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Lovely evening

Sam had to work very late tonight, deal­ing with a new phone sys­tem that was being installed at the office. The poor guy came in after 8:30!

After that, though, we had a nice, total­ly relaxed evening. The three of us ate togeth­er and watched an episode of West Wing. Katie went off to do vital social things that I’m sure we’d nev­er understand.

Then Sam helped me take a mar­velous, lux­u­ri­ous bath. Yeah, that sounds sil­ly, I’m sure. I can’t get up and down in the tub safe­ly by myself, so I haven’t had a nice soak in a while. He even told me a cute sto­ry from our shared game world. He even changed our sheets!

We gamed for a bit, but we’re both ter­ri­bly sleepy tonight for some rea­son. Maybe it’s the thought of clean bod­ies plus clean sheets plus cud­dles 🙂 So I’m off to enjoy that with him!

SBQ, Heat, Cell Phone

It’s been a while since I answered one of the Stitch­ing Blog­gers Ques­tions. This week’s is
Are you start­ing some­thing new to cel­e­brate the New Year or par­tic­i­pat­ing in “Guilt Free January?” If so, what are you plan­ning on starting?

I had to go look up “Guilt Free Jan­u­ary.” Appar­ent­ly, it refers to some prac­tice of declar­ing that no mat­ter how many WIPs1 you have, you can start new projects in Jan­u­ary with­out feel­ing guilty about it. It’s prob­a­bly an RCTN2 ref­er­ence, but it’s been a while since I kept up with the newsgroup.
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Cold! Cold cold cold!

Our heat went out last night, so we woke up in a very, very cold house. I don’t care what you Yan­kees say, we had a hard freeze here, so it real­ly was cold! There was snow on the car before we went to bed Tues­day night, and we had to get ice off the wind­shield to go see my pain spe­cial­ist today. I felt like I’d nev­er be warm again despite wear­ing the pret­ty gloves and scarf Sam bought for me a while back.1

There was no response from the land­lord to email or many phone calls until late in the day. I hud­dled under the cov­ers most of the day, both to try to get warm and because my pain is always worse in cold weath­er. The land­lord even­tu­al­ly got some­one out to check the sys­tem late this evening.
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Further Prof of Insanity: Blog365

I got through NaBloPo­Mo, as ridicu­lous as it was to com­mit to post­ing at least once a day for a month. So of course that small suc­cess has led me, in a moment of more-than-usu­al-luna­cy, to sign up for Blog365 (oth­er­wise known as “Out of the Fry­ing Pan, Into the Fire”).
Blog365
The pur­pose is fair­ly clear: to post at least once every day of 2008. Feb­ru­ary 29 is a “rest day.” Posts may be writ­ten on any site, rather than stick­ing to just one blog, so I’ll try to spread them around on mine/​ours. If I can’t get some­thing on the actu­al site on a par­tic­u­lar day due to net con­nec­tion issues or what­ev­er, I have to write (yes, write! like, cuneiform or some­thing!) a jour­nal entry and trans­fer it to a blog as that day’s entry.

It would be far sim­pler to have a sys­tem of some sort. Maybe I’ll cre­ate a rotation:

  • Fibrant Liv­ing — health, liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty, podcasts
  • Acad­e­my Car­i­tas — home­school­ing, edu­ca­tion, college
  • House Fire­heart — polyamory, par­tic­u­lar­ly my and Sam’s approach to it
  • Heart­song Hand­i­crafts — home of my orig­i­nal needle­work pat­terns, and soon to be home for the rest of my stitch­ing information
  • Cyber­stalked! — inter­net safe­ty and pri­va­cy issues
  • Cyn­thia Armis­tead — my pro­fes­sion­al port­fo­lio, where I put the geeky stuff
  • Ene­my of Entropy — here, of course, where I put gen­er­al stuff, book reviews, and the like. 

