Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, May 30, 2002

PS I watched the memorial service as they removed the last piece of wreckage from the World Trade Centre, the steel beam from which the flag waved despite all that went on around it as they cleared the remains. It was very fitting. My prayers are with those who lost so much in those fateful hours, but also with those who have worked tirelessly night and day to rescue and later to recover what was possible so that there would be closure for as many of those families as possible. I can't imagine what you have experienced. My brain refuses to deal with the scope of debris, the weight on the heart, the lives that will be forever changed. May you find solace from the horror, now that there is nothing more to clear.

Oh, I forgot the best part...

One of things I love about Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: It has a library! I would kill (in the figurative sense anyway) for the Jedi archives--the sum of all knowledge in the galaxy. Well, almost all knowledge. Although, the librarian takes a very non-librarian attitude of "it isn't here, it doesn't exist". Just so you know, today's model librarian has the motto, "if it isn't here, I'll find it for you". As a side note, I'm not sure we really need the great and powerful Yoda to solve the conundrum when simple logic would have done. But, I suppose it made a good demonstration...if you've seen the movie, you'll understand; if you haven't I don't want to give it away.

I'm now DSL-less. :( I was so bummed enough last night when it no longer worked that I just went on to bed--I didn't even work on other projects, read, or play games. [I did celebrate the unclogging of my bathtub (I love our maintenance staff) with a nice long bath.] Now I've recovered and I'm raring to go when I get home. I finally got my list of 28 student loans--oy vey. Granted, several have been paid off, but the rest have to be consolidated.

I'm starting to feel in control of life again. I have my rent (on time!), and with Zabet's help, I'm paying off the things according to her schedule. It's been a long time since I wasn't literally living from paycheque to paycheque. I still am, a bit, but I've got a little cushion that isn't immediately evaporating the moment it appears in my account, and that's great. Since I simplified life (i.e., canned the TV/computer and car), I've had more time to spend with my animals, working on some creative projects of my own, and keeping up my environment. For the first time in a very long while I feel a sense of peace.

I've known for a long time that I tend to make my life a living hell, that I do things backwards or in a fashion that makes things more difficult or overwhelming. I really do, as D told me, make mountains out of molehills. Well, I think I've whacked the mole on the head, and now that I'm putting some of that energy into getting better, I'm finding that life isn't nearly as overwhelming as I thought. I've spent so much time messed up because of the past that I've been fritting away the future. It stops here and now. I want to live life, after all. I want to hear the beauty in birdsong and see the beauty in other people. I want to reach out and embrace the life I've been hiding from. I feel like a toddler just up and walking. (But fortunately without wanting to taste quite everything). It sounds corny, but it's true.

As for updating the blog, I may not be able to do lengthy posts--but you're probably glad of that. I'll try to write during my lunch break, etc.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Yoda rocks! (and other reasons you should see Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones)

Geek that I am, I am not one of those who camped out for tickets to see the second of the planned nine Star Wars movies [if you didn't know there were nine in the series, not only are you not a geek, you haven't been paying attention for the last twenty years]. After the last one, I was not going to rush out to get my ticket. I will admit that I was somewhat disappointed by the Phantom Menace, although all in all, I compared it not to the whole series but to the fourth movie, which also had whiny kids, cheesy dialogue, and annoying aliens--but a better all-around story. I figured George Lucas might be a tad bit rusty, so I was willing to give him a second chance. So, when D suggested going, his treat, I was more than willing. So D, A, and I headed out to Lexington Green, home of the cinema that happens to be next to Joseph-Beth Booksellers, our favourite bookshop, where we could browse before heading to a galaxy far, far away....(I can't believe I just said that.)

The movie was great. Really. It answered many questions and raised many others. It had stupendous action scenes, a little more subtle humour (well, except for 3P0, but he sort of exists to be hysterical and deadpan all at once) and mushy stuff for those who like that sort of thing, without making you want to throw up. I found that a lot of my suspicions/intuitions were right. I found myself still wondering, as I dropped off last night, how the third movie will play out. And I dreamt about clones....

This morning I was still in a Star Wars mood and found a picture of Yoda and set it as my wallpaper. A coworker saw it and he and I started talking about Star Wars. I'd always been a little embarrassed that I didn't see any of the movies until Empire (I was 10 when A New Hope came out, but we didn't have a cinema nearby). I remember the stir it caused, with lines around the whole block. A few of my friends saw the movie, but a lot just didn't get the whole story--we played with the action figures and made up our own stories. For a long time, I remember, I thought Luke and Leia were supposed to get married, because that's what one of my friends had thought had happened (well, everyone was in white at the medal ceremony, but unless Leia was officiating at a gay ceremony for Luke and Han, I don't think so....) So, I'm talking to Todd and he says he first saw Return of the Jedi and I asked him how old he is (young, I knew, but still....) Turns out he was born in 1981. He wasn't even ALIVE when Star Wars began. Granted, I know there are new generations enjoying it, but gee, I didn't expect to be working with someone whose parents probably were in high school then. So, that was a little creepy. But hey, I'm getting used to being of a more middling age. Especially since I was in high school when he was born. Sigh.

Anyway, see the show in the theatre. It goes without saying that the special effects deserve the big screen experience. We went to a matinee that was pretty packed and had to sit on the second row, but I was happy to see that nothing was particularly skewed. I'm still scarred by the size of Scully's heels on X-Files when we saw that movie in about the same position. And rest assured, Jar Jar Binks has only a very small (but unfortunately pivotal) role (for which he just needs to die die die...but I digress.)
I think everyone's in place by the end of this movie and ready for the third movie to be incredibly strong.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

I am being thwarted by the US government...

One of the things I have on the docket this weekend is to go through and get all of my student loans finally consolidated. I started the process last November but messed everything up because I didn't realise I was supposed to send in a vital piece of information. Now, I'm raring to go, have all the info I need, and I find that my PIN doesn't work. Sigh. The good news is that the federal government is holding off issuing the payments for consolidation (but still letting you apply, etc.) because as of July 1st the rates are going to go down to a ridiculously low number. Given the price of my education (I owe as much as many doctors), this is a very good thing. Want to check it out? Go to the Department of Education's Direct Loan Consolidation website for more information. Also, I'm glad that (at least in theory) I can finally go to one database and find out who has what. I literally have boxes worth of mailings that I've saved during my many years of grace period (15 years of college, scary, isn't it?) Now I can (hopefully) chuck them soon, as they'll be out of date. And there was much rejoicing!!!

My list of things to do...

