The Friday 5 for 6 May 2022

May is mental health awareness month :)

  1. What's taking up space in your head this week?
  2. What mental health topics do we need to be more aware of?
  3. What does "mentally healthy" look like?
  4. When do you know you need to focus on yourself?
  5. What's something that's helped your mental health?

Copy and paste to your own journal, then reply to this post with a link to your answers. If your journal is private or friends-only, you can post your full answers in the comments below.

If you'd like to suggest questions for a future Friday Five, then do so on DreamWidth or LiveJournal. Old sets that were used have been deleted, so we encourage you to suggest some more!



just when I was about to reconsider cross-posting to livejournal, I saw that the first post on the lj homepage is a 685-comment conspiracy theory about how the US created coronavirus as a biological weapon and owes the world concessions for it. absolute nonsense. 

And let me remind you that I was already mad last year about how my entries, on my paid account, show russian dating ads to my readers.  The response I got was basically "we don't care". 

I realize this isn't an airline I don't need to announce my departure, but come on you guys, this place is not innocent. 

I got an email that we were all getting three extra months of paid account status, that's why I came back to see what was going on here. I was very disappointed with the main page today. 


I changed my mind

I bailed. I went to dreamwidth. there are just too many other trusty friend people who went, I followed the crowd. there's a renewed spirit over there of frienzies and community building and welcoming arms. 

While I appreciate livejournal's interface, post scheduling, phone app... it just doesn't feel right. it's a gut feeling that I shouldn't be here. 

see you on the other side. 


kid activities

last year I was concerned about my 9yo being lost to the real world. all she wanted to do was play videogames. when school started up post-covid, her teacher said she wasn't even playing with other kids on the playground, just walked around thinking about minecraft. she didn't want to go outside with us or go on walks or go play. there was the tough parent world, telling me to limit the hell out of videogames, but I did not do that.

I tried to do the example thing instead. Just invite her on every walk, propose going to the playground, make opportunities to get off the games, find balance. and stress that the games will always be there but nice playground days might not. then I didn't really think about it. I didn't make her do anything.

It's probably been a whole year, but she was asking me what we were doing this weekend and I noticed that hey, she wants to do things again. It's magic. maybe the gaming addiction really was just a pandemic condition?

school is better. she got the student of the week award. she was one of the two kids who represented her class at the school-wide spelling bee, and made it quite a few rounds in there too!

last week she wanted to go to the science museum, so we renewed our pass and got out there. this week she asked why we never took judy to dog parks she'd heard about, so we took judy to the dog park.

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I found this audiobook on spotify: "Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays". The author argues that gift giving is a pretty glaring waste of money and resources, and I have to admit he makes some good points. 

It's like this... pretend your loved one spends $100 on a sweater for you for christmas. Maybe you love it, maybe you don't... but on the average, when people are surveyed and our gifts are reviewed, they do not feel like they're getting $100 worth of enjoyment out of the sweater. If they had $100 they'd spend it on something else. The odds of you picking out a fantastic gift for someone else are low.

It's kind of like everybody in America gets into a room and each person throws $1000 into a pile of money in the middle. Some people even go into debt to throw in their cash. Then everyone takes out $600. Then we set the rest on fire. 

There are exceptions. Let's say your uncle has been looking for this ONE comic book for 30 years and you find it in a comic store for $5, then you're a hero! You have a chance at gift giving that is worth MORE than what you pay. But these events are rare. 

I realize this book is cynical as heck, but I kind of like it because my family has really limited what we buy each other these days. Christmas has turned to a few toys that the kids love, and consumables for the adults... a basket of fancy salsa and locally roasted coffee and chocolate covered almonds. 

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Well friends…

I always joked that I didn’t trust the American tech companies so why throw rocks at livejournal for being a Russian one?

But at least American tech companies aren’t trying to openly start WWIII. As a paid user, I have to think a little about who I'm supporting.

Is this the end for us, livejournal friends? Are you leaving?

I have a dreamwidth account. I guess the option is there for us — I'm just curious what everybody is doing? I am not making a decision right now, just going back and forth. Obviously this poll will be biased because my target audience here is people who are on livejournal! But I know a lot of folks are already on DW so maybe we can sync up over there? 

Leave because it's Russian?