Hope­ful­ly there will be new pod­casts up soon. There will def­i­nite­ly be more music, as we have that love­ly con­cert piano we received via freecy­cle all repaired and put togeth­er. It’s beau­ti­ful and sounds great! Not at all bad for one dri­ve to pick it up and less than $200 in repair fees! (Sam want­ed to just take it to the near­est autho­rized repair cen­ter rather than doing it ourselves.)

2007 wasn’t a stel­lar year, but nei­ther was it ter­ri­ble. Sam has a steady, secure job that he enjoys, in an orga­ni­za­tion that’s allow­ing him to advance. , Katie had a lot of health prob­lems, but I’m hop­ing that we’re on the right path to resolv­ing them. Shel­ley passed away a lit­tle shy of her 18th birth­day, but since we’d been told in 1999 that she only had a year (at most) left, we felt that we’d got­ten an “extra” 8 years with her any­way. Kioshi has grown into a nice com­pan­ion, too.

We real­ly kept to our­selves a lot through the past two years. When you’ve been betrayed and hurt as deeply as we were by our for­mer housemate’s sud­den crazi­ness in 2006, there’s a lot of heal­ing to be done. I don’t know if I’ll ever approach Thanks­giv­ing with­out trep­i­da­tion again, but we had a good one any­way. The stress did con­tribute to the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of my health, and that does make it hard­er to get out. We’re work­ing on it, though. We cer­tain­ly learned who our true friends were, and we’ll nev­er for­get that.

So on to 2008, which we hope to be full of more time with friends, bet­ter health, much more music, Katie spent last night and almost all day today with friends from the school she was attend­ing as well as her new beau. Sam and I spent the day gam­ing, upgrad­ing some web sites, eat­ing good food and watch­ing movies. If it’s true that what­ev­er you do on Jan­u­ary 1 indi­cates how your year will go, we should be just fine.

Lazy Day & Posting Articles

It has been such a lazy day. All our body clocks are com­plete­ly con­fused. It’s going to be so hard on Sam to get up Mon­day morning!

These days have been sweet and uncom­pli­cat­ed. I just had a delight­ful can­dlelit bath, with my sto­ry­teller stay­ing with me the whole time. I am very, very sleepy now.

I’ve put this off for a time out of sheer lazi­ness, I sup­pose, but it’s past time to move the rest of the arti­cles on this site into Word­Press. I don’t know how long it’ll take me to work through them, but I’ll try to space them out a bit so as not to flood the feed. I’ll try to remem­ber to use the “more” tag, too.

I can’t just dump the HTML into posts or pages, because there’s always some­thing that’s out­dat­ed, or that I would put dif­fer­ent­ly now. And, of course, I’m try­ing to do this migra­tion with­out leav­ing a bunch of bro­ken links, which means set­ting up redi­rects as I go.

Yes, I know that I have obses­sive-com­pul­sive dis­or­der. It’s offi­cious­ly diag­nosed and every­thing. No, there’s noth­ing you can do or say that will relieve me of feel­ing that I had to go through every sin­gle article.

Oh. To be more accu­rate than above, I’ve put this off due to sheer per­fec­tion­ism, which is high­ly sus­cep­ti­ble to pro­cras­ti­na­tion for exact­ly these kinds of reasons.

Reading

So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what read­ing means to me or my child. How about both?
Katie reading
You might have noticed that I talk, a lot, about read­ing. I think Now Read­ing shows at least four five of the books that I’m read­ing right now, and that’s a fair­ly nor­mal num­ber. I don’t include my text­books, because they’d be there too long!

Read­ing is one of the things that I can still do, most of the time, despite the fibro and oth­er crap. I can’t always man­age to read on a screen, or fol­low some­thing like a text­book. For­tu­nate­ly, though, fic­tion by some of my favorite authors — espe­cial­ly an old favorite nov­el, like Part­ners in Neces­si­ty — is eas­i­er, and is a very good way to dis­tract myself from the pain for a while.

