Life Update: Back and Forth

I had a really thoughtful post all planned out in my head for today about song lyrics that struck me the other day in the car.  But then I barely slept last night and I need to go to bed early because I’m flying out to North Carolina tomorrow to start unpacking our new house.  So instead you get a brief update about the logistics of the remaining month until the wedding:

>First, I fly out to meet the Engineer and his brother at our new house (yay!) in North Carolina.  I’ll be there for the Engineer’s first few days of classes, then…

<I fly back to the Pacific Northwest to finish up wedding details for 2 weeks.

<He flies back to the Pacific Northwest so we can get married.

<We go to Hawaii.

>We fly all the way back to North Carolina and finally stay put for a while.

Oh, and here’s a question I was mulling over with the Commodore: can I put Wedding Coordinator and Moving Director on my resume now?

 

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Address Book

Starting our own (empty) home means things keep occurring to me that I’ve never had to think about before.  Silverware, for instance, has always just been there, in the drawer, and so has the plastic organizer sorting it into its neat little categories.

My mom has always had an address book we referenced whenever we needed to send out thank-you notes or invitations, so I always wanted to have my own when I moved out.  I forgot that this involved writing out all those addresses.

I’ve gotten through the Cs.

Pets

Our new place doesn’t allow pets, so I’m taking advantage of all the snuggle time I have left with our cat at my mom’s house and the two (gigantic) cats and Husky mutt at my dad’s.  Just having a fuzzy animal around is comforting, even if Dickens (the dog) is always. Squeaking. His. Toys.

Maybe it’s because we always had cats and dogs growing up, but I’ve never liked birds.  They’re just not cuddly enough for me; they fall somewhere a little higher than reptiles and goldfish on the pet scale.  So when my roommate said she wanted a parrot last year, I thought, sure, as long as I don’t have to touch it.  Bird feet, to me, feel like a baby’s hand with talons wrapping around your finger.

Here’s the problem.  The bird freaking loved me.

This was partially my own fault – not wanting it to develop a grudge against me for ignoring it, I fed little Caspian dried papaya every time I came home in the afternoon.  Soon my roommate was calling me the Papaya Aunt and the bird himself was loudly protesting if I didn’t say hi to him when I got home.

Then one day I was in my roommate’s room and Caspian decided to leap onto her desk (his wings weren’t fully developed, so this didn’t go well), slide wildly across it, and then step, chirping happily, onto my panicked, outstretched hand.

My roommate maintains that it’s one of the funniest things she’s ever seen, second only to later when the bird would waddle across the back of the couch to try and sit on my shoulder.  I didn’t know what to do, only that I didn’t want him climbing up onto my shoulder, so I stood there with my arm outstretched until my roommate came to rescue me.

And now I’m one of Caspian’s favorite people in the world.  When I visited with Bird to get the last of my stuff, Caspian trilled at the sight of me, stepped onto my finger (I’m used to him now) and puffed up happily for a good fifteen minutes.

I still don’t think birds are good pets.  But I’ll be damned if it wasn’t really affirming to have a little creature greet me with that much excitement.

NaNoWriMo Declaration

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

For the past few years, I have promised myself I will “win” NaNoWriMo by meeting the goal of finishing a 50,000+ word manuscript.  The idea is not to edit, not to get a book published, but simply to write down the whole damn thing and get that first draft to exist at all.  The new year is the time for revising and querying.  November is for writing furiously, frantically, every single day, in an effort to get that draft done.

But I haven’t won.  I’ve abandoned all my past stories after a few days.  This year, though, relatively soon after NerdCon: Stories and with my PNWA and feminism publishing connections behind me, not to mention a bunch of free time on my hands, I’m swearing to at least write something every day this November.  I might not finish my manuscript.  It would be nice if I could.  But I will put words on the page once a day for this whole month.

Or at least I’ll try!

All the Cool Honors Grads Sing WonderPets

I was home sick one day in high school, lying miserably on the couch wishing I could try one of those nifty out-of-body experiences and leave my suffering behind.  Too sick to sleep but also too sick to do anything requiring much mental capabilities, I searched for something to watch on TV.  Since it was midmorning, a time when the viewing audience primarily consists of preschoolers and stay-at-home parents, it was either infomercials or kids’ shows.

As I flipped through the channels, I came across a gerbil, turtle, and duckling singing together: “There’s a cowww!  Stuck in a treeeee!  We have to help it!”

OK, I thought.  Now I have to know.  How the heck did a cow get stuck in a tree?

Within a few seconds, the pets were flying (in their toy sailboat) to rescue the baby cow, which had been deposited in the tree by a passing tornado.  Their chirpy dialogue referenced lyrics from the musical Oklahoma! and the gerbil was now wearing a cowboy hat.

And that’s how I got hooked on WonderPets.  Naturally I shared the wonder with Bird.

This past weekend we were cutting up pound cake for the graduation party (because by the way, my little sister is officially a high school graduate!) and I had to hold the cutting board down while Bird sliced.  So we started singing: “What’s gonna work?  Teeeeeamwork!  What’s gonna work?  Teeeeeamwork!”  And then the theme song.  Because we had to.

Binge-Reading

Ever since my graduation a week and a half ago, I’ve been staying up way too late.  Not partying.  Not playing videogames.  Not even as a mild form of continued celebration that I no longer have to get up for class in the mornings.

