missroserose: (Default)
Now that the temperature is regularly below freezing, I decided it's time to put the bikes away for the season. (The streets are still clear, and in honesty I could probably add extra layers and keep it up, but planning a little extra time to catch a warm bus - even a warm bus that can be a bit unreliable time-wise - is frankly much more appealing than biking into a freezing headwind.) Our building has four bike hangers in the storage area and significantly more bikes, so I'm a little concerned about storage, but I check and - hurrah! - two of them are still free. I go back up to the porch, intending to unlock their respective cable locks and take them downstairs to hang up. Instead:

--I try to unlock Brian's bike, only to discover that his cable lock is frozen shut. Luckily, being Alaskans, we always have WD-40 on hand; I grab the bottle, squirt some into his lock, and work it in. Still no luck.

--I move over to try my bike, which has been used more recently, and that lock is frozen too - although a quick squirt of WD-40 solves the issue. I wrap the cable lock around the bike for storage and carry it downstairs, marveling at how much lighter it is without the 30 to 40 pounds of pannier bag I usually have attached when I'm going somewhere.

--I put the bike on the rack, only to realize that it's competing for space with the building's lawnmower. Some rearranging later, I manage to get the lawnmower and bike occupying minimal space without blocking the door. Partial Success!

--Encouraged by my triumph, I decide to tackle Brian's bike now rather than putting it off until later (when the other hanger may have been claimed). The WD-40 still hasn't de-iced the lock, so I default to the next trick in the Alaskan's arsenal and grab my salon-quality super-hot high-power blowdryer (thanks, Ian! Your Christmas present has been so useful!) and take it outside. The extra-long cord is juuuust long enough to reach from the plug to the other side of the deck, where the bike is.

--After a minute of blasting with extra hot air, the lock reluctantly opens. I squirt the end pieces for good measure, working them in and out a few times, and then wrap the cable around the bike and carry it downstairs, hanging it on the spare rack. Complete Success!

I'm just glad I didn't have to get the torch-style lighters out - I doubt the cable locks' plastic housing would have stood the heat...
missroserose: (Default)
Happy summer, world! Technically the solstice isn't until the 20th, but proper summer weather has finally shown up here in Chicago (in all of its roller-coaster glory -- 93 today, 68 tomorrow, 90 on Monday, and high seventies for the rest of the week), and this weekend is Andersonville's Swedish Midsommarfest. Which I'm sure Petra would say is hardly a proper Midsommar, not being in Sweden and not even on the right day, but there's live music and booze and good food and hey, this is Chicago. Någon förevändning för en fest!

In further summer-y news, I finally have a working bike! Last fall I bought a 1985 Schwinn Sprint road bike from a friend who was moving; what with the colder weather coming on and my having zero experience with urban biking, it promptly went into the storage unit. I'd almost forgotten about it until our local bike shop opened a pop-up right by my train stop; after a couple weeks of procrastination, I finally got the bike out of storage and did some research on it. Unsurprisingly, it wasn't an expensive bike to begin with, and this model (and ten-speeds in general) seem to be pooh-poohed by the cycling community, at least in the threads I found. Still, it felt solid enough, so I took it to the shop for an exam and (presuming it was road-worthy) tune-up. After a minor repair, the mechanic said it would absolutely get me around fine; it's not the fancy fendered Dutch cruiser I'd been envisioning, but even with the steel frame it's a heck of a lot easier to carry up the steps and store on our porch. (And, not to put too fine a point on it, it's not going to be a target for thieves the way a newer/fancier bike would - this is Chicago.)

Yesterday I took it out for its inaugural journey, a half-mile stretch along Broadway with its relatively new bike lane. There's one intersection in particular that can get a little hairy, with a loading zone for a stretch of restaurants where trucks regularly park partway in the bike lane, right before all the turning cars cross over to get in the turn lane. I ended up stopping behind the parked truck on the red light, and letting all the cars go by after the light changed before proceeding. (Luckily there weren't any impatient cyclists behind me; I can't imagine such a tactic going over well in traffic.) I also noped out of attempting a left turn to get to my destination - in my defense, the intersection is under a train overpass and in the midst of construction both, with obscured sight lines everywhere. But it wasn't precisely difficult to hop off the bike, roll it onto the sidewalk, and cross at the crosswalk. Another advantage a lighter road bike has over a cruiser -- I can walk it one-handed.

On the whole the trip was actually a lot less scary than I thought it would be, despite being made around rush hour. Having a designated bike lane definitely helps, as does already being familiar with the traffic patterns in my neighborhood. And while I'm definitely less protected on a bike than in a car, I'm also much more maneuverable, and speedier than on foot -- although I can see why some folks look down on ten-speeds; there's definitely a point where it feels like I could be going faster if I had the gearing. But I don't need to zip down the road at that speed quite yet. So I think I'll do okay -- at the very least, it gives me another option for getting to the yoga studio if the bus is running late. Now to get a rack and panniers for grocery runs.

Partially related: this morning I woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a truck, despite having slept ten hours, and having tried to be more aware of my activity levels the previous week. I suspect the combination of a busy couple of days at the spa, plus yoga, plus the (short) bike ride and various walking-around-in-nice-weather activities all kind of added up. Luckily some Advil and Emergen-C and a nap (my personal cure-all) did the trick; hopefully my body will acclimate to the increased activity level soon.
missroserose: (Balloons and Ocean)
It's the first real cold morning of winter (15 degrees in Farenheit, -9 in Celsius, At Least Three Layers And All The Winter Accessories in Ambrosia), and I decided to skip yoga class before work because I'm having a hard time convincing myself to go out before it's absolutely necessary. So now that I have two whole hours free, I thought I might wave to my LJ friends and reassure them I made it into the new year just fine.

Biggest laugh of the morning: Women Having A Terrible Time At Parties In Western Art History. "maybe if i keep covering more of my face with my hands/he’ll forget i’m here/and go away"...oh man. Vivid memories of working circulation in my college library, and certain patrons who thought they'd try to chat up the cute girl behind the desk.

It's been a quiet first week of the year. Our holiday plans fell through somewhat - we'd intended to go to a dance/concert with some friends, but they had an emergency and had to cancel. Since we already had tickets, and I had an outfit all picked out, we decided to go anyway; people-watching was fun, but ultimately we just weren't feeling it and decided to hop a train home before the rush. And really, that was okay; we got back and sipped some leftover sparking wine and went to bed. I guess this is officially The Year We Are Old.

Since then we've mostly been hanging out at home, partly due to holiday budgetary hangover and partly due to Brian having come down with a cold (Brian, dismayed: "I was working nights all month and barely left the house! Where did I get a cold?") I managed to fight it off successfully with a combination of Emergen-C and taking it easy for a few days, but given that next week he's going to be commuting to/from a client site in the suburbs, I think our plans to take down Christmas decorations are getting delayed a week.

