Tuesday, August 31, 2004

There's always

Someone who gets angry funnier than you.

Chez Miscarriage

She makes me feel better about today, despite everything. She's my anger surrogate.

Doubt and hope

The bleeding is reaching deluge proportions. If I were bleeding like this from a wound in my leg or arm, I'd be hospitalized. There is cramping now, rising from "just noticeable" to "actual ouch". The sensation of bleeding this way...if you are female, you might be able to imagine. If you are male, you don't want to imagine. Spare yourself and go hug a woman you love.

I'm now out of doubt and hope. There will be crying some time soon, I'm pretty sure. Right now I'm just kind of angry -- angry in a helpless way, angry without much heat, a tired, whiny sort of angry.


The sharp point of dilemma

Last night the bleeding increased. Still no deluge, but much blood. While I am still hoping I'm harboring a little life beside my own inside myself, it's just an optimistic hope. Foolish hope. Groundless hope. Practical thinking wars hard against hope.

We've been discussing treatment options again. I've tried the alternative medicine routine, and now we are looking at another nonsurgical but quite Western method. Have to retrace the research I did last year. Have to find out if my insurance will cover it. Have to decide if, yes, I really want to go through this one more time, or two more times, or however many times it will take with the eyes of various healthcare people looking at me and shaking their heads and telling me I'm too old for this and I should really be smarter.

I hate feeling broken. I hate the idea that once again my body isn't going to do something it is supposed to do.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We have a new dilemma facing us, as well. We have DragonCon this weekend, where we have a table in the artshow. This is a big show for us, a money making show. We'd already had to wrestle with my going because of the pregnancy, and had managed to work it out. Now, Frances is churning in the Atlantic. They are predicting it could sweep through central Florida by Sunday. We aren't due to come home until Monday.

Money is already paid, room arrangements made, everything set months ago. Damn storm. Not only does it have to ruin everyone's Labor Day Weekend, but it has to through another dilemma onto us. Do we stay home on the chance the storm will sweep over our area? Do we go and hope friends will be able to watch our house and our pets while we are gone? The storm might not get anywhere near us -- it could easily sweep far east or west of us. It could do most anything. Few things characterize a hurricane more than unpredictability.


Monday, August 30, 2004

A day like any other

Woke up at 9 this morning, half listening to NPR on the radio, half dreaming. When I start noticing I'm dreaming about things I'd never dream about (like movies staring Arab terrorists -- not one of my subconsious fears) I start waking up. Roused myself enough to get some juice and my vitamens, and changed the bedsheets. That alone wore me out as if I'd cleaned the whole house, which is disgusting.

Today's project is ripping down all the CDs I used to have ripped down. So I'm sitting on the bed, propped up on my pillows, popping in CDs. I'm supposed to go to see my accupuncurist again this afternoon. The bleeding wasn't bad overnight, but that's the weird part. (I'm about to get gross if you want to skip down.) The blood tends to "gel" when I'm lying flat, so the morning is always rather...dramatic. I can't judge how much I'm bleeding. I'd estimate it's less than a cup, more than half a cup. My blood, just leaking out of my body.

Ok, that's enough gross for now. I promised myself when I started this weblog that I would saywhat I wanted when I was here. I would allow myself to be as mean, as graphic, as extreme as I felt. Interestingly, I find that I'm not a very extreme person, at least by my own standards. My sensibilities are not 21st century. I can see myself, a old woman, complaining about the newest fashion on young people, croaking "We never wore plastic penises as clothes when I was young! Oh no, mini skirts that would cover your ass, that's what we wore. Tube tops, tight jeans -- at least we were wearing CLOTH."

The soul of social conservativism, that's me.

I go to sleep with the TV on lately. Husband has learned to tolerate it. Actually, once he's set on "sleep" mode, he will go to sleep regardless. I tend to start thinking if I turn the TV off and turn out the lights. Thinking won't let me sleep. So, I stare at the TV until my eyes close, then I listen until I don't hear it anymore, and after a few hours I wake up enough to punch a button on the remote. Last night I watched "Extreme Engineeering" on Discovery -- building strange twisted towers for apartments, replacing bridges over the San Fransisco Bay, constructing giant container ships. These things are interesting, actually, but not so interesting as to prevent sleep. I know more about the movement of cargo containers than I ever thought I'd need.

