Sunday, November 29, 2020

First Sunday of Advent

 When I moved from low church to high church, I was introduced to the concept of Advent.  It is a beautiful tradition, but one that didn't fully make sense to me.  At the time.  

And then...then I became a mother.  And though I didn't carry either of my babies to their due date, I find I understand it a bit better.  It's...anticipation, breathless anticipation (partially because there's no room to breathe with a baby taking up most of the room), joy, and welcome.  

Also worry.  She knew her Son had a Destiny.  

As a mother, I understand much of how she must have felt...only, unlike her last month of pregnancy, mine was secure, sheltered, and protected.  Hers...was either spent walking, or riding on the back of a donkey, likely not knowing where or when her next meal or next sheltered place to sleep would be found.  I spent my last month of pregnancy in the care of midwives.  She didn't, and likely had no one but her husband to help her deliver her Son.  

It's...humbling. Something that makes me think, meditate on both motherhood, and His mother. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


It's the time of year that Americans tend to reflect upon their gratitude--Thanksgiving.  I thought I'd share a few things for which I feel grateful.  

I'm grateful--very, very grateful--for my home, the six acres that came with it, and the fact that I can boot the kids out and they vanish into that six acres for a couple of hours at a time, in good weather.  I'm thankful that they love our property as much as I do, and have been doing their best to keep it nice.  I'm thankful, as well, for the garage that offers extra storage space, and a place for the kids to do messy crafts...when we finish getting it cleared out.  Yes, we are still working on that.  Yes, we have been working on that, on and off, for three years.  No, we're not finished yet.  

I'm thankful that we've been able to afford the maintenance that the house has needed.  And that we've been able to afford the kids' tuition, considering the school district we're in is utter shit.  

Honestly, I'm glad the district is utter shit, too--it helped keep the home price low enough we could afford it.  

I'm incredibly thankful that I have everything I do. 

I'm thankful that I still have my mother--so many don't--and my mother-in-law.  I'm thankful I have my aunts, my sisters, and my brothers (even the one I haven't met) still walking the world.  I'm thankful for my cousins, and my friends.

I'm thankful that I am, finally, starting to have days where I'm doing well enough to start deliberately exercising again.  I'd gotten up to being able to do eight minutes of flowing poses yoga before I got sick in February, and have had a flare-up every time I'd attempted to get back into the yoga after I recovered.  I have been able to do a little bit two or three days a week for the past week.  And I am thankful for that much, even though it's so much less than what I was capable of before I got sick in February. 

What I'm most grateful for, though, is that my immediate, nuclear family--my spouse, and both my children--are healthy, and that with God's help, I've been able to keep them that way, and well-nourished.  

What are you grateful for, this year?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Random stuff 2.0

The kids have all week off this next week.  Usually, they have school on Monday and half of Tuesday during Thanksgiving week; however, with this stupidity surrounding a cold, the school's decided to give the teachers (and the kids) the extra couple of days to rest and relax.  

I don't really object--I'm sort of exhausted, too.  This school year has rather inspired exhaustion: I've been doing a load of laundry every day, trying to keep the kids' buff/gaiters clean.  They've got two, so they wear one while the other's in the wash.  Friday and Saturday are the only days I don't do laundry, and I sometimes have to do an extra day when I get a load of towels and cleaning rags built up.  

Monday...I need to call the kids' doctor's office, tomorrow morning.  He'd had an appointment, but a call on a Sunday afternoon doesn't fill me with confidence that his appointment is still going to be tomorrow.  

The pixie's going to spend tomorrow night with Grandma, because of said appointment...which I'd had set up for a month.  Grandma will be picking her up something like half an hour before I need to leave for the imp's 10:00 appointment, for an overnight stay, to come home with Odysseus after work on Tuesday.  

Now.  Whether or not the doctor's office is going to let me keep that appointment...I have no idea, especially given the timing of the call from the doctor's office asking me to call them back about it.  But I won't be changing plans on the pixie. 

Christmas shopping's going to be...yeah.  Not good for Joplin, this year.  They posted another mask ordinance, effective immediately (as of Thursday or Friday, I don't recall), and running through the end of February.  Their last one--the one that lasted from July to August--fucked them over pretty badly with their sales tax revenue, to the tune of almost a quarter of the expected sales tax...not making an appearance.  I've already started ordering presents I can't find in Webb City for people, including at least one delivery from Sam's Club.  Yeah, sales tax on that was half what sales tax usually ordering online for delivery bypassed Joplin's city tax quite nicely.   

And also postpones when I'm going to need to switch from my flip-phone to a smart phone, for Sam's Club's curbside delivery.  

Update: The kids' usual doctor is sick, this week.  The imp's appointment has been postponed until a week from today.  I've arranged so that he misses as little as possible at school.  

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Why the school doesn't simply ask for this...

