novapsyche: a person removing a shirt, revealing a system of organs & skeleton underneath (bodyundershirt)
As I was on the bus headed to my poetry class, I couldn't help but overhear this woman behind me on her phone. Bad enough that she had a captive audience--it was really unfortunate to hear her spout off about Ebola.

Not that she's the first person I've heard talk about Ebola, not even the first to do so in a public space. But she was the first I've encountered who was relaying patently inaccurate information to those around her. Sort of like an information disease vector.

First she talked about how the dog of a woman who contracted (or is suspected of contracting) Ebola had to be put down. That is true. But she said it was because the woman spread Ebola to her dog. That was not determined at the time of the destruction. I highly doubt this turned out to be the case.

Then she speculated about why the latest victims in the US have been women. "I don't know if it's because women are more susceptible?" she began. That's when my eyebrows went up in alarm.

Captive audience. Everyone there was listening to her & her ignorance.

She did temper her conjecture a bit when she offered that maybe it was because more women were "on the front lines." I don't know if she meant that more nurses are traditionally female & the number of nurses combating the disease necessarily outweigh those of doctors, who are for more often male. I want to give this woman the benefit of the doubt.

But the nail in the coffin final straw was when she dismissed the fact that Ebola is only spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. She spoke about how some people get infected after being around a dead body & how that didn't make any sense. "The morticians, I'm sure they wear gloves, so I don't know how these people would have been in contact with bodily fluids." After listening to her friend, she said, "Yeah, it's airborne! That must be it."

After about a minute of listening to this, I turned around & looked at her. I wasn't going to say anything, but she mentioned my turning around to her friend. "It's not airborne," I said flatly. "It's only transmissible through bodily fluids."

"Well, I don't know . . . ." she said, apparently trying to leave a crack in the door.

"It's true. This is what is known about the disease. You should look it up."

"Well, that remains to be seen," she said.

"It's scientific fact," I responded, finally brusque at her unwillingness to let go of speculation. "You should look it up," I entreated again.

I would have apologized later for being somewhat short in our exchange, but she remained on the phone to her destination, which was just a few minutes further up the road.

close call

Oct. 1st, 2014 07:59 pm
novapsyche: Teysa, Orzhov Scion (from Magic: the Gathering): a woman with a turned-up cowl, frowning (teysa)
Today, walking home from work, on a side street that still sees a fair deal of traffic (local popular restaurant on one corner, people's co-op on avenue, KFC on corner down several blocks), a dog got loose from its owner's yard. It was maybe forty feet away at first. It came barreling at me, barking as it did. The owner called for the dog but the dog kept charging. It looked like a young rottweiler.

As you might imagine, I didn't have much time to think about what I could do. I was 70% certain I was about to suffer a deep & nasty bite. I didn't have many choices, anyway, as I was caught flat-footed. I stood there as it broke toward me.

When it got within five feet--striking distance--I looked it right in the eye & yelled "HEYYY!!!" as strongly as I could. It kept running but slowed & diverted its path so that it ended up alongside me. "HEYYY!!!" I yelled again while the owner crossed the street to retrieve her animal.

I think the only thing that saved me was that I--by instinct?--adopted a dominant stance. I did not flee, as prey would, but aggressively intoned the creature to stop. Seriously, I think folks who punch sharks when about to be attacked have a similar reaction.

Still surprised the dog held up.
novapsyche: roasted asparagus, artfully arranged (asparagusroasted)
The new apartment does not have any patio or balcony space, so I'll have to harvest what I can & let the rest die, I guess.

It's a really frustrating situation. If I had any idea earlier this year that we'd be moving, I would not have begun this project in the first place.

recruited

Aug. 18th, 2014 06:39 pm
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
A long-time writer friend of mine has recruited me to help him with Peninsula Poets Magazine, the organ of the Poetry Society of Michigan. He's been editing it for about a year.

We met today over coffee to discuss the state of poetry in America in general as well as what needs to be done on the magazine specifically. He wants me to oversee soliciting eleven poems in different categories for the contest issue (these poems would be separate from the contest itself, designated as "In the Spotlight"). Also, he's tasked me with finding artwork for the cover & to be scattered within the issue.

I didn't deny the request, because obviously he needs the help if he's reaching out; also, it's an honor. Kind of a daunting task, first finding folks who have some Michigan connection, then reaching out to them & asking for some of their work. The editor in me kind of balks at solicitation, but that's what I've been tasked with, so that's what I'll do.

The visual art part has me more than a bit uneasy. As I told my friend, visual art is not my mainstay, so I would want him to look over whatever I may choose & give the final stamp of approval. He agreed to that, but for the poetry he said that he knows I have a good eye.
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
Tonight, on my way to a poetry meeting, a car almost hit me.

