Here, There and Everywhere

Rather, This, That and Everything.

Computers

Still on the backup one, running Windows 2000, slow as molasses, and anti-virus is definitely out of date. I finally realized I was spending more time with the webmail interface I use while travelling than I'd spend getting Thunderbird up and running properly, so I tried. Failed. A few days later I got hubby to do it. Good thing, too — I’d flagged some emails for the storytellers as needing follow-up. Ah, the joys of relying on electronic versions.

My try at moving to the Palm for everything lasted 4 months this time. Last time it lasted a year, but there’s something about being able to scribble and erase that’s awfully nice, not to mention the problem of not quite trusting it. I went back to paper just about the time the computer went, fortunately, because I didn’t want to try hotsynching it to the backup computer.

Took about a week for the main machine to die. Hubby’s attempt to fix it was the death stroke. Hardware guy at work agrees mother board is dead. Calls Intel, since it’s got 6 months left on 2 year warranty, exact replacement or cheque for original amount. Told they were sending a shipping package, in which to ship it to the states for their examination. (What, no local guy?) Three weeks later, still no package; he calls, hears, “What shipping package? And you’ve got 3 days left to get it here or the warranty ticket expires.” $60 to UPS it. Replacement board arrives, and fries. Turns out it’s something else that’s frying them. Explore, research, and there’s a guy locally who will diagnose for $60, leaving us with a list of things to spend more money on.

He finally decided to replace the motherboard, CPU, and a few other bits, including sound card, so maybe I’ll have sound I can hear over the worms outside. But he’s a bit busy, so it may be a few more weeks.

Reading

I felt the urge to read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits again. Not quite sure why, maybe it was the looming awareness of th 2-year anniversary of reading it (well, most of it) the first time. This time I finished it, got the sequel, and then one of his son’s, and another by him. Think I’m Covey’ed out for the moment. Or maybe I should get the first one out again.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a good book. A tough read at times, so don’t be surprised if you don’t do all the exercises or skim over bits. I’m doing some of the exercises in stages, which is quite alright as he himself says they’re things that should be revisited over time. Such as mission statement, roles, long-term goals. I really should buy myself a copy rather than rely on the library’s. Then again, they usually have a copy on the shelves.

Like any popular book advice book that’s any good, don’t rely on the summaries. All too often the summary misses a key point; maybe one the summarizer didn’t understand, or maybe one he thought was so obvious and intuitive it wasn’t necessary. But without that key point, it falls down. Like Grey’s Mars/Venus book; the summaries all too often claim that he says “all men” and “all women”, when it’s quite explicitly stated in the front, and several times within, that we’re all blends, and that blend changes over time.

Living the 7 Habits is a great sequel. It shows real people’s experiences, and how powerful some of the habits can be. The initial sections, though, can be tear-causing.

The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make, by son Sean Covey, didn’t live up to its promise, at least not for me. A little too preachy and cheerleading at times, and some of the anecdotes sound contrived. He’s got some interesting facts and ways to look at things. Won’t do a bit of good for kids who’ve already decided to screw up their lives, but might prove useful for kids who are still considering it. Or basically good, well-meaning kids who might need help distinguishing between roads.

First Things First looks to me like a sequel for the sake of a sequel. Most of it was discussed in 7 Habits. A few more details for the forms they like (but they do emphasize that you should use the forms that work for you, the ones they show are just examples), some case studies for being pro-active in Quadrant II. And ends with a review of other time and character management literature. I think I was lucky, though; my first encounter with what they call Generation 3 time management was with a Generation 4 (Covey) perspective. As in, when I was first told to find goals, I was also told to do a mission statement that those goals would support. So for me the two generations are combined.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Families is next on the list.

Unfortunately, I think many of the things I’ve been spending time on don’t really support my mission statement, roles and goals. I’m becoming ambivalent about some of them because of that, and I miss enjoying them. I’ve managed to scale back on a few newsgroups, but for technical reasons it’s hard to do on some of the others.

My favourite quote:

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
– Viktor E. Frankl

Writing

Muses are silent. Probably drowned out. Getting tired of having faith that they’ll return. And have two more sites to put existing work up on.

Stalled on moving one story to public. It all depends on how one person I no longer talk to would take it. At one time, I thought she objected to me stealing her idea; minor in her story, central premise of mine. Yes, she was the first I read to put that idea in that fandom, but I’m positive I wrote the first draft before meeting her. Besides, other than that point, the stories are different. If she really does object, I have enough prior art available to hold my own. But then I realized she might be objecting to a different story altogether.

Would she object openly, or bitch behind my back, or not be affected by it at all? If she objects openly, I can cite prior art. If she does it behind my back, I’d like a pre-emptive strike; bitching behind my back is a hot button; yeah, low-road thinking. If she’d not be affected at all, I’m doing her a disservice by even thinking she might object, and for that I apologize. Fact is, I’ve absolutely no clue what she thinks about me these days, and would prefer she not think about me at all.

Gardening

The first thing I loved about this house was the large gardens. Solid evidence someone had put in a lot of time planting perennials. Except I didn’t realize how long they’d been untended and how much work they’d be to repair. I spent maybe 20 hours picking broken brick mulch out of the front garden. She’d dumped a bag in one corner. Rocks as deep as 8 inches in some places, and hardly any in others. I generally scratched the soil 1-2cm and dug deeper if I found any.

(Believe it or not, I found someone to take them; http://www.freecycle.org. Check it out — there are member groups everywhere, world-wide.)

