Happy 80th Birthday Mom

I’m in CA celebrating. Hopefully photos of the main event when I return.

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Earning Our Highest Condiments

I’m not going to lie. There are daffodils out there but I don’t have time to get out the camera and take photos so these are from last year.

On Monday I came home from work and opened the refrigerator and the bracket that holds all the condiments in the refrigerator door popped off and condiments went flying.

I was not in the mood to deal with that problem. Fortunately, nothing broke so I transferred the condiments from the floor to any shelf where they would fit. I took the broken shelf and set it aside to deal with later.

Our refrigerator door holds a buttload of condiments and we love condiments and have very many. It became a problem to find anything in the fridge because every shelf was overflowing with condiments. I finally found a box, filled it with condiments and put them in the outside fridge.

I thought maybe I could fix the shelf but it’s a tiny wedge of broken plastic — just a teeny piece that holds it on the door. Poor design in my opinion. So then I dug out the paperwork that came with the fridge thinking I could pop online and order the part but I couldn’t figure it out. So I now look forward to what will no doubt be a long and aggravating telephone conversation with Sears to see if I can solve this problem. Plan B is duct tape.

All my energy that isn’t devoted to day-to-day survival is on Book #3. (I have a cover!) The situation will not change for some time.

(Yeah, it does look grim. There are still a couple of scenes ahead that aren’t counted in this but I’ve moved into panic mode.)

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I’m On Google Maps

Last summer I was walking back from an appointment and the Google Map car drove by me. I made a note of the cross street and put it in my tickle file and I’ve been checking ever since and I finally found myself.

In other news, I have had terrible experiences with two of my favorite and regular stop food carts. The first one was I think was just a couple of slightly too old ingredients. I did eat that one. The second one I think was way too old ingredient. I ate about a third of it yesterday before wrapping it up and thinking: well, maybe it’s me. But I unwrapped it today and took a bite and then spent the next 10 minutes scrubbing my tongue with a napkin.

I’m not a person who likes to return things but both times I came *this* close but I always feel so awkward and terrible about returning things. Isn’t that crazy? What is wrong with me? I paid $8.50 for that burrito. At least it didn’t make me sick. Yet.

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I Dig The Snow

A Fig Tree’s First Snow

I actually did not dig the snow literally or figuratively. It’s always unpredictable and I was at work when the forecast kept changing to expect snow earlier and earlier. I’m anxious about ending up stuck in traffic if there is a huge weather meltdown so if things look sketchy I will usually go home early or if I’m already home, I will stay home.

I can usually do some work from home so it’s not the end of the world but it disrupts my schedule.

Normally, this week would be pre-season for soccer but we’re remodeling our stadium — I have photos but no time to look right this second — No home matches until April 14. I was only a little bit sorry to miss out on sitting in a plastic chair in freezing temperatures to see the guys.

The next day I walked to the bus stop rather than drive to the park-n-ride. The sun was out. The snow was still fresh. It took over 2 hours to get to work and was a giant pain but it was SO PRETTY it was worth it.

I have just made a quick photostream of my photos from that day: Snow Day February 2018

I have finally hit my groove again on the book. Well, I say that cautiously. I’ve had better grooves but I’m doing better than I have been. I still have a few parts written out of sequence that are not counted in this total. I’m still behind where I want to be but have enough to stave off total panic.

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Might Be Halfway

We bought four blueberry plants last year and this is the early one. We had a little bit of snow last night and I intended to get out there and get a photo but I was too distracted by writing and the sun has melted almost all of it away.

The goal for the weekend was to get a handle on everything I have so far and hopefully be at least halfway. I’m still not sure if I’m there yet. I rearranged some things which meant I needed to rearrange other things so I’m only about halfway to my goal of being halfway. As soon as I hit post I’m going right back to it.

If you haven’t heard from me, that’s why. The situation will not improve for some time.

This is the flowerbed out front. These will be daffodils and tulips. I meant to throw more bulbs in last fall but I don’t think I ever got around to it.

Here’s the latest on the neighbor situation. After the party I did some research and talked to the leasing agent and learned how to make a non-emergency phone call to the police. I didn’t know you could do that. So the following weekend when I was woken up again in the middle of the night, I called the police. I honestly hated to do it and there was lots of handwringing but I figured if there was going to be change someone had to do something.

