marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
2017-10-16 10:30 pm

Sunnier days (dear diary update)

The life updates I've posted so far this year have all been pretty shit. As is often the case when I've had enough positive energy I've been too busy trying to get things done to take or make the time to update here about day-to-day stuff. Facebook really has claimed that space in my life; although even there it is mostly a stream of articles and links about what I have read today online that I consider important, and jottings from gaming sessions.

There are still many things I could be attending to instead of posting, but someone worth writing about has come into my life and her presence and support is helping me get back on track. Yes, I have fallen into a relationship with a lovely lady of about my own age, based in Wellington but that's not an insurmountable issue in this age of electronic long-distance communication and affordable plane travel. We have just spent the better part of a fortnight in the same city (a trip arranged pre-relationship around other circumstances) and I was surprised at the feeling of loss as she walked out to the plane home; I am very cautious about letting myself feel too deeply too fast for anyone but apparently she managed to sneak something past my guard ;)

Positive impacts on my life and ability to do stuff include
- talking on the phone in the evenings winding down my brain for sleep
- wake-up calls and encouragement to get out of bed in the morning
- the "companionship" segment in my life filled in enough that life rolls a little more like a wheel and a little less like a triangle
- various topics and triggers of angst not having anything to get a grip on any more
- an overall improved feeling of wellbeing

Some of these will also be due to the season and increased daylight hours; and of course I'm not miraculously un-depressed. My sleep quality is still pretty rubbishy and quantity required still high. Anxiety about my performance at work has actually jumped even as I have found more reason to be there and work better.

But. Enough mental cycles have freed up that I am looking towards and thinking about the future with an energy that I have not had for a long time.

