Ramble: Eliciting Emotion Without Details

Recently I posted 3 new chapters to a fanfiction I’ve been writing for a rather long time now (no, I’m not going to link it. It’s embarrassing. If you happen to find it though… well… anyway). These chapters dealt with some very harsh, dark themes such as rape, torture, mental fuckery – among others. One of my favorite readers, who leaves reviews nearly every update, mentioned this in one of her latest comments:

“You weren’t kidding about there being hard things in this chapter, but you did a good job of having us feel the horror without needing to go into gruesome detail.”

And it got me thinking about all of the stories I’ve read over the years that I can remember. Both in regular and in fanfiction And I’ve come to realize that many of the stories I have enjoyed the most leave a great many details up to the reader’s imagination. While yes the basic description of characters and scenes are given, or building up to an event and using language to direct the reader to experience a certain emotion, stories that suddenly jumpcut immediately after making it clear what is about to happen, but not having you read the gruesome detail (especially in horror and suspense situations) – those to me are the best. Not only does it allow every reader to have their own personal experience with the work, but there is nothing more frightening than the worst possible things we can imagine. Perhaps the scene was leading us to believe that a favorite character was about to be tortured to death, but then didn’t let us see/read the torture taking place. When we read the segment that the character appears in afterwards, perhaps having escaped their jailers, how they are described and appear will guide us to imagine the things that may have happened to them. Perhaps the reader is more afraid of water torture – they may imagine that’s taken place to the hero. Or maybe starvation and beating? They’ll imagine that THAT is what may have happened to them.

But later still in the story, the hero may confide in their best friend or lover what truly took place in the jail/dungeon/cavern, etc. And how relieved the reader is that what they feared most wasn’t the thing that has happened… Or, for those who imagined correctly, the overwhelming empathy the reader feels for the hero. This method, which I honestly unintentionally used in my piddling little fanfiction, makes the reader more emotionally invested in the story, and in a way makes them feel like they are part of it. And when a reader becomes so invested in the story, they will keep reading.

That’s my take on it, for what it’s worth anyway.

Rough patch, but not for me!

Has it really been about a month (maybe a smidge more) since my last post? Wow. Well, a lot has happened in that time, in my personal life.

Personally, it’s been a rough patch, sort of, but not for me personally. There’s a reason for this that I firmly believe is true. Anyway, so… My mom was diagnosed with COPD last month. We already knew she had it, but she’d avoided an official diagnosis for many years now. Having the “official” diagnosis on her records… well… it’s been tough for her to process. Plus side though? There’s a medical testing clinic right next door to her doctor’s, and we’ve already spoken with a woman from there about her potentially participating in medical trials for COPD medications. Most of what they do is compare generics to name brands, and one medication against combination drugs. It isn’t often that they do placebo testing. The practice my mom goes to caters to the poorest of the poor and those who can’t afford insurance of any kind. And by partnering up with this medical trial clinic, they’re able to get some people life saving medications and treatment that they otherwise would be unable to afford. And they have often taken people for repeat and multiple trials, so it’s not a situation of “we got what we wanted now get out”. They also often compensate the participants for their time and such, and do any testing out of their local office. While it’s not a guarantee, it’s at least a ray of hope for my mom when for years and years now she had none at all.

She also had an unrelated incident wherein she tripped over a chair at work. About a week after she went back from her severe COPD episode that had left her off work for a week. She was also out for a week for that because she nearly shattered her kneecaps from the way she had landed on the floor. Worker’s comp is covering the medical end of it, and if they don’t compensate her for missing work, then she’s got sick pay built up (and let’s not even discuss the couple of weeks worth of vacation pay she’s got built up as well).

On a similar note to the COPD thing, my husband has to set up a visit to a respiratory therapist at the hospital in order to find out if he’s in the early stages or if he just has asthema – all so he can get a nebulizer and medication for it to help his breathing as well.

