A Distinct Lack of Cheer

It's the Island of Misfit Toys around here right now. In the few days remaining before the end of the year,we have to find a new place to live. In the spirit of Christmas, we're being evicted. Clearly someone has mistaken me for a pregnant virgin, and is under the impression that it would be best for me to bunk in a stable for awhile.


It's possible that we've found a place. We applied, and paid an application fee, but there seem to be some problems. I'm trying to be optimistic, but it's getting more difficult, what with the time crunch and all. At this point, I'm just hoping that we don't have to move in with my parents for any amount of time. I actually seem to be in a bit of denial about the whole thing. I know that I should be packing, but I can't wrap my mind around it. I don't know if I even remember how to pack and move. -sigh-

Blue Christmas

December has been here for 2 weeks, it has overstayed it's welcome, and while I know it will go back where it came from eventually, 16 more days is not soon enough. This is the point in the year when, for one reason or another, I am mostly likely to want to throw myself off the nearest cliff. Luckily (or not) I don't really live in an area where there -are- any cliffs, so I suppose I'll have to tough it out. Again.
During last and first months of the year I spend a lot of time crying, starting fights and stomping around. When I'm properly medicated, there seems to be less crying and stomping, but it appears that the fight starting tradition is firmly in place. I can't think of a single person on the planet that isn't making me grind my teeth right now. My closest friends seem to be the primary targets for my general unpleasantness (Probably because they have the most exposure. Edginess is like skin cancer, apparently.), but it's not limited to them. I have to fight the urge to yell at clerks in stores, coworkers and the Internet. I have no idea what to do about it. Well, maybe one idea.
Can we just do away with December all together? We could move Christmas to a more pleasant month like April, and all just hibernate for 31 days. It would be even better if we could throw January into the mix too. Just shut the world down for a couple of months, let everybody catch up on their sleep and reality TV and then start all over in February.

There is no way I'm putting up a Christmas tree.

.

Way Wrong.

Just a giggle before I go on vacation.


I'll be in sunny (probably rainy, actually) California for the next week. Start your jealousy engines sometime -after- I manage to make my 5:50am (yes, AM. Holy cats!) flight.

The Not-so-Friendly Skies

The terrorists have won. This became clear the moment that security measures in airports went from "increased" to "insane." It was ok when they told me I could no longer carry more than 3.4 ounces of liquid (or GEL, god, not the GEL!) through security. It was ok, when they thought that perhaps they should "randomly" search my bag...every time I fly. It was even ok when they told me that I couldn't travel with nail clippers, tweezers or a scalpel. However, it is not fine that they've decided that the best way to secure our skies is by sexually assaulting people. Not. Okay. In the past few weeks, stories have started being published about dozens of violations by TSA agents.

*A flight attendant was forced to remove her prosthetic breast. Which actually flies in the face of their existing rules for medical devices.
*A bladder cancer survivor had the seal on his urostomy bag broken, covering him with urine. After he explained his medical condition, and the need for them to be careful of the wafer. 
*A three-year old was terrorized by a TSA agent doing an invasive search.

Who are the bad guys here? In the past, TSA agents were to pat fliers down using the backs of their hands. Now, agents are instructed to use their palms and fingers to "investigate," including probing genitals and breasts. People have gone to jail for less. Excuse me, but I've already had my pap smear and breast exam this year, and I can assure you, it wasn't done by the federal equivalent of a rent-a-cop.

The biggest story about the TSA drama has come from Penn Jillette. In 2002 he was groped in the airport by a TSA screener, who didn't bother to ask if he could grab his business. Jillette got the police involved, and filed a report of assault and battery, with a very willing police officer. The entire time, TSA officials repeated "we have no problem here." Clearly, they do. I'm flying in 10 days. I'm a little terrified of what's going to happen when I get to security.

This post doesn't even address complaints about the possible dangers (hello, undisclosed levels of radiation) of the new back scanners, and the general discomfort the public feels about the full body scanners. If I wanted strangers to see me [basically] naked, I would have become a stripper. I understand the need for safety, I really do, however I don't think that safety should come at the cost of freedom and dignity. Invasive screens should be reserved for people on watch lists, no-fly lists, and those behaving in suspicious ways. I'm not saying "only screen the Arabs! They're the ter'rusts," because that's certainly not true. However, a little discretion is called for. Flight attendants (with proper ID) should probably be free to fly unmolested. Children should not be accosted. Little old ladies/men should be given the benefit of the doubt without having to remove their various medical devices. Recently, a blogger leaked information about a new directive which advised airlines to restrict passengers from getting out of their seats, concealing their hands, or accessing carry-on luggage an hour before landing. Alright guys, if I'm flying to Dallas, that's the entire flight. If you're not gonna let me get to my carry on for my Kindle, we're gonna have a serious problem. Obviously, the TSA was pissed about this development, and they went to the blogger's house, armed (!! Who gave the TSA guns?!), took all his electronics and threatened to get him fired from his job. As a journalist. Something tells me the NY Times wasn't particularly eager to give into that request.


What the hell is going on? When did we give people with bare minimum, high school educations control over our lives? And how did we let them become so power hungry? The future's not looking so bright.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." --Benjamin Franklin

Cynical Haiku & Medical Update

Who are these people
who post things like "lovin' life!"
I'm not so enthused.

We found out last week that my thyroid wasn't working properly. I've been tested for this probably half a dozen times before, always with "normal" results. This time, my result was in the "normal" range, but it was the lowest possible result in that range. You also have to understand that the "normal range" is based on someone who is "average" in their height and weight. Obviously, while only slightly taller than the average American woman, I'm quite a bit heavier. Therefore, the "normal" range doesn't really apply. And, the lowest number on that scale, isn't even optimal for the "average" sized woman that they based it on to begin with. The numbers should be toward the middle, slightly lower than dead center for optimal performance. You should also know that the medical "averages" that most tests are based on were established somewhere around the mid 60's. Those numbers aren't anywhere near the actual averages of the population (not of this country, anyway). In any case, my thyroid has been slacking off. Which explains why, for the past few months, I've wanted to sleep for about 20 hours a day. I've never really looked at my previous thyroid test results, and so I don't know how long I've been at the bottom of the range, but I suspect it's been at least a year. I literally have -every- symptom of hypothyroidism. It's not like it could logically have been anything else. Finally a doctor has noticed that I'm not actually 5'4" and 135 pounds, and so perhaps a Free T4 level of 0.06 isn't quite enough. I must look MUCH (much, much) lighter than I actually am! (insert dream sequence in which I am a supermodel here...)

Oh. Hi there. Ahem.

