tiger_spot: (sword)
I have been woefully unposty lately.

A lot of people did that assigned topics thing back around Christmas and New Year's, and that was fun to read. So! Ask me questions! What do you want to hear about?

I am not going to do a post a day, but I can manage one a week, so if you want to sign up for a particular future week this summer go right ahead, and if you don't pick a time I'll use some arbitrary and capricious but most likely not technically speaking random method to order the posts.
tiger_spot: (sword)
There are two situations in which I ask for help:

1. It would obviously be quick and easy for the other person to do the thing, and would be significantly easier for them than for me at this time. Examples: While you're up, could you get me a glass of water? Since you're taking the car to visit a friend who lives near the pet store, can you pick up dog food on your way home?

2. I am incapable of doing the thing, and the results if the thing does not happen would be awful. Examples: I am really, really sick and just cannot manage walking the dog. I have an important meeting at work but someone needs to be home to meet the repairman.

So there is this enormous missing range in the middle, where it is hard for me to do a thing (but not completely impossible), and the results if it doesn't happen would be bad (but not necessarily catastrophic), and the thing would not be trivial for someone else to do (but might still be easier than it would for me). If there is no time pressure on these, I can usually work around to asking for help if I need/want it, but when I am sick or otherwise partially incapacitated it is extremely difficult for me to ask for help with daily or already-scheduled things, especially when the people I could ask are also sick or busy or otherwise dealing with whatever it is that's got me functioning at less than full capacity.

Partly this is because explaining the task, in enough detail for the other person to do it, can be more effort for me than just doing it, because of how my brain works (my introversion, let me show you it). Partly this is because I do not have a simple way to compare how difficult it is for me to do a thing with how difficult it is for the other person to do the thing, and I only want to ask if it will be easier for them than for me. I think this second part is probably broken. I mean, (1) it is not actually a moral imperative to create maximum total easiness at all times, (2) even if it were, I am not the only person who can do the comparing-relative-ease work, (3) "no" is a possible answer, if the other person would rather not do the thing.

On the other hand, if the other person says "no", then I have just wasted all this valuable energy I could have spent doing the thing on finding the person, explaining the thing, asking for the thing, maybe discussing relative energy levels for a while... which is all clearly suboptimal. So minimizing "no"s seems like a reasonable strategy to conserve energy, except that then I am missing out on some "yes"es that would save me more energy. But the task of calculating the probability of "yes" times the amount of energy saved, with consideration for the amount of energy spent on asking and careful examination of the amount of energy I actually have, is really a lot of work. I don't have a simple bright line other than the near-certainty of getting a "yes" in the situations outlined above, so when I don't have the time to sit down and work out the calculations, I default to not asking.

What heuristics do you use to decide when to ask people for help with things?
tiger_spot: (sword)
A few weeks ago, we all got a cold. After I'd had it for a little over a week, I announced that I was done being sick, really, and I was getting behind on Christmas prep, and I could stand to get better any time now. So it promptly turned into the Death Cold From Hell, and I was completely flattened for a few days. Andres stayed home from work to watch Morgan so I could sleep all day, is how flattened I was. I wore my pajamas for over 36 hours in a row. Entirely flattened.

Now I am back to just normal levels of sick, and apparently getting better, so I have caught up on a few of the Christmas-prep things I did not get to while I was more sick earlier. I still need to get stocking stuffers for the pets ([livejournal.com profile] suzimoses made them stockings, so clearly those stockings should be stuffed), wrap one more present (in the event that it arrives before Christmas, which it may well not), assemble Morgan's gift from my dad (Christmas Eve), decorate the tree (probably tomorrow; if not, then Monday; I know some people traditionally decorate on Christmas Eve but I am pretty sure we are already past the latest I have ever decorated a tree), and figure out what to do about Christmas cards (see next paragraph).

