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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day. Around 11:15 I noticed that I actually felt good about how much I'd done, so... win. And more than 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night, too. If this were a novel, something would go horribly wrong today.

Central didn't have the inexpensive GigE switch I wanted, but they did have the best price in town on the 2TB drive. It's the new "Barracuda Green" line, and runs very cool and quiet. Big win. Or it will be, once I get it installed. Now I'm debating whether to get another to use as my main drive. Nova, the fileserver, is running around 17W right now. Like.

I also got one of the two remaining carpentry projects "done" -- cobbling together a little cart for my desktop box plus its UPS. I'd have to call it a successful prototype rather than a finished project, but it'll do for now. I cannibalized the old printer cart, which has been kicking around (and taking up space) literally for decades.

In between, I made lunch (scallop ceviche) and dinner (sauteed scallops) -- scallops were on sale at Costco this week. Took a 2.5mi walk around the Rose Garden, and did a fair amount of decluttering in the office. It looks like a lot, because I consolidated the plastic crate that's been sitting in front of the file cabinet down to a small cardboard box. Which I hope to get rid of today.

So it was a good day, finally. Um... ok, about 3 weeks after ending my experiment with a reduced dose of SSRI. Right.

A couple of links in the notes.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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So it wasn't a terrible day, just kinda blah, with no walk, my weight still up, and a main dish for dinner that didn't work at all (though at least it was edible and not a total loss).

But I got the healthcare receipts filed! And the 2010 box up to the attic! And some other decluttering done around the house. That's a major accomplishment. And it did feel good, and I noticed that (which is probably even more of an accomplishment). And I got the 1900x1080 monitor and USB-powered optical drive I've been wanting for months.

So maybe it's just a King Gama kind of morning.

For the woodworkers out there, here's a 100% Wooden Bike.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A very productive day, at least at home: I got the counter to the left of my monitor cleared off, and set up the laptop stand. That's pretty huge; the laptop stand is something I've had on the to.do list for over a year. I feel very pleased with myself.

Of course, I now have three boxes worth of clutter to sort through...

Things at work aren't making anywhere near as good progress, but since the hang-up is over at the opposite end of the code from where I'm working, I'm not going to worry about it too much.

I got a good walk in - 3 miles. Go me!

Some good links under the cut. I've read through most of flylady.com, which has a lot of good 15min-related info and tips (though it's aimed specifically at stay-at-home housewives and is too structured for my taste).

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day -- got a huge amount of decluttering done, fighting the pile to the left of the monitor down to an inch-deep layer of small debris (which I mostly dealt with this morning). I still need to sort through the two boxes of envelopes, loose sheets, business cards, postits, receipts, and so on. But it's visible progress -- I'm not complaining.

I also wrote an introductory post for the 15min: tag. So far it seems to be working, but almost all my selections so far have been from the decluttering bucket. We'll see.

I got to the Casa de Chaos bash rather late, but there was gluten-free lasagna left for me. Shouldn't have had dinner at home. Lots of hugs and catching up -- there are people who I only see at Kathy's bashes.

Some good links and a weird dream under the cut.

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

The items I've started tagging with 15min are part of a scheme I came up with last Tuesday for developing good habits by breaking never-ending tasks like sorting receipts, reducing clutter, and managing my websites into little (nominally 15-minute) pieces. The hope is that I'll do two or three every day, and so far it seems to be working. Another hope is that these things will become habits along the lines of taking my drugs, doing the laundry and dishes, and tracking things in my to.do list. The third hope is that I'll spend more time actually doing things rather than glumly and guiltily staring at my to.do file looking for something to do or, worse, looking for things I've already done or have long since given up on. There are a surprising number of the latter.

15min tasks are loosely categorized into "buckets", with the idea that I'll pull tasks out of two or three different buckets every day. As tasks become firm habits, some of the buckets may disappear -- for example, there are no buckets for paying bills online or doing dishes, because I'm pretty consistent about doing those. (There's no bucket for taking walks, even though I'm not very consistent about it, because those have been tracked separately for a long time and somehow don't "feel like" 15min tasks.)

The current list of buckets looks like:

  • Decluttering. This was, of course, the original meaning of the tag. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thnidu for reminding me of this post.)
  • Receipt sorting: sales tax, income tax, healthcare, etc.
  • Paperwork: taxes, mostly, though it also includes canceling services, triaging the to.do list, and similar things.
  • Check writing: unlike regular bills, which are paid online, this includes charities, subscriptions, and other things that only get paid infrequently. I hate writing checks.
  • Web hacking: updating the website, fixing the makefiles, writing tools... It's not unpleasant, I just forget to do it.
  • Music: recording, practicing, writing and updating lyrics files... I sometimes need to be prodded to do fun things, too.

If you're following the "raw notes" section of my done posts, you can expect to see lines like:

  * 15min: declutter the office, mainly the left-hand pile.

I won't usually mention them in the narration unless there's something unusual to say about them.

Before you ask, this is just something I came up with on my own; it's unrelated to Flylady, Getting Things Done, 42 Folders, or any other formal structure; it is, however, influenced by what my friends have been blogging about, and a moderate amount of web-reading.

Comments are, as usual, welcome.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Another day that seemed pretty lazy, although signing papers for the refinance made a pretty good excuse for it. No walk, unless you count going from one end of El Paseo de Saratoga to the other and back, as part of the day's shopping expedition.

We can haz (yet another) mortgage. It's our second refi, but it consolidates the existing first mortgage with the equity line of credit, and saves about $750/month on payments. So much for going into retirement (if that ever happens) debt-free.

One of the links in this post of mine has inspired some good discussion on The future of the internet. I'm always happy to see my links getting out there. I need to write up some of my own ideas on the subject; I got stalled/sidetracked a few years ago and never finished the paper I was writing on secure document distribution.

