Category Archives: Life

The squirrel has left the building.

Actually, it’s been gone for a few hours now. 

QOTD — Squirrels are just bouncy rats with ADD and furry tails.

It’s disturbing to be awakened by a squirrel running across your arm.  It rather disturbs the squirrel also.  And a disturbed squirrel is both hyper and very, very stupid, so it takes a long time to herd it out of the house. 

Very stupid.

Tom Lehrer’s Elements

With a non-annoying flash animation

And some interesting links at the bottom about Mr. Lehrer.

And, incidentally, I got through the Periodic Table again getting all the elements (not all in order).  I’ve gotten a bit rusty — last time I missed ten, I think — so this is another small victory.  I even missed a president the other night. 

And, speaking of Jeopardy, I’m getting a break this week and last, because they did their Teen Tournament.  I did the first one, and ended up getting over $40k, having swept at least three categories on each board, but decided that being able to successfully beat people younger than (some/most) of my own offspring really wasn’t useful information.  And it looks like the Saturday shows (reruns) are approaching the time I started recording them, so, when that happens, I’ll only have five shows a week to do instead of six.  I’m still uncertain how much probability there is that I will be able to be competitive on the show, but what I’m doing is less harmful than chasing kittens across the freeway, so I think I’ll keep doing it.

Sedro Woolley council approves Secret Harbor permit.

This story lays out some of the basics of what happened.  It doesn’t include that the permit is somewhat conditional base on the impact of the home on the sewer system.  Nor does it include the step about the phone call from the Secret Harbor attorney pointing out that discriminating in housing against residents on the basis of their mental illness is illegal.  But, whatever.  The new home is slated to open in November, after the Cypress Island facilities are completely removed (including the six year-old $3 million sewage treatment system, but not including the Richter Home and surroundings, which the state is keeping for retreats) to make the area pristine and original (except for the Richter Home, again).

Just to update.

Holy Watch Batteries, Batman!

Today was an interesting day.  It was the first day of the Right Response training (the equivalent of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention that Secret Harbor has used), which is mostly a day of navel contemplation, followed by some training in physical tactics like blocks and releases.  Tomorrow we’ll do the escorts and restraints, but today we got done way early, so I was off-shift about the time I’m usually going on-shift.

So I went for a slow drive back to where I’m staying, and decided to go see a movie.  It’s been a while since I went to see a movie for me for fun, so I watched The Dark Knight.  It was good, although the cleverness of the villain’s plots, got to be a bit much for me — more plot twists than 24, and 24 gets a bit too plot twisty for me by the end of most seasons.  It was, however, worth the $7.50 for the ticket and the $1 to upgrade my free small popcorn and free small drink to both medium sizes, and a nicer way to spend a few hours than twiddling my thumbs.

From there, I went to the nearby Fred Meyer to replace the battery in my watch — it went blank when I hit the Indiglo button.  The watch counter had a sign saying that watch battery replacements needed to go to the Fine Jewelry counter.  So I went to the Fine Jewelry counter and the attractive well-dressed young woman there agreed that battery replacements needed to be done there, but then blanched slightly when she saw my watch was digital, and informed me that the replacement would need to be done by a professional jeweler, out of concern that they might do it wrong and ruin the watch.  I asked if I could do it myself, and she agreed to sell me a battery, but didn’t know how to look up which battery I needed.  Disappointing.

So I went to Walmart.  Walmart won’t do the replacements on watches they don’t sell (and they don’t sell my watch) and they’re twitchy about doing water resistant Timexes and Casios (mine is a water resistant Timex), but the clerk was able to figure out what battery I needed and sold me a two-pack for <$5.  I then went to the Vision Center and bought a glasses repair kit with a very small screwdriver for <$4, and headed off to see if I could handle this task that's apparently strictly in the realm of professionals. I am.  It was a little tricky, as the very small screwdriver was just a teensy bit too large for the screws, and getting the screw that holds the battery to line up so I could screw it in was a bit tricky.  Also, I'm not certain I got the little gasket that makes it water resistant in the right place, so I'm going to be a bit cautious about getting it wet.  But I got it reset and everything seems to be running just fine thus far. That's all.

Bad, bad Jeopardy.

