Friday

30 November 2018

Okay, not too bad. Out of 30 days, I think I missed blogging on 4 of them. Given the reason, I'll call my failure to get something up every day a success anyway...even if most of it was talking about my cat.

I really did think he was going to die.

Today, for the first time in over a week, he ate his lunch, went to the back of the house, and started yowling. It's one of his quirks and we tend to find amusing even though we can't figure out why he does it, but the Spouse Thingy realized that he wasn't doing it at all, and we missed it.

Today when Max started up, Spouse Thingy came from the back room, excited, because the cat was on the bed, talking to Bast knows who, like he usually does after eating.

I don't know whether I'll get up in the middle of the night to feed him tonight. He won't need it, but he'll want it. But I will leave the door open, and if he's good and quiet, he can sleep with me.

Until he plops down on my face, anyway.

In other news...while t felt like I got zero work done last week, I managed to finish NaNoWriMo with 90,000+ words. A good 20,000 of those will get edited out, and the book isn't nearly toward the end of the vomit draft.

In other other news, the cats are happy because the Christmas trees are up. Buddah has the big one to lounge under and Max has his Whovimas tree, and they both can drive us nuts chewing on the branches and batting at ornaments. The living room looks like Christmas threw up in here, but we might not even get to the outside. It rained this week while the Spouse Thingy was off--significant rain--and it's supposed to rain while he's off next week. Since there are no kids on the court now, I don't really care if we decorate outside.

I'll miss the inflatable dragon, but still...

Probably not going to shoot for NaDecBlogMo, but I am still going to make more of an effort to post here. I'm just a little too verbose to keep it all on Facebook.

You're welcome. ;)

Thursday

29 November 2018

He's eating.

He's eating without help of an appetite stimulant.

He's lost weight and even at 12.5 pounds, picking him up feels like lifting a kitten. According to the vet, he's lost a lot of muscle mass, but he's old, it's not unexpected.

The main thing is...he's eating. He's still getting me up between 3-5 for food, which might be the new normal even though I really hope it isn't. Up until this morning I've been tired enough to get back to sleep after feeding him, but he woke me at 2:45 and it's nearly 6:00 and I'm still awake.

The downside to the return of his appetite is that he's hungry every three hours or so and until I'm positive he's over the hump, I'm not comfortable letting him go over that without feeding him, so I'm kinda stuck with being close to home. That's not really a problem right now--we can get errands done pretty quick, even if we have to go into Vacaville--but it might be an issue in a week or so when I have plans near Sacramento with friends. I'll be gone all day and the Spouse Thingy will be asleep.

So, we'll see. By then he might be fine with getting fed a full can just before I leave the house and then getting another one when the Spouse Thingy gets up.


And apparently we're back to this: sitting on the arm of my chair, staring intently, trying to convince me to set the computer aside so that my lap is available for lounging purposes.

Not this time, furball.

I have comics to read, FARK and Reddit to peruse, blogs to read, and 271 other things to do online.

And after that, there's a good chance I'm going back to bed.

With the door closed.

So I won't have kitty help.

But I'll feed you again first. I'm not a monster.

Tuesday

27 November 2018

Where we're at with this guy is probably "guardedly optimistic." He's eating close to 2/3 of normal, he's gotten some good sleep, and he's been allowed to sleep with me at night so I can check on him frequently.

He hasn't been allowed in the bedroom at night for a couple of years because, frankly, he's a pain in the ass at night and picks then to tell me all about his day. It became a matter of my health over humoring him, so I started closing the door at night...and he got over it quickly.

But since last Wednesday night, the door's been open, and he has free access to me. He did the whole meatloaf-cat thing for two nights, not really sleeping but not bugging me, either. Friday night, after getting meds, he slept like a rock, right on top of me, barely moving.

But the last couple of nights he's treated his access to the bedroom like a pre-teen sleepover, moving all over the bed (and me, mainly) and last night he decided my head would make a fine bed. Monday morning he woke me at 3 am for food, and this morning it was 5:15, and he's eaten several times since.

The key now is to see if he keeps his appetite up through today and into tomorrow, because the appetite stimulant should be out of his system sometime today. We were able to get 4 more doses to give him at home if we need it, as well as nausea medication.