We're looking for a loveseat/recliner for the living room.

The dinner I made was something approximating chicken piccata with rice, salad, and artichokes. Tasty.

I also did a fair amount of puttering/cleanup both in my home directory, and in the office and other parts of the house.

A reasonable number of links. See How to Read Ebooks | angelakorrati.com if you're thinking of getting an ebook reader.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day, though rain in the morning and most of the afternoon squelched my interest in taking a long-delayed walk. (The weather looks lovely this morning!) A song-swap with Naomi, video in the living room with Colleen and Chaos, cleaning in the office with Eileen, and cooking curried turkey with broccoli. Yeah, good day.

It feels like it's been a long, lazy weekend, catching up with sleep and relaxing. But I seem to be getting stuff done, too. Not nearly as much as I'd like to, of course, but I'm told I need to accept the fact that I'm never going to do everything I'd like to do.

It would be good to get out of the house once or twice, though.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Mostly a day of puttering. My eye felt better, but still looked pretty bad; a short trip to buy coffee left me feeling pretty drained.

I did a lot of decluttering, finally getting the sewing room (downstairs guest room) almost completely clear and habitable. So that's good.

I got my recording of the KinderFilk concert at Orycon split and up on the website (here) -- I'm still waiting for word on recordings of the Tempered Glass concert, and the KinderFilk tracks could use a normalization pass.

On the whole it didn't feel like a particularly productive day, but it was probably as good as I could expect given how sick I am. It doesn't actually feel much like being sick, either. But apparently it is.

The usual, mostly TSA-related links under the cut. For those in the San Jose area and dealing with grieving, you might look into the Bill Wilson Center : Centre for Living with Dying.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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My eye has continued to improve; it was much less painful yesterday, and almost functional at times, improving throughout the day. (Improvement is continuing today.) On the other hand, I checked my temperature and got 99.6, which suggests that a lot of my nasal congestion may indeed be due to a cold.

The YD had her first driving lesson. Clear the sidewalks! (Actually, she did quite well, and didn't damage anything.)

I wasn't able to work, but got some worthwhile puttering done both online and in the house. Video from the Short Tempered Glass concert at Orycon is here. If anyone has audio of the concert it would be very welcome; I apparently fat-fingered the record button while repositioning my recorder. Clumsy bear!

A few more links, again mostly on TSA insanity.

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A lot of yesterday turned out to be spent on system administration, which on the whole was a good thing. I finally, though reluctantly, cancelled my account(s) at rahul.net. He was a great ISP back in the days of dialup, hacker-friendly, local, and technically savvy. But he was too small to offer DSL, and pretty expensive as a hosting provider. Everything's on Dreamhost now.

I also logged in on Network Solutions, only to find that the account consolidation I thought had been done a couple of years ago hadn't actually happened. It took me an hour or so on the phone to get it straightened out, but while I was at it I had the tech track down and consolidate my oldest account, with my original NIC handle of SS39. I am a happy bear -- last time they told me I couldn't get it back without access to the (now invalid) email address it was based on.

I also did a little practicing (at Colleen's request), and a little decluttering around the office, mostly of objects that weren't made of paper this time. That's next. It's amazing how quickly paper can pile up on any available horizontal surface.

Some good links, including the Behringer EUROLIVE B205D Active PA/Monitor Speaker which I saw at Starving Musician when I was out buying salmon for dinner. I decided not to buy one; one more mic preamp (it has two) and I probably would have. It would fit comfortably in my suitcase.

As it turns out, I really need afrin or some other strong decongestant in order to sleep well. Breathing helps for some reason.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day, despite starting with nightmares about money. Odd; I don't usually remember those.

A longish drive with Colleen, 17 to Santa Cruz, then up 1 to Half Moon Bay. Not all that much farther than taking Hwy 9 instead of 17, but about an hour faster. (I found out later that the silly thing had spent most of the drive trying to figure out how to tell me that I don't talk to her enough. I don't think I bite. But I'm a clumsy, literal-minded old bear, and don't pick up on things that people don't come out and tell me.)

A conversation with N via IM, which involved yet another missed implicit message. This is getting to be a theme; it's intensely frustrating to know that other people can pick up on subtle social cues that I simply can't detect at all. I'd settle for getting good enough at it that I can get by without constantly making other people frustrated and uncomfortable.

Much trouble with Audacity, which turned out to be due to it's reluctance to play and record simultaneously on different soundcards. And of course I have two. Easy to fix, fortunately. And click tracks work in the latest build. Recorded a scratch of Emerald Dreams.

Hmm. I'm obviously going to have to post more regularly about album progress. With a tip jar?

A few links under the cut.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day. I worked out click-track time signatures for the remaining scratch tracks on Amethyst Rose, did quite a lot of puttering, took a good walk, went to Trader Joe's with Colleen, made dinner, sang a good chunk of the songs from AR... Yeah.

I seem to be getting a little better at noticing when my muscles are too tense, especially in the shoulders, and relaxing them.

Some thinking about portable recording rigs. Some pleasant conversation via IM with Naomi. A couple of links under the cut.

Dare I say "relaxing"? Probably not -- I was pretty darned tired by the end of it. But at least not stressful; I guess that's as much as I can hope for these days.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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I discovered, when I went to record a vocal track, that Audacity appeared to be seriously buggy. And that I didn't have a package for Ardour. It's possible, though, that Audacity's hanging was due, not to software problems, but a bad disk. It started getting odd errors in the middle of an upgrade a little later, and the fsck on the later reboot had a bundle of them. It still booted, but things were distinctly weird.

