Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Only here...or maybe in Texas

Bold steer's escape foiled by university's rodeo team member

University rodeo team member lasso[e]s runaway UK steer that briefly became a social-media star

  1. Despite the fact that Kentucky has more cattle than any other state east of the Mississippi, this fellow escaped from a research facility at the university, just in case you were wondering.
  2. I had no idea we had a rodeo team at the University of Kentucky.
  3. I first heard about the steer when Lex 18's application on my phone notified me of a bovine on the loose and where. When I went to the story on Facebook, some poor soul had made a comment asking what a bovine was.
  4. At first I did have to wonder if this was an early April Fools' prank. Wouldn't you?
[PS YKWIA was of the opinion that the research involved was obviously something akin to Flowers for Algernon, where the steer's intelligence was modified greatly and he realised they were sending him off to slaughter. We were of the opinion that the wily steer should be retired to a farm somewhere. I mean really, where is PETA when you need them? We were also of the opinion that depending on what research was really done, we're glad we don't eat meat, because I'm not sure I'd like to eat research animals who had been sent off to the abbatoir to be made into steaks. Just saying.]

Listening to

which is appropriate, given the previous post's subject matter:

I probably whine far too much

I had an interesting conversation with our copier tech that was primarily about two things--appreciating life as it is, and remembering that whenever we think we're having a bad day, there are plenty of examples of people who are truly destitute, ill, etc., who live their lives despite terrible odds. An example is a mission trip he went on to Mexico, where he couldn't figure out why the village children kept staring at his shoes. They were people living around an old abandoned auto plant, sheltering in big storage containers and tapping into a water pipeline for plumbing. Most of them had no shoes, and some had never had shoes. His mission group, as they left, wound up giving every shoe in the group away, and in fact, emptied their suitcases and pretty much returned to the US in just what they were wearing.

It's something that really brought the point home. He wasn't preaching any religious or philosophical belief, we were just having a discussion, but it was an appropriate one, especially given how things have been difficult for me lately, and then the fact that I'm having another birthday in a couple of days. I learned to appreciate life more fully after getting hit by a car, but I haven't really done much to increase the meaning of and participation in life. That's something I really need to work on. And I'm going to start by having a better attitude in trying to solve my issues, and be grateful for my life. So now, as I begin my own 'personal' year, I'll do little things that will improve my life overall, with the hope of a cumulative effect. And I'm going to stop whining, so you don't have to listen to it. It's better to meet life head-on, don't you think?

Monday, March 30, 2015

I shouldn't be eating naan this late at night

but it is very nummy, and I haven't had much bread of late, other than the stuff that's 88 cents at the grocery, for peanut butter sandwiches. But I did have some frozen naan, and so I thawed it and I'm having some of it. I've been over at my friends' helping with a project, and I was getting a bit peckish.

Today I made an appointment with an allergist who was recommended by the otolaryngologist, and I have to go off my Claritin (which doesn't seem to be doing enough anymore) for five days and then next week we'll test my allergies. I had it done about fifteen years ago, but they said it had been enough time that I should do so again. I already know they'll find I'm allergic to practically everything, although maybe there's been some improvement since I did take allergy shots for about three years. Among other things, I am allergic to horses and most grasses, including bluegrass. Why do I live in Kentucky again? It is allergy central, after all. If I were a doctor in this area, allergy and immunology would be the way to go, I tell you. :)

Okay, I'm going to keep things short tonight, as I'm going to attempt to get up early so I can make a deposit at the bank ATM (I thought it best not to do so late at night) and then head into work early. I left early today because it's the local school spring break, so we had a low census day today. Thursday, my birthday, is as well, so I'm going to take off then. I haven't decided what to do yet, but the plan is to have some fun, even if it just means opening the windows and watching DVDs all day. It's supposed to be warm, about 72 degrees, that day. Or I may take some free passes I have and go see a movie, maybe Home. We'll see. Good night.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The game involved some brain-dead strategising

between Brenda and myself, although I think we're poised to reach the climax of the adventure next time. We're trying to rescue three people from a village of nearly three hundred serpent people, led by a Serpent Mage, somewhere in the middle of the South American jungle, survive, and get out of there. That's a tall order at the moment.

Afterwards I fixed YKWIA some dinner and watched 'Hart of Dixie' with him; we only have six more episodes left on Netflix. :(

I realised last night that I had already transcribed the game notes, the weekend after my trip. That made life easier. But last night I spent the entire night waking up and then falling right back into an odd dream of Serpent men in Japanese guise and business suits, who were experimenting on humans, including me and and a man who were not characters in the game, but were of the class of characters, but we didn't have our swords or mystical powers, so we were pretty much just human. We were living in a compound until it was stormed by some sort of government agency, and everyone was saved. We'd been there some time; some of them had children who were four or five. But we couldn't say we were basically lab rats in an experiment run by Serpent Men. So the media thought it was some sort of cult that kidnapped people for some unknown reason. The whole dream unfolded a little at a time; I'd wake up, and go straight back into it. It was very odd. A lot of it came from the game, of course. At one point in the game, for example, a group of us were kept in a transparent house 65 million years into the future by the Great Race of Yith, who were in bug form in that time. We had hedges that ate people, and one of Brenda's characters was pregnant at the time she went on the adventures, so during the gestation she was in a suspended animation pod on the moon and then delivered her daughter on a vastly changed Earth where we were basically lab rats. So that may have been in the back of mind, too.

Okay, I'm tired; sorry to be so brief. There's a reason I don't tend to blog on Sunday nights--I'm normally tired from getting the house ready for the game, playing the game itself, and whatever happens later. It's an all-day thing. And starting next week, 'Salem' is back on, at 10 pm on Sundays. I don't know if I can stay up that late each week for awhile. We'll see. It's a good show, after all. Good night.

Friday, March 27, 2015

I had a really good time with my friends tonight

So YKWIA and I cooked onion soup with toast and Gruyère cheese,  pan-fried breaded asparagus,  hard-boiled eggs with artichoke hearts,  and we made a salad as well.  It was very nice,  but both of us were very tired after dinner,  and I helped put things in the dishwasher and clean up,  and then did a few more things for him (A had already gone back to bed.) Now I'm home,  have Loreena McKennitt on,  and have my feet propped up in bed,  ready to sleep.

Wednesday was a really great class on self-care and support for caregivers, but I got in pretty late and didn't blog. Thursday was over at my friends' house till about 8 pm. I called A to make sure he was awake for the UK-West Virginia game (it was at 9:45) and then promptly went to sleep myself. So I missed two nights' worth of blogging.  Sorry.

We recorded 'Grimm'  tonight, and we'll watch it later this weekend,  most likely.  Tomorrow I need to stop by the vet's,  take A to the grocery,  and help two dear friends celebrate their anniversary--seventeen years together. Oh,  and clean my house and do game notes. :)

But for now,  I'll just lie back and listen to Loreena,  and go on to bed.  Good night!