Now I'm watching History Channel "WWII in Color" and pondering the images while listening to excerpts from diaries and letters written then. For those like me, raised on television, the idea that there was color before the 1950's is something of an odd idea. To see these films and the faces of people, many now who are dead, to see them in bright color and motion--it flies againt assumptions planted in my head. My parents would be in their 70's now. I have pictures of them from before my birth, but they are mostly black and white. Color pictures don't show up much until my birth -- except for a strange set of my mom's. She's married to her second husband, a man I know little about, and she is out west, on vacation in the late 40's/early 50's touring Yellow Stone and similar places. There is another couple with them, again, people I don't know, and they all look like pictures in documentaries or coffee table books.

My pictures will look the same to someone else in 30 years, won't they?

Sunday, August 29, 2004

I'll still remember

'Scotty' Making Final Public Appearances

I grew up on Star Trek. One by one, the people who played the characters that were so much a part of my life and have become such icons of our culture will succumb to time. I think it will be a while, though, before we forget them, even when they forget themselves.

I always thought there was irony that Deforrest Kelley, the first of the series crew to die, played the character that was seen to be one of three who lived the longest -- Dr.McCoy had a cameo on Next Generation, walking with Data, and at that time, Spock's whereabouts were unknown and everyone thought Scotty had died in an accident (until "Relics").

Once a Star Trek Geek, always a Star Trek Geek.

Truth and expectation

I think I've miscarried.

The bleeding is increasing, not decreasing. I thought for a little while when I got up this morning that it had been pretty light overnight, which it had. Now, it's really starting to flow.

This, of course, is not good. I'm feeling some mild cramping, which could be completely normal as such cramping often happens while the body adjusts, or it could be cramps to expell -- let's just call it "everything" because other choices are rather graphic for the squeamish. They make me feel ookie, too.

I could go to the emergency room and deal with the humiliation of that for a while. Or I could just stay here and wait and change my underwear a few more times. I feel a little suspended from it all, as if I'm watching a movie I know, but this is a new version of it and I'm not quite sure what will happen, although I'm familiar with the plot. Enough things have been different this time that I don't feel safe in predicting anything.

Am I being negative? Am I facing reality squarely? Am I being practical or depressed? Am I wallowing in the expectation of losing this pregnancy or am I just protecting myself by refusing to get too emotional about it?

I've told people -- of course I've told people, I've told YOU -- and they congratulate me and I feel strange about it, like I'm being congratulated for something that might not happen. I know it is just social convention. People are expected to say that, because miscarriage isn't supposed to be a part of this mix. You get pregnant, you have a baby. Thousands and thousands and..well, millions... of women all over the world, all through time, have managed this. Except me and the sisterhood of mothers-not-to-be.

Everyone I know who had a miscarriage later had a baby. Husband and I ponder if I was pregnant and miscarried before (only much earlier). My reading indicates that miscarriages are much more common than thought. Last year, when I had mine, two of my nieces also miscarried and they are MUCH younger than I am.

That's the problem. I'm 39, heading for 40 fast. When do I call a halt to this? I look at myself in the mirror and while I don't have the wrinkles my mom did at my age (I stay out of the sun) I see it. I'm obviously my age. My hair, under the dye, is salt-and-pepper, but it's been that way since highschool, just more so now. How many more times can I do this before I'm just being stupid? What about women who had children when they were young and get pregnant again when they are 40+? And women who waited? And women who just didn't get pregnant until they were older, like me? I wasn't avoiding it before, it just didn't happen. I didn't get obsessed about it, really, I just waited to see what the universe would hand out.

The universe is handing out miscarriages, I guess. What should I do with this information? Have the surgery that scares me so much, because I 1) don't like the idea of being cut open and 2) don't have a good history with anethesia ? Send Husband in for a vasectomy? He's willing, but, damn it all, it isn't HIS fault. Why should I compromise his fertility? Become celibate? Not appealing, thank you. Birth control? Pills and drugs have side effects that are unpleasant. Condoms work ok, but there's the problem with latex and the sheepskin stuff is just...let's not go there.

Enough worrying. Not a damn thing I can do, either way it goes, but let it go. No point in anger, or sadness, or dispair, although I'm sure all will come for me at some point.

