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

Well, all I can say is that it felt more productive at the time. Morning and most of the afternoon were taken up by an LHH webinar and filling out the job application for Planetary Resources – The Asteroid Mining Company. As it turned out, yesterday was the last day they were taking them, so I was cutting it pretty close. Grump.

And after dinner Colleen and I went out to the local mall for a st/roll. Which was probably healthier than it would have been going out in the heat during the afternoon.

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

A very busy three days. Sunday I finished up the taxes, and e-filed. Should probably have filed the state taxes on paper; the e-filing cost extra. Monday I started with Lee Hecht Harrison, the "career transition" firm that Ricoh is paying for. The initial session on Monday was very useful, since it included a "resume and linkedin jumpstart" segment. The experience section of my resume will need to be completely redone, of course.

I almost all of yesterday online, mostly on LHH and linkedin. Yesterday I took an LHH "webinar" -- in spite of the setup website telling me my browser was fully functional, the actual applet or whatever it was needed to be set up with a JVM and libraries, and couldn't find them on my Debian system. I switched to the Mac, but lost the visuals for about the first 15 minutes. Probably lost more to divided attention. Still useful.

A nice st/roll on Sunday, and a walk yesterday. A little walking Monday, but just a couple of blocks. Still, walkies good.

Some links down in the notes.

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

I spent the morning working on my resume, adding to the projects and publications lists, and expanding some of the more interesting projects. And I finally made an HTML version of the resume, though the formatting leaves something to be desired.

I'd originally been planning to spend the afternoon at Stanford, at the memorial for my old professor John McCarthy. But when I signed up for that I'd neglected the fact that it was the YD's 20th birthday. So instead, we went shopping at Target (we'd given her a gift card) and out to dinner at Kobe.

In between, Colleen and I went out for a two-mile st/roll. The scooter started running dangerously low on power about 3/4 of the way through, so I went home by myself and fetched the car to retrieve her. The scooter isn't in terribly good shape; I'm glad we're getting a new one.

In the evening, I started moving stacks of cookbooks to the card table. Colleen promptly rebuilt the stack with a second round of culling. And that's just cookbooks!

Linky: Record Heat Wave Grips US. But Is It Climate Change? Cute little video about trend vs. variation.

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

Just Friday I wrote "ideal would be to rent the house to fans/hackers. It's perfect - server closet, 2 physical phone lines, shelf space... By Saturday evening we had a household lined up. They're fans, and want to carry on the Grand Central Starport traditions. The rent will cover the mortgage and insurance, and if we're lucky the market will bounce back a little over the next few years.

I spent a goodly amount of time Saturday working on my LinkedIn profile, and a little on my resume and portfolio site (at Stephen.Savitzky.net), and updated some of my other sites.

I took a walk on Friday -- a full three miles. Felt pretty good. And Saturday, after looking at quite a few alternatives, we ordered Colleen a new scooter, the Pride Go-Go Elite Traveller Plus HD. It's about an inch longer than her current scooter, and the deck is about four inches wider in front, which means she can get into it more easily and have a place to rest her feet. The wheels are bigger, too, so it will have less trouble with the kind of obstacles one encounters indoors and on the sidewalk.

Did I mention that I finally dealt with the $1K denied claim in my FSA account last week? It'll help.

We have started to friendcycle cookbooks. Fiction, and the nonfiction books in the office, will have to be tackled soon.

For today's link, see ysabetwordsmith's poem: "Ari and the Atheist" What does it mean to be an atheist in a world where everyone can see that the gods exist?

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

It didn't feel like a terribly productive day, but between a 1-mile walk, a dentist appointment, looking at scooters, and helping Colleen triage cookbooks, I must have gotten something done.

Work was basically more of the same: file triage and backups.

There's nothing like an empty shelf and piles of books looking for a new home to make the move start to feel real.

As for scooters, we're looking at the Pride Celebrity X - it's bigger and more stable than Colleen's current one, which we'd keep for travel because it's a *lot* lighter and can be stuffed into the Honda's trunk.

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mdlbear: portrait of me holding a guitar, by Kelly Freas (freas)
I'm heading up for Seattle in about an hour; Colleen is heading up Friday and will be arriving arund 10:40 am. The way the logistics work out, I probably won't make it to the airport in time to meet her.

Could somebody who knows her be there to help her fetch her luggage and get to the hotel? A vehicle isn't necessary -- the hotel has a shuttle that can handle her scooter. But she will need help bag-wrangling.

Thanks in advance,
==steve

Oh, yeah; I'm using a wheelchair today in the airports, for the first time. Just totally wiped out with arthritis, and/or maybe a mild flu (though no detectable fever).
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Hmm. The day had its ups and downs, I guess. I feel particularly good about my st/roll with Colleen around the Rose Garden, and I got some practicing in, and major bug-fixing done the new makefile for recording directories. And quite a lot of decluttering, and a verse and chorus of a parody (still in progress).

On the other hand, I got very stressed in the early afternoon -- not sure whether it was sensory overload, family friction, or what -- the walk helped a lot.

On the gripping hand, I actually noticed at the time that mailing my filk to Naomi and getting thwapped for it made me happy. I may be getting better at that.

On the fourth hand, I wound up feeling very discouraged, especially when Colleen pointed out that I hadn't gotten any of my usual oddball stocking stuffers. She sent me out into the cold; Fry's was closed, but CVS was open and had gift cards and some suitable small tools.

So the day ended pretty well, at least.

No links. Must have been busy.

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

Yesterday we had a nice afternoon/evening out, including an extended st/roll around the Stanford Shopping Center. It wasn't particularly crowded, so we could mostly go at a decent walking pace. I looked at luggage but didn't buy any.