You can choose only one answer

Poll results is visible to all

58 people voted


speaking your truth

There is a moving episode of the Armchair Expert podcast called Day 7, where the host Dax Shepard opens up about a relapse after nearly 16 years of sobriety. His co-host and best friend Monica said something I think about a lot. She talks about texting a friend and saying "there are pills missing", and her friend tells her to delete the text before Dax sees it. But Monica decides not to delete anything. It is what she has seen, it is truth. He'd been hiding something from his friends and family. I'd been listening to Armchair Expert because it's fun interviews with a little information about recovery and addiction and mental health sprinkled in. I'd heard that the Day 7 episode was kind of the big one, but I didn't dive into it until one random day on a walk. I had to keep walking, and crying, and walking. It meant so much, and sadly felt so familiar.

I work in technical support. That is also a place where we speak our truth. We try not to accuse users of doing something wrong, because we our relationship to them is important. So we make it black and white. If you do this, the system does this. If you press enter a bunch of times in your word doc, the new page will always move when you add text above it. If you insert > page break, the new page will always start in the same place. There. Done. You're not a bad person. I am not here to say what's right and wrong. I am just here to tell you the truth.

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friday five: allergies

1. Do you have Spring or Fall allergies?

I can't tell. I guess both?

2. Do you have something in particular that you are allergic to or is it just general?

Probably. But it's not bad enough for me to want to nail it down. I've also known too many people who went in for allergy testing, only to be told "you're allergic to everything", so why bother?

3. What do you take, if anything, to help?

Kirkland Signature Aller-Tec, compare to Zyrtec. If it's spring or fall and I feel bad for a few days in a row I'll start taking one a day. I honestly can't tell if it helps or not.

4. Do you seem to be saying, “It’s just allergies” a lot more than usual these days (i.e. because of Covid)?

My COVID came with a really sore throat that wasn't allergy-like, more cold like, but I could definitely see how it could be confused. It was all in our sinuses.

5. What do you hope to get out and do this spring, allergies and pandemic willing?

Gardening! I have plans to move that rock bed in my back yard and plant real plants... but where did my plans go? Curse February, I can't ever even remember what I meant to grow. I can't even remember that anything grows. Well I definitely don't have any symptoms of allergies today. 


the friday 5

from thefridayfive 

1. What's your favorite candle scent?

I only have one scented candle in my house. last year spoonflower sent its top sellers a Durham candle from the bright black candle company. I'd get another one, because it's just a really nice candle.

2. Do you have an artistic or crafty hobby? What is it?

rock painting. I still like to sew, but as craft hobbies go it's really nice to have a hobby that you can pack up in a single shoebox. 

3. What's one weird way you save money on food?

I am really glad I got the kids hooked on ramen. now josie's got her friends on it too, they come over to our house and there's noodles they can make themselves in three minutes? our sleepover parties are a ramen-fest. those girls are crazy, they can go through like $3 worth of ramen. 

4. Do you collect anything weird or unusual?

I'll say no, but in my house I joke that we should collect hair brushes. you really cannot have too many. marc is growing his hair out again, mine is long-ish now, the girls have long hair, brushing needs to happen all the time but we must not risk sharing brushes ever because they got head lice like ten years ago and I'm still scarred by it.

5. Do you fear the deep ocean, or does its unknown depths excite you?

I fear the wide ocean. I'm from Kansas. I don't like being over water where I can't see any land. 


Configuration Management

I am sorry for the boring title on this entry, but I have this life goal to write publicly about what engineers DO, so that kids and people outside of STEM won't find it as intimidating and they can see themselves solving problems with us. And realize that it's not all differential equations and bring a brilliant instant inventor. 

So much of my engineering career was just organizing stuff. SO MUCH. 

Pretend you work in a shoe factory. 

Marketing comes to you and says people are loving green shoelaces this year, can we start cranking out shoes with green laces? Sure that's easy. 

You just have to edit the drawing and parts list that the factory workers use when they're building shoes. You title it "green laces" and get it all approved, it has the exact part number for green laces instead of the boring white ones, and your factory stops buying white laces. They've got about 100 white laces left so they'll use those up and switch to green by late next week. 

Then you get ANOTHER call from the factory that Bob's Rubber, who sells you rubber for the soles, is going out of business. They need to start using Jen's Rubber next month. It's a different part number but it's okay. You make a new drawing for a shoe with Green Laces and Jen's Rubber.

Next week you come to work and bad news. The green laces didn't come in. The supplier is a month behind schedule. Well that's okay, buy more white laces.

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