Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Not Flake Either ... Yet.

I just listened to Senator Jeff Flake's speech on a free press from the Senate floor addressed to Trump. I admire him greatly for that. Somebody has needed to put it out there, and he did it eloquently. I'm just a tad concerned that he'll be running to replace Trump in the next election. Sounds like a good deed getting punished, eh?

So, why my concern?

I first heard of Flake well before I moved down here. MPR aired a segment on an interview with him, one of those you do when a new Senator or somebody of like ilk needs to be introduced to the rest of the country. I was prepared to despise him before I heard the first word. After all, Arizona? Republican? It seemed an invitation to just another right wing extremist. Despite myself, I found him thoughtful and often reasonable - about the highest praise I could give a Republican back then. Or now, even more so. Even considering my sometimes-respect and sometimes-tolerance for the decisions of (now) our ex-POW Senator McCain.

While Flake often sounded good, his voting record still has too often been further to the right than his avowed stance on issues. So there is something of a trust issue for me. But the combination of that and the party affiliation are not the only reasons I would oppose the rumored political ambitions of Senator Flake. After all, there will be a pendulum swinging both directions in the future, and his time may very well come after a while. He is fairly young, after all. And right now he can appear to be one of the better of the possible choices on the political map of possible right wing candidates.

But first, the political pendulum has swung so far to the right of mainstream Americans that it has to swing back first. I mean, really, REALLY has to. The constant barrage of extremism and crazy have become normalized. We can't go any further down that path and remain a real democracy. We barely are one now.

One Republican candidate who is a little more sane than Trump is not going to cut it. Stepping 6" back from the edge of the cliff is not enough to be safe from falling off the edge. We need to move a mile back and sit there a bit before that pendulum heads back again. In other words, the Republicans need to lose. Not a whisker's worth, where one or two losses from election or resignation would shove us right back to the cliff's edge, but by a firm and decisive margin that would teach the Republicans that they can't serve this country and its people by letting the most extreme of the extreme control them. They need to become aware again that negotiation and compromise between parties, or even within their own, are the way to serve the most Americans in the best way. (I'm going to be kind, and against my inclinations give them the benefit of the doubt that at least some part of why they are there is to accomplish that, not just gain power and riches.)

The "Hastert Rule" has to go. For those of you not familiar with that term, back when Dennis Hastert was Speaker of the House, he started a policy whereby any legislation that couldn't win on a vote within his own (Republican) party members adding up to a majority of the total House, and thus not needing any input whatsoever from Democrats or Independents, would not even make it to the floor for a vote. If it wasn't a forgone conclusion, all their way, nothing would happen. A whole lot of  nothing did.

Just for a comparison, when it was time to pass the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, input and amendments from both sides were a part of the process. The basic idea was a Republican one. No, they will have you believe it was way too socialist and left wing to ever come from their party, but it was originally Bob Dole's plan. It wound up not being ideal for either party, but despite all the noise and disparaging hype, it was the best possible advancement politically possible at the time. Also it was the best policy for the whole of the country, not just a few, possible at the time. Of course, the "poison pill" amendments inserted by Republicans and accepted by Democrats in the hope of not just starting the process, but making corrections as we went along, haven't helped. A Congress swinging more right and refusing to actually improve anything, working instead on sabotaging the whole idea, haven't helped either.

That's just one example of why the pendulum needs to swing left again. Wa-a-a-ay left. So: not Jeff Flake. Not yet anyway.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Oprah? President? No Way!!!

Hey, I kinda like Oprah. This is not about that. I've neither had nor taken the time to more than incidentally follow her career, but the bits which have floated into my awareness have all been positive. She's climbed her way up to fame and fortune, apparently works hard, gives away cars and stuff, is a savvy businesswoman. She's articulate, intelligent, has world-wide name recognition, and cleans up a whole lot better than Steve Bannon.

I know, that last is a low bar, but in this world the way it is, appearances, especially for women, count a great deal. Much as I bemoan the standard, Oprah is gorgeous.

So what's my problem then? That's not what qualifies somebody for President. Sure, intelligence, hard work, and the ability to speak in complete coherent sentences would be really welcome in the office right now. But their lack comes from too many people in this country believing that celebrity and business success are all one needs. Heck, maybe just celebrity.

