Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm feeling decent tonight

The weekend was busy, but not horribly so. On Saturday I got some groceries and a friend picked me up at Kroger and took me to another friend's house, so it was nice to visit with them, and I helped with a project and was treated to two excellent episodes of 'Lark Rise to Candleford'. Saturday night I got home about 8:30 and then still had to do notes, but the nice thing was there was a lot of action, which shrinks the amount of work compared to investigation, because I don't put in combat blow by blow.

Sunday I didn't have to get up quite so early because I'd gone to the store the day before. I got everything ready for the game and still had time to visit. The game was a conclusion to an adventure which was somewhat frustrating as we weren't able to save a lot of innocents (and that was my fault), but otherwise was satisfying. It's always interesting when you have a battle which includes Bigfeet, small ancient resurrected hominids, and a crazy Miskatonic professor. Oh, and last time was the family of Deliverance cultists who apparently owned the barn from Twister with all the sharp, pointy farm implements. And it's nice when you have an anti-bullet/anti-metal spell and then realise oh, yeah, not only can the bad guy not shoot you, but your companion with a so-so gun skill can't hit any of you either. :) Okay, maybe you had to be there. I got home about 10 and was in bed by 10:30.

Today I made quite a bit of progress on my to-do list, which was nice. I even got a little ahead on one project. So if the rest of the week goes as well, I'll be happy.

It was nice to get home and the air conditioning's on. I don't normally put it on so early, but it was 81 degrees today.

Okay, time to check the news and take care of some things. Have a good week.

A late night gathering spot is gone

and this is just another reason I don't care for megachurches, where megamoney seems to be the issue. And I feel sorry for the employees, who found out Sunday was the last day they'd be open, the same day the auction company came for the booths and other fixtures. Perkins was one of the few places open 24 hours for years here in Lexington, and it was a popular place to go and get breakfast in the wee hours. They had wonderful omelets and muffins, especially.

Perkins Family Restaurant closes, legal battles settled

The dispute was over the lease, which was brought into question after Southland Christian Church bought the Lexington Mall property, including the restaurant's location. The owners said the lease lapsed and the restaurant should pay double for the time it had remained there. The restaurant alleged that they had an agreement with the former owner and had tried to work things out with the new owners regarding the lease. Instead of continuing through the courts and proving their case, the sides reached a settlement that meant the restaurant had to close, and the employees are now out of a job. Every single person I have either talked to or read comments from was negative toward the church. One person on the comments in the story regarded the church as 'GodMart'. They're taking a former shopping mall and making it a satellite to their megachurch which is at another location. While I'm glad the mall will no longer be sitting empty and falling down, I just don't understand how any church really needs two large facilities and thousands of congregants. I also was not impressed when I tried to get help for a friend whose family was facing eviction due to health issues and they basically said they wouldn't help, with the implication being that it was because he wasn't a member of their congregation.

Please understand that I'm not against churches--but I think once you reach a certain size and affluence, there's a tendency to forget what a temptation money can be, and how the love of money, by their own scriptures, is corrupting. What church needs a food court? I also know that if I were Christian, I would appreciate having the chance to know my fellow congregants and not have to watch things in a stadium-like setting with giant screens in my worship of God. Also, I guess this makes me more thankful that I've received so much notice about my own position's elimination.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I feel rather blah tonight

I came home with quite a bit of energy--despite a long week--having not taken the bus home but rather getting a ride, and straightened up the living room while talking to a friend on the phone for some time. But my ankle is a little swollen and hurts where I turned it yesterday, and I'm aching a bit all over, which I expect is from the oncoming rain and low pressure with a drop of temperatures expected this weekend. Any time a cool front comes in I feel achy about 24-48 hours out. If I'm up and moving I'm usually okay. But sitting here, well, not so much.

So even though it's barely 10 pm I'm closing up shop for the night. I recorded both 'Grimm' and 'Supernatural' (the latter guest-starring Felicia Day) and wanted to watch one tonight, but that is not to be. And I'm putting off the game notes, I know, which means I'll be doing them tomorrow, probably after I get back from a friend's house. I'm taking him some creamer and a glue stick and then spending some time over there. But I'm just not up to it tonight.

So, good night. I'm going to take my medicine and head to bed. My abdomen's itching and I'm a little splotchy--I hope that doesn't mean I'm developing a sensitivity to one of the insulins; I did that with Apidra when I first went on it, and that's why I'm on Novolog instead. It could just be dry skin. My hands were terribly dry and I put some of that orange ginger lotion on them, which has a very comforting smell and is very soothing. I'd put another kind on earlier and I guess that didn't do it. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow--it usually passes once the front gets here. The goal is to get up and do yoga in the morning, which will help as well.

A legacy of war that is really frightening

Veterans and Brain Disease
In people with C.T.E. [chronic traumatic encephalopathy], an abnormal form of a protein accumulates and eventually destroys cells throughout the brain, including the frontal and temporal lobes. Those are areas that regulate impulse control, judgment, multitasking, memory and emotions.

That Marine was the first Iraq veteran found to have C.T.E., but experts have since autopsied a dozen or more other veterans’ brains and have repeatedly found C.T.E. The findings raise a critical question: Could blasts from bombs or grenades have a catastrophic impact similar to those of repeated concussions in sports, and could the rash of suicides among young veterans be a result?

“P.T.S.D. in a high-risk cohort like war veterans could actually be a physical disease from permanent brain damage, not a psychological disease,” said Bennet Omalu, the neuropathologist who examined the veteran. Dr. Omalu published an article about the 27-year-old veteran as a sentinel case in Neurosurgical Focus, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

The discovery of C.T.E. in veterans could be stunningly important. Sadly, it could also suggest that the worst is yet to come, for C.T.E. typically develops in midlife, decades after exposure. If we are seeing C.T.E. now in war veterans, we may see much more in the coming years.
Given the number of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the multiple tours of duty, this could mean serious complications in coming years. Already it is being linked to the rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide. The nature of the wars fought in these arenas is that repeated blasts mean repeated concussions at a unprecedented rate. The military is trying to be proactive about this, but there's just so much you can do to protect the head from a blast. But it's good they're recognising this. I hope we can find better ways to treat those who have suffered this before they, too, are lost to the war.

Also not so surprising

Thinking can undermine religious faith, study finds: Those who think more analytically are less inclined to be religious believers than are those who tend to follow a gut instinct, researchers conclude
Scientists have revealed one of the reasons why some folks are less religious than others: They think more analytically, rather than going with their gut. And thinking analytically can cause religious belief to wane — for skeptics and true believers alike.

The study, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, indicates that belief may be a more malleable feature of the human psyche than those of strong faith may think.

I am not surprised

Survey shows best, worst paid doctors -- and many regrets

The lowest paid are the ones that regularly treat most patients--paediatricians, family practice doctors, internists, even endocrinologists (in a rising tide of diabetes) and psychiatrists (because mental illness always gets the shaft when it comes to health care).

I spent a total of 16 years in college, have enough student loans to have bought a very nice house, and have largely been underemployed during my career, meaning the debt has loomed over me and so forth. Do I regret my schooling? No. Would I have gotten in and gotten out more quickly if I'd been wiser in my youth? Yes. But you know what...I love what I do, and my stress levels as a librarian are nothing compared with people whose decisions regularly determine the possible life and death of their patients. My stress comes from my other job, where I deal with insurance companies' phone systems and things like that--and I deal with them only a bit compared to a doctor and his staff. You could not pay me to be a doctor, to invest that much time and money and debt into a job where all day I dealt with red tape, not in our current health care environment. In my opinion, our health care system is broken, and I don't think it's going to be fixed any time soon. I have great respect for many men and women who continue to go in and put that white coat on in a personal mission of making things better for others.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This was the story YKWIA told me about

I remember it was awful, and that we discussed something about what should happen to the people involved, but I tried to block it out of my mind because it was just, well, awful:

German artists under fire for guillotine sheep online poll: Two German artists risk prosecution on animal cruelty charges after constructing a guillotine and asking people to vote online on whether to behead a sheep

German artists spark uproar with sheep execution vote
In a video posted online, the two men - dressed in white overalls - held the terrified sheep behind the killing machine as its deadly blade repeatedly chopped downward.

On the "Die Guillotine" project's website, the public was invited to vote on whether the sheep gets to live or die
If the vote goes against the sheep, they plan to kill it with the guillotine live on the Internet. That's just sick, to taunt the sheep with the guillotine. And I'm sure that many well meaning people have voted against doing this to the sheep (so far they are leading those voting for death), but by voting, they're feeding into this. This is not art. This is animal cruelty, and if they follow through, I think they should definitely prosecute to the full extent of the law. Poor sheep. And while several animal rights groups have expressed doubt that they will carry it out, these two men seem to give no thought to the well-being of the animal. There's no guarantee they wouldn't just go through with it anyway.

I wonder how these two people would feel if the tables were turned and their fate was left to a vote? But that would be a reality show taken too far, right?

