Getting Back On the Horse

horse-racing-1577291_1280

I’ll start by saying I have no experience of horseback riding.  In fact I touched a horse for the first time a few months ago.

But I grew up understanding that if you ride a horse, it’s not “if you fall off” but “when you fall off.”  And particularly if you fall off and are seriously hurt, you need to get back on as soon as you can. Otherwise the fear of it will grow in your mind, and make it impossible to get back on.

The problem, which is similar to my problem with driving, as my vision went wonky slowly over a long time and brain internalized “driving is panic-inducing because we’re not sure where side streets are” before I realized I wasn’t seeing properly, is when you slowly “fall of the horse.”

Because then your fear of getting back on isn’t quite fear, but a bolus of “I forgot how to; I got out of the habit; and of course the back of the head “but this failed last time.”

In my case, getting back on the writing horse is being complicated by the cold that descended end second week of January, and has been around since, with occasional moments of peeking above and being almost normal. Given that we have a ton of stuff to do for house/wedding/writing and that I get maybe two good hours work in, before I just want to sleep.  Then another two hours…

The house is a pigsty, novel is almost two weeks late, I’m finishing seriously overdue short story, and I just want to sleep.

I’m also likely to be cranky as I force myself to work. Because don’t wanna, that’s why.

BUT that’s a passing complication (hopefully.  Infections can wind up my auto-immune and then we’re in the bucket.)  I got worried at how it dragged and went to doctor, and he said nah, that’s the pattern this year, and no, it’s not flu, for which I was vaccinated, but either a singularly resistant bacteria or a string of bacteria one after the other, which is not unusual.  Bacteria, I say, not virus, because the antibiotic IS working.  I know because as time approaches for it, I start feeling worse.  Anyway… that’s the current battle and why I feel more cranky than usual.

The other part of the battle is more long term.

Since it’s not the first time this has happened, I’ve found there are steps to climbing back on that horse:

first, I have to establish the habit.  This is proving difficult mostly because of interruptions to discuss wedding details, or what we’re doing about x in the house (which looks like a construction zone, as we’re incrementally replacing the flooring.)

Second, I have to get back in practice.  This matters because the book currently under construction, I keep tripping on newby mistakes that I haven’t made in years.  However, as I was telling husband who is — thank heavens — also writing again (having stopped at being discouraged by watching my career. Euclid was written in 2001. And not having managed to get himself back on the horse, even with indie, till now.) when you come back after severe illness, as both of us are (mine more severe than his, and his stopping really was discouragement at my career more than the illness. Because he thinks I walk on water.  So if I was getting slapped down every turn, what chance did HE have.  Yeah.) you have to re-learn. It’s just that you learn way faster.

So I’ve been doing that. If I could stop being annoyed when I stumble it might help.

Third, the fear of failure.  Yeah.  Well, the sale over Christmas (the ebook sale, not the physical book.  Yes, I’ll mail books this week. Sorry. I’ve been so fricking sick, I keep forgetting everything and am afraid to package things to mail. One of you will end up with a carefully wrapped cat or something.) made around 2500 and that helped me get over the fear nothing will sell.  Of course, that was a really, really, really low price sale.  So… we’ll see.  But I have to write before I see.

The point of all this, other than talking about my difficulties like an old lady, or a not so old tries-to-be lady who is feeling seriously run down: you have to get back on the horse.

Someone recently here said that the best predictor of success was  a previous string of failures at the same endeavor or a similar one.

They’re not wrong.

Now there’s things you do in life, that you were never that invested in.  For instance, I bought a bunch of goose eggs to attempt carving (yes, in my copious spare time. Also shut up) and so far my attempts have been startlingly unsuccessful.  I might continue trying. Or not.  It’s not something I’m invested in heart and soul, or something I want to make money out of.  It’s more “it’s interesting.”