It hasn't worked out well for us yet. Reagan wasn't the worst example of the consequences of voting on that belief, but with our short memories, who needs to look further than the current "like, really smart" office holder?

What we need are dedication to the principles of our constitution, and governmental experience. Being CEO isn't the same thing as being, say, Governor. Business doesn't work the same way as government. It's goals are different. It's power structure is different. Its ethics are different.

Government is of, by, and for its people. Under our constitution, that means all of us. Business is of, by, and for wealth. That means the wealth of the person / people at the top, and shareholders. Screw the employees.

Government has the power to tax to raise the money to do its job. Business has to produce the cheapest product/service at the highest price to do its job. Screw paying taxes, screw environmental protection, screw worker safety, etc., etc., unless forced by... oh, hey: Government!

If you can't get that, I won't bother to explain it all in more depth to you here. It could take pages. Another time, perhaps. I'm just saying, while Oprah would have a hard time being worse than Trump, I'm more of an idealist. I want somebody who can really do the job, who is genuinely qualified for the job. Not just different, an outsider, and famous.

Those latter qualifications are not what somebody needs to solve this country's problems.

But we can start by voting. We have enough caring, thoughtful, informed people in this country that if we all got out there and performed that one little civic duty, a whole lot could change, for the better.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Nightmare News

It's on the local news. It's on the national news. I can't escape it unless I just turn everything off.

What, Trump? No, he's been blissfully (for me) absent from most of the reports, or at least not doing too much damage. I'm talking about the weather!

Snow, snow, more snow! Cold, cold, below zero cold! I think there are two states who aren't getting hit right now, and one has a record forest fire that finally quit making top spot on the news, and the other one is us. Hey, today I finally turned the furnace off and opened the house up to air out for a few hours. The morning news said we'd hit 77, but they lied. Just a little bit. (I'm not saying this to rub your frozen noses in it, just saying I agree it's awful and why we got out.)

I do of course have sympathy for all those who have to endure what Steve and I came down here to escape: another ugly winter. Relentless snowfalls in the northeast. Frigid temps throughout the plains. Icy roads causing accidents and parking lots. We Minnesotans - former though we be - are very used to that.

We're not, however, used to Minnehaha Falls making the national news for days in a row.

It is a bit nostalgic, however. I clearly recall hanging onto the railing for dear life (with heavy mittens) to ascend and descend the steps so we could hike along the side and around to the back of the icicle cave with a camera. Back when we were young and didn't break so easily, of course, and only thought of the beauty in all the shades of blue in the curtains of ice. Back when we wanted, needed to get that one perfect picture, overriding everything else that made sense. Now, as you might guess, just recalling the unsteadiness of the footing and how it wobbled the knees, grinding bone on bone before their replacements, is our main reaction to seeing them on the screen.

Trust that we don't miss it!

Also trust that, having endured too many decades of hard winters, we find at least some of the hype ridiculous. I mean, how cold can it really be when the idiot with the microphone is wearing their jacket unzipped and gaping open, no hat, earmuffs, neck scarf, or mittens on, with faces not a smidge of a combination of bright red and frosted white spots? C'mon, get real guys! It's just as stupid as the idiots talking about hurricanes while standing out in the edge of one just to have the storm surge splashing in the background, well before the real rain and wind hit.

Let those reporters head up to International Falls, properly bundled up because -37 demands respect, and show how fast stuff freezes. Hopefully not them, but it is an object lesson for the idiots. I always liked the "bammer". We had a respected meteorologist in the Twin Cities who would set a banana outside for a few minutes when it really got cold. Yep, a banana. Then he'd bring it in and use it to hammer a nail into a board. Now that's what I call frozen! The hot coffee tossed out of a cup would tinkle as it hit the ground as ice. I can still recall having to walk a couple blocks across the U of M campus for class as bundled up and wrapped up as I could be, nothing exposed other than my glasses so I could still actually see until they frosted over from warm breath, and feeling how painful that small exposure was to my face. See? Cold!

A news reporter who whines about snow depth really fails to impress when he's out standing in about 14 inches of the stuff. Go out and stand in the 50 inches of the stuff you're talking about, you wimp! Get a shot of the former parking lots, parks, or whatever with banks after banks of snow piled two times as high as a semi, or the ones where, even just holding their own single parking lot's worth of plowed snow, will still have banks taller than a car come mid May. That's snow, buddy. And hey, when that melt finally happens, take your kids out to hunt through the remaining dirt piles for the tiny treasures left behind: car keys, a few coins, stray mittens that somebody's mom searched the whole house through for for a week, a single shoe. At least the coins will still be good for something.

