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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fear and Anxiety

I heard an interview on NPR today.

I had been aware of Max Brooks on the periphery of my Geek-Dar, because of World War Z. But aside from that and from the bare knowledge that he's the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, I knew very little about the guy.

But two quotes from his latest book - Minecraft: The Island - really stuck in my mind.

Fear can be conquered; Anxiety must be endured. 
Panic drowns thought.




Hoo, boy, did those hit home.

I mean, I've seen them both in action more times than I can count. I've had some serious (intermittent) anxiety since Laston's death. Laston himself would panic over very small problems and be unable to discuss anything rationally until he calmed down. Leanna and Lizzy both share this issue with their late father, and I've had my share of a few panic attacks myself in the past year.

Epiphany for me, even though I knew this already (I guess my periodic panic was drowning the thought until someone else said it).

Maybe this new (undrowned) knowledge will help me deal with the Constant Dread I've felt on a regular basis since last November 8th.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going off to put all of Max Brooks' work on my amazon wish list.

Did I mention my birthday is coming up in a month and a half?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Near a Year

Yes, I know.

I'm trying my hardest to make this week about my stepdaughter, Laston's eldest child, because her birthday is this week. 

So I'd better get this out now. 

It has been very nearly a year since Laston's death. And it has not been a cakewalk. 

Everyone has been great: helpful, supportive, you name it. My mom, especially, and I think sometimes she doesn't get enough credit. 

She lost a son-in-law, too, and I'm not sure everyone really gets that. I get the feeling that some people think I'm taking advantage, relying so heavily on my mom. I know she doesn't feel that way, because she would definitely let me know if she did. 

My mother is nothing if not forthright. 

In any case, this is a fairly rambling post, but I need to do it, lest I spend the week without the catharsis of blogging it; that would likely end up with the emotional upset causing more physical illness. 

I'm having enough problems on that score, thanks to the wildfires in British Columbia and the resulting smoke. 

Anyway, still rambling. 

In general, we're doing okay. Leanna's with us for the summer, Abby's spending all her time and energy on YAPI (a six-week long intensive theater arts program at StudioEast) and Lizzy's spending hers on four different week long day camps, some with her younger cousin and some without. 

I just work. 🙂

But life is generally good, as we get prepped for the school year of 2017-18. 


Saturday, July 22, 2017


I've had anger - justifiably - over a lot of things for the past year or two. Cancer, death, politics, injustice, you name it. Just at the moment I have friends dealing with all sorts of crap from illness to injury to unemployment to poverty to... well, let's just say there's plenty to be angry about, both on friends' behalf and on the behalf of myself and my family.

But today? Today I'm mad at meth... is "cookers" the right word?

See, here's the thing. I have another sinus infection.

I haven't had them this often since before I had a few teeth removed almost six years ago.

So I went to the doctor today because fever and sinus pain/pressure/slight dizziness.

Yep, sinus infection, viral (good because I don't need antibiotics but bad because there's no real way to cure it; you just treat the symptoms). They also said my ears are inflamed but not infected, and I got the lovely experience (again) of having a giant Q-Tip shoved up my nose for a culture "just to make sure it is, in fact, viral."


The problem is that sinus infections tend to go south into my lungs. I'm asthmatic, so if that happens, I usually get bronchitis or occasionally even pneumonia.

These are bad options.

So I go home, take a shot of NyQuil, have a cup of tea, and drink a gazillion fluids.

But why'd I get it in the first place?

"Oh, well," the doctor said, (and he knows; they have my chart), "it's a particularly bad year for allergies, and with the sort of stresses you've been under for the past two years, well, you're prone to infection."

Okay, but why is there enough gunk in there to get infected? I'm using the damn allergy meds.

The doctor smiled at me and said, "Thing is, the allergy meds tend to dry things out and clog them up. This is fine, if you're getting enough water, but most people aren't. So you end up getting an infection if you're a) prone to such things, and/or b) under major stress."


Then I should blame meth cookers.

Because thanks to them, I can't get pseudo-ephedrine without signing away my first born, in triplicate, using the blood of a virgin hydra as ink, and a pen made from the feather of a baby gryphon.

So instead? I'm drinking enough fluids to float away.

Which still makes me better off than many of my friends.

But I don't have to like it.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Off the Wall

Even more so than usual.

When I heard today on my lunch break that our president had suggested the Border Wall be transparent, I thought my lunchmate was joking. Or reading a satire site, because that sounded a little odd even by this administration's standards.

But it was true.

So let me see if I understand this.

He still wants to put up the Border Wall, to keep out The Mexicans, who are Bad Hombres and Rapists™.

And he wants it made of glass.

