Summer gratitudes

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:12 pm
kass: a container full of wooden spoons for cooking (spoons)
[personal profile] kass
1. I am making a new cucumber salad recipe, courtesy of an issue of Cook's Country that came to my hands. I think the trick of seeding and pre-slicing the cucumbers and letting them rest on a paper towel in the fridge for 20 minutes will indeed help keep the cucumbers crisp, and I flavored the salad with mint from my one garden bed. \o/!

2. One giant load of wash is in the dryer, another load of towels is in the wash, hallelujah.

3. I'm going to oven-roast salmon tonight, glazed with soy-sesame-miso-ginger-garlic and a smidge of maple syrup.

4. I had a morning of self-care (therapy followed by massage). My friendly neighborhood massage therapist tells me that she encounters a lot of people's necks and that they are not supposed to feel like corded steel cable. Well okay then. :-)

5. I got to have lunch with [personal profile] squirrelhaven, and will get to have dinner with [personal profile] sanj and [personal profile] kouredios. What a delightful day. :-)

How are y'all?

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:08 am
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
My sleep was only middling last night. I was stressed out at bedtime and didn't end up turning out the light until much later than usual because I wanted to unwind a bit. I used the c-PAP for part of the night. It had been my intention to use it all night, but I took it off in the middle of the night. I don't know why. I remember doing it and that it seemed important to do so, but I can't remember why.

I decided to make use of being up early to do a chore that I've been putting off for months. I pulled all of the books I've already read off the shelves in bedroom (two shopping bags filled to the top) and consolidated the other books as much as I could. I've dusted some of the shelves. I don't know that the dust quite made it to the dust bunny stage, but I at least had dust mice.

I want to clear enough space that I can have one shelf for library books. Having them in six different places isn't conducive to remembering to read them. I also want space for my thumb splints and some place level to land my laptop over night when I've been using it in there before bed.

I need to figure out what to do with the jigsaw puzzles. I like puzzles, but we don't really have a place for me to do them. Setting up a card table isn't really feasible for space reasons, not unless I'm going to finish the puzzle in a single afternoon while I'm home alone.

Scott scheduled today as a vacation day so that he could deal with two medical appointments. The way work schedules things, that means he has tonight off. Their book keeping considers third shift to be on the day that it starts rather than on the day it ends. This is partly so they can say that third shift works M-F instead of Tu-Sa. At any rate, his first appointment is at 11 and the second at either 2 or 3. Right now, the plan is for him to shower and then try to nap for an hour before the first appointment.

We need to wash Scott's work clothes today, and I'd like to change the sheets and run a load of laundry for us and maybe for Cordelia. I need to shower, too, and I'd like to nap if I can. Oh, and it's trash day. Great fun.

Tomorrow, my parents will be in town briefly because my step-father has an appointment about that growth in his eye. They suggested that we go to lunch. I'm pretty sure that they were hoping to see Cordelia, but they never did much to build a relationship with her, so she's got zero interest. She'd go along if she had nothing else going on, but she's not going to skip part of her volunteering in order to see them.

Scott gave me a ride to and from my appointment yesterday. I wouldn't have asked, but I was feeling really miserable due to cramping. He took the opportunity to pick up an interlibrary loan book that had come in for Cordelia.

My psychiatrist suggested that I try to find some sort of online, at home work to earn money to help while we're financially strapped. I'm looking at that as a huge can of worms. There's not a lot I'm able to do because of not being able to commit to regular hours or even to a set number in a week. Also, most of the online work options aren't things I'd be good at or aren't things that my anxiety would permit.

I'm also concerned about the possibility that earning money, even sporadically, might affect my disability status with either Social Security or my long term disability insurance through my former employer. The LTD insurer is always looking for any hint that I might not be disabled. I might be able to work for a while before I wrecked myself, and that might well be long enough to lose the LTD insurance payments and the medical insurance that goes along with the money.

My writing might be marketable, but I think that would wreck me, too, because there'd need to be a lot of it, and I'd need to figure out how to sell it and work at making sure that people saw it and... I'd stay awake all night worrying that I had or hadn't done something that would just wreck everything. Also, the sort of writing that might bring in money within any sort of helpful time frame would likely be some sort of ebook porn short stories. I can write porn. Sometimes. I can even write it quickly. Sometimes. I just... I write dark and complicated, and sometimes, I can't write at all for days or even weeks.

My psychiatrist also said that, if I'm still exhausted the next time I see her, we can talk about stimulants because insurers will cover them for people with sleep apnea who have been using a c-PAP for at least two months. I'm not entirely optimistic. Provigil (modafinil) didn't help me at all, and I suspect that caffeine has more of a psychological effect for me than a physiological one. Well, if I've recently had caffeine, sleeping is harder because I have to get up to pee every twenty minutes, but I'm not sure that counts.

