Category Archives: Daily Update

George’s Tree

Photo: Jenny Bristol

Photo: Jenny Bristol

Today I got to see some of George’s family. His sister and her family were here visiting George’s mom. Jenny and I swung over to say hi before they left town again, and to see the new addition. George’s mom and step-dad had a beautiful Sycamore planted in his honor on their terrace. (Pictured above)

This culminated in us all standing around a beautiful (if late-seasoned) sycamore tree, with tears in more than one set of eyes. In the end, grandkids and crew were being swept up the path to the house, and I found myself saying, “excuse me, but I’m going to be silly for a moment.”

I then tried to hug a sapling. It didn’t go so well, at first, because the trunk is about 2 inches across. I ended up with my arms stuck through branches, and my head poked in through the most convenient gap. I felt very silly indeed as I felt some not-quite tears fill up my eyes. It felt good, though. Really good.

I came home and celebrated life with a friend (whose birthday is Thanksgiving Day), and played D&D until the kids called it off for the night. It was nice. In the growing quiet, I found myself sitting alone in the living room, half-heartedly playing Spider Solitaire, quietly crying.

I miss my friend. I miss seeing him every week, and I miss talking to him. And partly, I miss having another person I could trust completely. Life can be hard when you carry too much alone. Thankfully, I have a wonderful wife. I don’t carry anything alone, not really, not anymore. But it was nice to be there for George, and for him to be there for me. His friendship made life feel a little bit bigger, somehow.

Now, it’s smaller, but that’s okay. I met a beautiful shade tree today, and I remembered that life goes on.

Mental Illness is Not a Halloween Costume

Damn. Don’t you think she’d have made a killer Cruela Dent? Or a nasty Bellatrix Lestrange?

This isn’t cute. It’s not funny, creative or original. It’s a cruel jab at a part of the population dealing with serious issues. Seriously, someone give this woman a prize for awesome make-up, and encourage her to find an appropriate costume.

Oh, and here's how she dressed her kids. 'Cause why not?

Oh, and here’s how she dressed her kids. ‘Cause why not?

Do anything else. Those kids would have been great zombies or something, you know, actually scary.

I don’t want to go off for hours on this, but I could. It’s just too damned exhausting, and I have work to do. Please teach your children about the difference between the criminal and the insane. There really is a very small crossover there.

Sometimes You Have to Tell Your Therapist No!


I love therapy. I love it to bits. My therapist is kind and funny, and brings me out of my shell. Sometimes, though, she puts me on the defensive. I’m going to talk to her about it today, but I wanted to share with you guys while it’s on my mind.

Sometimes, at the end of the session, she tells me how I feel, or how I will feel later. Things like, “This was a hard session, so you’ll be depressed tonight, and that’s okay.” If her wording was just a little different, it would be great! I want her to go from telling me how I feel to telling me how I might feel.

This small change can make all the difference. Preparing me for negative emotions is a great tool, and one I value regularly. But predicting my emotions puts me on the defensive. If she says I will be depressed, my brain instantly says, “la-la-la-la-can’t-hear-you. You-don’t-know-me-ho!” All the hard work we put into the session has now been blown because my brain had to re-embrace my defensiveness and anxiety. #NotCool

So today, I talk to her about it. Finding a good therapist is a pain in the ass. I like her, and I want it to work. #FingersCrossed

Professor Rory—German Studies

German Demystified is a textbook resource our family uses.

German Demystified is a textbook resource our family uses.

Seriously, doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? Our family decided to study German together, and I get to be in charge, well, not really. Hooray for German, though! It counts for homeschool, but it’s also for our eventual time in Europe. Jenny and I will spend at least a year travelling in Europe after the kids are in college. We are both hoping that at least half of that will be in Germany and surrounding countries.

Add that to the fact that the Girl was getting sick of doing Spanish alone on Rosetta Stone, and voila. We’re going to apply some synergy to our routine. We’ll knock out three years of foreign language with both kids, while learning German as a family. This has a lot of benefits.

  • Gradual immersion
  • Synchronized vocabularies
  • Games and activities
  • Less frustration
  • A familial sense of togetherness

Basically, none of us have to feel alone in the task at hand. Working on it together means we are doing something as a family. Nobody is left learning on their own, and nobody is singled out. We just do it. Jenny and I designed they syllabus together, but I get to read out loud because I’m not an introvert, and don’t mind when people watch me. I also get to hit the play button because my computer has the good speakers. This makes me feel very important, but I also realize it’s just a button.

For today, I will tyrannize the internet as a self-made expert on the German language, so long as nobody calls me on credentials, experience, or, you know, knowledge. Oh, wait. This is the internet. Who gives a rat’s tail about credentials and experience? It’s Jenny’s job to be a teacher. I’m an expert because I have a keyboard, don’t you know? Whee!


In case you’re interested in how we are studying German, here’s a breakdown:

  • Daily: Duolingo
  • Monday: 1 Pimsleur German Lesson
  • Tuesday: 1-5 sections of German Demystified
  • Wednesday: Games, Music, Activities, Culture, and Immersion
  • Thursday: Repeat Monday’s Pimsleur German Lesson

I Came Out 10 Years Ago Today—Happy ‘Coming Out Day’ 2015!

