2014-09-20 08:26 pm
Entry tags:

Brain admin

This is mostly a reminder to myself, somewhere I'm actually certain to look, to take my sertraline in the morning.

I'd been considering trying this anyway because my sleep's been so awful recently. Since I forgot to take it last night, I figured this morning was a good chance to change it, but I have years of "meds = bedtime" to overcome so I'm not confident I'll remember.

It's not easy for me to tell yet whether it's having any effect at all, good or bad. I don't know if it's affecting my sleep but I know the kind of insomnia I've had in the last week or two is particularly unusual and miserable for me, so I'll try tweaking anything that might help with it.

Today I am finding myself very sleepy very early, despite a reasonably good night (except lots of nightmares, so my sleep wasn't hugely restful but there was a fair amount of it and I didn't have much trouble getting (back) to sleep) and not a particularly taxing day. All of which might be an interesting correlation with not having taken the sertraline last night and having taken it this morning, but also might well be a coincidence.
2014-09-17 11:39 pm
Entry tags:

me

Here's a picture of me at [personal profile] magister's sister's wedding. I rather like it.

 photo wedding-1.png

(There's another one I like of the very brief period between where James asked if I wanted to dance and when he said "I don't like dancing." The photo's taken from a crazy angle that makes my looking-up-at-him-thinking-you're-too-tall expression look even more ridiculous than my expressions normally are. But I like that one, too.)
2014-09-17 10:06 am

No Luck, indeed

"Any luck?" my mom says. My mind is still drifting around what she's been telling me about how she's doing: she drove and is happy that she can do it ("it's good to know I can if I absolutely have to," she says repeatedly, and every time I wonder under what circumstances she thinks she'd "absolutely have to," but then I know better than anybody how isolating it is to be stuck in that house reliant on other people to get so much as a gallon of milk, much less see anybody or buy anything or go anywhere). She's struggling with people -- even her good friends -- who expect her to be all better now. I find this kind of judgmentalism bizarre: I've gotten so used to thinking of people as the experts on their own experience that I don't even have an opinion on how my mom "should" be doing -- what on earth would be the point of that? -- I just am always eager to hear how she is doing. But of course I remember that the culture I grew up in is very keen on pointless opinions like this: she should be better, he should see his parents more, you should be ashamed of yourself. As if every person's health and happiness is something that the rest of this rural community is all on the committee for, and they need you to know how they're voting.

So when Mom said "any luck?" I thought only, unhelpfully, of herself and the ways in which she's lucky -- her recovery is progressing as well as can be expected, despite her propensity for complications -- and the ways in which she's not -- she still feels like a burden, she's missing things like a good friend's mother's funeral and even though the friend is kind about it Mom feels like a bad friend to her.

So before my brain can catch up with what she means, my mouth has already said, "...mm? What?"

My mom seems a little slow, too -- I noticed this when I was there, and tried not to think too much of it: she's tired, she's recovering, she's both taking Tramadol and hates Tramadol so is always in as much pain as she can bear without it and all that stuff is bound to affect her concentration and articulation, right? -- but eventually I understand that she's asking if I have a job yet.

As if I'll go from "nope, nothing to report" one Sunday-evening phone call to "yep!" the next one. As if there are no such thing as closing dates, or interviews. (The job I really want and applied for a couple of weeks ago doesn't even close until Monday, so who knows when/if I'll hear about that!) "If I had a job, you'd know!" I tell her, as I told my dad last week when he asked me the same thing. (They're so persistent in asking me this that it feels like years I've been unemployed already.)

"All right, I'm only asking," she said in that voice I remember from my teenage years, when it was so difficult to explain to her what was going on in my life, what I cared about. My heart sank. What I'd been trying (and, admittedly, with those few words understandably failing) to convey is that they won't have to wait to ask me; they'll hear from me as soon as I know. Because I know they'll want to know, because they're concerned about me because they love me. And I want them not to worry, because I love them.

What she heard, though, was apparently more secretive-teenager. My whole point was that they won't have to ask, that I'll keep them in the loop, and I'm sad that they don't trust that and feel they have to bring it up every fucking time I speak to them, which I just dread, because it's fucking depressing to have to say "No, I don't have a job yet" all the time. I'm sad they don't see what a high cost this kind of interaction has on me.
2014-09-16 06:20 pm
Entry tags:

Apropos of nothing

I am very glad that one of my husband's few good friends also happens to be my boyfriend's girlfriend. It leads sometimes to nice overlaps of care and consideration, to the easy transmission of news about our lives, to us all being there for each other to lean on in different but mutually beneficial ways.
2014-09-16 12:46 pm

Since [personal profile] andrewducker wanted a version of this he could share...