I may, however, have to buy another suitcase -- I'm taking a couple of comforters up to Seattle for [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi, and my choices are to either use Colleen's huge suitcase (a 29" paisley monstrosity which was bought for looks rather than durability or usability), or to empty the 25" Samsonite. *sigh* I could actually get them into my Travelpro, but that filled it to the brim. Hmm; could maybe use the expansion and maybe repack my meds to fit. Maybe.

After shopping, we went to Sneha for yummy Indian buffet. We've been missing our nights out since the YD moved her game night to Wednesday.

Other than that, a quiet and mostly unproductive day, though I did squeeze in a little practice.

A few links. Or was that lynx? Apple has run out of bigger cats.

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

So... yesterday was Black Friday, which we observed by staying home, eating leftovers, and going out for a nice st/roll.

The battery pack in Colleen's scooter seems to be dying. We bought it less than a year ago, but OTOH we got it from a local store, so there's really no telling what its history is.

Cygnus, the new netbook, continues to be a pleasure to use, though it also shows signs of instability, and the WiFi connection seemed to be distinctly weird. Rebooting the WAP may have fixed it. Or I could try turning off 802.11n, which I know we were having trouble with back at EWS.

I still need to string new ethernet cable to the living room; right now it's CAT-5, and with Cygnus running Gigabit, that just won't cut it.

I've noticed that I seem to have trouble telling when the person I'm conversing with is done talking. It may even have gotten worse recently; I'm going to have to work on that.

Still very worried about my friends up north. Very worried.

Some links. This is disturbing: Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window » ACLU blog.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day: a 2-mile walk (shorter than the 3 I would have preferred because the weather was iffy), a reasonably productive day at work, some fun stuff on the web (see links in the notes), improvement in my shoulder.

On the other hand, not nearly as productive as I wanted it to be, and a twinge in my back last night that I slapped down hard with naproxen, methocarbamol, and a hot bath. (It seems to be mostly ok now, but I'm watching it carefully. Do Not Like back pain.)

On the gripping hand, I finally posted my Westercon schedule. And my mood remains somewhere between ok and good, which is... somewhere between ok and good, I guess.

A few links up in the notes.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Not a very eventful or notable day, which is on the whole an improvement on Sunday. I came home for lunch, after buying Colleen a 4-footed cane and looking at some scooters. The cane was an obvious next step for her, since she's been using her walker one-handed since breaking her arm; she gets around very well with it.

I looked at two scooters at Bischoff's. One was a Pride Celebrity X, they advertise it as disassembling into 7 pieces, but that includes the two batteries, for which one has to remove the cover and disconnect cables. One could do that for a long trip, maybe, but it's impractical for a quick jaunt to the store. Not that it would fit in the trunk of my Honda anyway -- we'd need a lift.

The other was clearly a travel scooter, used, no bigger than Colleen's current one, but the seat was lower and it looked a lot more stable. When I came home, I found that the seat-post on Rosebud could be lowered about an inch and a half. We determined that Colleen could still get in and out with the lower seat, so that's a big win. I'll have to see whether we can get the seat any lower, though I suspect not without power tools.

I think we will get a larger scooter eventually, since it would give her a lot more confidence and stability on streets and sidewalks. But we'll probably keep the GoGo for travel and indoor use. How we'd store the two of them is, of course, an open question. We might have to enclose the porch or clean out space in the garage.

It wasn't a very productive day at work, but once back home I managed to get in some practicing, and made progress emptying out the old Rolly.

No links, oddly enough.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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It was almost a really good day. We had bagels and lox for brunch, and had a great st/roll around the Rose Garden. We sat and read for a while, having remembered to bring reading material this time.

Then Colleen took the corner from the sidewalk to our walkway a little too fast, fell, and injured her wrist. We called 911 for assistance getting her up and got an ice pack on it, then I had a quick dinner of scrambled eggs while Colleen called Kaiser; I knew it was going to be a long night.

This happened at about 4:15; we finally made it home about 8:30 with a temporary splint on what turned out to be a distal ulnar fracture. For those who can't instantly decode anatomical notation, that's one of the two long bones of the forearm, an inch or so short of the wrist.

It could have been a lot worse. She didn't hit her head, or damage a leg, hip, or something else, and I managed to prevent them from giving her a splint that would have imobilized her elbow. As it is, she'll be in a cast for 4-6 weeks, and have a lot of trouble doing day-to-day stuff.

It's become obvious that she needs a wider scooter -- this one is great for portability, but it's dangerously unstable. The base is only 19.5" wide, but the chair arms are set at 23.75, so it looks like we can go to a 24" wide scooter without too much trouble. It should give her a little more leg-room, too.

I managed to stay calm and even cheerful through the whole thing, which was good if a little surprising. There were a couple of times when I overloaded, all when Colleen was trying to tell me something while I was concentrating. Minor, and I got past them easily. Colleen did ok modulo a couple of spots where the pain got to her; we came home with a prescription for percoset.

I found that Minnie makes a decent laptop tray, and that if I tighten up the strap she's actually pretty comfortable even with the addition of a water bottle, netbook, and paperback book. I've started unpacking my old luggage and redistributing their contents; I discovered in the process that my "electronics bag" is mostly empty except for a handful of cables and the travel router that I haven't used for a long time. So that can probably get consolidated with the Zoom H2.

I've discovered that Plink (the travel guitar) hangs nicely from a full-sized music stand; that suggests that it's probably worthwhile getting the folding one I've been eyeing for years at Guitar Showcase.

