Sunday, August 30, 2015

random ramblings

I'm late, on this.  In my defense, it's been a hell of a week.  Tuesday, I called a pest control service.  I asked for soonest available, assuming that it would be a week out. 

Nope.  The lady I spoke with told me they'd be out on Wednesday afternoon.  And I had that long to get my cabinets emptied out. 

With Odysseus's help, I got that done.  Started clearing the countertops, but didn't finish that part.  They came, they sprayed, they left, and I looked at the mess, and declared that I was not cooking supper that night.  I couldn't even really get to the stove. 

I spent Thursday morning trying to put the kitchen back together, and did well enough that I was able to make supper, and made chili.  It was delicious chili, and the person who came in to babysit the pixie (who had not woke up from her nap) stayed to eat chili with us.  Because I made a lot--somewhere around 3 quarts. 

Continued trying to put kitchen back together on Friday, between things going wrong (it only started with bad imp behavior--and didn't get better throughout the day).  Yesterday was a trip up to visit my in-laws, then grocery shopping, and we didn't get back home until around 5:30.  By which point I was exhausted. 

Note to self: definitely talk to doctor about this.  It cannot be normal.

The kids have continued acting up.  Maybe it was the so-called "supermoon" last night affecting behavior--I don't know.  I do know I'm about at the end of my patience with all the tantrums and refusal to follow instructions that both have been displaying.  Yesterday, when it was time to leave the grandparents' house, the imp set up a wailing, tearful fit that he didn't want to go, because he wanted to go outside and play some more. 

And that has been par for the course all fucking week.  If it was the "supermoon," then I anticipate another week of similar behavior...and I'm not sure my sanity will survive that intact.  Not without the application of more whiskey than I'm willing to drink, with my family history of alcoholism. 

The cats have been really flighty since Tuesday.  Their world got shook up with the kitchen being taken apart, and with strangers tramping through their house.  They're friendly kitties, and will come up to someone who's sitting on the couch that they don't know to check them out and maybe get some affection, but are rather frightened by a high level of activity by said strangers. 

I was ready to kill the last two students in the classroom, on Friday.  They decided to stay put in the room, despite being finished with the day's work, surfing the net right up to the last minute of class...which put me almost late picking up the pixie.  At which point I was faced by the tears of a small child who feared she'd been forgotten. 

I'm going to start kicking them out ten minutes from the end of class at the latest.  I hated that. 

I got 3K words written, last week.  Only 3K.  I've been too busy running like a chicken with its head chopped off.  I've gotten some of the second draft of a friend's book read, but nowhere near what I'd intended to have done.  I'm going to work on the reading today, while the next bit of my book gels in my head.  I'll have morning office hours on Monday to get more done, if I don't finish today (which I'm intending to do).

So far, I've got 30K words done on The Schrodinger Paradox, with another 8-10K words to go in part 1, and two more parts to write.  I'm doing my best to write, but life is getting in the way big time.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Need moar coffee...

It's been one fucking long fucking bad day.  Starting with the kids' egregious behavior this morning, continuing through hitting every intersection where I didn't have the right-of-way exactly wrong, and with two of my students keeping me right up to the last second of class to the point I was met with pixie tears because I was almost late to pick her up.  And she wouldn't nap.  And hasn't left my general vicinity since, and I need some fucking space after the fucking awful day.  

Cricket left me a lovely gift in the middle of the floor: a hairball the size of a tennis ball.  Right about the time I had to leave to pick up the imp.

And the kids' behavior has not improved over the morning.  It's not necessarily bad behavior, not constantly, but they are a lot more prone to fighting than they even usually are.  And I am less patient with their spats and their carelessness with each other, with toys, and with the dry-erase marker caps than I usually am.  

I want coffee.  I need coffee.  Coffee is my comfort drink.* 

I also need sleep tonight, because we have plans tomorrow. 

Fuck it.  If I don't get coffee, I'm going to end up screaming.  Either at the ceiling, or at one of the children.

