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Oct. 20th, 2014

Mara Star Wars

Respecting the Important Things

I had a minor epiphany this Saturday while I was preparing food for my annual pumpkin party. I know it's common knowledge that to make a relationship work, you need to respect your partner. But i realized it's important to have respect for a few key items. In this case, respecting what's important to your spouse.

A good relationship has a lot of compromise going around. You can't just go out to a bar every night without making sure that's kosher you're spouse. That's the obvious point of respect. Respecting the other as an equal and that they're important.

But that's not my epiphany. I realized it's important to respect what's important to your spouse. It's great if you understand why it's so important to them, but it's OK if you don't as long as you respect it. In my relationship religion is important to my husband. And so while I had a very complicated and sometimes negative relationship with religion when we were dating, I would still go along to any service he wanted me to attend with him. I do what I need to do for him to be able to sing in the choir. We only have one car, so I meet him at temple with a book or my laptop, we go out for dinner, and I find a quiet corner while he goes and sings. Or I steal the car from the parking lot and go get errands done.

Horses and roleplaying games are important to me. He agreed when he first started dating me that we would have horses. He sets aside time every week for us to participate in a roleplaying game. When we can't find one to play he runs one for me. he enjoys roleplaying as well, but I think if it were up to him, we wouldn't end up playing as often as we do.

In hindsight this isn't any great revelation. Respect being the cornerstone of a relationship that it is. But I see a few relationships that don't do this and now that I've thought this one through it's easy to see the toll it takes.

One relationship I see is where being debt free is very important to one and the other likes to spend money. This causes no end of strife. I'm not necessarily saying the one who wants to stay debt free should be allowed to control the spending of the other, but I think it's a fair concession to ask that budgets be maintained.

Another relationship I have seen family attending holidays and big events is important to one member. I remember a funeral where there was a big fight about whether their spouse would attend.

What's an important item to someone also has to be reasonable. For example, if smoking were important to me, I don't think that should be blanket respected because it's by definition a conflict because I'm important to my husband. There should be discussion.

The biggest piece I realized during my little moment on Saturday was that you don't have to agree. Religion doesn't have to be important to me in the slightest, but I should still respect that it's important to my husband. I shouldn't try to convince him to stop caring about this thing that's important to him unless it has some real, tangible problem. And no, not liking the activity isn't enough to be a real, tangible problem. If participating in religious activities unreasonably taxed our finances that would be a real tangible problem, but it would also be the kind of problem to have a discussion around and see if there were solutions. Perhaps reducing expensive activities or finding somewhere less important to cut the money from.

Another big piece of this is that it doesn't just apply to romantic relationships. That's where it's most important, of course, but it also applies to relationships in family and friends. We all want to be friends with people who respect us.

Respecting the things in life that one's partner finds important can be hard to implement. Sometimes important things come into conflict. For example in the case of the funeral mentioned above, the second person in the relationship might have had an important event going on when the funeral happened since funerals are unpredictable things. In relationships where there isn't good communication this can be near impossible to implement.

But I don't think it should be insurmountable. And I think the rewards are worth it.

Sep. 29th, 2014

horses

The last of a generation

My grandmother (my father's mother) passed away this morning/last night. She is the last grandparent I had alive, though she had Alzheimers like all the rest so it's been years since I've been able to talk to her.

I remember when I was little, she loved to knit. She would always be knitting socks when she came to visit. And we had many different things around the house she'd sewn for us. I'm pretty sure I have at least one doll she made me. I had a matching dress, but I doubt the dress is around anymore.

I also remember she was obsessed with pictures, but unusually good at catching shots at a bad time, often taking pictures of people from behind. At one point my uncles decided to troll her by sending her a picture of all of them from behind.

I assume that my willingness to sew practically anything comes from having so many people in my family who not only sewed, but sewed a LOT, showing that sewing was no big deal and nearly anything could be made. (Both my grandmothers and my mother did large amounts of sewing at times in their lives).

Not all of my memories are good of course, but that's life. No one's perfect.

It's very final to know that someone's gone that you haven't talked to for nearly 8 years. When I was little we saw her once a year when she flew down for christmas or thanksgiving. A few years ago she got too old to fly anymore. She got Alzheimers pretty badly, such that I'm not sure she would have recognized me if I'd gone. Between that and how hard it is for me to fly I hadn't gotten around to going to Alaska to visit her.

Of all my grandparents she will probably be the one I will think of the most often. I have so many things around the house that are from her - cookbooks and geneology charts and books. And she may be the one I will miss the most.

Jul. 25th, 2014

Mara Star Wars

Emotional Roller Coaster

This post will be a bit out of character for me. I'm always afraid that when I post good news, it will instantly change to bad news.

This summer has been a huge emotional roller coaster. Between declining horse health, my own doctor's appointments (nothing's wrong with me, btw), stress at work, and a stream of car repairs, I haven't been in the best of moods.

