64 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, March 15, 2023

  1. “What’ll we do this week, Brain?” “Same thing we do every week, Pinky – try to take over the world!”

    I did the same thing I do every week of my retirement – hydroponically take over the basement. There is, of course, a mid-month gardening post on my poor excuse for a blog. In fact, it posted prematurely, with no new pictures, so you’d just have to take my word that there was riotous growth among the lettuces and the red pepper plants have at least germinated. The purple super-hots and red fire peppers are growing nicely, but it’ll be at least a month before they begin fruiting.

    I have a 6-quart container full of lettuce and spinach to munch on while it lasts. I pruned vigorously.

    The tomatoes are mostly satisfactory. They are all confined to mason jars at the moment, awaiting spring weather to pass to the dotter’s care. I indicted the AeroGarden Mega Tomato seed pod for Failure to Germinate. It was executed this week and its jar taken over by one of my last Heirloom Cherry Tomato seed pods.

    My ribs are in their sixth week of knitting and not even a doily to show for it. Still some pain there, so I’ll allow another week before I take up alpine skiing, or sleeping on my right side.

    I continue to unpack. I’m finding little treasures.

      1. I encourage experimentation. The AeroGarden seed pods that have worked best for me have been the herbs that came in a foil pouch, the lettuces, the purple super-hot and red fire peppers.

        For sweet peppers, the Smart Garden pods have produced the most.

        So far, the AeroGarden tomato seed pods have been prodigeous, when i have them where they can grow tall enough or wide enough. EZ-Gro sells seed kits and liquid nutrients, but I don’t think they have their own equipment. They are the source of my spinach plant. OTOH, I planted six spinach seed pods with their seeds and I have only one that germinated (that sucker is enormous, more spinach than my salads cry out for.)

        The problem with most seeds is that you have to identify dwarf varieties for the Harvest and iDoo hydroponic units unless you plan to transplant the tall ones to dirt. Even that’s not strictly true. I have those six amber mason jars and their lights go up to 36″ tall. At that point, the lights are detachable from their bracket and you can suspend them from a hanger of your own creation to get more height, as much as you need.

        Final note: AeroGarden Seed Pods come with a guarantee of germination or free replacement. Read the fine print, but they honored my request for replacements.

  2. I just saw a meme with the caption “Julius Gaius Caesar, popular Roman leader and author, dies at the age of 55 surrounded by his friends.”

    This past weekend was quilt show judging. Two very long days had me exhausted Sunday evening. I crawled into bed. Stanley followed and made sure I knew he missed me.

    I’m still plodding along on two different crochet blankets, when I’m not working or sleeping.

  3. I started a big painting. 24 by 42 inches. I haven’t worked large since pre pandemic. I am a little nervous, but also excited.

  4. What else? Taxes. They aren’t due on the 15th of April this year, but soon after, so that is about one month. On a side note, did you know that every month had an ides? March, May, July and October had the ides on the fifteenth; the rest, on the thirteenth. We already watch out for Friday the thirteenth.

  5. I shoveled snow yesterday…twice!

    Off topic, but this group will know the answer, I’m sure. I have finished rereading the first 4 Murderbot novellas and am ready to go on to the next; my question is, do I read Network Effect first, or the next novella, Fugitive Telemetry? I’m not sure where it (FT) falls in the timeline.

      1. 0. Compulsory “My risk-assessment module predicts a 53 percent chance of a human-on-human massacre before the end of the contract.”

        1. All Systems Red On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

        2. Artificial Condition It has a dark past — one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot.” But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

        3. Rogue Protocol The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is. And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

        4. Exit Strategy Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right? Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.

        5. Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory This short story is told from the point of view of Dr. Mensah and follows the events in Exit Strategy. Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory was originally given free to readers who pre-ordered Martha’s Murderbot novel, Network Effect.

        6. Fugitive Telemetry Set before Network Effect. When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?)

        7. Network Effect Murderbot returns in its highly-anticipated, first, full-length standalone novel.

  6. I did my accounts while snowbound, and came up with a new, simpler system. Also brainstormed my stress/unhappiness, and came up with a more structured approach. This is still a work in progress, partly because I haven’t got a creative project on the go for rainy days – and it looks like there’s a lot to get my head round before I can start one (need to master software upgrades, etc.), and then because my wonderful new greenhouse, which I waited four months for, was badly damaged by high winds on Monday. I went there yesterday to sow salad stuff, and discovered 9 panes, including nearly all the roof, blown out.

