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The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 09, 2024, 09:23:11 PM »
Last night did not continue the trend of good sleep, but the conditions were somewhat different.  For one thing, I had an adult beverage, which messed with the chemistry involved.  Also, my brain was very wound up with a variety of thoughts.  I ended up moving to the new-cat room so my tossing and turning wouldn't disturb James, and so I'd have reliable silence to relax in.  In the end I did sleep all right, if not long enough.
Then my morning started out sucky.  First the toaster died by refusing to stay in the down-and-toast position.  I worked around that by using the rack in the toaster oven, and fortunately I only have one bagel left for breakfast that needs toasting.  Then the half & half that James picked up because he didn't look and see that we already had a container came out lumpy, and I had to dump the rest.

I found a toaster of the design I like on Shein for $39 instead of $72, so it's on its way, though it's not clear how long it will take to get here.  So I went to Safeway and picked up more half & half and a very low priced package of blueberry muffins.  It was a package of nine that had been mislabeled and mispriced as a package of five, and then reduced by 50%.  I also got a few Granny Smith apples because I've been craving fruit.  I had the first one after lunch, which was another annoying story. 

James was getting off work early because he had a 3:00 (changed from 1:20) phone appointment about Facehugger, and he texted to ask how I felt about burrito lengua (tongue burrito).  Every time he has mentioned tongue, I've said I don't like it, but apparently I've been talking to myself.  I suggested carne asada, which is what he got me.  Also, the only burritos I've asked for in the entire time he's known me are the little breakfast ones from McDonalds that we have on weekends, but that hasn't made an impression either.  I took the insides out of mine and threw out the tortilla.  That probably didn't register as anything unusual either, even though he knows I hate to throw away food.  I was just too fed up to try to think of something else to do with it. 

His 3:00 appointment ended up happening at 1:20 after all, which he didn't tell me until I asked at 3:02.  He said he'd be going out after the appointment, but of course he didn't.  In fact, it's now almost 5:30 and he just left, which blew any plans I might have had out of the water.  It's a good thing I don't have a life, isn't it?  I was tempted to go out myself, but the weather has been too nasty.

Now I have some undefined part of the evening to myself.  I guess it will last until it ends, as usual with him, since even if he told me how long he’d be out, the one thing I can rely on is that he’s unreliable.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 08, 2024, 09:32:40 PM »
Last night, in an almost miracle level event, I got my third good night's sleep in a row.  I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I might have figured out how to make that happen more often.  I've added a couple of antacid chewables to my evening meds, so I no longer have to worry about stomach acid creeping up when I go from vertical to horizontal.  We'll see what happens tonight, but I am hoping for the best.  It would be nice if it turned out to be that simple, though I will feel slow for taking so long to figure it out.

In spite of the better sleep, I still didn’t accomplish anything worth mentioning today.  I did get into some new reading matter – Betwixt by Darynda Jones.  It’s the first in a set of four books about a woman who learns at 44 that she’s a very special kind of witch, one of only three who exist at any one time.  The premise has great Mary Sue potential, but it certainly hasn’t gone that way in the first book, which features things like a grandmother who lives in the veil between this world and the next and communicates via live chat, a house with real personality, and a handyman with a secret that’s too interesting for me to spoil, in case anyone feels inspired to try the books.  I couldn’t put the first one down, which is one reason I didn’t accomplish anything else.

Another amazing thing about the day is that I’ve had an appetite.  How sad is it that it happens so rarely that it’s noteworthy?  Maybe it will happen more often if I’ve really found the key to good sleep on a regular basis.

In annoying news, I might have to find either a new Medicare Advantage plan or new providers.  My current MA administrator and the healthcare group where I currently get my care are in contract negotiations, and they have until the end of March to reach an agreement.  Hopefully they will because I would rather not have to rearrange my medical life yet again, particularly since I was planning to use my dental coverage for the first time at my appointment in May.

The day ended with the farewell party for departing property manager Shirley.  Her new job is much closer to where she lives, which is better for her, and new property manager Sherry just has to walk across the lawn to get to her office, which is better for her and us.  I ended up staying longer than I’d intended because I got into a nice conversation with one of the guys on the board.  Also, there were refreshments, including shrimp, which I found irresistible even though the cocktail sauce was pretty wimpy.  I was hungry, so between the shrimp and the other stuff, I ate more than I probably should have, so I only had enough appetite for one slice of pizza for dinner.  That’s OK.  It just means more leftovers for over the weekend.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 07, 2024, 07:39:03 PM »
Last night my sleep was even better, which probably means that tonight’s will suck because three good nights in a row is something that hasn’t happened in a while.  The good part did end when James’s alarms went off, but that’s not unusual because me sleeping as long as I can doesn’t happen on James work nights.  Anyway, I have precious little to update about.

