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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on Yesterday at 10:27:58 PM »
Last night’s sleep, which was alone in the bed again, was somewhat better.  The cats still almost got their furry butts evicted, but they stopped short of annoying me that much, and eventually got very cuddly.  I expect to end tonight on the couch, but since this is my last real week night, I can deal.

Today’s work was doubly slow.  I only got 69 emails I could process, and I finished them off well before lunch.  Near the end of the day, Larissa asked me to help with journal entries, a.k.a. Brian’s work, until it was time for me to go.  About ten minutes later and still almost an hour shy of my leaving time, the journal entries were done, partly because Brian was already doing them.  I went to Larissa with my very best “I’m about to be cute” look on my face and said, “You said I should work on journal entries until it was time for me to go.  The journal entries are done.  Does that mean it’s time for me to go?”  It wasn’t.  *sigh*

I got a call from my dentist's office to let me know they had to cancel my appointment for next Wednesday because they no longer have a hygienist.  The one I've been seeing for about the past ten years has found a job nearer her home.  I can't blame her for that - in fact, I'm surprised she's lasted as long as she has because she lives farther away than I'd be willing to commute.  They did get me an appointment for the same day at the group's next closest practice, but quite a bit later.  Now instead of a 10:30am appointment I can walk to I have one at 5pm that involves a ride on a bus that only runs once an hour, with a last run that hits where I'd get on at 6:27. The good news is that I mentioned the situation to James, and he'll be able to pick me up after he's done chauffeuring John, though it turns into rather a lot of driving for him.

Among my home emails was one from this year’s pool volunteer coordinator.  We’ll be meeting for instructions and keys on Saturday morning.  The weather for this weekend is forecast to be glorious.  Next weekend, when the pool will actually be open, doesn't look nearly as good, but at least we're heading in the right direction, and it could all change by then anyway.
Cassie knew her relationship was hanging on by a thread, and she practically had scissors in her hand waiting to cut that cord. She didn't want to break up, but she also didn't want Daisy to move to England indefinitely. How were they supposed to maintain any sort of relationship on different continents? Maybe it would be easier now that cell phones were a part of the wizarding world, but that didn't make it easy by any means.

Some part of her felt like a hypocrite. She had chosen to live in DC (which was closer than Montana, but it wasn't like she was living in New York), and she had chosen to travel all over the country for her work. But she always knew when she was coming home, always, so she could plan things with Daisy. If her girlfriend went off to England, there was no guarantee when she would return... or even if she would return. Daisy had to see the issue there, right?

But what the Werecat didn't expect was for her girlfriend to take things even further. Daisy didn't think they had any reason to stay together.

She wanted to be done.

Cassie felt like she'd been punched in the gut. It took a lot to make her speechless, but she couldn't form thoughts, let alone words. Her ears felt like they were ringing with Daisy's voice repeating "I think we are done now, Cassie," over and over again. Her jaw hung slack as she processed what her girlfriend said.

...what her ex-girlfriend said.

"What... what the fuck, Dais?" she finally sputtered out quietly. "You'd be willing to throw all of this away for some job that you don't even know if you're going to get?" Maybe Cassie had prompted all of this. Maybe she shouldn't have given Daisy an ultimatum. What the hell had she been thinking? But now she was completely lost in her emotions, and she couldn't think straight. "All I wanted was for you to talk to me and include me when you're making decisions, and now..." She couldn't breathe. Everything felt like it was crumbling around her. "I-I know what I said, because I really do think you could get that job, but I didn't expect you'd choose it over me."

It was only then that she realized she had tears falling down her cheeks. Cassie was aware that she had been slightly crying before Daisy dropped this bombshell, but now she was starting to think that the steady stream of teardrops had started when Daisy tried to snatch everything away from her. Every fiber of her being hurt at the idea of losing her girlfriend. They loved each other, so why the hell was Daisy walking away?

The redhead closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to calm herself.
"There's... there's no inevitability, Dais," she said, though she couldn't decide whether she'd said it to reassure her girlfriend or herself. "If you get the job, you can always turn it down, right? Surely someone in the US is gonna realize how smart and special you are and hire you here. And you could travel to England on occasion if you needed. You could collaborate with these folks from the US. I'm sure the MACUSA or whoever else you're working for will support that. Sawyer's teamed up with the British Aurors a few times, right?" She was pretty sure that was the case, so it wasn't like the MACUSA was inherently opposed to international cooperation.

