Happiness is Perspective

I’ve been in what has felt like a constant state of panic stress, and last night I just hit the wall. After I picked myself up, I had the first really coherent thought I’d had in a week:
What if I didn’t do any of the stuff I was trying to do?
Would I get arrested? No. My accountant files an extension and I get the tax stuff to him this week.
Would I go bankrupt? No. None of this has to do with finances or anything legal. Except for the taxes. See above.
Was anybody going to die? No. Bob would scream about the books, but he knew the job was dangerous when he took it.
So basically, I was freaking over being late on stuff and having a complete lack of organizational skills and focus, i.e., my life as usual.
Yeah, I stopped panicking and read an old Agatha Christie country house murder because I have a big chunk of my Christie homage already written. So I was working. Kinda.

Happiness is gaining some perspective.

What made you happy this week?

78 thoughts on “Happiness is Perspective

  1. It was a good week, overall. My cherry tomato crop is ripening, my peppers are ripening, my lettuce is ripening – I made a salad and garnished it with store boughten stuff and loved every bit.

    The dotter is suffering from tax anxiety -MY amended return tax anxiety, in which I claimed her and all the grandkinder in the house as my dependents. So I went from single to Head of Household for an additional 7K USD. Said amendment was mailed 3/18. Amendments can take 16 weeks. It is too soon for her to have a meltdown.

    The warmer weather means the AC has been running. The AC results in condensate in the basement from the Air Handling Unit. No flooding, but it has to be collected and manually dumped. Or the dotter can use it to water her plants. Condensate is more pure than rainwater. I’m wondering if it is good in hydroponics.

  2. Perspective is an excellent thing to have. I forget about it quite a lot, especially while panicking, and have to force myself to take a step back from whatever situation is causing me stress.

    What’s making me happy this week? It’s been my first week of freedom after leaving my job. I’d worked for the same company for 14 years, they closed my branch down, and pharmacy in the UK is receiving less and less funding to do more and more. So I fought for redundancy, got it, and the plan is to take five months off, with a Canada/US trip in May and June, then turning into a couch potato in July and August while watching the Olympics and Wimbledon.

    Did I do any preparing this week, or at the very least any decluttering of the jumble sale that is my flat? No. No, I did not. I read mediocre books, did multiple word searches, and binge-watched Married At First Sight Australia. No regrets.

    1. Sounds like you needed a vacation.

      I’m assuming redundancy meant you received a severance package. I hope so!

    2. Your 5-month plan sounds like you already have something lined up to do with your time starting in September. Since that’s often the Northern Hemisphere start of the academic year, I wonder if perhaps you will either go for an advanced degree or be teaching. (No problem if you’d rather keep plans to yourself. )

      1. I would be an awful teacher…

        I think I’ll probably end up back in pharmacy temporarily but not in a management role, unless I have an epiphany in the next five months and come up with an alternative career. Professional book reader might be a thing by then! I’ve got a couple of contacts who work for different companies to the one I’ve just left, so I’ll get in touch with them when I’m back.

  3. Thinking of Married at First Sight, I finished my reread of Maybe This Time. Love Andi. Forgot that North did a lot of rethinking on his own (nods in his direction). Love Carter and Alice.

    The rereread helped me get stuff done as our month-long trip looms and — things pop up — my daughter needs a ride to PA for a funeral of a close friend.

    Jenny, I’m totally against series and follow ups, but I’d love to see Alice and Carter in further adventures. The bit you sent about Alice looking at the men she loved — Carter and North — was incredibly moving.

  4. Poor Bob! To go through serving in the military and finding out that little did he know the most frightening thing he would face would be your delays, “…but he knew the job was dangerous when he took it.”

  5. Happiness is walking yesterday through Chicano Park in San Diego with its beautiful, angry and inspiring murals. My business partner and I are here for the Microsoft conference so today is heads down working.

