Shock and Stress

My life is a very exciting novel. It seems like every time I’m set into a pattern and happily following my own plans, it takes another and weirder turn.

The happiest times of my life, even, involve massive change, like moving across the world or across the country, or having little ones that bring a surprise everyday.

The unhappiest too, are strewn with changes that leave me stranded, staring and going “What now?” as everything changes around me.

None of them compare to now.

No, nothing particularly bad is happening, but we just moved, and stress experts assure us that the stress — though obviously not the grief — of moving is the equivalent of losing a spouse. This seems to make sense, since it’s a profound disruption of your daily routines.

In my case, though I love the new place, there is an amount of grief too, because Denver was my homeland of the soul even before I was perfectly sure in what country it was in. Heaven only knows where these things come from. My religion doesn’t believe in the pre-existence of the soul. We believe body and soul are a unit and created to go together. (One wonders what is auto-immune of the soul, I wonder idly. Perhaps the nagging doubt and unbelief, the continuous testing. Who knows?) As such, though I joke about being meant to be born in America and only ending up in Portugal due to a massive cock up in Stork Central, I do know it’s not true.

But it is a mystery, anyway, that the first time I saw the city it felt like the home I’d long been looking for. I was not blind to its problems, mind. Considering I tend to hang out in ethnic diners and working class neighborhoods, I couldn’t be. But it just felt … like home.

And leaving home (again) is hard and induces some grief. Before you condole, this is mitigated by the knowledge the city I loved is no longer the same, that in many ways my love was not tenable any longer. And that the last two years put a knife through its heart. Kind of like I didn’t stop mourning for the village of my childhood, but I know the only way to return is in my mind and in increasingly fading memory, because it has become just a suburb of the large city, filled with stack a prole apartments. It doesn’t make me stop missing it. (The Portuguese elevate missing something or someone to an art form, and have a particular word for it: Saudade.) But it’s not serious and urgent grief.

The main problem right now, though, is shock. It probably is for most of us.

I have quibbles (not kibbles. My cats have that) with the book from Ace of Spades co-blogger title “The End of America, 100 days that shook the world” both because I doubt it is the end of America. I think the rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated. And inimical government –and we’re not the only ones to suffer from it in history– or even, dare we say it, inimical occupation doesn’t end a country. In fact, it can clarify things and bring it back much, much stronger. Will it? I believe so. The fundamentals of the country, the people, are all right. Not great, but after 100 years of indoctrination by the enemy, better than could be hoped for. And we have a great guideline. I believe there’s nothing wrong with us that a reversal of most of FDR’s “innovations” won’t cure. Though the cure will hurt and take a lot of time.

In other words, to quote grandma “We’re going to eat the bread the devil kneaded” and that when there’s bread at all, but I don’t think we’re done. We’ll continue, and resume being a city on the hill and a thorn on the side of the tyrants of the world.

And I think he’s wrong about 100 days. This has been going on, this sustained attack on what we are and what we stand for, for a good 100 years, accelerating for the last 20, even as the model imposed on us had obviously and spectacularly failed in the eyes of everyone. The 100 days was the culmination.

But he’s not wrong that for most people the last two years have been like hammer blows to the head. Yes, most people, of whatever political persuasion.

For us, we’re in shock, dismay and anger at the dismantling of free society, and the other side is in stunned disbelief that the majority of us isn’t falling into line, like the good widgets we’re supposed to be. They’re in shock we disbelieve the institutions more and more. They’re in shock what we have the nerve not to believe them. And for those still in touch with reality there is a nagging, gnawing difficulty with accepting that all their policies they’ve been told are good are causing so much misery. That part will increase. The other part? The other part is responsible for the witch hunts against “racism” and “white nationalism.” You see, they think the other side are cartoon depictions of opposition — which they always cast in those terms, perhaps because their philosophy being profoundly racist, they assume everyone’s is — and when we don’t fall in line with their plans, they think they are surrounded by these caricatures.

So I thought I’d give some pointers. You see I’ve been through this before. Both the upside down feeling and the sh*tty times (I don’t know if here will get worse than that. In Europe it will, and yes, I’m worried about my relatives there, though there isn’t a heck of a lot I can do and no one would believe me.)

There are things you can do to prep, and I suspect most of us are doing it, and Lord, I’m out of practice gardening, but I’m going to try. I’m going to try. I’ve been preparing and need to buy soil and build flower beds, and figure out how to get rid of the gopher without running spikes into him, because unless it’s directly threatening me, I can’t really kill an animal for being itself. And I’m patting myself on the back for having the foresight of buying a house with a well. (Need to get it serviced and made easier to access. Wonder if there are solar pumps.)

I have lists for that running in the back of my head all the time (which, yes, I know, adds to the stress) and I’ve just realized I should keep them on paper.

But this post is about dealing with the stress. You have to realize even if you’re not one of the 75% of my close friends who relocated across country in the last few months, that you’re under massive stress.

You might not be moving, but your country is moving. Things are changing too fast to process. You’re having to change your thought patterns to adapt.

For instance, I’m of the “Save and buy things a little at a time” but faced with the erosion of the currency, I’m looking at “Well, maybe buy now, because the money is vanishing as we look. At least as to value.” Which is what occasioned the mad building of shelves (which needs to happen again, this time in the living room.)

And I’d just convinced myself to throw away clothes that didn’t fit quite well, or blankets that were worn out, but I’m now looking at it as “how can this be redone and repurposed?”

Those are habits of mind and that’s hard as heck to change. (Or why most traditional writing professionals are floundering on the transition and mostly defaulting to teaching. [And yes, I’d like to teach also, partly because prepping is expensive, partly because I want to pass it on, but I need to re-establish the WRITING habit first, or it will stop it. Trust me, I’ve seen it.])

And then there’s the everyday things. Something needs replacement or fixing and suddenly it’s “it’s not available, and we don’t know when it will be” or you go to the grocery store, and the things you’ve bought for years aren’t there.

Yeah, I know, it’s not a terrible thing yet (though don’t ask my cats, okay?They have ONE brand of kibble they’ll eat and not throw up all over.) But it’s getting worse, and it disrupts your routine.

And to make things worse, our employment situation is changing for everyone. For some work is going away and not coming back (not for most skilled people. There’s tons of jobs open, but they really are what’s considered “unskilled” labor (It’s not really. Having waited at tables, and having friends in retail, I can tell you that it has its own set of skills. It’s just that the skills can be picked up without classroom preparation.))

As gas reaches $5 it becomes impossible for truckers to break even. If you wonder why they’re one of the segments getting really upset, it’s because of that. They’re being put out of work. When that unspeakable idiot, Obama, talked about the price of gas necessarily skyrocketing? We’re seeing that in his third term. The problem is that he, like other bien pensant idiots, can’t understand why gas prices here aren’t the same as in Europe, and thinks it would be salutary for us to be thus humbled and “learn to do with less.” And the problem is that these bizarrely mal-educated babblers never look past what they were taught. Yeah, yeah, global warming is not likely to be our problem (Curse you, John Ringo, for giving the Author ideas! Though I suppose Jerry did it first.) But beyond that, these idiots never look at the reality on the ground. The US is not and cannot be Europe, because we’re a continent-sized nation (blah, blah, the EU, but trust me, it’s not the same) and very interconnected in supply and demand. It is impossible for us to subsist without trucking, without widespread manufacturing. And given our climate and farming methods, we can’t subsist with fuel at crazy prices either.

So there’s another big shock coming, and it will be scary, no matter how well prepared you are.

Once you make sure you’re physically safe-ish and as comfortable as you can, you still have to deal with shock and stress. Particularly since it’s of the “Waiting for the other shoe” kind.

Shock and stress can make even normal people act like ADD. It will make you touchy. It will tire you out.

(I know I’m still under massive amounts of both because everything I’m reading is popcorn books (At least no longer true crime, eh?) and I’m still baking up a storm, despite the fact the house sold. Also, lately, I’ve taken to grinding my teeth till all of them hurt. Yes, I have an appliance, somewhere. But it didn’t work super well.)

The ways to combat it have a lot to do with babying yourself. Carve time to do things you enjoy. Keep your daily environment in some sort of order. Keep a routine, if you can.

Keep unpleasant stuff and unpleasant chores to a minimum. You can’t avoid them all, but do try to minimize them.

And while eating is comfort (oh, dear, I’m highly food motivated) do try to indulge a minimum, and try to keep it to “foods I love” but not an excess. And do exercise, it does help with stress, though it doesn’t seem to. If nothing else, it will help you sleep. One of the issues we’ll have coming up is catch as catch can medical care for a while, and some of us — near sixty or those who are past — need to be particularly careful.

Above all, be kind to yourselves and each other. If you can. Remember that the entire country is under massive stress.

Smile at strangers. Help people get things from high shelves. Don’t get upset at minor slights. Learn to laugh at crazy strangers. Love your family, and do nice things for them when you can. I’m here to tell you that the old saw about giving being more blessed than receiving is right. I’ve always felt great satisfaction in practicing semi-random kindness. Remember the Heinlein instruction on gifts: not so expensive the receiver is upset, but something they want but wouldn’t buy for themselves. This is also true for doing/making things for people. Again, the best Christmas gift my husband ever gave me was a little glass owl. Because he took time off work at a time they weren’t letting him and went to a store to get it, and spent his lunch money on it. Look around. Look at what people around you need or want and what you can do without hurting yourself or your family.

Look, it’s the looking away from your own mounting anxiety that helps. The additional fact that you’ll be putting out stuff into the world to counter the unrelenting depression and negativity also helps. You and others.

The other thing is dealing with what is going on with our countrymen.

A lot of you — eh, you! — have been on the edge for years, and wondering why we haven’t yet “started stacking bodies.”

Well, part of it is that you and I, my sad friends, are political addicts. Even though I suspect most of us don’t like politics, we keep an eye on it, as most sane people would keep an eye on a rabid feral dog. For reasons.

We keep a rock in one hand, and keep saying “nice doggy” but are aware we might need to hit it hard with a rock.

But most people don’t know the signs and think of politics as “involved and boring.” I know because I lived with one of those people till very recent years, and even now he’s likely to find out about something outrageous two or three months after I got mad about it.

So there’s that. There’s a lag. Most people don’t even realize that the inflation and shortages are now permanent as long as we’re on this path/occupied. They’re starting to realize, but you have to give them time.

(And also stacking bodies might not be the best solution to it. Like Sargent Mom over at Chicago Boyz, I’m whispering “Aristo, aristo a la lanterne” but still praying — oh, a lot –that this cup will pass us by. Because that kind of firestorm is not discriminating. It takes the good with the bad, and it leaves scars in the soul of a country. France is still suffering from it, at some level. Yes, yes, it might be needed, but again, I hope this cup passes us by.)

And realize that a lot of people are numb or depressed. The feeling of wrongness, the feeling that it will get worse, worse, worse, and there’s nothing we can do twists people inside, and many will be numb and seem impassive. Or unreachable.

There isn’t a lot you can do, except be nice to them. And make sure they’re not doing something stupid.

But remember in many people — ah! — extreme depression is a way to dampen suicidal and/or murderous urges. It is one of the mechanisms we berserkers learn early. Not a helpful one, but one nonetheless.

It’s not that hey don’t see and don’t know. They’re just holding with ragged fingernails to the edge of normalcy before they explode and take friend and foe alike. And it’s important to remember that, too.

Berserker fury isn’t rational. I’ve learned to dampen it, because when it activates my size, strength and health don’t matter. And it’s not a “righteous” fury. It’s one that will have the strength of mom-that-pulls-Volkswagen off kid, and indiscriminately go after anything that catches attention. For most of twenty twenty, I was afraid of blowing up at the first masked Karen who glared at me in the grocery store. Because it would do nothing, but more evil. And probably end up — optimistically — with me in orange. I look terrible in orange.

In a way I feel like the entire nation is about to fall into this berserker fit. It’s part of what has me on edge.

And it might happen, but it’s not something to desire.

What’s to be hoped for is a calm and methodical dismantling of unhelpful/no longer helpful mechanisms and institutions, and their replacement.

Is it possible? I don’t know. I can’t say I’ve seen it in the history of the world, but America is different.

