Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hope you have an absolutely happy and safe New Year!

We're three hours away from 2018 here.  Brenda has left after much mayhem, first by playing the Harry Dresden Cooperative Card Game that she got for Christmas, and then in the Call of Cthulhu game, where we are back in about 1080 CE trying to prevent the King in Yellow from bringing He Who Shall Not Be Named (no, not Voldemort) from arriving from Carcosa.  I'm afraid we're probably going to lose characters before this is all over, and the timeline may be changed for the worse.

YKWIA is either playing or listening to a game on the computer, I suspect Mah Jongg, given the Asian tones playing, and I've lit a candle and am in my room on the computer, using my phone hotspot. The lavender scent is lovely.  I'm considering breaking out some blackberry mead I have in the refrigerator for the New Year, although I rarely drink.  But I had quite a bit of fruit at the game and some herb bread I made for us earlier today, and that might not be the best way to finish off a high-carbohydrate day when you have diabetes.  So we'll see.

Anyway, I hope you have a lovely New Year's Eve, and I hope to be writing more in 2018.  I think I'm going to listen to some music now and relax.  I've cleaned, made bread, played the game (although I didn't actually do anything except have a foreboding feeling--Brenda's character is male, so he's out dealing with cannibalistic cultists and my characters are in the kitchen and trying to embroider.  But I'd say there will be time very soon when I'll be slinging a sword and trying to prevent the end of the game world, too.   But I'm a little tired, I must admit.  Good night.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Reflections on 2017

2017 was an incredibly difficult, terrible, horrible, no-good year.  I say, good riddance.  In 2017 I:

