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What is the first thing you see when you walk in your house?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Art, Critters, Home, NaBloPoMo | Posted on 07-09-2011

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The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
What is the first thing you see when you walk in your house?

Right now, the first thing any­body sees is Sam’s desk. No, that isn’t pre­cise­ly right. If you’re look­ing straight ahead at the wall, you see a col­lage by Katie, which is much love­li­er.

How do you feel when you return home at the end of the day?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Health, Home, NaBloPoMo | Posted on 06-09-2011

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fractured reality/grace under pain

The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
How do you feel when you return home at the end of the day?

I’m not sure I should have answered this one, as I doubt that my answer will be in sync with the intent of the ques­tion. I don’t leave home every day to go to work, or leave home every day, peri­od.

How­ev­er, when I do leave home, how I feel when I return depends on many fac­tors. How did I feel before leav­ing? How long was I gone, and how much phys­i­cal, intel­lec­tu­al, and emo­tion­al ener­gy did I have to expend while I was out? Did I have to deal with any­thing unex­pect­ed, good or bad? How many peo­ple was I around? Were they strangers or peo­ple known to me? Did I encounter them all at once, or in small groups of one or two at a time? Was Sam with me as a buffer? fHow’s my blood sug­ar? Am I well hydrat­ed? What was the weath­er like? Did I remem­ber to take my reg­u­lar med­ica­tions? What about tak­ing break­through pain med­ica­tion, anx­i­ety med­ica­tion, or a mus­cle relax­ant before I found myself in a state where they wouldn’t work very well? Did I use my scoot­er if there was much walk­ing? How noisy was the envi­ron­ment? Was it drafty, or over­ly hot or cold? Did I have to dri­ve? Was I out to do some­thing I want­ed to do, or was I doing some­thing I had to do?

Fre­quent­ly, I’m so dog-tired that I can bare­ly drag myself in the door. I have actu­al­ly fall­en asleep sit­ting in the car, in the driver’s seat, more than once. (There are plen­ty of rea­sons that I do not dri­ve much any more.) Deal­ing with the secu­ri­ty sys­tem seems an intel­lec­tu­al chal­lenge designed for Ein­stein. I’m eas­i­ly con­fused and my mem­o­ry is beyond poor. Even if I am dehy­drat­ed or I need to eat, I’m too tired to be inter­est­ed in food or even water. If I was out for too long, or if it was a par­tic­u­lar­ly stress­ful peri­od, I get a fever and my body reacts as if I’m in shock. I feel like I’m freez­ing, no mat­ter what the actu­al tem­per­a­ture around me is, and I start shak­ing bad­ly.

So that’s how I feel most days when I return home at the end of the day, if I’ve had to leave home. I think that should go a long way towards explain­ing why I’m such a home­body these days! I am for­tu­nate in that I have Sam, Katie, and oth­ers in my life, so I am able to have a ful­fill­ing life with­out being very adven­tur­ous.

What was your favourite part about returning to school?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Education, Memories | Posted on 05-09-2011

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The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
What was your favourite part about return­ing to school?

Back to School by Lel4nd (Leland Francisco)

That’s not an easy ques­tion. It wasn’t cool to acknowl­edge being hap­py to return to school each year, of course, so while I was glad, I didn’t real­ly acknowl­edge it to myself. As a result, it is more dif­fi­cult to access those mem­o­ries.

Even though I knew there would be end­less amounts of review each year, I was always excit­ed about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of learn­ing some­thing new. After we left Gads­den, I was able to look for­ward to school library access, too. (The ele­men­tary school I attend­ed in Alaba­ma didn’t even have a library, and back then, the Gwin­nett Coun­ty Pub­lic Library wasn’t the award win­ning facil­i­ty that it is now.)

I also had a secret hope that maybe this would be the year when I would meet some­one like me. Some­one else who didn’t fit in. Some­one who pre­ferred books to most peo­ple, who either didn’t go to church or was only there because his or her par­ents forced the issue, who would be will­ing to dis­cuss the ques­tions brought up by all the con­tra­dic­tions in the Bible and var­i­ous church’s teach­ings (and how preach­ers and oth­er church lead­ers actu­al­ly lived). Some­one who didn’t think it was bad to be intel­li­gent, maybe even some­one who would admit to day­dream­ing and mak­ing up new sto­ries about peo­ple they’d read about, or com­plete­ly new sto­ries of their own. The kind of peo­ple you didn’t run into just because your par­ents bought hous­es in the same neigh­bor­hood, or went to the same church, or worked for the same com­pa­ny.

I did meet some­one who became a dear friend in the first week of my Junior year, on the bus, in fact. She even lived in my neigh­bor­hood! I con­tin­ue to be amazed by the fact that I said some­thing to her first, as she’s far more extro­vert­ed than I have ever been. Dorothea is a trea­sure, and I will always be thank­ful for meet­ing her.

