Anthropomorphizing plants :)

Imagine my surprise when I open Photoshop to observe its functionality, and see that Photoshop itself has updated. The other night I mentioned that it was on the fritz, and now there are at least three updates which could have been the issue.

What I can say is that I’ve stopped using Photoshop, and am now using a different image editor. It helps…to have options.

In any case, I now have images of my new babies. 😉

Baby succulents in three-inch-diameter terracotta pots
Baby succulents in 3″ terracotta pots

I might just get addicted to these things. They came in little 2″ pots, and I moved them to 3″ pots, today.

They’re really cute. The succulents themselves were $3.50 each at a really nice nursery in my old neighborhood. I believe the pots were $0.89 each, because I got the inexpensive ones (I’m not betting these little ones will stay this little forever). The saucer wasn’t too much, either. The sand was a bit expensive ($5 for a small bag), but I like the way it looks; and as for the cactus potting soil, I don’t know how much that was.

For some reason I see these little things and — I am not a type of person to go around calling things “sweethearts,” but these are sweet little things! 🙂 (little plants and birds, I have a soft spot for, and can gush over with baby talk!)

A blue-green spiky rosette with a frond coming out of it!
Another repotted 2″ succulent baby.

The one to my left, I put in a 4″ pot, because it is trying to spread and establish a runner. I actually got it for this reason…there were others of similar size and shape, but this one was the one which had the most ambition. 😉

It was also on the edge of being root-bound, when I took it out of its pot. This could have been the reason it was sending out a runner.

I accidentally had to repot it twice, as well, because I didn’t know what I was doing the first time and tried to shake the dirt and sand out from between the leaves…and dumped out the plant before the dirt and sand came out! D:

Well. You live and you learn. I have a tendency to anthropomorphize my plants, too, and apologized to this one when I accidentally caused it to fall out the pot. (I don’t think I could not apologize to it…)

I also am really sensitive to the fact that the plants, if they are aware, have no idea what is going on or why the ground is shaking or why the sun is moving around at different angles or it gets hot and suddenly cooler (this all happens on the ride home)…

It also helps that these ones were stronger than the ones I started out with, from Home Depot (sometimes the leaves get really fragile and break off at the touch, especially if the plant is overwatered or otherwise stressed).

The other plant I got is this one:

Miniature Umbrella Plant
Mini Umbrella Plant. It was in a 4″ pot, and I think it’s now in a 5″ one.

I am not entirely certain why it is that I am drawn to some plants and not others, but I know that when I am at the nurseries, I’m paying attention to which plants I seem to have an energetic affinity, for. That is, if I pick up a plant and it seems off-put by me, I put it back. So…this means that the little ones I get are kind of like my friends.

(I know I’m weird and miniature plants may be like my version of collecting kittens instead of [human] friends…the thing is, I can care for a plant without pressure to talk to it. But that frees me talk to it more!

(And yes, I have just remembered that I’ve been cooing over and cuddling a kitten in a certain span of dreams…)

Right now I’m into small things, too. I’m still uncertain as to when and how to trim my 5-Finger Maidenhair Fern. It’s in the shower room, where it likes to be; the issue is that sometimes I forget it’s in there, and it dries out from exposure to the heating vent. It isn’t an issue so much now that it is no longer Winter and the soil doesn’t get bone-dry over two days…but there’s still damage.

The dead foliage seems to strike sporadically, though. Like there will be green leaves, then brown leaves, then green leaves again, on the same stem. Because the sections with brown leaves are fragile, I’ve had to remove some just because of testing them for structural stability (whereas the green-leafed areas were not as brittle). Of course, now it looks pretty much worse.

I’m not sure if I should trim the entire stem back, and wait for new shoots. I know those guys are sensitive to being repotted, too, but to be honest I don’t know how crowded the pot is, because I never repotted it after bringing it home (it seemed fragile enough, as it was). Maybe I should think about trimming and repotting it. I should be able to find information on how to do so safely, online.

Yeah, and…I’ll put some remarks on quilting, in a separate post.

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Surprise! Accidentally falling asleep.

I’m not entirely sure what happened — I lay down a little after 6 PM last night and slept all the way through to 4 AM this morning, despite being woken twice. I did have an assignment due that I was at least going to attempt to accomplish, but it obviously didn’t get done.

