Time and Tide

Time and tide wait for no man.  Them as don’t work while young will have to work as old people.

I was raised on all these aforisms, but it meant nothing much at all.  When you’re young time stretches before you, if not infinite a close facsimile thereof.

When my brother turned twenty five he wrote a rather fatuous poem about how half of his life had gone. Even then, from the height of my 15 or so years, I rolled my eyes at it.  Because after all, even in the village when I was younger the life expectancy had been mid sixties, and by 1977 it was stretching to the seventies.

But young man are fatuous and at some level I knew that.  And yet, maybe from that poem, it created in me an habit to look ahead and see what I had left.

Not that anyone can know what they have left.  We have friends our age dropping off suddenly (will you people stop that?) and for them 25 was about the halfway point of life.

By family history I should have another 30 years.  If I’m very lucky I might have 40 or so.  But if the asthma continues attacking me suddenly (middle of the night, I swear to bob) when I don’t have a rescue inhaler (need to order another one) it might be much shorter than that.

RES in the comments has lamented many times that he will die with books unread.  Scary, as he’s not that much older than I.

And I will probably die with books unwritten which is very scary because 15 years ago, when I was in ICU attempting to die of inter-cellular pneumonia, what weighed with me was the worlds I’d carried in me for years that would now never live in other people’s minds.

The world is only eternal if it can escape its creator’s mind.

It used to be only chosen (by gatekeepers) worlds would live, but now…  Now I feel an obligation to them.

What I didn’t count on was my body, which has been trying to kill me since I was one, would go on expert mode.

But I have no intention of dying with these many books unwritten.  They’d either haunt me on the other side or flap around like a flock of carnivorous birds, and land on some unsuspecting writer embryo, who might not be able to handle it.

So how long do I have left?  I don’t know.  None of us does.

All I know is in the time I have I must write, so that afterwards I might rest.

I’ve known that since the kids were little, when writing time was something I snatched like stolen pastry.

BUT now a new thing joins in.  Given my body’s proclivities, I must husband time to have time.  I must give time to my body — to exercise, to rest — so I can write.

This is annoying but in our present study of geriatrics can’t be avoided (I don’t mind the lifespan.  It’s the falling apart that annoys me.)

I must stop treating my body like an inexhaustible, unbreakable machine, and trading pain and effort for achievement.

Instead I have to treat my body as an aged servant, and give it only what it can do, and give it time off to take care of its needs, so it will serve me longer.

Which means changing the habits of a life time.

But if it must be done, it must be done.  Because I must have time to birth more worlds that will fly away and live in other minds, and maybe, in their own time, in those minds birth new worlds, world without end.






229 thoughts on “Time and Tide

  1. But if the asthma continues attacking me suddenly (middle of the night, I swear to bob) when I don’t have a rescue inhaler (need to order another one) it might be much shorter than that.

    No, we wouldn’t want that. Yes, you do need to order another one.

    1. Get that d*mn inhaler, ASAP.

      When I went to my tenth high school class reunion, I discovered that one of my classmates had died of an uncontrolled asthma attack.

      I don’t want to lose you too.

          1. I was about to say so done mine which I rarely use. I can check expiries on my extras and we can cross check types.

    1. There’s always that question with Clones “Am I me?”

      Clones + brain surgery is pretty much “Nope, not me”.

      1. A clone is just a postnatal twin. Nobody thinks it’s a good plan to murder his twin and install his brain in the twin, and nobody thinks his twin is going to do all his work for him (without practical jokes). So it’s amazing that people magically think that clones will be mindless copies, when twins definitely aren’t.

        Some of these modern or science fictional ethical problems are really silly, if you just think about them. Old Man’s War is more like “Retarded Twin-Killing Murder Hobo War.”

        1. *gets the giggles at the new title*

          I think part of it is just that the philosophical problems aren’t THAT hard if you build up to them with an examined mindset– but it works because of the same sort of philosophical slight-of-hand that folks use for other stuff in real life. (Downside being that a lot of authors try to make it hard by adding an author’s thumb to the weight, and bah to that. And don’t get me started about tone-switches– Loony Toons works in that universe, but it’d be horrifying in a real life situation.)

          Heh, a clone that was to be killed for his body: “Well, the bad news is that I’m not the original. The good news is that I’m not a high tech vampire that wants to kill the innocent to prolong my unnatural life!”

      2. And whatever not-me you are is a cold blooded killer psychopath, too.

        As much as I love the opportunities for cool introspection with clones– probably my favorite new twist was the Star Trek ep where a teleporter accident made it so they were BOTH the “real” one, unless you’re willing to go the “anybody teleported isn’t the same person at the other end” theory– a lot of the time it’s either angsting over a simple question, or rather horrifying.

        1. New twist??? See “The Goblin Reservation” by Cliff Simak. Our hero was duplicated by that exact method. Returns home (late), only to discover that he was murdered last week… Published 1968; serial in Galaxy somewhat earlier. Hugo nominee, back when it meant something good!

          1. 1) Star Trek usually worked with frequently touched-on topics, not ones that hit once.
            2) haven’t read the book, but from the notes online the duplication thing seems rather different than the TNG episode.*

            * The TNG thing is actually awesome scifi in theory because it duplicates what we know of identical twins– but twinned at a later point than normal. Usually identical twins are embryonic…..

                  1. I’ll put it in the “hunt for a good second hand copy” list.

                    By the way, kids are digging Asterix. (sp) Amazingly high number of second-hand copies, and they have omnibusses!

              1. Quite possibly, especially since the description of the book is “unabashedly tongue-in-cheek,” the kind of thing that tends to get fanboys trying it out in different situations.

                1. “The Goblin Reservation” is worth the $$. But if you follow BookBub and the other “promote-a-deal-on-ebooks” services, it shows up from time to time at a reasonable price. That’s how I got my e-copy…

        2. I’ve got a rather disturbing short story somewhere in which transport tech was brought to us by an alien race, and it was a form of replication, not actually moving the particles elsewhere. The scanner was non-destructive, and the aliens considered having copies running around to be a bad thing, so once the sending end got confirmation of a good transport, they would kill the original. The aliens considered us squeamish and childish, and had a human there in the station whose job it was to push the kill switch (the aliens did it for themselves when being transported).

          The story revolved around an incident where there appeared to be a problem with the transport, so the transportee was let out of the transport chamber until they received confirmation either of an error or of transport success, but then she didn’t want to go back into the transport chamber, and the button-push guy spaced her.

