Thursday, December 31, 2009

I don't really have much to say...

...I just need to get that picture from off of the top of my blog. It makes my heart hurt to look at it right now.

I keep expecting to hear her come trotting down the stairs or howl at her water fountain. I also find myself turning to talk to her, and I start the silly nonsense songs I used to sing at her only to cut myself off immediately. If I'm not careful, I'm going to turn into the Crazy Lady at Number 10, the one who holds conversations with nobody anyone else can see.

I miss her a lot at bedtime. She used to walk all over me, then settle onto my chest and purr in my face.

I've already had one friend offer me a puppy from a litter she's expecting in February. It's a good thing this was done through email, so I didn't hurt her feelings (or her face) with the vehemence of my initial reaction. I haven't officially answered her yet. I hope she's taking my silence as a great big "No."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gone




Delilah
July 1991-December 29, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Traveling today

Two days before Christmas. I'm wrapping presents while listening to the dryer. Parents should be calling eightish to let me know they're leaving the mountains and headed my way. Here's hoping I'm ready to go by the time they get here around ten.

Delilah's coming with me to my sister's this year. She far too sick to be left alone. It's hard to believe that this time last month it didn't look like there was anything wrong. Her poor little face is so misshapen on the left side. She has a huge lump under her jaw, and her mouth on that side looks swollen.

She doesn't eat much, but she's still interested in food. I don't think she's in pain yet. It's hard to tell. She definitely doesn't feel well though. She wobbles a little bit if she turns her head too fast. She's finding strange places to sleep--in the closet on top of the hamper, or wedged between the side of the nightstand and the wall. She was sleeping in the craft room for a while, in the middle of a pile of polyfil stuffing she'd pulled out of its bag. She was sleeping on and under it. Made sense to me--soft and warm, but not too heavy. She looked like she was sleeping in a cloud. I would have taken a picture, but I really don't want any visual record of this illness. Going back and reading the blogs entries about it is going to be hard enough.

Sorry for the tone of this post. I'll try to be more cheerful next time.

Off to get some coffee and wrap more presents.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Another good holiday song from Straight No Chaser



From the same group that brought you the 12 Days of Christmas song mash-up that was everywhere last year (at least I think it was last year. Time is telescoping on me right now).

Found this through Acapodcast -- a podcast devoted to a capella music.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Feeling less mopey and sorry for myself today

...and it's a damn good thing, too. It's not like this is happening to me, after all.

The following, which reduced me to giggles, was found by way of robyn, who managed to post two things today even though she's had a killer migraine for 4 days running.



Never to young to learn the ukulele.

And isn't the itchy-nose bit adorable?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bad news

Well, the vet finally called. The labs came back today. It's cancer in the mouth and in the lymph gland. Squamous cell carcinoma, which he said is a fast-moving one. He said to enjoy her while I can, and to call him when it looks like she's starting to suffer.

My poor little girl.

I may not be around for a while, as I don't think I have it in me to be entertaining right now.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Still no word

I've been checking my voicemail all day, expecting and dreading news from my vet. It's quarter after 8 now. The office closed at 7:30, so I guess I'm not getting an answer today. One more day to fuss over the cat.

She's having a little trouble with the stairs. Down? No problem going down. Up is a different story. She takes them very slowly. Once in a while she comes downstairs and sits on my lap, but generally she hangs out in a box of blankets and afghans in the lilac room upstairs, the room where her litter box is. I moved her food up into that room too, and placed it so that all she has to do is move to the other end of the box to eat. I've even opened the bathroom door so she can drink from the tub, which is her favorite way of getting water anyway.

She's been very quiet. She purrs like a jet engine whenever I touch her or talk to her, but she hasn't meowed in almost a week. She's usually very vocal, so this is worth noting.

She is still eating, though. I've been mixing tuna with her wet food, and she's eating most of it. That's something. And she's still bathing. And using the litter box.

So now I wait another day to hear from the vet. Not his fault, I'm sure. It was only his estimate of when the labs would send the results back.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Not good news

So we went to the vet's yesterday. The man we normally see was doing a surgery, so we saw someone else. He'd read the notes, and his assistant was the same woman who'd been there last Friday, so it didn't take long to get him up to speed.

He felt around for a bit, looked her over, and then said that perhaps before they do a biopsy or an X-ray they should aspirate the gland and try to get some cells from the growth on her mouth. There's definitely a tumor there. I saw it for the first time yesterday. I guess I missed it because her lip's been covering it. Unlike dogs, cat's won't let you play around with their mouths. He started to tell me how much pathology would cost, and I cut him off.

"I don't care what it costs..." and then I burst into tears.

So they took her away to get some samples. When he brought her back, the vet told me it looks like there are two things going on: infected lymph gland and mouth tumor. I suggested the rotten tooth was caused by the tumor trapping food up there, and that's what infected the lymph gland, and he said that sounded logical.

They can remove the gland. She has plenty of others, she can live without this one. Problem is, we don't know whether the tumor is cancerous or benign. And even if it's benign, knocking her out to get rid of all that's wrong could wind up killing her anyway. She's 18 and a half ("she'd definitely be one of the oldest cats we've tried this with..."), with iffy kidneys and now a very slight heart murmur--he heard that when he was checking her over.

"But," he said, "that could have been fear."

The slides went out yesterday. I heard him in the back telling someone to send them "priority." He thinks we'll have results by Tuesday.

I don't know what to do. Even if the diagnosis comes back as not cancer, how much damage will surgery do? Am I considering keeping her alive out of sheer selfishness, just because I'm not ready to say goodbye?

I'm still giving her the antibiotics, for whatever good they're doing. The lump looks bigger now, and I'm wondering if just imagined that it was shrinking.

I'll know more Tuesday. All I can do until then is fuss over her and pamper her, which she takes as her due, bless 'er.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Hallelujah Chorus by silent monks

Having a rotten day. More on that when I can write about it (or even think about it) without sobbing. Yes, it has to do with the cat. No, she isn't dead. Not yet, anyway.

This, however, cheered me up some:



That set of cards they hold up at the end says (I think) "Have a Merry Christ mas and a Happy New Year"

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Of wind, warmth, and utility bills

Good lord, is it windy! It sounds like there's a wild thing trying to take off my siding out there. The wind is making these horrible sobbing noises as it whips round the corner of my house and rattles my windows.

This time last year I would have been wrapped in layers, listening to the heater cycle on/cycle off, and shivering. But now I have thermal drapes, so I'm all toasty.

Thermal drapes, of thee I sing! I have you in the living room, in the kitchen (where there used to be vertical blinds. No good those are! All they do is sway back and forth in the breeze) and upstairs in my bedroom. You are wonderful things. So what if you also block out most of the daylight? I have summer drapes for when I want light. You? You make it so that I won't be paying huge electric bills this year.

I hope.

We'll see. I haven't gotten a bill in a while that didn't have a zero balance on it.

Lemme explain that. I don't know how billing works where you live, gentle readers, but here they only check the meter every other month. On the months they don't come read it, they estimate. They base this on usage from the previous year. Or, if you're not comfortable with them guessing how much you used, you can read the meter yourself and report it to their computer--either over the phone or online.

That's what I'd been doing, reading the meter myself. 'Cause the one time I didn't I got a nasty surprise. Holy power bill, Batman! I'd forgotten that the year before there had been four people in this house, and apparently they would turn on every light and appliance in the place then go stand outside, join hands, and watch the meter go 'round and 'round, just for fun. I didn't want another bill like that one, so I've been taking down numbers and calling the power company computer.

Except for last June. I thought I was clear for last June, since that's when I moved in. I was wrong. The bill for June was estimated from the previous year, and was close to $300. Gulp. But then my own usage kicked in the next month, and I had such a large credit on my account that I didn't owe them anything. I've been riding that same wave ever since. This bill coming up will be the first one in a while where I expect to send them a payment. I'm interested to see how much it is.

I'm also thinking of paying them a large chunk next June and riding the wave through the summer again. That was kind of nice.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Little monster on the mend

The cat's feeling better. So far today she's eaten some shredded turkey, a third of a small can of tuna, and when I went to check on the little saucer that had her wet food on it, it was practically licked clean. Right now I'm listening to her eat from the bowl of dry food that I keep upstairs near where she sleeps.

