Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Also via John

Joey Green's Wacky Uses for common products...and yes, they work.

So my use of baby oil suntan spray to cure a squeaky bathroom door at work (with the added benifit of coconut fragrance goodness) is sounding more spiffy now. :)

'Night. (Really.)

Criminals beware

the bat-loving, lollipop-dispensing constable of North Wales (with thanks to John for the link on his Bloggit...that really put me in a good mood before bedtime).

I am hoping

that since good things, like bad, tend to go in threes, that maybe some of it will rub off on the rest of us. A friend had a totally unexpected bounty happen today, the type that just puts you back on your feet (it's up there with, say, my mom and John surprising me with the car last autumn). I'm hoping maybe Dwana will be next; she's had an awful spell the last few days, with fever and vomiting and pelvic pain that wakes her up from sleep even on pain meds, and they're thinking she might be having a gallbladder attack on top of everything else. This, mind you, on top of a broken air conditioner, a fall, and some family issues. She hasn't been able to come to work or do much of anything except be in pain for the last few days. And if it's alright with the universe, I'd really like the third to be that I hear from the library and I've gotten one of the jobs I interviewed for, please, please, please. I sent my thank you today (a little late, but I had to track down the spelling of the interviewers' names, and fortunately one of them was in the paper today). I found out that the HR staff from work spoke with them, explained the layoff being an oeconomic thing rather than anything to do with my performance (they can't give anything much beyond the fact that I've worked there for the past seven years, but they were able to tell them that), and I also found out that the library was able to speak with my former boss, who isn't constrained by any policy, who can tell them all about my work from a supervisor's point of view, and who was always my champion and who has recommended me time and time again. So, that's a happy thing. So, all signs look to be positive (our HR director, for example, said she usually wouldn't run a background check until the end of the hiring process...the library does ask for permission to do so up front, but I still think it's a good sign that they went ahead and did it.) I'm trying not to be nervous, but this is the furthest I've gotten in the process and I so desperately need a job right now, and this really sounds like it would be professionally stimulating and (yes, I know this is over the top, dare I say it...) exciting. One of the jobs looks like it's been reposted, and the paper had another librarian with the branch manager, and I don't know if she was a loaner from another branch or perhaps there were three positions total at that branch, not the two I though.

Sigh. I could sit and work myself into a frenzy--it's been stewing all day, fueled with my worries over the bills--but I won't do that. Soon I'll know one way or another, after all, and I think at this point I have done everything I can to get the job. So, what I really need to do is think about going to sleep. I'm going into work early tomorrow because of a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon.

Ah, books, the finest drug

Tonight, in celebration of still having electricity, I:
  1. Found two cherry bedrails in very good condition that had been put out near the dumpster. They make excellent shelves and have them set up on my cherry endtables (shelf and top, making for a nice span the length of my living room window.
  2. Started unpacking some more books. Discovered what happens when an arachnophobic Jew packs your books...there was a children's book called 'Be Nice to Spiders' in with the books on the history of Nazism and Hitler. Mind you, they were in a little box, separate from the larger collection on the Holocaust. Just Nazis and spiders, which I take it were deemed equally poisonous. :)
  3. After years of thinking it was a nifty idea but not participating, I finally signed up and registered my first BookCrossing book. I'll release it into the wild tomorrow. It's the aforementioned mute-Australian-girl-meets-cockatoo story that made me cry when I was hormonal.
  4. Which led me to a referral by the Eclectic Librarian for SF-Books, a site that lets you trade books (mostly fantasy, science fiction, and horror, but there are other genres, too) with people all over the world.
  5. These, along with freecycling, and possibly eBay for the stuff that might be worth something, will help me on my quest to declutter my home further. Moving helped a lot, but there's more that needs to go.

PS The cats think I put the shelves up just for them. Spock had a close call when he jumped down onto an older case of floppy disks and his foot went through the plastic cover, getting caught between the two parts of the cover. I had a dickens freeing him before he had a total meltdown (plus, he didn't realise what he'd done at first and was trying to drag the whole thing with him). I think that's one that might be better off in a landfill. Who would think one of those would be dangerous? Oh well, at least no harm done.

So, they have to twist the knife?

In the news yesterday was a heart-wrenching story of a house fire in which all the pets in the home died, and they showed on TV (and in the newspaper today) bodies being taken out, one after another.

The unusual part of this story is that in all, 48 animals--38 cats, eight dogs, and two rabbits, died. The house is a small four room building in the Red Mile area.

Now Lexington Humane Society officials are saying the woman who collected the pets, Laura Gimmoins, may face charges due to the number of pets involved.

I'm familiar with the 'collecting' phenomenon of people who have way too many animals than is healthy. It's related to hoarding and obsessive-compulsive disorder. I was probably on the road to it myself at one point--I had 3 cats and 2 dogs for awhile--all but the first gained within the first five years after my divorce, but had to institute a moratorium since I was already stretching in terms of being able to provide a stable houme. Contrary to popular belief, it's usually not little old ladies with cats, but middle aged women, often who have gone through a divorce or other trauma and put their desire to be a caregiver into 'saving' strays. Usually there are quite good intentions, although often it gets overwhelming after awhile and the health of the animals and the owner both suffer.

But...these don't appear to have suffered any neglect or cruelty. Ms. Gimmoins, who works on a local horse farm, apparently had each neutered or spayed, and neighbours said she treated the animals like her babies, and never saw any reason to complain.

The cause of the fire was a short in a fan that was on to cool one of the caged rabbits. Ms Gimmoins was at the farm at the time, which is probably good, as I suspect she might have died in the fire trying to save her animals.

Lexington/Fayette County has no law against keeping multiple cats. You are required to have a kennel licence for 10 or more dogs. I think that's a fairly recent measure, but I'm not sure. There were 8 dogs killed in the blaze, but apparently there were two more dogs on the farm with Ms Gimmoins.

Response to obvious cruelty is expected, but it sounds like this is a matter of a technicality being used to further add to the woman's already understandable pain. I hope they don't charge her, unless clear abuse is cited. It's not a good idea to have that many pets, but the care should outweigh the number, and I don't see where charging her at this point would improve the situation for anyone. She probably needs grief counseling, not fines. Hasn't she lost enough?

Lexington Herald-Leader | 08/31/2004 | Fire kills 48 animals

Who knew? Librarian is one of the '27 types of Women'

originally from the Daily Mirror, read on Bob & Sheri

Me? I'm a mix:
--CAT LOVER: Friendly, 30-something dreamer whose shopping basket is full of frozen dinners, chardonnay and cat food. Envies and despises her smug, married friends. Something of a Bridget Jones type.
--ECO-GIRL: Big-hearted vegetarian, wears camouflage pants. Can climb trees. It's what Lisa on "The Simpsons" would grow up to be. . . you know, if she was real.
--FUNNY GIRL: Always there to put a smile on your face with her witty wisecracks. Not the person to console you after a pet has died. Think of SARAH SILVERMAN.
--GIRL NEXT DOOR: Pretty, down-to-earth, sensible and fun-loving. Men would be delighted if she was their girl's best friend. . . because they'd want to NAIL HER. Perhaps a less-famous JULIA ROBERTS.
--LIBRARIAN: Reads books, watches intellectual TV shows. Could be stunning if she invested in her appearance. Think of VELMA in "Scooby Doo".

It's the oeconomy, stupid

For the first time in my life, I'm part of an actual, honest-to-goodness, trend.

Not a good one, mind you, but nonetheless, I have company:

First there's Lack of Hiring Drains Consumer Confidence

Then there's Women's Poverty Deepens Amid Slow 2003 Recovery

US Census Shows Rise in Poverty, Uninsured (well, at least I didn't lose my insurance!)

Poverty Rates Continue to Rise Under Bush

I guess we know how I'm voting in the election.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Okay, as much as we librarians try to convince ourselves otherwise

Sometimes there are stupid questions.
stupid questions indeed

Oh, why do they always have to say he's from Lexington?

Our most infamous citizen is probably Dr Panos Zavos, a fertility expert (although certainly not one I'd like to visit) who has been working on human cloning and now claims to have taken DNA from people killed in car accidents and implanted them in cow eggs.

Oh, yes, just what we'd like, little undead minotaurs.

Mind you, this is from a man whose other main claim this year--that he had implanted a cloned human into a woman's womb--was later recanted. Maybe he was low on cash and needed a little media interest.

Sigh. It hurts the brain. And as one friend pointed out, from a Jewish point of view, if you can't mix your milk and meat, or your linen and wool, what happens if you mix a human and a cow? Somwhere I think we're sowing the seeds of our destruction. Do scientists not read the legends? Even if you don't believe in divine retribution, there's always hubristic tinkering with the world to the point where it convulses into chaos. Cloning is a step there, and beyond the ethics, the idea of farming organs, and all that, it's also just so wrong to give parents hope of children reborn, etc. Grrrr.

Oh, and what does this mean? I've seen it in several reports, and it didn't make any sense:
using DNA taken from a dummy and nasal extractor belonging to a baby who died

I could see DNA from a baby coming from a nasal extractor--I guess they mean the suction thing--but where do dummies come into birthing? Any ideas?

And on a related note...

The MESA Project

This is a great way to promote a library

Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana is supposed to be haunted, so there are a series of ghostcams set up for enterprising explorers to watch and capture any images they might see. There's also a fun 'spoof' section where images have been manipulated with additions. The building is from 1885 is the oldest public library building in the state.

This is a pretty decent Alertbox

Mastery, Mystery, and Misery: The Ideologies of Web Design (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

and it includes comments on JK Rowling's website as a demonstration of for what sort of type of site 'mystery' elements work.

Sheri rocks!

