Assorted musings because I haven't had time to write, but as we once said 'this place needs more actual content.' Let's begin:

Politics

I joined the Conservative Party of Canada. It cost me $15.00 CDN. This is not a thing which I ever expected that I would do. As I age I become more fiscally conservative, but I've always been socially progressive, and have tended to vote centrist, though I've voted for different parties on the basis of candidate and platform at times. When Canada's Progressive Conservative party merged with its right-wing competition and dropped the 'progressive' I would've said that they and I were clearly at odds. Nothing about the Stephen Harper era made me feel much differently. Fiscal management might have been better, and social progress wasn't reversed as much as feared, but the muzzling of science and many other policies concerned me greatly. But the Conservatives were voted out, Mr. Harper retired, and more than a dozen men and women are in the battle to replace him. Included in this group are Kellie Leitch, policy-wise the most Trump-like of the pack, and unilingual Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank fame, who has a Trump-like TV Star background but seems both smarter and more tightly wrapped. i've often said that I thought professional managers might do better than lawyers at governing, but I have some personal antipathy for Kevin as I once outlined here. Most of the other wannabees are running far behind Kevin and his reality TV-star cachet.

So, what the what? Well, an interesting argument is making the rounds on social media. In short, the idea is that if we, the average Canadian, don't want to have Trump-lite as our right-of-center option, then the time is now to support one of the moderate leadership candidates. In my case it's Michael Chong, an actual progressive conservative who is concerned about (and has meaningful and science-based policies on) topics like climate change and immigration. So I've tossed him my $15 token of support, and I'll get to vote for him in 6 weeks or so if he's still on the leadership ballot. And even if the worst happens, at least I can say I made a modicum of effort to stop the alt-right train before it left the station in Canada.

Entertainment

Apple TV had Star Trek Beyond on for a $0.99 rental. I was a Star Trek kid, and while I never fully warmed to the "Kelvin" universe, I had more than a dollar's worth of fun watching it.

Last night I saw Logan. You'll have seen the accolades. They are well deserved. We'll see if this film gets the Oscar nomination that Deadpool did not. The CG character work is truly seamless, the actors outstanding. The character-driven story is great, even if I was left at home afterward pondering some fridge logic with my hand on the actual fridge door. What really struck me was that in a theatre of mostly, if not all, adults there was nothing but silence in the third act. No fidgeting, no munching. Just people giving the screen their full attention. Much as the notion might alarm Fox, I think this puts a proper cap on the X-Men franchise for me. I stopped seeing the main line of X-Men movies a while back, but now I feel like their story is done. It truly is Unforgiven for the spandex-and-cape set.

I also spent odd moments today trying to pop my imaginary claws, which I haven't done in a good 40 years, since I was buying Uncanny X-Men comics for 30 cents at Mike's convenience.

Employment

Without fanfare I passed my six month probation. Having an income is good. My co-workers are nice. I've almost (but not quite) gotten past the imposter syndrome where I expect to wake up back in my old job of almost twenty years. I feel like I'm on the back slope of my career, which is unnerving. I still expect to end up in a blue vest at Wal-Mart before the end. But I might, almost, be ready to relax into it and feel like a real part of the 'new' place. It's becoming natural to say "we" and meant it, instead of translating "you" to "we" as a deliberate mental act. Also we are trying to put out a new software release, and the software gremlins are out in force, thus my reduced e2 presence of late.

Death and Taxes

I penciled in my 2016 taxes. With only four months of household income, my marginal tax rate is quite low. Not so low as to make up for the reaming I took in 2015 when all my severance was taxed at the maximum rate, but, as far as 2016 is concerned, I was low-income. So a little refund will come my way, and very welcome it will be. They'll totally audit me though, my return is going to trip all of the warning indicators in Sudbury. The next challenge will be doing my Dad's estate taxes, I have never done that sort of return.

Romance

I bought my wife a nice Purdy's chocolate assortment for Valentine's Day, only to learn at the last moment that she had decided to cut out chocolate from her diet. The chocolates are in a Lego store bag in a bin, unpresented. The day kind of went on all fail-y like that. Sigh.

There's also the Love Boat, I mean, romance quest. It's so totally not my thing, but so far we're all treading lightly. If only my old co-conspirator were here to grab this quest by the neck and shake it up with some purple prose! But hey, challenges outside of our comfort zone are the fun of quests, are they not?

Not even sure where to start today. Exhausted because Jane is sick and I was up for most of the night listening to her cough, long day at work as a result and it was a longer day than normal since I punched in early forgetting I needed to stay late for a meeting. Said meeting was awkward and uncomfortable. I brought up the schedule and told the women I work with that I can work until 9:00 PM during the week, but then I can only work four days a week, or I can work five days a week, but then I need to work opening hours. I'm frustrated because this was an agreement between me and my boss when I was hired. I got these hours because I needed them to coordinate with the schedules my children had. They were hired for different hours than I was, I feel like no matter what I do it isn't the right thing. Still thinking on how to handle this.

