LMK if fields are missing that you need


There are times when I look back on what I've written and the phrasing of my words just plain catch me off guard. Like, who speaks like that?

Last week, a coworker asked for some data, and I sent it to her. I included a note, "LMK if fields are missing that you need."

"Let me know if fields are missing that you need." Technically, correct grammar. Subjectively, not particular clear or venacular.

"Let me know if fields that you need are missing." The part "that you need" goes with the fields, so should be before the verb there, though the "that" phrase applies to the fields even when placed at the end.

It is just weird, though.

Another one that rather hit me was a response to a tweet about an earthquake in New Zealand. I responded, "I hope everyone is unhurt!" Everyone else responded with, "I hope no one is hurt!" The author of the original tweet noted my unusual speech pattern.

Brains are weird. Communication is surprisingly more difficult than one would expect. We know what we mean, but, wow, others do not.

Clearing the Decks


For a number of years, I participated in the Handmade Valentine Exchange, a secret Santa like event where you sign up, receive a list of 10 names and addresses, make 10 valentines, mail a valentine to each of the people on your list, and wait for your 10 valentines to arrive. The ones I've received in prior years were beautiful, putting my homemade valentines to shame. Well, except one year. I really liked that woodblock card I made one year.

This year, I've been watching the signups and thinking, Oooooooo, I should sign up. I've been trying to be more deliberate with my time, choosing what I want to commit to doing so that I can do said thing well, instead of saying yes to everying and resenting the panic completion of some activities, the resentment of past Kitt saying yes to others. That whole "set boundaries" thing, but with myself. Instead of signing up for all these aspirational activities and projects, I am actively choosing what is important to me, what will make my life more fulfilling.

The downside of this saying no to all of these activities is that I haven't actually said yes to anything in a while, and that makes for a very slow, ennui-filled life.

I have a couple Christmas thank you cards to send. I figure, maybe after I've sent those, I'll be ready for something less aspirational, more actualized. We'll see.

Okay, Maybe Not Just Me


Dad's tests went well (yay!). After my walk, I waited for a bit, then went back to meet up with his care team and get the details of his after care. Shortly after, I went out to the truck to warm it up and drive it close to the exit door, minimize the distance he needed to walk.

We drove back a different way than Dad drove to the facility, my usual "explore the different ways to my destination" way of driving in new areas. The way I drove had fewer cars, but more stop signs.

Along the way, Dad commented, "I can see why they say that people shouldn't drive home after the procedure, but I would've been fine."

You could hear the record scratch from a mile away.

Like HF, Dad, what? Hello, illusory superiority bias, thy name is Hodsden.

I did explain to him that just because you feel fine and think you can drive just after a series of heavy drugs that put you under for a while, doesn't mean you actually can drive well, or would be okay signing legal documents. Or even arguing medical treatments and scientific method with the out-patient nurse. I mean, look at drunk people, they are amazing in their own brains, not so much from the outside.

I swear, the list of cognitive biases on Wikipedia is an amazing resource for exploring just how badly we make decisions. The Art of Thinking Clearly is another great place to explore. I am unsure how to get Dad excited about either, though.

Who is the Dumbass Taking Photos in This Weather?


Well, took Dad in for his tests this morning. I mean, that's why I'm here. We, unsurprisingly, had the start of a tiff on the drive in. I reminded both of us that 95% of arguments are because someone in the argument is hungry, and, well, he had been fasting for around 30 hours at this point, so maybe, we can hand each other some grace. He calmed, I calmed, we arrived safely and on time to the medical facility.

The temperature was -22˚C, again, still, when we arrived. I commented to Dad that I was going to walk to the nearest Starbucks for breakfast while he was having his tests done. He looked at me like I was crazy. I was going to walk? It is cold. Most people would drive. Why would I walk? I explained that the walk was all of a 9 minute walk, why wouldn't I walk? THE WEATHER, he repeated.

Well, he's not exactly wrong. It is cold.

He checked in, we waited, he was called back, he went.

After he was gone, I bundled up, pulled on my backpack, and left the medical facility and started walking down the long driveway. I wondered if I wanted to hop into the truck and drive the distance of 9 minutes walking instead of walking. I haven't been moving much in this cold weather, most outdoor activities off-limits because of terribly cold temperatures. Maybe I should drive, I could feel all the cold places the wind was finding in my clothing. The sidewalk might not be shoveled. The wind was really cutting. All the reasons not to walk.

And as I stood at the end of the driveway, I realized those reasons were why I should walk the nine minutes to the corner. Yes, it was cold, I had clothes that were on the low end of reasonable, but they should be warm enough. There are enough businesses along the way if I were in trouble, I could step into a government building or store and warm up. I would be moving, which would keep me warm. I wasn't really in any danger of freezing, and the movement would feel so good.

So, I walked down the street.

It was cold.

It was really cold. -29˚C with the windchill. I felt my legs start to cool, then chill as I walked.

I made the whole experience colder by stopping.

Because look! The sidewalks were begging (begging) to be macro photographed!

snow waves on the sidewalk

snow formations on a sidewalk

snow balls on sidewalk

But, yeah, I was chilled when I arrived, 11 minutes later.

Before my walk back, I adjusted my layers, making sure the gap between my silks and socks was gone and my gloves were on before leaving.

The walk did, indeed, feel good. Brisk.

Mother-Daughter Murder Night

Book Notes

How Dare They?


Dad and I went out grocery shopping today. The house doesn't have much food in it, as he doesn't eat here much, and it definitely doesn't have food that I normally eat ("You fixing broccolli?" "Should I not buy any for you?" "No, I don't eat that stuff."), so out we went for food. Dad has opinions™ about grocery shopping, what to buy, what he's willing to spend on food. I'm less stingy with my food, if I want to try something new, I will try it. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.

After shopping, we hustled out to the truck. It was -22˚C without wind chill, and we chilled quickly. The walk wasn't very far, but wow, being out of the wind in the cold truck cab was such a relief, even with the groceries piled up along the front seat.

When Dad started pulling out of the parking spot, he was able to go forward, so he started moving perpendicular to the parking lot rows (columns?). He went across the space in front of us, missed being hit by the person driving down the row, across the row to the next space. He continued driving straight across the lot, gaining speed, until another car driving diagonally across the parking lot crossed our path, forcing him to both slow down and swerve slightly.

"That driver!" he yelled.

"I know!" I yelled immediately after. "How dare they do exactly what we are doing?"

Dad looked at me, and started laughing. I joined in. I don't recall the last time that Dad and I laughed together for 15 minutes straight, but it was glorious.