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1. Baked brownies for church coffee hour. Took them in to church.

2. Coffee hour clean-up. Over the past few years, I seem to have become the 'old hand' at this particular task -- probably because every time my hospitality team is up, I volunteer for it all four Sundays -- and I end up sort of haphazardly training a bunch of more sporadic volunteers how to run the sterilizer and where to roll up the vinyl tablecloths and stuff. I like feeling useful. :)

3. Washed two-thirds of my curtains, as well as my comforter and winter coat. I still have one load of curtains left, which I will hopefully get done tomorrow along with my regular biweekly laundry.

more items under the cut )

13. Attended my church's annual meeting, where we:

A) voted on the 2017-18 budget

B) elected people to the Board of Trustees and the Nominating Committee

C) voted on various proposed changes to our bylaws (which are, frankly, screwy -- they were written less as general guidelines and more as ultra-nitpicky sets of rules that weren't even internally consistent -- and which we have been rationalizing in bits and pieces for several years now)

D) voted on whether to adopt a covenant

E) voted on whether to issue a congregational statement of support for a New York state single-payer health care system proposal currently up for consideration in the state senate.

The budget passed (an attempted amendment to it did not), the bylaw changes passed (one attempted amendment was rejected as something that needs more study in the fall; another passed because it caught an error that had been overlooked in the editing process), the covenant was adopted (albeit with reservations on various parts), and despite a completely valid technical objection (namely, that we don't HAVE a procedure for issuing congregational statements about political issues and therefore shouldn't issue any such statements until we create one) the health care statement also passed.

I then stuck around to help clean up (there was a dinner attached to the meeting, you see) since nobody seemed to have organized an official clean-up crew and, well, that's something I know how to do! So I did it. *wry*

more items under the cut )

21. Snipped Hovera (a squash seedling) at its base so that Azer (its container-mate) could live and flourish.

...

I have also been kind of busy at work, since this is the time of year when students are leaving town (and thus vacating their apartments), and that generates a bunch of paperwork and ancillary organizational stuff -- particularly since it's also the due date for a whole bunch of quarterly rent payments for 2017-18 leases. We are also switching to a new key-logging system, which creates a minor extra layer of confusion when you have to figure out whether a summer subtenant should pick up their keys under the 2016-17 system (manual) or the 2017-18 system (digital).
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1. Dental appointment at 8:15am. My teeth are fine, yay! The office manager was out for the week because of some unspecified life crisis, so I did not pay my bill on Monday (the hygienists have not been trained to work the billing program -- scheduling yes, financials no) but I should receive one in the mail sometime this coming week.

2. Made my weekly Facebook update.

3. Emailed the DRE about summer and fall youth group plans. I have not yet heard back, but I will try to corner her in person on Sunday and chat for a few minutes.

4. Caught a bus out to the mall and watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which I enjoyed A LOT. :D

more items under the cut )

19. Bought groceries.

20. Repotted my peppers!

...

You will note that I still have not cooked the fajitas for which I did ingredient prep last week. The containers of sliced onion, pepper, and chicken have been sitting in the freezer for a week and a half now. I may try to get that dealt with tomorrow night, but give that I will already be baking brownies (church obligations), I am inclined to doubt I will manage the fajitas until Monday. *sigh*

I failed to get any writing done whatsoever -- like, I got a couple hundred words toward a prompt response, but there were aimless twaddle, totally unusable, and I haven't managed to get any of the slightly less awful ideas onto a page. Blargh.

I think, on the balance of evidence, that I have probably been stuck in a mild blue funk for the past couple weeks. I hadn't noticed sooner because I haven't felt particularly disconnected (one of my main depressive symptoms), but I have definitely been suffering from executive dysfunction (aka, lack of can-do), disordered sleeping patterns, and a general lack of enthusiasm for things I would normally enjoy. I also may have fic-binged a couple times, which is a telling symptom even without the disconnection that usually triggers it.