Andrew wrote this on Facebook yesterday:
I am going to hold a referendum on whether my house should declare independence. There are arguments on both sides. On the "no" side, there's the fact that the [our address]ish economy is largely reliant on imports for such vital supplies as kebabs and superhero comics, while on the "yes" side it's incredibly unlikely that a post-independence [our address] would have a Tory government any time soon.
Registration for the referendum is at an unprecedented 100% of residents, not counting the 50% of residents who don't get a vote because they're foreign. Early polling remains inconclusive, and tensions remain high, with at least one prominent "no" spokesperson expected to issue a statement shortly that the [our address] electorate should "stop messing around on Facebook and go and do the dishes like you said you were going to half an hour ago".
Naturally my first comment was
The spokesperson would also like to point out how lax this campaign is being with sensitive personal information like its home address. If an independent house can't be trusted with such basic information, how can it expect us to trust it has our best interests at heart?
Andrew said:
The Yes campaign would like to refute those disgraceful slurs, by which it means rebut as all politicians do when they say refute, by pointing out the need for all campaign literature to carry an imprint stating the address at which it was published, and further pointing out that it's a friends-locked post and all our friends either know where we live anyway or don't care
One of his friends chimed in with:
The independant house would be welcomed into the global community of independant dwellings, geodysic domes, manses, and yurts.
then adding the acronym: "Gcidgdmy!"

Then it was me again:
The No campaign isn't interested in your empty rhetoric, it is only interested in action. So make sure you put the bins out when you go get your kebab.
(At least we were not, I should say, in the same room when we were talking to each other like this. I had been trying to take a nap before this assault on my dwelling (and indeed my status in it! calling me a foreigner in my own house?!).

Andrew said
I am proud to stand on my record. A record of doing the dishes, a promise of putting the bins out when I can be bothered to stand up again.
To which another of his friends made the very good point: "If only more manifestos contained 'when I can be bothered' I might believe them. There's a swing to the Yesses here." Following this up with "I realise that I am not eligible to vote in this election, but I'm English so naturally thought you'd appreciate knowing what I think even though it's your election." For some inexplicable reason, this got lots of 'like's.

Again I worried, as I always do when Andrew and I have conversations on the internet, that people will fret for us and think we're having a violent argument. I don't know if it's more or less fret-worthy that this is our idea of fun!
If only the house had a Devo Max option. We could have been cranking up the nu wave hits right now.
Andrew's friend Sarah said again (well actually soon after all this nonsense she sent me a Facebook friend request too! so she can be my friend as well now).And then another friend said something that really made me laugh:
Just to add another English, not involved but going to tell you anyway comment...( Include me in the 'don't care re. address' and 'highly worried that you're having a domestic' demographic of non-voters )... Thought you might like to know that Daves on his way to persuade you to vote 'no'. Bolt your doors and put the oil on.
Then from Debi, an important question:
Also English and not involved, therefore have an opinion: what will be the policy on immigration into the independent state?
Considering the dim approach Andrew takes to most humans and his fondness for being left on his own, I speculated that not only would immigration be frowned upon but that mere tourist come-over-for-a-cup-of-tea-or-board-games-or-crash-in-our-spare-room visas would be impossible to come by for all but a lucky handful of people. Indeed, the Yes campaign takes a dim view of emigration too, telling me after a few hours out of the house, or even asleep when he's still downstairs, how much he misses me.

Whatever happens, I just hope the bloody referendum happens soon, before we all get sick of hearing about it.
2014-09-15 11:02 am
Entry tags:

Monday morning

I have finally found a list app for my phone that's uncomplicated-yet-effective enough for me: the free version lets you make only two lists (which is all I want: Things to Do and Things to Buy), and all you can do is add things to them, check them off, or delete them. (Since people have been asking, it's called Stuff I Need; I have a Blackberry so I don't know if/how it works on other kinds of phones.)

Because of this I've gone a bit wild, ambitiously expecting myself to buy balsamic vinegar and chase up something via text, and I've actually done all those things.