PS 5/3/12: What is it about German artists? There was this story just a few days later:

Court stops German artist strangling puppies to death on stage: Scrapped performance at Berlin theatre was said by its creator to be a protest against killing of dogs in Alaska and Spain
Titled Death and Metamorphosis, the performance was to take place this week at a small theatre in Spandau. The artist – who has not been identified – planned to use cable ties to strangle the dogs, followed by a brief meditation accompanied by funeral procession music and a giant gong.

I am the only person I know

who can twist an ankle trying to take off one's shoes. I don't think I did any damage, but it's the one foot that still hurts from when I had the stress fractures, and wow was it painful.

It's a beautiful day, considering it started out with rain. There's a nice breeze coming through the open windows, as well as happy sunlight. I was fortunate to get a ride to and from work today by two different co-workers, so I'm home a little earlier than I would be on the bus. Today was pretty decent, if a little hectic. I got some things crossed off my to-do lists (I have four lists, colour-coded, at work--one for the library, one for data entry, one for referrals, and one for personal/professional items outside of work. I'm getting it all finished one step at a time, but I'm glad it's Friday tomorrow. I suspect several people will be off tomorrow, as it's the last day of the Spring meet at the Keeneland race track. The Derby's coming up, of course, and people are gearing up for that.

Last night I wound up listening to the Old Time Radio application with a wartime (WWII) Sherlock Holmes story. It was entertaining. I love old radio shows. Then I listened to some music. I did really well until I put it over to classical, at which point I dozed off. But that was at nearly 10 pm, so not abnormally early. I accidentally found a channel (and I have no idea how to repeat it) with a jazz show on from a station in the south side of Chicago. It was very good. I got up at 11:30 to close the windows and take my medicine, then went to bed till about 7 am. I would have read on the Kindle for awhile but I went to do so and the poor thing's battery needed charging. I've been reading Kindle books on my SpringBoard instead. But I like the Kindle for the e-ink and also the text-to-speech. I like on the tablet how it will give me page numbers, whereas my version of the Kindle, the Kindle 2, doesn't do that. One other difference is that I find that on the tablet I download a book or two at one time, then remove it from the device. If I want to read something else, I have to page through all the different books, and I have almost 300 books. But on the Kindle, they're just on the device, all of them, and in nice little categories, so I can find them more easily. I don't always remember the title when trying to find one on the tablet. For example, I have several omnibus editions of various authors' works (such as Dickens, Hugo, Twain, Poe, Welles, Conan Doyle, Lovecraft, and Haggard, to name a few), and sometimes they're listed under 'Works of...' and sometimes 'Collected Works of...', etc. On the Kindle I just have them under their main genre. So there are good and bad points to each device.

Okay, I had some shrimp étouffée at work, an apple here, plus some lima beans. Time to go do something useful. I'll probably write later. YKWIA told me something that really was blogworthy, but I can't quite recall it. It'll come to me, or if not, I'll call him and find out. In the meantime, hope you're having a good week.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Very sweet and moving spot for marriage equality

Those in Britain may want to check out: http://www.c4em.org.uk/ and sign their petition or e-mail your MP. They even have posters in Welsh. :) Thanks to George Takei for sharing it on Facebook.

Got home before the rain hit, yay

Although I'll point out it's raining and sunny. :) It's been a pretty decent day, although I was a little groggy when I woke up this morning. Too much 70s music too late, I guess. But the birds sang outside my window at work, which was pleasant, and I took a new miniature rose bush I got over the weekend into work and put it near my computer opposite of the oxalis, commonly but incorrectly called a shamrock. And it was nice to see a variety of visitors from all sorts of different faiths and cultures in the dining room, lobby, and recreation today.

In the cafeteria I was pleased to see a vegetarian taco 'meat'. I had a taco for the first time in years. I never think to get the 'ground meat' soy products and do it at home, so if I eat at Taco Bell or someplace like that, I get burritos with beans on them, not tacos. I forgot how messy they were to eat, but didn't get anything on me, at least not until dinner, when some salad dressing made it to my shirt. I would love to be a dainty eater, but I just don't think I have the coordination for it. :)

My co-worker Jill was very pleased with me because I only had one Diet Coke 20 oz. bottle, whereas I drank 64 oz. of water. I usually have at least three of the sodas a day, and a 2 litre or more on Sundays during the game. Instead, one of the first things I did when I came home was fix some ice water, so that's another 8 oz. glass. :)

I returned some books to the library this morning before getting on the bus. I thought about going by this evening, but I have a few books out that I still need to read, so I figured I'd turn my attention to them rather than get more.

Tonight's goal is to stay up to a normal bedtime rather than going to bed for a 'nap' that turns out to be all night. Wish me luck. I have a few things to do in the kitchen and the trash to go out, as the exterminator will be here in the morning and I like to have it look nice in there. I have the DVD Corinna, Corinna out, and that might be fun. There's also maybe a computer game, the game notes, or another project I need to work on to do, so there's plenty to keep me occupied. Oh, and I want to make that salad for work. But first I think I'll get caught up on the news and read for a bit, after getting some more water.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I feel like I've slept a full night

Which is good, as I was sick to my stomach when I went to bed, had a headache, and my feet hurt, despite the medicine.  I woke up and shut the windows.  It's a little cool, although still in the 50s, which is better than the 30s the last few nights,  and rainy outside; I can smell the moisture.

Today I gave blood and it was a good experience; she hit the vein in one. I told her that I needed to take her to my doctor's office, as I often get stuck three or four times before they get one, usually with a butterfly in my hand, and with the doctor himself.  She said I had a monster vein.  Unfortunately, it is the only vein, so if it rolls or they blow it, there's not much blood that's going to come out anywhere else with phlebotomy.  A funny thing happened when the intake person was taking my blood pressure. It stuck at 100. Just sat there.  She had to call someone else in to do it, and it was fine.  And for once my blood sank in the solution and they didn't have to spin it to find out my iron levels. Go, Zippy Zoo Children's vitamins!  They had some country music on and the Reba McIntire version of 'The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia'. The phebotomist was singing to it, and I joined in, at that took up most of the time that I was having my blood drain into the little bag. :)  I know all the words, having learned it as child in the Vicki Lawrence version (although they are slightly different--one says 'Papa', the other 'Daddy', so I adjusted to Reba's version).  Here's the latter:

I was looking at the related videos on the Vicki Lawrence version and then through the various others and there were several I loved as a kid: Jennie C. Riley's 'Harper Valley PTA, Barry McGuire's 'Eve of Destruction', Bobbie Gentry's 'Ode to Billy Joe', Terry Jacks' 'Seasons in the Sun', Paper Lace's 'Billy, Don't Be a Hero', Zager and Evans' 'In the Year 2525', Joan Baez' cover of 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' [originally done by The Band], The Animals' 'House of the Rising Sun' and 'Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood', The Rolling Stones' 'Paint It Black', and one you never hear anymore, but I loved, Paul Revere and the Raiders' 'Cherokee Nation'. But the one I found that just made my little heart leap was 'One Tin Soldier' by The Original Caste (I'm more familiar with the version by Coven that was featured in the film Billy Jack.) These are the types of songs that shaped me into the pseudo-hippie chick I am. :)

PS One more, to chill out with before the evening's through...The Moody Blues' 'Nights in White Satin'. :)

Is it Friday yet?

It seems much later in the week, as Monday and today have been very busy. I'm juggling referrals, the data entry sheets, several literature searches and interlibrary loan requests (we've actually been either even or a net lender of late, but this month we're definitely going to be a net borrower). I have a colour-coded to-do list for the data entry position, the library, and my own personal agenda. Even though I've been marking off items, they seem to be getting longer and longer. In other words, it's going to be a long week.  I appreciate that I am now filling all of my hours without having to take PTO to cover hours I didn't have enough work for.  But I'm not sure I have enough hours in the day. The referrals and data entry get two hours each, the library four, subject to shifts as necessary to complete the work.

Yesterday I had the good fortune to have a crane fly near me. They're quite remarkable; it doesn't look like they should be able to lift off the ground.  After work, I retrieved my tablet from my friends' house and visited for awhile.  Ah, my precious, it's good to have back, although to be honest I was too busy to miss it except on the bus rides.  That's when I check the news in the morning, as well as the weather. And I read, of course, too.

Today I got a ride home, so I've already eaten a dinner of a tomato-basil pizza veggie burger with Havarti cheese, a baked potato, and a bit of fruit. I may have a salad later; I'd like to go ahead and make some up to take to work with me.  It tastes so much better than the cafeteria salads, although the lady who works on the salad bar does an excellent job there.

I've got the windows open and it's in the 60s with a light breeze, so that's nice. I think I'll relax for awhile and try to get some of the things on list finished.

PS I'm so tired from the weekend and this week that I fell asleep in my chair in front of the computer. I think a nap is in order, and I'll just have to hope I'm not going to sleep the night away.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ha! I really must find a linden tree and see if it really does

Warning: Not really so safe for work....

