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Preview: It's Furious Balancing

It's Furious Balancing

I decided (on a whim, as I usually decide upon "new projects") to begin blogging instead of journaling the old-fashioned way. Why? I type much faster than I write; it's easier to edit; and I just thought it would be cool. That's enough for me.

Updated: 2018-03-06T20:37:10.462-05:00


Someone's Coming. Act Like a Cat.


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I Has Moved


(image) As of today, I've relocated from Blogger to a new site with my own domain name --> All future posts will now be on the new site. Update your bookmarks, if I can flatter myself with the idea that anyone has bookmarked me.

I've imported my old posts from Blogger, and it still looks pretty rough-drafty over at the new site (to me, anyway). It's evolving, but come visit.

Kitten Playtime


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Dear God, I must squeal in Japanese now.


This serves no purpose whatsoever except to be egregiously cute. Sometimes egregious cuteness is all I'm up for on some days. Enjoy your the rest of your weekend, cats and kittens.

I Has a Vision


(image) I'm thinking about, and taking steps to accomplish, moving this blog onto my own domain name and using WordPress as my publishing platform.

I'm going to blame Allan for this one. He's the gentleman who commented yesterday on my madeleine post. We've since exchanged brief emails and I've spent some more time reading his (very well-written, erudite) blog.

I covet his footnote plug-in functionality.

No, seriously.

I must have footnotes that allow the reader to click on the footnote number, automatically go to the bottom of the page to read said footnote, then click on the "back" button to return to their place in the text.

Go over to his blog and play around with this. I realize I'm a blogging neophyte, but I hadn't seen this before. Considering my methods (or lack thereof) of writing, this could have some serious consequences for It's Furious Balancing. Lots of footnotes and other madcap blogging hijinks will ensue, I'm certain.

As to when this move to WordPress will actually occur, that's up in the air. It depends on my learning curve.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Photo courtesy of Meme Cats

Dude, Where's the Lime Blossom Tisane?


Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it. - Vladimir Nabokov
It started with a post today on Feministe -- a blog I read fairly frequently (if not everyday). It was Mikey's post on madeleines. Starbucks' madeleines in cello-wrap, or shrink-wrap, or whatever one calls it, complete with pictures and a link to a very interesting Slate article on Proust's Belle Epoque madeleines and one man's attempt to reverse-engineer the recipe based upon hints in the famous madeleine-tea-Aunt Leonie's lime blossom tisane-Combray passage in the first volume of In Search of Lost Time (1).

This lead to some comments about the awfulness of Starbucks' pastries, and the awfulness of their coffee, and their mega-chain evilness (but still how it was oddly comforting to find this mega-chain when out of one's element). Even though I could have put in some digs about how I believe Starbucks is the Wal-Mart of coffee houses (2), my first thought was that I should go home and bake some madeleines. My second thought was I should then blog about it. One of the commentors mentioned that she had seen the madeleine-tea-memory reference many, many times, but only knew of one instance where madeleine was a recurring blog tag to mean "memories" (3). I strongly feel that madeleines require greater blog presence -- of any sort.

(image) I actually own a madeleine pan. I bought it for myself after I first began reading Proust. I've made them only once before, but tonight I'll give it another go.

I'll take pictures, don't fret.

(1) It is NOT translated to Remembrance of Things Past. That title was foisted on Proust's work when it was translated into English. That's actually a phrase that appears in Shakespeare's Sonnet No. 30.

(2) Sorry, but I live in Ann Arbor and frequent an independent coffee house where the owner knows me by sight and name as well as that I want a skim Abianno latte (no foam) every blessed workday morning, the only variation being whether said latte is a "double" or a "triple." None of this "venti" or "grande" B.S. If I ever utter the words "White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino," shoot me, because it won't be me but some pod-spawned alien.

(3) Upon a cursory review of the tagged posts, it looks to me like it means "digressions" or "opening up very large cans of worms," but that's only a cursory review. My reading list has just gotten longer. /sigh

Antigravity Cat-Toast Device


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This amuses me no end. I want to interject the phrase "cat-toast equilibrium point" or "cat-butter paradox" in my daily conversations. This has probably been out around the Internet for ages and ages, but I just found it. So there.

A more detailed write-up on can be found here.