Some links up in the notes.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day, with a nice st/roll with Colleen to the Rose Garden. We keep forgetting to bring books, so we can sit and read in the sun. It's a great place for people-watching, too. I like summer. ("Summer" being our code word for "women in skimpy outfits", many of which would have been considered underwear when we were young.)

We had a good, though ultimately unproductive, talk about the YD's state of mind. It's pretty clear that she's depressed, but she rejects our suggestions that she seek professional help. Not much we can do about that.

I was feeling rather unimaginative, and made a pot of black and white beans with Polish sausage for dinner. Very tasty.

Had some trouble with my right shoulder in the morning, which I dealt with by switching shoulders on Minnie and wearing the strap higher up, close to my neck. That seems to do it, at least for now. And my left ankle started hurting in the evening after I took my shoes (hiking boots) off; I put a brace on it. Both joints are mostly ok this morning, but grump.

Things have been breaking. The lumbar support on my aeron chair broke clean in half sometime yesterday. It looks as though it can be splinted; that's good, because a replacement is $60. The one at work has been broken for a while. Grump. My things and I are getting old together.

I verified by experiment that I can pack a weekend's worth of clothes into the Eagle Creek organizer, so I could theoretically go on a weekend trip with nothing but Chami (the Antler rolling backpack, for those who haven't been following closely) and Minnie (the REI shoulder bag), and maybe the CPAP case. In most cases that probably won't be necessary, but it's nice to know that it's possible.

My doctor contacted me about my labs; PSA (which doesn't show up on the web -- grump) is down a little, as are my triglycerides. So, ... good.

My mood continues to hover somewhere between ok and good.

Some links in the notes, as usual; the Solar-Powered 3D Printer that Prints Glass from Sand is pretty awesome. Especially when you remember that it's not your ordinary soda-lime glass but fused silica, which has a significantly higher melting point.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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I'd been planning to make apple pancakes for breakfast, but in this house I'm usually the only one who's awake before noon, and Father's Day was no exception. I made them for dinner. Dad often made breakfast on Sunday, apple pancakes were always one of my favorites, along with blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, and "fried matzoh".

Google did me no favors with their Call your dad from Gmail promotion. Wherever he is now, there are no phones or internet connections. I miss our hour-long phone conversations.

Another nice st/roll with Colleen, twice around the Rose Garden (somewhere in the 2.5-3 mile range). We need to go there with a picnic brunch sometime.

We appear to have a mouse living in the bedroom closet. I set out glue-traps. Grumble. The reason for searching the bedroom closet was to look for the CPAP case, which turned out to be under the bed. A great deal of puttering ensued, and I started the amazing exploration of Rolly's contents. There are some Weird Things in there.

Quite a few links up in the notes. Torn World; Family Ties and Torn Skies is finally out in hardcopy; I ordered a copy.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Yesterday was a pretty good day. It included, after all, a st/roll with Colleen, dinner, and some singing for Naomi. I also added a new flag character to my raw notes: "'" (single quote) marks a piece of "internal dialog". Talking to the voices in my head, to put it more simply.

They're not really voices, of course; they're pretty-much indistinguishable from the interior narrative that goes on all the time in my head. But Naomi has, over the last couple of years, taught me the usefulness of labeling parts of that narrative as coming from different "characters". More on that later, probably. Someday.

I also noticed that I like it when people add to comment threads, especially when they answer someone else's question. I guess it makes me feel that my blog is useful?

Among the day's few links, I can recommend elf's post, Growing old fiercely

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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OK, guess it was a pretty good day at that. It felt very unproductive, but between a st/roll with Colleen in the morning and a drive with Colleen in the evening, I managed to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the two of us, do a load of laundry, and make substantial headway toward cleaning up the office.

Also a little singing, and some (fiction) reading. And news shortly before going to bed.

rm -f /bin/laden

Other links up in the notes.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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The high point of the day was a nice st/roll with Colleen. The sky was overcast and the air cool; just right for brisk walking. Colleen, of course, needed her cape because she wasn't walking.

The wireless access point seems to have gotten its configuration corrupted; that's the second time this has happened after a power failure. Grump. (Reset-to-defaults fixed it this morning, but still.) I'm glad I decided not to use the thing as my main router! Grump anyway; I could use the power saving.

I tried the gluten-free matzoh-like objects Colleen got (a whole lot of) at Lunardi's (FKA Cosentino's). Meh. The taste is slightly off, and the texture (thin, dense, and brittle) is very off. Grump.

Dinner, boiled artichokes and rib-eye steaks pan-broiled with caramelized onions, was delightful. The artichokes were the first of the season, slightly small but very tasty. Colleen got the idea from some of her food porn shows of putting a lemon and some fresh thyme in the water; that worked very well.

I started getting sleepy around 8:15; getting up, walking around, and doing some dishes helped.

The day's most amusing link, by far, was the tale of Amazons $23,698,655.93 book about flies. I, for one, welcome our new algorithmic overlords -- as a filker, anyway.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A big day, finishing the taxes. It goes pretty smoothly after all the data-gathering is done. Somewhere toward the end of it I went for a nice st/roll with Colleen around the Rose Garden. A pretty good day altogether. And Cash & Carry across the street has 3/4lb bags of beef jerkey, the component of lunch-at-my-desk that I can't get at Trader Joe's.

I made a pretty good chili for dinner.

Among the links, you'll find Ahem! Are You Talking to Me? (Or Texting?) at NYTimes.com. Although coming down mostly on the side of those who consider taking a phone call in the middle of a conversation a serious social offense and bemoaning the end of 20th Century polite society, it does give a nod to the other side:

But all is not vanity. For anybody with children, a job or a significant other, the expectation these days is that certain special people, usually beginning with our bosses, can reach us at any minute of any day. Every once in a while something truly important tumbles into our in-box that requires immediate attention.

