruise. I bruise easily, they show up all the time without me knowing from what, so it seemed like a logical conclusion.
This morning, that spot is brighter red, warm to the touch, and has a faint red streak emanating from it, headed to my armpit. Clearly, not a bruise, lol. I figure it must be a bite (the wedding on Saturday was outside, and I wore a sleeveless dress, so I could have easily gotten bitten then), but the red, curved line bothered me a bit, so I called the nurse on the healthline of our insurance.
She wanted me to go Urgent Care within the hour, since the streak could be an infection. I can't, because I have an appointment I *have* to make this morning, but I'm going to go afterward.
I think I might have beaten this cold. I'm not congested any more, but I got tired very easily today, and I'm struggling now at 10:30 to stay awake, in spite of taking an hour nap after working high school walk-thru registration for five hours today. I don't usually go to bed for another hour, but I think I'm making an exception tonight.
I am mostly caught up to a point where I can actually start doing some writing again. I'm hoping to do at least one line for camelot_drabble's bingo this month, I have a novella due to one of my publishers on September 1, and I still have to finish my Fandom Trumps Hate fics. BUT, my life should be slowing down a little bit. Yes, play stuff will start taking the place of band stuff in my schedule, but that's not as draining as I find the latter. Probably because I enjoy it a lot more, lol. Either way, I have to figure out a schedule where my butt is in the chair and my hands are on the keyboard producing words and not surfing the internet. I miss writing.
I swear to god, July is trying to kill me. I meant to stay on top of LJ, but this past week had high school walk-thru (which I worked on the days I didn't work at the library), the Hugh Jackman concert, and then the wedding yesterday of our best friends' oldest daughter (the one who lived with me this past year). Plus, our A/C died for two of those days. There's more to come - one more walk-thru day, my days at the library, plus the run-up to auditions for the play I'm co-directing - but it should slow down. Provided I survive.
The wedding yesterday was gorgeous, but I woke up at 5:30am sneezing like a madwoman. By noon, I was completely congested and running a low-grade fever. I pumped myself full of drugs so I could make it through the evening ceremony/reception, but when we left at 11, I fell asleep in the car right away, slept for the 90 minutes home, woke up just enough to stumble to my room and strip out of my clothes, and slept through to 9:30 this morning. Today has been better than yesterday, though, so I'm hoping I can nip this in the bud.
In catching up with stuff today, I discovered that there is going to be an Angel game from Jasco (the people who did the recent Buffy game that I love so much) coming out later this year.
The Hugh Jackman concert was so much fun. I was a little surprised at how many small children were there, and all of them knew all the words to The Greatest Showman, lol. There was a little girl (who couldn't have been more than three) in the front row, dressed in a red sequined jacket with tails and a huge black tulle skirt, with an absolute riot of blonde curls. So adorable. Hugh saw her in the second act and hopped off the stage to interact with her. But the man is so charming and a natural entertainer. His singing isn't great - I've always thought he was just competent in that regard - but he's funny, articulate, and moves like a dream.
So you remember that buffyversebingo community I helped put together a month ago?
We have our first bingo already! Even better, it's from the fabulous teragramm!
She created three banners, a fic banner, and a set of mood themes to get her bingo. You can see them all over at her artwork journal, teragramm_icons. My favorite is the one she did for "cleanse," though her "bleed it out" banner makes my heart ache for Buffy. I hate seeing Buffy hurt.
I wish I used mood themes. I would totally snag hers.
Thanks to hollydb, I bought myself a red trench coat from the Buffy collection at Hot Topic today. I mean, how could I not? It's my favorite color and one of my favorites of Buffy's coats. Plus, I had birthday money to spend, so I figure I deserve it.
I'v been rewatching seasons 1 and 2 of Stranger Things so Alicia and I can watch S3 when she gets home next week. I loved it the first time around, but I'm just as in love with David Harbour this second time around as I was then. It makes me worried, though. He's been in a ton of headlines regarding S3. I'm completely unspoiled, but I'm starting to fear there's something significant for Hopper in S3.
If you've seen it, please don't tell me!
In other news, Alex got his AP scores yesterday. He took five AP classes last year - English, US History, Seminar, Calculus, and Psychology. He got 4s in three of them, which should be good enough for college credit, depending on where he ends up. I'm a little relieved. He doesn't have the activities that Alicia had in high school, so he has to rely more on grades and testing to impress. He's doing great so far. He's got a 4.2 GPA, and his SAT was 1430, which are more than solid enough. He's scheduled to take the SAT subject tests in October, since he wants to apply to a couple schools that require them. I have no doubt he'll blow the math one out of the water. He did for the composite test. That kid is crazy smart that way. I hope for his sake it's enough.