Awhile back Zabet and I came up with lists of things we would do if we ever lost weight. I found mine again while cleaning today. I have to give her Hubby credit; he did say that we could do all of those things now--although I would argue that my knees and Tai Chi are mutually exclusive at the moment. Most of mine are physical, mainly because I know that if I wasn't lugging around an extra 100 lbs I'd have more energy. Anyway, here's my list. I'll update if I do any of it (whether or not I lose weight):

1. Take up fencing. (I loved this in high school, but we didn't have any masks that could go over my glasses. I'd like to do it without being blind).
2. Learn bellydancing. (Yes, I could do this now, and it would help tone. But I'd be doing it around other people!)
3. Wear something stunning and skimpy on the midriff and upper arms (Again, I could, but would you want to see it?)
4. Go to the Unitarian church. (This may seem odd. This actually means parade myself in front of a small subset of people at the church in Lexington who tended to equate weight with stupidity. Their attitude, incidentally, does not jive with the church's in general. They were wrong, of course, and I don't have to prove my intelligence to them. But I would like to see their mouths drop open, especially if I were wearing the aforesaid outfit.)
5. Learn to stand on my head. (I've done this once, in high school, after 45 minutes of coaching from a very patient Mr. Amos.)
6. Ride a horse.
7. Go ice skating.
8. Take up a martial art...
9. ...and finally do tai chi! (I can do yoga, but I can't do that one move in tai chi where you keep your knees bent and stand).
10. Dance. A lot...
11. Go skinny dipping at the beach.
12. Have a really great, extended bout of lovemaking because my stamina would be better.
13. Climb monkey bars. (Okay, I guess that's left over from childhood, where I was a little too chunky to do it gracefully).

I think everyone should have to put on one of those fat suits and try to do things that involve stamina, grace, or balance with the added weight. That said, I know the only way for me to take off that weight is to continue to 1) take my blood sugar medicine 2) exercise regularly 3) and eat like I'm supposed to. Number two is the hardest for me. But I know that the more I've been walking lately, the more energy I've had in general, so maybe I can. In the end, too, it's not about looking great, but feeling great. My aunt just became the second one in the family to go on insulin, and I want to try to prevent that for me if I can. I'm lucky that I got my diagnosis of insulin resistance in my 30s and I'm on the medication 20-30 years before my other family members, so maybe I can prevent some of the damage it can cause. Incidentally, if you reach this page looking for info on insulin resistance syndrome, also known as syndrome X, e-mail me. I run a discussion list on it and have done countless searches on it. I can send you links to check out if you'd like. I know what it's like to know there's something wrong but no one knows why.

Since I missed out on quizzes this past week...

You are a David Weinberger.

You are smart, savvy, interested in why people do what they do,
enjoy questioning yourself and are not balding.

Take the What Blogging Archetype Are You test at GAZM.org

That seems fine to me. After all, he has a link on How to Survive a Nuclear War with Just a Hat. :) So, of course, I've added a link under blogs I read since I'll be checking back often.

Going into the Memorial Day weekend...

The is the first time I've had three days off straight for a long while. I originally thought I'd go home this weekend (my grandmother's 76th birthday is Wednesday), but next weekend will be better for all of us. So, how did I spend a day that was warm and glorious? Mostly asleep, save for a few hours of house cleaning. I think I'd just built up too much of a sleep debt. I figured if I went ahead and gave in to it today I'd do better in the long run. Besides, I sleep best with sunlight and a light breeze, and work best at night. My mom's always worked night shift, so maybe it's genetic. Even with the sleep, It's at least an improvement over last year. They'd tried to put me on the drug Serzone, which at its normal dose put me to sleep for all but 4 hours of the 3-day holiday. It was like waking up and losing time.

So, it's the middle of the night and I've woken up enough to feel a kind of Zen oneness with the world around me. It's been raining gently outside (after a few days to dry out from the deluge we've been getting this spring. I love the quiet of the night. It's so...enveloping. Today there's been a lot of noise with people at the pool and the parking lot, or music (mostly Balkan or Middle Eastern, which I love) playing through open windows. I love my apartment complex. It's got a great mixture of cultures and races--Asian, Eastern European, Latino, etc. Some are refugees working three jobs to try to save up for a home or to get an education. I've never understood some Americans' disdain of immigrants. We all started out that way (even the First Nations came from Asia), after all. I love living in a multiculutral, cosmopolitan environment. It makes life a lot more interesting. After all, we may have different perspectives on life, but we share a common bond of living it.

Here in the South, we take Memorial Day (or as it's called here, Decoration Day) pretty seriously. While people have cookouts, go boating, and all the other things you do during holidays, they also visit family graves, clean up and care for the lots, decorate them with flowers, etc. There are ceremonies commemorating the fallen. In Europe, Canada, and Australia, I know, most people celebrate Remembrance Day in November (we have Veterans' Day), on the anniverary of the Armistace signing for World War I. As someone who grew up on military bases, we always celebrated that day, too, although I'm not sure how much the general populace does. And of course, being Pagan and a Celt, our celebration and remembrance for the dead also falls in November. But Memorial Day dates from the years following the American Civil War, which touched most families at the time. I've done enough research on my ancestors to know that there were those who fought on both sides of that conflict. While I abhor slavery, I understand the position of states' rights. I'm not sure I could have chosen a side myself, although of course, attitudes were different then, so I'm sure I wouldn't be looking at it with a modern perspective.

Memorial Day also marks the passage into summer. It's when it's considered safe to run barefoot (I always ignored that one, much to my grandmother's dismay), wear white shoes and summer clothes. I'll wear sandals or light clothes as needed due to the weather, but I still can't imagine wearing white shoes before Memorial Day (or after Labour Day). I suppose I'm just caught up in tradition. After all, I still grouse about the whole moving the day to Monday, as far as I'm concerned the day is really the 30th and always will be (although I'll take the Monday off, too.) :)

For myself, I'm glad we've had a beautiful spring, and I hope summer will be lovely too. There is something in a post-September 11th world that is healing about seeing flowers bloom again, or fat chipmunks scamper across the lawn. The sounds of the children's voices as they splash in the pool recall that life goes on, that while the world may have changed a little, it is not defeated. Every day gives a bit of hope. I hope that those whose lives were drastically affected by the attacks that day find some comfort in these things, too. And I for one plan to light a candle for the dead of that day along with the dead we traditionally remember. Memorial Day has turned from remembering war dead to all dead, but for all that I take issue with the rhetoric of war our politicians spread so freely, those who died during that day do count as war dead, too.

While I'm eulogising, let me take a moment to remember those of my own family during this time. Here in the South, there's usually one woman of the family that cares for certain graves, etc. On my father's side, I inherited that position when my grandmother died. But I haven't been able to return to the area because I haven't had reliable transportation. So, let me take a moment to remember them here:

My grandmother, Frances Ellouise Duncan Broadbent Young Vanarsdall, of Owenton, KY (October 24, 1921-March 10, 1993). I called her Nana. She was an army nurse who served in Europe during World War II, losing a kidney when a patient kicked her. She was also one of the few sources of medical care for Owen county, riding on horseback to deliver babies, etc. She's been in my dreams a lot lately, there on the family farm. I think of her whenever my friend Brenda talks about her sheep. Nana kept the farm going even through part of the time she was fighting cancer. She raised sheep and cattle, and she thought nothing of tying a rope around her waist and climbing up the roof, even in her 70s. She was absolutely fearless, except that I think she was afraid people wouldn't love her. When I look at how much she did, and how much she was on the go, I wonder if part of it was she thought she had to do it all to keep our love. I think she's where I got that from; I did the same thing for years. I've finally come to realise that people either love you or they don't. Nothing that you do "makes" it happen, and if love comes with strings attached, then it's not really love. I'm not sure Nana ever realised that.