Monday, March 23, 2015


High-definition scans suggest effects of smoking may be seen in unborn babies
The harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy may be reflected in the facial movements of mothers’ unborn babies, new research has suggested.

Researchers at Lancaster and Durham universities said the findings of their pilot study added weight to existing evidence that smoking is harmful to fetuses as they develop in the womb and warranted further investigation.

Professor Brian Francis, of Lancaster University, said: “Technology means we can now see what was previously hidden, revealing how smoking affects the development of the fetus in ways we did not realise. This is yet further evidence of the negative effects of smoking in pregnancy.”

I'm sorry I didn't blog last night

I was so terribly tired by the time I'd gotten home. Remember, I didn't sleep hardly at all on Friday night, and Saturday night, while I slept okay, didn't quite get me caught up. I did laundry and helped get YKWIA up and watched a couple of 'Hart of Dixie' episodes while he was eating breakfast and getting some coffee in him. YKWIA had made vegetarian cholent in the crockpot overnight, but there was still the balance of dinner to make--so afterwards I helped with the preparations for dinner, so I did a lot of vegetable chopping, mixing of kugel makings with my hands (eggs, oil, potatoes, onions, all mushed together), rolling matzo ball dough, and tossing veggies. We made matzo ball soup (he added some spices that made it very tasty), the kugel, and a nice salad. After dinner, which was excellent, YKWIA and I took a break and watched 'iZombie', which premiered last week. It was quite enjoyable. Then we made two 'derby' pies, with walnuts and chocolate chips (a little different from the normal pecans). Those were so they could take one to a meeting they're going to tonight, but I did get a piece. And in fact I had cholent, kugel, and pie to take for lunch today. So that was nice. It was a very nice 'early' birthday celebration. :)

I've run several errands today, eaten dinner, and I really need to do some stuff around here, so I should go. I'll see about writing later, but if not, good night.

Remembering Iwo Jima, and family

70 years ago my grandfather, a young marine, was on a small volcanic island known as Iwo Jima in the Pacific. The battle there in 1945 was bloody and fierce. My grandfather was with a tank group. Of the 70,000 Marines and Navy corpsmen, etc., 6,821 Americans died and 19,217 were wounded. On the Japanese side, of the 22,060 soldiers on the island, 18,844 died.

My grandfather told me of the difficulty of dealing with tanks in the volcanic sand. And he is the one who told me that the famous photograph of the flag raising was actually the second time the flag was raised on the mountain. As the Wikipedia article puts it:
Using a length of pipe they found among the wreckage atop the mountain, the Marines hoisted the U.S. flag attached to the pipe over Mount Suribachi: the first foreign flag to fly on Japanese soil. Photographs of this "first flag raising" scene were taken by photographer Louis R. Lowery.

As the flag went up, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal had just landed on the beach at the foot of Mount Suribachi and decided that he wanted the flag as a souvenir. Popular legend has it that Colonel Johnson the battalion's commander, wanted the flag for himself, but, in fact, he believed that the flag belonged to the 2nd Battalion 28th Marines, who had captured that section of the island. Johnson sent Pfc. Rene Gagnon, a battalion runner (messenger) for E Company, to take a second (larger) flag up the volcano to replace the first flag. It was as the replacement flag attached to a longer second pipe went up that Rosenthal took the famous photograph "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima".
My grandfather survived the battle, and returned to Kentucky, to his wife and young son. He went on to have two daughters, one of which is my mother. He was the best father figure I ever had, and I was very fortunate to know him. He died in 2000 after a long battle with COPD. It's so hard to believe he's been gone for 15 years. While watching the video above, I couldn't help but think of him. I will miss, you, Pa.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

One bit of good news, though

Appeals court: Ky. library tax is legal
It doesn't look like libraries in Kentucky will have to close after all.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals in a 3-0 decision handed down on Friday reversed two circuit court decisions in Kenton and Campbell counties that declared the library districts in those counties had improperly raised taxes for decades.

The appeals court found the libraries can raise their tax without having to gather a petition—so long as the amount doesn't bring in four percent more revenue than the year before, just like other taxing districts. It means library budgets won't get slashed and library branches won't get closed as some had feared.

The court case garnered national attention, and library associations across the country rejoiced at the news.

"More than just a vital resource, we know that libraries are vital to democracy in the great state of Kentucky and everywhere," American Library Association President Courtney Young and Public Library Association President Larry Neal said in a joint statement on Friday.
If the Tea Party plaintiffs had had their way--
...the lawsuit would have rolled library taxes back to their rates in the 1970s and decimated library revenues, likely causing the closure of branches and other cutbacks. It would have affected more than 80 libraries around the state.
So glad that didn't happen. Technically, they can appeal to the US Supreme Court, though. But hopefully they're satisfied with the unanimous decision, and will drop the cases.

I checked the news before going to bed, and found sadness

Jewish family loses 7 children in fire at New York City home
Fire investigators believe a hot plate left on a kitchen counter ignited the flames that raced up the stairs, trapping the children in their second-floor rear bedrooms, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

Many religious Jews do not use electricity on the Sabbath, along with refraining from work and observing other prohibitions meant to keep the day holy. As a result, some families may leave appliances on so they are usable without violating any religious laws or traditions.

Nigro called it the city's worst fatal fire in recent memory.

"It's a tragedy for this family, it's a tragedy for this community, it's a tragedy for the city," he said.

Police officials identified the victims as members of the Sassoon family. Three of the children were girls: Eliane, 16, Rivkah, 11 and Sara, 6. Four were boys: David, 12, Yeshua, 10, Moshe, 8 and Yaakob, 5.
The mother and one daughter survived, but are critically injured. The father was away at a conference. The only smoke detector that was found was in the basement. This is so sad. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and the close-knit Orthodox community touched by this.