The shoes I ordered from Temu arrived, just in time for them not to owe me a $5 credit.  Both pairs are just a touch snug with socks, which means they should be perfect with pantyhose.  The style of the sparkly ones means that they’ll look best with fancy pants, or possibly a full-length skirt.  The patent leather ones will also be fine with a shorter skirt.  I’ll have to do some rearrangement of the shoe furniture to create cubbyhole space for them.  Hopefully what I have in mind will also mean that Baal will no longer pull out the wingtips with the laces that would be impossible to replace.

When I went out to dump recycling, I finally got Riley the golden retriever to accept some petting from me.  I first met him as a puppy in arms, and I understand how he wouldn’t remember that, but still his previous behavior – barking and backing away from me – was unusual, since dogs normally like me.  Hopefully he’ll remember me the next time we meet, because he’s a really nice dog when he’s not being skittish.

I finished Beloved, and I have to say, wow.  I can see why it won awards.  Morrison found so many ways to make it disturbing and distressing, and have it feel personally so.  I’m guessing that she didn’t sleep a lot while she was doing her research.  I know I wouldn’t.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 06, 2024, 07:22:13 PM »
My sleep last night was better but still far from perfect.  This time James was the problem.  I didn’t quite get to the point of moving to the new-cat room, but I got close.

My project for the day was shortening the plain black dress, so that's done.  I tried it with a bra, and it needed to be lined up very specifically, but that might be easier to arrange when I'm not wearing pants underneath.  Yeah, I was too lazy to take them off.  Also, the sparkly shrug hides a multitude of sins.  It's a nice effect, if I say so myself as shouldn't.  Now I just need somewhere to wear it.  It's too sophisticated for my character Flora, so it definitely won't be her prom dress.  I cut off quite a bit of fabric, and I'm thinking about turning part of it into a belt pouch - possibly reversible, with the cut off Flora skirt fabric as the other side to go with that outfit.

I had a surprisingly pleasant experience this morning with the gal from the bank who helped me renegotiate the CD that matured today.  First she asked me to bear with her while she brought up my account, and I told her to take her time because her computer would definitely take its, which got a laugh.  Then later she apologized for having to read me a standard disclaimer, and I kidded about how legalese was its own language.  When she finished, I went "whew!" and got another laugh.  I make a point of taking that kind of approach because I know what it's like being on the other side with mostly cranky customers.

For the first time in ages, I was hungry for lunch.  I’m hoping it’s a trend, since not feeling queasy any more would be welcome progress.

We got a bit of sad news:  Shirley the property manager will be leaving for a new job at the end of the week.  She's been with us for about 7.5 years and done an excellent job, and we're all sorry to see her go.  Sherry, who beat me out for the open board position, will be taking over because she also has property management experience.  I don't know if she's going to want to stay on as a board member, or if it might be considered a conflict of interest.  I'm planning to bring it up at Shirley's farewell party on Thursday, and to mention that I'm still available if they're interested.

I got the information about Sunday's shoot, and it is in fact dead easy to get to.  The script is odd.  It takes place in a waiting room for we know not what, but it's one of those where you take a ticket and get called by number.  When the scene starts, they're at 16, and the protagonist has a number that's six digits long, starting with a 19.  After a couple more numbers get called, she tears her ticket so that only the 19 remains.  Those of us in the background will be doing something we might be doing while waiting, but the guy in charge mentioned that if it's a bit ridiculous, that would be great.  I suggested that I could bring my little electronic keyboard and be playing it with no way for it to make sound, and he loved the idea.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 05, 2024, 07:11:00 PM »
This is probably going to be a short update because I haven’t had the energy to do much of anything.  My sleep last night was greatly disturbed by a certain Baal cat, who decided to walk all over me and wake me up not one, not two, but three times.  I still got a fairly reasonable amount of sleep but not enough to end up with me completely rested.

In the interest of getting our refund as soon as possible, I made a special trip out to the bill box to get the envelope into today’s outgoing mail.  It is on its merry way!  Hooray for getting that nonsense done for another year.  Not having Oregon state tax to do made life soooo much easier.

The book shifting project is now done back to Jones, where it will sit until the books that are currently on order arrive so I can be sure I’m allowing the right amount of space for them to go into after I read them.  I’ll be taking whichever one I’m in the middle of to the shoot on Sunday, since we were advised to bring whatever we usually bring when we’re expecting to have a long wait somewhere.