My great-grandparents, Joseph Warren Duncan II (July 4, 1899/1900-April 22, 1988) and Carmen Cobb Duncan (May 5, 1903-September 15, 1991). I've dreamt of them and of the farm a great deal lately. I wonder what Pa would think of the number of shootings we've had linked to the primaries in Kentucky this year (there were three more the other day). I remember him constantly on the phone politicking this time of the year. I remember how upset he was to be "putting a Republican in office"--his words, not mine--the year before he died because the Democrat hadn't fulfilled his expectations. I think he'd think they were just going about things the wrong way if they had to resort to guns. Ma was a character, too. She was an extremely independent spirit in a time when women weren't encouraged to be. I wish I'd known her better before Alzheimer's began to rob her of her life--although the feistiness always remained. They were both very independent. It wasn't until my great-granmother hit about 80 that Pa finally consented to put in indoor plumbing, because they'd always been able to do the labour needed to pump the water in or take out the slops to that point. Through my great-grandparents, I'm able to understand some of the Appalachian mindset that people think is backwards, but is really something quite different. If I were able to get up to Owenton, I'd also lay flowers at the grave of my great-uncle, Joedy. He died at 16 from a heart problem, so I never met him, but he was a late child of my great-grandparents and the only boy, and I think a little bit of them died when he did.

My grandfather, Allan Madison Broadbent, whom I never knew. He died around the time I graduated high school, but he and my father had fallen out with one another years before. Funny, I've carried on that tradition with my own father. I sometimes wonder if we had similar reasons for cutting off ties. The only picture I have of my grandfather is one with my grandmother, where they're both in their army uniforms. He served in the Pacific in World War II, although I don't know any of the details.

On my mother's side, my grandfather, Edgar George Craig (September 25, 1923-January 27, 2000), Danville, KY, the gentlest man I've ever known and the person who was more a father for me than my own. He was a Marine during World War II, and fought at Iwo Jima. He used to tell me about trying to get the tanks through the volcanic sand, and it's because of him that I know the famous picture of the flag being raised is actually the second raising (they hadn't had a chance to photograph, the first, so they did it again). I miss him terribly. When he died his only request was that they play "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. The funeral home substituted some sort of clavicord or bells. My mom and I were both upset. Bells are not appropriate for a good Scot. :) If I can get to his grave next weekend I have a recording to play of proper bagpipes. I've thought of trying to look up a bagpipe player I used to know, but I have no idea if she's still in the area. In my dreams of home, Pa Craig is still there with such vitality that when I wake up it's like mourning all over again to realise he's gone. Or at least, gone from life. I guess as long as he's in my dreams, he's still with me. But I am glad he's no long suffering--in the last years he'd been tied to oxygen and unable to go outside or work in the garden. Every time I plant something new, I think of the legacy he gave my mother and me in our love for gardening.

Well, those are my memorials. I'll light a candle for them on the 30th, but it seemed fitting to remember them in this diary, too. Here's to a safe and happy holiday.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

It's late Friday night, so I guess I still have time for a Friday Five, right?

1. What's the last vivid dream that you remember having?

Last night, I dreamed that someone I knew, Bill, who lives in New Jersey, showed up with these three friends who were tag-alongs, two dark-haired guys and one that was blondish. They showed up at this store that's often in my dreams (usually during some form of Armageddon!) which is a sort of drugstore, but with fish in aquaria, etc. There was a mysterious Asian storekeeper (think Gremlins. The guys were kind of immature, and Bill was, well, just really really big. I mean, he's 6'5" anyway, but he was a lot taller and dwarfed me. The store came under attack and at one point we tried to get away in a car. One guy was carried off by a big bat-like thing, like something out of Lovecraft. I never got to see how it would end, but we were under a siege for some time.

I was telling Zabet about this earlier. She used to be married to Bill. She said that he had these three friends from high school and that they used to be inseparable. My descriptions matched them. Weird. My dream was detailed enough that I could read the greeting cards in the aisles. That's sort of the norm, especially with the CPAP machine. Apparently I was deprived of REM sleep for so long, there's a sort of rebound effect that makes dreams particularly vivid, almost as if you're drugged. So I pretty much have vivid dreams every night.

2. Do you have any recurring dreams?

Oh, yes, although it's usually recurring elements. There was one dream I had over and over through childhood where I was in an old curiosity shop with moonlight falling on a rocking chair where a ghostly Raggedy Ann doll stepped out of the chair and I knew her name was the same as mine. I was terribly scared. I remember her in the moonlight, seeing the chair through her, while the chair rocked to an eerie music. I turned to run, and found that I was in line to check out and that there was a large grizzly bear behind me that comforted me a great deal; it didn't scare me a bit. I first had that dream at age three, then again at nine, and twelve, etc. I later found out that I'd had a rocking chair that played music. At some point I became very afraid of this chair. I also found out that I'd had a imaginary friend who was a bear. Hmmm...

Some places or people show up a lot, like this store. Last time I dreamed of it, there were busloads of tourists coming into the area while the world was getting ready to end. Go figure.

3. What's the scariest nightmare you've ever had?

The Curiosity Shop--don't ask me why, I've been able to deal with far worse in many other ways, but it was my first real nightmare.

4. Have you ever written your dreams down or considered it? Why or why not?
Occasionally, like now. Sometimes I think they'd make a good starting point to a story. Sometimes I wonder if they have some inner meaning.

5. Have you ever had a lucid dream? What did you do in it?
Hmph. I do this maybe 60% of the time, at least to some degree. The degree of lucidity varies. Sometimes I know it's all a dream, and I can change some of the story. Sometimes it's just a hint. But it's less random than some other resources.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Places I'd like to visit...if I ever have a reliable car...

I'm a sucker for strange old houses...

Hammond Castle, Gloucester, Massachusetts
The Coral Castle, Homestead, Florida
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California
The Biltmore Estate

And I'm not too far from these:

Great Serpent Mound, Locust Hill, Ohio
Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville, Illinois
Mammoth Cave National Park, Mammoth Cave, Kentucky (Yes, I've been, but there's always more to see)
Newport Aquarium, Newport, Kentucky
Red River Gorge (oddly enough, I've been to Natural Bridge, but I'm just about the only person I know here who hasn't gone hiking/camping in the Gorge!)

Anyway, I guess I'd just like to poke around some of the historical/natural places in the area, then expand outwards. I've never been to Florida, which is the only Southern state left on my list of states to visit. I'd like to go up to New England. I've heard great things about the Salem area. It's the setting for a lot of our Call of Cthulhu adventures (and no, there is no such place as Arkham, Massachusetts, except in the imagination of H.P. Lovecraft and his followers), but also I've learned that I'm descended Edouard Bompasse, a man of French descent from Britain who came to America on the ship that came after the Mayflower--the Fortune. So, I'd like to see what the area's like. That's the first ancestor for which I can find an entry point into America (my family's been in Kentucky for nine generations--since right after the Revolution--so I'm lucky to find what other states they came from, nevermind countries). There are a couple that came over in the 1800s, but I haven't found their record of entry yet. Doing genealogy is like working a big jigsaw puzzle, and it's addictive!

