(a note- Be Wilder would also be an excellent title, just not for this particular entry...)

You know, I have just about the healthiest ego of anyone I know.  Yep, I am a Pretty Big Fan of Myself, and it makes me happy to be such.  And so it is a little strange to me that I find it so strange whenever anyone... well, likes me.  Or not anyone, I guess- obviously I am not surprised that my friends like me- they're practically contractually obligated to do so- but when people with whom I have less intimate relationships with express a fondness for me I am always a little befuddled.  I mean, I know that I'm amusing, but there is a difference between liking to be around someone and liking them enough to... well, give them stuff.

Two examples this very week- I had my Last Day of Work for each job, and at each place people gave me a going-away present.  My fellow BOAs- even some I've only met once!- all chipped in and got me a gift card for Target (to aid in decorating the new place).  I thought it was very sweet of them to do that, but then I flipped it over and instead of seeing the expected $20-$25, I saw that it was four times that, and let out a high-pitched squeak of a "Holy crap!"  I had no idea they liked me that much!  I mean, that's not just a token-gift, that's really nice!  And then my two favorite students at the gym gave me a gift card to the Cheesecake Factory (they told me they made sure there was one in Portland) which again- so sweet!  I got home and looked at the amount and again burst out "Holy crap!" I was expecting like $10 (enough for a piece of cheese cake) but they gave me enough for a meal!  For two!  Holy cow!

So now I am floating in a sort of bewildered glow- pleased that I made enough of an impression on people that they wanted to do something so nice for me when I left.  I had no idea...

(Also, I need to figure out a way to get my student a thank-you card... maybe I can have a fellow instructor take it to my class next week?)



I have been something of a Horrible Stress Ball lately.  There are many reasons for this, but most of them boil down to The Move.

(Yes, Mother, this is when you may chime in with "I told you so")

Over the past few days I've tried combating it in various ways- with good food at a favorite restaurant, long hot baths, extra sleep, and plenty of chocolate.  None of which, sadly, has been particularly effective (not even the chocolate).  But today... ah, today I stumbled across Relief.

I spent a good half hour today laying on my back, staring at the clouds.  And I swear it was the most stress-busting thing I've done in weeks.  I just lay there, watching the sky change colors, watching pictures form and shift and move away, and by the time I finally got up to go in I felt... at peace.  I mean, I was so damn relaxed it was as though there had been illicit chemicals involved.  I didn't even care that I never heard back from the recruiter (who specifically said she'd call me this afternoon).  Now that is relaxed.

It made me realize that a large part of my crankiness comes from not spending enough time outdoors- and skimping on my meditation, to boot.  So I need to stop that- because I'd much rather feel blissful than bitchy.


The Inability to Unsee

One of the major Plot Points of our move is that I am selling my wonderful car.  I've had my Civic for ten years, and I love her- I love my wonderful car that shuttled me around in the latter half of college, that took my surfboard and I to the coast once a week for two years, and that has carried me back and forth across the entire breadth of the States not just once but three times.  And when I look at my wonderful car, I see her just as I did ten years ago, the day that I purchased her: young and fun and kind of sporty.

But then I decided to sell her (for a variety of Very Sensible Reasons), which necessitated looking at her with an Objective Eye.  And I suddenly realized... she's not that car.  Or, rather, she is, but she's not in the same pristine condition I still saw her in.  She has all these tiny little scratches and dings and dents that I just never noticed before... but now that I've seen them I can't stop seeing them, and it's just horrifying me to realize that anyone might look at my car and see a ten year old vehicle instead of the gorgeous young thing I rolled off the lot in.  None of these things are bad, or really even flaws- it's just sobering to realize that time has not left my car unscathed.


(There's a metaphor for life in there, I just know it...)

But the bright side to this story is that I am selling her to a person who plans to use her for his daughter (turning sixteen soon) and that makes me happy because I think she really will be just an excellent First Car for a teenager.  She may not be "cool" (can a four-door sedan ever be "cool"?) but she's definitely not lame (poor Nathan was driving a minivan in high school), and most importantly can be counted on to get a body from point A to point B (not always a guarantee amongst my friends' cars when we were that age).

