Friday, November 30, 2007


Something happened to the Churp, Churp header! Bear with me as I try to learn some new programming skills. Or bug Ron again.

In conclusion

Thanks for the bandwidth, not fainthearted!

This month for NaBloPoMo, I had expected to do more cat homages, things that make me smile. I am going to try to get in a few more soon.

If you'll recall, my cat, Sad!e, died in March. She was almost 19. I miss her every day. She was a great cuddler, loved to sleep under my covers at night so I could be her radiator. She talked back every time I talked to her, even if it was just a grunt after I'd pestered her into talking too long. She was such great companionship. And she is still boxed in my freezer, as we haven't ventured to the taxidermist yet. My mother often makes fun that we'll reach in for the ice cream and pull out a cat.

The two cats we have now, who we got in March and April and which I have also meant to discuss, are fine; they're just not Sad!e. It is taking all my strength to not find myself another lanky, petite little gray kitten, but I fear would terrorize it like he does Memph!s. bugs me because he is so aggressive and playful, Memph!s because he is such a chicken who lives under the bed. But they are both very loving, very attached, and very loved.

Sadie's why I've kept as new on Bloglines these pictures from SOMC. They remind me of what Sad!e was like all those years ago when she fit in one hand.

I miss my cat. It makes my heart ache.

The real thing:

With that, NaBloPoMo is over for me. I'm proud to have posted each day. As I said before, I am master of the mundane.

Now to decide where this blog is headed. Except for the unused posts waiting to be applied in the coming days, should I keep with the routine blog post method with its requisite dabbling in the minuscule? Or should I stop sweating and writing about the small stuff and go back to weekly or twice weekly posting? Tough decision.

I once had an online friend who complained that I posted too often when I wrote several times a week, her saying that people don't have time to absorb and respond to a topic. I see her point and perhaps the way it worked on her blog; she got way over 20 comments each and they were spread out over time.

I am not so fortunate and eek out few, with half being my own anyway. I don't think my audience or their commenting patterns care to worry about absorbing my content over time; generally you respond right after it comes out, or not at all.

The same lovely people comment routinely and I could just squish you up. That's what I'm thankful for this month... People who comment and people who participate in drive by memes and stick around. Thanks for helping me get through this November. You made blogging feel less solitary.

As a result of this month, I have tried harder to find blogs outside the infertility community. The topics are so different and, in many ways, I relate to them more completely. To be truthful, I am in twin pregnancy overload.

Here's to new horizons.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Honoring NaBloPoMo's ups and downs

Can't you feel it itching and burning?

Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Sometimes it is just this painful.

Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


I think it isn't reading alone; it's commenting, too. Or so it feels to me.

Doodle by Lee. The code for this doodle and other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.


Case in point.

Doodle by Lee. Other doodles you can use on your blog can be found at Doodles.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Genealogy 101, Part 2

[I guess the rush to comment about this masterpiece is waiting for the second installment!]

Next find the LDS Family History Center near you and begin ordering census films to view there - or other films on which you can also find b/m/d indexes, transcriptions of church vestry and civic records, cemetery records, family books, etc. Keep a database about these orders, too. Further, you can check out their data online, but don't be too literal about it. (One thing that bothers me about their database is that collecting/inputting people is considered religious kudos for the contributing member, so it is kind of haphazard. Another thing that bothers me is that we each have a reference number in their system as we're added. Yup, you most likely appear in the Mormon database and you can then be baptised after death and "sealed" to living members. Gives this nonreligious person the willies.) (Mitt scares me.)(Yes, I still walk whenever I can with Mormon Norma, but she doesn't try to pour religion down my throat. I do have a hard time getting my brain around her religious quirks, though.)

I have done a considerable amount of census work. The 1930 census was released a few years ago; it's one I have not seen. Starting in 1850, people's names were listed in the family, so that is very handy. The 1890 was lost in a flood caused by water used to put out a fire in the building. A lot of census data is available online, too, or on cds, but it is more dry than using a microfilm, where you can also see the families/relations living nearby. Use special census forms specific for the census year as the required information changed over the years.

See if there is a genealogy society near you and join it. Many offer very useful classes and mine has a rather substantial library. Also, look into membership into the National Genealogical Society. They have excellent training and you can borrow from their vast holdings.

Post, post, post on places like Rootsweb and Genforum. Posts on Genforum in a foreign country section netted me two not-very-distant cousins who gave me great Old Country information. Rootsweb has lists you can join or search (and Genforum has message boards) for surnames, counties, states, countries, wars, ethnic groups, and almost any situation you could imagine. Respond to your own posts to keep them up to date with your current information.

Some time in researching, you'll need to choose a software. I used Family Tree Maker and am happy with it. There are many others, some free even to download. One thing they do is make a gedcom, a generic output of data that can be read by other programs. If you prefer to do things by hand, here's a family group sheet and a pedigree.

Cyndi's List exists to compile then categorize like genealogy websites. You'll always learn something going through there. And she is thorough. I have a few genealogy websites and they're listed without me trying. Here are a few books she suggests for newbies.

Another avenue, literally, I found very helpful have been city directories, phone books before the phone. People are listed alphabetically, so you can find same surnamed relatives, plus they list the spouse, occupation, address, and rent or own status. They are at some libraries and are available on microfilm. When you put together a surname study of what you've found, be sure to share it in posts at Rootsweb and Genforum.

After you get started, make sure you use an email that won't change or make sure to follow up some of your posts with the change. There's nothing worse than composing a grand email for a message that bounces. I use a permanent forward from Bigfoot, although it does mean more junk mail from them.

Be generous with your data and folks will return the favor. Send polite, thorough, specific messages requesting information and always respond with a thanks. Genealogical etiquette is very important to the hobby.

Reinforcing that, respect the living. Never post genealogical data of the living. I have gone to many sites and asked that they take down information that was too close to home.

Males should consider doing yDNA studies, as it links directly to a family. I am having a little trouble with the big pictureness of it (it breaks my rule of only going backward and it makes grand leaps), as I am still in the trenches with the details, but it casts a new light. And amazingly proves proper paternity of ex for the ages.

Don't take anything too literally and be open to alternative views. My grandfather appeared in the 1920 census as a girl; karma worked its magic on the misogynist in training! There's a lot of humor in genealogy, too.

Hope you enjoyed this foray into genealogical research and that this opus excited you instead of scaring you away!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Genealogy 101, Part 1

I wish I could find where I'd written up my old talks. Too many computers back, I believe.

Two parts, today and tomorrow, are about how I approach genealogy. There are many other means and specifics available, yet this is a general yet detailed 'how to' for the average American or possibly Canadian. I think it is very important that you learn how to do genealogy first, then applying it will reap greater rewards.

Begin with what you know and work toward what you don't know. Be disciplined about this. Don't make flying leaps to people you don't know and attempt to work the opposite way. It'll end in frustration.

Also, and guys are prone to this especially, remember that your genealogy is much greater than your surname. Don't just follow that single path. At just the great grandparent level, you have eight surnames to consider and research. Remember them and pay close attention to the women, the ghosts of genealogy.

