April 27, 2001

I don't know that I'll

I don't know that I'll have a chance to do an entry today, what with all the vacation preparations and such. Yay! Well, I'm all packed and everything, which is a good thing, because I'm going to the airport straight from work. I'm so proud of myself: one small suitcase and a carry-on bag. For a week. Of course, I'll have to do laundry at some point, but... Anyway, I'll probably write an entry or two while I'm gone, but I doubt that I'll be able to post much of anything. See you all when I get back!

Posted by Lisa at 05:34 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2001

Congratulations! (To Me)

Well, I survived my first final in ten years. I did it! After three attempts to go back to school, I finally finished a semester. I was a little nervous -- okay, a lot nervous -- at the beginning of the semester. I've changed so much of my life in order to be able to go back to school, I was afraid of what those changes would mean if I failed again. I also, honestly, was worried about all the people who would kick my ass if I dropped out of school again.

Fortunately, for a variety of reasons, things were different for me this time. The biggest difference is that I've had a really strong support network of folks behind me who really wanted to see me succeed (or, conversely, were ready to kick my ass if I didn't). Not that the whole world stood against me the other times I tried to go to school, but... I don't know. A lot of it has to do with proximity too. When I tried to finish a semester at University of Tennessee, the only people who really wanted me to succeed were miles and miles away from me. Gary certainly didn't care that much; he was too caught up in dealing with his own problems. His parents wanted to see me fail so that I would settle in and support Gary and take care of everything around the house. "Let Gary finish school first, then you can go." Never mind that Gary had been in school full-time for five years with no sign that he was even close to finishing his BA. Never mind that I was dying inch by inch in the meantime. Yeah, I think I'm still a little bitter about that. But this time, this time everything was different. So many people were genuinely pleased for me and encouraged me. So many of you encouraged me, and that means so much to me.

The other big difference this time is just that I'm older now, maybe even a little more mature. And frankly, my mental health is much better as well. My depression may not be curable, but it is at least largely under control. Between these two things, and just finally knowing what it is I want to do, I've been able to actually handle school this time. Yay me! If I sound a little self-congratulatory, it's because I am, damn it.

In unrelated but equally happy news, I got flowers for Secretaries Day. You better believe this is the only day of the year I let anyone get away with calling me a secretary. "Senior Services Receptionist" just sounds so much more elegant, don't you think? I'm seriously digging this promotion. I find myself caring a little more about what goes on around here, and working a little harder. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's a pretty good thing. I feel very competent just lately.

Posted by Lisa at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2001

Adrift edits? Finished Sunday night.

Adrift edits? Finished Sunday night. Government paper? Finished fifteen minutes ago. Tomorrow after my government final I'll study for my literature final (which is on Thursday). I feel like I've actually gotten some serious stuff accomplished! All this on top of having a fairly busy day at work.

On the other hand, for all my talk of deadlines I can say pretty safely that I will not have a draft of the selkie story by this Friday. And I don't want to talk about the book plan. If that gets done it all, it will be radically different from the book I'd originally envisioned...

Posted by Lisa at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

For the Birds

M R Ducks! A threat to the local Audubon Society expert I am not. If I had any doubt of this, it was driven home this weekend.

Allow me to explain. The little guys on the right showed up in our yard on Saturday. They're absolutely adorable, like puppies. They follow each other around and sleep in a cuddled heap. What none of us could figure out, however, was what exactly they were. They looked a little like baby ducks, but were much too big to be babies, and were the wrong color to be adults. It was a mystery.

Around one or two that afternoon, I grabbed my camera and went outside to take pictures of the mystery waterfowl. They didn't seem afraid of me, and let me get fairly close. While I was taking pictures, they wandered into the lake and I crept closer, by now nearly wading in the water myself.

Cue ominous music That's when something interesting happened. As I got close to the little ones, this guy came zooming from across the center of the lake and floated ominously nearby, swimming in so close it scared my mom, who thought the swan was going to attack me. Out of the water came the little ones, and I went inside. Aha, we surmised, the little ones must be baby swans. That was puzzling as well, however. They were still fairly big, and rather than being ugly, they're cute and yellowish-white. Not only that, but as we watched through the day, it became apparent that the larger swan was chasing the little ones out of the water, and seemed to be herding them along the shore.

The internet to the rescue! A few quick web searches, and the mystery was solved. The little ones were, in fact, the offspring of the swan (which is a mute swan, to be specific), born last spring. Now, because the swan's mating season is approaching, momma (or daddy, we can't tell which) swan was chasing the little ones away to prepare the nest for the next hatching.

Feeling especially pleased with myself (and having retained my crown as the web research goddess), I wasted no time sharing the information with my mother and my stepfather, the latter of whom was a bit skeptical. Still, the pieces seemed to fit.

Sunday morning. Mom and I were sitting out on the deck overlooking the lake, watching the baby swans. The sun was shining and it was just warm enough to be comfortable in shirt sleeves. As we watched, with the swan staying out in the center of the lake, a woman from a few houses down came wading along the lake shore. She waved cheerfully at us as she came into the yard and called, "I'm just checking on my ducks! They wandered down this way." Sure enough, the "baby swans" started a plaintive mournful quacking around the woman's bare feet. They're farm ducks whose mother was hit by a car. To judge by their behavior, they've decided that this woman is mom.

I looked at my mom. She looked at me. We burst into giggles. "They're ducks?" I asked. "We weren't sure, because that swan out there seems protective of them."

"Oh no," the woman said, "the swan found out that I put out corn for the ducks, so he's been chasing them away from my house."

Oh. Oops. So much for my career as a wildlife expert.

Posted by Lisa at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)

C D E D B

C D E D B D feet? C D E D B D wings? M R ducks!