Found Things


Today is one of those lovely Saturdays when I have absolutely nothing I have to do. My time is all mine. I can knit, sleep, read, surf the Innernets, and generally spoil myself rotten. Oh, there's a few loads of laundry that need doing, and a little bit of tidying up around the house, but nothing compelling or necessary by any means. Well, making sure I have clean underwear for next week might fall into the "necessary" category, but the upshot of all of this is that I have loads of Free, Unstructured Time.That is a glorious thing.First up, My So Called Scarf. I love these colors. They're a bit darker than they appear in this photo. I thought diffuse morning sunlight would show them better, but I was wrong. Ah, well. If this is the worse thing to happen to me today, I am lucky indeed.Second, a few things Found on the Internet that I just haven't gotten around to posting:[If you click on Anti-Gravity Cat's picture, you can get him to spin around]Hey, it makes perfect sense to me (but now I'm craving toast, with lots and lots of Calder Dairy butter). (1)In the "What the Heck, You Never Know" Department: Kelly at Yoga Coffee Outlook is giving away a Zune MP3 Player. All you need to do to qualify is write that previous sentence in a blog post, and put a comment on her blog, etc. Details here.I've never even read, or wanted to read, any of the Harry Potter books, but I still am sorted into the correct house (the wise, clever, learned, enigmatic ones, I am told):be sorted @ nimbo.netBut wait! Here's more silly cat stuff:Oh, I've got tons of these saved on my hard drive:Cat pics (except anti-gravity cat, whose origin is unknown) courtesy of Meme Cats.*******(1) Sweet Jesus, they have Calder Dairy Ice Cream and home delivery in Washtenaw County. ::faint:: If you haven't had Calder dairy stuff, and you live in Southeastern Michigan, you must try it. Calder Dairy is, without a doubt, home of the Best Dairy Products in the Known Universe. Hey, I'm a grain- and milk-fed Midwestern girl -- I know my dairy products.[...]

My God, What About the Knitting?! (1)


When I left you last, I think the state of my blogged knitting was as follows:1) Blue proto-sock OTN ("On The Needles," for my non-knitting-blog-reading readers).2) Noro sweater pieces awaiting assembly but being ignored because I have to do a shoulder seam next before I proceed with the arm seams and the side seams. I hate shoulder seams (and the fact that it's always overheated in the cats' room where I do my blocking and seam sewing, and that it's summer, and that I hate heat, and summer, and occasionally wish I lived in the far northern section of British Columbia, or, hell, even southern British Columbia. Vancouver, say).There are other vague, knitting-like activities -- like a hot pink charity scarf OTN that I'm working on from time to time to keep my hands busy, and to use up the rest of the hot pink yarn not used in the Kitty Pi -- and a serious desire to make My So Called Scarf out of Malabrigo yarn.I've shown you the Malabrigo before; this stuff is woolen opium. I'm still sitting on that black-purple "Paris Nights" colorway, but I wanted a quick knitting fix for my Malabrigo addiction. So, I order two skeins of the worsted in Jewel Blue from my eBay drug, er, yarn, dealer.The problem was, when the yarn arrived, I was not completely enamored of its color. The eBay photo showed a more intense medium blue than the actual shade of blue - which is more white-to-ice-blue. I don't fault anyone with that; getting an accurate color from an online photo is difficult (and this particular yarn was kettle-dyed in a limited lot of ten, which lends itself to all sorts of color variations, etc.).I kept the yarn and started working on the scarf, believing that I would Learn to Love the Yarn.I do love the yarn. I love how it feels but, Dear Readers, I could not learn to love this color. It's wimpy. It's washed out. It's limp. It's.... It's... PASTEL for chrissakes.I don't do pastels. I don't do fluff, flounces, lace, lettuce hems, ruffles or any other of that girly stuff. (2)Part of being Unable to Love the Yarn was due to the pattern. I really like the stitch pattern. It's unique and shows off variegated yarn extremely well. There is even a whole flickr group with pictures of this scarf pattern.Alas, as with many goals, there is a struggle. This particular stitch pattern is challenging to me because it causes me to hold my needles in such a way as to cause a more-than-usually painful bout of repetitive strain injury.Nonetheless, I carry on because I love the pattern and I Will Make this Scarf Even if it Kills Me, which it just may, at that; and if I'm going to die from knitting-induced RSI, I want it to be from a yarn that makes me weak in the knees.After all of this preamble, I offer you Malabrigo Chunky, three-ply superfine Merino wool, Colorway 242, Intenso.Further bulletins as events warrant. I need to be alone with my yarn now.********(1) [Alright - I've got footnotes appearing in the title now, for Pete's sake] Alluding, somewhat, to "Dear God, What About the Men?" from Twisty's blog, which I believe in turn alludes to "Dear God, What About the Children?", an all-too-frequent, ridiculous sound-bite, um, thing that I see in the media. I think. I love word games and references to obscure tidbits of information I find floating around out there. You know, out THERE. [Insert dismissive hand gesture here] That alleged "Real World" place. But I digress.(2) Ok, my bathroom is pink, with white-rose shaped shower-curtain hooks, but that all started as a joke when my second husband left me and I Needed a Change.[...]