Then there’s intermediate.  I’ve always had an hankering to do art, but I gave it up at 14, partly because the materials were too expensive and writing was cheaper.  It came back with a vengeance after concussion when I was 40. I still enjoy doing old fashioned art, with paper and charcoal, and have this dream, one day, when I have more time and money (AKA when the boys are fully off the paycheck. G-d willing in a year and four months, but who is counting) to go out to the Natural History Museum once a week (Uber, hence the money.  Driving IN Denver is insane and anyway in winter I can’t, not and stay at the museum for appreciable time, because I’m night blind.) with my pad and charcoal and draw dinosaur skeletons and dinosaurs.
BUT DAZ 3-d produces acceptable covers (particularly when combined with Filter Forge) and it allows me to scratch that itch without spending time on it as a hobby.  It also helps get oh, yeah, covers, without taking a few more years of classes. Which, frankly, is very handy.
Anyway, that horse threw me down a bunch of times, including my spending a couple of months rendering naked people with no hair.  Oh, and the month of weird contortions.
It’s better now, and improving, but again, since I can make covers out of it, it’s totally worth the time I spent. (And money we’re about to spend for a better rendering computer. OUCH.)

Writing OTOH is non-negotiable, because I always wanted to be a writer. And giving up would be like dying a little.  It’s part of me, part of what makes me me.  Giving up is dying a little.

And it’s thrown me a bunch of times, but I have to keep getting back on. Because accepting defeat is accepting dying a little.

If you have something similar, something you always wanted — no, needed — to do, something that forms an integral part of your personality, if that thing is neither immoral nor illegal, and if you’ve failed at it before, it’s time to get back on the horse.

Yes, I know, things hurt, and you flinch from the pain and you’re tired and old and–

But it’s time to get back on the horse. Because you don’t have any other choice.  Because this thing is who you are.  And the best predictor of success is multiple previous failures.

So, there’s that.

Now, up on the saddle.

 

85 responses to “Getting Back On the Horse

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Now, up on the saddle.

    But horses are evil critters!!!! 😈

    Seriously, Good Luck! 😀

  2. Ride like the wind sweetie!

  3. Yoda was wrong: It’s “Try, try, try, and try again.”

    As you noted above from prior comments here about the top predictor of entrepreneurial success being the number of preceding entrepreneurial failures, everything boils down to “times at bat”.

    • Never take life guidance from a thing that lives in a swamp…

      “If you can’t guarantee success the first time, then to hell with it” is a particularly pernicious piece of advice.

      • It has been pointed out before that Yoda’s advice was given to a whiny teenager whose “I’ll try” really meant, “I don’t think this is possible, but you keep pestering me, so I’ll pretend to give it an effort, and then we can be done with this.” Yoda’s “Do or do not” was his way of saying, “Make an actual effort or there’s no point.” In context, it was a reasonable thing to say. It’s when people take it out of context and treat it like some piece of ultimate wisdom that it becomes stupid.

        • Yep, but it was still done a bit badly in the movie, the context wasn’t quite as clear as it could have been, and there would have been better ways to say that.

          And yes, I hate that bit of dialogue because it is so easy to get completely wrong, and it IS bad advice when taken out of that one special situation.

          And rather on the bad advice side even in any almost completely similar context if the whiny youngster in question is even a bit unsure of himself. Because then the end result could easily be that he just quits trying because he is pretty certain he can’t do. Luke was whiny, but at that point he already had “done” more than a couple of times and knew he could, just wasn’t sure if he could do it with something that big, or really was feeling more or less too tired or lazy to continue trying at that exact moment.

        • I saw the film in the theater (alas) and if it was meant to come across that way, it failed utterly.

      • How about if you can’t even guarantee a nonzero probability of success?

      • Kermit, Yoda, who else?

  4. Sounds like you need a chocolate dispenser hooked up to the computer. Write 100 words, get a piece of chocolate.

    I’ll add that based on my own experience, getting back in the groove helps. It takes time to build up a good head of creative steam, but once you’ve got full pressure, things go quickly.

    • But how do you know it is GOOD writing and not just words for Chocolate?
      Incentives give you what you incentivize not what you want.

      • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
        All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
        All work and no play…

        😛

        • 10 of those and you get your chocolate! I would have filled 200 pages with that line too.

        • Hey, with most that WOULD work because sooner or later you will get damn bored writing just that and will go for something else, anything else.

