March for Life 2018

January 19, 2018 - Leave a Response

 

marchforlife.org

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Epiphany

January 7, 2018 - Leave a Response

Happy New Year!

We’re now a week into 2018. So far, the year has been okay for me. My family and I celebrated New Year’s at home, which we spent watching fireworks from around the world as well as the ball dropping in New York on TV. We usually pray in the new year, so Daddy said a few words just before midnight hit. After midnight, we stayed up for some time watching old clips of Who’s Line Is It, Anyway?, which Mommy and Daddy had just introduced to us. In the daytime, we had mint almond dream (an almond-based ice cream substitute that’s really good). January 1st is also the Feast of Mary the Mother of God, but unfortunately we didn’t get to go to church that day.

The next day, I had an appointment with Dr. Thom, and Levi had an appointment with an ophthalmologist shortly afterwards, so Mommy and I took a Lyft so that Daddy could drive Levi to his appointment (we currently only have one vehicle in working order; the other one is in the shop as of now). Our driver for the trip to the clinic was a funny, energetic guy from Jordan; and the man who drove us home was someone who used to work in Times Square. Levi’s appointment went okay; the ophthalmologist wanted to run some more tests, so he actually had to go see him again again the next day. That day, Simon’s birthday, Levi also had an appointment with Dr. Thom; so Mommy took him to see Dr. Thom, after which Daddy took him to the ophthalmologist.

Last Friday, Mommy and Daddy went to spend the night at a hotel at the coast, so Levi and I went to spend the night at Grandma and Papa’s house. Mommy and Daddy had a good time at the beach, although Daddy didn’t sleep very well due to a malfunctioning thermostat that kept clicking right above his head. Levi and I also had a fun time; Papa came to pick us up, and, when we arrived at the house, Stephie and our cousins were still there—so we were able to play with them for a while, before Clay came to take them home. Papa made Mexican food for dinner, and we played MarioKart with Sandy and Katie. We also introduced Katie to a new game Levi and I made, where we race each other to find random stuff wholesale on the Internet—possibly the weirdest thing she found were Greek Donkey Rubber Ducks, wholesale; but there were a lot of other weird things we found. Grandma set out popcorn for us, and Tami let Levi and I each have two of her chocolate candies that she makes (I had recently finished the last one she had given me, from my birthday). In the evening, Levi and I showed Grandma James Veitch videos. It was a good day, even though because of Mommy and Daddy’s trip we had to reschedule my piano lesson.

The next morning (yesterday), Grandma made us German pancakes for breakfast, and Levi and I played Super Smash Bros. Brawl with Katie on the Wii. Katie showed us some of the things she was given for Christmas—including a travel chess set, with which she and I played two games. We showed Katie Levi’s puppet’s latest video, and Grandma made us gluten-free hamburgers for lunch. On the whole, I had a really great time. Later in the afternoon, Grandma drove us home, shortly after which Mommy and Daddy made it back from the beach. Not long afterwards, we all went to Mass to celebrate Epiphany.

Technically, Epiphany is normally on the 6th, but our diocese celebrated it today this year. I slept in for a while today, and I had to take an ibuprofen for my head, but I still managed to shower and go through the rest of my regular morning routine before we went at 2:00 to Simon’s birthday party at the Tevebaugh’s house. Simon turned one this year; it’s a little bit strange, because sometimes I feel like he was born just a little bit ago, but I guess it’s mainly just because one year doesn’t seem that long when you’ve seen twenty of them. Mommy went to Barnes & Noble today to buy Simon presents (he loves books); we gave him two books: Penguin and Pinecone (by Salina Yoon), and Optical Physics for Babies (by Chris Ferrie). Simon seemed to have a lot of fun on his birthday, and the cake was really good—the Tevebaughs actually made two cakes: One for our family, since we can’t have gluten or dairy, and one for everybody else; which I thought was really nice and considerate of them. A lot of people made it to his party: Papa and Grandma were there, as well as Tammy (Clay’s mom); Sandy and Katie also came over and stayed for a while, and of course we were there. Eventually, Levi and had to go home, so we all went home to Daddy (who had left earlier). My head wasn’t doing great, but I decided to go with Daddy to Cash and Carry when he invited me, so I could keep him company and supply an extra pair of hands. Now, I’m at home resting my head, while Levi plays Planetside 2 on the PlayStation, and Daddy is at work cleaning his office.

 

 

Happy Epiphany, and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: If each state in America were represented by food, what would represent your state?

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: I’d like to make a pun about philosophy, but I Kant.

 

 

 

 

 

Silent Night

December 30, 2017 - Leave a Response

Merry belated Christmas!

Christmas this year was, well, interesting for me. This should be just a short post, but long enough for me to tell you about it.

 

We had some snow on Christmas Eve—although at first it was more of a mixture of snow and freezing rain—so we ended up having a white Christmas this year, after all. We expected the roads to be pretty icy, but we called a Lyft and made it safely to the Vigil Mass that evening.

 

The next morning, Christmas day, we saw what was in our stockings (my favourite part), and opened our presents. I think one of the gifts I’m most excited about this year is a 3D Chess set with three different planes, which is similar to one I designed some years ago in SketchUp. I think one gift that Levi received that he was probably the most excited about was a starter set for the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons; when he opened it, he almost had an asthma attack. I also received a lot of books this year, mostly about day trading, so I have a lot of reading to do. Daddy bought us a new remote for the PlayStation, so that all three of us (Daddy, Levi, and I; we’re still working on getting Mommy into video games) can play at the same time, as well as a lot of games—the one that I think is the most fun to play is called TowerFall Ascension. We had a fun morning; we stayed home until the afternoon, so that the roads could thaw a bit before we left for Grandma and Papa’s house.

Here’s where things went kind of south for me. I’m still not sure exactly why—whether it was the stress of finding a big spider in my room, only for it to go missing; or if I just pushed myself too much with playing video games and such; or some combination of things, or what—but, shortly before we were going to leave for Grandma and Papa’s, I had a really really huge headache (to the point where I had to stay flat on the floor for some time), and I went nonverbal. Mommy worked on me for a while, until my head had backed off some—although I still couldn’t really speak. Then, we had a kind of scary trip to Grandma’s house—the roads weren’t actually all that terrible, but our Subaru needs work done on it, so the ride was a little nerve-wracking; fortunately, Daddy drove well, and we made it there safely. It was annoying that I couldn’t excitedly wish people a Merry Christmas right off the bat, as I still couldn’t talk with my mouth, and I had to lie down in Grandma and Papa’s bedroom and rest my head for some time. Grandma and Mommy made sure that I was comfortable, and Sandy brought me some chicken jerky she had made for me, but I was still sad because I missed out on seeing people open a lot of their presents. I did eventually recover enough to come out and visit with people—as well as open more presents(!)— but I wasn’t able to really talk for hours; in the meantime, I did my best to communicate by signing, as well as texting. Fortunately, I was talking by dinnertime, and I was able to wish people Merry Christmas. The food was really good, and I had a fun time listening to people tell stories, as well as being able to verbally engage in conversations. The Tevebaughs left a while after dinner, and we went home not very long after they did. On the whole, despite challenges, it was a good day; and I’m glad that we were all able to spend the holiday together.

