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Archive for March 2012

My Last Picture Show

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I may have already attended my last Enrolled Actuaries Meeting, last year. After 26 consecutive annual conferences, I may be done.

Things have moved on. I doubt I’ll be missed. Nobody will remember what I did to things. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

I think my favorite moment was when I created a visual representation of the general nondiscrimination test completely on the fly, off the cuff, just spare change and pieces of paper on a blank overhead projecter.

And there was the memory that wasn’t: the year I could have “owned” a speaker’s seat for all seven breakout sessions, a record that never would have been bested.

And the year the hotel gave me a luxury suite because my room reservation had been screwed up.

Thousands of other memories over a quarter of a century at the pulse of the profession, now more than likely behind me. I doubt I’ll miss it. Oh well. Send no flowers.

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Written by macheide

28 March 2012 at 5:40 am

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Perfecting the Future Imperfect

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I’m done starting anything new. Except for this one last new thing I’d already recently started: shutting things down.

Yesterday I settled into what will be the final year I will have been working on my favorite hobby: my spreadsheet of pension disclosure information, which includes details going light years beyond what any of the formal studies look into. Even for me to say “final year” plays the weasel: I ought to say yesterday I opened a new corporate financial statement for the last time, input a new piece of data for the last time from one of the financial statements I already have, for an existing trend rounded out the data for the last time, selected a subset of companies and hit recalc for the last time, even so much as opened the spreadsheet the last time. For this one, shutting down will be a longer process, I think. Still, I’ve turned the corner. I will start nothing new on the spreadsheet. And anything further I do on it will be aimed toward closing it down.

Some things I won’t be back to. I’ve already played my last game of chess. I’ve already ridden my last century on a bicycle. This is not quitting. I’ve done what I wanted to do, and I don’t need to keep doing it for it to have been done. Other things I will return to, as I have returned to this account, for the purpose of closing things out. I’m not finished cooking soups or making teas. I’ve not yet seen all the new words I want to know. But even for those things I will be starting nothing new. It is time to turn toward closing the books.

bumper sticker [] - macheïde

Written by macheide

27 March 2012 at 5:56 pm

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Home Screening

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A lamp keeps the stars away.
If I go out there they are.

    — At Home, by Linda Gregg, as posted on The Writer’s Almanac

Memo to Self: When using the Safari option to “Add to Home Screen,” remember that additional steps will be necessary for locking in a particular moment prior to passing anything over to Twitter or Facebook.

That’s because the icon placed on the homescreen will generally take me not to whatever I was seeing at the moment I had meant for passing down the line, but rather will typically take me to a routine that will give me the current moment’s version. And likewise what generally will be seen anywhere I’ve passed something down the line will be the image of the moment that the page is viewed, not how it looked the moment I viewed it.

If I am unlikely to return to a web page, I tend to rely on Internet search engines if it does turn out that I wish to return. If I return to a web page frequently, but not for periodically updated content, I tend to use browser bookmarks to hold my place. These Safari home screen links (as with similar Windows links I have on both my laptops), I tend to use in the case of pages with content that is regularly updated in a specific format, such as in the case of the daily poem served up by The Writer’s Almanac. And of those different logistical methods that I employ, it is the home screen links that would usually give me content that I might want to pass along, either for my own purposes (such as I might pass a tool from my right hand to my left) or for any other reader’s use.

But taking The Writer’s Almanac example a few steps further to make the point, although Safari’s “Home Screen” performs quite effectively in organizing my routines and in taking me to TWA regularly, I can’t then directly send that same TWA page on to Twitter or Facebook, not “as is.” For by tomorrow, the tweet or FB status note will link to tomorrow’s poem, rather than to today’s. Making any note I add incoherent and irrelevant, even useless.

In the instance of The Writer’s Almanac, if I wish to pass a particular poem on to Twitter or Facebook, I first have to back up to yesterday’s powm using TWA’s own links, then come back into today, at which point I can make the pass over to Twitter or Facebook. For certain other pages I use Safari’s Home Screen option for organizing my logistics, a screen shot might be the easiest way to similarly capture the moment.

It’s kinda like poking holes in a piece of paper that is placed on top of the lamp so that starlike spots appear on the ceiling. One might then think it unnecessary to go outside to see the stars, but nothing then looks quite right unless one keeps continually moving the paper. (Yeah, I know, that’s the kind of metaphoric reflection that could win me ridicule and judgment from some, as long as one works off the assumption that it means I don’t know what it really means to be “at home.” Yeah well, at least I know enough to know that that ain’t it.)


Written by macheide

25 March 2012 at 11:15 am

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Searchin’ Seizure

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Added to my collection of recent medical ID bracelets this morning. Seems to hit me about once every decade or so – first most dramatically and heavily in 1991, then around 2001-2002, now about a decade after that second one: this morning, my third major seizure.

Major, but nowhere near as disruptive as my first two seizures were. By the time I was being carried from my home, I was arguing with the emergency personnel that I was ok to stay. And with the incident occurring just before 4:30am, I was discharged from ER around 10am, even though they’d taken enough time to do a CAT scan, a chest (?) xray, an EKG, test a urine sample, and go through whatever other procedures they would have needed to muddle through. Curiously, no EEG, although one nurse told me the CAT scan would have given them what they needed to know. (I already knew. I know what I’m doing.)

