Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year -- Year In Review

2008 was one of those interesting years, in the Chinese sense. This seems like a good time to sum it up.

1) The Husband moved to South Carolina to start graduate school while I stayed in Florida to sell the house. I spent a lot of time with my mother in law and tried to remember how to live alone.
2) Sold the house in April.
3) Discovered just how much stuff I actually had, despite several pack-n-store trips made in 2007, as I packed for a MONTH SOLID and still didn't get it all.
4) Moved to South Carolina into a teeny rental because, well, we had to find something in 3 days right BEFORE the end of the semester.
5) Developed severe tendinitis in both arms.
6) Edited my first sold story.
7) Developed problems with my right knee.
8) Spiraled into some fairly serious depression
9) Could not get a job, could not go back to school, could not write
10) Went into therapy because killing myself was starting to look like an option
11) Discovered summer in South Carolina barely rates the name, at least in Florida terms
12) Had legitimate reason to wear a hat and gloves.
13) Adopted a fierce stray cat
14) Semi-adopted a lovy, squooshy cat that was very ill and had to be euthanized.

I think I may have cried more this year than I have since my dad died. Still not sure what to do with myself and my life, still battling the obstacles in my head that make it hard to think my way around things, still prey to days when I don't leave the couch. Still have no where to go around here and next to no local friends.

However, I don't plan to stay like this. First, knees. January starts our insurance over and I can FINALLY get some answers on what's wrong with my knees. Arthritis? Detached cartilage? Tiny demons?

Second, writing. And Reading. More of both. Have plans.

Third, since jobs are scarcer than snowflakes around here, and grad school is an expense we really can't swing right now, I'm looking at tech school. Probably too late for this semester, but I can look into it. I'm sure there's a skill or two I can add.

Otherwise, since The Husband is spending large amounts of his time at school or traveling for Tokyo or other things, I'm getting much better at being on my own. This isn't a skill I particularily wanted to revive -- I didn't get married to live on my own -- but I guess it is useful since I have no choice.

I fully expect 2009 to be a year of more changes, more loss, some gain, but change all the same. So, here we go.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Pome

Haiku2 for formyselfandstrangers
christmas trees in my
life has ever been a church
a general store
@
Created by Grahame

Coincidence?

MIL goes home. Caliban comes back from the vet. A long 4 days of rain and clouds starts to clear. Today it is sunny. Coincidence?

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Loot Report

In addition to The Book of Lost Books, a long sought Georgette Heyer biography, omnibus editions of both Lewis Carol and Mark Twain, and a Sims2 add on, I got a Sony Reader. Oh, and an 8 gig expansion card.

I think I will be reading.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Seasoning

Happy Holidays to one and all.


Should I have said Merry Christmas? Some people get mad if you don't say Christmas Then there's Chanukkah. Should I say Happy Channukkah? I want to be fair and equal about this. Should I mention Yule? What about Solstice? And Kwanza? Should I include Kwanza? Is there a Non-denominational gift giving day? Secular Humanist commodity exchange day? Will someone get mad if I say Happy Holidays? Will I get boycotted? Will someone stage a weblog protest? Am I going to get in trouble because I missed someone or I wasn't diverse enough?











Ah, screw it. I smell gingerbread. Let's EAT!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstice 2008

Today, 15 years ago, my husband and I handfasted in a ceremony in our backyard, with friends and family around us. Many of those friends are distant now, and some of the family has gone, but we are still together.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day .05

The Husband comes home this evening! Yay!

He brings with him the Mother-In-Law (MIL to you guys). Yay.

Really, I do get along with MIL. It's just this time she's planning for her own practical reasons to stay with us for about 9-10 days. YARG! Yes, it was practical for her to drive back with The Husband and yes it is practical to stay until Christmas and yes it is practical not to drive home the weekend right after Christmas, but...

We boarded Caliban. We just don't want to deal with the potential argument. So we don't get to have him for all this time (but we can visit at the vet).

The biggest thing I've worried about with MIL here in this small space is that there is that she is Activity Woman. She must be Doing Things -- and there is nothing to do. No garden, no yard, no house projects, nothing to build or plant or paint. There's no golf, no tennis. She has no friends up here. And the weather predictions are for rain, rain, wind, rain, and more rain, so even going walking with The Husband will be limited.

Ah well. We have some stuff to go back to the storage unit, so that will fill up a morning. We are planning to day trip to a few places. Other things we'd thought about will be weather dependent.

I just know from past experience that after about 4 days in tight quarters with nothing to do (at least nothing she wants to do) MIL gets irritated and bored and hard to be around. And that means she starts picking at everything and inventing things that Must Be Done.

*sigh*

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stairs and Christmas Trees

So, this past weekend The Husband and I traveled to Asheville, NC to meet up with TOAS and Bookpimp for some socializing and a trip to the Biltmore House.

First, some background. My mother and her large family mostly lived in and around Asheville (Black Mountain, Swananoa, Old Fort), so I visited the area frequently as a child to see aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandmother. I have not really been in the area since I was 15, which was the year before my mother died. We didn't go up the year I was 16 because my mother had been ill for a while. So, my memories of the area are quite old now, yet the place felt vaguely haunted to me. Still, as a kid I'd never heard of the Biltmore. My mother never mentioned it, nor did anyone else that I can remember. I think it was so far away from their life experience that it never occured to any of them.

Alright, now, back to the Biltmore. You can read about it on Wikipedia. There's plenty to know about it. The parts that are most relevant to this little blog o'mine are -- they do not allow photography of any kind inside the house, the house has a MILLION stairs, and I've never seen so many full blown Christmas trees in my LIFE.

The estate has a lot more than just the house -- there's a winery, a 'farm', restaurants, nature walks, and an inn. We were allowed to take pictures at the winery and farm, which were the two parts we visited before our tour time (yes, you have to get a tour time to go through the house).


This tree was at the winery. Very pretty, but NOTHING compared to the 25-30 foot LIVE tree (hung with giant ornaments) that is in the Banquet Hall (the room with the row of three fire places at the opposite end and even WITH the tree, a full sized banquet table that would sit 20 EASILY).
This weathervane was also on the winery. V for Vanderbilt, ya know.



Part of the exterior of the house itself. House -- ha! It isn't called one of America's Palaces for nothing.


That building used to be the stables. Now it's where all the gift shops are.


This is the area at the far end of the grand driveway up to the house that goes to some gardens and walkways. Pretty impressive view, wouldn't you say?

The tour takes you through about 60 rooms on four floors. The stairs seem endless. Every room except the basement/kitchen areas had glorious, fully decorated Christmas trees sized from 2 foot high to that incredible giant. You'll just have to look at their website to get an idea. I even bought the book about the place (to make up for NOT buying the book for Blenheim Palace when I was there...)

We upgraded our day pass to the yearly pass. They hold concerts during the summer, as well as the huge Flower Carpet put on the front lawn, and there's plenty we didn't see there. It's about a 2 hour drive from here, which isn't bad for an overnight trip. TOAS and Book Pimp got year passes as well, so I'm looking forward to hanging with them as well.

I'm not looking forward to the stairs, though.

Where the weirdos are

Police: Armed burglars demand man's eggbeater - Yahoo! News

Sometimes my home state does make me wonder what is in the water...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Countdown

We've had our teeny-but-real tree up for over a week now. Presents are wrapped and tucked under it (as much as possible). Only one ornament broken via cat so far. Might be a record.

We are taking a quick trip north this weekend, to meet up with friends and see the Biltmore House all decked out and beautiful. I will take many pictures.

