Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wikimedia, Uncle!

I give. 
Finally guilted into actually donating to Wikipedia, which I do use all the time.  Mostly for pop-culture references, since I just don't get those otherwise.
Awoke this morning and said, "It's really windy today."  TheLimey asked, "How do you know?"  "Can't you smell it?"  I replied, which just made him laugh. But sure enough, when he went out, it was super duper windy, and trash and trashcans were blowing about the streets wildly.  I could smell it being windy.  Weird.
Limelet had a great time opening presents on Christmas morning, playing with them all day, and then taking them to bed that evening.  It's taken him several days to stop asking for presents every morning, however.  He's now a one-man band with his kitarrh and his marmogginah.  Figure that one out, willya.
I now think it's harder to write fiction than nonfiction, although that wasn't always the case.  Maybe now I unreasonably apply nonfiction standards to fiction.  I keep telling myself, "It's okay to write derivative crap.  It's okay to write derivative crap."  Because you know what?  It is!  If that's what's in my head, which it is.  I have no delusions that I will write the Great American Novel or Great Literature (or even Good Literature), so what the hell.  Derivative crap sells, anyway.  When I was in music I always said I'd sell out first, then I could afford to do artsy and daring stuff, rather than be accused of selling out after I had an artsy audience. I think that philosophy may apply here as well.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Stupid Eddy in the Time-Space Continuum

Strangely, I often find myself with an urge to watch the original Star Trek on Sunday afternoons at about 4 p.m.  It occurred to me to see if it's available on Netflix instant streaming (actually TheLimey mentioned it).  So I checked, and it's there!  Woo hoo! At least Season 1 is.
Except that it's only available for streaming until December 30.  Dammit.
I'd have to watch 10 episodes per day to see them all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, One of "Those" Posts

I don't usually have time to remember my dreams this day, even if I am woken up at a point where I could remember them.  But by some chance I remembered this one, or rather three mini-dreams.
1. It was still my birthday, and some friends (I think grad school people) were having a party for me.  Party things were set up in a work area and I sat down at a table for a minute.  I was tired, and fell asleep with my head on the table.  When I woke up, it was hours later and the party was over, and no one had woken me up for it.  I missed the whole thing!
2. We had a garage that adjoined that of our new next-door neighbors, whom I met.  The husband was a small wiry blond man in his 50s or 60s, and told me that his name was Göran Visnjic  (Not, apparently, to be confused with Goran Višnjić, the actor of Practical Magic fame--at least, that's why I know of him), and they were from Denmark.  I guess my subconscious thinks that Göran is a Danish name.  Anyway, he offered me some Parma ham and said it was a traditional Danish food. I ate some out of politeness, but felt revulsion because I really dislike meats that are not cooked.  Blluugghh.  Anyway, he said that there was some kind of Scandinavian association in town, and that I was welcome to join them some time.  I said I'd be glad to, which I was, until he told me that they'd basically be eating all kinds of cured (but not cooked) meats.
3.  I had Limelet with me, and was climbing some giant iron stairs like a fire escape (but on a bigger scale).  There was a supervillain after us. His power was this super-stretchy candy cane, which he was throwing after us like a fishing line in an attempt to hook Limelet. Instead, I caught the hook myself and used the candy cane to throw the supervillain really far.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice
Originally uploaded by BarneyF
If I took a perfect photo, it'd look like this guy's.

Now, forward to the longer (and temporarily colder) days!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Today I received a UPS shipment from my PhD alma mater: a new diploma! 
This was nice, since the last one had a random letter capitalized in the middle of my last name. Also, it was unexpected, since I hadn't complained to them about it.  I don't know why.  Imagined I was stuck with it, I guess.  Learned helplessness in the face of bureaucracy, that's for sure.
Unfortunately, the new diploma had a new error, in which it actually left out a letter, although there were no extraneous capitalizations this time.  This finally gave me the impetus to actually call them up and ask what the heck was going on. It helped that the return address contained a specific person's name and his phone number. Wow!
The guy was quite nice and explained that they had sent out the replacement because many of the PhD diplomas had had errors in them (blamed on some particular person, possible no longer there). Before I even told him about the new error, he spotted it and told me he would send out a new one, possibly tomorrow.
So, hey, for once being a squeaky wheel gets me some grease, instead of being the blade of grass that sticks up and gets cut off.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Random Idle Complaints: Amazon Again

More love/hate ambivalence with Amazon, with whom I have such a dependent and needy yet angry relationship.

So one of my FriendFeed feeds is my Amazon wishlist. Rather, my Amazon wishlists, as they have diverged into half a dozen or so different categories. (For the record, they are mostly not pleas for someone to buy me something, but reminders to myself of various items that I'm interested in getting someday. Just so you don't think I'm terrifically greedy. Even if that is the case.)

And the reason I have the wishlists on FF? I don't know. Not any particular reason. Really more of an OC thing than anything. I just like FF to collect all my lists and stuff into one spot so I can see them organized neatly in my Google Reader.

I finally decided to once and for all change my wishlist email addresses from the one associated with my uni and teaching life to my private Gmail address. (Do I really want students finding out in idle curiousity that I want Victoria's Secret Very Sexy cologne? There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but...it's just not something I want so easily findable, I guess.)

However, once I finally changed the email address associated with the wishlists (had to each be done individually, of course), FF can't ever find them under the new email address. And when I search Amazon itself with the new address, it claims to find nothing. Looking under the old email, it finds them all. Maybe it just takes a while to propagate. But the thing is, I've tried this before, albeit not so systematically. Amazon's "search engine"* [spits and makes sign against evil eye] just never, ever recognized the new email address and I ended up changing it back and just making some lists private. This time I wanted to try and do it methodically to see for once and for all if it worked.

Ths is probably just one of those things where I don't know how the hell to do something simple and am therefore blaming some outside entity in frustration.

*Update* : It worked! It finally, finally worked!
Now, if only the great 'Zon would allow me to cancel my inactive subscription to Emergen-C fizzy drink powder.

*I have a long and angry history of dislike for Amazon's so-called "search" function

Monday, December 07, 2009

Winter Day, Postbirthday

As I wait for my breakfast barley to cook, I write.  A pile of dirty dishes has somehow already accumulated since I loaded the dishwasher last night, and they are literally staring me in the face.  Okay, I give, the dishes are not literally staring, as the dishes don't have eyes.  It just feels like they do.  Accusatory, glaring eyes.  I read an article the other day in which a woman claimed to have "literally devoured" a great number of books and journal articles, which made her an expert on her topic (herbal fertility aids).  Naturally, I couldn't take anything she wrote seriously after that.  I wonder if I could have simply eaten my grad school materials instead of wasting all that time reading?
I am currently reading a Neil Gaiman novel and enjoying it a lot more than I expected (yes, I do a lot of things for which I have low expectations).  Maybe it's just a reflection on the kinds of books I've been reading this year, but I am really impressed with his writing. Once past the introduction, the writing itself became invisible and there is nothing now but story.  I haven't had this kind of reading experience in a long while. I thought it was because I'm a grownup now and perhaps don't read in the same way I used to.  It didn't occur to me that it could have to do with the writing itself, except in cases of very clumsy or amateurish writing.  So, Mr. Gaiman, I'm impressed, for what that's worth.
Last week I splurged and got a lovely, pungent bunch of dried eucalyptus branches because I love how they make the house smell.  I haven't had them since before I got married. However, when my smelling-impaired husband came home that evening, he sniffed and asked with genuine concern, "What is that? Is that garbage?  Does the trash need taking out?"  Hmpf.
Speaking of smells, I am terrifically disappointed with the Christmas tree we just got over the weekend (I picked it out).  It has almost no smell at all, unless I'm practically roosting in the branches.  The smell is possibly the most important aspect of a Christmas tree, and there are still three whole weeks to go!  I will have to do something drastic, such as clipping some of those raggedy bottom branches off.  Admittedly, it was fun decorating it with Limelet this year, as now he is old enough to hang hooks instead of taking everything off and throwing it.  At least most of th e time.
TheLimey got me a One Touch video capture device for my birthday that works well with the video camera, so I plan to post some clips on Flick'r, including the aforementioned tree decorating. Now, off to finally undergo a bunch of fillings at the dentist.  Bleah.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Paypal Phishers

Just received an email that (purposely, of course) made my heart jump.  At first I though it was about the oven rack that I recently made an eBay offer on; then I wondered how the heck they got my name and email address.  I'm posting the text because I haven't seen it posted anywhere else yet, and maybe someone else will be Googling it as I did.  I deleted the email address of the sender, because as likely as not, it's another stolen email of an innocent person.  ...maybe.
to [real first name, real last name] [mygmail@gmail.com]
date Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 11:57 PM
subject My Goodies has rejected your Invoice
hide details 11:57 PM (9 hours ago)

Hello [real first name, real last name],
My Goodies (suspicious_email@msn.com) rejected the following Invoice:

------------------------------Invoice Details------------------------------
Item total:  40.00
Shipping:  4.00
Total:  $44.00 USD
Note:  Dear Molly,
Hope this works! I have never tried doing this before. Since I have a "Premier" Paypal account, it should accept credit or debit card payments. The total is $44.

