missroserose: (Kick Back & Read)
Posting late again - between Sculpt in the morning, errand-running all afternoon, and teaching class in the evening, my Wednesday filled up quickly. Today I'm much less busy, but one of the squat exercises from yesterday did a number on my right hamstring. Luckily I have today off, so I'll forego the biking and hope it's just a mild strain...cross your fingers for me?

What I just finished reading

Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho. I wanted something lighthearted and fluffy, and a story of romance and magical intrigues set in Regency England seemed likely to fit the bill. I absolutely adored Cho's novella The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo, especially its matter-of-fact portrayal of life as an ethnic minority in 1920s England and its strongly-drawn protagonist.

I'm pleased that I got some of the same here; the two protagonists are both ethnic minorities, and the narrative explores the fraught history and circumstances thoroughly while managing not to fall into maudlin character-defined-by-their-hardships territory. Unfortunately, the greater narrative is somewhat less well-drawn; the middle act in particular, where much of the juicy intrigue happens, feels rather jumbled and unfocused, with many excellent opportunities for worldbuilding ignored and a general feeling of narrative Calvinball. This isn't precisely helped by Zacharias being a frustratingly passive main character; he keeps hearing about these various machinations being fomented against him, but he never seems to do anything about it. By midway through the book I was genuinely wondering at the source of his confidence, and whether he was a champion minimizer or in active denial.

Luckily, things pick up towards the end, and the denouement nicely ties up all the loose ends. My one other complaint is that the two main characters are both so emotionally closed-off that, while I could see thow they would admire each other, I wasn't really buying the romantic angle; they simply hadn't grown emotionally close enough for the sort of love they were professing. I feel like that might have been better saved for a sequel, when the two of them have spent some time together that isn't taken up with politicking or putting out magical brushfires. Still, I enjoyed the story on the whole, and I hope Zen Cho continues to write.

What I'm currently reading

The Hummingbird's Daughter, by Luis Alberto Urrea. Still enjoying this trek, even if I'm not sure where it's all going. At one point, one of the characters talks about how he's reading Don Quixote, and that set off a ping of recognition in my brain - I've never read the whole thing, but I seem to remember that it's written in much the same style, a string of anecdotes that combine to (in theory) produce a greater narrative. The atmosphere here continues to be all-encompassing; I swear there are times reading it when I can feel myself in the Sonoran desert again.

What I plan to read next

So many options! I'm leaning towards a genre trilogy of some sort; I've been hearing from all sides that Leckie's Ancillary books are amazing, but [personal profile] ivy recommends Jemisin's The Broken Earth series. I may do the latter in audiobook form and the former on paper (the Ancillary audiobooks are notoriously awful); I'd taken a break from audiobooks while I was mainlining The Adventure Zone, but I've listened through their entire first campaign. (How did a podcast of three nerds and their dad playing Dungeons & Dragons make me cry. How.) So, as usual, we'll see!
missroserose: (After the Storm)
I was working during the eclipse yesterday and it was pretty cloudy here in Chicago, so I didn't do much of anything special. I did leave for work early, expecting the traffic to be nutty - you can bet I had all my brightly colored reflective gear plus blinky lights on my bike. But if anything, it was the opposite; the on-road portions of my commute were calm, and the parks nearly deserted. I did pass a few people in various neighborhoods standing outside looking up with their eclipse glasses; combined with the quieter-than-average streets, it felt more than a bit like I'd stumbled into a sci-fi movie about a culture that takes in its energy from the noonday sun.

I was a little surprised to have three students (a not-unusual number for a daytime beginner class); I'd half-expected everyone to be busy eclipse-watching. I'd built a vaguely eclipse-themed playlist, too, but Apple Music was giving me trouble, so I wasn't able to use it. Luckily nobody there had been to my C1 class before, so I was able to reuse a previous playlist and not feel like I was slacking, heh.

I've been in a somewhat subdued place, this week. I've been ruminating on loss, and how it affects us; even something like a job or a relationship (or the hope of a relationship) ending, where there's no physical change, still causes a sense of bereavement. It occurs to me that I am experiencing a loss of sorts; even though I didn't have a lot of plans per se (it's hard to when the other party leads solely by implication), I had a lot of hopes, and ideas for the future. It's tough to realize that those are gone permanently, at least in that form. Something I'd worked carefully toward for so long has just...evanesced, and I feel a little adrift.

Relatedly, I finally finished Come As You Are, and the last section is all about emotional meta-analysis - or how you feel about your feelings. One of the things Nagoski points out that I particularly love is that emotional reactions (contrary to the claims of numerous inspirational quotes) are not something you can choose or control; what you can control is your reaction to those emotions, by either refusing to feel them - staying in the tunnel - or allowing yourself space to feel them, knowing that while they may not feel good in the moment, they will pass; eventually you'll make it through the darkness and out into the light. It's proven to be a good yoga-class theme for the week of an eclipse, as well as for my life right now.