At this point I decided to replace the fileserver, as planned, and use the old box as my new desktop. I went out for a walk and a trip to Fry's (for a missing 20-24-pin power adapter). The upgrade went smoothly except for a bad or flaky KVM switch. :( But the office is a lot quieter now -- the nearest fan is the ceiling fan in the living room. (That'll change once I get the new desktop configured, of course. For now I'm on my netbook in the living room.)

Quite a lot of puttering, too, mostly having to do with lighting. Tossed the last of the incandescents from the lighting box into a bag for recycling, except for two appliance lights and a heat lamp. Somehow I don't think they make compact fluorescent heat lamps.

Some links, as usual.

ETA: I should add that no data were lost in the the wreckage of Dorsai's disk -- all of it lives on the fileserver, and a desktop machine has nothing but its installed OS, applications, and config files. The config files had been backed up Friday evening.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A busy day of puttering, a good walk by the creek, and shopping. The prize deal of the day was at Guitar Showcase, where I found a Farley StagePlayer II combination stool and guitar stand, for about 50% off. (The footrest is considerably too low for me, unfortunately; I'll have to rig something else. And it doesn't have a backrest. But it's very cool, and I'm glad to have it. (I also freely admit that I'm also a sucker for gadgets.)

Also bought coffee at Barefoot, and some very nice microfiber-and-memory-foam bathmats and microfiber dish-towels at BB&B.

The puttering got me to the point where all of the moving boxes in the office are under the counter (cheating, because some are still in the living room, but...), and I managed to make our hotel reservation for Orycon.

Odd dreams; one just an erotic snippet, the other something long and rambling involving leftover seafood, a maze of cubicles, LISP hackers, and seamless transitions between real and virtual reality.

Some good links, including 10 Books that Screwed Up The World.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A quietly productive day. Spent the morning mostly reading and puttering around the house -- I finished reading the California Prop 8 Ruling, and got a moderate amount of cleaning and reorganizing done. My walk was about 3 miles by Los Gatos Creek; a little short because I was running rather late by that time.

Stopped at Cosentino's and picked up a couple of avocados, some corn chips, and some of their excellent tamales. Not quite instant dinner, but pretty quick.

Then I drove over to San Leandro for Kathy Mar's Summer Bash. Took Plink and a songbook; noodled quite a lot but didn't sing. Lots of people I don't see very often, though I still have a strong tendency to hide in a corner rather than either singing or talking to people. Noodling, especially, tends to distance me from people; it's very comfortable, but not conducive to conversation. However, I can do it in a roomfull of people carrying on multiple conversations that would otherwise overwhelm me. So...

[livejournal.com profile] jackien1968 said that I give good hugs :). I've heard other rumors to that effect.

Links under the cut, as usual.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A productive day at work, getting a small but necessary utility program hacked out in Perl. A colorful day as well; I wore one of the lavender shirts Colleen and Marty found for me (and shortened the sleeves of). Our office manager complimented me on it; nobody else seemed to notice. (I was more than half expecting my immediate boss to tease me about it.)

Some good office cleaning with Eileen, though it also involved abandoning N in mid-IM-conversation, which was very wrong of me. Bears are often thoughtless and clumsy. But I pared down the bill pile, and removed the "mezzanine shelf" altogether. And sorted the medical receipts.

A good set of links today; I think the most significant is the NY Times article "Nuclear Energy Loses Cost Advantage" (compared to solar -- that's huge).

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Apparently Saturday's bike ride wore me out -- I slept until 11 (some of that in Colleen's arms, which was very nice), and had a mild blood-sugar crash in the middle of the afternoon's shopping expedition. We also got some nice dark purple cotton sheets.

Evening brought more office cleaning with Eileen, resulting in multiple square feet of clear counter space. Some of it badly in need of dusting.

It also resulted in a box full of ancient software, mostly games that ran under early versions of Windows (3.1 through 98, IIRC). Free to a good home. There's more up in the attic; maybe I should bring it down before Wednesday.

Some links under the cut.

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A very good day, though without a walk. But, I got a tricky and important bit of code written and mostly tested, in only one day. In C, which I haven't used in years. In a program I hadn't even looked at before Tuesday afternoon. Go me!

Much of the evening was spent with [livejournal.com profile] themangoavenger decluttering the office. This involved taking two old computers up to the attic, and taking out 8 or 10 bags of magazines and envelopes for recycling. Go us!

Only one link, but it's a good one: Polyamory Roundtable, in which [livejournal.com profile] theferrett links to a couple of good posts on relationships. Good advice for anyone in a relationship, of any kind.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day, and productive for a Saturday even though most of that productivity was mere "puttering". I got the 2009 receipts sorted, finally, and did some web hacking on the intranet, which has been sadly neglected of late.

Took a st/roll around the Rose Garden with Colleen. Delightful, warm weather. Finished chording out "Falling for Lancelot", and did some practicing. My voice was somewhat wrecked for some reason, so mostly chords.

Picked some sweet peas from the front garden at Colleen's request, and made dinner consisting of steak, kasha, and cole slaw, with strawberries and whipped cream for desert.

The raw notes for the day include the entire router/dsl upgrade saga, spanning roughly the last month. I'm feeling pretty good about that, even though I would have saved a heck of a lot of money if I'd done it a year ago.

I'm starting to think that I need an issue tracker for some of this stuff, rather than cluttering the to.do list with unfinished items that the format isn't really suited for. Suggestions? (Flat files, please, not a database.)

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Pretty good day, most notable for a flurry of receipt-sorting in the morning, and a Costco run with Colleen in the afternoon. Which ended up costing more than I expected, but that's hardly surprising.

New tag: adventure - for changes at work as $research_project turns into $real_product. Resisting the Time Suck is probably going to become increasingly relevant.