 

The next day, Tuesday, the four of us went out with Papa to go see The Last Jedi again. I think that I enjoyed it more this time through; it was less stressful for me, since I already knew what was going to happen in the plot, and I was able to focus more on details that I had missed or was curious about. After the movie, we went out to a Chinese restaurant, which unfortunately was closed; luckily, there are lots of Chinese restaurants around our area, so we went to a different one. The roads were still pretty icy, but Papa did a good job driving, and we were okay.

 

This evening, we went to Mass, and celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family (which is technically tomorrow, but we get to celebrate it today due to the liturgical day starting at sundown)—Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—which is one of my favourite feasts of the year. So, happy Feast of the Holy Family!

 

 

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve; the day after that, New Year’s Day, is the Feast of Mary the Mother of the God. For the first week of 2018, we have a few doctor appointments, as well as a couple of birthdays—Simon turns 1 on the 3rd, and my Grandpa Hauck will turn 87 on the 4th.

 

 

Merry belated Christmas, everyone; and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: What do your memories look like, exactly? When I remember things, it’s like I’m looking at a video; however, when I asked my family recently how they remembered things, I was surprised to hear how much they sounded more like vague notions than concrete memories, and it made me wonder how they make sense of their past that way. I’ve been told that the way I remember things is highly unusual, but I’m  still a little skeptical. So, specifically, what do your memories look like when you’re actively remembering them?

For bonus points, what do you see when you read a story? For me, it’s also like watching a video.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: What did Baby Corn say to Mom Corn?

“Where’s Pop Corn?”

“He went to serve in the army as a kernel.”

Sorry, that was corny.

 

 

 

 

 

20

December 22, 2017 - Leave a Response

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2017.356.

 

 

As most of you reading this may know, the Tuesday before last was my 20th birthday, which is also the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. So now Stephie, Clay, Tami, and I are all in our 20s; until Stephie turns 30 in February.

I had a pretty fun birthday: Grandma and Tami came over, as well as Stephie and her boys, and Papa was even able to stop by later in the day. Grandma gave me a nice new shirt, Tami made me really yummy chocolate candies, and the Tevebaughs gave me a really funny book called Milo and the Phantom Tollbooth (by Norton Juster)—which Mommy has been reading out loud to us. Levi made me another funny interactive fiction game this year, called All Hail The King!, which you can play online here; it’s worth several playthroughs—I still haven’t found all of its endings. My big gift this year from Mommy and Daddy (which I had no idea about) is a Windows tower computer with two big monitors, which I’ll be using to run software for day-trading. Mommy made brownies; and, all in all, I had a pretty great birthday, and it wasn’t even the day that we had my main party (which I’ll get to in a moment).

 

The Thursday before last was the day that the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality. Like probably most Americans, I was really disappointed in their decision, but I’m still hoping that Congress will overrule it—or at least stick up for the States’ right to make their own regulations, and that way we could at least try to get net neutrality rules on the books in Oregon. Barring that, maybe this could be a good opportunity to make a statewide public broadband, which would have to treat data equally by its own rules; but that would definitely take a lot of work and money. On a positive and totally unrelated note, that day Levi and I helped Daddy put up a big strand of 300 Christmas lights in our living room, and they look really nice.

 

December 15th (the day the new Star Wars movie came out) was Ludwik Zamenhof’s birthday, which Esperantists around the world celebrate at Zamenhof Day (or Esperanto Day). We unfortunately missed it this year (I think most of us were sick that day), but I’ve put it on my calendar so that we won’t again. Mi parolas iom Esperanton, sed mi ankoraŭ ne scias tre multe; mi ankoraŭ lernas ĝin, kvenkam mia patrino scias tre.

 

On the 16th, Grandma came over to help Mommy clean up the house, and they set up my desk in the office for my new computer. We were able to go to Mass that day, in evening, which was the first time for us in a couple of weeks.

 

Last Sunday was the day that we had my birthday party. Almost everyone I know well came to see me; Papa and Grandma came over (it was actually the second time I was able to see Papa that day, since he came over in he morning to watch the Vikings game), the Tevebaughs were there, as well as Papa Jeff and Grandma Ramona. We had a fun time; Mommy made more brownies, which this time were decorated with candles and such. Papa Jeff and Ramona gave me a card with a funny joke on it (which I’ll include as Today’s Joke in this post), and an invitation to go with them to Powell’s again; I’m excited to go to the bookstore, although I’m having a hard time deciding what I’m going to get, but looking around it is part of the fun—and my head will probably be doing a lot better this time. Uncle Andrew (who lives in Florida) sent me a present, which I opened at the party: it’s a book called The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham—it was published all the way back in 1949, but I’m told that it’s still very relevant even today. I’m glad that so many people were able to make it to my party; I enjoyed spending time with so much family all at once, and I’m glad that everyone seemed to have a good time as well.

 

The next day, Mommy took me to see Dr. Thom, and in the evening we all went with Papa to see The Last Jedi at the cinema. No spoilers here, but I will say that I overall enjoyed the new installment in the Star Wars saga (we enjoyed it so much that we’ll be going to see it again on Tuesday); I may write a more spoiler-filled post here in the future. One kind of non-spoilery funny thing I will say here is that, since I went there wearing my tinted glasses (as I usually do), I didn’t know that Admiral Holdo’s hair was purple until I heard people talking about it after the fact.

We had a good time seeing the movie together, and afterwards we all went to Chang’s Mongolian Grill.

 

 

We’ve all been under the weather for the past few days; I came down with a really bad bug the day after we saw the movie (although I technically started feeling bad last Friday—which is why I didn’t get to go to my piano lesson that day—but I didn’t really get super sick until after seeing Star Wars), and today’s the first in a while that I haven’t felt quite so terrible. I’m hoping that I will be fully recovered for Christmas, which is just three days away; it seems that Advent went really quickly this year, but I guess that’s just a kind of negative side effect of my getting older. I’m glad that I’m Catholic, so we have the excuse of having kind of an extra week of Christmastime until Epiphany.

I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: Snow—what do you think of it, can there ever be too much, and will you be getting some where you live this holiday season? (That’s technically three questions, whoops).

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: Why are birthdays good for you? Statistics show that those who have the most, live the longest.

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

Last Day of Being a Teenager

December 11, 2017 - 2 Responses

So, tomorrow (at exactly 1:30 in the morning*), I’ll turn twenty years old. It’ll technically be the first time that the tens’ place digit in my age changes (unless you count it as zero before I turned ten), something that I’m guessing will probably only happen about six or seven other occasions in my life.