I missed sending out Christmas cards last year [1], so I wanted to be sure to do it this year. When I asked what a good time to take a picture would be, "after we're all over the cold, so we don't look like death" was suggested, but at this point (a) I won't be over it by Christmas and (b) Morgan fell against a bookshelf this morning and is going to have a giant forehead bruise for a while here, so I think we have lost our standing to attempt to not look like death. Also I think I am missing a bunch of cousins' addresses and would like to track those down. So I can either: print out some recent snapshots of Morgan and include them with these commercial holiday cards I have; take Christmas snapshots and use them to make New Year's cards; or take a semi-formal group shot and make New Year's cards.

I think I will do that first one for my grandparents, since they are very fond of snapshots of Morgan, and maybe then see about the addresses and work out something or other for New Year's cards for everybody also. That is probably a reasonable balance of wanting to Christmas card and still having a brain full of snot.

I have a hard time letting go of things when I'm sick.

The other big thing here besides me being sick and us getting ready for Christmas is that Galen had surgery. He has had these lipomas (benign fatty tumors) for years, and they've been growing slowly that whole time. It was kind of a tossup whether they were ever going to get big enough to really be a problem, but since they continued growing we decided that we'd prefer to have them removed now, so that we wouldn't have to have them removed later, when he's older and frailer and more at risk from the anesthetic. (That sentence has some really complicated tenses.) Anyway, that all went well and he is now a sad dog in a head-cone for a while, so he does not pick at his stitches. He was a very sad dog indeed the first day, but he is now energetic again and does not understand this "restricted exercise" concept.

Oh, oh! And Morgan developed a "yeah" to go with her "no"! It is very very exciting to be able to ask yes-or-no questions and get two possible answers!

[1] I have alarmingly sketchy memories of last December. It was the month I tried going back to work after maternity leave, and determined that that wasn't going to work. I know we got a little tree, and decorated it, and... that is about what I remember about the holidays. We took a picture to make a Christmas card with, and it had the dog in it and everything, but we wanted to do some digital cleanup first and then the actual card part just never happened.
tiger_spot: (Magritte)
So we sat down over family dinner this evening and reviewed plans for this holiday weekend.


It does not help that the handyman who was supposed to come today rescheduled for next Wednesday, meaning that I have at least one dealing-with-people thing every day from here to next Friday.

I. What?

I don't want to cancel anything, but next weekend I'mma hide in my hole and not come out. And then the Month of Astounding Amounts of Travel begins! Wheeeeeee....
tiger_spot: (Venus)
A couple of weeks ago I suddenly started getting horrible stabby pains in the back of my left hip. My OB recommended a chiropractor who specializes in pregnant people. He vibrated some muscles, tapped some bones with a little tiny jackhammer, and sent me off with exercises (and some things to pay attention to when walking that had never occurred to me, like the camber of the sidewalk -- apparently if you spend more time walking very slightly tilted to one side than to the other, that can cause some pressure issues around the pelvis). Over the course of the next week, the pain shifted from stabby to achy, and kind of spread down the side of the leg some. This was mostly an improvement. I felt enough better to go to yoga on Sunday and give the dog a short walk on Monday night, although it had to be pretty short because I was still hurting.

I had a follow-up with the chiropractor on Wednesday, where he said "Huh. The way you describe it now, it sounds just like a running injury," vibrated some muscles, tapped on the same bones, tapped the matching bones on the other side, tapped some bones up in the middle for good measure, and waggled my knees back and forth. The rest of the day the front of my hip hurt like crazy (although the back and side were fine). That faded a bit yesterday, and today my leg feels pretty much like a leg. It's still sore, but it feels like the kind of sore that gentle exercise, a bit of stretching, and taking it fairly easy for a few more days should make better. I took the dog out for a normal-length walk this morning and only got a bit sore towards the end of it.

