Thursday, April 11, 2024

Never Stood a Chance

 There can be no mistaking it: I'm closer to the Neurodivergent (ND) end than the Neurotypical (NT) end of the spectrum.

That said, I could "navigate a standard educational system...learn skills like speaking, reading, and writing at the prescribed times during childhood. and kept up with my classmates, and graduated alongside them."

Nightingale cited a study or source, which I don't have right now, that said a Rule of Thumb is a Neurodivergent person is on average 75% behind the emotional development of a Neurotypical person of the same age.  And that is the average.  some are better but that means some are even lower!

I did some calculations using 75% of my age at given points and here is what I got:

Two things to note:  when you are really young, the difference isn't as noticeable.  That's why a 3-year-old NT and a 4-year-old ND can play together quite fine.  I mean they will have issues for other reasons.  

While it likely never goes completely away, at some point you do, hopefully, grow enough that it again not as noticeable.  Now that I'm in my 50s I like to think I'm fit to handle sitting with the adults.  

I cannot believe I managed to survive in a world this cruel.  It certainly explains why I failed at times and had trouble interacting with people.  

Often when I wake up in the middle of the night, I think about some past interactions that went South.  I was hopelessly, hilariously outgunned, and often times the other persons knew it.  They might not have known terms like Neurodivergent, but they knew I was not quite right and sometimes took advantage of it.

For instance, there is no way Mel didn't know that I would do anything for her and she took advantage when we were roommates in 1999.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

My Eclipse Report

 My Facebook feed is filled with friends showing off their pictures of Monday's Total Eclipse, and
rightfully so.  This is a rare enough event unless you chase these things down.  The next time we in the USA will be able to see one without much effort is 2044.  Hopefully, I'll be around to see it.

We went to Litle Rock, Arkansas to see the Eclipse because it was one of the nearest places to see the Totality.  Nightingale also found a place that had a good, cheap package that included food and activities like Rock (wall) Climbing, hiking, canoeing, fishing, and archery.  There were some STEM activities too.  I found these kind of annoying because the person running them was doing it in a Folksy performative manner.  That might just be the remnants of my city slicker ways.

Nightingale booked this trip a long time ago but at the two-week out point, the weather forecast wasn't good.  It was going to either be cloudy or thunderstorms, which would have made the Eclipse hard to see.  I wasn't worried because we still had some fun activities planned.  

As luck would have it, as we got close to The Tuesday, the forecast improved.  It turned out to be a beautiful day.  It seems this was the case in a lot of places.  Bad weather was predicted but turned out favorable.  Maybe the moon blocking the Sun had some influence on that?  I dunno!

For this event, and presumably others, they divided us into groups with a schedule.  When we arrived Saturday evening, Nightingale was worried we'd get screwed out of fishing and canoeing because the rain that didn't come during the Eclipse was looking to arrive that afternoon.  However, it shifted to the evening but didn't actually arrive until we had gone to bed that night.

Dr Steven Smith

We had a guide who was pretty knowledgeable.  The only thing I will report is that both he and everyone else said "Y'All" more times during this trip than I have heard in my 3 years living in The South (yes, it pains me to write that).  

The also had a guy from NASA come and give a talk.  It was mind-blowing.  I learned a few things and enjoyed it very much.  We only stayed for an hour because our collective ADHD brains can only take so much.  

About the Arkansas 4-H Center: So the thing about this place is that apparently, it is a multifunction Center.  

It is a spectacular setting for your next conference or retreat. We provide a conference center available at reasonable rates for educational organizations, businesses, civic clubs, schools, church groups, government agencies and professional organizations. It is ideal for conferences, retreats, meetings, workshops, and training sessions

To be sure, it is quite affordable.  On Its website, it seems like it has great food options for normal events.  For this one, the food certainly wasn't 5-star.  Or even 4-star.  I'd say it was a step above school cafeteria and a step below hospital cafeteria food.  It was edible and the first night I had one of the best side salads I've ever seen in a cafeteria.  And most evenings they served chicken tenders which Boris would eat.  

