Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151125

Just another weigh-in....

Waist = 40.75"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dropping Out of NaBloPoMo 2015

Just a quick note to make it official.  I'm dropping out of NaBloPoMo.

This year, unlike all others so far, I am so incredibly tired.  I fall asleep so easily.  So I didn't bother to go near a computer on Sunday.

I suppose I could bang out three quick posts and back-date two of them.  But I'm supposed to doing other things right now -- things that people pay me to do.  So I'll do those things and not this thing.

Thanks for reading!

Look for a Weigh-In tomorrow.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The First Pill

I took my first dose of Lexapro last night, a few hours before bedtime.  I decided to cut the pill in half and take only 5mg, rather than the full 10mg that the doctor prescribed.  I plan to titrate up in a few days.  Usually the recommended children's dose for OTC meds is sufficient for me.

After about three hours, I had dry mouth and felt very tired.  The reaction reminded me of how I feel after taking Benedryl.  I drank two glasses of water before going to bed.  Then I had to get up twice to pee.

We're on a college tour right now.  While driving here I had to fight an overwhelming urge to sleep that went away after about 30 minutes.

I have no inkling of any elevation in mood.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Depression Follow Up

I actually saw the doctor about my depression.  I use "actually" because I almost never go to the doctor, at least not for an ailment.  Usually the long wait time to see a doctor exceeds the duration of any medical condition that sidelines me.

The appointment didn't go the way I'd hoped.  That's probably because my wife was there with me.

My idea was that the doctor might recommend light therapy (due to the seasonal aspect of my condition) plus exercise and perhaps meditation.  And he did mention light therapy.  But my wife's agenda was that I'd leave the office with a prescription for an SSRI-type anti-depressant.  So that's the direction we took.

It amazes me that despite all the medical screw-ups my wife has experienced, she still puts so much faith in doctors and prescription medication.

In fact, my wife interrupted our non-medication discussions a few times with increasing urgency, insisting that my condition was dire.  I thought she was going to erupt in tears at one point.

So the plan is that I'll take the medicine to make my wife feel better.  As if I already don't do enough shit for her.

Now I really feel depressed.  But I'm hoping the doctor prescribed a placebo.  Do they even do that?

Here's a little SSRI humor for you.  I can't seem to embed it, so I hope you'll make the effort to click on it and watch.:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Carry My Stuff

I'm still thinking about My Personal Assistant, the post in which I list the chores I would prefer to delegate to a Personal Assistant.  Let me add one more: Carry My Stuff.

I am overwhelmed by My Stuff.  I can't handle it all.  I bring stuff to work; I bring it back home again.

What do I have?  Water.  Lunch.  Tablet.  Wallet.  Badge.  Hat.  Tissues.  Jacket.  Inhaler.  Pen.  Keys.  Snack.    ShoppingListOfMoreStuffToBuy.  SomethingToFaxForMyWife.*  (Crap, I just remembered that I forgot to bring carrot sticks for my snack today.)

I cram all My Stuff haphazardly into a reusable shopping bag to make it easier to Carry.  But it's not easy.

It's a warm day, so I decide to Carry my jacket instead of wear it.  And I Carry the bag.  (Heck let's just call it a murse, okay?)  Now I also need to Carry the keys.  In my third hand.  In my dreams.

No, in my dreams, My Personal Assistant would Carry My Stuff.  As I leave for work, she somehow has already gathered It All and cheerfully follows me out the door with It.  Brrr, it's cold, so instantly she dresses me in my jacket.  The car is locked.  But she's got the keys, and deftly unlocks and opens the door.

At work the Pecan Pie that I ordered is delivered by a coworker's Boy Scout son.  My Personal Assistant brings it down to the cafeteria and places it in the freezer.

When it's time to leave for the day, My Personal Assistant actually remembers the pie (which I forgot three days in a row, so far) and adds it to all My Other Stuff.

We go to the store.  She carries the shopping list and ensures I get everything on the list.  Plus ice cream for herself, if she so chooses.  She brings it all to the car and stows it away, and she gets the tablet I accidentally left behind in the shopping cart as an added bonus.+

This is a wonderful dream.