So there's that.  By Friday the 4th (the day we head out of here) we will be a one-car household.  It's definitely making our cross-country trip more bearable (I've done this with and without someone to share the drive: believe me when I say with is the preferable scenario), and it will save us a ton on insurance, etc (we're using the proceeds from my car to pay off the last bit of Nathan's- er, our Fit).  Plus let's face it- if you're living in/near Portland, you really don't need more than one car.  A lot of people have expressed horror that we're getting rid of my car ("You mean you're not getting a new one once you're up there?!") but I actually think it makes a lot of sense.  Expect to be kept updated on whether or not I end up eating my own words...

PS The weird thing is that, when I bought my car, I thought I'd have kids by now (hence the whole four-door sedan portion).  I don't, obviously- and that is a situation I am okay with- but it's still a little weird to be confronted with the Assumptions of One's Youth and the Refutations Thereof...


There's No Such Thing as Re-Learning...

...because if you have to learn something "again" then you apparently didn't learn it in the first place, did you?

Once upon a time I got my tongue pierced.  And I was very good about the after-care, and avoided all those foods you're supposed to avoid, for as long as I was supposed to avoid them (six weeks, in case you were curious).


Except that one day, two months or so after the initial piercing, I got myself a delicious sandwich-on-a-bagel, and took a big ol' bite- and immediately wanted to scream as the acid of the tomato hit the apparently still-raw hole in my tongue.  I tell you, gentle readers, there may have been some tears shed over that incident, and not just from pain (I'd really been craving that sandwich!)

So yes, the lesson learned there is that it's a bad idea to eat acidic things when you have any sort of raw wound in your mouthular region.  Being a painful lesson, it stuck in my head for a very long time.  About ten years, I guess.  Well less, obviously... but still, a long time.

Nathan generously shared his Plague with me (generously shared with him by his brother Ben- I love our sharing family...) so I've been coughing and sneezing in a rather uncomfortable manner.  To the point where I can taste some blood- not because I'm coughing it up, mind you, but just because that's how raw my throat has become.  But did I stop to think of this as I took a bite of delicious Publix-brand pizza this evening?  No I did not.  Until I was swallowing it, and the tomato sauce hit the back of my throat and I whimpered....

But hey, that's understandable, right?  I mean, it had been about ten years since the last time I'd encountered such an occasion so hey- it could happen to anyone.  What happened a few hours later, however, defies even my wondrous way with slippery logic.

Nathan got out the orange juice and I thought, "Yes, vitamin C.  That is an excellent idea."  So I held out my glass and he poured in a generous amount, and I straight up chugged it- so fast that it wasn't until I swallowed that I realized my throat was on bloody fire.  "Acid!" I choked out, and scampered over to the sink to get myself some water.  Nathan watched with bemused sympathy- although no empathy, since he has been able to take the cough syrup I am constantly having to remind my doctor I can't have (oxycodone is not my friend).

You know what?  I take back what I said later about it defying my way with logic.  Because I've decided that when one is stricken with Plague, one cannot possibly be expected to think straight.


Updates and Composting

My articles and illustrations were received with as much enthusiasm as my query letter, so hopefully sometime this summer I'll be able to officially refer to my work as, "As seen in!"  Hah, I slay me... now I just need to get paid to write something... baby steps, O, baby steps...

Read two excellent books recently.  I just today finished The Way of Kings (Sanderson), which was so, so satisfying.  Sometimes you read a book and you get to the end and it's not particularly believable and you think, "Eh, well, it's made up so whatever."  But not this book- no, this book remained true to itself.  The ending was exactly as it should be.  The same is true of the book I read earlier this week- Across the Universe (Revis).  That one is Young Adult scifi, and just fun.

As for my own writing, I've been tooling around with a story seed from about five months ago, about a super-weak vampire.  Maybe you remember it?  It was based on a rather disturbing dream I had.  Anyway since that time it's evolved quite a bit, until I hit a snag in my world-building that had me stuck for a few weeks... but today I woke up and the solution just popped into my brain, which was a relief I tell you what.  So I was able to pound out about two-thousand words of world/plot-building/refining, until I hit another couple of snags, but they are the sorts of snags I fully expect Nathan to be able to help me with when he gets home.  He is so good for that sort of thing...

