So... they did total our car. We're getting a lot more for it than we expected, but we still might hold off on buying a new one for a bit. We're under a lot of financial stress lately, so hearing that they were giving us literally twice what we expected helped a lot. I'm still stressed, but it feels less apocalyptic. Anyone have a recommendation on cars I should check out? Definitely would prefer a four door with some good cargo space (trunk is fine if its roomy) and I'd love something that handles well in the snow. It's gotta have good crash test ratings. At or under $10k (preferably under... by a few thousand if possible). Obviously something a bit older is fine but I'd prefer not more than ten years old. Any thoughts anyone?
Also, while I'm asking for advice... Does anyone know a good resource for talking to young children about death in a non-religious way? Ava has been asking questions for months (which we've been answering as best we can) about death and since we are agnostic and don't believe in heaven or hell it's a pretty difficult conversation to have with a four-year-old... not that I expect its a terribly easy question to field no matter what you believe. I think the root problem is that I don't have the answers I know she's looking for, so I can't give them to her and I'm not going to lie... so she keeps asking. I'd prefer a book or something to a website with a comment section (because I can only imagine the bitter feuds that would go on there). Thanks in advance if anyone has any suggestions!
Ummm... I wanted to write more things but my brain isn't working right now.
Word about today's horrific shooting in Connecticutt spead quickly amongst the parents and teachers in my daughter's preschool class as we came to pick up our children today. Everyone hugged their kids harder than usual, tried not to cry and faked smiles for the children. Moms mumbled about home schooling and avoiding movie theaters and malls. A few talked about gun control in hushed voices, a subject I feel absolutely certain will be a loud and devisive topic around the country in the very near future. And, yes, that's a conversation that needs to happen (though I doubt it will happen in anything remotely resembling a civilized or productive way). But, to me, the issue that needs to be talked about, the root problem that needs to be addressed, is our country's mental healthcare system... or lack thereof.
I said something like that to one of the other moms and she looked at me and said "Oh! Was he insane?" And I said "Mentally healthy people don't walk into an elementary school classroom and slaughter children. So, I'm no expert but I'm gonna guess yes." She looked surprised.
The truth is, there are a lot of unknowns still about mental illness and - it should be noted - not all mentally ill people are violent. But, it was only fifty years ago that lobotomies and electoshock theapy were the height of of treatment for mental health problems and there remains an enormous stigma attached to mental illness in general. Gun control or not, things like this will continue to happen (a man in China attacked 22 school children with a knife today as well). However, we can minimize it by starting a national dialogue about mental illness, helping the public to understand and recognize it better, create a better support system for those who suffer from it and their families, and develop better treatment options that address the root problems.
My heart breaks for those poor children and their families, as well as for the suviving children who heard or saw their friends die. I cannot help but put myself in the shoes of those parents, even though I don't want to think about it. I locked myself in the bathroom so I could cry in the shower without my kids seeing. My four-year-old daughter asked me what happened. In my scrambling for a way to answer her, I told her that a bad man did something that hurt people. But it's easy to call the shooter "bad" or "evil." The harder thing is too look at why.
That's my two-cents, anyhow... for the approximately eight people that actually read my livejournal...
I haven't posted in... too long. So, here's things.
1) Dan will be on furlough (probably not for terribly long... a month or so) starting somewhere between ten days from now and November 22nd. Honestly? I'm kinda looking forward to it. Also? He shaved his head. I'm not certain, but I think it might have been partly due to much talk about how Wentworth Miller is ridiculously hot... It looks good, honestly. He's had the same haircut since he was 16 and it was making him look younger than he is (not in a great way).
2) Ava has been.... let's go with 'challenging' lately. Extremely argumentative, a little bit of regression in maturity, clingy, somewhat agressive (bit the hell out of her poor brother yesterday) and generally wildly frustrating. Screaming in my face is not okay. Copying everything I say is annoying as all hell. Acting like a baby is just ridiculous. And kicking/hitting/biting is seriously a problem. I know this isn't abnormal for a four-year-old (even though it's totally not acceptable) and I'm coping and working with her, but I won't say the frustration hasn't reduced me to tears a couple of times.
3) I have done zero plotting for my next story in my Prison Break series. Ooops? I was going to do it for NaNoWriMo, but frankly I don't know how that works with two preschool aged kids (especially when Ava is acting like this). I don't have three or four hours a day to commit. I just... I don't. Really, I don't know how I did it last time. And honestly I really want finish "Four Girls Sirius Black Could Have Fallen in Love With (And One He Did)" because it's been sitting 90% finished for like... eight months. So... yeah that's coming first (probably after the canon ending I'm writing an epilogue with AU endings because DAMN but canon is depressing like woah). So... it'll happen. Just probably not by the end of the year (though possibly I'll get a good chunk done once Dan's on furlough).
