Snow On The Ground

Song: “Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Horde

Just a quick post tonight… today was a decent day. I slept alright last night and only remember waking up three times worrying about things; all three times just looking at my phone was enough for me to go back to sleep.

It took me a while to figure out where I was this morning, and after I got up, I looked out the window and saw… snow. It wasn’t a lot – just a bit that had settled on the grass – but it was enough to make me grumble a bit while I had breakfast.

It was cold out today, too. It’s interesting how -5C can seem like a summer day when it’s the middle of the winter, but when it’s supposed to be +7 or +10C, it feels like the deepest, coldest crevasse in the coldest, darkest part of Antarctica.

I kept busy again today and did played around some more with designing and printing stuff. I had a fair amount of trouble chasing ghosts today but I was still able to get some stuff done. The radio played “Music Box Dancer” three times today.

My mom called today and we had a brief chat. Sounds like my folks are coming in for a visit on Sunday. I’m not sure of the timings or what’s planned yet, but it will be very good to see them again!

J called from out of the blue today, which was a pleasant surprise. We didn’t talk for very long but it was good to hear from her during the day. She started in on a new class this evening so she didn’t get home until late in the evening. We still had some time to watch some Brooklyn Nine-Nine, though!

It sounds like FA is going to come over on Friday – I am very much looking forward to that, regardless of whether we hang out and talk, play board games, go to the hardware store, or whatever. I am also very interested to hear how her conference went.

I have a bad habit of buying things for my various hobbies and then being afraid to use them, lest I break them or I can’t find them anymore or what I want to do doesn’t work out. The thing is, I bought all that stuff for the express purpose of using it, not having it sit in a drawer for years. I have decided that I am going to start using this stuff, and if it breaks, then… well, I guess I will have learned something. I rummaged around the house this evening and found at least most of the Raspberry Pi and other SBCs that I have sitting around the house (there are more than I expected).

Tomorrow I will call the clinic again to see if I can get in and see Dr H; other than that, I want to sit down with my thinking paper and a pencil and start coming up with things I want to make. Sowbug season is just about to start around here, so some manner of bug trap/zapper/squisher might be interesting to think about. Hmm…

Stay safe.

Tired Today

Song: “May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” by Little Jimmy Dickens

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

This past weekend was good but it went by far too quickly. Both J and I checked some things off our respective to-do lists and still had time to relax and watch some shows. I don’t recall having any nightmares over the weekend, and I was pretty successful with keeping my brain occupied.

I thought I slept pretty well last night but I’ve been tired all day. My appointment with Dr C went pretty well – I took PRNs and had time to do some mindfulness before I got to her office and some more while I was in the waiting room. It is easier to have a conversation with someone when you can actually look at them instead of staring at the floor. One of the things that we are working on right now (in addition to the regular OCD and anxiety work) is how I look at other people compared to how I look at myself. It’s one of those things that I’m not really comfortable talking about (or thinking about, for that matter), but I suppose it has to be done.

J picked me up after my appointment (thank you!) and by the time we got home I was pretty tired. We talked about our days for a while and then I sat in a bit of a daze while she caught up on her daily news browsing, then we got up and made supper.

I played some more STO this evening and thought about and sketched out some more ideas I’ve had about things to make. Some of them are pretty wishful thinking, but I think some of them are within the realm of possibility. I guess I won’t know until I try.

J and I watched a couple more episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine this evening. Sometimes that show’s timing is off or the jokes kind of land with a splat, but when it’s on, it’s ON.

Oh, and I got suckered into buying a bunch of stuff a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t phished or hacked or anything like that – I saw a sale and then ended up thinking “one of these… and one of these… and one of these…”. It didn’t help that the stuff was really, really inexpensive. Anyway, the place I bought the stuff from sent me receipts and expected delivery dates that were all around the end of May. To my surprise, one of my items arrived today – a little touch screen that works with my Raspberry Pi. To my even greater surprise, it works!

Raspberry Pi 3.5" Touch ScreenWell, kinda… I’ve been fiddling around, trying to calibrate it, but I need to do some reading about it. Or ask Garrus. At any rate, it makes me wonder when the rest of the things I ordered will get here.

No more appointments for the rest of the week, but I’m going to give the clinic a call and see if I can get in to see Dr H if someone else cancels. That’s another thing I’d like to get off my list. Other than that, I’m going to be working on things and, if it’s nice, I’m going to go for a walk.

Stay safe.