Sunday The Husband will fly to Florida for the whole week. Yay. Not particularly happy about this, but then, I'm rarely happy when he's out of town. In fact, I hate it greatly. But that's my lot in life. My ambitions are currently to clean the house and read a book.

When he comes back, MIL will be coming back with him for the following week, Christmas and all. Gas is so low right now ($1.44 yesterday) that we are planning several day trips. We have to. Mom likes to keep busy and there is NOTHING for her to do around here except make us crazy. No yard to mow, no house projects, nothing like that. I am sure there will be plenty of time for her to be unhappy with my lack of a job, my increased weight, my hair, the number of books I have, etc. Quite certain of all that.

What she will not have the oppotunity to be unhappy about is Caliban. Poor kitty will be at the vet for the week, just to avoid it. The Husband and I agreed that there was just no point in having to deal with it. Boarding is actually pretty cheap at our vet, and we can have him tested gain for the Feline Lukiemia and AIDS. He was out there with Cow Kitty for we don't know how long and while his first tests were negative, it doesn't hurt to check a second time. He probably won't like it much, but thus it goes. We've been told we can visit, so we just have to think of reasons to sneak off without Mom in tow. Like I said, there is not much for her to do around here, so she wants to go along on every trip to the store and errand. She even wants to go in to school with The Husband to see the lab. He wasn't planning on going in to school, but now he is.

It won't be that bad (I hope). We've got things to do lined up. I just hope she decides to leave on Friday rather than Sunday. 5 days is about max, especially in this tight space.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Once More Into the Breach

Friday night turned out a lot more fun than I expected. We went to a local restaurant called Calhoun Corners, which has been around forever -- the building has been a church, a general store, and a community center. It also burned down once and was rebuilt. The food is quite good (and far more Greek inspired than I would have expected here in the Upstate). The only downside was that half the dining area is up a flight of not-so-shallow stairs. I, of course, wore heels. Up was ok. Down was not good.

I so much need new knees. All I want for Christmas are knee braces.

Anyway, only one of Jay's lab partner's could make it, so she and her fiance met with us. The Husband and The Lab Partner would dive into discussions about school, printing technology, and so forth, requiring frequent nudges from The Fiance and me. We eventually started talking about movies, which lead to a side trip to meet her cats and his beagle, a change of clothes, and a drive to our place for movie indulgence. Singin' in the Rain has been introduced to yet another generation.

Yes, it was awkward now and again, the generational differences appearing. I am now a member of an older generation. My comfort is that, with luck, every new generation will experience this.

Apparently I did nothing horrible or embarrassing, because Lab Partner and Fiance want to do a more casual meet up this week, probably for pizza or something.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

My Feet are Cold

The Husband has cleaned out those things Cowkitty related so I can go into the garage without pangs. I pang easily.

Everyone else is currently taking that all important late evening/before bedtime Nap. I can actually see from this spot four cats. I know two of them are not visible but are in the room -- one in the little bed under the window seat and one on the giant dog bed under the coffee table. Bea always loved Calico's big round dog bed, so I kept it when we divested of things doggish. She spends a good portion of each day in it. Pooty is on the couch. Caliban is under the couch. Ben in is the other cat bed, LaGuz is on the heated window seat (the other one, further away, is vacant for the first time in hours).

All is well in the Kitty world.

Caliban went to the vet on Monday -- a much more positive trip, really. The worst of it was when they wanted a stool sample. He has had diarhea for a while now, and with all the litter boxes used in common, it's not exactly a simple thing to 1) identify whose poo is whose 2) collect a lab worthy sample of said toxic substance. So, they took him into the back to get a sample.

He did not like this. I could hear his screams of protest. I fully expected to hear the doctor and technician scream, too, but he only managed a small bite on the tech. When they returned him to the examination room, he was NOT pleased. Luckily, there were so many noises and smells and corners to explore that he forgot about the unpleasant experience quickly, and was a very well behaved cat. He got medicine -- wheee.

Caliban has already learned to eat the Pill Pocket while spitting out the pill. Clever kitty. He's still a biter, but now he sometimes grabs, bites, then regrets the hasty decision and starts licking whatever it is he has grabbed (usually my hand). He will also cuddle for up to 5 minutes while I scratch the magic spot on his throat.

Ophelia's blood sugars, it turns out, are well in the normal range, so we have her insulin dose at the right level. She's still on a very low dose, really, but I still worry about the strain on her kidneys and other organs. Still, good news is good news. They said she stayed in the 140's the whole 5 days.

The Husband's lab partners are having an end of semester dinner thing -- with partners, it was specified -- so tomorrow I must bathe, put on nice clothes, and be social with strangers much younger than I, with whom I have little in common. Again, weee. I guess it's better than staying in the house watching old movies. A bit.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Goodbye Cowkitty

The stray we'd been caring for outside went to the vet this morning. We called him Cowkitty for his orange cow spots. He was a goofy sweet cat, so soft and just wanting to be pet and loved.

He has Feline AIDS and Leukemia.

When I took him in this morning, I said (as pet lovers will) that I would see him later and everything would be fine. Instead, about now they are putting him down. We can't care for him and he will get sick eventually. In fact, he already had a cold and an eye infection.

I feel terrible. I feel as if I betrayed him. We did give him a few weeks of love and regular food. I tried hard not to fall in love with him, but I did, a little.

Now to hug all my other cats and hope that Cowkitty's spirit will move on peacefully.

Monday, December 01, 2008

December

My life is somehow more boring and less blogworthy than ever I thought it was before. Not that my life has ever been a bounty of excitement, intellectual stimulation, and comedy gold, but at least *I* was interested in it. Now? Not so much.

Caliban went to the vet today for a check up. He seems fine and healthy, but he's got some meds to clear a digestive problem (I won't go TMI on you). And he didn't draw blood on anyone.

Ophelia was boarded at the vet's while we traveled over the weekend. Her sugars are in the normal range, so we have her insulin in the right dosage. She celebrated her homecoming by shitting in her carrier while in the car (Ok, so that was TMI, but I'm sharing the suffering. That stuff is TOXIC).

Cowkitty goes on Wednesday for a check up and (all guys, you might want to skip this) to get his fuzzy little balls clipped off. He's reproduced enough. Besides, to persuade Mom to take him, he must be healthy and neutered. He's still very shy of hands near his face, but he will happily rub himself against us and lay to be pet for hours, and he loved the food. Oh yes, food is his favorite thing.

As for my life? Well, I don't know. I could find a job yet. I can retake the GRE and try for graduate school again. I can work on the jewelry and try to sell that. I can keep writing (well, I know I will keep writing, but I mean I can discipline myself to writing instead of futzing around with it like I have.) Some hours, I don't know if I can. Other hours, everything seems possible. The travel time from one point to the other is exhausting. I spent so long in that holding pattern, it seems, that now I'm actually at the next point, I don't know how to do anything. And it's still just another holding pattern, since The Husband's choices will control what happens, where we live, what we will do. He doesn't like that when I say it, but I don't think he'd like it if it weren't true. He just doesn't like how it sounds.

Ah well. I have poop to clean up.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving

Nothing is quite so wonderful as a holiday without drama.

We traveled to West Virginia to spend the holiday with Imp and Bel. Jammies (yay!) also attended the festivities, although she had to leave too early. Food, talk, fun -- no drama. None. Zero. Zip. Not even complaints.

Ahhhhh.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Long List

I have a very long list of things I haven't done or haven't finished. I'm not having much luck crossing any items off. Better get back to it.

