Friday Open Thread

Clever Manka, · Categories: Open Thread

It’s the last OT of 2017 (bye bye, you mess of a year)! It’s also a massively busy day for me since our deadline for graduate school applications is December 31. Doc Paradise and RoseCamelia will be hosting today’s thread–thanks, y’all! I’ll pop in briefly later in the afternoon, but I’m going to spend most of my day recovering away from the computer after one of my busiest days of the year.

157 Responses to “Friday Open Thread”

  1. RoseCamelia says:

    Hello fellow Mankanauts! One of my favorite comic strips challenged, "Name one good thing about this year."
    http://www.gocomics.com/frazz/2017/12/29

  2. Heathered says:

    Thanks for hosting, Doc and Rose! Oh, now I feel like I'm in an old-timey saloon, possibly in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. One Good Thing about 2017: It was challenging the whole way through, but I met those challenges and came through okay! I also took on the random challenge of NaNoWriMo and, while the results were a disaster, they've led to my working on a real book and planning another. So, much lemonade was squozen. Now let's shut it down and have a great 2018.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      *pours out a shot of whiskey and a shot of oolong tea*
      Trust me on this. They work together well.

      Woo. Congrats on the books. How do you approach writing?

      • Heathered says:

        For NaNo I tried to outline, then everything deviated the minute I sat down to write (not at all helped by my having a total freakout on Wellbutrin). Usually I just write short essays or reported stuff, so getting down chunks of words is not super hard for me, but fiction is really challenging. I'm not good at assessing my own wants, so character motivation = a total mystery. And I lose track of people, so it's like when a scene changes in a movie and someone's Coke has turned into a 7-Up as if by magic, only with characters. So I guess I approach it earnestly but badly? It's been my only source of income since 2013 and I'm amazingly poor, so also maybe unsuccessfully. 🙂

        • RoseCamelia says:

          Do not equate financial success with personal success. Our society rewards only select skills, mostly those that increase wealth for those with capital. Our society expects other essential skills to be in place, but to be provided for little or no compensation. Child care, for example.

          You are a very fine writer. Our society does not value you or your skill. But our society is wrong, and you remain a very fine writer.

          Ahem. I may feel strongly about this. Sorry for the declarative forcefulness.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      I've been thinking about your upcoming books. I am excited for you!

      And if you're buying, I won't fuss about brand, but you should know I drink bourbon, and I drink it neat.

    • jenavira says:

      Yes, thank you for hosting!

      Does anyone have good suggestions for what to burn in effigy to represent 2017? It's hard to burn a garbage fire, after all.

  3. Doc_Paradise says:

    Welp. What I got for christmas was a bit of knowledge about myself by painfully face-planting into it despite (or more aptly put… because of) the successful implementation of a plan that worked perfectly for all the known vectors and therefore uncovered an unknown vector. Ouch. I did not enjoy this much.

    Hello ALL. What are your plans? Are you doing anything to ring in the new year or set fire to the old?

    I'll be spending today, between commenting here, cleaning up some social networking accounts (because I'm up for more punishment apparently) and doodling random postcards. I'm also attempting to get antimatter for my kittens because that is exactly how the world… er… game should end out the year.

    BTW… Does anybody know an easy way to download photos from facebook?

  4. Rillquiet says:

    My goals for the holiday trip south were to have local-made tamales, make a Texas-shaped waffle, and acquire another copy of the best freebie Bible I've ever seen. Success on all counts.
    <img src="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSN07ydXUAITP_j.jpg"&gt;

    In less happy news, my great-aunt is on hospice care, in considerably worse condition than I was expecting, so part of the trip was sitting vigil. She's alert and not in pain, but dying is hard boring work. Her son visited on Christmas but had to skip a promised follow-up visit because he had a health emergency. My feckless uncle and his new wife up and disappeared for a couple of days, leaving their dog behind and handwaving his need for care, then acted shocked that people had gotten them presents, which they hadn't done for anyone else. All things considered, it was good that December 25 isn't really my holiday (our family does stuff on January 7 instead) or the sheer aggro of it all combined with hopes for a good celebration would've meant an enormous let-down.

    But I had a fast car, clear roads, a room away from the stressors, access to kolaches, and chances to be useful to various people in small ways, and I didn't succumb to the urge to kick anyone in the shins. May we all be so fortunate in 2018!