I happen to know somebody whose missing husband turned up when the snowbank along the railroad tracks finally melted. Maybe rethink taking the kids, eh? Check first?

I'm not claiming that the weather around most of the country isn't inconvenient, dangerous, painful, exhausting, life threatening, life taking.  But first, I lived through it. Don't care for a repeat, not even just that plunge in the gut on that one day each fall when my body remembers physically that another winter was coming. And second, all you news folks, don't wimp out when you're trying to impress us with how bad it really is! Those of us who know, know. The rest can't possibly imagine.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Un-Linked (In)

Disconnected.

Disgruntled.

It's not the X-mas blues. I'm feeling fairly connected to those who matter in my life, other than geographically. 1800 miles of (choose one) snowy, icy, cold, crowded roads, or long lines and all the airport hassles just to arrive quicker in the land of cold, icy, snowy. And darker too. It doesn't seem like much, but winter days are longer down here. But, I'm not seeing old friends, family, the new youngsters who have arrived. Pictures and videos are great. But hugs are better.

Still, I (we) choose to be here, avoiding all the snow and ice, slipping and sliding, and the sub-zero air that rips your breath right out of your lungs. There are, after all, friends here too. Mobility is easier. Fewer layers are needed for survival, and we can concern ourselves with comfort instead.

E-communication has hit a couple of snags lately, however. Both are connected in some way to email. Let's start with the idea that I've had my same email address for ages. It's the first and only one I've had. It dates back to joining with the landline company that served our house, part of a package. Even after dropping the landline in favor of everybody having their own cell phones, the email stayed the same.

Now you know I've been steadfast about avoiding Facebook. I did decide, however, that I'd give Linked-In a shot. Not sure why. Maybe I just thought somebody ought to be able to find me if they wanted to and weren't up to Googling me to figure out I do a blog. Yep, they're out there. Not you, of course. By definition.

A couple of months ago I thought it was about time to go in and change my profile to "retired". Practically every day I get email notices of however many thousand jobs I might qualify for in the twin city area. No longer interested, thanks. I wasn't allowed access to my own account.

You might think, "Oh shucks, who cares? It's just another 20 junk emails a month, no action needed." Hey, "delete" is simple, right? Of course, on top of those, I keep getting notices that Matt Dunham has added something to his profile and I should go check it out. It might be a new person I don't know. Or skill. Or a thought. Folks get them, you know. But I can't get in.

Then there are the reminders that somebody wants to connect with me. Not being able to read minds, I'm just guessing that my ongoing failure to connect with them is seen as some kind of rejection. I don't care about the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, but occasionally there is a name I recognize.

Really, I'm not snubbing you. Retired or not, we could exchange "Howdys". But if I try to connect with anybody, I have to log in. With my email address. And each time I get this nasty little message that I can't do that because their platform no longer supports my email provider.

Of course, they have no problem reaching me on my email. Depending on how busy Matt Dunham has been lately, it could be 40 times a month or more. And those invites still come rolling in. Now I'm the one getting frustrated. I finally decided to just pull out of Linked-In. But, of course, guess what? I have to log in with my email address but I'm automatically rejected due to... my email address.

Hey, guys, I'm not changing it!!!

Of course, last week my email company did something very unfriendly and won't let me log into my email any more. It seems they've combined with Yahoo. My little "mail" icon with the cute stamp no longer connects me to anything. I called the company.

Have you ever tried to call a company to help fix a problem, and before they'll talk to you, even to maybe send you on to the department that can actually help you, they need your account number or some other kind of jargon number? Perhaps it's not a problem for you. You can breeze in and out of your operating system, go right to the part of its history that keeps track of all that stuff, and come up with the exact sequence of digits from, say, three machines and 15 years ago.

Good for you! No, seriously, good for you! I can't do that. I wouldn't begin to know where to look or recognize it if I found it. Way back in the olden days, so long ago that folks still knew what floppy discs were, maybe just after you still had to know DOS to do anything and email was still messing its diapers, I had my email set up... by my web guru son-in-law. Who, it turns out,  is still both my son-in-law and a web guru, but has made the questionable decision of still living 1800 miles away in the land of snow and ice. It's not like I can turn the laptop over to him in his spare time so he can take 30 seconds to do what I can't in 6 months.

