Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Note to Self:

Four mini-eclairs for breakfast? Likely not your best move.

Seriously folks -- major sugar rush here. Eeeeek!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Pictorial Goodness

Here's a new one, taken of me getting ready for my sister's wedding:

I keep hoping they'll let me use it for my next drivers license photo.

In other news, heading out in a few minutes to the local reception for my sister and her husband. They got married up in NYC, and his family's in New York so many of them were able to make it, but with all our Florida friends and relatives my folks opted to also have a little shindig down here.

So my face is all spackled, my hair is done (and the humidity BETTER not be too bad... grrrr!!!), and in a bit here I'll be heading out the door.

My cold is much better and the fever is gone. I'm still coughing, and it's worse at night, but I think I'll make it through the evening without scaring anyone that I'm passing around some plague.

Small victories are good.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas. Sick. Bleah.

On the first day of Christmas my body gave to me
A fever of 100.3.


Yep, I'm sick. As in so sick that I was "invited" to leave work yesterday about 2/3 through the workday lest I spread my disease to the masses.

Okay, so I guess I looked a bit silly wearing my coat in the middle of the afternoon, periodically pulling the hood up when I'd enter colder parts of the office.

Once I left the office, I drove home, completely forgetting that Teddy was at my mother's house being puppy-sat. Called her, and luckily it was okay for him to spend the night.

I went to sleep about 8:45. At 9:00 my mother called because Teddy was yapping and wouldn't shut up, so she was worried that they'd missed something in his bedtime routine. No, no, you're doing fine Mom... he's just thrown off.

The elder son wasn't wanting to go to bed before me, so for once I just said "Fine, you can stay up and watch TV until you're tired."

He watched Family Guy, he informed me this morning with great glee.

Ugh. I mean, I'll watch Family Guy because I find it amusing in one of those "this show is so terrible" kinds of ways, but NEVER when the children are up. It's not appropriate.

Sooo... still have presents to wrap. My elder son has likely gleaned more terribleness from the TV, the Gum Zombie is fretting about wrapping the presents they bought, and somehow I'm supposed to play Santa tonight and get everyone up and to my parents' house by 8:45 tomorrow morning.

But this too shall pass. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

An Open Letter to My Co-Workers

I had to send out this e-mail a few minutes ago:


I’m now missing not only my blue pen but my red one as well.

Either my pens become ambulatory over the weekends and flee my desk, or someone is aiding and abetting them in their escape.

If you need a pen, go to the shelves where they are stored and fetch one. If you need directions, ask me. In fact, you can just follow me as I walk there because I will be doing that momentarily to replace the ones that were hijacked.

If it’s on my desk, leave it there.


Thing is, I know who works over the weekends most often. I even have a pretty good clue who's thieving my pens.

Inconveniently, he happens to be the company president.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Redemption Arc

Okay, since I bashed the snot out of The Biggest Loser's Vicky I figure I'd better also be fair here now since the finale has aired. In the final episode Vicky showed signs of being a different person from the one she was on the Biggest Loser ranch.

In her time on the show, Vicky (along with her alliance of her husband Brady and another couple Ed and Heba) had some pretty nasty confrontations with a gentleman named Phil, which would be part of the reason for my very silly tv-related seething. However, it appears during the finalists' time at home they still had conference calls with all 18 original contestants. During one of those calls, Vicky was overwhelmed with the time constraints upon her with trying to work out to win the contest, work and spend time with her children, and pretty much broke down. As she put it, she'd feel guilty spending time with her children because she felt she should be working out, and was feeling guilty spending time working out because she felt she should be with her children.

Vicky shared that at that time, this same Phil told her to just live in the moment, to value her time with her children when she was with them, and to value her workout time when she was working out. It's a simple enough prescription, but when you're trying to do everything and be all things to all people it's easy enough to forget.

So yay to Vicky for giving credit where credit is due and for not letting her broken foot get in the way of her weight loss.

And on a related note, Michelle won! Yay!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Survivor Gabon Finale - More Bitching and Moaning

It's reality TV central around my place. Hee. I guess in my ex's defense I should state that I really really like reality TV, so some of his hatred of it could have been due to my inordinate love of the genere.

That said, I was expected to watch up to 8 hours of football every Sunday and another 4 hours on Mondays throughout football season, so I thought my reality TV viewing was an even trade-off, but someone didn't agree with me there. Harumph.


We all know the outcome of Survivor Gabon, at least those of us who cared do: Bob won. Yay. And I won't put her name in here because I think she enjoys all the negative press, but the contestant whose name started with "C" and almost rhymes with "urine"... Oh. My. God.

I have never, in my life, seen such a despicable person on TV. And the amazing thing about it all is that she's not any type of negative-edit victim. In fact, she was upset because during the first half of the season she felt she was portrayed as a bit of a wall flower rather than the raging bitch that she truly is.

One of her statements from last night's finale was that she doesn't "find niceness to be an interesting personality trait," or words to that effect. I can't help think that any person who doesn't find niceness to be a valuable or interesting personality trait has been exceptionally sheltered. I would pity her when she finally meets the person who can out-vicious her, because she's going to be sobbing and bleeding for weeks, except I think she's pretty much going to deserve it. Karma can out-bitch anyone.

During the final tribal council she blasted Sugar, a rather decent player who had, apparently, been a bit more tearful during production that the TV edit would show due to her father's recent death from lung cancer, and told her that (among other things) the only thing she would give her would be a handful of antidepressants so it was at least believable when she was crying over her dead father.

I'm sorry, I'm sure it's aggravating to be stuck around a watering pot 24/7, but you do NOT knock someone due to their deceased father. That was outrageously disgusting and offensive. Furthermore, when Jeff Probst called her on it during the reunion show, she didn't even have the decency to apologize for her behaviour.

What kills me about this little twit is that, somehow, she thinks all this trash-talking is "cute", and shows her supposedly "dry" sense of humor.

Uhm, sorry child. All it shows is that you are an immature inexperienced little girl without an ounce of self-awareness or conscience.


Okay, I feel better now. Whew.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Biggest Loser - Warning, Griping Ahead

I've not been a huge watcher of The Biggest Loser since my sons' father didn't care for reality TV, but I did see Season 3 (the Kim season – Erik won that one) and I've been watching this current season from the get-go as my television viewing is no longer restricted. Yay, garbagey TV!! Yes I know it's crap, but some of it's just dang good times, yanno?

Back when I watched Season 3 of TBL it was a real inspiration as I could relate to so many people on the show. It began airing right after my huge weight loss push, so I felt in a way as if I were working on getting healthier right along with the contestants. The hard thing for me during that season was seeing just how tiny everyone got while my weight loss took a bit more normal amount of time. But keeping in mind that these folks were on the ranch and had zero responsibilities other than exercising and eating properly whereas I was working a full-time job, herding two kids, and still managing to get the weight off helped on that a bit.

That said, this past year after my "divorce diet" weight loss that put me down to a low of 145 lbs., I'm currently at 157. Ick. I dropped down to 152 back in early September but as soon as I hit that weight my brain apparently severed its connection with my stomach and I've been sitting around 155, give or take a couple pounds either way, for the past three months. So… what better method of trying to kick myself back into shape than to once again throw myself into the Biggest Loser series cycle, right?

Well, it would have been a good idea except for one reason: Vicky.

Vicky is one of the finalists for this season's Biggest Loser, and I have to say that the way she's been portrayed on the show gives the impression of an incredibly vile, nasty, untrustworthy, vengeance-laden, hateful individual. So instead of concentrating on weight loss (which actually has finally reconnected over the past two weeks – yay!), I spend my time during every two-hour episode yelling "HATE!!" and "EVIL!" each time Vicky does one of her patented smirks, grimaces, poo-faces, or says something particularly self-congratulatory or entitled-sounding.

Holy crap, what a revolting wreck of a human.

To add insult to injury, Vicky and her husband Brady say that part of the reason they went on The Biggest Loser (the current season is families, with husbands and wives and parents and adult children competing) is because their four-year-old daughter now weighs more than their seven-year-old son. This child is eating six yogurts at a time, six donuts at one sitting… it is flat-out scary. The son, it appears, is protected by his metabolism at this point. But it's come out during the course of the show that both Brady and Vicky hate all vegetables. Like, I think it's possible they believe they hate vegetables more than I hate Vicky. Scary.

I’m sorry folks, but when you're thirty-eight years old (as Vicky is), you do NOT get to go on national TV and wrinkle up your face like a petulant preschooler at cauliflower soup when you're on a weight-loss show. When you're thirty-eight and have children (I'm in the same boat so I can speak to this) you do not get to just stop by a fast food restaurant for dinner every night because you work a full-time job. When you're thirty-eight and the mother of two you do not get to ban vegetables from your house just because you and your spouse don't like them.

