greatbear: (seasons greetings)
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

Yeah, I still exist, but in a very low-key, nearly zero social media version. I will have to catch up on LJ happenings soon, but I felt it necessary to say hi.

Peace and love...
greatbear: (aerial me)
It has been just over 2 months since my last entry here. The reasons are what you might expect, I've been busy, we had our vacation, there have been disasters both little and large... in short, life more or less as usual. Jeff was beset by a pretty nasty hernia, and had surgery for it a few weeks ago. Since neither he or I have been able to stoop, most of the yard work at Mayhem Acres has been entirely neglected. Weeds taller than me in the flower beds, I can't even see out of the sunroom windows, vegetable garden nearly completely neglected, the house looks abandoned and I have ended up in tears a few times because of it. No help offered, of course, except for one person, and that had to be postponed due to illness. I'm getting to the point where I don't care anymore. I'm not inviting anyone over to socialize in this mess. And the socializing I'm doing has become minimal. This goes for the virtual world as well, hence my absence here.

Since a fair amount of people I used to interact with here have moved onto Facebook, it's there where I will concentrate what little time I now spend on social media these days. There's little to no interaction here anymore, the effort is greater in creating a post, and I am no longer willing to write deeply personal stuff for general consumption anymore. Minor fluff and occasional messages I am comfortable with; I guess I finally reached social media overload for whatever reason(s). I have no idea if this will ever change, I had high hopes for blogging, and the practice as a whole has been basically dumbed down. What was once small-scale publishing from creative people of engaging stories, often with wonderful layouts and photography has been squashed into the sameness of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr and other similar outlets. Gone is content-rich, replaced by mobile-compatible. The latter is destroying the internet as a whole in my opinion. LJ is one of the remaining holdouts, but almost nobody want to use this platform solely of smartphones, so it too gets neglected. I still try to catch up on reading here every day if possible, though in recent weeks, it has been more like every couple of days. I remember the days when I would be away for a weekend and have to catch up on LJ by reading a hundred entries or more. Now I can be gone for a few days and a single page of friends carries everything, including quite a few entries read those few days ago.

Anyway, unless something big and newsworthy, or a want/need to unload in a deeper, more personal style, I don't really know what to do here anymore. Crossposting is an option, but I'm not keen on Facebook having its tentacles in this space. I still like having a mostly quiet, private space here, but I don't know who sees my entries anymore. I know of a few that I'm pretty certain still comment and interact with me here, though most are on that other site as well. I'm open for suggestions.
greatbear: (old graybeard)
I've been laying low these past several weeks as far as social media and socializing. Part of the reason is I've been busy, or at least trying to be, with everything from work on the house, cars, tractors, yard, and whatever my body allows me, as I play catch-up. The other, more sinister reason is I have basically been detoxing. It's nearly a year since I was beset with my last round of serious back injuries, with this bout being far worse than any of the previous, inasmuch as pain levels, discomfort, disability and recovery time qualify. I'm still nowhere near 100%, and, unfortunately, I shall never be, not even close. However, I am able to more or less fake a normal lifestyle from an outsider's perspective, getting out and about, taking trips, even a nice vacation. As it usually is with trying to maintain a facade, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. None of this has been accomplished without some residual levels of pain, and while I can suck it up and make do, there comes a time, usually later in the day, or, mostly, evenings when I am getting ready to hit the sack where getting comfortable was impossible without chemical assistance. Every trip to the various doctors, surgeons and physicians that had their hands and tools on or inside me gave me scrips for heavy duty painkillers and other goodies, often at my behest. This was needed because, without the strong stuff, my ability to get anything resembling quality sleep was near zero, and my disposition wasn't doing anyone any favors either. Nothing over-the-counter would give relief. So, for the past three seasons, give or take, and out of sheer necessity, I was locked into using a set of narcotic substances I really didn't like taking.

