The big news for this week is RainbowCon 1, this coming weekend. But other than that...
Colleen lost her uncle in a car crash. So not exactly a good week. Busy and somewhat rough week at work. Lots of tidying, moving of boxes, and so on. So my back hurt most evenings. Naproxen is my friend.
Finished my taxes, sort of at the last minute. Owed about the same as last year, which was a pleasant surprise, considering that before I started Sunday it was showing about twice that. I could have handled it, but glad I didn't have to.
N and G moved down to their new suite in the basement. It'll be gorgeous when they get moved in. I helped with putting up shelves, but the last two I put up weren't level. Grump.
... and when I couldn't give Naomi a coherently practical reason why I was prioritizing clearing a way to the garage, she said, "Oh. It's an emotional need then. Go ahead." Oh. Yeah; I guess I have emotions these days. And other people can still notice me having them when I can't. Which uttterly fails to surprise me.
Can't think of anything else worthy of mention.( Notes & links, as usual )
Done with my taxes. I owe quite a lot, but it's less than last year and about half what I was afraid I was going to have to pay based on what the software was showing me when I started. Not complaining.
I fastened a large cardboard box to my desk and lined it with a towel. The cats love it. Hardly any trouble anymore with cats walking across my keyboard. In addition, Desti is a great lap cat, especially when I'm sitting in the Rainbow Room with Colleen.
The work downstairs is almost done! There's still some electrical work left in the garage, but other than that it's basically habitable. Movers come tomorrow at noon for the big stuff, i.e. furniture.
xmonad is still cool, though not quite as much so on my work laptop due to downrev versions of xmobar and dzen2, the auxiliary status bar programs. Neither of them works well enough to give me clickable desktop names. But the only time I really care about being able to navigate without the keyboard is when there's a cat on my desk, and that only happens at home.( Notes & links, as usual )
Today I am thankful for...
- The towel-lined cardboard box on my desk. It currently has Ticia curled up adorably in it.
- The (admittedly slight) possibility of retaining my job for a while.
- My family.
- People in my family getting jobs! (Still a few more to go. Come on, universe!)
- Haskell and xmonad, for giving me something fascinating to study.
- The increasing probability that Bernie Sanders will get the Democratic nomination.
NO thanks to the IRS.
So.... not too bad of a week. Busy, which is good. I gave a presentation at work on Friday; it appears to have come across well despite not being nearly as smooth -- or as well-prepared -- as I would have liked. There is, of course, a strong connection between those two: I did most of the work Sunday and Monday. Still, ...
I spent most of my spare time configuring
xmonad and studying
Haskell. Haskell is a pure functional programming language, with a
somewhat peculiar syntax. Xmonad is a lightweight tiling window manager,
written in Haskell. I love it! Its use of screen space is extremely
efficient, and you pretty much don't have to worry about how windows are
arranged because it's automatic. (You get your choice from a wide range
of possible arrangements. Configurable as heck.)
When I had to go back to gnome (while I was trying to figure out how to get a network manager applet) I found myself trying to tile windows with the mouse. Ugh. Now that it's in pretty good shape I'm going to put it on my work laptop. It's glorious on a laptop.
The latest Ubuntu upgrade seems to have done slightly weird things to html-helper-mode. At this point I'm inclined to go with the flow and stop trying to use hanging indent for paragraph tags. Not as pretty, but it actually works ok in HTML5, which gets back to human read/writeability from the strictness of XHTML.
Chaos and Rabbit are moving in. Hopefully by mid-day today. ( Notes & links, as usual )
I seem to have mostly switched to xmonad as my window manager. This is a Good Thing -- I seem to be better able to concentrate with a less-cluttered screen. (On the other hand, I'm less productive while I'm still hacking on the configuration. That may be less of a good thing. There are, unfortunately, still a few things that don't work well in it.
Meanwhile, despite being fairly productive at work, I have gotten behind on a couple of longer-term things -- namely taxes, and a presentation that I'm supposed to be giving next Friday. (It's more fun to read Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!.)
It was quite warm several days this week. That is not expected to last, but it does indicate that Spring may be on its way. Not to be confused with the Spring Framework. Which I am not happy with.
I am also starting to do yard work again, after neglecting it for almost all of last year. (Partly because depression; not clear on the rest.)
Sigh. Too many things have fallen by the wayside. I, perhaps, am one of them.( Notes & links, as usual )
A good week for Sanders supporters. Last Sunday we went to the Bernie Sanders rally at Key Arena, and yesterday was the Democratic caucuses. (There was another rally Friday evening that G and N went to, but I didn't.) As you probably know, Bernie won big in all three of Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii yesterday.
The rally was amazing. He's an electrifying speaker, with a message that resonates deeply with this old radical's values. We need him in the White House.
This was the first time I've been in a caucus, and despite the reference in Alice it wasn't dry at all. Mostly fun, with some boring bits and too much standing.
Inspired by the Functional Programming Principles in Scala course that our team's reading group is taking, I have branched out into Haskell and started to set up xmonad, the tiling window manager that rocks. The main reason for that is the way it handles multiple monitors, which looks like a great match for the way I use my work laptop, always switching between stand-alone at meetings, and plugged into multiple monitors on my desktop.
Still trying to wrap my head around monads and category theory in functional programming. Multiple Wikipedia dives on that one.( Notes & links, as usual )
It's actually Thursday, and today I an thankful for...
- Free drinks (courtesy of $WORK's team event).
- Commuting by bus. See above.
