Page Summary

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

A rather boring week bracketed by great music. Last Sunday we had Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps at Rainbow's End's first house concert. And this weekend we're at Norwescon, with both concerts and filking (see notes)... and the high point was, definitely, Glenn proposing marriage to Naomi during the intermission. She said yes. Heather had ended her first set with "As I Am".

The second set was all about love and marriage. (Not both together, necessarily -- it included "The Devil and the Farmer's Wife".)

On the flip side, I continue to be arthritic and mildly depressed. The low point of the week was filing for an extension on my taxes. Which was a mistake -- I should have filed and then filed an amended return when I finally get all the deductions and business expenses together. It was, of course, horrendous: I sold a lot of stock to buy and renovate Rainbow's End.

I haven't been enjoying Norwescon all that much. Mostly hiding in a corner reading on my laptop. Grump. Grumpity grump. Oh, and the hotel's wifi is seriously overloaded, and the restaurant service is slow and barely competent. *sigh*

There are links in the notes, as usual. The perceptive reader may also notice an item at the end of the notes that will, hopefully, turn into a post sometime soon.

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

The big news here at Rainbow's End is the first of our house concerts -- Heather Dale is singing here tonight! Doors open at 7:30, and there's still space. Probably.

The big news everywhere else on the internet is the Heartbleed Bug. Yes, it's bad. Most banking sites, fortunately, aren't affected, but Google (for example) is. Wait until a site has installed patches before you bother changing your password. And if you're using the same password on multiple sites, Don't Do That Anymore! -- you know better, don't you?

Essentially no work on the taxes. Ouch! I'm going to overestimate, put it on installments, and file for an extension. Though, every deduction I can find today and tomorrow will help.

Lots of links in the notes.

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

Lots of puttering. In part because we're getting ready for Heather Dale's house concert this coming Sunday (contact me or Naomi if you're interested in attending), and in part because it's a way of feeling that I'm doing something useful while avoiding the taxes.

I was on tap for jury duty Wednesday and Thursday -- had to go in, but didn't get picked, or even assigned to a case. Oh, well. I've only been on a jury once -- very educational. The people running the jury assembly room were very competent, and did their best to make it a good experience. Successfully, in my opinion.

Three of Colleen's roses arrived on Tuesday; they finally got planted today.

A little noodling -- I need to practice more. And we need to encourage Colleen to sing more.

Links, as usual.

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

I guess there's something about knowing how bad it's going to be. Also knowing that I can pay off my tax bill in installments, because it's going to be bad. Really bad. There's a reason why my financial posts are tagged "trainwreck".

I finally got off my arse and sorted my piles of receipts and the like, and this morning (so it's not in the notes yet -- you'll have to wait until next month) installed the software (which I still think of as TaxCut) and did the preliminary data entry. There are still some sizeable pieces missing, but I've been making progress.

I also got a couple of phone calls made -- I hate making phone calls.

I was depressed and anxious most of the week. At least I noticed -- for someone with alexithymia, that's an improvement.

On the up side, we watched Frozen last weekend -- excellent. Passes the Bechdel test.

Links in the notes.

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

Mostly a good week, though you may note that I have little report on work-days. Friday noon was the kick-off for a recruitment drive at work -- my team is hiring in Seattle, and I'll be happy to give you a referral if you find an interesting-looking posting for a different location. We're looking for all sorts of people, not just developers.

Yesterday I sort of fell apart. My alexithymia means that I don't know exactly how I fell apart -- the morning bit definitely felt like depression, while the afternoon (possibly triggered by working on taxes) felt more like anxiety. Naomi and Glenn said that I appeared to be having an anxiety attack when they saw me around bedtime. Can one have a depression attack? It was fairly brief.

I don't think my current antidepressant is getting me anything but the weight gain listed as a side effect.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Well, ... not much done. Colleen thinks my recent depression is due to proximity to Dad's death-day -- but that was most of a month ago (Feb. 5 -- I always have to look it up). SAD may be a factor, too, but the days have been getting longer. So... damned if I know. I suspect my current antidepressant may be losing its effectiveness. Faster than the last one.

I've been busy at work, but nothing to write about.

So... yeah. Links, as usual, mostly from last Sunday.

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

Not a lot going on. I've been mildly depressed, so basically not wanting to do anything but sleep, eat, work, and read. You will observe that making phone calls, paying bills, and getting ready to do my taxes are not on that list, which adds anxiety to the depression.

All is not entirely bleak -- I did get the mac mini fired up so I can run the tax software on it, and I got a few boxes emptied in the garage. And Colleen and I went out to lunch (Mexican) on Wednesday on the way back from the dentist, and to dinner last night (Salty's, a seafood place on Alki Beach that we'd been wanting to try). Salty's was pricey, but good, and they had oysters.

On the gripping hand, I managed to destroy another of our non-stick pans, by leaving the burner on after serving myself. Unlike a gas stove, where leaving the burner on is immediately obvious, it isn't on this one. So that sucks.

Our van got a "move it or else" ticket Friday, so most of yesterday afternoon was spent jump-starting it, driving over to the dealer in Issaquah, and taking the bus home. Our usual dealer, in Lake City, doesn't have a service department that's open Saturdays. So... Anyway, I'm not going to count that as either a positive or a negative -- it was a hassle, and it's going to come out somewhere north of a grand to do all the work, but it needed doing.

The usual collection of links.

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

I've been mostly feeling rather distressed this last week, but I remember that yesterday at the Seattle Home Show when people asked me how I was doing, I answered "good" without hesitation. Soooooo... damned if I know. It's likely that I was feeling anxious about taxes, but that for the last couple of days (since meeting our architects on Thursday) I've been optimistically thinking about the upcoming remodel. Whatever?

The meeting with the architects was fun -- they said "Tell us who you are" and I said "I think this is where I burst into song" and sang "Bigger On the Inside". Whee!

... and then, as I mentioned, we went to the Home Show. Naomi and Glenn went early; Colleen and I followed later. Colleen and I bought pillows (memory foam with bamboo outer sleeves) and a couple of ozone generators, and Naomi found us a fabulous deal on a floor model Softub. It'll be delivered after the show. WIN.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Lots of paperwork: getting ready to the Starport, transferring Colleen's prescriptions to Blue Cross's mail-order pharmacies (yes, plural), transferring my rollover IRA to a new account, and all that. I am incredibly bad at paperwork. My idea of hell.

Worrying about money on top of this has not helped with my depression.

Did I mention that Pete Seeger died? So... yeah.

Did some singing Friday evening with Danica Dixon, who came down with Chaos. She wants to work with more musicians besides her father. This was the Wolfling's idea, but I had fun.

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

This weekend's main event was Conflikt. The music was amazing. I may have time to put together a con report.

Colleen bought a catnip tribble in the dealer's room. Unfortunately, my poor little brain noticed that "catnip tribble" has the same scansion as "Plastic Jesus". The cats haven't destroyed it yet.

As has become usual, I didn't do much singing. "When I Go" and "The Rambling Silver Rose" Saturday night was about the extent of it. That's ok; I mostly go to cons to meet up with friends (which I also didn't do all that much of) and listen to music (which I did lots of).

Links in the notes.

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

Not a whole lot going on last week. I installed a new main drive on nova; it's still not fully configured because I'm lazy, but at least it's running. And able to boot. Because I'd installed a SATA card, which I discovered that my motherboard wouldn't boot from. :P Ended up putting the optical drive on it.

I don't seem to post much, if anything, on work days. This says something about work/life balance. Or work/internet balance, which may or may not be the same thing.

Loads of links.

