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:
- Powder compact and two tubes of lipstick.
- Tiny pill case of anti-anxiety meds.
- Tiny notebook.
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.
Like Tina Fey's "Bossypants" and Amy Poehler's "Yes Please", I feel really inspired by her success and seriously, I'm totally going to watch The Mindy Project soon!
We stopped at the Glenbrook Square Barnes & Noble on the north side of Fort Wayne last week, and I was very surprised to find they still have our book in stock:
I say "book" singular, because it's the only one of our nine that we've managed to get into a chain bookstore--the others are either through small publishers, or independently published, and it's not easy to find shelf space for those. In any case it was a suprise, because I've always heard that major book stores won't keep a book for longer than a couple of months before they return the unsold copies, to make room for new releases.
But that's not the only Noble County related book they had in their history section:
Yay for local history books! For those of you who don't know, Ligonier is indeed within Noble County. The author of that book, Daniel L. Replogle, was my high school science teacher, far enough back that we'd probably both rather not discuss how far back it was. As for the other author, John Martin Smith, I got a look at his vast historical photo collection while we were researching for Albion and Noble County.
Of course, it goes without saying that you can get all of our publications at Barnes and Noble online, as well as all your better online bookstores ... and some of the worst ones.
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 ...
If I were for some reason forced to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a hotel, I would go to the Fogo Island Inn, off the northern coast of Newfoundland.
Or maybe a less ridiculously posh place with bonus icebergs, the Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat, Greenland.
I remind myself that I've already got a weekend booked in Iceland on my way home to the States in December. And I can sit and enjoy views of the cold sea from a lovely steaming hotpot at any number of municipal pools. And my room probably has a view of the harbor!
But that's a long ways off. I'm pondering whether to plan an August long weekend somewhere in the UK, and whether it would be worth the faff to travel somewhere more northerly, as opposed to just going to Brighton or something. I'm very fond of Scarborough. I also have this weird desire to see the Isle of Man after watching the national road race championships a few weeks ago.
Also worth pointing out that I'm going to Saint Petersburg at the end of August, and perhaps that counts as northerly if not quite with an unobstructed ocean view? I'm rather tempted by Kronstadt...
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.
Lorayne also has two window AC units. One of which is in her big spare bedroom. We do not have any AC upstairs, just a lot of fans.
It's been hot and humid as fuck in Ottawa for the last week. It's finally starting to cool down, but the heat is really lingering upstairs. Last night I couldn't fall asleep because of it.
So, I said fuck it and am sleeping downstairs tonight.
Dreadful followed me downstairs and was staring forlornly out the screen door, so we invited him in. So, Dreadful's sleeping downstairs too tonight.
Rayne's cats, Kina and Chakra, are less than impressed.
They've met Dreadful before, and even lived with him for a week when we stripped the wainscotting in the kitchen several years ago, so we're not worried it'll come to blows overnight or anything. They'll cope. And I think Dreadful is enjoying the change of scenery.
Also, the lack of dog.
Oh yeah, we got a dog. We've had him for about a month. Our intent was to foster him, but Marna fell in love, so now he's ours.
His name is Bogart, we think he's some sort of pointer cross, but he was rescued from the Everglades, so we can't be sure. He's about 18 months old and weighs about 40 pounds. He's a sweetheart, but he has some behavioral issues we're working on.
And Dreadful has NOT reconciled himself to this new family member yet. He's never lived with a dog before, and he's not sure he wants to now. They're cohabiting relatively peacefully, but Dreadful is still keeping his distance.
ETA: and then Kina and Dreadful got in a fight in the hallway. So much for not coming to blows. So, now they're locked on opposite sides of the dog gate for the night.
We'll get to the good Doctor--whose name is not Who--in a moment. This is set against the bigger question of whether it's okay to change the race or gender of an established character, always (so far) to a person of color and/or womanliness. In general, if it's another case of political correctness gone rampant (I call it Political Over-Correctness) I'm not a fan.
"The next James Bond needs to be black!"
"So we can have a black James Bond!"
"Okay. Or, you could just create a black secret agent from scratch."
"Yeah, but ... then he wouldn't be James Bond!"