The fury…. well, it bays and screams in the corridors of the mind. And it’s warranted. Oh, it’s warranted. But it will only destroy us.

Remember, the berserkers of old were celebrated and feared both, and often killed friends and loved ones along with the enemy. On a nation-wide level that’s less than to be desired for.

Remember everyone around you — everyone, even those in the thrall of the puppet masters — are suffering from shock and stress. Do what you can to minimize it.

I feel like we’re about to tumble into much graver peril, into great turmoil. I hope it’s a deception of the baying beast. But it might not be.

Forwarned is forearmed. Prepare, prepare, prepare, physically and psychologically.

And be kind to yourself and those around you. Heaven knows it might not be for very long.

Be not afraid. Fear adds to the stress. At this point, the juggernaut has gone so far most of it is out of our hands. Perhaps it was from the moment we were born.

Reinforce the good. Combat the bad. Don’t panic.

In the end we win, they lose, and it’s important to remember that, because there will be days (and nights. Oh, heck the nights) of raw and unblinking despair.

But the only way out is through. Keep going.

318 thoughts on “Shock and Stress

  1. Saint Augusto of the Whirling Blades, please spare us your necessities.

      1. Yeah. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but better that than the horrors of more Communist/establishment rule.

    1. Unless we get clean elections this fall and a non-establishment sweep, I suspect a Pinochet will become the best case scenario.

    2. Out of curiosity…

      I’m cutting the chorus of Ça Ira into a ringtone this weekend, when I find a bit of spare time.
      Would anybody like me to find a way to make it publicly available?

    1. I can’t do that without flagrantly violating the limits on Fair Use.
      (Well, not without finding somebody who can sing well in French, while doing the instrumentation and mixing myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally tempted, but it would be a production.)

      But I can supply you with a direct link to Marc Ogeret’s version, which is what I’m planning to trim and convert into appropriate formats:

  2. Was just thinking about the productivity drop last year, and I realized part of American Exceptionalism is the idea that people do best doing what they have chosen to do.

    I think the last several months or so, we’ve been seeing the major institutions and large corporations violating that, especially through all the mandates, but also the wokeism and various other “you will believe and celebrate what we tell you to” things. I think this is going to destroy those corporations. People just will not burn bright for someone who violates them, and we remember what freedom feels like. I would not be surprised to find out that the productivity drop is focused on companies that imposed the mandates, and that they have maimed their competitiveness against companies that did not.

  3. Need to get more goods, and just been buying some extra food each time to add to stocks, but best get on with getting the truck bits. Should look into my well point and see what it is like, House is on city water, but the wellhead is still there, I think.
    Solar pumping can be done, or a wind powered one for a holding tank can be done, though solar can be better hidden if needs must.
    Oh and of course the obligatory Sodade. From what I see Cape Verdean Portuguese is as different as Brazilian. Can’t understand any of them, but I do love Milady Cesária’s singing. I’ve heard this song many times, but not long ago Sarah mentioned the meaning of the word and it fits well:

    1. Re solar pumps:

      Whether it’s doable is a given (sort of; depends on what’s available). How big a system needs to be is going to depend on how big the pump is. We got lucky in Casa RC; the aquifer was fairly close to ground level, and the well capacity suited a 120V, 1/2HP pump. (For reference, the communal well we dropped uses a 3/4HP, 220V pump. OTOH, that was suited for three families, and the original well supported a lumber mill and small company town.

      I did a system about 2 times the size that was necessary for the pump. 3.6kW worth of panels, 3600W inverter, and, 10.8kW-hours of storage (half if which is considered the practical max to use). In reality, for our situation 1.6kW worth of panels, half the storage, but a 3600W inverter would do it. The extra size gives me some options in a grid-down situation… These systems start with 120V, but transformers to get to 220V are available. I’ve thought about it.

      I’m reasonably sure that a roof-mount panel array is the cheapest to do, though that was a non-starter with the well a long ways away from the house, and the infrastructure wouldn’t fit in the house. For reference, it cost us $5K to get the holes drilled and filled to mount the 3″ pipe (itself costing $2K) for a ground mount. The rest of the labor was mine..

      Ours is not a grid tie system. Oh, the inverter could be configured to do so, but that wasn’t the point.

      Ag applications use a small panel and a cheap pump to fill a stock tank, but these can’t draw very deep, or run water fast.Most of those systems are designed for surface water–what’s flowing in a canal near the tank. I wish, but the 1/2HP was the cheapest solution we could use.

      Oregon has a database of wells (drilled after a certain date, perhaps 1960). That was instructive; a piece of property we were looking at had neighboring wells where water was at 200′ down, and the wells drilled to 400′. (It was also next to an area where the neighborhood had a common well, with a limit of 50 gallons per household per day, you bring the drum.) If you are starting to deal with a dormant well, this might help give an idea of what you’d be looking at. If you are lucky, the well will have an ID tag that’s listed in the database.

      1. water tables here are not that far down, what with the rive and lake being not far off. I think this point might have started as a hand pump well point from when the house was first built (deed says “Renovated in 1949” and a few houses around me have very late 1800’s build dates), but I haven’t looked at it at all. I know some wells here were sent deep (100 or more feet) just for the added filtration. but there is a bedrock not far down here, close to the river. The water is also supposed to be very hard. Menominee and Marinette get their city water from the lake. and the Menominee water is damned hard as it is, the aquifer water is said to be worse. I am outside the PFOS problem area affecting some of the wells south of here, and the subject of a fresh new lawsuit from the WI AG, because a long running one was just settled.

      1. They’re good for gardens. I got elaborate for our large garage/tractor shelter, and can store 200 gallons if the weather cooperates. If. (Major drought for a few years now.)

        Barrels came from the farm store, though Home Depot sometimes carries them. I did a large hole in the lid, fitted a cheap kitchen sieve for gunk, and plumbed the downspouts. If I ever get the round tuit, I’ll rig a pump from the barrels to the garden.

        1. I knocked together a 3 foot high barrel stand from scrap 2×4’s which places the top of a 55 gallon barrel just below the eave troughs. Water just has to run downhill from there.

          1. The relative elevation of the garage and garden says a pump is the only way to go, and I’m leery of too much height. 400 pounds of water on a high stand would make for way too much excitement in even a mild quake.

            The current barrels are about 18″ high, made from railroad ties and pressure treated 2 x 6 decking.. A strong enough shake could destroy any full barrels, but otherwise, no problems.

      2. A hand pump turns a basement sump into a fallback source, albeit of unpurified water.

      3. Water off a roof is supposedly non-potable, because bugs and chemicals and bird poop, but if you get one of the really good water filters like a Berkey it should be fine to drink.

        1. Several years ago Fine Homebuilding had an article on getting potable water from a roof. I don’t think I have the issue it was published in, and I’m sure regulations have changed because reasons.

          We use ours for the garden; if it’s a good spring, the thermal mass in the greenhouse is all salvaged rainwater.

          Note: there are some areas where collecting rainwater is illegal. IIRC, it might have been in Maryland, and I believe Utah is another. (There was a case billed as such in southern Oregon, but that was a large pond, with perhaps a creative narrative from the owner…)

          1. I once calculated out what it would cost to build a rainwater collection system off my storage shed, with all the pipes and diverters and 200 gallons of water storage, and it turned out that water is so cheap here in Seattle it would take 45 years to pay off as opposed to just watering from the hose.

      4. You know the stupid thing I discovered because the builders of our house were idiots? They ran the condensation pump for the AC far too level in order to have it come out at a particular place, so it doesn’t work anymore. When warm weather comes, we run a bypass into the garage sink.

        The first year, I placed a gallon water jug under it for the garden. And it fills very quickly. As in something like under two hours on a continuous run.

        It doesn’t rain where I live in the summer. It’s less than an inch for the five months between April and September. And yet every single AC condenser line runs into the ground. Nobody’s collecting it. And it’s essentially free plant water. (I wouldn’t make it drinking water without guaranteeing that the collection system is clean.)

    2. Word press seems to hate me, at least multiparagraph comments.

      You can power a pump on a solar array; ranchers do it, and our fairly shallow well works with a 1/2 HP 120 V pump. Still, from what I’ve seen, you’d want a 1.6kW panel array, 24V battery system, and an inverter in the 3500W range would be good (the extra grunt makes for better startups. I learned this with a 1800W generator on a 1 HP table saw. Supposedly enough power to run the saw, but not enough to start it.)

      Cost isn’t trivial; the grossly oversized one we have for the pumphouse cost around $20K, with a third of that due to the ground mount and installation. I did the rest of the labor, and a more modest system would still cost $15-ish. (Roof mounts seem to be the most affordable. Couldn’t do so for mine.

      Ranchers do a solar pump for things like filling a stock tank from a handy channel or stream.

      Caveat on costs; I got the panels for a really good price, and the project was finished in 2019. No idea of current costs or availability.

        1. I looked at my favorite solar specialty vendor (www dot solar-electric dot com), and while modules (inverter/charger/controllers) are currently on hand at non-inflated (but high–nature of the beasts) prices, solar panels seem to be getting more expensive, and about 15% of the ones listed seem to be out of stock.

          I haven’t priced their batteries; found it a good idea to buy locally and let the pros deal with the haz-mat issues. I also found dealing with an electrical distributor (Platt electric) for mount hardware and panels to be a good idea. (The pumphouse solar was not my first rodeo…)

          1. With CA requiring Solar Panels on all new builds … Not to mention that a lot of the components come from China to build one locally. Then too a lot of solar panels come from China. Yes, Solar installation costs are not going to drop anytime soon. Pretty sure government won’t be able to subsidize them enough (could be wrong). We’ve looked into it. With feed back into the grid, beyond what storage added, and subsidies, it makes some sense, maybe. But even with subsidies, the pay off, is about the time the panels have to be replaced. Better with new build VS retro fit, latter is what we’d be looking at. Now those more rural, like RCPete, solar does make sense, especially with critical infrastructure. There are homes locally that have wells. Wells are very shallow. But for decades wells, other than farms/forest, aren’t used for anything other than not paying local utility for water to water lawns, and gardens. One of the reasons why we, and other outlying areas, were forced onto the local sewer system. Not that the area didn’t try to connect when the system went in originally, and the TPTB bullies said “no”. The idea wasn’t the problem. The problem was being forced to join the city to do so … That got kicked by the courts. Not the first time city tried, won’t be the last. Still county property. City will succeed eventually. But they’ve been failing for 60+ years that I’m aware of 😉 (when mom & dad started building out in this area) so who knows.

            1. AFAIK, Oregon requires “solar ready” for new construction. I haven’t bothered to look into what that entails. That was another one of Despicable Kate’s rule by EO, though Oregon courts are tame lapdogs for her.

              1. Not surprised. Didn’t know. But not surprised.

                We’ve said that we’d add solar on a new build. But then we planned on finding something where power going down was a possibility. OTOH we aren’t building anytime soon, or ever, either.

                1. There are hybrid solar systems that store power, and sell any excess to the grid. I believe that the Outback Power module I have in the pumphouse has this capability, but I never checked it out. Manuals for their products are on line for those interested.

                  I have two of the OP modules in systems; an older one mounted on a trailer that’s backup power, and the newer one (usually) runs the water system. If there’s a sustained winter storm event, I’ll switch to mains. A clear array in such weather might generate a few tens of watts. Nope.

                2. WordPress ate my comment. Again.

                  There are hybrid systems that let you store power, then when the batteries are at 100%, will sell the excess to the grid. My pumphouse module can be configured to do grid tie, though I don’t know if it will do the hybrid-it’s not a priority for me. Outback Power did this module, and manuals are available at their website.

  4. So, on a completely different subject, I think, in my current story, I’ve run into another one of those fundamental differences between men and women, and could use input from the ladies who’ve actually dealt with it.

    The basic issue is, the main character is a magic samurai thing, but, she’s got a boyfriend (who is not and cannot be magic samurai), and the relationship is at the point where she is deciding whether to marry him and have a family.

    The problem is, and the core underlying conflict is, if she does that, of necessity, her ability to fill her magic samurai role must diminish. There’s just no way you can be physically tied up for several years, and still maintain one’s peak capacity at something like that, magic powers or no.