About the Totality:  I've seen eclipses before, but I don't think I've ever experienced a Total Eclipse before.  It was truly amazing and worth the 3-hour drive.  A lot of people showed up with telescopes and other eclipse-viewing devices.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Passport Missconnection

We need to get passports for our children.  We are going to Niagra Falls in the fall for a school field trip and because of the way things are, Passports are needed for entry to Canada.  Because our kids are minors,  both parents have to apply in person (or sign an affidavit).  

The post office here in Olive Branch only does that on weekdays.  Because Nightingale doesn't have a lot of PTO accrued yet, we don't want to spend it on something like this.  The hours are 10 - 3 so we also would have to take the kids out of school.  

We scheduled an appointment for last Saturday with a PO in Memphis because they had Saturday hours.  Obviously, they were booked a month out.  

Apparently, since we crossed State Lines to do this, we needed two forms of ID.  Nightingale read the instructions 4 times.  It didn't say anything about 2 pieces of ID.  Our trip was wasted because I only had my driver's license.  Spoiler Alert: it does say two forms are needed if you cross state lines.

We are so used to OB and Memphis being "one place" that we sometimes forget we are crossing state lines and subject to different rules.  Alcohol for instance is still not sold in Mississippi on Sundays.

I've never seen this anywhere else

And the thing is, I had a feeling I should just bring my passport along.  But I didn't.  Because I don't trust the little voices in my head anymore.  

We did have the option of submitting the form but the lady said it might come back asking for more proof.  She didn't suggest we run home, get my passport, and come back and I didn't ask if that was an option.  our appointment was at 12 and they close at 1 pm, so it would have been tight anyway.  But next time I will ask.

Olive Branch and South Haven Post Offices do take walk-ins and appointments during the week.  Nightingale doesn't want to use up her PTO on this but we are off next week for a trip anyway.  We think we can hit the PO on the way home and get this done.

It's very hard to make friends in adulthood

A blogger friend posted something that intrigued me.  Her blog is private so I cannot simply link to it.  I'd like to screenshot or quote because I was taught to give credit where credit is due, but I also understand her desire for privacy.  

(I also have noticed that when I VagueBook and come back to read something years later, I don't remember who I was speaking about).  Therefore I will link on the off chance she ever reverts her blog back to public.  [Ironically, when I started blogging, she told me that most people don't care about your little corner of the internet.]

So Alex wrote that she tried to make friends by joining a book club but it was unsuccessful for various reasons.  In no particular order, it wasn't the drink wine and forget about the book after 5 minutes type of B-club; She missed a few meetings because of work; She doesn't like Fiction and the members already have their Friends Slots filled and only want to discuss the book.

As someone who has both organized and participated in Adult Playground Activities, I can relate.  Sometimes no matter how friendly, engaging, and/or open you are, people just aren't receptive.  They have their TopFive Friends and don't have any slots left for anyone new.

Other times it's some minor criteria like you just weren't attractive enough.  Or you didn't show up consistently.  people don't want to invest in someone who isn't gonna show up next meeting.  

Sometimes the problem is more nuanced.  If you don't have that friend to tell you that you have no sense of humor or a stick up your butt, you're not gonna figure it out on your own.  Of course some friends don't see that side of you.  Or some friends do but they are friends for other reasons and that side isn't a liability.  Finally, people take the path of least resistance and it's easier just reducing your time with someone then telling them, "Why yes, you do have a stick up your butt".

I've been told on more than one occasion that I'm so negative. My defensive self wants to argue that I'm just realistic and pragmatic, but that is self-defeating.  The truth is I'm negative but not always negative.  But once you get a reputation for being negative, people look at everything in a negative lens.

A friend posted something about a neighbor giving her a free meal.  I joked that now she has to listen to her speech about essential oils.  Is this negative?  everyone makes Essential oil jokes.  But said friend was working off years of other darker comments.  If we are being fair said friend is also a bag of crazy kittens herself.

It got me thinking about the P10s and other running groups I've been part of.  it didn't occur to Nirodivergent me at the time but there was definitely a hierarchy/caste system.   When certain people had parties, members would skip their parent's funeral to join.  But when I had one, I'd get some very ungracious responses.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Not Invited to Easter this year

On NYE 2017 I was added to a Group Text Chat.  Someone likely transposed a few numbers.  Contrary to popular belief, I don't always have my phone at my side so through the evening and next day I'd come back to some interesting messages.  I assumed after the holiday the chat would go dead.  

