feuervogel: (hold me)
All I have to say about a goddamn con man with no experience or skills who is a fucking fascist being elected president over a woman with all the qualifications is this: fuck you, America.

I'm done staying and fighting. I can't anymore. A week ago, I would have considered a PhD program in the US, if I decide to continue my education, but now I won't. The only options for me for the future are in Europe.

Not that anywhere is safe if that irrational, unstable monster has the nuclear codes.

What this election shows me is that America hates people who aren't straight, white, Christian men. America hates immigrants, LGBT people, POCs, the disabled, women. I know that I'm not wanted here, so why bother?
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I was using my phone on the couch, like you do, reading facebook, and it gave me the 14% beep beep warning. A short time later, it was down to 11% or so (the red "plug in please" light hadn't started blinking, so it was over 10%). Very shortly thereafter it gave another beep beep warning and shut off.

Fuck it, I'm ordering that Moto X tomorrow. This isn't the first time the phone has turned off after going from a charge I ought to be able to get another 10 minutes or more of browsing on.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I've been vaguely looking at new phones since mine has a crappy GPS, and sometimes it's slow to respond when I start typing into the google box, and when I was driving to Athens in October, maps crashed when I was on I-85. Sometimes the touch screen doesn't respond quickly--there's one icon I consistently have to press 4 or 5 times to get it to open, and half the time when I'm in twitter trying to press the 'new tweet' button, I end up on the home screen because it read it as "back arrow" instead. The battery life isn't so great anymore.

Aside from that, it works fine. (And I can't be entirely certain that the touch screen response isn't related to the ice cubes I call fingers, but the other icons open fine.)

So I want to get a Moto X Pure, and the one I want is $450. It's unlocked, so I could put a foreign SIM in it when I travel. (I plan to unlock my current phone and put a German SIM in it when I travel, because the SIM I have is a micro SIM and the new one takes nano. Of course. But if I moved there, I could get a nano SIM for this phone. I just want the flexibility.)

But I can't convince myself that I need to spend the money right now. I mean, I get frustrated with my phone a lot, and I'd probably be happier with one that doesn't suck as much, but $450 is a lot of money. I keep asking Ben if I should get the phone, but he says "if you want" and other not helpful things. Because I want but I don't really need.

So I don't know. I don't want to hit "buy" and then be hit with buyer's remorse. I'll probably need a new computer toward the end of the year (especially if I get into UGA), and MacBook Pros run like $1300. (Do not suggest a Windows machine, thank you.) *flail*

I feel like I need permission to do it, because it's not critical, just something I want. Or could use. sigh
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I invited about a dozen local friends to a monthly game night at my house. Two responded yes, two responded "definitely maybe if we don't have other plans." Two can't make it because of school commitments. One would like to come sometimes. Silence from the rest so far. I guess I should send them a ping and ask for an RSVP by next Wednesday so we can plan appropriately, but that feels so pushy.

So I've made my move; now it's up to other people to respond.
feuervogel: (enemy birds)
So, I work from home, and I don't really see anyone outside the pub anymore. I've been too busy to throw a party for a while (though I intend to have a 40th birthday bash), and my entire social life consists of sitting with my husband on our couch.

This is ... inadequate.

I don't get invited to parties, or "hey, we haven't seen each other in ages, let's hang out this weekend," or anything where I can feel something like an emotional connection to someone other than my husband. (OK, some newish friends from the pub invited us to poker night next weekend, but that doesn't sound like the kind of thing where you can hang out and talk about stuff, since you're playing poker.)

I like doing stuff with people! But I don't know how to get people to invite me places. No one thinks of me when they think "people I want to have at my NYE party" or whatever. This is why I keep telling Ben I don't feel like I have any friends at all anymore. Even the people I was closest to who live on the other side of the country now I feel like I've drifted really far from.

I don't know how to make it better.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I have a mid-2011 11" MacBook Air, which has 384 MB of video memory, according to Apple. I recently hooked up a spare external monitor to it, and when I put Chrome on the extra display area, webpages load really slowly. Like, it's really hard to read tumblr because one image out of six will load.

I've been having problems with webpages not loading images if I've had the tab open for a while now (long before the external monitor), and usually if I closed the tab and reopened it, things were fine. (I initially thought I had to relaunch the whole browser, then I remembered that Chrome keeps each tab as a separate process, so closing one tab is as efficient and saves time.)

I told Ben that it got worse when I got the new monitor, and he was like "pffff, that's impossible." Then I told him again today, after clearing all my chrome settings and preparing to uninstall/reinstall it, because it works perfectly on the native monitor, and he said, "ok, well, maybe..." then some computer graphics mumbo jumbo I didn't quite catch. He suggested mirroring the display rather than extending it, but I really like being able to be reading tumblr (or playing dragons) and looking at twitter in the window below, so I don't really like that option. Also because setting it to mirror does awful things to the native screen resolution and display.

So I'm throwing this out here in case any of you know if that's a thing, or how to deal with it. I really like being able to edit text at a readable size (or see more of it at once) and sitting with my neck in a more natural position, so I'd like to keep this monitor.
feuervogel: (moo)
Some of you may recall that there was an incident on the way to Dragon Con last year.

I resolved not to go any places where Dennis will be and to inform the organizer of the reason: Dennis verbally abused me. At that point, it's up to the host to decide whether they will invite the abuser or me and Ben. In my ideal world, they disinvite the abuser and unfriend them.

I don't live in my ideal world. I couldn't even get the fourth person in the car to agree that he was abusive, though she did admit he was out of line.

So anyway, there was an invitation to a party/cookout this weekend, and I wanted to go, because a lot of people I like were invited and may be there, and I don't ever see them. I know that the host is friends with Dennis (he's parked his MPV in host's driveway on occasion), so I asked if Dennis would be there.

He said probably, so I replied
If Dennis is there, I would rather not attend. He verbally abused me on the trip to DragonCon, and I will not be in his presence. He will not apologize, and he probably doesn't think he did anything wrong.


Host's response started off "I'm sorry to hear that" and said he'd find out if Dennis would be there or not. No consideration of disinviting him. So anyway, Dennis is definitely going to be there, so Ben and I will definitely not.