          1. I just realized the beginning of the above comment may have been unclear. I didn’t write the story, I meant I have it in an old SciFi magazine, either Asimov’s or Analog. I think from the 80s.

  2. Sarah, I suspect your priorities will need to change to adjust to circumstances. I hope I speak for everyone here when I say, frequent, lengthy posts to this blog need not be as high on the priority list as they have been heretofore. Your writing should come first, with dealing with us bloviators coming decidedly lower on the list.

    1. Agreed. I also tweeted (with citation) this quote: “All I know is in the time I have I must write, so that afterwards I might rest.”

      1. Good idea. And we can all promise to click through and leave a brief comment (at minimum), for the kindness of being reminded of them by Mrs. Hoyt.

        Because that way authoress gets paid 🙂

  3. If you have a renewable prescription, Walmart lets you call it in and do phone tree, so you don’t even have to talk to a human being until you go in to pick it up!

    …okay, yes, I’m an introvert. This is a feature for me, not a bug.

    1. grocery store does too, and are very good at looking up my prescription when I can remember neither the name nor if it’s renewable. I’m going to do it in a few minutes.

      1. My pharmacy gets so much money from my wife’s and younger son’s prescriptions, I’m listed as a VIP customer, and on a first-name basis with everyone there. And they’ll happily look up the prescription for which I left the bottle at home, when I call them from the car.

      2. For your inhaler get your doc to set it up so you have three extras.

        Two inhalers live by the bed, thus giving your a week or two to get another one.

        The other spare goes in your car, so if you have to skedaddle you have a spare with you.

        Oh, and is it dry air, or dust that sets it off? HEPA air filters ain’t exactly Daddy Warbucks territory these days.

        1. Usually cold and effort (I’m out of shape partly because it took me forever to get a rescue inhaler and trying to die on long walks isn’t fun.)
          Stress can do it too, though.
          Last night, though, it was COUGH caused by the (almost done) cold. The more I coughed the more my airways constricted.

          1. Sugar free cough drops… well, some of them have sugar alcohols….

            However, there is always menthol rub. Put it on your chest, put in on your socks. Or if it bugs your skin, put it on some item of clothing, or just leave the jar open in one of those warmers.

            1. I am still mourning our cool-mist humidifier — you can put stuff in the water and it would be broadcast into the air. Both the vic’s type liquids and, oh, herbal scents. 😀

              (Anthony is not Pensacola level humid, but it’s still dang damp! So haven’t replaced it. 😦 )

            1. In 1995 my mother’s work changed insurance companies. That change resulted in a change of allergists. The new allergist was o
              convinced my mother didn’t actually need the allergy shots that had kept her free from a major asthma attack for almost five years. Two months later she has a massive asthma attack and died.

              My wish to sue the allergy doc got voted down.

              No i’m not angry, why do you ask. Oh, I’m sorry, was I crushing your hand??

              1. if you use it too often…. I don’t know. It’s not like it’s an opiate, but there it is. For the longest time he wouldn’t prescribe me one though Ive had asthma since I was one.

                1. Abuse of inhalers doesn’t mean “drug abuse to get high”, though I understand the confusion due to connotation. Abuse in this case means “treat rescue medication as a maintenance medication.” It’s in the same category as “Abuse of the emergency medical system (by treating the ER as a primary care doctor.)”

                  For asthmatics, if the rescue inhaler gets used more than X times a week (many docs say three, but I’ve heard different numbers depending on part of country & other factors), the docs will try to shift them off the rescue inhaler and onto preventative medications, to stop the asthma attacks in the first place (often there’s an underlying condition the inhaler is masking symptoms for.)

                  In my non-doctoral opinion, not prescribing a rescue inhaler due to fear of abuse, once the patient is out of, oh, middle school, is pretty stupid. First deal with the current symptoms, then track how often said symptoms pop up, and then start work on reducing exposures or treating underlying conditions, eh? I personally think they should be OTC, right along with the Pill.

                  Note, I’m not a doctor – check with a real doc for your particular symptoms and if they seem off the wall, get a second opinion. (We don’t have single payer health care, so you can do that!)

                  1. Yeah, but I had to go to a doctor who is a fan (And CO licensed to get the long term medication, which is singulair, which I JUST realized I forgot today, damn it.) My doctor just didn’t want me to have ANY medication and #1 son was freaking because he’d seen me have some near-fatal attacks.

                    1. Yeah, let’s not get either of us started on our opinion of your non-fan, non-prescribing doctor.

                      Oh, I now have a new doctor myself! The last one decided to start telling me that I’m “not too old to have children.” And that I need to do aerobics on my destroyed knees. And so… I have a new doctor! This one listens better.

                    2. …. I need to get another one. The last one I tried made me fill in the form about daily testicular exams because “some women have testicles.” Nope, nope nope, oceans of nope. Someone that confused about a medical fact has no business near me.

                      I don’t care what people think they are or live as, but when it comes to someone being FEMALE, they don’t have testicles. Nope, nope nope.

                    3. YEah, we have a baby doctor who tried twice so far to bill ME for “psychological treatment” because they had me answer a questionnaire about the baby.

                      Got pissy when I called up the second time and pointed out I’d refused to give it to them….they’re also theones who want the SSN of everyone in the household.


                    4. Questionnaire is the “post partum depression” thing.

                      First time, I answered it, on the assumption it was to do with the baby.

                      They charged us $75, reduced to $25 when it wasn’t covered.

                      Second time, I wrote “DECLINED” in big letters across the top… they tried to bill anyways, because standardized billing. (I don’t really consider that a fraud attempt, most people answer it most of the time.)

                      Spent 45 minutes on the phone because some @#$# genius put it so it hangs up after 5 minutes on hold. (Again, not the doctor’s fault…but bad business.)

                      The SSN part is because we have a lot of illegals in the area, so the more SSNs there are, the more chance to either catch people or “fix” bad paperwork.

                      I started leaving it blank. No issues.

                1. “No, but if you GROSSLY overuse it, it can kill you. ”

                  At which point my inner misanthrope would point out that no one who actually believes in Evolution would keep trying to prevent it from working by keeping people like that from surviving to breed,,,,, Feel free to use that line on your doctor. 😎

              1. No, but you can treat a rescue medication as a maintenance medication. Not prescribing it in the first place, though, is nuts. Heck, I had my first rescue inhaler practically shoved down my throat when I reported difficulty breathing when trying to run, work, & climb in -40F to -48F weather, as well as when transitioning from those temperatures outside to buildings heated to +65F to +80F.

