missroserose: (Show Your Magic)
--It's taken me about six weeks, but I feel like I'm finally on a more even keel, emotionally. I want to say "I feel more like myself again", but I think that perpetrates an unhealthy tendency to reject our darker and more unpredictable emotional selves; the fact is, bad things happen sometimes, and who we are while we're processing that is no less a part of our self than who we are when things are better. Regardless, I'm glad to feel more upbeat and optimistic, and especially grateful to my friends who've supported me while I dealt with a couple of profound social disconnections. I'm much more used to being the supporter rather than the person in need of support, and I can't even articulate how good to feels to know people are there for me too. I guess that's always the silver lining to Bad Things when they happen.

--Last Monday I taught my third C2 class, and it was the first one where everything really clicked. A good chunk of that, I think, was precisely that sense of connection; a few of the students were ones I'd had for my CoreRestore or C1 classes, and I could tell they were really rooting for me to succeed. It also helped that it was a big group that flowed well together; people listened to the cues and the sequence, everyone worked hard, the timing with the music worked out damn near perfectly, and I got a round of applause (!) after I finished. Best feeling.

--I've got a trip to Alaska coming up at the end of the month. It's not long - just a week, or really five days after flying - but I'll get to see my mother and my hometown and the mountains and maybe Leilani if I'm lucky. My mother's also bought a massage table and supplies and booked a couple of her friends to work with me, so I'll have a bit of extra income, which is nice.

--Speaking of massage (and yoga), I've finally set up a Facebook page for my massage/yoga business. There's not a whole lot there yet, but I'm planning to post my weekly yoga-teaching schedule, as well as links to interesting body-related stuff I find online and maybe the occasional special. And at the very least, it's a link I can point people to when they ask about my services.

--CorePower is doing one of their take-20-classes-in-a-month challenges for September. I completely missed the first five days and I'm going to be leaving on the 27th, so that puts me at a week's handicap already - but for the past week I've been killing it. I'm very tired, but pleased - hamstring strain aside, I can feel how much better my body's doing for regular practice. Definitely time for a rest day, though.
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)

^^The feels I'm having when I've literally just finished my internship and my studio manager emails me saying "hey, we've got a C2 opening up in September Mondays at 7:30 PM, do you want it? It's plenty of time to get you ready to teach C2s, and I'd love to have you in another prime time slot."

I mean, yeah, without a deadline I'll probably never push myself to get there, so I'm not going to say no. Breanne's not going to leave me hanging on training, and she wouldn't have offered it if she didn't think I'd be up for the challenge. And this is a huge compliment - Monday nights are super-prime-time for attendance. But whoa, that's...a little high-stakes, relatively speaking.

Good thing it's just yoga. :)


missroserose: (After the Storm)
Happy Day After Loud Patriotic Noises day! On Monday I taught two classes at Sauganash, my usual 1:30 and the 6:15. What with the long holiday weekend, I had a huge crowd for the 1:30 class - 20 people (my usual count is between two and five) crammed into a relatively small studio. It turned out to be an awesome class, though; despite the fact that there was a whole range of skill levels, everyone meshed well and flowed together, and I felt like I had a good rapport with people. I got lots of positive feedback from folks afterward, too, which is always gratifying, and a teacher who took my class gave me a good tip on dealing with crowds. I was curious if the evening class was going to be similarly crowded, or if everyone was going to be drinking by then...as it happened, it was closer to the latter, with all of four people, one of them Breanne (the studio manager), taking my class so she could give me my internship evaluation. (As hinted at in the headline, it was almost completely positive; she said I was clearly already an excellent instructor, and she couldn't wait to see what I started doing with the more advanced classes. She also particularly mentioned my music and gave me possibly the best compliment I've ever had - "The choice of songs at the beginning and the way they fit with the timing made me feel like I was in a musical!" So many warm fuzzies.)

It's been a busy week, but luckily I managed to get some reading done, albeit mostly yesterday at the park. So on to the meme:

What I've just finished reading:

The Kissing Booth Girl and Other Stories, by A.C. Wise. A collection of short stories, many of them with some kind of queer romance theme. A lot of them feel like they could have been fleshed out a little more; the title story especially seemed incomplete, like it was really a novella rather than a short story. Still, there's a distinct sense of atmosphere throughout most of the stories; I found "The Final Girl Theory", about an archetypal 70s-esque slasher/mondo/gore horror film and the cult following that had sprung up around it, particularly chilling.

The Wicked + The Divine vol. 5: Imperial Phase pt. 1, by Kieron Gillen. The gods are in the second year of their supposed two-year lifespan. And, as an academic dryly notes in this volume, "There are very few stories of gods bathing in blood in the first year of their return." There's a lot to unpack here, about the effects of power on ungrounded human minds, about the ways in which various personalities deal with the stress caused by a sense of disempowerment, and about exactly how dangerous a powerful person who feels disempowered and victimized can be. (That last feels especially cogent for our times, on an individual and a group level.) Given all of that, the subplot about The Darkness - an as-yet-unexplained threat that the gods are so far the only ones equipped to deal with - feels almost like a red herring; far more interesting has been seeing how the embattled deities try to aggregate their own fecal matter, or (in the case of Sakhmet) don't even try.

What I'm currently reading:

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee. A complete impulse buy, and I'm all of one chapter in (in truth, I burned through the last of The Kissing Booth Girl almost solely so I could get to this one - I was that charmed by the description), but this is shaping up to be a new favorite. Henry Montague, a brash and self-centered young 18th-century British lord, is off on a Grand Tour of Europe with his (sigh) younger sister and his best friend/confidante/longtime secret crush. Swashbuckling action, perhaps-requited pining, and encounters with historical figures have all been promised, and given the strength of the main character's voice in the first chapter, I'm already sold. I fully intend to savor every chapter.