I am less worried about him suddenly dying now that I was 5 days ago, but I'm not entirely convinced he's okay. My gut says this is the start of something chronic, which scared the crap out of me until a couple friends with cats Max's age and who have the same medical issues weighed in, and they're managing it just fine. It might mean doing what I said I never would--putting him through anything that stresses him--but I'll weigh the benefit of the stress over the good it will do him before actually doing anything.

Max is that unique creature--the furball that can easily be said to be The One. I've loved all the pets I've had before, probably to an outsider's idea of extreme, and we've done everything we could for them, but Max is the one that's going to hurt the most when he goes. I was ready before with Hank and Dusty, knowing what they'd already been through, but I don't think I'll ever be okay with Max dying.

I once promised him--when he was so sick before--that I'd never make him do anything he truly hated in order to keep him around, but I suspect I'll break that promise. I'd never let him truly suffer, but I may subject him to some medical things he'll hate me for.

It's Max. I'm not sure I need any other reason.

Sunday

25 November 2018

The appetite stimulant kicked in just before 3 this morning. He was lounging in bed near my head, quietly, until it was suddenly GET UP LADY GET UP and when I didn't get up, he bit my nose.

That certainly got my attention. Of course I got up.

He ate about half an ounce of canned food at 3:15, and then again at 7:30, 11, and 2pm. When dinner rolled around, he came to get me, not the other way around, and he ate a little more than half an ounce.

While he ate, the Spouse Thingy grilled steak, and Max ate a bite or two of the meat I shredded for him. At 9pm, he ate about 3/4 of an ounce.

All in all, he took in a bit less than half of what he usually eats in a day, but his stomach has probably shrunk a bit and not stuffing it in was a good idea.

What I don't know is if 100% of this is owed to the stimulant, and whether he'll revert to not eating once it wears off. The vet said we could get more to give him a couple times a week at home if needed.

While the relief here is palpable, we're also feeling extremely cautious. Without knowing why he suddenly stopped eating, we can't know if he just managed to catch a bug or if there's something more brewing, or it this is just the beginning of his end. So we wait and see, and hope that he's still hungry tomorrow, and that whatever is wrong is something he's recovered from.

No matter what, he's a frail old man now. He has very little muscle mass now and his fur looks a little raggedy these days. But damn, I hope we're over the hump and not just stopping to rest a little.

Doesn't matter how many times I rationalize his age and time creeping up on him; I am not ready for it, and this week proved it.

Saturday

24 November 2018

We're on a roller coaster with him right now. After getting meds at the vet yesterday, he got some rest. There were a couple of naps during the afternoon, and last night he crawled into bed with me at 10:30, and slept on top of me until nearly six this morning, when he began to get really obnoxious--normal.

He wanted food. So I dashed out of bed and opened a can at which he turned his nose up, so my sleep-deprived brain decided that heating up his Fancy Feast might work. And it did; he took a few bites before walking away. And half an hour later he ate 2 small shrimp.

And we thought he'd turned the corner. I took him back to the vet for second doses of the nausea and stomach acid meds, as well as an appetite stimulant, hoping he would forgive me by lunch time. And he seemed to, he acted like he wanted food, but just couldn't make himself eat it.

And that's where we've been all day. Expecting the stimulant to kick in, offering him different foods, getting hopeful when he seems to want it, and then watching him sniff it and walk away. He's also restless now, which might mean a long night for both of us. I'm not locking him out of the bedroom in case he really needs something, and he's not going to let me get much sleep. Even if he manages to sleep, it will be on top of me, with his LED hallway light on, which illuminates the bedroom, too.

There's a chance he'll want food in the middle of the night, and if he does, I'll get up and offer something. If he hasn't eaten by morning, I have a fish fillet to bake and he might be tempted, and if that fails, I'll go get a fresh steak.

His lab work was good; there was nothing in it to explain any of this.

If he doesn't eat this weekend, the next step is, I think, checking his heart and his intestines to see if there's something there, but truthfully, we won't put him through stressful treatment of anything.

