Procrastination

I need to get back to looking for an app that will let me dictate my posts. I have had so many ideas for posts and now that I’m sitting down at my computer, zip.

I think I may be asexual. In the orientation way, not the reproduction way. Though if you’d ever seen Alex and me standing next to each other, apparently we look like I created him by budding.

I’ve never been in step with my peers regarding sexual matters. I was surrounded by budding allosexuals for years during middle school and just felt so out of place during their conversations about sex. I would complain to my mom, who I think was more than likely ace, because she never seemed to believe me. “Girls don’t talk like that,” she’d say. “That’s not natural,” was her response when I became friends with an allosexual who allosexed quite a bit.

I think that she thought that girls didn’t talk like that because she didn’t talk like that and I think that she didn’t think it was natural because it wasn’t natural for her. Her friends may have intuited that she wasn’t motivated by sex and didn’t talk about it around her as a result, as well.

Meanwhile, the situations I found myself in were *not* friend groups. There were the eighth grade girls talking about hiding naked guys in their rooms and the sex-obsessed budding allosexuals in my Girl Scout troop at about the same time. And, like I said, I’d go to my mom for moral support and get the aforementioned “girls don’t talk like that” that really gave me the impression that she didn’t believe me.

Then there’s the real sore spot on my soul — Doctor Who. I loved Doctor Who. I loved the patchy continuity, I loved the way the quarries of the UK could so convincingly play other planets, I loved the characters, and I really, really loved the “no sex on the TARDIS” rule. I could relax and watch it and be comfortable, knowing that random penises wouldn’t suddenly be popping out at me (thank you for that stressor, Stephen King).

And Doctor Who was the first thing that Thomas and I ever talked to each other about. It was very important to me during my adolescence. I always hoped to find a good Doctor Who fan club and actually, you know, have a social life. That never happened.

After the show was cancelled and resurrected as a novel series, I picked up a few of the Virgin imprint novels and there was sex on the TARDIS. Ick. No thank you.

When they decided to relaunch the series, Thomas said that he had heard that they’d pulled Virgin’s contract because the books weren’t family-friendly enough.

My eyes are stinging right now.

Deep breath, Olivia. Let’s do this.

I was thrilled. They were going to make the new series family-friendly. Yay!

We didn’t have BBC America, so we didn’t get to watch the show in real time. I don’t even know if my cable company even had it.

So several years passed of me being envious of people who could watch it. Then they started talking about how sexy it was. How clearly the characters were boning when the cameras were off.

I know that you can’t go home again or step in the same river or whatever. But I was crushed. I’ve seen a few episodes and Thomas would talk and talk and talk about them, but I just couldn’t commit. One time after Thomas and I divorced, a group I was in was just having a field day talking about all of the sex on the show and it drove me into a full meltdown.

Poor Alex had to talk me down. If I can avoid touching my investments until my death, Alex will inherit a million dollars from me and he’ll have earned every penny.

I’ve pretty much worked out most of my angst for right now, so I guess I’ll sign off with a Gratuitous Amazon Link. Today we have Tara Westover’s memoir Educated, which chronicles the development of Westover from the home-schooled daughter of survivalists in Idaho to earning her Ph.D. in history from Cambridge University. It’s a wonderful book and I was captivated by it.

Reduce, Reuse, Recyle . . . Embellish?

Back in the fall, I began a project of unraveling a cotton blanket in order to make a new blanket out of it.

I have always had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. And I do mean always. When I was little, I would sleep in what my mom told me was 15-minute increments and it was driving her crazy. So she asked my pediatrician, who suggested she spike my bottle with whiskey. I . . . don’t even know.

When I was ten, I had an EEG. My third grade teacher had never had a child as distracted as I was. She thought I was having absence seizures.

Two years later, my best friend convinced me to join the girls’ summer softball league. I was not at all athletic and she assured me that it was all just for fun and I’d enjoy it.