                “I’m not asthmatic!”
                “It’s for acute and sporadic difficulty breathing, not for chronic asthma. You have chronic difficulty breathing, and you’ll get a different treatment. This is to make sure you keep breathing until the cold snap is over!”

        2. “The other spare goes in your car, so if you have to skedaddle you have a spare with you.”

          Check the temperature range; I suspect a Denver winter and possibly a Denver summer, especially in a car, will get outside of storage temps a lot.

    2. Are any of the steroid nose sprays helpful? I see Flonase is now OTC, but didn’t pay attention to the costs.

      The regional pharmacy has its’ own prescription plan for various drugs (similar to WalMart) with 30 and 100 days supply. The trick is they’ll let me renew a week ahead of time. By doing this steadily, I’ve built an emergency stash with a few weeks extra. Hmm, no rescue inhalers listed.

      1. For what it’s worth, the generic version costs $13 for 120 spritzes, versus $23 for Flonase. (*notes this, in case I need it myself. Western Oregon isn’t merely green, it’s moldy.*)

    3. Walgreen’s here in Dallas will deliver anything that doesn’t require a photo id through Uber to your house. I’m pretty sure the Kroger pharmacy will too, since they do grocery delivery.

  4. Amen.

    An eternity in the afterlife suffering the recriminations of all my unpublished Characters? Entire worlds yelling at me that I ought to have finished at least the first book? No matter the destination, they’d better have word processors. I don’t want to have to write these guys out longhand, and hand them around to whatever Angels or Demons are hovering just to get my own Characters to give me a little peace and quiet.

    1. The chime sounded. “Excuse me, someone at the door.”

      A horned beast carrying a clipboard and a parcel stood at the door. “Delivery for.. Pam. Sign here, please.”

      “And this is…?”

      “Ma’am, I deliver it, I don’t peek. If there is a card or manual, I suggest you read it.”

      “Are you… a demon?”

      “No, ma’am. Nor an angel. Just an ox.”

      “Not minotaur?”

      “Thank you. Call me what you like, but I find ‘ox’ generally puts people at ease more. About that signature?”

      “Oh, yes.” *scribble*

      “I am curious, would you mind opening it?”

      A few moments a later a strange thing looking like a tape recorder, studio mic. typewriter, monitor, and cap collided is reveal. “Oh, you must be an author!”

      “Huh? How’d y-.. what IS this?”

      “The word processor of your dreams, or maybe nightmares. You can write by typing, by speech, by thought. Probably even by quill if you’re so inclined. I’ll leave you to it. Eternity is a long time… but not as long it was yesterday. G’day.”

      “Who was it?”

      “Uhm… excuse me, I think I have some writing to catch up on.”

        1. I shudder to think of trying to clean up a manuscript that resulted from writing down my thoughts. Verbatim, so to speak. Or think. Whatever.

  5. I finished up three books and am taking a rest. I keep looking at the fourth one and I know I need to get started on it. BTW at this point I wonder if 30 will be my midpoint. I’m hoping for 30 more years too… but nothing is guaranteed.

    1. I recall, once upon a time, my father asking my grandparents for some help (a rare thing indeed!) as his “life was half over” and nothing much had been done yet. That was when he was 30. The next 25-30 years were quite interesting indeed and I don’t know if a loan or gift or anything happened – but I know if such had been, it had also been repaid. He died at 68, and there is some speculation that a better cardiologist and more willingness to see such would have put that off – but he had watched his father linger near-death for a year or so and wanted none of that… so there is also the suspicion that “do nothing” about “something” might have been intentional. No way to know, really. He is (or was) the only male non-smoker I have much to go by, aside from a great-grandfather who supposedly served (a bit too young, but wink & nod)) in WWI and whom I met in the late 1970’s. Supposedly, as there is/was much of his life with a decidedly low truth coefficient. I’ve met at least two (possibly three, unsure anymore) great-grandmothers, so if I can reduce my tonnage, there is hope for more than a couple more decades. Hope, for nothing is certain.

      1. Dad died at age 53 just before bypass and angioplasty procedures were mainstream, while others in the family have made it to the 90s. Mom is 94; frail, but still going. I’m 65, so-so health. I’ll try for forever, and take what I get.

  6. I’m in my early 30s, but I’m finding even now that I need more sleep than I used to if I want to make it through the day without my head wanting to hit the keyboard. Exercise and proper eating have helped with my energy levels, as has getting more than 5 hours of sleep a night. All of that cuts into writing and working time, but it must be done. I have to shave time away from relaxing activities if I want to get things done. And, like you, I fear for the worlds I’ve created in my head and whether or not they’ll ever make paper before the Lord calls me home to be at His side. He’s given me all this inspiration and creativity, and I owe it to Him to keep at it, to run that race, so that – as you said – in the end I might rest.

    You are in my prayers, Sarah. I enjoyed meeting you at LibertyCon earlier this year and look forward to the next time we can meet.

  7. It’s the falling apart that annoys me.

    Dear Esteemed Hostess:

    As a mutual friend is wont to say: It is not the growing old that is so bad, it is the decrepit that gets you. For some the falling apart hits earlier than others. (As to your body trying to become an expert at what it is doing — I get the impression that you have always held to the principle that if it is to be done do it to the best of your ability.) Anyway, no, falling apart is never fun.

    I have been under doctor’s advise to walk two hours a day when I can — which is six days a week if the weather allows. I know I feel so much better, physically and mentally, when I do. It is that it takes so much time away from other things on my to do list. But I know that if I don’t I won’t be up to doing my to do list. So I do it. Sigh!

    Take care of yourself, sure it can feel like a distraction, but it makes a positive difference to how well you can do what you need and want to do.


  8. I find that as I get older, the warranty on my body parts start expiring. I’m not afraid of death, but I am afraid of the process of dying.

  9. Which is worse? The fear of dying before one’s favourite authors have finished their series? Or the fear that one’s favourite authors will die before they finish their series?

    1. The latter, the fear that one’s favorite authors will die before they finish their series, because you have to live with it.

    2. Definitely the second. A couple authors have died while I was waiting for the next book in their series. None of them were authors that I would call favorites though.

      In one case, I read book one and two of a fantasy trilogy only to be informed by the nice girl behind the counter at the book store that the author had passed and book three would be a while because it was being written by the author’s son. Sigh… Nice escapist fantasy. Elves, “Little Forrest People”, stereotypical bad guys using “dark magic” (Yes, in my recollection it was completely forgettable rubbish, but sometimes you just want to read something comfortable).. Then the third book finally came out and the next thing I knew the FREAKIN ALIENS LANDED!!! Funny thing is, I can’t remember for the life of me who that author was or what the trilogy was and haven’t been able to go back and find it (I’ve told friends about it and they asked). If anyone knows, let m know.