We woke up this morning to discover that Lucy, our Boston Terrier, had blood and pus in her urine. Not good, especially since she just had a physical two weeks ago that was completely clear (including the urinalysis). I was able to get her an appointment to see the vet, but Alicia and Craig had to take her because it was half an hour before I was due to work at the library. We won't have definitive results until Monday, but the vet said it looked like a typical UTI which is treatable with antibiotics. So we're giving her those and praying the news stays the same when they confirm the diagnosis.
During all this, I got a text from someone who didn't know I was no longer president of the band boosters. I then spent the next two hours getting her in touch with the right people for what she wanted, as well as also talking down the current president from unleashing on her unnecessarily. In some ways, next year won't be any different at all with the band responsibilities, lol.
Luckily, after that I was able to go into work and just be around quiet for the next five hours. The only problem there was that I was hyped on adrenaline when I arrived so got caught up on absolutely everything with an hour and a half left on my shift. I ended up just doing a lot of straightening then, but hey, it's not like it's hard work.
After dinner tonight, we sat down to play Buffy. The new expansion just came out recently, but when Craig, Alex, and I played the other night, we got our asses kicked. This time, we had Alicia join in. We played with Spike and Dru as the Big Bad, and had random characters. Alex was Buffy, Craig was Willow, Alicia was Giles, and I was Riley. I didn't use Riley's stupid special ability even once. So lame. We did get the Gentlemen as one of the monsters of the week, however, so that was fun (you're not allowed to speak when they come into play, which is interesting when it's a cooperative game that relies on working together to do multiple things at the same time). We also managed to squeak in a win, right under the wire. Willow turned evil at the very last minute, and we only had one more turn before we were officially apocalypsed, but hey, a win is a win. :)
TITLE: Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations AUTHOR: Peter Evans DATE FINISHED: June 27 BLURB: Ava Gardner was one of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars during the 1940s and ’50s, an Oscar-nominated leading lady who co-starred with Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, and Humphrey Bogart, among others. But this riveting account of her storied life, including her marriage to Frank Sinatra, and career had to wait for publication until after her death—because Gardner feared it was too revealing.
“I either write the book or sell the jewels,” Gardner told coauthor Peter Evans, “and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.” The legendary actress serves up plenty of gems in these pages, reflecting with delicious humor and cutting wit on a life that took her from rural North Carolina to the heights of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Tell-all stories abound, especially when Gardner divulges on her three husbands: Mickey Rooney, a serial cheater so notorious that even his mother warned Gardner about him; bandleader Artie Shaw, whom Ava calls “a dominating son of a bitch…always putting me down;” and Frank Sinatra (“We were fighting all the time. Fighting and boozing. It was madness. But he was good in the feathers”).
Alex took his driving test today and passed, woo hoo! Just in time, too. He is taking a couple classes at a different high school in town next year and at least one of my workdays will conflict with picking him up to take him back to his main school. Craig's more focused on the extra $700 we have to pay every six months for car insurance. Kids are expensive, man.
Alicia's bridesmaid dress came in last week so we went to Sacramento on Saturday to try on/pick it up. It fits perfectly everywhere except it's too high under the arms and needs to be lowered because it digs painfully into her sides. They could get us in right then to fit her, but guess when we get the dress back? Two days before the wedding. I don't know why the bride (or her mom) isn't hyperventilating about cutting it so close, but they were both perfectly fine with it. Me, I'm a nervous wreck about something going horribly wrong.
Our plums are coming in fast and thick now. We have two plum trees, one of which isn't quite as mature and only produced a dozen or so plums this year. The other one, however, has been heavily laden all spring, and they are finally getting ripe enough to start picking. We're eating them as is, mostly because pitting them would be a nightmare. I don't have time for more, and hey, it's healthier for us this way anyway.
A couple years ago, I bought a journaling book called The 52 Lists Project. My goal was to do a list a week, which I thought was more than doable. It was, until I reached list 4 which was about the soundtrack of your life. I don't define my life by music. I don't play music on a regular basis. I've never obsessed about certain musicians even though I have a few favorites, and I rarely remember titles of songs. So I got stuck. And my linear brain refused to let me move forward.