Here's a big thank you to Sheri Lynch of Bob and Sheri who pointed out this morning the sheer ludicrosity of our society when people like Britney Spears and Nicky Hilton can have quickie Vegas weddings (often followed by equally quickie divorces)--and many would say it was done merely as a publicity stunt to milk an image or sell a clothing line--when there are people in this country (like a couple of Sheri's friends) who have been together in a committed relationship for two decades but aren't allowed to marry because they are the same gender.

Don't we have our priorities screwed if we think gay marriage is a threat to the insititution of marriage? I've got news for people--marriage, like Elvis, has left the building, and there's no one to blame other than the heterosexuals who have been mucking with it for millennia and just don't always seem to get it right. Personally, I think gays could breathe a little life into the old institution before it dies a slow, bloated death.

Thanks, Sheri.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Remember what I said about perspective?

I was looking for blogs to invest in via BlogShares and found this:

The Voice of Insanity: Our baby dies today...

Anecephaly is a neural tube disorder where the child's brain does not develop properly, and the baby, even if by some miracle it is born, will die relatively soon with only pallitive care possible. It's a horrible diagnosis, one that pulls everything right out from under you in that terrible moment. Some people choose to terminate the pregnancy. Others choose to continue, essentially planning for both a birth and a death at once. Children with anencephaly are at the centre of a debate over whether a foetus without much more than a brain stem is truly human, and whether it should receive rights as a person, particularly in terms of organ transplantation.

But no matter how brief the pregnancy or life, a child with anencephaly often touches many lives, as those around it try to give it support and love. The bereavement must be a terrible thing. There must be questions about what happened to cause it, and fears going into other pregnancies.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who face such difficult decisions and grieve for a child who will never be.

Ever have a moment when you realise

there are so many similarities between someone you know and a famous person from history that you begin to wonder if one is a reincarnation of the other?

Beyond a passing physical resemblance, which of course has no bearing on the situation, I give you:

  1. One was Russian, the other received a degree in Russia and travelled there.
  2. Both were interested in esoteric subjects.
  3. One became Buddhist, the other had Buddhist and Taoist leanings. Both were non-traditional in their religious beliefs and studied pagan practices.
  4. Both had similar difficulties with their mothers.
  5. Both had fathers in the military.
  6. Both entered short-lived marriages by age 18.
  7. Both travelled extensively and were enamoured with the mysteries of the East, such as Tibet or Nepal.
  8. Both had personalities that were charming yet volatile.
  9. Both conceived a child with tragic outcome.
  10. Both were characterised as having 'stubbornness, a fiery temper, and a disregard for social norms'.
  11. Both had unusual, potentially psychic experiences.
  12. Both were gifted writers.
  13. Both sought to break the traditional bonds of women.
  14. Both tended to engender either love or hate, and occasional controversy.

Kind of creepy, hmm?

Ooh, it's a good sign, I think, I hope

Got in late tonight after playing at the dog park this afternoon and spending several hours at today's lesson to the point where my brain is nigh unto bursting with new things to contemplate and hopefully remember on demand.

Today in the mail I got a copy of a criminal background check that had been requested by the library I interviewed at the other day. It had the state court's address and I was 'oh, crap, what's wrong, am I being sued? More issues with the traffic folks?' No, actually, it was just a form saying there had been a request and what information had been sent. I'm taking that as a very good sign. Interview, checking my references, and now paying money to make sure I'm on the up and up. That's good, right?

I've reached a point where I seem to be just holding my breath. If I don't get this job, then my already precarious financial state is going to get even worse, and I'm about this (imagine a miniscule amount between my fingers) close to bankruptcy, something that I have put off for many years because I don't want to dodge my responsibilities. But...I just can't make it on the post-layoff salary, and it isn't so much making stupid mistakes as just having been terribly behind for way too long and not having any sort of cushion. The scary thing? I'm not anywhere near the poverty threshold...which runs $9,573 for my age and household, about $4500 less than what I gross per year. How do people below that line survive at all? I guess I'm what's known as the working poor--not eligible for food stamps or other forms of assistance, but still only about 146% of that line. Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck in finding a bridging low-paying-not-in-my-field part-time job, despite applying at several retail outlets, temporary agencies, etc. The good things, though, are that I'm not living off credit cards or other ways people who make more money get tripped up. I'm keeping things simple, with rent, electricity, and medical expenses the main worries, and no cable or phone or other luxuries. But it's getting harder to keep up with those. Still, I've got a lot of hope, especially with those three jobs open. Perhaps others might not be interested in a part-time job without benefits. I certainly have the experience, skill, and personality to be an asset to the library. I just hope they'll want me. Library jobs, no matter what they tell you of impending shortages due to the greying of the profession, are simply hard to get, particularly in the recent oeconomy, especially if you live in an area with a library school. Entry level jobs are the worst. I'm at least lucky enought to have enough experience that mid-career level positions are possible. And at least the job market does seem to be improving. This time last year in this area there was a howling desert where jobs should be. Now at least they're being advertised and even filled (as opposed to that horrendous we'll-advertise-but-have-no-intention-of-filling-with-an-external-candidate-if-any situation you sometimes see).

If I can get one of the jobs available at the public library, then there will be much happiness, because:
  • The three jobs together will gross about $34K per year, which is about $10K more than I've ever made and would certainly make for a respectable living where I could actually (horrors!) do things like pay bills on time, build a general savings, and put away for my retirement. Even without benefits at the public library, that's fine, because my current position has great benefits, even though it's $3/hr less in salary. So they all balance nicely.
  • I'll be in a professionally unique situation, because I'll be both a medical and public librarian, with perspectives from both.
  • I'll be able to serve a much wider, more challenging set of information needs.
  • I'll learn more about librarianship, and finally...
  • I'll actually get to spend time with other librarians. Being a solo librarian is rather nice sometimes, but you do have to do your routine without a safety net. Having other librarians around means having instant resources available not only for yourself but also for your patron. None of us can be an expert in everything, although a lot of us try. It's always nice to know whom you can call over when needed.

So, anyway, things are looking good and I just hope I get a call saying, 'come on down!' this week. Please, please, please, please, please. :) Keep your fingers crossed!

And I'm sorry I've blogged so much about financial stuff this week. I really try not to whign. But I've got a lot of notices I can't begin to cover lately and I'm really starting to feel overwhelmed. Still, at least I'm doing okay. One of the cashiers at Kroger's we talk to each night when we go told us she was moving back to West Virginia, because it was so expensive in Lexington (housing, for example, is just rediculour), her parents were seriously ill, and there were kids in the family to take care of. Shew!! Or, I have a co-worker who underwent a kidney transplant the other day, donated by his sister. Turns out he has some odd genetic disease that destroys the kidneys. That means that his kids could be carriers or even wind up with it, too. That's got to have an emotional and financial toll far beyond anything I've experienced. It always helps to keep things in perspective, n'cest pas?

PS Speaking of difficult times, poor Dwana has spent the weekend so far fighting a clogged drain from her air conditional that sent the temperature in the house way up, flooded a good part of a bedroom and the crawlspace, and she's also had the second fall in two weekends, this time hurting her back.

It is full moon, isn't it? Maybe everyone's fortune will look up this week.

Ah, to be able to touch the world

I do still have an internet connexion, even sans phone. Apparently there was just a temporary glitch, and when I had to restart the computer for something else, I realised it was still active.

All I can say is...yay.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Hmmm...who knew snarkiness could lead to insight?

Somehow, without doing more than being poor and a little more conscious of my eating, I've lost 20 lbs in about 2 months. I can't tell a difference beyond not feeling so bloated, but I weighed today and it was there in splendiferous digital. Given that I'm bleeding like a stuck pig, it'll probably drop more, although that'll just be temporary water weight.

I'm beginning to wonder if Liz' diet is somehow affecting me in some weird law of similarity (and yes, for those who can't tell, I'm joking). She once asked someone to shoot her if she ever weighed as much as I did (this was when we both weighed less, and no, that part isn't joking, but was an actual quote). She's the one obsessively counting everything and plotting it on her blog, and yet I've lost without doing anything short of eating more consciously. Some sort of strange kismet, I ask?

Okay, I know this is a bit petty on my part, but it was an extremely hurtful comment at the time, and so there is some small part of me that's happy that I've lost more than she has without really trying. On the other hand, I'm glad she's eating healthy and exercising and doing stuff she should, and it only reminds me that I do need to continue to work on things myself, not to be skinny, just to be healthy. One of the things that bonded us originally (because goodness knows it wasn't our winning personalities, which were both rather toxic at the time) was our struggles with weight and body image. Some part of me is still curious about how she's doing, which is why I occasionally check up on her, I suppose.

In terms of my own weight, I already feel quite a bit better. I've noticed, though, that for me, scrimping and getting to the point where my life is ruled by numbers only makes it harder; rather, when I feel better about myself, I lose weight. You know the saying, 'don't change your body, change your mind'. It just happens. I feel better, I don't eat as much (although I'm mostly over emotional eating) and exercise more. I feel so much better emotionally and mentally than I did a year or two ago, even with all the challenges the layoff brought. Now that I'm living life more fully, I'm really starting to deal with some of the physical pain and issues I've managed to ignore for some time. The good thing about dissociating from emotional pain is that you tend to ignore your body's ills, too. The bad thing is that they don't go away...you just stick your fingers in your ears, say 'la, la, la' and it gets worse because it's not taken care of. But in the long run, I think I'm feeling better because, well, I'm an upbeat kind of person. I know there will be high and low points in life, just like the ocean, and that's okay. I hope things will improve, but it's not going to change how I feel about my own capabilities.