- My therapist. It isn't so much about therapy as having someone to talk to who can point out that things aren't as wretched as they feel.
- Bernie Sanders.
- Walking, and finding that my self-talk isn't completely toxic this time.
- My kids. Who are turning out to be very nice people, even if it is unlikely that they'll be able to support me in my old age.
- The cats, and especially Ticia. Except when they're walking on my keyboard.
The week started with my 69th birthday, continued on through Pi Day and Colleen's birthday, and ended with dinner in Port Townsend celebrating Emmy's birthday a week early (to keep from being out of town for caucus day).
It was also a busy and productive week at work. Finally. Winding up in a corner with a window in front of me after the move seems to have helped; there is also more space in the new layout, and fewer TPMs, both of which reduce the cross-talk. I started working on my taxes, which probably won't be quite as bad as last year.
Pretty good week, considering.
Considering that I'm well over half a million in debt, in a house that is just what we want but which we won't be able to afford if I lose my job, which seems likely because I'm neither enjoying it much nor performing as well as I need to. I'm depressed and anxious, both with good reasons.
Looking back over years and decades of horribly bad decisions, and wondering whether there's any way out of the hole I've dug for myself. Probably not.( Notes & links, as usual )
How the fuck did I get to be 69 years old? I'm still busy misspending my youth!
Speaking of misspending, I managed to scare the heck out of myself by transferring money for the mortgage payment to the household account, then paying it out of my personal account because I didn't think the transfer would post quickly enough. Wrong on both counts. No lasting harm done, but still...
In other news, although I've been a little more productive than usual, I'm seriously concerned that it isn't enough.
Taxes are in progress. It's probably going to be a trainwreck again.
Not really a good year. I think that, from about March through September, I was basically out of my mind with depression and anxiety. I may have my meds stabilized now, but I'm still having to deal with the fallout from what I screwed up.
The last few days I've been swinging between despairing (finances) and whatever state I'm in when I have a purring, blissed-out cat next to me. I don't think it's either happy or contented, but whatever it is it's better than the alternatives.( Notes & links, as usual )
Been a while, looks like. Today I'm thankful for:
- Having enough spare laptops and hard drives to make fast repairs
- Ubuntu, and being able to introduce it to a new user -- who likes it
- Being reasonably productive at work, for work's definition of reasonable (Finally?)
- A sister who insists that I take care of myself (when I don't think of it)
- Cat therapy
- This year's prices on SSDs -- I remember when $50 would buy you a kilobyte
Not a great week -- they rarely are -- but not too bad. Reasonably productive. As I wrote on Wednesday, hopefully that's the new normal for work. Quite a lot of laptop updating and some upgrading, cascading from N's disk failing to boot. Not clear whether the data is recoverable, but meanwhile she has a couple of options for laptops that work.
Our team's reading group has started taking Coursera: Functional Programming Principles in Scala. Which inevitably kicked off a couple of days' worth of Wikipedia dives into functional programming. And category theory, because monads. I'm going to have to learn Haskell next.
I want to get back into recording; so far the only thing I have to show for that is picking up my guitar twice to get back into practice. We'll see how far that goes.
Sometime on Friday I apparently noticed that my self-talk has gotten increasingly negative and self-critical, especially while walking. Which may have something to do with not walking as much as I used to. (The fact that the factual content is, as far as I can tell, accurate is NOT HELPFUL.) I did manage to reschedule the appointment with my therapist that I had to put off a couple of weeks ago. So that's something.
Your attention is drawn to the following music-related links:
- Meet Gaelynn Lea, The 2016 Tiny Desk Contest Winner : NPR
- Afghan Idol Throws Off Her Burqa and Belts Out Domestic Violence Protest Song
It's only been two days since my last "done" post, but I wanted to finish off the month, and in any case it's been a fairly eventful couple of days.
Lots of Linux configuration stuff (and more today), much of it triggered by the hard drive to SSD upgrade I did on my laptop. Tweaking is still ongoing, but mostly it's done (for example, I'm posting from it). And Sunday I nailed a configuration problem (having to do with locales, but showing up only as inability to start gnome-terminal over ssh). Fun!
Yesterday had been set aside at work for doing or learning something new. I spent the day learning the Go programming language. It has a lot to recommend it: fast as a bat, first class functions, real closures, duck-typed interfaces, coroutines and channels, documentation done right (i.e. simple, ordinary comments). A few things to dislike, but I'm likely to try some small projects in it.
I could still have gotten more done. ( Notes & links, as usual )
Productive? Got a fair amount done at work, and finally went ahead and bought a solid-state drive for (laptop) Cygnus. And spent almost all day yesterday installing and configuring it. In preparation for the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release, I installed 15.10. Naturally, a lot of things broke. Boots faster, but what I was really looking for was the self-encrypting feature.
Interestingly, you can't even get into the BIOS or boot from an external drive without giving the disk password. That's good, if occasionally annoying.
In other news, the Younger Daughter has moved out of the house, and in with her boyfriend. That feels indescribably weird. With N's kids still in the house, it's not exactly an empty nest, but... weird.
We have an extra room upstairs now.( Notes & links, as usual )
Mixed. Good week in some ways -- Thursday's basement-cleaning exercise with Giselle and N went a lot better than I expected. Getting rid of considerably more than we're keeping, which is good. Still need to do something like that in the garage.
My back hurts.
