Autumn at Last! (and Vampires, Apparently)

And a very happy Autumnal Equinox to you, Gentle Readers.

I love autumn.  Love it.  It's my very favorite time of year, if for no other reason than it just feels comfortable to me.  Plus, as the (spiritually) native PNWer that I am, by the end of summer I'm all,

"Yeah, okay, beautiful weather, butwhereismyrain?!"

and not just because I love grey.  See, I love summer and all the lovely outdoor things that come along with it, but when I'm busy doing lovely outdoor things that means I'm not busy writing, lovely things or otherwise.  Autumn and winter are a writer's natural habitat, which I suppose is why Wisconsin turns out so many winners (artists too, for that matter).  It also happens to be Tattoo Season, but more on that in a later post...

This is what a writer's keyboard looks like.  It horrifies Nathan and frightens people who never learned touch-typing.

Aaaaanyway, today I sat down and cracked open my The Consequence of Treachery Best files, and damned if I wasn't pleased with what I found.  So I spent several contented hours noodling around on that, and giving some thought to what this year's NaNo project will be.  I have three well-germinated story-seeds that I can choose from for sprouting (oh, wait- just remembered a fourth!), but I'm really not sure which way I want to go.  Here, I'll lay them out for you, and you tell me what you think:

By Blood- sort of a vampire/faerie YA thing, but really a story about what it means to be a mixed race.  No romance, but an emphasis on familial bonds.  And revenge.

LFLF (placeholder title)- vampires again, and romance.  It started out as a sarcastic thing between Nathan and myself, and turned into an actually intriguing concept involving a male vampire who's managed to mature past the Brooding stage, and his constantly-reincarnated (but not always as a female) soul mate. 

Bloodborn- holy shit, do I think about anything other than vampires? (Apparently not...) This one is more about the toppling of empires, and it turns the vampire trope on its head a bit by making the vampires the oppressed class, upon which the powerful humans feed in order to gain super powers.  There might be a romance in this one, but if I go that direction it won't be a driving force.

The Pfenix of Winterhaven- no vampires!  Hah!  The story of a young girl who is one of the reincarnated Spiritual Leaders of her people.  She must journey into the ice-locked Outside to find salvation for them all.  No romance (because the protagonist is, like, eleven).  Of course, I very specifically see this one as a graphic novel, so probably it won't get tapped for NaNo...  ::sigh::

So what do you think, Gentle Readers?  What would you rather read first: a half-breed female vampire vengeance story; a post-broody male vampire reincarnated love story; or female uber-vampire revolution story?  VAMPIRES!


My Dog Hates Camping

When I got home last Friday, I discovered that Isis had decided to emulate her mom:

A previously pristine leg.

Yep, that's right- she got ink.  Did it herself, too.  By which I mean she chewed up my good pen that one of her cat-siblings must have helpfully knocked onto the floor for her.  ::sigh::  And while it may not be quite so permanent as my forelimb-adornments, it is proving to be more resistant to being washed off than one might have imagined (until one remembered that I buy water-resistant ink pens.  ::sigh:: again).

Thus it was with new spots that Isis hopped into the back of the car and allowed us to drive her three hours to Ocean City State Park, where we were meeting up with Lara and Chris (and Moose) to do what we'd dubbed a "Scaled Surfing Trip".  Scaled because I'd not surfed in almost exactly a year, and Lara... well, Lara was only eight weeks out from surgery, so there you go.

We got there and set up in the dark (someday perhaps we'll pitch that tent when it's light out, I swear), ate some stupid-delicious burgers, and shortly thereafter went to bed.  Isis curled up between the two of us on top of our double sleeping-bag, which had the effect of pinning us to the sides.  Super comfortable for her, not so much for us.