Our fair town is graced with gingko trees, as the result of the distinguished Henry Clay importing them from China. Have you ever smelled a gingko fruit, particularly once it has fallen? My goodness, it's foul--positively putrescent. I'll take linden trees any time, no matter how they smell. I also love Robert Webb's 'walk' on his knees as Queen Victoria.

I cannot believe I just did that

So it's late, and I just got back from the game, and the gamemaster called me to let me know I'd left my SpringBoard over at his house. The plan is to go over tomorrow after work and pick it up. But it was such a brainless thing to do, although I will say it's the first time I've left it anywhere. I did leave the Kindle once at work, locked in my desk. And my phone once at home. So I'm not doing this sort of thing all the time. This is why I do normally put it back in my bag after reading the game notes. The sad thing is I'm not as tired as I normally am after a night's gaming--I went light on the caffeine during the game and drank the Sparkling Ice mostly, which has B vitamins and other things that might have perked me up. Plus, I got snacks yesterday and didn't have to wake up early to make a grocery run in the wee hours of the morning. So I'm not sure why I walked off and left it where it was. We are almost to the climax of our adventure and had just fought off two Bigfoot (Bigfeet?) in the game, so I guess my mind was on that, and what to do next.

It's been a fairly busy weekend. Yesterday I spent with friends and watched two episodes of 'Lark Rise to Candleford'. Today I took care of a dead animal that the dogs had brought up to the step, cleaned in preparation for the game, did the big Kroger run, and although I'm not exhausted, I am a bit tired and I'm going to go on to bed. Good night.

PS In celebration of Earth Day, the buses were free to ride today and I got a free shopping bag (not the big reusable tote bags, but a thin one of rip-stop nylon that folds up into a very small space but holds quite a bit of stuff.) Thanks LexTran!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


From a Presbyterian minister in Texas, Jim Rigby: Ten Things I wish the Church Knew About Homosexuality

Thanks to my childhood friend Jody for sharing that with me. :)

I can tell it's going to be cool and rainy tomorrow

by the pressure in my sinuses and aching all over. There are a few kinks to getting older, but I guess it beats the alternative. Fortunately, the Gods created man, and man created ibuprofen.

I was going to go to bed, and did actually sleep for a couple of hours, given that it was a long and productive week, but now I find my mind racing about. See, I applied for a job yesterday that I think I would be really good at, and I'm hoping for an interview (of course), so I'm running through interview questions and answers in my head. That might be a bit premature, but never a wasted exercise, I suppose. It's a consumer health library here in Lexington, with a good salary and benefits. I meet all the qualifications, I have the experience and the expertise. I work really well in teams and one-on-one, and I'm very good at interacting with people from all walks of life. But I tend to give bad interviews, mainly because I get nervous. But if I'm called for an interview, I'm going to try to stay as relaxed as possible. One thing I've learned over 15 years of being a librarian (with some help from YKWIA)--the people you're talking to are basically the same as you. They have hopes, aspirations, dreams, rent or mortgages, kids, pets, issues, whatever. The permutations are individual, but there's still a kinship. They're not God just because they're highly skilled surgeons or in a position of authority over you. They are simply human, with the benefits and foibles that come with that. So, I'll try to keep that in mind. It makes it ever so much easier to talk to a group of people asking you questions.

Today Lindsey, the woman at work who gave me so many rides, gave me one last ride home. I helped her carry her stuff out to the car. If I could get the above job, we'd be working for the same employer, but it's a much bigger workplace (the university). :)

Tomorrow I'm going to go over to visit friends for awhile. There's no need to do game notes this week; I finished them last week and just have to transfer them so they're portable.

Wow, maybe I just needed to blog to relax--I'm starting to get sleepy. At least I got up and paid the cable, phone, and electric bills. Hope your week went well and that your weekend will be fun.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Had to take some things home today so I wouldn't be the 'cat lady' there

I had these stuffed cat pillows on either side of my monitor that look very realistic, the type that's a printed image front and back that is then sewn together and stuffed with polyfill. I think they creeped the IT guy who was upgrading my computer today, because they stare straight ahead, which was a little unnerving at first, but I've long since gotten used to them.

I told myself awhile back that if I got Windows 7 at work and could use the same cat theme as I do at home, I'd go ahead and take the stuffed cats home. Well, I got that today. There are just a few glitches with the upgrade they're working on (mainly that I need to change my browser settings for DOCLINE and PubMed to work correctly, but those settings are not accessible), but otherwise it went swimmingly. And I was able to get the cat slideshow on my desktop. So, the pillows came home. My desk looks a bit bare without them, but you can only have so many cat images in one place before they start wondering about you. Especially if you don't actually have cats at home.

I saw a comic today that reminded me of my best friend. It's the comic Non Sequitur. Check out the link; Danae, the young girl, stalls for time in a very eloquent manner. :)

I'll write later. Have a good night.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

May I just say

loratadine (generic Claritin) is a wonderful thing. I can actually breathe today!!! Woo-hoo! The windows are going up!


That's how many steps I did today, which was an average day in terms of walking. That's almost 10,000, so I feel pretty good about that. Maybe I'm not such a sloth after all. Well, I do walk very slowly, but at least I'm walking. I walked about 3 miles. Not bad, not bad.

The pie was a success. It wasn't the best, it didn't win a prize, but it was fun to make and it was well-received. There were only 1 1/2 slices left when I went to check later. I had the half slice, because I wanted to see how this one came out (better than the other; I'm glad I went with this one, as the custard came out to exactly the right consistency, the nutmeg was well-blended, and the crust was better), and then I gave the last piece away. Neither pie was particularly bourbon-y; it was very subtle, blending with the nutmeg and egg, giving it more a robustness than any strong flavour.

At the actual pie tasting part of things, I had a little just a bit (a dab of crust and a spoonful of berries) of a blueberry pie/cobbler that was made with Splenda. I really need to learn to cook with that. I would have, had I had more experience with it. One thing that the custard did though was the sugar crystallised on top, giving it a sparkling appearance. I'm not sure Splenda would do that for the appearance.

The rest of the day was quite busy and flew by quickly. I found out one of the co-workers who regularly gave me rides home when I was on the old schedule (the one I was with when the duck got knocked over, and who had the adventure with at the mall), has found a new job and her last day is tomorrow. I have something small I'm going to give her in appreciation for all she did for me. I wish her well in this new place, which will better utilise her background.

I'm tired, having stayed up so late, but someone sent me a job description and it closes today, so I really need to work on that before doing anything else. I'll try to write later.

One more post before going to bed

So, the pie tastes pretty good, although I'm not sure it will win any awards. The bourbon is there but rather subtle, I think, with the nutmeg being a little stronger. The crust on the bottom of the one I tried was a little tough, yet flaky; I think it may have been because that was the one on a cookie sheet; the other I lifted partway out of the pie pan and it looked lighter and better.

By the way, when dealing with custard pies, I found two secrets to making sure the bottom wasn't mushy. One, you can brush some egg white on the crust before baking. Two, this recipe called for me to bake the crust for a few minutes at a higher temperature (in this case 400) and then put the filling in and bake at a lower temperature (in this case 325). That part of it worked out well; there was no mushiness. Also, the one thing I almost forgot was to tent the edges of the pie with aluminium foil to prevent them from burning. Again, that mostly worked, despite the fact I was putting them on slightly after I put the pies in the oven. :)

Okay, I'm going to write a note to myself to put the whipped cream in the bag with everything else tomorrow morning so I don't forget (obviously it has to stay in the refrigerator till then). The nutmeg's in the bag already. All that's left to do is put the one pie in its plastic encasement and put it in the fridge. Come to think of it, I think I'll just put that in the bag, with the whipped cream and nutmeg, and put it all in the fridge--it won't hurt the nutmeg. Okay, sleepiness has finally caught up with me. And with that, I bid you adieu. Good night.


Not too bad for someone who hasn't baked a pie from scratch since high school. The crust could be a little prettier, but hey, a little whipped cream on it and no one will know. Just kidding. The real trick, though, is if they taste decent. That's still to be determined.

Okay, time to take my contact outs. They're starting to bother me and I'm getting some kind of film on it that makes it difficult to see properly.

Thanks for putting up with my pie updates. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Well, cleanup has been accomplished and the pies have about 20 minutes left

The crust isn't the prettiest, but it looks like it's going to be tasty, so I might lose points on presentation and get some elsewhere. Brandon suggested that since I had enough ingredients, I do two pies to determine if it comes out okay, that way I can taste one. I'm not sure what to do with the rest of the pie in that case, but hey. I guess I can take it later in on Friday for the lunch crew. I used up all the bourbon in the tiny airplane bottle. The crust recipe was for two crusts, but I had to double the recipe for the custard, so instead of putting a whole thing of bourbon in, I made two batches. Each has a little over 2 Tbsp. of bourbon in it.