It's frustrating that she's the only medical professional I'm dealing with who understands that the things that the other doctors are worried about all derive at least in part from fatigue/exhaustion and from anxiety and pain making sleep difficult. And each of those things makes all of the others worse.

I did some edits on my second Pod Together fic yesterday, all things that my partner requested. I'm hoping that the changed text will be easier to read. I still need to do one check on the pronunciation of the name of a minor character. I think I remember how it was pronounced, but I don't want to rely on that.

I also wrote about four hundred words on chapter 7 of Auguries of Innocence. I need to go back to the early part of the chapter to lay some groundwork for the things that just occurred to me as necessary. It's all about a character who hasn't been in any of the previous chapters, so I don't need to tweak anything earlier in the story. (This is an advantage of using point of view characters who don't think the way that most people do, Draco because he's unmoored in time, and Luna because she never did.)

Culture Consumed Tuesday

Jul. 25th, 2017 10:50 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
Books

Read Ann Leckie's Provenance (in ARC. It's coming out on the 26th of September.) Spider mech, spider mech, does whatever a spider mech does. (Disconcert people, mainly.) This is in the same universe as the Radch trilogy, but in a different region and with different characters, voice, and tone. I have some friends who couldn't get into Ancillary Justice, wanted to like it but found it too hard going, and I would be curious if this one worked better as an entry point for them.

Leckie's repeatedly cited Cherryh as an influence, and if you think of the universe the Ancillary books are set in as like Cherryh's Alliance/Union universe, a big canvas covering a lot of territory in time as well as space, then this book in relation to its universe is a bit like a railway junction. It opens some new routes, introduces some new important players, but the most important universe-scale historical events (as opposed to system-scale or planet-scale or individuals) are offstage.

To say more about voice and tone: the Radch books are in first person, and that person is Breq, who is... Breq. Over two thousand years old, and even if you consider the destruction of Justice of Toren as a kind of rebirth, by the point we meet her she's a hypercompetent badass who's been surviving on her own in her single body for nineteen years. Also she's not a human, so there's that.

Ingray isn't Breq. She's very much human (and has an entirely reasonable terror of AIs,) a lot younger (I don't think her exact age is stated, but early twenties would be my guess,) and infinitely less sure of herself. She's also spent her entire life to date having her head messed with by her shitty family. My first two impressions, right from the first three chapters of this book, were: one, you can really tell the author was spending a lot of time in airports when she wrote this; and two, Ingray has the sort of family life where the closer your geographic proximity to your relatives, the more difficulty you have with being a decent person. The rest of this book bore this out (I mean the family, although there were definitely more airport-equivalent scenes too.)

If you're one of the people who disliked Breq because she was "too perfect" (I disagree with you about her being perfect, but) you might find Ingray and her smaller scale problems (compared to entire empires and species) more relatable.

If the Radch trilogy is about personhood and the fight to be recognised as a person when you don't fit a society's definition of who counts as a person, then Provenance about growing into oneself not as a person (that was never in question for Ingray) but as an adult (a coming of age that, by contrast, Breq never had the luxury of needing.) And if the Radch trilogy is about resisting societal/systemic forces, Provenance is about resisting social, personal pressures (family and peers.)

Finished Aliette de Bodard's The House of Binding Thorns. And after this and Provenance I'd like a short break from books about difficult family situations, please! I liked this better than The House of Shattered Wings, but the tone was still bleaker than I usually go for. Characters I particularly liked: Madeleine, back from the previous book; Thuan the dragon prince, and Berith and Francoise the Fallen/human couple trying to manage outside the Houses. Grandmother Olympe, the elder of the community where Berith and Francoise live, was also pretty great. And I warmed more to Asmodeus than I did in the first book.

Unfortunately, I think I'm the wrong audience for this. The things The House of Shattered Wings and The House of Binding Thorns do well (decayed elegance, gothicism, Paris, fallen angels), they do really well, but they're not things I particularly love (I don't dislike them, they're just not my catnip.) So, like, I can't actually rave about these books, but I do want to wave them really hard at people who do love those things.

Comics

Some zines I ordered from Rooster Tails's Etsy store showed up, and he kind of threw in a bunch of queer fanart glossy note cards (maybe to make up for a delay, idk, I'm not complaining!) and they're so beautiful and I didn't know I needed a picture of Daria holding Jane's hand and saying "I hate you the least," or adorably cartoony Finn smooching Poe, or cartoony Gabrielle climbing Xena like a tree, but I definitely did need those things. Now I'm trying to decide whether to keep or send to people.

