Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I did two bad things tonight

1) I ate dinner at the computer, and was distracted enough that I didn't take my insulin, leading me to get sleepy and head on to be for a 'nap', only waking up when a friend called, and

2) missing a dose of my medication that helps with the foot pain, so they're not feeling so well. I can tell a real difference. I went ahead and took my nightly dose, though, so hopefully that will kick in here soon.

Today birds figured prominently in my day. The weather was very springlike, sunny at times but a few showers later. This morning as I went to work, birdsong abounded. The lawn in front of the hospital portico was full of robins and starlings, and a tree near the entrance had several birds, including a goldfinch, perched in it. Later, on my way home, I saw a kingfisher (this one was a female), a bird I've never seen in person before. It was near the reservoir on Richmond Road, perched on a line. And of course there were ducks in that body of water and the pond on Blazer Parkway. What can I say, I notice birds. I find them reassuring and love watching their delicate movements and the listening to the variety of their songs. I'm not an active birdwatcher, I don't go hiking out in the woods to see them, but I enjoy seeing them when I happen upon them. :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

I feel so much better

My feet are doing much better, I didn't get drowsy at all, just the tiniest of mid-afternoon slumps [better than usual] and a second Diet Coke took care of that. I was walking faster, and I felt steadier. The weather was so nice today I almost took a walk, but decided 1) I was too busy, and 2) I shouldn't overdo it, since I've been used to hobbling around like an old lady. I had more energy all day, too, because I wasn't being dragged down by pain.

Also, I have lost five pounds in the last week, doing nothing but trying to make healthier choices.

Tonight after work I went to the library to do some techie stuff. I totally lost track of time. I was there for an hour and a half. It was nice to see how busy they were. The computers were full, there were lots of people browsing, people meeting in each of the rooms set aside for that--even the copiers were being used. One family had their children doing homework at the table while the parents used the computers. It's a shame there are people out there who have no idea what the library can do for them, especially when they're in charge of funding or budget cuts. Anyone who is in charge of the chopping block should have to go visit the library and see what's going on.

I did everything I planned to do today and more, except taking the books to the clinic. I put several books into LibraryThing, using a scanner, then putting in the shelf # and tags. Tomorrow I'm going in a little early because I have a meeting at my normal arrival time and I want to get settled in first. I hope to get more books into the system.

Okay, I'm going to go do some relaxing, and get away from the computer for a bit. I picked up some CDs from the library while I was at it, so I think I'll go listen to some of that.


I went to bed last night around midnight after being up for nearly twenty hours on about 2 1/2 hours of sleep, taking my insulin but also the new medicine I got yesterday. This morning I woke up fifteen minutes before my alarm, rested, not groggy (which on Monday, even without medication, I tend to be), having slept through the night without any pain keeping or waking me up. And my feet ache just slightly, even though it's been over 8 hours since I took it.

Now the test is to see how well I can work with it. It throws one of my co-workers for a loop, making her incredibly drowsy, and she has to take it fairly early in the evening to not be groggy in the morning. But I didn't have any grogginess (I was already very tired, so I don't know about the drowsy part, yet.) I'm supposed to take it three times a day. It's not a narcotic or anything like that; it's actually an anti-seizure medicine that helps with nerve pain. Most meds that say they can cause drowsiness with me don't (although there was the Dayquil incident, as I mentioned, but I think that was back when it was basically Nyquil with caffeine.)

On other fronts, I'm still waiting for my tax refund to come in. The IRS says it should be in my account by tomorrow, but of course various factors might affect that. Since they already owe me money, I'm a little concerned that it will somehow get hung up.

Today should be a fairly busy day in the library, and just a little slow in terms of the data entry position. On Friday I unpacked ten or so boxes of children's books (mostly board books) and put them on my book truck and shelves, breaking down the boxes and donating them to a co-worker who's moving. Today I need to put some of those books on the book cart in the clinic so they can be given out to children who come in who are from 6 months old to five years old. I filled several interlibrary loans on Friday, so unless I have some new ones, I'm okay there. I want to do some cataloguing as well. And I have a meeting today and tomorrow regarding the data entry. I also need to modify some guides for how to do the data entry for my backup if I'm sick or on vacation, as some things have changed. Since there are a couple of slow days this week, I'm going to work on that. And I have a monthly audit to do. So I should definitely be on my toes (figuratively) today.

What else? Well, I had a good weekend. It was nice to have a Saturday to myself. And although I did a lot of work yesterday that seemed nearly endless (I even washed a dog in the bathtub and took a bed apart to get behind and under it, with help), plus we had the big grocery run, the Cthulhu game was fun and we learned some information and gained something that should help keep our characters alive and deal with a seriously recurring problem (a supernatural creature that can walk through walls, put her hand through your chest, and kill you by squeezing your heart till you die, all the while feeding on your life force--oh, and did I mention she's pissed at us?) So far we had been doing better at saving the world from tentacled horrors than dealing with this one non-Cthulhoid creature.

This morning, of course, I woke up feeling well. I washed some dishes from some things my co-workers had sent home with me, and I really think if I feel decent when I get home, I'll finish my dishes and do some more on the house. Here's hoping.

Okay, it's sunny, it's supposed to be 56 later today, and it's a new workweek. It's been such a mild winter I'm really waiting for the other shoe to drop and then we'll get an ice storm or heavy snow. Hopefully not, though. But anyway, it's about time I got going and headed on to work. Have a good day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wish me luck

I have a new medicine I got today that is supposed to help with the foot pain. I'm supposed to take it three times a day, but others who have taken it say it can really knock you out, and they're in a capsule, so I can't split it or anything. I waited till after the game to take my first dose, so I wouldn't plop face down onto the table or anything (did that once with Dayquil--really). So we'll see how it works for me; I'm sure everyone responds a little differently. I already get too much sleep, often falling asleep by 8 pm and not getting up for 12 hours. But if I'm in less pain, the way I see it, I can be more active, so maybe that will cancel things out.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

So, to recap

I have:
  1. Gone hunting for an item and returned with it.
  2. Did some techie stuff.
  3. Texted and talked with friends throughout the day.
  4. Took out trash and recyclables, including about three copy paper boxes full of old papers.
  5. Typed up the game notes.
  6. Burned some files to no less seven DVD-Rs, during which I--
  7. Watched the first episode on streaming Netflix of 'Downton Abbey', which is all it's cracked up to be.

That was pretty decent for a Saturday, I think. And although it's only eleven at night, I think it's time to turn in, as I must get up VERY early in the morning (before 5 am). Hope your weekend is going well.

My hunt was successful

and I even managed to get my friends something for their house while I was out. The sun was shining when I got home (and indeed, it still is), so I gathered up the trash and recyclables, including all those papers I'd de-hoarded, and took them outside. There are still a few 'keep' piles here and there, but very little. So now I'm enjoying the other half of my Subway sandwich and taking a break before pressing on. I decided to wait till Monday for the bank, and Sunday for the grocery. That leaves notes and backups, and I'm finished. I have to go over to the gamemaster's house very early in the morning, so hopefully I can get through with everything and go to bed early.

Okay, time to check the news.

Please tell me he did not just say that

Rick Santorum On Opposition To Abortion In Cases Of Rape: 'Make The Best Out Of A Bad Situation'
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum explained his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape during an interview Friday, saying that women who face such circumstances should "make the best out of a bad situation."