Boy was I wrong.  They kept it up for months.  based on messages and pictures, I can only conclude that it was a Filipino family with multiple Drama Llamas as pets.  

Anyway, on Easter, I decided to end a message and I guess my Eastern European sense of humor didn't win them over.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

More House Upgrades

 For a guy who either works from home or is not currently working, I don't update here as much as I should.  it's hard to believe I used to journal and then blog like a madman and now I've just lost the motivation.

I have at least 5 ToDo list items that will literally take 30 minutes or less but I'm not motivated to start on them.


We just dropped $8500 on landscaping and water mitigation.  When it rains here, the water would pool around the house and most likely under the house.  So I paid a guy to put in some catch basins.  While he was at it, we wanted to do something to upgrade the curb appeal of the house.  I also had him install some lights so the house would look prettier and during the holidays, the poor Amazon delivery drivers could see our porch after we went to sleep.


I got three quotes.  Each one was broken down into just water mitigation, and landscaping.  We decided to bite the bullet and do both.

What we Wanted

The first guy could do everything for $7k.  But he didn't send me a formal quote and I wasn't sure.

What we got

The second guy (the one we went with) was $8500.  I don't think he got me the best lighting system and might have forgotten what I told him about the front of the house not getting direct sunlight.  He gave us bushes that thrive in direct sunlight so we will see what happens.  

The third guy was a little flaky.  He could do it all for $5850.  But I just didn't get the sense that he understood just how much water mitigation was needed.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

COW: Prayer after soccer games

My Crisis of the Week is this:  after the game, my daughter's soccer coach gets the kids together in a post-game huddle.  He says a prayer.  Of course, anyone who doesn't want to participate can sit there quietly.  

If I say anything, my daughter might be targeted. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I came along and uttered a Muslim or Jewish prayer. God, I hate this state.  maybe I should find a church down here and start playing soccer during the homily. 

Playing in the rain...and mud

I acknowledge that I'm disproportionally upset about this.  I've known about it for a few weeks and Natasha is fine with just sitting there silently.  I think I'm really upset because of all the other things going on. 

I'm not allowed to vent in the traditional ways.  I don't even have anyone to vent to down here.  And Nightingale has censored me and chided me when I do rage out.  

We have snakes

 On Saturday Natasha and her new BFF were playing in the backyard and they saw a snake.  When we first moved in, Natasha told me that she saw a snake in our back forty.  I didn't, not believe her.  Still it has been 3 years and this is the first confirmed sighting of a serpent-type creature.

As much as I loathe killing any of God's living things, I couldn't take a chance and decided to put the snake out of my misery.

BIL Confederate Jethro confirmed that the snake was not venomous but also shared that he kills all snakes he encounters as well.  

Monday, March 18, 2024

Herb Roasted Chicken with Lemon Orzo

 This Herb Roasted Chicken with Lemon Orzo from @kaylasbeencooking is the perfect way to try our NEW House Blend Chicken All-Purpose Seasoning. 🍗

 I did skip/substitute a few things but it turned out fine.  Didn't use their Signature Chicken Blend, but some other poultry blend that we got from a place in Grosse Pointe, MI.

Didn't have Orzo so I used these Goya Alphabet macaroni that we bought a ton of because it's something Moose and Squirrel will eat.

And I used vegetable broth instead of Chicken because that's what we had. 

Our signature chicken blend features the perfect mix of sage, porcini, rosemary, bell pepper and more, taking your everyday chicken from good to great.



2 TB The House Blends Chicken All-Purpose Seasoning

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Salt and black pepper, to taste

2 TB olive oil

1 cup orzo pasta

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup or more chicken broth

Juice of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

Fresh parsley



Preheat oven to 400°F.

Pat the chicken thighs dry. Season both sides with salt & pepper and The House Blends Chicken All-Purpose Seasoning.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken, skin side down, until golden brown (about 4-5 minutes per side). Remove the chicken & set aside.

In the same skillet, add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

Stir in the orzo pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly toasted. Pour in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and return the seared chicken thighs to the skillet.

Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Garnish and serve!

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Voting Against my best interest

For some reason, this story from deep within my memory banks rose to the surface recently.  One semester at NMSU, I was in a Differential Equations class. This was a class that was mostly comprised of Physics Majors like my friend B-Gill, and Engineering Majors like myself.  There might have been a math major or two, although I don't think it was a requirement.