Finally, Irises


I hate flowers. I paint them because they're cheaper than models, and they don't move.
-- Georgia O'Keefe

Some Women Buy Shoes (Redux)


I spent this morning cataloging my books -- the fiction anyway -- which is quite a daunting task considering the size of my fiction collection. I'm about 25% done: 2 out of 8 bookcases. After the fiction is entered in the database, then I need to tackle the books upstairs, the fantasy books in the study, and (whenever I get another bookcase or more shelf space [ha!]), the human sexuality and erotica currently hiding in boxes.

I don't know if this level of smug satisfaction I'm feeling is from the size of my library, my twisted enjoyment with data entry, my joy in the written word, a smattering of nostalgia as I handle each individual book (1) , or a combination of all of those plus some other factors I haven't quite verbalized yet. When I look at my books, or stand near the shelves, I feel grounded and secure. My books are my refuge. All I know is that my affection and need is difficult to explain to people who aren't bibliophiles.

There have been a few instances in the past several days when I've overheard conversations, or been in conversations, with People Who Don't Understand Books. One person used the word "purging" to talk about ridding their house of the excess books, like one would drown a litter of puppies or call an exterminator about carpenter ants.

I would sooner cut off my right arm.

I am certainly capable of throwing out a book, or putting it in a box for a future garage sale, but those are definite exceptions. They are either damaged (and I have another copy), or from a part of my life that no longer exists (2) . But throw out my LITERATURE!? Are you people crazy?!!

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(1) Especially the books from the college years. "Oh, Faulkner! I loved The Sound and the Fury from my first lit class with Dr. Griffin! And look at this, my Norton of James' The Turn of the Screw! and Wuthering Heights! Oh, I need to re-read all of these..."

(2) I've got a bunch of touchy-feely New Age books boxed up for a Future Garage Sale. I feel that they're no longer very relevant to me, so out they go.

And Now for Something Completely Different


(image) A picture of a sleeping cat! I'm hoping that my long weekend will look something like this. Sleeping, going out to movies, eating, gaming. All play with very few chores. Well, there are always chores to be done -- cat box cleaning, laundry, dishwashing, grocery shopping -- but I'm hoping for more Fun than Chores, more Sleeping than Not Sleeping, etc.

I feel a Knitting Mood coming on. I've started the Proto-Sock (1), and it's coming along nicely. I'm just about ready to try the heel turn in another inch or two. I might be less optimistic about sock knitting come tomorrow, but I think it's do-able. At least for now.


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(1) In order to learn sock knitting, I decided that it would be best to practice on larger needles and thicker yarn than any sock pattern ever called for. I'm making one very oversized sock, essentially. Once I master or, at the very least, figure out what I'm doing, I'll attempt to make a Real Sock.

Something Approaching Agony


I say to myself, "I don't know how I can even begin to describe the pain I'm dealing with right now." The mind goes blank. I have a few images -- a clenched fist, a bowstring drawn back to its limit -- that's how my body feels. Something approaching agony. My jawline aches from being tightly held all day. I say those small prayers -- God, oh, God ohGodohGodohGod -- until the words are meaningless.

I'm not looking for pity. I'm not looking for anyone to take care of me, pet me, cater to me. I'm just looking for a distraction.


Books, baths, cats, my computer, knitting -- these all help -- but I still have those stretches where I only have the awareness of wanting to scream. I find myself panting, like an animal, trying to make it through waves of suffering.


