Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Random thoughts at an ungodly early hour

Okay. So I woke up before 4 a.m. and could not get back to sleep. I think I have the world's screwiest biorhythyms. For years it's felt like I'm on a 48 hour cycle -- every other day or so I'm awake much, much earlier than I should be. And then once I'm awake I tend to just lie there thinking about stuff that seems guaranteed to keep me awake instead of falling back asleep like a normal human being. Some mornings I just stay in bed tossing and turning and some mornings I get up and wander the Intertubes. I've read that problems with sleep can get worse as you get older. So what does that mean? I'm going to go from being able to get a normal night's sleep a couple nights a week to not being able to sleep for more than a couple hours at a shot for the rest of my life? In any case, random thoughts at 4 a.m.:
  • I'm still obsessing about how damn old the two major party presidential nominees are. I thought this was a youth-obsessed country. How on earth did we manage to end up with geezers at the top of the Republican and Democratic party tickets? I'm younger than either The Donald or Hillary, and I get asked if I need help carrying my groceries out of the store if I buy much more than a loaf of bread and a Coke. And we expect one of these elderly nominees to have the stamina to survive the Presidency? Unreal. Now that both tickets are topped by senior citizens, we're being treated to the spectacle of folks on one side of the political spectrum speculating that a candidate is showing signs of slipping into senile dementia and folks on the other claiming that the candidate they oppose is at death's door and suffering from a seizure disorder but won't admit it. Why weren't those rumors given a major push a year ago so maybe someone younger would have been a little more appealing? It's been a pretty bizarre election year to date and growing more so by the day. On top of the usual electioneering, we're being treated to a dead pool with only two entries. Why bother debating policy when you can just argue that the other party's candidate is going to die soon? 
  • I finally figured out the right search term to use to go looking for some display racks for the museum. I knew what I wanted, I could see the product clearly, but I couldn't figure out what to call it. So every time I did an online search, I'd get a bunch of choices that were all not quite right. The display racks were a commercial product (i.e., intended for use in a retail setting), not something that shows up in museum specialty catalogs, so flipping through the Gaylord and similar catalogs didn't help at all. But yesterday it hit me -- I tried the phrase "poster display rack" and voila, multiple choices. Even better, by coincidence the product is actually something we can buy using the heritage grant funds. It qualifies as an exhibit expense. Now it's just a matter of kicking the idea around at the next historical society meeting so there's  input on what size rack to get and where to position it. We've got a lot of photos and maps and various interesting documents that it would be really neat to have accessible to visitors but the amount of wall space for hanging stuff is pretty limited. Bottom line that falls into the good news category: now when I have insomnia, I can lay awake mentally laying out pages for the display rack. It'll beat thinking about some of the other stuff I tend to obsess about.
  •  I miss having a cat or a dog around. We've remained pet-less since Cleo died last fall, and much as I'm enjoying not having to sweep up drifts of cat hair and not having a cat box to clean, I miss having a wee beast trying to kill me every time I go up or down the stairs. It still feels odd not to have something underfoot. . . or sprawled across my desk when I'm trying to write a letter. Cleo never tried sprawling on a keyboard, but she would try insinuating herself on to the page when I was writing letters the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper. Most of the letters I mailed probably had cat hair in them. 
  •  My car is now more than 7 years old and still going strong. Think the odometer has hit something like 110,000 miles. Back when I bought the Focus in May 2009, I told the sales manager I planned to keep it for at least 7 years. In actual fact, my plan was and always been to drive it into the ground. My goal is to be not just its first owner, but also its last. Every so often, I look at the car and am moderately amazed. I am old enough that I can recall when people did not expect cars to last much beyond 40 or 50 thousand miles. Odometers, which were mechanical, topped out at 99,999.9. It was a big deal if you had a car that was still running when the odometer rolled over to solid zeroes. Now people drive their cars to the moon and back and no one blinks an eye. Even what used to be a major issue up here on the tundra -- the dreaded iron moths -- are becoming an endangered species. Cars just don't rust out as quickly as they used to. No doubt one reason is the increasing use of nonferrous materials (composites, aluminum) but another is better coatings. Rust doesn't penetrate as quickly or as easily it did a couple decades ago. 
  • We need to start renting goats. We definitely don't mow the lawn as often as we should, so it's either rent some goats or invest in a baler. I don't want to actually own goats because that would require building a goat barn, worrying about what to do about them in the winter, and, worst of all, dealing with barn chores. My days of shoveling shit are behind me; I have no desire to revisit them.
  •  Once I start doing a list with bullet points it's really hard for me to stop.


  1. I have been dealing with off and on insomnia for a few years now. But now that I have gone through the Hep treatment, I seem to be sleeping better. Not sure why. The doc says it's a fig newton of my imagination. The only thing is, I cannot for the life of me, seem to be able to sleep past 4:00 AM anymore. So when it's 8 in the evening, I'm ready for bed. What an old fart I have become.

  2. What are normal people? My Dodge is a tick over 20 years old and has 197k on it and still doesn't burn oil or show any signs of giving up. Goats won't eat grass unless they have to. Get a couple young sheep in the spring and sell them in the fall. They don't need shelter.

  3. There is not a whole lot of "grass" in our "lawn." It's a mix of forbs where about the only thing it all has in common is the plants are more or less green. I know goats will eat thistles, briars, various wildflowers, and whatever brush (red osier dogwood, poplar, wild cherry, apple,alder) keeps trying to invade the open space.

  4. Then I would get two sheep and one goat, a real goat, not one of the little pretend goats. I've had both, goats are as curious as cats and want to get into everything and eat everything, even the garden. And may be more than happy to meet you at the car when you come home, then climb it.

  5. The energy and stamina of HRC, Trump and Bernie Sanders is amazing. I couldn't keep up with any of them for half a day, and I'm under 50.


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