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There is a lesson here, about waiting to write something for /tht/ until it's midnight and I'm exhausted. You'd think by now I would have learned it.


For all the uncertainty... and all the stress... it's a good thing that a late-night anal retentive task (sorting L5R cards with Jeff) and a beer can actually make me tired enough to sleep. I've had it with the insomnia lately... the sleep deprivation grates just enough on my life to make everything else edge into the horrid category, you see.

I'm off, to take advantage of this rare sleepiness before it flees.


I need to stop getting home so late. I end up tired, even after a good day, barely able to feed kittens, much less write anything stellar. Or even mildly worthwhile. Tonight, I came in the door, kneeled to greet three very-happy-to-see-me partially-intelligent beings, and suddenly realized that there was little I would have preferred to do at that moment other than simply keeling over on the floor. And so I did, until Jasper tussling with my feet and allergens drifting up from the unvacuumed carpet forced me up.

I just don't have the energy to talk about it... any of it. The good (crosswords and kittens and dinner and movies), or the bad (heat and itch and allergies and Aggie-eye)... any of it.


(clawing at face) Super allergy attack wtf. I don't think I've had my head implode this badly in years... I can't decide if I want to die, or simply fall asleep in exhaustion from sneezing.


Exhausted <eom>.


I don't know how many more days like today I'm going to be able to take without bursting into tears at some totally inappropriate location or time. Work things are continuing to suck in that low-level, constant irritant, grinding-me-down sort of way; got yelled at and threatened with towing by old bitch of a neighbor; visit with near-dearest person in the world did not go nearly how I wanted it for lots of reasons; now-standard itch frustrations all day. But worst of all, Aggie's sick again. I thought she was acting not-up-to-snuff when Brandon and Erika were here earlier, and that her right eye was looking a little strange, but I got home for the second time tonight around midnight to find her listless, running a fever, and with her eye swollen almost shut and discharging ucky. Night nurse at the vet recommended bringing her in ASAP if it's still all fucked up in the morning, but couldn't tell me if there were any appointments open. So I'm stuck until 8 am when regular duty people come on, not knowing if I can get her in tomorrow or not.

I'm curled on the floor in the office with a blanket and a pillow, stroking a feverish (but purring) kitten, and weeping. It probably won't help her any to have me stay in here with her tonight, but it won't hurt, and I can't think of anything else to do that would make me feel better.


As if to make up for yesterday being grand, today was wretched. Just to clarify, finding out I'd done something wrong and staying at work until 8 pm to fix it was not the high point of the day. I'm exhausted and surrounded by kittens who haven't seen me in about a full day (they're currently playing a fierce round of shower curtain war... sigh).

Kittens fed... I'm not sure I have the energy to play with them enough to wear them out for the night, so I'm relatively sure it'll be kitten stampede all night. Where oh where did I put that laser pointer? Best way to drive them nuts with minimum effort.

I've decided that I just need to start writing about the things I've not been writing about and get some of it out of the way. So picking a topic at random, we'll start, tonight, with The Itch.

I apparently developed eczema in the last year and a half. I never had it as a child, but it seems to have been triggered by that horrible fungal infection I had on my feet when in Japan and the ridiculous meds I had to take to knock it out. That's the reigning theory, at least... it's not as if there's a medical test for it; the dermatologist I saw last summer took one look at my skin and shrugged "eczema" out immediately. Whatever it is, it's absolutely awful. I itch so badly I can't sleep sometimes... both in the sense that I can't fall asleep because I'm itchy and in that I wake myself up scratching at my shin or my elbow or my wrist. I itch so badly I cry as I helplessly rake holes in my skin. To add insult to injury, it's disfiguring: I'm almost glad that I'd feel out of place in shorts at work, as my shins and calves are covered with scabs and hives. The itching goes mostly into remission in the winter, but the summers are hellish.