FFOT: antics

I did not get my coffee*, this morning.  Due to various antics perpetrated mostly by the imp, we were running late.  Coffee got made, got put into a travel mug, but got left behind as I was trying to get the kids out the door.  And we were running late enough, courtesy of the imp, that I could not go back and get it.


The antics can definitely fuck off.  When, not if, they're repeated, Mama's gonna come down on the perpetrator (whichever child it is) like a ton of bricks.  

*I am not un-caffeinated, because I had a massive sinus headache for which I took a dose of Midol. But damn it, I wanted that cup of coffee.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Once more unto the breach...

Exterminators came yesterday.  Sprayed roach birth control all over the place, put out baits, and sprayed poison (non-toxic to children and animals, after it's dry) everywhere in the kitchen, bathrooms, a couple of places in the living room, and in a barrier outside. 

It's now dry, and I've got a kitchen to put back together. 

You never realize just how much crap you have shoved into your cabinets until you have to clear them all out for someone to come in and spray for bugs...

Wish me luck getting it done today...without causing myself harm. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sometimes, it's the little things...

It's been a rough day.  I don't deal well with dealing with the public--pretty bad case of social anxiety disorder--and I managed, despite that, to go grocery shopping alone, call to cancel the health insurance that we'd had for nine years, and call around to find a pest control company that wanted our money.*

On top of that, I've got a solid case of cramps.  I want to just curl up around a heat pad and drink 'til they stop, but I've got to go get the boy in an hour and a half, and I've got housework to do.

However.  At the grocery store, I found something that happens to be one of my all-time favorite things: jalapeno bologna.  I hadn't even seen jalapeno bologna in years.  And I found rice flour penne.**

Yes, I have a fuckton of work to do (clear out all the cabinets in the kitchen) before tomorrow morning.  Yes, I'm still jittery from my morning of doing things way the hell outside my comfort zone.  Yes, I probably should be taking some thyroid support supplements (and some B vitamins) and getting off my ass and getting to work.

But.  I've had a fried jalapeno bologna and sharp cheddar cheese sandwich, and another cup of coffee, and I feel like I can manage what I still need to do.

The little things bring great comfort.

*We've contacted two that wouldn't return our calls. 

**I wanted some pasta bake, and I've found I prefer the taste and texture of rice pasta over corn or quinoa.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

My take on the Hugo Awards*

Why bother?  I mean really, why?  It seriously doesn't even fucking matter. 

I read through the list of winners and placers from the beginning of the award (including the retro-award).  Most of the time, the better books did not win.  And the rot started around ten years before I was born (so, somewhere around 46 years ago).  Before that?  Some real, quality books were nominated, and often won.  Now?**  Yeah.  Not so much.

The only function that the Hugo Awards serve is as a popularity contest among a small group of people in a circle jerk, kind of like voting for homecoming/prom king/queen. 

And that...that is my take.

The Sad Puppies really need to tell the Hugo Award judges to go fuck themselves, and instead judge by what people are reading--and buying. 

*I have no dog in this fight.  I've looked at the Hugos for a suggestion of what not to pick up for two decades, now.  The books are, for the most part, badly written, preachy, and boring--except for when somebody manages to slip in a good story and it makes it all the way in.  

**Come on.  Two Harry Potter books have won or placed in the 2000's.  They are entertaining, but are, by no means good.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

random ramblings

The kids had a good week, this past week.  The imp is really shaping up, behavior wise.  I'm really proud of him.  His new kindergarten teacher knew him last year, and says that there's a huge difference in his emotional and mental maturity and readiness for school.  I'm thankful for that.

The imp is settling into his new routine fairly nicely; however, he's starting to get up at five thirty or earlier to play before school.  And he gets just loud enough to wake the pixie so that she comes to play with him. 

It's not as big of a problem on school days: I get up sometime between 5:30 and 6:00.  However, he also did that this morning.  And got loud enough, more than once, to wake us up.

I put him down for a nap when I put the pixie down.  And I explained to him that he'd gotten up far too early for him to have gotten enough sleep.  He isn't happy, but I think he gets it.  And he grew about an inch over the summer, when I was making him take naps every day, so...yeah.  I think he's not getting enough sleep, not because his bedtime is too late, but because he gets up too early. 

