Good Morning?

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First hot coffee of the season here in GA.

And no, it’s not the stuff from the can shown in the pic. I’m a freshly-ground 8 O’clock girl, and/or home-roasted espresso girl. The colorful Chock full o’Nuts can is an item appropriately left over from my Father-In-Law who stayed most of the summer with us. THAT was an adventure, let me tell you.

But I won’t tell you – not all of it, anyway. Because while he’s not a bad person, the man gets on my last damned nerve, and it’s not fair to my husband to air out every last grievance about his parents on the internet. At least not the public part of the internet. But let’s just say I am very, very introverted, and FIL is very, very socially inept and pushes his unsolicited opinions and advice on everything and everyone. He also has little understanding or respect for boundaries. I think I’m allowed to say that much. There were some good things about him being here for almost three months: he helped with the bills while I was in my slow work season. He made our back deck somewhat functional, even though I’m pretty sure his “repairs” will ultimately add to the rotting problem in the long run. He cut down a lot of tree limbs and underbrush, some of which we didn’t really want cut down, but hey – it’s Georgia, and it’ll be back threefold next year. He pulled the bridge from our creek that got destroyed by a fallen tree (not his fault). And his stay required us to rearrange a couple of rooms in our house, which turned out to be a slight improvement.

I am glad he’s back on his side of the country and living his best, though – he was sent to us under a severe misdiagnosis. Also a good thing – the docs here at Emory know their shit. The man has heart failure and was sent to us with a terminal, needs-surgery-or-will-die-in-a-month diagnosis. The docs here fixed his meds and he spent the rest of the time doing all of the above crazy-ass shit until we finally told his medical team what he was doing, and they said, “er – yeah. If he’s doing all that stuff he doesn’t need to be here.”

So, that was my summer – creativity squashed by the stress of an obnoxious in-law living in my space at full volume all summer.

Once he left, I think something in me just collapsed, and I fell from jaw-grinding stress into a physical depression. One that I am hopefully starting to come out of, but man, it was rough. Also rough: having depression and ADD while being self-employed. My business has really taken a hit. Which, in turn, becomes a blow to my self-esteem and sense of self-worth, which then feeds my depression, etc. Good times.

This week I am working on pulling it together, though. My driving force is actually my dog:

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This precious bundle of soft, squishy sweetness who owns my heart. She’s perfect, save for some separation anxiety and subsequent piddle issues. I know, non-dog-people – just skip this part. Our carpets were crap before the dog, and OxyClean is a motherfucking godsend. Anyway, I take full responsibility for her accidents. She needs routine, and she hasn’t been getting it, because *I* don’t have any routine. Some days I’m here all day, sometimes I’m gone in the afternoon, other days I’m gone in the mornings, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s going on or when we’ll be out of bed (again with the depression). And all of our animals – cats included – are bed-potatoes. Seriously, our cats do not wake us up for food. If anything, they stay in bed and suck away all will and motivation to get up. The struggle is so real.

So my October resolution is to get us on a routine, field work or not – up and piddled and coffee/yogurt/back-deck-notebook by 8am.

Today was all luck. I haven’t had enough sleep, really. But I got up anyway. And here in another hour I’ll be in the water, swimming. After that, I might be in the local art studio, practicing with clay. Later today I’ll be working on finishing up this damned Steinway I’ve had in my dining room for too fucking long. And I will also be writing new scenes for two stories.

Yes, I am still a writer, too.

I am so fucking happy October is finally here. Maybe I’ll do a daily or weekly spoop to celebrate. Meanwhile, here’s this:

Spoopy Halloween!

Spoopy Halloween!

Mish to the Mash Update: Rants and Raves

Been a while, I know. I’ve been working on a few large things, both in authorland and pianoland. Which means a lot of head-down working and a long stretch of nothing to show for it for the foreseeable future. I’m a-okay with that. Hopefully it’ll pay off in the end, and the happy part is that I’m actually excited about both writing and pianos again, despite the overwhelming parts.

Apparently, this is the year of Steinway for me. It’ll be interesting. Fingers crossed.

It helps my focus that the internet is so full of shit lately, I’ll say that much. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe stepping away from the internet and all its commentary and bitchery has made me less tolerant of it. I don’t know. What I do know is that, for me anyway, there are bigger things to advocate for and against than author bullies and problematic fiction.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a great thing that so many people (myself included) have been educated and changed for the better with regards to racism, bigotry, sexism, and just general human kindness and understanding. But lately, the few times poke my head in on the blogs and tumblrs I usually follow, I get this feeling of stale disgust.

The two main issues I personally have are:

a) We’re really still whinging about GoodReads meanies? I swear to christ, some of these authors and their boohooing need to spend three active years immersed in a large and critical fandom, be put through the wringer multiple times on fanficrants and fandomfail, and have to submit their work to sites like Petulant Poetess. When you put your shit out there, whether as an author, blogger, musician, artist, whatever – you are putting a product out that is no longer in your hands. And when it’s in the proverbial hands of a consumer (reader, listener, whatever), they have any and every right to respond however the fuck they want. Also? That fact is NOT “victim blaming.” Your publicly sold/posted material isn’t akin to “wearing too short of a skirt,” and blog trolls are NOT “rapists.” Jesus fucking christ. That was easily one of the grossest things I’ve seen in a month, and no, I’m not going to link where I saw it.

b) Fictional characters are fictional. And frankly, as a reader, I don’t want to read about or watch perfect people who never say, think, or do anything problematic. While I think it’s important and valuable to point out the problematic shit, the characters and stories are not the author. Just as a story is no longer “our baby” when it goes out to readers, the story a reader gets isn’t the author. That said, I’ve seen both reviewers and authors lose sight of that. All I can say is: if/when I publish a story with some sexist, racist, homophobic, and/or slut-shaming character flaws, when that criticism comes, I will be happy to agree that said characterization is problematic, and that’s kind of the point. No one is perfect – even the best, most socially conscious hero or heroine would be fucking boring and unrealistic as fuck if they didn’t have their idiot moments. And said idiotic moments absolutely should be criticized, not celebrated.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, RAVES.