    3. Years (decades?) ago I was annoyed at two-parter TV shows (when most where single stand-alone episodes. Commonly split shows – e.g. Batman – weren’t an issue) as I’d see the first one… repeatedly, but not the second. But as time I went on, I found I would wind up seeing the second half, often at unexpected times. The way things seem to go, I expect this to continue. If there is an afterlife of some sort, I expect things will get caught up (and other things will have the same old issues… for a while) and if there is none, well, I won’t miss such then.

  10. I can’t rebound from nights and days without enough sleep anymore—I’ve forgotten my exact record, but I think it was 41 or 43 hours without sleep back the first time I was an undergraduate. Even from I was 13 I puke if I don’t get enough sleep for four or five days; well, I seem to have gotten away from the throwing up part, but I still can’t catch up on my sleep if I’m up to midnight.

    And I lost my first cousin last week; she was the first of my generation who lived to school age to pass away. She was almost three years older than me.

    1. It was very jarring, a few years ago, when an aunt only about 2.5 years older than me died in a strange boating accident. No signs of concussion or trauma of any sort (heart attack, etc.) and she was good swimmer & a swim instructor/coach… and yet she drowned. The youngest of my aunts – and one of if not the most fit. And every once in a while, I want to ask her something still.

  11. In some universe, probability coefficients and suchlike currently unknown, there is a “minotaur” with a day job doing deliveries in Goldport, CO. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to read about that. If not… well, it happens nonetheless.

    Then again, in some universe, likely all too close to this one, I met a tragic end sometime in the 1970’s due to some bit of recklessness of relative youth.

    But in THIS universe… well, you’re stuck with me as I am. I’m stuck with me, too. It’s amazing I’m not somehow depressed, I suppose.

    1. There’s a lot of universes out there where I got splattered on a motorcycle. Just not this one. Yay!

      1. If we’re going to talk universes: I was born severely premature at a time that wasn’t very survivable. I had small pox at 3. I was infected with TB sometime between that and 6. (They caught it when I entered school.) I walked around reading books and crossing streets in Porto where drivers have about half the care for human life as in Italy.
        I was shot at, and had machine guns pointed at me in my teens. I was in serious and for real physical fights.
        I almost died giving birth to Robert (as in the doctor told Dan he’d almost for sure lose ONE of us.)
        And three years ago while going to get Robert from the airport in a thick fog I’m sure in most universes Dan and I splatted off the road a number of times.
        I am a high improbability event. I don’t know what to make of that.

        1. Well, for my part it makes me thankful to be in the same universe where, not only do you get to be a high improbability event in survival, but one in which the gatekeepers lost control so that I could read get your writing.

        2. I am a high improbability event. I don’t know what to make of that.

          St. Peter has an eraser with your name on it

        3. Given your childhood health history, I’m surprised we never saw you in a commercial with Sally Struthers. You’d have been a natural.

          1. Let me know so I can be far away.

            Matter and antimatter shouldn’t be put in close proximity to each other…

          1. I wonder what mine get. Housemate didn’t believe my doom magnet tendencies until he moved in, and now he is of the opinion that ‘you’re going to live to a ripe old age, because life hates you and you are so not going to have your suffering end any time soon.’

            1. As an olde friende of mine was once to say, “That which does not kill you must try harder next time.” One gets the impression that the big D has his pet projects (or perhaps the Fates, or just demon Murphy), wherein he gets quite close to killing you and then just says “psyche! Almost got ya that time!” *shakes head*

              Perhaps we’re already past our “expired by” date. If so, best we enjoy every minute we have left, as best we can. And take care to prolong those minutes, too, because eventual mortality doesn’t exactly need the help.

              1. I’ve always disliked that “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” quote. I like your version better.

                The one I usually use is “Whatever doesn’t kill you, wears you down so that the next thing has a better chance of succeeding”.

                1. the quote that aggravates me even more is ‘pain is weakness leaving the body’.

                  If that’s true i should be somewhere between Thor and Superman by now.

                  1. I’ve annoyed a few by my explanation that…

                    Pain is an _indicator_. It means, “Stop that, or you’ll break something.”

                    And when something DOES break and there is severe pain? That’s Nature saying, “I TOLD you so!”

                    1. And should NOT be answered with a Goodies/Tylenol/Advil so you can simply get right back to doing what made you hurt in the first place!

                2. It’s one of those things that is partly true, but not universally so. Being hurt, so long as it doesn’t surpass a certain threshold, DOES make you stronger, but if it goes beyond that threshold, then it makes you weaker, because you are not able to recover all of what was damaged.

                  it’s knowing that it is presented as a universal truth when it can, in fact, do just the opposite, that makes it so annoying, I think. This is why I want a bumper sticker that says, “Real problems are too complex for a bumper sticker”

                  1. The adage fails by not recognizing different genres of pain. There is muscle pain, as consequence of build-up of lactic acids, which is endurable and can be oversome by act of will. Then there is damage pain, such as one experiences upon partially tearing an ACL, which is a signal to STOP doing that activity RIGHT NOW.

                    N.B., my experience of this is rather ancient vintage and some terms may be incorrectly applied. I would apologise for this if I gave a damn about physiological accuracy.

              2. “That which does not kill you must try harder next time.”

                I’m going to steal that. That’s awesome.

                My personal favorite in this vein is “If they’re going to kill me, at least I can make them WORK for it.”

                1. Hazard pay and combat bonuses? *chuckle* If they’re anything like mine, they *need* it. Despite all the “almost dead, but not quite” I’m mighty glad to be alive still. Miles to go, promises to keep.

        4. (I hope this doesn’t violate the rule against religious talk)

          My own series of improbabilities isn’t as impressive as yours, but I consider it proof of the existence of God, even if that proof would be insufficient for anyone else.

          I also want to echo appreciation that I get to read your books in this one.

        5. High improbability events. The whole Earth seems to be one already, and the fact that we didn’t all die in 1964 is another one.

          I have this guy Bob in my stories, he’s a sort of Ancient Alien/demi-god. I modeled him after George Burns in those Oh God movies. Maybe a bit of my own grandfather in there, the pipe is Grandpa’s for sure.

          Anytime something spectacularly unlikely happens, they all blame Bob. He laughs and smokes his pipe, and never tells anybody what’s going on. Usually its not him doing it, which I think makes it even better. He only shows up when things are going to happen, he doesn’t make them happen.