I am very glad for Ben's support in all of this. He is fully on board with my plan to tell people why I will not be in the same place as Dennis.

What's most disappointing about this is that none of my friends--including the 4th person in the car (let's call her W)--have my back on this. W's preferred strategy, as discussed over gchat, is to ignore it and continue not seeing Dennis anywhere, as opposed to ~~creating draaaamaaaa~~ and telling people who interact with him that he's an abuser. (Which W wouldn't even accede to anyway.)

It's the Geek fucking Social Fallacies in action.

Yes, we are all adults here, and we can all make our decisions about who we are friends with. But if someone tells me that Mutual Acquaintance X has done a horrible thing, X is off my invite list forever. (One friend told me about an X who picked on her cat and made the cat sick. X wasn't really on my invite list to start with, but that earned him a permanent NOPE.)

What Dennis needs to receive are consequences for his actions. One of the things Ben told me that Dennis said in a rest stop bathroom was that he was "sorry" for the consequences (which were I think 'having to deal with this irrational cunt you call a wife'). Not for being an asshole, but for inconveniencing Ben.

The consequences I want to see are universal shunning. I want him to be told that he is not invited to parties because I'll be there and people want to see me. I want him to understand that being abusive has consequences, and that those consequences affect him, not the person he heaped abuse on.

Which is the part that makes me the most upset, really. I was a victim of his abuse (I know of one similar story, there are probably more), and I'm the one suffering a loss of social life.

And this is why I need better friends.

Updatery

15 Jan 2015 01:37 pm
feuervogel: (writing)
I started teaching a German 2 class. The school requires 3 students to start a class. I had 3 students (1 continuing from German 1, two new). This week, the continuing student dropped out. One of the new students is moving to Germany in April. There are not enough students to continue on to German 3. So my 2-hour a week job will go to 0 hours in the beginning of March. *sigh*

Makes me feel less guilty about planning to apply to grad school, though.

I got a nice personal rejection on the castle story, which I revised a bit and planned to send in to F&SF during the guest editor issue, but I finally got my VP application story back from an editor who will remain nameless--after 14 months. So I re-read it, tweaked a couple things, and sent it in.

I am waiting on tenterhooks for a response from an anthology I sent another story to. From talk on Codex, the editors are making their final decisions. I don't want to get my hopes up, because I'm pretty much out of pro markets for this story :/ but the submission call was like they wrote it for my story. So. *barfs nervously*

Planning for Shatterdome Atlanta 2015 continues apace. We have a guest. We're discussing other potential guest ideas. We need folks to buy badges!
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
I don't know his actual last name, but Dennis Tengu attacked me before we left for Dragon Con on Thursday.

When Dennis and [a friend] arrived at my house, and Ben and I loaded the car, Dennis threw my luggage at me then proceeded to unleash a torrent of vitriol and swearing at me for no reason. He refused to say why he did that when I asked for an explanation. I had no idea why, and I said it wasn't like I'd even seen him in five years to give some sort of offense. He responded, "There's a reason for that." (I only ever saw him at COUP-related events, and I stopped going about 5 years ago.)

When we stopped at a rest area, he apparently told Ben (when Ben told him that his torrent of vitriol was completely uncalled for) that he did it to preemptively win the argument over who got to sit in the front seat. (Never mind that I get motion sick.) I can't remember what [friend] said he told her, but it was a little different than what he told Ben. (Possibly that he didn't want me to talk to him at all.)

Both Ben and [friend] told him that his actions were uncalled for. He showed no remorse and refuses to apologize or even say a word to me.

Dennis apparently does not consider me a human being who is worthy of respectful treatment. He is a sick, vile person; he has sociopathic tendencies. His actions fit an abuser's profile: he knows how to act around people who he wants to see him in a positive light, so that when he is horrific to someone, they don't believe that person or they defend him. They call it "drama" to stick up for you and make sure his actions have consequences [ie LOSING FRIENDS].

Again.

15 Aug 2014 10:57 am
feuervogel: Alex on the bridge, deciding a course of action (sad)
Monday Mylene was limping, and it wasn't better Tuesday morning, so I took her to the vet. They thought it was arthritis and tendinitis, gave us tramadol and Dasuquin. Tuesday evening we gave her a second dose of tramadol, and she responded poorly. Like, trip to the closest vet hospital poorly.

So we go to the vet hospital in Durham at 9 pm, get her on fluids and oxygen. They take some blood. Her hematocrit is 14%; she needs a transfusion. They keep her overnight, and the radiologist & oncologist will look at her in the morning.

This time it's definitely lymphoma. As opposed to March, when the vet school said it was IBS.

She's doing fairly well at the moment, though she doesn't want to eat much. I offer her food every couple hours, and sometimes she eats, sometimes she doesn't.

We need to decide whether to take the aggressive, most expensive 20-week treatment option that could give us another 6-9 months or the less aggressive, less expensive 15-week treatment option that would give us 4-6 months.

In the meantime, I'm considering making and selling to order laptop, tablet, e-reader, and phone sleeves to get some funding for it (so we don't have to keep digging into savings). I have a stash of Amy Butler fabrics (3x2+ yards) that are nifty (and I think out of print), which I could probably get a decent amount out of. Plus some remnants. Any of that has to wait until after Dragon Con, though. Too busy trying to finish my armor.

Stuff

9 Apr 2014 05:29 pm
feuervogel: (moo)
I got a notice that one of my stories out on submission made it to the second round, after which point it has at most a 50% chance of being acquired at this publication. I have 2-4 more weeks' wait on that.

My other story out on submission right now is at 142 days. Other people are reporting responses around 145-150 days, so maybe I'll hear on that soon, too.

I also have a flash piece out right now, and I'll hear back on that in another month or so.

I submitted my exam for the 4th module in this course, and now I'm in that weird period where I'm waiting for the result and not starting the next module because I don't know yet if I'll have to rewrite the exam. (I am very not confident about this one.)