No, I’ve been staying up late to read.

I’m reading old-fashioned books filled with madcap hi-jinks, nonfiction books about introversion and vulnerability, contemporary fiction that makes me think, fluff that requires no thinking at all, and old favorites that I’ve already read a few dozen times.

It seems that my brain, overexcited by the realization that I am allowing it to read whatever it pleases, instead of using up all its energy on schoolwork, is getting carried away.  Even if a book isn’t really that exciting, I can’t put it down until the words are swimming before my eyes.

I don’t really mind this.  During the school year, I felt as though the “reader” part of my identity was only active when I sped through novels assigned in class.  I missed being the sort of person who had a book in her purse, and another one waiting at home, and a third one for reading at bedtime.

I won’t be able to read a book a day forever.  But for now I am a happy little bookworm.

Senseless Part II

I knew something had happened when my friends’ Facebook profile pictures changed color.

The black, yellow, and red were unfamiliar to me.  We don’t spend much time on geography in school these days.

We should probably change that.

I clicked on ATTN:, a news source I follow on Facebook, to read about the attacks.  The state of emergency.  The outpouring of support on social media.  The cartoon someone made of a French flag hugging a Belgian flag.

At the bottom of the article, ATTN: had one of its usual poll questions.

“Are you shocked by this act of violence?”

The options for answering were “Yes” or “No.”  But all I could think was, “I wish I was.

This seems to be how the world is now.  I am far from blase about it, but no, I was not shocked.

Instead, I will be shocked, happily so, as in the wake of the Paris attacks last year, by humanity’s best responding to this demonstration of its worst. The volunteers.  The blood donors.  The people across faiths praying for peace.  As Mr. Rogers said, I will look for the helpers.


How to Help Victims of the Brussels Attacks Whether You’re in Europe or Across the Globe (Bustle)

Donate to Belgian Red Cross

 

 

 

Still Alive, Just FYI

Sorry about the radio silence lately, but my undergraduate thesis is due tomorrow so I’ve spent the past few weeks alternately crying, tearing my hair out, complaining a lot  to the Engineer (he is a saint and a far better human being than I deserve in my stress spirals), and occasionally hitting a great writing streak and slamming out a dozen pages at once.  At the moment, I’m trying to write my precis (basically an abstract, but I can’t use any “jargon,” which I didn’t realize was a thing that happened when you’re just talking about storytelling, but apparently it is) and then format my final draft.

And then I turn it in.

Eek.

So anyway, once that’s turned in and I give my presentation in 2 weeks, I’ll have more brain space to write blog posts, so there will be a regular(ish) schedule again after that.

Pinky swear.

Powered by Coffee

Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love

~Turkish proverb

At Starbucks, it’s a skinny vanilla latte (unless it’s fall, in which case it’s a chestnut praline latte, or a skinny peppermint mocha at Christmastime).

At Zoe’s, our local coffeehouse where I spent so much time that occasionally I got free coffee, it’s a dirty chai latte (two shots of espresso if I’m having a rough day).

At the coffee cart in the Hospitality Business Management building, it’s a hazelnut lavender latte (trust me, it’s divine).

At the shop downstairs in the student union, it’s a Thin Mint Mocha (or a London Fog if I’ve been stressing out and my stomach is in knots).

And at home, it’s my just-right combination of Italian Sweet Creme and Gevalia dark roast in one of my mugs from England or New Orleans or Chicago or wherever.

I love my coffee.  I’m definitely addicted – I get withdrawal headaches, not to mention extremely irritable and rather fatigued, whenever I accidentally decrease my intake.  And I know I probably spend too much on it – I attained Gold Status in my Starbucks membership without even trying.  The Engineer doesn’t even drink coffee, nor does he know most of my drink orders at any of the above places (which isn’t his fault, since if I’m in the mood where I need coffee now I’m probably being rather antisocial).

But I figure there are worse things I could be addicted to.  And besides the energy boost, it’s kind of a security blanket.  When everything in my day is going wrong, or I need the mental fortitude to face a scary Monday, one sip of coffee comforts everything.  As I told my counselor a few semesters ago, no matter what else happens, nothing can ruin coffee.  It’s happiness in a mug.

Winter Break

Well, I survived my penultimate undergraduate finals week.  And now I sit in our living room across from the Christmas tree, surrounded by festive Yuletide decorations and books (seriously – we have four bursting plastic totes of Christmas books alone) and it still doesn’t feel like The Most Wonderful Time of The Year.

I’m still in that dazed letdown phase that follows a period of intense stress.  Relieved as I may be to have finished up my classes, going-going-going for two and a half weeks straight leaves me a little bewildered when I get home and there’s not as much to do.  I sit here casting around for the assignment or project I’m certain I forgot about, too used to having Something To Do hanging over my head.  The Engineer once “assigned” me coloring pages to do over the summer so I wouldn’t stress out about not having anything to stress out about.

This year, of course, I do have something to do – my thesis project.  Which is due at the end of February.  Which I’m trying not to freak out about just yet.  After all, the vacation is young.  And I do love my topic (the Arabian Nights), so the reading will probably go faster than I think it will.

But stress is not exactly conducive to the magic of Christmas.

So I suppose it couldn’t hurt to give myself a few days to breathe – and watch my favorite Christmas movies from childhood.