Future Sex, by Emily Witt. Despite being almost three-quarters done (and not a long book), this one's feeling more and more like a slog. I've been reading the chapter on polyamory, which I have something of a personal stake in, and find so many problematic aspects with her analysis, stemming in large part from the fact that her case studies come almost entirely from a single demographic (rich white Silicon Valley workers in San Francisco). While I realize most practitioners of poly come from a background with a certain level of privilege (it's hard to juggle multiple relationships when you're working three jobs just to survive), there's all sorts of unexamined assumptions here, especially in the couple privilege and unicorn-hunting fields. The entire tone is faux-supportive-while-actually-being-condescending - "Look at these adorably earnest young people and how dedicated they are to their alternate lifestyle that their parents already tried and failed at in the 70s! But they really think they can make it work!" It reminds me a lot of the New York Times article on polyamory that generated a lot of justifiable resentment from the community - it's at least a more nuanced perspective than the usual "blog post illustrated by stock photo of three pairs of feet sticking out from under the covers", but nonetheless feels written to reinforce the couple-centric monogamous norm rather than challenge it.

Now that I think about it, that's probably my biggest issue with the entire book; supposedly the author's writing about possible roadmaps to future ways humans might engage with each other sexually, thanks to technology and changing social mores, and yet the whole book is written with a sense of exoticism - "Look at this! Isn't it strange/disgusting/fascinating/novel?" - that's very much at odds with its purported mission, and only serves to reinforce the "othering" of those particular lifestyle choices. Bleh.
I'll probably finish it, if only because I'm pretty close to the end already, but for a book I had such high hopes for initially, it's been awfully disappointing.

What I plan to read next

I'm beginning to feel like my reading style is downright Heisenbergian, or perhaps Schrödingeresque - there are possibilities, and maybe even probabilities, but the fact is I just can't know until I'm there. So as usual...stay tuned!
missroserose: (Red Red Rose)
I continue to study Swedish via Duolingo and the occasional conversation with my friend Petra (conducted via text, so I have time to look up words I don't know). I'm to the point where I can interpret most simple sentences with a high degree of accuracy, and occasionally work out more complex stuff by a combination of word roots and context. I'm not going to be working as a translator for the UN anytime soon (not that most Swedes would need one), but it's satisfying to be able to have an idea of what Petra and her friends are talking about on Facebook without having to constantly click the "translate" button.

My verbal comprehension, on the other hand, is lagging behind significantly. I've always read faster and more accurately than I hear, but especially with a non-native language it's turning out to be a real handicap. I know I'm making progress - I can make out about one word in five, now, instead of one word in ten or twenty - but it's not quite enough to get the gist, especially when they go by so quickly. I hadn't realized how much I depend on predicting what words are coming next in a given sentence to keep up; I just don't have the body of vocabulary or syntax to guess in Swedish.

This was brought into somewhat hilarious focus today when I (completely by accident) picked a Pandora playlist that turned out to be a mix of American power ballads and Swedish rap. As I was texting Brian on the train: "So, there's a dude rapping over a minor-key riff, with a highly processed falsetto voice providing accenture and chorus, and so far I've managed to make out 'the train', 'your letter', and 'never come again'...I'm guessing it's a breakup song?" Then, of course, there's certain words that the languages have in common - I about busted out laughing when my brain was trying to process "...{Swedish garble} fucked upp system!" Given the driving beat, I'm going to guess that one was more of an antiestablishment song, but I wouldn't bet too heavily on it.

Still, it's turning out to be useful - the cadence of the words fits and things rhyme consistently, and the singer's diction is clear enough that I can make out some individual words even when I can't remember (or don't know) their meaning. I have a feeling this artist will feature somewhat prominently in future practice efforts.
missroserose: (Default)
I have an ongoing dialogue of sorts with a Facebook acquaintance about compassion, and the need to exercise it while - incongruously, it seems - maintaining strong boundaries to protect yourself. And in a recent iteration of this conversation, it occurred to me that this sort of paradox was far from unique:

It is precisely the embodiment of these sorts of opposing values that fascinates me about life. We need to be compassionate, and we need to have strong boundaries. We need to be open to new ideas, and we need to be skeptical of claims presented without evidence. We need to keep our games (literal, metaphorical and political) simple enough to be accessible, and complex enough to keep our interest. We need to focus on the goals we hope to attain, and accept that the path to them may be more roundabout than we anticipate (and that the roundabout path may be more rewarding). And although you will find people advocating one side or the other of literally all of these metrics, those who are most successful are always the people who realize that it's not an either/or proposition, but being large enough to embody the whole.

What really struck me, when I was writing this out, was that I had started out phrasing it as precisely the sort of either/or setup that I later disclaimed. "We need to be compassionate, BUT we need to have strong boundaries." "We need to be open to new ideas, BUT we need to be skeptical." It was such an engrained habit of thinking that it wasn't until I reached the final sentence that I realized that I was presenting these options as choices, and thus reinforcing precisely the sort of either/or framework I was decrying.

Having recognized that, still...it was surprisingly difficult, writing these seeming contradictions out not as quandaries, but as both/and directives. Even though there's plenty of research showing that people with the strongest boundaries are also the most compassionate. Even though just about any Internet comment thread will demonstrate the dangers of both over-openmindedness and over-skepticism. Even though my own life has borne out the value of the long road to a goal. Even knowing all of this, it was almost physically painful to stop thinking of them as choices, and start thinking of both as necessities.

Thinking about why, I was put strongly in mind of Q's final admonition to Picard in All Good Things...:

Picard: I sincerely hope that this is the last time that I find myself here.
Q: You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? The trial never ends. We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons. And for one brief moment, you did.
Picard: When I realized the paradox.
Q: Exactly. For that one fraction of a second, you were open to options you had never considered.
That is the exploration that awaits you. Not mapping stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence.

Paradoxes don't sit well with human nature.  We like things to fit neatly into boxes, to be all good or all bad.  It's genuinely difficult, almost painful, to hold two seemingly-contradictory ideas in our heads, even when we know they're not a contradiction, but two halves of a greater whole.  