Get the birth/marriage/death certificates that apply for you, your parents, grandparents, etc. I guarantee you will learn something. Perhaps you can also work grandparents' siblings or cousins, any relations really.

You can go to to get addresses for ordering b/m/d documents, but you can also go to the state or county website to cross check. I recently did that with a California death certificate. Unwilling to pay $36 for an online order and the mail in info link didn't work, so I went to directly to the county where I learned they have a specific pdf form on their website that they require to be notarized. It's a good idea to check the county, as I learned in this case. Look also because sometimes a uncertified document costs less, but not always. These documents are typically $12 or so.

Different states began recording such records at different times. Perhaps you're lucky enough to come from an early state. I was not. is very clear when record keeping began if you look at a county's or state's entry.

As you order all your b/m/d certificates, keep a running database on what you ordered and when, then insert the results when they return. Honestly, it is very easy to reorder paperwork unnecessarily. Here are a couple form examples.

Check out the funeral homes listed on death certificates and contact them and the cemetery. They have great data. Sometimes headstones have Masonic or other symbols which can be researched. Most cemeteries are cataloged in books, online, or genealogy society bulletins and, remember, people are usually buried with family.

See if you can find obituaries and death notices. Many are online both with the newspapers as well as someplace like Rootsweb.

Order the Social Security application for any ancestor/relation you can through an SSDI. Back when I was ordering them a lot, they were only $7 each. Now, unfortunately, they are $27. They show the parents of the applicants, so are very helpful - I found it interesting to see how one grandfather abbreviated his mother's 17 letter surname down to six letters; it was good information to look for her in that direction. (It was also fun seeing his handwriting, signature, and where he lived.) Click on the form generators at the Rootsweb link to make the letter writing part easy for you.

Give yourself a little budget each month and buy some documents, join a society, or order a book - check out some of the genealogy publishing companies or ebay when you get to that point. (There are complied books of b/m/d records done by individuals or genealogy societies. There are books of newspaper marriage/death announcements. Others deal with property or wills. Many options. Then sell what you don't want on ebay.) Genealogy costs, but it can be spread out in workable chunks.

Minimize costs by using online catalogs, some of which you can order from, some you have to go there: DAR, Library of Congress, and National Genealogical Society. If someone mentions a genealogical book in passing, rather that make them type it out, go to an online catalog. Keep a running pile of print outs about books you'd like to view. Once you see them, make notes on that paper about the book.

To be continued...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Big boat

In my initial warning notification to my readers about NaBlo, I listed some blogging subjects I wanted to cover.

Something I haven't gushed about is our cruise coming up for Spring Break.

It started with my mother wanting to get together over the holidays and flights being booked. I told her that she should actually try to plan something in advance next time and suggested Spring Break. To my surprise, she jumped right on that idea.

I did the research and ran some options by her. One cruise left from near her, so that pretty much sealed the deal. It makes two stops. One is where P and I drank too much and had a marvelous time, but we never made it past the strip mall at the base of the dock. The other is at a more exotic place that fewer people go to.

At the first place, this time we're going to take a boat snorkeling. My mother said she would snorkel. I'm getting J snorkeling equipment for Xmas. I guess we should go to a pool and practice beforehand, too.

At the second place, we will probably go to some ruins and swim in a sink hole, then go to town. This way, we'll get two days of use out of the snorkeling equipment, but see other things, too.

My mother took a cruise with a friend a few years ago and neither of them got off the ship for their three ports of call in seven days. They had a balcony and were quite happy on it. (Opposing that, we had a cruise for four with nary a window.) She insisted on a balcony this time, too, although I am going to drag her chicken ass off the boat. I had to reassure her that excursions do make it back on the boat on time; they do it every day.

To me, the ship is just a big, fancy, pimped out car getting me from one place to another. The ports are the thing. I need to see stuff.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More movies

Do you know how badly I wanted Love in the Time of Cholera to be good?

When I found out it was being made, I began to think of the movie to be my Cliff Notes. I don't figure I'm getting graded on it, but I've tried twice to read this dense novel and I've never made it beyond one third. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but I won't pay to see a movie rated 14% by the Rotten Tomatoes Cream of the Crop. Even I have standards.

Okay, there's one reason I might. Javier Bardem is good looking in it. In No Country for Old Men, he looked like a pale, waxen freak, appropriate enough for the part. After that flick, I came home and scoured IMDb for Bardem just to see if he could look regular without a mushroom hair cut and bad make up. Turns out, he is oddly, ruggedly handsome. He accepts strange parts so he can break free of the pretty boy image and camouflage his good looks.

So, if you see Cholera, come tell me about it... whether the reviews are accurate. I want the scoop and don't want to pay for leather seats to get it. heh

I suspect the next movie I see will be Enchanted, which is getting excellent reviews. It'll be fun to see Disney making fun of itself. I also want to see the scrumptious Daniel Craig in The Golden Compass, although the Fundamentalists are having fits that it is unChristian. All the more reason to support it, I believe.

J and I saw Fred Claus yesterday and it was much better than the reviews would lead you to believe. Some is predictably predictable, but it is very entertaining. Seeing Vince Vaughan trying to make his huge frame dance and appear light-footed is worth the price of admission.

PS - Right now, I am sick of posting daily.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Gaming interlude

Do you play games online in those fleeting moments of boredom?

If so, what do you waste your life on play?

Sometimes, I play Splash and Tetris. I like that I can go to a website, not download anything, and play by myself.

Any suggestions for me adding to that tiny list?

Friday, November 23, 2007

A few of my favorite things

Here is one case that I'd rather the previous post remain on top for more than a day, but I will trudge on with NaBlo. In the coming days, I will put together a beginner's primer for doing genealogy. I was actually published nationally in a mother's periodical with a piece on beginning genealogy and have spoken a couple times on the topic.

You know how when you're channel surfing on the weekend or late at night? You break into a huge grin when a particular movie is displayed in the guide, an old favorite you could watch a dozen more times.

What movies do that for you?

Here are a few that I feel like I've won the lottery when I realize they're coming on...

Muriel's Wedding
The Red Violin
A Christmas Story
Hillary and Jackie
Garden State
Pulp Fiction
My Cousin Vinny
The Slums of Beverly Hills
But I'm a Cheerleader
Young Frankenstein
The Big Lebowski
Artemisia Gentileschi

They make me sigh with happiness.

J and I had a lovely Thanksgiving together. The turkey didn't exactly cooperate - the heat button never did pop, even after 2.5 hours when it should have been less than 2. I figured it had malfunctioned, but I guess the bird really wasn't done. J really liked it, though, a little chewy. I think I'll throw the rest out today.

Afterward, we went to a movie, my Thanksgiving tradition. I wanted to see Fred Claus, but the time put us too late, so we saw Mr. Magorium, J's first choice anyway. First, allow me to say that I did not fall asleep, however it was a one horse movie, not a lot of plot, just a lot of stuff flying around. Hoffman was weird as ever, Portman as cute, Bateman as geeky, but it still lacked something. J enjoyed it, however, said it was better than Bee Movie when asked.

