Here And Now

*Before I start, my friend Tom Knighton over at Tilting at Windmills, is offering a special subscriber deal for ATH readers. – SAH*

This morning the sentence “This bucket of tears” crossed my mind and made me smile. You see, it takes some explaining, but when I was little I thought the common expression for the current mortal life was not “valley of tears” but “bucket of tears.”

How I got there, takes a bit of explaining.

I come from a region of the North of Portugal, which was Galicia almost as long as it’s been Portugal. Either side of the border the language spoken is more similar to the other side than to either Portuguese or Spanish. Among us Galegos, we understood each other just fine.

And one of the characteristic issues is turning all vs into bs. My brother Alvarim signs himself in family communications Barim, which is what we all called him, of course. And I’m still prone to fall into this, you won’t fully know me, until you hear me — when extremely tired — use something like “I don’t habe any vs because habing vs is the debil.” My family shrugs and rolls with it.

Now, I actually have no idea if “balde” is the official Portuguese word for “bucket” or if it’s a regionalism, but for me, as a little kid, balde was bucket. And on being taught the Ave Regina prayer, the phrase “neste vale de lagrimas” (In this valley of tears) in my dad’s at home accent (he was correct at work) immediately translated to “This bucket of tears.” Which of course, made perfect sense.

Now that we’re done with the overly long and complicated explanation….

So, we all live in a valley of tears. It is futile to think if you live correctly no disaster will befall you. As we learned in 2020, no matter how good your plan, it can be ripped from you by idiots running with government and computer models, not to mention an unholy need to steal elections.

Just ask any small business/small restaurant owner, or any of the dozen kids I know who spent their lives planning and working for a career in the performing arts.

There was nothing they could do to overcome the speeding tray heading for them.

Or look at my …. um….. life course.

Believe it or not I took languages and literature not because I was passionate about the subject, but because it was easy, and almost guaranteed employment. Since Portugal is a tiny country, not only do you need a passport to swing even the tiniest of kittens, you need a translator to ask the Spaniards to lean the other way so you can do so. Someone with seven languages would be a no-brainer as a translator, and I could do simultaneous interpreting on the fly for three of those, so I’d be fine.

But just to make sure, having watched my brother eat his heart out with years of unemployment after finishing his degree, I got a certificate for teaching (which meant an additional two classes, to be fair.)

… I then married an American, moved to a country which didn’t accept my degree as a teaching degree (my university wasn’t assigned a code, therefore I couldn’t take the certification exam, because they were computer-graded and would spit the exam out without a code. Just as well. Imagine my career in public schools. Curiously, as we found when the kids were applying to college, my university now has a code. And the teaching degree is accepted. Stop staring at me. Do I look insane?) and there wasn’t much need for a multilingual scientific translator.

I did find a job as such, for a year, but it was underpaid, overworked, no chance of promotion, and they wouldn’t let me take time off for infertility exams/treatments (since I wasn’t technically “sick.”


So… I improvised. For a while I free-lance translated, and was starting to widen my client base, when I ended up on bed rest with older son, and then moving across the country. At which point (since in those days translating was local (no internet)) husband gave me a choice of rebuilding the translation business or trying to write, as I’d always wanted to do.

You know what I chose. And sure, most of the time I made about what an underpaid secretary made, but I got to be home with the kid, and then the other kid, who came as a complete surprise. And clearly we never starved, nor was I suffering from lack of intellectual challenges.

What brought this on?

Well, there was this article reporting with much shock that 30% of college graduates have no life plan.

<Rolls eyes towards ceiling.

How could they? In the middle of the mess we’re in, those of us with more experience and knowledge are finding it very hard to have two year plans, let alone life plans. What can kids, green as grass and twice as innocent know of what might happen in the next 20, 30 or 50 years. Nothing.

How do you plan for the collapse of the central planning, top-down model that now controls the entire world? How do you plan for a change of guard so massive that the last one on this scale involved guillotines?

Even if we manage it without violence — maybe, though like Uncle Lar, I feel a violent spasm in the future and not too far off — as BGE has pointed out there will be a bunch of economic disturbances. Given the massive technological upheaval we’ve been experiencing in the last …. 20 years, “catastrophic inovation” will have a lot to say to the shape of everyone’s future, even in the best of the best case scenarios.

So…. In the bucket of tears, all we can do is prepare the best we can: both by having stuff to get us through the lean times, but also by learning all we can and staying flexible.

And keep learning. And keep your eyes open for opportunities.

Yes, we’re probably heading into a recession of some magnitude, but given knowledge and flexibility, there will also be a bunch of opportunities to go and be on the ground floor of new, fast-rising structures and institutions.

Well, the rest of you. For me, the only thing I’m good for now is writing. But the way to do that is also changing very fast.

Adapt, Improvise, Overcome.

Those who think they can stop us haven’t seen anything yet.

Yes, in this bucket of tears there will always be contretemps and disappointment, loss and tragedy.

But we, like our ancestors, will be ready to meet the trouble and defeat it.

Be not afraid.

Now go get ready.

139 thoughts on “Here And Now

  1. Thank you! Not only are adaptation and improvisation necessary from the financial and social point of view, I think they keep the brain from aging and setting like concrete.

    1. At near sixty, like at thirty, I find myself in a new state and having to find “how things work” all over again. I don’t think I’m in danger.