More links, above, on the "HALT" (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) acronym/checklist, in which "scared" is added to make "HALTS". They all say "don't get too...", which doesn't work for me, and probably for most people. By the time I notice that I'm behaving weirdly, if I do, I'm already over that line. The checklist is a good diagnostic tool after that point.

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A very good day. Outgoing mail from theStarport.org is working again!! (It only took a year...) When I picked up coffee I bought three Snake and Butterfly Thai truffles by way of celebration. Yum.

I got in a short but brisk walk at Santana Row, catching the last day of their annual Elfa sale and picking up a box of 7" brackets. I'm grumpy that the 5" ones apparently aren't being made anymore.

I did a lot of puttering, and ended the day watching the Olympics with Colleen (and Naomi on IM, which added a whole different dimension to it). For all that I say I loathe sports, I'm enjoying a lot of what I'm seeing, especially the pair skating. I'm going to have to be more specific about my loathing now, I suppose.

A couple of good links, especially if you find yourself trying to configure Debian to send email via Dreamhost or some other hosting service that requires authentication.

I'd also like to draw your attention to Hogs, Don Marti's allegory about who the real customer is for free web services (hint -- hogs aren't customers, they're ingredients). And [livejournal.com profile] haikujaguar's Many Roles, Part 2: Products, about what it takes to make money as an artist or writer. Go read Part 1: Introduction while you're at it; I seem to have neglected to link to it.

mdlbear: (flowers for you)
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A very good day. From a little clutter reduction in the morning, to ordering a new netbook for Colleen, to the YD's impressively gorgeous "zed cards", to a st/roll twice around the Rose Garden with Colleen, to making a tasty dinner of chicken piccata and kasha. And ending with a last-minute shopping run, originally just for supplies at Walgreen's. But W. had closed half an hour before, so I ended up at Safeway and impulse-bought a bunch of flowers for Colleen. Go Me! She was surprised and delighted, which delighted me as well.

Sometimes, on the bad days, it's hard to remember that I can have good ones. This was a timely reminder.

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A good day: lots of progress at work, getting my part of $project to a demoable (albeit incomplete) state in time to get into $boss's monthly report. Also, I paid my sales tax (all $4 of it); the online form does all the calculations, so it's reasonably painless.

My order from Musician's Friend -- mostly cupholders of various sorts -- arrived in mid-afternoon, so that was good, too.

Colleen determined that Arm & Hammer laundry detergent is not available in quantities small enough to pack with us, so we'll have to buy some when we get up to Seattle. I thought briefly about putting some in plastic bags. Plastic bags full of unlabeled white powder in my luggage. Right. It would have been a great idea 20 years ago.

In the evening I finally finished Andrew M. Odlyzko's book on the British railroad mania of 1845. I'm looking forward to the sequel, where he compares it with other bubbles, including the recent ones.

I also did a fair amount of puttering/cleaning in the kitchen, and (finally!) got some work done toward moving thestarport.org off of rahul.net and onto dreamhost.com. At this point all that remains is pulling the big switch on the DNS, and scaling back my presence on rahul. I hate doing anything drastic like that even when it's perfectly safe and makes total economic sense. I'm slowly learning to live a little out of my comfort zone, but it's still really hard.

We're flying up to SeaTac Thursday evening for Conflikt!!

mdlbear: (rose)
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Got a fair amount done, and had a basically good day, but no walkies. My calves were still hurting a little -- I think the elliptical used some muscles I'm not used to using. Don't want to push my luck, and besides it was raining much of the day.

Weight still trending up. Grump.

Duchess Carol of Bellatrix died of cancer. I really hate January and February -- we've lost too many friends and family in those months.

Some good shopping at Ross (on the way back from picking up prescriptions at Kaiser): a 26" Samsonite suitcase (so I won't have to keep borrowing Colleen's), and a 12" 5qt "saucepan". The latter is more of a straight-sided frying pan; it has a glass lid and looks perfect for bacon and a lot of the other things we pan-fry. I really like All-Clad's "Emerilware" line: metal handles, and a high-quality non-stick lining.

And I managed to get some work done on lead sheets for Tempered Glass. Finally!

Many good links; I want to draw some attention to [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith's Homecrafting: A Guide to Family Skills, and [livejournal.com profile] rickybuchanan's Not Done Living. Both have a lot of fantastic articles and resource links.

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A lot of running-around, taking the YD to her modeling class, and then to lunch during a break in her schedule. In the future she'll pack a lunch or go out with somebody. (Which doesn't appear to have occurred to her as a possibility.)

Feeling rather pleased with myself about not buying a NETGEAR WNR3500L at Fry's. My current gateway and 802-11g router will do for now, so that's $120 I can spend on something more useful, like a trip to Seattle. Procrastination can be a good thing sometimes.

It was cold, damp, overcast, and gloomy out all afternoon, but I went for a walk anyway. Both the weather and I had brightened up by then, though it was pretty dark by the time I got home at 5:30.

Had a brief run-in with clutter trying to retrieve something out of a box in the bedroom for Colleen. It was rather distressing to look at the pile of wrapping paper and boxes on the floor and realize that, no, nobody else is going to deal with those. Grumble.

*shrugs* Halfway decent day, I guess. Slept late and didn't get much done.

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A good day. Slept over 9 hours; Colleen got up well before me to watch the Rose Parade. After I joined her I spent what was left of the morning in the living room watching the parade, chatting with N, and feeling happy and hopeful. And loved -- let's not forget loved.

I didn't get much done, and due to the late start didn't get in a walk either. (The step count, a miserable 3847, clearly reflects this, and the lack of exercise may account for my difficulty in falling asleep.)

