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.

Two Years!

Song: “Ocean Man” by Ween

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

I just noticed that two years ago today I wrote the first post on this blog. I had been out of the hospital for two days after spending five weeks in the psych ward (my second visit). I wanted to share my experiences, let other people know that the views and treatments of mental health have changed for the better over the last while, and hopefully be a net positive voice (however tiny). I have learned so much in these two years, and I genuinely think I’m a better person because of it.

None of this – the blog, the experiences, the knowledge – would have happened without the love and support of so many people. I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but there are so many people who have done things that kept me going, even on my worst days. Everything from spending hours, days, weeks, months, years under the care of competent professionals who genuinely care about their patients, to getting a happy face emoji in a text at the right time… it has all contributed to my recovery and it is impossible for me to properly express how incredibly grateful I am.

The best I can do is say thank you, everyone. I hope you know who you are and how much your time and support mean to me. I don’t understand why some of you have stuck around, but you have given me something so valuable by being who you are and doing what you do.

Anyway… I hadn’t planned to write anything about a blogiversary. I stumbled across it by accident while looking for a particular image.

So, the big thing that’s going on in my head is that – for whatever reason – I can meditate again. Aside from chasing some ghosts, I can sit in a quiet room and not need to worry about what my brain is going to start doing. This is a very good thing, because while the mindfulness and meditation exercises aren’t as big a part of my day as they used to be, not being able to do them when I’m feeling a little rough makes things difficult.

Combine the above with no nightmares and I’m pretty happy with how things are going. Yes, I’ve been here before, and yes, it sucked that I had to work and wait to get back to this point, but recovery is not a straight line. Here’s a picture that I’ve posted a couple of times. It’s from one of my first appointments from Dr C, but it’s still just as relevant today:

Recovery GraphRecovery has its ups and downs; the goal is to have the underlying trend be positive.

I had an appointment with Dr C today. It went reasonably well. I asked her what she thought about those water detectors I’ve been thinking about and we spent quite a while thinking through that. As is often the case, I didn’t leave with a firm answer, but more of a guide to use when thinking about it. I think that one or maybe two standalone (not networked) detectors is a good idea. Having them scattered around the house and setting up a central point to monitor them all is not a good idea. They’re not essential and I shouldn’t treat them that way.

I think.

J surprised me by picking me up from my appointment, which was very nice of her. We went home, had a good chat, and had some supper before she went off to study and I went to go puttering around. We watched another iZombie this evening, it was pretty good.

FA is coming over tomorrow morning so we can work on her project. After the great progress we made last week, I am pretty confident that we will get it done or almost done tomorrow. She still has Friday available in the event that we don’t finish things up tomorrow. I am looking forward to hanging out with FA, talking, and working around problems that pop up. We make a pretty great team and between us I think we can figure almost anything out!

I also have a Dr H appointment tomorrow afternoon. With luck, it won’t cause too much disruption with the work FA and I are doing.

Assuming I don’t sleep through my alarm again, I plan to get up a little earlier than usual tomorrow. So, I’m heading to bed a little earlier, too. Tomorrow’s going to be a good day!

Stay safe.

Enormulous Progress!

Song: “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Several

***It seems I started this post last night but never finished or posted it. I’ll finish it up now***

I had another nightmare-free sleep last night. I woke up four(?) times; I remember worrying about the garage door and whether the front door was locked. I only remember having to get out of bed once for the garage door, though.

I slept through my alarm again this morning. It appears I didn’t even hit snooze, I just snored my way right through it. That’s both good and bad. Good, because I don’t often get as much sleep as I should be. Bad, because I had stuff to do and it’s a little alarming that I slept through two whole runs of a loud Undertones song playing 30cm from my head…

When I wake up in the morning it usually takes a while before I get to the point where I realize I’m awake and I’m coherent to do something about it. When I looked at the clock and saw the time, I tried to figure out what was going on. Once I realized that I’d slept in almost two hours, I got a helpful little jolt of adrenaline that got me up and on my feet.

I dashed/shuffled/wandered around the house, tidying things up and making myself pretty before FA showed up. She and I have been friends for 25 years (every time I think of that I can’t believe it’s been that long) and I’m pretty sure that she wouldn’t be put off by the odd dirty dish or old flyers on the couch, but I like to use anyone visiting as a reason to whip things into shape a bit.