I don't have a number, a code, any memory of what that dusty old password may have been. Their voicemail robot insisted on one or another. I spent about 20 minutes finding the miracle that could get me to tech support without knowing the required information. Look, I knew tech support wasn't where I needed to be, but I figured any human....

Nope. Not an improvement. Hiding behind that Asian accent was a script. She was not programmed to deviate. There were a lot of "Yes, I feel you..." comments, but no matter what, she kept coming back to needing what I didn't have in order to figure out where to send me. Scratch that: she simply wasn't capable of sorting through enough English to say anything that didn't start with, "but I need your...."

Did she have a manager? Those words she understood. The manager was on another phone call. But she could help me herself if I could just give her.... There must have been a true X-mas miracle, because after 10 minutes of this runaround, the manager finally finished her phone call, and I could talk to her. I just had to be put on hold for a couple more minutes.

I'm guessing those minutes were taken up in transferring my call back around to an English-speaking part of the world. No accent. Full vocabulary. Able to converse off-script. Didn't need any numbers, passwords, gobbledygook. Just my name.

JUST MY NAME!

Boy, was it a good thing she was both knowledgeable and patient. There followed a good half hour conversation. We went into my mail through Google, so it's now accessible with a bookmark. Suddenly I was looking at my spam du jour. Where was the rest of my email? All the stuff I'd archived? Pictures? Addresses? Jokes? I was assured it was coming. And all this was now in a Yahoo format, which meant a very long tutorial, followed by lots of exploration, trial and a gazillion errors, and a system I still don't know how to use well.

There has been some progress. Once the emails appeared, they included everything I'd ever gotten back to 2012. No, seriously, I mean 2012! So the first thing I had to do was sort through and delete. That included stuff I already deleted and threw out in the trash. Along the way, I learned how to save pictures. I still have no clue where they are saved, but my machine assures me they are, and in my roaming I actually saw a compilation of pictures sorted by date received. So, somewhere.

I'll look later. I'm still deleting.

Now that's a fun process in itself. I've gotten so I can whip through certain headings. Amazon and eBay are each good for about 5 emails for each purchase, or maybe just 4 if I've been watching something without buying. Then there's PayPal if I did buy, followed your-order-was-received/paid/shipped and a reminder to give feedback. We've already discussed Linked-In. Motels think I like to travel more than 2x a year, car companies think I need a new one, anybody I've bought from is generally good for a dozen ads a month. Somehow those "unsubscribe" links don't work perfectly either. (On the plus side, I no longer get those ads to improve body parts I never had, and Nigerian princes have lost interest.)

Simple navigation around the page was a learning process. Gone is click-and-drag. I LOVE click-and-drag. Arrowing and returning create havoc, and I discovered that my mousepad has both one finger and two finger functions in addition to left, right, and bottom corner touches. My window grows and shrinks, shifts around, and sometimes needs a complete shutdown and reboot before I can proceed.

Necessity has greatly aided the culling process. Emails I wanted to save for posterity - cartoons, humor, cute pictures, reminders of how I picked various passwords, family and friend news, account numbers for paying taxes, photos, etc. - haven't found their way into folders yet, so many of them are gone. And I mean "gone" gone. There are folders tucked along a vertical toolbar with terms like inbox, spam, draft. Familiar enough, right? There are also counters next to the titles. I started out with over 2000 "new" emails, and that number drops a bit with deletions. Just not as fast as I hit the delete button. Just to keep it even, the number by the trash folder climbs, but again not as fast as I hit that delete button. By the time the delete folder claims it holds 200 emails, the system starts slowing way down. Time to empty the trash. The 200 it claims to hold magically becomes, say, 278 while it's in the emptying process. And the inbox hasn't gone down by either amount. At least the system works at a decent speed again.

I've been working at this for two days now. This much I've gotten good at. I'm somewhere near the beginning of 2017. I've no earthly idea how much is left to do. I do know, however, my inbox claims there are 22 items in it. It's said that for the last 250 items I've deleted. I have no earthly idea how that number was arrived at, how many are still in the system, where the archived ones are being held or how to put things into whatever folder. It looks like I may have the answers sometime next year.