Feeling especially pleased with myself (and having retained my crown as the web research goddess), I wasted no time sharing the information with my mother and my stepfather...
Government paper still not done. Think I'll go work on it right now.

Posted by Lisa at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2001

And yes, yes I am

And yes, yes I am procrastinating, thanks for asking.

Posted by Lisa at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)

Oh yeah. My only bitch

Oh yeah. My only bitch is... I gotta wait until September?! From Stephen King's "official web presence":

Black House
15 September 2001
Hardcover Novel, Random House
Sequel to The Talisman co-authored with Peter Straub.
NEW! For those of you who are Dark Tower fans, Black House will answer many questions you may have about the Crimson King, who/what are Breakers, how does Ted Brautigan fit in, etc. It will be the closest thing to a DT novel you'll see before the fall of the Year Three ('03).
Only now apparently I gotta go read Hearts in Atlantis to catch up on some stuff. There's also going to be an animated (?!) version of Eyes of the Dragon and a miniseries version of The Talisman by Dreamworks. This could be very very good or very very bad.

Posted by Lisa at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

My car is clean. Nono,

My car is clean. Nono, wait. If you never saw it (and most of you didn't, thank god), you don't understand how momentous this is. Due to trash and belongings from various moves, my little Escort was a one-passenger vehicle, and the one passenger was starting to feel squished. I'm not proud. My car was horrible. But now it's clean. I can fit more than just me in there now.

I'm exhausted. My room's a mess. My finals aren't studied for and my Adrift edits aren't finished. But my car's clean and my parents are happy about it. (No, I'm not kidding. Apparently one of the neighbors asked my stepfather whose garbage-filled car that was.) I'm wondering if a nap would be more productive than trying to slog my way through stuff.

Oh, and I found a bathing suit. Will wonders never cease. I suppose this means now that I have to shave my legs.

Posted by Lisa at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2001

Much better now. Just sleepy.

Much better now. Just sleepy. And wondering how the heck I'm going to get everything done this weekend. God help me. I have to find a bathing suit. I haven't bought a bathing suit in ten years or more. Grar.

Posted by Lisa at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2001

It's been a long, very

It's been a long, very bleah Friday night. I spent a huge part of it listening to this song:

Tell me did you sail across the sun
Did you make it to the Milky Way to see the lights all faded
And that heaven is overrated

Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star
One without a permanent scar
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there

It made me happy all day today to hear it at work. Tonight it just made me sad. Everything pretty much made me sad tonight though. I wrote a lot in my paper journal and cried, and listened obsessively to the above song. Combination of a lot of things, I suppose. I'm tired. I miss Max. I'm anxious about going to California. But mostly right now I'm just tired, so I think I'll go to bed.

Posted by Lisa at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

Lake Moods

Swans on the lake

It's a gray, rainy Friday here, and I'm feeling cranky. It's one of those days where you'd rather be anywhere but at work. What, precisely, I feel like doing, I have no idea. Sleeping, maybe. Or curled up with a book watching the lake. I'm discovering a great fondness for the lake my parents' house is on. When it first opened up from the ice and thawed completely, I was quietly blissful for days afterwards. I love to watch the way it shifts through colors and textures depending on the weather. This morning it was elephant gray, the surface ringed and rippled with remembered rain. Yesterday afternoon, when I was coming home from school, it was bright blue under the sunny sky, with a buoyant surface. On sunny, windy days, not only is it bright blue, but the wind whips the water up into a froth and sends it crashing to the shore in whitecap after whitecap, as if it were having wistful dreams of the ocean. Yesterday morning it was contemplative and still and misty. I wanted nothing more than to sit there and watch the mist play with the ducks and the swans.

Winter The lake has a personality of its own. Or rather, it is a personality of its own. It quietly exerts its influence over every part of the lives of those who live near it. It's a small lake, really, but the weather is definitely affected by its presence, with sharper winds and cooler temperatures in both winter and summer. There is a greater tendency of things to warp and mold because of the damper air. There are more bugs -- like the spiders I had run-ins with last week. There is a special calm in the mornings and evenings, as if the mist that rises from the lake were somehow a soporific. On warm summer days, it sends out a raucous call to everyone nearby with a boat or a Jet-Ski -- there's not much stillness then. Snowy winter evenings are the same, only the buzzing of Jet-Skis is replaced with the whine of snowmobiles.

Aside from my brief stay with my folks when Gary and I separated, I've never lived this close to a lake before. I didn't quite understand what the appeal was, if you weren't an active boater or fisherman. Sure, I thought, it's pretty, but so what? The frustrating thing is that I understand it now, but I can't explain it. What is it about a body of water that stirs us this way? Does it appeal to something primitive within us, some ancient stirring that wants only to make certain we have a secure water supply? Is that what makes living by water so appealing? Is it a simple longing for beauty?

Sunset, July 1, 2000

The final answer doesn't really matter, if there even is a final answer. What matters is that I'm fortunate enough to live somewhere that continually inspires wonder in my soul.

Spring

Posted by Lisa at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2001

Hasty and sort of scattered.

Hasty and sort of scattered. All sorts of computer issues popped up this morning, and I didn't get to quite finish my thoughts.

I suffered in silence during the last flight to California (and I do mean suffered), too embarrassed to say anything.
My notify list is, for the moment, non-functioning. Liquidweb support were their usual helpful selves (i.e., "Well we don't have a problem, so we can't help you, sorry!". Suggestions for a new webhosting service are appreciated. I'm fed up.

Posted by Lisa at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

Vacation Anxiety

I have the sleep schedule from hell right now. I told Laura last night that I think I'm making up for my mad Sim-spree last week. After our corporate meeting yesterday (see sidebar), I worked for a couple of hours then got to leave for the day. I was home by about six after running errands. I had dinner, then hopped online. From there, I got very sleepy, so decided to take a short nap. Right. Seven hours later, I woke up, cold and confused. And very much wide awake. I mean hell, I'd just had a full night's sleep. So what if it was only 2 am?

