Now I’ll tell you about me…

These are questions posed by inkbiotic, who likes to hear what people have to say about stuff.

1. Would you rather be beautiful, an astronaut or able to walk up any surface (ie up walls and along the ceiling)? Why?

I’m afraid of falling (not heights, heights don’t bother me, but put me on a steep slope trying to go any direction and I’ll freeze up), so not the walking up any surface one. I could give or take being beautiful. So I guess I’d rather be an astronaut.

After all, there is no up or down in space. I learned that from Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Up and down are determined by gravity, which is generally a planetary orientation, but when you’re in space you have to switch to a situational orientation based on where you are, where you want to go, and any obstacles that are in your way. I like thinking about stuff like that.

2. Would you rather physically age, mentally age or visibly age?

The closer I get to thirty, the more I discover that physically aging sucks — so not that one.

My answer depends on what you mean by mentally age… Does it mean more maturity, adult-ness, etc, or does it mean inching closer to dementia? Because I’ve seen the latter (I was visiting my Gramps in the Alzheimer’s ward once and… got lost). In that case, no fucking thank you.

3. What was the last good deed you did?

This is a tiny good deed, and I don’t know if anyone cared… but yesterday my partner and I were leaving a winery tasting room and I thought I’d pushed the door hard enough for it to close behind us. We got about twenty feet before I glanced back and realized that it was still yawning open, so I went back and closed it. Flies would have gotten in, or something, and the tasting room staff would’ve had to go around the counter to go close it.

4. I’ve been watching the Good Place. It’s great. To give a spoiler-free description, it’s a comedy about a Heaven-like place, where you can live in your ideal house in a perfect village, eat all your favourite foods, and hang out with your soul-mate. What three things would you choose to have in your good place?

I would want a tiny house village! And have three tiny houses — one to live in with my partner, and one for each of us to have our own creative workspaces. (Possibly another tiny house for a library, too, but the kind of library that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. With audiobooks as well as print.)

The other thing I would want is my three cats, and I don’t care if that doesn’t count as one thing because I love them.

Food-wise, I want every imaginable style of pizza.

5. You get a time machine watch that can only go up to an hour into the past or future. What would you use it for?

I’d probably use it for when I’ve forgotten to take my anti-anxiety meds before noon. Or if I’m running late for work.

6. You’re such an awesome person, that the mayor of your town has asked you to come up with a national holiday, what would you want the holiday to be for (eg Tree Day, Festival of Dreams), and when would you want it?

Love a Kitty Day.

7. What small something would you change right now?

I would change the amount of carbs in my favorite turkey jerky. Why does there need to be so much cane sugar and brown sugar? Why?!

8. What are your plans for getting older? How do you want to spend your time when/if you stop working? Where do you want to be?

I’d like to get into the wine industry, though still on the marketing and outside events side. Somewhere I can actually stay for a few years and still feel like I’m growing in my role rather than hitting a dead end career-wise. Somewhere that can pay a living wage and offer medical, dental, and vision coverage. And I’m enough my father’s daughter that if I can retire at some point, I’d probably still end up doing something similar on a part-time basis anyway.

I’d also like to write and publish a few novels. And remember that tiny house village from question three? That’s where I want to live, somewhere in Northern California with a view of the ocean and lots of walking trails. A garden that I don’t have to do anything with, just enjoy the bounty of.

9. You find out (probably from a magic floating wizard or by text or something) that nothing you do today will have consequences. What’s your itinerary for the day?

Costco pizza. And deep dish pizza. And one or two seasonal pizzas from our favorite restaurant in Petaluma. Pizza pizza pizza, all day long.

I would also tell a former employer exactly what I think of her.

2018-01-01 11.42.4710. When you die your ghost will be trapped in the place of your death, where do you want to die?

I don’t know… But if I could stay wherever my body ends up, I would prefer to do one of those biodegradable burial pod things that turns your body into a tree. Then I could be a dryad.

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The Keto experiment has begun.

I have a confession to make… This is the first diet I’ve ever been on.