Now that I'm halfway through this thing, I'm frustrated because no one here seems to recognize the certificate, and (of course) everyone requires experience, which you can't get without a job, and fuck that. So I've likely wasted something like $4000, between tuition and costs for the internship I did, because there's only one school in this area where they teach German to adults, and it's been a month since I applied there and I've heard nothing.

Community colleges here require an MA to teach, and there seems to be no interest in an evening non-credit German course (I emailed Durham Tech). And we can't move to Germany next year, where this certificate is widely recognized, because of Ben's job, four cats, and a house. Ugh.

The alternative is for me to apply to one of the few grad schools that offers a terminal MA (Maryland and Georgetown; Middlebury) and get teaching experience that way.

Which is peachy, until you remember that the reason I decided to take this certificate is I don't want to go to grad school. Also with the cats getting older and more complicated, I can't just fuck off to the DC Metro area and leave Ben here. And he can't come with me because of his job.

*sigh*
feuervogel: (sideways days)
Friday afternoon, Mylene (our 11-year-old orange girl) started vomiting. Repeatedly. I took her to the vet, where they did blood work and found nothing wrong (except some intestinal gas on x-ray), gave her nausea meds, and sent us home with the instruction to call the on-call vet if she kept throwing up. Which she did, but the on-call vet said it was our decision to take her to the vet school, and to go if she looked bad.

In the morning, she hadn't perked up, and she refused breakfast, so we packed up for Raleigh. We spent 4+ hours at the vet school while she got blood drawn and ultrasounds. She stayed overnight, and she apparently perked up enough to love on all the techs. (She's very friendly when she remembers she likes people because they give her scritches.)

They saw a thickening of the abdominal wall on ultrasound, which they said was either IBD or lymphoma, and the lymph nodes looked enlarged.

Sunday they did aspirates on her spleen and let us take her home. The vet said that the detailed radiology report didn't show enlarged lymph nodes, so it was more likely to be IBD, and they'd let us know what the aspirates said.

Meanwhile, Luna has been losing weight and eating a ton, but her thyroid and glucose are normal. So we sent off a blood sample to Texas to get vitamin levels, since that could tell us whether it's a nutrient deficiency (ie IBD) or cancer. Those came back yesterday, and apparently it's colitis.

So we're supposed to give her antibiotic powder on her (canned) food, as well as probiotics, for 6 weeks or so. I picked them up this morning, and she refused to eat her dinner with the powders on them.

Mylene is on metronidazole suspension and a floxacin tablet. We can't get the metronidazole in her, and her dose is 1/10 of the smallest available human tablet. So tomorrow I get to call the vet about a) getting a local pharmacy to compound it for her (rather than the usual place in TX), b) seeing how to get the dewormer the vet school wanted us to give her into her (it's also a liquid, which we got all over us the only time we attempted that), and c) asking what to do about Luna's antibiotics.

Mylene's aspirates came back, and they're "cytologically uninteresting," which means no lymphoma. Yay. Just a novel protein diet and a month of antibiotics.

Also, every time I think "OK, this month won't be too bad; maybe I can buy a new pair of shoes for summer because my Tevas are 8 or 9 years old and dying," we get hammered with $2k of vet bills. *sigh*
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
By which I mean terrible, of course.

We lost power right about 7 am yesterday morning, and it freezing rained all day. Ben went off to work (where there was power and internet), and I stayed home. I excavated my desk, which mostly just meant shuffling things around a bit, but the entire area around my computer is actually usable now.

I read more of the assigned reading in my distance learning course, until my hands were too cold to keep out of the blanket. Then I sorted through heaps of things I've been avoiding on a shelf for years. You can't really tell I did anything with the shelf, but I can.

Ben came home and fed the cats, and we ate cold cereal for dinner in front of a fire, which we kept going until the power (and heat) came back on around 9:15 pm.

When the heat came back on, it was 55 degrees inside my house. Today it's 65, and I have some windows open.

What.

Here are some pictures.

Word fail

11 Sep 2013 04:43 pm
feuervogel: (sideways days)
I wanted to get some writing in this afternoon, but I got new credit cards to replace the expired ones, which means updating all the autopay accounts.

It took a minute or two to get it changed at the home security company. Yay.

Then I tried to update the room I booked yesterday for DragonCon (yes, next year). All reservations are completely unmodifiable. Like, I can't even update my credit card using the online system. I probably can't add names to it there, either. I can understand making the rate not changeable (the Hilton charges more per person in the room), but the rest is ridiculous.

Which meant I had to call the hotel. So I called the hotel directly in Atlanta, and the reservations line was busy. So I called the central number, and the guy there took my information, put me on hold while he looked something up or talked to a supervisor or something, came back on and told me I needed to call the hotel itself.

...

So he put me on hold again while he transferred me to the hotel's rate department(?). Who took my information again, put me on hold again, and transferred me to yet another department. Who was actually able to change my credit card's expiration date in their fucking system. All that needed to be done was literally changing one digit in the expiration field. And it took 15 minutes.

Then I had to update my cell phone billing, which involved logging in to an account I never log into, which mysteriously got changed to have Ben as the primary user, so I had to get him to go in and fix that.

And now it's too late to get into writing, so I guess I'll go read about language acquisition theory instead.

*flail*

21 Aug 2013 11:22 am
feuervogel: (moo)
I heard back from the second GI I contacted. They asked where I live (to see if I need a work permit), and I told them I'm American. That was Monday.

I haven't heard anything from the first GI since I told them I'm from the US.

I'm starting to get worried, because I need to get this practicum sorted out ASAP. I've got a sinking feeling that I can't go over to a GI because I'm not a native German speaker and that's their thing. But I don't know how else I can meet the practicum (or 120 hours of teaching experience) requirement!

I can't get a job teaching without experience or certification, and I can't complete this certification without experience. YAY FUCKING LOVELY.

I need to have this requirement met by March 2015.

If I don't hear anything, not even a "sorry, we can't do that," within the next week (after DragonCon I guess), I'm going to write to the Middlebury Language School and ask if I can work something out there next summer.

I don't know if the Waldsee Immersion Camp has enough contact hours to get 50 or 120, but I can ask them, I guess.

But both of those basically mean I won't be home at all next summer, between family vacation in Berlin and 2-? weeks elsewhere.

