The Mandelbear's Musings
May. 20th, 2013
10:53 am - GIP: Rainbow's End
Just a gratuitous icon post, to show off the sign on our gate.
Don't be alarmed by the location -- Colleen is just in for another endoscopy, having a gallstone removed. She should be waking up soon.
[Crossposted from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, where it has comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only]
It's been a long month so far, but not nearly long enough. We've been packing the apartment, and running a van-load of boxes down to Rainbow's End nearly every day -- we're just having the movers take the furniture from the apartment. We'll have the Memorial Day weekend to clean up. Oh, did I mention the movers? Right.
Moving day for North Starport is this coming Friday. GLEEP! House! Move! Yard! The other reason I've been down at the house nearly every evening is to water the newly-sodded lawn. It's gorgeous. And the deck. And...
At the same time, I'm worried. There's no turning back from here -- this had better work. I think it will. That doesn't keep the late-night doubts away completely, but it helps. I'll probably still miss the Starport from time to time, but Rainbow's End is wonderful.
Lots of great links; I don't really have time to go over the list. That's what happens when you don't post for nearly three weeks -- I have to get *out* of that bad habit.( raw notesCollapse )
[Crossposted from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, where it has comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only]
May. 4th, 2013
10:19 am - Housefilk at Rainbow's End
Rainbow's End, in West Seattle, is hosting its first housefilk today, with special guest Alexa Klettner, from Germany. Starts nominally around 2pm, but show up any time.
From the West Seattle Bridge turn right on Genesee (one block past the first traffic light, which is 35th Ave), take the second right onto 37th, and park. Look for the sign on the fence; you can't miss it. If you get lost, call me: 408-896-6133.
[Crossposted from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, where it has comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only]
May. 1st, 2013
07:44 pm - Songs of the day
The Internationale - Wikipedia - Trinitite material if ever there was.
Apr. 30th, 2013
The last week was dominated by the prep for my colonoscopy on Monday. This involved a week's worth of a low-fiber diet, which was highly annoying. The procedure itself went as well as could be expected, and I was able to have Naomi pick me up about the time they let me go. I understand perfectly why they don't allow people who have been drugged into unconsciousness to drive; after I got home I put the dirty laundry into the drier and came within a second or so of adding the soap.
Mom says that after 85 they don't bother, so assuming I don't need one more often than once every decade or so I only have two more to look "forward" to. The results will come back in a week or so.
Friday the stairlift arrived, and on Saturday I took Colleen down to check it out. She loved the master suite, especially the shower. I expected her to like it, but it was nice to have that confirmed.
The yard work was pretty much done by then except for the last of the planting -- it looks fantastic. Work inside the house is progressing; there's a lot of dust. It's going to be a bit dicey with credit until my tax refund comes in.
Lots of good links, many of them from the footnotes in ysabetwordsmith's latest serial fanfic, "Coming Around", and her (related) "three weeks for dreamwidth" posts.
More, as usual, in the notes.
Side note -- I'm considering putting my "done" posts somewhere else, in favor of somewhat irregular postings with more substance. Anyone not bored by the detailed notes? Inquiring minds need to know.( raw notesCollapse )
Apr. 21st, 2013
Somehow it doesn't seem as though much happened. A quick look at the house shows that this is not entirely true -- huge progress has been made on the improvements, tens of thousands of dollars have been flung around with abandon (including a 50% down payment on the landscaping, and starting a household checking and savings account), the front yard, massage studio, and lower front bedroom have been torn apart, several new holes have appeared, and so on.
None of this was my doing, of course, except for the financing. I have merely been plugging along at my job, filing the inevitable extension on my taxes, and generally muddling along considerably more slowly than I would like.
This week's quote/self-observation comes from Friday: "Middle-sized bears are extremely timid creatures, but are occasionally so oblivious that it doesn't matter."
Meanwhile, Seattle has been declared #2 among the 12 best places to live in the U.S.. San Francisco is #1. I think the Twin Cities cheated, with Minneapolis nabbing 12th place and St. Paul coming in 10th. (The differential doesn't surprise me -- St. Paul is a university town.)
Other good links amongst the notes, as usual.( raw notesCollapse )
Apr. 11th, 2013
So... this update includes the entire month so far, and my first full week at Amazon. Don't expect me to say much about that; they're sticky about that kind of thing, with good reason. I can say that it's a very steep learning curve.
I've been carpooling with Naomi a couple of times a week; her school is an easy walk from work. It also forces me to get out of the apartment earlier, which is a Good Thing even if it does mean that I have to leave some of my blog-reading for evening.
Nothing like feeling overwhelmed at work, plus having unpaid bills come home to roost, to make me feel stupid. I know, that's the depression talking. But it'stalking really loudly! Which makes it kind of hard to ignore.
Hmm. OK, so here's the problem. Thinking about an expense like a parking ticket, some bills, etc. reminds me of how stupid I was to have incurred that expense in the first place. So I don't want to think about it. Which means that it goes unpaid for a little longer, which makes me feel even more stupid... See how that works? Feedback. :P
I've also been chronically sleep-deprived for most of the last couple of weeks. The fact that I *hate* going to bed early isn't helping.
Links in the raw notes, as usual.( raw notesCollapse )
Apr. 1st, 2013
Long month, the last week and a half. Let's see. A week ago last Thursday I got an offer of a 3-month contract at Amazon, which I took immediately. Since it's through KForce again, I had very little paperwork to do and everything continues much as it has been. Colleen got her diagnosis of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, which is associated with immunosuppressant drugs, hypertension, low K and Mg. All of which she had.
Friday I cancelled my Norwescon concert -- I really wasn't ready, and was already under too much stress.
Saturday it looked as though Colleen was coming home, but by the time I got there her blood pressure had gone up to really scary levels, and they decided to keep her until it stabilized.
I spent most of the weekend shuttling back and forth between North Starport, Rainbow's End, and the hospital in between. I slept at RE, with Naomi and I keeping one another company.
Monday I picked up Chaos and Emmy, and went out to dinner for Emmy's 21st birthday. Blue C Sushi, which was expensive but able to satisfy the YD's craving for plum sake. I have two drinking-age children now.
I didn't notice any hill.
Tuesday Colleen came home. KForce called and told me I was supposed to start Wednesday.
As it turned out, my boss at Amazon had been expecting me to start on Monday the 1st (i.e., today), so things weren't quite ready for me. More or less ok, though; they were at least able to get me a badge and a laptop. (A Thinkpad T400, which isn't half bad.)
Last weekend was Norwescon. The "surprise open mic" that took the place of my concert was Saturday night, and I gave a perfect demonstration of exactly why I cancelled. GAAK. I should know better than to try to sing anything off book. Especially when I'm unprepared and stressed.
I was plagued by charger problems all weekend, but at least my computer charger worked most of Saturday when I really needed it to. The "geek toys" panel was a lot of fun. I read off the specs for the Cray 1 from the web browser on my phone, which had it beat by orders of magnitude. (How many orders of magnitude depending on which spec you looked at. 8MB of RAM? How... quaint.)
Sunday we had dinner at Romio's in Kirkland, on the way to take Chaos home.
Aha! moment -- I figured out that apologizing (which drives Colleen crazy) is my way of trying to make myself feel better after screwing up (especially in a way that hurts somebody else). It mostly doesn't work very well, and if Colleen tells me to stop, or I'm afraid she will, I can spiral downhill very quickly. (Started to write "downhell", which is actually a pretty good description of it. What was I doing in that handbasket, anyway?)
Didn't do a lick of open filking, but I enjoyed the concerts, and spent a fair amount of quiet time in the Green Room. Which was good for (introvert) me, even though I didn't realize at the time that it was what I needed.( raw notesCollapse )
Mar. 26th, 2013
11:00 pm - Colleen: home at last!