Now, the last time we took Isis camping (her first time), she was so miserable about having to lay on the ground that, in order to keep from going to bed at 7:30 (as she would have preferred), we ended up doing this:

70 lb Lap Pig.
...for two hours. Because she wanted to sleep.  As such, I thought I'd be super clever this time around and bring her dog bed so that she could be more comfortable.  When we got up the next morning I brought it out of the car, and it seemed to be just the thing:

Watch Pig is Watchful.
That settled, we made a leisurely breakfast of bacon and omelets:

Lara has some culinary skills, y'all.
 After a bit more puttering about the campsite, we all headed down to the beach for our surfing adventures.  There are no photos of that, unfortunately, because Lara and I were too busy surfing, and Nathan and Chris were too busy wrangling dogs (and lifting logs, apparently).

Functional Fitness?
Oh wait they DID get a photo of us!  With dogs, not surfboards, but still...

But it was glorious to be in the (white)water again, and this time I swear on all that's holy it won't be a full year before the next excursion!

The guys kept charge of the campsite while Lara and I went to shower off, but when I got back they informed me that Isis, for reasons known only unto her and the gods of derp, had decided to pee on her bed.

I was not amused.

But she was so pathetic standing there, not wanting to lay on the hard ground, that I flipped the bed over and gave it back to her.  She did that little circling-three-times thing that dogs do before they lay down- and promptly peed on the bed again.

I was even less amused.

So then she was forced to lay on some pine needles.

Nathan comforts Isis in her misery.
 And then this happened:
Because basically I am a freaking pushover.

That night, Nathan and I decided to split our double sleeping bag into individuals, so that when Isis lay in between us we'd still have the ability to, you know, move.  Isis and I went to bed first (something she'd been desiring for at least an hour), but do you think that dog would settle down and sleep?  No she would not.  Not until I opened my sleeping bag and she climbed in with me.

She slept like a log, too, the little beast.

My dog is the most spoiled.

The next morning we woke to thunder- and then rain.  But hey, that's camping in the PNW!

Please notice that Moose is happily rolling in the mud behind Lara.

Isis, of course, just took it as one more miserable piece to her miserable existence.


Eventually I just let her sit in the car while we packed up.

Princess Pig in the Royal Chariot

So everyone (except for Isis) had a lot of fun, and we can't wait to do it again.  In the meantime, I've started researching doggie jackets...

This is a dog with STUNNINGLY built character.


Speaking Up at the Dentist

There are certain days that I know I'm going to have an experience that will be at least moderately entertaining: entertaining enough for me to twist into a story for the blog, anyway.  And I was pretty sure that today was one of those days- I mean, come on, the dentist!  To get drilled and filled!  It practically writes itself!

What I did not realize,  however, was just how "entertaining" (for lack of a better word) today's visit would be.


I'm sitting in the chair, listening to my music via my earbuds, and texting Nathan.

[Topical anesthetic.  Weeeeeeeiiiird.]

I carefully plug my non-numb nostril, so that I can prove to myself that I am so getting air through the other one, and there is no need for the panic that is trying to claw its way up my throat.

[A little freaky.  Guess I'm not as cool as a cucumber as I'd thought...]

The truth is that I am having mini-flashbacks to times when drugs have gone wrong for me.  Like the time they gave me epinephrine before a surgery, and my body went into a very scary over-drive, arching up and off the table, completely out of my control.  So yeah, I'm trying not to think about that.  Trying to be subjectively amazed at how quickly this topical took effect.

The doc comes in and I crack a joke that it's a good thing he's here, since the numbness is wearing off.  Except it's not really a joke, because it is wearing off.

"Oh, it'll still be numb where it counts," he says.  "I promise."

"Awesome.  I reserve the right to scream and hit you, then."

"Fair enough."

Banter, see?  Banter is good.  But just in case, I add,

"I promise not to hit you.  But I may scream."

And then he gives me the first of two shots, and you know what?  Not fucking numb.  A little numb, yeah, but I am definitely feeling the needle go in, and the subsequent flow of liquid.  I make grunty pain-noises, because MythBusters has taught me that's a good way to manage pain.

And then he gives me the second shot, in my lower jaw, and you know how before I was all, "not fucking numb"?  Well now I'm really not numb, not even a little bit, and I actually make the effort to more fully articulate the swear words I'd been grunting, and this shot just keeps going and going in spite of the nails I am digging into my palms.  But hey- better than the alternative, which is getting drilled with no drugs.

