Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm tired and my feet hurt

especially after spending an hour-and-a-half at the grocery with A and putting away groceries, but it was good to get it out of the way before the weekend, and I got some things, too. It's the longest I've worn my new shoes in one wearing, and I found that the soles of my feet aren't quite used to the insoles of the shoes, which are from Sure-Fit. Maybe I should put my custom diabetic orthotics in them instead. But I am well relaxed at this point and the pain is easing, as I've spent another hour-and-a-half streaming Pandora through my bedroom TV, with a channel built around Loreena McKennitt, so it's been Celtic and New Age music.

Today was about playing catch-up at work, since I didn't have to train in scheduling today, so there was time for the library and data entry stuff I needed to do, or at least most of it. I'll have to finish up some tomorrow. But I got a lot done anyway. Today was also our benefits fair, so I came home with lots of information and some fun swag. There was also a kickoff luncheon downtown (I didn't attend) for the campaign for the new hospital, with the mayor, our Congressman, and various other candidates in attendance. By all accounts, it went really well.

I've been updating my tablet and Kindle and charging my phone, in which for the first time I let the battery completely die. But it's charging quickly, almost to full and that's in less than two hours.

I think my betta may not be much longer for this world. I came home and he was on the floor of the aquarium and has scarcely moved at all, and he's usually very active. He's lying in front of the bubble stone. In fact, it could be that the bubbles are moving his fins, rather than him, and he's actually dead. It's hard to tell. I've had him for at least a year-and-a-half. Brenda was just saying the other day that they don't live much more than a couple of years. So I guess it's about time. But I've really enjoyed having him, and I'm sad at the thought of losing him.

Okay, it's after eleven and I'm really struggling to stay awake, much like this critter. I love when the meerkat falls over and then pops up, looking all around it, like, hey, did anyone notice? :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yep!

People don’t like Mitch McConnell. That’s why Alison Lundergan Grimes still has a shot.
The Kentucky Senate race comes down this: whether voters are more willing to vote against a Barack Obama who is not on the ballot, or a Mitch McConnell who is.
Now I'm not saying I would vote for anyone to get Mitch McConnell out of office. But yeah, close to that...and I feel just about as strongly about getting a challenger to Rand Paul. I am embarrassed by the senators from my state--terribly embarrassed anytime I see the headlines.

Cool

45,000-Year-Old Man Was Human-Neanderthal Mix
Project leader Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London explained to Discovery News that the Siberian man belonged to a population that was closely related to the ancestors of today’s Europeans and Asians. He carried only slightly more Neanderthal DNA than they do.

“But his genomic segments of Neanderthal ancestry are on average about three times the length of those found in genomes today,” Stringer said.

This is highly informative, he continued, “as the chunks of Neanderthal DNA have been gradually broken up each generation since the time of interbreeding.”

He and his team charted the rate of that change to the present, when all living non-Africans possess 2 percent Neanderthal in their DNA. Going backwards in time, the researchers could then see that the mating with Neanderthals took place 7,000–10,000 years before the Siberian man lived. This means the human/Neanderthal interbreeding happened no more than 60,000 years ago.

Oh, dear God, this is for Brenda



(And for 'Doctor Who' fans, one of the gentlemen is Sylvester McCoy, who, while he is Radagast the Brown in the Hobbit movies, played the seventh Doctor.)

All, I can say is wow, this is what happens

when at academics take a terrible backseat to academics. Be sure to read the whole thing. This is so wrong, and antithetical to what universities should be doing. Athletics should be a means to an education, not the other way around.

UNC report finds 18 years of academic fraud to keep athletes playing
For 18 years, thousands of students at the prestigious University of North Carolina took fake "paper classes," and advisers funneled athletes into the program to keep them eligible, according to a scathing independent report released Wednesday.

"These counselors saw the paper classes and the artificially high grades they yielded as key to helping some student-athletes remain eligible," Kenneth Wainstein wrote in his report. He conducted an eight-month investigation into the scandal, which has plagued the university for nearly five years.

Four employees have been fired and five more disciplined because of their roles. One other former employee had honorary status removed, Chancellor Carol Folt said Wednesday.

Wainstein is the former federal prosecutor hired by UNC to independently investigate the academic fraud brought to light by CNN, the Raleigh News & Observer and other media outlets.