Anyway, the Prof decided to let the class decide how the final exam would focus: Physics problem heavy or Engineering problem heavy.  I think that meant that more questions would be Physics-oriented than straightforward Engineering problems.  

I was struggling with the Physics type problems but doing fine with the Engineering ones.  Most of the Physics students could go either way, including B-Gill.  When it came time to vote, I don't remember how close it was, if we were told at all, but B-Gill chose Physics.  

That our exam was Physics Heavy cost me an A.  Meanwhile, B-Gill, who had missed some exams because of sickness, had a chance to score an A for the semester just by getting an A on the last and most important test of the class.  

I don't know why this came up in my MindFeed upon waking up in the middle of the night as I often do.  I'm sure I displayed some disappointment at B-Gill for not casting a vote to help me out.  He was gonna get an A no matter what the questions were.  

The Polish Calculus

This beats any Chem Test
In the Spring Semester of my freshmen year at NMSU, I had a solid B going into my Chemistry Final Exam.  As long as I got a few questions right, I would get a grade of B for the semester.  To get an A, however, I would need to have scored 46 out of 50*.

It was a three-hour test and only the TA was there.  On the first pass, I answered all the easy, soft questions 101 exams are often peppered with.  On the next pass, I knocked out a few more tougher questions.  At about the 1-hour mark, I determined that I had comfortably answered 40 out of 50* questions correctly, give or take a question.  In other words, my B grade was secure.    

But I also realized that there was no way I was gonna get 8 more questions correct in the next two hours.  If I hadn't learned it by now, there wasn't gonna be a Finals Miracle.  I probably did my best to make educated guesses and then just picked random answers which might have given me 1-2 lucky guesses but still not getting my A.

I could have sat there for two more hours pretending to work on the problems and maybe, maybe I'd get one or two more, but I wasn't getting the eight I needed to get into the A zone. 

I turned in my paper and went back to my dorm room and loaded up my mom's car, allowing us to leave 2 hours earlier on the 7+ hour ride back to Chicago.  

People don't like to hear stories like this because they feel you are giving up or taking the easy way out.  What they fail to understand is that is how a Greedy Algorithm works.  You make the best decision/select the best choice based on the information/options you have at the moment.  You cannot hope something will change down the road or expect a last-minute miracle.  

* I'm going off very old memories about the exact point differences.  Suffice it to say, I was sufficiently out of range for an A that nothing less than a perfect test was gonna convert my B into an A.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Back to the Beginning

 On Friday I got a phone call from the agency that "represents" me on my contract gig at No-Name Software Company Adjacent Company.

They told me that No-Name Software Company Adjacent Company is not renewing my contract and that my last day would be Feb 26th.  

While I'm not terribly upset that it ended, I wish it had gone on longer so I could use the experience to make my resume and LinkedIn profile more stable.  Because I've worked a few short-term contract jobs, I get penalized because:

  • Recruiters want me to list every job to show I'm hireable;
  • But the tasks and responsibilities are so mundane that no one would be impressed enough to choose me over another No-Name Software SME candidate.  

It is no coincidence that my Manager (Mel) rescheduled and canceled my One-On-One with her.  She, and our boss, don't like conflict and are just trying to hold onto their Corporate America jobs until they can retire.  They are on borrowed time because the Corporation that acquired their smaller company is not making money off their product.

What does irritate me is that Mel tried to pin it on me.  They could have, and did, go with Budget cuts.  But she also tried to put it on me that I didn't Step Up and In enough.  I should have been more of a self-starter.  let's ignore the snafu of my start date, or starting just as everyone is going on vacation after a long year of consulting.  

Translation:  I didn't realize I was going to have to be responsible for your Onboarding and be expected to help you succeed.  

Could I have been more aggressive?  Sure, but what would that have really accomplished when a company -- and by extension a team -- is somewhat dysfunctional?  I did my best to walk the line between asserting myself and respecting other people's downtime.  

  I'm writing these entries as they happen and as I have time to jot things down but I may not publish until months from now (or ever). Note: This post was written when the events were still fresh.  I waited for a while to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job-hunting efforts.

