mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

A mostly good day -- I'll get to the bad parts later. But I started the day in what appeared to be a solidly "good" mood, a little over three weeks after ending my experiment with a reduced dose of SSRI. We had bagels and lox for brunch, and I bought a djembe and a seedpod rattle at a garage sale down the street. Colleen and I went out for a nice drive, to Santa Cruz via Highway 9, and back via 17.

Now the bad parts. When I went out for bagels I discovered that someone had "broken" into my car (in quotes because I have been very lax about locking it) and gone through my glove compartment. It was pretty obvious, because the gloves were on the floor. Fortunately I don't keep anything valuable there, but I felt annoyed and a little bit violated nonetheless.

The annoyance of the evening was trying to get the YD's computer to print. I finally managed, by switching her to the "other" subnet where she could see the networked all-in-one. I think I need to abandon the idea of having a separate subnet for Windows; it causes more problems than it solves. Whether to keep it for guest machines is an open question; probably a good idea.

But there was a lot of friction over that, and the fact that she now wants her own printer. She wants an all-in-one; I'd really rather she got a plain printer. We may split the cost. In any case, I ended the day stressed, depressed, and frustrated. Ugh.

Plenty of links in the notes. Mostly distressing news. :(

... and LJ is being a flake, and still isn't accepting my posts. GROWF!

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Hmm. I seem to have gone a little too long without updating; this will probably be sketchy. Hazard of trying to get more sleep on workdays.

I finally got around to pulling out the audio for "No Greater Love", as Callie sang it for me during my Seattle trip, and have been working on the chords as well. (A9 and Am9 can both be faked with Asus2 if necessary, but sound better if you can get the third in.) And I'm working on the lead sheets. Tempered Glass has a half-hour set a week from Saturday at Orycon.

Sunday morning I noticed that I was feeling particularly good, and went so far as to mention it to Colleen. Probably a combination of being able to breathe all night, and some good news in the morning. I also went for a st/roll with Colleen around the Rose Garden. The good mood had mostly evaporated by the evening; I was foggy with sleep, and worried.

Monday, a conversation reminded me about an earlier exercise where I was asked what makes me happy. I didn't know then, and still mostly don't. It's made more complicated by the fact that one of my other problems is not being very aware of my emotions, so that if something makes me happy I sometimes don't really notice. Broken feedback loop.

Tuesday I voted.

Links include Mind, serotonin, anxiety - a student paper that suggests a link between low serotonin and fibromyalgia and CFS.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Note to self: cyclobenzaprine in the morning will do a good job at loosening up spasmed back muscles. It will also turn me into pretty much of a zombie the rest of the day.

I did get in a pretty good walk. Nobody reported a zombie walking along the trail by the airport around lunchtime, but I may just not be reading the right blogs.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

A very good day. By the time my walk came around almost all the shoulder pain and tension were gone, and a lot of pressure was off. This was mostly because of hearing $boss explaining to his boss why the demo wasn't going to work. So I'm off the hook. Also, the Dell netbook that I won in the drawing at OpenSourceWorld finally arrived (more on that separately), and the friends who'd been visiting Wednesday and Thursday left in the morning. I wish we'd had a lot more time to talk, but the house was pretty crowded and noisy. We'll try not to do that too much; one can't pay adequate attention to two sets of guests at the same time.

It was hot and noisy on my walk, but I wasn't as out-of-shape as I'd been earlier in the week, and all the tension was gone.

Colleen, Naomi, and I had dinner at Spicy Leaves -- excellent as usual. It counted as our date night, since we'd had too many guests Thursday and I got home so late. Great food, and two of my favorite women in all the world; it was wonderful.

The day ended with singing and snuggle, and sleep courtesy of cyclobenzaprine.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

It was mostly a pretty good day, if I remember correctly. Good phone calls from Callie and Eileen - the latter for no particular reason except that I'd put "just being a friend" in my wishlist. Yay! I love my friends!

After picking Naomi up at the airport for her weekend visit (did I mention that I love my friends?) I headed back to work for a 6pm videoconference to try to get $demo working. Fail. $boss was there, too, for most of it; we eventually concluded that the combination of high latency, low bandwidth, and video eating up most of that were going to make it a miserable user experience even if we did get it working.