Just looking at the movie posters there, I am shocked at the number of kid and Christmas movies out this month and next. I'm going to the poor house to support our movie habit!

Today, we did next to nothing. It turned cold, so we stayed in. I'm not much for shopping anyway, especially with crowds and a kid in tow. Had a great genealogical breakthrough last night, so planned a trip downtown for next week. Have been still hashing with another researcher or two who refuse to believe my research.

To pass the time, I watched a Lewis and Clark documentary from Netflix and J joined me for the first of three featuring Michael Palin going around the world in 80 days. I fell asleep between episodes two and three of Palin, but work up not feeling like I missed too much. He'd hit the figurative doldrums and so had I.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Genealogically speaking

Today I am thankful for many things. I will highlight one area of family that has meant a lot to me; I've not included much of it in this blog, but it is a passion. It is something I am good at and gives me enormous pride to do well.

I began doing genealogy when J turned one, because I wanted him to be included in an upcoming family book that was scheduled to be published. (It has yet to be published nine years later.) I caught the bug and began going to major research institutions. I could look at primary sources, the real thing, and not depend on the junk on the Internet, although I'll admit to having some of that, too.

I am thankful for having the opportunity to do this research and for having well over 550 grandparents documented for J and almost 250 of their surnames to research. My satisfaction is not because of the well known people I have eventually uncovered, but it comes in honoring and remembering the mill workers and farmers who built this country and deserve to live through the ages. I want their stories straight and preserved. The famous people part is gravy.

For example, I descend from two women who were almost killed by Indians. One was pregnant and scalped; I descend from that daughter she was carrying and I think the blood thickening properties of pregnancy are probably why I am here. The other was on a wagon train going west when the entire party was wiped out, save she and her brother, who were later found and sent back east. Only 13 when she married, her husband looks exactly like Matthew Broder.ick.

Further, J descends from at least 22 Revolutionary War patriots. We are the bread and butter our country was built on, from the Huguenots in 1699 to the Germans in the mid 1700s to the Scots any ol' time.

To begin with the well known, it is thought that ex and I are both related to George Washington, me through the Balls, George's mother's family, and ex through his own surname which is in George's family.

Through his mother, ex is a cousin of Thomas Jefferson, springing from a different branch of Jefferson's grandfather.

Through his mother again, ex is a distant cousin of Jimmy Carter as well.

I descend from a man on the first ship of Africans who came to Jamestown from Angola in 1617. J just studied them in school last week. They are considered to have saved the settlement.

Moving on to the present, I have a distant cousin who is a respected, well known NASCAR driver.

I have a second cousin who played in two World's Series and won one. He even earned a great stat distinction.

I have another second cousin who writes/produces for TV and film with projects you definitely know. He names characters after family members.

(Less illustriously, I descend from an eldest son who married his aunt, his father's youngest sister. Many family trees are wreaths and I have plenty of examples!)

About eight years ago, I had my mitochondrial DNA study done. I wasn't from one of the Seven Daughters of Eve. My daughter must have been hiding out in the corner; it is a smaller clan - perhaps infertility made the clan smaller? I do have my mother's mother's mother's (etc) line traced to Jane, born 1820s Scotland. I have many other lines traced earlier (to include the 12th century Scottish knights through which ex and I are ninth cousins), but Jane is my heart. If I had had a daughter, she would have been Jane for the Janes in ex's and my families. (Or give me an Emeline or a Margaret for other grandmothers.)

I recently had J's yDNA study done and am hashing out the results. Part of that hashing is some incorrect family history that has ex's father's father's father (etc) Henry born 1820s SC attached to the wrong family. Bully for me that the yDNA seems to prove my point, as they are too many markers off to be that closely related. I would have loved a son named Henry or another named Fletcher, after another grandmother.

Gosh I get off on this stuff! I am so thankful for these people persevering through some tough times.

Genealogy is entertaining, but I despise the dismissiveness when someone says, "If you go back far enough, we're all related." My standard response then is, "Prove it."

Well, I have.

PS - I realize that genealogy is sort of an anathema to the infertility world. I ask you to respect that, although I was not able to create my own family the way I wanted, I have been able to find plenty of other family and honoring them has warmed my existence. I learned that family is much greater than the idiots who happen to live at the same time as me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's a mothering thing

I broke down and bought a turkey breast that wasn't even 5lbs Tuesday afternoon. Got some canned yams to mash and sprinkle with pecans/brown sugar, J's favorite side dish in the world. I also got some refrigerated mashed potatoes and jars of gravy. And canned green beans, which I eat the Southern way with diced tomatoes like my G'pa who died a year ago. And an apple pie with his favorite of all favorites egg nog and egg nog ice cream. That child lives on egg nog through the holidays.

This might possibly be our most processed/pre-prepared/canned Thanksgiving ever, but it will be something I made for us at home. I was feeling tremendous guilt about this holiday.

My history...
7 years ago: ultimately a very nice holiday spent with ex after he wrote/surprise attacked me with a spontaneous draft our separation agreement that Wednesday when he left for work and was going to hide out out of town, but I told him not to be so skiddish, that I was happy/relieved to receive it - he was giving me money I never anticipated!
6 years ago: spent in SC at my sister's w/J
5 years ago: w/out J, spent at the family of a boyfriend during our 3 months of togetherness; too bad I liked his family better than he
4 years ago: flew to my mother's in FL w/J
3 years ago: cooked at P's w/o J
2 years ago: cooked at P's w/J
1 year ago: cooked at Crazy Luke's and Norma came, no J

(By the way, they all feel like yesterday.)

Although I'd taken a few years off, I've cooked the last three years, enjoyed doing that tremendously, but it kinda took a man and a relationship for it to happen.

My guilt is because I don't want it to take a man and a relationship for me to cook Thanksgiving for my son. I rarely cook as it is. He is deserving of Thanksgiving on his own. Not cooking, whether he cares or not, would short change him in my eyes. He isn't less significant than any man. By far.

So there. I am going to cook a turkey so small that only takes 90 minutes and we will still take in Fred Claus and/or Enchanted and/or Crazy-Toy-Story-Emporium movie. Sounds like a plan.

ETA Tuesday evening: I forgot cranberry sauce, so asked J to walk with me to the grocery store after school. (It is so nice to have two grocery stores within walking distance during rush hour!) He decided that he'd rather have pumpkin pie, with whipped cream, of course, so we got a few extra things.

He also balked at pecans on the sweet potato pie, but I don't care. I'm going to make it like my last remaining Grandma.

He goes to his father's Wednesday night, then I have him for the rest of the break. Joy. Pure bliss. I love my boy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Vegetable Spoon Bread = Dressing

I got this recipe as a newlywed. Lovely with or without gravy, it has evolved to be the dressing for holidays each year. A great way to sneak some green into the diet, I have also made it adding mushrooms (of course) and diced onions. Even carrots would work.