Monday, February 12, 2024

2024 Bears Playoff Prediction: early, optimistic edition

Even the Experts don't get it right
Now that the Super Bowl is over, we can turn our thoughts to next season.  A lot depends on what the Bears do and I have a decision to make.

I believe the Bears should stick with Justin Fields.  My theory is that each play a coach calls has a certain percentage of success based on practice and live games.  I believe the coaches willfully have
been calling up plays with lower percentages when there was a danger of winning a game in 2022 and 2023.  

If the Bears pick a QB in the first round then they are resetting and it probably isn't worth buying the expensive YouTubeTV package to watch games down here.  It's especially wasteful because most games are at noon on Sundays and that is the middle of the day, so watching them is problematic.

Two games each NFC North opponent (3 -3 )

I'm optimistic here and say they split.  Yeah, Green Bay will probably continue to own and sweep the Bears, but I want to be positive.  The Bears improved in the second half last year, not as much as the 2022 Lions, but there was improvement.  Also, they blew 3 games with double-digit leads.  If they can not do that this year, they have a better record.  Heck, maybe it's their turn to win a few games when they are behind by double-digit leads.

NFC West: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks / at Arizona Cardinals, at SF 49ers (2 -2 )

I believe the Cardinals and Seahawks are trending up and the Rams and 49ers are going in the other direction.  As always, it depends on when they play each other.  In 2022, the Bears beat the 49ers early in the season, yet San Francisco went on to the NFC championship.  

The Cardinals looked better at the end of last year so don't expect another Miracle in the Desert.  

AFC South: vs. Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars / at Houston Texans, at Indianapolis Colts (1 - 3)

I am being really optimistic here because it could easily be 0-4.  All of these teams are better than their records indicate, and Texan exceeded expectations by actually winning a playoff game with a rookie quarterback.  The Bears will be lucky to steal a win from one of these teams.

NFC South: vs Carolina Panthers,  AFC East: vs New England Patriots, NFC East: at Washington Commanders

(3 -0)

On paper, all three of these should be winnable games.  Two of the Three have new coaches so they can "afford" to lose games during their rebuilding season.  I would wager that the Panthers are done losing, especially if they don't get the number one draft pick for their effort.  The Commanders are now in rebuild mode and we'll see what they do with the draft.  The Patriots are gonna Patriot.  

Monday, January 29, 2024

Orange Shrimp with Fettuccine

Sometime in the 90s, someone gave me a cookbook with different pasta dishes.  This is one of the first grown-up dishes I used to make and it was my go-to for trying to impress a lady.  It took many iterations before I ever made it with all the correct ingredients.  

For one thing, Shrimp was usually expensive, though I was probably being cheap versus budget-conscious.  I’d wait for that big shrimp sale Jewel used to do twice a year.  

Also, a bottle of sesame oil seemed pricy for the little amount.  Again, more about my cheapness than actual reality.  But once I used it, I would never not make this dish without it.  


Finding snow peas was tough too  Jewel didn't have fresh ones so I had to find them in the frozen section.  I learned it was easier to use a can of mandarin oranges than peeling and sectioning 2 actual oranges.   

Anyway, I made it again for Friday dinner and even Natasha likes it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

How snow fall can snowball in a Mid-South city

Because of holidays and snow days, my kids have been out of school more days than they have been in school so far this year.

It's understandable why they didn't have school yesterday as the snow was finally melting.  Not having it today is a questionable decision.  I get that they had to make it based on how conditions looked at 8 pm last night.  They couldn't count on the snow and ice being melted by the time school buses needed to pick up kids (it mostly was).

But honestly, it is damn near impossible to work while my kids are home.  First, they seem to know when I'm on a call and they come into the kitchen area and make lots of noise.

Second, Boris is an eating machine and I have to keep him from raiding the fridge and eating all the food at once.  

It's a balmy 50 degrees right now which is good for melting the last remnants of the snowfall.  But it also means it's wet and muddy so playing outside is not an option.

The snow also affected garbage pickup.  It was already going to be a day late because of MLK Day.  For some reason here, a Monday holiday causes everything to shift one day whereas in Chicago it would be caught up by Thursday.  But the snow made it impossible for the trucks to do pickup so we skipped a week.  Apparently, there were problems yesterday and they are gonna try to catch up today.  

