Friday, March 27, 2020

Hi.

So, yeah. Hi. I'm not dead of coronovirus. I figured I should probably mention that.

You may have noticed -- or very well may not have, which is fine, because I hardly expect to the front-of-mind for the entire universe -- that at the start of the year I finally did follow through on what I've been saying I might do for ages, and stopped updating this blog regularly. I figured I'd probably still check in every few months or so with a little update on what's going on with me, or some random thoughts or something.

I figured that whenever I finally got around to doing that, the worst thing I'd have to talk about was the fact that we lost my grandmother recently. Which was incredibly sad -- she was beloved by a lot of people -- but hardly unexpected, given her age.

A global pandemic, however, was very much unexpected. Not that it should have been, maybe. God knows I've read enough books talking about how inevitable something like this happening probably was. Still. The whole thing feels surreal. Fictional. That's a feeling I've been having off and on for the last couple of decades, to be honest, but it almost seems to be a permanent state now, and I have no idea what to do with that. I used to feel excited about the idea of living in the future. Now I am clearly doing so, and I have no idea how to get to grips with it.

For the moment at least, as far as I know, I and my nearest and dearest are doing OK. Well, not sick, anyway. And I'm still working. First my organization sent as many people home to work remotely as possible and cut the staff in the building down to a skeleton crew. And I kept going to work, because I'm one of the bones in the skeleton. Then our governor issued a stay-at-home order and directed non-essential businesses to close. But my bosses declared us essential. Based on... I don't know what. I don't think I'm essential. But I'm still going in to work. I don't feel good about it. I feel like I may be subverting a public health order aimed at saving lives for no truly justifiable reason, something that seems to me distressingly emblematic of all the ways in which our society is fucked up right now. But I don't make these decisions, I guess, so I continue to do what I'm told, and I try to keep my moral qualms and my existential crises to myself. Mostly.

They're paying me time and a half, though. I'm gonna donate some of the extra to food banks, because there are surely a lot of people earning zero right now and wondering how the hell they're going to eat.

I do find the whole situation richly ironic, I have to admit. I know so many people who are going stir-crazy, desperate to be allowed to leave their houses, to be social again. Me, I long for my home every second I'm away from it. It's the only place I feel safe and comfortable right now, if I'm entirely honest. And my personality is such that I genuinely could just stay here and never see another human being for a year or so and be perfectly fine, psychologically. Or at least as fine as I am normally. Ha, ha.

Anyway. That's the state of things for me right now. This is me, checking in, reaching out. Whatever.

Try to stay safe out there. Try to stay sane. Good luck to all of us.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

So, Here We Are In 2020

It's a very science-fictional sounding year, but haven't they all been, for the last couple of decades? At least for us relics of the 20th century, anyway.

So. I'm still here, obviously. At least right now. I'm dropping the "currently" format, though, I think. It's served me well over the years as a prod to keep me posting at least something, and to open up a topic or two for discussion. But it's all feeling very old and creaky now. I may just check in here once in a while with whatever I have to say about how life's been going. Or I may not.

As for how life's been going right now, well, 2019, a year of considerable ups and downs, ended on a sad note for me. I lost my cat, Vir, right before New Year's. He was 14, and, honestly, I'm not sure I ever expected him to live this long. He's had health problems all his life. His diabetes, at least, was nicely under control, but then he started showing signs of kidney problems, and went downhill very rapidly. A couple of months ago, it was "Hmm, the blood test results are slightly worrying." A few weeks ago, his appetite started to diminish and he seemed slightly under the weather, and the blood test results were worse, so they gave me some medicine for him and told me to come back an have him rechecked in a month. A week later, he'd stopped eating almost entirely and looked very tired. They took him in and treated him with fluids -- a three-day process to relieve the symptoms of kidney disease, including the nausea that must have been keeping him from eating -- and reported after day two that he seemed to be doing a lot better and had cleaned his food dish, and I should be able to take him home the next day. Except the next day, they came in, and he was gone.

To be honest, while it came as a shock how quickly it all happened, it was also a very real relief. I was bracing myself to deal with a long, slow decline that would have been kind of awful for both of us, and for having to make a horrible decision for him at some point, and I'm glad we were spared that. And, I won't lie, on a practical level my life just got a lot easier. Keeping him on the feeding and medication schedule he needed was extremely hard on me, what with my shifting work hours. Not to mention all those vet visits.

But it's very strange, not having him around. This is the first time in over twenty years that I haven't had a cat in the house, and it's astonishing how much emptier the place feels. And it's going to take a while before I'm able to come home from work and not, for a moment, expect there to be an animal greeting me on the other side of the door.