But that's where we're at...really hopeful that he'll be able to start eating tonight, and more than the few bites he took this morning.

Friday

23 November 2018

He clearly doesn't feel well...
Well, so much for posting every day in November. I had a choice yesterday: blog or let Max lounge on my lap. There was no question.

He was on my lap a good part of yesterday, and about half the night he was on me in bed. He doesn't seem to be sleeping much, unless he's dozing while upright and with his eyes open a bit.

I took him to the vet at 11:45 today and they drew blood, so we'll see what it says when the results are in. He was also given fluids, and shots for nausea and vomiting, so hopefully he'll feel like eating later today.

But right now? He's where I can see from the front room, on the back of the sofa, and he's finally sleeping. Hopefully that means his stomach is settled a bit, and when he wakes up he'll feel like nibbling on something.

He'll be happy to know the vet said to offer him the things he likes most, things that usually excite him. There's plenty of shrimp on hand, and some steak, as well as squirt cheese and cheese slices. If he eats some of one of those and acts like he wants more, I bought a bunch of the canned food he likes the most.

So, fingers crossed. The first thing is to get him to eat. After that, it depends on the lab work.

Wednesday

21 November 2018

He feels like crap today. I woke him up at 7:30 this morning for breakfast, which I don't think I've ever done before. Usually he's hollering for food long before I'm out of bed, so when I went to find him I knew something was wrong, but honestly, I was just glad I woke him and that it wasn't worse.

He waited patiently while I heated up his steak so he could take his pill, but then he sniffed at it and walked away. He came back when he heard the can open, but he sat in the kitchen entryway, changed his mind, headed back to bed, and threw up halfway there. It was all stomach acid,.

Now, he ate well yesterday; everything I put in front of him, he inhaled. The Spouse Thingy grilled a fresh steak for him and he inhaled quite a bit (so did Buddah...and he's fine so I don't think that's Max's problem. The Spouse Thingy had 3 bites and he's fine, too.) But other than licking the surface of his night time snack--brought to him because I didn't think he would come into the kitchen--all he's had today is water.

He looks groggy and he's quiet. I haven't heard a single meow from him today. He sat on my lap for a while tonight, but only for half an hour or so, and didn't stay to watch the episode of Doctor Who we recorded on Sunday. Usually when he sits on my lap, he stays for as long as I'll let him; his getting off is not typical.

I'm hoping it's just a bad day. He's old, he's allowed. But this looks too much like it did when he was so sick just before he turned 4, but this time he doesn't have the reserves to handle not eating for a week.

I know what's coming sooner rather than later, and I'm bracing myself for it. I also think it's only fair to warn people that, even if this is just a bad day, that he's on a definite decline.

And please, no "Oh Max will live until he's 20. Max is tough, a survivor." I don't want him to live that long if he's miserable. And he's 17.5, if he's ready to rest, he's earned that right.

I'll be broken as hell, but... just fair warning.

And I really, really hope he proves me wrong.

Tuesday

20 November 2018

A week or so ago, I went to Starbucks and scored the second best table, right next to a set of low lounge chairs. Those chairs are fine if you want to sit and read while sipping your beverage of choice, or for gabbing with friends, but definitely not for writing. I've done it before when all the tables were taken, but I avoid it.

Lookit that, a tangent already.

Anyway, when I get a table near the lounge type chairs, groups of people inevitably plop down there and start talking, often loudly. And I don't really mind, because it's a public place and if quiet was my primary need, I'd stay home and work in my very nice home office. It rarely bothers me; conversation is like a white noise, other than those who choose to TALK LIKE EVERYONE NEEDS TO HEAR, or when something catches my attention and I find myself eavesdropping.

On that day, a group of 3 12-13 year old boys sat down...and one of them hesitated, telling his friends as he nodded in my direction, "She's doing something. We should sit somewhere else."

I seriously appreciated his consideration (and told him they wouldn't bother me...and they didn't.)

Today I went over to get some work done while the Spouse Thingy awaited delivery on a refrigerator (--groan$$$groan--) and wound up at a lesser table across the store, right next to two 12-ish year old girls. They had phones in hand and were playing some game against each other, giggling, talking fast in the way only 12 year old girls can.