She's also tried to eat a dead maple leaf, a blade of dried grass, and a long fiber from the edge of the carpet. I've had to chase her down three times in 20 minutes to take those things away from her. 'Cause she'll just throw them up, along with anything else she ate. The brat. I think she thinks we're playing a game. Only problem is, if she wins she loses her dinner.

The lump is decidedly smaller, it isn't just me being hopeful. Though I really do think they're going to have to take that tooth out. It's rotten, after all. Her mouth must hurt.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Made it to the finish line

Ta-da!

Last post of the month. Made it through NaBloPoMo two years running.

It was a little harder this year than last. I felt like last year I had more to say. This year it was all, "Thanksgiving! People! In my house! Gaaaah!"

But hey, the challenge was about posting daily, not about being interesting daily. That? Yeah, I don't think I could do that.

Now I'm gonna go knit.

Wait! Kitty wellness update. I'm pretty sure it's not just wishful thinking that the lump on the cat's face is getting smaller with the repeated application of antibiotics. Pleaseopleaseoplease, it's an infection and can be easily taken care of and not something-something oma. Please?

She hasn't been eating much this week, but tonight she showed an interest in my dinner so I did something I have never done. I fed her from my plate. I took some turkey, ripped it into little bits and fed her by hand. Then when it looked like she wanted more I went and got some from the fridge. I'd say she put away about 2 ounces of turkey, which is pretty good for a very small cat who generally just nibbles on something and then walks away.

I know. Bad habit to start, feeding her people food. But you know what? At this point I'm just happy she ate something. She was really getting me worried with the whole not eating thing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Snapshot Sunday -- Thanksgiving edition

Thursday's bird, just after basting:



Seasoned with poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and paprika. Stuffed with monk's bread (made by Trappist monks. Mom really likes it), celery, apples, sage, and onion. Basted in apple cider and its own juices.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Is it December yet?

I'm looking forward to not writing everyday come December. I'm beginning to be sick of the sound of my own voice. Let's listen to someone else today, shall we?

This first is from group called Oysterband. The second is from Imogen Heap. Never heard of either of them before they showed up in the playlists of DJs I listen to on Blip. Liked the Oysterband track so much that I tracked down a copy of the CD it belongs to (through Amazon) and bought it.

Oysterband - Here Comes The Flood

Imogen Heap - Aha!

Friday, November 27, 2009

...and I'm spent

Everyone just pulled outta here about 20 minutes ago. In the original plan, my parents were going to stay another day, but I guess when Mom said that she forgot to run it by Dad. He has stuff at home he wants to do tomorrow.

It went well. Very well. The turkey was yummy, all the side dishes were eaten and liked; that would be: stuffing (made with apples and monk's bread), corn pudding, glazed carrots (with apple cider in the glaze), sweet potato casserole, mashed turnips (rutabagas, according to the sign in the produce section), Brussels sprouts in mustard butter, broccoli and cauliflower, rolls, gravy made from the drippings from the turkey, and homemade cranberry sauce using Average Jane's recipe. The turkey was basted with apple cider partway through cooking. Apple seems to have been a running theme--it was in the cranberry sauce, the stuffing, the turkey, and the carrots. "Gas" was another theme--the sprouts, the turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, bacon in the carrots--all guaranteed to contribute to the mushroom-shaped cloud over my house.

My sister brought wine (whee!) and pumpkin cheesecake. Half of it is still in my fridge. I feel like Mom did most of the work, but when I said that, she disagreed most vehemently. Okay. I'll take some credit.

I have a fridge full of food, a turkey carcass in the freezer waiting to be made into stock, 12 bottles of beer (no one wanted any. I was surprised) and a sink full of dishes waiting to be loaded into the dishwasher. I already did 2 loads yesterday. Well, 2 1/2. The garbage disposal choked on something and the dishwasher had to be stopped partway through because the water was backing up into the sink. One trip to Wal-mart for purchase of a plunger and drain cleaner, and the sink was clear. I already have one plunger, but I really didn't want to use it in the kitchen sink since it's usually used...um...elsewhere. So now I have one for Kitchen Use Only.

Everyone says they enjoyed themselves, and apparently my sister has been sharing my stressed-out emails with her in-laws. Mr. S kept apologizing for putting me in a tizzy, to which I responded, "Freaking out is what I do best. Remember Ditter's bridal shower?"

A little incident from her shower came back to me this morning. We were staying with Stretch's parents 'cause the shower was supposed to be a surprise. The morning of the shower I sat bolt upright in bed and said,

"I need balloons."

"Right now?" This from my Mom, groggily. She'd been asleep right next to me.

"No, we can have breakfast first. But I need balloons." I wanted them to decorate the chair Ditter would be sitting in while she opened gifts.

And then I sat there in the semi-dark, thumbing through my "Everything Bridal Shower" book, checking to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything (else). It wasn't even 6 a.m. yet.

So anyway. I've survived my first large dinner party. Hurray!

In cat news, I took Delilah to the vet this morning to have them look at that lump. She has a rotten infected tooth, as well. The vet said it could be one of two things: tooth decay that's gotten infected, or something something-oma (cancer) that also attacks the teeth. That lump I'm feeling? That's her lymph.

Dad drove me. I managed to get out of the vet's office without bursting into tears, but then I lost it after telling Dad what was said. Sorry, Dad. He's very uncomfortable around tears. Got myself under control a couple of blocks later, and am now trying very hard not to think past the dose of antibiotics she's to get every 12 hours. We go back next week, when they might have to biopsy/X-ray if there's no change, and they'll probably have to take the tooth.

All this time I thought it would be her kidneys that would kill her, and now it might be her mouth.

Well, enough of that. I'm going to go get one of those beers no one wanted, curl up on the couch, and watch Pieces of April. I ordered it from Netflix especially for when I had my place to myself again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Phew!

Done! *Pant, pant, collapse on sofa*

I took pictures of the bird and the table, but in my cleaning frenzy I accidentally hid my card-reading USB drive thingie from myself. Soon as I find it I'll post them.

I'm beat. I'll post more tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving to anyone who celebrates it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Silver lining, grey cloud

It looks like I may survive this after all. Things were still messy last night when my parents got here, but Mom said I'd done most of the "heavy lifting" myself, and between the two of us it was maybe a 2-hour job to get things finished. Of course, this was right after my Dad made some sort of snotty comment and then went back outside for something. Which is when I said to Mom,

"And that's why I didn't want to do this. It's not like it's a surprise that I'm an indifferent housekeeper. This is going to be an exercise in humiliation."

After they went to bed, I cleaned the kitchen some more, did some laundry, got a crock pot breakfast started, set up the coffe pot, put it on the timer, loaded and started the dishwasher (after the washing machine was done) and then watched most of Conan O'Brian before finally feeling relaxed enough to go to sleep.

Dad made another comment this morning, and I bit my tongue (though in my head I said, "When's the last time you so much as lifted a broom or a washrag?"). However, Mom reproved him with,

"That is not helping. At all."

and he's stopped. He's been playing around on my laptop, looking at his e-trade data, reading my aunt's family tree thing she sent out to everyone (they have dial-up still, and can't get the file to load. I need to remember to burn him a copy of the file before they leave on Friday), watching movies, enjoying himself (I hope).

Today we finished up. Mom caught some things that I missed and cleaned them, I did the kitchen floor. We went shopping for the stuff I needed to get fresh--vegetables, mainly--and to get beer and soda. Came back, had lunch, I worked on the living room while Mom made corn pudding and stuffing. We went out to dinner at Red Lobster (without Dad, who was still full from the sub we got him for lunch), and came back fully intending to do more Thanksgiving prep, but got hit by a waved of tired, tired, tired. We've decided to get up tomorrow at six and pick up from there. Dad was already in bed when we got home. Mom's in bed now. I'm on the couch with the cat, listening to the dishwasher run.

Which brings me to the "grey cloud" part of my post. While petting Delilah earlier today, I noticed a lump on the left side of her jawline that surely wasn't there yesterday. It's a hard lump. My immediate thought was "cancer," and I hope I'm not going all Cleopatra-Queen-of-Denial here by thinking that maybe it's an abscessed tooth. My reasons:

  • I swear it wasn't there yesterday.
  • She doesn't look or act like she's sick: eyes are bright, she's not hiding, is all lovey-dovey with me*, and was giving the dog attitude earlier today.
  • She's been a little off her food, but hasn't been refusing it. Has been paying a little more attention to the soft wet stuff than to the dry crunchies today.
  • It's a hard lump, not fleshy. Sam's and Oreo's tumors were fleshy and slow-growing The one under Oreo's tongue Mom said she never felt at all when she petted him.
  • Her kidney problem makes her more susceptible to infections. Weakens her immune system. I think.
There are no vet's hours tomorrow, but I'm calling first thing Friday morning to see if someone will see us ASAP. I'm trying not to dwell on it, as there's nothing I can do about it until Friday. But I'm watching all the same, trying to make sure it doesn't get any bigger.

