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Jul. 24th, 2017 10:53 pm
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
STILL! HEADACHE! FREE!

Since Thursday! This is a damn miracle, that's what it is.

And today we ordered me a motorized standing desk, because the (antique by now, it belonged to my grandparents) dining table I've been using as a workstation for my laptop and two monitors for the past three years was never a good idea. I'd never found an office chair that was tall enough to be comfortable at that table, and that doesn't take into account that any one that was even close enough to use at that table meant my feet didn't touch the ground.

So! Standing desk, arriving this week. It's a good thing I finished The Great Decluttering: The Workdesk over the weekend. (Well, almost finished. I still have to haul some boxes of things out from underneath the table, but that should be relatively easy. Plus the Stroppy One is going to help me.)

Aaaaaand I've finally FINALLY accepted that I need to carry smaller/lighter purses with less stuff in them. Yes, I've said this before (every couple of years, I think?), but it has been made very clear to me that I absolutely have to do this and stick with it. I'm currently making a shoulder strap for a vintage velvet handbag I have, which should be just large enough for me to carry the essentials:


  • Phone.

  • Wallet.

  • Powder compact and two tubes of lipstick.

  • Tiny pill case of anti-anxiety meds.

  • Keys.

  • Sunglasses.

  • Tiny notebook.

  • Pen.

  • Handkerchief.



And maybe, just maybe, my mini multi-tool and tiny sewing kit. What? I actually end up needing those two things fairly often.

NO HEADACHE. I don't think that will stop being astonishing to me any time soon.

Oh dear

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:00 pm
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
I have learned that there is a whole world of DIY kits for steeping/infusing your own bitters, that come with all of the "bitter" herbs and spices in the correct proportions. Just add them to alcohol with whatever fruit, flowers, or spices you want, infuse for a couple of weeks, strain out the solids and simmer them with some water, mix the two liquids together, and bottle.

I am very, VERY tempted by this. Because no one is making rose bitters right now, and I am almost out. HOW AM I TO MAINTAIN MY FANCY EXISTENCE WITHOUT ROSE BITTERS, I ASK YOU?

I know, I know, I don't need any more hobbies. But rose bitters! And it's not like I can enjoy rose syrup any more ...

This is weird. Good, but weird

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:53 pm
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
Today was the Botox injections day. A total of six injections, one on each side in the muscles at the base of my skull, temple, and jaw. My headache (which had come back sometime last night) started lessening after the first two injections. Now? Now it is COMPLETELY gone. No trace.

Being completely headache-free is WEIRD. Awesome, absolutely! But weird. It's been a very, very long time since I've had that. (Like, years. I don't actually know how long.)

Nothing in my face feels odd or frozen, and I can move it like normal. (So, like a cartoon character, really.) Dr. Ryan the awesome dentist said that I should give him updates over the next couple of weeks, whenever I feel like it over on FB, and OMG we need to go makeup shopping together.)

(He also correctly identified which bunny I brought with me for emotional support. (Merricat.)) I LOVE DR. RYAN WITH A PURE AND UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

No headache. NO HEADACHE.

The next step is to talk to my doctor and get her help in convincing the insurance company to pay for this treatment every four months. If they won't, then I am seriously considering squeezing the household budget to pay the over-thousand-dollars ourselves, because this feeling is worth it.

---

In Shallow Fashion Craving news, I showed the Stroppy One that skirt from Amazon that I posted here the other night. He Did Not Approve of the graphic design. He liked the idea in theory, but felt the actually quality of the rose print was lacking. This is part of the fun of being married to an artist - they will give you useful feedback when you're looking at fashion.
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth


Yes? No?

On the one hand: B&W stripes! Giant red roses! Oooh, it's all very Night Circus, isn't it?

On the other hand, I can't tell if this is too busy. Plus, while it's a full skirt, it's also 100% polyester.

But let's be real here, I'll probably end up buying it.
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
One problem with this new-ish fascination for vintage floral print full skirts is that so many of the sellers on Etsy and eBay use a slur in their description. I know they're clueless and think it evokes a free-spirited air, but dammit.

With that bit of venting out of the way, these are different ones I'm idly contemplating. (All images hotlinked from the various Etsy listings, because apparently that's an okay thing to do now, especially because places like Etsy are never going to run out of bandwidth.)

I really like this one.



The print is beautiful in this, but I'm not sure about the mix of colors?



This is probably my least favorite, mostly because it's similar to the skirt I have that kicked off this whole fashion tangent.

Q.Psience radio interview

Jul. 18th, 2017 11:13 pm
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[personal profile] ecosophia
Two hours of me talking with host Jill Hanson on KGRA radio's Q.Psience show, mostly about my book The Secret of the Temple. An MP3 of the whole shebang can be downloaded here.

So that's a thing

Jul. 18th, 2017 07:52 pm
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
Today I had a long-overdue dentist appointment, mostly for a cleaning and checkup. It was overdue because I've been busy and incapable of scheduling things, not because of any apprehension. I LOVE my dentist. As in, I have gone out for drinks with him and his hubby, because I adore him so. He's charming, sarcastic, and incredibly good at what he does.

