Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Happy Birthday to Zabet!

I sometimes forget she's so much younger than I am--she's been through more in a few years than most get through in a lifetime and done pretty well, I might add (and I'm not just saying that to keep my DSL (see 4.27.02)).

Oh, and on an added note...

So blogs Buns the cat, who decided my keyboard would be the best place for a cuddle. :) Maybe he was trying to wish her happy birthday, too. After all, she made sure he was taken care of when his butt cracked open. (Long story. Many vet bills.)

Oh, and happy Bealtaine, for those of you who are of the Pagan persuasion!

Monday, April 29, 2002

I've decided Mondays are to be quiz days...

Let's face it. Mondays sort of suck. So, I like to unwind with a few quizzes. I did try to take a Russian Babylon 5 quiz, but even with Zabet's help, I failed miserably. [Note to those Russian departments out there in academic land: teach more science fiction vocabulary!] So, instead I turned to, what else, but Sailor Moon?

Which Sailor Scout are you??

I'm Sailor Jupiter (no surprise there).
(Note: You may have to do the addition in your head (hope you're not Serena!)

Ever wonder why librarians are sexy?

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Could KFC be using subliminal messages in their commercials?

A friend and I are both pesce-vegetarians, meaning that we do occasionally eat fish, but otherwise eat no meat. (Think of it as mediaeval vegetarianism; by definition fish were not meat for purposes of Lent or Friday meals because they did not reproduce through normal sexual union). We have a simpler definition; we only eat what we ourselves would feel comfortable killing. I've fished before. I limit my fish to a few times a month at most, and include a prayer of thanksgiving for the life of the fish before my meals. I don't eat lobster though, or octopus--they seem a bit more intelligent. I could probably kill a goose (I've been attacked before by them) but only in self-defence. This may seem odd, but it's the way I related to my food--I think in an era of convenience shopping we've strayed to far from the actual cycle of the food chain. This is one reason that I do not have trouble with hunting per se, so long as as much of the animal is used as possible. Deer hunting for antlered heads to hang as trophies, in my opinion, is sick. Deer hunting to supplement a family's livelihood and cull herds that might otherwise overpopulate and starve is a part of the natural order of things, I believe.

That said, it's bizarre that both of us over the past few weeks have been having intense cravings for chicken. Whether it's a large fried breast or sizzling Tandoori chicken, we both are practically salivating. He hasn't eaten chicken in over 15 years; I haven't for 11. Weird. It's almost as if some ad is going, "eat the chicken, what can it hurt?"

It turns out I did accidentally eat some the other day. I had asked one of my coworkers and I thought I was getting tuna but it turned out to be chicken salad. Now, even when I ate chicken I didn't care for chicken salad--I'm not sure why; I put in a bite and came out with the grizzly gross stuff that I would never dreamed of putting into the salad. It left me feeling quite sick, even though I spit it out immediately. It certainly didn't measure up to the visions in my head of chicken.

Well that's enough of my weirdness for the night. I'm going to feed kitties and go to bed. See you later.

Friday, April 26, 2002

Ah, the joys of duct tape...

When I was in the Society for Creative Anachronism many, many moons ago (strictly speaking, 1980-1991), duct tape was seen as more essential on trips than bread. These teens would agree--they wore excellently-crafted duct tape to their prom.

Today was incredibly stressful but really good in its on way. My friend Zabet, as a birthday gift to me, sat down and is helping me go over my finances and make some sense out of them. Oh, hell. She's actually taking the whole pile of this month's goodies and going through them to figure out what I can do to get back on track. I get incredible anxiety over bills and other 'necessary' kinds of things. I've spent years ducking responsibility and pretty much setting myself up for failure, and I can't continue doing this. I'm so far in the hole now, though, it's hard to dig back out.

So, the verdict? In maybe 2-3 months, I can take care of the most pressing issues, then start paying off .the long-term debt. We're going to try to keep from having to put me in bankruptcy. But, things are going to be tight. I called today to cancel my cable. We're going to pay just the taxes on my car (a whopping $8.99, which gives you an idea of its worth), and I won't drive it until I can afford to keep up my insurance, repairs, gas, etc. Actually, she's advising me to just junk it, and I tend to agree, but John, my mom and I have put so much into this car I don't want to get rid of it until I can talk to them--I promised to do so. She also wants me to use just my prepaid cell phone (which I did for a long time) and drop the phone line/computer connexion. I'm still hoping to keep those, I must admit--now that I won't be driving, it'll be more important to have those to keep contact with the outside world. But I might have to pay more in the long run if I cancel, since my DSL equipment came free with the connexion. Sigh. But on the other hand, I made this hell for myself, so I really can't complain, and I did ask for help, so I have to take it in however its given.

She put things in piles, came up with a timeframe, running through June, for me to make payments (and threatened me, rightfully so, if I were to make any 'unapproved' expenditures). If you think this is harsh, you haven't seen my fianances. They're pretty much in a shambles. It's amazing to me that I can do okay at work (although, to be honest, I have some checks and balances there, mainly a fiscal office) but I can't seem to do basic things like balance my cheque book or send off bills on time. So, she's acting as financial counselor/overseer for awhile. As much anxiety and shame I had considering I had to have someone (much younger, I might add) go through the mess, I feel a little more in control. I have a to do list of people to contact, but she took care of some things, and she was pretty gentle about it (a paraphrase: 'I know you've been poor for years, and you haven't had what you wanted, but I'm going to ask you to dig deep and find the aescetic, the zen part of you, and even though you're going to lose things for awhile, eventually you'll be able to have them again when you can afford them.) I was going over the next couple of years on paper later, and I could see having my debt (except for the student loans) paid off by 2005, with some savings beside. It's a start anyway. :|

Ever had one of those Friday evenings where it's all you can do to drag your migrained-self into your home and collapse?

I did that for awhile tonight. To be absolutely precise, I didn't have a migraine. I had the world's worst tension-sinus headache (impending storms following impending -- but thankfully sputtery -- gloom). So I came home, went outside and let my dog roll maniacally in the grass (hey, it's a lesson in one-mindfulness, at least until she rolls straight into my inflamed sinuses/nose with a full butt butt), then watched the duck pair that hangs around our place graze at my birdfeeder. (Who ever heard of being able to duck-watch from an apartment? Ah...I love living near a reservoir/woods/creek/other places of wild incursion that nevertheless do not foster coyotes). After a couple of hours of documentaries on Pharaohs of Aegypt, I'm finally ready to get up and play on the computer.

You expect my Friday night to be more exciting? You haven't been paying attention. Still, it was kind of nice to call it a week and know that I don't have to be up for anything other than cartoons tomorrow.

Since I need to blow off some steam, I took the following quiz:

you have an ominosity quotient of


you are as ominous as the creators of this quiz. which terrifies us.

find out your ominosity quotient

The person who wrote this is actually even stranger than anyone else I know, and that says a lot, believe me! I'll probably put a couple of more quizzes in before playing The Sims. Hope everyone out there has a great weekend.

Want to see what you look like as a Lego?!

Try the Mini-mizer yourself!

Not that there was any doubt...

Take the What High School
Stereotype Are You?
quiz, by Angel.

After all, I know lots of people think Bill Gates is evil, but I can't help admiring a geek who had the last laugh.

Finally, a Friday Five!

I always mean to do a Friday Five. I always forget (hey, it's the end of the week, what do you expect?) So, since I'm up, I've patiently bided my time until they could post the latest questions. Being naturally verbose, I unfortunately wasn't the first to post, though. Oh, and I know, I'm giving way too much info, but the whole point is to get to know one another, right? Here goes:

1. What are your hobbies?

Gardening, role-playing games, yoga, genealogy, dead languages, writing, forensics, and anything to do with Aegyptology. Oh, and reading. Yeah, gee, how could I forget that? I guess it's kind of like breathing to me--I don't think to mention it.