So, back online, checked email, found out that the entire California contingent was still online, so I hung out for a bit until I got sleepy again. They were discussing whether to play Crucible of Freya for D&D or something or another for Werewolf while I'm out there. I hope they were kidding. I think they were trying to make me freak out, since we've said all along that we'd play Tribe 8. Despite writing for the game, I've only run it once, and I haven't played it anywhere except online. Ironic, no? Sometimes that makes me feel a little like a fraud, I admit. It's definitely not for lack of trying to play it, believe me.

California. I'm out of here a week from tomorrow. I think this is the first time I've ever actually gone somewhere for a week or more since I was in college (the first time, I mean). It's definitely the first time I've taken a vacation this long by myself. I'm a little nervous, a lot excited. I'm nervous because while I've met Brand before, I've never met Josh or Laura or Mo. I'm not worried necessarily, just nervous. Also, after my last flight to California, I'm a trifle worried about the flight itself, specifically how comfortable my cushy behind will or won't be in my tiny airline seat. I had good luck with Southwest last year when I went to Oklahoma, but I'm flying Northwest again this time. I don't know. I do know that this time I'm going to be a lot less shy about things like asking for a seatbelt extender and asking my seatmate if I can raise the arm on the seat between us. I suffered in silence during the last flight to California (and I do mean suffered), too embarrassed to say anything. Not only was I in pain by the end of the flight, but I was incredibly unsafe by not wearing a seatbelt. When I went to Oklahoma, I was a touch more assertive, thank goodness. So we'll see what happens.

Posted by Lisa at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2001

In Which Injustice is Railed Against (And Bad Sandwiches Are Purchased)

I don't know whether to damn the economy or damn corporate culture. I got my annual raise today, which included the raise for my promotion as well. It's a smaller raise than I got last year. Not much of a promotion, huh? I asked about it and was told that I couldn't really compare strictly year to year, that my percentage was higher than most other people's because of the promotion, that last year was a "catch up" year for raises to boost salaries compared to the natioanl averages, etc, etc. It was corporate BS. I knew it, my supervisor knew it. We both also knew that nothing was going to change, either. So I smiled and nodded and thanked him for explaining it to me. The horrible ironic injustice of it all, however, is strangling me. (Or that might be the hyperbole. Not sure which.)

I should not be sleepy this morning, but I am, a little. Last night I crawled into bed with my book at about 8:45 pm and read and dozed until about 9:30, when I turned off the light and went to sleep for real. I didn't manage to crawl out of bed until about 7:00. It was shameful, really. I didn't do anything last night except eat dinner, check my email, and go to bed. Still, here I am at my desk with my head periodically drooping deskwards with closed eyes.

As a note, don't ever take a chance on the egg salad sandwich in the vending machine. And if you do, smell it before taking a bite. That sounds like a no-brainer, right? While I've had good luck in the past, today my luck ran out. On the other hand, Doritos and water are very handy for taking the taste of rancid egg salad out of your mouth. Eugh. That sandwich took the last bit of money I had on me, too. Maybe I'll grab lunch on campus and just go to government class a little bit late.

Wow, it's weird to think that in three weeks, I'll be back from California and starting my second semester at Eastern. I was just starting to get to know the people in my class, and now I'm going to be starting over. As big of a campus this is (stop laughing, all you mega-university folks), I doubt I'll see most of them in other classes. Hopefully when I start taking classes for my major and minor (soon!) I'll start seeing familiar faces. Of course, by the time I graduate, they'll probably be a little too familiar.

Heh. I found out that my bizarre Sims episode from yesterday morning is actually a form of lucid dreaming. Funny, it didn't feel very lucid. I did something similar this morning. While I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth and doing various morning getting-ready things, I was having a vivid conversation with someone, all in my head. It wasn't until I was about to leave the bathroom that I realized that it was not physically possible for me to be sitting having that conversation while I was standing in the bathroom with a toothbrush in my mouth. I was dreaming while I was (mostly) awake. It's a very odd feeling. An odder feeling: covering a different topic for each paragraph of this journal entry.

Posted by Lisa at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2001

Baby-Mad and Delusional

I love this child! Come on now. Is that not the cutest eleven day-old you've ever seen? I know, this is threatening to turn into a baby journal. I can't help it. This little guy's already got me wrapped completely around his tiny fingers. I spent most of the day Saturday out visiting Justin and his parents. He is endlessly fascinating to me, even asleep. I think Dawn and I spent most of the day just watching him sleep and commenting on the faces he was making. We were amused, at least. I even volunteered to change diapers. That's how baby-mad I am. Bear with me. I'm going to be a proud crazy auntie for a while.

Easter was quiet. I actually had to work yesterday, since support was open for a few hours. This year is the first year I've worked a Sunday in the three years we've had Sunday support. Last Sunday was, in fact, the first time I've worked a Sunday in about six or seven years. I didn't miss it, really. Granted, it was kinda fun, and we definitely weren't busy. Today is the last day of tax season, and I am so happy about that. There's always a celebratory air around here on the last day. There's about a metric ton of food sitting around support, but no one can get away from the phones long enough to eat any of it.