I just found it buried on my nightstand while I was cleaning. Instead of shuffling it to the bottom of the pile like I normally do, I pulled it out. I've decided to skip this damn soundtrack list and use the book as Sunday posts. So here goes.
LIST THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL HEALTHY: MIND, BODY, AND SOUL
I've been working at the library for two weeks now, and I'm still trying to adjust to it. First of all, it's been a long time when I've been on my feet for so many consecutive hours, so my body rebelled for the first week. My last two shifts have been a lot better, so it's a matter of getting used to it, but damn it, I get tired a solid two, sometimes three, hours earlier than before, and it's eating away my time. It means I have little creative energy when I can actually get online, and that's just not acceptable. I have all this stuff I want to do. I have to get this sorted out.
The other thing that's messing me up is food. I work two opening shifts during the week, while Saturdays can vary. I have not worked a single shift yet where I manage to eat something before I have to go in. That means, when I'm done, I'm both tired and starving, and I make poor choices. OR, Craig feels sorry for me and we get food in. This has to stop. As soon as possible. But I don't know how without exhausting myself even further. It's not like I'm spending the time before going into work playing games. I already have to get up during the week at 6am to take Craig and Alicia to the train. When I get home, it's usually just before 7 (we tend to leave around 6:30, but if I can't roll out of bed and be coherent, I need that time to wake up), and I have to start getting ready, make my tea, feed the dog, and all the other stuff that's part of waking the house up in the morning. The trick will be finding the time to cook breakfasts that I can heat up and eat on the run, but I haven't had any time (or energy when I do have some time) to do that.
The one good thing is that the job is going fabulously well. My manager kept apologizing the first week about it not being the most exciting work with a little repetition, but I think I've finally managed to convince her that I'm enjoying it. Part of me can't believe I'm actually getting paid to keep the library in good order.
A discussion at the EF Facebook page yesterday got me looking through my old nomination spreadsheets for LLGA. In the process, I discovered a fair number of fics are probably considered lost because they're on sites new readers don't look at.
Because I don't apparently have *enough* to do, I want to compile a list of those fics for readers with links. What I need to know, however, is where current Spuffy readers go looking for fic.
This is what I'm sure of: AO3 FFnet Elysian Fields All About Spike Spuffy Realm
What others are out there that are actually still live? I know Nocturnal Light is gone.
TITLE: Cold Secrets AUTHOR: Toni Anderson DATE FINISHED: June 15 BLURB: Computer expert Ashley Chen joined the FBI to fight against evil in the world--evil she experienced firsthand. She has mad skills and deadly secrets, and once she starts working with straight-shooting FBI agent, Lucas Randall, she also has big trouble. After years of pushing people away, she's finally falling for someone. The feeling is entirely mutual, but as Ashley intensifies her online pursuit of an international trafficking ring, her traumatic past collides with her present and suddenly Lucas can't tell which side she's on. As the case escalates into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse, it turns out Ashley isn't the only one with something to hide.
Rules: list the first lines of your last 10 published stories. See if there are any patterns yourself, or have other people say what they notice.
FYI: I excluded one of my last 10 because it was in response to a challenge where everybody had to start a story with the same first line, so it's not indicative of my style.
1. Her laughter rings throughout the cottage. - The Magic of Destiny
2. From the edge of the training field, the clang of sword meeting sword rang in five year-old Arthur's ears like the clarion song of birds first thing in the morning. - Picking Up the Sword
3. Percival stands at the door, knowing he should knock, scared of what will happen when he does. - Leave My Heart At the Door
4. The email from Morgana came with a link and three words. - Let's Get Personal
5. "You can't be serious." - Simple and Grand
6. As the day progressed, Merlin felt the back of his neck get redder and redder. - New Kid
7. For the most part, Arthur excused Merlin's tardiness. - In Return
8. Though it was hardly the first time he’d gone out since Gwen’s death, something about Gaius’s retirement party put Arthur into a maudlin mood, almost from the moment they walked through the hall’s doors. - Sharing the Same Truth
9. Icy water sprayed across Arthur’s trousers as the taxi rolled past, soaking him to the skin before he could jump back away from the street. - Like a Song
10. “I think you should come in.” - Count Me In
I already knew what some of my favorite ways to start fics were. I like short lines of dialogue without tags and visceral imagery - sound or touch most often - that lead into something else. Six of these do that. Two of the others convey an emotional effect to set a mood, which I like for shorter fic.
