athelind: (ouroboros)
I turned 50 yesterday. It feels pretty good: a fresh start.

I must finally be a "grown-up", because my answer to the question, "what do you want to on your birthday?" was "get this furshlugginer report done and to the client by the end of the month."

... no, seriously. I actually had a dream the night before last about being hijacked by friends and family and getting dragged off to a "fun" gathering, while all the while thinking, "But I wanted to get stuff DONE this morning! I told my manager that I'd have that on his desk! I'm losing HOURS of work!" When I actually woke up and got to work, there was a palpable sense of relief. I was wholly engaged in the problem-solving, both the data analysis and the minutiae of layout and production. I was busy non-stop, and enjoying myself thoroughly. With as many birthdays as I've spent without gainful employ, being occupied might be the Best Present Ever.

Getting my paycheck AND a quarterly bonus on my birthday is right up there, too.

Another Truly Excellent Present: after a year of record-low rainfall, the "storm gates are finally open", as our local TV weather announcers like to say. We're getting wave after wave of storms that are doing their level best to make up for the last year in the span of a couple of weeks. We're close enough to the edge that we'll probably still be in official drought conditions for the rest of the year, but next year looks like an El Niño year, so things might get REALLY wet.

(Eventually, Californians will understand that an "average rainfall year" almost never happens: our "average" is the mean between five years of drought and two years of flooding. Once we start planning accordingly ... well, then climate change will screw up the pattern, but nevertheless.)

The juxtaposition of Birthday and Rain has brought an amusing wave of pleasant nostalgia, triggered during the long commute home yesterday. The big El Niño of '78-'79, which brought an end to the long drought that shaped my childhood years, corresponds neatly to the release dates of the first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which shaped my teenage years. Hearing pouring rain playing its staccato on a metal roof always brings me back to the lazy days I spent curled up in the back of our motor home, pouring over the latest volume of AD&D (or, more often, some unofficial supplement from some third-party vendor).

The cheap bindings, terrible typesetting, and cheesy art based on cheap dime store toys didn't matter. For all my critiques of "dungeon fantasy", I remember the open-eyed excitement and possibility of High Fantasy, of a hobby built around creating entire worlds. I've got that rare wave of wanting to play a D&D-style RPG again, though it might be better served by getting back to work on my own High Fantasy Magnum Opus.

It's possible my "grown-up" status may still be in some degree of dispute ...


athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
Goodness. I've let this lie far too long, and I apologize -- particularly since my last post of any substance was "I'M HAVING CHEST PAINS."

I should remedy that, and shall.

First and foremost, HEALTH:

Said chest pains proved not only to be not life threatening, they weren't even a significant health issue. They were, yes, Pre-Ventricular Contractions, and, yes, I do have a family history of PVCs -- but there are no structural issues with my heart. The doctor said that I could go climb Mount Kilimanjaro were I so inclined.

The "flips" have entirely faded, at this point, and considering that they started immediately after I got back from last year's Maker Fair ... I rather suspect the high-voltage jolts I got for funsies from the Van De Graff generator a few booths down from us might have triggered a little persistent twitchery in the old timer.

(Come to think of it, that anxiety/panic attack I had at dinner that one night during Maker Fair might have been the first manifestation -- that feeling of "panic" and "trouble breathing" might have been connected to "GAH MY HEART SHOULD NOT DO THAT" ...)

WORK:

I am quite enjoying my current employment. My experience with interpreting and displaying complex, abstruse data clearly (read: "Your Obedient Serpent Knows Stupid Excel Tricks") has made me the go-to guy for our company's more esoteric reports, and while I tend to get buried in these Special Projects, I really can sink my teeth into them.

It's still a 50-mile commute, but I'm no longer carpooling with [livejournal.com profile] kohai_tiger; a few times driving solo gave me a taste for getting in and getting home earlier ... and earlier ... and earlier. When I flew out to Midwest Furfest last November, I started running on "Chicago Time" ... and really never shifted back to Pacific Time. Most days, I roll out around 0400, get to work around 0500, leave around 1400, and get home around 1515, plus or minus fifteen to twenty minutes either way.

Oddly, since I've shifted my shower-taking habits to evening instead of morning, I get up at about the same time as I did when I was carpooling and getting to work between 0730 and 0800 -- but since I seldom if ever have to contend with anything resembling traffic, I get home three to four hours earlier. Drying off becomes relaxing downtime instead of rushed getting-ready time.

