Good Day But I’m Stressing Out

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Okay, bullet points today, sorry:

  • Today was a good day
  • The BBQ still works
  • I got a bunch of stuff done around the house, like laundry and kitchen
  • The printer seems to still be behaving
  • J and I watched the last available episode of Stranger Things
  • My aunt and uncle should be arriving tomorrow shortly after lunch
  • I have a Dr W appointment later tomorrow afternoon
  • J has the day off, which I am very happy about
  • The news stuff is really bothering me now, I think I’ll have to avoid it entirely for a while again
  • I’m winding myself up like crazy for what will certainly be no reason at all but it SUCKS
  • J reminded me that this week marks two years since my last discharge from the psych ward

Stay safe.

Run, Fat Guy, Run

Song: “The Thing” by Phil Harris

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Today was a decent day. I remember waking up three times last night but I didn’t need to get out of bed for any of them, which was nice. I got up pretty early today, too, and wandered around in a fog but managed to get some stuff done. I wonder if the extra sleep I got on the weekend helped, and if so, how I’d keep things going so I don’t get run down again.

One successful print does not a happy printer make, but I started one this morning and it came out wonderfully. Even came off the print bed without any fuss. I’ve got a bunch more stuff I want to print, so the printer will be put right back to work tomorrow morning so I’ll know tomorrow if today’s print was just lucky. I hope everything’s back in order – I have been really enjoying designing and making things, and whenever I have to take the printer apart, ye olde flop sweate roars in like a really disgusting greasy tsunami.

Speaking of sweat, I spent a lot of time outside today. I didn’t go for a walk, but I was fussing about in the back yard, puttering around with my garden electronics project, and having a battle of wills with the rabbit that keeps coming back no matter how often I chase it out of the yard. I’m starting to wonder if the rabbit sees it as a game, what with the fat sweaty guy lumbering by in a straight line when the rabbit darts off in a different direction. I’m pretty sure it knows I’ll never be able to catch it, and sometimes when I finally manage to slow down and turn, the rabbit is already comfortable enough to be sitting in the grass, eating. It may be mocking me. I’m not sure.

While I was outside, I was looking at the barbecue a bit and giving it some thought. It hasn’t been turned on in a few years, mostly because the grille is shot and at the time I couldn’t find a replacement. I had a couple of ideas today for things to try, though, and while the thought of standing outside in the heat doesn’t really appeal to me, it makes less sense to turn on the oven to cook things while the air conditioner is running. So, if I get the chance tomorrow, I may whip off the cover (which is about ready to crumble anyway) and see what’s left underneath. I think the propane tank is (was) pretty much full.

Mom called today and we talked for a little while. She’s very excited for my aunt (her sister) and uncle to arrive at their place tomorrow, and she’s also oddly excited that my aunt and uncle are coming over here on Wednesday. I’m really looking forward to seeing them again – Mom said today that it’s been 17 years since we all last hung out. I can’t believe that – 17 years! Jeebus.

There’s a lot more bad news leaking into the little circle I try to stay within, and it’s starting to bother me again. I know for my own sake that the best thing to do is do my best to avoid it, but it’s the kind of stuff that I feel very bad for ignoring and wish there was something I could do to help. There isn’t, of course, but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

J and I watched another Stranger Things this evening. Only one more and we’re done the second season. I must admit, I have found quite a few of the actions that the characters have taken this season to be a little odd – both in ways that aren’t congruent with their behaviour from the first season, and in ways that defy any kind of logic. There’s a lot of exact timing that had to happen for things to work, too. Still, it’s a pretty great show and I think I’m going to have to go back and watch it from the start again when we’re done this season.

I’m not sure what’s happening tomorrow, I’ve got about eight squidjillion things on my list, including the stuff I was hoping to do today yesterday. Hopefully I will get a decent sleep and have another productive day (ideally with less sweating and rabbit chasing).

Stay safe.

Good Weekends Go By Too Quickly

Song: “Honeycomb” by Jimmie Rodgers

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

Just a quick post… this was a good weekend, and I’m a little sad that it’s over.

