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.