4) So, I'm watching Vampire Diaries (of course), Walking Dead, Revolution and Arrow (for now) this season. Anything rocking I'm missing out on? Vampire Diaries' premiere underwhelmed me (but their premiere always seems to?), Walking Dead was pretty great (though I desperately wanted to point out to Lori that if she dies in childbirth and comes back a walker, her baby is dead no matter what because it's not like they have baby formula lying around), Revolution feels like it's still finding its footing but I think it could be great if Charlie became less unrealistically naive and irksome, and Arrow... well, you just keep doing half-naked gratuitous excersize scenes and I'll keep on watching, mkay?
5) Guild Wars 2 has kinda fizzled for me. Loved it to start with but high end content is madly lacking and people creating drama is absurdly annoying. Don't they play these kind of games to get away from drama in their lives? I'm kinda wanting to play some Sims? Lets pretend I have time for either of these things.
6) The Twelve (sequel to The Passage) came out Tuesday! I was there when the bookstore opened to buy it. I've only had time to read the prologue so far, but I'm super excited about it. I do wish I hadn't loaned out The Passage though because I feel like I really could use a refresher...Anyhow, if you like zombies or apocolypses, go get these books. For srs. It's good stuff.
I know there's other things but my brain doesn't work today... So, anyhow, there's a brief update on my life. FUN TIMES RIGHT? I lead such an exciting existence...
Thus far today (at 8:15 in the morning) I have:
Laughed my ass off at my daughter's commentary about genitalia
Walked up to get coffee
Found missing cat (that I couldn't grab) on the way to get coffee
Randomly ran into the owner of missing cat while walking back from coffee (she saw me staring at the sign and came over)
Went grocery shopping
Discovered that my refrigerator sounds disturbingly like a coffee maker all of the sudden
To do today includes:
Take kids to mom's
Finish cleaning the old apartment
Schedule final walk-through of apartment
Call/e-mail current landlord re: how to pay him rent, scary fridge and horrid dishwasher
Clean current house (including dishes and laundry)
Pick kids up from mom's and get Dan
Make hair/eyebrow appointment
and other life-related things like... feeding children and such
I WANT THIS LIST TO BE SMALLER
*edits because I apparently can't spell before noon
So for months I've driven past "no parking - filming" signs and food service trucks and funky lighting equipment on the way to take Dan to/from work. This isn't totally unexpected because I live in Portland and they film a handful of things here - most notably Leverage and Grimm.
Now, I had been hoping it was Grimm (it's right next to a gothic looking church) and that I'd eventually see Silas Weir Mitchell. Not because I watch Grimm (I don't) and not because of any great adoration for Mr. Mitchell (though, damn fine actor!). No, I simply wanted to see him because he was on Prison Break. That's all. I didn't even love Haywire that much (though... stand up and applaud for the acting on that. Kudos, sir)!
I had failed to realize that this location also is right next to the Governor Hotel which, with its awesome visual appeal, is used on Leverage (which I also don't watch... Sorry, I tried!). I know this because today I totally saw Christian Kane chatting with a security guard right next to the barriers. My long, long, long dormant Angel fangirl tendencies squeed (HI LINDSEY!) in spite of the fact that it wasn't Silas Weir Mitchell.
My grandmother is doing worse than they'd thought and will need longer rehab than the hospital can provide, so they are sending her to a nursing home. This has the whole family freaking out because no one wants her in a nursing home (her least of all). While I'm grateful that it's finally widely acknowledged that she cannot live alone (thank you for that, hospital, since no one was willing to put that out there other than me, who apparently goes unlistened to), this is obviously far from how I wanted to see this come about. If they can get her to the point where she's well enough to get on a plane, my parents are planning having her live with them. The flight from Florida to Oregon is hard on anyone but in her condition it might not even be workable. They've talked about this on and off for years. Ironically, my two aunts live much, much closer (one in the same city) but neither is willing and able to take care of her (she has three children, six grandchildren, nine great-grand children and one and a half great-great grandchildren (cousin's grandchild due Oct 1) and ALL of them live closer than my parents...). Any way this goes looks bad to me at this point. Best case scenario is her living with my parents, but she's already in need of a fair amount of care both physically and mentally (which she denies) and I can only imagine its going to become more pronounced. She has some dementia and paranoia (and paranoia about her dementia, which is awesome). It's going to be bad no matter what. Honestly, I'm not sure what to hope for right now. Getting old sucks.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE... I'm writing some. About 1k into the next chapter and it's ... not got quite the tone I'm looking for yet. I think it'll come together nicely once I get Michael and Sara alone in a room together, though. Just need to get there. Right now its mostly Sara hating all over Dr. Middleton (and... rightly so, but can we please move on to you being in the same room with not!dead Michael now? Plz?). I rewatched The Key yesterday and a few fanvids. It's good to have a refresher now and then. Research, right? Totally legit. I do with there were more decent fanvids that weren't all emo "woe, Michael died" centric. Because... yeah, I don't buy it. Not my canon. So not my canon that I'm writing a whole damn series to convince other people that it's not their canon either. Good lord I need to finish this so I can start planning for Way Back to Daylight. November is right around the corner and NaNoWriMo is tots intimidating. MUST PLAN!
