Movable Type 3.2
October 31, 2005
On your mark, get set...
It's almost time for NaNoWriMo! Five minutes! Good luck to any of you who are writing. I'm planning to write a sentence or two at midnight, go take a shower, and then write for a little while longer if I feel like it. We'll see how it goes...
Posted by Kat at 11:56 PM
October 30, 2005
Because randomness can happen any day of the week, right?
1. Something strikes me a bit wrong about Weight Watchers sponsoring a figure skating event. Let's see, how many ways can they find to screw up American women's body image all at once? It's multi-tasking!
Posted by Kat at 08:37 PM
October 27, 2005
Where babies come from
So I need you all to tell me where babies come from. No, really. Let me explain. As I've mentioned, I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. And I need a bit of background research help.
Super-condensed plot summary: Shortly after same-sex marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts, Greg (an English professor at a small college) and Sean Patrick decide to get married and have a baby. They ask Greg's best friend Christine to be their gestational surrogate. Christine successfully gets pregnant. Sean Patrick decides he actually doesn't want the marriage and family thing, now that he thinks about it, and leaves. Greg freaks out and isn't sure he really wants the baby at this point either. Then Christine finds out she's carrying twins, and she and Greg have to figure out what to do.
Now. I'm going to have the initial "will you do it?" conversation be in a prologue and then pick up the story once Christine is pregnant, so I won't need any in-depth descriptions of medical procedures. But I want to at least have my facts straight on the basics. So I'm looking for research suggestions: books, Web sites, etc. for facts, as well as blogs for personal stories. Here are some of the questions I need to figure out:
1. What fertility procedure would be most likely here? I was initially thinking IVF, but maybe IUI? But would that decrease the likelihood of twins? The twins are kind of integral to the plot.
Any responses, thoughts, tips, etc. would be most appreciated. Also, I am setting up a list of people who will receive the story via e-mail as I write it. If you are interested, let me know.
October 26, 2005
The baby blanket! The mind-numbing, soul-sucking, endless gorram baby blanket1 is done. And it's pretty, too. (No pictures at the moment, because my ISP was down last night and so I'm writing this from my work computer.)
I finished the border and cast off while watching the pilot of Six Feet Under on DVD from Netflix.2 So now all that needs to happen is weaving in the ends, packing it up, and sending it to Texas. If anyone talks to Princess Aaralyn, tell her it's almost there.
October 24, 2005
So I had a very "almost" sort of day yesterday. Shall we review the day's goals?
1. Sleep late. Sort of. I woke up right at seven but managed to doze for a few hours. So... almost.
2. Clean room. More or less. I cleaned, which is not to say that the room is clean. But it is firmly in the "better" category. I got a bunch of boxes and such moved, so it's probably cleaner than it's been since I moved all my stuff in. But it's far, far from done. And I still have not found the heating vents... think they might be in the corner with all the yarn? Yeah, I thought you might.
3. Do homework. Mostly. I did my whole big project due Wednesday. I also have to read and respond to an article - I read about half the article. So I have a bit more to do. But the big thing I was worried about was done. So... almost.
4. Finish the baby blanket. Almost. I am so, so very close. I have to knit about four rows, cast off, weave in the ends, and send it to Texas. So so close. I won't be getting home until midnight tonight, but I should be able to finish it tomorrow. Finally. And then I can knit, you know, something else. Really, at this point... anything else would do.
October 22, 2005
The bad place.
One of my new blog addictions, a little pregnant, has a category of entries that she calls "Welcome to the bad place. Population: You." I have been, um, rather enamored of this category name recently, because it seems to fit how I've been feeling so very very well. (I am also wishing I had some more interesting category names, especially now that I'm writing more personal stuff. Hmm. Perhaps a project for tomorrow. Because I have, you know, so much time.)