So, yeah. It's sad. Not least because I knew him literally from the day he was born. I saw his entire life span play out in front of me, and thinking about that sort of thing can really make one feel the concept of mortality in one's bones.

One request, after all of this: Please, please, please do not attempt to engage me in a conversation about whether or not I should get another cat and whether I'm in the right mental place to make decisions about it. I have had this conversation enough in the last week that it's starting to make me angry, especially what seems like the constant parade of genuinely well-meaning people who seem determined to believe that I don't know my own mind on the subject. Thanks.

Ahem. Right, well, other than that unhappy news? I don't have much. So I'll just leave you with my traditional link to the list of books I read in 2019. Which is fewer than I would have liked, honestly, but I'm looking forward to more in 2020.

May you all have a bright, warm New Year, one that you will look back on when it's over and smile. I think we all deserve that at this point.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

December Currentlies

I'll be honest here: I came fairly close to just not even bothering with this post. More and more, this blog feels like a relic of the past, and more and more even posting this here often feels kind of pointless. So I don't know whether you'll see anything from me in January or not. But, well, it seemed wrong not to at least round out the year. So, for the moment, here I still am. And here this still is.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. A gray long-sleeve t-shirt with a picture of a spacewalking astronaut on it. Blue socks with a design featuring the planets of the solar system. Brown work boots.

Current mood: Not too bad, all things considered. (Said "things" mainly being my as-usual weird-ass work schedule and accompanying bizarre sleeping patterns.) Just a little frazzled, maybe, because I'm posting this fairly quickly, as I have somewhere to be soon.

Current music: Nothing much.

Current annoyance: My "somewhere to be soon" is, in fact, a dentist appointment. So my current annoyance is teeth. Are they or are they not the stupidest body part? I'm gonna go with yes. Yes, they are.

Current thing: Having lots of things I want to do with my time and not nearly enough time to do them in, and still somehow spending far too much of my life doing dumb time-wastey things.

Current desktop picture: Still The Good Place.

Current book: Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. I'm about two thirds of the way through, and I swear, the more of this novel I read, the less I know how I feel about it.

Current song in head: "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon. Which I'm pretty sure is not, in fact, a song about me.

Current refreshment: I just ate a bacon cheeseburger for lunch. It was good.

Currently watching: Recently finished watching Chernobyl. Which I thought was going to be tough to watch, but, honestly, after reading Voices from Chernobyl, which it seems to have been largely based on, the TV series was nothing. Seriously, that book was probably one of the most painful things I've ever read in my life. The series was very good, though, and its themes are depressingly relevant today.

Current happy thing: Hey, I did get enough sleep today! That's always a real happy thing for me.

Current thought: Carly, please, I have never owned an apricot scarf in my life.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

November Currentlies

I'm not even going to ask where the time goes anymore. It is November now, and I will accept this fact.

Current clothes: A white t-shirt from LibraryThing, a website I use basically every day. Blue sweatpants. Socks that say "Just give me a cup of tea and a good book and leave me alone," because it's nice to have socks that reflect your values and interests.

Current mood: Generally OK, but a little annoyed at how little I've gotten done so far today.

Current music: Nothing much. Bizarrely enough, I think the most recent thing I may have listened to was, er, a metal band fronted by a parrot. I don't know where I find these things, either.

Current annoyance: There are many of them, but the most immediate one is that a few minutes ago I made the mistake of petting the cat and then rubbing my eye, and now my eye is all itchy and it's driving me nuts.

Current thing: Based on my upcoming answers to "current book" and "currently watching," I think you might say that it's catching up on weird stuff from the 1990s that I'd somehow missed until now.

Current desktop picture: It's still The Good Place.

Current book: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King. Four books in, and I'm still not sure whether it was worth finally starting this series, but I guess I'm committed to it now, or something.

Current song in head: "I Go to Extremes" by Billy Joel, which has been stuck in my head off and on for days now, for some reason.

Current refreshment: A cup of chai.

Currently watching: Neon Genesis Evangelion. Which... The more I watch of this show the less I understand it, but the more I find myself responding to it. I'm not sure that makes any sense whatsoever, but I guess it does track with everything I've heard about it.

Current happy thing: No work tomorrow!

Current thought: Just give me a cup of tea and a good book and leave me alone! Except not just yet, because I really do have to put laundry away and do the dishes, and a whole bunch of other stuff right now. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

October Currentlies

Well, here we are in October. I don't have a whole lot to say about September. It was a lot less interesting than August, which is no bad thing.

Current clothes: Right now, I'm wearing a giant bath towel, because I just got out of the shower.