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 eggs, beaten (I often use 1)
1 (8 ounce) can cream-style corn (I usually use kernal)
1 cup low-fat sour cream (I use less)
1/4 cup margarine, melted (I use butter)
1 (8.5 ounce) package corn muffin mix (I use Jiffy)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Grease a 9 inch square baking dish. In a large bowl, stir together the spinach, eggs, corn, sour cream and margarine until well blended. Stir in the dry cornbread mix. Pour into the prepared pan, and spread evenly. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and slightly browned on the top.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Got my goat

Excuse the vitriol, but...

Oro's recent post jarred my memory. Helen's tackles it very eloquently, too. "Just adopt" has many connotations to me.

Last Saturday, after we'd picked up bags for Scouting for Food, ex and I were talking as he drove me home. I decided to update him that the tremor is probably thyroid-related (but BTW has definitely NOT decreased in the last week) and that many other symptoms were due to another overdose when spanned many months.

One of these side effects, as I mentioned here, was weight gain. Oddly (add it to my list), sometimes a thyroxine overdose can make one ravenous. When told this, ex said he'd thought I'd lost weight. That was a surprise, so I told him I'd gained 15 after losing 30 last year. To this he curtly replied, "Just don't eat."

"Just adopt."

When something physiological is wrong, seemingly only the weak allow it to get the best of them. The strong are Darwinian and trudge on through, unscathed. They are ever so wise and superior.

He's been so fortunate to have lost around 30 pounds over the last year due to the toe nail fungus medicine (L - something : Lama.sil maybe?) taking away his ability to taste. It's one of those 3% of users side effects. He wasn't enjoying food, so he wasn't eating. How fucking lucky is that? But since it happened to him, he is among the "privileged" and can easily poo poo an unintentional weight gain by me. He can't even internalize or respect that he has merely experienced the flip side of what I experienced many times over.

I'll never forget over a decade ago when he told me that I'd "let myself go" in the most disparaging fashion. (How do I loathe that phrase?) He'd been through me having injections for endometriosis and gaining 30 or 40 lbs. He saw me through a battery of psych meds that had side effects of 30 lbs each. He also saw me go on diets and loose 25 unfair pounds, but be so discouraged that I didn't deserve the repeated weight gains. The marvels of medical science did this to me and he conveniently forgot. Side effects R us. For every one step forward, there were two steps back and I paid for health with my weight.

Makes me reflect...

How narrow people are.
How short sighted.
How short their memories are.
How they forget hard times.
How they think logic wins over the unexplainable.
How fucking smart they are with all the answers.
How misguided they are that they think they are actually in control.
How pompous they are spreading their own gospel.

How come I always get the short end of the stick?

I'm in the throes of PMS, hence the rant and anxiety dreams over P and his wife. Hoo boy.

I think I'm also crashing from the hypothyroidism and removal of Levoxyl. I am truly a wet blanket right now.

Can I admit that I always smile a little when I see that P's football team lost? My therapist had tried desensitization exercises for me so that I could own/like the team for myself and not hate their team colors, shades of which BTW I'd purchased all my winter sweaters a few years ago and must still wear. Instead of me embracing that city, team, and mascot, I gave away to charity or threw away everything team-related I had, except for the sweaters and blouses. It felt liberating to me at the time. When I later told her, my therapist was disappointed, saying I should learn to reconcile the team/city as my own, too, but I prefer to try to throw away the memories.

Note I say try, because Thanksgiving was our holiday and he loved me cooking for him and his family. That last one two years ago, he pulled me aside, hugged me, and whispered, "You make my house a home." Funny that. The shape I'm in, I can't even make my own house a home. I can't bring myself to cook for just my son and me and I feel tremendous guilt about it.

/rant over, for the moment

Thanks if you read this far. I need your support.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

For the sake of science

I have always wanted a simple tattoo, something that could be covered and revealed as desired.

The problem is that I have never decided the what or where. I've put it to test and still cannot come up with a solution. So I am discrete and tattooless.

These folks, however, have outdone themselves. As a published biochemist, I am innately a science geek. I appreciate those who can wear that proudly on their sleeve... or rump.

Check out this flickr set put together by honcho science geek, Karl Zimmer.

Here are a few stand outs:
Baby Sperm Head
Cheat Sheet
Heart in his Sleeve
The Most Dry and Boring One of All

And here are a couple gracefully beautiful ones:
Haeckel's Marine Life
Haeckel's Evolutionary Tree
Haeckel's Brittle Star

Will fix links shortly.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Scene: Elementary school cafeteria on "Parents Come for Thanksgiving Luncheon" Day

Jose: Hey, J's mom. What do you do for work?

Me: I don't work really. I volunteer and I am an artist.

Jose, perking up: Oh! My brother is an artist, too.

Me, perking up: That's really neat. What does he do? Draw? Paint?

Jose, quietly and shyly but very proudly: Just between me and you... (slowing nodding toward ex) and you, he paints graffiti.

Me, both shocked and losing it: I am sorry for laughing. I think that is cool.

Jose: Yeah, one time he made a realistic rose. That was my favorite.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Drive by

My goal this month was to not succumb to doing a meme. However, this time I was randomly tagged in a drive by and figure it is appropriate to do this, particularly since I've already done the work for it. It fits my Oddities theme I started last week, so it's my second of three planned posts on this ever fascinating topic. heh

I was randomly tagged by Not Fainthearted through NaBloPoMo. Pay her a visit.

1- Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
3- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

These are my seven+ random oddities. Thank goodness I've been working on this concept for weeks. It is hard to dig up so much weird stuff that you're trying hard to suppress!

1) I loathe the movie, "The Princess Bride," and feel as if I am the only one in the world. In turn, one of my favorite movies is "Death to Smoochy" and everybody else pans it.

2) I used to do what ex called a 'shut down procedure' every time I turned off the car. I would make sure all the buttons and controls were off for when I started the car next time. It drove him crazy. Now that we're no longer together, I no longer do it. Go figure.

3) I will often bite my nails to trim them. I know, it's a bad habit. I will begin on one hand, always the left. At one point in the process, I have all short nails on one hand and all long on the other. I remember, with my first realization of the phenomena, waking up from a big drunk in college and being amazed at what I'd done to my nails the night before. (Black out, anyone?)

4) I am a champion at breaking lamps. I don't know how I do it, but lamps just fall over and short out around me, with no influence of alcohol what so ever. My bedside table just went this week. The other side is already broken at the base, but I use it anyway. Part of the problem may be that too many were from Ikea, Cheap Lamp Headquarters.

5) When I was in college, I worked flipping pizza. I love the feel: smacking the dough between my arms and twirling it in the air. I get jealous whenever we go to a NY Style stone oven pizzeria and see the pizza makers. It is my dream job.

6) Absent minded, I aim my car remote at the front door of my house as if it would unlock it, too.

7) I am a sucker for yarn and have enough for dozens of half-finished projects. Same goes for fabric and quilting.

