Life is...challenging...at the moment.
Some of that's bad, some of that's good.
So, I guess that's a succinct, if a bit banal, descriptor of life in general, neh?
In the words of Ahnold: "I will be back..."
I'm not going to rail on about the rampant stupidity in our government.
Rather, I'm just going to focus on a small bit of self-improvement.
Today I weight 220.
Way too damn much.
Let's see if I can use all this much vaunted "discipline" to do something about that.
Lab *still* hasn't released any information on follow-on efforts because of federal asshattery with the budget? Check.
Trying to cram Honorable Son's enrollment/course selection/payment system for first semester of college all into a three-day span? (Self-inflicted I must admit...) Check.
Exhausted from work/home demands? Check.
Sounds perfectly normal.
Pennsic was a mixed bag, but by and large it was Big Fun and the stress relief I sorely needed.
I took a new squire, a very good man who will teach me much. He might even learn a thing or two from me. I look forward to this journey.
I fought more than I have in a while. Her Majesty Ealdormere graced me with a series of passes with katana and I fared better than I ever have. I fought the open field, I fought *all* the bridges. And I got to make things go boom with Master Roderic on the gun line.
My Lady-wife had a harder time of it physically because of the challenges she faces from her chronic troubles. But all-in-all, I think she had a good time.
Now is the "re-insertion" phase, which; oddly enough, is a bit tougher this year. I don't know if it's age creeping up on me, or just where I am in my life and its challenges right now.
Honored Son start college in a *very* short amount of time.
There's more I could drone on about, but for now this wills suffice as a place holder for future thoughts.
...since my last post and life has been tumultuous. I don't know why that's surprising, life is usually tumultuous.
But I gotta say, 2013 has been a study in wild contrasts.
I've carped enough about having to quit Karate...though that's one bright side, I've found another style and a new Sensei. Though, at 55, I think I'd better be more careful. *Starting* Aikijutsu and Wing Chun at my age is probably a bit daft.
My Lady-wife ended up in the Hospital, again, in April. This ended up being an 8-day stay, three of them in ICU, unconscious and intubated. The longer I think about the 72 hours prior to that admission, the more angry I get. She presented to the ED with the same complaint they've been largely ignoring/minimizing since January. Once again, the ED doc got as far as "used to smoke" and "COPD" and shot her full of steroids and sent her home. She'd been complaining about her throat closing. That Sunday night, they could barely get the damn breathing tube down her throat because her airway was so swollen.
I have to say folks, if you've ever smoked (and I used to a long time ago), you're screwed. It appears modern medicine won't look any further than the last Marlboro you lit up. No matter how long ago.
Anyway, it turned out she developed a hideous allergy to mold, which led to the discovery of roof leaks (four small ones) and wet drywall. A generous gift from a friend you recently passed on from cancer provided the resources to create a safe space on the first floor, (new bedroom, full bath) and isolate the problems. If it ever stops freaking raining for longer than 48 hours, I'll get the roof repaired. That's going to be a "DIY" job...don't have the funds to pay for it. First purchase is an OSHA rated safety harness and anchor.
Work is a combination of fun and aggravation. The fun part is what we're actually building. The aggravation is found in the completely dumb-ass way the federal government spends your tax dollars.
Pennsic is rushing up. A week earlier this year and get out a day earlier...yes, I acknowledged the Coopers have been good to us and we've been good to them. Still, the change to long-standing tradition is a bit jarring. There are other complexities this year as well.
Ah well. All of this beats a dirt nap...something far too many people I know have taken in the last year or so.
Just a lousy month, March was. Despite celebrating a birthday in it.
Wife's health continues to be poor. Prognosis is...not sure. The COPD will never get better, but we are currently stalled awaiting specialist appointments. And she seems to slide backwards a bit each week. She's doing everything she's been told, but there are still unanswered questions. The emotional whiplash she suffers with this certainly acts as a negative "force multiplier."
I love the company I work for, and I'm doing what I'm good at (or good at most of it...), but it suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks today that I'm tired of doing this job. Not tired of the people, they're marvelous. Not tired of learning and doing new and cool things. I still love to learn. But, tired of the insane dance dictated by a government financial system whose first principle I've never fully understood, i.e.: Spend all your money in the fiscal year you get it. (Or the two-year time frame, or...it gets complicated.) No brownie points for frugality or being an efficient steward of public monies.
In any other business, if I brought in a $2 million R&D program a couple of hundred-thousand under budget, but still on time and delivered the new technical capability, I'd be a hero.
If I do that in this role, I'm considered a bad manager (by the government at least).
Don't worry gentle reader; I will properly, legally, and expeditiously expend all assigned funds by completion of the project deadline. No other option is acceptable.