As somebody with all three of the above, I'm glad I have my phone. If somebody calls me on it, I'll at least do them the courtesy of finding out who they are before deciding whether to send them to voice mail.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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This last weekend we went to Las Vegas and met Callie and Naomi there, celebrating our 35th anniversary and Naomi's birthday. (The joint vacation was N's idea, of course; she's good at coming up with evil schemes.) It was mostly good. Parts were very good. As it turned out, I didn't need to worry about getting enough walking in.

No battle plan survives contact with the enemy, of course. And when an ambitious list of "things we want to do" meets the reality of low energy levels, injuries and other physical limitations, sleeping in, missed connections, and the fact that slot machines no longer have coin slots, there are bound to be some disappointments. But it was good. The buffets were tasty and cheap, some of the restaurants we ate in were very tasty and not at all cheap, the scenery (architectural, natural, and human) was fascinating, and Cirque de Soleil's Zumanity was... interesting.

Zumanity was my first contact with Cirque; it probably wasn't a very good introduction. The acts that were supposed to be funny I found painful, and none of it was what I would consider sensual. Some of it was beautiful, though. I could have done with more of that.

The official birthday dinner was at Joe's Steak, Seafood, and Stone Crab in the Forum Shops at Caesars. It didn't help that we got a late start, went in separate cabs, and C&N ended up getting dropped off at Caesar's, a good block or so away. And owned by a different organization altogether. We had to send out a search party (i.e. me). But it was yummy.

A lot of st/rolling with Colleen. At one point Saturday night her scooter simply and suddenly died, with symptoms (including inability to charge) that indicated a bad connection in the battery box. Fortunately we were already back in our hotel (the Excalibur), and I pushed her back to the room. After calling up the house engineer with a cart-full of tools only to find that his four-in-one screwdriver was hopelessly short, I set out to Walgreen's (about 2.5 blocks away) and bought their only screwdriver set. Too short. But somehow the act of flipping the box upside down and shaking it a few times knocked the connection back together, and it held up through the rest of the weekend.

And we made some good music, especially Monday afternoon -- we extended our checkout times to 3pm so that we could have more time. I'd been afraid that Colleen would have trouble keeping herself amused, but as it turned out she needed the time to catch up on her sleep. I have half a dozen new songs to learn, and it put a great cap on a busy, exhausting, but basically good weekend.

Quite a few good links. A good 6-article series on the music industry. Among other things.

So, yeah, a good weekend for the most part, and awesome in spots. And a big success at work yesterday for the team that I'm part of. Can't say much about that, unfortunately, but it took a heck of a lot of pressure off. So I'm a well-fed and contented bear right now.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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I figured out why I'd been sleeping until 8am the last couple of days: diphenhydramine.

Yesterday was definitely a day of Getting Things Done. Really weird, but I'm not complaining. Colleen and I went to investigate Grand Wheelchair & Medical Supply (in Fremont near the Consonance hotel), and got a new 17AH (i.e. bigger) battery pack for her scooter. Then we had a st/roll around Santana Row (the local high-end mall).

Meanwhile, my new 15min program seems to be off and running. I did some cleanup in the kitchen, some website work, and sorted last year's non-tax receipts into envelopes (which has the side effect of freeing the file folders for this year's receipts). And made dinner and brunch reservations for next weekend's Las Vegas trip.

I made dinner in the crock pot (mini-sausages and baked beans), not knowing when the YD would be arriving with her entourage. It turned out to be somewhere around 7pm; we now have a large pile of boxes in our living room. Things could get crowded if Chaos decides to move back.

Some sad news: our favorite grocery store is closing. Other links under the cut as usual.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Hmm. I seem to have gone a little too long without updating; this will probably be sketchy. Hazard of trying to get more sleep on workdays.

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

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

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

Tuesday I voted.

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

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A lazy morning (you can tell by the number of links), but a good afternoon and a reasonably productive evening. Went to the Stanford Shopping Center with Colleen, in part because I knew she'd enjoy it, and in part because I wanted to get a look at some luggage - a carry-on bag one can sit on. The seat's way too small and too low for more than a few minutes' sitting, and the bag is one huge deep compartment that would be impossible to get anything out of without massive re-arrangement. So, no. Amounted to a decent, if rather too slow, walk.

Colleen found body butter on sale at the Body Shop. They still don't have replacement bodies, though. Come on, people!

On the way home we stopped at Cosentino's and got fish for dinner. Red snapper, three fillets coming to about 1.7 pounds total. Maybe overdoing it -- 1lb would probably have been enough. But tasty. Also string beans done Szechuan style in the wok with red pepper, garlic, and ham. A very nice Beringer moscato to go with it.

After dinner I fixed the internal DNS for thestarport.org (broken after the move to a new server at Dreamhost), did a little work on its index.html page, and got printing going on the YD's desktop machine. (But didn't have the right drivers, nor does Windows 7 appear to have generic postscript drivers. WTF?) Got the laser printer working with a built-in driver that was close enough. And Windows 7 doesn't appear to let you connect to an arbitrary SMB workgroup! What's with that? Or browse for IPP printers. IDIOTS!

Lots of links this time, including a rare post by Colleen and an article on Selfishness and Narcissism in Family Relationships that I think describes several of my friends' family backgrounds. The parent site is mainly about anger management, which I'll probably find helpful.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Mostly a good day, with some web work, a shopping expedition (coffee, and a bus pass for the YD), a lovely st/roll with Colleen, and a particularly good series of IM conversations with Naomi. Some useful insights into what's going on at work, and its connection to my personal life. (More on that later, I hope, once I get it sorted out a little more.)