As for me – I’ve been going crazy running around for everyone and everything that mostly I’m sore and stressed. But my luck seems to have changed when I received my new Medicaid and Wellcare cards in the mail…

You see, I’ve had this theory for many years now that my maiden surname was cursed in some form or fashion. The women of my dad’s family married and got different last names, and their luck seemed to have changed dramatically, and their lives improved (even the one who married a dead-beat before divorcing. The dead-beat had quite a lot of money that she got from the divorce). I noticed this within my immediate family as well. Out of 5 children, 2 had different surnames than myself. And even those 2 had different surnames from one another. My older brother, though not “successful” in the traditional sense, was well known and liked in town. Opportunities seemed to just fall into his lap quite often. He was happy, and though life wasn’t the greatest, he didn’t really have to worry about poverty like we did when we were kids. Things always seemed to just work out for him. One of my sisters who had a different last name, always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. She always had ways to get what she wanted, and whether she put effort into something or not, again – things always worked out for her no matter what.

Now, what got me thinking it might be my surname that was bringing me the bad luck, was 2 things. Anyone I knew in my extended family on my father’s side, if they had the same last name they usually were struck with the universe constantly shitting on them, or epic tragedy (such as major death in family, etc.) The other was that no matter what, I could set up the same exact situations as my half siblings, and go through the same actions, and with a probability of 50/50 I would meet failure each time. Now, at first I thought “well, can’t win ’em all. Maybe next time.” But more and more, things started to happen thad made me aware of odd things…

People in my immediate and my extended family who shared the last name always succumbed to major, life threatening atypical side effects of medications. Medical procedures always would go awry. Those with my last name were always the outlier that necessessitated surgeons and commercials alike to state things that were the most improbably, one in a million odds scenario due to legally having to say it even though it totally would never happen ever… we were the ones it always happened to.

Every family member I spoke to had similar experiences. Go in for a simple galbladder or appendix removal and BAM! Massive life threatening complications! That “We only tell you this because we’re legally required to, but the chances of this happening are literally infinitely small that we don’t see the point in telling you” group of people.

Well… I noticed a change to this… when my little sister got married. She and I share a maiden name and when she got married, holy crap did events governed by sheer luck alone begin to change for her. And it was an immediate difference.

When I got married, I was not expecting the sudden influx of things that just seemed to always work out. Everything from parking spaces at Wal-mart (I used to have to park at the very end of the farthest corner just to even get a spot. Now, I get first unmarked space next to the handicaps on a regular basis.) to weird medical situations. In the last 3 1/2 years, I’ve had symptoms mimicking a stroke and a heart attack, but when I get checked out – nothing but weird indigestion. Or an odd muscle spasm due to my back of all things. And I mean mimics CLASSIC UNDENIABLE SIGNS of these things – which is why it scares the shit out of me every time it happens and I go rushing to the ER with it.

But here’s the thing – in that 3 years, I’ve still had crazy things happen. Severely unlucky and unfortunate things despite my legal name change… because I could never get everything updated to 100% married name status. My medical records? Until I get back to the doctor and update my records – it’s all still in my maiden name. Since I got those cards in the mail though, the last scrap of my old name now gone for good, things have been working out quite well.

Now, I know it might just be all in my head, but I truly believe, given a long and thorough look at my family history, there might be a kernal of truth to this theory.

Anyway, my son’s nearly done with school for the year and then summer break!

I’ve got some books to read.

Filling Time with Meaning

Monday my son starts his special preschool. It’s also his birthday. Today I did double duty shopping – buying him clothes and a book-bag and various school things as well as birthday shopping. But mostly clothes and school things. (Seriously, he’s needed some new clothes for a bit now after a Winter growth spurt. But we were holding out until my mom’s taxes came in. They came in yesterday morning.)

We’ve already planned for the first week or two while he’s at school to finally get some serious cleaning done with regards to the room at the back end of the house, and rearranging furniture and such to give my son his own room and space.

But after that is done, and I run out of things to do at home to fill those few hours each weekday, I’ve decided to take up flash fiction writing. But first, I need to get the practice in before I turn around and submit my work to any publications. (I know, flash fiction doesn’t pay much, but it’s at least some pocket change here and there to treat myself to something nice. Like yarn, or a new book, etc.) But, I don’t want to post it here on THIS blog, because this is my personal space. Where I write about my personal stuff. My life, my kid, my family, all of that.

My biggest problem with attempting NaNoWriMo last year was time, energy, and commitment to large scale projects. I didn’t have all of the time and energy to spend on it. Though I wanted to. So I’ve decided to work on the smaller scale. Because I do have the time, and will have the energy to spend on small things. To start with, I’m going to practice with a 30 day writing challenge, likely sometime in either April or May. I find that starting on the first day of a month helps to keep these things straight and organized. I’ve got a list of prompts to use to start with, ones taken from multiple “30 day challenge” lists that I think would be fun or interesting to do.