Colleen came home this evening, after 12 hours shy of a week in the hospital. It took until nearly 5pm to get her discharge paperwork, and then we had to stop off at Walgreen's to get her new prescriptions filled. Some high-powered anti-hypertension stuff in there: ACE inhibitor, beta blocker, calcium channel blocker, and a diuretic. Gleep.
But she's home, with normal blood pressure and with the PRES resolving, the UTI cleared up, and the pneumonia taken care of. Gleep gleep.
I can haz Colleen. That's the important thing.
... so I can start work at Amazon tomorrow. Tired bear is tired! Gleep.
Mar. 25th, 2013
04:33 pm - Colleen: update.
Colleen's still in the hospital, at least until tomorrow. Her BP's doing really well, though, so there's a good chance she'll be going home then. Basically they wanted to make sure she's stable on the meds she can go home with.
She's in pretty good spirits, and looking much better than before, but of course she's bored and would welcome visitors and calls.
I'm holding up fairly well, but it's still tiring and frustrating. I'm getting a certain amount more stuff down to the house, though; that's good. 9 boxes yesterday, and 8 this morning; I have amost all of the boxes out of the middle of the living room floor now.
Mar. 21st, 2013
I had a long week the last two days. Tuesday evening, Colleen scared the heck out of me, driving off the path in her scooter, and reporting blurry vision and headache. She seemed really confused, as well. I gave her some aspirin, sudafed (she's been fighting a cold all week), and nose spray. It passed in about an hour, and she seemed perfectly normal by the time we went to bed, except for the headache.
I woke up at 3:30 am and was scared enough to dial 911.( TMI, possibly triggery. Enter at your own risk.Collapse )
(TL;DR:) The most likely diagnosis at this point is something called Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (PRES) - a rare side effect of some immunosuppressant drugs, including the one she'd just increased the dosage of for her Crohn's disease, augmented by hypertension and low magnesium and potassium levels.
She's recovering well, and is currently in room 341 of Northwest Hospital in Seattle. She can have visitors. Norwescon is iffy.
But I was able to take a phone interview in the waiting room, and the interviewer said that he was going to recommend hiring me. So I have a 3-month contract at Amazon, Starting sometime next week.( raw notesCollapse )
So... last week was both relaxing and stressful. It was my first full week after my contract ended, and included our second weekend in the new house. Saturday, in fact, we had our first event, a tea party catered by Friday Afternoon Tea.
I had several interviews, and one in-person interview. That was pretty good; my job search was really starting to heat up. I spent quite a lot of money on and around the house, some of it rather inadvisedly. We did save rather a lot by switching from a curved stairlift from Ameriglide (which we found out doesn't actually get permits or use licensed installers in Washington) to a pair of straight ones from Acorn. Saved $4k.
The house has a secret passage! Well, ok, it's a laundry chute. But it was a secret from me, anyway.
I'm going to cut this short (if you really want details, you'll find them in the notes) to get to the last two days, which were kind of harrowing.( raw notesCollapse )
Mar. 11th, 2013
WE GOT THE HOUSE! It was really down to the wire; I think the underwriter got the last little detail confirmed with my bank on Friday morning, then closed at 11am. The realtor came by to drop off the keys at about 2:30, and I left Disney at about 3:30, having gotten my last bit of work signed off and my timecards put in.
Big sigh of relief.
Backing up to the previous weekend, I spent a lot of time at Consonance catching up with friends, doing a very little singing, and showing off pictures of the house while continuing to worry about whether we'd actually get it.
At Saturday's open filk I sang "Middle-Aged Bear" (it was a good follower to something else with a bear in it), and swan-songed on QV. Quite a few people didn't seem to have heard it before. Some of them looked kind of stunned, and Colleen sent a box of tissue around.
We discovered Saturday that Colleen's scooter charger had a broken wire in the connector -- I went to Fry's Sunday morning to get a battery-powered soldering iron and some assorted tools, including a nice little Gerber multitool with pliers.
Spent a lot of time Monday doing laundry. I'm pretty sure I don't have the stamina -- or the budget -- for flying to more than one con/year with Colleen. It's a much bigger production than going solo.
Tuesday through Thursday passed in something of a blur. Friday Naomi picked me up after work, with her kids, and we spent some time in the house. Our house.
Saturday involved a lot of driving, between getting three loads of stuff down to the house, taking Emmy down to Seatac for a Norwescon staff meeting, picking up her and Chaos afterwards, driving Colleen down... Susan made dinner for us, all very improvised, and Colleen and I, our kids, and Naomi spent our first night at Rainbow's End.
Colleen declared afterward that she wasn't spending another night there until it's all accessible -- that won't be for another month at least, when the stairlift gets installed.
More in the notes, as usual.( raw notesCollapse )
Mar. 8th, 2013
10:37 pm - Thankful Th... um, ok, Friday
Today I am thankful for...
- OUR HOUSE! Well, ok, the bank's house, but it's ours as long as we keep paying them. It closed today, and I have keys in my pocket.
- A fantastic real estate agent, Dave Reith, and mortgage broker, Kathryn Seymour of Evergreen Loans.
- My former coworkers at Disney. The timing of my contract's ending, which kept me employed exactly long enough for the house to close.
- A lender who understands about how contracting works, and who let the loan go through anyway.
- Overestimating the closing costs by $15K.
- Colleen, Naomi, and our kids.
- Feeling at home.
Mar. 2nd, 2013
Did I mention that I hate roller coasters? This last week has been one.
Tuesday started out great -- Naomi picked me up and drove us down to Cortiva, her massage school, which was having a free clinic day. I had two lovely massages, concentrating on my back, shoulders, arms, hands, and calves. N's new GF was there, too. We had a couple of nice talks.
Then at 4pm I was in a suspiciously small meeting with Ryan, the manager in charge of the Disney ID group, who had hired me back in October. Sure enough, there had been a surprise budget cut. My last day will be March 8th.
Same day as the house closing. Oops.
From there it was all downhill; I gave the bad news to our real estate broker, who at first said to go through with it anyway, and then had second thoughts. Thursday I spent packing, trying to work from home, fielded a phone call from a headhunter and a phone interview with Limelight Video Platform. (I now have three headhunters and one company recruiter working on the problem, and it looks as though there won't be much more than a few weeks of gap between jobs.)
I also spent Thursday getting more and more fragile and frazzled; by the time we got to the airport I was pretty much a wreck, and by the time we finally got in to the hotel and got to bed I was seriously depressed.
Sometime Friday morning, while I was out at Fry's buying a new power brick for the netbook (I'd brought one; I just didn't realize that it was still set up for Colleen's Dell), I got a call from the mortgage broker, Kathryn, who said that the deal was still on. She'd explained to Dave that, although Disney had terminated my contract early, I was still employed by the contract agency, KForce. SHE UNDERSTANDS!
Now, if only the underwriter understands. That's still a risk, and I'm not going to be comfortable until I have the keys in my hot little hands. It could make my last day at Disney rather interesting.
And we could still end up with no house, and a pile of new furniture in our living rooms. If that happens, Naomi wants to build. I think that could work, but only if we can figure out ways to cut the price drastically; a first cut put the construction costs at around $700K, which is about twice what I'd feel comfortable with.
This old spectacled bear is, I'm afraid, also a skeptical bear.
But, after spending much of Friday afternoon chasing down pay stubs and bank statements and emailing them to Kathryn, I felt much more relaxed. Margaritas, prime rib, and hugs from friends completed the process, and it looks like I'll actually be able to enjoy the con.
Did I mention that I'm at Consonance this weekend? I apparently hadn't mentioned it before, leading to several people wondering whether we'd show up this year. There were times when I had my doubts.( raw notesCollapse )
Feb. 25th, 2013
It's been a long month this past week. Our mortgage broker failed to get us a loan -- we didn't get this finally confirmed until Thursday, but it had been crumbling for a week. Our realtor, who obviously has a considerable interest in our closing the deal, found another mortgage broker. She claims, on the company website, to have a 100% success rate. Still waiting.