Random link of the day:
Check out the Ghost Weather Station

*does a little dance*, to quote Zabet

I have felt remarkably great all day. I think it's because I missed my bus last night and so I walked home (about 2 miles) on a beautiful night without, oddly enough, fearing for my life. I mean, there's reasonable caution and there's my sort of anxiety. The walk was great. I didn't feel the strain at all until I was nearly home, just got into a rhythm and stayed until I forced myself to cool down. No asthma attack. No pain. No achy muscles (until this morning, anyway, and then I realised why walking is supposed to be such great exercise. I mean, come on, my neck muscles even hurt. Who knew?)

Being a pedestrian most of my life, I've taken walking for granted. But I have to admit, my weight didn't really start ballooning until I started driving. All those short walks around campus must have actually had an effect.

Anyway, I came in last night, did some yoga stretches to help the muscles, and pretty much fell asleep. This morning I hurt everywhere but my head, but as soon as I started to walk to work I felt better. My colour's better, my mood's been great, and I seem...well...taller. I'm no towering sort--only 5'4 1/2", but a lot of women at work are a bit below me. Today, I guess my spine was straighter and they weren't in heels, because I felt positively winnowy (difficult to do at my weight, too).

As an added bonus, Xander got to save the world for a change. I hate to admit it, but the quiz I took awhile back was was right: no matter how much I identify with Willow, I'm absolutely a Xander. So, it was nice to see the most "ineffective" scoobie in action. Sheer stubborness and loyalty can get you places sometimes. :) Those two qualities certainly have kept me going for years. Other lesson I was glad to see incorporated into the script: knowledge wins over might. Have I mentioned lately that librarians rule? I do think I have convinced D, if he were not already, that my sense of humour is just gruesome. Last week (which I missed), the bad guy had his skin ripped off. I got to see the scene last night in the 'what has gone before...' section. Great effect. I might add, that flaying in actuality is a long, tedious, and incredibly awful thing (at least from what I've read of ancient accounts). That would be horrific. This--this was just a great effect. The same result, quickly, no violence, as neat as peeled grape, because it was supposed to be done by magic. Okay, maybe others don't get it. I sometimes cheer or laugh at special effects and no one else understands. It's not that I'd ever like to see the real process in action. But I have to admire the special effects whizzes who manage to do it on TV and movies.

I did discover, reading a magazine at lunch, that I share something (other than my size) in common with the Snapple lady, Wendy Kaufman. Apparently she's going to school and learning criminology because she's fascinated with forensics too. Her family doesn't understand her either, but they do just accept that she's into it, and that she'll do well at anything she puts her mind to.

Oh, and while I'm on a fat kick, I found a great website, The Hidden Goddess List. It discusses pertinent information for women of size without being pushy or particularly political. I'm one of those people who wants to be active and healthy, so sure, I'd like to be smaller (I'm about 270 lbs. and a size 24--don't let the picture on this page fool you, it's from awhile back). My insulin resistance and sleep apnea, for example, would be much better. On the other side, though, I'd rather be my size and never go through the torture some women put themselves, especially with yo-yo dieting, etc. That can put far more strain on your body than extra weight. I watched my mom struggle with her weight for years, sometimes looking dangerously thin, even though she's beautiful just the way she is. My friend Zabet has a picture of her at size 12 which just looks like a stranger, all skinny and bony, and yet at the time she thought she was fat, just like I did at the same age as a size 14. It's sad that it's our society who has the sick image of women, and yet the results are played out in so many hidden anxieties and to the tune of billions of dollars within the diet and medical industries.

Do you realise, for example, that when they do a gastric bypass operation, they make it so your stomach holds only about a quarter-sized amount of food--just a few ounces? That on top of the other side effects, you may have to eat constantly just to keep from malnutrition? I can see it as a last resort for people who are so large they may just die without it, but I can't imagine just deciding to do it because I didn't want to exercise or watch what I ate. There are no magic pills. Half of it seems to be attitude--when I feel good, I lose weight. When I don't, I gain. Then it becomes a vicious circle. How is torturing myself going to make me feel better?

Okay, I'll stop ranting now. Back to my day.

I came home this evening, read for a bit, and succumbed to the couch. This time I think I'm coming down from the endorphin high from all the walking yesterday and today, so I guess it's alright.

One bad piece of news: I did find out that I could keep my DSL without a voice line, but only if I put it on a credit card. :( I do not have a credit card (and frankly, don't want one, although you can't even rent a movie today without one, it seems). So, this will eventually go away. The good news is it looks like I'll have most of the pressing stuff and some of the older debts paid off by July. For once I know where all my money is (such that it is). It's a good feeling. And let me just add that while Zabet is not the accountant who shares her name here in Lexington, she's a damn fine finance manager, especially when it comes to firmly bullying the person who wants to blow the last $5 on drinks and snacks. I highly recommnend her. Although I suspect she would not be nearly so kind to a stranger who was paying her for the service. :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2002


Well, I didn't do quizzes last night to unwind from DBT. Instead, I lit some candles, turned the lights down, set my fan to "breeze" (it's hypnotic), turned on a little tabletop fountain, lit some incense, and put my Eastern/New Agey CD in to softly play. Instant relaxation, which was good, because it had been a very long Monday. Then after I let the candles burn a few minutes I blew them out because I was getting v e r y s l e e p y and didn't want to burn my house down. It was a good call; I fell asleep on the couch immediately and woke up at 3 am (9pm when I dropped off). Then I got up and wrote the first chapter of a story that's been rattling around in my brain for awhile, and went back to sleep at 5.

Even though it had been a typical Monday, it wasn't so bad. One of my co-workers tried to bully me into doing a project for her right then, but I told her there were higher priority requests ahead and that I could have the results to her by Friday. Then I wrote it up in my interpersonal effectiveness homework because it's the closest thing I've had to conflict this week. I had a good session at DBT. We get a week off (next week's Memorial Day). I brought Jason, the therapist who's leaving, a little stuffed hedgehog that holds a heart that says "You're special". Yeah, I know it's cheesy. But it made it into my hands, and someday he'll probably find someone who needs it more. In the meantime, he can keep it on his desk for those times he'll need it. Face it, he's working on a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. He'll need it at some point.