We have two garbage bins which average about 1.5 fullness unless we have family over.  But our recycle bin is almost full and I still have some boxes and our usual daily production to figure out.  I could run some over to my FIL since he only recycles cardboard boxes.

We now have Ice

 When we moved in here in August 2021, after purchasing the home from Nightingale's parents, we knew that the refrigerator ice maker was wonky.  It would occasionally overfreeze and you had to use a hair dryer to melt it.  MIL had actually bought a replacement part but never got around to installing it herself because of limited bandwidth.

We put up with it though it became progressively worse and we were defrosting it once a month.  I think I finally burned something out with the hairdryer because it just stopped working just before Christmas.  

I found a YouTube video that showed me exactly how to replace it and since the ice maker was already defrosted, I didn't have to try to work the clumsy interface.  

Anyway, we have ice now and I don't have to do the hair dryer thing, at least for the time being.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

January is the longest month

 For those keeping track at home, our kids were on break from school since Dec X.  They went back on January 4th for two days.  Then we kept them home that Monday because of COVID.  We sent them back but this week they were off on Monday for MLK Day.  But since Mississippi experienced more snowfall (8 inches) and colder weather (zero degrees) than usual, school was closed on Tuesday and Today.  It will likely be closed all week because the temperatures will get not high enough to melt something like it usually does down here next week.

Now, to be sure, it makes perfect sense that MS doesn't invest heavily in snow removal equipment. If you average 1 inch of snow yearly that typically melts a day later, why spend the money?   Reports vary but we don't have snowplows or salt trucks, or if we do, there is only one per county, if at all.

That doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.  The amount of snow Mississippi received would not raise an eyebrow back in Chicago.  We would have dug ourselves out and the roads would have been plowed in time for Tuesday morning commuters.  

Luckily, my kids have discovered that a schoolmate lives kitty-corner to our lot line.  So they have had someone to play with outside in this cold.  They wore themselves out yesterday and slept through the night without any issues.  Well, Boris went to bed early because of a headache which seems to have disappeared today.  I'm making sure he drinks more water today to rule out simple dehydration.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Refresh Your Living Space with These Effortless and Impactful Tips

 by Colleen Stewart

Feeling like your home could use a little revamping? You're in luck because giving your living space a fresh new look doesn't have to mean a complete overhaul. In this article from Mysteries of Life, we delve into practical and creative ways to rejuvenate your home environment. Discover how simple changes, from reviving old furniture to making strategic decor updates, can significantly enhance the atmosphere of your home, making it a space you'll absolutely adore.

Refreshing Old Furniture

You have the power to breathe new life into your existing furniture. Imagine that old chair or table you love, reborn with a vibrant coat of paint or reupholstered with a fabric that pops. This approach isn't just friendly to your wallet; it's a nod to sustainable living. By choosing to refurbish, you're embracing a form of creativity that adds a personal touch to your space while respecting the environment.

Streamlining Home Maintenance

It's easy to let those little maintenance tasks slip by. But remember, a well-maintained home feels refreshed and cared for. Consider hiring professionals to tackle those overdue repairs. In today's digital age, scheduling these tasks is easier than ever. A home maintenance app can help you find the right help, track the status of your repairs, and learn more about keeping your home in top shape. When everything works as it should, your home naturally feels more welcoming and put-together.

Diversifying Decor with Textures

Say goodbye to bland and hello to a world of tactile and visual intrigue! Introducing a variety of textures and fabrics into your home decor can dramatically alter the feel of a room. Imagine the warmth of a woolen throw against a leather sofa, or the sleek touch of metal accents alongside rustic wood. This mix not only adds depth to your decor but also creates an inviting space that appeals to the senses.

Upgrading Window Treatments

Underestimating the power of window treatments is a common oversight. Simply swapping out old curtains or blinds for new ones can transform the light and mood of any room. It's a straightforward change that yields significant aesthetic benefits. Whether you opt for light or airy fabrics to brighten up a space or choose rich, darker tones for a cozy feel, updating your window treatments is a quick and effective way to revitalize your living space.

Strategic Mirror Placement

Incorporating mirrors into your home decor is a clever way to create a sense of space and openness. By placing mirrors strategically, they reflect light and views, making any room feel larger and more vibrant. This optical illusion not only enhances the aesthetics of your space but also brings in a dynamic element that changes with the light of the day.