In all, the report estimates, at least 3,100 students took the paper classes, but adds the number "very likely falls far short of the true number."

Not that anyone will get it

But I'm going as the Lady of Shalott for Halloween.  I have a beautiful cranberry long skirt in velvet and satin,  along with a blouse that has a sort of fantasy mediaeval look with flared sleeves in the same colour. I just used a cashback bonus with Amazon for a dark red wig.  We'll see how that looks.

Okay,  so I'll be a somewhat rotund doomed fae,  but still...we'll see if anyone at work is familiar with Arthurian legend, the famous poem by Alfred,  Lord Tennyson (or the song by Loreena McKennitt based upon it),  or several pre-Raphaelite paintings with her as the subject,  including the one with her in the boat by John William Waterhouse (which I've included here.) :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I came across these photos of me as Great Cthulhu a few days ago



If only I'd been able to rig wings. Big, green bat wings. :) Happy (almost) Halloween! I'm not sure at all what I'm going to dress up as this year. I'm just glad we have a work environment where that's okay, even expected. I think my favourite costume anyone did ever was the information services people came as keys from a keyboard, and a late and sorely-missed colleague, who was very likable and full of joie de vivre, came as the 'any' key. :)

Today is the second day

I've trained in scheduling. I'm doing better than yesterday--I actually did some reschedules without supervision, but handed it back to the other person when it came to juggling more than one patient at a time while on the phone. Still, I'll get the hang of it. I'll be there tomorrow and then mornings Monday-Wednesday next week. I was able to work on the other aspects of my job, both library and data entry, this afternoon, and did pretty well at getting much of it done, despite it being a high-census clinic day. Tonight I took a friend to an appointment and another to get his bus pass. Now I'm home and I may watch another 'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' episode, although what I really want to do is some reading, I think. I almost never read these days, and I have several books out from the library that look good, plus the many 'to be read' ones on my Kindle. I'm halfway through a book I started months ago. I don't think I can re-check it out again without turning it in. It's one of those Nellie Bly mysteries, called Alchemy of Murder by Carol McCleary. I've enjoyed, I just haven't had much time to read. Now I do, so I should. :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I am amused

by Microbrachius dicki, both in its name in relation to this story and by the fact that it was apparently ahead of the times, and evolution seems to have had a bit of foreplay and then reverted to spawning instead. I am also amused by the fat that the BBC included diagrammes as to how they copulated. :)

Ancient Scottish fish 'first to have sex'

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Peeling butternut squash

with a potato peeler is no easy task. And you get your hands covered in this stuff that, when it hardens, peels off like skin. In fact, it may actually be my skin peeling--I can't tell. Weird. I helped YKWIA with that and with using a hand mixer to make a three-bowl batter for clafoutis, because hand mixers are made for right-handed people and years of home oeconomics made me somewhat an expert on cleanly beating batters without splatters. Tomorrow I've told A I would help get the house ready for their company by sweeping and mopping. I'm also bringing ice and Saran wrap. I plan on getting there early, around 9 am, so I should go to bed soon, as it's just after 1 am. But I don't think I'll be there very late tomorrow. I actually bought a paper today for the Weekender to see if there was anything fun and cheap to do this weekend.

This morning both of my bosses came to the library and asked if I would be willing to temporarily (for 8-12 weeks) take on yet another job for the hospital, scheduling patients, as there are several pregnant women in that department who are ready to give birth pretty much all at once, and they need a temporary part-time person to do it. So next week I'll be training there from 9 am-1 pm Monday, Tuesday, and maybe Wednesday. This will mean cutting into my library hours, as those are in the morning. We're not doing anything different with my pay or the process I use for clocking in and out and doing a labour transfer from one job to the other, so the pay will be the same, which is good, as the library rate is probably higher. So I need to juggle the library, the scheduling job, the charge entry and reconciliation, and obtaining doctors' referrals so everything gets done. It'll probably be a little more stressful, but overall I think it's doable. Meanwhile, I have a replacement physician appointee for my library committee, and I have to try to schedule a meeting soon. I hope everything works out pretty well.