To view updated details of this Invoice, click on the following link or copy and paste the link into your web browser:

[phishing link removed for your safety]


NEVER give your password to anyone, including PayPal employees. Protect yourself against fraudulent websites by opening a new web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Netscape) and typing in the PayPal URL every time you log in to your account.

PayPal Email ID PP715

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vegetarian Luncheon

The veggie lunch was a success.  I ended up making fewer items than I originally thought of, because I just ran out of time.  As it turns out, I could have skipped cleaning the bathroom as no one even went in there, but one never knows, do one?  But the place looked more or less tidy and there was plenty of delicious food.  My favorite decorating touch was the fake fireplace (a DVD plus pinon incense). Seven people showed up, so it's lucky I made a lot of food.
I made a spinach and potato frittata, and curried lentil tamales with cucumber yogurt sauce, featuring homemade yogurt. Man, that turned out to be some good sauce. Initially while researching recipes to synthesize, I was disappointed to realize that we didn't have any mint for the sauce. Then I remembered that we have mint tea, so I just opened a tea bag and used the dried mint.  For dessert we had small blackcurrant cheesecake bites and chocolate cupcakes with freshly whipped vanilla cream.  I also made spiced cider, tea, and limeade (from concentrate).
I have one of those post-effort headaches, but it was fun, regardless.  And now the house is tidied for the holiday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

It Feels Like Christmas Eve

Tomorrow will be the half-price thrift store day...yippee! Honestly, it's almost like getting stuff for free. I have a list of things to look out for, and things I scouted out on Wednesday. Hopefully no one else will have gotten to all of them before tomorrow at 8am, which is when they open.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Second Hand and Other Parts

I've converted my husband to the wonders of thrift shopping. When we were dating he used to shudder at the idea of wearing used clothing, but eventually he was swayed by the nice things I'd bring home for Limelet and myself for super cheap, and needing only a wash. (Heck, it's just cloth.)

Today (Wednesday is half-price clothes and shoes day) I got two nice pairs of shoes that perfectly fit Limelet for $1.50 each--one is a pair of Skechers trainers, and the other is a pair of sort of boot-shoes for winter. Both have velcro closures. I also dug through the jeans section and found myself two pairs of jeans, one kind of tight and stylish (and brand-new) and the other looser and casual. I also scouted (non-clothing) items for Friday's Total Half-Off Sale. Woo-hoo!

For anyone who may have ever resented my scrawniness in years past, now is your chance to gloat. My new jeans size is officially a 12! It feels kind of weird after being a 5-6 (long) for all those years. Being an 8 for a while was okay--I felt sturdier and more healthy. But this does feel kind of strange. It's not just the number "12" either; it's that I still go through a rack of clothes and think that certain pants look like they'll fit, but then I look at the tag and know it won't happen in a million years--that's a pair of pants for my twenties and thirties self.

I'm not really sure that I should try to lose weight, either. I'm reminded of that recent twins study that showed one huge factor in looking younger as one ages is a willingness to gain some weight (the twins who stayed thin were rated as looking significantly older). In response to Deneuve's observation, I am in fact willing to trade my ass for my face.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Everything. Well, Some Things

Made my best batch of yogurt yet using as starter those little "Immunity" yogurts (with a copyrighted culture, so I'll probably get sued) plus Stonyfield Farm yogurt. Very creamy, firm, and mild, and presumably very health-inducing. I hope the strains breed true for subsequent batches. Have also been making whole wheat-rye bread.

Also refurbished a pair of cheap-o shoes for Limelet's upcoming soccer nights, as well as his winter coat on which a zipper had broken.

Enjoyed Jarmusch's Dead Man a lot more than I expected. Not to say I expected to not enjoy it... Aha, just thought of the significance of the order of the deaths of the three hired killers. They are aspects of William's self! Of course. A very symbolic flick.

Also enjoyed Kristin Lavransdatter. Netflix is so cool. (Mostly)

Got replacement camera(s). Hopefully I will begin taking and posting photos again at my old pace.

Cleaned out the little fish pond in the back yard as winterization. The four fish were actually visible for once! Felt good about myself. The next morning one of them had disappeared, and cats have been lurking about daily since then. Dammit.

Am currently reduced to eating Limelet's icky leftover Halloween candy.

Friday the local Starvation Army is having a half-off sale ("Black Friday a week early"). Woo-hoo! Super-cheap stuff even cheaper!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Agriculture Day and October, the Thinning of the Veil

This morning I finally worked one of the two farm share shifts for our local veggie co-op that we had originally scheduled for early August before the manure struck the air-moving device. It was a really wonderful day for it--perfect autumn weather. There were about 9 or 10 people, some of whom have been working weekly or daily for their share (there are various options.) I picked spinach, chard, spring onions, and soybeans. Also pulled up a lot of plastic mulch, in the course of which I found a teensy little groggy salamander. I thought it was a strange black-and-red worm at first, then a baby snake, then I saw the tiny legs and realized what it was. I would have liked Limelet to have been there so he could see it.

I chatted with a German woman, who is a midwife, about the thing everyone notices when they move here (meaning the US, not Pennsylvania in particular)--you have to use a car to get anywhere (for the most part), and also about citizenship issues. There was also a trio of young female friends there, two of whom so did not fit my stereotype of hippie farm co-op types at all, but there they were. At break time they were discussing potential Halloween costumes, and explained that they were planning to "sexify" something normally not sexy at all. Which I found pretty humorous and subversive considering that's pretty much the theme of most commercial women's costumes anyway. One had settled on being a sexy plumber.

The topic drifted to other costumes while I eavesdropped someone else's conversation about moussaka recipes (too bad I dislike eggplant/aubergines). I heard the young women discussing the possibility of being Willy Wonka--the Gene Wilder version, not Johnny Depp--as well as the difficulty of finding good couples' costume ideas. At which I suggested that someone should be a sexy Willy Wonka. Another one of the young women later mentioned that she and her boyfriend were planning to see Hall & Oates live soon, as they were both obsessed with the retro band. I wondered aloud why they weren't dressing as H&O, but she said that it would cause conflict, because both would want to be Oates--though perhaps they could go as Oates and Oates...ah, to be young again, when others don't fault you for doing really, really silly things.

Once home, I took a nap for an hour or so, as I'd been up since 4:30 a.m. (asthma, not Limelet issues.) I suddenly awoke from a very deep sleep, hearing Limelet's voice outside on the porch. He was talking with my mother, who had fetched him from daycare, and they didn't have a key to get in. I jumped up and ran downstairs and flung open the door, then stood there shaking with sleepiness as I remembered that my mother died several years ago, and in any case didn't live around here. The weirdest part was that it didn't seem weird--it seemed completely natural and everyday. Would that it were.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


When did Lipsmackers stop flavoring their products? I used to love their watermelon one as well as Dr Pepper. Usually ate most of it by December 26.
I recently bought Limelet a Dr Pepper one, because he always wants to use/eat my lipstick. It had a wonderful soda scent (as I remembered it) and no pigment, as I was hoping. But it also had no taste or sweetness at all! What the heck is the point? Did they take it out because kids were eating it or something?

Friday, October 09, 2009


I have a Paypal debit card, and I really wish I could use it (with my "allowance").  Unfortunately, TheLimey already has our bank account linked up with his Paypal account (that he needs for various overseas errands), so I can't add funds from our bank. Only one Paypal account allowed per bank account.  I understand there are security issues here, but if there are two bank account owners, shouldn't it be okay to have (their) two Paypal accounts associated with it?
Now, just don't get me started about Amazon.  Sheesh.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Yet Again, I'm Official (An Anticlimax)

UPS delivered my PhD diploma. Now I can shower.

Although for some reason the printer capitalized the "l" in the middle of one of my last names. Although with the fancy lettering, it's not undecorative. It now looks kind of nonspecifically Asian, the way people pronounced my name when I visited Hawaii.

Since I didn't have a scanner available at the time I sent the application, I can't look at a copy to see how I filled it out that they would misread it that way. Since the form specified "fill it out EXACTLY as you want it," I was very careful about it, and I'm already a stickler for that sort of thing, I really believe I probably did fill it out right and they misread it. Probably just too dang many names overall and they got confused. Why? Just take it one at a time, like any other kind of reading!