But I gave myself a fairly hefty list of things to do today (by my current pathetic standards, but never mind) and it's not looking good so far. After a short night's sleep (though totally worth it! The White Whale was incredible: well-acted, technically astounding, powerfully written, and unfortunately so good at being disturbing and intense that [personal profile] miss_s_b didn't get to enjoy it that much) it feels like an achievement just to get myself back to Manchester and to my doctor's appointment.

Still knowing the list is there helps a lot. I've struggled a lot with to-do lists in the past, finding them more likely to induce panic and guilt and overwhelment than productivity. It seems to be going better now, in that I can relax knowing I've outsourced a little part of my cognitive load. I don't know why I'm happier with it this time -- maybe because I'm being very easy on what I'm expecting to get done and I'm not writing down anything more than a few days in advance right now -- I'm just glad that I am.

Edit: Got all the stuff on my list done after all! Again with the help of [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours, who dug a couple of chairs out of his understairs cupboard to go with my new dining table (they're cheap Ikea ones, and even match my Ikea table) and drove them over, along with a dehumidifier he found while emptying the cupboard having forgotten it was there, and his old printer that he said a while ago I could have (which will keep me from pestering him every time I need something printed!). I've done a few things that weren't on my list and even made a stab at job-hunting. Now I might need a nap.
2014-09-13 11:31 am
Entry tags:

Oh fuck today

Woke up late, got dressed to go out to shops. We're out of everything.

On the way picked the free newspaper out of the letterbox slot to put it in the recycling. Did that. Moving back to the path, though, I slipped on the hated gravel (I do fucking hate the gravel the previous owners put in the tiny space in front of the house; it's ugly as well as cumbersome...still I've never fucking slipped on it before) and fell hard on my one leg, enough that when I instinctively tried to right myself again it hurt so much I...wasn't exactly crying but was making these "Ah-ahhh-aaahhh!" noises that weren't far off. I pulled up my dress to look at my knee -- the skin was scraped in a way very familiar to me from being a kid, but it looked okay and the pain was lessening. I, again still almost without thinking, tried to carry on what I'd been doing.

But when I pointed myself away from my house I saw a guy across the street, middle-aged Irish guy, smoking next to a truck that may have been his. "You all right?" he slurred and now I had to be embarrassed as well as in pain, which made me feel much worse. I babbled something about the gravel and how much I hated it.

At this point I didn't want to deal with him any more, and my leg (I'd scraped the shin as well as the knee, but not as badly) was hurting more. I turned around and slowly hobbled the few steps back to my door. I heard the guy behind me mumbling about "gravel," as if he was talking to someone who was with him but I hadn't seen anyone else there. I found my keys, opened the door, and when I turned to close it after me saw he was now standing on the path to my front door, having crossed the street no doubt with the best of intentions to examine the situation (and there wasn't anyone with him, he was either talking to himself or directing his unhelpful mumblings at me). I wasn't feeling threatened but I was feeling annoyed, this guy whatever his intentions was adding to my stress.

So I shut the door firmly and leaned against the wall just inside the door with a big sigh. That turned into a little sob, because my fucking leg hurt so bad. I crouched down to see how the knee was doing and sure enough by now it was oozing blood from a relatively vast area of skin real estate. My shin looked ugly but the skin wasn't broken. Crouching seemed to make my leg hurt worse, though, so I couldn't help sliding down and sitting on the floor.

And then I really cried, at first because of the leg hurting, then because I hated that pestery guy in the way you can hate someone you only know one thing about and that one thing is how they behaved for ten seconds one time, then because I knew this wasn't going to get any better until I'd gotten myself up the stairs to the band-aids and antiseptics in the bathroom cabinet and I didn't want to go up the stairs...and then just crying. Maybe because everything in my life that's making me miserable is waiting on me to do something to sort it out that I can't or won't do right now.

So I started writing, because I knew by the end of it I'd feel better. And I do, a bit. Now my tears have mostly dried and [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours picked an opportune moment to say hello on IM and has offered me lifts to places that'll help me sort my life out -- namely Ikea and Tesco -- so I do not have to do everything on my own and I can do it and it's all fine and I will be okay, I always am.
2014-09-08 09:57 pm

A nice thing indeed

I've had a rough day. Month. Year.

But that makes the good things all the more precious to me.

And here's one I don't want to lose track of: [personal profile] kaberett is doing a cool thing: introducing any of their friends who ask, in comments, so the rest of us can read about all the cool people they know, maybe make some new friends.