I went in early and got off an hour early today. The weather was beautiful, 70 degrees and sunny after days of cold rain. Then I went by the grocery, took YKWIA to an appointment, got something from Long John Silver's, took him to get a couple of things from the grocery, and then helped with the squash and clafoutis. Now I think it is time for bed. Good night.

And then there's this one

Have you seen this one?



For more on the new dog, see this one. What is it, a Saint Bernard puppy?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I went ahead after all

And washed dishes, wrapped the herb bread that I baked, and filled my pill box for tomorrow. It'll just be easier than doing them when I'm rushed tomorrow. So that just means getting up, showering, getting dressed, and getting gas on the way without all those little things that leech time in the morning. And with that, I bid you adieu.

Well, it's after midnight

and the debit is still showing as pending on my account, so it's neither fallen off nor posted, so I'll wait and see what happens tomorrow. The good news is I got paid, and I'm very tempted to go out right now and buy toilet paper and gas, but I think I'll resist, and just take care of everything in the morning. :) All I can say is thank you Little Clinic at the Tates Creek Kroger's, for passing out little facial tissue packets earlier this year for free. I very rarely keep Kleenexes or other types of tissue in the house, as I use paper towels usually to blow my nose, and I'm even out of those. :) Okay, too much information, I guess. I really have over-shared a great deal this week. I think I'm a little lonely, since I've been spending so much time at the house alone. :(

Tomorrow I'm going to go over and take A on a grocery run for a dinner they're having with a cousin and co-worker (one and the same) on Saturday. I can get toilet paper and other things I need then, thankfully, but the gas will really have to be on the way to work tomorrow. I wonder if the price will be the same. It was a low $2.99 when I went by this afternoon, and the pumps were filled. So, anyway, between that and the dishes, which I'm not up to tonight, I need to get up early tomorrow. So, I'm going to head on to bed. Good night.

I'm beginning to feel a little obsolete myself

Placements & Salaries 2014: Public, Academic, and Special Libraries
However, reports of placements in special libraries have fallen off in recent years, dropping from 6% in 2011 to 3.6% in 2012. This may signal, as some suggest, that hospital and corporate libraries, among others, are becoming obsolete, or it may indicate changing roles and titles within these situations.
Approximately 2017, my position with the hospital will cease as it moves to a new building near the university and a new ambulatory care model without a library. In the intervening time, I and my library committee will have to find an exit strategy of sorts for the library, while providing services and resources up to the bitter end. In the meantime, I am looking at jobs in other areas of the library world, albeit in this geographical area. I've applied to the public library, but they keep promoting from within, which is a good thing unless you're on the outside. :) I've also applied with the state. I keep looking each week actively. The good news is that there are more jobs now than there were during the Great Recession. The bad news is that while I am mid-career (almost 18 years in this position), I am a solo librarian, and while I have supervised some, I haven't held an actual managerial job whose supervision of others was a major component of the job description. I think that's hurting me. I think people are reluctant to hire me in a Librarian I position because that's entry level, even though I'd still probably get paid more since it would be full time (I currently have two jobs at the hospital, one with a librarian pay grade, one with a data entry clerk pay grade, so they average out lower than a full-time librarian would make), and with my experience, they would have to pay more than someone just out of school, or so they think. And I am worth that, although frankly, I'd work for a little less than I'm worth in exchange for a real full-time job with benefits. But a Librarian II position often includes departmental and even branch managerial duties, so that may be beyond my reach at the moment. The field is very competitive in my area because the university here has a library school. It took me four years just to find my current job, which I started out at with an abysmal wage for a job requiring a master's degree. (It improved greatly when they started including medical librarian in our salary surveys in comparison with other hospitals). Then in 2003 I was reduced in hours from 35 to 20 due to some lay-offs. For years I worked my 20 hours and then also at a gas station. At least I got benefits at 20 hours, although they cost more for part-timers. In 2010 I got the data entry position where I do charge entries and reconciliation for billing, as well as acquiring doctor's referrals. That brought me to full time. But while it does (barely) pay the bills, I'd really like to be doing a library gig full time, for one, with other librarians around, and I've got about two years to find a position that's a good fit. I have deep roots in the region and loved ones I can't move away from, so it'll have to be here (besides, I love living in the Bluegrass). Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I am fine, I am happy, all is well

