Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, December 27, 2002

Yea! The Friday Five is back!

1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year? Finishing DBT/scoring low on the depression scale/not being hospitalised for suicidal thoughts.

2. What was your biggest disappointment? Having a travel request for a conference in San Diego next year denied after trimming my budget down to a lower amount than this year to build up the travel fund (so now, no trip, and less money anyway) along with a general lack of support from my current administration. I miss Kathy so much. She was both flexible (I don't think I could have done my job through all the health issues I had without her) and cared about my professional growth. I could handle being underpaid, etc. with that support. Now how and whether I do my job seems secondary to politics. I think the only way that I can hope to have a reasonable quality of life and advance in my career is to find another position, which is a shame. But I'm ready for a change. :)

3. Will you be making any New Year's resolutions? Oh, probably. Last year was the year of getting mentally healthy. Next year I'm going to work on getting physically healthy, which mainly involves exercising and taking care of myself.

4. Where will you be at midnight? Do you wish you could be somewhere else? I'll probably be curled up with my animals. Not really. I'd rather be relaxed and happy than dancing and getting drunk. Spending time with friends or family would be my second choice, and most of my friends have significant others who they probably want to be with.

5. Aside from (possibly) staying up late, do you have any other New Year's traditions? I usually watch the ball drop in New York, although I don't see much point in watching all the hyped-up stuff before and after. I try to clean house and toss out the old, so to speak. And it's a night of religious observance, because it's a liminal point in terms of time, so I usually give a libation to Hekate, my Patroness, who oversees boundaries of time and space.

I'll blog a little later about how things are going. For now, I'm off to look at some post-Christmas sales and then I'm off through New Year's! Yippee!

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...

It's nearly 5 pm at work on Christmas Eve, and the place is like a tomb. I work in an odd sort of hospital that can send most of its patients home for the holidays, thankfully (I remember how awful it was being sick at Christmas as a child; I would have hated being in the hospital). Most everyone cut out earlier this afternoon or took the day off. I'm working every day except for tomorrow, and it's a great chance to catch up on paperwork. But it's so quiet, it's eerie. I know we librarians have a stereotype for liking quiet, but this is really too much.

So, I'm listening to Loreena McKinnitt (no, not her holiday CD) and watching the gloomy day outside where it doesn't know whether it should snow or rain, and I'm looking forward to getting away for a little while tonight (I'm over to Zabet's) and then going home tomorrow to see my family.

I hope wherever you are tonight, whatever faith you hold, whatever circumstance you are in, that you are warm, and you are loved, and that you can find peace. Whether you live in a country torn apart by hate or are just too exhausted by all the things you "have to do" for the holidays, I hope you can take a deep long breath and look up to the sky tonight, and realise that all over the world, there are others with your same fears and hopes. I sometimes think we feel most alone in the winter. I know I do. But in a way, we're really never far from others--only a thought away.


Monday, December 23, 2002

Oh, for shame!

Today I went to Joseph-Beth, picked up my last gift for the season (really, that's it guys, no more!) and spent a couple of gift certificates I received. [I got The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket and the second Artemis Fowl book. Okay, so I was in a kid's book mood]. Thus, I was able to knock a couple of books off my Amazon.com wish list. If you go to that link, though, you'll find a couple of new ones, due to the events below.

That said, I found a book in the kid's section that sent my teeth grinding. I can't find a copy online by way of illustration, but it was basically a white-washed version of Little Black Sambo. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, a young Indian boy who is very proud of his clothes runs into a group of tigers who one by one take the clothing from him. The boy is very clever, though, and tricks the tigers into fighting amongst themselves, recovering his clothes. The book was written in 1899 by a British woman living in India. The setting is India. The characters are Indian (as in, those from the subcontinent in Asia, as opposed to the American kind). For English children, the setting and its characters were very exotic. Unfortunately, the use of the term "black" coupled with illustrations in the American version made it seem more racist in content. Today the book is largely banned as being terribly politically incorrect.

My main trouble with the book I found was that it lifted the story entirely and attempted to make it more obvious that the characters were Indian by calling them things like Sambajiti, Mamajiti and Papajiti or some sort of thing--in otherwords, give them some sort of made-up presumably Hindu-sounding names, couple them with illustrations of light, Northern Indians, and everything would be okay. Why they couldn't just update the problematic illustrations, I don't know. But even so, the main problem with the books weren't the text, or even the illustrations, but in how they were perceived by Americans who were pretty ignorant. As the author knew, there are plenty of blue-black people in India--the skintone variances are enormous--there are many languages, many variations in religion, etc. One re-write of the story places it all as happening within a happy phantasy American South with Southern language and helpful animals.

Tsk. Tsk. I loved "Little Black Sambo" as a kid. I ran around trees imagining tigers melting into butter. I had a 45-record and storybook that I read over and over. And never once did I look down at Sambo or his parents. I thought he was vain, but many children are. I certainly didn't think all black children were vain or were chased by tigers, for that matter. I can't tell you for certain whether I realised that he was Indian and not living in a jungle in Africa (when I was really little I didn't know much about the geographic habitats of tigers), but I certainly didn't confuse him with African-American children I played with. Nor did I meld him together with some sort of "Amos and Andy" caricature as seems to be the case of those adults who made so much of it. It's a children's story, and a good one, but a product of its time. I'm glad to see that you can still read it in the original form--although, apparently, only if you have the money to buy it. I haven't seen it in a library in over at least a decade.

But I know just mentioning how disappointed I was with the re-write to the clerk set me up for some sort of "you're just not seeing things from the right point of view" lecture. You know the type. Like the people who once came up to a gay Jewish friend and decided he must be a neo-Nazi because he shaved his head. Or the bead shop clerk who gave me a lengthy lecture about the evils of buying coral when I needed some not because of a whim, but for religious purposes, wasn't asking her to go out and pull some off a reef, and would have been quite happy to have bought one antique bead. Seeing as the clerk was a "white" as I am, I doubt he had any real insight to how oppressing the story is, either. I'd be interested in hearing from others on their point of view. But it seems to me that if we just remove it from libraries and sweep it under the rug, no one ever talks about it, the history of its racism (rather real or perceived in this case), etc. And while I'm sure I could special order the book (for after all, he did say they sell the original), I've certainly never seen it on the shelves there. As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter if books are condemned by the right or the left, it's still wrong. It's one thing not to buy a book. It's another to discard it and re-write it all over to reflect supposedly enlightened sensibilities. I would like to see the book in other editions to see if it would likely produce the same confusion in other countries.

Do we rewrite Rudyard Kipling because of his outdated Victorian values? Forrester? Wharton? Twain? Where does it stop? Doesn't it make more sense to discuss the context rather than dismiss it?

Okay, I've ranted enough for one night. :)

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Oh, good grief, people, lighten up!

Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged Making Evil Look Innocent
Through the Harry Potter series, the ancient occult religion of Wicca is being introduced in almost every public school in America. This video explains how Scholastic Inc., the largest publisher of children's books in the world, is supplying Harry Potter materials to millions of schoolchildren.

1. 'Witch' in Harry Potter is just a term for a girl who does magic; it has nothing to do with real witchcraft, Wicca, etc., just as the magic in the books is completely fictitious--it's just like the type of magic portrayed in "I Dream of Jeannie" or "Bewitched", which were equally benign. Gee, when I was a kid, I wanted to twitch my nose and have my 3rd grade math problems all done, but that's just phantasy. It doesn't work. At least not with my little stubby nose. :)

2. Wicca is not actually synonymous with witchcraft, and isn't even an ancient occult religion. It is a modern faith based on ancient sources founded in the '50s by Gerald Gardner. Although some Wiccans call themselves witches, there is no Devil in Wicca, and Wicca per se is not evil. Indeed it stresses balance and harmony.

3. Harry Potter represents the classic struggle between evil and good, with Harry and his friends on the side of good. It's probably better put in terms of, say, the Allies against the Nazis than occult or religious terms. Harry Potter can be used to teach kids ethics and "what would you do in this situation", although granted, they do break a lot of rules. :)

4. There's too much that's truly evil in the world to make a fuss over a kids' book that many opponents don't even bother to read.


Bonus est!

Which reminds me, the main book I'd read to children during the holidays, though I dearly love the Velveteen Rabbit really is Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus! I studied with both Terence and Jennifer Tunberg. I'm glad the local paper's taking notice of our department.

PS UK's Classics department is also very well known for it's webpage on Women in the Ancient World. One of our professors, Ross Scaife, had webpages up even before the most of the science people even got online.

Blurg...warning...babbling in progress

I feel very groggy. I fell asleep at 9pm and woke up feeling out of it when my dog decided the opossum outside was an interloper who must not trespass on the patio (I spilled bird food all over the place filling the feeders). When I woke up my clock said it was nearly 11pm, when really it was 3:30am, so I felt kinda time-warped, and my blood sugar's running in the 130s, which is actually slightly above normal but when you're used to running in say, the 180s, it can feel low. Anyway, I'm eating vanilla almond oat Harmony cereal with rice milk (it's got soy and lots of vitamins, aimed at women, but I eat it because it's also tasty) and decided I might as well blog now that I'm up.

Good news: I am finished with all my holiday shopping. I've had most of it for awhile (I started early, a little bit at a time), but there was a problem child among the recipients (oddly enough, it was Zabet's Hubby, Patrick, this year. I wasn't inspired, which was a problem, because he's also graduating this week, and you would think that would help. But at least I think it's better than the year I was so poor I gave everyone rocks for Yule. Really. Actually they were Labradorite marbles, and very pretty, although very cheap. I think everyone else still has theirs. I have no idea where mine went. It was in my purse for a long, long, time.

