ladysprite: (steampunk)
What am I doing, besides riding motorcycles around a parking lot?

Doing... okay, I guess. Better than I have been for a while.

The new medications the anesthesiologist prescribed are helping a lot. I've been able to cut back on my dose of NSAIDs, and I've had periods when I've been almost completely pain-free. This is, sadly, good and bad, since I am not good at keeping sedentary when I'm not in pain. Last night, motivated by how much better I was feeling, I decided to start working out again; it felt amazing while I was doing it, but about ten minutes later the pain was back as bad as it had ever been. Luckily, re-increasing the rest of my meds got it back under control.

The meds bring with them their own side effects, for which I have to take yet more meds, making me feel rather like the old lady who swallowed a fly, but it's just for another month and a half, which I can live with.

My garden is loving the weather here - days bouncing between sunny-hot and pouring rain. Our grapes already have little tiny proto-grapes on them, when we weren't expecting them to bear fruit for at least another year. We've already picked our first peapods and peppers (okay, one pepper), our tomato plants are covered in little and not-so-little green tomatoes, and we should have ripe blueberries by next week.

Summer is busy season for work for me, so I'm trying to fit in as much outside-time and social-time as I can in between working, resting to keep my pain under control, and taking care of home and pets. It's odd to feel simultaneously so busy and so sedentary.

But all in all, things are getting better. And I can imagine life will keep going in that direction....
ladysprite: (steampunk)
So. Just so y'all know, things are starting to go better.

Percival started to turn around as soon as we got him onto some pain medication (and let this be a lesson to me - and to all pet owners - pain in animals doesn't manifest like it does in people; when in doubt add pain meds). He's still not entirely back to himself, and when I tried to taper off the pain meds his appetite started dropping again, but it's still better than I feared it would be.

The kittens are happily settling into the household. Harry (the orange one) is a lovable nerd who adores people and human contact; he purrs as soon as anyone touches him, and loves to be picked up and cuddled. Harlequin (the black/smoky one) is our little Manic Pixie Dream Cat - she's too pretty by half, can't hold still, and drags Our Hero along on ill-advised but hilarious adventures. I am glad beyond words that we adopted them.

And me? I'm hanging in there, and the days are getting better. In particular, now that the weather is warm I'm starting to come back to life. We planted our veggie garden today, I've been going for walks almost every sunny afternoon, and the longer days mean that I feel like there's just more time to Do Stuff in general. Tango classes, jogging, theater (in the past two weeks I've seen both Book of Mormon and Chess), dinner with friends...

Life is busy. It's not perfect - Percy's still sick, and likely terminal; my shoulder/neck pain is still bad enough (after six-plus months of rest, PT, and acupuncture) that I need to talk to my doctor about more invasive treatment options; I still have my own demons that I fight. But it's closer to good than it has been in a long time.

Trying

Nov. 29th, 2012 08:02 am
ladysprite: (steampunk)
It's little comfort to know that you don't have Seasonal Affective Disorder when, instead, you just have depression, anxiety, and other problems that are triggered and/or made worse by cold weather and darkness. Mostly it means that this time of year is rough for me, but getting a full-spectrum lamp doesn't help.

But at least I don't have SAD.

I'm sorry if I'm being quiet and withdrawn right now - I'm trying my best to reach out, but it's hard when there's a part of me that desperately wants to cling to misery, loneliness, and fear like a toxic security blanket. I'm doing my best, but it's still hard. If you want to help? Reach out to me, and be patient if I shy away like a beaten dog at first.

I'm trying to keep track of positive things when I run into them - playing with friends' children, going running, planning my holiday cookie list (sesame toffee, or peanut? Opinions?). I'm hoping to spend today baking bread and making stock from last week's turkey carcass; having the house warm and full of good smells should help.

One day at a time, until it starts to get warm and green again....

(Oh! Public service announcement - I'm still here on LJ, but fewer and fewer people are. I can't stand facebook, but I have started posting on G+. Feel free to hunt me down there; I'm under my real married name. If you don't know it, ask......)
ladysprite: (DiscoTurtle)
Every once in a while I look at myself, metaphorically speaking, and wonder how someone who is supposedly so smart can be such a bimbo.

On the other hand, I have to admit that at least my occasional forays into bimbosity also provide opportunities to discover excellence in my fellow human beings.

So today I had a bunch of errands to run. And, because I am a girly girl and have become addicted to having pretty nails, one of these "errands" was getting a manicure. And a pedicure, because hey, if you're going to have one, you might as well have both. So anyway, I finished my CE and registered for a professional conference and started the dishwasher and renewed my gym membership and headed out to the salon, figuring on spending an hour or so there before picking up a friend and running out to the local Asian grocery to stock up on bento staples and so on and so forth.