Ok, I'm not delusional; there's no way I look like I weigh 135 pounds. Not even in my dreams am I that thin. (And actually, I wouldn't want to be. Hipbones hurt if they poke out when you sleep on them. Not that I know from experience, but it seems like a pretty good guess.)  My doctor isn't blind, so I guess I'm gonna have to go with the old, he/she's just not paying attention theory. Damn.
The same actually-paying-attention doctor also informed me that people with the type of chronic depression and anxiety that I have typically have exceedingly low levels of folic acid. She recommended that I pick some up post haste. I did, and I have to tell you, after one day of huge doses of folic acid and sublingual/injected B12, I felt better. Not anywhere near 100%, but better. And every subsequent day, my mood and fatigue have been noticably improving. I've also got some raw bovine thyroid on order. Just typing those words makes me gag. I have no idea how I'm going to make myself swallow the pills.

In Which I Get Crafty

I have crazy sensitive skin. Even -thinking- about the wrong additives or walking past a florist shop can be enough to give me a rash. After a particularly bad bout of what looked like leprosy on my legs, we decided there had to be a better alternative. It also happens to be super cheap, and it smells -amazing- without being overpowering and rash-inducing. Want to try it? Here's how:

You'll need a bar of Zote laundry soap. (You can actually use any bar soap, and I suspect Dove or Ivory would be good, but I don't want to risk a change in my formula. Plus, the Zote is PINK! (And costs about 98 cents.)

You'll also need Borax. We use this stuff, but I'm sure there are other brands out there:
Finally, you'll need either baking soda or soda ash. You can make your own soda ash by baking baking soda, but it seems to work just as well with plain baking soda. For the record, OxyClean is mostly soda ash, so if you're using that as a laundry booster, save some cash and buy the soda ash for $2 instead.

Step 1: Grate the Zote.

You'll use the entire bar. And then your whole house will smell vaguely citrusy. Ad your hands will be very soft and clean.

Step 2. Mix the grated Zote with 2 cups of borax and 2 cups of baking soda/ash.
Step 3. Use your grater to mix it up, and chop the soap strings into bits.
Step 4. Shake the bucket you've been putting your stuff in to mix.
Step 5. Laundry!! Use about 1/4 cup of this detergent for a regular size load, or 1/2 a cup if it's a really dirty or really big load.
Step 6. Congratulate yourself on being so environmentally friendly since the only thing you've had to throw away is the wrapper from the Zote. You'll have enough borax and soda/ash for at least 2 more mixtures, if you bought the regular size boxes and not the tiny ones.
Step 7. Remind yourself not to be smug about your thrifty and earth friendly ways.

Teapot

So, for some time now, (years and years, actually) I've considered getting a tattoo of a small teapot, representative of Russell's teapot. And now I've decided to do it for sure, having found an appropriate design, except I'm afraid that people will think it's some symbol of the Tea Party. I really would prefer not to be associated with most of those crazies. (Yes, I know some of them really -are- just about small gov't and lower taxes...but most of them are about the crazy. If they weren't about the crazy, they'd just be Libertarians.) So here's the question. If you saw a teapot tattoo, similar to this:
(Except, obvs. not on a black background.) Would you think "Ahh!! Crazy Tea partier!" or just "Interesting tattoo, wonder what that's about?" (Or, if you're -really- cool (read: geeky), I guess you could think, "Oh,wow! It's Russell's teapot!")

Slightly related: I found a notebook that says "I'll take your Pascal's wager and raise you one Russell's teapot." That might be the funniest office supply I've ever seen.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Costume Circa 1910

And one more, from one of my favorite movies:
Celebrity Gifs - Hocus Pocus
see more Lol Celebs

You Should Read This Book



Favorite Quote: 

“I won’t have a normal relationship. That’s not who I am.”
“Of course not.”
“I won’t be dragged down to what other people do.”

Bloody

Over the weekend, Justin and I watched a lot of movies. Probably more in 4 days than I've seen in the entire past year combined. One of those movies was The Backup Plan. Romantic comedy drivel, Jennifer Lopez, mediocre acting blah de blah, I know. That's the kind of movie I like at 3am, go on, judge.

Moving on to the point of this post. If you're unfamiliar with the plot, a 30 year old woman, having given up on the dream of the nuclear family, decides to get pregnant via a sperm donor on her own. Upon leaving the clinic, happily inseminated, she meets a guy, you can figure out the rest of the story. The thing that makes this particular movie notable, at least in my world, is the fact that during her first ultrasound post-insemination, the doctor checks her, and his glove is bloody when he removes it. Then, when he uses the trans-vaginal ultrasound wand, it too comes out bloody. I know, at this point I've lost half my audience, and at least another quarter of you are feeling a bit woozy. Stick with me.

There are a couple of reasons that I like this. (Not counting the fact that I particularly enjoy blood in clinical settings.) 1. It will hopefully make people realize that a little bleeding during pregnancy is normal. Maybe that will prevent so many people from marching up to L&D the moment they have a bit of pink on their toilet paper. 2. It normalizes vaginal bleeding in general. Historically, this has been completley NOT DONE in the film industry. Whether it's a girl starting her period or a woman losing a pregnancy, the blood is always implied, but never really talked about and certainly not shown. That's the sort of behavior that makes people freak out over every little spot in their panties. We have no problem with blood in general, even massive, obscene amounts of it. Check out any Quentin Tarantino movie, if you don't believe me. The freak out, need-to-hide mentality only comes in reference to blood from the lady bits. So thank you CBS Films, Escape Entertainment and Jennifer Lopez for showing the world that whether it's from a nose, a gunshot wound, or a vagina, blood is just blood.

Young Turks

I never really thought that Rod Stewart lyrics would speak to me, but there it is. Weird stuff happens at 5am when you've had no sleep.

Young hearts be free tonight. Time is on your side,
Don't let them put you down, don't let 'em push you around,
Don't let 'em ever change your point of view.


Ahh, teenage rebellion at it's best.
(Well, except for the stuff that Bon Jovi sings about. That might be better.)


Updates to the Life List

I realized that it's probably time to take a look at my Life List and see where I am. There are a few things I also want to add.