With adulthood there come a few responsibilities, and chief among those would be that if you're a parent, you have to set an example for your kids. You cannot expect your children to eat vegetables if you yourself subsist solely on the double-quarter-pounder-with-cheese and a large fry value meal. You cannot expect your children to develop good nutritional habits if you don't even bother bringing the basics of good nutrition into the home.

Those of you who've been reading this for awhile or who have read back are aware that I hate, loathe, and despise peas and all their repellent little legume friends. I just can't freaking stand them. It's a texture issue. That said, do I eat them if they're served? Youbetcha, when the kids are watching. If they aren't watching, quite frankly I'll pick them all out, because another part of being an adult is the privilege of avoiding certain foods when feasible. Although I hate peas and pea-type vegetables, I know I eat enough other vegetables to more than make up for the fact that in my book peas are the culinary pond scum of the vegetable world. But still… I eat them when I'm in front of my children because that is what a responsible parent does.

In fact, I even cook peas and their relatives (my elder son's favorite is baked beans). Why? Because my children learned over the course of time that these foods tasted good! And they learned that because I, in spite of my personal tastes, had the good sense to feed my children a well-balanced diet. I didn't wrinkle up my nose and make the gagging gesture any time we had peas. I didn't say "Oh those are gross!" each time my elder son dived into his serving of baked beans. I will admit that peas don't figure hugely in our diets at home as there are plenty of other vegetables from which to choose, but they still do make an appearance.

Seriously, bailing out on feeding your kids vegetables because they don't like them and it's inconvenient to try to make them eat them? Ain't gonna fly here. It's cases like this where all I can think is, who is in charge in this house? Because it sure isn't the parents.

If I can manage to cook at home at times, I'm pretty sure it's within nearly everyone's grasp. I'll freely admit I'm not perfect. Sometimes we eat weird things. Sometimes I'll look ketchup dead in the eye and declare it a vegetable. Last weekend I spent most of Sunday baking cookies (yes, with WHITE flour and WHITE sugar!) and glazing walnuts (with sour cream! and more WHITE sugar!), so it's not like I'm the poster girl for Prevention Magazine or any other health related publication. In fact, the double-quarter-pounder-with-cheese value meal cited above? Is my own personal favorite. I'm not anything near a health nut. But I do see the value in good nutrition, and although my children and I do enjoy our treats, that's what they are: treats. They aren't staples.

So this weekend while Vicky is exercising her little heart out and dehydrating herself for the final weigh in on Tuesday night at the live finale to determine who is this season's Biggest Loser – that is, assuming her stress fracture in her foot isn't her excuse for packing back on 20 lbs. since she left the ranch – I'll be sautéing up some chicken and tomatoes and steaming broccoli for my kids' and my dinner.

And after that? More cookie baking. Hee.

Note: The Biggest Loser finale is at 8:00 PM ET on NBC, if anyone's interested in watching this trainwreck. Go Michelle!!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Kids -- ACK!!!

So this morning I'm trying to get my little darlings up and running for school. Well, it's not exactly "school" for them since their schedule is weird and they're actually off from now through sometime after New Year's Eve, but still they go to the school building and hang out there at the on-site daycare.

Anyway, the kids. Now yesterday wasn't much of a weekend day for me (general crap to deal with, etc.), so getting motivated on my end was difficult enough. But then the offspring... oy gevalt. The elder was already out of his bed camped out on the couch, but wasn't conscious. He eventually pried his eyes open around 6:45 or so, then spent several minutes "discussing" (translation: arguing about) appropriate clothing for 47-degree weather. He did not win. The younger one had to be awakened twice and once he finally managed to get vertical he then opted to fling himself on the hall carpet in front of his bedroom.

Out of all three of my children (including the dog), only the canine managed to follow directions. All I had to say was, "Teddy, it's time to go to Grammy's!" and he raced into the kitchen and hopped into his crate.

I hate Mondays.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sign of the Times

It's a pretty good bet that your business is slowing pretty severely when you find yourself braiding your hair into pigtails at your desk, and you don't care that it's a ridiculous look for a woman on the downhill slope to forty.

Just saying.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yes, I'm Going There

Here's an idea that will stop the gay marriage debate:

Take marriage out of the state all together and make it strictly religious. Civil unions would be recognized by the state, with registered domestic partners enjoying all the same rights as those who were previously married under state law were given.

Of course, this could mean that those whose marriages were performed in a civil ceremony rather than religious could lose their "married" label. But hey, it's just a label, right? Civil unions are exactly the same, with the exact same civil and constitutional rights. Quit your whining. It's just a matter of nomenclature.

What, you want to get married but you have to settle for a civil union? Why can't you get married? Ohhhh... your religion isn't too cool with you hooking up with husband number three*. Yes, well, I can see where that might be an issue in some denominations.

It isn't fair? You should be able to get married too? Please, do tell me what makes your third marriage more valid and committed than the marriage of the gay couple who have been together for twenty-plus years, who were finally able to get married, and whose marriage is now in danger of being invalidated by the passing of California's Proposition 8.

Get back to me on that when you have an answer.

*Full disclosure: I'm twice divorced, folks, and in a committed relationship with an eventual eye toward marriage, so this scenario would nuke me specifically -- I'm not razzing on anyone who's had bad luck in marriage. But seriously... like we straights have all done so well with it? The sanctity of marriage ultimately is not defined by gender, but instead by the caring, compassion, and committment of the partners.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Oish, what a couple of days I've had. I've been mulling over the situation with my former doctor in the post below since it happened, and in addition I had a bit of a verbal spat with my ex (resolved, I think), AND the freaking IRS appears to have lost the bloody tax check I mailed in. They'd like a new one by November 27th, thanks, even though my bank shows they already cashed the blasted thing. Arrrgh!!!

Some weeks it just doesn't pay to get out of bed, yanno?

Ah well, anyway...

I think I've come up with part of what might have precipitated the doctor's outburst. Prior to my appointment there was a woman in the waiting room ahead of me. Accompanying her was her very rude, loud, boor of a husband. He'd been creating a ruckus out in the main reception area, continued to create more problems in the GYN waiting area, and proceeded to loudly grouse his way back in to the exam and appointment area with his wife. Something about "You gave them $140 for nothing!!" with his wife desperately trying to shush him.

It's highly possible that this was the patient my doctor was dealing with right before me; if so, I'd say that it's also a pretty safe bet that he used up any and all reserves of understanding and courtesy while dealing with his patient's asshat of a husband.

So he finally escapes from that lunatic and enters my room, where in his perspective I first gripe about the wait time, and then I deny information that, again in his perspective, I certainly had been given.

So he lost it. Ouch.

And while thinking about the doctor situation, I've also been reviewing my own actions both during the event and leading up to it. In the course of that particular navel-gazing exercise, I flashed on a couple of entries Dr. Rob put up in August: Getting Along, Part 1 - Doctor Rules, and Getting Along, Part 2 - Patient Rules. So, as evidenced by those links, I went back to those posts and re-read them, most specifically the Patient Rules post.

In brief, the rules:
1. Your doctor can't do it alone.
2. Be honest.
3. [Your doctor doesn't] play favorites.
4. Don't mess with the staff.
5. If you don't trust, leave.
6. No news might be bad news.

For more detail, please see Dr. Rob's original post in its entirety.

The doctor in question appeared to believe I broke Rule 4, although the nurse to whom this refers agreed with me that I didn't accuse her of lying. Now she and I might disagree about what I was told vs. what I heard, i.e., she is certain she read his remarks verbatim whereas I'm positive that I would have heard it if I'd been told I had a hormonal imbalance, since I was convinced my problem was, in fact, hormonal and I remember being flatly disgusted that it wasn't. But in light of the fact that everything else I was told does indicate that the problem was indeed hormonal, there is a possibility that I misheard her. I can't understand how I could have missed it, especially as I was convinced the testing would finally show some hormonal cause to the 22-day-period-from-hell; but I must admit, since I can't replay what she said, the possibility is there.

My culpability in this situation, overall, lies in the fact that I totally hosed it on following Rule 5. I've re-read my posts about my health issues last spring, and it was clear from what I wrote as the testing progressed that I wasn't happy with my care or my doctor's communication. I also was afraid to call his office to seek clarification on anything, for fear I'd annoy him or cause him to talk to me harshly. He had that reputation with his office staff prior to his practice moving, to the point that one of the nurses who was assigned to another doctor in the building told me they all held their breaths when he arrived in the morning until they knew what kind of mood he was in.

Gee, I had others telling me he was difficult and I was experiencing some of the same thing as well as fear of worse. Why in the world did I remain under his care?

Simple... and stupid: I was afraid of offending him and/ or hurting his feelings.

Like I said... stupid. Unbelievably, ridiculously stupid, especially in light of what happened since I didn't listen to my gut and find another doctor.

Any offense or hurt feelings on his part couldn't possibly have compared to what I was subjected to this past Tuesday. And unless the man is an irredeemable jerk (which I'll admit that I suspect, but in all fairness I also know him to be capable of wonderful professional caring and concern from one of my friends who has seen him), he's also disturbed by what went on.