Also, a yoga-teacher milestone reached: yesterday one of my students told me how she'd come into my CoreRestore class on Sunday night extremely nervous about an important job interview on Monday, so my theme about choosing to feel your feelings and let them go really spoke to her. Apparently she slept great on Sunday night, aced the interview, got the job, and came into my C1 class Monday afternoon to celebrate. I was so happy for her. <3
missroserose: (Warrior III)
Hey guys! It's been a week. (And it's only Wednesday.) My computer went boing Monday morning, and that afternoon a full quarter of my yoga playlist disappeared...right in the middle of teaching class. Timing! I switched over to the last section of another playlist, and it went fine, but wow that threw me off...I depend on my music to set the pace and the arc of the class, so hiccups like that become significant speed bumps. Seriously considering switching to a non-connected device for music (I think I've got some old iPod Nanos hanging around) so I don't have to worry about that happening again.

Tuesday was supposed to be my rest day, but I spent it biking down to Lincoln Park to see if they could un-boing my computer. They did (yay!) and didn't even charge me (double yay!), so I biked home, used it for a bit without incident, then plugged it in...and shortly thereafter it went boing again. Current theories are either the adapter or the power board are bad; either way, double augh. It's going to have to wait until Brian can take a look at it, because I don't have the time to get back down to Lincoln Park...and he's in Las Vegas at the moment, and then we're both headed to Boston almost directly after that. And of course, Monday was the day I had multiple people messaging me wanting to set up massage appointments, which is a giant pain in the butt to do on my phone. Woo, timing!

On the upside, I've got my old computer with an external keyboard, so at least I'm not completely dependent on my phone. Also, I'm kind of proud of myself - usually when Brian's out of town I live on packaged food and take-out, but instead I hunted down ingredients at the Asian store and tried out a recipe for a cold noodle dish with pork and vegetables that I could separate into single-serving containers and stick in the fridge. (The recipe itself is maybe a 3.5 out of five - like most NYTimes recipes, it needs more spices. But it's edible and halfway healthy...although I was entertained to realize halfway through that I was basically making a more-white-person version of a dish the Vietnamese restaurant next door sells. They do it better.) And this morning I went to Sculpt despite being much more tired than originally planned. I'm glad I did, despite my arms being tired; Rob-of-the-enthusiastic-5:30-AM-sunrise-pictures-#blessed was teaching, and his energy always cheers me up. Especially when I'm grumpy.

So, yeah. I think the theme for my classes today and tomorrow will be something related to perseverance, heh. We'll see if it pays off...
missroserose: (Default)
{Stolen from Brian, since his morning-after Facebook writeup was far superior to my 1:30 AM groggy snarkfest.}

SCENE: A BEDROOM (interior, early morning, around 1:00am)

(Two people lay in bed, having just settled down for the evening. They have an early day tomorrow, and are about to drift off to a pleasant sleep. Suddenly, a crashing sound, from outside the room. Neither stirs, as these sounds are commonplace. The crashing noise, however, continues, growing more complex and, in fact, getting louder as the apparent source comes closer.)

ROSE: What is...?

(Shift to BRIAN'S point of view, without glasses. An orange blur shoots by the open door. The crashing noise has gotten even louder and more complicated. A moment later, this scene resolves into a dark comet of terrified TRIPOD KITTEN trailing an orange shopping bag filled with thrift-store ornaments and gifts hurtles into the room.)

BRIAN: Oh, Jesus Christ.

(The TRIPOD KITTEN bounces off the foot of the bed, scrabbles on the floor, then propels itself to BRIAN'S side of the bed. His nose wrinkles as certain smells become reality. The KITTEN has voided its bowels in terror indiscriminately as it has approached. Having at last reached the architect of its salvation, the KITTEN jumps onto the bed, still variously evacuating. BRIAN reaches over to the kitten and plucks the shopping bag off of its head with a resigned sound.)

ROSE: [Laughing herself sick]

BRIAN: (setting the bag aside, sighing, and petting the KITTEN) You stupid, stupid cat.

missroserose: (Default)
Me on Thursday: "Ow ow ow. My back is cramping up. I'd better get a massage."

Me yesterday: *gets a massage*

Me, today: "Ow ow ow. Now my neck and shoulder are cramping. WTF?"
missroserose: (Default)
As I mentioned, earlier this month I spent a week staying with my mother to help unpack things in her new house.

We worked a lot - getting up and eating breakfast, spending a few hours unpacking or putting togther furniture or running errands, grabbing lunch, unpacking, preparing and eating dinner, and unpacking a bit more. Usually around eight or nine o'clock, we'd start to flag, and I'd suggest getting ready for bed. Mum would sit down for a minute, realize how tired she was, and agree. So we'd go brush our teeth and get into our nightclothes, and I'd settle down in bed with a book.

My mother, however, would continue unpacking. For hours.

This happened at other times, too, when I was trying to take a break, or finishing my lunch; she'd just keep going and going at it. It made me more than a little anxious - partly because I felt like I wasn't keeping up my share of the work, partly because I was concerned about her apparent indifference to self-care, and partly because my hindbrain was convinced that if she caught me slacking she would start yelling at me, because she'd be feeling frustrated and overwhelmed and getting angry was the only way she could muster up the energy to keep going. (Even though that particular pattern hasn't played out in nearly two decades, something about your childhood experiences never really leaves you, especially with the same people involved.) Obviously, I dealt with it, and accepted that my mother's just a bit obsessive sometimes about finishing tasks before she can relax.