        • I prefer an episode from THE FABULOUS FURRY FREAK BROTHERS, in which Fat Freddy snorts several lines of mixed Coke and Meth and then tries to write a horror movie script;

          ANDTHEYWENTANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT ANDTHEYWENT

          Phineas says “We could call it ‘Crankenstein'”

          and Franklin replies “Reads more like Gertrude Stein”

      • Don’t get it right. Get it written.

        Churning out the word counts is the best way to get yourself writing.

    • Valentine’s day.

      The “lava cake” chocolate kisses…./swoon

    • Given our recent discussion of the Illuminatus trilogy that suggestion is both very good and…interesting, interesting is a good word.

  5. I prefer making absolutely awesome omelets out of goose eggs, or actually, a single goose egg since they’re so large.

    • When I was a kid (4th, maybe 5th grade) I found a double-yolk goose egg when gathering eggs. It was HUGE. Double yolk eggs were a big deal for us on the farm (Don’t judge, when done right farming is BORING, you have to find entertainment where you can), so since I was the finder, I decided the egg was MINE!!!

      Unfortunately for me, my father thought I was a little too obnoxious about it and decided it was time for an object lesson. So, he said I could have the egg, IF I ate the whole thing and didn’t waste any (the threat of punitive violence was strongly implied). I had it scrambled… I managed to eat the whole thing… barely… but I was so full it HURT. I haven’t been able to eat goose egg ever since.

    • I only bought the shells. I haven’t found anyone around here who sells goose or ostrich EGGS. I’ve wanted to make an ostrich omelet forever. I hear they’re creamy.

      • Whole Foods is supposed to carry ostrich eggs, and they have four locations in Denver.

      • We used to watch The Amazing Race some years ago. One of the challenges was for one of each pair to eat a whole ostrich egg (scrambled, I think) before going on. At least one team said “Hell No!” and took the penalty. (Stopped watching as it got sillier and especially as they salted in Mean Grrrlls (or guyz) in the teams.) The eating contests just seemed sadistic.

        Not sure how big it really is, but I’d guess you could do a four-person omelet with one.

  6. Good lord … all I need is another hobby …
    After home renovation.
    Sewing AG doll clothes.
    Sewing reproduction Victorian costumes.
    The garden.
    The hens.
    Home canning and wine-making.
    Et cetera.

    • So, how does one go about canning wine?

      • Should be pretty easy, actually. Water bath for a fairly short time. No guarantees it would be drinkable afterward. 🙂

        $SPOUSE persuaded me to stop canning pepper relish after a couple of years. The prepared peppers were pretty flagrant, especially when ready for the jars. I discovered home-grown cayenne was mind-numbingly hot, so a tiny bit got used in each batch and the rest went to the compost heap. That might explain the dearth of ground squirrels in the garden the next year. VBEG

        • Peppers are very variable (DoRD) depending on a lot of things. Tabasco is what it is in large part because the exact same peppers grown elsewhere will not taste the same, or have the same level of heat.

  7. When I was a kid and Dad bought the farm*, we ended up with a small horse. Being the elder child, I had the ‘privilege’ of being the first one up on its back. Grampa lifted me up, put me on her back (no saddle), and gave her a slap on the rump. Newmorn took about two bounds and Bob fell off the left side of the horse. As I was lying in the meadow trying to regain my breath, Grampa sauntered up, leaned over, and stated that I had to get back on the horse to show her who was boss. I nodded, got back to my feet, and Grampa put me back on the horse. Apparently, Newmorn had me figured out because it didn’t even take a rump slap to get her going again. About two bounds later Bob was once again flat on his back this time having gone off the right side. When Grampa sauntered up again, I wheezed that the horse was boss, and I haven’t been up on one of the critters since. Sis, OTOH, when she got her chance, wrapped her legs around Newmorn’s neck, took a deathgrip on her mane, and off they flew as if they were soulmates. She’s ben a ‘horsey’ person ever since, even working her way through school in part by working at a riding stable in the summers.

    * A 40-acre place in central Minnesota. His first of several.