Ditter, Stretch, and the Esses are coming tomorrow. I've been told to expect them around 11 AM.

And now I'm going to crash on the couch. I don't think I'm gonna be awake for Conan tonight.

*As a matter of fact, right now she's in my lap, trying to block my view of what I'm writing. With her back end, of course.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Taking a small breather...

...literally. I just ran the vacuum on the stairs, kicked up so much dust that I'm starting to wheeze. Also? Almost brained myself (twice) while trying to use the crevice tool. The vacuum is wider than the stair, and its center of gravity is kind high up on the machine. Apparently. 'Cause it kept tipping over while I was the next step or two down from it, trying to get at all the cat hair in the corners.

So why didn't I start from the bottom and work my way up? Because the vacuum was upstairs, I was upstairs, and I didn't get that idea until I was done. Next time, though, I'll chase the vacuum down the stairs and swear at it instead of protecting my head and swearing at it.

And now that my inhaler's starting to work, I must dash. In the words of Willy Wonka:

So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nyah-nyah

I am sure Delilah does this when I'm not looking.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The nicest things anyone ever said to me

A year ago June, Antonia of Whoopee posted a list of the nicest things anyone had ever said to her. She invited her readers to do the same. I meant to, then forgot. A week ago Friday, Mighty Girl mentioned the post and it reminded me that I never wrote mine.

"You're fun to get lost with." This from Ryan, best man/brother of the groom/my ride to the bride's parents' house in Pittston, PA, where we were both staying until the wedding. The bride was a friend of mine from college, sister of another friend of mine from college, and I'd been to their place a few times before but I'd always gone by bus. When the bride arranged the ride for me, she neglected to tell me that Ryan was going to need help getting to Pittston. I found this out as we passed the exit for Wilkes-Barre and he told me to take over navigating from there. I had no idea how to get there. Since I don't drive, I don't pay attention to roadsigns when I go places. I couldn't give him real directions like, "Go north on US 81." I'd say things like "I have a feeling we should turn left up here."

What I didn't do was panic or get angry. I have a dad who used to pack us all into the car on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and drive forever to go...nowhere. Just to turn around and come back. As self-defense, I've developed an enjoy-the-ride-make-your-own-fun attitude towards travelling by car. I employed this. I'd say things like, "This is starting to look really familiar. Yes, I remember that shop with the vines in the window." and then point out a funeral home, "Why do they always turn the prettiest houses in town into mortuaries?"

Eventually, we gave up, stopped at an A+ Minimart and asked to be pointed towards Pittston. Turns out I got us on the right road, but we were headed away from town instead of towards it. When we finally pulled into the bride's parents' driveway, we took a deep breath, looked at each other, and burst out laughing.

"If I didn't know you were here, I wouldn't know you were here. You can come stay any time." This from Mr. B, the father of those same two college friends. This was from an earlier visit. We were all still in college, and I'd been brought home with The Girls for a long weekend in the summer. Fourth of July, I think. The house was full of people, mainly Mrs. B's relatives, mainly Italian, mainly noisy. Honestly, it felt I'd just been dropped into the Castorini's house in Moonstruck. I came in off the porch to get a glass of water, saw something that needed doing, and decided to do it: the dishwasher was done running and ready to be emptied. I'd helped set the table a couple times so I knew where things went. Mr. B. walked into the kitchen when I was halfway through, which is when he said that.

"You should do stand up." From Deena, my just-recently retired ex-teammate. She's said this a bunch of times, usually after I tell her some silly story about my family (remind me someday to tell you about the time Needles (the cat) went sledding). I can't do stand-up. I prefer a smaller audience than that.

"Every time I talk to you, I gain IQ points." From my friend Stacy. I have no idea what we were talking about, but that remark has echoed in my head for years. Makes me blush a little every time I think about it.

How about you? What are the nicest things anyone's ever said to you?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

An extra post

This is for JustMe, of Peanut-butter-and-Bacon Sandwiches. She asked about Blip in the comments box a few days back. It's a neat site.

Basically you become a DJ. You build your own playlist of songs, based on what they have in their library--which is extensive. You can just listen to you own playlist, or listen to the main feed, which is a mix of what everyone is playing. If you hear something you like in the main feed, you can add it to your list. If you want to, you can explore what other DJs are playing. If you decide you like what you hear from them, you can make them a "favorite," which adds their playlist to yours. I have 11 favorite DJs so far, so when I hit play I get the past few days' worth of what everyone has been playing. There's always the option just to listen to your own list as well.

It's fun. One Sunday this fall my sister and I had a musical conversation using Blip. She'd play something, I'd respond with something it reminded me of. Or something by the same artist. Or something that had nothing to do with anything. Then she'd respond to that, and so on. It was a fun way to while away a Sunday afternoon.

Done painting (finally)

Since about a week after I moved in, there's been a section of my living room wall that has needed a second coat of paint. I've been putting it off, mainly because getting to that wall meant unhooking the cable box and dragging the entertainment center out of the way.

Why did I set the entertainment center in place before the space was ready, you ask? Because my father was here the last time I painted, and he really, really, really wanted to watch TV. So he hooked it up, put everything into place, and put the unit in the middle of the wall before I knew he'd done it. And I've been telling myself ever since that I need to paint, I need to just move that stuff out of the way and paint. And then I put it off, pretending I can't see the blue painter's tape that has been marking off all the edges for a year and a half.

Having company coming for Thanksgiving lit a fire under my behind. Got up this morning at around 6, tossed some coffee down my throat, put on my painting clothes, got out the painting supplies. Then I fired up iTunes on the laptop, queued up my belly dance playlist, and finally moved everything away from the wall and started painting. I was done before noon, surprised that it took so little time. I should have done this months ago! Why do I let thing loom so large in my mind, so that I approach them with dread (cough Thanksgiving)?

No, I haven't relaxed about Thanksgiving. I'm still a little freaked out by the hosting of my first dinner party, and all the attendant hoopla involved. But I got the damn living room painted, and now I feel a little calmer. A little.

Now is not the time to rest on my laurels. I have sheets to wash, pictures to hang, toilets to clean, a tub to scrub, and plenty of stuff to put away yet.

I think tomorrow I'm going to start organizing the craft room, finally. If I have time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Must...remain...calm...

An actual exchange between my teammate and me as she left work early for the weekend:

Bess: Well, I'm outta here. Have a good weekend. Oh, wait! You're off next week.
Me: Yup.
B: Well! I guess I won't see you 'til December first. I'm taking Thanksgiving Monday off.
M [singing]: See you...in December... oh, no, wait. Wrong month.
B [laughing]: But it works. Well. Have a good Thanksgiving. Stop stressing and enjoy yourself.
M: I'll try not to make the news. For, you know, snapping and chasing people around with carving knives..."You don't like how I do my turkey? No? You sure?!?!?" or maybe bursting into flames out of sheer angst....
B: Yes. Please try to stay out of the papers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I've had this in my head all week

A couple months back, someone I follow on Twitter mentioned a podcast called "Coverville." Interested, I looked it up.

It's a semiweekly show, roughly an hour long, hosted by Brian Ibbott. The podcast consists of bands doing covers of songs by other bands. Usually there's a theme. Recent themes have been Kiss, Johnny Mercer, Michael Jackson, Sesame Street, and David Bowie.

Every once in a while, though, he does a show that's all listener requests. A little over a week ago I listened to the podcast that played someone's requested cover of The Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" by Miles Fisher.

I liked it so much I downloaded it from Amie Street (it was free, but I had to register), and played it over and over and over -- to the point where it's been stuck in my head all week. And now, maybe, it'll be stuck in yours.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holiday checklist (continued)

  • Chairs bought/refurbished? Half-check. I've bought two folding chairs with padded seats and backs, and will buy one of those tie-back covers for the craft room chair that isn't as much in need of repair.
  • Chair pads bought for kitchen chairs? Check. Not on the original list until I realized the fold-up extra chairs were a little more friendly on the bum than my regular ones.
Reorganization continues. Painting is slated for Saturday. Fridge is getting cleaned out Sunday or Monday so that I have the room I need for Thursday.