I don't know if it's all the chiropractic, or if Sputnik decided to move and quit squashing the nerve, or what, but I am much happier now.
tiger_spot: (magic)
We're having new office furniture delivered today. That means the entire contents of the office are, as of yesterday evening, dispersed about the rest of the house. The chairs are in the living room, the desks are in the garage, the drawers and filing cabinet are in the library, my computer is set up on the dining table because I have work to do this morning, the other computers are in the den, the printer is in the guest room, little piles of things out of the cabinet and off of the desks are hither and yon and everywhere, the art is folded up (well, just the sarongs, not the framed stuff) and tucked away. The shelves are over on the other side of the room, out of the way of the delivery and installation path; Andres put a heck of a gouge in the floor trying to move the smaller one without taking the books off it, but we think if we wax it it won't look too bad. We are hard on the floor anyway.

The room looks very strange without furniture in it, though not quite as strange as it did before Andres cleaned up the little dust clouds where there were computers living on the floor and the peculiar ring his chair wheels left in the middle of the room.

The benefits of the new furniture are twofold:

First, it has a lot more storage space in it than was previously available in the office. That lets us move some office-relevant things out of the den closet (and throw out a bunch of no-longer-relevant things while we're at it), freeing up space in the den to take stuff from the library, which is turning into Sputnik's room. We're also going to move the two tall bookshelves from the library into the office along the opposite wall. I think that means the shorter shelf has to come out of the office; I have no idea where we'll put it. We're also not sure what's going to happen to the comics; it's possible that after a cull there'll be space on the office shelves, but there are an awful lot of them right now. I think the shelves the comics are currently on may stay and be toy / kid book storage; they're a good height for a very short person to access. The middle shelves are adjustable, though, so I should look into whether that's considered hazardous (I can see this scenario where the shelf gets dumped and a peg holding it up gets swallowed... I don't know if that sort of shape is a choking hazard). Andres has been looking into getting some additional cabinetry installed in the garage to keep the board games all together; he's a bit frustrated by the expense of what he feels ought to be very simple storage devices.

Second, because the new desks have backs instead of being open tables, it will be easier to secure cords and cables in a visually unobtrusive non-tripping-hazard kind of way. I hope.

Anyway, this is all very exciting, and I am hoping that having written it down I can now actually get on with that productive stuff I was supposed to be doing this morning. Being in a weird spot and waiting for delivery people has kind of been throwing me off. Oh, hey -- and there is the big truck now. I shall go direct!

(Edit: False alarm. That is a different, unrelated big truck. Phooey.)
tiger_spot: (Magritte)
Last Thursday, while I was walking the dog, my knee went spang. I limped on home and hoped it would feel better in the morning. It didn't; it stiffened up overnight and decided that not only didn't it want any weight on it while it was straightened, it didn't really want to be straightened at all. This was very annoying, and I grumbled a lot while hobbling around the kitchen and putting ice on it and so forth. I would be less annoyed if I'd stepped in a hole or twisted it funny or otherwise done something to damage it, because then at least I'd know why it was hurting.

It's been improving since then, and is up to dog-walking and getting back and forth to work, but it's still being a bit sore after these totally-standard activities sometimes, so it's not all the way better yet. The getting sore quickly meant that I didn't get to climb much on Wednesday, grumble grumble.

Earlier Wednesday I got a vaccination (Tdap -- tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis; I'd been meaning to for quite some time, but kept forgetting, so I was glad the doctor suggested it while I was there). It felt fine at the time, but the next day my arm was crazy sore. It's still quite tender now. Ibuprofen is being useful, as is warning anyone who comes within about three feet not to touch it. (This is the trouble with invisible injuries -- people forget not to poke them.)

I don't like it when my bits don't work. I need my bits to work if I'm going to go out and do productive active things. If I can't do productive active things, I get cranky.

tiger_spot: (glare)
I like to be complimented about things I made or did. Intention is key -- if someone compliments me on something I am, rather than something I meant to do, I often miss that it's a compliment and take it as more of a general observation / conversation starter, as if it were a comment on something else I had nothing to do with, like the weather. (I do recognize the very common general compliments and respond to them appropriately, but that's because they're social scripts and not because they feel like compliments.)

