chantico: (Okay)
Over the past few years, I've noticed a sea change (hah) in the legions of climate change denialists. We still have our stubborn hanger-ons to the idea that nothing is changing, there's nothing unusual happening at all, lalalalalala, but an increasing amount of folk that once subscribed to this notion have changed their tune. No longer are they complete denialists of the possibility of climate change . . . now, it's that there's no way it could be man man. It's hubris to think man could have an effect on the environment. Nature is self correcting. I'm fascinated by the adjustment to their environs. As weather patterns become more unstable and they can see the changes around them, they've still found a way to keep themselves from feeling bad. It's a sort of learned helplessness-- there is power in choosing to be powerless. It removes the terror of uncertainty and the difficulty of having to be brave, or in this case, make changes. Same thing. Like, I get it, I really do. There are a lot of ways I do not do my best to help because I relish the luxuries more than I can stop and think how good this will be for the world. I still drive instead of waking up an hour earlier to take the bus, and I leave lights and my computer on sometimes. I eat meat. I don't begrudge people not being perfect, because no one is. I begrudge them making up stories to make themselves feel better about not being perfect.

Hurgh. Maybe I'm just doing the same thing.

****

Life continues to be! Not much to report that I haven't already. Work, sciatica, TF2, fanfic, drawing, writing, eating, cleaning, tv. Repeat. Oh, I am drawing my first porn art! That's new.

Sometimes it's good to have nothing going on.

Bitty Bits

May. 20th, 2013 09:14 am
chantico: (Motivated)
A TF2 fanfic-filled weekend and I'm charged for writing, or attempting to write again. I can't tell if I just suck at overcoming the anxiety hurdle or if it is really that high, but whatever the case, the languishing is over. Aside from the fic glut, I spent the weekend puttering on my music project, cleaning, and helping Jen start painting her new house. Ah, the stress of buying a new home. Just what I'm looking forward to. We get off easy on the moving and painting by living there already, I suppose, though I would love to redo the kitchen/laundry room/back room with a little extra loan. You know, when I have a credit score that will allow me a loan. My back didn't 100% cooperate, complaining near the end and ratcheting up the sciatica. It aches continuously now. I cannot wait to go to the chiropractor.

Also our car needs like 500 dollars in repairs. Ha. Hahaha. Ha. Oh, money.

But! I am determined to have a good week, because we are able to pay all of our bills this month and maybe have a tiny bit extra so I can finally get the phys. therapy tools I need for my back! Huzzuh! Also: Summer Movie Season is upon us and I am floppity excited for the line up. February, March, and April were bone-dry and since the cinema is my vice, I was jonesing.

Nothing else to report, I think.

Habitual

May. 17th, 2013 10:03 am
chantico: (Hungry)
Procrastinating on some of the paperwork I need to get through to get my fianancial burdens off my back. I know, I know. J was finally press-ganged into helping me with it last night-- and by helping, I mean he did it for me while I leaned on his shoulder and whimpered. Oh, anxiety.

I really need to find a new general practitioner in town and have a chat about my Zoloft. the effectiveness of my dose has been steadily decreasing (Or because of the financial bullshit, my anxiety is much higher). I need an adjustment.

Crikey, what else to write? Erm . . . I'm not having deep thought right now, just sort of trying to live. Reading books. Listening to music. Sitting outside, soaking up sun. Working very hard on learning to clean up after myself-- this essential skill is one I lack in it's entirety. All my work on being more cleanly has focused on making cleaning up a normal part of life, but not making a mess in the first place seems sensible. Normal habit is to use something, put it down, and then . . . just not think about it. Putting it away does not enter my head, and requires conscious monitoring.

Lord, the writing demons are really awful. They are constant and cruel. I will admit, they've derailed me again. I get sick with anxiety in front of The Book. Trying some fanfic on the side and, of course, writing more in here just to keep the words coming.

Eeee saying their name summons them!

*****

SOMETHING HAPPY. I am determined to write about it!

Music.

Is Awesome.

I'm catching up on some classics while exploring new bands. Joni Mitchell has been spending a lot of time on my iPod. She is a fabulous songwriter and epitomizes what I think of as folk music. It's fascinating to hear the tectonic shift in her voice from her youth to her later albums, with the jazz-experimental as a middle buffer. In contrast, the other band getting lots of play right now is Crosby and Nash, who are really cheesy in comparison; they try for the same sort of slice of life, political songwriter and it ends up hackneyed. But they're good background noise for when I'm Les Mis'd out.

New band wise, I've got a ton of stuff on the back burner, but I really have to give a shout out of Metric's "Synthetica". The lyrics and beats are complex, and behind the glittery electronic shoegaze sound there's a pulsing sense of the epic. Really happy with this album; it's my first of there's, and I think we're going to have a long and happy relationship.
chantico: (Infuriated)
Let's talk daddy issues. Or impending family drama. Or me worrying too much, which is possible.

So. My father. We have a complicated relationship, further complicated by the fact that I don't think he knows it's that complicated, because I don't talk to him about how much I want to strangle him some(most) of the time. Y'all know that if I trust someone, I don't have any issue telling them that our relationship is in danger-- and if I don't trust someone, I already consider that relationship in perpetual danger and clam up. I have a good long list of people I trust these days! Even my mom, which took some time. Trust and I have come to an accord, wherein a I don't afford it to folk as readily as some might, but it doesn't live in a lightless box, never to be handed out at all.