    • Ah – yes, I fell off Mr. Wilson (the horse that we had for about four years, when we lived in house that the freeway took) at least once. Maybe more than once. We rode him with a saddle pad – as he was a $100 horse and a good saddle might have cost five times that. But Wilson was the perfect well-trained elderly equine gentleman: he always stopped when we fell off.
      Sigh – we felt so very badly about having to sell him when we moved to another property, this one on a steep hillside which offered no pasturage for Mr. Wilson. The family which bought him wanted a gentle ride for their children, but no idea where he went after that. Dad always joked that he thought of Mr. Wilson whenever he saw a bottle of glue …

    • Huh. Sounds a bit like handing a person a .45 when they never shot anything before and then thinking that’s reasonable. Or throwing someone in the deep-end and expecting them to learn to swim. I learned bareback too. It’s not at all easy to balance without *at least* walking around slowly for a while and getting used to it.

      • My dad tried the deep-end variant on me at the local lake. If I really have to, I can do a survival swim stroke, but water deeper than my head is not my friend. I *can* deal with it on rare occasions, though rough guess it’s once a decade. Takes a while to let the panic reaction subside when in the water.

        Never did learn any of the normal strokes, crawl or breast. “You mean I have to coordinate my swimming strokes and my breathing? Not gonna happen.”

        • In-laws did the “get them in the water, then dunk them under” thing on Princess.

          She STILL freaks out in water.

        • I can “swim”. Know how the standard strokes, kicks, & breathing, is suppose to happen. Still doesn’t happen. 🙂

        • I’m lucky in one way, I have always floated. Like a damn cork. I can’t get underwater even if I want to, or at least it takes considerable work. All I need to do to stay comfortable in water is to relax on my back. Or in a standing position, my head stays in the air with no problems even then, and I can easily do something like run in deep water without any kind of buoyancy belt.

          However good sized waves can panic me as just floating when the damn water itself dunks over your head regularly is not a particularly good system for the “keep breathing air” part.

          • When I was a skinny child, I literally could not float for more than a bit. I would have to kick every now and again to keep from sinking.

    • You do realize that “bought the farm” does have an entirely different meaning then “purchased the farm”? Especially for us military types- and that’s what first flashed into my mind.

  8. I walk on water, too. O’course, it has to be really cold, first…

    • Walking on water, that’s so old-fashioned.

      Americans are just as likely to be riding a propeller-driven boat, slamming across water and might-be-grass, might-be-land with deafening noise at sixty miles per hour, waving their beer bottles and shouting “Yee-haw!”

      “Can we make this assortment of random junk move under its own power? O-kay! Let’s git’r’done and go for a RIDE!”

      • when I sold Penzoil, most of the marina’s down the river stocked Aircraft oil, for all the Lycoming and Continentals in airboats.
        The best airboat though was owned by a wildlife and fisheries guy. It had a Big Block Chevy and nitrous. with a 100 gallon soap tank, and a bottom with half inch thick teflon riveted onto it. I saw him once chasing poachers and he crossed Airline Highway (US61) in St Rose, 4 lanes, paved full width shoulders, and curbs at the median, at an angle of about 45 degrees, and he slowed enough to not jar too hard hitting the bank, and curb, but otherwise the thing hardly noticed it wasn’t in water. When the mechanic at my buddy’s gas station worked on it, he just fired it up on the trailer and just above idle it rolled up the parking lot into the garage service bay. It had to then be tied to the rack, and the wall to keep it from running the trailer tongue into his tool box when he revved it up to check the timing. When he came and got it, he said it would go a mile over dry grass as fast as it did in water, until the biodegradable soap ran out, then it slowed down.

        • A couple of sheriff’s ago, they had an airboat with a Buick engine. With the marshy areas in the Klamath lake system, it might make sense, though we get a few inconvenient rock outcroppings at times.

      • Back in the 90s, a guy on rec.crafts.metalworking was a true Odd. I’ve recently tried to find his writeup of his Hoovercraft, with no luck. Yes, it used several Hoover vacuum cleaners for lift power. IIRC, the first iteration used a nailed-together plenum and the pressure disassembled the craft quickly.

        Good times.

