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Yesterday I got home from work, changed into a tanktop, hopped on my bike, and took a long slow dreamy ride up and down the River Road, on a late afternoon that was soaked in Essence-of-Late-Summer, as heavy with sun as a peach with juice, aglow, ripe, languid.

Today? I just spent fifteen minutes trotting around performing the ritual of closing the big casement windows all around my house, for the first time in three months, closing and *latching* them, because it's 56 degree out, forecast to go down to 47 tonight, with a chilly searching wind. (They are in no mood to shut, what with three months of settling and warping, and quantities of leaves and spiderwebs and whatnot accumulated inside the frame, so getting them closed involves cranking them as far shut as possible; then going outside and pushing mightily on the windowframe to move them that last crucial inch; then coming inside and seeing if they'll latch; then going outside and shoving the windowframe some more. It would have been much better to do this *before * it got dark out, needless to say.)

And so ends another summer (though god knows we'll get more warm days before the snow flies). I'm fine with this; the past few weeks have been a showcase of the various glories and seductions of late summer, as beautiful an August as I can recall, but part of the pleasure of the season is the sense of autumn seeping in around the edges. The older I get, the more firmly I believe that this early-August to late-November stretch is the best season of the year by *far*, infinitely preferable to the more jejune April-May-June interlude. And there's still plenty of it left to enjoy.
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So around a half-hour ago, I realized I was out of cigarettes, and although it was raining pretty seriously, all you addicts in the crowd will understand that Out-Of-Cigarettes is a crisis that justifies going out into the friggin' Apocalypse. So I got my umbrella, headed out to the car, and as soon as I got in, the skies opened.

I would say that I've never SEEN such rain, except that I have, twice: once in Santa Cruz in '82 when the San Lorenzo came within a couple of inches of overflowing the dikes; and once in '87 when a supercell stalled over the Twin Cities and we got ten inches in an hour and everyone's basement flooded.

In any event, it was the sort of rain when having an umbrella really makes no difference whatsoever, because all air has been displaced by water. Driving, it was exactly like being in a carwash, lacking only the big rotating brush and the cloth strips going swush-swush. The five steps into the convenience store and back out to the car got me drenched all over; getting out of the car once home got me instantly soaked up to the knees, because the curbs were hubcap-deep in fast-running water. All traffic on the freeway was at a dead stop (I noted with some schadenfreude), on the city streets I could creep along no faster than 10 mph because I couldn't see, and two blocks from my house I crossed paths with some poor sod heading home on a bicycle.

The whole thing made me insanely gleeful, as do all incursions of wild irrational weather not involving Hellish Heat, and (having now changed my clothes and shoes) I'm still sitting here grinning, purely cheerful for the first time in weeks.
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Having typed and deleted two paragraphs of depress-o navel-gazing, I'll merely say that one side benefit of the Now-Departing and Wholly Unlamented Fucking Heat Wave was the discovery that the really well-built guy who just moved in next door likes to take his shirt off and sit out on his back steps in hot weather. rrrrroooowwwwrrr.
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Radar picture as of a few minutes ago. Hoo boy, and also, yay storm!

(On reflection, it might not be a bad idea to shut the computer down for a while.)
katallison: (Default)
Thunderstorm! Coming on! With a cold front behind it!

Come on, thunderstorm!!!!
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While everyone else revels in HBP, I'm having a wholly unwarranted amount of fun this weekend browsing through the [livejournal.com profile] ts_ficathons stories. Unwarranted, because I was never even slightly a Sentinel fan; but there are excellent writers participating, many of whom have been away from TS for a while, and in reading their stories, I keep getting a feeling of -- well, a sort of uncomplicated happiness, a nostalgic reunion with beloved characters and situations, and I'm taking vicarious pleasure in their enjoyment (and in the excellence of many of the stories).