"Just... just don't throw this away," Cassie finally pleaded. She didn't want to lose her girlfriend. She loved Daisy Prewett with her entire heart. Couldn't Daisy see that?
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on May 17, 2022, 10:13:02 PM »
This is going to be a short update because I’m exhausted, mostly thanks to crap sleep last night.  It should have been better than it was.  James left me the bed, in anticipation of snoring.  What neither of us anticipated was all the cutting up from the white cats.  In retrospect, I should have evicted them from the bedroom after the first hour, but I didn’t, so here we are.

Once again work was painfully slow.  I got about twenty more emails than yesterday in the morning – still less than what I set myself as a quota before lunch – but nothing at all after lunch.  Sooo… 

I read another chunk of my book, which is definitely going to the library when I’ve finished.  I read the first two chapters on specific communities – in Martha’s Vineyard and Washington, DC – but the one I really want to read is about New York City.  I’m curious to compare what this book has to say compared to the very different perspective in Manchild in the Promised Land.  My suspicion is that this book will do a fair amount of whitewashing, so to speak, but maybe I’m being too cynical.
While to some, Collette’s inquiries could be considered presumptuous, Aston found himself pleased that she was asking these questions. Few would make such assumptions and actually try to clarify them, trying to understand who Aston was. Most just assumed that he was the typical rich guy, expecting others to do his bidding at the snap of a finger. But Aston had proven to not really be one of those people, able to smoothly make a business deal as if it was second nature.

”I can’t imagine you handle this sort of day-to-day stuff, right? You have people who usually do this for you?”

“I do, yes,” Aston replied with a small nod. “But before my father passed away, I was one of those people. I traveled for him to retrieve products, finalize deals, and make some decisions on my father’s behalf.” And that was why Aston had had no qualms going to America and making the handoff of A Second Chance on his own. “I do like to get out and make deals on my own still,” he went on. “Gets me out of the office and really understand where all the paperwork comes from.” His mother had not entirely approved, as taking his father’s place in the business should keep him from doing those things, in her eyes. But Aston loved being hands-on in his work, ensuring that he knew every aspect of the Bradley Company. If he was going to follow truly in his father’s footsteps, then he would be trapped in his office with paperwork for days.

And he certainly would not be here with the lovely Collette on his arm.

That would have been a right shame, that was for sure. Aston found having her right at his side as they strolled casually through the halls of MoMoWa to be comforting and natural. Her conversation was unique, likely related to her American accent. It was refreshing to listen to someone who spoke so differently and also have similar interests.
“Thank you,” Aston said when she spoke on his loss. He nodded again as she mentioned how his taking on the Bradley Company must have been hard for him. “I’m glad it seems so,” he chuckled when she noted how he seemed to have everything together nowadays. “It was crazy at first, but once I knew everything in and out, it calmed down.”

Colette may think that Aston was much more involved in the art world than she was, but he often wished he was in it to the extent she was. Just walking through these halls, he adored how surrounded they were by such fantastic works. He listened with intrigue as Collette described her journey up until today. It was fascinating to think how one could get into the art world through school and not family inheritance. Aston was mildly jealous that Collette had found her passion on her own, not because it had surrounded her since birth.

And she had stayed here for over ten years, working her way up to the position she held today.
“That takes a lot of dedication,” Aston praised. “I would offer you a place on our preservationist team in Europe, but I would hate to pull you away from the place that has become your home.” Offering her a place at the Bradley Company would also allow Aston to see Collette on a bit more regular basis, but he knew that would be unprofessional for both of them. This moment together was enough, casual and comfortable.

Aston was able to tear his gaze away from Collette when they turned the corner and arrived at the painting he had requested to see earlier. He had already brought up his father, so seeing The Carnation after all these years did not immediately startle him back into the past. The namesake of the piece was just as vibrant as he remembered, but this time Aston found himself taking a closer look at the painting as a whole. He slowed his walk with his companion, keeping his distance from the others looking as well.

”Does the real thing match your childhood memory?”