On the subject of books, I’ve read about another third of Beloved, and it just keeps getting better.  Among other things, it’s doing a beautiful job of showing without getting preachy how soul crushing the effects of slavery were even after the people in question were freed.  It also has some fascinating ambiguities about what is real and what is not.  I’m curious to see how it ends because I have no idea.  As a writer, I can’t even imagine how to end it.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 04, 2024, 08:39:00 PM »
I don’t know how much of an update this will be because Sunday.  Last night James got much better sleep on the couch than I did in bed.  I fell asleep all right but woke up after about an hour, feeling thoroughly not tired.  I tossed and turned until about 1:30, when I gave up and got up for half a peanut butter cup.  As I passed the staircase, I could tell from the lack of light and TV sounds that James had already conked out.  That was nice, since it saved me a trip downstairs later to turn off the TV.  I got back to sleep fairly quickly after that, though getting up for real at my usual 8:30 meant that I didn’t get enough sleep.  I’ll have to do better next Saturday night, since I’ll need to get up at 7 to make my call time for the acting job on Sunday morning.

I did accomplish one major thing today:  I did our taxes.  It was a relief to hit the bottom line and find that we’re getting back a nice chunk of change.  I was thinking that the vast majority of it should go to James, since he has debt, and I have savings, but I also have the property tax bill to pay by myself.  What I’ll do instead is divide it up based on how much each of us withheld from our income.  Anyway, all I need is his signature, and the paperwork can go into the mail.  It will be the smallest tax envelope I’ve sent in decades – just the one page two-sided form, his W2, and my 1099 variation.  For my next trick, I’ll pay property tax as soon as I get the bill, now that I know the money in my checking account isn’t needed for anything else.  Then, as I build up excess, I’ll go back to contributing to my IRA.  This is the most financially secure I’ve been in a long time, but somehow I still don’t feel that way.

My bestie reminded me that Valentine’s Day and her birthday are coming up this month, so I got on my e-card website and set up three cards to go out.  One is to James for V-Day, one is to her for V-Day, and one is to her for her birthday.  I really like how the site lets me specify the timezone along with the date I want the cards to be delivered so I don’t have to deal with time differences.  I could if I had to, but it’s nice not to have to.

I forgot to mention the computer problem I was having the other day.  Suddenly and for no reason, Outlook decided that I wanted to open links in emails in Edge instead of my usual browser (Firefox).  No, I didn't, and it was ridiculously hard to figure out where the setting was that needed to be changed.  I looked for a bit, then James looked for a bit and even asked one of his AIs, which gave instructions that were useless.  After most of a day of having to copy the links into Firefox, I decided I couldn't stand doing that forever, so I kept poking around until finally I found the setting hidden deep in a part of Outlook I never knew existed.  It's fixed now, but it sure was a lot of effort for something I didn't want done in the first place.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 03, 2024, 08:16:13 PM »
Not much to update about today.  I had the bed to myself last night, so I did get a good night's sleep.  That helped with my exhaustion, but I continue to feel queasy most of the time.  I had to force myself to eat the customary weekend small breakfast burrito, and the only way I managed to eat lunch was by finding something to distract me and ignore the fact that I was eating as much as possible.

Laundry went well even though it waited for me at one point because it ended a few minutes before the end of an episode of Death in Paradise, and I didn’t want to miss finding out whodunit.  Not having cats help with any part of the process helped.  Near the end of folding the small stuff, I thought a sock was missing, but it turned out to be hiding on the far side of the outside of the basket.

I am pleased to report that I have a bit of acting work for next Sunday.  I haven't seen the script yet, so all I know is that it's a pro-woman thing set in a waiting room, and I'll be one of 4-6 women doing the waiting.  The location is in Portland but easy to get to, though I'll have to get up earlier than usual because mass transit on Sunday is stupid.

The stuffie I got to bring my Temu order with the fringed shrug up to the required $10 is sitting on the printer table, staring at me.  He’s a mini baby snow leopard, and he has bright blue eyes.  He kind of named himself Spot, for the obvious reason.  For a stuffed baby animal, he has rather a disconcerting stare.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 02, 2024, 08:43:59 PM »
I suppose three good nights in a row would have been too much to ask.  Last night I wound up in the new-cat room again.  I offered to start out there because James had had a horrible headache all day at work, and I wanted him to be able to sleep without being poked for making noise, but he decided he'd rather have me there.  Well, he made so much noise for so long that I ended up moving anyway, after losing a couple of hours of sleep.  Today he still had the headache, so he stayed home from work. 

I'm hoping he'll do the usual routine and stay up late and sleep on the couch tonight.  At 3:15 I had to remind James that we'd decided to do a meal at 2:30-3ish, after which he'd be going out.  Then he turned the question of what to eat back on me, which did not make me happy.  I wouldn't complain if he found a friend's place to spend the night at because I'm just that irritated, particularly since he parked himself back on the couch and spent several hours not showing any inclination to go anywhere.