After work I was fried. I realize that I like having a place to go that isn't home after work. I still haven't thoroughly cleaned since I was sick. The girls have made no attempt to clean after I woke them up at 5:00 AM Monday, I know I need to make them clean, I will, I'm just mentally and emotionally drained. We have a book at work that I picked up at lunch. I forget the exact title, it's something like How to Want What You Have and Have What You Want or something similar. It's a great book, I haven't been reading lately, I haven't been doing a lot of things. I'm in crisis mode again and I can't really figure out how I got myself back here, but I now realize that changing my schedule was a large part of it.

Things I did today that made me proud of myself in the order that I remember them. Asked a cute guy at work how old he is. Found out he is 29. Thought he was much younger than that, turns out he's just youthful. Went and paid to get my hair fixed. The last cut I had grew out nicely and I really enjoyed chatting with my stylist. I went back to her to see if she could do anything with the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad cut I received on Monday not really expecting a miracle, but she delivered one. My hair is still short, but now it's sassy and spiky instead of frumpy and unruly. The first stylist did not follow the contours of my head or work with my cowlicks. The second stylist was window dressing, the third one really understands hair and how to cut it so it works with what my hair does instead of against it.

She said that the cut I received was very uneven and that there was no rhyme or reason to the style. Even though she made cuts trimming, she shaped and styled my hair in a very flattering way that makes me look younger and requires a minimum of time, effort, and product. I gave her a huge tip because she got me in right away, gave me solid advice on how to handle the return situation when I go back to the first place, and she soothed my wounded ego by restoring some of my confidence in myself. I consider myself a pretty easy going person, I think I've complained about two other haircuts in the past, I've cut my own hair and had my mother cut it, it's hair, it grows, but this was an exceptionally poor cut. I stood up for myself in front of my daughter, stated how I felt, and removed myself from an unpleasant situation.

Another thing that I did was confront a woman I work with about the amount of cosmetics we have. She inherited a situation, but then she complicated it by ordering even more. I put her on the spot, but I've been silently fuming about that for a long time so despite the tension the question created, I'm glad I asked it. That meeting was rough, but it was nice to have an airing of grievances. Maybe this isn't my place, but I've talked to both of the women I work with who want two days in a row off and given them a strategy that I believe could work if they presented it to our boss. Perhaps it's because they haven't done scheduling in the past, but they're reluctant to speak up and I know from experience that making everyone happy is an impossible task. Someone is always unhappy with the schedule.

Tomorrow I'm going to see my therapist. I need to do my taxes, call the dentist, write some fiction, cook some food, and clean my apartment. I'd also like to open up a checking account with my brokerage firm, get my 401(k) linked so I can view it online. I'm super disappointed with how this firm is handling our accounts. I've been participating since November and still can't access my account online. Probably the biggest accomplishments of the day were both related to Verizon. I did not go to see that guy that I like, I purchased 100 shares of stock in the company, reached out to them on social media, and will hopefully hear back from them on my network extender.

I need to let that guy go. I was thinking about the situation on the way home. He makes me feel safe, he listens, and I feel like he cares in his own way. I think he likes having me around to a certain extent, but I can't let my need for approval get in the way of healthy relationships. I feel like I need his approval, he's a workaholic, I think this is related to things that happened in a past life and I may not ever figure out what exactly is driving this, but I suspect it's fragments from the past that I'm allowing to haunt me. It's a codependent existence and I worked so hard to break free from that when I was married. There's something about him that brings these things out in me which is why I shouldn't keep chasing him. I could have stopped in to get that stupid network extender issue resolved and I'm really glad I got my hair fixed instead.

Despite the long hours I had a really good day at work today. I took a B complex when I woke up this morning. I used to do that in the past and I forgot what a difference it makes in my mood. They're reformulating the kind I used to take so we've been out of them for a while. I can't wait to get back on track and I'm praying that the remodel will be even better than the previous product and not transformed in a way that renders it useless or less effective to me. We had some impromptu training today that was very helpful. I just love my boss and I really care about the women I work with, there's a lot of good at work and this is only going to get better as we learn and grow together. I give, I need to take. I'm learning how to be more assertive and get things off of my chest while taking better care of me. All very positive and not to be minimized or surpressed as I have done in the past. Now is the time to move forward and build on this foundation. Today is a good day to be me, tomorrow will be even better.

Until next time,

J

P.S. I'm good enough. I'm strong enough, and doggone it, I like you people

Xoxo,

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