Oh -- heading to West Virginia for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Not Beaten Yet

NaNo goes...nowhere. I'm not yet surrendering, though.

Caliban is making slow inroads into being accepted by the rest of the felines. Well, mostly he's tormenting them (the boys) or being informed his behavior is not acceptable (the girls). He has come in and just found a nap spot. His time is still limited and monitored. And he's prone to severe outbreaks of temper, usually released on me.

I am back to torn hands and scratched arms, just as I was healing up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Old Toys

Because I still love this thing, I give you

The Surrealist Compliment Generator

Your nose hair is pleasingly twisted with the roots of a bristlecone pine that is so precariously perched on the side of a cliff it may easily uproot and fall upon the Republican lobbyists below.


You are as frightful as an engine developed solely for the countenance of sexual inuendo by country music.

The joy is just endless.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keep Breathing

I dreamed last night that I could not breathe. Someone told me I was having an asthma attack. I don't have asthma, but I found one of those inhalers in my hand and I used it, and I could breathe.
It was a rather unsettling dream.

All day today I've been having periods of shortness of breath. Now, I know these are due in part to my bloodsugar which is all screwed up, and in part to the panic/anxiety attack thing.

Nevertheless, they are really making my day edge on the suckier side.

Monday, November 10, 2008

So This Is Autumn





We took a walk through the botanical gardens today. We have about 200 photos taken between us. I think I'm going to like fall.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Little Realization

I now have a privilege my parents had for years and years.

I have a President Elect born in the same decade I was. In fact, he's only a little older than I am -- just enough that while I would not have been in high school with him, he'd still have a photo up for whatever groups he was in.

I'm kind of impressed with that.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It ain't over until it starts

NaNo is not starting off well. Usually I'm ahead of the curve the first few days. This year I can't even get out of the starting gate.

Caliban still oscillates between sweet cuddle kitty and vicious beast. There's more sweet, but it doesn't take much vicious to leave bruises and cuts.

Ophelia is doing much better. She's over her cold. We've increased her insulin and she's a good bit more active and attentive. Still having litter box issues, as in she (and Guzzy) have reverted to floor pooping and peeing on the bathroom rugs. Have to clean boxes and floors. They've done so good up until October.

Ok, now to get some breakfast (the cats ate already) and see about writing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

About This "Seasons" Thing...

It's CHILLY today. The Weather Channel is predicting a freeze for tomorrow night.

What the HELL? It's still OCTOBER. What's this Freeze stuff? Freezes are for February.

The Husband climbed into the attic for our (small) supply of winter-type clothing. Originally I'd been thinking that most of my clothes would be fine with a sweater or a jacket. I'm rethinking that. I'm going to be packing up more summer stuff than I thought. I just don't see a lot of t-shirt and shorts weather coming up until maybe April.

However, I am well supplied with sweaters. I'm SO looking forward to wearing sweaters! Up to now, sweaters were something I needed because the A/C was set to Walt.* I have lots of sweaters. They are mostly Florida sweaters though.

Can you legitimately layer sweaters?

My feet have been cold for three days now. I keep reminding myself that it is only the end of October, as it has been JUST LIKE December/January in Florida all month -- the bright blue sky, the perfect, slightly cool temps. But it's rapidly not being like Florida. We've got a brisk north wind hitting us, and as our little townhouse is on the north end of our set, we are getting all that nice northness through the one window we have on that wall.

I bought a kitty heating pad for the cat platform on that window. It has been unoccupied perhaps 20% of the day. I can foresee needing another of those around here somewhere. The cats have decided this 'cold' thing is not popular with them. Not At All. Oh, and Caliban the New Kitty on the block has his own heater, but he is still in the garage/outdoors. More in the garage, as he's not big on this 'cold' thing either.



*Walt -- the temperature required to keep Walt Disney's frozen remains all Popsicely in the top of Cinderella's Castle.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Well Nigh NaNo

Yeah, I'm going to do NaNoWriMo again this year. Prepare yourself for a solid month of ranting, raving, whining, and occasional weirdness.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

GRE EEEK!

My test? The one for Grad school? The one for tomorrow?

It was for today. The Husband pointed this out last night.

The directions? From Yahoo Maps? Long way around. Thought I was lost. Took better way home.

The test? Maybe did ok. Math is an unremembered thing. I guessed a lot.

And the kitten? Gave me a horse bite today. I have bruises. And sympathy ice cream


Tough day, on the whole.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Confessions

I've been holding out on all of you. Meet Caliban.

About two-three months ago, we became aware of a kitten hanging around the townhouses when a neighbor asked us for cat food for it. The ginger-orange tabby kitten got our housecats all excited. Being the big softy I am, I started feeding the creature, too, eventually getting him to permit us to pet him -- occasionally. We decided as responsible people we needed to see that he was neutered and health checked. Then we'd let him go.

Yeah, right.

He's living mostly in the garage (cleaned up for him) and he wanders outside in the day when he wants (he spends a surprising amount of time in the garage or on the drive by his own choice). He goes back and forth between affection slut and evil attacking demon cat. He's about 6-7 months old now, and I'm completely in love with him, even though he still has moments when he isn't sure about us. But he does come running when we step into the garage and he follows us around outside, so I guess he's really ok with us. He's taken over old toys the older cats don't care about, but we haven't staged a 'meeting' yet. They hiss at each other through the screens.

Ophelia is not doing well. We aren't sure why. I will take her to the vet if she doesn't show some signs of improvement shortly (she's been showing some small signs of getting better, but it's hard to tell with her. She's very lazy most of the time, and the diabetes is tricky when I can't test her bloodsugars myself). LaGuz has been peeing on everything, so we did more housecleaning -- she hates a messy house.

Everyone else is fine and sassy. I'm waiting to see what they do with actual cold weather.

No Point

I am trying not to succumb to mind numbing panic.

The GRE test is Wednesday. I've studied about as much as I can in the time I had. Maybe I could have done more, but I was forgetting stuff almost as fast as I was reading it, so I think I struck the right balance.

I feel like I have a head full of saw dust and old Q-tips.

I am not going to panic. There's no point in panicking. If I don't score well on the test, I take it again later.

I have a warm kitty sleeping on my leg, the sun is shining, and the weather is cool. Life is good. Rinse, repeat.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

For the Benefit of Mr. JimK

The GRE study book says that the test often uses lesser known or secondary/tertiary definitions of words. I was surprised how well I did on the vocabulary tests (of 96 questions, I missed 3, and one was me being purely stupid). Then it gives a huge list of words to learn. Here are the ones I didn't know or wasn't certain I knew. Do you know what these words mean?

exigent
fulminate
neologism
nugatory
obviate
precipitate (alternative definitions here)
ameliorate
cogent
demur
didactic
intransigent
penurious
endemic
evanescent (no, not the rock group!)
hegemony
inchoate
occlude
pedagogy
penury
polemical
laconic
probity
recondite
refulgent
sedulous
trenchant
vituperative
fell (alternative definition)
guy (alternative definition)
obtain (alternative definition)
occult (alternative definition)
scurvy (alternative definition)
abjure
adumbrate
apostate
asseverate
calumniate
captious
celerity
contumacious
descry
desuetude
encomium
exegesis
expiate
extirpate
heterodox
lubricious
meretricious
minatory
peroration
plangent
pusillanimous
sententious
tendentious
tyro
vitiate

I hope I do now.

