Monday, September 19, 2022

Random stuff...

  • I don't need to "Kickstart My Heart," guys.  It's my brain that needs it.
  • I have never seen anybody spring for the asshole package on a four-door Honda Civic.  Until today.  Fuckwit tried crawling up my tailpipe (I was doing 30 in a 25, and he clearly wanted me to go faster), then wove around like he wanted to pass me, then didn't signal when he turned into Sam's Club behind me.  Yeah.  Exactly.  You'd expect behavior like that out of someone driving a BMW, not a Honda Civic sedan.  
  • Our Sam's Club has quit carrying the imp's favorite sausage links.  But they had Buffalo Trace, and Laphroig in stock.  I...yeah, I got both bottles of my favorite bourbon, and the only bottle of one of my favorite Scotches.  
  • Ya know, I really could do without the record-setting highs.  Our outdoor kitchen is defunct for the next while.  And the grill's...kinda scrunched.*  Oh well.  A couple (or four) days of cooking on just the stove top won't hurt anything.  
  • The use of Irish diplomacy on our insurance agent, the adjuster, and the adjuster's supervisor has had results.  Almost up to the cost of replacement.  Depreciation and inflation do nasty things when they play together.  
  • My sister's bottle kitten she saved last year** is huge, and still growing.  I am almost certain he's mostly Turkish Van.   If he is, then he'll probably finish growing sometime within the next few months, but put on muscle for another year.  He's also a gorgeous kitty, if more than a wee bit nuts. I picked him up on Saturday, and given how much heavier he is than my girl-kitties (11 lbs each), I'd put him between fifteen and eighteen pounds. 


 

*Weber Spirit propane grill.  The casters are...yeah.  Scrunched, if not outright broken, like the front left one (as you're facing the grill).  Considering a PATIO ROOF made of TWO BY SIXES (if not two by eights) LANDED ON IT...I suppose it stood up well.  All things considered.  Might actually be willing to use it, if the poor thing hadn't got slammed down on its front and dumped the burners and everything when the roof got taken off of it to be taken apart.  

**Gus--named after the fat little mouse from Cinderella--was one of two kittens my sister took from a lady that didn't know how to raise days-old kittens after their momma tangled with something fatal.  Gus was the only one who survived being fed puppy formula for a couple days.  

Sunday, September 11, 2022

21 years

 This is what it should look like.  



Never forget. 

Never forgive.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Processing...

It's been...well.  One hell of a couple of weeks.  Emotionally, I'm off balance, and honestly off my feet entirely.  Flattened.  And it's going to take a while for me to sit up, much less get my feet under me.  

And life isn't slowing down.  

So.  The week after school started.  Mom had an appointment with her oncologist on Wednesday.  She called me on Monday, all chirpy and cheerful, and said she'd cancelled the appointment, and had stopped taking the hormone blocker.  She was certain it was killing her.  (What it was doing was starving her 4.5cm tumor to death.  Said dying tumor was releasing toxins.)  Said she knew that not taking the medication anymore meant that her cancer would stop shrinking, but she trusts God to take care of her. 

In other words, she decided not to take the damned helicopter he sent to fish her out of the flood water, that she'd rather die than fight. 

Uh.  Ouch.  

Yeah, I've told her outright that I don't want to hear anything about her health when I talk to her.  Because in choosing to commit slow, ugly suicide, she's forfeited the right to complain.  

Week before last, the imp called me from school in the late afternoon (right as study hall was starting).  Said he felt sickish.  He wasn't sure if he had a fever, but felt funny, and his stomach was bothering him. 

He's prone to truly vicious heartburn, so I figured that was all it was.  I went and got him (no fever, but he was quiet and lethargic--something he isn't).  And I gave him antacids, and bread (which, weirdly, helps his heartburn a lot...like it used to do mine).  

He was fine the next morning, so I sent him back to school.  

Friday afternoon, when I picked the kids up, the pixie was coming down with...something.  By Sunday, everybody else (except the imp) was starting to come down with it.* 

And...the patio roof came down.  As in: it detached from the back of the house, and crunched our grill.  Poured rain between the edge of the roof and the edge of the patio roof, first, then...crash.  Totally destroyed the outdoor kitchen, and yanked the light switch that ran the patio light and the ceiling fan back into the wall good and hard (broke the plate).  

The dog was outside.  She wasn't hurt, but she certainly got the poo scared out of her.  We managed to get her in the house, but her room and yard were rendered unsafe, so she spent the following several days utterly miserable.  

We spent several days arguing with the insurance.  They sent out a contractor to take pictures to send to an adjuster that apparently didn't understand what she was looking at on her desktop where she was poking options on drop menus.  

We have already gotten a quote for straight up replacement.  For a framed-in roof with osb, tpo, guttering, a light, and a ceiling fan.  Exactly what fell down.  

They quoted us either repair (pop it back into place--not an option, partially because it broke, broke the eaves and rafters where it had been nailed up, and as we found out, some of the osb was rotten), or "replacement" for a metal roof with a tar-paper cover. 

Yeah, it's not even ballpark.  And we couldn't have made up the difference.  At all.  Not without totally dropping another project that we'd already started.  (We were expecting the carport to collapse, not the patio roof--which had never given us any signals that it was a Cletus-built clusterfuck before it fell off the house, and had already pulled it down in preparation for a better one with a hipped roof to be put in its place.)