The pixie managed to hurt her foot--she tripped over one of the imp's toys, and managed to scrape between her littlest toe and the slightly bigger one next to it.  She's been subdued and whiny, since--apparently, it hurts.  A lot.  Most of the time.  Whether she's playing or sitting still. 

Last weekend, we got a laser pointer to try to get the cats to play a bit more (especially Shadow, the fat one).  It was...a dismal failure.  Even Cricket didn't care to play with it.  I might take it up for my sister to try out on her cat. 

I have two classes full of engaged, interested students, this semester.  I'm pleased.  I'm much less pleased to have three or four single Muslim men between the ages of 17 and 40 in my classes, partially because I trust them a whole fuckton less than my colleagues do, and partially because they don't understand, speak, or write well in English.  I mind them a lot less when they have no problems understanding the lecture, and can write a decent paper, because then I can interact with them a lot less.

So.  This week was rather non-productive for office hours.  Monday, I had to spend the first forty-five minutes rushing to the department to sign my contract, then back to the library...only to find that there was already a Comp II class in my classroom.  Wednesday, I needed to run to IT, but couldn't on foot (and wouldn't in the car because campus is batshit insane for the first three weeks or so).  It was raining.  So, I scouted around and found a good place for office hours.  It's the same as a couple of semesters ago, a cozy nook in the bottom floor that's fairly quiet and out of the way.  Friday, since it was dry, I had to run over to the IT department and get them to set me up with internet access.  Took up the first hour of my office hours again, but worth it.

I'll be starting standard office hours--and back into the writing--as of Monday.  I'll have next week to go through and write, and then the week after, I'll be picking up papers.

Tuesday and Thursday, I drop the pixie off, come home, do housework that I can't do with "help" quickly or efficiently, then go pick her back up at noon.  I haven't gotten caught up with that to the point that I can write, yet.  I'm sure I'll eventually get there.

Yup.  Routine.  Settling.  Getting frustrated, because the most I've been able to write is a few words here and there in my various draft books on three or four different projects.

Friday, August 21, 2015


To the brainless, mouth-breathing, flaming bag of douche that drove the tractor with the chop-trees-apart brush-hog attachement at 15 mph in a 35 mph zone for three miles through a main north-south route between my daughter's school and my lunch, I hope your tractor gets plowed into by a speeding, giant dumptruck, overturns, and pins you away from your phone, on which you spent the entire twenty-five minute drive (which should have taken about half that long, at most) alternately yammering, and braking without warning.  You, sirrah, can fuck right the fuck off with the brush-hog attachment directly powered by your rear exhaust.

To the oddly unChristian individuals in the Christian school parking lot, are you sure this is the example you want to set for your kids?  Really?  Running up on my bumper, flipping me off, and screaming invective that I can almost understand despite having closed windows because I chose to slow and let one of my fellow parents of a pre-K student (3-4 years old) into the queue to leave?  If so, you may fuck off with a poster-board of "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" made of rusty razor blades and barbed wire embedded in it, sideways, up your ass.  This is the second time you've done this, and I am glad my daughter was distracted enough to miss it.

To the students, I can't tell students who needed help to fuck off just because I'm late enough getting off campus to go pick up my daughter that I don't get to wave at my son through the door as he goes to lunch.  But that did kinda suck, since I missed one of the little things that brightened my day just a little every day this week.

To the stinking twatwaffle that shoved me sideways into a wall because you have such piss-poor planning skills that you were already fifteen minutes late for class: you need to lose about two hundred fifty pounds, at minimum, and start dressing like a respectable college student, rather than like you're advertising for specialized services to a certain demographic that prefers to fuck things with five times their body mass.  And you can fuck off chasing a rolling plate of nachos to help you drop at least a little bit of that weight.

Yes, my day has rather sucked.  If yours has, too, sound off in the comments.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In a perfect world...

This individual (can't call him a man, and calling him a pussy insults vaginas) would never have faced the test he failed.