When I do decide to move ahead with it, I’ll also be considering platform as well. Do I create a new blog? If so, what service would best suit my need and situation? Do i want it to go viral or do I want it more subtle and homey? Should I give in and get a Twitter and build up a social media presence for the project? These are all things I need to think about and plan out ahead before I start the project, that way I can focus on the writing and let the rest take care of itself.

Anyway it’s mostly just to get me to fill time each weekday. But whatever comes of it, I hope it entertains people.

A Fool’s Hope (I voted. I hope you did, too.)

Since Tuesday night, I’ve been debating with myself whether or not to talk about the results of the US Elections this year. And then even more when thinking about what aspect of it I wanted to talk about. I cannot decide, so I’m just going to ramble and see where it goes.

On Tuesday, I got up. I got dressed. Ran some errands. And in the afternoon, I voted. I voted for the candidate I felt would best represent my stance on issues I feel are important. I did this for every single race. Presidential, Representative, Senate, local officials, and even regular city officials. From top to bottom, over the last year, I’ve been reading. Studying. Comparing. Listing pros and cons, and been vocal, to those in my life that matter to me, about my views and opinions.

It’s my hope that everyone does their due diligence and researches the candidates and their platforms. But it is a fool’s hope. There will always be those who vote one party down the ticket, regardless of whether the person they are voting for is right for the job or not.

I’m not going to sit here and fuel the hate machine. I’m also not going to sit here and demonize those who didn’t vote the way that I did. Because that’s not how democracy works. That’s how many of us believe it works, but that’s not how it works.

It is my hope that, whomever any of my American readers voted for, they simply went out and voted. It is my hope that they exercised this simple right that we have which many others across the globe do not. I do not care who you vote/voted for, only that you do so.

If you voted Trump, I hope you did so after looking past the media propaganda and actually took the time to read up on his platform and learn more about his stance on the issues that are most important to you.

If you voted Hillary, again I hope you did so after looking beyond the media hype and actually took the time to look at her political track record, not just the bad but the good as well. And educated yourself on her platform and the key issues important to you.

If you voted third party, I know you’re likely catching a lot of hell right now. But I hope that if your vote was not a protest vote, that you voted for the person who’s platform and stance on important issues resonated with you and your views and morals.

But I do realize not everyone seriously examines their decision before casting their ballot. Again, the hope I have is a fool’s hope.

For myself, my vote is between myself and my ballot. And a few select people I chose to talk with about it.

What will the next four years bring us? Only time will tell. But what I can be certain of is that I voted for the candidates I felt were most in line with my personal views, my stance on key issues, and who I thought may be the best fit for the job. And that, to me, is what democracy is about.

As for those who didn’t vote, it would be easy to condemn them as well. But I won’t. Voter apathy is a problem, obviously. But there are many who would have loved to vote but could not due to reasons beyond their control. None of us will know a person’s reasons for not voting unless we are told explicitly why by the person themselves. For all we know, the little old lady down the street who gives out cookies couldn’t vote because she’s on probation for bad checks. Or the head of the debate team won’t turn 18 until the day after the election. Or the surgeons who couldn’t get away to vote even for early voting because they were too busy saving lives. Or the person who was on their way to the polls and had a car wreck. There’s hundreds, thousands of reasons why someone might not have voted. And I honestly wouldn’t feel right to condemn them for not doing so. I hope that if they’d had the opportunity to vote, they would have taken it.

But again, I recognize that this is merely a fool’s hope.

Life, Birthdays, and the MCU

I voted today. That’s all anyone needs to know about that. Now then!

So this last week was the start of NaNoWriMo – and I’ve yet been able to sit down and have the energy and time at the same time. The first week of November is always a busy one, so I’m going to marathon over the next few days to bring my word count up from 0 to at least something. This year is mainly my practice run anyway.

Additionally this week, my husband had his birthday! He’s 43 this year, and I made a very lovely from scratch dinner. Porterhouse steaks (beautifully marbled, roasted in the oven with just a hint of salt and pepper.) cooked alongside home made macaroni-n-cheese. And spinach. Usually I bake a birthday cake, but this year my health has been such that I just couldn’t do more than make him a nice meal. Let alone go out and buy a cake. Since my mother was working on his birthday, and we’ve only the one car, we stayed in and he played video games all evening while I tended to our son.