Today was beautiful and sunny (and even at 3:30 in the morning it is--get this--53 degrees!). Does this ruin the holiday spirit for me? Hell no, it just enhances it. I grew up in Louisiana. I'm used to some warmth around the holidays, and it's ever so much more comfy. :) I'm sure it'll be short-lived (Lexington weather is capricous at best) but I'm going to enjoy while I may. I think we're supposed to have storms tomorrow.

Ah, my brain's finally getting some of the food. I was cleaning like mad earlier (that's why I fell asleep, I think). I'm having friends over for Yule and the house has gotten piled up. On the bright side, it's mostly recycleables. :) When you spend the better part of a couple of years depressed, things slide. I hung up a lot of my clothes (I'm been just keeping them on the bed, since I've been more comfortable on the couch, anyway). I still have a ways to go, but it's getting there. It's nowhere near my prime hoarding state; I think I can straighten up everything but the study by Saturday. Nothing like company to encourage cleaning. When you live by yourself, at least if you're not a neat-freak, its amazing how many things get pulled out and then you fall asleep or get called away, etc. When you add three cats and a dog, you get pet hair (believe it or not, I still vacuum every week, but it's a losing battle) and things that wind up on the floor.

Well, I'd better go. I think I need to strech out some; my fingers are totally numb from typing around the cat.

:) Yeah, I know. Hey, he's 11 years old and very stubborn. We have compromised on him not being on the keyboard itself/more on my lap, at least. But he's determined to be between me and the computer. But I don't think the ergonomics people at work would approve.

PS I got my five-year service award at work today; couldn't remember what I chose. It's a fairly nice watch that I think I can actually wear (no binding-strap). Maybe I'll have a better chance of being early rather than breezing in at the last minute. :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I'm passing this on...

As a former member of Amnesty International and all-around "defender of the free world", i.e., librarian, I thought I should. My only concern is that I don't know how correspondence with Cubans is looked at by the US Government, and I'm not sure if the Cuban government might reprise against a family for getting such correspondence. I'd hate a letter meant for well-wishing to have harsher consequences. They kind of gloss over that in their literature; and seem to suggest that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights trumps local laws. Thing is, no matter what international law is, it doesn't usually prevent local forces from taking you away or killing you; you might be able to take them to an international court later, if you're around, but that takes money or at least publicity. If I can find out, I'll let you know. Go to their website. I had no idea that there were small "rogue" libraries in Cuba. :)

December 17, 2002

"He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captive, and the opening of the prisons to them that are bound." -Isaiah

At this season of the year, we would like to ask members of the worldwide
library community to remember our colleagues in Cuba who will be spending the
holidays in prison. For complete details on the unprecedented effort of
volunteers in Cuba to open uncensored libraries, and on the government
campaign of repression being waged against them, please refer to our website
(http://www.friendsofcubanlibraries.org). As an act of compassion during
this special time of the year, we would like to ask you to send Christmas or
New Year's cards to the families of two Cuban librarians who are now in

Please send the first card to Maritza Calderin Columbie, the wife of Juan
Carlos Gonzalez Leiva. Juan Carlos is a blind lawyer, activist and volunteer
librarian who has been imprisoned without trial since March, when he was
detained for peacefully protesting the arrest of a journalist. At the time
of his arrest he was beaten, kicked and clubbed in the head with the butt of
a pistol, resulting in health problems which are not being properly treated
in prison. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Christian
Solidarity Worldwide have issued appeals on his behalf, as reported on our
website. The address of Maritza Calderin Columbie is:

Maritza Calderin Columbie
Honorato del Castillo #154
entre Republica y Cuba
Ciego de Avila
Provincia Ciego de Avila

Please sent the second card to the family of Leonardo Bruzon Avila, a
human rights activist and volunteer children's librarian who was arrrested
in 2001 after showing a Disney film during a library program; at that time
Amnesty International issued an appeal on his behalf, and he was released.
He is now under detention again because of unrelated human rights activities,
and he has been declared a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.
Holiday cards to his family can be sent to the following address:

La Familia Bruzon Avila
Campanario #564
entre Dragones y Salud
Centro Habana

Thank you for your concern, and please be sure to place sufficient
postage on the envelope for overseas airmail delivery. Cards in any language
will be welcome to the families of the prisoners, and don't worry whether the
cards arrive before the holidays.


The Friends of Cuban Libraries


Although the international community is becoming more supportive of Cuba's independent
librarians, the government does all it can to prevent news of this progress
from reaching the island. It is sometimes difficult for us to imagine the
soul-draining weariness of daily life on an island where people are
confronted on a daily basis with harassment, meager rations, power outages,
and an unceasing barrage of propaganda in the controlled media. The books we
send to the independent libraries offer hope, diversity and a glimpse of the
world beyond the shores of Cuba, but sometimes an extra effort is needed,
especially at this time of the year.

An effective way to brighten up the lives of Cuba's independent
librarians, and to let them know of their growing recognition abroad, is to
send them holiday cards. The simple act of receiving brightly-colored
holiday cards can send a burst of sunshine into the lives of people whose
courage is in need of visible recognition. Although the Cuban government
often opens and confiscates letters from abroad, the heavy load of mail
during the holiday season will make it difficult for the authorities to
practice their usual thoroughness, so some of your holiday cards WILL get
through! Please go ahead and send some cards to Cuba today, and it doesn't
matter whether the cards arrive after Christmas or New Year's Day. Now more
than than ever, it really is the thought that counts!

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Silver and Gold...

Yesterday (and today, for that matter--although I didn't get to enjoy it nearly as much due to work) dawned beautiful and sunny. At one point the sun was streaming in, the kitties were lining up in the sunbeam, and the tinsel absolutely lit up, reflecting like a giant, vaguely-cone-shaped disco ball. My cat, Spock, was delighted--he loves to chase lights on the walls. Since most of my wrapping paper is holographic or foil, the presents were tempting, too.

I spent most of my weekend asleep, which seems bad except that I apparently really, really needed it. On the bright side, I was early to work this morning and revving to go, which is good, as I'm tackling a revision (and creation) of policies and procedures this week. I'm thinking of taking Friday off from work, Saturday is my holiday and I'm having guests over. The house, as usual, looks like a cyclone hit it. I'm beginning to wish I could add maid to my holiday wish list; but somehow I don't think maids do full excavation without danger pay.

I had some great faux-chicken patties today, made by the same people who do Boca (TM) Burgers. They're spicy chicken-style veggie patties, which coupled with Heinz 57 sauce was divine. Unfortunately, I'd brought some onion nan from Vishal to accompany them. Apparently, much as I love nan, I'm not up to this brand. It's the last thing I ate a couple of months ago before I got that awful GI thing, so I've got a taste aversion, I guess.

I saw a Boston Public tonight on TV for the first time in awhile. Seems Harvey Lipschutz(sp?) recently found out that he has a son who is African-American (Harvey is quite white and quite Jewish) and he was struggling with the idea of being invited to his family's Christmas celebration. He finally decided to go. They tried to make him feel at home with a menorah, ,and his son (who now has grandchildren of his own) said he wasn't doing it just for Harvey, but because he'd just found out he was half-Jewish and was trying to get in touch with that side. I loved Harvey's response. "First lesson: Hanukah ended three weeks ago". Then he taught the kids how to light the menorah. It was sweet.

Since I am inexplicably still in the holiday mood (it's usually beaten out of me by the end of Thanksgiving), I offer up this list. Feel free to post your own:

1) Favourite Christmas carols: Little Drummer Boy; followed by What Child is This?--you can't go wrong with Greensleeves, after all. I keep trying to rewrite O Holy Night for pagans, but I'm having some trouble. You may ask, why is a pagan nattering about Christmas stuff? Well, for one thing, these are part of my childhood. For another, I like them. Lastly, our big contribution to the season was the whole gift-giving, evergreen trees, boughs of holly, and lights. That's enough, don't you think? We don't have great music or TV shows though--not enough of a market, I suppose.

2) Favourite Holiday programmes: Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, in that order. I'm also fond of The Nightmare Before Christmas and A Child's Christmas in Wales as read by Dylan Thomas. The last sometimes comes on the radio. The most pagan programme I've found is the Rankin-Bass adaptation of L. Frank Baum's Life and Adventures of Santa Claus. Very classy. If I could collect all the Rankin-Bass puppetry stuff from the 60s and 70s on DVD, I would. (They gave us Rudolph, Year without a Santa Claus, The Little Drummer Boy, Nestor--all sorts of them).

3) Least favourite programme: A Christmas Story, although to be fair I've never seen the whole thing--the kid just annoys me so much. I've seen him recently, all grown up. He improved a great deal.

4) Favourite book to read during the season: The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper

5) Favourite book to read to little ones during the season: The Velveteen Rabbit

6) Worst holiday: The year my mom and I had the flu

7) Best presentation of gift: My dad gave me a key wrapped in a matchbox that fit our outbuilding, where there was a 3-speed bike.

8) Silliest holiday picture: My dog, Cerys, with a big bow tied to her head.

9) Holiday pet peeve: The fact that most Christians don't know that the Twelve Days of Christmas run from Christmas day to January 6th (Christmas, Old Calendar). At work they try cutesy things like wearing certain items for the twelve days before Christmas.

10) Favourite thing about work at holiday time: Getting to pet Santa's horses when he comes to visit the kids.