Asked by CNN's Piers Morgan what he would do if his own daughter approached him, begging for an abortion after having been raped, Santorum explained that he would counsel her to "accept this horribly created" baby, because it was still a gift from God, even if given in a "broken" way.
I think the Republican field is a bunch of yahoos, but this takes the cake. And as I get older, I find myself just as liberal as I was in my youth, just more of a realist rather than an idealist. I try not to break things down to black and white. But I don't want this guy in charge of my country, or anyone's country.

Go Obama 2012.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I don't feel well at all, although I finally pulled myself out of bed to take some ibuprofen and text back and forth with a friend. Friday nights I always seem to be tired.

Tomorrow will be a really busy day, partly because I've been so sluggish tonight. I need to:

  1. Go to the bank (I've been carrying around a cheque for most of the week).
  2. Do some shopping (it's a hunting trip, not a gathering one).
  3. Do the game notes (I'm just not up to doing them right now).
  4. Backup some videos (although I'm going to try to do some tonight).
  5. Work on the house (and at least get the tornado-look under control).
  6. Go to the grocery (although I may wait until Sunday for that).

So I'm going to get up bright and early. Wish me luck.

Eating the best darn homemade American-style vegetable stew I've ever had--and no it's not mine

I can't cook, remember? No, we had a potluck on Thursday and one of my co-workers made the stew (she calls it soup, but it's thick and hearty, so I'll say stew) and she kept some apart before putting meat in it, so I could have some. Turns out there was enough to take home some. [Another co-worker made chili, and did the same thing, so I have that for tomorrow.] So I've just eaten some tuna salad and vegetable stew and I'm considering my next move. The rain has stopped, so it would be a good time to clean up those papers that are still all over the living and dining area. But I don't want to do it just now. I downloaded Turn Coat today from the library, so I could read. But I think I'll listen to some music for awhile and just sort of relax.

I did decide the doctor was right about the neuropathy as a source of my foot pain, as I took my shoes (and socks) off at work because they were really bothering me, and with the exception of where my feet touched the floor, the pain stopped. That might explain why I have more foot pain when it's no longer sandal weather, I suppose. Everywhere my shoes touch hurt, and they're not pinching or anything. I'm barefoot in the house now (which is rather a no-no, in terms of diabetes, but I'm not up and walking), and they hurt in a dull way, but nothing like earlier. Walking makes it much worse. Fortunately I'll get my medication this weekend and it will hopefully help.

Okay, I'm going to go relax, maybe take a short nap--really--and then get up and take care of this stuff I pulled out of all those boxes. Hope you had a happy Friday.

I've been intrigued by the Roanoke colony from the time I first heard about it as a child

Now people are taking an interesting approach to disappearance of the 'Lost Colony' by trying to prove they were assimilated into the native peoples of the area through genotyping.

Lost Colony DNA

Genotyping could answer a centuries-old mystery about a vanished group of British settlers.

Archaeological digs, weather records, historical writings, genealogy—none have fully answered the question of what happened during White’s absence. But Roberta Estes, who owns DNAeXplain, a company that interprets the results of genetic heritage tests, is looking to DNA for help. Her hypothesis is that the Lost Colonists survived, and that evidence of their salvation is tucked away in the mitochondrial or Y chromosomal DNA of living descendents.

“They were stranded,” Estes says of the settlers. “They knew they couldn’t survive there on the island.” The colonists’ solution, in her estimation, was to go native.
I don't know if it will bear fruit, but it's an interesting angle.

I have never resorted to 'Cliff Notes' of a book

especially for a piece of fiction that I've been reading for pleasure. But I give up. I have been checking out Jim Butcher's Small Favor for a year or so, only getting through about half the book. If I can get through the story, I can read the others on my Kindle, and therefore have it close at hand and read in those moments I'm out and about (I hate to say it, but I don't have a really good setup at home to read. I just fall asleep in the bedroom and it needs more light. The living room is okay, but not really the best.)

Anyway, I did the unthinkable, as the book is due back to the library today. I went to Wikipedia and read the plot line, which is fairly detailed, taking in the spoilers and filing them away so I can try Turn Coat and see if the block lifts. I've never really heard of reader's block, and I've read other books while trying to get through this. It's not bad. It holds my attention. I just don't do so well at sitting down and reading it for any length of time. I have had similar issues with Charlaine Harris' Grave Secret.

Oh, well. I'll take the book back, download Turn Coat (assuming it's available), and go from there. But I can't count this book as read.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I should be clearing up all the papers I went through last night

and taking the majority out, along with the two hampers full of recyclables I have. However, it is pouring down rain, so that will have to wait. Ah, de-hoarding is a wonderful thing, although best done on a clear night. :) Oh, well, I can at least collect it all together, I suppose, and hopefully tomorrow will be better.


The Church dulcimer is larger and has more strings than a standard mountain dulcimer, so this has a different sound to it. I subscribe to the channel run by the musician, Dave Holeton, and this popped up. I rather liked it, and thought I'd include it here.

I have one shiny fingernail

After work a co-worker who was giving me a ride tonight was going to stop by the mall and asked if I wanted anything from there. I've been wanting some of that Bath and Body Works orange ginger lotion, so I tagged along. On the way back from the store, the nice Israeli man at the Seacret kiosk lured first my co-worker (and then, since she was captured, me), whereupon he exuded his plentiful charms and buffed our fingernails with a buffer from their nail care kit that basically brings out the natural oils (I think it 'exfoliates' the outer edge of the nail, revealing the shiny nail below). It was very impressive, and he dropped the price from $59 to $29, but we did resist. Still, I must say I was intrigued. :) It really does look like I have clear nail polish on that nail, and since I can't stand the smell of nail polish, it would be a nice alternative. I'll consider it for the future.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

As you can see, I'm back

I got my Internet back on, thankfully. And there was water on when I got home, too (I don't pay for my water separately, but there was work being done at my complex today, tomorrow, and Friday, that necessitated turning the water off sometime between 8 am and 5 pm. Needless to say, I got up early so I could take a shower.)

It was a good day. I'm not on the new medication yet, but my feet are feeling a little better. I've been much better on my eating, and we celebrated two birthdays today and I passed on both coconut cream pie (something I really like) and a chocolate cake. I did taste the barest bit of coconut--minus the cream, but that was it. I have an application on my phone that tracks things, and although I normally weigh myself on a weekly basis, I thought I'd try daily just to see how it went up and down. From Monday to Tuesday I gained 1 pound. From Tuesday to Wednesday I lost three. This is what I do, see-saw within about ten pounds easily, due to water weight, I'm sure, at least in part. When people say, 'oh, I lost five pounds', I have to remember that not everyone loses weight the same. I consider it a success if I lose 10-15 lbs. But I think I'll continue tracking it daily for awhile.

Okay, I'm awake, and I really need to straighten things up around here. I'll try to blog later, but otherwise have a good night.

I don't really go gaga over babies, although I am not totally immune to their cuteness

But this video from a Boyle county dad showing his daughter's reaction to a sound is rather fun, and it has garnered over a million hits in just a few days.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'm in the Eagle Creek library

picking up some books and logging in for a little blogging.

So, last night my best friend and I had a conversation about my health, how I'm the only one who can do anything about it, and how I haven't taken it truly seriously, so he was just prepared to enjoy my company for however long he had it and otherwise not interfere.

He's right. I chose the path to overweight and all the things that entails. Mind you, I have a strong genetic predisposition for diabetes, but my weight and diet have made things worse. But that doesn't mean it has to continue that way.