Introducing a New Rug

Never underestimate the power of a beautifully chosen rug. A rug can anchor a room, define a space, and add layers of warmth, texture, and color. The right rug transforms the feel underfoot and the overall vibe of the room. It's an effortless way to inject new life into your living area, bedroom, or even a hallway, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

Updating Cabinet Hardware

You'll be amazed at how new knobs and pulls can transform your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. Simply swapping out outdated hardware for modern, stylish options instantly elevates the space. This minor adjustment brings a sophisticated and contemporary feel to your cabinets. It's a small change, but it significantly alters the aesthetic and vibe of your room.


Reviving and refreshing your home doesn't necessitate a grand renovation. By embracing these simple yet effective tips, you can transform your living environment into a space that's not only more aesthetically pleasing but also more comfortable and inviting. From the joy of refurbishing beloved furniture pieces to the clever use of mirrors and textures, these strategies ensure your home gets the rejuvenating touch it deserves.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Bears 2024 Opponents

 Here are the Bears' regular season opponents for the 2024 season. (There is no meaning to the order.)

Two games each NFC North opponent: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings

NFC West: vs. Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks / at Arizona Cardinals, at SF 49ers

AFC South: vs. Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars / at Houston Texans, at Indianapolis Colts

NFC South: vs Carolina Panthers

AFC East: vs New England Patriots

NFC East: at Washington Commanders

The last three opponents depended on how the Bears finished on Sunday. Since they finished last in the NFC North, the Bears will play the last-place teams in the NFC South, AFC East and NFC East. That means the Bears will play the Panthers, Patriots and Commanders.


2023 Bears: It's Over, thank God

 The Chicago Bears have now finished their 2013 season with a record of 7 - 10.  So this is a final check-in with my with my 2023 predictions.

Thus my record is 11-6.  Much better than the Bears 7 -10.  I guess it says something that they were technically in the playoff hunt until Week 17 but it was over when they blew the double-digit lead against the Browns in Week 16.

* games I didn't make an exact prediction but did lean a certain way. 

They beat 5 bad teams (Commanders, Raiders, Panthers, Cardinals and Falcons) and 2 teams that had bad days (Vikings and Lions) and should have beat those two twice.  They blew 3 games with double digit leads and lost two more that were close.

While I enjoy football and love my Bears, as I get older I cannot afford to wait for next season.  Each week that goes by is a week I'm closer to eventually checking out of this mortal coil.  Are they gonna move on from Justin Fields and reset the rebuild clock?  Probably.

Remember, Justin Fields -- who has done nothing but display more grace and class than anyone inside Halas Hall -- was a last-ditch effort for Coach Nagy and GM Pace to save their jobs.  I think he is among the better quarterbacks we have seldom seen at Halas Hall.  Is he elite?  I don't know.  I'd say he's better than Kyle Orton and we won a lot of games with neckbeard.

But every coach wants their QB.  Every GM wants their coach.  We are flirting with bringing Jim Harbaugh in as head coach and if that happens, he is gonna want to rebuild with his people.

The Bears have the #1 draft pick again (along with #9) so they can trade Fields to a QB hungry team, trade the First Pick for a haul and still nabe a quality QB and possibly even Marvin Harrison Jr.  That kind of opportunity only comes along once in a blue moon.  

I just don't know how long I'll be around to see it.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Welcome 2024

 Happy New Year all.

Whereas 2023 started off on a bad foot and only improved recently, 2024 is looking cautiously optimistic.  I have a job that seems like it has the potential to open doors that have been shut and I can pivot to a new skillset.

It is only a matter of time before I run into No-Name Software industry colleagues who don't think highly of me or have had bad experiences.

At the start of last year, I strived to do 10 posts per month.  Obviously, that fell out of fashion because when you don't have anything to write about, there's not much to post.  

Two life hacks that I've recently come up with.

I found a place that will wash, dry, and fold our laundry for $1.75 per pound.  And for a little bit more per pound, they will even pick up and deliver.

Earlier in the year, the kids switched from wanting baths to taking showers.  This is a game changer because bathing the kids was not something I liked doing or was good at.  NG had the job but she would do it only at the end of the night before bedtime.