I've also found that I enjoy driving in the early hours of the morning, and not just because of the light traffic. I'm very much a morning person, and those crisp, clear pre-dawn hours just seem more alive to me. I confess that I've also been prone to a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder for the past few years -- but I never had an issue while on The Chicago Schedule. It tried to sneak back on the few days that I shifted back to a "normal" schedule during the winter months. I think a key factor is Getting Home After Dark: if you get up before sunrise, you've Seized the Day. If you get home after sunSET ... the day has seized you.

FUN:

I've been mostly keeping up with the speculative cinema; I can't believe I've let both Captain America: the First Avenger and Marvel's The Avengers slip by without comment, much less any other movies. On television, Game of Thrones is an amazing achievement, and on broadcast television, I found myself wholly engaged and impressed by Arrow.

I am down to a single game on the RPG front: the monthly Star Wars game hosted by [livejournal.com profile] rikoshi and [livejournal.com profile] tealfox. The Wednesday night game sessions alternating between Ironclaw and The Dresden Files were becoming increasingly untenable for me, and once I switched to Chicago Time, I simply couldn't continue. Honestly, I'm suffering a bit of Gamer Fatigue on that front; once the Star Wars game wraps up, I will probably gafiate from gaming for a year or three.

My chronic automotive issues were finally traced to a glitchy OBD-II (On Board Diagnostic) computer. That took nearly two months to get replaced and functioning properly; if she proves stable, I may start keeping a packed Go-Bag, so I can head out for spontaneous road trips on random weekends. I spend far too much time traveling the same hundred miles of road (I take different routes in the morning and afternoon), and spending the weekend sitting around home not going ANYWHERE only goes so far. I'm a traveller by ancestry, instinct, and long, long experience, and by golly, I need to TRAVEL.

Oh, and I've picked up a few more volumes of Raymond Chandler ...
athelind: (Default)
Savannah beach! It's been a full month since I posted ... or, I'm afraid, cracked open my Friends List. I'm not sure how it happened -- I simply forgot!

At this stage, I must apologize: I'm not going to try to catch up on the backlog on my Friends List, and so that means I'm probably going to have missed Important Stuff.

My last post was a bad one to suddenly vanish on, too: "Oh, hey, emergency room, hospital, chest pains, SILENCE".

For the record, I've just been busy and distracted. The "clean bill of health" is, more accurately, "nothing immediately life-threatening -- see your doctor", which I have done.

At the moment, there's no solid diagnosis as to why I've had these "flipping" sensations in my chest for two months. They've ebbed and flowed, but at their worst, a month ago ... well, let's just say I don't plan to see Prometheus in the theaters.

My regular physician is arranging a referral to a cardiologist, but because all this happened literally days after switching from a PPO to an HMO program (all under the same provider), that hasn't happened yet. My new card finally arrived on Friday, though, so on Monday I can make things happen.

Right now, the likely culprits include Premature Ventricular Contractions [PVCs] and esophageal spasms, possibly related to my chronic, lifetime reflux issues -- I have a family history with both.

(I also have had symptoms that are clearly digestive; on the other claw, whilst hooked up to a heart monitor in my line of site after a thallium treadmill exam, I got hit with a couple of "flips" -- and I saw them on the monitor.)

I am trying very hard not to self-diagnose, but it's a difficult thing; I have the kind of mind that isn't happy until it's constructed a narrative. I want to make sure the cardiologist has all the relevant data when I go to see him; unfortunately, that means my brain is trying to filter just what data is relevant, and that turns into subconscious judgment calls whether I want to make them or not.

(As a minor grumble ... there's more than just one set of symptoms going on, but every medical professional I've talked to has tended to latch onto the very first set I describe, without letting me finish my litany of hypochondria the rest. This happens no matter what order I list them: it's always the first thing. "Okay, what can we do about this?")

... that said, at the moment, it looks like all this can be managed or even resolved with just a few tweaks of diet, a bit more exercise (but not too much more), and maybe some nutritional supplements.

Oh, and losing a goodly bit of weight, if for no other reason than to avoid the knee-jerk diagnosis of "he's middle-aged fat guy, I can stop thinking now".

So don't panic. There are probably a few more decades in this old dragon after all.


athelind: (YAY)
... an hour after my last post, I was in the ER for chest pains.

An overnight stay, lots of bloodwork, and a treadmill exam, and the cardiologist gave me a clean bill of health, at least as far as the ticker is concerned.

So it's all good, more or less; I just wish I'd held off before dropping a fairly hefty chunk of change on closing out that student loan, because now: MEDICAL BILLS.

Yay!


athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
And so, another year ends, and Your Obedient Serpent will be more than happy to be shed of this one. I bid 2010 adieu with two upraised middle fingers and a shout of defiance.