Right now, I have to go change my underwear.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

beep BEEEEEEP

It's true that I don't always share the Standard of beauty others do, but this...this looks like never traveling by air again. This looks like not sleeping on your stomach. This looks like a terrible "Pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey" accident.

The only thing worse looking would be when she takes them all out.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Portents and omens

Started bleeding this morning. Fairly light, not at all like last year. Still, disturbing. My OB/GYN is out of town this week. The nurse at the office suggested the emergency room. Eh, not my first choice. I'm not in pain or bleeding profusely, so it would be a long, long, long wait, and chances are they would hospitalize me for bed rest. I can do bedrest much less expensively and more comfortably at home.

Went to see my accupunturist. She ran family planning clinics for some 20 years before moving into eastern and holistic medicine, so I had needles and I have herbs and homeopathics to stop the bleeding. Hey, it has as much chance of working as aeleopathic medicine does, with a damn sight fewer side effects. As long as the bleeding stays light and no clots show up, I'm doing well.

We aren't certain of when I conceived, which is also adding some complications. You see, last month, ye old Visitor (as you might recall from previous posts) was late. When she DID show, it wasn't all that much. Even though my test came back negative that time, I wasn't using an early results test (as I did this time), so there's a possibility -- small, but existing -- that I was pregnant then. That would mean I am around the same number of weeks now that I was when I miscarried last year, approximately.

Confusing. Everything is confusing.

39 weeks. That's the usual amount of time it takes to make a baby. I'm either 6 weeks or 4 weeks along -- no idea yet. I'm either having fibroid spotting or starting to miscarry. No way to know. I'm either gonna be a mother or I'm going to go crazy trying.

Going crazy after attaining motherhood is a separate issue.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I'm good at sleep

I popped my hip last week (ok, technically, my sacral joint has slid, pinching a nerve against the illiac crest...I popped my hip) and I should go to the chiropractor. It doesn't happen often that it doesn't put itself back, but this time it isn't. I can tell because pain is shooting down myleg to my calf. It's annoying and interrupts my sleep (because right now, painkillers of any kind are a no-no. I'm one of those people for whom Tylenol is useless and asperin, Ibuprofen and similar drugs are linked to an increase in miscarriage, sooooo....).

It isn't as bad as it would be if I had to get up and go to work (which I do tomorrow) and I have some very weird dreams to entertain me. In my dreams last night I

  • deflected an oncoming tornado away from the desert tent of my soon-to-be father in law by sheer force of will. I remember seeing the whirling storm forming in clouds, illuminated by lightening, and watching it move toward me, slowy reaching toward the ground. At first I tried to wrap myself in the tent and hide, but the wind pulled the tent away and I had no choice but to tell the storm "No". My soon-to-be father in law (I never got a good look at the guy who was supposed to be my fiance) was going through a chest of bed linens that I'd made, deciding if he liked them. He looks like Yul Brynner with a long beard and mustache.
  • was traveling through assorted strange passages and rooms behind a street of busy shops and theatres to find someone. On the street, it was like a mini-version of Mardi Gras on Broadway -- bright lights and people in wild costumes on the streets of a little town. Few of the shops had normal entryways -- most seemed to be below ground level and had narrow, steep steps leading down into them. Some of the shopkeepers used the steps as display area, so any customer was prone to knocking things off and then having to buy the broken item.
  • was trying to get into my car in a very tight parking lot and two men wanted me to take them to the Bernard Shaw House. While I'm trying to work my way out of the parking lot and avoid the giant cement trucks that seem intent on running me down, one of them ate the Subway Sub I had bought for my lunch. Even when I yelled at him, he didn't stop-- he just stared at me with bits of shredded lettuce on his chin. I kicked them out of the car on a road being closed for construction. I remember the dirt and the trees and thinking that the Bernard Shaw house was only a few blocks away anyhow, so they could walk it. I think the road under construction was the one that connects my neighborhood street to the highway.

My subconsious is a puzzling place.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Confirmed

Three out of three tests. Pregnancy is official. I'm about 4 weeks along.

8-9 weeks to go.

That's because the first three months are the ones where miscarriage is most likely to happen. If you can make it through those three months, the chance drops way down.

I called my best friend to tell her. She, of course, squealed. Her oldest leaves for college in 6 days. She's a month younger than I am and always insisted I never have kids. I think she changed her mind. She's always had a thing for babies, especially when they belong to other people.