Bonus 8) I should join this NaBloPoMo group, but I literally can't go there.

Bonus 9) I contemplate whether I can stop posting daily when December rolls around.

These seven lucky individuals are randomly tagged :
Elizabeth Coplan
Not Nigella
Audra Silva

Check them out.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Terrible scare

This morning when I got on the computer, I found that Symantec had done some sort of update overnight. As I prepared my post, it kept doing a countdown to reboot. I would cancel it over and over until I was finished posting. I figured I'd let it do its thing as I got J ready for school. When I returned, the computer had locked up while shutting down. I rebooted twice and still couldn't get the Internet connection to work. Giving up, I decided to call the cable company, but my phone was beeping as I was going through the canned options and I knew the battery would not last long enough. Instead, I showered and got ready to volunteer at school. When I checked the computer again before leaving, Symantec was doing its thing again, this time upzipping stuff. As I left for school, my hope was that the computer didn't die and Symantec fixed what it broke.

When I returned from school, I reloaded and behold the Internet worked again. I, however, am having a hard time forgiving Symantec and the panic they caused.

See, as you know, I must post daily this month. MUST. I knew I could go to the library to post, but I also knew that the library is closed on Thanksgiving and I would miss

So, NaBlo is my first concern with a computer malfunction. Committed or crazy? You decide.

Group dynamics

My concerns yesterday had good timing. Although I hoped the issue would be a non-issue when I got to the meeting, I got to consult my therapist about what I should say and how I did not want to look small or petty. She's a great sounding board and can get me to make my thoughts presentable.

In referring to sophisticated group dynamics studies, she said that the group is the thing, what should be respected and revered. The sanctity of the group is the primary goal, not the petty needs of a single member. There is a landslide effect when change happens for one and everybody wants to then affect some change in the future. There is less respect for the group, less cohesion and vestedness, so it is best to stay put, to keep the status quo.

She said he should have put the group first at the outset and denied any discussion at all. Nipped it in the bud. I tend to agree.

So I was prepared to talk about the group things first, then get personal and discuss visitation and legalities if need be. However all the preparation was for naught, as it was not even brought up. The den leader discussed the other items on his agenda, but not this. I don't think he forgot. I think he is a chicken shit face to face.

The next horizon, however, is for me to worry about this issue coming up at a meeting I am not attending and I don't get my say. Ex would get heated and go over the top, making threats he'd have to keep and generally muddying the pot.

Bottom line: Kids activities are a pain in the ass when they involve adults.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Where the happiness of one outweighs all others

Tonight is going to be frustrating. I hope I can be charming and not lose my temper. I am pinch hitter parent for scouts. Ex asked me to switch visitation so he could go to a happy hour with an old coworker.

As it turns out, one topic of discussion will be the potential changing of scout night from Wednesday. The Jewish family has religious education on Wednesday nights and cannot attend.

The first try for a change was in Sept by email. Then it was revisited in October. I had not previously responded, because I thought the change was too far fetched. Then it looked like it might happen per an email by the den leader.

I responded that a change would be inconvenient to my family. Ours is not an arbitrary night, this Wednesday thing. It is visitation. It is in legal documents. It is my only night off each week. And, although I didn't say it, it is the only thing in my son's life that I am not responsible for.

I do not want to switch nights and have to switch visitation, with ex still doing scouts. It unbalances the week for when J sees his dad. On the flip side, I do not want to switch nights and have to take over routinely doing scouting.

So then the topic came up again this week as an agenda item for tonight. I wrote the den leader and asked, "Is this going to continue to come up each month?" He had assured me after my first email to him that the change would not occur, almost like it was a moot point and he was just asking. He responded this time that he just wanted to be fair to the family involved. I think he's been more than fair. At least five emails have come from him concerning this over the last two and a half months. I am feeling bamboozled by this family, who I already disliked and was lacking respect for. They are whiny people, always have been.

What I think is unfair is hitting us over the head with this each month. If anything would be fair, it would be one family not feeling so pompous to ask 15 other families to alter their schedules. (I could not fathom the audacity!) It would have been fair if that family had sought out another cub scout pack that meets on a different night. I will assume that they've known for years that religious education and scouts were going to clash. Why couldn't they be proactive? And if they truly want to be involved with this pack, why have they done none of the weekend stuff so far this year? They haven't even been active on a small scale.

I also have to wonder if it being religious education gives them some false leverage with the den leader. If it were tutoring or a sports league being the diversion, would it carry such weight for this repeated inquiry?

I will mention one other angle for ex's sake. He gets off work at 4, gets J, and sits in a restaurant until 7 while J does his homework, waiting for scouts to start. He lives close to 45 minutes from scouts on a good day, so it would be impossible to wrestle traffic to get home, only to turn around and come back. Further, they often don't get home until 9:30 or later afterwards. He's requested several times that they start scouts earlier, but nobody listened. Scouting insists upon a family dinner. It doesn't seem to matter what it does to ex's family dinner. Thing is, they only meet twice a month! Such a change would just ruin everyone's families!

I told ex that, if it comes to it, I will suggest tonight that they have their cake and eat it, too. They can start scouts at 5:30 and have plenty of time for religious education as well afterwards.

So, I need your help. Am I off base with this, wanting things to remain as they are and not wanting another family to dictate my life? I'm sure the den would never go for a compromise over the times. I will not compromise the night in question. It is an important point that I do not try to hold up a whole den because my family is different somehow from all the others. Being divorced parents makes our lives much different than theirs. We're also the only ones that don't live five minutes from the meeting place. We're different, but we receive no concessions.

If it changes, ex says he will withdraw J and put him in a different group when it's time for Boy Scouts in the sixth grade. Or he'll find an active pack/den that meets on Wednesday nights down where he lives. (Fat chance.)

Do you see any other alternatives? Am I being unreasonable? Should I subordinate my family's structure and needs for another kid's religious education?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New feature: Oddities I

Probably no more or less odd than the next person, I have, however, begun recording some peculiarities for a series of posts.

Let us begin...

My mother used to joke that I was knocking myself out when I scratched my nose. I am not a gentle nose rubber. Instead I use my fist and drag my knuckles along the nostril and, as they hit cartilage, it makes a distinctive popping sound. I've only met one other person who abuses their nose like me.

I am kind of ambidextrous. Although I am technically right handed, I do a number of things exclusively with my left hand, like driving, opening jars and bottles, and playing pool. And abusing my nose.

For months, I have taken a holiday from plucking my eyebrows. When I was younger, plucking was a daily occurrence, religious even; now I have caterpillars. My old self would be appalled.

I cannot sip orange juice. I gulp. Heartily. It is my favorite drink - Minute Maid, blue cap - and I have no self control.

I have found posting for NaBlo amazingly undifficult. I think I am master of the inane and daft enough to write about it. I hope my audience isn't too bored as I blog the minutiae.

What about you? Care to share an oddity?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Leather smeather

I have a pet issue with a local theater. J and I went this weekend as we had to pick up our fired pieces (pictures to come!) from the nearby pottery painting place and it seemed logical to combine something with the drive over.

