What A Good Day!

Song: “On The Road Again” by Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

Mood: 9

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Few

Today was a great day. It feels SO NICE to be able to type that.

I had a half-decent sleep and woke up only twice that I can remember to check in on stuff. I even went back to bed after taking my morning medication so I could sleep off most of the usual morning dumbness before finally facing the day.

The only blip was that just like last time, right before FA and DM arrived, I started to sweat like crazy and could feel the panic starting to build. I finished what I was doing, grabbed two PRNs, and shuffled off to the bedroom to sit in front of the fan and do some grounding. Fortunately, this time I caught things quickly enough and was able to control the panic before it hit me like a wet blanket.

They arrived shortly after 2PM and as soon as I saw DM and FA standing there with smiles on their faces, my anxiety over the whole thing (J and I don’t usually have people over for fancy meals) pretty much disappeared. We gabbed for a couple of minutes, then moved to the living room, sat on the comfy chairs, and gabbed some more.

We talked about pretty much everything, then had a REALLY fantastic meal of ham, mashed potatoes, crock-pot dressing, veggies (yes I had some), and sauce. Dessert was an amazing cake – I’m not sure exactly what it’s called, but it had a swirly shape from the pan it was cooked in and it had cinnamon, vanilla, and cardamom in it. It’s one of the few cakes I’ve eaten slowly because I was thoroughly enjoying the flavours and was trying to figure out what they all were.

Then we went back to talking. Unfortunately, time went by way too quickly, and before we knew it, FA and DM were heading out to their car. Instead of feeling down like I usually do when guests leave, tonight I felt happy (and no, not because they were leaving). I was happy because we did something different today, yet everything went so very well… aaaaannnnd… we can do it again whenever we want! It doesn’t have to be a fancy holiday or something like that – we can get together for a big meal or a small meal or a quick meal or a chat-cook-chat-eat-chat-dessert-chat kind of event. That thought keeps popping into my mind and it makes me excited.

Granted, having a couple of friends over for lunch or supper once in a while probably isn’t much of a deal for most of you, but dammit – it is for me and I’m taking this as a good thing!

All of this wouldn’t have happened today, though, if J and I didn’t have such wonderful friends as we do in FA and DM. I think if everyone had friends like them, the world would be a much happier and friendlier place. Thanks for coming over, you guys, and thanks for always being there and being such good people! 🙂

No plans for tomorrow yet. I need to reschedule my Dr C appointment so I will probably give her a call or drop her an email. I may also do another hour or so of volunteering on Friday, and I might get together with FA somewhere in there to build a roost box or two. We shall see.

Jeebus… I hope I fell half as good tomorrow as I do right now!

Stay safe.

I Wasn’t Expecting That

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

The last few days have been… interesting. We got walloped by an early winter storm. When I went to Dr W’s office on Wednesday, it was dark and cloudy with a cold drizzle. I still wore shorts and a t-shirt – got a few odd looks from all the people in their jackets, but I’m used to being one of the last in fall and first in spring to wear shorts.

On Thursday, the rain turned to heavy, wet snow, and it kept snowing until Friday evening. Normally a heavy, sticky snow like that isn’t a huge problem but the leaves are still on the trees so the snow load on the branches was big enough to snap branches and take entire trees down all over the area. Every once in a while, J and I could hear a snap and a thump as another tree broke and part of it fell to the ground. It was pretty eerie. The trees, in turn, hit power lines in places, taking out the power for a LOT of people. We were lucky – our power flickered quite badly during the storm but never went out entirely. I think there are still something like 20000 people without power.

I think I was wrong about that little bird I mentioned the other day. As the day went on, there were more of them sheltering near the house where there wasn’t much snow. I put out some sunflower seeds and crushed peanuts for them (still thinking that it’s better to be miserable on a full belly), and when I checked later every last crumb had been eaten. J spoke to her mom (who lives several hours away) and it sounded like they had the same little birds, so that made me feel a lot better about that one poor bird that was hopping around for a while there:

Little grey bird

Not a great picture, but anybody know what this bird is?

Today we had to go out to do a couple of things so I took a couple of pictures while we were out. I think it’s going to be a little while before everything is cleared up:

Fallen Tree

Fallen TreesThe good news is that it’s been keeping above freezing and the snow has been melting quickly and I don’t think it’ll be around much longer.