My imp has been having trouble at school: trouble keeping up with papers, and trouble keeping up with writing utensils.  His teacher told me, when we went in to pick something up yesterday, that he has trouble keeping up with stuff because he just crams stuff in his binder, then drops it, sending stuff flying.  Losing all of his pencils, erasers, and papers.  

I pulled out my old, college zipper binder, a hunter green Five Star binder with pencil/pen pockets in the inside front, floppy drive pockets that close with a velcro flap (yes, it's that old) that he's using for things like big pink erasers and the white art erasers, a glue stick...things like that, and another floppy drive pocket that he's using for sticky notes.  We moved stuff from his open binder and I helped him arrange stuff, and explained why it was arranged like that.  I swear I saw the light come on, but we're going to have to keep re-doing it and clearing out his locker on a weekly basis.  

Also in the binder is a to-do list for his school day to help him with the executive function "oh crap, what am I supposed to be doing now/I feel like I've forgotten something" thing; a three-hole punch; a red folder for stuff he's finished and needs to put in his binder, and stuff he still has to do; dividers for his subjects; paper (wide ruled), a blue folder for stuff he's supposed to do at school; and more paper (5 squares to the inch grid). 

He also has trouble differentiating in his planner which work he's supposed to do at school, and what he's supposed to write down as homework; I've ordered him another planner that looks different and will live in his binder with his stuff.  

After we'd gotten his binder set up, the pixie looked at me with humongous brown eyes and said, "Momma, I'd like a zipper binder, too, please."  

So, when I ordered the planner for the imp, I also ordered a pink zipper binder for the pixie.  And I'll have her get her school binder from the classroom before Thanksgiving Break starts, and we'll switch over if she wants.  I'll help her set up, but she's better at general executive function and organization than the imp is...or really, better than even I have become through hard work and practice. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Random stuff

We now have adequate insulation in the attic.  There were places we had very little, and one place the guy looking at what we needed said he could see the hall light from in the attic.  

He said that they were swamped, and we were looking at the end of November, unless they got help.  Well, they got the help from a sister store in Arkansas, and the insulation was blown in in about 40 minutes on Friday, two and a half weeks ahead of where I was thinking we'd be.

Now, we have the rafters buried plus about 6" and that same 6"  over the decking they'd put down for storage.  There's none over the garage, but that wasn't really a concern.  I'm just hoping it helps cut both the electric bill and propane usage.  

We also have a new modem, as of last Thursday.*  We've got the wi-fi  password changed on about half the things that it needs changed on--I still need to take care of the printer, my Kindle, and those of both of the kids (both of which need to be charged, first).  So far, things have been working better.  Smoother.  I'd have just gotten a new router and plugged it into the hard line part of the modem, but that was the first thing to go, six years ago.  

Other than that...I've decided I kinda sorta need to break down and acquire a smartphone.  It's going to be kept battery-dead and/or left home most of the time, but I have to have one if I'm going to use Sam's Club's curb-side pickup.  I wish they'd have posted a phone number like Walmart did, but they didn't.  

I wouldn't bother with it, but my personal energy budget sort of requires it.  I've been having issues with my energy, to the point that shopping, if it's not curbside pickup, is all I can do on the days I do  it.  And I can't afford that: I have a house, pets, kids, and a husband to take care of.  

I'm trying to finish Having a Pint this month.  I've got it around half finished in first-draft form, something like nearly 34K words.  I'm still plugging away.  I'd have a lot more done, but I spent half of last week in severe pain because of mild diverticulitis (runs in my family, and I know what to do when it hits), and the other half recovering and managing the modem replacement and the insulation installation. So, it is moving along, but slow going because I was only barely functional last week.  I should do much better this week.  I'm planning to also do better the next week, considering I don't have to shuttle the kids around twice per day, and I have headphones.  

Once I'm done with the first draft of Having a Pint, I have another piece I'm going to be working on--The Schrodinger Paradox. That one is about 2/3 finished in first-draft form, and I know where it's going and how it's going to get there.  It's just going to take a while of actually writing to finish it. 

*We had the old modem from...I think 2007 or 2008, so, it was nearing the end of its functional life anyway.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Done, and working.

The cable/internet company is still using the same type of modem.  Mine was just 12 years old, and the electric company changing out the meter fried it a bit.  

Everything is going to have to be changed, though--the password will have to be put into everything.  Off the top of my head, there's at least half a dozen things, if not a few more, that will need the new password.  But we won't have time for that until much later.

One of the other projects we'd been working on was getting more insulation into the attic.  When the couple who owned this place before us died, their daughter (estranged, at least a bit) didn't get everything out.  She left her mother's cast iron,* and a ton of stuff in the attic.  

That...needs to come out.  All of it.  Before tomorrow.  