  5. jenavira says:

    Whelp, after a couple of months of being Not The Worst, I'm back to Too Depressed To Get Out Of Bed (But I Have To Go To Work Anyway). Yesterday I decided that a filling had chipped, so I went to the dentist, where they fixed it and two hours later it was right back to where we'd started. I emailed them a long list of everything I could feel going on in my mouth at that point, in the hopes that they'll actually look at it and figure out what's going on, but it looks like I'm gonna be spending part of my vacation at the dentist again anyway.

    New Year's plans have been put on hold because friend's mom is in the hospital and her cat is sick.

    My boss was on vacation this week and there were a lot of things she was probably expecting me to have done when she comes back on Tuesday and I have done approximately none of them, see above re: too depressed to move. I still have to come in to work tomorrow, because there is no one to cover my shift if I don't. I am not crying at work right now through sheer force of will. Just went and had a quick cry in the bathroom about it. I really thought that being a professional with a Master's degree would mean that I wouldn't have to find people to cover my shifts any more, but apparently not.

    Sorry to come in here and dump all this, I know it's not interesting. I'm bored of it, too.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      I think it's good that you had a cry in the bathroom. Does it feel like it helped? Depression is miserable and a sneaky, lying bastard. Please don't apologize for telling us about it. This is the right place for feelings dumping! You're safe here. We all want to help.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      *tea*

      *warm and lovely tea*

    • Flitworth says:

      After I got my MA I spent years in purgatory of working at a games store, temping at a law firm, teaching in Korea, unemployment and then 3 yrs at the shittiest salary job ever (and was depressed and crying regularly for much of that time). I then gave up completely at some point and am doing what I did before graduate school. Not to say it won't work for you at some point but post grad life often looks nothing like we expect so at least be comforted that it is a common and surmountable struggle.

      • jenavira says:

        I really wanted this to be a lifelong career. But I think I would function better if I had a job that didn't require covering a public-facing desk.

        I need to remember to research alternatives sometime when I'm not feeling depressed and hopeless about it.

        • RoseCamelia says:

          Are you a list person? If so, put a pad of paper and pen next to the bed.

          List all the actions involved in researching alternatives. Break each down into the smallest increments possible. The goal is to have a (possibly very long) list that leads out of your current situation.

          Then sort it into step-by-step order. This can mean rewriting the list many times. It's something you can do when you find Depression holding you hostage in bed.

          Then you can chip away at the list, one two-minute chore at a time. Don't look for progress; just do the next thing.

          After the list exists and is in order, try hard to chip at it every day. This approach is also an antidote to Depression sometimes. Voice Of Experience, here. Of course, YMMV.

        • Flitworth says:

          I know when you feel like shit sometimes problem-solving advice isn't what helps. That said, it might help to reach out to people who have a similar degree, regardless of what they are actually doing for work now (unless it's way out there) and get a sense of the breadth of options. You might discover some heretofore unconsidered directions. Universities where you've studied and professional orgs etc would be the easiest starting points. One of my failings w/r/t to grad school was the expectation of meritocracy and anxiety/misanthropy.

    • Heathered says:

      Seconding RoseCamelia re: this *absolutely* being the place to bring Crappy McCrapenson news like this. I'm sorry you're in such a squashed and funky place, and know all too well how a shitty job can exacerbate the worst aspects of depression. Ugh. Hugs, tea, free yarn, whatever helps. (And a thing that may or may not help: I'm looking into classes in WRAP–wellness recovery action plan design–this coming year. Lots of info online about it, but I wasn't sold until i spoke to the woman teaching it and she mentioned she had a WRAP plan for home life, for *work*, for her relationship, etc. I think if I'd had a way to deal constructively with things I found triggering at some of my jobs I'd have come through them a lot better. We'll see if it's a good fit.)

      • jenavira says:

        Thank you (and thank you for the free yarn suggestion: I actually have a gift certificate from Christmas for free yarn!)

        The WRAP stuff looks interesting – I might take a look at that.

    • Lee Thomson says:

      Oh hon. We'll listen to the miseries, and cheer the better days when they arrive.

  6. meat_lord says:

    Good luck with work today, Manka!

    It's luxurious to have so much time off. I am also getting bored, I think.