    So, how does one square that circle? For guys it’s not a conflict at all, since our core role is our job, and the required physical involvement is both less and way more flexible. But that’s not the case here, and having her be able to have it all, frankly to me feels like a dishonest cop out. At the same time, it’s not like she can stop being one either, just that she will never reach her full potential in that again, if she goes down the path of having a family.

    Thank you,

    Harry Voyager

    1. One thing you might consider is that in some ways she might never reach her full potential as a magic samurai if she doesn’t have a family. Having/raising children isn’t just a drain on your time and energy; it also enlarges your world in ways you might not have imagined beforehand. There may be aspects of magic, particularly, that she would be able to handle with more depth and certainty afterwards.

        1. While men do not fully grow up until we have become a father – a different thing than being a sperm donor.

        2. Additional: if she is a samurai type, where does her duty lie?


        3. That’s definitely the subject of a later thread for that character. Right now it is a question of how can she be the best possible fighter, but later on she’s going to have to realize, she cannot be everywhere at once, and that leading is not the same thing as fighting. But that’s more along the lines of things that kids teach her, rather than things she learns before them.

      1. What sort of things come to mind? I’m not sir whole to apply that here; it sounds like that’s something you learn after family, rather than before, but there are mentor figures who could explain that to her, and I did have concepts for a later arc where she basically has to realize being a leader means you often have to send someone else to do things that you could do better, and it would certainly apply there.

        I’ve been chewing on the idea that here, she has to draw on her friends to help overcome what she can’t on her own, but that doesn’t quite feel right either?

        The context her is she’s being stalked by her dark shadow that keeps ambushing and murdering her in her dreams. It’s pretty much a manifestation of her fears that if she goes down the family route, she will never be as capable as she should be.

        The tragic ending she is tempted to follow is to become the dark shadow to defeat it, but I still don’t have in my head what the good endings would look like, if that makes any sense?

    2. Are there Magic Samurai men in the setting?

      Are they able to stay at the peak performance level with the magic– or do they peak young, like sports stars and special forces, and they’re “old” at 40?

      Usually, the solution I see that makes everyone happy is that they do something that can only be done by a [whatever the job is], but doesn’t need as much time and focus.

      For example, training. That’s a common job for folks who get broken on the job, but then you have either only people who can’t really do the thing anymore, or folks who aren’t there for long. Settled down/retired give continuity to the training center.

      ANYTHING where your value is increased by knowing about [field you can’t do] is a good choice.

      1. Currently there aren’t, but there have been in the past. Basically, it’s not exclusive, but the way the author structured things, you really can’t do stories with them. The samurai part is also rare, but the magic part isn’t.

        With the magic stuff, they can keep going into old age. I do see her focusing on raising the family for the next 20 years or so, then being back to her old peak in her equivalent of the 40s. Older, wiser, and more devious, too. (Which is about the time she get smacked in the face with the fact she just can’t be in five places at once…)

        I think at this point, I’m leaning towards her concluding that her goal of being the perfect samurai is her goal, and different from her duty, and she can fill her duty in other ways. Not fully sure about that yet.

        1. In certain tribal cultures, women only gain magic/medicine power with age and with passing the years of fertility. Until then, they are “unbalanced” and can actually break magic/medicine power. I don’t know if you could use something like that, that her magical abilities gain a boost with having a family, because women are traditionally defenders of the home (morally, in terms of keeping the wolf from the door [food prep and storage], and as last-ditch defensive fighters as well).

          1. The Flameweaver/Changeweaver pair of books had that concept. And when you throw a powerful but barren woman into the mix, well, you get these books. (With a very elegant solution in the end.)

            1. Ooh, I need to reread those.

              “You’re not English, you’re Angrezi!”

    3. Nearly forgot!

      As an author, you may want to consider if your Magic Samurai are more likely when they’ve got an ancestor who’s a Magic Samurai– in which case having kids and teaching them properly might be an obligation from that training, exactly because she can do it.

      1. Yes, but she doesn’t know that yet. Once I finish this arc, I’m going the hane off and work my own worlds, but one of the plot bunnies I’ve got for this one is the youngest daughter of the youngest daughter is such the spitting image she might well have been her clone, just now she’s in the shadow of what, for her, is this monumental figure.

        (The first character sort of lives in the shade ow of her mentor who vanished long before events, and I think it would be an interesting parallel to follow.)

        But that is for another day.

        1. Good! Then that’s one where I *can* give a first hand experience!

          As both a trained professional, and a supposedly amazingly intelligent female, I *did* have to go through a lot of pressure that “of course” I couldn’t do something as “foolish” as “wasting” myself on motherhood– maybe give birth to one or two, if I was kind of selfish, but definitely shouldn’t do something crazy like raising them, that was a horrible waste.

          The realization that how much my mom was involved in raising me– and how much better it could’ve been if she’d had the faintest clue what the actual issues at school were, and looking at classmates that could’ve been their parent’s clone but interacted more like room-mates– was a huge part of why I *didn’t* put “do the job I trained for” above the job that only I could do.

          Since you mention that she’s going to be working through the problem of sending someone else to do a job that she could do better, because there’s a job that only she can do– that might be a good eventual realization.

          1. (Yes, we do have a horde of kids. It’s flat funny to see relatives who are confused because wait, THAT ONE got married?, on both sides of the family.)

            1. That is such a fun thing to play with too. I had a bit of a running gag going early on where, any time anyone ran into him without her, everyone had trouble processing she even knew a guy, much less was meeting up with one. And of course, all of this is when she’s vanished and he’s trying to figure out what happened.

              1. It’s so much fun when those crop up, like the time I realized my character had missed a couple of meals and it became a game of “how many ways can she get interrupted before she gets food?” It’s one of those things I really hope people noticed.

          2. This. This is exactly why I don’t want a “magic lets you have everything” solution. This feels like a question every girl has to answer, and telling them they can just have it all with enough pixie dust feels like a lie.

            And it’s a question I don’t think men even have to ask, I never did, which is part of why I’m struggling with it.

            1. It’s different, but the man choice of “family or career” is related. Some jobs it’s very hard to do and have a family.

              Maybe a lot of the difference is because the guy’s choice is more, “how can I best take care of my family”? While the gal’s is mostly made at the point of having a family or not, at least until very recently.

              1. That is true, but to a much lesser degree. The dad can still hustle and jump on opportunities in a way the mom still really can’t. Even with a toddler and a 3 month old at home, I still can jump cross country for a few days to chase a big proposal or major customer problem. It will be hard on their mother, but I can do it.

                By contrast, she simply cannot. Until the youngest is weened or moved fully to formula, their mom simply cannot drop off the face of the earth for three-four days without major impacts.

                1. I don’t know if, strictly speaking, all women are territorial, but happy powerful women seem to have work areas and home areas that are absolutely theirs, whether or not their name is on the deed.

                  And when powerful women travel, putting their mark on new territories or new groups of people seems to be part of it. Nuns who organize orders are big examples, as they tend to also grab men and women whom they like, and put them in charge of things under them, and write them lots of letters, and expect reports in return. Or they matchmake.

                  Even the more wandering lone wolf type of women seem to do this. Even if they leave their mark and then never come back, they still leave their mark.

            2. The impact _now_ is that there no place for babies and small children in a factory. In your fictional universe you have to take a hard look at what her day-to-day activity is, what sudden things come up and so forth. Then what support she has–husband, family, servants/employees–that will enable her to raise her children and be a wife, while also at least sustaining her skills.

              And as the author, you get to choose how hard or easy or painful her choices are.

              _Now_ a woman who is out of the workplace for, say, seven years, to get two children to the age of kindergarten, will find it difficult to find an employer, adjust to any tech changes, and resume a career.

              You need to consider your Magic Samurai’s situation. Who does she answer to? And if she quits, will she be welcomed back? If not, it’s a much harder decision than, say, knowing that when she returns she’ll be junior to those now her juniors. And even if welcome, will she be considered lesser, because her loyalties, time and energy will be split between family and lord or whomever?

              Now I can see all kinds of ways out of it–oh, first that comes to mind is a family tragedy–her husband’s brother dies and his wife and children come to them/need rescuing . . . she realizes the children have magical talent and need to be raised properly, and so here she is with an extra duty that comes with a built in nanny for any kids of her own . . .

              Whatever. Just realize that she doesn’t work in a factory or a posh office. Think of a farmwife working, and the kids helping. Think hunter/gatherer. She has to work at the gathering, not the hunting while the kids are small, but they aren’t the utter destruction of her career.

              1. I mean, I’d like it to feel as painful as it would for someone now to have to make that choice :).

                Given it’s more of a lord/knight relationship she can’t outright quit, more that she won’t be as capable of that part of her role, but she’s got others.

                However, her boss hasn’t been entirely thrilled with the whole thing, so I can very much see her advising her to take the perfect samurai route rather than settle down with this particular guy, which given some other character dynamics does set up an interesting opportunity for a false ally/false enemy thread…

                1. But a feudal lord wants feudal families!

                  A samurai’s duty is to have many dutiful sons and daughters, who can grow up and serve the lord and his family!

                  It is in all the rulebooks…

  5. My life is a very exciting novel.

    In my experience the excitement level of a novel is inversely proportional to how “nice” it would be to live there. C.f. “May you live in interesting times.” 😉

    1. This !!!! Do I want to live in the Lensman universe? No. Do I want to live in the Honorverse? Umm, harder, but still probably no (although prolong nad decent space travel is tempting). Do I want to live in Caliphate, Last Centurion, Footfall, Starship Troopers or the Domination’s universes? Hell no!!! Lots of fun to read, really unpleasant to be those poor characters. Of course nobody really wants to read a book where nothing happens and little changes :-).

      1. There’s actually a sub-sub-genre of slice-of-life fiction that the Brits call “Aga Sagas” after the Aga stove found in so many kitchens. They are “small things in a small world” story, and the closest I can think of in American writing are Jan Karon’s Mitford books, especially books 1 and 3. All trials and tribulations are more or less domestic, and work out in the end. No great feats of daring do, but learning how to cope with small things, or with change in the community, and so on.

        1. Huh so someone wants to read about just basic things. Not my thing, but there’s something for everyone.

          1. ‘Slice of life’ is what it’s called for anime– it can be enjoyable, although honestly the ones I like are fantasy slice of life.
            Internet says it got started in the late 1800s.

            1. One of the things I enjoy about anime is the way a series can toggle between high drama and silly humorous slice of life stuff. You can go from these from high stakes battles to the death over some ancient grudge, to they’re going on vacation and the hero turns out to get air sick. Very very air sick, and now her boss is holding her hair while she throws up in her lap for an entire trans-Pacific flight…

                1. I just realized, the Grimnoir Chronicles ended on a beach scene. Not really an anime style beach episode, but now I’ve got to make a note to always be on the lookout for spot to drop something like that in, but where it would make sense, like Bollywood musician numbers starting at the karaoke bar…

  6. Ah yes, we all rightfully fear the berserkers as we should. One hopes it does not come to that. However I will submit there is another out there who is also one to fear because it is more ‘focused’ and that is the one who does not just go berserk but falls into a very cold place. I think there are many of this ‘cold’ type in our midst and they will be the ones for those brining harm to us and ours to really fear. I think an example is Simo Häyhä from Finland in WWII… He kept his humanity intact and was even able to go back to a normal life after the war but, when engaged in war –

    I’m also stressed and feeling “alone” but I still have faith and hope (thanks to places/people like this) and hope we can avoid the worst case. I fear it will come but in many ways and to many different degrees. Hopefully we can find places where the impact is less and survive in a healthy and positive way through the process.

      1. And mine. He’s laid down the law: I’m not to tell him about any news story which I find distressing. Those anecdotes I find funny (e.g., the Wisconsin Mustard Museum story) merely irritate him, but anything that really worries me just might drive him ’round the bend. It’s been a learning curve.