I feel a little ambivalent about getting older. On the one hand, I feel a little sad that I’ll no longer be in my teenage years (in the twenty-teens, no less), and I find the thought of entering the world of the twenty-something rather daunting; on the other hand, I have to remind myself that I wasn’t particularly happy about becoming a teenager in the first place, and that I’ll soon be turning an even number again. And really, still being alive is pretty great overall, so I can’t complain about that. I’ve survived my teenage years—I managed to survive the whole itchy, sticky ordeal that is puberty; I survived a concussion a year and a half ago, my recovery from which finally seems to be progressing again; I lived through a drought in rural California; I graduated from high school, got my learner’s permit, learned more piano, became at least somewhat conversational in a few different languages, started volunteering, and generally learned important life lessons through experiences both good and pretty terrible. On the negative side, my OCD has gotten worse overall since I turned thirteen (hitting my head last year definitely didn’t help), but altogether I have been slowly improving in that area over the past five years or so. I’ve also learned a lot about the world—both fun facts, like how I learned today about English’s ablaut reduplication rules (ding-dang-dong; which is also why it’s the Big Bad Wolf and not the Bad Big Wolf, even though our standard adjective order would suggest otherwise); and not-so-fun facts, like how some people can be pretty evil at times, and not just in the terrorist-on-the-news kind of way. However, despite some negative experiences I’ve had or seen others go through, for some reason I’ve managed to come out of it all more optimistic, and with about the same level of trust in most of humanity as before.

When I was little, I had this kind of weird thing I would do where I would try to guess what I would look like as a grown-up. As I’m turning twenty tomorrow, and I see that I’m probably about as biologically grown-up as I’ll ever be, I find that the answer to my guessing is not really what I would have expected; but I’m okay with that. I finally hit my growth spurt, and started growing facial hair, in my mid-teens; as of now, I’m 5′ 8″, about 125 pounds, and have kind of a mop of curly blond hair that touches my shoulders and then some (my last haircut was on April 11th). I wear round-lensed glasses (when I was younger, I was told I looked a lot like Harry Potter; which I might’ve found flattering, had I been into Harry Potter at the time)—I’m quite myopic (on that note, my parents want to get me into another eye exam sometime soon, before our health insurance runs out—the last time I had one was about three years ago, but I’m really reluctant on going; especially since they might have to blow air in my eyes during the exam, I can’t stand that), and the frames of the pair I wear most of the time are tinted amber, to help compensate for the light sensitivity from my concussion. My facial hair has gone from a few awkward curly bits into an awkward curly beard, which has surprised me by coming in quite a bit red (it’s weird, since most of my hair everywhere else is blond; it must be the Irish winning out over the German, haha). My voice has a juvenile quality to it that sounds like I never quite crawled out all of the way from the dark, smelly pit that is puberty; I usually speak quite quickly (a speech therapist once told me I probably have something called cluttering), and I still go nonverbal sometimes. I ordinarily move around with quick, kind of jerky movements; although, since my concussion, I have learned to slow down some and not run as much out of necessity. I’m not sure how exactly, but despite my age and the whole growing facial hair thing I’m told that I apparently send out sort of “neotenous” vibes (even when people don’t know that I still usually enjoy—even sometimes prefer—children’s literature, music, movies, and shows)—something that makes even just slightly older women call me sweetheart, and keeps me from making people nervous when I look at books in the children’s area of the library. I honestly don’t really mind this, even though I’m sure there’ll probably be some situations in my life where it might be useful to be able to be intimidating. I guess it could just be how I carry myself, coupled with me being a little shorter than most people of my demographic; and I’m still learning about things adults both do and generally don’t, like casually climbing over furniture or bouncing on their beds (helpful note to those under eighteen: if your mom says that you can bounce on your bed once you’re an adult, she might be pulling your leg, and assuming that you won’t want to by the time that you technically are one).

Like it or not, I’ll be two decades old tomorrow. I don’t know what the future might hold for me (A sustainable income? Love? Children? Flying trains? More chocolate?), but I’m cautiously hopeful (and rather anxious, in both senses of the word), and I hope that God will use my life to change the world in a positive way (Or at least a net positive, right? Haha).

 

 

So, after reading through that long, self-absorbed rant, you might be wondering: Isaac, what did you do on your last day as a teenager?

Well, you’ll just have to patience and find out in a second; first, things that happened before today (society has rules, you know). Mommy and Daddy had a mediocre trip to Seattle, and Levi and I had a fun sleepover at Grandma and Papa’s; while we were there, we watched a movie I had heard of but never seen, called Arthur Christmas. We enjoyed it so much, Mommy borrowed it from Stephie last night so that she and Daddy could watch it with us. It’s a really sweet movie, and parts of it I also found very funny.

Most of the family fell pretty sick last week after all of the traveling; the most I’ve had so far is a sore throat and a runny nose, but Belladonna has mostly taken care of that—if there’s an illness going through, I’m typically the last in the family to get sick (obsessive hand-washing does have its perks, haha). Unfortunately, because people were sick, this year we didn’t get to go to the Immaculate Conception Mass again; we also missed church the following Saturday evening, when we usually go.

Fortunately, we were all mostly better by yesterday afternoon, when Mommy and Daddy took Levi and I to a play that they had seen earlier, as part of an early birthday present for me. It was called Come on, Jeeves, written by P. G. Wodehouse; it was pretty funny, kind of a comedy of errors. Afterwards, we went out for Chinese food (sensing a common trend?) at a restaurant we hadn’t been to in a while.

 

This morning, my last day of being a teenager, I woke up at 6:00; I had set my alarm, so that I could day trade using the simulation. I saw the news about the bomber in New York this morning, and I was relieved when I found out that the only major injury was the suspect’s.

I made $21.50 in “Matrix money”; I would’ve made about twice as much, but I had expected my short to go down farther than it did, so I waited too long and it eventually went back up; fortunately, I sold half of my shares before it went up, and still made a smaller profit with the other half.

After Daddy was done trading, he made me a really great egg sandwich for breakfast; and I watched a few episodes of WordGirl on the the big TV in the living room, with the volume down. I studied on Duolingo, and practiced some of my piano. In the afternoon, we watched Frosty Returns—which we hadn’t seen in some time, I think maybe about five years—as a result of which I had “Let There Be Snow” stuck in my head for a large portion of the day. Later, I took a shower, and Daddy made popcorn for Mommy, Levi, and I to have while we all watched George of the Jungle (this movie has a special significance in our family, since it was the one that Mommy and Daddy were watching before Mommy left to give birth to me at the hospital). Just a few minutes ago, we lit our Advent candles, said our prayers, and hung Jesse Tree ornaments on our tree that Levi and I made out of clay years ago. The only kind of stressful thing throughout the day is that I’ve been trying very hard to do a particular OCD ritual less, and not doing it often makes me very anxious (Thank God for Arsenicum Album); I’m hoping that I can soldier it through, though, and just do it once at the end of the day—rather than multiple times throughout it.

Overall, though, it’s been a nice and relaxing day; and an anticlimactic conclusion to my rambunctious teenage years (haha).

 

 

I honestly have no concrete idea on what I’m getting for my birthday, other than that Levi has worked really hard to make me another interactive fiction game this year. I didn’t know much about what presents I might be getting last year either, and my big present turned out to be a cellphone (so, I’ve technically had it for a year as of today, since my party last year was on the 11th). It’s kind of funny how I never had one nor really saw the need for one before, but I got used to having one so quickly that it felt weird going out without it when I’d had it for only a week or two; it’s been really nice to have around, and Mommy’s slept better in the past year (overall) because I can just text her if I need something, whereas before I’d often get up and wander around more often. I’ve also used it to rediscover my love of photography; I need to download all of the pictures from my phone at some point onto our external hard drive, as there’s over 43 gigabytes’ worth of pictures and videos on it.

