Category Archives: General

Sentamanetality

Being sentimental has dangers. Making poor decisions is one. Hording is another.

As I sell my collectibles and comic books, I find myself occasional sentimental. Most of the time I push it aside. But, I found a comic book yesterday that is very interesting.

This comic book was the last one my father purchased. It was published a month before I was born. I found that out by the simple steps of logging in all of the comic books.

My father’s collection starts when he is around 12 to 13. That coincides with his move from Norfolk VA to Baltimore. From there, he mostly starts with Disney, Gold Key, and Dell comics. They made comic books of popular movies and shows.

It was at that time that I was able to connect something my mother told me. My father was not quite illiterate but he really did not have basic reading skills as a young man. One has to remember that it was the late 1950’s into the 1960s. Civil Rights were peaking and illiteracy was not uncommon for young, black men.

My father also had learning disabilities. They were not properly addressed but back then, they were rarely addressed at all. On top of that, his mother’s solution was to embarrass him in public. This may be where my father developed the fake front that became a true one later in his life. The one where he was always the best, smartest, and most talented no matter who he tromped over.

He was also a gifted mathematician. My brother got that. I unfortunately got a weird, mutated version that gives me an amazing ability to intuitively do math and come to correct conclusions with zero knowledge on how I get there or how it works.  Math and reading are quite different skills and his reading is what suffered.

With these early comic books I can see my father’s reading progress. He starts with movie comic books. There he knows what is said and what the plot is and he is able to teach himself to read and read well. As he becomes 14 or so he starts picking up superhero focused comic books and for the next ten years he collects steadily and heavily.

Once he meets my mother his collecting slows. Once they have my brother it drops to occasional issues. And then there is this last issue purchased the month before I was born.

There are no comics after my birth date. On a humorous note, I questioned if my birth sucked my father’s comic book interest into me. When I was 12 I developed quite the taste for comic books. I eventually fell out of them because they were not enough reading material to satiate me. This was before volume bundles were common.

I suspect that it was a combination of life, job, and time, and access. My father did not like to shop and I don’t think he’d go out searching for comics. The way the books are numbered show patterns that create an image of places he went now and then and grabbed the comics for convenience.

Shortly after I was born my father decided to move from the area and almost split up with my mother. He didn’t like being a family man and was surprised that shedding his wife and children was so complicated. He was in his mid thirties by then. His focus on social appearances may have made him stray from his own self interest when it came to his comic books. In the eighties, men in their thirties were not to buy comics.

I’ll never know the answers. For one, my father is dead these last seven years. For another, even if he was alive, he’d never have told me the truth. He abandoned the truth a long time ago when he learned the power of creative fiction.

All in all I’m left with memories and pieces. So this comic book, this one… I’ll keep.

A little bit of cheating

This morning I went to the DMV to renew my driver’s license. My husband and I are both due for renewal within a week of each other. He is going to be out of the country when his driver’s license expires. I’ve been pushing to get it done and this morning we woke up at the ungodly (to us) hour of 0700 to go.

It was a much smoother process then I expected. The cold, overcast skies kept people away. The middle of the month is a much safer time to go. There are fewer people rushing to meet deadlines for expired things. I saw couples getting titles for new vehicles and a mother bringing her daughter in for her learner’s permit.

My husband was grumpy. He is such a grumpy, growly person in the mornings. I finally stopped trying to talk to him. Thankfully, we waited for about fifteen minutes before his number was called. Another five minutes later, I was called to the opposite side of the line of counters.

I asked a few question to the puzzlement of the  staff member. The application asks if you have or have ever had a driver’s license from another state, territory or country. It then asked for the number and the date it was issued and expired. I changed my license to this state ten years ago. How am I supposed to know what my driver’s license number, issue, and exasperation dates where? He tells me that is only for people coming in with new licenses. I stared at him and commented that ‘ever’ is a rather confusing term.

As I smiled for my picture, I watched the security guard come over and say, “#7 is cheating.”

#7 was the 16 year old girl getting her learners permit. There is a row of stalls where the tests are done. Above their walls is a mirror. They called her out and her mother over and told them she couldn’t retake the test for two weeks due to cheating. Her mother seemed so confused. She walked out and then came back and to my delight, asked for details.

It seems that the young lady made google searches four times. The fourth time is when the security guard called her on it. She was slipping her phone out of her pocket and then back in. The girl had that stone faced look that said, “I have been denying it and now I know they really saw and didn’t just get a lucky guess.”