    A friend initiated a Feelingstalk with me, which was good, because they have trouble with that. The bad news was that it was at 3 am, after we had been out debauching all night. Sigh. My anxiety went through the roof, I had to take Ativan to get to sleep, and the next day was not good. But I think I'm back to my new (pleasant) baseline today.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      3 a.m.? Ugh. I mean, yes, good to address feelings. But timing is important, too. You are a very good friend not to nope out. At 3 a.m. I'm tired just thinking about it.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      What is a feelingstalk? oH>.. A feelings talk not a feeling-stalk. *blush*

    • Heathered says:

      Ooh, I remember those kinds of talks from my misspent youth. It feels so much safer to do it in the middle of the night, like the plausible deniability built into drunk makeout sessions. But at a certain point you just need the sleep more! Glad you made it back to Pleasant.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Late night *feels* like the best time to have these discussions (*guilty*) but it rarely is. I think it happens because being tired removes some of our inhibitions and blocks… then stuff tumbles out. Great for getting past blocks, but it can be something like a landslide.

  7. Doc_Paradise says:

    The Kudzu of Joy sent me this:
    http://stevenuniverse.org/

    I share. Happy new year.

  8. RoseCamelia says:

    For your entertainment:

    Yesterday I vacuumed so carefully. Thoroughly and long. But I just found *more* red glitter. This time it's stuck to LittleGirlDog's black nose.

    Yes, little one, you are so very pretty. But enough with the glitter already!

    • Rillquiet says:

      I packed glitter-wrapped gifts in my luggage but neglected to bag them first, so now all my packed clothes, including undercrackers, is red and sparkly. That stuff is pernicious.

    • jenavira says:

      She just wants to be sparkly!

      • RoseCamelia says:

        She's naturally sparkly: dancing when happy, leaping curbs with unnecessary but attractive flourish, asking for cuddles so she can put her shiny eyes near your face, making a howl 4 times as big as she is when she's impatient. Cuteness personified. Glitter is completely superfluous.

        Y'all are so patient with my obsessive pet observations.

    • pseudonymica says:

      Hooray! Little glitter dog.

      I have a dog story:

      Yesterday I was playing outside with my 3 year old niece, 7 year old nephew, and two medium sized dogs, one full grown and one a puppy.

      The kids were so ecstatic to see me after too long of an absence that there was a continuous buzz from two different directions of "auntie over here how 'bout we play this!" and "No, auntie over there how 'bout we play that!"

      Meanwhile, the puppy, being a puppy, was running in circles nipping at my heels the entire time. I thought my pink-and-pinker striped socks might be the enticement, but dog vision doesn't work that way, does it? My nephew had just told me all about the parameters of their senses.

      Eventually, my spoons were exhausted and not getting eaten by a puppy was third on my priority list after remaining functional enough to walk and talk and not disappointing the kids. So I let him gnaw on my foot unimpeded and he was *thrilled*. Eventually he got bored, polished my ballet slip-ons nicely, and then discovered that he could play tug-o-war with the little shoelace bow I never liked anyway. The shoes won, but I'm sure the puppy will resume his tug-o-war as soon as he sees them again.

      (I know it's not good to establish a precedent of letting him mess with shoes and bite me, but I really didn't have enough energy and he became so much more gentle and precise that I like to think he knew the difference. We'll see today. He nips at the grown dog until she has had enough all day long)

      • RoseCamelia says:

        I don' know nuthin' 'bout no puppies.

        I wouldn't know what to do with the nipping and shoelace battle. I'd look helplessly at the human responsible for the pup. I get my dogs as adults. They're all pre-trained, some better than others.

        Even my late LittleBoyDog, who was never trained at all, had learned from just existing beyond puppyhood. Like nipping the grown dog gets you a grown-dog-sized, painful reprimand. Maybe don't nip her anymore.

        Puppy people are amazing. I can't even.

      • faintlymacabre says:

        When I first had my dog, she was very much an "explore with your mouth" type, which could be painful. A friend of mine suggested that the next time she got mouthy, I should scream like she was hurting me. So I tried it. It worked! She was very startled and, as she fundamentally didn't want to hurt me, that curbed the impulse from there on out. However, as I was living with my sister at the time, her 140 pound dog heard me scream in pain and came hurtling at the bedroom door. It did not break, fortunately, but also maybe don't try this particular tactic if there are others around who may misconstrue the tactic.