So to all three of you who are still reading this blog with my sporadic posting and all, please-oh-please, if you have any doubts about your doctor, if you just aren't feeling comfortable, if you have some niggling worry, find another physician. No one, doctor or patient, can thrive in a relationship without trust. And the damage done by leaving a doctor's care is much less than the damage that can result from continuing to see a doctor about whom you feel in any way uneasy.

Believe me.

Now all that said, I certainly don't feel any of this excuses the doctor's treatment of me. It explains it -- doctors are people too, and all of us screw up at times -- but doesn't excuse it.

It isn't appropriate to accuse patients of acts they didn't commit.

It isn't appropriate to attempt to deliberately embarass patients.

It isn't appropriate to badger, belittle, and verbally batter patients to gain false confessions of actions they didn't commit.

It isn't appropriate to talk over patients as they try to explain something and raise your voice to them.

It isn't appropriate to continue to continue to harrangue patients who are obviously in great distress, manifesting physically as well as emotionally.

It isn't appropriate to threaten and intimidate patients with the implication that you will harm their ability to receive decent medical care in the future.

Oh, and if there is some sort of discussion that must take place due to a difference of opinion, I personally feel that patients should be permitted to get dressed and the discussion be moved to a more neutral location rather than carrying on an argument while the patient is stuck in a vulnerable position on an exam table dressed in a backless gown with a paper drape, and nothing else.

So on breaking Rule 5? Totally my fault. But as to my former doctor's treatment of me? Utterly unacceptable.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My GYN (Revisited)


I almost had my annual GYN appointment today. Almost. Yes, with the same doctor I was griping about back in this post.

I really should listen to myself when I think I should find another doctor, but I'm one of those folks who not just dislikes the annual "spread 'em and grin" appointment, I loathe it. I feel violated by it, I feel literally sick to my stomach over it.

So basically, because I didn't want to get used to yet ANOTHER doctor with his hands somewhere I feel at my core they shouldn't be, and because I fear dying from some preventable disease that could have been detected by this appointment even more than I fear the appointment, I scheduled this year's with him again.

Late, I'll grant you, but I scheduled it.

The man is a ... well... words can't describe. Let me give you the story.

I had an appointment at 3PM my time this afternoon. The doctor finally entered the exam room after I'd been parked on the table, as I was told, in the gown and sheet with nothing else, for nearly 45 minutes. To top it off, I was in no small amount of pain.

He asked how I was doing in a monotone without looking at me, and I responded that I'd been doing better before I'd been sitting on the table for 30 minutes and the bursitis in my hip flared up. I wasn't nasty, just stating the facts... even had a half-smile on my face which he'd have noticed if he'd freaking looked at me. He didn't apologize, nothing. Just said he'd been with a patient. I said that was okay, things happened. And they do. I get that, even though it was now over an hour past my appointment time, I get that.

If I hadn't made that comment likely things wouldn't have gone downhill the way they did, but I fully believe that his response and treatment of me was inexcusable. And I apologized.

He then got, to my mind, very confrontational. He went back to the last time I was in in April of '07 and mentioned that I'd been told of a hormonal imbalance, and had failed to get their recommended treatment, to which I responded I'd NEVER heard I'd had a hormonal imbalance. I was shocked, because this was the exact opposite of what I'd heard (check back in the linked post above and it will state that the nurse said the problem was NON-hormonal in nature).

That really set him off. saying he knew the nurse who called me would have told me this. I told him that I'd been blogging about it and had blogged the resport of the test results right after they happened and if he had internet access I would happily locate that for him. He said he didn't and he called the nurse in who had called me with the test results (I'd had an endometrial biopsy). He then said in front of the nurse that I had accused her of lying to me, which I had NOT. I told him what I had been told, which does NOT mean I called her a liar. Good grief. And anyone who's dealt with patients or people for that matter knows that a person CAN miss something they're told, if indeed I did.

Really, I don't think she told me because I would have grabbed onto "hormonal imbalance" as at least SOME sort of diagnosis. And as I recommended to y'all above, I checked my blog to verify that I heard I was told that my results said the bleeding issues I had were NOT hormonal in nature.

I will admit it's possible I misunderstood. But that in no way excuses the doctor of saying I said the nurse was a liar (what a freaking JERK), or for him RAISING HIS VOICE AT ME. There I was, in the stupid gown with the stupid paper wrapper, in about the most vulnerable position you can get into, and he's yelling at me.

It was around that point, when he was being very nasty with me that I mentioned going somewhere else. He agreed, and said he would likely dismiss me as a patient which I told him was his right of course.

I am so upset. You simply don't treat people that way no matter what, and when you're a DOCTOR you most DEFINITELY do not talk to a patient who is visibly upset in that fashion. I even showed him that my hand was shaking and he made zero attempt to try to calm himself or to diffuse the situation. Nope, I was the one doing that. Why? Because I'm always the one who tried to calm the loud situations.

After he yelled, I mentioned that I'd just gotten out of ten years of a verbally abusive marriage and I would not be talked to in that fashion again. That likely made him more angry... but I can't take it. I simply can't be talked to that way. It's impolite, it's unprofessional, and I feel even more sick now than I did when I went in.

His nurse was very nice to me after he left -- yeah, the one he accused me of calling a liar. And I'll be happy to see another doctor than him, believe me, but now I'm terrified he'll put his "letter of dismissal" in my file and say awful things about me in it and I won't even know and it will become impossible for me to get another GYN which is devastating because if I had known there really WAS a problem, gee, I would have been in to see the doctor quite some time back. And I'd like to get in to see one, so I really REALLY am terrified he's going to do something to screw that up.

God I hate this.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Food, Glorious Food!!

Okay, now on to something we can all agree on... food and the fatty goodness thereof!

Yeah, yeah, I do my best to eat healthily. After all, I knocked off over 40 lbs back in '06-'07 and I'm not about to let my weight creep that high again. My knees were KILLING me! My joints appear to much happier when I'm more in the 150's range.

That said, there are some things I just won't cut out of my diet. I flatly refuse. For example, life simply isn't worth living to me if I can't have cheese. I know, I know, saturated fats, bad, naughty... well, tough.

Fat is a flavor carrier, and some fat in our diets is necessary. Now, perhaps not the amount of fat that I prefer, but all in all I think I strike a fairly good balance.

Then again, there are the days when I don't, like when I fix Super Taters as a side dish.

Grandma, aka Dad's mom who passed away this past March, is the one who brought Super Taters into our family. I think she got the recipe for "Gourmet Potatoes", as they were originally called before Dad and my uncle got their hands on the name, out of some magazine or cookbook written back in the glorious 1940's, before levels of cholesterol and triglycerides were measured on a regular basis. Let me tell you, they are TOTALLY teh awesome. I am so not kidding here. They are also utterly a heart attack in a casserole dish. Potatoes, cheddar cheese, sour cream, butter, chives... oh drool.

And just so I'm not alone in my addiction I'm posting the recipe. Have some, call your cardiologist, then give me an update ;)

Super Taters

6 medium potatoes (equals one 5 lb. bag)
2 cups shredded cheddar
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sour cream (room temp.)
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
other seasonings (I like the Montreal Steak Seasoning and extra garlic powder) to taste

Cook (boil) potatoes in skins, cool. Peel and shred coarsely. In saucepan over low heat, combine cheese and 1/4 cup butter, stirring occasionally until almost melted. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream, onions, salt and pepper. Fold in potatoes, and turn into greased 2 qt casserole. Dot with 2 tsp. butter. Bake 25 min. or until heated through, 350 degrees. Serves 8.

Note: shredding the potatoes is a total pain in the asterisk. I've found this can be somewhat mitigated by a) leaving out the peeling of the boiled potatoes, because the shredding kills the large chunks of skin anyway, and b) delegating the shredding task entirely to your scullery assistant while you do the melting of the cheese and butter mixture.

Oh, and for where you're to fold the butter, cheese, sour cream, etc. into the shredded potatoes? It's my experience that there's no spoon strong enough to stand up to the heft of these combined ingredients. Just scrub down your hands and plunge 'em in. An added bonus is once you're done mixing you get to lick it all off your fingers. Yay!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Note: Y'all, this post contains some potential hot-button issues. The point isn't to discuss the nature of sin, the point is how we as parents deal with things our kids bring to us. Full disclosure: socially, I am a liberal. So if you continue to read, please understand that my viewpoint is going to reflect that stance.

Enter the Gum Zombie:

"Mommy, am I gay? Because the kids at school keep saying I am. Just because I like a girl! It's just one girl... and she's not that big even."

Mournful face on the Gum Zombie ensues.

Look of combined horror and extreme amusement carefully stifled on the mother's face.

"No, sweetie. You're not gay. You're five."


And with that, the Gum Zombie skipped off merrily. Problem solved.

It's good to be five.


Being thirty-eight, on the other hand, and a mother, has a few screaminess inducing moments.