        1. I’ve seen Dan angry, when they were messing around with younger son. Not annoyed, which he often gets of course, being human, but TRULY angry. It ain’t pretty. And people sense it. It’s this kind of unnatural calm, and he gets cuttingly polite.
          BTW, found out recently his Y chromosome (the one from first ancestor in the US who was a puritan, is originally Sephardic from the peninsula. Specifically from Portugal. I mean he’s like 2% Portuguese, but there it is. They say Portuguese ancestor around the 12th century. No chance of our being related in any meaningful way, but I’m highly amused. Like my mom and her sisters, I thought I’d married OUT. (Since at least for a time Sephardic Jews reckoned ancestry by the father, probably by accretion from Muslims, it could be argued I married very much in. Which amuses me beyond measure.):-P)

          1. I try to never lose my temper because when I do I lose it completely. My father was the same way. It was spectacular when he did.

            1. I’m the same way, myself – like my father. Endlessly tolerant, patient, understanding – and then the limit is reached and nuclear explosion. Doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, witnesses are left with their ears ringing.

  7. Peter and I got a not-entirely-expected windfall; money that was owed to us that we were hoping against all expectations would be repaid.. actually was. So we replaced the ailing HVAC system.

    …priced have *doubled* in two years. (Not just the fading dollar value, but scarcity of materials). But, the house is now not only insulated, the ailing 30-year-old system on its last-last-“replaced the compressor with a salvaged one because none new are available” legs is now replaced with a brand new one.

    Which is worth quite a bit of rice and dried chopped onions and beans in the pantry.

    1. Addendum to the above: I had a not-great night of sleep with the new system running, and feel better than I normally do with with a great night of sleep. The HVAC techs noted the old ducts were “very ratty”, and the level of dust, dirt, and allergens in them was “about what you’d expect after 30 years in Texas.” Running a high-level filter in the front could only drop the incoming, not remove what was in there.

      Depression is a side-effect of inflammation. I may be more cheery soon. My apologies!

      1. I meant to say, if we can come down next month, may I borrow some of your med cream for a test. Some people swear it’s like water on fire for eczema, but I’d like to try before I ask you for the recipe and spend the $$$

          1. It’s a multi-factorial problem. Which is why it’s hard to treat: is it symptom or cause or coping mechanism? Or yes?

            1. Not only is it a multi factorial problem it is NOT necessarily one disease. Mental diseases are diagnosed symptomatically. But that doesn’t say the root cause of a set of symptoms is the same. In addition if you look at a lot of those pamphlets you get with medications you’ll see the phrase “Is thought to work by” frequently especially in treatments for anything mental related. Right now we have SLIGHTLY better feel for what is going on in than brain than the medics that used to prescribe bleeding for a variety of causes. There was a brief moment fMRI looked promising, but it seems it has a lot of noise in the signal yet.

        1. I saw BobtheRegisterredFool’s comment, and went, “OH!”
          I have allergies, ulcers, and RA. All inflammatory diseases.
          So, I’m not depressed due to mental issues, but as a side effect.

          1. Well, stress can make it worse.

            But, pain and inflammation can screw with the state of your mind to a significant degree.

            1. Part of my issue is that by the time the house sold, I was in full blown eczema attack, to the point the usual meds did nothing. I’ve recently got it to — maybe, eczema is tricksy — do a u-turn by applying excessive amounts of — of all things — bacterial-killing cream. It’s till at the touchy stage, but it doesn’t keep me awake in pain at night. OTOH, see excessive amounts. It means I must be aware of first itch and slather.
              Well, that probably accounts for my writing being so frustratingly slow.

          2. Vicious circle: Depression makes me want to comfort-eat All The Carbs and not exercise. Wheat in specific gives me an arthritis flare, and carbs in general spike the blood sugar, which also causes low-level generalized inflammation. Inflammation exacerbates depression. Depression makes me want to stop exercising and comfort-eat All The Carbs…

            I feel better when I force myself to go lift weights, as it’s far more effective and easier on my joints and lungs than aerobics. And when I restrict comfort-eating to corn and einkorn. Feeling better makes it easier to go to the gym, and tackling cutting out the comfort eating…

            I can force the positive feedback loop. IT’s just really hard when I’m in a negative feedback loop. Takes a few tries, and I try to be gentle with myself about it. There ain’t no healing from cutting yourself with the jagged edge of life…

            1. I drink coffee and eat more meat when I’m depressed. Beef and good, black coffee make a lot of things better…Sweet stuff still triggers a little nausea, eleven plus years after I gave birth last (sweet was such an instant nausea-trigger that the gestational diabetes test forced one nurse to need a new set of scrubs…), as well as severe joint pain and some brain fog.

              Too much of the wrong kind of activity sets me into an autoimmune flare. It has to be less than ten minutes of activity at a time, and can’t raise my heart rate or breathing rate.

              (Not weight lifting–can’t. Joints won’t let me. But treadle sewing machine…yeah. My thighs are twitching from the workout earlier of sewing two sixty-inch seams with tiny stitches across the width of a twin-sized quilt. I’ve got three more of those before I start doing the *lengthwise* seams.

              And one width-wise seam? About equal to about three flights of stairs, with the stitch length set like I’ve got it.)

              But yeah. I’ve been drinking a LOT of black coffee, lately.

      2. Living in central Florida, where mold is more common than nitrogen in the atmosphere, I put a UV light in my air handler. Spendy at about $200 for new bulbs every other year, but it’s cut the nighttime sniffles quite a bit.

        1. Peter and I moved from east of the Mississippi to west of it because I had problems breathing mold. It took 3 years for me to pick up new allergies. Around here, well, driving back tonight the clouds were a lovely burnished gold where the sun was shining through… from all the airborne dust.

          1. Pine pollen for me. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that came from my stint as a summer camp counselor in the Sierras, but there’s enough pine around here to have me on meds the moment the yellow starts to show.

            Dammit, trees, keep out of my sinuses.

      3. Dorothy –

        There are duct cleaning services, I used one when I bought the house I’m currently in. Some are good, some are VERY good, some are average. Check with the BBB and ask around.

        Duct cleaning and energy audit is 2 different businesses (usually) – – but a whole house energy audit ($250 around here) should include a duct leakage test. Mine discovered a 7% leakage rate, the auditor’s HVAC guy charged $200 to spend a morning in the attic physically inspecting and sealing everything. In a couple weeks I’m getting an ERV installed (energy recovery ventilator); rule of thumb is an ACH less than 5.0 indicates a need for mechanical ventilation to exhaust “bad” air and replace it with filtered “good” air from outside (ACH is Air Changes per Hour, measured at 50 pascals (a little less than .01 PSI), a blower door is used to alternately put the house under positive pressure, then under negative pressure (vacuum), and using an infrared camera and smoke pencil to locate spots of poor insulation and find air leaks in the building envelope). My house tested at 5.3 ACH, close enough that it an ERV is warranted, and when the last bit of “house leakage remediation” us completed the house should be close to 4.0; the big advantage to an ERV is that it can be adjusted to keep the house under slight positive pressure so whatever leaks you have are forcing air OUT rather than letting it come IN, and the fresh air the ERV brings in is filtered. That will result in a much cleaner and dust-free house. There’s a good chance your HVAC system is putting the house under negative pressure – mine was with that 7% duct leakage rate the HVAC sucks in 100% to heat or cool it, but re-delivers only 93%, that 7% delta puts the house under negative pressure (vacuum) and is air inflitration from outside which brings in dust and dirt.

        RE: HVAC filters – check with your Partner in Crime, he should have an email with some info on them.

        Sarah –

        RE: well pumps – solar can drive a pump, but one alternative is a manual pump; there’s a model of the Simple Pump will lift from – IIRC – 200 feet and for shorter lifts there are several pumps that will work fine. Whatever the depth of your well may be, check the static level – that’s the “resting level” of the water in the well. Years back I had a house with a 450 ft 6-7 GPM well but the static level was 51 feet; a hand pump that lifted from 100 ft allowed access to the 125 gallons (8″ diameter well) between 51 and 100 ft. and the replenishment rate (6-7 gallons per minute) was a little more than the maximum rate I could hand pump out. Hand pumping is a PITA and it’s really tough to run a clothes- or dishwasher that way but at least we had water during power outages.

        1. We did it the harder way: we replaced all the ducts, as part of adding in an extra plenum chamber and converting the house over to central HVAC, with a much higher capacity. These ones – I’m not sure these sausage-casing-like tubes *can* be cleaned, but I also know Central HVAC has a limited service life, like 10 years. So I shall plan to replace the ducts when I replace the unit, and budget accordingly… and start as I mean to go on, with a high-MERV filter.

          1. “Central HVAC has a limited service life, like 10 years”.

            Not wrong. But we are on year 15 (annual checks). We have the sausage like ducts. It has been recommended they be cleaned (haven’t). Note our NGas Central HVAC was a retro fit, from electric ceiling heat. The expensive part was putting in the ducting. Seven year pay off on the expense (savings in power VS NGas), even with raising electric prices, and that we were using wood heat to keep heating costs down (free firewood too, until last few years).

            Mom’s house is on their third HVAC system in (almost) 60 years. It was put in just before ours. I don’t know if those HVAC ducts have ever been cleaned or not. OTOH family doesn’t have problems with allergies. Mom also doesn’t have pets. What pets we had as kids were outdoors only. (We have pets. They are not outdoors only.) They got 20+ years each out of each system.

            The point. Don’t rule out your HVAC Central system at 10 years.

            1. I was informed last year that my HVAC would be replaced in the next 3-5 years because a new refrigerant is being mandated that isn’t compatible with it.

              1. Blink. We haven’t been told that. But then our HVAC is heat only. No air conditioner attached. Mom’s does have air conditioner as part of the system, so she might be hit. But then she’s 87, so 3 – 5 years … she doesn’t have the money for it. It will be like the wood stove (Fisher) which has to be pulled. OTOH they are trying to outlaw natural gas.

    2. I have been counting my lucky stars that I had a new roof put on three or four years ago. Last year I had the siding and the windows done, and a major fix to the HVAC system, just before all this heck broke loose. Because now the essential bits of the house are right, and tight and ship-shape. (I still am paying for the work, but it’s all done and complete.) In three more years the mortgage will be paid off.
      We are stocking away as much canned food, pasta, beans, rice and shelf-stable supplies as we can now, even as prices zoom up. We buy the meat (mostly hamburger, but sometimes chicken) that is marked down 25% for quick sale, and vacuum seal it for the freezer. I’ll try and figure out what recipe book it was that my mother had, for a couple of hundred ways to fix hamburger…
      I had three clients for books come in quick succession, so that helped, too.
      I honestly don’t think our national situation can go on much longer. The Vile Progs have spent the last few years calling us racists, white supremacists, science deniers, deplorables, insurrectionists and traitors – and now they are annoyed because the Biden (mis)Admin has provoked a possible war and we are not obediently rallying around our flag.
      Aristos a la Lanterne, indeed. (I do post at Chicagoboyz under the Sgt. Mom nick, if anyone didn’t know.)

      1. my exterior is “stucco” (stucco concrete base made to look like cut stone) so that just gets cracks sealed, and I added a metal roof to it. Last year it didn’t happen, but I’ve been rehabbing the storm windows and repainting the old lower story windows. The uppers were rotting in places so they were replaced (5 total) luckily before the price jumps.

  8. Interesting times.
    Three things my kids remember from growing up:

    “It’s not fair Daddy!”
    “Nobody ever promised you fair.”

    “I’m bored.”
    “Here’s a shovel (or a book, or hammer or whatever).”

    “I’m stressed!”
    “It’s called life, deal with it.”

    OK, carp me all you want.

      1. For kids where that will just piss them off– you can instead go into a discussion of justice.

        Our eldest son is on a kick where anything he doesn’t like is “not fair.” So we’ve been doing just punishments, that he REALLY doesn’t like.
        He “happens to” wander off, without doing his job? He does a different job, all by himself, because the others had to pick up the slack for him.
        He does something that makes a mess for someone else to clean up? HE will be cleaning it up. All of it. Until it’s done right.

        And so on.

    1. Those darn cob loggers, until they stop logging those cobs, America is in danger. Save the cobs! 🙂

      1. They record the mileage of horses?

        [Cob refers to a heavy, sturdy, but not draft-sized horse larger than a true pony. They are sort of the small pickup of horses, heavier than a Quarter Horse (but you can have Quarter Horses that are considered cobs), and can be ridden as well as driven (carts, traps, smaller wagons)].