Unfortunately, after an hour or so of pampering and painting, I stepped out into the parking lot to discover that my car keys were, in fact, not in my purse, but instead in the ignition of my car. And, because I am conscientious, all of my windows were rolled up and doors locked. And [livejournal.com profile] umbran was upwards of an hour away, in a meeting with his cell phone turned off.

And our AAA membership had expired. And the police couldn't help. And the tow truck company would only come out for a minimum of $60, cash up front. Which I didn't have, because I had just paid to turn my toenails sparkly burgundy. And the cab company's phone line was faulty and kept disconnecting me, and the guy there didn't really speak English.

Luckily, at least it was a glorious, warm, sunny day and I had plenty of reading material. So, after my second or third call to the cab company, I thought I had *maybe* explained to them where I was and what I wanted, and I sat down on the brick wall in the parking lot to read.

Maybe 15 minutes later, a guy pulled into the parking lot and greeted me with a grin and bantering hearty approval of my apparent slacking off and enjoying the sunshine. Starved for conversation and company, I returned the grin and griped to him about my situation. He sympathized, offered to buy me lunch (the nail salon shared the strip mall with, among other things, a pizza parlor), and asked if I needed a ride anywhere.

I told him that I was trying to get back to MyHomeTown, but that I was hopefully all set. He said his next meeting was in NeighboringTown, and asked again if I needed a ride. I thanked him, and said I should be fine, but he insisted that, if I was still there when his meeting was over, he'd gladly give me a lift.

Five minutes later he came back to his car, griping that the person he was supposed to meet was running at least 20-30 minutes late, and that he was just going straight on ahead to NeighboringTown. And there was still no sign of the taxi. He asked again if I needed a ride. I said yes, and called the cab company, who were rather eager to cancel my request.

Ten minutes later he dropped me off at a safe public location a short walk from my house, after a pleasant drive and conversation about local restaurants, little sisters, the frustration of late clients, and our mutual love of the Greater Boston Area. I walked home, hopped into [livejournal.com profile] umbran's car (the keys for which I had on a separate ring), and drove to pick up [livejournal.com profile] metaphysick and, blessedly, his spare set of house keys, so I could get inside and change for my physical therapy appointment.

So. A thousand thank-yous to Dave The Good Samaritan for salvaging the day from my own airheadedness, to [livejournal.com profile] metaphysick for letting me into my own home and for walking with me to PT, and to my beloved [livejournal.com profile] umbran for picking me up from my appointment, driving me back to my car with his spare keys, and for not calling me a bimbo in the process....
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
I've been doing a lot of writing here about how difficult life has been lately - how rough work has been, how many tragedies my family and friends have been facing, and how hard it's been to bear up through all of it. But at the same time, life hasn't been all bad. So I should take a little time and mention the good things in my world.

Our garden is doing amazingly well; better than it has in years. [livejournal.com profile] umbran built new raised beds, and we moved them into better areas of the yard, and now we're (quite literally) reaping the benefits. The rabbits apparently decided to exclusively attack the spinach, and I'm happy with that tradeoff - we had record harvests of peas and green beans and wax beans, we're picking more cucumbers and tomatoes than we can eat, our broccoli has suddenly decided to make new heads this week, and by next week there should be eggplants and soybeans and some strange red and white marbled Italian beans that I saw that looked interesting.

We're going to Italy this fall. It's real, and planned and paid for. I still find that hard to believe; there's a part of me that still feels like it's not possible, but no matter what I believe, it's happening. Four days in Rome, four days in Venice. And we've even managed to find a full-day cooking class in Rome that sounds truly, epically amazing.

I have new crafting projects - a quick cross-stitch that is a blessed change of pace after the enormous afghan of doom, and for when that's done, a new spinning wheel to learn on and play with. And I'm trying to make more time to read, too.

I've got hope that things are looking up for [livejournal.com profile] umbran at work; there's a chance that he may be moving into a permanent position for the first time in far too long. It's not certain, but my fingers are crossed - that would be a blessing beyond my ability to explain. And another dear friend, a writer who has also had an unreasonably long run of bad luck, has finally managed to slide back into paying work, which makes me vicariously happy.

Things aren't perfect, but I'm managing to tread water. I slept last night, better and longer than I have in months. I've made it through yesterday and today without crying. I'm going to be okay. I may not be there now, but I can see it from here.....

Escapism

Jun. 28th, 2012 11:34 am
ladysprite: (Default)
Among the many things I wish I had learned earlier in life is the fact that little, local mini-vacations can be as restful and fun as big, faraway, destination vacations - even more so, sometimes.