Fast forward to this morning, at the new podiatrist. He thinks that the pain I'm having is actually neuropathy. Plantar fasciitis tends to get better after you first get up. I may have some of that, too, but the point is my pain worsens over the course of the day, and actually keeps me awake at night at times.

So, he did all the subjective tests for neuropathy, to see if I'm sensing where he's touching, or the length of a vibration, or whether my toe is going up or down, and I passed that. But he did an objective test as well--he took a small biopsy of my skin on the outside of each ankle to test it for number of nerves per millimeter. [I have a band of that bandaging material (I think it's called Coban) that they use when you give blood around each ankle. Coincidentally, they match my outfit today. :)] In that way they can judge nerve health and make a more definitive diagnosis.

Since the ibuprofen isn't really cutting it, he's putting me on a non-narcotic medicine specifically for nerve pain. If the biopsies come back indicating neuropathy, he'll add a prescription medicine that is in essence a vitamin B complex, that is supposed to promote nerve health. Then we'll go from there. The idea is that if the pain can be controlled, I can be more active, losing weight, which will in turn help my blood sugar. Plus, of course, I've got to try to get a better handle on my blood sugar.

My blood sugar was actually better today, and I noticed the pain was not as bad, although I don't know if that's a direct result.

So, the plan is to do better. I'm checking out two books from the library on diabetes, The Uncomplicated Guide to Diabetes Complications by Levin and Pfeifer, and the American Diabetes Association's Complete Guide to Diabetes. I've had the latter out before and would highly recommend it. I should get a copy of my own.

Okay, I think I should go home and actually try to get some things done since I won't have the Internet to play with. And I still have A Beautiful Mind out from Netflix. Really.

So I thought I heard a scream

which is significant, as that's my best friend's ringtone (hey, he chose it, not me), but it turned out to just be the white noise generated by my fan and CPAP machine. Hurting, I got up and took some ibuprofen. I checked the Internet and it is dead, meaning it was probably switched off about midnight. Yes, I can blog by phone, but it's a little clunky on the small screen. But I'll plug away anyhow.

I went to bed all emotional and tired. I feel better now, and I'm okay. I'll try to write a little tomorrow from the public library about that. So goodnight for now.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hmm...still up, both in terms of wakefulness and connexion

even though it's after midnight. That may be a good thing for tomorrow. But it's definitely time to sleep. Good night, and I hope you're having a nice weekend so far.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

One more thing

It's always good when a species thought long-dead shows back up (well, except perhaps velociraptors and their cousins. Those may not be great have on, say, New York streets. But maybe I'm just biased because monkeys are, well, cousins.)

Scientists find monkey long believed extinct in Indonesian jungles
Scientists working in the dense jungles of Indonesia have “rediscovered” a large, gray monkey so rare it was believed by many to be extinct.

They were all the more baffled to find the Miller’s Grizzled Langur — its black face framed by a fluffy, Dracula-esque white collar — in an area well outside its previously recorded home range.
They actually had to compare the monkeys with drawings in museum's to verify the species. Of course, there's no idea just yet as to how many there are. Thousands of photos were taken using camera traps, but they could just be a family or two coming to the water regularly.

I may lose my connexion soon

for just a few days, but I can blog (albeit somewhat clumsily) on my phone if all else fails. Ironically, next week I get paid and should be getting that tax refund, but that isn't going to help just now. Just wanted to give you a head's up. :) Who knows, it may actually inspire me to do the housework I keep talking about. I keep doing all but. I have a good reason to get it all in order, moreso than the norm, anyway, that I'll talk about should it come to fruition. But in the meantime, I'm going to take my Lantus and head on to bed, as I need to get up very early tomorrow. Good night.

Yay, the notes are finished

I have the snacks for tomorrow, I have the notes, I'm generally ready for the Call of Cthulhu game. I can hopefully get some rest tonight, too. That's unusual. Last week we played rather late because of doing the big grocery run, and I was draggy both Monday and into Tuesday as a result.

So now I'm going to go do some reading and then get up and work on this house. I also need to phone some friends a little later and see what they're up to. I'm sure at least two of my friends are very happy that the University of Kentucky won their basketball game. I don't understand sports fanaticism, but I'm surrounded by it here in Lexington.

Crazy weather

Have you seen stories about the Pacific Northwest storms? Flooding, snow, ice...lots of stuff in an area more used to plain old rain.

Here in Lexington, which is prone to ice storms, we are at 29 degrees but tomorrow is forecast to be 57. It's been alternating warm-cold-warm for the whole month. The other day we had storm warnings, thunder and lightning. there were even tornadoes in the area. Everyone keeps holding their breath for winter to come, and they're afraid it'll come with a vengeance.

Not bad

Maybe we should make all the candidates sing, like some sort of 'American Idol' contest, and they get points for that...

..oh, wait, someone might take me up on that.

Bring it and they will fill

I really must remember to bring two reusable bags next time I make a run to Kroger. I have a very large tote bag that in this case held everything but the bread and bagels. The problem is carrying it afterwards. I'm not just moving it from a car inside. Yet you don't want a lot of small bags on the bus, either. So usually I let them fill what they can into the big tote and then struggle to get it home from the bus stop to my apartment, which is a fair distance.

I have noticed if I take a normal reusable grocery bag and that one, they try to pack the larger one lighter. So that's the way to go. I just lugged two 2-litres, cheese of various varieties, hummus, tortillas, flatbread, bread, bagels, bananas, chili, tuna, and yoghurt home, almost all of which was in that big bag. (I know, I'm missing a major food group--vegetables. I got some of those when we did the big grocery run last week, and needed to get some more, but didn't think I could get it all home, and besides, the money I put in the bank won't go through till Monday night, so I didn't want to overspend.) I did splurge on some canned air for my keyboard and a friend's. They desperately need it,and it's easier to get there then try to take the bus somewhere else.

I must admit, I am seriously considering a nap, even though I merely did some errands about a block or two away from home. It took almost 2 hours, only about half of an hour was actually spent in the bank or shopping. Whew!


Okay, it only took a WEEK bouncing around in pending, but I got the money back from the pizza order. Now I'm off to the bank and to get more groceries than I thought I would be able to. :)

Found a super way to avoid sweets today;

Force myself to take my blood sugar first.

I'd eaten well today, but yet again forgot to take my Lantus last night (I just took it, though, in case you're interested). So my blood sugar was running high, I knew. I had two separate people point out that McGee's bakery had brought cake into the hospital, and I should go get some if I wanted it. Instead of going and scarfing down cake from one of the best bakeries in the area with buttercream frosting to die for, I decided to check my blood sugar.


Way high. Normal is about 60-120. Now granted, I didn't feel horrible--I'm used to being high. I actually felt shaky at about 189 the other day, even though that's not low.

Needless to say, I passed on the cake. I even went for a walk around the hospital to try to clear my head a little.

I love my doctor, and of course when I eat things I should and not things I shouldn't, it's a little better, but I'm beginning to think that I should actually go to an endocrinologist. I'll see if my A1c has improved at all next time. If not, I've already downloaded the names of the doctors in my network. I really think I would benefit from a little metformin added back into the mix. When I was on oral meds and insulin, my levels were actually normal, and I felt, well, so different.

I did make a couple of appointments today...one for a new podiatrist that was recommended by a co-worker, and another for a gynaecologist, as I need a routine pap smear. It's almost time for my mammogramme, too. Ah, the beginning of the year, when the flexible spending account is flush and the urge is to get healthy.