Before I signed up for the class, I asked if it was OK for me as a foreigner to do a practicum at the GI, and they said yes. So if I don't get an affirmative response on scheduling a practicum soon, I'll email them back and say, "hey, I'm trying to schedule my practicum but neither of the GIs I contacted will let a non-native speaker teach, so I'm kind of fucked here." Except more politely and in German.
feuervogel: (sideways days)
The old one (the one I bought last July) decided it wouldn't recognize its SIM card. Or the one the guy at the AT&T store swapped into it.

So I had to get a new phone. (Because going back to the craptastic Captivate collecting dust on a shelf was not going to happen.) They had one like my old phone on the shelf, for $49.99, but it was out of stock.

Today was a bad day for my phone to decide not to work. They had a lot of their stock at Duke for some sort of student event. Well, that, and this month is already really expensive, between the hundred or so bucks I spent on cosplay accessories and DragonCon. Next month we need to get Mey's teeth cleaned (though that could wait until October...when my part of the hotel room at Viable Paradise is due...)

It's basically never a good day for your phone to stop working.

So I got a black HTC One (the broken phone is a One X). The silver ones were all at Duke. I had to use Ben's overdue upgrade to get it. Hopefully his iPhone will keep chugging along, despite the button being sticky. The next upgrade possibility is next June, so if it holds on til then...

I've spent the afternoon putting my stuff on it. One feature that decided me for this was the phone migration tool, so I could just connect it to the old one over wifi and suck down all my photos and music.

All the new ringtones and alert sounds are obnoxious, so I've got most things set to Pacific Rim sounds. I kind of want to use one of the PR ringtones as default, but I'm attached to "Call Connected Thru the NSA."

Blargh

26 Jul 2013 09:12 pm
feuervogel: Mesut Özil hugs Cacau (german team 10)
So, Ben's brother gave me a copy of Soccernomics for Christmas, and I've finally cleared my reading slate enough to read it. I'm enjoying it a fair amount. There's a lot of statistical talk (in layman's terms, mostly) and asides like, regarding Manchester in 1876, "the city so miserable it inspired communism" or "Many people believe that Manchester United is evil. No one thinks they're boring." (paraphrased from memory)

There's this one problem. When I was thinking of applying to grad school, I wanted to write a thesis on integration and German football. This is making me want to write it again.

I REALLY REALLY don't want to do a PhD. Really really. Some places won't even accept terminal MA applicants, and the places that do don't necessarily offer funding. And there's no way in god's green hell that I'll be taking out loans for this.

So I'm back to square one and confused again.

Middlebury has a program that fits me (4 6-week summer sessions of 3 courses each), but their big papers aren't independent research projects; they're related to a course. (As far as I can tell. There's a course listing for Thesis, but I can't find anything about such a requirement on the site.) They don't require the GRE.

Georgetown and Maryland both have thesis options. Georgetown says they're "committed" to funding all graduate students; Maryland's funding is "highly competitive." Both require the GRE.

I DON'T KNOW, Y'ALL. Blargh. Stupid brain.

Not that I couldn't, like, do some research, outline a nonfiction book proposal, and shop it around... Come to think of it, I know enough people (via twitter) who are involved in real football journalism that I might be able to get a tip or two.

Fuck

22 Jul 2013 09:21 am
feuervogel: (black haru)
Saturday night, Ben and I had people over to hang out and play games. A tray of chocolate-covered rice krispy treats was brought, and I made a point to tell people to make sure the cover was on tightly because one of the cats gets into all the food.

Apparently people don't fucking listen, because I got up at one point to put some fruit in the fridge, and Luna jumped guiltily off the counter, after having nudged the top off the tray and licked a bit of chocolate off one of the bars. She would absolutely have gotten a lot more if I hadn't coincidentally gotten up right then.

Apparently Luna having done this didn't make an impression on people, because a couple hours later, I heard the sound of top sliding over foil as Luna pushed it off.

Last night when Ben cleaned the litter boxes, he found a huge liquid poop in one of them and a smaller goopy poop in another one. This morning, Luna ate really slowly and then barfed up her entire breakfast. She's acting fairly normal otherwise, but we still may have to take her to the vet--because of someone fucking else's fucking inability to listen to fucking directions.

I've been called "bossy" and "bitchy" and "anal retentive" for insisting that people do basic things like NOT POISON MY CATS. "Ugh, C's just being a bitch again." I've been made fun of for having a particular way of doing things. I HAVE A PARTICULAR WAY OF DOING THINGS BECAUSE THAT'S HOW I KEEP THE CATS OUT OF MY FUCKING FOOD.

Maybe I'm overly sensitive because I don't want to make a fuss and have people roll their eyes at me for making a simple request to keep food from marauding cats. When Isis was still alive, I had to pick up all sorts of dropped food, following people around like their fucking mother, because she had diabetes and a severe grain allergy. I said, "hey, Isis can't have crumbs, so please be careful and pick your crumbs up," and that didn't work.

I am really pissed right now and scared for my cat. And I don't want to have to spend money on a vet visit because of someone else's fucking carelessness.

Argh

24 Jun 2013 03:31 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
1. I'm on pins and needles waiting to hear back from VP. It's only been a week since the submission period closed, and I got my rejection letter June 30 two years ago. So it could literally be *any time*, and the longer it goes, the more convinced I am the answer is, once again, no. Seriously, every new email ding makes me anxious.

2. This is the exam that never ends. I have 10 of the 12 questions answered, hopefully to a fuller extent than the first exam, so I get a better score than last time. The last two questions I hope I can get finished today or tomorrow. I need to read a few chapters again (or a dozen more times) and see what I can tease out.

3. The con starts Friday. (Thursday night, but that's only the GOH dinner, and we're not going; besides, I have the last sword class until September.)

4. My exam is due at 5:59 pm Saturday (11:59 pm German time). I need to get this exam completed by Thursday afternoon, because I'm going to be too busy after then to work on it, and I won't have a steady net connection, either. (I did, actually, plan it this way. I purposefully timed it so I'd have to have it in before the con, rather than having the con be in the middle of the test period, and I didn't want to postpone starting it until after the con.)