11) Strangest thing that puts me into a holiday mood: Warm weather. I grew up in Louisiana. It seems normal.

12) Least favourite present: Anything given to me to wear by my ex-mother-in-law. She always gave me yellow or pink, neither of which I could wear. I still have a sweatshirt my sister-in-law gave me, though; it's purple with a snow scene. She was the savvy one in that family.

That's all I can think to blather about tonight. :)

Friday, December 13, 2002

Slight change...

I got tired of a little teensy column for text. Let's face it--I am verbose, and it helps to not have it go on and on down your screen. The weather magnet was the problem. So, I moved it up top and now you should have a bigger blog area, width-wise. Hope you like it. :)

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Tree update

Well, my tree's been repotted (it took three days to thaw the soil), staked, and is now draped with lights, a few iridescent ornaments, one mistletoad, and hoards of those silver icicles that other people had when I was a kid but I suspect my parents were too intelligent to use. :) So far, no major incidents have happened. When you have pets, the holidays can be interesting. I haven't found evidence that the cats are attacking the tinsel, for example. [One of my fellow librarians said she'd never really been concerned with hers; if they ate them, they'd just hack up--and this is a direct quote--"festive furballs".] Those of you without cats may not relate to this too well. I did find an ornament on the couch this evening, unbroken, and I'm still not sure how it got there. I don't see how Cerys could have brought it over without breaking the glass, but maybe she has talents I just don't appreciate fully. I will say, though, that the icicles really make the tree--the reflected light just shimmers as the tinsel sways.

Also, I'm kind of amused that at work I'm becoming known as the person to go to for assertiveness training. I was a doormat for most of my life, after all. But, I guess as I've gotten better, I've learned some ways to cope with people. One of my friends from work has a tendency to try to be polite, and it gets her into all sorts of problems. But she's kind of like I used to be--you push her so far and she finally pipes up, especially if someone says something about someone other than herself whom she cares about. She's being driven crazy by another coworker whom we've nicknamed "MLB"--"Manipulative Little Bitch". You know the type. She's not particularly bright and is downright willfully ignorant. She doesn't have much imagination--her husband chooses all her clothes for her, for example--and is kind of bored with life. So she goes around either making catty remarks about other people--"can you believe ___ likes this ___", or tries to ferret information to be used to cause dissent in her department, playing those types of games popular in teen flicks. An example, "do you realise you were the only one in the department who didn't come in when it snowed? Such and such was really upset." When, of course, such and such wasn't, everyone else had four-wheel drive, the person worked from home, her boss had no trouble with this, and if they'd wanted her in badly, they could have come and gotten her. I wrote down the following mantra for my friend: "I am not at high school. I am at work, and I do not have time to play games." Apparently it's working, along with just telling the person to get out of her face. My favourite though, was when a coworker from Thailand was eating (a bagel and cream cheese, mind you), and the girl came in and started this big production of how the food smelled like feet. She has to ridicule anything she doesn't understand, and unfortunately, that's a lot. Fortunately, I'm sure she'll get her comeuppance. No one in her department likes her, most are aware of how she's tried to play them off of each other, and I think she just needs to mess up a little to find herself fired or at the very least shut out from any interaction that isn't directly work-related. I might add that this does not normally happen where I work. I know just about everyone on day shift (we have 220 employees total), and we all get along pretty well--it's like a big not-too-dysfunctional family. It's been interesting, as an outsider, to watch, but I wish she'd just decide to be a bored housewife and leave my friends alone.

Well, that's enough for tonight. Have a happy Friday the 13th!

I liked this so much I stole it from Zabet's blog

I am not: nearly as crazy as I sometimes let on.
I hurt: pretty much all the time, so I mostly ignore it.
I hate: that we're probably going to wind up in a war where the people who give the orders don't have to worry about dying.
I fear: falling back into my shadow life where I wasn't really living and wasn't really dying, either.
I hope: that someone very special to me can get his life back.
I crave: security.
I regret: not ever getting the chance to know my twin.
I cry: pretty much at anything romantic or poignant on TV.
I care: about lots of things--people I love, my animals, and world peace, to name a few.
I long: to be able to just study what I'd like, endow the arts, and make a difference in people's lives.
I feel alone: sometimes, but that's okay.
I listen: to anyone who needs me to.
I hide: in my house, on the computer, doing nothing in particular.
I drive: hardly ever, anymore.
I sing: when I am happy, when I am sad, and when I am walking, or when I'm in the car.
I dance: home alone where no one can see me. I bop to the oldies in public, but only because I forget myself.
I write: when inspiration strikes.
I breathe: regularly, as the alternative would be death. I deep breathe when I need to keep stress at bay.
I play: a little bit every day and twice on weekends.
I miss: school.
I search: for truth.
I learn: whenever possible.
I feel: alive for the first time in twenty years.
I know: that I have flaws because I am human, but I carry in my soul a spark of divinity that echoes and connects with all of Creation.
I dream: of owning a little bookstore/herb farm and writing bestselling mysteries and fantasies.
I wonder: how it would feel if the walls between each of us dropped and we could communicate only truth.
I want: to sleep until 10am every morning (same as Zabet!).
I worry: about things that don't really matter.
I have: hard-won insight.
I give: help when I am needed.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Traipsing into the hallowed halls of a men's club

Tonight I had an unusal experience, which I think has left me somewhat richer, although some might see it otherwise. Our former chairman of the board, as a means of saying thank you, hosted a dinner for all department mangers tonight. The dinner was excellent (I had the salmon, vegetables, salad, a peppermint ice cream dessert, and an interesting concoction called a "Hummer" involving Kalua, rum, creme de cocoa, and ice cream. Actually, I had two of those, as they were quite good and I wasn't driving. Having spent years being an unreasonable tea-totaller due to alcohol abuse in my family, I've decided to cultivate occasional social drinks without placing it into some sort of black/white framework). I had a good time, saw a lot of my colleagues in a more relaxed environment, etc. In the past, our chairman has treated us to dinner at area restaurants, especially those owned by friends who could use a boost to business. Tonight, however, we dined at the Lexington Club.

For those of you who are not aware of traditional men's clubs, these are places where primarily businessmen meet, drink, socialise, play cards, etc. in an essential network that helps you succeed in society. (By society, I mean the social "society" rather than the one that the majority of us live in). Many of these go back many years. The Lexington Club was founded, I believe, in 1890, if I remember the plaque on the door. As our chairman said, many a horse has been won over a game of cards in these walls. But the Club has also come under fire because it does not admit women to membership (although widows of members can hold social memberships that are non-voting). Women can dine there by invitation--apparently it's not quite as sacred a precinct as traditonal British clubs in say, the Edwardian age. While there is no prohibition per se against minorities, there are also no African-American members, although certainly every waiter we saw tonight was. [As an aside, their service was wonder, very attentive, yet openly interacting with the guests. For a moment I was afraid they were expected to be just a part of the window dressing, although I think there was a certain prestige in their jobs. Also there were other employees who were white, and one woman, but they seemed to be doing such things as checking and concierge work.] You can see where the controversy might arise. I respect the right of a private club to choose its members as it will (certainly I've been a member of a religious club that used just such a clause to keep out some of the more wacko elements that way--and just so you don't get the wrong idea, we didn't discriminate on basis of race, ethincity, gender, sexual orientation, etc., but did proscribe Satanism (not pagan--it's a Christian heresy), channelling, and possession-based practices (because they could be dangerous). The true wackos though we just rejected based on the "we don't think it would be a good fit" line, mainly because we didn't want them in our living rooms.) Still, the liberal in me is glad I wasn't paying any money to support it. I find I have mixed feelings. I can see where some in law, racing, medicine, and other forms of business might suffer if they cannot go through the network. Our chairman and another older member of their board apparently tried some time ago to foster a change to allow minorities and the majority of women (his words, not mine; he's a fine Southern gentleman who nevertheless calls things the way he sees them), only to be blocked by some of the younger members of the board. Which only goes to prove the narrow-mindedness is not a trait necessarily of the elderly.

Some other bastions of tradition have changed, after all. The Daughters of the American Revolution, for example, now state plainly that they encourage diversity. I'm sure you still have to prove you have an ancestor who served, as that is the point, and of course, for men there is a Sons of the American Revolution analogue. But if you're black and you had an ancestor that served, it's okay. I guess the Lexington Club wants to keep the status quo. Old Lexington feels threatened, I think, by things today. The city has grown immensely. And while horses and old money are still important to our economy, things have changed. Maybe the board voted as it did to reflect that fear of change. I am rather glad that our host told us about his attempts to bring about change. He's certainly part of a "good old boy network", but not hidebound. Still, it was an unusual experience and I'm not sure exactly what to make of it. I did find that I felt totally okay in terms of the social expectations, etiquette, etc.--except I did thank the wait staff each time I was served, and I don't think traditionally you're really supposed to. I just can't pretend people aren't really there; some times the best part of etiquette is knowing when and how to break the rules. But I did not feel nervous at all, although I think the woman who gave me a ride was a little overwhelmed. She's younger, and I don't think she was quite expecting the club in all it's Old Southern glory. I wasn't sure what type of establishment it was, but some intuition (and perhaps a dim memory of the story from the link above) made me suspect, so I guess I was prepared. I am rather glad I dressed well, although I did so primarily because I was chairing a professional meeting earlier in the day.

Anyway, it was interesting to observe their operations, and see some of my colleagues in a different light. But now, I'm home, getting ready to curl up with my animals and watch the Yule tree [yes, I did get it up, after repotting it, staking it, and--yes, I'm sure I'll regret this--festooning it with those old-fashioned icicles that we never used when I was a child no doubt because my mother knew better. But is very pretty. :)]

Good night.