And even though this weekend is even more ridiculously hot than the week preceding, I've finally decided to just quit bitching and relax about it. I spent the bulk of the day at a very wonderful nearby library, which has (in addition to books and air conditioning) a coffeeshop right in the same building, with free WiFi and ample plug-ins, and I camped out there with my laptop and headphones and reading material and had a good time. Now I'm back home in my 88-degree house, wearing as little clothing as humanly possible, sipping a glass of cheap white wine with icecubes in it, flipping between the Cubs game and the hurricane special on Nat'l Geographic, and cultivating positive mental attitude. The Voice of Depression (and its thuggish buddy, the Hitman of Anxiety Disorder) are still skulking on the horizon, but I'm giving 'em the stink-eye and kicking 'em to the curb. TO THE CURB!
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I have been trying to compose a post which makes no reference whatsoever to the godawful fucking heatwave currently in its zillionth day. Without any great success.

Since the g.f.h. has liquified my few brain cells, all I have left to say was actually said much better by the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] inapickle, and I quote: I myself am not interested in Harry Potter, but I'm thrilled vicariously for all of you out there who love him and his friends, however you choose to do it. I could repeat this with "SGA" in place of "Harry Potter" and it'd be just as true (though somewhat less grammatical). My interest in both these fandoms is nonexistent, but it's great fun to see all my beloved friends having such fun.

Meanwhile, (returning to my own preoccupation, the aforementioned g.f.h.), we are in train here to set some kind of record for consecutive days above 90. Whee. *desultorily tossing a handful of damp confetti, which drops limply to the ground and shrivels*

I guess I could also pass along a Very Important Life Lesson for anyone living through a g.f.h. without the aid of either air conditioning or a dishwasher, which is -- in such circumstances, it is imperative to wash any dish, vessel or cooking implement as soon as one is done with it, as unpleasant as the concept may be, because if one instead defaults to one's slovenly habit of Oh, I'll just put it in the sink to soak for a few hours [days, weeks], the results will be of a disgustingness heretofore unimagined in the darkest slimy nightmares of foetid and malodorous decay.

That's all. Carry on with your HBP-reading and McKay/Sheppard squeeing, oh legions of the friendslist. Me, I'm off to haul the bottle of Bombay Sapphire out of the freezer and pour myself another slug.
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I look at the Nat'l Weather Service website, and the forecast highs for the next few days run 90 ... 92 ... 90 ... 90 ... 92 ...

It might get down into the mid-80s by Monday, but that far out it's a crapshoot. Hell, it could stay like this into August.

At work, the upheavals of the past months have settled into a steady simmer of uncertainty about our future, collectively and individually; the refrain is we don't know, we don't know, we just don't know. Some clarity might emerge by December, perhaps, or maybe not.

The current state of existence is like being becalmed in the Sargasso; heavy, motionless, suffocating, paralyzed. The feeling is something must change, but no change is foreseeable. And in the meantime, the rock has to be pushed up the mountain every day. One must rise at 4:30 to begin the chores of airing out the house (opening doors and windows, stationing fans), before sealing everything up at 7:30, or the place will be unbearable come evening. One must head into work, and carry out the chores of administrivia, and morale-boosting of one's staff, and meetings and memoranda. And then head home to the house that is, despite one's early morning efforts, sweltering and airless.

Next door, somebody is dribbling a basketball over and over, in the thick darkness. No sense of a game being played, baskets being shot, points scored. Just the thud thud thud, over and over, audible even over the roar of the fans pushing the heavy sullen air around.

And so to bed.
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In the Weather News of Limited Interest category, it is hot here. Very, very hot. And shall continue to be, for the next few days at least. I'm running my piece-o'-crap portable air conditioner, which has, at the cost of massive electrical consumption, managed to bring the indoor air temperature down to maybe six degree below the outdoor air temperature. But really, I'll take every degree I can get.

I had as a houseguest last night the wholly delightful [livejournal.com profile] arallara, who's at about the halfway point on her Great Cross-Country Trip. It was most excellent to just have some relaxed, unpressured time with her to sit around, gab, drink wine, cook stuff, and gab some more; Aral's one of those people who's utterly comfortable to be with, and with whom I never have to stress about oh, god, do I have enough conversational gambits scripted out to keep things going?. She headed out early this afternoon, and I am left envying her her wonderful road trip, and hoping that the fates conspire so that we end up living closer to each other someday.