High Notes, Low Notes

Not any stories to tell. Yesterday, I took the local "CAT" bus to campus for my class. It rained all day and I didn't realize my car umbrella had recently become a hanging-on-the-door umbrella. I got fairly damp. Nothing dramatic about the bus. It's free, and while it's a longer ride than if I drove to campus, it cuts the whole "there is no parking" problem neatly out of the equation. Plenty of parking near the bus stop.

The Mindfulness class is something to do. I'm not terribly interested in it. The main points are familiar to me, and the details are mostly reminders. Not a bad thing, but not revelationary.

I'm studying for the GRE. I am working on vocabulary today, and will attempt some of the math tonight. Since I'm applying for an English degree, I want to excel on that portion of the test. I just want to appear competent on the other half. They threaten word problems. I never did well on word problems.

I don't feel bad, just sort of undirected. My usual time wasters (aka the Interwebinet) are no longer so engaging, so I know I'm ready to DO SOMETHING. However, my concentration hasn't quite caught up to this yet. I need to vacuum. The floor is pretty nasty. Maybe that will be the high note of my day.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Relative

Out of curiosity, I checked on Wikipedia, and realized that, for today's 18 year olds

1) Manuel Noriega, the former leader of Panama, has always been in jail
2) Time Warner has always been a mega-communications company.
3) Prince William Sound has always been damaged by the Exxon Valdez oil spill
3) The African National Congress has always been a legal and active entity in South Africa
4) Nelson Mandela has always been free
5) The Hubble Space Telescope has always been in space
6) Germany has always been a single, united country
7) HDTV has always been around

And
January 20 - Barbara Stanwyck, American actress (b. 1907)
January 25 - Ava Gardner, American actress (b. 1922)
April 3 - Sarah Vaughan, American jazz vocalist (b. 1924)
June 2 - Rex Harrison, English actor (b. 1908)
May 16 - Jim Henson, American puppeteer and filmmaker (b. 1936)
August 17 - Pearl Bailey, American singer and actress (b. 1918)
August 18 - B. F. Skinner, American psychologist (b. 1904)
September 4 - Irene Dunne, American actress (b. 1898)
October 14 - Leonard Bernstein, American composer and conductor (b. 1918)
December 2 - Aaron Copland, American composer (b. 1900)

have always been dead.

Here's the Beloit "Mind Set" list

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Panic Begins Now

I am signed up for the GRE test. I have just under three weeks to prepare. I have a study guide.

Now to learn math. Oh boy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Today I Left the House

A LOT!

First -- my therapist is running a "Mindfulness" class. It's a reason to leave the house, so, heh, I'll give it a try. However, parking on the campus is nearly impossible -- there's a huge hill between the least populated parking lot and the building where the class is, so I may take the bus.

Second -- I talked to the director of the Masters in Professional Communication program today. If I take the GRE and get my application done by November 1, I will be applying for the program for Spring or possibly Summer. Of course, paying for it is a problem, since the assistantships are handed out only in the fall and most scholarships require at least one semester completed. Is this an idiot thing I'm doing? I can't help but think that I need to up my game if I want to find something besides a 'job' and maybe get into a 'career', but it may be well nigh impossible.

Not like I have had luck finding a job. I blame the President.

Anyway, it involved a lot of leaving the house.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Things Worth Living For




Yin Yang Devil Duckie


Because I want that "Zen" theme in my bathroom. No, really.










Blue Q

Because I can irritate a lot of people with this stuff.

The TMI Edition

I dreamed last night that I was going to vomit. I woke up, realizing I was about to vomit.

I didn't actually vomit, but I got the whole acid-in-the-throat thing, and lots of nasal drip which kept me awake a while coughing and trying not to cough. My throat still feels a little burned today.

In general, YECH!

I Went Outside

And Wal-Mart is unspeakably lame. I just *love* that blank smile they give you when it's easier to answer your question with "No, we don't have that" than it is to check.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Plans for the Week

Woo hoo, actual reasons to leave the house this week!

Monday -- I am on a search for a copy of "Spirited Away". For reasons unknown, despite really loving this movie, we don't have a copy. This must end!

Tuesday -- therapy session that morning. Wee. Must talk about the panic thing.

Wednesday -- Appointment at the university to see about getting into the master's degree program.

That's enough for one week, I think. Wow, haven't had that much to do in...a long, long while.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Accomplished

Three things.

1) Applied for a job that might be a bit above my actual skill levels. Did it anyway. That's six jobs I've applied for at Clemson. Still nothing back on any of them, which I am told is normal. HR there moves at a glacial pace (pre Global warming).

2) Inquired about the Master's Degree in Professional Communications. The Husband pointed out the proper person to contact and helped with the letter. No vomiting.

3) The Husband also suggested I keep the depressing stuff off the writing blog, so I removed a post I'd made about how I didn't know what to write in the blog. I replaced it today with a very neutral (aka, damn boring) post about my current project.

Now to see if anything comes of this sudden burst of energy.

In other news, I've misplaced whatever sense of humor I had. I think I need to make cakes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The State of the Life

OK. I've been in South Carolina now for 5 months. I can't find a job, I have few friends, I do nothing much all day. My concentration, always a problem, comes and goes. I'm contemplating a return to school, but the idea of contacting someone to figure out applying makes my stomach roil and my eyes unfocus. The SAM-E is good -- I'm not in the dark like I was over most of the summer -- but I'm still undirected, down on myself, and having difficulty with simple things like thinking and having a little confidence. Yes, I'm about to have a story published, but it's not a story about which I feel comfortable talking. I won't show it to my mom-in-law.

The universe is trying to hand me things, I know it, but I just don't seem able to grab. It's like I don't know how my hands work.

So I sit around getting older and fatter and feeling less and less in touch with the world. Going to therapy, because of the insurance problems, isn't really helping much.

The afternoon sun is lovely through the window. Autumn coolness blows through the window. I have a spicy candle burning, scenting the air with apple and cinnamon. The world is really not against me. The problems are all inside my head. I just need my ladder again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Random Entertainment

Ok this has kept me occupied.

You can just call me Buzzsaw Belladonna Barntoter from now on...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cocoon

I just read it on someone's blog. "Staying in my comfort zone is what it's all about."

And I realized that, for me at least, that's exactly what I've been doing and it's making me crazy. No, seriously, it's all bad for me.

Perhaps it is because I've been pushed so far out of my familiar life. The Husband remarked the other day, when talking about how my direction sense is confused because I no longer live in a house that faces north or south. The last 20 years of my life were spent oriented that way -- really, straight on the north/south. Dad's house faced north, our home in Florida faced south. Before that, I lived in an east facing house. That's the house I was an upset, unsettled, slightly crazy teenager. Before that I don't remember.

Anyway, I had oriented the places in my life on that north/south axis. In my mind, when trying to imagine a route somewhere, I faced south or north.

Now, we face east. The driveway is on the east side. I can't get my thinking reoriented.

And my husband said "Our entire lives have been turned 90 degrees. Not 180 degrees -- we aren't going in the opposite direction. We are going on an entirely new angle."

Which is why I'm thinking about comfort zones. I've built myself a little cocoon here. It was necessary, I think. But now it's tight in here. It's suffocating. I need to get out.

Butterfly? Maybe not. But something with wings would be nice.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Next Time Around I Want To Be

Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...

Starfleet Crewperson

51% Intrigue, 59% Civilization, 66% Humanity, 50% Urbanization.

As Mister Spock would say: Fascinating. It seems you've managed to hit the edge of the curve on all metrics. An extraordinary life is almost certain.

