prgrmr: (lionize)

My daughter Samantha has been a blessing, a challenge, a heart-ache, a source of pride, and an on-going surprise.  The last few weeks have not changed that.

She became ill on Christmas eve, and by the following Sunday was so much worse that I took her to the hospital. They kept her until the following Friday. She has a UTI that turned into a double kindey infection. They found e. coli in her urine & staph. in her blood. She was on two different IV antibiotics plus morphine--but only a small amount of that, because she is also 6 months pregnant. It was an intense week.  I believe we got her the care she needed in time, so that neither she nor the baby were in mortal danger for more than Sunday night. but it was still a long week.  Thursday they gave her an IV midline in her upper arm that she was sent home with (with me!), and we spent the entire folllowing week injecting antibiotics into it 3 times a day.

She got the midline out today and is on oral meds for another week.  She will be staying with me at least through Wednesday. I told her yesterday it has been nice to be able to be her Dad one last time. As much as i want for her to get better, i also don't want this to end.

prgrmr: (lionize)
There is something of a debate going on recently about "following your passion", "doing what you love", "chasing your dreams", and the like.   While this debate is nothing new, it has been recently energized by the on-going problem of onerous student loan debt, by graduates not being able to find employment (gainful, or otherwise) in the field for which they got their degrees, by Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers (of whom I am one) complaining about the Millenials complaining (which I have done). It has been intentionaly overly-dramatized by a media struggling to stay relevent.   There have been many opinions offered, many observations (valid and otherwise) made about the debate, the participants, and the consequences, both short- and long-term.

Most of the above has been well-intentioned at face-value.  There as been the ususal amount of posing, of whining for its own sake, and of pot-stirring.  This is also nothing new, and thus I'm going to ignore that.

What bothers me is the either/or-ness about it all. As if following your passion and chasing your dream doesn't involve making a living, doesn't make you financially stable, then you shouldn't do it. Or that you can't. Now, clearly, people who are not otherwise independently wealthy need to make a living.  Whether that is having a job or running a business or that something in-between known as consulting, it's gotta happen. People need to eat, after all.  But that doesn't necessarily preclude doing what you love. Or at least what you like.

Even in the face of the most economically divided time in the US between the haves and the have-nots, in the most imbalanced era of corporatism in this country since the break-up of Standard Oil, for all but the most financially destitute, doing *something* that you like is still possible.  And for those at the lowest end of the economic spectrum, we, as a nation, should be doing more so they too can do what they like. 

Politicians have completely failed to recognize what having copious amount of leisure time has done for this country, and what further economic potential that holds. This is in part because a certain amount of the coporate intererst that Congress has already whored itself out to (Hollywood and the Entertainment Industry as a whole, for starters) already depend on descretionary income.  It is also in part because, aside from any individual politician's special interest, all economic activity is viewed as equal. A dollar spent is a dollar spent, and not much beyond looking at if it was spent with a US-based corporation appears to matter.

What polititicians in general are appearing to ignore is the Tom Sawyer effect: that which we are obiligated to do is work, and that which we are not is fun. And people are so much more willing to spend money on fun than on work.    There are many reasons, I think, behind this tunnel vision.  Politicians are generally more well paid and more wealthy today than any other time in this country, since its early days when generally socially prominent men were wealthy men. http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Senate_Eight.htm Today's Congress is the richest ever. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/09/how-did-members-of-congress-get-so-wealthy/379848/

My point here being that the pursuit of happiness and providing the means and opportunity to do so, is potentially as lucrative as it it is enjoyable.  If you are among those who can say you love what you do for a living, count yourself fortunate, for you are in the minority among Americans.  If you are those who say you pursue your dreams and follow your passions depsite that not being your day job, then congratulations on not giving up, and on not buying in to the thinking that you can only do one or the other.

darkness

Sep. 4th, 2015 12:32 am
prgrmr: (lionize)
As a lifelong night owl, I am quite familiar with the dark. We have been friends for as long as I can remember.  One of my earliest memories is getting scolded by my mom for being awake and looking at the stars through the window one night.  I was about 3, based on the fact that my brother Pete was still sleeping the crib and my youngest brother Tom was not even thought of yet.

(Aside: why is lifelong one word, and night owl not?)