Still, it's funny how luck runs. I've always tended to have weirdly bad luck. Liz has amazingly good luck, she's said so herself. She's even wished she could send me some of hers. I really wonder what we've done in past lives that set that up. But on the other hand, she's the one of all of us who wound up as an 'academic' fresh out of undergraduate classes in so far as she's working for a university, has faculty status, and even teaches classes in web design. She was the one who wasn't really all that interested in an academic career, whereas I always expected to do it and have pursued it for twenty years, and yet in the end, I realise it's not what I want. I used the academic world to hide from the world outside. Now I'm actually enjoying being away from the bureaucracy of the university. I might someday return to the university, but my true enjoyment there has always been as a learner. I do plenty of teaching one on one as a librarian, and I enjoy that far more than the dreams of writing my name with a 'Dr.' in front of it on a chalkboard gave me. Right now I have applications in that could put me right into the academic world I trained for and tried to enter for years--and the position is even in archives--but I also have prospects at a public library, and I have to admit, having worked now for some time in the health sciences, I'd probably prefer the public library experience at this point, especially given my interest in information literacy, intellectual freedom, and democracy.

Who knew?

Fines for cell phone use in a library

The Huntington Beach, CA, council has approved fines for cell phone use in the library, ranging from $250 for the first offence after a warning to $1000 for the third.

Hmmm. I have two issues.

1) Does the library get the proceeds? They don't say. It might just go to the city coffers, whereas if it's an issue in the library environment, then the fines would go a long way to improving that environment.
2) Despite a knee-jerk response of 'yay! power!' I'm not sure how I'd feel as a librarian with 'policing' by having to issue citations. In my town, only peace officers, building inspectors, and health inspectors can do that, and that is a central part of their jobs, whereas a librarian's isn't so much confrontation as support and developing a rapport with patrons. I'll have to mull that over a bit more.

'Insight while you menstruate'

Does anyone else find the Kotex¯ 'Tips for Life' written on the strip that peels off their menstrual pads a little, well, odd? On the one hand, I suppose it's better than wasting the space. For those of you not blessed with this yet, the tips are things like:
  • 'Avoiding caffeine may help reduce cramps and headaches.'
  • 'Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily to help keep you hydrated and feeling fresh.'
  • 'Staying active during your period can help relieve cramps.'

At the same time, as Dwana put it when I mentioned it to her (she's also responsible for the title quote): 'It's like having a fortune cookie.' And that's just a little weird when you just want to keep from bleeding on stuff.

I guess they figured we all look for reading material when we use the bathroom. :)

I sense an art project in this.


The man who grew a new jaw on his back

Although I have to admit, it's great that this cancer survivor--who hasn't been able to eat solid food in nearly a decade--now can due to a pioneering technique. Still the first thing that comes to mind is some sort of alien joke.

Definitely planning on seeing this one.

The martial-arts movie 'Hero' kicks butt, but it's also beautiful. In director Zhang Yimou's latest, an ambitious royal epic, color is king.


Sweet Revenge May be a Hard-Wired Reward

Scientists have found that the same area of the brain fired when sniffing cocaine or seeing a beautiful face is triggered when performing altruistic punishment/cooperative revenge.

"Emotions are not just reactive. They can be proactive," said Brian Knutson, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Stanford University, and author of an accompanying perspective piece in the journal. "They can actually focus and drive behavior. People don't often think about emotions that way."

I have a dancing chicken in my head

I'm waiting for the 'well, Ms. Rowan, the reason for your dizziness is clear. You have dancing chicken disease. You are obviously distracted by the chicken whirling about inside your brain and being made dizzy by the motion.'

On one of the MRI slices we were looking at last night, there looked, for all the world to be a plucked chicken shape in terms of the structured. Mind you, we were viewing it in a dark room with it up against a computer screen. Later, in bright light, the chicken turned elusive and was no more.

On one of the frontal image slices, (about 2-3 from the front of my face), it looks for all the world like that one demon guy who used to show up in 'Angel' to give Cordelia guidance from the Powers That Be.

The most disturbing one is a slice taken right above my eyes across my head where the eyes (usually looking straight ahead) are all googly, one pointing up, one off-centred.

But I think the dancing chicken explains it all. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The woman who revolutionised how we see death has died herself

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Kübler-Ross, 78, explained death and dying

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross changed care of the dying


She was a natural triplet in a world before in vitro. She took a taboo and made it her life's work. She single-handedly inspired many to examine the stages of grief, inspired the hospice movement, and saw death as a natural consequence of life, not to be feared, but to be embraced. My favourite quote about her own impending death, which ironically followed slow, debilitating strokes, "I'm going to dance in all the galaxies."

How imaging works

Basic MR imaging

How Stuff Works: MRI

From J :)

I've posted a version of this before, but this one is expanded and even more hilarious.

"The Real Restroom Story"

Only a woman will TRULY relate to this and husbands should understand better!
My mother was a fanatic about public bathrooms. When I was a little girl, she'd take me into the stall, teach me to wad up toilet paper and wipe the seat. Then, she'd carefully lay strips of toilet paper to cover the seat.

Finally, she'd instruct, "Never, NEVER sit on a public toilet seat. Then she'd demonstrate "The Stance," which consisted of balancing over the toilet in a sitting position without actually letting any of your flesh make contact with the toilet seat. By this time, I'd have wet down my leg and we'd have to go home to change my clothes.

That was a long time ago.

Even now, in my more "mature years, "The Stance" is excruciatingly difficult to maintain, especially when one's bladder is full.

When you have to "go" in a public bathroom, you usually find a line of women that makes you think there's a half-price sale on Nelly's underwear in there.

So, you wait and smile politely at all the other ladies, who are also crossing their legs and smiling politely. You get closer and check for feet under the stall doors. Every one is occupied.

Finally, a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in to find the door won't latch. It doesn't matter. The dispenser for the new fangled "seat covers" (invented by someone's Mom, no doubt) is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook if there was one but there isn't - so you carefully but quickly hang it around your neck (mom would turn over in her grave if you put it on the FLOOR!), yank down your pants, and assume "The Stance."

Ahhhh... relief. Then...more relief!!!

But then your thighs begin to shake. You'd love to sit down but you certainly hadn't taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold "The Stance" as your thighs experience a quake that would register an eight on the Richter scale. To take your mind off of your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be the empty toilet paper dispenser.

In your mind, you can hear your mother's voice saying, "Honey, if you would have tried to clean the seat, you would have KNOWN there was no toilet paper!"

Your thighs shake more. You remember the tiny tissue that you blew your nose on yesterday - the one that's still in your purse. That would have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It is still smaller than your thumbnail.

Someone pushes open your stall door because the latch doesn't work.
The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet.

"Occupied!" you scream, as you reach for the door, dropping your precious, tiny, crumpled tissue in a puddle, and sliding down, directly onto the insidious toilet seat. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it's too late.

Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because YOU never laid down toilet paper--not that there was any, even if you had taken time to try.

You know that your mother would be utterly ashamed of you if she knew, because you're certain that her bare bottom never touched a public toilet seat because, frankly, dear, "You just don't KNOW what kind of diseases you could get."

By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes, sending up a stream of water akin to a fountain that suddenly sucks everything down with such force that you grab onto the toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged off to China.

At that point, you give up. You're soaked by the splashing water. You're exhausted. You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket, then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks.

You can't figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past a line of women, still waiting, cross-legged and, at this point, no longer able to smile politely.

One kind soul at the very end of the line points out that you are trailing a piece of toilet paper on your shoe as long as the Mississippi River! (Where was it when you NEEDED it??)

You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it the woman's hand and tell her warmly, "Here, you just might need this."

As you exit, you spot your hubby, who has since entered, used and exited the men's restroom...and read a copy of War and Peace while waiting for you. Annoyed, he asks, "What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?"

This is dedicated to women everywhere who have ever had to deal with a public restroom (rest??? you've got to be kidding!!). It finally explains to the men what really does take us so long. It also answers their other commonly asked question about why women go to the restroom in pairs.

It's so the other woman can hold the door and hand you Kleenex under the door.

:D Believe it or not, even with OCD, unless I have wandered into a truly filthy bathroom or one at a dubious place (a bar, a truck stop, etc.--very rare occurences) I forego the stance. But this is so true of what goes on in a women's lavoratory. Somehow I don't think men's rooms breed this form of comraderie. Oddly enough, even as a woman, I know entirely too much about what goes on in them. Trust me, if a man reaches under the stall, he's probably not trying to give you toilet paper. Ladies, if you haven't any idea what I'm talking about, ask a guy about 'tearooms'.

From Dwana :)

Ah, those little e-mail gems that just make you smile.

You know you're living in 2004 when...
1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. You go home after a long day at work you still answer the phone in a business manner.
7. You make phone calls from home, you accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.
8. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.
10. You learn about your redundancy on the 11 o'clock news.
11. Your boss doesn't have the ability to do your job.
12. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.
13. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.
14. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
15. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.
16. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)
17. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
18. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
19. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
20. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list. AND NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself. Go on, forward this to your friends ...you know you want to!

[Oh, and to Y: Yes the 'U R' is wrong. But it's a quote comment on how people communicate in 2004, so I kept it as is. Please keep in mind I didn't say it, nor did Dwana. :)]

Yay! I have a brain!