Gotta go! I'm riding a wave of anxiety that makes me need to move stuff around.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Black and white

I started a post, and am having trouble finishing it. I'll post it tomorrow. For today, I give you a picture.



Took this shot sometime around Christmas '08, I think. Just recently found it on the laptop, printed it out, and framed it. Framed a bunch of pictures, actually. Part of the attempt I'm making to get this place looking lived-in by next Thursday.

Here's another one. It's a photoshopped version of a shot I took of the dinner bell on my parents' porch.

I also printed one of my sister goofing for the camera, one of the baby robin from spring '08, one of the zinnias, and one from years ago of a sunflower by the post office downtown.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yikes!

I went to bed, drifted off to sleep, and woke with a start an hour later realizing I hadn't posted. Oh, no!

Luckily there's still time.

My aunt (one of the many on my father's side) sent out to anyone whose server wouldn't choke on the file a copy of the family tree traced back to 1783. It's a book originally put together by my Dad's uncle Wilbur. I saw his version of this back in the mid-1980s. My aunt has since caught the family historian bug and has been working to fill in gaps and take it back even farther. She turned her updated version into a PDF file. Some of us with slower connections are going to get sent a CD-ROM with the book on it.

Most interesting story so far: One of my forbears (first name Thomas, middle name Jefferson--called T.J. for short) was shot five times on a train, by the ex-husband of his current wife. This man (the killer) had a vile temper, in one of his fits of rage he destroyed the family piano. His wife divorced him on the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment. He agreed to the divorce but pestered her constantly to come back to him. When she married T.J., he sent them letters threatening T.J.'s life. I guess they didn't take them seriously. They should have.

I also have as ancestor a full-blooded Native American named Rachel Whitecloud. Not sure which tribe. I guess my aunt couldn't find that info. The transcriber's note at the bottom of the page said it's listed on some of the family histories that she was a native person, but I guess that far back they really didn't care which tribe you came from, so no one wrote that down. Shoot. I'd really like to know that.

Well, that's it for now. Wanna get this posted before it hits midnight.

Edited to add: Something funky happened. It looked like it published, but it didn't. I'm hitting publish again on Tuesday morning and hoping that a) it still counts as Monday and b) blogger takes it this time

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Looking straight up



View from the bus stop downtown when I look straight up. The campus and town are chock full of old elm trees. These are branches from at least two of them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Every little bit helps

Opened some mail from the PHFA expecting it to be my next mortgage payment bill, and instead found a check for $64.27. They had to adjust my escrow balance and they found that much of a surplus in the account. I guess they're not allowed to keep it. Also, they adjusted my payments down $2 to make sure we don't have this problem again next year.

Since I generally add a few dollars to the payment, directed at paying a little extra on the principal, those two dollars don't mean anything to my budget. Instead of applying $27 to the principal I'll be paying $29. Still, if it helps get me to the magic 20% mark (after which time I don't need to pay private mortgage insurance any more) that much faster, twenty-four more dollars a year is great!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Her Morning Elegance

Wow, this is good. I can't even imagine how long this took to do.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meet the feline

A while back I joined something called Plinky. It's a site that asks you questions daily as a sort of jumping-off point to writing something on your blog. I haven't used it much, 'cause most of the questions it asked weren't things I felt like writing about.

Today, however, I found one I have an answer for. Question was originally posted on Nov. 7:

"You just found a kitten--what do you name it?"

My answer: Minnie. 'Cause I wanna be able to grab her by the tail as she begs for food and belt out:

"This is the tail of Minnie the Moocher!"

It's sad, really, the lengths I'll go to for a good pun.

How about you? What name would you choose?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Loose change

Also known as random thoughts.

Going to be a brief post 'cause I'm typing this one-handed. The cat's sleeping on my right arm, snuggled into the crook of it and snoring in my ear. I'm afraid that freeing up my right hand to type will disturb her. I am so cat-owned.

Went grocery shopping today. Wegman's has a special right now--turkeys for $0.29 per pound, provided you have a club card (I d0) and spend at least $25 on other stuff. Not a problem. I scored a 12 lb bird for about $3 and change. Dang, I'm good. Bird is in freezer, along with 2 bags of cranberries and the other smaller (but not exactly small) turkey breast I bought last summer.

I found a picture of the fennel/potato thing I wrote about a couple days ago. Forgot I took one. Sure was tasty. Also found a photo of the gnocchi stuff. And another from one of my attempts at the carrot soup. Anyone watching me this summer must've thought I was nuts, the way I would set out all my vegetables on the patio and photograph them, then cook 'em up, drag them back out to the patio and photograph 'em again. I can hear the conversation now:

"Abner*! That freak in 916-10 is taking pictures of her food again!"
"Come away from the window, Gladys*. She might see you and ask you to photograph her eating it."
"You know, she never does eat out there. I wonder why."
"Maybe she's worried about being watched by the neighbors."

I'm making even less sense than usual this evening. Time to call it a night. If I can get the cat off my arm, that is. Maybe I'm sleeping here tonight.


*Not their real names. At least I don't think so. I'm not acquainted with any of the neighbors who'd be able to see my patio from their windows. Anyone else a fan of "Bewitched?" I loved the Kravitzes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Holiday checklist (subject to change and addenda)

Need to get this down somewhere more permanent than the white board on my fridge. Since I'm on this blog everyday this month, figured I might as well put it here.
  • Dinner menu planned, distributed, offers of help gratefully accepted from guests? Check!
  • Hotel reservation made for sister's in-laws? Check!
  • Turkey breast I bought this summer (to practice on but never did) examined and found to be too small to feed 7 people and probably 2 dogs? Sigh. Check.
  • Shopping lists created, divided into "stuff I can buy now" and "stuff to buy fresh?" Check!
  • Day picked to get "stuff I can buy now?" (including a bigger turkey, which I will freeze) Check! Tomorrow, as it happens.
  • Menus planned for additional meals? Parents are coming Wednesday, leaving Saturday. Chh-no. Sort of. Maybe. Wednesday dinner, not at all. Thursday breakfast I'm going to do a crockpot oatmeal recipe I found on the internet -- steel-cut oats, dried fruit, water, put on low for 8 hours. Ka-blam! Breakfast! Friday morning I think we're going out to breakfast (if I have my way) at the hotel where Stretch's parents are staying. Friday lunch? Maybe I can make that carrot soup I made a few times this summer. I could make it ahead, even, and freeze it. Set it out to thaw Saturday morning. I wonder if I can get my father to eat that. Friday dinner, probably leftovers from Thursday. Saturday morning? No idea. Saturday lunch? Don't know when my parents are leaving, lunch might not be necessary. Probably can drag out the turkey again. I will be sprouting feathers by the end of the month and answering the phone by gobbling like a turkey.
  • Bought and/or refinished extra chairs? Not yet. This weekend. Or maybe next weekend. Soon.
  • Straightened this place up? HAhahahahaha! Oh, that's funny.
  • Painted that section of the living room that desperately needs it? No, 'cause I have to straighten up first. Duh!
Okay, that's it for now. I have to go load the dishwasher. My, what a glamourous life I lead!

Monday, November 09, 2009

More on the garden

I started answering JustMe's comment in the comments box of the last post, and decided it was long enough for a post.

Her comment: "Lovely garden. I wish you weren't so far away; I'd mug you for your talents. I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening. I can barely keep house plants alive. "

Me too, house plant-wise. Of course it probably doesn't help that my cat's a grazer. Anything I bring into the house gets chewed down to a nub. Doesn't matter where I put it, she can get to it and eat it. Then after there's nothing left to eat she knocks the pot over to let me know I can get rid of it.

I'm amazed by how well things turned out in the flower beds. I only put a few perennials in this year in case they died on me. That way I could console myself with the fact that mostly everything was an annual and was going to die anyway. I think one of the perennials did die, and it may be that I put it in the wrong kind of soil. It's a sandwort. I guess I won't find out if it's really dead until it doesn't come back next year.