Yesterday – A Little Disappointed

Song: “Absolutely Right” by The Five Man Electrical Band

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Lots

I zonked out last night before I could write up a post. I’ve been trying to maintain some of the momentum that I had going while working with FA on her project, and I find I’m quite a bit more tired at the end of the day. I think that’s a good sign.

My Dr W appointment yesterday went alright. He’d been on vacation so I hadn’t seen him for about a month, and the last time we talked, I’d been having some difficulties with nightmares and my brain yelling at me. I was pleased to be able to tell him that things were much better and that I’d been a lot more active both physically and mentally. At our last appointment, we had discussed possibly increasing some of my medications; yesterday, we were talking about lowering some of them. This makes me happy for a few reasons: I don’t like taking the number of or quantity of drugs if I don’t have to, fewer pills means less worrying about whether I’ve taken them, and every time my prescriptions are reduced it feels like a win or that I’m making progress. We also talked about how busy I’ve been lately and he was very pleased that I’m out walking more, going out to stores more, and using my wrinkly old brain more.

As part of my attempt to keep busy, I’ve been designing things to print instead of just downloading models and printing them up the easy way. It keeps me thinking, and I’m getting more familiar with the various tools and parts of the design software. It also feels neat when I take something off the printer and it does exactly what I was hoping it would. Of course, when something turns out horribly or is the wrong size or whatever, it’s not quite as gratifying, but oh well.

I’ve been in touch with FA while she’s away. She was hoping to show off the project we worked on, but while we got everything working, the conference building’s wi-fi is not cooperating. It’s got one of those “portals” where you have to agree on terms and conditions, and it hadn’t occurred to me that that would be a problem. I should’ve thought of that – I’ve been in plenty of hotels that have the same portal – but I didn’t. Had I known, I would’ve installed the desktop version of Raspbian on the Pi so she could’ve VNCed to it and used a normal web browser instead of the text-based tools that are available. I’m pretty disappointed – when we got the thing working last Friday, I thought all of the obstacles were behind us. I hope FA isn’t too embarrassed or upset about the thing not working – and not working for such a silly reason, too…

J and I had delicious burritos last night for supper (Jeebus they’re good) and watched some more Brooklyn Nine-Nine. J also noticed that one of the fish (Fat Fish) isn’t looking so well. He’s getting up in age (almost three!) but I hope he’s got another year or two in him.

Stay safe.

Real Quick…

Song: “The Ballad Of The Blue Cyclone, Parts I and II” by Ray Stevens

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Lots

Didn’t sleep quite as well last night. I remember waking up from one nightmare (tent) and maybe three times because of the garage door and I thought I’d heard something.

I woke up when my alarm went off this morning (which is a change), and I hauled myself out of bed and started getting breakfast together. I checked my phone and noticed there was a cancellation notice from Dr C for my appointment today. That was fine by me – I didn’t really want to go today… and I feel guilty for thinking that.

Today went alright, but I have no idea where the time went. I finished designing and printing a camera stand and it took me a while to put it together, but aside from that and a lot of texting (DA was home sick today so we chatted a lot), I don’t remember if I got much of anything else done. I’m pretty sure I didn’t zone out on the couch or anything like that, but when J got home, I was shocked that it was that late.

The evening went well, J and I watched some more Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Tomorrow is my first appointment with Dr W in quite a while. I don’t really want to go but it will be good to tell him that I’m feeling better than I was last time I was there.

Stay safe.

Windy Out There Today

Song: “Dunrobin’s Gone” by Brave Belt

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Last night went quite well, I only remember waking up twice worrying, and the most I had to do was take a look at my phone for one of them. That was pretty great, and it helped clear the spider webs and sawdust out of my head a little quicker than normal.

There is a camera in the room with the printer that I use to keep an eye on the printer and make sure everything is okay. When I first set it up, I had just got the printer set up and was in a big hurry to start printing stuff, so the best thing I came up with was taping the camera to an old yogurt container and putting D-cell batteries in the container to keep it steady. A few months ago (it may even have still been in December), I tried to make a new mount but I had no idea what I was doing and it didn’t work out.

Last night, I started scrawling out some ideas for a generic mount that could pan and tilt. I finished the scrawling today and started printing it. The pieces that have come out so far (there are five in total) look pretty good and seem to fit together. I’m hoping to get the rest done tomorrow but we’ll see how it goes.