Lots of anxiety/tension. But dinner and good conversation were waiting for me at home; I'm not complaining. Got awakened at at 2am by a snuggly Colleen; I'm not complaining about that either.

I think I'm going to leave the link sausage for a separate post.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Better late than never; yesterday was kind of rough. Today I am thankful for...

  • Colleen, of course, who loves me with enough confidence to get angry with me when she needs to.
  • My two lovely daughters, who keep me amused and on my toes.
  • Naomi and Callie, for so many things I can't begin to count them.
  • [livejournal.com profile] rinolj, who continues to come over on Wednesdays and make himself quietly useful in many ways.
  • The good people of ConChord, my weekend family, who voted for me for a Kazoo award and gave me a weekend of conversation and music.
  • ConChord GOHs Carla Ulbrich and Joe Giacoio for a weekend of good music and a great guitar workshop.
  • My colleagues in Japan, one of whom took two hours out of a busy morning yesterday to help me work on a trans-Pacific demo.
  • My friends on LJ, for good advice, human contact, and the occasional much-needed sanity check.
  • Good Drugs.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

I got a very solid night's sleep, thanks to Bayer PM (aspirin and benedryl). Should probably not use that stuff too often.

I walked down to Safeway and back the long way; a decent walk, but I'm noticably out of shape after a weekend on my arse.

I narrowly averted a scheduling disaster between work and life, by moving a teleconference from 5pm to 6. (Couldn't move it earlier -- the other end's in Japan.) That will let me pick up [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi at the airport this afternoon and still finish the testing I need to do.

The downstairs guest room is ready, after several evenings of schlepping. The upstairs guest room has guests in it -- they'll be going home tomorrow morning.

Mary Travers is dead.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

This will probably continue to be a regular feature. Today I am thankful for:

  • Colleen, and the fact that her health is continuing to improve.
  • The wonders of modern medicine. In particular, adalimumab and prednisone.
  • And let's not forget our many friends, local and long-distance, and citalopram, both of which are helping both of us stay sane.
  • Particular thanks to [livejournal.com profile] screaming_angel for upgrading the OS on Colleen's netbook, and Rick for weeding the front yard. Both of these were wishlist items.
  • Our family, both by blood and by choice. Especially our kids, [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf and [livejournal.com profile] super_star_girl, and our sisters by choice [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi and Marty. (OK, is my wife's sister by choice my sister-in-law by choice, or is there a better word for it? Inquiring minds.)
  • Silliness.
  • Singing over the phone.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

I woke up around 7:30, but added another hour and a half of semi-conscious dozing. Took some cyclobenzaprine (it's not nearly as good a sleeping pill if you take it in the morning); it seems to have done a pretty good job on the various muscle spasms. I still don't like what "getting enough sleep" -- if that's what it is -- does to my day.

Added a couple more books to my Powell's order. Of course, my "to be read" shelf is already overflowing, but at least the psych stuff is important enough to go to the front of the queue. If I'm ever awake long enough to read anything.

Installed the cheap USB printer switch that I got at Fry's on Saturday, so that visitors like [livejournal.com profile] cflute can use the laser printer without having to mess with swapping cables. It still prints from Nova, at least, so I'm happy.

Took a 3-mile walk, but it felt like I was walking through invisible mud; I think I was more depressed afterward than when I started. Dinner, noodling on the guitar... At least I seem to have bounced back to "sort-of OK" as of this morning.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Got up at 9:30, and went to bed at about 10:30. DO NOT LIKE. Yeah, I know I have to get enough sleep, and I'm making up for at least a week's worth, but this does nothing at all to relieve the sense that I'm not getting anything done.

Cyclobenzaprine has definitely helped unknot my shoulders, though there is now a knot near the base of my spine. I've also spent the last couple of days getting by during the work day with a little shoulder bag with just room for my wallet, my keys, and my 3x5 card notepad. Naturally that does not include things like my coin purse, camera, business cards, car clickers, checkbooks, ... For work, I carry the big bag in my rolly along with the computer. I suspect that a lot of my shoulder problems were caused by a too-heavy backpack and shoulder bag.