    1. The Reader had a plan at 22. Jump into management from engineering as quickly as possible, get an MBA and become a senior executive. He executed that plan pretty well and woke up one morning a 40 with God laughing at him because he was so miserable. The Reader promptly pulled all the favors he had accumulated and got back on the technical track. It saved his sanity and allowed him to devote the proper time to raising his disabled son. The rest of his career was spent finding things that needed doing that most engineers wouldn’t do and no manager had the technical know how to attempt. There wasn’t any ‘plan’ but it was fun.

    2. @ Frank – a slightly analogous secular maxim is “Life is what happens when your planner is full.”

  2. The vaxxers keep pushing. I took my wife to the emergency room because she was nearing a convulsion and deeply confused (she’s ok now). She kept calling for me from within the ER but they refused to let me be with her because I have not accepted two shots of mRNA.

    English isn’t her first language, she couldn’t understand the accent of the Indian doctor, and her face was numb and tingling and she was disoriented. We have no idea what the doctor said or whether she adequately conveyed her symptoms and medical history.

    It could have been very dangerous to her life. It’s not even controversial to say patients need an advocate, but the need for mRNA injections supersedes this in the minds of people in control of our hospitals.

    I don’t know how this continues. They have elevated vaccination above all other parts of life and nothing will change their mind.

    More frightening, the people enforcing this were “nice”, forgettable, and probably mildly competent normally. Putting them in the forefront of punishing people who reject their vaxx made them completely indifferent to the suffering of my wife, including risking her health which goes completely against why the entered healthcare in the first place.

    Something ugly has been unleashed in our country and one by one people are getting hurt and angered by it.

    1. a) If it makes you feel better, I ALSO cannot understand accents. It’s something about ESL.
      b) in the same circumstances, I think Dan would have killed people. And the same circumstances are likely for the same reason.
      Give your wife my best wishes.

    2. According to my super woke corporation, I can’t go into the office without being vaxxed. So I get to work remotely at home. Meanwhile most of my doubly vaxxed teammates have caught Covid multiple times. Not to mention other heath issues.

      Recently the management praised the 95% compliance rate. Which is probably 80% considering how many people have only admitted to getting one shot and the huge number of fake vaxx cards are out there.

      So far remote work hasn’t been an issue, most of the company is still remote and it will remain as commuting costs climb and remote work is a must for talent retention.

      So far the management has avoided mentioning any negative news that came out with the Pfizer documentation release…

    3. I was extremely lucky in my trip the the ER. Had the nose-bleed that wouldn’t quit, requiring an ambulance ride for the 45 mile trip. Was able to walk to the room, and while a mask was an extremely bad idea for me, the ‘bus crew didn’t bother, either.

      In all the treatment, nobody asked me about the not-Vax status. For what it was worth, it wasn’t until I was about to be discharged that one of the medical types told me I needed a mask. (Not a bad idea; I looked like bloody hell–literally.)

      Flyover County east of the Cascades; we’re in Oregon, but not that part of the state.

  3. Hi Sarah—
    I am writing to ask for help, based on your ‘about’ section. My mom wants to (finally) try the self pub route and I would love your help in this process, if you have any spare minutes? Thank you

    1. Nancy, I’m not Sarah, but have you glanced over at We (Sarah, yours truly, Amanda Green, and others) have a lot of resources there.

    2. Nancy, I”m not Sarah, but have you had a chance to glance at There are a lot of resources there, and comparisons between vanity presses, a la cart publishing, indie publishing, and trad publishing.

        1. Thank you, I will check that out. Mom was a literary agent representing authors to trad pub in New York, and got more than 2 dozen published, but no one ever published hers except with another author. I would like to see her get her own work the credit it deserves (children’s books).

        2. ^^ This right here ^^
          MGC help me tremendously in getting my first book organized and published.

  4. Ah yes, have a plan, a back up plan, a go to hell plan… And variations of all three ‘just in case’… Frank is also correct.

  5. It works in English – pail of tears! But bucket is always funnier.

    I always thought pails were made of metal and buckets were made of plastic… Kids get odd ideas.

  6. My son is 16. Headed to the “all important” junior year if you care about college. He’s brilliant and could have gone anywhere in eras past, but now? None of the white Christian males we know have gotten in anywhere but their local state school since the upheaval. 0/12, 0/10, etc. But even if you managed to get into one of the top schools, why? To be stuffed in a cell, forced to watch “school”, be surveilled, prodded, examined, and shunned for not submitting to the new regime? And if you’re unlucky enough possibly get yourself into some star chamber for saying a man is not a woman or kissing a girl who later wishes you hadn’t? And for what? To learn physics at Caltech which is erasing Millikan? To study biology somewhere that can’t discuss XY and XX? Classics at Princeton which just fired Katz? The idea STEM is safe from this hogwash. It’s gone over, too.

    So what to tell the 16 yr old? How do I teach how to hold on? The Lord put you here and now for a purpose, so be equipped for it, even if that purpose is just the radical life of marrying young and having children while your wife stays home.

    But that’s pretty hard for a 16 yr old to envision.

    He’s got a pt job that pays $16 an hour and a DL. He works for his gas and insurance and all his spending money. He works extremely hard at playing music, gigging, having human experiences in person. The hardest part is keeping him learning in a world where so few people want to actually teach. That’s harder than you might think to find.