We're in the process of arguing with the insurance.  Our agent is on it, because, well, they don't want to lose the residuals.  If we shift home insurance, everything is going.  

So.  That.  And normal kids-at-school drama.  And puberty crap (yes, they're both going through it).  And...

...and yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II, the woman I've admired most for my entire life--one of the only women I've admired for all of my life--passed away, yesterday.  

That...kinda was the cherry on the shit sundae life slammed into my face recently. 

I'm grieving her passing, and for her daughter and grandchildren.  I'm grieving for her great-grandchildren.  I'm grieving for her nation, because while she did her best for her nation, even at her deathbed,** she didn't fix succession.  The fucking moron who could never step into her shoes planting his white-trash, low-class, trashy ass in her throne.   And his white trash whore of a wife is now titled "Queen Consort."  

Even as I grieve, though, I'm happy for Elizabeth.  She's home, with her beloved Philip, who passed on last year.  


*Pretty sure it was the Cold from China, round 2--symptoms were right.  Won't bother testing, because it's a cold, and I don't want to add to the panic-porn statistics. 

**She summoned the new PM to her bedside, the day before she passed, to swear her in.  Which means that the drooling idiot dribbling all over the monarchy can't do anything until after the next election...which is not like ours, and nobody knows when it will be held.  Given his age, he might actually not survive to another election.  We can hope, anyway.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Miracles

I’ve read through a lot.  I’m 43 years old, and I read all the time.  If there are words, they will be read. 

One of the trends I’ve noticed…is that miracles are often not recognized until long after the fact.  Or are so huge they can’t be overlooked. 

And, since we have been able to mostly figure a lot of things out, much rarer than they used to be.  And are often on the lines of Divine Inspiration being heard and noticed, either in research (medical, scientific, or otherwise), or in our personal lives. 

It was a miracle in ’80 for Regan to take the White House.  Less of one in ’84, considering how well he did in his first run through at jacking back the illusions the political classes were pushing, and showing the normal people who live in reality that yes, there was a man behind the curtain pretending to be the Great and Powerful Oz…and that he was kinda disappointing, actually. 

Too bad his VP (elected in ’88) yoinked that curtain back shut because he was part of that particular class…which set the circumstances for the resurgence of Marxism…socialism…whatever you want to call the anti-individualist, collectivist philosophy that drives the political aristocratic classes. 

The problem they had is that they couldn’t force the curtains all the way back shut.  There were gaps.  And reality kept showing through those gaps. 

And the realists got pissed off at the fools whose damaged fingers kept reaching for the fire, and elected Trump (another miracle, honestly), which has set us up for a massive miracle, of the majority realizing what I learned as a child: the government does not care about the individual, and will not protect them.  This realization could, with His Providence, bring back sanity in the way things are done in politics.    

Note, I am saying that this has been a miracle, and that the miraculous will have to continue to happen, or things will…slump back into the swamp.  Or worse. 

Those miracles were on a national stage. 

Other miracles, miracles of research…I know, first hand, people who should have been dead years ago.  The only reason they’re not is because of pharmaceutical giants still searching for more treatments for things that are still a death sentence.  One of my closest friends developed inflammatory breast cancer while she was breastfeeding her year-old son.  It went to stage IV before it was identified, because it’s so sneaky of a disease. 

She should have been dead five years ago, but she isn’t.  Yes, she’s still got active cancer, and is fighting a rear-guard action to prolong her time—her son’s ten.  She’s fighting for long enough to raise him.  Because his father’s…not the advocate for him that he should be. 

Her continued (and continuing) survival is a miracle.  Yes, she’s in constant pain.  No, she hasn’t been outright healed.  Yes, she’s been praying (as have I, and everyone around her). 

But that’s not how it works. 

Thing is, every time one treatment starts failing to work, there’s another one that does work.  That’s a fucking miracle, right there. 

I’ve heard the whole argument: “That’s not a miracle, that’s science.  A miracle would be having her healed.”  Remember what I said about Divine Inspiration?  How else do you describe the massive leaps forward in the medical research profession realizing that every type of cancer is different, and requires different treatments?  How else do you describe the medical research profession finding new and different ways to approach something that defies anything other than the broadest of categorization? 

Diabetes used to kill people.  Routinely.  Still can, if the individual with diabetes doesn’t understand what’s going on, and how to manage it.  Or if they decide to just…stop treatment.  HIV/AIDS used to absolutely kill people.  It still can and does, if the person who has it doesn’t pay attention, and/or stops treatment.

The advances that turned those certain death sentences into manageable, if serious, health conditions?  Miracles.  Driven entirely by Divine Inspiration, and the gift of understanding and intuition. 

I’ve heard other arguments: “If they had the faith, they’d be healed.”  Or, “If they just prayed harder/was a better person…”  

That isn’t the way God works. 

He does things in a much smaller, quieter way than He used to.  Partially because those gifts He set us up with?  The ability to learn, to reason, to understand, to intuit and generalize?  Those require less flashy intervention on His part.  Which means He is actually requiring greater faith to actually keep going when something hurts, and the doctors are having a hard time figuring it out.  Or when your treatment for a disease that will kill you makes you feel awful for a while (like an antibiotic does for the first week of a two week course for a nasty infection). 