If the comment's specific enough, it doesn't even need to be positive for me to take it as a compliment. You were interested in the thing and examined it closely and understood at least bits of it and then stayed interested enough to want to talk about it! That's great! Even if what you're saying is "I don't think these colors here quite work together. Do you think something with more contrast might look better?" I will eat it up with a spoon.

What do you like to be complimented on?
tiger_spot: (sword)
There's a black-and-white photograph in our living room of a woman wearing a poncho with her hair in two braids. In our previous apartment, it was on the top of a bookshelf, near the window. In our current house, it is on the shelf between the dining table and the hallway. (Here is a rather blurry scan for those of you who would like to play along at home or confirm that you are thinking of the correct photo -- sorry about the quality; I didn't want to take it out of the frame.)

People who have seen this photograph, please answer the following poll:

[Poll #1618913]

The correct answer will be posted in the comments.
tiger_spot: (Default)
I feel kind of boring. You wanna ask me some questions so's I have things to talk about?
tiger_spot: (bubbles)
I've been sorting out the filing cabinet, since it had gotten too crowded to easily file things in. Some papers are being recycled, some folders are moving out to the garage (I should go through that cabinet, too, since a lot of what's in it is no longer remotely necessary or useful, but that is a rather daunting task. Also it will make very little difference to my day-to-day life, whereas the active cabinet in here is, as the name implies, accessed much more frequently. Therefore, improvements to this cabinet's ease of use improve many future moments of my life, while improvements to the garage cabinet are of much more abstract and theoretical utility.), and the remainder are at least slightly more likely to be findable on the off-chance I need them, as they are no longer squashed in amongst quite so much loose chaff.

Gee, it must be late, I've gone grammatically impenetrable.

Anyway, today I found the "Projects" folder, which contains many diverse and interesting things, including:
* selected rough drafts / planning materials for some of the Tiny Art projects
* a song, to the tune of "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean", starring me as the Pirate Queen and my rat Eris as a scurvy crewmember
* the first page and a half of a story about an IRS agent auditing part of Hell
* several pages of notes on a conlang I was inventing to go in a novel I was going to write based on a dream I had[1]
* several pages of continuous-plot stick-figure comic
* a sketch of a particular patch of peeling paint on a wall outside a classroom, which reminded me of Singapore

I used to write a lot of poetry. I haven't done that in quite some time.

I remember creating maybe a third of this stuff. It's fun to go through.

[1] It was a really good dream. It had plot and backstory and major character changes and great settings and a tragic romance and a doomed quest and several themes and a spectacularly cinematic climax. It could totally support a novel.


Feb. 18th, 2010 10:04 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
[Poll #1527410]
tiger_spot: (Magritte)
I strained my back lifting a heavy thing incorrectly. It doesn't feel too bad as long as I don't bend, but not bending is weird.

I wish it had started hurting immediately, so I would know which stupid thing to never ever do again, but it waited for an hour or two instead. Grr.

Things this has taught me instead of how not to lift: You can have a surprising amount of fun lying flat on your back on top of a bag of frozen peas, but the peas will thaw. Frozen spinach thaws faster than frozen peas. I am apparently immune to menthol; the Icy Hot, it does nothing. Walking is better than sitting; lying down is kind of intermediate. Unless there are peas.
tiger_spot: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b's brother is getting married in July. Unlike our wedding, which was cheap and small, or my sibling's wedding, which was fun and small, or [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b's dad's wedding, which was in a backyard and actually kind of middling-sized but only because the bride's immediate family is enormous, this is going to be a Standard American Wedding, with the scary parts. I am not sure what to wear.

Andres has been told that he is not to wear his tux (he likes his tux). A particular, expensive, brand and color of suit has been selected for the groomsmen; Andres' brother has strongly suggested that he at least go try the darn thing on, but knowing Andres has also said that any "light-colored suit" will be acceptable. He further notes that the bride's sisters will be wearing navy blue dresses, in case I wish to coordinate.

I do not wish to coordinate. I am considering having t-shirts made up that say "Hi, we're the black sheep."