According to your answers, you want it all, you want a lot of it, and you're willing to do what it takes to get it! Adventure! Romance! Technology! Challenge! You love civilization. You like people. You love the complications and joys of a big, weird crowd of humans plus lots of other beings wandering into dangerous and complicated corners of the galaxy.


There is an ideal place for you, and you are ideal for it: Welcome to the crew of the starship Enterprise. Captain Kirk would have welcomed you aboard himself, but his head was too big to fit in the landing bay.

Take Reincarnation Placement Exam at HelloQuizzy

Monday, September 08, 2008

Story 2

My life has rumbled down to an amazing level of nothing much happening. I don't even have the momentary interruption of Bosszilla to brighten by day (and make me question my grip on reality). He does call about once a week to say he misses me.

Another goodie of DragonCon was meeting Rachel Caine. She's not only a terrific lady, but her Weatherwarden series have completely changed how I look at weather. I can't see clouds without a brief ponder as to how mad they are.


In return for having her sign some 6 books for me, I traded my husband (well, a hand and arm massage from my husband. That's him all shirtless. Back off.)


That is her toy animatronic dinosaur. I fell in love with the toy. He moves! He blinks! He purrs! He is rechargeable!


And For Le Becs: Men In Kilts

Monday, September 01, 2008

Story 1

For which I have no photographic evidence, although I did try.

Friday I went to help out my friend Book Pimp at DragonCon. I wore one of my favorite t shirts, a grey shirt with the slogan "Careful or you'll end up in my novel."

Later in the day, an older man wandered into the booth. He had on the same shirt and we joked about it. His name tag was turned around on a lanyard. He untwisted it.

The man was Harry Turtledove. The booth was too busy for me to grab a photo, though.

I have been thinking about reading Turtledove for a long while now. He's popular with some of my friends. I picked up "The Beginning of the End" and "Guns of the South".

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Left the House Again



Spent the weekend at DragonCon, thanks to friends who got us cheap passes in. Saw friends, bought far too many books, schmoozed with an author or two, saw costumes, had a good time.

No trauma, no drama, a couple of funny stories -- all of which I'm saving so I have something to talk about when I regain consciousness this week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Well, THAT was interesting

The Husband saw a small tornado touch down on campus today.

Two of the things made an appearance. Damage was mostly trees and a little bit of building damage. Storms apparently were small.

There is a severe weather alert right now, until about 2 am. Wee.

Thanks, Fay.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

It has RAINED.

It has rained long and hard today in this dry and dusty corner of the Upstate. There has actually been flash flood warnings all day. It might rain more tomorrow. Rain is being measured in inches.

I don't know what, if any, affect this will have on the drought, since these storms are remnants of Fay, but it's got to help. At least I don't have to water the garden.

I did have to shut the house up and turn on the A/C -- water through the windows is not a good thing -- but, heck, it's August. My ever instinct said having the house open was highly unnatural in the first place.

Tomorrow I get my ass to the temp agency with resume in hand. Applications to the University, I am now to understand, can take weeks to work through the machinery. Wee. Both The Husband and I are revisiting our 20s, except he gets the fun part.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I wasn't in the van

In a nutshell -- we drove to North Carolina (not as hard as it sounds) for the Walk. Pretty drive, if very windy. Lovely area. We had to park down a slope from the field where the walk was, so we brought up a camping chair and I sat there, with a book and an encouraging smile for The Husband as he started.

Then it rained. Very subtly at first, then with more determination. Cold, fine rain, with wind. There wasn't much shelter on the field. It would pause and everyone would resume walking, then it would rain and everyone dripped. When we got tired of dripping -- it didn't take long -- we packed up and drove home. We just weren't prepared for rain.

It was a nice drive.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'll be in the Van

Tonight is the Walk for the Cause, where The Husband does his bit for the American Cancer Association.

Thanks to all of you, he surpassed his fundraising goal. You're a cool bunch, just so you know.

I get to sit in the van and be all supportive. No long walking for me until I get a knee brace.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Still Not Much

Therapy moves along. In the usual way of therapy, I'm running up against stuff I really thought I'd settled long ago. Feh.

Day to day life doesn't change much.

I'm reading again. I finished Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett (eh) and am now reading World War Z (zombies!). It feels good to read. It feels good to have some focus.

This breeze through the window feels really good, too. We shut the house up earlier in the week and turned on the AC, not because of the heat, but because of Mysterious Toilet Stink coming from somewhere outside.

I have to post photos of the roses. They look great.

That is all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Must They

'Rocky Horror' does time warp again with remake 30 years on

Oh, that's just sad to contemplate. Or is it that every generation must lay claim to anything good from generations before?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pause

World's tallest woman dies in Indiana at age 53

I'd seen Sandy Allen on a few tv shows. She had a wonderful outlook on her life and life in general.

She did well. The world is a little smaller without her, but perhaps bigger because she lived.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Art and Crayons

Last week my therapist asked me to draw a picture of my depression.

I spent the week trying to think what it looked like. This morning I sat down to draw it. Only, how do you draw the inside of a paper bag?

Apparently it takes more crayons than I have. I drew something, and then forgot it. I'm supposed to bring it next week.

And, no, it wasn't all black. I didn't have a grey marker, though.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Make With the Money

In just under 2 weeks, The Husband will "walk for a cause." He's hoping to collect $500 for the American Cancer Society through donations for his participation in the Relay for Life - Mountain Top, NC August 22, 2008. Right how, he's at a little over half his goal.

Please make a donation... anything $5, $10, $20, or more.

If you have any funds available, consider clicking one of these links and throwing some money at a good cause.

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: We noted that some people may not realize how the donation system works... you click the "Relay for Life - Mountain Top, NC" link, which takes you to the husband's page... you then click on "donate"... you are asked how much, then payment info, etc.

Time Gets To Me

Iconic stone arch collapses in southern Utah park - Yahoo! News


Good thing we have photographs.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Up All NIght

I love my cats. I love my cat Ophelia.

However, I don't feel so special about her today. She wasn't feeling so well last night, so she wanted to be next to me. I put a pillow on the couch for her delicate fatness. About midnight, she vomited on it. Usually when a cat vomits, they are all better afterwards.

So I went to bed. As usual, she followed. And vomited on my pillow.

I threw that pillow on the floor and got another. About an hour later, she vomited on that one. I went to sleep in the guest room.

We have the cruelest guest room bed ever. It really is only a couch. Sorry, Mom.

So I am sleepy and grouchy this morning. Ophelia, on the other hand, is napping. Damn cat.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I Haz Software

Ok, I actually applied for a job today. There isn't much around for which I am qualified (I need that master's degree. Doesn't matter what it's in, apparently, just that I have it. Time to think about that.)

The Husband gave me the Rosetta Stone Deutsch software I've been wanting for some time now. I love him.

More later after something happens.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I Snark with Love

There are people I know, however slightly or however well, who I like and even respect, and yet piss me off on a rotating schedule. I'm serious. These folks are funny, bright, sharp, and generous, but they have particular blind spots or touchy places that exactly coincide with my touchy places and blind spots. This means they will occasionally say or do something in all sincerity and strong belief, and it will just drop my lollipop in the dirt.

It pisses me off.

I say "pisses me off" as opposed to "makes me angry" because "being pissed" is a more temporary emotional state. Just like going pee will relieve a full bladder, spouting off some words will relieve the pissiness. It just goes away like it never was. It will come again, of course, but for right now, who cares?