Start of the New School Year

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Memories, NaBloPoMo | Posted on 02-09-2011

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The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
How did you feel about the start of the school year grow­ing up?
As far as I remem­ber, I was usu­al­ly excit­ed — at least after 7th grade or so. School up to that point was so intense­ly bor­ing that I couldn’t wait to get out of it so I could go back to what­ev­er I was read­ing or doing in the woods some­where. I hat­ed sec­ond grade so much that I think I spent most of it nap­ping in the school clin­ic (we had one with sev­er­al lit­tle alcoves and beds. I think I may have been hav­ing migraines, hon­est­ly).
Up until 7th grade, it seemed that the first half of every year was spent review­ing what was done the pre­vi­ous year because so many peo­ple didn’t real­ly learn it or for­got every­thing dur­ing the sum­mer. I kept think­ing, “I’m here why? They could just tell the rest of us when the review is over. I’m wast­ing my life here!” I think it’s telling that I spent much of the 4th and 5th grades act­ing as an unof­fi­cial sub­sti­tute teacher and didn’t miss a bloody thing by not being in my own class.
In 7th grade we final­ly start­ed doing more seri­ous aca­d­e­m­ic work. That’s the first year that I recall any sci­ence con­tent that could actu­al­ly be called sci­ence, since we had lab assign­ments. Before that we had lit­tle texts about ani­mals and geol­o­gy and the plan­ets, but it was all so ele­men­tary that it might as well have been a stack of Lit­tle Gold­en Books. The only dif­fer­ence was that we had lit­tle vocab­u­lary tests and the occa­sion­al find-a-word puz­zle relat­ed to the con­tent. (Dear ele­men­tary teach­ers: You’re doing it wrong, or you cer­tain­ly were in the 70’s! I learned a lot more by read­ing through the pub­lic library and mess­ing around with the micro­scope and lab kits I got for Christ­mas one year. Although I think maybe the lab kit was meant for my sis­ter and she didn’t want it, so I end­ed up with it.)
I also had my first tru­ly out­stand­ing teacher that year, Ms. Keifer. I think her first name might have been Karole Ann, but I’m not sure. In any case, she taught Eng­lish at Lil­burn Mid­dle School, and I was in her home­room. She was won­der­ful! She gave me a copy of Lord of the Rings, with one caveat: I had to pass them on to some­one else when I fin­ished them.
Back then, the Braves gave out free tick­ets to Atlanta area stu­dents who made straight A’s. I won tick­ets sev­er­al years in a row, as I recall. I didn’t hon­est­ly care to go, but it was a fam­i­ly oblig­a­tion thing, so I did — with whichev­er vol­ume of LOTR I was read­ing at the moment in hand. Dad­dy had a great laugh when we encoun­tered anoth­er fam­i­ly sit­ting near us whose son had won tick­ets. Their son had his nose in anoth­er vol­ume of LOTR!
It def­i­nite­ly helped that my cousin, Lori Goss, taught me how to put on make­up dur­ing a vis­it back home to Gads­den that year, which boost­ed my con­fi­dence a lot. I don’t remem­ber if her big sis­ter Kim cut my hair into “wings” or how that hap­pened (I do remem­ber the perm Aunt Bet gave me, which was my first).

NaBloPoMo, Again

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Critters | Posted on 01-09-2011

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I’m try­ing NaBloPo­Mo again! The theme this month is “Return,” although I’m not at all sure what the heck that’s sup­posed to mean. I got today’s post in just under the wire, obvi­ous­ly — but I did post! Tomor­row I’ll try to do it much bet­ter. And I’ll even include pho­tos of the new kit­ten! Maybe he’ll have a name by then.

September 2010 NaBloPoMo Theme: Art

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Art, Blogging | Posted on 01-09-2010

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I received the NaBloPo­Mo newslet­ter today and learned that this month’s theme is Art. On the one hand, I thought, “I have noth­ing to say! I’m not an artist. Blah.”

On the oth­er hand, I’m com­ing to real­ize that I must have order in my life or I start dying, bit by bit. “Ene­my of Entropy” isn’t just a fan­ci­ful blog title. Dis­or­der is painful to me. Dull col­ors, harsh light­ing, loud sounds, poor ven­ti­la­tion, and per­va­sive odors can drag any­one down, but they make me ill very rapid­ly.

If you find me sur­round­ed by chaos you can be sure that either I haven’t been in that space long enough to impose order, or that some­thing is very, very wrong.

I’m health­i­est and hap­pi­est when I’m when I find ways to increase the amount of har­mo­ny and beau­ty around me. There is beau­ty in order, and art, for me, involves order — some kind of order, even if it isn’t always obvi­ous.