Develop a signature style--Almost there...
Go to a fancy spa and get the works
Visit the Winchester Mystery House
Get perfect porcelain veneers
Work on a political campaign
Find just the right perfume
Learn to like coffee
Live through a moment when real history is made
Take my nieces to Europe
See Willie Nelson in concert
Win a hand of Blackjack in Vegas
Learn to make activated charcoal soap
Live in a blue state
Attend Carnaval in Brazil
Bask in the sun on a beautiful beach
Have a drink named after me
Direct a musical
Own a professional grade camera
Learn to take really good pictures
Learn to make Nan's cherry cobbler
Have a llama and a donkey as pets
Learn to make margaritas from scratch
Go on a real honeymoon
Throw a rockin' Halloween party
Personalize my own nail polish color It's called "Naked Fairy!"
Go to Disneyland
Go to the Tony awards
Hit 50 thousand visitors on my blog
Sing karaoke
Ice skate in Rockefeller Center
Go one full year without falling down
Develop my digital photos
Own a Mac, see what the fuss is about
Get a professional bikini wax 
Read all of Ovid's Metamorphoses
Own a hybrid (or fully electric) vehicle
Visit Monaco
Hold hands with Neil Patrick Harris 
Start a collection Magic wands!
Purchase designer sunglasses
Avoid losing designer sunglasses 1 full year!
Learn about my great-grandparents
Visit Salem at Halloween
See the Birth of a Baby
Live in France for a year
Learn to make a really fancy dessert
Host a holiday dinner at my house
Catch Fireflies in a Jar
Learn to pair wine with food
Have a fabulous 30th birthday party
Sit in on an autopsy
Sit on a jury

Smack

I don't believe in spanking (a very unpopular opinion in this area). That's not really what this post is about, but it is related, so I'll just come out and say it. Psychiatrists agree. Spanking children is an ineffective punishment that does more harm than good. It's hypocritical to tell a child "don't hit," and then hit him. I realize that there's a difference between "regular" spanking and abuse, and I don't judge the parents who choose it as punishment. It's just not for me. Luckily, I don't/won't have children.


 Moving on. When I was teaching regularly at the high school here, students who were in trouble for one reason or another were given a choice between detention and "swats." Invariably, they chose swats. Teenagers have stuff to do. Detention takes at least an hour after school; Swats take only a few minutes. The thing is, I'm pretty sure that spanking isn't an appropriate punishment for teenagers. If a person can:
1. Drive
2. Get Pregnant/get someone pregnant
or
3. Work for a paycheck
spanking is assault. One adult cannot tell another person who is, for all intents and purposes also an adult, to bend over so that they can whack them across the ass. Unless, you know, they're in a very specific kind of relationship. When the people in question are a middle aged man and a comely teenage girl, the situation is practically the opening scene for cheap pornography. Perhaps someone should mention that to the school district.

{Editor's Note: I am not saying that anything inappropriate is going on in this school district. No one has ever breathed a word about any kind of sexual misconduct, as far as I know. The staff and administration are excellent at their jobs, and generally good people. I just think that they should look into what could possibly be assumed by those with less wholesome intentions and perhaps reconsider their position on corporal punishment, at least for those over the age of 10.}

Head*Desk

How does anyone ever know what the right thing to do is? How do you know if you're jumping off a cliff for  the right reasons or just for the sake of jumping? If you choose to stay grounded (there's a reason that's a word for punishment), how do you know if it's because it's the right thing to do, or just a reaction to fear and/or complacency?  I don't want to be complacent. I don't want to make a mistake either.

Where the hell are comfort foods when you need them?

Just got back from sunny (and it was) California. Glad to be sleeping in my bed again. Less glad to note that the washer is still broken. Must do something about that. I'm scared of the laundromat.

I'll be 30 in 8 months. Crap.

On This Episode of Magic Schoolbus

We explore what goes on in the brain of a man when he notices a sink full of dirty dishes. Let's board the bus and see what we find!
**Magical Noises**
Teacher: Here we are! Wow, look at all the storage space devoted to football...
Man Brain: Oh the sink is full. Maybe I'll help out by washing some of these dishes!
Teacher: Wow, initiative! I'm so impressed!
Man Brain: Let's see, I'll wash this cutting board, tea pitcher, microwave plate and...colander!
**Scrub**Scrub**Scrub**
Man Brain: Oh! The drainer is already full! That didn't take long at all. I don't know what Wife is always complaining about. She must just be lazy.
Teacher: Hmm...that might not be such a good example to follow boys & girls.
Man Brain: My turn with the dishes is over. Wife can wash these 300 plates, glasses, silverware, pots and pans. I've clearly done my part. Maybe I'll even get a special prize for my contribution!
Teacher: Ok kids, lesson over. Next week we'll learn all about the inner workings of bad drivers!

Auto-Correct, You're Making Me Look Bad!

Yesterday after work, I hung around the hospital for awhile to get my yearly TB test and my (every 10 years)  DTaP booster. Naturally, the world being what it is, I posted what I was doing to Facebook from my phone. Now the whole wide world thinks that I think the abbreviation for tuberculosis is TV,as opposed to TB. Shameful.  Or perhaps they think that I'm running some sort of diagnostic on my television. Which would make sense, as it's the only electronic in my house that hasn't decided to sigh deeply and die this month. Anyway, I'm going to have to give Auto-Correct a formal counselling. (That's what they call it at work when I get in trouble for something. Not that I have.)

Auto-Correct, you've come in handy in lots of cases. Particularly when I'm trying to quickly text while stopped at a red light. You always know that my garble of random letters is actually supposed to mean dinner, or groceries or pretty much anything besides cgeeklw. And for that, I'm grateful. I am not, however, as proud of your performance concerning actual words that you just don't know. For example, it's not funny to change "haha!" to "hats!" without some kind of warning. Ok, well it was funny the first time, but not after that. And sure, it was hilarious when you changed Dick Cheney to Anal Cheney, but not when I'm trying to be serious! I guess what I mean to say is, check with me before you try your clever little tricks on my FaceBook page. And especially give a little warning when I'm texting my mother. The version of TB test that she got read "TV tits," and, well, she was not exactly amused. In short, stop getting me in trouble!

There now, I feel much better.

A Series of Wrong Answers

Me: Do you think I'm crazy?
Him: (a little too quickly) Well, yeah!

Me: Do you like these new (slightly too big, boy-cut) panties?
Him: Yeah....they're kind of tight.  (rude and untrue!)

Me: Do you want to (whatever)?
Him: Not really, but I will. (And thus begins the "I want you to want to" fight.)

Sigh. Why do guys always get the wrong version of the script?

Excuse the Mess!

I'm working on a new look for fall.

Struggle & Gag

'm always going to struggle with depression, anxiety and a dash of mania. That's just how it is. It's probably been this way for half my life, but as a teenager, people expect you to act crazy, so nobody really noticed. For about a year now, I've been relatively stable. My (amazing) doctor and I finally found something that kept me level without turning me into a zombie. And then my (evil) insurance company decided that they'd rather not pay for something that was working so well, and we had to look for something else.