Other than that, though, things are good. I have a longer and more thoughtful post percolating on finances, long-term goals, social/generational trends, and luck, but the upshot is, we're finally at a point financially where we're able to seriously save for a home of our own. I've honestly doubted for a long time we'd ever reach that point, since the places we wanted to live (i.e. urban environments with good transit and lots of restaurants/attractions) tend to be quite pricey, and historically we're more prone to want to enjoy our money than sock it away; but thanks to hard work, good social connections, and some excellent luck, it's looking like we may be able to start seriously house-hunting (or, more likely, condo-hunting) in a couple of years. We'll see how it works out - make plans and the gods laugh, after all. Still, it's a nice place to be.

I don't have any New Year's resolutions as such; most of my goals are continuous (keep up with yoga/healthier food choices to keep my mood issues in check, keep an eye out for new career opportunities, keep learning new things to avoid getting stuck in a rut, et cetera). But a theme that's been coming up in my life lately has been practicing gratitude without anxiety or entitlement. I have a lot of friends who did not have a great 2015, often due to factors entirely beyond their control; I know that someday that might be me (in cases involving death of a loved one, someday it will be me, unless I die first). And I also know a lot of people - including me, sometimes - who have trouble appreciating when things go well because all they can focus on is how temporary it is, and how things are bound to go wrong eventually. So I've been working on holding that sense of gratitude, and the vulnerability it entails, and being gentle with the part of me that wants to get caught up in worrying about the future. Similarly, there's the part of me that's terrified of becoming an entitled white person, who subconsciously believes they're owed their privilege and success simply because they've always had it; it's partly why I get so uncomfortable in the suburbs, where there's a high percentage of people with that mindset. So I'm trying to be gentle with that part of me as well, acknowledging its existence and reassuring it through various means (staying socially aware, donating when I can and without feeling guilty for not giving more, practicing compassion towards others even when they're doing things I disagree with or find inconvenient). It's a tough balance to strike, and man, is it difficult to practice self-love towards the parts of your personality you don't like. But it feels like important work, so I'm going to keep at it.
missroserose: (Default)
Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, where "fall" is basically a two-week period between "all the trees turn colors overnight" and "the first big windstorm comes along and sweeps all the leaves away", it's interesting to me how comparatively elongated the Midwest version is. Some trees are eager to be the first to show off their bright foliage; but even once they've shed their leaves and begun their winter rest, others are more demurely turning, a few leaves at a time. Even when the wind kicks up a few weeks later, only some of the trees are ready to undress, while others stubbornly cling to their coverage. "Fall" seems an inappropriately staccato word for the season; I think I've started to understand why some people prefer the term "autumn".

Getting home from Washington was a little odd, emotionally. I've been traveling so much of late - I think, of the past four months, I've spent five weeks out of town - that it didn't quite feel real, coming home to my bedroom and my bed and my home, and realizing I didn't have to have plans in place for my next trip. Frankly, my bed almost felt a little alien, like it wasn't really mine; that seems like a good indicator that it's time to let the rest of the world take care of itself, and not rush to fill my calendar with more trips, even though I have so many friends (and places!) I'd like to see.

Besides, now is when I need to be focusing on my career, on building clientele and finding continuing education and generally figuring out how to be the best massage therapist I can be. Immediate plans include getting training in pregnancy massage and finding a good opportunity to learn more in-depth myofascial work; future ideas include looking into that trauma-therapy class [livejournal.com profile] gows recommended, and keeping my eyes open for future opportunities to study physical therapy. (It seems an unlikely path at the moment, as I'd have to finish my bachelor's and then take a two-year course on top of that, none of which comes cheap time- or money-wise. But at one point I thought the same thing about massage school, and I found a way to make it work. So we'll see where my experiences take me.) Additionally, the school director has been talking to me about possibly taking over some of the science classes she's been teaching, which would be awesome experience and a nice way to earn extra money without wearing myself out physically. I can't wait to teach an anatomy class that consists entirely of having the students write a version of "I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major General" about the origins, insertions, and actions of muscles.

And frankly, I'm glad to have the time to enjoy my city; there's so much going on at any given time that I can't possibly make all of it (especially now that I have a schedule to work around), but I've managed to have some awesome experiences nonetheless. Last weekend [livejournal.com profile] gracewanderer and [livejournal.com profile] cyranocyrano came to stay, and we all went to see the closing weekend of the Chicago Shakespeare Company's The Tempest. Brian and I had already seen it at opening and were blown away, as much by the quality of the acting as by the costumes and sets (featuring a delightfully run-down Depression-era circus theme) and the music (which you could tell from basically the first chord was written by Tom Waits, and was sung and played amazingly well by a small band onstage). Plus the onstage magic sequences were just stunning (hardly surprising, as Teller co-directed). But the actors really carried the day; it was one of the few big-budget Shakespeare renditions I'd seen where you didn't awe at the big setpiece sequences...and then settle back to wait for the wordsy parts to be done so you could see the next big impressive thing. I've noticed folks are much pickier about standing ovations in Chicago than they are in the PNW, but these folks got one both times I saw them, and they well deserved it.

I think I'm going to make more of an effort to take in Chicago's amazing theatre and concert scene this winter. It can get tricky, what with working three evenings a week - I had to pass on Vanessa Carlton earlier this month, which made me sad. But I think it'll be good for me to get out of the house more as the months get colder. I'm already working on getting back to my three-plus-times-a-week yoga schedule (as my sore quadriceps attest) and the improvement in sleep quality and focus at work is pretty clear. So here's to being a little more settled -- but not sedentary! -- for the next year or so.
missroserose: (Default)
I'm in Seattle, and appear to have lucked out with regards to the weather - it's been sunny and warm (for Seattle) and absolutely lovely with the fall colors just coming out. Monday I take the train up to Mt. Vernon to see Donna for the first time in far too long and meet my goddaughter, but for now I'm enjoying spending some time in one of my favorite cities. It still entertains me how the smells here translate to "home" for me in a way Chicago doesn't yet; much as I love my new city, that crisp-cool cedar-and-spruce smell just makes me feel at ease in a way few environments do.