But . . . not my dad. He has this little problem with conditional love and threatening to take it away if you don't prescribe to his agenda, you see. Not fertile ground for trust seedlings. Largely, I've worked through all that stuff, and I'm at a good place where I can deal with that, and I am good at maintaining the relationship we have and it's occasional benefits without letting it fuck up the rest of my life or my relations with other people. Compartmentalizing with the best of them. He has no idea I feel this way because, well, I don't trust him enough to hand over a wrapped package of Muh Feels. Not particularly keen on giving emotional gifts to folks if there's the dimmest possibility of them putting said gift into the shredder. This system works! I vent to other people when I want to shake him, I visit occasionally, we spend holidays together and I follow him on facebook. Fine and dandy.

Until something goes wrong, of course.

Dad's nose for business is one of the worst I have ever seen. This is one of those "I'll never tell him" things because he is convinced that he's knows how people tick and if they just acted the way they were supposed to he'd be fine. Note the issue, there: his business ventures fail, not because you moved your store 25 minutes out of Bloomington and expected people to still come, but because people weren't loyal enough. His festivals fail not because he is trying to throw them in rural Indiana, without backing from local businesses, courting a population that is infamously flighty-- but because people aren't supportive enough. It isn't his fault when, two years after a series of these failed festivals, he tries *again* (with no changes) expecting things to be different, and they flop. Other people aren't (insert thing to blame here). HE is doing all he can.

It also isn't his fault that his property isn't worth very much any more, after he let it grow over, built his own wizard shack without a power or water or septic hookup, and based his financial decisions around the assumption that this state of affairs was worth as much as a regular house (that's the tyranny of the local zoning and assessment offices). Nor is it his fault that his music career hasn't taken off (the industry is terrible, no one if paying for things anymore, too many kids are trying to be musicians, my music is too deep for the masses [SERIOUSLY]).

And he can't leverage his knowledge into a business helping install solar or waste water systems because of X, Y, Z, and he won't try art, and he can't sell things at the farmer's market, and . . . you so get the point.

Basically he is 30,000 dollars in the hole and is going to lose the land if he can't get it by next year.

Now. Whose fault is this? Let's have a quiz.
A. Yours, for deciding when you were 18 you were never going to get a job for someone else and only run your own business.
B. Yours, for trying the same failed financial venture over and over.
C. Yours, for refusing to learn business techniques that might help because you don't want to sell out or you think you know enough.
D. Yours, for spending a self confessed 15,000 dollars in music equipment because you were bored/lonely/going to become a famous musician.
E. Yours, for not doing the research to understand land values and the impact of your lifestyle choices on property worth.
F. Yours for choosing ALL OF YOUR CHOICESZ SKREEEEECHCHCHSAUKHDFKJSBF.
G. All of the above.
H. A 6000 dollar student loan you co-signed for your daughter, your only contribution to her college education (which she has paid continuously but isn't finished paying off yet).
I. Everyone else, for not being supportive enough.

Choose two if needed.

****

We are only at the "Hey, can you take out a loan to cover this loan" stage. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions. Maybe I do not have enough faith in him. But I would put a significant amount of money down on the certainty that, if he loses this property, H and G are going to be the answers. And I don't know what to do.

I'm still scared of him, of course. I have done really well at working through this idea that, if I'm emotionally honest with people, they will withdraw their love. The stumper is: he *will* withdraw it. It's not a fear, it's a guarantee-- he's threatened it, *he's done it*. Let's not forget, I have two other sisters out there whom he left. They've expressed anger at him over this, and his response is to quite literally tell them to fuck off and stop talking to them.

So if it comes to this, what do I do? Tell him he's being an asshole for blaming me for his financial woes and sink our relationship, or stay quiet, roll my eyes, and let him flail over there? Which do I want? Being honest for once is reeeaaal tempting, but in the way a big red button is tempting. Very, mm, arsonist-cathartic.

Don't know. For now, I will wait and see what happens. I suggested he try a Kickstarter to work up the funds, but of course it won't work and he isn't going to try, so.

I don't know.

Four Rooms

May. 10th, 2013 10:25 am
chantico: (Done For)
I hope the melodrama of my icon gets across that I'm not actually bad, just flapping my hands and mooning about pretty much everything. Financial crises are taken care of for now and should be okay, so, yeah, I'm good. Here are my problems I'm whining about right now: I have a cold and sneezing is making my back twinge. The rain (and sick) means I can't mow my lawn. People are being stupid on facebook.

So for anyone worried I really am okay. Spring is doing it's thing now that it's finally here, just the long winter plus finances plus injury made it a hard start to the year. I promise, life is pretty good, and the depression is lifting as SAD and situational triggers disappear.

***

Slacking on writing. I'm in a needed exposition chapter except that requires Delilah and Arthur to be talking to each other the whole time and their conversation keeps wandering away from the point. I feel like the person at a middle school debate that has to be all "Okay, kids, back to the topic at hand." Gently, though. Arthur is tiptoeing because Delilah is clearly (and rightly) emotionally unstable and Delilah is Delilah-- plus, yeah, emotionally unstable. So they are having a hard time getting to "Magic! It's real! Here's how it works!" At least not without her asking too many questions and bursting into tears and running off on tangents. He is the worst for this sort of thing anyway. Mysterious Handsome Men are not the ones you want to clearly and honestly answer your questions, they're very dodgy by nature.