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

Short one this time, because I want to wrap up the year. We had a power outage Monday that apparently hosed my server -- again. Not happy about that. I am happy about fixing both our non-sucking vacuum cleaners by the simple expedient of cleaning their filters.

So, Happy New Year, and here's hoping it's a good one for all of us.

Links in the notes, as usual.

raw notes )

Tha' Tha' That's all, folks. Welcome to 2014.

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

Last week we celebrated our first Christmas in Rainbow's End -- Colleen, me, and both of our kids; Naomi, Glenn, and her kids. The pile of presents under the tree was impressive. We never did find the ornaments, lights, and stockings from the apartment -- they must be there someplace. In a box.

Afterwards a succession of friends and relatives came by. Fun, and cozy. I set up the old TV in the Great Room (where the fireplace used to be), and put on a fireplace video (from YouTube, of course). Eventually we'll move the screen up to the master bedroom. The new one is a 38" Westinghouse that Office Max had on sale for an improbably low price the week before last.

It was also my first paid Christmas in Seattle -- I started work as a full-time employee at Amazon on Monday. This meant a week's worth of breaking in a new laptop (easy, since I don't use Windows for much of anything) and desktop (hard, because persuading Ubuntu to play nice with a guest VM turns out to be non-trivial, especially if, like me, you prefer focus-follows-mouse and raise-on-focus.

I also made reservations at The Herbfarm. And, last night, reservations at the Willows Lodge next door, since I finally figured out that I'd be in no shape to drive home after a 9-course dinner with wine. Pricey, but it looks wonderful. It's still cheaper than a weekend at a con, with hotel and meals. Which is kind of scary. Hmm.

We finished off the week with last night's concert at Wayward Coffeehouse -- Sunnie Larsen, Betsy Tinney, and Kaide Tinney. Fun! We went to the Indian restaurant next door for dinner.

... and some lovely cat cuddles with Curio when I was awake at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. I am so pwned.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

Lots of puttering around the house -- the holiday season is always good for encouraging that kind of thing. Especially since we're *still* missing a couple of boxes of Christmas lights and ornaments. Gaak!

Some good links; this time I'm going to talk about a couple of them.

I bought a poem from The Wordsmith's Forge - 2013 Holiday Poetry Sale. Today is the last day, so act fast if you want to buy a poem at half price. The poem in question is "The Last Rose of Winter", a rather unconventional love poem. Somehow I knew it would be something I wanted to read.

The other interesting link was to an article with the somewhat less than informative title The boy whose brain could unlock autism It's actually about the "intense world" theory: that autism is a defense mechanism against sensory and social overload, caused by too much empathy rather too little. Oh. Right, then.

Indeed, research on typical children and adults finds that too much distress can dampen ordinary empathy as well. When someone else’s pain becomes too unbearable to witness, even typical people withdraw and try to soothe themselves first rather than helping—exactly like autistic people. It’s just that autistic people become distressed more easily, and so their reactions appear atypical.

Many of the other symptoms are due to withdrawal during the time when children are usually learning things like reading body language and other social cues. So, yeah -- my self-diagnosis of mild Asperger's may have been correct after all.

More links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Somehow it feels as though I haven't been doing very much lately, and a glance at my notes for the week tends to support this. There has, nevertheless, been some progress cleaning up and organizing the house, and I went out for a shopping expedition with Colleen yesterday. Six car transfers, which is exhausting for both of us. (For me because they involve getting the scooter in and out of the trunk.)

She had a blast, though -- our first stop was Metropolitan Market, a high-end grocery store that she'd never been in before. Cheshire Cat heaven. We also went to Staples, intending to buy her a chromebook to replace her ageing Dell mini, but ended up with a Samsung Galaxy Tab III instead. It's about 2/3 the weight, and with Android instead of Chrome OS it has more apps available.

The only two downsides are that it was about $100 more expensive, and that now I want one too. :P

This was Colleen's first shopping trip since she broke her ankle back in May; it's a huge step for her.

My big news for the week is that my offer from Amazon came through on Monday, just after I got back from a good morning of interviews at the Seattle Times. It was high enough that I was able to give the Times a definite "no". Tough choice -- that could have been a fun job. But it could also have been a disaster: a job I was barely qualified for, at comparatively low pay, in a dying industry, at a privately-held company with a recent history of near-100% turnover. Did I mention that I'm risk-averse and have low self-confidence? Right.

Meanwhile, of course, Google came out of the woodwork wanting to schedule interviews, and Socrata pushed the possibility of interviews out far enough into January that it wouldn't have been feasible. It never rains but it pours, which seems like a particularly apt maxim for Seattle.

The intermittent scraping noise on the Honda finally became continuous last Sunday. After a somewhat harrowing trip up to fetch Chaos I took a look and found that a big plastic piece had come loose. Easy fix with the Wolfling's aviation snips. It'll need to be replaced, but it's not critical. The Honda's due for its 140K service soon.

The van's battery isn't holding a charge. So that needs to be added to its growing repair list.

The YD passed her catering class, and has decided to set herself up as specialist in gluten-free and related niche markets. Her gluten-free Russian tea cakes last week were spectacular, and the sour cream sugar cookies she made for N's work holiday party (today) included 2 dozen GF ones. I can attest to their yumminess.

We are still missing about three boxes of Christmas lights and ornaments. We did find our artificial tree, and a box of plastic ornaments -- because cats. Tipping the thing over seems to have cured Curio of perching in it, so it now seems comparatively cat-safe.

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

Hmm. Is tonight's major psychological breakthrough the fact that I'm feeling contented, or the fact that I actually noticed it?

My major news for the week is definitely that I had an interview for going full time at Amazon. And scheduled an interview and a phone screen for tomorrow. One way or another, I expect to spend the next few years as a full-time employee. Somewhere.

My major news. THE major news is Nelson Mandela's death. Sadness.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

All in all a pretty eventful week. Not clear whether the big event was Thanksgiving -- which the YD did much of the work for, thankfully -- or Colleen moving upstairs. And I did a huge amount of puttering around the latter, including (in no particular order) a lot of laundry, installing grab bars, moving the support pole, folding up the couch and putting the carpet back down, and no doubt a lot of thngs I've forgotten.

Some of our king-sized sheets appear to have gone missing. Grump. But it's really nice to be back in our own bed, in our own bedroom. Wow.

Hmm. More visits with Uncle Ken, Susan, and company, including dinner at a local pizza joint called Talarico, where we met Susan's daughters. She hasn't met Chaos yet.

Some good links in the notes.

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

High point of the week: Colleen managed a car transfer in her PT appointment on Tuesday, so we scheduled a drive for Saturday. It was lovely. We spent nearly two hours in the Honda, driving around West Seattle, with me pointing out the sights. First long drive together in ages. Half a year at least.

Also yesterday morning, I was awakened by the doorbell. When I come to the door at some insane hour of the morning and see a woman holding a book, the first thing I think of is not long-lost relative. But it was, in fact, my cousin Susan, who lives here in Seattle. Her father, Dad's brother Kenneth, is visiting for Thanksgiving; he came later with her husband Dan. So... yay!

We exchanged phone numbers, so she can call ahead next time. We'll definitely have to get together a couple more times this week while Uncle Ken is still here.

I was a Useful Bear last weekend; I finally got around to installing new showerheads, and the adjustable shower-cum-grab-bar that's been sitting around since April or so. It was taking forever to drill through the tile in the shower stall, so I went down to Home Despot Sunday morning and picked up a Ryobi hammer drill and some new bits. Never did get around to trying the hammer feature (which works best on concrete and brick -- I'll be needing that this weekend), but tile/glass bits and a lower speed setting made all the difference.