        1. I love this blog, where any random typos and quips can be turned into jokes and new knowledge at the same time by the other commentators. 🤣

        2. I always wondered how that related to the phrase “to cob it” as in, go full throttle, that still gets used amoung aviators and heavy equipment aviators.

        3. “Cob” can apparently also refer to a swan, but from what I’ve heard about swans mauling people with their wings I’m not sure you should try to walk up and log one.

        4. My encounters with “cob” as a type of horse has always been in UK settings, so I figured it was a UK-ism.

          Also, what’s the connection between cob loggers and cow orkers?

  9. Don’t know if this helps, but there’s a very good chance you top ticked house prices in CO. High price + high rate tends toward lower sales and prices. most recent nationwide house price data is well down, one data point, yes, but it’s consistent structurally.

    1. We actually kind of took a bath, but that was due to the nature of the house, and the fact we’d not finished repairs we knew were needed when we bought. Shrug. At least it’s done.

  10. Maybe part of the “it’s all over” feeling is because some of the folks who were happy with the prior moves are now recognizing the problems?
    And then Doidge dropped the bomb on Newhouse. He asked, “How come so much of journalism I read seems like garbage?” At that moment, Newhouse realized Doidge was right. Journalism was broken. It had become garbage. And then she had the vertiginous realization that everything is broken.

    She says, “For seven decades, the country’s intellectual and cultural life was produced and protected by a set of institutions—universities, newspapers, magazines, record companies, professional associations, cultural venues, publishing houses, Hollywood studios, think tanks, etc.” She says they are all broken. The cohort running these institutions now insist on sameness and purity. They have become “a mutually validating pipeline for conformists with approved viewpoints—who then credential, promote and marry each other.”

    1. I’d change “conformists,” to, “aristocrats,” or wannabe ones. They go to the “right,” schools, take the approved majors and degrees, marry one another (I wonder if some of it is actually arranged marriages to cement alliances between families, or at least, ‘send ’em both to the same school and throw ’em together as much as possible,’) and then get jobs with one’s family or allies’ business.

  11. Fear? I don’t know if I’m afraid so much as very, very, very nervous. Like pre- performance nerves were back in my musician days, only there’s no stage time and the worry won’t go away. It’s really getting in the way of getting useful/necessary things done.

    Depression is a constant at some level and is probably rising along with the anxiety. But maybe that’s a good thing in some ways, because…I’ll just say that Sarah’s idea of depression having certain protective and preventative benefits rings true to me.

      1. If my wife gets back from the store soon, the Asian Buffet is happening next. It just reopened about a month ago after two years of COVID closure.

        1. Snif. Ours was circling the drain before Covidiocy. OTOH, there’s a good trad-Chinese place in town.

          1. I left a couple of longer posts on solar-powered pumps. Is WP putting longer comments in automoderation? It didn’t complain, just snarfed them up. (No links, either.)

      2. Nerves are definitely warranted, however, looking at the way things are, I’m hoping that with a massive sea change, at least some things just might get better.

        Meanwhile avoid crowds and keep stuff where you can find it.

        1. Avoid crowds…and just this last weekend I made arrangements to go to Seattle (new city tagline: “Portland is even worse”) for the express purpose of being in a big crowd.

          I almost didn’t do it. Hoping the masking and proof of vaccination crap they’re insisting on will fade away over the next 2 months. Hoping shit doesn’t hit the fan while I’m there. Might have been an inadvisable choice, but the (grown up) kids *really* want to see this band, and I do too. Going to metal shows was one of our favorite things in the Before Times. It’d be nice to do something normal again.

          1. I’m giving it about another week before I write a comment on the Seattle goth club’s FB page to the effect of “the state and county have dropped their vaccination/mask requirements, how long do you intend to keep enforcing them yourselves? Because don’t you want all the people, like me, who think masking up at a nightclub is a buzzkill to come back and start spending money there again?”

      1. I looked at what I can control, and have decided I’m going to plug away even if it’s 10 words a day. because finishing the story will lower my stress.

        1. Yeah, my problem is I CAN’T look away. OTOH it’s bad for me. I am writing, just not finishing. (Don’t know how much of that is post-viral syndrome. I get tired VERY easily.)
          I AM aware some of this is PTSD.
          Hey, I am NOT at the point of jumping under cars at the sound of pops. Might come, but not yet. So, good.

  12. Something that helped me when I was grinding my teeth a lot was a mantra my then-dentist offered me to repeat to myself before I fell asleep every night: “Lips together, teeth apart, muscles relaxed.”

    Now, umpty years later, I have to consciously remember to put my teeth together (as during a dental exam).

    Offered in the hope it helps someone else!

      1. I had trouble with clenching my teeth ($4000, 2 caps). I retrained myself to tap them together instead.

      2. I didn’t know I was doing the sideways teeth grinding until I got the first mouth appliance for the Sleep Apnea. The reason I kept breaking it. The current one is built to allow side to side grinding, yet still force the lower jaw forward as minimally as possible to keep the air way open.

        1. Grinding Teeth?

          The solution is “take out your dentures”. [Very Big Crazy Grin While Running Away Very Very Fast]

          Note, I do wear dentures. 😉

          1. Partials for me. After dinner, I do my teeth and go for that redneck cred. Improves my whistle tone, too. VBEG

        2. Likewise. My dentist told me the appliance would essentially address that as well as the apnea.

            1. The first version I had I broke the *plastic, once. Then I kept breaking the arms that set how lower jaw was positioned. The one I have now, is in 2 pieces. The *plastic is a lot bulkier. The top has a hook that slots into the lower piece, that when is slotted in, and set properly, the hook can only slide back and forth; called a TAPP device. Conscious effort has to be made to unhook it. Comes with a key to adjust setting. Original one only the provider could adjust it.

              I know I chew on it. Because when I have those “too much taffy on the teeth” dreams, I am doing just that. About the time I’m semi-conscious of what I’m doing, there is also the “feeling” that the device is suddenly really, really, soft. Like I’ve beaten it into submission, and it will dissolve and come apart’ panic time. Um. No. When I’m fully awake I know then it hasn’t. It isn’t softened up at all. It can be soften, a little, but it takes HEAT, which my mouth isn’t likely to do. The dog could destroy it.

              * whatever it is made of

      3. I ordered a thermal-softening one first, but the lab goofed and sent a rigid, thin one before getting it right. They both work, but the thermal one works better. OTOH, due to having lower front teeth coming out, I might not need the guard any more, but I’m used to it. FWIW, the fancy one is called a Thermo-Splint

          1. I find the thermal one to be pretty comfortable; it’s thicker, and will soften enough to install easily with either hot tap water or (I’m told) a hair dryer. Cost was a bit more than the rigid, but not horribly so. I keep the rigid one in my travel bag, but otherwise it’s a backup. These are three years old, and still quite usable.

          1. Not familiar with the athletic version. Tried the over-the-counter molded night guard, but couldn’t get a good fit.

              1. Mine has to have little tabs to lock my lower jaw forward to keep pressure off the joints. It’s quite a contraption, and I don’t recommend it if you can avoid it. (The good news is that my dentist now has a 3-D imaging thing so no more trays of cement in my mouth to get molds! Yeah!)

                1. My first experience with the precision casting compound was unpleasant. It was needed for partials, and a *lot* sturdier than the ordinary sort. My lower incisors had eroded roots, and one tooth had broken. Made it through the ordinary impression stuff for the custom trays, but when they did the high-definition compound, it did *not* want to come out. The incisor next to the broken tooth failed, with the only good news was that both broken teeth had the roots come out, so it wasn’t painful.

                  Later runs with that compound entailed use of a wax between the teeth. I have large gaps, and the stuff loves to fill those.

                2. Those dang full impression trays are gag worthy. Torture.

                  The contraption with the tabs to pull my jaw forward, and thus my tongue, is what I have. Mine is to keep my throat unblocked. Also do not recommend if you *don’t have to. My dentist doesn’t make enough of these to make the leap to 3-D. But they might have other procedures that would benefit from the technology. As bad as the process is, both dentists are empathic. They had to endure the same process. They both use the same device, for the same reason.

                  I got “used” to the feeling of using it quickly. But those dang “I can’t get this mouthful of taffy out of my mouth” dreams are irritating. This dream has replaced the “I didn’t study”, “Programming deadline”, “Naked/half dressed”, “running”, semi-conscious stress dreams. BUT I’m dreaming again.

                  1. ah, undressed dreams.

                    I don’t remember my dreams ordinarily, but in a recent one, I was moving (my home, in my car, even though I was working in the office during the dream) and I was irked because that meant I had to waste time getting dressed.

                    1. I’ve had so many “undressed” dreams that I take them in stride now. Like “Dammit, I’m naked again. Okay, this is what I need to do to get across the city to get home. Let’s go.”

                    2. I have two reoccurring, distressing dreams – one when I can’t actually find my car, after a day of work, in a series of dispersed parking lots around some kind of huge university/industrial complex, and another, when I am trying to do a radio program in a studio where everything is going wrong, and it’s five minutes to air time, the record library is hideously disorganized and nothing in the studio works…
                      The can’t find the car one is much more distressing, as I had a temp job at a huge insurance campus where I couldn’t find my car on the first day…

                    3. trying to do a radio program

                      I haven’t had the Actor’s Nightmare in a long time, but in my version it wasn’t just me who didn’t know the play we were doing, it was everyone else too.

                    4. I recently dreamed I was in a D&D game where I created a wizard and in our first combat, the DM said I couldn’t have magic missile.

                      And I didn’t usually play wizards!

  13. This is like reading the parables of Sarah. I start reading and then I think “Oh, yeah, that’s why I can’t sleep except in the middle of the day and behind the wheel of my car. Stress. Yes.”
    Trying to recreate a life while the western world is collapsing is interesting.
    I’m watching the circus about a “baby kidnap” here in Idaho that involves Ammon Bundy, Mr. Emotionally Unstable Crazy ignite a crowd of people that are angry, stressed, and desperate to fix things.
    This was so, so good for me to read. Thanks, Sarah.

    1. “… can’t sleep except in the middle of the day and behind the wheel of my car. ” Can relate. Without my daily lunchtime nap in the parking lot, I’d probably die from lack of sleep.

      Also, if you’re still looking for work and are within range, I highly recommend looking at SEL. (Have mentioned this before, but one more time just in case.) 😊

  14. I’m a planner. My dear husband is a pantser. I have had some stress over the years because of this. But I have been able to relieve it to a large extent because I have made many plans about what to do in this or that event even if he doesn’t know I’m planning or much care. Some plans are even written down.

    It became clear to me last evening that my dear husband is uncharacteristically close to some sort of breakdown. I have been thinking all day what I might do to help. I think he is realizing that pantsing isn’t going to cut it in these trying times and what I have been telling him about the state of things and our need to prepare is actually true. Since, like most pantsers, he could rely on things to work the same way all the time. So, if he worked very hard and did regular maintenance on a strict schedule, pantsing everything else worked. But now he is sort at a loss. Working harder at what no longer works seems pointless and his job has become a source of great stress because of supply chain issues. His maintenance schedule is off because of unavailability of supplies. Now that everything is up in the air and seemingly spinning out of control he can’t count on just winging it. I, however, have been quietly working our whole lives on preps for this and that scenario just in case my worst fears are realized. (Although, my worst fear of all, attack by gorilla, seems unlikely at this time.)

    So I have decided to let him in on my prepping and various plans. Hopefully, it will ease his mind a bit and he can continue on thinking he is in charge while I handle things in the background. It is possible that he might feel better knowing there is already a plan in place for what to do in case of loss of job, how much food we have in case of unavailability of food at stores or lack of income, how long we can go without buying any staples at all, medicine in stock, emergency supplies, my plan to pare down the budget because of high costs for all the essentials, etc. I will skip the zombie invasion and similar scenarios most likely.

    That and I will encourage him to stop looking at the news for a month or two. He never, ever used to watch any news at all and I think he was better for it. Watching for what is coming is all very good if you are doing it to prepare, I think. But if you are watching in horror of what is coming and it is paralyzing you from taking action, it is of little use. Besides, they are lying about everything and most of what they are saying is not helping. It just makes him angry to see how little they care about how they are wrecking things for regular folks

    That’s my plan for today, anyway.