                1. Much more likely to destroy Western Civilization than nukes. After all, we discussed John Lennon’s Imagine just the other day…. 🙂

              1. There is a joke I think I have to tell here, though properly it belongs to another.

                Everybody told me that if I voted for Goldwater, we’d soon be in a war.
                And sure enough, they were right.
                Because I did vote for him, and very soon after that, we were fighting in Vietnam.

                It’s a paraphrase, since I can’t remember in which of Jerry Pournelle’s books this can be found; but it just didn’t seem right to let the opportunity pass in silence…

            1. My mistake, Cuban missile crisis 1962. I was young, I don’t remember it well. I do remember my dad not getting out of bed for three days. He was convinced we were all going up in a ball of nuclear fire, and he couldn’t handle it. Lucky for us kids he got better after Nikita blinked. Don’t think he was ever really the same afterward though. Hard to say, when you’re little like that.

              Some days I think Nikita should have statues to him, as the man who saved the world. If he hadn’t realized that the American president was crazy, we might all be dead.

              Like I said, Earth is a high improbability environment.

        6. What I make of it is “I’m glad you’re here!”
          Myself, I know I enjoyed myself a bit hard, in my youth, though not as hard as some. But in one of those, when I broke my leg at 15, the ortho took one look at the x-rays and announced I’d have arthritis when I got older.
          Gee, thanks.
          I really hate that he was right, and it wasn’t all that much later from where I stand now. I need to get something for working on concrete all day, standing. We get new boots paid for once a year, but I go through 4 or 5 sets of insoles, and lately noting seems to work for a hill o’ beans.
          Meanwhile, a shoulder I thought was never gonna heal enough for me to shoot a bow again, seems to have, but now the other arm is so week I have trouble lifting a gallon of milk with it. Family history seems that if the cancer is kept away, we go a long time, but I seem to be falling apart a bit sooner than the average. Heck, even my aunt with the bad heart, who was perhaps the first person to wear out an artificial valve and live, made it well into her 70s before passing. I just wonder how well I’ll be moving come then. Or if my silly brain will be working.
          Anyhow, enough of my whine.
          Do what you must. We’ll be here.
          Redecorating as we go (~_^)

          1. I have this book by a physical therapist. He says that a lot of our joint and muscle troubles are caused not so much by injuries themselves, but by the body trying to compensate for injuries by moving in weird ways, which make the rest of the body also do weird things. Same thing for weird movement caused by even slightly assymetrical body parts, which is also what I have.

            So his contention is that people with pain need to do “range of motion” exercises, so as to give their bodies relief from the weird overcompensation movements. His exercises have helped me a lot with my ankle problems, but obviously I don’t have anything really bad.

            The same guy has written a lot of other books, but this is the one I got: Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain by Pete Egoscue.

            1. I was in terrific condition until I blew out a knee, and then had to learn to walk again. That threw my back out of alignment and twenty years of pain ensued until I found a reliable chiropractor who got me straightened out.

            2. Ah, well, something to that as a range of motion stretch is what I do when it really acts up and it seems to give a hair of relief.
              With the type of arthritis that runs in the family, I doubt I will ever be pain free . . . heck, as I kid I can recall complaining my knees didn’t “feel right”. My ankles, thought seem to be more tendon pain than arthritic pain, but that too, lurks under the Achilles pains

        7. I was thinking you were from Porto and then kept thinking that was the city you went to for school.

          The reason it keeps coming up as a YouTuber who keeps getting my attention is from there: Get Hands Dirty. Every video I think of you.

          1. Yes, it’s the city I went to school. It was about half an hour from the village by train. I lived at home because culture. BUT to give you an understanding of this: my grandmother lived in the village her whole life and could count on two hands the times she went to Porto. My mom would go maybe once every two or three weeks, to shop. It was still very insular.

    2. Oh, I’m sure there are universes where I broke my neck on a trampoline when I was a pre-teen, others where the rock I dropped on the back of my head was enough to knock me unconscious into the creek to drown, and others where my dad didn’t warn me of the wall of clay mud that fell where I was bent over trying to remove the rocks at the bottom of the wall.

      Then there must be others where I was the one to develop commercial fusion power and am now the richest man in the world. I really hate those guys. 🙂

  12. “I must stop treating my body like an inexhaustible, unbreakable machine, and trading pain and effort for achievement.”

    Hilariously, after I wrote on your post yesterday that I was alive and could even walk, I turned to go down the hall and strained something in my -good- knee. So today my bad knee is my good knee, and the other one is saying “you are going nowhere, big boy.” All the stuff I was going to do, requiring walking and other moving around type things, is now on hold.

    On the bright side, it seems (knock on my wooden head) to be a muscle rather than a ligament. Something got inflamed, got suddenly pulled too hard, and went into “NO!!!” mode. Like a back injury, but in the leg. All things considered, the knee thing is easier to take than the back injury. It hurts, for sure, but I can limp. I can’t limp my back.

    Made it all the way down the driveway to the mailbox this morning, so life is improving. Two sticks today, one stick tomorrow, maybe no stick in a couple days.

    Moral of the story? There is no moral. Shit happens. When shit happens to you, that’s Tragedy. When if happens to somebody else, its Adventure. >:D

    1. When my bad knee is acting up, I MUST wear two knee braces or the unsupported “good” knee will go out.
      My back has only gone out once, up high, between the shoulder blades. I was well, well north of 250lbs at the time, and spent most of the day sitting in a car driving around Cajun Country. I was likely closer to 300 than 250. Oddly, the knees were well behaved at that time, for whatever reason.

      1. I feel much better today, I can bear weight without moaning about it, yay me. Two knee braces for me from here on out, for sure. Weight-loss plan is in motion too. If I can get down to 220 that will be pretty good, I think.

        Damage accumulates, unfortunately. Sitting and typing is bad for us.

  13. I slipped into my late thirties just about three weeks ago, and I’m really feeling it. I’ve known for a while that lack of sleep triggers migraines but even a year or so ago, it had to be two or three days of disrupted sleep; now it seems like only one will do it. Or maybe that’s just because my duty section thinks 22-0200 is the only watch they can give me. Maybe it’ll ease up a bit once I’m off this ship. I can hope.

    1. I read some wise guy’s comment that the Navy had listened to Senator McCain and gone from 100 hour work weeks to 168 hour work weeks.

      Maybe that idiot that whose whole squadron was looking for him (thinking he’d gone overboard) wasn’t hiding out in master goldbrick mode, but had simply fallen asleep. Nah, probably not.