Celebrating having electricity

By putting on some Loreena McKennitt music, turning on my fan, filling up my CPAP, and charging my phone. Yay! I managed to get through the entire day despite my lack of sleep. YKWIA and I visited for awhile, and then he napped and I rested nearby, and while I didn't actually sleep, I might have dozed for awhile, when you're halfway in and out of sleep and kind of have dreams but are still conscious. Later we watched an episode of 'Star Trek: the Next Generation' that had the guy from 'Max Headroom' on it, and then the new episode of 'Grimm' that he'd recorded Friday night. We were going to watch the recording of 'iZombie', but I was getting tired and A, home from his game, and I still needed to go to the store. YKWIA prepared a special list of things for tomorrow, so I took that list and A took the other, and we stopped by Good Foods Co-op for a couple of things, and then we did the big run at Kroger. We got back about 10 pm (we'd left at 8:30). I helped put things away, and then pretty much gathered my stuff up and said goodbye, as I was tired, my contacts were foggy from my allergies, and I thought they might want some couple time. I've eaten some string cheese I got from the store, and I'm pretty much ready for bed. Good night. :)

Over at my friends' place

After McDonald's, I went home and propped my pillows up against a study pillow, and managed to sleep somewhat over the next couple of hours. A called, and I went ahead and got a shower (somewhat warmer than lukewarm on 'hot', but better than I thought it would be), and took him to the pharmacy. Then I got him back home so he could go over to a friend's house and watch the University of Kentucky-University of Cincinnati game. Now I'm hanging out at their house listening to YouTube videos (Human League's 'Don't You Want Me Baby' right now) and charging my phone and laptop. I have to admit, I'm feeling the sleep derivation, but hopefully I'll have my electricity on before I get home. Technically it could be as late as 11 pm, but they assure me that it should be within 24 hours of when I paid the bill. So I should be able to use the CPAP tonight.

This evening we're going to go to the grocery store after the game, and then tomorrow we're going to do the kugel and matzo ball soup, since there is no Cthulhu game. Brenda's meeting her future daughter-in-law's family for dinner. I wish them luck, and in the meantime we'll celebrate my birthday (early) with happy Jewish food.

Well, I made a (somewhat) horrible mistake

I forgot to pay my electric bill. So last night I came home to a dark, cold house, and had to use one of those battery-powered push-on/push-off lights to find my around. I couldn't sleep much at all, because I didn't have my CPAP. In fact, in the six hours I was in bed, I probably slept about an hour and a half.

At 5:15 I finally gave up, got up, washed my face, dressed, and headed out to McDonald's, where I could get breakfast, charge my phone, and get free Wi-Fi. So I thought I'd spend some time on the Internet before they got busy. My phone was at 10% when I came in, and on ultra-power-saving mode. Now it's at 64%, so I'm feeling a little better about having a connexion to others if needed. Funny how we've gotten so dependent on cell phones.

Okay, I'm going to check the news. I don't have much juice in my laptop and I can't get the plug into the outlet here for some reason, so I can't charge it. But I'll try to make the most of it. Boy, though, I'm sleepy. I'm supposed to celebrate my birthday/spring with friends, one of whom is going to make Jewish-food goodness, like kugel and matzo ball soup. [It's a little early--my birthday is in early April, but my friend associates it with the vernal equinox, and I was at work yesterday, so we're celebrating today.] I'm hoping I can stay awake with so little sleep. And I haven't taken a shower, because it would be cold, and so I look like crap. But hey, it's my own fault. And yes, I used my phone's hotspot and the laptop last night to go ahead and pay the bill, so it'll be on sometime before 11 pm tonight. Here's hoping it's sooner.

Hope you're having a somewhat better weekend so far.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Brains! :)

How Quickly Would A Zombie Outbreak Spread?
While the previously reported research suggested the Rocky Mountains was the place to go if you want to survive a zombie outbreak long enough to invent a cure, the latest work has an interesting insight into where to avoid: After 28 days, it is not the largest metropolitan areas that suffer the greatest risk, but the regions located between large metropolitan areas. The area with the greatest one month zombie risk is northeastern Pennsylvania, which is susceptible to outbreaks originating in any of the large metropolitan areas on the east coast.

Red Nose Day is coming to the US!

on NBC on May 21at....


Study Reveals Genetic Path of Modern Britons
In A.D. 410, Roman authority in Britain collapsed and Romano-British society disappeared from history under the invading tides of Angles and Saxons from northern Europe. Historians have been debating ever since whether the Romano-British were wiped out or survived by adopting their conquerors’ language and culture.

A fine-scale genetic analysis of the British population has now provided the answer. The invaders and the existing population lived side by side and eventually intermarried extensively. The people of south and central England are now genetically well mixed, with Saxon genes accounting for only about 20 percent of the mix, says a genetics team led by Stephen Leslie of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Victoria, Australia, and by Peter Donnelly and Walter Bodmer of Oxford University.
DNA study shows Celts are not a unique genetic group
A DNA study of Britons has shown that genetically there is not a unique Celtic group of people in the UK.

According to the data, those of Celtic ancestry in Scotland and Cornwall are more similar to the English than they are to other Celtic groups.

The study also describes distinct genetic differences across the UK, which reflect regional identities.

And it shows that the invading Anglo Saxons did not wipe out the Britons of 1,500 years ago, but mixed with them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

I love this, even though my alma mater (the University of Kentucky) doesn't do quite so well that way

March Gradness: NCAA brackets built on victories in the classroom, not the court
Are you picking Kentucky to win it all? Sure, the Wildcats may be undefeated on the court, but in Bridge Magazine's bracket, Kentucky loses in the first round.

March Madness? No, it's March Gradness.

What if people filled stadiums to cheer academic achievement? What if the college cutting down the nets was the school that gives low-income students the biggest break on tuition? Graduated the highest percentage of students? Or practiced gender pay equity?

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's beautiful outside

73 degrees Fahrenheit, sunny, with a pleasant breeze, and I have opened my windows and am letting some fresh air in.  Things have greened up since I left on my trip (everything was wet and brown then), my friends' crocuses are blooming, and you would never believe that two weeks ago we were dealing with over seventeen inches of snow.

It's been a very good day.  First and foremost, the TSA found my jacket and is sending it to me via UPS. I was so thrilled to hear that.  The lady on the phone, Mary Jo, was very nice indeed, and had me arrange to get a UPS account so she could send it to me.  I had it sent to work, since getting packages at my apartment is always an issue, and let the guys in materials know it was a personal item and not something that should be invoiced.  Second, the lady who was supposed to cover for me by putting in facility charges, who was due to have her last day on Friday, apparently left on Wednesday and never came back, which didn't really surprise me greatly, although I'd hoped it wouldn't happen.  That means referrals weren't done after she left, either.  As far as the charges went, my boss and another person didn't have the permissions I do, so another co-worker put in the sheets. Otherwise I would have had a very large stack to do today.  Third, I found out that I wouldn't have to pay an extra fee for a late bill that I thought I would, which means I can pay more on other bills with this pay cheque than I thought I could.  It was the only way to make sure I had enough money for food and emergencies in Chicago.  I also got my reimbursement form for my travel expenses today, so I can turn that in tomorrow.  The food is per diem, so there's pretty much just my transit pass and parking at the airport to turn in.