5. I need to organize all my notes for next year's con and the one after into an obviously titled google doc.

6. I haven't written a word on my novel in close to 2 weeks. I miss it. But this exam is eating all my usable brain cycles.

Stuff

22 May 2013 09:42 am
feuervogel: (michel)
I made a to-do list last night because I feel like my ability to mentally organize things is gone. I keep meaning to do things and then either forgetting them or falling into the hole of facebook flash games.

I was feeling consistently awful and low-level migrainey for a few days a couple weeks ago, so I went into my doctor's office, and they took thyroid levels. They said I needed to go down on my T3 because my TSH is too low. So I've been taking 10 mcg instead of 15 for about 2 weeks now, and I don't feel all that great. No migraines or anything, just lack of motivation, dry eyes, mouth, and skin, and low energy. I can't focus worth a damn, either. (And because of my neurologist's verbot on caffeine, I can't just make some black tea and make some focus, either.)

It could be that 15 mcg is too much, but 10 isn't enough. Unfortunately, the medication comes in 5 mcg unscored tablets. Though it also comes in 25s, and 12.5 might work out. Except for reasons completely unknown to me, because I've never had 90-day supplies called in before, the nurse authorized 90 days with 3 refills on my last T3 rx, while doing 30 days with 3 refills on the Synthroid, because I don't even fucking know. Maybe she goofed and read the #90 as 90 days, but #90 and #270 are a lot different.

So I have a metric shit ton of 5 mcg liothyronine tablets (at 2 a day, they will last me 135 days, or approximately 4.5 months), and I refuse to pay for a new prescription when I already paid 3 months' copays for the bottle I have. So if my doctor agrees at my physical next Thursday, I'll see about either taking 2.5 every day or adding a third in the afternoon. Or going to an endocrinologist, maybe.

I have this writing idea that I've been letting float around in my mind for a while, and I finally had some insight into it last night. So I made some rough notes around which the idea can coalesce while I work on other things.

I'm going up to DC next weekend (via Amtrak) to see the US and German men's soccer teams play at RFK stadium. I am excite. I'm staying with my sister Fri & Sat, then going to the game and staying with Ben's brother Sunday, then coming home Monday.

I need to write a letter (in German) to a language school and ask if I can do a practicum there and if they meet the criteria set forth in my course description. I don't really want to do it, but I need to. Ideally, I'd do the practicum in winter when airfare is cheapest, but I don't know ... well, there are a lot of things I don't know, like whether they'll even accept non-native speakers as praktikanten or whether they'll have openings in winter or how far in advance I even need to make arrangements. Argh. (I am fairly certain that there are no practica that meet the course criteria in the US unless you are majoring in education and doing your student teaching. There is an alternative to the practicum, which is 120 hours of teaching experience, which would take me far too long to acquire, if I could even get a job without a certificate and experience.)

Anyway. Stuff. I need to get started on my to-do list before I lost the entire morning to faffing about. This has already taken over half an hour to write, in part because I got distracted and wandered away for a few minutes several times.

:/

17 Apr 2013 08:01 pm
feuervogel: (enemy birds)
I am grumpy.

I am chronically undersocialized.

I can't afford to host parties as often as I did when I was actually getting paid.

I am an extravert (ESTJ).

I am also apparently a horrible unpleasant person that no one wants to spend time with because I'm mean and horrible. (No really, I've gotten emails detailing exactly how I am a horrible person and that's why no one wants to invite me to things.)

These things are all related.

But apparently when I throw a party, people come (probably because they know I make good food, because I'm a Heinrich, dammit, and we like food*).

But finding time when people are all free is tricky, because, you know, grown-ups and work and other standing plans and whatever.

But regardless, I'm going to try to have people over once a month on a standing basis because if I don't start seeing and interacting with humans other than my husband on a regular basis, I am going to go insane.

*digression: when I was a kid, I used to love these hors d'ouevres my mom would make that are dill pickles (not spears) coated in cream cheese and wrapped in corned beef. I hadn't thought about them until the Xmas party, when mom brought them. I made Ben eat one to feed my nostalgia. If anyone knows of a vegetarian corned-beef-like substance, please let me know.
feuervogel: (black haru)
On March 1, I was supposed to have my IUD removed and replaced. This is usually done in a single office visit for a single office-visit copay. With my plan, the specialist copay is $30.

For reasons involving my apparently extremely abnormal anatomy, only the IUD removal actually occurred on March 1. The nurse walked me out and was going to get my copay refunded, since I'd have to come back again in a week to try again, except the person who handled that was gone for the day.

I went back March 7, checked in, and didn't pay--they didn't ask me to pay, because it was to be a no-charge visit. So I went up to the room with all the fancy equipment in it and had my cervix prodded for over an hour until the damned IUD finally made it in. Yay.

In July, I received a bill for $30 for date of service March 1. At the time, I misread it as for March 7, the no-charge visit. I called the clinic, they assured me it would be taken care of.

Apparently it wasn't, because I received another bill in November for $30. And a robo-call, which put me on hold for the next available representative. Normally I'd hang up on that, but it pissed me off so much that I stayed on the line. I told them I'd already paid it back in March.

So I got another bill for $23.84, and another robo-call.

I spent half an hour on the phone with billing today, while a representative traced the path of my $30 copay. It was applied to March 7. According to her, I had to call the clinic to get them to adjust the charges. So I called the clinic guy.

He says, snippily, that he can't do anything because they billed insurance something something and I had to pay extra for the IUD itself? I don't know, I was a little too pissed off to follow the bullshit logic.

I have his supervisor's number and will be calling her in the morning.

I left a message with my doctor's nurse line, saying that I have been having a billing issue since July where they're charging me for the no-charge visit and saying I owe the copay I already paid, can you please do something to fix it, I'm about ready to quit this practice and go somewhere else. (Which is sad, because I like my actual doctor, and it's not her fault billing is full of incompetent assholes.)

So. Anyone who thinks the American free-market health care "system" is more efficient than a single payer with a single fee schedule is either living in Libertarian Utopiaville or has never had to deal with the health care system.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
1. Called Duke Health to get them to straighten out this bloody stupid billing issue, because I paid this thing last March, and it's not my fault they moved that money to a different (wrong) account.