I suspect that I LIKE these people simple because they CAN piss me off. That is, I am not indifferent to what they say or what they think. It matters to me. I've worked hard most of my life to develop an armorlike indifference to what most people think, say, do, or smell like. Once upon a time I cared DEEPLY, even BLEEDINGLY, what the grocery store clerk or the mailman thought of me. Now? Feh. Not really. They have their own lives and their own concerns, very few of which have anything to do with me. In fact, they may not even be aware of me as I momentarily flit through their lives. They are busy. They don't care, so why should I? If they do care, well, I don't, and that's how it is.

However,f someone doesn't care so much that they cut me off in traffic or snag the last Lindt Chocolate Chili Cherry bar from my fingers -- that will not piss me off. That will Make Me Angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. That's a whole 'nuther thing with no relationship to the rest of this. trust me. It's about the chocolate, not the person.

So when I do let what someone says or thinks or does piss me off, it's practically a sign of respect.
When one of these good people speaks words I cannot believe they believe, or does something that makes me want to scream "DON'T GO IN THERE. THAT'S WHERE THE AX MURDERER IS HIDING, YOU IDIOT!" -- well, it's because I care. I'm worried about them. In my little world, I see Someone I Like making what I see as A Big Mistake, and I don't want them to get hurt, or to carry pain they don't deserve, or suffer some catastrophe, or even be unhappy.

So, if I think it's going to happen and my paranoia trigger goes off, I get pissed.

If I get pissed at any of you at some point in the future, or if you suspect I've gotten pissed at you at some point in the past (and you give a braided rat's ass), just keep in mind -- I snark with love.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ok, Time for an Actual Post

Next week, I start going to therapy. Because of the Byzantine rules of Big University, through which we have our insurance, The Husband must go with me (most of the time) and we must do this as "couple's Therapy", but it's really for me.

You see, the paper bag is hovering near my head. The black chasm has opened a few yard away from me. I'm aware enough to know that when I think about killing myself, down to methods and means, more than a couple times a week, it's a signal.

Not that I would. Don't fret that. I have no particular desire to shuffle off this mortal coil. It's those damned demons in the chorus who keep making the suggestions. Bastards. Besides, I have a strong belief that when I do move along, I'll be coming back to learn some more, so if I cut class, I'll just have to make it up later. Feh. Nope, not going to do that.

Anyway, so now I'm going in once a week to reveal all my deep dark secret to a thin woman with lesbian hair and matching t-shirt/sock combinations. Actually, I like her, but there's no fun in it if I can't mock. She's not a doctor, she's a counselor and social worker, which makes me feel better -- at least I'm not that bad off. They can give me to someone who works part time. If I decide on anti-depressants, I can talk to a doctor at the clinic (probably the same one who prescribed the anti-inflammatory pills for my wonky knees, which seem to be working.)

The Husband is reasonably interested in this therapy, too. That's good. Again, it isn't that we are about to go separate directions. He and I agree on this -- prevention is a lot less stress than damage control. So this is preventative and perhaps improving.

Of course, the demon chorus is not that happy about it. Annoying dreams -- not disturbing, not upsetting, not nightmares, just annoying dreams where I can't accomplish what I want, which is mostly beating the shit out of someone from my dark, dark past.

Speaking of dark pasts, while working on a Tokyo project yesterday and looking up stuff online, I came across a picture and name familiar to me. It was my 7th grade geography teacher, a man who could not stand me and made me miserable for reasons unfathomable -- I, of course, was in the deepest part of my "please love me, I'm good, I swear" period and wanted all my teachers to like me. Anyway, there he was, 30 years later, and for a minute I imagined writing a letter to him telling him all about what he did and how I felt. Then I moved on to something else and more or less forgot about it. What sticks with me is not this teacher or 7th grade, but that it doesn't matter that much anymore. It's a story in my life, of course, but the emotional part is gone. It Just Doesn't Matter.

Lots of things are like that, which makes the things that Do Matter stand out all the more.

Chau Ram Falls

We spent Sunday visiting yet another local waterfall.



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

By the Numbers

1) Back from Jammiesfest. Was fun. The drive back -- not so fun. I drove most of the way and my right leg/ankle swelled.

2) House is a mess.

3) Went to see doctors yesterday -- a therapist to see about possibly going back on anti-depressants and an MD to find out what is making my knees, especially my right knee, hurt so much on stairs and inclines. Going from mildest to most severe, we are starting with a diagnosis of "bursitis" and anti-inflammatory meds. If that doesn't work, next are x-rays to look for bone spurs or cartilage loss. As for the first, that remains to be seen. The psychologist we talked with looked straight out of 1968 -- long grey hair and beard, very relaxed clothing (no tie dye) but I liked him.

4) Have nifty thing/project, but now that I am limited going up and down stairs, it will have to wait.

5) Potential semi-social/total geekery in the offing.

Lots of catching up to do, and it's freaking damn HOT this week -- sort of like Florida all summer crammed into a few days.

Monday, July 14, 2008

More Walking, Less Water




The falls at Oconee Station. The water level is so low, all the rocks under the falls are exposed. What it loses in power and drama, it makes up for in delicate beauty.

It was a long walk, with bugbites.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I Hate Being an Adult

OK, so I have finished (at last) a basic resume. Damn, but it's both difficult and disheartening to summarize the last 16 years of my working life onto one page in 12 point font. First, my 14 years at Tokyo were spent doing pretty much whatever showed up to be done. I never thought to write down the projects I completed and now I can't remember most of them. The ones I can remember sound so pitifully thin. How can I explain three years of analyzing outside sales activity? How can I, in one bullet point, explain that I had to print out data from an antiquated computer program into which the sales data was entered (but could not be manipulated), determine by hand and highlighter what portions of the data actually applied to the analysis ( actual sales, commissions, credits, and most everything else dumped into the same database, but the program could not select and extract one type of entry from all others), then separate that by salesperson and customer, divide it by product category, and assemble it by month -- all so Bosszilla could figure out which outside salespersons weren't doing diddly and bang them with a stick? And then, how can I explain how much banging I had to do (and begging and threatening) to get sames sales persons to actually report their forecasts to me each year? And how the whole thing eventually led to getting a not-so-antiquated software system so I didn't have to do it anymore (by which time Bosszilla hated all his outside salespeople and didn't want to know anymore)?

Yes, I've worked long and hard on a number of data gathering and analyzing projects that did not produce the information Bosszilla actually hoped to find, and so the project ended up ignored and unused. Oh, I did that a few times. I don't actually want to put that on a resume in quite those words -- "Specializing in data analysis that you will end up not wanting to know."

And there's no way to say in business speak that I looked up racing data, hunted for particular styles of Tommy Bahama shorts, and ordered Amazon online for my employer. Another skill set that I can't market properly. Feh.

Anyway, the resume is done. Now to find someplace to send it.

Also, we are canceling a road trip (no, Jammies, not that road trip. ) My favorite book pusher is doing a show this weekend in Chattanooga, which is about 3 hours from here (because you MUST go through Atlanta. As the crow flies, it's maybe 2 hours. However, as the human drives, if you don't go through Atlanta, it adds 2 hours). It's her birthday and we wanted to spend some time with her. However, we have to have all our crap out of one of the storage units and into another by Monday, plus The Husband has a school project due on Monday. Also, gas is freaking expensive and, as you might surmise, I have no job at the moment.

So, we aren't going anywhere. Maybe to another park for another walk in the woods. It will depend on how much project work The Husband can complete. The short summer semesters are sucking up much time.