On the surface, this whole thing should probably be no problem. I should just be able to load up on moisturizer, use a heavy duty corticosteroid cream when things get really bad, and go on with my life. The reality isn't so cut and dry, however. The primary problem at hand is that I'm twenty five fucking years old and I've never once paid attention to my skin in that time. I don't use makeup, moisturizers, lotions, sunscreen (people sometimes force that one on me), not a one, never have. It's just not in my lifestyle at all. As a result, I'm finding it extremely difficult to learn how to take care of myself the way I need to. For example, I just can't seem to get myself to remember to stop by the store to buy some kind of moisturizer, and the one time I did try, I simply left the store, utterly bewildered and defeated by the overabundance of options.

I'm incredibly depressed and feeling completely broken. For all of the shit I may have been through in my life, skin problems are something I've never had to deal with, and I find myself completely lacking in mental coping mechanisms. Sadly, stress and depression seems to make all of it worse. Yeah. That's the extra awesome part. The Itch upsets me horribly! The more upset I am, the worse The Itch gets! The worse The Itch gets, the more upset I get. Yay. Incidentally, part of what has been so awful about my commute is how stressed and irritated the drive makes me, and how badly my wrist and my inner heels would start itching.

So there, that's one of the things I'd been stringently not mentioning. Why? Mostly because I'm embarrassed about it. It's such a retarded thing to have me as down as I've been for the last year about it. I mean, seriously, why on earth can't I learn to use some fucking moisturizer? And how can I explain the problem in the first place to people who've not dealt with a horrible chronic itch, who don't know what it's like to not get a straight night through of sleep for two weeks in a row because you keep on waking up every hour or so because you're gouging into your calf? Just writing this down has me struggling to hold back tears, it upsets me so. Or maybe it's because my wrist is itching so bad I absentmindedly scratched it until it bled in the last few minutes. That's not particularly cool, either.

One down.


The verdict on taking the bus this morning and evening is this: (radiant smile). It'll be expensive ($6/day) and having to be at work an hour earlier than I'd been pulling isn't my most favorite. But it's sunny in the morning, and being able to be home before 6 pm was utterly divine. Best of all... I got home in a good mood today, instead of depressed and angry, for the first time in weeks. I had an hour and a half to read today, instead of an hour and a half of not being able to do a thing. The walk back home from the P&R this evening took me ~45 minutes including two stops to pick and eat blackberries and one stop to get a Slurpee; I could have been home by 5:30 if I'd hopped a bus instead. Those odds are worth working with. Not wonderful, but workable. At least for the summer: once it's dark in the morning, my willingness to get up an hour or two early may fade.

Of course, I'm driving tomorrow, but whatever.

I had a wonderful evening spent charring zucchini, onions, and green bell peppers into submission on the porch in the dark. Round things off with a cup of ice cream and raspberries and a sprig of mint, and even the bad parts of today simply melt away.


Richard got married today. It was a beautiful ceremony and a beautiful day, and I'm so very happy for him. I've known Richard since he was 11 and I was 13: today, I hugged my oldest friend fiercely and told him, "you dork. You made me cry!"

I hate to have something marring my wonderful day, but I do, and seeing as for once I'm in a mood to write it down, I feel as if I should.

I'm incredibly depressed about my commute situation. I've found what I believe to be the best me-driving option, and it's resulting in over an hour and a half of time being eaten out of my day, every single day. I shouldn't say every single day: some days, traffic is worse. Then it's more like two hours. Or two and a half. It makes me sob in frustration by the time I'm tired and coming home in the evenings. My commute across the lake was bad, I'll be the first to admit, but at least the view was really nice, and things almost always opened up past the bridge. Taking 9 and 202, in the morning I'm pretty good, but in the evening A) there's nothing to look at and B) it tends to be bumper to bumper and less than 30 miles an hour... all. the. way. home. And it's the better route!

Now, what's the problem? My commute was about that long... EACH WAY... when I was in Japan (okay, it was an hour fifteen each way). I didn't mind that too much. What's the difference?

Big fucking difference: when I was in Japan, I was using the train, and could read and the like. My time wasn't wasted. But being in a car, by myself, for around two hours a day, unable to do anything other than listen to music, is driving me absolutely insane. I hate it so badly it makes me want to scream.

The driving was intended to be only at first, while my schedule was crazy, while things were settling down and the kittens were sick, etc. Obviously, I wanted to shift to the bus. I grew up in Seattle! I'm all about the bus! The bus is great!