Now that I'm home, however, I'm starting to recognize where I manifest that same pattern. I'd always thought of myself as much more easygoing and Type B than my mother, but I'm beginning to suspect that I just avoided committing myself to a career or a community precisely because I was afraid of that anxiety. Certainly now that I'm busier, I've noticed that same difficulty in relaxing when there's Something That Needs To Be Done, to the point where I've been overdoing it and woken up exhausted more than once. Even when I hit that point, if there are Things That Need To Be Done, I'll often push through, promising myself I'll rest on such-and-such a day. (Sometimes I even do, when it doesn't get subsumed into the to-do list as well.)

This was brought into stark relief today, when I strained something in my foot. It felt relatively minor, so I kept on with my schedule, running errands all over Lakeview, ignoring the pain until it started getting worse and I was actively limping. Finally I took the train to my station, limped the three blocks home, and sat down; at which point my foot proceeded to swell up and become far more painful. Luckily it doesn't seem to have been serious - some ice and heat and Advil and a few hours' rest and it's barely more than a bit stiff - but it felt like a warning against overdoing things.

...And yet, despite that very sensible assessment, despite the very real pain whenever I got up, all afternoon and evening I still had to actively force myself to stay on the couch, because there were Things That Need To Be Done.

I find myself wondering what it is about the Things that's so urgent as to tempt me to risk more seriously damaging my foot (resulting in, at the very least, missed work). Clearly none of the individual tasks are that important; sure, it'd be nice for the house to be clean in preparation for Brian's mum coming to housesit for us, and yes, I should get together some of the kitchenware I'm not using for my friend who's moving into her own place, and true, I should at the very least pick up some of this clutter that's taking over the coffee table. But none of it is life-and-death, and Brian's doing a lot of it, besides. So why do I keep having to force myself to stay sitting?

Some of it is a feeling of control - it's frustrating to be stymied by something as small as a minor foot sprain, when I'm used to feeling so capable. I wonder, too, if part of it's a sense of safety. That so long as things are finished and in order, nothing bad can happen. Which is completely illogical, of course, but certainly satisfies my perfectionist streak and my childhood-experience-imprinted hindbrain both. And with Brian working so hard, some of it is probably that sense of inequitable distribution of load, as well.

But at the very least, I guess we've proven I'm related to my mother. Heh.
missroserose: (Default)
Hallo from Vegas! (Or more precisely, Paradise, Nevada, as The Strip isn't technically in the city limits.) I was realizing that, while I mentioned my upcoming trip a number of times on Facebook, I never got around to writing about it here...I've been busy enough that my blogging has kind of suffered.

It's been an interesting week. I'm here because Brian has a work conference and thus had the hotel space (a damn nice suite at the Cosmopolitan) paid for. I'd basically expected to spend almost the entire time either by the pool or hiding away in the hotel room, catching up on reading and napping and letter-writing (and blogging, heh) and all the stuff I've been neglecting due to my work and social schedule. Instead I've found myself doing far more of the touristy things than I'd anticipated. I have a lot of thoughts percolating in my head about my expectations versus the reality of the place, along with some classic Big Questions about art vs. artifice, the occasionally-fine line between service and exploitation, and how one's experience of a place can drastically differ depending on one's presentation, socioeconomic status, and ability to set boundaries. (Because apparently I can't even go on vacation without my brain turning it into a sociological dissertation.) Whether or not they make it into a post is up in the air, but suffice it to say, I've enjoyed myself rather a lot more than I anticipated. Not enough to make it a destination of my own choice, necessarily - week-long stays in swanky suites with giant soaking tubs aren't exactly cheap, and for that kind of cash, I'd rather go to Europe - but enough that I'd happily tag along again.

Unfortunately, Brian managed to pick up some con crud, which he graciously passed along to me...and even more unfortunately, it's been the rare bug that hit me far harder than him. He felt under the weather for maybe a day; I've spent the past thirty hours coughing and sniffling and fighting a fever. The good news, however, is that the fever recently broke, which in addition to that "I'm a new woman!" feeling means I won't have to fly tomorrow while feverish (fingers crossed). So that's a pretty big relief.

A few experiences that have stood out:

--The Fountains at the Bellagio. A truly stunning bit of public art, and well worth the accolades. Our suite's terrace overlooks the fountains; I've spent a lot of time watching them both from here and ground level. As a side note, I've been a little amused at how much the compressed-air boom of the Shooter jets, combined with the hiss of the water hitting the lake again, sound like an approaching monsoon.