I did not enjoy it. In fact, I didn’t enjoy it so much that the rest of the team invited my best friend to join them in ganging up on me. She took them up on it and so for however-many weeks it was, I was all by myself with no one to support me (my mom’s best friend’s daughter didn’t even support me). One of the girls decided to try to trick me into believing that I could be the hero of a game if I’d steal home.

For those who don’t know baseball/softball lingo, that means to just run towards home plate from third base when it’s not actually time for the people on the bases to move. I’d been telling them that no way was I going to do that, because I knew that I’d never be able to do it and that it would just expose me to more ridicule.

Still, they kept on me. Every game, “This is the one where you’re going to steal home.” “Not going to happen.”

Finally, I decided that the only way to make it stop would be to just do it and let them laugh at me. But I wasn’t going to make it look like I really was going along with it, so I just walked off from third base towards home plate.

My mom thought that this was the result of some kind of brain malfunction. She didn’t ask me what happened or anything. She just called my pediatrician (a different one from the one who suggested she spike my bottle) and scheduled a brain examination.

Anyway, I needed to be asleep for the test, so she kept me up all night and then gave me . . . a sleeping pill of some sort before we left the house. They hooked the electrodes up to my head and left me alone in a dark room.

My mom says that the tests show that I was awake the whole time, but I really only remember waking up once when someone opened the door to look at me.

But still, between the sleep deprivation and the sleeping pill, you’d expect that not even someone opening the door would have woken me up, right?

And it wasn’t just those things. I always had trouble sleeping. I tend towards bimodal sleeping anyhow, where I go to sleep and wake up about four hours later, and then go to sleep after having been up for maybe half an hour.

I talked to my first psychiatrist about my sleep problems and he suggested that maybe I had sleep apnea, but I think that would’ve shown up on the EEG. My psychiatrist suggested that if I had sleep apnea I would snore, and both Thomas and Alex assure me that they’ve never heard me snoring.

So, my psychiatrist suggested that maybe I’m having trouble regulating my body temperature at night. He suggested that I try turning the air conditioning down a degree or two at bedtime and that worked really well.

My dad moved in with me ten years ago (!) and he gets cold way easier than I do, so we stopped having the temperature drop farther at night. Then my insomnia came back.

I have recently remembered the conversation about my body temperature, and so I started sleeping on top of my covers. That works really well.

I’ve also heard good things about the weighted blanket, but the only one I like, which is knitted out of cotton, is $200 for more weight than I need at my weight. So now I’m thinking that when I make this new blanket, I’m going to thread glass beads onto the blanket as I go. Probably one every other stitch and one every other row, so that there’s some space between the beads.

I will, of course, not be able to sleep on top of this blanket. It’ll be far too bumpy for that. But just maybe it’ll have that weighted blanket magic and sleeping under it will give me a good night’s rest.

I haven’t finished unraveling the old blanket, but I am starting to cast the new blanket on so that I can see how it works out. I’ll make posts once I have some pictures of the work in progress.

In Gratuitous Amazon Link news, we have The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe, by Ryan North and Erica Henderson.

Hardware . . . Inventory?

Since I’m doing all of this writing on my computers, my hardware has been on my mind a lot lately. Additionally, every time I pause a YouTube video, it takes quite a while to get up to full steam again.

So. I got this computer in I think it was 2013? 2015? It’s hella old and running really slowly. I hesitate to replace it based just on that (I only replaced my first Android phone in 2019. I literally couldn’t install software on it anymore and now I use it to listen to podcasts and Chinesepod lessons in my car).

I had to have a new hard drive installed in this computer a few years ago because the hard drive just crapped out on me. I have a data drive, so I didn’t lose any data (hooray for data drives!), but the c:\ drive wouldn’t work at all anymore.