Current mood: My mood seems to consist of a layer of genuine good cheer over a slightly deeper layer of irritation.

Current music: Nothing much. Still spending most of my listening-to-things time trying desperately not to fall further behind on the gazillion podcasts I'm subscribed to and failing miserably.

Current annoyance: It's that time of the year, and my sinuses are bothering me. They're not too awful today, but I woke up with one hell of a sinus headache yesterday. Sigh.

Current thing: Trying to do less time-wastey stuff like, I dunno, sitting mindlessly in front of my computer clicking random things on the internet, and more time doing stuff that's useful or actively enjoyable. It's an on-going, long-term project. How well it's going is... debatable.

Current desktop picture: In honor of the start of the final season, I switched from the Good Omens wallpaper to The Good Place wallpaper. (This is a switch that entertains me since, while they're both unique in many ways, I'm pretty sure I could write a multi-paragraph description that would fit both equally well, starting with the general tone and working all the way down to details like "and there's a supernatural entity who wears bow ties." Possibly I find this more amusing than I really ought to.) I really like this image, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep this wallpaper for long, sadly, as my icons don't stand out from it very well.

Current book: During-the-Event, a sort of post-apocalyptic/dystopian thing. It's... Eh, it's OK.

Current song in head: There's been been a strange mishmash of songs in the ol' brain lately. Right now, I seem to be alternating between "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri and "Come as You Are" by Nirvana. Which may be the weirdest medley ever.

Current refreshment: Nothing at the moment. But I'm kind of thirsty. After I put some clothes on, I should make some tea or something.

Currently watching: Just started season 2 of Disenchantment.

Current happy thing: My sinuses may currently hate me, but, hey, at least I finally seem to be over the bronchitis! The lungs are still occasionally producing some goo, but I'm pretty sure that's just the allergies at this point. Because if my body doesn't have an invader to fight off, it will just go ahead and invent one. Sigh. But! For the first time in two months, I can actually recognize my own voice as sounding like me! Huzzah!

Current thought: Right. Time to get dressed and get on with my day, I guess. Onward!

Monday, September 02, 2019

September Currentlies

It seems that August is over. Somehow. And a strange, strange month it was. Things really did get nuts when I came back from vacation at the end of July, and not in a good way.

Vir ended up having to have seven teeth pulled, poor kitty. And then for weeks afterward, his eyes were still pretty runny and weepy, which had me very worried. The vets gave me several different kinds of eye drops and ointments to use on him, which was no fun for either of us. But either the last thing they tried actually worked or it finally just cleared up on its own, because he's looking reassuringly bright-eyed again now. Thank goodness. And they said his mouth was healing up nicely.

Which probably means he's better off than I am, as I still have the cough I brought back from Alaska. I keep thinking it may be getting a bit better, but that could be wishful thinking. My voice is at least slightly better now, even if it is still pretty raspy and tends to get weak if I use it too long. I did go to the doctor, after a couple of weeks, but as usual they just gave me antibiotics, and, as usual, they did nothing whatsoever. It's like they're perennially optimistic that this time -- this time! -- it will actually be a bacterial infection. Ah, well. At least I don't have pneumonia, although I do have a hefty bill for the x-ray that told me I didn't have pneumonia. Yay.

Anyway. On to the usual.

Current clothes: A gray Doctor Who t-shirt with a picture of the TARDIS and a lot of scribbings in Gallifreyan. Blue shorts. White ankle socks.

Current mood: Eh. Kind of okay, I guess?

Current music: Nothing at the moment. My listening-to-things time is currently very much devoted to trying and failing not to fall further behind with all the podcasts I'm subscribed to.

Current annoyance: Aside from the cough (which is annoying on many, many different levels)? Well, I realized yesterday that water was pouring out of my swamp cooler, and probably had been for days. I had to shut the water off to it, which means I can't use it, which is annoying because it's still in the mid-90s here during the day. Meanwhile, my bathtub drain is clogged up, and every time I shower I end up with water up to my ankles. Clearly I need to get the plumbers in to deal with both of these problems, but, of course, its a holiday weekend. Oh, and also I'm on night shifts, which means I'm going to have the choice between not getting this stuff fixed for another whole week, or losing several hours of badly needed sleep.

Current thing: I don't even know, man. Time passes, and I don't seem to have done anything with it when it's gone.

Current desktop picture: Still the guys from Good Omens. I really want to go and watch that again.

Current book: The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden.

Current song in head: It's gone quiet now, mercifully, but it was the theme song to Family Guy. (See current viewing.)