After last night's fiasco, I was at least thankful that I got to my MRI this morning on time. It wasn't really bad at all. It took longer than I thought (I wound up getting to work at 12:30, and I thought it would take about an hour). The difference between the regular and open MRI is like night and day. It was much easier to deal with. The machine was about 5-6 inches above my face rather than one. I didn't have my shoulders squished, and could breathe. It wasn't even really all that noisy, with the earplugs; the noise actually helped me concentrate on not moving. I did my breathing exercises, and only got anxious a couple of times, once during a lag, and then when they put the contrast in, because they had a hard time finding a blood vessel and also I had to remind them about the latex allergy. (Funny, I can tell the difference between latex and nitrile gloves by the sound.) :) The one thing that I wish I had known before I went in: they do the images in fairly short bursts...the longest was about 5 minutes. I thought I'd have to stay absolutely still for 20 minutes straight.

Two weird things happened. One, my foot would, totally on its own volition, twitch occasionally. It happened several times on the right and once on the left. I don't know if the magnet can do that. I've always felt weird around big electrical transformers, but this was totally different. Afterwards, when I was getting my stuff from the changing room, I looked in the mirror and my neck and chest were flushed bright red, like little swollen capillaries, everywhere my skin was exposed...but only on that part of my body. I checked with the staff and they didn't think it was a reaction to the element in the contrast (gadolinium) but kept me around for a little while just to make sure. But it faded after a little while. It could just have been nerves, I suppose.

The centre sent me off with 12 films of various brain 'slices'. They keep the originals digitally, so the films are mine to keep and share with my doctor. I haven't any idea what they mean, of course, but I can verify that there aren't holes in my brain like one person kidded, and my brain is nicely bumpy. If I can scan one in, I'll put it up later. :) Anyway, that was my excitement for the day.

Personally, I think the only way to go is the open MRI. Maybe I wouldn't feel that way if I weren't claustrophobic and well over 200lbs, but I would find the other torturous. Of course, it was over $2000 (yay for health insurance), and I don't know if it's more expensive. But it's certainly more comfortable.

Sometimes it's scary living alone.

And I don't mean because some creep might break in or something like that. Last night I had a scary experience, all due to some really wonky blood sugar.

I'd scrounged around for dinner and done some stuff around the house and read a book about an Australian mute girl and a cockatoo that in my getting-ready-to-start-my-period had left me teary and had unpacked a photo album and gone through it and looking at pictures of me as a kid for some weird reason may me just sob and I got very sleepy. It being about an hour and a half before I was supposed to pick a friend up from work, and recognising I was going to fall asleep, I set two alarms and put on my CPAP.

The next thing I knew my dog was barking and I groggily came awake, heard a tapping noise, but couldn't place it, then looked at the clock (with its four-inch high numbers, so I can read them if I squint even without my glasses) and it was after 2 am! I was supposed to pick him up at 12:30! Then I heard my doorbell, which is pitched to wake the dead.

Thankfully, I had clothes on, because I was out of it enough that I stumbled to the door and flung it open, still without my glasses on, and Eric and Dwana were standing there. Dwana was on her cell phone with my friend's spouse, who had frantically called her after no one heard from me and I hadn't shown up. She handed the phone to me and I remember saying I was so sorry and yes, I was okay, but groggy, and I apologised to everyone for the fuss they went on back home. Then I went back to the bed and sat on it kind of dazed. After awhile, I realised I was thinking in slow motion and my blood sugar felt off; I was so tired, and I was sweating and my hands and feet hurt. So I went and looked to see what didn't need cooking and ate some peanuts, and I finally started feeling mostly normal.

I debated and finally went out to the laundry room (I just have my cell phone these days, and can't refill the minutes until I get paid on Monday) and called the other friends and apologised directly to the person I was supposed to pick up. At that point, I was still in the I'm-sorry-don't-hate-me mode and not really grokking that they were worried about me. Then I went back over to my apartment and sat on the bed again.

And then it hit me.

I could have gone to sleep and never woken up.

Normally my blood sugar is okay, even with the diabetes. But my hormones always screw it up a little bit, and I was at that point in my cycle. As tight as everything's been lately, I haven't had a chance to refill my metformin, and I've been off of it for about three weeks. Plus, I'd had one peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch and then chickpeas and tomato sauce, corn on the cob, and canned mandarins for dinner. I'm not even sure if it bottomed out (I think that's the case) or ran high, because I also haven't got test strips for the new glucometre yet.

I know that makes me seem like a basket case, but really, it's been a challenge lately just paying my rent and electricity. This next cheque goes completely to next month's rent. Since I'm trying to pay back rent from the last place, too, I'll have about $100 left from the one in September for my bills and maybe some food. I am definitely going to get the metformin on Monday, although the strips may have to wait till September.

In the meantime, the public library is checking with my references, so I'm hopeful...they wouldn't bother if the interview hadn't gone well, right? And if I can get one of those jobs, I'll be in a better place financially than I was before the layoff. :)

In the meantime, thank you, the four of you who were concerned and stayed up and panicked and the whole bit last night. Thank you so much. You are wonderful friends. I wasn't really up to expressing that last night; I was rather stunned. Poor Eric's working 13 hours on two hours' sleep, and one of you wound up walking home and drunken students threw trash at you. :< Not to mention the worrying, etc. I'm sorry. But I thank you so much for what you all did.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I really liked this song

I was driving late the night before last, and heard the following on the radio:

You're The Storm by The Cardigans

I have to admit, somewhere I missed hearing this Swedish group before. But the folksy song was quite arresting at the time--I very nearly stopped driving so I could listen with full attention--so I'm interested in hearing their other work.

A friend sent me this link

It's the perfect resource when you need to know what a phobia is called. It's also very useful when playing Call of Cthulhu, given the characters' propensity for sanity loss.

The Indexed Phobia List (Feared item index with phobia given)

The Phobia List (the main page, with lots of different phobia-related lists and links)

Thank you, whoever you are :)

I picked up my mail this morning on my way into the office and found a letterhead envelope with my name typed on it. Right away, my stomach sinks, because, well, let's face it, my luck hasn't been that great lately and I was like, 'what have I done wrong this time?'

Inside were five $10 gift certificates to a nearby gas station. No note; I guess they'd rather be anonymous. Since only D and J knew about the gas situation at work, we could only figure someone here read the blog entry. I forget sometimes that this site was featured in the local paper. :)

Anyway, I'd just like to say thank you so very much. It's been a difficult year and I think from a financial point of view I'm about as far down as I ever have been, and this helped so much. I have high hopes for the public library job and actually having sustainable resources. I have been blessed by very good people around me, and I'm very grateful. I've kept track of whom I owe and will pay them back when I am able. For those of you who have helped anonymously, know that I will make every effort to pass good fortune on to others whenever possible.

This is a Kentucky Blog of the Week


The description, 'Smart, witty, and entertaining. 3 words that describe a great website.'

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Well, I think that went well

I just finished my interview for a part-time position at the public library (I'm blogging from there now, actually). There are not one but three part-time positions open, and one of the people who interviewed me used to be in the local medical library consortium, so it was nice to see him.

Wish me luck, and keep your fingers crossed. The part-time positions together would really increase my comfort level in terms of finances and my professional happiness in terms of intellectual variety. :)

An interesting article on copyright, the President, and how using big media can undermine democracy

Copyrighting the President

Traditionally, what the President says during press conferences may be freely used by both the press and other forms of media. But as this article, asks:
What happens when the commander in chief uses private venues to deliver public messages, holding fewer press conferences and making more talk-show appearances? Who controls his words and images then?

Oh, that's a bummer

UK puts newspaper microform service on hold

Long before I became a librarian, I did a work-study in the reprographics department ironing, repairing, and preparing older newspapers for microfilming as part of a grant-funded project. Now they apparently don't have the resources to continue doing the current newspapers and have instituted a year-long hiatus.

Today's Shocker

Retired Principal Gunned Down While Mowing

James Trachsel was our assistant principal when I attended Danville High School. He was apparently shot multiple times whilst riding a mower by a neighbour who had long held a grudge related to water runoff on their properties. For whatever reason (and really, I think it just sounds like wackoness) the neighbour claimed he shot Trachsel in self-defence.

What a weird, weird world. I remember Mr Trachsel as someone who, like most assistant principals, got to be the 'enforcer', but never had any issues with him myself and most kids I knew respected and even admired him. Even then, he was known for going above and beyond when needed, and he was constantly out in the halls during lunch and breaks to be available when kids needed him.

I am really beginning to fear old geezers with guns.

Monday, August 23, 2004

More frustration, less nervous

Whenever Dwana and I get together, adventure is sure to ensue. I suspect that's because we both tend to look at things with a firm sense of humour when they don't quite go as planned.

The open MRI machine was down when we got to the centre. Apparently they'd tried to call, but they had my work phone wrong and (as Dwana pointed out) didn't bother to check the phone book for the right one. We were able to do the X-rays of my neck, of course, which was sort of laughable in and of itself because you have to stand against a grid and open your mouth like a muppet. The only bad thing? She took one picture and I was like, 'am I not supposed to have an apron?' and she's like, 'oh, yeah, that's right, we can do that, I always forget that part'. It was a little annoying.

We waited awhile to see if they could get the machine up and running. Apparently they took it down for preventative maintenance on Thursday and something got mucked up. It sounds like a typical photocopier tech visit, although in this case it's a machine with an ueber-powerful magnet.

Eventually I decided to try one of the alternative machines, an MRI with a short bore. For those of you wondering what they do, they had me take my glasses off, lie down on the machine, and then they tried to make me as comfortable as possible. They put earplugs in my ears, a blanket over me (it was a little cold in the room), and a pillow under my knees. Then they put foam blocks on either side of my head between my head and the cage. That was a little disconcerting, but not bad. They also gave me a panic button. Then they put the mirror right above my face and started me into the machine. It was a valiant attempt, but alas, (smoke and) mirrors were not enough to fool my brain. I did okay, prepared to do a breathing meditation, when I ran into the problem of my linebacker shoulders. They scrunched up against my neck uncomfortably, cutting off my airflow and sending sense of claustrophobia up very quickly.

