Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Dammit, Missouri!

It is an utterly gorgeous day, in a way.  It's cool (mid 50s when I ran the kids into school, and isn't supposed to get much more than middling warm).  It's also drizzly, rainy, and foggy.  It smells absolutely wonderful. 

I'd seen weather like this, but not often in this corner of Missouri.  It actually took me a couple of hours to pinpoint why it felt/looked/smelled familiar. 

Back in, oh, 2006 or 2007, I went to a national convention for Sigma Tau Delta to present a paper.  The convention was in Portland, Oregon, that year. It was pretty fun: Odysseus and I turned it into a road trip.  I saw more of the country in that week or so we were gone than I'd seen in my entire life before that.  We drove not necessarily because it was cheaper than flying but because we wanted to not be tied to the town and convention center. 

I absolutely hated Portland.  But I loved much of the scenery in the state of Oregon.  And there were a few tiny towns on the beach (only one of them a tourist trap) that were spectacularly beautiful 

This morning's weather reminds me of the Pacific Northwest. 

We are in the Midwest.  The southwest corner of Missouri, in fact--about an hour north of Arkansas, and fifteen or twenty minutes from Kansas and Oklahoma. 

It is pretty, in a way.  It's also messing with my joints. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Just a bit miffed

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris went up in flames, today.  From what I've read, they got a lot of irreplaceable things out, but...

They're not sure, yet, what started it.  I've heard everything from accident to malice.  Either way, I'm more than a little angry about it. 

Let's say it's an accident, that the renovations did something that sent the building up in flames.  I've heard that it was possible that they may have had something ignite from soldering the leaded roof.  If such is the case...I'm still bloody angry.  I can't call it negligence, but I can call it shoddy workmanship that should never have been permitted within a hundred feet of the front door of the eight hundred year old cathedral.  I really hope the contractors wind up bankrupt for this, if this is the case. 

If it was malice...well.

Charlemane...Charles Martel...Charles the Great...However you want to call one of the great heroes of Europe, he had offspring.  Descendants on both sides of the sheets.  One of the most famous was William the Bastard of Normandy.  JUST because he moved address from Normandy to Britain doesn't mean he was the only one.  I'd be willing to bet that any...individual...who decides to take credit for that will discover that, while the politicians are weevils and roaches and other slimy creatures lacking spines, the country as a whole is getting sick of their shit. 

And that's assuming that the French are satisfied with simply crushing the Saracens, instead of following in the footsteps (metaphorically) of that most infamous Prince of Wallachia. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

...and done.

I finished the edit for the kids' school librarian on Monday around lunch time.  I picked up the check on Tuesday, and was going to deposit it on my way home from Walmart (the pixie's teacher asked me to pick up a package of clothespins), and figured out I had no deposit slips with me.  So, I came home, and did the deposit yesterday morning.

It wasn't the first setback. 

I got it the last Thursday in March, spent Friday re-familiarizing myself with APA, and then got hit with a mild migraine on Sunday that lasted through Tuesday night.  I did get some work done on it on that Monday, but not a lot.  I managed to get halfway through it on Wednesday, despite picking up a cold (I think), and then...then Win10 decided it was time to update and restart.  And I hadn't saved my work.  And LibreOffice decided it didn't need to be recovered. 

I got back through what I'd gotten done, and really got slammed, health wise.  I did manage to finish.  But not in the time frame I'd tried to hold myself to.

You know, it's really difficult to tell whether you've got a cold plus a chronic fatigue flareup, or if you've got the flu.  I'm still not sure which it was.

Today, though, I'm finally feeling better.  Still not human.  But better.  The brain fog has (mostly) lifted, and the fever has broken.

I do not think I'm feeling up to my previous plans for today and tomorrow (cleaning and lunch out with my kids and mother-in-law).  But I may be up for Sunday's plans, if I take it easy and don't do anything to destroy any chances of recovery (like housework, damn it).

This is one of the biggest reasons why I don't make plans in advance. 

In any case, I'm going to be doing what I can do: writing.  

Sunday, April 7, 2019

What a beautiful day.

Today was one of Missouri's rare, perfect spring days.  And it's actually in the springtime.  The temperature, wind speed, and everything were just...wonderful. 

We opened the windows in the main living areas.

And the kids spent a lot of the day playing outside.  I spent half an hour on the patio with my Kindle and the dog, sitting in the sun, enjoying the (relative) quiet and the breeze.

The pixie is learning how to ride a bike without training wheels.  Her bike is hot pink and turquoise.  The imp's bike is faded neon green (he's been riding without training wheels for two years, now, but she just wasn't really interested until recently).  While she's learning, she'll be wearing a helmet.  Once she's got it, though, they ride on a long, u-shaped, gravel driveway and grass--no real need. 

Her bike was one her grandma (Odysseus's mom) found at an end-of-Christmas season sale for about what we'd be able to find a second-hand one for.  The only problem is that the back tire had a leak.  As in: aired up to totally flat in like, four or five hours.

So, today, in this utterly beautiful weather, we ran to Sam's Club for a couple things, then Walmart for a patch and a couple more things.

When we got home, I got beans started* and cleared my desk a bit more--enough to be able to use it.  Which meant disappointing the cats.  Actually, I'm pretty sure Shadow was really, really pissed off at me. 

