Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bra Fits, Packets, and Birthdays

This week at work I finally finished the 25 bra fits required for my work certification.  I am now an official 'fitter' and am past my probational period.  I've been working at LHB for four months now and there is very little to complain about, in fact, I really enjoy this job.  It has a few things going for it that my previous jobs didn't.  Firstly, it's a part-time schedule that changes slightly from week to week allowing for flexibility in when I work.  Secondly, it's a tiny group of employees - there are only six of us and we all get along.  Thirdly, it's low stress and while it does have some dragging moments, it's never really boring.  On the days when we have few customers we pass the time with restocking pegs, catching up on each others' lives, drinking coffee, or talking about food, family, significant others, and soap operas.  We have had a few shoplifting cases lately and so we've had to be extra on the lookout when we have several customers in the store, but aside from that, it's been just great.

Now, if only my homework was going as smoothly.  I've tackled the creative portion of the writing and have two lengthy and (I think) nicely composed chapters.  My mentor's past comments were tremendously helpful in restructuring and expanding certain scenes and I think that this packet's creative work will be very well received.  It's the critical stuff I'm having an issue with.  I know what I'm going to write, now I just need to do it.  Today was set aside for homework and I woke with the vigor of a student ready to tackle the world!  But then my period happened.  It's been one of the worst ones I've had in a while and I've been in so much pain all day and so drugged up on pain killers that my head's been in a fog and I haven't gotten a damn thing done.  I'm finally clearing up a little - which means I probably need another round of Ibuprofen.  I need to write at least one paper tonight, but even just writing this blog post has been a challenge to me.  My eyes keep trying to close and my head starts to nod forward.  I'm thinking of taking a nap and then waking up sometime in the wee hours of the morning.

I do have until the sixth to submit the packet and typically the craft analyses don't take more than a few hours to write out and proofread.  Once I get started on them, I crank them out pretty efficiently.  But it's Hannah's birthday on the fifth and we are leaving on Monday to spend two nights in Bonner's Ferry at the casino with my aunt and mother.  We'll have our own room and hopefully my period will be over by then as I reckon there'll be some loving to be had.  There should also be time at the casino to read, write, edit, and work on homework but it would be nice to be completely done with everything before we left.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

It began with a Denny's breakfast.  I wore my high heeled wedges and a skirt; Hannah wore some 'fuck me' make up.  We met my parents at the little diner and all had essentially the same thing: coffee, cranberry juice, water, Grand Slam.  The only difference was in the eggs.  Hannah and I had ours over medium while my parents chose over easy.  After our scrumptious meal we headed over to Hasting's and enjoyed their 'two mochas for three bucks' Valentine's Day deal.  

From there Mom and Dad had to tend to some errands, so Hannah and I returned home.  It was loving time.  We tickled, we cuddled, we made a mess of the bed and just in time too, as the parents returned shortly thereafter.  Then something happened that I've only heard about and never experienced myself: a burst of post coital energy!  I cleaned the kitchen like a mother-fucker, did the dishes, emptied the cat-box, and wiped out the microwave.  I've heard of women who, in the after glow of love-making, tackle the garage.  I've never been one of them.  I'm very much a 'dude' I suppose; there's a bang and then I'm down for the count, snoring away into the happy afternoon.  But today I was productive and I feel it is essential to write it down here because it was the only bout of productivity I had.

After cleaning and what not, the parents, Hannah, and I all went to the hospital to see my aunt who was admitted due to pneumonia a few days back.  We brought in home made coleslaw, some french bread, diet sodas, and some SuperOne chicken.  It wasn't our ideal Valentine's dinner but it was really nice to be able to share it with my aunt.  She appreciated the good food and the company.  

Upon our return to home, I hit my 'bang I'm down' mode. I fell asleep in mom's room watching MASH.  She kicked me out when she wanted to roll over in the bed and so I tottered my way into the living room and curled up on the arm chair near Hannah.  I slept deeply until mom made a reappearance in the living room and kicked me out of her spot!  I was sensing a pattern.  I retreated to the other arm chair.  Dad tucked me in and I continued my REM cycle, dreaming of metal structures coming to life and eating people.  Now, just before the end of the Day, I am awake and considering all attempts at homework to be futile.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Mentor Hath Spoken!

Earlier today my mentor sent his responses to my packet.  I sent the packet last Thursday and he got back to me on Monday- I think that's pretty awesome.  Contained within his response was a fantastic mass of constructive criticism.  He explained that he is blunt when necessary but that he keeps in mind the feelings and time invested in the student's work.  Well, I found everything he said to make sense.  I will be taking most, if not all, of his comments into consideration as I edit and rewrite my creative work.  It will be stronger for it and his comments have done something else wonderful: they've got me right back on the writing wagon.