I kind of don't care right now; I don't know if that will change. There are plenty of people who don't even have a diploma in their current name(s) since they got married and whatnot.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

One Last Gouge

Ever since I defended my dissertation, I've been getting messages of the "Okay, now you're really, really done. No, this time I mean it" variety from individuals, departments, and the institution itself. This culminated over the summer with several letters from the registrar saying things like "YOU HAVE FULFILLED ALL THE REQIREMENTS FOR THE PhD" and later "You will be receiving a diploma at the end of the semester" and then "You will be receiving your diploma, like, months after the semester is actually over." Honestly. Could they draw it out any more? It's been a year and three quarters since I defended and was supposedly allowed to call myself "Doctor."

Today I got a robot phone call from UPS saying they will be delivering a package from Records and Registration tomorrow, signature required This will finally, finally, be the diploma*. While it is unlikely that I'll be able to attend the graduation ceremony itself from out of state, I at least wanted the regalia for attending future events as other faculty do. I called the official university bookstore to find out about getting said regalia.

Since so few PhDs are granted there, I had to speak to three different people before I found someone who had any answers, and he still had to go look it up. What it is, is that most graduating students rent their outfits for a hundred-odd dollars, but one can also purchase them. The "hood" and "tam" (oh, great...a tam) would be about seventyish dollars to purchase, and the gown (sit down) is...seven hundred fifty dollars.

So, guess what? I'm not buying that gown. Nosirree. My theory is that the education accessories mill realizes that after years of getting money from PhD students, they are about to leave, so now is the last chance to get anything. Make it expensive!

The clerk did mention that most faculty simply rent a basic black PhD gown for events, anyway, and wear the purchased headgear with it. So there ya go.

For photos, I can probably just photoshop photos of my body graduating from undergrad, but with my current head in the PhD headgear, since my undergrad and grad schools had the same school colors. Yep.

I'll look a lot thinner, too.

*Yes, this is an assumption, which practically begs heaven for some horrible mishap.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Whole Mackenzie Phillips Thing

You've probably already read about the MacKenzie Phillips memoir in which she reports experiencing incest with her father.  For ten years.
This component that "it started out as rape but became consensual" is something that I think is confusing people.  This is something that I have seen in rape victims as well as heard second-hand in similar published accounts.  One way to make sense of this is to remember that rape is one of those crimes of power, oppression, and possession. 
So is kidnapping, for example.  You probably already know about Stockholm Syndrome, which is basically a survival mechanism that enables victims to--well, survive--in an untenable situation. Similar processes can be seen in rape victims. It is not uncommon to see a woman dating someone who initially raped her.  She may or may not have recognized or labeled it as such, even to herself.  However, it is still damaging and traumatic--and continues to be damaging and traumatic.
In a culture that rape-ifies sex and romance, and glamorizes rape, I see this kind of acceptance of rape as a valid relationship basis as a variety of Stockholm Syndrome.  If we did not live in a rape culture, then women would be much more likely to immediately recognize that what was happening to them was unacceptable, but as it is--it can be hard to set limits when a person believes they aren't allowed to, or that things are supposed to happen this way.  Ms. Phillips' experience does not sound far-fetched to me at all.
The thing about "having a needle in her arm for 35 years" [paraphrased] does not reduce her credence for me, but rather increases it.  The more various dysfunctions exist in the family system, the more believable others seem. Who the heck wouldn't be using drugs and alcohol in order to deal with the weirdness of her situation?  These things don't exist in isolation.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cast On, Cast Off

I knew when Limelet went to sleep at the early, early hour of 9:30 pm that he would awake after one sleep cycle, then be awake for 4 hours.   I was right.  But that was just too bad; we all had to get up two hours later regardless.  I had a pretty early appointment to get my cast off.
So I got the cast off, which was kind of scary, even though the guy showed me that the little saw didn't harm him even when he pressed it against his bare arm.  My  leg was definitely a zombie leg underneath. 
It still is, as I have just gotten home and have not yet had my anticipated three-hour shower yet.  Actually, it may still be baths for a while, but at least I can have both legs in the tub now, instead of propping the one awkwardly against the wall.  Anyway, I guess I pictured having the cast off and then being able to walk pretty normally, if not exactly like a spring lamb.  My leg was starting to feel more normal inside the cast. 
However, now that it's off, it turns out that it's not only a zombie leg, but a Jell-o leg.  A painful, Jell-o, zombie leg.  I was fitted with an "air cast," which is basically a brace that velcroes (velcros?) on.  So I can walk with it on, but quite slowly and with a severe limp.  (Thus I may not be standing in the shower any time soon, as I'd have to leave the brace on to stand up, which wouldn't do at all.) 
The doctor explained why my ligaments were fine--I was worried that they could be secretly unhealed and would snap in two like guitar strings when I tried to stand up or anything--but would take another several months to heal.  In fact, the soft tissues will take about a year to heal entirely, although the bone itself is now pretty much set and just has to solidify over the next couple months.
I wasn't as desperate to scratch as one might think.  Possibly because I had a scratching system in place while casted, so it didn't build up insanely.  I am still trying to decide whether I'll get in the bath first, or scratch the whole leg first while it's still dry.
After the doctor appointment, I had an evaluation at their associated physical therapy...thing...place.  The PT lady told me that it will get worse before it gets better, as I am starting to use and stretch everything now, which will cause a lot of swelling and pain.  Great!  The ankle was swollen, which was sort of surprising to me, but apparently pretty normal.  My calf has shrunken to a size familiar from junior high, although the troll-like fur coat is different.  (Yes, I did think ahead and get new razors in anticipation.)
The PT lady also told me that I won't be able to go down stairs very well.  Yet, when I got home, I immediately forgot and tried to go down the stairs, which painfully shocked me into remembering that she did in fact warn me about that.  Yikes.  I'm supposed to ice and elevate daily; guess I should do this now that I wrenched the poor thing on the stairs.
All told, I am very happy to have the cast off, despite the continued lack of mobility, etc. It's certainly better.  Now, I just have to figure out a way to get down the stairs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


One more night until I get this cast off.  I can't wait!  I'm going to clean everything we own.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Old School


Here's a view of my old elementary school (bottom right) and one of the places my mother and I lived while I was growing up (silvery roof, top left). This is in fact the last place we lived in Urbana, which I more or less consider my hometown.

All those square bald patches in the grass used to be houses when we lived there.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Now I Remember..

I used to write funny stuff back when I just thought I was worn out.  As in the romance for engineers post.  It took me a few reads to even remember that it was, in fact, me who wrote this.  I often have that sensation when reading things I've written, but usually notice it when reading my professional work.  Huh.  Well, I guess that means in thrity years when I can't recognize my own writing, it won't be anything new.  It'll just be my usual writing dissociation.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Four Days

Wednesday morning I get this monstrosity off my leg.  True, the ankle does hurt somewhat at times, but I'll be extremely happy to not be hobbled in the same way.
Four days!
Normally I'd have taken photos of the whole process and posted them, but the cast reminds me of how I broke the leg in the first place, and it's not a nice reminder.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Impatience, and the Scots Romance Question

My right foot (the one attached to the broken leg) has started peeling in a very unattractive way; in fact it's pretty much a zombie foot at this point. Eckh. It has truly already been eating my brain. I am very excited to be able to have a real shower next week, in addition to all the other things I haven't been able to do since July. July! Of course, I'll have a lot to live up to once it's off, as it's been my "reason" for everything I haven't done.

I am (for some reason) still reading the Outlander series. I'm on the third one, although they are about 900 pages each. I think mainly this is because* I can't stand not knowing what happens at the end of any story**, or I just dislike not finishing what I start reading (especially when it's something ridiculously easy). I finally realized (duh) why the first two books were satisfying (from a narrative standpoint, at any rate), the second was very unsatisfying, and the third is again satisfying. More or less.

The first two really were proper "romances," in that there was the unanswered question of "Will they get/be/stay together?" (I'm not even going to consider the label "science fiction" [read in snarky tone] as some would have it, as time-travel by henge seems a lot more like "convenient magic" or "deus ex machina" to me, and there's no other element that could even be considered sci-fi.) But in the third one, hey, yeah, now they're together. Question answered. After that it was basically sort of boringly episodic and had little overall narrative drive (the brothel! the murder! the fire! the smugglers! the journey! the...eh, whatever.)

It would actually have been a more interesting book if the heroine had had to search throughout the world to be reunited with the hero, rather than their journey being together. That's just "boring married life" (my husband's words, not mine!) Their search for his kidnapped nephew seems manufactured and weak. The fourth book, however, is interesting again, because the characters are in America and there is actually an overall question of how/whether they will make it in the "New World." So the series began as a historical romance series, then lost its way entirely, and at this point turns into regular historical fiction (with a few sex scenes). Interesting trajectory.

