Happy Mother's Day from Mad Men!

BRB, sobbing wildly because of a tv show I'm going to miss very much.

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Thinky drinky

I am drinking red wine out of a little tetra pack. This is possibly a new low. In my defense, I bought it mostly to put in the beef and barley stew, and it was delicious and I can't let the rest of it go bad, right? Also, my wine glasses are on the high shelf and I don't feel like lugging over a step stool to get them.

My feet hurt from lots of standing at work, but the project that requires standing is really productive so I guess it's still a win. Also, it snowed today and was really pretty, and then it all melted off so I got to enjoy it and then not worry about slogging through it to get home.

I am tempted by all of the delighted people talking about Jupiter Ascending to maybe go see it. I'm hearing that it's a downright goofy and silly and fun space opera with pretty visuals and it sounds like it's worth at least a matinee.

What I really have to say right now is OMG Peggy Carter I love this show and it's almost over and that makes me sad. My fingers are crossed that they'll do another little, tight run like this and keep plopping them in-between Agents of SHIELD. (Also, because I keep tripping over people who are like PEGGY CARTER I LOVE YOU AGENTS OF SHIELD IS SHIT, let me say that Agents of SHIELD is pretty great and lots of fun and actually you don't need to keep pitting the two of them against each other.) Anyway, I don't know how they manage to keep doing such wonderful things with character and banter and plot and people being awesome and interesting and novel ways to descend staircases, but I need more.

In book news, I'm finally getting around to reading Rebecca, and I'm also reading a book about another mystic Italian saint from the early 1900s. The book is by Rudolph Bell and Cristina Mazzoni. Bell wrote the very interesting Holy Anorexia (which I read in conjunction with Holy Fest, Holy Fast by Caroline Walker Bynum,) while I was writing my thesis on Catherine of Siena, and that business is what got me interested in female mystic saints. I've only just begun, but it looks promising. Will also be getting an interlibrary loan of a book about women and greensickness. What triggered all this orgy of rereading was a comment I read by someone who was wanting more Tudor info while they read Wolf Hall, and linked an article by Hilary Mantel to a review of the Bell and Mazzoni book. Since I'm currently stalled on Wolf Hall, I was interested...and, well, here we are.

I think I'm going to go take my box of wine and go watch Face Off now, thank you.

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Stress baking

Have just frosted a chocolate cake that I stress baked this evening. It's not bad - the cake is a bit undersweet and the frosting is a bit oversweet so they work ok together, I guess? I'm stress baking because I'm trying to get stuff done at work that's been left undone for too long, and when I do that I start tail-spinning into an anxious fret. So, distraction via melting chocolate in a makeshift double-boiler.

The lady problems mentioned in my last post, btw, went away with a short course of pills, so for the moment things are kinda back to normal. I'm still wary, and occasionally stare at my midsection with a suspicious expression. But otherwise, hurrah.

In other news, it's weird to be experiencing 63-degree weather in the Midwest in late January while there are epic snow events elsewhere. Hope everyone in that corner of the US stays warm and safe and snuggly with pets and significant others and lots of mugs of hot chocolate. Over here, my boss is contemplating getting her Vespa out of winter storage for the week, cold mornings notwithstanding.

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Tattered coat upon a stick

Just got back from a meeting of the book club I'm a part of. We were discussing Fangirl, and talked about writing fanfic myself (one other girl there has) and some of the other ladies had read it. Amusingly, the person I'm closest with was basically, "I don't get it - not the attraction to reading it or writing it, and same with cosplay and other fannish stuff because it's all just make-believe like when you were five and pretending you were a puppy" so it was an interesting conversation. (I did not tell people where to find my fic or even what my fandoms were - both would be bridges too far! I did say that I was just writing one before I got to the party, which is indeed the case - yay for Be-Compromised.)

Anyway, I think I'm kind of the old lady of the group, although perhaps not by a whole lot. It's not a big deal in that specific sense, because I get along well with these people, but I'm really starting to...worry isn't the right phrase. Hmm. I feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be in life, I suppose. Which for me means that I worry because I don't make a lot of money, feel pretty useless and uncertain about the whole career thing, and wonder where I'll be in five years.