Today was a sort of Monday redux, but at the same time almost Friday-like. Our Spanish class had a reunion with our teacher from last year for a luncheon, one of my co-workers had a send-off party (she's moving to Los Alamos, New Mexico), and I saw two former co-workers, a husband and wife, before they left for North Carolina. He's a prosthetist who'd been looking for a job since November. They're both great people and I wish them luck. So, we had receptions and parties all day. My only meeting lasted just 10 minutes because we all wanted to go to one of the receptions. :)

One of the other librarians in the system, from Chicago, called me from Dallas, where they're having the Medical Library Association national conference. They definitely want to see me there next year. I'll have to figure some way to build it into the budget. Next time it's in San Diego, which I never got to visit when I lived in California. I'd love to go back to the West Coast for a few days. If I could only figure a way to do it without flying! Maybe a rail trip across the Southwest? Granted, a train car is a small box that hurtles through space just like a plane, but at least it's on land. :)

Well, I need to get ready to go over to D's to watch the showdown between Buffy and Willow. The bus leaves in a half hour and my dog would probably like to go for a walk first. I'll probably write later tonight.

Friday, May 17, 2002

And now, an actual library-related posting...

Recent news regarding the Supreme Court's decision regarding the Child Pornography Prevention Action may have people confused as to which particular law was addressed. There are other laws in effect, one of which, the Children's Internet Protect Act, calls for libraries to filter information on their machines. The American Library Association is challenging the latter not because they are supporting child access to pornography, but because filtering in inexact and can deny access to crucial information (i.e., info on breast cancer) for people seeking unrelated information. But you know, librarians and their crusades are often misunderstood, which is why the ALA prepared a summary to dispel some of the confusion:

The following information from ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom might clarify questions you have had regarding the Child Pornography Prevention Action and the Child Online Protection Act. There is also summary information about the Children's Internet Protection Act.

In the last month, the Supreme Court handed down decisions on the constitutionality of two laws, one restricting child pornography (the
Child Pornography Prevention Act, or CPPA) and one on Internet content (the Child Online Protection Act, or COPA). At the same time, the American Library Association, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and other plaintiffs were in court challenging the constitutionality of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Because there has been some confusion about these laws and the legal actions challenging them, OIF has prepared a brief summary distinguishing them:

Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (Child Pornography Prevention Act)

The Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) expanded the definition of child pornography. CPPA criminalized the creation of what is called
virtual child pornography," or "morphed" child pornography. Under CPPA images that appear to depict children but do not, including images of youthful-looking adults or images that are computer-generated would be illegal.

The Free Speech Coalition filed a lawsuit to overturn these provisions of the CPPA on the grounds that the restrictions violated the First Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the Free Speech Coalition, and in a decision handed down on April 16, 2002, found these parts of the CPPA unconstitutional on two grounds:

First, the law, as written, is overbroad, prohibiting otherwise legal, non-obscene images depicting teenagers engaging in sexual activity, such as filmed depictions of Romeo and Juliet or Lolita.

Second, the prohibition on child pornography is based on the link between the creation of the image and the sexual abuse of the children shown in the image. If an image is created by use of computer technology or by photographing adults pretending to be children, there is no basis in the law to ban the image.

The Child Pornography Prevention Act affected only those who create films and images. It did not affect libraries. The Freedom to Read Foundation, however, joined an amicus curae (friend of the court) brief in support of certain First Amendment arguments.

Ashcroft v. ACLU (Child Online Protection Act)

Congress passed The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) to replace the Communications Decency Act. (The Communications Decency Act was held
unconstitutional in a 9-0 decision by the Supreme Court in 1997.) COPA prohibits the transmission of any material over the Internet deemed "harmful to minors," if the communication was made for a commercial purpose.

The ACLU challenged COPA on behalf of a group of plaintiffs who provided commercial content for the Internet or who received such content. The trial court found the law unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the law was unconstitutional, but said it was unconstitutional because of
its reliance on "contemporary community standards." This made the law overbroad.

The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Third Circuit's decision on May 13, 2002, on very narrow grounds. The Supreme Court did not decide on the
constitutionality of COPA, finding only that COPA's reliance on "community standards" does not by itself make the law unconstitutional. As a result, the Supreme Court returned the matter to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals for a fuller consideration of the First Amendment issues raised by COPA's restrictions on Internet speech.
All nine justices agreed that the injunction preventing any enforcement of COPA must remain in place while the lower courts further examine COPA's constitutionality.

Because COPA addresses only material sent over the Internet for commercial purposes, it does not directly affect libraries. FTRF joined an amicus curae brief in support of the parties' First Amendment argument.

ALA v. United States (Children's Internet Protection Act)

The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requires libraries and schools to install filters on their Internet computers to retain federal funding and discounts for computers and computer access. Because this law directly affects libraries and their ability to make legal information freely available to their patrons, the American Library
Association and the Freedom to Read Foundation filed a lawsuit to overturn CIPA.

The CIPA lawsuit is currently pending before the federal District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In March 2002, a trial was held before a panel of three judges. The parties are now waiting for the panel to issue their decision. It is likely that the losing party will appeal the panel's decision to a higher court. Because Congress
designated CIPA as a law subject to the "fast track" provisions of federal law, any appeal will be made directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judith F. Krug
American Library Association

Let me just add that while I understand the legal issues that led to the ruling regarding CPPA, I think it is now the duty of lawmakers to go back and legislate a more specific law for the protection of children. Also, while I understand the legal issue of creating images without using a child being considered "victimless", I think that doing so does lead to an environment where child pornography is tolerated. Note that you can be arrested for having hemostats or other "drug paraphenalia", even if they cannot prove you were using them for drugs (although I think that's necessarily a good thing). There must be a way to address this issue more clearly in a law to discourage child pornography and allow law enforcement to do their job. It is so difficult these days to determine what images are real and what images are created. On a related note, using a person's image, say, all those "nude pictures" of so-and-so, that have been cobbled together from various sources, is also wrong, and certainly damages the person's reputation, but at least that could lead to civil action (if you can find the person doing it, that is). Unfortunately to deal with these issues we need laws that are clear and do not overstep rights of free access to information.

So, if you encounter someone who says "librarians are supporting pornography" let them know that that is not the case, and point them to places like ALA.

Friday Five is back!

Although the questions are a bit silly this week. :)

1. What shampoo do you use? Suave "For Kids" 2-in-1 shampoo, Cherry Blast, with extra conditioning (I have baby-fine hair, so it seemed like a plan).

2. Do you use conditioner? What kind? See above :) Why take more time than necessary unless it's frazzled for some reason?

3. When was the last time you got your hair cut? The end of December; I'm trying to grow it out a bit.

4. What styling products do you use? Hmmm...not much of anything. Occasionally some L'Oreal Studio Anti-Sticky Invis-Gel if I need to flip my hair consistently under or something.

I only recently got the girl handbook (although I still can't walk in heels). I'm pretty much too out of it in the morning to do much more than shower and run a comb through my hair. Sometimes I blow it dry, but only if I have to give a presentation or am feeling a particularly rare need to primp. My hair resists most things I do to it, so I've learned not to really bother beyond checking to see if it needs combing a couple of times throughout the day. It'll curl, but the curl will fall out pretty soon. It's got a natural wave and is at a length at the moment where it sort of flips up on its own, so I let it.