I was waiting to cross Main St., which, as its name suggests, is a pretty busy thoroughfare. The light changed & I had the walk sign. I looked to my left to make sure traffic had stopped in that direction, then I proceeded to cross.

Maybe the car directly alongside of me at the corner was about to turn right & was waiting for me to move out of the lane; for some reason, it was not advancing. So the guy in the lane with the traffic moving in the opposite direction decided to do a jerk move & turn left in front of it. Turning left ahead of oncoming traffic is illegal in Michigan. I'm sure the guy knew this.

By the time I was aware of this, I would have had no time to react, because he made the maneuver so quickly. I could just feel this increasing wave of anxiety/dread/fear penetrate my body as the car advanced.

Finally, he looked up & saw me. He stopped mid-turn in the intersection. I recovered myself & gave the shrug of "What gives?" Another driver honked. Through his open window, he said, "I'm sorry." I'm sure he would have said the same had he actually struck me.

I got to the other corner & turned toward the bookshop. I noticed that the car was hung up by a red light. Lots of good that move did him.
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
Made steak for lunch.

Fumed at Comcast for connectivity issues.

Got caught in a torrential downpour.

Got a job.

Overall, pretty decent day.
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
Lately, I've been trying to get back into the local poetry scene. There really isn't a scene, unless you're a young adult & into slam. But I was able to reconnect with a group that meets at a bookstore downtown (Crazy Wisdom) every other week. This month, even though they traditionally have no events scheduled for August, one of the informal leaders is going to convene the group. So I'm looking forward to that. It's a good mix of experience levels so the critique is useful.

Last night, I went back to a group that meets once a month at a bookstore just a couple of miles away from me. I hadn't been there since February & before that more than I remember. Part of this was due to my writer's block, part of it to the creative writing course I'd taken since September, which caused a scheduling conflict. Well, last night was really good, really fun. I took "Existentialism" (which they all seemed to like, to my amazement) & "Near Miss", whereupon I got some really incisive feedback. It was nice to see everyone again; it truly had been too long.

One of my former classmates from the creative writing class, Diane, put me in touch with the leader of another group that meets on a side of town I rarely visit but could probably make by bus. Diane talked her up & highly recommended her. Unfortunately, she charges for every session. I've never been part of a poetry group that did this, unless it was an official class. So I'm hesitant. I don't have the funds for that--I'd rather take that money & spend it on a subscription to Poetry. But the woman very graciously offered to waive the fee for one of her upcoming groups, so I will at least take her up on that & observe her teaching style.

Diane lamented the dearth of writing groups in the area specifically devoted to poetry. It's made me even think of resurrecting Thirteen Blackbirds. But I'm still not out of my writer's block. Also, most of my instructional materials were lost in the Great Flash Flood of 2009. In the meantime, I'm reading a lot more poetry & bought Richard Hugo's The Triggering Town for behind-the-scenes discussion of how poems become.
novapsyche: roasted asparagus, artfully arranged (asparagusroasted)
I mentioned before that one of my friends from work gave me a tomato plant. I had not planned on growing "real" vegetables (I say that even though tomatoes are actually fruits) but it was a gift. So I planted it in too small a container (only a 10", 3-qt. size) & set about treating it like my other plants.

So far it has done pretty well. It's more than twice its original height & has bushed out (I'm pretty sure that's not a real phrase) considerably. Two weeks ago, I noticed it had brought forth some little yellow blooms. Last week, I saw that one had shriveled; I implored the plant to not be dying. To my delight, I saw very soon the first tiny green tomato emerge from that withered bloom. Now there are three of these fruit, with several more blooms about to emerge.

The herbs seem to be doing fairly well. I noticed that my chives & thyme are both getting light green and/or drying up somewhat. I water every day but only feed once a week, so I'm wondering if I should beef up that schedule. Meanwhile, the oregano seems to have contracted some sort of spotting disease. Nearly all of the leaves are spotted & turning yellow. I think it's a disease because the mint plant also showed signs of this & they were adjacent to each other. The oregano has again shown signs that it's going into flower; this time I will not attempt to halt this process.

I bought a stevia plant two weeks ago. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it.

The basil is gangbusters. I find myself having to pinch back growth not because I want any leaves but to halt "legginess". I still have four stalks that are way too tall.

The sage, sadly, might be in its last throes. I took too long in transplanting it, which resulted in stunted growth. It might make a recovery but the leaves now are almost all silver when previously they were vigorously green.

Long day

May. 14th, 2014 09:42 pm
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
Went back to work today for a five-week project (if I make the cut).

One of the first things that happened to me today: I lost my favorite hat.

One of the last things: my former editor, at tonight's poetry meeting, accepted "Aftermath" for Third Wednesday.