The geraniums inside my window think it is already spring. I've been over-wintering them, but lately they have been blooming. Very cheery.
Geraniums in March
There is one sad thing I can hear because of the windows being open now.  There is a fluttering coming from inside one of the columns outside my apartment. I think a bird is trapped, but there is no way to get it out that I can see.  I hope it finds a way.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

There was no Cthulhu game today

so instead I helped a friend go ahead and clean house, then watched with him as the Kentucky Wildcats won the SEC men's basketball championship.  Later I spent time with another friend, watching a couple of episodes of 'Heart of Dixie', two seasons of the YouTube series 'Adult Wednesday Addams' (which was well done), plus a few more videos on YouTube.

All in all, it's been a busy week, and I'm ready to return to work and see how things fared there. There was a large clinic last Wednesday, and the lady who was my backup person for putting in the clinic charges had her last day on Friday, so I won't really know how it went, but she's supposed to have left the sheets for me so I can check them over.  I'm going to mail a card to the librarian who gave me a ride in Chicago, in appreciation of her kindness, and I also need to start reviewing a book for The Journal of Hospital Librarianship.

It's only 10 pm. I'm getting pretty sleepy, and my phone just buzzed to tell me it is time to go to sleep. I must still have the clock set early from when I had to check out before the meeting on Friday. I think I'll go on to bed all the same, though.  Good night.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Years ago

I was plagued by something called plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the fascia on the bottom of the feet that hurts to high Heaven, particularly when you haven't been standing or walking for awhile.  I was in two of those 'walking boots' of velcro and plastic, one at one point, and one at another.  Then the ankle tendonitis set in.  My feet were a mess, mostly because I had a job at a gas station where I was on my feet for up to ten hours a day.

Then I moved to just a desk job, although I still had foot problems.  And then I got hit by the car, broke my metacarpals and ankle, and was off my feet for three months completely.

And everything resolved as I healed, so that when I went back, my feet didn't feel like they were on fire or in pain anymore. I was still dealing with the injury, but so much was better.  And it stayed that way for a couple of years.

Recently, I've been having trouble with my feet again.  They get painful when I walk, particularly at the beginning of the day or when I get up after sitting or sleeping, and at the end of the day, and it's hard to walk through the pain. I know it's the fasciitis again.  So when days are rough and the pain is great, I break out a soda bottle full of water that's been frozen, and run that under my feet to take away the pain as much as possible.

But the last few days I've been away from my iced bottle and have walked all over the place on rough sidewalks, in museums, and on the streets of Chicago.  At times it was a toss up as to whether my feet or my back would give out first.  I'd slow down, and like the gazelle on the Serengeti limping along but trying to stay with the herd as protection against the lioness, I persevered, figuring I'd be an easy mark for any crime if I didn't keep up.

Now I'm home. I walked not so much today, under 4,000 steps, actually.  And I don't think I could do much more.  It's probably time to go back to the podiatrist, although I'd rather not be in the boot again.  But since my ankle injury, I have an excellent podiatrist (he even does ankle replacements), so maybe he has a better option, or at least something that will help, since I'd really like to increase my walking as the weather gets better.

Am I just getting old?

Today I visited with my friends and reconnected after the trip, watched UK beat Auburn in the SEC men's basketball semi-finals  with one of them, and then took him to the grocery, and now, less than 24 hours after getting home from Chicago, I am already ready for a nap, even though I've done nothing strenuous and I've walked about a fifth of what I did Thursday. Now granted, on the first week of Daylight Savings Time, I've bounced back and forth between two time zones, really exerted myself over the course of three days, flown twice, etc., but still, I thought one good night's sleep would get me back to normal.  Of course, come to think of it, I was up for an hour in the middle of the night because, well, that's what I tend to do--I wake up and it takes awhile to go back to sleep.  So maybe I didn't sleep quite so well.  But I did dream vividly, something I don't remember doing at all during my trip.

Oh, by the way

I did track down the number to the Transportation Security Administrations's lost and found at O'Hare Airport. On further reflection, I'm not sure I had my jacket in the restroom, at McDonald's, or at Hudson News.  The last time I absolutely remember having it was right after it went through the checkpoint x-ray machine, and I'm not sure I picked it up when I got my bags together.  So I called 773-377-1210, which is the number for items lost at the checkpoint (despite what else you may find on the Internet--the first number I found was disconnected--and left a voice mail with my name, phone number, description of the jacket, and date I lost it.  Here's hoping they found it and will return my call. They're not open on weekends, but hopefully they'll look Monday. :)

What I am glad is that I had neither phone or keys in my jacket...the one was in my wallet in my laptop bag, and the other was nestled down in the CPAP bag, as I didn't want them in the bag that got valet checked, since it would be out of sight, and the jacket was not that secure since I was carrying it, and unless I zipped up the pockets, they might have fallen out.  So I really lucked out.  But apparently the parking lot ticket was in there somewhere, for it didn't show up when I unpacked.

Okay, I'm going to take that nap, and then work on the game notes for tomorrow.  I had thought to load the recording on the laptop and work on them over my trip, but decided I was on vacation and wouldn't 'work' beyond going to the seminar/meeting.  So anyway, I still have to do them.  But first, that nap.

My favourite items from the Field Museum (as far as what I saw)

A formula for healing a sick cat
[All pictures from the Field Museum are under the Creative Commons Licence, as per the Museum's request.]

I took lots of pictures, but these were my favourites.  I also loved Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton which I've already posted here.

The ticketed exhibit on Voudou of Haiti was very interesting, but I didn't take pictures there.  I did get the book which details the collection and includes many pictures of the exhibit items on display, although it could not capture the painted veves on the floor, the size of the exhibits (many of the loa figures are life-sized), and there were also some televised ceremonies and music playing on monitors there.

A female architect and her daughter (it was during the reign of the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut)
An amethyst cameo (my favourite stone)

From the Hall of Jade
From the exterior of the building


I got up in the middle of the night because, well, it is what I tend to do, and also to give a libation to Hekate to thank Her for her protection during the journey.  I offered up a bottle of wine both before and after the trip, with a stipulation after the first one that the next would follow after a safe conclusion.  In relations with the Pagan Gods, particularly the Greek ones, it is often about contracts: If this, than I will do this.

So after five hours' of sleep (in which I slept like a baby, back at my own bed, my CPAP filter still smelling of the hotel room and the soap they had), I felt a little reflective of my trip.

One, I had a great time. I used to know someone who considered herself a world traveller.  She had grown up in Korea, a military brat like me, and had lots of frequent flyer miles.  She went to Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, places I would love to go to. Oh, and Russia (I'm not so keen to go there.)  And you know what?  Each time she came back, we asked her how it had gone, and it turned out that she spent her time in her hotel room reading.  (I can only presume New Zealand, which happened after our friendship ended, went the same way, but definitely with the other three). And she absolutely hated Russia, where she lived with a family, even though Russian was her major.  It was very sad.  She was somewhat feral and nasty in her own environment.  I have no idea what they thought of this unfriendly American girl.