It was nice to bake again. I did have to bring out my mixer to get the custard smooth. I'm not used to doing custards, and despite the fact that the ingredients were the same for each, the nutmeg clumped a bit on one (that'll probably be the one I keep in reserve). Amazingly, I got very little on me, and could have done it wearing pearls and one of those poufy 50s dresses as long as I had an apron. Cleanup wasn't too hard, either. I put the dishes that could be run through the dishwasher in there, washed all the hand washables, wiped down the counters and worktable. So there's just waiting till midnight, putting a knife in to see if they're done, and if not, cook about 10 more minutes. Then I'll let them cool and taste the one and wrap it up, and put the other in the covering that came with the pie pans (a top cover locks into a bottom plastic plate with the aluminium pie plate inside).

I went ahead and got some of those Sparkling Ice drinks, too, and I've tried the orange-mango and coconut-pineapple, and can give two thumbs' up for them.

I think I'll be staying up for awhile with the pies. It makes for a good day that I didn't just come home and crash, which means I can obviously stay up. I fall asleep when I'm bored or trying to avoid other things (like cleaning house or doing laundry).

PS While I was at UK today I got a UK library card. I didn't check anything out, but it's nice to be able to. :)

Time to really get going

I've made the crust and it's been in the refrigerator for almost an hour. Time to let it warm up a few minutes and then roll it out, put it in the pan, bake it for five minutes to set the dough in preparation for the custard, and then make the custard, put it in, and bake it fully. Wish me luck! I'll probably be finished by midnight or so. :)

Crazy, in so many ways, and so sad

Mother slain, baby abducted: kidnapper had suffered miscarriage: Verna McClain, who has been accused of killing a young mother and stealing her baby, is said to have been trying to replace the one she lost
McClain had told her fiancé she had given birth to their child. Instead, McClain had miscarried, said Capt. Bruce Zenor of the Montgomery County sheriff's office.

Her fiancé, who was not identified Wednesday, is being interviewed by authorities.

Sheriff Tommy Gage said 28-year-old Kala Golden had placed Keegan into her pickup truck Tuesday afternoon after leaving Northwoods Pediatric Center in Spring, about 20 miles north of Houston. The suspected shooter was parked next to her, Gage said.

The woman repeatedly shot Golden, then snatched the child from her truck and drove away, according to witness accounts. The dying woman leaned into the vehicle and tried to take the boy back, screaming, "My baby!" but her attacker sped off.
Even dying, she tried to save her three-day-old child. It's so sad that this little boy will never know his mother, because of a random, crazy act. McClain has stated that she was looking for any baby, rather than targeting a particular mother and child. I'm so glad the baby is okay, though.

Whew! Just got home

I had a webcast from the Medical Library Association at the University of Kentucky Medical Center Library today and got to see some of my fellow medical librarians and speak to the former chair of the committee I'm chairing now about upcoming events at the annual meeting in Seattle in May. I'm not able to go, but she is, and she volunteered to take care of the booth and man it during on of our activities, for which I am very grateful, as it's during the same time as our section meeting and I wasn't sure I could find someone to do it.

I have a pedometer that I wore today. I knew I'd be doing a lot of walking around UK and wondered if I could reach the magic '10,000 steps' they talk about. Well, I made it past 12,000! Woo-hoo! This meter measures passive walking (that is, steps I take walking across the room or through the hallways as well as exercise-style walking. Not all of them do. So all the steps counted. It also kept total time walking, calories burned, and distance walked.) I walked about four miles today. Now obviously, today wasn't a normal day. But I'm going to try to wear it and figure out what is normal. I do walk to and from the bus stop, and then around the hospital several times a day, plus occasional attempts at going for a walk.

After the webcast, I took the bus into the transit centre and changed back to my normal bus, then stopped at Liquor Barn for a teensy, tiny bottle of Buffalo Trace bourbon and then walked over to Kroger (again with the walking) and shopped for the ingredients I needed for the pie. It was relatively straightforward. I needed flour, sugar (I got a small bag/box of each), vanilla, nutmeg (I think I have some somewhere in my cabinet, but didn't want to chance it, and it's probably years old anyway), eggs, unsalted butter, and some whipped cream (I'm making everything else from scratch, except this...but it is from real cream and not that oil stuff). I also got a package of pie pans WITH LIDS, something I need for taking a pie to work with me on the bus, which should be an adventure in and of itself.

Anyway, we'll see if this turns out to be an absolute disaster or not. I'm going to eat some more Indian food with the rice I cooked yesterday (I think I'll try the chickpea curry this time) and then cut up my butter and get it really cold to start the process. There's a lot of freezing and refrigerating in this recipe to produce a really flaky crust. Both recipes, however--the crust and the custard--are pretty straightforward. The only real question is the bourbon. In the original recipe I found, 1 Tbsp of bourbon was used, but then I realised it was a recipe for a bourbon custard and not a pie at all. The custard is cooked and then the bourbon is added when it cools. But I'm going to be baking my custard in the pie shell, so I thought I might need to increase the bourbon because it's being cooked and presumably the alcohol will cook out, leaving just the flavour. I did find one recipe that involved a custard pie with bourbon in it that used 3 Tbsp. (although it also had bacon in it, which sounds disgusting, but I guess for meat eaters it would be okay). So I think I'll go with that and see how it turns out; if it's a bit strong, well, at least we're not going to get drunk off it. I'll take the whipped cream with me and put it on right before the contest, sprinkling a little nutmeg on it.

This sounded interesting, and I asked several people if they thought it or a transparent pie would be good for the contest, and everyone voted for bourbon (except A and YKWIA, the latter of whom I think didn't give an opinion one way or another and was just amused that I was trying this). But I really did spend three years, albeit long ago, baking in Future Homemakers of America, even though I never really learned to cook. But the ironic thing is between my dislike of bourbon (at least in bourbon balls, I'm just not a fan) and my diabetes, I don't actually plan on eating the pie, except maybe a little taste just to see how I did. So there you go.

While I was at Kroger I also got some generic Claritin. 10 pills of Claritin are almost $11. 10 pills of Kroger brand are $1.99. I got a bottle of 60 for $7.96. 45 Claritin tablets were something like $30. Go generics. I don't care so long as they work, and my allergies have been so bad, this week especially. A co-worker gave me some Advil Cold & Sinus earlier today and it helped. But before that my breathing was very wheezy and I actually had to use my inhaler, which is usually a once or twice a year thing and I've been using it maybe once every two weeks, and probably should more than that. With the early spring, the grass and tree pollen is happening at the same time. I think that's my main problem. I'm allergic to all sorts of grasses and trees as well. I think I'm okay around evergreens, but I'm not sure they checked for that. But oak? Bleh. I start having trouble the moment those buds on the maples start, which this year was back in January.

Okay, time to go get something to eat and then start the pie process. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One charity I support when I can

is Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders. There is a blog entry on their site that really touched me about the frustration a doctor feels watching a young mother whose child died in her vagina during the days it took to get to their hospital, going into sepsis and eventually losing her own life as well, despite their efforts. In our country, the baby would have been delivered before it had a chance to kill its mother, and perhaps mother and baby would have been fine. But in South Sudan, it is another world entirely.

I think I may have found an alternative to soda [in addition to regular water, of course]

Someone at work introduced me to Sparkling Ice, a sparkling water flavoured with natural flavours and Splenda (which, although an artificial sweetener, is probably better than aspartame). They also have vitamins and antioxidants in them. I tried some Coconut Pineapple and it was very good. They have other flavours like orange-mango, black raspberry, kiwi-strawberry, lemonade, lemon-lime, and pomegranate-berry. Apparently Kroger has a special on them so they're $1 a bottle, which is cheaper than a single soda. They still taste good if they go flat, too, according to her. And there's no caffeine.

Just for those out there going, 'but plain water is fine', yes, it is, and I'm drinking the equivalent of ten cups of water a day, but I also have about three sodas. And on game day, when I normally drink a two-litre of Diet Sunkist, I could bring a couple of these and drink regular water the rest of the night. It's an idea, anyway...I'll check at the store when I go tomorrow to pick up pie ingredients. They're having a pie contest at work and I'm going to try to make a bourbon custard pie. We'll see how it goes. But the list of ingredients I need isn't long (I just had the salt, none of the other staples like flour, but I should have that on hand, anyway.)

Just now I had some very tasty basmati rice with rajma masala (a red kidney bean curry), the latter from Kitchens of India. I discovered that Amazon sells a variety or two I never see in the store, plus multi-packs at a nice price. Sadly, I did not have fresh naan for my dinner, or naan at all. But the curry was good. And I made enough rice for tomorrow's dinner (I would take it for lunch, but then one of my co-workers would go on about how it stinks--she does every time.) Personally I think Indian food smells wonderful. The same goes for Thai food. A former co-worker of mine who was from Thailand had to endure an officemate who insisted that her food smelled like feet. Really.

