2021-07-01 Answers to Christina's Questions

Christina keeps posting monthly questions to her phlog.

List five items you are most likely to buy at a convenience store. I had to look it up. What is a convenience store? Can I buy convenience? Apparently it is what we would call a “mixed goods store” in German. Well, when we’re pretty structured in what we buy for food. But how to limit it to five items? We buy several things all the time. I guess the give things I make sure we have at home are flour, butter, cheese (and with these three we have cheese sandwiches taken care of!) and then perhaps cereals and yoghurt (which is what she prefers for breakfast). I actually eat my bread with butter and honey or butter and jam in the morning, the cheese is for every other time of the day. I don’t like cereals too much. I eat Müesli when I forgot to bake bread. The Müesli house mix I prepare for my wife is equal amounts of oat and spelt, some almonds, some sultanas, and some linseed.

New year resolutions are common, but do you set monthly, quarterly, semi-annual personal (not career development) goals for yourself? Every year I have a big summer break and I try to prepare a list of things I’d like to do for that summer. This summer, I wanted to make more music, and I wanted to create more photo albums. I’ve bought some musical instruments, and I’m dabbling with music every day, but I haven’t reached that goal of spending more time making music than programming. That’s something I’m still trying to do.

Have you ever written or read fan fiction? Never. I haven’t written much fiction. I suspect that I’ve done the most writing for our role-playing campaign wikis. All those session reports! A strange form of derived fiction, one might say. There’s the author of the rules, the author of the setting, the author of the adventures, the referee running it all, adding their own world, their own maps, their own characters, their own plots, and then there are the players, running their own characters, making their own decisions, and dice being rolled, and somebody writes it all up in the end. How strange.

Whom do you miss the most? A difficult question. I love my wife, and she’s my best friend. We understand our foibles, we share our humour, we have opinions that are similar enough so we feel comfortable with each other, and different enough so we have things to discuss. I don’t miss her because she’s not gone. Perhaps I miss the shadow people, the imaginary friends and family I didn’t have. Do you ever get that feeling that things are perhaps not quite right buy you can’t say what’s wrong? That feeling when you miss a soulmate and you wonder: is it my fault? What makes this so bloody hard for me? I mean, I’m lucky: I found a soulmate. Is there just one? Can there be friends that feel like lost halves? Are the more people to tag team through life, having each other’s back, joyous, boisterous, gregarious, with that wordless understanding? I was so lucky to find my soulmate as a teenager: if we’re ever separated by that pearly gate, can we turn around and will we ever be that lucky? I fear I’m a melancholy person, and a loner. Happy to be alone, and still missing something, sad about something, not knowing what it is.

Who was the most famous person you shook hands with? The Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philipp… I was with the American Boy Scouts at the English School in Portugal. They shook hands with all of us and asked us a short question or two. It was a long time ago. I must have been twelve or so.


@takeonrules talks about missing their children. I sometimes wonder what we gave up when we decided not to have children. I once heard my mother say something to the effect that she and her brothers suffered because their parents loved each other so much and there was not a lot of love left for their children. That’s how I feel towards the children I might have had: I’m sorry there was no place left in my life for you. My heart I gave away, my time I filled with computers and books. I did not want to take the time. I used to say: perhaps in a world without contraception, I might have been a good father. But I could never get myself to make the choice: to give something up for children. This entire business seemed way to risky to me. I am a child of the Cold War. I thought about nuclear fallout a lot when I was a kid. Then I thought about the War on Drugs, and the ongoing climate catastrophe. There just wasn’t ever an opportune time window. I am much too pessimistic about the future.

– Alex 2021-07-03 06:54 UTC

With my children, I did some sharing of games and books with them; and it sparked some interest, running just a few 5E games for my daughters was a highlight. Listening to their fresh approaches gave me the deepest insights into who they each were.

That was one moment in a complicated balancing act of having 3 children (then a step-daughter). As each child developed their own passions, I found myself spread thin. I was also coping with the depression of divorcing. And now, I do what I can to keep connections which have frayed in the twisting and untwisting of knots that are blended families.

My heart aches because of my children; the knowing that I could’ve done better, paired with the knowledge that I did the best I could.

Jeremy 2021-07-03 12:33 UTC

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