They were there first. No problem. After half an hour one of them wanted to show the other a video on her phone...and her friend declined. "We don't have earphones and people are working here."

No complaint from her friend.

Flip everything over.

Sunday I scored my favorite table. I can see the entire store from there, no one can sit behind me, and there's no glare from windows. I'd been working for about an hour when an older couple came in. He walked in a microshuffle, slightly hunched over. They ordered their coffee and walked very slowly to the long table and sat on the far end, where ideally I wouldn't hear a thing from them.

But the old guy wanted to add something to his coffee, so he removed the lid and headed for the condiment stand, step after tiny step. The coffee was full--and very hot--and he was unsteady, so the inevitable happened: it spilled over onto his hand.

I understood the "Ow!" I understood the first "Godammit!" But he totally lost me when he continued on, spilling and shouting expletives.

I might have gotten up and offered to help, but...old dude probably would have chucked the cup at me.

I looked at his wife; she stared out the window, either oblivious or trying hard to not react. The top to his cup was on the table in front of her, the top that if he had left it on would have prevented the spillage and burn, but perhaps not the loud swearing. He kept it up even after he sat down, not giving a damn that there were other people around him, not caring that he was literally startling people with every bark of his expletives.

Don't tell me kids today are horrible little shits who need a good paddling. By far, the kids I encounter there are more considerate and are quick to apologize if they think they've crossed a line. I see more supposed adults throwing temper tantrums than I do kids. And that's pretty freaking backwards; I have no expectations of young teens being all the quiet. It's almost embarrassing to witness grown men and women go bat crap crazy in public.

Those FB memes that circulate every week, telling people to like and share if they got spanked as a kid and think today's kids are snotty and need a good ass kicking? No, no, they do not, but the adults sharing that dreck just might.

Oh and a total aside: you can ask for your smaller drink in a larger cup at Starbucks, and reduce the risk of spilling. If you get a grande, ask for it in a venti cup. It won't be full, which is ideal, whether your issue is tremors or your gait causes your beverage to slosh, or if you have difficulty removing those lids. The more you know...


Monday

19 November 2018

Early Thanksgiving with the kids:


Nothing like two pups getting to spend a few minutes with a turkey carcass LOL

Sunday

18 November 2018

Bay Bridge in San Francisco, before the smoke rolled in, a few days later, and a few days after that...

posted to reddit in /r/SanFrancisco by u/MisterCookEMann

Saturday

17 November 2018

I have technically won NaNoWriMo for this year. I broke 50,000 words, on track to hit at least 80,000 by the end of the month.

80,000 is a novel.

This is not impressive, because I tend to write a lot more than that in a month; usually it's spread out over multiple projects. Aside from daily blogging, this manuscript is the only thing I've been working on this month, so theoretically I should be damn near done.

Not even close.

I don't want it to suck, so I'm taking my time.

Spoiler: it might suck anyway.

That's why God invented rewrites. And editors. And more rewrites. And booze.

Friday

16 November 2018

If I hadn't taken this year off, right now I would be sound asleep after walking (hopefully) 20+ miles. And I have to admit, I'm mentally itchy about not being in San Diego with the awesome people, but the itchiness was soothed a bit today after learning that Komen changed the route of the walk to cut down on the amount of alcohol walkers were getting from well-intended supporters.

Like, what's the point if I can't get a shot of Fireball every other mile? ;)

The Spouse Thingy and I will probably be there next year, though he's leaning towards joining the medical crew and I dunno what I want to do. I like the idea of taking my bike down there to do road crew, but the odds of getting onto that crew are pretty slim.

Maybe I'll take the bike anyway and ride around with a giant bottle of Fireball on the back, medicating walkers as needed.

You know, strictly for medicinal purposes.

Surely the cops that ride along the walkers won't care.

Sure.

Also, if I were there right now, my eyes wouldn't be itching like crazy...I stayed inside today but I'm feeling the smoke anyway.

Or I'm getting a cold.

Dammit. I don't need a cold right now.

NaNoWriMo: 49000 words.