My point is, that even when we are uncomfortable trying new things, we should,  I've been to Chicago three times now, but never had the time to do more than travel to the conference and back, flying in one day, maybe taking the 'L' in, and flying out the very next day. I was very fortunate my first year to have a fellow Shriners librarian meet me at O'Hare and orient me to the trains and where to go, so I wasn't totally lost that first time.  But I didn't really experience Chicago.  Also, in times past, I was pretty much right there at the UIC-Illinois Medical District, where the various hospitals like the VA, Cook County, Rush University, UIC, etc., all congregate over by the University of Illinois at Chicago.  I didn't get to see much of any green space at all, and apparently from my conversation with one of the area librarians, there really is quite a bit of it in the city.  And I saw a bit this time, especially with the Museum Campus and Grant Park, although of course everything is still brown due to the winter and the thaw.  I would love to come later in the year sometime and go to the Navy Pier and spend more time in Millennium and Grant Parks.  I loved the architecture, and it took everything I had not to look up like a gaping tourist.  There was a honeycombed building, the one Steve McQueen was in during a movie, according to my colleague, that was a great landmark.  It was over near Trump Tower, which, despite the absolutely giant sign, made a good landmark, too.  I didn't go up to see the top of the Willis (formerly Sears, and possibly to be something else soon, as it's apparently up for sale) Tower, but my hotel room was on the 20th floor, above the hubbub of the street, overlooking the Chicago Riverwalk, and that was nice.

I learned that even though Chicagoans tend to wear dark winter jackets, and look at first glance to be very conservative in their dress at times (at least in winter), they seem to express personality with shoes, pants, and stockings.  I learned to manage to cross streets (always with the light, I wasn't brave enough to jaywalk, as even being in a crosswalk did not guarantee anyone was going to yield to you, and they drive very fast in short bursts, ready at the horn, especially the cabbies) without running into other people or cars, which is kind of a game of dodge 'em.  I'm a pretty slow walker, so I tried not to impede others too much. I kept my back to buildings when travelling with my gear or checking my position on my phone, and tried to keep aware at all times of my surroundings.  I did pretty well till I dropped my guard at the airport and lost my jacket.

The weather was very good, sunny each day and in the high 40s to low 60s.  Considering we'd gotten 17 inches of snow the week before plus Arctic cold, and I'm sure they've had low temperatures too, that was a blessing.  The weather was actually better than here, where we had fog on my day going out, and rain when I came in, with the temperature in Chicago being higher than here.

What I would like to have done:  I never managed to have Chicago-style pizza.  It would have been nice to see more of the museum (I was pressed for time), although the parts I skipped were largely the preserved exhibits, and taxidermied animals do tend to give me the creeps, although I recognise their scientific importance.  I would have loved to go to the Adler Planetarium or Shedd Aquarium as well.  And although I'm not sure, this may be my last year on the council (I'll have to check with my library association to see if they want to re-appoint me or send someone else, because the five-year contract with UIC is in its final year, although I think it's been renewed), I still have a Ventra reloadable transit card if I manage to come back, either with the RAC or on my own. :)

Okay, I think that's enough of a reaction piece for now.   I'm going to try to go back to bed,  Good night.

Friday, March 13, 2015

I am (finally) home

Sue - Field Museum (Creative Common Licence for this image)
Some lessons learned from my trip:
  1. Keep your beloved jacket on no matter how sweltering the airport is, because you will otherwise lay it down and it will disappear.
  2. Keep your parking ticket in the car rather than taking it on the trip and apparently leaving it in the jacket that you were going to lose.
  3. How to navigate the mass transit system in Chicago, and also walking through downtown/the Loop.
  4. When riding an articulated bus, do not sit inside the accordion in the middle, because if the bus comes to a stop as it turns, the floor moves under your feet while you try to stand up to get off the bus.
  5. Double-check your credit card, because the hotel might be charging you for a second night when that was paid for by the university.
  6. Chicagoans drive like maniacs, and make plenty use of the car horn. Stare them down and keep walking, but prepare for absolutely no yielding to pedestrians.
  7. After several years, you can finally get the key card to operate an elevator, repeatedly, if you just keep trying.
  8. Although I had a very good time, there really is no place like home.
Still, I kept up with a CPAP, a laptop, a purse, phone, and carry-on bag, plus took off and landed safely today, so I guess overall I did pretty well. I also lucked out amazingly because I met a colleague on the council at dinner yesterday, and she was not only at the same hotel, she had her car, and she offered me a ride to the meeting this morning, so I didn't have to take the Pink Line with all my bags, and then, because she doesn't live very far from the airport, she took me there, saving me time and money for a cab or the train. I think if I'd taken the 'L', I really would have been pushing it time-wise. A cab ride would have been expensive and I've never flagged one down before. I did offer her some gas money, but she wouldn't take it. We really hit it off, and I'm glad I met her.

So, to recap:
    Wednesday I:
  • Flew to Chicago after an hour-and-a-half delay due to fog in Lexington.
  • Took the Blue Line train to downtown
  • Found my hotel, Club Quarters at Wacker and Michigan
  • Ate dinner at a restaurant at Millennium Park with various medical library directors who were in for additional meetings beyond what I was in for, but they invited those of us who came early. They were very encouraging of my job hunt in face of losing the library, and had good solid suggestions for marketing myself.
Downtown at a distance
    Thursday I:
  • Took two buses to the Field Museum, and spent time going through the exhibits there.
  • Took a bus to a seminar where three speakers gave talks on the ethics and bias related to health literacy, how the exchange system works as a result of the Affordable Care Act, and evidence-based medicine and rapid reviews as practiced by the speaker's programme. It was worth 4 contact hours and was very interesting.
  • Networked with my fellow Kentucky attendees.
  • Ate dinner at Park Grill again, this time with a smaller group. Met a librarian who really helped me out in terms of getting to Friday's destinations.
  • Walked an ungodly amount over the course of the day, over six miles.
Lake Michigan
    Friday I:
  • Got up at 6 am and got ready, then checked out of my hotel.
  • Met my colleague and went to the Regional Advisory Council meeting.
  • Had a continental breakfast.
  • Set up a meeting with our GMR state liaison, who will be in Lexington next week, to come see my library.
  • Had a very good meeting. Got a review of what's going on at the Greater Midwest Region office and did an interesting activity that really brought our ideas into focus. Had a lovely lunch; the vegetarian option was mozzarella and grilled pepper sandwiches.
  • Was given a ride to the airport by my colleague.
  • Changed shoes and made it through security.
  • Grabbed a drink at McDonald's that was about $3 and mostly ice.
  • Got a couple of small souvenirs for friends.
  • Promptly lost my favourite jacket, with, apparently, my ticket for the oeconomy parking at Bluegrass Airport.
  • Went back to the store, but they hadn't seen it. Someone now has a very nice jacket with my hospital logo on it and gloves that work with smartphone screens. Granted, one was a gift from a boss, who bought each employee in the department their choice of a fleece jacket (mine was purple and grey, had a zipper on the arm, two other zippered pockets, and two inner ones), and the pair of gloves was given to me by a now-retired co-worker because they were too big for her, but still, I loved them. I may see if my boss still has that catalogue and if I can buy another jacket with my own money at some point. But that jacket got me through the entire winter, practically, including two major snowstorms and sub-zero teperatures (I just layered underneath it).
  • Made it into Lexington without delay, despite rain.
  • Changed shoes, got out the umbrella, and went to the car.
  • Promptly realised the ticket was not in my purse, and got into the trunk and tore all my packed luggage apart for it.
  • Went to the attendant and explained the situation. Gave him my driver's licence, my boarding passes showing when I left and came back, and he took down my licence plate # and had me sign something, then charged me the correct amount ($24 for 3 days of oeconomy parking).
  • Drove through UK, downtown, and stopped at Liquor Barn for wine so I can give a libation of thanksgiving to Hekate for a safe trip.
  • Stopped by Taco Bell for dinner, as I hadn't eaten since noon and I didn't really know if there was any food in the house.
  • Called my friends to let them know I was home. I sounded faded, and barely had the strength to get out of the car, repack the cases, and bring everything in.
  • Grabbed the mail, came inside, dropped everything on the floor, checked that the breakables made it, and then ate.
Leaving Chicago
Almost home
Now I'm very tired. It may only be 9 pm, but I think I'll unpack the CPAP machine and get ready for bed. Good night.


