Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

:( Sad today

It's rare that you meet someone who is an honestly good person who adopts you as part of the family even when you are not related by blood. Several months ago I was fortunate to have someone come into my life who did just that. She died today at the age of 94, peacefully in her sleep, and the world seems emptier without her. Requiescet in pace, Mrs Fore. I will miss you terribly. Following so close after my father's death, I can only hope that the old adage of death coming in threes is wrong in this case.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Requiescat in pace

I've written a little about the estrangement between my father and myself in this blog over the years.  The photo below is a photo of my family, one of only a couple of photos of my mom, dad, and me together. We really were three individual people with no real cohesiveness as a family, except at dinnertime, which we spent together. My mom had ceramics as a hobby, my dad had his radio room, and I read a lot, escaping into fantasy. My first six years of life my dad was mostly in southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. At 15, my parents divorced and my mom and I moved back to Danville and I withdrew further into myself. I tried to keep a relationship with my dad for a while, but there wasn't much of a foundation to build on and a lot of negativity to overcome. Finally, 25 years ago, when I was 26, we broke off contact with each other entirely and went our separate ways. I changed my name. The years passed. I got a better perspective of just how dysfunctional my family was, but also how it probably was from my parents' perspectives. With age comes wisdom. I used to be angry with my father and later realised that some of that anger should have been directed elsewhere. I haven't been angry in a while. We just never were going to be the family I wanted us to be. I accepted it. My mother's death last year brought some closure regarding that. We had talked out some of it. And the rest didn't so much matter anymore with her gone.
The other day I found out my dad was in hospice. He died last night, peacefully. I don't really know how I feel. I'm kind of la-la-la-ing in my head. I wish we could have had a better relationship. We couldn't. Just because you're related by blood doesn't automatically make people love you.
Anyway, for what is worth, I wish you peace, Daddy. I'm sorry we couldn't make it as a family. Rest in peace, Allan Joseph Broadbent, August 19, 1947-November 8, 2018.

It's hard to believe they're both gone.  They were my world when I was younger.  We moved from place to place due to him being a career airman, and with no siblings of my own, my main interaction, for good and bad, was with them.  They were just 19 when they married, and I was already on the way.  Neither of them was particularly ready for a child, an admittedly good child who mostly read but was overly-sensitive and kind of a cry-baby and too bright but socially awkward for her own good.  

Saturday, November 03, 2018

What a glorious day

It's a beautiful sunny Saturday, with the sunlight streaming through my bedroom window, which is nice, as the plants (and we) have had to endure several days of gloomy, rainy weather.  Our area actually moved trick-or-treat from Halloween to Tuesday due to inclement weather.  So the kids were out on a sunny evening that had mild temperatures and then the next day it was pouring and would have been terrible for them.  And since then there's been wind and rain.  So it's nice to see the sun.  Plus the kitten is playing with the sunbeams in the hall.

I slept 12 hours last night, even with being up in the middle of the night for about an hour.  It was good to get some rest.

Halloween was an absolute success.  Many of us dressed up in the hospital.  I got a co-worker who gets up at an ungodly 4 am each day so she can work out and get ready to call me at 4:30 am so I would have plenty of time to do the makeup, etc.  I left home at 6:30 am and arrived at UK's lot at 6:55, and at work about 7:10 am, so I was a little early, but not much, and there was time to chat with others, play a bit on the laptop I brought, and take pictures.  Thankfully, I was not the only person on the shuttle to wear a costume; Mr Incredible was there as well, although the guy lamented that the pyjamas that he was wearing (they were cheaper than the costumes with the muscles) had no pockets, and therefore he was carrying his phone, keys, and badge in his hands and had no idea what he would do with them during the day.  :) Welcome to the world of women, who rarely have pockets and if so, they're never deep for anything of note.

