Working Wednesday, January 12, 2022

I’m still crocheting like a madwoman, but it’s harder now that it’s colder than hell in NJ. Also still cleaning the house and throwing stuff out like mad, and working on Nita. So, the basics.

What did you work on this week?

74 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, January 12, 2022

  1. I am working on a video about my mom to show at her memorial service that is coming up soon. Reviewing many, many photographs has reminded me just how amazing she was.

    Despite her impossibly chaotic childhood (her mother was an abusive alcoholic who married 7 times) Mom managed to get a college degree, marry a wonderful man, stay married for 68 years, and raise five children who all turned out okay. She was a teacher, writer, researcher, lobbyist, tax preparer, and shop owner. She was also a proud pet parent of dogs, cats, donkeys and tortoises. As if that wasn’t enough, she volunteered for many civic and social causes, including as a little league coach and Cub Scout den mother, all while maintaining a respectable golf handicap!

    I feel so lucky and grateful to have had her as my mom.

      1. How wonderful that your mom reshaped a cycle of abuse to one of compassion. A rare accomplishment. May her serenity continue to enrich your life.

    1. You had an excellent role model. This is not an easy task, aside from having an abundance of material to showcase. Peace to you.

    2. The first video of that kind I’d ever seen was the one for my aunt’s memorial in November; I shared the link here and several people watched it.

      It was a wonderful souvenir of my aunt’s life (and also my mother’s, since they were twins) and your mother’s family and friends will appreciate all the memories and the sense of the life she lived, long after the service is over.

  2. Working… I used to do that. 🙂

    I suppose “keeping house” in my garage apartment is still “work,” of a sort. I’ve been preparing meals just for the leftovers. I still have two pounds of chili, and two un-weighed containers of something that was supposed to resemble French Canadian Pork Dressing (an eighth recipe). My quart-size crock pot contains something that was totally off the recipe list. Ground beef, corn, diced potatoes, green beans, onions, minced garlic, mushrooms, and sour cream. It’s… interesting. No kind of stroganoff, but I could call it cottage pie filling.

    I’ve been getting temporary insurance cards in the mail, with the promise of more. My selections in the retirement package at work. I checked the state “Payline website, and my last check stub is there. It’ll be deposited on the 14th. That money will count for 2022, even though every penny was earned in 2021. My W-2 isn’t ready yet. I don’t have a 1099SSA (they’re mailing them – how archaic!) but I have the 1099R from my military retirement. I’d like to have my taxes done, but I need the paperwork. I don’t always procrastinate, and I expect to owe Unca Sam.

    I added a link to a picture to Sunday’s post, but I don’t know if it worked. The picture is cropped from this Sequential Art #1204 webcomic. The link I used goes to my LiveJournal account, and I don’t know if that works, because Chrome manages my passwords and that may be the only reason I see it. The picture itself is a link to the webcomic. That post is titled “Oh, Phillip M. Jackson, No!” The post said, “I said to myself, ‘Oh, you did not just go there!’ But he did. Look at the cheesy grins in the fourth frame. Okay, I laughed. But I’m vaguely ashamed of that.” The picture I cropped is the fifth frame of the webcomic.

    Hey, making that post was work!

    1. I just read a tribute to my grandpa in a “towns of less than 2,000” mid 20th century Illinois newspaper. His accomplishments, college degrees, military, horse and buggy doctor, were listed and lauded. His wife’s accomplishment was described as “kept her own house,” a large Victorian with several chimneys.
      Work of a sort? C’mon, Gary, what would Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s response to that be? Seriously, read her commentaries on “women’s work”, as she raised children, wrote speeches with Susan B Anthony, shopped for groceries, kept a kitchen garden, planned and prepped meals, designed legislation, boiled laundry, travelled to Bloody Kansas to speak on gender and race equality from a wagon bed, dodged rotten fruit, compared to her husband’s fame and gentle welcome, far away from his house which she ‘kept’ and his children whom she kept healthy and alive? I have a crush on ECS and SBA for their strong sense of self worth, despite cultural derogation.
      Don’t let the doubters get you down. You work. You count.

  3. I’m working on a book and helping to edit another before heading back to the ER on Sunday, BUT I have to tell you: beware of pantry moths!
    I had no idea they were a thing before I opened a bag of quinoa yesterday. Cue throwing out of dry goods everywhere. Gross.
    But at least we took down our Christmas tree for the first time in two years to make room for a bike stand. So, good times.