A month ago, I thought I would go to Siggraph for work. Two weeks ago, my horse took another decline in health (losing weight, worse walking). We ordered another Lyme test on her. While the vet was out, on a hunch, I asked him to test her for Cushings. We knew that treating Lyme would probably kill her. The Doxy was really hard on her system last time and this time she didn't have the weight to lose in treatment.

Her Lyme test came back as bad as ever (and the highest my vet has ever seen). But the good/bad/good news was she came back positive for Cushings. Bad because it's a lifelong ailment. Cushings means she has a tumor that's causing her pituitary gland to malfunction. Good news, this is a common problem in old horses and there are several medications on the market that treat the symptoms.

The vet said to treat the Cushings first. Cushings can interfere with a horse's ability to metabolize sugar and maintain weight. If we could get the Cushings under control, she stands a better chance of surviving the month of doxy to combat the Lyme. (Also, Cushings can interfere with their immune system).

She's been on her meds for 3 days now and already she seems so much happier. Of course, it's also been 3 relatively nice days temperature wise. So we'll see how she fares when the next heat wave hits, as she has always taken poorly to the heat. But I am finally, cautiously optimistic that she might be with us another year.

I won't kid myself. She's old. Her teeth are failing. She has horrible arthritis. But she's happy. And more importantly, she's functional again.

This morning was the first morning I'd ever cried happy tears in my life. But watching her finally walk in a straight line for the first time since she got Lyme disease 2 years ago was apparently enough to do it. Even if it's only a fleeting moment as everything in her life conspires to give her one good day. She damn well earned one day of feeling good.

Here's hoping it lasts.
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Jul. 9th, 2014

Mara Star Wars

There's always one a**hole

My husband and I were both fortunate enough to get invited into the Blizzard Heroes of the Storm alpha. He got his invitation first, I got mine about a month later.

In the early days it was generally pretty enjoyable. We were all learning how the game and characters worked. For once, I didn't mind that I was playing a PvP game.

Then last night the inevitable happened. I tried out a new build with one of my characters and I didn't play so well. I admit it. Every time I tried to activate a new ability I basically got killed.

At the end of the game, one of the other players accused me of losing the game for the team. I admit I didn't pull my weight. I still wasn't at the forefront of the list on the number of deaths. I certainly wasn't the only reason we lost the game. My husband thinks this will only get worse as more and more people get invited to the game and more and more people already know how to play.

For now, I'm trying to brush it off as not letting one jerk who can't accept that it's just a game ruin it for me, but I don't play games to get chewed out by people I've never met for trying something new.

For now, I also may start sticking to only trying something new when I'm playing with a team I trust.

I got a nice reminder last night that I don't have the thick skin necessary for playing competitive games.

Jun. 6th, 2014

Mara Star Wars

How long to hold a company accountable?

I had a morality/accountability question.

My husband and I are looking at getting a new car. One of the front-runners is a Volkswagen, but as my husband pointed out, VW was a company created by Hitler, and to him it feels a little weird to get car from VW (being a Jew). I thought that, in general, the Germans have been very apologetic about WW2 and have generally tried to make amends (which is more than I can say for some countries). Also I'm not sure how I feel about holding subsequent generations accountable for their parents (now likely grandparents) actions.

But I wanted to get other opinions. My husband generally agrees with me that the Germans have been making amends. How do others feel about similar situations?

Mar. 10th, 2014

Mara Star Wars

Kerrigan try 2

Last week, a coworker was trying to get people to go to Anime Boston, so I agreed to go.

This weekend I decided that if I was going to go to the effort of going to a con (something I haven't found the time to do in the almost 6 years I've been holding my current job) then I wanted to go in costume. I decided I would take another pass at finishing my Sarah Kerrigan ghost costume.

The list of tasks:
* get the red hair dye out of the fabric
* fix the light strings
* finish the boots
* finish the chest armor
* finish the gloves.
* get a wig

Saturday: I ripped off all my el-wire (the electrical connections broke anyway, so only one strand worked) and spent a few hours hand washing my costume. It's not perfect, but I got most of the red dye out. I can live with what's left as 'wear and tear' on poor Sarah. I started trying to re-solder my wires only to decide I really needed a set of clamps to hold it together.

Sunday: Armed with a new soldering iron (with a finer tip), a clamp/stand, a soldering iron cleaner, and an afternoon, I re-soldered about 50% of the wires for the costume. I've done all the wires that run up and down the body. I still have one bad connection if I want to daisy chain any of the lights (which I'll probably need to do since my control box only can have 7 hookups and I have 9 strands of wire) and all of the sleeve wires to light up. I also decided that the clear elastic loops I used to hold the electrical wire on weren't really serving their original purpose (Their original purpose being to make it easy to remove the wires to clean) and that they didn't look very good so I cut them all off. Now I'm sewing the el-wire on with invisible thread (that I have lost several times!) and that looks much better.

I also ordered a new wig that was designed to be in a pony tail. We'll see how it looks and cross our fingers that it'll arrive before the con.

I'll post pictures when I have all the el-wire lighthing up and sewing to the jump suit.