Growing up in my parents house, my dad basically fed us like we were all on a diet — protein, starch, and vegetables with every meal, plus the built in kind of portion control you can only get from a man who buys things in bulk at Costco and then vacuum seals his own portions of “enough for four,” “enough for three,” “enough for two,” etc. We didn’t have much in the way of snacks around the house, usually, but when I did snack it was usually stuff like a slice off the big brick of Tillamook mild cheddar. Desserts were infrequent, and when they happened usually involved fresh fruit in some way.

I’m not saying I always ate my veggies, but I didn’t eat all that much.

But now I’m going to be thirty in a few months, and I want to lose the stress weight from the past few years… Long story, mostly work related. My partner and I have both decided to try it the Keto diet, which basically means we eat so few carbs our bodies start to metabolize fat for energy instead.

THE EXPERIENCE SO FAR

I feel like crap. Crap in that special way where I’ve been ramping down my carb intake since mid-January and I’m still sliding down the slope of a major sugar low. One day I could barely make myself move for apathy and despair. Another day I kept crying about everything.

Sugar withdrawal is brutal.

The diet started officially a few days ago, and I’m not entirely sure I’ve limited my carb intake enough. Still, I feel like I already have the keto flu. If I do, that means I’m already done with some of the three to five days it usually lasts!

I made some real cool cream cheese truffles. Gotta love Pinterest as a recipe source.

Tonight we both downloaded the KetoDiet Pro app, and that should help with carb counting.

Have I mentioned that I feel like crap? It’s also entirely possible that I have an actual cold still. That, or the weather is warm enough that the plants have decided it’s spring and I’m getting seasonal sinus headaches again. Or maybe both.

GOING FORWARD

I’m going to keep a better eye on my carbs, and start taking some vitamin B and C supplements along with my usual daily boost of vitamin D. Everything is still full steam ahead.

I’ve lost my mind and started rereading my old fanfiction, and actually still like a bunch of it. I mean, I’m editing it before I repost anything on Archive of Our Own, and not all of it is going to make the cut by any means, but a lot of it still makes me laugh in a good way. If nothing else it is nice to have a project.

IWSG Post #13

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FEBRUARY QUESTION: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

Before I googled some stuff to help me write this post, I didn’t even realize that New Adult was a genre. That’s entirely, completely what I write, and I love that I now have a label I can put my finger on! According to Wikipedia this genre “focuses heavily on life after an individual has become of legal age, and how one deals with the new beginnings of adulthood.”

In college, my usual MO for research papers was to navigate course concepts through whatever I was writing. A psychology/physiology class on emotions resulted in a paper where I explored the science behind emotions by comparing Vulcans to humans. An art history paper turned into an investigation of color choice and medieval pigments as I recreated an unfinished page from an illuminated manuscript and attempted to explain my color choices based on historical precedent.

In the present, I’m turning thirty in May and still don’t feel like an adult yet. So. I’m exploring that in my writing too. I love being able to do that.

Continue reading “IWSG Post #13”

If you live in a duplex, you’ve probably…

Heard the neighbor humming on the other side of the wall while going about your business. (In our case, while on the toilet.)

Wondered, “Is the neighbor awake?” Then listened for a minute and thought, “Yep, seems so.”

Instantly turned Pandora down in volume as soon as it blasts a rude word.

Discovered ants in your house, then gone next door to ask, “Do you have ants too?!”

Said something really silly and loudly while drunk, then added, “I hope the neighbor didn’t hear that!”

Felt like the neighbor’s indoor/outdoor cat is kind of your yard cat. And sometimes you take pictures of the cat when he’s being especially cute.


Got any of your own? Add them in the comments!

A Month in Review: December 2017

Wasn’t it Thanksgiving just the other day?

As much as I love the holidays, it always seems to feel like they go by so fast. Maybe it’s just what happens when you get older and a month is less and less a significant fraction of your life. Maybe it’s that moving out but then coming back home to stay with my parents comes with its own special bouquet of irritation, frustration, and mild condescension. Maybe it’s just that drinking makes it go by faster.

Whatever it is, I keep finding myself sitting back and watching in puzzled amazement while life unfolds. That’s a large part of why my partner and I are planning to have a quiet New Years Eve — just a simple evening at home with the kitties.