I need to walk more. I did manage a couple of walks over the course of the week, and my walking speed seems to be up a little (probably thanks to the daily trek to and from the bus stop), but it really isn't enough. My weight has also gone up, in spite of being back on BP meds. Grumph.

I have set the wheels in motion for an interview loop at Amazon; I'm hoping to interview at a couple of other places as well, though that's by no means certain.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

The big news: Friday Colleen went upstairs (supervised by two PTs -- they'd originally been planning to do car transfers but it was raining). They marked out where I should put grab bars; I got one of them in yesterday.

Lots of puttering, last weekend and this. Finally got new showerheads installed. The new hand shower has a vertical bar that can be used as a grab bar; it turns out that drilling tile is a bitch, so it's only held on by two screws at the moment. I'll work on that some more this afternoon. Brought up a box of cookbooks. Etc.

Friday came over yesterday (yes, Friday was here on Saturday) and made curried chicken. There are leftovers; not entirely sure what we're having for dinner tonight. We also had pizza (last Saturday) and Chinese (Friday).

I got some work done on the Steve.Savitzky.net and Rainbow's End Massage websites, though not all that much.

I had some notion last week of dropping the "Done" posts back to one per week, and doing occasional posts with real content in between. Well, I got halfway there...

Lots of links in the notes; you can read about the Autism Speaks kerfuffle, perfect forward secrecy and other security matters (Hi there, NSA), and Avengers AU fanfic with cats, among many others.

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

So I came out (last) Friday morning to discover that the van's driver-side side mirror was missing -- apparently somebody had driven by and scraped it off. Growf. Came out this morning to find the battery dead, but that's another blog post.

In spite of that, I discovered that my mood was unexpectedly good on Friday. No idea why. It apparently lasted for a couple of days. I also seem to be bouncing back pretty quickly from back stress; that's a good thing, too.

Saturday we had Rainbow's End's first official party, organized by Emmy. Went very well, though we could have used more people. Fun! Our chili went over pretty well, but I'm thinking that maybe we should do Stone Soup next time.

We decided to drop Orycon this year -- Colleen simply isn't ready for travel.

I started using my phone's exercise app again (CardioTrainer). I *really* need to lose weight. So far it's not working.

... and the big news -- we got the "final" version of Naomi's website (delivered on CDROM -- how 20th Century!), and I put it up: Welcome to Rainbow's End Massage. It needed a few tweaks (and still does), and I had to email her designer to get the (Adobe Illustrator) source for the images. It still doesn't show up on Google (though the designer's test site does :P); I'm hoping that a couple of blog links will help in that regard.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

I'd originally wanted to clear this out a week ago, and do a separate post for OVFF. Well, ... not so much, I guess.

OVFF was very good. I went into it very concerned over leaving Colleen with Emmy for the weekend -- if I'd known when I made the reservations just where she was in her recovery, I wouldn't have. But she had a good time without me anyway, and the YD really outdid herself taking care of her and keeping her company. So I was able to relax and enjoy the con after all.

And it was a good con; I'd missed it a lot. As usual, I spent most of my time either in concerts, or talking to people. Met a couple of new ones, which is always nice.

Also as usual, I didn't have time to do nearly as much catching up and song-swapping as I wanted to. Not sure what can be done about that, except maybe trying to keep up my blogging.

We got a reasonable number of Trick or Treaters for Halloween, but still had a lot of candy left over for the party.

Quote of the week:

Colleen, as I was getting comfortable in bed beside her: Now you have your pussy.
Me: I'd rather have your pussy.
Curio: picked exactly that moment to pounce in between us. Perfect timing.

A few good links in the notes.

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

Oh, good grief! This is going to be hard to summarize, isn't it? Maybe I should just throw up my hands and refer you to the notes? Maybe not.

Lots of stuff going on: I had a prostate biopsy and got back a clean bill of health. My nose is back on steroids. Colleen is getting more mobile -- she can walk about 20 steps (with walker, of course), and transfer in and out of her power chair.

We took delivery of Naomi's new commute car (a Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid). Naomi's massage therapy license finally went through, so the household's massage studio is now fully armed licensed and operational.

Lots of good links: see especially ysabetwordsmith's poem: "The Crystal Inside the World", a nice riff on my song The World Inside the Crystal.

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

So the govenrnment is shut down because the Republicans don't want to accept the fact that the ACA is the law of the land, and that on the whole people are benefiting from it. Idiots. Meanwhile their popularity is sinking like a proverbial rock, and one can only hope that the voters have long memories. They don't, of course.

There's good news in the household, though. The YD has broken up with her unsuitable boyfriend, on the advice of her best friend. Yay! It's going to be hard on her for a little while, but it's a very good thing. He's a creep.

And Colleen finally saw her doctor, who cleared her to put full weight on her formerly-broken ankle. This should clear the way for the PT to work on getting her walking again.

We spoke to somebody from a financial management firm about my rollover IRAs; we almost certainly need management, but it's likely not to be Fisher Investments.

So, on the whole, things are looking up.

Details and a few links in the notes.

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

Or anyway, the last ten days of last month. I finally got around to doing some much-needed maintenance on the computers and their configuration... and figured out why the UPS kept turning itself off -- it must have been doing its periodic battery test... on a totally dead battery. :P

I also got the backup scripts back in operation. I now have a complete, almost-ready-to-boot mirror drive as well as my traditional incremental backup. What, me paranoid?

The Shuttle box I've been using as a desktop system is dead; it runs for a few minutes, then kernel panics. Possibly memory. Not going to worry about it; it's had a good run. I seem to be doing ok with just the netbook for most purposes.

Colleen's caregiver turned in her resignation on Monday, after leaving early Saturday for a family emergency, and not showing up at all on Monday. That's ok; today was going to have been her last day anyway. We've doubled Emmy's allowance.

The YD is just as good a caregiver as May was, and more concerned with cooking things the whole household would like to eat. I'll miss the occasional spicy dish, but that's what sriracha's for.

Colleen is mostly doing better, gradually getting her strength back. The YD is more willing to be firm with her about exercise than May was, so that's a plus, too. Of course she did spend the week with a fever of 102, not eating, and ended up spending most of the weekend in the hospital. (With a UTI, low blood pressure, dehydration, and messed-up blood chemistry.) She's better now, as I said.

The LG washer/dryer combo arrived last Saturday; they couldn't actually install it because there wasn't a 110V outlet within reach. Got that taken care of, and finished the install myself. Not as tight against the wall as it should be, but it'll do. It's nice to have the extra laundry capacity.

Somebody, probably May, didn't close the door to the deck firmly enough, and it blew open. Naturally, out little cat burgler found it and went outside. She hadn't gone far, though; after I tracked her down Naomi coaxed her back inside, looking wet and bedraggled. I doubt she's learned anything from her little adventure, though.

Oh, and the idiot Republicans let the government go into shutdown. Again. The problem with coming up with a string of lies aimed at getting stupid people to vote the way you want, is that eventually they end up voting in stupid people who believe the lies. Oops. Did I mention idiots?

Links in the notes.

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

Well, I have Nova (the file server) back online, though not fully configured. I also reconfigured the network, adding another WAP. This lets me drop the main SSID, rainbows-end, down to 802-11G. Trying to run G and N on the same network turns out to be a serious mistake. I resurrected the Netgear WNR3500L from Starport for the purpose, so it's running rainbows-end-N and functioning and providing 4 ethernet ports over in the desk area.

Meanwhile, Colleen is making progress -- she gets into her power chair on a regular basis, though she's still not too good at unassisted transfers.

