Carpe dat diem

“The trouble is, you think you have time” — Jack Kornfield

but you don’t.

Time is the one commodity in our lives we can’t make more of when we’re out. Once it’s gone it’s gone. That’s it.

So get up and carpe dat diem already.

The upcoming viewing plans

I’m so far behind on movie watching and show viewing that am pretty much the last geek girl in America who hasn’t seen Wonder Woman. My friend Tim and I are planning to go tomorrow night. I’m hopeful, but my initial impression of the first trailer was “WWI Captain America with Boobies,” so I’m not that hopeful despite all the hype. (Please be good.)

As for other movie viewing, I’m starting to plan my post operative recovery viewing – things that I know the roommate won’t dig, so I don’t have to worry about any kind of charges of “DVD Adultery” while I’m watching. So far the list is as follows:

  • Another – This comes highly recommended from Tim (of the above viewing of Wonder Woman,) so I’m expecting creepy/good anime things from it.
  • Ash vs the Evil Dead– Yeah, I know. Take away my @groovybruce fanclub card, but I haven’t had time to actually sit down and enjoy anything, let alone a full series with multiple seasons. Bad fan-girl. No autograph when he comes to Iowa City to promote his latest book in September. (Yes, there is so much squee in my heart right now that I could about pass out from it.)
  • I, Zombie – I’m a season or two behind. Might be a good opportunity to catch up.
  • Train to Busan – this has been on my list since I saw a review of in January. Actually getting solo viewing time to watch it is a bonus.

Not much of a list so far, but with three seasons of Ash vs the Evil Dead to work through, that will slow me down a bit. Likewise, Another is supposed to have layers that might require a second watching. I could still probably use one or two more things to round out my list.

Also, I’m noticing it’s a little zombie heavy. Not that I mind living on Channel Z, as it were, but classic monsters fan ought to have a bit more depth of monster viewing.

https://g.co/kgs/fR8f7a

What other things should I consider for my list?

Future life delayed on account of current life

Everything is in a perpetual state of waiting for the next thing before things can start. I feel stuck in eternal stasis, watching everything go by me. There are things that can’t done until:

After My Birthday. My birthday has come and gone.

Next Weekend. Was supposed to be next weekend last week, but this last weekend turned into another spiral of obligations, duties, and just trying to find the brainspace to think after a long week of work.

I had these dreams. I wanted to be a famous writer. I wanted to be happily married with a family and a dog. I wanted to fly jets.

I grew up to be a loser.

Okay, so I have the dog. She thinks I’m a loser, too.

Now it’s wait until After The Fourth of July because that’s the next big social event, After My Surgery because that’s my next big limiting life event, After I Pay Off My Debt because that’s where all the money goes, and After I Lose 100 Lbs because I’m too fat to love.

It’s never. Part of me is screaming that it’s never and I just need to actual own that my life is what it is and it’s never going to be any different.

I hate that bitch . It’s not like nothing is happening.

My actual life is pretty good. I have a stable home life and good friends. (Though sometimes I do really miss romance.)

The day job is full of great coworkers and brimming with opportunities. I like what I do and I have places to grow.

I’ve got some writing momentum going. I wrote about half a chapter of the book (actual writing) and I know where the rest of the chapter goes. Even know where the story goes.

I started walking again, though not regularly enough. I started keeping a food journal again because I eat my feelings. (When I am sad my feelings taste like Pepsi, mostly, with a side of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. Occasionally they taste like cake.)

It’s just so damned slow and I feel like I’ve wasted so much of my life trying to make this one be what I want it to be here and now instead of tossing out the things that aren’t working for me.

I need to Konmari my life.

Is that even possible? Thank the things that have been a part of my life that are weighing me down and leave them for others who may find joy in them? And if I do try something like this where do I even begin?

Jump starting

The meme says your profile picture will be what you have to save yourself in the zombie apocalypse (ZA). 

Hello, cup of “poison” tea.

