21 June, 2018

in the garden of the gods

No, really. That's the name of the park: Garden of the Gods. I wasn't being all writerly. I'm not sure which gods had this garden, but they sure like red sandstone. Possibly they tried and failed to raise tomatoes? I don't know. Not much grows willingly in that climate except scrub oak, scrub pine, and sage.

So we made our annual pilgrimage back to see parents, and while we were there, we got an unexpected opportunity to go hiking, and we leapt upon it. If I had my way, that is all we would do in Colorado: stay in the mountains and hike around. But his parents cannot travel into that kind of altitude, and at the moment, neither can mine, so we spend much of our visit sitting or walking slowly through Manitou Springs or Old Colorado City (read: tourist trap shops). And this trip, given all the toadshit of spring, we didn't feel like we could take time to stay in the mountains, even for a day. I told Nous not to stop the car as we drove over Vail Pass, or I'd jump out and disappear into the trees and that'd be that. Woman goes feral in forest. 

Anyway, the Garden of the Gods is basically a park full of big-ass red sandstone rocks that people climb in contravention of safety regs, and sometimes fall off of. It gets mostly road traffic, or people hiking on the paved bits around the biggest rocks (that, see above, people like to climb on in contravention of safety regulations). Locals use the trails, but it's not the kind of hiking that's strenuous enough to attract hardcores, and yet takes enough time/requires enough effort that the casual tourist wouldn't make it. And, you know, it's at 6400 feet, so that's enough altitude that people unused to it feel it. And it can get hot down there, and the trees in the park are mostly scrub. The yellow orb of death is brutal. (You see how I say down. My ideal is up there over 7K, closer to 8-10k. Tall trees, cold air, not much of it.)

We got lucky: clouds and abnormally cool.  The hike itself wasn't hard--maybe 250 feet of elevation change, no glacial rivers, maybe 3-4 miles. We'd had rain the night before, too, so the dust was minimal, but not enough to make mud. Which, you know--fortunate. I hadn't brought hiking boots. I had to do this hike in little Merrell trail/water shoes with basically mesh sides. It was five kinds of awesome and despite the altitude-induced headache (stubborn! we hiked at the same speed we would've at sea level, and paid for it) it was totally worth it. Next time, though, I am just bringing the damn boots.

And here, we see Nous in his guise as two-legged bighorn sheep. He cannot resist climbing out onto ledges. In his youth he might've tried scrambling up the big rocks and been one of those unfortunate, smashed-flat people. Fortunately he has aged into wisdom.

Now we're home again, and it's back to work on WIP. Which...well, here is a blog post! You can guess how that WIP is coming along. Tomorrow, back to work.

13 June, 2018

despite all my rage...


Get it?

The laundry-closet is now rat-free. Peanut butter and technology triumph where Murdercat fails.

09 June, 2018

blue (balls) and fiber therapy


Grades are done (ish. Still to be submitted, after someone in admin fixes the fuck up so that I actually can submit them.) These fine blue balls are waiting for me. The amazing M, she who has so much fiber her husband does this little cheer when she gives it away to me (she's an indie-dyer, among her many talents, and she's always trying stuff out), gave them to me. Each of those balls is about 8 oz, or half a pound, and Arachne knows how much it'll spin out, but I bet it'll be enough to get me through season 3 Poldark for sure.  And then there's the 4-5 pairs of socks to be done by Christmas. So much knitting. But knitting is therapy. Knitting is "oh look, I am done with a thing, and the thing is objectively A Thing That Is Good."

Which is good, because oh, my various gods, this everything-since-January has sucked for so many reasons. A friend of mine, former officemate for years, died unexpectedly at the end of March. That was total toadshit. She'd just retired last year and while I missed her like hell at work, I knew she was out there being nona to her grandkids and adopting dogs and just, like, having fun and stuff.

Then, fuck you, April, we had two parental surgeries. First: Nous's dad, unexpected brain surgery (he fell. There was bleeding. They figured it out when he kept falling and having trouble walking). Second and third: My mom, knee surgery, the first for the actual fixing the joint, and second because it infected and they had to go back in and scrape things out. We didn't go back because, well, we're adjuncts and however good the benefits (we have them. That's something) and the union (until something crap comes from Janus, it's strong), we don't get actual sick time or vacation, so... anyway.  Nous's dad recovered nicely. He liked his time in rehab; he had a new audience for his jokes (he's the only extrovert in the family, poor guy). My mom is recovering, but her attitude is far wobblier.

The HS students give teacher awards. But I was provoked.
So...  I didn't have much left for students at the HS who were dealing with murdered friends and school shootings all over and general teenageriness. I had even less left for the ostensible adults in uni who sit in my office and explain that they just can't write this boring essay, they just don't do well on things they don't like, it's who they are. (While assuring me it's the class, not me, that they hate. I assured them back: I don't hate you either, okay? But your grade is sinking like a sinking thing, kid, so you better find it in yourself to adult and write the fucking essay. I didn't say fucking. That time.) There are moments when I feel like a crap teacher, which I know is, well, crap, because I'm good at this job and they have to meet me partway or it doesn't work. And there have been amazing students, too, just stellar. They are the reason I keep doing this job, right there.

And, and, I wanted to be done with the draft of the WIP by now, but HA. No. Even making wordcount on the days I scheduled for writing, no. I am at the stage where I am convinced it's totally awful, which, haha, is incidentally the place where I did trash a whole manuscript a couple years ago because it was total shit, so... this feeling is not without precedent or merit, though I don't think it will apply to WIP. I just have a much harder time dismissing feelings of failure with the writing than I do with the teaching.

So yeah. Looking forward to spinning my balls.