A brother noder suggested revisiting an old node titled Creativity, the essence of being human, which I agree with him is a worthwhile read. (He even suggested it to be ching!worthy, which it might be, but I have a long list of nodes to use my ching!s toward, and I much prefer to use this tool to encourage the good work of active noders, over that of flens. Yes I did just refer to flens as if it were a thing. It's a thing, now.

And speaking of old nodes by active noders, The Custodian recently massively expanded his old node on the film Outland. As this expansion was at my suggestion (having come across the much shorter old version during his ongoing node audit), and as I appreciate the seriousness which Custo attacked the task with (I'll call it Custo gusto) I would be remiss in not recommending a second look to any who might have shrugged at the old version.

And speaking of auditing news:

Tem42 is still done.
The Custodian -- on page 27 out of 40.... I go up a page, and what happens? Custo adds a page of write-ups. So it goes.
wertperch -- on page 1 out of 10
gnarl -- on page 1 out of 6 (this is happening; this is going to happen)

Last week my oldest daughter participated in the Fine Arts Fair a local high school put together. Apart from the group choir; she was entered in a duet with a classmate, a clarinet solo, and a vocal solo. Fifth grade is the first year students are eligible for band at my daughter's school. Although my daughter wanted to play the trumpet, the woman who teaches introductory band said that my daughter was too flighty as the trumpet requires more attention than the clarinet. Uncharacteristically, I was scheduled to work that Saturday morning so I missed all of the performances except the group choir. Our choir was medium sized compared to others, but they were loud enough so I could hear them even on the far side of the gym.

It is not an exaggeration to say that my daughter hates playing the clarinet. Her instructor is reluctant to give her another instrument, and I can hardly blame her, because my daughter does not have the attention span other instruments require, further, my daughter appears to have some natural talent as a clarinetist. The band needs clarinets and does not need more trumpet players. I am also quite sure, but not positive, that my daughter will start playing the trumpet and quickly realize that practicing the trumpet is just as loathesome as playing the clarinet. I spoke to the band teacher about running lessons over the summer. I'm afraid that if my daughter drops band she's going to miss out on some of the fun things that come with being in band, however that may be a choice she has to make.

As far as my job goes, California has been a disappointment. Things do not go out on time, when they go out, things I requested for various customers are missing. There's been a lot of miscommunication, my customers are happy with the products but I am fed up with the owner's son, his attitude and his unwillingness to cooperate. My relationship with my business partner has been difficult as well. When we were out in California she said she didn't want to make cold calls. I can appreciate that as there are few that do, it ought to go without saying that cold calling is a part of any sales job. It made my trip to California extremely frustrating and I was unhappy when she told me she was not going to accompany me to an inservice that was scheduled in half an hour.

Last Monday we were scheduled to drop off lunch with a practitioner. When we arrived, he was not there and his office manager wasn't sure how the confusion had occurred but he was still out on vacation. He did call and unfortunately I missed that call. I returned his call but haven't heard back from him since. He still has a scanner we let him borrow so my plan is to drop by and see if I can at least get that back from him. The other day I was talking to a girlfriend of mine, I shared some recent frustrations and she thought that maybe I need some time to just be. During our last conference call I told California that I didn't like the way things were being handled, they didn't get the hint so now I have to find a way to tell them that I'm quitting.

My former business partner/friend keeps calling and texting. I tend to be the forgiving type but there are some lines that once crossed, can't be uncrossed. Flaking out on me is one thing but refusing to show up at a professional event for one of your clients because you don't feel like going is unacceptable. I no longer want to hang out with her. I feel bad about this because in the past she was someone I enjoyed hanging out with and talking to. Maybe in the future we can be friends again but in my mind, she is a large part of reason that California is reluctant to invest much in its sales force out here.

During the one good snowstorm we had this winter my husband made a last minute decision to take the girls skiing. Maybe it was good that I didn't have a lot of time to pack and organize things since overall, the trip went much better than I had expected it to. My mother-in-law came with us, she's not an expert skier, I've only gone once before but it was nice to have her company as I rode the ski lift with my youngest. My husband's former aunt by marriage has a place out in Colorado we could stay at. After discussing it, my husband feels that the girls need more control before we start skiing in the mountains. Both girls are improving each time they go. My youngest is especially graceful, her sister is more interested in speed which nicely sums up the difference between the two.