I don't know how this whole Scots romance-novel thing got started, but apparently it's very popular these days***. TheLimey came home from the grocery store and reported (in somewhat a state of distress) that he saw an entire rack of novels featuring the standard flowing-haired, large-breasted guys, but in this case they were all flashing some thigh--from kilts. I noted that there doesn't seem to be a similar theme of exoticizing Englishmen in romance novels, however. Perhaps that's because in Western society they're still considered the "standard," thus the very antithesis of exotic (also, no kilts. Maybe Roman centurions can be the next thing...or has that been done? Probably. It's not my field.) Anyway, there are certainly no books that I have seen where the Redcoat is the hero, especially the romantic hero. Although I did see a sociological analysis regarding this question in which Redcoat romance heroes are said to occasionally pop up, but only insofar as they are rebel-sympathetic.

But anyway, my overall question...er...uh... Just rambling, really. I guess if you're a Scottish man****, this is your year. Carpe diem!

*Other than being trapped in the house all summer, I mean.
**As you might imagine, this is maddening for someone whose life work is to hear pieces of real people's stories and then (usually) never hear from them again.
***I'm still not going to add this to my novel, however. Although this sort of thing makes me doubt myself.
****Scottish women, I'm afraid you're still on your own with this.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

One Week

We had a nice quasi-anniversary celebration on Labor Day.  Not on purpose; that's just how it felt.  We went to a coffee shop that was open and played on the internet and read books and laughed.  About other patrons.  Then we went home and watched a few episodes of Lost while having beer and (homemade) pizza.  It was really a perfect date, and it's about bloody time we had time to spend together.
One week until I get this stupid thing off my leg.  Well, of course I'd rather have it than not, and I'm quite grateful it's not the old plaster type of cast, but I'll be seriously glad when the bone healing is complete and I can start doing just normal household stuff. 
Next week is also Limelet's third birthday.  And his dental procedure was canceled for tomorrow, because he's sick.  Rescheduled for two weeks. I just want to be on an even keel for a little while!  Or for a long while, honestly.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Do me a favor and Google something...type in Jerrie Yehling and see what comes up first, because I've been getting conflicting reports.  Does Google give different results to different people?!

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Two more weeks (minus one day) until I get this blasted cast off.  I can't wait to see how skinny my leg has become.  (And hairy, and white.)  I'm bringing kneesocks to the uncasting, just so I don't have to display it to anyone.  Including myself.  I plan to get a loofah or similar for the first wonderful, wonderful shower I will wonderfully take in lieu of current awkward baths with leg hanging out of the tub, trying not to drip on the cast while getting out.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


For no reason, the random book title generator:

Three-Liter Tweet

My favorite "new" bird--new to me, at least--is singing in the backyard again.  I believe it is a Carolina Wren, but I call it the Jurgabee, because that's a call it frequently makes.  Jurgabee, jurgabee, jurgabee!  However, this morning it's making one of its other calls:  three-liter, three-liter, tweet!  I like both.  I hope there will be more baby jurgabees under our back porch roof next spring.  Blue jays (or "pteradactyls" as a Nano Nine called them) have finally made an appearance in our yard.  I have missed them since we moved, and thought perhaps they were less common here.  Thank goodness. I missed that rusty hinge cry.
There are apparently two sources for Marmite here, which is good.  One of them is also a source for weird and delicious flavors of crisps, such as prawn cocktail, roast chicken, cheese and onion, and smoky bacon.  And the ingredients are entirely vegetarian, at least of the flavors I tried, so...there you go. Mmmm...veggie bacon crisps.  Also, supposedly the move to ban them is a Euromyth.
The imports store bloke told us...some number of English or British emigrants living here.  It seems like he said thousands, but I can't remember.  It was a while ago.  Anyway, not terribly surprising.  The city seal bears the motto "Lancastra Britannia ... Lancastra Pennsylvania".  No question about the cultural roots here, although there is a certain perception of Pennsylvania being more D[e]ut[s]ch.  The [Deutsch] Amish supposedly refer to all outsiders as "English" in a wholesale fashion.
It may be legal here to do a U-turn.  I'm not sure.  But everyone does them all the time, at least on residential streets, and there are no signs saying "no U-turns,' unlike Michigan.
It was ungodly difficult to find pickled onions here.  I have no idea why.  Finally found some after nearly a year of looking, after one grocery store redid their Italian foods section and began including them. Heaven knows Americans wouldn't eat something like that, right?  (!?!)
There is a baseball team here which must be sponsored by someone rich, because although they are not even minor-league, they have a great stadium and have a great fireworks display every home game, which we can clearly view from our upper windows.  This has sometimes been a problem, because the fireworks inevitably begin about 15 minutes after Limelet has gone to sleep.  In discussions with other parents we have learned that this is a universal complaint, and that things used to be much worse--longer fireworks, and the guy who did them evidently had a thing for cannons.  So, we turn on the little room air-conditioner as well as a white-noise machine, and it at least masks the sounds.  Usually.  Sometimes we've forgotten and Limelet has lept out of bed to watch the fireworks and cry when they're over.  I actually do like seeing them, now that we have a way to keep him asleep.  It's like 4th of July every weekend.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tipalet Cigarettes

Note to self: don't get nostalgic while watching classic films. This is what was going on outside the theater.

Also, doesn't this work for bees, too?

Lance--Well, I Never!

When I clicked on this story about the naked bus hijacker, here's the screen I saw:

...yes, that would be a shirtless Lance Armstrong (in an ad for bodybuilding supplements or similar). I certainly hope he hasn't gone over the edge!

Oh, I'm Impressed, All Right

What is the deal with all these hostages coming to light lately, held for years after being held captive, being forced to bear children, etc.? How many more are there that just haven't been found?

People can look at this guy [/these guys] and dismiss them as loonies, but the thing that scares me is their normalcy. They're not that over-the-edge bizarre personally except in how they have actually acted out this awful fantasy of consuming and destroying someone else's life for one's own selfish wishes (slavery). Which, not too long ago, was normal for certain parts of our society.

*Okay, after looking at his blog, the writing itself looks like that of pretty much every other paranoid schizophrenic on the web that I've seen. So I guess he was pretty weird personally after all. In fact, this guy will be a black eye for the SZ community, who do not generally kidnap and assault anyone.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Three weeks until I get the cast off.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

BBC Clown Singer?

Does anyone else recall watching a television series (BBC, I think) involving a woman who was a lounge singer / pianist who also supported herself by working as a clown? It was painfully hilarious. I wish I could remember what it was called, because I could probably find it online somewhere these days.

The two episodes I remember: one in which the pianist/singer rejects some guy who likes her, and then while she's onstage playing and singing something heartfelt and soulful he gets really drunk and--sitting in the front row--finds some bongos and starts playing along to her song, in a cringingly funny way; and the other in which the pianist/singer gets a phone call that she thinks is for her clown sideline, but is actually for her roommate who has secretly been working as an escort. She drives to a guy's house alone, her car breaks down, and she walks the last leg of the journey in her clown makeup, in the rain (of course). He opens the door, expecting a polished call girl, but gamely invites her in for (a seriously awkward) dinner anyway.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Surgery done, glad to have it over with, luckily not much post-op pain. I haven't taken any of the pain meds. (Only the leg / back pain I already had pre-op for a completely different issue, so there you go.)
One of my sisters is visiting and playing with Limelet upstairs.  It's very nice to hear them laughing their guts out (image distortion software, I hear).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dear Life,

...I take it back.  You know, when I jauntily, optimistically replied "surprise me!" to the question of what I wanted in life?  I take it back.  Stop with the surprises already!  I'm ready for some nice, predictable cause-and-effect.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tired of Suspense, Awkward Travel

Dentist yesterday, leg x-ray today, innards ultrasound today.  TheLimey has to take time off work to ferry me around (can't drive w/broken leg) in addition to having to pick up and drop off Limelet which I used to do.  Cab costs $25 round trip, which is okay for maybe one trip.  Not several.
Dentist:  half of fillings done; the worst half.  Glad to finally have it over.  Originally called them in February--long, long wait, and also had to reschedule once.
Leg x-ray: thank heavens, looks like no surgery on ligaments (or indeed on leg overall) will be needed, and all that foot bruising is pretty normal. Got lesson in difference between tendons and ligaments (more elastin fibers in tendons, was it?)  Four weeks, then velcro type brace thing.  Wonder if I'll be able to drive then?  Allowed to hobble about without crutches a little bit in the house.  Good, because I was already.
Ultrasound:  the genius schedulers scheduled me for the ultrasound, but not for someone to take 10 minutes to look at it afterwards nor to tell me what the results are.  Now I have to go in again tomorrow morning, more Limey worktime eroded as well as yet another medicalized frikkin' day in the week for all three of us.  I saw some scary words on the ultrasound that the tech was unable to discuss with me (as always), but Google says that it will probably be alright.  Still no idea whether I'll need a surgery for the original issue for that particular innard, though, which the appointment tomorrow will provide. Theoretically.
Played online in a daze after appointments instead of hobbling about in the kitchen, making dinner.  Uh-oh.
Discovered there's already something called a Filthy Martini so we'll have to come up with another name for our invention.  Grubby Martini?  I doubt there's a Coke-a-rita, though.  Well, maybe.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Write Something Against Victim Blaming

"A Connecticut Marriott, which is being sued by a woman who was raped in front of her children in its parking garage, is claiming she "failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children."

The Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa, and the firms that manage the hotel and parking garage, have filed court documents arguing that the hotel is not responsible for damages even though the woman was raped on the premises because she was careless, negligent, and didn't exercise "proper use of her senses and facilities,"

... as she was loading her two children under the age of seven into their car seats in the back of her minivan. He stuck a gun in her back and she told him to take her wallet, but he demanded that she take off her clothes. He raped her and pointed a gun at one of the children and threatened to sexually assault one of them too. When another car pulled up she screamed and Fricker fled. ...

...It would seem the decent thing to do (and the smarter public relations move) would have been for Marriott to cooperate with the woman from the start or pay her the $15,000. The defense could have just argued that no one but Fricker was responsible for the crime, but instead the hotel management is blaming the victim for endangering herself and her children..."

(She only asked $15,000!)
This seemed like an easy one to do something about.  Here's what I wrote on the hotel's online contact form.  Probably you could come up with something better.
"Dear Hotel Personnel,
I recently read about the case regarding the woman who was raped at gunpoint in the parking structure in front of her children. I'm certain you know to what I am referring.
I am horrified to learn that the hotel's response was that it was her own fault. Such victim-blaming is FAR worse publicity than simply paying the damages she requested.
After all, most women already know that no place is going to be 100% free from risk of possible sexual assault, no matter how "secure." (We just ask that you try to reduce it with security measures.) The hotel's insensitive response, however, is very attention-getting in a negative way.
Better luck next time with whoever makes your publicity decisions. I hope they remember what percentage of household financial decisions women make.
[doctorlizardo], Ph.D."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kinda Bitter

Three months ago: I can't wait until May 31st so this postdoc will be done! Then I can actually have a summer for once in my life. I'll take June off before getting back to work one way or another. Explore the town, finally, get the household in order, get our finances in order, start getting my self back again after everything that's happened in the past four years. Or eight years, maybe. Figure out what I'm going to do. Study for the EPPP.

Two and a half months ago: Dang, Limelet's week-long horrible illness has delayed the end of my job for a week. Dang, the amount of work I have remaining has delayed it another week. Still, there's half of June left. And now I'm pregnant! Well, at least now I know the time limit for my studying, and everything else.

Six weeks ago: I can't believe that the year I just spent working didn't count towards my licensure. Can't believe it. Must find another year's worth of work with licensed supervision for low pay. And I'm so exhausted with pregnancy, as well as this damn cough. And the place is a wreck. It's hard being so lonely and not knowing anyone, and not having the energy to get myself out there. At least we're getting a baby out of it. I can figure out what to do, career-wise, after the baby.

One week ago: Wow, I'm feeling so much better! I can begin to get going on stuff. This is great.

Six days ago: I can't believe I'm losing the baby. To help myself heal, I'll plan to get my environment in order, work on taking care of myself, getting myself back in shape, start getting out in town and getting to know some people. Doing things. I'll try to enjoy the summer here for next few weeks. Figure out where we go from here.

Five days ago: I can't believe my ankle is broken and I have to be in this cast for the next six weeks. So, five weeks of illness from pregnancy and bronchitis, one week of trauma, and six weeks of being in a cast. That's pretty much the twelve weeks of summer.

I know there's always something worse that could happen, and I know people who've had worse things happen to them. Nevertheless I'm feeling pretty angry right now as well as sorry for myself. I've always been able to blame something bad happening on a particular person (often myself). But this: this seems completely pointless. Dammit. I don't ever want to say that I'm feeling good again. It seems like this is always what happens, only this has been even more extreme than ever before. What the hell is the deal?

What's Old [Is Still Old]

I do have a lot I need to do, even with this cast on and limited mobility. Yet I have found the time to search for an old TV show that had only four episodes, I think*. One of those that I liked so it had to be canceled.

I don't know if I will be allowed to watch more than one episode on this site, or whether this embedding thing works. Or why I'd even want to embed it! Just for the heck of it, I guess. But here goes.


Nope, didn't work. But at least I got to see the pilot. Maybe I'll be able to watch more later, after some other, more crucial activities.

*Okay, so it was actually five, plus the pilot. Close. I think I missed one at the time; probably studying or some dumb thing like that.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Finally made the connection that the nasty cough I had for 4+ weeks was bronchitis.  The clue was the low-grade fever they found when I was at my prenatal appointment.  I should have figured it out sooner as I have had bronchitis many times, but in the past it's always been associated with flu and ending up in the E.R., so I didn't recognize it.  Also, having been sick constantly this past year, I have develped a high tolerance for feeling crappy and thinking it's normal.  Also, I attributed a lot of my general ickiness to pregnancy, which maybe wasn't the entire reason.
Since I developed a throat infection the last day of work that lasted quite a while, I guess this means I have been sick 5-1/2 weeks of the 6 weeks since I haven't been working.  Man, am I feeling relieved to be less cough-y.  I can even speak pretty normally (for me) now, although I won't be doing any recording any time soon.  Stupid lung infections.
Did you know that bronchitis is associated with depression?  I knew that illness in general was likely to contribute to depression, but I didn't know about the specific bronchitis connection.  Makes sense though.  It's so damn draining to have one's lungs operating poorly.
I feel a lot perkier now. Now, must go eat an entire animal of some kind.  (Sorry Eph, Martha, some other sisters, Dad, and some cousins.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


At my prenatal appointment today, all measurements were pretty much as they normally are or at least as I expected them to be, except that my temperature was 100.5 degrees.  Weird, 'cause I don't feel at all sick.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Received a letter this morning from my graduate Uni, which made my heart (or perhaps my stomach) drop. Heaven knows what surprise flaming hoop could be thrown up next in this crazy academic circus. However, it was simply a brief message from the registrar verifying that "as regards your application for graduation, ALL YOUR REQUIREMENTS HAVE BEEN MET." Or words to that effect. Such a deceptively simple message; such a long, long and rocky road to get to it. I've been doing this for fifteen years. And unlike many who start school in undergrad and then decide later to go to grad school, I started with the PhD in mind, so I've been pushing and pushing and pushing towards this one goal for fifteen years solid. Since my mid-twenties, and I'm in my forties now!

They'll send the diploma six weeks after summer semester is over, which is I don't know the heck when, but probably at the end of July. So maybe mid-September? (Why six weeks? That seems like a heck of a long time for a piece of paper, which is already approved months earlier.)

Anyway, whew.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Just Regrouping

TheLimey can have a beer while coping with this event, but I must stick with (decaf!) tea. Dangit.

I am working on processing my feelings of disappointment and disorientation, and also on pulling some positive things out of this ("reframing").

1. We (as a family) did get a number of important things out of my taking that position, even if licensure hours (supposedly the main point) were not one of them.
For example, we wanted to move to this state and even to this town, and that happened because of the job. We even got some moving expenses paid. We live in a very nice neighborhood because of where I was working. TheLimey now has a great job that he can walk to. Limelet is in a very nice day care, very nearby, for which we were given preferential place because I was at that job.
I have made connections in town that can help to find future positions and resources. I did get paid for the time and even had some good health insurance that we used a lot; it's not like I worked for free (although, granted, postdoc pay is definitely not the same as "real" pay.) It will be much easier for me to look for work here while living here than in Michigan.

2. I was awake a lot in the middle of the night last night, and this thought occurred to me. I have been dismally picturing having gotten, say, 10 of the requisite 12 months of supervised work, if I had only known to arrange things differently. However, when I think back, my original draft was not in fact returned to me for edits until (I believe) late November. That being the case, if I had really jumped on those edits immediately I might have perhaps squeaked into a December graduation.
Thus the months that would have "counted" for licensure would have been January through May -- only 5 months. I still would have had to come up with another 7 months of supervised work somehow. Losing 5 months is less painful than losing 10 months, I'll tell you that.
7 more months means that I still would have been unlikely (to say the least) to have completed my hours and taken the EPPP before the baby comes. True, 5 months is 5 months. But it's not 10, is all I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Big Catch, Apparently

I was too busy with my busy-busy postdoc position to finish those few teensy edits on my approved dissertation, which I thought had been signed off on by the grad school. 
However--pending verification by my department head--it would appear that the sign-off by the grad school has not actually occurred until just now, when I finally had enough time to complete those edits, because my postdoc position is done. 
What does this mean?  It means this past year was actually not technically "post doc" and did not count towards licensure if I didn't have that sign-off done.  So, the postdoc sort of prevented my finishing the doc*.  Almost like I went back in time to sabotage myself!
*Yeah, I did read the fine print.  And apparently misinterpreted it.  If I'd understood the process more clearly, I'd have taken a couple weekends in October to work on it and finish.