Here’s all the other things I am currently:

Writing

… Todd’s story, still. I’m starting over on a fresh draft, but I think I’ve got a much better starting angle this time. The writing I did during NaNoWriMo gave me a lot more backstory to work with for the supporting characters, and I just need more of that right from the beginning.

Planning

… To lose weight. As soon as I get a job and can afford it, my partner and I are going to find a personal trainer.

Making

… A new timeline for my novel. This year for November was the first time I really sat down and plotted the story out with a real structure in mind and didn’t lose interest in the story after I’d done so. That was in a Google Spreadsheet though, and while there are a lot of ways that worked for me, it got harder and harder to keep track of where I was in the outline, what had changed, what needed to be rearranged, and what no longer belonged. Now I’m going to experiment with making a timeline on my living room wall.

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Pushpins, leftover Christmas ribbon, post its, and strips of extra wrapping paper to make attaching more post its even easier.

Anticipating

… New Year’s Eve! We’re not doing anything special. My brother might stop by and hang out, otherwise we will probably just snuggle down with a bottle of wine and the kitties. Maybe we’ll come up with some NYE games or do some sort of time capsule thing.

Reading

… Nothing in particular. I’m re-listening to Sabriel read by Tim Curry when I’m alone in the car.

Watching

… Rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my beau again. The regular debate about whether we should watch Angel as well (for the brief crossover bits that are missing from Buffy) or not has returned.

Feeling

… Kind of aimless. I want to lose weight, I want to write my novel, I want to cook more, and I want a new job — but it’s like all these things are just pulling me in different directions and I end up standing still. Sometimes it’s all I can do just to meet my daily 5,000 step goal, which is laughably low compared to the suggested 10,000 steps a day.

Needing

… A job! I’ve been unemployed, admittedly by choice, since the end of August. I’ve been sending out resumes and had a handful of interviews, but so far nothing has quite gone all the way. It’s already gotten to the point where I never know what day it is anymore. Please, someone give me work to do.

Loving

… The weather. Which is weird, because I’m not a huge fan of winter and the cold, but after last year’s constant rain and flooding the sun and clear skies are kind of nice. Of course, it’s not great from a drought point of view, but for heavens sake, Sonoma County just had a major fire disasters. It’s a relief to not have flooding following right on the heels of that mess.

Hating

… Being an adult. It kind of blows. Ugh. But as soon as I’m employed and a productive member of society again (and able to pay my own bills rather than racking up debt to my parents) I’ll feel better about all that.

Hoping

… That some of the applications I’ve sent out over the past few days will get me something. I already have one interview scheduled for January 3rd!

A Month in Review: November 2017

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Christmas decorations went up as soon as the Thanksgiving dishes were done, or thereabouts.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been very distracted by life in general, but here I am!

As fall sets in, it’s been getting colder at night and I’m very grateful for the baseboard heater our landlord gave us when we moved in. It’s not super chilly during the day if the sun is out and it’s not very windy, but we live in one of the coolest climate areas in wine country. The morning fog either takes longer to burn off or solidifies into ice on the car windshield, or both. Daylight fades earlier but, between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and miscellaneous recipe experiments, my kitchen has never been warmer.

The last six months have been… intense. I quit my job, got my first tattoo, did some actual freelance work and got paid for it, started balancing my checkbook again like a responsible adult, and… won NaNoWriMo for the third year in a row!


 

Here’s all the other things I am currently:

Writing

nano-2017-winner-badge… Todd’s story, still, but at a significantly slower pace now that it’s no longer NaNoWriMo. First I thought that I wanted to aim for 100k words total by January, but I just don’t have the energy for that and job searching and Christmas coming up. So I downsized to 75k words by the end of 2017, which feels a lot easier to wrap my head around.

Even though I didn’t finish the story in 50k, I’m pleased with my progress and I think I like this draft a lot better than I liked the last one. I did such a good job plugging my brain back into being a writer again.

Planning

… To become more involved in the local LGBT scene, mostly by way of helping out with the Facebook page of a support group for partners of transgender individuals.

Making

… Good progress on regularly meeting my daily water goals. Very healthy.