Right after I came home from California we found out that both girls have celiac disease. Neither of them can tolerate dairy products although we're still not sure whether lactose, casein, or whey is the culprit. Getting that news was upsetting. They were furious with me, initially I had told them that going gluten free was a trial period that would end with the new year. My husband said he can't accept the test results and that has been the source of I do not know how many fights. Celiac disease is an auto-immune condition where the villi of the small intestine break off in the presence of gluten. No one is sure why this happens but it does and a good/bad trait of this damage is it can occur without pain so cheating is easier than if you have a life threatening food allergy.

Numerous arguments have taken place between me, who has this disease, has done quite a bit of research on it and eats a relatively clean diet - mostly organic foods and almost no processed items - and the rest of my family, my mother in particular who smokes, and has stated that she would rather live with whatever gluten does to intolerant people than give up bread or doughnuts. When your body doesn't work right, you can't afford to cheat. At almost eleven and soon to be nine my children are slight. My oldest wears a seven slim and needs a belt to keep her jeans from falling down. My youngest still fits into her size six jean shorts, she hasn't hit fifty pounds yet and her sister can't pass the sixty pound mark either.

There are two mutually exclusive philosophies that we argue about. My philosophy does not treat all calories as equal. The focus is on high quality fats and proteins with carbs coming mainly from organic fruits and vegetables. I give the girls several vitamin supplements since we know that they are unable to extract the maximum vitality from their food. Slowly, I've seen some gradual improvements although since they cheat on their diets I feel as if we're constantly taking one step forward and two or three back. My family seems to think that giving the girls food that will damage their bodies is important since this addresses their psychological needs. Their argument is that the girls need more calories and a Hershey bar or occasional gluten containing item should be permitted since the girls want to be just like everybody else.

To say that I hate certain people that I am forced to deal with is an overstatement. People in my family have certain convictions and nothing is going to sway their opinions. These people are toxic to me, challenging my role as a mother and attacking me in areas that would cause me to turn from priciples I've adopted. Online and in my community, I'm generally regarded as someone who may not have all the answers but is willing to listen and can be a resource. Honestly, I don't know as much about feet and shoes as people think. It's an area that interests me so I do a lot of reseach, sometimes I get things wrong but I try and learn from my mistakes which are unavoidable.

Over the past couple years I've lost about thirty pounds. While I'm never going to have the perfect hourglass figure my top and bottom are both a size two and I'd like to lose a few pounds but people I know and respect tell me that I look at least half my age and I feel better about myself than I have in years. My coloring has improved, growing up my teeth bothered me, the last time I went to the dentist I was amazed at how much whiter they are. My skin is less prone to the rashes I've dealt with in the past and I eat three good meals a day without snacking and most of the time my system is okay with that.

Right now, I don't know where I'm going or what I can do about the situation I'm in at home. Last night I went to bed earlier than I normally do. Before I went skiing I met a Pakistani physician whose ideas profoundly affected me. When I follow his dietary outline, I get hungry, I eat, and then I am satisfied. Last night I wasn't really hungry but I ate anyways because I knew I wouldn't be able to when I was at work. Consequently I felt overly full and that persisted through the night. An interesting thing about this new plan is that much of the tension I used to carry around is slowly receding. I've been able to get out more, do a few more things around the house and I think I'm able to focus and write better as well.

The other night I went to hang out with the girls who were playing with Legos. Initially, this diet makes you very tired. I had forgotten that but it is hopefully a temporary thing and I would gladly accept drowsiness if my daily pain is lessened. Occupational therapy focuses on conservation of energy. I watched a video that spoke to me as it dealt with women with a condition that I have. I went through my clothes and did the same for the girls. Roughly half of it was packed away, my goal is to trim wardrobes down to the absolute basics so I can manage laundry better and the girls don't have as much trouble keeping their room clean.