Dr C emailed me on Friday morning to let me know that due to the power problems, we’d have to reschedule our appointment. Watching vehicles trying to avoid fallen tree parts and getting stuck in the snow… I was kind of glad it worked out that way. I used to enjoy bopping around in the snow in the truck (4WD with good tires is pretty amazing), but not when I have to get somewhere, and also not when there’s stuff all over the place and other people needing to get places.

Other than that, it’s been a pretty quiet weekend. DM and FA are coming over tomorrow – J and I are really looking forward to hanging out and having a fancy meal with them. It’ll be a great time!

Stay safe.

Poor Little Bird

Song: N/A

Mood: 7?

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts Lots

I didn’t fall asleep on the couch last night, but I didn’t sleep all that well, either. I think it might be the weather change – I wore shorts and a tshirt to my appointment yesterday (I got a couple of strange looks), but what was supposed to stay as rain turned into quite a bit of snow that continued through today and is supposed to dump even more on us before the weekend is done.

It took me longer than usual to get going today, which was unfortunate because I was a little late for my second volunteer session at the church down the street. The person I’m working with is very pleasant and eager to learn, but I’m a little worried that she may be saying “yes I understand” when she may not completely. Still, things went pretty well and I hope that the work we’re doing is helping her out.

There was a cold-looking little bird sitting around our front step. He would run away when we got close but didn’t fly. With the wet snow and water everywhere, J and I felt bad for the little fella so we put out a little box and some sunflower seeds and peanut chunks. I figured if he had a broken wing then he was probably going to die over the next couple of days, but I’d rather he died with a full belly and a bit of shelter – you know, as comfortable as possible. I looked outside a little later and must’ve startled it because it took a couple of funny hops and flew at about knee height to the tree in the neighbour’s house across the street.

Speaking of trees, the wind and wet snow broke a non insignificant part of the tree. I called the city and they said it could be as much as two weeks before a crew comes out to pick it up. Not a big deal.

This evening, J and I watched the last episode of Chernobyl. We both enjoyed it quite a bit, but some of the machinations of the KGB and various Communist Party officials seemed like it had to have been played up for the camera. The summaries of the characters at the end of the show was pretty sobering.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr C. I am not looking forward to going – with the snow we could get some water in the basement, or the roads could be bad… I know I said I was going to drive but I really don’t know if that’s going to happen. We will see.

I hope that bird is alright.

Stay safe.

Long Day

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I didn’t fall asleep on the couch last night, and strangely, I woke up today without a headache and feeling not too shabby at all. I woke up a few times last night for the usual stuff but I didn’t need to get out of bed and it wasn’t too difficult to get back to sleep.

It was very dark and gloomy today, and had that cold drizzle that felt like it could turn into snow at any moment. I puttered around in the house, set up another job on the printer, and listened to the airport traffic on the SDR.

I had an appointment with Dr W today. J’s aunt offered to give me a lift, which was really helpful and great of her. I enjoy our chats, and we had a good amount of time to talk during the drive. We got to Dr W’s office quite early because traffic was quite light (my appointment was before rush hour today), so we went to a nearby fancy restaurant for a coffee to use up some time.

Coffee and Fruitopia

I had a Fruitopia. I’m not sure what the flavour was other than “red”.

I wasn’t entirely comfortable in the restaurant but it was pretty quiet and the conversation was good, so it worked out.

My appointment wasn’t overly long today but by the time I got home I was pooped. I like Dr W and I’m glad he’s my psychiatrist, but I really wish his office hadn’t moved to where it is now. Oh well.

I don’t really know what happened this evening other than J and I hung out and watched another Chernobyl. Do not watch that show if you want to be in a good mood. Seriously.

Tomorrow I am going to volunteer for a little while at the church down the street. Hopefully it will go well.

Stay safe.

I Have No Idea What Day It Is

Song: “Dancing In The Moonlight” by Toploader

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I didn’t sleep very well again last night but once again it’s mostly my fault because I fell asleep on the couch. I really need to get a handle on that. I used to have a little sign that I put on the couch that just said “GO TO BED”. I think I need to make another one.

Today was one of those days where I had to keep checking my phone to make sure of what day it was. It’s not that I think it’s a different day, it’s just that I have no idea what day it is. Not a big deal but I have some stuff going on this week and I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss it.