Anticipating

… Christmas! It’s a bit of a bummer that my aunt and her branch of the family is going to stay in Michigan for Christmas, and it’s a tender subject with my grandma especially, but other than that I’m looking forward to the caroling and the cookies and the warm family dinners and the driving around to see all the pretty light displays. My partner and I do that one every year. Last year I made a lights tour guide for Sonoma County (2016) that was published on a local family magazine website — it’s always fun to drive around and check everything out.

Reading

Serenity: Those Left Behind. I read it years ago on my computer, but I was shelving at the library and snagged the hardcopy version to check out.

Watching

… Friends, still. And we’re rewatching Buffy The Vampire Slayer, having just finished catching up on the most recent episodes of The Walking Dead.

And omg, I sobbed so hard when blank was cornered by blankers in the blank and was blanked while blank, unable to help due to an injured leg, had to be dragged away screaming. I buried my face in our oldest cat’s fur and cried until she got annoyed with me and left. TWD just kills me sometimes.

Feeling

… Grateful. I know, it’s cheesily predictable to say I feel grateful in connection with November, but I am. We finally made some cool friends our own age who actually live in the same county, have even more pets than we do, and share some significant key interests.

Needing

… More sleep. I don’t know what it is about November, maybe it’s that my brain was constantly buzzing with thoughts about the novel I’m working on. Some nights I just could not settle, and that way leads to texting bad puns about shingles to a friend at 4am.

Loving

… How much snugglier the kitties get when the weather gets colder.

Hating

… All the sexual allegations that are flying around. First of all, why can’t all of these Hollywood men keep it in their damn pants?

Second, dammit Danny Masterson! That 70’s Show is one of our favorite tv series to play on repeat in the background. How do you reconcile loving a show with the fact that one of the cast members may or may not have violently raped a few people? It’s different with shows that are still ongoing — they can drop the actor like House of Cards did with Kevin Spacey. But with That 70’s Show, after the seventh season when Eric and Kelso take off, Hyde is the only interesting character left. I’m willing to boycott those later seasons because they’re just not as good, but is it bad to watch the earlier seasons? Does that imply support of that one cast member’s awful conduct in his personal life?

Hoping

… that I can spend this last month of the year surrounded by love and light and all the people who bring joy to my life. (Shamelessly snagging that sentence from Zen & Pi, because it’s a good one.)

I’m not always the best at self-care. Sometimes I can be a workaholic, even when it comes to my hobbies, and I just can’t switch my brain off. At other times, I don’t have the self-confidence or momentum to get going.

There’s a GIANT ZUCCHINI in my kitchen

One of the local farm-to-table restaurants has a crate outside their front door with a sign on it that says feel free to take one. I’ve done this once before, and took home something I was hoping might be a very pale butternut squash but I think was actually closer to spaghetti squash.

Last night on a whim I brought home a zucchini almost as long as my arm. And you know what happens when you google “how to butcher a giant zucchini”? My top hit was of someone cutting a large zucchini (not as large as this one, score one for me) while background spectators yelled encouragement and various suggestions. It was not actually helpful.

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So, this post is going to serve as a collection of resources for WHAT TO DO WITH THIS THING. I haven’t yet taken the time to try or even really read through these too critically, so I will probably keep coming back to this post and adding notes.

Do you have a recipe or any other zucchini-related notes, anecdotes, or adventures? Let me know! Continue reading “There’s a GIANT ZUCCHINI in my kitchen”

A Month in Review: October 2017

It’s beginning to feel a lot like autumn. We’ve gotten a fair amount of rain in the past few days, and now that the fires in Sonoma and Napa counties have simmered down, the focus is starting to roll over to flood prevention/preparation. California may not have a lot of weather compared to states that get hurricanes, blizzards, and tornadoes, but when we go for something we go at it hard.

But it’s cozy inside. We finally gave in and moved the big baseboard heater from our bedroom to the living room. I don’t know why it kept blowing out the circuit in there but hasn’t been a problem out here, but there you go. In between phone interviews and sending out resumes I’m trying to enjoy the rain and the fact that if I lay on my back long enough, a cat will come lay on my stomach and purr at me for a while. Currently it’s our youngest cat, who just turned a year old yesterday.