Thursday

15 November 2018

It's not cold here yet, but this guy loves the fireplace, so the Spouse Thingy fired it up just for him tonight.


Granted, if we had a wood fireplace, there's no way in hell we'd have a fire in it right now. The air quality is horrific, bad enough that even as far away from the fire as we are, schools are closed and it's not a great idea to be outside for much of anything.

He might be doubly happy...that bed--and the carpet and floor all around it--is covered in catnip. I'd vacuum, but...eh...might as well let the cats roll around on it.

Besides. Housework. I've spent years perfecting my avoidance of it.

Wednesday

14 November 2018

I got nuttin'... 30 days of posting means a few days of =eh=

On the plus side, I'm over 40K into NaNoWriMo. Totally gonna get that spiffy PDF certificate this year.

Tuesday

13 November 2018

Sacramento 11/12/18 3 p.m.

Posted to Reddit in /r/Sacramento by u/de_struggle_is_real
We're not far from this; neither Sacramento nor Dixon is in danger from the fire in Butte County, but we're getting the smoke.

Too many people have already died in this fire, and it's not even 50% contained yet. An entire town, Paradise, is lost.

We're fine, we'll be fine, but dang...Farktons o'Mojo for the people who aren't fine.

These fires are starting to feel like the new norm.

I will freaking trade a year's worth of nice, pleasant, bike riding days for enough rain to break the drought.

Monday

12 November 2018

All right, so the Spouse Thingy and I pick a series every now and then to watch together. Every Monday is Doctor Who...because the day and time it airs doesn't work for, plus with Amazon Prime we can skip all the commercials.

We've also been watching the new Sabrina series on Netflix, and it is definitely not your children's Sabrina the Teenaged Witch. It's dark, it's borderline horror (maybe more than borderline...we're not done yet) and I have a feeling Sale is going to be a total badass.

We're only 4 episodes in, and it's entertaining enough to keep watching, but damn do I have some issues with it.

A lot of the characters are stereotypical tropes: the self-entitled, abusive foot ball team, an LGBTQ friend who is reduced to literally being nothing more than their identity, the generic white heroine who rides on on her shiny white horse to defend the misunderstood and mistreated. The teenagers are all 15 going on 40, and don't really act teenagery--except for the protagonist mooning over potentially having to switch schools and leave her boyfriend behind.

And the biggest trope of all: witches be bad, y'all. They get their magic via Satan worship. And of course Sabrina doesn't want any part of that.

I'll watch the entire season, because it's good enough to want to see how it goes, but I have a feeling my issues with it are just going to multiply.

Sunday

11 November 2018

This is the typical view I get if I turn to my left while working at my desk.

He sits and stares, and every other minute or so he taps on my arm to remind me that he's there and he wants something.

He also sits on the arm of my chair in the living room and does the same thing, but it's a little less creepy when he's on the desk.

It used to irritate me when he'd hang on me like a needy toddler, but these days I take it as a good sign. He's here, he's active, he's annoying. Just as it should be.

Old men get to be annoying.

His age is showing. He's losing weight. He has times when he sits there and stares off into nothing, like he's listening for something. He twitches oddly sometimes. But mostly, he's his annoying self.

This is him just 30 seconds ago.


Bright eyed, alert, wanting me to get off my asterisk and open a can. He'll probably only eat half, but he had several steak bites two hours ago, so that's fine.

I catch some good-natured chit every now and then for how much we spoil him, but really...when you're pushing 100, as he is, you should get most of what you want. And right now what he seems to want is in the kitchen, and I'm damn well getting it for him.

Saturday

10 November 2018

January of this year in the Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney...class on display.



It's kind of a tradition, me flipping the Spouse Thingy off during dinner at RFC, usually the first or second night at Disneyland. At the time, we didn't know the restaurant was slated to close to make way for a new hotel, although I don't know if it would have made a difference in how many times we went there. We had dinner there on the first night and went back the seconds for drinks, which filled me with a gallon of regret. The Blue Hawaiians were good, but I kinda forgot I can't have anything pineapple.

It's closed down now...and the plans for the hotel were scrapped. I'd be surprised if Disney can get it back; they managed to get the Earl of Sandwich back, but if rumors are correct, EoS hadn't been gutted yet and RFC has.