which is our general phrase for things when they are actually going to hell in a hand basket. For one thing, a doctor's office called me today and wanted to issue me a refund, which was great, but when I gave them my account number, the clerk put it in as a debit rather than a credit, and that didn't change before the end of the work day. So I was on hold with the bank for quite some time to see if I might overdraw my account. A very nice and chatty customer service representative explained that either it would fall off at midnight if the office managed to void it, or if not, and it does overdraw the account, we can dispute both it and the attached fee. Fortunately I am also getting paid tonight or tomorrow morning, so I should be okay if I have to dispute. So while I was freaking out some, I feel a little better.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine was going to go to an appointment tonight and I was going to try to take him, but he cancelled it. On the one hand, that's good, because I could go straight home, as my gas light came on and I only had to drive about a mile or so to get safely home. On the other hand, I was planning to ask to 'borrow' (more like beg) for a roll of toilet paper since mine ran out this morning. Since I didn't go over there, I didn't get it. So I'm like, okay, I have some tissues, I can use them, and just not flush them down the toilet. So imagine my surprise when I did go and yet, despite nothing going down the bowl but a little urine, the thing floods the whole bathroom, and it took me several minutes to plunge it so the water would go down. So now my rug is soaked, I had to mop all that water up, and my evening just isn't going very well. Hence the mantra above.

Ah, First World problems. I really shouldn't whinge about my day when there are so many worse things out there. But writing helps, what can I say? So now I've taken care of everything (and I ate the last of the spaghetti while on hold). I'm going to try to salvage the rest of my time this evening, and hope that tomorrow is a brighter and better day. :)

PS Speaking of worse things, why on earth, if you had treated an Ebola patient and were within the incubation period, would you get on a jetliner? And if I'm reading the timing right, that was from Cleveland to Dallas, after treatment of the man who died in Dallas, so presumably there was a trip from Dallas to Cleveland as well. But the plane trip was the day before the newest diagnosed patient presented with a fever. I just don't get it. If I have a bad cold or the flu, I stay home from the hospital I work in and don't expose my friends. Why would anyone who had dealt with Ebola go flying to another state during the potential incubation time? Aren't these people supposed to be being monitored? I'm sorry to say, but it looks like the hospital had its head up its arse, given the things the nurses are saying and the fact that two people have caught the disease from the initial patient there. And while I realise that only four hospitals in the country have the ultra-isolation rooms and intensive training that are good for Ebola, this was still in a major metropolitan area. What happens when people go to the local hospital in smaller places? I have not been in panic mode at all over Ebola like some (there was a great editorial cartoon by Jack Ohman of The Sacramento Bee I saw where the fat guy with the big gulp drink and cigarette and beer is screaming in panic about Ebola when the deaths from obesity, smoking, and drinking are so high), but I am getting concerned, I must admit.

Well, I did fall asleep

But I got what I needed to do finished first this evening, and then later I got up and watched an episode of 'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' on Netflix. It was excellent. I love the era, the clothes, and I love Phryne Fisher. I have the first three books of the series as well. I'd like to get the first and second seasons on DVD. :) Then I played on my TV for awhile with the various applications, including setting up the fitness one, and registered the TV (an oversight) and my computer monitor. All told I own three, no, four Samsung items (even my microwave that I bought in 1991 is a Samsung), and I did have a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone before getting my S5 in April. So I'm a kind of Samsung/Google/Amazon girl, I guess. :) Okay, it's after 12:30 am. Time to go to bed for real this time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