Arrrrrgh!!!!!! Good grief. I mean, I know at this point in young-people parlance that "gay" is the new "stupid", i.e., just insert "stupid" instead of "gay" in nearly any teen or pre-teen conversation and you'll have the same meaning. However, I am not to the stage yet where I can view this sort of thing with any degree of equanimity.

I honestly don't care in the grand scheme of things whether my sons are eventually attracted to girls or boys. I just want one of them to bring home a doctor to pander to my ever-increasing hypochondriac nature.

Oh, and I'd like them to be happy too. Ahem.

But facing facts, it's much easier to be "straight", so to speak, in our society. I don't want either of my sons to have to deal with homosexuality in a world that still on many levels would discriminate against them. It's not a choice, though... and so, like any parent, I just worry that my children will have harder situations to deal with than I wish they would have had.


Calling in the older son:

"Uhm, honey, do you know what "gay" means?"

"Well, I know that one meaning for it is happy. And it also has a bad meaning too. I mean, when I ask [the Gum Zombie] if he's gay, I'm just asking if he's happy."

Cue a rather smarmily-saintly expression on the nine-year-old's face.

Because, you know, Mommy was obviously born yesterday.

Cue exasperated inner eyeroll on the part of said maternal unit.

"Sweetie, another meaning for gay is when boys have boyfriends and girls have girlfriends. Asking your brother if he's gay because he likes a girl is just silly."

"Really?? Like instead of a girlfriend, a boy would have a boyfriend?"


"That's weird."

"No, it's just different."


And the nine-year-old wanders off looking vaguely puzzled.

It can be confusing to be nine.


Shoot, how else am I going to handle it? I think I did okay, with the exception of the fact that I'm now going to be That Woman Who Told Her Son What Gay Means Thus Enabling Him To Infect Our Precious Offspring With This Information.

Sigh. I give.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Perception Personality Image Test

I have a little addiction to personality tests. Scrolling down you'll see my Harry Potter personality is Albus Dumbledore. On the Myers-Briggs scale, I rank as an INFJ. Well, here's a new one I managed to glom onto while catching up at Addicted to Medblogs.

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

NBPS - The Idealist

Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Shape

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.

The Perception Personality Types:


Take The Perception Personality Image Test at HelloQuizzy

Strikingly accurate, actually...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fay Update

Much to my relief, Fay didn't make quite the visit we thought she'd make earlier on this week, although she's hanging around the state forever and has been giving us days upon days of icky grey skies, misty rain, and wind. I can live with it, though.

However, my elder son was extremely disappointed the tropical storm's path veered away from us on Tuesday, as he's unburdened by worries about property damage, potential loss of life and limb, and all those other pesky adult details. He was all set with his flashlights and plans for when the power failed as it had back in the 2004 hurricane season.

As the day wore on and we didn't get much more than heavy wind and spitting rain, he became more and more frustrated. Finally I came out of the back of the house to find the entire family room dark, save for four flashlights set about the room, lighting up the ceiling.

"Sweetie? Uhm... what's going on?"

The response through gritted teeth, "I. Am having. A power outage. Mommy."

"I see. Well, that's nice. Enjoy your power outage!" as I ran to the computer stifling a bad case of the giggles.

Within five minutes, his younger brother (a.k.a. the Gum Zombie -- long story) was in front of me with his tale of woe:

"Mommy, he won't let me tuwn on any of the lights! And he's tuwned off the TV! I want to watch my cawtoons!"

"Okay honey, just go to my bedroom and you can have lights and TV there."

"Oh, GOOD!" and he scampered off gleefully.

Of course, when I went into my room later and saw the light on when it wasn't really needed I turned it off, which led to a round of "But you SAID I could have light!" "Oh you're right, sweetie... I'm sorry." and I flipped the light back on.

They're weird. I can't imagine where they get it from...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fay Update

Well, we've just started getting some weather bands from Tropical Storm Fay. We'll see how it goes. So far the storm appears to be moving farther east which is good for us.

If I make it through this without losing power I will be one happy camper.

Riding out the storm with Diet Coke. Opted out of boxwine as I'm not only in charge of two children but also my mother's geriatric chihuahua in addition to our Teddy and the two cats.

Hopefully the kids will leave me a can or two...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rezz Day

My two-year blogoversary was July 18th, and today is my first "Rezz Day" for Second Life. It's been a heckuva year.

I don't like looking at my posting for the past year and seeing how small the number is when compared to the previous year, but all things considered I'm still here. And I'm finally finding things to write about again.

I needed the break, to be honest.

I could have written more, I suppose, but the fact of the matter is that much of the past year was spent dealing with my divorce and its aftermath. This blog's primary purpose is for amusement, with some serious and/ or ranty junk thrown in here and there for good measure. Most of anything I wanted to write about was extremely ranty, and not very flattering toward my ex (well, duh... reminds me of my therapist saying I seemed very angry with my ex... for this I pay her $125/hour?). It was fairly all-consuming, and drained much of the creativity out of me for some months.

I have blog entries up at my other blog covering what I was dealing with during that time period. I've toyed with making it open access as most of the matters have been resolved more or less. But on the other hand, it hardly reflects well on my sons' father and is also admittedly rather one-sided in its perspective, so I've left it on "invitation only" status. Anyone is welcome to request an invitation, though. Just e-mail me at the g-mail address on my sidebar and I'll zap one off to you.

I've been lurking, albeit sporadically. This year brought a loss to the blogging community as Babs opted to close up shop. MonkeyGirl took a break (but is BACK!), AD's muse took a vacation but at least was hitchhiking on a back road and got picked up again. Medblog Addict is still as addicted as ever, and I'm awaiting the next doctor of the month (I think we're still at June?) with eager anticipation.

Some docs have entered the podcasting world, such as Dr. Anonymous. The llama-loving Dr. Rob is distractible as ever, much to my reading eyes' delight.

It's good to be back.


As for my first year in Second Life, well, it's been illuminating. I logged in to the grid like anyone else, and unlike many, I stayed. I'm still there, for that matter... I've just found more of a balance between Second Life and the rest of my interests. I'm now the assistant operations manager for Dublin in SL, which basically boils down to me herding DJs and handling occasional crises of smaller and larger proportions. The staff in Dublin is awesome, both hosts and DJs, and overall we have a great time. To anyone considering entering Second Life, I'd suggest going through the Dublin in SL portal. The natives are friendly (for the most part, unless you catch me before my coffee) and the virtual landscape in the three-sim area is amazing. Okay, I might be biased, but still...

Additionally, I'm an officer for Friendly Fire's group, and was able to meet Mack and Case earlier this year when they did a very rare non-virtual performance about 90 minutes from where I live. Anyone who's seen them play inworld knows the energy is amazing, but to see them performing in person is a mindblower. They love what they do and it truly shows. The adrenaline was pouring off the stage in waves, and I loved basking in the washover.

Problem was, I wasn't quite sure how to cheer without the sound effects I use in Second Life, so I had to settle for chair dancing and clapping like a maniac. "Yeehaw" might have crossed my lips a time or too, as might a "hoo" kind of noise.

And a bunch of the lunatics from both Dublin and the Friendly Fire set just threw me a "Rezz Day" party... bless their insane hearts :) I would have had this posted about 2 PM ET, but I've been being silly since then. And it was delightful. All of you (and you know who you are) ROCK!!!

I'm not going to complain. The blogoverse rocks and SL rocks. I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to meet all of you, in whatever format it's taken *hugs*

Yes, I'm occasionally a bit silly. But it was a great evening.

Effing Fay...

Oh yippie-skippie, it's hurricane season again. Fay's barreling down on the south coast of Florida, due to hit sometime Tuesday night. And of course the "cone of uncertainty" shows it hitting anywhere from the far south of our fair state up to shooting straight into Tampa Bay.

I live in the central portion of Florida, which you would think would mean that since we're inland hurricanes aren't such a worry. Well, I thought that until 2004 when Charlie, Frances, and Jeanne all criss-crossed the state and made direct freaking hits on my town. It was unbelievable.

We'll see if Tropical Storm Fay is going to organize herself better after she gets to water again. From what I can tell she's crossing over Cuba at the moment, so there's a fair stretch she'll have to gain strength and hit hurricane level.

Time to stock up on the box wine. Nothing says "get me through a hurricane" like Franzia.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Two Bite Brownies = Teh Evil

Note to Self:

When counting calories, going to Sam's Club (especially before dinner) is a Very Bad Idea.

Furthermore, complete refusal to look at the calorie listing on the two bite brownies you picked up "for the children" is just dumb.

People, just ONE of those so-called "two bite brownies" is 90 calories. That's N-I-N-E-T-Y. ARRRGH!!!!

I, of course, ate six. 540 calories, in brownies alone.

But damn they were good...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And Your Name Would Be...?