I got the report I needed to do finished and turned it in, and they were happy with it, even though it's a bit late. Now for that book review....

Monday, April 16, 2012


I think I looked a bit drunk coming home, as my balance was worse than normal. I don't know if is the allergies/crud I've got going on, or if it's because my blood sugar is 106, which is very good, but since I'm used to being higher, it means I might get a little loopy. Thank goodness I ate a small snack before coming back from my friends' house.

Despite feeling so awful this morning that I seriously considered staying home (I had a group donating books coming in this afternoon, and it would have been difficult to reschedule--that's basically why I didn't call in, along with the fact I wasn't on death's door), I got lots done today, more than all of last week most likely, although I built on all the work I did then. But it just seemed to come together. Yay! And I did feel better in the afternoon, although towards evening it started to worsen, meaning it may actually be a cold. We'll see. I've been very lucky over the almost two years I've been doing the second job at the hospital--I haven't missed for illness, or for that matter, been sick.

Tomorrow I hope to continue this productivity. Wednesday is a webcast at the UK Medical Library on mobile technologies. Friday is the upgrade to Windows 7. So it'll be a busy week.

I've eaten and I don't feel woozy anymore, so I suppose it was a reaction to my blood sugar being lower than normal. Hopefully my body will adjust and the levels lower. I've noticed in the morning it's running just about at 200, whereas before it would be, say 270-280, so that's a huge improvement, and by evening it's near normal or even normal. And I'm feeling better overall, except for the crud. :)

Okay, time to take some hard boiled eggs that have been cooking and run cold water over them.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I've been a loyal Firefox user for a long time

But after 45 minutes of it locking up on me, I decided to try Google Chrome (not the for the first time; I think I tried it when it first started, but one of the IT guys at work and I were talking the other day and it's what he uses at home, mainly because the Google Toolbar, with Google's bookmarks, no longer work with Firefox, and he likes to be able to access them. So, I was considering trying it again--the problem with the freeze-up just really galvanised me to do so). One thing I notice is that this page no longer loads in the middle. Not sure what was up with that, but whenever I viewed it in Firefox, it did so, and I'd have to scroll up.

It imported a lot of my settings; I'm not sure about the passwords though. We'll see. In the meantime, my space bar just got horribly stuck. I'm not having good computer karma tonight and am considering just going on to bed rather than try to get anything else done this weekend.

Oh, speaking of computers, I am really excited that we are finally moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 at work and I'm getting my upgrade on Friday. Woo-hoo.

Gods, I am such a geek.

Anyway, hope you had a good weekend, and that the week ahead is a good one.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

You'll get a kick out of this

I came across a picture of me today from when I was eleven. 'Little House on the Prairie', the television series, was in full swing, since it was 1978, hence the calico dress my mother made. And I look so stereotypically like I'm going to be a librarian, don't I? Of course I haunted the school library and, later, the public one. And in high school I was a library aide. For someone who didn't intend to be one, I didn't have a chance, did I? And look at those 70s glasses!

Well, all but the report and review are finished

And it turns out that we're not gaming tomorrow (one of the players is ill), so I'll be going over later than normal but I'll be getting home earlier, too, as the last bus out from my friends' house is at 7:38, and that gets me to the 8:20 bus that is the last one leaving the station, and home by 9.

So, I think I'll stop my endeavours for now and do the review and report tomorrow, to have them ready Monday. They really shouldn't take too long.

I have to catch the bus by about 8:30, but get a few things from the Richmond Road Kroger first (they have fava beans, and I don't think Euclid does), so that means walking over. Or I may take the 7:45 bus in, and that should give me plenty of time without waiting ages. That will get me over there by 10. I need to get up by 7, then, giving me about 2 hours to sleep in than normal on a Sunday.

Okay, I think I'm going to say good night and so something fun that doesn't involve cleaning or being on the computer, since I've been sitting here for something like four hours.

Oh. This is so sad, and yet shows how loyal animals can be

Video shows dog braving traffic on Southern CA road to stay by fatally struck canine pal
Los Angeles county animal control officials are heralding the loyalty of a black Labrador retriever that braved traffic to stay by another dog that was fatally struck by a car.
The dog, now named Grace, is in good condition, but no one has come forward as her owner, so she will soon be put up for adoption. What a loyal and brave dog. I hope she finds a wonderful home.

Video: Brave Black Labrador Keeps Vigil in Traffic Next to Golden Retriever Killed By Car (Graphic Content)
[The graphic content is the recently deceased Golden Retriever].

Here is the video. Grace laid down on the ground and stayed with her companion. Some kind humans put out some traffic cones so that she could stay and then animal control took her to the shelter. There is a close-up picture of her at the above link. She's a beautiful dog, about 2 years old.

And yes, I'm crying.

So exciting

Vatican and Oxford libraries announce joint digital conversion of some manuscripts, books
Owen M. Smith, associate professor of Philosophy and Classical Studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, says it would be “absolutely fantastic. Right now a professional scholar has to spend the time and money to visit dozens of different libraries and do meticulous copying of the passages involved and then (take the) comparisons back home and it can take years to put out a critical edition.

“Now that these things are online, they can be accessed from a desktop that would greatly increase the availability of these works and decrease the time and expense involved in having access to them.”
And the nice thing is that I can actually read some of it. :)

Well, I've accomplished a lot this morning

I washed the dishes, including some jars I was getting the labels off to reuse, took out all the trash and recyclables, did four loads of laundry (five if you include a sink full of hand-washables that are now hanging to dry). And I think my jeans that had gotten muddy during a dog fight are almost to the point where I could wear them to work on jeans day. I'll check later when they're completely dry--I haven't been putting them in the dryer so the stains wouldn't set. Not bad for a morning.

While I was putting the clothes into the washers, a sudden downpour lasting something like two minutes happened. I'm glad I got to head back to the apartment without getting wet, but it was a little odd. Then, as I was wheeling my hamper of clean clothes back in the granny cart (I love my granny cart--I use it for the recyclables, too), I startled a medium-sized brown snake as I was going down the steps to my building. They like to hang out around the buildings sometimes because it's warmer, I think. My friend A would probably never come to visit me if he knew there were snakes nearby. He doesn't even like to go into his shed or backyard because they might be there. But I don't see a lot, so he'd probably be safe, or at least in the winter. :)

The sun keeps trying to peek out. I still have all the computer/document work to do plus the bathroom. I think I'm going to take a bit of a break and then start with the bathroom. Then I may take a shower (I really look horrendous--I'm not one of those people who can wash their hair every couple of days or even the night before without it looking disheveled and greasy), once the bathroom's clean and of course, I have nice clean towels that smell of lavender and sandalwood. Then I can happily work on the other projects. Though I may look for that book, first.

PS Eureka! It is found! It was on a bookshelf of random books in the bedroom, tucked between two James Herriot books. Go figure. One day I will have everything catalogued into LibraryThing, and in absolute order. One day.

Excellent attitude

'I Won't Be a Bystander': One Principal's Reaction to Seeing Bully
Not everyone has been a victim or a bully, but we’ve all been bystanders. If you doubt this, watch Bully.

The film opened in Los Angeles last weekend, and as I watched it, I saw footage of students being stabbed, punched, and yelled at. I saw a student grasping his head because it had been smashed into a nail, and heard another student recount being run over by a minivan full of schoolmates. The thread holding these events together was the adults standing by, believing kids are just being kids and wondering why the victims can’t just make the bullying stop.
Bullying has been a problem, well, since they started having schools, probably. I was bullied as a kid, but the adults either turned a blind eye to it, or put the onus onto me by giving me advice of ignoring the bullying, which simply didn't work. My mother did cruise through the base one evening looking for the girls who jumped me on the way home and broke my glasses, ready to turn them over to the security police. But it seems that some kids today lack any empathy for their peers, and will do things unthinkable when I was a kid, like douse someone with an accelerant and set them on fire, or run over them with a car, terrible, deadly things. It's no wonder kids who feel relentless torment commit suicide. This administrator is right--as adults it's important to be proactive in teaching children tolerance and empathy, and also to step in when bullying occurs. It's not the job of the bullied to try to stop it. It's up to the parents, the school teachers, and the administrators, and anyone else who witnesses an act of bullying.

Thanks to Allison Kipta for the link.


  1. Alarm off? Check!
  2. Change into old clothes? Check!
  3. Caffeine? Check!
  4. Breakfast? Check!
  5. Medicine? Check!
  6. Open windows? Check! (Although this might be hell on my allergies given that they're trimming with a weed eater outside my living room. And now they've brought in the lawn mower. Have I mentioned I'm very allergic to grass?)
  7. Water plants? Check!
  8. Feed fish? Check!
  9. Morning dose of 'Now I'm the One That's Cool'? Check!
I think I'm ready to face the day. I skipped the shower for now because I'm just going to get grimy, although I discovered that if you mix short hair, a CPAP harness, and lots of tossing and turning, you get, like, punk hair. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

'I love the smell of used books in the morning'

Richard from AbeBooks gives a primer (in a soothing and authoritative English accent) on the chemistry behind 'old book' smell, which so many bibliophiles love. There's actually a perfume shop in town that's tried to capture the scent in a perfume.

