I adulted. Kind of.

I adulted today. Federal and state taxes are completed and filed.

I mostly tracked my food for the day for the whole benefit of the weight loss diary.

I even managed to enjoy the scarf WIP I finished without feeling too guilty about the bazillion other projects I should be working on next.

The lacet pattern put me in mind of little hearts.
The lacet pattern put me in mind of little hearts.

The pattern is Lobster Trap Scarf with  Fishnet Trim by Lyn Robinson, which can be found on Ravelry for free. The yarn was a skein of Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Tomato Frog (see Verdant Gryphon for comparable yarn), which I’ve been struggling to find just the right pattern for since at least 2011 (and maybe earlier – that’s when I added my skein to my stash, but that may not be when I originally bought it.)

All in all, not huge, world changing accomplishments, but they make me happy, and that’s not nothing.

I need a 32 hour day

I need a 32 hour day to accomplish everything I want to accomplish. In my mind, it’s perfect. It works out this way:

  1. 7.5 hours – sleep
  2. .5 hour – breakfast
  3. 1 hour – get ready for work & commute
  4. 9 hours – work (includes lunch)
  5. 1 hour – exercise
  6. .5 shower
  7. .5 pick up the dog & drive home
  8. 1 hour – dinner (includes cook time)
  9. 1 hour – daily chores
  10. 1 hour – reading
  11. 1 hour – video game playing
  12. 1 hours – pet care (walking, snuggling, etc)
  13. 1 hour – socializing casually with the roommate
  14. 2 hours – blog writing (includes photography, as needed). dog magically behaves during this time.
  15. 2 hours – novel writing. Dog has brief trip outside, then goes back to magical behaving so more writing can happen.
  16. 1 hour – knitting – Dog is kenneled for bedtime at this point.
  17. 1 hour – prep for the next day

It’s only eight more hours in a day. That’s not too much to ask, right? Certainly I should be able to carve out time for some of the things I want to accomplish.

Sully in the photo tent
This is why I can’t get nice pictures of my projects. Sully thinks my photography tent is his personal lounging space. Well, this and the fact that the dog cannot be trusted for any length of time.

Yeah. Not terribly likely. In the time it took me to write this, Sophie ate half of my favorite pair of shoes: a pair of Cobb Hill loafers in the tan color they seem to use only rarely these days.

How it really works:

  1. 6 hours – sleep – if I’m lucky.
  2. .5 hour – get ready for work & commute
  3. 9 hours – work (includes wolfing down breakfast at my desk. I do occasionally get time to leave the office for lunch)
  4. .5 pick up the dog & drive home
  5. .5 hour – feeding the animals
  6. .5 hour – dinner preparation
  7. .5 hour – sitting with dog on my lap in the dark. I get nothing done, but at least the dog isn’t destroying things.
  8. .5 hours – dinner
  9. 1.5 hours – trying to recover mentally from the day in front of the TV (not succeeding). May include nap. Usually not. Often includes casual socializing with the roommate about what’s being flipped back and forth between on the TV. Dog is usually on the roommate’s lap at this point.
  10. 2.5 hours – a casual activity (usually surfing the internet) – trying not to get too involved in whatever I’m doing so I can keep an eye on the dog to prevent shoe chewing and cat chasing while the roommate plays Rift. Not exactly conducive to writing (see also: the shoe casualty, above.)
  11. 1 hour – socializing casually  with the roommate while getting ready for bed. Dog flumps around in kennel at this point and sighs a great deal.
  12. 1 hour – various – could be knitting or reading trying to mentally get ready to sleep.

And that is where the day is frittered away to.

Groundhog day

The results of the prognosticating marmots are in, but I don’t need them to know that there’s about six more weeks of winter left.

Winter officially ends on Vernal Equinox, and be officially over in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday, March 20, 2015 at 5:45 PM CDT – which is when Vernal Equinox occurs here. This is one month and 18 days away, or in approximately 6 weeks – the same as every year.

I make no guarantees that the weather will cooperate and be appropriately springlike.

It’s a small world

I got a surprise IM from a colleague today asking me a familiar question. “Do you have any family in the area?”

My last name is pretty uncommon – under 1000 people in the US with my Surname and I’m related to all of them one way or another – some much more distantly than others.