The zines are #my gender is..., three tiny A6 cardbound volumes made in response to answers people gave the author when he asked people to fill in the blank.

Mainlined 17776, which is web based multimedia rather than comics, but I'm putting it in this category because what everyone's comparing it to is Homestuck. It's about satellites watching football in an unimaginably future, but also post-scarcity/post-singularity anxiety and Millennialism (as in epochs, as well as as in snake people) and play as the ultimate point of human existance, and it's funny and elegiac and cool and reminds me of David Foster Wallace in some ways.

That said, it is worth talking about who's at the centre of this narrative. No, not robots. No, not humans. Americans. White, suburban, minivan-driving, 80s-and-90s-born Americans. So conflated with the essential nature of humanity that they don't even notice they're doing it. Even the probes are two American probes and one European (but not Russian) one. I mean, Mangalyan does exist, you know? And so does Chang'e 2 and Kirari. And Libertad I and Fajr and... I mean, not all of those are still in space, or left Earth's orbit, but they could. Not to mention that it's science fiction and at the present date JUICE is still in development, why not a future Ghanaian or Iranian satellite mission? Which is not even my point, my point is that the regressive fantasy that the humans fall back into when faced with the crushing boredom of their eternal lives is... the 1960s and 1970s but without the race riots or Stonewall or Watergate.

It's still a good story/multimedia work/thing, and I still enjoyed it. I just... that particular nostalgic fantasy makes me very tired sometimes. And no, not tired in a way that makes me want to give up on the weary work of human endeavour/struggle/progress to take refuge in looking back down at the things that are really important to us/humanity, i.e. a sport which people in my country don't play.

TV and Movies

Watched the first episode of Black Sails. Was unimpressed. I hear it gets better, though. Flint's fury at the stolen log page reminded me of this.

Music

Gave my sister the Hamilton soundtrack for Christmas last year or her birthday this year (I forget which -- my gift-giving punctuality standards are seriously slipping at the moment.) Success: she's hooked. Very hooked.

Games

Third week of [community profile] hexarchate_rpg. So far haven't panicked and run away yet (me, not my character) so that's good.

Still playing Binding of Isaac. In one especially good run, I met Isaac's mother for the first time, and defeated her! Which meant that, next time I got to that level, defeating her led to having to climb into her womb and fight more monsters there. Which... is definitely a narrative choice a person could make.

Started playing Hexcells, a puzzle game; not to be confused with Hexels, a different puzzle game. The latter is like 2048 but in three directions not two; the former is kind of like a griddler/nonogram, but in three directions and its own specific language of clues. Played all the way through Hexcells, then started Hexcells Plus. Got the Perfectionist achievement for the original Hexcells. Then Hexcells Plus. Then started Hexcells Infinite, and am at 90% of that.

The problem with me and Hexcells is not the logic. I'm not super great at the logic, but with time and effort and occasional appeals to online walkthroughs I can succeed (usually by speaking the chain of logic out loud over and over because I can't hold the branches in my head long enough otherwise.) The problem is that that one of the achievements is to do all the games with zero (or only one) mistakes, and the way my brain works (or the way my working memory doesn't work) it's very easy for me to make one stupid error too many and ruin an hour of work. Which is really frustrating and upsetting. At least Hexcells Infinite lets you save your progress. The first two games didn't, so if you need a break before finishing the level, you have to leave the app open.

Garden

The compost bin is full. That took about three months to fill a 220L bin. I had to look up what one does once the bin's full. Leave it to cure for a month or so while starting a new bin, apparently. Or alternatively, lift the bin off the compost (it doesn't have a bottom) and set it down next to the compost, shovel whatever still looks like vegetable peelings and cat litter back into the bin, and use whatever just looks like soil to grow things. (But not herbs and vegetables, because this is cat litter compost, so it's contaminated with toxoplasmosis. This compost can nourish pretty flowers and Native Plants To Encourage Local Species.)

Food

Baked scones. Also tried out a couple of recipes from my long backlog of bookmarked Recipes To Try Someday:

- Jack Monroe's Queen of Hearts jam tarts recipe. Not too bad given how seldom I make pastry. If you have fifty grams of butter and a scant cup of plain flour and some jam, this is an okay thing to do with those ingredients, but the scones were better.

- AoM Bratwurst Sandwich. This contains one thing I eat normally (mustard), one thing I've had decades ago but haven't cooked with (bratwurst), and two things I hadn't had before (sauerkraut, pumpernickel.) The bratwurst and mustard and sauerkraut were good. The pumpernickel... yeah, no, next time I make this I'll just use a dark rye.