The sparkly fringed shrug thing I bought to go over the plain black dress arrived today, so now I can get on with shortening the dress.  I think I'll go with midi length, which will more or less match where the fringe ends.  That will be the end of the sewing, at least until I decide I need something else.  I don't usually indulge myself this much, but the prices on Temu make it much harder to resist.

I’ve started reading Beloved by Toni Morrison.  Her style reminds me a bit of Octavia Butler, particularly in her book Kindred.  There’s a kind of intimacy to it, as if she herself lived through experiences like her protagonist’s – not something I’d wish on anyone.  What I’m finding saddest is protagonist Sethe’s inability to relax and love anyone because life as a slave conditioned her to expect that anyone she loved would be taken from her without warning and without choice.  The only annoyance is that the vendor who sold the book gave it a higher quality rating than it deserves because there are a lot of notes by the previous owner.  Fortunately they’re in pencil, so I’ve been able to erase the worst of them.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on February 01, 2024, 07:10:16 PM »
Last night's sleep didn't start out well, but once I got to sleep, I was fine.  Lately I've been so worn out by bedtime that I haven't even needed a sleep aid.  I'm not sure why, since I haven't been doing much - certainly not enough to make me as tired as I've been.

The dress surgery is now complete, and I'm really pleased with the way it came out.  Removing the pieces of sleeve from the middle actually worked out to less labor than just shortening the bottom would have been because the upper part of the sleeve is so much narrower.  I can't imagine who would have arms that are about the same size as mine but easily eight inches longer.

I don’t know if it got there, but our high temperature was heading in the direction of breaking the old record for the date.  My internet decided that I was going to go out and take advantage of the beautiful weather, which I wouldn't have done otherwise because I was/am still feeling off.  As it happened, my walk took me past one of our provider's trucks with a couple of guys working on the overhead lines, which explained the loss of internet. 

While I was out, I stopped into Petco to visit adoptable cats.  There were two kittens, one of whom was about to go home with her new human, who had just gotten approved for the adoption.  I felt sorry for the kitten being left behind, but hopefully someone will feel sorry for her and adopt her soon.  If it were me, and I had the space in my household, I’d probably have adopted them both.

Besides finishing off the dress, I also did another chunk of the book shifting project, which I'd totally forgotten about again.  When I get to Jones, I'll have to remember to leave some space for the set of four books I just got the first one of.  I'm buying it in two parts because the first book was substantially less expensive to get from one of Amazon's marketplace vendors than from Amazon proper, but the other three are not, and total enough for me to get free shipping.  I was holding off on the second part because I was waiting for a last $5 in fake money to arrive, which it did today so now I can get on with it.
The Chamber of Secrets / Re: The Cat Room 2
« Last post by JudithC on January 31, 2024, 08:07:46 PM »
My sleep last night was much better, though considering how tired I was when I went to bed, I'd have been surprised if anything short of a lawn mower right outside our bedroom window would have kept me awake.  I'd already tentatively planned a move to the new-cat room if James was keeping me awake after a specific amount of time, but thankfully that wasn't necessary.  We'll see what happens tonight. 

Oddly, the left side of my nose is more stuffed up than yesterday, and I've had no luck blowing any of the stuffing out of it.  I don't want to blow too hard because particularly this time of year, that tends to lead to bleeding.  I’ve also been feeling a bit generally shaky.  I don’t know what that’s about, but I hope it stops sometime soon.

Most of the day went into my green and black dress, which is taking more surgery than I expected.  Of course it needed shortening, but it didn't end there.  Whoever designed it decided that doing that machine stitch that keeps the fabric from fraying in black at the top of the green panel and leaving it clearly visible was a good idea.  They might have thought it would look decorative, but to me it just looked unfinished, so I folded that bit down inside and sewed it down.  Fortunately I had thread that was a good match, which I also used on the bottom of the green panel for hemming. 

Also, the sleeves were long enough to completely cover my hands.  Rather than losing most of the full gauze part by just shortening the sleeves, I've removed it and shortened the regular fabric part.  Now I just need to sew the gauze back on - tomorrow, since I've lost enough of the light to have trouble seeing what I'm doing.

I still haven’t decided what I want to do with the plain black dress.  I've ordered a kind of jazzy shrug thing to go over it, and I want to see how long that is before I make a decision on the dress.  I’m hoping for midi length for the combo, since that’s likely to be more useful than full length.  Not that I have much prospect for getting dressed up any time in the foreseeable future.
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