So, of course, my answer was, “Yes. Who do you know?”

I always expect it to be some cousin. It almost always is some cousin or other. “I don’t remember the woman’s name, but her husband was Kenneth and she lives near Twin Pines.”

“That would be Mama and Daddy.”

Aunt Net & Mom
This is one of the few pictures I have of Mama. Her sister, my Aunt Net, is on the left and Mama is on the right.

I don’t know the full story from either side. My mother, I know, lost a significant bit of cash around Christmas – significant enough that not having it would have made huge impact in what she could do in December. My understanding is that it wouldn’t have just impacted Christmas, but the finances for whole month. I have no idea why she was carrying that much cash.

Whether it was in her wallet or with some other identifying data, I don’t know. What I do know is that a kind person returned it to her. I didn’t think I would get to thank the kind person, but I did. Today. As it turns out, my colleague had an experience that touched her emotionally around Christmas. Apparently she found a significant bit of cash and was able to return it to the rightful owner – my mama.

I know that there are lots of horrible things going on in the world, but there are also small kindnesses everywhere and they really do change the world. Every day we are presented with opportunities to make the world a better place, one small kindness at a time.

This is what aphasia feels like

I know lots of words. I use words like arcane, esoteric, and recondite in everyday speech. I have indeed told someone they would rue the day they decided to cheat on me (which is its own story.)

Under normal circumstances, I am the person who actually talks like that. Words have meanings and generally speaking there is a precise word that means what you’d like to say, if you only know what it is.

Migraine has a way of changing that, though. It’s called aphasia. It’s a fairly common migraine symptom. I hate it.

Stay warm, little flappers, and find lots of plant eggs!
For me, this is exactly what aphasia feels like.

It’s frustrating. I work with words, at least in my spare time. I used to do it for a living, when I was selling my soul for rent. (I gave that up because they ran out of work about the same time that I ran out of soul I could sell because the marketing website writing job was scraping off soul faster than I could grow more.)

Often when I’m hovering at the edge of a migraine episode, almost always when I’m actually having a migraine episode, and sometimes when everything is just fine, I lose the words for things. Simple things, like cat, spoon, or milk. Oh, I know what it is, and when I’m very lucky I can describe it in a way that other people can recognize, “The domesticated quadruped that eats mice,” “The little bowl on a stick that we use to eat soup.”

Most times, though, I get only semi intelligible descriptions, like “Cow juice, not milk,” (beef broth) or “closed sleeve for the end of your legs” (socks). AJ has gotten pretty good at guessing over the years, but that doesn’t end the frustration of knowing there is a word for something but not being able to find that word.

Sometimes, though, it’s as if there’s no spare words in the world to work with. Sometimes it’s because the entire world is turned up to 11. There are no words because all I can do is lay in bed in a cool, dark room with an ice pack on the base of my skull and a cold cloth on my forehead and pray for the world to please stop now so the pain it’s inflicting will end.

Sometimes there is no pain, just everything else that goes with migraine: the nausea, the vomiting, the wall that keeps out the words, the feeling that colors are shouting and sounds are slapping against your skin and knowing there are things called words, and if you could find some of them, you could ask for someone to help you.

That doesn’t happen. I’m lucky in that I can still read.

I keep a draft of a letter called “Out of Office” for work on those days, days that start like this morning did, with no words for my mouth and none for my hands. I can still read and I can still press send, and that’s something.

Do I need to compose one for if I have worse than usual problems? Break glass in case of emergency? I have it in my medical alert data, but is that enough? I don’t know. What I do know is that while it’s sometimes leads to saying things that are humorous after the fact (“We need to get some worm looking things to eat with tomato sauce.”) it’s also sometimes terrifying  not to be able to make words and not to be able to make sense when you need to.

Opportunity Missed

So, today AJ and I went out do Saturday errands together, and among the errands was a trip to Kohls on our side of town so AJ could pick up some new underwear and I could get a new pair of pants for work.

Two packages of Jockey for Her and 1 pair of pants later, we’re both in line. AJ checks out and waives off the cashier. “No bag, please.”

The cashier looks at her, aghast, but hands her the receipt and the packages of underwear.

I step up and put down my new slacks and the cashier, a pleasantly round brunette who is obviously younger than I am says in a moderately hushed voice. “I can’t believe she didn’t want a sack.”

