29 December 2017

A few hours ago, I'd thought I hadn't started 2017 with any specific mileage goals, but I just went back and looked, and I did. This time last year I wanted to hit 1300 miles, because I'd done 1205 in 2017, and why not? There were the obvious things in the back of my head--be ready for the 3 Day, not gain 100 pounds--but I'd kind of forgotten that I actually set a goal of specific miles.

About 3 weeks ago, I looked at my account, and realized was I so freaking close to hitting 1500 miles. I was around 45 short, with the holidays looming and not much time to get those miles in. I hadn't known that I wanted to hit it until I saw that, and then I really wanted it.

So, on our anniversary, we walked around downtown Sacramento. We walked around the outlet malls. We didn't WALK but we walked, and today I just squeaked over the 1500 mile mark.

So, there we go. Accomplishment of a goal I didn't realize I had. I didn't do a lot of what I said I wanted--we didn't go to Disneyland, I didn't hit the gym twice a week, and we only got to SF once--but I ticked a few things off that list.

The Wick books I wanted to write got written and published; I'd wanted to write two, did three...which also explains not getting to the other things. And we'll get to Disneyland in January for a short visit.*

Much of our lives were centered around work and training for the 3 Day; I really wanted to get those stories out of my head, and I really wanted to not get sick on a 3 Day, and finish the walk.

So there's that; I got those things done, alone with some extra miles.

The downside, something I've been chewing on for a while...that was probably my last 3 Day, at least as a walker. I registered for next year, but the truth is that I'm not sure my body can take it again. This year was tough and took some time to recover from--hell, I'm still recovering. My back still hurts and my left knee aches most of the time...we laughed a lot about the volume of Fireball consumed along the way in San Diego, but the truth is that it wasn't as much as it seemed, and I probably couldn't have gone as far each day without either it or without the Norco I took along. I got through it with free shots of booze, followed by Norco, and soothed with the hotel hot tub at night.

My brain is telling me that if someone requires opioids to get through something, and barring that, booze, then maybe it's time to take a step back. I partook of the Fireball because it was fun and it was funny, but somewhere along the way it occurred to me that it was taking the edge off the pain in my back and knees; when the buzz from that wore off, I used the Norco.

In the grand scheme of things, I didn't drink a lot, nor did I overdo it with the Norco, but that I needed it to finish each day tells me that even with training, my body just doesn't want to cooperate.

So...for 2018 I want to top 1500 miles, but it's not all going to be on foot. The goal will be 2000, half of that on foot, half on the bike.

Pretty sure I can do that. The bike is a lot friendlier on my back, and hopefully it won't do anything more to my knees.

*I feel like a broken record and I also feel crappy about it, but..there are 16 of you in the area and only 2 days, and, well, you remember from other years...I am really, truly sorry. I know it seems super bitchy and selfish, but I have to be bitchy and selfish when it comes to stuff like this, because the odds are that the same things that are ending the 3 Day for me are gonna rear their ugly heads there, and 1) I don't want anyone else to have to see and deal with it, and 2) I don't want to have to cancel on anyone while at freaking Disney. It's not personal, it truly is not.


21 December 2017

He's not happy.

A while back--I think 2 or 3 years ago--he spun his collar around so often that it rubbed the fur off in a neat circle around his neck. We took it off to let the fur grow back...which freaking took forever. There's still a bare spot or two.

He's strictly an inside kitty, and has always had a big enough fear of the outdoors that we weren't especially worried about him being without identification. When presented with an open door, he'd look and then turn around and walk away, because outside is big and noisy, and inside is not.

But he's getting old, and a bit forgetful. And one of the things he seems to have forgotten is that outside is Bad. Now when presented with an open door, he sits there and sniffs, and has a look of "That seems interesting" and he doesn't turn away.

We've always been careful, whether it was Max or Buddah at the door. Buddah has kept his collar, with the tag that has his name and address and phone, because who knows what he'll do.

But today Max sat at the back door a bit longer than I was comfortable with, and all the What Ifs ran through my mind.

I put the collar on him.