[livejournal.com profile] thewronghands, whose social network I've long admired from afar, is graciously letting me stay in her swanky digs and meet a few of her local friends; especially graciously as she's kind of been swallowed by work lately. (Luckily I'm a little familiar with the "work is eating your world" crunch-time environment, heh.) But I've still gotten to meet [livejournal.com profile] canyonwren, whom I've long suspected is pretty awesome, after years of seeing her comment on LJ. Hi! *waves*

Adora Belle has adjusted far faster than we had dared hope, and is already sleeping in her kitty bed (as opposed to jammed under the far corner of the guest bed) and wanting to be let out to explore the rest of the house. Brian has been carefully introducing her to the other cats; as expected, she gets on fine with Dexter, and things look more or less okay with Tripp, but Leo's really not sure about all of this, and there's been some hissing and growling on his part. So, time to find some baby gates at a thrift shop and see about convincing him that she won't eat him. Sigh. I foresee our treat reserves becoming rather lower over the next couple weeks.

Work has continued to go well, although the clinic has had an extraordinarily slow October - possibly due to the Cubs hoopla and everyone saving their pennies for beer at Wrigley Field. Still, I've had a few rebookings - including one particularly enthusiastic client who told me she'd been telling all her friends to book with me - and I'm starting to get hits from the business cards I've been passing out. And as much fun as I've been having in Washington, I'm actually kind of missing work. Which was never a phrase I thought I would utter. Clearly I've been replaced by a pod person.
missroserose: (Default)
Flu recovery continues; slower than I'd like, but it's progress. Amusingly enough, my annoyance at the time recovery is taking has decreased dramatically today, as the weather went from sunny and warm to "35 and snowstorming". I think this anonymous person pretty well captured the citywide reaction. I'm slightly annoyed about missing class, but it's nothing I can't make up, and I have all of tomorrow, too.

On the upside, being confined to bed/couch has done wonders for both my social media interaction and my study time. Since the former's probably of little interest to anyone but me, here are some cool things I've learned from my Pathology reading over the past couple of days:
  • Growth hormone, in addition to its eponymous function in children and adolescents, is largely responsible for tissue repair/replacement in adults - in short, healing.  It is also secreted almost entirely during stage IV sleep, the deepest level.  This fits with my own lifelong observation that most of the feeling-better recovery from illness takes place during long naps or overnight; it also explains why the people I've known with sleep apnea or other sleep difficulties tend to seem operate under a consistent sort of run-down malaise.  (And it explains many of the statistics where lack of sleep/sleep disorders increase susceptibility to any number of problems, from colds to heart failure.)
  • For all that the vast majority of fad diet advice is absolute bunk, it's completely true that the typical American diet is damn near toxic.  The number of digestive and metabolic disorders that can be reduced in risk (if not outright prevented) by limiting intake of preserved/processed foods and refined sugar/flour is staggering.  Unfortunately, despite it having been repeated by the USDA with slight variations for decades, the dietary advice of "eat whole grains, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and some lean meat; keep consumption of processed foods and refined sugars to a minimum" has so far failed to catch on.  Maybe someone needs to take out flashy ads?  "Prevent cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes with this 1 weird trick!"
  • Be kind to your liver.  Seriously.  You likely have no idea how much it does for you, every day.  They call it a "live-r" for a reason.
  • Unlike the common cold (which is no longer contagious after three days of showing symptoms), influenza remains contagious all through (and, to a lesser degree, for a little while after) the recovery period.  Hence, I am refusing to feel guilty for staying home sick ever again.
  • My mother always thought 90s-era Barbie was antifeminist because her feet were molded to wear high heels.  Clearly she was simply suffering from a severe, untreated case of pes cavus.  New from Mattel:  Treat jammed arches and prevent bunions with Orthopedic Barbie!  (Unfortunately, her footwear is roughly five times the cost of her designer heels, because something something capitalism something big government something healthcare.  At least until she's 65 and qualifies for Medicare.)
Forty more pages to go, and then I'm done...until it's time to study for the final.  Almost there!

Also, current average grade is 97.8%.  Just throwing that out there, says the former-barely-B-average student.

Feel-good moment of the day:  pictures from India's first lesbian wedding. What a beautiful commingling of traditions.  They look so happy.

And finally, here's Homework Enforcement Cat, helpfully covering up the answers so I can quiz myself (and pet him).

Homework Enforcement Cat
missroserose: (Balloons and Ocean)
Back in Anchorage, and pleased to report things are going rather better this time around. I brought CJ up with me, so my mother's guest room is still off-limits (until he goes home Tuesday), but I'm staying at my grandmother's, and that combined with the fact that we actually get some darkness this time of year has meant I've slept just fine. Although the three-hour jet lag is a bit of a trick...I was yawning like crazy at 9:30 last night, and couldn't figure out why until I did the math. Likewise, at 6:30 this morning I snapped awake. Fun times. But it did mean I had plenty of time to get myself presentable before my mother came by for me at 8. I spent enough time futzing with clothing choices and jewelry that, when my mother came to the door, my grandmother answered with "Her Highness will be down shortly." ...So maybe I'm a little obsessive about colors. So sue me.

The flight was surprisingly nice. I was flying coach this time, but we were on one of Alaska Airlines' newest planes - the seats were surprisingly comfortable, there was enough actual legroom even for CJ, and the seats had power sockets in them! (It's like they designed them for actual present-day people!) One of the flight attendants recognized me from the last couple times I flew this route ("Wasn't your hair purple a couple months ago? And red before that?"), and chatted with me a bit and gave me my Alaskan Amber for free. Aww. Yay for having memorable hair. My luggage was also notably lighter than it was last time. I was somewhat puzzled by this, until I realized that I've read so much on my Kindle lately, that I'd only packed (gasp) two paper books. We'll see if I manage to keep to that limit on the trip back. It might depend on whether or not I visit Title Wave...

My mother, having read my blog as per usual, was wonderfully thoughtful and ordered me a set of sealing-wax in all sorts of bright pearlescent colors, and a beautiful seal of a rose ("I made sure it has thorns, too, just for you!"). And here I am without any stationery...I'm thinking I may make a trip to the mall to see if I can remedy that. (Also maybe for Hot Dog On A Stick.) Likewise, my (Bahá'í, and thus teetotaling) grandmother pressed upon me a bottle of genuine Russian potato vodka, left with her some months ago by a Russian-native guest of hers. "Just don't drink it in front of me." I'll have to find her something nice; I felt awful when I realized I'd brought a present for CJ and for my mum but hadn't gotten her anything.