Or when the people in charge of the nation are cheerfully trying to play with matches in a grain silo. 

He has made the way straight before us.  It’s not easy, and it’s not level.  But it’ll get us through to safety, if we stay on it.

And humanity in general, like sheep, have this nasty tendency to get distracted off the safe but hard path He has laid out for us, and bound off on the easy path (that leads straight to a sudden drop we can’t see, but that He can). 

He laid the path out for us.  He’s set our feet on it, and pointed us in the right direction (and He will keep doing that when we stray…if we ask for guidance).  He’ll bap us back into line (assuming we’re paying attention).  But it’s still up to us to walk the path.  It’s up to us to grit our teeth and do the hard stuff to get to safety. 

(I’m praying that the nation discovers the gumption and wisdom to stay the right course.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

My mood today

 

I have...reasons. But I have not been in a good mood since Monday.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Kid stuff

School is now in session.  The first week at the kids' school is always a short one: they start on a Wednesday or a Thursday.  The kids both think it's for easing them back in, but as a (former) teacher, I know better.  

I'm trying a different organization thing for the imp this year: the individual binders by themselves didn't work last year.  He knew it by the end of the first day: "I can't keep up with this.  Not all the binders and all the books."  The everything-in-one-giant-binder method sort of worked last year, but he still ended up losing things because he'd shove loose papers into the locker, rather than into the expanded files in the front of the binder.  And then, he'd lose the week's board work, instead of getting the points for it.  

This year, he's got a tote bag for each class.  Most of them are different colors: he's got five different colors to work with, and six classes (yeah, that means there's a risk of grabbing the wrong tote for two classes--English and Science, I believe), but all of the totes have writing utensils and a clipboard, along with a binder with dividers for the class.  I suggested carrying a backup writing utensil, and he's asked for cargo pants for that.  Because "I don't have any way to keep spares on me--no, I won't hang a pen on my cross necklace, and I don't care if you did and it works!"  

I do need to find him one more tote of a different color from the ones he's got (red, blue, turquoise, ecru, black) for either the science or the English class...

He was a bit worn out after school yesterday.  There wasn't a meltdown, or even a crappy attitude, but he was noticeably tired.  My first hint was that he went to the wrong pickup point yesterday afternoon: school policy says that the oldest sibling goes to the youngest's pickup point, and last year, his younger sister was in elementary.  His fourth grade teacher brought him back through the building to the right pickup point.  He was dragging and tired, and worked really hard not to be cranky at the rest of us.  I sent him off to play with Legos and unkink his brain, and then let him play computer games for a little while after he did some chores for me.  

Upside is that I think he's got the right doses and blends of medication to help him function normally.  He was less tired yesterday than he was before we got that dialed in, because he wasn't spending as much energy fighting himself to behave as he has to without the meds.

The pixie, when she got in the car, just mournfully stated that she was having a hard time remembering where she needed to go from one class to another.  I had to tell her that she'd probably have her schedule--at least, the order of classes--memorized by the end of the second week, and would probably mostly have the hang of it by the end of this week.  

The pixie is starting to learn to girl: she's almost twelve, and I've got her started on learning to carry a purse.  No wallet, no money, just...the purse, with extra note-taking supplies, writing utensils, and her color pencils (which need to go from class to class, because some require them, and others don't.)  She said yesterday, when I asked, "No, the purse wasn't helpful.  It just got in the way, and I kept almost forgetting it."  

I hated to tell her that that's the way of it, but having a purse is one of the major advantages of being a girl: it's the best way to carry everything we really need to carry.  I will point out that her choice is a little off-beat: it's a little faux-leather backpack type purse.  It's big enough, but not well organized.  Her slightly-better-organized one isn't big enough for what she needs.  

She's eleven, now, and will be twelve in the first part of December.  She's the same height I am, and is really starting to shoot up.  She grew around two inches between the end of last school year and the start of this one, and is now pretty much my height.  I'm foreseeing at least the upper end of female average height for her, and am delighted.  

Both kids have a study hall at the end of the day, so neither should have much, if any, homework this semester, other than studying for tests.  Both kids have indicated a need for "not-brain-work" after school, so I'm going to have them grab a snack, then go do something outside or play with their Legos or something for a few minutes, then help me with a chore for the first half hour to an hour, even if they come home with homework.  

I'm crossing my fingers, but I think this year may work better for both of them than last year, not just for the pixie.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Gah. What a relief.

Today is the first day of school.  The past two weeks have been an absolute cluster-fuck--I've been running around like a suddenly-headless barnyard fowl, trying to get everything together for the kids to start school, and randomly remembering things I'd forgotten to get, either for school, or for the household in the mad scramble of getting ready for school.   

That's all done, now.  School started this morning.  

I'll have (most of) a day to get stuff done, then there'll be a different mad scramble from the time I pick them up to the time they go to bed.  

First day of school, and I managed to get most of my daily checklist dealt with.  If the library hadn't resembled a tornado's aftermath, with bits and pieces left over from putting school supplies in order...I might have knocked it all out for today without having run out of my energy budget for housework.  

(What was left was reserved for fixing supper.)

I managed to get the first run through of the editing job I picked up done--the family for whom I'm doing the work approved it all, and I'm going to go through again and fix the changes in.  Shouldn't take as long as the initial run-through did, and won't be nearly as infuriating to do.  