'Tis true that I finally had relief and comfort, and sometimes it was a warm, floaty, stoner sort that was far from unpleasant. In my mind, though, I would constantly grouse against a backdrop of pain ranging from mildly irritating to beyond excruciating. The side effects were few, but sometimes ugly. My mental state, if it were to take a roller coaster form, would injure and maim a lot of the riders. I lived in my own world of quiet despair, mostly unbeknownst to those around me, even Jeff. I tried my best to keep the worst of it outside out family life, but I had my moments where it was best I remained alone. A few times I sent Jeff alone, or with one of the pooches on the trips up north to visit family that we would normally go together. My mental state would often make me angry, as I would totally lose my train of thought in mid sentence, or my mind would completely blank out and fail to come up with the right word, or, worst yet, I would become a stuttering, incoherent mess when I had to think and talk at the same time. I normally pride myself for being able to multitask and think fast and well on my feet. Unfortunately, during these foggy mindtimes were were beginning to lay some of our most important plans ever, the marriage, the preparations before, vacations, renovations, and lots of other intensive thinking was needed, and, especially in the beginning of the year, I was in no condition to handle it all at my normal pace. I knew the painkillers and other stuff were the main cause, and peripherally my inability to get proper sleep made for the one-two punch. I knew, for our sake, I needed to get myself off these meds and back to my normal self. Cold turkey was not possible as you might expect. I weighed my pain and discomfort levels as the summer approached and adjusted dosages in order to get so much of the hard work done yet be able to get good rest and still not turn into a blithering, blathering idiot anytime I processing more than two thoughts at a time. I/we made it through the wedding plans and prep without too much issue, though Jeff was at times frustrated at my slowness and lacking input on certain things. As impossible as it seemed at the time, so much of the big event went off flawlessly and with many added surprises as I had written of earlier. We had our vacation as well, and, luckily, time had come where I figured I could deal with my daily levels of pain and I can now ramp my intake of the hard stuff to zero. If only things were so easily done...

After taking less and smaller doses over a period of a few weeks, I finally stopped. Life was actually quite good, so to speak. I did have my days where I would be hurting from exertion, and, with maybe an Advil or two, I could mostly live with it. The problem came when it was time to head to bed. As I would begin to nod off, that's when the racket would begin. Rather than it being loud neighbors or dogs barking, this was all inside my head, or body, as it were. I would get restless and uncomfortable, hot and cold and totally unable to drop to actual sleep levels. Earlier I found a fractional dose of the hard stuff would put things right and I was off to the land of Nod like nobody's business. But even this was more than I wanted to deal with and the cycle needed to be broken for good. So, for the past three or four weeks, I endured the on-again, off-again battle of the bed, trying my damnedest to run the gauntlet of nerves bent on anarchy on my way to sleep. Once this would happen, I was fine as frog hair. The next day was refreshingly normal, albeit at times with soreness and discomfort for the ordeal the night before.

I could get through this!

I did have a side effect, one that seemed to make me irritable around people. Even if thing were going well, I had this slow burn of aggravations running underneath it all, but that was simply my greater personality being amplified, and I knew the best thing to do was lose myself in my thoughts and tasks as I have always, and hope that I could break out of it all without much difficulty. I'm pretty proud to say that this challenge has been accepted and my goal has been achieved. I can make it through the entire day taking nothing but one unrelated prescription pill a day and nothing else. If I am hurting, I can take a break, or if that doesn't work, I pop a Naprosen and ride it out. Sleep is an occasional issue, with the nerve problems caused by my first surgery and the electrical storm below the knees a permanent feature now. The hair on my lower legs is still missing from the kicking and rubbing them together constantly when detoxing. I use a TENS unit when it's bad, otherwise, as they say down under, Bob's your uncle.

