Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A life of courage, and perhaps breaking new ground

NY plaintiff: Gay benefits 'bigger than marriage'
In 1963, she met Spyer at a Greenwich Village restaurant known for its friendly attitude toward lesbians. Though they arrived with others, Spyer and Windsor were almost inseparable on the dance floor that night and by evening's end, Windsor had danced a hole in her stockings.

The dancing marathons continued sporadically over the next two years, usually when Spyer and Windsor met by chance at parties and usually to the frustration of their dates.

It was not until the spring of 1965 that they got together. Windsor suggested they date for a year and consider engagement for another year if that went well.

And, as she said in an affidavit in her court case, Windsor told Spyer: "`And if it still feels this goofy joyous, I'd like us to spend the rest of our lives together.' And we did."

The engagement stretched for 40 years.

Spyer, worried an engagement ring would unintentionally reveal Windsor's sexual orientation to her IBM colleagues, gave her a circular diamond brooch she wears to this day.

"Our choice not to wear traditional engagement rings was just one of many ways in which Thea and I had to mold our lives to make our relationship invisible," Windsor said in her affidavit.

"We both faced pressures not only in the workplace and in society at large, but also from family and friends," she added. "Like countless other same-sex couples, we engaged in a constant struggle to balance our love for one another and our desire to live openly and with dignity, on the one hand, with our fear of disapproval and discrimination from others on the other."
Edith Windsor, 83, did finally get to marry her love, Thea Clara Spyer, in Canada because they were afraid New York would not approve same-sex marriage within their lifetimes. Spyer died in 2009, less than two years after their marriage. Now Windsor has a case that will be heard by the Supreme Court looking at the Defense of Marriage Act and how it discriminates against same-sex spouses by denying the use of the marital deduction on the deceased spouse's estate. That could be a ground-breaking case and ruling. But I was interested in the love story, too, that these women had, despite obstacles and health issues. I sincerely hope her case has a wonderful outcome, but regardless I think she's a wonderful model for those who came after her. I hope she lives to see this to fruition.

I had a nice mid-afternoon nap

as the sun, reflecting on the snow, poured through the windows. Now it's passing away. I suppose this will be my last such nap in awhile, unless I manage it on a rare Saturday or holiday. The rest of the week is always so busy, between work and the game (although I'm not quite up to cleaning my friends' house yet, so Sundays aren't so full at the moment. A told me today he longed for the day when I could put a mop in my hand again. They've had to clean their own house for awhile now, which I think helped them appreciate me a little more.)

I just ate the last of the kugel from last week (hopefully it's still good; it tasted delicious anyway, and there's lots of oil to help keep it from turning).

Now to determine what to do for the rest of the evening. There's still the reading option. I've already looked at the news. There's one more story I'll post before I head back to the bedroom to read.

A lady of science, at a time women were discouraged from going to school

Her discoveries earned her the Nobel Prize and also paved the way for studying dementia and other brain disorders as well as cancer.

Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini, a Revolutionary in the Study of the Brain, Dies at 103
One of four children, Rita Levi-Montalcini was born in Turin on April 22, 1909, to Adamo Levi, an engineer, and Adele Montalcini, a painter, both Italian Jews who traced their roots to the Roman Empire. In keeping with the Victorian customs of the time, Mr. Levi discouraged his three daughters from entering college, fearing that it would interfere with their lives as wives and mothers.

It was not a future that Rita wanted. She had decided to become a doctor and told her father so. “He listened, looking at me with that serious and penetrating gaze of his that caused me such trepidation,” she wrote in her autobiography, “In Praise of Imperfection” (1988). He also agreed to support her.

She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Turin medical school in 1936, the same year that Mussolini issued a manifesto barring non-Aryan Italians from having professional careers. She began her research anyway, setting up a small laboratory in her home to study chick embryos, inspired by the work of Dr. Hamburger, a prominent researcher in St. Louis who also worked with the embryos.

In 1941, the family fled Turin for the countryside during heavy bombing by Allied forces, and in 1943 the invasion by Germany forced them to Florence. The family returned at the close of the war, in 1945, and Dr. Hamburger soon invited Dr. Levi-Montalcini to work for a year in his lab at Washington University.

Game called on account of illness

Which is disappointing, but can't be helped. So I'm staying home today after all. I downloaded some Kindle books last night and today, so I shan't be bored. I might check out what's new on Netflix, too. Brenda was going to take me to get my very own cane; now she'd not coming into town, so I'll see if my stepfather will stop at the pharmacy either when we leave or come back for the visit.

So sad

Indian gang-rape victim cremated, was due to marry

She was to wed in February. According to the article, her fiancé and she were lured onto a bus by six men on December 15th. They thought the bus would take them home. Instead they endured a 40-minute attack by the drunken men before being stripped and thrown off the bus. The young woman is said to have been attacked with an iron bar, which did horrible internal damage, from which she died. The alleged attackers have been arrested and are facing the death penalty, which is rarely used in India except in particularly heinous crimes. I think this one counts.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

So Wednesday's the day

I go back to work. In between that and now there's the game, and a visit with family. I have a tentative ride to work (I have to check back, as my co-worker is fighting off something that has her sounding about three octaves lower in her throat) and in the meantime my physical therapist suggested I do timed walking over the next few days in case I really need to walk .44 miles to the bus stop and cross the road twice (because that worked ever so well the last time I tried to do that).

Let me just say I work with some pretty amazing people. I have received cards, letters, e-mails, texts, and phone calls from people checking up on me. My door is full of get well and holiday cards--twenty-three in all, and a nice letter that came in the mail in response to some thank yous I sent. I've received some really nice gifts that came in very useful and helped cheer me up. I even had co-workers doing my laundry. But most of all, I suppose, is that I realised people cared. I always wondered what would happen if I suddenly wasn't in the world anymore, if anyone other than my really close friends or family would really care. What I discovered is I have many people in my life who care a lot. It makes me feel good about myself and the connexions I make with other people.

On the other hand, it's so weird to basically miss a quarter of a year from my routine. It'll be a little odd going back. My desk still has Halloween decorations on it. Thanks to my roommate in the library, my plants are apparently doing fine, which is good. But being back in my little cubicle will be interesting. I hate to think how much e-mail I'll have, although most of it is pretty moot and can be deleted. I don't even remember my Windows password--I'll probably have to have IT reset my password since it will force a change the first time I log on. There have been some changes in how my work is done that were supposed to start the Monday after I was hit, so the woman doing that part of my job is going to have to teach me what to do. I understood it at the time, but really don't remember the process now. But I'll hopefully be able to ease back into things.

Plus next week I have to see about getting into physical therapy and starting that. Right now I'm slowly walking in a shoe while I'm in the house, using a borrowed cane (we're going to check for one I can buy at Rite Aid tomorrow). I'll need to return the walker to the friend who lent it to me. The suggestion has been to wear the boot at work, though, since there will be more walking.

I hope I can do everything I need to do in the coming week. I suspect I'm going to come home and crash. But that's no different than it used to be. :) Hopefully I'll build up some stamina, though.

For now, though, my back is hurting a bit today and I've been at the computer much of the day. I think I'll go lie down and listen to some music for awhile. This will be my last day in my little cubby-hole of an apartment for awhile. Each day coming up through Friday pretty much has planned outings lasting most of the day. And at some point I'm going to have to do some more laundry. I have just enough to get me through next Friday. Right now I'm not sure if it would be best to do that at my mom's or my friend's, or actually try to take my cart to the laundry room and try to negotiate the steps. They're a little steep--I'm not sure I'm up to it. We'll see.

Quote of the Day

'Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen'–Heinrich Heine

'Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.' Almansor: A Tragedy (1823), as translated in True Religion (2003) by Graham Ward, p. 142

Variant translations:

'Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people.'
'Where they burn books, they will also burn people.'
'It is there, where they burn books, that eventually they burn people.'
'Where they burn books, so too will they in the end burn human beings.'
'Where they burn books, they also burn people.'
'Them that begin by burning books, end by burning men.'

If you didn't see 'Doctor Who: the Snowmen' last Tuesday

They're replaying it at 9 pm ET tonight on BBCAmerica. :) It's well worth watching.

Unbelievable, yet apparently true

Woman Accused of Hate-Crime Murder in Subway Push
The woman, Erica Menendez of the Bronx, will be charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, according to a person in the Queens district attorney’s office. When Ms. Menendez was taken into custody by police early Saturday morning, she made comments implicating herself in the crime when questioned by detectives, according to Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department.

A law enforcement official said that Ms. Menendez had “told the cops it was an act against Muslims,” and cited the Sept. 11 attacks. The victim, Sunando Sen, was born in India and, according to a roommate, was raised Hindu.

Friday, December 28, 2012

It's snowing

And I have to admit, now that I'm not going anywhere tomorrow, I'm perfectly happy to watch it come down. I think we're supposed to get an inch or two at the most, so hopefully it will be pretty without being a pain.

It's only a little after ten, but I didn't get much in the way of sleep last night. I think I'll go ahead and turn in. Have a nice weekend.