They leave me for a bit, while the numbness starts to creep into place.  Through my jaw, into my tongue- and then into my eye.  It's... not pleasant.  But hell- it's the dentist.  It's not supposed to be pleasant.

They return, and he starts working, and at first everything is fine.  I've turned my music down to very soft, because when it's loud I can't hear him telling me what to do, and I figure me obeying his directions probably trumps my desire to dampen the drill-sound.  And then the assistant (who has already proven herself to be not the sharpest crayon in the box by repeating, "It's topical," when I'd asked what sort of drug they'd used to act so quickly) says,

"So what do you think will happen with Syria?"

And the doctor replies,

"Well, we all know Obama is a closest Muslim..."

::mental record scratch::

What? I think.  Oh, ha hah, he must be setting up a joke okay no, he's still talking... aaaaany minute now, he's going to roll his eyes and no?  Still... still talking.  About... Obama supporting the Brotherhood of Muslims to ensure as many Christians die as possible.  Wow.  He said that.  This... this conversation is happening.  Across my head.  Right now.  And... I can't argue.  Or correct any of their misconceptions about the implications of Syria using chemical weapons.  How is it possible that an educated person genuinely holds beliefs like this?  And what kind of judgement calls does this guy make that he thinks it's appropriate to talk about this in a professional environment, and... holy shit, he keeps harping on about how they're killing Christians.  Did he- yes he did just imply that Christian babies being killed is a bigger deal than non-Christian babies getting killed.  Isn't it pretty much horrific no matter what kind of baby gets killed?  Also, preeeeetty sure babies aren't religious.  Wow, I'm so uncomfortable right now, and I don't mean just physically.  I can't believe how unprofessional this is.  I can't believe how angry I am, but I don't dare move, because he's got all sorts of very dangerous tools in my mouth, plus I'm drugged.  Fuck I'm glad he doesn't know I'm not a Christian.  And fuck, it pisses me off that I'm seriously in a position right now where I just had to have that thought.  How long are they going to keep talking about- oh, awesome.  Now we're on to Obama causing the next World War.  The draft?  Really?  Do these people not know anything about the military at all?  Okay, stupid question, obviously, man how long can this possibly did he just make a sexist joke?!  Did I seriously just hear him say something about "How to tell a woman not to wag her tongue so much?"  I must have misheard that.  There's no way- who am I kidding.  He totally said that, just like he totally said all that other bat-shit insane crap.  Please let this be over soon...

...at least I'll get a good blog entry out of this.

 I was shaking by the end of it.  He left, and the assistant brought me to a seated position and asked if I had any questions.

"No," I said, in the best icy-calm voice I could manage with half my face numb.  "But I do want to say that it is extremely unprofessional for you to be discussing politics over a patient like that.  The things... it's not even about my personal beliefs, it was unprofessional, and I was extremely uncomfortable."

She looked as though I'd struck her, and in a way I guess I had.  I wouldn't be surprised if I was the first patient to call them out on that bullshit.  Which only my made me angrier, because I am a very assertive person, very sure of myself, very capable of stepping up and saying, "This is wrong", and if I felt threatened in that experience, how much worse for someone whose inner core isn't so bolstered?  The thought of anyone meeker or gentler than I am being put in that situation just made me even more livid.

So I told the people at the desk, too.  And changed my follow-up appointments to a different doctor.  And then lodged a written complaint.  Because, as a wise man once said, the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

In a way I find the whole experience funny- funny in that, "This is so surreally inappropriate, any moment now Ashton Kutcher is going to step out from behind the pillar," way.  You know, funny in the, "If I don't laugh about this I'm going to punch someone in the nuts via their throat," way.

Funny in the, "At least I got a blog entry out of this," way.


Don't Call it a Migraine

So last night, around 2000, my head began to ache.  Then came the light-sensitivity, and finally the nausea.  I was in bed by 2100, desperately trying to fall asleep before it got worse.  "Migraine Lite", I called it in my status update, and I wasn't kidding.

