Category Archives: Personal Log

Personal Log: August 17 – August 23, 2015

Full of Awesome
Full of Awesome
Pacifica, CA

This past week was indeed full of awesome.  It was yet another reminder of how my life should be and what I’m striving for.

Temping at the Computer History Museum is a wonderful thing.  It reminds me of working in high-tech before the bubble in 2001.  There’s no one setting me up for a fall, or as I told the person who trained me, “There’s no one looking at me like ‘What are YOU doing here and how is it going to hurt me?'”  Everyone is very welcoming.  And I’m back in cubicle land with 72″ purple walls.  Thank goodness for no more open space offices, those really were the worst for me.

My schedule needs some adjusting.  I’m still trying to figure out how everything fits in.  My commitment to being creative every day remains, it’s just figuring out how to do that with two days in the middle of the week given to earning steady money.  I don’t mind, it’s worth figuring out.

A friend sent a new, larger rice cooker.  This one is 16-cups!  Yes, that’s exciting to me too.  Now I can make my meals ahead more easily knowing there’s enough rice already cooked.

Overall, a really good week.  For which I am very grateful.

Personal Log: August 10 – August 16, 2015

Glacier in Alaska Wishing for the cool again
Glacier in Alaska
Wishing for the cool again

It was a tumultuous week. In the best of times, it’s not easy to ask for help. But there I was in a fluorescent lit, tile floored room filled with people of all ages and races, asking for help because I just couldn’t do it anymore. Taking care of myself nutritionally had become so difficult and made me feel so low. In many ways, asking for this sort of governmental help made me feel like a failure, a loser. I had been brought up in a home which believed asking for help was for “them.” And there I was, one of “them.”

But on Friday, when I could go buy groceries and put fresh produce and protein other than chicken in my refrigerator, I forgot about “them” and was simply grateful.

Mid-week, the temp agency called. I have become skeptical when they ask if I’m available to work. Two years of not being picked have made me jittery. But this time, it was my turn to be picked. Later this week, I will begin a part-time job doing data-entry in a facility not far from where my high-tech life began.

Evie Mae, she of the electric blue hair, has been talking to me so I guess we have some stories to tell. She’s very reluctant to tell it to me all at once and, as I’ve read many times, writers don’t necessarily need to be linear when they start the story. So I’ll take what she gives me when she gives it to me. I have so many questions for her!

It has been extremely hot the past few days, it’s hard to get anything done in this uninsulated stucco apartment which absorbs all the days’ heat.  I took a couple of days off to reground myself from all the excitement of last week.  I feel better able to work now, which is a thing I’m sure my stories appreciate.

This week has proven yet again that the universe watches out and provides for me.  I must get back to my part.  Who knows what good surprises are in store for me?

Personal Log: August 3 – August 9, 2015

Pacifica
Pacifica

This happened, making me a paid writer now.

Although Erin, owner of ARTIS PURA Custom Framing, and I have been friends for many years, she is a delight to work with.  Framing is technical, and her patience in explaining terms and ideas was a great help.  I’m looking forward to working with her a good long time.

Retailer Target did something very important this week.  By announcing they are phasing out gender-based signage around the store, they have signaled they listen to the concerns of their customers over the pigeon-holing of children.

Friend and mentor, Melissa Atkins-Wardy of Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies was on the forefront of this movement and continues to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the way we think and raise our kids.  Be sure to read her blog post about it.

People are losing their minds over this move, and not in a good way.  I’ve seen comments about how this is political correctness run amok, or how this move will confuse children about their sexual identity.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Now there’s only toys.  Not toys for girls and toys for boys.  Just toys.  And kids get to pick the toys they want to play with without getting the not so subtle message that there’s something wrong with them if they want to play with a toy identified as a different gender from the kid.  Girls who want to play with green army guys can now just go to the toy aisle to find them.  Boys who want to play with a doll can now just go to the toy aisle.

In case you’ve missed it, society has become over-sexualized with gender expectations narrowing what is “proper.”  Women get the brunt of this.  We have to correct this notion that women have specific roles to play, and one way to do that is to teach both boys and girls to have respect for themselves and be who they are at any given moment in time.  As Melissa says, “There are many ways to be a boy/girl,” and “colors are for everyone.”