I haven’t talked about it much, but Katie has had increas­ing health prob­lems over the last year. Her migraines are no longer man­aged, despite tak­ing high lev­els of pre­ven­tive med­ica­tions. The res­cue med­ica­tions aren’t work­ing well because she has to take them too often. She had anoth­er round of sleep stud­ies, too, and a new neu­rol­o­gist has been try­ing dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions to help her get a decent night’s sleep (which should help the migraines and oth­er prob­lems). So far, any­thing that helps her sleep despite severe rest­less leg syn­drome leaves her zomb­i­fied the rest of the time. Provig­il, even tak­en twice a day, can’t keep her awake and aware enough to func­tion in school. She’s lit­er­al­ly sleep­ing like a cat, 14 – 18 or hours a day, just nev­er deeply. Her dark cir­cles have cir­cles, now.

But she can still read, too. Slow­ly, some days, and going back to re-read some pages, but she gets the same com­fort from it as I do. You know she’s mine when you real­ize that she’s nev­er with­out at least one, and often two, books in her purse.

I start­ed read­ing to her dur­ing my preg­nan­cy, along with talk­ing and singing and play­ing music for her. I read out loud to her from her first week out of the womb, too, some­times while breast­feed­ing, oth­er times while just being with her. She talked at an ear­ly age, and was very clear. She learned to read quick­ly, too, and has always been very opin­ion­at­ed (where did she get that?) about her choice of read­ing mat­ter. One of her favorite things about leav­ing the pub­lic school sys­tem was being free of that damned Accel­er­at­ed Read­er pro­gram and its ridicu­lous restrictions!

It’s no sur­prise that I hope my nephews and niece are read­ers, too — although that’s far less like­ly, since their par­ents aren’t, real­ly. My broth­er used to brag that he’d nev­er read any whole book, even those assigned for class­es. (I nev­er under­stood that being a point of pride, even if he did get good grades.) My sis­ter has nev­er read any­thing that wasn’t required. I don’t know their spous­es very well, but I’m fair­ly sure they aren’t recre­ation­al read­ers, either. At least the grand­ba­bies have our moth­er (their Nana), who got me start­ed read­ing, and will sit for hours with any child, read­ing book after book (or the same book, over and over) patient­ly.1 I’m not close to my sib­lings, geo­graph­i­cal­ly or oth­er­wise, so I don’t have many chances to influ­ence the babies. I can give them books, though, and hope to catch their fan­cy so they ask to have them read!

Being a flu­ent read­er gives one more of an advan­tage that any oth­er skill you can give your child. Read­ers can use that skill to learn absolute­ly any­thing else. They can explore math, sci­ence, crit­i­cal think­ing, his­to­ry, cur­rent events, art — you name it. If you teach them to read, get them in the habit of doing so, and teach them to judge their sources well, you’ve giv­en them an incred­i­ble start on life.


1 Mom (and I!) did read to my sib­lings, but nei­ther of them ever want­ed to sit still long.

Packaging Boyhood

From the latest Dads & Daughters newsletter:

Our friend Dr. Mark Tappan is co-authoring a book, to be called "Packaging Boyhood" about marketing to our sons. The book aims to "scrutinize the world of boy power, and the ways media and marketers' stereotypes about how to be a man reach way down into the lives and entertainment of younger and younger boys." Mark is writing it along with Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown and Dr. Sharon Lamb, co-authors of the 2006 book Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes.

To gather data for "Packaging Boyhood," these preeminent scholars on the role of gender in the emotional, psychological and cultural development of our children put together a very interesting online survey at www.packagingboyhood.com. Participation by dads and/or their sons will be worthwhile.

Dads & Daughters is a great resource for parents, educators, or anyone else who cares about children. This is the first time I've seen them post something son-specific, but much of their material is important regardless of the gender of your child(ren). Maybe well see a Dads & Sons before long, or something similar.