    • Heathered says:

      Someone shared a video on FB of a lush black cat rolling around in a bathtub where someone had forgotten to rinse the aftereffects of a glitter bath bomb. Probably not great for the cat, the plumbing, or the house at large, but it was both beautiful and hilarious.

  9. Lee Thomson says:

    Good things:

    I built a BOAT! and it works and it is lovely and fast and I have used it some and will again when the water is no longer hard.

    I also finished the cards for a tarot deck – a longer term project than I expected, but I am pleased with myself.

    Roy Moore is not going to the Senate. Science still works. Jupiter gets more freaking gorgeous the closer we get to it. Mars is completely inhabited by robots. The cold is killing the ticks for next summer. Pine trees in the house smell amazing. Grown children still come back, and are interesting as individuals, plus they get all your jokes. There is a video of a seal with subtitles that makes me cry with laughter.

  10. Flitworth says:

    The pipes froze and we are melting snow on the wood stove for water. We just had a two hour chat with tiny human's lawyer about testifying in the next two weeks at the TPR trial. We were not aware this was a possibility until today. I am exhausted.

    But this is fun http://liartownusa.tumblr.com/

  11. pseudonymica says:

    I managed to dredge up some good things about 2017 in a way that didn't feel forced and saccharine with the help of this article about how to look back at the year and make peace with yourself.
    https://nosidebar.com/intentionally/

    Otherwise destruction by fire is precisely how I feel about this year, especially after the last week.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      But it's a prime number. 2017 has that much going for it.

      Internal peace is a very fine goal. Now you've made me think.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Those questions are tough.

      • pseudonymica says:

        I know. I did not have the kind of year that made them easy to answer. I had to ignore the explanations below the questions – for example if I went with the first thing that made the year memorable, it would be something bad, and so on if I continued in order! Whoever wrote this otherwise excellent article seems to have had a fairly privileged year.

        I found answers from my own perspective though. None of the things I worried about have been resolved and some are worse but none of the worst case scenarios I constantly imagine came to pass either.

  12. Absotively says:

    I got home yesterday, and my checked bag got home this morning. Am now sorting socks. And contemplating grocery shopping. I was going to order groceries to be delivered this morning, but I didn't realize my FitBit hadn't synced since the change of time zones, and missed the order cutoff. But I think I can hold out until tomorrow morning, and get a delivery then, so I will probably do that because (a) there is an extreme cold warning and (b) I have socks to sort.

    Where do people buy socks online in Canada? I am trying to convince myself to toss the entire pile of lightweight black ankle socks without bothering to match them up, and then buy half a dozen identical new pairs in the spring if I find I miss them, and that has led to looking at socks online.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Marks has online ordering but I don't know if they send to an address or to a store. These socks are amazingly warm: https://www.marks.com/en/windriver-3-pack-t-max-s

      I've stolen a pair of Dr. TBD's and I may have to fight the Kudzu of Joy for them.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      One of these days I too will throw out ALL THE SOCKS and replace them with identical ones. If you do this can you please tell us so I can live vicariously through you? Why do I have so many socks and why are they ALL DIFFERENT!?

      • RoseCamelia says:

        I gave up years ago. I just grab two socks from the drawer. They never match. They never will. And I'm now ok with that.

        Mr Rose buys two dozen pairs at a time, all identical. He pitches the old two dozen all at once. But then he whines about some getting worn/washed more than others and they don't fade at the same rate. It's ok to roll my eyes if I make sure he can't see me do it, right?

        • Lee Thomson says:

          A friend of mine who IS NOT (thank everything) Mr Crow was also worried about wear on his socks, so he started numbering them. In octal (base 8). Because…. I have no clear idea.

      • Absotively says:

        I have done half of this several times; I buy a bunch of identical ones, but fail to round up and throw out the old ones. This is still very useful, but it leaves you with an enormous pile of socks to sort through eventually, so doing both steps is probably better.

      • LaxMom says:

        I can tell you my answer…because my kids steal them and wear them unmatched, and then make things worse by going to their dad's house with them.

        I currently have two full size laundry baskets with socks to match.

      • Lee Thomson says:

        Mr Crow did that, and has a drawer full of black socks.

        I have given up caring about pairs and group by weight. My feet always look excellent.

    • redheadfae says:

      Oh goodness, sorting socks.. ugh.
      My method is to put them all in a drawer and just pull singles out until I have a matching pair.