Aston looked back to Collette. His lips turned upward to match her smirk, his features involuntarily melting under her gaze.
“Yes and no,” he replied. He let out a gentle exhale before looking back at the piece once more. “It is fascinating to see how one’s perspective changes over time,” Aston said. “I remember the carnation really pulling me towards the center of the work, as bright colors tend to do with the younger mind. But now, I find myself taking more attention to the other details around it…” Aston trailed off for a moment, his eyes following the components he had mentioned. “The other flowers,” he said after the pause. “Are actually painted other just as gorgeous colors. They are muted, but only in comparison to the carnation. So the carnation is the main focus, but it is also complemented by the rest.

“Which conveys the meaning well,” Aston finished with a nod. “Love is often the center of life, be it platonic, romantic, or familial, and is influenced by experiences and other emotions.” He turned his attention back to Collette, and it was then that he realized how much he had been rambling. Aston’s cheeks immediately flushed, his cousin’s reprimand echoing in his head. He knew that Collette felt a similar way about the art world, but that didn’t mean that she was interested in hearing him drone on. “Thank you for taking the time to bring me to see this,” Aston quickly added.

But then, he suddenly could not stop staring into her eyes. They sparkled with a light he had never witnessed before, warming his very core. It soothed his anxiety somewhat, silencing his cousin’s scolding. The rest of the world seemed to fade away, leaving Aston alone with Collette on his arm and The Carnation in the background.
“I really appreciate it.” His tone was softer as if he was afraid to speak too loud and frighten away the gorgeous glimmer in Collette’s eyes. “I hope I’m not taking up too much of your time.”
The Section Formerly Known as MNI Wide / Re: The Inkwell {Open!}
« Last post by anaithnid on May 16, 2022, 10:14:28 PM »
While Kaiden may not be distracted by the tattoo work going on, Tom momentarily found himself captivated by his work. As an artist who was just starting to branch out into colored designs, he was interested in the blending that Kaiden did with the different greens used. Tom tried his best to take notes. The research and testing he had done at DARK had been decent, but nothing as artistic and detailed. He had a feeling that he would be trying to perfect the art himself. Maybe after all was said and done, he should if Kaiden could provide him some tips of the trade when it came to blending the colors effectively.

Eventually, Kaiden brought Tom back to the main conversation at hand. He chuckled as the artist agreed that he would need to buy Joanne a few drinks, not just one if everything went well.
“I hope it does go well,” he said. “I’ve been out of the game for a bit, so if I even make a friend out of it that would be enough.” The more friends, the better. At least, friends who were willing to accept Tom for who he was. Ever since he and his ex had ended things because his friends had made comments, Tom had decided that he wanted to have people around him who would be tolerable of his unchangeable aspects.

Kaiden seemed to read his thought process. Tom tilted his head slightly in interest as the artist asked about his experiences with the queer community in his new home. He mentioned exactly what Tom was seeking to help him through his self-doubts.
“Mate, I work all the time. Of course, I haven’t taken the time to find my queer community. I really should, even if it’s just to have a good time.”

When was the last time Tom had truly been around his peers? Years ago (again, with his ex), he had started really engaging more with his peers. Most of them had been gay, but Tom had, at first, felt that he was with those who accepted him. However, back then, Tom had thought that he was much gayer than he ended up being. Then he had determined that he was more in the middle of the sexual spectrum, told those he thought he could trust, and in the end, lost some respect for the community. He had been ostracized, not embraced. Tom had been heartbroken, quickly retreating into his work.

Kaiden, however, was proving to be the prime example of the best parts of the queer community. He was just as kind as Tom remembered from their Ravenclaw years, and even more accepting. And as he pointed out, he had become so comfortable in his own skin because of seeking out others. He had done so through his own bar (a gay one, if Tom recalled correctly), but the concept was still the same: engage and have a good time while getting to know others.

“No, it could be a good time,” Tom agreed. “I probably do need to spend more time out and de-stressing after work. And maybe I start at the Rooster before I head back to America. After all -” He smiled, pointedly looking over at the arm being tatted. “- I gotta show off my new ink.”
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on May 16, 2022, 09:53:08 PM »
For the first time since last Wednesday, last night I got to sleep the whole night in the bed, and James took the couch.  That was good because I was beat.  Monday getting up at 5:30 wasn’t so great, but I only have to do it another 19 times, including adjusting for holidays and other days off.