Desti, our little feline escape artist, managed to let herself out onto the roof via the bathroom window, which was open because the mis-drilled holes in the tub had been repaired, and the workman hadn't bothered to close the door. I know, it's expecting a lot, and my little bear-like brain kept thinking up ways to make it my fault, including not remembering to mention the possibility to Naomi, and not having cat-proofed the door to Naomi's bedroom. Desti had, in fact, been put in there, but she was out the door before Naomi could get across the room to stop her.

Fortunately, "The Cat Came Back, the very next day" -- Curio stood on the kitchen counter meowing out the window, and I heard an answer. Opened the front door and there she was. She was very clingy for the next day or so.

Think she's learned not to leave the house? Nawwww. Not likely.

We also had our new instant hot water tap installed. But it didn't work. Spent about an hour tracing tubes and verifying the installation before finally figuring out that it was plugged into the same outlet as the garbage disposal. Both outlets are swtched. :P

We'll have to have an electrician out to re-wire it; it's not a job I feel like tackling myself. While he's here he can install a 110V outlet upstairs in the closet -- the washer-drier combo doesn't take 220. Naturally, nobody sells an adapter. :P

A good collection of links in the notes, as usual.

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

My tax refund finally showed up in my account on Thursday. So I get to spend the holiday weekend paying the medical bills I've been ignoring for the last year or so. The refund is so large because I forgot to arrange for my 401K plan from Ricoh to be rolled over, so they sent me a check with about $40K taken out for tax withholding. I promptly rolled it over, so I get the withholding back.

Unfortunately, it's a one-time thing.

We had a going-away lunch on Friday for our group's summer intern. Nice kid, but unfortunately I was never able to get through to her about the importance of clean commits (amend and rebase are your friends) and running all the unit tests outside of Eclipse. I spent the afternoon cleaning up. Fortunately, it's the kind of mostly-mindless fiddly stuff that I enjoy every once in a while, and it wasn't nearly as bad a mess as it could have been.

I need to write an article about that, don't I?

Less than a week until Colleen comes home! The house isn't as ready as it should be, but it's getting there. I spent much of yesterday shopping, at Home Depot and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. And Staples -- we were almost out of printer paper.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

An eventful couple of weeks. Also stressful.

We nearly lost our Curio cat -- twice! The first time, on the 3rd, he managed to get himself through the unpatched hole (it used to be a laundry chute) in the master bedroom closet, and under the floor of the bathroom! After N and I tried unsuccessfully to lure him out, Naomi's daughter G managed to coax him out. He apparently comes when called. Calling him is something we all have to practice, it seems -- good skill to have.

G is officially the Cat Whisperer.

Then, only this last Friday, we made the mistake of leaving the cats loose in the house while the painters were in. No Curio. We started getting worried when he didn't come up to my room at night. I looked all through the house, and outside. Twice. I left some food for him next to the front door, but no luck.

Finally, after spending a lonely night and a heartbroken morning, and after reading up on lost-cat behavior, I took the food bowl down to the garage in hopes of luring him in through the cat door. Not expecting anything, I called to him... and there he was coming from behind a pile of boxes.

Did I mention that he's a smart cat, who comes when you call him? But that was stress I didn't need.

It's surprising to me how fast and hard I've fallen for that cat. But then, I always was a little slow about these things. Curio came up to me about 30 seconds after I came into the room at the shelter, and announced that he was My Cat.

I seem to recall something similar happening with me and Colleen 30-odd years ago.

I also got shelf ceiling track and standards up in the master bedroom closet, and puttered about organizing stuff various places around the house. It's looking quite habitable now, mainly thanks to our housekeeper, Giselle.

It took the whole two weeks, but my leg (which you might remember I tore a muscle in), is finally back in usable shape. I walked around the West Seattle street fair with Naomi yesterday, and held up pretty well. More a matter of being out of condition than anything else; the leg didn't give me any trouble.

Oh, and Doug Engelbart died. He was a friend of Colleen's mother; she was his favorite editor at SRI, where they both worked.

Links, as usual, down in the notes.

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

Last weekend was Pride, and Naomi took me to the Capitol Hill block party on Saturday -- fun! I took Colleen's rolling walker, which has a seat. That meant that while N was talking to someone, I could sit down -- that made it all possible.

My leg is healing -- right now all the pain is coming from the muscles that are compensating for the damaged one. I'll probably continue using the cane for the rest of the week.

I spent most of Sunday on move-related stuff, clearing out the last of what was in the laundry room and fridge. Fortunately I had Chaos and N's ex to do the sorting and carrying. So, not as much fun as Pride would have been, but it needed doing.

At work, I moved back into the building I started out in. Meanwhile, I've gotten pretty good at using the cane to push the wheelchair access buttons.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

It's been a long month so far, but not nearly long enough. We've been packing the apartment, and running a van-load of boxes down to Rainbow's End nearly every day -- we're just having the movers take the furniture from the apartment. We'll have the Memorial Day weekend to clean up. Oh, did I mention the movers? Right.

Moving day for North Starport is this coming Friday. GLEEP! House! Move! Yard! The other reason I've been down at the house nearly every evening is to water the newly-sodded lawn. It's gorgeous. And the deck. And...

At the same time, I'm worried. There's no turning back from here -- this had better work. I think it will. That doesn't keep the late-night doubts away completely, but it helps. I'll probably still miss the Starport from time to time, but Rainbow's End is wonderful.

Lots of great links; I don't really have time to go over the list. That's what happens when you don't post for nearly three weeks -- I have to get *out* of that bad habit.

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

The last week was dominated by the prep for my colonoscopy on Monday. This involved a week's worth of a low-fiber diet, which was highly annoying. The procedure itself went as well as could be expected, and I was able to have Naomi pick me up about the time they let me go. I understand perfectly why they don't allow people who have been drugged into unconsciousness to drive; after I got home I put the dirty laundry into the drier and came within a second or so of adding the soap.

Mom says that after 85 they don't bother, so assuming I don't need one more often than once every decade or so I only have two more to look "forward" to. The results will come back in a week or so.

Friday the stairlift arrived, and on Saturday I took Colleen down to check it out. She loved the master suite, especially the shower. I expected her to like it, but it was nice to have that confirmed.

The yard work was pretty much done by then except for the last of the planting -- it looks fantastic. Work inside the house is progressing; there's a lot of dust. It's going to be a bit dicey with credit until my tax refund comes in.

Lots of good links, many of them from the footnotes in ysabetwordsmith's latest serial fanfic, "Coming Around", and her (related) "three weeks for dreamwidth" posts.

More, as usual, in the notes.

Side note -- I'm considering putting my "done" posts somewhere else, in favor of somewhat irregular postings with more substance. Anyone not bored by the detailed notes? Inquiring minds need to know.

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

Somehow it doesn't seem as though much happened. A quick look at the house shows that this is not entirely true -- huge progress has been made on the improvements, tens of thousands of dollars have been flung around with abandon (including a 50% down payment on the landscaping, and starting a household checking and savings account), the front yard, massage studio, and lower front bedroom have been torn apart, several new holes have appeared, and so on.

None of this was my doing, of course, except for the financing. I have merely been plugging along at my job, filing the inevitable extension on my taxes, and generally muddling along considerably more slowly than I would like.

This week's quote/self-observation comes from Friday: "Middle-sized bears are extremely timid creatures, but are occasionally so oblivious that it doesn't matter."

Meanwhile, Seattle has been declared #2 among the 12 best places to live in the U.S.. San Francisco is #1. I think the Twin Cities cheated, with Minneapolis nabbing 12th place and St. Paul coming in 10th. (The differential doesn't surprise me -- St. Paul is a university town.)

Other good links amongst the notes, as usual.

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

So... last week was both relaxing and stressful. It was my first full week after my contract ended, and included our second weekend in the new house. Saturday, in fact, we had our first event, a tea party catered by Friday Afternoon Tea.