Granted, to food was not spectacular. It was kind of cheesy. But we still liked it, and now I don't know where we'll go so I can flip him off the next time we're there.

Friday

9 November 2018

Nearly every day since we moved the books cases into my office, he's taken 2-3 naps up there, curled up where he can't be seen.


Every day, too, when I open a can of cat food at 11 a.m., he gets up, stretches, and then stares at the cat tree placed right next to his giant blue bed. He wants to jump down, and a year ago he probably would have. But now he thinks about it, realizes it's not a good idea, and takes the long was across the four tall bookcases to the shorter, staircase-stagger cases in front of the window, he walks across my printer and then my desk, and waits there for me to come pick him up and carry him to his food.

He can make the jump from the desk to the floor easily still, but why? He knows I'll come get him. It's one of the few times I can pick him up and not worry that he'll bite me. I carry him a few feet into the kitchen, and take the opportunity to drop a few kisses on the top of his head, because that's the only way I'll ever really be able to.

Tonight when it was snack time, he waited on the desk, and I came to get him as usual, and three steps into the kitchen he pressed his head against my face.

Don't forget the kisses.

Thursday

8 November 2018

Starbucks green iced tea, no water added.

Right after they make it--if it's been shaken the way it's suppose to be--there's a nice head of foam on it.

It kinda looks like beer.

When the ice melts and there's only about half left, it looks like pee.

So basically, Starbucks is serving Bud Light.

Now you know.

Wednesday

7 November 2018

My favorite shirt.

Mostly because it's true.

One of my other favorites says Introverts Unite. Separately. In Our Own Homes. Again, lots of truth there.

One of my friends thinks I'm an ambivert, and that might have been, way back when he knew a much, much younger me. But the truth now is that I am introverted and socially awkward, and I suspect it's the result of so many years of moving around and leaving friends behind, landing in places where I just didn't know anyone and when I did meet people, we didn't click.

Face it, I'm fairly liberal and wound up in some very conservative places.

After we left Texas--where I had martial arts as my main social outlet--I found it more and more difficult to connect with people unless it was online. In Illinois, I met, literally, no one with whom I had anything more in common than a couple of semesters at the local college. In North Dakota, we had a few friends, thanks to bowling, but there wasn't really any socializing outside that.

Ohio was a bright spot; we lived on a great street with terrific people, and spent a lot of time with them.

But that was it. We left there 15 years ago when the Spouse Thingy retired. My social life since then has been limited to online, except for one local friend who better die before dumping my ass.

This sounds whiny, but it's not meant to be.

It's really meant as more of an explanation.

I am perfectly comfortable with my introversion 99% of the time. I have a lot of friends, truly, but thanks to military life, they're scattered across the country. Or I met them through Max's blog. Or we connected way back when Prodigy was a thing and there was an active martial arts board. Some of my oldest friends--from when I was a kid--are still friends and we talk a lot, but they're way over there and I'm way over here.

There is a price to be paid for that kind of a social life.

Over time, with distance and habit, a person can lose their social skills. They forget how to engage in spontaneous small talk. There is no text-lag buffer, no taking time to edit thoughts before letting them fly. When you're conversing in person, you kinda have to talk. Like, right then.

So, sure, over the years I have become painfully socially awkward, and more of an introvert than I am an ambivert.

The topic came up recently when I was talking to a long time friend, who poked at me when she said she might be out this way and I reminded her I didn't have a guest room. I do have an inflatable mattress, and I might have a pump for it, so there was always a chance to bunk in the room where the treadmill and rowing machine live, and where Buddah and Max have barfed on the carpet approximately 4,967 times.

She declined.

And then she poked at me a little more. She wouldn't do that to me, because it would make me panic. When I denied that, she point-blank asked when the last time I had a guest was.

Um. Maybe in Ohio...? And before that, maybe when the Boy was 2?

"And if I drop in on your down time at the Pub Panel? With my entire brood?" I think that's when I told her to shut the fark up. She laughed at me again, and promised it would never happen. Too many new people at once. Too many people period. I don't do that well (Oddly, I never had those issues on the 3 Day. No clue why.)