2. Do you collect anything? If so, what?

When I was a kid I collected stamps and rocks.

Now I collect: carved wooden boxes, books, comic books, wayward animals, coloured bottles, states I've visited (listing, not the whole thing, obviously--they'd never fit in my house), and odd (not valuable, just odd) coins.

Things I'd like to collect: scented geraniums, ivies, and stamps (again) and rocks (again). I have to be careful though; I tend to hoard random stuff, so I'm trying to cut down my 'collecting'.

3. Is there a hobby you're interested in, but just don't have the time/money to do?

I'd love to travel more. I'd like to visit all 50 states and several countries. So far I'm at about 27 for the states and 0 for getting out of the country (and I'm an Air Force brat, probably the only one who never got out of the States!) I'd like to learn beading, but I've lost some of the dexterity needed to do it well.

4. Have you ever turned a hobby into a moneymaking opportunity?
I am not what you would call an entrepreneur. If I had to make money out of it, it wouldn't be fun. I did work as an assistant manager in a comic store, though. It got me lots of comics. :)

When I was married I raised hamsters, and we sold a few back to the pet store. We raised giant fluffy 'teddy bear' style hamsters--bigger than I've ever seen, not on purpose, but they were like small guinea pigs. Unfortunately we lost a female because her babies were just too big and one got caught coming out. I'd been taking a nap and come out to find her dead. I went hysterical; someone else flushed the orphan baby hamsters (which traumatised me further). Shortly thereafter we found homes for the hamsters and got cats, both of which were fixed. No more breeding animals for me except in my aquarium!

You know, people have asked me why on earth I tried to help the squirrel whose bite gave me the idea for the name "Rabid Librarian". When I think about it, I was always one of those kids who was overly sensitive to animals in danger. I cried continuously during "Lassie". I was barred from watching a Saturday morning show called "Run Joe Run" for the same reason. I was traumatised in elementary school by the book/movie Sounder although I own a copy and think it's a wonderful piece of literature that had a long-standing effect on how I look at society and racism. I have never watched Old Yeller. My mother used to distract me when she'd see an animal dead on the road; it still bothers me a lot, and I say a little prayer for them. I've been truly hysterical twice that I remember, once with the hamster and once with a black cat I hit one Friday the 13th at midnight who died in my arms.

At the same time, I sometimes lack the emotions I should have about people. It's like I just shut off. When I've had people in my family die, I won't cry except long after everything's over. I can still remember watching Dances with Wolves and having to leave when the wolf and horse are killed, but happy when the soldiers who killed them were. Granted, that's fiction, but still...sometimes I think my priorities are a little screwed. It's not that I don't feel the emotions, not really. I'm not a sociopath. It's just it hurts so much, so deeply, that I can't express it well. But animals--and children--have always brought out my protective/crying side.

5. Besides web-related stuff (burbs, rings, etc.), what clubs do you belong to?
Clubs...well, I don't really think of being a member of a club. I am a member and senior council member for the Rosemoon Guild, a pagan organisation here in Lexington. I'm president of the Bluegrass Medical Libraries consortium and belong to both the Kentucky Library Association and Medical Library Association. I suppose I'm technically still a member of Phi Alpha Theta and Alpha Lambda Delta (no these aren't sororities, they're academic societies).

Going back to old high school annuals, I've been in 4-H, Future Homemakers of America (now FCCLA), Foreign Language Club, National Honour Society, and our high school academic bowl team.

In college I was a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, something called the CIA (not what you think; it stood for Campus Information Association, was extremely short-lived, and as far as I know, had no real purpose other than to give computer geeks a home), the University of Kentucky Library and Information Science Student Organisation, the UK History Grad Students Association (or whatever it's called) and the American Library Association.

I'm not into much right now. I've thought about joining a book club. Or joining one of those Civil War reconstructionist groups. At one point I thought about joining the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) just because I'm eligible, and it'd give me a good resource for doing genealogy. (Being less mature than I am now) I thought it'd be kind of fun, me and my unconventional self in the ranks of one of the most stereotypically snobbish groups in America. Turns out they get a bum rap. I found out that the DAR is actually pretty hip these days. I still might join, it just wouldn't be quite as rebellious now. I actually found out I'd fit in pretty well. Sure I'm a liberal pagan, etc., etc. I also happen to be pretty patriotic (I actually salute the flag during parades, something I only seem to share with veterans from my grandfather's era) and interested in promoting the principles upon which the country was founded.

Hmm...answering five questions is more work than I thought. See you next Friday.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Am I a diarist or a blogger?

Hmmm....being new to blogging, I didn't really know there was a difference. I guess I'm both, I'm just not sure whether the emphasis is on my life or the things I come across--I've tried to dish out ample helpings of both. I need unbiased opinion...comment if you will, please. I'm such a stickler for things, I'd hate to go add this page to the World of Blogs if it's really belongs on Diarist.net, right? I'm leaning towards the diarist bit...after all, if this were a blog, you'd think the world revolved around me. ;)
What I am (according to the test):

What Video Game Character Are You? I am Mr Do.I am Mr Do.

I am sedentary by nature, enjoying passive entertainment, eating when the mood takes me, and playing with my food. I try to avoid conflict, but when I'm angered, I can be a devil - if you force me to fight, I will crush you. With apples. What Video Game Character Are You?

What I'd rather be (simply because of years of listening to 'green elf is about to die'):

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.

I strive to improve my living conditions by hoarding gold, food, and sometimes keys and potions. I love adventure, fighting, and particularly winning - especially when there's a prize at stake. I occasionally get lost inside buildings and can't find the exit. I need food badly. What Video Game Character Are You?

Heh. Gauntlet is the reason I've kept my old Nintendo.

Why am I running amok with silly quizzes/games? One, I need to let off some stress. Two, my phone got cut off today (that was yet another oops), but I made arrangements for them to turn it back on with a promise to pay next week when I get paid. For some reason, my DSL connexion's fine, but I still can't call anybody, so I figured I'd play on the Internet/send off e-mail.

Oy. My life. And the worst thing is, I make it myself.

Cats vs. Dogs

Okay, this is one of those e-mails that make it around the Internet continually (and I have no idea of its origin). But it's great, so I thought I'd put it here for future reference whenever I need a laugh. I especially love the cat's remarks. Hee. My friend Zabet is very much a cat person, but given her latest post, maybe she'll start appreciating dogs' less devious ways more. :)


Day number 180

Day number 181

Day number 182
1:30 pm - ooooooo. bath. bummer.


DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little
dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am
forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is
the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining
the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another

DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around
their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try
this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and
repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to
vomit on their favorite chair...must try this on their bed.

DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless
body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of,
and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only
cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm. Not
working according to plan.

DAY 768 - I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no
good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however
it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo." What sick
minds could invent such a liquid? My only consolation is the piece of
thumb still stuck between my teeth.

DAY 771 - There was some sort of gathering of their
accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event.
However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of the glass
tubes they call "beer." More importantly I overheard that my
confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this
is and how to use it to my advantage.

DAY 774 - I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and
maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than
happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the
other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them
regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement
in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a
matter of time...

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Today's Horoscope is Unfortunately Right On....

There's something in your life that you've been neglecting, and now is the time to take care of it. Others may be celebrating their independence, but Aries begins to fall deeper and deeper into a bad habit. Self-consciousness only increases your discomfort, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you're unhappy with how things are, this is the time to change them. Procrastination is indeed one of your worse vices at the moment -- but it can be overcome.

(c) 2002 Kelli Fox and Astrology.com (TM). All rights reserved.

I can't tell you right now how mortifyingly right this is. I'm still dazed and confused. I'll write more later, probably edit this entry.

Okay, having been restored by Mediterranean food (more on that later), many phone calls, etc., here's the skinny: on Wednesday I got a call from a collection agency explaining to me that I had $96,000 in student loans in default and was there anyway I could whip a payment of $70,000 (the actual amount needed, the rest being fees, etc.) to them by Friday. If not, they were talking wage garnishment, refund freezes, and possible litigation.