  6. Perspective hit me yesterday too. It was a good day. I went to my first rummage sale of the season before I went to work, which is always fun. Then picked up the hubby and went back for a second sweep. We bought grilled hot dogs from the vet association out front for lunch. Dining alfresco is always fun. I got a sewing machine and a ton of vintage rickrack. We stopped at a thrift store on the way home and then I painted most of the afternoon. We made kimchi pancakes and rice for dinner, which was easy and did yoga. After that my brain was happily filled with all the projects I wanted to do. I want to start playing with the sewing machine, but I have to get the paintings done for next month’s show first.

    And then we heard the news about Israel/Iran. I avoid news anymore, especially late at night, and that sent me tail spinning. Trying to regain ground today. Perspective-wise, my messy house doesn’t seem like so much of a problem anymore. It’s not even in the top ten list of things I would want done with my life. Back to painting.

    1. Ooh, what type of sewing machine? I went to an estate sale yesterday in hopes that the old singer was still there, but it had already found a new home.

      1. When my mother died, I inherited her old Singer. I love it! I’ve had several really fancy machines, and getting the tension right was always a problem. The Singer has a little book with guidelines for things, including the tension. It was a snap. Sometimes the older things are better than the new things with all the bells and whistles.

        1. The tiny Gustavus airport near Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska had a bunch of old Singer treadle sewing machines. At least, they were there in 2010. It’s a one-room airport.

          1. My aunt, at whose house I lived for a while between university and my first (and only) permanent job, had a treadle sewing machine (non-functioning, I think), probably inherited from older relatives, stored in the attic. Incurious as I was at that age (at least about some things), I never much looked into it. She donated a lot of stuff to the Cincinnati Historical Society when she moved out years later, and it likely went there.

      2. It’s a lot white Kenmore. Nothing fancy, but also not intimidating. They had some older, potentially nicer ones there, three in total and I kinda wish I had bought another model as well, but here we are. I think that this one is new enough that I will be able to find YouTube videos and parts for it, if necessary.

  7. Stress and anxiety are such a bear to deal with.
    My favorite perspective finder is
    ” Will this matter in 5 years?” 99.9% of the time is NO.
    The other is ” What’s the best that can happen today?”

  8. Happiness is discovering that audiobooks are now included with Spotify premium and that I can listen to the Rivers of London novellas and Murderbot without wondering if I’m wasting a credit on something only 3 hours long! Can’t wait!

    Not sure when Spotify made this change. I think originally you had to pay per listen.

    Other happiness I got out on my bike this morning when the weather was nice. It’s now pouring rain again… The story of this Spring (and Winter).

    1. I recommend you look into what is available through the library. I have enjoyed the audio for both as digital loans. And digital holds come up pretty fast because returns can be done without leaving the house!

  9. Saw my first bluebells this week, and my damson has started opening a few flowers after weeks of looking like it only had leaf buds. And my friend Yvonne is hopefully coming to stay this next week – really looking forward to having fun with her.

    1. Oh – forgot – had the renewal notice for my car insurance & breakdown cover, and it’s only gone up by £10. There’s been a lot of press about big jumps in premiums in the UK, and a friend has just had a battle with it. I’m delighted I finally switched to using a broker that another friend’s been with for years. No more annual wrangle with scamming insurers!

  10. I try to remind myself that most of the stuff that stresses me out is not only not life threatening, but really not important in the long run. Sometimes that helps. Sometimes it doesn’t. I’m trying to be patient about how long the work on my house is taking, and remind myself that once it’s done it will be worth it. Plus, the few people besides me who see the mess really don’t care.

    What is making me happy this morning is the sun finally coming out. I’d almost forgotten what it looked like. Not so happy is the possible damaging thunderstorms they’re calling for this afternoon, right about the time I’m supposed to be teaching an online class live… (I hate thunderstorms to begin with, so this is not optimal. Nor is the migraine that is heralding their arrival.)

    Still, I’m sure it will all be fine. Nothing but good times ahead.