  • Lost my mother to end-stage liver disease.
  • Lost a job I'd been at for twenty years, that I loved.
  • Was unemployed for several weeks, with all the uncertainty that brings.
  • Had a lot of general anxiety.
  • Spent an inordinate amount of money on keeping my health insurance going through COBRA.
  • Watched the country and the world go down the tubes in terms of politics [in my opinion].
  • Dredged up childhood fears of nuclear Armageddon thanks to the insane, narcissistic morons in charge of two major countries with weapons of mass destruction.
  • Watch what I thought was a great relationship (not mine) unravel due to addiction on the part of one spouse, despite all efforts of the other.
Some good things did work out for me in 2017:
  • I managed to ave for the new building or donate most of the professional medical library I worked in to India, including the journals. 
  • I was only unemployed for seven weeks, having been requested back at my old employer in a different capacity due to higher volumes to do contract work--no benefits, but it kept the lights on.
  • I moved in with a friend to share expenses, someone who I've known for 30 years, whom people have always said we should live together, which we've always resisted, and it's working out really well.
  • Moving forced me to put my therapy into practice and completely de-hoard my belongings.  Some are in storage.  Many were donated or discarded.  I wish I could have gotten everything to charities, but still, I donated a lot. I'm now basically living in a room with a bookcase bed with drawers, two nightstands, and the use of a cedar chest and closet, and I'm much happier to not be crushed under mounds of stuff accumulated over my (mostly) adult life.
  • I recently was hired by my old employer as a regular worker.  While it's for quite a bit less money than I had been making as a librarian, I have full-time work with benefits and was able to go back to regular health insurance, etc.  I like the people I work with, I'm still very invested in the work the non-profit does in caring for children with disabilities and musculoskeletal issues, and it's nice to still be around people I care about.  If the right library job came along, I'd certainly apply.  But right now, at least I'm working and doing okay.
  • Thanks to living with a great cook who makes healthy vegetarian food (as opposed to just bread and cheese, my mainstays), I've lost weight.
Things I hope will work out in 2018:
  • I'm learning to de-stress with my work responsibilities and handle the volumes and duties necessary.  I want to continue improving so that I don' t really feel overwhelmed like I did in the first few months I worked.  I'd like to get to a point where I don't just come home exhausted on big-volume days wondering why I am doing what I'm doing.  I want to do what I'm doing and loving it, or barring that, find a job that I love being there for.  That's one reason for the lack of blogging; I simply am too tired most nights, because I've given my all at work.  I think that's getting better, though.
  • I hope I can make changes to improve my health.  Watching my mother die of liver disease was very disturbing.  She smoked and had an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise for most of her adult life, had the misfortune to have diabetes (our entire family on my maternal side is pretty much diabetic, pre-diabetic, or at risk for it) and COPD (much of that was from smoking, but her father and I both also had/have asthma and breathing issues, so there was already an underlying propensity).  When the only thing that could have saved her was a liver transplant, she was still smoking (or at  least vaping), wasn't exactly compliant with her choices, and pretty much ran out of time between those and her age, although she was only 69, which these days is fairly young to die, especially when your mother lived with diabetes into her nineties.  What I realised was that with the exception of smoking (which I have never done), a lot of her food issues and genetics were passed down to me.  We were both overweight, although she dieted regularly when I was young, and that scarred me a little, and I've resisted it partly for that reason.  But I could eat much more healthily and not emotionally.  The diabetes gene is there, but I could improve my illness through lifestyle changes such as eating well and moving more.  Her fatty liver and eventual non-alcoholic cirrhosis may have had a genetic component but is common in diabetics, but it too can be helped through wellness changes.  When she was my age, her main indicator of what would eventually kill her was a few liver enzyme lab results that were slightly off and had been for some time.  I've had that same issue for awhile.  You know what happens when you go into this syndrome?  For one, you're more likely to get liver cancer.  My mom did, and they did an ablation and the tumour got better, but her bloodflow through the liver was impeded, so then when that happens, your ammonia builds up (as well as other toxins) to the point where you get very confused (she once put a Bic lighter in the microwave thinking it was soup, and my stepfather managed to catch her before she hit it on), and you have pints of fluid on you that have to be drained by parencentis (think of a big needle drawing fluid out of your abdomen).  You have to take LOTS of a liquid laxative that is awful and deal with the inevitable consequences to keep the ammonia and fluid from building up.  It's horrible.  She was in and out of the hospital for weeks on end in the months before she died, often unable to speak or be understood, and when she was finally put into hospice, my step-father said it was a terrible way to go, that she was in a lot of pain.  So it was a blessing when it was over.  I am so glad my step-father was there every step of the way.  Whatever anyone can ever say about him, he was a very good husband, and I wish him all the best.  He dealt with my mom's illness, her death, the death of their dog, his mom's infirmities (the lady's in her 90s), and a whole bunch of drama related to his sons' addiction issues.  I so wish him a much better 2018, too.
Okay, I guess I'd better start working on those notes.  But first I'm going to have dinner.  Good night.

New Year's Resolutions

  1. Blog more.
  2. Read more.
  3. Make healthier choices.
That's it.  I'll work on the specific means to do those goals, but those are the over-arching, general ones.

How about you?

My day

I had $1.50 in fines on my library card (hey, don't judge, I'm a librarian, but we like to keep books, sometimes a little long). Fortunately, the Lexington Public Library is doing a 'read off your fines' promotion, so for 15 minutes of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (my choice, which happens to be my current read, or re-read in this case), my fines were wiped. You still have one more day to do so--they're open from 1-5 pm tomorrow, Sunday, the 31st of December. It works for children or adults. I think you can erase $8 per hour read.
While I was there, the reference librarian was assisting someone on a call who obviously was interested in reading Sue Grafton's alphabet mystery series, and was putting the first one on hold for the caller. Mystery writing has lost one of its best-loved authors, and I think it's very sad that she got as far as Y, and didn't finish the whole alphabet. Perhaps there will a posthumous Z. [Hey, I didn't expect Elizabeth Peters' book The Painted Queen to come out, and it was an unfinished novel posthumously published with another writer who knew her finishing it up based on Peters' notes. So we could get a Z, who knows.] It does make me want to start the series, as I've never read it. In her obituary it was stated that as far as her family is concerned, the alphabet runs to Y, but who knows? Anyway, my condolences to them and to her fans out there.
Hope you are having a pleasant weekend. I have gone on a fruitless search for garlic at two Krogers, and so I came home a little frustrated, but I'm relaxing at home now with the dogs nearby and that makes everything better.