But I hate when the dark shows up early.  No one likes a gatecrasher, and tonight, at 8:15pm when I got home from taking my son Brandon out for birthday dinner (we had mexican, it was yummy!), it was dark.  And not just dusky-dark, but dark enough that as I was fumbling to get my key into the lock to open the door to the house, I was wishing I had put the outside light on when I had left earlier. At 5pm. When it was still broad daylight out and sunset wasn't even being hinted at.  I am going away for the weekend and when I get back, summer will be unmistakeably on the way out as Autumn will be gatecrashing it's way into the month, cloaked in the robes of darkness, encroaching on the evening an inch or two per night.  

One of the benefits of living where I do is that I can walk downtown to a variety of places for dinner or shopping, or just to have a stroll.  I don't mind walking home in the dark, but as the darkness creeps closer and closer to 6pm, starting out the walk in the dark just makes me feel like I'm late, behind schedule, and at that point why bother.   But that part won't be here until sometime in November.  The next two months will be that incremental forshadowing of what's to come.
prgrmr: (lionize)
You're not hungry, you're just bored.
prgrmr: (lionize)
It's a habit, a vice, an artform, a crutch, a burden, a barrier, an indulgence, a treat, a sin, an obligation, and as much of who I am as the nose on my face.   And much like my nose, at times I am oblvious to it, and at other times very self-conscious of it.  But at no time do I feel the need to "fix" it.  Perhaps indulge in it less, let it have less of a subconscious say in my life, but it is part and parcel of who I am.  I like to think--and hope it is true--that I have made it work for me.  That it makes me less impulsive, less impetuous, less rash despite being a very emotionally-driven person.   I do know that I am no where near objective enough to judge if that is true.

I have been procrastinating writing about something since June, since my first trip back to Ohio to see my Dad.  And I don't know when I will be ready to let it go and write it.  In June it was too fresh and not fully-formed.  In July I was biased by too many things, including taking my son Mike out to Ohio and watching him go through a much-reduced version of what I went through when he saw my Dad.  And now that it has had time to simmer, to allow for reflection and introspection and the emotional heat had lowered....  I don't know.  I am going back out there this weekend.  I am hoping that this trip will be the final bought of input and inspiration and experience that I need to let it all out.
prgrmr: (lionize)
Yeah, ok, so this writing thing is harder than I think. Every. Single. Time.

Consistenly underestimating stuff achivement unlocked!

And with that....  I have been both insanely busy and seriously lost.  I want so very much to blame it on having to travel for work, but 1), it's Florida, and 2) it was only a week and even though getting back on track has been hit-and-miss, that doesn't explain what was happening before.    Which was I was either going to or recovering from travel to Ohio to see my folks.  And since, I've beend doing stuff with my kids again; and even if the pretext was school shopping, it's still nice.

Going to Ohio really took a lot out of me, physically and emotionally, especially the first trip, because I went alone, because it was the first time I'd seen my parents in over a year, and because it was the first time I'd seen my Dad truly limited by his Parkinson's and I was not ready for it,  I was not at all ready to see my Father as a frail, elderly person.  But more on that later.

I am going back this coming weekend.   My mom's sister had MS for many years (20+) and recently passed away, so we are having a family memorial service.  It's a Big Deal.  Her sons are flying out for this (one from TX the other from MS) because the bulk of my mom's side of the family is still in the Cleveland area.   This is also the first major family event without either of my grandparents present.  My grandma's funeral was last May, and even though she was gone, the day and the weekend even, were still all about her, as it should have been.  This will be different, and because of that, it will be a different sort of sad.

I was not close with my Aunt Kathy, in part because they moved from Ohio to St. Louis when I was in college, and in part because before that, I was just a kid and she was one of many relatives and that's just the way it was.   And now she's gone, and it's not like I have remorse about not being closer (you cannot be close with everyone, there's literally not enough time for that), but I am acutely feeling the strain of the years since I have lived in New England.  Part of that is because of how it turned out, and part of that is I feel more guilty about not feeing more guilty than I actually feel guilty about being away all of this time.  The upside is that my two cousins who also moved away possibly (probably?) feel at least some of that too.  If I can get one or both of them alone on Friday or Saturday, I aim to find out.   I doubt it will lead to anything as grand as closure, but misery loves company, and all three of us love Guinnsess, so there will be that.

Stuff

Jul. 31st, 2015 12:47 am
prgrmr: (lionize)
I have, in times past, written about how I am partially defined by my stuff (insert reference to 10 year old LJ entry I was too lazy to look up despite having downloaded my entire LJ and saved it as a pdf in 2010).  Consequently, I have a lot of stuff, even for someone in my position, who lives alone and supports a family living elsewhere.