We've spent the last two nights bingeing "Good Omens." I never read the book. Though Terry Pratchett is Craig's favorite author, I wasn't as entertained by him with the couple of titles I read. And I'm embarrassed to admit that aside from admiring him in his social media and being aware of how well-received his books are, I've never read Neil Gaiman, either.
That has to change. Because I flippin' LOVED "Good Omens."
So...last week, electric_heart posted about interest in a Buffy bingo community, and since it's been something I've been thinking about, I jumped in to help do it. Clearly, I'm insane because I'm so damn busy already, but honestly, I'm soooooo excited!
Buffyverse Bingo is a low-pressure prompt challenge community for fans of BtVS and AtS. Sign up to participate, and you will get a bingo card with 24 prompts for you to fill. Prompts can be filled by a wide variety of fanworks, such as fics, icons, gifs, meta, picspam, videos, drawings, etc.
I had my first shift at the library yesterday. Mostly training and paperwork, but it went very well. I think I'm going to end up loving it there. It's also got me thinking if I want to pursue further education in library sciences if I want to work more hours. With Alex graduating next year, it would be nice to have something that gets me out of the house more, and the library is the perfect environment for it.
More of my time this week has been spent working with electric_heart in creating a Buffy bingo challenge. We're creating mirror communities at LJ and DW that--fingers crossed--will be ready to go by July 1. I have to say I'm really excited about it. I've been wanting something like this for a little while, and when she posted at DW earlier this week about whether they would be interest in it, I jumped at it. It won't just be for fic, either. We're allowing a lot of other types of fanworks, including fanart, vids, poetic, and meta. The goal is to attract creators so the fandom as a whole has more to enjoy.
Other big events this week...last night, on the way home from dinner, Craig ran over something that looked like a twig on the road. Turned out, it wasn't. Almost immediately, there was this horrible grinding sound, so he pulled over and discovered it was something metal and it had completely torn through some pipe on the undercarriage. It wasn't fuel, but it was leaking badly, so he took it into the shop and left it there. He went back this morning to get it on their docket. The pipe was part of the A/C system for the back seat. It cost us $300 to fix (not replace, that would've been $900), but we also needed an oil change and new tires. Altogether, the bill came to $1200. Not what we were hoping for this month, let me tell you.
Today was vet appointments for two of our pets. For our Boston Terrier, it was just a check-up to see how she's doing on her arthritis medicine. It can have an adverse effect on her liver, so while she seemed fine in her physical examination, I'll have to wait a couple days to get the results on her bloodwork. We also took in our senior cat. One of his dew claws had become ingrown, but he's also lost weight in recent months, so I wanted to have him checked. A few years ago, he had a tumor on his thyroid that caused the same symptom. He underwent radiation then to get rid of it and recovered great. The odds are very slim (in single digits, percentage-wise) for a recurrence, but they did bloodwork so we can see if something's going on or if he's just old man thin. He's never been a fat cat. At his healthiest, he was barely 12 pounds, all muscle. He's definitely underweight now, but he's also 15 years old. It's a waiting game there, too.
Tomorrow is another busy day. I have to be at the high school at 7am to work graduation, then we're off to a graduation party in the afternoon, before heading out to see "Whose Live Anyway?" in the evening. All of this while I feel less than 100%. I'm not sure if it's just my allergies going overboard (because I've been without my prescription Flonase for a month now, and OTC doesn't do it for me) or if I'm catching a cold. Either way, I spent most of today sneezing like a madwoman and partially blocked. Blech. Hopefully, I can get some sleep tonight. I'm going to need it.
TITLE: Murder House AUTHOR: Jordan Castillo Price DATE FINISHED: June 4 BLURB: Few people would willingly spend the night in a murder house, but Victor Bayne is up for the challenge. He’ll do whatever it takes to get a look at his permanent record, including going undercover in a townhouse where a recent death took place. Why not? There was no foul play involved, and as a psychic medium, he’d know if a ghost was creeping up on him. The whole “murder house” claim is just a product of a kid’s overactive imagination, and he’s confident he has the situation under control.
Until he gets a load of the smell.
Turns out, undercover work is a lot tougher than it looks. Vic misses Jacob something fierce. The subject of his assignment is a real piece of work. His partner has definitely got something to hide…and then the investigation takes a truly bizarre turn.
What happens if the murder house reveals itself to be more than just a schoolyard rumor?