So I just did my second Jeopardy of the day, and it was bad.  I made no points at all on the Double Jeopardy board, scored only 6800 (my second lowest score ever), and the player I’ve hated more than any other since I started just won, making him a finalist so I’ll have to see him one more time.  And the one I liked the most didn’t make the Tournament, for reasons I don’t know (this is the Tournament of Champions — anybody who watched last week already knows who won and I don’t really care about that).

The first game went pretty well, but it’s not going well for me lately.  That same play-week (just finished off) had my lowest score ever.  I’m doubting there’s much point in this — I don’t think I’m ever going to score 24000 average for two weeks in a row, let alone consistantly.

requiescat in pace

It’s been an interesting week.  Sunday, I found out that Norm, a friend of mine, died the previous Thursday.  This wasn’t a surprise — he was a WWII veteran whose health had been quite bad for several months — although his late diagnosis with bone cancer was.  It explains why he was in so much pain when I visited him last in the hospital.  I’m glad he’s done with that pain.  I didn’t get to go to his service — it was yesterday, while I was at the last Secret Harbor Island Picnic. 

Said picnic was good, but a bit disappointing.  I was expecting to see more of the former staff and former residents than I did (one former staff that I knew, and no former residents).  I did some networking with some of the state social workers there, and might be able to use them to try again to be hired to be one of them when I’m done working where I am.  But it was sad to be on the Island and know that I won’t be back. 

But the biggest loss of the week was my cat, Baby.  She didn’t die this past week — she likely died nearly a month ago — but this week was when her remains were found.  She wandered off about a month ago and found a secluded spot in my basement that she could lay down in and go to sleep, and then she didn’t wake up.  And it was a secluded enough spot that it took this long to run into it (my basement is like that).  Until then, I wasn’t certain where she had gone (it could have been outside) and whether she’d died or just found a new home.  Now I know what it was. 

Those who know will know that Baby and I did not have a warm nor fuzzy relationship.  She was annoying and frequently grouchy.  She loved attention, was afraid of people, and drooled when she purred.  However, she lived in the same house with me for more of my life than anyone who was born after me.  She was at least two years old when we adopted her, and that was about fifteen years ago, so she was at least 17, which is darn good in cat years.  As with Norm, I’m glad that she went peacefully, and that she’s done with pain.  And I will miss her, strangely enough. 

I’m not afraid of death.  I don’t see it as a bad thing.  It’s a part of life.  I like to think that Baby is stretched out on Norm’s lap, or, more likely, on my dad’s lap (like she used to) while he talks to Norm (they loved to have long conversations).  But I am sadder than I thought I’d be.

Annoying, and a little sad.

I got a call from my sister this afternoon about a problem Secret Harbor is having in getting permitted for one of the four new group homes they’re moving to from the Cypress Island facility.  So I looked and found this story that tells more about it.  The basics are that there is a church right across the street from the house they want to use, and the pastor of the church and a few of the members spoke against the idea at the permit hearing, and the permit was denied.

Now, the permit will come through, and the group home will be there.  There’s no way this will withstand appeal.  That’s a little annoying.  But what’s more annoying is that we even had to go here.  This is what’s been going on with Secret Harbor forever — everybody is so afraid of the boys there that they just freak out at the name, without bothering to know what they’re talking about.  I know most of the boys who will be in that house (maybe all — I don’t know who all is going there), and I’ve worked in the first group home they’ve operated — my sister works in that home, so I’ve had updates on what’s been going on there since it opened.  These folks are thinking that this home will have extremely violent boys and sex offenders, who will sneak out at night in the middle of the day to sneak into the church during services while no one is watching to hurt people, and if you’ve noticed some problems with that reasoning, you’re paying better attention than they are.  These boys are supervised at all times — leaving supervision is a very large deal.  They’re not going to put SOs in that house, because the church is there, just like they haven’t put SOs in the house that’s across the street from a day-care center (and where there have been no problems with the day-care center).  These boys just aren’t that dangerous.  There was a time when the boys on the Island were very dangerous, but that had already started changing when I went out there for the first time seven or eight years ago, and has been very different the past five years, as they’ve passed on the very violent boys.

But reality just isn’t important when you’re dealing with fear.  And that’s what’s at play here.