    1. Oh, I had a pantry moth infestation once. It was disgusting. And yes, threw out SO much food. Now I try to keep the most vulnerable things in containers or ziplocks, but you never know when something you buy will bring them into our house.

    2. Been there, done that. I now freeze everything like flour can cornmeal for 2-3 days before if goes in the pantry, in containers or zip lock bags.

  4. I’m working on my taxes, the first chapter in my potential fourth book in the cozy series (for submission to Berkley if I can ever get it done), catching up on the impossible pile of paperwork at the day job left over from a busy December, and trying to persuade the new cat that it is really okay to come out from the tiny space between the guest bed and the wall and get petted on the bed, instead of my reaching down there. So far she is still convinced I am likely to kill her. Apparently she was a very affectionate cat when she went into the shelter, but after three years there she is a terrified ball of black fur with big eyes. She purrs like crazy when I pet her (after two weeks) but still hunkers down.

    Also, I’m working on coming up with a better name that the one she came with. I’m not calling a cat Pierogi.

    1. As you know, cats can take a lot of time. I’d give her at least a month, maybe two, for every year she was in the shelter for her to get her bearings. As for a name – how about Pandra – according to this list it is derived from a Celtic word for Chief Dragon. I’m betting she’ll live up to it.

    2. If she only ever responds to that name, than I lobby that you at least change the spelling to “Purr-ogi”

      1. LOL. Purr-ogi. The folks at the shelter didn’t seem to think she really responds to the name. I’ve been calling her honey or sweetie for now. I’m thinking about Onyx or maybe Shanti (a Sanskrit word that means quiet or peaceful, which may be wishful thinking on my part). Or Natasha, or, something completely different.

        1. One of my cat books recommended not using sh or s sounds for a shy cat, because it might sound like you are hissing at her.

    3. I trapped Emily in the house so you can imagine how she felt about me.
      A year later she sleeps next to me, and if she’s outside when I am, comes running to me. It takes times, but eventually the steady stream of food, clean water, heat, and petting makes it ridiculous not to love you. Poor baby. I’m so glad you brought her home.

      1. Yes, this is definitely going to be a challenge. I got her to come out and sit next to me on the bed once and she was completely blissed out until I got up to move. Later that night she came out from behind the bed while I was sitting there, and freaked herself out so much that she’s been hiding ever since.

        But I’ve dealt with scared cats before and have lots of experience with cats in general. Plus a lot of patience (with cats–people can pretty much bite me right now). This was clearly a cat who was never going to get adopted successfully by anyone who didn’t have both. And three years, my gods. Then she developed digestive issues and had to go from at least being free in the cat room to being stuck in a (large, two-story) cage because otherwise she’d get into the regular food. I just couldn’t stand the idea of leaving her there…

        I have the space, since I lost my boy Angus the September before last (5 is my absolute max). I can afford it. My other cats are pretty mellow and will probably adjust to her just fine once she finally leaves the upstairs room. And I’m pretty sure I felt Magic the Cat nudging me forcefully.

        It seemed fitting that the cat who had been there the longest was their final official adoption for the year, going home on New Year’s eve so she could start a new year in a new home.

        How could I not?

  5. I’m working on a proposal to get more freelance work. Also thinking about cleaning out a closet. Read an essay by Ann Patchett about getting rid of stuff that no longer represents who one is or that isn’t needed any longer. My default has been–it fits in here, so I don’t care if the closet/cabinet/bookcase is full. Not sure that’s a good standard.

    1. I can’t think of much that doesn’t represent who I am (I am diverse, I contain multitudes) but the drawer full of old software could probably go, now that software and its manuals no longer comes in physical form.

  6. I’ve not been getting as much done as I’d like. Still sorting out my files, worried it’s taking too long and isn’t worth it, and feeling outfaced by everything else still to do in my big sort-out. I’ve worked through the main filing drawer, but am now on to heaps of legal stuff. Keep thinking I should look for some freelance work, though I don’t want to be any more depressed than I am, and most books I work on get me down. I’ll probably leave it another week, at least.

    Hoping I can speed up, and get this tedious stage over with. Perhaps I’ll detour and tidy the workroom up before going on with the files. The mess is bothering me; plus a friend has said she might visit, and it’s also my spare room.