Doctor Strange also came out on his birthday, and we had planned originally to go out and see it opening day (but had the backup plan of dinner at home because at the time we didn’t know my mom’s work schedule for the next month). So instead, her first day off after his birthday, we went out for dinner and a movie. That was last night.

I’m not going to spoil the movie itself but there are 2 credit scenes. One mid-credits, and another after all the credits. One ties into the greater MCU via Thor, and the other is likely leading to a Doctor Strange sequel (gods I hope so because hot damn I need more Benedict Cumberbatch films in my life).

Anyway, after the movie, we went over to Hooters and had dinner. He loves hotwings, and I like their burgers. Though, our local Hooters… eh. The burger wasn’t as good as the others I’ve had at other locations (my favorite menu item is the Western Burger, so I tend to compare those more than other menu items). I think next time we go, I’ll order one of their chicken sandwiches. See how that goes. The night went super well, and we both really enjoyed the movie. Though the previews were just…. oh dear. One of them made me cry. IT was for a movie called “The Space Between Us”. The trailer for “Logan” played, which threw me for a loop because Marvel Studios and Fox rarely ever let previews for each others projects show before their films. (I think Deadpool’s success had something to do with this change in status quo.) It was sooooooo good. And I think the little girl he’s protecting might be X-23 (Wolverine’s replacement in the mainline Marvel comics. She’s a female clone of him). The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer was HILARIOUS as to be expected. I forget what other trailers showed as there were quite a lot of them.

As for non-plot related Doctor Strange stuff, now that I’ve seen the film, I think the actress they picked for The Ancient One actually works quite well. The thing about the MCU and the main Marvel Universe comics (Earth 616) is that they are two distinct Marvel Universes in the Multiverse. Marvel’s even given the MCU it’s own Multiverse designation. This means that it being a different universe, things happened differently. Instead of an Asian man (I do not know exactly what ethnic grouping The Ancient One in the comics is. Likely Chinese, but unsure. Hence the broader term of “Asian” here). Whereas in another timeline the The Ancient One may be Egyptian, or Native American, or yes – even a Celtic woman. Hell, in one universe Doctor Doom is the Sorcerer Supreme instead of Stephen Strange. That’s how vastly different things can be between Marvel universes.

The explanation given in the movie, while short and sweet, gives us more world building for this alternate timeline that makes up the MCU. And I for one love anything that expands on the MCU’s universe and it’s history.

But I bring this up only because again, after having seen the movie, and having brushed up on what Doctor Strange stuff I didn’t already know from the comics going in, everyone was so focused on a non-Asian woman being cast as The Ancient One, citing accuracy to the comics, and yet not a single person complained about Baron Mordo being cast as a black man. I mean if we really wanted to go for comic book accuracy, Baron Mordo is a white man. If we wanted to go for comic book accuracy,the most accurate film version of Nick Fury is actually, and I am loathe to say this, David Hassellhoff was the most accurate looking Nick Fury ever to grace our screens. And yet…. Nick Fury as we know and love him today is Samuel L. Jackson. – My point is, the MCU is an alternate universe, where things happened differently. As a result, there’s going to be changes to a lot of things. Changes to a lot of support and secondary characters. But despite these changes, the core elements of the stories themselves, the core elements that lead our heroes that we love to watch on the big screen, remain the same. Tony Stark was still fighting his way out of a terrorists cave, an arc reactor in his chest, using an Iron Man prototype. The only difference was which terrorist group snatched him up. Thor still was cast to earth, had to prove himself worthy of the hammer – he still had to fight against Loki, his adopted brother and thus become enemies and bitter rivals. Loki still fell from favor and became the bad guy. Bucky Barnes still became the Winter Soldier, but wasn’t Captain America’s teenaged sidekick first. And who the hell really knows how we went from a David Hassellhoff (though his film wasn’t part of the MCU, again he did play the character and is the most accurate looking actor to have done so.) looking Nick Fury to Samuel L. Jackson but, here we are.