Both J and I got a ton of stuff done this weekend and still had time to fit in a few episodes of Stranger Things. I also (strangely) went back to bed after I got up yesterday and today and it made a big difference in how I feel. Even though my CPAP numbers are still good, I’m wondering if I’m not sleeping as well as I thought or maybe I’m waking up more often than I remember.

J helped me with some electronics stuff and we found that the new little radios I got easily cover the back yard. This bodes well for my garden project.

There’s a rabbit trying to dig a bunny hut right beside the garden, so I’ll need to keep an eye on that. I don’t mind the rabbits in the yard, I just don’t want them breeding here – it’s not safe for them.

I’ve been having some issues printing things. Lots of bumps and pits on the prints. Some of them are due to the slicer software, I updated to the latest version a little while ago and just went back to the earlier version this evening. The new version was doing a pretty terrible job. I also switched back to the 0.4mm nozzle. I’ve got something printing right now, hopefully it’ll look better.

My aunt and uncle are coming by on Wednesday afternoon. I haven’t seen them in forever, it will be good to sit and catch up a bit.

I have a Dr W appointment on Wednesday afternoon, too. There’s been a lot of things going on since I saw him last, and I wonder if he’ll be looking to lower some of the medications again. I’d certainly be willing to try the quetiapine again.

This coming Friday is going to be kind of weird. It’s my official retirement day. J was asking this evening how I felt about it, and I really don’t know – I’m dreading it in a way, but mostly it’s kind of a weird whirling cloud of emotions. I guess we’ll see what happens when it gets here.

If I feel well again tomorrow, I would like to get out in the truck, drive around a bit, and maybe go to the dollar store to pick up a couple of things. J told me that it’s supposed to get pretty hot as the week goes on, so I think I’m going to try and get the “out in the world” stuff that I want to do done early.

Stay safe.

Lots Of Time Outside Today

Song: “By The Light Of The Silvery Moon” by Little Richard

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

More of the same last night. I had to get out of bed twice to check whether the back door was closed and locked, but I think I only woke J up once (sorry).

It was very nice out today. More specifically, it was very nice in the shade. I went for my walk late in the morning and sat out on the deck stairs for a little while after I got back. I found it uncomfortable in the sun but as the afternoon went on, the shadows in the back yard started to lengthen so I went back outside and spent over two hours puttering around.

I’ve been looking at automating the garden. Yes, our garden is tiny, and no, it doesn’t take much time for watering or upkeep… I just think that it’d be neat. One of the things I’m trying to do is get water from the side of the house to the garden without using a hose. That’s where that laminar nozzle I was talking about a few days ago comes in. I finished printing it the other day and tried it out today. It was a spectacular, leaky failure. Instead of taking another three days to print another, I think I’ll go with some of the plans I saw on a few websites.

To run a little microcontroller in the garden means I need power, so I dug up and cleaned a couple of old solar panels that were under a pile of junk in the garage (I really need to get in there and tidy things up). I set up and tested my two reliable Arduino Leonardos (the one that FA gave me and the knockoff I got a little while ago), one as a transmitter with a soil moisture meter and the other as a receiver with a little display and they worked great inside. I brought them outside, intending to power them from the solar panels. I tried them with 9V batteries first, and everything worked perfectly – the one in the garden was sending a nice clear signal to the one by the side of the house.

When I hooked them up to solar panels, though, I couldn’t get a reading. I tried swapping panels, swapping wires, swapping transceivers, etc, etc, etc. The genuine Leonardo would power up and the display would show that it was waiting for a signal, but it never got past that. I played around with them for quite a while but couldn’t get the two of them talking.

I took a break and grabbed a lawn chair out of the garage and sat in the shade for a while, enjoying the breeze. Aside from the sound of distant lawnmowers all around, it was quite peaceful. I looked up at the giant elm tree that’s hanging over our yard and focused on it, watching the leaves and branches move in the breeze. It was quite nice.