I could have adapted to the flavour, but its lack of structural integrity meant that according to the Earl of Sandwich litmus test this is not even a sandwich. (i.e. "I pretend I am the original Earl of Sandwich. I have asked for non-bread foods to be brought to me inside bread, that I might more easily consume them one-handed while gambling. This does not enable my wretched regency habits. This is not what I asked for. I do not deign to grace it with the name of my house.")

This would fall apart in his hand, scattering boiled rye grains all over his elaborate necktie and playing cards.

Admittedly, the degree of difficulty was higher for me since I had to eat it one-handed while fending off a very interested black and white cat with the other hand.

Other

Broke my daily meditation streak at 219 days. Very pissed off about it, in a not zen at all way. The last time this happened it was at 149 days. Forming habits is hard for me. (This is not a request for reassurance or advice. Especially not advice.) Took four days off meditating out of pique.

Cats

Have been fighting a lot these last few days. At first I thought Beatrice was the main instigator, but last night while she was aggressively licking Dorian, I saw him nip her.

He hasn't learned to lift the toilet lid yet, but it's hard for me to remember to leave it down since my already established habit was to close the door but leave the lid up.

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:01 am
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I slept last night, but it wasn't great. A big part of that was cramps. Scott's still in bed. I don't know if I woke him when my alarm went off. I got it off in about two seconds, but who knows? That would wake me, but he often doesn't wake for my weekend medication alarms which have a similar duration. Scott came to bed about 4:30. I woke up about then because I really needed the bathroom and was just getting up when he went in there. Which, well, isn't that how it always works?

I managed to use the c-pap all night, though.

I'm a little cranky that, although he stayed up past when it was done drying, he didn't bring up the laundry. I really don't want to face the stairs right now, but that is my only source of clean clothing unless I'm willing to wake Scott.

My month to date word count is 21752. That's the highest for any month so far this year, even if I write nothing else whatsoever. Yesterday, I added about 1300 words to my Captive Audience fic and then realized I may need to make a major alteration in the setting. I'm hoping not, though. Today's writing will mostly be tweaks to the second of my Pod Together stories to try to make the rhythm of certain passages work better for the person doing the podfic.

We were surprised when we went downtown to the library yesterday afternoon-- Apparently Art Fair now includes Sunday. For as long as I can remember, Sunday was tear down and clean up, but one of the employees at the library told me that Sunday's been part of actual Art Fair for a couple of years now.

We stopped by the science and nature center to do some Ingress, and we took back the portals that someone from the other side had captured. We had planned to go into the woods to reinforce the two portals there, but we decided against it because of the risk of ticks. The other portals are all accessible from places that should be much lower risk for ticks (close cropped grass or asphalt). We'll hope no one knocks out those two portals for a while. It can be done from the street because high level bursters have a pretty extensive reach. The portals just can't be captured from there because one has to be much closer in order to place resonators and mods.

I told Scott that we should hope for the other side coming by frequently. He's close to leveling up, and recapturing a portal is worth a fair number of points.

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:45 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Counting as yet unrevealed fics, I now have a bit more than 660k words of fic on AO3. I boggle at the number. How on Earth is that possible?

I haven't heard from either of the people I'm working with for Pod Together. I'd mainly like to know if what I wrote works for them and if there are things I could do to make it work better.

I really ought to be asleep, but I can't seem to relax. The fact that Scott has to stay up to try to shift his sleep schedule isn't helping.

Fic Announcements

Jul. 23rd, 2017 02:50 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Authors have been revealed for the Nonconathon, so I can claim the five stories I wrote. I'm putting the list and information about the stories behind a cut because of the subject matter. If you click through, please mind the tags. I wrote one Weiss Kreuz, one Star Trek Original Series (Mirror Universe), and three original fics. I think the Weiss Kreuz story is the only one for which I didn't fall down the world building rabbit hole.

All of these are explicit.

The fic descriptions and links )

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2017 12:21 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I'm 1700 words into my Captive Audience story. It's not due until 2 September, but I can already tell that it's likely to be long, so I guess having that time is good. I think this one will flow better during the writing than the second Pod Together story did. I might still hit a snag, but I'm hoping not.

My period finally started today after almost a month of off and on spotting. On the plus side, this makes having one on the 7th of August when I go in for the uterine ultrasound a lot less likely.