My latest stuff-drive has been comic books.   I discovered the ability to rebuy parts of my childhood about 5 minutes after I discovered ebay back in 1998.   I haven't bought or sold anything on ebay in almost 7 years, but there's plenty of other sources for my latest addiction, including--happily--real shops.  I have been to a half-dozen comic shops this year.  I'm hoping to make it a dozen before the year is over, even though I have completed the 3 series that motivated me last year to start recollecting in earnest, and I know I'm never going to own the complete run of most of the rest of what I am collecting.   (In an unrelated note, if anyone wants to drop $2k on Adventure #247 for me, I would be eternally grateful.)

Because most of my stuff is thematic in some way, it makes paring it down something of a challenge. Thinking about de-stuffing has been on my mind since visiting my parents a couple of weeks ago.   My Mom decided it was time to clean out Dad's office, and started selling and giving away his stuff.  I was sent home with a few things, some of which I've always wanted, some of which surprised me, and at least two items I had to step up and not just ask but argue for (which is entirely reflective of my Mom's assuming everyone is going to want what she does).  But, I am grateful and happy for having some of my Dad's stuff to now call mine, even if it is happening sooner than I thought.

In the meantime, I have looked around at my other stuff.  I used to say that if I have not read, looked at, or used something in 2 or 3 years, I could probably do without it.  But there is only so many times you can reread the same book before doing that becomes a chore (I'm not there yet with the Hitch Hiker's Guide, but I think the next read through may do it).  And having collections that I more or less rotate through working on mean that I have boxes of coins, posters, papers, books, pictures, slide rules and other stuff, and now comic books that I have not touched or looked at in quite some time.    So, naturally, I have found myself looking through boxes and pulling books off of shelves, remembering when and why I acquired these things.   The nostalgia and memories are nice.  The stuff is still, mostly, cool.  And the feelings about having so much of it are still not completely resolved. 
prgrmr: (lionize)
One advantage of growing older is that life slows down, and consequently, you start to notice more. The downside to that is becoming complacent happens much sooner than it used to.   And then when you want to get un-complacent, you have to think really hard where and when and why it happened. And then you realize that none of that matters and you just need to decide where the line starts, where complacency begins, and where are you in relation to that, and how do you get back on the other side of the line, if you ever find it and you don't think you ever will, and then you just want to drink one more beer and go to bed.   And, surprise, surprise, you've found the line.

Habits

Jul. 23rd, 2015 09:10 pm
prgrmr: (lionize)
People, as we all know, are creatures of habits.  Those of us who are OCD-driven are not just creatures of habits, but often (rightly or wrongly) defined by them.   Losing an old habit or acquiring a new one has always been a challenge for me.  I was in my 40s before I finally realized that my comfort zone isn't circumstantial but habitual.  And not tied to any specific habit, tied to *having* a habit. You'd think that would mean I ought to be able to shuffle out old habits in favor of new with relative ease, but no.  The habit-holding is part and parcel with the comfort zone, and once established, the thought of losing it because subconscious anathema.  I don't know if it means that it takes me any longer to establish a new habit, but I am pretty sure it means it takes me a lot longer to let go of an old one.

We tend to think of habits purely as actions.  And why not, it's the obvious thing to do. Habits are about repetition, regularity, about having schedules and fulfilling expectations.  Having a visible, if not tangible aspect to the habit reinforces and validates all of that.  But, habits really start out emotional. My OCD amplifies that emotion motive, making even a fleeting idle thought a possible new need. And all without consideration to the already considerable backlog of habits and compulsions. 

The up-shot of this is that deliberately creating a new habit is a choice to run against my personal grain, to exert a conscious force of will over my overly-autonomous subconscious and its catalog of habits. Now, we all know that "writers write, always".  So if I want to be a writer again, I have to write. In order to do that, I need it to be a habit. In order to that, I have to do what feels like rewiring my brain from the outside.  It's a maddening exercise in influence by indirection, in engendering an effect by ridiculously peripheral causes.  In managing my time and my energies and my mental focus and emotional disposition so I actually feel like writing along with having something to say.  All of which are being influenced, changed, managed, and manipulated my other habits (including necessary ones, like having a day job).

Combine that with my natural procrastinary nature, and this has taken an absurd amount of time to get going.  Inspiration only goes so far.  Time for discipline.
prgrmr: (lionize)
Being in the "right headspace" for writing has always been a precarious thing for me, and even more so after I have been away from it for so long.  Of course, there have been those moments when I thought "I need to lj this", but not been in anywhere near a position to take notes, let alone write.  Trying to recapture the moment well after the fact has been a repeated failure.  Which, finally, got me thinking about why that is.