Monday, December 09, 2002

As promised, the alternative to the Friday Five with some changes for web posting:

1. Nicknames: Lisa, Lisa Kay, Li, Elis, E, Minion or Ex-Minion, Rabid Librarian, Eilirion

2. Number of candles on your last birthday cake: 35

3. Birthday: 04/02/1967

4. Pets: Spock, Buns, Cerys, Darius, and various unnamed fish

5. Hair colour: Reddish-Brown

6. Eye colour: Hazel

7. Piercing: One in each ear.

8. How much do you love your job: That answer is subject to whim. But being a librarian rocks. Think it doesn't? Check out The Librarian Avengers.

9. Hometown: Danville, Kentucky, USA

10. Current residence: Lexington, Kentucky, USA

11. Favourite food: Mashed potatoes. As a child I would beg to lick the beaters but wouldn't touch chocolate frosting.

12. Been to Africa? No, but I'd love to go, especially to Aegypt.

13. Been toilet papering? No, toilet paper is too precious to waste on trees.

14. Been in a car accident? Yes, several, but none with injuries, thankfully (knock on wood).

15. Loved somebody so much it made you cry? Yes--also hated someone that much; fortunately not the same someone

16. Croutons or bacon bits? Neither--I prefer sunflower seeds for my crunch, although as an aside, Bacon Bits (TM) are actually made from textured vegetable protein, and are both vegetarian and kosher. Now, bits of bacon are another matter.

17. Favourite day of the week: Toss-up between Friday, aka Scrabble Night and Sunday aka Cthulhu Game Day. Note both involve games.

18. Favourite word or phrase: Ooh, I have to pick? How about: discombobulated, bleak, and "I live to serve."

19. Favourite restaurant: Aladdin , Kashmir , or Pad Thai

20. Favourite flowers: Iris, pansy, rose, chicory, lavender, orchid, and corpse flower (you got to love a giant phallic flower that smells like dead things, no?)

21. Favourite drink: Diet A&W in a frosty mug

22. Favourite sport to watch: English Premier League Soccer/Figure Skating

23. Favourite Ice cream: English Toffee

24: Disney or Warner Bros.? Neither; I'm more of a Dexter's Laboratory or Daria kinda girl

25. Favourite fast food place: Long John Silver's/A&W's

26. What colour is your bedroom carpet? Apartment building uniform beige

27. How many times did you fail your driver's test? None

28. Do you sing in the shower? Sometimes. I generally sing anywhere but the shower, especially when walking down hallways or streets.

29. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Ooh, Joseph-Beth, The Pyramid Collection, or Pier 1

30. What do you do most often when you are bored? Play Sims or surf online

31. Most annoying thing people ask me: It's not what, it's how--the "I hate to bother you, but...". I'm a librarian. It's my job to answer them or at least try to answer them. It's okay. We don't bite.

32. Bedtime: Anywhere from 6 pm - 3 am

33. Favourite TV shows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, CSI, Charmed, Dinotopia, Birds of Prey

34. Favourite celebrities: Female--Nicole Kidman/Catherine Zeta-Jones; Male--Sean Biggerstaff/David Duchovny/William Petersen

35. What did you want to be when you grew up? An optometrist

How about you?

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Go me!

In the past week I have survived our first winter storm (one good thing about not having a car, no scraping, no sliding), a company Christmas party, lined up a successor to my presidency of a local library consortium, dealt well with my first family resource centre visitors (even though one kept trying to sell me a wireless plan), managed to stay alive in Cthulhu and take all sorts of new game revelations in stride, read and enjoyed several chapters of J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion (apparently I needed to read from the beginning, rather than jumping straight into the Lord of the Rings, and hunted down, captured, and brought a tree home to enjoy the Yuletide season. A note on the last: being Pagan, I prefer a real tree. [What, she's getting a Christmas tree? Not at all. If you look at the history, all this greenery and gift giving come from Pagan sources that were going on long before Christ.] And in keeping with that tradition, Yule is about the survival of life in the darkness of winter, not the survival of plastic. Being a tree-hugger, I don't really want to kill one to get the effect. For years I had a small Norfolk Virginia pine in a pot that I used, but it finally shriveled up and died last summer. The ones I've seen that were similar were more than I wanted to pay for a four foot, 10" diametre pot ($25.00). This afternoon I went over to Home Depot and found the perfect size (6' tall/14" pot), but it was $40! So, I did what any budget-conscious gardening buff would do--I examined all the specimens until I found a green, viable tree that had overshot its pot, needed replanting, was even falling down without support, but still had a 10" pot (only $12). I bought it and a 12" pot ($5), so now I have a six foot tree that's nicely branched and just needs to be staked into the new pot with a little more dirt. Seeing as I carried the thing home (I live a couple of blocks away), I am now resting, blogging, and letting some dirt I had outside thaw in my kitchen sink so I can get the tree up and ready for decorating. As with my other tree, the cats were fascinated for all of five minutes and now have gone back to playing with milk tabs.

All of this, mind you, has been post DBT. I really do feel pretty well. I'm participating in a study as a control at work in which I have to fill out a questionnaire on quality of life and mood. For the first time in awhile, I don't think I'm going to come out depressed. I've generally been looking forward to the holidays (I'm listening to Christmas music right now. Granted, I'm not Christian, but I like the music, okay?)

I have to admit, though, that I have had enough socialising for one weekend. The Christmas party didn't make me feel phobic like I used to be, although the band, which was very good, was just too loud. I would have preferred to have a bunch of us go out to Perkins or something instead once it started, but since one of my friends at work is the daughter of the band's drummer, I don't think she would have come. Yesterday I watched part of the 10-hour Taken marathon (and taped the rest). It was very good. Only 10 hours more to go. Sigh. But I am totally hooked. They've done an excellent job with the period clothes and scenery, too. The website's really great, although it gave me fits when I was on a slow connexion. For those who miss it, there's a novel out there based on it as well. Then I went over to Zabet's, had dinner, played Scrabble (TM) and watched Monsters, Inc., which was just darling. I definitely need to get a copy. At work we have life-sized figures of Sully and Mike--not cardboard cutouts--3D, with a very furry Sully that the kids love to rub in the tummy. The rec therapy staff have decorated them for the holidays with garlands and stockings. I'm thinking of having my picture taken with them for next year's Yule cards.

Okay, I guess that's all for now. I may check and see if the Friday Five's back up. Better late than never. If not, I'll probably copy a response to one of those "getting to know you" e-mails I got at work the other day. When I was answering questions on celebrities, I went to Sean Biggerstaff's website to make sure the young man wasn't still a minor. I mean, a 35-year-old going gaga over a kid, right? Well, he's legal, anyway. For those of you who don't recognise him, he plays Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter movies. He's actually 20 now. He has a lovely Scottish accent and a smirk that makes both Zabet and me just melt, not to mention a name that invites all sorts of comment. But I was looking through the site and he definitely has a warm sense of humour. I particularly like the section on "What it's like living in England?" to which he replies that he doesn't know, having lived in Scotland all his life. It amazes me that Americans (okay, I'm making an assumption here, but you and I both know that they're probably Americans asking this) just don't seem to understand that the Scotland and Wales are not English. British, yes. You can even say that one is a Briton. But English, never, unless they happen to be English people living in Scotland or Wales. Northern Ireland's a little stickier, of course. But still. Geography people, it's a wonderful subject.

Talk to you later, and happy finals for all you poor suckers in school!

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Well, NaNoWriMo is officially over.

My grand total of words: 7,804. Far short of the 50,000 I meant to write. But, as they say, tomorrow is another day. Some things I learned along the way:

1) I tend to write in a completed sort of way--no diamond in the rough to be polished over and over. I always did that with term papers--I abhorred rough drafts. My mind plays it out like a movie long before the words make it onto the screen. In role-playing games I have characters spring forth fully formed. The good news is I need less revision than some. The bad news is that I can't bring myself to spew forth words without thinking about my choices. It has to make sense as I write, and I have to care about my characters and the story. It can't be some rambling stream-of-consciousness thing. Plots are nice. Believable plots are even better.

2) I write from somewhere deep inside, not just my brain. If the Muse is kind, it flows outward gracefully. I won't say it is effortless--it is draining. But if the inspiration is not there no amount of pumping for water will bring up the flow. On the other hand, I think I can meet a deadline--just not a book a month. :) Maybe two a year.

3) I think the effort is well worth it. I'm going to continue writing my novel. The way I look at it, I'm almost 8,000 words ahead of where I was November 1st, so the effort wasn't wasted.

On another note, I'm enjoying my holiday immensely so far. I rested on Thanksgiving and did some things that needed to be done around the house. On Thanksgiving night I happened across my father's website. My father and I have been estranged for several years. I have no desire to contact him, but I like to keep up with where people are long after they exit my life. I was somewhat disconcerted to find that our entire life together--I hesitate to call it a family, as we were basically three people all doing their own thing in close geographical proximity to one another--was summed up in a short clause somewhere between his childhood and when he started raising horses twenty years later. But the oddest thing was that one of his brood mares--he, his wife, and step-daughter raise quarter horses--is named after my mother. No long name like you usually see with registered pedigrees--just Phyllis. I told my mom, and she thinks it's hilarious. John says he thinks he came out ahead--he'd rather have the woman over a horse. Zabet tsked tsked over the design and made derogatory comments about people doing web pages in Word--with which I have to agree, as Windows XP shut down IE three times because of errors on the page. People are supportive in their own way. Anyway, it's at Clover Ridge Farm. I have to admit, reading through the rather pompous text (yes, I got that from my dad--when we think we're being funny we generally aren't, although I at least recognise that) I found myself thinking two things: 1) I hope he's enjoying life and maybe grown up and found a little wisdom along the way. Maybe this works for him. Maybe he's finally happy and feels good about what he does. 2) I'm glad that he's in my past. I won't say I never want to see him again---but I don't think the wounds are going to heal any time soon--they're very old and very deep.