As far as the video, it's nothing that librarians don't already know, but it's a great intro for the general populace to the reasons books decay and the need to keep them dry, away from sunlight, and cool. How many people out there store books in their attics and basements, for example? And then well-meaning folks donate the boxes of mouldy, insect-ridden books to the library for allergic librarians to sift through. :) Hey, it's happened to many of us. This was shared via Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing as retweeted by Lauren Flattery. Thanks for the link!

Okay, time to shut the windows and go to bed. Good night.

Tomorrow's agenda

  1. Game notes. Yes, as usual, I waited till Saturday.
  2. Book review. This is becoming an albatross, which is sad, because I enjoy doing them.
  3. Report. It was due today.
  4. Bathroom. It's a disaster. I'm going to pull everything out and scrub.
  5. Laundry. This includes corralling all the socks around the house trying to escape. I swear they're inching towards the door.
  6. Find my tiny book of diabetic exchanges. Considering I have something like 3,000 books and it is about 3" x 6" by 1/8", this could be a challenge.
  7. Trash and recyclables. As usual.
  8. Do just a few dishes I have. Might as well do it by hand; they're are just a few, and dishwashers dull food processor blades, apparently.
  9. Renew a couple of books from the library. (Well, I managed to renew one. I'll have to take the other in on my way to the bus stop tomorrow morning.)
If there's time, I'll:
  1. Straighten the house some more (in process of finding that book, maybe, or in its aftermath.
  2. Gather the books that aren't on shelves (most are on the table) and find homes for them.
  3. Work on the bedroom closet, without getting smashed by any of the stuff that's in there.
  4. Watch Children of Men so I can return it Monday.
  5. Read. I have several physical books out from the library. Or there's the lovely Thoreau a friend gave me last year for my birthday that I'm still working my way through.

Probably won't be able to do that, but hey, that's what the week ahead really is for. I'll settle with being able to do the first list.

Baboons get tasty treats and teach us about the origins of reading

Baboons can recognize written words, study finds: The monkeys don't assign meaning to them, but learn what letter combinations are common to real words, the study authors say.
Baboons don't read, don't speak and perhaps can't understand language at all. But scientists have found that they can learn to recognize writing on a computer screen, identifying correctly most of the time which combinations of letters are words ("done," "vast") and which are not ("telk," "virt").

The discovery may help explain how reading evolved in humans, researchers said, bolstering a theory that the skill first arose from animals' ability to distinguish objects, rather than from the uniquely human demands of verbal communication.

"Maybe we use letters to read words because we're mimicking what we do with everyday objects," said Jonathan Grainger, a cognitive psychologist at the National Center for Scientific Research and Aix-Marseille University in France and lead author of an article about the research published Thursday in the journal Science.

The lead researcher says:
It is not obvious that people would necessarily perform better in such an experiment, he said.

The baboons performed their tasks "quite happily," apparently motivated by the wheat snack and, Grainger believes, something akin to enjoyment.

"It could be like a video game for them," he mused.

He said he was skeptical that humans could be persuaded so easily to take the time to learn a new alphabet.

It sounded a bit cramped to me, an 82-by-115-foot enclosure, especially to share with other baboons, but that is 9,430 square feet, which is respectably big, even by human standards. The baboons were allowed to come and go as they pleased to play the game and get a tasty treat, although the little booth they show in the article's pictures is a little claustrophobic looking for me, but I don't like to be closed in.

One of the things they mentioned made a lot of sense to me was that 'dyslexia might be more of a visual processing disorder than a problem matching sounds and letters'. I agree, based on how someone with whom I took Hebrew who is dyslexic had to memorise each and every word, rather than going with the pattern of three (generally) letters in a root and prefixes, suffixes, and other changes. For most of us, it's a matter of recognising a pattern, and we can predict it given the base word and the part of speech. This works the same in other languages that conjugate and decline, but it's more complex in Hebrew, I think. I was horrified when I learned he was having to memorise not only every word, but every form of the word. On the other hand, his Hebrew has always been stronger than mine, as is his Greek. (And I think he's gaining on me in Latin; I'm getting rusty.)

Maybe there's something to this slowly increasing my insulin

even though it's taken about a year. My blood sugar before dinner was 127, which is very good for me. And that was with a mid-afternoon snack of cottage cheese and a bit of fresh strawberries with a couple of kiwi slices thrown in. Now if I can just get that morning number down.

I'm now at 95 units of Lantus, taken in doses twice a day of 45, plus 29 units of Novolog at breakfast, 35 at lunch, and 38 at dinner, which seems a lot to me, but then I am a big girl. :) I have also lost four pounds since Monday, which could just be water weight, and my A1c was .4 points lower, which isn't much, but I'm going to take good news where I can.

This has been one of those weeks where I have been extremely busy to the point almost being frenetic, but I didn't get much accomplished, which is very frustrating. Plus, I didn't get much accomplished at home because I kept coming home and crashing after work. And unfortunately I took the last of what was in my insulin pen at lunch. I have more, but it has to be out of the refrigerator for awhile, and I did take it out as soon as I got home, but I can't wait another hour to eat, and with it being end of the work week/Friday, I probably will crash.

The frustrating thing is that it's not like I'm doing farming or roofing or other physical labour (although today I got a workout shelving about 50 thick medical books and bound journals, and shifting 200 small bound journals to fit one in that goes in front). But staring at a computer screen all day, even with frequent shifting and stretching, and navigating phone systems is, well, kind of tiring. Add my blood sugar into the equation and I tend to crash. I feel like the only thing I accomplished this week was finishing the Hunger Games trilogy, and then it was because I was trapped at the doctor's office.

Anyway, that's one reason I haven't blogged--I've been incredibly busy followed by falling into a torpour. Sorry about that.

I'm trying to eat healthier. One thing I've been doing is eating a salad every night. It's a combination of spring greens with herbs, red & yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, cucumber, croutons, a slice of Havarti cheese, and a store-bought balsamic vinaigrette, really simple and rather white bread, but it's so much better than the salads I get at work, even when they have the baby lettuces, too (I really dislike iceberg lettuce, which I find tasteless). It's not anything up to YKWIA's standards (he is an excellent cook and salad maker), but it's been nice to have.

Speaking of YKWIA, who is my greatest critic, he told me today that the short haircut really suited me. Since his praise is only given when truly earned, I took that to heart. It's starting to look like the original picture, but I'll probably have to go back in about 2-3 weeks for a trim.

My neighbour is out for her nightly walk with her cat. Enough said.

Okay. Tonight I'm going to try to do some things I'm sadly behind on. Really. So good night, unless I blog some more later. :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I was in the doctor's office when I read

the last few pages of Mockingjay, which was a problem, as it made me cry despite trying to keep from doing so. I think the third book was the quickest read for me, given that I was doing it as time permitted, but it moved fast, no doubt due to all the action. Like the Harry Potter series, there's an aspect of the story that is a coming-of-age tale in the midst of war. There's also an epilogue that basically gives you some of the good in the ruins of the bad. But in the The Hunger Games trilogy, the story is told in first person, so you get a real sense of how an increasingly complex situation transforms the main character and those around her. It is grim at times, and yes, there is violence and people die, horribly, too--but there is a sense of 'this is reality; this is no worse than real life can be'. In the book the character Peeta must keep asking himself the question, 'Real or not real?' The characters and the reader have to make their way through lies, plans within plans, and decipher motives. Suzanne Collins has done a superb job in the development of the story and the main characters, and the term Hunger Games turns out to mean far more than just the televised spectacle of the first book. This is the first series in awhile that really riveted me. I really hope the second and third books are translated well to film, as well. I highly recommend all three books: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.

Never unpack something

at 4 in the morning. You will invariably miss the one part that makes everything work, and feel very stupid after trying to get things to match up without it. Thank goodness for well done diagrammes and a 'spot hidden' roll (a game term) for finally realising there was something hiding in plain sight near the edge of my workspace. At least I didn't break anything.

Is there any point in going back to sleep now?

PS This is especially true if the object in question is a food processor with sharp blades. Fortunately, I did not cut myself.

I woke up because I was cold

All the windows were open when I fell asleep. So now it's nearly 3:30 am and only 49 degrees outside, so it's a bit nippy in here. It's been seven and a half hours. I never heard my alarm, or a phone call, although my phone was buried in my bed so I apparently tried to do something to make the noise stop, and I'd turned it up as high as it could go.

On the plus side, my back feels much better. :)

So here's the plan: Go back to bed for about an hour and a half. Wake up at 5 am. Do laundry; work on book review. Go to work. Tackle the bathroom when I get home, after doing some time on the exercise bike. I'm trying to alternate between walking and riding for exercise. The latter will hopefully help me stay up to work on the bathroom.