We've gotten a lot out, already.  Including a couple of very old boxes of very old National Geographic magazines, and very old Readers' Digest magazines (all of which will be read and enjoyed by my family).  A pretty good stack of records (vinyl, not paper, some from the '30s), and a screen, slides, and a slide projector.  And a framed photo of the earth from lunar orbit, taken in 1969 (with a broken frame, but intact glass), and a letter regarding the readings from Genesis that were done in that particular mission.  We...are going to find a new frame for that.  It's history.  And priceless. 

There's also a lot of...well, trash.  

And we have a fairly small dumpster, and I saw that the city dump is still closed to the public.  

There's a lot of trash.  A lot.  

*One of the pieces was a corn stick pan, the other?  A perfectly seasoned, 9" skillet.  Probably at least as old as Odysseus's grandma's 10" skillet we use all the time.  And yes, we've been using that skillet. I'm sure the lady who lived here and died here would prefer that it be used. 

Monday, November 9, 2020


Our modem is starting to die. 

Honestly, it's about time--we've had it since...gawd, a long fucking time.  

And in that time, it's run our internet, phone, and (since five or seven years ago) our TV.  Yeah, it's seen some seriously heavy use for a residential modem.  

But it is starting to die.  Wireless, especially.  I'm not sure but what it wouldn't have lasted a few more years had the electric company not decided to put in wireless broadcasting meters so that they can tell from their main offices what our usage is.*  

What I mean by dying is that it's been, well, cutting in and out.  Specifically with the internet and the TV streaming device.  The phone's not been as bad, but then again, the phone's kinda...wired into the modem itself, not picking up a wireless signal. 

It's a massive pain in the ass.  If a new modem doesn't fix at least the internet, I'm going to be spending A LOT of time on the electric company's FB page bitching, as well as complaining to every state agency I can think of.  

If one service is blocking other services that I pay for, I'm going to be...well.  Yeah.  Unhappy.  More than just about the windmill bullshit.  

But for the moment, I'm going to assume it's just the modem reaching the end of its lifespan.  And contact the company that provides internet and phone to get them to replace it, since it's their equipment.


*We've had issues with radio stations abruptly going to static, on the ones with the digital tuners, too.  

Thursday, November 5, 2020

I really don't think they've thought this out...

The local electrical utility has...misunderstood their customers.  Badly.  Really badly.  We are not California.  

What I mean is this: they have sent out letters articulating a "commitment to providing clean, green energy," and have announced that they'll be shutting down one of their plants that provides electricity for the area...because they've put up a wind farm in an area where the wind doesn't blow every day.  But  it's the best they've got.  

This part of Missouri is made up of farmers.  Farmers who rely on their utilities.  They need their electricity, and their internet.  And farmers are, by nature, problem solvers with little tolerance for leftist stupidity.  

This is not going to work out well for the electric company.  They already get lynching threats from the locals every time a storm knocks out power for longer than the locals think it should be out.  When the locals are facing rolling brown- and black-outs from power usage higher than the virtue-signalling can generate, there's going to be some serious repercussions.

And I am looking into how to minimize my house's dependence on electricity.  And will be doing my best to switch as many to propane as humanly possible, and will be looking into alternates to that particular electric provider.  

Now.  That said.  I'm doing this not because I think looking into alternates to pollution-generating plants is a bad idea.  I'm doing this because not a single renewable source electric provider is reliable enough nor cost effective enough.  I'm doing this because they're looking at renewables instead of a truly clean, green source of electricity: nuclear.   

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Please don't do this.

President Trump has won re-election.  Fair and square.  By a fucking landslide.  

 Except...except for mail-in votes, technology "glitches" preventing precincts from counting their votes, and other such.  Except for blatant and obvious fraud.  

I really don't want to see what happens next, when the stolen election is contested by extra-legal means.  I really don't.  I don't want to see the legal system applied as a weapon against people who aren't fucking criminal communists.  I don't want to see it applied as a weapon at all.  

Nor do I want to see what happens when most of America wakes up.  

 It's going to be beyond fucking ugly.

I don't want this.  I really, really, really don't want this.  

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Almost over...

Tuesday is voting day.  I honestly can't wait.  I am so sick of petty political partisanship that I could vomit.  I don't want to hear anymore about any of the parties, politicians, or any of the other inanities that surround election year for at least two years (but you know we will--this has become religion to most of the left).  

I am...concerned, let's say...that there's going to be unrest (for lack of desire to use a more accurate term) during and after Tuesday.  Tomorrow, I have plans to do some shopping--a few top-ups on groceries, some things Walmart doesn't do in curb-side delivery, and a new package of ear plugs.*  

We've already gassed up both vehicles and gotten extra pet food.  

I do not plan to leave the house more than absolutely necessary until things calm back down a bit.  

*I use ear plugs for sleeping.  They help a lot when I'm in the worst side of a chronic illness attack.