My husband says that he blames the parents for not making sure she was prepared. I can see that. I remember walking around with my manual reciting passages and begging for quizzes. On one side I thought that she should have not had her phone. On the other, she should not have cheated and her ability to resist temptation is part of growing up. A part that she failed. It also makes me think, what else does she cheat on? To cheat at the DMV is a rather aggressive first attempt. To me, this means it is not a first attempt.

Eyes are still there

I’ve worn glasses most of my life. In 2006, at the age of 26, I decided to get lasik done. I really couldn’t afford it but I was in a pretty good point financially and decided to pay it off. It all worked out and that June I put my glasses aside.

It has been eleven years. I’m looking at my thirty eight birthday. I need to renew my driver’s license and I have not been going to the eye doctor. So, I finally took a deep breath, found a local office that takes my insurance, and went.

Things seem fine. It seems I may be prone to dry eye later in life. She said that my ducts are narrow and my oil glands seems grumpy. I’ve never had a dry eye issue. I’m going to have the big scan done later this month. Things look fine for the most part but there is always a bit of discomfort and fear when facing a new medical procedure.

Fear. What is wrong with me. What will be wrong with me. What can I not stop from going wrong? Morality haunts me. I enjoy my life and my senses. But, I’ve learned that I won’t always work perfectly. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure when I turned 31. I can only manage it because at 31 my biological destiny clicked on. Now, instead of cheerful lack of worry I find that something like an eye exam makes me hope that there is no shoe to drop.

Not saying anything

I first stepped into the internet as a social experience when I was sixteen. Understand that was around 1995-1996. I’ve been online as a large part of my life for twenty years.

The early days of the internet was finding chat-rooms of people of similar age. We all tended to get along because we were all in the same, exotic escape. The people met there would, on average, be a better fit then the ones I met in real life. In many ways, those early days corrupted me and leave me shaking my head and puzzled at the changes twenty years has brought.

This morning, I was checking on messages from reddit. Reddit is such a fascinating forum. I like it well enough but I consider it an acquaintance, not a love. Days like this morning remind me of why.

Last night, in between finishing diner I tapped out some replies to gardeners even newer then I was. I knew the problem. Her pumpkins where not being pollinated. But,t I did one of the ultimate horrors on the internet. I used the wrong word. I used fertilization instead of pollination. Yes. Such a bout of horrific ignorance did grace my response, rendering it useless.

Perhaps, I go overboard in my annoyance. A message received this morning from someone else said, “It is pollination not fertilization.” A true comment. Yes. But necessary? No. Not even a bit. But it is not the first time that I have or will receive a message because of a typo or a word usage case. This is better then the day I was told not to call a dog a boy because gender is a society construct on a dog forum. Still, it makes me close my eyes and take a moment to find the self control to not answer and move on.

It leaves me wondering. Why? Not why they do it. There are dozens of reasons. Correcting someone feels good. It is more why the need. That stems from the incorrect assumption that other people feel like I do. The insecurities. Questioning themselves. Struggling with adulting while being fatigued by the same thing.

Maybe I just question that need. The need to correct people in casual settings. In a professional environment I understand the need for permissions. But I am reminded of that person in a chat room that corrects everyone’s spelling. Or they lecture them on usages and in general make themselves insufferable.

What am I missing in personality, I wonder?

Burnout

I asked myself the other day why I wasn’t writing. I came up with a few interesting reasons.

The first is that my main thing to write about is my job. My job has been very, very consuming since last summer. It got worse in October and has steadily encroached into my free and personal time. This leaves me with less to write about because I have not written about my job here. It also leaves me with less energy to write because the demands of my job have become consumptive. It also leaves me tired and litless because my job absorbs a huge amount of creative and emotional energy.

The second is that I lost the schedule of writing I had developed when I stopped writing about Eve. The ‘what’ to write about thinned out. My job and my story ideas are both things to write about. Inty is something to write about as well but I find it hard to write about him since he mostly trots around and acts like a hyperactive asshole harassing the dogs and cats or wanting to be rubbed nonstop. While amusing even I struggle to describe it. Also, work again. I see him for 1-2 hours on the days that I work. My entire personal life is condensed into 1-2 hours where I come home, make dinner, pet the dogs, talk to my husband, and go to bed.

The third is my slowly healing burnout. I’m better, but it has taken a year. I wanted to be where I am now, at this time last year. It didn’t happen. That frustrates me. I cannot get that time back. It also highlights my habit of underestimating the impact that things can have. The two years that I plunged into the morass of Eve Online’s society as an elected rep was a fascinating, wonderful, and destructive time. Destructive because I am an introvert and I forced myself out of my shell.