Elm Tree

J got home a little while later and came outside to chat about our days. Before we went back inside, I gave the Arduinos another try but ended up with the same results.

I was supposed to have a Dr W appointment this afternoon but he called and left a voicemail asking to reschedule, so it’s been changed to next week. It wasn’t any problem, and J’s aunt got her afternoon back, so that was good.

J and I watched another episode of Stranger Things. We’re on the second season now, and… it’s great but I have some questions. They’re also introducing new characters and they’re still doing a great job of poking all the right 1980s buttons. Dig Dug, Regan/Mondale, Dragon’s Lair, and Baby Fae (the one who got the babboon heart) are just some of the memories sprinkled around the episode.

After we finished the show, I tinkered around with the Arduinos again and discovered (with that delightful burning electronics smell that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up) that the reason the receiver wasn’t showing any information was because the transmitter was dead, a victim of the solar panel. This was a first for me – I’ve hooked a lot of things up to a lot of solar panels over the years and this is the first time that I’ve ever burnt out electronics with a little 5W panel. I did some digging and discovered to my dismay that, while the genuine Arduino can accept power supplies up to 20V, the knockoff could only tolerate up to 12V (and it used pretty crappy components, too). I’m using a 12V solar panel but when there isn’t much of a load on them they can put out higher voltages. So… yeah. I guess that’s what I get for buying the cheapest one I could find.

I’m not sure what the weather is supposed to be like, but I’m hoping that tomorrow is a repeat of today (minus the burning electronics). I left the chair outside leaning against the house, so maybe I’ll get in some more tree-staring. Hopefully the neighbours don’t think I’m too weird.

Stay safe.

There’s Going To Be Some Whimpering

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I didn’t sleep all that great again last night. I don’t know if I’m waking up because I’m worrying or I’m worrying because I’m waking up. It’s not the end of the world, but it would be nice to be able to wake up in the morning, stretch, smile at the sunshine, and go about my day… instead of the usual trying to figure out where I am, stumbling around the house for a while, and slowly pull myself together.

My appointment with Dr C went pretty well. I had some concerns about moving our appointments to every second week but I asked her my little list of questions and her answers have me feeling a little better. No, she’s not shuffling me out the door. No, she’s not shutting down her practice. No, she’s not moving. Yes, it’s normal for the interval between appointments to increase as time goes on. Yes, there is a risk of the appointments themselves becoming part of my habit/routine and feeding into my anxiety.

She reassured me that even if I was coming in for appointments once a month or once every couple of months, I could still call or email her and get in for an appointment at any time if I was having trouble. She also said, “You’re not going to be coming here forever,” which, when I think about it, is an interesting (and very true) point. There will hopefully come a point where I won’t need to see Dr C anymore, and there’s always the chance that things will change as life tends to do – she may move or retire or any number of things, and I may move or decide to see a different therapist or any number of things. Who knows. At any rate, I felt better leaving the appointment than I did going in.

I kept quite busy this afternoon. When I got home there was a message from my mom on the answering machine so I gave her a call back and we had a short chat. My aunt and uncle are coming through town next week and they were wondering if I was interested in a quick visit. I haven’t seen them in… 12 years? 15? I’m a little hesitant about seeing them but after talking with J I called Mom back this evening and told her that it’d be fine. It will be good to see them and catch up!

I watched part of Bumblebee this afternoon. I like it quite a bit so far, particularly because it’s not entirely about explosions and laser beams like the recent Transformers movies have become, and I really like Bumblebee’s design. It’s a lot more like what I remember from watching the cartoons and the toy I still have somewhere. Plus, Bumblebee is supposed to be a VW Beetle (not a Camaro). The original, not the reinvention from 20 years ago or whatever. Actually, now that I think about it, all of the robots in the movie so far look a lot more like they folded out from whatever vehicle they drove/swooped in as. Plus, the last movie I watched with Hailee Steinfeld in it was True Grit (if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it), and it’s odd to see the difference in the characters she plays.