More pressing, in a odd way, is that I’d like to start using my most recent laptop (which, by “most recent” I mean I got it when Alex was a toddler). I booted it up recently and discovered that the BIOS can’t find the hard drive at all. I don’t know if my computer repair place can install a new one, but I just need to be able to write on it. If I could watch YouTube videos on it, that’d be nice, too, but not necessary. I’d like to take the laptop with me when traveling. I’m not planning on doing any traveling this month, so I don’t need to get it fixed for Camp NaNoWriMo. I do need to remember to call the computer people about it anyhow. Maybe I should get a new battery, too.

My phone is in good shape. I also have a tablet from 2012 that I literally can only run Kindle on anymore. Which means that I have a nine-year-old e-reader. I can work with that.

Gratuitous Amazon Link: In 2015, a friend gave me a copy of Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson, a steampunky science fiction novel set on a planet called Solace. I don’t have a read date for that one yet, so instead I’m linking to its sequel The Secrets of Solace. It’s odd for a sequel, because the characters from the first book aren’t even referenced in this one. But I really enjoyed the book and its look into the World of Solace. I just realized that I’ve never read the third book in the series, The Quest to the Uncharted Lands. I’ve added it to my Want to Read shelf on Goodreads.

My Travel Memories: 1988, an Introduction

My whole life, I wanted to see New York City. I wanted to visit Central Park and Grand Central Station, and go to the tops of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. My folks had gone to the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens and my mom had hated New York City. Every time we went to the northeast and I suggested New York City, she rejected it out of hand.

Now for some personal history. In the early 1970s, my mom became friends with another lady who had three kids — boys Tyler and Thomas and a girl, let’s call her Sue. Sue was just a baby and Tyler and Thomas were a few years younger than I was, but Tyler had a very high vocabulary and was extremely talkative, so he and I became friends. Friendly? Well, we’re friends now, so let’s just go with friends.

Thomas didn’t speak much during those years. That didn’t come until the mid 80s when I graduated from high school. My mom told me that Tyler and Thomas’s families watched Doctor Who, as I also did, and so Thomas and I had a long conversation on the subject. I wondered why he’d been so quiet all those years, because I found him very pleasant to talk to.

A few years later, Tyler and Thomas graduated from high school and my mom and I went to their high school graduation party. Thomas was even more charming than he’d been a few years earlier and I found him very attractive.

I started going out with Tyler and Thomas and some of their friends occasionally, but I didn’t know if Thomas found me as attractive as I found him.

A few months later, a friend wanted me to meet her new boyfriend (who is now her husband), and knowing that the friend tends to get wrapped up in her boyfriends, I knew I’d need someone to keep me company and so I decided that this might be my chance to find out if Thomas found me attractive. I called him up and asked if my friend and I could work it out to meet for dinner or something, would he like to go with me? He said he would.

We never met up with my friend, but Thomas and I started spending more time together, and in February of 1988, we started dating. When my folks were planning our 1988 trip, my mom said that since I was grown up and would be going out on my own someday, I could pick the destination, I chose New York City.

My mom had a friend who’d just come back from Philadelphia, where they’d had a wonderful time. My dad had also recently found out that his father had trained for the Navy on the USS Constellation, which was built in 1854 (my paternal grandfather was born a long, long time ago). The Constellation was then, and is now, in Baltimore.

And that’s how we ended up going on a trip to New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore in 1988. And, yes, that Thomas is my Thomas, my ex-husband. We got married in 1991. More on that whenever I get to 1991.

Gratuitous Amazon Link time. The folks at one of the places I hang out on line had a ongoing thing about a comic book heroine called Squirrel Girl. It had been a long time since I read comic books, but when I decided to get back into them, Squirrel Girl was one of the ones I tried. And I loved them. So today I bring you the first compilation volume of the series, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1: Squirrel Power, by Ryan North, Steve Ditko, Will Murray, and Erica Henderson.

Working on Improving My Body

I’m not getting any younger* and, while I haven’t noticed any significant decline in my physical functioning, I know that it’ll come someday.