I started the day feeling a different kind of crappy from yesterday.  This kind had me the kind of queasy that made me wonder if throwing up would make feel better, plus somewhat lightheaded, and before I got to the transit center, I was sweating more than was warranted by the temperature and that little bit of exercise.  Interestingly, James was feeling the same way, which suggests that last night’s dinner had something to do with it.  I hope it wasn’t the potato salad, since he’s planning to eat the rest of it.

Work was almost painfully quiet.  As in, I only got in three emails to process in the entire two hours and change after lunch.  I won’t complain if it’s the same way on my upcoming days off and the days after them, since that would mean minimal suffering on the days after.

I did get quite a bit of reading done, though I’m finding the current book less than compelling.  It’s called Our Kind of People, and it’s about the American black upper class.  It’s interesting in some ways, but it’s also confirming my long-held belief that a snob is a snob is a snob, and it’s reminding me in stomach-churning ways of the pretentious people responsible for making the worst six years of my youth the nightmare they were.  Also, oddly, even though the author has said a couple of times that there’s no reason for the black upper class to be apologetic for being as successful as they are and wanting to have their own communities, he kinda is, and he is one of them.  And then there’s the name dropping.  Holy cat, there’s a lot of it!  I can understand why, but after a certain point I started skipping over it because it’s kind of like reading the “begats” in the Bible, and I’m a lot more interested in the anecdotes from the people the author interviewed.  Anyway, I’m going to finish the book, because I haven’t even hit the chapters on specific communities yet, but I’m thinking about donating it to the library when I’m done.  That is, unless it transforms between where I am and the end into something I might want to read again.  Otherwise, I can use the bookshelf space for something else.
Harry Potter Roleplay / Re: maturity is the glory of years
« Last post by hey there delilah on May 16, 2022, 04:06:35 PM »
It took a little while for Chris to appear, but Delilah didn't mind. She was perfectly content people-watching. Most of the people who looked like they worked for the Falcons seemed downtrodden by the result, so she didn't necessarily want to interrupt anyone for a quick chat. It just didn't seem like an appropriate time, so she stayed against the wall, silently waiting for her date to come out of the locker room.

When he found her, something immediately looked off. She supposed she didn't know him that well, but this looked worse than just a case of sadness after a tough loss. Samantha's voice echoed in her head, reminding Delilah that this was Chris' first match since his dad died. A loss in a match on top of a loss in life would likely produce the sort of expression her date was wearing.

She shot him a sympathetic look as he approached her, but the corners of her mouth turned upward as he addressed her by a nickname.
"Hey, C," she returned the favor, her signature smirk appearing on her lips for a few seconds. She nicknamed him playfully, but she could tell he only shortened her nickname because he was feeling something that made it hard to speak. She might not have known Chris very well, but she knew his voice - she might have spent a night or twelve since they met recounting the conversations they'd had, cementing his voice in her long-term memory - and this wasn't normal for him.

But he still thanked her for coming and even managed to smile. Delilah grinned at him in return as he apologized for his mum's unexpected appearance.
"Oh no, no need to say sorry," she assured him with a wave of her hand. "Your mum is a delightful woman who took the time to try to teach me all the ins and outs of Quidditch. Can't say I have all the fouls memorized or anything, but I know more than I did before tonight." Samantha had really been wonderful company, such a pleasant surprise. Even if things didn't work out between her and Chris, Delilah had half an idea to try to keep in touch with his mum, maybe become her pen pal or something.

Okay, probably not, because Delilah was shite at letter-writing, but the point stood.

Her smile faded slightly as she recalled what Samantha had shared.
"She, uh, told me it was your first match back," she confessed to Chris. "I didn't realize that when I said we could go out afterward. Did you still want to meet up with your teammates, or would you rather go somewhere quieter? We could even just call it a night if that's what you want." That would certainly bum her out, but she could completely understand if he just wanted to go home. "I'm happy to do whatever you need to take care of yourself." Dragging him out to some crowded pub probably wasn't going to do him any favors. Whatever he needed was fine by her; he just had to tell her what he wanted to do.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on May 15, 2022, 08:21:56 PM »
Last night turned into another couch night.  I went to bed later than usual, which happens sometimes when I’m beading, and even sleeping in almost an extra hour wasn’t really enough.  Also, I woke up feeling with my insides feeling like crap, and they’re only starting to settle now, at after 5pm.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get some food into myself, since all I’ve eaten today was half a McDonald’s breakfast burrito.