    2. I read comments from those in their thirties and think “Kids.” Then I think of when a grandfather, pushing ninety, said “I feel good today; I feel like I’m sixty again.”

      1. Just now remember a conversation between a grandmother (then in her eighties) and her older sister about her sister’s husband. Her sister complained about him eating hot peppers all the time.

        “It can’t be good for him,” her sister said.

        “Well, he’s only ninety,” my grandmother said, with complete seriousness.

          1. My dad essentially lived on junk food (sandwich cookies, Twinkies, donut sticks, etc) interspersed with small servings of real food occasionally for the last ten or so years of his life. I’m actually pretty sure that’s what kept him going so long; his appetite was so low that I think he would have gone of malnutrition if he was eating “healthy”.

            1. My maternal grandmother, the doctor, adored junk food. If there was a new bag of puffy things, or cheesy nibbles, or new brand of cupcakes or cookies, she had to try it at least once. New candy? She’d be down to the shops to buy a bag. One of the things I remembered from visiting her house was she often had these massive (a meter tall) cans of “Mixed Biscuits” – sandwich cookies, wafers, butter cookies, digestives, chocolate chip cookies, etc.) She considered merienda and dessert essential (or at least, that was the impression I got!) Her hair was mostly black with barely any gray strands in her 80s, and I remember the last time I saw her she was still sharp witted and mobile, and if she hadn’t slipped in the bathroom and hit her head, she probably would have seen her great grandchild graduate. I seriously think she could have lived over a hundred.

  14. No man knows the number of hiis days, but every man knows his days are numbered. Yet it is not the number of days that counts; it is the filling of them.

    Fill your days with joy that ye not count them squandered when they run out.

    At fifteen I was going to die with books yet to read, I was merely too callow to recognize it. Now that the end is in sight (I give myself another thirty years, tops, and at present speed I could — but won’t — stop buying and still not read them all) and I realize, I’ve enjoyed it, although I should have learned earlier to put some aside, unfinished.

  15. Dear Sarah’s body: Stop trying to kill her, just let her have fun and write. You’ll be happier too.

  16. Your last paragraph is especially evocative and sounds like you could have been Rutger Hauer’s script writer in Blade Runner.

  17. For a less (or perhaps more) depressing topic by Sarah today …

    Quick, to the Victim-Mobile!
    Has someone lit the Victim-signal in the sky? For the last several days my Facebook page has been lit up with women “me too-ing” about how they also were harassed and are as victimy, helpless and deserving as any would-be Hollywood A-lister flung across Harvey Weinstein’s casting couch.

    It’s all “I too was harassed” and “being a woman is so terrible” and “no one is safe” and “patriarchy.”

    It might be unkind of me but my first thought – right after, “Really, I didn’t know Bill Clinton’s staff was that big” – was “No, you were not sexually harassed, because the penalties for that are straight-up horrendous unless you happen to be a big-time leftist. At worst you were inconvenienced by having a pass made at you by a guy you found unattractive.”

    This thought could be wrong and unkind. …

    1. Reading up on Hollywood’s history regarding this sort of thing, I was struck with several observations.

      1. It does not at all hurt analysis to remember that women can prey on women, and that men can also be victims.
      2. This stuff has apparently been going on in Hollywood a very long time. It may have colonized film from theater.
      3. An awful lot of the Hollywood set seems to fit the pattern of a prior victim who was damaged by the experience, thereby screwing with the boundaries set for other behavior later in life.
      4. Hollywood has been very effective at pushing a general social agenda that could be expected to result in a more permissive environment for the stuff that they had been doing for decades, but could no longer be as effectively covered up. (Timeline: pushing support in, say, the sixties for stuff that had been happening since, say, the twenties and thirties, that, like segregation, could no longer be hid with plausible deniability. )
      5. In hindsight, feminism and ‘Girl Power’ look like marketing techniques for perceptions and attitudes that make women more vulnerable to sexual exploitation, inside and outside of Hollywood.

      1. 6. Yeah, The Left and Gramsci. I’m no longer convinced that the pedophilia trial balloon was a calculated and ideological effort, as opposed to Hollywoodians being Hollywoodians.
        7. I remember that Milo was apparently also making noises about Hollywood pederasts.
        8. I saw somewhere that the NYT may have outed Weinstein to prevent him from making a movie, which he had discussed, involving the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. This apparently touched the NYT’s gun control and antisemitism bottom lines.

      2. On point #1, there is also the fact that women can be mistaken about such things. Yesterday I read an item about a woman complaining her boss “gave off a creepy vibe” but detailed NO actual behaviours that would be considered offensive.

        Sorry, ladies, but a guy giving off a creepy vibe is not legally actionable. There may be many reasons for it other than lusting after your body. Applying a subjective standard is how you get accused of “asking for it” when some creep hits on you and it ill behooves you to turn that around to attack men who have never said nor done anything objectionable.

        Worse, it tends to lessen the credibility of those women who have been assaulted or harassed.

        On point #2, yes, the theatre long had a reputation as a hunting ground for gold-diggers and “loose” women. There would have been no “stage-door Johnnies” had their attentions not been accepted and encouraged. Historically (and rather recently) actresses were known to trawl theatre audiences for men willing to pay for private “performances.” But keep in mind: Past performance is no indicator of future results.

            1. Robert Graves’ novel Count Belisarius goes into a fair amount of detail about women’s roles in the Roman theatrical world. Even in Christian times in Constantinople, Roman plays in theaters were usually filthy. Romans liked sex comedies, and sometimes that included sex on stage. Actresses were often slaves whose performances were ads for their prostitution services. The future empress, Theodora, was exceptional as an actress and performer, because she and some other women allegedly owned their own co-op brothel instead of having some madam or pimp own it and them.

              (OTOH, the slaves, freedmen, and freedwomen of theatrical troupes were able to say satirical things that the rest of society couldn’t. The proverbs of Publilius Syrus, a freedman playwright and actor, were preserved by Christian patristic writers, as well as by Christian manuscript copyists. Theater can do important things even in bad circumstances.)

      3. I saw a fb post about how just because a woman doesn’t post #metoo that doesn’t mean she wasn’t harassed or assaulted, that survivors don’t owe you their story.

        While this might, just might, be an attempt to keep them from going into screaming mob mode on women who aren’t jumping on the bandwagon, it strikes me more as an attempt to claim that the women not participating in the signaling are in silent agreement. This way, they get to claim not just the ones that speak up, but also everyone who remains silent.

        Soon enough, silence will no longer be an option.