I'm not feeling much, really, except occasional overwhelming terror that everything will go horribly wrong and it will be last year all over again. I try to avoid any TV commercial about diapers or baby formula because they tend to make me cry. This is annoying. I'm holding off feeling anything until...November. Husband and I decided not to mention anything to MIL until then. She wasn't particularly supportive last time. When we first married, she insisted she did not want to be a grandmother, so there was no rush. Looking back, I think she didn't expect the marriage to last and didn't want to see kids mixed up in a divorce. She's 72 now, so she's fair and square grandma material.


Sunday, August 22, 2004

Level two warning

I have to go to the doctor in the morning. You know, THAT doctor.

I appear to be pregnant. I may now begin to worry.

Last time I was pregnant, I didn't have it in my reality reference guide that it was possible to be pregnant and be me at the same time. Thus, I waited and waited before doing a test and didn't do anything until I miscarried. I could not be pregnant, so I unpregnated myself. Well, not overtly, but it's all part of the "make your own reality" thing. I'll save that for a philosophy discussion some time.

This time I know I can be pregnant and I also know miscarriage sucks. Put the mental and emotional parts aside -- it sucks physically, financially and socially. The absolute only positive thing that damn miscarriage did was allow Husband and I to realize maybe we DID want to be parants. (Well, it started me writing in this weblog, but I won't say if that was a good thing or a bad thing. *I* like it.)

This won't be an easy pregnancy, but at least I'm one step ahead of where I was last time. Already I've changed my diet (the Diet Pepsi is replaced with fruit juice and water -- I might sneak one occasionally, but...) and the dairy products must step aside. And I'm prepared for the idea that my doctor will limit my activity, possibly even confining me to bed, which will have its own set of problems, including, once more, the probability of going to Dragon Con in a wheelchair. Whooooo.

Another potential downside is that the cruise we are planning in January will have me at my hugest and, like last year's England trip, might not be possible at all. The mitigating factor then might be that I'll be at 7 months, miscarriage will be unlikely, and at that point I might be damned ready for a cruise.

The eating healthy is a problem because I got Braces: Part 2 last Friday and now my mouth is, once again, a no solid food zone. Once more I wait until the soft tissue of my cheeks gives up and calluses. I did manage to boil some peas in my over-boiled rice until they were actually quite mushy but still retained their green roundness. Vegies, must eat vegies somehow. Husband is considering how to make cream soups with soy products so I can also get some protein into my life.

Ugh. This is going to be SO complicated. Somehow, it seems like everything in my life darts from simplicity to full complication without any gradual build up. I'm just...there.

Have no fear, I shall document every tedious, boring, miserable second of this latest excursion.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Mild irritants after midnight

For some reason, I tend to fall into book series. I don't quite know why -- my really favorite books are all stand alone books, but for just fun reading, series happen to me. When I get interested in a series -- even if only mildly -- I refuse to read the first one until I find all the existing books. I've had that trauma in my past of searching desperately for the next in the series, or worse, having picked up the middle book and then not quite knowing everything that's going on.

Well, it happened again. I picked up a book today by an author I like only to discover, halfway through reading it and really wondering what I was missing, that it was third in a series of five. I find this irritating. Even more irritating is the fact that this particular edition doesn't list any of the other books! Grr, and grrr again!

So I'm online at 1 am looking through Amazon and trying to figure out the order of the books (since the publisher has so kindly failed to NUMBER them and Amazon hasn't the good grace to do as they have for other series and PROVIDE A LIST or at least a hint of the other books.) They are on order. I'm seriously peeved.

I'm lucky my life is so easy that I can afford to be peeved about things like this. Nevertheless, in the midst of all my gratitude, I'm still very, very irritated about this. And I can't quite go to sleep.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Another Monday in the series

I'm avoiding looking at pictures and news footage from Charley's rampage. Orlando is my home town, where I roamed wild and free until marriage moved me to the (relatively) uncivilized reaches of north Lake County. I've got this little worry imp in my head that tells me I don't want to see anything because I might possibly see something familiar that has been windblown out of all recognition and stomped on. I don't need that.