Me in my hotel room this afternoon, flushed from all that walking
Although the salmon and risotto was very good at dinner, it was much smaller in portion than some of the other, cheaper, things on the menu, so it didn't stay with me and I actually woke up in the middle of the night hungry. We ate at Park Grill again, and it was excellent. Like I said, it didn't keep me satisfied till morning though. Yesterday's meal of cheese curds, black bean burger, and fries was almost too much to eat by comparison.

I headed down to the lounge in the hopes that they'd still have some fruit down there, but apparently they take it up on the weekends, starting early Friday. Pooh! So I came back up and made a cup of (decaf) coffee in the Keurig in my room, the first time I've used a K-cup machine. Since I wasn't sure if you took off the foil or not (you don't), I viewed a review/demonstration video on YouTube. I always found them a little intimidating, so I've never used them, and of course, unless you have a reusable cup, the plastic ones are expensive and bad for the environment. But I think, despite the fact that I don't particularly like coffee, that it helped stave off some hunger for now, by filling my stomach with something. The Wi-Fi is still a bit temperamental here at the corner of the hotel, so I moved over to the bed from the desk and it's doing better; now I'm getting two bars.

Overall, my stay at Club Quarters at Wacker and Michigan has been very good, though, and the hotel staff have been very pleasant. Unlike my stay at the Marriott--UIC previously, I've had no trouble using the key card in the elevator. I always had to rely on strangers to get me up to my floor there, because I could never make the system work. I don't know if that was user error or a problem with their system, but anyway, it's working fine here.

Tomorrow we have a meeting that runs from 8 am to 1 pm, and I'm lucky to have a ride to the meeting thanks to a colleague who I met over dinner. We talked quite a bit through that, and then some more during and after the walk back to the hotel, and so she's going to give me a ride, since she has a car here. It does mean that since check-out is by noon, that I'll have to have everything ready to go and check out by 7 am, just like I would have if I'd taken the Pink Line train, but I don't have to carry three bags on the train and walking, either. I had planned to take the Blue Line back to O'Hare afterwards, but I'm not sure I'll have time. I may need to take a cab. If I stay for lunch, it'll be 1 pm, and my flight leaves at 3:52 or so. With O'Hare I definitely need to get there as early as possible to deal with security, etc. We'll see. Maybe I can share a cab with someone else going to the airport. But if not, I think I have enough cash on me to get me there.

I should probably try to go back to sleep. I have to get up in less than four hours. Good night.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I really wish I could say I felt like

A new personal best!!!
Setting up the laptop and going online for awhile,  but I'm pooped,  lying here with my feet propped up.  I have walked over 15,000 steps today, and over 6 miles.  I've been on three buses,  a train,  walked all over the place,  enjoyed the Field Museum of Natural History,  had a seminar at the Medical District,  and I've eaten dinner at Millennium Park.  I have an early meeting tomorrow,  and then it's off to the airport. I have to check out about 7 am to meet a colleague who will drive us to the meeting. Then it looks like I'll have to take a cab to O'Hare to have plenty of time to get through screening,  etc. So I should go on to bed.  Good night.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Well, I made it

Trump Tower
despite a delay of an hour-and-a-half at the Lexington airport due to fog. My plane was supposed to be in Chicago at 11:16 local time; we made it by about 12:20, and I grabbed something to eat at O'Hare before getting a transit pass and taking a train into the city. Then I got lost after I got off at my station. The buildings are so tall, so reflective downtown, that even with the sun up it's hard to navigate the directions. So I walked quite a bit (in fact, over 10100 steps today, and about 4.78 miles), got turned around at first, but finally headed east and found Wacker, then found the Hard Rock Hotel (not mine) but was able to get directions there. I checked in at 3 pm. By that time it was too late to go to the museum, so the plan is to start early and go before my seminar tomorrow. The museum opens at 9 am; I have to be at the University of Illinois--Chicago by 1 pm. So I think I'll be able to spend a few hours exploring.

Tonight we went as a group to Park Grill, which is right at Millennium Park, in front of Cloud Gateway, the shiny sculpture known locally as the Bean, which was bigger than I had thought from looking at the pictures. I had beer-battered cheese curds and a black bean burger, and I'm now officially stuffed. But since breakfast and lunch was McDonald's it was nice to have something a little fancier. We're going to the same place tomorrow for dinner--there are two groups on this trip, and I was just invited to the first dinner because I'd gotten into town early. Each group voted, and each liked it. I will say the service was excellent, as were the curds. The portions were very generous. The bread and fries were very good. The burger was, well, a little mushy, but it was still good. Tomorrow if I can swing it, I'd like to try the salmon. But it's pretty expensive. We'll see.