  11. Happiness this week was coffee with a gardening friend and bumping up my tomato seedlings into bigger pots. I have way more tomatoes than I can possibly use but that’s a good problem.

    1. I’ve just potted mine on, too; and lots of other pots are sprouting – it was cosmos & morning glory today.

  12. With all the Murderbot love on the site, some will undoubtedly want to see the text of Martha Wells’s Jack Williamson Lecture:


    I myself have not developed the high feelings for the series felt by many, and am way behind in the series, but I will probably get it all read eventually.

    1. Thank you. That was wonderful, if frightening that so many people can so thoroughly ignore the slavery aspect.

      I had better start keeping up with my Dreamwidth account. I haven’t signed in for months. (Because Argh keeps me so busy reading 😉 )

    2. Ohmigosh, that was WONDERFUL!

      I did not know any of those personal revelation things about Martha Wells, but her ability to deal with all her challenges really amazes and inspires me. She had to have so much courage to get through all she did, without much guidance into what exactly was her situation!

      And slavery was the first impression I had about the environment that MurderBot was in, so what she said about that makes a whole bunch of sense to me.

      Thanks so much for posting this!

  13. Jenny, your post reflects the state of mind I’m in right now.

    Work and stuff (not mine, but those of loved ones) pile up around me and it seems everyone is counting on me being the reliable one, pointing the way as if I were the only one with a torch.
    Anyone remembers Willow of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame? Regarded as the old reliable one? Taken for granted?

    I’m not – I feel like instead of having a torch I only have a couple of matches burning down too fast. The blood pressure has peaked and the joy of life has plummeted.

    So your post came at the best of times.
    None of the tasks in hand have implications legally. None threaten our lives.

    So I’ll just plow through work (those of others!) as much as possible but I can only do so much…

  14. I accomplished some things.

    I managed to not get impatient at work for the most part.

    I ate good things, including donuts from two different vendors and a mini cheese Danish from grocery. Not on the same day, I can’t do that anymore.

    Read a book that I had passed on from the sample, but dearest sister bought and recommended, and it was lovely. Liking the book I am reading now. Nothing better than having a good book going.

    1. JenniferNennifer, I love your definition of eating good things. Usually when I hear that preamble I expect kale and tofu to complete the sentence. Yay donuts and danishes!

  15. Somebody told me a long time ago that sometimes just taking ONE thing off the pile makes the rest manageable. You might need to take a few more off the pile but life should always have room for Agatha Christie, that’s not too much to ask or need or want.

  16. I’m happy that I had an MRI and now know what’s wrong with my hip. (Torn glute muscles) Also happy that I’ll find out how we fix them on Wed.

    I had an amazing day last week with my hubby when we went to a “Know Your Number” lecture by Suzanne Stabile in Grand Rapids. The weather was delightful as was Suzanne. We also enjoyed delicious Thai food and Mediterranean food. It was a fun date day.

    Today the weather is sunny and should reach 75 F. This too makes me very happy!

    1. Great news that MRI had answers! Even better if Wednesday will provide a fix. Keeping fingers crossed!

    2. Not that I know for sure, but torn glute muscles sounds far less bad than a lot of things that happen with hips. I hope the repair is not too involved a process.

  17. I am so happy that little Kali is adjusted to my household, and the walking path, and she met my son and his family and loved them, and she’s sleeping through the night in her crate! One cat is still a holdout, but she’s upstairs most of the time, now, and not hiding in the basement. I’m excited that Jennifer Smith offered to put a photo of Kali on here if I just sent her one in an email. I did that.

    I’m happy that all the Rain Garden stalks are gone, and the lawn is mowed. I was really tired after all that, but things look much better outside.

    I’m happy that my taxes are done and mailed. I’ve started cooking again. Things were in too much of a mess before.

    I’m happy Jenny has conquered the anxiety. lI have some of the same kinds of thoughts, and hearing about her coping skills helped.

    I enjoyed seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, with my family, with the score played by the Kansas City Symphony. They may start over again on all the movies!