Me, I'm living on sugar and Mountain Dew at the moment. Why? Why, because I was up until about 3:45. What am I, three years old? I kept eating Easter candy and being hyper until I realized at about three am that I wasn't the least bit sleepy. I wasn't sleepy right up until the time my head hit the pillow, then I passed out. I was so groggy this morning. When I'm that groggy, my mind fixates on whatever I was obsessing over the night before. I have tried to type in MUSH poses on my alarm clock before and gotten frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to type on my alarm clock. This morning it was, of course, the Sims. I have a household of three adults, and I kept thinking, "Okay, if I keep one of them home from work today they can sleep all day and get caught up. Which one should I keep home?" It wasn't until several minutes of this dilemna had passed that I realized that having one of my Sim characters sleep all day wasn't going to make me feel any more awake. If only it were that easy. Yes, yes I am frighteningly delusional when I'm three-quarters asleep.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot to mention that I officially got a promotion this week. I am now a Senior Receptionist, a new position they just added. Whee. Basically it just means that I'll keep doing what I've been doing, with a few more interesting duties, like teaching a class or two to our department and tech support. I'm quite happy about it. Of course, I don't know yet exactly how much my raise will be... that's the big question. I should find out within the next few weeks.

One more, just because I can:

Crazy Aunt Lisa

Posted by Lisa at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

Last day of tax season.

Last day of tax season. I am so happy.

I have tried to type in MUSH poses on my alarm clock before and gotten frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to type on my alarm clock.
However, if someone tells you you have the wrong number, DON'T ARGUE with them. One of our numbers is frighteningly close to the IRS's phone number, and I'm getting a lot of people trying to convince me that we're the IRS. Grar.

Posted by Lisa at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2001

April 13, 2001

Self-Acceptance

Foggy-headed and bleah feeling today. I can't promise to be utterly entertaining.

Lately I've been feeling like a big old phony in a lot of ways. I'm trying to update my bio page to reflect a lot of the changes that have taken place over the past couple years. One of the things I have on the old page is how I didn't consider myself a fat activist. I do now. I may not be a card-carrying member of NAAFA (yet), but especially over the past couple months, I've started speaking out here and there. I'm starting to get more comfortable with the entire subject.

But -- there's always a but, right? -- just lately I feel very fake. Or more accurately, I feel ugly and in all ways undesireable. I feel that if anyone is ever going to be attracted to me, it's going to be strictly for my mind, that my body is something they'll look past rather than accept, much less desire, as part of the package. God knows I've dated people I wouldn't have been attracted to physically if it wasn't for the mental attraction. I don't believe I'm the sort of girl that someone would turn their head to look at, or that someone would see across the room and feel compelled to come talk to. I've hated everything I've seen in the mirror lately, but at the same time, I've felt very stubborn, determined not to change to fit someone else's standards. But it's hard.

Loneliness has been a big battle over the past several months -- not for lack of friends, that's not the problem. Being single is starting to become an ache, but at the same time, I don't want to become someone who's obsessed with "finding someone". Desperation is even more unattractive than society says fat is. This is hard. This is hard to write and hard to talk about. I talk so much about self-acceptance, but when it really comes down to it, I haven't accepted myself yet.

Posted by Lisa at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2001

Three days in a row?

Three days in a row? Damn. I'm working on an update for the bio page too, but that probably won't go up until tomorrow.

I talked about writing yesterday, so that means today I have to talk about school, right?
Our power went off this morning. Fortunately, I woke up in just enough time to dash madly around the house and make it to work on time.

A note for windy days: don't wear a large billowy shirt unless you want those around you to see far more of your upper body than you normally would show. I *cough* gave a bit of a show on campus today around 3:20 or so.

Posted by Lisa at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

I Are a College Student

After all my fine words about writing yesterday, I didn't write a damn thing after finishing my journal entry. I stared at the screen blankly. I changed a few words. In fact, Jen describes my mindset much better than I could. The only difference is that I don't have cats or The Sims here at work. God help me if I had the Sims here at work. I was up until 1 am with those little buggers again, trying to make Jake and Elathan (yes, all my Sims are named after MUSH characters, leave me alone) get married. I found out why she kept turning him down when she went and fell in love with her female roommate, too. Oops. So now the goal is for all three to live happily together. Maybe.

I talked about writing yesterday, so that means today I have to talk about school, right? That's what was distracting me from writing, actually. I was trying to figure out my class schedule for spring, summer and fall terms. Spring and summer are both short eight week terms. As of this morning, I'm registered for one class for spring (three hours), two classes for summer (six hours, considered full time), and four classes for fall (twelve hours, definitely full time). This fall I'll be cutting back my hours at work and working three days a week. After this fall, I'll be a senior and I'll have nearly finished my general education requirements. And the important part: I should graduate in April of 2003.

Spring will be a cakewalk. I'm taking an introductory sociology class. Originally I was going to take EMU's stupid "lifetime wellness" class, but it was full. That's definitely a summer class. I don't want to sit through that for sixteen weeks. Summer I'm a little worried about. I won't get home before 8 or 9 on any given night, between school and work. I'm taking a Native American literature class and an introductory philosophy class. I have a feeling I may be doing a lot of homework at work. Fall I'm looking forward to. A lot. Aside from the gen ed classes (the second part of sociology and a history class), I'll be taking an ethics class for my minor (I did mention I'm a philosophy minor, right?) and a "major authors" lit class. I'm so geeked about that. It's a senior level course, and we'll be studying T.S. Eliot. I thought yesterday that I didn't meet the prerequisites, so I emailed the prof and begged her to let me in. However, the system let me register for it with no problems. Why am I geeked? Look at the title of this journal, for one thing. ;-) A part of my brain is going, "Aha! Finally! A challenge!" I hope so. I really do.

So I'm thinking about grad school. Is it too early for me to start looking around? I don't think so... I remember looking around at colleges my junior year of high school. The temptation is to just blindly go on to EMU's grad program. I may end up there, but I think I'd like to look around a bit first. I've thought about it a lot, and I really want to just concentrate on school at that point. I want to be able to quit my job, move back out on my own, and go to school full time, relying on assistanceships and loans and scholarships and whatever to get by. That's going to take some planning on my part now, like paying off the one outstanding student loan I have, and a few other assorted debts. I'm not drowning or anything, so I think it's doable.