I had several interviews, and one in-person interview. That was pretty good; my job search was really starting to heat up. I spent quite a lot of money on and around the house, some of it rather inadvisedly. We did save rather a lot by switching from a curved stairlift from Ameriglide (which we found out doesn't actually get permits or use licensed installers in Washington) to a pair of straight ones from Acorn. Saved $4k.

The house has a secret passage! Well, ok, it's a laundry chute. But it was a secret from me, anyway.

I'm going to cut this short (if you really want details, you'll find them in the notes) to get to the last two days, which were kind of harrowing.

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

It's been a long month this past week. Our mortgage broker failed to get us a loan -- we didn't get this finally confirmed until Thursday, but it had been crumbling for a week. Our realtor, who obviously has a considerable interest in our closing the deal, found another mortgage broker. She claims, on the company website, to have a 100% success rate. Still waiting.

(Meanwhile, interest rates have gone down a little. Every silver lining has a cloud around it?) And my tenants at the house formerly known as the Starport asked whether I might be interested in selling the place. To which the answer was hell yes! (I'm looking at adding over a half megabuck to my debt. Yes, I can use it.)

This Saturday we went to the Seattle Home Show with Naomi and her new GF Susan. Lots of fun, and a trifle expensive. But we found what looks like the right gardener, and spoke with what looks like the right contractor. And found what looks like the perfect power lift recliner. Now all we need is the house to put them in...

Sunday I actually got in some good walking -- home from N's after taking the Honda back.

There are links in the notes, as usual. I'm going to post this and try to get to bed; I've been sleeping badly recently.

raw notes )
mdlbear: (wtf)

... so it looks like the loan will go through for buying our dream house, Rainbow's End. This last week was rather hellish -- among other things, the appraiser transposed some digits, and came in with an appraisal for 434 Leigh in San Jose, rather than 343. Cue huge kerfuffle and a quick-turnaround re-do. It was still lower than we needed, apparently, so we can't count the rental income toward my income, and my required mortgage insurance will be higher. We'll refinance when we sell the Starport; hopefully it will be worth more by then.

In other news, I had a colonoscopy (routine screening; nothing to worry about; recommended for anyone over 50) which will have to be re-done because I was too full of sh*t. I.e. the laxative didn't work well enough. WTF?

As usual, there are some links in the notes.

raw notes )
mdlbear: (poly-heart)

Almost a week. Starting out rather rough: the YD was injured in a near-accident on the bus on Monday, Colleen had an endoscopy appointment on Wednesday (mine is this week), and in between I was very stressed and close to overload. This makes bears grumbly. Grumble.

On the other paw, the house gets closer and closer to reality. It's going to be a strange household -- strange even by Seattle polyamorous fandom standards, I suspect -- but it'll work. It'll work precisely because of its strangeness. Hmm. That really wants a separate post, doesn't it?

It's not something I ever expected. Living with kids younger than my younger brother's grandkids? Taking on over half a megabuck in debt when I'm old enough to retire? Am I crazy? Of course. And I have the prescriptions to prove it.

Quite a few excellent links, spanning much of the Space Marine kerfuffle.

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

I finished my sales tax (a big zero) on Monday, and told the county assessor's office about the end of my owner-occupied home property-tax exemption. As it turned out, I needn't have worried about getting dinged with penalties on my last payment -- it runs to the end of the year.

Realized that I'd be stuck paying CA income tax on the Starport, until I sell it. At least I won't have to file two state returns!

I've been sleeping too much. On the other hand, my mood is mostly good except when I'm overloaded or worried. Both of which happen pretty easily. I'm probably not as resilient as I used to be. I feel like I've been stretched way too thin.

Surprise.

The weekend was fun. Saturday we (Colleen, Naomi and I) went furniture shopping. N had found an astoundingly inexpensive dining set at Don Willis's -- beautiful dark wood; 8-person table, four chairs, and a bench for under $1K. Three more chairs turned up; we bought them all. The factory has gone bust -- there won't be any way to get more. N. found a dresser she liked that matches the one Colleen and I had bought there over the summer.

After splitting up for dinner, we met again at the Heather Dale concert. Fun, although there was a lot of overlap with Conflikt.

Sunday Colleen and I went to the West Seattle farmer's market, and explored a couple of blocks up and down California Avenue. I really love our new neighborhood.

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

Not such a long week. But both productive and exhausting in its own way.

Sunday of Conflikt was pretty good, especially Jeff Bohnhoff's "Alternate Guitar Chords" workshop, and some great music. But around, what, 4pm? Colleen's scooter abruptly stopped working. Dead in its tracks, with the battery indicator happily stuck at the halfway point, where it's always been for the last several months. The YD, who was accompanying Colleen between buildings, proceeded to panic. I talked her through pushing the scooter back indoors and plugging in the charger.

As soon as I could, I got down there, to find that there was enough charge in the battery to move slowly, but not fast -- push too far and it would simply cut off. So charging helps. I had some difficulty persuading the YD to help me get Colleen all the way into the conference center and up to the Conflikt lobby, where she would be warm and have music and company while the battery charged.

At which point it developed that the YD needed to get home and finish her homework. Due Monday. Oooooookay then. I drove her home, which gave me the opportunity to drop off most of the luggage, swap vehicles, and snag a walker at Naomi's in case charging the battery didn't help.

But of course it did help -- the battery finished charging, and the scooter was just fine. I still don't trust it.

Monday was reasonably productive, plus the inevitable odds and ends of paperwork. Despite coming down with the con crud. The chills came on the way home; I went to bed early, under a pile of blankets.

I woke up feeling as though I was swimming in sweat, of course, and wisely decided to work from home. I got through two new API methods that had been scheduled for two days each.

Which was a good thing, since I wasn't quite as productive Wednesday, when I had a urology appointment in the morning and got to sit around while Colleen had an MRI in the afternoon. All afternoon, as it turned out. So much for going in and pushing my changes to the local github in mid-afternoon. I started writing functional tests.

... but all in all not that bad a week, considering.

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

So... another week. Busy. Our DVD collection fits into half of a tower. Very few of the CDs are out, but that's ok; most of them have been ripped. Of course, I haven't made the collection easily accessible yet, so that's a problem.

Things seem to be falling through the cracks a lot more often than I'd like, and I often feel pretty close to the edge. The edge of exactly what, I couldn't say. My sanity? Something like that. Do Not Like.

Colleen had her gastroenterology appointment on Wednesday; apparently UW has one of the best people in the country for Crohn's Disease. We'd heard that, it was one of the considerations in moving up here. And there's an assistance program that reduces her Humira cost to $5/month -- major win, since our insurance only covers 50% of its astronomical cost.

Some good links. Nadia Heninger Is Watching You (computer security) -- What makes this cool is that she's the daughter of an old friend and former coworker, Andy Heninger. The Wordsmith's Forge - Discussion: An Army of One, Autism in SF My Mom Was An Underground Railroad For Abused Women: What She Taught Me About Feminism And Fear | xoJane. The Tiny Transforming Apartment That Packs Eight Rooms into 420 Square Feet Still pretty cramped, but some cool ideas. The Goliath telescoping dining table is impressive. Want.

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

It was rather an expensive weekend, but worthwhile. I really needed a break, and had dozens of things to do -- I'm glad I took the two days off again this week.

Saturday I ordered new batteries for Colleen's scooter. It turns out that they're available in 17, 18, 20, and 22 amp-hour in the same package. I got the big ones. Meanwhile, the old batteries are still working after a fashion. I'm reasonably certain that only one of the pair is dead.