More truth: yeah, we don't entertain at home. I have no idea HOW to entertain at home. You come over, I don't know what to do with you. I suck at small talk. If you're a talker, it works better (though not if you talk and talk and talk and talk and don't let anyone else get a word it...) because I feel like I'm more of a listener (delusional, perhaps) but really, no clue how to really socialize anymore. I'm not a decent cook, so you're probably not getting dinner here, and even if I were a decent cook...yeah, really never done that, so you're probably not going to have a great time.

Now, oddly, drop me into a party where I know a couple people, I'm okay. But you need to be okay with me sitting back and watching and listening, because I tend to not approach anyone and I still suck at small talk. It might look like I'm miserable and not having any fun, when the truth is I'm having a great time. But I avoid that, because it makes other people uncomfortable. Why is she just sitting there? Why isn't she talking? Is she just rude or what?

The weird, hard left turn: if I do the InDesign instruction at the Pub Panel, I won't have a problem with that. When I'm prepared, I can talk in front of a large group. If someone needs help with something, I can do that.

Hell, if you're a total stranger out in the wild and something's wrong, chances are I'll stop to help. I had zero issues stopping my car a few weeks ago to help an Asian guy in an Old Sac parking garage who couldn't figure out the parking exit payment. Neither of us understood a word the other was saying, but we figured it out. Never occurred to me to do anything other than solve the problem.

But that wasn't social.

I'll never see that guy again. Three or four minutes, done.

So, really, that's it. Now you know why you're probably not staying at my house on the cat-barf carpet, and why I seemed rude the last time you saw me, and why I'm pretty okay with being an introvert. It's not you. It's just how I am.

Sorry. I am awkard. Sorry.

For reals.


Tuesday

6 November 2018

I am feeling 62 kinds of =blech= today thanks to a headache that has all the feelings of an oncoming head cold. Last night I felt a little queasy, so I was pretty sure something was brewing...by tomorrow I'll probably want to spend the day in bed begging for new sinuses and an embarrassing amount of chocolate that I won't be able to taste.

But. How icky I felt didn't really matter, because there was one thing that had to get done today.

Voting.

There aren't really any reasons not to, people. Unless you're laid up in the hospital, there was an emergency, or you're genuinely affected by the current wave of active voter suppression happening in the U.S. right now, whatever comes out of your mouth about not bothering is an excuse, not a reason.

Just get it done.

It's painless. It's worth the wait in line. And when you're done, you get a free sticker.

Do it for the sticker, if nothing else.

Monday

5 November 2018

I spend a lot of time in Starbucks. I have a favorite table, some of the baristas know what I'm going to order before I open my mouth, and I recognize a lot of the regulars. I spend enough that I get a hell of a lot of freebies loaded onto my shiny gold Starbucks card, and I have been known to participate in a star dash or two or twenty.

I don't drink coffee, but I dig their tea and once in a while a Frappucino (with as little roast base as I can get, because I just never learned to like coffee.) (Also, they get a wee bit upset if you order a Frappe. That's McD's.)(Also also, learn the sizes there. It's not cute to refuse to say you want a tall, grande, venti, or trenta. No one cares if you hate the way they do it. Just make their job easier and do it the way their system is laid out. Otherwise you're gonna want a small and you're gonna get a grande.)

Yesterday Starbucks across the U.S. had a promotion: get a free red cup while supplies last, and until the end of the holidays, if you order a holiday drink after 2pm, you get 50 cents off.

People were lined up at opening, waiting to get their free red cup. Some stores received as few as 20 cups, based on (as far as I can tell) their typical sales patterns. Some got 50 or more. But within half an hour of opening, all the free cups had been given out.

Now, most people would have shrugged it off and said that it sucked, but, whatever.

I don't know what happened at the Starbucks I go to, because there's no way I'm getting there at opening. They open in the freaking middle of the night, when I'm usually offering the sleep fairy nasty things to come over and just do me. But as I surfed around online last night and read posts from the poor baristas who had to work during the cup give-away, way too many people lost their shit  when they didn't get a free cup.

