Thursday, December 29, 2005

Almost the end (of the year)

I survived Christmas! I feel like I should make a t-shirt with that logo. One of the gifts for my son was fun t-shirts; one says, "I just kidnapped myself. Give me $100 or you'll never see me again." Anyway, a good time was had by all, even though one of my gifts to the Hub didn't (and hasn't) arrived. I'm back at work today, I think there might be two dozen of us here, everyone else taking vacation until Jan 3rd. It's a little spooky, actually.

I fell asleep last night trying to think of something to post here, but I didn't come up with much. I slept really well, though. But this morning I got to thinking about a memorable Christmas from several years ago, and I thought I'd relate it here.

I don't know who thought up the original idea, but for some reason everyone in the family decided to come to WV for Christmas this one year. So there were the four of us, my parents, my sister, Hub's father, his sister and her husband from Michigan, and his brother from Oregon. Oh yes, and his sister brought along her grandaughter too, she was about 4 that year. Plus there were the family members that live just south of us, that always came for the day. I knew from past experiences that there were some champion eaters in this crew, so I went into overdrive preparing food that I froze and then needed only to heat up; stews, chili, casseroles, that sort of thing, in addition to all the usual holiday baking of cookies, candy, rolls, pies and so on. I even went so far as to rent an additional refrigerator, because I knew putting away leftovers is such a pain when the fridge is full. Some of them were staying at our house; some at mom's house, and some were coming only for Christmas day. Hub's sister, S, and her husband and grandaughter came a few days early to get things underway, and nearly the first thing we did was go to the grocery store. S started feeling queasy on the way there; by the time we got there, she had to throw up in the parking lot. This was the beginning of what came to be known as the Christmas from hell.

It must have been a really virulent stomach virus, defying all attempts with Lysol and quarantine to control it, because everyone caught it. Everyone, one by one, started in with the throwing up, and proceeded from there. I laid awake at night trying to identify who was running to the bathroom this time, based on the sound of the heaves. My son taunted my daughter who came down with it on Christmas Eve; so of course, he came down with it on Christmas Day. And naturally, all my carefully planned meals went into a cocked hat; the ones who hadn't caught it (yet) wanted regular food; the ones in the depths of sickhood wanted nothing; and the ones recovering wanted crackers and weak tea. And I never knew who would be which, for any given meal. In the end, all 16 of the family got the bug, including those who only came for Christmas day, although, mercifully, they succumbed after they got home. Once everybody left, I caught it too. Oh yeah, we also suffered a plumbing disaster, and had to get a plumber out on Christmas eve. It was the Christmas present that kept on giving; and that was the last time anyone suggested getting everyone together for the holidays.

Hope yours was a Merry One!

Friday, December 09, 2005


Today is one of those days when all the grey-ness of the world seems everywhere. It's a place I'm familiar with, and when I come back to it, it seems like any of the times in between that were good never happened. I think part of it is the weather; it's not the cold I mind, it's the darkness, the fact that it's twilight at 4:30 in the afternoon. I have a "sun" lamp, and maybe it does help, at least somewhat, and it's a really good light to sew or do any sort of close work with. And some of it is due to the impending holidays; I do enjoy being off work, and I like finding the right gifts for everyone, if only the actual act of shopping wasn't necessary. And finally, there's the fact that over the holidays I don't (touch wood) see my therapist, and that tends to make me more anxious than usual too. I remember when Christmas was the biggest, most exciting, most longed for day of the year, better than even birthdays. Then gradually it bacame an enormous amount of work, with 15 for dinner, gifts, stocking stuffers, baking, cards, letters, parties, last minute runs to the mall, running out of wrapping paper, tape, ribbon, each new stressor feeling like the final straw. But gradually, as family has died, there isn't really all that much to do for Christmas now, and it makes it feel, I don't know, anticlimactic? Melancholy?

Anyway, I hope all 6 of my faithful readers out there are doing great and planning a big holiday meal with all the trimmings, family, and fun they can stuff into one frenzied day. I plan on sleeping a lot, personally.

Monday, December 05, 2005

First Day Back

Well gosh, time does fly when you're having fun. I am back today at work, having been off for four weeks post surgery. The first two weeks I was so wrecked it was all I could do to get up and shower, never mind accomplish anything. Even a trip to the grocery store left me so pooped I had to go sit in the car until hubby finished. The second two weeks were even worse. I got the Cough That Wouldn't Die back again, in spades. Nothing like coughing with stitches in your tummy. Another trip to the doctor, who (apparently correctly) diagnosed it as a side effect of taking Altace, an ACE inhibitor for high blood pressure. Stopping the Altase is gradually clearing the cough; the prescription for another drug will wait until the cough is completely gone. It will be so wonderful to sleep through the night without racking coughing, trying to sleep in the recliner, and taking nasty cough syrup every 4 hours.

One thing I did do while home was (blush) get another kitten. Yes, I know we have too many, and yes, all the others are bent completely out of shape, but they will get over it eventually. She's a cutie, and now I know to stay out of Petco. We call her Beans, because she's full of them.

It looks at work like I've never been gone, I had been keeping up with the email, so I didn't have 400 waiting for me to wade through here. I don't have any other rush items waiting either, which is good, as I am moving pretty slow today. I wish there was someone to talk to here, but the Asst. Director selected before I left has evidently not started yet, for some reason. There was a big fire event in dentistry while I was gone, they evac'ed the building but soon contained it. Glad to have missed all the excitement.

Well, time to check out a few things and get to work. How long do I have to go today?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Introducing the Amazing Sledge-o-Matic

It slices, it dices, it makes julienne fries (but you have to hit it juuussst right).

The great surgery experience:

4:00 am We rouse ourselves out of nice cosy warm beds to get ready, I shower with the provided anti-bacterial soap, noting that it doesn't smell nice, doesn't suds much, and leaves me feeling slippery after it is rinsed off.

5:30 am In the car driving to the hospital. I start coughing, begin to gag, and spend the entire trip trying not to barf.

6:00 am In the same-day care suite, disrobed and wearing the ever-popular hospital gown, complete with matching blue shoes covers, hair bonnet, and anti-embolism stockings. Where's the fashion photographers?

from 6:15 to seven it's a whirlwind of activites: blood sugar checked, IV line in place, blood pressure checked, anesthesiologist met, surgeon comes by to see how I'm doing, I'm first this morning.

7:00 am We've hit a snag. They want me to remove my wedding band and diamond ring, but NO WAY those suckers are coming off. You've seen trees with fencing stapled to them, where the tree just continues to grow around and over the fencing? That's my wedding band. They lubed it up, put teflon tape under it,pulled and pulled, and all it did was turn my finger more puffy and red. The anesth. dr. comes back, says, I don't like the looks of that, it has to come off, and sends one of the nurses to the ER to get their ring cutter. As she walks in with it, the surgeon pokes his head in, says, what's the holdup? Looks at the finger, says tape it and lets go, and wheeee, we're rolling down the hall. Oh yes, at that point they also gave me some happy juice. By the time we actually reach the OR, I am gone.

Around ten am -- who can see anything without glasses -- and I am trying to wake up really hard. It is very bright, and the nurses are arguing about one of the other nurses. Every once in a while they say "M? time to wake up", but I cannot pry my eyelids apart; I can't figure out where I am, or why I feel so awful. I am panicked that they have me in restraints, but I realize it's only that they've tucked my hands slightly under me, and I can move them. Finally they use a lift to change me onto a regular hospital bed, much better, and then they wheel me to the private room across the hall. N is there, he has spoken to the surgeon, and other than having a gallbladder "stuffed" with gall stones--they had to partially empty it to get it through the incision--I'm tip top. They give me a shot for pain and nausea, and I break out in hives. Luckily they go away on their own in just a few minutes.

1:00 pm By now I have walked, used the bathroom (bless the soul of whoever invented grab bars) eaten a cracker and drunk some ginger ale. I want very much to get home before the pain shot wears off.

2:30 pm Home! My, but the roads are bumpy. But my wonderful bed, so clean and cool, a cat curled up in my armpit, drugs coursing their way in my bloodstream, beaming little silver spotlights on the nasty ol' pain to make it go away, whoosh! All is well in redhead-land. For now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

All Hallow's Eve

We had 55 trick-or-treaters on Monday night, the most ever. Considering we live 5 miles from town, on a meandering narrow road, and for years and years had NO trick or treaters, I'm amazed. Most of the costumes were pretty cool too.

When my kids were little, I made their costumes. We'd go to the fabric store and check out the patterns, well in advance of Oct., and then I'd sew them up. I was always conscious of the fact that the costumes needed to be fairly warm--no flimsy ballerina tutus or diaphanous gowns. And no masks, just make-up, so they could actually see where they were going. One year R wanted to a princess, so the dress was made of satin, but a loose drop-over-the-head style, and underneath she wore a white sweat suit. It was either that, or a coat on top, and then you can't see the costume. Some of the costumes were pretty elaborate--the pumpkin, with all the boning to make it poof out and still be sit-able, and the dinosaur were two of them--but the one I remember vividly was the year C (then about 7) decided he wanted to be Count Dracula. I made this big black satin cape with a stand-up collar, and under it was a little triangular grey piece that tied around the neck and around the waist that was stitched to look like a vest, complete with red hanky. We got him plastic teeth, and black pants and a white shirt, and I thought we were set to go. He'd picked it all out, and watched me sew it. So imagine my shock when he tried it on and burst into tears! "No, NO!" he shouted and cried and ran out of the room. I looked at R, who knew him even better than I, and she was mystified. He eventually got over it, and never mentioned what was wrong with it, that he was so disappointed. I have lots of photos of him on the big day, swooping around in the cape and yelling "I vant to drink your BLOOOOD!" So I guess it was OK in the end. But what was he really expecting? Kids are such a puzzle.