There's enough existential angst down there right now, they don't need mine. It's like a cloud rising over the steamy horizon. People are getting into knock-down-drag-outs at Lowes and Home Depot and Walmart. There's not a lot in a Walmart worth getting a black eye for, really.

Of course, I'm snug in my house now. We got lots of rain and the weeds are taking over, but that was the extent of it. Ol' Earl, who was the next contender, is powering down and veering off, it seems. The last storm to wander this path was Donna and that was actually long before I was born. Anyway, snug with my water and power and a/c, I suppose I could extend a little more sympathy to those without who are slapping each other silly in the Home Depot parking lot.

A little more, but not much. Crises, history has demonstrated, are not the appropriate time to turn into an asshole. Getting mad doesn't make anyone want to help you more or sooner. I imagine a few Darwin-award-worthy stories will come out of this, as soon as it becomes memory and people are ready to laugh about it.


Friday, August 13, 2004

Storm

Its pouring and blowing and being generally unpleasant outside. The storm is passing south of us -- not that far south, but south enough. Ol' Charley has lost a lot of his punch wandering up from the beaches, but he's still plenty blustery.

The power has flashed off here a few times, and from my friend G in Altamonte, we learned her power has gone out completely. Orlando is taking the heart of the storm -- right in teeth, to mix metaphors.

I'll be happy in the morning. Right now I'm nervous and flighty and my nose is completely stopped up.

Have you ever seen the rain?

Powerful Charley Heads for Florida

Yep, it's coming. The models right now predict Charley will tromp on Sarasota and Tampa, stroll across the state south of Gainesville, and wander right on up to Georgia and South Carolina. Evacuation orders were issued yesterday and today for coastal areas. They are worried about monster storm surge.

I live roughly between Gainesville and Tampa, almost in the center of Central Florida. We are expecting wet, nasty weather. Last night we pulled in all the lawn furniture and checked for loose objects, and I bought extra batteries and canned food. We've had some problems with our roof and hope the shingles hold. Schools are closed, businesses are closed (my orthodontist canceled my appointment today, so I don't know when the second half of my braces will be installed. On the good side, I have a few more days of chewing left to me. I'm excited about that.) and the coastal evacuees are starting to travel through. Being in the middle of what is, for a state as flat as Florida, "high ground", we don't expect flooding except around the lakes, but the wind will be bad. I just heard one of the ladies in the office say gusts of 90 MPH are expected here. Whoo hoo.

I don't think it will get to roof-lifting proportions unless we get tornadoes. Not a damn thing you can do about a tornado. There are few basements in this part of the state, and the "safe rooms" being built aren't yet included as standard in homes or as freestanding shelters in a lot of areas (like mine). I've got a nice piece of hallway picked out that we can barracade into if the worst happens. Trailer parks, the tornado magnets of legend, will be a mess. Lots of retirement communities around here are all "manufactured homes" and trailers.

I've had dreams about tornados since I was 4 and saw "The Wizard of Oz" on TV. I'm afraid of them (sensible people are, you know), but not unduly so. In my dreams, I'm always getting others to safety before an oncoming tornado. Sometimes the tornado is made of other things (once it was made of bees -- never figured that one out), but I'm always the one calmly rounding people up, buttoning up the building, watching the long twisting finger get closer, talking in a comforting voice to a paniced person. Truth be told, I think I'd really be a maniac if faced with a storm, but in my dreams the storms always pass over me.

Actually the worst I'm expecting will be loss of power and satellite TV. That's the optimistic pessimism. Anything is possible, from just damn wet weather to my house blowing away. I'll let you know.

Curiousity

I feel a little sorry for Gov. James E. McGreevey, for his wife and for his children. I think, in the face of things, he'd made the best of a series of bitter choices. I still find myself playing with questions.

What's the issue here -- that he had an extra-marital affair, that he's gay, both? If he'd been openly gay when elected, would an affair with another man have been seen the same way? What about an affair with a woman?

That last is a touchy subject. Gay people have fought so long and so hard and against such fear and hatred that their sexual orientation has become less about who they love and have sex with and more about who's side they are on (My own opinion, based on observation and conversation with different gay people.) Talk about pressure! If a man who has identified himself as gay finds he is attracted at some point to a woman, there is a strong and negative reaction. He can be seen as "passing", or changing his POLITICAL stance. He can be seen as "proof" that homosexuality is a choice and that any gay person can "cure" themselves if they just give up their hedonistic, sinful ways, blah blah blah.