    1. Husband and I have a similar interaction– early in our marriage, had a crisis that could’ve broken us. Instead it reminded him that he doesn’t have to do it all himself. That’s the point of having me working support– we pick up each other’s slack.

      Still tease each other about out different styles, too. 😀

      Does he listen to the news for noise, or for information, or for the news?

      Podcasts are really nice for noise and information, audiobooks for noise….

      1. We’ve been together since we were 17 and boy have we seen challenges. But they were always our challenges everything else was going fine for everyone else.

        Now everyone everywhere is struggling with no end in sight. Much different. Everyone is stressed. It’s getting to him. He is a people person and very sensitive to that sort of thing. It’s easier for me because I am rather oblivious to others.

        I think he is watching news in much the same way one cranes the neck to look at an accident. It’s hard to look away.

    2. I like the zombie invasion scenarios, because it allows you to tackle a serious topic in a humourous way. Work through all the real variables of societal collapse, without having to push through the resistance of “that will never happen (here).”

      1. My favorite parts of the zombie scenario are the emphasis on marksmanship and the part where you can literally shoot problems in the head. 🙂 Unfortunately, those parts aren’t very likely to keep a family fed and healthy through hard times.

        1. Using expensive ammo on zombies seems like kind of a waste.

          That’s why I keep my scythe sharpened. Works on zombies and crops.

          Just make sure to rinse it well between uses.

          1. Depends if they are slow, shambling zombies or the fast running zombies (contrast the original Dawn of the Dead with the remake, for instance). Of course there are different types of zombie apocalypses; there is the virus/bacteria/radiation/mad scientist version, there is the necromancy version and the “there is no more room in hell” version.

            Yes, there is a classification system for zombie apocalypses 🙂

            1. Game designer and podcaster Kenneth Hite pointed out that vampires always need a lot of exposition, but “zombie apocalypse” doesn’t, or at least it’s optional.

    3. My husband is, although severely ADD, a planner. He has been laying in tools/supplies for some time. We are moving a lot of it to the new house, and it is tough. But, when this all settles out, we should be good. Actually, it’s possible that the amount we get to sell the old house pays for the next one (we bought a lower-priced house, that we could manage to pay for, even if we never sold the old).
      He is also tight as a tick – cheap beyond imagining, should the need arise. I’m talking SAVING Al foil, re-using plastic bags, making do with no money. Which, in these times, is a blessed bonus.

  15. I doubt it is the end of America

    Further thought (now that I’ve read further). The “end of America” could be true in the sense of “the king is dead, long live the king” or the new phoenix rising from the ashes of the old. The America that was might be gone with the America yet to be still to be created.

    1. The Fourth Turning is slouching toward Bethlehem, to mangle metaphors, and we can all see it coming. But we don’t know how bad it’s going to be when it happens, nor how things are going to shake out on the other side. So everyone is nervous — except the fanatics, of course, but they’re the ones who are going to be doing the damage.

  16. Sarah, as usual your posts say way too many things for a single comment. First, a warning, make sure your well is covered. A thirsty squirrel can fall in and contaminate the water for a week. Personal experience. Also to echo you, “In the end, only kindness matters,” as the poet sings.

    As to home, perhaps like you, I have a strange relationship with home, best summarized by my story here: I grew up in a Detroit that is no more, and then on a ranch that is now literally obliterated. “They tore down the building when I moved away,” is a ludicrous understatement for what happened to that place. The hills in the background are still there, but the rest of the landscape is not.

  17. Sarah, first comment, make sure your well has a secure lid on it. A thirsty squirrel can fall in and contaminate the ware for a week, personal experience.

      1. This! A town near us has to shut down private wells each summer because of aquifer contamination. Some of the ranches had poor habits and screwed things up for everybody else.

        OTOH, wells can be sterilized fairly easily. If you want, you can sterilize the entire house plumbing. (I’ve done the first, should do the second some time. OTOH, the latter is a lot more work.) Instructions are readily available via your favorite search engine.

  18. Next, like you, I have a somewhat complicated relationship to home. Best summarized by this story:
    I grew up in a Detroit that is no more, then on a ranch that might as well have been nuked from orbit. “They tore down the building when I moved away,” is the most ludicrous of understatements. You might be able to recognize the hills in the background, despite the 8 lane freeway running through them about a third of the way up. The past is indeed a foreign country in southern California.

  19. Sorry, I may have reposted. I thought I had forgotten to push send, but my last post had links, so it probably went to moderation. Ah well, such is life.

  20. House with well good. Yes there are solar pumps, but if the well is fairly shallow, more to the point might be a hand pump, which requires neither sunlight nor a battery, tho it can require considerable cranking.

    In other items I’ve been lately told are getting scarce in the supply chain… Tires. Think about replacing any that are getting, uh, tired. And Made In USA if at all possible. Chinese-made rubber cracks. American-made rubber does not (at least not near as soon; I’ve seen American-made tires in excess of 50 years old and still perfectly good, while Chinese rubber rarely survives beyond a max of five years of sunlight, and will come apart if ever allowed to sit flat.)

  21. You know, I’m actually slightly salty about one of the talking points that Babylon Bee has trotted out a few times recently.

    The ‘defense suppliers want war because profits’ one.

    May actually be true, here.

    But, there are a bunch of things that could happen during and after a war. We aren’t necessarily talking about a straightforward relationship to profits.

    And the communists have certainly spoken the ‘those profiteering war mongers, creating conflict where there would be none’ argument many times before.

    The wars of the cold war occurred not because of defense suppliers, but because communists are fruitloops, and communist governments are fruitloops to the fourth power.

    1. :grumbling noises of agreement:

      The wars of the cold war occurred not because of defense suppliers, but because communists are fruitloops, and communist governments are fruitloops to the fourth power.

      The commy governments would’ve LOVED to not have any weapon-makers providing stuff to the other side, because they didn’t want war– they wanted a rofl-stomp looting.

      Wars happen when the target is (sufficiently) armed; massacres happen when they’re not.

      1. IIRC Before Communists “Really Became A Problem”, there was the Theme of “International Arms Dealers Cause Wars”.

        It wasn’t true then and not true now.

        1. I’d argue it’s the same human impulse in both cases– “this bad thing isn’t my fault, if Those Guys would just not–“

        2. That was deflection from the unbearable “we did this to ourselves” explanation for WW1.

        1. Depends entirely on if one considers a massacre to be war or not– can honestly argue it both ways, especially since entirely defensive motions like running away could be considered part of an ongoing conflict.

      2. Full disclosure: I am a nuclear war enthusiast. I am interested in making weapons, and selling them to people. I absolutely would have a financial interest if I had been competent to set one up.

        I’m actually against war at the moment. After Afghanistan, I would not trust Biden not to nuke us. My only shred of pro war sentiment is being pissed off at people taking Putin’s probable bluffs at face value.

        Russia is absolutely an enemy, and Putin an evil man, but we seriously need to get our own house in order before we let officials take huge risks with our fighting men.

        1. My only shred of pro war sentiment is being pissed off at people taking Putin’s probable bluffs at face value.

          Not the stuff where Russia is talking about everybody else threatening them, by doing things like “being able to resist invasion”?
          *eyebrow raise*

          1. I’m in favor of the Ukrainians beating the Russians.

            I’m not sure where I am on other nations helping the Ukrainians.

            I absolutely do not trust Biden not to make any US use of force worse than useless.

            I’m curious enough about whether Putin has any usable nukes that I would almost be willing to match that against Biden’s ability to ruin the offensive and defensive systems for a nuclear war.

            If Putin lives longer, I think we will be fighting Russia sooner or later. The timing isn’t right for that, now, because Biden can put officers in place who would not try to intercept strikes against us, and would not send strikes against the Russians.

              1. That guy (Turnip in Chief) has only had 1 year plus to screw up the military (although his efforts in that time have been heroic). Obumbles had 8 years and his folks really did a job on the upper brass, retiring/sidelining any of the LT Col (or equivalent in Navy terms what Commander?) that had any aggressiveness and any actual military competence. What we have is a bunch of flag officers who are essentially zampolits. My strongest issue with Trump is that he did NOT clear out the Augean stable of the leftover holdovers from Obama in Military and civil service . Both Clinton and Obama got resignation letters from EVERY appointed position so they could (and did) toss them. Trump didn’t (nor did Bush the Younger I think). We can no longer play by the “rules” as the opponents stopped that sometime in the 70s. At present I’m liking the possibility of DeSantis. He seems to understand this principle better than Trump or the rest of the Republicans, and honestly Trump is OLD and has massive baggage. DeSantis will NOT get the never Trumpers back, they were always CINO (Conservative in Name Only) and wanted to be the loyal opposition not really interested in winning and changing things. They just want to be slightly contrarian and “naughty” but still be invited to the fancy parties.

                1. I have marginal trust for Trump, and zero for anyone else.

                  This is a long term degradation of the bureaucracies, and not easily fixed. Yes, Biden is building on the foundation constructed by Obama and Clinton, but I don’t trust that Bush made any honest effort to improve things. I’m skeptical that this or that leader is the magical answer to fixing a problem. I think a majority of Americans are probably all right, and think a group effort may bear fruit.

                  1. No leader will be admittedly solve the whole problem. However, when becoming the president and knowing that there is an issue with the swamp not dealing with the parts of the issue that are in your purview is a failing. Trump has experience as an executive and normally would be expected to know that he needs to clean out the mid level executives (be they flag rank individuals in the military or various department heads on the civilian sides). As soon as appointed individuals showed either disobedience or incompetence they should be walking. Admittedly the lower levels of civil service are immune to direct removal but they are not immune to dismissal for cause if they will not enforce the executive orders, or persist in following old policy. The department heads need to be willing to force this issue or nothing changes.

                    1. “As soon as appointed individuals showed either disobedience or incompetence they should be walking. Admittedly the lower levels of civil service are immune to direct removal but they are not immune to dismissal for cause if they will not enforce the executive orders, or persist in following old policy. The department heads need to be willing to force this issue or nothing changes.”

                      I strongly recommend that you take a look at the various (selectively enforced) “whistle blower protection laws”, union contracts, etc. before making that statement. There are several instances of Trump doing exactly what you recommend and having an injunction from the DC Circuit (zealously defended by the DOJ, NOT) stopping it on his desk before the ink was dry.

                    2. The appointed individuals would have no protection particularly if they had been required to submit resignation letters at the start. The DC circuit is not the final court of action although the Supreme court with its current Chief Justice favors Stare Decisis in ways that were never intended. Good to know he tried, but failure to remove the Obama era folks at the top and not having a slate of folks ready to go on Jan 6th for at least the top 2 levels or so was a tactical mistake.

                    3. “failure to remove the Obama era folks at the top and not having a slate of folks ready to go on Jan 6th for at least the top 2 levels or so was a tactical mistake.”

                      Question 1: Who does the background checks for Federal Employees/Appointees? Hint: CoupBI, with the occasional assist from other 3 letter swamp agencies. That alone makes me suspicious.

                      Question 2: Who wants or can afford this kind of harassment, for themselves, their families, their current and future employment?


                      “The saying goes that there are nine EPA regions and then there is Region 9,” said Jared Blumenfeld, who ran that office during the Obama administration.

                      The passion of the scientists, enforcement officers and others who work in California, he said, has made it “nearly impossible for Trump to recruit” someone “to stand in front of the 900 EPA professionals in Region 9 and lead them and the agency over the precipice. It would be a fool’s errand,” he said.

                    4. Face facts: As long as Americans have to worry about facing a mob without recourse, and the Left does not, we ultimately separate, or we lose.

                    5. Ultimately that may be the solution, but for the present we aren’t there yet. Until then we should make use of the levers we have

                    6. Separation will not work.

                      You may be hinting at certain options, that I would choose only to hint at.

                      There is a slight chance of having everything line up to solve matters by peaceful means, and it is much better than the possibility that separation could work, even temporarily.

                      The peaceful hypothetical possibilities are safer to talk about than just about anything else. One of the talking risks that the peaceful options help minimize is the risk of being incorrect. It is still very profoundly easy to be incorrect, but the “LOL” unpredictability is probably less than the not peaceful options.