We never went on vacations much when I was growing up, of any sort, so I always had the idea in my head that vacations needed to be like they were portrayed in comedy media - big, convoluted, effortful affairs going somewhere far away for at least a week. It's only been within the past couple of years that I've realized that taking two or three days to run away somewhere local, but just far enough to be emphatically Not Home, can be a vacation too.

This past weekend [livejournal.com profile] umbran and I went to Vermont for a couple of days. Not far; it was maybe a 3 hour drive to where we were staying. And it wasn't an epic adventure. But it was far and away one of the best vacations I've ever had.

The B&B we were staying at was glorious - bright and homey and comfortable, with a yard filled with gardens and flowers and hammocks and swings and more beautiful kinds of birds than I could count, and fresh fruit and homemade baked goods in the morning, and a hot tub on the screened-in porch for nighttime. I'll admit, at least one afternoon's worth of plans were forgotten as I curled up in the hammock and alternated between reading and watching the birds.

We didn't just lie around all weekend, though. We went trail riding, and explored little stores, and went to the most charming farmer's market I've ever seen, and found a fiber arts collective where I was given an impromptu hour-long lesson on how to use a spinning wheel, and found delicious food, and went to the Shelburne Museum, where we realized that one day really isn't anywhere near enough to explore the delightful superabundance of awesome wackiness that is that place.

And yeah, we soaked up a lot of sunshine, read a lot, and spent a goodly amount of time doing precious little. And it was wonderful. And we're back now, but somehow, after the weekend we had, the rest of the world is a lot less intimidating....
ladysprite: (Default)
I woke up around 8:30 this morning - sleeping late, for me - with my husband curled up on one side of me and my cat curled up on the other. I'd been having nightmares through the night, but both of them cuddled up close to protect me, and my last hours of sleep were blessedly peaceful.

Once I was awake enough, I wandered down to the kitchen and started assembling food; I had promised to bring dessert to a friend's picnic this afternoon, and I had a recipe for blueberry bread pudding that I wanted to try. Unfortunately, a second read-through of the recipe revealed it to be less than ideal; luckily, I was able to improvise by finding my favorite bread pudding recipe and adjusting and tinkering a bit. While the pudding was in the oven, my marvelous husband ran out to our favorite local breakfast place and came home with bagel-and-egg sandwiches.

Then the baking was done, and we went for a walk. I'm gearing up for the 3 Day, so I wanted to walk at least 10 miles today. We accomplished that and then some, wandering through Medford, Arlington, and Cambridge for several hours, and the weather cooperated amazingly. I have soaked up enough sun and fresh air to last me through the week, and the breezes kept us from overheating, and while my legs were incredibly tired at the end, I think I should be able to ramp up enough to be ready in time for the walk itself if I keep practicing.

And we came home again, and I changed into a pretty dress, and we went to said picnic, where I had good food and got to talk to people, and soak up more sunshine, and then I was assaulted by small children and dragged into their play. Literally; these were children who were not body-shy, and I was repeatedly tackled, sat upon, and at one point used as the rope in a game of tug-of-war. And then there was acroyoga, and upside-down-ness (modified, of course, for the fact that I was still wearing a skirt). And the blueberry bread pudding was a success, in spite of its experimental nature.

Now I am home, and have changed into comfy clothes, and soon there will be tea and the Tony Awards. And I wish I could hold onto how I feel right now - identify it in my body, like muscle memory, and find a way to re-enter this feeling at will during my week ahead....

For Now

May. 24th, 2012 11:23 am
ladysprite: (Default)
The sun is shining, and it is gloriously warm outside.

I have a vase of red and white roses on my mantelpiece.

I worked out this morning, and now I am comfy and relaxed and wearing my favorite shirt.

I have a friend coming over this afternoon, and there will be good food and good tv and good conversation. Then I am going to dress up in a pretty dress and go to tango class, and maybe go out for ice cream afterwards.

So You Think You Can Dance starts tonight.

Right now, all I have to do is decide whether to spend the next half-hour working on the Afghan That Will Never End, or curled up on the comfy chair in the library reading Volume 2 of the Walking Dead graphic novel.

How did my life get this good?
ladysprite: (Default)
Today, yes, it's grey and bleak and rainy and miserable. But I really can't complain too much, because for the past week or two it has been truly gorgeous outside, and I have been lucky enough to get the chance to enjoy a heck of a lot of it.

One of the benefits of going jogging outside that I hadn't anticipated is that I get to watch our neighborhood, and the trees and yards on our route, blossom and grow and change. Since we're trying to get out and run at least 2-3 times a week, the practical result is that I've been watching spring unfold day by day.

At this time of year, it's like watching time-lapse photography. On Monday, there were daffodils, but all the cherry trees were still be tightly-wrapped little brown buds. Wednesday, the tulips started to open and the cherry trees were explosions of pink-and-fluffy so vibrant and full that they looked almost unreal; by Friday the daffodils had faded and the lilacs started to open up, heralding my absolute favorite week or two of the year.