I had street clothes, the lightest I could find, as I knew I'd be hot, underneath mine, although they were polyester so that probably defeated the attempt at staying cool.  And I had no pockets.  But once I clocked in, I put my badge on my pants waistband so I'd have my keys and badge with me without ruining the effect of the costume.  Granted, the whole point is to ID someone, but I was more concerned with the fact that our badges unlock various areas of the hospital and I didn't want to get trapped anywhere. :)

Here are some pictures from that day:

At home, after finishing the makeup

In the break room

Up in our department

Also in the break room

So I think it went really well, it delighted the kids, and we had great fun.  Today I'm going to pack it away and take it, along with the summer clothes that have been sitting in my room in a couple of tubs, to storage.

I have a lot to do today:

  1. First, get caffeinated and ready for the day.
  2. Go to the pharmacy for YKWIA when he gets up.
  3. Get gas for the car.
  4. Drop off the summer clothes and the Maleficent costume at the storage unit.
  5. Do a couple of shelves (dusting) in my room. I do two shelves every Saturday to keep all the books in the house clean, on a rotating basis.
  6. Launder the bedding.
  7. Go on a grocery run.
  8. Do the game notes.  Last week we barely survived an evil witch and yes, I called it, Cthulhoid faeries.
  9. Do some cooking.  We're making pumpkin beignets, among other things.
  10. Straighten up my room.
  11. Read more of The Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington.
  12. Make bread.
  13. Water the plants.
  14. Watching more of 'The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' on Netflix; we've watched four episodes and it's really good.
What I do not plan to do is go anywhere near the University of Kentucky, the stadium--Kroger Field--or downtown.  There is a Kentucky-Georgia home football game that determines who goes to the Southeastern Conference tournament, and Kentucky is usually incredibly well, bad, at football, and a season where they've lost 1 out of 8 games is almost unheard of.  We are well known for our basketball programme, but football?  Anyway, the fans can be a little intense, which is why LEX 18 (the local NBC television station) posted this on their Facebook page:

I personally don't get the appeal of sports. I don't get that sort of fervour at all.  But hopefully, win or lose, it won't come down to that sort of thing.  Since the last major incident was a car being flipped on the street next to us at work, the police are using our gated lot as a staging area to keep order.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

I'd like to think that I could write on days other than weekends

But it seems, for now, I'm too tired in the evening.  Here is a re-cap of the last few days:

Thursday, September 27th -- I utterly broke down at work because a mom was not happy that I hade made an appointment at an alternate location since I can't get an MRI at the university until a month after the child was supposed to have it.  Turns out the doctor told her they couldn't have it locally because the university's scanner is so much better.  She was very strident, not necessarily abusive, but it just set me off into a crying fit (it turns out I was also pre-menstrual, so maybe that can explain the sudden lability), and my neighbouring co-worker heard it, had me unlock the door, and talked me into taking a walk and stepping away from the office.  It was a really hard day.  I had over 20 off-sites to schedule (still do, as every time I manage to schedule one about 2-3 more appear in my box).

The university is down to two, maybe one MRI scanner (depending on certain conditions like age, if it's with contrast, etc.) due to some maintenance, and so the other day I managed to get a cervical, thoracic, and lumbar MRI scheduled there--a long scan, easily over 2 hours--but otherwise without any of the constraints I'm normally given (it was originally supposed to coordinate with a brace pickup, but the university was too booked, so they just said any time I could get), and the first available was in the middle of December.  Now in some cases, I do have an alternate place I can go to--the one I scheduled the kid in that caused his mom to go ballistic--and I was given the go ahead to go there for this one, as it's just too far out.  Most of these are supposed to be same day so they can see our doctors then, and they're usually in clinic about two days a week, given that they're in surgery or at the university on other days.  But if I go to the alternate place, I have to clarify a spine survey (a reduced scan) vs a full scan, and all these little details take time, especially since I try at the university first as that's preferred.  And they can't do sedation ones.