My back was not helped by spending all of yesterday sitting in uncomfortable chairs -- first at Lenscrafters while Emmy got her eyes examined, then at Harborview where they sent her for a CAT scan because her right optic nerve was swolen. *sigh* This happened back when she was 18; at that time the diagnosis was pseudotumor cerebri (which means that the pressure inside your head is high for no obvious reason), and she was told to lose weight. That's almost certainly the case this time, too. Not how I'd been planning to spend my Saturday, and not my favorite way of getting father-and-daughter time. Grumpy bear is grumpy.
I have not gotten much done at work this week. Grump.( Notes & links, as usual: )
Productive? I'm not sure. Probably. Progress at work, though not as much as I would have liked, and a fair amount of clearing in the garage. Found many things that have been missing for years, including my box of good chisels. Also, an ENT appointment (follow-up to my faceplant; see 20151124Tu.)
Also, any week that includes Scalia leaving the Supreme Court is pretty good in my book. Impeachment or even retirement would have been better, but this was the only way given the current political environment.
We nearly lost Ticia, who bolted out when someone left the Great Room sliding doors open; fortunately she hadn't gone far, and Naomi and I make a great cat-retrieval team. Whew!
I've also been getting re-acquainted with LaTeX, which has evolved quite a lot since I wrote my filk-formatting macros. I'll be rewriting those shortly. Meanwhile I've also been doing some work in my Config package. Partly that's because I've been working on the equivalent package at work in preparation for getting an upgraded laptop.
Plenty of links in the notes. GOOD links! Your attention is drawn particularly to the first detection of gravitational waves (more links in the notes), this amazing music video, and this news article, which features some kids who people who know us will recognize.( Notes & links, as usual: )
A fairly busy week, but also full of frustration. Both because my bank's transfers to other banks appears to be broken, and because work seems to be two steps forward and one and a half steps back. Grumble.
I have, however, done a decent amount of cleanup in the garage -- mostly a matter of consolidating, but I've eliminated an entire row of boxes, and discarded quite a lot of junk. That must count for something.
You may note, however, that I'm not doing much else -- basically just working, reading, and sleeping. Not terribly exciting. Though I have shifted a lot of my time into the Rainbow Room with Colleen -- apart from the smaller screen it has no disadvantages except when she's watching a video I'm not interested in.( Notes and links, as usual: )
Wow -- I actually thought to do this on Thursday this week! Will wonders never cease? Anyway, today I'm thankful for...
- The fact that I'm still employed. This kind of amazes me, as seen through the usual haze of depression and anxiety. But I'm not complaining.
- My amazing family.
- Our cats, and especially Ticia. There is something inexpressably comforting about sleeping with a cat.
- DW and LJ friends who write the poetry and fiction that I love.
- Fountain pens.
- Ubuntu. And an employer that allows it to be used on company laptops.
- Tiny houses.
Conflikt was this last weekend; I'm posting on Monday so as to get in the whole con, as well as the end of the month. It was a pretty good con, though I ended up doing very little singing. Missed the smoked salmon (dead dog) filk -- Colleen was fading and neither of us was willing to spend much more money on hotel food. Dinners were bar snacks, because they were cheaper.
I had conversations with two new (to me) people, and did a little catching up though not as much as I often do. I actually spent much of my time listening to concerts and working on my lyrics-to-html conversion. Which looks really good now, since it no longer relies on monospaced fonts. Not on the site yet, though.
Also not on the site yet is my Sasquan concert, which I finally got the audio for.
In other news, there are lots of good links, mostly related to tiny houses. If it wasn't for the possibility of eventually moving into someplace we can actually afford I would have no hope at all. Even with that, it will probably come too late, and our house will take too long to sell. I've been making some progress at work, but it's like slogging through mud.
Financial ruin is only a paycheck away, and despair is never far from the front of my mind. I have noone to blame but myself, of course.( raw notes, with links )
Not too bad, I guess. Made some decent progress with work. Several more dives into tiny houses, and found open source design software that we can all use: Sweet Home 3D.
Somewhat relatedly, I finally tracked down and finished The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It's a skill that's going to be useful in a few years when we downsize, though I don't think it's entirely applicable.
I also installed a cat5 cable from the demarc in the basement to the corner of the living room where I keep my computers. The idea is to move the DSL router here and have a much more reliable connection to it.
My weight has been creeping up -- don't like that.
Links in the notes, as usual.( raw notes, with links )
Ironically, my copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering has gone missing. In the clutter. Probably in the Great Room. I did, however, do a pretty large amount of decluttering in the garage. In the process, I found four boxes of missing Christmas ornaments and, best of all, the box containing my block plane, jack plane, chisels, and soldering irons! I've been looking for that one for over a year.
I was especially happy to find my Oryx 50 Temperature controlled soldering iron, with its home-made stand. The fact that I'd already bought replacements for the planes and the soldering iron doesn't matter -- these were old friends, and I'm happy to be reunited with them.
About the only thing to be happy about. I'll take what I can get.
It's also the start of annual review season; I did the two that were due on Friday, including my self-review. Nothing like a self-review to show me how little I've accomplished this year. And I still have to write up the reunion debacle. I think I spent a lot of this year out of my mind.
Lots of reading, mostly about tiny houses, and lots of nice cat cuddles, mostly from Ticia.
Lots of links in the notes. You know the drill.( raw notes, with links )
Well, it's another year. There always seems to be a lot of potential around transitions like this, but it rarely seems to get very far. A lot of my goals for this year are carry-overs from last year. I've been spending too much time beating myself up over things I regret not doing last year (last decade, last quarter-century, ...), many of which simply can't be fixed. I keep screwing myself over, and I don't really understand it. (More on that in a later post, hopefully.)