PS I definitely should have closed the windows before I went to sleep. I'm very congested and my eyes are watering badly. Don't you love spring allergies? And they're so abundant this year.

Monday, April 09, 2012

So glad I'm home

I had one of those days at work that fly by, leaving you wondering if you actually accomplished anything, even though you stayed busy. In other words, I guess it was a typical Monday. But three things made me sad/bothered me today:
  1. I did my weekly weigh-in and I weigh more than I ever have. I haven't broken the 300 lb mark but I'm very close at 297.
  2. A chief of staff emeritus, who was very instrumental in creating the library in the first place, asked if the exploratory committee that is looking into moving the hospital had incorporated the library into their plans. I had to tell him that although I'm not 100% sure about the collection, my position is not going, and I'm assuming the library itself will not be either. He was sympathetic and more than a little disappointed, I think.
  3. Given these two things, I decided to clear by head by taking a walk during my break around the parking lot. My, how sad. I walked only a half a mile in 13 minutes. My feet bothered me, but the real kicker was my lower back, which was awful. I averaged 2 1/2 miles an hour, although I started out a bit too strong at 4 1/2 (but that was downhill). After I came back in, I had some water and a V-8, but my head really bothered me. And I had to use my inhaler. So in other words I'm a total fitness wreck. I've never been in shape, really, but I've never been this out of shape, either. But I guess you have to start somewhere.

On the way home, I was really craving some fresh veggies, so I made an impromptu stop at the store only to miss the bus by seconds, and the next one wasn't for another hour, so I walked home, heavily laden. I got home just as the next bus was pulling out of the station, but probably about 30 minutes earlier than I would have otherwise.

So, all that plus being up from 6 am till 1 am yesterday (I cleaned my friends' house, we went to get mulch, we went to Kroger, and then we played until 11 pm or so, and then I talked on the phone with the game master till one in the morning as part of our weekly debriefing, if you will) means I'm very tired. I have things to do, but I'm going to lie down for just a bit to stretch out my back, with a pillow under my knees to help. The plan is not to go to sleep, but let's face it, I probably will. But with any luck I can get up and get things done a little later. We'll see. Carrying laundry is not going to help my back, I know, but some at least has to be done tonight or early tomorrow morning. And there's that book review, and I really don't want to put it off. For now, though, I'm going to take some ibuprofen and my foot medicine and prop myself up on pillows to try to get a little more comfortable.
'The Hunger Games' ignites the ALA's list of most challenged books

Reasons given: '"anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence"'. Huh? Violence I get; but having made it through three-quarters of Mockingjay I think I can say that Collins handles the violence very decently, much better than the average TV show. Would I want my six-year-old reading it? Probably not. But for the age group it's geared to, it's fine. Really.

What I love is that there are people who don't even read the books that complain.
Barbara Jones, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, told the Associated Press that many of the complaints leveled against "The Hunger Games" books focused on the film version directed by Gary Ross. "There was complaining about the choice of actors for the film," she said. "You had people saying someone was dark-skinned in the book, but not in the film, or dark-skinned in the film and not in the book. In general, a lot more people were aware of the books and that led to more kinds of complaints."

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Well, I got a lot finished

But as usual, I was overly ambitious. So over the next week I'll try to get everything else.

  1. Sunday--Grocery
  2. Monday--Book review and laundry
  3. Tuesday--Bathroom
  4. Wednesday--More in living room and dining room, including vacuuming
  5. Thursday--Bedroom, including vacuuming
  6. Friday--New game notes
  7. Saturday--? Anything else...
Plus finishing Mockingjay in there somewhere, like maybe at lunch and on the bus.

But I must say the kitchen looks divine, and things look better all around. Okay, it's almost 2 am and I have to get up at 5 or so. Have a good night.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

It's turning into a fairly productive day

Although I made the mistake earlier of going to the bedroom to read and falling asleep from about 12:30-2. Still, I got up, finished the kitchen, collected the trash and recyclables, took some out already, gathered up my library books into one place, straightened up some in the living room (still working on that), etc. I think tomorrow is the day we go to the store before the game, and if that's the case, I may wait to go to Kroger tomorrow. I checked, and Kroger has regular hours on Easter. So I'm going to focus on the bathroom as far as any remaining cleaning goes, take out the rest of the trash and recyclables, do a couple of loads of laundry tonight while I work on game notes, that sort of thing. That's the major stuff, anyway. I can finish the rest of the straightening up over the course of the week.

Taking a break while the floor dries

I put Big Country's The Seer on and worked very steadily on the kitchen for two hours, doing stuff like the dishes, but also taking apart the stove and getting underneath the burners, washing the drip pans, rearranging cabinets, that sort of thing. So yes, the kitchen was a wreck, but I did some other stuff I wouldn't normally do. I really need to go through the bottom cabinet (sad to say, my kitchen is rather small, so I only have one), too, but not today. I still need to clean out the fridge and wash the glassware. So not too much to do left to do in the kitchen.

I have the windows open and it's very nice. A couple of people just walked by. One of them was walking her cat on a leash. :)

I've eaten a little, think I might read for just a bit while the floor dries completely. Unlike my friends' tile, it's rather hard to tell when the patterned linoleum is completely dry. It's the type that's shiny on its own.

I have a Saturday to myself

and it's a beautiful one with cloudless blue sky. The birds are singing and I heard a woodpecker. At first I thought it was in the marsh, but it's up in the neighbourhood somewhere. It's only 39 degrees at present (there was a frost warning last night), but it's supposed to be 67 later. So, what's a girl to do on her day off?

  1. Wake up at 8:45.
  2. Take shower, get dressed (without the thickener goop and blow dry for the hair).
  3. Walk over to the laundry room and scope out how busy it is while getting a Diet Coke from the machine. Blessed caffeine in the morning. It's pretty busy, so it looks like I'd better wait on laundry till later today.
  4. Check blood sugar, take insulin, and take my other medicine. I haven't been great with my insulin. Yesterday I went out of the house inexplicably without my little baggie of pen needles, and even though I had my medicine, couldn't take it while I was out.
  5. Eat breakfast (hazelnut spread on oat bran bread).
  6. Put some music on.
  7. Turn on all the lights (I have a southern exposure in my apartment, so the best light is in the afternoon. It's fairly dark right now.
  8. Open the windows (once it warms up).
  9. Begin with the kitchen.
    1. Wash dishes, both in the dishwasher and by hand.
    2. Clean counters, island, and stove.
    3. Clean out refrigerator.
    4. Sweep.
    5. Mop.
  10. Move on to the bathroom.
    1. Clean sink, toilet, and bath.
    2. Sweep floor.
    3. Mop.
    4. Do baseboards.
  11. Go through house and gather up various stuff that can be thrown away or recycled.
  12. Straighten up living and dining areas.
  13. Vacuum them.
  14. Gather up laundry.
  15. Straighten up bedroom.
  16. Vacuum bedroom.
  17. Go to Kroger (I have only one roll of toilet paper left. This is not acceptable.) Bring the granny cart.--Go tomorrow when we do the grocery run.
  18. Do laundry.
  19. Take out the trash and recyclables.
  20. Do game notes.
  21. Do a book review that totally slipped my mind and is overdue.
  22. Read and if possible finish Mockingjay.
So, do you think I can accomplish most of it? I've prioritised by bolding the things that must be done.

Friday, April 06, 2012

May I just say

that I'm now more than halfway through Mockingjay and this is one of those trilogies that gets better and better the further along it goes. In a way, I'm going to be sad to see it end--but I'm hoping I'll be satisfied with how Collins takes the story. So far though, she's batting a thousand. And she's done an excellent job with her characters, particularly Katniss, of course, and the complexity of the Games--especially once they leave the arena.

Were you geeky in school? Bullied? This is our anthem!

I'd like to dedicate this song to the four girls who jumped me as I was walking home from junior high, hit me, tore my coat, broke my glasses, and generally caused me all sorts of angst. Oh, and let's not forget the gum in the hair, and my personal favourite, fish guts in my locker in high school.

The folks at The Guild have done it again. I actually downloaded this song from Amazon (what's the point of having a gift card balance if you don't use it? Thanks, Momma!) It is so going on my phone. :) Thanks to YKWIA for sharing it with me...he knew I'd relate.

This song makes me so HAPPY and upbeat!