“Save the earth, man,” I reply.

“I know. But she had underwear.”

“They’re just panties,” I replied. “She’ll tuck them under her arm. It’s no big deal. Everyone wears them. Hell, with as skinny as she is, it’s not like there’s much in the way of panties to see.”

The young woman looked aghast. “I just wouldn’t show underwear in public.”

She began automatically shoving my new pants into a bag while I boggled at the prudishness of this young woman. I mean, come on. Jockey for Her has a subtle blue & white package. It wasn’t like AJ was running through the parking lot with a fist full of undergarments held aloft like a trophy screaming “PANTIES!!!”

Though I kind of wish she would have. That would have been hilarious.

I snapped out of my imaginings in time to say “No bag please. Save the earth, man.”

“I can understand you not wanting a bag. I mean, they’re just pants. But I don’t get not having a bag for underwear.”

“Meh. They’re panties. Whatever.” I walked over to join up with AJ, who was waiting for me, and who I know had to have heard the whole thing.

“I kept waiting for you to put your hands in the air and start running through the parking lot screaming ‘PANTIES!’ You showed more restraint than I would have.”

AJ grinned. “If you’d said it, I would have done it.”

Damn. Opportunity missed. On the other hand, we have a new battle cry now.

Things I learned on my last day in the Keys

This is the final post in a series of observational posts I wrote on vacation.

1. Unless you are leaving at 5:00 am, waking up at 5:00 am on departure day is just a little pointless.
2. Gladys is the tastiest of the three of us, at least according to an informal survey of the local biting insects.
3. Maybe it’s just that I give up and go inside sooner.
4. There is no maybe to observation 3.
5. Sometimes it is a good thing that one of the side effects of meclizine is slowing the intestinal tract. Especially if your stomach is running fast and you need to be able to travel in a car for 3 and a half hours without stopping every half hour for :nature breaks.”
6. I really wanted bacon for breakfast. I had toast. It is not the same thing as bacon at all, but it was free and available without leaving the condo and not likely to upset my stomach further, so that made it the superior choice.
7. In the above, superior = easiest, safest, and cheapest, not tastiest.
8. I have had the song Key Largo stuck in my head since we got here. I will be glad to get it out when we leave.

Rum cake from the Bubble Room, which is on Captiva Island, and not in the Keys. It was very yummy and worth the side trip on the way to the hotel we stayed at in Fort Myers the night before we returned.

9. Convertibles are only pleasant with the top down when you’re travelling under 55 miles per hour. Even then, bangs and convertibles are not a pleasant combination. Headbands or scarves are strongly recommended. Travelling with the top up is even more strongly recommended.
10. If you have to ask “Are we there yet?” you’re not.
11. Especially if you haven’t left yet.
12. It is the little things that mean the most in life. Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea. You just have to bother to make the effort.

Things I learned on my fifth day in the Keys

This is the fifth in a series of observational posts I wrote on vacation.

1. I am usually the first one awake. I hate being the first one awake when I am not at home.
2. When planning a trip, think about how long you want the trip to be once you hit your destination and then subtract two or three days to keep the trip from hitting the “I want to go home” stage before the actual end of the trip.
3. This means that if we had planned the trip to those numbers we would be flying home today or tomorrow, and not Monday January 5.
4. I sing in the morning. It is not pleasant, but it is true. My repertoire includes such hits as “Where is my Hairbrush?”  and “Where, oh where has my deodorant gone?” and the popular tune(less)  “Pants Dance.”  I apologize for any inconvenience my insane urge to sing may cause.
5. I need minions. Especially Dave and Kevin. Maybe they could find my deodorant.

An aligator statue in the condo’s little garden. It was the only aligator I saw on this trip.

6. I like to read. Don’t get me wrong. I really like to read, but there comes a point where I want to do something. Anything.
7. Yes, it’s not even noon here yet, and I am packed and ready to leave for tomorrow. It was something to do.
8. Yes, that does include laying out clothes for tomorrow.
9. No. I do not want to write or read another book or watch a movie.
10. I wonder if I run around the condo screaming if anyone would notice something is amiss?
11. Nope. Not really.
12. I am really going to be glad to be home soon. I am totally over traveling.