Tag Archives: Chaos

It was Time for a Change…

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Wait! It’s not PURPLE! So how can it be my blog?

I got very tired of the ribbons in my last WP theme covering my gravatar and anything else they pleased. The default font was wonky and made my sidebar look like pulled taffy.

I saw custom design and name your own domain packages, thought about site hosting, and looked at most of the fonts on type kit. Am I going to start a stand-alone eCommerce extravaganza to sell Nik’s photos and my junk? Do I want to spend hours messing with CSS and shopping carts and lay-out strategies? Am I going to waste money buying into the custom design “make all your own fancy fonts” thing?

No. Yawn. Next…

I’m more interested in saving money for a new travel adventure. Wanna go on another trip.  Or 2. Or more! Rome was just the beginning…

Have new doggeh to love on, too. Disa, the beautiful Finnish Lapphund who has blessed our lives!

I know the day is looming nearer when I’ll have to get all serious about my online sales again. Nik needs business experience and exposure for his art. I need to sell the vintage junk, uh, lovelies overflowing my house. Creativity must occur. Creativity must occur.

Creativity.

Creativity…

AHHKKK!                       PZZZTTTT….

That was the sound of my brain shorting out.

We sprang forward today. There’s one less hour in the day and it’s almost gone…

So in the interest of time and abating a bit of my frustration, there’s a new theme. Pretty paisley, unadorned by any tweaks, headers or customizations.

And I still missed the end of the day. It’s tomorrow already…

Here are some more pics of Disa… Enjoy!

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Hackers: 21st Century MacGyvers?

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There were SO many interesting and/or disturbing news stories  yesterday,  my brain nearly exploded when I contemplated blogging. No DREAM, Bev Perdue choppin’ away at the remnants of NC state government, good riddance “don’t ask, be a douche”, Republicans, Bev Perdue, Republicans…

I just couldn’t do it. I knew if I started, I’d be sucked so far into the blogosphere, they’d have to send a search party to get me to go to bed.

Instead, I read What Would MacGyver Do? by Brendan Vaughan, starting myself in another direction, which – as usual – came back to the very issues I was attempting to ignore… MacGyver is now part of our cultural heritage & English lexicon. Anyone capable of reading this bog ought to know what “to MacGyver” means. If you don’t, go look it up, or you’ll be a bit confused.

MacGyver burst on the scene only a couple of months before my daughter burst into the world. Since I was finishing my master’s thesis at the same time, naturally I spent plenty of time watching TV. A little 14″ cutie from a pawn shop, our TV kept me entertained on long Sunday afternoons, soothing me to sleep with football commentary. We’d actually bought it to play Atari, but … (slap face. get back on topic!) The series spanned a my new career, 2 children, a divorce & start of  medical school, so it swam in & out of my consciousness. Through the wonders of syndication, I could catch an old episode every now & then.

When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be James Bond. Now I realize I would much rather have been more like MacGyver.   Not only could he jury-rig himself out of almost any situation, he was also a truly good human being. What Would MacGyver Do? contained stories of real human beings improvising brilliant solution & saving themselves from the perils of arrest, embarrassment, angry spouses & heat stroke. (That whole drinking your pee thing makes me gag, but I’m sure I’d do it too if the circumstances were bad enough…) I was impressed by how imaginative deceptions people invent, but many of those are not in the good-hearted MacGyver spirit.. On the other hand, use of common sense, the tools at hand & basic scientific principles, in the face of other people wringing their hands or stomping around having temper tantrum, is what I consider truly MacGyverish.

When faced with an impending crisis, most people tend to react in one of 3 ways.  Most frequent & most familiar is the “OMG! Whatever will we do? We’re going to die! Or something horrible! Or at least have to put up with the running toilet for 4 days until the plumber comes!!!”. You can’t tell them anything; all they see is the sky falling & they must run & tell Farmer Brown. Now. Something has to be done now. Extremely short-term results oriented – they’d escape the chicken house, then get eaten by the fox.