I also know that at one point in the deleting process, it suddenly skipped a month or so worth of emails. I just can't remember exactly where that happened. If I try to scroll through to locate stuff for a second look, it jumps again.

Maybe it's about as happy with me as I am with it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Another Reason To Be Pissed Off This Season

The presents were finally finished, wrapped, boxed, addressed, and ready for their turn in the line at the Post Office. Since I was so timely about finishing it all, the line was a bit long. It doubled back through the lobby, crossing the full front of the building. Then it curved around the bend at the end of the post office box lobby, which stretched the length of the building. Last week it came out the door and curved along the sidewalk. Of course, that wasn't as bad as it might have been, since while chilly, temperatures were still near 70 then.

Yes, of course I'm bragging. Mid December I finally had to turn on the furnace.

No, it wasn't the length of the line that was so annoying. After all, mea culpa for the timing. Usual lines are about 5 people waiting their turn at the counter at this post office. Nor were the people in it today grumpy about their wait. Conversations were happening, laughter was heard, especially over all the folks who poked their heads in and immediately turned back and left, as if there were a better time or place to ship out their parcels.

C'mon, a week before X-mas? Seriously? What? You have a time machine so you can arrive two weeks earlier? Snicker snicker.

No, what got under my skin was something that at first seemed like a wonderful thing, an intelligent way for somebody to help people while they had to stand around and wait anyway. There was a guy there with forms on a clipboard, ready to help register residents who hadn't gotten around to registering to vote yet. It matters right now, because our Congressional district just lost someone in the current sex scandal firing fever. A special election will be held early next year. Once registered, ballots get mailed out to each home of eligible voters.

So, good deed, right? Making it easier to have a real democracy?

After assuring him that both Steve and I (since it took both of us to get all the packages in the door) had been registered for years, and had previously voted from our current address, I had a few seconds to listen to him approach the next person entering the post office. It turned out to be a little less noble that I thought.

He firmly informed people who expressed interest that he was only registering Republicans or Independent voters!

Wait, what?

He would have turned me away had I needed to register? Is that how they load the voter rolls these days? Different opinions are cut off before they even start? Let's make it as difficult as possible for anybody else to get to vote?

Hey, Arizona would-be Democratic voters and activists, do you know what's happening out here?

Got a plan?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Oh, The X-mas Card List!

Every year it's the same routine. And yes, I do still send them out. Often on time.

Since my cards could be described as an ego trip, with some photo I've shot on the front, sometimes more, that's the first decision. Most years I know the second I see the picture in large format on my laptop, when it announces, "I'm the ONE!" Sometimes I know even before I see it. So step 1 is choose the picture(s).  Or let it/them choose me.

Step 1: Done.

Step two waits until sometime near mailing day when I have the time and energy to go to somebody's photo department, fight with their computerized system which is always, ALWAYS, different from the year before, just to plague me, and get whatever number of cards printed off, plus one. I do keep one for the records.

Somehow, organizing those records in never one of those steps, so step 3 is making sure the "from" name(s) appear on the card. Nowadays that is part of step 2. I'm also claiming paying in step 2, just because I'm too lazy to include it as a separate step.

Step 2: Done.

Step 3 then is composing and printing the year-in-review letter. There was a time I hunted for holiday themed paper to print them on, but it eventually became just too hard to locate the right paper. Its location is apparently another one of those things that certain shall-remain-nameless-mart stores keep changing just to get me, the potential customer, hiking all through the store looking for them, with the erroneous idea this will endear me to impulse buying a hefty portion of those gazillion items I'd never otherwise go past. Hey, guys, get a clue: your tactic just makes me clear the store faster with less energy to hunt for the things I'm actually looking to spend money on!  So, plain white printer paper again this year. Maybe its contents will be colorful enough to make up for it.

Step 3: Done.

Step 4 involves folding the letter, inserting everything into the envelopes provided, and sealing them.

Still working on that one.

I got diverted - not in an entertained way - by step 5. I start each year by printing out last years X-mas mailing list and trying to figure who died or became un-friended, who moved and to where, who goes on the list for the first time. Part of that actually comes before step 2, because I need the list to count how many cards get printed this year.