There is really nothing to do except try to fight the disordered sleeping patterns and wait it out. And maybe to grit my teeth and force myself to write, because that CAN be done and I do generally feel a lot better for up to a full day after completing some kind of creative work in the face of my brain's attempt to paint the whole world gray. I guess I'll see if I have any free time at work tomorrow to get that prompt response pinned down.
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1. Put away the remaining laundry.

2. Backed up my hard drive.

3. Made an appointment to give blood this coming Thursday.

more items under the cut )

17. Submitted my WIP Big Bang snippets.

18. Checked 2D movie times for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which I would like to see tomorrow. (I'd wanted to see it Thursday or Friday, but see above in re: the universe squashing me flat.) I think 1:15 or 3:10pm sound most promising.

19. And this is true for all the days in question: I plonked at a few bits of fiction to no particular effect. *sigh* I will keep trying tomorrow.
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1. Took my beef experiment out of crockpot, packaged it, and put it in the freezer.

2. Withdrew cash to pay for a haircut today and laundry next week.

3. Haircut, yay! (Then I came home and took another shower to wash out the little prickly trimmings that always get everywhere.)

more items under the cut )

9. Continued adding words to my current Cotton Candy Bingo fill/request ficlet for [livejournal.com profile] wistfulmemory. The new approach is working much better, I think, but it's still not anywhere near finished.

I think once that's done, I will set aside my remaining three Cotton Candy Bingo squares (though I have outlined and/or partially written ficlets for two of them) and work on my FandomTrumpsHate auction fic... assuming I will have any time and mental energy left over before March arrives and hopefully brings a bit of sanity before April takes it all away again. *wry*

---------------

And now to bed, because I have to be at the rental office at 10am Saturday morning. (Six days of work this week, UGH UGH UGH, for ~47 hours total. But I need the money...)
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1. Watered houseplants.

2. Photographed my pepper and narcissus. That is going to be my last 2016 pepper project photo for the foreseeable future, since I doubt the Lazarus pepper's one remaining bud will ever actually amount to anything.

3. Put away laundry that was air-drying since Sunday afternoon.

more items under the cut )

17. Backed up my files onto my external hard drive.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Bought groceries after my Friday shift at Not the IRS.

2. Paid February rent.

3. Boiled a dozen eggs.

4. Emailed the DRE about the Stewardship campaign.

5. Attended church, since it was a drama program Sunday and youth group was therefore superseded. I then spent an hour doing coffee hour cleanup, which I'd signed up for as a hospitality team task. I will be doing cleanup the next two Sundays as well, and have also agreed to bring snacks, which in my case means I will be baking brownies. (Brownies are low effort and almost everyone likes them. This is a good equation for me. *wry*)

more items under the cut )

18. Started working through a Not the IRS introductory Pennsylvania income tax course, since I live close enough to that state that we get a few clients who either live here and work there, or vice versa, so it's good to have some basic familiarity with those tax forms.
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I couldn't make it to any of today's marches, alas, but my mom, my sister, and one of my aunts all participated in the Washington march. Some of my church youth group kids were also down in DC doing their part; Ithaca sent multiple busloads of people south this weekend.

Meanwhile Ithaca's own march attracted somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 people (estimates vary), which was about four times the expected attendance, and very nearly a third of the city's total population -- which is doubly impressive considering how many people had gone away to DC. (I mean, we doubtless got people coming in from neighboring regions, but still.) I saw dozens already gathering on the Commons as I caught my bus this morning, and I wished I could have stayed instead of going to work.

-----

ETA: I asked my relatives how the Washington march went, and Mom replied:

Huge. Heard nothing. March itself cancelled because route already full. People walked West anyhow when program- -which ran an hour late -- ended. We shuffled down mall and up 7th for several blocks but left for home. Restaurants in Vicky's area were swamped. Glad to be there. Jan made it. Impossible to meet up with folks. Very tired.

-----

ETA 2: And this is what my aunt said:

Thanks for your report; sorry you couldn’t have joined in.