Back at our house, everything is a week or two behind, mostly because our plants are little and new - two or three daffodils and one bold tulip have opened; the rest are still buds. There's one lonely blossom on our lilacs, but that's enough - there will be more next year. And the rain today (and tomorrow, and maybe the rest of the week) will help them grow, and I'll just keep my fingers crossed that the weather for Run For Your Life is better.

Because, you know, mud and muck and zombies and fake blood are okay, but mud and muck and zombies and fake blood and rain? Eww.....
ladysprite: (Default)
So I'm facing a pair of conflicting goals in my life right now... and at the same time, I've somehow managed to balance them this weekend. I'm not quite sure how, but I'm not going to complain.

After spending over a week in January too sick to function, and most of December decidedly unhealthy, I finally decided to accept that maybe running at redline wasn't quite the wisest way to spend my life. (Yes, I know I've been confronted with this lesson before. In every life, there are some lessons we learn quickly and some that we need to be bludgeoned with repeatedly before they sink into our somewhat resistant skulls. This is one of the latter, for me.) So I've decided to do my best to kind of slow the heck down, and maybe not take on SO many projects at once.

At the same time, I also realized that I spent way too much of 2011 in a fairly small social bubble, interacting with about 3 or 4 people almost exclusively, and not finding enough time to spend with many other people whom I wanted to share my life with. And so I've also decided that, for 2012, one of my goals is to find time to spend with people I don't see often enough.

The challenge here is not to go so crazy filling up my schedule with social events that I wear myself out, fail to find time to take care of myself, my house, and my pets, or forget to spend time with my husband. Given my tendency to take everything to eleven, this is a fairly serious challenge.

I managed to juggle it well this weekend, though. Dinner and brunch with good friends I haven't seen near enough of, and afternoon socializing with others, still left me enough time at home to cuddle my husband and my cats and finish the truly awesome book I was reading - I had forgotten how good it felt to be able to just curl up with a book that was so enthralling that I couldn't pull myself away, and actually have the time to read for an hour or two.

And now I'm making dinner, and planning meals for the week, yet more things I hadn't found as much time to do as I would have liked to. I don't know how long I'll be able to keep up this level of calm; I'm sure something will send me into hyperdrive before too long. But for now, I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it....

Keeping On

Dec. 2nd, 2011 08:46 am
ladysprite: (Default)
I'm not quite sure where this week went. I know it happened, and I know that according to the week-by-week calendar on our fridge (the best way for us both to keep track of our schedule, since my work-schedule varies so wildly) I wasn't technically over-busy, but somehow the hours and minutes and days got away from me, and suddenly here I am on Friday, trying to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to be doing this weekend, how I'm supposed to squeeze everything in, and how I managed to lose track of so much time without noticing.

I'm not un-busy(is that even a word?). I've been working, and I've got crafting projects that I'm trying to finish - wedding presents and holiday presents, a few of which I still need to start, and bits and pieces of writing for games that I play in, or am trying to slip into. I'm trying to make space and time for the people in my life, while keeping some little bit of time for myself. I've been cooking again, too, which makes me feel better than just about anything.

We're entering the time of year when it's hard for me to be happy. It's possible, if I focus on it and pay attention and try to keep myself surrounded by warmth and light and good things and remind myself of how truly wonderful my life is - but if I don't keep up that constant effort, it's deceptively, destructively easy to let the cold and dark overwhelm me and fall back into negativity, despair, and conviction that the world hates me. I'm doing my best to fight it, but I honestly think that's what's taking up a lot of my energy right now.

On the other hand, there are some good things about this season. It's ridiculous how quickly and easily holiday lights will cheer me up - no matter how lousy my day, how cold it is, how terrible the traffic is, or how tired I am, driving home from work in the dark and seeing all the different houses lit up and decorated can take me almost instantly from miserable to delighted. I'm hoping that we finally find the time and motivation to decorate our house this year; I think it'd be wonderful to have lights of our own. And it's holiday cookie season, too - I started my baking last night (molasses spice cookies and oatmeal cranberry cheesecake bars), so the house finally smells like home again.

Only a few more weeks, and then the days start getting longer again. I can hang on to that....

Pausing

Nov. 24th, 2011 11:56 am
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
Okay, then.

Stuffing is assembled, and ready to go in the oven when it's time. Pumpkin gingerbread and cranberry-apple pies are done and cooling. Gravy base is finished, just waiting for the turkey drippings to be made into a roux and simmered in. Olive tapenade and lemon-mint-pepper ricotta are done and waiting to go on bruschetta.