I do not know what happened but the tenant came over and introduced herself this weekend and apologized for the noise and left a phone number. She has a son. They woke me up again but it was before midnight so I sucked it up. This is me trying to be reasonable. But at least we have a dialogue so looks like there is hope.

This is the daffodil situation in the backyard. That one little flower. When it snowed the flower drooped over and was buried in the tiny accumulation. This is a metaphor for everything.

I haven’t even had time to watch much Olympics. It seems like whenever I remember to turn on my DVR it’s a bunch of things I don’t care to watch. I have a list of skating programs I want to go back and find online but I haven’t gotten to that either.

Hope you’re keeping your feet warm.

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Last week I forgot my update on my month of giving up non-essential Internet.

It was brilliant. Why don’t I do this all the time? I don’t know. At the beginning of this month I signed back in and gave up on giving up. Why is it so hard to give up the things we know are bad for us?

I decided to sign back out of everything. I should probably nuke all of my accounts but I can’t decide. I need to recommit to that “non-essential” thing, too but I need my cute animal gifs after I have my lunch and one thing leads to another …

I’m still not clear on how my new DVR works and somehow I have it set up to tape every freaking NCAA gymnastics meet that is aired within my cable package which turns out is 5 or 6 a week. That’s about 3 or 4 more than I can watch. If I keep my the remote in my hands I can power through a meet pretty quickly and whatever I haven’t finished at the end of the week I delete so I can be ready for the fresh batch.

Does anyone out there watch The Magicians? It’s based on the books by Lev Grossman that I would love to re-read if I can ever get back to reading more than one book a month. I had a funny reaction to the books which is that much as I loved them, the whole time I was reading them I kept feeling like I was on the verge of losing my mind but never got there. So yeah, I criticized the books for not being even greater than they were.

We’re in the third season of the TV show and I’ve always liked it but this season is so insanely good I am losing my mind. I don’t keep track of what’s changed from the books since I finished the last book years ago but whatever is going on in the show is working for me. Margo is my idol.

That middle photo is my apple tree stump. I had a guy come over and grind it out so it’s a big hole in the ground waiting for me to plant a new apple tree. I thought I would get to it this weekend but I had some other plans and urgh. I have got to get in the groove with this dang book. I can no longer tell if I’m still panicking or if I’m moving ahead. On the current timeline I need about 5000 words a week to make it which is doable if the stars are in perfect alignment and I have no distractions which is not possible in this universe.

I’ll figure it out.

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Sunshine on the Water

Destination reunion weekend turned out spectacular. Sunshine and beach views were incredible.

It was fun to spend time with people I share history with – there were a lot of great memories and laughter. It was also validating to be in a room of all women my age and most of them didn’t understand how their smart phones worked, either.

The only problem with going away is coming back. I’m still trying to get my act back together. The writing project has stalled and I haven’t managed to get it restarted yet. Oof.

It’s a predictable part of my process but I panic every time which leads to more stalling which makes me panic more. Not a great loop to be stuck in. I’m hoping some good quality sleep and a healthy diet and some magical beans will get me going again.

Last night there was another party at the rental house next door. I thought things had settled down over there. It seemed like there were semi-regular cars parked out front. They woke me up at 2:30 and kept going until 4am when they moved to the front and then stood around talking and shouting and laughing for another half hour. I am now regretful that I did not complain at the beginning. I hate being confrontational but I also hate being woken up by people who aren’t even pretending they care about being considerate. That is all changing. Knowing my luck these will be the kind of people who react by putting dog poop on my lawn and throwing rocks at my car.

There was a commuter bus that was scheduled for 5 minutes after my work day ends. Every day I would walk up the hill to catch this bus and every day it would pass me going to the next stop. I started leaving my desk a few minutes early hoping to catch it. I still missed it.

I began to build up some major outrage that the bus was so consistently leaving ahead of schedule.

Then I remembered that time this lady complained that her bus was late every single day and I suggested that if it was late every single day, maybe she was expecting it at the wrong time. I checked the bus schedule and guess what? It was changed five minutes earlier. “File complaint about bus” has been removed from my list.

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Back Sliding

When I was in CA this little guy was hanging out on Aunt Janet’s back porch in the middle of the day, fearlessly digging up little snack nuggets and having a great time.