This does nothing to help with my depression. It may, conceivably, help me fight procrastination. Maybe. I'll start working on that tomorrow.
I have gotten a few more things done in the last 10 days than in most comparable periods in the recent past. A few. Largely reading and research around tiny houses and shipping container houses, and a couple of fun dives into math.
Last weekend Colleen and I celebrated our 40th anniversary by going out twice: for dinner at the Melting Pot Saturday, and brunch at Salty's on Sunday (the actual day). That, at least, was good. It was a good set of mutual gifts to ourselves -- the last thing we need right now is more stuff.
Speaking of which, my book on tidying seems to have gotten lost somewhere in the clutter. Fortunately, I found a different one yesterday at Half Price Books.
Lots of links in the notes, for those of you following along at home.( raw notes, with links )
Now that we've said goodbye and good riddance to 2015, it's time to take a look ahead. As I've said before, I don't do resolutions. These are more, um, guidelines. Yeah; that's it. Guidelines.
- Music: I tried something indefinite last year, and didn't get very far with it. So this year, let's aim for an album: Amethyst Rose. The stretch goal would be to add Lookingglass Folk.
- Writing: Write more poetry, and aim for at least one non-fiction (software-related, most likely) article per month.
- Exercise: Walk on weekends. Stretch: get my bike repaired. (That's been on the list since before I moved to Seattle, so I don't have much hope.)
- Food: Eat better: more salads, fewer take-out lunches. Take off more weight -- I've been stalled for months. At least under 190, and preferably under 180.
- Psych: Last year's "health" goal was all about depression, but I also made a list of plausible stress-reduction techniques, a few of which I actually tried, and I'll keep working on that. But the main thing has to be procrastination. I'll get started on that... sometime? Tonight, preferably.
- Web: Convert the main websites to HTML-5 and CSS. Finally get around to writing the correct lyrics-to-HTML converter (using tables instead of monospaced fonts), and a good browser-based songbook/setlist viewer to go with it. Get some experience with popular CMSs: WordPress, and if possible Joomla and Drupal.
- Work: Get a new job, or get unstuck at my present one. The former is more likely. If possible, something that's mostly or entirely work-from-home. If not, get started on building a consulting business (web-related, or something else in the software range) that can fill that role.
- Household: Get the household workshop set up and, um, working. That means organizing the garage and the downstairs kitchen. Do some serious planning (as opposed to just reading blogs) toward the eventual move-out into tiny houses.
Short week, since I want to close out the year. Not a good year.
Not a particularly bad week, but not all that productive, either. Rather nice New Year's Eve with the Zoo -- four of Emmy's friends who have become friends with Colleen as well. Unfortunately, they live in Tacoma, so they can't come over all that often. Cheese boards for dinner.
More research and reading on tiny houses. This week the main focus was on shipping containers and bus conversions; I also finished reading Mud Ball: 6 weeks, $6000 and Plenty of Dirt. Fun. That was interesting in part because the author was 40 when she built it. Currently reading a blog, 40x28 | Building Our Shipping Container Home -- fun, but those people are a lot younger.
Last night I posted my Year-end Wrap-Up; I think there's more to be said there, but that's a start. A lot to regret, which doesn't come through, and needs more analysis.
Links in the notes, as usual.( raw notes, with links )
There's a lot to be thankful for, here at the end of 2015.
- I made it through. We made it through.
- I still have the same job I started the year with. I really didn't expect that, in the dark days of May, June, and July. I still don't expect it to last, but I'll take what I can get.
- I have pretty good drugs, and a therapist.
- It's difficult to express just how grateful I am for my family. Special call-outs to Colleen, whose love has gotten me through some of my darkest days, and Naomi, who somehow managed to talk me back from the edge of a pit of despair and to come up with the off-the-wall practical ideas that will get us through the next decade or so.
- Rainbow's End. (No thanks to its plumbing, however.)
- Tiny houses, and the people who live in them -- and blog about them.
- Mom. 95 years young as of Monday.
- Curio, who in his too-brief time with us taught me how much I needed a cat, and in the end taught me to cry.
- And, finally, I am most fervently grateful that things were not as bad as they could have been.
Here are last year's goals (I'm too irresolute for resolutions). Let's see how I did.
- Music. I'm going to lump recording, songwriting, and making music together, not so much because they're all aspects of the same thing as to give me a goal that I'm more likely to meet parts of. Mostly fail -- I didn't write or sing nearly as much as I wanted to, and didn't record anything at all. But I did write two songs: Windward (in January) and Ninety-Five Years (in December). And I gave a couple of good performances, but stupidly didn't record them.
- Writing. I'd settle for one post a week that isn't one of the two scheduled ones, though I'd like to do more. Almost complete failure on this one.
- Exercise. Keeping up the walking on weekdays is kind of a minimum; I'd like to walk a little on weekends, and maybe even get my bike back in working order. Between injuries and laziness, even my weekday walking declined. Mostly fail.
- Food. As a minimum, get back to serving salad with dinner on most of the days that I cook. Fail.
- Organization. Do more of my 15min items, get my taxes filed on time, and hack my way through the piles of envelopes on my desk and the piles of boxes in the garage. Stick to my damned budget, now that I have one. Hmm. I think I met this one. The garage clean-up was a side-effect of turning 3/4 of it into a second master suite. Taxes got done, my budget was stuck to, and I ended the year no more in debt than I started it. The piles of mail are pretty-much gone -- as of yesterday. Did I mention that I procrastinate? Might have to make that a goal for next year.