        1. Honestly, I’m not sure which to hope for, sometimes. I hate to see the screaming mob form, but this may be one of the few cases where the mob’s targeting might be widespread enough (half the population!!!) to cause a backlash of “I don’t want to be associated with these crazies”

          Moral vs tactical, I guess.

        2. Molly Ringwald has encountered ‘plenty of Harveys of my own’ in Hollywood
          “I never talked about these things publicly because, as a woman, it has always felt like I may as well have been talking about the weather,” she explained. “Stories like these have never been taken seriously. Women are shamed, told they are uptight, nasty, bitter, can’t take a joke, are too sensitive. And the men? Well, if they’re lucky, they might get elected President.”

          All that said, some women are “uptight, nasty, bitter, unable to take a joke, and too sensitive.”

          And some men are crude, rude, predatory, lacking any concept of what is inappropriate for joking and insensitive.

          It is the human condition that there can be people aplenty in the wrong.

          And, sadly, people all too eager to leverage any event to advance an agenda.

            1. It was quite good, except for the ‘rape-adjacent sex’ terminolgy, definition and argument she makes. It really distracted me from what her main point was. Also her distaste for Cards Against Humanity has some serious issues. The point for CAH is to break the tendency towards political correctness – Especially how those who refuse to bow obeisance to political correctness and the latest SJW Thing of The Moment are ‘horrible people.’ Kind of similar to how we embraced the way that SJWs call folks like us evil, terrible, horrible people…

              She had a point, but it got lost in fluff that echoes the ‘feminists’ of today.

              1. That may be the point, but…they do it by breaking the thing that political correctness exploits.

                Can still be harmless, the spirit is what matters, but the way you play is the way you live. Do it because being horrible is good, or is it “being horrible” is fun. (Sort of like the bloody fairy stories when in reality one doesn’t smash spiders.)

                1. I dunno. I mean, I live with Aff, and Rhys is my hubby. Cards Against Humanity = normal conversation for us a fair amount of the time, given the horrible, yet hilarious metaphors and analogies we come up with. “My nose is running faster than a Mexican for the US border / Kenyan in the Olympics (or) producing enough snot to feed all of Ethiopia…”

                    1. Ah, but that’s not the problem– it’s kind of like the difference between “I go kill things on video games” because it’s harmless and that’s how you win the video game, vs the (documented) issue with folks who do it because the cops don’t come after you, but it still feeds the serious desire to do harm.

                      Sort of a variation on the wolves vs sheepdogs thing.

                    2. I showed the Cards Against Humanity set I have to my parents in law last night; we didn’t play (we were just waiting for dinner to finish cooking) but I explained the rules, and gave some examples, and laughter and amusement was had.

                      Later, I listened to Aff complaining about some really bad translation. “Its worse than dealing with an american who learned english off the side of soda cans sold in shamrock, texas that were printed by chinese immigrants who learned english from mexicans living in north korea within the radiation damage area of a nuclear test site.”

                  1. I have to say that, as a person with a really dark sense of humor, it shocked me how offensive that Cards Against Humanity was. A lot of the cards weren’t edgy; they were just nasty and creepy. Bleh. Will not play again.

                    1. But there’s a world of difference between Cards Against Humanity in mixed company, and Harvey Weinstein trying to get a financial administration intern to help him jack off instead of doing her job. Or assaulting and threatening actresses.

  18. I picture a ghost, sitting at a desk, quill in hand, scribbling madly. (Ghosts don’t use computers – a ghost in the machine? Please.) Only when all the books are written can the once-living author find her rest. The problem being that death didn’t stop the author’s creativity, and new books are born all the time…….

    What would be the title of this horror story?

      1. They’re in Heaven (we can only speculate which writers might be in Hell and what their punishment might be like) so they’re in the sky. So …

        Ghost Writers in the Sky?

        An old bookhand went writin’ on one dark and windy day
        upon a page he rested as he wrote along his way
        when all at once a mighty lot of hard-bound books he saw
        plowin’ through the ragged shelves and up a lib’ry draw

        Their spines were still on fire and their pages edged with gold
        their covers black and shiny and their remainders still unsold
        a bolt of fear went through him as they thundered through the sky
        for he saw the writers typin’ hard and he heard their mournful cries

        yippie i ohhh ohh ohh
        yippie i aye ye ye
        ghost writers in the sky

        Their faces gaunt, their eyes were blurred
        their shirts all soaked with sweat
        he’s witin’ hard to catch that herd
        but he ain’t caught em yet
        cause they got to write forever in that library in the sky
        on keyboards sparkin’ fire as they write on hear their cries

        As the writers typed on by him he heard one call his name
        ”if you want to save your soul from hell a-witin’ on our range
        then bookhand change your ways today or with us you will write
        tryin to catch the devil’s herd across these endless skies

        yippie i ohhh oh oh
        yippie i aye ye ye
        ghost writders in the sky
        ghost writers in the sky
        ghost witers in the sky

        1. (we can only speculate which writers might be in Hell and what their punishment might be like)
          I’ve always assumed Sartre is in Hell. And he’s sitting all alone somewhere – except he can see stacks of his books being totally ignored by everyone else in Hell……………………………….

    1. Ghost writers in the sky? (C’mon, I /know/ more people than me were thinking it . . . .)

      1. No, no, it’s “ghost writers in disguise.” You know, people who publish under their own names? That’s a ghost writer in disguise.

        1. It depends, but mostly they end up down in the same place as do writers who are bad (not to be confused with bad writers) accumulate.

          Is purgatory the drain trap of the afterlife?

    2. “The Quills of Sisyphus.”
      Because when the Writing Muses hand you something like that, you better had go on and get it out the door, or else.
      Tho’ lucky me, all I have to do is write the *title* not the story.

      (Says the guy who just spent an hour or three over the past couple of days checking background for an extended vignette, because Saturn V, and V-N, and specific impulse, and LH2 density, and Nerva-1 and 2 thrust, and S-II and S-IVB hydrogen loadings, and TMI delta-vee, &…)
      (But as a near-lifelong hard-SF reader and occasional writer, I’d still not have it any other way,)

  19. “I must stop treating my body like an inexhaustible, unbreakable machine, and trading pain and effort for achievement.”

    The good news is, it’s not an inevitable downhill slide! Just as you’ve seen improvement with meds and moving out of The House That Was Trying To Kill You, we’ve seen a lot of improvement with weightlifting and moving away from The State I’m Allergic To.

    I have faith that as long as we’re honest with ourselves about where our bodies are at, and committed to working on getting better, the quality of what life we have left will improve!