        I keep threatening to do a small gas powered fan for our 14′ Jon boat, but $SPOUSE thinks the people along the launch canal would get testy. I don’t think I could have a fan and an outboard on that boat, so I have to hold off.

        (OTOH, I’ve seen a fan-driven motorcycle around San Jose years back. Maybe 90cc sized bike, but no idea of the power to drive the fan.)

        • I remember him. I can a car-oriented mailing list at the time, and mentioned it, so of course one of the guys (it was that kind of group) had to take a sheet of plywood and a couple of leaf blowers and make one for his kids.

          He decided to see if it would hold his weight before turning it over to the kids. As he was going down his (fairly steep) driveway, he realized that A) there was no provision for, you know, brakes, and B) he hadn’t thought to look for traffic coming down the street…

          After a rather spectacular tumble, he turned the device over to his progeny with the suggestion they check for traffic before sliding off…

  9. Back when I was riding multiple times a week, I was told that until you fall off a horse 100 times, you’re not really a horseman. I’ve got eight to my credit: three off the left side, three off the right side, one off the back (slid down the rump and rolled as he fell over backwards) and once forward over the shoulder and landed on my feet. One cracked rib and half a concussion (was wearing a helmet).

    • Motorycles are safer than horses; they don’t deliberately try to hurt you. Well, other than Kawasaki two stroke triples, maybe…

      [and if anyone else is old enough to remember those, search for “Allen Millyard 5 cylinder” for shocking examples of what can happen when you combine too much leisure time with failure of the State to properly regulate access to machine tools…]

      • failure of the State to properly regulate access to machine tools

        Or combining too much leisure time with someone who will reliably hold your beer.

        You say tomato; I say tomato 🙂

      • okay, maybe I am nuts, but I’d ride this:
        http://www.bikeexif.com/yamaha-tz750-flat-track-racing-motorcycle
        Kenny rode a rebuild at Springfield (it was also “only” a 700) and was not hanging about.

        • I remember that! That was back when various seriously old school (even by the standards of the day) singles and twins rules those series. The TZ was even more outlandish than the guy who was running the CB750 Honda powered bike, whatever his name was…

      • I know the KZ1000 had a reputation in the 70s. I was happy with my Honda 350, though my brother’s 750 Yamaha (the quirky one with the balance shaft) was interesting on the short ride I took.

        I’ve seen some absurd DIY bike articles. The one with the V8(?) engine and Caterpillar earth mover wheels (hydraulic motor) was most interesting, but I wouldn’t want to be in range or hold the rider’s beer.

        • Twenty years ago there were half a dozen different companies making *production* motorcycles with Chevy V8 engines. Some of them offered the choice of the 454 and 502 big blocks as options…

          I still have a bunch of parts in the shop for a project that never quite found enough round tuits – a radically shortened Powerglide for transverse installation, a spare 383 Chevy stroker, a 6-71 supercharger, an intercooler, a Hilborn injection pump, and a Hilborn-copy intake. I probably ought to list them on eBay…

          – TRX (spent way too many hours staring at pictures of Ross Collins’ triple-engine Honda)

      • I am reminded of an article that stated that the animal in Australia that caused the most human deaths was not some toxic local oddity, but the horse.

  10. I keep a folder of Bruce Lee inspirational quotes on my computer.
    One of them says: “The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.”

    Having successfully completed less than ten stories so far, I still struggle to get a story started, although usually at a certain point enough momentum builds up that I’m just drug along for the ride as the words come out. The trick is to get past the self-doubt at the beginning when coming up with each sentence is like pulling teeth.

  11. > goose eggs to attempt carving

    Oooo-kaaay. Here in Dixie people mostly content themselves with mutilating pumpkins for holidays and dinner vegetables at restaurants that charge too much, but hey, it’s a free country…

    This is where you could put the knives away, put together a four-axis desktop CNC router for a few hundred bucks of eBay bits, model your patterns in 3D, and… you know, add an extruder head and remote tank(s), and it’d be a great cookie or cake decorator, too.

    “Mom, when will dinner be ready?”