Around 4pm, while Selkit was packing and K was still cleaning and chattering, I got somewhat overloaded and peopled out. Fortunately, people understand "peopled out" as an excuse, so I was able to minimize the damage in both directions.

I did get to try out the new coffeemaker, transfer the DNS for six domains from GoDaddy (which remains the registrar for most of them) to Dreamhost, and move the last of my websites off of the gateway, also to Dreamhost. It needed doing, and was a lot easier than putting them on the interim gateway. Some work is still needed. And I put the new gateway machine on the rack shelf where it belongs, and did some pre-party decluttering in the kitchen.

So, OK, I guess I did get some things done. And a day of relaxing and recovery is good every once in a while.

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I made a double batch of fried rice for lunch -- Colleen liked it. Afterward, we went out shopping, mainly to buy a new lightbulb for the fan in the back bedroom. FAIL. We took it in to the place where we'd bought the thing, Galaxy Lighting, only to find that they no longer sold that fan and didn't have the bulbs. They sent us to Batteries and Bulbs on El Camino, where the expert took one look at it and said "buy a new lamp". Apparently it's a custom job. He'll look... The topper is that when we brought it back home, thinking I'd swap it with the known-good one in the living room, I found that it worked fine there. Apparently the problem is in the controller.

So... no more buying fans -- or anything else -- at Galaxy. They're also expensive. We'll stick to brands that are likely to still be around in another decade, and only use standard Edison-base bulbs.

On the plus side, we found a lovely little grocery store with inexpensive, fresh produce and falafel chips. Win. We're guessing they'd taste really good with hummus. We also checked out a discount store called Tuesday Morning, which Colleen had heard of but I hadn't. They had discount luggage, but not nearly as good prices as Ross.

I didn't take a walk, but got a little exercise wrangling the scooter in and out of the car.

Got a moderate amount of receipt-sorting done.

I see that I listed my mood as "unusually happy". I have no idea what caused it, or where it went. I found a self-help book about "structured journaling" earlier in the week, and was on the edge of buying it until I realized that it was all about "managing your [presumably, excessively-strong and out of control] emotions." That's not my problem; I just want to find my emotions. I don't recall ever seeing a self-help book about that.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] tetralizard, who brought back my box of random health-care receipts, neatly sorted. There are a few missing, apparently. Grump.

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A good, relaxing New Year (for suitable values of year). Since it coincided with Fallback Day, I spent some time in the morning resetting clocks. I also cleaned the print heads on the Epson multifunction machine (apparently nobody is using it much) and put a trackball on my laptop table -- the mouse was really starting to hurt my hand.

Took a good walk by the Los Gatos Creek, and stopped at REI to look at bags and travel wallets. The Timbuk2 looks as close as anything I've seen to what I'm looking for.

After that, I went out to Santana Row with Colleen; first for shopping and then for dinner (after confirming that the YD wasn't interested in going out with us). Since "date night" had consisted of leftovers and a drive, and I didn't feel like cooking, this was just fine. We ate at Consuelo's, a little Mexican place that serves small portions tapas style. Yum.

The main purchase was a rolling garment rack at the Container Store, because it's impossible for Colleen to get into the closet and I was getting tired of piling clothes on the chairs. I may commandeer a few inches of rod space for myself, too. We also went to Borders, at Colleen's insistence. I found her a Crohn's Disease/IBS cookbook, and she spotted The Cookie Sutra, which will make a fun gift for somebody. Now that we've both read it *wicked grin*. Joy of Sex meets Joy of Cooking.

 

Today's link sausage includes cosmic latte (from APOD), the average color of the universe, and the Wikipedia article on unusual time signatures, chained off of Gridlore's post mentioning mathcore.

I spent much of the late evening sorting and filing 2009 receipts, now that I have space for them. It's barely noticable so far. Sometimes I have a lot of trouble remembering that it's better to do something than to spend an hour sitting and staring at my to.do file and wondering what to do next.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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It appears to have been a productive day yesterday: I got a gift package into the mail, started a private journal, took a walk, meditated for 20 minutes, and finished sorting the financial and charity mailings to the point where I have a decent chance of finding the paperwork I need for my taxes.

I figured out that I need to water my nose three times/day; it really helps.

And in a time when I'm suffering considerable angst about the disconnect between my conscious awareness and my emotions, I was surprised and delighted to discover that looking at little kids reliably makes me happy. I smile when I see a baby, or a class on a field trip to the post office, or even a kid making a fuss in a restaurant. (This last may be because I know the kid isn't one of mine.) I may be able to leverage that into actually becoming aware of my feelings.

On the other hand I got some disturbing news from a friend, and spent some sad time pruning a couple of dead relatives from my .mailrc file.

On the gripping hand, I finished the day with a 10-line shell script for journal maintenance, a hot bath, and a bit of warm, loving snuggle. A pretty good day, on average.

As for link sausage, today we have The Meme of Yay!, and pictures inspired by my interests by hsiffyppah and sweetmusic-27. Yay!!

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Maybe not the most productive day possible, but I managed to get enough space cleared in the office for someone to sit comfortably. That's more than I could have done a week ago.

A good walk (nice, suddenly-cool weather for it) with 19 minutes of reasonably focussed meditation. Go me!

Decided, on the basis of an evening conversation and some good examples among my friends, to start a private (i.e. totally local and off the web) journal. I may conceivably keep a paper journal as well.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Odd day. Not very productive at work, but I got a lot of decluttering done at home. A good walk; a little ankle pain, so I didn't push it too hard. Five bags of magazines taken out of the office; after this it gets harder because I'll have to sort envelopes and lots of small objects and gizmos, and make decisions about where to put them.

Marty ended up making dinner -- I have no idea what the YD's problem is.

