awesome

Yes, I'm Better Now

There's a lot to catch up on between now and my last update. Let's see if I can get enough of it down.

I got home around the end of July. I made plans to have a belated birthday party in August, but then my HVAC broke down and needed to be completely replaced, to the tune of $7,500. Mom and Dad fronted me the money, and I will have to pay them back, along with the money I still owe them for the car I got to replace the late, lamented Red the Disco. (I named it Lucky Penny. I'll post a picture next time I'm here.)

September, the graphics card in my MacBook Pro decided to choke and brick my computer. This means I couldn't email any invites, so hopes of a further belated birthday party were dashed. My computer is so old that the Genius Bar won't touch it, so I relied on a place not far from me that does vintage Mac repair. They had to ship the thing out to California and back, but they did get it done and my Mac is now a happy Mac.

October, I finally had the birthday party.

November, I took on National Novel Writing Month. I clocked in at 51,629 words and even managed to wrap it up with a reasonable ending, which I didn't manage to do last year. It was not the easiest of goings, though. I dragged behind where I needed to be for most of it, some days only getting in a few hundred words. However, I also cranked out some more prolific days which pulled my fat out of the fire. (Thanksgiving is a godsend for American NaNoers.) I wasn't as prepared for this one as I was last year and that hindered my wordcount because I'd be stuck on what do to next. I do already have ideas for the next one, so that'll give me a year to work stuff out.

I took the month off from flower drawing, but I'm falling back into the habit quite easily. I've already hit #4,000 this year, so that's one New Year's resolution knocked out. (Don't ask me about the other ones.)

Today I took pleasure in iced and unsweetened rooibos.

Today I learned some helpful things about my vacuum cleaner.

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starlight

Day Twenty

I drew flowers today.

This morning, Mom drove me to my place and we harvested the tomato crop and cleaned out the fridge. I figured cleaning out the fridge would entail throwing out the potentially icky bits and leaving it at that. Mom's definition involved wiping down the shelves and absconding with the perishables that were still good. While we were there, I gathered up some things like a pair of loose pants to do physical therapy in, a couple of magazines to read, and my flower supplies.

When I got home, I cleared off the table, spread out my pens and my index cards, and picked up where I'd left off. I fired up an episode of Bill Corbett's Funhouse and went through the rituals--the grass, the stems, the petals outlined, the leaves, the petals filled in, the signature on the front, the number, the date, the signature on the back, the hashtag, the sticker, the time, and the tiny dot on the grid to mark progress.

I drew as if nothing traumatic had happened. I needed no coaxing or reassurance. I simply did what must be done to progress this project of mine.

It felt good to finish. I look forward to doing more tomorrow.

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starlight

Day Five

The pain is persistent. The moment the painkiller starts to kick in, I immediately leap through that window of opportunity to hobble my way to the bathroom to shower or just to pee. This sets everything off all over again and I have to wait it out until the next dose.

I am making progress, however. I can travel short distances with just the cane on my own, leaning heavily on it with both hands and taking small steps. I am able to stand on my own two feet, if not walk on them, for long enough to do things like stand and sit and wash my face. As above, the pain is persistent, but it is not as agonizing as it was.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I don't know if I'll be doing anything more than working to get better. And collecting well-wishes from various sources, which are not to be sneezed at.

Today I took pleasure in scarfing down seedless white grapes.

Today I learned what an Ensure tastes like.

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crumpleface

Two Trips to the Emergency Room

This is a modified and expanded letter to my siblings regarding recent events in my existence that I don't feel like coming up with completely new words for.

Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I started having bizarre issues with my vision, first with vision “scrolling” like a bad cathode ray television set and later with double vision. The problems cleared up with a nap and a little time, but I wrote down the address for the nearest urgent care clinic with my insurance company for future reference in the event that they came up again.

Saturday they did. They also came with a lovely side order of balance problems. I called in sick and with the help of a neighbor (since my vision was so shaky I couldn’t read the screen of my phone) I summoned a Lyft and took it to the urgent care center, only to be dropped off near an industrial property several blocks from my destination. I told the driver it didn’t look quite right; he shrugged. I got out of the car (after having told him that I was having vision and balance problems) and he drove off.

My vision was now so bad I couldn’t even read the nice, big letters I’d written the urgent care center address with. I could kind of make it out, but I don't like venturing on things like that without certainty, so I saw someone walking in my direction on the sidewalk and asked if he could help me.