On the other hand, Colleen was in a lot of pain from arthritis, and could barely walk. She's started taking glucosamine/condroitin again, and it seems to be helping.

Some useful links, including some sources of gluten-free frozen dinners that Colleen turned up, and a Consumer Reports article on people food that can poison your pet.

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A good day. Took a lovely st/roll around the Rose Garden with Colleen (after a false start where we got a couple of blocks and realized that her battery needed charging). In between I made a Fry's run to pick up a CPU, motherboard, and RAM to repair/upgrade the YD's desktop, which croaked last week. It's an Athlon IIx3, and should be enough to keep her going for several years. The 4GB of RAM cost as much as the CPU/MB combo.

A lot of puttering around the bedroom, and a little guitar noodling.

Under the cut you'll find not only the usual links but a great quote from the fortune program, answering the question of "How many lawyers does it take to change a lightbulb?"

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A good day, though less productive than I wanted it to have been thanks to catching up on sleep. Sleep is for wimps. Healthy, well-rested wimps, but...

Highlights were a st/roll around the Rose Garden with Colleen, and making yummy (if I may say so) guacamole and fajitas for dinner. A small amount of minor system administration.

There are minor advantages to sleeping badly -- I remember fragments of dreams. Mostly images: a motel, a shopping mall, several parking lots, driving (or watching someone drive) a powered wheelchair through a tricky left exit on a freeway, Callie meeting me at the mall and suggesting we go out for a walk. The disadvantage, of course, is waking up and missing a nice conversation. Or does that make sense, given that if I'd dreamed through it I wouldn't remember it anyway?

A few good links under the cut. I'm starting to wonder whether I should keep them separately -- a "weblog" in the original meaning of the term. Not twitter or some other external service, though I might want to cross-post there. I want something with room for a complete link and short description. Thoughts?

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)
raw notes )

A pretty decent day, but no walk. It was raining at the time. Didn't go to the building's fitness center, either; I'm a little disappointed with myself on that. One of those things where the longer you put it off, the harder it gets; I've been working there for 17 years now.

And I caught myself comfort-eating, too. Just grazing out of habit. Well, at least the snacks I have at my desk are mostly high protein (beef jerky) and high fiber (prunes). We just won't think about the two little bags of M&M peanuts, ok?

Finally googled for info on webcam drivers for Debian, and got that set up both at work and at home. Turned up a fascinating article on Wikipedia on depressive realism. Hmm.

Strongly on the plus side, I moved our Conflikt plane reservations from an impossible 7am to an easy 5:30pm. No way we were going to make it to the airport two hours before a 7am flight -- Colleen's usual wake-up time is 10am, mine is 6:30, and the airport doesn't open until 6am anyway. I also extended our hotel reservations to cover Thursday night.

We'll still have some time up at Promusica Monday and Tuesday. Fortunately, Tempered Glass doesn't have a concert slot this year, so the fact that there will be much less rehearsal time available than last year (when I flew up on Wednesday) won't be a problem.

Lots of tasty links under the cut, as usual. Some rather old ones, from clearing my tabs at work, plus a few from the day's Wikipedia ramblings.

ETA: I almost forgot the best thing: Colleen had me put away the 2-wheeled walker (Frankie) and get out the 4-wheeled one (Johnny). Much better for regaining her ability to walk, since she can't put much weight on it. Also, it has a seat, so she can walk outside or into the kitchen and sit down when she gets tired. Yay for the RollyCat!

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

Basically a good day. A very good day: the main event was going for a (st)roll around the Rose Garden with Colleen. Our rocket snail takes a good deal of keeping up with -- I had to ask her to dial back the speed several times. (I can keep up with full speed, but only for short bursts; after that I start getting leg cramps. But she needs full power to get over curb cuts.) The battery was pretty nearly depleted by the time we got home -- the "up to 10 miles" doesn't account for Colleen's weight and even slightly irregular terrain.

But, wow, that was a great outing. Along the way we invented a new word: inscootable. We'll definitely have to do that more often.

Other good things included my state tax refund check, and finally verifying that email works at savitzky.net (on Dreamhost). Now I just have to get Colleen set up with an email client. And get thestarport.org moved off its present kludge.

The hot link for the day is the Wikipedia article on body mass index, which includes this fascinating paragraph:

In an analysis of 40 studies involving 250,000 people, patients with coronary artery disease with normal BMIs were at higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease than people whose BMIs put them in the "overweight" range (BMI 25-29.9).[18] In the intermediate range of BMI (25-29.9), BMI failed to discriminate between bodyfat percentage and lean mass. The study concluded that "the accuracy of BMI in diagnosing obesity is limited, particularly for individuals in the intermediate BMI ranges, in men and in the elderly... These results may help to explain the unexpected better survival in overweight/mild obese patients."[19] Patients who were underweight (BMI <20) or severely obese (BMI >=35) did, however, show an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

(I note in passing that my BMI is 30.1 at a weight of 190.)

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

The big news from yesterday was that Colleen walked from the toilet to the bathtub without using the walker! (She was presumably holding on to the tub for most of that, but it's not the same as the two-handed support that a walker gives.) This is major progress. She also had me haul out the rolling walker, which is also progress. It has a seat, so she can use it for more extended strolls.

I'm still having issues with my knees; I would probably have had to cut my walk short even if I hadn't thought that I'd have to leave early for an appointment. It's next week. But even five minutes in the fresh air and sunshine helped.