A couple of weeks ago, I'd gotten the kids' study table in the library rearranged for both of them to use.**  I wanted my desk back.  Part of that was getting the bean-bag ottoman under my desk pulled out and getting all of the stuff the imp had knocked down behind the desk out from under and behind it.  Then, the ottoman got tossed on top of my desk, right in front of the picture window in the living room.  And the cats found it. 

I moved it today.  Back to where it goes, on the floor in the knee-hole.  And I used my desk a little while, working on editing the kids' librarian's dissertation (and yes, she really is piling it higher and deeper).  While the cats looked around wondering where their comfy thing in front of the window went.  And while Shadow glared at me over my laptop screen from where she sat between my laptop and the window...before she edged behind the curtain and sat pressed against the screen. 

 The kids are both mildly sunburned, but happy.  Despite getting called in to do homework before dinner time. 

*I love my instant pot.  I can take beans from dry to done in a little more than an hour in it.

**I still have more to do with the study table. There needs to be a tall divider (like, the width of a posterboard--which gives me an idea) between the two halves.   And the imp needs a ball to bounce his foot on instead of on the trestle leg, which vibrates the whole table.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Flippin' migraines...

They never hit at a convenient time. 

Thursday or Friday, I picked up an editing job.  It's APA style, so I spent Friday and Saturday re familiarizing myself with the stylistic requirements for source citation, tables, graphs, etc.  I planned to start work on it Monday, since we'd planned to visit my in-laws on Sunday.  

I noticed, night before last, right before bedtime, that I was seeing rainbows in my peripheral vision.  Woke up yesterday to burning pain as well as pressure pain, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and minor nausea. 

I still managed to get some editing done. 

If this follows my usual patterns, it should be at its worst about noon today, then start fading around supper to be totally gone before I wake up tomorrow. 

I hope.

Usual patterns for me don't include aura and halos and nausea. 

Change of subject--Odysseus is going to have a busier than usual start of the month, this month.  Usually, he's dealing with the end of the previous month's stuff, but the hospital ended its fiscal year at the end of March, so he's got that, too. 

I'd had dinners planned out for the whole week.  I'm going to need to adjust that, because he may or may not be late a few times this week.  So dinner plans are going to need to go from hot and ready a few minutes after he gets home, to flexible and easily warmed up. 

One of the joys of having a very well-stocked pantry is that I can adjust on the fly if necessary.  I have a fully-stocked canned food rotation system with veggies, and Spam; I have lots of dry pasta; I have some soups for ingredients, and some for just eating. 

I'd planned pasta bake for today, but that's getting pushed back to Thursday--the kids are having spaghetti for lunch today.  The chicken leg quarters I'd pulled out for Thursday haven't even really started thawing, yet, so I can just put them back in the freezer for next week, and pull out a pound of hamburger meat for the pasta bake.  We'll be having sandwiches and mac 'n' cheese for dinner one night this week.  Probably tonight, even.  

In the meantime, I've got editing to do, dishes to unload from the dishwasher and reload into the dishwasher, and my laundry to start (everyone else's is done, even if it hasn't been put away).   And it needs to be done whether I've got a headache or not, so it's damn well getting done.  While wearing sunglasses indoors with all the lights off that I can turn off. 

(See, I can do this, even with a migraine, because even my bad migraines aren't debilitating for me.  I don't know if that's because they're not that bad, or if it's because I'm so used to pain and discomfort that I'm a bit more tolerant of a different kind of pain than usual.  Either way.  I'm still moving and doing.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Still FLYing

...or at least, I'm tryin' to. 

A few years ago, I discovered (or was pointed toward--I can't remember which) the FlyLady

My house was CHAOS*--it's better, now, but still not great (some rooms are better than others).  I'm not dealing with layers of clutter and stuff on every flat surface, anymore, for the most part.  (The kids' rooms are two of the main exceptions, and are their responsibility, not mine.)  The "better" is due to things I picked up from her site.

So, anyway, I skimmed her website, then went back and read some things a little closer.  One thing stood out: her insistence that my house didn't get into the state it's in in a day, and it's okay to work on it a little bit at a time. 

That...that helped me a lot. 

I don't have ADHD to the extent my son does.  But I do have some things in common: disorganization is one of the worst, but I've also got a little bit of the same executive function disorder where cleaning's concerned. 

(That means I don't know where to start, how to continue, or even how to stick to one task until I've got it done, and I wind up making a bigger mess of things than I've managed to resolve.) 

The FlyLady splits the house out into five zones (front porch, entry, and dining room; kitchen; bathrooms and utility area plus one; master bedroom; living room/family room).  And insists on decluttering first, fifteen minutes at a time, in the zone matched up to the week of the month you're in.  Plus a 2 minute trash sort wherever you drop the stuff in your pockets, or set down mail, every day. 

The decluttering is a constant battle.  I've been following this for a few years, now, and I'm still at the decluttering stage.  I haven't gotten to the cleaning part, yet.  But things are getting better.  Marginally.  Bit by bit. 

It also helps to have a bigger house with better storage options (don't look in the garage).  But I am pitching stuff that is obsolete, partially broken, or paper that isn't needed anymore, and giving away a lot of other stuff (outgrown clothes, etc) that's still in good shape. 

Monday, I went through and cleared out sent-home kid worksheets.  In just my basket where I keep that type of stuff, and only one quarter's worth of work, I filled a 13 gallon trash bag.  From just around my chair.  In less than fifteen minutes. 