So, to that end, I’m trying to do things to improve my physical health and, if it makes me, er, hotter, um, I’m okay with that.

Of course, I’ve been walking as much as I can. After Alex moved out, I had a real decline in my mood, which led to me not doing any walking, which led me to having an even worse mood problem.** I’m pretty sure I’ve turned it around, but I may backslide.

And now I’m starting a new project. I have never, in my entire life, been able to do the splits. So I found that Cassey Ho’s Blogilates site had a 30-day splits challenge. Every day, you do these five repeated stretches and starting on the sixth day doing a sixth, different, stretch every day.

I think that this project may be a bit like Hooked on Phonics***, where if it doesn’t work, the program isn’t the problem, you are. If your kid doesn’t improve on their reading, you obviously didn’t apply the program correctly. In the 30 days to the splits program, there’s no “if you skip a day, it’s no big deal.” You can’t skip a day of stretching. So, if you want to do it correctly, every time you miss a day, you have to start all over. I missed yesterday, so guess what I’m doing tonight before bed? Yep. Day 1. I’ll post here if I ever get it together and can do all 30 days.

Our Gratuitous Amazon Link for today is, much like my last post (or two posts ago, I’m not sure how this is going to work out), in Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series. Today the book is the second book in the series, Deep Wizardry. In Deep Wizardry, the lives of the residents of the sea are being endangered and Nita and Kit are assigned to help S’reee, a humpback whale wizard, perform a ritual that will set things to rights. I love this book. OMG.

*The other day, I was talking about prepping for my 50th birthday colonoscopy to a very, very young coworker who finally asked me my age. Another very young coworker told her that she shouldn’t’ve asked me that question, but I don’t have any secrets, so I told her.

**This led me to the conclusion that I may be self-medicating my mood problems with exercise, which concerned me. I’ve always thought of self-medication as less than ideal. So I mentioned it to my shrink, who said that it made sense that I felt better when/after walking and she didn’t seem to have a problem with it. So that’s a relief.

***No shame to anyone that was helped by Hooked on Phonics. I have a degree in education and I know that phonics can be an important building block to learning to read. It is not the only way to learn to read, though. Some kids read by sight. Some kids need phonics. Some kids need a combination of the two. The pendulum swings back and forth from sight reading to phonics every so many years (10? 20?) and the reason that the pendulum swings back and forth is that both methods are useful and if you want the entire population of kids to read, you will always need to have both in your arsenal. :steps off soapbox:

My Travel Memories: Battle Ground, Indiana

I think.

On our way back to Chicago from Ohio, we went through Tippecanoe County, Indiana. The site of the battle of Tippecanoe.

We didn’t go for any kind of white supremacist reasons or anything. After all, the Battle of Tippecanoe was the United States Army versus the Native Americans. So, yeah. There’s that.

We went there because just to the north of the battlefield was an old Methodist church camp where my mom used to go to camp. The camp had, at that point, been sitting empty since sometime in the late 1960s. My mom wanted to take some pictures of the buildings there while they were still standing.

My mom’s picture of the chapel (just like it says on the tin) at the old church camp, 1987

So that brings my memories of our 1987 trip to an end. Up next: 1988 –New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore!

This Afternoon’s Dream

Wow. I’m totally failing at Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I wrote 267 words on the first and no words at all yesterday.

I have four hours left in the day, so let’s see if I can cook up a couple thousand words in that time.

This morning, Evelyn brought Mila by for the day. She came really early, so I ended up leaving her in my bedroom while my dad and I had breakfast. She barked quite a lot while I was eating, but I knew she was safe and had food and water, so I just waited it out. She stopped barking just about the time that I finished eating, so I stayed at my computer and read for a while before I went back in.

Then the thunder started. Mila was pretty distressed by the thunder, so we stayed in my bedroom. I decided to take a short nap of about an hour or so, then I slept for more than three hours.

This is what I dreamed.