After the checkup part was done, he asked me a bunch of questions about my (usual type of) migraines, then did some pressure tests on my jaw, temples, and the base of my skull. After I winced away from all of them, he said, "So yeah, your migraines? Probably tension headaches, because girl, you are tense".

Then he said he wanted to try something to double-check his theory, but that it would be "Fuck my life painful" for a few minutes on each side. But I trust him, so sure. Then he stuck his thumb into my mouth on one side, gripped the outside of my jaw, and applied what felt like an appalling amount of pressure. The pain rivaled the migraine that sent me to the ER, and then lessened after a few minutes. Then he did the same thing to the other side.

After he did this torture, my migraine went away. No, you don't understand. I have had some level of migraine pain every day for MONTHS. (Yes, I mostly just ignore it, because what other option was there that wasn't medication that left me a zombie?)

It turns out he has the same sort of issues, and after a lot of research, found the treatment that works for him, which is a fuckton of Botox injections in those three muscle groups. Guess what I'm doing on Thursday afternoon?

I won't lie: I'm kind of freaked out by this. Buuuuuuut, if this is able to drop the migraines, it's worth it.

thingth

Jul. 18th, 2017 01:21 pm
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[personal profile] rimrunner
Stuff is happening. Like:

- I got bit by something down on our land a week and a half ago. Two urgent care visits, two antibiotic prescriptions, and a shot in my hip later, things are finally on the way toward healing. No more shorts in tall brush for me. I had a follow-up with my PCP today; he was frustrated that there's no way to know what originally got me. It could even have been dermatitis from a plant (there are four on our land that I know of that could have caused it, and two that I haven't seen but whose presence can't be ruled out) though he thinks not. My guess is still ticks. They're way more common than spiders and are really bad this year. I have another few days of antibiotics and a bandage on my leg that people keep asking about.

- Another story came out, in See the Elephant magazine. It's the first story I workshopped at Stonecoast so I'm pretty happy about this one. My publications page is starting to grow.

- I built a picnic table, using a pattern from Popular Mechanics and instructional tips from Erik. I can use power tools. This is good. We have also built an outhouse; with that and the well, basic camping infrastructure has been established.

- I also took a basic home repair class through the local community college. There's only so much one can learn in a single day, but it's also true that a lot of basic repair work isn't terribly complicated. Erik says I get to do the next power outlet replacement. I'm kind of looking forward to it.

- Work continues to be political. After a great deal of back and forth, including a consulting architect who got as far as drafting three plans for a library renovation before being told that the project wouldn't be funded, we're getting a student success center in the library. It's being housed in the currently vacant offices where the associate provost and his assistant used to be, entails renovation of the academic assistance center, and they're taking over our two most-used group study spaces on the first floor as well.

The project isn't a bad idea. Our retention rate is below 80%, which is one reason for our ongoing budget woes (at least the library budget wasn't cut again--as far as we know). But it was more or less dictated from the provost's office, the person in charge of the project has spent maybe an hour in the building and has shown some sign of not really knowing what they're doing (18-foot conference tables??), and the provost herself is on medical leave for the rest of the summer. My boss is supposed to report to her and they didn't have a good working relationship before this.

- I recently finished reading Braiding Sweetgrass. It's a fairly astounding book, much about it telling me that I'm on the right track with some of the decisions I'm making. There's even a chapter about a guy who bought up a lot of recently clearcut timberland and started restoring it, viewing it as helping to fulfill his responsibility to the planet. I'm looking forward to being able to spend more time on the land; right now, dayjob and writing are taking up a lot of that time.

- Last week SPU left a door hanger on the front door indicating that they would be doing construction today and no water would be available from 9 until 5. Of course that's the day I'm working at home because my doctor's appointment was right in the middle of the day. I filled a bunch of water bottles and broke out a bottle of hand sanitizer. I'll still be glad when the water is available again.

- The cat Erik and I adopted last fall, Little Man, continues to be adorable and charming. He's even charmed Erik. It helps that his personality is what many would describe as dog-like.

- I am worried for some very dear friends, whose rough times have lasted for years. I won't delve into the details here. In any case their story is becoming all too common, and is why I am taking certain measures that I am fortunate and privileged to be able to do.

- I'll be a featured reader at Two Hour Transport on July 26th. I'm excited.
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
Whooo, I would like to stop being exhausted. That can happen any time now, thanks.

But despite being woozy and exhausted, I did manage to get some badly-needed household chores done today. Then I changed back into a ruffled nightgown and flopped on the couch, reading vintage gothic romances. I guess that's my version of self-care now? Sure, why not.

I've also been noodling around more on Pinterest (clicky-link!), because having "witchy fashion", "romantigoth" and "chiffon death shrouds" boards is entertaining to me. Yes, I also created a "Gothic Charm School" board (erm, last night), because Thea read me the riot act about not actually having one. (Thea is the person who regularly busts my chops about my not being proactive about self-promotion. Yes, I know I need to be better about it, but that means I have to get over my fear of being self-aggrandizing? Something like that.) So I am going to try to be good about making sure there are pins for new GCS posts and whatnot, in addition to photos and fan art.