    Unfortunately, the guy who built it isn’t available for a month, but this morning the allotment chairman volunteered, plus I managed to buy the materials we need, so I’m feeling more cheerful. It turns out there are optional extra fixings you can use, plus sealant and tape; and we’re going to add a couple of battens as well, to make it as wind-proof as possible.

    I have – a little late, since I was away last week – begun my seed-sowing at home. The workroom windowsills are full of propagators and pots.

      1. I’m so sorry about the damage to the greenhouse! Looking forward to seeing the new stronger version.

          1. There were two bionic men. Lee Majors played Steve Austin, who had two bionic legs, one arm, and one eye. There was an episode where a second bionic man – both legs and arms – had trouble adjusting and had to have his limbs powered down to normal human limits. There was also the Bionic Woman (Lindsey Wagner) and another bionic woman played briefly by Sandra Bullock.

      2. You put in a lot of work on that plot! It looks great. I’m so sorry about the damage to the lovely new greenhouse. I hope the repairs make it more impregnable.

    1. I truly admire a structured approach and plan for stress and unhappiness. As a therapist said to me s long time ago: “The joy is on its way.”

    2. The greenhouse looks lovely. I hope you get it back together easily. Your propagation is making me both jealous and guilty. (I should have gotten farther along BEFORE the strep throat felled me.)

  7. I spent last week getting my mom’s license revoked. This week I will work on stopping her from suing the woman that she claims hit her car last fall because it increasingly looks like mom was at fault.

    I also got a call from a secret informant! My mom asked a friend in confidence to take her to get a driving test to show she is a safe driver. But I think my mom can’t do any driving test while her license is suspended. (The SI is trying to help keep mom off the road while also keeping a good relationship with her since the SI is probably the only local person mom can turn to in emergencies.)

    My mom has also apparently realized her primary care doc isn’t going to give her a letter saying she is safe to drive so she told SI she is asking a different doctor who treated her for one particular health issue for the letter. Hopefully that doctor will refer her back to her primary doc. Points to mom for determination. I would rather give her points for her and others’ safety over her convenience.

    And of course I’m working on taxes. Our taxes, getting my daughter set up on her taxes, my dad’s trusts taxes, and gently nagging my foster daughter.

    Also a lot of day job work on census data, in part because a new nasty conflict has arisen around how to count race and ethnicity.

    If I have time, polishing the antique silver set and trying to identify who made it and when. And whether those tiny forks are for oysters and seafood, fruit, strawberries, or cold cuts. That would be the fun job!

    1. Also yay! I figured out what I did wrong that changed my picture and I have my correct identity back!

    2. Wow! Your mom is a force to be reckoned with! Just keeping one step ahead of her must be a full time job! Best of luck on that prospect.

    3. I sympathize with your efforts to keep your mom from driving, Debbie. That was one of the hardest things we had to do when my mom started showing signs of dementia. When we got a call from a friend who said that mom had stopped by her house on the way home from the hairdresser to ask for directions to get the rest of the way home (just a few blocks away with only one turn) we new it was time. She was reported into the department of motor vehicles, who made her take a driving test (which she failed–scaring the tester half to death) and her license was revoked. She fought the whole process like hell and called/wrote everyone she knew for help to get her license back. We wound up getting rid of the car so there was nothing for her to drive. She’s been dead for years and is probably still mad at my brother, who she blamed the whole thing on because he is the one who drove her to the driving test.

      I hope you are able to get things resolved with a minimum of trauma.

      1. Thanks. How did you manage to get rid of the car? My mom doesn’t (I think) have dementia but I’m afraid she may drive without the license

        1. First we tried hiding the keys, but she just called the Auto Club to get her back in business so we physically took the car away and gave it to a relative. When she asked where it was, we’d just say “remember, you loaned it to so-and-so” or our other favorite “it’s off at the shop getting an oil change so it will be safe to drive.”

          As her dementia progressed, so did our creative-lying skills.

  8. I’m mostly working on dealing with a foot of snow. Interestingly, we got 2 feet on this day (the 14th) last year, and about that 6 years ago, according to my Facebook memories. So apparently this is The Day It Snows. I am eagerly awaiting the day it is spring.