    The kids in college are right not to know, but they also need to realize the Next Thing is not a destination. Even if you don’t know what comes after, to remember there is an after. The purpose at college or that first real job or whatever is to gain skills or peers, grow in integrity and truth, and take that with you as you move forward.

    1. BTW, join your tears with mine. Trying to shepherd my kids into the professions they have talked about since they were ten has taken ten years longer than I expected, and is EXHAUSTING.
      It’s the same as my so called writing career. Spanners in the works at every turn.

    2. Instead of college, start with a skilled trade. Many are desperate for any willing hardworking novice. If you are hardworking and have a brain, you move up fast.

      Then pay your way through college with solid earnings and no loans.

      Night school seemed to have fewer marxoid dingleberries, and more instructors who understood life and its events.

      Best thing I ever did.

      1. Mike Rowe is a USAian!

        Everybody will always need plumbers, electricians and roofers. When the roof leaks or the crapper backs up, the folks who can fix them are hailed as heroes. The pay’s good, too. Especially compared to the ‘Gender Studies Majors’ working at Starbuck’s.

    3. Raw intelligence is not a good basis for the ‘college or not’ decision.

      At this point in time, many universities are utterly hosed.

      You walk blind into those environments, and they will take your time and money, and leave you nothing to show for it.

      One way they do that is with useless degrees. The ‘go or no go’ decision should be an automatic no if you don’t have a clear idea what to take, and what use it would be.

      ‘Good’ degrees that should have real world uses and that tie to personal drive are not perfect bets, HR can be pretty near impossible to navigate.

      One of the big issues, as a university freshman, you are using other college students for your social contacts, and that makes you super vulnerable to whatever insane destructive crap the university administration is trying to push. There are two countermeasures. One, if you have a clear idea of the degree, you can look at smaller religious schools, which may be less batshit insane, and still have valid undergraduate programs for t hat degree. The second is spending some time in between highschool, and college, getting to know yourself better. Don’t socialize with your highschool friends, look at the curriculums in your degree at several schools, figure out the textbooks and types of topics, attend church, study on your own, and if possible work a entry level job. Talk to older people, preferably at your church, who have the degree, about what the topics in the coursework actually mean, etc. The deprogramming time is pretty helpful, especially if one has attended a public highschool,

      IF you did come out of the public highschool, you probably need to learn to control what sort of social cues you give, and how to separate social presentation from what you really think. Bland is the basic goal of the performance, but you need to be aware enough of what you are doing that the mask does not eat you alive. For a large student body, bland gets lost in the crowd, and does not get you punished for thinking incorrectly. Bland makes it possible to graduate from institutions that absolutely have psychopaths in influence that will ruin you if your politics comes to their attention.

      University sales pitches tend to focus on the sort of ‘faculty capabilities’ that they think relate being able to produce ‘leaders in the field’. Thing is, this is a combination of BS, and possibly corrupt dealings in the scientific literature. Actual good degrees, the old theory was previously valid, and nobody has a monopoly on being able to teach it, or learn it. Self study can be slow, competent instruction basically can save a ton of time, but you can find competent undergraduate instruction in very many schools. Differences in schools are mainly in extremely specialized areas, and these are /only/ important if you have a strong narrow interest, similar to the sub field focus that happens in graduate school. As far as ‘leadership in the field’ goes, tertiary schools are basically unimportant. Field leadership basically depends on stuff like a long career practicing, and a bunch of stuff impossible to plan for or do on purpose.

      For graduate students, the advisor can matter a great deal, but there are good and horrible advisors at every school, and part of that is the student’s personal fit.

      If a Republican becomes president in 2024, it might be a lot better to enlist for a term in the military. Some skillsets from enlistment are extremely complimentary to learning the academic theory from a university. If very intelligent, and interested in something like electrical engineering, electronics tech in the military can include a great deal of relevant hands on skills. (You can shop around with recruiters, with a good ASVAB, and join one of the services that will actually put you where they say they will.) Hands on skills gives a framework to hang the academic theory you read on. Which makes the academic theory easier to grasp.

      Beyond that, Vo-Tech is also awesome. If you have any manual dexterity, and any ability to actually pay attention to what your hands are doing, something like machine tools (machining) or welding may be much easier to find work in than IT vo-tech. (But, check opportunities in your area first, I’m not up to date, and don’t know your area.) There are co-op programs for attending vo-tech funded by the highschool. If you know machining from one of those, and are picking a mechanical engineering degree to study, many of the good mechanical engineering schools will have a machine shop. Established machining skills are a good way to get a student worker position at such a shop, and that can work well with study for some students.

      Think carefully, and be cautious before committing for years at a university in current times. And, if you don’t know recent graduates from your choice of school and program, find some, and others close, because the hiring situation now is not like when your parents were in school. Also, check with current students about experiences they have with their political beliefs and/or philosophy changing.

    4. My daughter’s friend J took welding classes last two years of H.S.. The D.P. took some online book,-keeping.

      J is graduating and heading out into a welding apprenticeship. When he gets his cert he’s going to look around for engineering programs and pay cash D.P is starting a language tutoring business

      Both are joining groups (dancing, hiking) to meet other young men and women so they can get working on finding a mate (waaaaaaay more critical than a career).