Bread has been cubed for bread pudding; that'll go in the oven just when we sit down to eat. Green beans have been snapped. Hazelnuts are toasted and being chopped as I type this. Turkey is brining, and will be coming out to go into the oven in about 20 minutes - [livejournal.com profile] umbran is on top of that, bless his heart.

And.... that's it. It's too early to peel potatoes or start the custard for the bread pudding; succotash is going to be a last-minute toss in the skillet. There's going to be the standard last-minute rush around the kitchen about a half an hour before we eat, as I saute green beans and mash potatoes and whisk gravy and try to get all the last-minute bits timed just so, but for the moment, I think I'm caught up.

In three hours my house will be full of friends and family and loved ones. I love this holiday. Right now, though, I think I'm going to sit down for a few, catch my breath, and enjoy the peace....

Too Much

Nov. 19th, 2011 12:09 pm
ladysprite: (Default)
Is it bad that I've fallen off the gratitude wagon because I'm too busy enjoying my life to write about it?

Things are busy right now. Work has actually slowed down a little, but I'm more than making up for that with other facets of my life. And finances are secure enough at the moment that I can afford a little slowdown, if it means balancing it with other things.

This weekend in particular is a crazy roleplaying marathon. Last night was one of the best episodes yet of the local Vampire LARP that I've been dabbling my toes in - the game has finally hit its stride, it seems, and characters are starting to make connections outside of the little cliques of twos and threes that they came in with. Plus, all of the characters that I started trying to work with were there, which just meant fun for me as I flitted like a bee from flower to flower.

Tonight is a murder mystery LARP with a new friend. I should be afraid, since I don't know anyone else there, but as far as I can tell my character is pure color, there to be the functional equivalent of a macaw - loud, colorful, attention-getting, and trouble-making. An attractive nuisance. And I can do that without knowing folks - maybe more easily than I could if I knew everyone. And tomorrow is our Star Wars tabletop game, another new group that I'm slowly starting to fit in with.

And next week is Thanksgiving, and I will have a house full of people that I love, and there will be family and friends and good food and fun and music and it will be awesome. Though it does mean that between now and then I need to clean the house, make the bed in the guestroom, figure out where we're going to put the kitten while my mom and sister are here, and figure out the timing for getting all the food made.

I'm making an afghan for a friend's wedding. I'm working out again, and trying to figure out where I can start running to gear up for the 5K Run For Your Life. I'm spending time with friends and people I love. I'm working my butt off preparing for the raffle at Arisia. I'm starting to plan my holiday baking.

I'm busy. It's good. I look at my life sometimes and I realize how many things I'm doing and trying to do, and I wonder if maybe I might be able to get more done if I picked one or two things and focused on them.... but at the same time, I can't think of anything there I'd be willing to cut out. I think I'm just destined to be a butterfly... at least I manage to pay attention to things long enough to actually get them done, eventually.....
ladysprite: (Default)
This has been a crazy, miserable hell of a month. It's been a crazy, miserable hell of a year. I'm pretty darn close to running out of energy, cope, and sanity, and it's starting to show even when I'm doing my best to cover it up.

On the other hand, I have a handful of very good people in my life who will do their best, no matter what, to try to keep my various pieces together and remind me that there is more to life than the misery of the moment. And they keep me surrounded with love, and ply me with hugs and chocolate and dancing and flowers and gentle reminders that maybe I shouldn't be the last priority in my own life.

I am going to listen to these people, for the moment, and I am going away for a couple of days. I'm taking my phone, but odds are it'll be left in the hotel room or buried in the bottom of my purse, and I am fleeing as much of the world as possible. I'll be back Monday; try not to burn down the internet while I'm gone.

(Though, if the apocalypse hits, don't tell me. I'll just wait it out on my own private island, and be happy there.)

Thank you for the thoughts and well-wishes and patience, and with any luck I'll be more prepared to face the world when I'm back.....
ladysprite: (MoarCat)
If I'm happiest when I'm busy, the universe must be conspiring to keep me flipping elated right now.

Work has been stark raving nuts for the past month or two and shows no sign of changing - I've been getting in a half-hour early and staying at least an hour late almost every day.

I've got a sweater and a cross-stitch project I'm working on for myself, plus an altered book I need for a game prop, and I need to start both a baby afghan (hi, [livejournal.com profile] joannahurley!) and a wedding present (not sure whether that's going to be a sampler or another afghan).

I've just taken on the group-coordinator role for a decent-sized group in the local SCA. Luckily, this doesn't come with a huge amount of obligations, but time still goes into it. I've got two tabletop games that I'm in, and both meet at my house, which adds tidy-up and food-prep time into game-time. I promised to proofread a friend's novel. I'm fundraising for the 3 Day, and planning the raffle. I just agreed to voice lessons with a friend. I'm trying to keep up with working out. I have a brain-damaged kitten that needs every-6-hours feeding and monitoring.