So, Friday, shortly after hanging up from talking to my mother, my grandmother slipped and fell in her kitchen. She broke her hip and couldn't move. Now, my mother (her daughter-in-law) calls her daily, but since they'd just spoken, it was over 24 hours before my parents called my aunt and asked her to run over and check on her. By then she'd be in pain and without food or water for over a day. She's still confused (some of which is undoubtedly due to dehydration, but some of which is due to dementia), but went through surgery for her hip yesterday morning and is doing well. You hear about this kind of thing on the news with some regularity and it's always sad, but it's not the kind of thing you really think will happen to someone you care about. She's looking at six weeks of rehab, cancelling/postponing her trip out here for Ava's birthday, and probably all three of her kids taking turns helping her out for the duration of rehab (if not longer). I'm hoping this serves as the kick in the pants my family clearly needs to insist she can't live alone anymore, but we'll see.
In happier news, we've mostly settled in to our new place. It's pretty great, really. Right now I'm sitting out on my deck with the laptop while the kids pick weeds (so... so many weeds oh my God). Some of the kitchen stuff still has to be moved over and there are three or four boxes that need to be unpacked and I have yet to *clean* the old apartment, but it's a lot more put together than I'd anticipated for this point. There's been a lot of little things we've had to fix - things too small to bother the landlord with mostly - but they've really added up in terms of both time and money. On the bigger side of things we had to buy a new washer and dryer. The old tenants had told the landlord they wanted to leave their washer and dryer and that both worked. They lied. The washer made a noise but did nothing. Unfortunately it was always part of the understanding that the washer/dryer were not included in the rental... it was just good luck to have the old tenants' until they gave out. We went with a new washer/dryer rather than buy something used on CraigsList that might or might not last more than a few loads of laundry. So... that was $1800 we hadn't really anticipated spending yet. On the upside, it should last a long time and its a *really* good washer and dryer. There are some areas I really want to paint still but the only bigger thing left I feel like I need to mess with is the yard. I want to add some lattices to the bottom of the deck so the kids can't get under it (and their toys can't... I'm already tired of crawling under there to get their ball) and getting rid of the weeds/adding grass. Bough a bag of weed-and-feed, which hopefully will go a long ways.
Writing... hasn't happened yet. I've been rather ridiculously occupied with unpacking and organizing the house. But I want to get to it today. I also really want to rewatch an episode or two from seasons one or two as a refresher... maybe The Key and Chicago? There's an element to each of those episodes, a tension, that I definitely want to be channeling in this next chapter. They've been apart for so long - much longer than they were together - that there's some measure of relearning each other (her more than him because he's kind of been stuck in his life in some ways) and redefining their relationship. I've been looking forward to this chapter since I started writing these stories. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little anxious about doing it justice, because it will *never* turn out like it is in my head. It never does.
So, yesterday should have been awesome but mostly wasn't. The plan was to be at a free car seat safety check thing when they opened and go straight from there to the free multicultural fair (complete with bouncy castles). Since the kids had stayed up late to watch the opening ceremonies, I'd thought they'd sleep in a little. Alas, they were still up at 5:30. Even getting to the car seat safety check before they opened, we waited an HOUR AND A HALF in line. I'd have left the line but was fully boxed in by cars. Since they had so little sleep and the car seat thing took so long, we had an epic meltdown shortly after getting to the fair (because Ava could not climb the full sized rock wall. Sorry kid, they wouldn't even let you in more than half of the bouncy castles because you aren't five). I bodily hauled her kicking and screaming several blocks back to the car as she pinched me, kicked me, tried to throw herself headfirst onto the pavement, grabbed at everything and everyone nearby trying to hold on and howled like a banshee. In total contrast, Shawn kept saying "I had fun. Thank you!" over and over. Accordingly, I'm pretty freaking sore from wrestling with her. After naps were taken, things improved greatly. I got a fair bit written while they slept (I'm hoping to finish up my first draft of chapter nine today as I'm only about 1-1.5k away from done, I think) and we all kicked the ball around out back with the neighborhood kids after naps. Oh, and I finally saw Captain America after the kids went to bed since it's FINALLY streaming on Netflix.
Today promises much improvement. My parents are taking both kids berry picking all morning (yay!), gifting me and Dan with blessed silence in the house for a few hours. And Dan is so crazy supportive over my writing that he's literally offering to get the kids out of the house or kick me out with the laptop this afternoon until I finish up my chapter. This is kind of amazing to me since - even though it might mean a ton to me - at the end of the day, it's just fanfic. But, to him it's more about being encouraging and wanting me to develop the discipline to finish these things so that I can work on original stuff... someday. Any way you look at it, it's awesome, though.
So um... yeah, that's it, I think.