In the beginning, the something else was kind of iffy. I felt seriously over-medicated, I had to take it twice a day, which was problematic since my sleep schedule varies. I'm not a very good pill taker, and these pills were particularly awful; bitter and uncoated they'd get stuck in my throat and make me gag for what felt like hours. I had piles of side effects: Nausea and headaches and jumpiness and bruxism. My dreams became increasingly intense, and for a time, I couldn't tell what was real, and what had just occurred in my head while I was sleeping. All of these things are typical with medications for psychological illnesses, so I toughed it out and eventually, most of those things passed and I felt good again.

Then, the (evil) insurance company decided (with no warning) to make me stop filling my prescription at the local pharmacy. Instead, they required that I order it 3 months at a time through their mail order pharmacy. Which would have been fine, except they told me that when I only had 2 days worth of pills left. They grudgingly decided that I could have one more month of pills from CVS. I filled that prescription and had my (amazing) doctor fax the script to the mail order pharmacy. Weeks went by. My order was "in process." This week, I, once again, was down to 3 pills. I split the pills, and cut my daily dose in half. A terrible idea, but better than being completely without for several days. Withdrawal from this particular pill isn't exactly a joy ride. Even on a half dose, I had skyrocketing blood pressure, black spots in my vision, shakiness, fatigue, hallucinations, nightmares. Most of the time, it was ok, but towards the end of the day, when it was close to time for my next (half) dose, the parade of withdrawal symptoms marched by. (Conveniently this usually started on my drive home in the morning. Nothing to keep you wide awake like thinking that there might be a cow wandering in front of your car.)

I called the mail order pharmacy, and they told me that it would take a little more time, could I please request an emergency 10 day supply from the local pharmacy (that they'd really prefer I not use). Ok, except that since Mail Order Pharmacy had already begun processing my order, (evil) insurance wouldn't cover the cost of the emergency pills. Something about the word emergency apparently made them think that my drugs were elective, and therefore not worthy of coverage. My new prescription is for half the dose that I was previously taking. However, it's the same dose that I've been on since I started cutting my remaining pills in half to stretch them. The new pills are extended release, so I shouldn't have a big crazy crash every 12 hours. Because it's still half the dose I was on before, the withdrawal will probably go on for a few more days, but it seems to be getting better. I suppose it's a good thing that I started tapering off on my own early in the week.

The good news is I'll probably be able to laugh more, actually cry at sappy movies again, and the hungover, super-medicated feeling that I've been experiencing every morning should go away. We'll see. If it looks like there's going to be too much crazy and not enough normal, we'll bump the dose up to the old one, but keep it extended release.

Also, the XR pills are coated, tablet shaped, and taste vaguely of mint. There's no more gagging. Everyone in the house is grateful for that.

I'm Sure this Sounds Callous.

I'm feeling sort of conflicted about the whole Phoebe Prince thing. My opinions on the matter seem to be in direct opposition to what I'd like to think I believe, but since I believe what I'm going to say here, they must not be.

1. Nobody kills themselves soley because they're bullied. Depression is a disease. Suicide comes when that disease is untreated, poorly treated or just too bad to fix. It's like cancer. Phoebe Prince had a history of depression. She'd attempted suicide at least once before the bullying began, and was a cutter (which, in case you aren't aware, isn't the same thing at all as attempted suicide). Phoebe missed her father, who stayed in Ireland after her parents' divorce. There were a lot of factors at play here besides some mean kids. I think that to say that she killed herself because of the bullying makes it seem like her depression is less of a factor. It makes it taken less seriously as an illness, and that isn't good for anyone.

2. The mean kids weren't all that mean. Some names were called, to her face and on Facebook/Twitter/passed notes. (I read the full report, so don't anybody jump on me about how I don't know how bad it was.) Slut, cunt, bitch, whore, nothing that unusual, particularly since the girls doing most of the name calling were jealous that Phoebe had hooked up with their boyfriends while they were "on a break." It's standard teenage drama. And yeah, she was probably upset about it, who wouldn't be? However, none of those names seem cruel enough, on their own, to drive someone over the edge. Even a fragile teenager. And ok, one girl threw an (empty) soda can at her from a car window. She's been charged with "assault with a deadly weapon." What the hell? Exactly how hard did she throw that can? An empty aluminum can weighs about .05 ounces. It would have to have been tossed off by a rocket launcher or something equally impressive to have caused any actual harm to anyone. Assault? Sure, but not with a deadly weapon, to say the least the packet of ranch dressing that came with my salad would have made more of an impact. I understand the need to for schools and communities to take a tougher stand on bullying, but the DA in this case is clearly trying to make an example of these kids (along with a name for herself), and that seems unfair. What they did was crappy and wrong, but suspend them from school. Take away their cars, ground them for the summer. Hell, ground them until they're married, but don't send them to jail for 10 years. That's just ridiculous, and it isn't going to help anyone.

3. Bullying is (sort of) protected under the First Amendment. The things the teens said at school can (and should have) been dealt with by the administration. None of them made any threats, so it doesn't count as assault. Technically, they could be charged with misdemeanor harrassment, but the trouble didn't even go on long enough for it to seep over into the felony category. Once again, the kids were assholes, not criminals. If we start prosecuting every kid that says something mean or snarky to somebody at school or online, where will it stop? They'd have to shut down FoxNews all together, not to mention arrest every politician that ever ran a smear ad. With the exception of my friend Amanda, everyone in the country would be spending some time in jail for bullying. I believe in pretty big government, but not anywhere near that big.

4. I can't even bring up the statuatory rape charges leveled at the two boys in this case. It's the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a long time. Enough said.

So that's where I am. I think the kids were jerks. I think they should have gotten in trouble with their school and their parents for being jerky, schools should have tough anti-bullying policies and they should be enforced. If the bullying bleeds over into hate-crime territory against black kids, or gay kids or, whatever-minority-kids, someone should bring in the big guns. And somebody at that school should have noticed the ugliness before Phoebe killed herself, but who's to say she wouldn't have done it anyway? And that's sad. It's terrible when a smart, pretty girl takes her own life, no matter what the circumstances are. I completely understand the drive to make somebody pay for that. (Trust me, I'm a -huge- fan of vigilante justice.) The problem in this case is that they're going after the wrong people. The blame for Phoebe Prince's death should go to her disease, not her classmates. Prosecuting people for nastiness can't possibly lead anywhere good, and the erosion of basic freedoms won't stop people from feeling out of place, out of sorts, out of their minds when they're teenagers.

This sort of craziness needs to stop somewhere. I know this entry won't make me particularly popular. I know that people will call me heartless, and bitchy (and maybe they'll go to jail for it...).I'm sure someone will say that I don't understand how bad it hurts when someone is mean to you, but I do. I'm not heartless, I feel terrible for Phoebe's family, and my heart breaks for her, because feeling so much pain that you think you can't stand it anymore isn't something anyone should have to endure. The thing is, ruining the lives of six other teenagers and their families isn't going to fix that.