And Mr. P. is coming over tonight, so in recognition of the incredible state of Suffocating Heat, I've fixed:

Seafood Gazpacho )
katallison: (patti2)
Beautiful, beautiful day, the kind of weather that causes one to remember why one puts up with Minnesota's multifarious meteorological miseries; cool, clear, fresh, brilliantly sunny, and everything in the full lush leaf and flower of high midsummer.

Which means I'm in the grip of my usual Beautiful Weather Affective Disorder, and am trying to focus instead on the list of concrete tasks to be accomplished this weekend. I've already cleaned out an amazing assortment of putrefying biomass from the refrigerator; once dishes are washed, I'll start on tonight's dinner. (Crockpot carnitas, not particularly authentic but dead simple; put a big chunk of pork loin or shoulder in the crockpot along with a quartered onion, quartered jalapeno, some chopped garlic, chopped cilantro, cumin, bay leaf, and enough chicken stock and/or beer to mostly cover. Cook 4-6 hours. (That's on high; on low, make it 8-10 hours.) Remove, drain/shred meat, serve with fresh corn tortillas, fresh salsa, avocado, refried beans, and beer aplenty. Yum.)

And because I am braindead, today's game, gacked from Metachat:

What do you have on your computer desk? )
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Really, few life pleasures can compare with that interlude at the end of a hot sticky June day, when the clouds begin to roil and turn dark and weird, and one settles back with a good book and a beer and the Weather Channel showing the lurid scarlet blobs boiling up on the radar. I shall now go stand on the back deck for a bit, smelling the ozone and the cool sudden blasts of wind, and wait for the storm to hammer us.
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Lovely lovely evening, soft and fragrant. It's overcast--not the heavy overcast of impending rain, but a sort of high vaguely muted dappled-grey sky. The air is very still and mild, not warm, not chilly, and many birds are singing, and the trees are suffused with the tender fresh green of new leaves just unfurling. I adore grey days like this, vastly preferring them to brilliant sunshine/blue skies, and I reflect once again that I really should be living in the Pacific NW, and that my own personal hell would be, let's say, late afternoon in LA on a hot summer day, with the scorching blinding sun, and the stench of dust and traffic fumes, and being covered all over with sticky filthy sweat.

This week has been one of the worst of my recent memory, for job-related reasons that don't need explication at this juncture, and around midday on Thursday I lost my shit completely while talking with my best-buddy-at-work P., and had a minor meltdown in her office about all the stuff I haven't been dealing with adequately the past few weeks, and how behind I am on everything, and how asphyxiated with guilt I feel about about all of it. She heard me out, and then peaceably said something along the lines of "You know, you've really had a bad half-year, what with your boyfriend having the cancer surgery, and your father and stepmother dying, and now all this stuff at work." And somehow, hearing her say this -- I still feel bad about having gotten so behind on everything, and I still hate being That Person who Can't Cope And Has the Meltdown when life gets snarly, but I was able to take a step back and realize that actually there's a reason why my functioning has been a bit subpar lately, and after breathing deeply for a while I managed to regain some sort of equilibrium and focus. I'm still behind on everything and stressed, but am at least no longer in the asphyxiated with guilt space.

And eeeee! [livejournal.com profile] heres_luck tagged me with the music meme, and I shall attempt to comply (at some point, probably tomorrow), though great is my inadequacy and unworthiness. I should do it now, but I am going to watch Ed Wood and munch on pretzels and drink cheap champagne. Friday!!
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It's started snowing out. They're now forecasting that we won't get the 1-2 feet after all, that it'll concentrate south of the cities, but we should still get several inches, which is fine. I never much mind March blizzards; they're like LJ kerfuffles, dramatic and overblown and flouncy but you know they'll melt away in short order. (November-December blizzards, on the other hand, are like blood feuds, heavy, inexorable, and in for the long haul.)