We went out to Costco, where we bought a 32" TV. Samsung. It's only 720P; although abstractly I might have prefered 1080P, it really makes no difference at a 20' viewing distance. It fits neatly on the shelf above the printers, and I got it hooked up to both the BD player and the Mac mini. So, YAY!

Sunday, in addition to setting up the TV, I drove over to Naomi's and we went out for a walk. Nice! We'll have to do that more often. We had turkey for dinner -- Albertson's had 14lb birds for $.69/lb. There were 4lb turkey breasts in the same section that cost 50% more than a whole bird. Unfortunately, in spite of being labeled fresh, the bird was actually partly frozen. I scoched the top and set off the fire alarm. Fortunately just in the apartment; we had sense enough to open the porch door, not the hallway.

Monday, I went online and bought some furniture: two "Spinning Multimedia Tower"s, and a "Media Storage Lamp". The towers hold a huge number of disks -- over 1000 CDs each. We'll need both of them. The lamp is just the right size to stand in the space just in front of the recliners, and hopefully contain the pile of clutter that invariably accumulates there.

I went out for a walk in the late afternoon, and stopped in at Fred Myers to look at electronics. (Nominally, an ethernet switch, since I'm out of ports on the WiFi router.) While there, I saw a familiar figure heading toward the back of the store, and joined forces with Naomi. She drove me home, and stayed for a little while.

After N. left, James and Chaos arrived; I took them back to J's around 11pm so as not to have to drive with the drunks. I came back, and Colleen and toasted the New Year.

I also went online and made last-minute contributions to Planned Parenthood, Carleton College, and Heifer International. I have someone a goat for New Year's, which made Naomi (whose totem is a chamois) very happy. It was contagious, making for a particularly happy New Year's Eve.

Links in the notes, as usual. Hippo Gnu Ear, and may 2013 be a huge improvement over 2012.

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

We had a good Christmas weekend. And week, for that matter, though it had its major low points as well. Monday -- Christmas Eve -- was the worst, between Colleen's temporary crown coming off, her scooter battery not charging, the fact that I hadn't bought any stocking stufers... Add back pain, sleep dep from a long night Friday (don't ask), and general grumpiness.

At least I actually noticed that I was depressed, angry, disappointed, and anxious. (And that the anger and disappointment were largely directed at myself, as usual.) Things improved from that point, thankfully. The evening and Christmas were lovely, with Naomi and her kids, Chaos and Rabbit, and Chip and Eli on Christmas.

We had roast beef on Monday, and borscht on Tuesday. I think the borscht was my best ever.

  1. Boil about 3 lbs of beef roast, an onion, two carrots, four peppercorns, and two bay leaves in water to cover for about two hours, until the meat is cooked and the veggies are nearly falling apart.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the tops and tails off three or four bunches of beets, and roast them at 350 degrees until you can push a fork through a beet. This takes an hour or so.
  3. While the beets are cooling and the beef is boiling, cut three parsnips, four turnips, and four carrots into julienne strips.
  4. Set the meat aside, and toss the veggies.
  5. Put the cut-up veggies into the broth, and start peeling and cutting up the beets. Expect to be caught red-handed.
  6. Add the beets to the broth. Shred half a red cabbage and toss that in,
  7. Cut up the beef and toss that in. Add a little more water if it looks like it needs it.
  8. Serve with sour cream and dill.

Tasty. We have, of course, been eating left-over roast beef and borscht all week. Only the YD is complaining; Colleen and I are not.

Naomi gave me a lovely REI Quantum Shoulder Bag for Christmas; it seems to want to be called "Red". I think her real name is Veronica, but she won't admit to it.

Red is about half an inch too short for my 15" work laptop -- the two corners stick out like little silver ears. Terribly cute. It can be forced into the main compartment, but my plan is simply to put a waterproof flap over it in bad weather. Other than that it's perfect; I really like having a bag that zips on top instead of having a flap, stays vertical when I swing it around to the front, and holds 9x12 envelopes without crumpling them.

A reasonably productive, if short, week at work. I made several stupid mistakes, but was able to recover fairly quickly thanks to git.

The usual collection of good links. Cringely has a post on Reagan and Newtown, about how Reagan destroyed the country's mental health system. There weren't nearly as many homeless people before Reagan, either -- there were places where crazy people could go to be taken care of. I read that Monday morning; it added to my depression.

Every once in a while I want to take a vacation -- just me, and nobody I had to be responsible for. *sigh*

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

Good grief! I need to do these more often. Geekfest! New laptop at work! Fire alarms from burnt toast.

Gotta say more about that last one. Somebody in our apartment building burned their toast, then opened the door to the hallway, setting off the building's fire alarm. I was already on the bus to work; the YD and Colleen dressed hastily and headed downstairs. Elevators don't work in fires. So Colleen parked her scooter and, with a neighbor's encouragement, walked down three flights of stairs to the door, and plunked herself down in a conveniently-placed half-barrel flowerpot.

Well, she is the Flowercat, after all. I'm extremely proud of her.

Probably ought to mention the new lappy, too. It's a top-of-the-line 15" macbook pro, huge, fast, and impressively quiet. What it doesn't have is a place to attach a lock cable, so I have to take it home every night. Which, in turn, means that I've had to work out a way of using it that doesn't involve having to re-establish all my multiple desktops worth of context every morning. The best thing I've hit on so far is to set up a virtual Linux box, and run it full-screen on my large monitor. Outlook and a small number of other things run on the mac screen.

We've also had guests in the apartment. We like having guests -- ping if you want to come over; it's usually possible, given a little notice.

And among other good news, my handicap parking violation was dismissed, since I was able to prove that I do have the placard. Stupid thing had fallen off the mirror.

And the Mayan calendar rolled over, with even less fuss than when the Gregorian one rolled over a dozen years ago.

A few annoyances, mostly health related.

I've been sleeping a lot more than I want to. Annoying. I've also been gaining weight; that may be due to my going off my diuretic. Also annoying. The ongoing dental work is also annoying. And expensive.

Some -- many? -- of the annoyances are self-inflicted. I've been applying so much of my attention to work that pretty much everything else has suffered. At least the need to clear space for guests and a tree has forced me to clear out some boxes.

Links and details in the notes, as usual. Some pretties, some very moving stuff... The usual. This is your mind on the web.

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

OK, I guess that could also have been "done this month". Felt like it, too. Between a dentist appointment (crown prep, only I think I also ended up getting a root canal out of the deal), and some unexpected errand-running, I ended up missing about 6 hours worth of work. Managed to make up most of it, but not all. PTO would have been really nice to have had.

On the other hand, it was a pretty productive week, both at work and at home. So I'm not going to complain too much. I am going to complain, though. I Do Not Need the many kinds of stress that I had to deal with. No, I'm not going into details; you can probably figure most of it out from the notes.

There were some good things, though. Went to Alderwood Mall with Colleen, Emmy, and Naomi. Oysters for lunch at Anthony's -- yum!

On the gripping hand, with several restaurant meals under my belt (literally), my weight has crept up over 200. Do Not Like. And my blood pressure is edging up into the Not So Good range; both of these are probably related to my having run out of my BP pills, which include a diuretic. (Not to worry -- I'm still on one of my two BP-related meds, and will be setting up an appointment soon to deal with the rest of it.)

Found out that one of the developers in my "pod" is 25 years old. That's younger than my older daughter! No wonder he seems a little inexperienced...

Um...

The YD's laptop wasn't charging. She was freaking out about it for a day or so, until she noticed that the charging cord was badly frayed just at the strain relief. Problem solved, since it was a 19V charger and I had another in my Big Box of (power) Bricks. Win.

Quote of the week: "[I have] started thinking about the contradictions inherent in the fact that I like learning things, but am very uncomfortable when I feel that I'm out of my depth. Fallacy somewhere, I fancy."