See, I used to get migraines fairly regularly when I was a child- not sure why, but I did.  Even at six I knew that moving only made the pain worse, but it hurt so much I couldn't help but writhe.  It hurt so much I would hallucinate from the pain.  It was an awful, awful thing, although as an adult my sympathy is torn between child-me, and my mother, who (a migraine sufferer, herself) wasn't able to do anything to make it better beyond gently stroking my temples (an action which, to this day, means "love" to me).  Fortunately, I outgrew those horrible migraines- but the memory remains.

I woke up around 0100 from the pain, and the nausea, flailed out of bed and took more pain killers.  Woke up again when my alarm went off at 0630: my life remained one giant NOPE.  Half an hour later I crawled out of bed, put on the bare minimum of acceptable clothing, and drove into work to take care of a few Must Be Done things so that I could come back home to bed.

"This is how I know it's not a real migraine," I told Nathan as I slipped on my flip flops, "Because if it was a real migraine I wouldn't be able to do anything by lay in bed and cry."

I was back in bed by 0745, wrapped in my improvised eye-mask.

Pajama shirt secured with a scarf.  Knot to the front to reduce skull discomfort.
I lay there thinking to myself that migraines, even quasi-migraines, are one of the worst ways to be ill because you literally can't do anything but lay there.  No reading, no internet, no television, no music.  Just darkness and silence and as little movement as you can manage.  It's hard to sleep because it hurts so badly, but sometimes you get lucky and sleep comes, anyway.

Around 1130 I tentatively removed my eye-mask- the light was still too bright, but it didn't hurt.

"Progress," I muttered.  Then the dog barked, and that didn't hurt, either, so I slowly sat upright, and didn't have even the slightest urge to vomit.

So I went in to work and honestly spent a good deal of it hiding in the darkened break room, but hey- at least it wasn't a migraine.


You Guys Really Like Babies

That last entry got me more than three times the pages views as I have subscribers (putting it that way makes it sound more impressive than the actual numbers involved).  Which means, obviously, that the old marketing saw re: babies and puppies is totally true.  As such, in order to keep bringing in the high numbers, I obviously need to keep posting photos of babies.

Okay, enough pandering.  Because really there's no point in exploiting my niblings if I'm not actually going to make any money off of it, now is there?  Didn't think so.

Nathan is off capturing a sunset at Trillium Lake, an adventure which we've attempted in the past only to be thwarted by snow (and, to be more specific, by our distinct lack of snowshoes).  The pig and I stayed home, to host dinner for my uncle and aunt, who got in from Dubai this afternoon.  I served them a pork-based meal, and they were appropriately excited about it.  There were plums for dessert, because my husband has his own ways of being romantic.

Is it possible he brought me... ALL the plums?


I'm Going on a Picnic, and I'm Bringing a Bouncing Baby Boy...

Okay so that title is a total lie.  We brought grilled chicken and roasted veggies.  And a pig bull.  It was my sister-in-law who brought the baby.  But when you're playing the "Going on a Picnic" road trip game you don't say, "My sister-in-law is going on a picnic," because that's just awkward.

We went on a picnic today!  It was great.  We drove up to Olympia to meet up with Chelsea and Eaglet, and had a lovely walk around the lake, and then an equally lovely picnic.  Family time is good time.

This is how Nathan wants the world to think he reacts to babies:

"What is it?!"

But the reality is really a little closer to this:

Just some dudes hangin' out with a pig bull.

And if he thinks no one is watching?

Look closely at the fingers- he is totally tickling that baby.

Yeah.  Pretty awesome.  Anyway.

On our way home from Oly, we saw a sign for Rainbow Falls State Park, and made a "why the hell not" decision to go investigate it.

Investigations Galore
The falls weren't actually all that impressive, but it was a nice little side trip, and a nice little reminder that we are adults, and we do whatever the hell we want**.  Also it's just possible that Nathan managed to get a good shot or two out of it.  Proof of that particular pudding will have to wait, however, until he's caught up on today's sportball happenings.