Favorite hospital experience of the incident: when a certain nurse from the second floor happened to have come down to the first floor to look in on several of his own patients, but stopped up short on passing by the door to the ER room where I was, then came in to chat for a few minutes — the main nurse involved in the CPR that brought me back 8 times last autumn.

Favorite overall moment of the whole morning: talking with Suzi. Although I know I alternated poorly between losing focus (after-effects of the seizure) and motor-mouth (from how great the past day has been), I myself finally felt settled about expressing the “why” behind the choice I made to come back last autumn.

And a special thank you to Jenny, who accompanied Suzi to ER during today’s early morning hours. Although she had a full day of rough work ahead of her, and although she’s had about enough of my “shenanigans,” she’s been a good friend throughout, and it was good to see her smile when I saw her in ER.

//] - specimen

Written by macheide

24 March 2012 at 8:03 pm

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Unabashed Fun

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thanks Griff, Kya & Suzi for making today pure fun
                    — macheide facebook status update

Yes, fun.

No, I’m not slacking off on my vocab repertoire. I know which word I chose, and I meant it, and I don’t apologize for saying so out loud. Fun. I had a fun day.

Yeah, I know, chalk it up to the amusements of Kemah Boardwalk, right? Like, how many fathers are willing to be there for the poopy diapers? How many happy to get up at 3am in the morning of a workday to calm a wee one scared of monsters under the bed? How many ready to give up the time to do the children’s laundry so the mom can have some playtime with their children? How many there through every dark hour all the way until they’re on their own and even beyond? And how many of those actually want it all, and would use the word “fun” to describe even the worst of it all?

Hey, I’ll never enter any contests for Dad of the Year, and I wouldn’t come anywhere close to even getting honorable mention if someone were to enter me as a write-in candidate. But I do know what the secret ingredient is for it to be fun.


Doing it together.

So yes, I’ve smiled when cleaning up poop smeared all over the bathroom by a baby amused by her own artistic talents. And yes, I’ve had to fret when a child ran away from home. And I’ve driven all night after a hard day of work and been right back to work the next day on no sleep to help a child through a long-distance move. And I’ve been there for the heartaches and the hard work and the wild tantrums and the bitter misunderstandings.

Besides, even days at the amusement park with children are not without their heavy responsibilities. Children can get so easily distracted and wander off to get lost in a crowd in an instant. And strangers with smiles for the wee ones aren’t always ones you’d ever want to have your child “friend,” Facebook or anywhere else. And there are always the moments when a slip and fall bring tears, or a child can’t have all the rides all at once, or you’re reminded of all the other chores and work (and oh, don’t forget the dog needs to be picked up) and those tax forms to be done in less than a month … and so many other really fun stuff like reading poetry and surfing the internet and swimming in a pool already warm enough and endlessly on and on and on, right?

No, very wrong. All the responsibilities of keeping the children safe and happy and fed and cared for were not something that had to be put up with as a duty balancing out the fun of the smiles and laughter and amusements and all. No, it was all part of the fun. All of it. Because it was all shared, together.

I have been honored and blessed and privileged to have had the fun of participating in the lives of six children through two different families, and I’m currently having the fun of helping out as much as I possibly can in babysitting two others. I would have been overjoyed beyond all words to have had the opportunity to have had the same fun — yes, fun! full responsibilities and all — with one of my own. But I have loved every single one of these eight children just as much as I would my own, and every single moment of life I’ve had with them — up or down, good or bad, easy or hard, laughing or crying — has all been completely fun.

Unabashed, I am in saying so. My dictionary tells me that the word “abashed” comes to us from the Old French abaissier, meaning “to put down,” along the same lines that give us words like abase. Where did we ever make so wrong a turn that a “real man” has to feel put down for thinking — no, for knowing — that parenting can be pure fun.

Pure. Fun.

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Written by macheide

23 March 2012 at 9:40 pm

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Wisdom of an Old Fool

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Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.


So, it’s no accident that those who don’t bother to listen to anything I might open my mouth to voice happen to be the same ones who think I have nothing remotely wise to say, while those who think me a fool never care to hear me anyway since they think I’m doing nothing more than merely saying something. Every now and then, that even happens to be the same person thinking both those things. Meh.

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Written by macheide

21 March 2012 at 3:16 pm

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9th Life

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In other words, to borrow a line from a favorite movie, “mostly dead.”

Eight times I actually did die. And then eight times they brought me back. I had made up my mind and body and soul to go. They didn’t accept my answer and came up with their own: stay.

I am on my ninth life.

This record – here in this leftover blog – is not that. Not even a reflection of that, nor a shadow of it.

But as I make the turn, I will reopen the windows on this room and air it out and spend some time in here again.

Bear with me as I dust the shelves and throw out old receipts and devices I no longer use and cords that have been tangled way too long. Eventually, everything here will work again. Eventually, everything here will again have its place. Eventually, everything here will be worth something again.

I don’t believe in waste. I don’t believe in chance. I never stopped believing in what was meant, only in thinking anyone else had to believe the same, or ever once did.

And I have never stopped believing in love. That won’t change, no matter how many more times I manage to die.

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Written by macheide

15 March 2012 at 11:17 am

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