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

Not a bad week, I guess. Right now I'm feeling pretty down and hopeless, partly because of this article about Trump plus the fact that my family's economic future depends largely on Social Security and Medicare, which Trump's government seems hell-bent on destroying; and partly... I don't know what. I don't think depression and anxiety need a reason.

I did manage to figure out approximately what I should have been withholding for taxes; I also found out that the deadline for the second quarter's estimated tax payment was last month, so I'm slightly more screwed than I thought I was. Only slightly. That adds to the anxiety, of course.

N. and the kids have been away since Wednesday morning, with N and g at OVFF. It's been a bit lonely. I have, however, been getting things done, including putting up shelves and a little artwork, and setting up my desk with what amounts to a dual-monitor setup with the external monitor above Cygnus. I'm using the traditional makeshift monitor stand: a ream of printer paper. I actually did find my other Thinkpad keyboards, but with Cygnus on the desk I don't need them.

Our second week of prepared menus has worked out pretty well, though I did end up going out shopping Tuesday for some things that I'd missed on Sunday, and a little bit on Friday. It does seem as though we're spending less. I've also determined that I have to go grocery shopping alone -- it's impossible for me to stick to a list if there's someone else along. I really have difficulty saying "no" to anybody, and it's stressful.

Yesterday Colleen and I went to the Bayview farmer's market after picking up the bike helmet we'd ordered. Bought lunch (samosas) and some jam. See above about saying "no".

I did manage to say "no" to the life insurance agent. Yes, it's great that I was able to qualify for the lowest possible rate, which means I'm a lot healthier than most septuagenarians. But my financial advisor, who I consulted last Friday, pointed out that since my social security, IRA, and pension between them are enough to keep us going; unlike the situation in Seattle, we're not relying on my salary to pay the mortgage. (Colleen's SS payment is half of mine and will go away after I die; it does make a difference but the family would still get by without it.)

The thing that still scares the hell out of me is what would happen if I don't die, but simply get incapacitated, or if either Colleen or I end up needing more expensive care. Then we're hosed.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

On the whole a pretty good week. (I was going to say, "not a bad week", but it may actually qualify for good this time. I'm really bad at evaluating subjective stuff like that.)

I got my taxes done. Probably still some things missing, but since I only owed $117 over what I estimated back in April I'm not going to complain. Much. I'm still in a world of trouble over the lack of withholding on some of the pensions. That's going to bite me. Well, I'll put in an estimated payment for the quarter; that will help.

Naomi came home Sunday with the scooters, and we got one of them out of the van. (G and I got the other out last night with the help of my folding ramp.) And yesterday on the way home from dinner out we stopped at the bike shop in Bayview and ordered Colleen a (purple, of course) helmet.

Meanwhile, I have reconfirmed my dislike for the Mac user interface (Windows would be worse). The main reason is the inconsistent bindings for control, meta, and super (the "logo" key). It's almost tolerable with a Thinkpad keyboard and x2vnc, but the key bindings in Emacs are wonky and cut-and-paste doesn't work between the two systems.

Also, of course, Raven's handling of its external monitor is broken, and the desk isn't wide enough for it plus the monitor anyway. (It is wide enough for Cygnus to the left of the monitor, so I may end up doing that.) I have Raven on a tray table to the right of the monitor, which isn't ideal because, oh, yeah: my newest Thinkpad keyboard has started dropping keystrokes. Basically unusable at this point, and it's only a year old. Lenovo's QC has really tanked -- I miss IBM. And I can't find the box with my other keyboards :P Unlike the drill and the router, I know that one is in the garage because I saw it there. I blame the cats.

The cats are all doing okay. Even Bronx, who remains a bit fragile and isn't eating all that well.

We are making progress toward making the room over the garage into a usable living space. By not making large structural changes, and not making it an official ADU, we can probably save a lot.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

This marks the first week for which, at N's suggestion, Colleen and I prepared a weekly menu in advance. It came out fairly well -- you can see it at the end of the notes. There were a couple of substitutions, but on the whole it was a success. We did the same this week.

I got a fair amount done. Unfortunately, very little of it was my taxes; that's the top project for this week. I did, however, get the Mac set up and the program I still think of as TaxCut (currently called "H&R Block at Home" or something like that) updated. The Mac, Whitewood, is set up on my desk, with (ThinkPad) Raven next to it on a tray table. There's a little story about that...

You see, sometime Friday morning I managed to spill some coffee onto my little ThinkPad, Cygnus. I shut it down and left it to dry out. An hour or so later, it booted, but some of the keys on the lower right-hand corner were flaky, and I couldn't get it to accept my hard drive password. That's when I set up Whitewood and Raven. Fortunately I had pushed recently, so Raven was able to sync right up and be productive.

Then, since I had a Linux laptop and a Mac mini with a nice large monitor, the obvious next step was to install x2vnc and share the Mac's keyboard (a ThinkPad keyboard, of course -- I'd had it at work), trackball, and mouse. I put those all on a KVM switch (which I don't use for monitors, only for USB, because switching a VGA monitor confuses my computers). Win. It took altogether too much time to figure out that the reason x2vnc didn't seem to be connecting was that Apple's implementation puts up a lock screen when you first connect. :P

x2vnc is pretty cool -- it lets you share a keyboard and mouse between two computers, using VNC's screen-sharing in the input direction, but not actually viewing the screen. Instead, you just move the cursor onto the other machine's screen, across whichever edge you specify.

The other tech-related failure Friday was that my attempt to replace the charging port on Colleen's old tablet was unsuccessful. Quite possibly the flat cable isn't seated correctly. It was a bit of a long shot, though I would have liked to be able to at least do a factory reset.

I spent quite a lot of time Friday looking up ways of unlocking a password-protected hard drive when one doesn't have a working computer to enter the password into. Apparently Lenovo changes their password hashing algorithm every so often, so you have to get a ThinkPad that was made close enough to the time your dead one was. Ouch! I didn't really care too much about the data, since it was all backed up, but that was a comparatively new SSD and I wanted to at least make it usable even if that included wiping it.

Around 9:30 Friday evening I turned Cygnus on again and it booted. Not wanting to push my luck I turned it off again almost immediately, but not before I'd removed the password on the hard drive.