This morning has been lovely and peaceful. It's apparently been a super-rainy fall season, and when my mother came by there were clouds and a nice steady drizzle. Oddly, this didn't feel depressing in the least; I have a lot of fond memories of rainy fall mornings in this town. (Although there was a bit of an entertaining role reversal, since rather than being dropped off at school, I was dropping my mother off at work.) I've been trying to figure out why, last trip aside, I find Anchorage to be so calming. Some of it is the familiarity, but I think a lot of it is the relative lack of density. For all I love cities (and Chicago in particular), I've spent most of my life living in areas where you could drive a little ways off the beaten path and be miles away from anybody else. It's taken some getting used to the idea that whenever I step outside my door, I'm on public display, as it were - there's a lot of parkland and public spaces in Chicago, but there's almost always people in them, no matter the time of day or night. On the one hand, I rather enjoy it, and it's definitely motivated me to dress better and think more about issues like courtesy and graciousness, and how the social lubrication they provide is especially necessary when living in a high-density situation. But on the other, it's a relief of sorts to be back in a place where I don't have to be constantly thinking about whether I'm in anyone's way, or intruding on anyone's space, or acting in a way that makes anyone else uncomfortable. Social pressure is an important thing, but it's pressure all the same.

Anyway, off I go to give CJ the grand tour. And possibly find stationery. And tonight, I Hate Hamlet! I think it'll be a wonderful day.
missroserose: (Balloons and Ocean)
Good morning! It's 11:45 AM, 52 degrees, sunny and breezy out, and I've woken up with the sniffles. I've had to cancel yoga and game night plans, but strangely enough, I'm still feeling pretty chipper. I suspect it's at least partially due to the weather; somehow, the sun streaming through your windows feels so much brighter and clearer when it's not shining through a 92-degree-and-85%-humidity fug.

It's been on the chilly side for a few days now, in fact, which has been a nice break from the aforementioned autumn heat and humidity. I've been enjoying making the rounds of local friends on Facebook, watching people go "Brrr, it's cold!" and commenting "You mean 'pleasantly cool', right?" (In all fairness, I'm not the only one - there's been more than one celebration of the start of hoodie season, too.) I have nothing against the heat, per se, but after a couple of weeks straight it just starts to feel oppressive.

In the words of many a Regency heroine, I'm so dreadfully behind on my correspondence. I've been intending to rectify that for some weeks now, and even went out to World Market on Monday and bought a sealing-wax kit, because I'm still ten years old and love playing with fire and wax. Sadly, they only had red wax sticks, so I'll have to wait until the next round of letters to play with multicolored seals. But still - sealing-wax! Some part of me is ridiculously pleased at this.

I'm also pleased to report that my tooth did not in fact need a crown (yet). A new filling was enough to have it feeling whole and useful again. Hurrah for being able to chew on both sides of one's mouth.

I strongly suspect today will be spent drinking tea, writing letters, and reading silly novels. And, really, I'm pretty okay with that.
missroserose: (Default)
Good morning, Chicago! Yesterday was completely lovely; the weather warm but not hot. Brian had to work, so I went and had brunch with a couple of friends, one of whom accompanied me for a nice wander around the neighborhood afterward. We got mani-pedis (and, for the first time ever, I managed to keep from smudging mine), and I took her to my recently-discovered favorite salon for an appointment. Yay for girly days! And now my finger- and toe-nails are precisely the same shade of orange-red as my hair.

As of today, I'm in a strange sort of limbo. I was originally supposed to be going to Detroit this week to help with more survey administration, but due to some bureaucratic argy-bargy (apparently two weeks is not enough time for Detroit Public Schools to run a background check) they had to send someone else instead. So now my schedule for the next several days is unusually bare.

This morning, at least, that turned out to be a plus. We woke up to discover a very bedraggled Leo looking shamefacedly up at us. At first we thought he'd taken a dip in his water fountain, but when I wandered out into the kitchen I found the counters and floor turned into a beautiful abstract oil painting. (Brian had been deep-frying chicken pieces last night and left the oil out in a bowl overnight to cool. Which, in all fairness, he normally does without incident.) Mop, drugstore for baby shampoo, bathtime, in that order. Now someone just needs to clean the kitchen up. Guess who's been elected. (Brian held Leo in the bathtub - fully clothed - while I poured water on them, and still got several scratches for his trouble, so really, it's only fair.) Meanwhile, Leo is furiously grooming all the water out of his fur. I predict a massive hairball or two later.

As it happens, I'm still going to the Detroit area on Thursday. Originally I'd been planning to go and visit CJ and Amanda and John the weekend after survey administration, but since that didn't work out, CJ offered to buy me a train ticket. I'm actually moderately excited about the prospect; I haven't yet been on Amtrak, and I'm quite fond of trains. And anything that means less time dealing with TSA is perfectly fine with me.

Mood-wise, there's been a lot of up-and-down recently. I wonder if the lack of yoga is part of it; I applied for CorePower's yoga-for-trade program and got back a generic "we'll let you know if there's an opening at a location near you" response. A month ago. I'm honestly wondering if I should just find a darn part-time job so I can pay for it; I still think their studios are way overpriced, but the improvements I saw in strength and mobility when I was going regularly were...marked. Not to mention how it always improved my outlook and emotional state. Sigh.

Still, I've had a good week now where I haven't been turning into Grumpy Cat every few minutes, and I'll take what I can get. I'm even playing the guitar again! I'd been doing it sporadically for several months, and then for a month or two I wasn't playing hardly at all. But I'm actually excited about it again, which hasn't been the case for a while now. Been thinking about making a video or a recording. Say it with me, folks: we'll see if anything comes of it.

The weather is beautiful today too, if warmer - approaching thunderstorms seem to love pushing the heat ahead of them. I suspect that after lunch I may put on shorts and sunscreen and wander down to the lakeshore with an ice cream bar.
missroserose: (Balloons and Ocean)
Hello, lovely, warm, pleasant-breezed, fifty-degree Chicago! With birds twittering in the trees outside! We've sure missed you around these parts!

Having already been so kind as to bring pleasant weather with her, Robs has gone to the further effort of being a delightful guest, accompanying me all about town (to the speculative/appreciative looks of more than a few, especially in the gayborhoods). We took advantage of the nice weather to visit the Baha'i House of Worship, which she appeared to be as awed by as I was; we went to the Redhead for some music and Kopi for some warm drinks of a chillier evening.

We also went to both branches of Brown Elephant; at one of them, we found me a pair of jeans that actually fit and her the most awesome fur-lined leather coat; at the other, I found a couple blouses, a couple sweaters, another professional-looking button-down shirt, and a gorgeously made Calvin Klein pencil dress that looks amazing. (I could tell that it wasn't just me thinking that when I was examining my reflection in the dressing room mirror and I saw another woman walk by behind me and her head snap around to look. Hee! Gayborhood thrift shopping.) I was especially pleased by one of the blouses (an extremely flattering/high quality one in a color I've been looking for for a while) and the button-down shirt; I've been actively trying to improve the quality of my wardrobe, which for a long time has been variations on "jeans and t-shirts plus hoodies for winter and tank tops for summer". I think now I'm up to maybe four or five nice shirts, two semi-formal dresses, and two or three whole outfits I could wear in a professional setting and not be embarrassed! Go go Project Improve Rose's Wardrobe!

