Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

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.