Yesterday's accomplishment will eventually result in being able to reclaim my desk.**

After that, I was (and am) rather done in. 

Another thing the FlyLady advocates is setting aside time to create a dinner menu, for at least a week, if not a month.  I think she and Dave Ramsey would get along well--she thinks (and I think she's right) that most people get home, can't think of anything to fix for supper, throw up their hands, and go waste money on fast food instead.  That, and the menu planning helps in grocery list planning, and she advocates that, too--along with not shopping hungry so that you follow your list, and don't waste money buying snacky-things you don't need, and probably shouldn't have, just because you were hungry. 

That has made so many things so much easier.  And the kids have started eating more of what I fix, and there are fewer nights where they're eating chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, hot pockets, or the like.


I am still struggling.  Because the two days of decluttering and minor reorganization in the living room have laid me out pretty hard.

FLYing?  Yes.  At least, fluttering, flapping, sometimes falling, but always trying to stay afloat.  It's the best I can do with what I have.  

*CHAOS: Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

**I'd had to separate the kids for homework time because the study table was badly organized: they were sorta next to each other, and within easy range for tormenting each other instead of getting work done.  I'd left the pixie at the table, and stuck the imp at my desk.  Where he's been doing his homework and study, leaving his stuff scattered everywhere on my desk, and sort of pushing me out of my own space.  I've rearranged the table to put them at opposite ends from each other, and will be coming up with some type of vertical visual divider to keep them from even making faces at each other.  And buying a basic, cheap rubber ball for him to play with with his feet so he's not kicking the trestle and jarring the study table.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Always try new things

Ever hear of "bullet journalling"?  Basically, it's a journal-based to-do list, that goes in order of priorities.  Really customizable.

I'd tried it before, and it didn't work for me.  As much because I don't have the same capability from one day to the next to complete tasks.  Hell, some days I can't do anything (including reading new things).  And I was lining it up day by day.  And some (okay, most) of the time, I didn't remember to check the stupid thing for my to-do list.

I've been trying it again.  Because I have this lovely dot grid journal* I found at Walmart last fall for under $7, and I don't like dot grid for simple writing.

Instead of daily to-dos, I've set it up for weekly.  Including menu planning, and a rough supplementary grocery list of things I need for the menu items I've planned.  And it's working.  I've been using it for about two weeks (this week will be week 3).

*Dot grid is just what it sounds like: instead of having lines, you've got a grid of dots on each page.  Not so great for simple writing, but awesome for keeping things lined up vertically as well as horizontally.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Resolutions and progress reports

I made a quiet resolution on New Year's Eve to do better in 2019.  To pace myself better, to build a routine that I could use to pace myself better, and to finish unfinished projects.

One of the things I've done is I've started the cats' box every morning, instead of doing it at night if I have the energy (typically, I didn't).  The cats, dog, kids, and spouse are much happier, and it doesn't take a whole lot of energy in the mornings.

That said, I do an internal check of energy levels and review what must be done every day when I wake up, and some days, I skip that morning step because there are other things that I have to do that will be needing the energy I used to clean that box.

Sometimes that box doesn't get cleaned for a couple days.

Sometimes the dishes get done, sometimes they don't.

But the kids are always clean and fed, and homework's always done.   Dinner's on the table (and usually on time), and there are snacks for the kids.  Even when I'm dealing with a major flareup of the stupid chronic fatigue syndrome (which sometimes just hits, even without me having danced too close to one of my known triggers, like last week).

And I've finished some projects. 

I finished a set of hand warmers I was working on for myself (think knitted, ribbed tube, with a hole for the thumb, that goes from a couple inches up my forearm to the first joint of my fingers), and repurposed a project I'd started for the imp into a set of similar at his request.  That's finished, too.  I've got a sweater on needles for me, and an afghan for the imp, and a silver-gray shawl from silky acrylic yarn the pixie has squealed and claimed for herself.  I've got other projects planned, but nothing actually on needles at the moment.  And I won't start them until I finish my unfinished projects.

Unlike my writing.  That comes as it comes.  Yes, I am working on finishing stuff, but...sometimes different things kinda...butt in line. 

First draft of Gods and Monsters is done, and I'm working on the revision.  I'll also be working on finishing another novel I've had in the works for a couple of years.  I'll be revising the first two parts, then finishing the third.  I'll probably publish it serially as Kindle editions, then have an omnibus edition in Kindle and dead tree. 

(Yes, I have started the next Liquid Diet Chronicles book.  And yes, I'll finish that one, first.  I think.)

And I never have clue one about what's going to come out when I sit down to write and DON'T have something I'm already working on open.  So, it could be related to an ongoing series, or it could be a ferret on a ceiling fan.  

But I am working on finishing projects sitting unfinished, at the moment.  Really.  I am

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019


So.  Friday again.  And the kids were supposed to be turned loose from school today at 11:30; instead, we have sleet, snow, and freezing rain happening, and their school decided to cancel today. 

I sent Odysseus off to work in my car (Subaru Forester) instead of his pickup (Ford F-150).  All wheel drive beats pickup any day for avoiding accidents caused by idiots driving in icy conditions.  We may or may not do our normal Friday night pizza--it will depend on two things: road conditions at quitting time (he's picking the pizza up today) and whether we have electricity, since we're scheduled for up to two tenths of an inch of freezing rain.

