Sunday, May 01, 2016

Pergola Raising!

Saturday was the Pergola Raising Party at Marsha and Wendy's. This was a whole lotta fun, basically a day of jointly solving a puzzle and at the end, a nice enhancement for parties! There were about half-a-dozen neighborhood families at work, and it was a fun chance to hang out with something to work on other than just parting. I got thinking about that when Sunday I met someone at the Olympic Sculpture Garden. I had been feeling that I should put myself out there and date or something, it's a normal thing to do and Tinder makes is absurdly easy to meet someone. And the person was nice enough. But I felt zero connection because her interests, beyond work, were amusement and relaxation - she proposed kayaking or something at Alki, which is a nice normal thing to do, and for which I have zero interest. I want to spend my weekends accomplishing something in addition to amusing myself - thus I be amused. Kris was like that, quite a lot, and I never really talked it over with her. I appreciate that there are some, maybe most, people for home the use of their free time is chiefly to amuse and to divert, but I am bored by that, and would much rather be creative in some way. And at this point I can be honest about it, and not waste anyone's time trying to learn to enjoy being on the water or whatever. That's just the way it is. I like my Sunday work with books at the VA and then going to Pegasus bookstore and chatting, and that's both fine and my choice. This I learned from the pleasure of pergola raising!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Focus For Fun And Profit

If I wrote only about my successes I would have fun, but my other things are also important. I have a lot of interests and a lot of problem prioritizing it. I may justly be criticized for a lack of focus in general. When I focus on a particular subject or project, I am extraordinarily productive and usually successful, but I have never applied that as a general strategy to life - I have no idea how. Often this is just an amusing thing, and if it means my lifestyle is more humble than that of many of my peers, well, at least it's the natural outcome of decisions I have made. A lot of their toys of success are illusion anyway. However my lack of focus has on occasion cost me a lot of money unnecessarily. There was the plane ticket incident, and now there is the Appeal Billing incident. After the first Appeal that I won, it took about a year to get the check because The Other Side simply forgot to mail it - or something. So I got it into my head that I had quite a while to submit my billing. Wrong-o! The rules are clear about having 30 days to apply, and I clean missed it. Partly that was because I'm busy doing other stuff but mostly it's simply because I failed to focus on the task at hand. I submitted the bill anyway, with a clear admission of error and asking for consideration, but I won't count on getting paid. Sometimes you just face the consequences. The lesson is obvious. One distractor is computer games. I love turn-based strategy, and I have spent an appreciable fraction of my life on them. Now that they are available on phones, I can distract myself at any moment, which is o.k. during genuine waste time but deadly during potentially productive time. Why do I game more and garden less? That's easy - I tell myself I'll play just one more turn and then go garden - but these games are cleverly set up to encourage the "just one more turn" response to which I must frankly admit I am vulnerable. Therefore I have to set up a rule: gaming only on the bus - so that I can devote my actual time to other things, like actually living life. And billing!

Monday, April 18, 2016

3rd Appeal Win!

My goodness. I just learned that I won my third appeal. That makes me 3-for-3, so I can call myself an "Appellate Lawyer" for reals. Disclaimer: I don't do many; I make my living doing something very different. My clients had very meritorious cases. The opposition seems used to beating up on people who don't have lawyers. That said: 3-for-3. I need to thank my WNEC/LAW professors properly some day. I used that jurisprudence stuff and the bit about how to structure an argument a whole lot.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Per Mission

In a marriage or other serious relationship,  serving the partnership is a priority; you can't just go make major decisions without consulting the other partner.
A partner who does that is signaling that the relationship has changed, although the other partner may not notice or may hang on hoping. Hope can be cruel!

But now that I am on my own, I have to learn to make my decisions without the customary consideration of how it affects Kris. This sounds stupid to write after all she has done, but feelings and habits are not rational.

I thought of this on the bus this morning,  as I chewed over filing for an extension in my federal income taxes. It'd be nice to have that behind me, but they are especially complicated due to the divorce. I have to apportion the assets (income, withholding) from before the divorce...each of us gets half... and that post divorce. This would not be so bad if I had access to my old spreadsheets but the crash and switch to Mac means I have to learn how Mac Numbers works. I had hoped the lazy way ...TurboTax...would do the trick but, although it seems much better than when I first tried it tears ago, it still doesn't do divorce apportionment.
The logical thing to do is filed an extension. I've done it before and it's no big deal. I thought of telling Kris and realized I don't need to: it is nothing to me. I am sure she counts on me to do her taxes and if she brings the subject up I'll advise an extension, but it is no longer my mission in life to buttress our relationship.
Quite the opposite.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ordinary Order