Oh, and the Personal Assistant's name, if you haven't already guessed, is "Mommy."

* It is true that I do not have a cell phone.
+ I did this twice, so far.  I drove home from the supermarket, leaving my tablet in the shopping cart in the parking lot.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151118

I drove my wife and daughter to a concert last night. I didn't go myself because I don't like the musician enough to spend $85 to attend. Plus, it's such a small venue that most bands overpower the room, and it's just too darn loud for me!

While I waited in the car, I did some reading and some napping. But it started to get too cold -- I don't like to idle my car's engine just to run the heat -- so I decided to find a nearby cafe with free Wi-Fi and dessert. Well, the dessert wasn't free, but it was delicious, and it came with free coffee.

Waist = 40.75"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Blogher and the Male Blogger

This is the first year I've been cross-posting on Blogher during NaBloPoMo.  I confess that I feel like an alien on that site.

Before I ramble on, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am grateful to Blogher for hosting NaBloPoMo.  And I admire the team of talented writers that contribute to the site's content.

But, the reason I feel like an alien on Blogher is because of the predetermined set of tags I have to choose from.  They're so... gender-skewed toward the feminine that I feel a bit stifled.

The complete list of tags is given below.

A few of the main categories are typical of a content provider or message board: Food; Health; News & Politics; Entertainment.  Yet the sub-categories under them seem incomplete.  For example, "Food" could use "Desserts" "Paleo" and "Outdoor Grilling".  "Health" could use "Vaccinations" and "Exercise" rather than "Infertility" and "Pregnancy".  "Entertainment" is fine except that "Sports" should be a main category all on its own.

DIY really should be called "Hobbies" because its sub-categories are essentially hobbies, and because it lacks such real DIY subjects as "Flooring" "Electrical/Lighting" "Plumbing" and "Automotive"

And then there's the most feminine main category of "Style," which includes:  Makeup; Nails; Shoes; Fashion; Hair.  Oh yes, I'm so looking forward to writing about makeup....  Hmm, then again, it might be a fun challenge to write about each sub-category of "Style," from a guy's perspective, of course.  Maybe Melissa Ford will make me write Style posts for the remainder of NaBloPoMo as punishment for dissing the tags.

The list of predefined Blogher tags, as of Monday, November 16, 2015...
Social Media
 -Tips, Tricks & Tools 
 -Blogging Events 
 -BlogHer Publishing Network News 
 -Food Politics 
 -Cooking for Health 
 -Frugal Kitchen 
 -Quick and Easy 
 -Special Occasion 
 -Vegetarian and Vegan 
 -Body Image 
 -Mental Health
 -Diet & Fitness 
 -Style DIY
 -Home & Garden 
 -Knitting, Crochet & Sewing 
 -Grief and Loss 
 -Finding Balance 
Love & Sex 
 -Marriage and Commitment 
 -Weddings and Anniversaries 
 -Working Moms 
 -Tweens & Teens 
 -Empty Nesters 
 -Home Schooling 
 -Special needs 
News & Politics 
 -Current Events 
 -Media and Journalism 
 -Race & Class 
 -Arts & Culture 
 -Movies & Television
 -Pop Culture 
Advertise and Market with Women 
BlogHer Conferences 
 -BlogHer Food '15 
 -BlogHer 2016 
 -BlogHer 2015 
 -BlogHer Conference 2012 
 -BlogHer Entrepreneurs '13 
 -BlogHer PRO '14 
 -BlogHer Conference 2014 
 -BlogHer Food '14 
 -BlogHer Food 2013 
 -BlogHer Conference 2013
 -BlogHer PRO 
 -BlogHer Pro '13 
 -HealthMinder Day 2013 
 -Pathfinder Day 2013
 -Viewfinder Day 2013 
 -BlogHer Entrepreneurs '12 
 -BlogHer Food 2012 
 -BlogHer Handmade 
 -BlogHer Writers '11 
 -BlogHer | bet 
 -BlogHer Conference 2011
 -BlogHer Food 2011 
 -BlogHer Food 2010 
 -BlogHer Conference 2010 
 -BlogHer Business 2010 
 -BlogHer Conferences 
 -BlogHer Food '09 
 -Reach Out Tour 2008 
 -'06 Conference news 
 -'06 Podcasts 
 -'06 Sessions/Speakers 
 -'06 Sponsors 
 -'07 Conference news
 -'07 Sessions/Speakers 
 -'07 Sponsors 
 -BlogHer Business 2008
 -BlogHer Business 2009 
 -BlogHer Conference 2008 
 -BlogHer Conference 2009 
Web site 
 -From the 'hood