I am pathetic when it comes to chess

Now granted, I hope to get better using a little chess game on Windows 8 where you can play the computer. But, gee. I'm not great at sudoku, either, but I can at least do the easy ones without notes. I can see I need to do some brain exercising. :) I am, however, very good at crosswords, word finds, Scrabble, Mahjong (the type on the computer that involves matching; I've never played real Mahjong), Hearts, Rook, Spades, Gin, and Spider Solitaire. I'm a little iffy on Freecell, although YKWIA is a whiz at that. I was also taught a version of solitaire as a kid that was sadistic, in which you couldn't move anything at all once you placed it and you only got three times through the pile. I didn't realise until computers came around that the rules were different. Which is sad, as we actually had a copy of Hoyle's Games (I still have it) in the house. You would think after winning something like three games in five years I would have sat down and read it rather than accept something at face value.

Change of plan

It looks like we might have some semi-nasty weather tomorrow, so instead of going to see my family tomorrow, we're going to get together Monday and Tuesday.

Maybe I'll actually be able to see it

Halley's fizzled for me. Hale-Bopp was a fuzzy patch in the city lights. Maybe this new comet will be spectacular, as they're saying it might be able to be seen in the daytime:

Newly Found Comet Could Outshine the Moon
The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center predicts Comet ISON could be visible without binoculars or telescopes to skywatchers on Earth from early November through the first few weeks of January 2014.

I've been following this story

although I haven't blogged about it. The whole thing is horrendous.

Indian gang-rape victim's condition deteriorates
However, the gang-rape of the 23-year-old student on a moving bus in the capital two weeks ago has brought new focus on police and community attitudes toward woman in India. Demonstrators in New Delhi have demanded stronger protections for women and stronger punishment for rapists.

After 10 days at a New Delhi hospital, the victim was flown to Singapore on Thursday for treatment at the Mount Elizabeth hospital, which specializes in multi-organ transplant. Media reports have said that her assailants beat her and inserted an iron rod into her body during the assault, resulting in severe organ damage.
Indian Rape Case Ignites National Debate On Abuse Of Women
Praveen Swami, editor of the The Hindu newspaper, says, "The real battle is to change the way in which men relate to women: to create a culture of masculinity that does not involve subjugation."
UPDATE: Delhi gang-rape victim dies in hospital in Singapore

So awful.


Halloween decorations carry haunting message of forced labor
The letter came in a box of Halloween decorations purchased at Kmart, but for a year Julie Keith never knew. It gathered dust in her storage, a haunting plea for help hidden among artificial skeletons, tombstones and spider webs.
If legitimate, this letter is from a forced labour facility in China. It breaks the heart to think of someone being 're-educated' through such labour for disagreeing with the party line. And it is disturbing that K-Mart sold something that may have been produced by such a place.
"We're in no position to confirm the veracity or origin of this," said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. "I think it is fair to say the conditions described in the letter certainly conform to what we know about conditions in re-education through labor camps."

China's re-education through labor is a system of punishment that allows for detention without trial. Various reports allege followers of the banned spiritual group, Falun Gong, are sent to the reform camps – claims supported in the letter – but the facts are difficult to confirm.

Masanjia labor camp is located in the industrialized capital of the Liaoning Province in northeast China. A Google search of the camp yields pages of grim results.

"If this thing is the real deal, that's somebody saying please help me, please know about me, please react," Richardson said. "That's our job."
I went to K-Mart for the first time in years the other day. All the clothing I looked at was made in countries like China, Vietnam, and Thailand. It makes me wonder what conditions those workers have as well.

Up and I've already been productive

although I got very little sleep last night. I went to bed around 11:30, woke up at 3:30, and didn't get back to sleep until after 6, then had to get up by 8:30. In the waking part of the night I practiced walking about both without the boot and barefoot and with both shoes on. I can't quite get my foot in with a wrap on, but my sock compresses pretty well. This morning I had my last home health physical therapy and the therapist let me borrow a cane until I can get one this weekend. We practiced with that, walking in my shoes. The idea is to try to see how I do with that, and when I go to work, take the boot with me just in case I get too tired or have too much pain. He also suggested I do some timed walking in the apartment to build up stamina for the walk to the bus stop in case I need to go. He suggested some other exercises as well, including some on the stairs outside--things to get my ankle limber and my leg more able to deal with the new weight. I think by the time I can get on Wheels I won't actually need it, so I need to be able to walk to the bus stop and cross the street twice. I also asked him about KORT Physical Therapy. I've been there before with tennis elbow. They now have a location in Chevy Chase at the corner of High Street and Euclid Avenue. It's a very short bus ride from work to there, and I think I could make it okay. I guess I need to get a bus pass. :)

I really recommend Cardinal Hill Home Health. My therapist has been great and very helpful.

Now I have two choices: going back to bed for a bit to see if I can get any rest or working on a project I need to finish by Sunday. Since I don't really feel sleepy, I think it will be the latter, especially as I'm supposed to visit my family tomorrow.

I think later today I will try to conquer some dishes in the sink and am considering trying to take a fairly light bag of trash out, now that one hand will be free. It's not too long of a walk to the Dumpster, but long considering I've mostly been stuck in the apartment for weeks.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Man Is Pushed to His Death Under Train in Queens

Earlier this month a man was pushed in front of a subway train in New York City and made headlines for a widely-circulated picture of him right before his doom. Now it's happened again--just over a couple of hours ago. This time, a woman mumbling to herself pushed a man into the path of a train; witnesses said the victim did not appear to notice her. The man has not yet been identified, and police are searching for a woman matching the description of the assailant.


I have overdone it a bit today or sat too long at the computer, or a combination of both, as I feel stiff and sore all over, especially in my foot/ankle, knees, and back/neck. So I think it's time to take some Tylenol. I really find that Advil/ibuprofen works better for those sorts of aches, but apparently NSAIDs inhibit bone growth, so it's Tylenol/acetaminophen for awhile. I think I'll stay up for just a little while longer, give it a chance to kick in, and then head on to bed. PT comes very early tomorrow.


Drug Shortage Linked To Cancer Relapse
A drug shortage appears to have caused a higher rate of relapse among children, teens and young adults with Hodgkin lymphoma, researchers form St. Jude Children's Research Hospital reported this week. The scientists say this is the first example of the tragic consequences of the current drug shortage. They emphasized that protecting patient access to lifesaving treatment must always be the number one priority in any health care system.
People's lives shouldn't be on the line because of drug shortages or for that matter the lack of orphan drugs, which are not considered as profitable as others.

As an aside, while in the seemingly interminable line today, the ladies before me were asked if they would give to St Jude Children's Research Hospital and declined somewhat rudely. When I got to the counter, the young lady, who was obviously stressed from the lack of cashiers and annoyed customers, did not ask me. I smiled and asked her about it, and she said it was $1. I told her to go ahead and put it on my order, and she smiled and thanked me. I tried very hard to not blame the three ladies trying to get the customers out, and was very courteous. Then I went and sat down in a wheelchair (we didn't see it or the electric carts until the end of our shopping) until Brenda got through her line.

When I was 9, I had a classmate with leukaemia who had been treated at St Jude's. Sadly, she died, the first time it really hit me that kids did that, and I've never forgotten her, even though I met her at church literally three days before she passed away. I remember her last name was Probst. Her first name may have been Linda; she had a sister I got to know a little later, and I may be getting the first names mixed up. That would have been about 1976-1977. But since that time, there have been amazing strides in childhood cancer, especially leukaemia, in no small part to the work at St Jude's. They're a very worthy cause, and certainly worth $1 tacked onto your total. If you're in K-Mart in the near future, check and see if they're still doing it.


I talked to my mom earlier on the phone. Remember, I wasn't able to visit either Thanksgiving or Christmas. We're finally going to get together. This is how the next few days are looking for me:

Friday: Last home health physical therapy appointment/discharge from programme, bright and early, 9 am :)
Saturday: Visit my mom and grandmother in Stanford, contingent upon any snow that might accrue
Sunday: Game!
Monday: Alternate family visit in case of snow
Tuesday: Likewise, although that looks like it will be a wintry mix, so probably not
Wednesday: Return to work

In the meantime, I need to practice walking around and do my physical therapy exercises. I did pretty well today, even stood in a line that never seemed to move, although that was hard. Standing is still hard. Walking is actually a little easier. I think part of it is that even with the shoe on the left foot, the boot on the right is slightly higher, and so my back hates it. Right now, after being up a good part of the day, my foot and ankle hurt a bit. My knees, however, are worse, as they've been taking up the slack. Oh, well, I'll keep plugging along and pack some Tylenol should I need it when I go to my mom's, the game, and work.

I did not nap earlier, but I stretched out in bed for about an hour without the boot on and it was heavenly. One of the things I tend to do (I picked this up from my ex-husband, of all people) when I'm trying to fall asleep is rub my feet together. I find it comforting in some way. This was the first time I've been able to do that in bed in a long time. Still didn't fall asleep, but then today has kept me fairly perky.