Two of my other perennials were bought out of pity. My sister and I were wandering around in Lowes' gardening section (when she was up for Arts Festival) and happened upon the cart I dubbed The Island of Misfit Plants. Poor things were sunburned and almost (but not quite) dead. The little card in the soil called them pincushion flowers, and the tag on the pot said they were $1 apiece. I couldn't decide which of the two orphans to leave behind (guiltguiltguilt) so even though I had no idea where I was going to put two sun-loving perennials in my little patch, I bought them both. One grew faster and larger than the other one did, but they're both healthy now. So I call that plant rescue a success.

Some of the seeds I planted never came up. I think they may have been eaten by birds. I planted dwarf sunflowers and never saw any hint of them. The snapdragon seeds never produced either--I bought some plants from the Ag Dept. on campus and put them where I'd planted the seeds.

I think maybe outdoor plants are harder to kill than houseplants. Either that, or the fact that I walked around the garden everyday on the look-out for changes (and photo-ops) made me more consistent about care & maintenance.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Gang aft a-gley

I was going to take a picture of my nearly-ready-for-winter flower bed, but it turns out my camera's battery is dead. By the time it finishes charging I will have lost the light. Ah well. Best-laid schemes and all that.

Today was very probably one of the last warm weekends we'll have until spring. I'd put off tending the garden a couple weekends in a row, but today? Today was my last best chance.

So I pulled out almost all the annuals--I left in the red verbena, a few of the pansies, and one of the gerbera daisies because they're all still producing blooms. I cut back the perennials, covered the roots of the rose bush with leaves I found on the edge of the property (why buy mulch when it's literally falling at your feet, eh?), and planted some bulbs for next year. Over the course of the summer I've noticed chipmunks in my garden, and there have been holes appearing in the flower bed where the crocuses came up this year. I've decided to plant a mix of daffodil varieties (including one called Avalon, which I've never seen before), since no critter seems to like the taste of them. Or so I've been told by a few more experienced gardeners. I also planted allium bulbs near the wall of the house in the sections that get more sun, and an oriental poppy in the rounded-off section at the end.

I'll post a picture of the garden tomorrow. Here's one of what it looked like in the height of summer:

Garden in bloom

And of the other half of the garden:

Flowers at the side of the house

Later on that summer, I crawled around on the ground to get some good shots of the zinnias:

Zinnias

I like this one. Shows them in all stages of bloom:

Zinnias

And I have to include my favorite shot of the sunflowers!

P1010264

There. I wonder if I've choked Blogger with all these pictures. Time to hit "publish" and find out.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Short one today...

...'cause I'm feeling a little under the weather. I changed into nice warm flannel jammies sometime around 5 pm and have been dozing on the couch, under a quilts, a furry blanket, and a cat, half-watching the ID channel (true crime TV. Using 48 Hours as a bedtime story? Yeah, I'm a little weird). Woke up with a jolt 15 minutes ago realizing I hadn't posted anything yet today.

So here I am! [waves frantically]

And now I'm out. Tomorrow is the return of Snapshot Sunday. I think I called it Photo Sunday last year. I like the alliteration, so I'm changing the name. Anyway, Tomorrow I'll drag out my camera and try to find something picture-worthy.

Friday, November 06, 2009

How the CSA went

Got an email earlier this week saying that the CSA harvest is done for the year.

I'd say my experiment with community supported agriculture was a limited success. I found myself a little flummoxed as to what to do with some of the things I got, but all in all I enjoyed it. Ate more vegetables this summer than I did last year, and did a whole lot more "from scratch" cooking. Two recipes I'm definitely adding to my permanent stash this year? Fennel and Potato Gratin and Baked Gnocchi with Chard and Ricotta. I never managed to get a picture of either dish, but they were both very tasty. Both recipes came in issues of the CSA's bulletin--they were always giving us ways to use some of what we're taking home.

Here's the recipe for the potato/fennel thing. I'll post the gnocchi recipe later on this month (don't want to use up all my ideas the first week, now do I?):

Fennel & Potato Gratin (Originally from Farmer John's Cookbook)
2 cups fennel bulb, cut crosswise into 1/8 inch slices
2 cups thinly sliced potatoes
salt
pepper
2 cups half-and-half (or whole milk for less richness)
2 Tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a shallow 2-qt. baking dish with butter.
2. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of fennel slices. Cover with half the potato slices. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Repeat layers until you've used up all the slices.
3. Bring the half-and-half to a gentle boil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Pour it over the fennel and potato.
4. Using a large spatula, press down on the top layer to submerge it. Dot with butter. Bake until potatoes are tender and the top is golden, about 1 hour.

I had this with chicken sausage and some applesauce. Yum.

I already signed up for next year's crop, a half share. Because I signed early I get a discount.

Next major purchase (aside from a chair for the living room. Unless this is cheaper, in which case it might get bought first)? A small deep freezer. I'm gonna be a blanchin', freezin', puttin' things by kind of girl next summer. I was won over to the process late in the game, and could have kicked myself when I thought of all the stuff that went bad before I could use it. That won't happen next year, though. I will be ready. 'Cause now I have an idea what to expect.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Holiday plans continued

Thanksgiving plans are shaping up.

I sent out a tentative menu to my mom and sister, and they've offered to bring: sweet potato casserole & dessert (Ditter), stuffing, baked corn (also called corn pudding), olives, pickles, and rolls (Mom). This frees me up to do a little more here. Along with the turkey, I'm going to make Brussels sprouts with mustard butter (found the recipe here when I was looking for instructions on how to blanch them). And I'm going to do some sort of glazed carrots thing. And mashed turnips, which seems to be another family tradition. I've never seen them anywhere but my family's table. And someone at work gave me a recipe for stuffed acorn squash that I may or may not use.

My sister thinks the Lancaster contingent will only be here until Friday morning. I'm going to book a room at a hotel around the corner for her in-laws. Things are kind of tight here. I still have very little furniture, and Mrs. S. had trouble with stairs anyway -- the big bathroom is upstairs. The downstairs powder room is so small there isn't room to change your mind in it.

My parents are staying until Saturday, I think. I'm hoping Friday morning before 1/2 of my family heads off to Lancaster we can get together for breakfast at the restaurant attached to my sister's in-law's hotel.

I need to buy some folding chairs. And some sort of tie-on covers for the two chairs from the craft room so they look a little more festive. Or less shabby. Whichever.

I also want to buy some sort of armchair or recliner for the living room. I need more furniture than I have, but dang! Furniture's expensive. We have a couple second-hand shops around here, but most of them are actually antique shops masquerading as used furniture places. It's frustrating walking into a store and seeing a beat-up armchair for the cost of a new one. And not feeling able to afford either.

But hey! Back to holidays! Dinner for seven! Two dogs! Overnight guests! Three weeks (more or less) to prepare! Yeeeeee-haw!

I need to lie down now.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Time-wasting

Well, the DVRing of Grey's Anatomy isn't working like I planned. I got home half an hour after the start of the 1st of three last night, went to the DVR menu and watched the start of it. Sped through the commercials, was only 15 minutes behind the 2nd one. By episode 3 I was watching it live.

Today? Yep. Watching it as I type.

Silver lining though: tomorrow the series starts over from the beginning. I can get those episodes from Netflix, so I don't need to watch 'em right now.

--Later--

Yikes. What a way to end a season. Two main characters who might be dead?

Now maybe I can get some work done.

Ha!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Holiday planning on election day

Today I made up a tentative Thanksgiving menu and emailed it off to my mom and sister to see what they thought of it. Nothing earth-shaking, though there are one or two things I've either never made and/or have never been part of our Thanksgiving tradition.

Sweet potato casserole, for example. Ditter's mother-in-law served that on the Thanksgiving immediately before Ditter and Stretch got married (and I do mean immediately. The wedding was two days later). I liked that a lot, and am heartily sick of candied yams every year, so I'm going to try this. It's not the yams I dislike, really, it's cleaning the electric frying pan Mom makes them in. It's full of this hardened caramel goo that practically takes dynamite to get rid of. Ugh. No thanks.

I'm also making baked corn from a Weight Watcher's recipe, and I'm gonna try making Average Jane's Cranberry Sauce instead of the canned stuff -- I may even do the spiced up version.

I was going to make a carrot leek soup I've been playing with all summer, but I think I've talked myself out of that. I'll save fancy stuff for another year, after I have the basics down.

Oh, and I voted today. We had some judges to elect for the PA supreme court, some local judges, a planning commission, a district attorney, and a mayor to elect for the borough.

I'm interested to see whether Maine votes to allow same-sex marriage.