Honestly, I prefer sleet and snow. 

Anyway, this is happening while we have about 30% of a tank of propane left, so the propane heater is off.  Propane is being reserved for a just in case we lose power and need to rely solely on the fireplace insert for any warmth at all.  Or the storm stops dropping liquid rain to freeze on the power lines, whichever happens. 

Yesterday was Valentine's Day.  The kids' classes had a party scheduled today.  The imp's teacher has pushed his class's party back to the last 45 minutes of the school day on Tuesday (they're out on a scheduled vacation day on Monday).  I don't know what the pixie's teacher is planning--hopefully the same thing. 

And my other half surprised me with a tee shirt I wanted yesterday.  Has one of my favorite anime characters on it.  I wasn't planning on getting it--usually, the pricing on branded character tee shirts is rediculous.  So it was a very nice surprise.  I think I know what I'm going to do in return.  :)

Anybody subscribe to BookBub?  Gives you daily deals in specific genres for discounted e-books on whatever platform you use.  Sometimes you find some real gems--I have acquired the first three books of Herbert's Dune cycle in Kindle version for $1.99 each, when they usually go for $9.99.  Was handy on the timing, because my books were still boxed up and I couldn't find them when I wanted to read them.  I now have Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune in both hard copy and Kindle copy (and have since found and re-read the rest of the series).  Sometimes, you find some really fun stuff discounted all the way down to free.  If you haven't subscribed, and you like to read, I heartily suggest it.  Sends the list right to your email.  All you have to do is mark your preferences.

I also heartily recommend a subscription to Kindle Unlimited.  Basically an e-book subscription library.  I've been making use of that on a daily basis recently, reading while waiting to pick up the kids.  Most recently read: The Fae's Amulet.  It was a heartily entertaining urban fantasy mystery.  

I'm not the only one enjoying our Kindle Unlimited subscription: Odysseus makes it pay for itself within the first week of every month.* 

I've got a list of books I want to read in my Amazon wish list.  Most of them are KU eligible, so...yeah. 

But that's for later.  Right now, I'm writing.  I finished the first draft of the fourth installment of the Modern Gods books, and Meg from The Liquid Diet Chronicles is insisting that I work on her second book, now (tentative title: Having a Pint).  Like always, I use a pen and paper for when I get stuck, or when I'm starting a new chapter, and the ink this time is Noodler's Red-Black, in a TWSBI Vac-Mini.  The pen holds a TON of ink, and doesn't burp into the cap when I close the valve, no matter the temperature difference/pressure difference/whether I drop it or not.  I love this ink--it's mostly waterproof, dries fairly quickly, and looks like dried blood on the page.  It suits the character quite well. 

Kids are back out of their bedrooms to watch TV--guess I'll grab my headphones and start writing. 

*Right now, we've signed up for 2 years' worth of subscription for a 40% discount.  He was making it pay for itself at the full price of $9.99/month, much less the discounted price. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Gonna be a busy day today

I've got things on the docket.  I need to run the dishwasher this afternoon, and then I'll need to do supper. 

I've already gotten several things done--I had to go into the school to take a bag of candy-bribes the pixie's 2nd grade teacher asked me to get for the class, I put more money in the kids' lunch accounts, and checked in with both teachers and the librarian, asking about needed supplies (the 2nd grade teacher needs paper towels, the 3rd grade teacher doesn't need anything at the moment, and the librarian thanked me for asking in the first place, then asked if I can edit her dissertation for her).  I do need to get a make-up shopping trip done, but this morning, I don't have time.  I had housework that needed done before 9:00, and I've accomplished it. 

I have a half-load sitting in the washer, I have a half load of clean clothes to put away, and I've got a basket of kid clothes they need to sort and put away.  I got the quilt pulled up over the bed in the master bedroom, and the pixie's floor space cleared. 

Today, we're going to have an electrician in to put up ceiling fans in the living room,* the master bedroom, and the pixie's bedroom.**  And a new light fixture in the kitchen.

Tomorrow, though, I'm going to have to get the catch-up shopping done.  There are a few things we ran out of unexpectedly, and my time Friday's going to be cut short by a half-day at the kids' school.

I've got the housework done, at the moment.  I'm just waiting on the electrician to come start doing the work.  And writing the last chapter of Gods and Monsters (Modern Gods book...4?  Yeah, book 4).

*When we bought this place, we replaced a pendant light with an LED fixture that snuggles right up against the ceiling in the entry hall (immediately after Odysseus whacked his head on the original fixture), and a wagon-wheel style "chandelier" over the dining area--both were really straighforward and easy, so we blithely moved on to replacing the ugly "crystal" chandelier in the living room with a more practical ceiling fan and fixture...only to find out they'd used something weird to put that damn thing up, and there was no junction box to hook the fan into.  Nor did there seem to be one over our bedroom, when Odysseus went up into the attic to see if he could figure out what the hell was going on.  

**We weren't PLANNING on replacing the kids' ceiling fans.  And then the pixie broke hers.  Snapped one of the fan blades right off where the metal part goes into the fan itself.  It's just as FUBARed a fixture as the living room's and the master bedroom's, so it has waited more than a year.  

Saturday, February 9, 2019

I did it.

And I'm not done quite yet.

I had a productive week with writing.  I set myself a goal of 10K words for the week, and then got smacked with a migraine midweek.  And then a snow day.*  And a scheduled day out of school for the kids.**  But I did it anyway.