Today, I wrote at home for a while and around six in the evening Hannah and I ran to the library to enjoy two hours before closing time of peace and concentration.  I discovered new things about Simon today - mainly that he has a nervous condition that can bring on panic attacks - as well as further shaped a background character.  I'm going to put pieces together differently and hopefully have two full chapters (and my chapters tend to be on the longer side, sadly) all spruced up and polished and ready to be sent back to him in March. I want to get him some new material to look over as well.

One draw back on the response was that I apparently sent in my two critical analyses as read only files and so he wasn't able to give me line by line feedback as he was with the novel work.  I have several questions that I will ask him probably prior to working on my next critical pieces, but also some comments and questions that I'll include in my cover letter.  It was so wonderful to hear his thoughts and see where I need to rework things in the story and where I need to manage my words better.  Back to writing for me.  This week will be one of intense reading and pumping out new material as well as sharpening the old.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day Eleven and Twelve in Boston and Woburn

The last day of the residency entailed a 'working breakfast.'  We met up in the PDR and talked of the next phase of our education, that being the 'semester plans.'  It was advised of us not to make any large life decisions while still under the influence of radioactivity of the Residency.  This was good advice as I was pretty much decided on quitting my job and running away to join the circus to better express my creativity.  I shan't be doing that.

There were many hugs and then we dispersed back into the real world.  My Solstice Buddy, Eileen, invited me to stay the night at her home with her family rather than stay the night at the airport and I was only too excited to take her up on her generosity.  So I ventured with her and Alex, thus making a triad of Fiction writers, up toward Woburn located about thirty minutes or so North of Boston.  Beautiful country, beautiful architecture and a fun dose of culture from the other side of the United States of America.  Felt like going to Canada - so much the same, so much the different.

This is a short and sweet entry that brings my first residency experience to a close.  It does very little justice to the fantastic time I had visiting with Eileen's family (breaking the bed, cussing with her mom, watching some fun T.V., taking the Logan Express bus to the airport, and being spoiled with ice cream, Chinese food, and a meatball sub that still makes my mouth water), but I wanted to get it posted since my diary-like entries felt incomplete without the sum up.

In speaking of the residency, now that it's been about a month since seeing everyone, I find that I miss my little fiction crew most dearly and I am excited and eager to get to see everyone again in June.  I am not looking forward to the promise of heat stroke and I'm sad that I won't be with my family for the fourth of July, but I'll deal.  There will be coffee and companionship, two of the things I need most in my writing.

Plague and Update

Finished Kafka's The Trial the other day.  Perhaps I am just too craft oriented right now to understand the deeper meaning of this book.  I get the idea behind it and I get the statement on vagueness and red tape, but at the end I was left with an unsettled feeling of 'what the fuck did I just read?'  In some respects I was glad the guy got it in the end but I didn't feel he deserved it.  In my annotated bibliography I wrote that it felt like a much less interesting version of Camus' The Stranger.  And speaking of Camus, I am now currently reading The Plague.  I read the first couple of chapters aloud to Hannah and had to raise an eyebrow and admit that it was already off to a much better start than the Kafka piece.  Now, to be fair, I think I need to read some more Kafka before I decide that I'm definitely not a fan - he's been described as amazing, bizarre, and twisted, and those all sound like things I would like so... we'll have to give Metamorphosis a shot.  I don't mind slow literature, but I just did not like The Trial.

Back to The Plague: I mentioned to my mother the other day that I was reading this book and she retorted merrily that she'd read the book in its original French.  That was back in her high school days when she was quite the little proficient in the language.  When I stared back at her all wide eyed with envy my father remarked, "Yes, Amanda, we did have lives before you came along."  It gave me a good chuckle.

Currently I am sitting at Hastings sipping a hazelnut latte.  I still have quite a bit of homework to finish, not to mention a great deal of world reconstruction for my creative work, but that'll have to wait until tonight and tomorrow.  Today at work I drank the equivalent of a pot and a half of coffee and am still a bit jazzed up and unable to truly focus.  On the plus side, one of my many distractions (the air of impending doom a la taxes) will be removed from my sight tonight.  I finally got the last of the W-2 information in the mail yesterday and can finish up at Tax Hawk later this evening.  Though I highly suspect I will be owing, it will feel good to be done with it all.