Old School

Now that's a good shirt.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stuff V - This Time, It's Personal

Yes, actually personal. It's really too early to talk about this, but it colors my life / our lives so much it's hard to avoid. We're expecting another baby in February, if all goes well.

My physical sense is that things are in fact going well so far, but at my age there is that 50/50 chance of miscarriage. Nevertheless, I believe that includes those really early miscarriages that people often don't even know they experienced. My mother and TheLimey's mother both had their last child at age 42, and it looks as though I will do that as well. All the baby stuff that I carefully saved and packed away from our first one? Still packed away, and in storage in Michigan. We won't be getting it out any time soon, either, so...crud.

We've had....discussions...about exactly what the expectation was when we packed all our things, with my understanding being that we would probably be getting it when we moved out of state, or maybe up to a year later (which would be now). His understanding was that we would never, ever get it back out. (Especially not my VHS tapes and cheap paperbacks collection.) Or at least not until we buy our own house, which could be several years. If I had thought it would be that long, there are a number of things I would definitely not have packed away. The cloth diapers and the Bebe Pod seat are the ones I most regret having to replace (although I also still feel pretty upset when I think of the only copy of my band's one video [on VHS, of course] weathering several broiling hot summers and freezing winters in an outdoor storage bin. Urrgh!)

TheLimey visits a hairdresser down the block who is American and also has an English husband, with a couple of young children. Yesterday he told her our news and it turns out that they are also expecting, maybe a month before us. So I will have someone to commiserate with this time. She has a very outgoing personality, which is completely different from mine, but nonetheless. Commiserate.

At any rate, TheLimey will be taking the husband to see Crystal Palace play a local team next month. I must find some mini Union Jacks for them to wave, or some such.
Meanwhile, now that I am done with that demanding postdoc, I am trying to get all my edits/graduation/licensure exam/licensure hours stuff done...hopefully before the baby comes out. 'Cause it sure ain't happenin' afterwards!

I expect that next year will be another year in which my focus is pretty much baby oriented. I've discovered that this is not because new parents have some sort of hormonal shift or stupid selfishness activation to only think about baby things, but because infant care is so intense and relentless, there isn't time or energy to even think about anything else. Anything!

Stuff IV

At night in bed I compose long rambling blog entries in my head, but they're usually gone by morning. Like now.

For Father's Day TheLimey received (basically) snacks, but ones that aren't widely available here. Twiglets, Marmite, the bizarrely misogynist Yorkie Bar, and something else I've already forgotten. Limelet and I managed to get to Britain's Best* only minutes before closing time, but it was enough time to grab what we needed. And in Limelet's case, to also grab a bunch of other stuff that I had to put back.

Limelet, of course, became instantly addicted to Twiglets, just like his parents. I actually was allowed a piece of the Yorkie Bar. Maybe it was a mistake.

*Apparently what is best about Britain is snack food, tea, porcelain trinkets, little flags, and smarmy celtic CDs.
**Unless that's a contraction instead of a possessive. Then the shop is proclaiming the superiority of the UK.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Canon Scanner and Vista

Unable to select twain source error message, how I hate thee.

If you're reading this, you either already know me and will be bored, or you're someone who is desperately searching for the same solutions I was searching for. You've probably already found the same forums and discussions I found, as well as the official Canon site where you can get some drivers and so forth. So this may not offer anything new (or good), except the understanding that I gained.

My husband (TheLimey) and I spent a cumulative 12 hours (6 each!) or so trying to find a way to get my beloved, beloved Canon Lide 35 scanner to work with our new laptop, which is running Vista (64-bit).

To get to the nub of the matter, it can't work. Canon has downloadable drivers that will work for my Lide 35 with 32-bit Vista. It has drivers that will work for 64-bit Vista with the Lides above 35. But no drivers that will work for the Lide 20 or 35 with 64-bit Vista. Dammit.

Even an emulator (virtual machine) won't work, because it's the hardware, not the software. Supposedly there is a guy out there who got the drivers for the Lide 60 to work with his 35, but I'm suspicious after all our research. (We certainly couldn't get that to fly.)

If only Canon would just write a new driver for use with 64-bit Vista, then everything would work fine! But they probably want me to buy something new instead. Forget it.

My husband initially said that he'd be willing to wipe everything and install the ol' XP, but he later reneged, citing its 32-bit-ness and how it will halve our resources (memory) to use it. Instead, we'll be installing XP on our old "backup" desktop and (hopefully) using that for the scanner base. We just have to get an old monitor somewheres.

Oh, and in case you're appending that path in your environment variables and are wondering--as I did--what's the difference between WINNT and Windows, WINNT is just an older-school variable for the same thing. Try both.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pay less for luxury and qualitative watches.

Oh, if only I could actually find a qualitative watch. 
It wouldn't tell what time it is, but rather how things are going, generally speaking.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ahmad Brunson
Date: Sat, Jun 13, 2009 at 12:38 PM
Subject: Pay less for luxury and qualitative watches.

Our watches are as precious as the brand ones but they have a huge advantage – affordable prices for everybody. Who could think that it is possible to buy Dolce & Gabbana watch only for $219?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Waving, Not Drowning

I will post again when this job is over.  I promise.  The end (allegedly May 31) just keeps getting delayed by one ridiculous thing after another.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Literature Map

Dang, this is cool .  I found it accidentally while looking for some information about Sheri S. Tepper, but I imagine you could put your own favorite authors in.  (There are also some entries for "Sherri".)

Friday, May 08, 2009


Some aspire to a three-day weekend.  I don't.  I aspire to a three-day week.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lost Fossils

When I was little, maybe 6 or so, I was taking a walk with my mother's younger sister out in the Illinois farmland where she lived at that time.  She found a tiny fossil in the gravel of the road that she gave me.  It looked pretty much like a 1-inch corn-on-the-cob, but made of rock.  It was perfect; no nicks or chips or anything.  I h ave no idea what it was.  Some kind of trilobite that wasn't flat? I kept it for years. I think the last time I saw it was in the metal box where I kept my coin collection.  I didn't have that many material possessions, but many of them were ruined or disappeared during the year I was overseas as an exchange student in high school.  I wish I knew what that little fossil was, and I wish I could find it.  If I knew what it was, maybe I could buy another one on eBay or something.

I also still mourn the loss of my "real" birth certificate--the one with my little feetprints on it.  My mother kept it for me, of course, and I saw it several times growing up, but items pertaining to her and to me were thrown out and destroyed by her husband after she died, with no chance for me to get to them.  I am grateful for a few childhood photos that were sneaked out to me by family members, however.  Yet I'd like to compare my feetprints to my son's.  And I'd just like to have the certificate, anyway!  Just knowing that it was there, saved for me, so precious to my memory, and someone knowingly tossed it away--it's maddening.  I get really infuriated if I allow myself to think about it too long.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Getting Thanks

A client I had seen over the past semester dropped off a thank-you card for me today.  For various reasons, it's not really ethical to accept gifts (in most cases), but a card is okay to accept. It's usually people who do a lot of work on themselves anyway who do something like this, and this client was no exception.   Nevertheless, it was nice to hear that the person felt that I had helped them learn to deal with things on their own.  That's my goal, of course--making myself obsolete in strangers' lives.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Happy May Day

I wish these were in my yard.

(Maybe next year they will be, if I plan fall planting right.)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu Map Roundup

I had a hard time finding this by directly searching, so here it is . 

I already had a flu phobia b/c of my asthma and the times flu's landed me in the ER; now everyone else does, too. Great.


Oh, wait.  Here's another one.  Now that I think of it, there'll probably be a ton.


And another.

Had enough yet?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Even More Random Stuff When I Should Be Writing Case Notes

Recently a friend posted in Facebook the query as to what others would do if they were given $50,000 and a year off work.  (I said: Research and margaritas.)  

And completely unrelatedly, I am currently reading The Multiplex Man.  The book's premise is a technology that can "implant" knowledge or skills from one person to another, which is (of course) being used by the military to create the perfect assassin.  He gets the wisdom of various individuals practiced in their skills for a lifetime.  I have been thinking about what I would want implanted (and it turned out that the assassin got a good number of the things I wanted, interestingly.)  