    1. I’m curious– what makes the difference between a State You’re Allergic To and one you aren’t?

      1. Massive difference in climate, humidity, and local species. In Middle Tennessee it’s very humid year-round. It’s so humid living zuchinni plants will grow mold in direct sunlight, as will the house siding, and anything else not actively moving – and I wouldn’t bet on things that are moving being mold-free, either.

        North Texas is very, ah, non-humid. This is a place where cactus grows wild as a local native species! While it still has cottonwood (just like Alaska) and ragweed (just like TN), those are thankfully not my particular nemesis. In fact, when inspecting homes, the realtor explained that no one does mold checks because unless there’s a water leak, there’s no mold. Instead, people are more worried about the foundation cracking because it was so dry for so long with the recent drought that soil was drying up and settling in ways it hadn’t for 20 years prior. Here, lawn mowing is a spring and possibly fall activity, because lawns are expected to die and be brown and crunchy in the summer.

        Last and least, we put in laminate floors on this house, so I can keep the dust mites and other allergens down with sweeping, mopping, and regular changes of the air filters (unlike the carpeted floors in TN.)

          1. Someday I shall sit with you over tea and tell you the non-abbreviated version of my first meeting with LawDog. The short version: while my darling fiance (this was before Peter & I married) took a nap, I ended up helping LD remove a sheetrock ceiling someone had nailed up in a craftsman kit home. You know, pry a chunk loose, then run out the door as a waterfall of red dust streamed down into the room, billowed out to fill the entire place, and eventually cascaded out the door, dissipating like a red fog. Then going back in for the next chunk.

            My house is much newer, better insulated, and regularly swept, because I’ve seen all that nice red dust from the storms way too up close and personal.

  20. Okay, back at the computer and chores done that needed doing. I read this and I think about my life. Currently pushing 50 and I look at it as living half my life already. Figure I can go another 50 years easy as long as I try to take decent care of myself. Of course all my friends call me crazy, and coming from then that’s saying a lot. Will I make it? Baring injury, illness, and accident…odds are good. And boy am I odd.
    Look forward to reading more of your writings and working on getting my stories written and out into the wild.

    1. I dislike bearing bad tidings, but I found that after fifty my body stopped healing. It repairs damage but doesn’t heal. It just accumulates scar tissue.

      YMMV, of course.

      1. Oh, scar tissue, that I’ve collected for years. I’ve got scars that could get mail from AARP. Have had various joint issues, courtesy of assorted damages, for decades. I’ve had pain every day for … let’s see … about thirty years, courtesy of major injuries that damaged assorted cartilage connections. The only question each day is how bad it will hurt. That’s not a complaint, BTW; that just is.

        Fortunately, you do get used to it after a while, or I did. Debated taking an OTC anti-inflammatory today, but decided “Naww.”

        1. I was on various anti-inflammatories for fifteen years… until I wound up with heart trouble. The cardiologist told me all NSAIDs except aspirin will do that over the long haul.

          Mornings pretty much suck…

      2. What are you eating?

        Seriously, your body is supposed to keep on healing. Usually there is a vitamin/mineral deficiency or something else bad, if you aren’t healing correctly. Not eating enough fat can also be a problem (but usually only if you are eating super-lean).

        Obviously people with arthritis have different issues, but still….

        1. Aside from Type II Diabetes (controlled through diet) I manage pretty well. Can take forever for some damage to repair, and anything major seems to leave some permanent impairment. Sleep apnea is probably a contributing factor but all blood chemistry seems within doctor’s approved ranges (with a few BP statins prescribed.) But prior to hitting sixty I recovered from injuries and illnesses, since then I merely get better.

      3. You are talking to someone that abused their body in their youth. Pain is something I am always living with. Somedays are just better then others is all. I know it’s not all going to be sunshine and roses. I just have a better idea of what to expect. 🙂

  21. I would note that for readers – and for writers – there is always another book. My mother was reading when the aneurysm finally let go. Whenever the time is for me, I know that I’ll have something unfinished.

    I try very hard to not let that worry me. Like you, it is hard to not overdo – but I do remind myself every day that I will get more done in the long run by not overdoing right now. (The actual point that I should be at between overdoing as I did in my youth and descending into absolute sloth – well, that’s still being determined.)

    1. It should go without saying that the Clintons are corrupt and criminal, the Obama administration didn’t act appropriately on matters of national security, and that the Russians are our enemies.

  22. Completely unrelated but needed rant after having posting issue: Is there a browser that does not tie to an organization that openly hates me (Chrome, Firefox) or Microsoft that actually works with all the places I got (Brave hates WordPress posting, Opera won’t let me close mail collection popups).

      1. Vivaldi is Opera at its base, iirc. So, it carries on some design choices from Opera (good or bad is your call). It *is* a different group developing it, though.

        (I just want people to stop developing browsers as if every danged computer is a smartphone……..)

        1. Not quite. Vivaldi has a Chrome base, but the tweaks are by the OLD (i.e. GOOD) Opera team, before Opera was hijacked by the Marketing Department. Vivaldi isn’t quite ideal (YET!) but it’s more than good enough to be my default browser. I keep (an older version of) Opera around for email and backup browsing. I hope I can retire it soon… it might remain on the system, but will no longer be open constantly.

          1. Excellent, Ox. I couldn’t recall, but I knew Opera was in there.
            I also use a VERY old copy of Opera on my laptop – for everything that doesn’t need fancy html, or updated security. Because it still works the way I want a browser to work (and the secure/private tabs).

  23. When I was younger, I decided I would like to make it to 100. Now that I’m almost 56 I’m thinking I should move the goalposts…

  24. I note that Milton is believed to have written “When I Consider How My Life Is Spent” in the summer of 1655. The first two lines are:

    When I consider how my light is spent
    Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,

    He was born in 1608. So: 46 or 47 years old. Much worse medical care than in Portugal, back in the day. Was Milton an optimist, or is your brother a pessimist?

      1. Don’t we all?

        But I didn’t start thinking of myself as “middle aged” until quite a bit older. And right now, in my late 50s, I’ve having to reluctantly admit I’m on the far side of that, since I don’t expect to live to anything close to 120. Not that I don’t intend to try, mind you, but the odds against it are rather high.

  25. There is an old saying from the days of sail, which I first encountered (oddly enough) in a book on intuition…

    One hand for the ship, and one hand for yourself.

    It’s actually been one of the best antidotes I’ve seen to the attitude (or maybe just temptation) of trying to do everything for others and only then (if then) do what’s right or even really necessary for yourself. Which so many of us driven by duty or necessity (let alone, both) seem to invite.

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