Even aside from being game for being dragged all over the city, Robs has been good company. We've known each other online for close to a decade, so even though this is technically the first time we've met, we've been pleasantly comfortable with each other in that wonderful worn-in long-time friends sort of way. It's been lovely having her around, especially as even though he got home okay, Brian's been basically in bed fighting off that nasty cold all weekend.

As a result, I ended up taking her to Amadeus; it was a phenomenal show, and we both were a little shell-shocked by it. (Me: "I feel so emotionally wrung out. Like I've been to a wedding, or a funeral." Her: "Except it couldn't have been either of those, because it was actually interesting.") I promptly went around after the show and introduced myself to people: "Hi! Your show was amazing! I would like to help you make more shows!" And gave them my card. And went home and bought tickets to take Brian on Friday. I'll have to send them my resume as well this week.

And now I should probably get a shower and help Robs get ready to head out. Even if I am tempted to handcuff her to my wrist so she doesn't leave. <3
missroserose: (Inspire)
More ridiculously cold weather has arrived. It's -1 right now, which is actually slightly higher than the "high" of -2. Not bad if you bundle up, but Brian had to run to work for a few supplies and reported back that the wind is nasty-cold. And tomorrow it's supposed to pick up, with wind chills down to forty below. I remain grateful that Brian and I both can work from home - in fact, Brian's employer actively encourages people to stay home and work remotely in weather like this.

Needless to say, the ratio of "Good for you!"s to pitying looks I've gotten when telling people I just moved here from Arizona has been trending toward the latter of late. Most of them don't believe me when I tell them I'm actually enjoying it (with the important help of stylish-and-warm winter gear and a well-insulated home), so I've been insisting that it's just like when I was growing up in Anchorage. Although my mother reports it's been so warm in Anchorage the past couple weeks (forty-odd degrees and sunny) that the pussy willows are all budding out three months early. Mid-February I'll actually be headed up in that direction; she bought me tickets to fly up there (first class! my mother is awesome) so I could help her out while she undergoes minor surgery. If this weird reversal keeps up I'm going to start telling people I'm vacationing in Alaska to escape the winter weather.

In other news, like roughly 90% of the female population of this country in January, I've decided I could stand to lose a few pounds. I don't think I'm fat or anything, but I've been gradually putting on weight over the past couple of years, and (especially what with working from home, with all the possibilities for deliciousness therefore constantly available) I'm not quite willing to trust my gut feelings on how much and when to eat. I've had very good luck with HabitRPG for building daily habits, and Mint.com for budgeting, so I saw no reason the same idea wouldn't work for tracking my food intake. To that end, I've been playing with Lose It!, a calorie/nutrition tracking website/app combination. I've been very impressed with it so far: you can move seamlessly between the app and the website, the interface is clean and easy to use, there's an extensive database of foodstuffs available, including lots of popular restaurant items, and - what really sold me on it - the app has a barcode scanner so you can instantly download the nutrition information of whatever you're cooking/eating and be certain it's correct. I know lots of people find this kind of thing a pain in the ass, but I have just enough of a meticulous control-freaky streak that I actually really enjoy it (especially with the streamlining in place so there's relatively little time spent entering or adding or multiplying). Admittedly, I've only used it for a few days, but it's been really nifty to be able to quickly punch in different food/exercise combinations and see how they affect my calorie budget for the day. It's also encouraged me to look for healthier options in day-to-day eating, since I know that those are the ones that'll make me feel fullest and happiest per calorie. It's given me that extra bit of encouragement to pay closer attention to how much I eat - that last pierogi might be tasty, but if I'm not hungry for it, I get 80 more calories to spend on dinner. (And then Brian's happy because he gets to eat my last pierogi.) And best of all, I've been enjoying food more - I know it's cliche dieting advice at this point, but it's really true that food tastes better when you wait until you're good and hungry for it.

The app also a whole community/social aspect, which I haven't played with much, but a little bit of clicking around the forums has shown a surprising lack of fat-shaming or body snark or other nastiness, and quite a bit of sensible advice about nutrition and exercise. Some people even use the tool to help them gain weight, and everyone seems to talk pretty openly and frankly about their experiences. So that's encouraging. The only thing that bugs me slightly is the focus on weight - if you're eating well and going to the gym regularly, for instance, your weight might not change but your body shape would (because you're building muscle as you burn fat). I wish there were a setting to go by waist size, or something similar. Still, the benefits inherent in the way it's adjusted my mental thinking about food are strong enough that I think I'll probably keep using it even after I get to the point where I change it to a maintenance-level calorie-intake rather than a net-loss calorie-intake. And that's probably the best compliment I can pay any such tool.

I also want to give a public shout-out to my friend Leigh, who gave me another invaluable tool in thinking about food or anything else that requires willpower. It was a few months ago, when I'd ordered some soup and potstickers for lunch for Lao Sze Chuan (a local incredibly-gourmet Chinese restaurant chain that has the most amazing food). Their potstickers are delicious and also enormous, and I'd eaten three of the five, and I could tell I was full, but I really really wanted to eat the other two. Leigh was gracious enough to listen to me angst about this over IM, and then rather than get all pedantic on the benefits of abstinence like I probably would have, she just said "You know, two potstickers and a glass of wine sounds like a fabulous midafternoon snack." And I realized she was right - and furthermore, that sort of thinking works wonders for all sorts of situations. You just stop framing it as "I can't have this right now", fix a concrete point in your mind where you can, and think about how much you're going to enjoy it then. Using scarcity and willpower to increase anticipation and maximize enjoyment. When you have a hedonic streak like I do, that's total and complete genius. I am so grateful for my awesome friends. <3

(Also? I don't want to jinx it by going on about it, but I think I'm feeling inspired again. So I'm going to go rinse the dye out of my hair and see if I can't sneak in some writing above and beyond my 500-word minimum today. Wish me luck.)
missroserose: (Default)
Happy holidays, folks! My month's been kind of up-and-down - as per usual, I got presents purchased and wrapped early, and then was in a bit of a slump for a lot of the past week and a half or so. But the impending Christmas deadlines got me up and moving. Finish decorating! Decorate packages for mailing! Send out cards! Clean the house! Learn to make mulled wine! That last has been an especial success; I wrote up the recipe to send to a friend who'd requested it on Facebook, and the list of recipients has been gradually getting longer as more and more people request. I may have to put up a Special Christmas Eve edition post for the Rebel Bartender. Or Christmas-Eve-Eve, if I get to it tonight. (ETA: Oh hay lookit dat.)