    I’m happy my son is so handy, and fixed the gate so that it doesn’t blow open. Scary!

    1. Looking forward to seeing photos of Kali! I’m glad that is working out for you both!

  18. On Thursday, Debbie said, “My … son, who … has been reading many Agatha Christies, announced that he wants to write a mystery set in a mega church some day. Because there could be so many interesting characters. I don’t think he has ever been in a mega church.”

    That actually sounded like an interesting setting for a mystery, and I did a Google search to see what had been done already in that area.  Evidently very little!  The only qualifying hit that I came up with was one centered on a Nigerian megachurch, of all things:  Femi Kayode, Gaslight. 

    I’ll bet my search missed a few North American examples, but it does not seem to be a common theme, and is probably ripe for more exploitation.  I just reserved the Kayode print book at the library, but with a delayed activation.  Too much too read just now!

    1. A friend and I started a cozy with megachurch villains a number of years back, but it languishes. I don’t remember coming across any published ones, either, although what is a megachurch but a cult? And I think there are a lot of mainstream mysteries and thrillers featuring cults… Still, the blatantly corporate, MLM-esque modern megachurches give a different aesthetic, if nothing else. You can write your soccer moms and your Silicon Valley good ol’ boys.

      1. Cristine,

        From what I’ve read about them, I strongly disagree that a megachurch is likely to be any sort of cult (as the word is commonly understood), although they certainly have their own vibe. A writer could make one into a cult if desired, and there are probably real-world examples, but that’s not a book I’d particularly want to read. However, there are umpteen mystery novels about cults, some of them depicted as having large memberships, to be sure.

        I agree that megachurches seem to have their own feel. Andrew Greeley (and probably others) wrote mystery novels centered on a big-city Catholic cathedral, which may have a comparably large staff and number of congregants, but there the feel is different.

        Similarly, there are mysteries with fictional revivalist preachers a la Billy Graham or a la Aimee Semple McPherson, and umpteen mysteries with normal sized Protestant churches, but they’re not the same thing as megachurches. So I see a nearly empty mystery niche here!

        1. Just noticed that I misspelled Christine, and that the devil autocorrect let me get away with that at the same time as it tries to change so many real words. Sorry!

      2. I attended a megachurch for nearly 15 years. I met and married my husband there. While there is a bit of a special vibe with a megachurch, the primary thing it offers folks is the ability to stay anonymous. You only have to connect if you want to. It’s very easy to hide in the crowd. Other than that, it’s just a church.

  19. What made me happy – we have a week’s break from school, and everyone, everyone was tired and needed this moment. I am looking forward to two quiet weekends at home, but DH, younger son and I are going to Rio for 4 days, celebrating 30th wedding anniversary and 21st birthday of the young man.

    I am happy and apprehensive at the same time – we are moving back from Brazil to Europe, and there is a lot of admin and bureaucracy to negotiate, especially surrounding export of dog. I am really happy to be moving to Europe, although living in Brazil has been amazing and it is a great country to visit, to travel round and to live in. But it is time – we’re the filling in the sandwich between adult children who need to fly the nest and parents who really need us closer to them. And the job I am going to will be fascinating, tough, rewarding, interesting.

    1. That’s one great adventure ahead for you all! Hope the moving back will go smoothly and that the new job will be as exciting as you anticipate. Or, even better!:)

  20. I have continued to fill the house with tulips and now our Korean cherry trees are in bloom.

    I had asked my son a while back what he remembered from preschool and this week he shared a new memory .
    “I got really into drawing ampersands at one point. Not sure why.
    And one of the childcare peeps was like oh what are you drawing is that a mother holding a baby Or something
    Because I guess that’s what you’d expect of an, I don’t know, 3 year old?
    And I was like WTF no it’s an and sign.
    And she was very confused.
    She asked like several times are you sure that’s not a mom and a baby.”