The crud cough has been downgraded into a plain old nagging cough. I can sleep through the night and I started exercising again although I get interrupted by a fit every few minutes.

I successfully secured a single value-pack of Fisherman’s Friend at the market — the only one they had. I figured out I can cut the lozenges in half since even just a little bit will keep me from coughing.

I’ve been back sliding on non-essential Internet. Nothing terrible but I have marred my perfect record. Mar — that’s a word, right? It looks funny. Like I typo’d married. But why would I marry my record of non-essential Internet? I cheated when I was trying to draft something difficult for work and thought it would be fun to peek at some nonsense. It’s good to understand your weaknesses.

I’ve been hearing a frog out in the yard all week. It’s hard not to want to poke around out there and find it. But I don’t want it to go away. Don’t they croak when they’re looking for a partner? I hope there’s another frog hopping around that wants to get it on.

Writing is plodding along, steadily forward but never as fast as I would like. I backtracked a bit this weekend because the chronology felt off and I swapped the order of some things — I tend to doubt myself when I make changes like this and stare at the screen fretting for prolonged periods.

I think the fretting is finished. I wish I had more hours today because I am really into it but I have some other stuff to take care of.

Next weekend I am going to California to reunite with my college gang, several of whom I haven’t seen in eons. I’ve been trying to remember the last time and going through old photos. It’s frightening how the time passes. Here we are in Vegas in 2000. I know there was a wedding in the last ten years and I saw some of them in SoCal in 2012. Should be fun.

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The Crud Crisis

The crud finally got us. We’ve both been coughing our faces off for several days now. I went to pick up an extra stockpile of Fisherman’s Friend and–disaster!–they were out. I still have one unopened bag plus a half bag.

As a back up we have three tins of what we are calling Tante Hilla cough drops. Those are sorta low rent Ricola that Tante Hilla sent us from her Apotheke in Germany.

We’re remaining calm for now.

Before I went down with this cold, I had planned to write something about flu shots (Since this is the Internet, I will clarify that I know colds and flu are not the same thing but both fall under the general heading of crud and are being combined in this post.) But now that I have the crud, I don’t have the energy for the whole manifesto.

I have become a huge fan of Health News Review which is a website where medical professionals discuss how health news is portrayed in the media. I think it should be required reading. This article from 2015 talks about flu shots and I will just pull this quote:

“…under ideal conditions (when the vaccine matches the main viruses circulating that season) you need to vaccinate 33 healthy adults to avoid one set of influenza symptoms.”

I’m actually in favor of flu shots. What I hate is when you get sick and someone says, “Oh, didn’t you get a flu shot?”

Moving on.

For one calendar year I saved all the mail sent to our work suite that was addressed to the previous tenant, the people who moved out in September of 2008. That cruise company sends stacks of huge catalogs. I tried to notify them that “No one here cares. Your fancy catalog goes directly into recycling.” I guess no one there cares either.

Finally, I was at the bookstore last week and there were a bunch of kids there doing some sort of program. A little girl approached me to give me a card she’d made.

She wanted me to know it was Martin Luther King’s Birthday on Monday. Here’s the quote on the front of the card:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

She wanted to remind me to remember his message and pass it along. I wasn’t sure if she wanted me to pass the card along but it was so cute I kept it but I’m sharing it with all of you. Peace.

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Cookie Sales

I can’t believe I’ve lived long enough to see Hugh Grant staring in a movie with a talking teddy bear.

Yesterday one the neighbor kids came over selling Girl Scout cookies. I was so sad Bob wasn’t here because this kid is a character and we’ve seen her around the neighborhood since she was teeny. He would have loved to be in charge of this transaction. I asked to buy two boxes and she asked if we would buy one from her and then another from her younger sister who was selling cookies for the first time. How cute is that?

Younger sister still hasn’t appeared but it’s been cold and wet so maybe she hasn’t gone out for her lap yet.

I’m sure it will come as a surprise to no one that abstaining from social media is brilliant. Staying away from discussion boards and not reading the news is great, too, although probably not the best idea in the long run for a responsible adult to skip reading the news.

Finally making measurable progress on Book #3 but I’m still working out of order so I don’t have a precise sense of my word count. Maybe a third of the way done? I’ll have a better idea when I have a couple more good productive weekends under my belt.

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