Happy days.

~~~
In other news
- my Monday gaming group has wrapped up for the moment; work and other commitments taking some of us away from the table.
- my Sunday game continues to progress although again real life means making some adjustments there.
- I've managed to slightly dent the reading pile.
- Friday just past was the 13th and I hosted another Gothic Vampire party (last year the opportunity was missed). There were fewer people than I had expected; but most seemed to be having a good time
- LBTC Gytha continues to be herself
- One of the Hall rabbits (domestics "released" into the grounds by someone at New Years) crossed the road and got itself picked up and taken to the vet by a neighbour; so we now know they are not microchipped and may be one step closer to rehoming them.
- We might just about be on top of the spring growth at the Hall this year; working bees have managed to be almost-monthly although it is still rare that anyone other than the Rovers and myself show up.
- I have had some issues with the number of requests for Hall time we've been getting from people who seem to think we're open 24/7 at the drop of an email.
- I've kind of given up on managing it myself and started paying someone to deal with some of the gardening and such.
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-10-10 07:04 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for September(ish)

Produced 230 units
Exported 96 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 134 units (saving 30.11c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $48.03
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-09-13 12:43 am
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for August(ish)

Produced 183 units
Exported 56 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 127 units (saving 30.11c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $42.72
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-08-04 10:04 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for July(ish)

Produced 114 units
Exported 25 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 89 units (saving 30.11c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $28.80
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-07-14 09:00 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for June(ish)

Produced 101 units
Exported 16 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 85 units (saving 30.11c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $26.87
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-06-07 10:38 am
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for May(ish)

Produced 143 units
Exported 40 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 103 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $33.88
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-05-10 09:01 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for April(ish)

Produced 178 units
Exported 60 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 118 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $39.95
marsden_online: (write)
2017-04-17 10:49 pm

Waiting for the cheque to clear

Toward the end of last week the EQC payout for the drain replacement arrived in my mailbox. Because it was a holiday weekend (Easter) banking it was less immediate than I would have liked, but after an uncomfortable couple of days sitting on a substantially large cheque I got it deposited. Now my internet banking shows two balances, one slightly unreal total and one much smaller "available".

Once the cheque clears I will be zipping most of that money off into a less "touchable" location while I work on plans for the next round of overdue household maintenance. Meanwhile my half-asleep brain suggested to me last night that this is actually quite an apt analogy for how I often find myself feeling about life. That is I am told that I have built up all this credit of various sorts (social), but I can't actually seem to access it in the ways I want it to have immediate value to me.

Objectively I realise this is because at some level I still have internalised the idea that if you do enough of the "right things" for people, you will get back the "right things" (you want) in return.

This segues into feelings about a post which has been shared through my Facebook feed a few times in the past week. The post itself is a screen capture of a tumblr post, I've tracked down the original but the author's Tumblr is very NSFW and comes with a blanket trigger warning so I'm going to quote the whole post here as well. (Not least to have a permacopy, but also because screen-caps are not non-sighted-user friendly.)
What I mean when I say “toxic monogamy culture”
- the normalization of jealousy as an indicator of love
- the idea that a sufficiently intense love is enough to overcome any practical incompatibilities
- the idea that you should meet your partner’s every need, and if you don’t, you’re either inadequate or they’re too needy
- the idea that a sufficiently intense love should cause you to cease to be attracted to anyone else
- the idea that commitment is synonymous with exclusivity
- the idea that marriage and children are the only valid teleological justifications for being committed to a relationship
- the idea that your insecurities are always your partner’s responsibility to tip-toe around and never your responsibility to work on
- the idea that your value to a partner is directly proportional to the amount of time and energy they spend on you, and it is in zero-sum competition with everything else they value in life
- the idea that being of value to a partner should always make up a large chunk of how you value yourself

Now we know that I emotionally even when not philosophically bought into some of these quite strongly during my younger years. It's probable that some of them still lurk below the surface waiting to strike when (if) the opportunity arises, as I have come to a better rational understanding secondhand through observation and "book learning" rather than through actual personal experience.

Actually reading through the list properly for the first time though it was the last one that struck me hard. Being of value to others does make up an overwhelmingly large part of how I value and define myself. I mean once you get past survival, once you get past living comfortably, what else is there?

[tangent]
For lack of a specific partner I have channeled my energy and devotion into an array of causes and people / non-romantic interactions/relationships over the years, but all the time craving that singular connection in return.

Not I should probably say as a singular recipient of all my attention, I care for others far too easily for that, but more as an anchor or a touchstone or a companion to share the journey with such that when it feels I am lost and storm-tossed on the seas of life, throwing cargo overboard for nowt but the space filling up with water I can reach to one side and be certain that someone is close there to me, and the world will well again.

That might seem like a terrible load to ask, it might seem as if I am expecting someone to "meet [my] every need", but in truth it's a fairly narrow subset of my needs, just potentially intense. I am lucky, oh I know how lucky I am, to have many committed friends now whom provide support in various ways, some who have gone out of their way to provide more than I ever asked and more importantly work on opening me up so I could accept and lean on that support for a while.

But even the most determined of my friends has not made a connection that feels like we are actually sharing each others lives to any great degree. It is more that our lives touch from time to time, like the courses of ships travelling the same way for a little while but not bound for the same port. That their course may change without notice or that they could pass beyond reach at any moment due to a swell or a storm.
[/tangent]

What else is there? Some people do fixate on a measure or measures representing material worth, striving to make the numbers ever greater. I don't know that they are actually valuing themselves. Some people spend their lives chasing the thrill of new experiences, I don't know how they value themselves. Some people seem to feel that just existing is value enough, they are welcome to that but at a fundamental level I don't understand how knowing that adding value is how the society they enjoy living in came to exist, they feel no responsibility to maintain it or drive to add more.

How does one have value to oneself? One is. Value only comes into existence when one interacts.

Perhaps I am off on the wrong track. Perhaps first I should be looking closer at another word I used without really thinking above. Perhaps value follows from how we define ourselves, but how even do we do that?

It's a post for another day now, but I do very strongly define the person I want to be because there is another person I know I am capable of being or even am by default, and that I have made the decision is not the person I value myself as.