Luckily, the slump I mentioned hasn't been of the depressive sort; I've still been keeping up with my daily goals - I just haven't been doing much above and beyond them. Still, I'm especially pleased with how I've been doing on the writing. According to HabitRPG (which I have set to count M-F, and doesn't ding me if I miss a weekend day but counts it if I check it off), I'm up to 23 days in a row writing 500 words or more. It's not a lot, really, but it's easily the most consistent I've ever managed to be in not-November, and soon will pass that last qualifier as well. And some of the output I've actually been pretty pleased with. (It's an oddly cathartic feeling when you find that emotional centre that's been missing from a scene you've been doggedly plowing through - not unlike the mounting frustration playing a puzzle game that suddenly transmutes into satisfaction when the "AHA!" moment appears.) January is going to be my big push to start getting some kind of return on investment, I think - whipping my short stories into shape and putting them up for sale, starting a writing blog, working on having new content available regularly, that kind of thing.

The weather's been entertaining; it went from stormy to cold to warm-ish, with temperatures in the mid-thirties and all the pretty snow melting into slush. Then today it became a hard freeze - I think the high was like 12 degrees, and right now it's 4 with a -10 wind chill. I braved the weather to head to Trader Joe's for more supplies, and while waiting for the bus in the dark with the wind blowing I was starting to have Barrow flashbacks. (Though in Barrow, four degrees this time of year would feel amazingly warm. Heh.) Still, TJ's and both buses were pretty uncrowded, unusual for a weeknight before a holiday - I imagine the weather kept a lot of people indoors. I continue to be extremely pleased with my new coat; as well as stylish, it's remarkably windproof, and even under these conditions worked extremely well with just my usual ensemble of a t-shirt and hoodie beneath.

Related, there's been all kinds of kerfuffle from otherwise-slow news outlets over whether there'll be a white Christmas or not; current forecast is 60% chance of snow tomorrow. I certainly wouldn't mind, but honestly, the cold alone is plenty enough to feel like a proper Christmas again. Especially with the mulled wine and cranberry mincemeat (a new experiment for this year, since we had a bag of cranberries left over from Thanksgiving) cooking on the stove. Mmmm.

We haven't much in the way of plans for the holiday, other than Brian enjoying Not Commuting - he's had to drive out to a thoroughly desolate spot in the midst of the suburbs for the past month or so, and it's been hellish. It regularly tacks an hour on to his commute time each way, plus he has to drive in traffic rather than kicking back on the train and reading. (Though his biggest peeve is with the lack of good food out there - "I had the most mediocre hamburger in the world today. I miss working in the Loop.") Still, he gets paid for mileage, so that's a little bit of extra cash coming in. And in theory the project's supposed to be done the week after Christmas. Keeping our fingers crossed. In the meantime, as the new guy he's on call for the holiday, but other than that he's home for the next few days. He even gets to work from home on Friday. Score.

I hope you all are as warm and cozy as I am, and get to spend the holiday with someone you love (human or non, as you prefer). I hope you have many blessings to be grateful for, and can find it in your hearts to let go of hurts done you by those who meant well. But mostly I hope the turning of the year is a positive thing that leaves you in a better place than you were before; or if not, at least leads you along that path.

A very merry Christmas. I love you all.
missroserose: (Red Red Rose)
I'd forgotten how dazzling the snow-covered world is when the sun comes out. When I flicked the blinds open this morning I'm pretty certain I yelped as the light stilettoed its way into my dark-adapted retinas.

Yesterday was our first real snowstorm. Nothing life-stopping, just a few inches; it snowed steadily if not heavily for most of the day and into the night. (Brian called it "movie snow" - thick enough to be noticeable, but not so heavy as to obscure the shot, and not windy enough to muss the actors' careful coifs.) Much to my pleasant surprise, driving in it was not nearly so miserable as I'd anticipated. Most folk around here seem to understand the concept of "drive slowly and carefully when it's snowing and the roads are slick". The only part that made me raise my eyebrow was when, while turning left at a six-way intersection, the woman behind us started leaning on her horn when we didn't turn against the light. In a slick, unsalted intersection. While our path was still blocked by a string of gridlocked cars. Brian (who was driving and could see her in the rear view mirror) said she was yelling and screaming and about to have a coronary when we ended up waiting for another 90-second light cycle. I shrugged and thought maybe she was late for a job interview or her mother's deathbed or something, but we saw her not a minute later pulling into the Costco parking lot. (Maybe her mother was dying at Costco?) I guess that ninety seconds of her life must've been incredibly important to her. Maybe she's an transdimensional traveller and could see that we were literally ruining every single one of her futures by causing her to arrive at 12:45:28 instead of 12:44:02? Who knows. But I'm sure glad I don't live inside her head.

Nevertheless, we got a couple of errands done, including some new clothes for Brian, new wiper blades for the car (hurrah, Costco!), and an adjustment on Brian's 12-string (hurrah, Chicago Music Exchange!). And once we got home, I finally managed to clear the last of the boxes out of the living room...just in time to fill it with the Christmas tree and the boxes of decorations! Heh. Still, there's something rather appropriate-feeling about putting up the tree on the day of the first real snowfall. Now to find time to decorate...

Last week was busy, but fun. I dyed my hair red (see new icon) and bought a pretty silk chiffon skirt and wore both to Brian's new company's Christmas party, which is a pretty good-size event. I got to meet and befriend an out-of-town friend's girlfriend, who is super-awesome - intelligent and kind-hearted and also gorgeous; I can totally see why my friend is so into her, and it's awesome to see her so happy. And I got to see a couple of art museums around town, including the local Mexican Museum of Folk Art and the Art Institute's display of Food and Art, which included the originals of both Norman Rockwell's Freedom From Want and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. (Seeing the latter in person was especially entertaining, as I'd seen roughly eighty billion Photoshopped versions but never spent much time looking at the original.)

Social meetings continue apace. I've managed to tentatively befriend one girl near my age who moved here from South Carolina; she's planning to bring her boyfriend over for dinner come January when she's back from touring with her current theater group and visiting family over Christmas. And I met another at the Evening with Paul and Storm and Patrick Rothfuss; we're meeting up at the Christkindlmarket tonight at 6. Hurrah for making friends somewhat faster than I did in Arizona. Or at least, signs pointing in that direction.

Also? For all my Alaskan upbringing, after four years of AZ, there's something a little shocking about pulling up the weather forecast and seeing the low for this evening marked as a single digit. Almost as weird as it was the first year in Arizona seeing triple-digit highs. Guess I must like extremes.
missroserose: (Masquerade)
Chicago move, day...38? Ish? Man, time goes by quick. Especially when you lose a week to illness.