Halloween was a bustle of activity for me, but not the expected holiday kind. I had a morning face to face interview, then continued from there to the South Bay for a meeting with my/my parents financial advisor about the current state of my investments. We bumped some things up from conservative to moderate-conservative and moderate risk, since I have no plans to cash those out soon — it’s all rather baffling, to be honest. Then I went home and made reduced sugar, accidentally low sodium pumpkin cupcakes for my Grandma’s birthday dinner. They turned out delicious, and the cream cheese frosting with honey is really easy to spread and my new go-to for my Dad’s red velvet birthday cake I need to make in a few weeks.

Here’s all the other things I am currently:

Writing

… A novel!! I got my act together towards the end of October and wrote an outline/timeline for this revision of last year’s project, and I’m so glad I did. There are some small ways in which I haven’t bothered to follow it but that’s half the fun of writing, isn’t it? To let the story discover itself as it unfolds? I also cheated a little and had a 3k prologue written in advance that I counted on November 1st, but that was the only day I didn’t knock out at least 1667 new words.

My partner and a friend each independently said that they could see this story as a movie, so I guess I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Planning

… For the holidays. With three cats, driving down to visit our families for a long weekend gets a bit more complicated. My parents are not pet people, and I’m not entirely sure I trust them not to accidentally let our indoor cats sneak outside. (I’m also pretty sure that they knee-jerk don’t trust me to clean up after them, which is bs but to be fair they do try to quash that first instinct for my sake.) my partner’s parents are a lot more pet friendly, but that’s because they already have two large dogs (who are big babies that refuse to make eye contact with all but our oldest cat, who they’ve known the longest). When the pets outnumber the people, you’re basically living in a zoo. To top it all off, my aunt is flying back from Michigan for Thanksgiving and she’s bringing her two cavalier King Charles spaniels. In a fight between our cats and those dogs, I am convinced the dogs would start it but the cats would finish it, and the whole thing would burn up all my remaining patience with my aunt.

So I guess we’ve got to go with option zoo, at least for Thanksgiving night. Sorry future in-laws.

Making

… New recipes. Have I raved here about the mango cashew fried rice I made yet? Because it was AMAZING, and that was just with dried mango that I rehydrated sounds could use up the last of that. It would be stupendous with fresh!

I will admit to using kitchen experiments as an alternative to finding and spending money I don’t have on a therapist. Eating healthier is good for me too!

Anticipating

… Hearing back about some promising interviews this week. Fingers crossed! 🤞

Reading

… Fanfiction, lol. I’ve fallen back on some old favorites that I know share some similar vibes to what I want to write. Does anyone else out there like a good James Bond/Q fic every now and then?

Watching

… Lots. We typically have one of our three comfort sitcoms on in the background, and right now we’re still on Friends. I also found a random Netflix movie that I liked enough to watch twice — it’s called Infini and if you’re a sci-fi fan I recommend it. (Watch it with subtitles the first time through though.) Plus, my partner and I just finished watching the most recent season of Grace & Frankie. Love that show. At some point we’ll get to the new season of Stranger Things that everyone is raving about… I just want to rewatch the first season again first.

Feeling

… Really excited about how NaNoWriMo is going. This challenge is an exercise in word vomit, but I actually don’t dislike most of what I’ve written so far.

Needing

… More sleep. I don’t know what it is, but it’s like I spent so much time beaten down by my job, I was exhausted and usually got to bed at a reasonable hour. Now that I have the energy to write and be creative again, suddenly I have insomnia. I can’t get my brain to switch off until somewhere around two in the morning.

Loving

… The friends we’ve made up here in the past couple months. It’s so cool to be able to go out with people and do fun stuff, like lounge around the pool at Francis Ford Coppola winery in between magic shows during a Halloween party, snacking on free kettle corn and candy while sipping (not free, but more affordable than mixed drinks) sparkling Sophia.

Hating

… The recent devastating events in our area. Many people have lost their homes, businesses, workplaces, safe spaces. It’s awful.

My partner and I have been trying to donate as many resources as we can, but one of the outcomes is a significant blow to wine country tourism.  I can speak from my partner’s  experience that tasting rooms are currently experiencing long stretches of nothing happening. So I say, come to Northern California, people! Lots of wineries are donating portions of their proceeds to relief and rebuilding efforts, and staff hired for their ability to chat with anyone about wine, the universe, and everything. They are lovely people, come talk to them!