Meanwhile, the baby hips are causing me no end of stress.  When we ask for an ultrasound for hip dysplasia, it's usually for treatment, not for diagnosis, and it has to be without manipulation, often in a harness.  These kids are extremely delicate--they can't be moved out of position at all.  The university is the only place in town that does them without manipulation, and they're down three techs.  The requests for these are always the same day, as is our protocol, and usually a week or two weeks out.  I'm struggling to get dates before a month out, and I'm relying on cancellations to get anything scheduled.  There are lots of little things that go into all of this, forms to fill out, faxes or e-mails, calling the centres, calling the parents, rescheduling, usually, as it doesn't suit someone, and then mailing letters, maps, and updating a summary, and sending the form out to a group.  That's just my part.  Then I hand it over to someone else who pre-certifies it.  But this could easily be a more-than-full-time job alone.  And it's just half of what I do--the surgery pre-certs are the main thing, and I"m struggling to get those done ahead of time because of all the time I'm spending on the off-sites.  I tracked the last week of off-sites on a running total to see how many I had a day, how many I got done, etc., whether I ran into any problems.  The one where the mom triggered the crying fit took about three hours total. On a good day--if I only work on off-sites--I can do about seven, or one an hour.  But that's without doing the surgeries at all that day.  Usually, it's two, maybe three.  And they just keep coming.  Plus, they have to be prioritised as they come in, as some are more urgent than others, like ones that are post-surgery the next day, or the baby hips for a week out.  It's causing a lot of stress.

I've already had an episode where I went to the emergency room for hours with chest pains and headache, and they eventually decided I'd had a migraine that was causing numbness and pain down my left arm.  I told that to my neurologist yesterday and he gave me a dissolving medication for migraines.  But I'm sure the whole thing was stress-related.  I'm getting a lot of headaches, have had some gastroenteric issues, and I've been stress eating from the vending machines, so my hA1c jumped from 7.1% a few months ago to 9.0% since I started in June.  I'm going to have to start packing carrots and other healthy foods, as I'm not sure I can curb the urge to eat, but at least I can change what I eat, and my endocrinologist said that was fine.

Friday, September 28th--It was a better day.  Busy, of course.  I started tracking the off-sites at work.  I had 26 that morning and got it down to 19.

Last weekend--my friend, the kitten, and the cat were all sniffly and under the weather.  The dog and I were the only ones fine.  We didn't play the game as a result, but I got a lot of rest, at least.

Work throughout the week--I just sallied forth and did what I could.  Surgeries were mostly done the day before or day of.  I realised late Friday afternoon that I had not sent one, and sent it in.  It may be denied for no timely authorisations (most places don't due retro ones).  That's not acceptable, and I know it, and it most likely will be an issue.  It won't be passed to the family (we are an actual charity, not just a non-profit), but it will cost the hospital money if denied.  So there was stress there.  I didn't think I was doing well, but I didn't think I'd actually drop the ball entirely on one.  So we'll see if they approve it.  I have no illusions that they will.

Tuesday, October 2nd--So I updated my laptop to the Windows 10 October Feature Update.  More on that in a minute.

Wednesday, October 3rd--That evening, I went to do a book review that I hadn't managed to get in by the 1st, and lo, my documents were all gone due to the update.  No one was really reporting on it at the time, just a few things in the fora.  I spent the evening seeing if they had been moved to another area, and I rolled back the update to see if they would appear.  Nada.  Nothing on my desktop, music, or photos had been touched, just my local drive non-cloud documents.  But that included the game notes, my job hunt materials, and my book reviews.  I updated back and at least I have some of that on Dropbox.  The game notes were backed up a month ago, and there are just two sessions I lost, which is good, and those recordings were still on the desktop, thankfully, so I can reconstruct (over several hours).  Most of the important stuff was already backed up.  But I was not happy with Microsoft at all.  I was also up late that night backing up my desktop, where my friend has tens of thousands of documents and pictures that he's collected and created over years, and we unplugged it from the Internet entirely.