Wow. Me, back in school full time. I didn't think that would ever happen.

Posted by Lisa at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2001

Deadlines

So yeah, we got the manuscript for Adrift back last Thursday, and I got my chance to look at it today. Overall, objectively, there's not much to do in the way of editing. The editor really liked what we did, and just wanted a few minor things changed, mostly fine tuning things. Subjectively, I'm pissy about it. I don't know if I'm just geared up to be cranky this morning or what, but I've already sent off an obnoxiously whiny email to Brand about the whole thing. Wisely, I then put the manuscript away and quit trying to edit it. I'm not sure what my problem is this morning. Every suggested word change seemed like an insult. Anything that was already changed or rewritten for me made me want to grind my teeth in aggravation. Part of the problem, I think, is that since Brand and Josh have already done most of their edits, my sections are the only ones with negative comments still on them, so I'm feeling picked on. Utterly irrational? Why yes, thank you.

Part of the problem too, I think, is just adjusting to working with someone new. Brand and I have written together before, and we've edited more of each other's stuff than I care to think about. Josh I haven't really worked with before, and if possible, he's even nitpickier than I am. That's a good thing for my writing, it just makes me want to stomp my feet like a child and pout sometimes. Like this morning. If I recall correctly, I did the same thing when Brand first started editing my writing too. So, I put the manuscript away and starting whining here instead. Hey, what do I pay a webhost for if not for a place to whine?

I'm getting a little concerned with this whole writing deal. The only things I've been able to actually finish have been the things I'm doing for Tribe 8. At last count, I have about five other projects in varying stages of completion. There are two short stories, two potential novels, and one entertaining (if very very long) character background for a game I may never go back to playing. Well okay. I did finish "Rhythm of the Tides" for the Current Magazine contest. Hm. I sense a trend here. Do I need deadlines in order to finish anything? When I get frustrated with something, and I have no deadline on it, I put it aside. I think that's bad for me. I'm not struggling enough with it. With Adrift, when I got frustrated, I had to work through it, because there was a deadline. The most fulfilled I've felt as a writer recently was when I was happily working on Adrift and Rhythm, puzzling out what was wrong with them and fixing it, because I had to.

So that raises the question: how do I set deadlines for myself? I suppose I can figure out what's realistic and what isn't through trial and error. Right now my first thought is to get my proposal and book plan for my new Tribe 8 book done by April 27th, which is when I'm going to California. However, with my crankiness over the Adrift edits at the moment, I'm wondering if I shouldn't put off working on the plan until after I come back from California. Then there's also the fact that I have a take home exam (which is really going to be paper-length) for my government class. Okay. Here I go being decisive. My goal right now is to finish a first draft of my new selkie story by April 27th. Then I want to finish the book proposal by May 14th. In fact, I may even email my editor and tell her that. After that, well, we'll see.

Yay me, being decisive. And if those dates come and go with no word from me, bug me about it. Please.

Posted by Lisa at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

I've started trying to write

I've started trying to write my way through my grogginess in the morning. Journal entries are fairly easy to focus on -- so there may be more regular updates for a bit.

That's a good thing for my writing, it just makes me want to stomp my feet like a child and pout sometimes. Like this morning.
I feel much better now. Well, except for being addicted to the Sims. I played last night until after midnight. I'm amused by the dumbest things with this game. Did you know that if a guy leaves the toilet seat up, when a woman goes in there she growls in irritation and lowers it? The first time I saw that I about fell out of my chair giggling.

Posted by Lisa at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2001

This is how some of

This is how some of my writing days go. Except for the diet Pepsi part.

Posted by Lisa at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

Search Engine Entry from Hell

So this is me, once again waiting for the caffeine to kick in. Honestly, I was ready to go to bed at about midnight last night, but stupid, twinkish combat and its aftermath kept me up until 1:30 or so. Arachnophobia kept me awake until 2:30. I saw another spider in my room last night, identical to the one I killed yesterday morning. Ick. Oh, and by the way, if you're going to have a MUSH that has some characters more powerful than others, make sure your players aren't assholes who are going to pick on random characters to show off their nifty powers, and then lie about what those powers actually do. And then claim they activated powers they never did. Grar. If you've ever sat through any gaming argument to the effect of "I said I was casting that spell!" "No, you didn't!" "Yes I did!" then you know what I went through, except that this guy had the potential to kill each of our characters fairly easily. It was irritating and not at all the way I wanted to spend my evening.

After all, I could have been playing The Sims. Yes, I finally broke down and bought it Sunday, and proceeded to play it for seven hours straight. Why is that game so addictive? I mean, you'd figure it would be dull or weird, telling little computerized people when to eat and when to go to the bathroom and when to go to work, but it was fascinating. But then, it's by the same people who gave us SimCity, which I also played endlessly. It was frustrating and fun to try and figure out why one character was miserable no matter what I did, while another was always happy. If I can keep my eyes open long enough, I'll play when I get home today.

And while I'm rambling aimlessly, what the hell is wrong with people? I heard last night that one of the recently departed support reps didn't quit, but was fired for having very loud and very obvious phone sex in her cubicle. Lots of people heard it, and it went on long enough that someone went and got a manager to sit outside her cube and listen to her. I think I heard they got a recording of it as well. I mean, if you've got an office and can close your door, that's one thing. Still a little weird, but... if you have a cubicle that's open to the world? Meanwhile, one of my coworkers here in my department is over at her desk chatting with a friend about vibrators and some sex toy party they went to. They're trying to be discreet, but failing. And people wonder why I don't say much at work. Jeez. Don't get me wrong, I'm about as pro-self-exploration as you can get, but people, there's a time and a place. There are times when I despair of my own common sense, then something like this happens, and I don't feel so bad anymore.