    “Hold on, I’m tweaking the G-code for another pass…”

    • Plasma or torch cut harrow disk art is a thing around here. Not interested in trying, though one sits below the bird feeder as one of the (eventually successful) attempts to keep the damned grey squirrel out of the feeder. (4″ aluminum duct around the pole did the trick.)

  12. Hmmm, does spacing count between attempts. If no, then I’ve got maybe 3 things I still need to do. If it does, I got nothing.

  13. For some reason WP decided not to recognize me even though I was logged in on my site. — So yea, I’ve had problems with the metaphorical horse lately… But then I get thrown regularly every year. Sending you good thoughts etc.

  14. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Get thrown off horse by something. Recover mostly.

    Decide I’m getting back on horse today, even if would have preferred not to have procrastinated so near the deadline.

    Get set. Get a little distracted by Sarah blogging, and opt to go for horse instead of commenting.

    Finally after much puttering get back on horse. Make some progress. Not feeling too well, time to eat. Decide also to post this.

    Later y’all.

  15. If it makes you feel better, I didn’t buy any of your on-sale books because I had already bought them at full price.

    I think Pam has an advantage. She can put one book on sale and suck innocent readers into a 40 book series.

    • On (very brief) reflection, I think “unsuspecting” might be a better word than “innocent”.

      • To mangle a movie line – She hasn’t been innocent since she was eighteen, but dang it, I know she’s not guilty!

        I, however, am completely innocent, and if you’ll give me fifteen minutes, I can have witnesses and receipts to prove it. Now, refresh my memory, what date was it and which state?

  16. Dang, girl — are you crazy???? That ain’t no horse for you. You want something more sedate.


    Do you ride English or Western?

  17. My horse is currently optimistically called “the gym”. I’m going to start back any day now, honest. It was going to be last week … then I got sick … darn cold. This week finally better. Next week hubby goes on his yearly golf team trip, so darn it … Monday, get up & go exercise!!!!

    As far as actual horses go? I’ve been horse crazy since I was a kid. Never got one. Spend summers between grade school & graduation at cousins, who had horses. Spent money I didn’t have to take lessons for college credit (called PE fee) for a year. Last time I tried to ride, when we took the kids/nieces, my knees essentially screamed (not even WTH, just screamed). If I’d fallen off 100 times that would have been more times I’ve ever gotten on a horse, or darn near; or every third time (ish). Couple of really good falls though, at least one was “I’m good here. Give me a minute or day or two.”

  18. Maybe. Baby steps. First is do something. Ususally something I don’t want to do. That needs doing. Every. Single. Day. Lately, I’m working on keeping outlines together in my head. We shall see if the stories therein ever make usable material or not.

  19. Because [Dan] thinks I walk on water. So if I was getting slapped down every turn, what chance did HE have.

    Simple perusal of the books on the best-seller lists should persuade anyone that writing good has no necessary correlation to selling well. Those seeking justice in this world are like folk trying to buy art at a gallery: you might find what you’re looking for there but if so it is utterly contrary to the intent of the management.

    • I walked by the Science Fiction section (actually SFF, and one 3′ bay, maybe 5% of the books available) at Fred Meyer, and I didn’t see anything that screamed “pick me up and read the blurb, at least!”. Maybe two authors I recognized by name (but never read), and other than recycled Star Wars, it was mostly fantasy and judging by the front cover bits, ran to sparkly vampires. Ecch.

      If that’s what’s for sale in mass market dead tree, the bar is awfully low.

  20. I’m a hopeless procrastinator. I start regularly, but any interruption and it takes forever before I manage to start again.

    I think part reason may be that I never learned to fail with any confidence. Somehow I had managed to pick up that Yoda quote idea before I never saw that movie, “there is no try, do or do not” and assumed that if I failed that’s that, I can’t do it. Well, I keep trying, but getting my spirits up after a failure takes way too long because it seems that somewhere back in my mind I am still convinced that if I have failed that’s that, I will never be able to do it successfully. I think I was sort of getting away from that in my late 30’s, but dealing with father’s new wife partly broke me again, she was a rather skilled manipulator and I hated her seeing or knowing of my failures and on some level it seemed that pretending I was just happy with things the way they were and I wasn’t even trying to get somewhere better with my life was better. Certainly was easier. I never gave completely up, but I became the hopeless procrastinator I am now. I had of course several other problems besides her, biggest being the SAD and some times also just regular depression, but her “help” may have been the last straw which ensured I never got even a bachelor’s degree, much less the master’s I was studying towards.