Couple of kids decided to commit a home-invasion robbery.  Individual stood in their way and begged them not to go in his house, where his wife and kids were.  The kids shot him in the legs, and left him crying and bleeding on the floor while they chased down his wife and infant daughter to steal his wife's phone, then robbed the house.  The thugs escaped unharmed. 

As he was loaded up by paramedics, he was reciting Christ's prayer when he was nailed to the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  

The individual's mother in law called him a hero, but admitted that the thugs were likely to do it again, and were still out there. 

I'm gonna cut in here, with a little bit of commentary. 

This individual is NOT a hero.  He's a failure.  He's a failure as a man, he's a failure as a citizen, he's a failure as a husband, and he's a failure as a father.

First.  A man does not react as he did.  A man has the means, ability, and willingness to protect himself.  He had none of the above. 

A citizen does not rely on others to protect him or her.  And does not permit those committing violent crimes against him or her to walk away to continue perpetrating those crimes.  Any thug trying that at my home--my home where my children are playing and/or sleeping--is getting perforated.  Several times.  I have the tools and mindset to shoot until the threat stops.  I am a citizen.  The individual in question is government- and church-owned livestock. 

A husband that is not a failure does not permit the thugs to chase his wife, nor does a father who is not a failure permit said thugs to have access to his children.  This individual succeeded only in incapacitating himself, not in protecting his children or his family. 

Forgiveness follows contrition, or else it isn't forgiveness.  It's nothing more than a cloak for cowardice. 

This individual is not a hero.  He simply used Christ's words to excuse his own inadequacies. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Busy days...

I make a round trip between the kids' school and home twice on MWF, and three times on TTh.  It's four miles, one way.  Ninty-six miles per week. 

Monday, I spent trudging across campus, first one way from the parking lot near my class building, all the way across campus to the department I teach for, then back.  I got to campus a bit more than an hour and a half before class; I got my business done and back to my building about a half an hour before class. 

Today was less busy, but a whole lot more brain-dead.  I got the kids in to school...and managed to get my left foot tangled in my right shoelaces, and wound up with a skinned knee.  The pixie almost cried about it. 

Got the kids safely to class, got home, went to get a pixie...and discovered that clouds had rolled in.  The day went, in less than three hours, from bright, sunny, and pretty, to cloudy, windy, and sporadically spitting rain.  It got a bit heavier before I had to go get the imp, but did let up before I had to be on the road. 

I am not sure what tomorrow's going to bring.  I've got a laptop that won't access the internet, an IT department that wants me to bring it to them to mess with (and take God only knows how long), a single parking lot that I'm comfortable parking in, across campus from the IT department, and a forecast of more rain.  I'll have to see how things look in the morning.

On the upside, Odysseus is really enjoying his new job.  I haven't seen him enjoy a job this much since 2003, before he sold the computer shop. 

I'll try to write something for y'all tomorrow, with a bit more thought and substance, but I need to find a good spot for office hours, first.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Random ramblings

So.  Week one down of school.  Yeah, I know: two days is hardly the first week, but I think it counts.  Both kids did well, according to their teachers.  I'm hopeful for the rest of the year, in some respects, but the imp went into it sick and subdued (a cold), and the pixie picked it up from the imp as of yesterday. 

For that matter, so did I.  As I'm sitting here, typing this, an hour after the kids went to bed, I have a lemon and honey and honey whiskey hot toddy at my left elbow. 

I think the imp is settling into the new routine (and school is incredibly helpful with that).  Yes, he's still whiny and a little prone to weeping and tantrums, but it's lessening as the boundaries don't change, and he gets used to Daddy going to work just before he leaves for school, and getting home right around supper time. 

He's getting bigger, and some things that used to bother him worse in the past don't seem to bother him as much anymore.  Others...not so much.

One thing the imp is absolutely delighted by is his first loose tooth.  He spends a lot of time wiggling it.  

How is the pixie taking the changes?  Quite well, I do believe.  She hasn't seemed upset by anything.  In fact, she loves seeing Daddy in his work clothes: "Oh, Daddy, you look so handsome!"

I think she's also adjusting well to the five day per week pre-K.  She doesn't thrive in daily routines like the imp does, but it certainly does her no harm. 

The cats...are adjusting.  Both of them get a little bit clingy with the kids as soon as they get home, but that doesn't last too long.  I mean, yeah.  Cats. 

Speaking of cats, Cricket forgot how to cat yet again, yesterday.  She flung herself from the arm of the couch into the kitchen (crossing around four feet of carpet without touching the floor), skidded all the length of the kitchen, and body-slammed the bottom of a folded-up stepstool...which toppled over and squished a kitty.  I chased her down and ensured that nothing was actually hurt but her non-existent dignity (and it wasn't...seriously).  And after ensuring that she had nothing worse than bruises, I had a good, hard laugh at the scramble. 

Monday, I start back.  I've got both sites all set up, so all I have to do is get the kids dropped off, get myself in and parked, then walk across the campus--twice--to check in at the department, then go teach my classes.  Think I'm wearing these instead of these for that first day.  I also have the stuff I need printed already stuck in my class binder.  I'll need to take in a couple of books to leave in my classroom for student use and reference. 

I'll also need to figure out where I'm holding my office hours.  I do not want to share a large space with many desks and many leftist leaning, well-meaning morons with whom I get along (for the most part) until politics comes up.  I'd rather have a small room all to myself...maybe I'll talk to the library secretary about reserving one of the small study rooms for a couple of hours per class day...

I'm still working on writing.  It's taken a bit of a back seat to the mad scramble to get the new routines set.  And we're still working on that--it's a bit of a change to have to get up a bit before six to get myself ready, then the kids, then the kids' and husband's lunches (one kid eats at the school, the other in the car on the way home from school), and then get my coffee and catch my breath.  I've been crashing by ten or before for the past week, and that cuts into my kids are sleeping writing time.  Thankfully, office hours will fix that.

Once I get my music transferred from either the old laptop or the flash drive acting as a music player in the Subaru, that is.  I got most of it transferred, but somehow missed grabbing Starset's Transmissions album.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Deep breath of relief

The imp's teacher said he did great.  She seems easier going than the other teacher; we'll see how the imp does with her.  I'm hopeful that this will be a trend, but we'll see.  This morning, he was a very whiny, tearful imp that wasn't very well-behaved.  I really hope today's not any different from yesterday. 

I got one class site set up yesterday, while the kids were either out or asleep.  I just finished the other one a few minutes ago.  I have another forty minutes before I go pick up the pixie, so...break time. 

After the pixie gets home, it's lunch time, then work time while she's napping. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

1st day: half over.

I got a bit done--I've got the semester schedule set up for my classes.  And then, my laptop decided it was time to update and restart.

And then, it was time to pick up the pixie.

I'm going to spend the time she's asleep (what little there is) to get started on building my classes.  Should only take about four hours altogether--an hour and a half while she sleeps for nap, before I go pick up the imp, and two and a half after the kids go to bed.  And then, tomorrow, I'll have just a free morning to get some cleaning done.

I half dread picking up the imp.  I am afraid he was a very badly behaved imp.  I hope otherwise, but I'm braced for bad behavior.  It's been par for the course for the past two weeks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

rebuilding a professional work wardrobe

So...Odysseus is back to work.  Work attire is slacks (which he needs more of), button down shirts (ditto, and in colors other than white), and ties.  Ties he has, ties he can find. 

He's just under 6'4".  The slacks and shirts are a bit more of a challenge to find.  Most of what's sold in town doesn't fit where length is concerned. 

Thank God for Amazon.  Easier to find things that fit through Amazon than to hunt through all the stores in town.  Better yet, most things aren't taxed, and I can usually find what we need with free shipping.

My professional wardrobe is still under construction.  I need tops that don't gape at the buttons (which means, with my build, absolutely no button down shirts).  I have pants, some of which I haven't been able to wear in years.  I still need some nice blazers, mostly because my classroom is freakin' cold, summer and winter, because there are a couple of computer labs on my floor, and the computers function better that way, given the heavy use they see. 

Or so we all have been told.  No, it's not a sexist conspiracy--the men I work with whine about it more than the women do.  The women just dress in layers and bring blankets. 