      There’s loads of hope! Build up, over, and around

    5. I would say look at the second rank engineering schools if you want sciences. The first rank have acquired far too many “world class” Humanities and administrative types that have tainted them badly, and even some of the Science and Engineer profs at that level (especially fields like Computer Science particularly where the real world intrudes somewhat less). With second rank there is lesser appeal to the need to be important. Also the professors have somewhat lesser requirements to research and so may actually teach classes and may even like it 🙂 . And yes it is hard for a white male to get into college. Nephew applied this year had decent grades and some sport (Decent Basketball, excellent golf). Decent SAT but no one uses them and so because he took honor courses and so doesn’t look as good as others perhaps. Got into a couple 2nd rank schools no little ivies, which he certainly would have gotten into when I applied in late 70’s (of course his mom was like 8 at that point, so not even theoretically possible …). Even when my daughters applied in 2011/2014 he’d have made some of them. I wonder how this is working out for the Ivy’s and their ilk. MIT had to admit defeat and turn back on the SAT/ACT as their classes were trashing people whose preparation was shall we say suboptimal.

  7. The uncertainty of clownworld makes planning a nightmare. I’m traveling tomorrow for a job interview, and just in knots because there’s no way to guage if I’m making a massive mistake or not. What sort of total insanity waits around the next corner? It’s like living in some crappy airport thriller novel.

    1. Yep – the uncertainty is making me nervous – next spring, my daughter is going to travel out to California by train with Jamie, to introduce him to the relatives, and to spell my sister and her family from taking care of my bedridden mother for a month. California … for a month. I’ll be a nervous wreck, every day that she and Jamie are there.

      1. I want to visit my parents, but I’m terrified the balloon will go up while I’m there, or that they won’t let me back in because of covidiocy.

      2. I’m coming up on my now-annual trip west of the Cascades for the retinal eye exam. The doctor had a conflict, and the first alternative was to put the appointment off a month. Nope, not near the People’s Republic of Ashlandistan. Not in an election year with the Donks nervous. Got the appointment pulled in a week, and this will be along with the semi-annual Costco trip. Should be OK, I hope.

        Haven’t heard any rumblings of new mask mandates, though I’ll have to have one for the doctor’s visit. Solo trip, so I’ll have my head on a swivel and the rest of the usual precautions in the area.

    2. I travel for business. In late July we have back-to-back conventions, one in Coralville, Iowa and the second in Tampa, Florida. That’s a lot of fill-ups that have to be made. My nightmare is everything going nuts while we’re more than one gas tank away from home and being stranded among strangers who have no reason to give a d*mn about the “science fiction weirdos.”

      I’ll breathe a sigh of relief after we’re finished with that one, because after that, all our events are no more than one tank of gas away from either home or a family member’s home.

  8. I don’t plan, anymore. There’s too much that gets in the way: brain fog, lack of energy, my body being allergic to itself and its biochemical reactions to exertion (seriously! wtf, body?!?), my mom needing frequent trips from her town to mine for doctors’ appointments for the foreseeable future (breast cancer treatments)…kid crap (Mom? I forgot to tell you, there’s this going on at school and I need that thing by tomorrow…)…not to mention needing to figure out how to find somebody to do needed home repair with all of the above going on.

    Nope. Woman plans, God laughs, woman stops planning, and starts dealing with what pops up as it pops up.

  9. I gave up planning a long time ago. I worked as a statistician for 27 years which was related to my degree in applied math but then was called to homeschooling to teach several of my kids who had enough of a disability that they struggled in a classroom setting. After homeschooling for 8 years, I tutored math for several years, volunteered with disaster relief, and at 63 entered seminary. I just graduated and will be involved in pastoral care. I couldn’t have predicted anything beyond my applied math work. I had to write a paper at the end of seminary about my 3 year plan and I said that was up to God. I’m done planning. I will remain sensitive to a call, but no plans.

  10. Well, over the years “planning” got mixed in with situational awareness at both the immediate ‘right here right now’ level as well as ‘next step’ and ‘what the???’ levels. So, for me planning still goes on but with a whole lot of flex to it. I told rookies to game plan and do what-if thinking along with visualization and that could help them understand/work with the unexpected – do it on the way to a call, on the way to work or while off fishing but work on it.

    Boy, have we had a whole bunch of unexpected. I’m putting a shot of brandy in my bucket of tears and taking it (stolen from the famous AA) one day at a time. That doesn’t mean I am not thinking about future needs and situations but I do so with the understanding I will have to cope with change on the fly – I hate change!

  11. Great advice! Even in bad times, there are opportunities….even for white males! But you have to move quickly to seize them..Save your money, you may need that to get in the door, which in my case was law school..Because you shouldn’t be expecting a scholarship, which will be reserved for women and POC…If you are mechanically skilled or have other special abilities, you may need to be ready to move where and when you are demand..Some engineers and visiting nurses can get good contract gigs all over North America, and enjoy the travel….

    1. Long but good read. She flagged something that caught my attention, and provided a link that I followed. And yes, the White House really did announce that they were extending the national emergency due to instability in Iraq.


        1. Given that George W. Bush condemned the “brutal, unjustified invasion of Iraq” a few weeks back, it seems to be about what we can expect from our former, supposed, and would be leaders.