I’m going to be well-caffeineated when the ZA hits. That’s going to count for something. Anyone groggy when their friends, family, coworkers, and random fellows on the street suddenly go all dead and brain-eating won’t have nearly the advantage their alert and well-caffeineated compadres when the competition for survival starts.

Rule One of Zombieland is Cardio. To escape a pursuing zombie you will need to out-run it, and this means being in good shape.

I’m not saying that cardiovascular health isn’t important, but I would say I’d put my money on the well caffeineated guy in average shape above the groggy guy in great shape. If you’re not sharp enough to spot the threat during the ZA, you’re more likely to be Zed-fodder before you can take off running.

Obviously, it’s not a long term strategy. Caffeine sources will eventually dry up in the northern parts of North America. Neither is holing up in your neighborhood warehouse store much of a plan. Too many other people will have that idea to make it terribly effective as a strategy for ZA living, not to mention the impracticality of holding such a large area with so many potential hiding spaces for the living dead. 

Making a southerly trek to take advantage of the Yaupon Holly, a cousin of Yerba Mate that grows in the southern United States, is a possibility, but may not be practical in all situations. I know it’s edible and has a caffeine content. 

I don’t know how it tastes.

I don’t know that it matters how it tastes if you need caffiene boost. Zombie Apocalypse or no, I’m willing to find out. Any source of caffeine is a friend of mine.

Giant Chickens from Outer Space

toy chicken next to toy sheep. obviously not to scale.

That’s one big chicken.

I added a rooster to my tiny home office desk farm since there’s no hope of having chickens here. Yes, I’ve checked the local ordinances. In addition to a $25/year chicken license, if at any time an adjacent neighbor decides the chickens are a nuisance (interfere with the enjoyment of their property), the city can just remove them. Given that we have one neighbor we aren’t exactly on the best terms with, I’m not willing to take the risk of the chickens becoming another point of contention.

So, toy chicken it is. It works out well since the city ordinance doesn’t allow roosters anyway, only hens.

Obviously, the chicken and the sheep aren’t modeled to the same scale even though they’re both Schleich toys.

I’m considering naming him Ruban de Cockborne, as he seems a rather dignified fellow for a giant chicken from outer space, and not at all like a crusty old cowboy.

There’s a Tiny Child Buddha that lives on my desk

To misquote Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory, “Tiny Buddha. Save me.”

It is the Pocket Buddha of prosperity. It lives there because it makes me smile, but also because it reminds me that every day I need to take a moment appreciate how fortunate I am, because all things considered, I am quite fortunate. It’s there to remind me to appreciate the little things. Breathing, for example.

Breathing is a privilege in my world, not a right, and I get to do it.

My new asthma medication is Breo. We tried every other less expensive medication available to get my asthma back under control. This was the only one medication that we found that’s worked.

Per GoodRX.com It has an average cost of $399.80 for a month’s supply as of today’s date. Because I have a manufacturer’s coupon and insurance, I’m only seeing $10 of that cost out of my pocket. The rest is being covered by my insurance company. If I didn’t have insurance, that coupon would be $100 off my medication.

$100 off of an average of $399.80. That’s still $299.80. Who has $300/month for a maintenance medication?

What’s the alternative, really?

The coupon lasts for a year. It feels like the drug company is standing on a street corner saying “Try a taste, baby. You know you’ll like it. First one’s (practically) free.”

Now, we’re retesting my lung function in August. Spirometry costs: $1100. My portion of that is $482, which I know because we did it once already this year. That’s $482 to breathe in a tube and possibly have an asthma attack during the test because I have exercise induced asthma. Who wants to spend $482 to spin the Wheel of Asthma? No one, but there’s no other way to measure lung function.

With any luck, I’ll be able to convince my pulmonologist that my asthma is controlled again we can try to go back to my old care regime, which was two puffs of albuterol before exercise. With any luck, my asthma will go back to being controlled in the first place, and I won’t just be trying to convince her that I can’t afford to be on this medication because of what it’s doing to the overall cost of health care.

