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Times change

I finally let my paid LJ account lapse. Given how seldom I've posted in recent times, it didn't seem necessary to pay for all the features any more.

I'm still here reading every day, but I haven't blathered much. I'm basically working two jobs now, plus continuing to work on my third novel--close to 200,000 words and counting.

Retiring from my last job and starting my own business was one of life's surprising benefits. (And yes, former co-workers, despite what you might have been told by some less than trustworthy sources, I did retire. Catch me sometime if you want me to prove it to you.)

Where are Tommy & Dick when you need them?

The Smothers Brothers came back from their summer break with a song called "We're Still Here." I haven't had much luck finding a clip of it, but the sentiment's here anyway. Yep, I'm still here.

I'm doing so much other writing that I've let LJ pretty much lapse, even though I read my friends' page every day. Besides being an editor and writer of technical articles, running a publishing company and running four forums, I'm still working on my third novel. My goal is to finish that by the end of the year. Got over 180K words on it and it's only about 2/3 done. Work, work, work.

Life is good here, if anyone's still interested. We're getting the house organized and decluttered. Got plans for some not-too-expensive upgrades inside. Talked with several people about finally doing away with the concrete in the front yard and got estimates. Talking about taking only the second vacation in all our married lives that will be just the two of us and NOT visiting relatives. I know, it's a lot of talk and no action, but up till this year it was pretty much no talk as well. :)

And I'm getting to babysit my granddaughter on a regular basis. This is fun for me but she's still not sure about it and will tell me so in the most emphatic way a baby can. There are signs she's getting used to me, but she'd still much rather be with her mommies. That's what babies do. What's interesting is that I have very sensitive ears, to the point where I have to wear earplugs to most places where the noise level doesn't bother anyone else (like the grocery store) but her crying doesn't hurt my ears at all. I don't know why this is but I'm not complaining.

The weather here in LaLaLand is ghastly hot. I do not handle heat well. Fortunately, in a house that was built long before air conditioning became the norm for residences, there are plenty of ways to beat the heat. I don't say it's cool in here, but it's way cooler than the outside, and with fans going in most rooms it's not bad at all. Most of my life has been spent in dwellings that weren't air conditioned, so I've got plenty of experience with this kind of thing. Our neighbor's house is nearly as old and he had someone install what we call the "ghetto a/c" that's sitting somewhat un-level on a chunk of concrete and attached to his house with what looks like duct tape and strips cut out of flashing. It's a noisy SOB, as you might expect, and my budding career as a podcast actor has to be worked around that death rattle from outside.

Oh, and speaking of which, I do need to throw in a plug for my professional acting debut. http://pendantaudio.tumblr.com/image/83717697730 It's available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. I'm Edwin's Mother. I am good and the show is better. :)

And now... back to writing.

It's a slow news day

I'm really going to try to write more often, but who knows how that will go.

I cut down my friends list today so I can better keep up. Nothing personal involved in the de-listing process.

Our granddaughter is 12 weeks old already. I am boggled by this. I am also in full-blown granny mode worrying that she's warm enough. I bet my kids thought I'd worn that one out on them. Nope. Time to dig out all the fabric store coupons and make some baby bags and overalls. There is a new super duper whizbang JoAnn store that just opened up not far from here, so I don't have to drive across the mountains to buy fabric any more.

When my granddaughter turns 18 I will be 80. That seemed impossibly old when I was 18 and my grandfather was 80, but now it doesn't seem so very far away and since I take better care of myself than my parents did, I'm pretty sure I'll make the date where they didn't.

I recently got a big laugh out of the lady who cuts my hair when I asked her if she could put in blue highlights. Highlights, sure. Blue, no. I guess I am going to have to hit up Cinema Secrets for some semipermanent blue coloring and go it alone. I mean, I'm certainly old enough to be a blue-haired lady now.

We got rid of our last CRT TV two weeks ago, the little one that survived the Northridge earthquake because the cable caught it just before it went face down on the floor. Put it out by the curb and the scavengers got it. There are people who troll the neighborhoods right before the trash truck is due to trundle through, and they'll pick up pretty much anything. The monitor we put out at the same time as the TV took another day to disappear.