The worst part of course is verifying addresses. It's not just the grand kids who move, either. One friend moved within the same apartment building up one floor. One digit was all I needed, from a 4 to a 6. But it's important. Apparently small town postal workers no longer have that tiny bit of problem-solving in their list of job skills to a: recall the customer moved and uses a different box number in the same apartment lobby, and b: extrapolate that the card should now be placed in that new box rather than be returned to sender.

Yes, that happened.

I seem to recall hearing one pair of years-long friends retired and moved into a smaller home, but I'm not positive. Nobody calls each other any more, email addresses no longer work, I don't do Facebook. It occurred to me that I could Google one of them, and found out they're on Linked In. Hey, me too! I could go there... but Linked In refused to allow me access to my own account because they tell me they no longer support my email server. It's not Yahoo or Gmail or one of those big ones, so I guess I don't count. Funny, they still send me five or six messages a day at that old address, but....  Hey, if you two read this, and you know who you are, get in touch, will ya? Just remember, though, if you follow your usual pattern of sending your cards out in late January, getting yours from us will be even further delayed.

I'd really like to finish step 5.

Step 6: for those cards which have a confirmed destination, there's the writing the address out part, the hunting up enough return address labels and stamps that are not too obnoxious for the season part, and the affixing them part.

I'd like to finish that one too, and get on to the final step, #7: actually getting them into the mail. Or in a couple cases, skipping the stamp and hand delivering them. The first one of those has actually been handed out.

I'm quite proud of that, actually.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Insomnia Is A Funny Thing

I've decided to quit worrying about it. It's not like I have to get up at a certain time... most mornings. When I do, I've figured out how my latest alarm clock actually works, except for the bit about having a second alarm at a different time so it's not always set for 7:30 even after I think I've changed one or both of the alarm times, but it's mostly good enough. Coffee mostly works, despite what various doctors have recommended. So what if I can go right back to sleep after having my morning cup unless I get up and move around doing something? If I'd had to be up, I'd be active and awake, problem solved.

So if we knock of the it's-bad-for-you hypothesis, insomnia might actually have some uses.

I've been looking back at what actually keeps me alert after I've gone to bed exhausted from my day and thinking I was ready to fall asleep in the middle of my book or during a TV show, both of which I'm actually interested in. (Hey, the boring ones don't count.)

There was a time it was worry keeping me awake. Something bad had happened or was likely to happen and I needed to figure out how to deal with it so it could be fixed as soon as it possibly could. It may have been something with a kid, or the car, or some necessity there wasn't funding for. It's not that late night worrying often helped with whatever-it-was. It's just that the brain just wouldn't let go.

Life is much simpler now. Life's really major problems I can't fix anyway. The usual other issues mostly take care of themselves without me. If the car breaks down, it's not going to cost me a day or three of unpaid work time. If a blizzard is rolling in and I still have to get out and drive in it... oh wait, that's why I moved down here. Pain mostly isn't an issue any more. My kids have been adults for so long now that I'm a great grandmother. If they haven't got it figured out yet for themselves, they can lose their own sleep over whatever it is.

Still, there are many nights when the moment the head hits the pillow, the wheels start churning. Mostly, I've decided it's creativity. That usually translates into something from lapidary club. My brain learns, or learns about, something new and different. It might be from a workshop showing a new technique, or seeing an item for sale in the shop. I'll start trying to figure how to accomplish something either like somebody else did that I never saw before, or it might be working on a variation of a method I just learned in a workshop.

I think I know what I want a finished product to look like, and I can come up with five different bad ways to go about it. It might be a way to work wire into a specific form, and I can spend a couple hours figuring out why step A can't come before step B, or why step C can't be done at all. It might be a new technique where I plan which color wire combinations work with which other colors and a particular stone and/or how a bead works into the design. And just which bead?

On a completely different track, it might be a blog posting that starts working its way through my brain and unless I'm completely confident I can/will remember each word in the morning, it just has to be tackled NOW. Or it can simply be a way to turn the brain off of whichever spiral path it was on for the last hour and a half before I gave up and had to do something different. Sometimes a few pages of reading will do the same thing. Or maybe chapters. Or TV shows. It all depends.

Eventually the brain of this former morning person gives up and I can walk back down the hall with the full expectation that two seconds after the head hits the pillow I'll be unconscious.

Then it's time to start the wild ride through my dreams. Now there's a fun time! That's where we really ride the improbability train!