Overall, leaning toward the good.
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
Two weeks ago (wearing jeans, Nikes, red peacoat & red beret):

I'm about to walk by a man downtown. I'm negotiating how far over on the sidewalk I need to go in order to give him enough room to feel comfortable. He has parcels on both sides of his body while I have some only on one side, so I cannot determine which side to switch to. As he comes closer, he changes the strap of his carryall from the free shoulder facing me to instead around his neck. I roll my eyes as he passes me.

About a week ago (wearing jeans, Nikes, black leather jacket & dark chapeau):

I'm on my way to the semi-monthly poetry gathering at a local bookstore. I come to a corner & wait for a light. A group of three businessmen arrive behind me & also wait for the light. When it changes, they step ahead of me to cross, so I give them the requisite six feet of space so as to be socially comfortable. Nevertheless, one of the three, the only Asian among them, turns back to look at me. He does this again after another full minute or so, directly looking at me in the eye. After that, I change direction, even though waiting at another light costs me more than a minute in foot speed.

Yesterday (wearing similar to above):

On the way to the polling station, at least one person (white male) changes to the other side of the street when we otherwise would have crossed paths on the same sidewalk.

On the way back downtown, I come upon a light mid-change. On the other side of the intersection is a group of three (white) teenagers, obviously chatting about something. I'm trying to figure out which side of the sidewalk to switch to in order to give them the maximum amount of room to pass. Before the light changes (but almost the full amount of time before it does so), the group decides to make a 90-degree switch to the left, apparently to walk to the next corner.

Also, after taking the crosswalk, a pair of businesspersons begins walking in front of me. The woman of the pair turns her head & deliberately stares at me. I decide to take the next crosswalk that takes me away from their forward motion.

Are all these racist actions? I cannot say. But they have a cumulative effect that wearies me & makes me wonder. (These are excluding the pairs/young mothers with strollers who suddenly find interest in a storefront window which gives me the chance to pass them on the sidewalk, &c.)

(The thing about the three businessmen with the Asian shoulder-starer is, they overtook me. How can you be suspicious about someone trailing you when you were the ones to walk in front of them in the first place?!)

Next time, I'm just going to keep walking. It's not my problem if someone has unfounded suspicions.
novapsyche: a person removing a shirt, revealing a system of organs & skeleton underneath (bodyundershirt)
I was remarking to [personal profile] netmouse yesterday, at her potluck where someone brought a very fudgy pan of brownies, that I was so glad I swore off sweets some time ago. In fact, I didn't even consider them food (at least, not as legitimate food choices).

Does this have to do with the insula? Possibly. At the very least, I liken the experience to that of what I underwent when I trained to become a bank teller. When I handled a large cash drawer (+$1000), money ceased to be considered as money but merely were individual paper instruments. Similarly, sweets no longer qualify as food but could simply be seen as any other item of life's backdrop.

I told my friend S. that I had three pieces of snack-sized candy bars from last Halloween still on a shelf in my bedroom, where I can see it much of the time. She was amazed that they were not eaten long ago.

(I keep commercial hot chocolate for when the craving for chocolate just gets too great. Otherwise, the only sweets I tend to keep are dried fruit & frozen yogurt. [I still drink too many presweetened beverages & use more honey/sugar than I need to in my tea/coffee, but other than that, I've gotten away from most processed sugars.])

Anyway. Here's to ill recognition!
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
This week, two interactions (or three, depending on how you count them).

A few days ago, I boarded the bus on my way home from work, during the last portion of rush hour. I noticed that soon a group of three teenage boys (who happened to be black; this figures later) boarded & I could have sworn I recognized them from prior bad social acts, so I was dismayed to see them join my general vicinity.

The bus began to get crowded, so I moved over in my seat so as to leave the adjacent one vacant. The very next passenger was an older gentleman & so, as my leftover seat was in the circle of leading seats, sat next to me. Then, a couple boarded; the woman was clearly in her last trimester of pregnancy. Had I been on the outside of my seat, I would have vacated, but I was boxed in. Not one of those three teens rose to offer a seat. I could only shake my head.

As the commute started, the boys began using vulgar language, including slurs against their own race (of which I am also a member). Read more... )

The other encounter was of a random morning commuter, trying to board the bus yesterday morning. He'd obviously just stopped at the ATM to withdraw funds, but all he had were $20 bills, whereas the bus only accepts $10 bills or smaller. I found $1.50 in my wallet & offered it to him. He thanked me but said that he needed to try to find his wallet, so he stepped off the bus. He seemed to find it after a minimal search & tried to signal to the driver to let him back on, but the bus driver was oblivious (even though I made some remark that he was making such an attempt). This morning, the same guy boarded, sat down next to me, offered me my money back (I declined), and proceeded to chat with me until we both got to the transit station. It's nice, I think for both of us, to realize that nice people still exist.
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
I went back to the gardening store & picked up two more seedlings, basil & chives. I was very pleased to see the latter, as I love the flavor of chives/green onions.