Project of the Week has been keeping the house clean, after last weekend's big clean-up, and my main discovery (apart from hmmm, this is a lot less work than I thought it would be) is that I have WAY too many coffee mugs. Because if one only does dishes once a week or so, one *needs* a lot of mugs, so that one's pre-dawn lunge for caffeine is not delayed by the need to dig a dirty mug out of the sink and wash it. But now that I'm washing up daily, and even putting the clean dishes away instead of living out of the dish drainer, I may need to move some of these to storage.

Today is a day of huzzah! because the university is closed (spring break holiday) and I have a whole, entire day with nothing to do except watch the snow fall and start inching my way back into writing. Well, that latter is not so much of the huzzah!, maybe, and more perhaps of the eeeek!, because I have been very very stalled out lately with the putting of words on the hard drive. I say "stalled" rather than "blocked" since there's nothing really impeding me, just that I've lost momentum. The daily habit of getting sentences cranked out is one of those Newton's-First-Law things like the daily habit of exercising, or washing the dishes, a whole lot easier to keep going with once started than to start up from a dead stop. But what I'm telling myself is, self, if you can actually keep your house cleaned up for a whole week, getting some progress on that fucking story ought to be *cake.*
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E-mail sent out on the college-wide listserv, 3:40 this afternoon:

"Due to the snow, I have decided it is best to close the college early today. Go home! Drive carefully!

[signed, Bossman]"

Whatta sweetie. The snow is not actually all that horrific; 3-4 inches on the ground maybe, but falling thick and fast. We should have perhaps a half-foot by morning.

However, this is the first actual snow we've had all winter--it's been the least snowy winter of the past *century* in these parts. We had that weird splurt of freezing slushy rain around New Year's, which instantly laminated itself to the ground in a half-inch-thick sheet of white slippery linoleum, and then a few wan ineffectual thin flurries on top of that. But this is the first by-god snow of the season, and so of course everyone is freaking out, and driving like idiots.

And for all my cursing of it, I am once again helplessly reminded that the snow is the great compensation for living in this climate, because it is so exquisitely and utterly beautiful. It's very mild out, muffled, dimly luminous, and everything is white and grey and softly swirling.

I am home, eating a big bowl of whole-wheat pasta with pesto and sipping red wine. Work was absolutely crazed today, with project after crisis after dilemma piling up on my desk and in my voicemail, and I've brought home a stack of papers to work on this weekend, in between bouts of dealing with family crises. But the snow makes everything calmer (at least once one is off the roads), and the wine makes everything mellower, and assuming nothing immediate happens tonight with the family crises, I think I shall burrow in under a blanket and watch Millennium episodes. (My season 2 disks came last week! Yay!!)
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The temperature slid below zero sometime early this morning, and has been going down down down ever since. It will hit -14 or so tonight, and will not get above zero until maybe sometime Monday. This depresses me less than it might, because--hah!--tomorrow morning I am getting in my car and (assuming it starts, a subject of mighty prayer around here this evening) I shall drive to Chicago for a long weekend of hanging out with cool people, I-Man marathoning, and general relaxation.

This is sorely needed, because the last week or two I've felt a little remote from fandom; squee-less, vaguely depressed, preoccupied with massive job overload, and full of midwinter bleh. So I'm going for the Total-Immersion therapy, with a side order of Getting-the-Hell-Away-From-RL. Will be back here sometime next week, with (I hope) a recharge of vim.
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I seem to be obsessed with babbling about weather tonight, for which I beg forgiveness, but my god, it's so odd outside. The ice continues to fall heavily from the sky and is piling up on all surfaces, big thick granular shoals of it like someone was running an enormous snow-cone machine over the city. But the air is very mild, and the sky is incredibly *light*. I've never quite figured why some winter nights are so luminous (in this case, it must be partly due to city lights refracting off of millions and millions of ice crystals in the air), but just now, as an experiment, I took a book out on my back deck (ice crunching underfoot) and was able to read fine print with perfect ease. It would be a wonderful night to go wandering around with a camera, except for the fact that I'd fall down and break a hip within three steps.
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Holy CRAP, we just had a huge flash of lightning and then BLAMMO! thunder rattling the windows. This does not happen in winter. Like, ever.