I didn't actually have to use the button (I was all the way in for just a few seconds), but I asked the tech if she could please take me back out. She was soothing, said lots of people had trouble, and never showed the least bit frustration, for which I was thankful. So, we rescheduled the MRI for the open machine and I'm on the waiting list should anyone cancel between now and next Monday. Since I'm supposed to followup with the neurologist tomorrow, I may have to postpone that one as well.

The good thing about it all was they gave us a coupon worth up to $24 in food from Frisch's, which we later used to great enjoyment.

The food went a long way for making up for the inconvenience, but I think the jury's still out on the whole experience. There were several who were very helpful and capable, and a couple maybe not so much. But you find that in every place in health care, and I think they were really frustrated over the machine being down. They do studies from 6am to 10pm at night, so that's a lot of overflow from the schedule to work in once it's up. Unfortunately, I think they're the only ones with an open MRI in town, and that's about the only way I think they're going to get pictures of my brain, given my reaction in the other machine.

What is the sound of one frustrated and nervous librarian clapping?

Frustrated because:
  1. I'm out of gas, although my car decided to run out of gas once I got home, and thanks to a couple of generous friends, I have money for more gas. (Rent more important than gas, I'm afraid.)
  2. My internet connexion at home has finally gone away, which I can't really complain about since I can't pay for it. But still, it's a little sad. Please forgive me if I can't post quite so often. I'm dealing with that frustration by playing lots of 'Get Medieval'--a sort of old 'Gauntlet' with better graphics and an Arnold Schwarzeneggar clone ('Where are the girlie monsters?') Ah, good old-fashioned dungeon-combing and making fun of California's governor (that particular character also goes on about leg pumping and farts when you reach a secret door); that's guaranteed to make me a little happier.
  3. I've just had three people take apart and put back together my article manuscript. The good news: I can publish it. But it's still annoying to have them all decide that in the interest of making sure I don't go and embarrass the system that they have to check every bit of it for tone, accuracy, political appropriateness, and even style, and I never have found any real policy for what they're doing. I haven't had to revise anything I've written at another person's behest since...seventh grade, I think. I realise that their intent is not really to make me feel like I'm not an adult professional, but it sure does feel like it. Somehow, if I hadn't had my hours cut in half (and I'm the only person laid off at all still around), I don't think they'd be worried. Sigh. Believe it or not, I can be quite professional, even when frustrated. Very little actually had to be changed (and only one area, meant to show the positive changes that have gone into effect over time was scratched, since we couldn't show anything less than ideal to begin with)...but I had to give my boss the (hopefully) final draft before I can send it in.

Nervous because: In less than one hour I get to have a giant magnetised thing image my brain. Dwana managed to convince me that my fillings aren't going to go pinging into my brain, at least. :) But I'm also a little worried as to what they might find. Oh, well, it won't do any good to worry too much, will it?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Somehow, despite my love for historical fiction

and things like The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, and the Little House on the Prarie series, I never found Anne of Green Gables as a child, which in retrospect is rather sad, as I seem to have had an abiding similarity to Anne Shirley in terms of personality, felt quite lonely as a child, never could think of myself as beautiful (ironically, I wanted red hair and green eyes!), and I never quite found a place I could really bloom in; I would have so identified with her then. But I am discovering that as an adult, the draw is still quite strong. I am only a couple of chapters in to the first book and already I'm quite captivated, and it has helped me return to that intelligent, imaginative, talkative child I once was, and see her as beautiful, too.

If you're a fan of the books (because probably I'm the last woman in North America who had not read them), you might want to check out the Prince Edward Island: A Virtual Green Gables site.

If you haven't read the book, check it out at your local library or even read the Project Gutenberg version (they also have some of the sequels).

I for one, am going back to my book. 'Night.

Is there any way we can go back to letting doctors (and patients) make medical decisions?

Rather than managed health care and governments? The game of pick and choose is an ethical miasma.

Guardian Unlimited - Special reports - Fury at ban on HIV help for refugees

On the one hand, it's comforting to know that the US doesn't have an exclusive on sometime bone-headed dealings with the issues of immigration (legal and illegal), refugee sanctuary, and public health. On the other hand, isn't sad that there's plenty of money and wealth out there to provide for food, shelter, and medicine for everyone on the planet, but the distribution just sucks?

Friday, August 20, 2004

We knew this day would come

The Onion: US Military Clears A-Team of Charges

I'm glad it's Friday

It's been a very productive day, work-wise. I also received an apology from the person who got so terribly drunk the other day. My article, which was to be published in a library journal, is in a sort of limbo whilst various people above me decide whether it gives the proper [read: corporate-approved] view of our system's librarianship, as opposed to just relying on my seven years' experience. Sigh. I realise from their point of view, it makes sense...but it seems one more professional activity that very well could be nixed for me.

Next week promises new experiences, an MRI, a job interview, etc. So, I'm sure I'll blog my way through.

Warning: Too Much Information Ahead

I went this morning to have the ultrasound. The tech thought that it looked like I might have ruptured a cyst lately, given the amount of fluid in the area. I'll have a follow-up with the doctor soon, and hopefully, it'll make more sense.

Although I tend to ignore chronic pain (occasional sharp pain along with the chronic is one reason I went), I have determined one thing. If I were in a sexual relationship (at least with a guy), I'd have gone to the doctor a lot sooner. Although the ultrasound wand wasn't really that uncomfortable, there were a couple of areas that the pressure was painful, and the pain, like with the exam yesterday, seems to have increased for awhile afterwards. I don't think I'd be too keen on sex right now--even being relaxed outside the clinical setting, I think it would make the pain worse.

Apparently we're not the only ones dealing with wayward party guests :)

Police: Wedding guests eat victim

So...um, coconut leaves and kerosene, hmm? Two men were so angered by a cousin who tripped and accidentally touched the bride's bottom that they decided the only way to solve the situation was to stab him to death and cook him. Right. Oh, yes, that makes so much sense.

Favourite quote:
Superintendent Rey Lanada, Palawan provincial police chief, said cannibalism would be treated as an aggravating circumstance in the crime.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Poking and prodding into all sorts of places

This afternoon I went to Dwana's reproductive endocrinologist/GYN and had some blood drawn for a hormonal panel, a physical exam, and tomorrow they're going to do a vaginal ultrasound. I know I have polycystic ovarian issues, but I've had some abdominal pain for awhile and given that I blew up like a balloon last month during the time I'd normally ovulate, we wanted to get a better idea of what's going on. I've never had an ultrasound. The lady's like...oh, it's great, you'll get to see your insides. Granted, I'm curious, but I'm also getting an MRI on Monday, and I'm starting to feel like my body's getting examined with X-ray vision. But hopefully it will be all for the best.

In terms of experience, it went well, although the doctor, who's the only one in his practice, was running a little late due to an emergency. No problem. He is the first person who ever immediately knew what my DES exposure means and what tests have to be run as a result. Yay. Oddest thing of the exam was that I didn't put a gown on...they just gave me a paper sheet, and I have to admit, it was a little daunting. But the sheet actually covered more than any gown, and with less hassle, so it was okay, just unexpected.

I've had a little more pain since the exam, and therefore slept for awhile, but all in all, it was a good experience.

ALA files comments on DHS Management Directive

From the ALAWON e-news:
Today ALA filed comments on a Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
proposed management directive for 'compliance' with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The portion of the directive on disclosure of information is very expansive -- in its restrictions -- and appears to attempt to accomplish by directive what DHS has not been allowed to do by statute. We urge DHS to revise the Directive to comply with the law by limiting its nondisclosure provisions to information that unambiguously qualifies for withholding under one of the exemptions provided in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

You can find ALA's comments in PDF form on their website.

Ever have one of those nights

where you work hard, think things will go a certain way, and get totally blindsided by something someone else does? I've had that happen only a few times, always because someone with issues did something incredibly disruptive. I won't go into a lot of detail here, because it was something majorally out of character for the person, someone I don't know really well, and hopefully will never be repeated. But let's just say tonight has been disappointing, freakish, and tiring, which is sad, since it was supposed to be a relaxing dinner party amongst friends. Moral of tonight: never allow anyone, especially a tall man in a basement, down five or six cups of wine in quick succession before anyone has a chance to blink. And never serve wine to this particular person ever again. Also, never startle a drunken man with a golf club. Oh, and here's a tip on how to tell truly good friends: they'll hand you a bucket, clean up the vomit, and help get you home once you have made an ass of yourself.

Ai, ai, ai.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Oh. My. God.

Can we reinstitute flogging for the alleged 'mother'?

As one friend put it, most people just abandon their kids at a local church or hospital--they don't go to Africa and dump them there.

Seven kids, all Americans from Houston, were found living in a shack in Nigeria by Nigerian authorities back in June and were moved to an orphanage. When a missionary (ironically, also from Texas) heard American accents and asked them where they were from, he was astounded. The kids, age range in age from 8 to 16, three boys and four teenage girls. As my friend also pointed out, we can only hope they suffered nothing worse than malaria--since in Africa AIDS is often spread by men seeking to 'cure' the disease by having sex with young girls. Sigh. Even without that, that was a lot of responsibility that probably fell on the oldest's shoulders, and a lot of anxiety and mental hardship, too.