 

Although tomorrow is my actual birthday, the plan tomorrow is just to have a relatively relaxed family celebration at home, and have my party for everyone on Sunday. A week from today, we get to go see the new Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, and I’m super excited; plus, as of today it’s only two weeks until Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: Would you rather be able to fly, or be able to breathe underwater?

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: Yesterday I bought the world’s worst thesaurus; not only was it terrible, it was terrible.

 

 

 

 

*Footnote: I would’ve probably have been born at around 1:10 AM, but nurses at the hospital held Mommy’s legs together (cough cough, malpractice, cough cough) to keep me from coming, as apparently the doctor wouldn’t be paid otherwise—I came out with a big bruise on my head (On a note actually unrelated to me being kept stuck in the womb, my right foot was folded up onto my leg, and I also had jaundice). Mommy and Daddy were only 18 and 22 at the time, respectively; if they were older and had money for lawyers, maybe they might’ve been able to sue for malpractice. Either way, though, I made it out into the rest of the world, and that’s what’s important.

 

 

 

 

 

St. Nicholas Day, 2017

December 6, 2017 - Leave a Response

St. Nicholas Day Shoes (2017)

 

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2017.340

 

 

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Last Sunday, Papa came over earlier in the day to watch a football game with Daddy, since the Minnesota Vikings were playing; the Vikings were competing against the Atlanta Falcons, whom they beat 14-9. Papa brought hot wings for him and Daddy, and a vegetable platter, for all of us; for lunch, Daddy made Levi and I really great egg sandwiches, with oranges (on the side, of course; they’d probably be kind of gross inside a sandwich). Daddy and I loaded up videos of the “Skol, Vikings” fight song and crowd chants for when they scored or things like that; I’ve honestly never been really into sports myself, but overall I enjoyed getting to spend time with the guys (Mommy was away, volunteering at her “Healing Touch” therapy thing) and seeing how excited Daddy and Papa were about the game.

Levi had a little bit of a scare later that day, while he and I were home alone (Daddy had gone shopping, and Mommy hadn’t come home yet); he had let Pat-me (his dog) out into the yard, and she wouldn’t come back inside when he called her. I got him a flashlight, and he went out to get her, when he noticed that she was sniffing something on the ground: A big furry animal with a fuzzy tail, lying completely still, about the size of a cat; he also saw another animal, but he only saw it very briefly before it scurried away—he said it looked like either a rat or a very mangy, shorthaired cat. He was naturally pretty disturbed at seeing what we assumed to be a dead thing, but he took the dog inside and went out again to get a better look at the animal in the yard. He said that it wasn’t bloody at all, but it showed no obvious signs of still being alive. He wasn’t exactly sure what kind of animal it was, but after describing it to me we thought it was probably one of our neighbour’s rabbits.  Once Daddy came home a little later in the evening, he and Levi went out to take a look at it; however, it was no longer there, so we think it was actually just playing dead.

The next day—the day before yesterday—was a busy day. Daddy flew up to Seattle (and boy are his arms tired!) to go to some training he had to attend for his work, and he came back that same evening; I had intended to track his flight on the way home, but he switched to an early one and I missed it. In the morning, Grandma drove me to see Dr. Thom (thanks, Grandma!), so Mommy wouldn’t have to worry too much about getting home in time to take Levi to his appointment with Dr. Shih. Before we went up to the second story of the building Dr. Thom was in, Grandma said that she didn’t like elevators, so we took the stairs instead—I said that she doesn’t like elevators; she takes steps to avoid them—badoonsh. When we came home, we picked up Tami—who had stayed to hang out with Mommy and Levi—and then Grandma dropped me off at the Tevebaugh’s, while she went to go shopping with Tami. I had a good time playing with Nathan and Simon, and Mommy came to get me shortly after she and Levi came back from his doctor appointment.

 

Advent has started; most of our Christmas decorations are up now, including our tree (which we put up on the 30th of last month), and the first candle on our Advent wreath is lit. Christmastime is my favourite part of the year, I absolutely love it; I like the religious aspects, I like most of the secular aspects, I’m an all-around Christmas person. The kind of ironic thing is that I think I enjoy the period before and after Christmas more than the day itself, as it can be stressful at times.

 

Today is St. Nicholas Day, which is one of my favourite days of the year; it’s like Christmas, but less stressful. Grandma took Mommy shopping yesterday, so she could buy treats to put in our shoes. I woke up early this morning—which was actually intentional, as I had set my alarm so I could get up and trade using the simulation while the markets were still open. It was very productive for me; I actually made a mistake with my first trade, as I somehow accidentally bought a stock when I needed to short it, but fortuitously I was able to sell it for a profit anyway. After just eleven minutes, I had made $219 in “Monopoly money”, so I called it a day and went back to lie down in bed shortly thereafter.

I was really pleased with the way things turned out this morning; one thing that it made it significantly easier for me was that it was the first time I was able to trade in the simulated market without delayed data, and the software just generally ran better with the live data. Daddy had helped me call the brokerage firm yesterday to help me get live data; I’m really uncomfortable talking on the phone, so I really appreciate that he was able to do most of the talking. For me, it’s hard enough understanding people in person a lot of the time (when you can read people’s lips for clues, if you need to), let alone trying to understand what people are saying over the phone. It’d be easier if there were subtitles or something like that (I actually prefer having subtitles on when watching TV); as a matter of fact, it’d be pretty cool if every conversation had subtitles, complete with parenthetical descriptions of this “subtext” thing I keep hearing about.

Anyway, back to St. Nicholas Day. After lying down for a while, during which time I watched an episode of WordGirl on my phone, I got up shortly after I heard that Mommy had gotten up. But I still had to wait until Levi woke up to see what was in my shoes. I was really excited and flappy (Mommy even started making cookies!); it felt like my brother was taking forever to get up, even though he actually ended up getting out of bed a little earlier than he usually does. The wait was definitely worth it; Mommy worked really hard this year to make sure that everything in our shoes was okay for us to eat, and her cookies turned out really great.

The only sad thing was that we heard that Papa’s car had broken down, and then he had to take Tami and Rowan (her cat, who swallowed about two feet of string last night) to the vet. Papa had to go home and take his pills, which meant that Tami was alone at the vet; fortunately, the vet they visited close to where we live, so Mommy went to go keep her company and provide moral support until Papa came back. Rowan had to have an ultrasound, but the good news is that it looks like he’s going to be okay.

Once Mommy came home, we watched VeggieTales: St. Nicholas—A Story of Joyful Giving. Afterwards, Daddy went to take a nap, and then Mommy took Levi to see Dr. Thom. In the preevening, we watched an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians“. Fun fact: This was actually the very first episode of MST3K that I ever saw, although this was the first time we actually saw it through in its entirety. Papa Jeff introduced it to us to Mystery Science Theater a few years ago, but we didn’t get really into it until around 2015.