According to the update I got last night, Justin is doing well, if a bit jaundiced. I'm missing the little guy already, and considering invading his parents' house sometime this weekend. Well, that and there was some talk of gaming. Heh. This should be a challenge. There are two children below the age of two with our gaming group now for sure, with another couple considering getting involved -- they have two kids with a third on the way. I am, it seems, destined to be the Childless Wonder. I admit, my biological clock started ticking a little louder after being at Justin's birth. If, after I finish grad school, I'm still single and still wanting a baby, I'll consider single motherhood. Modern science is a wonderful thing, after all. So's adoption. Or maybe I'll just decide to be surrogate aunt to all of my friends' children.

And yes, this is going to be the entry that earns me the weirdest search engine hits.

Posted by Lisa at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

Wow. Counting today I have

Wow. Counting today I have just four more days of regular class sessions. I made it! I survived a whole semester! This is a big deal; the last three semesters I attempted before this I dropped out halfway through. And in 17 days I'll be going to California.

Now if I could just find a way to play The Sims on my computer at work... (Yes, I started playing it. It's all Laura's fault.)

Posted by Lisa at 05:51 AM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2001

I just found a HUGE

I just found a HUGE spider in my bed, not ten minutes after I left it. *shudder* All of a sudden I'm amazingly glad I didn't sleep in this morning.

Posted by Lisa at 03:15 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2001

Goodbye

Friday night I got home from work to find my room in even more of a shambles than I'd left it in, with Max crouching and hiding and acting weird. He's been confined to my room for the past several weeks, because no matter what we did, we couldn't get him to consistently use his litter box. He wasn't spraying in the house, but doing something far messier. On the carpet. So we kept him in my room and he seemed to do much better, for whatever reason. For the most part. I knew he wasn't happy, though. My room is pretty small and pretty crowded. There wasn't much space for him to play or do much of anything but sleep. I wasn't very happy, because I felt compelled to stay in my room all the time to keep him company.

So Friday night, I come home to find that he's been sick all over my bed. Montezuma-style sick, and he didn't have any sort of control over it. My room was full of ants, drawn by his cat food. I was already nearly exhausted, and I sat down and cried at the thought of having to wash everything on my bed. I had visions of another frustrating trip to the vet, with the vet telling me again there was nothing she could do, that we'd just have to wait and see. I had visions of spending the rest of my life worrying about cat poop, locked in my bedroom. I had a minor meltdown. I put Max in his cat carrier after lining it with paper towels and sat and cried while he meowed to be let out.

I was angry and sad and tired. I had a brief fleeting urge to throw the cat carrier out into the street. Finally I remembered a conversation I'd had with my mom about a month earlier, right before we confined Max to my room. She told me about my stepfather's ex-father-in-law. They lived on a farm, they adored cats. They'd be willing to take Max. When she told me that I got mad and started crying, determined that I wasn't going to get rid of my baby. But Friday night I remembered that conversation again, and it felt like a solution. I thought about it, and I talked to Brand a lot. I cried a lot. When my parents got home, I talked to my mom and cried some more.

Have you ever made a really hard decision and known immediately afterwards that it was the right decision, no matter how painful? That's how I felt when I told my mom I wanted to give Max to the folks with the farm. I said goodbye to him that night. I hugged him and petted him and told him how much I was going to miss him. He purred and licked my face when I cried. I called Brand and talked to him about all of the good things that had happened. About how he used to fight with his stuffed bear, the one that was as big as he was. About how he used to fetch bottlecaps when Hollingsworth would throw them. About how he used to climb my back and perch on my shoulder as a kitten to see what I was doing.

My folks took him away Saturday morning. I cried to see my empty room, then distracted myself by watching several movies and reading. I cried when I posted to the blog that he was gone. Despite all the tears, there's still a sense of relief. I know he'll be happier now, even without me. He has an entire barn to explore, people who will love him as much as I do, other cats to get to know. He's not locked in a tiny room in a house where people are always angry at him for messes he can't help. I miss him. I kept thinking I heard him meow all day yesterday. He was my baby, my goofy kitty. Be happy, Max.

Posted by Lisa at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2001

I'm still working on the

I'm still working on the entry about Justin's birth. In the meantime, you can go see a picture of everybody.

I'm stalled because I don't feel much like writing right now. I had to give Max away. His problems have been getting steadily worse, and last night I realized I just can't take care of him anymore. He wasn't happy, I wasn't happy, so this afternoon he went to live with a friend of my stepfather's. They live on a farm with lots of cats. I can't write about this right now either. Maybe a little later. Right now it hurts too much.

Posted by Lisa at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2001

What a Wonderful World

Justin MatthewSome things are worth waiting a lifetime for.

I first met Jason when we were in eighth grade, in an advanced math class. I was twelve years old. We weren't exactly friends from the start, more like acquaintances bearing the same cross -- our classmates. That as much as anything gave us a little bit of camaraderie. Dawn moved to our district a year later, when we were all freshmen in high school. Dawn and I were best friends almost from the start. By our senior year, we were nearly inseparable. That was the year Jason and Dawn were hanging out together a lot, so we became a trio. It was arguably the best year of school for me, because I'd finally found my crowd, with the three of us at the center of it. By the end of the year, Dawn and Jason were dating. They went to college in Michigan, I went to Tennessee. Throughout the next several years, communication was sporadic, but never gone completely. I got married, they got engaged. Dawn was in my wedding, I was in theirs. I got divorced and moved back to Michigan, and we started seeing each other more often. They moved to Indiana after finishing up school, and communication got sporadic again. Then they came back to Michigan about a year and a half ago, and things have been solid ever since.