Thursday, October 4th--News stories started making the rounds on the tech sites of the data loss issue with the update.  I did find a good tool for trying to recover files, but it only recovered a few non-important files I'd deleted myself, although I did get a book review back.  But either the files I'd had were just absolutely deleted by Microsoft's update, or rolling back--which even now Microsoft is suggesting,--just deleted them beyond recovery.

I did find ways to make sure the desktop didn't get the update (fortunately that machine is Windows 10 Pro, not Home like the laptop, so it's easier.  We were able to plug the computer back in.  It's deferred all updates for a month, and any feature updates for a year.  So we're good for now, hopefully.  But again, despite my best efforts to go to bed early, I was awakened in the middle of the night for a minor crisis and didn't get back to bed till 4 am.

Yesterday--We are officially out of grocery money.  I'm broke in general, my last purchase being a pie for a send-off at work for a co-worker who is moving to a new department.  It's going to be a very lean week until I get paid.

Today--I got some good sleep last night, and woke up to sun streaming through the window, and the cat, who'd really been struggling with the crud, obviously doing much better.  I got up, got some water, took my medicine, and played with the kitten with a laser pointer, although I have to be careful because while he's up to playing, he's still got a little breathing issue from the crud he had.

Okay, that's it for now.  Sorry I haven't blogged.  Today is the library, pet food run, book review, and working on the notes, plus going over to our sick friend's for a visit and maybe a movie tonight.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

So since I last posted

I moved the kitten-toxic plants to work:

From home:

The office from the door. The peace lily the hospital sent to my mom's funeral is to the right on the other side of a chair out of the camera's shot, and it is blooming. Note that I carefully made sure no patient info was showing or exposed. It was hard. Folders, magazines, flipped papers, and photo frames were invaluable.

Here are some close ups:

The plants are very stress-releasing, which is good. Depsite that I had a breakdown the other day at work. It wasn't a good day. A series of events triggered it, but I just sat down in my office and cried. A co-worker helped me feel better. The next day was better, I went from 26 offsites at the beginning of the day to 19, and at least made progress after everything came to a crashing halt the day before. But I was so glad to leave work for the weekend, to get some rest and try to recharge. I'm going to try to speak with my boss Monday about some of the challenges I'm running up against.

The kitten continues to delight. Saturday morning I got a laser pointer (a cat toy that can easily be put up so the dog doesn't eat it), and he has discovered the red dot. He is adorable. He's on the tail end of a little viral kennel thing. The other cat is just starting with it. Meanwhile, totally unrelated, I believe, YKWIA has been fighting some sort of sinus gunk for three days, and I woke up sneezing this morning. So the dog is the only one of us not sneezing at the moment.

One last thing...our department at work is going to do Halloween as Disney characters of various types. I chose Maleficient, and I got my costume in the mail right about 8 pm last night (the US Postal Service cut it pretty close, but delivered it on time.) Here it is, sans any green makeup I'll actually do for the face (I haven't figured out what to do with the hands yet, as they should also be green. Gloves? Makeup? I don't want to get the latter everywhere.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

One last kitten update for the night

So the dog has been so anxious since the older dog, her little friend, died two and a half months ago. Since the kitten came out of hiding she has gone through the gate into the yard by herself, eaten normally, and generally seemed to be quite a bit calmer. So she apparently has a security kitten. He even curled up with her on the bed briefly, and she seemed okay with that. The cat is still hissing. He came in to be with me but the kitten came in so he hissed and ran away. Now the kitten is chasing him around the house. He wants to play. The cat will come around, eventually, of course. Good night!

I am pooped

I have gone to Kroger twice (once for caffeine to get going, once for more litter). I have taken the trash out, changed the litter out completely (and changed the pads under them), looked all over for a small grey kitten, including moving furniture and mattresses, taken plants outside, and while I've only walked 3,318 steps, it is also on 1:38 pm. Fortunately, I don't have to game notes today, as I did them last week. We don't have anywhere to go specifically today, although I might go by my storage unit. The other day I went before work and found the large map and one flanking map to hang on my office wall, but couldn't find the other. And several others are somewhere. Meanwhile, there are some things I put in the storage unit first that I might need on a pinch, or just want to get out occasionally, so I may move the pictures and mattresses out, get the other stuff up to the front, and then put the mattresses in the back and move the pictures back somewhat.