5. What's your worst hair-related experience? The second (and last time) I let my mom perm my hair. Oh, and that's no reflection on my mom. The perm would have looked great on someone else--I'm just not a perm person. I hated it so much I cut it out of my hair, giving me a very bull-dyke sort of look, with about 3/4 inch of still curly hair on top of a pretty large body. I looked like a Weeble.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Maybe things aren't so bad after all

Today I paid off my rent. A couple of days ago I'd finally taken over the first part and left a note explaining that I'd been dealing with depression and anxiety problems, but that a friend (Zabet) was helping me deal with my finances, so I should be on time from now on. It's funny, I've never just told a creditor that that was the problem. I spend so much time denying stuff to myself that after awhile I start believing that it's just a temporary problem that will get better. I'm so embarrassed by the fact that it's so hard just to answer my mail. I've done the same for a friend with depression. I never thought less of him because he was feeling so overwhelmed. I knew that it wasn't just a matter of trying, but rather a problem with brain chemistry. But unlike my friend, I wasn't curled up in a ball inside a house unable to go to work or school. I was still functional, right? Hah. It's all been an act, and as I've peeled away the layers and have begun dealing with the problems inside, it's been harder and harder to function. I can't describe how hard it is getting up sometimes. When I do take pleasure in life, it's usually something to do with nature around me--a flower blooming, the bubbling of a creek, or my dog rolling in the grass. It reminds me that I'm still a part of the world, that I haven't managed to shrivel up and die yet. But interacting with people--that's harder. They don't call it social phobia for nothing. :)

So it was kind of surprising when I brought in the rest of the rent and Mary, our office manager, told me she was sorry to hear about the problems I'd been having with depression. She'd had panic attacks to the point where she'd go to the emergency room thinking she was having heart attack. A little bit of her understood. I've found that talking about the depression or OCD or how I'm doing on Paxil, as I have with a few, almost always opens them up and makes a connexion. I think maybe all of us feel a little crazy sometimes, although most of us don't ever say so, at least in our modern Western way of life.

Tonight on the season finale of CSI I was able to put the pieces together almost instantly, not because it's particularly predictable, but because I understood something most people would not even think of. It was the story of of model who'd died, apparently tortured. It looked liked her face had been carved up. There was a homeless sister who'd also been a supermodel who was a drug addict who was also paranoid schizophrenic, who seemed to be obsessed with her sister and the fact that she'd taken her place, the life she'd had. But in truth both sisters snapped under the pressures of modelling. The homeless girl had become addicted to cocaine to keep her weight down. The sister had body dysmorphic disorder, when someone becomes obsessed with some aspect of their body, in her case symmetry and perfection of features, and weight. She'd been both bulimic and anorexic, which was shutting her system down to shock, destroying her organs. But she'd died from septicemia, because she'd been inflicting the wounds on her face obsessively, tweezing, picking, digging, etc. Horrific, isn't it? Not only in the sense of the wounds but that anyone would feel such despair that they would harm themselves, torture themselves.

One of the breaking points that led me to get into therapy and on medication was that I increasingly became obsessively anxious, hoarding things, checking doors, checking the stove, counting in my head--and tweezing eyebrows, pulling out hair, and picking at my skin. Any blemish was picked at until it scarred. I always had to obliterate it by messing with it, but then it would get worse. I would do something really great, like give a kick-ass presentation where people were singing my praises and then would go home and go into this cycle of self-hurt, ultimately leading up to abusing myself sexually, or sometimes striking myself. In a way I was trying to feel, after years of dissociating at the slightest thing, so that all the emotions were shut down. In a way I was degrading myself. And I was angry, and scared, and all hurt inside, so when I'd spend time with other people my emotions would spin out of control, and I'd send all the same feelings I had for myself out at them. I'd put them down in the same sort of sarcastic way my father did to me, and would hurt myself because somewhere deep inside I believed I deserved it, that I was nothing; I'd believed the lies he told me, and when he wasn't around to hurt me any more, I found my ex, and then when I had a moment of sanity and left him, I became my own abuser. Not to the degree that the girl on the programme did, but enough that I was hurting myself, and I could not escape from myself. I'd done a pretty good job of hiding myself away. My friends knew about the hoarding, of course, but not the rest. I finally admitted it to one friend, whom I'd known for 13 years and who had thought he could read me like a book. He'd known I needed professional help, but despite the shock, I think he realised if I didn't do something soon it would escalate until I'd get myself killed. I wasn't so much suicidal per se as I was not caring if I lived or died, with occasional bouts of obsessive thoughts about running away from everything or crashing my car, etc., thoughts so strong they'd spin inside my head until I'd just want it all to stop. I'd gone to great lengths to make myself look incompetent, silly, a failure, etc., trying to live the image my father had given me of myself. Funny, I'd always been able to see others wasting their potential, but never myself. Instead I was trying to run away from myself, though, and there was nowhere to run.

I'm slowly getting better, I think. The Paxil helps, and I've been in DBT now for seven months. I've examined a lot. I've gotten a good handle on what's wrong, and I'm making peace with myself. But every day is still a struggle. I have to focus on the fact that I'm still here, I'm not to the point of the girl on the TV show, who admittedly, is fictional, but the people who inspired her are not. You never know just what's going on in other people's lives, in the homes they go to after work, etc. The person who serves you coffee may throw up regularly to keep her weight down. The guy on the plane may never be able to believe that his wife isn't going to abandon him. The fellow grad student may think the government's out to get him. When the news reports someone who's been reported for having a hundred dogs, we think of the animals first. But I think of the people. I know how they feel. I know it's a sickness. If you've never dealt with mental illness, maybe this won't make sense to you, but you'll remember it if you have someone you love in a similar positon. And if you're fighting your own daemons, all I can say is keep it up. Every day is a struggle for some sense of normalcy, but every day here is a battle won. Everytime you can see snow on the TV, or feel the wind on your face, or smile at a child, you win another battle. Eventually the war may be won. I have to hold out for that hope, anyway. I hope you can, too.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Quiz Time!

Somehow I just knew I'd be big, blue, and hairy...

You are Beast!

You are brilliant and extremely clever. You can
handle almost any problem swiftly and
efficiently. You are devoted to philosophy and
are always up for a good discussion.
Sometimes, though, your anger gets the best of
you and you upset those whom you care about.

Which X-Men character are you most like?
brought to you by Quizilla

And from the love perspective...

Which Star-Crossed Marvel Lover Are You?

Which Rock Chick Are You?

Which is really sad, because while I love Tori Amos, I can't be around men after listening to her because she bring out all my "I hate men" emotions.
I knew it...

Which HP Kid Are You?

I just knew it....so much for dreams of playing Buttercup in the upcoming movie!

Which PPG are you?

which children's storybook character are you?

this quiz was made by colleen [sorry, guys, the link no longer works so I removed it]

I took the What Mythological Creature Are you? test by !

Quote of the night:

"Life is like a puzzle; best to close the edges first, work back to the middle, to the places where it hurts."--"In These Times", sung by Pat Benetar, Innamorata.

I am a little tired of rain...