***

Dreamed of a forever house (endless in rooms and architecture, never the same from moment to moment) run by faeries, thoroughly haunted, trying to capture the souls of humans passing through-- though if you could make it to the end, you were a true hero. Libraries that spontaneously burst into flame, bedrooms haunted by the ghost of Amanda Palmer (turned into a monster. Tough as hell to fight), forests under glass conservatories, phantom picnics on the lawn that you really want to reach but can't find the way.

***

SNOT EVERYWHERE.
chantico: (Default)
Daily scene: sit down to write journal entry. How do I feel? What do I want to say?

Sleepy. All is sleepy.

Mostly don't journal because that's about all I can dredge up.

****

Thanks to everyone who left comments and congratulations yesterday! Immediately Jason protracts a cold, because his immune system runs on stress and fear. He gives his thanks to the Dayquil god and is very much enjoying working with the school. Here's the rundown:

He's starting next fall as Pinnacle's new math teacher, primarily for 7-8th graders (cue raving crowds, images of a Colosseum, a victorious gladiator standing over a middle schooler. The Empress shakes her head: "I don't know how he does it." Neither do we, lady. Neither do we.) However, until the end of this school year, he's substituting for several classes, getting to know the students and the curriculum and making a pleasant amount of moolah in the mean time. Over the summer he'll be wearing several hats: tutor, teacher, and administrator. He'll be helping kids in math and English, teaching a few electives, and then The Big Job of reconstructing the entire school's math curriculum so that it functions smoothly from 1st through 12th grade. Real professional, we-trust-you-are-well-educated-and-good-at-your-shit stuff. I am proud as a heap of lions and have all the confidence in him. Go Jason!

I have thoughts about my own career but eeeee not ready to tackle those they frighten me, so bookmarked for later.

My back is finally feeling better! I can stand up straight for more than five minutes without it seizing. I can take *walks*. Very happy indeed. Still keeping tabs on it and taking it easy, because the wrong twist or sudden bend and it tightens up, like a pair of very big hands grabbing my spine. The sciatica has improved greatly, and I can now fully extend my left leg, which wasn't happening for a while there. I'd do my leg lifts, putting both straight up in the air to stretch the lower back, and my right leg would point at the ceiling while my left one was a crooked, misshapen hamhock. Staying out of high heels, though; I tried to wear a pair of four-inchers today and felt the twinge, so retreated to flats. Soon. SOON.

Best of all I can now clean my filthy house. And mow the lawn. I am unnaturally excited to mow the lawn.

Yay!

May. 7th, 2013 09:01 am
chantico: (Better)
The big news is that Jason got a job! Oh my god, Jason has a job. A job. with money. And work that he wants to do. I could cry. I probably would cry/will cry when I can feel okay doing so. We have not been okay, you guys, not at all. I've been pulling in a lot of money from freelance and it still hasn't been enough-- I've been to court twice for debts, I don't answer my phone at all if I don't recognize the number, the passive aggressive emails and letters are surprising me with their creativity. One of them was hidden inside a birthday card envelope. Clever.

Jason got a job. He has been so depressed, plodding through another hourly shit show, with no money to comfort shop and a friends group that isn't so much shrinking as is now thoroughly shrunk. It's not my place to talk about the specifics of his depression but lord knows we've been a sad sack couple, mooning around the house.

Freedom is so close. I can taste it.
chantico: (Relieved)
Back is feeling a whole lot better today! I want to run out into the grass and wriggle and mow my lawn and clean my house and walk to the library! And I still can't, because healing requires patience and this is exactly what happened last week and look where that got me. Thhbbt. I solemn swear to protect my spine and give it the TLC it needs to make a full recovery.

Maybe it feels better because I took care of the gargoyle (or one of them) perched on my shoulders. Anxiety and procrastination are such close bedfellows, and the one has been driving the other for too long in regards to Origins this year. I just can't do it-- I have had too rough a winter and I am too damn poor to manage operating a booth this year. I wish it were just a matter of not exhibiting, but I'm supposed to have done the picture for the Artist's Section of the Con book, and . . . it just ain't happen. You guys, I missed a deadline. I missed SEVERAL. And in my stubborness that no, I WILL go, I WILL finish this piece of art, they're now close to print and have no picture.

Dick move, Avery.

Guilt aside, admitting defeat is the best decision I could have made, and I feel so much lighter for having sent that email off.

****

Random thought of the day: Pinterest and I have a complicated relationship. I like it, and it is pretty, and easy to visit, but I don't do so very often. I get this little trickling dread-stream moving through me when I'm there, despite the pastel mochachino feel-good flower madness of the place. Tumblr, on the other hand, I am on *all the time* despite a design team that seems to hate users and the most unintuitive, nonfunctional operating system I have had the displeasure of using. Why do I relax there?

Because, I realized, I only want to visit Pinterest when I have money. It is a site about consumerism, aspiration, *wanting*, the pursuit of perfection in all things. Pinterest is about the life you'll never have (and can't afford). Underneath that polished exterior it reeks of a sort of dishonest, competitive desperation, even if the people who use it don't fit those adjectives. For the most part what are people pinning? Products, or places that you need lots of money to visit, or projects that you need the luxury of not working to do or maintain. Recipes with expensive ingredients or for parties that are hard to afford. Clearly not *every* pin falls into this, and I don't blame the users-- I don't even blame the network. It's like . . . Pinterest is the garden, all of the toxic societal expectations of women and affluence are the fertilizer, and what has bloomed is a beautiful flower that I'm allergic to.