But while I can't speak for anyone else's experience...when I manage to hold the paradox in my head?  It's exhilarating, even elevating.  Like I've grown larger, somehow.  Like someday I might be able to understand the entire universe.  

I'm curious, now - do any of you have experiences like this?  Are there paradoxes in your own lives that you struggle with?  Things you've learned that make you feel bigger?  Tell me!

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)
Tonight Brian and I went to see Mythbusters Unleashed, which is staged (as Brian put it) rather like a science-themed traveling medicine show; for most of the segments, Adam and Jamie would take scientific principles that are relatively dry or abstract (force equalling mass times acceleration, for instance, or the power of friction) and find colorful ways to demonstrate it (having a large male volunteer try to hit a high-striker carnival bell with a gavel versus a fourth-grade girl with a sledgehammer, or hoisting Adam up nearly to the ceiling by two shuffle-paged telephone books). It was fun, in an Exploratorium Onstage kind of way.

One of the more thought-provoking moments, however, was when Adam was talking about his personal history, and how for so much of his life he had lots of different interests, but never had a focus. So he would spend some time learning a new skill or subject and get better-than-average at it, but would inevitably hit that wall where in order to have a hope of actually becoming good, he'd have to dedicate a serious chunk of his life to it. And he'd shy away, because that wasn't what he wanted, and would lament all the time he'd wasted learning that skill, when it was apparently his destiny to only ever get a step above mediocrity.

And then the day came when the studio called him and asked him if he would be interested in joining a show called Mythbusters, which turned into, well...Mythbusters. And even though they've just finished filming the final season, and for the first time in fourteen years he won't be spending huge amounts of time at it, he's discovered through the show that his calling is in science - specifically, the storytelling and communication and public outreach aspect of it. He might not have the specialized know-how to make cutting-edge discoveries or devote his life to research, but he has the intelligence and enthusiasm and charisma to explain and demonstrate basic principles and new discoveries to folks who otherwise might never even think about them; and all his many weird and varied skills help him to do that, as they give him a broad background of experiences from which to draw, which in turn helps him solve problems by thinking in new and different ways.

People who've followed my personal agonizing over my career might recognize this theme. I have so many weird and varied skills and pockets of knowledge, but for so many years, I had no real drive to develop any of them. So I'd write a bit here, and play the guitar there, and study psychological or sociological principles one day, and then read up on how they were used in marketing, and another day I'd be looking at the latest studies in neurochemistry, or learning about physiology so I could diagnose myself and avoid a doctor's bill, and now and then there'd be some yoga in there, and then a friend suggested I go to massage school.

And I suddenly felt like the savant in her element. Helping people feel better appealed to my humanistic bent; all the basic physiology/pathology I knew gave me a good foundation and kept the science courses from being overwhelming. The psychology and sociology and storytelling helped me understand how the profession is viewed and how to frame it most attractively to potential clients; the yoga (and associated knowledge of alignment/proprioception) helped with body mechanics. Even the employment-law and ethical stuff my mother used to lecture me on when I was a kid turned out to have relevance. For the first time, I had a focus, something I was enthusiastic about and not scared to devote a good chunk of my life to; and it intersected with almost everything I enjoy. (Still working on getting the music in there.)

I still worked hard in school, don't get me wrong; there's a reason I was barely available for those seven months. But having that foundation, that basic understanding of how these subjects worked and how they fit together, made all the difference; it's why I got one of the highest MBLEx scores on local record, and why I feel I really have the potential to be great in this field. In a way, I've been studying for it my whole life.

I don't know if bodywork is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life or not. But having had that experience, of finding that point of intersectionality between so many different interests and realizing that it's not necessarily a question of either/or, was a life-altering experience. I don't think I ever consciously articulated it before now, but for so much of my life I was afraid I was going to have to Pick One Thing and focus on it exclusively - that was the message I always got about acting, about writing, about any kind of career-level undertaking (at least if you wanted to excel at your career). Now I know that, even if I do decide to do something other than bodywork later on in life, I'll still have this knowledge (plus whatever else I've picked up in the interim); and chances are I'll find something else that has a high intersectionality with my interests. I'll just have to trust that my intuition will help me figure out what.
missroserose: (After the Storm)
I've been reflecting further on the audition experience, now that the adrenaline's worn off and I've been able to look at things with more distance.

One of my acquaintances at yoga today asked me how it went, and after a moment's thought, I realized I was able to say honestly: "It's some of the best work I've done." I was emotionally vulnerable and true, something that's been difficult for me in the past. (I spent the morning, when I wasn't practicing, watching Brené Brown's and Amanda Palmer's TED talks, which I'd been meaning to see for a while and which cover a lot of similar territory when applied to art; I think it helped me feel like I had permission, if that makes any sense.) And I practiced enough that, rather than being certain the emotion would overwhelm my brain and make me forget what I was going to say, I was able to trust that the words would be there when I needed them. And...they were. The words were the signposts, there to define the boundary even when the tide came rushing in.

(Of course, this is all coming from the perspective of the performer, and it's perfectly possible that to the audience, I just made a complete ass of myself, or more likely, was completely unmemorable - they had a lot of people going through very quickly, so it was an in-and-out kind of experience without much feedback. But that's not what my gut says, so I'm going to trust it, since I hear that's what performers do.)

The weirdest part of all of this has been how Zen I've been feeling about all of this. It seems counterintuitive: you would think that, having done what feels like a stellar job, you'd be raring for the recognition, and therefore crushed at the prospect of a rejection. But I feel much the same way I did when I submitted that story back in July; I did the best work I could, and was the best representation of myself I could be; if that's not what they're looking for, that's because of their needs and not a rejection of me personally. Which is kind of a change from the procrastination-filled half-assed efforts I've made in the past, when I was desperate for the affirmation of a positive result despite knowing I hadn't done anywhere near as much as I could to earn it. What a strange paradox.