- Health. This is a stretch goal, but I need to do something about my depression. Or whatever it is. Find help. This was another win. After a harrowing six months or so, I finally got help in the form of regular sessions with a therapist, got my depression more or less under control (thanks to the above plus Good Drugs), and I lost on the order of 15 pounds. (On the other hand, the initial weight loss was a side effect of the severe anxiety over the effect my depression and procrastination were having on my work.)
It's been a harrowing year. Between injuries, some of which could have been fatal (I'm including the rest of the household here, but my nose-dive into a sidewalk definitely counts); months of depression that, in retrospect, could also have been fatal; the death of a beloved pet; and five figures worth of repairs to Rainbow's End -- well, let's just say that I won't be sorry it's over.
What got us through it was the love and mutual support we have for one another, scary amounts of money, and a great deal of help. But we got through it. We got through as a family. There were times when I honestly didn't expect to. But here we are, at the end of another year.
It's been a pretty good week. Feels like a vacation, since it included a short day (Thursday), a WFH day (originally planned for Thursday, but moved up because Colleen needed a second urology appointment on Wednesday), and one day of vacation (which wasn't much of one, since it included Colleen's and my monthly urology and psych appointments respectively.) But ok.
Sunday, I spent the morning on website administration, moving song audio
files into a separate directory and fixing a lot of broken links in the
process. In the afternoon, Colleen, Naomi, and I went wood shopping (to
Rockler, which is pretty much the only place open on Sunday that sells
exotic hardwoods). The main
reason was to
get some wood for a sewing box/ottoman that N wanted to make, for which we
scored a nice 10' piece of African mahogany. But along the way, Colleen
spotted a gorgeous slice of olivewood. Obviously too expensive.
Naomi and I bought it for her as a surprise Christmas present. We win. It's going to become a little table to sit between the chairs in our bedroom.
My favorite gift was a red fluffy bathrobe from Colleen; N saw it and immediately dubbed me "Gandalf the Maroon".
Food was good, too. Christmas Eve BunBun came over; with BF, Chaos, and Alex; and cooked dinner. Christmas Glenn made Roast Beast.
I spent altogether too much time Friday and Saturday on a series of Wikipedia dives and research into tiny houses. But I finally understand the Banach–Tarski paradox. Which is something I've been puzzling over since high school. Nice to get some closure on that.
Lots o' links, as usual.( raw notes, with links )
So... pretty good week, I guess. Not quite as productive as I would have wanted. Or needed. I did spend some time yesterday upgrading various computers, including some that hadn't been touched in quite a long time. Blackroot, the Thinkpad I took with me from Ricoh, had a Debian partition that was still on Squeeze, so it needed two upgrades. Went ok, though. The plan is to use it upstairs in the bedroom, for those times when I can't or don't want to go downstairs. E.g., cat cuddles.
Did quite a lot of singing Monday morning, for those few people still left in Mom's apartment. Travel was uneventful; I had a full hour to change planes in Midway.
Lots of good snuggle with Colleen and Ticia when I got home. Ticia is an awesome therapy cat.( raw notes, with links )
The big event this week was Mom's 95th birthday party (her actual birthday isn't until the 28th). About a year ago, when it was still in the planning stage, she'd asked me to write a song for her. Needless to say, I was blocked. A few weeks ago, all I had were a couple of lines and a vague sketch for the rhyme scheme. I got on the plane Thursday with those two lines on a piece of paper. And no pen.
It actually went more smoothly on the netbook. By the time I got to Mom's I had two verses and the start of a bridge, minus a couple of lines. By Friday night I'd taken out the lines I was stuck on (having decided that trying to rhyme three lines in each vers simply wasn't working), finished the bridge, and added a repeat of the first verse.
The song, Ninety-Five Years, came off surprisingly well.
The plane trip was hard on my back; a hot bath and naproxen helped. (But I had neglected to refill my naproxen bottle, so I'm going to have to get through today and tomorrow on nothing but hot showers and stretches. Ouch.)
I've been having fun catching up with relatives (including several cousins once removed that I didn't even know about), and did a fair amount of singing last night after dinner.
Aside from that, it was a fairly productive week at work (what little there was of it), and I had a good night out with Colleen last Sunday).( raw notes, with links )
Note the mood. I try to use the first term that comes into my head, since that's less likely to be overthought and edited. So the combination of Good Drugs and a good cat seems to be working. That, and things going fairly well.
- I am pretty much over my injuries from my run-in with a sidewalk last Tuesday; I have a referral to ENT to get the nose checked out, since it seems somewhat more congested than it used to.
- I am a lot less worried about how little Ticia is eating: As you can see in the notes for last Sunday and yesterday, she has gained back some of the weight she lost in the first few weeks, and since she was overweight to begin with, that's good.
- We have started brainstorming for what we're going to do after I retire (and the household starts bleeding money). Present thinking mostly involves tiny houses, and moving to someplace cheaper after N's kids are out of school.
Lots of links this time. Especially noteworthy are:
- Pack up my old guitar - not only how, but why.
- My dives into CSS frameworks and tiny houses on Saturday.
- www.musicforcats.com - which is in today's notes, but which I wanted to throw in because cats.
Rough week physically, so-so mentally. As for the physical, I can do no better than to quote from Tuesday's notes:
Clumsy bear got into a fight with a wet manhole cover and a sidewalk. The manhole cover tripped me and the sidewalk hit me in the face. Lost the fight, but got away quickly enough to escape serious injury. (Slipped, and would probably have recovered except that I tripped over the curb and did a faceplant.)