The settling-in continues apace, albeit with a certain frenetic urgency thanks to the impending arrival of guests. I finally have the bones of my reading nook set up - there's a little alcove off the living room that's been earmarked for it but filled with boxes until now. (At least they were mostly boxes of books?) But it's got a chair, a lamp, and a nice tall half-full bookcase in it now. Just in time for me to decide I'm taking up piano and move everything out of it to make it my keyboard nook. (Not sure if this will actually happen. But I've been thinking I should learn piano for a while, and it seems the likeliest spot. Though once we get the boxes cleared out of the living room and the couch pushed over a bit, there may be space by the Juliet balcony too.) Today will likely be unpacking more book boxes, and probably hauling the empty ones down to the storage space. Soon I'll need to put up a Craigslist ad for someone to come and take them away.

I've finally gotten all our IKEA purchases put together, and on the whole, I've been fairly pleased with them - they've been very well-engineered, with easy-to-follow directions and all the holes lining up and parts fitting correctly (unlike some other flat-pack furniture sellers I could name). The only exception, somewhat ironically, has been those HEMNES bookcases I angsted about buying. Somewhat to my surprise, the grey-brown color actually looks far less blah in person - it has sort of a purpley tone to it, and we've been decorating with an eye for purple accents. (The one in our bedroom looks especially nice, as our new bed set is a similar tone of purple, just darker.) Unfortunately, they've just not been as well-constructed as the other pieces we bought - I built two of them, so I'm fairly sure it's not just a fluke. One had significant issues with the screw locks on the fixed middle shelf not lining up properly; both had an issue with the second backing piece being slightly too large for the space you slot it into. Neither was an end-of-the-world problem (though I splintered one of the anchor holes trying to fix the screw lock thing on the first one - nothing heavy on that shelf!), but compared to how absolutely stellar all the other IKEA furniture we bought was, it was a surprising couple of oversights. Ah well. Maybe I'll email them about it and see if they'll send me another coupon. (I received a $25-off-your-$250-or-more-purchase coupon in the mail, which was awesome...literally three hours after returning from spending over $700 with them, which was not. And of course the fine print specifically forbade applying it to previous purchases. Ah well.)

Meantime, I'm looking around at things to occupy my time once the house is unpacked and set up. From the 13th through the 19th, we're having guests, but after that I'm going to have rather a lot of spare time. After hearing a friend talk about it with enthusiasm, I'm thinking I might try learning aerials - silks, trapeze, high-wire, that kind of thing. It seems like the sort of thing that would slot well with someone used to yoga and gymnastics rather than running or lifting, and I've always enjoyed the theatricality of it. I was a little concerned that the fact that I'm no longer in my twenties might be an issue, but according to the Aloft Loft, most of their students are in their thirties and many of their professional performers didn't start taking lessons until that age. (I wonder if it generally takes people that long to get over their fear of heights.) While it would be neat if I could learn it well enough to perform, even just the conditioning/balance/postural aspects all sound beneficial. And it's definitely not something I could have done in Arizona or Alaska. (Of course, their "taster classes" this month land smack in the middle of guest-time. Bah. I guess there's no reason I couldn't just dive right in and take a trapeze class, though...)

I'm also thinking about seeing if I can volunteer at the Old Town School of Folk Music; they have a program in place where you can earn credits to use towards concerts or classes. Most of the volunteer opportunities are things like ushering or concession-selling at concerts, but it says they occasionally need help with data entry and the like; maybe I can talk my way into an office-type gig with an eye towards eventually getting a paid position. We'll see.

The weather's been just lovely - crisp and cool, with a nice balance of windy/rainy and sunny days. There's even still some leaves on the trees; I'm hoping they'll last another week so my mother can see them when she visits. I must say, I could get used to this whole idea of autumn as an actual season, rather than "that two-week stretch between the leaves turning colors and the snow falling" like it is in Alaska...
missroserose: (Pimpin' Mayhem)
It's not unusual for it to snow in Bisbee; we're high enough in elevation that, come winter, it regularly gets below freezing at night. Sooner or later during the year, we'll get some precipitation on a cold night, and wake up to an inch or two of snow on the ground. Everyone gets pictures and makes snowmen before it melts later that day. No big deal.

It's somewhat less common to wake up to an entire foot of snow on the ground.

But this New Year's Eve, we were graced with a lovely blanket of snow. And while some of it melted during the day, there was enough of it to stick around for a few days. Even now, a week and a half later, there's patches of it on the hillsides. It's actually pretty entertaining - you can really see which parts of Bisbee get lots of sun during the day, and which stay in shade.

Unfortunately, being desert dwellers, our immune systems are not used to this kind of weather. Lo and behold, everyone in Bisbee has a case of the sniffles. It's one of those extra-nasty lingering bugs, too, that sticks around long after it should be gone. I've had it for a week now, and while I seem to be over the worst of it, the recovery is see-sawing around a lot more than I'd like. (Yesterday, despite a scratchy throat, I went out and ran errands and was generally productive. Today just walking to work was enough to give me that light-headed "you're overexerting yourself" feeling. But I still put in a good full day's worth of work. Eat that, cold virus.)

Nonetheless, New Year's was wonderful - [personal profile] cyrano came to visit, and brought the lovely [personal profile] lucia with him. We had a lovely dinner, and although our walking-about-town plans afterward were curtailed somewhat by the temperature and snow, we instead snuggled on the couch and watched Moulin Rouge. (I can report with near-100% certainty that, in addition to being beautiful, intelligent, and lovely to talk to, [personal profile] lucia is also deliciously soft and gives the sweetest snuggles.) I was sad to wave goodbye to them the next day, but life does get in the way of vacation. Alas.

My most recently completed project is replenishing my underwear drawer, which has been in a rather sad state for some time now. In the process, I discovered that I'm now a 34D - I guess that's the upside of having gained a fair amount of weight? I'm a little amused, though; if you told my barely-A-cup 18-year-old self that someday I'd be a D cup, I would've laughed myself sick. It certainly explained why none of my old bras seemed to fit, even aside from them being kind of raggedy and worn. Several trips to Victoria's Secret, a botched online order, a couple of returns, and a rather embarrassing amount of money later, I now have seven bras (five padded, two unpadded, in all sorts of pretty colors) and assorted matching undies, all brand-new, all extremely well-fitting, and several quite fancy. (I made the mistake of letting the salesgirl talk me into trying on one of their $50 bras as well as a $30 one...I figured it'd be nicer, but not $20 nicer. I was wrong.) I feel even more pleased than I expected about this. Wearing a poorly-fitting bra is hardly a life-ruining experience, but it is a constant low-level irritation. You get acclimated to it and eventually don't notice it anymore, but boy, you sure notice when it's gone.