He walked right past me as if I hadn't said anything.

I asked a few more people with the same result--I was not there to them. In desperation, I even said "I'm not asking for money; I'm just asking for help." No effect. I was invisible and inaudible.

I passed by several closed restaurants and even a boarded-up hotel before I finally found a beauty salon where I explained my dilemma and the nice lady behind the counter pointed me in the right direction and assured me it wasn’t far.

It wasn’t far. The street number (which the nice lady confirmed with me) was out on a big sign that you could see from the street. I lurched my way towards it, my destination in sight.

The sidewalk was closed. While I suppose I could have ignored the signs and picked my way around it, as I saw other people doing, I didn’t trust my own balance around such things. Next to the sidewalk was a large tree that was enclosed in brick walls that served as a kind of planter for it.

So I hoisted my way up the wall, crawled past the tree on my hands and knees, and lowered myself back down on the other side. I made my way to the entrance and into the urgent care center. I explained my problem and the woman at the counter said “Sure, just fill out this form.” I explained that I could not, and they settled for having someone ask me all the questions on the forms and pointed to where to sign in the few places it was necessary. I signed from muscle memory.

They got me in an examination room. The doctor asked me to squeeze her fingers and to walk up and down the room. Then she told me that she was calling an ambulance.

One CT scan, one MRI scan (which was rather like being trapped in an avant-garde multi-media installation, to the point that I laughed out loud until the technician barked at me to hold still) and a few more tests and the answer was that it was NOT a stroke, but probably something to do with my recently updated medication regimen. We adjusted medicines accordingly and that took care of that problem.

This past Sunday gave us the new problem. I went to The Big Green Grocery Store to try and get some breakfast supplies and at least some hours for this week that they’d scheduled me for absolutely nothing. And on the way out, I made a left turn out of the complex onto the main road and I got T-boned by an SUV veering into the middle lane. No idea what happened to the other guy because I was too busy having my car pried open to extract me for delivery to an ambulance. I was X-rayed in various places to be sure nothing was broken (nothing was that they could see) and sent on my way with a brief prescription for pain meds and muscle relaxants and some good wishes. Mom and Dad took me in and have been looking after me ever since. Most of my body is relatively pain-free—it’s just this one area around the left buttock that constantly screams with agony. I’ve just started using a cane but still need parental assistance to get places. (My parents are in their eighties and I'll be forty-nine on Friday. This is supposed to be the other way around, isn't it?) My hope is that things will die down enough that I’ll be able to function with the cane alone. It’s only been a couple of days, so we’ll see how things progress.

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starlight

Can't . . . stop . . . laughing . . .

The Gentleman Caller dropped this link in my inbox and I'm been snerking about it all day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-KvyKNSV7U

You don't have to know who Ian Curtis was to find it entertaining.

Today I took pleasure in finalizing the time for a phone interview tomorrow.

Today I learned that a job site I only vaguely remember signing up for has some pretty dumb ideas about my skills and interests. (I spent part of this morning correcting it. We'll see if it takes.

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starlight

Happy New Year! And stuff.

I rang in the New Year at the Red Light Cafe for the Gilded Age Gala, the last hurrah of Speakeasy Electroswing Atlanta for an indefinite period. It was a grand time--lots of glamorous dresses and sharp suits. I'd planned for a glamorous dress, but the weather looked threatening so I resorted to a sharp suit.

Did my second stand-up routine at Cineprov. I heard people laughing, even more than the first time, so I think I did okay. The bit about getting Rickrolled at a mental hospital (a true story, in fact) went over particularly well. The Gentleman Caller was kind enough to hold my phone and record my performance for me and it came out decent. I just have to figure out what I want to do with it. I'd like to see if I can run it through iMovie and bleep out the obscenities so more people I know can watch it without cringing. Or I can just leave it uncut and put it up on YouTube for the world to see.

The location of the Big Green Grocery Store that I've worked at for the past three years closed at the end of December. Oh, worry not, they moved me to another location down the road a ways that I can still get to in a reasonable amount of time. It's easy enough to get into from where I'm driving, a pain to get out of to get home and absolutely impossible to get to from most angles otherwise. Seriously, I don't know how anybody manages to get in there. It's not a significant improvement over the old place beyond being larger. It itches at me in a way that makes the old place look better, and the old place itched me pretty badly.