So, there's been a lot going on, and I had not been in a mood to write about it. As i kick the blast doors open which protected me from the world at large (and, more importantly, vice-versa), along with support from others, I hope to be back to my old, gregarious self. Concerts and shows will be attended, ball games enjoyed, parties gone to and maybe hosted, seeing people and making new friends, it's all been happening and will happen soon. I finally ordered up the new entrance door to La Casa, a new car for Jeff has been bought, lots of normal activities take place like, well, normal. And the happiness and security that all comes with is the best medicine I could ever have.
greatbear: (blackness)
In case you might have been wondering, my social media silence for the past several weeks is due mostly to exasperation and other pissedoffedness as I deal with pain, immobility and other health issues. I've been trying my best to be as useful as possible as the both of us stare down the impending wedding date and the increasing rush to get things done before the big day. There have been setbacks but most have been figured out, but there's still more to come. Rather than sit here and bore everyone with rants and other negativity, I just stay off the internet. Currently I've been seeing several doctors and having tests and procedures with little relief. So, that's about where I stand health wise. Most of the wedding invitations have gone out to those who have provided their addresses, and a trickling have been coming back, around 70/30 attending. Kinda miffed at the lack of communication that inevitably happens, but I have my way around that too. If I have to be strapped to a handtruck and rolled down the aisle on the big day, that's what I'll do. I'll be happy just to be able to stand and not be in pain.

So, there ya have it, the reason for radio silence.
greatbear: (old graybeard)
Earlier in the week I pulled the plug on my LJ. I had mostly run out of uses for this, and, to be honest, no longer felt the need to have an outlet for what I would call "personal" matters and discussion with the internet in general. It has been about 20 years (!) since I had ventured out onto the internet in a personal capacity, rather than a technical/professional way for work reasons. It took a lot of courage on my part to make that change, and it wasn't long before I was pouring my heart into online interactions, making literally hundreds of friends along the way, even enjoying a bit of both figurative and literal rock star status along the way. I soon learned that much of this was fleeting, with the vast majority of people eventually moving on, leaving what I thought was some incredible friendships, relationships and great causes to founder and die. Perhaps it was the value I had placed in these relationships, or my investment in them, emotionally, mentally and physically, that left me not only disappointed but also feeling left behind once they had evaporated. It took a while, because for the 32 years prior I had been very much a loner until that time, but I learned to reconsider the experience as more of a crucible, or distillery that helped to separate out the fleeting and leaving the best behind. Maybe more like how maple syrup is made I suppose, where it takes a great deal of sap to be carefully boiled until the sweet syrup remains. What came out of these hundreds of fun (for the most part) interactions and countless good (with a bit of bad) memories is a sparkling core of truly great friends, that to this day still amaze me with some of their actions. I sought to leave my online world as I had formed to to simply concentrate on the product from it. After a couple days (I bet you didn't even notice) I switched this back on, not so much as a continuing place for me to pile my thoughts, but for the few remaining people I know and love who remain here. Without my LJ being active, I had no way to interact with y'all. My analogy is this is like a small town of bygone days where people would run into one another while out and about, or take the time to walk from house to house to say hello and talk over the fence. I guess I can't board up my place yet still remain neighborly, given how this system is set up.

This is not the Livejournal I set up shop in over ten years ago. Like so many other online "spaces" in the past, what began for me as a thriving community has become rather barren. Those who remain, however, and still making great use of the medium, and maintaining fantastic connections. What skeeves me these days is the reduction in quality of the service, the politics of the Russian owners and general disregard for the stateside users that really made the community what it is. The latest technical hell here is the never completing page loads. Sure, the pages seem to render properly and mostly stuff works, but some connections never complete, with the page loading indicator spinning away. This is often a sign of bad server configurations, and sometimes of a more dangerous nature, with open connections lying in wait for malware or other bad mojo. This has been going on for a few weeks now on my end, regardless of what computer or connection I access the site with. Aargh. Oh well, the neighborhood falls apart even more, the landowners letting the place fall apart around the remaining denizens.

I will keep my door open for a little while longer, I guess, at least until the wedding and a bit after. Then, well, we'll see. These days I am busy with as much as my day can hold, trying to get the house and yard fixed up, putting the final touches on a huge network upgrade to accommodate new home security and automation now and be usable into the foreseeable future. La Casa Mayhem is my only true home, I built it with my hands as well as a lot of outside help, and I plan on living the rest of my years here. As my health has taken several downturns in recent years, I now have a sense of urgency to get lots of things done while I am still able to do them in order to be able to have some years later to relax and simply enjoy the spoils of all that labor and thought. I am lucky to be able to (sometimes barely) be able to get around, and I am measuring my time wisely. With the wedding coming up in less three months (!) now, I gotta kick it into high gear. I am overlapping projects to my best advantage. I will be redoing the entryway to the house, with a new front door, paint, floor, lighting, landscaping, and more. I am sitting here configuring and testing security cameras I will be installing while I crawl around doing these other upgrades. Several hundred more feet of network cabling has to be installed too, and I am pleased with how this all is shaping up. In the spirit of the days past, here's a photo of the goings-on as I test one of the cameras down in the Underground Concrete Bunker before I finally get it put where it belongs on the outside.