    • Absotively says:

      Socks update: now have the following piles: probably keep; definitely send to Value Village; definitely throw out; set aside for now, reassess if I find the matching sock soon; wash on the "power wash" cycle with OxyClean, then reassess. Unfortunately, I don't have the right combination of coins to move that last pile forwards today. I may have to actually leave the apartment tomorrow. May still tackle tights etc. tonight.

      • Absotively says:

        Wait, no, the forecast for tomorrow is for windchill of -45. Sunday looks likely to be more amenable to going to the bank.

        The grocery store won't let me book a delivery tomorrow now, so I guess I'll get groceries delivered Sunday too. Which is basically fine, because my freezer is fairly well-stocked, but I'm going to be glad to have fresh milk again when the delivery arrives.

  13. mckitterick says:

    Despite the Garbage Fire that was 2017, my year is ending well:

    Finally worked out the Troubles at my job, gained some important allies, and ditched the former Boss from Hell. For the first time in years, I'm able to look forward with something other than dread, and that's been huge for my mental health!

    Spent a ridiculous amount of time researching stellar-drive technology and doing pages of math in order to address the Analog SF editor's technical questions about moving entire star systems – and then revising the novella to (hopefully) seamlessly work in all this without stopping the narrative to expositorily dump. Oh, and I wrote a 1500-word backgrounder (with some math) about my "Rao-Chang Drive," a Class D stellar drive (people have proposed three others). He finally got back to me with an acceptance, and today I got the contract! Plus he wants me to write a science piece about the drive, hopefully to publish in the same issue. It's called, "Ashes of Exploding Suns, Monuments to Dust," and is almost 5000 words longer than the pre-revision version. This is the first piece in several years I wrote on spec (as opposed to invited) and sold. Woohoo!

    Just gave a talk ("The Power of Speculative Fiction: Writing the Literature of Change") and workshop for the University of Missouri's ShowMe Masterclass, and am heading to Houston next week to give a weekend-long spec-fic writing masterclass for the organizer who hosted me last January (and got me the VIP tour of NASA's Mission Control!).

    I've started developing a Patreon! I work well having deadlines, think it would be fun writing to prompts, and would love to be able to report back to my students about this potential career path (much like self-publishing), so why not? It'll have fiction, nonfiction about writing and SF, bits from my memoir (Clevermanka gave me the best title: Stories from a Perilous Youth), photos of our squirrels and other urban wildlife, and so forth. I'll share the link once it's ready to go.

    I just shared this with my writing workshop discussion group, but thought y'all might enjoy it, too, what with today's OT theme:

    I see Solarpunk as the optimistic face of the Cyberpunk Bitcoin. Where the “high tech and low life” Cyberpunks fought to exist within dystopian worlds run by non-human entities (often corporations and AIs), Solarpunks fight to actively make their own place outside of the capitalist system by getting off the grid, growing their own food, and otherwise separating themselves from the broader dystopia by building their own sustainable, pocket utopias. Sometimes they’re forced into fighting the dominant paradigm or seeking to fix it, or at least offering alternatives. Sometimes the world around them collapses, sometimes their model spreads, but the optimistic world-view says that the only long-term human future is sustainable and non-capitalist.

    Solarpunk is especially exciting for me as an SF writer, editor, and educator not only because of these themes and perspectives (which are close to my heart), but also because it’s the first modern science-fiction subgenre to appear this century, and that’s big news!

    Here's to a better 2018!

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Getting out of a toxic job can make a HUGE difference. That's great news.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Yes, Manka's title is excellent. Gaining allies and ditching Hell Boss make 2017 almost worth the 11.5 months of torture.

      BTW, I'll buy you a drink if you have time for a quick meetup in Houston. I understand your schedule might be tight. Manka has my email and phone.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      I hope your writing group sprouts some beautiful solarpunk work. I think we are all in desperate need for some utopian ideas right now. Solarpunk is really exciting to me because it seems really actionable for individual people in a lot of different domains outside of speculative fiction (politics, engineering, community development, planning, design).

      Also, please please please let it usher in a new aesthetic movement with bright colours and lush organic motifs. I am so sick of the joyless, sterile Apple Store minimalism that is somehow STILL in vogue.

    • redheadfae says:

      This is all a Very Good Start for facing the new year! Yay!

    • Heathered says:

      Solarpunk! What a fantastic concept. I am ready for some weaponized optimism, I tell you what. Congratulations on positive moves!