(Meanwhile, interest rates have gone down a little. Every silver lining has a cloud around it?) And my tenants at the house formerly known as the Starport asked whether I might be interested in selling the place. To which the answer was hell yes! (I'm looking at adding over a half megabuck to my debt. Yes, I can use it.)
This Saturday we went to the Seattle Home Show with Naomi and her new GF Susan. Lots of fun, and a trifle expensive. But we found what looks like the right gardener, and spoke with what looks like the right contractor. And found what looks like the perfect power lift recliner. Now all we need is the house to put them in...
Sunday I actually got in some good walking -- home from N's after taking the Honda back.
There are links in the notes, as usual. I'm going to post this and try to get to bed; I've been sleeping badly recently.( raw notesCollapse )
Feb. 16th, 2013
... so it looks like the loan will go through for buying our dream house, Rainbow's End. This last week was rather hellish -- among other things, the appraiser transposed some digits, and came in with an appraisal for 434 Leigh in San Jose, rather than 343. Cue huge kerfuffle and a quick-turnaround re-do. It was still lower than we needed, apparently, so we can't count the rental income toward my income, and my required mortgage insurance will be higher. We'll refinance when we sell the Starport; hopefully it will be worth more by then.
In other news, I had a colonoscopy (routine screening; nothing to worry about; recommended for anyone over 50) which will have to be re-done because I was too full of sh*t. I.e. the laxative didn't work well enough. WTF?
As usual, there are some links in the notes.( raw notesCollapse )
Feb. 10th, 2013
Almost a week. Starting out rather rough: the YD was injured in a near-accident on the bus on Monday, Colleen had an endoscopy appointment on Wednesday (mine is this week), and in between I was very stressed and close to overload. This makes bears grumbly. Grumble.
On the other paw, the house gets closer and closer to reality. It's going to be a strange household -- strange even by Seattle polyamorous fandom standards, I suspect -- but it'll work. It'll work precisely because of its strangeness. Hmm. That really wants a separate post, doesn't it?
It's not something I ever expected. Living with kids younger than my younger brother's grandkids? Taking on over half a megabuck in debt when I'm old enough to retire? Am I crazy? Of course. And I have the prescriptions to prove it.
Quite a few excellent links, spanning much of the Space Marine kerfuffle.( raw notesCollapse )
Feb. 4th, 2013
I finished my sales tax (a big zero) on Monday, and told the county assessor's office about the end of my owner-occupied home property-tax exemption. As it turned out, I needn't have worried about getting dinged with penalties on my last payment -- it runs to the end of the year.
Realized that I'd be stuck paying CA income tax on the Starport, until I sell it. At least I won't have to file two state returns!
I've been sleeping too much. On the other hand, my mood is mostly good except when I'm overloaded or worried. Both of which happen pretty easily. I'm probably not as resilient as I used to be. I feel like I've been stretched way too thin.
The weekend was fun. Saturday we (Colleen, Naomi and I) went furniture shopping. N had found an astoundingly inexpensive dining set at Don Willis's -- beautiful dark wood; 8-person table, four chairs, and a bench for under $1K. Three more chairs turned up; we bought them all. The factory has gone bust -- there won't be any way to get more. N. found a dresser she liked that matches the one Colleen and I had bought there over the summer.
After splitting up for dinner, we met again at the Heather Dale concert. Fun, although there was a lot of overlap with Conflikt.
Sunday Colleen and I went to the West Seattle farmer's market, and explored a couple of blocks up and down California Avenue. I really love our new neighborhood.( raw notesCollapse )
Jan. 31st, 2013
10:36 pm - Thankful... oh, right. Thursday!
A lot to be thankful for. It's been a while.
- HOUSE! We're buying a house!! We found the right house!!! Burble.
- Having an income and credit score that made it possible to put in an offer and get it accepted. My credit score just squeaked by; things have gotten a lot more difficult since the days of sub-prime mortgages and easy money. Not complaining.
- The multifunction peripheral at work, and especially its fax function. I am not grateful for the paperwork, only for its ultimate goal and the ability to handle the stuff expeditiously.
- My sister and soon-to-be-housemate, the amazing pocketnaomi. Who found THAT house, made arrangements, greased skids, made molehills out of mountains, and generally made things happen.
- My health, and the ability to continue coping when it breaks down somewhat.
gitdistributed version control system, which made it possible to work even in the absence of a VPN connection.
- Gainful employment.
- The filk community, and most recently Conflikt.
Not such a long week. But both productive and exhausting in its own way.
Sunday of Conflikt was pretty good, especially Jeff Bohnhoff's "Alternate Guitar Chords" workshop, and some great music. But around, what, 4pm? Colleen's scooter abruptly stopped working. Dead in its tracks, with the battery indicator happily stuck at the halfway point, where it's always been for the last several months. The YD, who was accompanying Colleen between buildings, proceeded to panic. I talked her through pushing the scooter back indoors and plugging in the charger.
As soon as I could, I got down there, to find that there was enough charge in the battery to move slowly, but not fast -- push too far and it would simply cut off. So charging helps. I had some difficulty persuading the YD to help me get Colleen all the way into the conference center and up to the Conflikt lobby, where she would be warm and have music and company while the battery charged.
At which point it developed that the YD needed to get home and finish her homework. Due Monday. Oooooookay then. I drove her home, which gave me the opportunity to drop off most of the luggage, swap vehicles, and snag a walker at Naomi's in case charging the battery didn't help.
But of course it did help -- the battery finished charging, and the scooter was just fine. I still don't trust it.
Monday was reasonably productive, plus the inevitable odds and ends of paperwork. Despite coming down with the con crud. The chills came on the way home; I went to bed early, under a pile of blankets.
I woke up feeling as though I was swimming in sweat, of course, and wisely decided to work from home. I got through two new API methods that had been scheduled for two days each.
Which was a good thing, since I wasn't quite as productive Wednesday, when I had a urology appointment in the morning and got to sit around while Colleen had an MRI in the afternoon. All afternoon, as it turned out. So much for going in and pushing my changes to the local github in mid-afternoon. I started writing functional tests.
... but all in all not that bad a week, considering.( raw notesCollapse )
Jan. 27th, 2013
It's been a * l o n g * week, bracketed by cons. Last Saturday we day-tripped Rustycon (and decided that we probably won't bother next year -- it's small. This weekend was Conflikt. Which we will *definitely* be attending next year, but probably without the YD. She went this time because she was writing a term paper on it, but it didn't really seem to be her thing.
Last Sunday we put an offer down on the West Seattle house. It was down to the wire -- when we got there after having seen two places that were obviously unsuitable, we found that they were having an open house and had already received two offers. We offered $10K over the asking price. Monday was a nail-biter, but we got it! It's gorgeous. A full 2-bedroom apartment downstairs in the daylight basement, plus a 4-car garage on that level. Three bedrooms upstairs. And a great hall on top of the garage. I forsee parties, house filks, and house concerts in our future.
Needless to say, my work productivity suffered, as I spent far too much of my time on the phone or tracking down paperwork. The loan paperwork finally all came together at 4:45 on Friday, about the same time I got my functional tests running and marked "ready for QA".
Did I mention the lack of sleep? Mostly due to waking up at unreasonable hours with house worries. So we went into Conflikt already sleep-deprived.
I may have to leave most of Conflikt until later, but the music was fantastic and the Interfilk auction was one of the must entertaining in years. Even if I did end up winning a $100 bid to give the horrid wall-hangings, Harry and Henrietta Hemp, to Seanan. Who said she'd burn them in the parking lot. (The deal with the Hemps is that the winning bidder gets to say who they go to, and somebody had fingered us as people who hadn't had it yet.)
Health. We both had follow-up appointments with our PCP, Dr. Chopra, Saturday morning. Colleen had a dentist appointment Wednesday morning, I had an appointment with the sports medicine department Thursday morning. I got my SSRI dosage raised, and was told that my assorted joint, etc. problems would be solved if I lost (rather a lot of) weight. Thanks; I knew that.