Today we got hit with near monsoon conditions--lots of wind and rain. At one point I noticed rain seeping in under one of the doors at work, opened up the door, and was hit with a solid wall of the stuff. Agh. At least it waited until I'd walked to work to start. Unfortunately, I forgot my umbrella tonight at DBT. So here's hoping we'll dry out tomorrow. It's a lot cooler, too. That's okay, but I think this is the latest I've ever had the heat on.

The plants love the rain, at least. I haven't had to do any watering. I'm hoping this isn't going to be one of those standard flooding-followed by drought we sometimes have as the weather patterns shift across the country.

Oh, and for the guy in line who insisted that the little $3 rose bush I bought at Home Depot would never grow, the one who wasn't a gardener himself but whose girlfriend grew roses (which somehow made him expert enough to pontificate) the one who said that the bare-root plant I got was substandard and would never make it, even though I didn't ask for his opinion, have gardened for years, have been raised by generations of gardeners, and was fully cognizant that it might not root but was willing to blow 3 bucks of my meagre gardening budget on the chance--I'll have you know that the little bush is happily potted, has leafed out magnificently, never lost so much as a leaf of the original sprouts, and has one beautiful bloom already. So there. Just because I'm a girl in a building materials store, that doesn't make me an idiot. (Now, hopefully I won't jinx the rose and discover hoards of Japanese beetles or something coming out this summer and turning it to lace).

Not much going on today otherwise. I told you before, Monday's DBT, so it's sort of my "come home brain dead" night. I think I'm going to get something to eat, do a little work around the house, and a little reading. Talk to you later.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Well, the ducks are having to share, today...

Our pool opened yesterday, but it was a bit nippy to swim. Today, though, the kids were out in force, and the ducks were understandably upset, quacking away.

I played the game today, where we defeated the bad guys on this leg of the campaign, to live and fight another day. Whoo hoo! I love Call of Cthulhu. We're playing it with a Trinity twist. We're involved in one of the really long campaigns, the "Masks of Nyarlothotep". Fortuantely, I have a character who can shapeshift and take a whole lot of physical damage. I think I've played Cthulhu for too long, though. The game master was explaining all the various horrors (terrible, horrific things, that's why it's called horror, right?) like terrible rites involving being beaten by pronged clubs and calling up giant alien beings who'd literally participate in an orgy/rip us apart/eat us) and my response (after a moment of silence for processing) was, "okay...so how far into the process are we right now?" translate "when can I start spitting stomach acid at people?" One of the other players, Brenda, just laughed and said, "well, I have to admire your calm". Hey, falling apart wasn't going to help, even though I was fully into the story. But I'd just read the latest Anita Blake book, so maybe that's why I took it well.

I talked to my mom briefly (
) and my grandmother, too. It was great to hear from them. Now that I've cut back on the phone, cable, etc., it's a little isolating at times. And lately the main caller on my cell phone is some woman from the western part of the state who calls the same wrong number about eight times per week, who then wants to dither once you tell her she's costing you money. Grrrr.....I want call block on my cell phone.

Well, that's it for this weekend, I think. Talk to you later.

Friday, May 10, 2002

You'll be happy to know...

that duck and mate were happily, quietly swimming in the pool this morning. Ah, true love.

Our neighbourhood's a little crazy about ducks, anyway. We had a mamma duck decide to lay her eggs inside an enclosed courtyard at work. Several employees took turns feeding and watering the mamma and her twelve ducklings. Then they opened two facing doors that cut across the nursing unit hallway and ushered them out into the clearing, where they could make their way down to the creek. In the past we've stopped traffic across one of the busiest roads in Lexington so a mamma could get her babies safely across the street to the golf course. :)

The Friday Five site is still down, but I'll take a stab at it anyway...

I'll just make up this week's questions.

1. Why did you become a librarian?

Well, it seemed a great idea at the time. I'd just gone through a divorce, had some classes for a mediaeval history master's under my belt, but no real direction. I thought I could make a living at it. (Hah! It took me four years just to find a rather nice but underpaid job!)

2. What is your favourite song? Does it have any special meaning for you?

Ooh..tough one. Probably Simon & Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair/Canticle"--not only is it the epitome of the anti-war songs I grew up on, you have to listen very carefully to catch the words to "Canticle". "Scarborough Fair" is also about trying to bring a true love back from the dead, and I have to admit, it appeals to the romantic in me. The two songs I most identified with as a child were the one right after that on the album, "Patterns", and Neil Diamond's "Shilo" (okay, maybe I had that tendency towards depression even then).

3. How many schools have you attended?

Eleven. Two kindergartens, two elementary schools, three junior highs, two high schools, one college. You gotta love the Air Force!

4. Which space mission do you remember first watching on TV?

The Apollo-Soyuz (1975)--It was a Cold War joint mission between NASA and the Soviet space agency, with the two ships docking. I was enthralled by two enemies cooperating. (Did I mention I was a second-generation flower child?)

5. If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Pay off my student loans. Pay off other debts. Get a working car. Pay off my mom's house. Get a house of my own (nothing fancy, but with room to garden.) Fill it with real wood furniture (no more dorm decorations). Found a Pagan university. Endow a few scholarships. Travel the world. Sail on the H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth II. Go to school for the rest of my life. (Of course, I don't really play the lottery, so that really is a pipe dream.)

Pining duck?

I had decided I needed to actually go back to sleeping in the bedroom (as opposed to a very comfy couch) and was straightening up when I heard the unmistakable sound of quacking. This is not so unusual (I live next to a reservoir and a creek,) but I thought it odd at this time of night. Perhaps a duck was in trouble?

So, creeping outside, I discover said duck (a female) in the middle of our soon-to-be-opened swimming pool, quacking away. Perhaps she was pining for her drake? Or were there babies to be called? Who knows...although she finally quieted down.

Ah, nature.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Were any of you #1000???

Blogger is being a little freaky. I keep typing over stuff unless I hit enter and send the rest of the text to the next line, completely independent of my own insert toggling. Weird.

My week so far...

Monday: I went to an all-day meeting co-sponsored by the Bluegrass Medical Libraries and the Kentucky Health Sciences Library Consortium.

The class was very interesting; it gave me some facility in using jargon with financial types, for one thing. I did grow a bit concerned when the presenter, who holds a Ph.D. and has headed various libraries, got flustered with the technology and when asked about a specific aspect of the problem he was showing us, stated that 'the numbers themselves' don't matter. Sure. It was a $2000 mistake; no problem. That's probably the attitude that led to the Enron debacle.

Quote of the day (or actually, a paraphrase, since I don't have my notes with me, but I did get permission from the author): "There is nothing so sexy as consumer health." (Thanks to Lonnie Wright of Central Baptist Hospital, I laughed myself silly, in the middle of a financial seminar, no less!) [Okay, you had to be there. We were discussing ways of using unforseen funds, and someone suggested setting up a sexy, top-of-the-line kiosk to deliver consumer health information. It's a big topic out there.]

Tuesday: The horsey-girlie girl in me mourns...