People tell you to fake it until you make it. To do something until it becomes the truth. When it came to me being some type of social presence, I never became it. I never made it. I stayed myself and the pressure of it started to crush me. It is amusing in its disappointment. I was supposed to become more, bigger, better. Everyone swore to me that I’d grow into it and this change would happen.

Instead, I’ve suffered a year of exhaustion that I almost wonder if I’ll recover from. I know I will because I have started to. Yet, small socializations are still hugely damaging. With my busier work life and the unfortunate situation of taking on responsibilities in my personal life, I struggle to have enough quiet me time.

It makes me a bit mad. Work, well I could step back and get my old position back. I’m rather sure that I would be more unhappy. As for home? I am giving up one of my days off every week to work on cleaning out my mother’s house because she will not do it on her own. I find that I am becoming resentful. I don’t want to do it and it makes me mad that she can sit back and just abandon her life and intrude on mine. That is because I am enabling her. Now that I’ve gotten myself into this I have to get myself back out and I can kick her out and tell her to go clean up her own life but I’ve decided not to. None of that stops the resentment that I am having about it. I can’t seem to just give up on life and not do anything unless anyone helps me but she has. It is the story of our relationship and I’ve told her that she has this year to get her things together and figure out how she plans to handle the rest of her life.

The loss of a day shouldn’t matter much, but it does. My job has been taking my other free days. I’m having weeks where I have things to do for the bulk of the day every single day. It is wearing at me. I really do want to be left alone more often. I don’t know if work will improve. I doubt it. I have a time limit for my mother. As for myself? I’ll get through this but I will take a lot of learning away from the past few years.

The Joy of Appliances

Two years ago, while wandering through Home Depot and idly speculating on the future of our kitchen appliances I came across something I had never seen. A double stove oven.

This was not a double wall oven. This was not a stove top. It was a standing stove, the kitchen classic. The oven featured not one but two entirely separate oven chambers. It was also bright purple inside which I found a bit hideous. The drawer that is often at the bottom of the oven and used for storage was nonexistent. In my last home, that drawer was a warming drawer. I guess you can stick pies in it. I never did because it always filled with pet hair.

Over the last two years I’ve revisited that oven many times. I’ve examined it and started to grow fond of its purple color. Well, this year was the year that my husband agreed to buy me new kitchen appliances. The ones in our house date from the building of the house. They are about sixteen years old now. We’ve had to replace the furnace and water heater. The furnace replacement was last year and while worth it, ate into our extra budget.

This year, the dishwasher has become a pain. The microwave has entered a new temporal reality where it displays its own time and my oven has started to challenge me on what is the true meaning of cooking time.

It is an unpleasant reminder that home ownership is not as smooth as one might wish it to be. We took on a house that was eleven years old. It is now six years later and things are hitting their end of life. I am somewhat amused to think that we plan to move in a year. I will add that despite the plans to move, we will keep this home and rent it. The changes are not valueless and will hopefully afford us years of no needed repairs with future renters.

I am still excited about the stove.

An LG, double oven stove. It has five burners. The center girdle lifts off to reveal an oval burner down the center. The entire surface is grated and creates a pot slid-able surface. The useless center bit of the stove that gets to hot is now a functional work space.

The husband asked for burgers. These were the easiest burgers ever. No overheating and burns like the skillet due to the thickness of the girdle. I’m already in love at how easy some things will be to cook in the future.

A Start

Habit and tradition are annoying. January is a traditional time of year to start new. Sadly, I am in a position where I have to hang off the side of the bandwagon. Things at work have reset themselves and settled down to some extent and I can look at moving forward. I’ve complained about how much I’ve worked since last summer. The complaints have not been exaggerations.  It came to the detriment of my garden and my creativity. I cannot create when exhausted.

Writing is tiring. My writing is a bit worse. I find myself most productive after 11pm, just around the time that I need to go to bed. Earlier last year, between February and the end of April I wrote about 100k words. I need to find that energy again this year, but I’ve been so damn tired. The little things that need to be done every day just pile up and what is worse is that I struggle to be a productive writer during daylight when I have the most time. Staying up is an option but I also have to do silly things like work. I envy those that can just throw their job away and attempt to become successful in their writing.

My garden was neglected because I worked until 10pm. It is hard to garden in the dark. This year, I do hope that I will not be called to the feats of overtime that I was this year. It was rebellious and I often went 2 weeks with only a day off before another 2 week cycle.

Now, before the year crawls away as this last one has, I am going to try to jump start myself. I’m going to submit what I’ve written to some agents and see what comes. Hopefully, the pressure of that will let me finish what is truly a handful of writing and then the rewrite for smoothness. I suspect that being at the end of the project has its own stress that I’ve expressed in my lack of finishing. I can sit and let days just drift away while my mind spins in slow, exhausted circles.