After dinner

I decided the fish tank really did need a good cleaning, so I spent an hour siphoning out mulm (which translates to fish poop and other detritus in an aquarium) and replacing about 25% of the water with new conditioned water. I also changed the little white biological filter material (you do it in stages, so there's always nitrogen-eating bacteria in the filter--there's also activated charcoal on one layer and a foam pad on the bottom). I'm waiting for the filter to clear the water. I had trouble with the siphon. Gone are the days of having to mouth-siphon on the tube. You're supposed to just be able to push the bigger tube up and down to start it going, and I verified that I was doing it right with a friend who keeps several aquaria, but I always get a trickle at best. So I pulled out my trusty and never-used-in-a-vegetarian-household turkey baster (hey, it was a gag gift for my birthday, I think when I turned 30), and used that, as now that I am older and wiser, I don't want to get the germs that can live in fish tanks in my mouth, especially as I ate some crusty bread without my partials in last night and my whole mouth is tender and possibly has a bit of broken surface here or there on my gums. The baster worked well after a try or two. Once I got it started, everything was fine. I vacuumed the gravel thoroughly, pulling out probably about 2 1/2 gallons' worth of water while avoiding actual fish (at least these are between 3 and 4 inches long!) I then scrubbed the inside glass of any remaining algae and put the fixtures (rocks, gargoyle, driftwood) in firmly. I also added something that helps with the slime coat and some more nitrogen-eating bacteria in solution. I took the dirty water and put in out on the window boxes, a little on the inside plants, and out on the ground. It's great fertilizer, fish poop. I did, however, discover that I cannot find my water testing kit. I have no idea where it is. If I were out of solution, that would be one thing. But the thing has test tubes, too. It's not below or around the aquarium, as far as I can tell, and I have no idea what other sort of place I might put it. But the pet stores will test if you bring in a sample, too.

Now I think I'll retire to the bedroom and work on the game notes and get a little relaxation in (without falling asleep, hopefully). I don't know if I'll blog any more tonight. If not, have a very good night.

After a very rainy day, the sun has finally come out

It is streaming through the living room windows as I write this. My bounciness yesterday, while doing a lot for me then, had the effect of not being able to sleep well last night. I kept waking up every hour on the hour. I don't remember hearing any storms, although apparently there were some. And I spent most of the night on top of my bedspread, which is sort of scratchy. I finally got up and put a blanket down and slept better. But my mind wouldn't shut down. At three or four in the morning, I felt like going for a walk. Given the time of night and the fact that it was most likely raining, that was not such a good idea.

I'm having a quiet night alone again. Dinner will be more spaghetti (I made several servings at once). I think I may watch a little TV--I'm sorely behind on 'Doctor Who', and I'm intrigued by the last episode with mummies on the Orient Express. :) I have them on the DVR. My DVR is actually almost full of things I should really watch. And I'm going to start on the game notes, maybe even finish them if I'm lucky. That would put me way ahead for the week.

Tonight I need to do those things and arrange for a payment of a bill. Tomorrow will be somewhat tough. I'm hoping I have enough gas to get to work and back. But Thursday is payday and I can fill up the car and pay some bills. That would be very good. Thursday and Friday there are appointments to go to, so it will be good to have gas. :) I also need to make an appointment with the gynaecologist, which if I'm lucky I can get in maybe next week. I haven't heard back from the psychiatric practice. It occurs to me that I may have given the wrong phone number. (The prefix for my home phone and cell phone have the same numbers, in different order). I'll call back tomorrow. I don't know what the weekend looks like yet. As far as I know, we're playing the game Sunday, but anything beyond that is somewhat up in the air.

I have to admit, I'm a bit pooped. I did very well at work today, despite the lack of sleep. But my brain is trying to shut down. I wonder if I can lie down for an half hour without wasting my whole evening? Experience tells me no. Maybe I should just eat a bit and then take it from there. :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

I just signed up for a class

Which I think will help me be much better at helping someone I love dearly. It will start in January and run eleven weeks, meeting once a week. I refuse to burn out and be useless to either of us. Now if I can just keep things together until then, that would be good.

That was pretty decent

I don't normally sit and eat at the table, with just me. But that was fun. The only thing that would have made it better was Parmesan cheese. I thought I had some, but apparently it was thrown out in the great refrigerator purge a few weeks ago. Oh, well. I couldn't eat all the bread--I'm saving that for later. And you know the funny part? Although it's dark outside, I feel like going for a walk. Weird. Pasta does not normally have that effect on me. :)

I should watch this tonight

I know where my vote's going (and you can pretty much guess if you read this blog with any regularity). Still, I'm interested in how they do.