                2. He’s been screwing with the military since at least 1975, even if he wasn’t Commander In Chief.

                  And Obama’s tactic was to use officers that didn’t go to a college as scapegoats at every chance– with extra focus on admirals and lining folks’ pockets. His intention was clearly to subvert the military, but these guys don’t understand the military.

                  There’s been an issue with promoting for Sounds Good rather than can actually do stuff since well before 9/11.

                  With luck, next guy in will try a “back to basics” with the military, on the entirely legitimate reasoning that pushing frills over essentials has caused massive accidents and understaffing in essential positions. Get rid of non-job-related promotion considerations, etc.

          2. There’s a lot of talk about a ‘no fly zone’ and a lot of people that either don’t know what that means, or never bothered to think it through. A ‘no fly zone’ means you threaten to shoot down another country’s military aircraft if they fly where you don’t want them to. If they fly there anyway, you have to actually shoot them down, which is an act of war.

            I can see the Biden* regime being stupid enough to declare a ‘no fly zone’ — and then being too chickenshit to actually shoot down any Russian planes when they ignore the threats.
            There are forms of stupidity that businesses can’t indulge in. There are no such limitations on the stupidity of government.

            1. If they fly there anyway, you have to actually shoot them down, which is an act of war.

              Because it’s not like they, say, buzz US military and lock-on weapons, while using obviously falsified IFF signals, or kidnap American citizens evacuating a warzone, or go about murdering enemies in other countries or such.

              Russia really has no legs to stand on when it comes to acts of war. They’ve been doing quite a few of them, against the US, for decades at this point. I am EXTREMELY tired of folks acting like only acts of war *against Russia* count as acts of war.

              1. Admittedly the Russians are the aggressors, and they’ve ALWAYS been badly behaved with respect to treaties and international norms. The problem Is that we have one actor who seems to be of limited sanity with severe paranoia and narcissistic tendencies and is descending into a state where he sees no exit that is not apocalyptic. On the other side is a man so decrepit and mentally impaired that he probably ought to be in the memory wing of a nursing home. His foolish, stupid, incompetent handlers are letting him babble on rather than keeping him under control as they did in the Primaries and election. His statements are exacerbating the idiot on the other side. Sun Tsu writes of offering your opponent a golden bridge so that he may withdraw. I’m not sure there is one we can offer Putin as his sanity and motives are unclear. However, the Realpolitik of the situation is that we must walk the knife edge of a solution. Nuclear exchanges (even tactical ones) have casualties in the 10’s to 100’s of thousands. Wargaming over history has indicated that tactical nuclear use in an environment with 2 nuclear armed combatants often will escalate to strategic exchanges as one side loses control. With that you’re talking millions to tens (to potentially 100s) of millions of casualties. As valiant and brave as the Ukrainian people are, are the 1-3K losses that a no fly zone MIGHT stop worth 100K or a million others (potentially US citizens). At present the Russian Air Force has been massively ineffective, I suspect most of the losses of the Ukrainians have been to Artillery and Rockets/missiles. At least as I reckon it A no fly zone falls into the realm of low return high potential cost solutions. Better to keep supplying them with Javelin and various anti aircraft hardware (Preferably NOT US) and suppress the russian air that way.

                1. Sun Tsu writes of offering your opponent a golden bridge so that he may withdraw. I’m not sure there is one we can offer Putin as his sanity and motives are unclear.

                  Putin wants what he’s always wanted– a “compromise” where he gets everything he wanted, and gratitude for having dealt with someone as lowly as whoever he’s dealing with.

                  This situation came about because we’ve spent my entire life following agreements while Russia violates them, and politely apologizing if we are forced to notice or accused of being less than perfect in our following.

                  That is what the wargaming over history has done– push the casualties forward. All the dead to this point, because What If Nuclear War?
                  Those are adding and adding and adding up.

                  Exactly like the ‘sensible wargaming’ that gave us World War II, and then Stalin’s vast murder count.

                  1. Putin thinks he can get his “compromise” where he gets everything because he is helping Team HarrisBiden make the same capitulation to Iran as he hopes to receive himself (yes Team HarrisBiden is still having Putin’s Russia act as the “broker” of a “deal” with Iran). Why wouldn’t he expect to be capitulated to in the same way as Iran is. He, like most aggressors, knows weakness when he sees it, and Team HarrisBiden wears its weakness like a neon-lit polyester suit with bells on it.

                    1. Heck, can stop with “Putin thinks he can get his ‘compromise’ because he’s watched this tactic work for the last 50 years.” At least.

                2. With that you’re talking millions to tens (to potentially 100s) of millions of casualties.

                  Well, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed!

                3. Incidentally, you forgot a major consideration in your nuclear wargaming.

                  Ukraine had nukes. They gave them up, because the US was going to protect them from Russia.

                  If we do not– it makes it a very, very sure thing that nobody will give up the nukes their insane predecessor got, so that he could get the same “no agreements bind ME, only the other guy” deal that Russia has.

                  1. Indeed we did promise Ukraine that we would provide them with protection for their letting go of the Soviet weapons that were on their soil. And over the intervening 20-30 years we have NOT taken actions to strengthen that. Our stupid persistence to shut down ALL oil drilling and production in the US as a sop to our green idiots means that Russia was able to grow its military again (although perhaps not as effectively as they had hoped) and keep its people from utter rebellion due to lack of food and other necessities. To quote Bluto from Animal House to Flounder “You F*cked up you trusted us”. At this point we have a situation quickly moving towards one as critical as the Cuban Missile Crisis. But the actors in this case are far less predictable than Krushchev and JFK. And the state of the combatants is far different than in 1962. JFK had decent information that told him the Soviet missiles in the homeland were far fewer than the USSR implied and (incorrectly) that none of the Cuban based missiles were operational. The US Bomber force was on constant alert in those days (Look up Chrome Dome) and the Minuteman I and atlas and Titan missiles were operational as well as IRBM’s in the UK and Turkey and some Polaris SLBM (2-3 boats worth?). Bluffing then worked because the opponent KNEW they were going to get smashed, and because they knew their system wasn’t going to do major damage to the US. It is clear Putin’s people have been lying to him about the state of the military. It is NOT clear what the state of the Strategic forces is. They could be like much ex soviet era hardware, ill maintained and with funds skimmed by the local commanders for their own comfort and enrichment. However the number of them (plus SLBM) is large. If even 10% operate of the 1000 or so operate you’re looking at ~100. So a bluff here, particularly when the Biden administration is known to have the backbone of a sea cucumber is not an option. Again the calculus is simple and unpleasant, Precisely how many lives are worth our being trusted in the future on this front. I don’t like this but reality is often unpleasant.

                    1. The calculus is only simple if you limit it to immediate assumed payoff, and take the assumptions you have chosen as gold.

                    2. Then we will have to agree to disagree. I see the failure mode as sufficiently catastrophic to be avoided at nearly any cost short of the loss of US territorial possessions. I hope I am wrong, but I’m not willing to make that bet.

                    3. While I look at the stated failure mode and identify that the options given are either risk it now, or do the installment plan and get a much higher quality failure, from more providers, in the long term.

  22. I have lists for that running in the back of my head all the time (which, yes, I know, adds to the stress) and I’ve just realized I should keep them on paper.

    Yes, put them on paper for mental health reasons.

    So, one working theory of depression is it occurs when the mind gets stuck in problem-solving, generally by trying to find a solution for something that can’t be solved. It came from the observation that a lot of depressed people do puzzles (jigsaw, crossword, suduko, whatever) and get at least temporary relief. The idea is solving something shuts down the problem-solving loop temporarily.

    So getting it out of your head onto paper probably will relieve some of the black dog by just plain letting it sleep…for 20 minutes, yeah, but anything could help.

    I’ve started doing morning pages and the brain dump there has helped a lot with the depression…enough that I quit writing about people who have gotten to me by day 3 of first writing about them and I get more done the days I do them.

    1. I observed that a week without writing fiction caused far too much stress. I need that dump of fiction, if only because it is a pure escape into 1) a different world that 2) I control to some degree. Yes, things are hard there, sometimes, but it’s not THIS place and time. I suspect the control aspect is very important, given how my personality works.

      1. First heard this from Heinlein, although he observed that doing stonework worked too.

        1. Had RedQuarters room enough and I had time, woodworking. Making things is soothing. Even if it is only sawdust and a moderately messy mess.

    2. Yeah, the stuff that occupies my mind has a huge impact on my quality of life.

      Both the excessive little details I try to recall, and the anger I haven’t let go of.

  23. God loves His people; but some of them suffer. Why?

    Well, the short answer is in 2 Corinthians 4:7,16-18; but the main point is that we’re not the main characters in this life. Sometimes it takes a whack upside the head to wake up and understand that one.

    May your search for truth bring you to The Truth. And may all of us be granted the Grace, Faith, and Endurance to stand up under whatever circumstances are given to us.

    God bless you and yours.

  24. Here I am, waving my night guard at the screen. I was clenching so hard at night that my jaw muscles ached. It wasn’t fear, it was rage. Overwhelming rage at what they did to us, and what they’re trying to turn us into.

    I haven’t been wearing it lately because I’m not so ragey. The commies are breaking everything and stumbling around like drunken fools, bleating about how important they are and how elite they are. Sure, they’re breaking everything, but nothing that can’t be put back right after we get rid of them.

  25. I’ve been pretty blase about most of the shortages, if I cannot find something I’ll generally sub it out. But something today scared the pants off me. I was talking to a mechanic trying to sort out problems on the 6 month old semi I drive most days (the nimrod that designed the hood latch is not human, our wrists don’t work that way) and he told me they cannot get “steer” tires. The tires that go on the front axle of a tractor-trailer have different (higher) specifications than go everywhere else.

    If the trucks don’t move we’re all stuffed sideways. If there’s anything available to do so at least.

    I really was hoping to sleep tonight.

  26. For what it’s worth… Battle lines are being drawn and they’re not of flesh and blood. I do not think the feeling of impending doom is a promise. I think it is a warning. But I am no prophet. I just know we are not abandoned, and while we are not abandoned or forsaken there is hope.

      1. I understand completely. I’ve come to an uneasy acceptance of what I can see. But I don’t pretend to really understand it, but yeah. this makes me edgy. Really edgy. Though I can’t shake the feeling this won’t be conventional conflict. I can’t tell if that’s ME or a ‘real’ sense. (And that right there is why I tend not to TALK about this kind of thing to anyone but my husband.)

    1. I’m getting the same sense. Something is starting to move, and those of Good Will need to be ready with whatever tools/weapons we are called to use.

      1. And it’s something BIG. And not in the ‘God, so of course big’ sense either… Just massive movement. (And yes, I have considered the possibility that I might be bonkers.)

          1. Now I have an image of this crowd standing up and proclaiming “I am Bonkers” like in the “Spartacus” movie (which I know is Leftist propaganda of sorts, but that doesn’t stop the mental image – or the laughing).

        1. You are not Bonkers. Been feeling and sensing the same. Also, a restlessness in the spiritual world if you will. Can’t explain. My store seems to have a ghost. He has been very restless of late and there is a changing feel to the store several folks have commented on. Feels kind of nuts to say it.

          The men who wanted to be left alone. i am surely one of them. We have been ‘prepping’ for years. Supplies laid in, tools for making just about anything, new skillsets that include canning and beer making, and forging and welding etc. But there is a shift coming. Praying the butchers bill will be small.

  27. Got notified late in the day a couple of days with what was essentially two weeks notice.

    Yesterday I got another call and was told, “Never mind, your contract has been renewed.”

    Writing on the wall?

    We really can’t afford to lose more here in my department than we already have (lots of people have retired and not been replaced) as we’re effectively down to the bone already. But the people who decide those sorts of things are on the other side of the country.

  28. Shopped a couple of craft stores this week. Hobby Lobby is in pretty good shape, though even there some shelves are a little thin. Michael’s, otoh, not so much.
    The commissary is in better shape but there are still empty spaces on some shelves (this time, it was no Dixie paper products and more worryingly, almost no hamburger or steaks).

    1. People were buying a lot of paper products and burgers/steaks for St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness, not to mention the nice spring weather. So that might not be so much a shortage, as a “shop till you drop” thing.