I made myself a Raggedly Ann costume one year, complete with red yarn hair, and we took a picture of me and the kids dressed up. N kept it on his desk at work, and one day a sales rep was in and saw it and gushed, "what cute grandkids!" and N said "that's my wife and kids" and she swallowed her foot clear up to her knee. He was not amused.

About 8 or 9 years ago one of the neighborhood cats came to live with us on Hallowe'en. I was sitting on the porch handing out candy when two of the neighbors came up, dressed in costumes with all sorts of dangly bits--I think they were ghosts or mummys. Following them was this little grey kitten, batting at the dangly bits. When I gave them the candy and they left, the kitten didn't follow, and I called out, "boys, don't forget your cat" but they were off. It stayed on the porch with me, playing with the leaves, and I kept urging it to totter on home. Eventually it disappeared, and then I heard a cat crying. I said "kitty kitty?" and one little girl said "here's your cat!" and carried it up to me. I said, no no, not mine, she put it down and it scampered off into the night. When I went inside for the night, I told the family about the kitten, and to my dismay, they went out and searched for it! Luckily it had disappeared. The next morning I went out to my Miata to go shopping, and inside there was this teeny grey kitten sitting on the dashboard saying, "when's breakfast?" So of course inside he went. I convinced the kids there was some little girl in the neighborhood crying her eyes out because her kitten was gone, and on Hallowe'en! Thinking the worst! So they took the kitten and went all up and down the road (they said), asking if he belonged to anyone. No one claimed him, and he's been ours ever since. His name is Mac, short for Macbeth, and he is the most playful cat we've ever had. And obviously highly intelligent, to immediately recognize a soft touch when he saw it.

Monday, October 31, 2005

It's a Blast

Last Friday the whole family went to see Blast!, a brass/percussion/dance performance at the University creative arts center. It was great! The percussion especially, I love a good "dueling drummers" thingy. We were seated in the second row, so we definitely got the full effect.

I did call the surgeon, and went to see the anesthesiologist, so I feel somewhat calmer about the whole surgery thing. I am probably making a big deal about a routine event. You know what the definition of "minor surgery" is? It's surgery that happens to someone else. The therapist did some hypnosis thing with me last week, and taped it so I can listen to it anytime, a relaxation technique. I'm still finding it hard to concentrate this week at work, but have been trying to keep myself busy.

I did go the "retreat" last week. I had a room to myself (yeah!), which is just as well, given that I snore, talk in my sleep, and roll and thrash around all night too. The odd thing was, Tuesday morning at around 5 am, the resort lost all electrical power for around 4 hours due to an unpredicted snowstorm, it is WEIRD waking up in a strange hotel room in pitch black, no air, and voices in the hall. I was afraid to leave my room for fear I would not be able to get back in--the electronic key cards, you know, don't they need electricity to work? So I just pulled the blankets up and waited. When morning came there was some light through the window, luckily I had showered the night before. I used my Palm pilot to get around in the bathroom (note to self: pack a flashlite next time), and although the lights continued to go off and on all morning, we soldiered on. The trip back to Morgantown was--interesting. A very heavy wet snow, coming when the leaves are still on the trees means LOTS of broken trees/limbs down over power lines, some parts of the area here at home didn't get power back until today (a week later). Our road at home had 10" of snow, and we lost two maple trees; many more were bent down to the ground, but should eventually straighten back up, they say. We did keep our power. We do have a fireplace and two kerosene heaters so it's not an insurmountable problem if we lose the furnace, but loosing the hot water means showering at work, at best. If it gets so cold the water lines freeze we're in a world of hurt: the horses need 10+ gallons of water EACH per day, that's a LOT of snow to melt, and in that kind of cold it doesn't stay liquid long either. I just hope this isn't a forecast of the winter to come.

Last night my daughter showed me some pictures of one of our cats, recently deceased, taken when he was a tiny kitten. So sweet! It is so unfair that our companion animals have such short lives, it is such a wrench when they die, and over the years I have had so many that were special, each in its own way. You swear you won't get wrapped up in them, but I always end up heart-tied. I don't know, though, how people who are not pet owners manage to do it, we have always had pets, and even after the losses, will always have more, I can't resist them, and can't imagine life without them. I do try to be reasonable though, and not end up the crazy-lady-down-the-road with 42 cats or whatever. Spay and neuter!! Unless it's a mare, of course, where you just put up with mega PMS every 21 days. Luckily, no one lets stallions roam around loose like male cats and dogs.

I did a google search today for "beeping noises from the TV" and found a huge number of hits from people who have experienced the same thing my husband and I have--TVs unplugged and disconnected from the cable that, for no apparent reason, make LOUD beep-beep-beeping-static-y noises at all hours of the day and night,repeatedly, almost like morse code. Unlike some of the poor people posting about it (who also heard it on computer speakers, stereos, etc.), I know it isn't in my head, as everyone in our house has heard it, on two different sets; I've had to keep the TV in my bedroom swathed in quilts to muffle the noise at night, since all the unplugging didn't work. I thought, initially, that it was a transponder/locator beacon/radar bleed-over, but the consensus online is that it is cellular phones with GPS signalling. I'm going to test it out at home, but if it's true, then all I'll need to do at home is turn off my cell phone at night ( and get Husband to do the same). Apparently the old phones didn't do it, and of course the batteries were such in those days that you turned off your phone at night if you didn't want to recharge it daily (does any one else remember cell phones that came in a zip-up binder like a desk organizer, with a springy cord and receiver set?). It will be a huge relief to solve this, sometimes I have heaved the TV clear out to the garage in the middle of the night, the thing was making so much noise.

Redhead (aka Hears-lotsa-noises).

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cough, cough

Aren't you glad you can't catch "real" viruses via the internet? Not that I'm contagious, of course not. I did go to the doctor about the Cough That Wouldn't Die, and he did a chest xray and said "pneumonia". He gave me antibiotics, and this dynamite cough syrup that absolutely lets me sleep all night, I don't know what's in it, but I love it. Now it is all gone, and this weekend I'll have to see how I do without it.

The surgery is scheduled for Nov. 7th, and I am mildly-to-moderately freaked out. It's not the surgery, actually, but the general anesthesia that worries me. I've had several bad experiences with anesthesia in the past, and it makes me worry that it will send ripples throughout my battered psyche, and leave me in total meltdown again. I'll be off 2 to 4 weeks from work, depending on how it goes, so I probably won't be back until after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, I have lots to do at work, but I can't seem to concentrate (at least this week). My mind keeps dragging up events from the past, and worrying at me like a dog with an old rag. Tiresome. My psych doctor yesterday told me I may be more resistant to being knocked out than other people, because modern-day aneth. puts to sleep your verbal brain, the left side, but that I have non-verbal alters on the right side of the brain that may remain aware thoroughout the surgery, doesn't that sound grand? I can see me explaining this to the aneth. dr. before my surgery. And I wonder too, if my two suicide attempts with drug overdoses may have affected by body's ability to handle narcotic drugs, for good or bad. And I really don't fancy having to lay all this out on the day of surgery either. I think I'll call my surgeon back and try to bring some of this up with him. I can count on being a total wreck by the 7th.

Two days next week at a "retreat" for our unit, at a nearby resort. I don't know these people very well, and I guess I'll probably have to share a room with one of the other women, so I can probably count on minimal sleep that night. I hate this. Why didn't I schedule the surgery sooner? I can feel a migraine starting already. I'm too old for this kind of stress.

update:  the page in this link is not there, just an ad for IKEA,  sorry!  I have deleted the IKEA site, they don't need my endorsement!

Here's a link to a cute little video clip (OK at work).
After clicking the link below, a strange room will appear. Click on the left arrow, then on the projector, and finally the ticket for the film you want to view.   Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A clean garage

We spent the weekend cleaning the garage. It had gotten so full, even though I park the Miata in it even night, that we literally couldn't reach the back end of the garage. Now it is all accessable, lots of junk thrown out, recycling done, and everything in reach. The incentive for doing this is winter; in the winter, we leave the garage door open a crack, so the outside cats can come in. Although they have their own entrance to the feed room of the barn, full of bales of fresh hay, a heated water bowl, and lots of old rugs, etc., for beds, they still insist on coming into the garage. Once there, they climb all over everything, knocking stuff onto the Miata (which had two lovely dents from the cat carriers falling) and in general making a mess. This year, one entire bench top is cleared for them, there is no loose stuff to knock over (I hope) and I bought a heated kennel pad to go on the bench, with some old blankets. All we need to add is a BIG cardboard box with one side cut out, to help confine the heat, and serve as a wind block. I'm going to see if we can install a cat door in the garage door, so we won't have to leave it ajar for them to come and go. In previous years we had a small heater in the garage, it barely warmed the area directly around it, and all the cats huddled right against it; I'm hoping this pad will be more efficient and having it up on the bench will be warmer too.
Do we have too many cats? Yes. And we're hopeless softies when they get ill, or injured, or go missing. The indoor cats are more indulged, but we can't have them all indoors, we'd have to buy another house for the people!

In other news, the jury is still out on whether or not I will need surgery; more blood work done today, although I don't know what they expect will change; the whole question is being relayed to me in installments via the nurses at the practice, presumably at some point the doctor himself will talk to me. I have a cough I can't shake, 6 weeks now, I can't imagine that would be acceptable going into surgery....

Monday, October 03, 2005


I was tagged by Carolyn over at The Ginger Quill to do this little thing.

Here are the rules for doing it:

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same.

Here is what I said, I was talking about getting hooked on reading blogs......

"It's like eavesdropping on conversations in public places, except you get the whole story instead of just snippets."

Now I have to 'tag' 5 more people to do this and...I... choose...

Hmmm. Gonna have to ponder this a bit first.......

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Whatever do you mean?

It has been a while since I've been here. I've kept up with reading all those special blogs, which seem to make me feel even more inadequate and boring than usual. But I don't want all my loyal readers (all 6 of them) to give up on checking here, so I thought I'd ramble on a bit, random micro thoughts indeed.