I got in a good walk, about 3 miles by Los Gatos Creek. I managed to stay mindful and in touch with my surroundings for about the first 20 minutes; it did seem to make a difference. Unlike the state I get into when I'm reading or hacking, I seem able to snap out of meditation instantly if I'm needed for something.

Got to Fry's and bought a video card for the YD so she can run the latest version of Sims. Half a gig of RAM in that thing -- I remember when that was a hell of a lot of disk.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I've actually been fairly productive the last few days. If I'd been this productive two months ago, around the end of March, I'd have my FSA receipts all sorted, the Consonance concerts all up on the web, and be feeling a lot less panicked and harried and depressed.

There's a receipt that I know was on my desk, where I needed it. It's not there now. There's a phone call I should have made 12 hours ago; it's too late now.

As it is, I'm feeling frustrated, panicked, defeated, worthless, and hopeless. Also, paradoxically, bored and restless. I can't focus, can't concentrate, can't sit still, can't relax. Which is not helping.

Knowing that it's some combination of burnout and depression, and that depression lies, doesn't help either. Neither did taking a walk this afternoon, except maybe temporarily.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

We seem to be falling into a pattern of waking up around 4am, which is when Colleen usually needs a bathroom break. Sometimes around 2am as well. I'm a lot more comfortable with this now that I know that segmented sleep is normal in many cultures, and know that I can usually get back to sleep if I need it. I posted about this a few weeks ago, and I'm pleased to discover that, as I recalled it back then, a little bit of quiet conversation and snuggle in the dark of the night is a Good Thing.

Went for a walk around 1:30 (after working from home in the morning and checking in rather late at work). Unsuccessful call to [livejournal.com profile] cflute. I'm worried about several of my friends; her most of all, I think.

Just because I'm on Good Drugs doesn't mean I don't occasionally get depressed, anxious, or freaked-out, and perhaps more deeply so than ever. It just means I don't usually fall apart completely, and usually bounce back pretty quickly rather than getting into a downward spiral, though I think my baseline has been lower for the last week or so. Colleen and I came very close to a mutual melt-down last night; I handled it by leaving the room for a few minutes so we could both calm down. We'll have to find better ways of doing that [livejournal.com profile] acelightning's suggestion of hugging while calming down and sorting it out has a lot to recommend it.

This business of taking care of myself while being a caregiver is hard, and I still don't know how to go about it. It's all very well to say I need time for myself, but it doesn't do much good if I don't know how to make proper use of the time I do have. I've written before about my inability to identify things I can do to make me feel good, as opposed to not feel anything at all. I need to work on that, don't I?

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090401 )

It was a very stressful day for a lot of reasons; I think I handled it OK, but pro-actively stayed in the office most of the evening, talking with one person at a time, and came out of it in pretty decent shape all things considered.

I'm going to have to cut this short, since it's getting late.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

The Wolfling said she was going to get a pickle out of the fridge, so I asked her to get me one too.

She came out with two pickles, one about 3 times the size of the other. She had her thumb firmly on the larger one.

Last seen heading for her room chortling "I broke the Mandelbear!"

mdlbear: (hp-c)

It's been a little over 5 weeks since my citalopram dosage was increased to 20mg; today marked what felt like another definite improvement. That, or the change has been there for a while, masked by concern over Colleen's condition. In any case, I felt happy for most of the day. A little bit lower in the evening, more like "just OK", but even that's doing pretty well for me. I could get used to days like this.

It's probably related, also, to yesterday's change, whatever the heck that was all about. I still haven't figured that out yet.

I was particularly happy during my walk. I did very little thinking this time, just observing the scenery and the people. I seem able to notice my feelings best when I'm not thinking.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Recently I was asked the question, "what do you do that makes you happy?" I found it surprisingly hard to answer at the time. I realized that many of the things I like to do are things that require concentration. They make me focus my attention on the activity, and leave no room for emotions or thoughts about emotions. They're very calming, and often involve a light trance.

Reading is the best example: when I'm reading, the rest of the world goes away. I go away, leaving little besides a calm point of view. Programming and writing are other examples. So are singing and listening to music. So, most of the time, is conversation: I'm focussed either on the person I'm with, which is similar to reading, or on what I'm going to say next, which is more like writing. (This may explain in part why I'm easily derailed when I'm talking or about to talk -- I'm much more distractable when I'm writing than when I'm reading. It's also probably why I get distracted while I'm singing.)