If you keep up with this blog, you know that I can't even afford a car that works on a regular basis. As Zabet put it, if I had $70,000 laying about, I'd probably be in Aruba. They asked for info like how much money I had in the bank, what kind of car I drove, what my medical costs were. I think the woman I talked to realised that I was not going to pull this money out of any existing resources.

This whole thing floored me, because in the last few months I've actually been trying to become fiscally responsible by (finally) consolidating my student loans. The amount seemed suspiciously close to the amount I was supposed to have consolidated and upon which I have begun repayment.

So...on Thursday I called the Department of Education (be sure you do this on a speaker phone when you can do computer work, etc. during the wait). The consolidation people verified that my loan had been consolidated to the tune of $86,000 (there were some Perkins loans in that as well). Then I found the people who deal with defaulted loans, and they agreed with the figures. Apparently the Perkins loans were paid off, but the consolidation people had not sent the money for the Stafford loans, or some sort of thing. So, tomorrow, I need to check back and see what the problem was, and in the meantime, everyone's sending me a copy of the paperwork that shows what got consolidated, what's left (there are still a couple of other agencies from where the loans need to be consolidated). Once everything's consolidated, everybody should be happy, and since it's linked to my income, I can still live in something other than my ratty car. At one point, I tried calling the number the woman gave me and it came up a dud. I was beginning to think maybe someone was trying to do a scam/identity theft (ha! as if that would get them anywhere with mine!) but it turned out to be okay; I was just so rattled I'd taken the number down wrong.

My advice to students out there: if you borrow, borrow as little as possible. Look at me...I owe as much as many doctors and I make just above $22.000 a year. I am a poster child for someone whose master's degree should pay them more but the job I found didn't. The full amount I borrowed never really seemed real, especially during those years where I was working two jobs and making $2000 a year during school and honestly couldn't have eaten otherwise. If you do borrow, keep up with where your loans are assiduously. I've had loans sold from one company to another down a chain of five or six. There is a place now for you to check your loans online, at http://www.nslds.ed.gov. You need the PIN that they send you to get access (I have to hunt that up, too). That's a huge improvement over the years of paper I've accumulated.

After the woman called (I was at work, it was towards the end of the day, the time you start wrapping up things) I was so stunned I had to go outside for a bit and try to do some breathing exercises/run through all my DBT skills. I mean, all I could think of was that I had no future (she'd stressed several times that if I couldn't come up with the money, I'd basically be having my paycheque taken away from me forever), and those loans all get cancelled if I die. Not the best of thoughts, I know. I'm sure they're used to having to take a pretty hard line with people who default on loans, but for someone who's been dealing with depression and anxiety issues, normal bills can seem overwhelming. This seemed hopeless, even more so, because if I had tried to explain my reaction, it would have just seemed like a dramatic or lame excuse. Somehow I don't think asking them if suicide is an acceptable settlement will work. But, I refused to give in, and then I made the call that brought the problem to light. Facing your fears is sometimes the only thing you can do. I really didn't like the alternative. I'm still scared by the situation (hey, emotions, you can't necessarily prevent them, just deal with them), but at least I feel like I'm in a little more control, which is good.

I know that some of you out there are thinking, hey, that's so pathetic. Well, I hope you're never really in a situation to understand. A few of you may really understand what it's like to feel like your world is crashing down on you at any given moment. I hope things are okay with you. I hope that this will slowly get better for me, now that I am trying to get some control over it.

Thanks to Zabet and Hubby for taking me out to eat (hey, sometimes it's bad to eat emotionally, but shocks are best handled with some food in your system) and cheering me up. We decided to try a place near my house called Aladdin. It's a little hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean restaurant and it was W O N D E R F U L. I have never tasted such great falafel. I got a vegetarian sampler and had to bring most of it back home for later--moussaka, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, cabbage rolls, an eggplant soup, faroush (I think that's what it was called--a wonderful salad with olive oil, mint, and spices), and baklava--you can't ask for a better meal. The restaurant was clean, the service was great, the waiter was cute, and we wanted to take the beaded chandelier home with us. It is now our 'new' place to eat, since our 'old' place, the late, lamented Taj Mahal (Indian food, obviously) went out of business. If you're ever in the Lexington area. They're in the phone book, at Woodhill Centre, and they do takeout as well!

And speaking of Britain...

Here's my favourite news item from earlier today: Sheep held in ransom gambol. If ever I had doubts about my Scottish heritage, they've been laid to rest. I must admit, as a gardener, I quite understand his point of view.

How good a British citizen are you?

Congratulations. You are a model citizen who will doubtless prove a fine asset to the community. In fact, one could scarcely believe that you weren't born here, old chap.

Gee. I even knew where to fish! Not bad for a measly American...(Okay, having a classical education helped with most everything but the cricket, and really, after learning quidditch, cricket's easy.)

And there was much rejoicing...

I just e-mailed an article related to latex allergy and safer sex, right on deadline. Yea! It was a little more daunting than I thought it would be, mainly because the last time I researched to topic there was hardly anything out there, and new products have come down the line in that time. I had to send it on in so Zabet could incorporate it into the website she's designing for her class (part of the assigment had to do with collaborating with others.) Heh heh. I'm a collaborator. Makes it sound like we're taking over the world or something.

Hmmm...I think it's time for sleep. That made even less sense than usual. Good night. :)

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Are you fluffy?

One of the problems with being pagan is that there are a lot of different types of pagans, and depending on what sort of experience others have had with people calling themselves pagan, you may either be seen as evil incarnate or some fluffy airhead. I came out at -18, right under the "not only are you not fluffy, but you positively delight in scaring the fluffies. Now that's not very nice, is it ;-)" but definitely not fluffy. Which makes me happy. I've been referred to as a fundamentalist pagan, mainly because I think reason and experience should be applied to one's faith. Oh, well...oh, and yes, I do make fun of many of the books at the local bookstore, particularly the ones on "Witta" (supposedly Irish Wicca, which seems an odd name as there's no 'w' in Irish!)

Friday, April 19, 2002

Go, Lynn Johnston!

I love 'For Better or For Worse'. I was catching up on the big break-up between Elizabeth and her boyfriend Eric (yes, comics, whether in the paper, online, or in comic books, are basically like soap operas, even when they have spaceships) and found this one. It's definitely a good angle on relationships. So nice to know I'm a "woman of experience".!

Check it out

I've eaten, but my blood sugar was a little low, so I feel a little "swimmy"--you know, it's like you fall asleep and next thing you know your arm has moved from point A to point B. So, I figured I should sit down for a bit before walking to work.

I found a great website last night, the Green Man Review. It reviews various forms of literature and music. I've volunteered to be a reviewer, so if I'm accepted I'll get some professional writing experience. They don't pay you but if they send you a book or CD to review, you get to keep it. That sounds great....

Also I found a link to a band in Oregon called Skye. I love Celtic music and I told Zabet about them since she and hubby are planning on a move to Oregon. I promised I'd put the link here so she could check it out. You should too, if you're in to traditional music.