Meanwhile. I have so much to be thankful for in my life, but I'm taking a moment, here on this blustery and chilly autumn night, to have some special gratefulness tea and really appreciate our condo. I love it here. I love the location, near the train and two major bus lines and two awesome restaurant neighborhoods and a gay bar for dancing or fabulous brunch. I love that it's recently built, with central air and good insulation. I love the big bay windows in the living room that let in lots of afternoon sunlight and overlook our surprisingly quiet street. I love the tall ceilings, which accommodate our whole 9-foot Christmas tree. I love the kitchen, with the giant cupboards and wine rack and island and gas stove (even if it is more of a pain to clean than the flat-top electric style we had in Bisbee). I love that it has two bedrooms, so we can host guests comfortably, and two bathrooms, so we can offer our guests a bit more privacy (and so we don't have to fight over who gets to go first after returning from an outing!). I love that the rent ended up being well under our planned budget, and that our landlord is reasonable and quick in responding to maintenance issues. I especially love that it has a working fireplace, something that I enjoy so much this time of year but didn't even feel I could reasonably hope for when I was searching from Arizona and trying not to feel hopeless at how quick the turnover was.

I doubt we'll be here permanently; even without unforeseen life fluctuations, Brian wants to buy a place eventually, and I think I'd like just a bit more space if we're making that long-term of an investment. But as a place to spend the next five-to-ten years, I'm not sure I can articulate how happy I am here. All the more so because that happiness means we're unlikely to need to move again anytime soon.
missroserose: (Show Your Magic)
It cost me two and a half days of work on my NaNo novel, but the audition is done! Those of you who've known me a while will know what a big deal it is when I say: I genuinely did the best job I could. I didn't let myself procrastinate (much), didn't self-sabotage, and when it came down to it I let go and trusted myself and the moment. So, really, it went better than I had any right to hope for. I have no idea if my performance (and accompanying writing portfolio/questionnaire answers, which were a whole separate exercise in self-examination and honesty) will be what they're looking for, but even if I just get a form rejection I feel like it was a successful exercise in overcoming my fears.

I finally have an appointment to get my broken tooth pulled on Thursday. Good news: between the insurance covering more than I had guessed and deciding to do it awake (see: overcoming my fears), it's looking like it'll only cost us about half the out-of-pocket amount I was originally anticipating. Hopefully the recovery period will be relatively short. I just realized that audition callbacks are next weekend...if they want me to come in again, that could get interesting if I'm still loopy on Percocet. (Maybe that'd be an advantage?)

And now I really need to get back to writing. I'm...*peeks at NaNo website for the first time in days*...about 7000 words short. Grah.
missroserose: (After the Storm)
Celebration Agenda Item #1: Our Internet is back! We think. Fingers crossed. It's been two weeks of going around and around with RCN's customer service and techs, but the cryptozoological line crew finally showed up. Apparently we may or may not also have a bad wire in our house, but we now have the cell phone number of the line tech and he said to call him directly if we have any further problems. (One slightly gratifying moment: a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook tipped me off to their "executive support" customer service line, and when the crew didn't show up again despite being promised, we called the number figuring we had nothing to lose. Brian said he gave the woman our address, and heard back "Okay, I'm pulling up your account information and--oh my god." I suspect we had quite a string of notations by then.)

Celebration Agenda Item #2: We bought a car! After a harrowing winter that included a month-long daily commute to the suburbs in some of the worst weather Chicago's seen, Brian put his foot down and said we needed to get a car with four-wheel drive and better ground clearance than our little BMW sedan. I said fine, and he got to work with his exhaustive researching, and after a couple of test drives we finally settled on a Range Rover Evoque. (Which surprised the hell out of me - I'd always thought of Range Rovers as overpriced, unreliable suburban assault vehicles. But the Evoque is really well designed, has gotten great marks on reliability, and is super-nimble and crazy-fun to drive.) The question was how long it was going to be before we found one we could afford; the model line began in 2012 and were luxury crossovers to begin with, and even the early ones are still trading hands for forty-plus grand. But we found one in particular that looked too good to be true - 2013 model year, all the options we wanted (and some we didn't - hello, backseat entertainment system!), certified pre-owned with extended warranty, etc., almost in our price range, and it had been on the lot for a month and already marked down once.

We headed over to the dealership, and quickly discovered why it hadn't sold - it had "trust-fund-baby car" written all over it. White with black interior, custom black rims, black vinyl wrap on the roof, black-tinted windows with rain gutters, black-painted lettering and badges. (Given that the Evoque has a bit of a reputation as a pretty-pretty-princess car, Brian theorized that the previous owner had been going out of his way to prove that his Evoque wasn't a girl's car.) Thing is, it's actually not as awful as it sounds - the windows and wrap have obviously been done professionally, and while I think the rims are a little much, they're powder-coated rather than painted. So when the dealership offered us a price we could afford for exactly the car we wanted in great shape and not even a year old, we decided we could live with the slightly silly but good-quality detailing. Now to find a "Self-Rescuing Princess" sticker for the rear window...or maybe a license plate frame.

Celebration Agenda Item #3: I submitted my story! After revising, and copy-editing, and formatting, and all that professional stuff! True, you'd think writing it would be the hardest part, but I have a bad history of getting nearly all the way done with something and then choking on it at the last minute. (I can get why my brain would get frustrated at the prospect of revising something after working so hard to write it, but why it seems to decide "oh, man, I've got to put it in a professional format? No way, that's way too much work!", I will never understand.) Obviously I have no idea if they'll accept it - I think it's right in the arena of stuff they're looking for, but I also am not a member of the editing team and have no idea how it might or might not fit with other stories they've already got planned. Still, I really feel like I did my best on this one, and I'm proud to have submitted it, which I think is a first for me.

Tangentially related, the timing on this entertains me somewhat - if, next time I write/revise/submit a story, Brian offers to take me out to celebrate, I'm probably going to be all "Hey, last time I wrote a story you bought me a car."