  7. I’ve been quilting. My group has been doing a round robin, where everyone creates a center block, and then passes it along to the next quilter for a border, and to the next quilter for another border, etc. I’ve gotten the final one done

    Six different quilters worked on this. The person who made the center has no idea what it looks like now, just as I don’t have any idea how my dancing dolphins center has been treated. We’ll do a reveal at the end of January. It should be fun, and I’ll try to post pictures of all six quilt tops then.

    I then moved on to my quilting pile. It’s slow work – probably why I’ve been putting it off. I need to make a plan to get things done – and then do it!

  8. I’m doing the day job, and trying to get a feeling that I’ve put away the holidays.
    Time to set up the painting table again, whether I feel ready or not.

  9. I’ve been working on trying to stop pressuring myself so much to get things done according to a timeframe that’s entirely unreal. So it’s 11 a.m. here and I haven’t accomplished anything yet today lol. Course I did work late last night. So what else am I working on? I wanted to join a memoir-writing class that starts next Wednesday but that idea may be thwarted by the fact that it’s full. I’m on the waitlist. I had a totally good idea to start writing as memoir but it may not happen. And that might be for the best. Because I’m supposed to be finishing projects not starting new ones.

  10. Spent the week struggling with Ingram Spark. No surprise there. Their answers and their instructions don’t match. But i am determined (when not throwing my hands up in disgust) to get The Exchange” out onto the shelves of indie bookstores and into the ePub world. It has to easier with the next book in the Class ’94 series or i’m going to throw the towel in and go walk the Appalachian Trail.

    1. Aria, I’ve had terrible issues with IS. I take my part of things as far as possible and then turn it over to them for some part they need to do, and they never do it! I’ve started at least 3 times with them and am no closer to getting my indie books set up there. I know I’m leaving money on the table, but I just CANNOT with them, so am stepping away from that for a while. Maybe until 2023. I wish you better luck than I’ve had!

  11. I worked on getting rid of empty boxes. While I was depressed they piled up until it became a cardboard mountain almost crowding out the path to the front door and making it impossible to get into the living room. (This text is like a private AA meeting, except AA stands for “Accumulators Anonymous). I still have a ways to go (why do we say “a ways” instead of “a way”? but I’m going to Get It Done. GO, me!

    1. I like Accumulators Anonymous! I might know some people near and dear to me who should come to those AA meetings LOL.

    1. Ooh, forgot about DailyFeb. Will have to think about what I want to do. Maybe quilt a bunch of tops (they’re small), committing to a certain amount of time per day. I need some motivation, and DailyFeb motivates me to create, and then creating stuff motivates me to do work.

    2. Going to work on current projects for Daily Feb 2022, cardigan is for a 6 month old, that baby is growing faster than I knit 🙂

    3. I need something to help keep me on track for practicing my drawing. I will have to reactivate my Instagram account in February!

  12. The day job and family drama have sidelined all my plans and projects. Nothing major, but it’s hard to make work when I am unhappy, which in turn makes me unhappier. Vicious cycle.

    One of my coworkers has covid, so I cancelled all of my fun things for the week and am working overtime anyway. The cold let up a bit, so people are out in drives and I am annoyed.

    I have been trying to participate in a “thriftless January” challenge on Instagram, but I may need to go shopping as retail therapy. The winter can be so bleak. Argh.

  13. I suppose this qualifies as work, now that I am coaching again and my fellow coach tells me I can deduct tournament expenses from my taxes as “professional development”. I traveled to San Jose, CA. and took 2nd place in the Vet 60 Men’s Foil tournament (10th in Epee) this weekend.

    That gives me a decent chance to qualify for the U.S. Veteran World Fencing Team, they take the top 4 fencers, best based on the best two of three results. Which means I need to get a second good result, but then I could fence at the Veteran World Championships in Croatia this year. Which I think would be awesome.

    1. Add me to the impressed list, calling “Awesome!” from the cashew gallery. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that skills in epee are pointless…

  14. I kinda’ hit a wall over the weekend (endless pandemic that everyone’s apparently decided to give up on doing anything about so I may not be able to go to my niece’s wedding in May in Texas or to Malice Domestic or any other damn thing I might want to do; colder weather than even I like — and I generally like cold weather — and I’m still processing the loss of one of my older cats to cancer on Christmas Eve), and haven’t been able to make myself do much work.