My oldest is very much like me in many respects. A while ago we got into a terrible fight. My youngest is very sensitive, having her sister and mother battle like that prompted her to write a heartwrenching note to both of us. After the fight, I held my daughter and told her that I was sorry for the things I had said and done. She kept crying and I think that she puts on a brave front so people don't suspect that she's hurting on the inside. The fight was awful but since then my daughter has been better about telling me that she loves me and I've tried to be better about seeing things from her perspective. Her grades have fallen and keep dropping which is another issue. She's going to take a math class during the summer so she's not starting sixth grade behind the eight ball.

After the girls get out of school our family is going to drive to Florida. Down there, I'm going to really focus on trying to build the girls and myself up. I'm hoping it will be a time where the three of us can spend some quality time together. We're going to be staying at my father-in-law's place so we'll have kitchen and laundry facilities which the girls aren't interested in but will make my life easier. For some reason, certain people consistently attack me on the areas where I am strong and they are weak. Pedorthics is my job, education is a large component of it and I have much to learn but I guarantee that I have a level of knowledge that supercedes that of any of my family members.

People in my family go behind my back to buy my girls shoes that they know I won't approve of but are currently fashionable and trendy items. My husband refuses to acknowledge that my daughter has a trim flexible foot, he bought both girls shoes for a wedding they attended when I was out in California. Both pairs were too short, ridiculous in their construction and I have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to stress growing ankles merely because a certain pair of shoes is cute. The other day I told him that I hated him, his response was not what I expected, I shouldn't have said what I did but like water can wear away stone I can only take so many attacks on things I endorse and believe.

A while ago I told myself that I wasn't going to write daylogs as many of mine reiterate things that have no resolution since a lot of these things have been building for years. Now, I have some new coping skills because I am calmer on this new diet plan. What astounds me is this Pakistani man reached out to me, he got nothing from me yet he was willing share what he knows with me in the interest of improving my life on every level. I believe that people are in my life for a reason. If the reason appears to be good and promotes my feelings of self worth and adequacy, I look for ways to keep these people. If not, I try to find ways to distance myself from them even if that means mentally retreating while being physically present.

Reading RedOmega's daylogs and hearing him talk in the catbox is hard for me. Having mixed connective tissue disorder means that my body hurts. April is Sjogren's Syndrome awareness month. Having that means that my mouth, eyes, ears, and skin are painfully dry, it can also attack major organs so I have that as a possible future consideration. Having celiac disease means my digestive system does not work right, and having all of these together means that things like Raynaud's phenomenon and peripheral neuropathy are considered secondary instead of primary afflictions. Diseases do not give people an excuse but they need to be understood and managed as it is something that most people haven't dealt with and can't accept since outwardly, I do look okay.

I do not have an active death wish but a lot of the time it seems as if I'm searching for answers that aren't there. If I get divorced, I'll still have to deal with my husband and the people in my family who want to give the girls things they can't have. I don't have any money, I have accumulated a nice stack of bills from seeing various specialists, if I quit my job I'll have less money but it isn't working out and I can't support sales that help a company where my main contact is hostile. The good news in all of this is I am starting to feel slightly better than I have in the past and hopefully will continue to take some small steps forward. I've gotten better at calmly stating my position and asserting my children's right to safe food which is really what I want for everyone. Safety has been denied me for a long time but I'm starting to find peace within myself thanks to some of the people I know. Thank you, you know who you are.

Peace be with you and yours,

Jessica

P.S. A quick shout out to Pandeism Fish for the node audit updates, to vonCube for allowing me to post the vonCube corollary, to corvus, who doesn't like my homenode, and to whoever said something in passing that made me realize how much I missed writing.

j

So today I disappointed the lady-love. I had thought that I said I'd be over in the afternoon, after spending time with my little brother and my cousins in the morning. In fact, I had promised her that I'd come over in the morning to help them wrangle Lady-Love's darling daughter. Who's almost two years old. 

I wake up at 11:30 and the first thought on my mind was "Did anyone catch the license on that truck?" I catch my phone, and find that I slept through my alarm. I check my messages, and there's a call from my beloved. I call her back: 

 

"Where the hell are you?"

"Mmmrsorry, baby. I overslept."