Right now I need to finish normalizing a database, as I had realized the night before that I had inadvertently missed a step for at least one of our tables. As this is the component I’m working on…I should try and attempt it.

I’m sure you can tell that I’m still tired, which is mostly due to having taken medication about 10 hours ago (at 4 AM), and likely because I didn’t get up to be active at 4 AM, but instead went back to bed until 11-something AM.

I also have a cramp starting in part of my lower back (I spent too long in bed)…and a lot of stuff to do, today. Which I don’t want to do. But.

It’s kind of hard for me to put everything into words, right now, so I’ll try and stop staring at the screen, and try to do something useful.

(Preliminary) reasons to write

I just got back from a library more useful than the one I work at 😉 (I forgot how nice that library is), and am going to take a quick break here to note down some things I found last night, when writing.

I took about 20 minutes last night to begin writing out the narrative of the story I’ve mentioned recently. I’m actually feeling very good about it, and about having taken some time last night, to read in Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. It’s been a long time since I’ve dealt in fiction, but the value of it came to me when I was trying to fall asleep.

Fiction allows one to try out being different people and making different life decisions than the ones one has made, or possibly might make. It allows one to look at life from multiple perspectives, without necessarily validating one over the other (though to be honest, I don’t particularly strive for objectivity in my fiction!).

One of the things which has stopped me from reading fiction in the past has been the sense that some authors (particularly in the Classics) wrote for the reason of reinforcing and validating their own worldviews. I’m not sure anymore that this is the case; as I’ve mentioned before, my memories of my young adulthood are distorted by untreated illness affecting my cognition, and as such, they’re unreliable.

This is kind of a difficult truism to combat, though. If one believes it, it may prevent them from reading fiction at all, and from writing it as well. If one doesn’t read any more narrative after that, one just continues to hold the belief while the world around one moves on. It might not even help if one tries to get out of it by reading creative prose; often, we see what we are looking for, particularly when there is no one “right” interpretation of a text.

It’s generally accepted that in literary arts, as in fine arts, there is no one “right” or “correct” interpretation, by the way…because not even the author can know such a thing. There’s just too much subconscious and unconscious content for this to be true, and often the interpretation of a text has as much or more to do with the reader than it has to do with the writer.

In order for multiple divergent readings to be possible, we have to grant that the work stands on its own (that is, in fiction, we don’t judge the author for what they have written, even if we do judge the work itself) and that not one reading is “right.”

Hmm. Maybe that’s where I get my philosophical relativism from.

I also at times have felt a bit of…trepidation at letting the reader inside of my head, because I’ve attempted literary analysis on my own work before, and in the past it hasn’t been pretty. (Don’t do that, by the way. Especially not if you’re concurrently dealing with mental illness and cognitive distortion, as I was.)

What I have found is that taking time out to write enhances my productivity, rather than reducing it, as I had assumed. It takes time to write, but then it also helps when you come to things with a fresh mind, not burdened by unexpressed ideas. (Unexpressed ideas can turn into unexpressed obsessions, which is where writing serves well as a method of exorcism. Once you write it down, you can stop repeating it to yourself in an attempt to remember it.)

The problem with unexpressed ideas, as well, is that before they’re put into a format where they become objects, it’s difficult to manipulate them and see the deeper meanings behind them. Whereas, I know as a writer that when I encode things into English (as my first language), I start making connections and realizing ideas that I didn’t know were there.

And these two reasons can be enough reason for me to write, for now. I’m sure more (real) reasons to write will arise as I actually get back into fiction writing.

In any case, last night I didn’t get a lot written, so far as length was concerned — I was writing (legibly) by hand in a small sketchbook, which reduces my writing speed significantly. In turn, that makes me think about my phrasing (not to mention the art of handwriting), more.

I did, however, begin to lay the foundation for a larger story…and I was surprised at how much was already there, going unexpressed. It might actually turn into a novella (or alternately, graphic novel series).

In addition, I was immediately able to see opportunities to expand on what I had begun. This is where my degree in Creative Writing actually helps!

I guess it’s nice to feel multi-talented. 🙂 Or that my undergraduate degree is actually useful for something.