Yesterday I spent most of the day with a friend from work. That is a blog in and of itself--I think I'll leave that story for tomorrow, since it's kind of late right now and I'm sleepy. Suffice to say I was grilled for three hours by a very tenacious character (her husband) on all sorts of subjects from Ouija boards to totalitarianism, and she's probably afraid I'll never step foot in the place again. I will, don't worry. I love a chance to lecture. :)

Today I went home to Danville and visited my family. I modelled the new coat I'd bought with money from my grandmother. It's very warm and a bright sky blue, which seems to be much more visible at night. As much as I love purple and black, they don't show up well after dark.

One thing about my acquaintances is that we run a fairly large gamut in terms of religion and/or holidays. Tonight I got to celebrate Chanukah and I helped with holiday wrapping while we listened to Christmas music with a beautiful tree decked in purple and gold in the background. I still have my own preparations for Yule to make, but generally I'm ready.

On that note, I am getting...very...sleepy (too much Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald). I'll contine tomorrow. 'Night.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Three Reasons to Be Thankful This Thanksgiving...

1. I have a small cadre of people in my life who are just wonderful. You know who you are.
2. I'm fortunate to have a pack of loving animals as companions.
3. My health this year has improved; I think I'm finally living life.

and lastly, as an extra bonus, Walgreens across the street was open when I had to go out into the brisk Thanksgiving evening on the hunt for toilet paper, and the ATM outside has recently changed so that my tempermental bank card works in it, so I didn't have to walk down to the mall. Yea! (Hey, I know it's not big in the grand scheme of things, but trust me, running out of toilet paper when virtually every store is closed is not a happy thing.)

I spent this Thanksgiving mostly taking it easy. I'm going to see my family on Saturday, so I had some time to just get some rest. Oddly enough, when I checked my e-mail earlier, that's exactly what the Aries horoscope said to do. I slept in, unfortunately missing the Macy's parade, so I watched the closest thing to it--the national dog show. I'm always amazed with the incredibly different types of dogs out there. They come in so many shapes, sizes, and temperments. I curled up with my own Cerys, give her a good scritching while we watched. I played a little on the computer, and then I also did a little cleaning this evening. Not exciting, but necessary. Besides, I have the rest of the weekend planned out and it'll be busy. I accidentally found that Dinotopia, the series, was on tonight. I knew it was coming but wasn't sure which day it was starting. You can tell they've had to tone down some things because of the cost otherwise, but I think I like these actors and actresses better than those on the miniseries. It was like watching an old friend. :) If you aren't familiar with the books, you can check them out at Amazon. The miniseries is available on VHS and DVD; it's about 4 hours long. That may be on Amazon, too, or just check around. It's sort of like "Land of the Lost" meets one of those "simple utopian" societies they alway ran into on "Star Trek".

I'm re-reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and listening to Paula Cole's This Fire. I have a velcro kitty pressed up against me [Buns loves to sit on the keyboard]. Life is good. Hope it is at your house. Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

It's been awhile...

I haven't been blogging, mainly because I've been busy. (I even thought I'd missed the Friday Five, but it turns out it's on hiatus until December.) Earlier this week instead of our usual roleplaying game of mayhem, I was able to go see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I really enjoyed it, although all I could think of at the end was that Richard Harris is dead...sob. I've become resigned to the fact that they're going to simplify the story a lot. But I loved it all the same. Our group consisted of two who had read the books, and two who had not, and we all enjoyed it immensely, even though spider and snake phobias abound within the group. We had gone early to try to get tickets for one showing, found that it was sold out, and got tickets for the next one instead (only half an hour later). That gave us time to go to Joseph-Beth, have lunch, and hurry back.

I also had a couple of other great things happen this week at work. We got a $1000 donation from Xerox for our early literacy project, courtesy of Zabet's mom, who was in charge of their department's charity giving. Z is designing bookmarks for said donations. Also, our family resource centre is finally open. Yea!!! Between the ordering for ROR and the FRC, I have $4000 to spend on books by the end of the year. That's harder than it sounds, even for a bibliophile, especially when you're having to weigh the needs of an organisation.

Also, I started my Advanced DBT class. To be honest, I'm not sure if this is really for me. The people in the class are still very depressed and it kind of brought me down. Depression can be contagious, you know. I found it draining, despite the fact that I've been feeling good and doing well with my skills. The purpose of the class is to create short- and long-term goals and practice the skills necessary to attain them, but some of the people are in the "I'm here to rant about my day" mode instead and don't want any really support or suggestions for how to handle things. Usually I feel better when I talk with others who are having problems; it gives me perspective, it gives me a chance to be supportive and caring, and it helps them. But that's not the case here, and I'd rather focus on learning how to apply the skills better. So, I may not continue. I haven't decided--after all, that was just one day. But if it doesn't seem useful I'll probably move to a social skills class instead.

Well, that's all for now. I know it wasn't much, but think of it as just checking in.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

NaNoWriMo update!

Current word count: 7,084 words [23 double-spaced pages, 105 paragraphs}.
Where you can view it: The Chosen
Chances of reaching the 50,000 word mark by the deadline: Um...that depends on Thanksgiving. But seriously, maybe 55%?

But really, even if I don't, I think I've got a good start to the story and I have been writing it in my head for so long that it is bursting to get out. I'll have to finish it, even if I don't by November 30th. :) I mean, I'm already way ahead of where I was.


Friday, November 15, 2002

What to do when you have a half-day and it's a rainy mess outside?

Why, I went over to the little shopping centre across the street, did some small amount of shopping (Great Harvest Bread, orange juice, soda, and a video, things to get me through a weekend of rain and possibly snow flurries), came home, and slept. So now I'm awake, and just getting moving (it's 9 pm) and unexpectedly home alone on a Friday, all warm and snuggly, and kind of liking it. After all, tomorrow is another day. (Damn, I always hated that line. I wanted to ring Scarlett's little white neck by the end of the film).

Anyway, I'm catching up on reading blogs, and found this set of questions on Zabet's, and thought it would make a good Friday Five substitute. As usual, the answers get windier as I go along. Feel free to skip over anything that bores you. :)

Number of times I have been in love: One and a half. (I still wonder if I was ever in love with my ex, but I think I was, briefly, although in that adolescent way. One was definitely the whole way, but unrequited. I understand scads of songs and poems by frustrated lovers now).
Number of times I have had my heart broken: Two.
Number of hearts I have broken: None.
Number of boys I have kissed: Four. One was my cousin at age two. We have a picture of me with him up against the wall. As a child, you'd never know how meek I was going to turn out. I also had a huge crush on twins next door. At age five I announced that one was my husband, and one was my boyfriend. Hmmm...
Number of girls I have kissed: One.
Number of men I've slept with: Three.
Number of girls I've slept with: One.
Number of continents I have lived in: Just the one, unfortunately. I'd love to live around the world.
Number of drugs taken illegally: Hmmm...amyl nitrate was legal when I tried it--smelled like gym socks, ugh. Alcohol wasn't for my age (18-21), so I guess one. But I decided I didn't like either.
Number of people I would classify as true, could-trust-with-my-life type friends: One.
Number of people I consider my enemies: None, really. At one time there were more.
Number of people from high school that I stayed in contact with: None.
Number of CDs that I own: Twenty-five.
Number of piercings: Two--one in each ear. I would call that kind of boring and normal, but I think more piercings are getting to be the norm, even among people I would never think would get them.
Number of tattoos: None. I just can't get over the idea of being old and decrepit with a tatoo hanging limply from some part of my anatomy.
Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: Something like fifteen--mostly letters to the editor, one article I wrote, marriage and divorce, and school-related stuff. Only one was criminal, and it was thankfully minor, back in the days when my checking acount had more holes than Swiss cheese and I'd had one too many oopses in bouncing cheques.
Number of scars on my body: Oh, gee, lots. The main ones are from falling over a toy train at age 3, locking a thumb in a car door as a college freshman, being bitten by a hamster, being bitten by a squirrel, and then years of compulsively picking at these bumps I've gotten since I was a little kid. The worst two are from the last; as I've gotten older, I've started getting keloid scars (raised, hard scars that grow beyond the original wound). Fortunately they're on my legs, so they're not too bad--but no more piercings for me! Unless I do the scarification thing, and I think I'll pass. But generally, given how clumsy I am, I'm not as banged up as I should be.
Number of things in my past that I regret: There's nothing I would specifically change--they were all important to how I am as a person now, I guess. Sometimes I wish that I had learned to trust and love more easily, but I guess there's still time for that. Oh, and I wish I'd realised that I could have had my grandmother's car put in my name after her death. Instead I just left it to be taken away because I didn't want anything more to do with my father once he tried to blackmail me. Long story. But now, I know you can get the title to an abandoned car. I went for years without one (and in fact, I'm back in that position now) and it made it difficult to get a job, etc. But I did okay, anyway, and maybe I needed that hardship. If you check out my excerpt for Nanowrimo, the introduction is autobiographical. I really did walk two miles in the dark every morning to make bagels. I'm just glad I went back to school before the infamous "Railway Killer" decided to use those train tracks as a hunting ground, because later on one man was killed and a woman was raped when the two were attacked by the serial killer, just a little way down the track. Shiver. But all in all, it's worked out--not well, exactly, but as needed. Zabet thinks I just haven't had much luck in life. I say I used it up not getting AIDS from one of the men I was with who was sexually addicted and having hundreds, if not thousands, of sexual encounters with men a year. Come to think of it, not being at the bagel shop at the wrong time was a lucky break, too. As long as my luck runs into the keeping me alive variety, I'm happy. :)

Well, I see I have a snoring dog at my feet (she fell asleep protecting her food, and just as I wrote those words she woke up and woofed at a passing cat). In her defence, she's not paranoid. They do steal her food. One is hovering as we speak--unfortunately for him, he does not realise the ingredients in both foods are the same. Muhahaha. Oh, gee. I think it's time to get some soda and curl up with a good book. I'm re-reading Elizabeth Peters' Die For Love which is a murder mystery set at a romance writer's convention. Then, hopefully this weekend, I'll work on my novel--I've been sadly neglecting it. I had the events of our cooperative story (a.k.a. the game) in mind, since we've been dealing with gun-toting cultists, etc. But if we don't game this weekend, the writing will help take care of my need to create mayhem.