I really do think I'm going to lie down for a little while and listen to some music. YKWIA is sitting in the living room with the kitten on his lap having quiet time and reading. I have the cat. The dog is outside (it is a pleasant day). Time for a nap, I think.

After an otherwise thorough search produced nothing

Except a cut on my foot from a falling painting that was mounted on heavy wood, we resorted to the kitten detector (Felis silvestris catus, of the adult variety), by taking him into the bedroom. He lashed his tail and got up high on the chest of drawers, so we took that as a sign that the kitten was in that room, and took my friend's bed apart as far as sheets, pillows, and mattresses were concerned. The kitten was in one of the two box springs. He is now in the bathroom, and so he shall be while we make sure he has food, water, and until he and the cat are more comfortable with one another.

So I'm going to mash three Facebook posts together for one here

From yesterday:
It's been an eventful evening. We went to the local pound, found out they were closed, but that many of the animals up for adoption had been moved for an event to PetSmart, including the kitten my friend had his eye on. Went to PetSmart, started the adoption process when two women who were workers of either the society or the store were attacked by an over-excited, overstimulated dog and had to be taken to the hospital. [One was trying not to go, but my friend convinced her to do so, as she was bleeding more than she realised and it was her thigh.]

They shut down everything to deal with the crisis, but because he'd started the adoption, my friend was allowed to take the kitten home. What we have discovered is that the kitten is a master at hiding, and actually vanished while we were both looking at him, and is now nowhere to be found. So we now have a ninja cat with vanishing or teleportation powers in the house. Here's hoping that the women will be okay, the dog isn't just put down, as he apparently has never shown any aggression and it was really noisy and just got him overwrought, I think. Here's hoping that the kitten reappears. He's a little wary of the dog in our home, who hasn't seemed to really notice him yet; she just wants my friend to let her on the bed, and she's not supposed to be on it except at bedtime. Meanwhile, the cat has hissed and hidden a little, too, and I'm not sure he's really thrilled by the interloper. But hopefully, everyone will warm up to each other. Meanwhile, while the dog and cat I have been living with do not bother my allergies so much, I have discovered PetSmart, with the concentration of animals, made me regret not having my inhaler with me. But I did okay. It was just a weird night, and I like I said, I hope the ladies are okay. I didn't actually witness it, just the scene right before and after, but my friend gave a witness statement. All the workers were obviously rattled by the whole thing, understandably.
It's good that I have an appointment next week, as I have parking at work. Turns out nearly all of the plants in this window--no, all of them, are toxic to cats. The adult cat has never bothered them. We're not sure how the kitten will deal with them. So I'll put them all outside for now and take them to work next week...fortunately African violets, orchids, and Christmas cacti are all safe, so there will still be plants in the house.

And then:
Apparently the hiding place of choice is under and behind an antique marble washstand. We turned out the lights to go to bed and a tiny meow or two issued forth. I guess the dark scared him. He's only about ten weeks old.
Flash forward to now. I haven't seen him this morning. My friend said he cuddled with him, slept on the bed, didn't even seem to mind the dog and vice versa (she's been trained to keep her distance by the other cat, although she forgets, so she has little scars on her nose from their training sessions), and then this morning the big cat came in the room and the kitten moved quickly off the bed and has been hidden since, although my friend heard a couple of meows later. We're reasonably certain he's still in the bedroom, and the big cat is on my bed in the other room. We're hoping he comes out to eat and use the litterbox soon. We could tell he was a little shy in the cage at the store, but he also ate well and played with the other cats and snuggled up with them, too. It's just the big cat doesn't know what to make of the interloper, and the little cat is aware that he's not being welcomed with open paws just now, anyway. :)