I've already posted about my success in upgrading the hard drive on my fileserver. It goes nicely with [livejournal.com profile] cflute's finally getting the external drive I sent her to work. The problem turned out to be a connection that got shaken loose in shipping.

On the down side, the buyer at Batteries and Bulbs called to say that the bulb in our fan is indeed made of unobtainium. In a way that's OK; the problem turned out to be in the fan. (We have two; I have verified that both bulbs work in the front fan, so we have a spare anyway.) The options for the back room are: A. replace the whole thing, and B. keep the fan (which is working for now) and install some extra lamps. We'll go with Plan B.

In connection with my weight, several people suggested exercise. That's probably worth a separate post; it's not simple: in addition to time and motivation, I have problems with both knees and ankles.

I have added embarrassment to the list of emotions I don't feel -- several times recently people have told me I'm blushing, usually in response to an unexpected compliment. I wouldn't have noticed if nobody had mentioned it. It does make me wonder whether it's a good idea to go messing with what's obviously an effective defense mechanism.

And I need to go back and work on my list of affirmations, which I've been neglecting of late. I need to add a rather obvious one: I am a Middle-Sized Bear.

Links later, I think.

mdlbear: (sparkly rose)

In the kitchen! On her scooter! She uses the walker, which is more manoeverable, to line up ingredients and tools and put them on the center island, which has been cleaned off. Then she goes back out to the living room, transfers to Rosebud, and scoots back to do the assembly. She still needs help with a few operations, and is still getting used to the fact that she's been out of the kitchen for the better part of a year and things aren't necessarily where she remembers leaving them. But, still, she's cooking!

The Cat's in her kitchen, all's right with the world.

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

The main thing yesterday was our trip to the San Francisco Zoo with the YD and her boyfriend. Forget about the animals -- the best part was seeing Colleen zipping around on her scooter, and walking fast to keep up. I got my walkies in for sure, and Colleen had a blast.

We went out for sushi afterwards. A tiring day, but a good one.

Good article on using twitter to promote your business, from this post by [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith.

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

I actually got some work done yesterday, some of it before lunch and a short walk. It's a good thing to remember that getting up from the computer with something not quite finished is a good way of getting back into it after a break.

For our third "evening out" Colleen and I went to Los Gatos, and had dinner in the California Cafe. Very good, a little pricy. We can do it every once in a while. St/rolled around a couple of blocks of downtown, and went into Domus (which has gone considerably downhill) and Smith and Hawken (which is going out of business).

Went splat at about 11pm, a little over an hour after we got home.

Spent some time thinking about time management -- I'll get to that in a separate post upwhen.

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

A very good day. I woke up to find myself still happy from having finished writing my presentation about git the night before. And it went well; it was planned as a half-hour talk, but ran to nearly an hour with a lot of good audience interaction. Go me! It helps that git is just plain cool; I expect to have the presentation up on the web soon.

The Cat and I went to the Valley Fair mall for our evening out. Parts were almost deserted; I could walk fast enough for exercise, and Colleen could keep up. Delightful.

I'm going to have to re-investigate LJ's set of pre-defined moods; I'm almost completely unfamiliar with the "better-than-OK" range.

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

The walker holder for Colleen's scooter arrived -- it should be very convenient for travel, though it would be one more thing to take off and put back on for the car. Especially good for places like hotel lobbies, airports, museums, or anyplace else where she might need a bathroom break or to get up and walk for any other reason away from home.

Signed up for giving a half-hour talk at work about the git distributed version control system. Since I wasn't being nearly as productive at work as I want to be. *wry grin* Next Thursday. Eeep. I also found out that the deadline for the demo I've been working on is sometime in late July. Since it dovetails nicely into my longer-term project, it's not as though the time will be wasted in any way.

And the need for examples will give me an excuse to finally convert some of my websites to git from cvs, which I've wanted to do for at least a couple of years now.

Colleen had a touch of a stomach bug in the morning, and spent most of the day dozing in her chair subsisting on ginger ale and toast. She was fine by evening, and asked for a bowl of ice cream when I came to bed after my bath. And I was able to make her laugh, and give her some good snuggle and late-night conversation.

Good day, on the whole.

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

As I mentioned upstream, an email from [livejournal.com profile] cflute left me cheerful and optimistic, a very unusual sensation for me. It was a good day in spite of getting comparatively little accomplished.

Well, OK, I took a walk, and got the quilt washed, and a bulk CD order shipped, and ordered a walker holder for Colleen's scooter. But still.

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

Another good day - a three mile walk by myself by Los Gatos Creek, and a st/roll up and down the length of Santana Row (the local high-rent residential/shopping "street") with the RollyCat. It was especially fun seeing some of the surprised reactions she got, though I'm not sure why. Aren't there lots of grinning middle-aged ladies with striking silver-and-black hair out riding around on bright red scooters?

OK, when you put it like that...

And I found the small shoulder bag and laptop bag I was looking for all last week. That leaves only the briefcase that goes with my guitar gig bag still missing.

Fun music link: Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] thnidu posted about Monsters of Shamisen with youtube links.

The group `Monsters of Shamisen` was formed in the spring of 2006 when two California based Shamisen players Mike Penny and Kevin Kmetz met with Sapporo based virtuoso Masahiro Nitta. The promise of this group is to offer audiences the most exciting and innovative examples of modern Tsugaru Shamisen in the world. Using their collective musical backgrounds Monsters draws inspiration from a wide variety of music including classical peices, American bluegrass, Irish folk music, and even modern pop/rock. To see this group live is to experience one of the most unforgettable fusions of not only East and West but also of past and future.

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

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.

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

It was a pretty good day yesterday: a CD order from a dealer, a good conversation with a friend, a little progress with my current project at work, and a potentially-useful insight.