Fear, I suspect, of sucess stands in my way. So, I must walk over it because I will not overcome it by just sitting.

My seeds are sorted. My schedule, while at risk of changing, is for now stable. My words are written. Now, I must take one of those leaps into the void to see what is there.

 

19 days silent

I am a bit ashamed of my silence. I have not actually been quiet. I have some random half written posts. Work, as it has been for the past few months, was horrid. That was compounded by the fact that I may lose my position. Then I got a cold. As I worked through the cold, I was about to go on vacation and had so much to get done at work before I left. Then, vacation where I kept a hand written journal.

Now I am back and need to catch up. But right now, I am trying to organize my seeds as part of cleaning up my desk which is a developing disaster area with new year stuff.

I had to send some items back. I had to fill out property tax stuff. I have stacks of seed packets trying to vanish. I even have an unopened box that was a random purchase. I’m a mess and not the type of mess that I planned to be at this time this month. I had hoped to be finishing my writing revisions. I had not planned to get horribly sick or have so much overtime at work that I my creative ability has drained from my ears.

Vacation was nice and I will write a series on that shortly.

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This is my little seed organization attempt. It is going quite well. A lot of cutting and shaping to fit into the pouches.

The First

On the 31st you are supposed to discuss the previous year. On the first you are supposed to make resolutions and look ahead. The world does a soft reset and potential opens up.

Then one is allowed to run off into a state of alcoholic indulgence. Allowed by society on this one day to do what one can do any day but upon which the double standard of alcohol tolerance frowns upon.

Or at least, that is how it seems. Perhaps, it is not a reality but a way for people to give themselves the opportunity to restart and refresh. A time to break cycles or entrench oneself deeper into habit.

For me, this is a year of reset. I’ve created some goals. I’d like to start taking daily pictures. I’ve wanted to do a 365 picture journal for a long time. This is the first time that I remember that goal on the first of the year. I normally remember it around the 7th or so.

I also have a finished book that needs its clean up and I need to start submitting it to publishers.

In these last few weeks I’ve allowed myself to drown in nothing at all. Video games, reading, infosurfing. It has been pleasurable. However, I ordered my tomato seeds for the garden this year and that somewhat activated me. It is time to start planning and organization. My planting is only a few months away.

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Not that my romaine cares. January 1st and it is still growing.

Fall Cleaning

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Intuition kept me company as I started in on the fall cleaning. He has learned to jump onto the bed but not off of it. We keep non-slip bath mats by the bottom half of the bed for the dogs to use as landing and launch pads. It is amusing because our cleaners move them to a more normal position by where your feet would go. We always move them back because they are for the dogs. Our bed is high and the floors are hard and smooth. After a few to many slips and falls we installed the mats for safety.

I decided today that I wanted to clean my room. I need to arrange my yarn into something a bit more coherent. My room easily becomes a mess. I hate folding and laundry so it all piles up. This is our third bedroom and it functions as a craft room, bedding storage room, and my closet. It is not a large room and quickly becomes overwhelmed if I don’t keep up with it.

Throwing things away has been on my mind. My mother and I are about to start a major house cleaning project for her house. It is full of clutter and stuff she was to depressed to deal with. Now that we need to sell it, everything must go.

Our plans to move in 2 or so years makes me eye things such as my own clutter.  This helped to spur me upstairs with several trash bags and a mission to throw it out, even if it is in good condition. We have few charities around here that take old and worn things. I’m tired of trying to find things a home. Today, it was to the trash.

I had some things that didn’t fit, things I found uncomfortable, and clothing that has been in the closet untouched for five years. I threw it away, I cleaned the build up of clutter, boxes, packing material, and such. Over the course of the morning I hauled five bags of trash out to the curb for the trash to pick up that afternoon.

I was at my desk when the trash came. I watched as they took away my bags and then I noticed one of the guys open a bag. He pulled out a pair of shoes I had thrown away, box and all. They were pretty shoes, but they didn’t fit my wide feet as I wanted. I had tried to force it and gave up wondering why I was hurting my feet. He took these shoes and then opened the other shoe boxes and unloaded them. He also grabbed two dresses and took it all up to the front of the truck. Then they continued on.

To the web I went and a few searches later I discovered that this is normal. Now, I am familiar with people going through stuff at the curb as well as free items being left. I was just not prepared for them to open the trash bags. Knowing it happens and seeing it happen to my (ex)stuff  left me feeling a big strange, but I hope that they can be more productive with them then I have been.