Didn't I suggest that Hurricane Katrina might not be the last this year? I also think there's plenty of time for yet more hurricanes, Rita being content with munching on Galveston and Houston instead of the Big Easy. Did I mention that these late ferocious storms are quite consistent with global warming? Well, if I didn't, I should have(*see addendum).

I am currently reading an excellent book about Dissociative Identity Disorder, called The Myth of Sanity by Martha Stout. I think she's been listening in on my therapy sessions, her descriptions and explanations ring so true. Whenever I'm faced with bits of life I don't understand, my instinctual response is to search for a book about it. The things I hear seem to go to one part of my brain; the things I read go to another. I need both to understand. I don't want to air all my personal problems with having DID, alters, whatever, but I do want to recommend Dr. Stout's book. As a therapist herself, I can also better understand why my first therapist eventually wished me well and sent me on my way, bewildered and at sea. I feel that in some sense he manipulated me into agreeing to stop therapy with him, and that I should have spoken up before the end and expressed my fears. Anyway, the book is providing lots of food for thought, so if you, or someone you are close to, sometimes "becomes another person" that is wildly different from their "everyday" person, you might want to give this a read. DID is a lot more common than people believe.

I'm having a lot of physical problems right now, and my new doctor is doing lots of testing to help figure out what's going on. I really expected to last longer than this before I started to fall apart. I don't want to be one of those middle-aged women who spend all their spare time going to doctor appointments and complaining about their health. But Damn! I take 6 to 8 different meds every day, don't you think that should cover pretty much everything? Now they tell me I have liver problems and kidney damage. Sheesh!

I've been doing another round of laboratory safety inspections and I'm finding it fairly discouraging. In lab after lab, I find dirty dishes and silverware in lab sinks (ugh!), eye washes that have been disconnected from the sink because they were "in the way", safety showers with the handles tied up to the ceiling so they won't bump people in the head (and so no one in an emergency will be able to find and climb a ladder to activate them), and on and on. I write it up and send it to the appropriate admin., but I can't MAKE anybody do the right thing, I'm not a policeman (although I'd love to pass out citations so the fines would ding them where it hurts). Probably it will take a serious accident or a death to get everybody serious about lab safety. The most common accident in a lab isn't chemical accidents, or radiation accidents, it's fire. And people burned in fires are a hideous way to say "pay attention" to safety.

All the horses are doing fine and enjoying the cooler weather. One of the indoor cats has discovered the pleasures of the great out-of-doors and now watches like a hawk for any chance to scoot out between your feet and head outside. Why the outdoor cats are being so tolerant of this trespassing I don't know, I figured they would whup his sissy ass the first time out, but they just watch as he skulks around. Hopefully he'll give up on this eventually, it's getting old playing do-si-do every time we go in or out. Especially carrying in groceries.

*Addendum: It's true, as commented by Steve below, that even the experts don't agree that global warming is contributing to the recent weather show Mother Nature has been sharing with us. It is true, however, that since 1970, global mean ocean surface temperatures have risen one degree, as has global air temperatures. Two weeks ago, Science published an article that said although globally there has not been an increase in frequency of hurricanes, a team of scientists did find that while the number of Cat 1, 2, and 3 hurricanes has fallen slightly, the number of Cat 4 and 5 hurricanes has risen dramatically, from an average of 10 per year in the 70s to an average of 18 since 1990. In Nature journal published last month, a scientist looked at 4,800 hurricanees in the North Atlantic and North Pacific over the past 56 years and found that although the total number did not increase, their power, measured by windspeed and duration, had jumped 50% since the mid 70s. All of the speculation about cause-and-effect is not straightforward, but it is also true that warmer water and higher air humidity helps fuel storms by feeding them the energy that fuels their intensity. There are cycles to these events, and our ability to correctly interpret the data, and to collect the data in the first place, is radically better now than it was in the 70s. Any scientific debate that is also intensified by the politics of global warming and environmental damage is bound to gather adherents on both sides of the question. I guess the real debate is, if we ignore mankind's contribution to the greenhouse effect, will we have time to fix things if we are wrong?

"Knowledge is power -- if you have the manual."

Carry on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


My mare colicked again. This time we called a different vet, and he was considerably more aggressive in treating her, and now she seems fine, five days and counting. He was concerned enough to tell us that if this continued, he recommended hauling her to Ohio State vet school for abdominal surgery, but to be completely frank, I couldn't justify $10,000 in vet fees for a very iffy outcome. It's not like she's a prize brood mare carrying the next Kentucky Derby winner. And it's a five hour drive to Columbus from here; if she went down in the trailer and we couldn't get her up it would be a very nasty situation. Not like a dog you can pick up and carry into the vet. Anyway, all looks OK now; we may never know what the real cause of it was.

I'm having more trouble again with depression, and have been going for daily sessions with the therapist and psych doctor. I can think of more enjoyable ways to spend heaps of money; of course I don't have the energy to do them either. Usually my worst time of year is the winter, when everything is cold and grey and overcast, or cold and dark. The full-spectrum lights seem to help with that aspect, I just wish I knew what the deal is now. Fall is my favorite season of the year, the cool crisp days, blue skies, and brilliant foliage. Every turn in the road reveals a new picture-perfect view, and I feel so lucky to live full time in such a beautiful place, when so many people have to make do with "two weeks in the mountains". Now if we only had an ocean too.....

A friend of mine just got a new puppy, a Shih Tzu (I'm sure that's not spelled right). It's a cute critter, looks like a long-haired guinea pig with a tail. I'm not a big fan of little dogs -- So many of them look like you ought to tie them to a long stick and use them to dust under the bed -- but all puppies have a special attraction that I'm sure is some hard-wired response to helpless things in our psyche. My last dog was a Newfoundland, a real sweetheart. She's been gone since 1998, and as much as I would like another one, the heart pain you go through when they die is so hard. Why can't our companion animals live longer? It doesn't seem fair. Maybe after I retire, when I can spend lots of time with it, and get all gushy and weird like my parents did before they died. Only their dog was a poodle, which hardly qualifies as a dog. They dressed him in "outfits" and he actually sat at the table with them when they ate. On the human dishes. And he got served first. Yeah, I want to be like that.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


If you are, or have been, a horse owner, the word "colic" strikes fear in your heart. Monday night my 11 yr old mare colicked; that is, she was sweating, rolling on the ground groaning, wouldn't eat (!) and in great distress. I called the vet, and then the three of us took turns walking her, to prevent her from rolling and risking twisting a loop of bowel (torsion), which is generally fatal. She seemed much improved when the vet left, some three hours later, but I stayed home Tuesday to watch her. She seemed uncomfortable--only nibbled at hay, pawed and pawed the ground, laid down, got up, laid down, over and over. No rolling, no sweating, no temp. The same on Wed. Wednesday night I called (another)vet, described the whole scenario, and he suggested she may be in season and experiencing cramps! I've owned horses for 30 years and never heard of that! Live and learn, I guess. Anyway, we gave her Bute (horse aspirin)last night, and so far today (touch wood)she seems back to normal, packing the hay in, quarreling with her brother across the fence, minimal pawing and no laying down (so far). Husband is home today (Yeah!) and will keep a close watch on her.

Last night a neighbor came to the door, all worried because he was target practicing with his bow, lost an arrow, and then saw the mare flat down on her side! We quickly reassured him we were aware she was having problems, but thanks. He was greatly relieved.

Horses are so much fun, you know? A thrill a minute. One vet bill, $130. Sigh.

I wanted to post more on the awful mess in the South, the lack of leadership in handling the crisis, the humiliating embarrasment of the way our own citizens are being treated, simply because they are poor and black; of my suspicions that when the reconstuction occurs, it won't be for these poor displaced people, and that certain industrial and construction entities with, shall we say, close connections to the White House, will come out multi-billions to the good from this. But frankly it makes me so heartsick, feeling so helpless, angry, disgusted, that I am without words to convey it all. There are others, wise and articulate, who have said all this and more; so all I can add is that we need to be careful and LEARN from the mistakes made, don't swallow the news stories without taking a good look at what their sources are, and don't let this migrate to the last page of the paper when the immediate turmoil is past; that's the time to really pause and consider all that happened, all that should have been done and wasn't, who was responsible for those failures, and who is profitting from the misery of many.

And remember in November.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Blowin' in the wind

The devastation Katrina has wreaked in the Gulf is so hard to take in. You see the photos and videos of the houses completely submerged, the oilrigs tilted and the cars and boats bobbing like corks under overpasses, all of it seems so unreal. When Hollywood was going through their "disaster" scenarios a few years ago, they gave us tidal waves, volcanos, even meteors from space. But for sheer impact they definitely missed a chance with a class five hurricane in the Gulf.

I've been through hurricanes, growing up in Miami. I remember Camille, and others, back in the 50s and 60s. Our house was made of cinder blocks, and we had aluminum storm awnings that were hinged so you could lower them to cover the windows and bolt them down. The roof had "hurricane tie downs". What you basically did was stock up on sterno, bring in all the outside stuff, fill the tub with water, get out the candles and hurricane lamps, and wait for the power to go off. What I mainly remember is the howling of the wind, and the fact that afterwards it may be days until the power went back on. You would probably get at least one, if not several, flat tires, from all the nails, etc. scattered on the roads. Dry ice would highly treasured; if your power went back on while you still had some, you passed it on to someone who was still without. I was never particularly scared, with the awnings down our house felt fortified against the worst. But, and this is a big but, we didn't live below sea level. We were miles inland from the storm surge.

What I find incredible is that there were people in New Orleans who ignored the evacuation and voluntarily stayed home. Not only did they endanger themselves, but they endangered the rescue workers who had to try and save their butts as they clung to the roofs of their homes. I realize that not everyone had the option of leaving, the wherewithal to get out or compelling reasons that they couldn't leave. But what got me were the ones who, when interviewed, said, I'm not leaving, I'll stock up on beer and chips and ride it out. Some of them were young adults who have never seen the real destruction in the wake of a big hurricane. I know Hurricane Andrew came as a big shock to south Florida a few years ago, they had had so many seasons without being hit at all, and they got careless about building and about preparation.