I've enjoyed reading all of the introductions so far (to the extent that I wish I could offer it to my own friends, but I just can't trust myself to have the energy and brainpower to commit to things right now), heartily agreeing with the few that are about people I already know, being intrigued by others I might like to know as is the intention of this thing, but also just delighting in all the positivity, all the good people that there are, all the happiness and support we bring to each others' lives.

But of course, the one about me is best. I shall reproduce it here:
OH WOW I AM SO ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THIS INDIVIDUAL. We acquired one another via [personal profile] nanila (introduced above), and I am so so glad we did. They're so many flavours of fantastic - they're ex-pat USois living in the UK, and they turn anecdotes about their day into slivers of joy, full of love & wry compassion and beautiful witty observations and geekiness. They are open & generous & heartfelt about things that are hard, they are an extraordinarily good correspondent (after whom I am attempting to model myself, in terms of managing to say "thank you, this is very helpful to me" even if I can't find any other words!), and additionally and furthermore they talk excellently about books, and I am always in the market for more recs.
Oddly I find that "thank you for this even though I have no other words" easiest with [personal profile] kaberett; I don't know why. And I don't write nearly as much about books as I think I should, so I'm bemused as well as glad that this is something associated with me.

But never mind that. I trust you'll excuse me while I go bask in affection and self-esteem.
2014-09-05 07:39 pm
Entry tags:

Turns out Andrew didn't make it up after all!

Ever since I met Andrew he's been going on about how great English cheeses are, one of which I'd only ever heard him whinge about how you never see it any more. I had never seen it at all.

Until the other day.

So I had Sage Derby on my sandwich and it was delicious. Especially with the beetroot. (I love that beetroot is one of the salad options at Czerwik's.)
2014-09-04 11:04 pm
Entry tags:

hm...

Pleased that I managed to feel content and relaxed, spending an evening in by myself (Andrew went to sleep as soon as he finished his first day back at work), rather than lonely and miserable as I'd expect.

I've been worrying the past month or so that that I'm using people/going places as an unhealthy avoidant distraction. Admittedly I'm still avoiding a lot of things I should be doing, but it feels like more of an achievement to do so by reading and savoring the silence than by wittering at unsuspecting chums. It takes a lot for me to feel satisfied with my own company.
2014-09-04 04:06 pm
Entry tags:

Except the ending was less good, obviously

"So, what'd you think?" [personal profile] magister asked me as we left the cinema.

We'd just seen Million Dollar Arm.

"Well, it's okay, I guess," I said, "if you like...racist Frankenstein."

I hope I'll be able to summon the energy to review it properly before I forget or lose heart, but in case I don't, I wanted to make note of the "racist Frankenstein" headline, because it made James laugh.
2014-09-01 08:51 pm

My ten most influential books

I couldn't think of ten books that influenced me, so I was relieved to be the only person left on the internet who hadn't been tagged by their friends to do this meme, but then I got asked on Facebook. I came up with a list but I wanted to talk about them each a little, and that's easier to do here than there.


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
This book made me want to be an imaginative child. I thought myself nothing like the talkative, tangential Anne Shirley, but I aspired to be.

Then once I remember being in the car, going somewhere with my family, and seeing an old bus out the window as we passed it. "It looks like a tree," I said, pointing it out, "because it's brown on the bottom half and green on the top."

"Only you would think of these things, Holly," my mom said, and I thought my heart would burst with delight and pride. Especially because I hadn't even been trying to be particularly whimsical just then.

Of course only in retrospect do I realize I had, and have, no trouble being the imaginative chatterbox that Anne was.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Basically this one just means "I grew up on a farm." I was fascinated by a world so different, and yet recognizably similar. I mention the first book in the series here not just because it's first but because it was most like my own life, in the Upper Midwest with family all around to visit, before her life became houses built by her dad.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
I didn't realize it at the time, but this book got me started on science fiction. And of course I loved the movie. But this book I read to pieces; I remember falling asleep over it when I was babysitting, sneaking a look at it in my seventh-grade Life Science class when the boys sitting behind me where debating Star Trek vs. Star Wars (a debate which then as now held no interest for me)...it just seemed to be everywhere with me for a while.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Taught by the legendary Mr. Nordlie, the English teacher everyone either loved or hated. He read this to us, a bit each day in class. He made us put all our pencils and books and everything under the desks, so we wouldn't be distracted while we listened, and I certainly wasn't. He showed us the movie after he'd read it, saying he does a better voice for Lenny than the movie, and he was right. We read another book by Steinbeck in sophomore English, The Pearl, and the two of those left me absolutely enamored with Steinbeck. I read everything of his I could get my hands on after that.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
This is when I thought I started reading science fiction, a few years after I had, so it's important for that. Also this and To Sail Beyond the Sunset (where we find out Lazarus Long's mom is from the same town as my mom!), with a little help from LiveJournal, introduced me to the concept of polyamory, which has proven to be rather essential to my life ever since.