God, I mentioned my salary in a conversation over Thanksgiving with just me, my husband, my father in law, and my stepmother in law and SMIL said, bewildered, "Isn't that the level where you get food stamps?"

Uh, ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I'm surprised I didn't hide under the table for the rest of the trip.

I need to get back to therapy, but I don't know if it was helping me get anywhere. I feel like I need someone to whip me into shape, not listen to me.

But mostly, there has been a potential medical issue that's cropped up recently that's part of it. I'll go into a little bit of lady TMI here so stop reading if you're squicked by it.

So, I just had my period, like...two weeks ago. And I'm spotting again, right now, a not insignificant amount. And there are a lot of reasons that could be, but none of them are a whole lot of fun. It's possible I might have inherited my mother's endrometriosis - there are possible signs that could back that up. There are also the possibility of polyps. And there's also the possibility that I'm about to go into perimenopause. I'm 39. I am definitely old enough for it. But somehow the idea of it has set off little sirens in my head, ALERT, ALERT, ALERT.

I see my dr. in a week and a bit, so I can ask her about it then. But it's just roiled up all my insecurities about who I am and what I do, and I'm not sure how to process it all.

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My two most recent pieces of media consumption are...not much alike.

I've been slowly working through Penny Dreadful, which is wonderful and bloody and crazed over the top gothic and sometimes silly and sometimes I have to just listen to things happen while my phone is under some blankets, and thank goodness I got the warning on some moments before I came to them so I could take the blanket precaution. I've got two more episodes to go - they're downloading now - and am interested to see where season 2 goes. And also, Eva Green commits to things, yo. She does not half-ass one damn thing.

And I've also just read Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl for book club. I didn't realize she was the author of the book Eleanor and Park, which has had a lot of buzz recently, but I knew about this one because I follow the artist who did the cover (and have an Avengers print from that artist that my sister bought me last Christmas). The book was heftier than I thought it would be, and I enjoyed it, but was rather disappointed that the setting, which happens to be my current place of residence, was so lightly sketched out when the author is a native of the state and apparently grew up in the larger city about 50 miles away. But while there were a lot of gestures towards establishing a sense of place, it never happened. It's probably because she was trawling through emotional terrain and had nothing to spare for the physical, which, fair enough, I suppose.

Anyway, I liked the book a lot, even though some of the mental illness stuff was played...well, I don't know. Let's just say that I've read some reviews of the book that are all, "aww, Cath's father is so cuddly and I fell in love with him and he was the best so snarky wonderful" and I wondered if people just don't understand how difficult living with a person prone to manic episodes and doing things like locking themselves in rooms and not eating and writing messages on the mirror. I guess I feel like there was a lot of difficult emotional stuff in the book - one twin acting out in a big way, one twin with a truly severe anxiety disorder that is kinda played off as cute, a father with bipolar and a mother who said "fuck this" and left her eight-year-olds as she adioses out the door...it's there, and it's given some emotional weight, but the hospital scenes are, well, I don't know..,perhaps it's too much to ask for in what is apparently a YA book and I can't decide if I feel that if you bring up these topics you have to attack them a little more or if the lighter touch was actually more appropriate because it just presents it and leaves it for you.

Oh, and I'm not sure I liked the whole "insert chunks of Cath's fanfic in-between the chapters" stuff. It felt a little gratuitous.

On the other hand, a book that made me think about it this much probably means it's well-done enough to evoke the thinking, so that's another point in its favor. You can also add the facts that the book is genuinely charming, covers a lot of interesting stuff about the craft of writing. and kept my attention enough to tear through it.

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Gone Girl was an interesting movie. I had read the book for a book club, and remember tearing through it but being disappointed at the ending - I think I was expecting a more genre-like ending and one that was less "welp, everybody here sure is fucked." (Others in the book club disliked it as well, not sure if it was for the same reasons.) The movie was interesting and beautiful, but I think Nick was left off the hook towards the end, although there are nods towards the fact that in many ways, he was every bit as invested in the weird sham that the Nick-Amy marriage was and that Amy's (vastly operatic, over-the-top) revenge is in certain senses very understandable. I think the book had more room to do certain things, but on the whole the movie is a great adaptation and while I'm not sure I entirely agree, I understand how some reviewers are regarding it as the better version of the story.