Which is good, as I need to work on the rest of the game notes. I'm about one-third of the way through the recording.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas feast

Eggplant with tofu in garlic sauce with vegetable spring rolls! Yummy!  Thank you, Jin-Jin!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

My phone was giving me some trouble

Suddenly, when plugged up with my normal, factory-provided charger, it was saying that there was moisture detected. I'd turned off the phone and restarted it, but it still kept popping up. I've only had that happen when trying to use a standard USB charger that isn't adaptive fast charging for the Samsung Galaxy S7.

So, I looked at some troubleshooting and decided to take a cotton swab and gently swabbed the port with dry cotton, and it's working now.  So it must actually have somehow detected some humidity.  It's snowing outside, so I'm assuming the air isn't the normal winter 'dry'.  I've had the phone for a year or more now, though, and it's never done that, at least with the charger that came with it.

I pulled out my box (with the quick start guides and the SIM-card drawer key) and the only other thing that came with the phone, a caddy with earbuds (which I don't use; I use my old S5 ones because I don't like the S7 shape of the buds, so I use them as a backup, only.  Inside is one other thing, a  USB to micro USB connector that, for the life of me, I have no idea as to why it was included with the phone when it came with a transfer USB to micro USB cable as part of the charger, and those sorts of cables are ubiquitous.  I just never got it.  I typed 'what is the purpose of the USB micro USB connector that comes with the galaxy s7' into Google and it's for Smart Switch, the Samsung method of transferring files from one phone to another device.  Still, I found it kind of weird. They did mine in-store using their Wi-Fi, except for the applications, as I had about 500 of those (I had 750 the other day, and I thought perhaps I should delete some I don't use.  But that's the number that comes up on the scans, and probably included pre-loaded ones). So since I was trying out the charger and cables anyway, I'm backing up my photos and music (that are already on a microSD card) further, by putting them on to my laptop.  It's about a third of the way through the music.  The pictures didn't take that much time; the estimated time for the music is one hour and 15 minutes.  I don't think it's going to take that long, though.

YKWIA and I have had our custard and nog.  The animals, who were fed late, are fed and the dogs are out for a bit in the snow. It's not really accumulating, really, just tiny amounts.  The laundry, which I've done in a leisurely manner, is almost finished.  I did the dog blankets and YKWIA's bedding, too.  [He accidentally fell asleep with a cup of tea in his hand last night, and spilt the whole thing, practically].  Tomorrow I plan on doing my bedding and clothes.

I had planned to listen to some music, stretching out on the bed, when the charging thing happened.  I went from 60% to less than 40% in very short order trying to figure it all out.  But it's charging now, albeit not as quickly as when plugged into the wall, given that it's plugged into the laptop.  We're  over halfway to the music backup being finished, so yeah, it's going pretty quickly.

Okay, that's all for now.  May your Christmas Eve be pleasant and warm.

So, it's Christmas Eve...

We're in the library at the house.  YKWIA has been watching 'Will & Grace' but has moved on to the original season of 'Blackadder'.  Both have been quite amusing.  I did some bills earlier and got gasoline, since Kroger will be closing early this evening.  It's been a quiet Sunday.  We're not gaming due to the holiday, either this week or New Year's Eve.  I've started some laundry. It occurs to me that it would be good to go back to Kroger, as I'm low on laundry supplies. It's dreary and rainy outside, although we might have some snow for Christmas.  Last night we worked four hours on fixing food to last days, and I baked bread, so we're set for a bit.  We didn't actually eat any, which surprised me--he just put it all up.  He doesn't eat much and sometimes forgets, hey, I eat three meals a day, unlike him, but then I had some cereal and was fine, and we talked, so he realised later that maybe it was a little weird to not have dinner last night, especially after all that cooking.

I find that I'm missing my mom this holiday season.  Last year she was in and out of the hospital, but I was able to visit her some.  Not so this year.  I know the last couple of years were awkward, and our relationship was not what it once was, but I did love her, and I feel the loss.  I think I'll contact my stepfather tonight; it's probably hard on him this year without her.