But Lord...I wouldn't mind a new line of work.
Checked out a local karate school that teaches Iaido. Looks like lots of fun, the people were very nice, and the Master even took time to explain things directly to me even though I was just sitting in the peanut gallery But there are only two classes a month. And if I understand the language on the website, I can't train any other style if I'm doing that. I'll ask for clarification, I don't know if it means I can't train *anything* or they restrict folks to their empty hand style. Except their empty hand style doesn't really interest me.
I'm really missing my old dojo this evening. I gotta say, this being a Ronin pretty much sucks.
I should quit my whining, tie my hakama back up and get to it.
How do we "depolarize" politics in our country.
The tendency to draw broad lines of demarcation and declare positions "black or white" has certainly increased in my lifetime.
It oversimplifies complex topics and does not engender debate or understanding.
This, combined with the death-grip "big money" has on our political processes, is more of a threat to our Republic than a dozen other so-called "dangers."
How do we do it?
*Can* we do it?
I have no answers.
I have engendered some confusion by being too vague on my previous post. I humbly apologize, I hope to clear up some confusion.
First, the issue with my current dojo isn't the dojo itself, rather its location. It's a military gym that is unique in the Air Force...it's funded by "appropriated funds" (i.e., those federal monies provided for the operation and maintenance of the Active, Reserve, and Guard Air Force). Every other gym on an AF base or GSU (geographically separated unit - the Lab where I work is one) is funded via the "Non-appropriated Fund" method, i.e., they have to generate enough income to pay for their overhead.
Because this gym (which contains said dojo) is paid from from the appropriated "pot" of money, it is illegal to expend any of that money on civilians. I may be retired, but I'm still a civilian. Certain parts of the military food chain have elected, for quite a long time actually, to look the other way because of our remote nature. But it was still improper to permit us to have access. Now that sequestration as put *everything* under the microscope, the Lab had no option but politely but firmly tell the retirees they can't use it anymore.
This goes into effect on 31 March. We train on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, hence three lessons left. :)
I'm not leaving because I want to, or the Sensei has asked me to. I've simply run into a federal regulation.
Second, my observation about the SCA has led a couple of folks to believe I'm either going to A) Quit fighting soon and/or B) Quit the Society.
Neither is the case. My thinking out loud was contemplating whether I should take the time and energy I've been expending in Karate and put it back into armored combat, rather than look for another dojo. I've let that languish. My additional observation was intended only that, at 55, I'm mindful I can't keep treating my body like it's 30.
I'm not ready to hang up my swords yet...but ask me five years from now. I'd rather retire from heavy combat gracefully than have the "You can fight, or end up with parts of your body no longer functioning" discussion with my family doctor.
But I'm in no tearin' hurry.
I apologize for any consternation I may have cause.
1. Three karate classes left. At least with this style.
So, do I find another dojo? A local dojo has an iaido class.
Do I turn that energy back into armored SCA combat? I still love it, but at 55, I think I'm starting to push my luck in terms of the physical demands it makes on my body. And I still have Squires to whom I owe responsibilities and commitments.
I shall have to contemplate this.
2. Medical demands continue with my Lady-wife's situation. Pushing through what appear to be barriers to getting things done quickly and efficiently (whether by deliberate design or simply poor process, it's the same net effect), is time-consuming and frustrating. The jury is still out on her final state/abilities. For right now it's wrangle with the insurance provider over durable medical equipment and try to keep her spirits up.
3. Sequestration will take its toll on my troops' and my employment. We're good through 30 Sep of this year; but after that, things are in the wind. No one will talk follow-on work because no one has any idea of what their budget may be...if there's a damn budget at all. The best I may be able to do is work a soft-landing for them, they're all highly, technically trained. For myself, being non-technical and a generalist...I fully expect I'll reacquaint myself with the ins-and-outs of the NY State Unemployment system. Given that Honored Son will be headed to college, that might *actually* be beneficial in an odd way.
However, I'm not that interested in testing to see if that is so.
4. My disgust with federal and state politics has not lessened. Rather, it's simply being replaced with a quiet cynicism. I've contemplated, more than once, running for an office...but I don't have the funds to do it. And I don't know that I'd be interested in whoring myself out to either of the current two dominant political parties. I'd like to keep intact those few tattered remnants of my soul I still own. Problem is, the categorization of "Independent" is largely considered to be a broad joke.
5. I am curious to see if the legal challenge to NY State's "SAFE" Act (the one restricting semi-automatic rifles, magazine capacity, etc) is successful or not.
6. Why do I still crave Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop Tarts? What is in those damn things? (I've checked, there's no 12-step program.)
That is all, carry on.