June 1st, 2006


good day!

I hear it's your birthday! It's my birthday too!

Wow, holy cow, my flist is full of birthday wishes. Thank you all!

Happy birthday PARTICULARLY to esmerel and silkblade. *beam* It's been a very nice day. Ted made me WAFFLES for breakfast! We got a waffle iron yesterday and he had to make sure it worked! It worked very well. :) Then he gave me PRESENTS! The Producers soundtrack, which I didn't expect at all, the collector's edition of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which I didn't expect at all, and a *much* spiffier CD player than I had expected/requested for my office! It'll play MP3s, so I can rip stuff to CD and make my own playlists and that'll be very nice! Yay!

Then we went into town and bought an air mattress and a better vacuum cleaner and some computer chairs and sheets and pillows and things, 'cause the family is coming down this weekend and we had an insufficient number of those. Most of the big stuff is being delivered sometime next week, but we brought the air mattress home so Mom and Dad will have somewhere to sleep this weekend.

Ted went home with the loot and I went shopping. I shopped for four hours. This in and of itself is a feat of stamina far beyond the norm. One would hope that with this kind of endurance test, I would have come out of it with a dozen new outfits and have spent a zillion euro.

But no. In four hours of real, genuine, grueling effort in shopping, I managed to spend a whopping €70. I got three shirts and two pair of capris in that time, after trying on pants at what seemed to be every *freaking* store in Cork City. I did not know what size pants I wore in Irish/European clothes. I couldn't find out, either, because nevermind worrying about what would fit my hips and waist, I couldn't get any of the fucking pants past my THIGHS. Some of them wouldn't go past my CALVES. Goddamned skinny-legged people, mutter mumble grumble. Eventually it proved that Dunnes makes, or carries, pants that fit me, and that I wear 12s in this country. I like wearing 8s better, thanks. Although I donno, I think these are dealing with hip measurements, because that's where pants are riding these days. Anyway.

I did not find something red. I had this sort of obsessed idea that I was going to buy a red shirt (I think this is debela's fault) and try as I might I couldn't find one that I wanted to buy.

I almost bought a cute drop-waisted polka-dotted dress, but the polka dots were...screened on. I mean, not part of the pattern, but paint or whatever on the fabric, and they were already fading/breaking apart on the fabric nap, so I decided not to. It was on sale, and not *that* expensive to begin with, but I decided if I really wanted a dress like that I could find a pattern and make it myself out of less cheap fabric.

I grabbed a whole series of cute nautical-themed stuff (it's very in over here right now) and went into the dressing room to try them on, even though it all cost more than I thought it should. But I thought hey, birthday, I can splurge a little if I want! So I got a couple shirts and a skirt and a pair of long shorts and...the skirt fit. The pockets on the shorts gaped oddly. The shirts...well. Generally, fitted blouses that fit me in the shoulder gape at the bust. These were no exception. But getting ones that would fit the bust would be enormous around my ribs and too large in the shoulder, so ... I couldn't see buying them when I could make something that would fit me better.

I stood there staring at a teal linen skirt with a cool handkerchief hem for a long, *long* time, and finally decided not to get it because for sixty euro, I could make it myself.

I am so very much my mother's daughter, when it comes to shopping. :)

I think I'll go order some fabric from the cool fabric site, and see about finding some patterns, and maybe spend some money at jpeterman. :)

Ted's making roast chicken for dinner for me, and has been doing huge house-cleaning things while I've been sitting here dinking around writing this entry. *beam* I have the very best husband. I'm gonna make biscuits (he just reminded me!) and I may walk up to the Spar and get ice cream, and make an apple crumble for dessert, 'cause it seems like I oughta have some kind of birthday dessert. :)

miles to Isengard: 61
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I've had all kinds of fun conversations today. One was about perceived popularity. I'm going to write about that later, but right now I've gotten into the visualization conversation on Too, and I think it's completely fascinating, so I'm going to talk about that instead.

I discovered about three years ago that people see pictures in their heads. When they read, when they listen to music, when they're told stories, they get pictures in their heads.

I do not get pictures in my head. Not when I'm reading, not when I'm writing, not when I listen to music. I had *no idea* that people did. It was a stagger-worthy shock when I realized that Fantasia was based on the idea that people *saw stories in their heads* when they listened to all that music.

*No one* in my immediate family had any idea people did. Dad said he'd have taught many classes differently if he'd known that. I remembered a drama class visualization exercise where we were supposed to visualize we were lying on a white beach with the blue sky above, and palm trees and all that sort of thing, and it bent my brain to think that probably two thirds of the people in the class were *actually seeing that*.

They say to succeed at sports, you have to visualize the win. I had no idea they meant literally. Sure, I can talk myself through it, but actually *see* it? Buh. No.

Ted was astounded, because my writing makes clear pictures in his head, and he couldn't imagine how I did that if *I* wasn't seeing pictures in my head.

The answer is by working really, really hard.

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That scene, those paragraphs, took me about six hours to write. Not all at once, but going back and staring and thinking and crafting and working as hard as I could to get all the words right. The penultimate and antepenultimate paragraphs there took me about four hours of work alone. Remember that I write, on average, about a thousand words an hour. Description is *not easy* for me. And I find it utterly fascinating that apparently something like two thirds of people see pictures in their heads.

This clarified something that had been puzzling me for years, when I learned it. There's a scene in EMILY CLIMBS, the second book of the Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery, in which Emily is talking to a man whose son has died. The man can't remember what the boy looks like, because he isn't like other people, and can't bring images to mind.

My entire life, I had always thought that was a weird little scene. I mean, not like I spent nights awake because it actively bothered me, but it's always bugged me a little. Like, what did that mean, bringing images to mind? Like people *did* that or something? *snort*

Me, I can't hold an image in my head for more than an instant. Ted, otoh, can apparently call up a specific person or thing, hold the image in his mind, do a 3D rotate on it...bizarre beyond belief.

(At Writer's Weekend a few years ago I put this question ("Do you visualize?") to the 40 people in the room with me and shadowhwk. Every single one of them raised their hands. I said, "You all are *weird*," and only realized when several people laughed and pointed out I was the oddball there that I was, er, well, the oddball. But being me, I persisted in thinking *they* were weird.)

So tell me: do you visualize? If so, can you do the 3D image thing? If you're a writer, what happens in your head while you're writing? Are there pictures? Do you keep images in your mind when you write them? If you visualize, do you like poetry? What *kind* of poetry?