See? I was 18 (and in the closet) once!

See? I was 18 (and in the closet) once!

Ten years ago, a young Southern kid with low self-esteem did something that changed his life forever. He came out to his friends and family as gay, thanks to the amazing encouragement he found online, and the wonderful advent of Coming Out Day 2005. But everything has changed since then. Everything.

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Fixing Pictures on the Wall is Not OCD


David Malki! at Wondermark is a genius, who you should check out!

One of my pet peeves when I am in my house (or one I am intimate with), is when someone comments on me fixing a picture frame, or tidying something that’s not directly in the way. It just feels good to do it, that’s all. It’s not a matter of dread, or obsession. It’s just a pleasing way to make things more pleasing.

The comic above says it all. The wonderful artist of the comic is David Malki, and you should check out his stuff on Wondermark. It’s amazing.

Because There’s Nothing More Rational Than Brownies

From my kitchen.

From my kitchen. Yes, that’s a chart of the female muscular system. It makes me think of tasty food, what can I say?

We have 2 potlucks to attend this weekend, and we need food to take. Jenny has also had the amazing idea of making three batches of brownies with our three kinds of cocoa powder. The solution? Three batches of brownies for a compare/contrast! Hellllllooooo lunch!

Now, I know I’ve talked about not eating too much sugar right now. I get it. I don’t want diabetus. Because nope. However, getting to have 3 different kinds of brownies almost feels like I’m getting six brownies (because different means more specialer, right?). So, there’s nothing more rational that saying “scratch lunch, eat brownies.”

So that’s what I’m doing. Updates on how they taste will have to wait. For now, be jealous of my flavor adventure. Or go make some brownies and send me a few. Fill your boots.

We’re Sorry, We’re Cancelling Your Insurance


Srsly guys. A couple of weeks ago, I got a letter saying that my health insurance provider wasn’t going to cover me any more. I just about had a heart attack. I called all my providers, and they were all like, “Don’t worry about it. It’s happening to everyone.”

After I stopped shaking my head in confusion (which took me so long I thought I’d been turned into a bobble-head doll), I decided to call my insurance provider. They were like, “No probs, bro. You’re good.” And here I am, worried about getting my insurance cancelled by an insurance company unable to remember that they’re cancelling my plan.

Thursday, I had my first appointment without my old insurance card. I told them what was going on, and the lovely secretary (who is hilarious) told me that my provider had changed, but that everything was the same. Basically, my plan had been fostered out to another company. Why the hell couldn’t anyone just tell me that? Today, I got the new card, with a letter explaining everything.

Why the hell couldn’t my insurance company tell me this? Seems like a big deal. Some several hundred thousand plans changed, and the customer service line had no idea what was happening. I’m frustrated with the American health care system, which makes me, I dunno, American, I guess.

What Everyone Should Know About the ICD-10-CM

Image belongs to:

Image belongs to:

The ICD-10-CM is a coding system that healthcare providers use to identify a range of illnesses. There has been a lot of confusion and debate about the implementation of the use of this manual world-wide. I keep being told by under-informed “helpful” people that the way I get healthcare is changing, and that offices will be prevented from providing care because of this system. It’s coming up a lot because it was officially implemented on Oct. 1, 2015. Here is everything you need to know, in my opinion.

  1. The ICD-10-CM houses over 14,400 codes for doctors and clinicians to use to identify illnesses.
  2. These codes tell your insurance provider, the CDC, and the WHO what you’re being treated for.
  3. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) don’t sell your information. They use it to track disease and facilitate treatment.
  4. Using an international coding system allows patients to receive appropriate treatments all over the world, not relying on their doctor alone to find treatments for rare or difficult diseases.
  5. There have been major delays in the US implementation of this standard. The first date set was for Oct 1, 2011. Over the last 6+ years, this standard has been pushed back and delayed because the slow healthcare system hasn’t been able to update its hundreds of pieces of software fast enough.
  6. These coding standards have been in use around the world for a while now.
  7. These codes don’t change how we diagnose a disease.
  8. These codes shouldn’t change anything about your healthcare habits.
  9. These codes should only change the way offices and hospitals store information, and deliver data to other providers.
  10. These codes do not, and will not, change how diseases are treated, discussed, or researched.

In short, keep your bra on. Unless you are in Medical Records, your life isn’t turning upside down right now. If your doctor, therapist, or other health care professionals complain about a high volume of training, or changes to their routine because of the ICD-10-CM, it’s not about how they treat you. It’s about how they create and maintain records. That’s pretty much it.

All I Want to Do Is Eat Sugar

"Raw sugar closeup" by Editor at Large - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

“Raw sugar closeup” by Editor at Large – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5

Huzzah for the fall. Huzzah for cold. Boo for my growing waistline. Seriously. Rapid cycling? Always means more sugar. I’m not unstable, but I do experience more emotions in my day. Being depressed makes me want to self-soothe, in as lazy a way as possible. Being slightly manic makes me want calories to feed the energy rush. The result: eating lots and lots of sugar.

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