In other news, I applied for four new jobs today.

I just prepped up another submission to send to my genre writers' group and trimmed out a bit that had been just sitting there, contributing nothing but words, for years. It left an open loop that now feels securely closed.

Went to my doctor for the first time under this insurance policy. I picked her out from the profiles provided and went all the way to a far distant (okay, not that far distant, but not immediately nearby) medical center to see her. I liked her demeanor and she was flattered when I said I'd come all that way just for her. She's set me up for some labs and I'll be getting my first mammogram on Thursday.

Well, that went all over the place, didn't it? One of my New Year's resolutions is to post at least twelve blog posts, so this brings it down to eleven.

Today I took pleasure in a well-made bed.

Today I learned what 19 Crimes Shiraz tastes like. (Meh.)

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choose

So soon? YES!

So I didn't mention in my last entry that I did stand-up comedy for the first time. As in performed it. I hashed out a routine and was the opening act, if you will, for a local movie riffing troupe called Cineprov. The routine was about the very first week of the national broadcast of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and how brain-breakingly weird it is. (King Friday imposes martial law. I'm not making that up. Go on Amazon Prime and see for yourself.) I didn't bring down the house with it, but I'm pretty sure I heard people laughing, so I put together another routine. This one's about the ups and downs (sorry) of having bipolar disorder. It will include the time I got Rickrolled in a mental hospital.

The next step was to go and see the lovely people at Cineprov to ask them if they wouldn't mind an opening act for one of their shows, and the surest way to accomplish that goal is to go to a Cineprov show and ask them directly, which is what I did. This month, the movie was Santa Claus, but was billed as Santa Claus vs. The Devil. It's a Mexican film that was imported and dubbed by a guy named K. Gordon Murray. It does indeed involve Santa Claus in conflict with a devil named Pitch, who has been sent by Lucifer to turn the world's children against Santa. He only manages to turn, like, three bratty boys before he's doused with a fire hose and runs screaming into the night. It's perfect riffing fodder, which is why it's been taken on by both Mystery Science Theater 3000 AND RiffTrax! Cineprov did a great job on it, too. They'd obviously gone over it enough time to point out things like Lupita's lost sibling. Lupita is a poor but virtuous girl who only wants a doll for Christmas and (spoiler alert) gets one from Santa. In one scene, Lupita and her mother are going through the market and Lupita steals a doll, then thinks better of it and puts it back, despite Pitch whispering in her ear to keep it. Lupita's mother has what is presumably a baby wrapped up in her cloak. We can only presume, though, since that baby is neither seen nor heard from again after that scene.

The Gentleman Caller actually saw this movie in a theater when he was a kid. I asked him what he remembered of it; it was mostly Pitch and his red leotard. He snuck in late and sat down next to me at the Cineprov show. When the movie was done, I talked to one of the Cineprov peeps in charge and we set things up for January. (Thursday, January 3rd, 7:30, Plaza Theatre, be there or . . . be somewhere else.) Then I convened next door with the Gentleman Caller for a drink.

I enjoy conversing with the Gentleman Caller, but it is a bit of a lopsided affair. He has a lot to say, he does. But he tells a good story, and he has many good stories to tell. I learned about his life as a larval geekboy and what science fiction fandom was like before and after Star Wars. I told him about the epiphany I gave myself in an office cubicle, when I realized that Medazzaland is actually a damn good album. (There was a roundabout connection between these two threads of thought, I promise.) We went through a couple of drinks and decided to call it a night.

As we left, one of the bartenders/servers there remarked to us that we were the happiest couple in the entire place. He'd been noticing us the whole time, and how happy we were. We said thank you. Then he went on about how it's like that when you find the right person and I think I said something like "Ohhhhhhh, dear."

"We're very good friends," I told the guy, "We're very good friends."

He seemed to take it in stride. We laughed about it, the Gentleman Caller and I, all the way to my car, where we bid each other a thorough goodnight and went on our ways.

Today I took pleasure in a single bite of a delicious brownie.

Today I learned how to order a sandwich in advance from Publix.

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awesome

And Now . . . Non-Political Content!

Okay, I'll just say that John Barrow lost the runoff and I am pissed (and worried), but I've done all I can.

Meanwhile, in the rest of my life . . .