"Of course you did. Are you coming over at all?" 

"Of course! Just gimme a few hours, like I said--"

"Y'know, Zed, this is exactly like you. I can't depend on you for anything! We're going out to get shit done. Are you coming after all?" 

"Yes." 

"See you." Click.

I get my morning stuff taken care of. My grandfather reminds me that I need to pick up my rent, plus a little extra to make up from the last, crappy paycheck. So I get in the car and drive to the nearest ATM. 

It's out of order. 

I drive to the next-nearest one. 

Long-ass line. 

I go to the next one, and it's out of order, too. I finally find one with no line or pesky sign, and take my rent out of it and rocket home, drop off the cash and zoom out onto the road. State Road 436 in Florida is a tangled mess of construction, road rage, and despair. A normally 10-15 minute trip to I-4 takes me about 30 minutes. When I finally get off the Interstate (at around 1:50 PM), the light of my life calls me again: 

"Are you actually coming!? We've got things we really need to get done, Zed! You can't just tell us that you're coming first thing in the fucking morning and not be here until two in the fucking afternoon!"

"Dear, I thought that I'd told you--"

"You didn't! Don't you dare try to worm your way out of this one! I can't depend on you for anything! We need your help, and you're...GYAAAAAAAGH!

I didn't say anything. Then I get over, and she doesn't chew me out. It would have been better if she had. That was eight hours ago, roughly. and things have simmered down. Lady-Love's friend Easy came over to help with some home improvements. Shit was done. Pizza was ingested. The two-year-old was wrangled and aside from a few minor emergencies, everything was  fine. But there's still this lingering feeling of indifference from her. Anger, I can deal with. This coldness? I don't know.

So anyway. That's my day. Started out by wrecking the girlfriend's plans, and ended it being completely ineffectual. 

Go me.

Session #4

Dragged my host (my oldest friend, in whose basement I am currently residing) out to hang with my gun mentor today (who is his friend, and is how we met). This is an accomplishment; my host is a successful surgeon, avid Dad of a 3.5-year-old daughter, and attentive husband. Thus the only reason I managed to drag him out for an afternoon (which turned out 2-3 hours longer than we planned) is because his wife is awesome and is fully in favor of him getting Man Time(tm).

Anyhow, we turned up, grabbed the two Garands (mine and my mentor's - his is in much better shape and newer, but mine shoots well), two Black Rifles and a pair of Smith & Wesson Model 5906 pistols. Threw those in the car along with the range bag (targets, staple gun, spotting scope, ear protectors, basic tools) and an ammo can of .223 and a case of 20 en bloc clips of -06 for Garand Food.

At the range, I realized that while I now had my very own set of 30db ear protectors (go me!) I had managed to forget my sunglasses. This was a problem because my sunglasses are my current prescription, and my daily wear glasses (besides having a 14-month old prescription) are very fashionably narrow - when getting a cheek weld on the Garand, I end up looking out the inside top corner of my right lens through the sight, and these lenses are so narrow that the 'sweet spot' where they're properly focused is microscopic. Out the corner, they're almost useless.

This is not an excuse. I am not a good rifle shot these days. I am too out of shape in both body and rifle time. I can keep all my rounds within 8-10 inches of the bull at 100 yards with a blade sight, but whereas last time I was getting good if misplaced groups, today I didn't use the front rest and still don't have a sling - and my shots were all over the damn place.

As my mentor said: "Understand that the 'natural shot' is a movie myth. Even the 'naturals' at this only get good at it by practicing. A lot."

So we blew a lot of holes in paper, and some folks at the range had considerately propped several bright orange pigeons up at the 120-yard berm so we gleefully shot the crap out of those for a while.

This time, I got to shoot a black rifle. I selected the one with open sights, out of some obscure feeling that I shouldn't have the luxury of a scope. I didn't do that well; the rifle feels so very, very different from my Garand that it was a completely unfamiliar experience. I think I got all 30 rounds on the target, and probably 12-15 of them were within the circle, but again I was all over. Fun, though; especially now that I have decent ear protection. 5.56x45mm military is loud as hell.