Spent some time on system administration; turned out that my webmail accounts on Dreamhost were over their disk quota, probably because of spam to "postmaster". I'll have to make sure I run fetchmail often enough to keep it cleaned up.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Got up late, and left on a shopping trip a little after noon. I never did take a walk; Colleen suggested taking it in the evening when it was cooler, but I was too busy and tired at that point. I did get in some walking and stair-climbing at Kaiser while waiting for our prescriptions to be filled, so the day wasn't entirely without exercise. But it's a poor substitute for an hour's walk in pleasant surroundings.

I made dinner: rice; stir-fried/steamed broccoli with garlic, onion, ginger, and sake; and warmed-up leftover chicken in broth from Friday. Of course, in order to start cooking the rice, I had to clean the rice cooker. For that I needed to get the dirty dishes out of the sink. So I had to put the clean dishes away... Oddly enough, I didn't mind much.

Since I'd opened the 20# bag of brown basmati rice, I went on to transfer the rest of it into 1-gallon ziplock bags; it took five of them. Three ended up in the back freezer.

Most of the evening was spent going through the two piles of random papers and receipts to the right of the keyboard. Of course, this resulted in a smaller pile to the left of the keyboard, in the space I'd cleared off Friday -- it's almost entirely stuff that needs to be Dealt With soon: forms, renewals, and the like.

Colleen promised me two kisses for every bag of trash I took out; I collected for two bags this morning.

Link sausage: One of the magazines I recycled included an article on specialized web hosting, and yielded a link to Rock Web Hosting. I don't think I need it, but it's an interesting niche.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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My sore right shoulder was much improved; there was no noticable pain by evening. Or even at 2am when I took a bath, unable to get back to sleep after being awakened by a Snuggly Colleen. (It was sore this morning; I suspect due to spending some of the night sleeping on my right side.)

A nice walk, with very little anxiety this time. I spent too much of the afternoon trying to get mail configured on my web hosting provider's system; massive fail. It's probably back to plan B on that one: a DirectAdmin account at my old ISP, rahul.net. Or see what I can do with Google.

About half an hour of working on the piles of papers in the office, and a little noodling in response to Colleen's request for music.

I got an amusing call from AT&T's web marketing; they'll advertise me on Google and Yahoo and guarantee 60 click-through's/month for only $170. That might work if my conversion rate was high enough, but I don't think it would be.

Some interesting link-chasing in Wikipedia, but that will warrant its own post on the River later. I've already alluded to it yesterday, so it'll keep.

On the whole a pretty good day, though not terribly productive.

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

(17:54:02) ***mdlbear now has a place to put the laptop that runs his tax software. Of course, it's on top of two boxes that need to be taken out and sorted, but... Hmm.
(17:56:09) ***Naomi never wants to hear the word 'box' again..
(17:56:33) ***mdlbear chuckles. Sorry about that..
(17:57:07) mdlbear: The office now contains a large number of Nameless Horrors..
(17:57:30) ***Naomi rotfl..
(17:57:39) ***mdlbear laughs.
(17:58:08) mdlbear: I think that merits QOTD status.
(17:58:25) mdlbear: Cthulhu agrees..
(18:00:11) ***Naomi grins. Yup..

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

It just occurred to me that I can overlap three rather disagreeable major projects this weekend: moving thestarport.org's DNS and email, upgrading the fileserver, and cleaning the office.

I just realized that I have to do the first two in that order, or a lot of email will end up dropped on the floor. Most of that will be spam, of course, but the sheer volume of it means that if I don't move it, the tiny mailbox at my ISP will fill up and things will start bouncing.

But I also realized that having my fileserver out of service for a while will remove a major distraction that would normally keep me from cleaning out the office. Which direly needs it. Because I have to do a lot of that before I have the space to do the taxes. AAARGH!

I don't think I need help with this, just some good excuses to stop making excuses, if that makes any kind of sense. This post is a step in that direction.

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I guess the main event of the day was the arrival of the new Woody Guthrie 4-disk set, My Dusty Roads. Oh... My... These were recorded from recently-discovered metal masters; they sound gorgeous. The packaging, in a "suitcase" with a book, a couple of reproduced postcards, and the CDs in sleeves that are printed so that the disks fall out when you try to read the tracklist, is flashy but stupidly impractical. But the music!

I only got in a very short walk.

I re-arranged a few things in the bedroom so that I could put Snuggles (my lovely Martin O-15, who has been rather neglected lately) on a stand in the corner, and sit in an armless chair so I can sing to Colleen when she's stuck in there. About time. I could have done it back in May if I'd thought about it. Go me, anyway.

It feels like there's a bruise or something on the back of my right hand just past the wrist. Weird, since I don't remember injuring anything there.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A very good day. Nothing much happened.

Colleen shooed me out of the house for my walk about 11:30 (actually more like 11am, but I had to have some lunch first). I took the 5-mile loop by Los Gatos Creek, then went and did some shopping. OK, a lot of shopping.

Colleen heard an ad yesterday saying that Home Depot had 18gallon plastic bins for under $4, so I went there first. They also had small, transparent bins for $1. 4 big, 5 small. Win.

4G of RAM for the server at Fry's, plus a "Kill A Watt" power monitor. Win.

Shelving at Southern Lumber, 3 6' 1x8's and a 1x10; so far I've only used two of the 1x8's, in the office. They're empty, so far, and I've cleared a little more space by moving family memorabilia into the bedroom.

My huge insight during my walk was that I've been puttering around the house, installing shelves and moving books around, because it makes me feel good. A combination of feeling productive, and just plain... what? happiness? In spite of my huge tolerance for clutter and my equally huge talent for generating it, I also seem to enjoy a tidy, well-ordered environment and the feeling of accomplishment I have when I get there. Weird.