It isn't really about being free to love whomever you want to love, you know. Not right now. For people who identify as bi-sexual, their whole identity is called into even more question because they don't want to chose sides. They tend to be lumped together with gay, lesbians and transgendered people (even though those three groups have their own distinct problems and stances -- if, for example, a transgendered man remains with his wife after he becomes a she, are they now a lesbian couple? If a woman identified as straight stays with her transgendered husband, what is the status of their marriage? Is she now a lesbian? The mind reels.) So, for a gay-identified man to fall in love with a woman is a huge, huge issue. It's a threat.

Quite understandable. Still terrible, but perfectly understandable, especially when considered from the stance of "majority rules" mentality. You know what I mean -- "9 out of 10 doctors agree" and "everybody thinks so" -- when you want to be right and walk without doubt, it's hard to walk alone. You want a crowd of people who think -- or say they think -- just like you do. The bigger the crown you can stand in, the more right you can feel. A person who stands alone is the easiest target. Crowd mentality. Again..blah blah blah, I haven't said anything you don't know. We refer to others, to authorities, to sources of fact, to bolster our thoughts and opinions to the level of "fact". I'm doing it here. I'll do it again.

Reading I've done on human sexuality indicates that for a good majority of people, sexual orientation is not a black/white thing. It's more of a continuum from one extreme to another, with most people falling somewhere between the extremes. Our social perception is that only the extremes are, if not acceptable, at least understandable. If you're straight, you'll all straight and will always be straight. Same for being gay. But that reading also indicates that people can move around on that continuum (the only thing consistant about anything is change, after all) and as one changes and grows through one's life, one's orientation can also change. Usually it doesn't go to an extreme, and there are a lot of factors to consider, but it does happen.

I'm noticing that among younger people, people in college and mid-twenties, this idea of flexible sexuality is more prevalent. People "try things on", dating people of other races, letting sexual attraction be about the person they are with rather than from a particular group. We've had many years of encouraging people to "shop around" for a good relationship. Now, the boundaries of who is available are opening.

I diverge. Sorry. I'm hoping I live to a day where one's choice of sexual/romantic relationship isn't a political choice. Sex and politics...not a great pairing, you know. Right now, I just feel sorry for those people for whom that is all it is.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Fun with Weather

Have you heard? There are two -- count 'em, TWO - tropical systems hitting Florida at about the same time. Who hoo, thrills and excitment every minute.

Now, just like New Englanders get Nor'easters, Californians get earthquakes, Kansans get tornadoes, and Oreginians get caffiene withdrawel, we get tropical systems of various kinds traipsing across Florida. They range from bands of heavy rain to the all out force 5 hurricane. There are advantages and disadvantages to them.

Advantages
  • You know they are coming. Now, if you have eschewed all contact with the outside world, never leave your house, and don't peer up at the sky through the hole in your cell, you might miss the news flash. The rest of us will know at least 2-3 days in advance when there is a storm, and at least 24 hours in advance the general area it's going to hit.
  • They don't move fast. In storm terms, hurricanes are big, slow critters. Yeah, they wobble around and change direction in a completely unpredictable way, but on a large scale. Once the storm is less than 3 hours away, chances are good it's going to keep going in the same direction you think it's going. These things do not turn on a dime.
  • You're in it with everyone else. Unlike the more selective tornado, hurricanes get EVERYONE, pretty much at the same time. People who die in hurricanes are not typically "unlucky". They tend more toward "stupid".

Which takes us right on to

Disadvantages

  • Complaisancy. Big, bad storms are comparatively rare, and they don't hit specific areas repeatedly in the short run. In one person's lifetime, a severe storm may never get near a particular area. Such tales of comfort get passed along, especially in a state so full of transients and part-timers as is Florida. The "old-timers" will make with the myths and talk about how the storms never land there or won't land here or won't be as bad as the weathermen say. And because it's the path of least action, some people stay put to "ride out" the storm.
  • Size. Hurricanes are big. Yeah, even tight, small ones are big. They take out large areas. The destruction is total. It ain't pretty. You've seen the pictures.
  • Inevitability. There WILL be hurricanes and they WILL hit somewhere. If you are near a coastal area along the Gulf or Eastern Seaboard, you are gonna eventually get hit, even if only with a glancing blow.