I have also managed to keep the dishes (mostly) caught up--not all of the clean dishes have been put away, but I've kept the dishwasher loaded/run/unloaded for a new load.  I've also managed to keep my family fed, keep the cats' litter box cleaned, and get most of my and the kids' laundry done (the imp's still needs to be done, but hey), and mostly put away. 

All this with most of my energy sucked dry by bad cycle timing and bad timing on the migraine (any other time, and it would already be gone, instead of just fading). 

I did it.  I survived the week, managed to not get snowed under too bad with housework left undone, and have not killed or maimed anyone*** in the process.

*Snow day, hah.  More like ice day, considering.  We had rain, fog, freezing rain, freezing fog, thunderstorms, sleet, thundersleet, tornadoes in parts of the state, and a bare dusting of snow and blowing snow.  And temperatures dropping from Wednesday through Friday morning. 

**February has two scheduled days out of school--last Friday, and President's Day--and one day where they let out early (Friday, 2/15).

***Not physically, nor yet emotionally.  Despite occasional heavy temptation.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Gonna murder someone or something, so help me...

1. It's cold.  Really cold.  Like, 18 degrees or a bit under cold.  It's also windy, iced over outside (we've had rain, freezing rain, and sleet last night), and snowing. 

2. The imp has been unwilling to get dressed, and hasn't been feeling really good today. 

3. The pixie is prone to really bad earaches when it's cold and windy (much like I am). 

4. Schools are out all over the place today.

5. I have a migraine.  Have had the migraine for two days, now, and it's likely to not let up until Saturday afternoon or Sunday.  My migraines aren't as bad as my aunts' migraines, but they're light and sound sensitive.

6.  The neighbor's grandson came over and rang the doorbell to find out if the kids could go out.  I pointed out 1 and 3 above, and said no because the weather's too bad.

7.  The weather is still nasty, despite initial predictions of it clearing off.  It's still snowing.  Still windy.  Still cold.  So, 1 and 3 still apply.  So does 6. 

8.  Neighbor's grandkid rings the doorbell again, about an hour or so after the first time.  I had to explain, in small words, that it is still snowing, still windy, still icy, and neither of my kids even wants to go play outside. 

9.  I am going to murder either my doorbell or the neighbors' grandkid.  The doorbell would get me in less trouble. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

productive day, for feeling this awful

I got the cat box cleaned, the dishwasher unloaded, reloaded, and run, got 1600 words done writing (1200 on Liquid Diet Chronicles Book 2, and 400 so far on the last chapter of Gods and Monsters--not counting the side plot I came up with that needs written and inserted).  I'm not done writing yet, either. 

And I made supper.  And lunch for Odysseus for the week.  Tacos.  Only, I didn't have the canned Old El Paso Refried Black beans I usually use. 

I wanted to try to recreate it.  With my instant pot.*  I think I did it. 

Refried Black Beans

1 c dried black beans
3 c water
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
splash RealLime

1. Put ALL THE INGREDIENTS in the instant pot.  2. Set vent to seal.  3. Choose the beans function (this is going to take a while).  My version of the electric pressure cooker only goes up to half an hour of cook time--others go all the way to an hour.  It takes the full hour of pressure cooking to get the beans done without soaking them, half an hour if you do a soak, first.  I set it to the maximum it goes to, let it go to done, then set it to the maximum again.  4.  Drain beans into a mixing bowl--keep the liquid so that you can add in as much or as little as you  want in mashing the beans.  5. Put beans and as much liquid as you want into a blender and puree it. 

I have the little bit that didn't go into the tacos set aside in the fridge for something yummy later in the week.  Might be nachos, might be Mexican pizza (on corn tortillas). 

I still have more that needs to be done.  I need to make egg muffins for my imp (egg wedges for Odysseus is going to wait another couple of days).  And make up and box up the soft tacos for Odysseus's work lunches. 

I'll finish up with the food, then get the chapters I was working on for the two distinctly different books finished.  And then...then I'm gonna pass right out. 

*My pressure cooker is the brand Sam's Club sells.  I still say this was one of the best presents I've ever gotten. 

Friday, February 1, 2019


We're working on home repairs, now that we got the old house sold, and our breath caught after that.

We knew, when we bought this place, that it would need some work.  A good bit of it has already been done--we replaced all of the carpets, and we replaced all of the plumbing drainage within two months or so of buying the place.

We were also trying to stretch to cover some basic repairs to the old house at the same time we were doing some work on the new one.

And then...then the budget shrank dramatically.  The university I'd worked at part time for twelve and a half years decided they didn't have any sections for me to teach anymore, and let me go.  It's fine--I don't miss it, and really didn't have the health to keep doing it--but it put a real strain on repairs, so we...paused while we were getting the old house fixed, on the market and sold.

So.  Breath caught, I started looking for local handymen.  No dice.  Signed up with a leads generator for home repairs--Home Advisor--for the top two priorities in the repairs and improvements.  Signed up last week, then kinda forgot about it while I survived a CFS flareup. 

I got two different quotes day before yesterday, thought about the businesses, and picked one* of the two.  I made the call to the guy we decided to go with this morning, and have a tentative date scheduled for the work to be done.

The roof repairs, on the other hand...that could end up being problematic.  To the point we may have to schedule some time off work for Odysseus so that WE can do the work ourselves, to the best of our ability (and hope it holds for a while).