OMG, y’all. The Martian by Andy Weir. Can I tell you about this? I discovered Andy Weir, not from the bestseller hype, but from a tumblr meme that spoke to my agnostic self. Unfortunately, I can’t find the actual jpeg that went with it, but it was basically his short story, The Egg. Go ahead, read it.

…right?

Anyway, I was so blown away, I looked into his other stuff and nabbed The Martian. Funny enough, I haven’t actually finished reading it. Because it’s so damned good, I don’t want it to end. So I keep stopping myself and setting it aside. Seriously. Just read the first page, and you’ll see.

More exciting, it’s being made into a movie for release this fall, with a slew of awesome actors, and I CANNOT FUCKING WAIT OMG OMG OMG. Seriously, THAT CAST. and THAT STORY. GUH.

Speaking of Jeff Daniels, the husband and I just recently finished binge watching The Newsroom. More fantastic writing and acting. And yeah, yeah, typical middle aged white male hero, blah blah see point #2 up there.

I also finally broke into Orange is the New Black, which again – fantastic writing and acting. So many monologues, and they’re all good.

Game of Thrones? What is that? I don’t want to go there. We’re still watching it. I’m not happy about several obvious turns it’s taken, but no one is. It’s all been said, and whatever – DRAGONS.

Okay, that’s about all I have to throw into the void for now. Time to get back to job estimates and time travel. ❤

First Music Monday of 2015, OK… GO!

Excuse me while I be a crotchety old hag for a minute and… or… er… is that supposed to be crotchety old hipster, instead? I don’t know. Anyway, my point is, OK Go is one of those bands that I loved WAY before they made it. I saw them open for They Might Be Giants in Boston, before they had an album to peddle, when they only had two EPs of awesomeness. And I have loved them ever since. They just never stop being awesome. Case in point? Their new album. And everything on it. EVERYTHING.

 

See? Awesome.

thankful

I’m so thankful for my husband, who actually listens to my shit, who respects my boundaries and limitations, who encourages my dreams and endeavors. I’m also thankful that he’s nothing like his parents.

I’m blessed to have clean running water every day, electricity, heat, food, shelter, relative health, my mom, family, dog, and cats. I’m grateful to the marrow of my soul for who I am and my own mind, creativity, and intelligence.

And I’m so very humbled and thankful that I was given the life that I have, that I don’t live in constant fear and unfair judgement for the color of my skin or my sexual orientation. I’m even grateful for the awareness of my own privilege that the internet and social consciousness has granted me.

All that said, I am this goddamned close to finishing off the vodka and scrounging around for that 2-year old half pack of cigarettes I believe is still tucked away on a shelf in my garage. Holy shitballs my inlaws drive me up a wall.

If there is a god out there, please grant me the patience, kindness, and compassion to deal with my husband’s father with grace and friendliness for the next however many days. Because I really just can’t.

A proud, self-proclaimed luddite who sneers at computers and insists people only use the internet and technology for games and porn, but can’t manage to navigate his own way around with a goddamned road map no matter how many road trips he takes. He carries himself around as some kind of old hippie far-left liberal, but he’s literally one of the most racist, sexist, bigoted people I’ve known. (“Hey, it’s just a joke. I can say ‘dago’ and make jokes about Jews and Indians because I don’t really mean it and I think we’re all equal” is a flying crock of shit in my book.) And the condescension about my work just rankles. Every. Single. Goddamned. Time. He’s. Here. It’s always, “so, ya still working on that same piana in your garage? haw haw…” (I don’t tune in my garage, and rarely have big projects longer than a couple weeks, but he seems convinced that my “job” is just one endless hobby project while my husband brings home the bacon.) (he would probably shit a brick to know that even in a bad year, I’m the breadwinner with my job hobby.).

Once, my husband made the mistake of mentioning to him that I write. Yeah, I wanted to punch him for that. Because then I got to hear about “heaving bosom books.”

The worst of it?

I am TERRIBLE at having people in my space for more than a couple hours. I can count on one hand the number of people I can tolerate in my living space. So all of the annoying shit about my FIL gets magnified a hundred times, and I just want to crawl into the closet, and I’m crabby as hell because I feel so put-upon, and then I feel like a horrible, awful person for feeling put-upon and being so ungracious, and then I feel ANGRY and RESENTFUL for having to feel GUILTY about feeling put-upon and crabby about people being in my home.

My husband, god love his soul, says that every one of these experiences is an opportunity to learn about ourselves. That is one of the million reasons why I love him, why I’m glad we stuck it out through the bumps and potholes. I can ramble this crap to him and he understands and appreciates that I’m telling him this so that he knows it’s not him that I’m uncomfortable with. He puts his arms around me to accept me, and to receive the affection he needs. Then he pulls my toes and hands me a hard cider.

 

Music Monday, piano cover edition

This girl blows me away. And it’s not just her playing chops, which are lovely and and dynamic and musical as hell. But this is also a great display of what an incredible piece of music Bohemian Rhapsody is. Because what she’s playing? Yeah, that’s pretty much all the crazy shit that’s going on in that song.