But now that Katrina has done her worst, we will all be faced with the cost of the cleanup. I can't even imagine how they will pump out all that water from the broken levees. And I can't see the logic of rebuilding in the same place, either. Remember last year, when Florida got hurricane after hurricane, four I think it was, in a single season? Suppose the Gulf is hit again this year? It could well happen. Will we keep pouring money into rebuilding an area that is so very vulnerable? And if not, then what will become of all those people who lost everything, home and the property itself, now 20 feet underwater? I wish I knew an answer, but there isn't a winning option in any of this that I forsee.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bush, made of dead soldiers Posted by Picasa

dain bramaged

It's Monday, and I am seriously thinking about taking the entire week off. N is leaving tomorrow for Denver, to return Thursday night, and that bums me out; our son is taking two night classes, so he won't be home in the evenings either, and our daughter works until 8 pm every night. The end result is I will be alone from 5-9 pm for three nights. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but I don't totally trust myself alone if the gloomies show up. If I am off work, I can plan activities that take me through the early evening at least, but if I'm at work all day I won't have the energy to do much else.

Did you know that children who suffer from parental neglect have more problems as adults than children who were actually physically abused? My therapist told me that, I haven't searched for an actual reference, but it does bear thinking about. I've always felt that I didn't "deserve" being depressed because I am educated, have a loving family (now), enough $, and no overt problems. So I should be happy, right? And stop whining about poor me? My therapist says I am NOT a whiner, but sometimes it feels that way to me. Still, things are better now than they were, say, two years ago. I have hope about the future.

And then there is eBay. I think eBay is almost as good as therapy in making me feel better. It's like the pleasure of shopping, without the trudging from store to store and shlepping packages all over the world. It has LOTS more things for sale, from the weird to the common, and most of it is dirt cheap. I bid on more things than I win, and look at many more items than I bid on, and nothing relaxes me better. And if I do win an auction, I have the pleasure of getting packages in the mail later. I've been on eBay since way back--1997? 1996? --back when I had to describe how it worked. I've even sold stuff, but that isn't quite so much fun. I've gotten stuff that wasn't up to the mark, but then I've gotten junk at the store too, and there isn't much $ involved anyway, I keep it all. Maybe if I lived in a big city with lots of shopping opportunities I wouldn't get my fix from eBay, but in a little town, with the nearest big city 2 hours away (on a good day), it suits me to a T.

Digital cameras. Am I the only one who thinks they're a piece of crap? Maybe if I would part with $500 for one, I'd feel differently, but the quality of the image from most of them is so LOW. And as for printing them out, do you realize that photo quality ink in those cartridges runs $3000 per gallon? That doesn't include the price of the paper. If I were posting photos to the web, then it might be more useful, but basically I want "real" photos I can pin to the bulletin board, put in an album, mail to a friend, keep forever without worrying about outdated formats, hard drive crashes, and whether my friend has broadband or not. And as for quality, film has gotten so very good, and is so cheap, and with one hour processing so fast, that I can't justify the pixelated fuzzy stuff the digital gives me.

And sudafed -- do we really know that making it so difficult for sneezy wheezy me to get it for my cold really makes it harder for crystal meth labs to get? Or is this just another example of Big Brother government making our lives miserable just for the hell of it? Why don't we get any say in regulations like this? It's like the idea of a national ID card, are we really ready to give up that much of our privacy, so that Uncle Sam can keep track of "illegal" aliens? I'm not. I don't want some government worker that I've pissed off having the power to "erase" me, or ruin me, or persecute me, with the click of a few keys. Power corrupts.

And for my final 2 cents worth, what ever happened to the cent symbol? You know, the 'c' with the little line through it. When did it disappear, where did it go? Sure, we got a cute little ~tilde, but besides math/science geeks, and weird URLs, what do we need it for? I wonder about these things, late at night.

Just so you know.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

You bruiser, you!

Last night I got up in the dark to make an unscheduled trip to the euphemism. When I got back to bed, I mis-estimated exactly where the wooden headboard of the bed was, and cracked my cheek against it instead of hitting the pillow. Now I have an obvious purple-ish mark on my cheek, one which my very sheer makeup doesn't really cover.

So of course today the constant question is, "What did you do to your face?"

If I say, I hit it on the headboard of the bed, the men immediately get this "Ah-HA!" look, picturing wild hi-jinks in the marital bed.

If I tell the women the same thing, I get this ultra-sympathetic look and "Oh you poor thing" as THEY think, "That cad, look what he did to her!"

So I've decided to lie and say that I have a highly contagious blood-borne infection that requires me to be at home for at least a week, recuperating. That way I'll not only get sympathy (you don't get much for sheer clumsiness at the best of times) but I'll also get to stay home! On sick leave! Which I don't have any of! Hmmmm, maybe I'd better rethink this. Maybe I'll just stop on the way home and buy some concealer.....

Friday, August 12, 2005

We have three horses. I seldom ride. I know my neighbors (and even my family) wonder why not. One of the horses is an old lady (mother to the other two) and a little lame, so she gets a pass. But still, there are the other two, fed, watered, groomed, feet cared for, stalls cleaned, turned out every night, the whole thing.

But I don't ride. I really don't understand why.

Partly, it's because I'm a little afraid. I've had horses for 30 years now, and I've seen every kind of accident with them--minor things, like broken arms and collarbones, major things like knocked unconscious, and I myself was thrown 30 years ago and fractured two lumbar vertebrae (think body cast, braces). That didn't stop me then, but it did teach me that contrary to popular belief, young people are not invincible. I was breakable. As I have gotten older, and feel my body beginning to let me down, that has become more pertinent, I guess you could say. I can't afford an injury like the back injury, not now.

Partly it's because the neighborhood we live in is now one big housing development. Where we used to be the last house on the road, with woods and fields and little dirt roads going hither and yon, now it's paved and house-lined. The cars drive on it 35 miles an hour, and it's only a lane-and-a-half wide. Sometimes people slow up and pass quietly when they see a rider; sometimes they race by, cackling, and throw cans out the window. You never know which it will be. My horses are pretty phlegmatic, all in all, but horses are not machines, and you can't always predict how they will behave in any given situation.

And partly it's because I get so much pleasure out of just watching them. Cold days, when there's a spring under each foot, tails cocked high, snorting. Warm days, when they stand nose-to-tail, gently swishing at flies, head drooping and hip-shot. Feeding time when they whinny and call and race back to their stalls, plunge their noses into the grain tub. Drinking water out of the trough by submerging their entire face and blowing bubbles while they drink; then holding a mouthful of water to come drip over your shoulder. Springtime, when they all three act like young colts, jumping and kicking and racing across the pasture playing tag. Leaning over the fence to graciously accept tribute from the neighborhood children, one carrot at a time. Watching them make the goofiest faces when I scratch that one itchy spot.

My husband kids me that they're the world's largest yard ornaments, and guess there is truth to that. All the same, I think of them as companion animals, giving and receiving pleasure just by the fact they we are together.

And really, saddle sores are pretty mean things too.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A hair-raising tale

My daughter forwarded this to me--I don't know who wrote it originally, but if you know let me know and I'll be glad to do credit where credit is due!

All methods have tricked me with their promises of easy, painless removal
-the Epilady, the standard razor, the scissors, the Nair, theEpilStop, and
now . . The Wax.

My night began as any other normal weekday night. I came home from work, fixed dinner for my son and we played for a while. I then had the thought that would ring painfully in my mind for the next couple hours: Maybe I should use that wax in my medicine cabinet. I set up my boy with a video and head to the site of my demise, um, I mean bathroom.

It was one of those cold wax kits. No melting a clump of hot wax, you just rub the clear strips in your hand, peel them apart, press it on your leg (or wherever) and ignore the frantically rising crescendo of string instruments in the background. No muss, no fuss. How hard can this be? I mean, I'm not the girly-est of girls but I'm mechanically inclined so maybe I can figure out how this works.

You'd think.

So I pull one of the thin strips out. It's two strips facing each other, stuck together. I'm supposed to rub it in my hand to warm and soften the wax (I'm guessing).

I go one better: I pull out the hair dryer and heat the SOB to ten thousand degrees. Cold wax, my ass. (Oh, how that phrase will come back to haunt me.)

I lay the strip across my thigh. I hold the skin around it and pull. OK, so it wasn't the best feeling in the world, but it wasn't bad. I can do this! Hair removal no longer eludes me! I am Sheena, fighter of all wayward body hair and smooth skin extraordinaire! With my next wax strip, I move north.

After checking on my boy and verifying that he was, in fact, becoming one with Bear and learning all about smells, I sneak into the bathroom for The Ultimate Hair Fighting Championship.

I drop my panties and place one foot on the toilet. Using the same procedure, I then apply the wax strip across the right side on my bikini line, covering the right half of my vagina and stretching up into the inside of the right ass cheek.

(Yeah, it was a long strip.)

I inhale deeply. I brace myself.

I'm blind! Blind from the pain!

Vision returning.

Oh crap. I've managed to pull off half an inch of the strip. Another deep breath. And RIIIP!

Everything is swirly and tie-dyed? Do I hear crashing drums?

OK, coming back to normal again. I want to see my trophy - my wax covered pelt that caused me so much agony. I want to revel in the glory that is my triumph over body hair. I hold the wax strip like an Olympic gold medalist.

But why is there no hair on it?
Why is the wax mostly gone?
Where could the wax go, if not on the strip?

Slowly, I eased my head down, my foot still perched on the toilet. I see hair - the hair that should be on the strip.

I touch. I feel. I am touching wax. I look to the ceiling and silently shout "nooooooo!!" And realize I have just begun living my own personal version of "The Tar Baby."