I just hope my creaky old body holds up as I do all this work, if not, I am truly screwed. Our little wedding is shaping up to be a big deal. Certainly it's the most important day of my life in decades. I can only hope all turns out as we are working and planning it out to be.

Seeyas 'round.
greatbear: (Default)


So, my self-imposed one month vacation from LJ had a couple days appended to it. Didja miss me? I didn't think so either. ;)

I had several reasons for the hiatus, ranging from escaping drama to the capricious attitude the Russians have adopted regarding the current LJ users and communities. Add in having my everyday PC being wiped out by a virus and dealing with a return of severe back issues and the sinus infection that won't leave, and you have me not wanting to do anything online much less LJ. Even everyday life has been more or less stuck in neutral. I found more comfort and escape doing things around the house and garage, listening to music and watching cool stuff on PBS. Having some decent weather for this time of year helped a lot as well. I still would peruse my friends list and make comments occasionally, though, so I wasn't completely LJ-free. I'm sure I missed a lot. My new PC is still sitting on the floor unused. I am making do with my crappy lappy. I'm not much in a mood to futz with computers.

Something that I can't seem to escape no matter how hard I try also happened today. It was my birthday. The big one. The half century. 5-0, and not the one in Hawaii with either Jack Lord or pocket-sized Scott Caan. The doorbell rang several times today. A delivery of balloons. Then a delivery of an Edible Arrangement. Then flowers. Then the sender of all these goodies comes home early from work bearing lunch from McDonald's. We ate our little lunch, relaxed, I took a couple nice calls wishing me a happy day, then we went off to Romano's Macaroni Grille for dinner in the evening. All in all it was an awesome day, even with the back pain and sneezing. My Jeff is a thoughtful sweetheart, and he's the best birthday present ever.

I have to thank all those on LJ who posted happy birthday wishes. And a special thanks to my newest LJ friend [livejournal.com profile] designerotter, who drew a wonderful birthday card for me, featuring Kodi. It made my day. I think Kodi recognized himself!

Will I become a regular LJ user once again? I'm not sure. I had been surfing LJ at the moment my PC caught the virus. The various photography communities have been taken over by Russian users, and it seemed to be one of the photo hosting sites that might have done the nasty deed. The advertising and tracking scripts used here these days are increasing and I don't trust any of it, so I filter them out as well. There just isn't any inspiration for me to post here with all that crap going on, and I don't feel any sensitive information placed here is any safer that on Facebook. So, I might finally kick the crust off my Dreamwidth account and see if I will have any success at grabbing my entries here and importing them over. All my attempts in the past failed, and I don't see the operators of LJ cooperating in any way to make the process work smoothly. If I do anything, it will be a crosspost from DW to here.

One thing I don't ever want to lose in all of this is the friends I have made here. There've been a few clinkers, but so many of y'all rock my world. You are the gifts that keep giving all year long. :)

By the way, I didn't see my shadow when I scurried out from the Burrow of Mayhem. Y'all should have an early spring. You're welcome. =D
greatbear: (Default)
A lot going on, been busy around the house catching up on everyday tasks that got put off since vacation. Still dealing with PC issues, so I have yet to do anything with the pictures I took at PTown. Been jotting down notes that may or may not become actual posts, but havent been feeling a whole lotta 'LJ Love' these days. Typical for the mid summer days I guess. Or maybe it's post-vacation doldrums. Who knows.

I think it's best I toss the ol' LJ on the shelf for a while. If anyone wants or needs to get in touch with me, my contact info stuffs are in my profile.

Cheers

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greatbear: (Default)
Phil

December 2016

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