Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ohio pirates and the such

I'm feeling quite proud of myself; I've managed now to keep up the habit of writing each morning (for at least one hour and occasionally up to four--very occasionally) for almost a full week. I've also managed to keep myself on a semblance of a schedule, waking at or around 7 am each morning and going for a walk before settling in for the day. Go me!

I've managed to keep this up, despite taking the weekend off (which I've already decided I probably will do anyway, just to give the weeks some sort of shape) to visit my friend S, who lives in Ohio. I visit her at least three or four times a year. It's been a while since last I was there, so it's always a pleasant respite to get out for a weekend of fresh air and new scenery.

This weekend, we played games with some friends when I arrived Friday night (and it's ever so nice to have the whole of Friday to travel--I get there much earlier and less frazzled that way), then Saturday we went to see Twilight and visited a park to take a nice, long walk. We also did some mall shopping, but that's neither here nor there, as that was the least interesting part of the trip. I perked up when we went to Half Price Books, but only because I'm a total book hoor, and I was certain we'd be tossed out of the theater for laughing so hard as we did at Twilight. I can't help it; sparkly vampires. What will they think of next? Sunday saw us in another park, just outside Yellow Springs, Ohio, along the Miami River. I found the perfect little nook in the river for the pirates to moor up.

I have another picture that shows the gap from straight on, and the land slopes up to the ridge above the river. Lots of interesting places to plop a small cabin in which to sleep and count your pirate booty, argh. Well, such as booty might be on the Miami, but hey. We all do what we can to get by.

We had ice cream (yeah, I know, it was cold, but hey, I don't get out much) and then dinner and played a round of Carcassone, which is a totally fun game. S's cat kept pretending to be Catzilla, terrorizing our thieves, knights, farmers and monks, but she never really messed up the lay of the land, so to speak. We built some very suspiciously shaped towns, and then peppered the countryside around them with monasteries to off-set the naughtiness of our fortifications.

There were quite a few touches of the Japanese aesthetic in the two parks we visited this weekend. I never thought of Ohio as a bastion of Eastern Philosophy, but there you go. You just never can tell, I guess. F'rinstance, this bridge with willow, reflecting calmly in the pool of water.

Branches of willow,
Green against a bright blue sky,
Fronds of springtime joy.

Sorry for the craptacular haiku. I suffer delusions of poetry.
There was something about the arrangment of tree and stone in the middle of the river that looked vaguely like calligraphy. I hope it's not saying anything unpleasant, although it was such a pretty day, I'm not sure how it could have been.

A little lamp tucked up next to a bench. Very pretty.
I feel quite rested and relaxed. I think the little holiday has done me some good. I think I've also gotten some good done by checking my unemployment website today and finding that a) they simply refused my first application (the one I screwed up), as I'd applied during my 'waiting week' (ie, the week I got my last severance check). No ramifications, just a quiet no. Le sigh. and b) my application completed last week for the week prior (the week after the severance ran out) was approved. Now I'm just waiting for the debit card--we no longer do checks. That's just so 1995, I guess.
Anyway. I feel better. At least they won't be dragging me off to interrogate me about being such a dumbarse I can't fill in the applications properly!

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Last night, I got myself a pizza (did you know Mystic Pizza makes frozen pies? I didn't either--but they're very good) and a chocolate torte (made in France, oooh la la) and threw myself a pity party. I should do it much more often.

I've been staying away from home at my sister's house, watching her cats as she gambles away some vacation time in Vegas. I'm also taking care of one of her neighbor's cat as well--cute little blighter. Bites, though. As I'm away from home this weekend, and I had a time trying to figure out how to file for my weekly unemployment (which I did for the first time this week) and getting it wrong, which is criminal on the part of my state government, making the form so damn confusing, and everything just came crashing down and I had a nice, soppy breakdown in my car. My eyes are still a little swollen and I'll need to pull out a new pair of contacts (question: why do my contacts get all fuzzy after I've been crying? You'd think they'd be manufactured to stand up to a few tears, since all they are is saline), but I do feel better. I knew I'd been feeling a bit...numb for the past two months, and I was way overdue for the cry. Oh, not because I miss that job, no, getting pink slipped was the best way out of the gig for me, but because I miss having a job. Having somewhere to be, even if they resented me for being there. Feeling like a productive member of society, if only in a way I resent.