I was living in a foreign country with my dad and maybe Alex. It was a very nice country, with some kind of guy ruling it (a king? a prince? dunno) and everyone seemed to have a good standard of living.

However, U2 (the band) had written a song about how poor and downtrodden some of the people of that country were and so I went to track them down and found a family living in the tunnels by the water main. That water main was their only source of water. They had one of those big wheels that shuts off a water valve, only it was designed to reroute water into a trough that they could drink from. They had tunneled one wall into a room that had three beds in it and was where the family lived and the walls of the tunnel and room were covered with some kind of gray fluffy material that may have been asbestos.

I’m not sure what order things went in. Either I met the king/prince or there was some kind of calamity that destroyed everything.

My home was destroyed and my dad disappeared, presumed dead. He’d left a lot of expensive photographic equipment behind and so I set out to figure out how to use that equipment in order to document the destruction and what was left of the former beauty of the country.

I met some people in . . . a bar? who were helping me learn how to use the camera.

And I went around photographing buildings that used to be beautiful but now weren’t. At some point, a car that was driving in front of me slid off the road and into the water and I was afraid to leap into the water myself because expensive camera equipment. I found some other people just down the river who’d seen the car go in and I offered to watch their valuables if any of them would go in and help. Two men took off their jackets and jumped in and so did a little girl. The men got the people out and the girl emerged with a bottle of something that looked like juice.

This may be when I met the king/prince and he explained that he knows he isn’t a very good king/prince but he’s the only choice the country has. He promised to raise his kids to have good values and judgment and to abdicate as soon as a kid with good judgment and values was willing and old enough to take over.

At some point there was some kind of national superhero and I ended up at Union Station in Los Angeles. My dreams have a pretty good throughline on story but I can’t explain all of them.

Somehow we managed to end up making the country better than it had been before and I moved back to my home, where it turned out that my dad had been evacuated, and he wasn’t dead at all. They also were repainting my living room, which, both in the dream and in real life, is yellow, to have a burgundy accent wall.

We fast forward about twenty years at the end of the dream to where the superhero is flying towards a boat anchored off the coast. I know that the boat contains the current ruler. The hero takes off their helmet? Cowl? and long hair spills out from underneath it the heroine walks over to a sort of covered chaise longue or something, where the current ruler sits. I see that the ruler is a queen/princess and can tell that she’s good and wise and the heroine kisses her on the lips and . . . I don’t know. I don’t really remember much more than that.

When I woke up my first two thoughts where, “What time is it?” and “Why didn’t I suggest some kind of representative democracy?”

The time was a little after 3 pm. I don’t have an answer to the other question.

For today’s Gratuitous Amazon Link, I have the currently-last book Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series, Games Wizards Play. In this volume, there is a worldwide wizarding competition called The Invitational and far from being competitors, Nita, Kit, and Dairine are appointed to be coaches for two of the competitors. I really enjoyed this one and, most of all, this book is how I discovered Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray celery-flavored pop. Nobody else I know likes it, but I love it.

Welcome to April 2021!

NaNoWriMo April 2021, part 1

Just one quick post while I try to figure out how to get any sleep at all tonight.

I have to be at work early-for-me, and it’s nearly 12:30. Augh!

I was just about ready to settle down and I noticed that I was actually sweating and I wasn’t even under the covers. So I got up and found that my dad had put the heat on.

So, I’m running the air conditioner for a while in hopes that I can get the temperature in the house down to something comfortable enough to sleep in.

Then, in a few more minutes, I’ll turn the climate control system off entirely for the night and head off to bed.

I’m going to throw a Gratuitous Amazon Link in here, but I’m really over the Discworld books. So I’m going to skip the rest and move on. So, next up is the end of one of Rick Riordan’s non-Greek/Roman mythology series, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 3: The Ship of the Dead. As always, I love Riordan’s writing and this series was amazing. We join Magnus and his compatriots as they try to avert Ragnarok.