Another thing I learned from reading the book was just how fortunate it is that I have routine, preventative, and acute care through my health and dental insurance. It is the thing I fear losing most in terms of the job situation.

I learned a new yet horrific word today

Courtesy of Rebecca Skloot, in her book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: pneumoencephalography

“I later learned that while Elsie was at Crownsville, scientists often conducted research on patients there without consent, including one study titled "Pneumoencephalographic and skull X-ray studies in 100 epileptics." Pneumoencephalography was a technique developed in 1919 for taking images of the brain, which floats in a sea of liquid. That fluid protects the brain from damage, but makes it very difficult to X-ray, since images taken through fluid are cloudy. Pneumoencephalography involved drilling holes into the skulls of research subjects, draining the fluid surrounding their brains, and pumping air or helium into the skull in place of the fluid to allow crisp X-rays of the brain through the skull. the side effects--crippling headaches, dizziness, seizures, vomiting--lasted until the body naturally refilled the skull with spinal fluid, which usually took two to three months. Because pneumoencephalography could cause permanent brain damage and paralysis, it was abandoned in the 1970s.

"There is no evidence that the scientists who did research on patients at Crownsville got consent from either the patients or their parents. Bases on the number of patients listed in the pneumoencephalography studyand the years it was conducted, Lurz told me later, it most likely involved every epileptic child in the hospital including Elsie. The same is likely true of at least one other study called "The Use of Deep Temporal Leads in the Study of Psychomotor Epilepsy," which involved inserting metal probes into patients' brains.”
[Thanks to the folks at Goodreads for putting up the quote. I'd already returned my copy of the book to the library and needed the passage, although I had to correct some typos.]

Elsie Lacks, the oldest daughter of Henrietta and David Lacks, died at age 15 in 1955 at the Crownsville, originally known as the 'Hospital for the Negro Insane'. Elsie was diagnosed with mental retardation, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy, although she may have inherited the family trait for deafness. It's hard to tell what her exact diagnosis should have been. Children at the time were often misdiagnosed and locked away in institutions rather than receiving help. Skloot's description of conditions at Crownsville are chilling, and a photograph provides a window into how Elsie was treated, although there is a lot of room left to the imagination of the reader for just how bad it was.

Friday, January 20, 2012

How a book's wording can change lives--for better, or worse

New Definition of Autism Will Exclude Many, Study Suggests
Proposed changes in the definition of autism would sharply reduce the skyrocketing rate at which the disorder is diagnosed and might make it harder for many people who would no longer meet the criteria to get health, educational and social services, a new analysis suggests.

The definition is now being reassessed by an expert panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association, which is completing work on the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the first major revision in 17 years. The D.S.M., as the manual is known, is the standard reference for mental disorders, driving research, treatment and insurance decisions. Most experts expect that the new manual will narrow the criteria for autism; the question is how sharply.

Psychiatry is not an exact science, and has in the past been (and surely will, in the future, be) subject to fad diagnoses of one sort or another. But just because a diagnosis becomes popular does not mean that it isn't devastating on a personal level. I hope a compromise can be found in terms of making the diagnostic criteria meaningful and still helping those who need assistance.

Somewhat on topic, I saw this: A French Film Takes Issue With the Psychoanalytic Approach to Autism
The documentary, the first film by Sophie Robert, follows two autistic boys: Guillaume, who has been treated with the behavioral, or “American,” approach; and Julien, who has been kept in an asylum for six years and treated with psychoanalysis. Guillaume, though challenged, is functioning at a high level in school. Julien is essentially silent, locked out of society.

Since Sept. 8, when the film first became available on the Web, it and Ms. Robert, 44, have been the targets of criticism from both the analysts who appear in the film and from within the country’s psychoanalytic establishment. Three of the psychoanalysts whom Ms. Robert interviewed for the film have sued her, claiming she misrepresented them in the 52-minute documentary, which has not yet been screened in cinemas or on television.

On Jan. 26, a court in the northern city of Lille will decide whether Ms. Robert must remove their interviews from the documentary if she wishes to keep screening it. The plaintiffs are also seeking damages of €300,000, or $384,000. The lawsuit might be futile, since the film is widely available on the Web (with English subtitles), having been viewed on YouTube more than 16,000 times. (Ms. Robert argues that the plaintiffs, all of whom appear in the film, signed detailed releases.)
The article takes an interesting look at how some disorders (say, ADHD) or treatments (like behavioural therapy or mediciations) have a stigma of being thought too 'American'. It's worth a look. The film, Le Mur (The Wall), is viewable on YouTube with English subtitles.

Well, book #2 for the year is finished

That, of course, is Rebecca Skloot's Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which was excellent. I liked it so much I'm considering buying it in physical format. I also went ahead and downloaded two more library books: Civilization: the West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson (a history book) and Small Persons with Wings by Ellen Booraem (juvenile fiction). I have them for two weeks.

I got a very nice and prompt reply from the store manager regarding my complaint this morning. Theoretically it should have fallen off of pending and not into posted by Monday, returning the $24.96 to my account. If not, we'll see what can be done about it then. I hope it does before then, as I'm getting a little low on funds. I've got two cheques to put in the bank, which I will do tomorrow, but they won't post until Monday night, since Saturday's not a business day. I've seen estimates for my tax refund anywhere from January 25th through the 31st, so I'm not sure when that will happen. Still, that's pretty speedy, especially as they only started processing filed forms on Tuesday. I just hope that mine doesn't get held up for any reason. According to the IRS, they owe me from the payments I made on my back taxes, but I don't really trust this process completely. We'll see.

I don't have any other plans for tomorrow. Usually when I try to make plans for Saturday they fall through, so I think it's better to play it by ear. I would like to do some honest-to-goodness housework, though. I got a couple of loads of laundry in this morning, but still have a lot of stuff to do around the house.

Okay, that's enough for now. I'm going to check the news. I did see earlier that Etta James died this morning. So here's a little music to remember her by...

An enormous shelf cloud is moving

from east to west, revealing not only the sun, but the smallest sliver of a crescent moon rising in the east, which reminded me that it's almost lunar new year/Chinese new year, the year of the Male Black Dragon or Water Dragon.

Incidentally, I don't know much about Chinese astrology, but I am a Red Fire Sheep (or sometimes it's Goat), which is interesting because I am also an Aries, which is the sign of the ram in Western astrology. So I guess I'm a double sheep. Although they have some of the same correspondences (colour, ruling planet, etc., at least when the Fire part is factored in), the description of the Sheep is different for each system. Here is one of the Chinese Sheep horoscope, whereas Aries is described here. Maybe I'm a blend.:)

Not to be ignored

1 In 5 Americans With Mental Illness, National Survey (that's just adults)

Also from the article:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in developed countries mental illness accounts for more disability than any other group of illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.

Keeping up with demand can be tricky

E-book library borrowing hits record pace: New tablet owners find a long waiting list for popular titles
Holiday sales of new tablets and e-readers have catapulted e-book borrowing at many of the nation's libraries, raising the question of how libraries can keep up with demand -- especially when some publishers still balk at e-book lending.

The demand for e-books at some major public libraries more than doubled so far in December and January compared to a year ago, causing frustrations for e-book users and librarians alike.