So how am I going to celebrate all of these wonderful celebration worthy items? By...going to bed! And going to yoga tomorrow morning, since I missed it tonight. Goodnight, all. <3
missroserose: (Inspire)

*taps screen*

Huh, that's weird. The entry I posted yesterday, about our Internet being intermittent for the past two weeks, has disappeared from my LiveJournal. (It was never on Dreamwidth, since I posted it from the LJ app on my phone, but still). The link still exists on Twitter and Facebook, but directs to a missing page; if it weren't for the fact that I have several comment emails in my inbox I'd be tempted to think I was hallucinating.

How bizarre. I wonder if it'll come back.

Ah well. After a truly ridiculous amount of back-and-forth with RCN's customer support line, we finally got a supervisor tech to call us back, and supposedly they're coming out tomorrow morning to have a look. Which means getting up at 7 on a Sunday so we're not in our PJ's when they show up. The things we do for Interwebs.

(To answer the person who suggested that we build a WAN with a failsafe switch, thanks for the instructions! Brian does that sort of thing pretty regularly at his job, in fact. We're just extremely Not Interested in paying for two separate internet connections, especially at American prices.)

In other news, between the lack of Internet and my shiny new Kindle, I've been doing a lot of reading - especially some m/m romance that's been recommended to me. Given that they're all indie/small-press (and therefore much more likely to benefit from additional reviews), I've been writing short reviews for them on Goodreads/Amazon; maybe I'll do a big roundup of them here for those who're curious.

I've also written (and will shortly be revising) a short story with the intent of submitting it to Fireside, which I'm actually somewhat proud of - I wrote the whole thing in one morning, which required some will to overcome my usual habit of writing a bit of it, doing something else, and never going back to it. (Admittedly, the fact that the deadline for submissions is the 30th might have had something to do with that, but as they say, if it weren't for the last minute...) I was looking back over at the wasteland of half-finished projects that is my Google Drive and realizing precisely how unusual it is for me to finish anything, even a short story. So perhaps my completely unreasonable sense of pride isn't entirely unjustified. Even if it is coupled with the usual writerly sense of "oh god this is crap and horrible and no one will like it." Now if I can just figure out where to cut a fifth of it to get it within the submissions guidelines...

Big thanks to Tess and CJ for their beta-reading efforts. You guys are seriously inspiring and help me keep the not-good-enoughs at bay in a huge way.
missroserose: (After the Storm)
It's been an...interesting week. As is often the case in large cities, the rental market in Chicago (or at least the more desirable parts of Chicago) is hopping, with places renting in a matter of days or sometimes even hours. Needless to say, this has made finding a place from a distance a bit tricky, as most of the folks I've contacted saying "Hey, can we see this place over Labor Day weekend when we're in town?" have responded with some variant on "Talk to me when you get here and I'll tell you if it's still available."

After much wrangling, hair-pulling, and bragging about how Brian and I are fantastic tenants, I'd managed to arrange a few showings, one at a place I was fairly sure wasn't going to work out (the owner is trying to sell the place and wants a 60-day notice-to-vacate clause in the lease, but the place is gorgeous enough to be worth looking at anyway), one at a place that may or may not work depending on a number of factors, and one at a place up in Edgewater (a bit far north, but supposedly a quiet neighborly sort of area with a nice mix of ethnicities) that I was at least moderately hopeful about. But there was this one place I was really bummed about - a condo right on the border between Andersonville/Uptown (Uptown's known for being a bit sketchy in places, but this spot was a few streets up from the notorious part). I couldn't even say why, but when I saw the pictures (all four of them - there weren't even any shots of any part of the place aside from the kitchen and the patio), it was like it clicked - this was the one we wanted. So I immediately called and emailed the landlord to ask for a showing.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, I got back the by-now-expected "Sorry, I've already had two applications, but I'll let you know if they fall through." And I found myself hoping they would, despite the fact that I didn't know if (as Brian put it) "the rest of the place is covered in poop." Sure, the kitchen looked really great - it had a built-in wine rack! - and it was a great combination of features with everything we could reasonably want in our price range, but it wasn't like there weren't other options nearly as good. So I tried to let it go, and mostly managed, despite dreaming that night that we'd met the folks who were living there and were trying to be friends but couldn't because I was too jealous of their condo.

And then this afternoon I get an email: "Well, I wasn't expecting this, but both my applications fell through. Are you still interested?"

I'm fairly certain the sound I made was only audible to the cats.

I'm trying not to get my hopes too far up, just in case the landlord flakes out and rents it out from under us, or (as Brian fears) the rest of the place is painted poop-brown - or worse, painted in actual poop. But, unsuperstitious as I am, it's hard not to take the other applications falling through as a sign. If nothing else, it's a sign the owner's looking for a good tenant (rather than just trying to rent it as quickly as possible), and we pretty well have that locked down. (I'm amassing a folder with our credit reports and references and Brian's job offer letter to take with us, as proof.) I just really, really hope the rest of the place (or, worse, the landlord) doesn't turn out to be a letdown, somehow.

T minus 1.5 days until we leave for the reconnaissance trip, and I'm finally excited about it (as opposed to terrified that we won't be able to find anything). Hopefully we'll like Chicago as much as literally all our friends think we will. Expect pictures of us at The Bean on Facebook!
missroserose: (Hello Grumpy)
It's been an...eventful week. Some frustrating things have happened, but some awesome things have too. I'll definitely take that over the "nothing but frustrations" kind of week, but it does mean I can't in good conscience write a ranty "why did this week happen to me" post. Which makes me a bit grouchy on its own. Grumble.

To begin at the beginning, last Saturday Brian and I were coming back from the Farmer's Market when our car went "bing" and gave us the engine-overheating warning. We popped the hood and discovered the coolant boiling over (even through the sealed cap); given the balance of evidence (it's an eight year old car with 109,000 miles on it) we figured the water pump had given up the ghost. Hardly unexpected, but it turned out to be particularly bad timing. Most weeks we could probably have gotten by with borrowing Brian's work truck (the grocery store is right by his work, and we could have begged rides from friends to/from our mechanic's in Sierra Vista), but this particular week he had a flight to Albuquerque to catch. So that added a couple hundred bucks' worth of rental car to the bill, on top of the towing to Sierra Vista and the pump itself and labor to put it in. Unsurprisingly, that ended up more or less emptying out our emergency fund.