My list includes languages (German, Italian, French, Chinese, heck--Sanskrit and Russian, too--why not?); survival and traditional skills (woodcraft, plant identification, farming, fishing, weaving and sewing, carpentry, smithing, food preparation and preservation); athletics (swimming and diving, gymnastics, yoga, various martial arts, climbing, riding); shop skills (electronics, welding, motor repair); medical (assessment and treatment, medications, surgery) ...really, I can't stop thinking of things I'd want and just don't have enough lifetimes to learn them in.  Or in some cases, reasons to use them, unless society collapses, which honestly I've been imagining happening since my teen years.

I also think it'd be useful to extract the skills of a woman who'd given prepared childbirth birth several times under various circumstances.  Or breastfed several children etc.  Or somebody who'd memorized pi to a whole lot of digits...no, wait.  Maybe somebody who had photographic memory of something useful, like aquifer maps, or whatever you will.

So what would your response be to the time and money question, or else your most-wanted skills?  (And wouldn't it be cool to have all of that at once?)

Medical Humor

An article about medical humor , with one especially bad pun at the end that I loved.

Almost Out

We are in the new place, and now so is (nearly) all our stuff.  We haven't done the cleaning of the old place yet, but will do it next weekend. 

Did I mention that I initially moved us by stealth last weekend?  Not everything, but the necessary things to tide us over at the new place, such as beds, some kitchen things, bathroom things, and most of our clothing.  I did this because I really, really wanted to be at the new place and moving stuff in with us, rather than at the old place and moving stuff out before us.  Also the old place was starting to really depress me after the break-in, and since I'd been emotionally detaching before that anyway.  I moved the stuff myself because TheLimey was worn out with transitions and doing all the heavy lifting, and simply wasn't up to moving that weekend.  I decided that if I wanted us over there, it was up to me.

The crux of the move was the mattress AKA our bed, which gave two grown men great trouble to move it up the stairs at our old place (because of weight, bulk, and width--it's a queen--or is that redundant? Well, it deserves redundancy as it is really big, large, huge, massive, and also heavy).  I knew if I could get that darn thing down the stairs, then I could do all the rest and the move was on.  I had Friday off and didn't mention that or the moving part.

I struggled with getting it down the stairs and had to crawl all over  and under it, moving a corner here and bending a section there and dragging that side and so forth, until it was downstairs. Then a neighbor saw me doggedly tugging it towards the car and helped me hoist it on top.  I coulda done it, but it was a lot faster with help, I admit.  He was actually the neighbor who had helped to get it upstairs last fall, and wondered how on earth I managed to get it out all by myself.  "I'm a very determined person," I answered.

I got the smaller mattress down myself, tied them to the car with rope, and took them to the new place.  Again luckily, a neighbor helped me get the big one up the porch stairs, but I did all the rest myself.  I then went back and forth getting the essentials, including the giant heavy TV and microwave.  I also put in changes of address for us at the post office.  I picked up TheLimey after work and revealed what I had done, and he was flabbergasted.  He was pretty much speechless for a really long time, maybe 15 or 20 minutes, trying to picture me moving the things I had on my own.  The word "insane" kept coming up for some reason, when he was able to speak.  Well, whatever makes it believable for you, dear.

So we've been living at the new place since then--thank goodness.  Moving is hard, but it's worse when stuff is disappearing slowly and then you have to move yourself and your essentials in one day into a place with piles of stuff waiting.  Hmmm...now that I think of it, we're still dealing with the piles of stuff hiding our essentials to some extent, but I maintain that it's better regardless.  We had TP, shampoo, mugs, diapers, clean sheets on a made bed, and a can opener from the get-go.

Limelet likes the new place, especially the back yard, but he did ask to "go home" several evenings.  I'd started calling it the "old home" a while ago to get that term in place, as opposed to the "new house" in which we now reside.  We've taken him back to the "old home" a couple times so he could see it emptying and say goodbye to it in his way.  The first time he was sad (I think it was a shock seeing all our stuff gone), but the next time he seemed fine with it.

I did feel sad going to the old place Sunday.  Poor lonely and empty house.  Now that the shock of the break-in is over I can be melancholy, as I always am, about moving. There was one forlorn squirrel there that looked at me sadly from the back yard.  Luckily I had left a handful of peanuts in the cabinet for this return trip, so I was able to gratify his/her pitiful look by tossing some peanuts out there. I'll miss watching the full moon rise through the living room windows and the tall pine, and I remember Limelet's great joy at finally having more than 6 square feet in which to run back and forth.  

I planted vegetable plants at the new place this weekend with Limelet, which was fun despite his frequent treading on the onions and basil.  I really love the new place and the new yard.  The inside is absolute chaos with stuff everywhere, as we have not put things in their new homes yet, but that will come.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Jacked. So to Speak.

Last weekend was great.  No one was sick, we all got good sleep, we didn't get any scary information from daycare implying our child has brain damage, we had our lease signed and set for our new place to live, and the weather was nice.  We actually went out to the park on Sunday afternoon like a normal family!  It was great.  We couldn't get over how awesome it was to just have a weekend with no drama or trauma for once.  One nice weekend since we've been here!  

I wondered if we were jinxing ourselves by talking about it out loud, and apparently we were.

I got home yesterday with a struggling child under one arm and a pile of coats and bags under the other, only to discover that our front door was wide open.  Further inspection showed that our back door was also wide open, as well as our garden gate.  After several hours of waiting around for campus security and then police to go in with guns drawn and secure the premises (as they say), we learned that--indeed--our laptops had been stolen, as well as TheLimey's toolbox (which was in the office, too.)  

The adjacent neighbor (it's a duplex, or some other name like that) actually saw the guy with the toolbox and asked what he was doing--"Just picking up some stuff."  Picking up indeed.  Maintenance is kind of casual around here, so he thought the guy was maintenance.  I kind of think that if the neighbor hadn't challenged him, he might have gone back inside again.  We theorize he made two trips because of the muddy bootprints on the carpet near the back. I'm writing on my work computer now, of course.

We were finally getting our affairs in order, moving from "desperate" through "urgent" and finally getting to "basic and important"--really for the first time since we'd gotten married.  

One of the things we finally did was to get the new drive ordered for....my laptop. So we could rebuild it in preparation for my using it to work on this summer.  I spent weeks and weeks waiting for that drive earlier this year, but this time it shipped the day we ordered it.  Pretty ironic that it will likely arrive today, the day after the laptop  was stolen, since we've been trying to do this rebuild for THREE YEARS!  Conveniently, I had gathered all the software (and the paperwork from my computer) together and clipped it with an office clip, and set it on our desk next to my laptop.  Because there it isn't, any more.  I hope that possibly Dell may have a record of what the serial number is, which I will go to see about in a minute.

One good thing about that, though, is that I backed up all my stuff to Dropbox.  Thank heavens.  Because I have exactly two more lines to edit on my dissertation before it's accepted for binding, as of last Friday. After that I can apply for graduation. Also because I realized this morning that Dropbox will tell me the last IP address where my computer was used online, as well as when.  Unfortunately I would have to delete all my files for another user to not be able to access them, which means that then I can't access them.  However, I have a feeling that whoever has it is probably not going to dig past my password into my files, but will simply wipe it for their own smug stolen-goods sales use.

Friday, March 27, 2009

If Huge Ships Are a Problem for You...

..then I recommend you read this NYT article to see where you can get information on avoiding them.  As well as other really odd books.  Although this year's winner is someone I've read about before, and I think his works shouldn't count!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bipolar Weekend

Not in the clinical sense, just had lows and highs, though I believe the highs won out overall.  

Limelet was up for two hours in the middle of the night again on Saturday after having a pretty good night Friday, so Sunday I was exhausted and really looking forward to taking his nap with him midday.  We had a 2:30 app't to sign our lease, so I had to make sure that he got up in the morning early enough to be sleepy for an early-ish (or at least not late) nap, and I did get him up on time.  It worked--to a point.  He fell asleep on the porch in my arms pretty early (before I could even get his lunch in him), and I took him upstairs to bed.  However, he woke up as soon as he hit the bed, and despite nursie and everything did NOT go back to sleep.  I tried repeatedly, but he just was not doin' it.  Which is weird, because he usually takes his midday nap quite easily.  

So at that point I was miserable.  Not just the lack of sleep from the night before, but cumulatively.  I so desperately wanted to sleep.  Just a little!  I was so tired it hurt.  And we had that meeting to go to, that I had so carefully planned the day around. I was actually crying by two hours later.