I think that’s about enough time spent, here. Of course, there’s always more to say, but I will post it when it’s ready to come out. 🙂

Sleep dysfunction?

Alright, I was up until about 2:30 AM Sunday morning…and slept almost all the way through the daylight hours, yesterday (it is now early Monday morning, here). I’ve got to remember not to do that again. The major issue, on top of staying up so late, was taking (sedating) medication so late, as well. In light of that, I’ve just taken it for tonight, which will hopefully not knock me out until 5 PM.

Yesterday’s post, I now realize, was full of relief: I had planned to stay up late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, doing the aforementioned group assignment in preparation for a meeting, later Sunday morning. I had essentially given up hope of being able to complete it on time, meaning being resigned to getting a B or C in this class. However, I wasn’t the only one having problems.

Now the deadline is Thursday night, and since I basically squandered most of my working time today (in what I believe was stress-related comfort hiding/sleeping: it’s a pattern), that means I’m going to have to do what I can online tomorrow, and then hit the library on Tuesday. Wednesday I work, Thursday is the meeting.

And this is on top of all my other assignments.

I’m kind of ticked at myself for not looking at my other group assignment, which will be due at an inopportune time: I could have started my part anytime earlier this week (after having completed my individual exercise which prepared me for it), but I didn’t. I’m still a bit upset at myself for having been as non-helpful as I was, in the last phase of the same group assignment. The issue was having been so far behind that what we were doing (and why) was almost indecipherable to me. And if I had tried to help, it likely would have been more like unintentional sabotage.

Don’t believe the Professor when he tells you that you don’t have to do the reading!

At least, though, I only have to worry about three classes, now. I went over what is coming due, but I haven’t noted it down in my Bullet Journal, yet. It’s just overwhelming.

There is some other stuff going on, as well; in fact, more than one major thing. I think what I’m going to have to do is try and just find some way to stay out of bed, tomorrow (even if it means doing something fun or necessary, instead of homework). And I’m going to have to set limits on time spent in social situations, even if they’re obligatory. I hate to look like a bookworm (or alternately, computer nerd), but right now I have obligations in a Master’s program, and I’m in an Honors society, and I would like not to get kicked out within the year.

Like I said, there’s more to this that I’m not saying. Responsibilities, family, adulting…it gets deeper, but that’s not my story to tell.

And I think now would be a good time for me to get some “rest”…or at least, stop thinking of things to do. I’ve done what I can for tonight, and it would be kinda dysfunctional for me to stay up until 5 AM working, just because I got out of bed around 7 PM and am feeling guilty. It actually might trigger relapse symptoms, as well, so…yeah, I should at least try and get some sleep…

Taking a break

I’m just taking a moment right now to unwind from work. Amazingly, things weren’t too bad — this is the first time I’ve been back in two weeks. And…oddly enough, I’m not feeling bad about it. It helped that I got an ice cream afterwards. 🙂

The major issue I’m dealing with now is switching back to a work/school schedule, as versus just a school schedule–!

Also, I’m a bit off because, outside of my Reference Shadowing opportunity, I haven’t been dealing with people outside my family, for about two weeks (and I was socially “off” while I was shadowing, as well). In particular, when signing people up for library cards, I’m having a harder time accessing my, “Welcome to the Library,” speech.

I also received a bit of ease in my assignments: my last professor has now been contacted about my Disability accommodations, so I don’t have to worry about that, anymore. I might want to go ahead and try contacting my Vocational program again…we just never met, before the beginning of this semester. Things are just now starting to look doable, for me.

I have been advised that there is a Trainee program in my County which allows me to enter what is in effect a junior-type Librarian position in my last semester, or shortly after graduation. This will likely be a good experience, if I can either drive or arrange transportation for the period (I really need to learn how to drive!).

It looks like the Reference assignment that I’ve got isn’t going to be as easy as I’d hoped: our Reference section at my library has just been massively downsized, and the same is about to happen at the library at which I shadowed the Reference staff. I have a week to get all of that work done, though I think most of it, I can do online.

And I should expect next week’s work to start up shortly, meaning I should get on it.

Just typing through some stress.

I have an assignment to complete for Instructional Design, but to be honest, I am not really into it and am not sure at this point how exactly I will do it. I think that I need to work alongside Steps 1-4 (which I still have to edit and resubmit) with Step 5, rather than trying to draw things out of that flawed document. I’m writing now in order to give myself some space.

The last week has been taken up with trying to catch up on things I didn’t do, before…and I think there’s something about staying up after midnight studying for at least two days in a row that…makes one not want to get out of bed in the morning. Especially when one knows that there are multiple walls of study waiting for them.

I didn’t go to a movie last night and didn’t go to breakfast this morning, to give myself some time. The problem is, I can’t schedule everything else around my waking hours when I stay up after midnight: sometimes I actually do need to get up at 7 AM. Most of the time last night was spent hardcore studying. Most of the time this morning and early afternoon, was spent sleeping.

At this point, I’m kind of wondering how people who have multiple interests outside of their field of study, and a job, and maybe (!) are taking care of themselves, make it through a Master’s program. (Without, you know, gaining weight and losing sleep and needing to see a counselor regularly.)

I did, however, submit my Candidacy (to graduate) form, yesterday, so at least that is out of the way. I have realized that I’m actually 7 units beyond the minimum that I would need to graduate, and as I’ve been planning on taking more classes during the Summer and Fall semesters…well, yeah.

I think at the end of my degree, I’ll be 15 units above the minimum.

And then there is the entire issue of my ePortfolio. I’m thinking that I will need to start working on this in Summer at the latest, meaning that I should likely only take Cybersecurity (1 unit) and Intro to Programming (1 unit). This is as versus taking a MySQL course, which I can do at any time on the wider Web.

I suppose that’s not to mention that this will all be over in 9 months, if things go well.

AND…I did actually make the time to shower and wash my hair last night. That was a good thing. It’s also a good thing I didn’t go out to breakfast, because I wasn’t that hungry.

Okay, I think I’m about ready to start working on Step 5 of my Instructional Design thing (–! seriously, I don’t want to be doing Instructional Design, but it’s a competency I have to fulfill).

Gah.

But I guess you can see why I majored in Creative Writing the first time around: writing actually calms me down and helps me get my thoughts together, most of the time. When I was younger, I felt like that was the only constant in my life (though that wasn’t entirely true: family was the other constant).

Right now I’m looking at my bookshelf/personal library, and…there are so many books I want to read, but I don’t have time to read them now.

I should probably make some time to consolidate this stuff, so it’s all in one case (or reasonably close to it)…

Photo of last night’s fern frond:

All right,

I have three things to finish reading and then research after that, which would be easier if I were going in to work (but I’m off until the middle of next week). I just don’t think it’s going to get done: the deadline is in less than eight hours and I have dinner and family things to attend to.

I will do the readings, but all of that…is a bit much. Especially when I’m socially inhibited and have trouble even talking to people I like, let alone ask them for free help.

So below, is what I did last night:

embroidered fern frond
Not the best focus, but you get the idea. 🙂

I started out trying to use stem stitch for the main stem, but a regular backstitch worked just fine for the rest of it. Though the stem stitch looks a little better, if I can control its path (each stitch slants diagonally, and this gives the path a tendency to curve)…

I had been wanting to try this variation with petal stitch (that’s what each of the little leaves are), as versus fly stitch, which looks more like a pine frond:

fly stitch sample
Fly stitch sample, done December of last year.

Heh. Kind of nice to have a media library on WordPress. 🙂

Anyhow, I’m doing this instead of frantically reading right now because I think it’s what’s best for me in the moment. That is…I need to give myself a break. It’s possible that missing this Discussion will lower my grade to a B automatically, but I can’t be sure at this moment.

My GPA is fine, though. It’s enough to get me into an Honors society, meaning that I’m in the top 10% of my class. (Who knew.) Right now I’m just not sure exactly how long my GPA will be high enough to stay in that society…

But maybe they aren’t, you know, evil. 😉

As regards the little fern thing…I know that I could do this on a larger scale with more fronds, but I’d have to be sure of where the light and shadows are coming from. It would make more sense to put the lighter green at the top, yeah? 🙂 unless this is very dappled light, which in the natural world, it would be. (Fern under conifer?)

I will get back to studying now. 🙂 Thank you all for your support!