Now, to clarify, it's possible to be a productive member of society and work for yourself/at home/part time/for your family. I'm talking, I never do anything anymore. For the past two months I've been sitting like a lump in my chair, knitting on things I never finish and reading books. Probably a healing process, but not what I'd call 'contributing to society', except as it kept me off the streets and out of trouble.

If possible, I'm getting tired of being a slacker. Holy Jesus, I need medication; I'm bored of doing nothing! How is this possible? I guess I just needed the time to rest up and recover from the psychic damage done by my entire work history, time to get my head around the thought of "work keeps you from feeling at loose ends, allows you to feel a part of something, connected to the world at large" as opposed to "work is something you do because you have to, even though you hate it". Not that I'm going to go all Ghandi or anything, but there's much to be said about working as a means to connect with humanity, even if you're a hermit and all you do is pray, you're praying for others and/or the world, which is connecting with humanity. Sorta.

So last night, after my Pity Party, during the lame ghost hunter show that comes on before Most Haunted on Travel Channel, I curled up on my sister's couch and read the first three letters from Rainer Maria Rilke aloud to myself. And I realized that, even though I suck at it, even though I'll probably never share it with anyone, I have to take up my writing again. I have to man up and be my authentic self (if only with myself), and tell stories again. And I have to take it seriously, if I'm to take myself seriously. The fact that I so disrespect my writing practice is a reflection of how little I really respect myself, which is sad.

So on Tuesday, I start my new schedule. I'll have to set my alarm, get up a bit earlier than I have been, eat, get my morning walk, then sit to the computer. Even if I can't come up with something on my pre-started stories, I'll force myself to brainstorm, write ahead of myself, word doodle, whatever, just to get into the habit again. I'm shooting for four hours a day, but that is just the ideal. I know things will get in the way (for instance, I have two vets' appointments this week, one for the cat, one for Dog), but I must be more...respectful of my needs. I need to tell stories, I need to express my creativity, and by not taking time for it, I'm openly stating to the world that my needs are not important.

And that's just wrong. In all ways, just plain wrong.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Good grief.

I hate my computer. There's some setting that constantly flips it to off network, usually after I've got a huge post already typed up and ready to submit. Sigh.

I will take a leaf from Dog's How To Release Anxiety Book:

Enjoy a calming scent.

Not pig ear for me. They smell like dead things. This does not seem to concern Dog, however. I guess he likes the smell of putrefied dead things. Hmm. Must be his scavenger nature.

In addition to many, many things I dare not write about now, for fear of the dreaded Network Cut-Off, I managed to get in a weaving lesson.

It's very springy. I wasn't sure how I would like the yellow warp (not being a yellow person myself, although in the definition of "Irony" I wore a daffodil yellow shirt to my lesson) but I find it quite appealing. I've been wearing it around for the past three days. It's comfy and warm, but doesn't feel at all noose-like or confining. I'm pleased.

Here's a close up of the colored weft (spot dyed Tussah Silk, oooh). It's much more shiny than this picture seems to show, which is a shame. It's got a nice gleam. The weave is a little...rough, dare I say "rustic", but for a first effort, it's not bad at all.

Dog consented to model for me. Doesn't he look thrilled?

In a striking turn of events, I've been invited to a second baby shower this year as myself. By 'as myself', I mean not as 'Aunt T's daughter, you know, the younger one'. This is quite unusual for me. At a time when most women are beyond the "first baby" stage, I'm getting invited to showers. I feel honored.
Also in a rather dimwitted turn of events, I've decided to knit something for the baby. I'm using Caron's Spa Yarn (acrylic/bamboo blend), which is very pretty, incredibly soft, and, on the needle I'm using, nicely squishy. I'm calling it (preliminarily) the "Now You're Just Making This Sh*t Up" blanket, mostly because I hear that all the time (usually when I'm not making it up), and I am, well, making it up as I go along. I'm about a quarter of the way done and the shower is Saturday afternoon. Good thing I'm unemployed, eh?
Here's an image of the start:
I chose the colors at random from the options offered. Since I know the baby is a boy, pastel pink and lilac didn't seem appropriate. I like the yellow, it's nice and sunny. Bamboo, as anyone who's ever bothered with it, is soft as snot, and has a nice, fresh smell (that only I seem able to smell; I'm not sure why or what it means, but I'll roll with it for now.) Anti-microbial, too, which is always handy on baby things.
In other-other news, Nieceling is getting confirmed this spring and has asked me to be her sponsor. Heh. I've warped her for sure and certain, and now I'm going to take metaphorical "responsibility" for her spiritual growth. Poor lass. And she was doing so well, up to this point....