I spent a while today hacking up and drilling holes into a giant old Tupperware container so it would perfectly fit the food dehydrator that we picked up a couple of days ago. I put the customized lid on the dehydrator, and it was pretty near a perfect fit. I ran it for a few hours today and put in some saturated desiccant; when I looked at it two or three hours later, it was back to being a nice dark purple.

The weather wasn’t particularly great today. The sky vacillated between blue with sun, and grey with snow, but fortunately the snow didn’t stick around. I went outside, brought out some trash, and figured I’d go for a walk. The wind, though… the wind! I went back inside, swapped my light jacket for a heavier coat, and did two laps around the block before heading into the garage and puttering around in there for an hour or so. I found a couple of things I’d been looking for, which was fortunate because the garage is pretty messy right now. More good news, too – the piece of cardboard I put under the truck a few days ago has no signs of coolant (or any other liquid) leaking on it! I’ll still keep an eye on things, but that’s hopefully one less thing that will be bothering me when I go from sitting in it to driving it again.

I also spent some time sitting in the truck and found my anxiety increasing until I stopped arguing with myself and decided I was just going to sit there and not go drive around. I really want to get out and driving soon, though – the driveway and streets are pretty much clear of ice now, and with the coolant leak seemingly fixed, I have a lot less to worry about when I go to drive around.

Tomorrow I have a Dr C appointment. I’m not sure what’s going on in my head, but I don’t really want to go. The past ten days or so since my last appointment have been pretty busy, and I’m not sure if some of the stuff I’ve been doing that seemed to have helped are actually good or healthy things to do. Best way to find out is to go, I suppose.

Stay safe.

A Good Way To Start The Week

Song: “Skyliner” by Charlie Barnet

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

For the most part, the weekend went well. J and I both got some of our own stuff done, as well as some house stuff and some relaxing. The only blip was when we went out to a couple of stores on Sunday. I had asked her if she wanted to go out on a short trip and she had some stuff she wanted to do too. Things went pretty well until we got out of the car and walked into the first store. It wasn’t very crowded but it felt like there were people everywhere. I was standing in the hardware aisle, looking for screws, and aside from J and me, there was only one guy and his daughter (four or five years old?) there.

Even though it was only the four of us (and plenty of room), I couldn’t stop thinking that I was going to back into or knock over the little kid, who was being good and staying close to her dad. I was worried where she was, where he was, and where J was. J was trying to help me with the screws but I couldn’t concentrate and could feel myself winding into a knot. I grabbed a selection of stuff, threw it in the basket, and we got out of there. I’d been looking for a particular food dehydrator that was cheap and would do a good job of drying my 3D filaments, and we stopped briefly in the section while J scoped it out and found the only one they had in stock.

We got out to the car and I stayed there while J darted into and out of two other stores before we headed home. No panic attack but it felt like it was coming. I hate that feeling. But, like I said, that was the only problem all weekend, so I guess it’s not too bad.

J took today off, which was a very nice surprise. I like long weekends, and spending time with J – even if we’re doing our own things in the same room – is great. We talked, hung out, watched some more Brooklyn Nine-Nine, cleaned up the house a bit, marvelled at how quickly the snow is melting, cursed at scam phone calls… all kinds of things. It was wonderful that she was home!

Both Dr C and Dr W have prescribed mental activity, keeping busy, and doing things I enjoy, and after helping FA with her project, I want to try to maintain some of the momentum I had going. I was (and still am) surprised at how much I enjoyed working on that stuff and fiddling around with hobbies that I haven’t really touched in years. Scribbling ideas onto a frayed old notepad while passing the pencil back and forth with FA and hammering out the best way to do something was a fascinating and fun experience.

I am not a particularly creative person. I played the trumpet way back when, and while I was a crazy good sight reader (and I say this in all modesty), I couldn’t improvise worth beans. That same lack of creativity is part of the reason why just going and building something doesn’t come easily for me. I’ll just sit there, staring at stuff, and trying to figure out something amazing or fun to do; normally, nothing happens. FA’s project gave me something to think about and work toward, but I can’t go around to people asking if they have hobby stuff for me to play with – I need to come up with ideas on my own, then muster up the confidence and enthusiasm to do things. I’m a fan of Rube Goldberg machines… maybe I can try to come up with the least efficient way to do something.

