In Which the Paring Continues

16 August 2003

The repeated shrieks of, "Car wash!" have started up again. Ah, Saturday morning. I am an elderly crank waiting to happen. I can't wait to have a lawn so that I can order the damn kids off of same. But honestly, is it too unreasonable to ask that not every Saturday morning be filled with repetitive shrieks? Evidently. They were saving up from the last few nights, I guess.

Next week at this time, I'll be looking at lawns. And gardens and roofs and garages and foundations, not to mention the insides of houses. At home. I'm really excited. Also terrified. Also excited. Also...well, you see how it goes from minute to minute here.

The problem with using blueberries and cherry tomatoes to solve everything is that it can get to be a bit acidic. That and the stress have earned me one of those acidic sore bits in my mouth again. I am once again stumped about what there is to eat that isn't acidic. Invariably in these situations, I keep coming up with things featuring tomatoes or citrus fruits. There's wild rice chili for supper tonight, for example. Tomatoes. I thought of making lasagna tomorrow. Also tomatoes. Quesadillas: no good without salsa. I'm just bad at this game. Last night we had orange sesame chicken, and the orange sesame sauce was so good I could have just eaten it on rice. But there again: orange. I'm just not good at this. (I keep trying to consider lunch in a vein that won't involve cherry tomatoes or plums or anything else tart, and I just can't get there from here. The peas have all gone.)

Another in my series of books-as-medicine rants...the Merc has an article entitled, "Videos, books help kids adjust to a new sibling." And I squirm: take two near-expressionist picture books and call me in the morning? It's not that I don't think books can help people deal with tough subjects. It's that I have a problem with the "you're going through X, so you should read Y" formulation. I think the answer is to expose kids to a lot of books, so instead of having the parent say, "You're sad about Family Member dying? Why don't you read this?", the kid can go curl up with A Ring of Endless Light if that's what comforts the kid -- or with something seemingly unrelated to the topic at hand.

I like solutions that involve "Give people more books" as a major step.

I finished White Apples this was very Jonathan Carroll. And I do enjoy Jonathan Carroll, it's just that...well, there are several of them, and the feel of them is all very similar, I find. This was that feel, and it was fine. I just keep hoping he'll try something new before he's mined this particular vein entirely out. I'm now about halfway through Patricia Wrede's Mairelon the Magician, and I'm liking it -- as Marymary predicted -- much better than Dalkey's Ascension. (I wouldn't otherwise have thought to compare them, but I was talking to her about titles I'd jotted down from reading her journal, and she wanted to steer me towards Mairelon rather than Ascension, and she was right.)

I decided again, on the phone with C.J. the other evening, that the problem with adults is that they don't tell people when they like them. They make each other guess. Four-year-olds will come plunk themselves down in your lap and announce, "I like you." Forty-year-olds, almost never. C.J. asked, "Are you sure?" And I said, "Well, they've never done it to me, but maybe I'm just not popular among forty-year-olds." The lap thing is optional at that point. I'm just saying, it's good to tell people you like them, as long as it's true. That's my advice for the day.

Worked on "Making Alex Frey" and the Not The Moose Book again, and also a bit on collab stuff. Of course: my collaborator for this time around is in the midst of what sounds like a horrible uproar. She's moving. (So, of course, is my other collaborator, the Timprov. Though not as immediately. So maybe it's something about working with me on stories, and if somebody wants a relocation, they should...anyway.) So since the moving/power outage/general life changes stuff makes it totally unreasonable for Karina to have any time to work, my brain starts picking at the edges of the story. When I didn't really need it, either. Ah well; I'll probably just save my file of scenelets and keep going.

I did manage to poke around the deck closet yesterday, but a lot of the stuff in there is stuff I think we'll use when we have better space to entertain. (And there was the fondue pot, rah! I was sure we had one, as Mrs. Mac gave it to me in lieu of a fifth of gin. As I don't drink gin, I think it was a much nicer shower present. But I wasn't sure where it had gotten to, and the answer was, the deck closet.) I pulled out some hideous things that will stay in California, and I only hope someone with hideous taste can find and enjoy them. Mostly we'll be wrapping and packing and hauling, and that'll be all right. I do have some sense of accomplishment about the beginnings of the paring, though.

I'm trying to be nice to myself today. The list for the next two days is downright manageable (I pruned the list earlier in the week), and next week should be okayish, too. And I think the goal right now is to not freak out, and I think that's a pretty good goal. Our realtor thinks I'm organized and realistic. That's a good thing to hear. (I do figure, though, that it would not be her problem if I was disorganized and unrealistic. Maybe for a week or two it would be her problem. For a year or two or five or ten, it would be mine.) I have started asking myself a fairly reasonable set of questions about different activities: "Will the world come to an end if I don't do this? Will any of my long-term goals be significantly impeded if I don't do this? Will anyone I love be gravely disappointed if I don't do this?" I think it's fine to have short-term goals, probably for the best etc. But with so much going on, I really need to focus on what will get us moved home with maximum health and sanity maintained.

I've said this before in other words, I know. It's just the constant focus of these weeks. Paring down the kitchen temporarily is easier than paring down my expectations of myself temporarily, but also less useful.

So far I haven't relaxed my expectation that I will not go out and crack together the skulls of those people shrieking "car wash!" But the day is, as they say, still young.

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