On the other hand, I had a nothing-but-pleasant experience with the rental car company. There's a small Enterprise franchise just a block from my mechanic's; I'd never used them before, but have friends who have nothing but good things to say Enterprise. So I wandered down there and told them "I need to rent a car, probably for about a week?" They were very flexible, and while (unsurprisingly) their least-expensive cars were all rented out, they offered me a Prius for the midsize price (just under $200 a week with tax), which I was happy to accept. Even better, the employees were all competent and polite (surprising, for Sierra Vista) they didn't try to upsell me on insurance/a GPS/roadside assistance/the other eighty billion things Hertz and the others have all tried to push on me. Needless to say, I was pleased.

I also rather enjoyed driving the Prius around. It definitely didn't have the most hamsters on the road (accelerating up the hill from Old Bisbee onto Highway 90 was a bit of an adventure), but it got us all over southern Arizona with no problems. I've heard some people say the cockpit is too strange for them, but I found it to be quite intuitively designed, and really liked the heads-up display with info like the battery charge level and your per-trip mileage. Also, the sound system has improved immensely; I remember test-driving one back in 2007 or so and being rather miffed at the tinny sound quality. This one had a perfectly respectable stereo and a USB connection to my music player, to boot. (Yay for built-in touchscreen controls without having to futz with your phone! Yay also for charging and audio through a single cable!) And the entire week's driving, which included multiple trips to Sierra Vista and back, a trip to Tucson and back, and a not-insignificant amount of driving around Tucson, cost me all of $35 in gas. (By comparison, a similar amount of driving in our BMW, which gets excellent gas mileage for its age and class, would've cost nearly twice that.) It occurred to me that if I were doing the professional-musician thing (driving around a lot for gigs and lessons and such), it would be a strong contender for the perfect car - lots of room for gear, not too expensive, economical on gas. If only a professional musician's income weren't so frustratingly inconsistent from year to year, and even month to month.

Wednesday came around, and Brian and I got up at 4:00 AM to catch his 7:30 flight to Albuquerque. The story behind this is a little convoluted, but the short version is this: back in May, he had several phone interviews with a network information and security firm in Chicago. Obviously we were pretty excited about this, as we've both wanted to move to a proper metropolitan area for a while, and while Brian's current job with the County isn't awful, its opportunities for advancement were fairly limited (and he'd just been turned down for a pretty significant one). Unfortunately, after several phone interviews, the folks from this company disappeared for a month - and when they resurfaced, they had him talk to someone in Albuquerque about what sounded like a drastically different position. (And in the meantime, Brian had been offered a non-traditional advancement path with the County, doing much more of what he liked, with more money involved too.) The Chicago folks asked him to come to Albuquerque to meet them in person, though, and while he had a lot of reservations about them (as we've already done the "move across the country to a job with people who can't keep their shit together" thing once, and it was a near-disaster), he figured it couldn't hurt to meet with them and ask what was going on in person.

Apparently things went rather better than he expected; not enough to erase all his reservations, but enough that we're adopting a "wait and see" attitude, pending what they offer him. Obviously we're both a little torn about the idea. On the one hand, things are definitely looking up here; he's getting to do some awesome (and awesomely resume-building) stuff at his job, and I'm starting to make connections with folks in the music community here. But on the other, the fact remains that opportunities for both our careers are ultimately pretty limited in this area. Which doesn't mean that saving for a couple of years before moving wouldn't be a good plan, especially as we've just had to empty out our savings. But depending on whether he can negotiate a significant relocation bonus with them...and back and forth it goes. (And that's not even getting into the more emotional aspects of "I want to live in a city, goddammit" and "I never thought I'd say this, but I kinda miss snow and rain.")

Meanwhile, since he was leaving early and coming back at 11:30, I decided to book us a hotel room in Tucson for the night so he wouldn't be driving back after a nineteen-hour day. Thanks to it being summer in Tucson, I managed to nab us a room at the Wyndham Westward Look Resort for about $100 (including resort fee). Gorgeous place - quiet, beautiful xeriscaping, great pool area, super-friendly staff (I hardly felt snooted at once!), spacious room with a bathroom larger than some apartments I've seen. I doubt I'd stay there at the full rate, especially in the busy season, but in Brian's words, "I've stayed in way crappier places for a hundred bucks a night."

Conveniently, while I was killing time down on 4th Avenue, I also discovered that Sky Bar was having an open mic that night. (Convenient because they're right next to a late-night pizza joint Brian adores, and I'd promised to bring him some when I picked him up from the airport.) So I put on my awesome Nordstrom's maxi dress (awesome because it looks great, packs easy, and I got it for $3 thanks to various discounts) and a bit of makeup, grabbed Kalia, and showed up a couple of hours in...only to discover that most people call ahead before the night even starts and all the slots were full. However, the emcee (who went by the entertainingly Regency nomenclature DJ Odious) took pity on me when I told him it was my first open mic, and managed to slip me in for a couple of songs while a Mexican ska band set up behind me. (In contrast to his name, Sir Odious was a fantastic emcee - excellent at tech, good at putting the performers at their ease, and encouraging and helpful to newbies like me. Mass props.) I was fairly nervous, but I think I at least put in a respectable performance. At the very least, I had the undivided attention of a few folks up by the stage - and in a bar environment, "undivided attention" is about the best compliment you can ask for.

Picture, compliments of the aforementioned Sir Odious:

Incidentally, I'm glad he had me go before the Mexican ska band, because holy crap. They were amazing.

The night at the hotel/obligatory Costco trip/drive home were all pleasant if uneventful*. Friday I did my usual busking after yoga class; it turned out to be my best day so far financially, bringing in nearly double my prevous record (two $5 bills, woo! plus assorted singles), and some wonderfully heartfelt compliments. And later that afternoon Brian and I drove down to Sierra Vista, dropped off the rental car, walked to our mechanic's shop, and picked up the BMW.