I'd probably better go splat now (10:51 pm). Before I fall asleep at the keyboard. Again.( raw notesCollapse )
Jan. 19th, 2013
So... another week. Busy. Our DVD collection fits into half of a tower. Very few of the CDs are out, but that's ok; most of them have been ripped. Of course, I haven't made the collection easily accessible yet, so that's a problem.
Things seem to be falling through the cracks a lot more often than I'd like, and I often feel pretty close to the edge. The edge of exactly what, I couldn't say. My sanity? Something like that. Do Not Like.
Colleen had her gastroenterology appointment on Wednesday; apparently UW has one of the best people in the country for Crohn's Disease. We'd heard that, it was one of the considerations in moving up here. And there's an assistance program that reduces her Humira cost to $5/month -- major win, since our insurance only covers 50% of its astronomical cost.
Some good links. Nadia Heninger Is Watching You (computer security) -- What makes this cool is that she's the daughter of an old friend and former coworker, Andy Heninger. The Wordsmith's Forge - Discussion: An Army of One, Autism in SF My Mom Was An Underground Railroad For Abused Women: What She Taught Me About Feminism And Fear | xoJane. The Tiny Transforming Apartment That Packs Eight Rooms into 420 Square Feet Still pretty cramped, but some cool ideas. The Goliath telescoping dining table is impressive. Want.( raw notesCollapse )
Jan. 12th, 2013
The main event this week was the arrival of the storage towers and lamp I ordered from Best Buy. There were also health worries, and my stuff is being moved into a new cubical over the weekend. I think about half the people in the Seattle office are getting shuffled around.
I get two nice things out of the move. First was having to leave at 2pm on Friday, which meant I could walk to REI -- about half an hour's walk, on a beautiful clear day -- and buy a hat. It's called a "Seattle Sombrero"; I'm hoping it will be waterproof.
The second is a lockable cabinet where I can stash my (non-lockable) laptop. That means I won't have to lug the darned thing to and from work five times a week. I don't need the extra weight.
My back was hurting quite a lot by the time I got home on Friday. And I've been having some sharp pains when I lift things that make me worry about developing a hernia -- this is something I *do* *not* *need* right now.
Also I'm still gaining weight, and I get very stiff in the evenings.
I got my lab results back; the doctor noted that she was worried about my triglycerides, which are 186 (normal 150 or less). When I see her next, in a couple of weeks, I will tell her that it's the second-lowest number in a decade. Probably time to increase my niacin and linseed oil. (Ok, the bottle is labeled "flax oil". Same thing. It's a dietary supplement and a furniture finish.)
About those CD towers. When I ordered them and looked at the shipping tracker it said "4 boxes, 76 pounds". Shipping was free. What I didn't realize was that the weight given wasn't the total, it was the weight of the heaviest package. Of which there were two, plus two smaller boxes of 36lbs. Gleep. The Younger Daughter was *not* pleased, even with access to my hand truck.
I took it nice and slow, and put one together over the course of three days. I had figured on it taking two people to flip the thing over and drag it into position, but it glided easily over the carpet, and was actually quite easy to lift. Yay trigonometry!
As for links, I have been eagerly following the poems from YsabetWordsmith's January Poetry Fishbowl, and especially the ones in her new series, An Army of One, which is science fiction about a society of autistic people. Very cool idea.( raw notesCollapse )
Jan. 6th, 2013
So, welcome to 2013. So far it's starting out pretty well, with three very productive days at work, and spurts of productivity at home as well. I've done some walking, though not as much as I'd like, and even a little practicing. Colleen and I went to our doctor's appointments on Saturday. I get to stay off my morning BP meds! Colleen, OTOH, needs to go back on hers.
And Thursday was our 38th wedding anniversary! We celebrated by going out for dinner-for-two at Anthony's seafood restaurant in Alderwood. Dinner consisted mostly of molluscs - a double helping of oysters, clams, muscles, and clam chowder. Plus drinks and dessert.
The free test coverage tool in Eclipse is pretty good. Fun!
We had house guests on Sunday; anyone in the Seattle area who wants to visit is welcome to come on over, given a few hours' notice.
Quote of the week:
Colleen: What are you depressed about?
Me: Depression doesn't need a reason.
As well as the year is going, I'm still apparently feeling pretty depressed and very, very stressed. I think I'm trying to do too much, but there's no helping it. I was kind of shocked to find that Colleen's last hospitalization was in 2009, only a little less than 4 years ago. It feels longer.
For you TV fans out there, here's a great write-up about the plot holes in WWII on the history channel.( raw notesCollapse )
Jan. 1st, 2013
06:55 pm - Some of my posts are missing.
It's come to my attention that both of the posts I made today have failed to crosspost from http://mdlbear.dreamwidth.org -- please go there to read them.
It was rather an expensive weekend, but worthwhile. I really needed a break, and had dozens of things to do -- I'm glad I took the two days off again this week.
Saturday I ordered new batteries for Colleen's scooter. It turns out that they're available in 17, 18, 20, and 22 amp-hour in the same package. I got the big ones. Meanwhile, the old batteries are still working after a fashion. I'm reasonably certain that only one of the pair is dead.
We went out to Costco, where we bought a 32" TV. Samsung. It's only 720P; although abstractly I might have prefered 1080P, it really makes no difference at a 20' viewing distance. It fits neatly on the shelf above the printers, and I got it hooked up to both the BD player and the Mac mini. So, YAY!
Sunday, in addition to setting up the TV, I drove over to Naomi's and we went out for a walk. Nice! We'll have to do that more often. We had turkey for dinner -- Albertson's had 14lb birds for $.69/lb. There were 4lb turkey breasts in the same section that cost 50% more than a whole bird. Unfortunately, in spite of being labeled fresh, the bird was actually partly frozen. I scoched the top and set off the fire alarm. Fortunately just in the apartment; we had sense enough to open the porch door, not the hallway.
Monday, I went online and bought some furniture: two "Spinning Multimedia Tower"s, and a "Media Storage Lamp". The towers hold a huge number of disks -- over 1000 CDs each. We'll need both of them. The lamp is just the right size to stand in the space just in front of the recliners, and hopefully contain the pile of clutter that invariably accumulates there.
I went out for a walk in the late afternoon, and stopped in at Fred Myers to look at electronics. (Nominally, an ethernet switch, since I'm out of ports on the WiFi router.) While there, I saw a familiar figure heading toward the back of the store, and joined forces with Naomi. She drove me home, and stayed for a little while.
After N. left, James and Chaos arrived; I took them back to J's around 11pm so as not to have to drive with the drunks. I came back, and Colleen and toasted the New Year.
I also went online and made last-minute contributions to Planned Parenthood, Carleton College, and Heifer International. I have someone a goat for New Year's, which made Naomi (whose totem is a chamois) very happy. It was contagious, making for a particularly happy New Year's Eve.
Links in the notes, as usual. Hippo Gnu Ear, and may 2013 be a huge improvement over 2012.( raw notesCollapse )
Dec. 31st, 2012
08:14 pm - The Last Post (of 2012)
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Well, not quite. I've had worse years, but losing my job of 19 years, turning 65 (the week after getting my notice), moving to Washington (at my own expense), and job-hunting for six months all added to my stress level. Let's just say "exciting".
After a couple of gigs early in the year, Lookingglass Folk hasn't done much this year, and I haven't done much except for a couple of concerts. No writing to speak of except for my sporadic blog updates. No programming to speak of outside of work. No recording at all.
My exercise has gone from almost-daily 2-3 mile walks to maybe 20 minutes a couple of times a week, and I've gained a few pounds, though not as much as I thought.
My dysthymia seems to be back, and I'm as unsocial as ever. This does not help when one is trying to make contacts and friends in a new city.
Enough of that.