I also got some real, genuine 3M electrode pads to use with my little EKG Arduino module. The ones that came with the module felt like slices of processed cheese, and they stuck about as well as a slice of cheese, too. I put those 3M suckers on a couple of hours ago and I tell you – I am REALLY not looking forward to taking them off. The signal I get from them is much more reliable and strong than the original pads, so I guess losing some chest hair (and possibly skin) is the price I must pay.

J and I watched another episode of Stranger Things this evening, and it tied up most of the loose ends but not all, and it set up some more paths that the show can take. I am surprised by how well it’s written and how good the cast is (although it’s weird seeing Winona Ryder play a crazy mom), but there seems to be some inconsistencies with the monster’s abilities/powers/etc. Still, a great show!

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr W. J is going to be stuck at work but her aunt is willing to take me to the appointment. She’s so nice – it’s a fair drive from home to Dr W’s office, and I really appreciate all of her time and help.

Stay safe.

Great Start To The Week

Song: “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” by The Clash

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

The weekend went by very quickly but it was good. J and I had success both in accomplishing things and in getting some relaxing in. The weather was cooler than it has been but the air smelled nice and it was very pleasant. The garden is coming along, and we tried take-out from another restaurant, which was also pretty good. I didn’t sleep all that well but I didn’t have any nightmares, so I think it’s still ok.

Today was a good day, too. I slept through my alarms again (I’m beginning to suspect they’re not working), but after a bit of panic I had things in order. FA came by with burritos around noon and we talked about everything from sergers, to dealing with enormous datasets, to religion… and almost everything in between. We even blew the dust off the Carcassonne box and played a couple of games of that, which I quite enjoyed despite getting absolutely mangled the first game and losing the second. It was a very pleasant and enjoyable afternoon, and I had a good time.

J got home around 4:30PM and the three of us talked for a while longer before FA headed for home. J experimented with macaroni shells for supper (which turned out really well), and we talked about our days and how things were going. It seems like some of the rough stuff that’s going on at J’s workplace has calmed down for now and she’s able to relax a little more than she has been for the last while.

She worked on some of her art projects while I played a little STO, and then we went and watched another Stranger Things. I am really impressed with the show so far, although I just heard that it’s been renewed for a third season and I’m not sure how they’re going to keep up the pace that they’ve set so far in the first. A good thing is that J and I have quite a list of shows and movies to watch so if Stranger Things goes off the rails, we’ll be able to switch to something else.

So today was a good day and a good start to the week. I have an appointment with Dr C tomorrow afternoon, and I hope to talk with her about moving appointments to every second week because I’m still quite uncomfortable with that idea. I spoke with J about it and she had some good observations and ideas, so I think I’m going to jot down the questions and thoughts so I don’t forget.

Stay safe.

Went Back To Bed

Song: N/A

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Horde

I woke up this morning feeling like I was 394 years old. I got out of bed, had breakfast, sat at the table for a couple of minutes trying to build up some steam, then decided to go back to bed. Surprisingly, I fell back asleep and woke up two hours later. The extra sleep helped quite a bit and I’ve been feeling better today.

Ghosts were a big problem today, whether I was inside or outside. I kept looking back because I was sure there was a car right behind me during my walk, and when I was out playing with the garden I was certain someone was in the driveway, hidden by the deck. Inside was not any better. In hindsight, I should probably have gone the ear defender route, but I didn’t think of it at the time for whatever reason.

The dining room table was getting too out of hand for me so I spent some time tidying some stuff up and putting things in a box instead of spreading them out all over the place. We’ll see how that works out.

I spent a couple of hours designing a laminar flow nozzle. The model made my (somewhat modern) laptop sweat HARD. I’ve never done anything in Fusion before that even remotely bogged down the machine, but today the fans were at high speed and it took anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes to do anything. Then I imported the model into Cura, saw it was going to take days to print, and promptly put it aside. Maybe I’ll try a smaller one to start.

One of the other things that FA let me borrow was a software defined radio (SDR). It’s a fascinating device but there’s a bit of a learning curve to it. It doesn’t help that I don’t know much beyond the most basic-y of basics about radio, but I figured out how to tune in local FM radio stations, and I found quite a few peaks in the spectrum around the frequencies that the airport uses. I think that the SDR would also benefit from being outside the house. I may also look into rigging up an antenna, too.