Twenty-five years ago today I watched a relatively unknown colt named Seattle Slew win the Kentucky Derby in what was to be the first jewel in a Triple Crown. Born and bred in Kentucky, he was a dark horse who seemed very clumsy early on and few would have picked him as a potential winner. Not does he hold a record for winning the Derby undefeated, he also sired another Derby winner, Slew O'Gold.

It was about that time that I started reading horsey-girlie books, ones like National Velvet, Black Beauty, and my favourites, those by Marguerite Henry (author of so many books, but especially that of my favourite Derby winner, Black Gold.) So began a fascination with these wonderful creatures (and their somewhat related fantasy cousins, unicorns) which would last through my teens. I hadn't been on a horse since I was three; I never learned to ride--I only knew of a stable on one Air Force base when I was growing up, and they didn't give lessons. But I drew them obsessively and read all I could.

Just the other day, prior to the latest Derby, the Lexington Herald-Leader ran a story on Seattle Slew because he was the only living Triple Crown winner. Today, on the anniversary of his win, he died surrounded by the people who loved him, and was buried on the property of a nearby horse farm.

Over the years some of the magic has worn off--I've learned I'm allergic to horses and a little afraid of how big they are, but the part of me that fell in love with the idea of a horse is still in me somewhere. I went to see the touring Lippizanner stallions a couple of years ago. I suppose I don't have any excuses anymore, living in true horse country. We have a museum/park centre devoted to horses, and I could easily take lessons now. Somehow, hearing of Seattle Slew makes me wistful and a little willing to see if I could learn to ride after all. It's one of those things like ice skating, though--it's easier to imagine than do!

Oh, I finished Narcissus in Chains. Unlike many other Anita Blake fans, I loved this book. Anita's growing emotionally (about time) and finally gets someone in her life who isn't either whiny or goth. (Also about time!) There's so much development that there simply isn't room for a lot of the peripheral characters.

Also on the vampire front, however, was Charmed sisters smiting Cole, who was sister Phoebe's husband (and the source of all evil, but hey...) I always liked Cole, even at his worst. Laugh if you want, I know neither are, on par with Shakespeare, but Buffy, Charmed, and CSI are about the only TV I watch (hence the jettisoning of cable). If I want depth, I read or turn the channel to documentaries.


I went with D and Dee :) to look for a treadmill for D and A. We came, we saw, we conquered. Turns out the store had a treadmill sale, so he got a really nice one (regularly $1099) for several hundred dollars cheaper. Then we went to a furniture store and found a table and chair set, already marked down, where he haggled another 10% out of the sales clerk due to a scratch or two. :) We finished the evening at Kashmir, an Indian restaurant, where I had the first spinach nan I'd had in years. Yum!

The cable went off today, which was a full week after I'd placed the order, so I guess I can't complain. I really wasn't watching it anyway. Now, when the DSL cuts off, that'll be harder. But hopefully, cutting back on things now will help me get in a place where I can comfortable afford diversions without worrying about the dinero.


Once again I have been persuaded to do a bulletin board for our annual employee appreciation week. Last year had a '50s theme. This year will be a carnival. Much easier, in a way. Actually, I like doing the bulletin boards, so long as it's not several a month. It's like being a kindergarten teacher without having to deal with lots of small, cranky children. Hmmm...Oh, and the first wild rose of the season has bloomed by the creek I walk along to work. Everything is so lush--people are mowing like crazy, and the grass is still taller than most birds. My only trouble has been with the mugginess. I think we've had enough rain for awhile, not to mention flooding and (at least where my mom lives) softball-sized hail. The farmers haven't been able to put out their crops because the fields are too waterlogged. Granted, that's mostly a problem for tobacco (it mildews easily,) and I'm not a big fan of tobacco, but as someone whose family grew it for generations, it's a hard thing to lose a crop.

One good thing, the area doesn't seem to be having trouble with foal losses like last year at this time. Because the temperature's been down, the tent catepillars that are suspected have stayed in their webs. If you don't know what I'm talking about, last year there was a terrible outbreak of an illness that caused miscarriages, resulted in foal deaths, and threatened broodmares that swept the Bluegrass. Some believe that the tent catepillars, which feed on fruit trees, especially wild cherry, may have excreted cyanide taken from the trees into the grass to be eaten by the mares. A lot of farms took down the trees last year in an effort to stop the losses. This year, they've been keeping the mares inside, feeding on grain, just to be on the safe side. Last year people started pulling their horses out of the region or barring them from transporting to other states. They're still not sure how much it all cost in terms of lost revenues, because some of the effects won't be known until the yearling sales later this year. In the meantime, the University of Kentucky is keeping an eye on things here.

Oh, I guess I've rambled enough tonight.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Getting back on track

Sorry I haven't posted; life (as usual) got in the way. Turns out I'm not the only one; Friday Five took the week off, so I grabbed the same questions Dreaded Purple Master used this week, since I haven't answered them. Here goes:

1. What is the weirdest thing you've ever eaten? It would be a toss-up between squirrel and squid. The first was an occasional meal my grandfather acquired before he gave up hunting after coming out of the woods into a clearing surrounded by a whole bevy of federal, state, and local lawmen with guns looking for marijuana growers. Unlike my mother, however, I did not crack open the skull and eat the brains (and a good thing, too--we have some sort of mad-cow-like disease that hits people in this area linked to squirrel brains). As a child I had a rule about eating internal organs. The second was something a Japanese-American co-SCAer (member of the Society for Creative Anachronism) brought to a potluck for the shire meeting. I know some people think of it as a delicacy, but I just never could get over the texture. I never liked clams or oysters, either. Unlike dpm, I could not begin to eat shark--I dissected them in high school right before lunch and thought I'd never get the oil smell off my hands. Have I mentioned I'm a vegetarian now?

2. Name one (material) thing you can't live without. The written word. If I'm not reading a book or a computer screen, I'm reading the backs of cereal boxes. If I were on a deserted isle, I'd have to write out stuff just to read.

3. Name something you've always wanted to do but didn't have time for. Travel around the world, to every country. Oh, wait, that takes money, too. :(

4. What outrageous thing do you wish you had the nerve to do? Belly-dance in public.

5. How do you plan to spend your weekend? Saturday: grocery shopping (yeah, boring, right?) Sunday: playing Call of Cthulhu.

[Note: Actually, I wound up being invited over to Zabet and Hubby's for omelets Saturday, where I introduced them to the movie Evolution (which, if you haven't seen it, is hilarious) and they treated me to the movie Monsoon Wedding (which was great). Then we watched the "Great Conjunction" of planets from the arboretum, stopped by said grocery, and then I finished reading Caress of Twilight. Unfortunately, I didn't game Sunday because one of the players had to sell her sheep to a passing petting zoo (I'm NOT making this up) and we're at a crucial point where the gang has to save my character before she (who's actually shape-changed to a he at the moment) is sacrificed. We decided to wait until next week to storm the castle in the fens, and my companions, both of whom are X-Men purists, discussed the fine points of the various incarnations of the series and other Marvel titles while I discovered my dog likes Wint-o-Green Lifesavers (R) and played Mah-jongg on a PDA. And these are my non-geekazoid friends. Hmmm....]