Swinging Doors & Stuff

1. The doors to my unit at the hospital swing in opposite directions. Whether you're coming in or out, you have to push on the right side (your right, just like driving!) door. For some reason, about 80% of people choose the wrong door on their first (and sometimes every) try. Adults invariably push the left door, look stunned when it doesn't open, and then  keep pushing on it until somebody (me) says "use the other door." (Older men hate it when I say that and stomp around a bit before exiting. No clue why.) I have no idea what they think the problem with the door might be. I'm curious to see how long the exercise would go on, but I'm pretty sure I'd get in trouble if I didn't redirect them reasonably quickly. Children (usually under the age of 11), on the other hand, try the wrong door too, but when it doesn't work they, without missing a beat, go through the correct one. It's never a struggle for them to just try the other door.

I think there's probably a life lesson in there somewhere, but I'm not entirely sure what it might be.

2. The gigantic (plastic, ew!) Jesus statue in Ohio got struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The church's insurance company has refused to pay for the damage, calling it an "act of God." That might be my favorite news story of all time. The irony is just beautiful. Also, hello, if you're going to have a giant Jesus, go with natural materials. God doesn't like tacky (apparently). On a related note, (and this is old news, just new to me) while filming The Passion of the Christ, Jim Caviezel also got struck by lightning. Maybe God's just tired of people making Jesus look like a white guy.


3. I'm leaving on Friday for vacation in San Antonio (Whee!!). There will be water parks, and river walks and the Alamo, oh my! Also good friends, amazing food, and at least one day at the Mexican Heritage Market, which I love. I'll come home with pictures.

In Defense of Helen Thomas

I've been very upset about the whole Helen Thomas "scandal," but didn't have a moment to blog about it until now. I should probably start with a disclaimer:

1. I am not antisemitic. I don't have a problem with Jewish people. I think they have a very interesting, wonderful history and are generally fun, educated, tolerant people. Yay Jews!

2. I am anit-Israel. I don't think it's ok for outside governments to tell a country "we're taking this chunk of your land away because god said that the Jews could have it.

3. The whole concept of a holy land is ridiculous. First of all, if god was going to give his "chosen people" something like that, why would he choose a dirt strip where nothing grows and your worst enemies have been for thousands of years? Poor planning.


Now, on to Helen Thomas.On May 27, 2010, outside the Jewish Heritage Celebration Day event at the White House, the following exchange took place between Thomas and Rabbi David Nesenoff:
Nesenoff: Any comments on Israel? We're asking everybody today, any comments on Israel? Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.
Nesenoff: Oooh. Any better comments on Israel?
Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not German, it's not Poland ...
Nesenoff: So where should they go, what should they do?
Thomas: They go home.
Nesenoff: Where's the home?
Thomas: Poland. Germany.
Nesenoff: So you're saying the Jews go back to Poland and Germany?
Thomas: And America and everywhere else. (emphasis mine) Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries? See?
 There was a big stink following this interaction, and Helen Thomas was forced to resign in shame. For saying something that isn't only TRUE, it's not scandalous at all!! Palestine -is- occupied! The people doing the occupation -are- largely from Poland and Germany and the US! The allegations are that by saying Germany and Poland, Thomas implied something about concentration camps. That just leaves a big fat question mark over my head. She didn't say anything wrong. And yeah, her retirement was probably well overdue, but her long career shouldn't be marked by something like this. Particularly because she was right.

Saying that Israel is a valid country is like saying that if Mexico showed up, took over the Texas panhandle and said "this is Mexico now" we'd say that's perfectly acceptable. There was a huge war over this. "Remember the Alamo" anyone? I'm angry that nobody took a second to think about her comments logically, and mad that saying that if you don't support Israel in this country is a death sentence politically and socially and the whole thing just makes me sick.

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Not a Fish Tale

Well before Disney’s version of The Little Mermaid thrilled little girls the world over, I wanted to be a mermaid. Some of my earliest memories involve my cousin, Jenny, and I tying our legs together and writhing around on my grandmother’s kitchen floor, otherwise known as “under the sea.” Later, my girlfriends and I spent our time in the pool hanging onto other friends or, occasionally, my dad, pretending that they were our dolphins, and we, of course, were lovely mermaids. One of the most disappointing moments of my childhood was when my father (or more likely, my mother) refused to purchase the seashell necklace for me that would surely give authenticity to my play. I can’t even enter that store without remembering the pendant and wondering if the $2 that it cost was really worth the grief that it instilled in 6 year old Susan.

Twenty-something years later, I’m still (in spite of a near-paralyzing fear of fish and all things aquatic) a big fan of mermaid tales, favoring Hans Christian Andersen’s lovely, tragic version above all others (Disney will do in a pinch). My favorite part of the story has always been the moment that the mermaid becomes fully human. I love the first seconds of realizing her heart’s desire, no matter what the outcome might be (good for Disney’s Ariel, bad for HCA’s unnamed heroine). In that moment, all the mermaid’s wishes have come true. I can only imagine the sense of fear and elation that she must feel. I want that feeling. I want to know what it feels like, taking a deep breath and diving headfirst into the life that I’ve dreamed of, hoping for a good outcome, but not afraid of a bad one. John Burroughs said “leap and the net will appear.” I hope he was right.

It may take some time, but changes are coming.

Proof!

This is my new favorite photo. It also serves as proof that I don't always fall down.

Things are still stressful here, but they're getting better.

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Bad Days

I should have known it was going to be a bad day when I woke up with a tick on my arm. I believe in signs and superstition and luck, and recently, my luck has been a bit on the bad side. I'm not exactly sure what it is in my karmic past that's causing all these disasters, but it must have been a doozy.

After getting dressed, I opened the door to leave for work (late), to find an eviction notice from the landlord (if rent isn't paid by Friday), and a disconnect notice from the gas company (if the gas wasn't paid before 8am, today.) As I drove to work, the road was littered with a slew of roadkill, including a gigantic snake. Another bad sign. Great. Work is kind of my safe haven, and I'm not used to dreading it, but with the bloody highway, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. The bad didn't disappoint. We had a terribly sad case last night (which I can't discuss here. HIPPA, you know). We were completely out of charts, on every unit, so I wasn't able to be as productive as I like to be. And there was a terrible, vinegar smell, coming from somewhere, which we couldn't find to get rid of. Also, my scrubs smelled like gasoline and something that I ate for dinner was so hot (spice, not temperature) that it left burns/blisters on the inside of my lips and under my tongue. I suppose I should count myself lucky that the heat didn't ignite my gasoliney scrubs.
 Justin called to tell me that his truck has stopped working and that he sold his Xbox to pay the gas bill and for gas/grocery money. That still leaves the rent (and potential car repairs). Tomorrow I have a meeting with the Covenant Compassion woman to fill out the paperwork for a loan to cover our rent. Everything -will be- ok, but right now, it feels very tense.