Bought two new DVD players last week. It was supposed to be one new DVD player, but I foolishly assumed that searching for "blu ray player" on Amazon would turn up only, duh, Blu-Ray players, so I clicked something I shouldn't have. And then found that it would cost about half the price of the unit to ship it back, so I've got that one (a plain old DVD player) in the office and the newly arrived Blu-Ray player in the bedroom. The manual made the Blu-Ray player look more complicated than the space shuttle, but it actually isn't. And via some kind of magic, when you put a disk in, it turns on the TV and switches the input for you. Unfortunately, when you turn off the Blu-Ray player it does not switch the input on the TV back and turn it off, but I suppose you can't have everything.

We don't have many Blu-Ray disks, and in flipping through our DVD collection I didn't see very many that I'd consider replacing.

And speaking of disks, I'm watching "Spartacus: War of the Damned" via Netflix disk and have been very annoyed that that arrogant prick Julius Caesar can't be killed off.

I've now been on Weight Watchers for over a year and most of the clothes in my dresser are the wrong size. I am not complaining about this. I actually got a pair of size 16 Diva jeans from Old Navy at the thrift store a couple weeks ago and they fit. A size 16 is not the same now as it was when I wore that size in high school, but I'm dancing around just the same. Walking up to the thrift store and browsing around is also good exercise. I'm not buying new clothes till my sizes quit changing, with the occasional exception like the cowl neck shirt from LL Bean and the reversible damask jacket from TravelSmith that was on super ultimate closeout and which served as a good reward for losing 25 pounds a couple months ago. I don't quite fit into the lightweight silk-linen blazer I got from WinterSilks as a reward for losing 30 pounds, but by the time it's warm enough to wear it, I will.

And in other important news of the day

My new granddaughter Evelyn Jane. Who is, of course, the most amazing grandchild EVER born. :) One week old today.

Now all she needs is some first cousins with whom to share the honor!


Calling Dr. Casey...

Many years ago there was a show called Ben Casey (about a cranky neurosurgeon, if anyone cares) that started off with the phrase "Man, woman, birth, death, infinity." I've been thinking about that a lot recently.

Realized I haven't posted much on LJ in quite a while. Mostly it's due to lack of time. I'm writing regularly for the 7Tutorials web site, and working on my third novel, and... well, life. So let me bring things more or less up to date.

Man: My son got a new job. It's a much better work environment than his last job. Work environment can make up for a lot in a job, or it can make an otherwise good job miserable (as I can personally attest). My husband's company moved its office clear across the LA megalopolis, which meant a LOT of extra work for his department, but unlike many of his previous employers, this one handed out both tangible and intangible rewards for the work. I'm so happy he's not working for penny-ante big-ego small-budget outfits any more.

Woman: Besides what I mentioned above, as I talked about in previous posts I joined Weight Watchers last October. The American Diabetes Association had a pilot program that offered people three free months and after looking at the ghastly photos of me from our 40th anniversary/wedding reception party late in September I jumped at the opportunity. I've lost weight slowly but steadily, feel 100% better and am now using a bare fraction of the insulin I used to use. In fact, my doctor just told me that my blood sugar is under "tight control" and I will probably be able to stop using the long-lasting insulin completely before the end of the year. I'm already using so little of it that I'm throwing out nearly half a bottle every month (you have to discard the bottle after 30 days). Last September I was a tight squeeze in a size 24. Today I'm taking in the waist of another pair of size 18 jeans.

Birth: Our daughter and her wife are expecting their first child in August. I've given her the baby clothes that I saved for all these years. There's not a lot of them, just special outfits like her brother's first overalls, the onesie she came home from the hospital in, several small sleeping bags and assorted t-shirts. There's still a bag of cloth diapers out in the garage, which I'm sure we'll unearth one of these days. The kidlet will have diaper service, so these can be used for shoulder pads. I'm still sorting out toys from days gone by. I renovated the Playskool giraffe that both kids used, and will be rebuilding a little house with furniture and animals that was one of a pair I made for Christmas presents one year. I will need to replace all the plastic needlepoint canvas inside it. Apparently that stuff just falls apart over time. Who knew? I'm also working on a baby quilt that will have blocks in my own design, which somehow or other I never got around to actually sewing for all these years since I created it during my active quilting days. Oh, and hosting a baby shower, about which I know pretty much zero.

Death: We lost our beloved cat Tybalt at the end of April. He was 19 years old and had been in declining health for quite some time. We put off the inevitable for a long time, too, but finally we had to take him on his final journey. The vet treated him with kindness and respect and Tybalt died in my arms, knowing that he was loved. I still hear his claws clicking in the hallway from time to time and once in a while I'll see him on his favorite spot on the couch, late at night. He came with us to this house. The other two cats are still adjusting to not having Tyb around, I think. They were both very much bonded to him and miss him a lot.