It Was a Lovely Day

Please note: Yes, I am referring to today, the 12th, which is my birthday. Those close to me know that I generally hate my birthday, as it's a reminder of multiple miscarriages and other nasty things happening around this time several years in a row.

Sam and Katie managed to make #41 very nice, though.

Quotable Mug With Osho QuoteSam and I went out Saturday evening to Barnes & Noble, but I just couldn't make a decision. So many choices! We went over to OutWrite, too, which is always fun. I saw lots of adorable trinkets there, and plenty of interesting reading and listening material, but still couldn't make a choice. I really liked this mug, and it felt great in my hand, but I couldn't find out if it's microwave safe. (My favorite coffee cup was broken recently, victim of my unreliable grip. Thank you, fibro/arthritis/CMP!) Have any of you tried a Quotable mug? How did it hold up?

Oh! On the way home, we started to drive past Krispy Kreme and Sam had a sudden need for donuts, so we popped in there to satisfy that. I've never done the drive-through there before, but things were really crowded in the store. The car line was long, too, but we had the advantage of privacy and good company while waiting in it.

We enjoyed being out, but I came home without having chosen anything but donut fillings. Sam threatened to pick for me if I didn't make a choice on Sunday. I have a lot of trouble spending any money on myself, or asking for presents, and he thought that's why I hadn't chosen anything.

So we went out again on Sunday—leaving the house two days in a row is very unusual for me any more! I had finally decided on exactly what I wanted, and we tried to go get it, but found the place closed for Veteran's Day. My man insisted on taking me to Borders and buying Kim Harrison's A Few Demons More, promising that we'd also go to The Place again on Monday. Then he took me to Steak & Shake for dinner, because when I saw the sign I had a serious craving for their mushroom-swiss burger. (Don't bother with the new Portobello mushroom burger, as you get far fewer mushrooms that way!)

Katie and I (she's home from school, sick) had a very nice, low-key day Monday, and Sam and I set out again after he got home. This time, success!

I asked for something that probably seems odd to most people—a non-resident library card so I can access the best library system in Georgia, Gwinnett County Public Libraries. But I'd checked, and they have 95% of the books I'm really wanting to read, and past experience says they'll continue to carry the fantasy and science fiction I love. They have a far better selection of everything than Dekalb, where we live. (Okay, Gwinnett has stopped carrying music CDs, because so many went missing. Big deal.)

I wanted the card instead of a few books, because this way I can read all of them! And, in fact, we came home with nine books that have all been on my wish list for some time, and two or three graphic novels for Sam.

Now I have a whole pile of new-to-me books, and A Few Demons More! They're all way too tempting to a girl who still has homework to do, including a SWOT analysis that's due for my management class this week.

Thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes via Facebook, email, Twitter, LJ, etc. 🙂

The EM Curse

I’m view­ing this entry on my ginor­mous 22″ mon­i­tor. My hero acquired it via freecy­cle, tot­ed it from the pre­vi­ous owner’s house to our car and into our house again. It has some insane­ly love­ly res­o­lu­tion and so on, and is so big that I can have the text size set to HUGE and still get lots of stuff on a screen (not that Win­dows does that text-size-chang­ing ele­gant­ly, but that’s anoth­er topic).

My video and sound cards are absolute­ly awe­some com­pared to what I was using in the lap­top! I can even go on Sec­ond Life with­out spend­ing all of my time wait­ing for every­thing to resolve!

This is thanks to Sam, who acquired and set up this com­put­er for me. Thank you, sweetie!

He was actu­al­ly doing this already, part­ly because he want­ed me to join him on SL more fre­quent­ly, but then it became a real neces­si­ty, because we’ve expe­ri­enced some sort of odd electro­mechan­i­cal curse recently.

Those of you who read Sam’s jour­nal know that he lost all the infor­ma­tion on both hard dri­ves in his machine recent­ly. That meant all the back­up infor­ma­tion was gone. We didn’t ever find an expla­na­tion, but I think it was the hard dri­ve con­troller. In any case, we had to upgrade to SATA because that was more eco­nom­i­cal­ly fea­si­ble than try­ing to find EIDE dri­ves, and he hasn’t had more prob­lems since then.