Contact by Carl Sagan
This book revived my childish desire to be an astronomer. It also cemented my conviction (though I'd have never articulated it this way at the time) that the gulf between science and the humanities is an illusion: here is a proper scientist talking proper science but also writing in a beautiful style that really stayed with me (and introduced me to some lovely poems he used as epigrams, particularly "Brotherhood" by Octavio Paz). This also got me thinking a lot about what it was like to be a woman with "male" interests, even though it's written by a man of course.

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
The first Pratchett book I read, on a whim, lent to my best friend by her brother. I can't remember if she read it but I did and adored it. And the idea that the stories we tell have such power would resonate for me many years into the future in ways I couldn't have expected then.

Unfortunately he lent us another Pratchett I couldn't get into at all -- it was an early Rincewind one, and I didn't get enough of the jokes to even understand that they were supposed to be jokes -- so I thought Pratchett was a dud for a few years until I met Andrew, who got me to read Thief of Time, which I loved particularly because by that time I thought it was awfully Discordian, because I'd read...

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
Andrew introduced me to this, of course. It was via a couple of Discordian mailing-list friends of his that we found each other on LJ, perhaps a fitting start for a relationship that's infused with so much chaos and inexplicability. I liked the idea that things might matter as much as it feels like they do sometimes, that humor was a valid way to investigate and evaluate the universe (it's only been a few weeks since I told someone "it's not true unless it makes you laugh, and you don't believe it until it makes you cry", which is not as true as it is clever but it is still something I keep finding useful).

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
I don't even remember how I ended up with the audiobook of this. I remember the book itself had been recommended to me long before by Andrew's uncle. It sounded crazy: who'd want to read a whole book about such a thing? How could there be enough to say? But it's utterly fascinating, especially because the audiobook is read by someone with a good voice for it, who I like listening to. This one book kicked off a trend of me reading non-fiction almost exclusively and of my increasing love for and dependence on audiobooks. It's one I still have on my computer, and which I'll play a bit of, especially if I'm migrainey or stressed or otherwise in need of soothing.

The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross
This too was an early audiobook I acquired (probably from eMusic? Ah, those were the days...) and which is a great marriage of book and reader. It taught me an absolute ton about twentieth-century music, and is another one that I keep going back to because I find it so comforting. I've been playing early chapters to help me sleep lately.
2014-09-01 07:22 pm
Entry tags:

Influential books

It's lovely seeing a lot of my friends do this "ten influential books" meme, because I start to notice a lot of overlaps. Everyone seems to have a Terry Pratchett book. A lot have 1984, or Catch-22, or Narnia, or Robert Heinlein...and I'm delightedly surprised to see how often Steinbeck crops up.

I haven't been able to think of a good list for myself, but it'd certainly feature several of those things. No surprise, I suppose. But it's interesting to see the patterns.
2014-08-31 12:18 am
Entry tags:

Spanners in Space sounds like a Doctor Who title itself

So obviously when Clara calls herself the Doctor's carer (in what seems to be half exasperation, half futile attempt at insulting him (a combination that reminded me of Martin Freeman's Watson)) and he replies "Yeah, she cares so I don't have to," Andrew grinned and patted me on the knee and said, "that's what you are for me! You care so I don't have to!"

But this wasn't Andrew's best moment while we were watching. That clearly goes to the first appearance of Michael Smiley, where he said "if you're wondering where you recognize him from, he was Spanners in Spaced.

"...You mean Tyres," I said. If I hadn't already placed the actor I wouldn't have had the foggiest idea what Andrew was talking about, but as it turned out his attempt to be helpful was as funny as anything on the TV.
2014-08-28 12:23 am

Books!

While I was searching for the internet (or rather, the thing that made the internet into wi-fi so I could spend time with my mom while actually typing frantically to sympathetic friends on my phone) I finally found where Mom had packed away all the books that used to be on my huge, sturdy bookcase.

That my mom saw fit to replace all my books with knick-knacks and stuffed animals says a lot about our relative priorities.