And now, even though it's only 9:30ish, I'm heading off to bed. I think I'm coming down with something.

Monday, November 02, 2009

In which it is revealed that I have run out of subject matter. Already.

Oh, for pity's sake! Last year I was all chatty the whole way through the month. This year I'm staring at a blank window, the little cursor taunting me with it's flash, flash, flash go on write something flash, flash, flash I dare ya. On Day 2. Day freaking Two.

Nothing has happened today. Not one blessed thing. You know how I spent my day? Futzing about with OpenOffice software, trying to create an electronic version of the flowchart the CQI Team I'm part of came up with to describe our current procedures. It's the most convoluted if/then chart I've ever seen, I'm on page 6, and I'm nowhere near done.

When I wasn't doing that, I was slapping barcodes on books as part of a national project my library's signed up to help with. Then I was entering said barcodes into the database.

Riveting stuff, absolutely riveting.

Oh, and then I came home and instead of doing the chores I'd planned to do (wrote 'em on the whiteboard and everything) I watched three hours of Grey's Anatomy on Lifetime. I managed to avoid the show for years when everyone around me was singing its praises only to get sucked into it now that it's in syndication. Two weeks ago (when I was on vacation) I bumped into an episode while I was flipping channels, got interested, and stayed. This episode was followed by a second. And then a third. And then it was nine o'clock at night! Where'd my evening go?

That's just evil, you guys. To run three hour-long episodes, in sequential order, back-to-back four days a week? How the heck am I supposed to get anything done? Don't these people know I have a list of stuff as long as my arm that I have to finish by Thanksgiving? That my messy house needs organizing, that my menu needs creating, that my garden needs tending? Those dishes aren't going to do themselves!

I've done a preemptive strike for tomorrow. I've set the DVR. I am not allowed to turn on the TV at all when I get home. I'll watch this stuff later. Never mind that Izzy's about to undergo brain surgery, Derek's coming back to operate after having a dark moment where he thought about quitting medicine altogether, or that I think this next episode is the one where he finally proposes to Meredith. Aaah! How can people who I didn't even know about four weeks ago (and who aren't even real) take up so much of my time now?

Lord help me.

So tell me, blogosphere, what's you're newest time suck?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

And away we go!

All righty, here we go. Day One of National Blog Posting Month (hereafter called NaBloPoMo or OhmyGodwhatdidIgetmyselfinto). There's a link to the left (just under the one for my poor neglected Flick'r photostream), if you'd like to go exploring and read other bloggers who are trying this as well.

Eden (the originatorof NaBloPoMo, and writer of Fussy) posted today about her likes and dislikes. That sounds like a good way to start, so I'ma do that.

Dislikes:
  • The way the cat howls like a tortured soul every time she takes a drink from her water fountain. The thing has a charcoal filter, uses distilled water, and get thoroughly cleaned and replenished once a week. She's still rather drink out of the tub. Brat.
  • Opening my wallet to find the $60 I got at the ATM 6 hours before has been stolen. I've never been a victim of theft before last week. Someone wandered into my cubicle, emptied the cash out of my wallet, and strolled back out, unseen. The officer who filed my report the next day said there was a rash of thefts all over campus that day. All of 'em cash from wallets. Nothing else stolen, no IDs or credit cards or checks. My first thought was that the end of the month is approaching, and someone couldn't make rent.
  • Spending approximately two hours dismantling a set of vertical blinds and replacing them with curtains. As I tweeted earlier today: bring me the head of whoever installed these blinds. I was dripping with sweat and swearing like a sailor after trying to remove just one screw from the three brackets that held the blinds in place. And I was using power tools, too!
  • Packaging that's harder to break into than the average house. I needed sharp implements and a screwdriver to get the blasted curtain rods out of the box they came in.

Likes:

  • Thermal, light-blocking drapes. Gonna be warmer in here this winter, I'm sure of it.
  • Making it through October for the 2nd year in a row without contracting asthmatic bronchitis! Yay team!
  • Related like: Autumn! Again! Finally!
  • The way a full moon looks when it rises behind a maple tree that's gone all orange. (And me without my camera. Next year for sure!)
  • Waking up to the cat purring around my head.
  • Bonne Maman's cherry preserves.
  • This:

And there's NaBloPoMo, Day One. See you tomorrow!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Let's see if I can do this twice

National Blog Posting Month starts this Sunday. I signed up last year and did manage to post every single day in November.

This coming November looks to be a little bit busier than last year. Thanksgiving dinner is being held at my house for the first (and, if I go completely mental over it, maybe the last) time. There's a bit to do to get ready -- stuff I kept putting off all summer, knowing that I really needed to do it and also knowing that I need a deadline breathing down my neck before I can kick into high gear. I'm already feeling a slight twitch around the eyelid when I think of all the stress to come. So I probably shouldn't be wasting my time trying to post every day in November.

I just signed up to do it, though. What's that old saw? You want something done, give it to a busy person (*Juvenile snicker* I almost typed "busty person." I crack me up. It's not very difficult to do, as you can see).

So anyway, come! Watch me lose my mind in November. It should be fun. Or informative. Or something.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

High as a kite

...the cat, not me.

I'm beginning to notice a trend. Every time I take vacation, the cat winds up at the vet. Yesterday afternoon, I was watching TV in the living room, and she came downstairs to get a drink of water. I noticed as she was going back up the stairs that she was only using three feet.

Uh-oh.

I chased after her, retrieved her from under the bed (another uh-oh. Why is she hiding?) and made her walk for me. She wouldn't let the back foot even touch the floor.

And so, it looked like we were off to the vet's. I called and managed to get the very last time slot available on a Friday afternoon. It wasn't the vet we usually see, but I didn't really care. This woman felt all over both Lolly's back feet, massaging and stretching and probing with her fingers to see if there was one particular spot that hurt worse than the rest. Lolly didn't cry out or flinch or anything, just showed a general desire to get away. Then the vet checked her back. Nothing wrong there either. There was a little bit of swelling with the boo-boo back foot, but that seems consistent with her diagnosis: she thinks the cat has sprained the flexor muscles in her right back foot. She thinks Lolly probably jumped off of something and landed wrong.

The vet gave me some pain killers to give the cat, (in liquid form. Hurray, now there are two syringes to keep track of!), and if things don't improve I'm to bring her back for an x-ray on Monday.

Things are improving. She's putting some weight on it now, though she's still limping. When she walks at all. This stuff works like morphine, the vet said. The cat spends a lot of time either asleep or looking stoned. Seriously. She sat here on the sofa for the better part of the evening with pupils as big as saucers, limp as Frieda's cat (from Peanuts). That was just after I gave her the meds. She's more alert and active right now. She just walked past me as I typed this, and the limping is much less pronounced than it was earlier in the evening. Partly pain meds, partly healing, I hope.

Silver lining, though -- my usual vet had said something about trying to make the cat gain some weight. It's hard to do. She'll only eat as much as she wants and then leave the rest. We're making some progress, though. She was 7.5 lbs last visit. Yesterday she was 8.3. Huzzah!

Truth in advertising

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Walk it out

I've started to use Brizzly to keep track of my Twitter feed. It's still in beta test mode, which means I had to be invited to join. I'm hoping they get out of beta soon. I like it lots, and I think other people will, too. It does things I wish Twitter did, like expanding the links someone sends me, or if the links are to photos inserting the photo along with the tweet. It refreshes automatically. It tells me which of the people I follow are also following me. I am not limited to the last 20 tweets on a screen.

I know this is all blahblahblah to people who don't use Twitter, but if you do and you want to try Brizzly, I have nine invitations left to join it. Gimme a holler in the comments box & I'll send you one.

Today, though, it's been up and down a lot -- Twitter's having issues with client feeds, or something (I know, I'm hot when I talk tech. If I knew what I was saying, I'd be even hotter, right?). Here's the notice they put up, accompanied by this hilarious (to me, anyway) link to a YouTube video:
Twitter's having trouble serving their tweets to other clients. So Brizzly may be temporarily unavailable. We'll be back when they're back. Maybe this is a nice time to stretch one's legs?




Whoever came up with dubbing a Fosse routine to hip-hop? Genius.

And now, since the sun's out and I'm on vacation (woo!) I'm gonna take Brizzly's advice and step awaaaaay from the computer for the rest of the day. Well, afternoon. Well, couple of hours.

Pomplamoose

Enough of the heavy medical-type stuff for now.