          1. From what I heard, he corrected himself immediately and IIRC he made a joke about his mistake.

            1. Yes, Bush did correct himself fairly quick. Biden isn’t even aware enough to do that anymore.

            2. Yes, if you are a tyrant (or ex-tyrant), it is a terrible mistake to tell the truth!

      1. Maybe that’s where they’re planning to destabilize next.

        Give people a chance to dust off their “No blood for oil” placards.

        1. Given that Biden pulled our troops out last year (aside from a handful of advisors and whatnot), I rather doubt it. I don’t think the public would put up with the current administration sending troops right back into that country.

          1. We probably wouldn’t put up with it, but a) who of us is in a position to stop it, and b) do they know that we wouldn’t put up with it?

      2. These things are happening almost daily…rule by the “best and the brightest” indeed…

    2. She wrote more than one error in that essay.

      BUT her main point is true, and given who she is this is earthshaking stuff.

      1. Which errors did you catch? The only one I saw was the notion that it’s okay to have to get a permit before you can buy arms.

        1. That one of course.

          Also, this sentence: “But she was secretly armed, and no one could harm her.”

          Of course, then Ms.Wolf went on to expand that the key was “… owning, and knowing how to use, firearms?” Which is the correct view.

          But that first sentence I quoted was dangerously wrong, because of course a firearm is not a shield or a force field, and it is only useful in protection if it is used in the correct manner at the correct time. It was quite poetic, though.

          1. What she should have said is something like “She can’t be easily overpowered if she can see it coming from someone who thinks that she’s just a woman and can’t fight back.”. But she corrected that right away by explaining that you have to know what you’re doing.

            The other one is much more serious, and several people have pointed it out. I hope she takes those corrections in the spirit in which they were intended.

    3. If you’d told me five years ago I’d find myself a Naomi Wolf article, I’d have laughed in your face. I still disagree with her on a lot, but I’ve agreed in general with some of what she’s written recently. Between the COVID response, the Biden* Regime, and some of the Woke BS, it seems some of the Left have started waking up to just how nuts things are. Whether that translates into much voting-wise remains to be seen; whether voting actually matters also remains to be seen. Sigh.

      1. We are involved in an information war and her being (at least mostly) on our side is a terrific asset, especially because she reaches a lot of people who would never read this blog.

        1. Oh, agreed, just felt the need to comment on it because I always feel this little bit of cognitive dissonance when I find myself in agreement with folks like Naomi Wolf and Bill Maher.

          1. I certainly understand that feeling but at this point the novelty has worn off, which is a good thing.

      2. It’s been on-going. Wolf has more visibility than most, but quite a number of lefties over the last couple of decades have suddenly had awakenings of sorts. 9/11 was probably the first big trigger event for many, including Roger L. Simon (which had rather spectacular consequences in the blogosphere, as he’s the one who started PJ Media) and Neoneocon. David Mamet has written about his realization that he was a conservative, and had been one for a while without realizing it.

    4. It’s still a bit of a shock to read what some people really think of us, even when they’re showing how they changed their minds. And I’m in my 60’s. I’m really glad she changed her mind, and I appreciate that she can reach a different audience, but still. It’s kind of like reading a story about how “those people” turned out to be human after all. When you’re one of “those people.”

      I completely understand Naomi Wolf’s background. Guns are evil, fighting is evil, women should be allowed in the military (maybe not her, but probably — feminists wanted women to have the right to be anywhere), except that if a woman actually went into one of the “wrong” male-dominated areas (like the military) or actually agreed with the expressed purpose of the male-dominated area (like the military) or tended to have the same kind of “non-feminine” personality as a member of the male-dominated area (like IT or STEM), then that wasn’t acceptable. It was fine to be a woman in the military – as long as you didn’t actually believe in supporting the constitution. Fine to be a woman in the military – but not believe in gun rights and private gun ownership. Fine to be a woman in IT – but not think like a geek / nerd / whatever they call it these days.

      I was a fine “woman ahead of my time” as long as I didn’t actually like or believe in the stuff I was doing. Because that, as Wolf points out, made me a violence loving, anti-social danger to society. I’m glad she doesn’t feel like that anymore. But still… it hurts to read things like that.

      1. Okay to hug a tree, not okay to actually participate in Forest Planning (be a Forester). Okay to be a USFS/NP Ranger not okay to be Wildlife Manager. Especially if you were a woman. FWIW there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a woman in any firefighting field, be it wildland fire or urban, that want standards lowered so she can be one. I was sent on small district fires on local districts. No way did I belong on a big fire on a big crew. Either the old district ones, or the current private hotshot crews. The equipment that has to be carried by them could weigh almost (85%) what I did.( then). I could weld a polaski. I could layout hose. I could babysit a fire overnight. Personally I was/am not suicidal, or homicidal, because lower standards would get me or someone else killed.

        1. Meant to add to the Forester and Wildlife managers … because of icky, you know, guns, law enforcement, hunting.

        2. “FWIW there isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a woman in any firefighting field, be it wildland fire or urban, that want standards lowered so she can be one.”

          Or in the military. How can it make sense to have different physical standards for men and women in combat positions? Like you said, it can only lead to getting people killed.

          1. Military: By which I mean combat positions. There are non-combat positions in the military where different physical standards don’t matter.

  12. Curiously, as we found when the kids were applying to college, my university now has a code. And the teaching degree is accepted. Stop staring at me. Do I look insane?

    That’s a trick question, right?