In the past year I’ve sent away 20 large bags of shrubbery trimmings.

Last Saturday I spread 2/3 cu yd of top soil over the front lawn, to 1/4 inch or deeper, depending on how bumpy the ground was, smoothed, and spread grass seed. So now I’m watering twice a day. It’s been 9 days, so I should start seeing new growth soon. I’m overseeding rather than killing. Except in the latest round of work on the front gardens, I’ve probably squished all the seeds in that area, sigh.

Mom bought us a good, Lee Valley push-mower for our anniversary. I’d been looking for ages to find one that cuts high; 3-4 inches is preferred, but all the mowers in the stores are much lower. The new one is as light as our old electric (which was pretty light to begin with) and much quieter. Doesn’t get as close to the edges, but I’m working on eliminating the need to weed-whip them, with other ground covers. Hubby says since it’s quieter he can use it much later at night and I can expect him to do more mowing.

Son started a garden of his own this weekend, because he liked the mulch and wanted to keep some. He enjoyed it, but I don’t see him smiling at it every day, so I’m glad it’s mostly perennials.

Basement

The new wall is up! Well, studs and pink and plastic. And he build some shelves, so the boxes that we’d taken off the wet area are now out of the tool room and on the shelves. We’ve reduced those boxes’ footprint by about 1/3. It’ll be more once I get serious about the stuff that’s to leave the house. Want to build another shelving unit for the rest. After that we’ll be out of walls, but still need one more unit.

Finally found the summer shoes and sandals. They were the top front box before the flood (meaning back bottom afterwards) and the old label (in dark marker) was scribbled out with fine pencil, so I couldn’t read it.

Hubby

Yep, as you can see, he’s been busy. Computer and basement wall and shelves. And his work’s gotten very, very busy, so lots of overtime; 80 hour weeks if he were willing. Sigh. On the bright side, we told the kids we’re so busy that we can’t sit with them while they go to sleep, so we’re getting more time together.

DaughterBallet recital is coming up fast. I still think it’s over-blown for her class. $100 costumes, classes re-organized, dress-rehearsal,…. but she’s enjoying it.

We went to kidfest at the music centre last weekend. She loved the Irish dancing; always has, but we didn’t know a school. I’m impressed with the teacher’s handling of the smaller kids. I talked with her today; more expensive than ballet, sigh, although she doesn’t need the fancy shoes and dress until 2nd year. But we’ll probably put her in both programs for one year. She’s already said music can go in favour of dance, and it’s good timing for that, as she’d have a different teacher next year; Karen only does the pre-school and K kids.

Son

He loved the African Drumming. This is the reason we went; the Irish Dance demo was just next on the event list. So he’ll be in an 8-week program next fall, hopefully to be repeated many times. The guy who runs it is incredible. I’ve seen him tackle a grade 6 class’s attitude; took him 3 minutes to defeat it.

Storytelling

It’s back on. The By Word of Mouth event at the museum event went great. Mary Eileen-McClear says my cat sounded just like hers! And my picture was in the local paper.

Last week I told How Anansi Got the Stories and Tiki Tiki Tembo. I need more work on the first, to make it mine; the second went well.

Roof

When the last candidate was here to give a quote, Hubby climbed on the roof with him and they found that, yes, there is a lot of dry rot, thanks to the missing drip edge. Added $1000 to the price, and he’ll tear up the bottom 4 ft of plywood, make sure the insulation at the top of the walls doesn’t block the ventilation between attic and soffits, and do a good job. (Other quotes assumed only a bit of dry rot, and would charge more when they found more work, and maybe not check the venting. This guy got lucky because Hubby was home for the quote; when home owner is up there looking more carefully, you do too.)

Mould Scare

Got suckered into having our home air tested by a company that sells air cleaners. Nice ugly blobs grew on the culture dish they left for us. Another rep came and identified some nasties based on their colour. Got us good and scared, and wanted to sell us an air cleaner. (Moulds sink deep into structures.) We were fed up with the run-around for that second visit, so we bought nothing.

Further research? You can’t tell nothing from the colour of the culture. Some of the black is very tame, some of the green is very nasty. You need a microscope and reference books. The easily-visible stuff is an indication that conditions are favourable for growing mould, some of which is nasty. And no portable air cleaner on the market makes a noticeable difference for a real-sized room.

So, we definitely will remove the affected materials, as we get around to it, and not just surface cleaning, and will be careful in doing it (so the dust doesn’t spread), but we’re not buying their air cleaner.

(Further info: Most vacuums, even HEPA, leak, so while the filter traps some, the rest just gets thrown back into the air, which is worse than when it was sitting on the floor.)

Website Business

Read a lot about graphic designing and know how to save money on 1980’s printing presses. I’ve designed business cards, letterhead, envelopes. Still don’t have a business site designed. So, that’s pushed back till September.<

On the other hand, from the people I've mentioned it to, my model seems sound. Something between the $700 plus designing from the serious guys who can do lots, and the free templates that aren't as easy to use as they say.

Definitely still loving the the pmwiki program. Easier editing than LJ, or maybe it’s that there’s no tempting WISYWYG that doesn’t quite work.

And, that’s all I can remember for now.

Mood

Now, mood. Yep, aggravated. Yesterday was accomplished, but then I celebrated Mothers’ Day with a glass of wine, forgetting the side-effects: ennui, and insomnia (leading to impatience and poor decisions and dissatisfaction). Fortunately, they’ll be gone by tomorrow or the next day.

Cheers!

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