Well, off to work I go. The recent turmoil has given me new incentive to get there early. :)

Ah, the Infamous April 19th

Alright, some of you are going to think this is superstitious nonsense, but I've seen too much stuff in my life to discount "mere coincidence". I never know what to expect on this date, so I approach it with some trepidation. Why? Well, in recent years, the incident at Ruby Ridge happened, and the Branch-Davidian standoff in Waco reached its fiery conclusion on this day. The Oklahoma City bombing happened on April 19. So did the Columbine High School shootings. On a side note, April 19th was the date when the Roman empire suffered its two worst military disasters. In one, the emperor was killed in the midst of a Yugoslav marsh. In another, the emperor was captured, killed, and his body was set up in a Zoroastrian temple for all to see. I can still remember my history teacher telling us this, and I said April 19th? and explained the modern "coinicidences". We decided maybe the Romans were right that some dates were cursed. (Hey, they also fed sacred chickens and watched them to determine if an attack/war/battle would be auspicious. Sounds silly to a modern "scientific" viewpoint. I might add,however, that they conquered the known using this method. And of course, tomorrow is the birthday of Adolph Hitler. I don't know much about astrology, but it is the cusp between Aries (the sign of leaders, people of impulsive action, etc.) and Taurus (the sign of materialism). Maybe that has something to do with it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Ha--lest I get too much into feeling sorry for myself--

So, given the preceding, and the fact that I, hmm...how to put it politely, " just became acquainted with a monthly visitor?" I was having a good cry when my cat, intent on being fed, jumped up to the bathroom sink, climbed up my back, and meowed loudly in my ear, so I stopped crying and fed him. I think this is why people with pets live longer....:) [And even now, my dog is coming to thank me for her food --one small dog kiss, followed with rolling on the floor--] Somehow that makes the night more tolerable.
A note to D--

You know, the more I actually pay attention to the reality of myself, the less I like what I see. I really snowed myself about what a great person I was.

On a related note, I got a verbal warning today regarding my absences. You know how you've said that I wouldn't be able to hold a job anywhere else? Well, I'm pushing the envelope on this one, too.

The good think about seeing the truth is that now that I'm really looking, maybe I can start changing it. As much as I want to curl up into a little ball and make the world go away, I can't. I know that I CAN make myself better, and can get to a point where I'm maybe contributing a little more than I'm taking out of the world. But I'm thinking that I have to start pretty much from square one. THAT'S one of the 'what elses' I have to learn--that I've been living in the negatives, that maybe I'm floating just under zero, and if I want to make it into the positives, I'm going to have to really work at it. That makes regular exercise seem easy by comparison. Exercising my soul is even more important, and I'm beginning to think it's much harder. But I refuse to give up trying.

Thank you for your help. I love you, and I'm so very grateful that you've tried to help me. Please don't give up on me, either, no matter how much I sometimes disappoint you.

I surprised myself today by taking my tendency towards inaction to a fairly despicable level. One of my neighbours told me last week, while I was sick, that he and his wife were breaking their lease and moving back to L.A. because he couldn't find a job here, that no one wanted to hire him, and that they didn't like him. They were leaving, taking just their clothes, and wanted to know if I wanted any of the furniture; I told them no, I didn't have any room for any, but thanked them. They said they couldn't take their year-old border collie, Daisy with them, that they would need to find a home for her, and asked if I knew anyone who could take her, but I didn't.

I told myself that it wasn't any of my business whether they had told the apartment management they were leaving. I would have, even if I were going to break the lease, but it sounded fishy that they weren't taking their furniture. They had said they were going to leave on Sunday, but I actually haven't seen their cars since Friday. I didn't see Daisy at the window, either, but I couldn't be 100% sure that she wasn't there. I told D about it, and he agreed it sounded like they were skipping out. We both thought there may have been some reason they were doing it so quickly. He thought that ethically I should tell the apartment people.

I said I didn't think that they would have just left Daisy, but some people do that with animals, especially cats. That's what worried me.

Five days later, we're talking on the phone, and he asks me if I'd checked on Daisy. "No. She would have barked if she'd been left alone," I'd said. It sounded lame when I did. "But you didn't check?" he asked. "No." "So you don't really know. She could be languishing inside and you decided you weren't going to check, didn't you?" "Well, yes". Utter silence. I asked if he were still there. He said yes but that there was someone screaming outside and he needed to see what was going on, and told me he'd talk to me later and hung up.

I sat there. I hadn't checked. Hadn't wanted to get involved. Surely no one would do that, just leave a dog alone in an abandoned apartment, right? Maybe I was just obsessing on the idea because it was remotely possible. I'd known the couple at least superficially for over a year. I wasn't too sure about him, but I couldn't see her just leaving the dog shut up. But then, I realised she'd probably do whatever he told her to. Just like I had been with my ex. Just like I was being now. And my dog and theirs had played together for a year and I hadn't so much as checked up on the dog, had rationalised it all away, felt no real emotion about it, and still hadn't told anyone they'd said they were leaving.

One of the maintenance men lives next to their apartment. He was grilling out and was talking on the phone. I went over and told them that they'd said they were moving, that I hadn't seen the cars, and that they'd said that Daisy wasn't going with them, and that I was afraid they may have left her shut up. Was there any way he could check? So we went over and went in. No furniture. No clothes. And thankfully, no Daisy. But they did leave her food, collar, and kennel, along with a phone that was still operational and a cable receiver, plus random stuff and a very dirty kitchen. Oh, and a box of shotgun shells. All in all, it could have been worse--it'll take some cleaning but nothing's destroyed. We can't figure out the furniture; neither of us saw it go out. He said it had come from Rent-A-Centre fairly recently. Maybe they took it back. Maybe. In any case, I guess that's the furniture they wanted to give me. Hmmm...

I suppose it all could have been innocent--the guy'd said they couldn't take their furniture with them, and if it were rented that would make sense. But they must not have taken Daisy--they wouldn't have left her stuff--her toys, even her food. Nor would they have given her away without that stuff. She probably went to the pound. Now that I know that, it bothers me, because it would be a shock for her. I think it'd be easy to find a home for her--she'd be great for kids. I certainly couldn't take her; I have four animals already, and Cerys, being sedate, couldn't really deal well with that much energy in another dog. Daisy tended to harrass her when she just wanted to chew grass. But I don't understand why it bothers me now, but I basically dissociated myself so much from the whole thing (I really wish they hadn't told me, and I suppose I acted like they didn't) to such a point that I couldn't really picture her in the apartment.

I'm ashamed. Ashamed that I did it, and ashamed that after all these years I'm still doing it. I thought I'd gotten past the living in a fantasy world to escape an unhappy homelife. It seems the more I dig and try to get better, the more I find that's rotten to begin with. I used to think that I was basically a decent person who just had trouble coping with life. Now I'm not so sure. But while I can't change my past choices, I can still work to do better in the future. I guess that's all anyone can do.
Well, maybe I'm not so truly competent in my chosen field. I received a warning regarding my absences today. Between the doctor's appointments, having late mornings, and being sick, it's been difficult to get all my hours in. They're very happy with my work; they're just concerned about the irregularities in my schedule, which I understand. My boss and I had a long talk this afternoon. She's a nurse, and she realised as we were talking that part of the trouble I have in the mornings may be my blood sugar dipping down. Apparently I've been taking my medicine at the wrong time. It's not supposed to be taken with a meal, but about 30 minutes before. My boss recommended a doctor at UK who specialises in diabetes. It sounded like he might prescribe some of the patient education and nutritional counseling that I need. I don't know when to check my blood sugar. I know pretty much how to eat, but I don't know how to incorporate my vegetarianism and food allergies in the mix. And much of the info isn't something I can just research because it has to be designed for each individual. Part of my trouble is that I'm not diabetic (yet). I have insulin resistance, which makes your sugar go low, but not high, so the medical people don't treat it as that serious, even though newer research shows it can lead to diabetes and heart disease. And while I know that theoretically I could go low enough to pass out (and I have been low before, at 27, where the normal's 70-100), I've been in a kind of denial. For several months I stopped taking the Glucophage entirely, and as a result I put on about 40 lbs and I've been zigzagging with my sugar levels, although not to the extent I was before the diagnosis, since I've been eating more regularly and generally better. It's stupid, I know, and I'm tired of feeling bad, but I'm also tired of taking medicines and doing this, that, and the other thing, and I know that's unreasonable, but I think everyone who deals with a chronic condition goes through it at some point. I know I have one friend with epilepsy and another with high-blood pressure who had to have her heart repaired. They both went through rough times because of that. But they're both doing better now. If I can just stick this out, I can, too. Then maybe I won't become diabetic, and can avoid the problems that so many of my family have died of.