**(just so long as we're not out too late because bedtimes)


This is Just to Say

Plums were on sale the last time I went to Chuck's, both red and black, and so I loaded up on the red ones, and that was on Wednesday and now it's Friday night and I've just eaten the last one (my fourth of the day) and all I can think is that I need to go get more plums like literally right now.

(Seriously you guys, it's been like eating succulent rubies imported directly from Bism.)

(Also, if my husband had eaten the last one before me I'd probably have murdered him, no matter how excellent a poem he left on the counter to replace it.)


Gaining Momentum

It's not just writing that I've been slacking on, lately.  I've also been slacking on eating right, riding my bike, and climbing, which has had certain, shall we say squishifying results on my body (not to mention unhappy results in my brain chemistry).  But I'm getting back in line with all those things- Nathan and I are teaming up with a friend of mine to do a (relative) Whole30 this month.  I say "relative" because we're electing to keep dairy in, and Nathan said the only way he'd do it was if he was allowed beers on Saturday, because it's football season.  To which I replied Deal, because moderation in all things, right?  Right.

So that's eating right.  Riding my bike took a hit when I jacked up my ankle back in June, but it's been feeling much better, lately, so back on the bike with me.  It's pretty much the same story with climbing, only with the added disincentive that was my climbing bros having had weird schedules all summer, so pretty much any time I was at the gym I was alone, and that just sucks and leads to limiting myself to like three routes before I give up in a bored and sulky pout.

Today, however, KB and I managed to hook up and I had the best day of climbing that I've had in a long-ass time- basically since my last outdoor trip, to French's Dome at the end of July.  (yeah, I know- I should have blogged about that at the time.  Sorry...)  And that little trip resulted in an elephant-looking ankle, which today did not, so all in all, today wins.  Yay winning!

Of course, now my hands are too shredded to practice the guitar, which I have also been slacking on, but still... one step at a time...


Tooth for a Tooth

So I've basically spent the past two months wandering around in an uninspired wasteland, and while I feel like that was maybe somewhat justified, that time has passed and it's time to get my shit together and be a writer again.  Which includes blogging, because seriously- how lame is it that I only had one entry for the month of August?  Pretty lame, I'm just saying.

Today is Wednesday, which means Errands Day, and I conducted myself accordingly.  First things first, I took Kink back to the vet, because two weeks ago he had a tooth extracted and apparently a fortnight is the amount of time one waits before following up on these sorts of things (Houston we are cleared for crunchy food- praise Sekhmet!)  The girl behind the desk mentioned that it had been a weird morning- "We had so many appointments scheduled, but two were no-shows, and one called to cancel- and then you were pretty early, which actually worked out really well!"

"Yeah, I tend to be early," I said.  "I have to factor in Jenny O Gets Lost Time."

Puzzled head cock from the tech.

"See, I'm really, really bad about getting lost, even going to places I've been a billion times," I explained**, "So I always have to plan in extra time- which generally ensures that I will not get lost, but if I don't factor it in, then I will."

Of course, "generally ensures" does not equate to "always ensures", and thus a few hours later I found myself sitting in a parking lot, calling my new dentist's office.

"Yeah, hi- where are you guys, exactly?"

As it turned out I'd actually already been in the correct parking lot a few minutes prior, but somehow missed the entire building (don't ask) and so moved on to the next (incorrect) parking lot in an attempt to track it down.  It also turned out to be less of a hassle to walk back to the correct location than to attempt to drive back to it, so that's what I did.  And thanks to Jenny O Gets Lost Time, I still managed to arrive on schedule.

Word of advice?  Don't let four years go by between seeing a dentist.  That being said, expect more Thrilling Dental Adventures next Wednesday, when I return to get my two cavities filled (and cracked filling replaced).  ::sigh::

**Our first Christmas as a couple, Nathan bought me a Garmin.  Because he'd been on the phone with me one too many times when I said, "Huh.  I wonder where I am..."