I was, to my own surprise, totally fine wearing a skirt all day at my sibling's wedding. I do not expect I will be anything like comfortable enough at the upcoming wedding to support skirt-wearing; though I suppose I could operate on the theory that I'm going to be terribly uncomfortable anyway so why bother mitigating? (Note to self: REMEMBER EARPLUGS)

[Poll #1403150]

For calibration:

1. I have been totally comfortable at various semi-formal company holiday parties in the black pants and tiger shirt. (Well, comfortable about clothing, anyway.)
2. I was fine at my sibling's wedding in the green outfit, but I'm not sure how much of that was because it belonged in the setting and was long and loose enough to be physically comfortable and how much was because I was really, really comfortable otherwise (A Renaissance Festival! I blend right in! And I don't have to make a good impression on anybody!) and therefore had some slack to play with.
3. I was not, ultimately, fine in the sundress at Andres' dad's wedding, but I started out okay and it decayed fairly slowly. The dress only really started being a problem after the other factors (too loud; music not good for me to dance to; pressure to dance in a showing-off way) had worn out pretty much my entire reserve of cope.
4. Likewise, I was not in fact fine in the long dark skirt at dinner on the cruise, but that was probably more of a general running-out-of-cope than anything specifically wrong with the skirt. It's a better skirt, physically, than the sundress, because it is long and loose.

Being in a skirt uses cope. Being expected to interact with people I don't know uses cope. Navigating a situation with rules I am uncertain of requires cope. Many other things I expect to find and situations I expect to encounter at the reception (not the ceremony -- sitting on a bench looking at something is quite easy, so I'm not worried about that part) require great gobs of cope. I suspect that adding the drain of skirt-wearing to a large, probably loud, event with social rules I am unclear on, a high level of expected interaction with people I don't know, and fewer than four people I know well enough to be comfortable around, one of whom will be very busy indeed, is a Bad Idea; on the other hand I am also pretty sure that not wearing considered-appropriate clothing is breaking one of those rules. So I am trying to work out the balance between the amount of distress to others caused by breaking down in tears and needing to be removed, on the one hand, and wearing weird stuff, on the other. (Note: Not wearing a skirt is not actually going to prevent needing to be removed, in the event that the situation runs me out of cope otherwise. It will, however, delay it.)


Oct. 12th, 2008 01:26 pm
tiger_spot: (red river hog)
I've been a vegetarian for a while now. (Since summer 2002, which doesn't actually seem all that long ago looking at the number, but I was drifting that direction for a year or two before then.)

Ever so often I dream about eating meat. They are really annoyingly realistic dreams. As an example, here is the one I had last night.

The scene: some sort of country-style buffet restaurant. There's bacon. Everybody sitting with me has bacon. I remember really liking bacon. So I decide I will by god have some damn bacon! And I very slowly eat about half a piece; the first bite's pretty good, and then it's less good, and at about the halfway part I begin to feel ill. Also everyone is looking at me like I'm crazy.

Which is about what would happen if I did, in fact, eat the damn bacon. If I'm going to dream about the stuff, I'd rather enjoy it. Sheesh.

(Also, recounting this dream has brought up some sort of sense-memory, and now my mouth tastes like bacon. I am going to go get a glass of water, because it's icky.)
tiger_spot: (Default)
By request! I hope this is helpful, or at least interesting. Questions are welcome.

The basics:

DO invite me to stuff.

DON'T think my turning down an invitation means I don't like you.

That pretty much covers it, really. Everything else is my issue, and other people shouldn't have to think about it. But if you want to think about it, here is some background information, with additional suggestions for application.

Kind of a lot of background information, actually )

My Day

Jul. 19th, 2008 07:57 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
I have been very social this week, and I've spent a lot of time getting things done. So I declared today No Plan Day and determined to do only and exactly what I felt like. None of this pesky being anywhere at any particular time or catering to the preferences of other humans in my living space, oh no.