Anyway. The bad place. I feel like I've been getting rather familiar with it the past week or so. Let's just say that, if I were to take one of those "Which Serenity character are you?" quizzes, I would not be the least bit surprised to get a resounding answer of "River." Why? That's not so clear. I mean, I'm not the most happy-go-lucky person to start with, certainly. And a lot of it is the break up. Yes, it's been two months or so, but you don't get over five years in two months. And yes, I was doing very well for a while. But now I'm doing not so well, which is probably good, because it means I'm not suppressing my emotions as much. It's not that I'm pining and wanting him back (most of the time), so that's good, at least. I'm just still dealing with the fallout.
The fallout, more particularly, is a sort of identity crisis. An old college friend recently said, mostly joking (I think), "I don't even know who you are anymore." It sort of hurt. But. There it is.
I don't even know who the heck I am anymore.
Welcome to the bad place, indeed.
Now that I'm here, though, and I've recognized I'm here, it's sort of comforting. The eye of the storm, perhaps. I am letting myself be sad, happy, insane, miserable, euphoric, distracted, scattered, and obsessed as I need - or all at once. I am not doing the "la la la it's all great" thing because, well, it isn't. I am letting myself think about who I am, what I want, and what I don't want. I am letting myself think about the past, and the future. (And, of course, Thanksgiving.) I am, periodically, trying as hard as I can to Just Stop Thinking. Oh yeah, it's been fun.
At the moment, though, I'm feeling pretty stable. I spent the evening eating Indian food at a new (to me) restaurant and then sitting around the living room drinking wine and listening to music with my roommate. I'm actually feeling slightly relaxed for once. (Don't worry, I'm sure I'll wake up stressed.) My aunt was supposed to visit this weekend, but she wasn't feeling well and decided to stay home. Now, I am sorry that I won't get to see her, but I am not terribly upset about the prospect of an unexpected free day.
So, my new and improved plan for tomorrow:
I have made a deal with myself that as soon as I finish the blanket, I can knit whatever I darn well please. For a while, at least. So watch for a severe case of knitting ADD with a side order of existential angst, coming soon to a blog near you!
October 21, 2005
And where was the graffiti, anyway?
Just to keep us updated:
So, to help me Just Stop Thinking, we watched American Graffiti. Great soundtrack. Interesting seeing the actors (especially Dreyfuss and Ford) so young. Loved Harrison Ford singing "Some Enchanted Evening." But. WTF?
Problem A: The plot. Let's just say that I was not surprised when George Lucas said in the "making of" documentary that the original version was almost twice as long. I definitely felt as though a few of those deleted scenes would have been helpful for figuring out, you know, what the heck was going on.
Problem B: The message. Let's review what we learned:
It also really bugged me that, at the end, there were little notes of what happened to the four primary male characters, but nothing about the women. Presumably they all got married and lived happily ever after. Or, you know, went insane from dealing with these men.
I also did not notice any graffiti in the movie. Huh?
Posted by Kat at 11:17 PM
October 20, 2005
So it looks like I'm not going home for Thanksgiving.
This in itself is not necessarily all that odd. Of the past four Thanksgivings, I have spent two away from my family, with my ex-boyfriend and his parents. That, in fact, is part of the issue. This Thanksgiving, I will not be with the person with whom I spent the past four Thanksgivings. I know, I know, Thanksgiving is about family... but still. This year will seem strange, regardless of what I do.
The reasons I'm not going, though, are more practical.
Here's how I think Thanksgiving should go:
Here's how this Thanksgiving would actually go:
Nevertheless, I had planned to go, mostly because I was worried about my parents' reaction if I didn't. And I was worried about my parents getting flack from the rest of the family if I didn't show. But then I talked to my parents, and they both seem to think that doing all that driving for so little time home, when I have all this other stuff I need to be doing, is, well, insane. So. Everyone seems agreed. No need for me to go home for Thanksgiving.