And on top of this, I now have a friend in the hospital, an hour north of me, who's going to be there for some time and needing visits at least once a week or more for the foreseeable future.

It's a darn good thing I'm awesome enough to pull this all off. Mostly, at least; I think the voice lessons may get tabled for a month or so, and I'm hoping that my friends plan the wedding for at least a year out. But still.

Other than the hospital, this is all stuff I chose myself, and stuff I love and am happy to have in my life. Though... I could be happy if they showed up in series instead of in parallel.
ladysprite: (Default)
Vacationing isn't something I've had a lot of experience with, and it's something I'm still learning how to do. We never really went on vacations when I was a kid, so I always sort of assumed they were a Big Deal - something that had to take a lot of time, and involved going far away, for several days. But when [livejournal.com profile] umbran and I wound up having to cancel our plans to go to Latvia this summer, I didn't want to give up completely on taking any sort of break. We wound up planning for a long weekend away in Mystic, CT; I went into it fairly certain that it would be... I don't know. No big deal, not that much of a change from regular life, kinda fun but not much of an actual vacation. And instead it was almost perfect.

We left after work Thursday; one of the nice things about running away to somewhere within a few hours' drive of home was that we could get an extra full day away while still only taking one day off work. Even working a full day and stopping on the road for dinner, we managed to check in to the B&B by 9:30pm.

The B&B, incidentally, was... not bad. I'm learning that I love B&B's in general much more than hotels - while I don't spend huge amounts of time in my room when I'm away, there's something about having green spaces outside and a room that looks like a bedroom, and pretty furniture, that just makes the whole experience feel so much more luxurious than staying in a little box. And this place was gorgeous, with sprawling lawns and hammocks and gardens and the obligatory cat that seems to come standard when you take over ownership of a New England Bed & Breakfast, and a jacuzzi in the room itself. The bed was a little less than comfy, and the food was mediocre, but in general it was incredibly, amazingly worth the extra money, if only for the chance to go sprawl out on the lawn with a book, or do sun salutations, instead of looking out at a parking lot.

We didn't actually plan our weekend, beyond 'go away.' There were a handful of things we had on our list of 'that might be cool to do,' but nothing mandatory. And that wound up making things even better. We stopped by the Mystic Aquarium, just in time to see the sea lion show and watch the beluga whales (my personal favorite whales, and second in my heart only to manatees) show off. We wandered around the Ye Olde Mysticke Village, bought some cute touristy stuff as well as a Warren Zevon CD I had never even heard of before, and went to dinner at a nice restaurant, conveniently also knocking F off the Restaurant Project - that'll be a separate post.

We went to the Pequot Museum Saturday morning, on a whim, and realized that we got there just in time to tag along for a 3-mile nature and history hike through the remnants of a 19th century settlement, led by a researcher who I am totally kidnapping in the event that the apocalypse happens. Said hike was unfortunately interrupted by yellowjackets; luckily, Super Researcher also turned out to be an ethnobotanist, and within a few minutes had picked a handful of medicinal plants and handed them out to the sting victims (of which, blessedly, my allergic self was not one).

Then it turned out we were in town on the same weekend as the Midsummer Festival in Old Lyme. The festival itself was a bit low-key, but it led us on another (less nature-infested) walk, and ended with some of the best ice cream I've ever had. From there, we just puttered around for a while; I can't put my finger on any one particular event, but I know we had a good evening of exploring and relaxing, as well as encountering ridiculous amounts of wildlife - deer, snakes, chipmunks, and nearly half a dozen foxes over the course of the weekend.

Today we went back to Ye Olde Village for some final shopping, and took the time to explore the Art Show outside. [livejournal.com profile] umbran splurged at a Native American store, and I got a beautiful pair of art glass earrings, as well as a donation from the glass artist of a handmade pendant and a promise of more pieces to come, for the raffle at Arisia - proving yet again to me that it is OK to be shameless in the name of charity. The rest of the day was spent wandering slowly in the direction of home, with stops at a local goat farm for exploring, animal petting, and fresh cheese, and in Old Sturbridge Village, because it was there and fun.

And now we're home, and eventually I will have to unpack, and start making a grocery list for the week, and planning and thinking about work, but I think for now I'm going to count the next hour or two as the remnants of my vacation. And I will do my best to remember, in the future, that even a little escape like this can make a big difference.

Gratitude

Jul. 15th, 2011 08:16 pm
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
So I've vented in here before about how rough things have been lately - death, doom, work, stress, health, family, and a whole score of other problems all falling on top of my head at once. So I feel like I ought to take a moment right now to say something else.

