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Update


So it's been quite a while since I actually updated.

Here's the report, under the headings of

Wage Slavery
Bereavement
Animal Husbandry (Cat Slavery)
Things Still Undone

I spent about two months in "Product Release Imminent" mode. This is something that happens in high-tech, and quite often at Intel when a product is pushing the edges of technology and at the same time pushing the edges of market demand. We were initially trying to have SRA by mid-September, but software integration issues with several of our software vendors caused a rolling delay that finally resolved itself in late October, leaving us with just a small number of extremely hard issues to fix.
The people in this group are profoundly incredible and mind-boggling in their skills. I don't think I'm mind boggling, but I have a general capacity for getting the weird script and build stuff going, and adding odd bits that nobody else has time to do, which is always good.
But I don't really much love being the jack-of-all-master-of-none type. It's got lousy job security.

Anyway. We finally achieved SRA the week before Thanksgiving, and the FCS image was vetted then. During the many long days and nights of the push, I ended up with my sleep schedule completely twisted back into nocturnal mode.
I hate this with a passion. Narcolepsy does not get better if you take advantage of the flipside.
And for me the flipside is that I can stay awake all night and generally not notice it, for a while, but I end up sleeping quite late in the day, and if not, then I get mildly sick and it doesn't go away.

I refused to get sick this time. And my body has decided to rebel now that the crisis period at work is over.
I spent all of last week at home as much as possible, because I woke with a headache, sore throat, and runny nose, and that might be due to exhaustion or to dehydration or most likely to a low grade virus that I have been keeping at bay with willpower. The trouble is, while the sore throat, headache, and runny nose go away, the sense of having been beaten with a potato masher does not, and has not gone away.
The main casualty of this stress and yuck has been my exercise routine: I rearranged my living room and (although it's now easier to get at and more comfortable to use) I have only used my treadmill once in the last month or so. This is very bad. I need that exercise to keep my blood sugars in check.

--

In mid-September I started having flashbacks again. I wouldn't mind so much that Penny's gone, if I could stop having these random moments. Once, playing Ultimate Frisbee on wet grass in the rain, I did the thing we're told never to do: I tried to jump and change direction at the same time. Knees do not like this.
I sprained every ligament in both knees doing that, fell to the ground, curled up in a ball and swore.

The flashbacks are like that moment of sick awareness that something is very wrong, the pain is not localized and explosive but a single throb about 1/3 as punishing, and it may or may not go away. There's a wodge of guilt - all the little things that I didn't do right and could have done, the inconsiderate shit, that I regret more profoundly because I cannot make up for it in any way. The what-if that says I should have known, that perfect 20-20 hindsight that says "You had years of warning that you don't ignore things"... none of this being anything rational or useful. Of course there's no way to fix it, to reverse those mistakes.

There have been music-triggered flashes, and place-triggered flashes, and a particularly nasty and profound flash when the temperature and dark and general atmosphere of the carport was exactly like that night when Penny first fell onto the asphalt and was too weak to get into her chair. The first night we had to get the fire department to help her.

There have been plenty of positive flashes too. I'm remembering her telling me about the stories she would tell herself when she was very young - somewhere between 10 and 15, I think, when she did her own 'Oz' fan-fiction, but this was in the days before the internet. Were it now, she might have been brave enough to put her art and stories on Keenspot or some other web-comic para-site, and might even have had enough positive feedback from that to keep from losing her faith in herself when the idiot dean sabotaged her in college because women were not to be permitted to actually seriously consider Painting.
Sadly she destroyed most of that artwork, and I don't know if I will be able to find it again, but when I do someday I'll put it up somewhere.

I was told that I should get into a grief-counseling group. I think not.
Frankly, I've done groups before, for other things, and what I've done here online, and with the research and with having had a Stephen Minister, is pretty much going to be better than what I would get from group.
A lot of the 'standard symptoms of depression' are also standard symptoms of diabetes and narcolepsy, and I'm not able to differentiate whether I'm uninterested in stuff, or tired, or numb.

And there's still no Penny there when I get home, and when I drive to the store, and when I watch a movie or television or read a really good book, to share it with.

----

My cats have become very weird. Vinnie ... I think I am going to simply bite the bullet and have her go do the radio-iodine thing. She refuses to let me trim her claws, and a couple months back I found one grown back into the pad and clipped it but she wouldn't hold still so I could pull it out. Stupid cat. She hides when it's time to give her the meds for the thyroid (and this is the gentlest med, you rub it in their ears.)

Clint ... keeps jumping up on my chest and stomach while I'm in my chair working on the PC.
The chairs I use have footrests - they aren't QUITE recliners, as they don't go full-back, but then most recliners don't do that any more, darnit. Anyway. Face full of cat, stepping on stomach, purring like a catnip fiend, and completely unwilling to get off. I feel horribly mean when I throw him off, but I can't really breathe with him there.

---

A few months back Jill Erickson (a college girlfriend) contacted me, and I said that I'd try to write up a "what I've been up to" letter. I haven't done it yet mostly because I am lame, but also because of the tired and because of the too-much-work. I really need to get to it sometime.

I promised Kelly I'd send her some My Little Ponies - I have an address now, and the ponies are in the right kind of box, but I haven't had the time to hit the post orifice. Same excuse reason applies to the thing I'm supposed to send to Barbara. And I have yet to figure out what to give to Jamie and Samantha (Penny's nieces) ... and I have no idea who I'm going to end up having for Christmas giftie exchange at Mom's since apparently Heather has somehow disgraced herself and gone off to live with her mother again. @yay.

I need to put together my media PC. I found that I have an extra power supply. I don't know why.
Perhaps it was to replace the power supply in a PC at church. I'll have to find out about that.

Exercise, a second mention. Need to do that. Need to get some weight stuff going. I got a kettlebell, might just get a second one so I can do some two-bell exercises, but it's a lightweight bell and I see little benefit to that, which is just an excuse.

----

On the other hand I _did_ get my comic done (and turned in an hour late after getting a day's extension) for the Sketchbook Conspiracy ... a web comic challenge for a bunch of cobie's friends and acquaintances. I took it because I thought that it would be nice to have an excuse to draw. I regret that I am not doing that good a job of drawing (but at least I'm remembering some of the anatomy, even if it looks funny because I can't execute on the anatomical layout).

And man, that 600x800 format is HARD to stick with. VERY hard. Anything more than two panels per page, for me, is just too small to do decent detail. Yet, some of our artists manage. I think there's some basic photoshop insanity that I'm missing out on, though the GIMP can certainly make my life just as overcomplicated.

Anyway. Done for now.