FA got here around noon and we had lunch – she stopped at the burrito shop like usual but got me a burrito with a different filling (black beans and bacon) and it was amazing. Right up there with the refried bean filling. We talked about all kinds of stuff, including how good the burritos were today.

Once the burritos were gone, we started working on her project. Out came the paper and pencils, and the sketching, thinking, and idea-ing began. I think both of us were firing on all cylinders because in four hours we’d worked through or touched on pretty much every aspect of the design. By the time FA had to head out, things had gone from a kind of nebulous cluster of ideas to nicely defined plans. There’s still a lot of stuff to work out (such as the implementation of some of the aforementioned plans), but it’ll be a lot easier to make progress now that we have a good idea of what the end point will look like.

I had a really good time with FA today. My brain

[This is where I got to last night. Moving on…]

is pretty tired out but it’s that good kind of tired you get after having a good time with people you like. FA is sometimes hard to keep up with (particularly when having a debate with her) but she knows so much stuff and has so many ideas that aside from the friend aspect, it’s always interesting to talk with her. Plus, there is that nice happy feeling of accomplishment from figuring so many things out and having a solid way forward. It was a great visit and I consider myself very fortunate to have a friend like FA!

J got home just as FA was heading out. The three of us had a quick chat and then FA was on her way. J and I had a good chat about our days and got some supper put together. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – everything is better when she’s around!

After supper, J headed off to do some studying and I played some STO; we reconvened a while later and watched another episode of iZombie. Just when Liv and Major looked like they were figuring things out, they both ruined it again. Here’s how I hope the next episode plays out:

MAJOR: I know I had another girlfriend two days ago and I know she’s still texting me pictures of herself in frilly under-things, but you’re the one for me, babe. I promise.

LIV: I’m a zombie. You’re the show’s eye candy, and despite the fact we were engaged and I love you more than anything in the world, I would still be dating that dude with the cool accent if I hadn’t gotten him killed.

MAJOR: I know you’ve been going through my phone while I’m sleeping. That is still not cool, but as long as you don’t ask me about any of my other secrets, I think we can make this work.

LIV: You have other secrets? What kind of other secrets? How could you have more secrets? You’re supposed to tell me everything!

MAJOR: [sighs] Okay, fine. I think my girlfriend – you know, the one I was still dating two days ago and is still sending me pictures? That one. Anyway, I think she might be the same person as your new roommate. [laughs uncomfortably] Boy, Seattle sure is small, isn’t it?

LIV: [incensed] What? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? YOU ARE MY EYE CANDY! TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRT SLOWLY!

MAJOR: Fine, but–

CAMERA pulls back just in time to realize that the two of them have been arguing in the middle of the I-5, cars swerving to avoid them by millimetres. Suddenly, both LIV and MAJOR to get run down by the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. MAJOR is splattered all over the Wienermobile like ketchup. One of LIV’s ridiculous shoe heels punctures a fibreglass panel on the Wienermobile and she is stuck for 40km before falling loose far outside Seattle city limits. With no cellular reception, she is forced to walk back to town but gets there far too late to turn MAJOR into a zombie and save him. LIV eats MAJOR’s brain and has visions that make her finally realize that he is far, far less than a set of nice pecs. GILDA/RITA moves in with RAVI, PEYTON moves back in with LIV, and the next morning everyone is back to work for a normal day.

So that’s how I’m hoping it’s going to play out. We’ll see. Have a good weekend, everybody!

Stay safe.

Real Quick

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Real quick post tonight. Great time for bullet points!

  • No nightmares again!
  • It was another gorgeous day out. Lots more melting, and the little spruce tree in the front yard is peeking out of the snow now. I took another walk and spent some time outside.
  • Got some more stuff done around the house, did some laundry, etc.
  • More printing, more electronics, more writing, more thinking.
  • BP was 121/77 today, whoo!
  • All in all, a pretty good day!

FA is coming over tomorrow, I’m really looking forward to hanging out with her and chatting/brainstorming/gaming/whatever!

Stay safe.

Happy Spring 2019!

Song: “My Old Man’s A Dustman” by The Irish Rovers

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

Just a quick post tonight – it’s already pretty late.

No nightmares again last night, whoo! I woke up a few times but didn’t have to get out of bed for any of them so overall I think I slept pretty well. It didn’t take me forever to get going this morning, and once I was up and moving I was good for the rest of the day.