The only thing we have planned for tomorrow is eating at Jin Jin and running some paperwork by to someone.  That's it.  And I'll probably do more laundry.  My holiday was Thursday, Yule (Solstice), but I worked and didn't really do anything for it.  I suck at the holidays this year. Well, I did pretty well for Chanukah, anyway.

I'm off on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (well, work doesn't recognise it as such--it just so happened they made a mistake and gave us off the day after Christmas rather than Christmas Eve (which due to the weekend would have made it Friday this year).  But considering we had a half-day of work Friday followed by a Christmas get together where we could stay or go as early as we'd like after 1 pm, we sort of had two and a half days off, so I'm not complaining.\

During this post, I've gone to the store and I'm back with laundry supplies, some flour and oats, and some boiled custard for him. I prefer eggnog, and I got some earlier, so we now have both in the house. We're set for Christmas, I think.

Anyway, if you're celebrating tonight, I wish you well,  and may you have a very Merry Christmas.  For those of you who've already had your holidays, or they fall afterwards, hope they were or will be wonderful.  And for the rest of you, may the New Year be full of love, laughter and light--2017 has been a very difficult one for me personally, for those I love, and for pretty much most of the world, I think.  Here's to 2018.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Chanukah has been rather nice so far...

On the first night of Chanukah, my friend lit the candles and I made three types of latkes. It took me an hour and a half from start to finish, long after the last candle burnt out. :)
In process
The final result: cheese, zucchini, and potato latkes with sour cream, applesauce, and homemade tzatziki as condiments.
Now we're on night six. He gave me a nice periwinkle fleece hooded scarf; I gave him a nice set of 100% linen napkins.  It was a small celebration, but it was nice.  My holiday is the 21st, Yule.  It's on a Thursday.  I'm not sure if I'll do anything for it.  My one thing I did was buy a live rosemary bush in the shape of a fir tree, but it's not going to make it, I  don't think.  I'd taken it to work, as there's more light there, but alas, it's drying up despite a not-too-much amount of water and as much light as I could give it.  I've only ever been able to keep them alive outside.  I'm a little sad about it.  I cut back some of the dead growth and watered it before I left for the weekend.  We'll see if it's alive come Monday.

Today we played the game.  Our characters are in Norman England, and not only do we need to prevent the King in Yellow's coming, but there are two ancestors of the non-player character who brought us here to keep alive, and oh, by the way, that means they're ancestors to several other characters, including player ones.  So we have incentives to both save the world, the future, and the lineage. Ah, fun.  We won't be playing the next two weeks due to Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve (YKWIA and I aren't Christian,  but Brenda is and no doubt wants to be with her family for Christmas, and we certainly don't want her out on New Year's Eve with the drunks).

My only New Year's resolution this year is to try to write more regularly.  It amazes me how my blogging has fallen off. It's not from disinterest.  It's just sometimes I'm so tired.  On latke night, for example, we'd had a busy day, I'd worked all day, and after preparing and cooking the latkes, I was so tired I almost didn't have the strength to eat them.  On Wednesday, we had 200 people on the schedule.  Thankfully there are two of us at checkout now, and that's helping me immensely, and allowing us to do better at answering the live calls and voicemails. I left Friday having actually caught up with my e-mails with care managers and having scheduled everything I should have.  It felt good to finally get those things done that needed to be.

The Sunday before last I applied for a job, and I was called on Tuesday. I'd mentioned that I couldn't have my phone with me during work when I'd sent the application.  It was for an outreach position in a neighbouring county, delivering media and services to seniors and other homebound patrons.  I e-mailed her that afternoon, trying to set up a time for the interview.  I never heard back.  Thursday I sent an enquiry asking for feedback, again, by e-mail.  Nothing on that one, either.  I had gotten back in a timely manner, albeit not by phone.  All the application had been through e-mail, with  'no phone calls please'.   I know I probably should have called, but I only get a short lunch break that basically allows me to eat and not much else, am lucky to get a pee break twice a day, and I didn't want to speak to a prospective employer while in our break room, so I'd e-mailed back instead, but the lady never replied.