Monday, November 16, 2015

Reinvent the Brake Light

Maybe it's a guy thing, but the first thing I thought about when I read today's NaBloPoMo* writing prompt was "cars."

Of course I know that cars have been invented already.  But they were invented so long ago when technology was in its infancy that they need to be re-invented.

Take brake lights.  They are essentially two red lights on the back of a car that are activated by a switch that, in turn, is activated by a pedal that the driver depresses with a foot.  We're supposed to infer from the brake light that a car is slowing down, stopping, or already stopped.  But they provide no reliable information about the car's speed or state of acceleration.  Consider these two examples:

A car can be at a complete stop while the brake lights are dark if the driver removes his or her foot from the pedal after stopping.

A car can be moving while the brake lights are on if the driver rests his or her other foot on the brake pedal.

This is how brake lights really should work:
  • When the car is moving forward and accelerating, the color of the brake light shall be green.  The lights shall blink faster when the car is moving faster.  The rate of blinking vs the car's speed shall be the same for all cars.
  • When the car is moving forward and decelerating, the color of the brake light shall be red.  The lights shall blink faster when the car is braking harder.  The rate of blinking vs how quickly the car slows down shall be the same for all cars.
  • When the car is completely stopped the brake light shall be off.
  • Brake lights shall be uniform in size and position among all car makes and models.
  • Brake lights shall also be installed on the front of all cars to help motorists and pedestrians determine whether an on-coming car is speeding up or slowing down.
It's not really expertise that's needed to make this happen.  It's political clout.

*"Pretending you have the expertise to make the product a reality, what do you wish you could invent?"

Sunday, November 15, 2015

When Do You Use "We"?

"What do guys see in her?" my wife might ask about any of her friends.

This is obviously treading dangerously into "Does this make me look fat?" territory.  The best response is to shrug an "I dunno" back with a slightly dumbfounded look.  But not too dumbfounded, because, after all, the discussion is about one of my wife's friends.

But in my mind, the answers come easily, "They see a tight ass," or "They'll go after anything in a skirt," or "She looks easy."  Notice that I use the pronoun "They" not "We," even in the privacy of my compartmentalized mind.  But I'm a guy, so why don't I say "We" as in "We see a tight ass?"  Because let's face it, I do like a tight ass.

The reason is that the question, "What does guys see in her?" is subtly loaded with loathing.  It's like asking, "Why do [disgusting] dogs like to roll in shit?"  "Because, my dear, we like tight shit." "I dunno."

Even for neutral questions, I might hesitate to use "We" at least until I'm comfortable with the direction  a discussion is taking.  Consider this exchange:

"Why do engineers always talk about their gadgets at parties?"

"I dunno"

"I mean there's so much to talk about: the latest movies; the weather; the upcoming election..."

"Well I guess it's because they think gadgets are cool."

"Gosh if you've seen one gadget, you've seen them all."

"Oh, but we understand the technology behind them."

The biggest reason I avoid using "We" is because I don't feel I belong to any group.   A quiet sense of alienation has followed me around like a shadow all my life.  I've always felt like an outsider, an imposter, to the human race.

What about you?  When do you use "We?"

Saturday, November 14, 2015

HTTPS Support Enabled

Back in September, Google enabled HTTPS support for Blogger.  I've just noticed this, so I enabled the option for this blog only just now.

Now when you connect to this blog, the communication will be encrypted in the same way that web pages are encrypted when they allow financial transactions.