I've lived my whole life in Central Florida. We have lakes and sinkholes, not beaches. In my memory, a severe storm has never passed over where I lived. I've seen the outer edges of a storm brush (nastily and wetly) around my home, but not the eye of the storm. That's fine with me, really. I still have a hurricane kit tucked away that I refresh each year. I still watch the weather channel like a hawk when a storm is predicted to get anywhere NEAR me. Most people in my area still batten down the hatches when the weather gets dicey, and while we might complain it was all for nothing when we only get a little rain and a few gusts, the smarter ones know that it's just luck. It's just luck that the hurricane didn't spin off a few tornadoes for us, or that the rain didn't flood one of the local lakes or push the water onto the far shore, or knock out our power and water for days.

I take my weather seriously.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

What makes me feel...better?

For some reason I'm flipping through a little Macromedia thing I found that tells stories about dumb people, usually dumb people involved in criminal acts of some sort. People, as groups of strangers wandering around without keepers, are entertainingly stupid. People, as individuals with greed in their hearts wandering around without keepers, are scary.

Some of my favorites include:

A woman arrested in Lake City, FL for robbery of a Howard Johnson's motel, armed with an electric chain saw which was not plugged in.

A woman reported her car as stolen, and mentioned there was a phone in the car. Police called the phone, and told the guy who answered that he had read a newspaper ad and wanted to buy the car. They arranged to meet, and the thief was arrested.

Burglars in Larch Barrens, MD tried to cut through a safe using a Laser Tag gun.

A hungry man driving a large motor home set the "Cruise Control" so he could go in the back and make a sandwich.

An man and woman in Andover Township, NJ were injured by a quarter-stick of dynamite that blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 AM, the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen. They failed to notice the window was closed.

A pair of Michgan robbers entered a store nervously waving revolvers. The first one shouted "Nobody move!" When his partner moved, the startled first bandit shot him.


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As an amusing aside, whomever designed this little Macromedia thingie didn't allow enough space for all the stories to show completely. Several are cut off before the end with no way to scroll down or enlarge the window.

Back to the dumb people. Yes, there's a lot of "not thinking" in those stories. Some people were acting on conditioned response, probably driven by their impulses and not given to thinking about consequences to their actions. Some were trying things they'd seen on TV or movies. We put such people up as objects of ridicule, and try not to think of all the times we've done something similar.

Actually, it makes me nervous. These people are still out there, roaming around, with no warning signs hanging from their necks and no identifying marks on their foreheads. You can't tell their cars, their homes, or anything else until they DO something. Usually when they DO something, you are the one catching the fallout, or at the least swerving to avoid it. When you see such people in the act, you are not allowed to mark them in some way as a warning to others. The best anyone can manage is hoping the police catch him and the courts find some way to put him in an orange jump suit.

Reading about such people still makes me laugh, though. Nervously.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Home again

Drove with a friend to New Orleans to bookshop and schmooze with SF/F authors at a con. Was a nice weekend, no drama, no problems, no incidents. In fact, lots of good stuff.

I live a low drama life. It doesn't make for thrilling, exciting, or even humorous reading, but it's good for the bloodpressure.

Anyway, I met several well known SF/F authors, and even got to hang with one when she expressed a desire to see Marie Laveau's tomb and needed a ride. My friend G and I had my car and volunteered. I now get free books for life :> I took pictures from early morning in the French Quarter I'll put up sooner or later.

It was, of course, hot, which inclined me to stay much in the hotel. Still, G and I did wander through assorted used bookstores in the French Quarter, of various types. The first, "Kaboom" is what a used bookstore should be -- high shelves, library ladders, the somewhat idiosyncratic yet sensible arrangements of books, enough room to move, and a neat dog. Had to love it, and did so. Books were purchased and dogs were petted.

The second, who's name will not be mentioned, was a bookstore nightmare. The books were piled, stacked, crated and tightly packed as if someone had dumped several library's worth into a small room. Hunting for anything was impossible, and browsing wasn't easy. Shelves were overflowing and threatening to crash, space between them was tiny (even for tiny people) and many books had mold or other ickies. It was very claustrobophic and felt like a half-assed hobby bookstore. We left quickly, nothing purchased.