Oh, and the car's still not working. I noticed that when I turned the key, the fuel pump noise I'm used to didn't seem to happen. I hope that I was just having trouble hearing it. But you know, maybe I should just get a plan of action going and act as if I don't really have a car. I can get to my appointments on the bus. The buses in Lexington run seven days a week now (they used to not on Sunday), so I can get to the game. I live across the street from my pharmacy and a block away from work. I have a bike (which needs to be tuned-up, but that's a lot cheaper than a car), and I want to get more walking in now that the weather's pretty. When I was in school I went for years without a car, with very little hardship. Granted, I lived closer to a grocery then. But at least the apartments have laundry rooms, so I'm better off there. :) And I'm within a mile of two Krogers--when I lived downtown the nearest grocery was past the cemetery (a very large cemetery), over a viaduct, and then about another half mile through a rough area of town.

So, even though I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment, I think I'll muddle through. Really, what choice do I have? I don't want to become more of a burden on my mother (who's been channelling money into the car and helping me out) or my friends (two of which I owe money and one of which I just get psycho with occasionally) than I already am.

For now, I think I'll use the DBT skill of distraction and play spider solitaire, then get something to eat and enjoy the rest of a beautiful day.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

You know, I wonder what my librarian compatriots who come to this page think. It's not really a professional blog. I don't even talk about being a librarian that much in here. I mostly rant about things that happened in my personal life. But, I suppose if you're one of those people who think of librarians as a sort of one-dimensional, plastic sort of person, this blog might change your mind. (Although you may get too many dimensions at once with me.) You might even wonder why you should go up to a librarian ever again...Really, we don't bite, even the more rabid among us. Most of us don't even "sshhhhh!"

Just so you know, I am unaccountably competent in my chosen field, as opposed to my life in general. I have it on good authority (feedback from my patrons, which pretty much counts the most). :)

I... am... SO... tired... of... my... car...

Today was 82 degrees and my car tried to overheat coming back from the doctor, so I had to stop and let it rest a couple of times. You see, at some point a genius of a mechanic (note: not my mom's boyfriend, who has fixed virtually everything that has gone wrong on my car) but a supposed professional, jerry-rigged my fan because it wouldn't run when it was supposed to. You'd think this would help, but it overheats easily. Sometimes I can make it better by turning on the (otherwise non-functional) air conditioning, because then two fans go. But today, there was a lot of start-and-stop traffic, and a higher than normal heat index. As D put it, my car apparently operates within a narrow temperature window (it doesn't like the cold, either.) Granted, I'm sort of the same way, but unlike people, machines have specifications to live up to.

Now, it's reasonably cooler, so I tried to go get A from work. It won't start. I did manage to slide back down the incline a bit in the process of trying to start it, and so, after calling a security guard at the university where A works so that he wouldn't be sitting on the curb waiting for a ride that never came, I had to push the car back up into the parking place, which is decidedly harder to do on a Nissan than on my old Renault, even thought they're about the same size. Sigh. And again, sigh.

Okay, I'll stop whining. I should be glad I didn't break down somewhere on the road, or get in an accident. Yesterday I decided to go get dinner before going on to DBT. I had a mini-van dart across the road from behind a line of traffic and barely was able to stop in time--I started to skid on a dry road. Fortunately, I was only going 25 or 30 miles an hour at the time. But there was a moment where the lady's and my eyes locked and we weren't sure if we were about to die or not. Considering I don't have airbags and drive a compact car, I was reasonably sure that I'd be the worse for wear if we collided. But I came out the lucky one. Apparently there was an accident on the same road that made it onto the radio when I was driving from Long John Silvers over to the psych centre. One of the women in the group was behind the accident when it happened and called 911 on her cell phone. Her husband got out and checked to make sure no one was hurt (there was a fender in the road, and at first it looked like a person,) then they went on to the meeting. About 20 minutes into the session, the one person missing came in and apologised for not coming earlier, but that she had been in a bad car accident. It turns out it was the same one. Then the shock started to wear off and the counselor led her away to make sure she was okay. In the shock of moment, all she could think of was getting there because she'd promised one of the other women she'd come and bring something for her. If things had come together a little differently, any of the three of us would have had that experience. I don't believe in coincidence, but I can't fathom a deeper meaning to what was certainly an odd kind of thing. Suffice to say we were creeped out, and she was quite thoroughly (and justifiably) scared. She thought she'd hurt her shoulder but she was too frantic to have it looked at that night, I think. I hope she feels better by next week. She really is one of the most likeable of the characters in my DBT group, but like the rest of us, has anxiety issues. That couldn't have helped.

Okay. I think I'll go watch fish for awhile so some of the car frustration can die down before I try to sleep. Good night.
I'm determined to end the day on a positive note. When I was getting ready for bed I fed the fish in my tank and sat down and watched them for awhile. It's SSSOOOO relaxing--almost like getting a massage. Actually, better--no initial pain! Right now I've got three age groups of livebearers, then an algae-eating catfish and a male betta. (Contrary to popular belief you can let the bettas escape the confines of those little tiny bowls. The thing to remember is not to put them in with another male betta or a fish with long fancy fens that trigger the fighting response. I think gouramis are bad companion fish, for example. But he's ignoring the babies so far--they were very bold tonight, swimming just below the surface. I feed a colour-enhancing food plus a few larger pellets for the betta. The little ones, who are less than 3/4 of an inch long, were trying to take out the pellets. The algae-eater was shy, draping himself in the folds of the gargoyle statue's wings. My golden snails (of which I once had one 3 inches in diametre) are finally growing. I had a plecostomos for a long time (it was 7 inches when it died, of old age I think) that would just eat them. Now they've got a fighting chance but the fish get them when they're getting too successful. The tank is planted with java moss and some other (real, no plastic) plants, so there's plenty of room to travel and hide.

It was very relaxing to watch them. In fact, I'm so relaxed, I need to go to sleep now. Good-night for now.....

Sigh. Here in the South, we do politics the old-fashioned way...[shaking head back and forth is dismay]

If you've been following my blog, you know I've included updates in the murder of a local sheriff. No doubt Zabet's thinking, okay, what are you, obsessed with macabre stories? (The answer is yes. I once freaked out a carload of people by reading a passage from a book [that she gave me] on forensic anthropology that described the layers of decay in a septic system. What can I say, some people freak at the sound of maggots. I only freak at the sight of them.) Well, I promise, this'll be the last update, unless it just takes some totally bizarre turn that demands comment. ;)

The latest? A former deputy who was running against Sam Catron has been charged in the case, along with the alleged triggerman (a campaign worker for the candidate.) Another campaign worker has been charged with complicity. If you want details, go here.

We'll take as given that they're innocent until proven guilty. But if they are guilty, it's a sad, cowardly way to take, and worse, it apparently didn't go off as planned. (Okay, I have a thing against murder. I have an even greater thing against incompetent murder.) The man who was supposed to have pulled the trigger was supposed to have paused after shooting the sheriff in the head before running away (to see how he'd done?) then got on a motorcycle registered to this rival candidate, only to be chased by the law enforcement officers and firemen (who, after all, were in the crowd,) and eventually wrecked the motorcycle during the chase. I mean, if you were going (theoretically) to kill a well-known official, wouldn't you try to get him in an isolated area, and make it, oh, not so obviously an assassination when it's only a month until the primary? Maybe they thought Catron's appearance on TV concerning a fugitive former militia member would muddy the waters.

That's one difference between real criminals and the one's in mystery novels. You're average, intelligent mystery reader probably wouldn't believe the scenario above. It's just not suspenseful enough. Unfortunately, these sorts of things happen (and according to the news story, particularly in the South). I still think we are carrying a long-standing heritage of blood-feuds around in our culture, and I doubt we'll fully see them fade. The Celts are prevalent in Appalachia; they've been doing this for a long time. And while I'm respectful of my roots, this sort of thing doesn't solve any problems and just makes you (and your entire region) look bad. Sigh.