It's good to be perky. I'm not that often, really. But one, I got happy news. Two, I've had caffeine today. And three, on Wednesday I got back on track with my meds, having forgotten to take them for two days, and was feeling down. I didn't even shower on Tuesday or Wednesday--me, who is enjoying taking showers now that I'm able to again. So I'm feeling much better today.

I'm glad we went to the store today. I was getting pretty low on stuff. Since I've been off I've been getting these little frozen Greek yoghurt cups from Healthy Choice. Brenda actually saw them in the store one time we went. I've been getting blueberry ones, and also raspberry, but today noticed they had strawberry. There are three 100-calorie cups per package. I really like them. I also have been getting salads that have baby greens, cranberries, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, and a balsamic vinaigrette, adding a few cherry tomatoes to the mix. Now that I'm feeling better, I really should just get the ingredients for them without going pre-made. I'll do that next time. I think they'd be good to take to work. On the other hand, I now have some containers to actually divvy up everything in and then mix it there. Even with the pre-made ones, though, I think they're cheaper than the salad bar at work.

I am SO looking forward to getting back to work, to seeing everyone there, and getting back to something close to normal. It has been nice at times to be off, but generally I've either been bored out of my skull or actively trying not to be bored. Early on, of course, I mostly stayed in bed and healed from the injury and subsequent surgery. But once I was up more, and off the pain meds--but not as mobile as I wish I could have been--it was kind of a pain to be off. Still, I had to go through that, as I wasn't able to do a lot. Even sitting up for several hours was still tiring. Now I feel like I can, although I have to admit being a little anxious about going back after being off so long. I talked to the people today who have divvied up my job (my boss has been handling the library, one woman has been doing the data entry, and another the referrals), talked to HR, left a message for my other boss, and either talked with or left messages for a few of co-workers who should know. I have a tentative ride to work; I need to check closer to time, as she's been a bit ill.

I think this weekend I'm going to look into getting a cane, one of those ones with the four prongs on the bottom. The walker has been great; it's been my lifeline, as the crutches were useless without any upper body strength. But I noticed today I'm really just using the walker for balance as opposed to weight-bearing now, which is probably good news to my hands and arms. :) I think I would feel more comfortable walking at work with a cane than a walker.

Okay, that was a long, rambling post. Maybe I've had a bit too much excitement for one day. :)

I love this

YKWIA showed it to me:

'You are Death Stars and we are an army of fabulous Luke Skywalkers.' :)


The doctor also said that when I start outpatient physical therapy, I can start working on weight-bearing without the boot, although I'll probably use it for work for awhile until I can comfortably walk in a regular shoe. The nice thing, though, is that I don't have to sleep in the boot anymore, but use it just for major walking. Yay!

And I did it in my TARDIS hat!

I know, it's a bit silly-looking but quite warm and snuggy. I did take it off for the doctor's appointment and while we were eating. :)

PS If you want your very own TARDIS hat, head on over to the BBCAmerica shop for it.


Guess who's been released to return to work next Wednesday?! I have a tentative ride there, and I've informed everyone who needs to know right away that I'm coming back. I'm so happy!!!

Today I:
  1. Went to my doctor and got the good news.
  2. Went to McDonald's and ate inside.
  3. Took back the wheelchair.
  4. Went to the grocery.
  5. Picked up something for my grandmother's holiday present.
  6. Paid my rent.
  7. Made and received several phone calls.
Okay, it occurs to me that having done all this, I am now hungry. Hope you have a great rest of the week.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's snowing

big fluffy flakes of snow. Which has a different cast to it after watching the 'Doctor Who' Christmas special last night. :) Here's to a nice snow without too much problem with the roads. Brenda is taking me to the doctor tomorrow and she comes in from out of county.

A quick look at the new TARDIS interior again

Warning: Potential Spoilers!

Here's the teaser for the rest of the 7th series:

Also, here is io9's take on last night's episode (full of spoilers):

At last, Steven Moffat succeeds in making Doctor Who a “dark fairy tale”

Also, what did you think of the new opening sequence?

RIP, Gerry Anderson

who gave us, 'Thunderbirds' and 'Space: 1999', among others. He was a visionary.

Gerry Anderson, 'Thunderbirds' Creator, Dies at 83

I've been in a funk the last couple of days

They say the holidays can be depressing. I had a quiet Christmas, talking to my mom and grandmother on the phone and watching lots of 'Big Bang Theory' and 'Doctor Who: the Snowmen'. Today I stayed in bed again till almost noon despite going to bed by 11 last night. When I came out to get something to eat, I realised I hadn't refilled my pill holder and that I had not taken my medication since Sunday, so that may be a good portion of it. So I filled it up and took the ones for today. Hopefully that will kick in.

Tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment. I hope I can return to work soon. That's part of the issue, though, anxiety over whether I'm ready and the idea of getting back into the normal routine I've had a break from for eleven weeks now. I think I'll do fine. No one's going to expect me to do cartwheels, after all, and I do have a sedentary job. I'm looking forward to being back, to see everyone, and to have plenty to occupy me. I'm sure it will be fine, really.


Royal Mail Issues 'Doctor Who' Stamps to Celebrate the Show's 50th Anniversary

I collected stamps as a child and am still very happy to see unusual or commemorative ones. These are really nice. There's even a miniature sheet with the TARDIS and various enemies.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Slow going today

One of the perks living alone and not being Christian is that you can basically sleep in Christmas morning, or at least stay in bed as long as you like. I did field texts, messages on Facebook, and a phone call from exuberant friends wishing me well, and I appreciate them. But then I turned over and went back to sleep, finally getting up after noon. I'd been talking to a friend until two in the morning on Christmas Eve. YKWIA, who is Jewish and who cooked the food for me the other day, explained to me that the food I was trying to describe here was cholent (no 'z' on the end), kugel (ah, kugel!), and kischke, a dish he'd made vegetarian that usually is stuffed in sausages and contains schmalz, or rendered duck fat. He dispensed with the schmalz and casings, and it was still very good. There is another dish I forgot to mention, a coleslaw with no special name that is also very nummy. So once I did get out of bed this morning I broke my fast with some kugel. I'll have some of all of the types of food later today.

Christmas morning in my friends' house, with their four- and five-year-old, was a huge success, and I got some pictures sent to me showing the delight on their faces.

The only things on my agenda are to call my mom later today and watch 'Doctor Who: the Snowmen' tonight. I'm just hanging around the house in shorts today, although I just realised I'd better water my plants, or my lavender is going to go the way of the rosemary. I should go do that. Other than that, I think I'll do some reading. The TV is usually a bit useless on Christmas. Netflix has apparently been having some issues, both yesterday and today, so I don't know if that's a viable alternative, although it couldn't hurt to try. I did watch The Princess Bride DVD I got for the holidays last night and enjoyed every minute of it.

That's it for now. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a very merry one.

I can't imagine that amount of faith and devotion, and yes, love

Comatose since Christmas 1969: A tale of unconditional love and miracles
Colleen O'Bara bathed her older sister, Edwarda, and fixed her hair. She fed her through a feeding tube like she'd done countless times. It was going to be a good day, the day before Thanksgiving.

With her morning routine complete, Colleen planned to fetch a cup of coffee. She bent down and kissed her big sister, told her she'd be right back.

"She gave me the biggest smile she has ever given me in her life," Colleen recalls. "Her face was aglow. There was a sparkle in her eyes."

But just then, Edwarda closed her eyes.

For 42 years, her family held vigil. They awaited the day Edwarda would awake, the miracle that never came.

At the age of 59, Edwarda died, believed by medical experts to have lived longer than anyone in a comatose state.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Actor Jack Klugman dies in Los Angeles
Jack Klugman, the prolific, craggy-faced character actor and regular guy who was loved by millions as the messy one in TV's The Odd Couple and the crime-fighting coroner in Quincy, M.E., died Monday, a son said. He was 90.

Klugman, who lost his voice to throat cancer in the 1980s and trained himself to speak again, died with his wife at his side.

"He had a great life and he enjoyed every moment of it and he would encourage others to do the same," son Adam Klugman said.

Jack Klugman apparently died suddenly, and family members were not sure of the exact cause.
I really enjoyed Jack Klugman in both "The Odd Couple" and "Quincy, M.E.", mainly because he brought his characters to life and made me care about them.

May his soul be bound up in the bond of life.

Holiday cheer

Brandon's family and I had a gift exchange earlier. The fireman outfit was a great hit with the four-year-old. I'm not so sure about the bullhorn in terms of his parents' ears, but that's what aunties are for, right?

I got a movie I really love on DVD, The Princess Bride. I'm going to watch it tonight. I'll have to watch it with Brandon sometime--he hasn't seen it, which boggled my mind until I remembered he was something like four when it came out.