TITLE: Americanah AUTHOR: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie DATE FINISHED: June 1 BLURB: Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
I have had a busy week. Craig and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary over the weekend by going to LA with the kids and doing the VIP Universal tour. It was made a little more special by the presence of good friends who joined us for the day. The weather in LA wasn't the greatest - 60 and cloudy all day long - but the ten of us had an absolute blast. It all perfectly embodied what Craig and I have been spending the last twenty years doing - building memories that we will always treasure. Our marriage isn't just about us. It's about our family and our friends and everything we've worked to create. This was an excellent celebration of all that.
I ended up getting the directing job at the theater, but as a co-director with the gentleman I know from the festival. We talked for three hours this morning, getting to know each other, and I actually think it's going to be a great fit. We have very similar approaches and temperaments, and our experience complements each other. Auditions will be the beginning of August, and his son is getting married this month, so we won't have to start working on it in earnest until July.
Our board elections were tonight for the band boosters, and I am no longer on it. Thank goodness. I couldn't do it with the play commitment since our rehearsals are during marching season, but I'm still going to function as the communications coordinator and be heavily involved. For instance, I'm still working all three days of high school walk-thru.
I got through the background check for the library job last Thursday, so now I'm just waiting to hear from the library about when I start. I hope it's next week. I have to work our graduation on Saturday. Where is all my free time? I haven't even had the chance to write a single word in over a week, and it's killing me. Maybe tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
My 20th wedding anniversary is in 9 days. Craig and I had talked awhile ago about going somewhere, just the two of us, but tonight we decided to make it a mini-family vacation instead. We don't have a lot of time with Alicia this summer, and our opportunities for family trips are getting fewer as the kids get older, so it really made the most sense.
So provided we can get someone to watch the dog, we're going to drive down to LA next weekend and do the VIP experience at Universal.
We did it last summer for my birthday and seriously had an absolute blast. We actually prefer Universal to Disney now that the kids are older, and the VIP experience was well worth it for us. We'll only be gone for three days, but it's going to be so worth it.
After working myself to death this past week, I'm now fighting a cold. My throat has been sore all day. I really don't need this right now.
On Friday, I had my interview about directing the first play of the 2019/20 season of the community theater I did the festival with. I'm supposed to know by Wednesday who's going to get it. I'm not holding my breath. There are five people interested, two of whom have amazing credentials but were lax about getting their interview scheduled at that point. One other is someone well known to the board. If I do manage to squeak in and get it, it will only be as co-directing, I'm pretty sure. I said I was more than happy to do that, which as it turns out, the other someone said as well. He is an absolutely lovely man who was so nice to me during the festival. I would love to be able to co-direct with him. I think we'd be pretty compatible.
Today was a long drive to Sacramento to hit David's Bridal with Alicia. She still didn't have her bridesmaid dress picked out for the wedding in July, and ordering online from them had proven disastrous while she was in DC. Lucky for us, we found three different dresses that would work, all of which could be ordered in time in the right color. The one we ended up getting was not one that had been on her radar, but the salesgirl said, "Let me just get it for you to try. You'll be surprised at how much it looks better on than hanging on the rack." And she was right. Alicia looked great in it. Even better, she felt comfortable and confident. So that is now all done, thank god.
I'm throwing a small graduation party next Saturday. R, the oldest daughter of the family we always have Thanksgiving with, has been living with us since last September as she finishes up nursing school. She'd been living at home, but her dad got a new job down in SoCal so we offered to let her stay with us so she didn't have to go through the hassle of transferring. She's also the one getting married in July, so I knew she didn't have a lot of energy or time to deal with anything for graduation. It's very intimate, only 15-20 people, so I'm just making lasagna and serving a few sides with it, and ordering a cake. I need to get the house ready this week for her family since they'll be staying the weekend with us instead of staying at a hotel.
I survived my posting day at Seasonal Spuffy, though my story is still a WIP. I feel pretty good about that, but now that the crunch is over, I need to start working on other projects that are due. I'm thinking I will write one chapter for that, and then work on one of my Fandom Trumps Hate stories concurrently. Then when I finish the SS story, I can go on to finish Razing the Veil over at EF. I will have written a lot of new fic this year by the time it's over.
I hate getting my picture taken. HATE. When the kids were little, I avoided doing it as often as I could. I regret that now. Life is too short, and I wish I had more memories to hold onto.