    It might be worthwhile to get certified as a teacher for non-school reasons, and also to wave at folks. 😀

  13. Dad stayed with the same company until he had his stroke and could no longer work. So, did my FIL. My husband stayed with the same company and same profession for 35 years, rare for someone with a forestry degree in timber, for someone who started in ’79. BIL stayed in his career his entire work history, but did not stay with the same employer.

    Me? I’ve had two careers in two different disciplines. At that I was lucky. I know of a lot of other foresters who also switched to computer IT/software in mid ’80s or ’90s, who caught up in the various computer industry crashes, turnover, merges, etc., who never went back to work in the industry, either dropping out of workforce altogether or shooting for a 3rd career. (How hard could it be, did it once? Yea, that.)

    This is what I tried, hubby wasn’t so convinced, to impart to our child. That a degree was a process, frustrations and all. Not necessarily a path to a career. It could be. It has been for 4 of the nieces (business/marketing, and believe it or not, writing), so far, but then they are all “young” in their professions. Who knows what is to follow? But the ability to recover, or adjust to reality, was what was important. He is not working a job that was his degree. (Reality intervened. Up until just before he graduated, it was a reasonable career path. Now? Not so much. Locally went from 4 possibilities to 0.). Really hoped he’d take his joy of flying to the next steps, both flying, and learning mechanic aspects, but he hasn’t.

  14. I finally finished my 4-year degree about age 30 after a series of self-inflicted wounds (well, mostly social and psychological), bought a house seven years later, divorced and remarried, multiple times laid off after age 50, coming up on 5 years cancer-free from a rare sarcoma, etc…

    Yeah, I’ve learned a lot about “making plans.” And then having God say, “No, you’re going to do what I want.” And finding out how powerful it is to learn to trust Him.

    We don’t get to choose much except how we react to the cards we’re dealt. But we can choose, like Sarah has done, to try to life up those around us.

    As some guy wrote (almost 3500 years ago), quoting God’s instructions:

    The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
    The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
    The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

  15. We make plans along the lines of “Well, we should do x, y, and z just in case a, b, or c happens.” “What if k happens?” “Well, we should be able to cope with that as well because the other stuff will help.” We moved down here unemployed and with no prospects. It just felt right to make that move. And it’s been great. We’re still generally, vaguely, planning for a, b, or c to happen and we’ll cope if k happens.

    And as for working in your degrees…I have three degrees in political science. I gave up a tenured position at a university to write sf/f. Not a path I ever envisioned. Hubby has degrees in econ and poli sci (PhD) and is working in IT. His career path is a bit more convoluted than mine! Flexibility is key.

  16. “Well, there was this article reporting with much shock that 30% of college graduates have no life plan.”

    When I was in high school, we were repeatedly told that it didn’t matter what we intended when we applied to college, because we’d likely all change our majors at least twice, and probably get jobs that had nothing to do with our majors. The only people who should be surprised that a lot of college graduates don’t have any definite plans beyond “get a job that pays me” are the utterly and completely clueless.

    1. I was one of the weird ones who knew before going into college what career I wanted. Picked the appropriate major in college, never switched it (did pick up a second major when I realized I’d already taken all but one class required for it, but never switched away from my primary major), and am now working in that field.

      1. I knew what I wanted in college. Or at least my secondary choice. No way could I get the grades I needed for what I really wanted. I knew my career path for the degree I went with. Worked in the field, not the expected career path, but in the field 3 years. Stupid Mountain. Stupid Owl. One of us had to get out of that career field.

        Fourth choice wasn’t even a choice when I started college fall of ’74. My math skills weren’t even close. As far out of reach as going for being a veterinarian. But a councilor said try it, talking me out of the easy third choice (accounting, if I couldn’t do what I wanted, go for something easy). The hardware had hugely changed by ’83. Just 8 “short years” since my first basic computer required class, which for the record, I despised. Way different from the new introductory class using those new things called Apple IIe; just saying. The flowcharts that 100% were a undecipherable mystery in ’75, were easy, not to mention the code flow and untangling others mistakes. By the spring of ’84 through the AA class graduation, I was tutoring others, whether I got paid for it or not. By the time I was convinced to go for the second bachelors, my math skills still weren’t to computer science requirements, but I thrived on the critical ones, not so much on the theory ones, but grades were “good enough”. Had enough practical experience to be able to soar through the computer theory. I’d say the rest is history. But I wasn’t able to go get hired and stay with one employer. No. Apparently that is not allowed. I’ve left “voluntarily” two employers. Once ’89, for motherhood, and again in ’16 when I retired. The other jobs just evaporated on me. Technically the job in ’89 evaporated too, just they kept me on until kid was born, but I was down to 5 hours a week. Never got over the “I hate looking for work”.

    2. Yep, life was an open book for all of us back then…though I knew a few guys with elaborate plans..which didn’t happen…Vietnam happened…

  17. My bucket of tears right now consists of repeated trying to sign in and comment on your blog, only to be rolled to my Gravatar page then told by WP that I am not signed in. I openly weep.

    (Watch this be the comment that gets accepted ^-_-^ )

        1. If you’re not on a list, you’ll be on the list of people not on lists. 😀
          They say I can’t be a nonconformist because I’m not like the other nonconformists.