WATCH LIVE: Kentucky Senate candidates debate issues
Kentucky’s major party candidates for U.S. Senate will meet for a moderated conversation on Kentucky Educational Television’s signature politics program Monday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. EDT, in what is expected to be their only face-to-face event before the Nov. 4 general election.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who are embroiled in one of the most contentious national races in the country, will appear live on “Kentucky Tonight” with host Bill Goodman. Libertarian candidate David Patterson will not be present, following a short but heated legal challenge against KET.
You can watch the livestream online thanks to KET (Kentucky Educational Television), if you don't get the station (although it does cover the entire Commonwealth, I believe, being one of the largest public television networks in the country, if I remember from when I was an employee there). Then there's this:
Tonight’s debate will not be open to an audience, but viewers with questions for the candidates may send them via e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form at KET.org/kytonight. Viewers may also submit questions on Twitter via @BillKET or on KET’s Facebook page. The phone number for viewer questions during the program is 1-800-494-7605. All messages should include the first and last name and the hometown or home county of the submitter.

Oh, by the way, for your perusal

Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?
Clifford the Big Red Dog looks fabulous on an iPad. He sounds good, too — tap the screen and hear him pant as a blue truck roars into the frame. “Go, truck, go!” cheers the narrator.

But does this count as story time? Or is it just screen time for babies?

It is a question that parents, pediatricians and researchers are struggling to answer as children’s books, just like all the other ones, migrate to digital media.

For years, child development experts have advised parents to read to their children early and often, citing studies showing its linguistic, verbal and social benefits. In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised doctors to remind parents at every visit that they should read to their children from birth, prescribing books as enthusiastically as vaccines and vegetables.

On the other hand, the academy strongly recommends no screen time for children under 2, and less than two hours a day for older children.

At a time when reading increasingly means swiping pages on a device, and app stores are bursting with reading programs and learning games aimed at infants and preschoolers, which bit of guidance should parents heed?
I particularly like this example:
Patricia K. Kuhl, a director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, led a study in 2003 that compared a group of 9-month-old babies who were addressed in Mandarin by a live instructor with a group addressed in Mandarin by an instructor on a DVD. Children in a third group were exposed only to English.

“The way the kids were staring at the screen, it seemed obvious they would learn better from the DVDs,” she said. But brain scans and language testing revealed that the DVD group “learned absolutely nothing,” Dr. Kuhl said.

“Their brain measures looked just like the control group that had just been exposed to English. The only group that learned was the live social interaction group.”

In other words, “it’s being talked with, not being talked at,” that teaches children language, Dr. Hirsh-Pasek said.
I have a co-worker whose child is not yet a year and a half old. She reads to her daughter, and the child does not watch TV. She knows Elmo and Mickey, but not from cartoons. I think that's a good step. At work, I coordinate an early literacy programme called 'Reach Out and Read', a national initiative to bring age-appropriate books to children 6 months to five years old who visit our clinic, and to encourage parents to read to their children. I know kids are fascinated by screens both small and large, and it's easy to let them be babysat by a device, but it's much better to interactively read from a real book, in my mind, where they can touch the pages and interact with both parent and book. We'll see what the research eventually says. But my gut feeling is that books are the way to go for young ones. At least one study I've read says people comprehend much better from a physical book. I have to admit, I tend to skim more when I 'read' an e-book myself. If adults don't fully engage with the words and pictures in front of them, what do you think toddlers do? Just my two cents' worth, anyway.

For one day, at least

I was a domestic goddess and kicked butt at work. Maybe it's because I got rest this weekend, or maybe it's because the house is clean. Or maybe it's because while I have eaten less than normal today, I feel so much better. I don't know. I got up at 6 am, started bread in the bread machine, and then finished the few things I needed to do to help get the apartment ready for inspection week. I made the bed (which given the number of shams and pillows I have, is no small task for one person), vacuumed, and took out the last of the trash and recyclables. Somewhere in all that I also burned some incense and cooked four cups of basmati rice, because one of the things I do have in my cupboard are heat-and-serve microwavable Indian dishes from Kitchens of India. So today for breakfast, I had a slice of bread and some peanut butter. For a mid-morning snack, there was yet another piece of bread alone. For lunch I had rice (for some reason, my spell-checker wants 'astigmatism' instead of 'basmati') and a chickpea and potato curry. I haven't eaten anything since then. I'm just now starting to get a little hungry. I think I'll go for just a little bread with something on it, as I'm not very hungry.

