Log in

Previous 10

Jan. 3rd, 2015


Chronicles of a Terrible Updater

I meant to do an end of the year post, but you see how that turned out. I have so many balls in the air that the Internet ball rarely even joins them; it sits on the table while I refuse to think about how full my RSS reader must be.

So, last year! I transferred stores, went back to management, had two short stories published, returned to school, changed majors, and took up piano again after ten years. Also, I literally sang for my grade. I expected that to be nerve-wracking, but oddly my experience teaching dog-training classes came to my aid--I'm only moderately nervous singing to an audience, since I feel like I'm interacting with them. Piano involves being stared at while I look at something else, plus all the teenage memories of catastrophic Bach failures at recitals (I tanked the third-to-last measure of Bach in my piano jury, too. Third-to-last! I was SO CLOSE. But fortunately I'd already played the Bach piece well at my semester recital, so the professors knew I could do it).

Surviving the holiday retail season this year was a special challenge--this store is much busier than my old location, which means a greater number of those customers who make new cashiers cry and managers quietly imagine homicide while smiling and nodding. Also, there's a really quality level of crazy cat lady here. One talked to me for thirty minutes about the Fluoride Action Network and how fluoride is evil and the conspiracy of people who evilly put it in our water. Another actually cried in the aisle when she discovered her cat litter was made from GMO corn rather than organic. I tried to be comforting but honestly I have the tender-emotion-expression skills of the average teakettle, so I'm not sure how successful I was.

A friend talked me into seeing the latest Hobbit movie on New Year's Eve. My two favorite characters: 1, the war-moose; 2, Thranduil's clothing. The rest of the movie, well, it--it happened.

My mom and I are slowly Netflixing our way through the X-Men movies, because we are on the cutting edge of pop culture. Our favorite character: Wolverine's abs.

Despite my general lack of free time, I read quite a large number of books last year. My overall favorite of the new releases was The Goblin Emperor, by Katharine Addison/Sarah Monette, although Ilona Andrews' Burn For Me made a surprising run for the top. I bounced off her Kate Daniels series pretty thoroughly, but this new world/series was deeply enjoyable, especially the heroine's large, loving, and eccentric family. The heroine's power--telling when people are lying--was also a great deal of fun.

On a super-nerdy note, my other favorite of the year was Everett Fox's The Five Books of Moses, which is not new but was new to me; it's a much more literal translation from Hebrew than most English versions of the Pentateuch, so it gives some fascinating angles and rhythms on different passages. I'm really excited to take Intro to Biblical Hebrew this fall semester. (Neeeeerd.)

Bring it on, 2015!

Oct. 10th, 2014


"Redwing" up at Kaleidotrope!

My short story "Redwing" is up in Kaleidotrope's autumn issue! I love this one and am so pleased to share it. (Also, this issue's header-illustration is great.)

Sep. 24th, 2014


All We Like Sheep

One of the choirs I'm in is performing selections from Handel's Messiah this December, which means I spent part of today singing "All We Like Sheep (Have Gone Astray)." This chorus is ridiculously fun to sing, y'all. Every part goes every which way, completely suiting the subject matter. I love it.

Sep. 22nd, 2014

bird of paradise

First Choir Concert!

It went pretty well, I think. We got a standing ovation, so apparently the audience thought so too. Always a nice confirmation! No one fainted or fell off the risers, either, though the girl next to me did have to sit down very quickly at one point. I was worried I'd have a hypoglycemic episode, because there's nothing like close quarters, overheating, and exerting yourself for two hours to give you confidence in your blood sugar stability, but whew. Made it through without a hint of dizziness.

(My feet, on the other hand...I have never before had my feet actually go numb while standing, but I guess that is the magic of new patent leather heels. I couldn't feel anything below the ankle--I just prayed that I wouldn't lose my balance, tumble down six steps, and sprawl spectacularly onto the church floor.)

The quieter but still thrilling success of the night: Lancome lipstick. It is free of all soy, even the sneaky soy-derived chemicals that don't get labeled as soy. Which meant I wore it all evening without headache, stomachache, or abdominal cramps of the sort to make you curl up and reconsider this whole 'being alive' thing.* Yessssss.

So, in all: a good night! Now I will go collapse into sleep.

*Examples sadly not picked at random.

Sep. 19th, 2014


What Was I Thinkin'

It's never a good sign when a Dierks Bentley song's refrain can describe your life. In this case I was not thinking of little white tank tops, but perhaps of chords. Or word roots. My comparison has fatally broken down at this point, so I will say straight-out: in the first week of classes I realized I had no interest in SLP work and changed to a double major in music and Biblical languages.

Cue the Dierks Bentley song.

This was a boggling decision on two fronts: 1) this will result in my eventually possessing THREE impractical degrees, and 2) we had already had a week of classes at that point. Last week I talked to the department dean with the notion of changing next semester.