Park Grill with Cloud Gateway ('The Bean') behind it, and a skating rink in front

When I got in this afternoon, I called a friend to let him know I'd arrived at my destination, and then I tried to nap for a little while before meeting one of the other librarians to walk to the restaurant, but I couldn't stop my mind racing or relax. I finally put on some Loreena McKennitt, which helped, and then took a shower, and decided to work on the computer, but I was having some trouble with the hotel's Wi-Fi. Apparently the equipment is in the centre of each floor, and where I am, a corner room, things don't receive as well. There's always the second floor, which has a lot more connectivity (it's a meeting room/lounge area, apparently). I'm on the 20th floor. But I'm back on now, and doing much better, even though I only have three bars on the Wi-Fi. At least it is connecting to web pages and not trying to give me simplified text instead. :)

I'm staying at a hotel on the Chicago River, and as you can see, the view from my room is, at least on one side--I have two windows due to being on a corner--taken up mostly with the Trump Tower. It's a nice room, a little small, but utilitarian (the hotel caters to business travellers), with a queen bed, a bathroom with a shower, a desk for working on, a chair and light for reading, and a closet and bedside tables--not bad for the space.

Tomorrow the plan is to get up early, take the bus to the Museum Campus, and go to the Field Museum, getting there right as they open. I also noticed on the walk over that my bank is about two blocks away, so I may go and get some more cash for the day first. I know where to catch the bus; I saw the right bus at a stop as I rolled my bag up to the hotel. I must have been a sight--a rolling carry-on bag in hand, a laptop bag on one shoulder across the chest, a purse on the other side (also across the chest), and a CPAP bag on my shoulder. That's one reason I was so hot and sweaty when I got here, and had to take a shower--it's in the high 40s, maybe even low 50s here, or was today, and my fleece jacket, although lightweight, was more than enough. It was good for tonight, where there was a breeze and it was a little cooler. But this afternoon, if I had had another arm, I'd have had it off. Still, I think it was a good choice to bring that jacket and not a heavier or lighter one.

Okay, since there's a nice sitting chair and reading lamp in here, I think I'll try reading a bit on my Kindle before I turn in. It's almost 10 pm Chicago time, which means for me it feels like it's almost 11 pm. So I'll probably go to sleep fairly soon. Good night.

Monday, March 09, 2015


my geraniums, which are in window boxes on my window sills in the living room, are actually not only over-wintering--they're blooming. Yay! That and the Christmas cactus have been cheering me up during all the snow. But the thaw is in full swing, and a lot of the snow has melted. Of course, it's supposed to rain much of the week here, and that will be a problem with the ground so saturated. But we've got a long stretch of 50s and 60s coming up, even when I'm back from Chicago. Double yay! Winter has to end eventually. It's not my favourite season anyway (spring is), and I'll be happy to see this one go.

I was busy at work today getting things ready for my absence. Tomorrow will also be pretty busy, but I've met with both of the people who back me up on aspects of my job and gave them a refresher. I'm going to miss a clinic that is insanely large (I guess things got bumped to it due to the weather).

I've gone to the library, returned a book, paid a fine (yes, sometimes librarians forget to take things back, too, although in my case it was a DVD with higher fines than a book would have had), renewed some others, and now I'm back at home. I need to work on the house, and I'm actually in the mood to now that I've had a couple of veggie sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches. It's 55 degrees and sunny outside, and I'm hot in here, so I'm tempted to open the windows but there's just a couple of more hours of sunlight, so instead I'll get into shorts and a tank top and maybe sit in front of the fan for awhile. The house is mostly about straightening up, and I need to take the recyclables (of which there are many) and the trash (not so much) out. I did the dishes and the laundry yesterday, so that's in good shape. I might go ahead and figure out what I'm going to wear in Chicago and what I need to pack, as well. I found some cards I've been looking for, but not all of them. They were tucked into one of those plastic window things you find in wallets, and they were actually where I thought they'd be, but had fallen down behind the area I was looking in. The others got separated at some point and I thought they were in my backpack, so I need to look there yet again. The ones I found just now were the important ones (such as insurance cards). The others are store cards, like the big Kroger one and my Speedway card, so they are replaceable. It would be nice to have them, though. Hopefully I'll find them as I straighten up. Oh, and I should wipe down the counters in the kitchen and clean the bathroom some. Okay, so I do have quite a bit to do. :) I also have to get some important papers and put them in a place I've told a friend about should anything happen to me on my trip (knock on wood, but it's good to be prepared).

Alright, I'm going to get into some cooler clothes and sit in front of the fan and go through my backpack/purses for those cards. Then I'll work on the rest of the house. Hope you had a good start to your week.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

A day of serpent mages and magic carpet rides

Okay, for anyone who has never played Call of Cthulhu or other tabletop roleplaying games, that probably sounds weird. But the game today involved trying to get innocents away from a serpent mage, who bugged out of there with them when he found we were dispatching his Children of Yig (giant snakes) fairly quickly. So we didn't manage to free the innocents yet, but we did escape a crowd of almost two hundred degenerate snake-human hybrid people who were out for our blood by using magic to turn ourselves invisible and then rode the air back to the plane crash site we'd started from. So it was an exciting game, and no one died. Since one of my characters is currently magically bonded to another, I have to be very careful or if one is injured or dies, so it goes with the other. Brenda has three characters on this adventure, so the stakes are high for her as well. But we're trying to save a 6 year old girl, an airline stewardess, and a German guy from having their genetic material used to try to elevate his serpent hybrids to a more civilised form. Yeah, you guessed right on what that means. It's an interesting adventure. It's called 'Final Flight'. The book is very small. I'm not sure who publishes it; I don't think this one is a Chaosium one. One of Brenda's characters owns and airline and so it was a natural fit with a plane crash in the Amazon and all. Of course, it's kind of funny that I'm playing in this adventure right before taking a plane ride myself. But at least we'll be nowhere near the jungle. :) Here's hoping for an uneventful couple of flights this week.

The weather has improved for the trip in terms of temperatures, being in the 50s and 60s here and the 40s and 50s in Chicago. It may be raining here on the day I come back, but that should be okay. I have a lot to do before I leave. Tomorrow I'm going to pay some bills and start getting everything together I need to, as well as working on the house. I hate to leave on vacation with the house a mess, and it definitely is, although I did do four loads of laundry at my friends' house today while I helped them get their house ready for the game, so at least that's taken care of, and I'm doing a load of dishes in the dishwasher right now.

So now I'm listening to some Loreena McKennitt and considering that while I shouldn't be all that sleepy, as we're an hour ahead with Daylight Savings Time now, so even though it's after 10 pm my body should think it's nine, I am, indeed, sleepy. So I may turn in soon, and then start anew tomorrow, going to work and getting things ready for my absence, and then going to the library to turn in a book and renew some. Then I need to straighten up around here.

Okay, I think I'll check the news before I go to bed. If I don't write anymore tonight, have a wonderful evening.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Friday night and no 'Grimm' (again) :(

It'll be back in two weeks, and that's good. As a result of that, however, and the fact that my friends' shed lock is frozen and the one who was going to shovel last night hasn't had a chance to get in to get the snow shovel, I am at home quietly typing on the laptop, preparing to work on the game notes.