This has been a pretty darn good week, and I would like to send a thank-you to the Universe and to whatever powers might be responsible for making that happen.

Nothing earth-shatteringly, life-changingly amazing has happened. I haven't won the lottery, or discovered a cure for cancer, or suddenly manifested phenomenal artistic talent. The problems that were there before are still there.

But on the other hand... the weather has been nothing short of gorgeous. Warm and sunny and breezy and bright, and I've managed to get outside to enjoy it. I've had a couple of days off, and good people to share them with, including a day exploring yesterday that involved kitschy antique stores, 300-year-old cemeteries, climbing trees, secondhand bookstores, and quite possibly the best hot dog I've ever eaten.

I got to donate blood. That in and of itself is a world-brightening event.

My garden is doing well - we have enough blueberries that I should be able to make pancakes tomorrow, or maybe even muffins if I'm lucky. We had fresh sugar snap peas in homemade fried rice last week, and tomorrow there will be green beans. Even the broccoli, and the soybeans and wax beans are doing well, and there are finger-sized zucchini, and the tomatoes are starting to redden.

I have a beautiful new skirt, and a book that I had been searching for for the past decade or so, and a crafting project that is amusing and entertaining me, even as it decimates my wallet (altered books are fascinating, and quite possibly I've bitten off more than I can chew, but it'll be a fun attempt, at least). Also, I am utterly hooked on my Nook.

Even tv is being cooperative - 'Falling Skies' doesn't entirely suck, and it looks like 'Alphas' might actually be pretty good. And the kitten is growing and thriving, though I think I have to abandon my Arthurian naming tradition; while there are several beautiful, elegant, sophisticated women's names in Arthurian legend, she is none of those things, and none of the names I try on her seem to fit in the least. She needs a name that's a little spunky, and a little dorky, and a little ridiculous. Current front-runner name is Moxie; it seems to suit her.

So. Thank you, universe, for sunshine and grass and being tired from walking instead of from insomnia, and for blueberries and good books and good people and all that stuff. I'll enjoy the heck out of this for as long as I can....
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
It's a chilly, bleak day, even though it's technically spring. This morning, getting ready to go to work, there was a dusting of snow on my car and over the ground where the tulips are starting to emerge. There are still flurries drifting through the air right now, though not enough to accumulate, and the sky is a dead, gray color.

I'm sitting here at work, fingers cold but the rest of me tolerating the temperature fairly well, wondering if it's close enough to noon to justify getting my sandwich from the fridge and eating lunch. I cracked my first Diet Coke half an hour ago; too thirsty to wait, and the water in the office cooler here is somehow always room-temperature. Nasty, especially when mixed with Crystal Light.

I had a few appointments today, which is fairly normal for this clinic, and one of them was a client that had specifically requested to see me. That was a nice boost to the ego, especially because the client and pet in question are both enthusiastic, friendly, and fun. And now I've got a lull for a couple of hours, which has been filled so far by introducing the office manager (a fellow hobby-cook) to the addictive delight that is TasteSpotting. So far she's already printed out half a dozen recipes, and concocted almost as many plans for dinner endeavors.

In between being called over to ooh at recipes for Chocolate Stout and Salted Caramel Whoopie Pies, I've got a pretty amazing book to keep me company. It's a collection of superhero short stories that I got for [livejournal.com profile] umbran for Christmas and am finally getting around to reading myself, and I'm continually being overwhelmed by just how amazing each story is. It's wonderful to finally start seeing superhero literature emerge as a genre.

It's past noon now, so I can eat my sandwich and tackle the next story. I've got one more appointment this afternoon, and then it'll be home to the next part of the day, to figure out whatever up-in-the-air plans have been awaiting word from friends juggling lives of their own.....
ladysprite: (Default)
It's the end of the first month of the year, and I realized that, while I've posted a lot about the lousy stuff happening, and a little about trying to boost my mood, I haven't posted much about What's Going On In General. I started out the year hoping it would turn out to be better than the last one - and the answer to whether it has been or not so far is... well, challenging and complicated.

There has been a hell of a lot of badness going on, that I've already mentioned here. I've been sicker than any time before in my adult life. [livejournal.com profile] umbran screwed up his back while shoveling snow, and has been struggling with coping with it. I lost a friend, and a major pillar of the community, and her loss is moving through everyone like an earthquake, and we don't know what the shape of our world is going to be when it's done. The world is cold, and icy, and scary.

And when this much badness and bleakness is going on - especially when everyone is dealing with loss together - there's an unspoken and unreasonable pressure to not be happy, to not talk about good things, that doing so means that you're somehow not part of the shared grief, didn't care enough, didn't love enough. No one says it, and I'm pretty sure that no one actually even thinks or feels it - but the pressure is there, just the same.