I also got a gift card to Amazon, which is running a special of 20 mp3 albums today for $1.99 or less. I found several of the albums had music I like, plus another one that I'd been wanting for awhile, so I've been downloading music this afternoon. I got quite an assortment:
  • Motown's #1 Hits, vol. 1 (26 songs, 99 cents)
  • Abba Gold (19 songs, 99 cents)
  • Johnny Cash 16 Biggest Hits (16 songs, $1.99)
  • Best of Simon and Garfunkel (20 songs, $1.99)
  • The Very Best of Neil Diamond (23 songs, $5.99)
and just had to pay the balance of about $4. Not too shabby. That's 104 songs. Thanks, guys! If I'd downloaded all the songs separately (and some were only available on the albums), it would have been $101. So I think I did pretty well. :) Since I now have 14 albums on my Amazon Cloud Player and three singles, I finally downloaded the application for it onto the tablet so that I don't have to store the downloaded music on the device.

I also had a co-worker stop by with a gift from a couple of them, a nice outfit and a lovely-smelling candle.

It was nice to see everyone and have a bit of holiday cheer. Now I think I'm going to listen to some music and have some kugel. :)

I hope you are able to spend the holidays (whichever you celebrate) with loved ones this year. And have a wonderful new year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I think

That by the time my foot and ankle are well, my knees will be completely shot. Today I visited for several hours with friends, held up well, but I've had to take some Tylenol and I am definitely ready for bed. Still it was nice to see them, and I now have a mountain of home-cooked food to eat, thanks to YKWIA, who cooked kugel, cholentz, and a veggie version of some other dish I can't remember the name of, but which is very good. I remember it normally has schmalz in it, but that's not its name. Drat. He made me a whole kugel of my own. Kugel = love.  :-)

Flying without a safety net

For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall
Angelica Gonzales marched through high school in Goth armor — black boots, chains and cargo pants — but undermined her pose of alienation with a place on the honor roll. She nicknamed herself after a metal band and vowed to become the first in her family to earn a college degree.

“I don’t want to work at Walmart” like her mother, she wrote to a school counselor.

Weekends and summers were devoted to a college-readiness program, where her best friends, Melissa O’Neal and Bianca Gonzalez, shared her drive to “get off the island” — escape the prospect of dead-end lives in luckless Galveston. Melissa, an eighth-grade valedictorian, seethed over her mother’s boyfriends and drinking, and Bianca’s bubbly innocence hid the trauma of her father’s death. They stuck together so much that a tutor called them the “triplets.”

Low-income strivers face uphill climbs, especially at Ball High School, where a third of the girls’ class failed to graduate on schedule. But by the time the triplets donned mortarboards in the class of 2008, their story seemed to validate the promise of education as the great equalizer.

A good year for science

Discovery of Higgs Boson rated year's top scientific achievement by Science: Other discoveries include sequencing DNA from extinct humans, turning stem cells into egg cells and landing Curiosity on Mars
From landing the Curiosity rover on Mars after a 350m-mile journey, to the discovery of the world's most wanted sub-atomic particle, the top 10 scientific achievements of 2012 have been nominated by the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, giving a snapshot of the march of human knowledge in genetics, physics, cosmology, medicine and nanoscience.

The discovery of the Higgs boson by physicists using the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland was named breakthrough of the year by Science magazine, with runners-up including the pin-sharp DNA sequencing of a Siberian cave girl who lived 50,000 years ago and a delicate brain implant in a Pennsylvania woman paralysed from the neck down that allowed her to use the power of thought to manipulate a robotic arm to grasp a bottle and take a sip of coffee.

It's all about touching lives

Dying teacher's quest: Did I make difference?
As careers go, it's been a short one, only 15 years. But David Menasche has spent every minute of it teaching English at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, where his former students number nearly 3,000.

Now 40, he's battling stage-four brain cancer. After three surgeries, 21/2 years of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation, he is losing his battle against cancer. So in his final months, Menasche is doing what most teachers only dream of: He's traveling the country, visiting his former students and asking: Did I make a difference?

"I am at the end of my life," he said recently. "I don't know how much longer I have left, and I just wanted that sense of satisfaction that the time I did have I used well."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Reading Goal for 2013

24 books; that's roughly two a month. Surely I can handle that, although I averaged about one a month this year even with being off from work. :( I did read parts of several other things but did not actually finish reading them. I've found I've read a lot less since I got the tablet, and I although I can read my Kindle books on it, I prefer to read the Kindle, but don't tend to pack both with me. Most of my reading is done out and about at doctor's offices and the like, or waiting for the bus. I don't normally just sit in my house and read. That needs to change. What's the point of having thousands of books at home, both print and electronic, if you don't read them? :)

Another reason I like my cell phone carrier

T-Mobile Recognized with Supply Chain Awards for Recycling

The EPA estimates about 90 percent of cell phones end up in landfills or are disposed of improperly, posing potential harm to the environment.

Since 2008, T-Mobile has been bringing customers together to take positive action and help the environment with our handset and accessory recycling program. Anyone can drop off a cell phone (any make, model or carrier [emphasis mine]), batteries, accessories or netbooks at any T-Mobile retail location in the U.S and have it recycled free of charge. Also, cell phone collection bins have been placed at Bellevue, Wash., colleges, city offices and T-Mobile’s corporate campus for convenient drop-off.

Since the program began, we have recycled more than 950,000 cell phones, and the benefits are substantial. Because cell phones contain precious metals, recycling not only conserves these materials, but also helps prevent pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that for every 1 million cell phones recycled, 35,284 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered. In addition, T-Mobile has saved enough energy to power more than 185 U.S. households with electricity for a year. By 2014, T-Mobile’s goal is to recycle at least 1 million cell phones per year.


When the Manners Police Knock
We are self-appointed, and we wear the badge of moral righteousness. Some of us police the waterfront, and some of us, the mountaintop.

My jurisdiction is the doorways of public spaces. Why do people congregate there? In the presence of these clogged arteries, I become Lipitor Man. I have made strange beeping noises. I have robotically bleated: “Doorway! Doorway!” Once, after I had cleared two chatty bystanders from a tobacco shop entrance, one asked me, “Is this a feng shui thing?” I responded, “No, I’m just very, very passionate about egress.”

Food for thought

A mother's anger: Stop linking autism to violence
I've just listened to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre suggest we need guns in our schools because "our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters."

I cringed.

After his further suggestion that the United States create a nationwide database for the mentally ill, I got angry. Leaving aside the issue of medical privacy laws, I found it ironic that an organization so vehemently opposed to gun registration would propose such a measure.

I didn't mean to be silent on Friday

No, I wasn't waiting for an impending apocalypse. I should have at least logged on and wished everyone a happy Solstice/Yule. It even snowed a little and I didn't blog about that. I wasn't exceedingly busy, although the day included doing some stuff on the computer, physical therapy, having a visitor briefly, and then that night I wound up having a marathon phone call with Brandon that rivaled my ones with YKWIA. Somewhere in all that I played some Mahjong, checked the mail, and did all the little things that are part of my life at the moment. Oh, and I had a nice midday nap, since I was still a bit tired from laundry the day before. But I never got around to blogging for some reason.

Anyway, sorry about that. Today I had one thing on my to-do list and I did it once I got out here to the computer. I haven't even had breakfast yet. So I may spend the rest of the day doing some reading, as I've already visited the news sites, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter--the usual places I glean stories from to share here. Of course, I look at those sites more than once each day, so I might find something later.

Things are starting to get back to normal around here. I'm not at work yet, but I hope that when I go to the doctor Thursday he will release me back to it in about a week or so. The recovery has been slow. Standing for any length of time is still hard, but I don't stand much in my job. I put the laundry away this morning and it hurt a bit. It is so weird to be up walking, albeit slowly, and being at a regular height again. I feel like I'm on stilts after being in the chair for so long. Yes, I used the walker to hop about part of the time, but usually I was too busy trying not to fall over to see how I felt. And now I'm sitting in a computer chair and every now and then I feel for the wheels to move, so I guess I got used to being in a wheelchair more than I thought. Still, it's nice to be up, even if it's only partially weight-bearing and I'm not walking for long distances. In the meantime, I am doing exercises that will build up some stamina. I've also contacted LexTran to see if I can get into their Wheels programme until I can get to the bus stop on my own. It's 0.44 miles away and I would have to cross the street twice to get to work. I don't think that's happening on a walker. :) There's an application and evaluation process, so I don't think I'll get approved very soon, but I might be able to get rides to and from work in the meantime. That's the hope, anyway.

Three more days!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Good yet tiring

Today for the first time since my accident I was able to visit YKWIA and A inside their home (I have seen YKWIA a few times while sitting in the car, and he was there when I had surgery, and of course we've talked regularly and at great length on the phone.) A and I have pretty much just talked on the phone. I had decided that now that I can walk to some extent I should be able to do my laundry there, as it is all on one level once you get up a couple of front stairs. Brandon took me over, carrying in the laundry cart for me and my overstuffed backpack that was too heavy for me to carry on my back without tilting over. :)

I got to share holiday presents. The laundry went pretty well except for standing long enough to fold the clothes. That was longer than normal and my back was hurting due to the discrepancy in leg height with the boot on, even with my normal shoe on the other foot. But I took it easy and slow. The dogs and cats were very gentle with me, and it was nice to see everyone. My foot and back are hurting a bit, although I took some Tylenol, the first time in a few days. I have a headache as well. That may be the change in weather (it's supposed to be cold and snowy tonight and tomorrow) plus, as much as I love them, Brandon's kids were very lively and have very high-pitched voices. :)

So now I'm in my peaceful house. I've eaten, including some wonderful salad YKWIA sent with me. I didn't get a chance to eat dinner there, as he was still making food, but I did peel potatoes and break up the lettuce up for the salad. The wind outside is very strong; I can hear it through the windows, although fortunately they are not drafty. We saw some nice Christmas lights on the way home; the kids loved that.