I'll be alright. I'm always "alright." One horribly annoying thing that came to my mind once (when I was going through the worst depression of my life), was that I never have the luxury of breaking. Gah. I'm far too solid and stubborn for that. "Breaking," crying, carrying on, grieving, whathaveyou. I carry too much strength for something that easy (damn that personal pride).

Well, enough Internal Dialogue. Here's a photo of my inchoate irises.

(image) I imagine them -- and my peonies -- making a sound like a kernel of popcorn exploding in hot oil. What would be the onomatopoetic word for that?

Landscapes Real and Imagined


I've told a few of you I would be posting screenshots from Lord of the Rings Online, and here they are! Yes, I'm copping out today with many pics and little text, but we has lots to do, precious, lots to do, yessss. [Click to view larger sizes, you silly hobbitses]Laiane in Thorin's GateWaterfall and Sunrise Near DuillondComing in to Thorin's GateAnother View of Erud LuinBut lest you believe it's all elvish singing under the springtime sky here at Chez Crabgrass, I did come home with artemisia, a Beauty of Livermore oriental poppy, two South Seas daylilies, a "Twilight" echinacea, four varieties of hot peppers (banana, red chili, jalapeno, and Thai dragon), and a small catnip plant (the catnip near the birdbath didn't come up this year;I put down some seeds, but they were pretty ancient and I'm not confident they'll come up). All of these need to get in the ground in the next day or so. There's also a 40-pound bag of peat sitting out there with my name on it. I did have one impulse purchase at the nursery -- a hanging basket of strawflowers. All I had to do on that was peel off the price sticker.And here's a hopefully improved picture of Boris the Spiderwort:[...]

Saturday Morning Garden Blogging


(image) I think these are forget-me-nots. I'm not really sure, but they're blue, and small, and currently camping the birdbath (the The-Husband-Made birdbath inscribed with "Bathe Filthy Birdies"). The neighbors immediately behind us have a small field of these, so they more than likely migrated from there.

The spiderwort in the kitchen garden bloomed for the first time this season. I wish I could get a better photo. It's not that violet, and has more of a blue color. I'm not talented enough with Paint Shop Pro to make it look right.

(image) The iris(es) are going crazy, and I should have pictures up soon, when he's in full flower. I counted 3 separate stalks with about 5-7 imminent blooms (total). Considering he hasn't bloomed once since I planted him 2 or 3 years ago, it's about time, I say. The sweet woodruff next to the iris has died off for a reason known only to itself, and I'm not certain if I want to put in more irises -- since I'll be dividing the Monster Iris when it's done blooming -- or look for another groundcover. I'm going to the nurseries up on Wagner Road sometime this weekend, and I'm sure something will inspire me.

My attitude towards gardening is pretty haphazard. I know there are some plants I will never consider (hostas, forsythia), but most of what I randomly select is Because It Looked Good at the Time. I'll wander around the nurseries and see what grabs me.

A Not-so-Brief and Somewhat Sordid History of Laiane Wolfsong, Ranger of the Storm Lord (Part One)