Link of the week: The Wordsmith's Forge - Poem: "The Formless Ones". Very powerful; possibly triggery (nightmares and PTSD following rape). Part of Ysabet's "Path of the Paladins" series; I think it stands pretty well on its own, but you might want to chase links from her serial poetry page to the rest of it.

I'm also intrigued by the idea of An asexual YA heroine? Why not?. As I said in a comment there, " I have no idea where I am on the a/sexual a/romantic spectrum -- alexithymia will do that -- but it's more on the a- side these days, and a book like this would probably have done me a lot of good when I was a YA."

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

I guess the main event from the weekend was lunch with our old friends Alan and Jeanne Rognlie, who moved out of the Bay Area some 32 years ago. We met for lunch at the AFK Tavern, although no gaming ensued. Good visit.

We decided to have Thanksgiving dinner here; the fridge is now full of turkey. The living room is still full of boxes; we're going to at least move them out of the center of the room. It'll have to do. Progress is, in any case, being made.

I also wrote a poem on Saturday.

I converted my mobile phone plan to a shared-data plan. It includes unlimited voice and text, and 10GB of shared data. The way the pricing works is a little weird, with the price per phone going down as data goes up; 10GB was only $10 more than 6GB. I end up saving about $60/month.

Musical links for the weekend include this Adorably Gruesome Public Service Announcement About Death And Dismemberment, and of course "American Hostess Pie" to the obvious tune.

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

OK, a weekend short of two weeks. Too much to summarize. Elections happened. (You'll find a bit of analysis in the links.) Work happened. Looked in several of the local stores for a Nexus 7, and didn't find one. Guess I'll have to order online. Upgraded my netbook to Ubuntu 12.04, and Colleen's to 12.10 because .04 was a disaster. .10 isn't perfect, but at least it supports the Dell's stupid Poulsbo video. Sorta. Still doesn't suspend properly, which sucks.

There also seems to be something majorly wrong -- it can take up to 20 minutes to boot! I suspect disk, but it could be something even more serious. We discussed options; she may be better off with an Android tablet or chromebook. I forwarded her email to her gmail account, which pretty much takes care of the only reason for connecting to the in-house network. That's still flaky, probably because of interference.

Last weekend also included a massage from N, who is studying massage therapy at Cortiva. She's *good*, and I especially enjoyed having her talk through what she's doing and observing. It also started me off on a week's worth of link-chasing around anatomy, and especially muscles.

I ran out of my morning BP pills (lisinopril/HCTZ) on Sunday, so have been watching my blood pressure. Unfortunately I didn't get a couple of baseline readings last week. It's marginally pre-hypertensive now, but not worrisome; I'll see what happens in the next week. By which time the supply I mail-ordered from Kaiser should be here, assuming they ship to ex-members. One reason I'm not particularly worried is that I'm still on doxazosin for my BPH, and was noticing occasional dizziness on standing up. Which suggests that it may have been too much before.

Noteworthy quotes:

"Hmm... my panic attacks feed on fear, they lie all the time, they try to control me, they threaten me with dying and going to hell, and they don't care in the slightest for logic. They can be defeated by ridicule, because for all their bluster they aren't very bright, but they don't admit defeat; they just regroup with another dirty tactic and try again. Maybe they're Republicans?" --Nora Rivkis in Facebook

Colleen: I hate it when my Kindle freezes.

Me: Speak sharply to your little toy / And boot it when it freezes. / It only does it to annoy / Because it knows it teases.

All the horrible details, plus bonus links, in the notes below. Feel free to give them the tl;dr treatment. I need to start doing this more often.

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

Well. This was my first week at work in six months. It'll take a while for me to get the hang of it, and for the stress to go away. It's demanding, and promises to stay demanding, and I'd gotten very used over the last 6 months to having lots of free time.

The whole week was mostly paperwork and setup. It's my first encounter with development using Windows, Eclipse, and Maven. Plus Rally. Confluence is familiar, at least, and along with the two other new guys I've made a few edits to the "new developer setup" page. So... yeah. Steep learning curve. I hope to be writing code next week. I'd better be.

I like commuting by bus. This is a good thing, because as a contractor I don't get free parking. I don't get a lot of things. Like paid vacations. Orycon is going to be a weekend blitz this year. Fortunately it's only a 3-hour drive; we'll be able to drive down after work on Friday and come back Sunday night.

My stupid body seems to have decided it wants at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Do Not Have The Time! I especially miss having an extra hour or two to myself in the morning. One hour (if I get up at 7 and leave at 8) is barely enough for the usual round of drugs, nose-watering, tooth-brushing, and a quick breakfast. A shower is pushing it. Well, maybe I'll get into a stable schedule eventually.

Apropos of tooth-brushing, we went to Costco and I found a two-pack of Sonicare teethbrush (that's the plural of toothbrush, isn't it?). They'd been strongly recommended by my new hygienist. We did end up spending quite a lot more there than I'd intended.

I also spent more than I'd intended at the Container Store, getting tracks and standards for the living room. I finally decided not to try anything fancy. I have one, 4' shelf up, for the guinea pig cage. It's a huge improvement. I also got a pair of stacking bamboo shelves to go between the chairs - the stack is low enough that it fits under the overhang of the arms, and I've clipped a pair of drink holders onto the end. Big win.

Today I may have time to buy wood for the bookshelves.

Colleen had wanted to check out Bellevue Square, which is next door to Lincoln Square (where the Container Store is), so we did that. Ghastly. It's laid out so that you have to do a lot of backtracking if you're on a scooter, plus it's noisy and crowded. We didn't even bother with the first floor -- there was a long line for the elevators. If it wasn't for having the only Container Store in the state I wouldn't go back there at all.

I did some cooking -- Polish sausage with beans, carnitas soft tacos, ... The really huge thing this week was that Colleen cooked dinner on Friday! That's wonderful progress -- it's been a really long time since she was able to do that. The fact that our kitchen is almost an ideal layout for scoot-through cooking helps. She only needed help a couple of times; getting a hot pot of pasta between the stove and sink for draining is still well beyond what she's capable of. So far.

Some links. Watch out for the first one -- it's going to be very triggery for some people. Harrowing and heartbreaking, but you need to see Amamda Todd's video if you can handle it.

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

Tuesday I moved nova, the printers, and the starport (inside) router to the computer desk; moved polaris (the outside router) to the corner of the kitchen where the phone jack lives; and set up (linux desktop) algol and (mac mini) whitewood. Everything works! Much better signal from the routers, though there is still the occasional glitching from starport which I suspect is due to 802-11G/N issues.

Tip: it helps if you turn the printer on before trying to print a test page.

I did quite a lot of re-organizing, which resulted in a usable amount of space around the desk and several other items going to useful places. Decided to use Elfa "easyhang" shelving on the long livingroom wall -- it'll be fairly expensive, but a lot less than the price of even freestanding bookcases.

My copy of Cat Faber's new CD, The King's Lute, arrived in the mail. It's wonderful -- go get one. Cat is an absolutely brilliant songwriter. There are several songs on there that I need to learn.

Wednesday I got a confirmation of my COBRA health plan selections. WTF? I didn't recall making any. Thursday I got a letter dated the 5th saying that they couldn't contact me. WTF? Five phone calls later, on Friday, I determined that they had my area code wrong -- I might conceivably have messed up when I updated my profile, but they had my email address and never sent anything to it. The last person I called, Susan, was extremely helpful and pleasant to talk to. This was Friday morning, and may have been due to my already having decided what to do.