I'd edited the old fellow's autobiography, and thought "sure, why not?" when his granddaughter contacted me to see if I wanted to deal with her grandpas second manuscript.  Why not was that he assumed his expertise in a technical area of a scientific field translated to expertise in theology, linguistics and the cultural psychology and philosophy revealed thereby, and translations.  

It...really didn't carry over.  

Anyway, that's done.  I don't have to read it again to fix the changes in.  

So, I should be able to get that done (or mostly done) tomorrow, and then get on...some read-throughs for a couple of friends.  

Then I'll be back to writing. 

Because the majority of my attention won't be devoured by trying to pay attention to what the kids are doing and how they're interacting while ignoring the TV that they're watching.  Believe it or not, that right there eats a lot of energy.  Honestly, it eats a lot more than I realized until recently. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Success for Widgets...and Not-Widgets.

I’ve been thinking, recently.  I know, I know: you’re either thinking “when aren’t you?” or “oh, shit, what now?”  But no, I’ve been thinking about the tantrums I’ve been seeing happen as the widgets don’t react as widgets, but as individuals with different ideas, hopes, dreams, and philosophical outlooks. 

I think the “social activists” have forgotten that every human is an individual.  Assuming they ever really learned that, in the first place (I have my doubts—a lot of those people are…well, to put it bluntly, stupid).

It explains so much. 

They assume that, since the outcomes for women haven’t changed appreciably—as in, the proportions of women in top positions in a lot of different walks of life haven’t changed despite an equal opportunity, that there has to still be sexism somewhere, keeping women down. 

Or, they look at how the proportion of racial minorities hasn’t appreciably changed, any more than the proportion of women has…and assume racism must be at fault. 

What they’re entirely missing is that individuals are exactly that: individual.  There have always been the driven few, pushing through everything in their way to whatever they’ve envisioned as success.  Individuals.  Not groups. 

Honestly, the way I look at it, every individual who ends up where they’re content has reached what is success for that individual, man or woman. 

And that…varies.  Wildly.  And sometimes, can change without notice, even to the individual, in question.

For a long time, I was…entirely content with my classroom.  I had an utter blast, sharing office space with several other part-timers.  I didn’t want to be a full-timer, didn’t necessarily want my own space (even if I didn’t focus well in shared space), and absolutely didn’t want to be required to deal with department meetings (I attended one that was requested, but not required, and did not feel like putting up with it ever again), much less on-campus politics. 

Then I…started feeling…unwelcome.  So I started holding office hours in the main part of the campus library and/or coffee shop, with the excuse that more students were willing to come ask for help there.  Contentment restored.  Then I got pregnant, and ended up leaving campus entirely for five years, teaching online, and meeting students during my other half’s working hours, when they needed an in-person meeting.  I missed the classroom, but did not miss the increasingly hostile-feeling work environment outside of the classroom. 

Eventually, after I went back to campus…I realized I was starting to burn out.  I was losing contentment with everything.  I quit being able to write. 

That…was a very bad time.  Then I realized something: my definition of success had changed again.  I was failing in several key areas. 

I am not a widget—if I were, I could have continued on where I was indefinitely.  But since I’m not a widget, I wasn’t happy.  Not where I was, not with what I was doing.  It had very little to do with the job, a lot to do with the changing environment, changing rules, and feeling like I wasn’t meeting obligations elsewhere. 

And those other obligations?  Cannot be met by just inserting another widget from somewhere else. 

Humans are not widgets.  What makes one wildly happy will make the next wildly unhappy.  In general—note I said in general, and am not speaking for specific individuals—men are happier in traditionally masculine work, and women are happier in traditionally feminine work.  If you look at actual jobs taken by either sex*…well, it still mostly holds.  You’ll find more women in nurturing-type** work, and men in everything else. 

I never, ever thought I’d be happier as a housewife, but really?  I am.  There’s a lot of contentment and satisfaction with taking care of my family. 

And that…is something that the hard-line leftists can’t understand, much less accept, because it goes against their narratives—all of them.  And they’re really just not bright enough to understand anything outside their narratives.

 

*Note, I said sex, not gender: the biology, both brain chemistry and body composition, does a lot to drive career paths and preferences. 

**Nurturing type jobs: teaching, human resources, nursing, feeding people, secretarial-type work (which can include all of the above)…the list goes on. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

That's done.

The kids' well-child visits last week went well...both have grown a lot.  My eleven year old is only a quarter inch shorter than I am (height predictor puts her at 5'5" to 5'8").  That puts her at over three inches of growth in a year...and she's gaining height fast.  And all of it's leg.  

Yes, we fully acknowledge that we don't have enough shotguns.  We know that.  

I spent the rest of last week waiting for a second quote on the carport rebuild.  Never got it.  We've decided to go with the first guy (who actually, ya know, showed up, then sent the damn quote).  

Today, I had my base-line mammogram done.  I'd heard all sorts of stories about how awful they are.  

It wasn't.  The worst part about it?  I was told to not wear deodorant, because the aluminum in the deodorant messes with the x-ray.  I...really need deodorant, this time of year.  In multiple places.  

It wasn't painful.  It wasn't rough.  I'm not bruised.  My kids were rougher when they nursed, and pinched, poked, squashed and bruised me more than either the tech or the machine.  It was relatively fast, too.  And even then, the tech apologized for it taking so long to get me back: "They're measuring all the rooms for the new 3-D imaging machines."  