Until recently, my work was generally creative in nature. I was an applications programmer for decades, and while that meant that the end purpose of my creativity was generally chosen by others, within my work there was ample opportunity for creating newer, better and satisfying arrangements of code, visual design and documentation.
The work at WSBA afforded even more opportunity for creativity, since they had neglected whole segments of service .... a little too much opportunity, it seems, for the IT Department, shamed at yet another failure of theirs that I had warned of, eliminated my position (and continued their career of expensive failure.)
I learned then, at age 50, on the street, the creative opportunity of starting over. Ageism is a thing and its only comfort is the sure knowledge that the young managers who are afraid to hire someone older than themselves will one day meet it themselves. Fortunately I put together a business that by hook and crook covered my expenses ... until Kris decided she loved alcohol more than me and I had to start covering the mortgage alone.
As a stopgap, I turned to one institution that by law is blind to grey hair, and am now working for the government being a cog. I enjoy serving the people who call for help; it's satisfying when I can get them WHT they need and when I cannot at least there is the consolation of providing dignified and respectful service.
But it's not creative. By design, and appropriately so, it is highly, highly regulated. It is perhaps the most ordered environment I have ever experienced, and that in itself is an experience.
This orderliness leaks over into the rest of life. I now have only a certain segment of free time between work sessions and to this rigidity must adapt, for a while at least. I ask myself: Is this how most people live? 
"ORDINARY" comes from the Latin "ordo" meaning rule, regulation or structure. Ordinary life was originally that according to a set of rules, only later coming to mean unexceptional or typical. This new ordinary for me appears to be the rule for most.
I may have missed a lot of opportunity for understanding by not experiencing the non-creative life. I might never have understood this until compelled to experience it. This is wonderful! It's always something new around, even when it is the ordinary.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Glasses adjustment

I feel today was very fortunate. I located a lot of good materials for the online store set them up for shipping before bed. My housemates suggested we do milkshakes at Full Tilt, something I never think to do on my own, but was always turns out to be worth it! But the greatest piece of luck may have been whacking my glasses while lifting some heavy boxes. This is through the glasses so out of shape that I absolutely had to go to an optometrist to get them adjusted. The adjustment went swiftly and without any problem, and they would not even charge me the result was like getting new glasses. Frames had gradually bent over the years and really had not been quite right for a long time, but I had not thought see if there was an optometrist at the Alaska Junction, but course there is! What had started out as an unfortunate accident turned out to be a fortunate adjustments I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned from that, if only I knew what it is

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Now We Are Sixty

When I was Twenty
I wanted for plenty.

When I was Thirty
Life got a bit shirty.

When I was Forty
I needed much more-ty.

But when I turned Fifty
I began to feel nifty.

And now I am Sixty and know what I am
So I think I’ll stay Sixty and not give a damn.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Booking Benefits

My major hobby is books. Sort of. Every week I collect a dozen or more cartons from various sources, most if which end up on the book carts and end tables of our local VA hospital. I can tell that's popular, partly because people who go there tell me, but also because they're gone the next week.
(I can tell it's not the cleaning staff tossing stuff because they're in approved areas but also because the occasional book in Roumanian is never taken.)
I sort these usually so the process is faster, and there is some recycling - mold or excessive wear is best treated that way. Over time this leaves me with a collection of empty shopping cartons, which I try to use in other work, but they add up. Earlier this week someone asked  " Buy Nothing West Seattle (South)" for boxes  and ah-ha! They found a use. How wonderful!
I decided to post my carton of Romanian books. The only reply there was someone looking for books, any books to sell at a local school's fundraiser. I looked at my stock and saw I had enough to spare for this good use. They picked up a load from me later night and I realized that this was an annual sale that I had enjoyed myself for several years. I'm happy to contribute, or to facilitate the combinations, I just hope I don't end up buying too much if it back!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Trump, Cruz Agree To Grenade Duel

Cleveland, OH - Republican Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz agreed today to avoid a deadlocked convention by settling their dispute with a 2nd-Amendment fragmentation grenade duel at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Only the right to bear arms can prevent the tyranny of a Trump presidency,” said Cruz. “Where better to use that right but here, in Cleveland, home of the fragmentation grenade?”

 “This is huge,” agreed Trump. “Everyone knows I have a remarkably good throwing arm. Back in the 70s, I pitched two no-hitters for the Cleveland Cavaliers. To make it easier for little Ted, we’re going to have our duel chained together, ankle-to-ankle - that way he can run but he can’t hide."

 RNC officials were ecstatic at the agreement, which had been brokered by losing candidate, Ohio governor John Kasich. “We must avoid the spectacle of a convention that makes any decisions,” said RNC Chair Rince Priebus. Kasich beamed in agreement. “Two walk in, one (or less) walks out.”

 An WTFNBC poll found the idea proposal favored by 96% of Americans; factoring in a 5% margin of error showed near-unanimous agreement that the result of a grenade duel at the Republican National Convention would be good for America.

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