After determining that I had already received more from my FSA than I'd put in so far I dropped it, saving myself at least $860. (There was another $430 payment due, but I had already determined that I wasn't going to continue my COBRA coverage after my coverage from $K kicks in in December.) I also dropped my vision plan.

Friday I also (finally!) followed up on my house, car, and renter's insurance. And saved quite a lot. I should have done that months ago, of course. I don't know where my brain was between June and September. Well, job-hunting and moving and unpacking ate up a lot of it, I'm sure. Anxiety, apathy, and depression probably ate up the rest.

Colleen and I visited the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell -- it was only $50/year for a couple membership. If she can get transportation it'll be a great place for her to hang out, especially the quilting group.

I made several tasty meals, including a great corned beef hash using the potatoes that had been cooked in the slow cooker with the beast. Details, along with the usual links, in the notes.

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

Feeling good, and even optimistic, is something of a new concept for this old bear. I am having a little trouble wrapping my fuzzy head around it. Does that make sense?

There is still the nagging worry that, now that I've turned in the last of my paperwork, $K or $D will reject me at the last minute. I don't really believe it'll happen, but we're not talking rationality here.

The dresser arrived Saturday. It's lovely, and large, and went a long way toward organizing the bedroom. Now it's my side of the bed that's still a mess. That'll be harder, because there's noplace to put a dresser there.

Having given up on the foolish notion of putting a desk next to the bed on my side, I went over to Naomi's and gound the pieces for my old computer desk. The one I made a couple of years before Chaos was born, and put into storage when we remodeled the Starport the first time. It's now on the short wall of the living room next to the sliding door onto the balcony. I'm gong to put an Elfa track over it this morning, and have already moved the printers and strung Cat-5 over to the phone jack in the kitchen.

Putting the rolling file under the desk where it belongs naturally adds a fair amount of space -- it is now possible to walk to the gray recliner when people are sitting in both facing chairs. Which is good, because the corner by the desk is still pretty crowded.

Now I just have to move the computers: nova and the inside router (starport) to the desk, and the outside router (polaris) to the kitchen. Unfortunately, there's no phone jack in the area that is pretty clearly meant to be the entertainment corner. Not so odd, really; the apartment building predates DSL. I might be able to summon up the energy to do it this morning -- it has to be a morning when the two women are asleep so that nobody wants to use the net connection.

Oh, and I used my SAD light Monday, for the first time since the move. Maybe it'll help. I'm also trying to shift my schedule back to waking up at 6:30 instead of 7:30 or 8; I need at least an hour in the morning to get out the door in reasonable working condition. Preferably two, but that will take longer, I suspect.

Links, as usual, in the notes. Check out "It’s Opus, it rocks and now it’s an audio codec standard!" and The Wordsmith's Forge - Unsold Poetry from the October 2-3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl. I put money on two poems from this: "The Cybernetic Sorcerers" (co-sponsor because of net-lag) and "Promises to Keep" (which combines global warming and sea monsters).

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

The CTO of $T called me at the originally-scheduled time on Wednesday, not the rescheduled time on Tuesday -- by that time I'd already made my decision. Thursday I went in and signed the paperwork with $K for my contract job at $D. I start Monday the 15th. There are a couple of good perks from $K, including free access to SkillSoft courseware. (I think I also get that through my recently-renewed ACM membership.)

Even after only six months of "retirement", the thought of going back to work is somewhat scary. It's also rather surprising how few of the things on my list I got done. (Of course, "moving" was also on the list, and occupied an unexpectedly large fraction of my time. But still.)

I'll be at Orycon. The plan is to drive down after work (possibly after a short day) on Friday, and return Sunday night -- it's only a 3-hour drive, which makes it possible. I think I will have a concert, though I might have missed my window for that by not turning in the questionaire on time.

Of course, now that I know I'm going to have an income, I promptly went out and ordered a few things that I'd been waiting on. The first to arrive, because it was nearly instantaneous, was the download of Cat Faber's new CD, The King's Lute -- the physical copy will arrive soon. (You get the download, which includes the sheet music and lyrics, free with the CD.) You can get yours at her Bandcamp page. I highly recommend it -- Cat's a brilliant songwriter and a fine performer. This album is drawn from her recent "Alice Day" posts. It's hard to pick favorites here, but I think I'd have to go with "Cedarglass" and "Atheist's Anthem".

I really need to get a Bandcamp page up, don't I? Good project for tomorrow? Maybe.

I also pulled down a copy of Heather Dale's Perpetual Gift (which is free, as the title indicates, but I made a donation anyway).

Oh, and Janis Ian will be at the Triple Door in Seattle, Saturday, April 6th

The usual collection of links in the notes. Here: have a CPR ad, with zombies.

raw notes )
mdlbear: (wtf-logo)

Yesterday I had a dentist appointment at 11am, to get my teeth deep-cleaned. As I was pulling in to the parking lot I got a phone call from $K (the contract agency) saying I'd gotten the contract at $D.

In spite of the fact that I think I'd probably prefer a full-time job at $T, which is a smaller company with a really cool product that I actually want to use, the timing for that just isn't likely to work out -- I haven't even had a phone interview yet (I expect one this afternoon, but still...) So my mood has been distinctly mixed -- it was something like depression last night. (I'll get to that later.)

The teeth-cleaning went very well -- the hygienist was surprised that I was able to handle it with just a topical anesthetic. Yeah, there were a couple of twinges, but I often get worse from my arthritis just getting out of bed in the morning, and much worse after sitting with my legs crossed for half an hour.

Which brings us to the evening, when I was feeling depressed, and made a joke about something I thought was unrelated that N. misinterpreted as sounding suicidal. And then couldn't get back in touch with me.

Apparently several of my followup IM messages simply got dropped on the floor between here and there. And she couldn't raise me by phone or text, apparently because I was reading a book in the Kindle app! The text, in fact, finally arrived a minute or so after I exited the app. WTF?????!!! Anyone ever encounter that one?

OK, getting back to the down mood. I don't know how much of that is due to uncertainty over $D vs. $T, how much is due to simple relief, and how much is due to the fact that I've gotten used to being "retired". Have I mentioned alexithymia lately? It means that, very often, I don't know what I'm feeling. It's a problem.

A few links in the notes, though nothing exceedingly noteworthy.

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

High-order bit, out of sequence. I got a call this morning from (contract agency) $K saying I have the job at $D!!! There's a slight chance I may be able to swing something at $T, but I'm not going to count on it -- the timing is rotten, and I'm not in a position to take even a medium-risk chance over a sure thing.

I may, however, have screwed up my medicare by misunderstanding the way the various special enrollment periods interact. GAAAAK!

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled update. I took Colleen down to RainFurrest Saturday, then came back up to hang out with Naomi and work on music (and laundry) for a couple of hours. Then I picked her up, grabbed some dinner (corned beef, from the crock pot), and we attempted to go to Wayward Coffeehouse. Didn't make it. Colleen's scooter nearly tipped over after it suddenly lost power trying to get out of an underground parking garage the size of a postage stamp, with a too-steep ramp. At that point, after I stopped shaking, we headed back home.

Have I mentioned that I lose control over my voice when I'm stressed? Trying to talk to me makes it worse. Trying to "calm me down" makes it *much* worse. Probably not fixable at my age. I'm not (usually) in a panic, I just don't have the bandwidth to both deal with the situation and try to figure out what to say to people and where they are and what volume to set my voice at to be heard without seeming to shout. I shout.

Sunday I made corned beef hash, hash browns, and fried eggs for brunch, and went out for a walk during which I had the revelation that of course I can't cope -- my coping saw is in storage. I know: lame.

I don't even remember what I made for dinner.

The usual collection of links in the notes.

raw notes )

Most Popular Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Page generated Apr. 25th, 2014 08:21 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios