Friday, December 27, 2019

What an awful fap that was...

So.  I woke up at 4:30 Christmas morning with what I thought was an earache below my left ear, radiating down my neck, just behind my jaw.  I flopped a pillow over the affected ear, and tried to go back to sleep.  Got up and took an aspirin at 5:00.  And ended up with a cascade of other symptoms hitting, one after the other. 

Kids got up at 6:30-ish, like a school morning.  And they opened presents.  It was a lot of fun to watch, but I kept feeling worse and worse as it went on. 

I asked to be taken to the ED around 7:30 or 8:00.  The last time I requested that was when my water broke eight weeks early with the imp.  But...with the symptoms I was having, I wasn't sure it wasn't an emergency.

I wound up spending Christmas in the hospital, with blood drawn frequently (and not from the I.V. port already in, these were from new sticks.  Lots of other tests run, and me run all over the hospital for said tests.  And nothing by mouth until 4:30 or 5:00 p.m.  By that time, I was ready to bite someone for a drink of water.  My usual water intake is between a half a gallon and a gallon of water per day, and I had had...less than a cup by that point.  And I was going mildly nuts with thirst.

I came home yesterday before noon, with sticky patches all over the place, a bruise the size of a fifty cent piece inside my left elbow, and bruising all around the top of my right arm (those hospital blood pressure cuffs are vicious), and a new diagnosis of GERD, a new prescription for six weeks of a proton pump inhibitor...and orders to stop taking aspirin from one doctor, and orders to take a baby aspirin from another doctor.  I also came home with a doctor's orders to get a blood pressure monitor for at home, and check it twice a day, and take the record with me when I went to see my doc in three weeks.  (It's already a lot lower than it was in the hospital...and trending downward.)

I am feeling much better today than I was even yesterday, and I was feeling much better yesterday than I had been the day before.  But I am not going to do anything I don't absolutely have to, and am planning on simply reading a book for the rest of the day.  Odysseus suggested David Weber's In Fury Born...I started it day before yesterday, and I'm greatly enjoying it.  And I'm incredibly thankful it's a very long book, and that it was on one of the Baen free CDs they were putting in the hardbacks years back.  Because, while we have the hardback, it really is a long book, and kinda heavier than I could probably have managed day before yesterday. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

OH, FFS!!!

No grounds.

The Democrats have no grounds to impeach President Trump.  The Republicans that hate his fucking guts know that.  They also know that he's a vindictive son of a bitch, and did not vote in favor when the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives decided to dive face-first into the manure pile for a mud-wrestling* session.

Abuse of power?  Obama did that.  Bush II did that.  Clinton did that.  Bush I did that.  I don't remember Regan, considering I was a pre-teen when he left office, so I can't say one way or the other.  If simple "abuse of power" was an impeachable offense, every president for the last 200 years (with very few exceptions) should have been impeached.

This opens up #10 cans of worms the Democrats really don't want opened, in ways they really don't want those cans opened.

I do not like President Trump.  I do, however, respect the fuck out of him, and I do respect the job he's taken on, trying to clean out the Aegean Stables.  He's making decent progress, too.

Hence, this stupidity.

Dear God, they know not what they have wrought.  

*Mark Twain comes to mind.  Also pigeons and chess. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The end of an era

For the past several years, I've been clipping those Box Tops for Education from all of the products that have them.  I'd pack them into a sandwich bag until I couldn't fit any more in, and send them with alternating kids.  One year, I had a new bag filled every month.  That was a lot of box tops, and the kids' classrooms benefited.  

I gathered up the last few box tops this morning, put them in a bag, and sent them with the pixie. 

That's it.  There are no more, and there will be no more. 

Not because the program has ended, but because it has...changed. 

I noted, recently, that things that had had the little pink square on them (or two, three, four, or more), were...harder to find.  There were fewer products with that little pink square.  I think Kleenex was one of the first brands to stop putting it on the packaging.  Time was, I could get a big package of boxes of Kleenex from Sam's Club, and cut a dozen box tops off of the plastic packaging. 

They've disappeared from the Motts Apple Juice, the Progresso soup cans, and now the Old El Paso canned goods.  They've disappeared from a lot of cereal boxes, and from the brownie mixes I get. 

Note well: many of these brands haven't necessarily stopped participating. 

The box tops organization changed things up.  Now, instead of taking the box tops off the individual products and sending those to your teacher... download an app, and scan your store receipt. 

Uh, no. 

For several reasons, no. 

First reason: you need a smartphone to participate.  I do not have, nor do I want a smartphone.  I have a flip phone with a camera.  It's as much as I need, and I have that only very grudgingly.  I hate cell phones with a purple passion...the only reason I have one at all is that I drive, and have the kids in the car with me most of the time.  It's a safety device. 

Second reason: while I shop with Amazon (which tracks my purchases) and shop at Sam's Club (membership...does the same thing), I am not in favor of having all of my spending tracked by whomever wants to track it.  I do not see how it's anyone's business what I purchase and when.  And, by forcing us to scan receipts, that's exactly what this stupid program has moved to doing.  If it was scanning the individual things that participate in the box top program, it would be different. 

Third reason: there's no way this program has a database secure enough that it won't be hacked.  There's no way the spending habits of millions of people won't be used by the unscrupulous.  Which includes the governments of cities, states, and nations.  Assuming they wouldn't be automatically granted access from the get-go. 

I had been spending the little bit more to get Kleenex brand tissues--something like $5 more per 12 boxes than the Member's Mark generics that I like just as well from Sam's Club.  That has changed.  Same with spending a few cents more per can for enchilada sauce, or taco seasoning.  Beans, refried beans, and brownies will just be made from scratch (lot cheaper than buying pre-prepared). 

And a direct donation to the classrooms can and will be made instead. 

Monday, November 25, 2019

Convince me I'm wrong.

Convince me that letting your kid go to public school isn't implicit or explicit abuse.  Convince me that there are still arguments in favor of public education still being allowed to exist.  Convince me that "socialization" is more important than building a foundation of knowledge and understanding for a later development of critical thinking.

Oh, wait...

You can't.

Today, the neighbor's grandkid hustled up at 8:30 a.m. to see if my kids could go out to play.  When I asked him if he was aware of what day of the week it was, he got an utterly blank look cross his face, and he stuttered, "but...but...Thanksgiving Break!" 

My kids are in private school because of shit like this: the kid gets half days every fucking Friday, and full days off three or four times a month.  There's no emphasis on spelling or on math.  The kid doesn't know history, and barely started learning science my pixie learned last year (in 2nd grade, and this kid's in 4th or 5th grade).  So.  What are they learning? justice and brainwashing.  I don't think he reads on a 2nd grade level, either. 

And...he's not stupid.  He's actually pretty damn bright and creative.  BUT. 

That school system is geared below what I consider the minimum (my own education--he's behind where I was in the same grade in an utterly shit rural district).  I'd blame Common Core, but Joplin schools were already bad.  Common Core has simply exacerbated an already existing problem. 

And the area "good district?" 


Clearly, the middle school has been used as a pedophile grooming station for a while.  At the very least, this school year.  Someone was reported as having inappropriate sexual contact with their middle school students.  One--only one, but there's likely more--came forward.  The event happened last Tuesday.  The district called him into the office on Friday to allow the city police to arrest him. 

Not Tuesday, the day it was reported.  Not the next day after surveillance camera footage was reviewed. 


When socialization in public school districts starts Lord of the Flies style and devolves from there (and it does), when kids are warehoused rather than actually educated, when they're groomed for sexual cannot convince me that letting your kid attend public school is any less than negligence. 

And, anymore, the case can easily be made for outright abuse. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Bad start to the week.

Last weekend was wonderful: the weather was beautiful (in the 60's on Saturday, and approaching 70 on Sunday).  I had some warning that all was not well on Sunday, considering I woke up whining in discomfort (and I don't whine), and it didn't get better all day.  But the weather was gorgeous.

And then...


The warmest it got on Monday was at midnight.  Then around two or three, the oncoming weather system hit, and the temperature started dropping.  And dropping.  And then it started sleeting and snowing while the temperature kept dropping. 

I'm thankful that the two days of really nice weather meant that the half to 3/4 inch of ice and snow we got didn't stick, but...this morning when I woke up, I still checked email to see if the kids had school or not.  (They did.)  Because it was forecast to have gotten down to 14 degrees this morning.  (It was actually 11 degrees when I got up at 6:30, according to the weather report--it's usually a few degrees colder here.)

The fireplace heater and space heaters in the bedrooms almost managed to keep up overnight, but not quite.  Yeah, the heat pump kicked on, and that means the emergency heating elements had to be used.  I'll see what I can do today to keep it from happening again. 

I did a lot  of baking last night.  Supper tonight is going to be made in the oven--I'm making tortellini pasta bake.  I use the dried tortellini you can buy in the pasta aisle at Walmart--usually get the spinach and cheese, because it sneaks extra veggies into the imp, who doesn't like most veggies.*  It's like normal pasta bake, but bakes longer--about ten minutes longer before you pull it out and add the cheese.

Tomorrow's supposed to be back up to 40. 

In the meantime, we're waiting on the plumber to get back to us--our sump pump went out last week, and we found out on Friday that that was installed all the way wrong, too--wrong pump, wrong kind of pump, and not hooked up correctly to either power or the drainage.  I got a quote, and it's doable.  Not comfortable, but doable.  He just didn't have what he needed to get it fixed Friday, and didn't know when he'd have the time in his schedule to get back out here to us. 

He did leave us with a loaner pump.

But yeah, Odysseus is right--they're probably swamped with emergency calls from people that didn't take precautions against frozen pipes last night.  I'll count myself lucky if I hear from them by tomorrow. 

Friday, November 8, 2019


Note to self: don't do a double-batch of beef stroganoff in the instant pot, then let the pressure off fast.

Last night, I made a big batch of beef stroganoff.  I'd asked my mother-in-law over, but she forgot, so I've got a lot of leftovers of the meat and sauce without noodles (makes an incredibly good gravy over a baked potato--yum). 

I'd decided to make it last month--and I decided yesterday morning to make it in my instant pot.  Because stew meat cooked in that turns out utterly perfect. 

So, I dumped in about 2 lbs of stew meat, 2 cans of mushroom soup, about a third of a pound of sliced mushrooms, a chopped onion, and a cup and a half of beef bone broth, and a couple of sprinkles of Knorr beef bouillon for a little extra flavor.  And then I thought about it, and set it to soup/stew, and left it running for half an hour.

When it was done, I turned the valve for quick release.

That...was a mistake.

It made a HUMONGOUS mess.  Sprayed stroganoff sauce through the pressure relief valve, and splattered the cabinet doors, the counter, the back side of the pressure cooker, the lid, the handle--the only reason nothing else got by mushroom soup and beef broth was because nothing else was close enough. 

And thankfully, the sauce was thick enough that it didn't hit the ceiling. 

So, yeah.  Sauce was thick enough I don't have a bigger mess to clean up than I could manage without help.  Still thinner than I wanted, and adding only sour cream/Greek yogurt would thin it even more.  So...I adapted.  I halved the amount of sour cream, and substituted in half a brick of cream cheese. 

It turned out utterly delicious, and even the imp liked it (the pixie liked the noodles, but wasn't happy with the rest of it).  It's going on the regular meal rotation for during the winter. 

But I do need to remember--next time, let the pressure come off naturally. 

I'm pretty sure that cleaning up that giant mess is going to etch that into my memory. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Planning ahead

As y'all know, I've been using the FlyLady's system for keeping house.*  I've been kind of using it, bits and pieces, on and off, for a few years.  Well, this past year, I really got stuck into it.  She has a habit a month she wants people to get used to, and get started using in their own lives.  November' menu planning.

I've been working on this for several years, now.  And it helps.  Not just with the grocery budget (and saving for tuition), but with my energy, both physical and mental. 

I have to admit, it's a lot easier to do in the winter--it's not so hot I don't want to cook.  I don't have to check to see how hot it will be in the coming week before I plan meals around prep method and daily high temperatures.

Sunday suppers are usually my make-a-lot-of-leftovers meals: usually chili or tacos, during cold weather.  And then those leftovers become lunches pre-packed for Odysseus to have during the work week.  If there's not enough for the whole week, I'll plan a pasta night (pasta bake makes another couple of lunches).  Sometimes on weekends, I'll make soup or stew, as well, and that's my lunches for several days (or, in the case of some soups which do well frozen, lunch here and there for weeks). 

At the end of last month, I looked at the trending temperatures (chilly, and heading colder fast--we had SNOW before Halloween, and we're in SW MO, half an hour from Oklahoma!), and then I got the kids' November lunch menus.  And I sat down and planned all the meals for November.  It's not hard, and planning ahead like that means you DON'T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT what to fix when you're tired and fried from trying to keep house, write, and keep the kids focused on what they are supposed to be doing (homework, studying, etc). 

Thing is, it helps.  It helps with everything.  It curbs the kids whining about wanting to know what's for supper--they know they can just go look at the calendar, and either eat what I fix (most of the time) or fix something for themselves.   It helps with the grocery budget because I'm not buying a whole lot of stuff that I forget about that then goes bad before I fix it.**  It helps us resist the impulse to eat out...or to eat junk.   It helps me know how much housework I can/should do before I start supper so that I have the energy left to actually make supper (and sometimes enough left after that to do a few more things that I put off to make sure I could cook).

Life is so much easier if you just plan what to fix for supper before it's time to actually start supper.  So much easier to just look at what's written on the calendar, as opposed to standing with the fridge hanging open, scratching your head and pulling a blank, while the kids are whining about being hungry.

*I heard a lot of "either do it right"--i.e., my way--"or not at all."  So I never learned how to keep stuff put up...or how to keep the house clean-ish.  Enough for company, at least.  I'm learning, and I'm at the point that some areas take minimal daily or weekly upkeep vs. massive efforts to get anything picked up.  

**I'm really bad about forgetting food...especially veggies, or stuff marked down for quick sale.  

Monday, October 28, 2019

Definitely Missouri--pronounced misery.

So.  We had rain from last Thursday until Saturday, and it never broke much past about 50 degrees any of those days.  Yesterday was 70 degrees, sunny, and gorgeous.  Today? 


Fifty again, and cloudy.  With rain, at least, projected for most of the rest of the week.

Wednesday and Thursday we have possibilities of snow and sleet. 

I really hate this.  And it's compounded by last week's adventures.

So.  Wednesday morning, I woke up with symptoms of an infection.  I swung by my doctor's office and had them run a lab to confirm and send a prescription for antibiotics to Sam's Club's pharmacy.  And they did, but...the one they sent was one the pharmacy had down as one of the things I'm allergic to.  A sulfa drug.  Which my mother had told me I was allergic to. 

I do not remember an allergic reaction to this antibiotic.  I don't even remember any side effects at all, much less bothersome ones. 

And the pharmacy wouldn't fill it and hand it off to Odysseus when I asked him to pick it up.  I had to call the pharmacy and explain that my mom is allergic to it, and that Mom is notorious for confusing side effects and allergic reactions, and couldn't remember if I actually was or if it was just her.  So, I had to go get it myself, Thursday morning.  Feeling like I had the flu (common, for me, with infections). 

The pharmacist's only request was for me to wait on my first dose until my other half got off work so he could watch for problems. 

Also on Thursday of last week, we had parent-teacher conferences.  And, for the first time, we didn't have to drag the kids along, and leave them sitting in the hall.*   Which was a major plus. 

Friday, the pixie and I both had an appointment with the optometrist.  And I didn't have to drag the imp to that, either. 

By Friday night, after the third dose of antibiotics, the flu-feeling was starting to break up.  Yesterday, it was gone entirely...and then we had this weather system move in last night.  

Tylenol, aspirin, and an electric blanket are what I can use to deal with the pressure/temperature change induced liquid "painkiller" until probably Wednesday, since the antibiotic (which I'll be finishing Tuesday morning) says not to drink alcohol while taking it. 

And of what's available, the electric blanket and my yoga gloves seem to be the most effective. 

*My mother-in-law has, with the loss of my father-in-law at the end of June, moved from where they'd lived for fifteen or so years, an hour plus away, to twenty minutes away from us.  And she really likes living in town, and in this town in particular.  Especially since it lets her go eat lunch with the kids on a regular basis...or babysit. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Choice is important

Most parents feel they do not have any choice about educating their sprogs.  But there are choices, and they do have their pros and cons. 

Public School

Let's start with public school.  Government funded and run education.  Most of my readers already know the cons: the teachers don't know the subjects they're supposed to teach; they indoctrinate rather than teach; there's no discipline in the classroom; the environment is chaotic, and bullies thrive on that; and smarter, more advanced students are, at best, ignored, and at worst sabotaged. 

Still.  That said.  There are still pros to public school.  They're few and getting fewer for parents of normal kids, but they are there.  And for parents of heavily disabled kids, they're a blessing.  First of all, due to several different sets of laws, public schools are required to bring in any kind of specialists needed to educate kids that are non-verbal through autism or other disability, kids who are bound to motorized wheelchairs through physical disability and need physical therapy as well as several interventions to allow them to acquire an education, and the speed better suits kids who just aren't as bright as normal.  Or kids who have difficulty with a home life that doesn't support fast learning (irresponsible parents who don't fucking feed their kids a decent--or any--breakfast is a big one).

Here's the biggest pro that makes most parents think that public school is their only choice: it's free.*

Private School

Next: private schools.  This choice can be broken down further by whether the school is secular or religious, and by duration (i.e., is it elementary, elementary and middle, or all the way?).  

First con: it's expensive.  How expensive can depend.  First, is it secular or religious?  Second, are there discounts, or scholarships, or financial aid that families can get?  Third, are their discounts for more than one child?

Our local secular school costs more than twice per year what the local university does per two semesters plus summer.  There are discounts for university professors' kids, but that still didn't put it into my family's reach.  I think they also had scholarships for need and for academics, but...they also, from what I noted, produced Greta Thunbergs that tended to wilt at the first sign that nobody was taking them seriously. 

We have several religious schools.  I can't speak to all of their cost schedules, because many of them are only K-3, or K-8, and I didn't investigate closely.  The Catholics have a K-12, and there's an evangelical protestant Pre-K3 through 12. 

The Catholic schools produce incredibly excellent students.  They coast through college, because they can.  They also cost quite a bit.  If you're Catholic, they charge less, but I'm not sure what they do for families having more than one kid in school at the same time.  If you're not Catholic, you pay the full amount, and I don't think there are discounts for siblings.  (It's been a few years since I investigated.) 

And the evangelical protestants...this is the school I put the kids in.  They do cost, and quite a bit, but less than either of the other full-duration options.  They cost about half again what a full year at the university does...but that's for both my sprogs, not just one of them, like the secular school.  There are discounts--parents pay full cost for the oldest, next oldest has a $500 discount, next one down has another $250 from the second kid's discount, and more than three?  The rest don't pay tuition.**  There are also hardship scholarships for families in a financial bind.  We had to take advantage of that one year.  They have payment plans where you can pay in one chunk (cheapest), two chunks (that one charges a little for processing both payments), or monthly during the school year (each payment includes a processing fee). 

 For the second con: bullying can be a problem.  However, unlike with public schools, the private schools' bullies tend toward the psychological: mocking the victim, or simply pointed exclusion.  Physical bullying is not tolerated.  And, if it gets to be too much, there's always another school or another option (see the last category). 

Third con: depending on the school, the curriculum is challenging.  The kids are working through the Abeka Books curriculum.  I, personally, really like the full curriculum.  It's fast paced, and isn't easy.  They blend similar concepts--especially in math, where they teach addition with subtraction, and multiplication with division.  They start with the broad strokes in history, then go back and add more and more details year by year.  Spelling is taught and tested from Kindergarten on, and cursive is taught starting in 1st grade.  I'd say about a third of my high school classmates would have been unable to keep up (the bottom third of my class).  There isn't a whole lot of support for disabled students, either--they brought in a speech therapist for my imp to get him up to speed when he was little, and they'll bring in occupational therapists on a part time basis, but the goal is to get the kid to not need them rather than support the child. 

As for the pros: in pretty much all private schools, the teachers are closely vetted for whether they're safe to be around children (as opposed to what you're seeing all the time in the news with teachers literally fucking the kids in public school), and they're also closely vetted for competence in both teaching and in their subject areas (unlike public school teachers that, when asked for help, tell the students to Google it because they don't know how, either).  Private schools use good curricula, not the frankly dumbed down and horrid Common Core (which public schools aren't even doing well with).  Class sizes are smaller--most people aren't willing to pay for what they think ought to be free, and that shows up best in class size. 

Best of all, the kids aren't crammed in a classroom with troublemakers that prevent them from learning.  Troublemakers are disciplined, and chronic troublemakers are expelled, unlike how public schools handle things.

However, there is a third option if your kid is being bullied past what they can deal with. 


This is the option I'd initially planned for before I even had kids. Yeah, I'd have to choose or create a curriculum and pay for the materials (and the curriculum), but it fit the budget a lot better.  Also, my experiences in teaching echoed this writer's.  I wanted to homeschool my kids because I wanted to give them every advantage and chance at success.

And then...then, my son refused to let me teach him or help him learn. Not anything. Nothing. He hid while he learned to crawl, pull up, walk, ride a tricycle, etc.  He simply will not learn when I am the teacher...or when his dad tries to teach him something...or his grandparents, or aunt. 

And then my daughter started wilting and only perking up when she was at the park with a lot of other kids.  She perked right up into a bubbly, happy little girl when we enrolled her in preschool, and only wilts during the summer, now. 

So. Both of my kids are in a private, religious PreK-3 through 12 just up the road from our house. And they're thriving, and a couple of years academic development ahead of their publicly educated peers. My daughter is about a year ahead of the neighbor's grandson...who's two grades ahead of her in public school.

Homeschooling is still an option if bullying becomes a problem. But right now, they're happy, and doing well enough. 
Funny thing is, there are politicians that would remove those choices.  There are places in the country where homeschooling is frowned on, heavily regulated, and parents risk jail if every i isn't dotted and every t crossed in the official paperwork required.  There are places where regulations placed on private school are so onerous that it prices it out of the reach of even the upper middle classes.  Places where, traditionally, school choice was supported by vouchers for students to attend the schools of their parents' choice (wildly successful in Washington, D.C., in particular) until the politicians demolished the program, dumping the poorest back into the worst districts.    
Choice is important.  Not every parent will choose wisely, but having the choices available is important.  Because not even every public school is equal.  
And this country was based on that right to choose: for families to choose which version of faith to follow (or none at all); for individuals to choose their own path, rather than have it pressed upon them by what class they were born into.   

Choosing your child's education is, perhaps, one of the most important choices a parent can have.  It's important that the choices be there, and not be regulated out of existence by pretentious snobs that want only their (substandard) children to have the advantage of a decent education. 

*Actually, it isn't free.  It's paid for out of property and other taxes.  State monies apportioned to specific public school districts come directly from that district's property taxes.  It's one of the main reasons why better, higher class income neighborhoods have better schools.  Well, one of the reasons, anyway.  There are others.  But all property taxes partially pay for the local school districts, whether you have kids or not, and whether your kids go to those schools or not.  Yes, that's theft.  No, there's not a lot we can do about it.

**When we were enrolling the kids initially, there was a family going through the formalities of getting their youngest school age kid started in the preschool class for the three year olds.  They already had four kids in older grades, and had two more too little for school.  There would be no way they'd be able to give all their kids the same school experience without that policy, and how do you choose?  Which kids do you leave out?  This family size may not be the norm over all the population, but larger families sort of are the norm at the school the kids attend.  

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The homeless problem

It isn't recent. And it isn't just a lack of housing, or a lack of money for housing that makes it a problem. 

Actually, it wasn't nearly as much of a problem before the de-institutionalization movements in the '60s, which both halves of government (left and right) jumped on for different, short-sighted reasons. The left believed institutionalization of the severely mentally ill (schizophrenia, etc) was inhumane, especially when they were perfectly functional when they took their pills.*  The right looked at the monetary cost in tax dollar spending and flipped.**

More on that in a bit.

The homeless camps, worst on the west coast thanks to bleeding heart, utterly impractical leftists (but still bad on the east coast), are incredibly dangerous.  They're a pestilent, disease-ridden shit hole, bleeding out into civilization.  They're fecalized environments that aren't safe either for their denizens, nor for the functional, civilized individuals that are forced into contact with them. 

They also play host to the violent.  Sometimes, that violence is planned, sometimes it isn't.

The homeless camps, and the homeless within them--often feral, often incapable of function in society, often simply fucking useless and lazy--are a flat-out danger to the rest of us, both civilized and those of us who only pretend to be.***

One third of the homeless population are mentally ill to the point of inability to function in society.  To the point that they don't even see a need to try to function.  And why not, when they get all their base needs met by government programs designed to feed the homeless, funded by money stolen from taxpayers by a government that does not care about the taxpayers it's supposed to serve. 

Before the de-institutionalization movement, these people would have been housed.  They'd have been warm, fed, cared for.  Borderline functional.   Now? 

Now, they're the people on the street, mumbling to themselves and avoiding eye contact--if they're the non-violent types.  Or they're the types randomly attacking people because they see something pretty that they want...or because the voices in their heads tell them to bash the six year old on the sidewalk because it's Tuesday. 

Now, they're the ones dropping like flies in the heat, freezing to death in the cold.  Because there are no beds where they can be cared for long terms. 

Now, they're the ones spreading typhus, typhoid fever, leprosy, bubonic plague, and drug-resistant contagious infections like tuberculosis.  Granted, a few of those have been re-imported through our porous southern border, but the homeless camps are breeding grounds for the diseases.  Because they have no sanitation.  And because about a third of the people living in them have no clue why sanitation should even be a consideration. 

We, quite honestly, need--badly need--to bring back the asylums.  Even with the reputation of abuse and experimentation on the inmates (mostly false, but often enough true to smear all), we need to bring back the asylums. 

Because not all families are physically or emotionally capable of taking care of their relatives with mental/psychiatric impairment. 

*The problem is that the pills--which are only a treatment--work so well that those with the issue being treated think they're cured.  And. Stop. Taking. Them.  These people need a keeper that forces them to take their meds every damn day at the right fucking time.  And often, their families either can't or won't do that.  So they end up on the streets.  Where the family is willing and able to supervise their relative, I don't have an issue with the crazy not being warehoused.  However.  If/when that changes, the institutions should be available.  And aren't.

**Governments--local, state, and federal--spend a fuck-ton more on trying to serve the homeless than they ever did on the institutions, which kept so many of those who would have been homeless off the streets. 

***A lot people attacked do not see the danger coming at them until they're bleeding on the ground, or in the process of being raped.  Civilized to the point of being domesticated animals.  The rest of us simply are so wary of being prosecuted for protecting ourselves that sometimes we don't react in time to put the threat down. 

Monday, October 7, 2019

Musings upon parenting

I've recently been thinking about it a lot.  Parenting.  Whether I'm doing a good job at it. 

Truth is, I don't know.  I won't know until my children are adults. 

The proof is in whether or not they leave home.  I'm trying to give them all the skills they need to do exactly that.  I'm also trying my hardest to not cripple them. 

Currently, I'm trying to instill habits: study habits, household maintenance habits,* a work's really hard, especially with really smart, strong willed children with cognitive abnormalities.** 

I will know I'm successful when they leave home, and have the skills to take care of themselves.

And that's take care of themselves.  Not take care of me.  Not take care of my siblings.  Take care of themselves.

I've got a whole host of examples of what not to do in pursuit of this.  I have the hardest part coming up: I have to let go.  I have to be willing to let them fail. 

Yes.  Exactly.

I have seen, recently, a teen repudiate parents who were trying to protect her.   Honestly?  I think the parents approached a lot of the issue in exactly the wrong manner for positive results, even if they were right. 

They are in the right by not allowing her to have "her" stuff.  Stuff that they bought for her.  She's denied her father and refused her name--in "public" on the book of faces.  Left the house with nothing but the clothes on her back, and the phone in her pocket.  No meds, nothing else she needed (her mistake).  Fine.  Her decision.  Her right. 

However, her parents have the right and responsibility to refuse to enable her in her stupidity. 

They do not have the right to cripple her with fear and guilt to keep baby right there under their wings, never to fly, but maybe to sing.  And they're not trying. 

Another family...ever hear of an enmeshed family?  It's codependence taken to a whole new level.  It's something that takes a healthy level of "selfishness" (i.e., self-preservation) to escape.  Yeah.  That's where I came from. 

When I managed to get out, I got out despite sabotage, tears, guilt trips, "but I worry about you because I love you!"  Among other mess.  At that time, my mother lived at the bottom of the driveway in a converted garage/machine shop, and my grandmother (suffering the mid-late stages of dementia) lived at the top of the driveway with an aunt that worked full time.  I did not have a photo ID, much less a drivers' license (and I was nineteen).  I managed to, in spite of the demands on me to help "take care of grandma," get the hell out, go to college, and meet my other half.  It was hard.  But I made it. 

Fast forward 21 years.  I'm still away.  My sister.  Isn't.  My grandma passed eleven years ago this coming Thanksgiving.  But now, that place is taken by my youngest aunt.  Who has brain-damage induced dementia, due to spousal abuse.  The other aunt?  Isn't just working full-time.  She's living with the middle aunt, who's got cancer.***

My aunt, the only one that worked full time, owns the property my mother still lives on.  She swears she's going to will it to my sister and one of our cousins.****

The result?  My sister is going crazy.  But.  Won't.  LEAVE.  Because "Isn't it the least I can do to help, since she's doing this for me?" 

I've explained why I think this is a bad idea.  No, a BAD IDEA.  All caps. 

But they have her brainwashed and guilted into thinking that this is her duty. 

She has never left home.  She's never succeeded--she's been sabotaged, and worse.  Because where I was pushed and not permitted to give up by the woman who kept sabotaging me?  She learned.  She learned that, pushing me to get my high school diploma instead of letting me get out of school where the bullies tried frequently to get a reaction (they failed), she instead made it possible for me to find a way out. 

My sister?  Yeah, she let her be "homebound" with a district not willing to work with a homebound student.  She dropped out.  She never got her GED.  Yes, I have crippling social anxiety, too, but I managed.  I think she could, too, if our mother would push her into it. 

She has, after all, succeeded in driving.  But that's only because Mom pushed her because Mom has cataracts. 

I honestly do not think my family deserves to have my sister picking up all the slack and taking care of all of them.  They've failed her in a massively huge way. 

I quit enabling them long ago.  I do not give them money, I don't help them with bills.  I'll take food if they're that close to the edge, but...yeah.  I don't owe them anything, either, no matter the hinting, attempts at guilt trips, and wailing.  I just wish I could convince my sister that she's not helping them, and is only harming herself.  I wish I could convince her that they've failed her in almost every way possible. 

I really don't want to be that parent.  I don't want to be the parent that sabotages my kids in the name of keeping them my babies.  That's failure.  No, not on the kids' part. 

On mine.  As a parent.

So I push my kids.  They're in a damn good school that's moving at least two years faster than the better local public schools (and light years ahead of the bad ones).  I don't let them give up.  I don't let them half-ass the work.  They hate the homework, and they hate me for making them do it. 

But they'll have the advantage of having a habit of hard work when they get

*I never learned how to keep house.  It's only been recently that I've begun learning.  And I'm trying to teach the kids as I'm learning...which is really, really hard.  Especially while I'm still building my own habits.

**I don't count ADHD as a disability.  Nor even a handicap.  He's so very hyper-capable...of things he cares about.  The problem is the things he doesn't care about.  And in getting started on stuff he needs to do and wants to get done.  He's not, however, incapable.  

***Breast cancer.  And cancer in the lymph nodes behind her stomach.  Inoperable, that last.  And untreatable, because treatment will kill her with the state of health she's in.  So.  Really, it's sort of hospice.  

****Yeah, bad, bad, bad idea.  Sharing a property is a horrible idea, and is not going to work.  The way this is going to end up is with my sister homeless and helpless, after all is said and done--because she's got no options, and she's on SSI-Disability.  What's going to happen is that the place is going to have to be sold--at a massive loss, since there've been no repairs done for decades--and the money split...which is going to kick her cleanly off government assistance, with absolutely nothing to fall back on. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

I need to experiment more often, if this is the result

So, this morning, I pulled out some chicken leg quarters to thaw and bake.  And then changed my mind and decided to do chicken breasts, instead. 

I decided to use the chicken leg quarters and experiment in my instant pot, because we're headed into soup weather, it's hard to find soup that tastes good that I can eat, and chicken leg quarters are cheap to experiment with.  I dunno what to call it other than yummy. 

2 chicken leg quarters*
1 can enchilada sauce**
 2 cans Ro-Tel
1/2 c white rice
1 can corn
1-2 cans black beans
2 c chicken broth or stock

1. Toss the chicken, rice, enchilada sauce, broth, and Ro-Tel in the instant pot, select for meat/chicken, and set it to go for 30 minutes (set the time manually, if you have to).  Let off the pressure when it's done, and remove the chicken (careful--don't grab the drum stick, or you'll come up with nothing but bone: the chicken just falls apart).  Shred, then add back, and add your corn and black beans.

Delicious soup.  I'll see how it is tomorrow for lunch, all warmed up.  With cheese.   

*Chicken breasts can likely be subbed in, but probably won't turn out as rich and flavorful.

**I used hot; you use what you want.

Monday, September 30, 2019

New experiences

We did a first for us, this past weekend.  The kids were out for a teacher in-service training day on Friday, so Odysseus took the day (and today) off, and we went on vacation.* 

We went to a former state teachers' union resort that Odysseus's mom took him and his family to a couple times a year throughout his childhood.  There was no phone service, no internet, no TV, no radio...nothing.  Nothing but a lot of acres of woods, with lots of places to explore; simple cabins (ours had one room plus a bathroom and a screened in porch); home cooked, family style meals; games; and a river to play near (or in, with a parent close by). 

It was a LONG drive to get there.  Something like 3.5 hours (even if it was 4 lane the whole way, 2/3 of it was 65 mph or slower). 

I got a bit of reading done.  Got a bit of writing done.  The kids weren't in the cabin most of the time--they were out playing, exploring, making friends, and discovering new foods.  The imp discovered it's not biscuits he doesn't like, but biscuits made with hard wheat flour (I got some southern style biscuits, today).  Both discovered that fried chicken's pretty darn good, and that beef stroganoff is delicious (even if they don't like egg noodles...but that can be adapted).

They got to see things like minnows, river snails, skinks, turtles, paw-paw trees (and fruits).  And water coming out of a rock on the side of a hill (a spring). 

*I have not wanted to drive long distances with both kids in the car up to now.  This was a test, and it went quite well.  And the kids have asked to go back to this little resort next year.  And at this point, that looks likely. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

I have been seething.

I have been seething since last November. 

As fast as our current POTUS is working to undo the last fuck-up's policies, there are a few he can't undo as easily. 

Eighty thousand Muslims settled in one place.  To the point where they elected two adders into the House of Representatives. 

Today, it kind of boiled over for me.  Because some people did something.

And the whore who said this now has citizenship.  So does the slut who wrapped herself in the Palestinian flag (whatever Palestine is supposed to be--it isn't, and never was, a country).  That can't easily be undone.

Honestly, at this point, I'm thankful--to the bottom of my soul--I'm no longer teaching.  I no longer have to pretend I'm not watching the middle easterners more carefully while giving them A's to get them the hell out of my classroom without wasting the effort to grade plagiarized papers.  It was really hard, especially at this point in every fall semester, to keep smiling and pretend that I'd forgotten.

I haven't.

 How can anybody forget?  How can any real American forget what that ideology did?  How can any real American forget that Tlaib's people (and likely she, herself) danced in the street in celebration of the towers going from whole and beautiful to burnt, blood-stained debris?  How can any American forget that most of the Muslim world joined her in celebrating the loss of lives from eight-some-odd countries on those four flights? 

Real Americans haven't forgotten. 

Traitors, on the other hand...

...we seem to have an overabundance of those in Washington, DC, in the State Department, and in university faculty and administrations. 

I won't forget.  I can't forget.  I have a grudge.

Monday, September 2, 2019

What a cock-up.

So.  The kids' school started a 3rd through 5th (or was it 6th?  I forget, now) soccer league.  I asked both kids if they were interested.

The boy, who went into 4th grade this year, was.  So, I signed him up and paid the fee. 

Got contacted by the 4th grade coach, got practice days/times set up, and wrote everything down.  I thought I could hand it off to Odysseus, let it be a father/son thing.  They kind of need one, and haven't really found one, yet.

And then.


I got another email. 

Since the imp had to redo kindergarten (he wasn't really ready, the first time, but made a spectacular attempt that had him go from a year or two's worth of development behind his classmates to almost ready for 1st grade), he was...booted up.  Not doing the program with his grade group, but with his age group.

On a different day and time.

Which we weren't ready for.  We hadn't gotten him his cleats or shin guards, because he'd been sick.

So, Odysseus took off a few minutes from work, ran to the local sporting goods store, and got the imp his cleats, and a pair of shin guards.  But.  Imp was still too sick (wheezy) for the first practice.  I let him make the decision.  He came home because he wasn't breathing well.  And we tried his equipment on.  The cleats fit, but the guards...really didn't. 

We've got a handle on it, now.  He went to his first practice last week.  They're supposed to be on Mondays and Wednesdays, from just after school to 4:30.  This week, since Monday was Labor Day, he's got practice tomorrow and Wednesday...first game Saturday. 

Yes, this coming Saturday.

No, I haven't heard what time. 

No, I don't know where they're playing. 

No, I don't yet know who they're playing. 

It's the school's first year doing soccer at these grade levels.  I'm cutting them a little slack. 

But damn.  For a first rate school, this is one hell of a cock-up. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Sweet, sweet silence

The kids went back to school, this morning.  It's been quiet.  I've been able to get a few things done--I do have more to do, but not as big of a list as I'd had to start with. 

But it's quiet. 

There's no TV going, no fighting, no yelling as they play, no arguing over some minor point in whatever they're doing. 

So far, I've managed to get a load of dishes done (dishwasher AND the few hand-wash things), a load of my clean clothes sorted and put away, clean towels folded and put away, and a load of towels and bathrobes put in the washer.* 

I've also gotten some planning done--housework planning for the rest of the week and zone 5 (living room), and supper planning for the next seven days or so. 

Because I've had the energy.  I've not been breaking up fights, or trying to herd the children through their daily chores.**

Better yet, I've still got three hours and enough energy to actually do some writing.   And enough time and energy to finish the chores that still need done for the day, now, and after the kids get home from school on this first day back. 

*Yes, I've had to sit down for a half an hour between fifteen minutes or so spent on chores.  But I've still been able to get back up because the energy filled back up enough to do so.  

**Parenting is way harder work than housework, even harder and more draining than the heavy chores.  And herding the kids through learning how to do it is a lot harder and more draining than doing it myself, but doing it myself and letting them skate is doing them a massive disservice. 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

What a fun day...

If you're ever around Strafford, MO,* and you've got a little time you can spend, I strongly, strongly recommend their Wild Animal Safari.**

SO many animals:

*Just a little bit east of Springfield, MO.  

**Definite misnomer.  Them critters ain't wild.  They're greedy, demanding, and some stand in the road until you throw buy treats in the gift shop before you set out. 

Friday, August 9, 2019


The kids are done with swim lessons for the year.  They had an end of season party they attended with Odysseus a week ago.  Since our last name's first initial falls before M, I was asked to send a sweet I made brownies.  According to Odysseus, the other kids (and a few parents) fell upon them like ravening wolves. 

So, Monday, I went to visit the vampires again.  The phlebotomist again tied the rubber band around my upper arm and poked at my elbow, shook her head, told me I had "some of the most stubborn veins I have ever seen!" and took the blood out of the back of my left hand with one quick stick that I barely felt.

I got the call from the endocrinologist on Tuesday--thyroid levels are normal and stable.  I get to stick with the same dose.  And I don't have to test again until just before my December appointment.  Seriously, this hasn't happened since I got my thyroid removed in '16.  They kept stepping me down until they got me to 75 mcg of synthroid...and that was TOO low.  But the next step up was too high. 

I may well have needed the T3 that's in the desiccated porcine thyroid gland that I've been taking for six months, now (last four have been the same dose). 

Even better, there's no difference I can tell between the name brand (Armour thyroid) and the generic (NP Thyroid)...except for $63. 

Next week is going to be hectic.  Tuesday, I've been asked (by the kids) to go back to Walmart because that's when Endgame comes out on DVD.  Tuesday night is back to school night, and Thursday, the little monsters darlings go back to school for the 2019-2020 school year.*

 Maybe I'll be able to find a little more energy if I'm not having to deal with the kids fighting or clinging (or both) to finish up the garage sorting and clean-out.   Maybe I'll be able to find enough more energy to get the house into passable shape if my energy isn't being sucked dry by sudden, random bouts of screaming (sometimes it's screaming giggles, but that split second trying to figure out if it's laughter or rage can sometimes eat up surprising amounts of oomph). 

They're sort of looking forward to going back to school--they miss their friends, but neither one is looking forward to the sheer amount of homework they're going to end up with.**

*I love them dearly, but I am incredibly tired of being stuck in the house with them while they're bored and bickering.  I'm...just tired of dealing with all the crap.    

**It wouldn't be nearly so much homwork if they'd just fucking do it when they're supposed to do it rather than farting around and not doing it, or if they'd knuckle down and do it instead of complaining about it.  I've seen the imp accomplish things in twenty minutes that other nights it takes him from the time he gets home to supper time, then from just after supper to bedtime to get done.  Because he's too busy playing with ANYTHING in front of him, or complaining, to actually do the damn work.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Spoke too soon...

Session 4 of swim lessons: the pixie blew off the instructor and just played in the water on Monday.  And got in trouble.  Tuesday and Wednesday, she paid attention, followed instruction, and Wednesday, the instructor and the boss talked to me about advancing her from basic lessons into advanced (they learn swimming strokes, etc).  From 35 minutes four days a week at 10:00 to 50 minutes, four days a 8:30.  Because the later one was full. 

Oh--the imp had been, until Wednesday, having trouble floating.  And the boss took him after lessons, and tried a different position.  He's got NO body fat.  He is, according to the doc's office, 4'7" and 60.4 lbs.  Yeah...he could not float in the standard on your back floating position.  At all.  He'd relax, and sink like a little rock.  But this new position...he floats.  She says he'll be ready to move up, too, before too long.  I think, since he's now one of two kids in the group (he moved to the 8:30 group, too), he'll do better.

So, I've gone from being able to wake up at a fairly reasonable time to...having to get the kids ready and out of the house before 8:20 to make sure we make it on time before the instructors are ready to start to get settled, get sandals stripped, and get terrycloth bathrobes set down.


I got another new pen.  Our anniversary (15th, if you're curious) was a couple weeks ago, and Odysseus had me order a pen I just discovered: the Moonman 600S.  It's a replica of the Parker Duofold, and is seriously pretty.  I got it in a sort of teal green, and will probably get another in blue at some point.  I really like this pen.  A lot.  Not only is it flippin' gorgeous, but it's incredibly comfortable to write with.  I spent most of the swimming lesson this morning writing with it.  And I can't write that long at a whack with ANYTHING.  Half that long is the best I can usually do--about 2 A5 notebook pages.  With frequent breaks.  No, with this pen, I did four pages and only broke when my son came for his robe, then went back to it. 

I think I have a new go-to pen.  If I can find the right ink.  The gorgeous Black Swan in English Roses seems a it.  Damn it. 

And I've got five and a half pages (of A5 paper) to transcribe and expand on from my draft book. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Been a busy week

Monday wasn't so bad--little bit of shopping early to get a few things that we didn't find at the specific Walmart we went to on Saturday.  Then swim lessons for the kids (they froze, getting out--it was about 71 degrees when we got there at 10:00, and 72 degrees when we were leaving, and cloudy).  Got home, got little bits of housework done, and it wasn't a strain. 

Tuesday...little different, there.  Tuesday was my oldest aunt's birthday.*  So, I did my housework all before we left for the kids' swim lessons at 9:45, and got the kids rousted through getting ready to swim.  And getting their clothes packed to take with us.  And packing stuff so my sister didn't have to plan and make supper like she was doing lunch.  And we left. 

Swim lessons went great.  And the kids were mostly happy on the way up to their granny's for my aunt's birthday lunch.**  But.  My aunts.  The two youngest decided it was time to remind me why I hate holidays and family get-togethers: they bickered and fought and competed for attention the entire fucking day.  And they did this on their older sister's birthday.  The one who's been helping them out and taking care of them.  And I couldn't just leave, because the other half was bringing up my old recumbent exercise bike for my mom who can't walk far anymore, but needs to move so she can keep being able to move. 

And the stress and the extra effort put in dropped me right into a fever- and pain-spiking, brain-fogged CFS attack.  Tuesday evening was bad, yesterday was worse, and today's still...not good.  Better than yesterday, but still not good.  Pain levels aren't as bad, but energy levels are still really low, and brain fog levels are high (even though not as bad as yesterday).   

Through that, though, I've still managed to not fall behind on the critical chores: dishes, cats' box, and bathrooms.  They're now autopilot habits. 

Next week will, I hope, be easier: I'll have the kids' swim lessons, but that's all I've got on the docket for right now. 

*My mother had an older brother (leukemia took him in...'88, I think), and three younger sisters--the one with the birthday yesterday is 7 years younger than mom.  The other two are 10 and 12 years younger. 

**My oldest aunt still lives in my grandma's house.  It's at the top of the driveway, and Mom's house is at the bottom of the driveway. 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fucking duh.

One of my aunts is reasonably new to Facebook (she also has dementia, so I'm eagerly anticipating the day she forgets how to use it).  She shared a story.  That has me rolling my eyes so hard that they hurt. 

Because the concept is something that makes someone an adult: you don't have to react to things the way people want you to. 

When you do, you let other people control you with your emotions. 

And the author of the piece?  IS STILL SLOWLY LEARNING THIS. 

And then it struck me: this is what's wrong with most of the country.  I haven't seen anything but emotionally charged messes reported in the news; haven't heard anything other than emotionally charged arguments from politicians, scientists (and isn't there something wrong with that), or city civil servants.  In fact, I'm not sure I have ever heard a logic- or facts-based argument out of anyone except a few classical liberals and leave-me-the-hell-alone libertarians.

Most people haven't learned to not let others control them by their emotions.

I learned it in elementary school.  It made me, to be honest, damn-near bully-proof.  The only things they could do to get a reaction were physical, and they never got the reaction they wanted from that, either. 

I am TRYING to teach the concept to my kids, but I'm's difficult.  But then again, they're ten (the imp--he won't be 11 until October), and eight (the pixie--her birthday's in December).

Adults should learn this long before leaving high school.  And I haven't seen evidence of this happening.  I'm still not sure why.  So I don't have a solution. 

Who the hell knows.  Maybe we should be teaching people how to handle bullying, instead of coming down as hard on the bullies?  Maybe we should start shooting education specialists that keep insisting that self-esteem comes before acquiring skills (instead of because of it), leading to really shallow pools of will and strength?  Maybe we should just start shooting education specialists that suggest we should punish the kids that hit back when they're bullied.  I don't know.  I do not know. 

Monday, July 8, 2019


I'm waiting on the mail to run.  I ordered a copy of Office '07 from Ebay.  Claims to be Office Pro, with licenses for five machines.  I'm hoping it's an accurate description.  If it is, and it works, I'm storing that sucker for the future. 

As I wait, I was thinking.  My other half and kids watched 1776 the evening of July 4, while waiting for the sun to set for fireworks.  I listened and paid attention, because it's honestly one of my favorite movies.  I love the dialogue and the music. 

As I did, I came to an utterly startling realization.  A couple of them, really. 

First: the only thing that's really changed about our government and how it works is the size of the chamber and the number of loudmouths in it.  They were horrible and nasty to each other: mud-slinging, insulting, and everything we deplore in our current politics. 

Well, one thing's definitely changed: they're nowhere near as witty as they used to be in their insults.  Then again, I'm pretty sure we don't have a Franklin in politics, now.  With the skeletons in his closet, there'd be no way for him to survive the sharks.

I am of the opinion that Ted Cruz is today's John Adams.*

There was wrangling, boredom, fretting at the lack of getting anything done, irritation at the weather,** and irritation at colleagues abstaining from most, if not all, votes (New York's rep--the state couldn't agree on instructions to send). 

You can see the exact same shenanigans watching C-Span. 

And second: the philosophies haven't changed, even if what the parties call themselves has.  Instead of Whigs and Tories, we have Republicans and Democrats...but the names don't necessarily line up with what the political philosophies boil down to.

Freedom vs. Statists.  Freedom vs. slavery, though not necessarily called that. 

It comes down to the difference between being a citizen and being a subject.

And those "cool, cool, considerate men," those in favor of slavery and in favor of staying under British control?  They are still around today.  They're the ones still in favor of a government controlling people's lives and livelihoods.  And they're in both parties.  In nominal and factual control of both. 

The only difference, anymore, is how fast they want to crush the rest of us under their well-shod heels.

I am a Whig, if I am anything.  I favor freedom.  For all.  And I favor allowing people to face the consequences--good and bad--of the choices that they make, rather than diminishing the good and cushioning the bad. 

I am a leave-me-the-hell-alone libertarian.  And I'm pretty sure Mr. Adams and Mr. Franklin would approve (even if I'd have to slap Mr. Franklin a few times). 

I am also all set up with Office, so I'm going to go get to work.  Cheers!

*"I am obnoxious and disliked, you know that, sir."  

**It was hot.  Sweltering.  Keeping windows closed made it worse.  And opening windows with no screens plus horse crap in the streets (and human crap in the outhouses) meant flies. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day

Damn it.

I found an old desktop that had Office '07 on it.  I got it set up on Wednesday, and started it up and used it to finish my draft of Gods and Monsters, including a new chapter.  Fifteen hundred words. 

You know, I'd forgotten how nice it was to work with a program you don't have to fight with to get it to format things the way you want it to.  One or two commands, and boom.  It's done for the whole document.  Instead of having to go and fix the same problem, over and over, everywhere you find it because the program won't let you select all and do it all at once.

In any case, I finished formatting G&M, got the copyright stuff, acknowledgements, Table of Contents (set up and formatted to what I wanted), the chapter written, and the author's note and the afterword all done.  

I saved the document to the hard drive. 

I did NOT save it to a jump drive, as I should have. 