--Truly excellent local buskers. A couple of standouts: a youngish kid playing the heck out of an electric violin, and an older gentleman singing Motown with all of his heart (which is the only correct way to sing Motown). The latter was especially cleverly placed at the bottom of one of the open-air escalators, so you had the whole ride down to listen to him; I wanted to tip him, but doing so on the Strip can be tricky - the place is littered with hawkers of tickets and titties and God knows what else waiting to pounce on you the moment you pause, and they can smell an open wallet like sharks smell blood. I was pretty proud of the strategy I came up with on the fly - I used the time on the escalator to fish a bill from my wallet, strode toward the busker at my usual "I've got places to go be fabulous that aren't here" pace, dropped it in his tip bucket, gave him a big smile and accepted his high-five, all without breaking stride - and leaving the inevitable crowd of hawkers and their "Oh, hey, Miss, come back here, can I interest you in..." in the dust. Kinda felt like I should've gotten a power-up for that one. Or at least an Xbox Live achievement.

--A shopping/fashion critical success. It's been much cooler here than we anticipated - the forecast had originally said highs of 85 all week, and instead it's ranged from the mid-fifties to sixties. Given that the only real coat I'd brought was my heavy wool winter one, I thought I'd look for an inexpensive jacket with long sleeves. Unfortunately, it being springtime in the desert, neither Marshall's nor Ross had any kind of outerwear section to speak of. I poked my nose in a couple of clothing retailers, but everything I found was either far too casual for the clothes I'd brought or far too expensive (or, in some cases, both). I'd about given up when I saw a sale rack at a White House | Black Market; lo and behold, the very first thing I pulled off of it was a black bolero blazer that both went perfectly with my outfit (a black maxi skirt and long pink shirt that matched my hair) and classed up the whole look. Even better, it fits a niche in my wardrobe I've been meaning to fill for a while - I'd been looking for something I could wear over a dress when it was just a little chilly out. All of that, *and* it was a whopping $30 on sale. Score.

--Brian being awesome. I've been more than a little grouchy about being bedridden for the past day and a half. (I really wanted to ride the High Roller before we left; I have an irrational fondness for Ferris wheels, and it's the largest one in the world, set over a glittering neon wonderland. Sign me up!) Brian's been an absolute champ, listening to me grouse, fetching me soup and tea, and generally making sure I don't stew in my own misery. He really went above and beyond, though, when I asked him if he could get me a hot toddy from one of the bars downstairs. After striking out at the bar (him, via text: "Turns out you can get anything in Vegas but a hot drink"), he went to the coffee shop and ordered tea with honey, took it to the Chandelier bar to get a shot of whiskey poured in, then (at their suggestion, since apparently they were far too chic to keep such a pedestrian garnish around) hit up another bar to get a lemon wedge. So I got my hot toddy after all, and he only had to trot all over the hotel to get it for me. <3
missroserose: (Default)
I found my Kindle. It was on the top shelf of the coat closet, with the winter accessories. The nearest I can figure is that I was in a hurry and grabbed it, intending to put it in my purse, reached up for a pair of gloves or a scarf, set it down, and forgot about it. (God knows I'm usually trying to do six things at once when I get ready, so it's believable, but seriously - WTF, me?)

So the Kindle Voyage stays on the wishlist for now. Maybe for my birthday...

A dilemma

Jan. 19th, 2016 12:38 pm
missroserose: (Default)
I cannot, for the life of me, find my Kindle.

Given that I last remember using it here at home, and that I haven't seen any strange "Your Amazon Purchase of {probably porn}" emails, I sincerely doubt that I left it somewhere. More likely, in a frenzy of cleaning, I put it away somewhere safe...so safe, in fact, that I can't figure out where, even after a good week of searching. (I've also asked around at work, the other place I most commonly use it - the bright pink cover would make it stand out. But, alas, no luck.)

On the one hand, this is hardly an emergency situation. I have no shortage of paper books to read, after all, and my entire Kindle library is accessible via my phone and computer both. But on the other...I miss it far more than seems appropriate. It's super convenient for reading in the bath or at work, and I maintain that reading off an e-ink screen is much more pleasant for my eyes than a backlit LCD.

And gosh, wouldn't you know it...Amazon has a new model out, one that's moderately but perceptibly superior to my version in every way. Not enough to justify an upgrade, certainly, but if I'm having to replace it anyway...

I will mull for another week or two, I think. It's been a good few weeks, work-wise, and I've stumbled into yet another occasional fill-in job at another chiropractic office. But it's not like I don't have plenty of other things I should be saving for (like, y'know, a house), and some part of me is just convinced that if I order one, two days after it arrives I'll find my old one. I suppose I could pass it on to a friend; I have a few who're interested but have yet to jump onto the e-reader bandwagon. Although I suspect relatively few of them would've chosen a bright pink case. :)
missroserose: (Default)
I don't wear the bras I sew, I just buy the cheap ones from krom chhat {an open-air market that sells clothes in piles on the ground}. I pay around 2,500 riel for a bra [60 cents]. It's new but not a quality bra. The bras I sew and the ones I wear are quite different. I sew my bras very carefully and the stitches are very tiny and strong with good-quality thread. But the bra I wear is very bad quality and the thread is not double-stitched. It's sewn with larger stitches. Because I sew every day, I know that the quality is totally different.