Both times I've gone to this theater, I picked the wrong movie at the wrong time. They have what they call the "Producer's Club" theater, ripe with leather seats, assigned seating, and waitstaff before the flick. The drawback is that tickets cost an extra $2 each and child discounts do not apply. I think it is a rip off in an industry that's already a rip off.

Considering that most people stand in line on their own to get food, the waitstaff issue is moot. I saw nobody use him.

However, my main peeve is that you don't know in advance if the movie of your choice is in the Producer's Club theater, so you're not prepared for the idea of the additional cost. You're also missing the ability to be flexible and arrive 30 or 60 minutes later so the price would be less at a different showing in the same complex. Okay, I'm cheap, but I would have never guessed that a 1:30 showing of Bee Movie would require leather seats and $20 for us to get in.

I'm just sayin'.

Total cost including matinee pricing, leather upgrade, pizza slices, drinks and candy: $50.

Besides, the digs must have been a bit too comfy. I fell asleep.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mistaken identity

As I mentioned before, ex took J to our college homecoming recently. He told my father and sister where they'd be, so my dysfunctional family came to the game to see J and brought along my 13yo niece as well. Although we don't get along that well, I'm happily surprised they followed through on attending, as they aren't the most reliable people in the world.

At the game, ex sat behind an old college roommate and his wife, who also attended the school. As they were sitting down, the wife turned ever so politely to my younger, 43yo sister and said, "You must be J's other grandmother."


I never liked that wife, even while I was in college with her, but boy has she redeemed herself in my book!

Not to mention that ex's wife thought my sister was not my younger sister, but my older by 10 years! Talk about redeeming.

One difference in us is that she is a brown-skinned Greek who worshipped the sun slathered in baby oil and I am a fair-skinned Scot with unwrinkled skin. Further, I have little gray and my sister has a full head; that's the biggie, I think. She was coloring her hair before she was 35, saying her temples were filled in gray back then. Some time in the last few years (probably due to poverty), she has let it go gray. She's as gray as our parents or even more so.

One might not think I'd get such a chuckle over this, but when my body has failed me in so many other ways, I feel justified in celebrating the one way it's done me right!

Well, that plus she was always the cute, petite (no longer!) one with giant boobs and I was the plain, clunky, big (even at 110 lbs), cone-boobed older sister. Time is not kind.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Yesterday I went for my annual physical. For me, that means checks up top and down below. Fingers crossed for a good PAP this year, no biopsies or repeats to follow, I hope.

I knew going into the appt that I'd want off the Synthroid for my hypothyroidism and on to Armour, what everybody swears by. Given that I've been treating my thyroid over two years, I'm due for some jubilation.

And perhaps I got some already. She's certain that the tremor has been from a Synthroid overdose. She says to go off of all thyroid meds and, within a week or two, the tremor will be gone. At that time, I start of very low dosages of Armour, titrating upwards very, very slowly. It is going to be a cold winter; my nose, feet, and behind will be freezing.

The overdose also accounts for my substantial increase in appetite and subsequent weight gain, to the tune of 15 lbs since April, although I got a few of those off. I seemingly have a paradoxical effect - usually weight loss accompanies hyperthyroidism, even when it is induced by medication, but it can also make the appetite skyrocket with weight gain following. Strangely my hands are hot and I sweat, but my nose and often my feet are cold, hypothyroid issues combined with hyperthyroid issues. I'm a mess.

(If you'll recall on my severe overdose almost two years ago from Levoxyl, another thyroid med, I was a fluttery, heart racing, crying lunatic who broke up with my fiance. That overdose felt completely different physically and emotionally.)

So, these are notes to myself to call the office if the tremors aren't gone in two weeks. Or, if it's not my thyroid causing them, the tremors will get worse b/c my metabolism will be going down and I'll react more strongly to the two psych meds being in my system. Either way, I'll have an answer.

The doctor was shocked nobody else thought of this. Including me. I thought of it, but didn't take it seriously. I always think there's something wrong with my brain first. It's how I'm wired, literally and figuratively.

Time will tell.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pile o'cats

Momma Cat: Ollie

This picture began my Stuff on my Cat fascination with piles of cats, shots I keep as new on Bloglines so I can peek at them periodically. Although I've had lots of cats, I've never had any that wanted to touch each other. Unlike brite with her slutty friendly new baby who will hang with anyone, mine will only get as close as occupying the same bed for warmth, whereby I am the connecting link in the cat pile.

I especially appreciate Ollie's crew because of the eyes of the front two kittens. Theirs are the look of love, complete and absolute, the way any baby looks at its mother, the look that the infertile is missing and it tugs my heart.

They're my tiny inspirations. I get a loving and mothering recharge just from visiting these kittens. I want to be that adored.

There are a few more piles to share in the coming weeks.

PS SOMC - I tried to download these pictures to use them, but Picasa loses things and hates downloads, so I'm sorry for stealing bandwidth.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ask and ye shall receive

We all want validation. Some is immediate, some takes years, but being right feels so good!

I've always felt uncomfortable about J and his mushrooms, that he was essentially eating air and a little dirt mixed with Ranch dressing. But I felt that encouraging a vegetable or salad of any sort is most important, not to mention that I like getting to go to Ruby Tuesday's, too.

Behold, I didn't need to feel muddled. I was doing the right thing even if I didn't know it.

In this article from Tuesday, 5 foods that should have a place in your diet, mushrooms pull up the end. They confirm I'm a great mother after all, especially considering that J wouldn't touch a glass of orange juice for a million bucks.

5. Mushrooms
: Mushrooms are a low-calorie food with little nutritional benefit.

Why they're good for you: They may be 90 percent water and have only 18 calories per cup, but mushrooms are getting serious scientific attention. Laboratory reports and animal studies show that compounds in mushrooms may do everything from bolster immune function to suppress breast and prostate cancers to decrease tumor size. And now, Penn State researchers find that mushrooms, from the humble button to the giant portobello, harbor large amounts of an antioxidant called L-ergothioneine. The scientific buzz is that fungi, for the moment, are the only foods that contain this compound.

While scientists work to figure out how these findings will translate to dietary advice, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy mushrooms. Clare Hasler, Ph.D., a well-known expert in functional foods and executive director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis, points out that mushrooms offer a healthy helping of the blood pressure-- lowering mineral potassium. "Most people might be surprised to learn that while orange juice is touted as one of the highest potassium foods, one medium portobello mushroom actually has more potassium," she says. "And five white button mushrooms have more potassium than an orange."

Hurray for mushrooms!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I'm glad the election is over

Beyond the litter all the signs create, I am glad they're no longer invading my home. I toss the mailed fliers immediately, but I generally answer the phone. Daily calls. Many times daily. For weeks.

In fact on the day of the election, I even got two calls from the current and former governors. And another by a real person, not a recording.

With all this inundation, I was only the 200th voter to go to my polling place by 2:30 Election Day. While I do love this walk-in polling place much better than my last forever-wait-in-line one, I feel better when I have a sense of the level of participation.