What I can do from home/​school/​medical what­ev­ers has been fur­ther lim­it­ed now by the loss of my lap­top. It just died a few months ago. It had been going in lit­tle pieces — the PCMCIA slot didn’t want to work for NICs, then the SD card read­er became unre­li­able, then the eth­er­net port lost the lit­tle tab that keeps the cord plugged in, and final­ly the place where the pow­er cord plugs in to the case got weird and the cord just wouldn’t stay con­nect­ed well. I think all the pow­er prob­lems screwed with the oth­er parts at the end (yes, ter­ri­bly tech­ni­cal lan­guage there). The hard dri­ve was read­able, happily.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I’d just moved all my data else­where because I was about to rebuild the soft­ware on the lap­top, and the SAMBA server’s data dri­ve fell down and went boom. It’s sor­ta read­able in an exter­nal hard dri­ve enclo­sure if mount­ed with Ext2Fsd on a Win­dows machine. Of course, we can’t find the pow­er sup­ply for the exter­nal hard dri­ve enclo­sure, although it was right there with the enclo­sure just a few weeks ago. ::Sigh

When we try to put the dri­ve in the rebuilt Lin­ux machine, the machine (which is run­ning a very dif­fer­ent dis­tri­b­u­tion now) keeps want­i­ng to imme­di­ate­ly do some­thing to the boot sec­tions of the dri­ve, and I’m afraid that’ll make it total­ly unread­able. Yes, I said, “do some­thing” because Sam tried that part, not me. I’d rather not give details than be wrong.

I don’t know what the serv­er used to run. I used Red Hat. When Sam took it over, he tried sev­er­al dif­fer­ent things and I can’t recall what he set­tled on (to end users, it hard­ly mat­ters, which is how it should be). The rebuilt machine runs Ubuntu.

Yes, we do use UPSs. No, there was no mal­ware involved. All phys­i­cal fail­ures. (Most of) the equip­ment was old. So we’re down a few machines and a lot of drives.

Oh! The microwave! It went out dra­mat­i­cal­ly, with a big sound and flames and all! I’m glad I missed it. Hear­ing about it was all too exciting.

Then the toast­er decid­ed that it may or may not pop up its con­tents, and it might or might not have toast­ed them in the mean­time. It’s a Schrödinger’s toast­er, apparently.

Oh, then there were the cell phones. Mine, then Katie’s. Just stopped work­ing one day. Okay, dif­fer­ent days, but you get the pic­ture. Both have been replaced now, but she and I were shar­ing one there for a bit, which Was Not Fun.

Katie has an inter­est­ing new art project, the Dis­cor­dian PDA. She’s going to get advice from her (won­der­ful) art teacher as to what kind of paint would work well on a Palm. That’s a good way to use one that won’t keep it’s time or date reli­ably any more. Or charge. It’s pret­ty much a paper­weight, so it might as well be love­ly to look at it. Not ter­ri­bly use­ful for keep­ing cal­en­dars, con­tacts, and so on, and our phones don’t sync with the rest of the world so well (ah, to have Tre­os!), so we’re down a PDA.

My car­pet steam­er still just won’t coöperate (I think the ex screwed it up when she was “fix­ing it” with­out hav­ing ever seen one before), so I’m almost ready to toss it. I can hope to acquire one via freecy­cle, or wait ’til they go on sale, but repair of such things is sel­dom worth­while unless the shop can imme­di­ate­ly say, “Oh, that’s the (com­mon thing) and it’ll be (amount). I can have it done in two hours.” 

I know there was some­thing else, or sev­er­al of them, that died dur­ing this time, too. A/​V relat­ed, I think.

Any­body wan­na come remove a curse?

Rumbles from the Recliner

Not from the grave, oh no, not yet!