Personal Log: July 27 – August 2, 2015

Vancouver 2000
Vancouver 2000

Another week gone by. That’s profound, in a completely obvious “duh” kinda way isn’t it?

The biggest thing to happen is that my patrons can no longer afford to be my patrons.  As if trying to find a job and asking monthly for money was easy.  I am neither surprised or upset with this news.  Everyone has the right to take care of themselves, and my patrons helped me as long as they could.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared about money, there’s enough for about a month.  No, I don’t know what comes next or what I’m going to do.

Actually, I do know what I’m going to do.  Keep writing.  There’s a paid writing assignment about to hit, there will be more.  For now, I just keep doing what I’m doing and trusting the universe is going to continue taking care of me as it has.

On the reading front, I finally finished Ovid’s MetamorphosesReviews/recaps/commentary on each book will be published for the next few weeks on Tuesdays.  It was a challenge, but one I’m glad to have taken on.  I feel even more erudite and well-read now.  Or something.

I haven’t weighed in much on the hullabaloo over the publication of Harper Lee’s “latest” book, Go Set a Watchman.  Basically, my opinion is that the provenance is iffy at best, and it just seemed like there were too many people trying to take advantage of a woman who swore she would never publish another book after To Kill a Mockingbird.  She is very old now and nearly blind and deaf, I don’t see how anyone thinks she gave her blessings to this endeavor.  My curiosity is not great enough to want to read it.  To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books, and I’m not willing to let my memories of it be tanked.

Having said all of that, if you want to read it, please get down with your bad self.  Because I don’t want to, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t or that I don’t want you to.

I did find this article from Melville House Books interesting.  A bookseller named Brilliant Books is offering refunds to anyone who purchased Go Set a Watchman from them and is dissatisfied.

We had been disappointed in the way the book was marketed from the beginning. We knew the history of Go Set A Watchman and it wasn’t congruent with the marketing: “Harper Lee’s New Novel” “with many of your favorite characters from To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Whether you agree or not, there’s something to be said for retailers who stick to their principles.

In other bookish news, I’ve been following the Hugo nominations controversy with a somewhat jaded and amused eye.  Basically, it comes down to a bunch of white, male SFMil (science fiction military) writers deciding that the Hugos have been highjacked in past years by people who are not white, not male, possibly not even heterosexual, and don’t write SFMil.  Oh, then there’s the whole “social justice warrior” thing being batted around.  Whatever that means.

Never mind that one of the most revered writers and founders of science fiction wrote characters who were diverse and took on “SJW” issues.  As many bow to Robert Heinlein as the manliest man SF writer who wrote SFMil there ever was, they are so wrong I can’t help but laugh.  Or, there’s Frank Herbert who wrote Dune, one of the greatest SF books of all time, which main theme is environmentalism.

The Guardian has had pretty good coverage of the whole mess.  As has John Scalzi, who has an insider’s view.  The Hugo awards will be the losers if politics takes the prize is the latest I’ve read.

The Hugos have always been a popularity contest, a showcase of SF fandoms’ favourite fiction, and skewing the lists for political point-scoring makes a mockery of them. Whether the Sad Puppies win the day or not, it’s the awards’ legacy that will suffer, along with the future work that would have benefited from their now damaged prestige. That’s what is truly sad.

I left organized fandom years ago for many reasons.  Mostly I’m too mundane for fandom and too fannish for the mundanes.  I did not find fandom as welcoming as others have, mostly because my tastes don’t particularly match any given group.  Nor do I understand cosplay or gaming.  This is not to say I disapprove or feel left out.  I do not.

The best thing about fandom is “ZOMG, I have to show you this thing!”  The worst thing is the gatekeeping which sometimes creeps in when someone doesn’t know episode titles for their favorite television show, or hasn’t haunted the internet reading fanfic about their favorite characters.  It got tiresome explaining to someone I barely knew why I was reading something not of the genre, or hadn’t read every single book by the Guest of Honor, who was frequently someone I hadn’t heard of before.

There’s only so much time in my life and only so much energy I have to devote to my many interests.  Plus, introvert.  If fandom is where your people are, then do it.  Hang out with your tribe and be your very own fan.  But, please stop gatekeeping, especially of women fans.  That’s just rude.

Personal Log: July 20 – July 26, 2015

Disney, Green Army Guy, 1999
Green Army Guy, 1999

Working with my first client to create images and write a blog post for her. So nice to be able to work as a creative person for people who want me to try different things. I love this life.