At 5pm, a canvassing volunteer gave me some answers. She asked whether I'd voted. I replied that I had and she looked a little relieved, saying the participation is low, only about 15%.

So, did you vote and, if not, why?

I think it would help if the polls around here stayed open until 8 instead of 7. With them being electronic, seems like that would streamline the tallying and they could stay open to even 9. People's commutes makes voting difficult.

At least the main guy I voted for probably won in a 51/49 race. At the newspaper website, I pointed it out to J, Mr. Reluctant to go to the polls, and showed how every vote counts.

Yeah, when I had my big political transformation in graduate school while ex was stationed in Korea, he came home and had absolute fits that he and I would cancel each other out during elections.

It gives me some satisfaction to do that now.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Of course it was supposed to rain this morning, so my plein air teacher moved class from a playground with a view to indoors working on an old project of our choosing. I couldn't do that to my son (room indoors with a bunch of old women vs. playground), so with pain I skipped the last class. I couldn't think of a picture I wanted to work on further and none of my photographs of the outdoors jumped out at me to begin anew. I'm bummed. Registration is this week for next quarter. I need to decide what I want to take next time.

I need to work on getting him to eat that mushroom salad today.

Also, I woke up with a stye.

Oh, and yesterday I took J to the dentist at 3, but his appt was at 2, so I take him back at 3:15 today. I really hate that. I was a bitch because I was absolutely mortified and complete embarrassed. The office is by ex's house and I hate driving 25 minutes down there. I want J to have a dentist nearby.

Last time we were at the dentist, the honcho said J needed braces sooner rather than later, kind of reprimanding himself he didn't insist upon it six months earlier. Then he said that they now have an orthodontist coming to their office and we should use them. Turns out, this ortho is there on alternate Fridays in the morning. That's all. J'd have to miss school for each appt each month (plus an hour driving) and that didn't make sense. Even the office lady said I should look elsewhere. So I researched and chose a different guy who opens up some days at 7am and closes some days at 8pm. Makes better sense.

I need to do another photograph of the progress of his teeth. They are completely straight and even. I have no clue why he needs braces another 8 months, then take two years off, and has them two years again. They could come off now and I'd be happy, but we signed that contract, so we might as well torture J as long as we can.

I should also do a head gear picture. He's pretty good about wearing it each night. He's supposed to wear it 10-12 hours daily and we're right in there with 9pm-8am.

Go figure. I complain about the possibility of sleeping in a mask and he does just fine with wires sticking out of his mouth, secured with elastic around his head. Who's the flexible one and where on earth did he get it?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Numbers and fungi

What a difference two nights make. Last night, the number went up by 5 for a net of one. Hurrah.

Damn Feedburner. Who knows what to believe?

I do know that my kid loves some mushrooms. Last week, he supped on one of those square packages of mushrooms, the whole thing in one sitting. Ranch dressing is a must.

Mushrooms and bleu cheese dressing are the reasons he likes Ruby Tuesday's and their salad bar so much. I can always get him to go to RT and he always gets the same thing, usually with a little cheddar-like-substitute sprinkled on top. Often with some broccoli.

I figured I'd put the mushrooms premise to good use for tomorrow. I have my plein air art class and have to bring him. Schools are closed because of elections and I didn't want to miss the last session. The class runs until 2:30 (although I plan to leave early), so I must pack my son a picnic lunch.

Oh, if he were so easy with a PB and J! To make it like a treat, I decided that we'd go to the grocery store and allow him to make a salad for tomorrow. Of course, it is slathered with mushrooms and ranch, but it also has some spinach and colorful lettuce. With enough Ranch, he'll eat the lettuce, too.

He'd declined on the deli chicken salad I love until I got them to give him a sampler taste. Now he's a big fan and chowing on Townhouse Crackers with deli leftover-roasted-chicken-salad which is worth every inflated penny.

Big victory there, expanding his food horizon.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bonus post

I noticed that overnight after I announced that I'd be blogging daily this month, four people unsubscribed.

I feel unloved.

On the other hand, I really got a kick out of DD's sign:

Thank you for not unsubscribing.

You can take that part personally, people.

Arrests and waffles

With the comic timing and charm of a Jack Lemmon, I love Shia LaBeouf. I first saw him in Project Greenlight's series and The Battle of Shaker Heights. Last week I finally saw Transformers and was shocked I could like such a movie. It was my son's recommendation and he was right, except I liked it mostly for the dose of Shia. I'm looking forward to him as the young Indiana Jones.

He was arrested overnight. Intoxicated in Walgreen's in Chicago. The boy who shuns the nightlife, not wanting to be taken lightly. Somehow the Walgreens part is fitting to his comic personality. I can't wait for the rest of the details. At least it didn't turn out like Kid Rock recently at a Waffle House.

Speaking of which, my son stayed at my father's overnight. My son's favorite restaurant is Waffle House (I'm araisin' him right around here) and part of the deal was that they would go to Waffle House for breakfast. He has a waffle menu favorite that is not found at IHOP or Denny's. We have no Waffle Houses within a 30 mile radius, so that makes them more intriguing. Our drive to FL in the Spring will be mapping Waffle Houses along the interstate.

Wouldn't that be a doubly fantasy fulfilled? Meeting Shia with my son at a Waffle House?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Half proud

It is ex's weekend to have our son. They went out of town to our college's homecoming. As I was leaving ex's house at Halloween, J commented that I didn't really like our college and I must be glad to not be going. (This was his third such personal revelation, the others being about me being at ex's house and using MY dishes there as well as us going to the neighborhood by P's condo for trick or treating. Perceptive boy he is. Scary.) I replied that to me college is in the past. To his dad, it is more present. It makes sense for him to go and me not to. J seemed to understand this and I wish ex would just grow the fuck up. Our son will not attend that college. Never.

In this same vein of past intruding upon present, I got a call from an old boyfriend-type-figure this afternoon. I've mentioned Sal before. He is a progressive Middle Eastern, Arabic in tongue, but Greek Orthodox if he had faith. He works for the government here, took a government position in Baghdad for two years, then went to TX. Ever unsettled and longing for things he doesn't have, he decided to take a job back here and got here 10 days ago. He called about two months ago to tell me his plans. Things might have been different if he had called me a week ago to tell me he'd arrived and if he asked me out for tonight.

Much like in the past, pre-P but only by days, he called today for me to run over and entertain him. I knew I was not in the mood for that. He's made me feel like a pariah before and I didn't feel like being lectured about that, my weight, my lack of working, whatever, whilst he droned on about the many reasons he's unhappy in his poor little rich boy life. He has money, plenty of it, but I didn't feel like putting up with the rest just to get a dinner out. So I didn't.

He wasn't satisfied with my reasons for not going out, said I sound down, felt my excuses weren't realistic. I didn't take to being badgered.