The kids' school wardrobes are mostly done.  I had to order something for the imp that our local stores don't seem to carry, anymore: orange jeans.  We found some for him two years in a row, and those pants were his absolute favorites, to the point he wore them out before he outgrew them. 

His grandma turned them into shorts for him, with hemmed edges and everything.

I'll probably have to supplement as time goes on for the kids (the imp is outgrowing his socks, and between sizes in underwear), but their wardrobe is done for the year, and we only paid county sales tax due to the state and city suspending sales tax last weekend. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

And so, it begins...

Odysseus had an early day, today.  He's already on his way to work--has to be there by 7:15, for orientation.  He's looking forward to the challenge, and to the work environment.

I've been up since six.  I'll be getting up at that time from here on through the end of the school year--it'll be easier to get me ready before I chase the kids through their morning routines, especially on days I work.  I'm just about ready for my second cup of coffee (and it's just about ready for me).

I don't know what time Odysseus will be home, tonight.  Normal days, he'll go in by eight a.m., and be done by 4:30 p.m.; however, today, he's got orientation.  I don't have any clue what he's going to be up to, today.   He did to say goodbye to the boy--the imp wakes up around 6:15-6:30 a.m.  The pixie didn't wake until an hour later.  Most days, that will be the time he leaves for work. 

Tomorrow night is the back-to-school open house, for parents and students to meet teachers, and drop supplies off in classrooms.  I should be able to find out teachers' names and room numbers this evening. 

We'll have Wednesday with nothing to worry about for school for the kids, then school starts on Thursday.  Imp will be in all-day kindergarten, and the pixie will be in daily half-day pre-K 4 classes. 

I start back a week from today.  I'm going to spend this week getting into a morning routine for getting myself ready before I mess with the kids. 

Deep breath...I think I can do this.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Random ramblings

So, apparently, my imp is way more perceptive that even I thought.  He's been really insecure and upset about the rapid changes happening around here, and spent all of last week testing boundaries.  As of last month, Odysseus graduated college with an accounting degree, and was employed less than two weeks after graduation in the accounting department of a large local employer.  I think getting into a solid routine will help immensely--if I can manage to not strangle him beforehand.

I can't tell whether the pixie has noticed the changes or not.  I'm pretty sure that the cats either don't notice, or don't care.

Odysseus starts Monday.  He's got to be in by 7:15, which means he needs to leave between 6:30 and a quarter till seven.  He should be home by about five, most days--enough time for me to pick up the imp, feed the kids small snacks, get homework done, and start supper.

School starts for the kids next Thursday.  We have a back to school night at six on Tuesday (which means my dinner plans will have to be fairly quick and easy, since Odysseus will get home around five), and then the kids start back at 8:05 a.m. on Thursday.  The pixie will have a four hour day, five days a week, and the imp has a full school day. 

And I will have those two mornings in a row to myself.  I'll need to get my class sites built before then so that I can use those days to work on housework. 

I start back the next Monday.  I'll drop the kids off, then go find somewhere to set up for office hours.  I'll have about an hour and a half per day, then two classes, and will be done to go pick up the pixie at noon.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I'll have free.  I'm planning on doing what I can to keep up with the house on those two days.  Grading and writing will happen during my office hours.

It's going to be a hell of a juggling act.  We'll just see how well I can keep the balls in the air.  Hopefully, it'll be easier with both kids in school every day.

As for writing...I have the first part (of three projected) of The Schrodinger Paradox nearly done.  I've got three more chapters, and about 27K words.  I think part 1 will be nearly 40K words, if it doesn't tip all the way over.  Part 2, I've got 2.5K words done on, and have it set up to really take off when I can focus on it.  It should be about the same length.  Not sure about part 3.  I've got it semi-mapped.  I'm pretty sure this is going to be my longest work, to date.  Also my most complex. 

I'm having a blast with it.  The problem is finding the time and mental energy (and right headspace) to write.  Thankfully, 90% of the time all it takes is picking up my draft book, picking out and picking up a pen, and drafting longhand. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Much done, much to do.