I guess what makes it hit home for someone in the area, but not the vicinity of this, is visiting the Pulaski County Sheriff's department web site, seeing the welcome message from Sheriff Catron, and seeing the link to his e-mail. That's one more person who's gone from the world for a completely stupid reason. They're already debating whether he was acting in his capacity as sheriff when he was shot (this carries an additional penalty in the Commonwealth of Kentucky [let me guess, you thought we were a state, right?].) I guess it'll be a long road ahead.

Okay, I finished the book within a day or so of getting it, but I've been participating in the discussion list amelia-golden@yahoogroups.com, and I love this passage. It keeps coming up, for obvious reasons. It's from Elizabeth Peters' The Golden One, pp. 351-352:

[Sahin Pasha] "Professor, I admire you, I respect you, and I do not want to injure you. Anyhow, my reputation would never be the same if I overcame a man armed with a parasol who has only one serviceable arm. I accept your offer. Put down the..." A gurgle of amusement escaped him. "The umbrella."

"Oh, come, don't insult my intelligence," said Emerson in exasperation. "You have no intention of giving yourself up, and I have no intention of allowing you to take my son prisoner again. I cannot imagine how you could accomplish it, but I do not underestimate you. En garde."

Ramses pulled himself to a sitting position. "Be careful, Father. He doesn't--"

"Fight like a gentleman? Well, well. Neither do I."

He bent his knee and lunged. A cry of alarm escaped me. It was almost certainly the most ineffective move he could have made. The blade of the sword was only three inches longer than that of Sahin's knife. The Turk didn't even bother to parry it. One quick step backward took him out of range, and as Emerson straightened, staggering a little, the Turk's knife drove at his side.

It sank with a crunch into the plaster encasing Emerson's raised forearm and stuck, just long enough. Emerson dropped the parasol and hit the other man in the stomach. Rather below the stomach, to be accurate.

"Oh, Emerson," I gasped. "Oh, my dear! That was magnificent!"

"Most ungentlemanly," said my husband, contemplating the writhing, wheezing form of his foe. "But I was never much good with a parasol."

Have I mentioned that these are my favourite novels in the world? That they bring joy to my heart? If you're into adventure, mystery, with a humourous twist, check them out.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

They've named the suspect charged in killing the Pulaski county sheriff... Apparently the motorcycle used in the getaway may have been registered to one of the sheriff's political opponents. Hmmm...
You know, there was a jump in hits for this page, so I checked it out the site meter. Turns out I'd misspelled Afghan (not something I usually do, but everyone gets a typo now and again.) I've corrected it. However, let me just say that one sicko got to this page by typing in "afgan (sic) women that do anal" into Yahoo! Umm...no. One, you misspelled Afghan (and somehow, I don't think you knew how). Two, I don't approve of your topic choice, but as a librarian I support your ability to do so (just as I support my opinion to think that you're a sicko), and three, please go to your local library and ask a librarian to teach you some search strategies that can help you get better results. 'That' and 'do' probably gave you a whole slew of hits that had nothing to do with your topic. Many search engines allow you to zero in on a topic either by using quotes or by putting the plus (+) sign in front of important terms to show that they are required, or a minus (-) sign to show what you don't want. For example, if I wanted to search, say, 'luscious Latin babes", I might put that whole phrase in quotation marks to get that specific grouping of words, or type in +luscious +Latin +babes -language, because one, I didn't want to get Latin language texts, and two, who wants a 'babe' that can talk, right? ;) If I wasn't sure I'd spelled luscious right, I might leave the + off that one. See how it works? Oh, and use something like AltaVista. Yahoo's better for browsing subjects, and I don't think they've got a category for this.

Now this is predictable...I value my life and those of my passengers (and for that matter, the crazies bearing down on me).

Besides, I have Paxil now. Trust me, I wasn't always like this. I was the one who made the driver's ed teacher frown when I checked "open my door as he speeds around me" to "how would you deal with a motorcyclist who passes you when you're stopped in traffic?" Now, don't worry, I actually give mc's a lot of extra room, because I know that even my little Nissan can do mega damage. But the answer was just too tempting to pass up. I don't think Mr Cottrell understood my sense of humour.

Find out what kind of driver you are!

I'm interested in how Zabet comes out on this one. Don't get me wrong, I've never had any cause to worry when she drives, except when she's in her mother's Celica. Give the woman a powerful motor, and.... :)

Oh, Gods, it gets worse...shows what I get for telling the truth, and I don't even drink beer!

I'm so like Homer!

I'm Homer, who are you? by Lexi

Oh, no. I just knew it.

You are Fozzie!
Wokka Wokka! You love to make lame jokes. Your sense of humor might be a bit off, but you're a great friend and can always be counted on.

Careful observation will tell you I've added a comment section to the blog. This is my first attempt to use PERL in a UNIX environment (well, actually any environment). I think I followed the directions, but if you find it doesn't work, e-mail me. Thanks!
Eerie, Weird, and Sad

Tonight I watched, for the first time in ages, America's Most Wanted on TV. I was just flipping through and it seemed like it might be good to watch. There was a story with a Kentucky connexion, of a fugitive white-supremicist/survivalist with lots of ammo (click on S. A.'s picture). Scary. I'd heard a little bit about the case but wasn't sure if he'd been captured yet or not. They played some of the short-wave broadcasts he'd made. Very scary, that the guy next door could feel that way about other people and be sitting on top of an arsenal.

Tonight at 7:15 pm, a sheriff who had appeared on the programme, Sam Catron, was shot to death as he left a political rally/fish fry. According to our local news, he was killed by a suspect with a high-powered rifle who then fled on a motorcycle but was chased by volunteer firemen who had attended the rally and was captured and arrested. They have not released the name of the suspect.

Apparently Sheriff Catron's father, the police chief for Somerset, Ky. was the last law enforcement officer in Pulaski county to die in the line of duty.

It's a shame that this happened. At least they caught a suspect--let's hope it's the right person, whoever that may be.
Here's a quiz from eMode.com:

What colour is your aura?

"We don't need a psychic to tell us that you're giving off a Emerald vibe. Your bright, refreshing, grass-green aura tells us that you're a relaxed person with a laid-back attitude. Into living a healthy lifestyle — from eating right to trying yoga and aromatherapy — you're down-to-earth and always easy-going. You bring calm and peace with you wherever you go. A bit of a flower child, you're as unpretentious and open-minded as they come. Everyone is invited to your party. Chances are you have quite the green thumb, too, as well as a knack for healing people — both emotionally and physically. Sensitive and compassionate, you're as reliable as the earth and as natural as herbal tea and organic vegetables."

And then there's the What element are you?
I came out tied, with Earth and Water as mine.


Want To Know Which Element You Are?

Level-headed, strong of will, unwavering in
beliefs. You are the roots, the strength, the solid force. A walking source of inspiration, you achieve
power and greatness without effort. You also hold great compassion and are in full control of your emotions.
This comes with a heavy price. You are unable to adapt and can be stubborn over the smallest of things.
You take the greatest offense to your ego being bruised. Need to loosen up a little...

Best Match: Fire, you might get burned but they'll show you how to use ALL of your emotions.

Worst Match: Air, no way you could stand being around them for more then a few seconds.

wasted a bunch of time making this test.

(I've noticed this picture goes in and out at whim. Funny, the one with one bare booby doesn't, but the clothed guy glitches. Coincidence? I think not!)

Want To Know Which Element You Are?

Stuck between the sky and the ground, you lack
the sudden impulse that Air has but are unable to root yourself down like Earth. Though you have troubles
finishing projects, people can depend on you for the most part (even if it means pulling a few all-nighters).
On the plus side, you are extremely adaptable and thus can adjust to any situation. Sure, you might not like
it, but it doesn't weigh you down.