  29. That’s why I like living where I do. Even the last couple of years, life has been pretty normal. Nobody paid much attention to Kung Flu, and since we’re a free county in a somewhat-free state, we didn’t get locked down. Prices are up, & the country may get into WWIII, but life here mostly just goes on.

  30. All I can do is all I can do.

    If I could do more (trust me, there would be some very interesting things if I had access to some very advanced tech), I would. But, since I can’t…all I can do is all I can do. Doesn’t mean I won’t do anything less…

    And, I’ve read and seen enough books from the ’70s and then the ’30s that they assumed that nothing would ever be right again and the world had gone wrong…

    (Okay, maybe the 1930’s is a bad example.)

    Don’t let the doom-and-gloom turkeys get you down. It’s going to be rough for a while-don’t lose hope.

    1. Agree. Shall we List everything?

      * Duck and Cover drills. Then evacuate to the bomb shelter (school cafeteria).
      * Evacuate to nuclear bomb shelters.
      * Then Trogen (Columbia River) was going to blow and melt down
      * Causing the next glacier age.
      * Die of lung cancer because of all the smoke in the air, not related to second hand smoker (surprised this one hasn’t resurfaced because of the wildfires. But guess since the fires are “deliberate” they don’t count.
      * Killing of tiny cute owls.
      * Running out of oil.
      * Running out of natural gas.

      More recent
      * Causing next sauna. Or is it Ice Age again. I can’t keep track.

      Which last financial bubble was going to collapse the federal reserve?
      * Interest rates will never be below 15% again.

      The recent “wages are behind inflation” scream? My response? This is news? Seriously? Doesn’t anyone remember the ’70s, and ’80s? Or was it just us?

      I know I’m missing some.

      This doesn’t count what my parents have been through. Depression and WWII (born in ’30s). I’ve SEEN where mom lived as an infant and toddler. Um, no thank you.

      If we don’t survive this my last response will be “Well. Crap.”

      One thing I won’t do is not keep pointing out that the idiots like the squad, Biden and cohorts, ARE idiot morons that give idiot morons a bad rap.

      Also, under they should have known better. Our July trip to Canada is being put off until September. Planning TBD. We were only going in July because that was when sister and BIL were going. Immediately after co-niece’s wedding in Battle Ground, WA. Now they don’t want to go because fuel is getting to be “so expensive”. They are the ones with the non-plug-in Hybrid. Turns out that it doesn’t use the electric mode above certain speeds (DUH!!!), specifically freeway and most highway speeds. They are better off financially than we are (by a lot). The ONLY thing that will stop us from doing is if we can’t get fuel at any price (repeat of ’70s fuel crisis) when we are on the road. They are still going on their European trips, however. No, this is not the liberal sister. (Which is why “they should have known better” tag.)

      1. I think they are still on global warming/megastorms/mass die offs of [insert photogenic critters here]. I haven’t checked the scoreboard recently.

        1. Oh, I suspect the brain damage was self-inflicted, but irreversible. Huffing their own gas-lighting fuel will do that.

          I think that a lot of the people who are freaking out over inflation weren’t born (or at least paying attention) when Jimmah Carter got inflation above 10%. I do recall mortgage rates at 18%. (Not that my variable mortgage that hit 11% in ’86 was a prize. It got less unaffordable later.)

          Speaking of bad memories, I see that TPTB think a it’s a good idea to resurrect the 55 mph speed limit, with possible gas rationing. Can’t have those deplorables actually traveling around on their own, now.

          I did find the 80 mph limit in western Utah on I-80 in 2014 to be impressive. The only other place I’ve seen widespread 80 mph traffic was in California, also on I-80. Downhill coming off the Sierras. Yikes! (Insert snarky comment about the inability of some Californians to differentiate between road ID and speed limit signs. Flatlanders!)

          1. I vividly remember the Carter inflation years. The price of everything doubled (actually a bit more than doubled, what had been $8.99 became $21.99) very quickly, starting with fuel. That was how I got indoctrinated against feckless Democrat ideas.

          2. Do not remember what our 30 year fixed rate was in ’80. But it wasn’t 3.25 we have now. Do remember the 13% variable rate with 5 year balloon which was the only kind we could get in ’88. Already posted the conditions. We refinanced before the end of the first year, into a fixed, and have steadily brought down to the current rate.

              1. The first loan we applied for, the rate was sub-10%, east coast bank. We qualified. House qualified. Neighborhood comps didn’t. Little to nothing had sold in 10 years in the “allowable” comp circumference area. A problem not limited to Eugene, or even Oregon (Longview WA was at minimum, another). Switched to west coast bank which was “more understanding”. Was able to refinance at better rate a year later because the log jam broke. Since then the comp comparisons have been wider spread than the original appraisal. Instead of between Irving/Irvington (N/S), and Arrowhead/Crocker (E/W), it is “North of Beltline”, South of Beacon, East of the Expressway, and west of the Willamette. Helps a lot. Since then there has been a lot of new builds, which helps even more. Heck if they stuck to the original comp boundaries, “little to nothing being sold” would still apply, until last few years. Homes just now selling after people have lived in them for the last 50 to 60 years, usually by heirs. For same reason there are a lot more children living on the street.

                  1. “You live about a mile from my SiL.”

                    Interesting. North, South, East, West? County or city property. Grade school? Irving, Aubrey, or Spring Creek. Could have been Corridor (recently closed).

                    Mom is a mile south (Dover, built ’63). Sister & BIL are a mile north (Altura). Their oldest daughter (Nottingham) is 1 mile east of them.

                    Maybe have walked the dog by her house (unless she is south, rarely walk Irving, do walk a loop to park north of Irvington). The dog walking app I use reports round trips of 3 to 4 miles, not counting the two loops of the school grounds perimeter (1 mile each), when school is not in session. Full disclosure, WHEN dog and I go on full walks. (I’m lazy …) OTOH we wander, so might not be getting a full mile from our house. Don’t often walk by mom’s or sister’s place, unless incorporating a stop into the walk.

                    1. So east. River Loop 1 or 2. Aubry Park or Spring Creek. Definitely Madison Middle and North HS. Depending on her children’s ages, either went to school with nieces (Aubry Park/Madison/North) or would be going to school with great-niece/ Except niece and her husband haven’t put her back in school. Grandma oversees homeschooling, except when grandma/grandpa are jetting off somewhere.

                      Don’t get that far east on the dog walks.

      1. I know. Believe me, I know that.

        I also knit. And I can cook from scratch. And I am learning to sew (and learning to do it better).

        Making stuff–and learning to do better–also helps remind me that I’m not actually fully helpless in the face of this. And that there are things I can do, and do fairly well, if the center ends up not holding after all.

        1. I can cook from scratch. Some sewing. Painting. cleaning.
          Not strangling people.
          I mean, not that anyone pays for that last, but they should. It’s hard.

          1. Some people due pay for not being strangled – see “protection racket.” 🙂

            1. Of course I noticed “due” rather than “do” two seconds after I clicked “Post Comment.” Sigh.

  31. Solar pump? How about a windmill? Do you have a breeze that blows around your house?

  32. Panic? No. Mostly because I am not shocked at what has been going on. (Surprised in the details, yes.)

    Been there, done that, way too many times. Now, I’m rather more aware than some, as I do the “daily family maintenance” tasks these days. $SPOUSE$, who is off this week for Spring Break, was shocked at the prices when she accompanied me on the shopping errands. $3.10 for a gallon of milk, when the last one she bought was $2.29. I just saw a dime increase from my last time.

    I just keep on going. She wanted to know why I was buying more rebar at Home Depot – well, more canned goods, more weight on those ugly metal pantry shelves, more supports needed. (Did one more shelf today, two and half hours – although that is with an hour and a half for spray paint to dry; only an hour to cut, wire brush, and grind the nasty ends down. Will do some more during the week – 100# of rice has to go on them now.)

    It’s all “What can I do today. Tomorrow, I’ll figure out what I can do tomorrow.”

  33. I’m finding it harder to keep on-task and on-target again, except this time I’m not doomscrolling. I keep wanting to re-read my old stuff, particularly the last attempts to tell the Grissom timeline’s Fall of the Soviet Union, which I set aside some time in 2012 and never picked back up. I have a feeling that I should concentrate on the Grissom timeline, but I can’t figure out whether I want to focus on the Lanakhidzist Revolution, the Energy Wars or the Sharp Wars, and all of them are tugging on my sleeve, wanting my attention.

    At least right now we’re still having conventions (I’m doing a metaphysical event this weekend), so I’ve got all the retail business activity to keep me busy. And next week, as soon as the ground dries, I’m taking the shovel out and digging up the garden, getting a seedbed ready so I can start planting as soon as things get warm enough (which should be after our two big April conventions, so I want to be able to jump on it. I also need to get those tomatoes and peppers started indoors.

  34. I’m having trouble getting myself to do anything. It’s as if I’m barely treading water but not going anywhere. There are so many things I could be doing to better prepare and somedays all I manage is going into work and coming home.

  35. For your daily dose of musical resistance, may I present R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People” (available on your favorite YouTube) — sung by Kate Pierson of the B-52s; and (at least partly) based as a reaction to those propaganda posters the Chinese Communist Party put up after the Tienanmen Square Massacre?

    Typical Example:

    I think the caption reads “Great Union of All Ethnicities Forever” and actually means “Our Gulags are Big Enough for All of You.”

    1. If I see Moran’s name in the byline, I look to see if the subject is anywhere near close to Trump, so I can skip it. At a guess, I’m reading 5 to 10% of his stuff.

  36. Over at Instapundit, you asked if anyone can check machine translations from Russian in your comment about “A Hidden History of Evil.”
    I can. Before the plandemic, I was even doing Russian to English translation of technical stuff. I’d be happy to part of any effort to bring this stuff out.
    Get in touch with me and I can give you whatever info you need to know about me.

      1. That reminds me; a few days ago I sent that test email you asked for. I haven’t received a response yet, so I’m guessing you never got it?

      2. Tried to contact you at sarahahoyt at hotmail dot com (with the at symbol and period in the actual email address, of course.
        Got this error message:
        A communication failure occurred during the delivery of this message. Please try to resend the message later. If the problem continues, contact your email admin. Resent a second time with the same error message.

  37. 1. Bodies don’t stack neatly, they slide all over the place.

    2. It’s weird to go back to your hometown and be able to barely recognize it. I can see the Anchorage of the 1970s in some of the old neighborhoods and parks, but downtown is totally changed and the empty parts have been infilled and neighborhoods are built out right to the limit.

    3. Controlling the berserker rage is something that boys learn to do as part of growing up into young men. Testosterone and all that. Watch a 13-year-old get into a fight sometime and all you see is blind bloodlust. I’m pretty sure that teaching this to their sons is the primary reason why having a father in the home is so important.

    4. I carefully chose the area in which to look for and buy Tierra de Balzacq as being outside the “light damage, second degree burns” radii from a one-megaton hit on Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Bremerton, Ft. Lewis, and Bangor Submarine Base. I contacted a bulldozer guy who’s going to put in a driveway and clearing for me in the next couple months, and then I can build a BIG storage shed (like 9×18) that will double as emergency shelter in case SHTF.

    1. Oh, and I bought a ginormous 4×4 Nissan Titan pickup truck. The gas mileage is terrible, but if I have to drive up a freeway embankment in order to flee then now I can.

      1. Flee, hell. Just run over ’em, nothing left but grease spots.

        That’s just about literally true with my Ford dually… I can’t tell what I’m squishing, so stay out from under my wheels.

        1. My “flee if SHTF” mostly involves The Big One and how to bug out when all the bridges and overpasses are damaged. I’m not so worried about having to drive through a rioting mob, not in my part of town.

        1. This. I get hot, then I get quiet. That’s the danger point. I’ve pulled myself back twice from that point. I don’t want to go there a third time.

  38. For the gopher gardening: Build raised beds (better for your back anyway) and line them with hardware mesh before you put soil in them. And don’t FILL them with soil, buy straw bales, stick those in and remove the cords (yes, that order), then top with dirt (local dirt is fine) and some fertilizer. Much less expensive than trying to fill those with soil.

Comments are closed.