I got off to a rather late start on my walk, after wasting about an hour browsing musical-equipment sites. I ended up spending my time outdoors (in beautiful walking weather) talking to [livejournal.com profile] cflute while standing under a tree on the hill behind our building -- I get the best cell phone signal there. But I was calm, and happy, and glad to be out in the cool, clean air after the morning's light rain. Win.

As for the insight: a lot of my behavior around procrastination, and not making phone calls to friends even though I know I'd probably enjoy the conversation, has been difficult for me to understand. It occurs to me that it sounds a lot like a child doing something bad to get attention, because even being scolded is better than being ignored. Hmm. Could it be that the bad feeling I get from avoiding something and beating myself up about avoiding it is at least a feeling, and a predictable one at that? It's under my control, as opposed to calling a friend, where how I'm going to feel depends on whether they answer the phone. Maybe feeling acutely lonely is worse than feeling vaguely lonely and disgusted with myself? Or it has been in the past? Now, I don't know. It's familiar, at least.

Raising the head of my bed a few degrees seems to help me sleep without my nose getting congested. Yay for that!

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

Yesterday was a very good day for Colleen, right up until she tried to sit on the rolling walker with the brakes off and something in one hand. Oops. After several attempts involving me, [livejournal.com profile] figmo, and W. we established once again that getting Colleen to her feet is a two-able-bodied-person job, and called 911 for backup. We got her into the folding chair, and from there by walker to bed.

Plopping herself down a little too heavily on the bed resulted in the drive shaft that runs between the head and foot ends popping out; it took a while for me to figure out how to get it back in place. We both went splat.

One complicating factor was that I hit my foot on the filing cabinet that we're using as a side-table, and said "ouch" while trying to help her back onto the seat. This made Colleen stop letting me help her, as she apparently assumed I was incapacitated. It was about the third time that day I've hit my foot on something -- the other two were chairs. This indicates that there's too much clutter, and that I really need to wear shoes or slippers all the damned time in the house. :(

On the gripping hand, I got some actual work and some actual songwriting done, and finally got a cup-holder installed on the scooter. And a short walk, and some meditation. So... progress? One step forward, one step back, and one step sideways, maybe.

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

Colleen has made a fair amount of progress over the weekend: she can now get in and out of bed without help. That's huge for me -- it means she can (and did, last night) use the commode without waking me. Sometimes -- it depends on where I am in my sleep cycle. But it'll help a lot.

The other thing is that she's going to try using the rolling walker (Johnny, which is strictly for balance and seating) in the kitchen, and preparing her own lunches. Also huge, if it works. (As of right now, it appears to be working; she rolled out to her chair with it. We're keeping the other (Frankie, which provides solid support as well as balance) for the commode and car transfers.)

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

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth, though I sometimes feel as though it might be a welcome vacation. This is just a quick note from Baycon -- I haven't even had time to update my to.do list with completed items. No, I will not tweet them.

High order bits:

The Tres Gique concert kicked serious ass -- probably our best yet. In spite of (or perhaps because of) our having to vamp for half an hour or so while the next act got unstuck from traffic. And we were afraid we were running a little long...

The Tempered Glass concert kicked ass, in spite of Callie losing her voice mid-song toward the beginning of the set. And Naomi having a blood-sugar crash, and my voice flagging a little. We adjusted, moved on, would have had to drop a song anyway, and made it through.

Filk tonight was great fun, though I wish we could have stayed longer.

Caring for Colleen took up a good chunk of time and energy. So did caring for a five-year-old, even a fun, articulate, well-behaved five-year-old.

And finally, an Announcement: Colleen and I are fan guests of honor at next year's Baycon!!!

More if I ever have time.

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

Up until a little after dinner (which the YD cooked -- delightful) it was a great day. Colleen's scooter arrived, and was all charged up by the time I left work. She decided to keep the red trim, and named it "Rosebud" (partly at my suggestion). In addition to the obvious reference, there's a Rosebud in the backstory to my song The Rambling Silver Rose (and our van is currently silver, though Colleen usually calls it "Princess"). There's also a reference to Rose Maybud in Ruddigore, especially since Rosebud was purchased in May.

I've already posted about the ensuing mishap. I managed to stay calm, kept Colleen's head cradled in my arms, with my hat on the cut on her cheek to stop the bleeding, and kept her mostly calm except when they were trying to get her onto the gurney and causing her some additional pain. A little surprisingly, Kaiser's ER team had her put back together in time for us to come home and go to bed at our usual times.

A pretty good day on the whole, considering the possibilities.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
Very quick note: Colleen's scooter arrived this afternoon. We were going for a walk to the Rose Garden and she took a spill coming down the first curb cut. Injuries appear to be very minor, mainly a cut on her cheek, but we're at Kaiser getting her checked out. More info as I have it.

(10:29pm) Home, with two stitches in the cut above her left eye. Other than that the only things injured were her dignity and her composure.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
raw notes )

Yesterday was, of course, Mother's Day. The morning was lovely -- we went out to brunch at MacArthur Park - a lot more crowded than I was expecting, more expensive than Colleen was expecting (I'd read the website), but very tasty. The YD came along, of course -- it wouldn't be Mother's Day Brunch without at least one kid. I'm going to miss that.

Back at home I had a lot of cleaning up to do (TMI later, but you can get some idea from my subsequent purchases). Colleen went to bed feeling worn-out and sore; I went shopping and was feeling thoroughly wrung out and drained. No walk :(, though the shopping and rollycat-wrangling included a fair amount of exercise.