I came from home, got to the Smithsonian metro exit about 1:00. There were empty seats on the train but many people still buying tickets.) It was mobbed. People were marching down the inner street of the mall, parallel to Independence Ave. One person said the leaders told them to go to 14th and wait for the main march. I was able to wander freely because the whole mall between the streets was available. I walked to 14th and it was a standstill. I heard a drum band coming with the main march and it took them forever to make progress as it turned onto and continued on 14th to Constitution Ave where the march turned left toward the Ellipse. There were also Many people walking down the other inner street and Constitution toward 14th.

I saw no checkpoints to get in. There was a variety of law enforcement visible and helpful with information. I saw one what looked like a small tank on Constitution Ave. There was a Lot of pink and a Lot of hand held signs - sticks were not allowed. Only clear back packs were allowed. Saw many of those and clear gallon zip locks. I filled my pockets with the essentials and carried water in a shoulder holder. Some port a potties were locked but I found line with 15-20 people for 3 potties. I think some Pps were left from the day before and not rented by the march -- or were full?! I took pics of a few individuals with interesting garb. Saw disposable white jump suits that people autographed, an older lady with post-it all over and carried a megaphone, 3 with crocheted full length suits even over their faces - in pink flavored yarn. A fair number of kids of all ages and a lot of men.

The media trucks put up chain-link fences around them and their generators. Had telescoping cameras and Internet towers. There were a couple of places where I could not get a signal but communicated with Lessie OK. Instead of the hand wave one sees at ball games, there were cheering waves. Also small groups chanting. The weather was 50 something, cloudy, and damp.

As I left to find a Metro station I noticed that the perimeter of the march was well guarded with streets blocked with police cars or big trucks. There were long lines to enter the stations. Security people held marchers back so the platforms weren’t over crowed. I walked east, away from the mall, to find a blue train. Yea, I did at Capitol East and got a window seat. Train became packed and skipped two stops. The driver was very good with announcements to us and those on the platforms. She was upbeat and praised our cooperation. It took me and hour and 15 minutes to get to my stop – the end of the line.
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
1. Finished my Not the IRS paid skills training (...for now).

2. Made two political activism phone calls. Granted, this only involved leaving messages on answering machines, but still. I dislike calling strangers on the phone as myself. Making phone calls as Employee of Company X is a different issue. That's a role; it's impersonal. I can also make phone calls to schedule appointments (both medical and job interviews), because again, those are roles with a set script and I've been through that scenario dozens of times before so I know, viscerally, that everything will be fine. Politics is an inherently higher-emotion thing, plus there's unfamiliarity, so making these calls is a more spoon-intensive proposition. I will probably try to make another one or two on Friday, though, because one does what one can and what I have to give right now is time rather than money.

more items under the cut )

15. Wrote one fill (to get away from it all, MCU, Laura Barton/Clint Barton) for this year's Three Sentence Ficathon before heading out to my tax course tonight. This is the first proper piece of fiction I've written since the NFE at the very beginning of September.

(Let me clarify that. I consider my tiny comment!ficlets from an October meme response more of a meta post with examples than any kind of functional story, and the few hundred words I've attempted toward a Cotton Candy Bingo prompt fill haven't gone much of anywhere since I got that prompt in August, so. Like I said, the first proper writing I've done in nearly two months.)

I burned out pretty badly earlier this year, creatively speaking. Actually, I probably burned out in late 2015, but I kept walking on broken legs for quite some time. Eventually, though, I realized that attempting to shove through was doing me more harm than good, and (with gritted teeth and a bunch of lectures on how this wasn't being irresponsible and lazy and useless) gave myself permission to take a fucking break until writing no longer felt like a dreaded chore.

Writing started to feel thinkable again a couple weeks ago, but until today I'd only managed some speculative outlining for Yuletide and the Daredevil Secret Santa exchange (which is going to be a bitch and a half, because my recipient wants big, emotional, tropey genre romance fics and what I am capable of writing is... not that *wince*) and the aforementioned unproductive noodling for the CCB prompt fill. So it feels really good to dip my toe back into the pool.