Hoping

… To at the very least not gain any more weight over the holidays. I’ve been holding steady recently and trying to eat better, be more active, etc. The boot camp stuff I was doing kind of fell through because of the fires disrupting everything, but I swear that as soon as I have income again I’m going to find a Pilates class. Positive thoughts, positive thoughts.

The Fall Tag

I didn’t get tagged for this, I just saw it floating around and thought it looked like fun. For this reason, I’m not going to tag anyone either. 🍃🍂🍁

1. What’s your favorite fall outfit?

Comfy jeans and a warm snuggly shirt or sweatshirt.

2. What is fall weather like where you live?

Fall in California’s wine country isn’t as dramatic as it is in other parts of the country, but as soon as the vineyards are harvested the grape leaves start to turn orange and yellow. The apples are ripe. Local pumpkin patches start to open up all over the place, and there’s a large corn maze a fairly short drive away (luckily untouched by the fires).

3. Your favourite drink to have in the fall?

Hot chocolate. Although, hot apple cider is always good, too. And you know what I want to try that I haven’t had since college? Hot buttered rum.

4. Does your family have any fall traditions?

It’s the beginning of baking season! Grandma’s birthday is October 31st and I’m doing the cake this year — well, cupcakes. Dad’s birthday is at towards the end of November and I took over making the red velvet cake for that years ago. Then for Thanksgiving I’m in charge of gluten free pumpkin pies for two different dinners (yay having a second family via long term relationship). After Thanksgiving comes all the family Christmas cookie events, from cookie making day to cookie decorating day.

5. What are some activities and events you enjoy going to in the fall months?

Super, super psyched about that corn maze. We’ve lived near it for a couple years now and this is going to be the first year we get to go!

6. What’s your favourite fall-scented candle?

Warm vanilla sugar, or anything that smells like baking spices.

7. Tell us about one of your favourite fall memories.

It was some time in middle school and I had the flu. It was a little after Thanksgiving so the Christmas decorations were already up, and my mom was having some work friends over for a holiday party and White Elephant game.

(For those of you unfamiliar: You wrap up a ridiculous and/or hilarious gift, possibly even something around the house that you want to get rid of. At the party, everyone draws a number to determine what order they get to open presents and the first one opens whatever they want. The second person can either steal the known gift or venture into the unknown. Each gift can only be stolen three times, max.)

My mom let me unwrap for her, and I ended up with this really cute, big mug in the shape of a sheep. I called it my Shmug. It was a really funny afternoon, even with the flu!

8. What are some fall movies you enjoy watching?

Anything creepy. I love Halloween.

9. What’s your favourite fall treat?

Pumpkin pie!

10. If you celebrated Halloween, what’s the best costume you’ve worn?

Best, or hilarious? Because one year in highschool I ordered a cardboard coffin, cut off the bottom end and the top portion of the lid, cut arm holes in the side, and spent an entire school day walking around in it. The opening in the bottom wasn’t very big so I had to take small steps everywhere, and could only go down stairs by hopping down from step to step. I also couldn’t lower my arms without clunking the top of the coffin into my head. My mom was laughing so hard when she dropped me off at school that I think she almost caused a minor traffic incident in the parking lot.

Anxiety Dreams

You know those dreams where you’re suddenly back in school but you have no idea what your class schedule is? And often it’s partway through the school year, and you know that either (a) you’ve been going to those classes for months and have suddenly forgotten everything about when and where, or (b) you just haven been going to them at all, only just realized it, and are completely screwed?

Last night, I had a slightly different variation of that dream. My partner and best friend had decided to go back to college, and I decided to join in. I didn’t look at any other schools, just applied to the same one they did. When I got there, for some reason I expected to have math classes… and it took me a week to realize they were lit classes, I hadn’t gone to any of them, and I was behind on reasoned at least three classic novels with more assignments coming up soon. Then my brain decided I was going for a degree in editing (is that even a thing?) and not only had to read the books, but had to write an evaluation of the most common sentence structure types throughout each and write a short story in the same style.

… I might have been accidentally trying to dream-create a fan fiction major.