That said.... with all the misery, at the same time, there are so many awesome things going on in my life and my world.

I'm taking tango classes, and loving every minute of it. It's a fairly alien style of movement for me, almost as much as Middle Eastern dance was at first. The leaning-forward posture always feels a little like falling, and the fact that the lead comes from the torso instead of the arms is taking some getting used to. But our teacher is a genuine Character, the friend that I'm taking with is a wonderfully good sport, and we can diffuse most of our stumbles with a grin and a laugh. And amazingly, the rest of the class all seem to be friendly, cheerful, easygoing folks who have no problem learning and sharing partners.

I've also had the chance to reconnect with a couple of friends lately that I was afraid were falling (or had fallen) away, including a weekend runaway that I desperately needed. There's something about even the smallest change of scenery, and getting away from home, that can make a big difference in frame of mind - it's making a new setting, where you don't have to bring along everything that's scary and painful at home.

My work situation is complicated, but in a positive way. I am flattered and delighted to know that some of the best clinics I've ever had the good fortune to work at respect me and my medicine, and appreciate having me on their team.

And most of all, there have been friends. Over the past few weeks it has been made heart-achingly, abundantly clear just how many good people I have in my life, who care about me and are here for me - and who invite me into their lives to be there for them. It's a little scary and overwhelming sometimes to realize how much love and friendship I have in my life, and I think that's why I forget occasionally; it just doesn't seem realistic or believable. I've wondered a lot recently how I've managed to be so lucky and so blessed, but the few people I've speculated to about this out loud have all done the gentle verbal equivalent of bopping me on the head with rolled-up newspaper and told me that it's not luck. I'm not sure I believe them. Either way, it is amazing.

I have so much goodness right now, and so much to look forward to. The list of Things To Do This Year is growing, and becoming more exciting every day. I have plays and shows to go see, and restaurants to visit. I have a trip to Latvia this summer. There's the 3 Day to crew in July, and planning for next year's fundraising. There will be more dance classes, and maybe cake decorating classes, and SCA events to teach at, and games to play in, and Stiletto Spy School, and trips to take with friends, and I don't know how I'm going to fit it all into one life, but I can't wait to try.

So yeah. Things are crummy, right now, but things are also amazing.

As a note, while I am not walking in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day For the Cure this year, I will be participating in the event again, with [livejournal.com profile] tpau, this time as crew. As crew, I'm not required to fundraise - and be warned, we *will* be walking again in 2012, so I'll be hitting folks up for donations then. But if you still want to donate this year, you're more than welcome to; my participant page is here.

My Valentinr - ladysprite
Get your own valentinr

Just A Day

Nov. 21st, 2010 07:19 pm
ladysprite: (Default)
Sometimes I get so caught up in my need to be Busy Doing Stuff All The Time that I forget how useful and pleasant it can be for my husband and I just to have a day to ourselves. Not a Date Night or planned activity time; just... a day.

A day to sleep in, and wake up when we feel like it instead of when our plans dictate, and maybe stay in bed after we're awake without feeling guilty. And to do whatever we feel like after that, without having to squeeze things in around an agenda.

We did have a couple of things on our to-do list, but none of them were time-critical, and, to be completely honest, if we hadn't gotten them done the world wouldn't have ended. I did have an appointment with a massage therapist (pain, stress, and an inability to raise my arms over my head finally overrode my hangups, issues, severe aversion to seeking any medical attention, and deep-seated suspicion that hiring a masseuse is disturbingly similar to hiring a prostitute), but that was far enough into the day that it didn't get in the way of a slow, leisurely morning together.

After that, we headed out to get our Thanksgiving shopping done, which was far more fun than it had any right to be. No matter how old I am, I think I'll always find grocery shopping to be more of an amusing game than a chore - it just feels far too much like pretending to be a grownup, rather than like actually being a grownup. There were show tunes and a capella on the radio, and now there is a turkey thawing in our fridge, several bags of chocolate chips and nuts in our pantry, and and a stack of recipes ready to use in the dining room.

Tidying up went much faster than I had anticipated; I adore our little house and am both surprised and glad at how quickly we can have it company-ready if need be. And then the magic of timing and the Internets let me reward myself for my dedication to both my chores and my health with a beautiful new necklace from [livejournal.com profile] chimera_fancies, and the television rewarded me with "When Harry Met Sally" (which I had just been thinking I wanted to watch, and just happened to be starting when I turned on the tv to see if anything fun was on).

So now there are pork chops in the oven, and succotash on the stove, and a movie I love waiting to be watched, and the man I love waiting to share this all with me. And while I can't quite lift my arms over my head without pain and strain quite yet, it's a little easier. And soon there will be a house I love full of people I love and care about.

I think I might be maybe getting the hang of this "good life" thing....

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