I was quite busy today, working on a few different projects. One (and possibly) two of the fans in the printer are wearing out. They’re both pretty small and it’s been my experience that larger fans tend to last longer. Someone already had the same problem and designed a new bottom/fan enclosure for the printer controller that uses two 120mm fans. The first part is printing now and should be done tomorrow afternoon.

It was really nice out today – sunny and warm for the most part. The weather is about to change, though, so I grabbed a shovel and dug out all the carrots and a good amount of the potatoes in the garden. The carrots were pretty stumpy but some of the potatoes turned out nice and big. There were a ton of worms in the soil, too, and I think that means that the garden is pretty healthy.

The clinic called today. I’m always wary when I see it on the call display but I answered it and it was good news – my GP got the results of my bone scan back and my bone density is well above average. This is fantastic, because now I can FINALLY pursue my dreams and become an MMA fighter.

All joking aside, I was pretty happy to hear about that. It’s nice to get good news.

Talked to my folks for a while today, they’re still recovering from their trip but are otherwise doing well. Not too much exciting going on there.

J and I have been watching the HBO Chernobyl series. I understand they made quite a few artistic decisions and created a couple of characters, but boy did they ever blanket the production with the whole faceless-dreary-and-worn-Soviet-bloc-concrete-and-steel-oppressive-hopelessness. Wow. It’s like the shot the whole thing on black and white film and then… left it like that. Nothing anywhere is new. I’ve found the carpet in the hotel to be fascinating. The pattern, the wear… I have no idea who found or made that carpet for the show but they should get an award.

I have a Dr W appointment tomorrow and a Dr C appointment on Friday. I may also volunteer at that nearby church for a bit on Thursday. We’ll see what happens.

Stay safe.

Need To Keep This Short

Song: N/A

Mood: 8

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Lots

Let’s see:

  • Weekend was good.
  • Fell asleep on couch last night, I really need to stop doing that because it messes up my sleep.
  • Today was alright in the morning but got much better as the day went on.
  • Lots of sounds outside today, very distracting.
  • FA reminded me of an ad-blocking system called Pi-hole (https://pi-hole.net/). I set it up and have been pretty pleased so far.
  • I might be volunteering tomorrow, not sure though.
  • Have a Dr W appointment on Wednesday and a Dr C appointment on Friday.
  • Making a lot of progress with some of my electronics projects.
  • Did some cleaning upstairs today, hauled two and a half bags of garbage out to the bin.

Stay safe.

Listened To Some Records, Watched Some TV

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I didn’t sleep well again last night, but it was my own fault for falling asleep on the couch again.

Today was a better day, though. I’m still quite bothered about what happened yesterday, but I sat myself down in front of the record player and played a bunch of good stuff loud enough that people walking by outside probably heard. Those James Last collections are sooo bad but at the same time they’re wonderful. And The Undertones – you can’t go wrong with The Undertones.

I watched another two episodes of The Expanse, which were very good. The guy who plays Amos does a very good job of the “crazy eyes” thing.

My parents got home from their trip yesterday and gave me a call this afternoon; we talked for almost an hour. It was very good to chat with them and find out about how everyone is doing. Mom was glad to have gone but it also made her sad because her brothers aren’t in the best health (particularly the one with ALS). Fortunately, they’re all in good spirits, which counts for a lot. I haven’t seen my folks for a while – I hope a visit is in the works.

Sent out my video texts today but my phone mangled them beyond recognition.

A package arrived for me today full of electronic doodads that I didn’t remember ordering (I did, it was just so long ago I’d forgotten). So I now have even more parts that will let me build some stuff (particularly things with radio modules, flash memory, or any other 3.3V module) easier and with fewer parts. So that was good.

Tonight J and I watched an episode from the third season of The Good Place. Not too bad so far, and I really like that “American” restaurant they visited in Sydney.

Tomorrow I may be going down the street to volunteer at that church again but I won’t find out for sure until tomorrow morning.

That’s about it.

Stay safe.

A Bad Panic Attack Today

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I didn’t sleep very well again last night – spent far too much time in the dark worrying about things I have no control over (and some I do have some control over).

When I got out of bed this morning, I felt worn out, like an old lawnmower engine that’s hard to start and makes a lot of noise and smoke but doesn’t do much mowing. I had breakfast and went through my usual morning routine, just slower than usual.