So that's a full windowsill now. The unfortunate thing is that, while I have a southfacing window, there's this huge overhang above it, so the plants don't get nearly as much sunshine as they need. I don't want to set them outside yet, as nightfall is still pretty chilly. At the same time, I'm fighting the urge to go out & buy a fluorescent light structure so as to string it up somewhere here in my bedroom. These herbs were meant as a convenient addition to my cooking attempts, not as a project unto themselves.

But they're totally becoming a project. I'm delving into gardening articles & online communities just as much as I did with cooking when I started getting into that activity. I don't have a yard, merely a concrete patio. I lost my previous gardening supplies after my sister's basement flooded & mold crept into all of my belongings stored there. I'm starting from scratch and, after pricing the next largest planters at the gardening store, I really don't have the budget to get too serious about this. So I need to--pardon the expression--nip this in the bud right away. (I do want to transplant these seedlings at some point, though, as their growth will get stunted for sure in such tiny flowerpots.)
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
Today I went to the gardening store to purchase planters of fresh herbs. They were having a "buy one, get next 1/2 off" sale, so I picked up eight small flowerpots filled with cilantro, mint, oregano, sage, thyme, flat-leaf parsley, curly parsley & rosemary.

These were meant to accompany the small bit of "living basil" I'd purchased just yesterday at the grocery store, but that plant is dying, so I will need to replace it.

Having fresh herbs at my fingertips will aid me greatly as I continue to experiment with cooking. I'm very pleased with my investment.

adjusting

Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:56 pm
novapsyche: a woman of stature circa 1900s peering out of a ring (womanring)
I made the chicken & coconut milk recipe again, with some changes. I wanted to scale up, but not completely double. Also, I didn't feel the need to adjust completely to scale--I'm trying to develop my innate cooking chops.

specifics )

I like that I've gotten to this stage as a cook. I not only can feed myself, I can do so with really tasty dishes. I would not hesitate to serve this soup to others. I'm glad I've gotten enough of a foothold on individual ingredients that I can think about branching out into being inexact, not merely following recipes but rather relying on my developing palate instead.

Hmm.

Nov. 30th, 2013 06:28 pm
novapsyche: Teysa, Orzhov Scion (from Magic: the Gathering): a woman with a turned-up cowl, frowning (teysa)
I recently made an acquaintance who stated, categorically, that he did not like games.

I don't know how to even approach this.
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
A couple of weeks ago, while waiting for a bus, I noticed two people headed toward the station. They both had red & white striped canes. They were holding hands. Halfway down the sidewalk, one let go & turned around while the other continued on.

I literally saw the blind leading the blind.

I don't know what to do with this image.
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
So the scoring facility called me about three weeks ago, offering me a position for the upcoming project as a scorer.

Then they called about a week & a half ago, requesting that I be a team leader. I would have accepted, but the bus would not get me there on time, as I'd have to arrive early. The extra week of work would have been nice, but I knew I could not accept. I asked them to keep me in mind for future projects.

Then just now I received a call, asking that I do a concurrent project beginning Nov. 6. It's a more specialized project that few folks get called for. It lasts just as long as the first, so I decided to accept. If I do well with this, I may get called in the future for similar projects that land between the major ones.

Ultimately, this is good news. :) They're thinking of my skills in broader terms & for broader applications. I know I can't stay with the scoring facility exclusively indefinitely--I simply do not make enough annually--but it's nice to be appreciated.

*sigh*

Oct. 10th, 2013 07:36 pm
novapsyche: a young girl sitting with her fist up to her chin, her face turned away, ringed by a blue crescent (crescentgirl)
When I was in college, I headed two hours of radio time. The music was eclectic & when I tried to describe it on the air, I would call much of it "my father's music". My dad's musical taste is certainly instilled in me.

One album I used to listen to all the time growing up was Brasil 88 by Sergio Mendes. In particular, the second song of the first side (it was an LP, of course) captivated me. If you ever get a chance to listen to "Waters of March" by Mendes, don't pass it up.

Not that I have any money for such frivolous purchases at the moment, I decided to look up the album on Amazon anyway. The CD (imported) is selling for $74--used. It's nearly $100 new.

Guess I won't be hearing that song any time soon.
novapsyche: Sailor Moon rising into bright beams (Default)
I would be remiss if I didn't update while riding the bus. That's pretty fun.

When I graduated from college, I promised myself that I would not take Greyhound again, ever. It sucked so hard. They were always on the verge of losing my luggage (there was one particular incident where that would have had happened had I not been keeping an eagle eye on my belongings). I'd taken at least four trips with more than 1000 miles, so I was really weary of using such lackluster services.

Well, Greyhound has updated. After fifteen to twenty years, that's good to know. :) They've brought in a new fleet of vehicles, which are decked out in leather (or pleather, probably); also, there are electrical outlets & mobile wi-fi.

A girl could come to like this.

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