I have a couple more clothing alteration projects I want to do:


  • Fine-tune the alterations I'm doing to one of the batwing-hem jackets to turn it into a sleeveless, lace-up overdress thing. I thought I had it finished, but it turned out that taking it in down the back did something weird to the pull across the shoulders, and the resulting tension gave me a headache when I wore it on Friday night. (Not dissimilar to the types of headaches I would get if I wore a halter dress, and it went away as soon as I took the overdress off.)

  • Thea's mum, who is one of the kindest, magical people I know, has given me a stack of vintage (90s is not vintage, dammit!) floral rayon dresses. The ones that were made by Nostalgia or Starina. Apparently the bodices are worn or damaged, but she knows I'll turn the dresses into skirts. (I've developed a weird fondness for black with pink, red, or white florals from those manufacturers, worn with black lace overdresses and giant sunhats. Victorian Garden Witch*? I dunno.)

  • I need to unearth one of the full tiered black cotton skirts, and use it as the base for petticoat necromancy, wherein old chiffon and organza petticoats are cut apart and sewn onto a cotton skirt. Maximum floof underskirt, but with a lightweight, breathable fabric underlayer!



The problem with these clothing alteration projects is that I don't have anyplace right now to leave the sewing machine set up, so I have to drag it out each time I do something, then put it away. And by drag it out and put it away, I mean ask the Stroppy One to do that for me right now, because I have mom's vintage all-metal construction Elna from the early 70s, that thing is HEAVY, and I'm not supposed to crouch down and lift heavy things right now. Which brings me right back to I WOULD LIKE TO STOP FEELING EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME, THANKS.





*Which reminds me, I found a brand-new pair of Dr. Marten's Triumph 1914 (clicky-link!) boots at Goodwill a few weeks ago. They're super-cute, I just need the weather to cool down a bit before I wear them.


(Seriously, florals? Even with everything else black? When did this happen? I am perplexed. Delighted, but perplexed. Which reminds me, I am contemplating this crushed velvet floral skirt, by Nostalgia (clicky-link!. But I'm not sure about the mix of colors.)
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
Lessee, last I wrote, I was feeling better from chiropractic adjustments. That night, I was tripped by a certain large black cat, and fell down a couple of stairs. The bruise on my rear is spectacular. Thankfully, the fall didn't throw my back out again.

The doctor's appointment was good, and I have a follow-up on the 26, so we can go over the results of the x-rays of my upper spine and base of my skull, and the results of the mass of blood tests that are being run. But I kept having milder versions of the migraine that sent me to the ER ... and then on Sunday, the Stroppy One made me switch back to my old glasses (I'd gotten new ones in June), and we have determined that I probably gave myself hellacious eye strain over a few weeks. It is interesting to note that now that I've switched back to my previous glasses, the swings of vertigo and light sensitivity have died down.

And then on Monday, I slid down two stairs again and banged my right arm up. (Not Vlad's fault this time, but my own carelessness.) And the rotten cherry on this sundae of nonsense: all of this has left me exhausted, so I'm not able to get as much done as I want, and therefore I am feeling unproductive and guilty.

WHY, BRAIN RACCOONS? WHY?!

But! I got a new Gothic Charm School post written, I did slooooowly manage to get a couple of mending projects done, and the bedroom is still tidy after last month's Great Uncluttering. And I'm sloooowly stepping up my witchy work, because it makes me feel better.

Arctic Dreams

Jul. 14th, 2017 12:43 am
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[personal profile] ecosophia
About a year ago, I was beginning to sketch out the plot for the sixth Weird of Hali novel, which involves a voyage to Greenland on a tall ship. I've never been to Greenland, or anywhere in the Arctic, so I did what writers generally do and went looking for books on the subject by people who know what they're talking about. That and a large used book store was how I ended up with a battered paperback copy of Barry Lopez' Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape.



It turned out to be much more than a bit of convenient research for an epic fantasy with tentacles. It's brilliantly written; here's a bit from the fifth chapter --

"Those days on Ilingnorak Ridge, where I saw tundra grizzly tearing up the earth looking for ground squirrels, and watched wolves hunting, and horned lark sitting so resolutely on her nest, and caribou crossing the river and shaking off the spray like diamonds before the evening sun, I was satisfied only to watch. This was the great drift and pause of life. These were the arrangements that made the land ring with integrity. Somewhere downriver, I remembered, a scientist named Edward Sable had paused on a trek in 1946 to stare at a Folsom spear point, a perfectly fluted object of black chert resting on a sandstone ledge. People, moving over the land."

-- but it's also a meditation on humanity's relationship to nature, one that avoids the usual platitudes and presuppositions and goes very deep. I've sat up late I don't know how many nights with a glass of halfway decent bourbon and my copy of Arctic Dreams, partly reveling in the use of language, partly staring at space and following out Lopez' ideas to an assortment of unexpected places. When this copy goes to pieces, I'll be looking for a hardback for the shelf of nature books I keep ready to hand.
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