So far, before today, I hadn't had any luck with trying to find someone to do the repairs we need.  Local roofers don't seem to want to do anything but put a whole new roof on, even when all you want/can afford is repairs of a few minor issues.**

Even that is moving--I literally just got off the phone with a roofing and construction company.  The owner is a town over right now, at his aunt's funeral, but says he'll try to swing by and take a look at what needs done this afternoon.

Hopefully, before long, we'll have the repairs done, and some overhead lighting in the living room/library for gray, dreary days like today, and not have to depend solely on floor lamps anymore.

Update: The roofing and construction guy showed up--turns out the world is, indeed, tiny.  He's done work for us before (couple of years ago), and his wife was one of my all-time favorite students.

*One guy's young, and his business is 3 years old--this is the guy we're going with.  The other guy plans to retire in ten years, assuming he survives: he has a habit of making sure the right breaker's been turned off for the work by crossing the live wires to throw the breaker before he starts working.  

**We need a few joists braced and repaired--they're cracked, from what looks like an impact on the roof.  There's a small leak where one of the turban vents' flashing isn't sealed properly, and a small hole that looks like a branch punched through into the attic above the garage.  Oh, and the carport will need repaired, but that's a longer term project.  We don't need a whole new roof at this point, yet.  The rest of it is sound, and we can't afford a whole new roof at this point.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Okay...deep breath...

So.  Yesterday.  Yesterday, we planned to go up and visit my in-laws--Odysseus, the imp, the pixie, and me.  I actually am very fond of my in-laws, and circumstances...yeah.

Just before we left, the pixie got sick.  Puke and poo.  She got most of the former into the toilet.  I'd rather she'd done that with the latter, but she didn't.  Poor thing. 

So I didn't get to go visit my in-laws.  Neither did the pixie.  Odysseus and the imp went ahead. 

And the pixie was fine less than an hour after they'd left.  She's still fine, but school rules require a 24 hr separation between last emission and returning to class.  So she's currently in the family room, watching Willow on DVD.  She'll have a bunch of make-up work tonight, and will go back tomorrow. 

About six or eight weeks ago, I had an appointment with a nurse practitioner in my endocrinologist's office (rather than the doc herself).  I asked to try Armour thyroid--it's the first thyroid replacement medication that went on the market a long time ago, and is basically desicated porcine thyroid gland.  Yes, I know what that means.  No, it doesn't bother me.  It works.  It works better than the synthetic T4 only thyroid replacement hormone for me.  I've had good days.  I hadn't had those in a few years.  Yes, I still have CFS flares, but it's not a constant state of being.  I've had fewer really bad days with the Armour than I did with the Tirosint (which was better than the levothyroxine). 

This morning, the NP's nurse called me and said that the NP wants to try me on a slightly larger dose in the morning, with the same dose in the evening: basically, two prescriptions.  Which, together, will cost the same as the Tirosint (if not a hair more). 

The irony?  I wanted to try the Armour because it cost less than the Tirosint. 

I think I've found a coupon, though.  I just need to print it and take it in when I fill the other 'scrip. 

Odysseus has also directed me to ask if doing a discount plus self pay for those discounts that won't pair with a prescription plan would be cheaper to pay than what the cost is with the insurance picking up part of it, that the pharmacy can answer that question, now.  

Last week, I had a regular GP's appointment.  I needed a year's refill on another 'scrip.  Went through the appointment (I really hate seeing the doctor, and I've been having to see too many doctors, way too often, for the past four years, now), got the 'scrip promised...and now, I have to call the doc's office and bug the hell out of them because they didn't send it in to Sam's Club for me like they were supposed to have done. 

And, along with that, I need to keep trying to find somebody to do some repairs.  None of the handymen I've called have bothered to return the calls.  On to the specialists--roof repair, and some electrical.  I've almost got the brains to do that, but can't today--there's a noise box in the other room, and I need to not have to focus part of my attention on her.  I'll do those calls tomorrow.

Wish me luck finding someone that's willing to do the repairs instead of simply quoting a price to replace the entire roof that doesn't need replacing, yet. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Holy shit.

For the last two weeks, we've been having a lot of precipitation all at once.  I have a miniature lake out just past the driveway on the west end of the house where the sump pump line exits the crawl space (and boy, has that thing been constantly busy for the last couple weeks!).

Clearly, that hasn't been the only issue.  All of the ground is pretty saturated.

And it didn't freeze fast enough last weekend.  We had a winter storm hit with lots of cold and more wind than precip (we got a little bit of rain through the day Friday, and a bare dusting of snow Friday night/Saturday).  And it dropped a tree to the east of the house on the backyard fence.  Uprooted.  It's balanced between the roots, a stub of a branch dug into the ground inside the fence, and another main part of the trunk (it forked) braced on the corner post of the fence.

Yes, we tried to clear it.  We didn't realize a) how big it actually was,* or b) how precariously it was situated.  No, we haven't managed to do more than cut it down to a slightly more reasonable size.

So, today, I called a tree removal service, and mentioned the tree that went down on our fence.  I got an "Oh, bless your heart!" and a demand for the address, then a promise that they'd be here in half an hour (it was 20 minutes).  And the guy hops out, grinning, and said he'd trimmed the trees here years ago, and hustled around the house.  He's going to clear both the downed trees in the yard (there's a big one out past the fence that was here when we got the place) in the next couple days because the doc said his cancer didn't come back, and he's ready to get back to work.