The adoptive mother allegedly took them to Nigeria (she either is engaged or married to a man with ties to Nigeria, depending on the story), enrolled them in school, but then didn't pay the tuition and went off to work as a private contractor in Iraq. My understanding is that she is being investigated for fraud (by cashing the government cheques meant for the children's support but not providing for them), abandonment, and the state is determining whether to press criminal charges. They have formally removed her rights to custody and taken them back into state protection. The children are in foster homes, have been treated. They want to stay together, and the story has garnered a lot of help (a Senator and Congressman united to get the embassy authorities to the kids and get them the papers they would need to return, and various people helped with getting them back in protective custody, back to Texas, and to medical care). Most importantly, the chance meeting sent the minister into action, calling back home and alerting them to the situation to get the ball rolling, because he certainly couldn't leave them behind.

The first thing they asked for once back in the States? Pizza. :)

Seven Abandoned Children Returned from Nigeria

Youth Minister Discovers 7 Children Abandoned In Nigeria

US children 'abandoned in Africa'

Texas officials get emergency custody of seven adoptive children returned from Africa

An interesting article on blogging vs. traditional media

Transparency Begets Trust in the Ever-Expanding Blogosphere

I have to say, I've seen a lot of typos, errors, etc. in the tradtional media as of late, and it just seems like they take a story and run with it without passing it through a critical sieve sometimes. I know if I report something, I do try to verify it, and I think a lot of bloggers do that, too. You can tell the serious guys from those just concerned with 'bling-bling', usually. And you often get a more in-depth view of things. I think of blogs as sort of like NPR's All Things Considered, a sort of supplement to headlines where you can take a story and give it true relevance.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


I just found out that my stepfather, John, had a heart attack last night and is at St Joe's recovering from a stent put in. He had 100% blockage of an artery under his heart. The good news is he answered the phone when I called in response to my mom's message, sounded good--in fact, much better than my mom, who was a little slurred in her speech. I'd asked her if her blood sugar was okay, and she said she hadn't really slept, I take it for about 24 hours. They so needed rest I figured I'd wait to catch up on the details. John, be sure to get well soon!

Here's a college tip they won't put in any pamphlet:

if you have anything beyond the flu, a need for birth control pills, or a general pap, and you have any other insurance or a family doctor, run, don't walk to a private practice rather than going through a University health service. I say this because, in retrospect, the thirteen years where I relied solely on Student Health are starting to be a series of missed opportunities.

Case in point:

1) When I was 19, I was having trouble getting very shaky in the afternoons, especially if I ate a snack like fruit and fell asleep. I asked them to check my blood sugar. They didn't want to, said I didn't need to worry about it, that I didn't have diabetes in my family. I pointed out that one great-grandmother died of complications of the disease and another's (on the other side of the family) entire family (parents and brothers) had had diabetes. They said it wasn't close enough. At the time, my mom was 38, my grandmother 62. When I said that my family tended to run hypoglycaemic for many years then go into diabetes as they got older, I was told that this was impossible. I finally stuck with my request until they finally did the test just to get rid of me. It came out just a little off and they felt quite smug, I'm sure.

At the same time, I was checked for thyroid issues because of a sudden weight gain and hair growth. Then they checked my cortisol levels. Eventually they sent me to an androgen clinic at the University where a doctor felt my abdomen, took a blood test, then left the country for a couple of weeks. When I finally did get through to the clinic, I was told that it was what he suspected and that he had a prescription for me. I went over and it turned out to be birth control pills. The nurse(?), when I tried to get information on the problem, just said that girls like me might have trouble getting pregnant when we wanted, and we might have to take fertility pills. That's a pretty big bombshell to drop on a 19-year-old. At no point was I told anything beyond the fact that my androgens and testosterone were high. Mind you, this doctor put me on birth control pills knowing that I'd never had a pelvic exam and that I was a DES daughter. At no point did he do a pelvic. Theoretically, I should have had a special kind of pap that checks the walls of the vagina as well the cervix because of the DES and a specific type of cancer that strikes, often in the teens and early 20s. But I got nothing. This doctor later spent years as the medical school dean.

The problem? Now, eighteen years later, my grandmother, mother, aunt, and I are all diabetic. I was lucky. At the time I first went, no one realised that the blood sugar issues and the hormones were related, part of insulin resistance syndrome. Nor was I told I had polycystic ovarian syndrome or given any useful information. When I went back to get my pills refilled 6 months later, a nurse practitioner hit the roof when she found out I'd never had an exam. It was the first time I ever felt my trust in the medical field was misplaced.

But eventually--when I got health insurance from my first job--I was referred to an endocrinologist (by all things, a psychiatrist evaluating me for problems concentrating, especially in the afternoon). I went on medication before I 'technically' became diabetic. My aunt was sent home from an annual pap with insulin because her blood sugar was over 300. My family members are dealing with neuropathy and other issues, indicating their diabetes has been around for much longer than diagnosed. I used to think diabetes was a silent killer because people didn't know the warning signs or go to their doctors in time. Now I'm realising that a lot of time, the health care providers haven't an idea what to look for, if it's a gradual onset.

2) At some point--I think I was a grad student, maybe 21 or 22, but still under the Air Force's health insurance, I was having pain and numbness in my wrist. I thought perhaps, due to all the typing I was doing for school, I had carpal tunnel. Oh, no. It was probably tendonitis, they said. But it didn't go away. Then they checked me for rheumatoid arthritis. I asked if I needed to go to a specialist, but they had one who came in a couple of times a week, and he diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and gave me a brace to wear at night, thinking that I was clenching my fist in my sleep and causing the issue with my wrist.

Fast forward to today, after years of not being able to feel much in my hands and not thinking much about it. My hand would go numb and my handwriting illegible after about a page. Typing helped, and I tried to use wristpads and other ergonomic aids, but I'd drop things, especially holding a can of pop. It would get a little better if I stretched my shoulders, but the reprieve would last maybe 15 minutes at best. Lately, the numbness was turning over to pain, shooting up to my elbows and even shoulders. During the move, a friend had to massage my hands just so I could drive. So, it was time to go back and see what was really going on. Dr N immediately set up a neurology consult, and that was yesterday.

They did a nerve conduction test (shock you with a current, which feels like being snapped with rubber bands) and an EMG (sticking needles into the muscle and gauging the response), both of which sound worse than they were. The verdict? Severe carpal tunnel in my right wrist with moderate to severe carpal tunnel in my left. Bracing may help, but more likely I'm looking at surgery. The doctor actually indicated the nerve in the right was basically crushed (I don't know if that means squished by the tendon, so it would be okay once released, or if there's permanent damage.)

They didn't specifically dismiss the fibromyalgia diagnosis, but made it clear that the earlier consult missed the boat in terms of my wrists. Meanwhile, because of several bouts of dizziness and several falls in the last few months coupled with the fact that fibromyalgia symptoms can be the same as neurological ones, I'm going to have an MRI next Monday. On the one hand, that's interesting and I'd like to see what my brain is like. On the other, I'm a little scared.

In the meantime, the shocks yesterday caused a flare-up of the pain in my wrists (I guess it mimics overworking them), and so I checked with work to see if they would be willing to get me some ergonomic wrist gloves to better brace them. Virtually everything I do at work uses the movements that are bad for carpal tunnel--typing, shelving, adding copying paper, etc. Things are so tight I can't afford even $30 for the gloves. So, I was happy when they went ahead and approved the order. A friend congratulated me, saying that years ago I wouldn't have even asked them to cover it because I wouldn't want to be a bother, whereas now it just seems natural to do so--it's a cheap accomodation, I need it to do my work (I realise I've been putting off some of the arranging tasks because of the pain), and since they cut my hours (and therefore my pay) I can't afford them myself. It seemed logical. But here's to not being afraid to speak up.

Which brings me to this--doctors know a lot, and often they're right on track. But ultimately you are responsible for getting them to listen. I've long had a reputation as a hypochondriac, although everything I ever thought I had turned out to be true. Yes, I do sometimes dwell on my issues (and I used to get into the, 'poor me, aren't I special?' madness you see some people do), but they are real, and it's good to have some verification, even though it's frustrating to. Why don't medical people realise that you are the one person on the planet who is an expert on your body and how you feel?

Okay, I've typed enough for now, must check my laundry.

Okay, that's a bit much

Adoptive family 'must be lesbian'

Of course, just because the adoptive family of choice is seen as a lesbian couple (because the mother is in a lesbian relationship herself), I'm not sure that 'requires' or 'insists' that it's the case. it seems to me that the most important thing is to find loving parents. I can see some concern in terms of race/ethnicity in wanted to keep a similar background, of course, but I think a loving and caring environment is more important than race. In this case, I think the concern must be achieving a certain amount of continuity for the children, aged 2 and 3. One does wonder, though, that if the continuity is that important, why adoption in the first place? It doesn't sound like there's really been stability so far, with each the child of a different man, and now the mother in another relationship.

This quote is just way off-base, though:
The Labour council behind the move was accused of "barmy" political correctness. They said the case highlighted how the adoption system was still being twisted by social workers' ambitions to reconstruct society.

Oh, yeah, who knew those crazy social workers were out to reconstruct society in their image? Dwana, have you been holding out on us? The horror!

This is a fun political link

The Latest Cats4Kerry News Stories

Monday, August 16, 2004

And here I thought she did it on purpose

Author Rowling 'chilled' to learn Harry's half-blood status has Nazi parallels

Proof that there's a place on the Internet for any and everything :)

Ugly Dress.com - Bridesmaid Dresses From Hell

"I can't believe I'm getting paid to have this much fun."

When I go, I hope it's gardening. And I hope I can be every bit as good as this lady. Rest in peace.

Librarian Janet Foster dies from heart attack.

Did you fall in love in a library?

Library Romance's authors want to hear from you. :)

Haven't done one of these in awhile

Monday Madness

1. If you could only take one item with you on to a desserted [sic] island what book, movie, music would you take? Desserted? I'd take cake. But for a deserted island, I'd probaly take either Plato's Timaeus or Plotinus' Enneads.