I peel my fingers off the softest, most sensitive part of my body that is now covered in cold wax and matted hair, and make the next big mistake - up until this point, you'll remember, I've had my foot on the toilet.

I know I need to move, to do something. So I put my foot down on the floor.

And then I hear the slamming of the cell door.

Vagina? Sealed shut.

Ass? Sealed shut.

A little voice in my head says "I hope you don't have to do #2 anytime soon. Your head just might pop off." I penguin walk around the bathroom trying desperately to figure out what I should do next. Hot water!

Hot water melts wax! I'll run the hottest water I can stand and get in - the wax should melt and I can gently wipe it away, right?


I get in the tub - the water is slightly hotter than is used to torture prisoners of war or sterilize surgical equipment. And I sit. Now the only thing worse than having your goodies glued together is having them glued together and then glued to the bottom of a tub. In scalding hot water.

Which, by the way, does not melt the cold wax.

So now I'm stuck to the tub.

I call my friend, C, because she once dropped out of beauty school so surely she has some secret knowledge or trick to get wax off skin. It's never good to start a conversation with "So my ass and hoochie are stuck to the tub...."

She doesn't have a trick. She does her best to suppress laughter. She wants to know exactly where the wax is on the ass - "Are we talking cheek or hole, here?" she asks. She isn't even trying to hide the giggles now.

I give her the run-down of the entire night. She tells me to call the number on the side of the box, but to have a good cover story for where the wax actually is.

"You know that if we were working the help line at XX Wax Co. and somebody called with their entire crack sealed shut we'd just put them on hold then record the conversation for everyone we know. You're going to end up on a radio show or the Internet if you tell them the truth."

While we go through various solutions, I have resorted to scraping the wax off with a razor. Boy, nothing feels better to the girly goodies than covering them in wax, sticking them to a tub in super hot water and THEN dry shaving the sticky wax off!

In the middle of the conversation (which has inexplicably turned to other subjects!) I find the little, beautiful saving grace that is the lotion provided with wax to remove the excess. I rub some in and start screaming "It's working! It's working!" I get hearty congratulations from C and we hang up.

I successfully remove all the wax and notice, to my dismay, that the hair is still there. So I shaved the damned stuff off. Hell, I was numb by that point anyway. And then I put the box of wax back in my medicine cabinet.

Never know, I may want to try it again!

Friday, July 29, 2005

It's a sister thing

Recently a friend of mine had a second son, and after several months he has been diagnosed as having cerebral palsy. And although I know how tough this is going to be on my friend and his wife over the years, I can't help but be concerned about son #1. See, I grew up in a family where there was a "sick" sibling. My sister had a bad heart, severe scoliosis that required several operations, body casts, back braces; and mild retardation. My mother had been told she wouldn't live to adulthood, and so she completely spoiled her, in every way you can think of. When I came along 4 years later, I was so totally ignored, growing up, that I'm amazed I lived to be an adult. My sister was bussed to her school, but I walked, even though that meant walking past bars and strip joints in a really bad neighborhood, alone. I wouldn't dream of letting ANY kid walk that route, then or now. I remember being sent home in the second grade with a note from the teacher that my hair(long) was a tangled mess (because no one bothered to brush it for days, and I couldn't manage it at 6 years old) and so my mother sat me down and cut it off. I wore hand-me-downs, of course, but mine were stained, torn, and ill-fitting; I got one new outfit a year, to be worn on the first day of school. It wasn't that my parents abused me physically; it was that they neglected me in such a way that I felt invisible. They never attended my school plays, concerts, or anything. They rarely attended teacher conferences, and my teachers learned that the only way to get a response was to send notes home. I graduated from high school at 17 and the only colleges I applied to were at least 900 miles from home, I was so anxious to get away. I worked throughout college, and still had massive school loans that took me years to pay off, but to hear my parents talk about it, they paid every dime of it. So strange. After my parents died, I sat and looked through all the old photographs. My dad always had a camera in hand, and yet, outside of school photos, I doubt there are 20 of me alone in all those stacks of photos. Many times my folks even called me by my sister's name. My sister lived to her 50s and became a terrible problem for my folks, which they expected me to help with, and I did, but not without terrible resentment. I've been in therapy for several years now, for this and other problems, and I still can't seem to let go of this resentment, even though my sister is dead now too. I find it particularly ironic that my parents expected so much from me and my family when they were old, even moving from FL to WV to be near us (and bringing my sister), and yet they gave so little when I was young and needed them. Anyway, spare a little extra kindness for the siblings of handicapped children, their life is no bed of roses either.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I was home sick yesterday with a killer migraine, and although I'm back at work today, I still feel a little spacey. If I could I would have stayed home today too, but I have so little vacation or sick leave I feel like I need to hoard it against a time when I really need to be off. I remember a time when I had months of leave accumulated and never thought anything of it, but that was before I took 3 months off for Family Medical Leave. Do you know about this? Clinton passed it (FMLA)into law, that employers are required to allow up to 3 months of leave in a twelve month period for sickness, or to care for a family member who is sick, without losing their jobs. The leave can be paid, if you have the accumulated time, or unpaid if you don't, but at least you'll still have a job when you return. When I took FMLA back in 2000, I returned to find my job had been "outsourced" and that it would no longer be filled; but since the law forces them to re-employ me, they found me a miserable job at the same pay scale, but one I wasn't qualified for. Six months later my new boss filed a "letter of warning" in my personnel file, step one in the process to fire me. I went to human resources and told them they would either find me a job, at the same pay scale, that I was qualified to do, or I would go the Dept. of Justice and file a complaint under the FMLA law. I had, after all, 25 years with this university, and never a single complaint before. They found me this one, and I couldn't be happier. It's easy, I have a swell office, work with a great bunch of people, and feel like I'm doing a real necessary job. So cool. I still see my ex-boss in the hallways, and from what I hear he hasn't been able to hang onto any personnel since me, they all quit after a few months, even when they have nowhere lined up to go to. SMILE! Word does get around about idiots, I'm glad to say. And the "outsourcing" job is costing them a bloody fortune now, something like $2000 per specimen! Instead of earning them an equivalent sum done in-house. Idiots, too.

I was thinking about all this recently because N. (husband), who is retired, has been working part-time for a certain United Way agency for the last three years. He has been getting increasingly disillusioned with them, to the point where he hated to go to work. Monday he gave them two weeks notice that he is resigning. He's been doing consulting work ever since he retired, off and on, and now has a firm commitment for 20+ hours a week, at ten times the salary he was making for the United Way agency. His outlook on going to work now that he knows it's only for a few more days, is radically better. It's funny, how a bad job can ruin your whole outlook on life, making even minor aggravations into insurmountable obstacles. Life is too short for that, better to just move on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I'm still a hot babe, only now it comes in flashes

This summer has been miserable for me. Whether it's global warming, or simple variation in the season, it's been bloody hot and humid for as long as I ever remember it being. SO, of course, this has to be the summer when menopause has to rear its ugly head and leaves me dripping, washed up, exhausted and TESTY. I honestly thought this was all behind me, but no, one last surge of whatever hormone, just often enough that I think the spontaneous combustion thing must have its roots in menopausal women.
And have you ever noticed, when you're burning up with heat, how cool and collected everybody else seems to be? You're fanning away, mopping sweat before it drips onto the keyboard, and the person at the next desk is rubbing her hands together to get warm. It just isn't fair. There's so much you can do if you are cold; put on more clothes, turn up the thermostat, or in the summer just open a window. But when you're hot, changing the thermostat down into the glacial region doesn't seem to help at all, there's ony so much clothes you can take off, and only so close you can huddle to the fan. I hate to have people touch me, like pat me on the back, because I know I'll feel damp. I don't remember ever noticing this about other women, so maybe it isn't quite as obvious as it seems to be with me. At any rate, it's miserable.

In other news, I actually had the first flat tire of my entire driving career. Luckily, it was hubby who noticed it, and took the tire to be repaired after putting the toy spare tire on. Boy did I feel dumb when they said I must have been driving on it "quite a while" because I'd chewed up the inside so that it couldn't be repaired. The darn "low profile" tires look half flat to me all the time anyway, so there isn't a real obvious sag to them when flat. Some of them are so ridiculous, they look like a rubber band stretched around a quarter. Whose idea were these, anyway?

The new meds are working a treat, I'm glad to say. I've had other spells when I felt pretty good, only to have another meltdown after a few weeks or months, so I'm only cautiously optimistic this time. Still, the side effects are going away, including the 30 point drop in blood pressure when I go from sitting to standing, so I don't sway in nonexistent breezes so much. More miraculously, I've actually had three nights of good sleep in a row! Woohoo! Some of my dreams have been a little strange, like the one where I was cooking dinner for my mother-in-law (who has been dead for 30+ years--probably not much appetite there). But at least the nightmares are in abeyance for now. I've lost some weight (which is good) and my concentration is much better. So let's hear it for modern pharmaceutical science! Even if they don't know HOW it works, it does seem to work!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Some lead, some follow, I laugh

Well! Nothing like a short stay in the local looney bin to give you a radical change in perspective. And here's to the modern pharmaceutical approach to depression! There's some mighty effective drugs out there. Hopefully, I can count on at least a few months of relative sanity now.

Not that the rest of the world sounds so sane anymore. While I was "in" we heard the news about the London bombings. And the spin since then on those terrible deeds is worrisome too. If we believe what we're told, these are the deeds of a fanatical terrorist group who hate "us" for "our freedoms". But suppose that your intention was to engender hate against certain political or social groups? Suppose this were an effort to start another holy war against innocent Muslims, by making them into inhuman evil terrorists? Or even the efforts of powerful people to justify erosion of our civil liberties under the guise of "making us safer"? Me, I'm an idiot when it comes to global issues, I have enough trouble getting myself up and dressed and into work every day, never mind tracking world news. But I'm a sceptic. I don't actually trust politicians who will do anything to gain and hold absolute power over the rest of us. And I don't like that sneaking feeling I'm being manipulated into a predetermined mindset by forces that have an agenda all their own.