We're not talking someone snapping at the poor kid at the cash register and blaming him or her. We're talking full on, meltdown temper tantrums of the unholy terror toddler scale.

One woman posted that there was a meltdown so spectacular at her store that other people in line chipped in to buy the guy a $2.50 red cup that would get him the same deal. A grown-assed man, screaming and yelling so badly that people chipped in cash to shut him the hell up and spare the barista any further abuse.

Over a cup.

A cup that, when the free ones were gone, were available for purchase for $2.50. Any real Starbucks customer realizes the potential for savings there. Five purchases and you've covered the cost. From then out, that 50 cent discount is all yours.

And then came this morning, when a bunch of the people who scored their free red cup wandered into their local Starbucks and demanded their 50 cents off...and threw tantrums because the deal is for after 2pm, not all day. And only for holiday themed drinks.

It was all right there in black and white for anyone to read.

"But y'all can't expect us to read that whole thing." Seriously, that was said, according to one tired barista.

Imagine the mindset of someone who can't be bothered to read literally two sentences. Or those who do and don't grasp that 2pm MEANS 2 pm and not before. Or someone who doesn't get what they want and screams until they damn near have a stroke.

And the thing that keeps crossing my mind: tomorrow the U.S. has midterm elections, and these people probably vote.

God help us all.

Saturday

3 November 2018

I love Christmas. No secret there. I look forward to putting up the Whovimas tree and the TARDIS lights around the fireplace, and I love going around and seeing other peoples' yard decorations. I enjoy shopping for gifts, when I'm kind of -meh- about shopping any other time. I sing along to Christmas songs and every year Feliz Navidad gets stuck in my head for a least a week.

But peoples...it's barely November.

I went over to Starbucks to get a little writing done, as I do most weekends, and they were already playing Christmas music. No, no, no, no, no. That chit needs to wait until Thanksgiving. I mean, start it ON Thanksgiving Day, like 6-8 pm after people have had dinner and are in a food coma, dreading the cleaning of the kitchen. Start it then and play it until New Year's Eve.

But not early November.

This early, it feels like punishment.

I got little work done in the 90 minutes I sat there. I finally gave up just as non-holiday music began pouring out of the speaker overhead, and headed for Walmart to pick something up for dinner.

Walmart felt like a relief.

That's just not right.

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A writer's group I am a member of holds a "workshop" every year to cover issues in independent publishing. I put that in quotes because historically, little work gets done. The first three years it was held at Disneyland, and you can imagine how that went. The last two years it's been in Las Vegas (I did not go) and I understand it's been even less productive.

The last year it was at the Disneyland Hotel, on the night before the official start, a bunch of the attendees got together at the Rainforest Cafe, before I got there, there was drinking, there were words, and there was a bar fight.

It's the one thing I kinda wished I'd been there for.

The upcoming Indie Pub Panel will be, the organizer swear, vastly different. Individual panels will be structured. There will be an additional fee for each panel, the idea being that if people pay for it, they'll show up and do the work. There will be a dress code. It will be professional dammit.

It's being held at Disneyland again.

The person whose behavior started the bar fight was not, as promised, banned, and she'll be there again, her racist and homophobic rants surely on display. She's terrified of me for some inexplicable reason. I've never been mean to her. I've answered questions when she's directed them at me, and I've been polite.

I mean, I know what it is. She's got a pre-formed opinion about anyone with tattoos, and that I've had neon pink hair for every panel I've signed up for doesn't help.

All year, she's clamored for a panel that will teach indie publishers how to format for print using Adobe InDesign. She'll pay good money for that, because she's tired of paying other people to format her manuscripts, and there are always errors in them.

Guess who's been asked to head a panel tentatively titled: Formatting for Print with InDesign Made Super Simple?

Guess who agreed to do it?

Bets are now being taken (for real) on how quickly she asks for a refund.

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I have the TV on for noise and Lottery Dream Home is playing on HGTV. It reminds me, I have a lottery ticket in my wallet I never checked. Granted, I know I didn't win the big one because 2 other people did, but there's a tiny, tiny chance I hit for something smaller. I should go check.

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Bummer.