  18. I had a plan…and carried it out. But as with “Lord of the Rings”, the tale grew in the telling, with some interesting plot twists. One of these days, I plan on writing a memoir – I was in on the ground floor of 4th generation UAV development and testing, so I’ve got stories about modern flight test that will curl your toes.

  19. I’ve had one consistent career for almost 30 years and that’s usually a part-time gig. (Although, one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer is a laugh. I wish…) Everything else has been catch as catch can and what I do now has little to nothing to do with my degrees. I think I’m like almost everyone else around here.

  20. Having said that, I think the big issue with college students these days is that many of them figure on spending four years in college majoring in Partying, with a minor in Useless Studies, then find gainful employment in the job market.

    Which does not pay well for either of those two fields. If you want the big money, be prepared to put in some long, hard hours…for six or eight years.

    1. Yeah.

      The college experience is very easy to wildly mismanage.

      Time usage is very important, /and/ there is a lot of risk of being screwed over by random bureaucrats.

    2. Seriously, the only college students I’ve HEARD OF in the last ten years, over my kids’ college career, that did all that much partying? Were athletes.

      1. Pretty much matches my experiences. I finally went back to college and got my degree about a decade ago, and I didn’t know anybody doing too much partying. Of course, a lot of the students I knew at the time were mid-20’s to early 30’s, and either veterans of the War on Terror using their GI Bill benefits or people returning for a degree in the wake of the economic crisis. When I first started college years before that, OTOH, I did know some in the dorms and in my classes who were the stereotypical party animals.

      2. Meh. I knew a few party animals in undergrad and law school. They lasted one semester, as a general rule. The one exception was the kid at community college who — God only knows why — kept enrolling in the same classes, not doing any of the work, and failing, only to re-enroll the next semester.

        In fairness, if Mr. Schley hadn’t hung out with him one semester, we’d never have met. Lucky, Mr. Schley learned his lesson and stopped hanging out with him afterwards.

        1. “Mom and Dad say I have to have a certain number of hours or they’ll cut me off and I won’t be able to party anymore. Well, I’ll show them!”

      3. As a co-op student, I wound up with a fair number of dorm roommates. Engineering students, mostly. But I had a Business major a couple of times…they spent most of their time watching TV or out on the town. No doing homework until 10 PM for them, thank you.

      4. Oh, they party. They just don’t do it on campus at all (although some do manage to sneak booze and other things into dorms), and they hide it when they do it elsewhere. Trust me, I saw my share of hangovers and wildly dilated pupils.

  21. Picking up the knowledge, skills, and training along the way, then adding to your skill set, as required, is the new norm.

    1. Since that ‘s the way it worked for me and for almost everyone I worked with and went to college with back in the ’60s through the ’80s, I’d hardly consider it “new”. In fact, from what my parents and grandparents said it was the same for them.

      1. Unfortunately both the price of tuition and the sheer…. upf*ckedness of college scheduling (including the vast hours of button counting required and not counting as “hours” in all the sciences, plus unpaid (trust me, paid are very rare) internships and such make this practically impossible.
        I WANT the universities, in their current form disbanded and the ground salted.

        1. This is why I’m a BIG supporter of co-op programs. I majored in Aero Engineering, 1980-85. Which meant that while I spent my freshman and senior years at college, the rest of the time I spent at the Naval Air Test Center, learning the flight test profession from the ground up. Answer phones, schlep electronic boxes into and out of airplanes, all the scut-work.

          But I wrote my first test plan, ran a flight test, and wrote the report my junior year. Three days after graduation, I got handed a major program (an exotic which died on the vine…but that is another story). And that was how a lot of engineering programs used to be run. Back in the days when we could land men on the Moon.

          1. Not a co-op program. We were required to have 6 months work experience in Forestry to graduate. Not internships, although that worked too. Back then even the internships were paid. No school credit hours for working. Most ended up working on seasonal fire crews for the USFS, or on logging crews. A few lucky ones ended up on engineering or presale crews. I was one of the latter. One of the few School of Forestry where the students could do this. This is because we had class and class lab time during the same term, regardless of weather for the later (I froze more that once as I didn’t have the correct outer wear to keep dry). This was possible, because our forest lab area verges on the north side of the college town. Most other school of forestry school’s students had to use the summer for forestry lab time in the woods.

            1. My last term, one of my roommates, and I took Intro to Geology, we needed the hours to round out the required total number to graduate. When it came time for the lab introduction to Arial Photography, we ended up helping the lab TA teach it. Not only had we had our Arial Photography sophomore year, we’d both used it in the field working during the summer. The geology students got the Arial Photography class after getting their masters. The TA was still working on her masters. Arial Photography has majorly evolved with the event of drones, and digital photography.

        2. Yeah, it seems to have gotten totally hosed in the 35 years since I graduated. I worked at [major defense contractor] with interns who did get paid as professionals while going to school; I was an EE while I was still working on my degree. Apparently not even remoptely possible now. 😦

  22. Economically, we profit from specialized skill sets. Stuff anyone can do well is stuff that anyone can do well.

    Survival puts a premium on generalism, flexibility, and wide skill sets.

    The only possible plan for more economically disrupted times is “W is my main skill that I am improving, and X, Y, and Z are my next fall backs”.

    The reason to be incredibly skeptical of universities is that the ‘good’ degrees are at best based on past history. Some skills are reasonably immune to obsolescence, but a university degree at best prepares you for jobs that your instructors knew were out there. The training in a degree absolutely cannot take care of you when it comes to being able to do the work on jobs invented years or decades later.