At which point I apparently decided two weeks was far too long to go without a physical mishap, and tripped over a concrete parking bollard and fell, scraping up my shoulder and spraining three of the fingers on my left hand in the process.

My fretting hand.

In the words of Kvothe, possibly the literary patron saint of musicians (and craftspeople, and pickpockets) everywhere...Tehlu spare my hands.

The good news is nothing seems to be broken (I can move all my fingers and I don't have that bone-deep ache that signifies a fracture somewhere), so our financial situation isn't any more precarious. The bad news is, as I discovered when I sprained both my ankles a few years ago, soft-tissue injuries are tricky and hard to predict in terms of healing time. It might be a week, it might be three or four, depending on the severity of the sprains and how good I am at keeping them immobilized. And I have a gig in a month to practice for, dammit.

So that's been my week. How was yours?

*ETA: Though at Costco I did find a fantastic 18-year-old Scotch for $32, as well as a book I'd been wanting for $9. Which both chalk definitively into the "good" column.
missroserose: (Partnership)
For those Luddites security-conscious people who don't use Facebook and therefore aren't seeing my updates, I've been going out busking with some regularity for the past month and a half. Nothing ambitious, just once a week or so, usually for an hour at a time - at that point I've usually fully and completely run out of material, and if I go for much longer my fingers start complaining. Most of the time I play on one of the benches over by the post office; I tried playing on the upper part of Main Street once but had a shop owner give me a snippy passive-aggressive "The polite thing to do would have been to ask before playing on my bench". And frankly, I didn't like having to compete directly with traffic. (Though once or twice a couple of cars with their windows rolled down slowed for a moment to listen. Which was gratifying, but also a little worrying - I'm not trying to create a traffic hazard!)

Aside from the one aforementioned incident, it's been a pretty positive experience all around. Not particularly lucrative - I've ranged from $2 to $11 for my hour - but given that I'm just starting out and this is mostly performance practice (not to mention it's not exactly tourist season), I'm not fuzzed about the money. I have had a number of very nice compliments from people, and it's definitely been a motivator to expand my repertoire. Current projects: "Diamonds and Rust" (oh god all the picking!), "American Pie" (oh god all the chord changes!).

Today was especially interesting. It's been cloudy and sprinkling rain every now and then - pleasant enough for an Alaskan native, but not the sort that really draws folks out around here. So I wasn't expecting to make much during my hour. (The day's total was looking to be a grand total of $1 until a bunch of nine-to-twelve-year-old-looking kids came by with shy smiles and dropped another $3 in my guitar case. Awww.) But I did have a dude stop by, see my "Find me on Facebook!" sign and join my page there, which was awesome. And even better, a couple of locals came up and offered me an actual honest-to-god paying gig! Apparently during the home-and-garden tour in early September, they try to have musicians hanging out in some of the nicer gardens to add ambience. It's $50 for three hours playing for passersby in a pretty garden somewhere in town, with no restrictions on what I can play or really even any rules other than "show up". And I can still have my case out for tips. Sounds pretty sweet.

So, yeah. Achievement Unlocked: Offered A Paying Gig. Now to expand my repertoire a bit more and get my fingers toughened up to where I can play three hours in a go by September...
missroserose: (Shake It!)
A friend from Sweden has recently been sharing with me a bunch of her favorite songs - although, as I'm aggressively monolingual like most Americans, she's had to translate them first. Needless to say, they lose a bit of punch along the way; as one of my favorite (if horrendously misogynist) quips goes, "A translation is like a wife - it can be beautiful, or it can be faithful, but not both."

However, this particular song entertained me enough that I decided to sit down with a rhyming dictionary and see if I could smooth her translation out into a decent English rendition. I'm pretty pleased with how it came out - maybe I'll add it to the guitar repertoire. (Slightly off-color lyrics follow, as you might guess from the title.)

The Incest Song

When I first met Marie-Louise, oh wow, I was in love.
I told my dad how she would make a wife I'd be proud of
But then he said "I'm sorry, Son, her mother will attest,
"I fathered her, you can't marry - 'cos that would be incest."

Then I met a new girl and we got a little wild.
It wasn't long until we found Linnéa was with child
But when her mother saw my dad she nearly went berserk
"You let him knock his sister up?" --it wasn't going to work.

Anita and Carina; Britt, Louise and Shawn. Oh a
hundred other girls who turned out were my father's spawn
I loved them all, but every time their mother knew my pop,
And our relation meant that our engagement was a flop.

I'm sure you understand, my friends, that I was getting pissed
I found that I was brother to every girl I'd ever kissed!
I had no more desire, my libido hit new lows
So I went to my mother to unburden all my woes.

"Oh, my beloved son," she said, "if you'll let me be frank,
"We all know that your dad's a jackass of the highest rank,
"So marry any girl you like - you see, you're really blessed,
"'Cos he's not actually your dad - so it won't be incest."
missroserose: (Partnership)
It's been a hectic week, mostly thanks to a strong sense of uncertainty - there may or may not be some pretty serious changes looming on the horizon, depending on how things shake out next week. (Good changes, but big ones.) So of course I've been doing the thing I do best when faced with big scary uncertainties: disappearing into the Internet looking up costs and information and everything I can find so that I'll be prepared if said changes do come to pass. Needless to say, my daily goal checklist has suffered somewhat, as has my guitar practice.

So it was that this morning I woke up, realized I had a guitar lesson today and hadn't practiced the song I was supposed to learn at all. Which, since my teacher's style is very much "here's the chords, let's see what you come up with", is something of a liability. Especially since in this particular one he'd said "Here's this one riff, you can probably fill in the rest from there."

