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Media Consumption Writing Life

Today in random ranty observations

1. Overheard: “That isn’t an isolation bubble. That is foam. Foam is full of holes.” Evocative. Except for the part where it’s true for most people and thus an underestimated source of risk.

2. There is a difference between rationalizing denial and accepting mitigated risks. I’m having a hard time articulating that difference, but I’m certain it exists.

3. OMFG enough of accusing people who get covid of “letting down their guard.” Stop with the judgy moral superiority nonsense. JUST STOP. Look. Precautions are not magic. Exposure happens. All of us will eventually face down this virus armed only with our immune systems. It’s inevitable. No one likes to think about that, but it’s been true since the moment this virus escaped Wuhan. You can be careful and cautious and still catch Covid. Illness isn’t a mark of moral deficiency or personal failure. It can’t be overcome by having a pure heart or warded off by Doing All The Right Things. Sitting up on a high horse and sneering at the sick is pride headed for a fall.

4. BUT WAIT. I’m equally annoyed with the other type of magical thinking, the kind that makes people think they somehow earn a free pass from environmental dangers as a reward for good behavior. I’m really tired of actively risky behavior being excused because people are “tired of taking precautions.”

FFS, does no one ever engage in analysis by analogy anymore? Every winter I get hella tired of putting on a heavy fucking coat and other extra layers of outer protection to keep from freezing. But I rarely say, “I am so tired of wearing a coat, I’ll go without.” Rarely, but not never. I weigh the risk of freezing against the potential for frostbite or death and act accordingly. Short trip to the trashcan when the temp’s in the teens? I might run barefoot w/o a jacket. Hour walk outside when it’s -10 degrees? NOPE.

This is called risk evaluation and mitigation.

Here’s another one. Every time I drive a car and come to a red light, it’s an annoyance and an aggravation and I get VERY tired of the delays to my travel. BUT I NEVER GET TO SAY, “I’M TIRED OF STOPPING AT RED LIGHTS, I’LL JUST BUZZ THROUGH THIS ONE INTERSECTION.”

Four years spent in science labs working with various poisons and caustics left its mark on me. I cannot imagine saying, “I’ve worn goggles, aprons, and gloves every time all semester and it’s a hassle, so Imma go without today.” And despite diligently taking precautions every time I was in the lab, I went home more than once with acid-eaten holes in my sleeves or a yellow dot of nitric acid on my skin. And others had worse accidents. BECAUSE SHIT HAPPENS.

So I can have both annoyances at once without cognitive dissonance. If someone’s doing all they can, weighing risks, taking the ones they deem worthwhile, being responsible about accepting and mitigating the consequences of mistakes? I’m all over empathy and ready to support in any possible way.

5. Um. But my opinion of people who thoughtfully, deliberately refuse to take precautions against infection because they are misguided, distrust all expertise except their own, and are breathtakingly selfish? Yeah, don’t come at me with the sympathy pleas. I’ll save my energy for others.

6. Didn’t get much done today because I was here ranting (and elsewhere researching) but hey. At least I’m wordsing, not mutely doom-scrolling through Facebook & Twitter, right?

7. We’re watching Shang Chi at home tonight instead of Spiderman in a reserved theater because multiple people got exposed to Covid over the holiday weekend and that news boosted the risk of 3 hours in a public place w/people outside my bubble over my comfort threshold. I mean. I could’ve stayed double-masked through the movie and felt comfortable, but that would’ve diminished the experience below my enjoyment threshold. Risk evaluation. Risk mitigation. Choices.

So. It’s Christmas cookies and comfy jammy pants ftw tonight. And this second viewing of Shang Chi affirms my memory that I LOVED this movie bunches. Top 5 in the whole MCU for me.

ANYway. That’s all for now. Until later.

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3. Other Things Detours Whimsy Writing Life

Achievement unlocked: house to home

Tl;dr version: if you just want pictures, scroll down.

Today was THE day. The magic water box. (a Zojirushi hot water dispenser) came to rest in its new kitchen home and sang us its happy little “water is hot & ready” song. This makes our move-in officially complete.