It was beautiful outside again today. Lots of melting snow out there, and the water along with blocked drains makes for some pretty big puddles. I went for a walk and took off my jacket halfway just so I could feel the sun on my skin. You know, vitamin D or whatever.

Dr H has asked me to take my blood pressure once in a while to make sure that it’s still under control. I haven’t remembered to do it for a few, uh… months, but I have an appointment with her next week so I figured I should probably get some numbers. I sat down at the machine, pressed the button, and waited for it to try and squeeze my arm off. I opened my eyes and looked at the display when I heard and felt the cuff hiss, and saw this:

BP reading

I am what the medical textbooks call a ‘prime physical specimen’.

I’m going to check it again tomorrow and see if it’s still good, but I’m sure it’s going to be fine… just fine.

Ghosts were a bit of a problem today but I think I was still quite productive. I’m still thinking about that water detector thing. Who wouldn’t want something that told them if there was water somewhere water shouldn’t be? I took a quick look at Amazon and there are over 9000 results for “water detector”, so somebody must be buying them. More thought required.

J and I watched another iZombie this evening. I’m less irritated and much more confused with Liv and Major’s relationship now. After the show was over, J and I spent the next hour talking about all kinds of stuff, from why we like some of our favourite books, to the history of gender reassignment surgery. We talk about all kinds of stuff.

With luck, I will have another nightmare-free sleep tonight and another productive day tomorrow. FA is still planning to come over on Friday and I’m really looking forward to that!

Oh, and it’s the first day of spring! Gross dirty slush days are ahead, and after that comes the green stuff!

Stay safe.

No Nightmares, Whoo!

Song: “I’m Running After You” by Major Hoople’s Boarding House

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 0

Ghosts: Lots

So I forgot to take my nighttime medication until around 11:30 last night. I figured that I’d be up for a couple of hours and then I’d head to bed when I started to feel them kicking in. No problem. It seems I crashed pretty quick. I don’t remember feeling tired. I don’t even remember when I woke up, but I was still sitting at the table, holding my head in my hands.

One of the weird things about the combination of medications I take at night (quetiapine, zopiclone, and prazosin) is that some nights I don’t notice it at all, while other nights it not only makes me tired, it also drains the strength right out of me. Some nights it’s so profound that I have to keep switching arms to brush my teeth because I can’t hold my toothbrush up. It’s usually not a problem because I should be asleep when it happens, but hoo boy I hope I don’t have to change a tire or move patio blocks in the middle of the night.

Regardless of how wet noodle-y my arms were last night, one great thing stands out – no nightmares! They seem to come in little clumps, but this last ‘clump’ was too long. Waking up from the same thing every night for the last two plus weeks was not fun in the least. Some of the other stuff is still bothering me (meditating and mindfulness exercises are out of the question for now), but it’s amazing how much better I feel in the morning when I haven’t woken up in the middle of the night, all freaked out and on the verge of panic. I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that I don’t have another nightmare for a long time – that would be fantastic!

I remember waking up twice because I was worried about stuff, but both times I was able to look at my phone and go back to sleep pretty quickly. So despite falling asleep at the dining room table and stumbling into bed at whenever o’clock, I woke up feeling more with it than I have in quite a while. I didn’t go back to bed, I didn’t zone out on the couch, and I was fairly productive today.

Ghosts were more of a problem today than yesterday but I had an idea that might help a couple of things. One of the big things I worry about is water leaking from somewhere – the hot water heater is a big problem for me but I’m concerned about everything from the hose to the washing machine to the toilet tank overflowing. I think I’m going to make some little battery-powered water detectors that’ll beep or something. I could put one at the big drain in the basement which would cover the whole house, or I could put a couple of them at known trouble spots. That might help, and it would be another project for my brain to think about. My only worry is that… no, wait – I have two. My two worries are that having a little herd of these things around the house might be kind of silly, and that it may end up becoming yet another layer of things for me to obsess about. How will I know they’re working? How often should I change the batteries… that sort of thing.

A better way would be to poll the detectors at specific intervals, but that introduces some kind of wireless communication, which takes more power and is more expensive… and then would I worry that the central device that’s doing the polling is working properly? I could set up two of them and have them poll each other, but now this whole thing is starting to resemble stuff that I set up at work, and going back to those kind of lengths is probably not a smart thing for me to do. Maybe I’ll ask Dr C about it at my next appointment.