We got out the door a bit before eight this morning, and avoided the "I ain't gettin' up 'fore noon, even to buy my kids' shit for school" crowd.  Got the kids' basic school wardrobes, supplies, etc. 

And, from here through the end of the weekend, I'm fucking hiding.  I want nothing to do with the crazy that will be clogging stores for the rest of the sales tax holiday weekend. 

Much to do refers to catching up on housework.  I seem to have a limited amount of ability to get up and get things done, and that kinda fell by the wayside Tuesday and Wednesday, and yesterday was me recovering.  I've gotten some more done, but...yeah.

And, of course, the ants took my lapse in getting dishes done promptly as a signal to riot around my sink.  Damn them. 

I also still have much to do in preparing for classes, and getting things organized and together for back to school night (which is this coming Tuesday), and then school (this coming Thursday morning--I'll have two half days next week in which to do housework without anyone getting underfoot). 

Monday will bring another huge change for my family.  My other half, Odysseus, has graduated from the university where I teach, and has acquired a job related to the second degree he has earned.  It's a done deal, papers signed and everything, and he starts orientation on Monday.  I cannot be prouder of him.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Time for one, deep breath...

We have been insanely busy for the past two days, since the weather was cool enough to take the kids and do some fun things.

Tuesday, we took the kids up to Prairie State Park where they have bison that roam free through the park.*  The visitor's center has a display of all the different things you might run across in that particular environment in an area about the same square footage as my living room, as well as a tank with a couple of fish and a turtle, and another tank with a tiny bull snake.  We went ahead and got them each a noisy little bird stuffed animal, made by the Audubon Society with accurate to the bird calls.  The imp has a rainbow bunting, and the pixie chose an eastern oriole.

After they explored the visitor's center (and touched buffalo hides the park had had stretched over some low tables for kids to touch), we took them to the picnic area for lunch, play time, and exploration.  Next time, we'll make sure the kids and I have water shoes so I can take them wading and see if I can't find something of interest to teach them about in the water, like mussels or crawdads, or something.

Then it was up to my mom's for supper.  We'd taken a roast up for her, and she fixed that.  Sadly, it hadn't been feed-lotted long enough for her tastes, and was a little gamey.  I liked it just fine--closer to venison than what you'd think of for beef.  The leftovers came home with us.  Think I'll get potatoes and do up a nice dinner built around the leftovers for supper tonight.

Yesterday, we took the kids to Branson.  No, we did not do any shows, or go to Steal-Your-Dollar City**--we took them on the two hour scenic train ride.  It was pretty fun.  They really enjoyed exploring the train.  Twice, for the imp.  I enjoyed sitting in the dome car and watching the scenery (I'm unstable enough on my feet when the floor's not moving.  No way am I going to go wandering a train without absolute necessity).

On the way back, we took them to Bass Pro's nature center in Springfield.  Yes, it's a huge store.  But there are alligators, fish, ducks, and turtles.  The kids really enjoyed the animals.

Today, we will be taking the imp to drop with his grandparents, and that's it.  All the plans we have for the day.  It's going to be nice to have a day to breathe without worrying about what-all needs to happen when.

Because tomorrow?  Starts the state back-to-school sales tax holiday, and we're going to get their school shopping done as early as we can tomorrow morning to avoid the worst of the crowds of morons and leaches, who tend not to appear until closer to midday--can't interrupt their sleep for school clothes and supplies, after all. 

*If you want to see the herd of buffalo, they're at the far corner of the park from you.  If you want to walk a trail, they're where you want to walk.

**Silver Dollar City.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Again, it's culture. NOT race.

So.  Recently, there was a black thug that got himself ventilated by a cop because he either (at the very least) started to drive away from a traffic stop that discovered his license was suspended, or (likely, but can't tell from the video) he grabbed the cop as he started to drive away, trying to drag the cop under the car. 

I say likely, because it's become a popular move with certain, inner city cultures. 