It's not all bad, despite appearances. Justin got a grant to cover his summer class, which was one of our biggest stresses. We have electricity and water and food, which are the important things. Justin's going to get a summer job at UMC, and hopefully that will help our situation.

Anyway, that's where we are now.

"How I Was Brought Up"

I was talking to a friend, a few weeks ago and I asked her why she felt a certain way about something (I can't remember what now) and she said "that's just the way I was brought up." I've been thinking about that answer for a a long time, and I still can't really wrap my head around it. Why would someone choose to think or feel or believe something just because that's what their parents believed? A couple of generations ago, children in Germany were brought up to believe that it was ok to kill Jews and blacks and Gypsies and homosexuals. That sentiment didn't stick around long (mostly). Generations before them were brought up to believe that the best way to cure an illness, any illness, was to cut the sick open and let them "bleed it out." Now we know that that almost never works!
There is new knowledge released into the world every day. To ignore that, and continue a belief system simply because it's the way it's always been done in your family or town or state or country is ludicrous. Not that there's anything wrong with her family. They are really great people, and I fully believe that they raised their children very well. There wasn't anything inherently wrong with whatever it was that she thought either.
It's just that I think people should come to decisions about who they are on their own, as opposed to blindly following tradition.
My friend isn't the only person I've heard say that particular phrase recently. "It's how I was brought up" seems to be the mantra for this area, and probably for most of the world (which, I suspect, is why we're in trouble all the time). Something else I heard recently was (basically) "I don't care what the truth is, I choose to believe this instead." What the hell is that? Why would you choose to continue to believe a fiction, even after you've been presented with the truth? Particularly when it's about something that's easy to prove (as opposed to the cloudy world of religion and politics)? It's very confusing to me, and it bothers me more than it probably should. I'm not entirely sure why I felt compelled to write about it, except that it's been poking me in the brain for weeks now, and perhaps this is a way to get it to stop.

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Twenty-nine

Today I'm 29 years old, and for the first time in my life, I think I know who I am, I think I know what I want, and I think I know where home is. This is going to be a good year.

Treat Theif

When we go to the grocery store, I usually try to get a treat for myself and a treat for Justin. This is usually in the form of an ice cream snack. Dove bars or 100 calorie Klondikes for me, Drumsticks for Justin. Regardless of what the actual treat is, we each get our own. I am not a food sharer.

I'm very frugal with my treats, and can make a box of 8 Dove bars last a month or sometimes 2. (Occasionally I forget about them. When that happens, they could last half a year.)At least that used to be the case. Justin barely manages to make his treats last a week. Sometimes they don't even survive the weekend. And then he moves on to MY treats!! He doesn't ask, either. He sneaks them and eats them while I'm sleeping or at work. THEN, he does the unforgivable: he leaves the empty treat box in the freezer, so that when I get a craving for frozen deliciousness, I have to discover that the appetizing box is really just an empty promise.

I'm very upset about this. Disproportionately so, but it seems so unfair! We're not roommates, we're married! I shouldn't have to label my food, and lock it up to avoid thievery. Any ideas for appropriate punishment?

Implanon: 2 Months In

This will probably be my last post about this (Aren't you glad?), mostly because I keep forgetting that it's there. Until the underwire in my bra catches on it and makes me scream like a maniac. Other than intermittent bra accidents, I'm still loving this little stick of birth control. As far as I can tell, I haven't had a single weird side effect (no weight gain, no breakouts, no break through bleeding), and I appear to be one of the lucky ones who doesn't have a period anymore pretty much from the word go.Excellent.

However, there is one little problem with not being greeted by Mother Nature once a month: I always freak out when the "due date" gets here, and She does not. Even though I KNOW She's on hiatus for the next 3 years. Even though I KNOW the chances of me actually being pregnant are slim, and closer to NONE. (Justin's crazy clinicals schedule hasn't exactly been kind to our bouncy cuddles schedule. Sorry Beest.)  Still, I freak out. So, I bought a pile of bulk, dr.'s office supply pregnancy tests (Read: no plastic stick, just a test strip. Also: 85 cents a piece. Beat that EPT.), and when I freak out once every 34 days, I do the Try Not to Pee on My Hands Dance. Other than that, everything is peachy.

Ok, now that everyone's been updated with the status of my birth control of choice, I can leave this topic alone. I really wanted to post a few updates about it though, because so many of the reviews online are BAD, while the birth control itself, for me at least, has been really GOOD. I realize that it happens because people are way more likely to post a review of something if they're pissed off about it, and less likely to post when an experience is good. (Because, like me, they forget about it unless there's some crazy drama.) The problem is, that makes it really hard to do research when someone's on the hunt for the thing that's right for them. So here I am, doing my part for Implanon research. -grin-

Before I Die

I found this very cool website. It's in the same vein as PostSecret or Found. The site is Before I Die, the creators traveled around taking Polaroid pictures of people, and asked them to write what they wanted to do before they die on them. Very fun, and sometimes (as with the hospice patients they visited) very sad. Check it out. Also, since I'll probably never run into the girls, I made my own:

XML Problems

Can somebody tell me why the date above my posts says "undefined undefined" instead of the actual date? If anybody knows how to fix this, please let me know. I haven't made any changes to the template.

Thanks!

ETA: Looks like I might have fixed the date issue.

Vegas Vacation Pics


Viva Las Vegas!

I am leaving for Las Vegas in 3 days. In Susan time, that means TOMORROW, because I have to work both Sunday and Monday night before I leave on Tuesday. On days that I work, I have exactly 7 hours to sleep after I get home, before I get up, shower and go back to work, so those days don't count at all.

I'm SUPER excited! (As demonstrated by my liberal use of caps lock.) Today I went shopping with my aunt (and benefactor who is providing this adventure) and got some new stuff, so that's some laundry that I don't need to do, and I've got my bag all packed (except for toiletries). I'm slightly nervous because we're flying Southwest. I'm a fat girl, and the whole Kevin Smith drama has me slightly freaked out. I just flew them in January though, so odds are, things are fine. (Also, did I mention, I went down a jeans size! -happy dance-)

Tomorrow Justin and I are going to try and see Alice in Wonderland and have a little date before he gets sucked into another week of clinicals. After tomorrow I won't see him for more than 10 minutes at a time until I get home. I'm really looking forward to that too (the date, not the absence of Justin). I love to go to movies. That's the update. I won't post again until I'm home from Sin City.