I'm also living much closer to my older daughter, Chaos, and my sister of choice, Naomi. I can commute by bus, to a job where I'm learning a lot. My health is pretty good, and Colleen's is holding up -- she's walking a little more, though only a little. I've become a Wicked Landlord(TM).
Hopefully 2013 will be less exciting.
Dec. 29th, 2012
We had a good Christmas weekend. And week, for that matter, though it had its major low points as well. Monday -- Christmas Eve -- was the worst, between Colleen's temporary crown coming off, her scooter battery not charging, the fact that I hadn't bought any stocking stufers... Add back pain, sleep dep from a long night Friday (don't ask), and general grumpiness.
At least I actually noticed that I was depressed, angry, disappointed, and anxious. (And that the anger and disappointment were largely directed at myself, as usual.) Things improved from that point, thankfully. The evening and Christmas were lovely, with Naomi and her kids, Chaos and Rabbit, and Chip and Eli on Christmas.
We had roast beef on Monday, and borscht on Tuesday. I think the borscht was my best ever.
- Boil about 3 lbs of beef roast, an onion, two carrots, four peppercorns, and two bay leaves in water to cover for about two hours, until the meat is cooked and the veggies are nearly falling apart.
- Meanwhile, cut the tops and tails off three or four bunches of beets, and roast them at 350 degrees until you can push a fork through a beet. This takes an hour or so.
- While the beets are cooling and the beef is boiling, cut three parsnips, four turnips, and four carrots into julienne strips.
- Set the meat aside, and toss the veggies.
- Put the cut-up veggies into the broth, and start peeling and cutting up the beets. Expect to be caught red-handed.
- Add the beets to the broth. Shred half a red cabbage and toss that in,
- Cut up the beef and toss that in. Add a little more water if it looks like it needs it.
- Serve with sour cream and dill.
Tasty. We have, of course, been eating left-over roast beef and borscht all week. Only the YD is complaining; Colleen and I are not.
Naomi gave me a lovely REI Quantum Shoulder Bag for Christmas; it seems to want to be called "Red". I think her real name is Veronica, but she won't admit to it.
Red is about half an inch too short for my 15" work laptop -- the two corners stick out like little silver ears. Terribly cute. It can be forced into the main compartment, but my plan is simply to put a waterproof flap over it in bad weather. Other than that it's perfect; I really like having a bag that zips on top instead of having a flap, stays vertical when I swing it around to the front, and holds 9x12 envelopes without crumpling them.
A reasonably productive, if short, week at work. I made several stupid mistakes, but was able to recover fairly quickly thanks to git.
The usual collection of good links. Cringely has a post on Reagan and Newtown, about how Reagan destroyed the country's mental health system. There weren't nearly as many homeless people before Reagan, either -- there were places where crazy people could go to be taken care of. I read that Monday morning; it added to my depression.
Every once in a while I want to take a vacation -- just me, and nobody I had to be responsible for. *sigh*( raw notesCollapse )
Dec. 21st, 2012
Good grief! I need to do these more often. Geekfest! New laptop at work! Fire alarms from burnt toast.
Gotta say more about that last one. Somebody in our apartment building burned their toast, then opened the door to the hallway, setting off the building's fire alarm. I was already on the bus to work; the YD and Colleen dressed hastily and headed downstairs. Elevators don't work in fires. So Colleen parked her scooter and, with a neighbor's encouragement, walked down three flights of stairs to the door, and plunked herself down in a conveniently-placed half-barrel flowerpot.
Well, she is the Flowercat, after all. I'm extremely proud of her.
Probably ought to mention the new lappy, too. It's a top-of-the-line 15" macbook pro, huge, fast, and impressively quiet. What it doesn't have is a place to attach a lock cable, so I have to take it home every night. Which, in turn, means that I've had to work out a way of using it that doesn't involve having to re-establish all my multiple desktops worth of context every morning. The best thing I've hit on so far is to set up a virtual Linux box, and run it full-screen on my large monitor. Outlook and a small number of other things run on the mac screen.
We've also had guests in the apartment. We like having guests -- ping if you want to come over; it's usually possible, given a little notice.
And among other good news, my handicap parking violation was dismissed, since I was able to prove that I do have the placard. Stupid thing had fallen off the mirror.
And the Mayan calendar rolled over, with even less fuss than when the Gregorian one rolled over a dozen years ago.
A few annoyances, mostly health related.
I've been sleeping a lot more than I want to. Annoying. I've also been gaining weight; that may be due to my going off my diuretic. Also annoying. The ongoing dental work is also annoying. And expensive.
Some -- many? -- of the annoyances are self-inflicted. I've been applying so much of my attention to work that pretty much everything else has suffered. At least the need to clear space for guests and a tree has forced me to clear out some boxes.
Links and details in the notes, as usual. Some pretties, some very moving stuff... The usual. This is your mind on the web.( raw notesCollapse )
Dec. 19th, 2012
08:40 pm - Alarums and excursions
While I was on the bus to work I got an unexpected call from the YD, saying that the fire alarm in our apartment building had gone off.
Colleen parked her scooter in the third-floor elevator lobby and walked down the three flights of stairs to the exit, between the first and second floors. Whereupon she plunked herself down in a half-barrel planter (next to the door and conveniently empty) to await developments.
It turned out that someone had burnt their toast, then opened the door to the hallway. I got the news before the bus reached its first stop in Seattle, which saved me the trouble of figuring out whether to turn back.
The neighbor who had gone downstairs with Colleen, encouraging her all the way, went back and retrieved her scooter. The YD, too, kept her head and made sure to take her keys and Colleen's cane along.
More adventure than we needed, but it's good to know that Colleen can get downstairs under her own power in an emergency.
Dec. 9th, 2012
OK, I guess that could also have been "done this month". Felt like it, too. Between a dentist appointment (crown prep, only I think I also ended up getting a root canal out of the deal), and some unexpected errand-running, I ended up missing about 6 hours worth of work. Managed to make up most of it, but not all. PTO would have been really nice to have had.
On the other hand, it was a pretty productive week, both at work and at home. So I'm not going to complain too much. I am going to complain, though. I Do Not Need the many kinds of stress that I had to deal with. No, I'm not going into details; you can probably figure most of it out from the notes.
There were some good things, though. Went to Alderwood Mall with Colleen, Emmy, and Naomi. Oysters for lunch at Anthony's -- yum!
On the gripping hand, with several restaurant meals under my belt (literally), my weight has crept up over 200. Do Not Like. And my blood pressure is edging up into the Not So Good range; both of these are probably related to my having run out of my BP pills, which include a diuretic. (Not to worry -- I'm still on one of my two BP-related meds, and will be setting up an appointment soon to deal with the rest of it.)
Found out that one of the developers in my "pod" is 25 years old. That's younger than my older daughter! No wonder he seems a little inexperienced...
The YD's laptop wasn't charging. She was freaking out about it for a day or so, until she noticed that the charging cord was badly frayed just at the strain relief. Problem solved, since it was a 19V charger and I had another in my Big Box of (power) Bricks. Win.
Quote of the week: "[I have] started thinking about the contradictions inherent in the fact that I like learning things, but am very uncomfortable when I feel that I'm out of my depth. Fallacy somewhere, I fancy."
Link of the week: The Wordsmith's Forge - Poem: "The Formless Ones". Very powerful; possibly triggery (nightmares and PTSD following rape). Part of Ysabet's "Path of the Paladins" series; I think it stands pretty well on its own, but you might want to chase links from her serial poetry page to the rest of it.
I'm also intrigued by the idea of An asexual YA heroine? Why not?. As I said in a comment there, " I have no idea where I am on the a/sexual a/romantic spectrum -- alexithymia will do that -- but it's more on the a- side these days, and a book like this would probably have done me a lot of good when I was a YA."( raw notesCollapse )
My sister-of-choice, pocketnaomi, is still looking for a housemate: the person she was expecting to move in last week backed out at the last minute.