Honestly, it's not something I care enough about to argue over, which sets me apart from most people who care at all. If the TV and movie industry disappeared from the face of the earth right now--which isn't the worst idea ever--I'd just go back to reading books for entertainment. Interestingly, if the race of a character in a book isn't specifically mentioned, most people either don't think about it at all or put their own skin color on the character. It never occurred to me, until I saw the wildly entertaining TV version, that Shadow Moon from American Gods was black. You can call that racism or you can call it being color blind, whatever. People will color anything I say here with their own views anyway.
James Bond is an interesting case when it comes to gender and race swapping, because the franchise has already done it--just not with 007. Bond's CIA buddy Felix Leiter has already turned from white to black--twice, if you include 1983's Never Say Never Again. The famous Moneypenny had a similar transformation, while Bond's boss M became a female ... although it should be noted that M is a title, rather than an individual.
You can complain about it all you want, but for me when it does work, it works spectacularly. Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica was just as much fun and kick-ass as a woman in the reboot, for instance. From the time I was old enough to read comics I knew Nick Fury as a white guy, fighting his way across Europe in World War II. Now I can't imagine him looking like anyone but Samuel L. Jackson.
Which brings us back to Doctor Who, who Samuel L. Jackson could totally play if he wanted to. Are you going to tell him no?
On the question of changing a character's looks just for the sake of changing them, the Doctor is a special case. Sometimes the actor playing a character is changed without explanation, as with the James Bond series. (Wait--who's this new Darrin on Bewitched?) Sometimes it's a reboot, as with Battlestar Galactica, and thus not really the same character. But Doctor Who ...
Okay, in case you don't know, I'd better offer a brief explanation.
The original Doctor Who, back in 1963, was an old guy. He was a grandfatherly type, on a show designed as a fun way to teach kids history. (He's a Time Lord, you see.) But the actor began to have health problems, and it was soon apparent he couldn't continue in the roll. It seemed Doctor Who was doomed to retirement.
But wait, the writers said. We've already established that he's an alien. Suppose this particular species of aliens, when facing death, could cheat their way out by transforming into a new body? Regenerate into, say ... another actor's body?
|Yeah, they're all the Doctor|
That was twelve Doctor's ago. More, really, but we don't have time to go into that complication. In fact, the Doctor has already been a woman, played (very briefly) by Joanna Lumley in a 1999 charity episode.
So there's no story reason why the Doctor can't be female. In fact, one of his main antagonists, also a Time Lord, already regenerated from male to female. The show has had many strong female and minority characters in the past, and the Doctor's most recent companion was a black lesbian. (Is lesbian still a permitted word? I don't care.)
|That's Bill, on the left. Black, prefers women, young, smart, and most importantly fun.|
I wasn't thrilled back then ("my" Doctor is David Tennant), but I came to like Peter Capaldi's version. That's why I don't understand the so-called fans who are closing the doors of the TARDIS and going home. I know it's not just mysogeny, as some narrow minded people claim. Not always, anyway.
Honestly, I suspect it's just resistance to change in general, and I get that. Contrary to what some will tell you, sometimes change is bad. But you won't even give the new Doctor a chance? Why not? With that attitude, the show would never have made it out of the sixties.
And we'd have missed a lot of fun.
|There's a new Doctor in the TARDIS|
Point of Hopes (Astreiant, #1) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett -
Complicated mystery plot in a fascinating, intricately-crafted fantasy universe.
I really appreciated the casually mainstreamed queerness in the worldbuilding. ( read more )
The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book has everything I loved about Sebastian's previous books. Complicated, flawed and messily human characters, a clear-eyed and intelligent class analysis and a refreshingly unapologetic queerness. ( read more )
Point of Knives (Astreiant #1.5) - Melissa Scott - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
A satisfying mystery with an even-more-satisfying beginning of a romance between the main characters as they transition from people who sleep with each other occasionally to people who'd like to have a romantic relationship with each other. ( read more )
Peter Darling - Austin Chant ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
An amazing queer, trans reimagining of the Peter Pan story. ( read more )
The Horse Mistress: Book 1 - R.A Steffan - ★ ★ ★
Enjoyable poly fantasy with a genderqueer protagonist. ( read more )
A Boy Called Cin - Cecil Wilde - ★ ★ ★ ★
I'd describe this book as an aspirational romance. It's a delightful, cozy fairytale of an idealized relationship. And that's not a bad thing. I think there's value particularly in queer aspirational romances. ( read more )
There Will Be Phlogiston (Prosperity, #5) - Alexis Hall ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I picked this up because it was free and I'd heard good things about the author, but honestly I was mostly expecting a smutty, poly diversion.