I was told I'd hear from my doctor's office in about two days (it was actually more like four hours), and would get my results mailed to me within two to four weeks, depending on how long the post office takes to get it to me.  

Everything else?  Yeah, I've got some big checks to write coming up: the kids' tuition is due in a couple of weeks (I'll get that done tomorrow morning), and the carport thing...

Speaking of, I spoke with the guy this morning.  He'd been planning on coming by to get the contract signed, pick up 20%, and get us on the schedule, and...yeah.  He's come down with something, was headed to bed, instead.  I'm good with that.  Either it's allergies and meds will have him back on his feet in a couple of days, or he's got something, and isn't spreading it.  I'm happy he's got enough sense not to risk spreading crap.  Even if it's just a summer cold--those suck. 

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Won't waste my hate

I've been told (by both sides) on Big Social Media that I'm not angry enough for their preferences.  That I don't hate (the other side) enough.  

I haven't had the same experience on MeWe (made up of mostly people disgusted by the Big Social Media mentioned earlier)...which leads me to think that it's all one side telling me I'm not mad enough.  Just...pretending.  

Thing is, I honestly don't hate the left.  It's more mental energy than they're worth to hate.  They're contemptible, at best.  They're too...well, stupid.  They're not evil, they're just...dumb.  Painfully, actively idiotic.  Morons.  Unthinking, and incapbable of it.  

Sub-human.  Because they're hominids, but not sapient, and not capable of being sapient. 

You don't hate that type.  They're not worth it.  They're honestly not worth any more than pity and contempt--and pity only when someone else has caused them harm, rather than their own active stupid.  

I've felt that way for a long, long time, honestly.  Since grad school.  

I debated politics with my classmates...or, rather, I tried to debate politics.  All of these people were supposed to be intellectual equals, since we were in the same program.  So, I did as I was trained by my undergrad professors, and debated.  In the literature classes, in the hallways, and in the offices.  I was looking forward to the discussions.  

It...didn't happen like I was hoping.  Professors in the literature classes...well.  Some of them would cringe when I started to offer my opinions and support for my readings, although I'm not sure if it's because of my opinions, or because of the way the others in the class would shout me down rather than refute my readings with support of their own.  

It...wasn't any better anywhere else.  I shut up fairly fast.  Not because I'd been cowed, but because I don't play chess with pigeons.  

(To be fair, sometimes I got through to people.  Sometimes, the observers would think, and while the pigeon wouldn't realize that shitting on the board wasn't earning it points, the observers did notice.)

Undergrads were worse.  The grad students I was dumped in with had the appearance of being capable of thought...sometimes.  The undergrads?  Not even a little.  And no consideration of others in their activism, and obvious (and oblivious) about it.  

Grad school was in Northern Kansas.  North of I-70 by about fifteen or twenty miles.  It got cold starting in October or so, and steadily colder until March, and didn't start warming until April or May.  From about November on, campus had snow most of the time.  The only clear spots were the sidewalks and roads, and sometimes the sidewalks had ice patches.  

They tried to keep the busiest sections totally clear--there were something like 25K students on campus, trying to get to and from classes mostly on foot.  But campus was huge: something like a mile wide at the narrow end, and two and a half miles long.  And after a certain point in the winter, it got (and stayed) too cold for salt, or even the warming chemical ice melt to work.  

And after a certain point, the snow didn't melt, and just built up.  And by February, it was knee-to-hip deep everywhere not specifically cleared.  

Guess what the campus did every Valentine's Day?  Yep!  Put on the Vagina Monologues.  Complete with making their undergrad theater students (and theater appreciation students) do sidewalk chalk advertising for it.  

I had to get from the office building to the classroom I was teaching in on a cane.  In good weather, when it was warm, it took about five minutes, because I made a point of reminding the classroom assigner that I was handicapped, and needed--not wanted, needed--a close classroom.  In bad weather (which meant, for me, anything below 40 degrees, damp weather, changing weather...you get the point), I left early because a five minute walk took ten or fifteen, depending on pain levels and sidewalk conditions.  

So.  Undergrad chalking sidewalks...taking up a lot of the sidewalk by herself, and what she hadn't taken up with herself was taken up with her bag, and her chalks.  I have all of my class stuff on my back, and my cane...and there's a giant ice patch right next to her bag that looked like wet sidewalk.  I didn't know it was ice until my cane slipped and hit the bag, which got her attention.  She looked up at me, and chirped, "My vagina is angry!  Isn't yours?"  

I, of course, popped off with the first smart remark that came to mind: "Well, yeah.  But I'm gonna take it home and feed it, later, and then it won't be angry anymore."  Waited for her to move a little so I could get past her and her shit.  

She had to think about what I said for a couple of minutes, then shrieked "Eww!!!" at me (without realizing that I'd also said she needed to get laid...), but didn't move to let me past.  

I had to get off the sidewalk, and push through knee-deep snow with my bad knee and my cane for around eight or ten feet to get around her and the knot of people watching her draw.  

All of them too oblivious to realize that I really shouldn't have been forced off the sidewalk to get past them.  

Yeah, I wasn't really terribly effective in the classroom, that day.  Not after that.   