Then I can go back to just worrying about how I’m going to afford the proposed $4000+ asthma surcharge that insurance companies would like to add to my insurance costs because I lost the genetic lottery and I have asthma. Heaven help you if you have had a heart attack or cancer.

Insurance companies only make money when you’re well. Pharmaceutical companies only make money from the sick, in part from insurance companies who are trying to preserve their profit margins by passing more and more of the cost to the consumer.

All I want to do is breathe.

Something’s gotta give

Something’s gotta give and that something is this blog. This blog will be moving to a once-a-week update. New posts will publish on Thursday mornings starting next week.

The discipline of writing regularly, if not every day, has been good for me. The problem becomes the limitations of time itself. I spend too much time trying to come up with a topic to blog about on the days that I don’t have a hot topic burning in my brain. Those days are usually “I talk about the knitting I don’t do enough of” days.

Those days are usually “I talk about the knitting I don’t do enough of” days and they’re as much of a drag to write as they are to read if you’re not a knitter. Sometimes they’re “pictures of the dogs” days and I Can Has Hotdog does that better. I’d rather put out one high-quality piece of writing than a week of mostly drivel with a chance of something more meaningful.

I’d rather put out one high-quality piece of writing than a week of mostly drivel with a chance of something more meaningful. Also, If I’m going to make real progress forward on my other writing, I need to take time out of writing that isn’t giving me progress toward my goal. I need to put it on the goal itself.

 

Updated: The sweater list

As I’ve been cleaning out the sweater queue, I’ve started putting together the sweater list: things that I absolutely want to wear and thus find worthy to make. As I’ve been putting together this list, I’m following a few rules:

  1. The pattern must be one already in my collection, custom-fit (since I have the subscription) or available for free. I’m watching my budget and I have the blessing of an extensive library of things to knit.
  2. The yarn must be something already in my stash. This is in part because I’m watching my budget, but it’s also because I have lots of great yarn just waiting to be sweaters. I’m worthy of using it now.
  3. It must be a realistic style for me to wear. This is both a style and a weight of the sweater issue. If it’s not my thing, I won’t wear it. If it’s too heavy and I could only wear it as a coat, I won’t wear it, either.

It’s proving more difficult than I originally thought it would be. I’m doing a great deal of searching through both my stash on Ravelry and my Ravelry library. So far it’s not going well, at least from the “something to blog about” standpoint. I have a lot of “I didn’t understand my most usual colors” and a lot of “that’s a cool pattern, but not practical/flattering/reasonable to think I’ll actually make” to sort through.

It leaves me with a lot of questions about what I’m going to do with this yarn if I’m not going to make a sweater with it, too. I need to get serious about figuring out that problem, too. Some of the yarn I have, I still want to make other things with. Some of it, however, would be put to better use sold to another knitter/crocheter or potentially donated to somewhere that could do some good.

Some of the yarn I have, I still want to make other things with. Some of it, however, would be put to better use sold to another knitter/crocheter. Some other skeins I have would be better donated to somewhere that could do some good and I have a venue in mind for that.

I’ve been questioning my lists a lot lately. I keep looking at the time available after I leave the Day Job all the things I have on my lists. This blog. The knitting. The stack of books on my nightstand. The Craftsy classes I own and haven’t taken. The gym I’m not going to enough. The story writing that goes in fits and starts at best. Each of them silently judging me because I have so much on my plate and so little progress on any of them, especially the gym and the story writing.

I’m just wondering, is doing it all unrealistic for me at this stage in my life? Do I need to let go of a few things? Or do I just need better priorities and more efficient use of my time?

I can’t listen to an audio book when I’m at The Day Job due to the nature of my work. There are too many interruptions. What if I go to the gym and walk on the track and listen to a book on Audible, will that let me do more?

Should I knit and watch TV when I get home from The Day Job to unpack my brain after a long day?