Now, of course, the question is what to do instead. There are a few possibilities. Plan A involves going with my roommate to his parents' house. Plan B, which is perhaps more likely, involves spending the day in my favorite pajamas, knitting and watching the parade and Christmas movies, and then having some sort of celebration with my roommate later in the weekend. Really, either sounds okay. I think. Of course, I'm not sure how I'll feel when the day arrives, but I'm trying not to worry about it too much. I'm sure some variation of sad (re: loneliness) and/or guilt-stricken (re: filial duty) will be in there somewhere... might as well let it be a surprise so I have something to look forward to.
Aren't holidays fun?
Posted by Kat at 11:02 PM
October 19, 2005
Review: Until the Real Thing Comes Along
Elizabeth Berg's Until the Real Thing Comes Along was a quick read, decently written, that dealt with interesting topics. I hated it. The problem? The main character. I couldn't stand her. Patty has two main aspects of her worldview: she wants a husband and children. And she is in love with her best friend Ethan, who is gay, and refuses to see this (her love, not his sexuality*) as anything she has any control over or could possibly change. And - here's the kicker - she refuses to acknowledge that these two basic tenets of her life do not exactly work together well. Therefore, her solution is to have a child with Ethan (who also does want a child, but not, obviously, a wife). She browbeats him into sleeping with her and gets pregnant on the first try (and, of course, is disappointed; she wanted an excuse to sleep with him regularly). Patty then is amazed that the rest of her domestic fantasies don't exactly spring into life. (I don't want to give too much of the story away, so I'll stop the plot summary there.)
Ethan's motivations are a bit suspect too, of course: he knows Patty is in love with him and yet agrees to a "partnership of convenience" anyway. I got over my annoyance with him, though, because he actually provides a decent explanation for his thoughts and actions. Patty, on the other hand, constantly explains everything, but just does not get it. She claims to be Ethan's closest friend, to know everything about him, and yet she remains basically in denial of his homosexuality. She seems to see it as basically random and totally unconnected to the rest of him (or, as she might think, the real him). She thinks there's a sexuality switch that could be toggled on or off without affecting the person as a whole at all.
This probably bugs me more than it might other readers because it's another example of an issue that has been bothering me anyway. Let's back up a bit. My roommate is also a coworker and good friend. We have a lot in common, are rather frighteningly similar in some ways, and get along very well. I mean, really: we live together and work together and therefore spend probably about 75% of our lives within twelve feet of each other, and haven't tried to kill each other yet. So it's pretty much accepted fact that we get along oddly well, and this periodically comes up in conversation with other friends or family. The great majority of the time, the seemingly automatic response is "Oh, too bad he's gay. You'd be perfect for each other."
Umm, no. There is something very flawed about that reasoning. Actually, I have several issues with it. For example, I don't think it's a given that we'd be perfect for each other in the first place - sexual orientation aside, what I'm looking for in a roommate or friend is not the same as what I'd be looking for in a boyfriend**, although there would certainly be some overlap in criteria. I also don't like the implication that romantic relationships are somehow intrinsically preferable to friendships, but that's another issue. Anyway. The issue I have with it in relation to the book is the idea that sexuality is totally distinct from basic identity. I have trouble with the premise that if my friend or Ethan in the book (see, I told you I'd get back to the book) had happened to have been born heterosexual, they would in all other aspects be the same person.
Actually, "I have trouble with it" is too mild; I think it's preposterous. It seems the difference in experience, if nothing else, would be far too great. For just one example, think of a long-running crush you had in middle or high school. Think of the ways that person affected your tastes, activities, etc. Think of how all those little decisions built up to make you into the person you are. Then extrapolate to all your other crushes, relationships, actors you found attractive, etc. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this. But apparently Patty can't. And that's just talking about particular experiences, and not even really getting into the larger issue of identity, which is one I don't feel prepared to tackle.