I’m nev­er going to be an Artist in any clas­si­cal sense of the word. I have, how­ev­er, estab­lished peace­ful, joy­ful spaces for my fam­i­ly and friends to live in and vis­it. I put togeth­er fab­ric and fibers to cre­ate unique works of embroi­dery. When I sing, alone or with oth­ers, the result is no less beau­ti­ful for its ephemer­al­i­ty.

I’ll be try­ing to explore my own kind of art this month through blog­ging, my iden­ti­ty as an artist. And I’ll be work­ing on get­ting back to blog­ging reg­u­lar­ly, obvi­ous­ly. This is a new sort of blog post for me, more intro­spec­tive. We’ll see how that goes.

Further Prof of Insanity: Blog365

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Family, Fun, Geekery, Health, Holidays, Home, Homeschooling, Music, Reading, RPGs, Writing | Posted on 01-01-2008

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I got through NaBloPo­Mo, as ridicu­lous as it was to com­mit to post­ing at least once a day for a month. So of course that small suc­cess has led me, in a moment of more-than-usu­al-luna­cy, to sign up for Blog365 (oth­er­wise known as “Out of the Fry­ing Pan, Into the Fire”).
Blog365
The pur­pose is fair­ly clear: to post at least once every day of 2008. Feb­ru­ary 29 is a “rest day.” Posts may be writ­ten on any site, rather than stick­ing to just one blog, so I’ll try to spread them around on mine/​ours. If I can’t get some­thing on the actu­al site on a par­tic­u­lar day due to net con­nec­tion issues or what­ev­er, I have to write (yes, write! like, cuneiform or some­thing!) a jour­nal entry and trans­fer it to a blog as that day’s entry.

It would be far sim­pler to have a sys­tem of some sort. Maybe I’ll cre­ate a rota­tion:

  • Fibrant Liv­ing — health, liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty, pod­casts
  • Acad­e­my Car­i­tas — home­school­ing, edu­ca­tion, col­lege
  • House Fire­heart — polyamory, par­tic­u­lar­ly my and Sam’s approach to it
  • Heart­song Hand­i­crafts — home of my orig­i­nal needle­work pat­terns, and soon to be home for the rest of my stitch­ing infor­ma­tion
  • Cyber­stalked! — inter­net safe­ty and pri­va­cy issues
  • Cyn­thia Armis­tead — my pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, where I put the geeky stuff
  • Ene­my of Entropy — here, of course, where I put gen­er­al stuff, book reviews, and the like.

Hope­ful­ly there will be new pod­casts up soon. There will def­i­nite­ly be more music, as we have that love­ly con­cert piano we received via freecy­cle all repaired and put togeth­er. It’s beau­ti­ful and sounds great! Not at all bad for one dri­ve to pick it up and less than $200 in repair fees! (Sam want­ed to just take it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter rather than doing it our­selves.)

2007 wasn’t a stel­lar year, but nei­ther was it ter­ri­ble. Sam has a steady, secure job that he enjoys, in an orga­ni­za­tion that’s allow­ing him to advance. , Katie had a lot of health prob­lems, but I’m hop­ing that we’re on the right path to resolv­ing them. Shel­ley passed away a lit­tle shy of her 18th birth­day, but since we’d been told in 1999 that she only had a year (at most) left, we felt that we’d got­ten an “extra” 8 years with her any­way. Kioshi has grown into a nice com­pan­ion, too.

We real­ly kept to our­selves a lot through the past two years. When you’ve been betrayed and hurt as deeply as we were by our for­mer housemate’s sud­den crazi­ness in 2006, there’s a lot of heal­ing to be done. I don’t know if I’ll ever approach Thanks­giv­ing with­out trep­i­da­tion again, but we had a good one any­way. The stress did con­tribute to the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of my health, and that does make it hard­er to get out. We’re work­ing on it, though. We cer­tain­ly learned who our true friends were, and we’ll nev­er for­get that.

So on to 2008, which we hope to be full of more time with friends, bet­ter health, much more music, Katie spent last night and almost all day today with friends from the school she was attend­ing as well as her new beau. Sam and I spent the day gam­ing, upgrad­ing some web sites, eat­ing good food and watch­ing movies. If it’s true that what­ev­er you do on Jan­u­ary 1 indi­cates how your year will go, we should be just fine.

I Did It!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Announcement, Blogging, Writing | Posted on 01-12-2007

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If you look way, way down the side­bar to see the cal­en­dar thingie, there’s at least one post on every sin­gle day of Novem­ber!