I managed to get us to the appointments this morning, although mine was cancelled. I then went on to work, and then went by the pharmacy afterwards. The roads are much better this afternoon than they were this morning; even Man O'War, a major thoroughfare, was pretty snow-covered this morning. I felt bad about not making it in to work yesterday, but my boss thought it was the most sensible thing, given the long walk on the road, crossing it a couple of times, the same road I got hit on a couple of years ago in perfectly fine weather. Especially this close to my Chicago trip, I don't want a repeat of that!

The good news is I've seen the weather for those days and Lexington will be in the high 50s and Chicago will be in the 40s, with good weather except maybe some rain on the day I fly home. Yay!!! It looks like my itinerary will go something like this:
    Day One
  • Fly out from Lexington mid-morning, arrive in Chicago at almost noon local time
  • Buy a three-day transit pass
  • Take the Blue Line to the nearest station to my hotel
  • Drop my bags off at my hotel
  • Take a bus to the Field Museum of Natural History and soak up the sights there
  • Return, check in, and get ready to go out with others from our meeting who came in early
    Day Two
  • Sightsee in the morning
  • Take the Pink Line over to the University of Illinois--Chicago for a seminar
  • Attend the seminar
  • Meet with others for dinner downtown
    Day Three
  • Check out of hotel; take Pink Line back to UIC
  • Have a light breakfast
  • Meet with our committee
  • Have lunch
  • Take the Blue Line back to the airport
  • Fly out late afternoon, arrive back in Lexington that evening
I wish it could be longer, but this is the first time I'll be staying three days, two nights on the Chicago trip. Normally I fly up one day and come back the next. So it is a mini-vacation. I'm very excited.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Well I got my car dug out

with the help of three neighbour women who showed up and offered to help as I was clearing off my car. They had a small snow shovel thankfully. In the ten years I've lived in the apartment, I've never needed it, but you better bet I'll get one for next year. The snow had drifted so that on the back there were about six or eight inches on it, but in the front it was about two feet--my windshield wipers were barely visible where I'd left them up due to the ice. It took us about 45 minutes to free the car, but I should be able to go to a couple of appointments tomorrow morning, one with a friend, and then on to work tomorrow.

Kentucky made the national news, as parts of the Interstate in a couple of places were almost like parking lots, and people were trapped for hours until rescued by National Guard members. That area had had at least 21 inches of snow. I can't stress how rapidly this stuff came down, on top of about 24 hours of heavy rain, so pre-treating was not really possible. One popular local spot for sledding had to be roped off because there was standing water at the end of the hill--not frozen, just standing--over by the Beaumont YMCA.

I hope we're done with the snow for the year. The temperatures are plunging tonight, so we are definitely still in winter's grasp. It should be around -8 degrees Fahrenheit in the morning. Next week is looking to be around the high 50s when I travel to Chicago, and Chicago is looking to be in the 40s. So let's hope Spring is on the way, soon.


Female Killer Whales Take Leadership Roles After Menopause: Study
Turns out killer whales revere their grandmas, too.

After observing 102 killer whales in the wild, British researchers have determined that female killer whales become key leaders in their pods only after they age out of fertility, according to a study published in Current Biology on Thursday.

The reason, the researchers report, is that these older females know all the best places to find their favorite fish when pickings become lean.
as a comparison--
Menopause, it turns out, is quite rare in the animal kingdom: human women and only two whale species outlive their reproductive lives in a major way, says the study's lead author, Lauren Brent, an associate research fellow in animal behavior at the University of Exeter. Female killer whales typically become mothers between the ages of 12 and 40, but they can live for more than 90 years as compared to the males who rarely make it past 50.

Not the most reassuring story to see when you're less than a week out from flying

Delta flight skids off LaGuardia runway, stops feet from frigid waters
A Delta airplane slid off a runway late Thursday morning at New York's LaGuardia Airport, its nose busting through a fence before skidding to a halt mere feet from frigid waters.

Delta Flight 1086 briefly circled New York City due to issues with snow and ice before touching down shortly after 11 a.m., passenger Jared Faellaci told CNN. Almost as soon as it did, those aboard realized something was wrong -- the aircraft's wheels seemed to have little to no traction, sliding for about 20 seconds.

"You didn't feel the wheels take," Faellaci said. Then it was a matter of "where we are going to end up," he said.

About 4,500 to 5,000 feet down Runway 13, the MD-88 veered to the left and mercifully stopped on a small embankment.

The snow looks like it's finally stopped

Lexington's official total is 17.1", our heaviest two-day snowfall. This is a heavy snow, not the powder we had a couple of weeks ago. I didn't make it in to work at all, as it was absolutely treacherous this morning. I had planned to take the bus, but that means walking in half-light out across un-bladed lots, sidewalks, the streets (which were snow-covered this morning completely, as they couldn't keep up with snow coming down so fast) for about a quarter of a mile. Although I managed last time, it was on the second day, not the first (that had been on Presidents' Day, which had been a holiday at work). Despite working for a hospital, I'm not really essential personnel. So I called both bosses, my cubicle-mate (the latter of which was in, but she's from Upper Michigan), and left a message with one of my co-workers about an audit I was working on. This afternoon I'll try to dig my car out for tomorrow morning, when a friend and I have appointments in the same building. That'll be fun, right?

This is sweet, and a great reminder that love is greater than labels

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Listening to the local news

We've already gotten over five inches of snow in Lexington, with snow rapidly coming down, even though the transition didn't happen till the late afternoon. This is on top of a lot of rain, meaning they couldn't pre-treat the roads, so there's a glaze of ice under the snow from the frozen water and sleet, and it's really messy out there. Fortunately I went in a little early this morning, so I came home at 4:30 pm while it was still just rain. I suspect that I may be taking the bus tomorrow, unless things really improve. The worst thing is there's an Arctic blast coming. We're supposed to be at negative temperatures Friday morning. I have an appointment on Friday, and a friend does too, so I have to try to get out tomorrow night if at all possible. I do have a front-wheel drive vehicle, at least. A lot will depend on whether I can get out of my space. But tomorrow morning I may just try walking over to the bus stop (which is a pretty good walk, almost a quarter of a mile). I'm so tired of this stuff. Really. It can stop for the season, now.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Here we go again

The latest for our area from the weather service:
It is now 60 degrees Fahrenheit in Lexington. By Friday morning, it's expected to be around zero.

I cry uncle. The last few weeks have seen abysmal amounts of snow and low temperatures. I am tired of Old Man Winter. On the other hand, the long-range forecast for my Chicago trip at the moment has Lexington at partly cloudy and the lower 50s, with Chicago the same, except for lower to mid-40s. I can live with that. Let's hope that forecast holds.

Monday, March 02, 2015