There is also the “Whatever” denial group. Hearing some horrible crashing, grinding sound, these guys (yeah, usually guys) will poke their head up from whatever they’re doing. They’ll then look at their immediate surroundings, determine nothing can be touched, tasted, smelled or seen (yet), and promptly resume watching the 24th re-run of  “Whatever”.  Until they start roasting, they never know a B-52 crashed in their front yard, engulfing their entire neighborhood is in flames. Unobservant & immobile, these rock-like mules will never see or hear anything that they don’t already think they know or believe. Uh huh – read that one again!

Both OMG! & Whateverare maladaptive responses to fear: Fear of the unknown, the known, the might be, the what if & I might have to do something different.

In contrast to incompetent frenzied flapping chickens & self-centered  snoring ostriches, there is a third group. We’re the people who say “I’m sure we can figure something out…I don’t know quite how, but we’ll get through this…Whatever happens, I can handle it…Here, let me fix that toilet for you…”.  We’re the people who will spend 18 hours learning HTML by trying to figure out how to keep the funky script from appearing on our (pre-made) template on website x, when it worked fine on y. Having taught themselves before they were 14 to repair toilets & re-wire the Christmas lights (sometimes out of self-defense), they think – high school dropouts can do this, so can I. We know never, ever leave home without duct tape, rope, a knife and – of course – a wire clothes hanger. (Yes, that’s all based on personal experience…)

I’ve noticed there are several characteristics that set the “MacGyvers” apart. One is a sense of competence, of one’s self as a competent human being. It’s important to believe you will be able to handle whatever comes your way, including failure. Another is the ability to pause & evaluate the situation, before doing anything else. I mean really evaluate the situation & environment, making as few assumptions as possible, only as reasonable extrapolations of what you know. Willness to admit you don’t know, to be wrong, to ask for help when appropriate – these are all MacGyverish characteristics. A big helping of (un)common sense, a basic understanding of the physical world & knowing what you don’t know is needed, too.

Here’s where it comes full circle. I see state, national & international governments being shredded by the tug-of-war between the OMG! & Whatever factions.  Various groups take turns playing those roles in different situations. Currently, as US is over-run by squawking Democrats & Republican rocks, Obama has been trying to MacGyver the government. Unfortunately, there’s too much chaos & volume to accurately assess the situation, much less to expect to implement any brilliant solutions. Mr. Obama’s willingness to “be wrong” has made him a target of ridicule, instead of admiration.  Most Western politicians have been squawking about wikileaks, but the US is screeching most loudly. I believe it was the Israelis who made a comment about the US being so busy reacting to wikileaks that they didn’t have time to have talks. Not, I think, an admirable face to show the international community, eh?

Meanwhile, there are some MacGyvers in the international community, but they don’t belong to a government or any particular political ideology. They are the hackers, the new “freedom fighters”, the ones who say – it’s out there, I’ll find it… this shouldn’t be hiding under a rock, let me shine some light in there…   They have networks of resources, contingency plans, others who’ll get their back, and, above all, confidence. Often mistaken for arrogance, confidence is more self-understanding than self-glorification.

I see this in Julian Assange. He is confident that he has taken the best course. He understands he’s not the only or even most important part of the wikileaks movement anymore & has been quite willing to let it be so. He used his resources, took time to consider his actions and turned himself in to the British in a quite calculated move.

In many ways, I identify with JA. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd unquestioningly. Somehow, I know, like me, he’d never settle for “because that’s the way we’ve always done it”. Like JA’s mother, I’m working hard to make certain my home-schooled son doesn’t develop an unhealthy respect for ‘authority’!!

Hospice RULES! Update on my Mom

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My last post of 2009 was about my Mother’s illness, so I thought I’d follow up on that…

Mom died yesterday morning. We have had an incredibly blessed year of her continued life, defying the dire predictions from last October. She made it through her 80th birthday AND Mom & Dad’s 60th !! wedding anniversary!!! She’s been under hospice care since December ’09 & they have been absolutely key for us to handle Mom’s illness & death as smoothly as possible. I’m very glad we didn’t wait to get hospice in.  I think they were a huge contribution to Mom’s quality of life.