So. What I am trying to say is that, while Patty claims to know Ethan completely, her belief that he would - could - be the exact same person she loves and be "not really gay" or suddenly magically become heterosexual shows that she doesn't really know him that well at all. Patty wants a fantasy, not "the real thing" after all.
**Not that I'm looking.
October 18, 2005
Books and knitting and cake, oh my!
So who's going to Willow Books tonight for the book launch party? I'll be watching for Kristen... anyone else? I'll be the short girl with long brown hair wearing a burgundy velour dress (um, it's not as fancy as it sounds, really) and kitty shoes. Perhaps a better distinguishing characteristic for this particular event is that I'll be with my roommate, who will most likely be one of the relatively few men there. Tallish, dark blond hair and beard, burgundy sweater. (No, we didn't plan the matching color thing.) If you see us, say hi! And leave a comment so I know to look for you.
October 17, 2005
Learn something new every day...
Apparently I am a decent enough person to feel guilty about not sharing my chocolate with anyone but the person in my department with whom I am closest... but not a decent enough person to actually offer any to anyone else.
Posted by Kat at 04:41 PM
October 14, 2005
So remember the baby blanket I've been working on? The endless one? A while ago (last week maybe?) the intended recipient suggested that we race to see who could accomplish her objective first: me to finish the blanket, her to have the baby. Well, I lost. A gorgeous baby girl came into the world last night. Congratulations to her parents and brothers and whole family!
So, well, this means I have to hurry up already with the blanket. It's about 75% done. I think. I'm fighting the urge to just call it "done enough" at the end of the next repeat and do the border and cast off and send it along. But I think it will be better if I keep going. Right?
At this point, I am very much looking forward to finishing the blanket because I have so many other things I want to be working on. I have realized that, honestly, one of the things causing stress in my life is my number of WIPs and the size of my stash. I feel like my knitting, along with everything else, is out of control. I also feel guilty whenever I buy yarn because I have so much. So... yeah. I'm not proposing a yarn diet or anything crazy like that, but I think that once Christmas knitting is under control, I will start focusing on finishing up some old stuff. Anyone want to join me?
October 13, 2005
Pulling myself together
So, um, sorry about yesterday. I'd been thinking about including more personal stuff on this blog, and I guess in my madness yesterday I decided to go for it. Hope no one minded. And a very big thank you to Folkcat, Lauren, Kat, and Kristen for all the support and virtual hugs in the comments. It really did help.
So I wound up leaving class early because I was feeling worse and worse, physically, and was having trouble concentrating as well. At points, I was struggling not to fall asleep, so I was worried about driving home if I had stayed for the whole class. Of course, due to power problems or something, I ended up waiting about an hour for a train to take me back to my car. Waiting outside. In the cold/wind/occasional rain. Yes, I'm sure this did wonders for my cold. Anyway, I finally made it home, only a bit earlier than it would have been if I'd just stayed in class, but still. I put on my jammies, talked to my roommate for a while, went to bed, and actually slept quite well.
Today I'm feeling emotionally better but physically yucky. (Of course, they are related; I need to teach my body that "hey, bronchitis!" is not a good reaction to a little stress. Not that I have bronchitis now, but that's where things have generally headed in the past.) I have a full-fledged cold now, with coughing and intermittant wheezing and chills. Fun. So, the plan for the evening:
1. Put on favorite pajamas
Sound good? I have a pretty full weekend planned, so I need to get better. I am also afraid that this cold is the start of the long-running illness I seem to get almost every winter. It's a combination of stress and the weather, I think: as soon as the cold and finals and the holiday season hit, I'm vaguely ill for months. It comes and goes, of course; most of the time it's more annoying than actually debilitating. But yeah... annoying. I'd like to break the cycle. I think it's a combination of not taking very good care of myself and not having very healthy ways of dealing with stress. So this year, I'm formulating a plan. What I have so far:
1. Get enough sleep. No, really. Yes, with two jobs and class, there are nights when I just can't get to bed early enough to get eight hours, but these nights are not the majority. The problem is that there are way too many nights when I stay up late for no good reason. I think if I can improve this, it will make a huge difference - at this point, I can barely imagine not being tired all the time.