Leftists...they don't think.  They emote.  They don't act, they react, and they react emotionally, because they've never learned different.  

They're...stupid.  They're incapable of actual thought.  That makes them less than human.  I can't hate that.  It's not worth my time, and definitely not worth my energy.  

Now.  That said.  While they aren't worthy of hate, the people who deliberately shaped them into being like they are?  The thinking humans who deliberately, and with malice, shaped generations of subhumans to be their tools and catspaws?  

They are absolutely worthy of hate.  They are worthy of summary execution wherever they're found.  

They are also, unfortunately, well aware of that, and either hide what they are, or surround themselves with enough security to make that impossible to actually do.

Monday, July 11, 2022

New pen review: The Pilot Capless fountain pen

Sunday was Odysseus' and my eighteenth anniversary.  Yep, married for eighteen years, as of about seven p.m., Sunday afternoon.  

He woke me up Sunday morning with coffee in bed...then gave me a new fountain pen.  It's one I'd been eyeing for a while: the Pilot Capless,* in blue, with silver trim.  

Like the Platinum Curidas he gave me last year, the Pilot Capless is a retractable nib fountain pen.  Like the Platinum, the nib and section must be removed from the pen entirely to be inked.  

Unlike the Platinum, the Pilot came with a cartridge--the Platinum can't really use one, since there's nothing to keep the cartridge from being damaged by the click mechanism.  The Pilot has a metal sleeve that fits over the back of the cartridge (but doesn't need to be used if there's a converter in place).  The Platinum is a translucent plastic; the Pilot's solid metal.  The clip on the Platinum is removable, while the clip on the Pilot isn't.  So, if you don't hold your pen like this,** you might not like the Pilot, but might like the Platinum.

Pilot Capless Fountain Pen Black -Medium Nib - Smooth Pens

I do hold my pen that way, so it doesn't bother me at all.  

The nib is sold as "special alloy," and is a Japanese fine (call it European EF).  It's buttery smooth, with next to no feedback from writing.  It's a very comfortable size for me--chunky, which doesn't make my hands hurt--and the weight and balance are excellent.   

And Pilot sells nib sections separately.  So, should I have a nib-related catastrophe (it happens--I've dropped pens nib down, and scrunched them before), I can get a new nib section.  Platinum really needs to take a clue from that--I'm always afraid I'm going to FUBAR one of my favorite pens in a way it can't really recover from.   

Really, though, I love both pens.  I use the heck out of the Platinum, and keep it inked with a Noodler's bulletproof ink for use on checks (and have re-inked it...four times?  I think).  I'll likely use the Pilot at least as much, but probably won't use a waterproof ink, since I've just got a cartridge to refill instead of a converter. I really don't want the hassle of trying to clean a waterproof ink out of a narrow plastic tube with a syringe. 

*Pilot sells the same damn pen with a gold nib, and a different name--the Vanishing Point.  

**Not my hand, not my pen.  My pen is blue, and my hand is a lot smaller. 

Huh.

Well, my brain seems to be coming back online with the work on refining the dose of thyroid meds...here's hoping it stays online after the kids go back to school.  

Last week was a busy one--it started out with the holiday Monday, then I had the guy show up to look over the carport and take measurements for a bid on Tuesday.  Thursday, my mom and sister came down--my sister had an appointment that she needed help getting to on the other end of town.  I took her to that, and waited...

...and got smacked with a scene for the current work in progress.  Got two notebook pages written before my hand cramped and froze up.  And it's not the next bit of the story.  So, I'm trying to write the connecting parts before I get that transcribed and continued.

(But that's going to have to wait until the kids go to bed.  Because I get started on working on it, and I have one or the other demanding attention...)

Friday, the fridge started acting up.  Beeping five times in a row every minute or so.  And...warming up.  Ugh.  We've got two refrigerators (the old one we replaced is in the garage, acting as overflow), so Odysseus and I moved everything out of the kitchen into the garage.  And out of the freezer, too.  And we opened everything up to take a good look...and found a slab of ice clogging the thing's guts around the compressor coils.  

So, we unplugged it, and tossed towels down to catch the ice melt.  And we took the kids over and dumped 'em in Grandma's lap because she wanted them overnight.  Then Odysseus and I went out to eat for dinner...because Sunday was our eighteenth anniversary.  

He brought me coffee in bed.  

(The fridge is fine after a total defrost and restart--frost-free my ass.  But it's going to be a while before all of the stuff that needs to be in this fridge/freezer is put back in this fridge/freezer.)

Today, we got his truck taken to the dealership--there's an issue somewhere with his AC, and we've been having a normal, Missouri summer.*  He's got my car for the day.  Tomorrow, the pixie's got a piano lesson (those started back up last week); Wednesday, the kids have a doctor's appointment at 10:00 (annual well-child visit...and I'm pretty sure their doc is going to be shocked silly).  I think Grandma wants them overnight again...so I'll take them over after their visit.  

I should be getting the second bid by email sometime between tomorrow and Friday for the carport.  First bid was...yeah, it made me wish we'd just gone ahead and done it last year when we did the new roof, but we didn't. 

(We are almost certainly going to go with the first bid...because he's not going to be messing with the roof.)

And sometime, this week, I have to squeeze in a visit to the vampires.  So that my endocrinologist can be sure my thyroid meds are in the neighborhood of correct...