I stuck my head out the back door and it is pelting down freezing rain/sleet so hard the noise like being inside a popcorn popper. While I dig wild weather, I have to say that freezing rain is my all-time least-favorite manifestation thereof. Snow you can shovel, plow, wade through; but freezing rain welds your car doors shut, makes the sidewalks into skating rinks, and basically locks you in the house. Gah. Damn good thing I don't have to go anywhere tonight, and that the roads are not full of New Year's Eve drunks.
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OMG it is not just WARM out it is freaking TROPICAL it is ALMOST 50 DEGREES! I was just standing out on my back deck WITH NO COAT ON and was PERFECTLY COMFORTABLE! On DECEMBER 30!!! I shall now proceed straight to the clothes-ripping-off and gambolling part of the agenda. ::rend, rend:: ::gambol, gambol::

(This utterly unnecessary post brought to you by global warming, getting off work early, and a nice big glass of chardonnay.)
katallison: (Default)
Oh my god, it's warm out today, warm and mild and drizzly! Well, that is to say, it's 33 F, which I realize may not seem "warm" exactly to some readers in the banana belt, but to put it another way, it's 40 degrees warmer than it was a week ago at this time. Or to put it yet another way, the temperature difference between a week ago and now is the same as the difference between now and 73 degrees. Which is the sort of insane weather minutae I clutter my head up with, but suffice it to say that given it's almost January I am well pleased. It's supposed to get up to 43 today, and if it does I may just rip off my clothes and go gambolling about.

It's a peaceful day at work; almost nobody is around, I'm listening to Nick Drake and Josquin Desprez and the drizzling rain, nibbling leftover Christmas cookies, and slowly and methodically working my way through academic review, checking probation students to see who's still on probation, who's gotten back in good standing, and who needs to be suspended. On the one hand, this is a little depressing ("Oh, crap! Ryan, what happened, dude??"), but on the other hand gives me an oddly and weightily peaceful sense of acting as the Hand of the GPA Gods. And it's nice to have sole control of this process, for the first time (in my new job role); previously this was scattered amongst all the advisors and things invariably got screwed up in bizarre ways.

Tomorrow, I think, I'm gathering with my sisters-in-law to watch LotR DVDs on my brother-and-SiL#1's new 60" HDTV (their Christmas present to themselves). Tomorrow night, the usual champagne with Mr. P. as we strive to stay awake until midnight. And then, a nice open weekend for writing and the contemplation of Major Bad-Habit-Amending Life Changes To Be Initiated.
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Current conditions: -9 F, -27 F windchill. It's supposed to get up into the 30s next week, though, so no biggie.

The bus ride into work was nice this morning, with much easygoing camaradarie amongst the passengers, partly due to the weather ("Hey! Pretty cold, sure, but nothin' we can't handle!") and partly due to the "Hey! We're here, we're on the job, even though all those other wussies are takin' the day off!" factor. There was one particularly jolly guy in the front who looked like the love-child of Ernest Borgnine and Billy Bob Thornton, except he was missing most of his front teeth, and it was pleasant to sit and listen to the banter going back and forth, while watching the sun rise, all luridly pink-orange, over the frozen Mississippi.

And this is actually quite a pleasant day to be at work; almost nobody else is here, so I can get stuff done (and I have a lot of stuff to get done) in a low-key non-pressured way. Plus, I get all kinds of brownie points for actually *being* here, when everyone else is taking the day off. I've got some Dowland lute music playing on my computer, and chocolate to nibble, and very sweet cards from my co-workers on my bulletin board, and a space heater running to counteract the *freezing drafts* billowing in from the incredibly leaky windows. And I have a four-day weekend in prospect, when I can loll around reading all the new stories that will come on-line, and maybe get some writing going.

All of you who will be out and travelling in the snowier parts of the country, be careful! (Especially because our cold air seems to be headed your way. Sorry about that!)


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November 2009



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