Encryption requires more computing power.  There's a chance that this blog will run slower on older computers.  Mobile devices might groan.  Or if your browser is quite outdated, Blogger might give you a warning that you need to update your browser.  It might even refuse the connection entirely.  If that's the case, you might not even be able to read this post!

But even more troublesome might be warnings about "mixed content" that will inevitably pop up for you.  That's because this site has many links and references to non-encrypted web pages.  Let me know if it gets to be too invasive -- I'll turn off the option and work on the fix offline.

The Contact tab provides multiple ways to contact me; the best choice is e-mail.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Picking and Biting Again

Back in September 2010 and again in January 2014 I wrote about my little habit of skin picking and skin biting.

I've started it up again.

The first photo shows the callus I've built up on my knuckle just prior to picking and biting it.  Gosh my hands look really old.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Personal Assistant

Today's NaBloPoMo writing prompt is "If you had a personal assistant who would do your most dreaded tasks, which items from your to-do list would you assign out?"

Here's that list:
  1. Feed all four cats at 5:30am and refresh their water.
  2. Feed the dog and play fetch with him.
  3. Prepare for my daughter: breakfast by 6:15am; a bagged lunch by 6:45am.
  4. Put out my wife's medications for the day.
  5. Scoop the litterboxes.
  6. Prepare a bagged lunch for me.  (I'll take care of my own breakfast.)
  7. Change the dressing on my wife's wound.
  8. Make and receive all phone calls.
  9. Pick up my daughter from school at 5:45pm.
  10. Take my wife and daughter to all their appointments / functions.
  11. Teach my daughter to drive.
  12. Load the dishwasher properly.
I chose these tasks mostly because they either take place in the morning and require that I get up earlier than I'd like in order to do them myself, or they require being somewhere at a particular time or getting something done by a particular time.

My life would be so much better if I could get out of bed after dawn.  I'm sure I'd have more energy and effortlessly lose weight as a result.

I designed my career so that I could have a lifestyle in which I could ignore the clock.  I chose a lower-paying job in research, in which I could work odd hours, rather than in service, in which you'd tell someone what time you'd arrive and then actually arrive at that time*.  I never went on vacations because I hate to fly and that's because you have to follow an airline schedule.  Likewise, I never went to the movies.

As a bachelor, I hardly ever needed to pay attention to the time.  Getting married, then, was a terrible mistake for someone like me.  My wife used something called an "alarm clock" that would suddenly make a loud noise at the same very early time each morning.  This was because she'd have to drive to her work place and arrive by 8am.  She'd also need me to tell her what time I'd get home from work and then get upset when I gave my usual answer ("I dunno") or failed to show up at whatever time I guessed I could make it home by.  Then there was the insistence that we go to Church, which meant paying attention to a clock on a Sunday!

Despite this wifely imposition of time, I did pretty well.  It wasn't until the Pregnancy that things got much more difficult.  There were more doctor visits for us during those nine months than I had my whole life.  And then after the birth, we were ruled by a living, screaming, excreting life form that you wouldn't dare ignore even if you were so sick that even your eyes hurt.  This is the same life form that, 17 years later, sends you racing to a place to pick her up or drop her off at a Certain Time, lest she show up embarrassingly late for a presentation, or be tempted to walk home alone in the dark in the sleeting rain wearing flip-flops.  That's way more responsibility than I ought to have.

I'm dreaming of my old life.  My daughter will have moved out.  My wife would be dead or living in Florida with her best friend.  If I was curious enough, the alarm clock could show me the time, but it certainly wouldn't make a sound ever again.  I'd probably not bother to switch between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time.

* This is a quaint notion. Nowadays, someone in service will give you what's called a "window" which is essentially a free pass to show up at any time on a given day and still be considered punctual.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Litterbox Diaries

Do you remember "Pee-meister" the cat?  I gave him this name when I caught him peeing in the dry food bowl.  I set up a special litterbox in our master bedroom just for him so he could poop and pee without the other cats bothering him.  We kept the door closed because all the other cats wanted to use that new litterbox, and Pee-meister (a very vocal cat) would sit at the closed door and meow until we let him in.