Since I'm the office manager/ secretary/ receptionist/ accounts receivable/ accounts payable/ go-fer/ light-duty janitor/ anything else they can come up with type of employee, one of the little things I get to do at work is answer the phone. This can be amusing when a sales person calls, particularly the copier supply sales folks. They call expecting to get some high school child who will just get them the model number from the front of the copier which will then enable them to be even more sneaky when they call back acting as if we have some sort of account with them for supplies, maintenance, etc.

Instead they get me.

"Good morning -- InsertRandomInitialsHere Architects!" Yes, I do sound this chipper. Without adequate caffeination it's a strain, but I manage.

"Yes, honey, could you please just get us the number from the front of your copier? That's called the model number, dear. We're just updating our files and need your current equipment listing," is the general cheerful response.

"What company are you calling from?"

"We're your toner supplier," as the tone markedly cools.

"I need the name of your company, please," as my uber-chipper voice slips into a lower register with shades of teacher-voice creeping in.


Well, it's either they slam down the phone (yes, they really DO slam it, without fail... it's ridiculous really), or I tell them "We have a local contract," and THEN they slam it down.

I'm not rude. I'm not even toying with them... although I could if the urge grabbed me. I don't know what goes on at their companies that makes them behave like preschoolers or drunken monkeys. Perhaps they have a quota of model numbers they have to collect, perhaps they're just told to make us regret refusing to give them the model number, but every single "copy supply" sales call, bar NONE, does this.

On another phone note, for those of you who call offices on a regular basis hoping to speak with someone beyond the reception desk, please identify yourself and state the nature of your business when you call. This avoids us playing the twenty-questions game as I try to determine if you're some sort of sales representative (no, you may not speak to him as he's on about twelve deadlines now), a client (he's on your deadline, of course you may speak to him), or a consultant (he needs to speak to you so he can make this deadline, we've been waiting to hear from you for ten days now).

If you speak to me daily or even weekly, this usually mitigates the need for you to state your business but for the love of Pete, folks, identify yourself. No, I don't care if I've known you for twenty years. Just. State. Your. Damn. Name.

It can even be quite casual:
"Hey Amanda, this is Mike, may I speak to [insert usual suspect's name here]?"
"Heya hon, this is Joe, is [yet another usual suspect's name] in?"
or one of my personal favorites,
"Good morning. This is Mr. Client Name. Is he awake yet?"

This just isn't that difficult. I speak to countless people in a week, and although I might know your voice on the phone from time to time, chances are the pitch and timbre of your voice are just similar enough to someone else's (father-son contractor companies, this especially means you) that the likelihood of me misidentifying you is still rather high.

My own mother identifies herself when she calls. And I'd say of all people calling, she has the voice I'm most likely to recognize.

So please use some simple phone ettiquette. It's either that or I'm going to rename all of you "Bob."

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wha... huh?

Heya folks!

I know it's been awhile. I've been tied up with new puppydom (Teddy is doing marvelously and is right at 3 lbs. at the moment), the start of the school year (year-round here for one more school year), and well, the general basic facets of life. Combine that with a very small bit of a social life -- yes, I'm dating -- and other obligations and *poof!* you have a languishing blog.

The huge downside of this is that the quality of my writing now totally sucks. Urrrgh. Oh well, in time...
First up, at the moment my focus is my weight. Skip this part if you don't want a detailed analysis of what I've eaten over the past 48 hours or so.

I've mentioned previously that I lost a fairly significant amount of weight over the past couple of years (over 40 lbs.), and I've kept it off for the past year. I had a brief dip into the 140's toward the end of last year due life stress issues, but other than that it's pretty much stabilized right in the low 150's. Not bad, all things considered. According to just about everything I read I'm at a healthy weight for my height and bone structure (5'-7", small-medium frame), so that's all well and good.

However, I can also reasonably chop a few more pounds off my body and am attempting to do so at this time because a) my younger sister is getting married at the beginning of November up in New York City. I'm the Matron of Honor (or whatever the name is for the twice-divorced elder sister of the bride *eyeroll*), the most elderly of all the attendants, and the hell if I'm going to be waltzing down that aisle in my periwinkle bridesmaid's dress with a caboose the size of a small island nation; and b) the holiday season is fast approaching, and I will eat what I want to at the holiday gatherings, dammit.

Regarding the caboose comment: even though I'm a so-called "healthy weight", I am a classic pear shape. "Baby Got Back" is my theme song. I swear to you, I had pneumonia back when I was 16 years old which caused my weight to drop to 108 lbs. I was hollow-cheeked, flat-chested, and STILL I had this backside. So, erm... yeah, it's pretty non-negotiable.

However, the less I weigh the smaller it gets -- all things are proportional -- so I'll be working to slim down a bit more before that momentous occasion. By my calculations, I can lose from twelve to eighteen pounds by the wedding (and another 4-8 lbs by the holidays, depending on which specific holiday you're tracking) if I keep my average daily calorie intake around 1200.

Brutal? Yep. I'm a fan of food, quite frankly, and keeping my calories right around 1200 for me tends to look something like this:

Yes, I am this Type-A about it. This is my spreadsheet.

I know it's heavy on the cheese, processed foods, and you'll also notice there's some ice cream I sneaked in at the end of the day that pushed me over my total allowable calories by 65. But all in all, it isn't terrible. I have vegetables in there, protein... eh, it could be much worse.

Kind of like today's is much worse (and bear in mind, I haven't even had dinner yet):

So... erm... yeah. Doable, but brutal, especially when I decide on the deep-fried lunch option. At this point I have precisely 263 calories left to consume today, whereas yesterday prior to my departure from the office I still had 335 calories remaining.

The last column on the spreadsheet is my water consumption. Yesterday I had 3 32oz. cups of water. Today I'm at 4. I'm not sure if it's an increase in sodium from what I ate at lunch or what. I somehow doubt the sodium has caused my increased thirst, as the foods I'm eating even on a good day are processed to hell and back and already contain PLENTY of sodium. I'm also discounting the caffeine from the coffee today, since the one thing I don't tabulate on this spreadsheet is my Diet Coke intake.

Don't ask on that. You so do not want to know.

But anyway, the point to this is that today I'm sucking down water like a sponge whereas I didn't yesterday. I'm thirstier today. It could be due to the change in the food I've consumed, or it could just be my body deciding it liked yesterday's water, so it figures even more water today would be a fine idea.

Something else I'm tracking is that I skipped my snack this morning, then caved and went all crazy at lunch. I've only been charting this for two days so far, but experience has taught me that when I skip the mid-morning food, I tend to eat more at lunch. I need to watch that.

In other news, Sunday night my elder son ran up to me yelling, "Mommy! He broke a legal contract!" while pointing at his younger brother.

A legal contract? Let's see this...

Now bear in mind that all afternoon the boys had been very peacefully playing together with their stuffed dog toys. It was a bit strange as usually the elder isn't so interested in playing with the younger, but it wasn't totally out of the realm of normal behaviour, so I didn't think much about it beyond "oh, how sweet."

Fond, foolish mother that I am.

I was handed a piece of paper, the afore-referenced "contract", painstakingly hand-written by my elder son which said, in essence, that the younger child agreed if his older brother would play "puppies" with him during the afternoon, the younger would wrestle with the elder in the evening.

The five-year-old's refusal to wrestle his elder brother is what constituted the breach of contract.

It's also what kept the five-year-old out of trouble, because one thing the boys aren't allowed to do is wrestle. They've done it before, and it gets out of hand instantly... and they know this.

The nine-year-old, on the other hand, was so incredibly busted.

Lesson for the day, my dear son: never put proof of your planned misdeeds in writing.

(But dang, it was funny... heh)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Enter Teddy :)

Y'all might remember that late last April my beloved beastly boy Little Guy passed away at a good and ancient old age. Well....

Say hello to Teddy, everyone :) Teddy is (now) a 10-week-old Chihuahua/ Yorkie mix, sadly presented to me as a "Chorkie", which is a so-called exotic breed.

Read: mutt.


He's one of those small-but-mighty type doggies, and considering that his father was 2 lbs and mother was 4 lbs, he's not going to get too terribly big.

His bark is earshattering, though. So he sounds a bit like an outraged parrot...

It was time :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Teeth-Grindingly Furious

Okay, y'all know I usually don't do the politics thing here as it totally skeeves me out. However, I just read this article and I am LIVID.

How Dumb Are We? (subtitled: How Long Will Women Shoulder the Blame for the Pay Gap)

Read it, and then you can holler at your computer monitor just like me.

Dangit, I knew this whole "politically active beyond voting" thing was coming...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Intraoffice Communications

This just in:

Anonymous Architect: Can you or P. trace this package – see if we have a receipt. Should have been sent about 3/24/08. Thanks.

Me: Here you go.

AA: Thanks.

Me: You forgot to say “you rock”.

AA: How about: YOUr head is as hard as a ROCK.

Me: Been looking in the mirror again, eh? Or did you just knock yours on something?

I must not care too much about maintaining my employment today... heh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Huh? What?