Notice the pattern? These are all verbal. I may get a great sense of satisfaction after I do them, if I do it well, but I don't feel much while I'm in the moment, in the activity.

Over the last week or so I've been realizing that there's another category of things I can do, that do make me happy while I'm doing them. The best example is hugging. Lately I've not only been hugging more people and hugging more tightly, I've been noticing that I'm enjoying it. That's major.

I've also noticed that I enjoy other kinds of contact: cuddling and holding hands. Sex not so much; it seems to involve more concentration and a certain amount of anxiety. The silences in a deep conversation. I'm comfortable with silence, if the other person is.

Walking and driving are oddities: they leave me enough mental space for a conversation. So if I'm walking or driving with someone beside me, I'll be happy when we're together but not talking, and will have a split focus while one of us is talking. I think this is the only kind of multitasking I've ever been capable of. When I'm by myself, I may notice I'm happy, but only if I'm not doing anything verbal like thinking or listening to music. I turn the radio off in the car these days, and don't use an MP3 player.

I discovered last night that noodling on the guitar falls into this category. It does make me happy if I'm not singing or trying to learn the chords of a song, and I can even carry on a conversation to about the same extent that I can in the car.

There are undoubtedly other things in this category: doing the dishes, cooking, woodworking, puttering about the house. I need to find something quiet and portable that I can do in my lap. Doodling works, I remember. Probably so would drawing, if I put in the months of practice it would take to get barely adequate at it.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090314 )

A very odd day. The morning was cold and grey and bleak, and I was worried about something I couldn't quite pin down, although a particular friend was much on my mind. I'll get back to that. Even a visit to Colleen, and seeing her standing (with mechanical assistance) for a few minutes didn't seem to lift my mood much.

I was still lonely and worried after the party shopping, but perked up when people started filtering in.

When the first guest came in the kids were still watching a DVD out in the living room, so I took her into the office for some quiet. I found that I was pretty comfortable doing that at other times as well, when a loud conversation was going on in the living room and interfering with the one-on-one I was engaged in.

Mid-afternoon I had a stray moment to read my email and found that the friend I'd been worried about had been having a temporary but alarming health problem in the morning (been taken care of -- ok now). Do I really have that much empathy, or was it just a coincidence? Probably the latter: my worries were mainly about a different aspect of my friend's life. I can see how one can easily start believing in ESP, but I remain skeptical. Memory is very selective.

The party really warmed up in the evening, and I had a good time. I noticed that I was much happier and more engaged than previously; other people noticed as well. Go me!!

I circulated more than usual, and used my computer a lot less. I also discovered, to my delight, that I can noodle on guitar and follow a conversation -- and even make brief comments -- at the same time. It's exactly the same kind of multitasking I do when I'm driving. Some of the chord progressions came out a little odd. I need to find something quiet that leaves me the same mental space.

I've always liked hugs, but I found that I was hugging more tightly and enjoying it more this time. More to the point, I noticed while I was hugging people that it made me happy. Um... OK then.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I was too busy to update yesterday last night, which I suppose is good, all things considered. An hour of dozy snuggle this morning after my alarm went off suggests that I'm likely not to have quite as much time as I'd like today, either. But it was worth it.

I may need seven hours of sleep after all. Do not like.

I also do not like the way my weight has been creeping up over the last week. Grump.

The allergy tests were entirely negative. So what I have is "vasomotor rhinitis", which is another way of saying that they don't know either. But it's mostly caused by irritation, including dust, pollen, and smoke. The tip-off is that antihistamines don't have much of an effect. I got a prescription for ipratropium nasal spray; it's supposed to be very effective on runny nose/postnasal drip. On the other hand, so far the "dry mucus membrane" SSRI side-effect seems to be taking care of it.

Still not all that good at socializing, but at least I spent most of Wednesday evening out in the living room taking occasional part in the conversation, and had a couple of nice one-on-one catch-up chats with Toby and Stacy, neither of whom I've seen for quite a long time.

The books (and preamp) that I ordered last week were waiting for me when I got back to work yesterday. I have some reading to do.

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