His cancer.

I hate cancer, and I'm always happy to hear when somebody beats it.  No matter if I know them or not.

I will admit to having cheered for him right there, loudly and spontaneously.  Because I hate cancer almost as much as I hate Alzheimer's.

But he wants to get back to work.  And he said he was glad I called so that he could.

Yeah, his name/number's going into my planner for tree care.  Because there's other trees on the property that need dealt with before they become or cause a problem. 

*Tree was a good twenty inches in diameter or so.  And we had a 16" electric chainsaw.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Interesting insight.

So, yesterday, I asked my son to do something.  Something fairly small.  He was getting a drink of water, so I asked him to stay in the kitchen with me and get some things out for me to make supper because they were down low and my hips and knees were complaining about the weather and being out from under the electric blanket. 

He huffed, snarled, heaved a sigh, and got out the cookie sheet for tater tots.  Which he likes.  And I get a "Is that all?" spit in my face.  I called him (mildly) on his attitude, and asked him to also get out the big, nonstick skillet for burgers. 

And he huffed and snarled and groaned and got it out, then got snotty.  Again. 

So I called him on his attitude, and asked him where he got the idea that acting like that was okay.  Did he ever see me act like that?

Well, no.  But.  "You're Mom.  You're not supposed to act like that.  You're a girl."

Speaks volumes, doesn't it.  I don't have the influence on my son that I'd like to have.  I don't have the influence on shaping his attitudes and behaviors that I'd like to have.

Wanna know what does? 

His ADHD does--he doesn't rule his impulses, they rule him.  He KNOWS his attitude, when he acts like that, never fails to get him in trouble, but it's not something he's willing to curb in the moment.  I'm not entirely sure he's able to, yet.  I don't have him drugged into a zombie, and I won't drug him into a zombie.  Which means his impulses still rule him, despite a constant struggle for otherwise.

His peers do.  The other boys at school act like this.   Many of them are also hyper-smart ADHD kids ruled by their impulses.  He knows they get in trouble.  He knows he will get in trouble.  But since they act like that, he will, too. 

Dad does.  Dad is often as tired as Mom, but still does things.  But Dad grumbles.  Huffs.  Snarls.  I see some of the same attitude in Odysseus that I do in the imp, but it's nowhere near so pronounced in the adult as it is in the child, and unlike the child, the adult works longer hours every week, on much harder things, and comes home exhausted daily.  With no real recourse--adults' work is never done, while kids get after homework hours and weekends off. 



Children don't see that.  Just as girls follow the examples their mothers set (the pixie reads, picks stuff up, helps with housework--mostly quietly and without complaining), and that their classmates and other girls set, boys follow the behavior modeled by their male role models (teachers, sports stars, fathers, men in music and TV), and by their peers. 

I hear complaints all the damn time, from all around me, about "toxic masculinity."  And I see news stories of football players raised in single parent homes where their male role models were bums and abusers being given a pass because they're stars.  I hear "music" blasted from the local university's football field denigrating women and going on about hitting them, or putting them in their place.  I see men on TV either held up as boobs saved by the really smart women in their lives, or assholes like the ones in the "music" these boys are listening to, or sports stars they're looking to for role models.  And this is the example a lot of boys are living down to.  This may, in a lot of cases, be all the role models these boys have: either be a feminized soy-boy (and who wants to be a door-mat?), or be an asshole. 

So many, many boys do not have a father.  So many, many boys who are lucky enough to have a father have a father who's not present, or who's been emasculated by his wife or by the culture. 

Real masculinity isn't toxic.  Traditional masculinity isn't toxic.*  The image of masculinity presented by our current, poisonous culture is what is toxic. 

And the APA can go fuck themselves with their lack of understanding of traditional masculinity.

*Traditional masculinity isn't demonstrated by sportsball players.  It isn't demonstrated by musicians, or actors.  Traditional masculinity is that which goes out and provides for the family.  Traditional masculinity is about offering respect in the same measure it's given.  Traditional masculinity is inner strength, brought about by determination, understanding, and purpose.  Traditional masculinity is demonstrated by the husband that works and takes care of wife and children, resisting temptations set in his way by the world to cheat, lie, or abrogate responsibilities for whatever the hell reason. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Winter weather in SWMO.

We had snow forecast for Friday night and Saturday.

We didn't get snow.  We got a bit over an inch and a half of rain, instead.  Cold rain.  Soaking cold rain, on cold days that didn't get out of the mid-thirties in either direction. 

We didn't have any snow forecast for last night.  So what did we get?

We got a dusting of snow that was still coming down while I was dropping the kids off at school.  And it keeps coming down every so often in fits and spits. 

It was supposed to get up to the mid 40s today, with the sun coming out.

It's still cloudy, and has gone from 28 degrees when I dropped the kids to 30 just a bit ago.  No sun--or even thinning clouds--in sight.  I doubt we'll see either prediction come to pass for today. 

I don't care for cold.  I actively hate wet cold, just as I hate wet heat in the summer. 

Is it any wonder at all that I sprang for an electric blanket for my recliner in the living room this morning at Walmart? 

I wonder if we're going to get sun tomorrow, like they predict, or if we're going to end up with more frozen precip that was supposed to have hit us Saturday, but didn't.   

Thursday, January 10, 2019


...still not good. 