*waving to Kimala* Hey there, girl! Great to see you in this part of teh intarweebs :)

You know, I really should change that age thingie over on my sidebar. I'm now 38, not 37. Thirty-seven is arguably still mid-thirties, but thirty-eight is undeniably late-thirties.

I don't tend to have a problem with the big "O" birthdays. It's those other, littler, weirder milestones I take issue with, like moving from mid- to late-decade agewise. Maybe it's because the earlies, mids, and lates are longer in duration than a mere 30 or 40? I'll have to think on this.

In other aging news, due to my unfortunate failure to schedule my next root touch-up the last time I had my hair done, I've become unwillingly reacquainted with my real hair color. We are NOT friends. It would seem my hair in its natural state is a not-so-charming iron grey at this point, with a nearly white streak over my right ear and just behind my left. Think Marilla in Anne of Green Gables. Feh. Must remember to call and make a new appointment STAT. It would be one thing if it went with my face, but at this point in my life all it does is make me look tired.

I can do tired without my hair's help, thanks.

The guys at my office owe two of my friends a great debt of gratitude. It seems some wonderful, wacky people I know sent me some flowers today, which resulted in the removal of the Santa figurine from my desk. For some strange reason the boys think April is a bit odd time of year for Santa.

I've told them that once I get a dish garden of suitable height to attempt not to kill, I'll take Santa down. And once they get the freaking signage on the wall (it's only been FIVE YEARS in the planning for that), I'll take down the Christmas wreath that's hanging on the lone nail in the wall directly facing our entrance. I'm sorry, but that nail looks stupid just sticking out of the wall.

They have further been warned that if they take down the wreath and hide it from me, I'll be bringing in my diploma and hanging it in the wreath's stead. The diploma is from FSU. The majority of the architects graduated from UF. I think my wreath is safe.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just Keep Moving...

Whew. It's been an exhausting month. Thank you everyone for your sympathies on my grandmother's passing. It's not as if it was unexpected, but even when these things are in the works there's still a shock to the system when it finally happens.

In other news, those of you who know of Angel's and my RL friendship, her mother-in-law passed away a bit over a week after my grandmother died. I attended the funeral this past Tuesday. I'd known Angel's mother-in-law since my junior high days, as she and my mother both chaperoned nearly Every. Orchestra. Trip. Ever. Angel's husband and I were among those lucky kids who never ever got away with anything, because our mothers were always there -- and even if they weren't personally present, the Mothers' Mafia was out in full force ready to hand a full report in triplicate over to our parents if we so much stepped one toe out of line.

Looking back? GREAT job, Moms.

Grandma's funeral is this weekend. It's been a long time in coming due to the world travels of her sons and the lunacy of Easter weekend and everything, but many people loved her and wanted to be here to honor her. Funerals are for the living, after all... so we've waited. Now all the relative insanity is descending upon us, and I still have a freaking speech to write before the service starts at 11:00 Saturday morning.

Not enough caffeine in Colombia. Just saying.

For those of you who use this blog as a means of Stalking Ajay, my SL persona, my work schedule is as follows:

All times below SLT (that's Second Life Time or California time, for you non-SLers out there)

Monday, 4-6 SLT, Case's Rock & Roll Listening Party, The Glamshack, Joiner
Wednesday, 7-9 SLT, Carraig with DJ Gwen Carillon, Fibber Magees, Dublin 3
Thursday, 4-6 SLT, DJ Bill Mondegreen, The Glamshack, Joiner

Note: This week I'm off, due to Grandma's funeral and the afore-mentioned familial descent upon my hometown.

I also have shifts that I work in and around those as the need arises for both Friendly Fire and the Dublin crew. Additionally, I'm now the DJ Manager for Dublin Services, which means... well, I don't really get a raise, I just get more work. But I really enjoy working with the DJs (I'm a bit of a music freak, in case this has escaped anyone's attention), so it all pans out.

Oh, and everyone please wave hi to Jenda, another SL friend of mine :) She also hosts at the Glamshack, and occasionally we can be found inworld at ridiculous hours of the night tormenting the DJs... heh.

Monday, March 10, 2008

And So it Goes...

High drama living sucks. Just thought I'd share. The excitement of a roller coaster or a great party with friends or an excellent book? That I'll take in a heartbeat. But that whole trauma-drama in real life?


So... I've been cursed lately or something, because all the shit has hit the fan in this past year.

Hormonal issues? Check. Yes, the lunacy is back in full force on that front. Marital discord? Check. To the extreme. I don't go into it here, but... yeah. The divorce is final, by the way. Has been for over a month now.

And then, a few weeks ago... all hell broke loose.

It started off small enough. My friends Mack and Case of Friendly Fire from Second Life lost their DSL connection. As in the phone company somehow deleted their entire account. At one point they even lost their regular telephone. It took two weeks for them to regain their connection, and as one of their officers I helped to notify the venues and club owners of their scheduled gigs about their absence and the reason for it.

Now granted, this was NOT small in Mack and Case's life... I mean, they had to relearn how to talk to each other without IMs and everything (kidding, guys -- lobe you! Hee...). But seriously, I know I'd go nuts if I were disconnected from the internet. I read my paper online, I keep up with friends and family through e-mail, I blog (yeah, yeah, well I'm working on it)... it's just how I run my communications. But considering all that followed? Yes, a blip-ish bit of missing-my-friends and concern for them angsty-stuff.

At any rate, during this timeframe my parents left on a trip to Australia with my uncle (father's brother) and aunt. Grandma (Dad's mom) had been bedridden for quite awhile and lived at Mom's and Dad's with 24-hour-caregivers. Now, you have to know Grandma to understand just how much this situation pissed the woman off. She figured about eight years ago that she was done with this whole "life" thing. She'd lost a leg to Type II diabetes, was nearly blind from glaucoma, and had lost her brother and husband within one year's time. She kept going for about a year after that, but finally she'd just had enough.

Grandma was a very stubborn woman. If she said something, that was just how it was. She didn't believe people should fly, and you can bet your bottom dollar her feet never so much as touched the inside of an airport. So when she decided to die? Odds were in her favor that she'd accomplish it.

Except, uhm... nope. My family has been blessed/ cursed with an amazingly good constitution, and despite Grandma's best efforts to the contrary, including more TIAs than I can count, she remained in pretty much the same physical state with a slow decline over the years in how much she was out of bed, how much she'd talk, and so forth. She had excellent care, so the only variable was how long her body was going to hold out against her mind's wishes.

Her condition was stable when the folks left on their trip, but my brother and I had our orders. We were to make sure the DNR she had requested was honored, and we were not to permit hospitalization. Comfort measures only. We'd been through this several trips before.

About a week into the parentals' journey, I had a dream Grandma had died. I woke up and realized that was all it was, shook myself the rest of the way awake, and got the boys on the road to school and daycare.

During my commute, my cell phone rang. It was one of Grandma's caregivers, wanting to take her to the hospital because she wasn't eating. Now bear in mind, this very same caregiver had removed the DNR papers from Grandma's wall the last time my folks went on vacation and had hidden them. So I finished dropping the kids off, and headed over. My brother and the head caregiver were already onsite when I arrived, as well as the on-duty caregiver.

It was reiterated to the on-duty caregiver that there was to be no hospitalization (because a ninety-five-year-old does NOT need to be in the hospital with tubes running through her... goodness), and over the on-duty lady's objections, Grandma stayed home. The visiting nurse came by that afternoon, and my brother and I returned for the report from her.

During this I learned that the on-duty caregiver had been feeding Grandma Diet Coke, because, and I quote, "This will break up the congestion in her chest."

People, the woman was in congestive heart failure. I'm sorry, but even Diet Coke isn't going to cure that. And you know how I feel about my Diet Coke.


Anyway... I talked with the head caregiver some more, and the big concern we all had was that this same on-duty caregiver was going to be on duty again on Friday night (this was on a Wednesday). We were very worried that she'd try to get Grandma in the hospital again, using the overnight and the excuse of there being no family in the house and difficulty or reluctance in disturbing my brother or me. So it was decided that I'd take my sons over there Friday night and spend the night to avoid that problem.

By Friday, Grandma was also showing signs of kidney failure.

We went over that evening and had an uneventful time. The boys and I visited with Grandma (who opened her eyes and smiled at them) and her caregiver, who is a very good woman, just a bit confused about the curative properties of Diet Coke... okay, and hospital-happy too, but she did care very much about Grandma. We all have our ways of coping.

The next morning I was getting the boys together to run to Target, and I was just about to get in the shower when they raced by me, the elder chasing the younger.

"Stop chasing your brother!"

"Okay Mama!"

Five seconds pass.

More chasing.



Blood. Lots of blood.

He'd slipped in my parents' bedroom and banged his head on the wood bedstand, right on the corner. I took one look at him and knew we were headed to the ER, because it looked like he had a huge bloody hole in his forehead above his left eyebrow.