And that’s the beauty of the MCU. The main, core characters, the IMPORTANT characters, remain the same. It’s the journey that led them down their heroic paths that’s changed. I mean, in the MCU there are no mutants! In the real world, it’s because of Fox owning the film rights to the X-Men characters and having copyrighted “mutants” for their films. So, we have Quicksilver in an X-men movie, and we’ve got Quicksilver in Avengers 2. The difference? One’s a mutant. The other is a result of experimentation (along with his sister, Scarlet Witch).

So, whenever someone begins to complain about who is cast for what, especially when it’s related to a Marvel film, I reserve any judgements on it until after I’ve watched it and if there’s a logical explanation for the change presented in the film, even if it’s a single throw away line, then hey. This is the canon of THIS universe, and is one of the many divergent points from which the MCU split from the main Marvel Earth 616 Universe.

And this post went into a direction I wasn’t expected it to. Anyway, that’s my ramble for this week or so. Time to get back to writing!

I Miss Windows 8.


I genuinely miss Windows 8. And never should have taken that free upgrade. See, despite the Windows 10 free update thing saying you “can go back to your previous version within 30 days” I couldn’t for the life of me figure out HOW to do that. And no matter what instructions I followed or found, it didn’t work… Until one day I was looking for another setting entirely and found the one that lets you revert to a previous version/build. Unfortunately, my old version had been long since deleted and I had resigned myself to being stuck with 10 simply because I just really don’t have the money to buy even an old system. And I don’t really like any of the Linux flavors.

Anyway, I miss Windows 8. Not the buggy and unstable 8.1. Just regular 8. I’m likely in the minority here, but it was very easy to use and navigate. And I found it much simpler than the traditional Windows interface from versions past. Don’t get me wrong, I was raised using Windows on computers. 98 will always be my preferred operating system for the sole fact that it was the last truly stable and solid operating system Windows ever made – with XP and 7 vying for second. But 8, for all that it was, worked. It worked. At least, until Microsoft went back and tweeked it to put the Windows launch button back into the task bar. That was literally the only true change to 8 that was made for 8.1, and it broke the operating system.

That said – I’m now on Windows 10, and I hate it. All of the above are valid reasons for pining over my former operating system, and the regrets of switching to 10 because “it was free” – but the one thing I miss the absolute most about 8 is the way that you could dock your apps to one side or the other. Top, bottom, left, right – it didn’t matter. Windows 8 made it a lot easier for me to multi task. I always have a minimum of 3 tumblr_ofavchyoou1ueccv4o1_540programs open at any given time. My screenshot in this post shows 4 programs open down in the task bar, and as I write this I’ve got 3 open. Unfortunately, the flexability of 8 was lost in the upgrade to 10. Windows 8 would allow me to have up to 4 programs docked and active at a time. One in each corner, with my screen divided into quarters. Double that if I had a secondary monitor linked into my laptop. Windows 10? I can’t have more than 2 programs docked at a time. Left and right only. This is very inconvenient for me, as I’ll be working on a picture in Gimp, writing in LibreOffice, doing research in Wikipedia, and further research in Firefox (often cross referencing between Wikipedia and articles and websites in my browser) – all at the same time for a single project. It was a very convenient and very useful feature for me. Now, I have to waste time going down to my task bar to find, select, then choose what else needs to be snapped into place beside it, or resizing each window – the interior of which may not properly shift or resize with it using this method – just to be able to do what I need to do. I became accustomed to the 30 second timing of opening and snapping my programs into position and then getting right to work. It actually helped my productivity. Unfortunately, it also spoiled me a little bit.

When plans fall through, sometimes the Universe throws you a bone.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been looking forward to it for most of the year because this year I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo. There’s also other projects I’ve been trying to find the time to work on, such as my Tarot reading business. It is October, after all. One of the busiest months of the year for intuitive readers, mediums and the like.

Amidst all of this there is, of course, my health issues, my daily household duties, my weekly errands and chores, and my special needs toddler. In every marriage and every parenthood, compromises and sacrifices must be made. Because my husband is also special needs (though higher-functioning so it’s a little easier to handle) he has to have specific routines. And part of his coping skills and support is working with his hands. It is very theraputic and helps him with his anxiety, his autistic meltdowns, and assorted other issues he has. If he did not have his hobby of costume and replica building, he would have a very hard time managing his condition, and I would have a hard time managing him when necessary.