Adios!

Magic


Today I got a tiny bottle of magic wands in the mail.  LOVE.



Implanon: 20 Days In

This post probably isn't for the boys.

I've had the Implanon birth control in my arm for 20 days now. After the first week, I stopped having pain at the insertion site, and wasn't experiencing any side effects. (Except possibly headaches, but I'm attributing those to stress and allergies.) I've been pretty happy with it so far.

Here's what's going on now: I have some nerve pain in my arm, but I can't tell if it's from the implant or from a pinched nerve. I fell last week, and nerves are tricky. It's about 3 inches below where the Implanon rests, and I've had some neuropathy in my left side before (meralgia paresthetica), so it's possible that it's more of the same, just in a different place. I'm going to go to the chiropractor this week and see if that helps. Even if it is a side effect of the Implanon, I assume that eventually that nerve will stop hurting, and it's not excruciating, or anything. I just have to be a little careful.

I'm also having some breakthrough bleeding (3 days now). This is pretty close to the time when I'd be having my period anyway, and it's much lighter than a regular period, so I'm not bothered. Plus, it's proof that, if nothing else, I'm not pregnant, so the implant is doing its job. I knew that in the first 2-3 months I should expect this, and it's not a big deal at all.

Overall: Still happy.

It's a Slow Night

Apparenlty no one was having any sex in June, because we're super slow. So, I stole this from Terroni.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sleeping late, having enough food, being able to do what I want to on any particular day without worrying about money.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing control.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I tend to identify with fictional characters much more than anyone who's ever actually existed.

Which living person do you most admire?
Tommye

Which living person do you most despise?
Currently? Actually, I'm good.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I have too many feelings most of the time. About pretty much everything. Also: Impatience

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Lack of compassion.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Nice lingerie.

What is your favorite journey?
The walk from the airplane to wherever my actual destination is. I like that feeling of anticipation.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Patience. (And definitely chastity.)

On what occasion do you lie?
To give comfort or spare feelings.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
The scars on my belly.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I find that in my current position, I say the words vagina, vaginal, and vag entirely more than I thought possible.

What is your greatest regret?
When I was 5, I said something really mean to my grandmother. Perhaps I'll post about it sometime.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Marlowe. (Just kidding. Mostly.)

When and where were you happiest?
I've had a lot of really happy moments, but right now, something about a swingset is lingering in the back of my mind. I can't quite wrap my mind aroud the specific memory though.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Lonliness, helplessness, hopelessness. All the nesses.

What is your current state of mind?
After a small rush, I'm trying to unwind.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I want to be psychic.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would be more logical, and less emotional. Actually, that's a complete lie. Perhaps I should want to be more honest with myself.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
This is a risky little game...I do wish my dad and mom (in particular) were more tolerant of each other. I mean, it's been 15 years since they divorced. Get over it already. There's no reason to make it awkward for everyone else.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I don't think I've done it yet. I hope not.

What is your most treasured possession?
Right now: My magic wand.

What is it you most dislike?
Itchy scrubs. Insurance companies.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A banshee.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
Something with a tail. Do banshees have tails?

Where would you like to live?
Sacramento, Nice, Seattle.

What is your favorite occupation?
I really love what I'm doing right now, but I think I want to be an OR tech. (Actually, I'd like to be a doctor or a nurse practicioner, but I'm scared of that much school.)

What is your most marked characteristic?
I'm a bit of an anger-ball.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
I like smart men and brave men and men with nice hands.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Compassion, cleverness and the ablilty to cook better than me. (Which is pretty much everybody.

What do you most value in your friends?
My friends are smart, funny, and kind. They're also clever, mean (in the best possible way), and snarky. What's not to love?
Who are your favorite writers?
David Sedaris, Virginia Woolf, Augusten Burroghs, Colette.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Orpheus

Who are your heroes in real life?
Margaret Thatcher, James D. Watson, my dad.

What are your favorite names?
Nora, Delia, Horatio, Tomas, Luc, Rachel, Declan.

How would you like to die?
With as little drama as possible.

What is your motto?
Just because you can reproduce, doesn't mean you should.

Implanon Day 2

So, after all the local anesthetic wore off last night, I had considerably more pain that I did when I wrote my previous post. The pain wasn't outrageous or anything, just occasionally sharp, like, whenever I moved. Or lifted anything. Or my arm brushed my body. So yeah, lots of ouches. Luckily I had some Darvocet leftover from my gall bladder surgery, so I took one of those, and it was fine after that (and I didn't have to take any more). I left the bandage on, as instructed, for 24 hours, and when I took it off, my arm looked like this:

It's a pretty big bruise, but not as bad as some of the ones I've seen. The yellow around the outside is betadine, not bruise, so it's not even as bad as it looks. See the teeny hole towards the top? That's where the implant went in. 

Without the pressure of the wrap, it's a little more tender, and at the far end (towards my armpit) it feels like the rod is too close to the surface, and it hurts like it's going to pop through the skin at any moment. I don't think there's any actual danger of that happening though. After a few days a little bit of a callous will develop in there and it will stop feeling like there's a piece of glass in my arm.

Here's where I'll share too much information, so if you're my dad, or some other guy who's uncomfortable with girly business, stop reading now.

Usually in the first 3 months of using Implanon, women have heavier periods, and lots of weird breakthrough bleeding and stuff, and so I was expecting that. The thing is though, I started my period on Wednesday (it has to be inserted during that time of the month), I got the implant yesterday, and today, my period is pretty much over, the same way it would have been had I inserted a new NuvaRing. I'm taking this as an excellent sign. There's still a chance that I'll have the ugliness, but since the hormone is the same as the primary hormone in my ring was, I think my transition will be easier than it is for people who were either not on any birth control at all or were using some other hormonal method when they switched. This is promising, and in spite of the pain, I'm still excited about this thing.

About That Huge Needle...