    The one thing that’s got me slightly motivated to work going forward is that Romancing the Runoff has rebranded as Romancing the Vote (see @RomancingtheVote on Twitter for a link to sign up for their newsletter if you’re interested) with an auction the week of Valentin’s Day to benefit Fair Fight. I’ll be donating some quilts, so I need to figure out what I’ve got ready to donate, finishing one that’s almost ready, and prepping them for the auction (photography, descriptions, etc.). I’ll post them on Instagram too, and will try to remember to share them in next week’s Working Wednesday.

    Oh, and Pantone has announced its color for the year (which is a bizarre concept, having an official color established in advance based on … I have no idea what criteria), which I’ve decided is an homage to Murderbot’s friend, ART. It’s a pale purple, called “Very Peri,” which reminds me of a minor character in Network Effect who wants Murderbot to prove it knows their transport, and Murderbot says something about why it calls the ship ART, and the minor character responds with, “Yep, it definitely knows our Peri.” So now I need to find some Very Peri fabric and make a Murderbot quilt, even thought it’s not really a color I have any place for in my house or even my wardrobe if I were to make a Very Peri quilted coat.

    1. Not fond of periwinkle myself but your associating it with Murderbot means maybe I won’t cringe if I see it somewhere.

      1. Yeah, it’s really hard to imagine periwinkle showing up in fashion (which includes home decor) later in the year. It just doesn’t seem like a color that many people are anxious to wear or otherwise surround themselves with. But, if Pantone says it, it must be true. At least in terms of stores offering it. People buying it? Maybe not so much. I may be able to get my Very Peri quilting fabrics in clearance if I wait to the end of the year!

      2. The Periwinkle in the Crayola 64 color box was one of my favorites.

        (And guess what? Autocorrect think Crayola should be Crayon.)

      1. I sent you an email with the link for donations and suggesting we could do a group collection, between your shelter books and my garlic farm books (with Pixie the cat). And any other authors here who might want to add to the collection? The organizers discouraging individual books this time around, I think because the number of listings got too unwieldy last time — they broke the system briefly with the huge number of listings!

  15. I finished organizing the dog stuff so Pixie actually has a place in our home. I have stashed the ‘if I get an emergency foster’ stuff in the back of the cabinet where I can get to it but it’s not in the way.

    Next up paperwork for taxes and filing anything for 2021, or putting earrings on a display stand so I can rotate them and not wear the same ones everyday, or recipes.

    And I got rid of all the Xmas cards! Before September!

    Off to a Board of Elections meeting.

  16. You know all this sorting and getting rid of stuff is making me remember the good stuff I gave away over the years. Like the beautiful classic black suit which hung in the closet for the day I was thinner again. So, I gave it away to a lovely friend. Boy, now that I AM thinner, it would have fit like a glove. Okay, shake it off. It only makes me think of other stuff. Okay, shake that off too. Maybe it is the rainy grey day. Okay, back to sorting the paperwork and files for shredding. And put on warm socks and have a good cup of tea.

    1. I actually went through my sweater bin over the holiday looking for ugly Christmas sweaters I may have saved. They really weren’t that ugly but I was ruled by the times and gave them away to Goodwill. Argh!

  17. You gave me a great idea a year or so ago and now it is a ritual. When a new year starts, I “clean house” by unsubscribing to lots of things. It’s great! Very freeing.
    Working like a maniac, seeing clients, teaching students and writing when I can.

  18. I’m working mostly on controlling the menopausal/COVID/life-in-general anxiety that seems to be plaguing me pretty much day and night. That’s the biggest thing.

  19. I haven’t produced much of anything worth reporting. Heading into another four-day weekend (vacation day + holiday) in which Sunday will involve going for my booster + flu shot, meaning I expect to be not good for anything on Monday, so I’d better accomplish something Friday-Saturday.

    Recently I scanned a pile of paper detritus, and since then I cleared some more out of a drawer; the remainder, soon to join the digital archive, includes some Family History notes my mom sent years ago that I had forgotten existed. This is very timely. I want to make a Life Book (digital) for the parents as a reward. They have actually agreed to move from their big isolated Florida house to somewhere in the same North Carolina town as my sister & her wife. *Whew* Anyway, they are doing the declutter thing and so am I.

  20. I’m now working on not quitting my day job and/or committing murders that would almost certainly be traced back to me.

    I’ll get back to you on how that’s going.

  21. After a very busy week last week, right after the holiday, this week has involved sleeping in every day so far. I didn’t even do the heavy shopping today — we’re pretty well supplied, and the local Target is still closed to shoppers, though a sign instructed vendors to drive around to the loading docks, so it sounds as if they’ll be open again fairly soon. Litter, kibble, here we come.