I have the obvious motives for writing: things I'm doing, people I am with at the moment, things we talk about, my observations, thought, and feelings on all of that.  While much of my past lj entries have been about events, the driver to actually record my thoughts and feelings on the experiences has been the feelings.  So trying to do so after-the-fact means, for me, trying to recreate that emotion.  While I can remember how I felt at the time, not having an emotional switch to flip often means I am writing on that post-event adrenaline high, that I am writing more about how I felt than I how I actually feel.  And then writing well after the fact, days or even weeks later, means I am only, at best, conjuring meta-emotions about how I felt about how I was feeling.  The indirectness of it all is both surreal and absurd.

But I do it--we all do it--because to do otherwise is to forget the past, to not learn from the sting of our failures, to not revel on in the joys of our successes, to not take pride or joy or even notice of others’ successes or failures, or anything in-between.

However, when you have had a near-continuous string of unforeseen, unfortunate, unpleasant events in your life, you reflexively learn to channel your meta emotions away from the past and almost exclusively towards the future.  This can be an amazing motivator to get out there and live life, but it’s an absolute buzz-kill for writing.

So, I gotta relearn how to not kill my writing buzz.
prgrmr: (lionize)
I am going to attempt to write again.  This will be somewhat different this go-around, as I am not the same person I used to be.
prgrmr: (lionize)
I believe I'm all done with livejournal. It served its purpose for me at a time when I needed an outlet to vent, to plan out loud, to record some of my doings, and get feedback on that from people.  It helped me rediscover and then redefine who I am at a time where my standard of definition for my identity--being married--was no longer applicable. While I am still on facebook and twitter, neither are really anything more than virtual entertainment as a means of staying in touch with people.  I have started a tumblr which I am attempting to limit to things artistic rather than day-to-day events, politics or humor (http://prgrmr42.tumblr.com/)

Now having said all this, there's nothing to say some mischievous muse won't prod me into writing here again.  Or that I won't back it all up just one more time and then delete it all.  Time will tell.
prgrmr: (Default)
slowly bring up the heat
never, ever, ever, ever, bring to a boil
just keep her simmering for as loooooonngg as possible...

doors

Jul. 10th, 2012 11:31 pm
prgrmr: (Default)
moveable barriers
admission to the future
wait to be opened


Posted via LjBeetle
prgrmr: (Default)
It was some of what I expected and some of what I didn't, but for the very most part, a good time.   If I go next year, I will clearly need to do more talking and coordination of schedules ahead of time, regardless of how well (or not) the event itself is scheduled.
prgrmr: (Default)
It is only Monday, & my social anxiety is already rearing its ugly head in effort to find/manufacture reasons not only not to attend Convergence this weekend, but not to take vacation time at all. Unfortunately, money is a very real, very legit concern.

I'm sure i will waffle & hedge about it all the way until Friday morning & then either continue to go through the necessary motions in order to go through with the Plan after all, or capitulate to my lack of discipline, concede defeat yet again, and hide in my apartment for another weekend of my life.

Posted via LjBeetle
prgrmr: (Default)
Another weekend has come and gone. I spend time with one of my kids both days, shopped, cleaned (some), watched two sports competitions on TV, went to the movies, and accomplished some other random stuff which warranted a check on the old To Do List.  And, for the most part, my initial reaction is "so what"?   

I am ambivalently caught between "it's not enough" and "it doesn't matter".  I used to write this off to lack of a girlfriend, or even much social interaction of any sort. Now, neither of those don't seem to hold the promise of Making the Difference any more than anything else does or has. At work I am simply waiting until the end of July when I will be fully vested in my 401k, and then I can start a new job search.  But I am still not sure what--or where--I should be searching.

So it's day-to-day, doing what I have to & trying not to drag others down.

blah

May. 10th, 2012 10:12 pm
prgrmr: (Default)
It's Thursday night already. The week is flying by and I've little to show for it, like too many other weeks.  Work, dinner out, laundry and other basic housework.  About half-way through the book I'm reading.  Re-watched "Where the Wild Things Are", which did remind me how difficult it is for me to deal with conflict because the last third of that movie is so damn difficult for me to sit still through--which is good that I was standing and ironing at the time.