Here are the lyrics:
Oh, no. Don't pretend I didn't see
You roll your eyes at my gaming tee
Don't know if you can read or if you've seen
The sweet piece in this week's Wired magazine
The latest trend has hit its peak
They say that geek's becomin' chic
So now you're out of style as you can be
And I'm in vogue, so you can bite me

To all the asshat jocks who beat me up in school
Now I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool
To all the prom queen bitches thinking they still rule
Now I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool

Try to cop my style but I'm the real thing
While you played sports, I played Magic: the Gathering
Never earned a part of nerd society
My Aquaman pajamas prove my pedigree
Watched my Next Gen every night
Wore a headgear to fix my overbite
Your black-rimmed glasses are prescription free, where as me
I literally can't see my hand in front of my face

To all the asshat jocks who beat me up in school
Now I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool
To all the prom queen bitches thinking they still rule
Now I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool
And to my eighth-grade crush who pushed me in the pool
Now I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool
You may be tan and fit and rich but you're a tool
And I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool

Role reversal must be a total drag
But there's no point, no point for me to humblebrag
I appreciate you for being cruel
I'm burning bright thanks to your rejection fuel
Got my in-jokes you won't get
Like Honey Badger, Troll Face and Nyan Cat
So now your ballin' parties seem so dumb
You can Evite me, and I'll say yes, but I won't really come

Got my comics
Got my games
All the things you thought were lame
Got my cosplay
Fanfic too
Got you pegged

To all the asshat jocks who beat me up in school
Now I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool
To all the prom queen bitches thinking they still rule
Now I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool
And to my eighth-grade crush who pushed me in the pool
Now I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool
You may be tan and fit and rich but you're a tool
And I'm the one that's cool
I'm the one that's cool


I was further along in Catching Fire than I thought, and the ending was so good that I immediately started Mockingjay. Yay! But, I really do need to go to bed. So, good night.

One last thing

Happy Spring...happy cows (no, not the ones from California--these are from an organic farm in the Netherlands). All cows should get to enjoy their pasture.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Five and a half hours later...

I woke up cold because it's 47 degrees outside, the windows were open, and I had a fan going full speed. I'd taken some ibuprofen for my feet and a headache I hadn't realised I had that was bordering on being a migraine (I had some sensitivity to light), as well as my normal foot medication, and after about forty-five minutes of easing discomfort fell asleep, only to wake up just now.

It was ambitious to think I could work on the house after running around all day on the bus, which is pretty tiring, even if you're used to riding it. In all I was out eight hours, rode five buses, dealt with the crowds at the mall (not Christmas-crowds, but the kids are on spring break and there were a lot of people there, even in the middle of the day), saw a rather long movie by today's standards (2 hours, 22 minutes), and was in quite a bit of pain there towards the end. So I guess it's no wonder I slept. Plus, as one friend would put it, it's what I do so well.

So, the house has been postponed till Saturday, which I'm going to do my best to reserve for staying home and getting things in order. I spent most Saturdays in the the past couple of months over at other people's houses, cleaning or helping with various things. One Saturday at home won't hurt anybody. And frankly I think it'll be an all day thing. The amount of laundry alone is mind-boggling. :)

Okay, I'm going to read a little and then head back to bed. I'll try to give you a quick review of the movie right now. Overall, let me say, it was very good, although I really think it helps a person to understand exactly what's going on if you've read the book. There were four minor things that they changed that annoyed, but not terribly: 1) the origin of the mockingjay pin (but I understand that one), 2) the timing of the bread episode (really, you couldn't find someone to play the younger Peeta and Katniss?), 3) the response in district 11 (the most egregious), and 4) the forms in the muttations attack (minor, but important). I did enjoy getting a look behind the Games at how it was put on and accomplished. I also thought Donald Sutherland made a particularly menacing President Snow, although I pictured a very different physical look. Also, I think the actors for Cinna, Rue, and Thresh were dead on perfect for the roles, despite the racist outcries on the part of some fans. Cato was particularly menacing. I was very sceptical of Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, but he did rather well. They also did a very good job with the Capitol people in general. Everyone did an excellent job. I'd go see it again. But the book is definitely worth reading before you go. Good night.

Phase One of Operation Day Off completed

    Well, I got:
  1. To sleep in one hour
  2. All my books that were due at the library dropped off
  3. A money order for my rent from bank (still there as they opened)
  4. My new driver's licence (with a fairly decent picture)
  5. Food from Subway (and I combined two cards, so I have enough points to get a foot-long next time)
  6. A book from the Central Library on Atlantis
  7. To talk with a friend on the phone for a few minutes
  8. A cryptic voicemail that cut in and out that may have been from another friend at work; I don't know his number there
  9. A bus out to Fayette Mall
  10. To see The Hunger Games for free (I had a pass left over from our employee appreciation gift)
  11. A slice of spinach-tomato pizza from Sbarro's at the mall
  12. A bus back
  13. Several chapters read of Catching Fire both on the bus and at the mall; I'm about 3/4 of the way through
  14. A book at the Eagle Creek library branch, a mystery set in ancient Aegypt called Nefertiti by Nick Drake
  15. My rent paid just as the office was about to close (one woman had jacket in hand) and a receipt

Phase Two includes laundry and housework, but I think I'll take about an hour and rest first. My eyes are burning now that I've taken my contacts out (allergies, most likely) and my feet are hurting (time to take my meds). I've got the windows open and the sun is streaming in nicely, and it's just now about the time I get home from work. Hope your day was excellent as well. :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I have a day off. Here's the plan:

  1. Take a slew of books back to the library before they open.
  2. Go to the bank.
  3. Go get my driver's licence renewed.
  4. Go see The Hunger Games.
  5. Do laundry.
  6. Work on the house.
Too ambitious? I'm kind of bored now. I could get a jump on things, but I think I'll read instead. :) I'm reading Catching Fire.

Which sounds better for a pie contest at work?

Transparent Pie with Brown Sugar Meringue, which is basically a form of Chess Pie with Meringue, or Bourbon Custard Pie, which is basically what it sounds like, with a tablespoon of Kentucky Bourbon in it? I'm not really a cook, but I'm a reasonably good baker, or at least have done well in the past. They're having a pie contest to have a bit of fun at work on the 19th, and I'm considering entering. What do you think? Do either of them seem nummy? I'm not a big bourbon fan (at least in bourbon balls), but it's a nice nod to our region. I love chess pie, but in an age of salmonella in eggs, I'm not sure about meringues these days, so I'm leaning towards the custard, although 1) I'm very good at meringues and 2) it could be left off. I'm going to ask the dietitian at work what she thinks about food safety and meringues. And yes, I know, diabetes and pies don't mix. I'm not actually planning to eat the pies anyway, just let others enjoy. And yes, I found a recipe for what looks to be an excellent pie crust as well.

Having studied European history more thoroughly than American

I was not familiar with General Orders 11, a wartime order by Ulysses S. Grant, or its Kentucky connexion in terms of Paducah. But having a background with a major in History with a minor in Judaic Studies, and being born in and a resident of Kentucky, this seemed interesting.

The Exodus From Paducah, 1862: ‘When General Grant Expelled the Jews,’ by Jonathan D. Sarna

More Despicable Me mayhem

:) Maybe I should go as a minion for Halloween.

PS It better be the one with hair. :) I'm not shaving my head, and YKWIA pointed out that might have to happen, unless I did something with plastic.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Did Caravaggio meet a grisly end - with the Vatican's complicity?
Citing documents from the Vatican Secret Archives, an Italian historian argues that 17th-century documents reveal Renaissance artist Caravaggio was assassinated by the Knights of Malta.

The theory is laid out in Vincenzo Pacelli's forthcoming book, Caravaggio – Between Art and Science, which I'm assuming is in Italian. Since my ability to read Italian is solely based on my Latin skills, I probably won't be getting it unless it is translated into English. But, it does sound intriguing.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Not a bad birthday

Although I'm not used to this being 45 thing yet. I'll probably get used to being in my 40s about the time I turn 50.

So anyway:
  1. It was a quiet day at work.
  2. I got a ride home.
  3. I took a nap.
  4. I watched an episode of 'Supernatural'.
  5. I watched most of the NCAA basketball championship game. (Really.) Nice to see my alma mater's team win.
  6. I'm going to bed now.
I'm taking off Thursday to actually celebrate my birthday, plus go to the bank and get my driver's licence renewed. I'll try to work in the movie The Hunger Games. Oh, and today's free application of the day from Amazon was an international clock, which I downloaded because we're constantly trying to figure out the time difference between various places in the game and the math hurts our brains. Now I can just plug it in and tell. And yes, my illustrious game master, I am still working on those holographic touchscreens. :) The one fun thing I did today? I painted my nails so they're all shimmery and glittery. Not the most professional-looking, but since I'm going to wear my butterfly shirt, which has sequins on it tomorrow, I suppose it'll work. I can always take it off later. Okay, off to bed. I'm over halfway through with Catching Fire, but I don't think I'll do any reading. I'm more than a bit sleepy.


Netflix finally added 'Supernatural' to their streaming video, which means I finally saw the end of season 5, and can catch up on the others I've missed (at least the first 6 seasons; I missed a lot of the early series). :) Yay!

YKWIA has harmed me with a video, and on my birthday no less

Silence!: the Musical

Based on The Silence of the Lambs. Yes, really, with a Greek chorus of, well, lambs. Have I mentioned that my brain really hurts right now?