He didn't fight it; I showed it to him and let him sniff it, hoping he'd remember the smell of it and have the thought that it was not a horrible thing, and he let me put it on. But he was not happy when he realized what I'd done. And for the next ten minutes he followed me around, reminding me that he was the good kitty, and he didn't need one. And I'm pretty sure he called me a bitch.

Now, we went out for steak on Monday night--early Christmas with the Boy and his Much Better Half--and he's had steak treats every day since then. But tonight fresh steak was grilled, and I promised him he would get a big portion, because he really was being a good sport about it.

He sat on the floor between us during dinner (no, we do not give them food from our plates unless no one else is looking) and as soon as we were done, I shredded 1/4 of my steak, and gave him most of it. It was perfect bite sized and still warm, his favorite way to have steak.

I think he's mostly forgiven me. Mostly. I'm pretty sure that later on he'll sit in front of me and remind me there's still some steak in the fridge, and if I don't jump up, he'll hike his back leg and scratch at his neck.

And dammit, that will work.


10 December 2017

I mocked a friend who bought 250 bitcoins early on, when they were $100 each. I am no longer mocking; they hit $19K last week, and he managed to sell at $16K. I am marginally irritated because I dismissed his "why the hell not, it can't hurt" attitude then, because he makes investments like this all the freaking time and comes out on top.

The waking hours of the 3 Day seemed to have done a bit of a reset on my brain. Having to get up at 3:30-4:30 every day and falling asleep by 9 every night has carried over a bit. I'm asleep by 10:30, 11 at he latest, and have been waking up at 7-7:30. Normal people hours. I'm awake the same number of hours as before (on good days) but I seem to be getting more done. Go figure.

I hope I didn't just jinx myself.

♦ Max and I are 143,000 words deep into the next Wick After Dark book, but in reading through it, I'm 95% sure we need to break it up and then cut a bunch of stuff. Otherwise people will read it and wonder WTF happened to that one story thread, and WhyTF did the biggest one take 200 pages to really get rolling?

♦ Still, I'm having fun with it. I really dig drunk Aubrey. There, you have something to look forward to.

♦ There will be another Wick Chronicles book, for those who don't like the more adult After Dark stories. Once I get this one sorted out, I have a WC short planned, and there will be a summary of the AD books online, I think.

♦ Why are so many people at Starbucks on a Sunday morning? Cripes.

♦ UCD is nearby and finals are approaching. I know why it's busy, but I'm still gonna whine about it.

♦ Holy fark, chai tea is good. Why did it take me so long to try it?

♦ Yeah, back to work...

And a random picture of Max snuggling, just because...


2 December 2017

Because I'm avoiding both housework and tackling nearly 400 pages of notes for the next Wick After Dark Book, let's see how many people I can piss off. And I'm gonna be all over the place with this, since I'm writing without self-censoring.

Thinking Out Loud.

A bit over thirty years ago, I worked in a gym; this was when the tide was turning and they were no longer places for steroid-munching meatheads to sling weights around while grunting loudly, and aerobics were The Thing. Women were not only welcome, but marketed toward and sought out as members, and there was available drop-in child care to make it easier.

There was still a section of the gym for the guys who were only there to push their muscles to develop muscles of their own, a free weight room that was cordoned off but not walled off, and the aerobics floor and resistance machines were in full view of the guys who headed straight for the free weights and wouldn't dare consider taking a cardio-drive class.

My job was basically that of a low-paid intern. I worked in the child care center most of the time, but I was also a janitor, tinkerer, and when no one else was available, I escorted prospective members around and showed them all the amenities. Toward the end of my employment there, I had been trained to train new members on the resistance equipment.

Because I was all over that gym, working six days a week, I was exposed to a hell of a lot of people. There were the jerks (one manager who called me "Thunder Thighs" because it was apparently hysterical) and the clueless (another employee who seriously was not All There and liked to hug. A Lot.) and the talk was often crude. Granted, never Trump Crude--his version of locker room talk would not have flown there--but still 12-year-old-boy crude.

I had my ass slapped while being told I'd done a good job, I witnessed one male employee grab his crotch while mocking another female, I was called "sweetheart," "Babe," and God knows what else. It was suggested more than once that I could use a good fucking, and Not All There Guy once draped his hand over my shoulder, his fingers deliberately brushing my chest.