Tumblr, for all it's structural faults, is full of ridiculousness and messy fandom stuff and people circulating lots of art of *all* kinds and funny things and dumb things and it's just . . . fun. Once I got the hang of it, popping in over there is entering the coffee shop where my favorite geeky, arty college friends hang out. We squabble and talk deeply about things and are interrupted by someone doing a break dance routine to a dubstep Legend of Zelda cover. But most of all, it's *earnest*. Pinterest is about the life you want to live. Tumblr is the life you're living now, in all it's stupidity.

Though I still miss LJ the very most.
chantico: (Weak)
My back is *so* fucked up. On Sunday night I had to sleep upright in our armchair, because the muscles were spasming so hard I was vomiting in my sleep, and I'd wake up choking on stomach acid. It gets a little better with massage and an adjustment (and Flexeril/a massive dose of Ibuprofen)but that doesn't seem to last. And of course, this is the week I have to get the apartment sparkling clean before our move-out inspection, which *should* involve all the nasty, hard work chores like scrubbing the floors. I don't know what to do because it ain't happening. Though the pain and stiffness is markedly better today, for stupid reasons: laying in bed last night, I had the misfortune to sneeze. Under the high tenor of my screech, I heard (and felt) a pop in my lower vertebrae. Immediately felt like a pressure valve had been opened. Go figure.

***

Been listening to audiobooks as a way to keep myself moving throughout the day-- Cat Valente's Habitation of the Blessed and Les Mis are the two on my iPod right now, both of which work better for me as a recitation than as text. Habitation is not Valente's best book. It starts off very slow, and the language, while pretty, has a lot of "this thing is like this thing" repetition. The poetry of it works better when read aloud. I don't know if it's eminently rude to muse on how I'd "fix" the narrative to make it work better for me, so I'll refrain, but I'm thinking about it. Les Mis is good background noise. Dumas is so frickin' wordy (talk about a long set up!) that I can tune in and out and not feel like I've missed overly much as far as plot goes. I'm enjoying it, mind you, just not hanging on every word.

***

Projects at work are mind numbing. Lots of specific layouts (that don't work in the format and style requested), lots of nitpicky authors changing their minds about what details should or should not be included, lots of instructions that are nigh unreadable due to bad spelling, bad handwriting, and bad faxing. Also, lots of flat out crazy. And requesting impossible scenarios/styles. And asking for too much to be packed into one page. I have had a personal breakthrough about my cotton-stuffed head at the end of the day: that is not a failure on my part, either mental or physical. It is an expected result of doing some serious creative heavy lifting. It's okay to be tired after translating semi-literate babble into english, and then into a cohesive visual language, and to do not one, not two, but around 10 illustrations like this every day.

I need a vacation.

****

Money sucks. Send winning lottery ticket.
chantico: (Geeky)
Hi! I'm super pumped about participating and being matched up with you, whoever you are. Let's make beautiful stories together! Whichever of my fandoms you hail from, there's a couple of things that I flail over, no matter what. If any of this squicks you or you just find it deeply boring, ignore away. I mean that. I am more invested in everyone having fun than meeting picky criterion. But if you like having a framework to play in, here's some of my favorite things. Pick and choose as you wish.

Top of the list: I have never gotten over my teenage obession with angst, misery, and doing terrible things to my most beloved characters. I'll be happy if you write me something full of cotton candy and cherubs, but I will keel over if in between those fluffy kittens and cupcakes oozes a river of despair. Happy endings, though, are awesome.

Secondly, I have no problem with pairings, and I really like romance, but I usually like romance within the context of a bigger plot. Like, totally have people making out, but having them doing so while leaping off the cliff to avoid the plague of locusts the bad guys unleashed (for ridiculous example). I am *especially* overjoyed by blossoming romances, people hooking up for the first time, and the thrill of tension/tension fulfilled. Porn is a-ok, though again, I like it within context. And as a personal squick, I do not really like play with body fluids of any sort (excepting blood; go figure.)

Third, I'm not a huge fan of AU's. No need to be super strict about researching canon, but I'd like it to be set in the world, even if you make crazy things happen in that world. The characters are secretly robots, fine and dandy. My Little Pony: (fandom) edition? Meh.

Now, for specific fandoms!

Team Fortress 2

Ahhh, I love this game so much. I like the weird mix of ridiculous hat-powered adventures with dark, despairing, hyper violent hell. I like every single character, and all sundry settings. The characters I fangirl the most are Scout, Sniper, and Ms. Pauling, which you undoubtably are aware of.

Scout, I love for his bluster, overconfidence, and attention-seeking behavior. He's a bratty little shit who likes hurting people, a virgin who can't catch a break, dumb as a post. His insecurity is charming. I wonder what it would take for someone like him to actually grow up.

Sniper is at his best as a loner and a grumpy misanthrope. I can understand someone who is not much fond of humanity and is struggling with the whole "Team" thing, but still can't help but enjoy the company. Also, like all the Mercs, dude is CRAY CRAY and way in denial about that. Like, he collects his pee and thinks shooting his dad in the leg is a heartwarming story. That is not stable.