After we'd used up all our Garand Food and shot a few magazines of 5.56, we went over to the pistol range. My mentor started us out exercising with the guns, loaded but not chambered, safety on - face the targets at 10 feet, gun at your side. Practice bringing up the gun, flipping the safety off and firing a shot, resafetying it and bringing it down. Do this a lot (8-9 magazines worth) until the motion becomes, while not natural, familiar. Then practice bringing the gun up live, safety off, and firing a shot without looking down the sights; do that fifty or sixty times, working the motion into muscle memory, including bringing the finger outside the trigger guard as soon as you bring the gun out of battery. Don't worry about hitting bulls-eyes, just try to put the rounds as close as possible to the first hole you make. Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. (And remember not to shoot yourself in the foot.)

Then move back five feet and do it again.

In between rounds, when my host and my mentor were on the target lane, I tried firing at metal flip targets two lanes over, at 25 feet, aimed fire. I discovered something interesting - I'm very accurate in the bring-the-gun-up-unsafe-and-fire routine. I discovered that was because when I fire double action, I hit my flip target on that first shot perhaps 80% of the time. It's the single action shots I'm just not hitting - and my glasses aren't good enough to see where I am hitting.

My mentor wandered over to spot. Turns out it's not my glasses - I'm not seeing where I'm hitting because apparently I'm consistently between 4-8 inches low when firing single action. I'm confused, because I have the three sight dots aligned properly at the target, which isn't that small - but I'm hitting the bar or the dirt behind, having gone below the bar. I'm really not sure what to do other than adjust my aimpoint, because these aren't really adjustable sights! I traded guns with my host and we shot consistently, so it's not the gun. I just apparently look down pistol sights in such a way that when I've lined up the three dots, I'm aiming low. I have no idea how that works.

As a diversion, we shot some .22 Long Rifle out of my mentor's go-bag gun, a Walther P22 manufactured under license by Smith & Wesson. It's a nice pistol for target work - my only complaint is that it's a bit small (it's about 85% the size of the comparable Walther 9mm, although it looks identical. I have big hands. I was much more comfortable with the wide grip version of the 5906, and even more comfortable shooting M1911s than small nines (not that I was much more accurate though). If I could have a pistol of my own (haven't gotten my New York City premises permit yet) I'd probably have a P22, though, just because .22LR is so damn cheap you can blaze through it all day for very little monies.

After we were done on the pistol range, we headed back to my mentor's basement to clean.

I'm getting pretty good at the Garand cleaning. Remove trigger assembly; separate barrel assembly. Use chamber brush. Use Hoppes and a toothbrush to clean the chamber and operating area. Use Hoppes and patches to run the barrel until the patch comes out clear. Use a bore snake to wipe the barrel down. Clean the action with brake cleaner to remove the Hoppes; use Rem Oil and gun grease on moving metal contact, reassemble the gun.

Of course, today I was wiping my Garand with a rag and the rag caught in the action on the lifted magazine follower. I reached in to free the rag and ensure no threads remained, and yep, I managed to catch my forefinger fingernail with the action. M1 thumb (just not thumb). I have a nice under-nail blood bruise and yes, it hurts. But heck, now I know.

In addition, I learned to clean the 5906s, which is pretty simple. Pop the slide release lever out of the gun; safety off and the slide will move forward off the frame. Turn it over; take the spring and piston out, then remove the barrel. Scrub those parts, and the action of the frame, with Hoppes; rinse clean with brake cleaner (think about how I've spent the afternoon with my hands in an organic solvent, woohoo -at least the paper cut on my finger from target hanging, although stinging nastily for a few minutes at the touch of the solvent, is no longer red around the edges - nothing organic survived in the cut to aggravate it, and it healed within an hour of the soaking). Use the compressor to blow all parts dry. Spray Rem Oil liberally around the moving bits; use thicker oil on the slide lugs, reassemble the slide, hold down the trigger action and push the slide back to align the slide hold notch so you can pop the slide release lever back into its socket. Voila.

Although we were running short of time, I got a quick lesson on disassembling and cleaning an AR-15/M16/M4 action - next time I'll try to do it myself.

And so we learn.

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