Hand apparently broke the fall pretty well, but I have some abrasions on knee and forehead, and a fair amount of bruising and a cut on the bridge of my nose. Grump. Ouch. Glasses had their nosepiece bent a little but nothing scratched or broken. Could have been *much* worse.
As it turned out, I had two small breaks in my nose; they showed up on the CAT scan. At this point everything but the nose and the abrasion on my knee have stopped hurting even a little. I got off easy.
Mentally, my current meds appear to be doing their job. I'm worried about Ticia, though. She hasn't been eating much, and has lost weight since we got her. (She was overweight, but still; I don't like it.) She is also still getting into fights with the other cats. On the other hand, she's also endearingly cuddly, especially with me.
The other biggish news is that we got the HELOC to cover the overrun on the remodel. Colleen and I went and signed for it yesterday. Of course, it makes me worry more about finances.
I've done a little practicing; need to do more, especially on the stuff I'm likely to be playing at and around Mom's birthday party.
Lots of links, as usual.( raw notes, with links )
It's Thanksgiving, which means that in addition to the traditional Thankful Thursday, I get to look back over the whole year to find things to be grateful for. But let's start with the week: Today I'm grateful for
- Surviving my argument with a manhole cover and a sidewalk with nothing more serious than a slightly broken nose and some scrapes;
- My family, with a special callout to Naomi for driving me to the ER to get checked out;
- Cat therapy, with a special callout to Morticia;
- Sound Credit Union, for approving the loan that will pay for the budget overrun on our garage remodel.
Now, for the year:
- My family, again and always: Colleen, Emmy, Chaos, PocketNaomi, Ursa Minor, their kids g and j, and my Mom (whose 95th birthday party I'm flying east for two weeks from today);
- Our wonderful home at Rainbow's End;
- Our wonderful cats, and especially for the time -- far too short -- that we had with Curio;
- Seattle weather;
- An employer that appears to be much more understanding than I gave them credit for (though I'm still very worried);
- Good Drugs, with special callouts to methocarbamol and bupropion;
- Friends, coworkers, and health care providers too numerous to mention, but particularly Colleen's urologist and the three Anitas at UW;
- Filk and folk music, with special mention of "The Mary Ellen Carter", a song that had a lot to do with our surviving what has been an extremely rough year for all of us.
Morticia and Cricket have been fighting all week. Ticia is acting scared and skittish, and still isn't eating much. (OTOH she doesn't seem to be starving herself, so I'm not excessively worried.) She continues to sleep with us, though she seems a little shy of people reaching down to pet her.
Went out with Naomi on Sunday (i.e. a week ago) to look at tools and hardwood. Rockler also has CNC mills and laser cutters, in the $5K range. That said, there are some fairly inexpensive kits out there.
Went out for dinner with Colleen Saturday (i.e. yesterday) -- Anthony's in Alderwood Mall. Their menu has acquired quite a lot of variety since the last time we went there.
Did a lot of puttering around the house. The downstairs washer is broken; symptoms indicate the drive belt. Fortunately, the upstairs washer is fast and efficient.
Lots of links in the notes, on a wide range of subjects.( raw notes, with links )
I actually got some things done this week. I see from the notes that I forwarded the insurance information to our builders for the downstairs repairs, forwarded a bunch of statements to Sound Credit for the HELOC, took Morticia to the vet (she's healthy), did some system administration (tweaking my ssh config files), and did a fair amount of research around 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC mills (links in the notes, under Saturday).
Ticia still isn't eating well, and still isn't getting along with the household's other cats. On the other hand, she loves belly rubs, sleeping with me and Colleen, and cat treats. (Note the Oxford comma.) More recently, she's gotten to like sitting on my desk -- she's turning into quite a good villain's cat.
p-0 (that's Ticia getting her paw in) Links in the notes.( raw notes, with links )
Eventful week. After a botched delivery attempt on Sunday, the washer and dryer were finally installed Tuesday morning. I then took the bus up to the U District and met N at Cat City. We can haz cat! Morticia is a lovely 8-year-old tortie; she's friendly, cuddly, and has a very loud purr. Pictures here.
'Ticia also likes music! She was understandably upset when I carried her out to the car from the shelter, but quieted right down when the CD (Heather Dale) came on. Later, she was actually dancing with g. Fun! And she likes sleeping with me and Colleen. Actually, all the cats have done that at one time or another, but 'Ticia seems especially fond of it.
It's been a long time since I listed my mood as "happy", but I did that on Friday in my Thankful Friday post. Cats, it seems, are a very effective antidepressant.
Links in the notes, of course.( raw notes, with links )
Today I am thankful for...
- Morticia. Morticia is a beautiful 8-year-old tortoise-shell cat, who
Naomi and I found at Cat City on Tuesday, and I brought home
yesterday. She's wonderful -- sweet, affectionate, friendly,... and
lovesme.gfvvvxc 009vv (That's Ticia getting her own comment in.]
- Cats are, apparently, the world's most effective antidepressant. Or maybe it's NRE. Whatever it is, I'll take it.
- Sound Credit Union, for approving our equity line of credit.
- My family.
- I don't think I've mentioned the Seattle public transit system yet, but I'm no end grateful for the ability to commute by bus. That's nearly 2 hours a day when I can read rather than fight traffic.
- Git, and being able to show off my mastery of it to my coworkers in today's design meeting.
