Shiva, destroyer of shrubs

Today is not the first warm day of spring, nor the first sunny one, nor even the first time I wandered through the yard to eyeball the progress of all the tiny plantlings huddled under mulch and last autumn’s withered leaves.

It is, however, the momentous day on which I commenced Spring Cleaning. Outside, that is. Cleaning is a yearlong continual process indoors, where seasons are marked by decorative changes and not vegetative ones.

Today’s Spring Cleaning, Outdoor edition, began with the ritual kicking mulch back into beds. Someday I will invent a squirrel transporter, and then mulch-kicking will be retired from the liturgy. Until then, kicking mulch back into the little holes the monsters leave will continue.

Next, today’s main event: shrub pruning. Snip, snap, saw, drag, pile. Utility lines to the house are now safe from the wanderings of waving branches, dead wood was disposed of, shapely shapes were shaped into being, and sproutlets popping up in Unwanted Places were ruthlessly removed.

Fun was had by all. Fun was had by me, anyway.

One dire discovery: the fence behind the shrubs is  trying to fall over. This is a Problem.  I Don’t Do Fences. Professional help will be enlisted soon.


Some random numbers

Fine, fine, I admit they aren’t truly random, but they’re not nearly as consistent or as large as I’d like to see.

Wed: 12, 118
Tues: 11, 288
Mon: 4423
Sun: 9, 686
Sat 12, 967
Fri: 7553
Thurs: 9069

avg: 9589. Blech. Not even 10k steps per day.  This Must Improve. The Queen of My World so decrees.  I’m should throw out Friday as an aberration because parental visit threw off everything in my life, but I won’t do it because there will always be an aberration. Might as well get used to that right away. Sunday the pedometer was on the charger for at least 500 steps, but for purposes of this log not counted = didn’t happen. I do so declare.

Based on a statistically irrelevant sample of two weeks, Monday appears to be an Exercise Problem Day. Perhaps it’s the daunting Hell Dog who bars the way out of the house during the daylight hours that keeps me from emerging into the outdoors for fresh air and calorie burning. Maybe it’s sheer unadulterated laziness. So hard to tell the difference sometimes.

Looking forward to seeing what strangeness and excuses week three brings.


Yeah, about that.

Parents. Visit.

Stress and happiness inextricably intertwined.  Joy in hugging, reconnecting, sharing. Views so alien that one must ponder the possibility of changeling status.

You think adults can prevent student bullying? Seriously?  The answer is ‘no.’ They never could, and never will be able to do so. They are not members of youth culture, by definition, and barring 24/7 monitoring, they cannot possibly spot all the social maneuvering within that culture.  Set aside for the moment that most adults watch the wrong children for signs of bully behavior. Set aside the sad reality that our adult culture models bullying as a strength and promotes its continuance. Set aside the way authorities encourage inflated self-esteem and train for risk-aversive submissiveness. Set aside all those things and one point still remains: no system can be successfully policed from the outside.

Children can be beaten while only yards away from alert, caring, sympathetic adults who would intervene if they knew. The whole point of bullying, the whole focus is subversion of power.

Yes, teachers see bullying and good teachers deliver life lessons on those occasions, but they might see perhaps 15% of what actually goes on, and then only the most overt forms. They cannot stop whispers, elbows, stares. They cannot prevent snickers, cold shoulders, sly smiles. They cannot and should not be expected to affect social interactions outside the classroom or the school. These are the damages that build up slowly, like scar tissue on the ego lacerated again and again.

The quiet one. The odd one. The smart one. They get bullied.
The sweet one. The funny one. The sports star. The queen bee. They get bullied too.
Some of them are the bullies. Many are both abusers and abused.
Everyone gets bullied at some point. Some get bullied at every turn.  A few get strong and bully back, a a lot bide their time and change cultures until they find one where they fit in without a fight for dominance. A few get bullied to death. A very few lash out.

We have a worse bullying problem now than at any time in the recent past for many reasons, but focusing on specifics misses the point; despite all that adults say or do, children will bully each other. Give children powerful social weapons with which to hurt each other, steep them in a culture that values the individual at the expense of the whole and glorifies an ideal of power free of obligation , and what do you get? Bullying. Suicide. Homicide.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Yeah.  That always works.

Teach courtesy. Teach respect for difference. Offer lifelines and adult support. Most importantly, recognize that all those things  have a minimal effect; the visceral human impulse to build up strength by attacking someone weaker cannot be erased by force of will. It can only be rendered less powerful by establishing a culture of intolerance for violence of word as well as deed, and yes, by maintaining vigilance, not by modeling violence and stamping down hard on every rare incident seen, but with a strategy that smothers perpetrators in disappointment. Bullying cannot be tolerated, but presentation counts: ‘more in sorrow than anger’ is the successful tactic.

That’s my 2.79 cents on the issue.

And in other news, only 9049 steps yesterday. No wonder I’m cranky.


Tis gloomy & the slithy toves…

Tis gloomy…

… and the slithy toves want to crawl under a warm blankie and go back to sleep. The sinuses agree although they mostly want me to sit under said blankie, the easier to drain themselves down the back of my throat.

Alas, that groceries will not buy themselves and vacuums will not run without human assistance. (no Roomba for me)

Time to torture the cat and then toddle off to the various stores of the local world.

Yesterday’s statistics of interest:
13,355 steps
3 episodes of Babylon 5
2 patrons needing library cards AT closing time and 1 wallet found after closing
1 insane cat
myriad hungry birds


Arbitrary Starts

January 1. An arbitrary day for new beginnings.

An arbitrary beginning is better than no new beginning at all. So and thusly,  I am beginning a New Thing. What kind of thing, you ask? Good question, but not one easily answered yet, as it is a newly formed Thing,  still soft around the edges, tender in the middle and not hardened into any mature form.  These traits make it A Thing easier to define by exclusion than description.

It won’t be a real diary. It won’t be an honest bragging platform for personal accomplishments.  It will be closest to a miscellany in the classic sense, containing information learned, events observed and stories related to me by others along with personal thoughts and philosophical ruminations, but even there, it won’t be limited to the mundane, the real or the factual.

No promises on what will appear beyond an assurance that I will keep mentions of grocery needs to a minimum — unless they’re interesting groceries like Snark Crispies or freshly-ground verrucicles. I might post every day, but probably not. Once a week, certainly. Except when that doesn’t happen.

Yes, it’s truly going to be A Thing. Sounds thrilling, eh? I thought so. Wait until I spend a whole post rambling on about my definition of antiquity or improper uses of the word squeegee. You’ll hardly be able to contain your appreciation.

today’s randomness: took 10,023 steps, watched 3 discs of Babylon 5. Average temperature outside: 15 degrees. Inside: toasty warm, with a splash of hot bathwater. The moon is waning, the Quadantid meteor shower is falling. I ate seven ginger cookies and licked the centers out of four chocolate truffles.