[tangent]
Far too many people are perhaps still too busy just trying to survive to really think about valuing themselves. It take less energy to believe what others say about your value, to let others decide your value :( Another link I have already shared today: Addicts or not, workers don’t deserve public shaming.
[/tangent]
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-04-07 08:29 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for March(ish)

Produced 263 units
Exported 103 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 160 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $55.90
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-03-13 09:33 pm

Solar panel math for February(ish)

Produced 331 units
Exported 161 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 170 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $63.52
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-02-07 09:31 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for January(ish)

Produced 420 units
Exported 197 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 223 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $82.19
marsden_online: (Cat Yarn)
2017-01-15 09:48 pm

Gardening and other things

Over the past couple of weeks I have spent quite a lot of time gardening one way and another. Whether helping out a friend, digging out a tree stump (two more to go) and filling my now enlarged green bin with weeds and rubbish from my own garden, harvesting some of the the still-present potato population or yesterday an intensive working bee at the Hall I have laid to rest the concerns about an apparent drop in stamina which sent me to the Dr before Xmas.

spade, hole and tree stump
I dug a thing!



I have also acquired a substantial number of blisters, scrapes and scratches on my hands and forearms, and some sunburn. There has also been the luxury of being able to collapse after each period of activity. In fact once the New Year Blues lifted my activity pattern has pretty much been bursts of energy and motivation followed by equal periods of lethargy and exhaustion. There has been a lot of napping.

A few other things I have accomplished:
- baking bread (gluten-free, from a sourdough "bug" gifted by a friend)
- standing desk (previously posted)
- hosting my now-annual bring-a-thing for charity boardgaming day. Attendance was (disappointingly #ifIamhonest) lower this year than previously but I think that was mostly a co-incidence of timing. Normally it would have been a week or so later.
- several enjoyable outings with small groups of friends, myself specifically invited rather than the broadly invited parties and such which make up most of my socialising
- A variety of cleaning tasks around the house, but these have taken a back seat to the gardening.

For all the bursts of energy I still have a list of things I would like to get accomplished this holiday that have not been reached. I have not completed the prep for the next arc of the game I am running on Sundays; indeed I have managed barely any. (A small relief that tonights game was cancelled after two players could not make it, giving me another week and time today to among other things have a nap and write this post. Which will make 12 tasks crossed off todays todo list alone.) There are still gardening and annual cleaning tasks to be done (some of which are years overdue all ready ...). There are still several books I had planned to take time to read. More blog posts to be written.

Tomorrow I am cutting my holiday short by a week and returning to work early to deal with matters arising for one of my current major projects and another regular project which I have been on-called to deal with this past week. Given the state of things when work closed for the Xmas break I was half-expecting this to be the case so I am not mentally unprepared. I don't expect to be doing my full-time hours, just what is needed for these projects so I will still have "spare" time to schedule getting things done in, but it will be back to scheduling rather than the free-flow approach which has seen me be (what feels) so productive over the last few weeks.

I hope to be able to springboard off this time into a routine which sticks with me for the year, if I can keep myself from wanting and attempting to do all-the-things at once. Especially as the days get shorter again. I know my level of success at this has been mixed in all previous years and am not entirely confident.
marsden_online: (Kea)
2017-01-07 09:00 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for December(ish)

Produced 397 units
Exported 199 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 198 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $74.90
marsden_online: (Default)
2017-01-05 08:51 am
Entry tags:

A day with good fortune and a standing desk setup

Yesterday was a good day. I woke up feeling somewhat as if my brain had reset from the previous few days self-inflicted misery and ready to get on with some things. The weather was not conducive to planned gardening so I set out on an extended series of shopping errands, acquiring
- a socket set and impulsively a fairly comprehensive set of screwdriver heads / drill bits for my power drill/driver
- more half-price short-dated bacon than I am easily going to consume (good stuff from a butcher, not water-filled supermarket stuff).
- ditto discount bananas (from the supermarket, not the butcher)
- the real score of the day was visiting the EcoShop to find items useful for converting my home computing environment to a standing workstation. I picked out two items which between them came to somewhat more than I really intended to pay, not discovering until I reached checkout that the store was having a "five dollar furniture day". :D

The two bits cleaned up nicely, most of the markings coming off with a little Jif and elbow grease. The screwdriver heads I had impulsively bought earlier meant I had the bit I needed to remove the wheels from the horizontal cabinet :)

A lot of unplugging and replugging later, this is the result.

Photo of the new setup including resident cat

The monitor alignment is a bit odd but unlike like work where all 3 monitors are pretty much constantly in use at home the left one is usually off and the right is quite auxiliary. I am actually finding having it a little higher to be better than the lower it was before. If I had a touch screen in the array I would find it very tempting to experiment with that much lower angled up.

I've been wanting to experiment with a standing desk for some time, multiple reasons including
- less sitting / stronger posture (my sciatica has been playing up regularly over the past year)
- less getting "trapped" at the computer: just the few hours I have spent yesterday proved that once I have finished everything I have to do I am more likely to wander off and do something else than sit there flipping between social media channels
-- sitting time is more likely to be non-screen dominated eg reading an actual book (Terry Pratchett's "Men At Arms" this day), game prep (I have the laptop if I feel the need to sit and write something extended and again that will at least happen in another room)
-- also no more eating at the computer, which is another shake up to my routine.
- An improvement in my touch-typing as it is not quite as easy to just glance down at the keyboard.

An added bonus is that the powerboard and case now being at normal-desk height mean I no longer have a nest of cables gathering dust down on the floor beside the desk. I've put the chair in there for the moment and the room actually feels a little less cluttered as a result.
marsden_online: (Kea)
2016-12-07 10:14 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for November(ish)

Produced 386 units
Exported 183 units (@ 8c/unit)
---
Used 203 units (saving 29.79c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $75.11
marsden_online: (Kea)
2016-11-05 10:03 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for October(ish)

Produced 332 units
Exported 147 units (@ 7c/unit)
---
Used 195 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $67.19
marsden_online: (Kea)
2016-10-09 09:43 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for September(ish)

Produced 224 units
Exported 63 units (@ 10c/unit)
---
Used 161 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $50.58
marsden_online: (Kea)
2016-09-06 10:55 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for August(ish)

Produced 206 units
Exported 46 units (@ 10c/unit)
---
Used 160 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $51.29
marsden_online: (Kea)
2016-08-06 12:32 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for July(ish)

Produced 153 units
Exported 28 units (@ 10c/unit)
---
Used 125 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $39.27
marsden_online: (Kea)
2016-07-06 08:29 pm
Entry tags:

Solar panel math for June(ish)

Produced 116 units
Exported 19 units (@ 10c/unit)
---
Used 97 units (saving 29.18c/unit)

Total reduction in power bill = $30.20