Up at the crack of dawn

Literally, although I know lots of my co-workers are already at work by 7 am. I'm doing two loads of laundry, and I also wrote a complaint in regarding a delivery order I made last weekend, where they didn't have a drink so instead of modifying the order, they took the whole order off, then had me pay for it over the phone when it was delivered. The problem is that original amount has been sitting in pending for six days (four of them business days), unavailable. The bank says it sometimes takes that long to fall off. I don't think that the restaurant can do anything to help, at this point, but I respectfully suggested they find a way for stores to modify web orders without capturing people's money for days on end (and no, I didn't put it that way). I forgot to mention that I think they overcharged me the second time, by putting the tip on twice, as it actually wound up another $4 higher.

I suppose this is the universe's way of punishing me for ordering pizza. I will say I ate on that pizza till yesterday, so I did eat over several days. Still...maybe it will discourage the diabetic from ordering things she shouldn't eat.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I spent about two and a half hours tonight

navigating an online job application process, researching the job and who to direct the cover letter to, and writing said cover letter, only to have the automated system say that I didn't meet the minimum requirements because of how I answered one of the 'supplemental questions', with no way to change that, and so even though I have several years' experience, going right down the job description, it's rejecting my application because my experience is not so narrow as they've defined. I have an e-mail into the human resources department, but I suspect they'll say there's nothing they can do. I'm halfway tempted to just send the cover letter and résumé through the mail, although that's not how things work any more. I guess I'm a little spoiled having worked for a small workplace where everyone knows each other.

Well, it's a little frustrating, but good practice, especially as I hate writing cover letters and I did a pretty fine one. And if they really want to define experience that narrowly, then I wish them well, although I think they'll be rejecting a lot of potentially good candidates.

I really recommend

Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which chronicles the life of Henrietta Lacks, the remarkable cell line derived from her cervical cancer cells and its effects on science and medicine, and also what effect her death (and the cells' distribution and fame) had on her family.

I'm still working my way through it, but it's an excellent story, and the writer has a great deal of empathy for the family. It amazes me all the things that her cells, known as HeLa, were used for, and what good it has done in terms of research, curing diseases, developing vaccines, etc., but also so many things we take for granted about science and medicine today--informed consent, standards, HIPAA, etc. were so absent in the mid-to-late 20th century, and how respected pioneers in medicine did things we now consider unethical and opportunistic. It also helps the reader understand why medicine is distrusted by many African-Americans.

I recommend this book particularly if you are in the science or medical field, but anyone would benefit from reading it. I think if I were a professor in biology or medicine, I would require this be read by my students. From the beginning, Skloot sought to find the humanity behind the science, and I think it's important to remember that there was a woman behind those cells, a woman who was a young mother who never got to see her children grow up, a woman who dealt with poverty and racism on a daily basis, and a woman whose own suffering made it possible for many others to live.

A couple of interesting articles from the New York Times on the copyright/anti-piracy front

7 Charged as F.B.I. Closes a Top File-Sharing Site

What’s the Best Way to Protect Against Online Piracy?

Feeling much better

Apparently I really needed some rest. I slept from a little after 5 until 7:30, got up for awhile, went back to bed about 8:30 or 9, and slept till 8:30 this morning. In the midst of all that I remembered to take my Lantus, which was good, as I've had trouble remembering the last couple of days and my blood sugar has been high as a result. I think I'm going to have to institute a rule that as soon as I get home, I take the stuff. That's how I remember my oral meds--I take them as soon as I get to work. And of course, the Novolog is triggered whenever I am about to eat a meal. I will get the hang of this.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's amazing what a couple hours' nap can do for you

I feel MUCH better. I've tackled the iTunes issue (for now). I've cleaned up around the computer a little. So, not nearly the stuff I need to do, but at least I'm awake and feeling better about doing them. But I think I need to check my account at the library first and see what's due when. :)

Tired and in pain

I'm really trying not to complain too much, either with my friends and co-workers or here, but I'm in a lot of pain and it's just not getting any better. So I'm home early, while it's still daylight. I finished my work and went home much earlier than I have in awhile because I just don't feel well and everything is hurting from the soles of my feet up to my hips, and 600 mg of ibuprofen isn't even touching it. It was all I could do to get the entries in and verify them to make sure I got them in right. And I have a sitting job. Thank goodness I'm not standing all the time like I did at the gas station. It's definitely time to go back to the doctor, although I think at this point I need an orthopaedic specialist rather than a podiatrist.

I have a lot to do tonight. I still need to do laundry. I need to straighten up the living room, clean the kitchen and bath, that sort of thing, plus a friend has a project he wants me to work on. I hope I'll feel like doing all that later. I've spent the last couple of days barely being able to walk, limping everywhere with this funny old lady gait. Every time I get up from my desk I feel like my knees are just going to give out on me. You know how plantar fasciitis is worse when you first get up? Mine is, too, but it's like the pain just shoots up the leg, and not just in the joints. So for now, I'm going to prop my feet up and rest for awhile.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I am apparently the official interpreter of bus schedules among my friends

Every now and then I get a phone call to look up a bus schedule on LexTran's website from friends who are taking a bus they're unfamiliar with, or when they don't ride every day. I've also given advice at work to those who have had to take an occasional bus or planned an outing that involved teaching others how to get around on public transit.

Today one of my friends was on his way to drop off his kids at preschool and his van wouldn't start. It was one of a long list of things that they've had to deal with. Fortunately it appears to be a minor issue, but for a bit they may have to take the bus. Even I was hard-pressed to figure out how the bus runs in their neighbourhood, though, because they live between Tates Creek and Nicholasville roads, and there are no time points listed in this large section of the route. I'm still not sure I understood how it worked, as unlike most routes the Nicholasville Road bus comes up and finishes up in Tates Creek, and vice versa. That, coupled with the times that have been in place since May, running either 35 or 70 minutes depending on time of day, with some idiosyncratic time adjustments in the morning and evening, makes it harder to predeict where the bus will be when, as opposed to the old leave-the-transit-centre at the :20 an :50 minute marks during the day, and on the :20 on off-peak times. I guess it's working better in terms of making it through traffic and not missing connections, but you pretty much need a schedule, ready access to it (some people carry packets of schedules with them; I keep the ones I use often on my smartphone), and the experience to figure it all out. And there's odd things to know, like how on Saturdays Richmond Road only runs every 70 minutes, but other routes such as Tates Creek and Nicholasville run every 35, so you have to pick the right bus from Fayette Mall so you don't sit down at the station for an inordinate long time and let a transfer expire. Or how some stops only are serviced during the morning, others in the evening, such as on the Woodhill route, or that after 9 pm some buses run as combo routes. Then there are the connectors that never come downtown.

Fortunately I know a lot of those ins and outs on the routes I ride most frequently. But man, it's like dancing on ice sometimes, and I think there must be a simpler way. (Although don't get me wrong, they do a lot of stuff right, and it's a complex system to deal with.)

Oh, and here's a tip for those of you in Lexington who take the bus in winter: Some bus stop signs have snowflakes on them. They are serviced if the system goes on its snow plan. Those without snowflakes are not. Fortunately my home and work stops are both on the snow plan. But some people have to walk quite a ways to get to one that the bus will come to.

More on the SOPA blackout protest

click to enlarge

A press release from Wikimedia regarding the English Wikipedia

SOPA protests to shut down Web sites

Google will not black out, but will place a notice protesting the legislation:

Google to state anti-SOPA stance on home page

Who backs the anti-piracy laws?

By the way, here are some excellent links on SOPA from Brian Herzog (the Swiss Army Librarian).