2. What's the most disgusting thing that you have ever eaten or even just put in your mouth?? I won't answer that here, as it would constitute saying something very nasty about someone else.

3. What one thing would you do differently if given the chance? Hmmm...that last bit.

4. What political party, if any, do you belong to? As you've probably guessed, Democratic.

5. Do you like icees? Yes, although I haven't had one in ages.

6. East or West? West--towards the land of the Blessed.

7. Will we ever 'all' be happy with the current political situation???? Probably not, but I'd say the one of the moment is more divisive than most.

8. Cookies or Crackers? Oh, cookies, most definitely.

9. What fun thing did you do today? Um. Thinking. Does having electricity pumped through my median nerves count? No. Um. I haven't done anything fun, yet, but give me time, the day's not over.

...and #10 has nothing to do with any of the above questions.........

10. Why?? Whever not?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Almost Equal

The assumption is that all Americans enjoy the same basic rights. That assumption is wrong.

TurnOut: Did You Know?

TurnOut: Kimya's Story

I'm fortunate to live in a city where, even though the state does not protect gay workers' rights, the local council has. The Fairness Ordinance in Lexington was very controversial, but needed. I know several people who lost jobs simply because of their sexual orientation. And that's just one basic right: there's a whole slew of others that simply aren't available to everyone. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people don't want special rights. They just want to be treated like people. People with the same aspirations, people with families, people who pay taxes, who contribute to society, and who get precious little out of it because of intolerance that is ingrained in our system.

How NOT to get votes: the T-shirt police

Family Booted over T-Shirts

A family who wanted to see President Bush speak were treated to 'democracy under Bush' when first a pro-choice T-shirt was confiscated and then people returned to summarily throw them out. The family was not disruptive. The mom claims to have brought the T-shirt, which she uses to exercise in, in case she got cold, without thinking about the message. The daughter was in a feminist T-shirt.

So much for welcoming any diversity or undecided voters. I first saw this on feminist.org, but given the obvious bias thought I'd check out the original at the Saginaw News site above.

I'm up

I have the blinds open for the first time in days, the windows open to enjoy the cool weather, the radio on, too. It's the first time I've been able to really enjoy listening to music in about a week, with the migraine issues and being sick.

I have charged my phone, cleaned out the cat boxes, taken a long bath, bathed Cerys with flea shampoo, and shampooed the carpet. Dee's supposed to be here in about an hour and half. I'm taking a break and drinking some cranberry juice (which does seem to be helping with the threatened UTI), and I'm contemplating whether to wash the dishes by hand or use the dishwasher. The dishwasher uses less water, actually, but I'm not thrilled with how clean things get with the machine...it's an older, smaller model than I'm used to, and it always seems to leave smutz behind. I think I'll go with the machine for now because then I can do a little bit of unpacking/straigtening. Laundry will have to wait till tonight, but I think I managed to find something semi-clean for the game.

I feel like I'm coming out of a funk

I slept most of yesterday. Dwana called at one point, having a lot going on herself, and my phone ran out of time in the middle of the conversation, so I walked over there. It had the effect of getting me out of bed. We couldn't really spend much time together--they were on their way to church--but we chatted for about a half hour and then they dropped me off at Mist Lake Plaza so I could get some more minutes on my cell phone at the Shell station there. Since I couldn't remember the last time I ate, I went over to Rocco's Pizza, watched the news, and ate the buffet.

When I headed back I got a little disoriented--I thought that the other side of Mist Lake would take me out about right at Man O'War to get home, but it actually heads towards Mt. Tabor and doesn't swing back in the right direction. I'm out of practice as a pedestrian, the longest walks lately being on a treadmill. I also found a back parking lot to the shopping centre I'd never noticed, at a break in the corner, and curiosity sent me that way, although in retrospect walking around the back of a large building along a wooded area was not good survival skills for a woman alone. You could tell that people lived, at least at night, there in the windbreak...beer cans, clothes, even a bike were hidden in there. Eventually, after taking the street (which I now realise is the same as Patchen (why can't they keep the same name?; here in Lexington every time you cross a major road they change names) up to Mt. Tabor and realising my error, I headed back. But it was a pleasant walk, through a suburb full of people who obviously had pride in their homes and gardens.

By the time I got home, my knees hurt and I just felt so tired, and I went into bed and collapsed, wishing someone could rub my feet. It was such a small walk, I've done plenty of it in my time--the key is that the depression made it so much harder.

And it was depression. Depression and exhaustion. In retrospect, I've been mildly depressed for awhile, and a little worse the last few days--I thought that was because of being sick, but the letter from the transportation cabinet just seemed the final blow that sent my plummeting. I think I'd been running on reserves too long and just collapsed. That's not so long, not enough to be a trend or to worry about. But it's been damnably hard to do anything. I know this because I've experienced it before and have loved ones who have battled it for years. Once I went to sleep, I was pretty much gone to the world until about 4 am. Just like I used to be. Just like they do. That's one way to put it...gone. I don't like that feeling. This, despite being on Paxil for OCD.

But now, I feel a little like I'm coming out of my funk. My first impetus was to do a little cleaning, feed the animals, and that's good. I have a ride to the game tomorrow, and so I think I can put my all into it. I had a dream about gaming, of all things in the hospital library, and at some point I walked over to the gaming store (ah, dreams, it's on the other side of town completely!), where I looked over some coins that someone had collected--not major numistics, mind you, but just the type you get from travels or sometimes find in your change and exchanged some of my own for these older or foreign ones. I've done this before. They were pennies that had silver inserts, many of them commemorating another person. There was also a stone, in the shape of a Roman God's face--I'm not sure which, although it was male, with a beard and long curly hair. It was rather worn and old. I could feel a deep power emanating from the stone.

I don't know what that means. Every thing I've read suggests that dreaming of coins, silver, gaming, etc., are all positive omens, but I don't know if I believe any of those supposed guides. I do feel more driven, though. Unfortunately, I think I've expended more energy than I had, so I'm going back to sleep for a bit, this time, hopefully, for normal rest rather than depressed escape.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

I will NOT spiral back down to where I once was

Despite feeling quite depressed today, moreso than in a long while. Despite having spent the last year struggling with a job loss, an eviction, an inability to reliably keep basic things like rent, electricity, phone service, medicine, and food taken care of, even with working two jobs and help from others. Despite having to put a family member who happened to be a cat down after thirteen years, a long illness, and issues that have added to my financial burden. Despite watching a wonderful person finally realise her dream of becoming pregnant only to have it crushed in just a few days. Despite watching, helpless, as another deals with a disease so insidious that I worry about losing him to its daemons. Despite watching my family deal with terrible health issues when I am just beginning to do so, seeing the path ahead. Despite dealing with several systems that seem bent on destroying my independence--and worse, trying to help another person deal with one that seems bent on destroying his life itself.

I haven't been writing about these things, the anxiety and feelings I have about them, because, well, I couldn't really put it into words until today. I've been hiding behind humour and links and politics and trying to seem professional. After all, I'm on a job hunt. I don't want to seem a basket case. I'm not. Even when I was the most depressed, when I didn't want to live, when I was having panic attacks daily, I kept my job, they were happy with me for the most part, and with the exception of crying in the bathroom occasionally, I managed to keep my professional life together.

I now know that a lot was going on. I had some physical issues that were contributing to the depression, like stopping breathing throughout the night and undiagnosed asthma, hormonal issues, and diabetes, along with the anxiety disorder. Those are all under control now, and I went through intensive therapy for the psychological issues. It's remarkable how well I have done emotionally this past year. I've always believed that life is a series of classes, that when we finish a period of learning, we get tested. Who knew that in taking the steps to getting healthy, and going through a period that nearly obliterated me, my friendships, etc., that I'd suddenly be given such a humdinger of an exam so soon? Makes me worry about the final. :)

But with all the bad, there's been a lot of good, too. And I know that things will get better. They have to. Life is like an ocean wave, ebbing and flowing back again. It's something we learn to navigate, sometimes well, and sometimes by the skin of our teeth.

I know that 95% of my issues right now relate to money for basic necessities. Once that's better, a lot of my anxiety will go. I know in the past I've often screwed up royally in that area--again, a product of my anxiety and some very bad coping mechanisms. Lately, though, there's just been a lot out of my control, and I think I'm going to have to start learning from those around me. Like one co-worker's husband said, anything that can be solved by money isn't really a problem. (Well, yes, it is, physically, but it's not in the long run.) Or another person I know who had to totally release control during her trip to a country and allow strangers to take care of her because she didn't know the language.

There are small things I can do. I can't take care of the licence issue today. That will have to wait for Monday, and will no doubt be some computer glitch (they didn't even have their current URL on the thing). In the meantime, I've checked the bus schedules (hah! they're not running at all on Sunday, barely today, and last call is before the sun goes down; I so want the referendum on supporting LexTran to go through) rescheduled my lesson, put a call in for a ride to the game tomorrow and my neurology consult Monday. (Ooh, don't think about that. I found out they're doing a nerve conduction test, and a friend pointed out that involves needles and electrical currents. I'm not a fan of needles.)

In the meantime, I'll focus on things like doing dishes, getting some clean clothes, and unpacking in the hopes I'll be able to keep a roof over my head. I've already spent more time with Cerys and Spock today (quality kitty/doggie spa time, as opposed to just sleeping near them) than I have in a week. Maybe the universe is just telling me to stay home and take care of my basic environment. This is the first day I haven't had some chills or fever since Wednesday--it's still managed to hit in the evening the last couple of nights. Maybe it will again (and if it keeps up, I'm calling my doctor Monday). There's a few comfort things, too, that will help, like curling up with the animals, taking a nice long bath, eating the last of my CarbSmart ice cream (did that just now) and blogging.