A few weeks ago, this YouTube video was all over the internet. It got me interested in the two musicians who put it together, and I've gone back to their site a few times to see what else they're doing.

They call themselves Pomplamoose. In their recordings, they play or sing all the parts, then mix everything together. It looks like their studio is somewhere in their house (in San Francisco). They've done a bunch of covers (like the one of Beyonce's song cited above), but they write and record their own songs as well.

Of the covers, this one's my favorite so far:



And of their own music, this is my favorite:



Hurray for fun, creative people!

Time for a change

Editorial note: Wrote this 2 weeks ago. Forgot to hit "publish"

So, it's October. It's time for me to go get meds for my allergies.

Last time I went, my doctor did something that really bothered me. It started after she'd given me a sample of Nasonex to try along with prescriptions for the drug I needed for my bronchitis and the Allegra and the inhaler I normally get. Nasonex is a topical medication that you apply to your nose, it's supposed to suppress allergies. Worked wonderfully. My breathing was great.

Sleep, however, was another story. I was getting maybe 2 hours' sleep a night, if any. It took me a while to figure it out, and only then because I forgot to take the Nasonex one Friday morning. That night I slept like I'd been drugged. Did the same on Saturday night, too. Sunday morning I finally remembered to take the Nasonex, and ta-dah! Insomnia.

Not only that, but my heart would race every once in a while. Like it was trying to leap out of my chest. That's fun in the middle of a team meeting, huh?

When I went back to my doctor for a follow-up a couple weeks later, I told her about the side-effect, and she waved it off.

"That's not the Nasonex. That's the Allegra."

Really? The Allegra I've been taking for ten years with no problem?

And then at the end of the appointment, she tells me she's prescribing the Nasonex, along with a year-long prescription for a 24-hour version of Allegra.

"I just told you I'm not taking that Nasonex." I said. She looked up, surprised. Like the furniture had just spoken. I described what happened again, and told her the bit about forgetting to take it for a couple of days and finally getting some sleep.

"That's weird," is all she had to say. And wrote the Nasonex scrip anyway, on the same piece of paper as the Allegra-24. I left her office feeling angry and disrespected. Granted, I'm no doctor, but I'm in this body 24/7, and I'm not a total moron. I think I might have some insight into what's going on with me.

Luckily the pharmacy I went to only fills what you ask them to. I never filled the Nasonex. And I vowed that I was never ever going back to that woman under any circumstances.

I ran out of refills on my prescriptions last November. I'd managed to stockpile a little by buying a refill every month whether I needed it or not, so I didn't have to go back to her. The medication in the last bottle expired last month. Time to find a new doctor.

A coworker recommended someone her Dad had seen for a physical. I think his own doctor was on vacation or something and this other fellow was part of the same group, filling in where necessary. She said he listened to her Dad, didn't run a million tests, and just seemed on the whole more laid-back and personable. So I did a little research.

Turns out he's a D.O., not an M.D. I've never been to an osteopath before. Wasn't even sure what an osteopath does, so I looked it up. Here's what Wikipedia said:

Osteopathy is an approach to healthcare that emphasizes the role of the musculoskeletal system in health and disease. It is practised in the United Kingdom, the rest of the European Union, Israel, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Osteopathy is not to be confused with the historically related but now distinct field, osteopathic medicine in the United States.

All right. I clicked on the link to osteopathic medicine in the United States:
Osteopathic medicine is a branch of the medical profession in the United States, with some recognition outside the US (47 countries), including most Canadian provinces. Physicians or surgeons who graduate from osteopathic medical schools are sometimes known as osteopathic physicians and hold a professional doctorate, the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), in contrast to the more familiar degree, the Doctor of Medicine, or MD. The existence of two degrees leading to equivalent status as a licensed physicians is not widely known.

And later on:

Osteopathic medicine is considered by some in the United States to be both a profession and a social movement, especially for its historically greater emphasis on primary care and holistic health. However, any distinction between the MD and the DO professions has eroded steadily; diminishing numbers of DO graduates enter primary care fields, fewer use OMM, holistic patient care models are increasingly taught at MD schools, and increasing numbers of DO graduates choose to train in non-osteopathic residency programs.

Clear as mud. My aunt has been going to a D.O. instead of an M.D. for years and was happy with the woman. On the strength of that, and figuring a new point of view was probably a good thing, I called and got added to his patient list. I told the receptionist (nurse?) that I was switching doctors. She asked who I was switching from, and when I told her, she said,

"She's on the same call list as we are. That means if you're ever in the hospital, she might be the physician on call for you."

"That's okay. I doubt she'd recognize me anyway."

When I told my mom I was seeing a D.O. I got an interesting reaction. All she said was, "Oh really?" My mom's moved away from a lot of traditional medicine recently. She goes to a reflexologist on a regular basis, and I believe it does her a lot of good. She was so much healthier after a few months of treatment with this person that my Dad started going too. At one point he had a colon full of polyps, and this woman worked up an intensive treatment called a "liver cleanse" that he went through for a summer and fall. It got rid of most of them by the time his next colonoscopy came round. Impressive.

Mind you, they still use traditional medicine for things like his heart. Oh, heck yeah. Don't want to fool around with the heart. I'm with them on that one.

But I digress.

Boy am I glad I did this. He came in and sat down next to me at a table (not across from me. Side-by-side (friendly) as opposed to face-to-face (confrontational). I do the same thing when I do reference work. People accept your help more readily if you don't come barging at them from straight-ahead), and started to chat with me. Asked all sorts of questions: where I'm from, how long I've been here, what was my major in college, what do I do now, where do I live...at first I thought he was trying to put me at ease, but then I noticed he was writing down all my answers. I guess that's the "holism" thing kicking in, huh?

By the time we got to discussing what brought me here, I was a whole lot more relaxed than I'd ever been with the M.D. I told him about my allergies, and though I hedged a little bit about why I left the other doctor (I don't know why), eventually I decided to tell him that I lost confidence in my previous physician, and why. He didn't argue or agree, just nodded and kept listening while he looked up my nose and listened to my chest (at some point in the conversation I'd moved onto the exam table, but then off it and back to a chair after he'd listened to me breathe). Then he asked me to describe the worst asthma I'd ever had. I told him about this instance from a couple years ago.

He prescribed most of the same things I had been taking (not the Nasonex, thank goodness), and went to get me a sample of some asthma medication he wants me to take during October, or any time I think I'll be around something that will make things flare up (like up at my parents' cabin with the wood/coal stove). It's an inhaler with a very little bit of a steroid in it.

He came back with two boxes.

"I was going to give you this one," he holds out a box with a pink stripe across the top, "but then I remembered that they just came out with child's version that has a much lower dosage." He holds out the box in his other hand. It has a gray stripe across the top. "I was thinking that if the little bit of steroid that was in the Nasonex gave you trouble, maybe we should start you with the child's dosage and see if that works. If it doesn't, then we'll move you up to the adult's."

And the clouds parted, and the light shone down, and the angels sang. He listened to me! He heard and believed me! Hallefrickinlujah!

"It's one dose daily, and I think maybe you should take it before you go to bed, since night time is when it hits you worst."

That's true. When did I tell him that? Oh. OH! The dream. Dang, he listens with both ears!

Angels just sang another chord.

"Give me a call in a few days, tell me which one works for you and which pharmacy to call with the prescription."

And that's what I did. I'm on the child's. Didn't even open the adult's. He said to keep the sample, maybe I'll need it when I visit my parents.

It was so nice to leave a medical appointment feeling like I'd been heard.

I heart my new doctor.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Standing down now

Mom called around six o'clock. I was so proud of myself for not calling her the second I got home, and then again at fifteen minute intervals until I finally reach her, only to harangue her for not calling me the second she knew something. I let my sister do that this time.

Just kidding. I don't know that Ditter did that. Though Mom told me she got an earful when she called my sister, 'cause Mom had promised to call when the whole thing was over with.

She forgot. And she admitted now that she was probably more worried than she let on. She only really noticed the stress once it was gone. That makes me feel a little better for some odd reason, cause she was kinda laughing at me a little about how fussed I was about this.

Anyway, I digress. Dad's good. Actually, he's better than good. He has a normal sinus rhythm now. The doctor says he can expect to feel more energy, and things will only improve once he gets fitted for a C-PAP machine.