Still waiting on a response from Berklee College of Music, although that's hardly surprising - they don't mail them out until the latter half of this month. I did get an email from their financial aid department, asking me to fill out the FAFSA so that, if I was accepted, they could determine what sort of awards I was eligible for. According to the government, I'm likely eligible for a $9,500 subsidized loan, which may be something to consider if they offer me a partial scholarship. It's inexpensive money (3.7% interest, which the government pays while I'm in school and for six months afterward), but on the other hand, that's between thirty and forty thousand dollars I would owe by the time I got my degree. That's a difficult financial hit to take. *And* it's less than a third of tuition alone. Sigh. I'd have to sell a lot of CDs to make that up.

In the meantime, though, I have Kalia back! I sent her back to Takamine for warranty service because the action on her lower frets was rather high, and the local guitar guy thought the neck was slightly skewed. They decided the neck was fine and she just needed a set-up and re-stringing, then sent her back. (Well, at least I got a new set of strings for my $44 in postage. Grr.) She's still a gorgeous guitar, though, and it's wonderful to have her back (...three months later), so I'm not holding any grudges. Mostly.

Speaking of which, I believe it's time I continued our getting reacquainted. If you'll pardon me...

Weather

Nov. 7th, 2011 07:47 am
missroserose: (After the Storm)
The past few days have been windy and stormy and downright cold. Lows tonight are forecast in the 26-35 F range.

I feel like the Alaskan and Arizonan parts of me are at war over this. The Arizonan is like "hey, wtf? Where's my sun and nice walking weather?" and the Alaskan says "About time! I FEEL ALIVE!"

Now if you'll pardon me, I'm going to go do yoga in a turtleneck...

Weather

Nov. 7th, 2011 07:47 am
missroserose: (After the Storm)
The past few days have been windy and stormy and downright cold. Lows tonight are forecast in the 26-35 F range.

I feel like the Alaskan and Arizonan parts of me are at war over this. The Arizonan is like "hey, wtf? Where's my sun and nice walking weather?" and the Alaskan says "About time! I FEEL ALIVE!"

Now if you'll pardon me, I'm going to go do yoga in a turtleneck...
missroserose: (Show Your Magic)
I'm still getting used to the differences in seasons here in the desert. In Alaska (the parts that aren't obscenely far north, anyway), October is the time to start locking windows and making sure insulation is intact and doors still fit in their frames and the heater filter is changed. Here, October is when you un-button your house, throw open the windows and let the fresh cool breeze fill your home. I know rationally that it's the same time of year, but it feels completely reversed - it feels so much like spring that it honestly wasn't until a friend pointed out that it was autumn and the seasons were changing that I even really thought "Huh. I guess it is autumn."

Either way, the changing of the seasons (or perhaps just the breaking of the heat) seems to have had a positive effect on my attitude and productivity. I've spent the last few months being fairly low-key and unambitious; playing a lot of Oblivion, working, sleeping, that kind of thing. Lately, however, I've been working on a few things - there's the exercise stuff I've been bragging about here, and I've been doing more artwork (mostly papercrafting as that's what I've had the supplies for - I may start sending out handcrafted cards in the coming months instead of store-bought) and some housework-y projects too.

I'm hoping that some of it will soon translate to writing as well. But even if I wind down again and all I get out of this sudden burst of energy is a few cards and a somewhat cleaner house, I think I can deal with that.
missroserose: (Show Your Magic)
I'm still getting used to the differences in seasons here in the desert. In Alaska (the parts that aren't obscenely far north, anyway), October is the time to start locking windows and making sure insulation is intact and doors still fit in their frames and the heater filter is changed. Here, October is when you un-button your house, throw open the windows and let the fresh cool breeze fill your home. I know rationally that it's the same time of year, but it feels completely reversed - it feels so much like spring that it honestly wasn't until a friend pointed out that it was autumn and the seasons were changing that I even really thought "Huh. I guess it is autumn."

Either way, the changing of the seasons (or perhaps just the breaking of the heat) seems to have had a positive effect on my attitude and productivity. I've spent the last few months being fairly low-key and unambitious; playing a lot of Oblivion, working, sleeping, that kind of thing. Lately, however, I've been working on a few things - there's the exercise stuff I've been bragging about here, and I've been doing more artwork (mostly papercrafting as that's what I've had the supplies for - I may start sending out handcrafted cards in the coming months instead of store-bought) and some housework-y projects too.

I'm hoping that some of it will soon translate to writing as well. But even if I wind down again and all I get out of this sudden burst of energy is a few cards and a somewhat cleaner house, I think I can deal with that.
missroserose: (Kick Back & Read)
Four degrees this morning, and not much warmer during the day. Just about everyone in town has frozen pipes, and several mains have burst. I suppose I can understand the thinking - if you're building in the desert, it doesn't really make sense to spend a lot of time properly burying/insulating your water line. But still, given the places I've lived, I can't help but be amazed at how everything here just falls apart after one particularly cold night. (Not even any snow, fer chrissakes. Also, I feel the need to point out that in Juneau it's been forty degrees and raining the last couple of days. How is that fair?)

Needless to say, our nearly-century-old house was in the "frozen pipes" category. At the recommendation of the landlord, we tried pouring boiling water over the exposed parts of our pipe line, but only managed to burst our meter, which then proceeded to spew water all over the place. The technician was kind enough to come out and fix it at eight o'clock at night in single-digit weather - I'll have to write the company a nice thank-you email.

Meantime, we're getting by with the usual Alaska dry-cabin methods. The landlord lives right up the way from us and managed to get the faucet in his workshop unfrozen, so we've been hauling five-gallon buckets of water down and using them. Washing one's hair in a bucket of water isn't exactly convenient, but it sure beats the alternative, and at least it was warm. And given that parts of the county are having gas outages (apparently the colder-than-average weather is putting strain on the interstate pipeline - gee, who would've guessed?), I'm just grateful that we still have electricity and heat. I comfort myself that, come June and 95-degree weather, this will all seem long ago and far away.

In that same positive spirit, I finally got around to uploading some more pictures for my Why I Love Bisbee album, featuring some entertaining finds from the various antique/consignment shops around town. The Sperry-UNIVAC Zippo in particular struck me as something that would be of interest to certain persons on my friendslist.

And since it seemed like the kind of day that deserved a Not Safe For Mum ) book to relax with, I decided to oblige:

Picture and drink recipe below. Mothers may consider themselves advised. )

I'm also trying to decide if a blog post I made critiquing a movie a couple years back might be something I could turn in to a story. Not sure yet - at the very least, I have a fair amount of reading up to do on 80s culture - but it's a thought.

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