I made it through National Novel Writing Month with most of my sanity intact. I hit 50,000 before November 30, and I ended on a reasonably graceful cliffhanger at the 54,527 word mark. I probably could have gotten farther ahead had (a) my part-time job not suddenly decided that I needed full-time hours, in the form of brain-meltingly long (nine or ten hour) shifts and (b) I'd not gotten involved with a fellow I met through one of my writers' groups, who shall be hereinafter referred to as the Gentleman Caller.

The novel is still incomplete--I had a detailed outline that I worked on over the past year and I cut things off about two-thirds of the way through it. My plan is to work on it as a leisure activity over the next few months and then toss it in the same trunk that all my NaNoWriMo efforts go. I'll be shifting most of my writerly focus back to The Two Kinds of Magic, an urban fantasy novel I've been working on for more years than I want to calculate. I found a terrific writers' group that specializes in genre fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror, specifically) and it's been great to get insight from people who can grasp where I'm coming from. It's also more thorough feedback, because people are going from written submissions instead of (as in other groups I've been in) read aloud.

I was talking to the Gentleman Caller about Mod Boy the other night, and I did the math and realized that it had been years since I'd seen Mod Boy. So I sent him an email asking how he was. Keep in mind, that emailing him is like (and I have told him as much) dropping a stone down a deep well and waiting for the splash. (He agreed with me!) Because of that, I was genuinely startled to find an email back from him the next day. He caught me up a little on what he's been up to--he's going to be a father again soon and he's working on another book. (Did I mention that he wrote a book? One that he was working on when I met him? Did I mention that this was one of the big reasons I fell for him like a thing dropped from a great height? Yeah. Anyway. Consider it mentioned.) He said he was well and wished me the same. I wrote him back to tell him about my NaNoWriMo victory and to congratulate him on his impending fatherhood. I didn't leave a single question or conversational hook to try and drag him back with, I just sent it out and let it go.

If you're new here, check out the "mod boy" tag on this journal. It will fill you in on what a big step that is.

I'm still slugging it out at the Big Green Grocery Store and I'm doing another project for Standardized Testing People. I'm working on acquiring a new workplace to give a weird name to, preferably with full-time hours, benefits and a generous salary, so I can pay my own mortgage without parental help.

The Ten Thousand Flowers Project continues steadily. I set it aside for NaNoWriMo, but now that that's over now, I plan to resume at my two-flower-a-day pace.

I think that's about it for now. See you in three months.

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starlight

Pssst . . . Georgia voters . . . there's a runoff on December 4th!

I know you're probably exhausted with all the shit you had to go through to cast your ballot in the midterms. How would you like to make it easier for upcoming elections?

There is a runoff election on December 4th. Runoff elections are what happen in Georgia when the Libertarians get enough votes to keep any one candidate from scoring the 51% they need to win. There are two positions to be filled. One is the Public Service Commissioner (Chuck Eaton, Republican, versus Lindy Miller, Democrat) and the other is the Secretary of State (Brad Raffensperger, Republican, versus John Barrow, Democrat).

Hey, waitaminute, did I just say Secretary of State? Why, yes, yes I did.

Yes, the position of Secretary of State, the person who handles elections in Georgia, is up for grabs. Still.

So, John Barrow (not to be confused with John Barrowman, as amazing as a contest like that would be) is our Democratic candidate, and he has some thoughts about the electoral process in Georgia in an editorial for the AJC that reads more like a campaign speech, but what the hey, it all looks good to me.

The bad news is, there doesn't appear to be any early voting for it, so you have to show up on December 4th at your official polling place (I haven't even been to mine, yet, so this will be an adventure) to cast your ballot. The good news is, turnouts for runoffs are even lower than the typical turnout for midterms, so if you sat through long lines, you won't sit through them this time.

I'm not seeing nearly enough about this out in the socialmediasphere, and it really needs to be out there. Remember, whoever takes the post of Secretary of State now, will still be in charge when 2020 rolls around.

Imagine how things could go with a fair counting.

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    determined determined
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A quick message to my Senators

Dear Senator--

Brett Kavanaugh's inability to remain calm and level-headed under pressure is a sure sign that he is not suited for the Supreme Court of the United States. I urge you to vote against his confirmation.

Sincerely,

Sheila O'Shea

[I urge everybody to send a similar missive--or make a phone call--to their Senators right away.]

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