Another thing I need to stop thinking about and start doing is regular exercise. The little scampers I do around the block and that extra set of stairs I did because I forgot something in the basement aren’t cutting it. I know that some of the medications I’m taking (or have taken in the past) have caused me to gain quite a bit of weight and I crave carbs and candy pretty much 24/7, but just because I’m heavier doesn’t mean I can’t (or shouldn’t) be up and moving around. It’s good for my heart, mood, blood pressure (which, despite my readings from a couple of days ago, I’m worried about (but more on that another time)), joints, blood sugar, posture… all kinds of things. I know that J and my family are worried about my weight and the associated things that come with it, and a good third to a half of my extended family is diabetic, so I really need to get moving. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, but it needs to be something that is repeatable and won’t bore me.

If you have any ideas or thoughts on the matter, please let me know! This is something I really, really want to start in on, and this time of year is perfect for me – if I can get into the habit of doing something now, I’ll be a lot more likely to continue on than if I start when it’s 28C and cloudy with mosquitoes in the morning. My mind is also in a place right now where I can get out of bed and do things instead of spending the day in bed or sitting on the couch in the basement – I should take advantage of this.

Well… I’ve just gone back and read this post and I kind of went off the rails. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations – you’ve made it to the summary: the weekend was good (except for about an hour that wasn’t), today was good, and it was even better because my sweetie had the day off!

I have a Dr C appointment on Wednesday and a Dr W appointment on Thursday, but other than that, my week should be pretty quiet. My plan so far is to keep busy, come up with something to occupy my mind, and figure out where/when/how to get this fat guy moving around a bit!

Stay safe.

IT’S ALIIIIVE!

Song: “Walter, Walter (Lead Me To The Altar)” by Gracie Fields

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

I didn’t sleep quite as well last night. No nightmares, but I woke up quite a few times and had to get up to look at things once. I woke up and talked to J when she was getting ready to head out to write her exam, but I fell back asleep and slept through my alarm. Then, somehow, I coherently texted with J a few times and finally ‘woke up’ half an hour later. So, as usual, I was running late. I did kind of a slow shuffling scramble and got myself all beautiful and got the various tools, drawings, and parts ready for when FA showed up.

Since I’ve been going around clean shaven (or ‘face nekkid’ if you want to use the appropriate industry parlance), I’ve been using my old razor. It’s seen a lot of whiskers over the years, and J and I decided I should get a new one, and she was nice enough to pick one up for me on her way home from work. I used it for the first time this morning and was gobsmacked to see how well and quickly it mowed through the stubble on my face. I got quite the case of razor burn from it but I think I just need to get used to it.

FA arrived around 10AM and we immediately got to work on her project. I did some work on it yesterday and got the power figured out and tested, and since she’s leaving tomorrow, today was mainly a ‘put it together and hope it works’ day. We ran into quite a few hiccups but managed to bludgeon our way through them, and by 6PM we had a machine that did what FA was hoping it would do with reasonable reliability. There was just a bit of software that needed to be knit together, and FA did that this evening after she got home.

The first time FA ran her program and the motor started turning and things started moving, I wanted to wave my arms in the air and hop around. I was very pleased to see things working, and it made me feel good that FA asked me to give her a hand with it and I was actually able to contribute. I’m a troubleshooter at heart, and being involved in a project that spans several different technical areas really got my brain working. God, I love that feeling of satisfaction! I’m pretty tired, but it’s a very good tired!

After FA left, J and I had supper, then did our own stuff for a while. We lost track of time so we didn’t watch any shows this evening, but we are both planning to sit down and watch a couple of shows or maybe a movie or two tomorrow.

As for weekend plans… aside from the aforementioned show/movie watching, I have none at this point. I’ve got to do some cleaning and put a bunch of stuff away, but there aren’t any places I have to be or any time restrictions.

I still can’t believe that thing works! What a great feeling!

Stay safe.

Slow But Productive

Song: “Waltzing Matilda” by The Irish Rovers

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Pack

I slept like a log last night. I remember waking up twice, which I think is some kind of personal record for me. I was worried that the garage door was open and the front door was unlocked; fortunately, a quick glance at my phone was enough to let me get back to sleep.

As expected, it took me quite a while to get up the steam to stumble out of bed and start in on my day. I think I lost around 45 minutes because I made the mistake of sitting on the couch and zoning out for a while, but after a while of observing some very odd hallucinations when I was in that weird halfway zone between sleep and being awake. In one of them, I was standing in a chocolate shop in town. Everything looked normal except for a giant set of chocolate alphabet blocks that sat on the top shelf and spelled, “NOW SERVING CORVIDS”.

