However, for the first six months after I stopped working, I spoke to nearly no one. Even John and Jet didn't get a lot of conversation from me, and I slept 10 to 12 hour nights for quite some time.
I feel a little bit like a flat tube of toothpaste.
I'm still not exactly sure why, but given that last year I came up with nearly half a million first draft words, and this year for the first three quarters I still managed to write nearly a quarter million words even with nearly a whole quarter completely off and all the editing needed to get a manuscript published, maybe I have reasons.
There's always something to be done.
Still, to distract myself a little, for all that I also did some consulting, cleaning, cooking, put up a book fair for the school, and walked for about an hour each day with John, I decided to try getting some ghost shrimp for Jet's aquarium. We've been having a lot of trouble with the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate concentrations. The boys replaced the filter last month, and accidentally messed with the bacteria cultures. The ammonia shot up again, and I was brave, or foolhardy, enough to venture buying three ghost shrimp at that point. All three died within a day. That was pretty depressing, especially since I knew it was the tank's fault, and so it was also my fault as well.
So yesterday, I offered a little incense and burnt fish food to the spirits of the dead shrimp and fish, and then went to PetSmart. I wandered through the store to the tanks, and bent to look. It turned out there were only three shrimp in the tank, and the first one I saw made me gasp in amazement as it was just so huge! It was actually bigger than some of the fish in the tank. Usually ghost shrimp are so small it's really difficult to spot them against the gravel. They are also transparent, except for some red dots on the tail and sides. It turned out that the tank contained only three more ghost shrimp: one small, one medium, and one enormous one. I got all three.
The water chemistry, according to the test strips, had evened out in Jet's tank. So I was hoping they would be okay when I put them in yesterday. Last night I watched them, and unlike the three that died, these three started wandering around the tank exploring rather than hiding. They cheerfully tickled the glass catfish with their antenna, explored the barrel, sat on some of the other decorations, and started cleaning the plastic plants. There wasn't any frantic fluttering, and the big one really like hiding under a plant, in the barrels, or at the base of the bubbling volcano. Today they were doing just fine, so I am hopeful, and have started calling them Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear even if they are shrimp. I'll admit I'm easily fascinated by watching them just wander around the tank and cleaning up all the surfaces.
I spent a little time today closing down my Farmville farm on Facebook. I don't really need to do any more clicking than I've been doing, but it always felt wrong to just leave the farm with withered plants everywhere. So it's now appropriately fallow. Mafia wars is less picky about the timing of when you appear, so I can leave it or play with it as I wish. Tom gave me a number of scripts that I use to accept gifts, so there's no work involved there, other than returning gifts.
I also managed to write a thousand words today, though I typed them today rather than dictating them. I'm realizing that having three days to myself without anyone talking to me meant that I was finally able to hear my inner voice, the one that connects directly to my fingers and it doesn't go through any auditory anything. It just knows how the words should be, and shapes them through my hands. Without the mouse work, it was actually easier on my hands than the last several days have been. Amusing that typing would actually be easier on my hands than the other things I do on the side while on my computer.
Maybe I just need to learn how to focus again.
There was an introvert who wrote a not very flattering article about introversion. One of the striking points, however, was that it took him nearly twice as long to recover from interacting with other people as the time he spent interacting with them. So if he was in a conversation for an hour, it would take him two to settle back down again and be able to think or process through what was said. Part of me believes that that was artistic license, but I do find that when I interact with people even on chat that I have to have an hour by myself after the chat or Skype has shut down. So there is a kernel of truth in the story.
it was interesting going to a movie night at Jet's school. Families spread blankets out to eat picnic dinners on a gorgeous Indian Summer night. I realized that I could manage the amount of interaction I actually took. Jet went off to play with his friends, and John worked with the staff to set up the movie, popcorn machine, and other things for the night. I just sat in my chair, ate my dinner, then smiled and nodded at a few people. That was it. The movie was Gnomio and Juliet, and it was pretty funny listening to what the adults laughed at what the kids laughed at, as they were quite different. And it got cold, but Jet didn't want to use the blanket he'd brought and was very happy to let me use it. I was actually warm.
Altogether, it's been a pretty good day. I'm still a little frustrated at how much my hands hurt, what I know I can't do with them. I don't really like that physical limitation, but I've been living with it for so long you'd think I'd be used to it. I suspect that one never quite gets used to the limitations one didn't have in one's 20s. Maybe I should say that one never gets used to limitations. Period.
amberley has let me a large number of books, and I am working through them and a good pace when I don't have so much writing to do. I'm also going to be visiting him, so wanted to get more of them read so that I could return them. It's nice to be able to absorb what I read, and realize that the ideas are sinking in when I dream of things like succeeding at $2 million heist. I like that.
I also read The Replacement, which is a book about the kid that was left behind when the fey stole the child. I think I learned more about how a theme can be conveyed through every aspect of high school life than I have in a while. The feelings of alienation, always being on the outside, were surprisingly familiar. The context lent it a more exotic texture, the base emotion was so familiar for any "different" teenager it really made me ache in the wake of the LGBT work I've been doing.
I went to the meeting of the coalition on Tuesday, and felt very out of place most of because I haven't been publicly bi for so very long. Ever since Jet was born, I've just kind of been mom. All of the other folks there were either out gays or straight allies, and, as usual, I didn't fit anywhere. Stupid labels. Still, good things were discussed, good ideas were put on the table, and it looks like this group might follow through on some of them. I considered offering my services for technical things, but I might just wait until there is something specific that has to be done. I will be there again next month, then hopefully there will be more than just priorities coming out of the meeting.