I told [livejournal.com profile] tibicina on IM, sometime around the 9:30, that I was happy. And I was.

The day ended with over 2 lovely hours in bed with my wife, talking and snuggling. I have a Cat who loves me, but who still tells me to take a long weekend off to visit our daughter and our friends. I am a very lucky bear.

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My walk yesterday was interrupted by finding a garage sale across the street with a lovely red tablecloth and a set of wire baskets for $1 each. It was interrupted again by a blood-sugar crash -- apparently what I'd had for breakfast wasn't quite enough. Ended up nibbling all afternoon. The Rose Garden was pretty, though.

I made fajitas for dinner. Easy except for juicing the key limes.

Played a game of scrabble with Colleen and the YD (who suggested it). Fun; we haven't done that in a while. Colleen and the YD played another while I went back to the office and played with Google Chrome. I miss a few features from Firefox, but the speed boost and tiny resource footprint are worth it most of the time. I'll switch back to FF when I need printing or flash, which appear to be missing in the Linux port at the moment.

Spent a lot of time puttering and decluttering. Made good progress, too, though I'm feeling a little guilty about not doing $work.

You know you're a caregiver when a normal-looking turd in a bucket is a welcome sight.

You know you're getting old when you start collecting pill bottles for storage instead of baby-food jars.

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Yesterday was mostly spent puttering around the house; [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi and I carried on a very sporadic IM conversation egging one another on. Not as good as being there to help, but good.

The main thing was working on the SE corner of the bedroom. The goal is to replace the old shelf standards and brackets with Elfa, and add a couple of shelves to the South wall. I got the South wall done, and three shelves cleared on the East wall (leaving two more) A lot of sorting and recycling happened at the same time.

I went out for a walk (including some grocery shopping). The major insight was noticing how liberating it was to know that a lot of things simply are not going to get done. The more essential stuff still has to happen, but...

I bought some Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra tea along with the other things; it turned out to be useful when I had trouble getting back to sleep at 3am.

I ended the day with some singing (at Colleen's request): I sang "Gentle Arms of Eden" and "Where the Heart Is" for Marty, then Naomi asked me to call her and sing something, and Colleen suggested "The Mary Ellen Carter". Fun!

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I basically spent most of yesterday puttering. It does get things done, but it's not really all that satisfying.

I did take a walk; only about an hour because it was getting late. The really fun thing I did was encouraging [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi to go through with her wild idea of becoming a professional poet. That was fun. I'll be working on her website pretty soon, it seems.

On the other hand, Colleen quite justifiably berated me for not having fixed the Starport's email, which is still a shambles after over a year of being mostly broken.

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Colleen went off to Menlo Park with Bev and her daughter C, and found me gluten-free pretzels at Draeger's. Yay!

I spent the day puttering, and did not take a walk. It's been scorching out.

A quiet sort of day. OK, but not special. OK is better than many of the alternatives, though; I'll take it.

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

My office at the Starport has just suffered its second stuffalanche this month; this time it was a cascade of envelopes from the charity and investment piles. *Sighs* The previous one was mostly magazines, and still hasn't been picked up -- it mostly went under the counter around the non-functional computer.

It's all going to take a lot more than 15 minutes to clean up, I'm afraid; there's a lot of triage that still needs to be done. Later.

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It was a rather small party -- I forgot to make fliers before Baycon, and only posted one announcement on LJ. Some of the regulars were busy elsewhere, as well. I did my usual thing of holing up in the office with one or two other people (maxed out at three, but that didn't last long) and had some good conversations with friends who might otherwise have left sooner. And on IM as well. So everybody wins.

(I finally verified with Colleen that she likes this arrangement, too. She's the one who pointed out that the people who hang out in the office are the ones who, like me, can't handle crowds well and would probably leave early otherwise. Odd that I never noticed that before.)

Colleen was bemoaning the fact that Rosebud doesn't have a good horn; I went into the bedroom, pulled out the train whistle, gave it a good toot in the living room (startling several guests in the process) and put it in Rosebud's basket. I win.

The party wound down earlier than usual after Colleen went to bed around 10pm. It was a good party, though: relaxed and enjoyable. There's still a lot of beer and soda left.

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I've already posted about yesterday's big event: ordering a scooter for the Cat. Or the Electric Rollycat, which will be quite a step up from the Turbocharged Snail.

We also had a nice drive and some good snuggle. I feel particularly good about how I settled her down with a couple of hugs and sympathy when she started to go all embarrassed and apologetic at me. I'm learning, slowly.

I got in a walk; I'd originally wanted to go with Colleen, but she was tired enough after our outing that neither of us thought it would be a good idea.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090418 )

I don't feel as though I got very much done yesterday. Especially considering how much I'll have to do if I want to get our bedroom cleared out and cleaned up by the time Colleen comes home on Friday.

In fact, I haven't done much during the entire last week, when I had the Younger Daughter home from school to help. She did clean her room and the kitchen; that's something.

I did some cleaning, anyway -- more like puttering, but it's a start. And I researched hospital beds at Amazon. If these are the same beds I saw at ABC Medical Supply locally, I could save somewhere between $500 and $700 buying a pair of them from Amazon. If I trusted them and their third-party vendors, some of whom list "10 pounds" for both the dimensions and shipping weight of the objects in question. Nobody lists the actual dimensions or weight, which worries me. And if the difference didn't get gobbled up in shipping costs.

Apart from these "done yesterday" posts, I don't seem to be posting much. Maybe just as well given how long it takes to write one, but I really ought to get back to writing at some point.