    I know I gave her way too much power back then, and pretty much let her win because I presumably was doing exactly what she wanted.

    But those habits got stuck, even after she was not much of a concern, even now when she is no concern (I don’t even know if she is still alive) I have kept doing the same. Once habits get set they can be damn hard to break. And that seems to be double for bad habits…

    Well, failing IS damn unpleasant. And it can seem easier to not try, or just fail kind of voluntarily rather than do your best and still fail. 😦

    • And I meant to write “late 20’s to early 30’s” but somehow that got combined into “late 30’s”… damn WP should really have a way to fix comments on other people’s blogs.

  21. Cruel woman: the title and cover pic led me to think it was a Blake Smith showmanship post.

  22. “..with my pad and charcoal and draw dinosaur skeletons and dinosaurs.”

    All joking about horses aside (Pony-mad girl is one of my few legitimately female cliches along with “long skirts that go swish”) I was dead serious about sending you the charcoal pencil collection. I can’t chuck it, it’s not my wheelhouse, and I’m on year 3 of the “learn how to draw digitally” programme anyhow.

    And v. glad to read that Mr. Hoyt is planning on writing more. Ninth Euclid was excellent.

    • “Long skirts that go swish” is on of my favorite parts of being female. And accompanying boots, of course.

      • I was never fond of short/short skirts. Yea, the whole **Pony-mad girl is one of my few legitimately female cliches along with “long skirts that go swish”** was mine too. Actually wore long skirts (that I made) to classes for Forestry; not during field labs, & not when I had to cycle out to the barns for class, but otherwise, yes.

        OTOH I was of the generation where wearing pants or shorts to school was a huge no-no-no. Dresses for girls all the way, of a particular length, no longer, no shorter. Home. Well a lot of camping, fishing, & once I turned 12, hunting. Yea. Know a lot of decades before women & girls wore dresses regardless, for me, uh, no thanks.

        Gotten out of the habit. Wasn’t convenient to work environment, even after I started working in an office.

  23. Public Service Announcement:
    To whoever was writing about chicken pox on one of this week’s posts (I have now forgotten which one): you can be susceptible to shingles, which is a nasty disease, especially if it starts on the face and around the eyes. Vaccinations are available.
    “What is shingles, and how is it different from chicken pox?
    Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus responsible for chicken pox: the varicella zoster virus. Even if you had chicken pox in the past, you can still contract shingles. That’s because the chicken-pox virus remains in the body, lying dormant in the roots of nerves, and can reactivate many years later. It’s not clear why the virus reawakens — in some people it never does — but researchers believe that the virus is triggered as the immune system weakens with age or in conditions of stress.

    About 1 out of 3 people in the U.S. is affected by shingles at some point in their lives, with the majority of cases occurring in men and women ages 60 and older.

    Shingles is less contagious than chicken pox and cannot be passed from person to person. However, the varicella zoster virus can be spread from a person with shingles to someone who has never had chicken pox. The unfortunate recipient might develop chicken pox, but not shingles.”

    • “Can’t be passed person to person” – No. But if you are on the edge someone with an active case could trigger an outbreak, in you. Once you’ve had an outbreak, it is not one & done. To the point where when you are having an outbreak your physician may request your state issue a temporary disabled parking pass to be used on your behalf when you are in a vehicle.

      SIL gets outbreaks badly & has for almost 10 years. Her’s started in her late 50’s. They have a disabled permit for her. She can barely walk when the outbreak occurs. Not just the painful rash. Her breakouts are along one side & up her back.

      Don’t know how true. But rumor is the worse you had Chicken Pox as a child the more likely the single virus is to erupt at some point.