I had decided yesterday that I was going to drive to my Dr C appointment today. I left the house, the truck started right up, and I headed out with plenty of time to spare. Still, I wasn’t feeling quite right – pretty unsettled. About a third of the way there, I started to feel pretty bad but figured that having my therapist’s office as a destination was pretty good luck.

I don’t think I was halfway there when things went badly. There were too many other cars on the road and I was arguing with myself over whether everything was okay back at the house, and despite knowing that things were okay and having taken pictures proving that things were okay before I left, there wasn’t any kind of reasoning I could use on myself that worked and the panic set in.

I pulled into a parking lot, put on some Undertones, and did what I could to try and get myself together, but unfortunately it was a bad one so I sat there sweating and gasping and shaking while school kids and customers walked by. I used my phone to send an email to Dr C to tell her I wasn’t going to make it to my appointment. Whenever things would ebb a little bit I tried to work in some grounding to try and tamp things down and be done with the horrible feelings quickly. It went on like that for almost 40 minutes, then a couple more where I did some test breathing and thinking to make sure things were done before I started the truck back up and went home.

I’m feeling pretty beat about the whole thing. I know that there will be ups and downs:

Recovery GraphBut things have been going pretty well lately and I guess I wasn’t… prepared/ready for/expecting a panic attack to hit me out in the open in broad daylight like that. I guess that panic attacks wouldn’t be so much “attacks” if you knew they were coming, but I’ve become quite a bit more comfortable in my little truck and it’s really discouraging that this happened. It was also very, very, very embarrassing to be sitting there with my whole body clenching and my head on the steering wheel while people wandered by. And I’m kind of angry that this is still happening, or that it happened to me at all. I swear to anyone who’ll listen that I promise I’ve been working on this stuff. Things have been a lot better lately! I don’t know why this happened.

I don’t know what’s going on tomorrow yet. I kind of hope that there’s nothing happening because right now I would really like to sit down and listen to some records.

I sent an email to Dr C while I was stuck in the parking lot, and she replied very quickly and was very understanding and supportive (although I don’t think I actually read her reply until I got home). I know she’s a therapist and therapists aren’t supposed to be mean and demanding, but I appreciated it a lot.

Stay safe.

A Productive And Fun Day

Song: “Hazy Shade of Winter” by Gerard Way, feat. Ray Toro

Mood: 8

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

I didn’t sleep well last night. Mainly my own fault – I fell into the “I think I’ve got a little bit left in me so I’m sure I won’t have any problem if I sit on the chesterfield” trap and woke up a few hours later with a sore neck, sore throat, and a nasty headache. I went to bed for the next couple of hours and almost cried when my alarm went off.

I somehow got out of bed, took my morning stuff, then did some cleaning in the house and got myself prettied up.

J had gone to work this morning with the looming darkness of horrible workplace HR stuff to look forward to; I was very happy to get a text from her saying that things had gone so much better than she’d hoped!! Whew! Hopefully now there won’t be as much pressure and silliness – at least for a while!

FA came by this afternoon! We had our traditional burrito lunch (which was delicious) and talked about more things than I can remember – it was great! Then we started in on her project again, and made a lot of progress. The new display (an IPS panel vs the previous TN one) looks sooooo much better and the picture doesn’t go all weird if you’re more than a couple of degrees off when you look at it. Plus, the screen has some other things that make it a good screen for a Pi – USB power, mounting screws that fit the Pi so you can bolt it right on. And it’s built in a way that’ll make it a cinch to install in a cabinet.

We also talked about roosting boxes and birdhouses and I think we’re going to make some out of clean scrap lumber we have kicking around. And… there may have been one or two other projects we talked about but right now I can’t remember what they were. I knew I should’ve written more stuff down… regardless, lots of good work with results, a fantastic time, and potential ideas for even more projects which will have their own burrito lunches, chats, and great times. I’m so lucky to have a friend like FA – I have such a good time with her, we can laugh even when things are pretty crappy, and things are never dull when we’re working on stuff or even just hanging out.

It was a really great time, and after FA had to head home for supper (you should’ve stayed – we had pizza!), J and I talked about our days, which were both good (I’m still so happy that her day went so well)!!!

We watched what turned out to be the last episode of the first season of The Umbrella Academy, and while that show has been somewhat predictable, it sure is great. I like a lot of the characters way more now, too. Klaus in particular. And the person/people in charge of finding songs to put into that show… they’re not being paid enough. Fantastic music, like Guardians of the Galaxy. Great stuff!