    Yes, supposedly that’s Monday the 20th, but here in upstate NY I refer to the spring equinox as “theoretical calendar spring,” because it is usually still covered with snow.

    On the bright side, I did actually get a start on the new novel while snowed in, so that’s something.

    1. I have glaciers forming a the I have glaciers forming on the idea of the driveway and walkways. Trying to get sunshine on asphalt to increase the heat sink. Also moving the ice and snow to the top of the driveway so I don’t have lift over 4′. More snow tomorrow.

      1. My question was actually for Deborah but I’m interested in all snow removal strategies. I used to use them myself but climate change is reducing the need…

  9. My day seems to be going a lot differently than I thought it was going to go late yesterday afternoon and that’s a good thing.

    I was making supper and heard Toodles (the almost-18-year-old cat) downstairs complaining about something. I called her to come up to me and Paul said she was hurt and walking like Pumpkin was before we had to put him down last year. I go tearing downstairs and it looks like she’s walking flat footed and can’t put weight on her right rear paw. Get her upstairs, put her on the Hoosier cabinet where she has her food and she doesn’t look happy, but she immediately starts eating so that’s a good sign.

    After many tears and thinking I’m going to have to put her down today, I finished making supper and ate. She’s sleeping in my armchair. I checked on her all evening and didn’t bother her as she was sleeping, but just before bed I set her on the floor to watch her walk. She walked normally to my chair, gave me the evil eye, jumped up gracefully onto my chair, onto the cabinet, and went to eat some more. I decided that she was feeling better and not in any appreciable pain given how she attacked her food so she got her thyroid pill and I got another dirty look.

    I don’t think her original walking issue was anything other than a bit of old age mixed with sleeping in her favourite spot on the heated tile floor in the bathroom. It might be heated, but it’s still tile.

    Other than that, it’s the day job and 3 days this week at the drug store. On Saturday I work with the new guy; here’s hoping it’s a quiet day. Neither of us have keys so the manager has to come down and open the store and lock up for us. That’s way less of a inconvenience for her than all the former drama.

    We priced out getting our picture window replaced and it looks like it might be close to $1000 less (hard to believe, I know) than we were thinking and getting triple-pane glass isn’t insanely more expensive. It’s almost 8′ x 4′ 8″ so if we can upgrade to triple pane for $400, it’s worth it in the long run.

  10. TLDR; busy week!
    An insane week: Zoom meeting with new interim pastors, voting on contract; Church’s Annual Meeting (Congregational), approving motions and reports; Zoom meeting with new interim conductor, voting on contract; writing program notes; visiting lawyer to discuss power of attorney and estate documents; lovely, lovely visit from 9 dear family members, including 4 small children. Trying to do contract day job. Ooof!
    But, although this all happened in one week, now most of those things are done for quite a while.
    Going to Boston on Friday to hear a Boston Symphony Concert in the afternoon, haven’t been to Boston in quite a while, so looking forward to that.

  11. I’ve been working on self care. Replacing worn out clothes, a new eyeshadow palette and lipstick for spring, etc. I read The Artist’s Way more than two decades ago and KNOW how important this is and yet it’s difficult to do. Feed your creative soul, practice some self care!

  12. Finding my desk so I can organize taxes to give to the accountant; this includes documenting last year’s volunteer mission trip to Africa, which occurred last spring!

    Getting ready for five day visit from my daughter and g-daughter (Texas School Break).

    Working with DH to reschedule Mission Conference which was supposed to occur this last Saturday, but which we canceled because is looked as if it would not be safe-driving for half the state. (Of course it turned out that we didn’t even have to shovel the steps, but it did allow us to attend the funeral of a friend who died suddenly and expectantly two weeks ago). We have the goal of much better publicity this next go-around, and getting all the paper-work in on time!

    Aside from the taxes organization, it looks as if the rest of this week is gong to be full of joyful activities!

  13. After 5 days of coaching in Ft. Worth I returned home to two days of frantic preparation for a Regional tournament in Grand Rapids (about two hours away). We had 45 people fencing over the two days (not all were kids, but mostly), some fencing multiple events. I was mostly the only coach there. So I almost never got to sit down. And it was very poorly run, most of the afternoon (or even late morning) events started anywhere from two to four hours late. I was there from 7:15 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. on Saturday (and that was just when my last fencer got done), and then after 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. I’m still exhausted.