[Note to my readers -- There's a lot of "gamer" jargon here, and I can't define all of it without going off on some very long, digressive tangents. I try not be purposely obscure -- It really is a whole 'nuther reality with its own language.]Yesterday, I received my copy of The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. I got to thinking -- this will be Laiane's fourth MMORPG incarnation, and her sixth gaming incarnation. EverQuest; TES III: Morrowind; EverQuest II; TES IV: Oblivion; Vanguard: Saga of Heroes; and now, Lord of the Rings. I've been Laiane, or she has been me, for 6 or 7 years. I think a history is in order.My online gaming obsession started shortly after I met The Husband. We were still living in our respective apartments in Ann Arbor when he bought me a copy of EverQuest (and a copy for himself shortly thereafter). I went through a variety of characters. For a while, I thought I had found the "perfect" class for my play style -- the Necromancer -- and I harried the world of Norrath as the Dark Elven Aamaterasu Solreaver, who summoned the undead to do her evil bidding.Then I went to see a movie.[Insert foreshadowing-type music here]It was the first of The Lord of the Rings movies directed by Peter Jackson. When the initial scene of the Last Battle of Elves and Men was on the screen, I started crying (I tell you, I cry at anything sometimes). Someone had finally gotten it right. Someone -- someone who obviously loved Middle Earth -- took the time to do the movie properly, the Way It Should Be Done. (1) In any event, when I saw the character of Legolas Greenleaf, Archer of the Woodland Realm, I thought -- in addition to "that's a hunka burnin' Elf luv" -- I want a character who can do THAT. "THAT" being defined as uber l33t archery skillz.There are those who love the tank classes, the knights in shining armor defending their party from the foe. There are those who love the role of the healers, the clerics/druids/shamans who are always welcome and needed in groups. (2) Other players are drawn to the fire-power of a wizard, the versatality of the bard, or the subtleness of an enchanter.Photo courtesy of Meme CatsThen there are those of us who want to kill stuff quickly, from a distance, and have it drop dead before it has a chance to get in one good whack of its own. Add some tracking, foraging, stealth movement, and serious close-combat DPS (3), and you've got yourself a Ranger.When I created Laiane (4) , that long, long time ago, I didn't know I would love the Ranger class so much. She was just another character slot that I was experimenting with; but Laiane reached 55th level in EverQuest before I retired her, far surpassing Aamaterasu (who was abandoned somewhere in the mid-30's and, as far as I know, is still camped at the gnome pirate outpost on Velious, hunting snow cougars).I was a Ranger when Rangers weren't cool. Rangers were the "paper tanks." We died a lot. There were a multitude of Ranger jokes about the ease with which we Took The Big Dirt Nap ("A Ranger walks into a bar... LOADING. PLEASE WAIT"). The people who played the class didn't play to become powerful characters, for the most part, but because we had an affinity for the Predator-Hunter archetype.I'm disappointed that I can't find a screenshot of my EverQuest 1 Laiane. All I had were some forum signature blocks The Husband helped put together for me.[Oh, yes, I remember the day when I really, truly made GrandMaster Fletcher (250), and got my trophy. /sigh]I stopped with EverQuest 1 shortly after the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion. It was at that point when I realized that I couldn't progress much further in the game without devot[...]

Considering the Vocabulary of Pain


I have been living with chronic pain for many years. I sit and try to calculate how many years it's been -- 17? 18? Less than half my life, but not by much. I've been searching for that H.L. Mencken quote for some time now. I can't recall it exactly, but it's along the lines of "pain doesn't ennoble a person; for the majority of men, pain makes one petty and mean." It was one of those quotes I should have written down at the time but never got around to and now I can't find it for the life of me. Bloody hell.

So I go looking, and I find all sorts of interesting quotes concerning pain, some of which I'm certain are written by people whose experience with physical pain is limited to a hangnail, splinter, or stubbed toe.
This horror of pain is a rather low instinct and ... if I think of human beings I’ve known and of my own life, such as it is, I can’t recall any case of pain which didn’t, on the whole, enrich life. --Malcolm Muggeridge
Should I even stoop to comment on the utter vacuity of this statement? Yeah, Malcolm, your own life -- such as it is. I take it you didn't get out much. I've been popping Vicodin like Tic-Tacs in order to enrich my life. Care if I slap you into the middle of next week?
Pain hardens, and great pain hardens greatly, whatever the comforters say, and suffering does not ennoble, though it may occasionally lend a certain rigid dignity of manner to the suffering frame. --Antonia S. Byatt
Rigid dignity? I take it Antonia never spent an evening biting into a pillow, trying not to scream, drenched in sweat and crying from exhaustion. "Dignity" is hardly the word I would have used to describe my suffering frame at that point. I do have to agree with "pain hardens," though. I am definitely much harder -- intolerant, cynical, bitter, judgmental. "Harder" does not necessarily equal "better."

Herein lies the problem of attempting to communicate or define the nature of a subjective experience. My experience of pain is unique to myself, as your experience is to you, as these writers' experiences are to them.
Pain is as diverse as man. One suffers as one can. --Victor Hugo
I reserve the right to mock these writers, despite that. Anyone who has been dealing with pain for years has a duty to mock them, as far as I'm concerned. Enriched life. Dignity. Meh.