Before they came back to Michigan, they were trying to have a baby -- or rather they "weren't not trying", I think was how we put it. "Not not trying" progressed to actively trying which progressed to going to a fertility clinic. They were nervous and hopeful and a whole host of emotions I'm sure I can't explain. Their friends offered support as best they could. Finally after tests and more tests, the doctors started with some simple procedures last summer, mostly to help nature along rather than to control it. I remember last summer Jason was sent out of the country for work, and Dawn was upset because it coincided precisely with her "best time". But, like all things that were meant to be, Jason got to come home early. A few weeks later, they called me on the phone and started calling me Aunt Lisa.

I was so happy for the two of them. When they asked me to be in the delivery room with them, back in January, I was so happy I nearly cried. A few weeks ago, Dawn developed high blood pressure and was put on bed rest, with the knowledge that they might decide to induce labor early. The weeks passed, and the baby -- a little boy already named Justin -- reached full term. Finally last Tuesday her doctor decided to go ahead and induce labor. When Dawn called to tell me, my first urge was to jump in the car and drive out to their house, even though she wouldn't even be starting the process until the next day. I restrained myself, and drove out to the hospital to meet them Wednesday night.

Dawn had already started the process but wasn't really in labor, just sort of gearing up for it. (Yes, I know the technical terms for what exactly was going on, but that might be a little too much information for some folks, and besides, Dawn might not want all the details posted for the world to see.) The three of us sat around her room laughing and talking, anticipation hanging in the air above our heads. Not just in Dawn's room, either. The entire maternity section of the hospital was full of nothing but nervous anticipation. We talked about the plan for the next day, then Jason and I went back to their house to crash for the night.

Thursday morning came bright and sunny. After battling rush hour downtown traffic and blinding sun, Jason and I got to the hospital a little after eight, only to find that Dawn was already tucked away in one of the labor/delivery rooms. It was a nice private room with big windows, painted in soothing colors with soothing artwork (including one rather appropriately representational painting of an orchid). There were several chairs, including a rocker/recliner. There was a TV that never got turned on and an incubator in the corner, all ready and waiting. We settled in and not too long after, the nurse started an IV of Pitocen, a drug that sort of jumpstarts the labor process. Dawn had contractions off and on all morning, but they were mild and the three of us sat around talking and joking, as usual. One time when Jason left the room, I looked at her and said, "You're so calm. Are you really as calm as you're acting?" And she was. She was so beautiful, with this maternal glow about her.

At about eleven, Jason suggested that he and I eat lunch in shifts. I went first, only to come back and learn that not five minutes after I left, Dawn's water broke. She said she felt something like a baby kick (although it was probably more likely a punch), and then there it was. Way to go, Justin, punching his way out of the womb! I was so disappointed to have missed it, but better me than Jason. We managed to push him out the door to go eat before things got any busier.

Justin's first bathAnd they did get busier. After Jason came back, Dawn's contractions got stronger, more regular. She stopped being able to talk through them and started working on her breathing. We fell into a rhythm. With each contraction, Jason would hold her hand (read: she would squeeze the living daylights out of his hand) or rub her tummy (or both), and I would rub her feet. It sounds funny, but she said it really helped. Then between contractions I massaged her legs to help keep her relaxed while she rested. She was insistent that she didn't want an epidural at all. Finally around 2:30 the pain was strong enough that she asked for a painkiller. She got one through her IV, and there was almost an immediate difference. Rather than whimpering during a contraction, she was much more relaxed and in control of the process. She was able to rest between contractions better.

Around four or so she started to go into what's called transitional labor. Transitional labor is the hard, painful part, where the woman is likely to be screaming for the blood of the man who impregnated her. Not Dawn. We kept working together. I moved up to her other side so she had two hands to squeeze, and at times all three of us were focused on breathing in rhythm through each contraction. She was obviously in a lot of pain, but she dealt with it and fought it. Things were so intense. All three of us had moments of snippishness, but irritability was at a minimum. When the first dose of painkiller wore off, she got another one. We just kept on going, until Dawn started feeling the urge to push. The nurses said she still wasn't quite ready for that, so we held on some more.

Finally at about 6:15, the nurse examined Dawn and told her she was ready to go and to start pushing whenever she wanted. It was like a bomb went off in the room. Things burst into a flurry of motion. The doctor came in, gowns were donned, the bed raised and all sorts of dressings placed everywhere. Jason started to cry and said, "This is it, honey, this is what we've waited eight years for!" I started to cry at that. That particular storm soon passed, and Jason and I were given the job of holding Dawn's feet up while she pushed, me on her left side and Jason on her right. Good god, did that girl push. With everyone in the room urging her on, she went through the most teeth-grinding, face-clenching, full-body effort I've ever seen. There didn't seem to be a lot of pain, just superhuman effort. I found out that some women push for hours. I can't imagine that much effort sustained for that long of a time. Apparently Dawn couldn't either, because despite Justin's best efforts (he was difficult and wanted to come out face up rather than face down), she gave birth to him at 6:59 pm.

Baby makes three

Justin proved nearly as stubborn after birth as before, because despite being rosy and pink and perfect, he didn't cry for a minute or two, nearly giving his aunt, at least, a heart attack. I managed to take several pictures of him in the first ten minutes of his life, including the one at the top of this entry. Jason and I got Justin-footprints on our arms after the nurse did his birth certificate. Finally it was all over, everything tidied up and all of the staff filing out one by one. Dawn finally got to hold her boy. I nearly cried then as well, just as I did when Jason got to hold him. Then I got to hold him, this little perfect bundle of human being that I had just watched come into the world. He looked back at me with newborn-dark eyes, his fine dark hair lighter than Jason's but darker than Dawn's. He has Dawn's nose and chin for certain. He'd been fussing a little, still overwhelmed by the change in his environment, but when I held him, he stopped. Dawn joked about my magic touch.