The third was a mix -- somewhat junky with a picky black cat controlling the area. The owner creeped me out some. Things were arranged in some order but we didn't wander much. One book was purchased.

There are other stores, I'm told. This doesn't include the ones we hit in Pensacola on the way over, which could be decribed in much the same way (only no mold).

OK, there WAS one little downside to the whole trip. That was the drive. Now, I'm familiar with long drives. I've done them all my life, since my mom would pack me up for the 17 hours to visit Grandma. Highway 10 is the MOST BORING HIGHWAY I've ever driven. It's boringly pretty -- trees, trees, trees, farm field, interchange with gas station, trees, trees, trees, trees, river, trees, trees, billboard, trees, trees....you get the idea. Much of the roadway is arrow-straight, making it mesmerizing. There was much music and some books on CD to keep us awake. It's boring in the daytime. I've driven it at night when it is endless and identical and you begin to think you've entered a spacewarp that has you driving the same mile of road until the credits for Twilight Zone roll up.

Now I am home again for a while and happily so. When I reflect on it, I'm somewhat stunned by how much traveling I do when I really, really, REALLY just want to stay home.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

We are all just crazy, aren't we?

When I spotted this news story, I had a set of reactions that, when I reflected, stopped me and made me blog. (isn't that typical?)

reaction 1 - oh no, how horrible
reaction 2 - how could anyone do this?
reaction 3 - I guess this stuff happens outside the US, too
reaction 4 - why is the thought that everyone is crazy somehow comforting?
reaction 5 - was that a racist thought? what does that mean?

Eventually, as I read down the article, I started thinking about the idea of a government trying to project one image about the country it leads, and having members of that country act out constantly to contradict and countermand that image. And that, I think, is universal.

In case you wondered

Not a lot of interest has taken place around here lately, but I'll tell you about it anyway.

1) Got the spacers in my lower teeth to prepare for the second set of braces in 2 weeks. Whee. Cream of Rice is my friend.

2) Going to New Orleans with a friend to meet some authors and buy some books. Can't eat anything that requires chewing. I wonder if Slim Fast tastes different in New Orleans?

3) Have more CoH characters than is realistic, and love 'em all. The addiction continues (although I do go days without playing sometimes). Being green or blue or shooting energy from your hands is fun.

4) Am having an interesting time with our ex-phone company, Sprint. We dropped our landline a couple of months ago and only use our cell phones now. This has cut out the number of unwanted phone calls to nothing. Our phone company wasn't thrilled when we canceled our service, of course, and in anger over ending the relationship sent us a bill for about $50. Turned out that we owed them approximinately $2.00 and change. So we got a less angry statement yesterday that they were giving us back $47 that would be applied as a credit toward our next bill.

We haven't had a phone bill in 2, almost 3, months. Um. I get the feeling that Sprint doesn't realize it's over. The divorce is final. Time to divide up the last of the property and move on. We will be requesting a check. All the telephones in the house are in a box waiting to go to Good Will.

5) FINALLY finished reading "Foundation and Empire" and spent the second half of the book wondering when the characters would figure out what I figured out midway. They did, at the end, and I'm on to the third book. Still can't shake the heavy dose of 1950's stuff. Does anyone use the word "Atomic" to describe anything but food these days? And I wonder if I will notice the 1980's flavor of some books in a few more years. Also starting to read "Reading Lolita in Tehran".

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Two Hankies

While tooling through the channels, I happened upon "An Affair To Remember", the most classic of schmaltzy, cliche-ridden love stories ever. I came in just at the crisis moment (when Terry is hit by the car on her way to the Empire State Building to meet Nickie and get married) and stayed through the end. I seen this movie a dozen times. I own a copy.

I still cried at the end. Why?

Well, it ain't a bad movie. Yes, it does its best to pluck heart strings, but it's gentle on them. The cliches aren't that heinous. The acting is smooth (I can't turn down Cary Grant) and true.

But mostly, the movie is about something real. This isn't movie love, where it all ends happily ever blah blah. This is love that includes laughter, embarrasment, sharing secrets, keeping secrets, having misunderstandings, losing faith, keeping faith, being angry, worrying about pride (your own and your loved one's), resisting temptation, talking things out and not talking things out, and sacrifice.

Yeah it's a sappy movie. I love it.