Blogging for Introverts


In this evening's web surfing, I came across this post on I am Joe's Blog (written by Joe Kissell) and was intrigued by the following:[E]xtroverts get more energy from being around other people, whereas introverts get more energy from being alone, and find that being around others tends to drain their energy. This is very different from the colloquial sense of “introvert” as someone who’s shy, timid, withdrawn, or even misanthropic....A few people have expressed confusion at the notion of an introvert running a blog, as though by definition we should be very private people who want to avoid attention of any kind....[T]he great thing about the Web is that it lets us share information about ourselves with lots of people in a way that doesn’t drain our energy, since we’re not interacting with everyone at once, or in person [emphasis added].Ding, ding, ding! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! That's it exactly.When I started this blog back in December 2006, I did it with the idea that it would be an easy way for me to keep up with my family and friends scattered across the U.S. "Easy" in the sense that writing a general purpose post about What's Going On With Laiane takes less energy than emails and phone calls (and that the blog is a more creative and visual way to express What's Going On With Laiane than emails and phone calls).It's not that my family and friends are a group of life-sucking vampires. Well, maybe a few. [JUST KIDDING, FOLKS! /wave] I treasure my alone time. It's all about the energy expended. Sometimes it takes a lot of energy for me to be "on." (1) The Husband knows that there are times after we get home from work that I need "my space" to regroup and gather myself.In that vein, I found this in an archived Atlantic Monthly article:Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge....This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: "I'm okay, you're okay—in small doses."(2)I'm surprised by the notion that "introverts don't do blogs." I see a blog as an excellent way for an introvert to communicate with the outside world, probably because we can gather our thoughts and "talk" without interruption. Here I am, telling you What's Going On With Laiane in a way that best suits my personality and mode of expressing myself.* * * * *(1) See this post of May 1, 2007. Oh, and for the record, tonight's dinner was half a container of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food.(2) I love this article. Please, if you know me personally, go read it if/when you have a moment or two.[...]

42 Things About Me


In honor of my 42nd birthday, I thought I would make one of those long, rambling blog posts to help anyone out there who might be reading know more about me. I'm complex, truly.1. Every New Year for the past three years, I've resolved to floss my teeth more frequently. Sometimes that's the only resolution I make. I still don't floss enough.2. The last time I watched television was 9/11. The last time I sat down to actually, on-purpose watch a TV show was 1994. The Husband and I have a TV; we use it to watch DVD's.3. I like to read blogs written by people radically different from myself. My current favorites at the moment (besides Crazy Aunt Purl) are The Panopticon (gay male Buddhist Chicagoan knitter with a penchant for books) and a little pregnant (which the writer describes as "madcap misadventures in infertility, pregnancy and parenthood"). Her post on her imagined conversations with her fertility monitor is beyond hysterical.4. I can't remember my real hair color. I've been a faux redhead for 10+ years.5. I won't eat salmon.6. My high school's fight song was sung to the tune of "On Wisconsin."7. I have two tattoos. I got the first one for my 30th birthday, and the second for my 40th. I plan on getting another for my 50th (or maybe my 45th if I can't wait that long).8. If I never have to hear another word about Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, I could die happy.9. My favorite paintings are Monet's studies of the Rouen Cathedral.10. Whenever I travel on an airplane, I bring Lovecraft's The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath to read.11. When I have a choice of desserts, I almost always choose the one with the most chocolate.12. It's my considered opinion that people who pronounce forte as "for-TAY" (instead of the correct French pronunciation - "fort") are sub-literate cretins. There are so many of them I've developed an unfortunate facial tic from biting my tongue.13. I'm named after my mother -- in Real Life, that is. "Laiane" has been my online pseudonym for many years.14. I always dressed up as a black cat for Halloween, except the last year I went trick-or-treating (1975?). Then I was a ghost in a bedsheet with a scary plastic mask.15. Even though I read a tremendous amount, I don't retain much -- of the fiction anyway. I suppose that's why I keep and re-read many of my books.16. Favorite (non-Lovecraft) fantasy book? Tigana.17. I rarely suffer from that female malady of Pleasing Others Before I Please Myself.18. In terms of "fashion," I can't stand pastel colors or ruffles. I didn't like them when I was 22 and I certainly don't like them at 42.19. Lilacs and violets are my favorite spring flowers, and I love chrysanthemums in the autumn (especially the yellow ones).20. Even though I'm bookish and introverted, I enjoyed my visit to Las Vegas (when The Husband and I were married). It was very surreal. Vegas, not getting married. (1)21. I've never sent a text message to anyone.22. I haven't read the operating manual for my digital camera yet. I figure that if I take 10-12 pictures of something, one of them has to turn out okay.23. I don't care for how Borges ended The House of Asterion with that coda about Theseus and Ariadne. The story can easily stand alone on its own.24. I use whatever is handy for bookmarks. Unused tissues or napkins. Post-it notes. Pieces of yarn. I'm even known to dog-ear books.25. I'm one of the few people I know who is able to get out of bed without hitting the snooze button. When I'm up, I'm up.26. Even though I say that I'm not a morning person, that's when I'm my most productive. I tend[...]