Not that it's likely to apply to anyone reading this, but mail from charities with no return address (so that I have to open it to see whether it's important) will be dumped. So will anything with the name of a celebrity or public figure. If they want to communicate with me in person they can damned well call.
Home Depot was supposed to have delivered the washer and dryer yesterday. They claim that the truck broke down, and that they will be delivering this morning. We'll see.
OVFF was wonderful, as usual. I even went to the closing jam, and had a great time, mainly because it was loud enough to cover up my many chord flubs. Also of note was Kristoph's guitar workshop, which was mostly about moving chord patterns up and down the neck. He told me that he'd learned about finding the melody in the chords from me, which left me slightly boggled. But... ok. Maybe I am pretty good.
Lots of fun with git
yesterday and Friday, splitting up my Lyrics directory to leave only my
own songs (plus a couple of PD arrangements) in it. In the process I
wrote a Useful Script for making it look like files in subdirectories have
always been there, so that their history is complete when you use
git filter-branch --subdirectory-filter to make
them into their own repositories.
The goal, of course, is to put my lyrics up on GitHub, the way several authors already do with books. It'll be fun.
Moderately productive at work. In part thanks to a nice new set of Bose noise-cancelling headphones, which they're paying for. (Wish I could afford my own set; they're pretty amazing. Though the noise isolating phones I have at home work pretty well, and are better for recording and mixing.)
More links in the notes.( raw notes, with links )
Well, "Ship of Stone" didn't win Best Classic Filk Song (again), but it wasn't because of my performance in the Pegasus concert -- I turned in what was probably my best single performance so far. Hopefully I'll be able to post a recording soon. I'm still mildly boggled by the amount of positive feedback I got.
I need to practice more -- the fact that I was able to perform off-book helped a lot. And record. It's time I started working on Amethyst Rose again. Past time.
Not as many conmversations as I'd like, but a few, and a couple of new people. (Whose names I don't remember.)
Uneventful trip. I ended up getting a limo because there wasn't enough room in the van for five people, their luggage, and a scooter. We did manage going to the hotel, thanks to a full-sized SUV rental.
Packing was disorganized; I managed to misplace my laptop charger (in the side pocket behind my folding cane), so I bought an overpriced one in the airport. I don't mind too much; it's one of the new, tiny iGo's that I've had my eye on for a while. It has long enough cords that I can just leave it in the rolly. Next time I need to pack either a lightweight backpack, zippered tote, or sling bag to go under the seat with my laptop, magazines, and snacks; next to the CPAP. (Which gives me a good excuse to put both Rolly and Plink up in the rack.)
On the other hand, having Rolly partly packed ahead of time helped quite a bit; I'll be making that an ongoing practice.
Links in the notes.( raw notes, with links )
This was started as something that might be sent either to Home Depot or a local TV station or other consumer advocate. Still might.
Here's the situation. I'm 68 years old. My wife is disabled. We have a secondary laundry room in our bedroom closet. My wife uses a stair lift to get upstairs to the bedroom. We have been trying for over three months to replace the washer we bought and had installed in 2013.
2013 September 1: Order Number: W227507064 3.6 cu. ft. DOE High-Efficiency All-in-One Washer and Electric Dryer in White Model: WM3987HW. Fit our closet perfectly, ran on 110V, didn't need a vent. Also, as it turned out, didn't dry worth a damn, and was prone to clogging.
2014 October 8: $322 for a new drain pump. By then I'd forgotten that I'd purchased a 5-year service plan, and Home Depot didn't occur to me as a place to get appliances serviced, so I used Jimmy Z in West Seattle. Mistake.
2015 February 9: $217 for a new drain pump -- discount because we were a repeat customer.
2015 July 6: the drain pump died for the third time.
July 10: the repair person made the obvious diagnosis (this being the third time that the drain pump had failed) and scheduled a return visit, with the replacement pump. That happened sometime that week; I unfortunately can't find the receipt. I've been looking for it for the last month.
July 15: I opened the door of the washer and water came out. Obviously it hadn't been fixed.
July 27: Recieved a callback from Jimmy Z, but they didn't show. Again. They came out sometime that week; the repairman told me that the circulation pump was broken, all of the pipes and pumps were clogged with lint of some sort, and that the machine was unfixable. Would have been nice if he'd told me that on the previous visit.
August 10: Order Number: W394063798 Order Date: Aug 10, 2015 6:01 PM EDT Spacemaker Washer and Electric Dryer in White Model# GUD27ESSJWW. Delivery scheduled for 8/19, rescheduled to 8/25 because I had injured my back and wouldn't be able to deal with the stair lift.
August 13: It finally occurred to me to check to see whether there was a protection plan for the old washer. There was, but since I hadn't used Home Depot for the repairs I would have to supply receipts.
August 18: Received email from firstname.lastname@example.org about the protection plan on the old washer. Reference number 54540015. (Since then I've been able to find the two older receipts, but not the ones for the July 10 visit, nor the later one where the washer was declared a total loss. JimmyZ has been unhelpful about tracking down their copies, so I'm out the replacement cost of the washer plus one drain pump replacement.)
August 25: Removed the chairs from the stair lifts. The crew removed the old unit but failed to install the new one, saying that the stair lift motor units were in the way. The washer was left on the front porch. If I'd known that the new washer wouldn't be installed I would have had Home Depot come out and look at the old one. 8/29 I bought a tarp to protect it from the rain.