DEAN: Well, if you're going to do it, you might as well do it now and not spend a semester on classes you don't need.
ME: But classes are already underway.
DEAN: Well, you have until Tuesday of the second week to swap them.
ME: It's Monday at noon.
DEAN: You should probably decide fast.

So the last week has been a mad scramble to catch up in three music classes and a higher-level Torah class. Also I added an hour of piano instruction a week and doubled my voice lessons. I no longer recall what sleep is, but despite that I'm loving everything so much I'm pretty sure I made the right decision.

(I'm not sure what my next step will be after these majors, but let me tell you, I will be thoroughly qualified to teach parrots to sing in Hebrew)

Aug. 31st, 2014



Time for a traditional "I aten't dead" post! Sorry, LJ. I read you faithfully, but I am terrible about commenting and posting. I've also experimented with various social-media-vacation periods, which showed me how stressful Twitter is. To me, at least; other people have probably mastered the 'dip in as you have time, let the rest flow past.' I always feel like I'm failing if I can't keep up with every single tweet. There you go, an alternative title for this post: Confessions of a Twitter Failure.

In (arguably) non-fail news, I start classes on Tuesday! It will be six years to the week since I graduated with my first bachelor's degree.

(A pause here to stare into the distance with a stoic expression)

I did settle on the Communication Disorders path, not nutrition/dietetics, because I already spend so much time dealing with my food restrictions and cooking that if I had to dedicate the rest of the day to everyone else's, I would go mad. So I'll spend the next two years finishing an undergrad degree in Comm Disorders, then (hopefully) two more years doing a master's to become a fully certified SLP (speech-language pathologist). I'm thinking I want to head more toward the injury/recovery path than early childhood intervention. I don't have anything against small children (except the monstrously ill-behaved ones), but I'd much rather work with all ages dealing with recovery from injury and other medical issues.

Backtrack slightly: I mentioned I spend a lot of time cooking. I may start posting some of that on LJ, now that I am out of the "This is marginally edible, I think?" phase and into "Hey, this tastes pretty good and actually resembles real food!". I mean, I still have some spectacular disasters, so don't worry, those would appear too. (The avocado-mayonnaise egg salad? Disaster. Terrible. And yet the avocado-mayonnaise potato salad? Delicious.)

Things I am ridiculously excited about:

Sept 2nd--new Martha Wells book! Stories of the Raksura Vol. 1 comes out, a pair of novellas set in (obviously) her Raksura world. Biology, complex non-human societies, people bantering while being competent!

Sept 9th--the anthology Monstrous Affections comes out! I'm primarily excited for this because it contains "Wings in the Morning", the capstone story to Sarah Rees Brennan's ongoing serial The Turn of the Story. Extremely grumpy Elliot goes to magic school, has Opinions about magicland, does not understand why everyone keeps trying to solve problems by hitting things with swords, wants to become magicland diplomat. Magicland: very dubious about this Elliot kid.

Sept 23rd--more Sarah Rees Brennan news: Unmade, the third of her Lynburn Legacy trilogy comes out. Angela is queen of my heart. (My heart clearly contains soft spots for grumps.)

O September, come swiftly!

Jan. 15th, 2014

laughing cheetah

(no subject)

Things I meant to do this morning: clean the snake tank, organize my bookcase, pick up meds, clean the fridge.

Things I have actually done this morning: signed up for the Santa Barbara half-marathon.
Tags: ,

Dec. 31st, 2013


(no subject)

Wow. The last time I posted here, I'd just found out I had reactive hypoglycemia. A lot has happened since then!

I will start with the non-medical first: I began voice lessons! Also I applied to a local university, and will begin attending next September in either the Communication Disorders program or the Nutrition and Dietetics one. Currently I am leaning toward nutrition, for reasons that will shortly become clear. But: singing! My new university has a great music department and I want to audition for one of the choral groups, come autumn. Singing is so much fun.

I had originally planned to attend Moorpark College's Exotic Animal Training and Management program in 2014, because I love both animals and training, but then I realized I am allergic to dust, and animals, and trees, and weeds, and probably America's Teaching Zoo is not the right place for me. Last September was a rather sad month as I came to grips with that.

In October I realized I was having weird headaches, nausea, and mood swings that did not correlate with my blood sugar levels. I did a restricted allergen-limited diet to pinpoint the cause. It turns out that I am allergic to soy.* Do you know what soy is in?

It is in everything.

Soup. Salad dressing. Baked goods. Spices. Anything with the words "lecithin," "vegetable protein," or "natural flavor" in the ingredient list. I am the most paranoid grocery shopper in the universe now. On the other hand, I no longer have random bouts of dizziness, grouchiness, or heart palpitations. Also my mother and grandmother appreciate understanding why I was such a fussy, vomit-prone baby (most baby formula contains soy).

