Tag Archive | catching up

Words and numbers and other things that matter

Most of my free time in November was spent working on NaNoWriMo. I managed to write a bit over 54,000 words. That’s more than the NaNoWriMo target, but less than I’ve managed in some years. Which isn’t to say that I’m not happy about how much I wrote! I’m actually quite pleased that I managed to stay on track with everything going on.

There were a lot of things I wanted to blog about more in depth last month, but since I was trying to finish NaNo, I mostly kept my blogging to Friday Five each week and a few links posts in-between. More than one of those topics that I really wanted to talk about had absolutely nothing to do with the elections, the erosion of our Republic, or international issues.

For instance, a topic came across my various information streams a couple of times. One of the times was someone tweeted about how they didn’t understand why so many straight guys think that it is cool to commemorate the anniversary with their wife by posting a picture with a caption that said, “It took me four years, but I finally wore her down and she married me! Now we’ve been together X years and I’m so glad!” And further in her twitter thread she or one of the people replying to her original were just as boggled that there are women out there who think it’s funny that this is how their husband “wooed” them.

And I agree! Who wants to spend the rest of their life with someone who you coerced into the relationship? Why take pride in that? What you’re saying is not that you are a great husband, and certainly not that you are a great romancer, but rather that you managed to somehow convince them they would never get the kind of husband they wanted and deserved. And why do you think that’s something worth bragging about?

I understand how women are socialized to go along with this—for instance, all the romantic comedies out there are merely a subset of the ways that our culture is geared toward brainwashing us into accepting that when a man doesn’t take “no” for an answer it’s supposed to be charming (when in fact it is creepy as all f—), but it still flabbergasts me a bit.

Because here’s the deal: I think my husband is awesome. I consider myself very lucky that he likes me at all, let alone agreed to marry me and lives with me and has put up with me for 22 years. I am happy especially happy that he decided that I was worth dating, and continuing to date, and eventually moving in with, and so forth without me having to coerce him, right? And I am likewise happy that most of my friends have spouses who they think are awesome, and who think they are awesome in return (and, you know, these are my friends, and I think that anyone who loves one of my friends as much as each of their spouses do are pretty fabulous in their own right).

Yes, I have had friends who were dating or engaged to or (in a few cases) married to someone who I thought was awful. And I have been very glad (and eager to help) when those friends decided to dump the mother-f—er and look for someone better.

And to digress further: one of my happiest and proudest memories is when my ex-wife asked me to be her maid of honor at her second wedding, because, oh my goodness, her second husband is one of the nicest and most talented people I’ve ever known, and is so much of a better fit for her than the loser she was married to before!

(Some of you may need to diagram that out. I’ll give you a minute to do that.)

(I should also acknowledge that several of my friends—after reading the paragraph above the previous parenthetical—will chastise me for calling myself a loser; even though they will also know that I put it in there for humor’s sake.)

And it’s more than just learning to take “no” for an answer and moving on. It’s more than just getting a person to a point where they are tired of saying, “no.”

The word you want isn’t merely “yes,” but a yes delivered freely and with great enthusiasm.

The third workday after Christmas vacation, or Three Kings Day and returning to mundania

In Western Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus' physical manifestation to the Gentiles. It is sometimes called Three Kings' Day, or Twelfth Night, and in some traditions celebrated as Little Christmas or the Twelfth Day of Christmas.

In Western Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles. It is sometimes called Three Kings’ Day, or Twelfth Night, and in some traditions celebrated as Little Christmas or the Twelfth Day of Christmas.

Most years I try to take down all the Christmas decorations on New Year’s Day. And most years I don’t quite manage it. In those years where I don’t finish the undecorating on New Year’s, my fallback deadline is Epiphany/Three Kings’ Day. This year, I took down the outdoor lights as well as the lights and decorations in the windows on New Year’s Day, but didn’t get to the tree and other decorations until this last Saturday. And even worse, even though I took down the outdoor lights, I didn’t put them away. I did untangle and roll-up the light strings, but they were just stacked up in the living room for the two days that I went back to work last week.

That latter bit is tied to the rest of the undecorating. All the Christmas decorations, including the outdoor lights, are stored away in a set of smallish boxes carefully crammed onto the shelves in the walk-in closet. So the only way to put anything away is to pull out all ten boxes and open them up so things can be packed into the as I unwind the tree.