 I had my appointment today to get the Implanon put into my arm. I was super stressed out to begin with, and so I left the house a little (read: a lot) early. On the way there, the nurse called and told me that my insurance (Catholic, determined to provide the bare minimum birth control that they can get away with in the hopes that they can one day pay for a pregnancy/labor & delivery.) requires a note from my primary care physician saying that the implant is "medically necessary" which, of course, strictly speaking, it isn't. But I wanted it and I DO NOT want to get pregnant, ever, and so I headed over to my PCP. (I called first to tell them what I wanted, I'm not a rude patient.) My PCP doesn't specialize in contraception and so he wasn't really comfortable with the possible liability of suggesting the Implanon for me, so after some discussion, he wrote a prescription, essentially saying that he's leaving my contraceptive needs up to my OB/Gyn. After that, I was running late, which stressed me out even more than I was to begin with. I got up to the office, filled out some paperwork, waited for my aunt (who was coming to hold my hand) to get there and then it was *time.*

My pulse and blood pressure clearly showed my nerves, but I was determined. The nurse prepped me with betadine, and eventually, Dr. K came in. He asked me why this is what I wanted, and I told him my reasons, (ie: NO BABIES EVER) and he was all "oh, we'll have to get a baby out of you eventually!" Not exactly what I want to hear while someone is supposed to be doing a procedure to prevent just that, but whatever, I really like Dr.K and I'm pretty sure he was just kidding.

Time to get down to business. I was mostly scared of the lidocaine local anesthetic, since lidocaine tends to burn, and you know, needle in my tender spot,  but it didn't hurt at all. There was just a tiny pinch, even smaller than the prick you'd get from the flu shot, and then a slight burn, but nothing too serious, and then weird numb feeling. After that, I didn't feel anything. I saw the (giant) needle with the rod in it, but  I couldn't really see the procedure (and the nurse told me to look away, anyway). It felt, just for a minute while they were getting the rod settled a little...I don't know exactly, itchy maybe? I couldn't get anyone to take a picture, so sorry.

Anyway, it was totally not a big deal, and I'm not even having any real pain now, just a little bruising and tenderness. I think I'm going to love this thing. Yay!

Eeep!

Thursday I'm going to have Implanon inserted into my arm for birth control. It looks like this:

It has a super low failure rate, lasts for three years, and is considerably cheaper than my current method (Nuva Ring). Don't get me wrong, I've really loved the ring for the past 3 or 4 years, and I think it's an excellent method, but since I don't ever plan on having children, I want something long term, and more cost effective. I'm getting an excellent deal, because my OB/Gyn is only charging an office co-pay for the procedure, but usually the Implanon costs between $500 and $800. Most insurance (including mine) covers it at 80% so even at the high end that would just have been  $160. The cost of the Nuva Ring over 3 years (with insurance) would have been $1980. (Woah. That's the first time I've done the actual math for that.) At the end of three years (assuming that there's not some terrible side effect, and I have it removed before the time is up) I'll be over 30 and officially able to get a tubal ligation. Whee!

The thing is, it goes in like this:
Why yes, that is the most tender, untouched part of anyone's body, otherwise known as the upper, inner arm. And yes, that is a huge needle. Yikes, right? So, after a few dizzy spells and reassurances that there will be a local anesthetic (which will hurt just as much, I'm sure...not thinking about it), and after watching a fully non-traumatic video of someone else's insertion, I got comfortable with that. But -then- I watched a video of them taking one out, and that was, lets just say, far more traumatic. Go ahead, YouTube it, I'll wait.

Done...? Recovered? Good. Now I feel like I have too much information, and I'm freaking out a little. I still want the birth control though, so I'm putting it out of my mind. Three years is a long time from now...maybe I'll forget about the image of the guy digging around in the girl's tender inner-arm with a hemostat. Yeah...that.

I wanted Justin to go with me and take pictures, but he has class all day on Thursday, so I'm on my own. I'll take pics of the bruising (if there is any) and write a full report when it's over with. Wish me luck!

Plumbing Problems

Saturday night all the sinks, tubs and toilets in our house started filling up with sewage. In Justin's bathroom, the things actually overflowed onto the floor, and it was a horrible, horrible night. We had to go next door to my parents' house for everything water-related, and we're just lucky that they lived close enough for us to do that. The landlord sent a plumber out on Sunday, but they weren't able to finish, so they sent someone out again on Monday, and they left before I got up for work, so I'm assuming that they're done. I hope so. We've had plumbing problems in this house before, but never something so extreme. It was like being in one of those cheesy old horror movies in which the monster comes out of the toilet. I'm a bit wary, even now, going into the bathroom without turning on the light first. The good news is that I hadn't finished unpacking my suitcase from my recent trip to California, so it had not resumed it's normal place in my bathroom shower (which we use for storage). There would be no salvaging it had it been in there, soaking in sludge.

I just realized that this is a terrible post. Whatever, I'm posting it anyway.

What Happens in Vegas...

I found out yesterday that I'll be joining my aunt and siblings in Las Vegas March 9-13. We'll be staying at the Mirage and doing lots of fun stuff. It was a total surprise, and I'm SUPER excited! It's also an excellent opportunity to try and accomplish one of my Life List goals: win a hand of blackjack in Vegas. We'll see how that goes. As for non-gambling fun, we're seeing Terry Fator, Lance Burton, a taping of The Price is Right, going to Madam Tussaud's, and whatever else we have time to get up to. It's going to be EXCELLENT.

Yes, I'm aware of how many times I've used caps-lock in this post, and I don't even care.

Whee!

Life List: Visit the Winchester House


You may remember the life list that posted a few months ago. I've (slowly) been working my way through it, and one of my new year's resolutions was to tackle a few of the things on the list. One of the things on the list was a visit to the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, CA, and, with the help of my dear friends, I'm able to scratch that off this week. If you're not familiar with the Winchester house, it was built (and built, and built) by Sarah Winchester in the 38 years following the deaths of her daughter and husband. She believed that she was being haunted by the spirits of the people who'd been killed by Winchester rifles, and to appease them, she could never stop construction on the house. (Spirits have strange demands.) There are 160 rooms in the house, many of which contain freaky little things, like doors that open into walls, and staircases that go to the ceiling (and nowhere else.) The house itself, in spite of the weird additions, is truly beautiful, and it's almost a shame that it's not being used for anything other than tourism. I kind of want to live there. They wouldn't let us take cameras inside, so I don't have any pictures. but their website has plenty to give you an idea of what it was like. As an added bonus, San Jose was a fun town, and we had a good dinner and really amazing desserts after the tour.

All together my trip was great, it was -really- good to see my friends, and for the first time I realize how awesome it is to be able to use 3 vacation days and get a full 11 days off. Excellent .

Resolutions

This year my resolution is to work on my Life List. Not all the things on it are achievable this year, and I know that, but these are the ones I'm resolved to get done. I have 359 days to do these things. I think I can work with that.

1. Crochet an afghan

2. Learn to make my Nan's cherry cobbler

3. Learn to make margaritas from scratch

4. Personalize my own nail polish color (And you can too! Here. You're welcome.)

5. Purchase designer sunglasses. ( I actually did this today. Prescription and everything!)

6. Avoid losing designer sunglasses.