The reason Pee-meister stopped using the other litterboxes was because he was being tormented by NervousCat.  The next chapter in this saga is that NervousCat started to torment GentleSimba.  That's when we found poop on our daughter's bed and poop and pee in an open cardboard box that had candles in it.  GentleSimba, too, needed some other place to go.

So I assembled a litterbox from a plastic storage box and shredded newspaper in it.  This turned out to be wildly popular, and I was changing newspaper sometimes twice each day!

The peeing and pooping in inappropriate places was solved.  But this solution was not good for the long term.  First of all, someone had to be home most of the day to let Pee-meister into the master bedroom.  Second, shredding fresh newspaper and replacing the old took a lot of time.  Third, the scoopable clay litter was terribly dusty, so everything in the master bedroom quickly became covered with dust.  But worst of all was that the cats sometimes would fail to squat before peeing; they would shoot pee on the hardwood floors, which are now horribly stained.

So we changed things around yet again.

First, we replaced the run-of-the-mill rectangular box in the master bedroom with a Booda Clean Step Litter Box, which we figured would contain the dust and prevent errant streams of pee from hitting the floor.  And we eliminated the dusty scoopable clay litter.  We filled it instead with World's Best Cat Litter, a fairly low-dust-producing scoopable litter.  And lastly we kept the bedroom door open so that Pee-meister didn't have to meow his way in.  But the box was a bit too small for GentleSimba.  He wouldn't bother to walk all the way inside, so his pee ran down the ramp and spilled onto the floor.  So we put a sturdy piece of plastic topped with newspaper under the ramp.  If you can't contain the pee, at least confine it to one spot that can be well-protected.

Then we made a new large litterbox from a 90-gallon storage container and set this up in the office.  I cut a U-shaped opening on one of the narrow sides for easy entry.  We filled it with Naturally Fresh scoopable litter, which is made from walnut shells.  This is another low-dust-producing litter.  Dust is especially bad in the office -- it will get into the printer and computer and cause early failure.  As I expected, streams of pee occasionally came out through the U-shaped hole.  But I was prepared this time with sturdy plastic topped with newspaper.

I decided we should use a low-dust litter in the laundry room, too.  This area in the basement houses our washing machine and clothes dryer, plus the boiler and well pump.  We hang clothes there to dry, too.  All the dust from the clay litter has been getting into the armatures and bearings of all the motors, and getting on the clothes.  I chose the World's Best Cat Litter for this only because it's available not just in the pet store but also in all the supermarkets we shop at.

There is one cat that continues to use the clay litter exclusively, so I wonder if we'll be able to eliminate it completely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151110

Is the world speeding up? Or am I slowing down? I don't think it's possible to prepare supper on a week night anymore. Even when just heating up leftovers and eating them, it's a race to get the daily chores all done before 10pm. I miss the days when I was young and living at home where nearly everything was done for me.

Waist = 40.5"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Monday, November 9, 2015


Autumn has always been a difficult time of year for me, even as far back as when I was a teenager.

It's the start of allergy season.  It's when the Sun climbs less high in the sky every day.  It's when school really starts to get serious.

Well, I'm not in school anymore, but my daughter is.  I get up before dawn to help her get ready for the day -- make her breakfast, pack her lunch, and see her off.  Plus I make sure the cats and dog are fed.  Otherwise they might try to steal her food.

She's a senior this year, so we're expending additional effort for the college search and application process.  But there's no money.  So this year is especially difficult for me.

The many months I've been acting as my wife's care-giver has worn me out.  She's had an open sore since June of last year that refuses to heal.  No medical professional really knows what to do about it.  I've been changing the dressing every two days.  Two surgeons want to operate, but how that wound is going to heal no one explains.  My wife's other chronic unhealthiness is getting even more expensive.  Plus she self-medicates with shopping trips.

And get this: the roof is starting to leak.

A doctor once suggested that I might have low-level depression.  I told him there's nothing to be happy about.  Every freakin' thing I really enjoy is either unhealthy, too time consuming, or (somewhat) immoral. Sometimes I can muster "satisfaction" or "pride," but nothing approaching happiness, joy or elation.