Yes, that's my Emma. I'm enjoying a slow day at home in pre-celebration of my birthday tomorrow. The only reason I'm piqued is because I'm having a Bad Pain Day. Perhaps a hot bubblebath is in order.

Moving the Memes


You Are 65% Misanthropic


Here's the truth: Most people suck. You are just lucky enough to know it.

You're not ready to go live alone in a cave - but you're getting there.

I'm just tidying up the sidebar this evening (and playing around with a new template), and this was one of the memes I wanted to save. The self-test doesn't truly measure misanthropy -- more like "meanness" or "irritability" -- but I'm saving it anyhow since I've always called myself a misanthrope.

Along those lines, I like to think that I have a much higher tolerance for being alone than a vast majority of other people. I like to be surrounded by quiet and space -- it's a buffer zone, of sorts. You know all those books/movies/whatever that have people wandering around some post-apocalyptic landscape, going crazy because there aren't any other people around (I Am Legend (1); The Stand; etc.)? If I had food, shelter, and books, I could hold out fairly well, I think. Well, longer than others.

Being alone doesn't scare me -- "being alone" meaning being solitary by choice, not "being alone" walking down a dark street by myself. There's a difference. Solitude in and of itself does not scare me. There are so many people who are uncomfortable being by themselves; they have to have a television or stereo blaring just to take the edge of the "aloneness." Meh. Sounds pretty limited to me, as if they're scared of being inside their own head. If you can't tolerate yourself, if you can't entertain or amuse yourself, then you're obviously not very bright.

(1) Wowza. I just discovered on Wikipedia that they're doing the (third) film version of I Am Legend, and Will Smith is going to be Neville! I thought that was a surprising casting choice for Neville, but once I thought about it, I think Will Smith will be very, very cool in that role. They're setting it in Manhattan, though, instead of Southern California. /shrug


Depression (and All That Jazz)


There's a recurring scene in All That Jazz (one of my favorite movies) where Joe Gideon wakes up every morning, takes his amphetamines, brushes his teeth, and says to his reflection in the mirror, "It's showtime, folks!"

I think I need to start doing that -- the "it's showtime" part, anyway.

Not too long ago, I tried to explain to The Husband how, when I'm depressed, whether in the depths or in the shallow end of the pool, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to get up, go to work, and be "on." I mean "on" in the sense of gathering myself up and performing, whether I'm answering the phone, interacting with my clients, what have you. It's a conscious effort. Before I pick up the ringing telephone, before I open the door to the reception area, I can feel myself (in my head anyway), preparing to go on stage.

Yes, it's showtime, folks!

I've been in a low-grade dysthymic funk for some time now. It was enough to have me roaming the 'Net this past Sunday afternoon looking for psychological assessment self-tests on depression, if only to reassure myself that I'm not yet in The Pit(tm).

Now, I know full well I'm not in The Pit. I'm not even remotely near The Pit. I've been there -- not a happy-funtime place -- and I know it when I see it. Most of the time, anyway. Right now, I'm dealing with insomnia, lack of enthusiasm, and a burning desire to consume pints of Ben & Jerry's for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (Mint Chocolate Cookie, perhaps; or Phish Food; maybe both.) No suicidal ideation. No feelings of worthlessness. Just a pervasive grayness. Blah-ness. "Gosh I need a day off to sleep and mainline chocolate" - ness.

So, anyway. Sunday afternoon. Internet roaming. Depression self-tests.

I can't remember exactly where I found this question, but the last of the three potential responses had me laughing out loud.