2. Remember to take my vitamins. I'm getting better, but still not remembering every day.
3. Eat better. I don't eat horribly, by any means, but I'm sure I don't get enough protein. (Suggestions on easy protein??) And some more fruits and veggies wouldn't kill me.
4. Stay hydrated. Another obvious one that gives me way too much trouble.
5. Actually wear some of those scarves and hats I'm always knitting. Well, I don't know. You don't get colds from being cold, right? Is there any relation to having your body temperature drop or whatever because of weather, and getting sick? In any case, the cold aggravates my asthma, so I should make some attempt with the scarf thing at least.
6. Find some other way to deal with stress, darn it. This is the hard one. I get stressed, my body acts up, I ignore it until it gets so bad that I have to stop everything and stay in bed for a few days. Which, subconsciously, may contribute to the cycle: the implied "reward" of getting to stay home sick. Argh. This is the one I really need help with, and I'd love to hear any input.
Any thoughts/suggestions on any of it would be much appreciated, actually...
October 12, 2005
Well, this is fun.
Apparently the "Aaaaaah"ness of the previous entry led to a total meltdown in the car on the way from work to class. (It's about an hour drive, NH to Boston.) I spent the time alternating between fighting tears, wondering if I've finally just gone mad, and debating whether to just turn around and go home. Yeah, fun stuff. Now I'm in the computer lab at school getting ready to face a three-hour class. And then the drive home.
If I didn't actually have stuff that needed to get done at work (for once), I would be seriously considering a mental health day tomorrow. Ah well. I'd also sort of like a hug... but there's really no one around to get one from. I'm not comfortable hugging people I don't feel I know very well, but most of my friends in NH are not huggy types, so it's a problem.
Aaaah. It's one of those days when I feel like I'm too messed up or damaged to ever have a "normal" life and I don't deserve one anyway. And I don't know what I want. In practically any context. And I don't know how I'm going to face three hours of sitting through class and the requisite small talk with classmates, and then walking to the T in the rain and then taking the T and then driving home. And my brain won't stop and I'm just driving myself crazy at this point.
I'm trying to convince myself that this is all fairly normal post-breakup stuff... right? Help!
I am now undoing all the data entry I did yesterday, because they gave me the wrong information. This is hours of work. And then I have to redo it all when they figure out the correct information. One of the people involved called to apologize, but really, couldn't they bring me chocolate or something? I was having a vaguely off day anyway. I don't feel good, but I have to be at work and then go to class. And work is being frustrating, and it's been raining for days, and I do like rain but enough is enough. And there could be some of what Cate is talking about going on, too. Actually, now that I reread Cate's entry, I'm identifying with a lot of it. Especially if you substitute "messy house" for "demon-possessed children." But yeah... cold/coughing, PMS, work frustration and overwhelmsion (WHAT is the correct form of that word? My brain is obviously gone at this point), contemplation of Big Life Changes, knitting frustration... check, check, check.
I'd like to say I'm going to go curl up in my comfy bed and drink tea and read and knit now, but, well, I can't. Which may be part of the problem.
Hope someone out there in Blogland is having a better day... send sunshine and cough drops.
October 10, 2005
I discovered a fun little service this morning (thanks Ais!): Ta-da List. I have five lists so far: a running shopping list, a To Do list, books I'm in the middle of, books I've finished this month (so I remember them all for my "October Books" post), and current knitting WIPs. One nifty feature is that you can choose to make any or all of your lists public, so, if you'd like, take a look at my Knitting WIPs. (I'll probably get the link in the sidebar here eventually.) I must say, though, that those are certainly not ALL the projects I have in progress. They're just the ones that came to mind. I'll add other things as I come across/work on them.