After I came back to the real world a few times, I got myself together and started doing some puttering. Working on FA’s project helped pass the time, and I’ve knocked a few things off of my list, so that’s good.

J stopped by the store on the way home and picked me up a new razor (thanks sweetie!). Since I’ve been going without my beard (which still doesn’t feel right), I’ve been using my trusty old razor that I got for Christmas about two decades ago. It still technically “works” but doesn’t hold a charge or spin the motors as fast as it used to. I don’t like replacing things when they still work, but the old 5841 has done its day and seen quite a few places in North America.

Whooo… sorry to be ‘that guy’, but this guy needs to sign out and get to bed. Tough to keep my eyes open. I hope I have another good sleep tonight! And I hope yours is too!

Tomorrow will be similar to today, but my plan is have all of my stuff done and tested so I’m not worrying or holding FA back when she comes over on Friday!

Stay safe.

It Was A Good Day!

Song: N/A

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

My plan to go to bed earlier last night worked alright. It took me a while to get to sleep and I still moved pretty slowly in the morning, but I don’t remember any nightmares. I woke up four or five times, one of which was because I was worried that my soldering iron was plugged in and turned on. Since that’s something I don’t usually check during my evening circuit of the house (and I hope it stays that way), I ended up needing to get up to take a look. I tried to be stealthy but I accidentally woke J up, who turned, squinted at me for a moment, and said, “HURGHFLMRGHH,” before promptly turning back around and snoring lightly.

Today was a very brain-intensive but rewarding day. FA arrived at about 10AM with a box and a backpack full of parts and tools. We started in on her project shortly after she arrived and made a LOT of progress over the next ten and a half hours (yes, we did stop to eat). We ran into quite a few speed bumps along the way, but in every case (so far) we figured out a way forward. I think I can say with some certainty that every component of the device mostly works. Now, we just have to get them all knit together.

I have some programming and power supply work to do, while FA is going to whip up a new chassis design and has to talk with the web hosting folks. Now that I think about it, she wrote down a detailed list of what we still needed to do; I probably should’ve asked her for a picture of it. The plan at this point is to get together again on Friday morning. With luck, everything will go together and just… work. If not, we have quite a bit of time to figure out what’s going wrong and solve the problem.

I have always enjoyed making things, and this project has been a really great experience. That sounds odd, like I’m talking about a movie I just saw, but I can’t think of a better way to put it. There’s something gratifying about taking an idea and turning it into something real that accomplishes or does something. Whether it’s something that makes life easier or something weird, or something that exists just for the heck of it, it makes me feel good when I can look at something and know that I built this or got that working. That sort of thing. This project has been a lot of fun, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed batting ideas around with FA, even moreso during those brief times when I can keep up with her.

One bit of a blotch on the day, though, was my Dr H appointment. Turns out the time on the calendar was wrong and I got to the clinic two hours after I was supposed to be there. They weren’t able to fit me in, and I’m now booked in for the end of April. Not a huge deal but I don’t like it when things like that don’t work out.

On the upside, my appointment taking approximately zero minutes meant that FA and I could get back to work sooner. On the downside, it cut FA’s trip to the hardware store short (sorry about that!). We got back to the house and back to working on things.

When J got home from work, the three of us decided we’d order out for pizza and we kept going until it arrived. We took a break and shot the breeze over supper, then got back to work while J studied for her exam. I’m not sure how FA was feeling, but after supper the ideas and things I was thinking about were starting to come to me a little slower than they had earlier in the day.

At around 8:30PM, FA packed up her backpack and box, we said goodbye, and she headed home. I went and sat on the couch and J and I talked for a while. No TV this evening – J was reading a book and I was arguing with a supposedly critical update for my computer that wouldn’t install, and time got away from us.

Wait a second… there was a burrito lunch in there somewhere, too! I just can’t quite remember exactly where it fit during the day. It was an amazing burrito, though!

So yes, today was a good day. Hanging out with a great friend, doing neat stuff with electronics and motors and printing and measuring and programming and all kinds of neat stuff, and having a delightful burrito lunch and wonderful pizza dinner… it was a good day.

Thanks to J and DM for being patient with FA and me as we leave boxes of parts scattered around and blabber on about the stuff we’re working on – it’s much appreciated! 🙂

I suspect I will sleep pretty well tonight and will be moving and thinking pretty slowly for a while after I haul myself out of bed tomorrow. I don’t have any appointments or places I have to be, so I will have plenty of time to play around with some of the project stuff. I think things are in good shape.

Stay safe.