The Friday Five is on vacation this week, but they left a link to the Anti-Diva's Friday Five instead.

I guess that should be the Anti-Diva's #@%& Friday Five. Seriously, I thought it was hilarious, although I'm not going to contribute because I'm just not great at cussing like a sailor unless someone tries to run over me with a Cadillac. Well, and I don't really drink, and sex--we won't even discuss the last time I had sex. Let's just say it's been several years and my friends still make fun of me for my choice of partners. But happy Friday, anyway.

I'm working a half-day because I originally planned to go see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with some friends. Unfortunately the plans fell through (the UK theatre department is being a particularly unkind taskmaster)--we may not even be able to have our game on Sunday. I'm going to try the see it next week instead. Besides, some of the furor should die down by then. Besides, what I really want is book five in my hands. :( But that's next year sometime. So instead, I may go finish my holiday shopping. Thanks to our book fair, I have all of my family taken care of, although there's not a book for any of them--I decided it was important to not be so predictable. Besides, just because you're a librarian doesn't mean you have to give books. After all, my mom's a nurse and I hate to think what she'd give me along those lines. (Although there was that one Christmas we both had the flu). I've never been this far ahead--even have the wrapping paper. Unfortunately, I don't have a Chanukah present yet, and that's early this year--November 30th.

A nifty thing happened the other day. I was walking to work and saw a really huge bird up in a tree. I couldn't tell what it was, so I borrowed a coworker's telephoto lens. It was an owl--not a horned one--it's head was more hawkish, but it turned it's head completely to the back, and as far as I know, only owls can do that. It had a white breast with brown spots, and darker on the back. I think it was a barred owl. Some people think seeing an owl in the daytime is bad luck, but some of them are day hunters, after all. After I'd watched it for awhile, it flew off and circled back to the golf course. Anyway, I've been in a good mood ever since--I've never seen an owl, just heard them. And on the week that Harry Potter opens, no less! :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Strange mail of the week...

Okay, this is going to sound like a rant, but really I'm just amused. I forgot to check my mail Saturday and so I did yesterday (yes, I know there was no mail due to the holiday), only to find...wheat flakes. Kroger had sent me a small, one serving box of wheat flakes in a brand I'd never seen. Now, if Kroger really is keeping tabs on my purchases, they should know that I don't as a rule buy wheat flakes. In fact, I'm allergic to wheat. Not to mention, and maybe, just maybe I'm being a little paranoid, but do you really want to eat something that's been through the US Postal Service? Seeing as that is probably a little much, I'll probably feed it to the squirrels. But I guess it makes more sense than people getting menstrual pads as promotions--especially when they're sent to occupant or guys with names that aren't "recognisably" male. :)

DBT went well last night, although it took me an hour and a half to get there on the buses. Waits can be a problem sometimes, but after all, I could have gone to Louisville in the same amount of time. I just needed to get to campus. Fortunately my good mood carried over, so it was okay. Then I went home and played Sims for awhile. I finally have created a family that's staying happy, social, has a nice house, makes a decent living (oh, to bring home $750 a day!), etc. The secret seems to be having a piano and hot tub. And I got a baby through the three-day hell of infancy to pouf into a little girl who's actually quite helpful. I could see where some people could play the game instead of interacting with the real world. The thing about playing the Sims for me, though, is after I do it for awhile, it gets me into the mood to clean house, etc. Strange, hmm?

Anyway, it's still sunny, I'm still sunny. Hope you are, too.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Ten reasons I'm in a good mood today...

1. Tonight is my last night at DBT.

2. I got sleep over the weekend (hence the reason for no update on the novel).

3. It was sunny this weekend, and warm, but the sunny was the important part. It has been uncharacteristically rainy for what seems a month now. I don't think I could live in the Northwest, or for that matter Britain, without severe depression setting in. How do you people in rainy climes stand it?

4. When the torrential storms hit our area, I was in a basement with friends playing a game and therefore didn't get a chance to let my phobia of storms loose.

5. While there was property damage and some injuries, no one in our area was killed--we were spared the worst of the storms. There's something about our geography that seems to funnel storms into the mountains and along the Mississippi/Ohio rivers, for which I'm grateful.

6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets comes out Friday! Whopee! I'm going to try and take a half-day to get to the theatres before the kiddies.

7. My friend Zabet, her husband, and cat, came together for a winning team at Something Positive's Halloween costume contest.

8. I woke up (before my alarm went off) with my dog curled up at my head and a paw resting on my head. (You might not be cheered up by this, but I love it).

9. I had set my clock last night for a random time ahead (circa 15 minutes, but enough off that I could'nt reliably do math in the morning). As a result, I got to work five minutes early! Go me!

10. Thursday is payday.


Anyway, hope you're having a wonderful day, too.


Friday, November 08, 2002

Friday Five!!!

1. Did you vote in your last elections? Yes, I did. :)

2. Do you know who your elected representatives are? Yes.

3. Have you ever contacted an elected representative? If so, what was it about? A couple of times. One was a local councilmember regarding an upcoming vote extending basic employment rights regardless of sexual orientation. Another regarded some of the questionable intitiatives post Sept. 11th to supposedly fight terrorism that treat on some of our rights as US citizens.

4. Have you ever participated in a demonstration? Oh, yes. A few gay pride marches, "take back the night", that kind of thing. Most of my "political" issues revolve around human rights and the environment. After Sept. 11th I went to a vigil, which is technically not a demonstration, but seeing as it was organised by one of the Muslim groups on campus, I wanted to show my support in commemorating the attack without blaming innocents who happen to share the same ethnicity/religion.

5. Have you ever volunteered in an election? What was the result? I haven't yet. One of my friends did this year, in our mayoral race, and I so I got to see what was involved. And the candidate, won, so he was ecstatic. I have been part of a political rally. I went to one of Bill Clinton's at UK a few years ago. Apparently my fear of crowds hadn't quite kicked in at that point. Anyway, it was an interesting experience.

Thursday, November 07, 2002


This blog is now listed in the Open Directory Project , on Google, and at LinkSpider for Library/Information Science weblogs, in addition to some of the directories I've already seen it in. And we're now over 3000 hits. Not bad for ravings, hmm? Yea!

Today I was invited to come to the next Advanced DBT group. For those of you who may be new to this blog, DBT stands for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, which seems to be the best treatment available for borderline personality disorder (BPD). It's a type of therapy that emphasises life skills, particularly in dealing with stress and destructive behaviours. It's not your standard therapy--it's more like a class, really. Each session is spent going over homework and learning new skills. DBT has an excellent success rate; somewhere I read that of people with BPD, 1 in 10 will commit suicide, whereas DBT has a success rate of 4 in 5. BPD is not well understood, but it seems to result from a combination of physical and emotional development issues. People with BPD often have symptoms similar to those with post-traumatic stress. Since many "borderlines" have had traumatic childhoods, their brains may have developed under high levels of stress. So there's a biological/psychological component, at least according to current theory. Because borderlines are slow to trust, it's hard to get them through therapy. They tend to drop out or act out. They're kind of the problem children of therapy, actually. The diagnosis itself is controversial, and some therapists prefer not to deal with borderline patients because there are problems maintaining traditional boundaries of therapy, etc. Fortunately there's been an increase in information available both for professionals and for people with borderline personality disorder or those with family members with BPD. I know how difficult it is to live with someone with BPD--I married someone with it, in addition to having it myself. But people with BPD usually don't mean to be difficult--they just don't have the more effective coping mechanisms that well-adjusted (is there such a thing?) people have.

Anyway, that means next week will be my last week in regular DBT. I get my Monday nights back, although I'm giving up Tuesday, which is TV night: Buffy/Haunted/Charmed. Although as Zabet said, that's why God made VCRs. I said that I thought the Japanese made VCRs. She said some people probably think the Japanese are God. :)

One nice thing about DBT is that it can be useful for just about anybody, BPD diagnosis or not. It focuses on mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. It's not easy; you really have to evaluate what you're doing and feeling. There's usually a one-year commitment to DBT--once a week, for a year. I'm finally at the end of my year and I have to say, I've gone from suicidal ideation to a much healthier approach to life. Advanced DBT is a little different. There you focus on long-term goals, bring all the skills together, and there's not the lengthy commitment. It's more of a "let's touch base and see how you're doing". Seeing as I still have occasional "breakdowns" as opposed to The Breakdown, which, in retrospect, I basically had last fall where everything fell apart, it seems like a plan. I have noticed, though, that I'm doing much better, especially if I'm sleeping and eating well, etc., etc.