    This has made me smile ever since. You might need to know this kid to know how much it’s quintessential him. It also made me remember when his sister about age 11 brought home a pottery vase she had made with a satyr on the lid (very quintessential her both in making a lid for a vase and in the Greek myth interest) and he brought home a piece of pottery and asked us to guess what it was and we thought it was a swan with wings out and he said very indignantly “No it’s a sink!”

    Twenty years later memories of both my kids still make me smile.

  21. I went to the GP on Thursday because I’d had increasing pains in left side of chest, left arm and neck for a few days. She checked me and established that I wasn’t dying, but that I appeared dehydrated and might have muscle pains extending from back/neck to chest/arm – only explanation she could think of. I have had a lot of muscle-related pain from neck and back shooting down into arm/hand before, and this doesn’t feel at all like that, but we’ll find out. I’ve got an appointment with my physiotherapist tomorrow morning (couldn’t get one sooner, unfortunately. Perspective: I’m happy I didn’t have a heart-attack and died. I’m still in a lot of pain though, so I hope the physio can figure out what’s going on, if it is muscle-related. And if not, how to proceed.
    We should’ve played videogames at MIL’s today, but Sven was too tired. MIL asked if I wanted to take a walk in the sun instead then, so we did that. It was very nice. Except for me noticing that my body really isn’t in a happy place right now, it was great to move a bit and be outside. We walked up to what they here call a kinderboerderij (kid’s farm) with a little pony and donkeys and chickens and whatnots, and discovered they have a little shop there with home-made jams and syrups and soaps and spices and such. I said to MIL that’s a great place to make great gift-baskets for people! They also serve coffee, cold drinks and baked goods, so we took a break in the sun while she had a cappuccino and I a rhubarb soda. I have the very best MIL. <3
    Also sat in the yard with Sven and the cats for a while this afternoon, getting some more sun while he was listening to football on the radio and I played a videogame for myself. Peaceful happy.
    Rereading Bet Me. Happyhappy. <3
    Taking every little happy I can!

    1. Scary. I’m glad she saw you soon fast and i hope the physiotherapist can resolve it quickly

  22. My happy was going to Bulgaria for a week’s sightseeing and meeting my eldest’s son’s girlfriend’s parents. If she wasn’t Bulgarian we would have never visited that country and we would have missed out.

    Highlights, apart from meeting the parents who are lovely people like their daughter, were the amazing 12 th century frescoes in the tiny Boyana Church at the foothills of Mount Vitosha in Sofia and the 19th century merchant houses in the old town in Plovdiv.

  23. I find it low-key alarming how many issues can actually be swept under the rug with little (immediate) consequence. What is all my panicking and stress for?

    My happiness this week was getting my WIP to my beta reader, then diving back into a YA urban fantasy that I haven’t worked on in about a year. What I’ve got so far is so funny! Definitely some of my best writing. Just hoping I can match that tone and wit, because my brain a year later maybe doesn’t do that… I also worked on some photoshop projects that are coming along nicely.

  24. Perspective: I have another week and more off from work for the cataract surgery (second eye on Tuesday) and I’m relishing the whole thing of not having to be anywhere specific (except for surgery day and the followup appointment) for more than two weeks. I don’t need to push myself to go to the grocery on a specific day because I don’t have to fit it in before my next work day. I miss work, because it’s interesting (or I wouldn’t have stayed there for thirteen years) and it’s terribly frustrating not to be allowed to do any garden work while I have this time off in the middle of April (“No water, no dust, no dirt”) but it’s bliss to be able to just stay home and not leave.

  25. Happy this week was getting through a ton of work deadlines with only 2 hours overtime, getting the tax returns mailed out (with an assist from DH), getting car maintenance done (2 new tires, should be good till the car dies given how little I drive), and having a four-day weekend. Saturday went entirely to car stuff and reading; today I’m having breakfast with DH and then must settle in to a final proof review of the new novel releasing on the 20th.