I'm disappointed, of course.  They were so quick to ask me for an interview, and then just nothing.  But it didn't require a master's degree, so I'm not sure it would have paid enough to be worth the drive, and I'm going to go with this just wasn't the one for me.  But yes, I'm still disappointed.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Preparing for tomorrow

Tomorrow it's supposed to have snowfall at the morning commute, be frigid tomorrow night, and oh, yes, it's the first night of Chanukah. So tonight has been all about preparing for all that. I already had most of a tank of gas, but the first thing I did upon returning home was to make a grocery list of things YKWIA needed for cooking, things I needed for the latkes, and general things we needed. I then proceeded to go to the Tates Creek Kroger, got almost everything I needed (although I had to get them to stock the half and half from the back and wandered a bit until I found applesauce in the fruit snack aisle). The one thing I needed to go to Fresh Market for was a Belgian endive. On entering the Landsdowne Shoppes, I had an old man who was in the right-turn lane who suddenly he decided to go into the left-turn lane (my lane) while I was occupying it. I laid on the horn, something that has taken me years to really do--I usually tap it ineffectively, and had the satisfaction of not only having him return to his lane, but he startled and I suspect I nearly scared him half to death, which is fine, given how inattentively he was driving. It is so easy to startle Southerners, who cannot fathom why anyone would be rude enough to honk their horn at the person trying to hit them. We as a lot tend to be overly polite, never stick up for ourselves, and do everything in a roundabout way so as to not offend or confront. YKWIA was raised in an aristocratic Southern family, but his Yankee roots are also quite evident. He does very well in places like New York, which would eat me alive. Southerners frustrate him, however.

Anyway, I got the endive, returned, put everything away, and then we ate leeks au gratin, which was wonderful, with a little bread, too. I cleaned up while he made a phone call to a friend, and I proceeded to go through one of my nightstands and consolidate some medications and fill up my pill reminder box since I brought my medicine with me today but didn't take it because I didn't have it pre-sorted. The bag it was in was at least useful; I gave that to a family who needed something to prevent the glitter glue from a cast (hey, we are a children's medical centre) from getting all over a car seat.

The plan tomorrow is to make classic potato latkes with applesauce and sour cream, latkes made from strained cottage cheese (sweet latkes that are very yummy with the applesauce, as I prefer the sour cream with the potato ones) and some zucchini latkes with tzatziki. I've made all three recipes before, but not in the same year, I don't think. I've been making latkes for Chanukah for YKWIA for years as a treat. This year I gave him a nice linen napkin set because his old napkins were in sad shape. He gave me a lovely hooded periwinkle scarf that is fleece and very warm, which will come in handy tomorrow. I did discover that I cannot back into our driveway to save my life. I thought it would be better to be heading out towards the street if we got any real snow, as I have front-wheel drive, but I ran into a branch that was over to the side and I'm sitting mostly in our side yard, but I'm definitely off the driveway with the back of the car a little crooked, on the grass. I think it's a shame that my car, a 2001 Taurus, is just too old to have been outfitted with a backup camera. That is one thing I miss about that Hyundai Veloster I rented. Well, that and Bluetooth. :)

Okay, I'm at a strange angle on my bed, typing, and my neck is starting to hurt. I'm going to sign off and head on to bed. I must get up a little early just in case I need to scrape the windwhield or otherwise deal with precipitation. Hope you're having a good week so far. Good night.