Anyway, if you have any questions about DBT in terms of what it's like, you can e-mail me. I'll continue occasional updates.

(Yawn). I think I'll go back to sleep. I was all fired up to write this evening, but I was just too tired--I just cuddled up with the cats and crashed. I needed it, apparently. But...must get in...my 50,000 words eventually.... Aw, hell, goodnight. :)

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Hmm? Question for the day...

Before we got indoor plumbing, how did families handle potty training? Chamberpots--which is kinda what a kid's potty is anyway, or what? How did they learn to use communal privies? I mean, out in the wild I guess you just squat, but we did have about 10,000 years of civilisation between that and the Crapper toilet. That's a lot of toddlers.

Can you tell I've been cataloguing too many books on potty training? But hey, at least I learned that some of those little plastic potties have a "splash guard/modesty panel" that can pop up for little boys, so there is a difference between "girl" and "boy" training potties. I'm sure I've missed a whole slew of these sorts of things by not having kids, but then, I'm not cleaning up kid poop, either.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

There's been a lot of talk of patriotism and liberty lately. Want to know the best way to support liberty? VOTE!

Today is Election day here in the USA. Check out Rock the Vote and Vote Smart. The latter has links to specific elections throughout the country. But most of all, drive/walk/click/whatever you need to do to get your concerns heard. No car? There are people willing to drive others to the polls. Bad rain? That's what umbrellas are for. It only takes a couple of minutes to make a difference. So get out and rock the vote!
PS I have no idea what happened to my comments. I'll hopefully have them back soon. If not, I'll check with enetation and see what the deal is. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I think I'm getting the hang of this...

So, after many years of making up stories, I'm actually trying to to write one. If you're really interested, you can get the updates at: my site. And please forgive me if I don't blog as much. The idea is to write 50,000 words by November 30th, so I have a L O N G way to go. :) I'm also starting a sketch journal of sorts to work on describing feelings, etc., a sort of story of me that's just for my own healing. The two together might take up most of my creativity. Oh, and then there's the game. Last night two characters (thankfully, the two most annoying, and non-player characters) were killed and five of us wound up in the hospital. I hate plotting cultists, especially ones with sniper rifles. We practically begged one of the players to come in from Versailles and play (she'd just finished a matinee at Transylvania and thought she was off the hook for the day--we fed her much Halloween candy. :) Unfortunately, the least senior character was actually in charge, because the rest of us dropped like flies, and the one cultist that was caught was taken only because of an untrained girl's sheer bravado. Once the other player came in we could bring a bunch who had been away, including one who could glom brains and detect the rest of the coven members. Sigh. It's a roleplaying thing; I guess if you've never done it, you can't quite understand the thrill of coming back week after week to see if the game master can kill you or worse. Yes, it's horror based on H.P. Lovecraft. There's a lot worse than being killed in those stories. Anyway, hope you're having a creative jag, too. 'Night.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Happy Samhain, everyone [or All Soul's, Day of the Dead, whatever you celebrate. If you don't, happy Friday.]

1. Were you raised in a particular religious faith? Not particularly. I started going to a Southern Baptist church when I was about six simply because the other kids in the neighbourhood did, and they did a lot of fun stuff like vacation Bible school, etc. I really loved learning about the Bible, and I had a pretty strong pull towards Deity, even when young [how many nine year olds do you know who feel they have a personal relationship with God, after all, and have lots of talks]? I loved the games, the singing. At some point I did finally ask my parents what my "family religion" was, and they were raised Baptist. Turns out I'm from a long line of Baptist ministers, with a few Presbyterians and Hugenots thrown in. But with a dad in the military and with mom being a nurse, they never had schedules for church attendance, and my mom at least always put more importance in personal faith rather than going to services. Of course, I also got my introduction to reincarnation from my mom; she was always a strong believer in that, because she had memories of a former life.

2. Do you still practice that faith? Why or why not?

No. Once I got old enough to go to regular church, I found it boring and, quite frankly, not the life-affirming, optimistic religion I rather thought it was. I didn't hate it, or anything; I just wasn't satisfied. By the time I was fourteen I had figured out that I believed that God was present throughout creation, that in a sense there is no real separation between Creator and Created. I knew that I found myself feeling most spiritual in natural settings. Later on, I discovered paganism quite by accident, and realised that it was closest to what I believed. For me, we are all children of God. I subscribe to a sort of Neo-Platonic outlook of what we call the "God tree", where there is a supreme Deity, World-Soul, what have you, and we all have a connexion to it. But we relate best with the Gods, who descend from this Whole to a more concrete level that we can relate to. So yes, there are many Gods, and One, but the Gods and Goddesses themselves are separate, discrete Beings at the same time. Kind of like Hinduism. I have a particular Goddess I'm close to, that I relate well with. But you know, the God of my youth is still there; I'm just not sure it's the same as the one that the Christians worship.

3. What do you think happens after death?

I believe that we are reborn through many lives, learning from each one. I think there is a "place" souls go between lives, but I'm not sure what it's like. When I have spoken to the dead during ritual, they are usually in a place, but it's given form by my interpretation of it; I can't really explain what it's really like. Maybe I can only perceive a bit of it. I do believe that we can interact with the dead, given the right circumstances.

4. What is your favorite religious ritual (participating in or just observing)?
Participating: the yearly descent to the underworld at Samhain to honour lost loved ones. Observing: I am fascinated by Catholic and Jewish rituals. Try watching a priest sometime with your inner eye. Those motions, those words, have power and purpose. In Judaism, the power lies with the Torah, and Hebrew, the language of prayer. Their tradition is very rich and textured, and it comes out when a prayer is made.

5. Do you believe people are basically good?
I believe people have great and equal capability for good and evil, although some may tend to lean one way or another. In general yes, I think people are basically good, with some exceptions. There are some people who seem to be "not quite right" from the start. Whether it's a supernatural form of evil, or a defect, or just their nature, I don't know. Would Hitler, Dahmer, etc. have been good if their life experiences had been different? I'm not sure. I do have faith that when evil strikes, great good is just as likely to be shown in humankind. And I believe our choices, overt or covert, large and small, do make a difference.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

WARNING...rant mode *on*

I have heard more whining in the last two days than I think in any other time since my divorce. Why is this, you ask? Because I've been hanging out in the Halloween aisles of stores, looking for decent treats (as a pagan I'm not usually home during Halloween/Samhain, but this year I happen to be) or costume additions. Ah, the nearly constant sound of "I'm tired", "I don't wanna", etc. The worst thing of all? None of it was from kids. It was from tired, cranky adults who for some, inexplicable reason decided to wait until the day or two before Halloween and then hit stores like Wal-Mart or Walgreens between work and dinner to see if they could find a costume for their little one. The kids, with the exception of one totally unattended boy who was pretending to be a basketball star up and down the aisles, were actually using reasonable tones. "Hey, mom, what do you think about ____?" "How would this look?" While I'm sure I'm being unfair to frazzled parents (after all, I'm not one and what could I know, having only been a kid?), the fact of the matter is this stuff has been sitting in those aisles since July. It's not like our area has been gripped by a sniper or something. It just wasn't something that they particularly thought ahead for. Poor planning like that wouldn't get them ahead in the business world. Why on earth should it work at home? The result of all this is no one enjoys themselves, which is part of the Halloween holiday as it is celebrated by mainstream America, and they just annoy the rest of us who are approaching it with more enthusiasm.

The fact is, life usually doesn't play out as smoothly as something coordinated by Martha Stewart. Hell, even Martha's finding that out. We all have days when we crack, and certainly I've had my share of them--you've read about enough of them. But see, there's a difference. I blog, but you have to actually check things out to hear me whine. And while I will admit I also have breakdowns around my friends, that's sort of one perk to having friends--and I help them pick up pieces on their bad days. But I don't inflict my anxieties, fears, troubles, frustrations, etc. on children. They've already got enough of their own to deal with and (usually) a lot less maturity and coping skills to get them through.

I mean, think about just about any scary situation for a kid. Divorce. A sibling's or parent's illness. A bully. Kids almost always assume that there's something that they did, that's wrong with them, because they've only been on the planet for a few years and don't see the bigger picture, especially if no one's telling them otherwise. So if a parent is frustrated because a boss has set an impossible deadline, money's running low, there's this or that practice to shuffle kids to, and oh, by the way, we have to get Halloween costumes for whatever school or social thing that always pops up at the last minute--well, the kid has no idea what's up, and either clams up or acts out worse.

If it seems I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, it's because I've been working for years to break myself of the habit for taking responsibility for stuff I had no control over while simultaneously absolving myself of the stuff that really is mine alone. I grew up a seething (yet relatively quiet) ball of anger, guilt, fear, and shame, and to be honest, I had parents who could have used some parenting classes but who weren't torturing me every moment of my existence or anything. I think part of it was I was so isolated from other kids, as an only child and moving around so much. I didn't know that my life could have been different, or that other parents were different with their kids. And I have no doubt that if I hadn't started working on those problems, and had gone ahead and had children when the opportunity arose, I'd have been one of those parents whining at their kids at the store. I'm so glad I'm not. Part of me would rather miss out on all of the wonders of having children rather than become that, not just because of my own dignity, but because of the children in the audience, the child essentially told that he or she doesn't matter compared to "all those other problems". Kids aren't problems. They're gifts, and challenges, all rolled up in one, regardless of their individual talents or deficits. I'm not sure I'm emotionally mature enough to meet that challenge. But I know that five to ten years ago it would have been far worse.