Dec. 1st, 2012
Well, well. An entire week. Which just happens to coincide with the end of the month, this time.
Did a little work on the network configuration, aimed at making things more stable in the DMZ (the area between the Internet modem/router (polaris) and the inside gateway/router (stargate)). In particular, I got rid of an obsolete DHCP reservation for cygnus, that was conflicting with stargate's static IP address. Gleep! No wonder stargate's WiFi dropped out every so often.
Also for computer geeks: I got Colleen a 7" tablet. It's a Jazz, on sale at Office Depot for $70. Markedly inferior to my Nexus 7, but it does what she wants it to: web browsing and email. The only problem right now is printing; that's going to require setting up Google cloudprint. Which is kind of stupid for talking to a CUPS printer, but...
I *finally* got autoraise back -- turns out that the compiz window manager doesn't actually listen to the desktop config items anymore; Ubuntu has hacked them up to accomodate the Unity desktop. Which is Unbearable.
A number of other geeky items that I ordered during the last week dribbled in, including a case and USB-OTG cable for the Nexus, a really tiny 32-GB USB drive, a couple of uSD cards and adapters (16- and 32-GB), and a couple of other items that suggest that I probably need to stay off of Amazon for a while.
We got Chaos a microwave oven (hers had died). Colleen got the amethyst necklace she'd commissioned at Orycon -- this involved a trip to Wayward.
Moving on, ... I don't really like the way my weight has been going. I think that much of the recent increase was due to going off my diuretic. It was an interesting experiment, but my BP's on the high edge of normal right now; it may be worthwhile going back on the meds.
Of course, my BP would probably go down if I lost 30 poumds, too. Which would be better for me in other ways as well.
The last time I successfully lost weight was my senior year in college. Over 40 years ago.
Humph. One of the things I really like about commuting by bus is that it gives me time to read. I'm not a particularly fast reader, a trait which is better adapted to poetry than to novels. I am, nevertheless, reading two books right now. The one on my Nexus (via Kindle) is Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman -- an anthropologist's view of hacker culture. Fascinating.
The other, on my phone from Gutenberg via Cool Reader, is Pride and Prejudice, which has been highly recommended to me but was something I was always leery of. It's... ok, I guess. Perhaps someone more familiar with the genre could tell me whether it's meant to be funny -- there's an undercurrent of what appears to be wry amusement on the part of the author. Perhaps one problem is simply the lack of characters I can easily identify with. I'm curious, but not involved.
Anyway... details in the notes, as usual. I should probably try to get back on a twice/week schedule, shouldn't I?( raw notesCollapse )
[Crossposted from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, where it has comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments on DW only]
Nov. 24th, 2012
12:31 pm - Thankful Thanksgiving Weekend
This weekend I'm grateful for...
- A roof over my head.
- Good food to eat.
- Gainful employment, so I can afford to keep the above.
- A half-hour commute by bus into downtown Seattle.
- Colleen, both my kids, and my sister of choice, all living within easy driving distance.
- Democrats retaining control of the White House and Senate.
- A mild climate with both rain and sunlight. The sun just came out, which I am going to take as a good omen.
[Crossposted from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, where it has comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments on DW only]
We had eight people for Thanksgiving -- the three residents, Naomi and her kids, and Chaos and her BF. I made the turkey; the kids and Chaos peeled the potatoes, the YD cut them up, I mashed them, and Colleen made the dressing. The YD had made pumpkin pie the night before. Yum. We have a fridge full of leftovers; a 20-lb bird, a huge bowl of dressing, and a 10-lb bag of potatoes will do that. That's ok.
We do have to remember that the turkey takes more like 10 minutes/lb when it's not stuffed. I used the meat thermometer and cooked it to 165; there were a cuple of spots that were just barely not umdercooked, but it was all tender and juicy.
Gratitude in the next post.
Having to squeeze 8 people into the living room made for a good excuse for cleaning. I put several boxes of books onto shelves, and stacked the remaining boxes (mostly not books) along the walls, with only a smallish tower left standing at the end near the desk. We set up our folding chairs, and it worked.
I worked 3 hours from home yesterday, which was enough to compensate for the time I took off Monday for a dentist appointment, but not for the two days' worth of unpaid vacation. :(
Working from home will get easier, now that I have the RSA software token working for VPN access. It uses Wine, but the app works, so I'm not complaining. VPN isn't working yet, because I neglected to bring home the how-to documents. but I'm hopeful.
I've been sleeping altogether more than I'd like, and not all that well. Thursday night especially -- I crashed a little before 10pm, woke up at 1:30 with my left knee painfully locked up and covered with sweat; went back to sleep and didn't get up until 9. Apparently I needed the sleep.
My Nexus 7 arrived Wednesday, and was waiting for me when I got home. Cool. A little heavy, and I'm not certain it's going to be readable enough to serve as a phone book, but definitely a slick piece of gear. I'm loving the soft keyboard, which combines click and swipe action; I'm going to install the backport on my phone.
That reminds me; I still have to upgrade the phone to Android 4.0 (ICS).
I really should spend the rest of the day sorting stacks of paper, some of which is important. Donwanna.( raw notesCollapse )
[Crossposted from mdlbear.dreamwidth.org, where it has comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments on DW only]
Nov. 20th, 2012
I guess the main event from the weekend was lunch with our old friends Alan and Jeanne Rognlie, who moved out of the Bay Area some 32 years ago. We met for lunch at the AFK Tavern, although no gaming ensued. Good visit.
We decided to have Thanksgiving dinner here; the fridge is now full of turkey. The living room is still full of boxes; we're going to at least move them out of the center of the room. It'll have to do. Progress is, in any case, being made.
I also wrote a poem on Saturday.
I converted my mobile phone plan to a shared-data plan. It includes unlimited voice and text, and 10GB of shared data. The way the pricing works is a little weird, with the price per phone going down as data goes up; 10GB was only $10 more than 6GB. I end up saving about $60/month.
Musical links for the weekend include this Adorably Gruesome Public Service Announcement About Death And Dismemberment, and of course "American Hostess Pie" to the obvious tune.( raw notesCollapse )
Nov. 17th, 2012
08:27 pm - Poem: Passageword
He logs in, writing the words With a long fingernail On the mirror's surface. Ripples Like a stone dropped into A pool of mercury. He steps through.
It's the first poem I've written in quite a while. I should get back into it; I'm not much good at telling stories, but capturing an image or a moment? That I can do.
11:02 am - River: an interesting thought
It suddenly occurred to me, a couple of days ago, to wonder whether my nearsightness (which went uncorrected until, I think, first grade when we discovered I couldn't see the blackboard) has anything to do with my difficulty understanding facial expressions and body language. I would have had trouble seeing those, during the prime years for developing language ability.
Interesting to think about, anyway.
OK, a weekend short of two weeks. Too much to summarize. Elections happened. (You'll find a bit of analysis in the links.) Work happened. Looked in several of the local stores for a Nexus 7, and didn't find one. Guess I'll have to order online. Upgraded my netbook to Ubuntu 12.04, and Colleen's to 12.10 because .04 was a disaster. .10 isn't perfect, but at least it supports the Dell's stupid Poulsbo video. Sorta. Still doesn't suspend properly, which sucks.
There also seems to be something majorly wrong -- it can take up to 20 minutes to boot! I suspect disk, but it could be something even more serious. We discussed options; she may be better off with an Android tablet or chromebook. I forwarded her email to her gmail account, which pretty much takes care of the only reason for connecting to the in-house network. That's still flaky, probably because of interference.
Last weekend also included a massage from N, who is studying massage therapy at Cortiva. She's *good*, and I especially enjoyed having her talk through what she's doing and observing. It also started me off on a week's worth of link-chasing around anatomy, and especially muscles.