So we grabbed tissues and applied pressure. He didn't lose consciousness and remained coherent, oriented to time and place, everything. I took him downstairs and let the caregiver know what had happened. She kicked into crisis-management mode, which was truly a blessing in this instance. She got Michael some gauze for his forehead, which he continued to hold to the wound very well, got his shoes onto him while I got dressed, and then offered to keep Nicky while Michael and I went to the ER.

Nicky wanted to come with us at first, but the caregiver offered to keep him and I figured we didn't need the whole family circus there, so she bribed him with promises of scrambled eggs and sausage. That sold him -- the boy is a human garbage disposal, I swear.

Michael and I got into my car and went to the local ER. On the way there I called his father and let him know what was up. We arrived at the door to the ER, and you know what? It's amazing how quickly you're moved to the pediatric side of the ER and into a room when your child's sporting a huge HOLE in his forehead.

I have to give kudos to our hospital's pediatric ER, by the way. I bitch and moan about their childbirth policies, but those folks in the kiddie ER area totally rocked. They packed the wound with an anesthetic gel, sealed a transparent bandage over it, and off he went to x-ray to be sure there weren't any fractures.

Final word, no fractures and thirteen stitches total (three subcutaneous) with no lidocaine injections needed. And he held still for everything like a champ.

We returned to my parents' house, gathered our belongings and Nicky, and told Grandma goodbye. The caregiver coming on duty later that evening was good with the DNR orders, so there wouldn't be a problem there and I really didn't want Michael anywhere near stairs. Or wood floors. Or anything that wasn't a padded cell, really.

While we were out at dinner I got a call from Grandma's head caregiver. The visiting nurse was there again, and I spoke to her. Definitely congestive heart failure, turn Grandma every hour instead of the two-hour protocol, kidneys were definitely failing, and it was a matter of time.

I took the boys home, and Sunday passed with no change in Grandma's status.

Monday morning I called in to work as I was going to be taking Michael in to the pediatrician to have his head looked at, per the ER doctor's orders. About five minutes before his doctor's office opened, I got the call from my brother. Grandma had passed away at 8:05 that morning with my brother and her caregivers in attendance. It was, according to him, very peaceful.

He's been hit by it very hard.

I missed three days of work last week... I basically just collapsed, shut down... and even so, it hasn't quite hit me yet. I keep waiting for it. Dreading it.

The cremation has taken place, and my parents and uncle and aunt are on their way back from Australia as they couldn't get a flight out any sooner. They wanted to stay together, and I can't say I blame them one bit. They called from L.A. this afternoon, so they're at least back in this hemisphere, and they'll arrive home Tuesday evening.

I don't know how the hell I'm holding it together at this point, but I'm eerily calm. It's freakish. Even I can see it.

God help me when it hits.

Just a quickie...

I'm alive... it's been a rough couple of weeks (parents on vacation in Australia, grandmother died during their absence, elder son to ER for 13 stitches in his forehead because "Don't chase your brother!" apparently makes no impact on the child...), but I'm here.

More later on all that.

In more fun news I took a personality test I found on my friend Riko Kamachi's blog. This is my Harry Potter personality quiz result:
Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Edited: I fixed the posting issue. Stupid HTML... (nothing to do with the blog author, I'm sure...)

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Confidential" ???

The mail just arrived here at the office and with it was a large envelope from the company that administers our corporation's 401(K), with a big blue "confidential" sticker on the front of it.

But whoever affixed the brightly colored "confidential" sticker to the envelope? Then failed to seal it.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Updates? Huh?

You know it's been awhile since your last post when you're in Second Life at a Friendly Fire concert and even the performers (okay, 1/2 of them, Case) are heckling you from the stage about updating your blog.

I tried to blame my lack of posting on some serious typoing issues I've been having lately, but since Case hollered from the stage, "Oh yeah, it's not like it doesn't have spellcheck!" ...

Dammitall, he's right.

I've been busy, but busy hasn't stopped me from blogging before. It's just that I really haven't had much to say here. I mean, well... there's lots I could say, and believe me I've thought about it, but it's not exactly appropriate for public consumption, And considering that I blog mercilessly about my periods (last one took 33 days to arrive, if anyone was wondering... let the erratic annual fun-fest begin!), that's saying something. I could vent off about it privately, and may still, but there's a fine line between getting something off one's chest and dwelling endlessly about things that cannot be changed and likely will never change.

There, that vague enough for you? Heh...


At any rate, life continues to progress. We're implementing a new timekeeping/ billing/ etc. software program at work which is a new level of fresh hell. We were doing the same thing last year at this time, but with the world's most god-awful program. Administrative types, take note: do not ever, on pain of extreme torture, purchase a business program from the very people who coded the damned thing. We had several valid complaints about the initial program we purchased which were treated in an exceptionally unprofessional and defensive manner. I'm sorry, but if your program sucks? It sucks. And for our purposes, that thing was borked beyond all hope of redemption. Do NOT call the managing partner and whine about why we aren't using your pitiful scrap of a program anymore when we've already told you that it doesn't meet the needs of our office. Because when the ridiculous slowness of your program is blamed on us having "too many jobs"? It means that your program doesn't have the capacity to handle the workload generated by our business.

The new program we're working to get up and running appears to have more than the capacity to handle the data load required by the company, with the additional benefit of an upgrade being available should certain areas grow beyond current levels. It's just getting all that information into the program that's a bitch. I've been making various screamy noises for about a month now. They don't really help with the implementation, but I feel better about it all for about five seconds.

Oh well. This too shall pass, and fortunately once we do get this program functional it should be excellent. It's just getting there that's the issue.


The boys are currently working on me about getting a puppy. It's been eight months since Little Guy's death, and in spite of our feline housemates, there is a dog-shaped hole in our home. It's going to have to wait a bit to be filled, though. A dog is a huge responsibility, and more time-intensive than the cats. There's the housebreaking to be done, the puppy-proofing... oh my. It's been nearly twenty years since I last did this and back then I was a college student who only had to worry about going to class and then rushing home to take out my baby dog. I was gone at most four hours at a stretch. Now, though, we leave the house by 7:15 a.m. and don't return until about 5:40 on an early day. That's far too long for a little puppy to be left alone, even if one is crate training.

Sooo... the puppy will have to wait until this fall when my younger son starts kindergarten. This will make it so I have only one stop to make on the way to work, which I'll then add another stop to as I'll be dropping the puppy off at my mother's house for Doggy Daycare. Oh well, at least it's less of a commute than I currently have as my parents' house is only about three blocks from the office rather than making the great circle of town that dropping the younger off at his daycare necessitates.


Speaking of the younger, he's quite the little showman. I took the boys to the park to play yesterday and he wandered over to the bench I was sitting on, looked at the gentleman sitting on the other end of the bench, and out of the blue burst out, "You know, two plus two equals four."

"Yes, it does. How did you know that?"

"Because I'm smawt."

"I can see that."



Next thing you know the child will be running for office. God help us all.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


About ten days before Christmas, my elder son informed me that he wanted a Wii.

[insert gales of increasingly hysterical laughter here]

Ten days, y'all. Uhm... nope. Even Santa doesn't have those skills.


Due to a variety of events in life, I didn't manage to do most of my Christmas shopping (even the Santa stuff) until December 24th. Sigh. That seems to be a bit of a pattern in my life, although usually I do a bit better and get most of it done on the 23rd.

I'm aware that's a relatively insignificant improvement.

The only time I varied from that pattern was when I was expecting my younger son whose due date was December 6th. Somewhere in my feeble gestating mind I managed to hook onto the quite rational idea that I really did NOT want to be out prancing about doing last-minute Christmas shopping with a newborn in tow, so I got the shopping done in October that year.

So of course? The child was twelve days past his due date. I'd had more shopping time than I'd thought. But considering the fact that I was the size of a small island nation by my third trimester, it was just as well that I'd managed to get the lead out a bit earlier that year.


Oh anyway, my point? Was that this year I was insanely doing my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. And that my elder son had unreasonable expectations which I'd had to crush the previous night by gently explaining that Santa and I had been e-mailing each other and that although a Wii wasn't in the offing for Christmas, it looked pretty good for his birthday. There was much disappointment and I felt like the lowest lifeform on the planet, although I did reassure him that this type of thing had happened to me before and Santa always came through with some great surprises in matters like this.

My mother had very kindly offered to have me drop the children off at her house so that I could get all the Santa stuff and other desperation measures taken care of. I dropped off the boys around 10:00 a.m., and reluctantly turned my tires toward Toys R Us. I was playing Trans Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve Sarajevo" at full blast on my speakers both to energize me and drown out the screaming "NO NO NO! I do NOT want to do this!!!" in my head -- I'm not a graceful last-minute shopper even though I put myself through it on a regular basis, and crowds are not my thing... yes I'm aware that I'm an idiot -- and managed to force my car into the parking lot of said megatoystore with minimal trauma.