Enough said. But the Internet may be a little different in a few hours. Better that, though, than an Internet with SOPA.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sometimes the comments on YouTube

crack me up. Consider this:

And the winning comment?

Finally a bug zapper for Japanese monster movies. Mothra is Toast!

michalchik 1 week ago

Speaking of laughing, I just laughed myself silly over the following 'de-motivational poster':

Thanks to George Takei for sharing the latter on Facebook. :)

The 'White Death' rears its ugly head, even today

New TB Strain Resistant to All Drugs
Indian doctors have reported the country's first cases of "totally drug-resistant tuberculosis," a long-feared and virtually untreatable form of the killer lung disease.

It's not the first time highly resistant cases like this have been seen. Since 2003, patients have been documented in Italy and Iran. It has mostly been limited to impoverished areas, and has not spread widely. But experts believe there could be many undocumented cases.

The article also touches on the problem that the Dalits (Untouchables) have in getting adequate health care in India.

It was written awhile ago, and I don't remember if it touches on antibiotic-resistant TB, but there was a book I got from the library last year that is called The White Death: A History of Tuberculosis. It's worth a read. What can I say? I find epidemiology and the sociology of disease to be interesting. I also own a book called Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence. It's fascinating.

If you try to look something up on Wednesday

on Wikipedia, you may see nothing. The company is considering going dark in protest of the Stop Online Privacy Act. Don't know about SOPA? Here are some links to find out more:

Stop Online Piracy Act [The Wikipedia article]

Here is the text for the act: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3261:

Here is a frequently-asked-questions article from C|Net called How SOPA would affect you: FAQ that's pretty informative and has lots of links.

Here are a couple of news stories related to all this:

Wikipedia May Black out Wednesday in Protest

The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act pending in Congress are designed to crack down on sales of pirated U.S. products overseas.

Supporters say the legislation is needed to protect intellectual property and jobs. Critics say the legislation could hurt the technology industry and infringe on free-speech rights.

Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others have questioned the legislation and said it poses a serious risk to the industry. Several online communities such as Reddit, Boing Boing and others have announced plans to go dark in protest.

U.S. online piracy bill headed for major makeover
U.S. legislation aimed at curbing online piracy, which had appeared to be on a fast track for approval by Congress, appears likely to be scaled back or jettisoned entirely in the wake of critical comments over the weekend from the White House, people familiar with the matter said.

Also from the article:
The White House said in a blog post over the weekend that it wouldn't support "legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

Go educate yourself and make up your own mind about it. Obviously, anything that may limit freedom of expression is of concern to this librarian, but it's a complicated issue. Obviously online piracy is a concern to lots of people from artists, writers, musicians up to the big companies that make a bundle off them. But this doesn't seem to be a good way to go about combating it.

I brought this up during the Cthulhu game today

I have a copy and I do think it was rather clever. It's a filk song to the tune of ABBA's 'Fernando' called 'Do You Hear the Pipes, Cthulhu?' You can see the lyrics and download the .mp3 file of the song to listen for yourself. Here's a video tribute with the song as well:

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Do some cultures have their own ways of going mad?
Anyone who follows psychiatry has noticed that the field is now in the midst of a debate that galvanizes its members every 10 to 20 years. At the center of the hubbub is psychiatry’s most sacred text: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The DSM, for short, is a compendium of over 350 ways our minds can fail us, from autism to kleptomania to voyeurism. What makes it onto the list matters: The DSM’s definition of “mental illness” can dictate whether an insurance company covers a treatment, or even whether a murderer is fit to stand trial. With the American Psychiatric Association gearing up to revamp the manual for the first time since 1994, mental health specialists have begun jostling over some of the most divisive issues in the field: whether someone mourning the death of a loved one can be justifiably treated for depression, for instance, or whether overdiagnosis and a black market demand for Adderall have trumped up a false ADHD epidemic.

And then there’s the back of the book.

If you turn to page 898 of the current edition — past the glossary and the alphabetical index of diagnoses — you’ll find a list of 25 little-known illnesses. These are the “culture-bound syndromes”: mental illnesses that psychiatrists officially acknowledge occur only within a particular society. Take, for instance, susto — a distinctly Latin American fear that one’s soul has panicked and left one’s body. Or pibloktoq, also known as “arctic hysteria,” in which Greenlandic Inuit strip off all their clothes and run out into the subzero Arctic tundra.

Depending on whom you ask, the notion that some cultures have their own ways of going crazy is either the ultimate in cultural sensitivity or the ultimate in Western condescension. And although these syndromes haven’t attracted nearly as much attention as Asperger’s or binge eating disorder, they are starting to come under fire from critics who don’t think that the appendix belongs in the book at all. Since the last edition of the DSM, in lectures and research journal articles around the world, a cluster of psychiatrists, anthropologists, and historians has attacked the validity of specific disorders on the list. To these critics, the very notion of a “culture-bound illness” is an outdated relic from the days of European empires.

Doritos alchemy

Sadly, it didn't make the finals of Doritos' 'Crash the Superbowl' ad contest, but it's making up for it in popularity on the Internet.

I want to see the unicorn cry. :) Be sure to go back and pause the ingredients as they scroll down the screen. I love these guys. Alchemy, and a bag of holding. They're my kind of people.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Never fails

My agenda was not set for more than 5 minutes when I got a phone call asking for help over at my friends' house. So...I'm not sure what I'll get done tomorrow on the home front. I can still pick up the library book (The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You by Eli Pariser). The grocery can wait until Sunday when we go on the big run. The laundry...well, I really do need to do laundry, but that will have to wait until tomorrow night, so we'll see if I get home in time. And then there's the notes. Should I do them now or get up early? The library doesn't even open until 9:30, and I don't think it will take more than an hour. Hmmmm....


So, I just filed my taxes, so early that the IRS doesn't even start processing them for a few days. But...I get a refund! A nice refund, at least from the federal government. (The refund from Kentucky was fairly small, so I donated it to the Fish & Wildlife Fund and the Child Victims' Trust. But it was so nice not to PAY!!! That's the first time since 2005!)

And, since all my back taxes are paid, I actually get this, plus a tiny bit from where I overpaid. Life is good, at least at this moment, and I am doing the happy dance.

That was my main plan for tonight. I'm recording 'Grimm' and 'Supernatural' to watch later. Tomorrow, however, I have to:

  • Do game notes.
  • Do laundry.
  • Pick up a held book at the library.
  • Go to the grocery.
So it will be busy. But I hope to actually watch some stuff, either Netflix or on the DVR, too. For now, I think I'll read a little and then go to bed. I'm currently making it through no less than four books on my Kindle at once:
So I'm not quite sure which one I'll finish first--probably the library book--to be my book #2 for the year. :) Hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Okay, here's the revised version

of my résumé. Feel free to share the link, and there's a PDF file of the paper version available for download at the bottom. The web version and associated PDF do not have my home address or phone numbers on them, but they are otherwise just like the one I have formatted for paper in terms of content. (The PDF and paper copies are in the font Constantia. The web version is in Georgia, which is similar but more standard to web users who may not have Office 2010.

I'd welcome any critiques or suggestions as to how I can make it better, especially from those who have experience in selecting candidates from a pile of résumés. :)

The snow is really coming down outside

Mind you, this week it was in the 50s, but a cold front is coming through. I left work at 6:30 and it was snowing, and very nippy with the wind, but nothing compared to how it started coming down when we were halfway to my house. My ride wanted a movie from Redbox, so we stopped at McDonald's, got it, and we each got some food (which is nice, as I have very little in the house, didn't want to get some delivery guy out in the snow, and am probably not making a grocery run till Saturday). The snow is very small but just coming down like someone was manufacturing the stuff with those machines they use at ski lodges. Anyway, I'm glad to be safe inside where it's warm. I have to venture out at some point to go over to the leasing office to drop off my rent and possibly do some laundry (the laundry room for the complex is in the same building as the leasing office...there aren't facilities inside the apartment buildings themselves). I may put the latter on hold. Tomorrow is jeans day at work and I think I have a pair that's clean.

I did some résumé reformatting since getting those books yesterday. I got it down to two pages, rearranged a little, and added a section to pitch my good qualities from the get-go. Tonight I'm going to try to re-vamp the one on the web and do some more reading. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Despite the fact that it is forty years old now, and a classic

I have never actually read What Color Is Your Parachute?. I got a ways into it and so far it's gotten me thinking about where I'm going and how to get there. He updates it annually now, and so it's remained quite current, as the job market has changed so much in that time. And it was nice that it's available on the Kindle, too.

I'm thinking about getting a print copy for the library, along with some basic job hunting books. Many of my co-workers are in the same situation I am, either not having a job within a certain timeframe or at least their continued employment is up in the air. Some of them have not really done a job hunt for years, since before computers became so crucial. Even places like McDonald's require online applications these days. Regardless of whether they find a job before the hospital's plans go into effect or whether they stick it out until then, they're going to need the job hunting, résumé and cover letter writing, and interviewing skills, and I'd like to do something to help with that.

Came across some songs I hadn't heard in awhile

and one of them on a compilation CD of music that was meant to sort of tell my life story was Faith Hill's 'Someone Else's Dream'. So, I wasn't a pageant queen, but a lot of this song could have been my life--I was a daddy's little girl, or so everyone told me. They lied. But I grew up believing it. And my mother and I were entirely too close in some ways, distant in others. I was married and divorced by 25. So it sort of resonated with me when it came out five years after my divorce. I hadn't heard it in years, but it brought up a lot of feelings, anyway.

I also came across a CD I called 'Love at It's Sappiest', which included the following song, which, frankly, awakes the romantic me in a big way:

It's particularly nice in Spanish, incidentally.

Trying to be proactive

Downloaded from Amazon today, onto my Kindle:

What Color Is Your Parachute 2012 by Richard Bolles
The 21st Century Resume Guide for the Perplexed by Mary Elizabeth Bradford

Checked out from the library today:

The Web 2.0 Job Finder by Brenda Greene and Coleen Byrne
Résumés That Pop! by Pat Criscito
The Secret to Resume Success by Howard Knox
The Everything Resume Book by Nancy Schuman
15-Minute Cover Letter by Michael Farr and Louise Kursmark
Acing the Interview by Tony Beshara
The Everything Job Interview Book by Joy Darlington and Nancy Schuman
301 Best Questions to Ask on Your Interview by John Kador

It's a start, at least.


Doomsday Clock ticks one minute closer to midnight
The world tiptoed closer to the apocalypse on Tuesday as scientists moved the Doomsday Clock one minute closer to the zero hour.

The symbolic clock now stands at five minutes to midnight, the scientists said, because of a collective failure to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, act on climate change, or find safe and sustainable sources of energy – as exemplified by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The rare bright points the scientists noted were the Arab spring and movement in Russia for greater democracy.

[PS Where history meets science in the brain--it's almost 3 am and I went to type the label and wrote 'Domesday' instead, like a good student of mediaeval history. :) Incidentally, the Domesday Book got its name from the idea that what the book said about material wealth--who held what, what taxes were owed at the time of Edward the Confessor--was final and could not be appealed, much like the concept of Last Judgement, or Doomsday.]

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm not going to feel guilty tonight about going to bed early

since I was up till 2 am downloading those videos. But I got them all, yay!

Today was a pretty productive day despite feeling like an old woman when I first got up. Considering it was practically balmy for January, I hate to think what I'll feel like later in the week when the temperatures turn colder. I wasn't exactly sure I was going to make it up the hill to the hospital I work in after the bus driver let me off. Every joint and my feet were not just aching, not just throbbing, but flared up to acute stabbing pain. I was walking like, well, almost like a crab. It was awful. I'm used to a lot of chronic pain, but this was actually getting to me. On the other hand, I took a couple of ibuprofen and it eventually got better, especially as I moved around, and I didn't have to repeat the dose later. So that was good.

But the best thing of all about today was the news I got from the IRS. I've been trying to call them since Friday with absolutely no luck. The main phone number would make you go through the menu, put you on hold, and once you'd been on hold for as long as they told you, it would suddenly tell you the call could not be completed at this time and hang up. So last night I went poking through some important papers and came up with the actual agreement I made with the IRS as far as paying them in instalments. It had another number which took longer to get through in terms of hold time, but led to a real person. I thought I still owed a small amount of money, but was concerned that they would take out $200 anyway because it might have been set up for a certain amount of time, and I accidentally double-paid them in June, when the automatic debits began. That would have been bad because I get paid the day after it normally comes out and wouldn't have the money to cover it. She looked up my record and not only will that not happen, I have a CREDIT with them, so they owe me. That's a wonderful thing. Plus, we usually get our W-2s with our first paycheque of the year (in this case Thursday), and I'm going to file as soon as possible because I think I'm going to get a refund for the first time in six years. Remember that $600 people got from George W Bush' government? Never saw it; it went straight to my tax bill. So, anyway, I'm excited. So now I don't owe any taxes to the federal or state governments. Yay!

Monday, January 09, 2012

I am a good friend

Only a good friend would spend hours downloading an entire season of 'free-for-a limited-time' episodes of a TV show so someone less techie can watch them. Each episode takes about 15 minutes to download, and I'm up to 6 out of 27 episodes.

I hope the show is good.


Up briefly

We had a great game today. I was actually rested and prepared. We played late, though, and despite two two-litres of caffeinated soda today (yes, really), after the game master called to see what I thought about how it went, I fell asleep with practically every light on in the house, including the one I was under, with the phone in the bed. I woke to heed nature's call, and so I took my Lantus and went ahead and made my monthly libation to Hekate (yes, I know the moon is full; I go by menstruation, not moons). With it I asked for her help in finding a good, sustainable job in my field (in this geographical area) within the next three years that would provide stability but which I would enjoy. Sometimes you have to be careful when asking the Gods for help, in how you phrase your prayers. Remember Tithonis? Tithonis was a youth, a son of the king of Troy. Eos (Aurora for the Romans), the Dawn, fell in love with him, and asked Zeus to grant him eternal life so they could be together. But she didn't ask for Tithonis to have eternal youth, and so he withered before her over the years. A later myth described him as turning into a cicada, eternally begging for death. In the Homeric hymn to Aphrodite, he is described this way: 'but when loathsome old age pressed full upon him, and he could not move nor lift his limbs, this seemed to her in her heart the best counsel: she laid him in a room and put to the shining doors. There he babbles endlessly, and no more has strength at all, such as once he had in his supple limbs.'

Hekate herself is associated with power over many things, including the those things of the earth, the sky, and the sea. She was often supplicated by her followers for wealth, according to Hesiod, as well as a host of other things. As he put it,
Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hecate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker, easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother's only child, she is honored amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Cronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Dawn. So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young, and these are her honors.
--Hesiod, Theogony, (English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White)
So you can see She has a long-standing tradition of helping those in need with their livelihood. I gave her nearly 1.5 litres of wine, all that I had in the house. Prayer works a little differently in the pagan world than the Christian one.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Some friends have really been enjoying 'Downton Abbey'

I, for all my Anglophile-ness, have not yet watched it. However, I think that's going to have to change, and I checked, and the first season is on Netflix. For those who have seen it, you may want to read:

'Downton Abbey's' intrigue continues: It's 1916 and love and politics are afoot this season, upstairs and down.

Me, I think I'm going to check out Netflix this weekend. The second season premieres on PBS this Sunday. I'm thinking there's no way to catch up by then, but I can at least get a good start....

Ah, just in time for turning 45 this year...

Brain function can start declining 'as early as age 45'
The results of the tests show that cognitive scores declined in all categories except vocabulary - and there was a faster decline in older people.

The study found a 9.6% decline in mental reasoning in men aged 65-70 and a 7.4% decline for women of the same age.

For men and women aged 45-49, there was a 3.6% decline.

I have 'senior moments' quite often as it is, and I have a great fear of dementia (my great-grandmother had Alzheimer's; my diabetes means I'm at a higher risk for dementia as well). So you can see I didn't care for this story. It's just a reminder of how important it is to exercise the mind as well as the body.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Sorry for the crypticness

Today I found out that my job will most likely end in three years (or so). It's not unexpected. It's not even entirely 100% final. It's a great amount of notice, and they've tried to make things as easy as possible for those affected. But it's still a little sad. I've been in my job for fifteen years. It was my first (and only) professional position, one that gave me a lot of freedom and made me responsible for about every task a librarian might be expected to do. I like it, and it's been very comfortable in some ways. But in a way, this is freeing. It gives me more impetus to seek out new opportunities, and in some ways might be better in the long run.

So, I'm officially looking for new possibilities. If you see any jobs in the Lexington, Kentucky area that you think might fit well with my skills and personality, drop me a line. And be sure to check out my résumé as well.

Up and ready to face the day

but my doctor's appointment isn't till 10:15 so I have some time to kill before that. Fortunately, it's right across the street, practically.

I forgot to take my long-acting insulin last night and my blood sugar is 332 (way high), so I feel kind of crappy. But I went ahead and took it just now.

On the other hand, I feel a little better about the thing I blogged about, and I actually dressed up and wore makeup for a change. I guess if you're going to get bad news, get it in style.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I'd like to say I'm not worried, but I am

Tomorrow afternoon I get some news that may impact my future rather hard, and even though I know there is nothing I can do this moment, it's affecting my mood. What do you do when you have a sword of Damocles hanging over you and there's nothing to be done, at least for now? At least I'm not alone. I'm trying not to think of it, or spinning scenarios, but rather waiting for more information, information that will hopefully be forthcoming so I can plan out the next few years of my life and make adjustments as necessary. Wish me luck.

Can't wait till it gets to America

A bit of the Doctor for the New Year :)

New Year Resolutions: The Doctor Presents 20 Quotes to Live by in 2012

How about you? Any great quotes? Or resolutions?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Such a shame

Child prodigy: Lights dim on a beautiful mind
In 2004, Aarifa Karim Randhawa was the youngest ever Microsoft certified professional in the world. Born in 1995, she received the prestigious title at the age of nine.

On December 22, Aarifa was admitted to Lahore’s CMH hospital after suffering cardiac arrest. On Thursday, doctors said there is no hope for her survival, and that her life support could be switched off ‘at any time’.

Aarifa’s father, Lt Col (Retd) Amjad Karim Randhawa told The Express Tribune that she had suffered an epileptic attack, which caused severe brain and heart damage. Randhawa said “only a miracle will allow my brilliant, genius daughter to live now”.

Remembering Arfa: Seizure threatens life of 16-year-old computer prodigy
As I wrote in the story at the time, She made an impression through a combination of charm, flattery and boldness uncommon for someone her age. For example, during Arfa’s meeting with Gates, she presented him with a poem she wrote that celebrated his life story. But she also questioned him about what she perceived to be the relatively small proportion of women on the campus.

In short, she is a remarkable person. She is also very thoughtful, and after the article ran, she made a point of keeping in touch with me via email. It was fun to periodically get messages from her out of the blue, updating me on her progress in school and her plans for the future.
My thoughts and prayers are with Arfa Karim Randhawa and her family.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Now that I've read it...

I'm so psyched for seeing how the movie will interpret it...and it's coming out right before my birthday.

I already see a few differences, but overall, it has the right look, and they seem to be holding pretty close to the book. And the four notes of music at the end brought tears to my eyes, and you'd have to read (or watch in March) to understand.

By the way, Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss, is naturally blonde and was in X-Men: First Class as Raven (Mystique). Not to sound like a friend, but she looks totally different as Katniss, but I think she looks like the Katniss I envisioned (although I did see Haymitch very differently, and not as Woody Harrelson at all).

If you haven't read The Hunger Games, I really recommend it. It blends edge-of-chair action with the interactions that shape us, and most of all, a good story. Winning isn't just about being the strongest--it's about being smart and enduring, and the luck of the moment, and there's a lot of subtlety and depth in the story. I had read the premiss and wasn't sure about the idea of a book that's all about 24 kids having to cut each other down in the ultimate reality show, but it really is far more than that.

I went ahead and downloaded Catching Fire, and I plan to start that tomorrow. So, Hunger Games was my first book finished in the New Year. What's yours?

Let's see

I have:
  1. Eaten a sort of brunch (Havarti cheese and pumpernickel bread)
  2. Hung a new calendar
  3. Found the paperwork I need to send in for a friend
  4. Activated my prescription card
  5. Watched a bit of the Rose Bowl parade
  6. Finished reading The Hunger Games
  7. Spoken to friends on the phone
  8. Made arrangements to move my prescriptions to a locally-owned pharmacy where I know one of the employees
Not a bad start, I'd say. :) The Hunger Games was excellent. I'm curious as to how they'll do the movie. And of course, I'm going to have to acquire Catching Fire.

Okay, things to do. Have a good day.

Happy New Year!

Or as a friend would put it, 'Happy Secular New Year', as he's Jewish and also celebrates Rosh Hoshanah. Sorry to be remiss in wishing everyone well on the actual turning of the year. I was struggling to stay up to see the ball drop, and I managed to send one tweet that automatically mapped to Facebook and to the Twitter widget here, and that was it. I didn't realise until the next morning that I forgot to make a New Year's libation. It's not strictly required, but I like to do so. So hopefully bad things won't come of that in a year many people (silly ones) think is already doomed.

Yesterday, thanks to the folks of LexTran, I was able to take the bus over to get prepared for the game, because they were actually running an abbreviated schedule on the holiday. I cleaned house, we did a grocery run, and then played till about 9 pm. We've reached what may be a big conclusion to a very annoying issue, but I'm sure there will be surprises, and I was flagging so we saved it for next time. I was in bed within a half hour of getting home and have just now woken up, having taken care to turn off any alarms. It was glorious to sleep in--I can't remember when I've done that in a good long while.

I think the plan today is to stick by the house and do some things there, maybe watch some things that are on the DVR and a movie, and finish reading The Hunger Games. I need to find some paperwork to send in, activate my prescription card, wash the dishes that can't go in the dishwasher, things like that. Oh, and a little laundry. I'm sure I'll blog, too.

Hope your year is off to a good start, too.