Tomorrow I have physical therapy and some visitors should be coming by. I am very tempted to go ahead and turn in, although it's only a little after 8:30. I think I might retire to the bedroom and read for awhile, and stretch out and elevate my leg. I'll put the clothes away tomorrow.


12 Gifts For The End Of The World
Some believe the world will end on December 21, 2012; NASA insists it won't. We've assembled a list of a few useful tools for any outcome.
THE Ultimate Apocalypse Playlist
In anticipation of this week’s Mayan apocalypse foofaraw, many people have made apocalypse playlists. But no one has made this one. Enjoy it in the days remaining.

Strange things I find on Twitter

Queen's annual Christmas Message Will Be Broadcast in 3D Televsion for the First Time
20 December 2012



The Queen’s annual Christmas Message will be broadcast in 3D television for the first time.

The Message, to be broadcast at 3pm on Christmas Day, will also be available in Standard Definition and High Definition.
I could go on a rant about how so-called '3D television' is not really in three dimensions at all, but you should be able to figure that out for yourself.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


So my little finger on my right hand has been randomly spasming lately, and last night I mentioned it to a friend on the phone. He pointed out that it could be from the carpal tunnel that had returned in that hand years after my surgery. It started doing it a little while ago and suddenly I realised that of course using the walker to ambulate for over eight weeks now would certainly exacerbate my existing issue. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get the obvious.

On a brighter note, I actually have been reading tonight. I am reading The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch. It's an historical mystery set in seventeenth-century Bavaria, and so far it seems like it will be very good. The author writes in a style that puts you directly into the setting. I am right past the murder, at the beginning if the investigation, but I am already enjoying the book. I also have the second on my Kindle, and there's at least one other.

I think for now, though, I am going to turn in for the night, even though it's a bit early. It's been a full couple of days and tomorrow should prove to be as well. Good night.

Experience Dickens in a serial format

Dickens, Re-Serialized
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Gordon Library’s Project Boz is using the Internet to help modern readers experience the novels of Dickens in their original, serialized form.

“We wanted to offer everyone the opportunity to encounter these novels as Victorian readers did,” said Kathy Markees, preservation librarian, WPI’s Gordon Library, and co-director of Project Boz with Lora Brueck, assistant director of collections. That doesn’t mean just chopping the text up into chunks. The library is digitizing the pages as searchable PDF images.

“Looking at the high-resolution scans we’ve made of the text, the delightful illustrations (which are not always included in modern printed editions), and the ads from publishers, tailors, apothecaries, and other merchants, is the closest you can come to experiencing these rarely seen serial parts short of holding them in your hands,” Markees said.

Most of the serials originally appeared monthly and cost one shilling per part, adding up to about 20 shillings for the whole novel. Weekly serial installments appeared in magazines which also contained other content and cost about two British pence an issue, adding up to about six shillings for the whole novel.


Although I don't think I'd want to be the guy running with the target. :)

It would be a nice Olympic sport, too.

Horseback Archery Enjoys Comeback in Hungary

A productive morning

I didn't go to bed until almost 1 am, but I slept well, waking up only a couple of times in the middle of the night. This morning I got up, showered, had a light breakfast, and immediately started working on those thank-you cards. I have twenty in the mailbox ready to go out, and seven more addressed but I didn't have stamps for them. I also checked on a friend who's not feeling well and contacted another about arrangements for laundry. The plan is to take it over there. With a little help, I think I can do it myself, since their house in much more accessible than my laundry room.

So I'm just now sitting down to the computer and haven't looked at the news yet, although lately the news has been fairly depressing, so maybe that's not a bad thing. My only plans today are to do my exercises as directed and send some e-mails. I might have a visitor today, I'm not sure.

It's sunny and supposed to be in the 50s. Tomorrow it's supposed to be warm and rainy, and then the temperature plunges. Friday we could have snow and winds up to fifty miles an hour. Since the laundry is slated for tomorrow, I'm glad I should be able to make it up the stairs without crawling on them.

Although I hate things unnecessarily on my feet, I'm wearing a sock and shoe on my good foot because otherwise even walking around the house, the discrepancy between the booted foot and the good foot is too great and it hurts my back. I'm not putting a lot of weight on the bad foot yet; the physical therapist said to use the pain as a guide. It's not incredibly painful; I'm not having to take pain medicine or even Tylenol, and in general it doesn't hurt if I'm not actively on it, but it does hurt somewhat, so the walker is still bearing most of my weight on that side. Still, with the exercises and gradually increasing the weight on that leg, the idea is that I'll strengthen everything and be up to going back to work. I'm hoping I can do that right after the beginning of the year, in about three weeks, but the doctor hasn't given me a clear idea. That's contingent upon getting rides to and from work; I don't think I'll be up to walking the nearly half-mile to the bus stop, and trying to cross the road with a walker twice is probably not tenable. Someone suggested Wheels, LexTran's service for people with disabilities who can't use the regular buses, so I'm going to check into that. It would be a temporary measure, of course, but might help.

Speaking of that, I should go look into it. Hope you have a good day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Believe it or not, I didn't nap

Although I did put my feet up for about forty-five minutes and took a break. I did some of my exercises, since that involves taking off the boot and doing some bending of my ankle. Then I came back out from the bedroom and ate something. I've got my blood sugar back to a nice number--it was 104 this evening before dinner. Then I sat down for over two hours and made out most (not all) of the thank-you cards, making sure I personalised each one. I think my eyes are just about crossed, and my handwriting was getting a little wild, so I decided to finish tomorrow. I decided I would go ahead and mail them, and then realised I'm about two stamps short of getting everyone's there. So I may have to get some more somehow. All total it's about 28 cards, and that's just for my co-workers.

I gathered my laundry into my little cart, for ease of movement and put it out of the way. As I walked back into the living area, I decided to turn on the holiday lights that divide the living area from the dining area (in truth, they stay up all year; I just turn them on when I feel like it, and I did tonight). They are very cheery.

I am getting sleepy, but I'm determined to stay up until at least ten, so I have a little over an hour to go. I just hope I can get comfortable and go to sleep when I try.


The groceries are put away. Bows have been added to the presents in the living area. No loofah was to be found, sadly--Brandon asked. I had a couple of pieces of cheese. Now I am considering a nap. It had been a very productive day. Still have a few things to do, but considering I am running on about three or four hours' sleep, I am doing pretty well.


Mystery of the Indiana Jones Journal Solved: It Came From the Internet. And Guam
Like all good things, the mysterious journal addressed to Indiana Jones that arrived at the University of Chicago last week came from the internet – eBay to be exact. And how it found its way to the university is a tale that ought to be told with a cinema map and an animated moving read line.


Waldorf-Astoria Takes Couple Back in Time
Ten years ago, the five adult children of Jerry and Peg Sussingham decided to chip in for a room at the Waldorf-Astoria so that their parents could stay in the same hotel that they'd stayed in on their wedding night in 1952. It was then that the family learned of a little-known policy honoring the original room rate for couples returning for a milestone anniversary.

Evidently the siblings had a real bargain on their hands, but there was a catch: The offer hinged on their father's ability to furnish the original receipt, a feat that seemed outside the realm of possibility.

But Mr. Sussingham came through. "He's very organized," said Mrs. Sussingham, sitting beside him on a love seat in a suite that now goes for $3,450 a night on the 19th floor of the hotel. The Sussinghams, who are both 83 years old, paid a whopping $21 for the room when they returned again for their 60th anniversary this weekend.
Congratulations to the couple for such a milestone!

7 more days!

It's been awhile since I was literally too busy to eat

I looked at the clock and it said 2 o'clock and I suddenly realised I hadn't even had breakfast. Today I have:
  1. Woken up after a night of insomnia.
  2. Gotten ready.
  3. Straightened up the house a bit.
  4. Gotten the last two holiday cards addressed and sent off, thanks to my aunt and cousin giving me the addresses I needed.
  5. Sent an e-mail to a local TV station asking them to put a story they had on the news last night on their website so I could share it on Facebook. It's the story of a local veteran who is in need of a kidney transplant. I wanted to share it on social media in the hopes that someone might be able to help, and couldn't find it on their website anywhere.
  6. Did physical therapy.
  7. Lent my first Kindle book.
  8. Talked with a high school friend on the phone for the first time in years, for quite some time.
  9. Made arrangements with a friend about doing laundry.
  10. Spoken to HR.
  11. Put in a call to my boss about a question I had.
  12. Talked with a friend from work and gave her a post-appointment update.
  13. Texted back and forth with Brandon.
  14. Made a grocery list.
  15. Sent Brandon to the store for some groceries (thanks, guys!)
  16. (Finally) had a piece of pita and spinach and artichoke hummous.

An update on the Easy-Bake Oven story

Unisex Easy-Bake oven on the way
Hasbro says it will soon reveal a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven after meeting with a New Jersey girl who started a campaign calling on the toy maker to make one that appeals to all kids.

McKenna Pope, 13, of Garfield, N.J., got more than 40,000 signatures on her online petition at Change.org and the support of celebrity chefs including Bobby Flay, who backed her call for Hasbro to make a gender-neutral oven and to include boys in the ads.

She was prompted to start the petition after shopping for an Easy-Bake as a Christmas present for her 4-year-old brother, Gavyn Boscio, and finding them only in purple and pink.
Good for her!

It kind of peeves me

that so many people seem to think the world is going to end on my holiday, Yule, the Winter Solstice (Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere). Personally, I plan on enjoying the long night and short day because the world is not going to end. The sheer amount of lunacy and panic I've seen in the news of late regarding this is amazing. Just wanted to be on record for saying there are going to be some people with egg on their face come December 22nd.

But before I go

There's this bit of techie humour from Gary Corby, an Australian writer whose mysteries The Pericles Commission and The Ionia Sanction are set in Ancient Greece and are really quite good (the daring detective has an annoying younger brother you might have heard of by the name of Socrates):

Illegal combination of beef with black bean sauce

I've been winding down for the night by playing Microsoft Mahjong

for Windows 8 and I've unlocked all the puzzles, from easy to expert. Except for one game where two tiles wound up on top of each other, I did very well.

Tomorrow I start the second phase of physical therapy, where I start actually walking with some weight on my ankle and foot and slowly build up. Right now I'm getting around the apartment with the walker, and still putting just a little weight on my leg, as it does hurt a bit, although not as much as it did the first day or two, and it's not unbearable. But I don't walk for long distances, obviously. And every now and then, I forget and hop like I have been for eight weeks. But I think I might be able to actually go up those three steps in front of my apartment without crawling on my hands and knees. I haven't put that to the test yet--we may tomorrow. It was much easier to go down when I came back from the doctor though.

When I went to take my shower this morning, I was able to weigh myself without the boot, but without putting any but the slightest pressure on my unprotected foot, although it took two tries. What I discovered is that the net weight loss from before the accident is ten pounds, and I probably lost a little more while I was on and gained it back after I went off the pain medicine. But ten pounds is more than I've seen in awhile. Again, not the method I'd recommend for weight loss, but hey. Of more concern is that the last few days my blood sugar has been inching up, although I don't think I've been doing anything differently. My period may have affected it, but usually it goes lower, not higher. I don't know. But I'm going to try to get it back down to the normal range like it's been most of the time I've been recovering. Plus, I don't want to inch up in pounds as well. One person suggested that the weight loss itself might have helped with my blood sugar. Or it might be the opposite, that the better blood sugar caused the weight loss. I'm not sure which, but I'd like to keep that weight loss going. :)

Today I took a bonus I got for fifteen years' of service at work and applied it to my cable bill, essentially getting a free month, since it was just a couple of dollars more than the bill. That's all but one bill for the month paid, thankfully, and that last bill comes out automatically towards the end of the month. When I go to my doctor's next I'll get my rent and pay it a bit early, a trend I hope to keep going through 2013. I've been keeping my financial balances and transactions carefully put into my tablet and am tracking where my spending goes so by next month I can budget better.

So let's see, for tomorrow:
  1. Get cleaned up and change clothes.
  2. Straighten up the house a bit, at least as much as I am able.
  3. Meet with the physical therapist and start this round of therapy.
  4. Try to get a hold of one of the people who have been doing my laundry for a pick up (I still can't do that or take out the trash, but hopefully soon....) The idea is to get it done this week so they aren't saddled with it around Christmas. I so appreciate that they've been willing to do that. Alternatively I may see if A is willing and ask Brandon to take the clothes over there. (Found an alternative.)
  5. Send out a holiday card. That leaves one cousin whose address I still need. I'm working on that. Got the second one, so they're all out! Yay!
  6. Call work and give HR an update on some stuff. I've already let my bosses know what the doctor said, but I had to initiate some paperwork concerning my leave.
  7. (Hopefully) get some more paperwork taken care of. You would not believe the amount of paperwork this accident has caused.
  8. Make a grocery list. I may not have a doctor's appointment this week, but I'm going to have to either send someone for groceries or get some later this week, or I'll be eating lots of vegetarian chili.
  9. Start working on the thank you cards. My hope is to get them all finished before I go back to work. I've sent a couple out to relatives. There are a few more that aren't for co-workers, but the majority are. In theory once I go back, I can just put them in the mailboxes for their department, rather than mail them. There are quite a few people to thank for cards, gifts, bringing my packages, doing my laundry, all sorts of things. I've written it all down. And I really want to do something for those who have been taking me to my appointments, too. I'll have to think on that one, something beyond the Christmas presents. Gas money here and there just doesn't cut it, especially since some times have been less convenient than others, and at least one person got a call the day of because the other person was sick. Not to mention at least four people have had to physically help me get in and out of the house.
Well, it's 1 am, and I have to get up early enough to shower (it takes awhile these days) and straighten up before physical therapy, so I should head on to bed. Good night.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Nice to see they named it after her

NASA's Grail probes crash on moon; impact site named after Sally Ride
One year after their arrival at the moon, NASA's twin Grail spacecraft got a grand sendoff into oblivion, climaxing with a well-orchestrated crash onto a crater's rim. The place where they crashed will be named after Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, who passed away this summer.

Ride was in charge of the Grail mission's MoonKam project, which let students from around the world select targets for the probes' cameras. MIT's Maria Zuber, the mission's principal investigator, announced just after today's double whammy that her team received clearance from NASA to name the crash site after Ride.

"Sally was all about getting the job done, whether it be in exploring space, inspiring the next generation, or helping make the Grail mission the resounding success it is today," Zuber said in a NASA news release. "As we complete our lunar mission, we are proud we can honor Sally Ride's contributions by naming this corner of the moon after her."


Caring for Nicky, the Blind Baby Rhino
Nicky’s eye condition is caused by cataracts. This is a congenital condition that can likely be repaired through surgery. We’re hoping to arrange for a specialist veterinary surgical team to treat Nicky in the early spring of this year. If the surgery is successful, the transition from blindness to sight will likely be tough on him, but in the long run it will drastically improve his quality of life.

Because Nicky has spent his early years both blind and raised by humans, it’s unlikely that he will ever live a completely normal wild rhino life. However, it’s our goal to make sure that he is as happy and healthy as possible. Also, because of Nicky’s good temperament and comfort around humans, we suspect that he will make a wonderful ambassador for his species; allowing people to have an opportunity to interact with a black rhino and feel a connection to these creatures. At the end of the day, the demand for illegal rhino horn will stop when compassion for the animals overcomes the international appetite for wildlife products.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A perspective from the front lines

I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother by Liza Long
Three days before 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year-old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.

"I can wear these pants," he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.

"They are navy blue," I told him. "Your school's dress code says black or khaki pants only."

"They told me I could wear these," he insisted. "You're a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!"

"You can't wear whatever pants you want to," I said, my tone affable, reasonable. "And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You're grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school."

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
Thanks to Brandon for sharing.

The thing is, mental illness is a horrible thing. I know--I am bipolar and in the course of trying to get the right diagnosis and medication I racked up a whole slew of secondary diagnoses--social anxiety, OCD, borderline personality, among others. I went through two psychiatrists before a mental health nurse practitioner, of all people, sat down and said, I think you have this, and need this, and I've been on an even keel now for years. It wasn't just hell for me, but for the people around me. Just the other day, my closest friend, who went through hell and high water when I was at my worst, told me he could never go through that again. Through it all, I kept a job, but had emotional storms where I didn't care whether I lived or died, and constantly found ways to hurt myself financially, physically, and emotionally. But most of my rage was turned inward. For some, it goes out to others.

The majority of the mentally ill are not violent--they're actually more likely to be victims than perpetrators, from what I've read, but those who are can be terrifying. Our health system in this country is broken, and the mental health aspect of it is just as broken as the rest. There have been some good things over the years that have helped. Mental health awareness is increasing. Groups like NAMI: the National Alliance on Mental Illness lend support. I remember when I first went to a psychiatrist, my co-pay was much higher than a regular doctor not because she was a specialist, but because it was mental health. Now that's not the case.

But the mental health world is very convoluted. There are parents, loved ones, spouses, children, friends, all hoping they can find help for a loved one, and often at the end of the day, even with what help they can get, they feel at the mercy of the mental illness. Also, mental illness often means that the person is increasingly shunned, becomes a loner, or drops off the map in some way, so in some cases, there is no safety net of loved ones to help.

I don't have solutions, really. I do have a great deal of empathy for this woman and for the people out there everywhere who are dealing with loved ones who scare them. I hope "Michael" gets the help he needs. But we must work together to provide services to the mentally ill and identify those who are actually a danger to others, keep them from having guns, help protect them and society as much as possible. In the meantime, I take care of me--take my meds, fall back on past counseling when needed, and try to keep some insight into my daily mental health so that my friends don't have to worry about me, because those of us with mental illness also have a responsibility to ourselves and others to seek help and foster treatment if we're functioning enough to do so, and because I love the people in my life and never want to scare them again.

Very beautiful

'SNL' Opens With a Children's Choir Singing 'Silent Night': Martin Short–hosted episode begins with a tribute to Newtown shooting victims
Just a few days ago, an awful, incomprehensible tragedy took place in Newtown, Connecticut, when a disturbed gunman stole the lives of 20 innocent children and six heroic elementary school employees. The nation learned of the news almost immediately via each and every social network, and television stations subsequently devoted all of Friday and Saturday to coverage of the heartbreaking situation.

There’s never an easy way for Americans who are hurting – even those who may not be directly affected – to segue into watching or performing on less-critical material, whether that’s SportsCenter or The Daily Show. David Letterman gently and perfectly held our hands after September 11th, and Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels famously asked then-NYC mayor Rudy Guiliani for permission to be funny. Guiliani responded, "Why start now?"

Last night’s episode of SNL opened without introduction on the smiling faces of The New York Children’s Chorus singing a stunning, beautiful rendition of "Silent Night." Regardless of whether the performance was written as a last-minute salute to the youngsters lost on Friday, or a pre-planned bit meant to bring cheer to the show’s Christmas episode, the tone was pitch perfect.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I was in the bedroom

and thought I heard the doorbell. I had put up a modified note (neglecting to say that I have a broken ankle, but to ring the doorbell and wait a few moments, that I was home). I struggled out there as quickly as I could, got to the door, and nothing, but when I checked my mailbox, there was my package. So the good thing is they delivered it without needing a signature, after all. And it was just a box of cheques, so while extra precautions that it not get lost were important, it fit in my little lock box. Yay, a package that didn't get sent back! I checked the tracking and it now has updated that it's in Lexington, having gone to the sorting area, but not showing it as delivered. Ah, Christmastime, the craziest time at the post office.

This is the first time I have had cheques from my bank since they took over my old one. My old ones have been mapping to the new account. I write them so rarely, mainly to the bank itself to withdraw money, that my old ones lasted years. So it's kind of nice to have a blank register, and deposit slips, and not have to look my account up on a little card that I've been carrying all this time. These have antique maps on them; not quite as cool as the Whelan's Dragons (from the Dragonriders of Pern) I had at the credit union, but still. It is slightly annoying that my cheques are free if I get single ones but because I got duplicates, with the shipping it was $34. These will probably last me the next five years, but at least now I have the right account printed and can shop around next time.


is taking a shower for the first time in 64 days. It took a little manoeuvring, but I managed to do it. I feel almost squeaky clean. Yay! The shower chair worked well. I got just a small standard one, the type without a back or arms, but managed okay. Still have some flaky skin in places, but that will improve in time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

One more thing, on a personal milestone

Thanks to Brandon, who on a busy day for him, went to two different medical supply stores to find a shower chair that would carry my weight so I would not have to wait till Monday. Said chair is now sitting in my tub awaiting it's first use tomorrow. While he was out getting it, I broke down and soaked my feet, getting much grody dead skin off. It was so good to have them sitting in warm, soapy water. Tomorrow's shower will be on day 64 since my last one the morning of the accident.

Something less dreadful to read on a day with little good news

Mysterious package sent to Indiana Jones at University of Chicago

An incredibly detailed journal, a replica of Abner Ravenwood's, Indiana's mentor and father of his love interest, Marion Ravenwood, was found addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr, probably planted internally, as even the stamps were vintage-style, and the University was quite taken with it.

So horrible

27 Killed in Connecticut Shooting, Including 20 Children
The gunman, who was believed to be in his 20s, walked into a classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where his mother was a teacher. He shot and killed her and then shot 20 students, most in the same classroom. He also shot five other adults, and then killed himself inside the school.

Another body related to the shooting was at another scene, the authorities said, declining to provide more specifics.

A law enforcement official identified the shooter as Adam Lanza and said that a brother, Ryan Lanza, had been questioned.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.


Report: Lexington firefighter failed to yield right of way in fatal accident; charges unlikely to be filed
A Lexington firefighter driving a city-owned engine truck failed to yield the right of way to a pedestrian he then struck and killed in a crosswalk at Main Street and South Broadway on Saturday, according to police documents.

The documents, released Thursday afternoon in response to a Herald-Leader open-records request, were the first to reveal who had the right of way when the accident occurred. Earlier, police and city officials would not say whether Lauren Roady was in the crosswalk or whether the pedestrian crossing signal indicated it was safe to cross.

An accident report and diagram revealed that Roady had a "walk" signal when she was crossing South Broadway at 10:04 p.m. Saturday. At the same time, the Lexington Division of Fire's Engine 9, which was being driven by Christopher Presley, was making a left turn from Main Street onto South Broadway.

The report noted that Roady, who was 5-foot-3 and 120 pounds, was wearing dark clothing and was "not visible." It was raining at the time.

One of the downsides of e-readers

Why Your Kindle is an Open Book to the Government
In 1987, the Federal Bureau of Investigation approached Columbia University librarian Paula Kaufman with a request: keep an eye out for commies.

She refused to cooperate with the bureau's "library awareness" program and her defiance helped spark a nationwide backlash against government snooping into Americans' reading habits. Even knowing the government might be watching, people realized, could change what you choose to read—and in turn alter what you think. As a result of similar incidents that occurred over the years, 48 states now have laws on the books protecting library records, and the other two have legal directives in place that uphold similar standards. (The protections vary from state to state.)

Today Americans read books on Kindles, Nooks, and iPads. But it's a lot easier for the government to see what you're looking at on your e-reader than to find out what you're checking out from the library. The authorities don't necessarily need a warrant to ask private companies that sell or lend e-books, such as Google and Amazon, to hand over private information about reader habits, from the books we buy to the digital notes we make in the margins.

Who would have thought?

Global report: Obesity bigger health crisis than hunger
The report revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates -- an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades. Middle Eastern countries are more obese than ever, seeing a 100% increase since 1990.

"The so-called 'Western lifestyle' is being adapted all around the world, and the impacts are all the same," Mokdad said. The health burden from high body mass indexes now exceeds that due to hunger, according to the report.

And for the first time, noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, stroke and heart disease top the list of leading causes of years spent sick or injured.

Dear God

I'm just really getting started with my day, even though it's late, because I was so tired from the stuff yesterday and the attempts at walking with some weight-bearing. So I went to check the news and found this.

26 reported killed in Newtown, Conn., school shooting
A lone gunman killed 26 people at an elementary school here, including 18 children, in a terrifying early Friday morning shooting spree.

The Associated Press and local media reported the shooter, an unidentified 20-year-old adult male, was also dead inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. A second person was in custody and undergoing questioning. Two handguns were recovered at the scene. Mayor Mark Boughton said several victims had been taken to local hospitals.

Groups of students — some crying, some holding hands — were escorted from the school by teachers. Some witnesses reported of up to 100 shots. There were unconfirmed reports that the assailant, dressed in military style assault gear, shot most of the victims in a kindergarten classroom.
Another story I saw said the gunman was thought to be the father of one of the students, who had driven up to Connecticut from New Jersey. [Update: This was later proved to be false.]

I ordered something that was shipped with delivery confirmation

because it needed a little extra security. Since I have not yet been able to receive such a package at my home in the eight years I've been here (usually because I am at work, but several times when I have been at home), I am somewhat doubtful that even though I am home that the mail carrier and I will somehow meet up. The last package they rang the bell once, when I was in the bedroom on the phone, and I wasn't even sure I'd heard a ring. So I thought about making a sign that says to ring to bell more than once and then wait because I have a broken ankle and it will take me a few moments to get there. Problem is, that announces to anyone in my hallway that I am pretty much incapacitated. My neighbours know, of course, as they've seen me check my mail in the wheelchair and struggle with the stairs on days I've had appointments. Most of the apartment staff do as well. And although a home invasion is unlikely, it occurred to me it would be possible, and I might as well put up a sign that says, 'Come in, rob me (although I don't really have anything worth taking) and hurt me for all I care.' So I took it back down and will just take my chances. The package according to tracking has been languishing in Hebron, near the Cincinnati airport, although those tracking things aren't always right. It'll probably come tomorrow. I guess if I don't manage to open the door in time, it'll just have to go back to the post office and I'll have to send someone to get it, assuming they'll take a signature other than mine. They might not for this. I hate trying to get anything at home. It's such a pain.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quantity or quality? Which would you choose?

People are living longer worldwide but with more illness and disability
Life expectancy is increasing among the world’s population, including in the United States, but people are living longer in chronic pain and with physical and mental disabilities, according to findings from the giant Global Burden of Disease study, published Thursday in the journal Lancet.

Seven separate reports conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, the Harvard School of Public Health, and elsewhere gauged people’s health in 187 countries and determined that developing countries are looking more like richer Westernized countries in terms of the health problems that pose the biggest burden: high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

The new estimates show that, globally, the average life expectancy of males born in 2010 is more than 11 years higher than those born in 1970 -- increasing from 56 years to nearly 68 years. Females born in 2010 had an increased life expectancy of 12 years and can expect to live to more than 73 years of age. Study funding came from the non-profit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

How absolutely bizarre

McAfee Admits to Faking Heart Attack in Guatemala
Software guru John McAfee is back and [sic] the U.S. after pulling a sly one on Guatemalan authorities when he faked a heart attack during his first night in detention in Guatemala.

McAfee, who returned to the U.S. Wednesday and was staying in Miami Beach, Florida, said that he was strategically “playing the crazy card” with his faked heart attack.

The chatty computer genius was deported from Guatemala after sneaking in illegally from Belize, where police want to question him in connection with the death of a U.S. expatriate who lived near him on an island off Belize's coast. U.S officials said there was no active arrest warrant for McAfee that would justify taking him into custody.

He said he was put on a plane to Miami where he will stay until his two girlfriends, 20-year-old Belizean Samantha Vanegas and a woman he called "Amy," can join him.
McAfee claims Belizean authorities stormed his home, killed five of his dogs, handcuffed him for hours, and tried to extort money. He has not been formally charged with a crime. But still, it's a weird case.

I hope the workers are served as well as the students

I worked my way through college largely through the University of Kentucky Food Service department, from 1986 till about 1997, working in the Student Center Wildcat Grill, Blazer Hall's cafeteria and store, over at the Commons cafeteria, and one summer helping make meal cards when they still had those non-integrated IDs. So I read this with some interest:

University of Kentucky considers privatizing dining services
The University of Kentucky is studying the possibility of outsourcing its dining services, a move that could affect 243 full-time and part-time employees and 501 student workers.

UK has hired a consultant for $55,524 to explore the issue and prepare a request-for-proposal document that will go out early next year. However, UK officials have said the university's dining department could be one of the bidders for the project.
The University laid off about 1% of its workforce in June. I'd hate to see these folks lose their jobs, too.

I'm not sure my newfound mobility is quite up to spending awhile outside stargazing, but...

just in case you didn't know, there is actually a possibility of TWO meteor showers tonight, against a dark moon phase that really should help visibility.

Geminid Meteor Show to Light up Tonight’s Sky — Plus Possible Bonus Meteor Shower
Tonight, the annual Geminid meteor shower will put the world’s Christmas lights to shame. One of the year’s biggest meteor showers, it’s expected to shine extra bright tonight, because the moon’s current phase will keep the sky free of glare. Now all you must do is hope for a clear night, and, if possible, get yourself to a rural area, where you could see as many as 100 shooting stars per hour.
If you want to watch a not-quite-so-magical view of the heavens without dealing with light pollution from the city or braving the cold, you can also watch a live feed of the showers, thanks to NASA.

Aren't you glad humans don't have poison glands?

New Venomous Primate Species Discovered In Borneo
The slow loris may have gained popular fame through YouTube videos in which terrified lorises grasp umbrellas, but it's actually a fascinating animal even when it's not fearing for its life. (Yep, that's what's going on in those videos: when threatened, lorises become docile and passive, which is different from being friendly. Oh, and the pet trade in lorises is brutal and horrifying, just FYI.) It's one of very few venomous mammals and even fewer venomous primates; it has a poison gland on its elbow which it licks to mix with its saliva, giving it a venomous bite. It also has a highly peculiar arrangement of blood vessels in its hands and feet, so that it can grasp branches for hours on end, supporting its own weight, without losing sensation

Oh, I'm tired--but I've got good news!

It is harder to walk on one and a half feet than you might imagine. And it's something you do at a snail's pace (or, at least I do for now). Yes, I'm finally up to partial weight-bearing, using the walker, and while I've done fairly well, it does hurt and if I push it I can go about one way and back across the length of my apartment before I need to really sit down. I can also finally take a shower, although we didn't have room in the car for a shower chair, so I'm stuck until I can get that. I'm dreaming of warm water and a loofah.

I do, however, still have a great deal of therapy to do before I'm ready to go to work, according to the doctor, which was a bit of a disappointment, because of course I want to go back as soon as I possibly can. But the bones are still healing, I realise. So I'll just have to be patient.

Once I got home, I ate, spent some time on the phone informing various people of the results, worked on the bathroom a little (I think we can finally move the bedside commode off the toilet and use it normally. I needed the height before). Then I went back to the bedroom and slept for about an hour, and although I'm up and awake now, I'm still very tired. I don't think I'll have trouble sleeping tonight. But I didn't want to sleep the evening away, either, so here I am, posting.

It was nice to be out today. It was a little cool but nothing too bad, and it was sunny. I keep being surprised by Christmas decorations--really the holidays are passing me by. I have a few holiday cards on my door next to the get well ones, but that's it, and of course a few presents for various people close to me.

Alright, I'm going to go check the news. Hope your day brought good cheer like mine did.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You have to admit, this is really kind of cute

Chimpanzee Bottle Feeds Tiger Cubs

13 More Days :)

Doctor Who: The Snowmen, coming Christmas night, December 25th, at 9 pm EST on BBC America.

It looks deceptively nice outside

It's sunny, but it's only in the 30s, although it's supposed to be warmer tomorrow, thankfully, as I am going out to a doctor's appointment. I finally did have to turn on the heat, which isn't bad, given it's December 12th. Apparently my apartments are pretty well insulated. I do have it on 68 degrees, as I don't want to get too hot. :)

Today is the two-month anniversary of the accident and me being homebound. I'm hoping tomorrow to get news of when that will end and I can return to work.

I've started coughing a little, and my asthma is kicking up. I think it's from those now dry towels from where the bathroom flooded. I need to get them into a plastic bag and then do them in some laundry as soon as I am able. I don't really feel right about asking the people who have been doing my laundry to do those--they're nasty.

Today has been pretty decent. I've been on the phone with several people. Last night I discovered that the maximum talk time on my phone is about four hours, as it kicked off at 21% battery level after about that amount of time. Thank goodness I had charged my phone during the day as well as at night. It really has been a lifeline. I do have a home phone, but I've kept my cell phone with me virtually every moment in case I fall or have an emergency, so more people now have my cell phone number than ever before.

I didn't sleep well last night so I took a nap around midday and that really helped. I'm not feeling like eating much today. I bought a bathroom scale the other day when we were at the grocery and managed to weigh myself with some difficulty. It's designed so that you tap the lower right corner and then stand (with both feet) on the scale, otherwise it gives you an error. So I had to tap it with my left foot, hoist myself onto the scale using the walker, balance on my one foot and barely rest the other foot on the scale, while making sure my weight wasn't being carried by the walker and that I was just touching that to steady myself. The last time I was weighed at the doctor was a week after the accident and I'd lost six pounds. This was a little higher than that, but I have a boot on my foot that weighs several pounds; I'm not sure how much. I'm not sure I want to try to weigh without the boot on, as I don't want to hurt myself. And this scale won't let you weigh the boot itself. But I figure I've lost somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10-12 lbs. I probably lost more originally, but I've gained some back. I seem to have lost most of it in my stomach, which is good. My blood sugar has been much better than normal for several weeks; I'm interested in seeing what my hA1c will be for January.

Okay, I think I'm going to get away from the computer for awhile and take a break. Have a good day.

We need more advocates in all communities

Now granted, I don't really know the situation, so this man might be an absolute nutjob for all I know, but he seems to be honestly bringing to light child sexual abuse within his community. And after all, it exists in every community, regardless of religion or culture. So I'm glad to see he is expected to recover. He's certainly very outspoken, has been ostracised by many in the community (a Hasidic ambulance service apparently wouldn't pick him up; he had to wait for the EMS, according to one report I saw), and he's angered many with his very public accusations. But someone has to be an advocate for children abused in this and every setting, and they shouldn't have people attacking them in the streets. The attack comes just a day after the conviction of Nechemya Weberman, who was accused of sexually abusing a girl who had come to him for counselling.

Chemical Thrown at Rabbi Who Aided Victims of Abuse
An outspoken advocate for child sexual abuse victims in the Satmar Hasidic community was injured by a chemical he believed to be bleach that was thrown in his face as he walked down the street in his Williamsburg, Brooklyn, neighborhood on Tuesday.

The advocate, Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, who runs a Web site and telephone call-in line that publicizes claims of sexual abuse in the ultra-Orthodox community, said in an interview at the hospital where he was treated that he was walking on Roebling Street about noon when a man came up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder.

“He has a cup of bleach,” Rabbi Rosenberg said, adding that he recognized the man. “And then he says ‘whoops’ and throws it in my face and walks off.”