Next week, I've got more testing, with the earliest available appointment.  I'm supposed to get to the center by 7:20 for a 7:40 appointment.  

After that, I've got...a couple of weeks with nothing nearly so active.  At least, nothing scheduled.  Life does happen, after all.  And it throws crap at you when you least expect more crap thrown at you. 

*First normal summer we've had in...three years?  four?  Anyway.  Missouri summers are stupidly hot and humid, with a lot of time spent close to--or in--triple digit territory, with 60-80% humidity, and the last several...have barely flirted with the high 90s.  Granted, the humidity was still normal, but the temperatures really weren't. 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Cats...

As all of my readers know (all three of you), I have two cats.  They're both female, and ten years old.  

You wouldn't know it by their behavior.  They still play like kittens, frequently during the day, and not always with their toys.  

They love scrunchies.  And hair ties.  And pens.  And pencils.  And anything that skitters on linoleum, tile, or vinyl laminate.  I can never find a scrunchie or hair tie when I need one.  And prices on those damn things are going up like everything else--and have passed what they're actually worth.  

Improvise, adapt, overcome.  Build over, under, around.  

I have a sewing machine, and basic skills.  I can make scrunchies.  

Yesterday was grocery/sundries shopping day.  I took the kids to Walmart with me, and sent the imp (thirteen, now) to the toy section with instructions to stay there.  I took the pixie with me into the small fabric and sewing department (three short aisles of sewing machines, fabric, notions, batting, and stuffing).  She and I picked out seven fat quarters (each of which will make five scrunchies), and I got sixteen yards of quarter inch elastic (which will make a lot more than the three dozen plus scrunchies I've got fabric to make)...all for a bit under $14. 

It would cost...about that...to buy two eight-packs of plain scrunchies.  

I have five scrunchies made from yesterday's fabrics.  One is on the pixie's doorknob.  All of the rest...will be put away until the next time the cats have lost them all more thoroughly than we can find them.  Basically, I took one of the fat quarters, and turned it all into scrunchies, and I don't want any of that pattern. 

The rest of the fabrics, I'll hold two out of.  

Scrunchies are easy enough that there's no real pattern out there, just instructions.  I modified them a bit to suit what I wanted to do, my sewing machine (remember: one stitch only, one direction only, and the motor's prone to overheating when it's hot outside), and my skill level.  And fat quarters made it easier than having a full chunk of a yard or more.  See, the fat quarters?  Are about eighteen or nineteen by about twenty-one or twenty-two inches.  The scrunchie fabric should be cut to about 3.5" by...the full wide measurement of the fabric.  So, 3.5" by 21 or 22."  Hem one end as narrow as you can get it, then fold the thing in half, right sides together, and sew a long seam as close to the edge as you can get it.  Then, turn it right side out, and thread about 6.5" of quarter-inch elastic through the tube, sew the ends of elastic together (far enough from the edge that it won't just unravel and pull apart under stress), and then tuck the raw edge of the tube inside the hemmed edge, and sew it shut.  

Even going slowly to control the seam and doing the non-sewing bits, a scrunchie takes about twenty minutes to make, going from cutting the fabric to trimming the threads after it's fully finished.  

Some of the fat quarters cost a whopping $1.47; others cost $0.97--call it between $0.20 and $0.29 per scrunchie.  The elastic cost $3.97 for sixteen yards* with 6.5" used per scrunchie--about four and a half cents.  Each scrunchie, then, costs about a quarter to make--thirty-one cents at most.  And only about twenty minutes of my time for the entire process.  

Someone with more experience--and a sewing machine where the motor doesn't need actual rest breaks**--could probably turn these out a lot faster than me. 

(And there's a small remnant of each scrunchie that could easily be used for something else...like a braided rag rug, or cat toys to try to keep the cats from stealing the scrunchies...not that that will actually work...)

*Sixteen yards will yield around eighty-eight scrunchies.  So, about seventeen fat quarters' worth of fabric per bundle of elastic...with enough left over for some doll clothes.)

**I am not complaining, and I probably would not use an electric machine much (if at all) if I had one.


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Musings on history...

 Every year, between supper and time for fireworks, we set the kids up on the couch and have them watch 1776.  They're usually really excited for it.  They've watched it every year for the past five or six years.  

Every year, they catch more of the jokes, learn a little bit more that our nation's founders were...very human.  Salacious, sarcastic, petty, vicious, desperately angry and frightened humans.  Every year, they comprehend a little more just how much of a miracle our country's birth actually was.  How close we came to that continental congress being deadlocked...or how close we came to independence not happening.  

Every year, "Mama, Look Sharp" makes me cry.  

Every year, I am reminded how little has actually changed in the American political landscape: we have neo-feudalists, fatalists, and a few (very few) liberty minded that everybody either ignores, makes fun of, or tries to shut up.  

This year, I caught onto something: as Rutledge attempted to shout down a proposed discussion on the idea of independence, there was a pointed reminder from Steven Hopkins, the delegate for Rhode Island (as he was getting more rum), ""Well, I'll tell ya, in all my years, I never seen, heard nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous, it couldn't be talked about. Hell yes, I'm for debating anything!"

Without that pointed reminder, Adams--and the United States as a sovereign nation--would have been cancelled by the forefathers of today's Democrats: a man who insisted that feudalism and slavery was morally correct.  