Up until the end of last week, she had been alert, talkative, feeding herself, reading, watching TV and enjoying her Saturday “Brit coms”, up in her chair every day & interacting with everyone. Not in any pain either. It was clear her functioning has been deteriorating slowly, but she continued to be bright & happy. Over the last couple of months, she had been intermittently choking on liquids. With the help of the hospice nurse, we decided not to thicken them as a quality of life issue.

Unfortunately, we think she had another stroke sometime last Friday. She had gotten much sicker in just 3 days. Hospice ramped up their services instantly. We had someone from hospice here every day & the nurse came by every day that week. Since  it was clear she had only a short time to live, they helped us make arrangements for pain relief & cremation services.  I believe the excellent in-home care we have been able to provide, both privately & through hospice, made a huge difference. We’ve really been blessed by the extra special year of her company!

As usual in our chaotic family, there were complications even in the few weeks before Mom’s death.  Dad had surgery on an inguinal hernia 2 weeks before. Can you imagine – it was his first surgery EVER in 80 years (if you don’t count having his wisdom teeth out earlier this year!!)!!!  The surgery went extremely well & he’s recovering faster than I did from my appendectomy. However, he was forced to go from doing WAY too much for Mom to not being able to do much at all.  He’s slowly resumed some of his previous “chores” and been able to return to driving – so he can get out of the house. Nik has been awesome at taking over the heavier duties of walking Star, trash, recycling & feeding the beasts.  Dad managed to get 2 people to be here when Mom needed the most care & hospice made certain extra people were around as much as possible.

Hospice has been our savior in all this. Dad slowly came to accept that she won’t live much longer & is having a much easier time now as a result. The Chaplain, Aaron, is also a Lutheran minister & from the town in Florida Mom & Dad lived in!!! What an amazing coincidence!! He’s helped us over quite a few difficult spots. The latest was 2 weeks ago – right before Dad’s surgery. Mom started to have tooth pain a couple of days before Labor Day weekend. Convenient time, huh? We tried to get someone dental to come to the house, so they could tell us whether Mom needed to go to an oral surgeon or if there was something that could be done here. Mom had left the house  only a couple of times since we brought  her home last year. Hospice workers tried to find someone through their services, but had no luck. Finally we spoke directly to our lovely Dentist, who was kind enough to come by the house & look – and tell us she needed to go & get the tooth extracted.  AKKKH!!!

Now, Dad had to cancel his surgery once, while they worked up a mild heart conduction problem. He had set up the double coverage for the first surgery date, canceled it, and now had to recreate it in a much shorter time. So, on top of that, Mom had the tooth problem! The freaking out level was through the roof here!!

The day before his surgery, Dad got transport for Mom & we got her to the Doc, where she had no problem at all with the extraction. That changed after we got home. Mom didn’t remember she had a tooth removed, so she didn’t see why she should bite down on the gauze to stop the bleeding.  Dad completely freaked out, which escalated to a totally unacceptable level.

This is when an intervention by Aaron really really really helped. Talking to him on the phone probably saved at least one life – was gonna be me or Dad… I was so knotted up that I was sick. We had to get to the surgery center by 9 am next morning. And you know what? We made it there on time and both in one piece. As Dad was checking in, Aaron actually came in to see how he was!!

Since then, I’ve had to step in to do more care-taking & more activity than I really should be, with my physical problems. Hey, someone had to do it!  Dad’s much better and making peace with his limitations & Mom’s death. I think the tooth extraction pushed Mom over the edge, but it was going to be something, anyway.  The hospice nurse, aides & social worker have all been there for us. It’s been great to know we have support, even for the next year following her death.

Hospice is the best. If your loved one has a terminal illness, please don’t wait until the absolute end to call in Hospice! Medicare pays for it all. They will make sure your family member dies as painlessly & in the most humane way possible. They’re also very very much there for you, as family members – as well as all the support I’ve mentioned, they also have group programs for children, teens, caregivers & bereaved, grieving family for as long as a year after the death. Don’t wait! You won’t be sorry.