Well, I'm in Bothell, now. And it turns out that when you're living in way north Bothell (I'm not even in King County, I'm in Snohomish), and commuting to Redmond, the bus is not great. In fact, the bus SUCKS. I've not actually ridden it yet, mind you, so I may yet decide that it's okay. But the facts are apalling and do not bode well.

Item the first: the fares. Turns out that I'm on Community Transit turf now, not Metro Transit, and cross-county bus fares are $3 a pop, or $108 for a month pass. That's really not all that much below the 3-4 tanks of gas I'm currently shelling out for a month. Not a big incentive. Not to mention that technically, I've got multiple buses to ride (more on that in a moment), and I'm really not sure how that fare changes when I'm transferring from within-county ($1 fare) to cross-county. I'm suspecting that best case, it's just no more expensive.

Item the second: the routes. The routes are really what make me freak the fuck out in anger. Turns out that from where I am, I have basically two options. Option A, the "fewer transfers" route, has me getting on a bus very near my place, at 6:50, riding a few min down to the Park and Ride down the street, sitting on my thumbs for twenty minutes, then catching another bus to MS at 7:20 and being there around 7:50. Honestly, this one isn't SO bad, except that it relies on a bus that only runs two goddamn times in the morning (and I'd be catching the later one). Option B, the "get there around 9 am" route, has me getting on a bus very near my place, at 7:20, getting to that same P&R, getting on a bus all the goddamn way down to Bellevue, and then getting a bus back up to Redmond and MS, arriving a bit before 9. I suppose this one also isn't so bad (although the fact that it hops from CT to Sound Transit to MT worries me in fare-land), except for the fact that it rankles incredibly badly that I would have to go all the way down to Bellevue. Argh.

Anyway, now that I've bitched... really, the only thing to do is to try it tomorrow morning (stupidly early, as I'm going to hope that the two-bus, all CT, earlier option works for me) and see how it goes. I think it's going to suck, and be expensive... but if I can avoid the overwhelming awfulness that is over two hours of utterly wasted time every work day, it may be worth it. And hey, maybe I can try walking to the P&R and see how long it takes; it may turn out that it's about 20-30 minutes down there, in which case I might as well walk as take the first bus, and exercise is good... Yeah. And stuff.


Awww! Aggie had her growth spurt while I was gone. She got so much bigger I can't quite believe it. At the moment, she's curled at my feet, Micah is stretched along my legs, and Jasper is crashed out, purring, in the crook of my left arm. History Channel on the TV and a cool breeze coming in the window: a more pleasant way to spend a jet-lagged morning I can not imagine.


Finally. After sitting on the runway for about an hour (which I admit is not a really long delay, comparatively), we're finally up and away and off towards home. I'm vaguely irritated with myself; I'd promised that I'd use this time to write some stuff that I have been avoiding writing, but now that I'm actually sitting here, even with nothing else to do, I still find myself hesitant. So perhaps I'm just not up to it yet. I've been writing nothing of consequence for so many months, half out of mental exhaustion and half out of self-defense, that it's grown into quite the habit.

So instead, I sort fonts until my battery goes out. Which is surprisingly quickly; playing with Font Book must hose it for some reason. Excellent.


Great day. Presentation went fine (and is OVER!), driving around Irish countryside was grand, mint gelled soft serve ice cream was brilliant, dinner was delicious... all that fun stuff. But I have to get to bed so that I can get up and on a plane tomorrow. That part's not great. But anyway.


(sigh) I totally slept through a session I wanted to go to. I think I will need someone to come pounding on my door tomorrow morning so that I don't sleep through my own damn session. My dreams were a tad too compelling I suppose, including the one where an ex-boyfriend from years ago wrapped hundreds of spiders in saran wrap and then tormented me with the created object (that one resulted in me waking up, screaming and crying). Ugh. It's nice to be finally catching up on my sleep... but still.

Well, I'm now really glad that I've never been tempted to go to a faux medieval banquet dinner in the US. When I registered for the conference, it was an option I could register for... I'd figured that it would be a good way to make sure that I got dinner tonight, and certainly, the food was good (the soup, in particular, was delicious)... but I'm far, far too cynical to enjoy such a thing. Or perhaps far, far too smart. Christina and I tried our best to keep snarky comments to a minimum, but the minimum was still quite a few. Apparently several of the performers have been doing it for years... I just can't believe that they don't go home every night and mock their work intensely. Or perhaps I'm just being cynical again.