I've made the steampunk cat necklace.  It came out pretty well, though I'm disappointed that I couldn't have the two cats facing each other because of the way the front paws are held up.  My plan is to wear the set tomorrow with a gray top that has a scoop neck that the necklace can hang above.  I wonder if anyone will notice.

Other than that, it’s been a typical unproductive Sunday.  I didn’t even get to go singing because our fearless leader got sick and cancelled today’s get-together of the community theater’s rock choir.  Oh, well.  The way I’ve been feeling, I doubt I’d have gotten there anyway, and at least this way I don’t have to feel guilty about not showing up.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on May 14, 2022, 10:29:23 PM »
Last night I wound up on the couch again.  I got good sleep anyway because even after moving downstairs at about 4:30am, I had another four hours of sleep before my self-imposed getting up time.  I am so looking forward to being able to do that every night, and to only having to move down the hall to the hide-a-bed once it has been moved.  I wonder what the cats will do then, and if Callisto will ever manage to find her big girl pants and join me.  This morning I had her and all three of the boys with me for a while.

Today was a sheet-changing laundry day.  Normally by now I’d be thinking about changing to the lightweight, light-colored sheets, but not this year.  It’s still too cold out for me to want to go lighter on the bedclothes.  I mean, yesterday morning when I left, the temperature was only 38.  In mid-May?  That’s ridiculous!  Memorial Day weekend and pool opening are only two weeks away.  It’s often not quite pool weather in the beginning, but at least I’ve always had the lining out of my coat, and I haven’t even considered that yet.

I’ve done the first little bit of the turning the second pair of steampunk cat earrings into a necklace project.  That was taking the earrings apart and doing a basic layout for the dangly bits.  The next step will be beading the necklace part.  I’m kind of in the mood to start that tonight, and the fact that it will be simple black square stitch should make seeing what I’m doing less difficult than when I’m doing a design.  Also, I won’t have to worry about which color bead comes next, since there will be only one color.  I will need more light when I add the dangly bits, but I doubt I’ll be ready for that until tomorrow anyway.

James has taken Ziva to show her to his friends, Russ and Julie.  I kind of miss having her in front of me on my computer table.  I still haven’t figured out where to put her for the long term.

On the subject of Ziva – the other one – I’ve been watching NCIS reruns again.  I watch them on WeTV, which has some kind of affiliation with a channel or streaming service or something called allblk.  The advertising includes shows that are available for catching up on allblk, which has me scratching my head over why they have Mama June.  (Note to self:  try to remember to ask the coworker who mentioned watching something on allblk.)  That’s besides my usual head scratching over the appeal of reality TV in general, not to mention why anyone would want to be the subject of reality TV.  You couldn’t pay me enough to be on one of those shows.  And seriously, if anybody reading this – is anybody reading this? – watches reality TV and can explain the appeal, please do.  I’m genuinely curious.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on May 13, 2022, 10:49:04 PM »
Last night, as predicted, I ended up sleeping on the couch.  That and not being busy made today feel like it lasted forever.  Anyway, the day is over, the weekend is here, and I’m on the couch with a cat and an adult beverage.

Like I said, work wasn’t busy.  Also, the signers kept up, so I could get everything done as soon as it came in.  I ended the day with an empty work folder, just the way I like it.  Only 24 weeks to go – hooray!

The new knife is now named Ziva, after the NCIS character, because she's darkly lovely, and if you don't pay attention, you can miss how dangerous she is.  If anyone’s interested, she came from a website called Grimfrost, which has all kinds of handmade weapons and other things with an old Norse theme.  They're not cheap, but they're quite reasonable for what they are.  The price for Ziva included a very well made leather sheath designed to go onto a belt, and she was coated with the same protective lubricant used by firearms manufacturers.  James took her to work with him to show off, and he texted to let me know she has fans.

The bus going home came, which is always a plus.  There were a couple of people at the stop who hadn’t ridden it before, and I got to keep them from getting on the version that wouldn’t have taken them where they wanted to go.  Hopefully they got there eventually.
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