    And then I still have two days off. 🙂

  26. Woof. I hit a wall this week as well. Crashed and burned for 3 days, then sleeping 12h per day since. But I realized that my todo lists had grown to 40+ tasks per day (that I was completing) and realized that that is not sustainable.

    Still wrestling with how far to prune my daily task list, but happy that there’s not much that’s time-sensitive. I just need to give myself a little grace on deadlines and such. Sigh.

  27. I have a sign on my desk that says “Most of the things you are worrying about are never going to happen.” I try to look at it often.

    1. When I worked at a company that sold office supplies and furniture I had a sign on my tack board that said “men have died, and worms have eaten them, but not for office supplies”. I felt sure dear Shakespeare wouldn’t mind me borrowing and I found it a helpful reminder.

  28. Just before I left for the library to return other books, on the day it was due, one last search turned up the misplaced library book that I’d previously mentioned.  Matters were not yet urgent, since the library has abolished fines and only considers books lost after 4 weeks, but I was happier to have it properly returned.  Of course, I never got it read (not that it probably would have been first in line even if I’d known where it was), so I may take it out again at some point.

    The hopefully-routine medical appointment that I’d mentioned as scheduled for last Friday got rescheduled by the medical group at the last minute, which was annoying,  but did give me time to do some deskwork that day, so that I got the most urgent fires put out.  Lots more deskwork remains.

    A while back, out of curiosity I bought a package of imported Swedish rye crispbread.  This turned out to be somewhat ungainly.  Each sheet of crispbread is 19 cm in diameter (comes out even in metric, so probably by intention), with a large hole in the middle.  Research indicated that this is a traditional shape, and that in Sweden in olden times large quantities of crispbread were strung through the holes onto poles and then stored high in houses, near the rafters, to see families through the winter.  I don’t think that with local humidity and insects, it would be a good idea to store the stuff unwrapped here, and I had some difficulty finding a big enough plastic bag to hold the opened package and then a good place to put it.  I’ve been breaking pieces off a single sheet as I use it (I had to break the “current” sheet in two in order to store it in a more nearly normal-sized plastic bag) and I am only on my second sheet so far, but it tastes good and I like the texture.  (I’ve been using it like I would a cracker or a matzo.)  I wonder if it comes in, and is locally available in, a more convenient shape.  Rye crisp is a similar but not identical product long available here.

      1. Debbie, The internet shows some nearby stores as carrying those. I’ll check it out when my current package is used up.

    1. Correction: I’m clearly metric-impaired, with poor instinctive ideas of how large a measurement in cm is in real life. I eventually realized 19 cm had to be too little and I remeasured. 29 cm in diameter! That’s just short of one foot. That particular tape measure is a bit hard to read, and shows the 10s place only every 10 cm.

  29. It’s a good news, bad news week. RIGHT after finding out that all of my chances of reassignment at work have been shot to hell thanks to budget cuts and bad timing, and my preferential hiring/”no, we can’t read your HR file” status ends at the end of the month so I’d have to apply as a normal candidate who won’t get hired because of her awful HR file…well, the dream of keeping my beneficial overall employer (and insurance that pays for my therapy) is fucking gone. My drop dead date for medical separation is the end of July, so after that I’m done forever officially.

    Hiring freezes both at my employer and at the state, where I’ve applied for most jobs, are likely to happen this spring, possibly any second now. I seriously put in a prayer to St. Expedite that I get hired before that happens.

    Then I got a tentative job offer. For a much lower paid position. In a prison. In person. (I note when applying, I was applying at their medical facility and was unaware it was in the prison proper. Surprise!) This was my worst interview ever, it lasted 15 minutes and ended after they asked me if I’d been disciplined. Frankly, I think they just ran out of better people and were stuck having to ask me, the guy was pretty frantic and demanded an answer immediately (said they’d been short staffed for over a month and this job processing fell through the cracks). So it’s waiting on a background check for weeks before it becomes a formal offer, but they’re shooting for May 1.