And Ms. Pauling is Ms. Pauling. She's amazing. Period. For everything. The only thing I don't like is when people make her the damsel in distress. She is a stone cold bad ass and will cut you-- or, well, shoot you.

I have no particular plot prompts, but anything in the adventure/action genre would be nice.

I am a big fan of Sniper/Scout and Scout/Ms. Pauling, but what I would really, really love to see is Scout/Sniper/Ms.Pauling. I have not once run into this trio! That being said, something that involves any combination of those three, even as platonic buddies, is super keen. I love all the Mercs, so go ahead and insert anyone else that suits your fancy as the plot requires. The same for pairings, with one exception: Sniper/Spy doesn't really rock my world, though it is by no means a deal breaker. I've read some awesome stories with them, it's just at the bottom of my shipping totem pole.

Oh, and if you want to write porn get down with your bad self, but if you could leave Jarate out of it that would be ~*amazing*~.

Korra

For me, Korra is all about the world. I like Bolin, Mako, Asami, and all the rest, but the world is what fascinates me. Republic City and it's denizens are story-plums ripe for the picking. The characters I've selected are those ones I am most interested in, and feel free to do anything at all with them, but I'd love to see it in the context of exploring or writing about Republic City and the Nations at large: the politics, the economics, the cultures, the wars. Korra is still SO naive to that stuff, and very sheltered.

Pairing wise, I like Tarrlok/Amon/Korra in any combination. However, I do not like the age difference being swept under the rug. If they're hooking up at all, there is some weird power dynamics there, and I don't know if I think those relationships are healthy for anyone involved, whether it be Korra with either two or the brothers together.

That's all for that one!

Thor

I have the least headcanon (though plenty of love) for this fandom, hence it being last. I would love to see Clint dealing with the Loki brainwashing and Darcy hijinks and Loki being a jackass, and I restate that I would love adventure and action, but whatever you want in that context, you go ahead. Super dark thriller with Clint being sexually tortured by Loki and Darcy saves him? Wacky adventures with Darcy leading Loki around the earthly plane, showing him the cool stuff about being human? Bodyswap plots? Love potions? Casablanca homage? Poor humans get taken to Asgard and are mindblown? I do not care (okay, I think that last one is pretty awesome). Have a blast.

And that's all! EXCITED.
chantico: (Default)
We are under a PDS Tornado Watch all day her ein good old Indiana. PDS stands for "Particularly Dangerous Situation", and means the the circumstances are perfect for violent, large scale tornadoes of the F4 and F5 variety. (These were the warnings that Birmingham and Joplin got).

Dreams last night about sharks, deep and terrifying oceans, betrayal, literal glass houses, giant squid tearing off chunks land and dragging them to the deep, tentacles, black ooze, domestic violence, being pushed off cliffs, eating cats.

I am a little bundle of nerves.

****

Not much else to say and I need to get off the internet and get to work, so another (appropriate) project and then moving on:

8. Natural Disaster paintings

I have a bunch of crazy destruction pictures in my head and a burning urge to get them out there in a series of paintings. Let's hope I don't get to have some first hand experience for reference, hah ha, sob.
chantico: (Pleasent)
FFFF OH GOD some of the TF2 sound file names for the movie were leaked and SJKFBMJSF SCOUT AND PAULINE ALL OVER THE PLACE DEATH CRIES HEEEEAVVVVYYYY I'm flailing.

****

I got a big dose of Momma time yesterday evening, in which she made me a grilled cheese sandwich and rubbed my back. It was painful at the time, and resulted in one of the bizarre pains I've had: a shooting spasm in my sternum, up to my throat, and inside my ear. Very weird, and wouldn't let up. Getting to sleep was difficulty and had to be accompanied by a muscle relaxer. This morning, though, I'm feeling dandy. We are not yet at 100%, but I'll take 75%. I can stand up!

Though trying to do some of the exercise to stretch the back reminded me that I have a kinesthetic intelligence score of zero. Or whatever number comes past "able to walk and breathe at the same time". Isolating muscle groups is . . . not my thing.

Still very sleepy from the muscle relaxer.

Energy check yesterday still small. Noting that for future reference; will compare it to other times in pain. Meditation was a distracted bust, between back and cats vying for my attention.

While brushing my teeth, had an observational epiphany about my creativity. The hardest part of sitting down to write is leaping off the fear cliff: to put my hands on the keyboard, I must vault an incredible surge of terror. Noting that helped me get past it last night, when I started making excuses. I wondered if it wasn't something unique to writing for me, but, no, I get the same burst of fear when I sit down to draw. My art fear is a pond stone, smoothed by years of washing over it; my writing fear is a sharp crag clearing the ocean. I must generate great waves to wear it down.

Stiffness

Apr. 16th, 2013 09:31 am
chantico: (Uncomfortable)
Holy shit my back is OUT. Sitting is kind of uncomfortable, laying down is fine as long as I don't move too fast, but standing? NOPE. Shooting pains and numbness in the legs from sciatica, and it feels like my midsection is in a vise. I'm doing the old lady shuffle today.