PS There are approximately 4,000 books in this house and various antiques and cubbyholes to hide in. I suspect it will be a long week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


So I called my student loan servicer because I had received an e-mail saying my forbearance was ending, I was on an income-driven plan, and oh, by the way, your first payment is more than you make in an entire month. So I called and apparently, not in the e-mail, was the fact that they were waiting for a $5 payment to switch me over to a plan that is only $111.02 a month. Much different than over $1,800. Much different. Anyway, I get paid tonight so I set it up for tomorrow and it should reflect the new amount in 3-5 business days, then the new plan will start in about 45 days. Go me for being proactive. :)

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Do not engage the crazy

And I say that as someone who deals with mental issues. Okay, I hesitate to post this, because it has to do with race, and people have strong opinions on things. Was in line at Kroger when a woman, who had left her cart in line and then gone and done some more shopping accused a man of touching her cart (which she neither owned, nor anything in it, as it hadn't been paid for yet, and she'd taken her actual belongings like phone/purse, or whatever with her). She started screaming at the top of her lungs about how it was because of her race, when he 1) hadn't touched it, as far as I or anyone else saw, 2) race had nothing to do with it--people moved away and treated her differently because she was a raging lunatic at that point, and how he obviously felt entitled due to white privilege. She started screaming at us because we'd offered him a spot in our line to get him away from her, but we didn't engage her. I pointed out to the man that calling her crazy repeatedly (although she was certainly acting like she'd lost it) wasn't helping the situation. Security came and got him and hustled him to another checkout lane much further down, to try to diffuse things, which only incensed her further. We got through our checkout while she railed on, stopped by the wine and spirits section, and she was still complaining at the top of her lungs when we left several minutes later. There are so many things wrong with this country and race relations. There are lots of people who actually are oppressed or even being shot in the street. This was not that situation. This was an attention-seeking woman who went off on some perceived slight and used it to bully her way into getting attention and who knows what else. She was the one who had no thought towards others by basically abandoning her cart for several transactions. She came back and was upset that another lane had opened and she had missed the opportunity to get into it, I suspect, and he'd gone up ahead of her, because, well, she'd left her cart. The cart she was so protective of afterwards, and in the process slowed down the entire checkout for everyone in the two lanes. She called it sticking up for herself. She also threatened to harm him. She was basically acting like a rude kindergartner--he touched my stuff! I'll whack you! It makes me sad that anyone would cry wolf in a situation which clearly was not racially-biased or the result of white privilege when, in fact, there are plenty of cases where it is a serious problem. I never thought of her in terms of her race, any more than I would have thought about the man's race. I thought in terms of behaviour, and how she was losing her ^&%E in public over something so trivial [although I recognise it was not trivial for her, and she probably has gone through a lot of actual racist stuff that left her primed and ready to explode, stuff that was legitimate], and for a while I thought things were going to come to blows or worse because she was combative and he was acting surprised yet just repeating 'You are one crazy woman,'--not even an insult instead of the word woman--over and over, but definitely not making things better. The staff did what they could to calm her down, brought her attention back to her lane and checking out rather than her march towards him, tried to use customer service skills to diffuse things. But man, who knew going to get some food at the grocery would be this intense? And while I did not touch her cart, I have been known to move ones out of the way that were left in the middle of aisles unattended when they're in my way. Not so sure I ever want to spark a case of grocery rage just for doing that.e When did grocery rage become a thing?

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Feeling down

Today was difficult. I came home and curled up in a ball for awhile. Feeling a little overwhelmed at work. But I did get up, did some laundry and dishes, and read another chapter of 'Library of Souls' (the third book of Miss Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children), and so I feel a little better. And I got in 8000 steps--not quite yesterday's count, but I made goal, even though it meant pacing the house for the last 600 steps. :) Here's hoping I can make more headway (and pull off a minor miracle) tomorrow. Good night.