But maybe you'd like to know how things have developed?  Here,  have a quick update...

Pippa, her father, and her three (yeah it was two before but now it's three) brothers are in a horrible car wreck that kills all the males, and leaves Pippa clinging to life by a thread.  Pippa's mother (who, unbeknownst to Pippa, is actually fae) strikes a deal with a vampire: the vampire turns Pippa in exchange to access to her mother's blood (fae blood being a particularly valuable commodity to vampires).  Because of Pippa's half-blood nature, the fae half of her blood tries to reject the vampirism, which results in the cancer-patient-like status.  But of course she gets better(ish) eventually (it would be a terribly boring story if it was just her laying around being ill- I'm no Lurlene McDaniels) and that's when the vampires reveal that as far as they're concerned the "blood" of their bargain referred to Pippa herself.  They have a use for someone with her unique status...

Anyway on to other things in my life that are not fictional.

When I first started hooping, my great goal was to be able to go and practice down in the park without humiliating myself.  Well, as of this past Sunday I have achieved that goal.  It was such a gorgeous day that I packed up my backpack full of fun (books, etc), grabbed my hoop, and headed down to the park, where I plugged in my earbuds and proceeded to play for almost an hour.  At first I was a little self-conscious, but then I became overwhelmed by the people smiling at me- and not pity-smiles, either: more like "good for you" smiles.  So.  That was a Goodness in my life.

We leave Birmingham in less than a month.  That is more than a little freaky.  We are maybe two boxes away from having all the books packed up, and I've begun breaking down the shelves.  Our AAA cards came in the mail today, and I've created our Road Trip Itinerary.  According to my To-Do list there's really not that much left beyond getting Nathan's car checked out, selling mine, and packing up all our stuff.

You know, little things like that...  ::sigh::


How About Some Pictures?

So it occurs to me that, in spite of the fact that I said I'd be focusing on my art for this year's project, I haven't actually uploaded anything to the blog.  So I thought what the heck... here's a couple things that I've churned out in the past month.

First off we have just plain ol' doodles done on the tablet:

(Note the commentary-to-self... I do that a lot.  My sketch-books can get a little ridiculous...)

Next up?  One of the three illustrations I submitted to the magazine, tied in to a piece about self-labeling.

So now you can see that I have in fact been drawing at least a little bit- and getting more comfortable with the tablet as I go.

(And I have to say that ever since I hit "send" on the emails that contained the articles and illustrations I've been revising them in my head going, "Stupid!  It would have been so much better if you'd just tweaked this and that..."  ::sigh::)

Follow Up (and Through)

Well I got an enthusiastic response to my inquiry letter, so that was pretty encouraging.  Now we'll just see if I get the same positive response to my actual articles...

In order to cull said articles I went back to the blog I was keeping when I first started surfing.  Which basically means I read through all of 2006 and most of 2007.  Fascinating (and often eye-rolling) stuff, I tell you.  I will say this- I am a much more consistently happy person now than I was then, which is a relief.  (Nathan says he'd like to take credit for that.  I'm willing to cede him some, I think.)  Also, I may have to submit some articles about my Adventures in Dating, 'cos man, I have some funny stories...

I'm taking a "sick" day today (with permission from my boss) to start tackling the Packing portion of this move.  I've been at it about two hours now (off and on) and all I can think is, "Why do we have so many darn books?"  Argh!  And this is after purging what was it- three boxes?  Four?  ::sigh::  I guess really I'd feel less crabby if I could find some smaller boxes (for free, I mean) so that when they are packed full of books I'm not in danger of slipping a disc from picking one up.  As it is I sort of fill a box half way, and then desperately hunt around for lighter-weight items (extra sets of sheets, hoodies, etc) to take up the remaining space.

Back to work.... (or maybe to grill a sammich and then back to work...)