It turns out that password-locking a drive is a massively bad idea. Among other things it means that you can't use it in an external enclosure, and might not even be able to use it in another computer. It's better to use your OS's "whole-disk" encryption, because that actually encrypts everything but the boot partition, and it does so in a standardized way so that you can use it anywhere as long as you have the password. You can use a variant on the same encryption technique to encrypt a single home directory, or even a single subdirectory.

Also Sunday, I discovered when I went to post last week's summary that my client, ljupdate.el, doesn't work any more because Dreamwidth has gone to SSL everywhere. I made several attempts to fix it, but so far no joy. I'll probably have to cut-and-paste again. After I get my taxes in, the first thing I want to do is write a new -- and more general -- posting client and integrate it with my build system (see MakeStuff).

This Saturday, though, N went to the Seattle Home Show and found a company that was having a 2-for-1 deal on some pretty awesome scooters. They're not exactly travel scooters -- they fold a little but don't come apart, and they're pretty heavy, but they're designed to be roadworthy. 18mph with a 25-mile range. We'll probably have to replace the seat on one for Colleen to be comfortable, but... She can definitely ride to Freeland and back in one.

In all, a rather frustrating week, but it could have been a lot worse.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Note: posting from the web form because ljupdate can't do ssl :P

Hmm. I don't remember this as being a particularly bad week. Things must be going ok. Or ok-ish. Not to be confused with orcish. I don't think things have been orcish.

The main accomplishment for the week was getting my desk, a 2x4 slab of half-inch oak plywood, off of the two tray tables it had been sitting on and onto proper legs. The legs are 2x2s braced with angle brackets; I later added a 1x8 across the back to keep it from sagging. Unlike most desks, this one is meant to have me sitting on one of the short sides; this lets me put both printers on top and store two file pedestals or similar things underneath (though doing that will require clearing off a great deal of paperwork clutter).

Our sick kitten, Bronx, appears to be recovering. He's still thin, and we're on day four of the five-day period after his last dose of antibiotic during which his bacterial infection might come back, but so far so good. He's back to his usual rambunctious self, though. Finally.

Sunday we announced a music party and invited mostly the people we'd met at (neighbor) Dean's party a couple of weeks before. Nobody showed up -- we were only mildly disappointed and not at all surprised, but N and I had a good time singing. I have continued to spend a few minutes every day noodling, in hopes of getting my left-hand calluses back in shape. Set list in the notes.

Colleen's Samsung tablet is dead -- probably the power connector. Again. Even if that gets fixed, which will be worthwhile if only to do a factory reset, the battery life was down to 2 hours or so. To replace it, I ordered a 10.1" Lenovo Tab 4. Very nice. I'm thinking of ordering the 8" one for myself, to replace the Nexus 7 that disappeared. (It's probably in a box. Good luck finding it, since it wasn't in the bin I labeled for it.)

I've been approved to buy enough term life insurance to cover the mortgage. At the "healthy" rate, even! This is slightly mind-boggling. Now I have to figure out whether it's worth the money. I also have to finish my income tax; the deadline after the extension I filed is October 17th. Basically all that's left is tracking down the charitable deductions. I also need to put in something toward my estimated taxes because I haven't been withholding enough. Meaning I also have to track down and file the W4s.

Alongside that, I have to go through the exercise of preparing a reasonably accurate budget, based on my current cash flows. Which I should be able to get a pretty good handle on now that we've been here a while (and now that I've made the annual car insurance payment).

Colleen and I, at N's suggestion, have started making a weekly dinner menu. This coming week is the the first -- I'll report next week on how we did. The actual menu is at the bottom of the notes.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Another rough week, especially Sunday through Tuesday when we didn't have our Bronx. The house felt very sad and lonely. N brought him home from the vet on Wednesday; while she was coming off the ferry she saw the Bath Fitter truck waiting to get on to come and install our new shower.

Bronx is recovering, but he lost a lot of weight over the weekend; he was in really scary shape when he came home. He's better now, but still not his old self. But it's so good to see him rampaging, or at least romping, even if only for a while. Best the vet can figure is that he has some virus -- possibly herpes -- that is mostly dormant but gets reactivated when he gets anything else. Poor little guy! But we have him back! That's the important thing.

We also have our revamped shower -- it's a lot bigger than the old one because it makes better use of space in addition to being a bit deeper, and it has a full-width curtain instead of sliding glass doors, which I hate and Colleen has a lot of trouble with. The floor is only about an inch and a half up, with a squishable rubber dam to keep the water in. It's wonderful.

Another cow sighting Thursday morning when I went out to plug the car in; I'd forgotten Wednesday night. (Friday when Colleen and I went out to the Country Store on the way to dinner, the clerk who checked us out told us that someone from out our way had been in early the previous morning to get some hay "to lure a cow". Right. I know where he lives! Hopefully he came back later for some fencing.

We finally found a good caregiver for Colleen. She'll be coming in only one day/week, Thursday. Our housekeeper comes on Tuesday, so we'll be pretty well covered, and save quite a lot of money over our former 3 day/week schedule. Unlike (previous) G" and all of the others we interviewed, M has made a career of caregiving and loves it.

Link of the week is the Ig-Nobel Prize winning paper, "On the Rheology of Cats", in Rheology Bulletin 2014-07, p. 16. (It's a PDF, so you have to scroll down to it.) You also need to pull down NASA's coffeetable book, Through the Eyes of Cassini

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Rough week. Especially yesterday, when N and I took a very sick Bronx to the emergency vet in Seattle. He had a fever of 106; apparently I can't tell at all from his nose and ears. He was also throwing up and not eating, and wasn't anywhere near his usual rambunctious self.

Note: apparently a virus. He's recovering well, and we'll be taking him home tomorrow.

The house seems very quiet and lonely without our Bronx boy. Brooklyn and even Ticia are rambuncting as best they can, but it isn't the same. Meanwhile, apparently cats really are liquids. Or should I say that cat is a liquid?

Thursday, one of our neighbor's cows got loose in our yard. One of those things that's very funny in retrospect. We've also been having a hard time finding a caregiver for Colleen.

As I said, rough week.

Two public service announcements:

  1. Breach at Equifax May Impact 143M Americans; How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Security Freeze
  2. If you happen to be on Whidbey Island next Sunday (the 24th, a week from today), drop by our house for music and food. "The usual potluck bash", as we used to say of the Starport.

I'm trying to establish a schedule, so that I actually get things done, have some time for Colleen, and don't spend all my spare time online. 9-11 on Tuesdays and Thursdays are earmarked for "Unpleasant Chores" - unpacking, cleaning litter boxes, finishing up the taxes, taking out the garbage, and so on. Tag "UC:"

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Very domestic this week. Mostly, putting up shelves and getting stuff unloaded from the pod and unpacked from boxes. Some things are still in the pod. I do, however, have the shelves up behind the beds, modulo a couple of missing brackets. Nothing much on them yet, but it's a start. I also got Colleen's pole set up, so that she has something to grab onto when she wants to get out of bed.

Cricket and the kittens were sick, so a lot of time and worry went into their care. They have spent a couple of nights in with me and Colleen; we have been a little short on sleep as a result. It's amazing how few kittens it takes to constitute a thundering herd.

Not much going on, other than that. We are gradually finding out how friendly people are here -- that's nice. Several nice little conversations with total strangers.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)

So, it was a week.

I actually got in a couple of walks, so that's good. Half an hour takes me to the bus stop at Goss Lake and E. Harbor, so it makes a nice turnaround. It is, unfortunately, uphill coming back. But a nice walk. I've also been making progress with shelving, and the last pod arrived, with our mattresses, so I could put the beds together. And I have Flame and Snuggles, my guitars, back.

That was the good stuff. On the other hand, ...

I also paid the outrageous copay for Colleen's humira, and (after something like six hours on the phone spread across multiple calls) got what I hope is correct information about how much I'll be paying before the "catastrophic" coverage kicks in. The whole system isn't designed for patients -- it's designed to transfer money from the large corporations that pay for their employees' insurance, to "insurance" companies, and from there to drug companies. As soon as one transitions to Medicare the "copay assistance" card goes away, and your copay goes from $5 to $1400.

Meanwhile, two of our four cats had pretty serious upper respiratory infections. They responded to antibiotics, thank goodness! but...

And it being that kind of a week, one of our toilets isn't draining properly, and I can't reach the problem with a snake. So tomorrow we'll have to call a plumber. Oh, joy! And, it being that kind of week, I got confused about the beds and swapped the head and foot ends. This doesn't work so well with adjustable beds, because the ends adjust differently. Fortunately they roll, but I may still have to do some extra work.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

It's been a busy week, with a lot of ups and downs. Question first:

Question: Does anyone in Oregon have the space to put up two or three travelers the night of August 20th, in or near the path of the solar eclipse? (If it's three the third would be Colleen, who needs access via ramp or at most three steps.) Thanks in advance.

Good stuff: We (me, Naomi, and Colleen) went to the Whidbey Island Fair last Sunday - lots of fun. We learned how to identify poison hemlock - see bad stuff below -- and made a couple of useful contacts. The second (of three) pod arrived and was unloaded.

We got kittens! More specifically, Naomi got kittens -- the kids and I were just along for the ride, since the point of the exercise was to get kittens that would be hers. We went to NOAH, in Stanwood, and found two adorable little boys: Bronx, and Happy, who was immediately renamed Brooklyn. The first kitten you adopt from NOAH costs $125; the second is $75. They really want your kittens to have company. Now begins the (hopefully not too lengthy) process of introducing them to the other cats in the household. Followed to re-introducing the two household cats to one another. That will be harder.

We have new floors! Instead of the icky brown carpet, we have nice wood-grained laminate similar if not identical to what we had in the apartment. Good lookingm easy to roll or slide things on, and best of all easy to clean.

I have our laser printer on the network -- it has to be hard-wired, but fortunately it turned out to be easy to set up the Client Bridged configuration of DD-WRT.

The repeal of Obamacare was narrowly averted, so that's good.

Bad stuff: The flip side of Obamacare is that I don't get it anymore -- I have Medicare. I got a call from our mail-order pharmacy, informing me that Colleen's Humira now has a co-pay of over $1000. It was $5 last month, but the free "copay assistance" card isn't available to people with Medicare. Welcome to the American health doesn't care system. There's a "patient assistance foundation", but we're unlikely to qualify now, based on our income.

Also, as mentioned above, we have poison hemlock on the property. Lovely plant, originally imported (by idiots) as an ornamental. Now a Class A (shoot on sight) noxious weed. Whee! There is also something that looks suspiciously like giant hogweed, which is also on the list, but which may not be considering the size and color of the stems. I'm going to have to learn some botany.

... and of course I got distracted making dinner, and never got back and posted this. So it's Monday morning already. :P

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)

Somehow I appear to have missed posting last week. We've moved. (Looking at the notes for last Sunday, I'm guessing that the reason I missed posting was sheer exhaustion -- that was a busy day, and I'd done more lifting than is good for me.)

We moved into the new house on Wednesday. The movers, from Two Men And a Truck, were fast and efficient - we were out of the apartment in an hour and a half. Highly recommended.

My new phone, on the other hand, is not highly recommended. It's a great phone, except that because it was factory unlocked it doesn't support HD Voice and, hence, WiFi Calling. That's bad, because the cell signal here is rather spotty. It could be worse, except that I actually have a signal in the house, albeit a weak one at times.

I spent hours on chat with AT&T's tech support, and hours in their store, and a little while in the T-Mobile store, trying to get the damned thing recognized by the network. No dice. Now it won't even work as a WiFi hotspot, which sucks. I'll have to swap it again. I hate phones. I hate phone companies. H8 H8 H8. (Basingstoke.)

We are mostly moved in, except that our beds are in the second pod, which isn't arriving until next week. Oops. So we're still on the sofabed, which is in the living room because we didn't want to try to deal with moving it out of the bedroom. It's not merely heavy, it's huge, and won't fit vertically through a doorway.

The house is going to take some getting used to. The kitchen is lovely and open, but doesn't have as much storage as we expected -- in particular, there's only one rather narrow set of drawers. So that will take some refactoring.

The biggest problem, though, is the cats. Ticia is no longer being aggressive toward Cricket, but she's curious. Cricket, however, is terrified, and just hides. That's going to take some work -- it's not the usual case where one cat is being aggressive, so the usual procedures for reintroducing cats don't really apply.

Other than that, though, I like it here. There are a few other assorted inconveniences, but the place itself is lovely -- calm and quiet.

Notes & links, as usual )

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

Pain levels, in particular standing for any amount of time unsupported in the evening, have been pretty high lately. Mostly hips, though there's still some pain in the right leg. Do not like, and it makes me snappish as well as lazy. Also, I was extremely congested last weekend and well into the week. In combination with the muscle aches and weakness Sunday I almost suspect flu. Almost. Some kind of virus, certainly.

I worked a little on my setlist; most of what little practicing I did was guitar. Which is ok; my fingers were kind of in bad shape and my playing obviously needed the work as well. It's mostly going to be off my (still-planned) second album, so I thought a little about Amethyst Rose and felt sorry for myself for not marking her birthday this year.

Quote of the week, from a T-shirt by way of G:

Most programmers struggle with 2 things:
0. Cache invalidation.
1: Naming things.
2: Off-by-one errors.


It doesn't mention being on call or facing hard deadlines, but those are right up there. It's been an uneventful oncall this time -- the only times I was awakened at 4:30am were by Ticia. I also spent altogether too much time in meetings, when I should have been working the ticket queue.

I continue to be wasting too much time on Quora, and quite a bit reading poetry and fiction on DW. Well, at least Q keeps my word count up, and I've been getting a little positiveifeedback via Twitter. I mostly don't try to track everything, but you'll find one of the better answers below at the end of yesterday's notes.

Also in the notes, The What-He-Did: The Poetic Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith, and this stunningly beautiful pic for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: A tortoiseshell cat facing the camera (ticia)

Not a bad week, but not very productive, either. Tuesday was a write-off, and Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday weren't much better. I've been making myself sick with worry about Ticia for some time now, because the way her abdomen looks reminded me too much of the way Curio looked when he was dying of FIP. Well, after missing Ticia's appointment on Tuesday due to traffic, I finally got her seen on Thursday -- nothing to worry about: what's distending her tummy turns out to be simply fat. So relieved.

I actually got some work done on Friday. I also had some good experiences on the bus, in both directions. Good conversation on the way home, and I got some nice smiles from people I helped with the fold-up seats in the handicapped section. Apparently not being consumed by worry makes me more easygoing in social situations. Who knew?

(Most people apparently know things like that. It's not a direction my mind usually goes. I am gradually developing more self-awareness in that direction, but it takes work -- it's not one of the things I'm good at.)

I have been learning about self-compassion, at my therapist's suggestion and following some timely links from ysabetwordsmith. Apparently it's better for one than self-esteem, which is a good thing, because I don't have a whole lot of that. Nor self-confidence. Self-compassion doesn't really help at all with that, but it makes it easier to live with.

My therapist also spoke to me Tuesday about setting boundaries. That's another thing I seem to be bad at. It gets complicated, though, because telling people "no" feels too much like being unkind and antisocial, and both of those are things I have to actively work at not being. I have my best experiences in social situations when I'm being more open (see above) rather than hiding behind a wall. Or a book, phone, or computer, which are even more effective things to hide behind. How the heck do ordinary humans balance those things, anyway?

(I'm not all that great at human, either. Let alone adult. (Both "human" and "adult" are being used as verbs there. Deal. (Why, yes; I've been coding in Lisp since 1970. Why do you ask?))) Oddly enough, this doesn't prevent me from answering questions about relationships on Quora. Them as can't do, teach? In my more self-confident moments, I try to remind myself that somebody who's been contentedly married for forty-odd years to the same woman may actually have learned a few things here and there.

*sigh* It really all comes down to self-confidence, doesn't it? I'm not even confident about my programming ability anymore -- too many recent bad estimates and missed targets. I'm hanging on by my fingernails.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

After last week on call, almost anything was bound to be an improvement. But my oncall ended at 11am Monday; Sunday night and Monday morning managed to cram in nearly as many pages as any two-day period the preceeding week. By Monday at 11 I was a total wreck. (While I was deep in work on one or two other tickets, the two daytime SEV2's timed out and paged me at 10:30. At which point $BOSS came by. I was almost totally nonverbal at that point - it was all I could do to get out a couple of words to indicate that I was working on it.)

Monday afternoon was predictably unproductive. Since I had two medical appointments on Tuesday I had already planned on taking the day as vacation. I needed it. I was still pretty stressed on Wednesday; almost anything could trigger an immediate adrenaline reaction, and I was snappish and probably no fun at all to be around.

Thank the gods for gin, hot baths, and cats.

It took me all day Wednesday and most of Thursday to get my commits from the week before rebased on top of the stuff S had pushed in the mean time. I finally did make some actual forward progress on Friday, and finally got the workflow to go through the final stage that it had been hanging up on before. (Intentionally vague and generic, I know.)

Even with (and to some extent because of) ten workspaces and who knows how many browser tabs, I still wasn't able to keep things organized. I kept forgetting which tickets went where and what I had done on them, and found several of them open in multiple places. No surprise there.

 

Have I mentioned dishes? We have dishes. Yesterday around dinner time the kids (Kat and Alex, not g and j) brought down roughly a full dishwasher load from their room. I did one load last night, put one in this morning, and there will be at least another by nightfall.

I finally brought up the rack that I'd had the dishes stacked on in the Starport, and rearranged the shelving to put the corelle conveniently on the lower shelf. I'm tempted to put most of the blue dishes away where they won't get used; one of the problems seems to be that nobody (else) notices that dishes have to be done until they can't find a clean one.

I think I cooked three or four meals this week.

 

Writing and music. Um... (Posted by accident before I could fill in this part. TL;DR no music to speak of -- ripping CDs doesn't count. Broke 1000 words of writing, so technically met the 500-words-twice-a-week goal, but spread over three days. I'll take it anyway.)

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Moderately productive week. Lots of computer configuration and upgrading work, which is always an easy way for me to feel like I've done something, even if it isn't all that useful. I have a new desktop computer, in a nice little Shuttle box, but haven't fully switched over to it yet. Because browser tabs, mostly. (I also got the raspberry pi booting, finally. Which mostly required looking at the installed card and noticing that, not only did it not have an OS installed, but it wasn't flagged as bootable. The Pi is one of the original 512Mb ones -- it's dog slow. Still, it has a lot of potential as either a media center or a special-purpose controller. I'm guessing that used, older pi's are dirt cheap on eBay.

My new monitors arrived at work; I took advantage of the opportunity to re-arrange my workspace (see notes for 0615We) -- and to get back into writing, with xmonad as my first topic. Xmonad really wins for this, because the physical arrangement of the monitors becomes almost irrelevant. By moving the laptop in front of me (because it has a usable keyboard for once) with the dock under the monitor, I not only freed up a sizeable amount of desk space but freed up my second thinkpad keyboard to come home with me. Win.

Last weekend also included a lot of cleanup work in the garage and the back yard -- the huge piles of junk and lumber have been hauled away. I really hated to lose the lumber, but it had been out in the rain for too long. I was, however, able to save most of the hardwood.

As indicated, I have been writing (see notes for 0614Tu). My goal is to write 500 words most days. (I missed yesterday because I was hacking on my journaling makefiles, which sort of counts in terms of time if not bytes.) This post is intended to hit today's word count, and, no, I'm not going to count the notes.

So that raises a question for you, my loyal readers. The article I'm writing on xmonad isn't done yet, but I do have two days worth of work on it. Should I post "episodes" as I go along? Maybe I should phrase that differently -- would anyone object if I did post what amount to partial rough drafts? Feedback would be useful. Because otherwise, that's what I'm going to do.

Some other ongoing projects will also be included in the word count, notably "Songs for Saturday" (or occasionally Sunday, if I'm being lazy) and the "River" posts. I will find or create a tag for the Linux-related stuff, like the aforementioned xmonad article, and probably "adventures in home computing" as well. Fiction is somewhat unlikely; I'm pretty bad at it, especially plotting. Metafiction and prose poems are a distinct possibility, though.

There. 500 words. Approximately, since wc doesn't distinguish between actual content and markup. At some point I need to do something about that, but I'm not going to worry about it right now.

Notes & links, as usual )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

It's been a pretty good week. Feels like a vacation, since it included a short day (Thursday), a WFH day (originally planned for Thursday, but moved up because Colleen needed a second urology appointment on Wednesday), and one day of vacation (which wasn't much of one, since it included Colleen's and my monthly urology and psych appointments respectively.) But ok.

Sunday, I spent the morning on website administration, moving song audio files into a separate directory and fixing a lot of broken links in the process. In the afternoon, Colleen, Naomi, and I went wood shopping (to Rockler, which is pretty much the only place open on Sunday that sells exotic hardwoods). The main reason excuse was to get some wood for a sewing box/ottoman that N wanted to make, for which we scored a nice 10' piece of African mahogany. But along the way, Colleen spotted a gorgeous slice of olivewood. Obviously too expensive.

Naomi and I bought it for her as a surprise Christmas present. We win. It's going to become a little table to sit between the chairs in our bedroom.

My favorite gift was a red fluffy bathrobe from Colleen; N saw it and immediately dubbed me "Gandalf the Maroon".

Food was good, too. Christmas Eve BunBun came over; with BF, Chaos, and Alex; and cooked dinner. Christmas Glenn made Roast Beast.

I spent altogether too much time Friday and Saturday on a series of Wikipedia dives and research into tiny houses. But I finally understand the Banach–Tarski paradox. Which is something I've been puzzling over since high school. Nice to get some closure on that.

Lots o' links, as usual.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: A tortoiseshell cat facing the camera (ticia)

So... pretty good week, I guess. Not quite as productive as I would have wanted. Or needed. I did spend some time yesterday upgrading various computers, including some that hadn't been touched in quite a long time. Blackroot, the Thinkpad I took with me from Ricoh, had a Debian partition that was still on Squeeze, so it needed two upgrades. Went ok, though. The plan is to use it upstairs in the bedroom, for those times when I can't or don't want to go downstairs. E.g., cat cuddles.

Did quite a lot of singing Monday morning, for those few people still left in Mom's apartment. Travel was uneventful; I had a full hour to change planes in Midway.

Lots of good snuggle with Colleen and Ticia when I got home. Ticia is an awesome therapy cat.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: A tortoiseshell cat facing the camera (ticia)

Note the mood. I try to use the first term that comes into my head, since that's less likely to be overthought and edited. So the combination of Good Drugs and a good cat seems to be working. That, and things going fairly well.

  • I am pretty much over my injuries from my run-in with a sidewalk last Tuesday; I have a referral to ENT to get the nose checked out, since it seems somewhat more congested than it used to.
  • I am a lot less worried about how little Ticia is eating: As you can see in the notes for last Sunday and yesterday, she has gained back some of the weight she lost in the first few weeks, and since she was overweight to begin with, that's good.
  • We have started brainstorming for what we're going to do after I retire (and the household starts bleeding money). Present thinking mostly involves tiny houses, and moving to someplace cheaper after N's kids are out of school.

Lots of links this time. Especially noteworthy are:

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

Rough week physically, so-so mentally. As for the physical, I can do no better than to quote from Tuesday's notes:

Clumsy bear got into a fight with a wet manhole cover and a sidewalk. The manhole cover tripped me and the sidewalk hit me in the face. Lost the fight, but got away quickly enough to escape serious injury. (Slipped, and would probably have recovered except that I tripped over the curb and did a faceplant.)

Hand apparently broke the fall pretty well, but I have some abrasions on knee and forehead, and a fair amount of bruising and a cut on the bridge of my nose. Grump. Ouch. Glasses had their nosepiece bent a little but nothing scratched or broken. Could have been *much* worse.

As it turned out, I had two small breaks in my nose; they showed up on the CAT scan. At this point everything but the nose and the abrasion on my knee have stopped hurting even a little. I got off easy.

Mentally, my current meds appear to be doing their job. I'm worried about Ticia, though. She hasn't been eating much, and has lost weight since we got her. (She was overweight, but still; I don't like it.) She is also still getting into fights with the other cats. On the other hand, she's also endearingly cuddly, especially with me.

The other biggish news is that we got the HELOC to cover the overrun on the remodel. Colleen and I went and signed for it yesterday. Of course, it makes me worry more about finances.

I've done a little practicing; need to do more, especially on the stuff I'm likely to be playing at and around Mom's birthday party.

Lots of links, as usual.

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

Morticia and Cricket have been fighting all week. Ticia is acting scared and skittish, and still isn't eating much. (OTOH she doesn't seem to be starving herself, so I'm not excessively worried.) She continues to sleep with us, though she seems a little shy of people reaching down to pet her.

Went out with Naomi on Sunday (i.e. a week ago) to look at tools and hardwood. Rockler also has CNC mills and laser cutters, in the $5K range. That said, there are some fairly inexpensive kits out there.

Went out for dinner with Colleen Saturday (i.e. yesterday) -- Anthony's in Alderwood Mall. Their menu has acquired quite a lot of variety since the last time we went there.

Did a lot of puttering around the house. The downstairs washer is broken; symptoms indicate the drive belt. Fortunately, the upstairs washer is fast and efficient.

Lots of links in the notes, on a wide range of subjects.

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

I actually got some things done this week. I see from the notes that I forwarded the insurance information to our builders for the downstairs repairs, forwarded a bunch of statements to Sound Credit for the HELOC, took Morticia to the vet (she's healthy), did some system administration (tweaking my ssh config files), and did a fair amount of research around 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC mills (links in the notes, under Saturday).

Ticia still isn't eating well, and still isn't getting along with the household's other cats. On the other hand, she loves belly rubs, sleeping with me and Colleen, and cat treats. (Note the Oxford comma.) More recently, she's gotten to like sitting on my desk -- she's turning into quite a good villain's cat.

p-0 (that's Ticia getting her paw in) Links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: A brown tabby cat looking dubiously at a wireless mouse (curio)

Eventful week. After a botched delivery attempt on Sunday, the washer and dryer were finally installed Tuesday morning. I then took the bus up to the U District and met N at Cat City. We can haz cat! Morticia is a lovely 8-year-old tortie; she's friendly, cuddly, and has a very loud purr. Pictures here.

'Ticia also likes music! She was understandably upset when I carried her out to the car from the shelter, but quieted right down when the CD (Heather Dale) came on. Later, she was actually dancing with g. Fun! And she likes sleeping with me and Colleen. Actually, all the cats have done that at one time or another, but 'Ticia seems especially fond of it.

It's been a long time since I listed my mood as "happy", but I did that on Friday in my Thankful Friday post. Cats, it seems, are a very effective antidepressant.

Links in the notes, of course.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)

Today I am thankful for...

  • Morticia. Morticia is a beautiful 8-year-old tortoise-shell cat, who Naomi and I found at Cat City on Tuesday, and I brought home yesterday. She's wonderful -- sweet, affectionate, friendly,... and she loves owns me.gfvvvxc 009vv (That's Ticia getting her own comment in.]
  • Cats are, apparently, the world's most effective antidepressant. Or maybe it's NRE. Whatever it is, I'll take it.
  • Sound Credit Union, for approving our equity line of credit.
  • My family.
  • I don't think I've mentioned the Seattle public transit system yet, but I'm no end grateful for the ability to commute by bus. That's nearly 2 hours a day when I can read rather than fight traffic.
  • Git, and being able to show off my mastery of it to my coworkers in today's design meeting.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Rough week. I made it through only with help from Emmy and her friends, who were able to do the lifting I needed. Drove to work Thursday and Friday. Got a fairly large amount of work done, including yesterday and today. I'm continuing to lose weight; not entirely clear whether that's due to anxiety or the fact that I've been skipping breakfast. Initially that was because of the back, but now I seem to have gotten used to it.

I'm like a cat. When something is going wrong my first instinct is to crawl off in a corner and hide. Doesn't work.

I suspect that the depression has been killing my ability to focus; now that I'm finally coming out of it I can see the damage it's done, and work to mitigate it. Hopefully.

It's very clear that what makes me vulnerable to QL muscle problems is my love of shoulder bags (and to a lesser extent any unbalanced load). I have switched to backpacks. I have two rolling backpacks, but neither is especially comfortable as a backpack; I'm using the Lenovo backpack I got from $A. On the other hand, my back continues to improve; the last couple of days it's been down to an easily-ignorable ache most of the time. Walking helps, standing hurts. Taking the bus Monday was marginal due to the rough ride; I should be ok now that the pain is down to a manageable level. I've gone from being unable to move without the cane, to finding it more of a hindrance most of the time.

Posted Curio: Memories, pictures, and resources last Sunday, partly in response to a request for links. The raw links are in the notes, slightly updated from what I posted.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: A brown tabby cat looking dubiously at a wireless mouse (curio)

I keep listening to the jingle of the little bell and tag on his collar. Our other cats are quiet little ninjas. When I couldn't find him I'd call his name and he'd jingle. When he stopped responding to his name I knew something was wrong.

I've said that he was "my cat", because he chose me and loved me and followed me, but in truth he was more Colleen's cat. She was the only one whose lap he would sit on. He would curl up there for hours, or sit on the footrest of her recliner, or lie on her chest next to her heart.

When he started being a picky eater, she was the one who made sure he ate, and chased the other cats away from his bowl. She fed him cat treats, and when we had bacon for breakfast she would break off pieces for him.

pictures under the cut. If you're on LJ, go over to Dreamwidth, which does a better job of scaling the pix. )

Finally, here are some links related to FIP:

links, cut for length. )
mdlbear: A brown tabby cat looking dubiously at a wireless mouse (curio)

Long month this last week. Last Sunday, when I st/rolled to the West Seattle street fair with Colleen and G, and swapped songs in the Great Room with N, G, and G's friend Ed, seems like it happened to somebody else, long ago.

It's now four days since I helped my dear friend Curio cross the Rainbow Bridge, and learned that I could cry again. Three days since I pulled my left QL muscle again, walked an agonizing third of a mile home from the bus stop, and re-learned how to use a cane. Less than two days since our friend Jim Pearce died.

My sister Naomi was there for me with Curio, and again after my injury. Colleen and I have cried on one another's shoulders more than once. Desti, our household incarnation of Bast, has sat with me and comforted me. Friends have written condolences. My back feels better this morning, but there are too many empty places in my heart, and they ache.

Please, Universe: I understand that life and health are fragile things. You don't have to keep reminding me.

Links and more in the notes, as usual.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: A brown tabby cat looking dubiously at a wireless mouse (curio)

A bear walks into a bar, and puts a dollar in the jar.

"Kahlúa and cream, Mike." It's not his usual genever, but he's not the first bear to order that drink this week. He takes it to the chalk line and stands for a while, sipping the drink and fingering something in his pocket. Finally, he raises the glass.

"To Curio!", he says, and flings the glass into the fireplace.

He was always my cat, ever since he walked up to me in the shelter two years ago and said so. My sister had to translate for him -- I wasn't very fluent in feline at the time.

He was the most outgoing and easygoing of our cats, always willing to accept attention from anybody, but I'm the one he followed around, and asked to be picked up and carried by. He spent a lot of time on Colleen's lap, too, and when he started getting picky about food, she would empty a can of catfood into a small bowl and make sure he ate it.

At night I would pat the laundry hamper in the hallway and say "Up", and he would jump up for me to carry upstairs to bed, though he often leapt out of my arms and ran up the stairs ahead of me. Most nights he slept on our bed.

I made a pad of folded leopard-print, fuzzy fabric and set it on my desk so that he could lie or sit there and be petted while I worked on the computer. He made an excellent villain's cat. He liked high places; I once found him on the highest shelf in our bathroom, afraid to come down. Perhaps he knew I'd come rescue him.

Maybe a month ago he started eating less, and became more solitary. His breathing became labored. His last two weeks I would often come home to find that he'd spent all day in our closet, or on the cool tiles of the shower stall. I would carry him to Colleen, but he would only pick at his food. His last week, he was completely miserable; we made the earliest appointment we could. It was barely soon enough.

you may want to skip this part. Wish I could have. )

Somewhere in there, Naomi reminded me that cats live in the moment, and we had done the best we could to make his last moments good ones, surrounded by the people he loved.

And he had one last gift for me: he taught me to cry again. Long ago, I forgot how. Thank you, Curio, for giving me back my tears.

The bear sits back down, and puts a tattered red collar on the table in front of him.

In the end, he walked across the Rainbow Bridge calmly, eyes open and tail held high. In Valhalla, he's finally able to go outside, get wasted on catnip, and sleep on the grass in the sunlight. In the evening he walks across the tables -- he was never a lap cat except for Colleen -- and begs for scraps from the feasting warriors. He's especially fond of beef.

Sometimes, late at night, he'll go visiting. There's a petrified forest where it's always twilight, and a glade where stands an Amethyst Rose with obsidian thorns as sharp as Curio's claws. Sometimes Bast goes with him. Bast willing, I'll see them again some day.

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

Mixed. Very mixed. Mostly bad.

The good stuff first, I think: we managed to recapture the cats when they escaped on Tuesday, and I had a couple of fairly productive days at work. Maybe that should be "at", since several of them involved working from home. And, of course, the recent Supreme Court decisions. My feeds are still full of rainbows.

OTOH, it will take about $5K to get gas turned on for the house, unless we can figure out a way to install a furnace. Which will cost even more, though it will be more efficient our current electric heating, and save money in the long run. And the really bad news: G was in an accident. Not nearly as bad as it could have been -- just a badly broken left arm (humerus), and a hairline fracture of the left fibula near the ankle. The fact that it's hairline means that he will be able to walk on it as soon as he can tolerate the pain. The fact that the broken arm is on the same side means that he can't use crutches.

OTGH, I'm on a new antidepressant (bupropion, which I've heard good things about), and should know in a week or two whether it's helping. Meanwhile, I'm stressed, still very anxious about work, and altogether not all together.

A LOT to be thankful for, but still not a very good week for the family.

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

Lookingglass Folk has started getting back into regular band work sessions (around noon on Sundays), and had a good discussion last week about playlists. And I posted a s4s (Songs for Saturday) post yesterday. So that's good. And I got some nice, and much-needed, cat time from Curio and Desti.

On the other hand, a lot of depression, anxiety, and overload this week. I'm... ok?... at the moment, but have very low expectations. The fact that depression can be counted as a disability is interesting, but it doesn't actually help -- I can't use it as an excuse for not getting stuff done. Even though work has often seemed like more than I can handle, even though I don't seem to be operating at anything close to the level I need to be at. Which, of course, feeds back into the depression and anxiety.

Help! I'm being attacked by vicious circles!

Links, and more, in the notes.

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

Well, our anniversary weekend passed without a party -- somehow I'd had the impression that we were having one, but everyone else had the impression that the one the Saturday after Christmas counted for both. So... ok. I went out and got salads, cheese, sausage, scallops, and bacon. Bacon-wrapped scallops, and cheese boards for two. Yum.

Thursday we ordered Chinese from Yen Wor Village -- not as good as Yu Shan, but better than any of the other local places that deliver.

Lots and lots of decluttering, both in my to-do lists and, to a lesser extent, in the house.

I finally found a canned cat food that Curio likes! I've been worried about him. It's made by Natural Balance, and the same duck and green pea combination that's in the dry food he likes (but that we're trying to get him off of, because apparently dry food isn't all that good for cats).

And we finally have a static IP address again -- it's only $5/month from CenturyLink. The tech support person who set it up was completely clueless; I had to go to her supervisor to find someone who knew what reverse DNS was (and how to find it on their damned website, which is slow, poorly laid out, and doesn't trim spaces in input fields).

Finished reading Lauren Ipsum, which will get a separate post later. You'll also find an entry in the notes tagged "ursine", which will get expanded into the start of a planned post series if I can finally get off my tail and write it.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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

A lot of puttering this week. Got the hallway bookcase moved downstairs; it's now much easier for Colleen to make her way to the Rainbow Room. Looks good, too. Emmy set up the tree, and moved the cat tree into the nook under the stairs. The cats seem to prefer it there. This was Wednesday; last Sunday I put in shelves there, which also helps with the clutter.

I've also been decluttering my website working directories, fixing broken symlinks, re-arranging the tree in a more sensible way, and assorted other housekeeping. Still some messes there that I have to tackle.

Curio has been a darling; he likes sitting on my desk, on a pad of folded-up fabric, and usually sleeps next to me. Cat therapy for the win. We have excellent cats. Cricket exactly matches the description in Cat Faber's song Villains's Cat, and I expect she'll make a very good one when she grows up. Curio is pretty much already there.

I've been experimenting with luggage; most recently I've gone back to Max, the REI Agility sling bag. Not big enough for my work laptop, but that's an advantage. Tomorrow I'll see how well it works alongside a laptop bag.

Mood's been mostly ok, but occasionally still fragile. Tuesday and Wednesday evenings were particularly bad.

Links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: a locomotive engine dangling from a hole in a building (trainwreck)

Not such a good week. Productive, but not fun.

I did have some good times with Colleen, going for a drive last Sunday, and to the Northwest Tea Festival yesterday. Colleen's favorite vendor, Silk Road, was a no-show, so she used the money she didn't spend there to buy us lunch. A really great outing.

I spent last Sunday updating old laptops -- they're all old and the ones capable of running Windows 7 really suck at it, but they all make good Linux boxes. I spent the rest of the day working my way through the piles of accumulated bills. Yesterday I spent the evening switching online accounts off of credit cards and onto debit cards.

Today I'll tackle the medical bills, which I've been ignoring for way too long.

Naomi pointed out, rather sharply, that my biggest problem isn't being stupid (though I've done a lot of that), but my habit of ignoring the hard stuff and hoping it will go away. Which, of course, is massively stupid, since ignoring things like that only makes them progressively worse. Which makes them harder to face. And so on.

This is what's called a vicious circle. With BIG SHARP TEETH. I think I need an icon for that.

Oddly, the fact that I've cut back on my antidepressant doesn't seem to have made much of a difference. This leads me to suspect that I should drop the SSRI altogether and switch to something with a different mechanism. Possibly tryptophan.

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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

Long, busy week at work; nothing much done at home. We are, however, making progress on Colleen's medical issues, thanks to her new urologist. And the new buyer signed off on our counter-offer, so we're good there as long as they don't find any deal-breakers in the inspection. We'll know by next week.

The cats have been very entertaining. Curio and Desti still aren't particularly fond of Cricket, the new kitten, but I think they're learning to get along.

A lot of anxiety gone, having arranged for an extension on my tax payments and determined that I have more time than I thought to take care of a couple of parking tickets. Money is still tight, though. Something about carrying two mortgages, and having a bunch of credit card payments due at the end of the month, a couple of days before my paycheck arrives. :P

My Samsung phone and tablet upgraded to KitKatt (4.4.2; my Nexus was already at 4.4.4). Took 'em long enough! Hopefully the phone will be a little more stable.

Good links.

raw notes, with links )
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)

Hey, it's Thursday! Today I'm thankful for...

  • A well-timed first paycheck, with welcome sign-on bonus. I'll have to save most of it; I'll probably need it for taxes.
  • Paid vacation.
  • Cats, and especially Curio-snuggles.
  • Kitties and bears and goats, oh my!
  • My younger daughter's new boyfriend. I love seeing her happy.
  • 38 wonderful years, as of tomorrow.
  • A party here on Saturday. See the Rainbow's End site for directions.
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)

I hadn't realized just how comforting petting a cat can be. Our cats are wonderful. Especially Curio, who spends most of every night in my room.

Lots of puttering around the house over the last couple of weeks -- that's largely because other things are something of a trainwreck. In particular, Colleen's situation. Our insurance stops paying for her nursing home stay at the end of next week. We'd been told weeks ago, but at the time 10 weeks seemed like plenty of time. At her appointment last week, though, she was told that she could only put 10% of her weight on it. Gleep!

Most of the obvious options are out -- it's unlikely she could get the level of care she apparently needs at a group home or assisted living place. Which would be close to $6K for a month's stay, in any case.

We may be able to have her at home. If she can handle a commode, and transfers in and out of a wheelchair, it'll work. We will almost certainly need to have someone come in in the daytime to care for her, but between me, Emmy, and Naomi we can probably handle night-time. Hopefully.

I haven't been doing all that well. I don't really register stress, but it's there. Between that and depression (even with drugs), and a general low energy level, I'm probably pretty close to the edge. Can't be helped. The feeling of helplessness doesn't help, either. Help?

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

Last Saturday I bought my tablesaw -- specifically, the Ryobi 10 in. Table Saw with Wheeled Stand-RTS31 at The Home Depot. It works. Getting it into the garage was something of an operation, because I don't have a ramp on that door. But I managed, with a couple of boards and a fair amount of wrangling.

It's by far the best saw I've used, though that isn't saying much; I'm particularly fond of the sliding crosscut table. It doesn't have the "no tool blade change" the spec sheet says it has, but that's the only downside so far. It even came with a carbide blade, so I was able to get started immediately.

We had some more excitement with the cats. Both of them got out last night, via the vent window in the upstairs bathroom. Naome heard them (thanks to their nice new collars with bells and nametags) and managed to get them back in from the roof. But... sheesh! We love them, but they're a handful and a half. Each.

We're gradually learning to be more careful. But we decided last night that it's ok to leave them out as long as we don't have contractors in the house. It's good. The house needs cats.

Colleen's orthopedics appointment got rescheduled by the doctor; his next opening was two weeks out. We're working on getting her something sooner, because Good Grief! She has a new roommate as of yesterday, who mostly speaks Estonian.

I've been fighting depression. At least I can sometimes notice it; that's something.

Oh, and Amazon renewed my contract until the end of August. By which time I hope to have something permanent lined up. Anyone in Seattle need a Java or Perl hacker?

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 )

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