I ran out of my morning BP pills (lisinopril/HCTZ) on Sunday, so have been watching my blood pressure. Unfortunately I didn't get a couple of baseline readings last week. It's marginally pre-hypertensive now, but not worrisome; I'll see what happens in the next week. By which time the supply I mail-ordered from Kaiser should be here, assuming they ship to ex-members. One reason I'm not particularly worried is that I'm still on doxazosin for my BPH, and was noticing occasional dizziness on standing up. Which suggests that it may have been too much before.
"Hmm... my panic attacks feed on fear, they lie all the time, they try to control me, they threaten me with dying and going to hell, and they don't care in the slightest for logic. They can be defeated by ridicule, because for all their bluster they aren't very bright, but they don't admit defeat; they just regroup with another dirty tactic and try again. Maybe they're Republicans?" --Nora Rivkis in Facebook
Colleen: I hate it when my Kindle freezes.
Me: Speak sharply to your little toy / And boot it when it freezes. / It only does it to annoy / Because it knows it teases.
All the horrible details, plus bonus links, in the notes below. Feel free to give them the tl;dr treatment. I need to start doing this more often.( raw notesCollapse )
Nov. 6th, 2012
10:37 pm - Boosting the signals
Two signals to boost tonight:
Nov. 5th, 2012
So that would be... two weeks and a day. OK, I've been busy. Starting a new job will do that. This is going to be totally disjointed.
It was also a pretty eventful couple of weeks. I didn't do nearly as much practicing as I'd wanted to, nor advertise my concert at Orycon, which was last Saturday. But it came off fairly well, considering. As of Saturday morning all I had was a stack of lyrics in no particular order, but I manage to string them together into a sequence that, I think, made a certain amount of sense. You can see the results here, though I haven't uploaded the audio yet.
I performed at Westercon, too, and I haven't uploaded that either. Yeah, I've been busy. But that busy? Especially before I got a job...
A lot of things got done that had been waiting too long. Colleen started getting back into cooking, which was (and is) a Good Thing. Not so much because it takes some of the burden off me and the YD, but because it makes her feel good.
Saturday before last, we (me, Colleen, and the YD) went down to the Wayward Coffeehouse for Leannan Sidhe's concert. Sunday before last we (me, Colleen, and Naomi) went to our new-job-celebration dinner at the Herb Farm. This time it was the "Mycologist's Dream" -- fabulous, as usual. I spent much of the time in between reading about Maven, which is the build system we're using at work.
This weekend we went down to Orycon. Drove down Friday night after work, and headed back a little after 2pm on Sunday. So a rather hectic and very tiring weekend, but we enjoyed it.
... and, well, more details below in the notes. Sorry about that.( raw notesCollapse )
Oct. 21st, 2012
09:31 pm - Songs for Saturday: Code Monkey
So, unless you were hiding under the same rock I was all week, you probably noticed that Jonathan Coulton re-recorded "Code Monkey" for Slashdot's 15th Birthday. When I finally listened to it this morning, I realized that it was prime s4s material. Never mind that it's Sunday -- the tag still matches. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
It's kind of appropriate, because I just started my new job this week, as a code monkey. I mean, sure, I have a fancier title than that, but what it comes down to is picking (mostly) well-defined little coding tasks off a list and writing the code. OK, we all get some say in the tasks, too, but it's all part of a huge edifice mostly designed by somebody else.
I've done this before. Recently, even -- what I did on the web services side of $PREV two years ago was like that. I can do it, and do it well, but it was demanding without being all that satisfying. I'm worried that this gig will be similar.
It'll pay the bills, and it'll be challenging and even fun in places, but I don't think I'm going to love it. (You will note that I am not going off on a riff comparing the expected experience to various kinds of casual relationship. This is a Good Thing. Trust me.)
Well. This was my first week at work in six months. It'll take a while for me to get the hang of it, and for the stress to go away. It's demanding, and promises to stay demanding, and I'd gotten very used over the last 6 months to having lots of free time.
The whole week was mostly paperwork and setup. It's my first encounter with development using Windows, Eclipse, and Maven. Plus Rally. Confluence is familiar, at least, and along with the two other new guys I've made a few edits to the "new developer setup" page. So... yeah. Steep learning curve. I hope to be writing code next week. I'd better be.
I like commuting by bus. This is a good thing, because as a contractor I don't get free parking. I don't get a lot of things. Like paid vacations. Orycon is going to be a weekend blitz this year. Fortunately it's only a 3-hour drive; we'll be able to drive down after work on Friday and come back Sunday night.
My stupid body seems to have decided it wants at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Do Not Have The Time! I especially miss having an extra hour or two to myself in the morning. One hour (if I get up at 7 and leave at 8) is barely enough for the usual round of drugs, nose-watering, tooth-brushing, and a quick breakfast. A shower is pushing it. Well, maybe I'll get into a stable schedule eventually.
Apropos of tooth-brushing, we went to Costco and I found a two-pack of Sonicare teethbrush (that's the plural of toothbrush, isn't it?). They'd been strongly recommended by my new hygienist. We did end up spending quite a lot more there than I'd intended.
I also spent more than I'd intended at the Container Store, getting tracks and standards for the living room. I finally decided not to try anything fancy. I have one, 4' shelf up, for the guinea pig cage. It's a huge improvement. I also got a pair of stacking bamboo shelves to go between the chairs - the stack is low enough that it fits under the overhang of the arms, and I've clipped a pair of drink holders onto the end. Big win.
Today I may have time to buy wood for the bookshelves.
Colleen had wanted to check out Bellevue Square, which is next door to Lincoln Square (where the Container Store is), so we did that. Ghastly. It's laid out so that you have to do a lot of backtracking if you're on a scooter, plus it's noisy and crowded. We didn't even bother with the first floor -- there was a long line for the elevators. If it wasn't for having the only Container Store in the state I wouldn't go back there at all.
I did some cooking -- Polish sausage with beans, carnitas soft tacos, ... The really huge thing this week was that Colleen cooked dinner on Friday! That's wonderful progress -- it's been a really long time since she was able to do that. The fact that our kitchen is almost an ideal layout for scoot-through cooking helps. She only needed help a couple of times; getting a hot pot of pasta between the stove and sink for draining is still well beyond what she's capable of. So far.
Some links. Watch out for the first one -- it's going to be very triggery for some people. Harrowing and heartbreaking, but you need to see Amamda Todd's video if you can handle it.( raw notesCollapse )
Oct. 13th, 2012
Tuesday I moved nova, the printers, and the starport (inside) router to the computer desk; moved polaris (the outside router) to the corner of the kitchen where the phone jack lives; and set up (linux desktop) algol and (mac mini) whitewood. Everything works! Much better signal from the routers, though there is still the occasional glitching from starport which I suspect is due to 802-11G/N issues.
Tip: it helps if you turn the printer on before trying to print a test page.
I did quite a lot of re-organizing, which resulted in a usable amount of space around the desk and several other items going to useful places. Decided to use Elfa "easyhang" shelving on the long livingroom wall -- it'll be fairly expensive, but a lot less than the price of even freestanding bookcases.
My copy of Cat Faber's new CD, The King's Lute, arrived in the mail. It's wonderful -- go get one. Cat is an absolutely brilliant songwriter. There are several songs on there that I need to learn.
Wednesday I got a confirmation of my COBRA health plan selections. WTF? I didn't recall making any. Thursday I got a letter dated the 5th saying that they couldn't contact me. WTF? Five phone calls later, on Friday, I determined that they had my area code wrong -- I might conceivably have messed up when I updated my profile, but they had my email address and never sent anything to it. The last person I called, Susan, was extremely helpful and pleasant to talk to. This was Friday morning, and may have been due to my already having decided what to do.
After determining that I had already received more from my FSA than I'd put in so far I dropped it, saving myself at least $860. (There was another $430 payment due, but I had already determined that I wasn't going to continue my COBRA coverage after my coverage from $K kicks in in December.) I also dropped my vision plan.