Been working on my Woo lately, in response to an overactive skepticism that's been hijacked by nihilism and my depression. I'm taking an online class with Jesa, she of the Faerie Oracle fame, focusing right now on the basics for beginners: daily meditation of a very simple sort, some journaling, and the one that I have the hardest time letting myself do, which is energy work. The exercise involves trying to feel an energy field between your hands, and wow do I have to fight the "LOL HIPPY" reaction while doing it. That ain't helpful right now, brain. (Writing any of this down makes me feel embarrassed when, really, in the moment I don't feel embarrassed at all and I feel like it's working and it's helping, and even admitting *that* makes me want to crawl under a rock, so clearly this reaction is more about being taken seriously by other people than about my own personal beliefs or well-being. Basically, I don't want to admit I'm spiritual or buy into this stuff for fear of ridicule or being thought stupid by . . . I don't know who. Internet Atheists of the worst sort. Anyway.)

The meditation and centering exercises have been the most successful, though doing them daily is still a struggle for me. All we do is count our natural breaths to ten, and then restart the counting. Do that for ten minutes. I'm getting more practiced at letting random thoughts pop up, and starting to understand better what people mean when they talk about the meditative mind; at this point, it isn't so much about stopping unconscious cognition but consciously rerouting *meta-cognition*.

I cannot overstate how helpful that skill is for people with anxiety.

Yeah, anxiety is chemical, and there are days, even with meds, that I wake up and I am afraid, for no reason whatsoever or for a reason triggered by my dreams. In the beginning of my quest to understand that I was living with a real condition here and not just a failure as a person, identifying those triggers was super important. Now though? I know what makes me upset. I know *why* it makes me upset. And since the anxiety is partially a chemical reaction, knowing that what and why doesn't always defuse the fear. Doesn't *often* defuse the fear. So the best thing I can do is recognize that, yes, this is a thought and this is a feeling, and they exist, and then *not dwell on them*. At that point I'm going to drive myself down that pretty hate spiral if I keep attacking a problem that can't be solved because it is only a problem in my illness.

So let it go. I can't stop the feeling, nor the thought, but I can stop myself from feeding it's fire. Likewise, in a meditative state, I am not going to stop that nattering voice that's observing everything, or the internal secretary reminding me of things to do. I can stop giving them import, thought. I do that by not admonishing myself for having the thoughts, by not responding to the thoughts, and by not getting tangled in the thoughts. Just redirect toward the breath and the counting.

So meditation! Good thing.

*****

Continuing my project breakdown:

Project 7: House!

While we do not yet own a house, I am living in one and renting to own, and it needs a little work. Money is the biggest obstacle in the way of this, of course (MONEY OH GOD MONEY that is a whole other post we will get there). Organizing shit is what I can do right now. So my filing cabinet's content are all over the library and I really, really need to go through the back porch and get a yard sale ready. Other, smaller projects to tackle right now: the cabinet doors and some yard clean up. The cabinets are falling off their hinges and the screws to replace them are completely impossible to find *or* will not stay in the doors; consequently, to get them to stay on, the only screws that will work are too long and punch through the fronts of the cabinets. The real solution to this is to replace the cabinets, but, well, we already covered that hurdle. I think I have a solution-- putting the screws through so at least the doors will stay on, and then covering the ends with a painted bolt and a glass bead. Functional and decorative.

Also, yard work. I need to reseed the year and clean up the rock beds, plus plant some flower bulbs my mom has and rake up detritus so I can mow. There is a lot of detritus. All three trees on the property are terrifyingly fragile, slowly dying, and both of these factors were exacerbated by the tornado a couple of years ago. They must be taken down one day. In the mean time, I keep cleaning up the branches and pray they don't fall on us.

Projects 2

Feb. 22nd, 2013 04:15 pm
chantico: (Default)
Continued.

4. The Musics

I have a lot of music. Somewhere between 200-300 gigs of it. Enough that if I left it to play continuously, it would take a full seven months to play through all the songs. And it is so, so disorganized. I've been working one wrangling my iTunes on and off since 2007, I think? And it is nowhere near done. In this case, whipping this massive library into shape means, bare minimum, rating the songs, killing duplicates, and making sure no files are corrupted. I would *like* to associate album art with as much of it as possible, given the way iTunes and many other music programs are going, and also to identify albums. Maybe, *maybe*, I'll then turn to setting appropriate genres for easy soundtracking purposes, but considering the size of the task that's unlikely. This project, thankfully, is so devoid of stress that it's my go to when i just need to feel a little accomplished in a short amount of time.

5. Parasols

Spring is coming, and that means peak Parasol-buying season is rapidly approaching. I want to make some more of these and pop them up on Etsy, as that's actually been pretty dang successful with some of the low-cost ones. They also sell well enough at Origins. Low cost this year, too, because I still have a good supply of blanks to work with. Thinking of fun themes-- fruit patterns, veggies, one based on the Tardis, a sun, stars. Simple stuff that goes with a lot. And if I don't get any done again this year,m well, no big. It's extra cash in my pocket *if* I actually sell any.

6. Learn to Fish
I freaking love fishing. I have a pole and a tacklebox and a "Fishing for Dummies" book, I just don't know what I should actually do to, like, fish. Do I just . . . get a license and head on down to the lake and fish from the shore? Rent a boat first? Where do I get said license? I need to know these things. Also, yeah, I need to read the book.

Fishing doesn't necessarily mean "Brain and Clean fish" at this stage. I get a bit squirmy thinking of actually doing that. Hypocritical of me-- if I can't give it the respect of killing it personally (if given the chance), I don't think I should be eating it.
chantico: (Default)
MY PROJECTS. What I'm working on, what I want to work on. Dreams, goals, all that messy business.