I must run errands today -- pick up cat prescriptions, take books to the library, mail things, etc. Then I should vacuum this nasty floor, mop, and *sigh* iron some clothes so that if I DO get an interview, I can show up with only my nature-given wrinkles.

I'm not enjoying my summer vacation.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I Fear For Our Future

1) I saw an ad for an upcoming television series (which will get no link at all) that I think presages the end of civilization (and possibly life) as we know it. The premises is thus -- a group of people participate in a gluttonous eating contest. As soon as they have overfilled their stomachs, they climb onto or into one of the many rides (popular in bars and carnivals) guaranteed to make one dizzy and sick. The last one to vomit wins $1000.

The show is called, oh so cleverly, "Hurl", and claims that I will want to watch even if I say I don't.

Wrong! I will not be watching this. I'm rather sorry I even know about it. I certainly don't think the money is much incentive and I can't imagine the kind of person who wants to watch this. I don't want to talk to that person. I'm sort of hoping the show's producers attract a law suit so others are discouraged

2) I've noticed a rise in another kind of show, of a slightly higher (apparently) mind set. Some young geeky guy is sent around with a camera crew to look at how common but generally little noted activities of human life are performed -- a big "how" sort of show. The latest addition to this particular category is "The Works" on History Channel. An earlier entry was "Build It Bigger" on Science Channel (which is chock full of similar shows -- check their main site page with shows like Hot Rocks and Cool Fuels - -the names are a giveaway).

On one hand, I rather enjoy these shows. I like peeking into how common, taken-for-granted items are manufactured. I like technology. This stuff really interests me.

On the other hand, I find I prefer the more impersonal shows of this type (like Modern Marvels and How It's Made) where a narrator more or less dispassionately explains what's going on. Those google eyed hosts getting all excited over big trucks and tall buildings seem to suck some of the intelligence out of the whole presentation. Yes, the building is tall. I get that. Tall buildings are, quite naturally, exciting to a lot of people. However, I'm not interested in the excitement. I'm interested in how it manages not to fall over. Can we get to that part? Can we see how they get concrete up 40 stories or more? That you, Mr. Google Eyed Host Guy, can't smooth a pad of concrete is Not Interesting. I don't care that you've never operated a bull dozer before and might run over a car in the parking lot. When I want to see cars destroyed, I watch Mythbusters. Get out of the way, please, and stop with the monkey noises.

Even my all time favorite, Mythbusters, has dumbed down its presentation. Whereas in the original pilots and the first couple of seasons the experiments were shown sequentially and consecutively, the last 3 or 4 seasons have moved to a cut-and-repeat format (I have no idea what the actual term for the editing style is). It's all aimed at the short attention span crowd, with the scene jumping back and forth between the various experiments, which means each segment has to be sandwiched between a rerun of something seen previously and something not yet seen. This means a significant portion of the run time which could be used to dig into the process or the science or something interesting is instead used to "catch up" those folks who forgot what was going on while waiting through the commercial break or cut to a different experiment.

I'm sad that even the smart shows are slowing down, as if they are trying to attract the audience watching Hurl.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

PSA


But brain I must, dumb or not. Teh dumb is no excuse.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Just Because


I took this with my phone a few months ago, while sitting outside the Greenville Airport waiting for The Husband to finish classes and come pick me up (it was a very long, long wait). Despite the wattle on my throat and the fact I was in a really depressed mood (air travel and waiting will do that for me), I like this picture. Mostly, I like my freaking expensive designer prescription sunglasses and I'm gonna take pictures of them until I'm tired of it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Walk in the Woods

The Husband made me get up this morning and EXERCISE!

We drove up to Issequeena Falls and hiked along the trails there. It was damp and cool at first. Then, because there was no breeze once we got away from the falls and into the trees, that most strange of things happened -- it was cool and yet incredibly humid.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dilemma

It has become the irritation of my life.

I've never lived anywhere it was reasonable to NOT RUN THE A/C in the summer. I'm completely enjoying having the windows open and the breeze blowing. The cats love it. The bank account loves it.

And 6-8 times a day, clouds of headache inducing, throat scraping, lung spasming cigar and cigarette smoke come through those windows from my neighbor's patio. The cigar gas is new. It's disgusting.

There's a 6 foot high, 5 foot long piece of wooden fence and about 6-8 feet. I'm getting all this because of those same lovely breezes. They tend to blow from that direction. I have no ground upon which to complain. They are on their patio, with full rights to do what they like. And I am allowed to have my windows open to enjoy the nice weather and save electricity.

*sigh*

Questions like this have no good answers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quotes

Today I asked my husband the following question:

"Did you just fart Shave and a Haircut?"


He admits nothing.

____________________________


Just heard from The Husband as he went upstairs:

"If someone has just peed in my bag, I'm going to be upset!"

(*I* have been on the couch the whole time. Wasn't me.)

_______________________________

Conversation:

Him: You're just a fragile flower of femininity, aren't you?

Me: And you're a delicate mushroom of masculinity.

Him: I'm a MAGIC Mushroom of masculinity, thank you!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Done List

Things I did this week.

1) Went to the post office to mail off stuff I've traded away on Title Trader
2) Found the bank and made deposits, twice! Went in the "out" lane once.
3) Found the compound pharmacy that makes the special meds for the special cats.
4) Found where to pay the power/water/garbage bill and paid it.
5) Reveled in a power/water/garbage bill that was less than $150
6) Went to the library and checked out four books.
7) Read one of the books (!) and started reading another

That last one might seem pretty minor, but I've been complaining for weeks now how I haven't been able to concentrate long enough to read a book. Once upon a time I read avidly, finishing at least 2 to 3 books a week (sometimes more, since once I had no life and no interwebinets). I churned through probably a hundred books a year or more. For the past 10 years, I've been lucky to read 30 books in a year. It bothered me. It bothers me now. I've read five books this year. That's just sad, but I have about a dozen books parked with bookmarks in them. I've not been able to finish one.

Today I did. I went to the little front porch we screened in, turned on the fan, got a drink, and sat in the flimsy camp chair I put there and read. It was perfectly lovely. Somehow, I had lost the skill of just sitting and reading. When I finished, I did a few chores. I didn't wander aimlessly around blogs, I didn't play endless games of Spider Solitaire. I read a book (a biography, actually, on Humphrey Bogart, the second I've read). The other books I picked up are the latest in the Dresden files (which is on 2 week loan so I have to read it soon), a biography on Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity.

I'm about 50 pages into the Ludlum book. We'll see how this goes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Meet the Vet

Today was "Met the New Vet" day -- hauling all five cats to the new veterinarian. Not QUITE as close as our old vet by about 3 minutes, but still an easy drive. Everyone is apparently in good health. LaGuz, the oldest, is obviously on the downhill slide, but at 17 I can't say it isn't expected. Nothing seriously wrong at the moment, but some time in the next year or two she could develop any number of problems. Or she could do like my old cat Precious did and toddle along fine and dandy until the day she decides to die. As pet deaths go, that's my preferred. Our goal is to keep her happy and comfortable until that moment, when ever that is.

To that end, we bought some special cat milk that's supposed to help with joint inflammation and so forth (for her and Ophelia, who are the only milk drinkers in the first place) and some tarter control catfood we can dole out as treats (already quite popular with Pooty, for whom it is intended -- everyone else's teeth are fine). Pooty also has a hairball stuck inside, for which we have meds already, but it explains some violent vomiting yesterday (I still haven't gotten the stain out of the carpet).