It’s been too long to do a real “this is all that has hap­pened in my life.” Writ­ing it would exhaust me, and read­ing it would like­ly bore you. If you want to know about some­thing in par­tic­u­lar, please ask.

I’ll be post­ing a few things short­ly that I had “ready to go” and just didn’t post, for what­ev­er reason.

The girl is enjoy­ing life as a teen, or as much as any teen can. I wouldn’t want to go through those ups and downs again! She’s always my most pre­cious, beau­ti­ful God­dess gift baby, even if she will be 17 this week. That’s our “big thing” right now.

She con­tin­ues to amaze me with her cre­ativ­i­ty. She’s the head pho­tog­ra­ph­er (or what­ev­er they call it there) for the year­book, which has had her run­ning around to all man­ner of events for which there must be pho­tos! Now! Yes­ter­day! Couldn’t they hold Home­com­ing in July? Come ON peo­ple! And she loves it. She com­plete­ly filled her 1GB com­pact flash card with live pho­tos from Fri­day night’s foot­ball game, then had to switch to her small­er, old­er card and be very judi­cious in her shots to fin­ish the game. She obvi­ous­ly needs a much big­ger card!

Yes, she uses her own equip­ment. Her cam­era is head and shoul­ders above the qual­i­ty of those the year­book staff owns, even the few dig­i­tals. That makes sense, con­sid­er­ing the expense of them, the time it takes to real­ly learn to use a dig­i­tal SLR prop­er­ly, etc. Most of what they have are point-and-shoot 35mm film cam­eras, which aren’t such big a deal if a stu­dent los­es or dam­ages them.

Sam is still work­ing at the same place, help­ing peo­ple with com­put­ers and net­work­ing and phones and so on — even A/​V equip­ment at times. If you can plug it in, his depart­ment is the one every­body calls first for help. I’m sur­prised jan­i­tors don’t show up with vac­u­um clean­er com­plaints some­times (and I don’t know that it hasn’t hap­pened at some time at the past).

The help­ing peo­ple part is, of course, the most impor­tant thing. He loves it, he does it well, and he finds wells of patience that must come from Some­where Else.

I’m reg­is­ter­ing for fall class­es (DeVry is on an odd sched­ule, but you may have noticed that). We’re look­ing for a place to move to, but not find­ing what we can afford where we want to live. I sup­pose that’s an eter­nal lament, isn’t it?

I’m still a gimp, and now have a (man­u­al) wheel­chair of my own. I real­ly need a ramp for the front entrance of the house, but I’ve delayed try­ing to have one put in here since we want to move.

We’re still in lim­bo with Social Secu­ri­ty. In Geor­gia, the wait to have your case heard by an admin­is­tra­tive law judge is (accord­ing to the SSA office near me) about 36 months, aver­age. That’s the lev­el I’m at now.

It’s damned frus­trat­ing not to be work­ing, not to be able to work. I don’t want to be on dis­abil­i­ty or need it! I want to find a job I can do for a decent wage!

But I’ve had yet more icky health stuff, so… Sam and Katie are more of a bless­ing than I can say, cer­tain­ly far more than I deserve.

I real­ly want music. I mean, to make it. Noth­ing else seems to be able to replace hav­ing a piano (not a lit­tle key­board) in my home. That’s when I sing the most, as I accom­pa­ny myself. (I don’t play all that well, so I don’t play in front of any­one else.) I was think­ing of tak­ing a new vocal class Elise Witt is offer­ing, but it con­flicts with a fam­i­ly commitment.

I’m re-read­ing Madeleine L’Engle’s Cross­wicks Jour­nals and poet­ry as I mourn her pass­ing. Yes, there will be a sep­a­rate post about that, but for now, I’ll leave you with a tiny quote from her:

I learn my lessons slow­ly, sel­dom once for all. Con­tin­u­al­ly they have to be learned and re-learned, not with solem­ni­ty, but with awe and laugh­ter and joy.

Namaste,
Cyn