I sorted through the four boxes of books, finding about one box worth of stuff I'm at all interested in.

Some that made me absolutely beam to see them again: the Garrison Keillor-edited Good Poems, which I've missed a lot, Anne of Green Gables -- I got the whole set in a box when I was very small; heaven knows what happened to the rest, but it's nice to have the original and I suppose by now I can get the others as e-books if I want to read them again -- the huge Norton anthology of poetry that was so important to me in college, even my Norton Shakespeare, which I was so immersed in the semester I took a class on him when we had to read a play a week.

Having been left so long, there were a lot that mystified me. How did I end up with the German fairy tale? (It's a kid's book, in German.) I remember it, someone actually got it for me in Europe if not Germany (maybe Sarah, when she was studying in France? maybe Seth got it somewhere?). At the time I knew just about enough German to read it, but I no longer do, adding to its mystery.

Mostly I don't think about the life that I abandoned so sharply when I got married. I was very unhappy by the time I ended the era where I had and read all these books. I don't really keep in touch with the people I knew then, or even with a lot of the things I cared about then. A lot of it I don't miss, but I did leave behind some good things along with all the bad. And even ten years later, it's weird and hard, but also exciting and good, to go back and try to sift what I still want, what's still me, what's still worth having around. Andrew's comment to my last entry asserts that I am still in many recognizable ways the person I was ten years ago, which is of course inevitable I suppose but also unsettling to me.

These books are from the first time in my life I really failed at anything, the first time I was depressed though it'd be several more years before diagnosis or treatment. They're from the last time I had a brother.

I kept a lot more poetry from college than I remembered: Yeats, Adrienne Rich, Beowulf (don't need that now; I've got the Seamus Heaney translation I prefer), Anna Akhmatova... and something called Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters, which I distinctly remember loving thanks to the high school English teacher who changed my life...but I can't remember the poems I loved or even how I ended up with the book, which made for a really spooky petites-madeleines moment. I am both excited to open it and rediscover it, and also savoring the fleeting experience of remembering loving something without remembering why. It must be almost fifteen years since I saw or thought about the book, almost half my life, and isn't it strange that things so important can vanish so completely?
2014-08-26 05:09 pm

Benediction

I got the most lovely e-mail from Andrew, a perfect travel send-off:
Hope there are no lines, that the vegetarian food is edible, that there are three films you want to watch on the little screens, that you accidentally get upgraded and get free spirits, that the flight from the US takes just long enough that you have plenty of time in Amsterdam to get to your plane but don't have to wait a long time, that you get some proper sleep on the plane, and that you get home tomorrow feeling refreshed, happy, and loved.
2014-08-23 03:30 pm
Entry tags:

C'mon, people!

I can't see the new Doctor Who until Thursday! So tell me how it was.
2014-08-23 11:50 am
Entry tags:

My daydreams are all of salads now

I always forget that, after a couple of days here, I'm just hungry all the goddam time.

There's no protein here, except in the meat I have to eat which makes me sick, but there's hardly even any vegetables. The only one I've had since I've gotten here is corn on the cob.
2014-08-21 06:01 am

Thunderstorm

Well if I'm going to have insomnia, at least I've got a lovely thunderstorm to entertain me.

A friend from Washington (the state) moved to Ohio a little while ago, and started saying things like "omg, Midwestern thunderstorms!" on facebook. Only then did I appreciate how lucky I was to grow up with such weather.

And this is a particularly good one, too, the kind that makes me wish I had company to share it with, someone whose eyes I could catch and smile in mutual recognition of the brightest or loudest bits. Thunderstorms can be seriously destructive and scary but they remind those of us lucky enough to have them to be grateful of sturdy walls around us, and for the company of people to mutter to about our mutual experience.

I saw the first flash of lightning so long before any other signs of weather that I had time to convince myself I'd imagined it before there was another one. After a good long time of increasingly-frequent flashes, a few minutes apart or so, I started to hear thunder in the distance. No rain, so I could savor the gentle, rolling thunder along with the lightning. Tons of lightning, a proper light show. Gradually louder, and some of the peals go on and on, but it's rumbling rather than cracking and there's still no rain so I don't think the storm can be very close. Just once the thunder is so intimidatingly violent and loud overhead that I don't blame anyone who believes in a thunder god. Then finally there is rain, in a short intense burst of white noise so different from the Manchester rain, which I always say sounds like someone throwing gravel at the windows. Now the thunder seems to be quieter again, receding; we must just be catching the edge of the storm here. The lightning is still filling the world with light every few seconds, eerie in its relative silence -- this is not one of the storms where you can count "one Mississippi..." to see how far away it is -- but the sky is brightening too as we get on. towards dawn. A couple of hours now I've been watching and listening to this storm, and (along with one of my favorite radio stations, which plays ambient/electronica music over Apollo-era astronaut and mission-control chatter) it's held my attention better than any movie of similar length.