While I am sewing bras, I often think about whether or not I could ever wear a bra like the ones I make. The bras I make are very beautiful with a variety of quality fabric and I sew them very well. The fabric is good, it's so soft, and it will make the person who wears it feel cool and comfortable. I used to think that if I could have one quality and beautiful bra like I make, I would be really happy and I would be very beautiful. But it's impossible. These bras are for export, and the price of one of the bras I make is almost equal to my salary. While working, I hold the bra up in front of my face, then I ask myself who is the woman who will wear the bra I am sewing. I also wonder how the women in those countries are so rich and lucky to wear these expensive bras while the person who makes that bra just wears a very cheap one bought from the pile of clothes on the ground under the umbrella. So I feel jealous.

--Leap, a Cambodian garment factory worker, as told to Julia Wallace and translated by Kuch Naren. Published in Women In Clothes, 2014, p. 230.

I remember the first time I bought a high-quality bra. I used to wear inexpensive ones as well - probably not quite that cheap, but the ones you could get on sale at Wal-Mart, or in two-packs at Costco. Realizing that I could afford to go to Victoria's Secret and get a couple of well-made bras made from high-quality fabric was almost a revelation. I spent a slightly embarrassing amount of time delighting in those bras, stroking the soft lining, enjoying the vibrant colors, appreciating how comfortable they felt, and admiring how they made my breasts look under my clothing.

And I wondered, at the time, who had made them. I've done some sewing, and I know to a degree how much labor goes into a carefully shaped and structured and fitted piece like a bra. I wondered what their life was like, and (if they had breasts) whether they ever wanted to wear bras like the ones they'd made so carefully to sell overseas to wealthy European and American women.

A good quality, well-fitting bra isn't a necessity, exactly. But it's amazing how it can change one's entire view of oneself.

I wish I could send one to Leap.
missroserose: (Hello Grumpy)
It's 6:42 PM. I have the evening free. These are some of the things I could be doing, and frankly, should be doing:

--going over class notes for Conditions final
--studying for my MBLEx (scheduled for July 7!)
--catching up with friends via written correspondence
--making a salad for dinner
--reading about homosexuality in Renaissance Florence
--going to yoga
--cleaning the fridge

These are the things I'm actually doing:
--slouching on the sofa
--staring at the Amazon page for the blow-dryer I want
--reading a gay supernatural romance-mystery, when I can convince my brain to focus on the words
--thinking very hard about brushing my teeth, washing my face, putting on pyjamas, and going to bed

In fact, the only reason I haven't yet done that last is because getting up off the couch just feels like too much darn work.

Brian's had a cold the past few days. Fortunately not a severe one, but enough to have him feeling drained and out of it. I strongly suspect I'm fighting it off, myself.

Go away, cold. I don't have time for you this week.
missroserose: (Default)
Everyone knows the flu is awful. But what I always forget about it is that it's not the initial infection that's the worst thing about it. The fever and body aches are a pain, true, as are the respiratory symptoms, but mostly it's the weeks-long recovery process from the beating your body takes. It's been nearly three weeks and I'm still not up to speed, and I have a stronger-than-average immune system. I know it's not reflective of any great moral failings, but given how capable I'm used to being, it's frustrating to be so limited. (On the other hand, it's been a good time to ruminate on the lived experience of these people I know who deal with chronic illnesses, especially less-visible ones. My hat is off to them.)

I still managed a 90 and a 93 on my finals last week, which isn't half bad considering how my focus was absolutely shot. And I'm grateful that I don't seem to have infected anybody; at least, nobody at school's come down with it, and I haven't been anywhere else. So I'm crossing my fingers that this branch of the infection chain ended with me. (Take that, Random Dude On The Plane Who Kept Coughing On Brian.)

I just found out that Andrea Gibson is performing tonight in Pilsen. I'm really torn on this; she wrote one of my all-time favorite poems, and I've wanted to see her live for a couple of years now. But I just don't think two hours on transit plus time spent waiting in line is the best plan, especially with a full class load tomorrow and Thursday. So another quiet night in it is. Sigh.

On the upside: there's a pair of incredibly impractical and sexy boots on its way to me. Now to keep an eye out for a short skirt and a looooooong jacket.

(Boots! :D)
missroserose: (Default)
(Yes, I know that's not actually how it works. Didn't any of you play Pokèmon back in the day?)

Last Friday, I had a sore throat and one of my ears had swollen shut. Saturday it was worse and I had a fever that night. I ended up leaving class early on Monday due to fatigue, but by Wednesday I was feeling better. This is a pretty standard progression for me with colds, so Brian and I even went out and had a nice dinner to celebrate being able to enjoy the nice springtime weather again.

Thursday I felt a little tired; I blamed that on overexertion and slept most of the afternoon. Then it was Friday, and time for student clinic.

I woke up Friday with a bad case of the sniffles, which concerned me; but the student clinic schedule was full up and I didn't have time to try and find someone to cover my shift. And, in truth, I had more than a little pride going on - I could tough it out, I didn't want to make Tom (the clinic supervisor) scramble to cover for me, etc., etc. So I had a quiet morning, downed some DayQuil, and trundled off to the school.