Eventually my home internet connexion is going to go off, although that usually takes awhile, maybe a week. I have to admit I'm glad I have it today, since I'm feeling kind of trapped here. It's one thing to not have a car. It's another to be told you can't drive through no fault of your own. For the first time, I think I understand a little of what a person with epilepsy must feel like when that card is taken away. The difference is, I should be up and running in a couple of days, when it could take years to get that licence back for someone with seizures, since it's so hard to get the right combination of meds for some forms.

Well, I think I'm going to do the whole cuddling with the animas thing for a little while, and rest, then use the beautiful sunny but cool (it's autumn, the calendar just doesn't seem to know it yet, as we seem to be experiencing an almost British summer) to get stuff done around here. Thanks for 'listening'.

An interesting point, but...

Brindrod's Guano Shovel Co.

The argument is that Carlos Delgado as a non-US-citizen (his words, not mine) should be ashamed at the hypocrisy he's demonstrating by refusing to reverence 'God Bless America' at games when he plays for an American company (Major League Baseball) and makes mega US bucks in return.

Last time I checked, Toronto, home of his team, the Blue Jays, was in Canada, so wouldn't he be getting Canadian dollars? Granted, Major League Baseball is an American corporation, but still, isn't that like saying that someone working for, say, Toyota, has to be gung ho/patriotic for Japan?

I don't see Delgado as a hypocrite. He's rather quietly protesting a war he doesn't agree with, not really doing so in a boorish way (Canadian hockey fans booing the US national anthem springs to mind) really, and that's his right. 'God Bless America' isn't, after all, even our national anthem, and therefore does not require the standard attention of the Star-Spangled Banner, even for American citizens (which, unless he's become a Canadian citizen, Delgado, as a native of Puerto Rico, is).

It's fine to be patriotic. It's not to be crazily patriotic. It is every American's right to protest, so long as he or she isn't injuring anyone by doing so. I know one person who feels so strongly that 'God Bless America' should be our anthem that she sits during 'The Star-Spangled Banner'. I think she's a bit cracked, but hey, it's her right.

Non-Americans, incidentally, are not required to reverence anyone's anthem but their own, although most avoid making a disturbance during another's out of respect. I'm not sure the majority of Americans could recognise--unless they're watching the Olympics--very many other national anthems, beyond, maybe, 'Oh, Canada!' and 'God Save the Queen'. And I know a lot of kooky Americans these days who would boo and hiss during 'La Marseillaise'. Okay, not personally, fortunately, but still, I saw a 'Boycott France' sticker on someone's car just yesterday.

Politics does strange things to people's heads. And this war, even more than most, seems extremely polarising, both in and out of country.

Quote for the day

In honour of Dwana, one of the first category.

Michelle Malkin: THE AMY RICHARDS STORY CONT'D: "Some women who want children have to crawl straight through Hell to get them. And some women would rather go to [to] Hell than keep the ones they could have."--Fang, commentor

(For the record, I don't agree with any of the views espoused, from Richards to Malkin, to most of the commentators, but I did agree with this statement.)

Still, no matter how dark things seem, it's a reminder that we're alive

At work, we were intermittently and then totally bereft of Internet access, amongst other systems, because our corporate headquarters is in Tampa, which was about to be hit by Hurricane Charley, and their local electric company was shutting everything down. I tried to get our family resource centre computer, which has a separate dial-up connexion, to work for various things I needed to download, print off, lend, etc., but it's got IE 5 and couldn't even be used to check e-mail, run simple forms or scripts, even though the settings suggest that it should. So, the IT guys are going to look it over, since that explains some of the issues the families have been having with using it.

The one thing I could do was read online stuff, and so during a break I checked John's blog, and then Anne's. And I came across this series of posts, in which Anne describes being attacked on the street with a can of mace on her birthday, the people who helped her, some correspondence she'd had with a supportive e-mailer who had lost a son to crime--and then her horror when she went to check the link for his blog--to find out that the man she'd been writing with had just been killed in a car accident.

So, Anne, thank you for some perspective. I may have had to vent a little frustration a bit ago with the last post, but your story (and his) has haunted me all day and made me appreciate life--the bad as well as the good--a little more. I hope you stay safe don't let this attack harm you any further (and oh, by the way, happy birthday), and I hope the O'Brien family finds some solace.

It's funny how here in blogland a total stranger can really make such an impact on your life. It makes me appreciate the support of my friends, and also I can appreciate the lonely, frightened, sad souls out there hoping to find someone to remind them of why life is precious.

Okay, now I'm getting pissed off

Life for the Rabid Librarian is not going well. On top of being sick (and I think I'm into a UTI now in addition to whatever was going on the other day), having to let the phone (and the DSL will follow) go by the wayside in an effort to focus on rent and electric, I can't drive. You've heard part of the story before, but it gets better.

Around midnight between March 31st and April Fool's Day, I was pulled over by a University of Kentucky police officer after going on through a yellow light on my way to pick up a friend. Normally, I would have stopped. It was late, I knew the turn light that I had was going to stay red through the next cycle (it alternates that late at night), so I went on through. The police officer said that I'd run a red light, when it was yellow as far as I was under it, but hey, I didn't have a witness and it was the first time I'd ever been pulled over, so I presented my documents, was respectful, and decided not to argue. I still rather think there was some quota involved, since it was the last night of the month, but hey, what do I know?

The officer had not written, as they are supposed to, the amount of the citation, so I called the court to find out. I was given two choices: pay $110, plus $15 for traffic school, and have no points on my licence, or pay $125, not go to traffic school, and have 3 points on my licence. Note that the price is the same. Since I'm on my mom's insurance at the moment, and I didn't want to muck with my record, I chose the former, paid my ticket, and started the process of getting into traffic school.

In the midst of the move, I didn't get the info about traffic school and that I had 30 days to sign up. They apparently don't forward stuff from the transportation cabinet. Except, then they did, a couple weeks later, sending me a letter saying that since I hadn't responded to my summons, my licence was suspended. I immediately did what anyone would do--called the court. I was in total good graces with them. They suggested it was over the failure to schedule traffic school. So I called the transportation cabinet, went down to the local office, paid my $15 and, instant reinstatement. This got me scheduled for traffic school

On July 16th I was notified that my traffic school date was set at 8/11/04 on Richmond Road, from 6:15-10pm, with one reschedule possible in case of emergency.

For those of you who have been reading lately, that was the day I was dizzy, nauseous, feverish, and finally, puking my guts out. But before the time I was supposed to be at traffic school, I went online and rescheduled; this time Richmond Road was no longer available, so I chose Waller Avenue. I then went back to bed to be good and thoroughly sick.

Tonight I came in, found a letter from the transportation cabinet, fully expecting notice for the new time and date.

No. Oh, no.

This was dated 8/8/04--3 full days before my traffic school date, telling me my licence has been suspended for failure to answer a court summons (something that I haven't received, and last I checked, I was perfectly in good graces with the Fayette District Court in this matter. This time they're saying I have to provide proof, and oh, yeah, pay a $40 reinstatement fee.

Mind you...and I'm about ready to shout:

  1. I didn't run the freaking light in the first place, but didn't see much reason to fight it since it was my word against the cop's.
  2. I paid my citation (after having to get the amount from the court myself) on time--even though it put be behind and directly contributed to my having to move since I couldn't pay my rent, because, silly me, I put legal costs above a roof over my head.
  3. If I'd just paid the $125, trashed the idea of traffic school and been done with it, I'd have 3 points on my licence, but I NEVER WOULD HAVE HAD THE THING SUSPENDED.
  4. Once I realised my error in not getting the traffic school scheduled, I did so immediately and it was treated as no big deal locally, despite an ominous letter.
  5. Then bam! they suspend my licence 3 days before I'm even due in school???????


Oh, and the best note about this Friday the 13th incident? I didn't get it until after everyone's closed for the weekend, so I'm not sure I can even figure out what the hell is going on until Monday, and although it looks like some sort of clerical mistake, I can't do a thing about it. I did check with the district court (they're available 24/7) :) I'm in perfectly fine standing with them, the case is a dead case, taken care of, paid, happy, is all is well. But I can't drive, because doing so on a suspended licence--even if it's not my fault, and some glitch in the system--means an instant arrest if I'm pulled over (and trust me, with my luck, I would be). So now I have to figure out how to get my paycheque from KET, go to my lesson, get over to the game on Sunday, and go to my neurology appointment very, very early (i.e., before the Commonwealth opens for the day) on Monday. And work. Dwana might be able to help with the first and last, and I can take the bus on Saturday (I'll have to check and see if they stopped running the Sunday ones).

Deep breath. Well, at least it's Saturday now, so the Friday 13th nonsense (and I had 3 major bits of bad luck today) should ebb eventually. Hope it went better for you.

PS I did get a couple of bits of GOOD news today. I have an interview for a part-time reference position (well 2 of them, actually) at the Lexington Public Library week after next and I got the paperwork from Berea saying they'd gotten my application and just needed a couple of in-house forms filled out before sending it on to be considered for the Project Archivist position. The LPL would work well together with my present job (and it pays $3.50 more an hour) to bring my salary from a paltry $14,000 to about $34,000 per year. The Berea position is a two-year appointment paying in the mid-thirties. Either would go a long way to help get me back on my feet after a year post-layoff, and even more importantly, bring me the professional fulfillment that is lacking now that I've had to cut back so far in my present position due to half the hours. Both would work well with my experience, and I think I would enjoy them.

So, wish me luck--good luck, that is. I'm ready for some. :)