Last night I watched a news segment (I can't remember which show it was, probably Dateline) about a teacher in California who ran off to Vegas with her 14-year-old student lover. She was in the midst of a divorce and at an "emotionally vulnerable" time. Because she crossed state lines and had sex with a minor, she could have wound up in prison for life. Granted, she wasn't going to hurt him. But his parents had no idea where they were for four days--that must have seemed a lifetime. She's on probation as a convicted sex felon as it is. She admits she made some stupid mistakes. She obviously rationalised her way along (trust me, I know how that goes). She probably convinced herself that she was protecting or helping him. She's an extreme case, of course, and I could almost sympathise. After all, I've had a breakdown of sorts, and I certainly have made really bad choices, most notably in marrying an abusive sex addict, which while it wasn't illegal could have easily gotten me killed. She's about my age, too. But you know...there comes a time when you have to start accepting responsibility for your behaviour. I started this year. There's nothing special that makes me different in that I made that choice. Others can, too. But it seems that so many people just want the world to fix their lives, rather than let their lives help fix the world. I don't get it.

And while I'm on a rant about people who harm children...this was on the news when I logged in...Authorities search for priest on the run. Please don't think that by posting this I'm being anti-Catholic or anti-priest. I have great respect for priests and nuns. However, that respect is based on their vows, which include celibacy. That's just such a step most people never take. The thing is, regardless of what sexual orientation a person is, a vow of celibacy should be binding, and if it can't be, then that person should either not take the vow, or ask to released from it. Now, I do not see paediphilia as an orientation like homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. There is nothing inherent in sex, colour, whatever that prevents two people from having a satisfying sexual, loving, relationship. And I acknowledge that there is a grey area of age, since people don't really agree on any "one" age of consent. In my own state you used to be able to marry a 12-year-old so long as the parent consented, for example. But, the fact is, minors do not have the emotional maturity to be in an equal partnership with those with years of experience behind them. Two fifteen-year-olds having sex is more about exploring new horizons, emotionally and physically. An older person, particularly one in authority, preying on a child is another thing altogether, particularly when there is a breach of trust. This is especially true when it is a parent, family member, teacher, counselor, priest, etc. That breach of trust seems to leave more lasting emotional damage than anything that may go on physically. The idea that this man apparently operated for years, shuffling back and forth, and never was removed as a priest--I can't fathom it, and it makes me angry, and doubly so that someone may be helping him. I once read a Newsweek article about a priest who had had one encounter with a 17-year-old, recognised that it was inappropriate, and resigned. He did retain his priest status, but not only did he remove himself from the minsitry, he basically imposed a self-exile on a mountain removed from the temptations and sought counseling. I have far more respect for him. He took responsibility for his actions. He recognised that he couldn't undo it, but he could seek forgiveness and prevent it from happening again. This fugitive priest got wind of the investigation, booked a cruise, then returned to the country only to disappear--and his victims were under 14.

What a world.

rant mode *off*

(Tomorrow, in honour of the holiday, I'll try to keep my blogging light and upbeat--promise. I think with the end of my DBT coming, though, these issues are just hitting closer to home because I'm doing some reflecting).

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Is it a girl thing, or am I just psycho?

I'm realising more and more lately just how hard it is for me to ask for anything. A day off. A cookie. I just look at a person with this puppy-dog-begging kind of way, even when I really am trying to be a responsible adult. Earlier tonight, I had taken the bus out to Walmart and ran into Zabet and her hubby, and after we'd talked a bit, I just sort of stared at her, trying to get up the courage to ask for a ride home, no doubt looking stupid. She had to say, "I suppose you'd like a ride?" Now this is the same woman who just braved plague for me, mind you. I've known her for years. I know that I can usually depend on her. And the worst she could have said was no, she couldn't, and I'd take the bus like I'd planned to begin with.

It's like I feel that I don't have a right to ask for anything, or that in saying no, someone will be literally rejecting me. That may be the borderline personality talking. I dunno. I know I never seemed to be able to get my dad to notice me when I wanted him to--he certainly did when I didn't, except when I was really little and cute. Momma says that once I got old enough to talk to and it was obvious that I was intelligent--well, he just never felt comfortable with me, because he was afraid he'd fail, that his answers weren't good enough, that he'd be wrong. (Gee, that sounds familiar, too, although I'm scared of really little kids before you can have a conversation with them and they just scream). The sad thing is all my life I've felt overlooked, underappreciated, etc., etc., but I've been helping that whole thing along. And maybe Daddy did too. I mean, it's silly to resent people when you don't even give the chance to give you what you want, hmmm? But I've done that my whole life, and I think he has, too. And while I've got a lot better (I do actually ask for help now, and unless I'm emotionally warbly, I'm usually okay). I think part of the problem tonight is that by running into them, my plans were changing, and I don't shift gears easily.

You probably wonder how I can even be a professional librarian. I do too, sometimes. Thing is, I'm good at it, and with a few exceptions, I'm pretty flexible. But in my personal life, well, I'm still working on it.

My point being is even though I'm...well...a bit rabid...mad...rabid...I'm also a girl, and women in general seem to do this a lot. Are we trained to? I mean my mom was pretty passive with my dad, too. I dream of a world where women can be assertive without being afraid of being agressive. Funny how if you're so caught up in that fear, you just come off as a bitch. If you're self-confident, you just come off a capable.

Oh, small note among the revelations...I came out as bisexual to two of the most conservative people in the hospital today, at once. We were having a discussion about a gay couple here who have had quadruplets through in vitro fertilisation (with one partner as biological parent) and a surrogate mother. They're both Catholic, and the children were christened. Anyway, in the midst I had a small breakdown because while actually one does believe "you're born gay" and both believed that regardless of the parents the children should be christened, that thrice-damned phrase "gay lifestyle" kept coming up again and again. Now, I recognise that there is a gay subculture. Ha--I married into it, of all things. But it is not the end-all-be-all of being gay. Most gays I know don't even participate in that aspect of bar-hopping, gay-pride-parading, chorus-singing, whatever you want to call it. They'd all be nicely married if they were allowed to. (And in fact, most gay and lesbian couples I've known have been together longer than most heterosexual ones I've known). Even my ex and his partner have been together longer than my parents were married. But they don't count, right?

Anyway, I went into a "what is this gay lifestyle?" mode. I asked the woman if she had a heterosexual lifestyle. She said, well, no, actually as a new divorcee, she really didn't jokingly. See--it's synonymous with sex, not subculture, in that mindset. I said, you know, I'm bisexual, so you'd think I'd have quite a bit of "lifestyle". But I haven't dated since 1994, and I haven't had sex with a guy since 1991. But that doesn't change that I'm bisexual, it's just a small part of what I am. Same for gays.

Jeesh, that'll make it through the hospital. I think the stomach problems did something to my mouth. I also read out the side effects of Pepto-Bismol. That's sure to get me comments and strange looks. (Ah, you gotta love the folks at Procter & Gamble, who not only got the domain www.pepto-bismol.com, but also http://www.diarrhea.com/, assuming anyone can spell it. Well, unless you're PETA, since P&G has mostly, but not completely halted animal testing of their products.) And just for the record, I generally admire PETA's goals but sometimes think...well, they outrabid this Rabid Librarian. I recognise that some animal testing may be necessary, especially in medicine. (I give you the movie The Fly as evidence). I mean, where would diabetics be without pigs? Now we have human, and I think, synthetic insulin. For years, though, it was pig. I try not to impact the animal kingdom beyond what I need to survive. Certainly for years I think the general view of need was up there with Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" thneed-obsessed rather than real, basic need. And certainly I think the worthiness of animal testing should be examined on the same level as human testing. "Will it give us reliable, new information?" "Does it subject animals to unreasonable pain or suffering considering the results". However, the other day I considered the Pepto-Bismol a godsend, and I notice that the info site I found did not list animal safe alternatives for over the counter medicines, and you can't depend on the generics either. I remember when Gillette was still being boycotted as one of the bad guys, and they're touted on that site.

Anyway, back to the pink stuff. I was looking to see why I felt all sweaty and greasy (I already knew about the little item they print on the bottle about turning your stools black, thank the Gods). But this was so great I read it out loud--and I am not making this up--(emphasis mine):

Anxiety; any loss of hearing; confusion; constipation (severe); diarrhea (severe or continuing); difficulty in speaking or slurred speech; dizziness or lightheadedness; drowsiness (severe); fast or deep breathing; headache (severe or continuing); increased sweating; increased thirst; mental depression; muscle spasms (especially of face, neck, and back); muscle weakness; nausea or vomiting (severe or continuing); ringing or buzzing in ears (continuing); stomach pain (severe or continuing); trembling; uncontrollable flapping movements of the hands (especially in elderly patients) or other uncontrolled body movements; vision problems

And with that, I bid you a fond adieu. Go easy on that pink stuff.

PS Why is it that the little finder on the address line of Internet Explorer seems to keep the &*##^&(*^*& typos??? I always have rabid-librarian.blgospot.com come up when I try to access my site. Oh, yeah. Microsoft. Did that come out of my mouth..um..fingers? I think Zabet and her hubby have been splicing Mac subliminal ads into our Friday night videos!