I did take Elyssia to the cat show on Sunday, and she enjoyed herself for the hour and change we were there. But, clearly the novelty of the event has worn off, because when she was ready to go, that was it, and we left.   I made the mistake of letting her choose to go Friendly's for lunch. The place has not been the same since they conceded financial difficulties, shuttered several hundred of their restaurants, and changed their menu.  No longer is spaghetti or meatloaf on their menu.  And given how the quality of the food has been dropping, that's probably a good thing.  And it's not that the food was horrible, it wasn't.  But it wasn't much better than OK, and for the price we could and should have gone elsewhere.  But for her, it's all about the experience of it, and she had fun,which I am glad for.

And then on Tuesday, Mr. Sendak passed away.  I was at work when I saw the headlines on the google news page. I immediately started to panic, because my first reaction was to get all misty-eyed, and I didn't at all want to be seen crying at work for any reason, let alone over the passing of someone who was not family, and whom I'd never met. So I had to put it out of my head until I calmed down and could deal with it.  47 years old and I am still overly-emotional, and overly-sentimental over things from my childhood.  And I'm never going to change.
prgrmr: (Default)
I had Friday off as a comp day, which I should probably do more timely, as this was for working weekends in April that I could have legitimately claimed 2 days for, but didn't. Live and learn.   I picked up Dan after school and took him down to the NH Coin and Currency Expo.  He runs hot and cold with these things, but seem to genuinely have fun.  It helps that this is the third year they've had it at the Radison, so he was familiar with the place and I'm sure that added significantly to his comfort level.  He picked out some interesting stuff, and didn't shy away from looking outside the junk and clearance boxes this time.  I only had to deny a couple of his selections due to cost.  I sort of didn't have to, but I need to talk with him about the money aspect of it, as I'm not sure how much he gets or not about it.

Today I went to a Book and Paper Expo. I almost don't know where to begin. Dozens of dealers. Thousands of books. It's like Nirvana there, except that I cannot afford 80% of the selections; and no matter how much money I budget for it, the stuff that truly calls to me tends all be $50 - $100 more than that.  So I walked out with 4 books, having spent a total of only sixty bucks: two books on Lincoln, "The Annotated Alice" (which I am very excited to have gotten), and a book to give as a birthday gift next month. 

One of the Lincoln books is an auction preview catalog for the "Bliss Copy" of the Gettysburg address (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettysburg_address#Bliss_copy).  When I was in Washington D.C., I picked up at the gift shop at the Lincoln Memorial a copy of "Lincoln legends : myths, hoaxes, and confabulations associated with our greatest president", & one of the chapters was on a forged copy of the Gettysburg Address that was initially thought to be a previously undiscovered copy.  So this is one of those fortuitously timed events that occasionally pops-up in my life just often enough to make it interesting.

Today and tomorrow at the arena in town is the annual cat show. I've taken my youngest daughter (who desperately loves cats, but due to multiple family members' allergies, cannot have one of her own) the last two years in a row, and I'm sure if I called over over to the house now, my Ex would be happy to let me take her tomorrow.  So while I'm on the fence about being at the point of Event Fatigue, I'm gonna cowboy-up, be the good Dad, and text the Ex and ask.  Cause if there's one thing I'm good it, it's dragging my kids around from place to place to have fun.


prgrmr: (Default)
The play stuff first. Badge purchased, hotel reservations made, and I am committed to going to my first Convergence.  I'm going to drive, as I've made that trip from Concord to Buffalo en route to Ohio at least a dozen times now. Plus after being in D.C. without a car, I really wasn't looking forward to a second trip without my own transportation.  I have no idea what to expect, other than I won't know 99% of the folks there, and my wardrobe will be less than up to the occasion.  The former is a bit of a worry, the later is more or less "meh".

At my work we have a change management "policy" of sorts.  And, as you'd expect, we have those who like to dodge it and just have all of their request handled ad hoc & as quietly as possible.   Last week I was on-call, and because my group (Linux admins) doesn't have a help desk, whoever is on-call for the week also plays help desk.  So last week I get a complaint/cry for help, figure out what it is they want to do and way, and point them to the appropriate change management method for the system and change in question. And they promptly go to one of my coworkers who completely enables them to circumvent the process.  This is far from the first time this chain of events has played out. So I suppressed my initial urge to email my coworkers and call out whomever did it by asking the group who did it, and emailed my manager. I have no idea if she'll even reply to it, let alone follow-up.  What I still don't know (after nearly 3 years) is if she understands how frustrating it is to put in the time to play by the rules and have it all be for naught.
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