Friday I also (finally!) followed up on my house, car, and renter's insurance. And saved quite a lot. I should have done that months ago, of course. I don't know where my brain was between June and September. Well, job-hunting and moving and unpacking ate up a lot of it, I'm sure. Anxiety, apathy, and depression probably ate up the rest.
Colleen and I visited the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell -- it was only $50/year for a couple membership. If she can get transportation it'll be a great place for her to hang out, especially the quilting group.
I made several tasty meals, including a great corned beef hash using the potatoes that had been cooked in the slow cooker with the beast. Details, along with the usual links, in the notes.( raw notesCollapse )
Oct. 9th, 2012
09:24 am - Done recently (20121006 Sa)
Feeling good, and even optimistic, is something of a new concept for this old bear. I am having a little trouble wrapping my fuzzy head around it. Does that make sense?
There is still the nagging worry that, now that I've turned in the last of my paperwork, $K or $D will reject me at the last minute. I don't really believe it'll happen, but we're not talking rationality here.
The dresser arrived Saturday. It's lovely, and large, and went a long way toward organizing the bedroom. Now it's my side of the bed that's still a mess. That'll be harder, because there's noplace to put a dresser there.
Having given up on the foolish notion of putting a desk next to the bed on my side, I went over to Naomi's and gound the pieces for my old computer desk. The one I made a couple of years before Chaos was born, and put into storage when we remodeled the Starport the first time. It's now on the short wall of the living room next to the sliding door onto the balcony. I'm gong to put an Elfa track over it this morning, and have already moved the printers and strung Cat-5 over to the phone jack in the kitchen.
Putting the rolling file under the desk where it belongs naturally adds a fair amount of space -- it is now possible to walk to the gray recliner when people are sitting in both facing chairs. Which is good, because the corner by the desk is still pretty crowded.
Now I just have to move the computers: nova and the inside router (starport) to the desk, and the outside router (polaris) to the kitchen. Unfortunately, there's no phone jack in the area that is pretty clearly meant to be the entertainment corner. Not so odd, really; the apartment building predates DSL. I might be able to summon up the energy to do it this morning -- it has to be a morning when the two women are asleep so that nobody wants to use the net connection.
Oh, and I used my SAD light Monday, for the first time since the move. Maybe it'll help. I'm also trying to shift my schedule back to waking up at 6:30 instead of 7:30 or 8; I need at least an hour in the morning to get out the door in reasonable working condition. Preferably two, but that will take longer, I suspect.
Links, as usual, in the notes. Check out "It’s Opus, it rocks and now it’s an audio codec standard!" and The Wordsmith's Forge - Unsold Poetry from the October 2-3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl. I put money on two poems from this: "The Cybernetic Sorcerers" (co-sponsor because of net-lag) and "Promises to Keep" (which combines global warming and sea monsters).( raw notesCollapse )
Oct. 7th, 2012
10:39 pm - Poems for Sale
I've just paid $10 for "The Cybernetic Sorcerers" by YsabetWordsmith -- you can get yours at The Wordsmith's Forge - Unsold Poetry from the October 2-3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl. Ysabet is my favorite web poet, by far. Check out her Serial Poetry page and you'll get some idea of why.
Oct. 6th, 2012
The CTO of $T called me at the originally-scheduled time on Wednesday, not the rescheduled time on Tuesday -- by that time I'd already made my decision. Thursday I went in and signed the paperwork with $K for my contract job at $D. I start Monday the 15th. There are a couple of good perks from $K, including free access to SkillSoft courseware. (I think I also get that through my recently-renewed ACM membership.)
Even after only six months of "retirement", the thought of going back to work is somewhat scary. It's also rather surprising how few of the things on my list I got done. (Of course, "moving" was also on the list, and occupied an unexpectedly large fraction of my time. But still.)
I'll be at Orycon. The plan is to drive down after work (possibly after a short day) on Friday, and return Sunday night -- it's only a 3-hour drive, which makes it possible. I think I will have a concert, though I might have missed my window for that by not turning in the questionaire on time.
Of course, now that I know I'm going to have an income, I promptly went out and ordered a few things that I'd been waiting on. The first to arrive, because it was nearly instantaneous, was the download of Cat Faber's new CD, The King's Lute -- the physical copy will arrive soon. (You get the download, which includes the sheet music and lyrics, free with the CD.) You can get yours at her Bandcamp page. I highly recommend it -- Cat's a brilliant songwriter and a fine performer. This album is drawn from her recent "Alice Day" posts. It's hard to pick favorites here, but I think I'd have to go with "Cedarglass" and "Atheist's Anthem".
I really need to get a Bandcamp page up, don't I? Good project for tomorrow? Maybe.
I also pulled down a copy of Heather Dale's Perpetual Gift (which is free, as the title indicates, but I made a donation anyway).
The usual collection of links in the notes. Here: have a CPR ad, with zombies.( raw notesCollapse )
Oct. 2nd, 2012
10:32 am - Done yesterday (20121001 Mo)
Yesterday I had a dentist appointment at 11am, to get my teeth deep-cleaned. As I was pulling in to the parking lot I got a phone call from $K (the contract agency) saying I'd gotten the contract at $D.
In spite of the fact that I think I'd probably prefer a full-time job at $T, which is a smaller company with a really cool product that I actually want to use, the timing for that just isn't likely to work out -- I haven't even had a phone interview yet (I expect one this afternoon, but still...) So my mood has been distinctly mixed -- it was something like depression last night. (I'll get to that later.)
The teeth-cleaning went very well -- the hygienist was surprised that I was able to handle it with just a topical anesthetic. Yeah, there were a couple of twinges, but I often get worse from my arthritis just getting out of bed in the morning, and much worse after sitting with my legs crossed for half an hour.
Which brings us to the evening, when I was feeling depressed, and made a joke about something I thought was unrelated that N. misinterpreted as sounding suicidal. And then couldn't get back in touch with me.
Apparently several of my followup IM messages simply got dropped on the floor between here and there. And she couldn't raise me by phone or text, apparently because I was reading a book in the Kindle app! The text, in fact, finally arrived a minute or so after I exited the app. WTF?????!!! Anyone ever encounter that one?
OK, getting back to the down mood. I don't know how much of that is due to uncertainty over $D vs. $T, how much is due to simple relief, and how much is due to the fact that I've gotten used to being "retired". Have I mentioned alexithymia lately? It means that, very often, I don't know what I'm feeling. It's a problem.
A few links in the notes, though nothing exceedingly noteworthy.( raw notesCollapse )
Oct. 1st, 2012
High-order bit, out of sequence. I got a call this morning from (contract agency) $K saying I have the job at $D!!! There's a slight chance I may be able to swing something at $T, but I'm not going to count on it -- the timing is rotten, and I'm not in a position to take even a medium-risk chance over a sure thing.
I may, however, have screwed up my medicare by misunderstanding the way the various special enrollment periods interact. GAAAAK!
Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled update. I took Colleen down to RainFurrest Saturday, then came back up to hang out with Naomi and work on music (and laundry) for a couple of hours. Then I picked her up, grabbed some dinner (corned beef, from the crock pot), and we attempted to go to Wayward Coffeehouse. Didn't make it. Colleen's scooter nearly tipped over after it suddenly lost power trying to get out of an underground parking garage the size of a postage stamp, with a too-steep ramp. At that point, after I stopped shaking, we headed back home.
Have I mentioned that I lose control over my voice when I'm stressed? Trying to talk to me makes it worse. Trying to "calm me down" makes it *much* worse. Probably not fixable at my age. I'm not (usually) in a panic, I just don't have the bandwidth to both deal with the situation and try to figure out what to say to people and where they are and what volume to set my voice at to be heard without seeming to shout. I shout.
Sunday I made corned beef hash, hash browns, and fried eggs for brunch, and went out for a walk during which I had the revelation that of course I can't cope -- my coping saw is in storage. I know: lame.
I don't even remember what I made for dinner.
The usual collection of links in the notes.( raw notesCollapse )
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