An interview which didn’t turn into an offer.  Shunned by my temp agency again.  Okay, Universe, I hear you.  I don’t belong in an office.  Please bring more clients so I can pay my bills.

Shift change at the career center.  I will be no longer attending “success team” meetings.  They weren’t a good fit for me because I’m looking for creative work.  Wonderful support and encouragement from my career advisors.

Writing, writing, writing.  Publishing schedule is set for:

Sundays = Personal Log
Tuesdays = Review
Thursday = 500 Words or Photographic Evidence

A lot of research and installation of stuff on the back end to make things easier both for me and my readers.

And, apparently, Chuck Wendig wants 1,000 words on why I write.

Personal Log: July 13 – July 19, 2015

7StillwellWhile thinking about the events of last week, it seemed nothing of great consequence had happened.  Unless you count the design of my new logo and masthead.  Followed by some mundanities of behind the scene work on 7 Stillwell like installing and configuring plugins.

There was an interview for a job I didn’t get and appointments to talk with people to make sure my head’s still screwed on right.  Support for my creative path coming from unexpected places.

This really cool font identification site.

And this from my reading of Book Ten as posted on Facebook:  “Wait, wait, wait … just started Ovid’s Book 10 and the first line says Hymen is the male god of the marriage feast? Hymen is MALE?”  This is one of the many reasons I keep slugging it out with Ovid.

And then this about my encounter with a young man who wanted to talk about writing:

It was both hot and muggy outside today. All I had been thinking about while standing at the counter was how much I just wanted to go home, change my clothes and sit down to eat lunch. The money handler got my total wrong and went back to fix it. My sandwich maker looked up as I said, ‘Yeah, that’s a lot of words to write.’ And then he wanted to talk about writing and what my writing was about and what I did. As I disengaged and walked to the door, my thought turned to how I hadn’t taken him seriously. This kid just wanted to talk about writing and ask questions. Whether he is serious about it or not, I regret that I didn’t take a few more seconds to listen and encourage him as I wish people had when I was that age. So much to learn.

I think I also walked away because I felt like such a fraud in a way.  It’s the first time anyone outside of my tribe has asked about my writing and my tap dance was a mile a minute because I didn’t know what to say.  Since I’ve finally begun to own that I am a writer, it sort of took me by surprise.

How was your week?

Personal Log: July 6 – July 12, 2015

July 2015
July 2015

This was the week of my 56th birthday and my friends made sure I celebrated well.  Money was made available for treats, especially my favorite pizza, and there were shared meals.

The reminder of what it feels like to be able to do something that was once within reach was a good one.  I felt good going and doing things as I once had, it reminds me of the possibilities.

But it wasn’t just about the food, it was the company, of course.  The deep conversations I find so satisfying.  About what’s happening, the self-revelations and the next steps.  Nothing but encouragement as I recommitted myself to Butt-in-Chair every day to do something creative.

Then there was the brave step I took to meet people I didn’t know for trivia night.  That was right too.  The people were kind and fun to be around.  First Monday in August will likely find me back making jokes over stupid trivia questions I don’t know the answer to.

I continue making contacts with people for informational interviews in order to fill out my application for a training grant.  I’m looking for people who are Salesforce Admins, so give me a shout in comments if you are one or know someone who wouldn’t mind talking to me.

It’s been a while I’ve been to a movie, much less opening day.  So much fun to be in a theatre filled with kids watching the Minions and giggling.  That felt good too.

Another friend sent a copy of Frozen because I have apparently missed out.

But the absolute best gift was reconnecting with a friend in Australia who has offered to be my mentor as I dig back into building a way to make money on my own.  This has been a prayer in motion for two years and I am so grateful to have her take me by the hand and help me along the baby steps.  She’s keeping me focused on the beginning, offering advice on what I should be doing now and what doesn’t need to be worried about later.  Which, of course, serves as a continued commitment to Butt-in-Chair every day.

I am grateful for the way my life is unfolding and for the help I am getting along the way.  Not having a paycheck sucks, not knowing how I’m going to pay the bills and the rent really sucks.  I’ve managed to survive for two years, and don’t plan on giving up.  It is more than hard some days, but this past week has shown me I can keep doing it and there are people who love me and will help.