Anyway, that's my two cents on the vital issues of the day. I promise I won't go there again.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The other side

When I think of posting on this blog, I try to think of (semi-)amusing tidbits of life to comment on, maybe a little quirky, and not get all bogged down in narcissic navel contemplation, so boring to perfect strangers. And then I reach a truly rocky bit of life, when humor is so far out of reach, and I try to let a *little* bit of it out here, just to provide some sort of outlet. No one from my family reads this, but I respect their privacy and don't post things I wouldn't talk about at, say, coffee break. I know there are lots of people struggling with truly daunting lives, and my problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and plans, seem so trivial in comparison. I have resources available -- doctor, psychiatrist, therapist -- so I'm not struggling alone. But damn! When the grimmies really sock you, when all of life looks gray, tastes like ashes, the future looks lonely and unbearable, it's so hard to maintain any perspective. I try reminding myself that I've felt this bad before, and it went away, and so it will this time, eventually. I try thinking about how much worse it could be, especially if I botched another suicide attempt and left myself a vegetable, I try to think of some good thing to look forward to, I try to remember some of the good times in the past, but I gotta say, this depression thing, even with meds and therapy, is one tough row to hoe.
One hour until the appt. with the psych dr. I'm going to make it, so far.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Did you know that when you have a head cold for a while, and your sinuses fill up with nameless goo, that when you sneeze, your eyeballs pop out? They hit the laptop screen, poink! and then roll under the bedcovers, checking out all the dirty kleenex and such down there. It's a mess. I'm going to keep my eyeballs tucked in my pockets, picking up lint and such, until my cold is gone. I figure it will drain faster without those pesky eyeballs plugging up the works.

My cats have figured out I'm much warmer now that I am sick, and they compete for prime sleeping spots on my virus-riddled body. The hottest spot seems to be on top of my boobs, so I get my daily ration of cat fur up my nose too, while groping for the kleenex which is strewn all over the bedroom. When the phone rings, they LEAP into the air, using all 20 toenails apiece to get the best grip on my torso for maximum peel-out velocity. One cat is polydactyl, which means she has extra toes, and therefore she wins "paws down" for traction. I've thought about sewing velcro to my nighties, and then using the straps to attach the cats to me, some of that industrial strength stuff that defies a single-handed removal, the kind you must use both hands to RIP the stuff apart, so that they can't peel out. But think how awkward it would be when I needed to use the pot for instance.

I'm actually at work today, because I'm so sick of looking at the bedroom walls. Besides, don't you think it's the charitable thing to do, sharing this rare opportunity to get sick with all my co-workers? Have you noticed that all the newer phones for sale now are dark grey or black, instead of putty tan? This is so you can't see the icky handprints on the receiver when you use it. After all, who washes their telephones regularly? Studies have shown, too, that there are more pathological bacteria in the average kitchen than in the bathroom. Think about that, the next time you're rolling out cookie dough on the counter for the little ones to "help" decorate. Personally, I've never been able to figure out how the washing machine gets to be so cruddy, when all it has in it is hot soapy water and bleach, gallons and gallons, and yet it gets this grey slimey dreck all around the top edge of the tub and in the fabric softener dispenser. Ewwww.

Everyone in our neighborhood is maximum ticked off right now. Yesterday they moved a double-wide mobile home onto the corner of the lot across the road from us. All the other houses out here are on 2 acre lots, with (we thought) restrictive covenants to prohibit sub-dividing the lots up for any kind of house, and especially for mobile homes, but appararently it was challenged in court and didn't stand up. The new house, from their front door, looks directly across the road at our sawdust pile, piled up against the barn wall and covered with a tarp, for bedding the horses' stalls. I wonder how long it will be before they start b***ing about the barn, the flies, the fence, etc. Of course we've been here 25 years, horses and all; if they give us too much grief we'll move the manure pile to where the sawdust is now, heheheh. Maybe add some goats too.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I hadn't realized it has been so long since I posted. We've all been down with the flu, I was the last to get it, and so I got the benefit of extra virulence with it having passed through the rest of the family. Also all the kleenex were used up, and the tylenol cough medicine was down to the last dregs. I missed an entire week of work; I tried to come in on Wednesday, and immediately realized I had made a big mistake, when I nearly passed out in the parking lot from a coughing jag. Icky. We're all better now, mostly, thank you.

We spent the last several evenings trying to get the swimming pool ready to use. We never opened it last year, the weather was cold and rainy for a large part of the summer, and this year when we took the cover off, it was to discover the entire pool is a swampy green frog pond. We bought a high pressure washer and rented a high volume sump pump to drain the pool and clean the crud off the walls and bottom, what a mess. The frogs are highly incensed, but little do they know it will get worse when we pour the shock into the pool....Meanwhile it is 90+ degrees outside and we have to wait until evening to work on the pool, it's just too frigging hot in the afternoon. Why is it, if you're swimming in a lake or pond, it's perfectly OK for the water to be opaque green, but if it's a pool it has to be crystaline clear? Even the ocean isn't clear, mostly. For a few years we had a pontoon boat that we took (or docked) at the local lake, but eventually realized we were using it more as a swim raft than a boat, and that it would be a lot easier to stay home and jump in the pool, so we sold the boat and put in the pool. It's all landscaped and decked, so it looks pretty spiffy (except for the green sludge right now) if I do say so myself. Still, it is a fair amount of work, skimming out leaves, adding chemicals, testing the water, adding water, vacuuming. Fifteen thousand gallons......And I thought a 20 gallon aquarium was a lot of work.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Green green, it's green they say....

We're right in the middle of the worst season of the year. Summer? No-- grass cutting season.
When I was a kid, we lived in Miami. In Florida, you cut grass year round. Ours grew like wildfire. My mother was a lawn fanatic. You'd have thought the grass police would come around and arrest us all if the the lawn wasn't sculpted into impeccable style. She watered, and fertilized, and it grew even thicker. To make matters even worse, we had hedges; all along one long side, completely across the back, and half way down the other side. These had to be manicured with flat tops and perpendicular sides, and we did it with hand clippers. The long one was a hibiscus, and if you let it go too long the branches got as thick as your thumb, and tough as nails to clip thru. The driveway edges, sidewalk edges, and the borders of every flowerbed had to be edged, and we used the half-moon blade manual edger, the kind you step on. When I picture the house in Miami, it's never the inside I think of; it's of me, outside, lopping away at the hedges from hell. Mom and Dad slaved over that yard too, but as I remember it, I was the only kid in the neighborhood expected to do yard work too. Never my sister; she was "too sick". Anyway, I grew to hate gardening or yard work in any and all forms. When we bought our house 25 years ago, the "lawn" was a joke--the 2 acres had been carved out of woods, and between the tree stumps was mostly moss. These days, my hubby and son do all the mowing and trimming, and I keep my mouth shut, cause I'm not willing to do it, and so I don't get to bitch about it, right? But honestly, the lawn is horrible. It's all weeds, and tree roots poking up with sucker growth, except near the barn, where the horse manure that leeches into the soil makes for grass you could cut with a scythe and bale, it's that thick. So I am so glad when the grass finally stops growing in October or so, when the neighbors' lawns, raked, dandelion free, green swathes of even grass, will wither and brown up and make ours look so much better.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Public squeaking

I just started to relax, now that the univ. regular semesters are over for the summer, and I get an email giving me the schedule for the fall orientation sessions that I teach in lab safety. Jeesh! My stomach started up with the butterflies already! You know how everyone tells you that it's only natural to be nervous in public speaking, and how you'll do "just fine" once you get started? They're liars. I've had experiences so awful they make me cringe even now, years later. My voice has a tendency to quaver, and when I hear it, sounding like I'm trying out a really bad microphone, it makes it quiver even worse. It pretty much matches the quivering in my knees. The only thing I haven't done is throw up while at the podium, but give me time. I've gotten so sweaty that my glasses have fogged up til I couldn't read my notes. Ad lib? You must be joking! I couldn't remember my name, much less the fine points of laboratory safety. Last year I staggered through the one I give to incoming PhD. students, and then the next morning, as I'm sliding into my desk grateful for nothing more challenging than data entry, and my boss tells me the fire safety guy had a family emergency and I have to give his talk! In 15 minutes! With no notes! What the f*** do I know about state fire regulations? I thought fast and suggested that the fire expert email the students his powerpoint presentation for them to go thru on their own....and he agreed! Then I went and threw up in the ladies room.

This year, now that I've got the schedule so far ahead of time, I'm seriously thinking of taking annual leave for that whole week. Hehehe.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Trwu luv

Did you read the post down below about pedicures? If not, go read it now, I'll wait. Done? Well OK then. The quasi-pedicure is now history, and so I had to cut my own toenails the other night. I hate doing it. It isn't bad enough that I'm all contorted up trying to reach past my (ahem) thighs and nip in a straight line on an inherently curved surface, but I'm tilting my head up and down trying to get my bifocals to focus at such an indeterminate distance so I don't accidentally nip off my entire toe. Not too bad on the left foot, since I am right handed, but twice as awkward on my right foot. Anyway, I get the job done, more or less. Two days later I notice my big toe is starting to turn black and fall off (well, sorta), and I find that lo, I have an ingrown nail. Great! I'm diabetic, so I take things like this seriously. I'm laying on the bed, trying to prop my foot on the other knee while wielding something that looks like a pair of wire cutters, when in walks hubby, who wants to know what all the whimpering is about. Then--and this where the true love comes in--he sits down beside me, nips off the sharp corner of the nail, FILES all the other nails which 'seem a little sharp' and then POLISHES my toenails! And they look great, and feel great too! Do I know how to pick them, or what!!?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I had one interesting session with the therapist during my recent in-patient sojourn. After covering all the usual topics, history-wise, she mentioned noticing that I hadn't been attending the 'group therapy' sessions. I told her that I wasn't a believer in group therapy, that if I wanted advice on my problems, I wanted it from trained, professional, impartial therapists, and not from a bunch of uneducated, messed up, random people off the street (can you tell I'm a snob?). She said that sometimes there were insights to be gained, and I admitted I'd swapped info with the other cutter I'd found, little how-tos and so forth. I had heard that if you went to group sessions, the docs would know you were 'working' and would let you go home sooner. So I told the therapist that, and then laughed and said, "We both know you'll let me go the very instant my insurance says they won't pay any more" and she laughed and admitted I was right. Today I got the preadmission approval from my insurance co., in which they approved me for 4 days stay. And I was in for..four days. Ah life, so predictable.