Since I took the tree down Saturday both Michael and I have commented on feeling a sense of disorientation when we walk past that part of the house. It’s a little worse this year because we also left the card table up much longer after the party this year. The last couple of years we extended the dining room table by putting the card table at the end of it. And while the dining room table had this dark red cloth table cloth, the coffee table got one of those green plastic temporary table cloths. So it look festive enough for the party, but sort of tacky afterward. This year, though, I picked up a long poinsettia and holly table cloth for the dining room table, and a shorter whit and gold snowflake one for the coffee table. So it looked much less tacky after the party… and I just left it there until this last weekend. So two different parts of the living room-dining room-library space that had been occupied by something furniture-ish are now empty. And it just feels weird.

Meanwhile, I’ve discovered what may be a new (and very unwanted) tradition. To explain it takes a bit of background: The first Christmas here in Shoreline, two years ago, was the first time after we downsized from the 20-some much bigger boxes full ornaments (also known as, the cumulative whackiness of 22+ years of choosing a new theme for the following year’s tree, scouring after-Christmas sales for discount ornaments that would match said theme, plus picking up or making new ornaments that following season to complete the theme). Even with the downsizing, we still have way more ornaments than are needed for or 7′ narrow artificial tree. So the decorating still involves choosing maybe not so much a full blown theme as an emphasis. The first year for basic color we put on only the red, green, and gold glass ornaments. Then any ornament that could be called arctic or antarctic (polar bears, penguins, snowy owls, seals, and all the Alaska Snow Babies, for instance). Plus a few faves that always go on no matter what.

That meant that a particular box of 12 red and green ornaments glass ball ornaments had gone on the tree. But when we were undecorating, I could only find 11 of the red and green glass balls. Before I boxed everything up and put them away, got Michael to help me search under furniture and such trying to find either the missing ornament or evidence of broken shards of the ornament. We couldn’t find either. Michael suggested the roomba might have pushed it into a spot in one of the back rooms that we hadn’t so carefully searched. So we put the boxes away, and I made sure that the box containing the other eleven was easy to get to, in hopes that we would eventually find the missing ball in some weird part of the house.

Two years later, still no sign of the 12th red and green ornament.

Last year, our second Christmas here, for basic color I pulled out all the purple and pink glass ornaments, and a lot of the Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments… but also some of our favorites. And again, when I was putting them away, a box set of 9 purple pine cones with silver glitter had gone on the tree, but I could only find 8 purple pine cones when we took the tree down. Again, neither of us could find the ornament underneath furniture or in weird corners of the room. So again we boxed everything and hoped it would turn up.

One year later, still no sign of the 9th purple pine cone.

This year I pulled out the ice and snow colored ornaments, plus anything that could be construed as a character from a story, and our usual favorites. Stories meant that this set of 6 Winnie-the-Pooh themed ornaments that consist of pressed board printed with colored illustrations from the original book, with pink-tinted scalloped edges went on the tree. Ice & snow meant that a set of blown glass ornaments that looking like inverted clear rain drops with hand-painted poinsettias around the “equator” of the broadest part of each drop also went on. When I was undecorating the tree, one of the rain drops broke in my hand (but I didn’t get cut!), which was sad, so the box with its six spots for the ornaments only has five ornaments, now. And I could only find five of the Winnie-the-Pooh ornaments.

So, once again, we have one missing ornament from a set that we can’t seem to find anywhere in the house.

Now, ornaments break and otherwise occasionally get lost, I get that. And maybe during the previous 22 years one ornament a year was the norm, and I just didn’t notice because we had so friggin’ many different sets; I don’t know. But this is beginning to annoy me. I mean, by now we should have found some sign of one of those lost ornaments somewhere in the house, right?


A couple days ago we learned that our old car, which we traded in the second Saturday of May when we bought the Outback, has apparently been sold.

I learned this because whoever bought it as been driving back and forth across the 520 bridge without a Good To Go™ pass beginning on May 27. So I was mailed a bill for their tolls. Read More…

Where the words go

Two different days this week I wrote most of a post on my iPad during lunch. I got interrupted both times, and closed the app. I had expected the draft posts to be saved, but it appears the app doesn’t work that way. Which is an extremely poor design decision1.

But enough critiquing of other people’s software design decisions2.

Read More…

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