Dinner helped both my energy level and mood considerably, as did a phone call from the [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf with mostly encouraging news, as did a nice IM with the [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi. Did a little lyric tweaking, which I immediately went in and tried out on Colleen.

What I sang was Get Up and Go (with the lyric tweak), Where the Heart Is, Gentle Arms of Eden, Riverheart, and QV. I need to make lyric files for a couple of songs, and print a new songbook. Baycon is coming up frighteningly fast.

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

Colleen wanted to go to ABC Medical to look at scooters. She immediately fell in love with a Pride Go-Go Elite Traveller 3 Wheel Scooter, which they wanted some $1500 for. A little outside our price range, seeing as Costco has a somewhat similar scooter for $799. We nearly bought it anyway, but one arm was damaged and wouldn't be in until later in the week; we left my contact info and went out for a drive.

When we got home, I found it for $899 at 1800wheelchair.com. Much as I like to buy things locally, $600 is a lot of money. They quote delivery as 3-5 days, so it ought to arrive before we need it next weekend.

Colleen and [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi can have scooter races at Baycon.

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

Colleen managed 2.5 car transfers today! The half was into the van; she'd originally thought it was the right height, but it turned out to be too high, and she didn't have enough leverage in the right places to sit herself upright in the seat. She got slightly frantic, but got out OK, and I went back home to fetch the Honda.

Then she did two transfers, once with the PT assisting, and once with me. Between the walker, the wheelchair, and the car, there's plenty for me to brace against, and no back strain to speak of. Note that "assisting" means mostly holding onto the waistband of her pants to apply balancing force if needed; I also had to slip a hand under her armpit and around her back at one point. Hear me complain.

This does mean that we'll need both the walker and the wheelchair when we travel, until she's considerably stronger. But we can deal with that. And it may be months before she can drive again; we can deal with that, too.

(12:45) Oh, and before this she was already tired from having done 5 bed-to-commode-and-back transfers. Colleen may move like a frail old lady, but don't underestimate what she can do with guts and determination.

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

Colleen called a little while ago to say that she took eight steps in her physical therapy session this morning. She may be home in as little as a week!

She was using a walker, and had a spotter on either side and one behind her keeping the wheelchair where she could sit down when she had to, but still it's a huge step in her recovery. Next week they're going to have me come in so she can practice getting in and out of the car.

I'll be getting my Cat back!!

 

A little background, for those coming late to my friends list. Colleen (AKA [livejournal.com profile] flower_cat) is my wife. She's had arthritis since she was a teenager; over the last few years it got bad enough to seriously impact her mobility. A little over a year ago we experimented with using a wheelchair for getting through airports; we bought a nice Nova transport chair a few months ago. We'll be getting a scooter soon, too.

Careful readers may notice that one of the tags on this entry is colleen-200903, in spite of the fact that it's April already. I change the dated tag for major events; the transition from "02" to "03" happened when she moved from the hospital to the nursing home.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090328 )

It was very good to see Colleen in the gym, standing up. Not all by herself yet, but making what appears to be rapid progress at long last.

A very pleasant walk, though I came close to overdoing it and getting blisters on my feet. At least I recognized the early warning signs of leg cramps and backed down the pace -- I've been getting a lot better about that.

I met someone I know on my walk -- that's very rare. And made a phone call to a friend who, until now, I've only called by pre-arrangement. (It went to voice mail, but it was still an accomplishment.)

Did a little more thinking about making the house wheelchair/scooter accessible. Still going to be difficult: both of our bathrooms are small, with narrow doors. You don't think of that kind of thing when you're 40.

Between singing for Colleen and the housefilk at Kanef's, I sang more yesterday than in the past week put together. Go me! (Can't possibly have anything to do with an upcoming visit, now can it?)

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
to.done 20090327 )

It was a rather strange day. Mostly good, but strange.

I think the strangest bit by far was remembering, more-or-less out of the blue, the name of my high school history teacher. (Although I was thinking about history, and how my interest in biographies differs from [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi's. She seems to be most interested in how people affect events, and how those events affect their lives. I'm more interested in how people think, and events are interesting mainly in how they affect what goes on in their heads.

I really don't know how I feel about remembering Mrs. Ryan.

It was also very strange to see my Younger Daughter's boyfriend; they make a cute couple and seem to care about one another. On the other hand, they're both gamers. Strange indeed (though both amusing and delightful) to go upstairs and find that both daughters have visible carpet on their floors. As the Wolfling said, "it's green, not stuff-colored."

And my evening conversation with [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi about I Never Promised You a Rose Garden got into some strange territory as well. I am still getting used to the fact that there may not be words for some of what's going on in my head, and that even when the words -- like "love" or "embarrassment" or "self-image" -- exist, people rarely have the same definition for them. How can one discuss things without a common language? How can I think about things without using words?

The 3am phone call wasn't strange at all. A friend needed someone to talk with. That's what Middle-Sized Bears do.

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

Went to the Dickens Fair today with Colleen, after determining that none of the kids intended to get out of bed before 10am. That's actually what we were hoping for -- they always get bored before we do. Not to mention the expense of buying them tickets and meals.

Our only non-consumable purchases were a purple vest and cravat for me, and a set of pewter switchplates for the house. (We were able to save on consumables because we each ate a good breakfast before we left: a single plate of Greek appetizers, plus avgolemono soup for me because I couldn't eat the ones with gluten, was enough for the two of us.)

We took Colleen's new wheelchair -- the big front wheels make it pretty easy going over minor obstacles, though a couple of larger bumps still required turning the chair around and pulling. The handbrakes on the push handles are fantastically convenient. I still need to adjust the footrests, though.

I found myself singing "Wheelin'" under my breath at a couple of points.

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