Which sucks.  It's surprising how fast you get used to decent-to-good days. 

Since I've gotten on the Armour Thyroid, I've had good days.  I hadn't had good days in a long time--I'd had a few decent days, here and there, but no good ones.  General pain levels have been reduced to the point that I often forget to take something because the pain's at the same levels without aspirin as they've been with it in the past. 

Better yet, I've had some energy.  I've been able to do some things.  I still have CFS flareups if I do too much (and I've triggered some by doing exactly that), what "too much" is has expanded, but only a little bit, but I've been able to get some needed things done that I hadn't been doing.

Hell, I've even managed to do some of it with the migraine I developed yesterday (and still have today). 

For instance:

This morning, I got up, got the imp out of bed and eating, started the kettle, started the pixie's breakfast, then went to get her up and getting dressed.*  Came back, put her breakfast on the table, made Odysseus a 30oz travel mug of tea, cleaned the cats' box, and went back to get day clothes on.  Came back out, chivvied the kids through finishing their breakfasts and feeding the pets, (and the imp through getting dressed) while I made sandwiches (honey peanut butter for the imp, pb & Nutella for the pixie) for them to pack in their lunches.  I was done making their sandwiches before the imp was fully dressed, or the pixie finished eating four French toast sticks and four strips of thin-sliced bacon.

Oh, and picking up and discarding a used-up cat toy (i.e., a dead mouse) left on the floor in front of what we use for an entertainment center.

Usually, I unload the dishwasher while the kids are eating breakfast, but this morning, I had to make lunches.  There are more days where the kids eat what's at school. 

Besides that, I can usually manage one or two other chores (not counting fixing supper).  But not more than that, or the pain levels start creeping up, I pop a fever, and can't do anything other than the bare necessities the next day (i.e., getting kids to school, getting them home, chivvying them through homework, and making sure my family is fed). 

Yesterday, I managed to finish filling the dishwasher and running it.  I did not manage to make a decent dinner for my family--I made macaroni for the spouse and kids as a side, fed spouse and pixie leftovers, and the imp had chicken nuggets.  And that was about it. 

Because yesterday, I woke up with a sinus headache, didn't manage to get it killed in time, and it turned into a migraine.  Yes, I still have it.  No, I haven't managed to unload the dishwasher yet--there's too much light in the kitchen.  And the living room, where my bag (which holds my sunglasses) is.  I'll brave that in a little while. 

But I do have the energy to unload and reload the dishwasher, and hand-wash the things that must be hand-washed.  Not the desire (who ever really does?), but the energy.  And maybe enough to clear off the counter a bit while I'm fixing stew for supper, now that the meat has thawed.  But no more than that. 

Today's headache isn't nearly as bad as yesterday's.  And I have hope that, with enough time, meds, and caffeine,** I can kill it. 

*I've found mornings work best if the imp eats while still in his pajamas, because he's nearly done and away from the table by the time the pixie gets there if he's eating while she's dressing.  There are fewer fights that way.   He's a morning person, but she takes time to wake up and is cranky until she does.

**Caffeine: the wonder drug.  One Anacin (two is too much aspirin), one regular strength aspirin, two Midol, and two cups of Earl Grey to help deal with the mild nausea that has accompanied this migraine.  So far.  There will probably be more Earl Grey consumed.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Bad timing

The kids' school started back up, yesterday.  The imp didn't start back with it.  No, he was sick with a fever on Monday.  Which meant he wasn't allowed to go to school by school rules yesterday. 

He did need the morning, at least.  He's always up by 6:30, and he didn't wake up 'til 8:30.  And was quiet until lunch, despite forgetting his "focus pill."

I did get him through all of his makeup work yesterday evening, despite his transformation into spaz-boy. 

This morning, I woke up with a sinus headache. And I still have it, despite Midol (contains an antihistamine), caffeine, aspirin, and sorta-sudafed. 

I did get some writing done yesterday, but I'm having trouble thinking today with the pain in the head. 

Why do these things (sick kids, headachy me) always have such horrible timing?  Everything would have been a lot more tolerable if they'd happened a week earlier during Christmas Break, when I was getting jack shit done anyway.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Okay, then.

I ordered a new Acer laptop on New Year's Eve.  And with it, I ordered season 2 of Night Court.  

The laptop arrived today.  The DVDs just left Texas today.  I'm sure even a little bit of snow is a major emergency for areas that really aren't used to getting snow.  And parts of Texas didn't get just a little bit. 

They got a clone of the storm that hit us in November, and had the kids out of school for a snow day.  The storm that dumped seven inches on parts of Joplin, and five on my house.

So yeah, the DVDs were delayed, but the mail carrier handed my laptop to me just before 3:00 pm.  

First thing I did was lock down my privacy settings and turn everything Cortana-related off that I could, and download Firefox.  Second was dump Norton and download AVG free.  Third was downloading iTunes (my preferred music player, by far), fourth was dump Office and download LibreOffice.   I still need to go in and set defaults for music and for documents, but...that will happen.  After I finish transferring documents, pictures, and music.

But I have a laptop to transfer files to, and one to pull files from.  And I need to get those files semi-organized.

Yes, I've already got my current writing project transferred and opened up.  Yes, I have already been working on it.

I forgot how nice it was to have a full-sized shift key, instead of a bitty little key the same size as the letters on the far side of the up arrow.