That was stupid.  Because Odysseus shut the computer down to do something with it and now the damn thing won't start back up. 

I broke down and ordered Office '07 from EBay in the hopes that it will work.  Because LibreOffice isn't doing one of the things I need it to do.

You really do get what you pay for.  And free may be good enough for some things, but not for others. 

All I want is for the stupid tower to finish booting up one more time so I can grab that finished draft. 

I'm praying for it to fix its issues and boot up so I can grab that finished draft.

If it'll just do that, I won't ever bother it again. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Gone to shit

So.  I last wrote last week.  I was working in the garage, and on the final edits to Gods and Monsters.  Up until recently, I had no real complaints with the LibreOffice Writer program.

Now, I do.

I cannot get it to update page numbers in the Table of Contents without fucking up the entire table of contents and throwing the page numbers out of whack again.

It just will not do what I want it to do.

Well, last week, I found what I think may be the last desktop I had Office and Word on.   Downloaded from a disk, not blodged on with a loan from the university.  I think.  I may be wrong.  If I am, I'm...I think I'm going to wind up having to either rent the damn program or risk buying it from Ebay with the risk that it doesn't come with a key that hasn't been used.  Which I hate.

In any case, I am still trying to fuck with LibreOffice Writer to get it to do what I want it to do, but I'm also getting increasingly frustrated with it.

Well, scratch that.  I was messing with it last week.

This week...we've had a serious blow.  My father-in-law, who I loved dearly, passed away in his sleep Saturday night or Sunday morning.  We got the call Sunday morning, and Odysseus spent Sunday and Monday helping his mom get stuff done.  And I...I've been randomly dripping tears, clogging up, and developing sinus headaches without any emotional relief since Sunday.  I haven't been able to focus on anything productive since then.  And I don't know when I'll be able to.

Hell, I can barely think or talk about it.  And again, I don't know when that will change.

God above, the next few months are going to be hard.  The rest of the week and the next couple are going to be damn near impossible.

So, seriously.  The past week has taken such a nosedive that it's not even something that I can articulate. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

'Bout time.

We moved into this home two years ago, on Memorial Day weekend.  I've spent two years trying to get a handle on the house.  It's not been helped by six months working while doing everything else (I worked fall semester 2017), and it took another six months to recover. 

And this while trying to figure out how to work within the constraints of an actual disability--not a handicap, a disability.* 

That has been helped, as much as it may be, by getting on the right thyroid medication (a much older one) and the right dosage.  Yes, I still wind up doing too much and having really, really bad days, but I'm also having good days.  And days where I can do a little more than I used to be able to. 

Like recently.  I started in on the garage.  I'm finally unpacking the last of our stuff from the old house.  I'm sorting stuff to be thrown away, given away, or put away.  More of the first two categories than the last, honestly. 

We've already done one trip to the recycling center with broken down boxes.  We've run four 13 gallon bags of give-away clothes to the DAV, and there's more.  More boxes (a pile knee-high of flattened ones, and a dozen more to be flattened), some electronics, and a busted cookstove for the recycling; more clothes (two more bags so far of give-away clothes, with more waiting to be put through the wash, and more to be found), an old but still functional TV, and a portable dishwasher to go to the DAV; and something like eight big black trash bags of broken, worn out, mouse-chewed, or otherwise trashed papers, wires, or things I honestly can't recognize. 

We really need to make a trip to the dump.

This has taken a week to do.  There's at least another week (maybe more) of work.   And then...then, we'll be completely unpacked.  All the boxes emptied and dealt with.  All of the paperwork found and dealt with.  All of the knick-knacks found (and a lot of them donated, because I've never been one for most pointless clutter), the books brought in and shelved (finally, even though a lot of the shelves are double stacked or more). 

And the garage...the garage will be mostly empty.  Unusable as a garage,** but empty.

And I have plans.  That garage will be half (or probably less, considering) workshop for Odysseus, half play/art room for the kids.  I've been promising this for the two years we've been here.  The imp wants to move his Hot Wheels tracks, launchers, and wooden blocks out there to build cities, because a carpeted bedroom isn't the best for the cars to keep going.  Both the imp and the pixie want to move all of their art stuff out there, and would like to be permitted to paint.  Which has also been promised. 

It's been more than two years since I first made that promise.  I'm finally keeping it.  I'm finally able to keep it.

Best part?  I can throw a lot of the worst of the mess in the house out into the garage, which will make it easier for me to keep the house presentable.

*A handicap means you have a harder time doing things, but that you can do the same things that others can.  A full on disability means that you're limited in what you're capable of.  Having a bum knee is a handicap, because I'm still functional, but slowed.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome removes function.  And lays you out with a fever and severe joint pain if you do one thing too much...even something as little as showering at the end of the day, some days.

**One of the overhead doors is altogether broken.  As in, we likely could get it up, but the brackets holding the rails are breaking and/or broken on one side, and the whole mess would probably come down on our heads.  The other problem is that the truck is too long to fit in the garage, and we likely couldn't open the doors if we put both the truck and the Subaru in the garage. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019


I've been trying to catch up this week.  And having a very difficult time, because I don't think I let myself fully recover from last week.  Thank goodness zone 4 only needs little bits.  I've got the decluttering done on my side of the master bedroom; and the other side only needs a little bit more done.  But I've now got extra room in my dresser drawers, and the top of my dresser holds only my (broken and in need of replacement) jewelry box. 

And it's been a very busy week all week.  

This week, the kids have been spending an hour and a half a day in a summer enrichment class held at their school (school calls it "camp," but camp should be more than an hour and a half a day for four days for one week, doncha think?).  Lego/technology/math enrichment.  They put together Lego sets that go with the Lego filmmaker program thing, and make short movies, with platforms for Apple, and for Android/Windows.  The imp is working with one platform, and the pixie with the other. 

Tuesday, I had an endocrinologist's appointment while they had camp.  And Odysseus took the day off because the endo appointments take forever.  I wasn't sure I'd be out in time to pick them up.  I was, but it very easily could have gone the other way. 

Funny thing: I'd seen the nurse practitioner in the endocrinologist's office for the past two visits (December and March).  I'd asked for a change to Armour thyroid (natural replacement--dessicated porcine thyroid gland), and the NP obliged, starting with a low dose twice a day (30 mg).  Then added a 15 mg dose in the morning six weeks later, then upped it by 15 mg in the evening in March.  When I went in at the end of April for the blood work, she said that my numbers looked better than my records had showed for years. 

Tuesday's appointment was with the actual doctor that I'd been seeing previously.  She'd figured out that one of the binders in the generic levothyroxine was making me react like it was wheat.  It was blocking the hormone from being useful to me.  She switched me over to Tirosint, which was much better.  But she kept having to tinker with the dose, hadn't gotten the dose right up to that point, and I still had a lot of hypothyroid symptoms, more and worse than my blood levels said I should have, even when the dose was "too high."  But on the natural thyroid replacement, I've felt better, and my blood levels seem to be just about right.  Which surprised the doc, because most people do NOT do that much better on the natural stuff--most people do equally well on the synthetic T4 supplement. 

I wonder, now, if I'd just needed the T3 supplemented all along. 

Wednesday, the kids had their well-child visit.  Today, I've taken them up to Mom's.  Because I needed a way to distract them from the end of their "camp."  And we hadn't seen my mom and sister for a couple of weeks.  I'm just having to be careful how I move because I torqued my back early this morning a couple hours before time to get up.