Scott's going to be working third shift this week and, probably, next. He originally thought that next week was his vacation, but I pointed out that that's actually another week further on. The only reason they didn't tell him to work third shift next week was that he told them he'd be on vacation. He emailed his boss to tell him of the error as soon as I told him (Scott didn't have access to his calendar right then). Third shift is down to four out of seven employees, and two of those left are supervisors who aren't supposed to run machines apart from covering for lunches and breaks. At other times, they move from machine to machine, making sure that everything's going okay and helping with whatever problem they judge most urgent.

Neither our nephew nor our niece were at the family gathering yesterday, so it was Cordelia and six adults. She retreated to the basement after dinner to read her book in isolation. I think she felt that four hours of being polite to adults was plenty.

I ended up sitting in the living room with Scott's father while Cordelia was in the basement and everyone else was out on the sun porch playing Ticket to Ride Europe. I didn't think it would be a good thing for us to sit in silence, so I initiated conversation, and we talked until the folks playing the game came back in. At that point, it was 9:00, and we were all ready to go home.

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:02 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I want very much to respond to comments on some fics that are still anonymous. I could respond anonymously, but reveals are tomorrow, and I'd rather respond as myself. I've gotten recipient comments on four of the five stories, and the fifth person hasn't responded to any of the three stories they got but appears to have been prompt about responding to past gifts, so I'm assuming some sort of offline life thing has happened.

We're on our way home from Scott's parents' place now. If we weren't, I'd start the next story with a due date.

Gratitudes

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:53 pm
kass: a container full of wooden spoons for cooking (spoons)
[personal profile] kass
1. I made two really tasty things with my farm share yesterday: napa cabbage slaw (soy, sesame, fresh lime juice, rice vinegar, scallions, and peanuts) as well as a kohlrabi salad from Yotam Ottolenghi (fresh lemon juice, olive oil, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper, fresh mint, and I'll add arugula á la minute) and they will be tonight's dinner along with some roasted chicken thighs. Om nom nom.

2. This morning I was really good at what I do.

3. This afternoon I went for a walk with kiddo and the visiting [livejournal.com profile] ltlbird, and after that we played card games and watched cartoons, and these have been lovely ways to spend a Shabbes afternoon.

4. This weekend I've been reading a draft of something awesome and offering beta comments and that is making me super-happy.

5. I spent some time learning today about the origins of Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokémon, and Magic: the Gathering (my kid asked me which came first and I did not know, but now I do.) It's neat to be learning things about geek culture because my kid wants to know more.

How are y'all?

Cats update

Jul. 23rd, 2017 03:33 am
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
[personal profile] vass
He's being a terrible Dory again. (Sung to the tune of 'I'm telling a terrible story' from The Pirates of Penzance.) This time his evidence exculpatory is that I won't let him use the indoor swimming pool. (No, not the sink. And I don't have a bathtub.)

So he learned to turn the lever sort of door handles and also swing on them in such a way that he can open an outward opening door from the outside. I am pondering technological solutions. I hear there's a form of child lock that works on cats. Until then I'm leaving the lid down and putting a barrier in front of the door, but I expect that won't hold him for long.

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2017 01:25 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I managed to finish the [community profile] pod_together fic last night about 11:00. I haven't posted it yet because it lacks a title. I'm also still hoping to hear back from my partner in the undertaking, but we're not in compatible time zones, so it's difficult.

I also need a tag that I can use for when a character talks to an externalized manifestation of their own psyche in order to hash out a problem. There must be one, right? Any suggestions?

I woke with a migraine this morning. I think it's a multi-factor thing. I slept less last night than I wanted to because Scott took forever (two hours!) getting ready for bed after I was ready to sleep. Then, when he came to bed, he kept doing stuff with his laptop until I asked him why he was still up and still keeping me up. I had some coughing, so I didn't dare use the c-PAP. I was stressed about the story and about the family gathering this afternoon (BIL's birthday), and a number of other things. There's also some indication that my body may be preparing for a period (though I'm skeptical because been spotting off and on since late June. If I didn't already have a gynecology appointment on the 9th, I'd probably have called already to see about setting one up).

The lack of sleep and stress are making me ache. I'm wearing thumb splints today because I can't do what I need to otherwise. I have to wrap the present for our BIL some time in the next half hour (Scott's trying to repair the dryer). We only have Christmas wrapping paper.

What I really want to do is to lie down and nap. There just isn't time.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:55 pm
labelleizzy: (Default)
[personal profile] labelleizzy
I was brave tonight in a very momentary, very specific, bodies are weird kinda way.

I heard myself consider the two alternative options lightning fast and then chose the least wasteful option because I only had a second to choose.

And it worked, and my body resettled itself, and I finished the rest of my tasks.

I just wanted to say that I'm proud of myself for sucking up the awkward decision and that my body came through like a champ for me.
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