Fortunately my lesson wasn't until 3:00, so even with some "let's procrastinate by taking a walk and doing yoga and all the other stuff I've been ignoring this week", I still had a good few hours to work on it. Fortunately it's not a difficult song ("She's Not There", by the Zombies), so between a chord sheet and the riff my teacher had shown me, I was able to figure out an arrangement I liked, and even a nifty set of strum patterns to jazz it up a bit. Unfortunately, given that I had only an hour or so to practice before I had to pack up and drive to Sierra Vista, it was a lot shakier than I wanted it to be. But it was something. So I went to my lesson, and I played my arrangement (stumbling through a few parts of it, because it was all of a few hours old), and tried not to cringe in anticipation.

And my teacher said, "Holy crap! That sounds great! You must have been working on it all week!"

As one might imagine, my feelings on his reaction are a little mixed. I mean, on the one hand, it was gratifying, and certainly relieved that he wasn't going to be disappointed with me for my lack of practice this week. But I felt a certain amount of what I've heard referred to as "impostor syndrome" - like I hadn't earned the praise he was giving me, and had merely managed to trick him into thinking I'd done well. (Even though I know he's not the type to indulge or flatter his students. Last week, when he told me I was doing amazingly well for only having been playing a year, I was extremely pleased because I knew he wouldn't have said so if he didn't believe it to be true. And given that he's got some basis for experience, I figure he's a good judge. But last week I'd also practiced the song he gave me all week.)

I think some of it is tied in to my ongoing struggle with my own talents - the whole "I can do a half-ass job and still come out above average, so I've never learned to work hard and really develop them" conundrum. (In my particular case, it's combined with a phobia of actually doing as well as I could, since that might create an expectation and then I wouldn't be able to get away with doing a half-ass job anymore.) I'm trying to overcome that, in fits and starts, so hearing praise for my efforts when I knew they weren't as good as I could give was a little cognitive-dissonance inducing.

Still. It's nice to know I can do in two hours what it takes most one-year students a week. :)
missroserose: (Balloons and Ocean)
Things are still very much outstanding on the hospital-bill snafu, unfortunately, but I'm doing my best to just not worry about it at the moment.

That said, I'd like to comment that my frustrations and generalized anger towards the medical profession is not inclusive of optometrists or dentists. My experiences with them and their billing have been universally neutral or outright positive; their billing practices tend to be far less opaque, and their prices far more connected to something resembling reality. For instance, I just called my dentist's office about a bill I wasn't certain about; I've had one particular filling that's fallen out a couple of times, and it looked like I was being charged for replacing it despite the fact that it was less than a year old. The receptionist looked at the bill, pulled my chart, apologized for the error, and fixed it, taking a $190 bill down to a $25 bill. No runarounds, no "I'll have to kick that up to my supervisor", no "you have to wait seven to ten days for an itemized billing", nothing.

I realize that this is probably at least partly due to their being a smaller clinic with a much smaller range of services, but FFS, Copper Queen Community Hospital is not exactly large. And yet their billing department is still completely divorced from their actual caregiving services (I suspect it's outsourced to a company in Phoenix, since I have to call a 1-888 number to reach them). Tell me that's not a recipe for errors and frustration.
missroserose: (Warrior III)

for the first time in months (years)

my core muscles contracted

as if they were made of something stronger

than delicious taffy
missroserose: (After the Storm)
I made it to work today, for the first full day since getting sick two weeks ago. I was productive and useful, and afterward I went to yoga class. There were definitely more than a few poses where my balance/strength wasn't to its usual standard, but on the whole I made it through okay. Not great, but okay.

I'd intended to walk home, as part of my regaining-stamina program, but I had overestimated my remaining energy, and felt a little lightheaded. So rather than push myself and get sick again I called Brian, and went and got some tea at the coffee shop while I waited. The flavor of tea I picked ended up being black, which really wasn't what I wanted (wouldn't you think a flavor called "apricot peach" would be an herbal tea?), but it happens.

Brian came and got a chai, and got me, and we drove up the hill. In the process of getting up our street and our driveway, through some quirk of physics, roughly a quarter of his chai came out through the sipping hole in the lid to his cup and ended up all over the car. We parked, I got a sponge and cleaned it out, I went inside.

In my half braindead state, I happened to pick up a couple of things to throw away with one hand, and take my earrings out with the other. Guess which hand tossed things in the kitchen trash. >< Realizing my mistake, I grabbed a pair of rubber gloves and went digging through the bacon grease and rotten cheese and moldering vegetables ("What an interesting smell you've discovered!"); but despite my best efforts, I could only find one. Since it was a pair I got for cheap and wasn't all that attached to, I just tossed it; the cost/benefit ratio of continuing the search was starting to get way out of proportion. But it didn't make me feel any smarter.

Given that I'd done a lot of hip stretches, and that baths always make me feel better, I decided to run myself one with the last of my epsom salts. I put the plug in, got the water going, added the salts, and went to start myself a pot pie...and when I checked on the bath five minutes later, it wasn't any more full. The chain for the plug had gotten caught beneath it and propped it open, and I'd inadvertently rinsed the last of my epsom salts (including some quite expensive scented ones) down the drain. Worse, our hot water heater is just the right size for one proper full bath at the right temperature; fill the tub too full, or accidentally drain half the hot water, and the water ends up tepid and awful. (Is there anything more disappointing and awful on this planet than a tepid bath? It's like Christmas with no presents.)

I was going to just turn the water off and forget about it, dealing with it like I'd dealt with all the other evening's frustrations, but some part of me rebelled. I'd never had any luck doing the "add a pot of boiling water" trick - our tub is larger than average, so the increase in temperature was never really noticeable. So I plugged the tub, ran it to the appropriate level, and in the meantime put three pots of water on to boil - four, if you count the fact that the electric kettle heated twice as fast as the two on the stove. I had no idea if it would get the water hot enough, and it was a fairly large expenditure of energy for something frivolous, but god dammit, I'd had enough settling without even really trying this evening.

The water temperature was perfect. And I put Brian Eno's Lux on my iPod while things were boiling, and poured myself a glass of wine. And I have a nice hot potpie to eat and the remainder of the wine, and Roger Ebert's delightful memoir Life Itself to read, and a cosy bed to get into when I cool off enough from the bath.

I win.


missroserose: (Default)

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