Our son is also special needs, much like his father/my husband. He hasn’t been “officially” tested yet because we’ve been having trouble finding someone or somewhere that will test for autism under the age of 3. (We’ve now found somewhere in Atlanta, and are currently waiting for a call back from the referrall. In the meantime, we’re getting started on the paperwork for special needs preschool for next year.) This means that one of us has to put our personal interests and pursuits on hold until our son is older and is spending a little time in school each day.

By default, I am always the one who has to put things on hold and put things aside. Usually, I don’t mind because I understand that without my husband’s hobby that helps keep him grounded and has so much benefit for his mood swings, his anxiety, etc – my personal stuff isn’t used as a coping skill or management technique. It’s purely personal interest or curiosity. But sometimes it really does irk me. Especially when nights like tonight, the only time I get to myself to even write a blog post is in the wee hours of the morning, leaving me to get only a few hours of sleep at a time each day. Or, I sleep and never get anything of my own personal projects and stuff done.

However, all of this is due to change. See, once again I’d decided to push all my stuff aside, especially because my son’s been having a really rough time lately (and we’re still fighting him on the Potty Training issue) so I’m having to be more hands on and I’m having to put more of my time and energy into toddler wrangling than I normally do. This, of course, puts extra strain on my back and my knees because he’s a really big boy, and sometimes when he has one of his meltdowns (not a normal 2 year old tantrum, but a full blown autistic meltdown) I have to hold him to keep him from accidentally hurting himself. He’s the sort that he likes to throw himself around, throw things, etc. Once he managed to push me away and threw himself on his bed. Missed the pillow with his head and hit the rail. So, for safety’s sake, I have to hold him when he has one of these episodes. But, with my back the way it is… it takes one hell of a toll on me physically. Thankfully he’s not had any of his more severe meltdowns recently, but you never know when or how or if it’ll happen. So, I can’t let myself get too distracted.

I’d told my husband the other night that once again, I’ll put off my projects until November 2017. His response was that he felt like an asshole, but I told him I know how important his things are, and it’s easier for me to push my stuff aside.

That was, I believe, Saturday night? Anyway, on Friday my mom had an interview at work for another position in the house she works at. She got it, of course, but was told that it would be months at the earliest before she would be moved to the shift that she wants (second shift – 3pm to 11pm), but in the meantime she would be needed on first shift (7pm to 3pm) and would remain on 3rd shift (11pm to 7am) until a new hire for 3rd shift could be hired and trained to take her place.

Well, Monday my mom got a phone call. Starting October 17th, she is officially on second shift. What does this mean for me?

Well, it means that I don’t have to completely shove aside the things i want to do and the projects and interests I want to pursue. See, one of the major problems in my household was that my mom worked graveyard shifts, and slept all day. This meant that I could not do my youtube stuff when she was sleeping. They only room in my house I could do anything requiring video or noise is my livingroom… which is right outside my mother’s room. I also could not do things on the nights she was off because she would feel obligated to stay in her room while I was filming (though I’ve told her time and again she can pass through the back of the shot, it doesn’t matter to me or anyone else.) So the only time I could do anything requiring noise and a camera or filming of any sort would be after 11PM on nights when she worked. But, being so late in the day/night, by then I didn’t have the energy to do much more than play a round of solitaire on my laptop and pass out cold.

Now, when she’s at work during daylight hours, at reasonable times no less, I can set up in the livingroom for 1-2 hours a day and while my husband is having lunch or cuddle/bonding time with our son, I can be working on my projects undisturbed.

So, now I’ll be able to work on my novel for NaNoWriMo this year. Work on my business. Work on my personal projects. My blog. Pretty much anything I want that I’ve been putting off all this time.This in turn will help me with my stress and anxiety and assorted personal issues, will make me more relaxed so that i can turn around and not want to bite people’s heads off because I’ve been dealing with too much all day or week long with no break even to take a pee, which will help take some of the barbs out of my attitude, which will make me more pleasant for my husband to be around, which will help him relax and put him at ease knowing I’m not constantly pissed off and stressed, which will help our marriage overcome some hurdles we’ve been facing, which will help us be stronger and better able to raise our son in a stable home, and help us focus on his special needs.

All because my mom finally got a shift change at work – which allows me to have some peace and quiet at the other end of the house for a little bit each day.

It’s amazing how so many things can be set right by one little unexpected and seemingly insignificant change.