 

 

Tomorrow night, Mommy and Daddy will be going up to Washington to attend a Christmas party thing for Daddy’s work, while Levi and I spend the night at Grandma and Papa’s house. This Friday is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and hopefully we should be able to go to Mass this year; on an unrelated note, it’ll also be my two-year anniversary of blogging semi-regularly again. I’ll be turning twenty in less than a week. I didn’t really think about it much until a few nights ago; when I suddenly realized that, in just a few days, I’d no longer be a teenager—there goes one more excuse I wish I’d used more, in retrospect, but such is life I guess. You can’t stop aging, although you can delay maturity if you try hard enough, haha.

In bad news: There are really intense wildfires in California, and getting into a nuclear conflict with North Korea might devolve into World War III, especially if China backs them.

In good news: If we end up blowing up this planet, it looks like K2-18b—about 111 light-years away—might possibly be habitable, and it’s even bigger than Earth; so that’s good for those of us who like to have a contingency plan. On a more selfish note, Daddy bought tickets for us to see the new Star Wars movie on the 18th, and Papa will be able to go with us as well! I’m pretty excited for it; it sounds like it’s going to be fairly unique, which I kind of interpret as being possibly really good or really bad. And, in other good news—it’s only nineteen more days until Christmas.

Happy St. Nicholas Day, everyone!

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: What are you most looking forward to in the coming holidays?

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: Two again today. Sorry, neither of them have anything to do with St. Nicholas or Christmas.

#1: Do you think if America switched from pounds to kilograms overnight, there’d be mass confusion?

#2: Jokes about communism aren’t funny, unless everyone gets them.

 

 

 

 

Post Script (12-7-2017 edit): I forgot to mention something interesting. Lately, our Internet had been running much slower than usual; so, last Monday—that really busy day—Mommy went to check the router. Just for background, our router is in a room that we use as an office and storeroom; it was added to the rest of the house at some point, so it’s a couple of steps down the main floor, and its insulation isn’t as good —the seal on the door is also not well done, which might be how a bunch of ants managed to come in from (assumably) our backyard and colonize our router. That’s right—ants were living inside our router; so we literally had bugs in our system, haha. Grandma and I had to leave shortly after this was discovered, which left Mommy and Tami to clean out the ants; Mommy shook out the ants, and Tami sprayed them. They think they managed to kill the queen, and they put down ant poison and peppermint afterwards; as of today, we haven’t seen any more ants, so hopefully that’s taken care of our problem.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving

November 28, 2017 - Leave a Response

Isaac’s Log—Stardate: 2017.332.

 

 

While Daddy was at work last Wednesday morning, Mommy left to go grocery shopping, after which she was going to stop by Michael’s. At what seemed kind of like the last minute, Levi said that he felt well enough to come along, and so he went with her. Before she left, I asked if I could spend time down the street at the Tevebaugh’s—since I hadn’t been able to see them very much for a while, and I don’t like being home alone—and Mommy said that I could if Stephie said it was okay. After they left, I unloaded the dishes, and shortly afterwards I received a text from Stephie saying that I could come over if I liked. So, after I texted my parents (and Stephie, to let her know that I was coming over—people are often a little paranoid about me wandering off or getting lost, which of course isn’t entirely unjustified), and did a few other things I had to do before I left, I went over to go play with my cousins. When I walked in the door, Simon walked up to me and gave me a high five; he’s gotten pretty good at walking now, and I expect it won’t be long until he abandons crawling altogether. Grandma was also there, helping Stephie out, and she didn’t have to leave until a little while before I had to go home; so I was able to spend some time with her, too. For holidays, Stephie and Clay often make this chocolate and coconut pie that I really like, and I got to see it partially made when Stephie asked Grandma to take it out of the oven. I had a fun time; we watched a squirrel in the backyard bury a nut after he was chased by a cat, Nathan and I played with his Hot Wheels cars (after he finished his macaroni and cheese), and I talked a bit with Stephie and Grandma. I stayed for quite a while; Mommy and Levi came home later in the afternoon, and Mommy texted me saying that she had to do the dishes, and that she would let me know when to come home when lunch was ready. However, I ended up leaving before she texted me to come home, because I had to deliver a message for Stephie, and Mommy wasn’t being very good with responding to texts that day. Fortuitously, by the time I came home lunch was already almost ready; which was good, because by that point I was pretty hungry. Later that day, Papa stopped by to pick up his computer, which Mommy had fixed; it basically just had to have its OS reinstalled, and it had just taken a little while to ascertain what the problem was. Mommy spent a lot of the evening in the kitchen, cooking food for the Thanksgiving meal at Grandma’s, while listening to Christmas music on the radio.

 

The next day, we went over to Grandma and Papa’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving. We watched The Muppet Christmas Carol (something that’s been a tradition for as long as I can remember—most of the family can pretty much quote it backwards and forwards). Simon thought Kermit was absolutely hilarious, which is particularly notable by virtue of his older brother being absolutely terrified of all things Muppet last year. I hadn’t eaten much that day, although I did have popcorn during the movie, so I had lots of room for dinner. Everyone who cooked put a lot of hard work into making sure that everyone could eat what was made, which is pretty impressive considering our family’s various dietary restrictions, and all of the food was really good (except assumably gravy, because gravy is by definition disgusting no matter what you do to it; although of course I can’t really say so with any certainty, since I didn’t have any). I had a good time spending the day with family; and, after dinner, Papa and Daddy watched the first part of It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m not super fond of this movie, and I’ve had a propensity to cry when George Bailey yells at Uncle Billy for losing the bank’s money. One thing that I think is kind of funny in a weird way is the scene where George loses it when he sees Mary living alone in the alternate universe where he’s never been born. Why this seems weird to me is that he managed to maintain his cool when he found out, in quick succession, that many of the people he’s known are dead, homeless, institutionalized, or implied to be a prostitute; and yet when he sees his wife alone but apparently pretty well for herself (and, on a selfish note, not married to anybody else—there’s actually a funny Studio C parody of the film, in which that isn’t the case), that’s when he flips out.

 

Last Saturday, we went over to Grandma’s house again in the early afternoon, to play another session of Dungeons and Dragons with Clay. We had to finish up relatively quickly, so that we could leave in time for church in the evening, but I had a fun time. As the holidays wind down and Clay has fewer three-day weekends, I know that we won’t get to play as often as we’d like, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

 

 

On Sunday, we went out to lunch at one of Daddy’s favourite Chinese restaurants, and in the preevening we went to the cinema to see The Man Who Invented Christmas (Spoiler alert: It’s not about Jesus; which maybe it should have been, given the title, haha), which is a partially fictionalized story of how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol. It was actually very well done, and overall I enjoyed it; I’d recommend anyone who likes Charles Dickens’ work to go and see it if they can.

 

 

Yesterday, I helped Daddy clear out both of our refrigerators (Daddy tends to buy in bulk, which is one of the reasons we have two). To say it was really gross might be kind of an understatement; regardless, though, it seems I have inherited Mommy’s bias against throwing away food that’s still mostly good (although, to be fair, I have a hard time throw away most things; if I didn’t also have a sort of general aversion to getting new things, then I’d probably be a hoarder to some degree or another). It was kind of fascinating, finding the increasingly aged bags of lettuce as I made it further towards the back of the fridge; some of it seemed to be practically fermenting. Now our refrigerators are full of only edible food, and I think we’ll be more careful about the quantity of lettuce we buy in the future.