It was a little surprising, all the emotions I felt from then on. My heart was singing with pride and with bliss, but ached a little, because as parental as I felt, I'm not his parent. I felt intensely protective and worried, all the things that might possibly go wrong someday flashing through my mind at once. I know all the cliches about the "miracle of birth", but sometimes cliches exist for a reason. That two people can create a third is amazing to me. Justin is part Dawn and part Jason, but he's also his own little person, something completely new in the world. That floors me.

I felt a part of something powerful and special that day. And I was, more than I realized. Last spring, the three of us went to a local "new age" bookstore and looked around for a bit. The woman behind the counter was displaying a new Tarot deck (the Faery Wicca deck, I think) and was giving away sample cards. We weren't interested in the deck itself, but Dawn and I looked over the individual cards. I came across a card called the Mother Goddess -- their equivalent of the Empress, a major fertility card. I handed it to Dawn and told her it was hers, that she should keep it for luck. Yesterday, when Dawn's labor was getting really painful, Jason pulled the card from her bag and tucked it into the pocket of her hospital gown, saying "She's watched over you through all of this, she'll help you now." After Justin was born, I found out that not only did Dawn keep the card and bring it to the hospital with her, but it stayed on the headboard of their bed pretty much since I gave it to her. That did make me cry, as if I had given them a magic charm to watch over them through this entire process and they had cherished it.

Welcome, Justin. We've been waiting for you for a long time.

Justin-prints on my arm

Posted by Lisa at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)

Justin Matthew was born last

Justin Matthew was born last night at 6:59 pm. He weighed 7 lbs, 3 oz and is 19 3/4 inches long. Mom and baby (and dad) are all doing very well. I'm exhausted. I can only imagine how tired Dawn is this morning. Expect an entry later today, with pictures. Congratulations, Jason and Dawn. :)

Posted by Lisa at 06:00 AM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2001

Baby alert! I just got

Baby alert! I just got off the phone with Dawn. They're inducing her labor starting tomorrow afternoon. As this is a rather lengthy process, the plan is for me to go out there tomorrow after work, as they're expecting her to have Justin on Thursday. I was all set to go out there RIGHT NOW (which made Dawn laugh, because apparently Jason is on his way home from work), but I can't really afford that much time from work. So, unless the inducing process takes off galloping tomorrow afternoon, I'll go tomorrow after work. I'm so psyched. Dawn said, "You're going to be an aunt!" I am, I am!

Posted by Lisa at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2001

Just a reminder, folks:Purity says

Just a reminder, folks:

Purity says "It's okay to be funny about your balls and tatas, but visual aids are unnecessary."
Words of wisdom, my friends, words of wisdom. And no, you don't want to know how that came about.

It's been a loooooong afternoon.

Posted by Lisa at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

Conspiracy Theory

The first Monday after Daylight Savings Time starts always, always sucks. I was all ready for it last night. I went to bed at a reasonable hour, before eleven pm. I read for a little bit (man, am I poking through Dreams Underfoot -- good stuff though), then went to sleep.

One am: Max decides it's prime time to start scratching at the door to my room. Then when that got old he started scratching around in his litter box. I swear, I think he was looking for buried treasure. I was about to go help him find it. I should note, Max is now confined to my room. He has "issues" with the dining room carpet, you see. Nowhere else, really. Just the dining room. For the most part it works out okay, except when he decides he wants out of my room at one in the morning. That poor cat. Life has not been good to him this past year.

Two am: My bladder decides that it's full. RIGHT NOW. Then I was wide awake, so I checked email and spent a few moments online talking to Josh and Laura. Back to sleep.

Four-thirty am: Max and my bladder decide to go into cahoots. First Max starts scratching at the door -- probably because he heard my parents get up -- then my bladder decides "Well, since she's awake..." I had a horrid headache, so I grabbed some Tylenol and tried to sleep again. Which I did. Right through my 6 am alarm until 6:30.

However, the good news this morning is that all of my biggest deadlines are behind me as of today. My last midterm was last Thursday, my lit paper was due last Thursday, and the first draft of Adrift is due today. I did my last bit of editing/proofreading yesterday afternoon. Good thing, because I'd just about reached the stage of being so absolutely tired of the whole book that I didn't want to look at it anymore. By the time we get it back to do the second draft, I'll be ready to deal with it again.

In baby news, Dawn is still on bedrest, and heading into the homestretch. I should post some of the pictures from her baby shower. She's started doing the pregnant woman waddle. Hee. The last time I saw her, Justin started kicking and I just missed being able to feel it. Still, it was amazing to rest a hand on her tummy and know that there was a little boy floating around in there beneath my hand. And he definitely is a little boy. Apparently all of the ultrasound pictures they've had of him recently have shown him spread-eagled and showing off for the camera.

Is it weird that I already have so much love for this little boy I've never met or seen or held? I mean, you expect the parents to feel that way about their unborn child, naturally, but I'm not a blood relation. Dawn and I talked about it a little. We both have this little personality formed for him in our minds. Where that comes from, I don't know. If it will be accurate, I don't know. What matters is that he's already this real little person for me, a real little person that I care about very much. I have a feeling I'm going to fall all to pieces when he's finally born.

Posted by Lisa at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2001

And now... the winner of

And now... the winner of the First Official THVWU 'Caption This' Contest is...


Get "Mom's Saliva" now in a handy spray bottle! It's the ultimate cleaning solution for smudged children everywhere.

Congratulations, naiad. Get me your info and your prize will be forthcoming. :)

Thanks to everyone else, particularly to Joshua, who watched Dawn squirt her rambunctious dogs with a spray bottle and decided that would be a cool way to get a drink of water.

Posted by Lisa at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

So, I wake up this

So, I wake up this morning and this is what I see out my window:

Yeah. Ha-ha, Mother Nature. April Fool's. *mutter*

Also, I'll pick and announce the winner of the 'Caption This!' contest later today. There's still time to enter! Hurry!

Posted by Lisa at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)