Monday, December 04, 2017


Today was busy. After work, I went and got some medicine for a friend and a couple of things I forgot at the store, mailed X-Men: Apocalypse back to Netflix, and came on home. So I feeling productive but a bit drained. Still, I was doing fine until I opened my mail, found something that upset me, and then everything unravelled, and I had a series of minor yet unfortunate events, things like going to the bathroom and discovering that YKWIA had forgotten to replace the toilet paper (it's something he does--I hate to make generalisations, but I'm convinced it has something to do with that Y chromosome). The last straw was taking out my contacts and one of the lids to the case fell behind the pedestal sink and I had to go digging for it. I just started crying. YKWIA and I talked about what was bothering me, really, and then I fed the animals and decided to soothe my mood with some music for about 20 minutes. I ate dinner (Morningstar veggie 'ribs' in hickory barbeque sauce, acorn squash soup, and bread). Then I went into the other room, found a mouse, put that on the desktop in the library because the wireless mouse's wheel has stopped working, cleaned up a bit in there, and then sat down and read, finishing the book I mentioned the other day. It really is enlightening, and it helped put my reaction into perspective, as I was responding as a Good Girl, and that's never good, with all sort of embarrassment, guilt, and the sense that people wouldn't like me because I failed to do something.

I really need to get rid of that Good Girl inside me and grow up completely and be a strong, independent woman.

Yesterday I applied for an outreach librarian at Frankfort's Paul Sawyier Public Library, which delivers materials to seniors and others who find it hard to get to the library itself. It doesn't require a master's degree, but I was interested in doing that, so I went to apply. I haven't given up the idea of being a librarian, after all.

Every morning the cat comes into the bathroom with me after I wake up, no matter where he might be in the house. He usually sits on the ledge that the shower enclosure is built into, but will move to the heat register if the furnace comes on. But he stays while I shower, in the hopes that I will feed him, which isn't going to happen. I don't feed them in the morning because that would encourage barking and the cat acting out. Instead, YKWIA feeds them in the morning, and I usually feed them in the evening. Anyway, he was in the bathroom and I went and got my hair dryer, something I rarely use, but I'd decided to use it today, and apparently, he had not been in the bathroom whilst I used it before. Needless to say, he freaked a bit. Poor kitty. But my hair looked nice today. :)

I'm getting sleepy. YKWIA is on the phone with a friend from Cicero, Illinois. I'm in the living room (my bedroom) using the hotspot on my phone. I've been listening to Pandora, specifically the Imagine Dragons station. I think I"m going to head on to bed soon. I need to get up early to make sure I don't have a flat tyre; I was at the store earlier, and someone came in pretty much on my side of the drive, leaving me just a little room to exit, and I wound up running roughly over a kerb. So, there's always that chance. I backed into the driveway so I can easily see the passenger rear tyre. Of course, I'll need to get up early, about 6 am, so if I need to, I can take the bus. Here's hoping that it's fine, as I don't really have any more repair money just now.

Good night. Hope your Monday has gonne well.

Saturday, December 02, 2017


the move from contract to regular employment and spending over $1,250 to get the car back on its feet after the coolant system issue, plus Thanksgiving groceries, my bank account has just enough money for a couple of bills. So it was really great that on Friday my boss and the administrator of the hospital, who thanked me for my dedication to the company despite a labour reduction, and they presented me with a pre-paid VISA card for my twenty years' of service that will definitely help immensely. I spent part of it on groceries today, as well as some new headphones, as mine broke last night. These are similar, but blue, so no more Princess Leia jokes from YKWIA about my white headphones that look a bit like the ear-buns from Star Wars.

After the grocery run, YKWIA and I ate lunch and then watched X-Men: Apocalypse, the DVD I have out from Netflix (yes, we still do that). Then we each took a nap until the cat completely woke us up by jumping on the paper grocery bag we'd left for him. When I'd gone to the store, I'd bought 15 leeks and the bagger, challenged by all these long green and white things he'd never really seen before, put them into paper bags, as they fit better. I also had to tell the cashier what my pomelo was (happy is the home with a pomelo) and helped him find it on the PLU list (it was classified with grapefruit).

So I fed the animals, put YKWIA's robe in the dryer, unloaded the dishwasher and put away dishes, loaded it again, and did the plastics. I've been on the computer and am listening to an Imagine Dragons playlist. Now I'm considering reading more of the book. Last night I read the rest of part one, about three chapters, and I sort of shut down completely and went to sleep afterwards. It's a difficult book to read emotionally, as so much of my psyche is subsumed under the need to be a people pleaser and Good Girl, and it's hard to see examples and realise that they are reflected in my own life. I'm definitely only reading one chapter tonight. :)