It's time to face forward.

I've mentioned that sometimes, the radio talks to me, that the station I most often tune to has a tendency to play certain songs over and over again, and sometimes, the songs that cycle into that repetitious rotation are ones that directly address my moods and circumstances.

Back in November, as I was preparing to move a lifetime of belongings out of [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage, this one played nearly every day.

I was going to post it tomorrow, but it played again, just minutes ago.

This, then, is my New Year: No Resolutions, Just Resolve.

I've got a world and a life and a future in front of me.

And it's mine.






I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams ... )

Happy New Year, one and all!

athelind: (AAAAAA)
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Have you ever closed the door on an opportunity or a relationship in order to open another door, only to realize you made the wrong choice?

oh, for crying ...

Yes, okay, yes. I woke up to that running through my brain this very morning: sometimes it seems like every single time I've had a binary choice, I've picked the wrong one. On the rare occasions that I do make the right choice, I manage to screw it up somehow with later choices.

I reiterate my conclusion from the last "life of regrets" Writer's Block I answered, less than three weeks ago:

Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda is toxic.

You can't do a damned thing about where you've been.
You can only do something about where you're going.

Face Front.



Rassin' frassin' LiveJournal Drama Llama stereotypes. There should be a cap on how often Writer's Block can ask the same kinds of question in a single month.
athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia recently wrote:

Those of you who know me, know that this separation, and now this divorce, is hitting me very hard. I thought I knew what kind of relationship I've had for the last 13 years, and realizing that I never knew it at all has been devastating.


I feel exactly the same way. Try as I might, I can't phrase it any more eloquently.

I will always, always cherish the years we had together, and love for her still fills my heart.

But I can see a future ahead of me now that I couldn't see a year ago, possibilities that simply weren't there.

I only wish that she would come with me.


athelind: (loved)
Here it is, the Winter Solstice again. Since [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I were married on the Summer Solstice of 1997, I guess that makes this is our twelfth-and-a-half anniversary -- an eighth of a century.

Today, we had our first real date together since I moved out: lunch, followed by James Cameron's magnificent Avatar, which we both loved. I'm glad we saw it together, and I'm glad that was the movie we got together to see.

Happy Anniversary, baby. I've got you on my mind.


athelind: (Default)
Here it is, the Winter Solstice again. Since [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I were married on the Summer Solstice of 1997, I guess that makes this is our twelfth-and-a-half anniversary -- an eighth of a century.

Today, we had our first real date together since I moved out: lunch, followed by James Cameron's magnificent Avatar, which we both loved. I'm glad we saw it together, and I'm glad that was the movie we got together to see.

Happy Anniversary, baby. I've got you on my mind.


athelind: (loved)
About a month ago, I made a friends-locked post about this; now it's time to turn the cards face up.

[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I are separating.

On Friday, she'll be flying to the Philippines for business. Immediately thereafter, I will be moving out.

This is not a divorce. We are not "breaking up". We still love each other; gods, do we love each other. We still want to be together.

However, since I graduated from CSUMB in 2003, I have not held a full-time job for more than three months; they've all been short-term contract or temp positions. My current part-time retail position barely lets me pick up my prescriptions and the occasional grocery run.

She needs to know that, if something happens to her, I can actually survive.

I need to know that, too. I wish we didn't have to do this, but, honestly, until I make some drastic change in my situation, I'm just going to keep spinning my wheels.

The separation will continue until I have a permanent, full-time job that lasts more than six months.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thoughtsdriftby, I have a place to stay until I can get my shit together.

I will do everything in my power to insure than the duration is as short as I can make it.


athelind: (Default)
About a month ago, I made a friends-locked post about this; now it's time to turn the cards face up.

[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I are separating.

On Friday, she'll be flying to the Philippines for business. Immediately thereafter, I will be moving out.

This is not a divorce. We are not "breaking up". We still love each other; gods, do we love each other. We still want to be together.

However, since I graduated from CSUMB in 2003, I have not held a full-time job for more than three months; they've all been short-term contract or temp positions. My current part-time retail position barely lets me pick up my prescriptions and the occasional grocery run.

She needs to know that, if something happens to her, I can actually survive.

I need to know that, too. I wish we didn't have to do this, but, honestly, until I make some drastic change in my situation, I'm just going to keep spinning my wheels.

The separation will continue until I have a permanent, full-time job that lasts more than six months.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thoughtsdriftby, I have a place to stay until I can get my shit together.

I will do everything in my power to insure than the duration is as short as I can make it.


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