M is for Mountains, V is for Vacation

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My daughter has accused my blog of looking like Highlights’ “Read with Pictures”. I thought it might be fun to try that.

These are some random thoughts…  I’m on vacation anyway!!


I finally convinced Hubby he could take time off from work  So we are now on vacation  in the North Carolina  mountains. We’re staying at a very nice resort Sapphire Valley, an area that is apparently lousy with waterfalls  and other gorgeous scenery. The boys want to try fishing  (again). Their track record isn’t great. I’ll join in –  as far as I’m concerned,  fishing’s another excuse for a nap! We’re planning to go out to eat somewhere as a family.  The restaurants are kinda pricey.  Like most everything else here… I told Nik it was because only old rich people  live around here.   He agreed; “They’re the only ones who can afford  the real estate!”

We’ll try not to feed the bears.  while we try to figure out where the gem hunting places are.   I found a nice topaz today at the local instant-gratification cheap-o salted-bucket place! We’ll bring home lots more useless rocks.

I’m a sorry soul; I brought my computer along.    So I’m an addict, OK?  Wanted to work on my Bonanzle stores. Served me right;I kept losing my Internet connection  (which I paid for at the resort!)  Spent about 45 minutes with 2different nice techies.  I brought my Hubby too…. Unfortunately, there’s no tech support for Hubby…

Now that he’s 13, Nik eats everything and anything he can get his hands on.      His willingness  to try just about anything remotely edible  has increased about a thousand-fold.   Today he ate a tomato basil mozzarella sandwich… Definitely have a teenager (ie Locust)  in the house.  At least we won’t be taking  any food home!


We’ll be out hiking some trails. The minute it starts to go up-hill significantly, I’m sitting down and having a little snooze

So far the weather’s been really nice;sunny with only a few clouds.

My idea of a good vacation includes plenty of time just to sit and read.

Nik is always on the prowl for wildlife ;some of the wildlife is always on the prowl for him! Mosquito magnet! Hubby just talks to squirrels. Today we found a new/used bookstore. Nik got a book on wildflowers  of the Carolinas. How can they charge that kind of for a book that’s only 6 x 4?   Between him & Hubby, we acquired 5 more books that, of course, we need like a new  hole in the head…

Next thing, I think they’re going to try to convince me to go rafting.   Right. As if.  They’ll have better luck making me go to the swimming pool…  Tomorrow morning the plan is to have bacon (turkey) and eggs (free-range) for breakfast.  Hubby has to do all the cooking. So sad….

By the way, I’m one of those people who never send postcards when on vacation. That’s WORK!!  Consider this post my “post”card!

Wasn’t this supposed to be my week off??!!??

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Yeah, that’s right, this WAS supposed to be a week off… but I must “be off” to think that fate, karma, and the power of the vortex I live in would allow that to happen!!

Last week, I sarcastically commented on the odds of me actually getting some me time… The last time I tried to take off an entire week, my Mom got sick, and I spent most of the week keeping her out of the hospital.

And know what? Sunday night at 10:30, I was at the pharmacy Nice pharmacist! getting antibiotics. For Mom. At least we caught it sooner this time. Today, she’s much clearer – she hasn’t been talking about the blue fish in the aquarium Dorie??or the doll on the back of the chair…Neither of which exist any where except in her mind.

With all this swirling around, I’ve been dropping more balls than usual.

An example…    I sent this email this morning in response to an inquiry from another OnlineAuction seller:

M – I see what happened now – I went through and paid all the google checkout invoices, skipped yours because it was paypal (meaning to go back and pay it when I finished google) and then, of course, got distracted… Duh If I don’t pay within 3 days, something ain’t right! If I buy something from you again, and I haven’t paid or contacted you within 3 days after you send an invoice – please resend it!bug me!