Yep. Sleep apnea. Undiagnosed for at least 25 years. Probably what's been enlarging the heart and causing the blood pressure problems. Not to mention the dark circles under my mother's eyes from having to sleep next to all the snoring and tossing and turning all this time.

When she called, Dad was sitting on the sofa, watching TV and restringing a lamp.

Oh, and the snow I was worried about, the power outages I thought they would cause? My parents got flurries. We got all the snow. This morning there were 10,000 customers without power, including me. The power company's managed to get it down to 4500 customers without electricity now. They estimate they'll have everything restored by 6 pm tomorrow.

Whew. I'm feeling a bit worn out. Full day, what with worrying about Dad, getting to work late (decided not to try to comb my hair by candlelight. One hair-flip in the wrong direction and foosh! Hair-fire. There's a headline I never want to be in), and then leaving work early anyway because I was concerned about my old, old kitty alone in an unheated house. Got home, found out the power had been on for hours already, and set about making myself not call my mother.

I'm going to bed.

But hey, guess what! I'm on vacation! For a whole week! Whee!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ready, Set, Worry!

My father's getting his heart reset tomorrow. The cardiologist likened it to turning off a computer, waiting a moment, and then giving it a cold reboot. It's supposed to clear up the irregular heartbeat problems Dad's having.

Wait.

What?

What?

I asked my Dad this past Sunday what exactly is supposed to happen, and here's what he told me:

He's going to be knocked out, put on a respirator, and then the cardiologist and his team will stop my father's heart, wait a moment or two, and then shock it back into starting again.

That? Scares the shit outta me.

It must, because I don't think I've ever sworn on this blog before.

It took a little time to absorb what he was saying and I missed an important detail. My mind was kinda occupied with the stopping Daddy's heart aaaaaahhhhhh part of the conversation, so I couldn't recall the bit where he told me when this was going to happen.

I called my Mom Tuesday about that. I wanted to know exactly when to worry.

She said the 16th, a little before 9 a.m. he'd be prepped and ready to go.

That's tomorrow.

And today? It's started to snow, and it's supposed to continue until sometime Saturday morning. It's a wet, heavy snow, sure to hang on the leaves that haven't detached themselves from their trees yet, which can cause aforementioned trees to come crashing to the ground, dragging power lines in their wakes.

Power they'll be using to stop and then start my Daddy's heart, and to keep him breathing throughout. This didn't occur to me until a few minutes ago. Thanks for that, brain. 'Cause I wasn't worried enough.

I sure hope the hospital has back-up generators.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This just tickled me


There's a real post coming, I swear. Really. Not today, though. We're in the middle of a two-day open house here in the library. I've spent the morning working at various places for it, and there will be more to do tomorrow. The brain, she is fried.

Friday, September 11, 2009

OwowfreakingOW part 2, or, I'll give you something to cry about

You know those tissues they make that have lotion in 'em for your poor ravaged nose? I bought some of those for my desk at work to keep myself from doing stupid things like a) blowing my nose on toilet tissue or paper towels; and b) applying hand cream to my face because a solid day of paper towels and toilet tissue on the face is rough, man.

Guess what, though? When you read a tweet that friends had to take their dog for an emergency visit to the vet's and the poor puppy never made it home again, and it gets you all teary-eyed? Don't wipe your eyes with the lotion tissues. Sting! Dang that hurts! My eyes are watering more, and I'm fighting the urge to use another tissue to wipe 'em.

Well, at least I'm not crying over the dog anymore.

I wonder if I can catalog blind?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Playing with Blip

A couple weeks ago my sister got me hooked on a site called Blip that pretty much turns you into a little DJ. I can make my own play list from a huge song library (provided I can find the song I want. Their search engine can be a little imprecise), and anyone can listen to it that wants to. I can listen to other people's lists, merge them with mine on my own "personal radar," listen to what everyone's putting on their own lists on the public feed, or just listen to my own.

I just yesterday found another Jonathan Coulton song I like, and I submit it here for your enjoyment:

Jonathan Coulton - Ikea

Shared via AddThis

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

OwowfreakingOW

Hey, guess what! When you've been sneezing all morning and blowing your nose on paper products that weren't originally intended for noses and it makes that particular facial area all red and sore? Do not, I repeat do not try to cool and soothe the area with hand cream. Particularly black raspberry vanilla body cream from Bath & Bodyworks. You'll feel like you just poured kerosene on your face and lit a match.

Well, at least the runny nose can put the fire out around it, what-what?

Why yes, I did just watch The Madness of King George recently! How did you know?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Glorious mess

Last week I finally admitted that my CSA vegetables age faster than I can use them, and that I need to start freezing things. A week ago Friday I made stuffed peppers with the 4 bell peppers they gave me the week before, and did my best to clear out the fridge in preparation for this week's haul.

Last night I blanched and froze three heads of broccoli...and set off the smoke detector in the process 'cause I forgot to turn on the hood fan over the range. Scared the bejeezus out of the cat. And probably my neighbors.

Today (after turning on the hood fan and pointing the living room's big standing fan out into the kitchen) I blanched 1/2 a head of cauliflower (that all that was in the crate. Still pretty big, though, even for a half), a bag of string beans (green, wax, and purple--though the purple ones turned green when they hit the water. Boooo.), and four ears of corn. Everything but the corn went into the freezer. The corn, along with some tomatoes, onions, a clove of garlic, and some bacon became this:

Mexicorn!

My Grandma Ruth used to make it, and she called it Mexicorn. I think it was a fancy word for summer-leftovers-that-need-to-be-used-up. Everything in this picture (except the bacon, of course) came from my CSA share. One of the tomatoes I used was yellow and green striped, green on the inside.

It doesn't look all that appetizing, but it tastes wonderful. Hence, this post's title.

Here's how it's made, if you'd like to try it:

Ingredients:
Bacon (I used 4 pieces, one for each cob of corn.)
Corn, cooked, cut off the cob (preferably. I've done it with frozen. It's not the same)
Onion (I used 2 tiny red ones and small white one)
1 clove of garlic (that's my own little addition. I don't think Grandma cooked with garlic)
Tomatoes, diced, preferably fresh.
Salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste

1. In a sauté pan, fry bacon until it's crispy. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
2. Fry the onion and garlic with the bacon fat.
3. Add corn, stir.
4. Add tomatoes, stir.
5. Crumble bacon, add to pan. Stir.
6. Add salt and pepper, stir.
7. Remove from heat when mixture is throughly combined and heated through. Serve.
8. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

I have no idea what the Weight Watcher's points are for this, and I. Don't. Care! It's mostly vegetables anyway. Okay, so they're covered in fat and mixed with bacon, but it's not like I eat this everyday. I've been waiting for the corn to start coming so that I could make it. I've had a little bit, and now I'm gonna quick toss the rest in the freezer so I don't eat any more today.

Later this evening I'm going to try a fennel bulb and potato au gratin recipe that the CSA put in the bulletin this past week. Wish me luck! The fennel smells great, let's hope it tastes as good and freezes well.

I'm also going to cut up the rest of the tomatoes, the cucumbers, some onion, and the radishes and make some sort of marinated salad with them. I'll probably just throw Italian dressing on it and refrigerate it.

On tomorrow's agenda -- Cream of carrot soup. With leeks and ginger and a yam, too. I made this earlier this year, never took a picture, didn't think to freeze it in time and the soup went bad. Gonna make it again now that I know what I'm doing.

And pretty soon I'm going to make a recipe Pioneer Woman talked about over on her cooking blog for a pineapple-zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting. I'm going to bring that in to work. One of my co-workers is going on maternity leave very soon, and I feel like making a little fuss. We already threw her a shower, but I just want to do this. I also want to try the recipe, get rid of my zucchini , and have a piece of cake without having the rest of it leftover later. I'd say that's four birds, one stone.

Off to got pack up the mexicorn before I eat more of it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Today's fun thing-Code Monkey

I ran across a YouTube video a while back (pointed there by The Bloggess) of someone dancing in their jammies to the tune "Code Monkey" by Jonathan Coulton. I have fallen in love with that song. It's on my iPod now, and since I'm listening to it at work as I type (What? I'm on my afternoon break!) this I thought I might as well share it. It's a great Friday-afternoon-get-me-outta-here song.

He's released it under Creative Commons, which I guess means people are free to do with it what they will,and a bunch of people have put videos together for it. Here's one of my favorites:



And here's the one that got me interested in the song in the first place: