mdlbear: (river)

It occurred to me about an hour ago that it's probably not surprising that I feel like I'm under stress. Some of the most stressful events are supposed to be things like losing a job, retiring, and moving. In the last six and a half years I've:

  • Moved five times.
  • Been involved in three remodeling projects.
  • Been laid off twice.
  • Sold a house twice. (In both cases for a great deal less than expected.)
  • Bought a house twice.
  • Lost a (feline) family member.
  • Totaled a car.
  • Retired.
  • Started job-hunting again.

Not to mention other household members with life-threatening health problems. (Mine were just painful as heck -- multiple torn muscles and a broken nose.)

So, yeah. That happened.

mdlbear: (tsunami)

If yesterday is going to be typical of this vacation (I'm taking all of the coming week off), I'm going to need a month or two of work to recover from it. Not fun.

Friday Nova, my main server, developed a corrupted root partition. I've been keeping an eye on that drive for a while, and had a replacement on hand, so I set up a transfer of the home and data partitions and went to bed. So far, so good.

Yesterday was another matter entirely. Installing a new copy of Debian should only have taken an hour or so. Hah! Instead, I was plagued by a long series of problems, which took me pretty much the entire day to finally analyze. These included:

  1. A corrupted download of the Debian installer. It appeared to work ok, but the keys on the right-hand side of the keyboard kept generating the wrong characters! WTF?
  2. Apparently the idiot Intel motherboard I used for my server won't let you change the boot order of your hard disks (despite having a BIOS option that claims to do exactly that), and it considers a USB key to be a hard disk. So if you have a hard drive that doesn't already have a bootable OS on it, it will keep the damned thing from booting.
  3. Snowflake, the box I've been using for a desktop apparently has a similar problem.

I eventually ended up using the only other working spare system, Trantor, to install Ubuntu. I then swapped the disk into the former Snowflake, which is significantly faster and quieter than either Trantor or the Atom board I'd been using for Nova, so that's a win. I also decided, since I now had Ubuntu on Nova, and it was the fastest machine I had, that I would use it as my desktop as well as my fileserver. There are some potential problems with that, but I have to admit that it's convenient.

It will probably take me a while to get everything on (Novo) Nova configured -- I still need to start doing backups, for example, and don't have a web server up yet -- but at least I have DNS and my main file store up and running. But there was a lot of frustration involved.

The frustration made me more susceptible to other sources of stress, so sure enough, that happened too. Kat and Rabbit are in the process of moving out into their own apartment (finally!), so they brought movers in to handle the bed, the futon, and some other large furniture. Which meant taking the seats off the stairlifts.

And, of course, Colleen woke up and walked down the first flight of stairs before calling for help. I hastily put the seat back on the lower lift, and told Colleen (not exactly calmly -- I was pretty stressed at that point) that she should have gone back to the room, sat down, and called for help.

Then the lower lift wouldn't go back up to its charging position. It was already pretty badly damaged from previous moving attempts; it turned out that the limit switch that detects whether the seat is turned properly had finally broken to the point of unusability. Its little cam follower had been crumpled up from previous clumsy seat replacements. There ensued a frantic search for my multimeter (and a hasty battery replacement) so that I could identify the normally-closed contacts on the switch and move the connectors to them.

At that point I went back to my struggles with the computers. Just as I was getting things pretty stable there, Colleen went up to bed. Or tried to: the bottom lift didn't want to go up. Again. More swearing. More switches to reconnect. A quick trip to Google to look up error code E6, which turned out to be the bottom limit switch. Which hadn't given us any trouble up to that point.

... by that time I was a complete wreck. My stress level was not helped by being worried sick -- literally, by that point -- about the fact that the check from my stock sale still hasn't showed up. And berating myself about not being persistent enough to figure out from Morgan Stanley's miserable website how to do a direct transfer.

The one good thing about all this is that I tend to wake up around 4:30 when I'm stressed. When I feel as though I don't have enough time to get everything done, it helps.

It's been a long month. September is fired. Notes & links, as usual )

mdlbear: (tsunami)

Not a good week. Nightmares and (almost entirely silent) meltdowns. Mostly panic over taxes and other money problems, though the fact that Curio isn't eating well doesn't help, nor does ongoing work stress, nor taxes.

On the other hand, I did (finally) go out and get the wood for the Maypole; it was a great deal more expensive than I expected, but... ok. Nobody has redwood, and nobody has cedar longer than 12'. N. suggested using a Christmas tree stand; that will probably work and has some distinct advantages. Like, not putting a hole in the lawn.

I wasted several hours yesterday and today booting up (or trying to) several different old computers, because my laptop is in poor shape. I'll take it in for service on Tuesday. Also wasted a lot of time and spoons fighting with the mac mini. MacOS is almost unusable as of Yosemite; they even turn off scrollbars by default! IDIOTS! Back to using the laptop today, because I decided to do a thorough backup before taking it in. So far it seems to be behaving itself.

Also wasted a great deal of time looking for tax info, which I was too careless and/or stupid to keep track of. That's looking to be another nightmare, what with selling the Starport.

At least the Honda has its mirror and is otherwise working pretty well; service came in well north of two grand, which is about what I expected. They didn't fix the bumper -- I'll probably have to go to a body shop for that. Unless I can fix it myself, which isn't impossible. I think all it's going to need is a few whacks with a deadblow hammer.

My mood hasn't been improved much by getting unfriended over a FB post. Wouldn't mind much except that I liked the person in question, but her posts have been getting more stridently conservative lately, and I'd been getting more and more uncomfortable reading them. My post was a re-share of the link she'd shared and agreed with, with my comment:

Re: Superintendent Stands Up In A Big Way For Principal Facing Atheist Backlash This has attracted a lot of highly predictable agreement from conservative Christians. Ask yourselves this -- would it still be ok if the principal had been quoting from the Koran? How about the Satanic Bible? Do you imagine, even for a moment, that he would still have his job in that case? Because what you would think about that is *exactly* what an atheist thinks about his bible quotes.

Well?

I'll admit that the second paragraph is a bit gratuitously confrontational, but I don't think it's out of line considering the article and the massively approving reactions it got from the original poster and her friends. *sigh*

Looks like I won't be going to Indiana for a while, either.

Links in the notes, as usual.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: "Sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" - Terry Pratchett (flamethrower)

On Thursday my massage therapist gave me the assignment of researching methods of reducing stress, and to pick a few to use. Along the way I found this page, which included a test to assess one's level of stress. 19 or over is considered "high". I scored 30.

Anyway, here's the list:

Keep doing these:
Cat therapy -- especially Curio, who is an excellent villain's cat.
cuddling -- I seem to be touch-dominant, and often forget that fact because it doesn't really fit my self-image.
Do more:
music -- I often forget how good music is for me.
massage -- great when I can get it.
play with stress toys (balls, putty, worry stones,...) -- this seemed like an easy one to add.
Writing (journaling, poetry) -- My weekly "done" posts sort of count, I guess; the point is not to be writing about anything in particular but simply the act of writing.
Hot baths -- a bath takes time, but it's very relaxing and helps me get to sleep, so I should take them more often.
Add:
breathing exercises -- this is an easy one to add whenever I think of it. Even doing just three or four deep breaths is remarkably relaxing.
progressive relaxation -> bedtime?
drink a cup of tea. (comes under the heading of calming rituals)
positive self-talk affirmations? coping statements Stress card wallpaper! -- Some of my sources talked about making a card with positive self-talk on it. Screen wallpaper sounds like a better bet for me.
Harder: -- most of these are hard because they require a solid block of time.
DELEGATE (stress reduction) ... but this one is hard because it requires asking people to do stuff for me.
meditation/mindfulness -- I've been trying the "mindfullness of doors" exercise on and off; mostly off because it's really hard to think of in the moment. Which is, of course, the point. Maybe I should count "the mindfulness of dishwashers".
guided imagery -- ISTR I have a collection of mp3s from Kaiser that I could use for this.
spending time in nature. Trails or parks. Bike riding.
Tai chi / yoga -- this would require actually going out and joining a group. Not to mention finding the time. EEP! Very hard.

The common thread, I think, is that many of these are things I know are good for me / enjoyable / relaxing -- but I still don't take time to do them, or even think about doing them. That probably says something important, but I don't know what.

Advice? Discussion? The notes below were roughly in the order I found them -- the first few came off the top of my head, followed by various websites.

the original notes, with links )

And now I'm going to stop, post this, pet my cat, and make some ginger tea.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Um...

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

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

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

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

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

The YD's desktop computer died in Wednesday's power outage, which lasted about an hour and a half. So did my 8-port GigE switch, apparently, which led to another hour's worth of confusion getting the network back up when I came home in the evening. (I had cleverly turned off the fileserver and my desktop machine from work. If I'd had any sense I'd have sync'ed my to.do file first.)

The YD's Windows machine was the big one, though: it wasn't recognizing her hard drive. The older Windows box in the public area upstairs recognized it just fine, but of course all her files were private. You'd think there'd be a way for an administrator to unprotect a directory, but I'm not a Win$ expert.

What worked, yesterday evening, was putting it in my desktop Linux box and rsyncing it onto both my local hard drive and the YD's external drive. She was delighted to get her homework back.

There was a lot of stress involved in the process, of course, on all sides. I seem to have a very bad habit of saying the YD's name, at increasing volume, to get her attention when she's yelling in panic or frustration; I ought to look for a gentler alternative to shouting her down.

There was also a lot of stress during the network diagnosis and bring-up phase Wednesday evening -- nothing like a housefull of laptop-using family and guests to add pressure to an already frustrating experience.

I'd been sort of looking for an excuse to buy a 16- or 24-port switch, but... I really didn't need the extra expense this month, either.

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

I had to cut my walk short because my left ankle was giving me trouble. And I dropped my phone into the laundry hamper and washed it. And my main shopping goal, Alaska picks, eluded me. So not all that good a day.

But it was pretty relaxing, and I scored a decent headset mic for $60 at Guitar Center -- $10 off because the one in the display case was the very last wired headset they had. And got in some practicing, including figuring out better fingerings for Em9 and F7b9 (moving the 9th to the low E string).

A whole lot less stress than Saturday, so I'll take it.

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

A very stressful day, despite a good walk in the early afternoon. The Penzey's run, to Menlo Park, was OK but it's not really my thing. Then a run to Palo Alto to rendezvous with Callie's music stand -- more relaxed, and the public garden we met outside of was lovely and soothing. But still, a total of maybe 3 1/2 hours of driving.

A friend suggested on IM that I schedule my time more tightly, and plan on no more than three "big things" (on the order of making dinner, going out on a date, a rehearsal, or work) in a day. So let's see... two loads of laundry, breakfast and lunch for me and Colleen, dishes, a walk, outing in Menlo Park, rendezvous in Palo Alto (and because of limitations imposed by store-closing time, the YD's schedule, and the size of Colleen's bladder, those trips couldn't be easily combined or separated farther), dinner out, and some system administration and debugging on Colleen's netbook.

Oh.

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