September 1: removed the stair lift motor units as well as the chairs. Note that the motor units are heavier than I can easily handle -- I'm 68 years old with a bad back. But it would cost $500 to have Acorn send a technician out to do it. This time the crew said that they couldn't install it without my taking off the rails as well; this is impossible because it requires a licensed installer.
I note in passing that it wasn't until this delivery that the installer mentioned that the unit required a 240V connection; the product description on the web said 120/240, so I had assumed that meant it could take either. Called the delivery company; they refered me to the store (Delridge in West Seattle). Called the store. Spoke with Kathy, an expediter, who said that someone would be out Saturday
September 5: Luis from Home Depot called; I sent photos via email. Luis and one other person came out, examined the stairs, and said that it would be impossible to bring the washer up the stairs without removing the rail. I started researching stacking pairs, and scheduled for the washer to be picked up on September 9.
September 9: our electrician came (while I was at work) and installed the 240V outlet. But of course not the 110V outlet that I would need for a stacking washer and dryer. Meanwhile, the washer hadn't been picked up.
September 10: called Kathy; apparently the pickup order had been dropped by their system. She claimed it was the first time this had happened. Rescheduled for the 17th.
September 17: the washer was picked up. I was told by the crew that it should have been returned to the warehouse rather than being left on our porch.
September 21: Order Number: W408403911 Order Date: Sep 21, 2015 9:17 AM EDT 4.2 cu. ft. High-Efficiency Front Load Washer in White, ENERGY STAR Model# WF42H5000AW 7.5 cu. ft. Electric Dryer in White Model# DV42H5000EW
October 3: Took the stairlifts off. The washer and dryer arrived, but the crew refused to install them because the 110V outlet hadn't been installed yet, and they wouldn't let me test it with an extension cord.
October 8: 110V outlet installed. Scheduled delivery.
October 17: Took the stairlifts off. Washer and dryer arrived. Washer was damaged. Sent it back. Spent 20 minutes on the phone attempting to reach a manager in the appliance department. After being put on hold repeatedly, I was told that the manager was on the phone with another customer, and said they'd call back. Didn't.
October 19: Callback from Kathy at the Delridge store. Call from Samsung; rescheduled delivery for Saturday 10/31.
They get one more try.
Long, stressful week. Monday I posted In Your Arms, about my cat Curio. Yesterday, the washer we'd ordered arrived, for the second time, damaged. (Our old upstairs washer died July 6, for those of you keeping score.) In between I've mostly been working.
I've just finished compiling the timeline for the whole sorry tale of our experiences with Home Depot over the last 3 1/2 months. I'll post it tomorrow. tl;dr: buy appliances from somewhere else.
No word yet about the home equity line of credit I applied for last week; apparently the documents I sent didn't go through because their email system blocks encrypted zip files. Damned if I'll send that stuff in the clear. I'm not optimistic.
Links and so on in the notes.( raw notes, with links )
Today I am grateful for:
- An insurance bill that ended up being nowhere near as much as it started out. (Thanks to a sold house and totalled car, but I'll take what I can get.)
- As always, continuing employment.
- My Mom.
- Cats, both quadrapeds and bipeds.
- Open source. Especially, this week, GNU make. Endlessly entertaining.
- My family.
Hmm. It's kind of late, and I haven't updated yet. I also see that many of my daily notes are sketchy, which means I've mostly been working.
I have been doing some home stuff; mainly a long-overdue overhaul
of my build system (which, for those who care, is all based on GNU make).
And my major accomplishment for the week: writing and posting a Poem:
The washer installation has been put off again; it is now scheduled for this coming Saturday.
Links in the notes.( raw notes, with links )
In Your Arms
When we first met, you looked like you needed a friend, So I walked up and told you "Hi there. I'm your cat." I'm not sure you understood what I was saying, but I knew You thought so too. You picked me up and held me in your arms, and spoke to me In a gentle voice that I loved as soon as I heard it, And took me home. You were always my Person, and I was your Pretty Boy. At night you would pat the top of the box in the hall And say -- "Up!". I would jump up, and you would take me in your arms And carry me up the stairs. Sometimes I would run ahead, But I would always wait for you so that we could go Into our room together. When I got sick I couldn't always come to you, But you always found me and carried me upstairs, Safe in your arms. Sometimes I would hide in the closet or the bathroom Instead of sleeping with you and Mommy, I think because I didn't want you to worry. On our last night together, you held me in your arms Where I knew I was loved. You stroked my fur, and scratched behind my ears, And cried -- I'd never seen you cry before -- and said I would be okay. I fell asleep in your arms, and when I woke up I wasn't sick any more. There were stairs there, with a carpet like a rainbow, So I jumped down and ran ahead, but when I looked back You weren't there. I'll wait for you. Some day I'll hear you call my name And come running downstairs to meet you. My little bell Will jingle for you, And you'll pick me up and cuddle me again, and we'll go Up the Rainbow Bridge together, with me safe and happy In your arms.
I still want to write him a song, but first there was something he wanted to say.
Reasonably productive at work. Somewhat productive at home. Booked air travel for Mom's birthday (which I was able to pay for with points! Go me.) and OVFF. (Membership and hotel for OVFF were already booked.)
Practiced. Some days not all that much, but every day.
Lots of puttering around the house, but there's still a lot -- mostly paperwork and coordination -- that isn't getting done. Still employed, but worried. When I stop working, whether it's now or in a couple of years, things are going to go to hell very quickly. N and I are starting to brainstorm other things I could do, but it's still not going to be enough to keep things together.
I hate this.
Links, as usual, in the notes.( raw notes, with links )