In other news, I have just returned from a little 3 day trip in celebration of our TA DA! 35th wedding anniversary. We went to a little B&B about 2 hours away, and did pretty much nothing but taking in the sights (such as they were) and eating. The nearest grocery store was 40 miles away (you'd have to do some serious planning ahead to live that far from food) and the whole town had a population of 20. The scenery was beautiful, unspoiled forest, and the bedroom was tiny, hot, and I was never so glad to get home in my life. Ahem. A swell time was had by all.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

we're going to the funny farm, ho ho hee hee

I went to see my therapist on Friday, and she convinced me to go into the local psych ward for a few days, just because I was feeling a wee bit suicidal, she has to go all doo-lally and I thought, well, how bad can it be?


It isn't just trying to read by overhead lights (no lamps, they have cords, you know?) and not being able to put on all my makeup (mirrors in the compacts) and having to eat ham as a finger food (no plastic knives) and not being able to use my palm pilot (glass screen) and having to use their shampoo (stripping out half my hair tint, since my shampoo is in a glass bottle) and having no belt on my bathrobe or laces in my shoes and having them "check on me" every 30 minutes all night long. No, I could have managed all of that. The real problem is that the entire ward is full of CRAZY PEOPLE. The lady who growls like a dog. The man who wanders into your room. The lady who thinks the man is her father. The biker who shouts about the War. The man who wanders the hall, spitting on the floor. The lady who pees her pants because the bathroom is haunted. The girl who steals food off the other patients' trays. The fights over the pay phones, and the cigarettes. THe TV turned up to maximum volume, and no one in the room. My roommate either cried or prayed or sang hymns all day, I don't know which is worse.

And the 'group therapy' sessions. In one of them, the moderator read a little homily about the virtues of keeping an open mind instead of 'being set in your ways'.
Then he went around the room, asking every one what they thought about keeping an open mind. One by one, they agreed an open mind is a good thing. Then he got to me. I said, one of the reasons the "old ways" for doing things got that way is they had withstood the test of time; that a lot of the time, the "new" way sounded great at first, and then down the road turned out to be hooey. Then I said, it's possible to have so much of a open mind your brain falls out on the floor. There was a pause, and you could see him thinking "Hoo boy, this one's AWAKE! Better move on...." and that was my last group session.

The psych doctor was pretty good, tho I got tired of answering the same questions. It's hard to remember dates, long ago did this start? When did this happen? They changed all my meds around (no surprise) and now I'm fighting off the sleepies during the daytime and bouncing off the walls all night. Do I feel Safe? Not from them.

Back at work, I'm trying not to feel cheated of my three day weekend. I have audits to do but they can wait until tomorrow while I enter data in the database, and thus avoid all people for the day. Silence IS golden, you know?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on

I had my first ever pedicure last week. I get my fingernails done all the time, and so have seen them giving pedicures lots of times. I've debated having a pedicure, because I'm a little squeemish about putting my feet in a tub that dozens of other women have had their feet in -- here's an invention idea, a foot soaking/whirlpool tub with disposable liners! -- but in the end I thought, ehh, what the hell. I will never have another. First off, I couldn't seem to find a comfortable position to sit in with my feet elevated and propped on a little ledge, maybe because I have no stomach muscles to speak of. Secondly, I realized that my naked feet are not a thing of beauty, callused and BIG. But worst of all, I realized my feet are TICKLISH in the extreme. Picture the poor woman trying to put nail polish on my toes while they twitch and tremble and give a good imitation of feet with the DTs. It was awful, and I felt like an idiot, and the polish ended up everywhere, and I finally had to say ENOUGH! and leave a big tip. No sandals for me.

When I was taking lithium, I developed the most awesome hand/body trembles. I'd stretch my hand out parallel to the ground and lay a piece of paper on the back of my hand. It would sound like castanets as my fingers went rat-atat-tat on the paper. At the time I was working as an electron microscopist and if you think that wasn't a hoot, trying to manipulate copper grids 3 mm in diameter under a microscope. I finally took 2 months of leave to get over the lithium shakes and find a med that worked without putting me out of work. I never realized before, how fatiguing it is to shake all over all the time, I was just exhausted trying to do the simplest thing. I think I could have gotten a job at Sherwin Williams, they wouldn't need the paint shaker, just let me hold the gallon for a few minutes.

For a while I was on a medication that caused me to sleep-walk. Usually I went to the kitchen, and often my daughter, whose room is right next to the kitchen would intercept me. She and my son delighted in talking to me, knowing I would have no recollection at all of the conversation in the morning, even though I would reassure them that yes, of course I would remember. Once they even had me sign a paper to the effect that I would remember, and of course I didn't. Guess it's a good thing they didn't take advantage of me, sign away my car title or whatever. They enjoyed it immensely, and regaled their friends with our "conversations". Sigh. I don't get any respect.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Better than ever

I take medication for depression and last week the psychiatrist decided to change it. It seems that I will need about a month to wean off the old one, and am starting the new one right away, so for the next few weeks I'll be double medicated and I can already tell there are side effects. So far, it seems to involve focusing my eyes. Have you ever paid attention to the ads on TV for the various drugs? Lipitor is one of my favorites, at the end of the ad the announcer whips thru all the possible side effects -everything from nausea, headache, etc. to liver damage - they say it so fast you can hardly catch it. I think, Yeah, I want to take THAT medication. Don't you wonder how much those ads cost, and how much they add to the cost of the drug? And they're not OTC, you still need a dr.'s script. And all the stuff the drug reps. unload on the doctors, promoting this or that drug, pens, calendars, toys, clocks, kleenex, not to mention bringing the whole office lunch or dessert. It boggles the mind, when you see it all, and then the drug companies are still raking in billions in profits, which they say they need for the "Ongoing search" for cures for whatever. I'm in favor of research, but do they really need to do all the advertising to the patient, and all the free junk to the doctors? That's not even mentioning all the free travel to "meetings" and other big-ticket items. Somehow, when you compare their excess to the problem regular people have paying for their meds, when they have to decide between which meds they need the worst, or what else they can do without, it doesn't seem ethical. It seems greedy and wicked and uncaring. Our country is so very wealthy in material things, it is a sin that our citizens can't afford medicine that they need. But the politicians throw out red herrings to keep us arguing about the wrong things in life -- crap like whether homosexuals can marry, and wars against the wrong people, to keep from having to tackle the tough things. Maybe I'm not the only one having trouble keeping my eyes focused.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Mother's Day

Mother's Day has come and gone, and with it all the guilt that we moms can pile on to our significant others and/or children. I favor guilting them into doing things that last - digging a flowerbed, defrosting the freezer, painting the kitchen (preferably all at the same time) over the easy-come-easy-go things like buying flowers, candy, and taking me out to dinner. Mother's day is a good time to remind the kids of how agonizing their births were, how you suffered when they caught chicken pox, all the barf and poop you bravely cleaned up. A few tales of how you amused yourself in childhoood with nothing but a cardboard box and some sticks, with narry a Nintendo to be seen. How you worked your fingers to the bone helping Mom with the canning, the butter churning, the garden weeding. How you never had a car of your own to drive until you bought it yourself, after you finally got a job at the Piggly-Wiggly bagging groceries. Even if the above aren't true, do you think they'll realize that? They think anything before 1970 is ancient history. They can't imagine having to get up to change channels on the TV, or collecting pop bottles off the road so you could get enough change to buy a soda. Hanging laundry out on the line (no dryer), ironing (no perm. press), scrubbing floors with a bucket and brush. Sweeping and using carpet beaters (no vacuum). Gosh, it makes me tired just thinking about it. Anyway, even if I didn't get all the free labor I could have wished for, the candy-flowers-dinner were nice, the cards were sweet, and I love each kid (and hubby) more than I can say. Hope yours was the same!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Splotch, aka Moby

We lost one of our cats a few days ago. He was fine the night before, eating, washing the face of his sister, playing with his catnip sock. In the morning we found him in the living room, dead, no sign of a struggle or illness. He was only 8, but a very large (over weight) cat. We miss him so. It doesn't seem fair that our companion animals live only a fraction of our lifespans. Taking one into your home and being bound with heartstrings to them is only setting yourself up for the day when they are gone. And yet we do it over and over again. In 35 years we've had 13 cats, 4 of which we still have, some of them living well into their teens. It still grieves me, and the ones you love the best seem to be the fastest to go. We had a Siamese that loved to play fetch with crumpled paper, bringing it back to you to be thrown again and again. If you ignored her when she brought it back, she would pick it up off the floor and lay it in your lap. If you still ignored her she would put it on your chest. If that didn't succeed, she would climb up on you and very gently take your chin in her teeth and hold on, sort of saying, I know I shouldn't bite, but could you PLEASE throw the paper? So funny....I miss them all.