So to the title. I am only half proud. I didn't cave to the goodness of a meal out and a potential gift, a date where there have been few and probably getting laid where there has been none, but I didn't have the words or inclination to really tell him why. A few years ago, he told me that if it weren't for THAT (the pariah bit), he'd marry me. HA! I can't be a party to someone who has the earth rotate around their whims with me being his ears. He never even realized what a good listener I am, he was so caught up in himself.

That's the other half of proud, me not speaking up. I've told him some of the stuff that made me feel bad, but I guess I never stressed it enough to make it sink in - here I'm making out to be like it's my fault he's a jerk. Wrong! Although I told him, he's clueless to how he's hurt me, how me being a last minute date makes me feel as a second thought. But he won't just stop calling or emailing periodically.

Half. But at least I'm not being subjected to it tonight, belly full and drink glass drained empty. History isn't all that.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Beginning of the end

In unprecedented news, as I nibble on my seasonal favorite Terry's (Dark) Chocolate Orange, I decided to come out of my shell and participate in NaBloPoMo. I want to expand my horizons, joined some groups, etc. I am called Churping there. Check out my page and the old picture there. I was a month old. That's my one remaning grandmother and my father's 15 yo sister, legs right up to her long neck. If you're participating, make me a friend.

For those of you who've requested more posts of late, I am trying to acquiesce. For those of you thinking less is more, just continue to ignore me. hehe

My primary goal is to not make this into a Health Crisis of the Day blog and have something additional to blog about and focus on, although health will be a big deal considering how many tests I have coming up.

I haven't blogged about my cats in some time. They'll get theirs.

I need to blog about my relationship with ex's daughter and how that feels.

I don't talk about my son enough. I see our relationship maturing and I need to discuss it.

I read lots of celebrity blogs and I want to quip about them more.

Further, I don't mention or review all the movies I see and how they get me through the week.

Additionally, I have a few art classes left to blog about. I am hoping I have a canvas to be proud of as my oil class comes to an end in two weeks. Plein air ends on Tuesday. I must decide about next semester. And be motivated about painting indoors at home.

Lastly, but probably not, I have not mentioned our big plans for Spring Break which involve a big boat, ports of call, a balcony room, and my mother. Most of those elements are loads of fun. Most.

Hope you enjoy the journey this month. I am hoping it won't be too painful for me to be tied to a schedule! If you have any questions or suggestions, do take over the comments. I'd appreciate the input.

ETA: A participant names Shannon listed these ideas for posts:
-take a picture of the first thing you see everyday that is new to you-on day 1 take a picture of the number 1 somewhere, then day 2 do the same with 2-on day 1 take a picture/blog about something that starts with the letter A, then B for day 2. You will have 4 leftover days and you could do colours for them
-blog about your favourite words, foods, shoes, pets, peoples, movies, tv shows, artists, bloggers..
-blog about the most interesting thing that happened that day
-blog about the least intersting thing that happened that day
-blog about 1 thing you want to happen that day, and if it did
-blog about what you are proud of each day (you can do it!)
-blog about what you had for breakfast (everyone needs breakfast!)
-blog about the weather
-blog about a story of a fictional character's adventures though lift
-blog about yourself if you were someone else for a month
-blog from the perspecitive of your cat, dog, kids, parents, etc
-blog about your dreams (nighttime or goal-like)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Misery revisited

I had the second sleep study last night, but using the word sleep is a misnomer. And a severe one at that.

In a strange turn of events, I went Trick or Treating with ex and his family in the neighborhood next to P's old condo. My son and I go to this neighborhood each year. The people are so friendly, most houses participate, the houses aren't too far apart, and the neighborhood is quiet except for the hoards of kids walking around safely. Ex and his wife wanted to give their 2yo a good Halloween experience that their neighborhood would not offer, but they didn't know where this neighborhood is, so I hung out on visitation night, in part also b/c the sleep, or lack thereof, study wasn't far from their house.

Like last time for the first sleep study, I arrived early for the agreed upon time, the tech called a while later and said he was running 10 minutes late, and he showed up 20 or more minutes later. Rude. Unprofessional. If he weren't such an agreeable sort, it'd be easy to be angry at him.

He'd actually called earlier in the evening to see if I wanted to change nights. He has a long commute and I was the only patient. I said I was geared up and I did not want to change, so he was stuck. If he weren't such an agreeable sort, it'd be easy to be angry at him.

As we walked up to the offices after he finally got there, I explained that I needed to know when the apnea occurred, as I doubt it's existence overall. He later looked at my chart and explained that I snored very loudly on my back and that I have moderate apnea on my side. Crushing blow. I wanted to shoot the messenger. If he weren't such an agreeable sort, it'd be easy to be angry at him.

I told him how reluctant I was to be there, how uncomfortable I was last time, how difficult the clean up was. He was very reassuring and I was not in a reassuring mood. If he weren't such an agreeable sort, it'd be easy to be angry at him.

He hooked up all the head leads again, the whole time me dreading it and the clean up. I got in bed and he hooked me up to the computer there, then pulled out a small CPAP mask. He said the nose version is usually enough, that I wouldn't need the larger face kind. He put that on me, I heard the machine beep beep, and I thought I was set. However, the machine continued to beep beep every minute, kind of like a smoke alarm battery going bad, except it was right by my head. I got up to summon him, he lied and said it was because the machine needs service in a month (lied b/c it means the machine is past due needing service), and I asked if there was another machine. He was surprised at the thought, but got another, which beep beeped as well, b/c it is on the same lack-of-service schedule.

At one point during the beeping and exchanging, I ruefully exclaimed as best I could with a mask on sucking my brains out, "Don't you think that I am miserable enough?" And he replied, "It's called 'life,' Cricket." And he excused himself. Despite him being such an agreeable sort, it was very easy to be angry at him.

I realize there was nothing he could do at that moment. I was livid that they didn't maintain their equipment better and was appalled at the hypocrisy that a beeping machine would somehow be conducive to a positive experience in a sleep study. Absurd.

I proceeded to dose off once all night. The mask and poorly ventilated room were hot, I was sweaty and, you guessed it, miserable. Like last time, I was awake when he came to get me up, but this time I was dragging ass much worse. I was absolutely drained. And frustrated.

During the night, I equated the loss of control to the only parallel I could think of. I felt like I was being raped. My body was not my own and I could not dictate what was going on with it. I feel just as violated.

Although the circumstances and mask were difficult and the experience of the counter pressure on my respiratory system took some getting used to, that part of the experience wasn't all bad. The pressure strangely made my mouth stay closed on its own and I did get used to the new sensations. However, it's mighty hard to separate out the mask, sweating, beeping, violation, and frustration from not minding the pressure. If only it had made me sleep.

The only way I would consider a machine would be if I had a loaner at home for several nights. If I tried it in an environment I was comfortable in and could stand it, then maybe I could really stand it. Fat chance.

ETA: I must state that three hours after the removal of the mask, I still have a red mark from where it dug into rested on my forehead. I am not surprised, given how badly my face was marked up when all the crap first came off. All the more reason to hate it and consider it unacceptable.