2. Edited and posted my review of Interfictions.

3. Played stupid facebook games.

4. Read my RSS aggregate thing.

5. Looked up more German Studies graduate programs, including one in England and a 2-year MA program that starts with a year in Salzburg.

6. Turned the synopsis of the currently untitled short story into an outline.

7. Waited for Duke Health to call me back.
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburg Gate)
On Facebook, I said, "talk me out of applying for a PhD in German studies."

Two people are trying to talk me INTO it.

Application deadline is December 8.

It's a joint UNC-Duke program, and I can't find any information on which school's tuition you pay. (UNC's would be so much cheaper.)

The main reason I didn't continue my German studies right after college (aside from thinking I wanted to be an O-Chem professor, hahahaha, lol) was because I didn't think I could get a decent-paying job with that. I really hate that a mercenary decision I made when I was 17 (ie, to go into sciences because $$$) is controlling my present and future.

(I also really like public transit and urban planning and smart growth, but German is something I've loved forever, or since the late 80s, anyway, when I started studying the language.)

Problems I see: a) I want to write. b) There's the barest chance I could get my shit together in time for the December 8 application deadline. c) I wouldn't be able to go to VP next year, if I get in. d) I'm a horrible student--total slacker. Though maybe if it's something I care about, it would be easier.

So, maybe I think about it for the next 6 months, figure out the answers to the questions they want answered on their application form, and make a decision then. I know myself, and, while I make impulsive, snap decisions, this is kind of huge. (Also, I don't really have any 10-20 page papers. The one I wrote on Schnitzler's Reigen when I was in Marburg is 5 pages (I got a 2 on it), and I found my collected papers for Ideas and Power in the Modern World, which included some German philosophy (Marx & Hegel, mainly, also Kant), but they're all 3-5 pages, too.

Argh, I don't know.
feuervogel: (facepalm basti)
Several months ago, I went to a friend's birthday party. A mutual friend has a girlfriend (I keep wanting to say "new," but they apparently passed the 1-year mark a while ago), and she just rubs me the wrong way. The first couple times I met her, which were at good-sized parties, I chalked it up to her being new here and not used to The Gang and trying to fit in but being a geek and socially awkward [we've all been there, amirite?], but then this conversation happened.

I forget how we got onto the topic. Possibly discussion of horror films was occurring in a neighboring conversation or in the context of a regular horror film festival at a local theater.

Me: I don't like horror films. They give me nightmares.
Her: I used to not like horror films, but then [boyfriend] started showing them to me, and now I kind of like them.
Me: Yeah, I don't think that would work. I don't like being scared, I have a really low gore tolerance, and I get nightmares and occasional DAY-mares from quasi-flashbacks.
Her: I used to think that, too, but now I can watch some horror movies. [elaborates a bit]
Me, mentally: You are completely missing the fucking point. Are you really that obtuse or just clueless?
Me, out loud: I'm glad you enjoy horror movies. I really don't.

Then I either changed the subject or found a different conversation to join in on. Or maybe decided my drink was empty and needed refreshing. Or had to pee. I don't recall, exactly.

So, not very useful. Why's it so hard for people to accept things that are personal preferences, like comedy over horror, happy endings over sad endings, writing style, colors, whatever?

I was reminded of this because I've made it to the novellas section in the Hugo packet, and at the top is Mira Grant's Countdown, which is a prequel to her Newsflesh trilogy, which is all about zombies. I don't like zombies. I don't like horror. I'm going to finish it because I want to know what happens (it's about how the zombie virus was released into the world, which is pretty cool from an infectious disease/epidemiology standpoint) and the writing is good. And I'm halfway through it already.

But last night I had weird dreams about mutant viruses and zombies.

I'll probably skip the Newsflesh novel that's in the packet. I'm sure it's good, but a) it's book 2 and b) ZOMBIES. So I'll probably only end up reading 3 of the 5 nominated books.
feuervogel: (do not want)
Ben and I are very lazy people. Neither of us is particularly fond of cleaning the house. We tend to give the living room a thorough (relatively speaking) cleaning only when we're having a party, which hasn't happened in a goodly time, mainly because of a lack of funds to throw one.

We have cats, as you know. This means our carpets (wall to wall in 80% of the house) are basically covered in cat litter and cat hair. It's pretty gross. I'd like to replace the 11-year-old, cat-puke-stained carpet with laminate flooring, but there's no money for that. (We'll need to before we sell the house, because apparently you can't sell houses with nasty carpeting. I'd like to do it soon enough that we can actually enjoy said new flooring, but, well, income. I have none.)

So Friday afternoon I vacuumed downstairs and the bottom half of the stairs. I moved furniture and everything. Then Saturday, Ben and I finished the stairs, and I did the upstairs, digging out the mini shampooer to go over some pee spots. Irritatingly, the main vacuum doesn't have attachments, so we have to dig out a broom vac (the kind for wood floors or industrial carpeting) that does so we can get against the walls and in the corners.

So my goal now is to vacuum every other week at least, because the floors were really gross. And maybe we can make some headway into getting out the ancient layers of cat hair in the carpets.

I've got a very low tolerance for clutter, which, let me tell you, makes living with Ben really difficult at times. He never gets rid of anything. Judging by the probably 25-years'-worth collection of magazines in his parents' basement, I'm guessing it's genetic.

Our closet is overcrowded, you can't see the floor for boxes and piles (that are at least half his stuff) in the bonus room, and it's driving me up the wall. I've got a couple boxes full of things for either charity or a yard sale that just need to go (clothes & shoes mostly), but I can probably get a couple more easily. I'd like to convince Ben to help out, get rid of some of his things, but I've pretty much given up on that ever happening, or happening to an extent such that it makes a lick of difference. (He's going to have to make some really hard decisions if he moves with me to Berlin. We'll have half as much space as we do now at *MOST*, and I'll be damned if he's going to get 80% of it to keep his random papers from 7th grade and every card he's ever gotten, plus his toys. Yes, I find it rather frustrating that I'm getting rid of, or have gotten rid of, a fairly significant amount of things, and he's barely gotten rid of anything, and has, in fact, gotten MORE things.)