 

Today, Mommy went on one of her hospice visits, and ended up staying for a vigil. Papa came over in the afternoon, and helped mount a new wind-up clock Daddy had ordered for the wall (unfortunately, he’s probably going to have to return it, because it’s only partially functional). Afterwards, Daddy suddenly asked Papa if he’d like to get some Chinese food (Chinese food again, yes; but hey, Daddy likes Chinese food, and fortunately I do as well) before our nearby restaurant’s lunch specials expired, which he thought was a good idea; so we went in Papa’s car to the restaurant, and managed to make it with nine minutes to spare. This evening, we’ll be finishing up the last twenty minutes of a really funny episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which we started last night. I’m hoping that we can get some Christmas decorations up soon, but I think that they’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

 

 

I’ve started trying to learn how to day trade; so, for the past couple of mornings, I’ve been setting an alarm on my phone and getting up early, to try to learn the ropes of the software (with simulated, “Monopoly” money, of course) while the markets are open—I’m live in the Pacific Time Zone, so the NYSE opens at 6:30 in the morning for me. I was worried that getting up that early would take a greater toll on the headaches from my concussion, or that I’d have to take naps or something, but so far things haven’t been really any worse than usual; in fact, today I think I have more energy than usual (especially in contrast to my family, who have been pretty tired lately in general). Daddy’s been learning how to day trade for about a month now, but he hasn’t been pushy with getting me to do it all; although he’s been very helpful and encouraging when I’ve had questions about it. I was initially attracted to the idea day trading because, if I get good at it, it could be a good way to make some money—for only about 30 hours a week, at times when it’s not uncommon for me to be lying awake anyhow—whereas if I have to get an ordinary, 9-to-5 job, I won’t be able to have as much time for projects, not to mention get to volunteer very much (which I’m hoping I’ll be able to do more often, especially as my head continues to get better)—that’s my reasoning, anyway; we’ll see how it goes. Still, I was expecting it to be perhaps sort of boring, but it’s actually turning out to be really interesting; it’s very mathematical, and I’ve had a soft spot for economics since I was little. Time seems to go by a lot faster than I’d expected it would—it’s one of those activities where you get kind of engrossed in what you’re doing, and then look up and suddenly realize that’s been almost two hours.

I was actually feeling really elated this morning, because I probably would’ve made about $140.42 if I was trading with outside of the simulation, and it was because I recognized a trend myself and took advantage of (up until then, I’d just been doing some of Daddy’s signals to learn, since the simulation was 15 minutes behind). Both Daddy and I are still learning it all, but I’m excited about gaining proficiency in it; it can be a frustrating learning curve, but overall I’m having fun.

 

 

 

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of us moving into our new house; it seems strange that time has flown by so quickly this year—on that note, here‘s a really neat project I found online a while back that you might be interested in, which shows how time seems to speed up as we get older.

Anyways, thank you for reading this rather rambling post. Happy belated Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: What’s something that you’re thankful for?

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: A guy told me this one a little while back, when I was in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. I thought it was pretty funny, but I suppose the setting will have to change when the Cascadia quake hits.

A schoolteacher in California decides to take her students out on a field trip to a ranch, to see where meat comes from. During their tour of the ranch, an earthquake hits—trees fall down, a barn collapses, and soon all that is left is a pen where they keep the bulls. One of the kids goes up to one of the bulls, and asks, “Hey, how come you guys are still standing?”
The bull answers, “Haven’t you heard? We bulls wobble, but we don’t fall down.”

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

Net Neutrality

November 22, 2017 - Leave a Response

As many of you reading this might already know, yesterday the commission chairman of the FCC announced that they’ll be voting to repeal Obama-era protections for net neutrality on December 14th; and that the FCC is also trying to prevent people from creating their own net neutrality legislation at the state level. This seems to me to have been kind of a strategic move on their part, since they probably figured that the media would be at least partially distracted by the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Because of this, I composed an email to send to my legislators in Congress, a similar version of which I’m providing below. I encourage all of you who live in the States to contact your own senators and representatives in Congress; please feel free to use what I’ve written as a base, and edit it as needed.

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, everyone.

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 

Dear [Representative or Senator] [Name],

Hello, my name is [Name], and I live in [City].
I am contacting you out of concern about the future of net neutrality. As you may know, Ajit Pai, the commission chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, announced yesterday that the FCC will be voting to put an end to its current protections for net neutrality on December 14th.
I believe in the principle that Internet service providers should treat all traffic equally; and that, by tossing out our current regulations, we may very well have a future where ISPs favour or block websites and applications according to their own interests.
This isn’t just an issue of telecommunications, this is about equal treatment and access to information. If the FCC follows through on favouring corporate interests over the American people at large, they will be giving undue power to ISPs; due to conflicts of interests, I believe that this will ultimately stifle innovation, education, economic competition, and—most importantly—intellectual freedom.
Therefore, I urge you to do all that you can to work with other members of Congress to overrule the FCC before their vote, to ensure that our current protections for Net Neutrality remain free from manipulation.

Thank you very much for your consideration,

 

 

[Name]

 

 

 

 

 

My Fall Recital

November 21, 2017 - Leave a Response

Daddy and Papa left early in the morning on Saturday to go to Minnesota for the Vikings vs. Rams game. I had hoped to see them off, and thought that I had a pretty decent chance of doing so (since I usually have a good deal of trouble falling asleep); but unfortunately I didn’t get to, since I was already sleeping. I like to track aircraft, most of the time with a cool website called flightradar24.com, but I didn’t get to track them on their way there; however, I was told that they had had a good flight; they had a really strong wind behind them, and apparently they even landed about half an hour early. They went to the Mall of America on Saturday, had a good time at the game the next day (the Vikings won, which was the team they were rooting for), and overall it seemed like they enjoyed their time in Minnesota. Minnesotans are notoriously friendly, and it sounded like most of the ones they interacted with pleasantly lived up to the stereotype. Daddy and Papa came home yesterday; this time their flight was not as nice, as they ran into turbulence toward the end, and they were both very sick to their stomachs by the time it finally landed. One neat thing I learned is that, since they logged in online beforehand, security wasn’t as tight for them; they didn’t have to walk through a metal detector, and didn’t even have to take off their shoes or remove their belts. I haven’t flown since 2006 (it made my arms too tired, haha); even though it was after 9/11, that was still before a lot of the TSA went kind of nuts with patting people down and stuff like that, but I remember that I still had to take off my shoes when we went through security. This is kind of a relief to me, because, even though I haven’t really had a need to fly anywhere for over a decade; it’s good to know that, if I take a few necessary steps beforehand, there’s a much lower chance of being touched by a stranger in the event I ever have to go somewhere I can’t realistically drive or ride a train to.