    This is the best I can do and I have to take it if it’s offered. I’m terrified, but I can’t wait around any longer and frankly, literally going to prison may be better than my current job. Current job hasn’t gotten me shot yet, but otherwise they’ve bullied, abused, mentally fucked with me and caused me to have whopping nervous breakdown for years and have ruined my brain and my career. I’m truly terrified I can never recover from all of the written up shame they have piled upon me on my work record. I never, ever want to have to say “this is my current supervisor and here is how to contact her” AGAIN, because every single job insists on contacting her.

    (I note I had another interview this week where they said they background check you and do everything but a polygraph, for SIX MONTHS and they contact everyone you’ve ever worked for. I was all, “okay, so not getting this job, then.” Fine, I wasn’t in love with that job anyway. I’m hoping the prison isn’t this thorough, the one this week was Dept. of Justice.)

    I have two more interviews this week and I’d like to think that once I get in with the state, I can move elsewhere–my employer had no flexibility on moving out of there, obviously. So literally getting my foot in the door anywhere ASAP may be the best that I can do, and prayer to saints (Anthony and Expedite) has gotten me…this. I was hoping for better, but I have to get out however I can before the hiring freezes hit the state, even if it involves crawling through sewage.

    1. I’m not sure how these things work out in practice, but here is my best guess (not as an expert): In principle a background investigation, such as this the DOJ one, is looking not at previous job performance, but at how likely you are to do something illegal, especially to leak (or sell) confidential information, and whether you have “bad” character habits like frequently getting drunk. Any run-ins with the police would probably be looked at very closely. There are legal limitations on what a security background investigation can look into. If your previous work record is a negative with this DOJ application, it will probably be through administrative channels similar to what any large employer would use, not the background investigation.

      1. They said they were looking for lies, specifically, but at this point between all of my writeups at work and my having a big ol’ nervous breakdown there and a fender-bender within the last six months, I don’t look the best. No police run-ins, unless you count the fender bender guy trying to call the cops on me and they refused to come 😛

        It’s okay, I wasn’t in love with that job and they make you work overtime with no days off for three months a year and that’s the entire holiday season.

    2. My Aunt worked in the Bureau of Prisons systems for over 30 years. She liked it fine, although she would tell you that she preferred the inmates to her coworkers. She was trained in security, and experienced lockdowns, but was never in a truly dangerous situation.

      She would tell you, I believe, that inmates are just people and if you treat them with a modicum of respect, the dignity you afford any other human being, that you will be fine. She has always held firm that it was easier than teaching because inmates have to listen to you.

  30. The Duelist went back to the library when due, with my rewatch with subtitles off almost complete, but not quite. The one additional insight gained this time through was that one of the very same people who is arguing that our hero is not a _dvoryanin_ and hence is ineligible to fight a duel nonetheless calls him “gospodin Yakovlev,” so assuming the filmmakers had it right, the word “gospodin” already just meant “mister” in 1860, rather than being a title only for the dvoryanin class, as it reportedly had been at some earlier point. (Crime and Punishment was published only a little later, in 1866. I’ve read it in Russian at least twice. If I have another go, I’ll have to pay attention to the use of “gospodin.”)

  31. Goodness, I felt something in my chest relax when reading your blog entry. Thank you!

    Last week and this weekend was all about rehearsals and then the concert for my community chorus. We have a really fine new director, and she put together a program of mostly brand new music for the first half and the Mozart Solemn Vespers for the second. I got to sing the soprano solos, and had a wonderful time, since this is the music I trained for and studied for so long. So that was a pretty wonderful weekend, despite taking a fall while carrying boxes and not seeing where the step was. That’s life: a diva one moment, one the ground the next. Nothing a bit of naproxen won’t take care of, fortunately.

    So this week is playing catch up on errands, and sending in taxes, but that’s all right, no need to panic. And it’s sunny today, so life is good.

  32. My new perspective is on my minuscule en suite bathroom. Really, it’s a TARDIS. I’ve been deep cleaning it. It’s bigger on the inside.

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