Now I think it's gone. I find myself holding my breath, listening for more thunder.

Ah, there it is. Not done yet.
2014-08-17 11:13 pm

Sweet Home Andover

So yesterday people are turning up for the wedding feast/party and milling about with drinks and such (I have now tried Pimms! it just tasted like cucumbers...) and I find myself close enough to where [personal profile] magister is standing that I hear my name so wander a bit closer and find him laughing at something someone-I-can't-remember-who-it-was said. She explains to me that she was just telling him "we'll have to get you married off", so I hide my startled open mouth behind my hand, but can't keep from giggling, and the more I think about it the funnier it gets and it takes a while for me to stop laughing.

We hadn't really thought about how this poly thing might complicate things. I only got told once that I'm probably called Janice (close enough...) and that I live in Brighouse, but people seemed to have the rough idea that we lived together and have been together possibly longer than we have. James rightly didn't want to scandalize or confuse his relatives on a day that was supposed to be about his sister, and it wasn't really a problem, but that 'we'll have to get you married off" line is still making me giggle for so many reasons.

This is the second wedding I've been to since my own and the first one I enjoyed. Probably not being invited to The Actual Wedding helped. But also enough time has passed now I think that my own doesn't make me so sad any more (I'm happy I'm married, but everything about my wedding was miserable and I hated it). I was a little wistful hearing the father-of-the-bride speech, but I realized this is more because I couldn't imagine my dad doing anything like that. I'm mostly content with the alternatives that choice and circumstance have led me to, but sometimes I I do get a twinge of longing for convention.

Then we raised our glasses in a toast to the bride and James jogged my elbow just as my glass touched my lips, sprinkling cider (we were using a lovely dry fizzy cider for champagne) all down me and, worse, making me laugh which caused more ripples in my drink that sloshed onto my borrowed posh clothes and up my nose. Yes it would be nice to do everything "right" but that's never gonna be me, and at least I was laughing.

The food was amazing. My hopes were not high when I found out it was a hog roast, but everything else was vegetarian, and there wasn't a thing I didn't devour --lentils and beetroot, new potatoes with chili flakes, green beans with some very light orangey dressing, butternut squash with a bunch of lovely stuff I don't remember (everything was really well labeled but I couldn't see the labels so James read stuff out for me and I basically forgot everything immediately after I was told), including some kind of actual nuts. And gorgeous moussaka! If aubergines were always like that, I wouldn't have to work so hard at trying to like them (I taught myself to like mushrooms cos they're in so much veggie food and that worked so well I'm now trying courgette and aubergine, with less success so far). I basically ended up eating two platefuls because James gave me his and went back for more moussaka.

Oh and our table won the quiz, much to my astonishment (not least because James, who set it, was told by his mother to fix it so someone (I can't remember who but I think it might have been the person who called me Janice) won because he'd put a lot of effort into it). We might have been at something of an advantage what with the bridesmaids being at our table so they could answer all the "how did the lovely couple meet?" kind of questions. I wasn't even paying attention because, never having even met them before, I knew I'd be useless. But my ears pricked up at the first line of Pride and Prejudice and then there was a question about Jane Eyre and the bridesmaids (and, I think, partner of one of the best mans) were dead impressed with me for knowing these things. They said if we won it'd be down to me, and indeed no one else wanted to take the wine and chocolates home so I've got them.

I had a nice drunken conversation with the Australian bridesmaid, who seems to live some kind of complicated bi-hemispherical lifestyle, about how hard, but also nice, it is to have two places you belong. James's sister said at breakfast this morning that I'd apparently made a good impression on her, which really surprised me because it turns out losing my inhibitions only makes me talk a lot of depressing garbage these days (well, it still makes me want to kiss girls too, so there's hope for me yet), so it's nice if baffling to hear that I wasn't too off-putting anyway.

I needed a brilliant weekend, to get me through the week now ahead of me. I'm glad I got it.