As to life in general, well...things have been a bit rocky, although they've settled down a bit now. My husband just spent some time in the hospital, and we're in the aftermath of figuring out how things proceed from here. I've been continuing to not show up for my martial arts classes, out of a combination of exhaustion and niggling anxiety about life in general. I will try to go back this week.

Have just reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Jennifer Crusie's What A Girl Wants. Work is ok; we continue to adjust to the new director and he, I suppose, to us. Tickets have been purchased for our Christmas trip back to the East Coast; I am hoping my usual catsitter decides not to do hers, otherwise I will need to make new arrangements for the furballs.

I'm mentally rather worn out, but things are getting better.

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Books: Barbara Vine, The Minotaur

Just started it. So far a very apt story to follow The Little Stranger, although knock wood will not actually make me unable to get to sleep due to spooky.

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Season of the fic

My fic writing has slowed down very much, and I'm not sure whether to do the whole Yuletide/Leverage Secret Santa/Be Compromised gift exchange this go-round. On the one hand, it might get me writing again, on the other hand I might be stuck writing something that's coming very hard and getting stressed about it. I haven't bothered with any of the nomination business for Yuletide, so I would have to hope that things I want to write do show up - the Rivers of London series, for example, might be fun although I don't know that I could write in that voice.

Anyway, I'll think about it.

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Current reading binge: Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters is one of those authors I've been meaning to get around to, and since her newest book is either just here or is about to arrive, I finally got to the library to see what I could find. Luckily they had Fingersmith, one of the books I've heard most recommended, and I tore through it on Friday and Saturday and was thoroughly caught up in it. It was a really enthralling read, just as I had hoped.

I just polished off The Little Stranger, and found a very Turn-Of-The-Screw story with the parallels of the upper class in England decaying along with the very house that stands at the center of the book. It was creepy and fascinating, but was the tiniest bit overlong. Still, a great read. I've seen some impatience with the narrator, who is awkwardly caught between social classes, and while I didn't dislike him completely, he is placed in the position of being the rational voice tut-tutting about the supernatural elements, and you can kind of picture him being shoved aside by, say, the Winchester brothers, who would call him an idiot, produce the rock salt, and take care of things. Obviously that would be an undesirable crossing of tropes but I admit the thought crossed my mind.

Oh, and a mild spoiler for the book:Read more...Collapse )

Next up is The Night Watch.

In other news, have had two meetings with new therapist and am unsure about things. She's a very nice lady but I feel like I've presented myself as a person far more pulled-together than I actually feel.

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Note to self, no posting on Ambien

Uh, yesterday's post, while entirely correct, was meant to be comprised of a glancing mention that I was struggling a bit and then on to the stuff I was doing that was all more positive. Apparently I changed direction mid-stream.

Currently reading or have just read:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi. Only just started this for book club, so far loving it a lot.
The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz. A fun little fillip of a book. Planning on making some of the recipes in it.

Just finished, after much struggle, one of Dorothy Dunnett's Dolly books, in an attempt to find something of hers that I can latch on to since I've sadly bounced off the Lymond and Niccolo books. Uh, these won't do it either, unless the second one is very different from the first. Despite a setting in Rome, and a theoretically exciting plot that would in fact make a great movie, the voice of the book is mired in a really...well, how to describe it...the voice is very dry, very British, very jazzy Austin Powers-ish sixties, and it frequently just left me completely puzzled about what was actually happening. It was like going to England and saying, "I can speak English, this will be no problem" and then coming up against one of the thicker accents and realizing you're fighting to comprehend anything. Except in a written way, not a verbal way. I bought one of the other books already, so I'll go ahead and read it, but I was really excited to get to these books and now I'm sad they probably won't work for me.

In the hopper for later: Wolf Hall. Woot. I tried to read it earlier and my schedule got in the way, but...well, seeing Damian Lewis running around in Tudor clothing may or may not have reminded me to get back to it. Me-ow.

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Catherine Siena
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