Let me eat as much ice cream as I want (without discomfort or ill effects). Let me sleep three hours more each day and work on my blog for a few hours. Let me not have to worry about my wife. Let me have these things, then can we talk about happy.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What Selfies Really Say About Us

The front-facing camera in smartphones and tablets have made it incredibly easy for people to take selfies.  However, the resulting image is inaccurate.  It is reversed, as if viewed in a mirror.  When you send the image to others, you're essentially saying, "Look at how I perceive myself," not "Here's how I really look."

If the images from a typical digital camera were to come out the same way as those from a front-facing smart phone camera, everyone would complain.  Lettering would be reversed.  Folks would appear to be saluting with their left hands.  A photo of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" would have G-d on the left.

The designers and engineers of these devices could have corrected this distortion simply by mirroring the image before creating the file.  Why didn't they?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Too Much

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported on some conjecture about the cause of the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt last Saturday.  The article begins:

"Russia’s top aviation official dismissed an assertion by the airline involved in a passenger jet crash in Egypt that pilot error and technical defects could be ruled out as causes."

Let me understand this more clearly.  A passenger jet flying at about 30000 feet suddenly blows up and someone still thinks it might be due to an error by one of the pilots?  What do you suppose happened?  Did one of the pilots accidentally press the "Self Destruct" button?

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Importance of Deadlines

To all of you participating in NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo this month, this quote is for you:
The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It's the lack of a deadline. Give someone an enormous task, a supportive community, and a friendly-yet-firm due date, and miracles will happen every time.
- Chris Baty
Founder of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
in "No Plot? No Problem!", page 19

Thursday, November 5, 2015

NoBloPoMo 2015 Blogroll Neighbors

With National Blog Posting Month under way, I'd like to call your attention to the NaBloPoMo Blogroll, which is the listing of all the official participants.  In particular, I'd like to promote the two blogs that my blog is sandwiched between (if I may be allowed to do so by ending with a preposition).  At number 370 there is The Moxie Bee, by the lovely Maura Alia Badji.  At number 372, there is The Everyday Elegance, by the young and elegant Courtney.

I am suddenly feeling very inadequate and amateurish surrounded by these two talented bloggers!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wednesday Weigh-In 20151104

I've been so tired lately that I fall asleep at work now. Before the switch back to Standard Time, I thought sleep was brought on by a post-lunch drop in blood sugar. But this week I actually fell asleep before lunch. Plus, my sleep is deeper than ever. I used to sleep light enough so that if my cubicle neighbor returned back to his desk, I'd wake up and pretend to be functional. But recently I woke up and noticed that he had returned without my noticing.

I do have an appointment with a new sleep doctor this month. So hopefully all I need is an adjustment to my CPAP machine's pressure setting.

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Handicapped / Reserved Parking Signs

If this news item about the petition to change handicapped parking signs came out in April, I would've assumed it was an April Fool's prank.  Instead, the month was September, which is nearly as far away from April as it's possible to get.

I'm not opposed to the message that disabled individuals are active and capable members of society.  The problem that I have is that it fails to address the bigger issue with the public, which is that they're mostly unaware of (and somewhat intolerant of) people with "invisible" disabilities.  The common view is that if you don't have a wheelchair, crutch or cane, then you don't need to (or shouldn't) park in a reserved spot.  The assumption is that such people are privileged folks who obtained their signs illegally or under false pretenses.

But people with chronic fatigue, lupus, multiple sclerosis and many other conditions, often appear whole and able-bodied.  Maybe their affliction is in remission.  But it could come back at any moment.

I'm not disabled but my wife is, so we have a placard that entitles us to park in handicapped parking spots.  There are times that I'll be alone in the car and park in the handicapped spot in order to pick up or drop off my wife.  Anyone who sees me do this would wonder why I need to park there.

We don't drive with the placard in place.  There have been times that we've parked in a handicapped spot and forgot to hang the placard from the rear-view window.  Surprisingly we never got a ticket for doing that.