  14. Absotively says:

    Oh, and good things for the year: I have a new doctor, and am in the process of actually addressing various mostly minor health issues. I have made a good start on KonMari and am still making slow but steady progress on it. I went to Hawai'i. I began plans for a bit of software I could sell, as a means of slowly starting my own non-start-up-y software company kind of thing, which for various reasons seems both easier and more appealing than looking for a new job at this particular moment. I signed up for a new online dating service, briefly, and it didn't go well but it still was progress towards dating more, which is a thing I would like to do.

    I burned a wish for the coming year for solstice. It was to keep moving forward. It basically applies to all the above things except Hawai'i.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Wow, that's a lot of good things. I am impressed with your forward motion. I want to be more like you.

      If you feel like sharing, I'd love to know more about your software company king of thing.

      • Absotively says:

        All the forward motioning finished the year on a good note, because it all picked up steam once I started the anemia treatment that is actually working!

        The software project is a program for printing out custom pages for day planners or bullet journals or such. Planned features so far: a decent variety of basic templates; support for custom or third-party templates and documentation on how to create them; support for Windows and OSX and maybe even Linux; the ability to connect your Google or Apple Calendar or whatever and have things that are in your calendar when you print your pages show up on the pages automatically. It's possible that not all of these will be in the first version.

        This brought to you mainly by listening to a productivity podcast that talked about customizing your planner and seeing someone I know talk about their custom plannering on social media.

        • RoseCamelia says:

          Effective anemia treatment! That's a good result from a tough year.

          Your software project seems just right to fill current needs. It also seems very ambitious. I think ambitious says good things about your abilities and current emotional well being. It's all wonderful. I'm proud to know you.

        • Heathered says:

          Whoa, that sounds fantastic! I'm reading Chris Guillebeau's SIDE HUSTLE right now, and it sounds like you're living it! Templates are so nice and helpful.

  15. Heathered says:

    Well, poop. I'm trying to rally myself to clean up part of our local Rail Trail tomorrow morning, so I took a walk to Lesbian Valhalla (Home Depot) since it's gorgeous and sunny out, but on the way I actually thought for a minute that I was just flat out going to collapse in the street and die. (This also happened on my otherwise lovely Christmas Day walk). I feel fine now! Good mood, decent energy, even my rogue toenail is responding to meds and kicking out relatively low pain. But it's impossible not to be shaken up by this when my mom died that way when she was 4 years older than I am now and my dad had two non-fatal heart attacks when he was just 2 years older. Cardiologist said I'm doing everything right and I should chill out and have a pizza, but…this feels weird.

  16. LaxMom says:

    Soooo–this year can go take a long walk off a short pier.
    I was all set to catch up on laundry and dishes and be productive today. Instead I am fighting another flood in my laundry room from the sewer backing up. The county guy says its tree roots and the plumber guy is trying to overcharge my mom but in the meantime anything fun we could have done (like take advantage of the lake effect snow and go xcountry skiing) is on plumber hold. Who won't be here until 4. Which also means to use the bathroom we have to drive 7 miles to my mom's and back. (out here that's nearby). I am not amused.

    I am trying to deal with the non-christmas christmas I had with my kids and be ok with their leaving tomorrow.
    Good things–well, we managed to fit both cars in the garage. And 16F is warmer than 7. And I finally paid off a medical bill from 2 years ago.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Geeze. You can't catch a break. May 2018 balance all your bad luck with good luck.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Paying off that bill is good progress. Been there, done that. Sorry you had to.

      Two cars in the garage at the same time? Please explain to Mr Rose that this is, indeed possible. He's not a believer.

      Looks like you probably know the plumber by name now. That sucks.
      "Hey, good to see you."
      "How ya been?"
      "Nothing new. You know. Since we talked earlier this week."

      • LaxMom says:

        LOL, well, it involved some boxing day tears, 4 degree temperatures combined with a foot of snow to force Teenboy to help shove enough things out of the way to get the cars in (and thus have room for the driveway to be plowed). And a lot of ABBA. The tears were both of frustration and of "I have to empty this box and it's all full of mementos/christmas ornaments from years past" and …cue the waterworks.
        Anyway. I went three years with a garage that fit both cars, but had no opener. We had to get out, run through the house to the kitchen, push the button in the garage, run back through to the car, pull the car in, and then push the button to close the garage on our way back into the kitchen.
        I like this garage with working garage door opener buttons much better.