      Hubby & I’ve each had our vaccines. Each of ours was right at 60. In my case little later than physician wanted, but he was waiting for the newer vaccine which is suppose to be more effective. It wasn’t approved & he didn’t want to wait longer. I had the Chicken Pox very, very, very, hard. Not just a few spots, but all over. No major scaring but if you know where to look, the few were visible for a long time (granted some of the scars may be from the 2 rounds of measles).

      Kid had the Chicken Pox really bad too. He still has 3 scars. One near his left eye, one on his tush, & one on the back of his head. Two are hidden. But the one is still visible after almost 30 years. But when you end up with the lesions everywhere visible & not visible, scalp, between your toes & fingers, inside your ears, & other unmentionable crevices & appendages, you end up with a few scars. By the time he started school, the vaccine was out. I got really tired of — Them: “He needs the vaccine.” Ans: “No. Not if he had the Chicken Pox. See notes.” Them: “If he didn’t have them hard enough, he could get them again.” Ans. “Okay*. Trust me. He is not getting it again.”

      * Doesn’t matter if true or not.

      • I had chicken pox as a child, as did most of my siblings. Unfortunately, I broke out a couple of days before my birthday party in the fifties. Mom called all the guests and restricted the list to previously diseased persons.
        Still had most of them attend.

    • There’s also a non-fetal-tissue option now, Shingrix.

      Bonus, it’s much more effective than Zostavax.
      (Which is produced with MRC-5, for those interested; that’s the lung of a guy who would’ve been turning 52 in a few weeks. “Mental health.”)

  24. My mother always wanted a horse. So when I was a kid, my father (in his usual style) traded for one. It was HUGE. Not Clydesdale big, but a hand or three bigger than the usual riding horse. AAAANNNDDD also not quite as broken as the usual riding horse. Whenever we wanted to ride him, my father usually had to saddle him and ride him around for a bit to “show him who’s boss” before we could handle him. I learned to ride on that big, belligerent horse.

    One day, I was riding around the back of the pasture, and Duke (our horse) decided he didn’t WANT that flea on his back (I was 10 or 11 at the time, and skinny) bossing him around, and I went FLYING. Luckily, my father happened to be doing some work in the pasture and saw my inadvertent super-man act and came over to make sure the horse didn’t run away.

    I was done. I did NOT want to ride that stupid thing anymore. BUT my father was of that “get back in the saddle” vein, so walking home was not an option. So, under the threat of a beating, I tried and tried to get back on. Duke wasn’t having it and wouldn’t let me on. So my father hopped on and rode him around in a circle till he “knew who was boss”, then pulled me up behind him. Duke, tried to buck both of us off. I’m guessing he was still annoyed by the “flea”, and wanted to make a point of it. I almost went flying (again).

    Nothing, of course, could ever out-stubborn my father, so eventually we rode back to the barn. It was definitely a learning experience, and while it was always a battle of wills, I did eventually become relatively proficient at riding.

    A few years later, At a summer camp the word went out asking who wanted to go on a trail ride. A bunch of us went to the stables and were happy to note that we had the same number of people as there were horses. We had been afraid that there wouldn’t be enough. THEN, the trail guide (a local girl, only a year or two older than us) broke the news that one of the horses was “un-rideable”, not even she was able to ride it. I volunteered, and everyone in the group that had been out to the farm and seen (a couple of whom had even ridden) Duke, vouched that I knew what I was doing, and they let me ride it. LOL! What a sweet horse, once I let it know I wasn’t going to put up with any shenanigans. The guide was impressed (didn’t get me a smooch though, darnit, she was cute!)

  25. Patrick Chester

    Kevyn: Haban, if an eight-million-year-old artifact is booby-trapped, and doesn’t want to be touched, who are we to go trying to take it apart?
    Haban II: Oh, come on. What happened to the Kevyn I remember… the one who invented the teraport and solved the wormgate efficiency puzzle?
    Kevyn: I happen to be the gate-cloned Kevyn who knows full well that his tinkering progenitor got permanently deaded.
    Haban II: I’m a gate-clone myself, Kevyn, Now get back on the horse, okay?
    Kevyn: It’s a booby-trapped, man-eating horse of doom! No way.

    https://www.schlockmercenary.com/2003-10-10