So when my friend T insisted she get a picture of me and Alicia at the concert the other night, I was more than happy to do it. I have very few pictures of just us, especially in recent years. There were other pictures taken that I absolutely loathe because I have so many issues with self-loathing body images, but I liked this one of us enough to share:
I've been insanely busy the past week, so let's play catch up.
I accepted the library job. Now, I'm in the administrative process of getting hired by the county which means background checks, fingerprinting, multiple levels of approvals, etc. I probably won't start working until June, but that's okay. Life is crazy busy right now.
Alicia is home, safe and sound. She was free for a few days, and then started her internship today on the peninsula. With Craig also commuting into work, it meant the house was very, very quiet. I forget what a force of nature she is when she's been gone for a bit, but when she's home and then not, there's a very definitive hole in the space she's left behind. It was startling today.
Yesterday was the huge spring concert for the band. Normally, that means I spend three days baking since nobody else seems willing to do anything about refreshments, but I lost last Friday and Saturday to period pain issues that pretty much flattened me. I mean, the first day or so is always pretty bad, but this was a battering ram to my entire midsection, from my sternum to my pelvis. I couldn't even be touched without wincing from pain. Then Sunday was Mother's Day, which was lovely for the most part. I got Harry Potter themed gifts, including this sorting hat snack server and a gorgeous luminary. Alicia brought me back the most delicate, most beautiful ornament from DC's cherry blossom festival. And then in the evening, I had other booster moms over so we could wrap 15 raffle baskets for Tuesday's concert.
All that means is that my normal baking happened in the course of one day. I managed to get 15 dozen cookies/brownies/bar cookies done on Monday. That might be my record, especially since one batch of brownies (and I did 6) takes over an hour and only makes 9 brownies.
Now, I'm in the throes of finishing up a third chapter of a new WIP for seasonal_spuffy on Friday. It's been so much fun writing Spike again. I needed the distraction today, too. The health insurance sitch is driving me crazy. Craig's new job covers COBRA costs for three months (since employees don't get their health insurance until they've been on the job for 90 days), but it didn't happen automatically. It won't be in effect until next week, which meant we had to pay the full price cost of two prescriptions so far. AND I can't even get a Flonase refill until it's in effect because my doctor literally can't prescribe it without being preauthorized by the insurance. I've been out for a couple days because I didn't know it was the insurance holding it up, and now I have to go back to that familiar choking feeling until I can get more. Hopefully soon.
About an hour ago, I got an email from the woman I interviewed with at the library. She said, "I have a question. Can you call me?"
So I did.
She opened with, "So you were our second choice when we were hiring, and we really wanted you, but we only had the one position. We've had some personnel shifting and now I need someone for about ten hours a week, Saturday afternoons and either a Tuesday or Wednesday night. Would you be interested?"
I might've exploded a little on the inside.
Seriously, it's so part-time it would just be about getting out of the house a couple days a week and having some spending money that I don't feel guilty about. But I want to talk to Craig about the Saturday thing before I commit, which she more than understood. I'm going to call her tomorrow with my decision.
But! I want it. I would get to live with books for ten hours a week. I hope Craig doesn't come up with a good reason for me not to take it. What a fabulous Mother's Day gift it would be!
I got annoyed by a book review this morning that disparaged a book I love as being unworthy of recommendation because it didn't meaningfully change the reader in any way. She then went on to say a book that simply entertained was worth less than one that provoked thought.
Well, screw that.
I love a solid literary novel, but I absolutely loathe readers/reviewers that denigrate genre fiction. Everybody reads for different reasons. Everybody has different tastes. To dismiss another person's reading pleasure is elitist and completely unnecessary. All it does is make the person making the statements feel superior. It's perfectly fine to say a book isn't for you, but if there is legitimately nothing technically wrong with it, I see zero valid reason to belittle those readers who do respond well to the book.
It's why I have such issue with a lot of academia. I've run smack dab into the same elitism and it infuriates me. Those books they think are such classics? Are completely unreadable to some people. And it's not because a person isn't smart enough. It's because reading is SUBJECTIVE. Your way of reading is not the only way. What you get out of it is not necessarily what I do. And you have no right to tell me that mine is ridiculous simply because it doesn't mesh with yours. It's called mutual respect. It shouldn't be such a hard concept to grasp.
The bulk of what I read is done so purely for escapism. There is nothing wrong with that. All people do when they act so superior about their reading material is make me want to avoid them at all costs. Which I do. And have done. That sort of elitist BS only shows how shallow they really are, and I would much rather have people of value in my life than any of them.