Monday, April 25, 2005

How to do major ouchies

I have a good friend who recently managed to blow out the bilateral cruxate ligaments on BOTH knees, doing nothing more strenuous than walking downhill. She is now, after surgery, confined to 6 weeks with knees straight, without any kind of home help other than a beleagured hubby. I too have suffered home health hell, several years ago when I fractured L2 and L3 vertebrae in my spine, getting flung off a horse. I was 2 weeks in the hospital, 6 weeks in a body cast that ran from underarms to hip on one leg, and to knee on the other leg, and then 3 months in a body brace. You never appreciate all that you expect your body to do for you until it doesn't do it anymore. Simple things, like getting dressed and going potty are now massive undertakings, and time becomes this weird, strung out thing; hours crawl by like weeks and days are endless and boring. You lie there, trying not to be a colossal pain to whomever is taking care of you -- especially if it is your family, who you'll have to live with afterwards. My mom came to stay with us, bless her heart, I don't know what I would have done otherwise. Gone to a nursing home? My friend's insurance, in that high handed manner all insurance companies have these days, informs her that they won't pay for any nursing care, not even for once a week baths, it doesn't matter what the doctor ordered. When I think of all the health reform that Hilary Clinton tried to get going back when, and everyone said, "Horrors, no, we can't have the government telling doctors what to do!" I just laugh, because of course what we have now is worse, it's the insurance companies, eye fast on the great bottom line, that dictate EVERYTHING with no recourse to courts, the law, or anything or anyone else. Take it or leave it. No consistency between coverages, no real appeal, incredibly high premiums, and incredibly high profits. Hospitals forced to release sick patients or destroy their own bottom line; oh, don't get me started.

Anyway, as you wend your way through you mundane day-to-day business, give a thought to what it would be like if you couldn't walk, or stand, or even pull your own britches up, but had to rely on someone else for all that and more. And be glad for your functioning, even those that aren't quite what they used to be, because we're all of us only one mistep away from disaster.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The A to Z of me.

Accent: I can do South-ern, and Irish, but none, naturally.
Bra size: Small!
Chore I hate: Folding socks
Dad's name: Albert
Essential makeup: eyeliner
Favourite perfume: Opium
Gold or silver: Gold
Hometown: Morgantown, WV, by choice.
Interesting Fact: Suicide is way harder than you'd think.
Job Title: Safety mojo
Kids: Two
Living arrangements: A regular family living out in the (sorta)boonies.
Mom's birthplace: WV
Number of apples eaten last week: 0
Overnight hospital stays: Too many to count; 20? 30?
Phobias: Wasps/hornets/roaches
Question you ask yourself a lot: Why can't I feel happy again?
Religious affiliation: Flirting with Buddhism
Siblings: One sister, older, deceased for one year.
Time I wake up: Half an hour before I have to be out the door.
Unnatural hair color: Light Auburn
Natural hair color: Ash blonde with lots of grey.
Vegetable I refuse to eat: Brussel Sprouts!
Worst habit: Self pity
X-rays: Most recently, ribs.
Yummy food I make: lemon bars
Zodiac sign: Aquarius

Friday, April 01, 2005


I'm getting discouraged about posting, Blogger has eated two of my posts in a row, and dumb me didn't save them in notepad, but by gum this one's going to be saved, even though it isn't a patch on those other two wonderful, articulate, funny, blog-fests (you'll just have to take my word for it).

Recycle: to most people it means aluminum cans, newspaper, plastic bottles. But I remember when 'recyle' meant to use something over again, not chop it up in little bits and use all the energy to re-manufacture a new one, this time with a green label proclaiming what % post-consumer dreck is in the new one. For example, when milk jugs were thick-walled plastic or glass with wire handles, and you paid/got $0.75 for each one, which was washed, sterilized and re-filled. So what I want everyone to do is, think of flea markets and yard sales not as ways to dump crud you don't want anymore, but as re-cycling it to someone who can use it, keeping it out of landfills for more of its useful life. Maybe the new image will give the process a cachet, so not only newly weds looking for a little cash flow and relief from too many wedding gifts do it, but rich folks who don't need the money at all. Then they can donate what they made to a charity, and we all win. Makes sense, yes?

Thursday, March 31, 2005

I'm all a-Google

I just did a google search on 'random micro thoughts blog' and it showed this site! How cool is that? However, I should point out it's on like page seven, and it cites a post from last month, but hey, we amateur writers with few pretensions to fame gotta take what we can get. If you search on my >name< it cites an article I co-wrote as number one (at least it did the last time I checked); if on my husband's name, you get press releases from his job; my son, and you get a geology article for his summer internship with the state geological survey; and (alas!)with my daughter's name you get nothing at all about her. She was quite put out when I told her (bad mother! bad!) but for now she is doomed to anonymity. The problem with my blog, I think, is that "random thoughts" is WAY too common of a phrase for blogs and other venues. Adding 'micro' only means you get every site that has random thoughts about Microsoft. Pfft. Like Bill Gates needs any more web space than he already occupies. Guess I should have thought harder about some catchy phrase to use as a title for my blog. 'Catharsis' might have figured into it somewhere, except I'd have to spell check everytime I used it.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

March 29th

Today would have been my sister's 58th birthday. After more than a year it's still hard to believe that she is dead. The last few years weren't good ones for us; she had become more paranoid and accusatory, and I was fed up with making excuses for her to my family. When she called the police to our house while I was in the hospital in intensive care, my husband hit the roof and said, no more. But I think more about the years when we were little. All of the people in my life then, my sister, my parents, aunt and uncle, grandmother, all of them are dead now, but back then birthdays were a big celebration, and unlike Christmas, it was all for you. Now that we are adults, it's usually just a time to go out for dinner. When did that all change? Anyway, my sister slipped on an icy sidewalk in Feb. last year, hit her head, and died of a subdural hematoma a few days later. I'm sure she thought the doctors were making a big deal out of nothing, she'd only agreed to go to the ER for stitches on her scalp. I can only guess that she never knew the seriousness of her fall, and by the time we got there she was unconscious and remained so til the end. She was able to be an organ donor, and several people are living a better life thanks to that. But I can still imagine her demanding to go home and yelling about the need for surgery, etc. Not one to go quietly into that good night....
Still feel like I ought to send flowers.................

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Spring Holiday!

Tomorrow is our spring holiday, mainly because it isn't PC anymore to call it Good Friday when we work for the state. This creates a certain amount of friction with my daughter, who works at the same university as I do, but is paid out of another pocket. There are basically 3 different 'employers' at the health science center; people like me, actual university employees paid by the state and governed by state legislature as to hiring/firing, seniority, etc. Then there are employees hired by the hospital, which is a university hospital, and yet a private corporation thru some fancy footwork when it was set up some 18 years ago. ANd then there are UHA (united Hospital Assoc.)employees, who are hired and paid by the private entity that gets the doctor fees when people are treated at the hospital; the doctors get a cut, of course, but not the whole enchilada because they are 'state' employees too. Confusing? Yes. But the one factor that overrides the whole shebang is that everyone hates the 'state' employees (like me). We get more money, shorter work week, more days off, way more holidays, and better health coverage, cheaper. Our jobs are secure (after 5 years) and all the others can be fired in a heartbeat, for no reason except the money ran out. Or because they made a fuss about their job. This is not our fault; but the reason the other two 'employers' were created was to enable the administration to hire and fire at will, no seniority, no state laws to consider, just like a private business. It makes them resentful of the state-leys because we work side by side, but for different amounts of money, different no. of hours a week, different holidays. My daughter is a UHA-er. 4 holidays a year (we get 13), and Friday isn't one of them. I think it's unfair, too; but this is what our legislators got up to one year when no one was looking, and now we're stuck. I expect that eventually they'll let attrition take all the state jobs, and fill them with the other two (or yet another entity) so they won't need to honor all those pesky laws put in place to protect state workers from discrimination and unfair labor practices. Probably no one will notice, by then. Hopefully I'll be gone too.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Monday, Monday, can't trust that day

I'm actually glad to be at work today. This weekend was one of those where you plan some fairly taxing project (like cleaning out a closet) and it gradually evolves into a monster project (like organizing all the drawers and dresser tops). When you're done, it doesn't look like you've touched a thing, because it's all hidden inside dressers and closets, but you feel like you've run a marathon. I was on a ladder part of the time (top shelf) and the arch of my foot feels like it's been folded, spindled, and stapled. Sitting here at work now I have my shoes off (such a lovely indulgence) and if I have to get up, it will be in stocking feet, until it's time to go home. I even brought my lunch, so I won't have to walk to the cafeteria. I need a weekend to recover from my weekends. One side benefit is the things you find that you didn't know were there. I found a $20 bill in an old purse, and a brand new tote bag from Alaska from last year's vacation, as well as an Alaska stocking hat (now that it's March and too warm to wear it). I found the charger for my cell phone (no having to use hubby's) and all sorts of little odds and ends that had tried to escape the house unnoticed. I firmly believe that inanimate objects possess personality, which is why you should never make disparaging remarks or talk of trade-ins when you are in the car. I talk to my car, so it will know it's appreciated, and as a result, in 34 years of driving, I have never had a car breakdown while I am at the wheel, or even had a flat tire. Kismet, I'm sure.

My son worked his first days on the job at Target this weekend, so he is now officially employed. He's complaining about his feet too. Yesterday he wore gel inserts in his shoes, it seems to help. I know I couldn't do a job where I had to be on my feet all day long, my back would pack it in after about an hour.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Blogger is Working again!

I've been trying to post for this entire week,(honest) and couldn't get blogger to let me in from the sign-on page. One of the blogs I read apparently had the same gripe, so it's not just me. Anyway, here is my lame-o list of ten things I've done that you probably haven't:

1. Written FORTRAN programs using a keypunch machine.
2. Ridden my horse in a parade in downtown San Francisco.
3. Had a streetwalker solicit my husband while I was walking hand-in-hand with him.
4. Fractured my spine getting tossed off a horse.
5. Applied for a job as an astronaut with NASA.
6. Whale-watched from a 2-seater airplane.
7. Broke my arm ice-skating.
8. Co-authored an article published in the European Journal of Biochemistry.
9. Held my mother's hand as she died.
10. Saved a stranger using the Heimlich manuever when she was choking.

Number three occurred in San Francisco too, what a city. My first day in Golden Gate park I saw two men making out on a park bench, a real shock for a naive 20 something.