I am not sure how many more prompt fills I'll manage for this iteration of the ficathon, but what the hell, anything beyond that first one is gravy. :)
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
1. Dentist appointment. My teeth are all right -- there are a few small iffy spots in my lower teeth which the dentist is keeping an eye on, but they haven't changed since my last checkup so he's not too worried. However, I should floss more.

I always get told I should floss more, because it is always true. I have been attempting to fix this by adding 'floss and fluoride' (meaning mouthwash) to my daily to-do list, on the theory that I am more likely to remember and feel pressured into acting if there is a tangible record of my intentions. Also, I think if I can get in the habit of flossing daily, I might be able to kick my brain into believing that going to bed without flossing feels gross and untenable, which is how I currently feel about going to bed without brushing my teeth.

Already I am up to flossing maybe 4-5 days per week instead of 1-3 days per week, so it seems to be (slowly, grudgingly) starting to work. We'll see if I continue to make progress in forming a new habit.

more items under the cut )

5. Contacted the service committee on behalf of the youth group. They don't seem to have anything planned at the moment, though they expressed interest in helping out with anything the kids themselves come up with. Possibly this means I should come up with plans.

I am not good at social action plans. But hey, maybe I can crowdsource this.

So. Does anyone have ideas for things a small group of high school students can do to make a positive difference after the recent election? (None of them are voting age. A couple will be of voting age by 2018 and the midterm elections.)

more items under the cut )

-----

It turns out, incidentally, that Not the IRS is institutionally annoyed at the orange idiot -- there is an article politely talking around saying "What a dick" on the internal website, apparently in response to some things he said about the company during his campaign -- which was nice to learn. I mean, it's a business thing rather than a values thing, but still. I will take it.

Also nice is the way corporate management has realized that asking tax preparers to do sales and marketing is a bad idea (we were not hired for that, we were not trained for that, we hate it and are bad at it) and has created a dedicated sales/marketing division for each district. This came as a huge relief to almost everyone at the training session -- I am no exception!
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1. Arranged to swap shifts with Miss Cactus this coming week, in order to attend a mandatory Not the IRS training day. (It may be paid training. I am not sure.)

2. Changed my clocks for the end of Daylight Saving Time.

more items under the cut )

11. Voted.

Fuck fuck fuckity fucking fuck.

I had been uneasy about this election since before the primaries last year, when I overheard one of my Not the IRS coworkers repeatedly telling people (both coworkers and clients) to "hold your nose and vote for Trump" because she thought he had the best chance of beating Hillary Clinton. As time went on, she shifted away from the 'hold your nose' qualifier and started talking about his supposed business genius and good ideas on health care, presumably because once people commit to a course of action we tend to shift our beliefs to make that course of action seem good/right instead of merely tolerable.

I was really hoping most people weren't buying into that mindset. But apparently, no, that was prophetic.

(As a tax preparer, I will say that the implementation of the tax credits and penalties associated with the ACA is terribly designed and needs fixing. But Obamacare also got me health insurance after I lost my job at the smoke shop, so, you know, fixing is not remotely the same as repealing.)

...

In more local election news, I still have the same state assembly rep and state senator (Democrat and relatively reasonable Republican, respectively), the same federal Representative (not-so-reasonable Republican), and the same federal Senator (Schumer). The new county DA will be the Democratic nominee rather than the guy who lost the Democratic nomination process and then pitched a fit about ~rigging~ (the prior DA resigned in July, too late to hold a primary, so the nominations were decided by party committees) and ran as an independent.

...

(My two immediate rental company bosses voted for Clinton, which made Wednesday marginally less awful than it could have been; we were all sick and horrified together. I am not looking forward to the Not the IRS training session on Wednesday, though. Tax prep is not a particularly left-leaning profession, even in a place like Ithaca.)

more items under the cut )

21. Chopped vegetables in preparation for cooking fajitas tomorrow evening. This included some of my own homegrown peppers. I will do a photo post about that sometime later.

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Elizabeth Culmer

August 2017

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