Apparently this is so we Pure, Good Americans™ can see when the Bad Hombres™ are pitching 60lb bags of "stuff" over the top, and what? Dodge?


But, um, glass.

Because, see, while we have invented transparent aluminum (but not this transparent aluminum, which would presumably be cheaper than what we can make at the moment), that's a lot of wall to make out of anything at all, much less an expensive manufactured product that right now only comes in a maximum size sheet of 18x35 inches. So, assuming that you have to stack them in portrait mode, at least three high so it's taller than your Bad Hombres™, well, let's do the math...

There are 63,360 inches in a mile. There are 1989 miles along the US-Mexico border. That's 7,001,280 sheets of transparent aluminum in one layer. Stack 'em three high and that's 21,003,840 sheets of the stuff.

Doesn't sound cost effective, but I guess they'll save that much by un-insuring anyone who has a pre-existing condition, unless they're rich, white, and straight.

Or maybe he'll pay for it by appeasing Those Wacky Liberals™ by topping it off with solar panels.

This is not how reality works.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Random Things

There are a lot of them.

I survived Laston's birthday - the first since his death - although it required leaving work, half a Xanax, and a long, long nap.

We've got Fathers' Day covered; Abby's dad is alive and well about three towns up, and Lizzy has my dad for all the cutesy things they make in school and possibly in Girl Scouts.

Sore ankle must have been just Unaccustomed Exercise and Too Fat for my Feet, because a feverish cold put me to bed for a day and it was much better after that. And I lost a pound this week but I doubt that did much.

The school year is winding up for the kidlets, although their last day is late due to "inclement weather" days. Everyone's performance in school and work has been... rather less than our usual high standards... this school year, for obvious reasons. But Abby seems to have pulled out of her English Language Arts slump with the Shakespeare unit (because she gets to act it out, natch) and Lizzy's school is all set for next year.

Abby's going to the brand new high school in our district in the fall - she will be in the first freshman class there - so she's excited about that.

I get to be a guest on the Geek Questioner Podcast this weekend! I am so excited about this, partly because I'm not nearly as, well, geeky, as some of my compatriots who have been on it before. Certainly not as much as my late husband was. Or maybe I just put on a better Muggle front than most. 😊

Found out that Laston's book will have an audio version coming out in the 2017 holiday season! Also very exciting!

Some cool new tools at work that should make life easier... though I'd rather have a decent freaking contract. It's been almost five months since we had one.

Um... maybe I don't have as much random stuff as I thought!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Of Springtime Blues

I'm healing.

There's no question.

Because the things that happened in May - the wonderful things, and the terrible things, and all the things in between - a few months ago they would have broken me into apathetic can't-get-out-of-bed bits.

But I managed to get out of bed. I managed to get to work on time, on a holiday, near the end of this ridiculously stressful month.

Go me.

What was so stressful?

Well, the usual suspects of money and household chores and whatnot have been exacerbated due to summer camp dues,  end-of-school-year prep, and Abby's Wonderland rehearsals. I've lost weight, started walking more, and started eating better (yay spring and fresh produce on the cheap!). I've also had a three-day strike from work, the usual depression/grief/insomnia, and spring allergies (boo spring cottonwood and spiders!). And Grandma's broken car, which - while not terribly stressful for me - involved a lot of stress for her.

And then there was the aforementioned Wonderland.

It is absolutely gorgeous.

Scenes that have the audience busting up laughing (and one of the "Alice's" parents saying Abby should win an award for Most Lively Ensemble Member). Scenes that are threatening enough to frighten younger audience members (my niece Lucy (7) spent most of one act cuddled up with Abby's friend who was sitting next to them in the audience... though she claims that the friend's shoulder was just "closer" than the bench's headrest).  And scenes that had even the videographer sniffling.

Hilarious and heartbreaking by turns; this show is really big on the Mood Whiplash. I won't give too many spoilers - even though all my local readers really should have seen it by now - but it's a video game and pop culture twist on the familiar Quest to Find Oneself, and you should bring plenty of Kleenex. And if you have had a loss of a loved one, if you're a parent, or if you're just sensitive to such stories, bring two boxes. If you have extras you can share.

The director of the piece described the second act to me as "a downer". It's not, not by my standards anyway. What it is to me is terribly bittersweet.

Catharsis is a Good Thing, even if you feel crappy physically for days afterward.

And now I've seen it twice, once as a standard audience member (with a slew of family, and I think it wouldn't hurt for Lizzy's grief counselor to see it so she has some context for what Lizzy's likely to tell her next session), and once as a parent volunteer.

 Thank Google (or, well, Amazon) for waterproof mascara.