So, anyway. I'd like to start tackling the house room by room, saying keep or sell to everything. I'd also like to be able to walk through the bonus room to get to my bookshelf, but the 3 boxes of MORE THINGS from his parents house that have arrived since Christmas are in the middle of the fucking floor, in front of the tons of crap that's been sitting there for years. I'm just plain sick of it. (And if he's seriously considering putting the air mattress in the bonus room so my mom can sleep there, he needs to get all that shit out so there's space for it. And sell those motherfucking MAGIC cards already. They've been here ... two years now? Three? And he promised to sort them and sell valuable ones before he had his parents ship them here. All 24 pounds of them, which doesn't include the binder that holds the last deck he made.)

I made some progress in sorting memorabilia from traveling by putting postcards into photo sleeves and things like that. I'd like to scan the millionty photo albums that are sitting around in boxes, but there are a ton of them, and it'll take forever. Also, a lot of the photos are really shit, from my cheapo, no-focus 110-mm camera that I had from 3rd-10th grade. So, fun and a lot of sorting. Except they're in the back corner of the bonus room, and I can't really get them *out* of the bonus room without hurting myself.

My scanner also does negatives, so I could do some of those while I'm at it. I wonder where the Photoshop Elements CD that came with the scanner is. Last I saw it, Ben was installing it on his iMac. I also wonder if it'll work on my laptop anyway. It's installed on my Mini, but I almost never use that. (And PSE has a tendency to crash if you look at it funny.)

I want to go through my closet and get rid of clothes I never wear or that don't fit well or that are just 15 years out of style. I have so many t-shirts, and I wear... 5? 8? I don't want to get rid of many work clothes, just in case I get a real job again and need to look presentable. I have way more clothes than I need.

My sewing room terrifies me, but I need to get in there and sort that wreck out. I'll save it till last. I can't do anything to the bonus room, because most of what's in there isn't mine, and as much as I'd like to say "tough shit" and pitch it, I can't.

We are both lazy people, and every little organizational trick I've tried to keep the kitchen table from being a stack of papers with no room to eat has failed. We just leave things on tables, counters, the floor, wherever we decide to set them down, and they stay there until I get pissed off enough by the clutter to force Ben to pick up his shit while I pick up mine. I'd really love it if I didn't have to clean an entire room to find one thing I was looking for, but that's never going to happen.

Stuff

21 Sep 2011 04:42 pm
feuervogel: (hetalia germany with beer)
It's raining right now, quietly. I've been hearing this light rustling through my open window for a while now.

Isis has been sick lately. feline digestion ) At least we hadn't given her her insulin already, like the first time. Checked her blood sugar, and it was 407. She got a second feeding and her shot. She was limping really badly yesterday, so I called the vet and asked it we could give her some tramadol we had left from a different cat's dental cleaning. Isis doesn't fall for the hairball gel trick, so I had to give her some more food (on her already-wonky blood sugar). She was all stoned the rest of the day. Today, after 2 doses of fish oil, she's less limpy, which is good. And her blood sugar was only 200 this morning, which is a lot more normal.

I'm working on the synopsis of Iron and Rust. This draft is going to be 6-7 pages, and if I want to send it as the Kickstarter reward submission packet review thing, I have to get it down to 5. I may go through and extend it to 10 pages at some point, then also cut it down to 2 pages and 1 page, since those are the common requested synopsis lengths, and a girl ought to be prepared.

Then again, I have a few dropped plot threads I need to tie off and a few "more tension!" moments to fix, so I'll be changing it anyway. May as well wait until I've done all that to fix it up nice.

I changed my thyroid medicine again. I dropped down to 10 mcg of T3 after noticing I was really irritable and that my tinnitus was back. (Irritatingly, it happens for both high and low thyroid for me. Makes it a fun guessing game.) Since I've recently gone up on my T4, which is converted to T3, it's possible I was getting a little high on that end. I'm still having tinnitus for much of the day, but it's gone when I wake up. I'll give it a few more days to balance out (it needs about a week to reach steady state). I should probably call my dr and let her know I adjusted my meds. I may go down further if this tinnitus doesn't abate. I'll know pretty quickly if it's too low, because I get The Nausea. I lasted about a week when we dropped my T3 last month before feeling awful.

I'm doing things with people this weekend! I'll be missing the second half of Werder Bremen: Hertha BSC on Sunday, but I can download it if I have to. Twitter can keep me posted.

And next weekend, we're going to Asheville with Ben's parents and brother. We're staying in the same B&B Ben & I stayed at for our anniversary 2 years ago. There will be hiking (yay -_-) and the Biltmore and food and (hopefully) Beth (who is awesome & giving us comp tickets, so we only have to buy 1)! Our usual catsitter has a second job at the vet school hospital, and the backup one locally had problems with Isis (who growled and clawed and pissed and shat). The usual sitter hasn't gotten back to us, either, which is frustrating, because she's the only one Isis doesn't hate. Probably because she shows no fear of the crazy evil tortie.

We may have to do separate vacations for the foreseeable future if this keeps up. Especially at holidays. (And, joy, I really want to go to my mom's house by myself! It's so much fun!) I could ask if mom & co want to come here for Thanksgiving, but she doesn't drive that far, Grandpa shouldn't drive that far anymore (he's 87, and his artificial hip hitches if he sits too long), and my sister works retail, so she has to work that Friday. Which pretty much means it's always me going to them. We already have plans (but no plane tickets) for New Year's in St Louis, and I may end up begging off. The new catsitter charged us extra last time because she had to bring a helper and spent a lot of time dealing with the evil hissing beast (and wore WELDING GLOVES to give her shot), and at $15 a visit, 2 visits a day, times two for the helper/trouble charge, those 4 days away become 8 in catsitting fees. With me not getting any hours at all, we can't afford the extra charges. (And subsequent vet bills because Isis' blood sugar is whacked out due to stress and she gets sick again.)