At my sister’s insistence, J and I watched the first episode of Stranger Things this evening. It’s definitely got our attention, and we’re going to continue watching it. Hopefully it’ll be able to keep up the suspense and momentum that this episode had.

Tomorrow afternoon, J will be coming home a little early from work and taking me to the clinic so I can get some tests done (THANK YOU!!!). Fingers crossed that there won’t be much of a lineup so we can get through there quickly.

Stay safe.

Lots Of Stuff

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I’m very “body tired” again today. My next appointment with Dr H is coming up soon but I almost wonder if I should see if I can get in earlier. I didn’t sleep all that well last night, either; that probably has a lot to do with it. I could really use another one of those awesome sleeps I had a couple of weekends ago.

I was out for my walk today and it was beautiful out again. The streets around the neighbourhood aren’t in the greatest shape, and I got distracted by some birds and was watching them when I tripped on a chunk of pavement. I didn’t fall, but I did that cartoon stumble-with-arms-waving for a good dozen steps. You know, the kind where in the cartoon they’d be playing the weird drums? That. I even kicked off one of my crocs and had to go back to get it. Fortunately, there weren’t any cars or other people, but if someone in one of the houses caught it I think I’m going to end up on YouTube or something.

Since it was so nice out, I spent some more time outside, poking at the garden a bit, and I can now say with at least 38% certainty that there is an onion growing out there. Just the one, and it’s a tiny little nub… but it’s there. On the downside, I couldn’t find those carrots that I saw yesterday. They probably just got shy or something. The anti-lagomorph barrier seems to be intact, and besides, why try to fight through an impenetrable metal barrier when there’s grass and dandelions all over the place already?

It looks like one of the sunflowers is coming up, too. I need to put a stick in the ground by it so it doesn’t accidentally get mowed.

Lots of success with the printer today. We switched to a different kind of bathroom tissue and the new rolls don’t fit in the holders we have, so I fiddled around with an older design of mine and made a new holder that looks like it’ll do the trick. The top part was a little loose so I reprinted one of the pieces, but then it was too tight and I had to pry it off. A bit of sanding fixed it, though, so it works quite well now if I do say so myself. I also had more luck with the garden hose nozzle attachment – both the part that the hose screws into and the 7mm nozzle that threads onto it fit together perfectly. Unfortunately, they’re not making the kind of water stream I’m looking for. I did a bit of digging and discovered that I need a nozzle that will create a laminar flow. There are a couple of sets of plans out there but they all seem to involve filling a tube up with drinking straws. I’m going to try to design one to print but I expect there will be a lot of trial and error involved. Thank goodness PLA is cheap and composts. Which reminds me, I need to order some more filament…

Believe it or not, I went back outside AGAIN today. This time it was to play some more with that transceiver of FA’s. She sent me a link to some more frequencies in the area, and even just sitting out on the deck made a big difference to how many channels I could pick up. Some were dead air and some were Morse code, but a few of them had people chatting about this and that. It’s pretty interesting and I have some ideas for more stuff I’d like to try with it.

I finished watching Alien: Covenant. It was… not not too shabby. Certainly more gruesome than the last few entries in the franchise have been. I was a little bummed out with some of the things that happened between this movie and Prometheus, but aside from one or two notable occasions, I didn’t want to lean through the screen, grab characters by the shoulders, and shake them, yelling, “HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY THINK THAT IS A GOOD IDEA???” at them. Now that I think about it, though, for a colony ship they sure had a lot of guns… and everybody who held one couldn’t shoot worth beans. Someone who could actually aim at something and had maybe eight bullets would’ve saved the day. The movie would’ve been 15 minutes long then, but still…

More progress today with electronics, too, but I’m starting to get a little unfocussed and I have a few too many things going on at the same time. I find it a very strange feeling to be interested in so much stuff at the same time. I’m afraid to change anything in case I wreck something and end up spending my days on the couch again, so maybe working on a bunch of things at once is a good thing.