At work I spent the morning planning out what books I need to update in the library (with a grant that we will hopefully get) for next year, as well as our family resource centre updates and access to electronic resources. I worked at a good pace at my data entry job, including referrals, reconciliation of charges, putting in charges, and the like. It's a detailed-oriented job, and I managed to catch something that could have cost the hospital reimbursement. So I felt good about that aspect of my job today. But the day flew by, and I felt alert and energised all day. Usually by this time of day I'm dragging and ready for a nap.

When I got home I spent a little while caring for my indoor garden (spacing the houseplants out and taking off dead flowers and leaves). I opened all the windows. The Christmas cactus has a bud on it. Only the prayer plant is blooming right now; the African violets did for a long time. I did have to toss a croton because it had been killed off by those dratted little white mealybugs. The other croton might live; it has one leaf left. The violets have them, too, and they're hard to eradicate from fuzzy leaves. But the others seem resistant, thankfully.

I also have an ailing fish. The fish actually made it through the Time of Low Water and No Filter pretty well, but when I filled up the tank yesterday, I found that one had become stuck in the java moss. I freed it and cleared out a lot of the moss. It's pretty, but it can be pretty invasive. So since then, that fish has kept to the bottom and is slowly dying. I'm sorry for that. Fortunately it's a 19 cent feeder goldfish, but still, I feel guilty for letting the moss overgrow, and letting the water get low enough that it became a problem. That leaves me four-and-a-half fish, the betta in the bedroom's 3-gallon tank, and the goldfish in the 29-gallon long tank. Once a few days pass, I'm going to vacuum out the tanks really well and test the water. If it's doing pretty well, I'll maybe add some feeder goldfish. They're actually a nice size and pretty, and don't require an awful lot of babying. I'm used to livebearers, but they haven't done well in the tank since I set it back up a few years ago. Even with a staggered biological filter, water changes, and the addition of nitrogen-eating bacteria, I've had trouble with nitrates. That's not as bad as nitrites, but the fish don't flourish as well. I used to do much better at keeping fish, and livebearers reproduced readily. But sadly, this is not the case since the tank was set back up, and as a result, I've tended to let it get a little too dirty. So after a few days so I don't totally freak the fish out, since vacuuming means adding more new (although conditioned) water, I hope to rectify that. But just getting the filter back up and running has helped immensely. I'd had a power outage from a storm about a month ago and couldn't get the thing to pump the water up from the tube, even though it was clear, and isn't really the type that needs priming (but I primed it anyway, to no avail). This time, after being off for awhile, it started right up and pumped immediately. So I'm not sure what the deal was at the time. But I didn't mean to keep the filter off so long--I was just really, really busy.

I am very low on gas for the car, and have $1 in change to put into it tomorrow, which might get me to and from work through Wednesday. I haven't been quite this broke in awhile. I think I have a total of fifty-two cents in my checking and savings accounts combined--so that's part of the stress lately. So I'm saving the gas if at all possible. Still, I should call a friend and see how he is doing. I'm not sure things will get a lot better when I get paid, but they will get better. I called Friday and got several doctors' offices to agree to return co-pays I mistakenly paid (this is the first year I've had insurance with a maximum out-of-pocket expense amount, and I didn't realise that once I met it, co-pays were not to be collected. This came to the tune of $180. So sometime in the next six weeks those refunds should trickle in. That would help.)

After talking with YKWIA last night, I decided that my mood was a little less stable than it had been and with the shorter days and perhaps being a little further into perimenopause than I thought I was, my medicine might need adjusting. So I called the practice I used to go to a few years ago and asked if I could get an appointment. The receptionist said he would check my records and with the doctors and get back with me. He didn't today, but I hope he'll call tomorrow. The nurse practitioner I was seeing is gone from the practice now, but that's okay. I was going until the car died, and then really couldn't get there, even though it's only a short distance from my house. Now I think the connector bus does go by, but I don't think it did then. So my general practitioner has been handling my meds. I think they need a little fine tuning.

Okay, it's nearly 6:30. Time to get some of that bread and some peanut butter, I think. Or maybe spaghetti with vegetarian meatballs. Mmmmm. I have the ingredients, including frozen soy meatballs in the fridge. I've never had soy meatballs. Yeah. I could do that, and take anything left over to work tomorrow. :)