There is a certain crop of social justice warriors bullies out there that are aghast that black people almost invariably* have negative interactions with the police.   Well, maybe a large segment of the black population does have negative interactions with the police; however, how much of that is the fault of their own behavior?  They act out, getting up in the cop's face, and trying to intimidate them into going away.  They curse at them, act belligerent. 

How the fuck do they think police will react to a valid threat to their lives and safety?  Because that is what they are presenting themselves as. 

I've seen plenty of white people do the exact same things.  And I've seen whites have the exact same reaction from the police.

The neighbors from a couple years ago living in the house across and down from us with no electricity, heat, or water...their trouble with their kids getting yanked started when the cops saw the kids (three years, and eighteen months) playing in the unfenced yard, didn't see their mother watching them from the open door while she changed a diaper, and stopped to investigate.  She got belligerent and a bit nasty with them, her husband got verbally abusive, and their kids got yanked, and he got arrested.  No, he didn't get physical, just mouthy.  And no, he wasn't flung to the ground and beat--but he had been in the past, when he did get physical. 

He learned.  He learned from the consequences of his own actions, and he learned from watching what happened to others. 

You'd think that a certain segment of the population would be capable of learning the same. 

I am, by no means, trusting of the police.  The county cops around this area, yes, but not the city.  I've had too many belligerent officers (probably high school bullies) try to tell me and my family that we don't have the rights that I know we do.  I likely will not call the police for help with problems, and not unless it's absolutely necessary.


We do not act, nor do we react, with the same stupid, saving-face behaviors that the tribal-minded inner city thugs tend to, so I am absolutely unafraid that we will be physically harmed. 

*Buried amonst the other stories are ones like this, or this, that don't fit the narrative of racist cops murdering innocent black choir boys. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Random ramblings

This weekend is my mother-in-law's birthday.  Two weeks from Monday is my mother's birthday--she's two years younger.  Ironically, Odysseus's mother and mine had both of us at almost the exact same age to the day: he's almost exactly the same amount older than me. 
Yeah, we went to see my in-laws today, and permitted the pixie to overnight with them.  The imp chose playing outside for a while, then his Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon series, then playing a kids' computer game on the desktop over watching a movie.  The imp has just gone to bed with a book, and with the door cracked to let the cat in to sleep on him if she wants to.

We had some cooler weather this week.  It wasn't bad weather, just a cool front with drier air coming through--no storms for us. 

The kids enjoyed it a bit, but the nicest day was one where neither Odysseus nor I really felt up to taking them outside to play.  So, today, they took advantage of being at Grandma and Grandpa's (and the weather still being halfway decent) by playing outside until they were content with it.

The cats have been discomfited, yet again.  I got one of the things I'd intended to do done: I pitched the old printer, and got a pair of shelves to hold a bunch of stuff on top of the long set of heavy wooden shelves that act as an entertainment center/storage unit.  I'd cleared the clutter, first, so Cricket thought she'd found a wonderful, new sleepy spot. 

Sad kitty.  I won't even let her climb into the new shelves to sleep.

I discovered that I hadn't gotten all of my music off of my old laptop.  I may or may not be missing files, as well.  I'm going to ask Odysseus to try the trick that had it working all day the first time it started in with this little trick, and see if I can't get the rest of my stuff off. 

As I've done research on what may or may not have been going on, it seems like the cooling fan is going.  It may be fixable, at least enough for the kids to play with it.  I'm probably not going to trust it for writing and work, though. 

One of the things that didn't transfer was the album I've been writing to for the past couple of months.  I really do need that--it helps me think in this particular world.

I've pulled through and finished the chapter I was working on for the current Project.  Yes, with a capital P.  It's bigger than the short story I thought it was at first, and it's a lot more complex than the other things I've worked on, and has me jumping to research things more than once per chapter.  And it's getting more and more complex all the time.  I'm having fun with it, but I'm probably going to try shopping it out with Baen after I finish it.  It's...yeah.  It's some hard science, some social science sci-fi.  I'll probably finish sometime within the next six months or so, then go back to work on another project for a while.  After that, I'll do the edit thing, and send it off to whomever wants to beta read for me before I submit it to a real publishing house. 

I've got other news to announce next week.  Don't want to announce it too soon, though.