Do I give up the blogging time and trade it for time directly on my novel? Is this even worth doing? If it is, do my general ramblings make the most entertaining reading or should I put a timer on my blog time and use a writing prompt related to what I’m trying to write about in my stories to help prime the pump?

on my to-do list from December

I still have items on my to-do list from December:

  1. Listen to Christa’s Mix Tape
  2. Send Christmas cards

I know. It’s terrible. I just can’t let either of these items go.

Christa’s mix-tape is the more pressing of the two. She sends it out around Festivus and I usually listen to it somewhere between Christmas and New Years Eve, often when the roommate heads off to spend holiday time with her family. This year I just didn’t manage to find the private time to listen.

The mix-tape is a private listening event. I know she sends it out to The Usual Suspects, the people on the invite list to the Annual Escape from your Family Christmas Party, but it always feels like it’s meant to be a special event. It’s a mix-tape, after all, a carefully curated list of songs that the giver wants to the recipient to experience.

Obviously, I need quiet time with just me and my headphones to devote to experiencing the music. Maybe a glass of wine and the fireplace going and a fluffy blanket pulled up to my chin to complete the setting. I haven’t found the right time to devote to that just yet. I will, I keep telling myself, and the mix-tape will be there.

It’s not like it will spoil. Christa’s musical memory of 2016 will stay fresh until I decant it. Maybe this weekend, even.

The Christmas Cards are another story. It is well past time to send Winter Holiday cards, even ones as generically non-committal as the ones I buy. You know the type. They have evergreen trees, snowflakes, and cardinals and a non-religion specific greeting:

Wishing you and yours
Peace and comfort in this
Very best Winter Holiday Season
And the Happiest New Year.

At this point, if I were to get any sort of card in the mail, it should be green and St. Patrick’s day themed (because somehow turning a de-canonized Saint’s day into American National Drink Green Beer and Promote Irish Immigrant Stereotypes Day isn’t offensive?) or I have to go for the spring holiday and there’s no “Happy Spring Holiday” card despite the fact that several holidays happen in the spring. Holi and Passover come to immediately to mind.

Apparently, winter is a time for generalities and spring is the time for specificity. Maybe I should hold off and send Fourth of July cards instead.

Seems like a plan to me.

The cultural experience

The Paramount before the Marsalis In Iowa concert

I got us tickets to the Marsalis in Iowa concert because I wanted a cultural experience. I was hoping for some orchestral jazz. I thought maybe I’d be able to expand my ability to enjoy jazz in general and support the local orchestra.

What I discovered were the limits to my ability to appreciate sound for its own sake. I could not get past my thoughts about what music should be just because I heard it an artistic performance venue. In particular, the selection that did me in and made it impossible for me to sit through yet another listening of Copland’s Symphony #3 (which I don’t particularly care for because I think people overplay it) was this number: Saxophone Concerto No. 2, “Under the Wing of the Rock”.

It is a technically difficult piece for saxophone. Branford Marsalis played it brilliantly. I could not understand it as music, only as an intellectual exercise.

It struck me as the sort of thing composers write to prove that a particular instrument is capable of atypical sounds when in the hands of a true master. As the roommate put it, it’s the sort of thing that’s written on a dare.

It’s the sort of composition that true masters learn while cursing the name of the composer. When/If you learn to play it, it shows both the true range of the instrument and your skill as a musician.

Oh, the cursing!

I could hear the technical difficulty of the piece, but I realized I was supposed to believe that I heard music, too. I looked at the beautiful venue. I looked at the intensity of the performers. I tried to internalize what I heard as music.

I failed.

I could not make my brain recognize the music of the piece. All I heard were technically difficult sounds to make. All I saw were people performing their hearts out and making nothing but noise.

We left at intermission because I couldn’t make the mental leap required to make the experience anything more than a cultural experience that I didn’t have the combined experience and education to do more than appreciate on an intellectual level at best.

At least the piece allowed me to learn something. Recognizing my limits gives me greater insight into my own biases.