What I got was so much more. ( read more )
Chasing Cameron: the complete series - Hanna Dare - ★ ★ ★ ★
A series of m/m novellas with a lot of sex, not all of it between, or only between, the two protagonists.
I was really pleasingly surprised by how non-mononormative this series is. ( read more )
I'm mostly only interested in reading queer stories at the moment, which has meant a lot of queer romances and also SF/F with queer characters and relationships.
I started with everything ever written by KJ Charles and OMG was that a good choice. Her stuff is AMAZING. Highly, highly recommended. She writes m/m historical romances, some straight historicals, some fantasy. One of the things I love historical queer romances because I love reading about queer people in history being happy, and Charles' books totally fill that desire.
A lot of queer historicals, or at least a lot of the ones I've read, are really interested in class and the intersection of class and sexuality and how that impacts relationships. Class differences are at the heart of almost all of Charles' books and it makes for a great lens through which to look at the various historical periods she writes in. The other thing that makes me happy about her books is that very few of her protagonists are uncomfortable with or tortured about their sexuality, which is again really refreshing to read about.
Then I moved on to Cat Sebastian's regency romances which I also highly recommend. Again with the queers being happy and not angsting about their sexualities and again with the class and anxiety about class differences being a significant factor in all the relationships.
I also highly recommend Joanna Chambers' Enlightenment series, in which one of the characters is quite guilty about his sexuality, which is possibly more realistic, but doesn't appeal to my id in quite the same way.
It was at about this point in my dive into books again that I got myself a Goodreads account, which is here, and started actually reviewing stuff as I read it.
Several people I read here regularly post reviews of the books they've read on their journals, and I think I'm going to start being one of them, I'm not going to commit to any specific schedule, but expect semi-regular book posts (the first going up directly after I finish writing this post).
The other thing I'm loving about Goodreads is having a place a list of books I've been recced that look interesting. I'm almost entirely reading digitally these days, mostly on Kobo. So, when I want to read something new I can go to my Goodreads to-read shelf and see what strikes my fancy. There are a lot of books with poly relationships in there right now, because I specifically solicited recs for queer, poly stories on twitter.
If you're curious my to-read shelf is here, and I'm always taking recs. Nothing too serious or dense right now, I'm still easing my way back into this reading gig.
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.
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.
Enter the menfolk: Jeff, a drippy romantic who yearns for a woman to protect and idealise, the kind who'd probably burst into tears if the lady of his affection let rip a stank pizza-and-beer fart; Terry, an oily lothario convinced against all evidence that he can vanquish the hotties for his own personal harem; Van, the level-headed sociologist narrator increasingly filled with doubt and guilt as he is educated in the ways of Herland (their term).
The penny drops for Jeff and Van - "We were now well used to seeing women not as females, but as people; people of all sorts, doing every kind of work", but gross Terry playacts his education and manages to ruin it for everyone. What a tool.
Being "of its time", Herland is chock full of gender essentialism and tiresome references to savages (naturally the ladies of Herland are all white). Everything else is very sign me up - big up the vegetarian diet and garments of many pockets! I enjoyed this short book, though it did feel like it ended somewhat abruptly where a "ten years later" style epilogue could have answered some unfinished questions.
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.
We also had the grand-twins over during my days off, watched Lego Batman, cooked hotdogs over a fire, and slept. The only way it could have been better would be if I'd gotten some writing time in, but sometimes the days are just full.
Thanks for all your birthday wishes! I'm of an age where birthdays are a mixed blessing: You don't really want to admit to getting older, but it's nice to be thought of.
Oh, and the twins got to go swimming. I supervised with the camera.
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.)
This was not the book I was expecting (in a good way!) - the second half kept me gripped with its anxious, urgent, page-turning tension. If you're looking for a hefty period novel, meticulously researched but never too do-you-see?-y, this is a great book to get lost in.