Q: Do you have a specific plan for killing yourself?
  • (a) Yes
  • (b) No
  • (c) I'm working on it
Now, while my true and factual answer is (b), I will admit to daydreaming about the reaction one could get from one's shrink if one answered (c) (I admit to a number of smart-alecky comments that go through my head but never come out of my mouth).

I am wicked, truly.

Your Silence Will Not Protect You



I don't know if you've seen this little black button on other blogs today. If you click on it, it will take you to a site that tells you that we're supposed to not post on our blogs today in order to (a) support the 30+ people who died at Virginia Tech two weeks ago and/or (b) support, and I quote, "all the victims of our world."

Yeah, there's nothing quite like equating silence with victimhood to give me the warm fuzzies, let me tell you.

So, for all the battered, raped, sexually-trafficked and genitally-mutilated women in the world, let's be silent.

For all the children who go to bed hungry, let's be silent.

For all prisoners of conscience, let's be silent.

For all refugees displaced by armed conflict, let's be silent.

For all victims of torture, let's be silent.

For all the people in the United States who have to decide between paying for health care vs. paying for food, rent, or utilities, let's be silent.

For all of our dead, maimed and traumatized soldiers in Iraq, let's be silent.

For all the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, let's be silent.

For all the Iraqi and Afghani civilians murdered by our "collateral damage," let's be silent.

For all the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgendered people who must live in silence or face ostracism (or worse), let's be silent.

Silent my lily-white ass. Since I titled this post with a quote from Audre Lorde, I'll end it with one from her as well.

"Silence has never brought us anything of worth."


Gregor Will Never be a Supermodel


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Gregor (Mr. Squeakypants, the Mama's Boy) will never be a supermodel. It's not that he isn't amazingly handsome (he is), and he certainly has plenty of prima donna qualities; it's just that he's simply not, um, stationary. I'll get the camera ready to take his picture, and he'll decide he wants to come over and see me for cuddling.

Out of the dozen Gregor pictures taken this morning, these are the only "usable" ones, and some would argue that two-thirds of these aren't usable at all -- except to make a point. Thomas, on the other hand, is extremely photogenic.


Don't Wake Me With So Much


I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I`m awake, you know?
-- Ernest Hemingway
This was one of those Quotes of the Day that appear on the blog's sidebar. I'm not a huge Ernest Hemingway fan(1), but this one was worth keeping. It's not that I necessarily perceive my life as "falling apart," but that sleep is, what? Valued. Desired. Elusive.

I'm an insomniac. Well, part of it is insomnia and part of it is that I just prefer being awake in the small, liminal hours of the early morning. 3:00 a.m. 4:00 a.m. (2) I find it exquisitely restful to be awake at those hours. Nothing is moving. I can hear the highway in the distance. The birds haven't started their songs, and the air smells so different -- cleaner, rarefied.

Then there are the nights when I don't have the luxury of those hours. Nights prior to a working day, when I have to force myself into a noisy, diurnal schedule like everyone else. Bland days. Days I can't count as my own. The nights preceding those days are a struggle. Not all the time, not every night, but all too often I'll lay in bed and I'll still be awake at 3:00 a.m. or 4:00 a.m., and it most definitely NOT exquisite nor restful and I begin to resent the waking world and how much time it takes away from me.

That's where the insomnia part comes in (you were wondering if I would every wander back to that topic, weren't you?).

One of my ways of helping myself fall asleep is to imagine myself elsewhere -- an Elsewhere where my time is my own to spend. My current Elsewhere is a bedroom in a cool, stone tower on a mountainside. It's wintertime. I imagine myself hearing the wind outside and the crackle and pop of a fireplace, and I tell myself that there are no clients or phones or schedules or lists of things to do tomorrow.

Then I sleep.

(1) I count Proust and Borges as my favorite authors. Compared to Proust's Byzantine prose and Borges' labyrinths, Hemingway is much too terse.

(2) Not getting up in the early morning, but staying awake to get there; they're completely different psychological states.

Yet Another Meme or "I'm 12 on the Inside. Really."


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Yes, I'm very, very psyched that they're making The Golden Compass into a movie, but I have to say that I'm disappointed by the hairstyle they've given Lyra. Curls?! Shirley Temple-esque CURLS? Good gravy, people, Lyra isn't a foo-foo girly-girl.

That won't stop me from going to the film, though.