The chaos in my house is absolutely overwhelming right now NOW! my mother has dementia and she’s sick (again), and my father is frustrated and deaf, and doesn’t realize he’s yelling at her and he has the TV is so loud LOUD!you can hear it in Nevada…and the kid’s meds have worn off by 6 pm, and he’s running around doing the Egyptian Funky Chicken funkOlympic Swimmer dance Dance!in front of the TV so Dad yells at him too…. A patient calls me calls me!and I can’t go outside to escape the noise because it’s raining so hard it’s roaring… so to hear her, I end up crouching behind the island in the kitchen Shark!to shut out the noise of Dad yelling at Mom because she’s not strong enough to stand up the way she needs to…(He’s not mean, just scared) …. And then my husband walks in and wants me to immediately drop everything and listen to what he’s done that day.Isn't this what I do at work??. (isn’t this what I do for a living??)… and this is all after I’ve been at work for until 8 pm…. Dinner? Huh? The Papa John’s Guy at the door again? Yech....So, for me, another dinner of Progresso soup (can’t do sodium in pizza – imagine the Goodyear Blimp with boobs!!)..Blimps Fly!!.We do have a wonderful home helper, Barbara(Fairy Godmother!) who’s here every night but she just takes the edge off!

And that was just last night!!! The OnlineAuction Wednesday Wave was the sanest part of my day yesterday!!!!!!
Anyhow, you’re paid!Yes!
Dragonmum

Now I’m having a “hang out on the couch because the barometric pressure is doing the cha-cha” day. Although Fay is pretty far away, it’s causing the weather here to be unstable. The barometer in my head NOT LIKE IT!! (Hush, barometer, stop shouting – I have a headache!!)

We are lucky, though. My brother and his family live in St Augustine. They are currently getting pounded by the rainRainy and wind Windyon the northwest side of the storm. They haven’t had a direct hit of anything in the 20 years they’ve lived in FL. I’m sending lots of good thoughts and wishes their way – I just hope they evacuated instead of sitting and waiting.

This storm is another one of those signs – like I told my parents in 2005 when 3 storms sliced across the state right across their home – It’s a sign that either that God doesn’t like your landscaping or humans aren’t supposed to live in Florida!! (for them, I voted for the “not live in FL” option – they live with me now!) They were very very lucky they were in the right place that year – Not in Florida! I kept emailing Dad in the UK satellite photos of the monster storms moving in right (literally!) Rain Cloudover their house. At some point it began to sink in. I don’t think it was until they got home and found that the land had changed from green to blue (tarps).

All the chaos has also put a damper on my online listing. I did get a few items up. Most are yarn (yes!), most are vintage yarn!!

**Addendum: I’m no longer selling on OLA. please visit my Bonanzle storeDragonmum’s Vintage Valuables

The most exciting thing I’ve done this week is to list my 1st charity auction.

I found a Designs by Lucinda House Pin, and am auctioning it for our won buddhist meditation temple. We are raising funds for a dharma room expansion – which will provide more meditation space, and extra room to provide hospitality and shelter to those who need it.

Well, this time next week, I’ll be on my third day of more patients, and once again I will be dealing with
monkeypox

Tonight I went yarn stash-digging!

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Wow! I had no idea I had collected so much yarn!

For some insane reason, I decided to dig out yarn from the horror that is my sewing room. In the evening. Bad idea. DUH.

Must have been so tired I couldn’t think.

Got more tired by scrounging around over and under bolts of fabric and boxes of yarn.

De-stashing is a must – but I really shouldn’t have done it tonight. I am going to majorly regret this in the morning…. (Yes, I did!)

You know I’m serious about de-stashing when I get out purple and turquoise yarn to sell – and my vintage yarns….only some of them though.

Nobody’s getting my Lopi or cabled/crepe Australian yarn!

On the other hand, I realized I’ve got some great vintage yarn that I will never use – so I will put it up to auction so the yarnies  (like yarn harlot and other dedicated vintage yarn hunters) can fight over it!! (Addendum 3/17/2012: None of you found it… Nuri got some, I gave away almost every skien of synthetic that lurked in corners to the local women’s shelter, I still have some of the bestest vintage and I’m making stuff with the rest. You missed out on such loveliness. Now make big sad faces!)