Best Match: Fire, just enough 'oomph' to keep your interest.

Worst Match: Spirit, you'll be out the door before they make up their minds.

wasted a bunch of time making this test.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

PS At some point in the week my molly (fish) had babies (six of them, 5 black, 1 spotted). With the two adolescents (1 spotted molly, 1 orange swordtail) plus the adults, that brings the tank community up to fifteen (I lost the barb in the whoops-I-put-salt-in-the-aquarium-for-the-mollies-and-forgot-I-had-snails-and-you-remember-what-does-to-them-in-terms-of-water-quality fiasco. I did mention I was sick, and stupid, this past week? My tank is heavily planted with java moss, so they don't usually need any extra care--the little ones have plenty of hiding places from the bigger ones. L'chaim!

Friday, April 12, 2002

My Week, Redux

Okay, I'm trying again. And doing so with an approaching thunderstorm, I might add. :) I'll break it up into sections this time. (Yeah, I know, I could just save it in a word processor and cut and paste, but that would make my life easier, wouldn't it?)

So here goes.


I slept. That's pretty much it. No reading. A couple of trips out with the dog and answers to the cry of "Thumbs! Feed us!" by the kitty chorus. Oh, and I managed to read my e-mail. The good news is that I seem to be coming out of the creeping crud that's been my life the last few days. I can almost think. Almost. And, thanks to the nifty stuff the doctor gave me (which is just a souped up, time-release form of Robitussin, but is for some reason prescription-only) my head finally does not feel like it's full of snot. Yeay!

I decided to go to work. After all, I'm never sick more than a couple of days in a row, right? I made it halfway there (I should mention I live a block from work) and the car died. Bummer. I was so caught up in getting into the office that I apparently walked off and left my keys in the ignition. Oh, yeah, I was ready for work.

So, after an hour of sneezing, hacking, feeling feverish, etc. (silly me, I wasn't feeling better, it's just my snot-factories hadn't woken up yet) I got one of the nurses to check me out. She said I looked "puny," that it sounded like the same thing that floored her for 2 weeks, and that I should be more reasonable than she (it took her that long to go to a doctor because, well, she's a nurse) especially since I have asthma. So I went back down to the car. This time I coaxed it back to life, went home, made an appointment, and slept. At the doctor's they gave me a prescription for some stuff to liquifey and dry out the drainage, plus a prescritption for antibiotics if I weren't better in a couple of days. More sleeping. Talked to A on the phone and explained that I was still sick. He'd wanted to go to the store but decided that I should keep my plague-carrying butt at home. All of us have sung in choruses, and we have a general rule that people who are sick need not go visiting. You'll find this common among singers. I once had a voice teacher who had a student come into class with strep throat. When she found out, she sent him summarily packing, sent another student down to her office for Lysol, and then proceeded to spray down his seat, anywhere he'd walked, and most of the people around him. Obsessive? Not really, not if you make your living by your voice. And having spent much of my childhood with strep throat, I could only applaud. Technically, I'd already exposed A and D due to a middle-of-the-night emergency (they needed some first aid supplies due to a cooking accident,) but that's not visiting. Besides, D had just had a cold, so I think I got it from him anyway, and A has the constitution of a plough horse. But it's just as well. I've called this the "stupid sickness". My brain just hasn't been functioning. The other day I shampooed my hair with facial gel. I probably shouldn't have been behind the wheel of a car, so instead I read a bit of Caress of Twilight and went to sleep.

Wednesday, April 10th

Ack. Hack. Ugh. Phhttt! Whine.

My entire head felt like one giant bunch of snot. The crud was in full force now. I'd opened the windows and had a fan blowing on me because I felt hot and was running a temperature. It was getting worse as the day progressed. I tried to run some errands earlier in the day, including getting some over-the-counter stuff, drinks, and food that a brainless person could make, but with the exception of these short runs, I slept most of the day. I had a little station set up on the couch where I had a bag for the tissues hanging from my lamp, and everything I needed right there. I felt like such a slug.

The good news is that I got an e-mail from my friend Tracy, who's working on the Mars mission with NASA. She sort of dropped out of our lives when she went away to grad school. I told her I'd write more when I was better, and gave her this blog address and the one for Zabet. That perked up the day considerably.

Tuesday, April 9th

My karma ran over me. I'd had such a beautiful birthday and I took a small delight in the fact that my ex, who is exactly one week younger than I, was due to have rain on his. And lo, I was smote. I never made it in to work--in retrospect I was coming down with some sort of spring plague. At the time I thought it was because I'd missed a day of my Paxil and that can really mess you up (gives me migraines, and problems thinking to the point of being non-functional). D called me that afternoon, after I'd slept all day, called me a slug, and pointed out that I seem to get sick around the time my DBT group goes into the "Core Mindfulness" phase. It's already established that I can make myself sick. I usually don't realise it at the time, and we're talking real sickness, not just all in my head. It's like I emotionally shut down and so does my immune system. He may be right. I just know I felt bad, and I didn't think I would be of any use at work. Then I wound up going into a full virusy feeling by the afternoon. I don't know. I think he has a point. I've been doing better with coping. The DBT is helping. But at the same time, I think I tried to rush things. I was set to take a "mini-medical school" class starting today. For $25 you get to attend 8 weeks of lectures at the University of Kentucky Medical Centre. I had thought about applying for a job at LCC that paid more than twice what I make now. And when I went to Barnes & Noble to pick up my birthday present, I'd found a part-time listing in the children's department that sounded like it would be great fun and could help me save up for a new car.

I think I overshot myself in confidence. I'm still having depression problems, I'm still taking each day one at a time. So far I've managed not to lose my job or something, but it's been a struggle just to do normal things like pay bills, get to work on time, that sort of thing. I don't think I'm ready to expand beyond what I'm doing now. Maybe later, like in the summer or fall. It'll come eventually. But I think this was a wake-up call that I'm not ready yet, that I need to concentrate on doing well with what I have now. That sounds pathetic, doesn't it? Welcome to life with depression. But I truly believe it will get better.

Monday, April 8th
I felt somewhat ambivalent today. I just couldn't seem to work up to any real enthusiasm. Work went okay, but not as productive as I'd like. I felt, oh, disjointed from everyone. I missed my Paxil today; had to get it refilled by taking in a new prescription rather than just calling one in. Maybe that's the problem. DBT went pretty well, although we had a small group. We started the "Core Mindfulness" module that goes between each of the others. It's one of the hardest things for me. I can do breathing, zen-like moments and all that. But to be really mindful of what's going on in my head scares me. For years I dissociated most of my life away. It's harder now that I'm making a conscious effort to remain present. I guess it's because if you're truly aware, then you can be hurt that much deeper emotionally. Of course, if you check out completely, you can be hurt physically much worse.

This probably doesn't make sense to most people. They probably just think I'm crazy. But it was I way I learnt to cope with people and situations in my life that I had no control over. Unfortunately, I carried that coping mechanism into adulthood, and chose the same sort of people to continue to be around. I guess a lot of us do that. I really did marry someone similar to my father, for example. Neither of them cared about anything beyond himself and his 'needs'. But now I'm trying to get myself back fully. I think I'm on the right track. It's just a little harder than I thought. But I guess anything worthwhile is.

Sunday, April 7th
We didn't have our usual Call of Cthulhu game, because both D and B had been sick. So I did laundry with A at the laundromat, then went back and spent some time with D, who was getting over his cold. We watched the movie Evolution, with David Duchovny, Orlando Jones, and Julianne Moore. I laughed so hard that at one point I almost passed out, and I can honestly say that's never happened before. I mean, everything was going black. The line that did it? "Give me back my friend you giant sphincter!" or something to that effect. I wonder how many times they had to do that take. Okay, so I'm a little odd. But it was hilarious!