Thankfully, the store wasn't that crowded all things considered. All the other idiots must have gotten most of their shopping done on the 23rd. Heh. I had my list and blazed my way down the aisles.

"T-Rex for the younger?"


"Mario Kart for the elder?"


"Tool bench for the younger?"

Check. My God, this thing is huge. I hope it fits into my trunk. And what the hell is with this some assembly required crap? Isn't that supposed to make it, say, smaller?

"T-Rex Skeleton for the elder?"

Check. Some assembly required. Again. I'm going to hate myself for this.

"Roboquad for Amanda?"

Check. Don't look at me like that. Santa said I could have one.


Once all the above and an assortment of other items including enough batteries to power the afore-mentioned island nation were in my cart, I made it to the checkout line. The cashier was amazingly cheerful and friendly considering the insanity surrounding her, and we talked a bit as she was ringing up my purchase. In the course of that conversation I mentioned my elder son's belated Wii request and the futility thereof.

At that point, a lady came up to the checkout station and said, "I don't want you to think I was listening in on your conversation, but I'm one of the managers here and, well, it's my job to pay attention to what's going on. I heard you mentioning the Wii, and just wanted to let you know -- now I'm not making any promises -- but that if you stay around here until right before noon, there's a very good chance you could get one."


It was 11:20 at that point. Of COURSE I was going to stay until noon. My God, a chance to save my son's Christmas? Was worth every minute of hanging around that store.

I went out to the car and loaded all my purchases. Well, I tried. I shuffled things around in the trunk to make room for the gigantic yet still "some assembly required" toolbench which looked like it would fit, but then found the box was about one inch too long to make the drop down into the trunk which would enable me to shut it.


So I did what any reasonable and sufficiently desperate woman would do. I turned slightly to the side and very classily kicked that damned box until it finally gave in. Success!

I then quite prudently put all thoughts of the eventual extraction of same out of my head -- one can only deal with so much at one time -- and went back into the store where I waited. And waited. And probably made the girl in the electronics department nervous as I randomly walked around while buying absolutely nothing...

And then right around noon, the Wiis very quietly came out of the back room to those of us in the know who had been awaiting their arrival. I got the third one out.


As I drove toward my mother's house, a TSO variant of "Joy to the World" started playing from my CD, and I very inappropriately sang along, "Joy to the world, I got a Wii!"

Christmas morning was a success, what I can remember of it at any rate. I'd been up until 3:30 that morning trying to put together various toys, and cursing the name of whatever moron thought "Some Assembly Required" was a freaking GOOD idea, so I was a tad bit sleep deprived and the caffeination process didn't fully kick in until about 10:00 a.m.

The kids were up at 5:00 a.m. So yeah... tired. But happy.


The elder son played with the Wii at my parents' house where my sister's boyfriend set it up for him. We brought everything home later on that day, but the Wii wasn't mentioned as he was too busy playing with his other toys and games. Until today that is.

And now I can't hook the wretched thing up. The cable box is plugged into the little thingies I'm supposed to plug the Wii doohickies into (don't you love my technical expertise??). So now I'm trying to figure out if there's something on the cable box I can plug the Wii into or what.

Yes, I've read the manual. It is Not. Helpful. Sigh.

Oh well. If anyone has a clue about this, let me know. Any offers of assistance will be greatly appreciated, and if I do get the thing hooked up? Might have more time for blogging.

Just saying. ;)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Catch it While You Can

The picture post is back, however briefly, and is the second entry below this one.

I have some readers from Second Life and for those of you who really prefer to keep your SL and RL separate, you may wish to avoid that post.

I, on the other hand, have apparently set up bleachers outside my RL window. The concessions building is coming along nicely as well.

Later, kids... work to do.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

More Randomness

Just a thought:

If you've put an invoice in an envelope, mailed it to my office, and it arrives still reeking of your perfume? You might want to reconsider your entire marination process.



Also, y'all missed me posting a picture of myself. Again. This one made it nearly 15 minutes before I took it down... but that only because I had about 8 phone calls coming in one right after the other.

Okay, Okay... (Back by Popular Demand)

Here's the picture of me I keep threatening to post. Ignore the hellishly over-piled bookcase behind me. Yes, this is what I normally look like when I'm at the computer, and yes, those are Tinkerbell pajamas.

And just to offset this, here's a picture of me in my house in SL, playing the piano there. I snagged it from Tycho's blog (hope you don't mind, Sir Tycho!):

Now I'm going to save this as a draft, write another post, and immediately post the next entry above this so my face won't be at the top of my blog.

We'll see how long this stays up. Every other picture I've posted came down within three minutes. Heh.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Sorry for yesterday morning's rant, y'all. I do well most days... yesterday, obviously, was not a banner day. I'll be back to the general lunacy now, or what passes for it at least.

This particular post isn't of the funny variety though, so feel free to jump over it. Twice, perhaps. I'm feeling a bit introspective today, so that's what's feeding the blog at this moment.


I'm currently sitting at work listening to a CD sent to me by some friends of mine from Second Life, MacKenzie Rasmuson and Case Munro of the glam rock group Friendly Fire. I'm an officer for Friendly Fire's group, along with Tycho Beresford and Isobela Cappalini as well as Dee Junkers, and I've got to say we have the most awesome group of fans and most incredible leaders in Mack and Case as I've ever seen (seriously, all you people ROCK!!!).

Friendly Fire streams live into Second Life, and the concerts are simply a blast. There's a lot of audience interaction and I have yet to be disappointed by one of their performances. The music style is (and correct me folks if I'm wrong) glam rock meets punk, with a decidedly political bent at times. There's a good drive to all the songs, and I always feel better after listening to them play.


Music has actually been a lifeline to me over the past year or so. At some of the more overwhelming times I'd need just some relief, any relief, from the thoughts that were running around in my brain, decisions that needed to be made, choices and the consequences thereof (and just who has to pay the price)... and music has been my escape. I can sit in my car with Nickelback's Rock Star blasting from the speakers, singing at the top of my lungs, and have absolutely nothing else on my mind beyond the sheer joy of the music and outrageous lunacy of the lyrics.

When I'm lost in music, whether listening or playing on my own, I'm in another world. And it's one I rather like.

I've been involved in music somehow since infancy. My grandmother was a concert pianist, and I started piano lessons at age five, followed by choir at age six, and violin lessons at age ten. I don't play the violin much anymore -- it's such a "use it or lose it" instrument, and sad to say I've pretty much lost it -- but I finally have a piano in my house again, and I haul out the sheet music every now and then, stumble through some pieces, curse my fumbling fingers, and get back to practicing. It's a slow process, retraining my fingers from typing to playing, but it's worth it. I can sit and play for hours and when I look up at the clock I'm invariably shocked at how much time has passed.

Don't ever ask me to play in public though. I have this teensy (okay, huge) bit of social anxiety and anyone standing near me when I'm practicing causes my fingers to fumble even more ferociously until the point where I'm so frustrated I want to scream. My music is for me alone... but I'm grateful to all those musicians out there who share their talents with the rest of us.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Hormone Rant

Okay boys, y'all might want to skip this entry. It deals with periods, and not the punctuation-type.

Alrighty, any male-types who don't want to read this should have run away by now. Yes, I'm being sexist but frankly I don't give a shit about that today.

So... y'all remember back in April of last year when I was dealing with the Periods from Hell? Like the 22-day one? Yeah, that was some bliss, wasn't it?


Well, since that time I've been back to normal. Until THIS month, that is. I'm on day 9 of the bleeding, and it's not showing any signs of stopping. AGAIN. The previous month was a 24 day cycle, which is within the realm of normal for me, and I just had to deal with the sanitary supplies for six days which is, again, normal. This month I was due on Christmas Eve, it didn't show up until the 29th, and it's Still. Here. Dammit.

*kicking random inanimate objects*

And to top it all off, I had the mother of all headaches yesterday which was stopped by nothing. I finally laid down in the late afternoon hoping maybe a little rest would help it out, fell asleep, missed a shift working in Second Life, and didn't wake up until around midnight. Urrrrghhhh!!!!!!

So today I'm tired, cranky, still bleeding, and the kitchen needs cleaning.

Okay... /bitchfest off. We now return you to your regularly scheduled insanity.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Another Note to the Women in this Office

My dearest co-workers,

I appreciate your concerns about my social life. Yes, since starting the divorce process my house has decreased its testosterone level by the count of two males, one human and one feline. However, please do not let this distress you overmuch.

News flash, girls: remember that old saying about how a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle? Well guess what... it's true! I'm not sitting in the corner sobbing, wailing, or gnashing my teeth over having a 3:2 male-to-female ratio in the house. In fact, I can live with it quite nicely.

That said, the profiles you ladies keep sending me from Match.com, like the one where the guy advertises that he has all his teeth as a freaking selling point? Pure comedy gold. Keep 'em coming.


P.S. Uhmmmm... Mom's friends? Please see above.


(I swear to GOD people... yes, this is really happening. You can't make this shit up.)