    There was lots of good performances though, and almost everyone did pretty well despite the long delays. So overall a success, but an exhausting success. Now I get a few weeks break and then we do something like that again starting in mid-April, though those will certainly be better run.

  14. Got the new Sherry Thomas Lady Sherlock audiobook yesterday, so there is NO WORKING today.

    Well, okay, no working for the rest of today. So far this week, I’ve made some progress on a new cozy mystery proposal to send to my agent next week (and I still like it, which is always a good sign), and I got my monthly dose of burosumab (which adds up to make me, if not bionic, at least a Million Dollar (wo)Man every four or five years, and I’ve been on it for seven years), and put gas in my car (I drive so little that’s a quarterly event, not weekly or even monthly, so it feels like a major project). Oh, and I mailed the signature page so my accountant can file my taxes and I can get most of my quarterly payments back (I knew I’d overpaid, but not quite how massively I’d overpaid) and use them to partly pay for a new dishwasher (two, actually; one for me and a matching one for my tenant whose unit has the same odd size as mine).

  15. I did a couple tiny tax-prep things that I owed to DH, who does our taxes. He’s taking an extension so I’m not rushing. Still have to do the form about HSA contributions, then my part is done.

    Wrote the penultimate chapter of the holiday novelette in progress.

    Stayed dry throughout the past almost 48 hours of rain. The yard is SOAKED. I really need to get out there this weekend and do weed control, because damn do these weeds like rain.

    Tonight I need to draft a blog post on behalf of an internet friend who has a book launching tomorrow. He sent me all the content, now I need to try to lay it out nicely.

    Also need to get DH to acquiesce to decluttering a few things that are technically his. 🙂

    1. You just reminded me that tomorrow we’re going to check the gutters on the back of the house. With all the rain we’ve had I did a double take walking through the dining room and saw a stain on one the curtains. We can only hope it is from a clogged gutter and go from there. Two hundred year old house it could be anything.

  16. Working on taxes, painting last bits, sorting through cookbooks I want on the shelf, lots to give away, getting ready for a one day conference in Victoria (first in three years) this weekend, walking every day or every other day, trying to convince H we should fly to Edmonton instead of driving next month. AC has a one day sale today and it is a very good price. It is a long drive from Vancouver to Edmonton. I really want to fly. And watching the birds, happy in the sunshine.

    On the down side, we have tenant problems for which the landlord/tenant agency says tenant is in breach of contract. We are very fair and respectful of the tenants. Just ticks me off that we have been taken advantage of. Final straw, the duplex is going on the market in April.

    1. Landlording is a lot harder than the “passive income” hustlers claim! My current tenants are lovely, but I’ve had some stinkers along the way.

  17. I’ve had a new person join my team at work so I’m extra busy with training. But it’s great having her here.

    And I’ve kept going with limiting the number of things I try to do outside work and that’s still working. I can still focus and I’m getting more done. This week has been focused on cars, because I’ve just picked up a second hand electric car half an hour ago. I’m excited! I’m going on a road trip at Easter and I reckon there’s enough chargers around that we can take the electric car, yippee.

  18. Still in a period of easy weeks with no appointments and minimal meetings. That will end the last week of March when progressive events seem to be piling up one on top of the other.

    Didn’t get more than a light coating of snow since I don’t live in the higher elevations. Makes it easier to walk the dog. On the downside, my internet connection was down for most of two days. I did get to procrastinate on a couple of things I need to do online and read more but now I have to get them done.

  19. I worked on cleaning out my bedroom closet. After 3 years of work-from-home, there was an awful lot of clothing in there that was just gathering dust, including a number of evening gowns from when I used to have to attend fancy events as part of the job. I’m looking for a place to donate those–possibly someplace that provides prom gowns for those who can’t afford them.

    Weeding through all of the clothing I had acquired was trying, and trying on things was a little demoralizing (I seem to have shape-shifted over the years), but as a plus, I uncovered a number of items that I didn’t even remember I had, so it’s like I now have a partial new wardrobe.

  20. I flew to Johannesburg for work. I was very stressed out about it because I am still feeling the effects of Long Covid and didn’t think I’d have the energy. But it turned out OK. I built time into the trip to recover – arriving a day early and leaving a day late – and I slept 10 hours every evening. My classes were great and the students were enthusiastic. It didn’t hurt that it was 28C and sunny while my husband was sending me photos of snow in the back garden!

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