Between dragging cats from under furniture, several trips up and down the stairs, hauling cats, holding cats, and soothing assorted cats, we forgot to get their toenails clipped, so we have to do that tonight. I'm already tired and the day doesn't look promising for getting anything else done. I'll decide this afternoon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Big Doin's (not)

My days progress in such a dull, similar pattern that it hardly seems worth reporting. Yesterday I found the bank and made deposits, mailed stuff, and went to Wal-Mart. That afternoon, I didn't make it to the pharmacy to pick up cat meds because our neighbor 2 doors down came in desperation to my door -- her garage was invaded with THE ANTS, her young son was asleep upstairs, her husband is deployed, and she needed ant-killer. She's allergic to the things and the hives were already all over her arms. So, after some hunting around, I found our bottle and she went forth with vengeance on her mind. When she returned, we talked a bit in that way people who have little interaction with the world will talk to each other. We have little in common except a lack of people to talk with.

Not much showing up on the jobs front. Summer in this area is slow, and the university won't be putting up its job postings until July. This didn't stop me from hitting the mall on Sunday for more "work clothes" -- and plunge bras that come complete with their own little air filled "enhancers". I tried one on under a top I was considering. The Husband approved. It's the first time in years he's shown interest in any lingerie I wore. I bought two. I didn't find out about the little air filled extras until I got them home and decided to wash them. The "extras" went into the drawer, but I'm keeping them. The bras don't fit right otherwise, nyah.

The discovery led to a little discussion with The Husband about bras and "false advertising", after which we concluded that all clothing can classify as "false advertising" -- wear the right clothes (good fit, good color/pattern/cut, right underthings) and you look better than you would naked. Wrong choices can make you look far worse. Only very specific things will make you look exactly as you look naked, only not naked (like that see-through suit the alien kidnappers made the Stainless Steel Rat wear in one or the other book).

All of this has lead me to a deep consideration of my wardrobe. I have a closet of very nice, well fitting and reasonably flattering clothes, almost none of which I've worn in the past 2 months. Instead, I live in a small collection of shorts and T shirts, some of which are approaching "ratty". Why? Because on any given day, I am cleaning litter boxes, planting flowers, toting boxes, vacuuming, ironing, assembling/disassembling furniture, or sorting things in dusty boxes -- none of which I am going to do in heels and dry-clean-only. Nevertheless, it bothers me that everything that fulfills my clothing needs in the "nice clothes" department is either black or white. I go looking for color and pattern -- I find black, white, and solids. I don't get it. I spent years trying to weed overwhelming black from my closet -- in the early 90s, I had gone unintentionally Goth except for the black fingernails (rare then) and the LJ(didn't exist). Now, I'm being forced back.

Last thing to note is I have joined Title Trader, a nifty little system for changing your stuff around. That is, you can list your books, DVDs, CDs, or whatever for trade to other people. You pay to mail it, and you get points that you can use to get other stuff from other people who will pay to mail it to you. It's not so bad, really. I'm unloading stuff I don't want and looking for things I do -- technically not buying new books or DVDs. If I don't use up my points for myself, I may use them to get gifts at Christmas.

Yeah, I'm cheap like that. I am thinking about another of those bras.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things I'm not Used To Yet

1) Sharing a wall with another family. I haven't lived in an apartment or anything like it since I was 12. The mysterious thumpings and bangings that come through the shared wall still make me jump and wonder what the cats did.

2) Dramatic Neighbors. A family across the street have regular knock down drag out fights that make it to the street. Today the local police attended the event.

3) Trains. We live VERY close to active train tracks. Trains run mostly at night. Since the tracks run parallel to the main road where our street is, and we are close to that road, they cross a lot of other smaller roads, and so they signal frequently -- at every crossing. Sometimes I can feel the floor or the bed shake when a particularly heavy train goes by.

4) Easing around furniture. Yeah, I miss having space. The whole "charming, cozy space" thing is lost on me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

ANTS!


The Husband earned more points.

We have auto-watering fountains both upstairs and down. The upstairs one is in my bathroom. Last night I went to fill it. When I picked up the reservoir, little black ants crawled on the plastic. They massed under the lid. I noticed something black in the bowl -- ants. They filled the water fountain inside. They were all over the sink vanity. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of little black, crawly, uninvited ants. There's no food in the bathroom. They were just after the water.

We'd been invaded.

The Husband swung into battle. Armed with ant killer spray (they tried to invade the garage and our patio earlier) he hunted ants everywhere. He found mini-nests inside the waterer's plastic body and under the tray where I keep my hair bands. Little black corpses littered the floor and the sink.

We aren't sure why they chose my upstairs bathroom, except that there is a drain pipe on the outside of the wall. He checked everywhere he thought they could be. So far, no more nests.

However, we both feel completely crawly.

Update: Scott, look here for the fountains. We haven't had any feline urinary tract problems since we got them, so I'm saying they are all good (and much cheaper than vet visits).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Theory of Local Plate Tectonic Effects on Driving Distance

The Husband burned a few of those Husband points he earned on Sunday with today's Driving Adventure.

I'll readily admit I haven't been making as many attempts to learn my way around here as I might. Those $4.75 gas prices are part of it. An evil knee and no faith whatsoever in the generosity of drivers on the shoulderless/sidewalkless roads are keeping me from riding my bike or walking anywhere. So, The Husband is the Pathfinder and I follow his lead to find places.

Today I have proof he's messing with my head. Remember the thing about "all roads are triangles" a few weeks ago? He's doing it again.

This morning we went to get our South Carolina's driver's licenses, but neither of us brought anything to prove we were residents in the state, so we had to go back home(I didn't have to do that in Florida, so it didn't occur to me and he didn't think of it either -- maybe Florida doesn't care.) We were going to get car tags so we drove separately (can't -- have to pay a property tax on the cars first. It's complicated around ehre). The Husband lead the way to the DMV on the first trip, going down a little neighborhood road that connected to the highway where the DMV was. When we had to drive back home to get evidence of residence, instead of turning back the way we came, he took a DIFFERENT route.

At first I thought maybe he decided to make a stop at one of the stores we would pass (I recognized the route from our errands on Saturday) and I wasn't sure of the name of the little road that connected to the highway, so I followed. He didn't stop, and he didn't call me to tell me of any change in plan. As I followed, I wondered if perhaps he had developed a compulsion that forced him to make three right turns for every left turn, or perhaps some kind of graduate student paranoia had settled on him so that he could never take the same path twice. In any case, we drove in a big circle from home to DMV to home again. Once back at the house, I cornered him.

"What was THAT all about?"

He stared. "What?"

"Do the tectonic plates around here shift quickly enough so that the shortest route to a place changes once you get there?"

He gave me the "questioning dog" head tilt.

"Why didn't we go back the way we went?"

"Oh!" This was a signal to me that he had no particular reason except, perhaps, to exasperate me and was scrambling for something that sounded rational. "I wanted you to know the other way to go."

"I don't know the way we got there in the first place."

"Well, I only find things by wandering around."

"That's great, but it's more helpful for me to learn one route at a time." (I'm slow like that.)

He rattled off the names of the roads on the first route, then came up with something else. "I wanted to see if the other way was faster. Did you think it was faster? I thought it was faster."

"More traffic and more lights didn't make it seem any faster to me. If we'd each driven one route, then we could compare." We went into the house. "You're just trying to confuse me."

"No, I'm not. That's just a side benefit."


We have to drive to Wahalla to get the tags, probably on Thursday. Oh, and I have my own shiny new library card, too.