NaBloPoMo 2007 Seal

Is There A NaNoReMo?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Family, Health, Music, Reading, Writing | Posted on 30-11-2007

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I think I want a Nation­al Nov­el Read­ing Month. I could do a nov­el a day (as long as I chose the right nov­els, of course). I’m behind on writ­ing reviews, but I’m wal­low­ing unabashed­ly in the num­ber of good reads avail­able to me right now. I’ve tweaked the Now Read­ing wid­get to show up to ten cur­rent books instead of just five.

I total­ly flubbed NaNoW­riMo. No, I don’t wan­na talk word count. Ugh. I have, how­ev­er, man­aged to keep up with NaBloPo­Mo. so far, and there’s only one day to go! Data­base prob­lems have giv­en me some trou­ble with get­ting the posts to the pub­lic at some points, but I’ve writ­ten an entry every sin­gle day, and I think all of them are even show­ing up now. (The auto­post­ed Tweets for the day don’t count, of course.)

TodayOn Thurs­day, Katie and I drove all over the place, as she had an orth­don­tic appoint­ment and I fool­ish­ly chose to com­bine that with oth­er errands. Dri­ving = can’t take usu­al pain meds. I came home and col­lapsed with a fever. Now it’s the nor­mal time to sleep, and I’m in too much pain to go lay down. (Actu­al­ly, I was so fog­gy that I for­got to hit the “Pub­lish” but­ton last night!)

But, thanks to a freecy­cler, we now own a Korg 88-key elec­tric piano. The catch: It’s tak­en apart. Com­plete­ly. I’ve nev­er seen the innards of such a thing before!

Why did the pre­vi­ous own­ers take it apart, then give it away? Their tod­dler spilled paint on the keys. The donor couldn’t remem­ber if it was fab­ric paint or acrylic paint, but it isn’t water-sol­u­ble, in any case. For­tu­nate­ly, the paint did not get into the elec­tron­ics! Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it did stick a few keys togeth­er. So the man of the house took it apart, intend­ing to clean it up — then stuck it in the garage, where it has lan­guished for two years. In a clean­ing fit this week, he decid­ed to toss it out and just get a new one. Hap­pi­ly for me, his wife per­suad­ed him to give her a week to offer it on freecy­cle instead, and now it’s ours!

I’m encour­aged by the fact that every­thing worked before it was tak­en apart (oth­er than the stuck keys). I’m excit­ed about hav­ing a piano. Now I have to fig­ure out what to use to gen­tly clean said keys, then fig­ure out how to reassem­ble the whole thing. I con­sid­ered just tak­ing it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter, but I want to see if we can do it first, as their quot­ed labor rate of $70/​hour would add up very quick­ly. This is a $1,000 instru­ment, so it’s worth putting some mon­ey into mak­ing it work. Hav­ing the mon­ey, as usu­al, is the prob­lem.

It came with its nice stand, which is inte­gral to the piano, as it has the ped­als on it. I’ll still need a bench, but I’ll deal with that after I have it work­ing.

A repair man­u­al would be very use­ful. The instru­ment man­u­al can be down­loaded from the Korg web site, but since these things aren’t con­sid­ered user ser­vice­able, it doesn’t show how to take the piano apart and put it back togeth­er. If I can get it cleaned up, though, I can prob­a­bly ask Dad­dy for assem­bly help. My Dad­dy can fix any­thing.1 He’s much bet­ter with things than with peo­ple.

I’m total­ly open to sug­ges­tions for gen­tle sol­vents.2 I’m fig­ur­ing non-ace­tone nail pol­ish remover might do it, but will it dam­age the keys?

Of course, if any of you fine folks hap­pen to have expe­ri­ence with tak­ing elec­tric pianos apart and reassem­bling them, by all means, please speak up! (Hey, a girl can hope, can’t she?)


1 Yes, I am 41 years old, and he’ll always be Dad­dy, and I’ll always believe in his mirac­u­lous fix-it-abil­i­ty

2 Yes, that’s some­thing of an oxy­moron.

NaNoWriMo, NaPodPoMo, NaBloPoMo

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Geekery, Memes, Podcast, Writing | Posted on 02-11-2007

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Utter insan­i­ty. All of it. My fall class­es just start­ed. I’m in a flare (when am I not? but seri­ous­ly, I am).

But hey! I hate my birth­day, and three insane new things for the month should, at least, be dis­tract­ing!

So, yes, this would be my sec­ond NaBloPo­Mo post. I’m hav­ing a lit­tle tech­ni­cal trou­ble actu­al­ly post­ing the NaPod­Po­Mo part, but I’m doing them. And fine, might as well top it off with NaNoW­riMo.

It’s Hope’s fault. And Sam’s. And, um, right. Kioshi’s. All of you. Dread­ful.

Don’t mind me. By the end of Novem­ber, at least, I won’t have any hair left, so I won’t be spend­ing any more time wor­ry­ing over whether or not to get it cut, or col­or it, or what­ev­er!