Wow, It's Been a While.

Hi again. I am saying hello, because it has been ages since I’ve posted on this lil blog, and I’d like to get more writing going again.

Personal Stuff:

It’s been a rough year and a half, not even counting the pandemic. Not to go into all the stuff, but I’ve had a life threatening ectopic pregnancy, done IVF (through the bulk of it, but it’s a long process and still underway) and had a miscarriage. So not super fun. We are still working on this procreation project (not so easy as we were led to believe!), but feeling calmer and more grounded and better at taking care of ourselves in the process. I could talk endlessly about that experience and its lessons, but this is not the place.

However, I’m living through it and trying to reconnect with some creativity, painting, and fun projects for fun. Some of these random projects:

Escapism

I am deeply terrible at video games, and I married a dedicated gamer, so it’s a trick finding games to play together. Lately my husband and I have been playing a lot of Nine Parchments on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a coop fantasy monster fighting game. It was a cool advancement in my gaming skills to be able to press the right buttons most of the time, without having to stop and think which button does what. I know, pretty sweet. Nine Parchments is great because of the combination of looking at beautiful fantasy scenery and using fireballs and spells to fight monsters. Plus it doesn’t require too much button pressing precision, you just blow shit up. It is just delightful. Selius is my favorite character. I like to be the tank and just go jump into the mayhem. It isn’t open source or anything cool like that, just a fun, proprietary game.

Technology

I have been thinking about a small computer for writing out at cafes and outside. I just ordered a Palm m500 PDA from the year 2000. (Well, I ordered it from eBay, but you get the idea). That may sound silly, but I have been looking for a non-backlit writing gizmo for years. I thought the Onyx Boox would be the answer to all my dreams, but it was actually pretty bad and I sold the one I had. I have the Alphasmart Neo and I love it, but it is not so good for editing. So I am excited about trying this new PDA approach. We’ll see how it goes! Sounds very promising.

For computer use, I have been a very lazy nerd, for a while now. I still use exclusively Linux of course (currently Pop OS) but I want things to be simple, workable, and not have to do much of any debugging or configuring. I know that’s not very nerd-tastic of me, but that’s where I am. I haven’t done any distro hopping, sticking with a low-maintenance Ubuntu-based distro.

Same with my phone. I still have the same Google Pixel 3A. I use it without a Google account connected, and I try to use it as little as possible. I also keep Netguard turned on. For software I use FDroid and Aurora store. It is all pretty easy and works well.

I am still using Publii for my web site, and I think it is pretty good. Though I’d like to simplify the theme a bit. Too much visual clutter on the internet, and I don’t want to add to it. But I enjoy the simplicity of just writing and posting. I like a CMS with a GUI, and am not in the mood to fiddle with command line apps. I tried Hugo, Jekyll and some others but they were too fiddly and I always had problems and things to debug. Plus I love that Publii is offline, so I can do the work without internet if I want, and just upload my site when I’m ready.

I’ve been doing genealogy research for my family. It is fascinating, compelling, and so hard! I have some mysterious ancestors whose origins are so murky and I haven’t figured out where they come from yet. One day! My inner Miss Marple can’t resist. The intersection of history and my personal family is intriguing too. It makes history feel real and personal. For that I am using Gramps for genealogy records, and my beloved Zim for notes.

Trying to Get Away from Technology

Alongside my love of technology, I am also always trying to feel more grounded and clear out distractions. I still spend too much time on the computer and kind of wish I never had to use them at all. I would possibly be a better version of myself. But also I love technology? I know. It’s a contradiction. Really the goal is just balance and maintaining mental focus while using technology as a tool. Easier said than done.

I write a lot by hand, always using fountain pens. I journal every day, and use a paper planner, and rant to my notebooks when I want to clear my head. The tactile experience of writing by hand is very satisfying and grounding, plus it’s naturally “distraction free.” Favorite pens: TWSBI Eco, vintage Parker 45, Noodlers Ahab, vintage Platinum pocket pen, Delike brass pocket pen. Lamy Safari, Kaweco Sport and Moonman M2 are nice as well.

I may do some posting about fountain pens too, now that I’ve used them non-stop for a couple of years.

I’ve been reading Agatha Christie novels and they are so wonderful, witty and well done. I love the focus on details and human idiosyncracies.

Speaking of low-tech, I have been spinning wool, dyeing it with natural dyes and knitting it and it is very pleasant. I am trying to get the nerve up to knit a pair of socks. But that heel and toe is very intimidating. Regardless, it’s a calm, soothing activity, and my spinning is improving. I spin some on a drop spindle, and some on a spinning wheel that I inherited, as the family fiber arts person, from my husband’s grandmother’s house. It is wonderful.