Saturday, April 6th
I had lunch with Zabet and her hubby, Patrick at Panera Bread. We were supposed to meet a cartoonist but that fell through. Lunch, however, was excellent. Then I went over to meet D and go do some research at the library with him; he was sick in bed, though, so A and I went to the grocery (yeay! for the car) and then I went over to Z and P's house for awhile. We watched the most god-awful movie I have ever seen, but had a good time.

Friday, April 5th
D and I celebrated the return of the car by going to the vet and getting the special diets his dog and my cat need, stopping by the local gaming store, etc. Hey, I lead a relatively simple life. It was nice to get into our normal routine after about 4 weeks of no car and 2 weeks since we'd seen each other. I think that's the longest time I've spent by myself since I was in the college dorms (a frighteningly long time ago now--we're talking 1984. I mean Zabet was in elementary school.)

Thursday, April 4th
Yeay! I got the car back! It was like $330, but at least the wheel shouldn't fall off. Yeah, it wasn't the tie rod after all (oh, no, that would have been a mere $120,) but the lower control arm, which apparently keeps the wheel on the car. I had dropped it off on Saturday, checked on Monday, and had been told they were waiting for a part. Here's how it went late Monday when I called back to check on the progress:

ME: "I wanted to check on the Nissan Sentra."
GUY AT THE TYRE SHOP: "Oh, yeah. Turns out the part is coming from Cincinnati, so we won't get it until Wednesday or Thursday. But you can come get the car if you want."
ME: [pause] "Um...And the wheel could fall off, right?"
GUY: [pause]"Um...well, yeah, it's kinda unsafe. But I thought you might need to get around between now and then."
ME: "Is there any reason it can't just stay there?"
GUY: "Oh, well, no, that would be fine."
ME:"Um...let's just keep it there, then, shall we? I think I can make do until then."

Really. This happened. And you know what? There are probably people out there who would have taken the car, had some terrible accident in which someone got killed, and then would have had the guts to sue the repair shop for damages. Me, I do enough stupid things in my life. I don't want this one on my conscience, too.

Wednesday, April 3rd
I had the best conversation with my mother today. She was off work and home alone and it's a local call for her (but not for me; she has a special calling plan) so we were able to have a nice, long talk. It's been awhile since I've really been alone with my mom, except for some trips to my grandmother's, and some of the issues I needed to cover are just not the sort of thing you bring up when your mom is driving down the road.

We covered just about everything. We both discussed what it was like growing up in our families, and what it was like living with my dad. We talked about how abusive he was. I think I surprised her with some of it, but she knew that emotionally he wasn't able to be a loving father. She is of the opinion that he was scared of me, especially because I was smart, and active, and vocal. I think she may be right. I can remember my dad being put out because I scored 2 points ahead of him on an IQ test (as if they're even that particularly valid). She thought that he felt like he couldn't keep up with me, that he wouldn't know all the answers. That makes a lot of sense. A lot of my problems now are that I've programmed myself to mess up in the most stupid, self-destructive way possible. It's like I'm still looking for his approval, and the only way to get it is to make him look better. Sigh. This is a man I haven't even had contact with in eight years, I might add.

My mom was also worried that some of my psychological problems were her fault. When I was growing up we were very emotionally dependent upon one another, partly because we moved so often that we were the only constants in each other's life. I was able to reassure her on that point. I won't say there were some issues, but I've mostly worked through any we had. I told her I was bisexual. Turns out she'd figured that out for herself. She'd tried to tell me, a little, by saying things like, "you know it's okay if you don't have kids and do the whole traditional thing". At the time I just thought she was saying she didn't think I could handle it. (Well, and maybe she's right. I can't even handle a regular relationship yet, after all). But what she really meant is that I shouldn't feel like I needed to do the normal thing to feel fulfilled; that as long as I was happy with myself that's what mattered. That's a great thing to hear from your parent. Even the most understanding of parents have dreams for their little boys or girls from the moment they're born, and it can be difficult to let those go for what's truly best for the child. My mom's had a lot of ups and downs in her life, and now, in her 50s, I think she's finally happy. I think she's had enough experience to want me to do what's right for me. We also talked about how I'd fallen in love with my best friend (who's gay, and taken, so that's not so productive, but hey, we don't really have control over whom we love and how). She'd figured that out, too, and when I thought she was expressing disapproval of him, it turned out she was more concerned that I not get into a similar situation as that with my ex (he's gay, too--me, threatened by heterosexual men? :) Hmpfh.) Anyway, it gave us both some closure to some uncertainties. And I was able to verify some of my ideas about my father. It felt like my mom and I were finally interacting like two adults. I guess it's about time.

April 2nd--my 35th birthday!

I was a little worried about this one. You see, when my parents divorced, they were 35. I was 15, and I remember how OLD they seemed. (Funny, now my mom just seems a little older than I am. I guess age is somewhat relative in terms of perception.) But I must say this was an absolutely great day. It was 77 degrees, sunny, with a light wind. My boss gave me an entire flat of yellow pansies and a cheesecake sampler. (Have I mentioned how great my boss is?) My mom gave me the money to fix the car. I've got to love my mom. In my birthday card she wrote "welcome to the middle ages". She can't believe I'm 35. (After all, what does that make her? She said "I guess that means I'm in the old ages".) Hmm...not hardly.

It was one of those shining, perfect kind of days. Work went really well; I was able to help several people with some problems. The cafeteria had a vegetarian lasagne entree (see it's those little things you appreciate). I wish I'd had the car, but things went well otherwise. D and A wished me a happy birthday over the phone. Z and P let me borrow the car to pick up my present to myself, Elizabeth Peters' new Amelia Peabody novel, The Golden One, which had come out that day. It's book 14 in a series that traces an Aegyptological family's detectival adventures where "every year, another dead body" seems to crop up. I dearly love these books, which are devilishly addictive. Then we went over to their house and they put candles in the cheesecake and sang "Happy Birthday" to me. Z is going to help me make sense of my finances (ha!) for my birthday present. P contributed to a growing collection of items he believes no librarian should be without, of which the latest certainly is the greatest. D had told me not to get any books by Laurell K. Hamilton. Turns out he'd ordered Narcissus in Chains and Caress of Twilight from the Science Fiction Book Club for me. In one fell swoop, several items off my wish list were taken care of. Librarians love getting books, of course, as well as those "essential items". ;)

Well, that's it for the update, assuming I hit the right button this time. I think it's time to find something to eat. I'll try not to get so off track next time.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

If I were a dog, I'd be howling by now.

I tried to tell you what a wonderful birthday I had (April 2nd) and the computer glitched.

Then I got so busy living my life, I forgot to write about it.

I just spent an hour typing in the entire last week of my life, backing it up into the clipboard.

Same thing, clearing out the clipboard, although the computer did not restart.

I give up, for now. I am apparently not meant to write about this past week.

The last week was both really, really great, and full of hacking plague. I'll write later. Just not now. :(

Monday, April 01, 2002

PS I guess I'm not completely sharp--I had to correct one verb tense and somehow collapsed Enrique Inglesias and Ricky Martin into one person (ooohhh, now wouldn't that be one hunk-a-hunk of burning Latin love?) Time to fuel up, too, I suppose.

Happy April Fools' Day!

Hmm...I woke up early, on my own, did my yoga, and will hopefully get to work without my normal morning fog. Am I feeling better, or is this a strange April Fools' prank courtesy of the Universe? I hope this mood continues throughout the day. Other than a brief not-where-am-I-but-who-am-I moment (I think I mentioned I tend to have very vivid, real dreams since starting the CPAP) when I first woke up, my mind was pretty clear. No whirling thoughts, etc. Yea! Maybe it's all that upbeat Enrique Inglesias music, or the fact that I got to see my family over the weekend (although there's a more depressing side to that--I'll write later about it). Well, I suppose I should make good on such a good start by getting back out of my chair, taking my shower, and heading to work. Catch you later.