Not once did I think I had been abused or attacked. It was just the way things were. I learned to dish it right back out, and Not All There Guy got an elbow to his ribs. I didn't report it. He learned the hard way.

If any of those things happened today, any single one of them would be reason to complain--and I would. It was poor behavior then, no doubt, but it was also accepted behavior. Anyone running to HR because the trainer called them a name, or made a comment about their figure or looks, or even touched them inappropriately would have been laughed out of the office.

These were guys who had been raised to think it was okay. If we'd spoken up then, they probably would have at least considered the way they were treating the women around them at work, but we didn't, so neither did they.

It really didn't seem worth getting upset over. Not then.

If I were the same kid in the same gym today? Not All There Guy would have backed up with broken fingers. Thunder Thighs manager would have had a complaint lodged against him, for no reason other than to leave a paper trail. The names would be met with resistance and a warning--I'm not your sweetheart, I'm not your babe, and you couldn't fuck your way out of an orgy with someone else's dick.

It's not nostalgic to say that times were different then--they were. And with all the accusations against public figures being made now, calling them out for things they did years ago, I keep thinking that we need to take a collective breath and remember that we truly are looking into the past through lenses created to look to the future.

Our standards are vastly different now. They're significantly better; I think most of us coming into adulthood 40 years ago made an effort to raise our children with equality in mind. Those kids are in turn raising theirs to be more open and accepting of others and how they feel, and how their own actions can impact someone. Not just in the moment, but forever.

Yes...every single person being called out needs to take a damned hard look at why they're being accused. And every single person who has not been accused needs to stop and consider if their past actions fall into the realm of behavior that was once acceptable but not is not, and then cut that crap out.

Yes, the women coming forward should be believed. Believing when they say they were harassed, molested, or emotionally scarred is not the same thing as believing the men they're naming are guilty. It's believing that they FEEL harassed and molested. There needs to be accountability, legal or otherwise.

And those who are crying rape? Yeah, they have nothing to gain and a lot to lose by coming forward. Believe them.

But why did they wait so long? It's simple: they had no power. They would have been speaking out against men who held a tremendous amount of power, and even if believed, their claims would have been dismissed because power + money = you lose the game. They're coming out in droves now because there's safety in numbers, and people are finally listening.

When Bill Cosby was accused, people turned a blind eye to it. So many women came forward, but were waved off; surely they were riding on coat tails, just trying to get something from him. It was Bill-fucking-Cosby, straight up all around Nice Guy, right? He would NEVER. Whatever you're thinking, just NEVER.

Yeah, but he did. And he's getting away with it, because those womens' voices were shouted down.

And stop for a moment and consider the landslide that is still gaining momentum: it began when a man stepped forward and said that another had molested him. If Anthony Rapp had not outed Kevin Spacey, the names would not be exploding around us like popcorn kernels.

Women have been complaining for years, and it took a man speaking out for them to be taken seriously.

So yes, believe them.

But also admit that not every woman coming forward will be honest. People lie for attention, even when there's nothing to be gained. Just look at what happened to Emmet Till all those years ago, when Carol Bryant lied about what he had said, and then done, to her. He was a kid with a stutter who sometimes whistled to calm himself in order to get the words out, and died because his only real crime was being black in 1950's Mississippi.

At some point, someone will cry rape and will be lying about it (and this is where I wish I could find the screen cap I recently saw on Reddit; it was from a woman's IG account, saying that she always asked guys to go rough the first time they had sex, so that if she regretted it later, she could claim rape. Seriously, there are people like this out there.) There are some truly selfish, horrible people out there, who wouldn't care about what their claims did to someone else.

Believe, but allow yourself some healthy skepticism when the dominoes don't all line up right. Listen carefully. #MeToo was more than a hashtag (and I admit, I initially thought it was stupid); it's millions of women crying out because until now, they had no voice.

Yes, we're looking back with a critical eye honed to today's standards. No, I wouldn't try to hold former co-workers to today's standards. BUT...yes, I hope they understand that they way they behaved really was immature and hindsight makes them look like tiny little pricks.

There's only one person I would ever hold to serious accountability for what was done to me in the past, but the son of a bitch is dead, so at least I have that.

So yeah, #MeToo, but life goes on, and I'm winning.