When I got there, not only was I still sniffling and coughing, I was about on the verge of passing out just from the exertion of the train ride. Fortunately, everyone was really nice about it and they got the schedule shuffled around with a minimum of difficulty. (Side note: after experiencing several organizations full of people who were professionally apathetic, it's really great to work someplace where people are eager to help each other out when there's a crisis rather than putting up the "not my problem" barricades. I owe Tom and Dominika (who immediately volunteered to help out after she heard my croaky voice) some cookies.) So I went home and basically slept the rest of the day, hoping that I'd feel better Saturday morning.

Aaaand this morning I wake up with body aches and a mild fever. Hurrah.

My working theory is that I actually caught the seasonal flu (right at the end of the season, too - feh). I did have a flu shot, but word was it was not very effective this year.

I know it's not the end of the world - all it's cost me this weekend is $8 to exchange the tickets for The Addams Family Musical that I'd bought in a fit of optimism on Thursday. If I have to stay home from school on Monday, I can make up the tests I miss. It sucks to be missing the lovely springtime weather, but I'll survive - and there's plenty more nice weather to come.

Still, let's hope next year's flu shot is a bit more effective. Because cripes, this whole "I almost can't remember what it's like to not be sick" number is for the birds.
missroserose: (Default)
Hello, world! I'm not dead! I've just been...kind of insanely busy. As mentioned earlier, school is ramping up in intensity, and while I don't feel overwhelmed, exactly, there have definitely been some things falling off the edges of the plate. Thus, this post - part assessment, part update, so I can get a big-picture feel for how I'm doing and my friends have some idea of what to expect for the next six months or so.

Stuff that's going well! )

Stuff that's going less well. )

On the whole, I think I'm doing pretty okay. I could probably stand to de-stress a bit more; maybe a few more hot baths are in order. But for the next six months, I think I can deal. After I get my license, hopefully things will calm down a bit, especially if I'm working part-time. We'll see.
missroserose: (Masquerade)
Got an email from the Neo-Futurists tonight - I haven't been selected for a callback. It was one of the better artistic rejections I've had, though; for one thing, it was prompt, and for another, someone took the time to write a personalized response with (gasp) actual feedback. I know not all organizations have the time or motivation to offer that, but it meant a lot to me nonetheless; thoughtful and honest feedback is both vital and incredibly hard to come by for any aspiring artist.

In the meantime, I have an appointment tomorrow to check out a massage school! There are several options in town, including the Cortiva and Soma Institutes, which appear to be two of the bigger names. But most of the descriptions I've found of the places (admittedly, mostly Yelp reviews from people trying the student clinic) make them sound a bit large and impersonal. Plus, they're not cheap: over $12K and $15K, respectively. But a little more Googling found me the New School for Massage, Bodywork and Healing, a local place with significantly less expensive tuition ($8700 including materials and licensure exam fees, with work-study options available and a pay-in-advance discount), much smaller class sizes, and strong statistics on certification pass rates and job placement. (The fact that the Yelp reviews for the student clinic were much more uniformly positive also seemed like a good sign; they're probably doing something right.) Plus it's convenient to get to on the train or the bus. I RSVP'd to their open house (on the 20th) and shortly after sent an email inquiring about scholarship/work-study options; their response was quick and asked if I could come in to have a personal tour of the school and discuss financial options. So I'm tentatively impressed with their customer service. We'll see how it feels in person tomorrow.

I've been ruminating a bit on why it is I'm so attracted to the profession, especially given the hits to my pride it's likely to involve. Some of it's what I mentioned earlier, about wanting to make people's lives a little bit better. Some of it's genuine interest in learning how bodies work; one of the things I've been surprised to enjoy as much about yoga as I have is the ongoing lessons in anatomy and alignment. I suspect a good chunk of it is the relatively low level of investment; even if I don't get a work-study position and have to take out a loan for the full amount, thanks to my rather privileged living situation, it'll only take me six months or so of steady work to pay it off, at which point I have the luxury of deciding whether to continue and perhaps save to start my own business, or go do something else and simply have a handy skill-set available so long as I stay in practice. (Given the high-stress nature of both my husband's and my mother's jobs, I doubt I'll have trouble finding someone to practice on.) Some of it's that I've always had a strong empathetic sense and good intuition about what to say and what might feel good to someone; on a mental level this makes me a great agony aunt, but I've noticed it crosses over to physical stuff as well*, and it helps that I have no trouble with nonsexual nudity/touch**, which makes me more than a little unusual in our culture. And a lot of it, I suspect, is the prospect of being able to run my own business if I want to; my mother's prediction when I was a teenager of "I suspect you're going to have trouble in a traditional career because you won't want to work for people you're smarter than" has, sadly, turned out to be true a lot of the time.

In any case, it's an opportunity I feel good about pursuing, even if it isn't artistic per se. And unlike artistic careers, it's something you can make a decent wage doing without it eating your whole life. So we'll see how this opportunity looks.