Shocked, shocked! They actually expected us to sit through an hour and a half talk first thing in the morning without coffee. It was on localization, a topic that I'm, you know, at least marginally interested in, and I still could barely keep my eyes open. They've managed to displease my entitled American self many a time this morning (no coffee before the opening session, the coffee afterwards was in short supply and unaccompanied by anything to munch on beyond two packages of small cookies, there's no AC in this ridiculously hot lecture room), and I'm just now getting enough caffeine in my system to start determining whether I should actually be annoyed or just put up with shit. Bah.


I'm mildly delighted; I may have slept for twelve hours, until nearly 2:30 pm, but I haven't gotten to do that for a while, and it always feels good. However, I took a walk around campus at 3:30 and still failed to find anywhere to eat. I've been told there was food to be gotten at the University Arena, but the entrance was so swarming with kids trying to get to the pool that I couldn't for the life of me figure out where I might go that I wouldn't be sporting. I suspected my incredible headache to be the result of sun and dehydration, so here I am, back in my room, both having gotten change for the vending machine downstairs (Club "Orange" soda, with "real orange bits!" and a... mmm... Cadbury caramel bar) and having raided the provided breakfast again (berry yogurt and an apple). At least they're providing me dinner tonight, as I appear unable to fend for myself in a land where I even speak the damn language.

I'm beyond disappointed. They didn't have Kilkenney at the campus bar where conference festivities were held tonight. Plenty of Guinness, but none of what I wanted. Boo. So I settled with Cashel's cider (about 4 pints of it) and was simply happy that they fed me. Hooray for dinner!



I landed in Ireland around 9:00 am local time, which was about midnight or 1 am so far as my internal clock was concerned. I was okay at first, if somewhat discombobulated from the flight (the cabbie that drove me to the University from the airport was so delighted by the word "discombobulated" that he kept repeating it the entire thirty minute drive). I got my room, got a cable from the desk so I could check my mail (Web but nothing else works at the moment... oho, never mind, got Messenger to work, hooray), wandered around the completely shut down campus for a while... and then made the mistake of lying down for "a short nap" around 11:45 am. I woke up around 7 pm. Whoops.

I slept fitfully and with nightmares, which means that the discombobulation problem has not abated. I'm a bit hungry, but worried that there's no food available on campus at this point, and don't feel up to walking or busing into town tonight... well, if nothing else, not eating dinner may make me weak and more able to go back to sleep tonight. Heh.

And the verdict is that of the few things on the University of Limerick campus that were open on a Saturday, all appeared to close before I woke up from my "short nap." There's a vending machine in the place I'm staying, but it only takes coins (my current smallest denomination is a €5 bill). Thankfully, breakfast for tomorrow was delivered tonight... so I've got bread and apples (and hey! yogurt! good thing I looked in the fridge) to keep me from starving. Hooray for, as John put it, prison food.

I've often said that there's no place I'd rather live than in the Pacific Northwest, but Ireland is rivaling my two major points: lots and lots and lots of green (it's the first time that I can ever remember getting off a plane and not being assaulted by either dry barrenness or miles of concrete) and late-night light in the summer. I'm never so happy as when it's 10:30 pm and still somewhat light out.


I was hoping to be able to get some sleep on the flight from Philadelphia to Shannon, Ireland, but I fear that my hope was in vain: I'm dually confounded by having utterly conked out for nearly four hours on the flight between Seattle and Philly and the fact that it is freezing on this plane and the pillow is beyond uncomfortable. Sigh.

Perhaps I can use this time to finally get down some thoughts into /tht/ that have been scrambling about my head for days now? Perhaps, perhaps not; I'm not sure I feel like it. Perhaps I can use this time to work on my presentation for later in the week? Perhaps, perhaps not; I'm not sure I feel like it. I suppose I could get out my other book (I finished the first during my layover), but then I'd have nothing to read on the return flight. And so I'm left in that most unsatisfying of situations... boredom. That unpleasant state of having things to do but being being steadfastly unwilling to do any of them while simultaneously wanting something to do, dreadfully. Hooray.