    So instead I’ve been noodling around with my DNA results. Ancestry has something called “ThruLines” which shows you the people who share DNA with you. I have determined that most of my research over the last fifty-odd years is supported by sharing DNA with other people who trace back to most of the ancestors in my tree, though this was a bit skewed because my cousin, son of my mother’s twin sister, has showed up as my half brother and shares large chunks of DNA all the way up our mutual maternal side. I also registered the data with GEDMatch to see what else I can find out, because there are three “problems” I’d like to resolve and I think this is the best current approach.

    One is great-great-grandmother #1, who is officially listed as the youngest child of g-g-g-grandfather Andrew and his wife Hannah. She’s their descendant, all right, but Andrew died in April 1807 and she was born in October 1808, so she’s almost certainly their grandchild by one of their older children, and probably illegitimate and adopted informally by her grandmother.

    The next is great-great-grandmother #2, who came from New Hampshire to Ohio in a family party of a senior couple and all their children and grandchildren, and was the first bride recorded in the county. I know who her grandparents were, but she could be the daughter of any of the sons and the records at that time and place are just sparse. Have DNA with the grandparents, and what I need is to find descendants of each of the sons to see whether there’s any DNA link to one of their wives.

    The third is great-great-great-great-grandmother #3, who had a family with a man she never married. I share DNA with her descendants; what I’d like to determine is whether I share it with known children/descendants of the couple I think were her parents. Her family name is unusual, so it’s not an unreasonable hypothesis. And the DNA ThruLine is showing me some weirder links than I was expecting to see, so clearly there are some Clues here waiting to be Followed.

  22. I had two days off in a row over the weekend and it was glorious. This made me contemplate leaving my second job now that the first job appears to exist again. And now somehow it’s Thursday afternoon and I’m doing an overtime shift at the second job after already working the morning shift at the first job and I’m not entirely sure how it happened? So I think I need to work on not working.

    1. I worked on getting my moms finances organized. I had been doing this for several months, because she had moved her money around ( she has plenty) but had messed up her estate planning the way she did it so we had to rename all the new accounts and get me added. We had just about finished that when she got scammed on a phone call in a way that let the scammer into her bank account and potentially gave them info on all her various investment accounts. So we spent a ton of time closing accounts, opening new ones, setting up two factor authentication ..:.
      Then I learned that when she took the computer in to have all the spyware removed they left on the program (which has legit uses ) that installed it, potentially reinstalling all spyware. So I had to convince her to take it back and get it set to factory settings. Then we had to move all the accounts again.

      This is definitely work.

      Next step is getting her to finally go on the 2 year waitlist for the local independent/assisted living center. She has agreed and we did a draft of the paperwork but she hasn’t yet finalized and submitted it.

      In better news, I convinced her before the holidays to order a medical alert so that my kids could help install it when they went there , and it’s now set up. Bonus work by kids was making a medical list of all her conditions and meds to be on the fridge in case she is ever removed by ambulance. The text messages from my kids over what she thought belongs on the list and what she didn’t were very funny.

      We are getting there . Now if I could figure out how to get her to stop driving ..she lost the top half of her sight in her good eye this summer

      1. On driving: my brother and I agreed to present a united front on this, and lovingly insist Mum gave it up. Then she got really ill, so we didn’t actually do it; but I think if the rest of the family could join with you, it might make it easier.

        1. PS. Sounds as if she can’t be legal, anyway – and won’t be insured, since they’re unlikely to pay up if she knows her vision is not what it needs to be.

          1. I don’t know if she is legal. Her eye doctor told my brother she shouldn’t drive and that he (the doctor) would tell her. After later tests she insists he said she had no restrictions. I don’t believe her but my brother doesn’t feel comfortable calling the doctor to ask. My sisters would never tell her not to drive.
            I left the eye doctor a message that she is driving. He has not called me back. She is seeing a vision therapist who also assessed her driving and presumably knows mom drives to her appointments. They could report her to the state licensing bureau. I don’t know if they did. I could do that but I haven’t seen her drive myself (I’m 400 miles away) and I didn’t talk to the doctor.
            I am mulling this …

          2. Debbie, You’re 400 miles away from your mom and you’ve done all this work on her accounts, pushing for assisted care, and arranging for your kids to install a medical alert system in her house? You’re incredible.

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