*A friend of mine confessed to me while visiting last Friday that she loved having her hair brushed; I spent a good twenty minutes brushing her hair for her, which helped keep from freaking out about my upcoming audition, and helped her feel relaxed and happy. I love it when people's needs dovetail so nicely like that. Plus then I got to introduce her to the wonders of a scalp tingler for vagus nerve stimulation. Her response: "This is better than drugs!"

**One of my best friends is someone often in dire need of nonsexual physical contact. Sadly, we live far enough apart that it's not often an option, but when we're together, I love cuddling with her. One of my favorite memories was when we woke up to a decently-strong earthquake; I curled up around her and held her protectively, checking to make sure there wasn't anything likely to fall on us, and just each others' physical presence was enough to be a strong comfort. I miss her.
missroserose: (Masquerade)
The past few days, I've been feeling a bit low. A lot of it's been the career-oriented navelgazing; I've been feeling extremely helpless in the face of my usual pattern of fear-based self-sabotage, and that voice asking if it wouldn't make more sense to just let go of this being-an-artist idea now and have done with it, since obviously I don't really want it enough to take hold of opportunities even when they drop themselves in my lap, has been feeling awfully strong. But the thought of giving up entirely still makes me want to curl up and cry, which seems to indicate I'm not ready for that yet. So I've been going back and forth, and generally feeling kind of paralyzed and helpless.

Yesterday, I wake up from a dream, the sort with a particular image that, as you lie there half-awake considering it, unspools naturally until you can see the whole story around it in your head. I go and make some notes, giving it some ballast, and before long I have two main characters with a shared past secret and whole plot/character arcs of their own. The same sort of feeling I had when I wrote that short story I was so proud of. And right in time for November. I start feeling a little hopeful, even though there's a long way between a rough outline and a finished novel.

Last night, since my neighborhood CorePower has canceled all the morning classes I normally attend, I go to an evening class with a teacher I've not seen before. I'm pleasantly surprised at her friendliness and teaching skills, but what sticks with me the most is her parting words: "I challenge each of you to face something that you fear this week."

Today, I get an email back offering me a time slot for an audition I'd inquired about a month ago. Having seen the company's signature show twice, it's occurred to me how neatly their rapid-fire style fits into my need for an environment to learn the artistic skills I'm short on (being vulnerable in front of an audience, getting out of my head and having confidence in my instincts, trusting other cast members, memorizing quickly, writing to a deadline), since the alternative is pretty public humiliation. Probably not coincidentally, It also nestles right in the "huge time commitment" zone (four nights a week, three to six hours a night, plus home time spent on memorization and writing, 38ish weeks a year) that has, in the past, sent me into a hyperventilating panic. But...well, one of the things I've been annoyed at myself about is that I'm not doing a whole lot else with my time at the moment. I'm a little afraid that I'll throw myself into it with every intention of making a go of it, and have a panic attack halfway in and want to pull out; this has happened before. But if I'm not going to have a pressing financial reason to grow as an artist, it seems like the potential for public humiliation/a serious loss of face in the local theatre community isn't a bad secondary choice for negative reinforcement. Plus, it's paid! They're up-front that it's not a living wage, but it's still a bit of extra income I'd be bringing in on weeks I was performing, and it increases with longevity.

So I guess I have a couple of things that terrify me that I can work on this week. I'd be miffed at the world for assigning me double homework, if I hadn't more or less been moping around the house the past few days wishing the world would bestow another chance upon me. :P
missroserose: (Default)
Root canal specialist (who turned out to be a friendly and quite good-looking Indian-from-India doctor) did not give me the okay for a crown. In fact, he found that the root of the tooth is actually cracked - the part that's moving when I bite down on something is not actually the filling, it's the tooth itself. (Cue post-traumatic case of the heebie-jeebies here.) If it were cracked somewhere they could get at it, such as the erupted segment or even the part beneath the gumline, a crown would be an option, but the crack is deep in the bone bed. It was at this point in the explanation that I could tell the doctor was loathe to actually spit out the diagnosis, so I tried to help: "So you're telling me I'm going to have to get it pulled?" And he sort of let out a relieved breath and was all "Yeah, that's about the size of it." Me, matter-of-factly: "Fuck. I was afraid of that." And we both laughed.

So, now it's time to figure out what the next step is. Friendly Handsome Indian Specialist doesn't do extractions, sadly, so today I get to call my normal dentist and see if he wants to do it or refer me to another specialist. Unfortunately, there's enough damage to the bed that I'm probably also going to need a bone graft if I want an implant (which I absolutely do - they're a bigger pain in the butt to have put in but the long-term success rate is far better than bridges), so I'm likely going to have a big gap in my head for the next six-months-to-a-year while the bone graft heals, and then while they drill the post in. Fuck. I was afraid of that. (The doctor said you can often get a spacer for cosmetic purposes, which would be nice, because I'm vain, but that's still another eight-ish months of carefully only chewing on one side. Sigh.)