 

This Saturday, Mommy took Levi and I to Mass in the evening, and that night we stayed up past midnight listening to her read Harry Potter (we finished the book we were in); ironically, we still managed to end up in bed earlier than usual. The next day, Sunday, was the day of my piano recital; Daddy wasn’t able to come, since of course he was in Minnesota (they had planned the trip long in advance, before we knew exactly when my recital would be); but Grandma was able to make it, which made me happy. The recital took place at an Evangelical church about twenty minutes or so away from our home; their building was very nice and well laid out, and was just the right size for the number of people who came. Before the other students and I played our songs, we first had to have our pictures taken. The first ones were taken of us at the piano individually, so we all had to line up. While I was in line waiting my turn, I told jokes (which admittedly is kind of my go-to thing when I’m not sure what to say) to the student behind me, and she also told me a funny one that I hadn’t heard before (I’ll feature it as one of the jokes in “Today’s Joke”, below). Later, we had to take another picture, which was a group picture of all of us at the front of the church. We had to line up again, this time by height; I was the second-tallest, although by a significant margin (granted, I’m kind of thankful for that, as I was the only student with facial hair; so I’m glad that I didn’t have another reason to stick out). We then were led into the sanctuary for the big group picture; this was probably the hardest part for me (other than when I actually performed), as they had ambient music playing from a speaker at the front of the steps we were on, which was really loud (even with wax earplugs)—fortunately, I was in the back, since I was in the tallest line. I tried to smile for the pictures, but in the one I saw one afterwards it was pretty obvious that I was in discomfort; I guess I’m just not very good at disguising emotion.

I was really nervous about performing, as I usually am—technically, recitals are optional for me (since I’m older), but I still do them anyway; since, even though they can be stressful, I find that they’re a good way at challenging myself. The recital was pretty long (there were 56 songs, and I was numbers 24 and 25—my teacher had me toward the beginning of the middle, so that my head would still be doing okay), but all of the students did a good job. When it was my turn, I played Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (arranged by Pam Turner), after which I played a shorter song called Going Undercover by McFarlane (which I’d only been practicing for a couple of weeks or so). I actually messed up a good deal during my first song, when the key changed; which upset me a lot, especially since I had worked really hard practicing correctly. Fortunately, it turned out that no one really noticed (even my teacher apparently only heard me messing up one chord, and complimented me on my tempo, which was the main problem I had been having when practicing); even though I felt pretty embarrassed at the time, I felt better after I listened to a recording of it afterwards. At the time, though, I didn’t know that it sounded okay, or that people were even humming along to it; not to be melodramatic, but it felt more like I was desperately trying to put a train back on the rails after a big wreck. It’s kind of surreal when you make what seems like a big mistake in front of a bunch of people; if felt sort of like I was dreaming at first, or watching it happen to someone else. But, overall, it all worked out; and I managed to carry the melody throughout my errors, with only one really noticeable blip. All the same, since I didn’t know at the time that no one noticed, I was pretty happy that my teacher had talked me into playing a second song (which was much shorter and easier to play), and I felt like I had at least ended on a good note.

Once the recital was finished, we went into the church’s hall (which was conveniently just behind a big curtain at the back of the sanctuary) for refreshments. Mommy had brought muffins she had made, but not many people ate them (hey, more for us)—she thinks her sign might have scared people away (it said something like, “Gluten-free, Milk Free, Sugar Free, Made from Almond Flour”). I filled out a sort of questionnaire thing, and played a kind of game where you had to get students to sign boxes on your paper that corresponded to some quality (“Student who can draw a fermata”, “Student who has a sibling who plays piano”, etc.).

I was told that we could go out to eat or go to Grandma’s after the recital, but it was pretty dark by then, and we were all pretty tuckered out; so we went home not long after Grandma did, and had a relaxing evening at home.

 

The next day (yesterday), my head was doing surprisingly well when I woke up, especially considering everything I had done the day before. Daddy and Papa came home in the late morning,  and we visited with Papa for a while before he went over to the Tevebaugh’s to give Nathan and Simon a couple of HotWheels cars he had bought while he was in Minnesota. He went home shortly afterwards, and the rest of the day was pretty relaxing.

Unfortunately, today I woke up with a pretty big headache, which is still not doing very well. I got to see Grandma, since she came over to help Mommy with the housework for a while, which was nice. Daddy’s still has a lot of jet lag from his trip, and he’s been taking it easy most of the day. Levi’s actually been doing pretty well overall lately, and he’s been particularly industrious with his various writing projects.

The past week had been pretty busy for me, with the trip to Salem and my piano recital (I remember comforting myself the Monday before last by reminding myself that it would all be over in a week), and it’s kind of funny how weird it feels not to have anything major up ahead to be anxious about. The only major thing this week is Thanksgiving at Grandma’s; we’ll also get to play another session of Dungeons and Dragons with Clay this Saturday, and on December 3rd we’ll start the new liturgical year with the first Sunday of Advent (which is always exciting; yay, Christmas!).

 

St. Cecilia (of course, this is kind of a romanticized depiction, since she wouldn’t have played a Renaissance-era pipe organ in 3rd-century Rome).

 

Also, tomorrow is the Feast of St. Cecilia. She was martyred in the 3rd century, and is the patron saint of musicians. So, happy St. Cecilia’s Day in advance, everyone!

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go?

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: Two jokes today, actually. The first one is the one someone told me at the recital.

#1: Why do seagulls fly over the sea? Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be baygulls.

#2: This morning a criminal broke into an animal rescue and released all the dogs; the police are still desperately looking for any leads.

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Trip to Salem

November 16, 2017 - Leave a Response

Flags!

 

A little background: Last month, I emailed my state representative, Janelle Bynum, about some ideas I had for criminal justice reform (the details of which can be found at the end of this post, under “<politicsSection>”). Some time later, I heard back from her chief of staff, who helped me set up a meeting with her, as well as a tour of the capitol building.

 

So, the day before yesterday, Mommy drove me down to Salem to meet with the representative. She wasn’t feeling 100%, so I’m really grateful that she took me—even if my head had been doing absolutely stellar, and even though Salem is only about 50 minutes away from where we live, most of the trip is on the freeway; I’ve never driven on freeways before, so driving all that way is kind of out of the question (I do want to start driving again sometime soon, and I think I definitely could for a while on at least most days, but my parents want me to start back small). Although I was excited, I was also very anxious about going, especially since the day before my head was bothering me so much that I was more or less nonverbal for some hours. I was nervous about talking, meeting new people, going to a new place, and so on. Mommy had gone to the capitol building on a field trip back in junior high, but I had never been there before.

 

We were able to find parking not very far away from the building (we had to pay for it at a meter, which I found kind of interesting; I don’t get out much); it was really windy that day (as you can tell from the gif of the flags above, which I made from a video I took when we were leaving and the wind had calmed down some), but we didn’t have long to walk before we made it to the building.

 

 

The capitol is really big, and echoey in parts (I wore wax earplugs). The building is impressive, but it’s also open, and didn’t come across to me as overly imposing. We went to the information desk, where a helpful elderly woman helped us find my representative’s office number.

When we arrived outside the office, we met with the representative’s chief of staff, Ms. McLean (the person who had responded to my email in the first place). We were a little early, but I shook hands (conveniently the one form of physical contact that I’m good at) and introduced myself to Representative Bynum before she had to be somewhere else for a short meeting somewhere, and then Ms. McLean brought us inside the representative’s office. We only had to wait a few minutes before she came back, during which I was able to thank Ms. McLean for helping us set up the meeting, and we talked briefly about the ideas I had.