I can't help but be struck by how much airplane food has improved since I was a child. What I was served tonight included perfectly serviceable bread and Tillamook cheddar, and the main dish resembled nothing so much as the cheater pasta that I regularly make for myself at home. Certainly nowhere near fine cuisine, but for coach food? More than acceptable. And thank christ, because I was hungry.

I so very rarely get to watch a sunrise from an airplane... it's lovely, but also a cue that perhaps I should try to get another catnap in before we land. I've only got 40 minutes or so left of power for Takako, anyway, and a new and better draft of my presentation to boast of. As long as I can avoid frying poor Takako with foreign current, I should be golden to get more work done on it later today. After the sunrise... and some sleep.


(stretching) A three day work week is oso welcome when two of the three sucked as badly as Tuesday and Wednesday did. I may be stressing a wee bit (you would too if you were leaving on an international flight tomorrow for a conference you feel unprepared for and you've not finished laundry or packing and aren't exactly sure how you're getting to your accomodations from the airport and... and... yeah), but by this time next week, I will have absolved all of my offical responsibilities to school. That's a rather nice feeling to look forward to. I'll still work sporadically on stuff for Jan, of course, but I won't have to. Hooray!

So yes, I fly to Ireland tomorrow and will be back Thursday. I'm very jealous of Jeff and Craig and my mother, all of whom will be seeing the beasts through a full week of their development that I'll miss.


Work was utterly lame today, and I'm exhausted. I'm feeling pretty utterly bleh; I had a lot to say about the whole "bleh" thing earlier, but now I'm too tired to inflict it upon anyone. Time to curl up with the book my mom gave me and then try to sleep. Bah humbug.


I love me some fireworks, oh yes, I do.

I was experimenting with the idea of not shutting up the kittens tonight. Given the amount of roughhousing that has taken place... over my feet... in the last two minutes not to mention the last twenty minutes... I'm thinking that would be a bad, bad idea. Into the office they shall go, soon soon soon!


I find it somewhat amusing that it is on the weekends lately that I feel the most dead and the most overtaxed. I suppose it's only to be expected: during the week, all I do is go to work. On the weekend is when I've been cramming vet visits and cleaning and furniture shopping/hauling and all that "getting shit done" sort of stuff. I'm hoping to be able to get a little more stuff done today, so that I can just utterly veg out tomorrow. What I really need is a day where I get to just sleep myself out, but that's not gonna happen when the monster horde needs antibiotics around 9 am every day for another few days.


And when am I going to find the time to doublecheck my international flight reservations for Friday, much less, you know, put together my presentation? Sigh.

In retail therapy news, I spent a ridiculous amount of goddamn money this weekend. It boggles the fucking mind. But I have a beautiful new dresser (on sale for ~$300 instead of $1000+, as it has two ginormous scratches that I will be covering up with a cloth and perhaps a TV) in my room, a comfy mattress/box spring set (on sale for ~$600 instead of $1000+, as Macy's was all extra sale-y this weekend) and a gorgeous bed frame (on sale for ~$300 instead of $1000+, reference Macy's comment previously) scheduled to arrive at my place a few days after I get back from Ireland, and two awesome air purifiers (~$200... they were on sale but shipping and handling ate up the deficit) shipping sometime this week. I am trying to make myself feel better by telling myself repeatedly A) that if I hadn't gotten things now on ridiculous sale, I would have spent far more money and B) they're all items that should last me years and years, so when you calculate it out over that period of time, it's less... sorta. Heh.

I figure, I'm graduated, I've got something of a Real Job(tm), and it's time for me to get some decent furniture, finally. I'm particularly stoked about the bed; I've not had an actual bed with a frame since I moved out of my parents' house when I went into college. Dorm beds followed by mattress and box springs on the floor followed by Japanese futon on the floor followed by American futon followed by mattress and box springs on the floor followed by American futon followed these past few weeks by just a futon mattress on the floor. Eight years, it's been! My back and shoulders are doing little happy dances.