The astute reader may notice that I'm using both colleen-200903 and colleen-200904 as tags. I change the date when something major changes; I figure coming home counts, so I'll use the 200904 tag for planning toward that event.

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

This is probably the first of two posts, the second one being about the Starport's computer network. And it's less about the current state of things than the (hopefully) near-term plans for them. But since I'd much rather write about what ought to be done than actually do it, here goes. Maybe it'll help me organize my thoughts, if not my life. Anyway.

There are three major shake-ups in progress here. The first is [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf's move-out, which will eventually result in a major amount of space freed up. Not only her bedroom, but the dining table and chairs downstairs that she wants. That will take time, however.

The most immediate result was getting her big pile of wedding presents mostly out of the living room. Some of them are back now awaiting shipment, but there was enough time in between for me to move the sewing machine table out of what is on its way to becoming a real guest room. That's the second shake-up.

Colleen has decided that sewing is a social activity, and so belongs in the living room where she can kibbitz while Marty or somebody else sews.

There is now room enough to move around in the guest room, but it really needs to have the closet emptied out and the shelves full of fabric and notions packed up and moved either into storage or into the sewing area of the living room. The guest room will also double as a music room, assuming we can make the bed split up and double as seating. Since the room is far too small for a king-sized bed, this means a couple of custom foam pads that combine to form a full- or at most queen-sized bed. Like clearing out the Wolf's den, that's a longer-term project.

The third major shake-up, and the one I'm most concerned about this weekend, is getting the master bedroom ready for Colleen's return. Our bed, the lovely but occasionally problematic queen-sized bed that I built for us years ago, is too damned high for her to get in and out of safely, or even at all. This is made worse by the modern trend toward mattress inflation. Six-inch thick mattresses are now impossible to find; they're more like 12 or 18 inches.

There's also the fact that sometimes we regret not having a king-sized bed. And the fact that, with Colleen's currently-limited mobility, a hospital bed might be better for her. Two hospital beds spliced together equal a king. (Whether we can get insurance to spring for any fraction of the cost is an open question, but I'm not going to worry about it much.)

There's a lot of storage space under a queen-sized bed. That would have to be cleaned out. And we really need to have the carpets steam-cleaned. That would mean moving everything out. Even if we had Kat's stuff out of her room and the garage, it would be a major amount of work. As it is, it's probably impossible.

I need to try anyway.

(18:21) It looks like the YD wants the queen-sized bed, so that's one thing we won't have to find a home for. YAY! It'll still need to be taken apart, cleaned, and put back together. And we'll have to find a place for her bed...

Envelanche

Nov. 8th, 2008 06:50 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Next week I really have to stop procrastinating Sorting the Piles. The big tower of charity mailings collapsed this morning; I just spent the last 15 minutes or so piling it into a file box. The third one this year, I think.

I really have to set up a "sort-as-you-go" system, which is what I do for catalogs and receipts. And get much more ruthless about triage.

Next week. Really.

Sorted

Jan. 8th, 2008 10:03 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

As near as I can tell, all the information I need for computing sales taxes has been separated from all the information I don't need, but will eventually need for computing income taxes. All of the receipts and other 2007 correspondence that I know about have been sorted.

I still need to go through the actual sales information, figure out what was paid for where, and fill in the blanks. Probably over the weekend. Yes, I should have kept better records. Dumb bear.

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

Spent a few minutes this morning sorting receipts. For the first time in decades, I actually have all of last year's receipts sorted before the end of January. Cool! Of course, that doesn't include bank statements and most of the album-related stuff, but it gets a major bit of clutter off the desk. Perhaps more importantly, it keeps this year's receipts from piling up and creating more clutter.

The next major push is sales tax, which I only have about two more weeks to do. Fortunately, all I really have to do for that is to identify each sale by amount and location, so I know which county to assign it to. Should be straightforward; hopefully I can have that done by, say, Friday.

mdlbear: (tsunami)

Today I began the annual ritual called "Sorting the Charities". It's a real pain for me to keep track of charity contributions -- many of them send a request every month! That's a lot of checkbook to check back through, and they're obviously hoping I'll miss one. (We'll ignore the fact that maybe if I paid in January, they wouldn't keep bugging me all year.)

Anyway, my technique for coping with this deluge of begging letters is simply to toss them onto a big pile and sort through them in late December, in time to write a big batch of checks during the holiday season, when I'm feeling generous.

Eventually, of course, I have to decant the pile into a box before it reaches critical mass and explodes onto the office floor. Last year it took two boxes. This year it took three.

Rather than take over a large chunk of the living room for a folding table, as I did last year, I went out to the garage and found a 2'x4' chunk of half-inch oak plywood, and set it onto a corner of the office counter weighted down with the UPS that I took out of service last night and turned off while it's waiting for a new battery. It's the corner normally occupied by the guest computer, but nobody is likely to be using it until Saturday at the earliest.

I have gotten through the oldest box, and the plywood is currently covered with some 30-odd piles of envelopes. There are a few charities that don't bother putting a logo or a return address on their envelopes -- those go straight into the recycling bag, as do the ones I know I'm not going to support this year, but that somehow slipped past me on the initial mail sort. Folks, if you want my money, you'll make it easy for me to tell who you are.

I think what I'm going to do next is go through the last box and the small pile that's accumulated in the last few weeks. Then I can give the middle box a cursory run-through in case I missed anything.

Maybe next year I'll make a file folder for every charity, keep careful track, and pay a few every month. It would make a lot of sense. Bets, anyone?

10:52pm Update: done sorting. Now I just have to find the most appropriate (not always the most recent) item to pay in each stack, possibly decide what else to drop, and write checks. Tomorrow. I also have to go through my other piles of procrastinated mail and see what needs urgent attention; fortunately these are much smaller.

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