Bringing over the tea maker and our everyday clothes was the culmination of the long and hectic week. It started with the movers hauling over all the Big Things & Many Boxes on Monday and that wasn’t enough, so we arranged to have MOAR THINGS arrive on Wednesday. 33 new things, in fact.

Now it’s Sunday night, the old house is empty of all but the non-essential flotsam & jetsam of daily life, all the moving boxes have been unboxed  (or stored, as appropriate) our new mattress has done its unfoldy-expandy-floofy thing, and food is in the fridge.

The move-out won’t be done until the old house gets sold & the remaining “staging” furniture comes over, but this space is now ready for all our Home Things to happen.

Things like making a morning cup of tea after snoozing all night at home in bed

At home.

This is our home now.

I feel like that idea should take longer to sink in, and I’m sure it will in some practical ways. But at the same time…it’s a done deal.

There’s a strange kind of magic in the moving of one’s life from one location to another. The process is messy and complicated and a lot like camping in bad weather — much more fun  to reminisce about than to live through.

Things get lost. Lost things return from limbo. Discoveries are made. Mysteries arise. Old issues re-surface, and new problems pop up at every turn. Surprises of the pleasant and unpleasant variety appear at predictably unpredictable intervals.

I’ve moved a lot in my life, enough times I would have o think hard to count them all. The first one happened when I was younger than 5. Every time, somewhere in the middle of all the upheaval, something simply changed. Home stopped being one place, and became another. 

This time, for me, it was hearing the tea maker beep.

Have more random phone photography.

 

and a bonus pic from earlier in the day, just because it’s pretty:

And that’s all the all there is for now.

Categories
3. Other Things Detours Whimsy Writing Life

Latest project completed: walls!

Tl;dr version: if you just want to look at pictures, scroll down to the end.

This post is about colors. I love vivid blues & greens. Cobalt blue is my favorite color ever. Much of my wardrobe comes from that part of the spectrum. My hair is often bright blue or green.

But.

When it comes to my surroundings, I go straight to the earth tones every time, and the lighter, the better. Leafier greens, red-mineral browns, and the kind of creamy pale shades of gold you see in autumn meadows.

New house is mostly painted in cooler colors like cloudy blue and sage green, but they’re earthy enough to live with for 5+ years, which is when the walls will be due for refreshing anyway.

But some of the color choices were Just Too Much:

  1. a minty-fresh green in one basement room (henceforth to be known as the game room)
  2.  a turquoise I’ll call bottom-of-a-California-swimming-pool blue” that was used in a bedroom, a stairwell and in the utility area of the basement.

Both colors are pretty. I have shirts in those colors. For walls, thought? No. Sorry, not for me.

Spouseman concurred with my judgment, emphatically so. And thus in the fullness of time, painters were hired, and lo, they have made with the painting.

I had to be at the new house at 7:30 AM two days running, which was a fun trick to manage while still living in the old one with the car in the shop all week. I got up on time both days, and the results were more than worthwhile.

The walls in our bedroom, the game room & elsewhere in the basement are now all warm, bright, and mellow…or they’re boring and bland as hell, depending on your perspective. What matters to me is that I’ll sleep better in a room with “light honey” walls than I would in one that made me feel like I was underwater.

And Spouseman says the games room looks calmer now. For sure it looks more like a room in a house and less like a dentist’s waiting area, and that’s all I ask from a finished basement.

Last note: in one of those amusing moments life sometimes offers, I realized today that without even trying, we’d matched the downstairs utility area paint toathe original vintage ’30’s door into the mechanicals room.

Here’s the door and peeks at the other painted basement parts:

And as a bonus, another pic of my evolving soon-to-be-office space:

bonus

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3. Other Things Authoring Cons & Appearances Teacup Posts Writing Life

Recharging the brain batteries

Got home last night LATE after meeting tons of new readers at the incredibly awesome first-ever Michigan Comic Con. I had a blast.