        • RoseCamelia says:

          ABBA. That's what we're missing. See, we were doing it wrong. That's why our garage is full of junk and fits only my tiny car.

          Your garage opening circuit sounds hilarious. From this distance. But I'm sure it actually sucked.

    • Heathered says:

      I hope the cosmic boomerang bends your luck in much more favorable directions in the coming year. Last New Year's Eve was an epic plumbing fiasco here (I'm downstairs and thus the low water mark) that wasn't fully resolved until two months ago; it's the worst, made even worse by your being so far from plumbing alternatives. May the fix be fast and reasonable.

  17. Fancy_Pants says:

    I am ending 2017 much happier and healthier than I started it, even though on paper I seem to be at a standstill (or regressing) in terms of life progress.

    I think I've always known who I was deep down inside, but I am finally being honest with myself about what I need (regular exercise, 9 hours of sleep a night, community, creative outlets, enough time to allow for spontaneity), what I don't need (career ambitions, success, security, external validation), and what my limitations are (a mild and cyclical mood disorder, less energy than most people).

    I'm feeling GOOD, you guys. I know I'm on the happy side of my mood swings, and that I will feel less good at some point, but I no longer feel like I'm driving into an endless dark tunnel. My future holds a lot of uncertainty, which is scary, but it also feels like freedom.

  18. jenavira says:

    I'm feeling a bit better, and I got a few things accomplished at work, so: Good things from this year.

    I did a lot of activism, for the first time since college.

    I finished a piece of fanfiction I have been working on for more than ten years (and got a lot of great and glowing comments on it).

    I did a lot of Personal Growth and it was painful and horrible and I feel like I am better at this than I was last year, though still not good. I fell down (at least) seven times and got up eight.

    Star Wars was awesome.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      I read your fanfic and, even though I'm not a knowledgeable LotR fan, it was amusing.

      Getting up is the important part.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Glad you're feeling better. Getting up more times than you fell! That's all that counts.

      Finishing a writing project. I've heard it's possible, but it still feels like fantasy to me. But you did it, jenavira.

  19. redheadfae says:

    This holiday was harder than the first one without Mum, as I have found myself with TWO needy males in my life now, and it's emotionally exhausting. I thought I'd come up with a fun thing to do to get away, but it didn't work out and no one was really happy.
    Dad made lots of noises previously about helping me out financially, but was so .. sad? depressed? while he was here and never brought up the subject. Thankfully I have a good therapist with suggestions to bring it up.

    One Good Thing is that I've come to terms with being disabled enough that I can't do any full-time work, and I found an attorney who will help me get SSDI.

    • Doc_Paradise says:

      Good about the lawyer. Not so much fun with the emotional labour.

      Want a postcard?

    • RoseCamelia says:

      Oof. I'm sorry your mum's absence was so much harder this year. And I'm sorry your dad turned out to be more needy than solace for you.

      I saw a few days ago that you got STD benefits. I have good feelings about your SSDI working out.

      Good for you, leaning on an attorney and your therapist. You've found the right sources for help.

      Meanwhile: all the hugs

      • redheadfae says:

        Thank you so much. Yes, I'm afraid that in all his sorrow, he forgets that not only did he lose a wife, but that I lost my mother and a dear aunt. Unfortunately, he's always been a bit self-centered, and it has never occurred to him to comfort me in any way. So, I pay a person to listen to me.

    • Lee Thomson says:

      I'm sorry the needy males are not giving you breathing room. You are within your rights to not try to do this holiday again until you have a better grip, and they can cope with more of their own shit.

      Having an attorney on your side sounds like a huge improvement in the SSDI process.

      • redheadfae says:

        Indeed, it seems to me from hearing people talk who've done it that an attorney is the ONLY way to go, because it's such a process.

        I understand that my dad is 82, and that he's depressed and lonely, and I'm the only person he has now, but damn. He calls me every day, sometimes twice because something just happened and he has to tell me immediately. I admit that I often let the calls go to voicemail because I'm also tired of being an emotional dumping ground for him without him doing any listening to me.

  20. Räven says:

    Contemplating the assigned topic has left me a bit stunned – I think I got nuthin'.

    Still, coming back next year for another swing at it.

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