Well, the only way out is through. At least we have insurance and savings to deal with all of this. I shudder to think what a nightmare a diagnosis like this would be to someone living paycheck-to-paycheck.
missroserose: (Hello Grumpy)
Yesterday was our evening for Don Giovanni, the first of the four productions we chose for our opera subscription. (It was also my first experience seeing a show at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and very nearly my first experience with traditional large-scale opera - I remember seeing a production of Handel's Semele in Anchorage as a teenager, and Brian and I went to a local rendition of Donizetti's Don Pasquale for our first date in Juneau, but while both were charming and enthusiastic, I don't think either were what you'd call world-class.) I have a whole post about that upcoming, but since I spend so much time talking about how awesome urban living is, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge a recent less-than-flattering epiphany.

Since Brian was working downtown yesterday (his current client is situated not even a block away from the opera house), and we had a couple of errands to run in the area, I got dressed in my new suit (thank you, Banana Republic's end-of-season clearance!) and headed down there around the time he got off work. And, thanks to the weather, rapidly discovered one of the big downsides to walkable urban areas - running errands while it's pissing down rain is a giant pain in the ass. (We had the car, as Brian had taken it in that morning, but driving a half-mile in downtown, and the associated issues with parking, is far more trouble than it's worth even when it's not rush-hour traffic.) We had both brought our umbrellas, and Brian had his greatcoat, so we weren't soaked, but man - the way everything gets sodden and weighted-down after only a few minutes outside is a heck of a damper to one's spirits. (And I usually like rain.)

I was, however, somewhat entertained at how the musical light sculptures on State Street were still playing something cheerful and upbeat, which was lent a certain existential desperation by the oppressive atmosphere. "Don't worry about the rain! You're not really miserable! We're still pretty! This is still a nice area to go shopping! Don't you want to go shopping? Oh god please go shopping or else our existence is meaningless!"

Anyway, we got Brian's new suit in for tailoring, and found a little Cuban place that did perfectly decent hot-pressed sandwiches for dinner. So it wasn't a loss, exactly. But given that we've both woken up this morning with scratchy throats and sore muscles, I'm starting to see why it is some people prefer to drive around the 'burbs in their climate-controlled vehicles when they have stuff that needs doing.
missroserose: (Hello Grumpy)
From the outside, today appears to have ranged from perfectly acceptable through quite enjoyable. I've spent a lot of time with a friend I see far too little; I walked around Grant Park in beautiful weather; I had two excellent meals at two of my favorite local restaurants; I went to see a show and ended up getting to show off my two-minute forearm plank onstage. But internally, my mood's been ranging from "okay" to "moody" to out-and-out "grumpy".

A certain amount of that can be attributed to my teeth. I have one tooth that needs a crown badly; but before I can have the privilege of paying a ridiculous amount of money (of which insurance will cover only 50%) to have it put on I need to see a root canal specialist, and then (assuming I get the okay) make an appointment for a fitting, and then another appointment for the actual application. Meanwhile, the filling that's actually in the tooth has partially separated from the tooth itself, and has gotten incredibly painful to chew on. (I try to avoid doing so, obviously, but the position of the tooth makes it sometimes tough to avoid when I'm biting into something.) Then, because I'm apparently determined to singlehandedly pay my dentist's rent this month, I had a filling in my rear molar come out; and just a couple hours ago a sliver of filling from one of my lower front teeth broke off, leaving an annoyingly sharp edge. I'm beginning to feel like I'm having one of those awful dreams where all your teeth shatter and fall out.

Still, though, that doesn't seem like it should be enough to ruin one's mood for the whole day. But I've been feeling...I'm not sure, exactly. Like there's a bit of a cloud over my emotions. Nothing specific enough to be termed "apprehension", but a negative sort of anticipatory, like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have no idea why; to the best of my knowledge, nothing (aside from the teeth) is particularly frustrating or bad in my life right now. It's left me irritable and a little oversensitive, and I cannot say I recommend it.
missroserose: (Kick Back & Read)
Over the past few days, I've been dragging a bit. Nothing dramatic, I just haven't had a whole lot of energy, and my focus has been shot to hell. I was a little concerned it might be a depressive bout, despite my consistence in keeping up with yoga, especially since I haven't had a whole lot of appetite, either.

Over those same past few days, I was having occasional but persistent sneezing fits, which would culminate in a half-hour or so of sniffling. Aw, geez, I thought. I hope I'm not developing allergies to something in the air.

Because I am Very Smart, it took me a couple of days to realize that these symptoms are likely related, and I'm probably fighting off a cold.

Since I don't have any plans or urgent errands, and none of my favorite yoga teachers have Wednesday classes, I thought I might take today as a quiet day and focus on resting up. So I slept late, and have been spending the afternoon reading the Internet and even writing a bit (though, sadly, nothing I'm particularly proud of). It's actually been pretty pleasant.

I'm a little amused, however, at how much more difficult this whole "giving myself permission to have a day off" is. I'm far from a type-A personality, but I keep looking around the house and thinking "Hey, I have the day off. I should organize the cat food. And clean the kitchen. And the bathroom. And run the laundry. And maybe sweep the hallway and pick up the bedroom."

So far I've refrained - it's helped that every time I think about actually getting up, my body goes "Nope, you're tired, you should rest." I think I'm going to go read my current silly romance novel and have a nap soon. But no guarantees about this evening. :P


missroserose: (Default)

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