What I felt like doing:
* snuggled with [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b
* got up at 12:30
* saw the third part of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
* hung around on LJ for a while
* listened to the four best songs on Dr. Horrible's over and over again
* found lyrics; sang along
* fed [livejournal.com profile] cobalt_00's cats[1]
* biked to Sylvan Park, where I had been told there were chin-up bars
* (got slightly lost; not particularly desirable but not unexpected)
* increased my chances of being able to figure out how to bike to places in Sunnyvale by like 1000% (Evelyn seems like the go-to street; Dana goes over the big ugly streets nicely but then lands in a confusing twisty area)
* discovered that the park not only had chin-up bars but also all kinds of fun grown-up playground equipment with little signs showing how to use it for boring exercise
* played with about half of the grown-up playground equipment
* hung upside down off the chin-up bars for a while (this is why I was asking about them; it's good for my back)
* read latest volume of Usagi Yojimbo
* biked to Verde Tea Cafe; got red bean milk tea with pearls (I was expecting this to just be red bean flavored, but instead it has whole red beans in it. Interesting contrast with the tapioca pearls. Also, yummy.)
* walked bike home while drinking tea (for a couple blocks) and then making horrible noises while trying to suck up the remaining red beans and pearls (for much longer)
* listened to Dr. Horrible songs a couple more times
* ([livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b and [livejournal.com profile] chinders turned up with groceries)
* exercised (added 5 sit-ups and 5 push-ups; added a weight for leg-lifts and dropped back 5 repetitions)
* (Pandora played me a song I've never heard before[2] but immediately liked a bunch)
* (ooh, dinner's ready)

[1] Unfortunately, one of the cats had decided carpet was more fun to poop on than litter was, so I cleaned that up even though I didn't particularly want to. Better than the alternative, though.

[2] Nor had I heard anything by the band, or indeed heard of the band.


Jul. 5th, 2008 03:49 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
I described the general feeling of this particular round of illness as "Someone has replaced my brain with cotton and then set it on fire. It's all smoldering."

This morning, I can has brains again! I still feel pretty bad, mind you, but there are some coherent thoughts running around. Yay! Now perhaps I can get on with reconnecting with friends and writing up the interesting bits of the trip and getting the photos off my camera and so forth.

Or perhaps this'll just be Thursday all over again. Better so far, so I shall be cautiously optimistic.

(Thursday morning I woke up feeling a little better -- not remotely healthy, but better -- and decided that I could either go to work and be sick and miserable or stay home and be sick and miserable and bored. So I went to work. That was REALLY DUMB. I gave up at 11:00 and came home, but all that getting to and from sapped any energy I might have had to spend on useful things like, say, sitting upright the rest of the day. Being sick makes me stupid. When I am just a little bit sick, I complain like a horrible complaining thing; when I am a lot sick I switch over into NO I'M FINE I CAN GO TO WORK ::sits on floor because too dizzy to stand:: REALLY I'M FINE COULD YOU BRING ME SOME WATER ::falls asleep before the water-bringer gets back::)
tiger_spot: (Default)
Why is it that I only stay home from work when I'm too sick to do anything enjoyable? This hardly seems fair. (On the other hand, work is much easier than most enjoyable things, so I suppose it's only logical.)

I was sick yesterday, too, but not quite this sick. Sick enough that I told people at work that if I was still that sick today I wouldn't come in. I wouldn't have gone in yesterday, even, but I did want to go in the first day back to get a handle on where things are. (Things are rather quiet at the moment, it turns out. This is good.) Sent in e-mail about 6:30 this morning indicating that not only was I still that sick, I was in fact worse, then turned off my alarm, went back to bed, and slept until 2:00. Staying home was definitely the correct decision.

Also yesterday I went out with the usual suspects plus a few for dinner and Wall-E. Fantastic movie. Very sweet. I was impressed by how well the live-action footage blended in; I'm not sure whether that's a result of the animation being realistic or the footage being well-processed, but it worked out nicely in either case. I was unsure whether this was a good idea at the time, being sick and all, but now I am very happy that it got scheduled for yesterday instead of today, because I am definitely not up for it today. I hope I didn't contage at anybody.
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