    It sucks, but this means that everyone has to have a little bit more of an entrepreneurial mindset. Even those of us who absolutely hate and are not suited to that sort of activity.

    1. Did I mention it sucks?

      It sucks.

      And, folks fresh out of highschool or undergraduate are very likely the least suited. Because they have been handed choices curated for them, and told at every step that going along would have good results.

      1. Relying on bureaucracies for direction means that you are screwed when the situation is not one that they can predict or control.

    2. It all actually makes me happy that I did theater tech (set building, costume design) in college. I can arc weld, oxy-acetylene weld, hang drywall, do basic (very basic) carpentry, and sew more complex patterns. I haven’t done any of it in a long time, but I know for certain I can do it.

  23. My paternal grandmother was from Galicia (Galego) and her sister married into Baturro. In our family and in Uruguay where I was at the time, balde was/is the generic Spanish word for bucket and used by all. I never questioned the origins and was not aware it could be the same in Portuguese. Living next to Brazil causes all kinds of cross pollination of the languages. so much so that much of the time we speak Portuñol as my cousins moved to Brazil in the early 60’s. Language is so much fun when you can make jokes that mix it all up and still be understood (well, sort of). Keep on musing, it is most amusing..

  24. Trust Europe to confuse things with an Iberian Galicia and an Eastern European Galicia. I suppose it could be worse, they could have called them both Springfield.

  25. Three weeks back, I sent an email to the address in the promo posts about potentially listing my software project in your weekly promo. I haven’t heard back: Don’t know if it’s because it’s a poor fit for your weekly promos (not being a book sold through amazon), or because I got lost in another spam trap.

    The emails are titled: “Wormhole Simulator”. Let me know, either way.

    1. I answered, begging you to do a promo post on how and why you wrote it, including a link, etc.
      It is a poor fit for book promo, but an excellent fit for the blog.
      I never heard. It appears the internet hates us. I have replied from that AND my personal address, so you can answer at your convenience. 🙂

      1. Okay, I replied to that. (Sorry, can’t seem to find your earlier reply to me anywhere (spam trap, etc).) Will work on a guest post eventually. Internet hamsters strike again.

      2. I would love to do the same for my software project if you would be interested in it. Although it isn’t as interesting as a wormhole simulator, it has had many twists and turns and might interest a number of your technically-oriented readers, at least partly because it defies conventional wisdom in computer science.

  26. Today is exactly seven weeks since our furnace melted down. The new furnace and A/C coils were finally installed last Thursday, so we have heat and air conditioning again. The house has been thoroughly wiped/scrubbed – walls, floors, ceilings – to remove the soot and smoke. Carpets and sofas have been shampooed. Nearly everything washable in the house has been washed – clothes, linens, dishes, canned goods, you name it, we cleaned it. (The restoration company did most of the structural cleaning, but we ended up doing most of the content. Grrrrrr.)

    It has been a long and very aggravating two months, but we are now back on track, I hope. We still need to come up with affordable shelving options for all of the books, etc. And NO, bricks and boards are NOT acceptable. It’s a nice-looking house, and deserves nice-looking bookshelves. 😉

    Before the furnace, I was about to ask for quotes to put an electrical panel in the garage, aka “the shop”, so I could finally set up my lathe and start turning again. That was put on hold, but I will do it this week, and hope it can be scheduled before the end of the summer. I also need to set up the craft room so I can work on my American Spirit jewelry designs again.

    Sarah, I have gotten great enjoyment and encouragement from ATH over the years, and your current posts are no exception. Thank you.

      1. Good heavens weefreeirish Norm’s shop probably has/had (I think he’s retired) at least $200K of major pieces of hardware and a few $10’s of thousands of geegaws (biscuit cutters, specialized tools etc). Not to be emulated by most folk. Got some decent hardwood shelves at a local furniture store, but even on clearance (the maker was going out of business so limited to stock on hand) they were kind of steep. But they look excellent in our dining room and living room/parlor. I suspect given the cost of plywood and 2×4 and such hardwood (or even plywood with hardwood veener) is going to be rather expensive.

      2. After talking with spouse, it looks like we are going go with the old pine boards, but supported by milk crates this time. A step up? 😉 At least the milk crates can hold books, unlike bricks.

  27. I remember in elementary school they had someone come in to talk to us about what sort of career we wanted to be in when we got older. And in junior high all the testing to show us what sorts of careers we’d might prefer based on our “likes” and “dislikes”.

    I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

    1. I remember the testing. It was all done by personality, so it advised me to be a dancer.
      Guys, I had trouble RUNNING (or sometimes walking) without tripping on my own feet. So weird.

    2. simultaneous translator story (I may have related this before):

      In the early 70’s my Dad was in the US Navy and had been sent to Memphis for training. While there a Navy Lieutenant came down and pulled him out of class one day to take a phone call from the Pentagon-Russian Intelligence.

      Now, my Dad was an older-than-average recruit, having joined at 23, so people already looked at him a little differently. Now, having a Lieutenant pull you out class was abnormal, and when it became known it was for a phone call from the Pentagon, everyone assumed he was some sort of spook.

      In reality, his cousin was a simultaneous Russian translator assigned to the Pentagon who was laying over on his own training and wanted to go to lunch.

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