Luckily, the lease meeting went well, though TheLimey showed great faith in my character by asking [for verity of storytelling read in mock-dopey voice] "You're not going to break down in front of them or something, are you?"  Now, has he not been at all watching me function under these conditions for the past three years?  Anyway.  The house was even better than we remembered it being, and the yard even larger.  The landlord & -lady both showed up for the signing.  Did I mention there's a peach tree and an apple tree?  And the supposedly double lot is more like a triple lot?  And the little fish pond actually still has some fish in it that apparently survived the winter?  And it has four bedrooms (!?), and is even closer to Limelet's favorite on-campus playground and to my current work? We were pinching ourselves (metaphorically, anyway) at having gotten this great place, for so much lower than most places in the area.  It was cheaper than a couple pretty crappy, tiny places we originally looked at.  We have been experiencing the opposite of buyer's remorse, if there's a name for that.  True, we will be paying two months' overlapping rent, but it's still a cheaper year, and definitely cheaper over two years or three.  The guy mentioned that there were a lot of disappointed people that day (apparently from his vast stack of applicants.)  

We lucked out with this one.  I wonder how much the "Dr." on my business card helped, though.  I bet my 22-year-old self wouldn't have been as much competition.

So anyway--we hung out there for a while letting Limelet play in the yard (overfeeding the fish, of course) and gawking at our various rooms.  It did improve my mood greatly.  I just start completely losing control of my emotions when I'm that tired, but outside events help.  We went home at 5 (still no sleepy Limelet) and TheLimey took Limelet to the back yard, directing me to take a nap.  

I thought if I could just get half an hour's sleep it would save me.  At first I had trouble falling asleep because I could hear Limelet crying for me, but then things quieted down.  When I woke up I was shocked to find it was already 7:30!  TheLimey brought a sleeping Limelet in to the bedroom.  We both thought he'd wake up when put down, but he stayed asleep.  Then we thought he'd wake up at 8 and be awake until 2 or 3.  In fact, he stayed asleep (with minimal help) until 6 this morning.  Amazing!  We actually watched 40 minutes or so of our Dr. Who Netflic that's been gathering dust for the past few weeks.  I was able to get about 6 hours of sleep in a row, which is not a record (he slept for 6 hours once before), but pretty close to it.

We'd like to think we could do this again, but I'm sure it was a one-off.  I still feel fried, but a lot better.

Friday, March 20, 2009


As I may have mentioned, we have been looking for a new place to live.  We love the place we're in, but it's college-subsidized and we can't live in it after our lease is up because I will no longer be employed full-time with the college.  Boo.

I think we may have started looking too early, because all the places we have seen want someone to move in on April 1st.  Our lease is up on May 31st, so that means we'd be paying rent in two places for two months.  That's quite a bit of overlap.

We've had a couple places we were interested in, and today we just got word that the landlord of a place we were very interested in accepted our application (above the "pile" of apps he got).  I'm not surprised, because it was a really reasonable rent for the size of the place and the location--which incidentally is a really great location for us. It's right near the college, in close walking distance to TheLimey's work and to Limelet's favorite familiar on-campus playground and possible part-time work for me (if I play my cards right, I guess). The only bad thing that I can see about it is that it's one of the places that wants us to start our lease April 1, so now we have to hunker down and make a firm decision if we really want to do this.

If we stay two years or more, which is our plan anyway, we would end up saving money because of the low rent ($300 less per month than most similar places, or even smaller places!), but there's that initial outlay of paying double rent for two months.

The place has a front porch, and a great back yard, especially for the area, which has mostly those long, thin little yards.  This one has that, but then at the back of it, it has a huge yard joining onto our little thin one, like a mini-park.  With trees and presumably squirrels. Ooh--I'm envisioning toddler splash parties already, now that I think of it...  And the back is South-facing, so the kitchen (with gas range!!) would be facing the sun all day long (though there is a covered patio behind it).  There are about twice as many rooms as we need, certainly more than most places we looked at, partly because the attic is finished.  The only lackluster aspect is probably the bathroom, which is small and unprepossessing.

So--decision time then.  I think we are, or at least I am, leaning towards a yes. But we are supposed to sign a lease Sunday, so that'll be the deadline.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Opening Time on Procrastination Street

I have tons (tons!) of clinical notes to write over this week, as we don't get time to actually write them during the semester.  No, really, that's how it works here.  Too bad that the 5 days of paperwork time I was expecting over break are down to 1.5, due to a college-closed day as well as Limelet's getting yet another illness this week.  So here I am procrastinating instead of working! 

But we did have a record two weekends in a row with no sickness!!  Really, that is a record since we got here and started all getting sick, all the time. (In fact, I'm sick again now, but hardly even count it since it's just a cold.)  We took advantage of it by having our next-door neighbors over for dinner.  They have a three-month-old little girl, which is another reason why we have been avoiding them.  When we're constantly sick over here, we don't want to pass it on to the little tiny one.  The mother is on an allergy-restricted diet (for the baby), so I think she was discouraged about the possibility of coming over to eat.  But I took down her list of allowed items (about 20 of them) and came up with some experimental things.  I know it is really hard to be inspired to eat when you can't have milk, wheat, corn, soy--in fact any grains at all besides rice, tomatoes, citrus, yeast, fish, onions, meat (besides chicken), spices (even pepper)...the list went on.  It really was easier to get the list of items she could eat.  I made a lot of stuff with rice milk and rice flour, chicken, and a couple of fruits she was allowed, olive oil--and I assumed olives were therefore also allowed (meaning I could make tapenade).  I think this was the first time we've had people over for dinner in about two years.

We are in the midst of a (rental) house search, but I think we may have actually started too early, as a common conflict has ended up being that they want someone to move in April 1st, while our current lease isn't over until May 31st.  That's a big overlap to pay rent at two places for two months.

I keep thinking of stuff to write but am currently experiencing great fuzzyheadedness.

Monday, March 09, 2009

'50s Lady?

...where are you? The dangers of sharing too many items on Google Reader. I can't remember when I shared it, but it was sometime since September. This was a little video featuring how our lives would soon be better through consumerism (plastic perhaps?) and it had elevator music under (or over?) a montage of wifely type duties. There was also a curiously quiet baby in a cage. Er, playpen. If you remember this or still have the link, let me know. People are asking.

Update: here it is!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Da*@#light Savings

Here comes my twice-yearly ranting about Daylight Saving.  Made worse this year by having a toddler who is now already behind an hour due to weeks and weeks of illness.  Here, I'll let someone else rant for a change .  

My idea?  Just make sunrise in each time zone the new 6:00 am every day.  That's right; reset all clocks every single day.  Now, we'd still have time zones so it'd be a little arbitrary, but, whatever.  At least it'd make sense biologically.  There's be lots of retail and manufacturing activity as people rushed to create and sell "one-push-reset" clocks and whatever paraphernalia would link us all to some service or other, for those who can't or won't see the sunrise themselves.

My other idea is to have "Fall Back" every week.  So you'd reset your clock back one hour every Saturday night.  Yeah, we'd be awake in the dark sometimes and sleeping in the day some times, but whatever.  At least it would follow our circadian clocks (generally speaking.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Job Opportunities!

Boy, if that won't get me spammed, I don't know what will.  (Nevertheless, I still don't need that blasted "prove you're human" password thing, >a-HEM<, all-yall.)

Anyway.  According to my RSS feed jobs section, if only I were a bilingual, pediatric, alcohol-and-drug residential counselor for prison/V.A./schools, I'd be able to find a full-time job every minute of every day.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Diagnosis: Not Murder, Just Feels Like It

I'm feeling particularly proud of myself today, in a professional kind of way.

I have a patient* who was referred by a health professional a few months ago for frequent intense nausea and occasional vomiting.  They couldn't figure out any treatment other than pretty heavy sedatives (in my opinion), and thought psychological factors could be an issue.

I discovered in my interviews that she had a family history of migraine, so I wondered if this might be some kind of atypical migraine.  Upon discussion with the physician, we couldn't find anything that exactly matched the patient's symptom profile.  However, the physician did take my recommendation and he began prescribing migraine meds for the patient.  They work pretty well when she takes them, so that part is good.  

And then just yesterday, when I was researching some narcolepsy issues for another patient, somehow I came across this syndrome.  That's totally it!  I'll tell you what, you are glad you don't have this.  The interesting thing is, the syndrome profile is just as I "conceptualized" it (improper English, but proper jargon).  Also, even some weird little aspects that the patient said that seemed like they wouldn't really be related, are discussed, such as weather.

So basically, it validates both my conceptualization and treatment and the patient's experience.  It doesn't change the treatment,  but it may make it easier for her to accept it, now that there's a name for it (including treatment focusing on managing anxiety, which no one likes to hear when they have physical symptoms).  Oh, and it also  means that I figured out the diagnosis of something that baffled the physicians.

It even comes with support groups and a website that shows medical trials going on all over the world that is searchable by disorder and by location (the maps tab is pretty darn cool).  I don't think they're doing any near her for this patient, but still, it's pretty cool.  Even though it is mostly corporate and probably eevyil, as far as I can tell.

*Important aspects of this case are made vague and changed to protect confidentiality.  However, the diagnosis is real.