Unfortunately, by and large, we seem to have more than one John Adams, but we seem to lack both a Ben Franklin and a Stephen Hopkins in either house of government.  And a Rutledge runs both the House and the Senate.

(For now, at least.  We'll see what happens in November.)

And thus...honest debate and discussion are shut down before they can start. 

Friday, July 1, 2022

Things are moving, again.

This is gonna smart.  How much is...something we don't know, just yet.  

About three weeks ago, we had a...well.  An incident.  Our wonderful electrical provider decided in their infinite wisdom, full faith and loving care for the environment, to put in a wind farm a few years back.  And they swore, up down and sideways, that there was no way that was a replacement of any of the current plants...

...only to immediately take one offline, as soon as the wind farm came on line.  

This is not a good part of the country for that.  We do not have steady, stable, constant wind.  Not at all.  We have days where there's nothing, we have days where there's barely any...we have days where the winds are around forty, fifty miles an hour.  And gusts.  Did I mention wind gusts?  Lots of 'em.  Hard ones. 

So.  Three weeks or so ago, we had a power surge, then brown-out, and the heat pump started...acting funny.  And then died.  

We called for repair, they told us it'd be about five days.  They got us in really early--Monday, not Thursday--because a repair job scheduled for a few hours took a few minutes, instead.  Turns out, several fuses in the heat pump unit and the control panel had been fried by the surge.  Control panel was...not cheap to replace.  

When the guy offered to install something to prevent another surge from destroying something else on the heat pump, I took him up on it.  

That smarted.  Almost a thousand dollars because the religion espoused by the hard left fucked us over again (like it has done in the past in the winter).  

That was an unexpected expense.  

We are now moving on an expected one.  We've got one guy that came out and looked at our carport with an eye toward replacement today.  Another one's supposed to come out and do the same on Tuesday.  

We'll get the quotes sometime after the holiday weekend.  

I know this is going to smart, but I also know we've been saving a while, and can get this done, now (even if we had a thousand dollar emergency hit us right before we started moving on this...thanks to the fucking watermelons pushing hard for technology we simply don't, won't, and can't have to replace something that actually works).  What I don't know yet is even ballpark how much it's going to smart...but I do know it'll be actually done right this time.  

Current carport was very clearly built by Cletus and his brother Clyde, and their cousin/half-brother Donnie.  While they were drunk.  And didn't know nearly as much about how to do it as they thought they did. 

Yes, I've got a couple more things on my mental list, but they're way down on the priority scale...for the moment. 

We'll be looking into a whole-house surge protector, first.  Because clearly, the days of not having bloody surges are in the past. 

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Big Lies

There's a belief out there, especially prevalent among politicians, that if a lie's big enough, people will believe it because it has to be the truth.  

They're both right and wrong, on that.  

People believe what they want to believe--either because they really, really want it to be true...or because they're afraid it might be.  

The USA has fed us--women, in particular--a massive lie for...well, for much longer than I've been alive.  

That lie?  

"You can have it all!  The lucrative career, the perfect house, the perfect family!  It all can be yours--you don't have to sacrifice anything!!!"  

It isn't just a lie.  It's a damned, filthy lie.  

Nobody can have it all.  There are trade offs that have to be made.  Always.  For everyone.  

When I taught college, I had a colleague that I had been on good terms with...she was friendly, I knew her from the time I was a student and liked her.  She saw potential in me--pushed me as a student to go for a masters' degree, then pushed me as a colleague to go for a doctorate.  Told me I was too smart, too good to stay an adjunct.  

I...didn't go for the doctorate.  At all.  I didn't want to.  I loved teaching, yes--however.  However.  

I barely made it through the two years of my masters' degree with my sanity intact.  I was, as I've mentioned before, one of two in a department of around two hundred (full professors, adjuncts, and graduate teaching assistants) who didn't vote for John Kerry in '04.  

I could have had my doctorate.  At the expense of my sanity. 

I could not have had both.  

This same colleague chose something else: she wanted her career, but she also wanted a husband and children (she dearly wanted children).  She chose to postpone marriage and children until she and her fiance got work in the same town.  

On the one hand, I got that.  However.  They'd been engaged for twelve years by the time they got married.  She was in her mid forties when they got married, and by that time, it wasn't possible for them to conceive.  Even with help.  They explored all of their options, and...

In choosing to wait, they gave up the chance to have children.  They set their priorities...and lost out on one of the things they really wanted.  

Because you cannot have everything.  

(She ended up hating me, by the way, for making the choices I did, the ones opposite to the choices she made.)

The pernicious belief that you can...is making a lot of women make assumptions that prove wrong later, and making them miserable and bitter.  And it's also making them target other women who chose otherwise as somehow "betraying the sisterhood of all women and pushing us back to being trapped in the home doing nothing."

(Which, by the way, the working class never was--they were too busy working.  And most of those bitching would never have been trapped in the home doing nothing--there's always work to be done--and would have been grateful for a day off from housework.)

I think what drives the bitterness is the nagging feeling that they bought a lie, and an unfulfilling one for most of them, at that.  

Unfortunately, anytime someone suggests that such might be the case, they're descended upon with (often digital, but sometimes real) threats of actual bodily harm by those who have that nagging feeling, and are trying to drown it out by drowning out other voices that back it up.