I’ve got super Patons highland with flecks (along with a super vintage patons knitting leaflet from the 60s, and lovely Red Heart wool (back when they made real yarn…). Both are lovely turquoise. Those are the ones I have in significant amounts!

I’ve got bags, boxes and baskets, all waiting to be sorted.  All of it isn’t vintage. But there’s a lot of it.

Some is plain old New Zealand wool, Australian wool, some brand name fancies, almost all 100% wool or cotton. I will admit to one large skein of Red Heart Acrylic but I have no idea how that got in my stash!

Nik (remember Wonderboy?) started some of the sorting, but got “fatigued” after filling about 4 gallon zip-locks. He decided to raid the fridge for more food, and found some left-overs that he said he was “slavering over”. Couldn’t sort with hands and mouth full of chicken.

Sigh. I guess that leaves it to me for now.

But I’ll get to play with all that lovely yarn!!

Maybe I’ll take some pics tomorrow and give you a peek. Make you drool!!!Tongue Out 1

I’ll be putting it up for auction in my OLA House, Dragonmum’s Hoard, on OnlineAuction next week. Might even have some at fixed price. Never know, could be a snooze-loose situation!!

**Addendum: I’m no longer selling on OLA. please visit my Bonanzle Bonanza store Dragonmum’s Vintage Valuables. For yummy yarn, visit Dyetyarns on etsy.com!

Our own Saturday morning Sitcom

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funny pictures

Selective Y-linked deafness strike again!

What’d ya know? It’s Saturday morning!

I can tell by the raucous noise penetrating the bedroom from downstairs. My boys are watching cartoons. How sweet….a Father-Son bonding experience.

Maybe they think they need to shave off a few IQ points? They never seem to grasp the idea that someone might want to sleep in and/or not start their morning with loud incredibly irritating noise. 

I can tell neither of them has taken his medicine!

I slept way too late (or not late enough, depending on your point of view), then lumbered down the stairs with my usual morning “cheerfulness” (i.e. lack there of). Immediately I am assaulted by a barrage of sound and visual chaos.

How on earth could anyone choose to start their day like this?

Coffee is saving the boys’ lives this morning. The wonderful new coffee I bought at Costco (Wednesday evening, between leaving work at 5 and my 7 pm meeting) is an organic shade grown coffee called Ruta Maya, from a Mexican farmers’ coop. I don’t know how they made it SO smooth, but there is almost no bitterness whatsoever… I was convinced when the demo guy made me a double shot of espresso, I put in some 1/2 & 1/2 + sugar; I couldn’t tell it was espresso! More yummy than a caramel macchiato or any other even mildly concentrated espresso drink I’ve ever tasted: Needless to say, I bought it!

DH makes the morning coffee (for it says in the Bible “Hebrews” ) , but always drinks extra on Saturdays. That’s OK; I really don’t need more than one mug (sniffle BIG SAD FACE )…

Once again, I was thwarted in my effort to get the TV turned off by 11am (much less 11 pm).

Not only did Nik whine that there was still a half an hour left, his father whined too! More Father-Son bonding…

DH seems to think watching TV is some sort of Constitutional right, while I look at it as a tool of Satan. (especially for a family rampant with ADHD)

Nothing like parents approaching an issue from the same point of view.

funny pictures

Looking for the wrong thing!!! Only The bay down there. Sellers all gone!

They’ve now scooted off to their other Saturday play time (they play DreamBlade, an incredibly complicated and time-consuming miniatures game), won’t be back until at least 6.

I’m going to seize the time to work on my on-line listings. I got started on a new site after the Feb. ‘bay Boycott.  A  large number of us fled at that time and needed new selling venues. Bunches of bunches have left since, as the bay keeps getting nastier and nastier (along with Poop Pal, the bay’s evil twin).

Now, gotta get to work – spent way too much time blogging today!!