Current refreshment: Nothing, but I'm thirsty. I should go drink something. The doctor did tell me to stay hydrated so I can cough up more mucus. Yum.

Currently watching: I was watching Family Guy. I think I saw an episode or two, ages ago, wasn't impressed by it, and never bothered watching any more, but I figured I'd give it another shot. I only got about eight or nine episodes in, though. The thing is, it has moments where I find myself thinking, "Yes, I see what you did there. That was sort of clever." But I never actually laugh. I do, however, sometimes find myself cringing a little. So I'm going to cut me losses and stop now.

Current happy thing: Well, I now have a bright-eyed kitty with a nicely healing mouth.

Current thought:The first season of Family Guy came out in 1999, which is much earlier than I thought it was. And more than once, I sort of found myself thinking, "Oh, wow, I'd completely forgotten, but this is what passed for edgy parody in the 90s, isn't it?" and feeling vaguely uncomfortable. I'm pretty sure I never expected that back when I was actually living in the 90s.

Friday, August 02, 2019

August Currentlies (And Other Stuff)

Well, it's been quite an eventful month. First, I turned 48, which is a number that seems largely meaningless except for the fact that it's inching disturbingly towards the big five-oh, and that just feels deeply, viscerally wrong. I am not this old. I cannot possibly be this old. What the hell even is time?

Second, I just got back from a week's vacation in Alaska with my mother and sister, talking scenic train rides through part of the state and visiting Denali National Park. We didn't get to see much of the mountain itself, which apparently is not uncommon, as Alaska has lots of cloud cover. But we saw a lot of wildlife, including a startling number of grizzly bears (fortunately at a distance and from the safety of a bus). My sis and I even took a rafting trip down a (very cold) river.

Basically, it was all completely beautiful. And, I gotta tell ya, I could get used to almost perpetual sunlight. All day, every day, it basically felt like the equivalent of a pleasant spring morning (or possibly afternoon). I never had any sense of what time of day it was, but in a way that was the exact and utter opposite of the feeling I get when I get so far out of sync with the sun due to the shift work that my circadian clock just breaks. That feels deeply strange, even surreal. This felt completely natural, as if time was something I just didn't even need. Very odd, but very cool.

So that was all great, although it was marred a little bit by the fact that I managed to catch an unpleasant chest cold at the very end, which certainly made the plane flight home even more annoying than long plane flights usually are. I'm still coughing. I just hope it doesn't settle in and turn into bronchitis the way such things seem to do for me about half the time.

Also not great: I boarded the cat at the vet's while I was gone, and after I picked him up, I noticed one of his eyes was weeping mucus a little. I was worried he'd picked up something while he was in there, so I took him back to have it checked out. Turns out, he's got a bad tooth abscess. Which he's apparently had for quite some time, the poor thing. It may be the stress of being stuck at the vet's worsened it to the point where it finally became obvious. Aaaand, now he needs antibiotics and dental surgery, on top of all the other things he needs. Poor kitty. Also, AAAAARGH.

Anyway. On to the usual state-of-things meme thingy.

Current clothes: Blue sweatpants. My white "tea rex" t-shirt, featuring a monocled T-Rex drinking tea. White socks.

Current mood: Very out of it, in that way that I often get when I've just come back from vacation, except exacerbated no doubt by not feeling super well.

Current music: Nothing much.

Current annoyance: So many, many, many things, but most prominently this stupid cough.

Current thing: Trying to recover from traveling and catch up on the million and one things that seem to need doing upon my return.

Current desktop picture: It's still the main characters from Good Omens. Because they are the best.

Current book: The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki.

Current song in head: "What about Love?" by Heart, because I heard it the other day in some public place or other. I've been struck lately by how often 80s music seems to be cropping up in such places now. It seems very strange to me, but then I think, back in the 80s, was there lots of 50s music being played like that? And, you know, I think there was. (Which just makes me feel even older, because surely in the 80s the 50s were ancient freaking history. Right?)

Current refreshment: Moroccan Mint tea. (Aka green tea with mint. Very tasty.)

Currently watching: I haven't had the chance to watch anything yet since I got back. There's going to be a lot of stuff on the DVR to catch up with. Also, I still haven't finished Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Well, honestly, it's not the kind of thing you can binge-watch, at all.

Current happy thing: Alaska really was beautiful. Well, is beautiful still, I'm sure. I just can't see it at the moment, because I'm in New Mexico.

Current thought: I have also added to my lifetime list of animal species consumed, thanks to a caribou sausage breakfast burrito I ate in the dining car of the train. I'm not sure why that feels like some kind of accomplishment.