At the end of October I had my first appointment with my endocrinologist, who is incredibly good and thoroughly strange. I would not be surprised if I walked in one day and he were talking to a pair of Men In Black agents checking his interstellar visa. But, like I said: a very good endocrinologist.

I told him about my reactive hypoglycemia, and my family history of hypothyroidism. He ordered enough lab panels that they drew seven vials of my blood. That was pretty impressive to see stacked up. When the results came back, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. What this means is that my own immune system is attacking and destroying my thyroid.

My immune system is, you might have noticed, a consistent problem. But as my sister's endocrinologist said, if you're going to have an autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto's is the best of the lot. (My sister, upon my diagnosis, went to her doctors and tested positive for the same thing.)

So my endo started me on Synthroid, a thyroid-hormone-replacement medication. Things went swimmingly through November: I stopped feeling cold all the time! My blood sugar issues improved! My...skin broke out in tiny red dots everywhere?

With dark suspicion, I inspected Synthroid's ingredients. One of the inactive ones was acacia. My old foe tree-pollen allergy had crept up on me. I'm not allergic to acacia, but apparently it's close enough to the trees I am allergic to that I had cross-reactivity. My obliging endocrinologist inspected my dot-speckled visage in fascination, and agreed to my petition for a special filler-free thyroid medication called Tirosint.

So far I am not allergic to the new thyroid medication. I am not letting my guard down any time soon, however. I don't trust my immune system farther than I can throw a hippo.

In December, while reading about Hashimoto's, I found out that it shares a genetic link with celiac disease and Type I diabetes. Many Hashi patients can't eat gluten because it further inflames their immune system.

I took a grim look at my already-limited diet, then stopped eating bread and anything else with gluten. Four days of panic attacks, streaming eyes and nose, and depression later, I suddenly felt great. The years-old ache in my joints went away.

For those keeping track, the Things Sparky Can't Eat are: sugar, soy, caffeine, alcohol, gluten.

One unexpected thing I can eat: coconut palm sugar! It's very low on the glycemic index, and diabetic-safe, and tastes like sugar. And I CAN EAT IT. A world of lemonade and hot cocoa and crustless pumpkin pie is opened to me. I never thought I'd drink lemonade again.

In this period I also read what seemed like 200 books, which I will catalogue in a different post. This one's getting long enough.

So: that is the State of Sparky. I'm pretty excited for 2014. I will continue singing! I will prepare to go back to university! I will start writing a new novel! I will drink lemonade!

Exciting times, y'all. Exciting times.

*Technically it is not an IgE-mediated allergy, as my allergist's scratch test demonstrated, but a soy intolerance. However, when eating the smallest trace of something makes me get dizzy, fall over, and have trouble swallowing through an itchy throat, I'm going to call it an allergy.


Jul. 25th, 2013

life in ruins

(no subject)

It turns out that I have reactive hypoglycemia. This is a not-wonderful condition in which, after I have a meal with lots of carbohydrates, my blood sugar spikes, my body freaks out and dumps a bunch of insulin in my bloodstream, and my blood sugar plummets. Milder crashes lead to headache, queasiness, irritability, general shakiness; worse ones lead to fainting, and without treatment to convulsions and potentially death. (I've only hit the almost-passed-out stage, although that was bad enough. According to my mom, "You know how in crime dramas, they show the dead girl on the slab right before the autopsy starts? That was what you looked like.") It's what happens to diabetics if they overdose on insulin.

I'm more relieved than anything--I've known for a while there was something wrong, but now I know what, and how to treat it. Unfortunately, the treatment is mostly a very controlled diet. No sugar, no caffeine, lots of fruits and veggies, lean meat, whole grains.

Those of you who know my eating habits, you're probably wondering if it's okay to laugh into your keyboard. It's okay. It's totally okay.

Those of you unfamiliar with said eating habits, I am infamous at several workplaces as "the girl who brings cans of chocolate frosting for lunch, and has Diet Dr. Pepper in her veins."

No sugar. No caffeine. I have become one of The Label People, those who stand in the grocery aisle poring over items' nutritional info and muttering things like, "But what about the carb-protein ratio?" I feel faintly ashamed and guilty whenever someone comes past, as if they'll mistake me for a voluntarily healthy eater. Oh, the shame of trail mix and leafy greens. The shame. I am even close to enjoying cottage cheese.

My diet will never, however, include hummus. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Jul. 12th, 2013


"In Glamourglass Court" is up at The Colored Lens!

Actually, it was posted a week ago, but I am just that on the ball. Embarrassing.

In any case, my story about wizards and the detectives who look disapprovingly at them is now available online!

Previous 10