Infinity: Learning more about my ancestors. Delighting in my descendants. What more can be said about the circle of life?

Sing, sing a song...

Roy Zimmerman is one of my all-time favorite artists. He's the Tom Lehrer of this age, and if you haven't heard him, go directly to YouTube and check him out.

Why bring this up now? Because I just saw his concert schedule and he is going to be playing at Randolph College. My dad taught there, in its previous incarnation, and the concert is being held in the building his office was in.

If I could beam there, I'd do it.


More on Weight Watchers

OK, so it's been about a month now.

I'm using half the insulin I used to use. My blood sugar numbers are closer to normal than they've been in years. I've been losing weight slowly but steadily.

I have more energy. I'm sleeping better. I've found that some of the things I used to eat have no appeal whatsoever any more. Made it through Halloween without eating one single piece of candy. Of course, deliberately choosing candy that didn't appeal to me much helped. :)

The WW app for my phone needs some work (its database is noticeably more limited than the one on the web site, for one thing) but it's really helped me make better choices when we eat out. I love the bar code scanner, but the limited database means not everything I scan comes up with a Points Plus value. Oh well, the calculator works fine. Just wish more restaurants would post full nutrition guides (I'm looking at YOU, Souplantation).

I wasn't planning to continue when my three free months were up--until I discovered how much less the online-only WW costs. Now I'm planning to stick with it. I have a goal weight in mind that isn't what the charts say I should aim for, but for me it would feel right (and I'd need a new wardrobe, which I find very appealing). First, though, I need to reach my 5%-reduction goal, which if all goes well should be this week.

I never even considered WW before, and I'm old enough to remember when they started. It was primarily because of the cost of the meetings, but also, the system they used originally wasn't very appealing. This Points Plus system is ridiculously easy. And it's not a "diet." I can eat anything I want, as long as I make it a portion size that fits into my Points Plus budget for the day. They even make allowances by giving you extra Points Plus to be used throughout the week so you can still make your weekly goal even if you go over for any individual day.

So, thank you ADA for getting me started, and thank you WW for surprising the living daylights out of me with how well this all works.

Spam prevention

I've just made all posts before the beginning of this year friends-only. I'm tired of cleaning up spam.

the more things change

I got an email from the American Diabetes Association asking for volunteers for a new program for diabetics from Weight Watchers. The first 300 responding would get three free months on the program, with access to the WW e-tools web site. I dithered about it for a couple of days and then decided to sign up, since there's a WW office in the shopping center where one of our regular grocery stores is.

The people there are very nice and I learned some interesting things at the first meeting, but it looks like they don't really know what to do with me, and there doesn't seem to be a separate list of foods and Points for diabetics, at least as far as I can discover. But then again, I have only been to one meeting. Maybe now that my name is in the system they'll get new materials for me.

The Points Plus business isn't difficult to use or figure out, although I was dismayed to find that my accustomed high-protein breakfast, which usually includes eggs, is not really what they'd like me to be eating. I have tried a couple of their suggestions (Greek yogurt with mixed berries, and whole wheat English muffins with ricotta and banana) and while those are very tasty, I'm hungry again in what seems like no time. And I'm not at all sure the yogurt-and-berries is diabetic friendly in the long run.

I suspect this week's weight is going to be lower than expected, but I can't take credit for that. When you have vertigo and don't really feel like eating for several days (and some of what you eat comes back up again) losing weight is simple. It is not, however, a weight loss plan I can recommend to anyone.

Comments closed due to idiot spammers.

News of the world

I see several of my former co-workers pretty regularly (we are, after all, friends) and thus keep up with what's going on at the old place. Recent news has been particularly interesting.

One person whose job was their whole entire life now has no more job, and extreme doubts have been expressed by all and sundry as to whether this person can now get a life.

One person who brown-nosed into a cushy position got demoted and now has to work a regular shift like everyone else, and is not taking kindly to it.

One person who was at the bottom of the ladder at the old workplace is now much closer to the top at another location thanks to the intelligence and hard work that were not recognized at the old place.

A retirement party was held which was attended by many in the spirit of "don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out."

Everyone seems cheerful, which is not something that could often be said in years past. Things are, apparently, looking up.