My time so far being a Grand Marshal with that new fleet in STO is going well, too. I’m in charge of the fleet bank, but I also do some recruiting for new fleet members and manage the fleet holdings. I realized yesterday that I’m now spending a bunch of my “gaming/recreational” time as an HR person, accountant, paper pusher, and complaints desk. I still enjoy it!

Tomorrow I have a Dr C appointment in the afternoon. I am very intent on driving there again. I’m not trying to wind myself up, but I just really REALLY want to keep the momentum going. I would really like to be able to drop some stuff off at DA’s place, and it would be fantastic if J and I could hop in the car and go see DM and FA for a change, or even if I could drive my own butt so FA didn’t have to come here every time to hang out.

I also need to write down the things I’ve done and want to talk to her about. I used to have a pretty reliable memory for things, but if I don’t have something written down now, I’ll forget it. There are dozens of used envelopes and scraps of paper all over the place with thoughts and ideas on.

Whooo… getting pretty tired so I should get going. Had more I was going to talk about but I’ll try to remember to jot it down tomorrow.

Stay safe.

First Volunteer Session

Song: “Get Over You” by The Undertones

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

I was feeling a little rough again yesterday but instead of going to bed really early, I stayed up for a while to see if it would help me get to sleep, stay asleep, and avoid nightmares. Unfortunately, I stayed up far too late trying to get some memory modules to work with an Arduino.

I think I slept pretty well, though. No nightmares last night (soooo much better), and while I woke up three or four times, I only had to check my phone once and didn’t have to get out of bed at all. I also felt a lot better today – pretty much back to my normal 28% I think.

J took today off to handle the new windows we got installed this morning, and it was wonderful having her home. We don’t even need to talk – it’s just… really nice when she’s home and we’re together.

As the morning went on, I started to get a little nervous about going to volunteer just down the street. By the time I left, I was doing the flop sweat thing again. I got there a little late, made my way into the church, and was met by the people I was there to see.

We went down into the basement and found some seats around a table in the dining hall area. I unpacked my bag, made sure everyone was okay (more for my own peace of mind, really), and then we got started. The people I’m working with are very nice, and they seem pretty patient which is great. We had some communication difficulties at times, but they’re determined to learn and I’m determined to help, and between us, a pile of blank paper, and some pens, I think things went pretty well. Well enough at least that they thanked me many times and told me they’d like me to come back.

I got home almost two hours after I left – tired, but feeling pretty good about how things went. The highlight was when I gave them a laptop. It was one of two old machines that FA had kicking around and was gracious enough to give to me (THANK YOU!!!) to see if I could whip them into shape so they could go to a good home. It’s not often you see tears over an old laptop… but yeah.

I think it was two hours well spent. Plus, it was raining so I drove there… although if I’m being honest with myself, I’m pretty sure I would’ve driven there anyway since I was carrying a bag full of stuff. I think that is really good, too.

I started watching The Expanse, and I’m afraid that I’m going to be hooked on it. Spaceships, slightly more realistic-ish (i.e. no ray guns or hyperdrive or insane robots), Space Mormons, and some hapless ice miners who watch as their big ship gets the beat-down from a much better ship from another known faction that in turn gets the beat-down from a MUUUCH better ship from a mysterious new faction. To me, spaceship battles – unless it’s between little fighter-sized ships – should be much more like WWI and WWII naval engagements. Two ships face each other, move around a little bit, and then just beat the crap out of each other until one of them either blows up, falls apart, or runs away. I’m a big fan of Star Trek, but the idea that a ship that has a mass of four or five million metric tons is going to zoom and swoop around… well, it looks pretty cool but it’s not right. Now, take one of the slug-fests in the 2004+ Battlestar Galactica show. While these huge ships are pummelling each other, the captain gives orders, which take time to execute, and the ships slowly pivot or roll and lumber around each other.

Okay, scratch that last part – I just spent waaay too much time talking about how I like the realism of one particular thing versus another thing, neither of which exist.

So yeah, today went pretty well. We have new windows, I think I may have helped someone today, and J was around. Not too shabby at all.

I don’t think I have any appointments or anything scheduled for tomorrow, and I’m not certain what I’m going to do yet. Probably spend too much time watching TV and not enough time doing other, more useful things.

Stay safe.