Here's a link to the "position paper" published by The Arc of the Farmington Valley, Inc. 

What do you think of the new sign?

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Creation Story of My Very Own

God created the World on His ninth birthday.  It was a dreary summer day, with heavy, unrelenting rain falling from thick grey clouds.

His parents lavished Him with many outdoor gifts: a glider that you assemble from balsa wood; a brand new baseball mitt made from crisp virgin leather that smelled soothing and dreamy; a green and white kite made from thin, light-weight vinyl to name a few.  God was longing to go outside to play with them all, but His parents forbade Him owing to the rain.

So He turned his attention to his other gifts, giving them a second look.  His eyes rested on a large flat box.  In His hurry to open everything, He had almost forgotten that He opened This.  It was an Artist's Kit.  He padded upstairs to His bedroom with His Kit and closed the door.

He started with His favorite colors, blue and green, in magnificent arcs, even before He knew what He wanted to Create.  Then, pausing to look through the window at the rain, He decided to make His Own World, without rain, of course.  He plunged back into the Art.

Soon the outline of His World was created in blue and green.  He decided the blue would depict vast pools, lakes and oceans, and the green would depict lush plants and magical forests.  But He used so much blue and green, He decided to save them for another time, so He added some brown features to His forest to make the plants tall and resplendent.

Then He decided to make other Gods just like Him.  He continued to use brown for a while, but then tried some other colors, such as yellow, red and, to be really silly, even white!  "White Gods!" He laughed out loud to Himself.

He included His pets, too.  First came His four Cats, which were orange, black, tan and grey.  Next came His Dog, which was brown.  But then He made Cats and Dogs in other colors, too.  Then He added His fish, plus mice, birds, lizards and bugs to amuse the cats.  But He decided to make a few of the birds wily and a few fierce, just to keep the cats in their place.

He was starting to get hungry -- He was looking forward to birthday cake.  He decided to hastily add several other creatures.  He thought it would be great if there were a type of dog that was large enough to sit on while it ran.  So He made that, which turned out to resemble a horse.

Finally, His World was Perfect.

And anyway, it was time for lunch, followed by birthday cake.  He closed all the paint containers, gathered up all the brushes, and hastily placed His World near the open window to dry before heading downstairs.

Leaving it near the window, was, of course, not the best thing to do on a rainy day, especially in a home with four curious cats.  For when He came back hours later it was gone!

Perhaps there were some birds splashing outside that window to draw the attention of one of the cats.  Some how His World slid out the window, landing on an out-of-sight awning of a lower-level window.  It quickly got soaked and Imperfect.

It is believed that one day, the awning will be taken down for painting or repair.  God will be much older, with a Son of his own.  He will find His World, look upon its imperfections, and cry.  His Son will see Him crying over His Imperfect World.  The most devout believe that His Son will carefully scrape the delicate weathered Imperfect World off the awning and tenderly restore it.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NaBloPoMo 2015

National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) has started yet again. I hope to participate by posting every day in November.  I don't know yet how I'll find the time, especially since my daughter is a senior and applying Early Action to a Certain College, whose deadline is December 1.  I have even less free time than ever (and I had none before). So I'll have to be even more ruthless when shuffling priorities, eating less, getting less sleep.  Maybe no one at work will notice that I'm blogging?

November is the month when I appreciate how difficult it might be to be a journalist, to come up with content for a new column, day after day, year after year.  Right now I have more content in my head than I have time to write it, so it's not so bad.

Anyway, if you'd like me to write about a certain subject, please let me know. Now would be a good time for me to fulfill your request.  Here are the topics I had planned to write about last year but never did:
  1. Gender wage gap
  2. Why is Thankfulness a Challenge?
  3. From Christian to Pagan
  4. The Right to Vote and Serve on a Jury
  5. When We Use "We"
  6. How I Actually Spent My Staycation
  7. Photos of the Views from My Drive to Work
  8. Things I've Not Done But Would Like To Try
  9. My List of Must-See Movies
  10. A Really Bad Lollipop

NaBloPoMo November 2015