It doesn't really help that I don't like Family Togetherness Time (tm).
feuervogel: (hetalia germany with beer)
Those of you who live in North Carolina know exactly what I'm talking about, I bet, before I even say it. For everyone else, March Madness is the college basketball tournament season, starting off with regional tournaments and culminating with the national tournament.

There are many major basketball schools where I live, including my alma mater, UNC, its arch-rival Dook, NC State, and Wake Forest. There may be more, but idgaf about college basketball, except when it interferes with my other plans.

I turn 35 in just under a month. Since I'm a bit broke right now, I thought, hey, we could go to the bar and hang out, and people could get food there, then we could go back to my house and eat cake. That would be awesome and save me the $60+ on food and drinks. (I throw a party with damn good food.)

So I had Ben ask the folks at the bar if 15 or so people coming in on a weekend afternoon would be cool. Apparently Saturday afternoons are pretty busy, but Sundays aren't so bad. Unless there's a game, which they'll have on the TV. So I checked the UNC basketball schedule to see if there were any that weekend. OF COURSE. It's the ACC tournament, times TBA.

If Sunday's game doesn't start till later, like 7 or 8, or if it started around noon, it wouldn't be bad; we could leave before people start pouring in for the game. But I don't want to invite people and be like, well, we might have it at the Nickel, or it might be at my house, depending on stupid March Madness.

The Dook match on the 5th starts at 8 pm, as do most matches. But I don't want to assume anything and end up scrambling for new plans and not have food for people. The Nickel is very cozy, probably holds about 35 people comfortably, 50 like sardines. They have a surprisingly good beer selection, mixed drinks, and food for a small town bar. The staff is great.

We were there last night, actually, and the bartender was mixing a martini made with green stuff. I said it looked pretty, and he poured the excess into a small glass and gave it to us. Before we left, he gave Ben a taste of Bärenjäger because he mentioned he'd like to try it sometime. (It's alcoholic honey. Delish.) I want to try the Kentucky Orange Blossom next time I go: Maker's Mark, St Germain, Gran Gala, and soda. St Germain is ridiculously good; I apparently am quite fond of elderflower. (I tried elderflower (or was it elderberry?) palinka in Budapest, and it was YUM.)

So I have no idea what I'm going to do for my birthday this year. Balls.
feuervogel: (moo)
To recap, I spent Wednesday running around (picking up the quiche, going to the neurologist) and cooking. Thursday morning we started cooking at 9:30 am and finished at 12:30, then carried everything to the hotel where the in-laws were staying and were there until about 6. Friday we went to the Ackland and saw some art, then played a board game for a little while, then went home, fed the cats, and changed for dinner at 6:30 at Panciuto. Saturday we met the in-laws at 10, went to the NC natural history museum, then had dinner at the Flying Saucer and finished up the board game, then got home around 8:30 to feed the cats.

So I've had no time to do anything like writing since Tuesday. This is Annoying.

Spending time with Ben's family is just draining. It reminds me constantly of how different my background is, how much of a disadvantage I have in comparison. His mom tells the same dozen "my kids were in the gifted program and volunteered at science museums and went to all these educational camps and ..." you know, all the things rich kids of highly-educated parents do. And I sit there and get pissed off, because I wasn't a rich kid, and my parents sure as shit aren't highly educated, and I have some serious resentment and anger about my mom telling the school not to let me into the G&T program.

So them just sitting there all "educational blah blah gifted blah summer camp etc" brings up all the things I couldn't do, because a) we couldn't afford it or b) it wasn't considered important enough.

Then there's his dad, who's a special kind of jerk. He interrupts you when you're in the middle of your sentence. He lives in this little tiny bubble of very narrow, limited experience and can't see beyond his narrow experience to realize he's wrong about a lot of things, then when you explain that he's wrong, he doesn't understand what you're saying.

Example: we went to Pepper's for lunch, and for some reason, we were discussing the Appalachians. Oh, right, we were talking about the Biltmore house and Asheville, because his mom wants to go there.

Context: Asheville isn't as hot as it is here in summer, because it's in the mountains.
him: It can't be that high elevation, the Appalachians aren't that high. It's about 2000 feet.
me: What? The Appalachians are plenty high, what the hell are you talking about?
him: Well, Mount Washington in Vermont is the most extreme place in the US.
me: !?!!? Mount Washington is in the fucking Appalachians!
him: So?
me: You just said, "the Appalachians aren't that high," but Mount Washington is an Appalachian, therefore the Appalachians ARE that fucking high, QED. It's not like I'm making giant leaps of logic here.
him: What's the highest peak in the Appalachians?
me: Like I know that off the top of my head.
Ben looks it up on his iPhone. Mount Mitchell, North Carolina, 6684 feet, highest point on the east coast. (And 400 feet higher than Mount Washington.)
me: HA. Suck that, dickweed.

There may have been less swearing involved in the actual conversation, but I don't guarantee it.

Spending time with someone who's "discussion" and "conversation" style involves attacking and looking for holes and basically treating it like a particularly brutal grad student-level course is REALLY FUCKING TIRING.

I can't think fast enough to keep up with his changes of argument or tactic; I lose my train of thought easily, and when he interrupts, it's hard for me to get back where I was. And that's me on all cylinders; since I got sick, I get brain fog more often. And I have trouble processing sounds when there's a lot of background noise (and when over half the participants in the "conversation" are shouting).

It's stressful. I hate it.
feuervogel: (sideways days)
Yesterday I did a load of washing composed entirely of things cats have peed on: the rug inside the door, the bathmat, and, the item that sparked the washing-up, a cat bed.

They're all line dry, so I put them out overnight, and I brought the rug in earlier, since it was dry. Not one our later, I heard a sound, looked over, and there Isis was, pissing on it.

This is my "I'm really not fucking happy about any of this" face. I got up, ran over, scruffed her, and put her in the litterbox. Then I took the rug outside, hosed it off, and hung it up over the deck rail to dry.

I think Isis understood I was thoroughly pissed at her, because she did the slinking and hiding thing.

Also, the hardwood floor in the dining room has been peed on repeatedly, apparently, and so far the only cleaning that's been done was perfunctory water-mopping. This weekend, the residue and stickiness will be mopped up with cleaner. Before any fun is had.

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feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
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