I don't think I'll get everything done for Anime Boston since it's in two weeks, but I think that I can skip the gloves and the boots if I can get the lighting and the chest armor done.

Not sure what I'm going to do about a gun. Airsoft (which is what I currently have) is forbidden at Anime Boston. I might go sans-weapon. I don't think I have time to make a plastic or foam one.

In any event, it's nice to see the darn thing getting finished. Here's hoping I can keep the momentum up for 2 weeks.
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Feb. 3rd, 2014

Mara Star Wars

LJ Sorting

Sorry to the few friends I have here that I haven't been around lately. I had started following a bunch of feeds and lj communities and my friends list just got impossibly cluttered so I stopped coming.

I finally went through my friends list and moved all those lj-communities to my writing journal and this list has been cleaned up for (mostly) friends only. My feed looks readable again!

Sep. 14th, 2013

Mara Star Wars

I will not turn into my parents

We all say this at some point in our lives, right? Even if your parents were perfectly normal, it seems like there's always something they do that we, as children, swear we'll never do. If our parents were a bit on the crazier end, we may more generally say we'll never turn into them on a larger scale.

I remember when I was ~14 years old I was over baby-sitting a kid about my baby sister's age and I told her mother that I wasn't going to turn into my parents. She told me all children turn into their parents. Not long after that something happened with my parents and the woman I babysat for told me I hope you're right. I don't remember what my father had done that day to warrant that particular statement, but he did a fair amount of crap most people would find unacceptable.

The part of this whole process of growing up and becoming your own person is which ideas we latch onto as the things we'll never do and how we go about them. Is it something specific? If by going to the opposite end of the spectrum on some idea are we in fact doing the underlying action that actually bothered us?

As I was walking to my car last night, I realized that one way I swore I'd never be like her is being that person who is too attentive to finding a good parking spot and otherwise avoiding a good walk. She'd always spend minutes hunting around the parking lot at the mall for a good parking spot when the rather short walk really would have been good for her. When I was a teenager I often was lazy and grabbed the first parking spot, no matter how far. Because my husband and I share a car, I'll even walk up to two miles to get the car when he has it and can't park near public transit for the car swap. I rather pride myself on my willingness to take a long walk, get some exercise, and be independent enough that I will take public transit places rather than my car. On the whole of things to not have in common with one's parent, it's not a bad one. It continues to terrify me to this day to watch my mother's aversion to exercise and her health go down hill. At fifty-eight, she shouldn't be in the terrible shape she's currently in.

However, if I were to look back at the things my mother taught me or tried to teach me, there are more important lessons I could have bucked from her that I haven't. My mother notoriously lives in the past. She remembers any real or imagined slight she's received in her life and often speaks how these slights were intentional, malicious, or actively ruined her life in some way. She often tells the story about how my sister broke her tail bone during birth as if a baby in the process of coming into this world has any notion of anything. She tells how she can't get a job now because she gave up working to take care of us kids and no one will hire someone who hasn't worked in ten years.

I don't hold onto things in the same way as her. I don't tell others how events that have happened in the past are preventing my future from happening. I try not to let events from the past stop me forever from going forward. But I hang into negative feelings too long - fear, anger, hurt. I both can't tell someone if they've hurt me, nor can I move on until the issue is resolved. My husband frequently tries to figure out what's upset me because I work myself into a rut too hard to tell him what's wrong.

If there was ever an important lesson to unlearn, it's that. Not to hold onto negative emotions. Accidental slights happen. People make mistakes. Rarely do people actually mean any harm. Life's too short to hang onto those feelings. They're just hard to let go.

Sep. 3rd, 2013

Mara Star Wars

Dragon Age 2

I just (finally) finished playing Dragon Age 2. As usual, I thought they did a good job creating a nice, varied set of NPCs. I loved the downloadable content "Legacy". But overall I found the last Act frustrating. Even though the game is several years old, I'm putting further comments behind a cut because I know I have at least two friends who have not yet played who probably will.

SpoilersCollapse )

Should I have some free time, I may write up an alternate ending based on how I think it should have ended, but since I haven't even managed to make it to a 501st event since I started my job, I don't know how likely that is.

I am curious to see what Dragon Age 3 is like.

Apr. 18th, 2013

Mara Star Wars

You know something's wrong with your code when...

I'm trying to fix some python code at work that was written by another programmer...

You know something is wrong with the code when it isn't running through 90% of your new code, but you aren't seeing any signs of breakage. You know something is badly wrong when you have to implement try/except blocks in the code you've changed to print out the exception you've thrown because someone else's code is quietly eating your exception. You know it's HORRIBLY wrong when it is eating a fundamental - no one should ever eat this exception, k, thanx - exception like a NameError. Gee I couldn't find that variable you wanted (And you probably have a typo), but that's OK, I'll just keep going! And all is just lost when the reason you had to write your own try/except blocks to print out exceptions before the get eaten because the rest of the code has so many catch-alls that it would just be too much of a headache to try and find which catch-all is currently causing the problem...

I repeat:

try:
some code
except:
catch all exceptions and silently go on

Not OK.

Sigh.

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