1.
The book. The goddamned book. We had to break up for a while; two-thirds of the way through nano, I realized that it just . . . wasn't working. One of the main characters didn't need to be there, her parts were boring and useless to the story, and she didn't drive the plot anywhere else. 80,000 words, and I had to start over. Truthfully, I was leaving behind a horrifying frankenstein's monster of a draft, with three or four different novels started and abandoned. I took the advice to just keep writing, fix it later, but . . . that left me, really, with a foundation made of matchsticks. I just couldn't build anything substantial on top of it. It collapsed and took the better part of a years worth of writing with it.

Hurgggh.

I *am* tackling it again. Slowly. 350 words in a session slowly, plus, yes, some editing along the way. Some of chapters four, five and six are salvageable, and chapter one can stay. But 18 pages in is where I'm starting over. God help me.

2. Body . . . stuff.
Diet, excercise. Man.

Yeah.

Not going well sums it about up. What would I *like*? To be running steadily, barring foot injury. Eating better definitely. I would REALLY like to take Tae Kwon Do classes again. Also do some weightlifting.

3. Reading pile
Okay, this I'm making some slow progress on. Been steadily upping my books read every year. I tend to spurt through fiction pretty easily, but reading most non fiction feels like I'm dragging a wheelbarrow through a muddy field. Every page takes fucking forever. I kinda just want to read fiction, you guys, but I feel like I give in and do that I might as well paste a sign on my forehead saying "Hi! I'm an uneducated idiot with no intellectual curiosity! I'm what's wrong with the world!"

So yeah some guilt over that.

Latest book down was Cloud Atlas. It was superb and heartbreaking. I'd love to write more about it, but plenty of people have already, and I'm sure have said everything I could with more erudition. Read it, yo.

Part two tomorrow. This little series of posts might take some time-- I have a total of forty five of these goals listed.
chantico: (Cynical)
My worries right now: I am losing my cognitive abilities. My heart is malfunctioning and soon will give out. I am developing diabetes.

Sigh, anxiety. You function in the strangest of ways. IN the way of medical maladies I *might* actually have, I think it's a possibility that I've adjusted to my Zoloft, and I either need to tweak the dosage, try something else, or try a new med to pair it with. wonder if I don't have adult ADD-- and the problem with hypochondria is that you can never be sure if what you are feeling is in your head, or a real issue. Is my inability to focus for more than 20 minutes at a stretch due to being lazy, or is it a disorder? When I'm exhausted and full of cotton at the end of the day because I forced myself to focus on something and finish it, is that just run-of-the-mill willpower fatigue?

Not like I can really afford a doctor right now to find out. :/

***

Life moves along apace. Thank all the stars above the holidays are past. I know for all y'all, they start in November and in come January 1st, but I have four major birthdays spread out between there and Valentines Day. My poor non-existent wallet is full of non-existent moths (I own up to my own money irresponsibility contributing to this, of course).

Full up on freelance work and commission, though! So that helps.

Baked my dad a pseudo Black Forest Cake for his birthday and delivered it. I wish I could have a multi-locational house. Like, go out the front door, I'm on Kirkwood, go out the back door, I'm in the middle of nowhere. Driving on those scraggly little roads barred in by pale trees, deer warily grazing in the dark, fields shimmering in the light of a few stars and the half moon, I am soothed.

Want to get out into the woods more. If only leaving the house was an easier task, and didn't feel like a pulling out my fingernails.

Sound bite

Feb. 11th, 2013 02:56 pm
chantico: (Default)
My winter blues started early this year, exacerbated by the clobbering of ill events round the New Year. Skyrim and I have been cuddle-buddies since then. When in doubt, be a Dark Elf Viking cum Assassin cum World Savior. Hey, it's a coping strategy. A cheap one.

Ralph

Jan. 11th, 2013 04:51 pm
chantico: (Sad)
I have not updated this journal in some time because I don't feel right talking about anything else when there's a big, empty whole in my heart. Two days after Christmas, while sitting down to lunch, my Mom called us and managed to choke out that she found Ralph, our adored cat, dead in the hallway that morning. I have no shame in admitting I made a scene in the restaurant, tears, trying to figure out what happened, trying to call people I cared about and people who cared about him . . . grasping at straws, really, that last threads of an unweaving life already gone.

I could write paeans to this cat. He was our darling, our furbaby for real, lying between our sleeping selves as a child would, greeting us every day when we came home. I have had many cats in my life, far into the 20's, and none of them have ever come close to matching Ralph in size of personality (or body). We joked that he was a wizard who had transformed himself into a cat and decided to stay that way, so *human* were his affectations; the way he used his paws as hands, to reach up and pluck people food from your fork, or his jealousy of other cats getting pet, or even his gaze. Everyone says they have the best cat, but Ralph was the only one I knew who had *other* people saying he was the best cat (though never tell their own babies that).

When we got him, it was to help me cope with my depression. Jason hated cats and always bad, so when we walked into the animal shelter, what I asked them for, specifically and verbatim, was "a cat that acted like a dog."

The woman blinked, her eyes wandered over to the kennels. "Funny you should ask . . ."

He started purring as we approached. As he hefted all 18 pounds of him up, he immediately gave us both a kiss on the nose, a habit he perfected quite quickly and responsively: Ralph, give momma a kiss! *lick* Thank you! While we saw other cats, we were back the next day with no doubt.