Anyway, I spent more time chasing ghosts today than yesterday but I still made progress on several things. Toothbrush holder revision – check. Quilting diamond design and test print – check. Looking into how to finish PETG – check. Converting data types and playing with variables in Python – check. Writing about some of the things that make water so special – check. Investigating the dishwasher leak issue – check. Ordering more filament – check. Tidying the kitchen – check!

I was pretty productive today. I even fit in some more STO and J and I watched another episode of iZombie. I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be a sleep that’s nightmare-free, and another day of making progress on several things.

I hope you all have a refreshing, nightmare-free sleep too!

Stay safe.

Craaaaaaaaaaaaap…

Song: “Banana Splits” by The Dickies

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 1

Ghosts: Pack

So… it’s 11:30PM and I just remembered to take my nighttime medication. Looks like I’ll be up for a while. Blargh.

Aside from a single nightmare last night (life jackets) and waking up three or four times worrying about the fridge being open and whether the garage door was closed, I didn’t sleep too badly. It took me a while to get going this morning but that’s pretty normal, unfortunately.

I worked on quite a few things today. I redesigned a bathroom accessory that J’s aunt asked if I could make for her and did a test print; it turned out much better than yesterday’s attempt. Still needs a bit of work but that’s okay. I also did some writing and worked on that project of FA’s.

I’m not sure what was different today but I didn’t have as many problems with ghosts as I do some days. I kept music playing but today I wore headphones instead of playing it over the speakers. The headphones have a switch that turns up the volume and puts in some white noise, so it covers up some sounds. I’ve wondered about getting a pair of fancy noise-cancelling headphones, but they’re pretty expensive and I don’t know if I want to drop that much money on something I can’t try first.

J got home early today so we could go to the medical lab and get some routine bloodwork done together. It was like a date, just with a few more people in white coats than the last time. We got there at the perfect time – the lab was almost empty – and we were in and out in about 15 minutes. While J was on her way home to pick me up, I went outside and puttered around in the garage for a bit. I need to put some paper or cardboard under the truck, though, because I’m worried that it may still be leaking coolant.

Speaking of the truck, I got a recall notice in the mail today. It had this picture in it:

Airbag Recall ImageSeems my friend has one of those airbags that will fire shrapnel into my face and potentially kill me should I get into an accident. Fortunately, I’m not doing a lot of driving nowadays, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll give the dealership a call and see how much of a backlog they’ve got.

This evening was pretty quiet. J worked on her class assignments and I played some STO. We watched an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine this evening, it was pretty good. Oh, and I did some troubleshooting on that dishwasher leak and I think I know where it’s coming from. I will see if I can replicate my findings tomorrow and if it’s what I think it is, it should be pretty easy to fix.

Tomorrow will hopefully be similar to today. I don’t have any appointments scheduled, so I’d like to make some more progress on things. You know that feeling you get when it’s near the end of the day and you can look back and you’re satisfied with what you’ve accomplished? That’s what I’m hoping to feel tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Now, I’ve just got to keep myself occupied until everything kicks in and I’m ready to go to sleep…

Stay safe.

Quick Post, Quick Weekend

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 2

Ghosts: Several

***My hosting provider did a hardware upgrade this weekend. Everything looks good except the post I did yesterday is missing. Here it is again***

FA came over this past Friday afternoon and we had burritos and worked on her project again. I had a good time and enjoyed puttering around with things and chatting with her. I think I said this in an earlier post, but I think we work well together.

This weekend went by very quickly. I kept busy for quite a lot of it and had some good results in several areas. Some, however, weren’t quite as good:

Failed 3D print

Hey, they can’t all be perfect…

With J home, it’s so much easier for me to concentrate on things – I can actually get in the groove and work on something for more than 15 minutes at a time. I should mention that that is only one of around two billion reasons it’s nice when she’s home.

At my appointment with Dr C last week, she mentioned a show she’d seen that she thought I might be interested in – a documentary called Behind The Curve. J and I watched it and it was both fascinating and kind of frustrating. I met a flat-earther once while I was in the hospital and we had a very interesting chat that was very similar to some of the things we saw in the documentary.

No appointments this week so I hope to get a lot of things accomplished. House stuff, printing stuff, sewing stuff, project stuff… all kinds of things. FA may be coming over again on Friday, too!

Stay safe.