No appointments tomorrow, and FA forwarded an email saying they’re doing some fancy stuff at the hardware store we usually go to. It would be interesting to check it out. We’ll see what happens tomorrow morning!

Stay safe.

Listening In On The Seniors

Song: Theme from The Addams Family by Vic Mizzy

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I’m pooped again today. I didn’t sleep all that great last night, but I have more of that “body tired” feeling than anything. At least, I think that’s how I feel. Who knows…

It was very nice out today. So nice, in fact, that when I got to my Dr C appointment a little early, I sat down at one of the picnic tables outside, closed my eyes, and enjoyed the feel of the sun and breeze on my skin for a few minutes before going in.

Along with the grounding I’d done outside, I’d taken some PRNs before this session. Whether it’s all in my head or because stuff took effect (I don’t care which, I’m just happy with the results), I was able to concentrate quite well and carry on a decent conversation. Dr C was quite interested in all of the stuff I’ve been doing and encouraged me very strongly to keep things going. We worked on the memory confidence stuff and she noted that I’m using more… uh… well, crap – I can’t remember the word, but it’s a psychology term that means words that hint at… gaaaah. I guess I didn’t pay as good attention as I did. Anyway, it’s because I’m saying things like, “stuff that happened 30 years ago has no impact whatsoever on whether the garage door is closed,” instead of, “it’s going to happen because I’ve seen this before”. I’m not doing a good job of writing this out but hopefully you get the point. That I’m aware and am using rational arguments to argue with my anxiety and OCD is a good thing.

Another thing that came out of the appointment today was that Dr C is taking a couple of holidays over the summer so my appointments will be a little spotty for a while. She suggested that we could even start moving to appointments every second week instead of every week. The more I think about that, the more uneasy I feel – part of me worries that I’m on the way to being “fired”, that her schedule is getting too full and she has higher-priority patients, that the insurance company will see that and go “AH-HA!!!”, that I’d rather not cut back on sessions while my medications are being adjusted… all kinds of things. It’s got me a little bothered.

Aside from my appointment today, I spent a lot of time tinkering with electronics and puttering around. FA let me borrow a little VHF/UHF FM transceiver and I played around with it to see if I could figure out how it worked. I found a manual online, pressed some buttons, and… static. Literally, static. From the movies and stuff, I figured that just wandering through the frequencies would provide tons of interesting things – lots of conversations, Morse code, people talking in a bunch of different languages, but there was nothing. I looked up some of the local amateur radio clubs and found the frequency for a Senior’s amateur radio club in town. I dialled it in and, while I was making supper, I listened to some folks discussing an event they were having this evening. One guy needed to go get something to eat, another one was waiting for his son to bring over the truck, another was looking to borrow equipment, another had said equipment and would make sure it got to the event this evening. It was very much like a phone conversation. Just with more static and call letters. Still, pretty neat stuff and if the weather is nice tomorrow I may wander outside with it to see if I can pick up more channels.

J just finished the second-last course in a program she’s been taking for quite a while now. I think she’ll be glad when it’s all done, and I will be too. I’m proud of her that she’s kept on with it even though some of the courses have been pretty painful and/or silly. A nice thing is that the course she just finished is the last one she had to do in a classroom – the one she’s taking now is all by distance.

Since J had class and got home later this evening, we spent more of the evening chatting and hanging out, but no TV tonight. Tomorrow we’ll have time to fit in another Blue Planet or something!

No appointments tomorrow but I have a lot of stuff planned. I need to water the garden (assuming it’s not all dead – they say we may get frost tonight. Frost!) and I want to play around with those garden hose nozzles again. The 7mm one finished printing this morning but I didn’t get around to seeing how well it works. I’m hoping that it fits the bill because I have plans… big plans!

Well, not exactly “plans” per se… more like a nebulous cluster of partially thought through ideas that may or may not work when I try to staple them together. We shall see.

Stay safe.