Apparently the flooding in New Hampshire has made national news, because I've been getting a lot of calls and e-mails from worried friends and family. So I thought I should mention here too: I'm fine (although I appreciate the concern). We've been getting rain on and off for the past few days, and combined with the fallen leaves it has made some roads rather slippery, but I haven't seen any flooding in my area, at least so far! Keep your fingers crossed for me...
Posted by Kat at 11:02 AM
October 09, 2005
Plans are in the works (as of about two minutes ago, honestly) for Kat's First Annual Pre-Holiday Knitting Slumber Party. The idea is that we all (er, most of us) go crazy with the holiday knitting, so why not make a party out of it? If you're going to be pulling knitting all-nighters, wouldn't it be better with friends? The basic idea is to take just a quick break from family and holiday craziness in early to mid-December and have a night of knitting, talking, watching movies, and eating junk food (or healthy food if you prefer).
If you're in the area (southern NH, but there's no reason you couldn't drive here from MA or even the greater New England area), would you be interested? (I can't guarantee a completely open invitation because my apartment isn't huge, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.) If you're not in the area, do you have any suggestions for such a party? And would you be interested in some sort of virtual component (a chat, or all picking a night and blogging about it, or something)? I'm still at the brainstorming stage here, so let me know any thoughts/ideas.
Back to work.
Today I started working again at the bookstore where I worked from 2002-2004. I was there full time for about a year and a half, then part time for a while after I got my current full time job. I quit about a year ago, for various reasons, but I've regretted it ever since. So I finally reapplied, and today was my first day.
Yes, this is in addition to school and my full time job. Yes, I will be busy. But it think it will be worth it. Being back today just felt so right. I missed the books, the co-workers, even the chance to work with the public. When I was back there today with my name tag on, I felt like I was home.
... and hey, the discount doesn't exactly hurt either.
October 06, 2005
Are you sure it's not Friday?
Reasons why I think it's Friday:
1. This has been one of the longest weeks ever. You could tell me it was next Friday and I wouldn't be surprised.
Random Kat Facts, 1-5
Okay; we're going to try out a new feature here. Every so often, I'll write a few odd or little-known facts about myself; they'll all be under the same category name so looking at all of them will basically become a "101 Things About Me" sort of thing.
1. I love strawberry cream cheese, but I'd rather not have it on a whole bagel - I prefer half a bagel with strawberry and half a bagel with regular. (Eaten separately, not as a sandwich.)
October 04, 2005
Haven't you always wanted to write a novel?
Well, haven't you? Now is the perfect time. Well, not quite now - November. Don't know what I'm talking about? Go have a look-see and sign yourself up. It'll be fun, I promise!
Posted by Kat at 10:30 PM
October 03, 2005
Web searching for kids
I'm writing a paper about KidsClick!, which bills itself as "web search for kids by librarians." I think it's an interesting idea, although not terribly well executed. It is bringing up some other questions in my mind, though...
Does a "search engine for kids" really help kids find the information they're looking for? Or does it hinder them because it searches such a limited set of sites? Or both, depending on the context? Or the kid? Does it end up functioning as a form of censorship, or is it just a study aid? Do kids actually use it? Parents, do you find such sites useful for your kids?
October 01, 2005
Only finished three books this month - oh well. There are a bunch I'm in the middle of, so hopefully October's list will be bigger. Three is better than the zero for August, at least.
Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate
This is mostly to remind myself, but how would you like a list of books I'm in the middle of and plan to finish this month? Yeah, I knew you would.
Starting today, at the beginning of each month I will be posting a list of the books I read in the previous month, with some comments and ratings. I'm writing up this key so I can link it each time instead of rewriting it.
5: Loved it. A favorite.
4: Liked it. Very good; would recommend it.
3: It was okay. Generally either:
2: Didn't like it. Badly done or just not my thing.
1: Hated it.
Posted by Kat at 07:03 PM