The meeting with the representative seemed to go really well, better than I expected it would (even though I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect). Daddy had help me print a couple of handouts with my ideas in bullet points, one of which I gave to the representative. She was nice, seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, and didn’t come across as condescending or glib. She went through each bullet point individually, either to share something from her perspective regarding it, and/or to ask me questions for clarification. She said that my ideas were on point, as far as being related to some things already being brought up in the legislature about the judicial system, and said that she’d research bills already in progress that might be related to them, as well as bring them up to committees. She also showed me where I can track bills and watch sessions online (I’d been to the legislature’s website before, but didn’t know that you could watch sessions there, which I thought was really cool), and gave me a big stapled book of the legislature’s schedule to take home. Representative Bynum said that, if I wanted to, I could come down and testify at one of the hearings, or send in a written statement. I was also told that I could even intern under her for a day in February if I wanted, and I’m hoping that my head will be doing well enough by then that I will be able to.

The meeting didn’t take very long (it was probably under 20 minutes), and afterwards we went to the gift shop, and then we had a little time to kill before we had a tour of the building. There was a coin press, but we were short 25¢, so we didn’t get to use it. However, there was a neat display of uniforms and medals; one was of a WWI veteran’s dress uniform. I knew some of the basic things the tour guide said (like how there’s 60 representatives in the House, 30 senators in the Senate), but I also learned a lot of interesting stuff that I didn’t know. For example, I learned that in the House of Representatives people vote electronically by pressing buttons, while people in the Senate vote still vote verbally by saying Aye or Nay. Possibly the coolest thing I learned is that, in the foyer area of the governor’s office, there’s a little Oregonian flag, which was one of the ones that went to the moon on Apollo 11 (there was even some moon rock above it). I also learned that the marble in part of the building’s floor, which is from Missouri, has fossils that you can find in it. The current capitol is very old, built in the 1930s, but is actually the third one to be built; the previous two both burned down, the first due to arson, and the second because of an electrical fire. It was fun to play tourist (I took pictures and videos with my phone, which I tend to do a lot of the time anyway), although I was pretty tired by the end. We left right after the tour, and still had a good deal of time left on our parking when we made it back. I’m really glad that we went, and I hope to go again.

 

 

On a totally unrelated note, a weird thing happened to Daddy later that day; well, technically at night. He went out to go shopping, and beforehand he said he had to stop by a bank to get some cash. I warned him not to use an ATM; he said he would be using one, but that he wouldn’t get out of his car. I’m glad that I didn’t say anything really snarky; because, as it turned out, he actually did have a couple of guys apparently try to sneak up on him while he was at the ATM outside the bank (which isn’t far from our house). While he was there, he noticed two large (well, at least compared to him) men in his rearview mirror, approaching him from behind at a pace somewhere between a casual walk and a persistent jog. I honestly don’t know exactly what I’d do had I been in this situation; hopefully I would have noticed that it’s really suspicious for anybody to walk through a drive-thru ATM at night, but I don’t whether or not I’d have the presence of mind to think of a good plan of action. Fortunately, Daddy was pretty smart: He revved his engines, and the two men stopped and looked at each other; then, he held down his car horn for about eight seconds, and they ran off. So it all turned out okay in the end, and there was no actual confrontation; fortunately, Daddy didn’t get hurt, and no one tried to threaten him or anything (which is also good, because he probably would’ve tried to run them over).

So, I think the moral of the story is: Don’t go to banks or outdoor ATMs at night, especially alone. Whatever it is, it can probably wait until the morning (I say this, even though Daddy and I often had to go to banks after dark back when we were collecting rents for Ms. Theresa).

 

 

The next day, Mommy went to get an ultrasound for her neck artery (she heard back today, and everything’s fine). My head hurt a lot that day, so it was mostly a resting day for me.

 

Today (which is the feast of St. Margaret of Scotland; according to geni.com, she is my 28th-great-grandmother) I went and had another appointment with Dr. Thom. My appointment was actually tomorrow, but we made a mistake with our calendar, and came today; fortuitously, he had just had a cancellation, so we were able to see him anyway. I came home and played Stardew Valley for a long time (Levi’s nice and shares his game with me), and then I practiced my piano. Later we had lentil soup that Daddy made for dinner, while we watched The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon on TV. A little bit afterwards, Levi had a seizure (he’s okay now); now I’m finishing up writing this blog post, and becoming kind of pedantic (I thought that this one was funny in particular, because I actually do count my cereal, among other things I eat; my OCD and I have a complex relationship with even and odd numbers, namely that most even numbers are awesome, while odd numbers always remain with an uncomfortable remainder after being divided by an even one).

 

This Saturday, Daddy and Papa are going to Minnesota, to see the Vikings vs Rams game on Sunday. My recital will also be on Sunday; I’m looking forward to it—although, as always, I’m nervous. This coming Tuesday is the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, Wednesday will be St. Cecilia’s Day (she’s the patroness of musicians, so I’m asking for her to pray for me on Sunday), and a week from today is Thanksgiving (unfortunately, Uncle Andrew won’t be coming this year). On the 29th, we’ll have our 1-year anniversary of moving into our new home—on that note, our lease was renewed not long ago, so it looks like we’ll get to spend three Christmases in the same house (something that hasn’t happened for over ten years)!

 

 

There are two things in the news (unrelated to my life) that I’d like to mention, one good and one bad.

Let’s start with bad, so we can end on a positive note. As many of you probably know, there was a shooting at an elementary school (and other locations) in Tehama County, in Northern California. There’s been a lot of high-profile gun violence this year, which is really sad; the school that was involved in this particular incident is only about 45 minutes away from where we used to live three years ago, which is pretty freaky, although obviously I’ve known people who are undoubtedly feeling much more immediately effected.

Here’s the positive, totally unrelated news: Yesterday, a roughly Earth-sized exoplanet (only 35% more massive) was discovered orbiting within the habitable zone of Ross 128, a red dwarf that’s only 11 light-years away! As you may or may not know, a different exoplanet was discovered last year, also orbiting in a red dwarf’s habitable zone—in this case, Proxima Centauri, which is currently the closest star to the sun (about 4.2 light-years away). However, the habitability of Proxima Centauri’s planet has been questioned, since it gets pummeled with so much ultraviolet radiation, so Ross 128’s might be a better candidate in our search for extraterrestrial life (or a place to host a future colony). At this point, we don’t eve know if the new-to-us exoplanet even has an atmosphere, but I’m hopeful. I’m really excited how far we’ve come in detecting exoplanets in recent years; I know it kind of sounds silly, but we didn’t even know for sure if they even existed until 1992—and now we know of over 3,500!

 

 

Well, that’s all I have for now; thanks for reading. Be nice, make good choices, and eat your vegetables.

 

 

 

 

Today’s Question: If you could change one law, what would it be?

 

 

 

 

Today’s Joke: This is one that made my representative laugh pretty loudly: What do you get when you cross a bank with a skunk? Dollars and scents.

 

 

 

 

-Isaac““