When we adopted him, he was four or five, though as in all shelter adoptions it was possible he was older. We often ruminated on how *anyone* could give up Ralph. His only defect was a stunning capacity to live up to his name-- our carpets never recovered.

There was no sign or warning. Mom said he was being an absolute doll the night before, so happy you could feel it coming off him in waves, chasing the other cast around the house, reveling in the found energy that accompanied his recent successful weight loss. He was a lean-mean, fighting machine, back to all muscle, and streaking around the house constantly. When she came in the next morning, his food bowl was empty, so he ate with his usual gusto, I'm sure. He was laying in the hall, looking like he'd just taken a rest.

We think it was a heart defect. Larger cats often have them, and they tend to kill at about eight or nine years. He went quickly and with little pain-- mom said he was peaceful, and there was no foam in his mouth, or any signs of poison or sickness or struggle. His eyes were open, as if he disappeared before he knew to close them.

Grief is a new emotion to me. It is the heaviest thing I've ever carried, but clean, pure in a way other sadnesses are not. There isn't a point in telling it no, to go away, that it shouldn't be there. Maybe it's just that I have no hang ups about giving in to the grieving, but when it comes it is in swells that lift me up sure as the ocean and it seems so pointless to flail against it. Just ride it, and eventually it will deposit you on the beach of a foreign shore, one where someone so important to you as to seem indispensable will never set foot, and the land where they are stuck a dim shadow on the horizon, disappearing into the mists.
chantico: (Numb)
Using 20/10's to try and get a little more focus out of myself (20 mins work, 10 minutes break). Pretty successful today although I'm feeling pretty stupefied. I'm sure dreary winter isn't helping. Indiana is 40s-50s, grey, and rainy. Perfect November weather, which might be why i feel like it's a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, not Christmas. No holiday spirit this year, at least not yet!

Let's hope a run perks me up. Thanks to a partner who doesn't let me slack off, I'm *finally* a couple of weeks into Couch to 5k, on day 2 of week 4. I'm doing it! Slowly! Being careful of my feet, which have started bitching. A little internet research suggests I have early plantar faciitis, which is pretty common and easy to deal with. Icing my heels when I get home has helped a lot these last few times. I'm pretty thrilled about getting to the point where I can jog for five minutes straight. I'm learning! I'm learning! Yay!

Even more thrilled that I will be able to get some new music to listen to tonight. Computer died about a week ago-- hard drive gave up the ghost-- and then i sold an original and we finally upgraded the whole thing. i'm totes nervous about losing my meticulous system of music organization that only I understand. My husband is wonderful and very understanding and technically competent to get into iTunes and change some it's code so that everything will be just how I want it. I love him muchly.

***

I am too burnt out to get into the Big Things making noise in my head, but I'll note them here so maybe I will one day. The Sandy Hook shooting is deeply sad, but I don't find it very surprising, and I really don't think the answer is gun control, or mental health help, or pretty much anything people have proposed, because I think answer lies more in education reform and, well . . . frankly, a lot of our American culture as a whole, then way we exult individuals above the common good, the economic outlook, the way we kill ourselves with work, the way the ability to make a decent life is grower much, much harder. We can treat symptoms, but I have no idea how to treat the disease: a sick society running itself down.

Atheism/Rationalism is a terrible belief structure for me. It feeds all my worst inclinations and smothers the good. Bad Brain's been using it as a hook to try and drive me nuts. Again.

My book is going so badly that even typing the words 'my book' throws food to the panic-worms and UGH. Confidence as a writer is so low I'm just panic attacking all over the place when I think about it or writing in general. 80,000 words in and I think I have to scarp most of that and start over. Can't even work on fanfic in my spare time to try to keep the words coming because I'm so hypercritical I drive myself to tears.

I have a new fandom.

House is amazeballs.
chantico: (Haphazard)
I'm trying to listen to the signs of something being wrong with my mental state but I just don't know what to make of them. Focus problems- yes, okay. Everyday I have focus problems. 10 minutes is my attention span, max. Why? Dunno. Maybe it's just bad habits, lack of discipline. Maybe my brain has been trained to be only absorb tiny bites of internet information. I like that explanation but I don't know if it's right.

I can focus, if I want to be doing what I'm doing. If I don't . . . well. I feel like I'm going to crawl out of my skin within five minutes. So probably a discipline problem? Feh.

Wrote that, went to the bathroom and breathed it out, then sat down and plowed through the thing that interested me most on my to-do list.

Speaking of which, I'm working on some superhero designs for Monkeyden again, and I luuurve working for them. I did a series of villains a little while ago, and now I'm working on the heroes. Happy as a clam, especially since they are really, really supportive of lots of women and POC characters, and very loose in what they ask for so I have a lot of room to develop a whole character concept.

For one of them, I've got a First Nations dude, and I really don't want to fuck this up and be insulting, so I did some research and emailed some folks connected to the Tribal Council for the tribe coalition I want him to be from; they put me in touch with a historian. Mostly, I want to make sure the images I'm using aren't deeply sacred and used in an insulting way-- he's a shield and force field projector, and I thought it would be really beautiful if his shields looked like Native art. RESEARCH.

We've also got a femme, flowery, badass tokyo neon speedster girl and a sprightly muslim Batman lady.

FUCK I want a cupcake.

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