Gratitude shout-outs to Alexi & Erika at Bard’s Tower for inviting me, and additional HUGE thanks to the generous and talented Jody Lynn Nye, who offered me a ride and who always has been everything any writer could ask for in a professional mentor.

And now I am Absolutely Worn Out.

I’m slowly coming to terms with the need to give myself recovery time & space after road trips. The post-exhilaration crash is inevitable. Every time a con ends, I think, “Hey, cool, I’m not so exhausted this time. I’m fine! Yay, growth!”  Then I get home a few hours later with a sore throat, achy eyes, and a bad case of twitchy nerves…

Adrenaline lies, I tell ya. And the rebound is a major PITA. Every single damned time, it happens. After two years of cons, I finally have the self-care down to a single-day recharge. (barring emergencies, crises, or other disruptions.) Today’s edition so far:

  • a round of proper tea, caffeinated and strong. (my favorite loose leaf blend steeped sufficiently in a TEAPOT, Ah, bliss. )
  • a satisfying workaday breakfast (fruit & greek yogurt w/ crunchies & honey)
  • much lounging about the house, spoiling the cat and catching up on reading.
  • a bout of cathartic weed-yanking that delivered immediately gratifying results.
  • harvesting a batch of tomatoes & basil to go w/some aged gouda my wonderful Spouseman picked up for me as a welcome-home gift. Look at this deliciousness:

So. Good.

Being able to take a recovery day is no small blessing, and I appreciate how lucky I am to be in a position where I can do so. With no plans for the rainy afternoon–NONE–I can physically feel energy returning as the emotional surf settles.

I love travel, but returning to the nest is the best. Just ask the cat. He has opinions.

More blog…next week, probably? Or after Dragon Con, which is only 10 days away.

<gulp>

ONLY TEN DAYS ‘TIL DRAGON CON!

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1. Storysculpting 3. Other Things Writing Life

Tempus Fugit

I was recently reminded that Borders Books & Music in Mount Prospect closed down six years ago last week. Wow.  I spent fourteen of my seventeen years with that company in that location, and oh, what a time was had.

I hired as a bookseller at another store and became a trainer within months, and it was the perfect combination of structure and constant change for a high-energy, highly inquisitive polymath introvert who loves books.  Transferring to a store I could walk to, rain or shine, put the frosting on my employment cake.

I got to talk books and music and movies and get paid for it. (Paid well, before the company morphed into a corporation and the decline began.) Even better, I got to travel and share my loves with peers and train others to the work. I love teaching, I do.

I worked on opening teams for over thirty stores here in the US and one in Melbourne, Australia, helped relocate at least three, and closed down two before the end. There were also stints in operations & inventory management, merchandising, and the office/HR/accounting position. Cafe manager and general manager were only two store hats I never wore–but I trained cafe staff and general managers, so there’s that.

It was the best job in the world before it became bad, and then it all went away. The change came like an earthquake, with many rumbles and shakes of warning that did nothing to buffer the shock of the final devastation.

That life-quake still feels like it happened only yesterday. It caused life upheavals both financial and emotional, and the loss exposed some major emotional issues I’d been crutching for decades. Just realizing how deeply I had been wounded took more than a year.

I often get frustrated because it seems like I’ve done so little since then. Then I add it up, and it doesn’t seem quite so bad.

Since that closing day I have written and published two novels, two novellas, four novelettes and a few short stories. In the process of that adventure. My bookselling experience served me well in new ways. I mastered basic book formatting, cover design, and publishing programs, learned to use social media socially, broke my foot, memorized long lists of information about butterflies, and dug lots of holes in my yard.

But wait, there’s more! I dove into audio book production and release too. Two new projects are in process, two are on the back burners, and seed ideas for yet two more are newly-planted in the fertile ground of my brain to await the proper time to sprout.

I have a busy new life. I have built a new identity. I love the person I am becoming.

But oh, the loss still aches. Some days, the scars on the roots of my heart still pull. And I still measure my accomplishments against what I built and did with Borders and I know–I know–I could be doing more.

So I will. In time.