Saturday, December 31, 2005


The old foagies are going to ring in the new year watching scary movies and drinking wine. It's a throw-back celebration, and although we had some tempting party-type options, we're still recovering from our previous trip home -- and we're tired. That, and it's also nice to ring in the new year how we used to --- like I said, watching scary movies.

Tonight's venue: The Machinist, High Tension, House of Wax, Devil's Rejects, and Tales from the Crypt (season one) ... Something old, something new, something with the shade of blue, right? We're well on our way to looking at the clock and noticing that we missed the countdown by at least fifteen minutes.

And time is ticking for me to finish up the last of my 2005 activities.

I don't do resolutions. The Hater says he's going to start a new diet.

Maybe I'll stop tweezing my eyebrows for mine. In lieu of the throw-back celebration and all... despite pleas from my Sister, who says that eyebrow tweezing is a lifelong commitment. Idunno. We'll see how that goes. I'd say I'm going 'amazon' for 2006, but I'm rather attached to my breasts, and I don't do archery.

Meanwhile, The Hater says it's time to get back to the Devil's Rejects. (as he TiVos all of the SCIFI Twilingt Zone marathon episodes...) Looks like we'll be celebrating the new year for at lesat a couple of more days.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Mr. Fix-It

You may have heard us complain about the dryer. It was given to us new as a wedding present when we moved to OKC. But even as a new dryer, it always took four to six cycles through the dryer to dry a modest load of clothes. So when we complained about doing laundry it wasn't like when other people complain about doing laundry... it would really be an all-weekend game to do a few loads. The nightmare of doing laundry has never ended.

My husband has saved the day.

You should know that neither of us are terribly handy people to have around. I'm not going to be the person to try to take apart the garbage disposal -- or take the lid off of the back of the toilet to see why it's running. Not my thing. But I'm a very well-trained gopher; I could write essays on the differences between a flathead screwdriver and a phillip's screwdriver. And my Dad has trained me to be a very good hand-it-to-me assistant, which was really pre-nurse training.

Then there's The Hater. He hung up all the things in the apartment. We tighten screws that are loose. Other than that, when something's broken, we fiddle with it for a while and then look for someone else to fix it. This is evidenced by my broken pepper grinder still sitting on the kitchen counter from way before Christmas...

But yesterday I came home to find that The Hater had fixed the dryer. He shortened the accordian tube thing and reattached it after cleaning out the other part. And now it only takes one cycle to dry big loads, not just modest loads. And he did it all by himself --- he's so great.

I only wished we had fiddled with it a couple of years ago. Maybe the pepper mill will be next to fix on his to-do- list.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

the urge

You know when your bladder is really full, as in so full that you probably should have relieved yourself about thirty minutes before you actually do. And there you are, doing the cross-legged walk to the bathroom, trying to keep your legs crossed as you unbutton your jeans, thinking about anything that doesn't involve running water. Then there's the moment where you look at the toilet - and at that moment it's all you can do to keep from peeing your pants.

Something about seeing the john, knowing that there's relief ahead, there's urgency and peace in that moment. And then, relief, paired with telling yourself that you won't go that long again ignoring your bladder.

But you do.

Every day.

Someday I'll have worn out my pelvic floor with babies. That's a fancy way of saying that I won't be able to compete in the olympic-bladder-holding campaigns. That means that I'll pee myself when I laugh or cough or sneeze or jump. That means I'll have to buy stock in Poise pads to justify all the packs I'll have to purchase to keep pee from getting on my clothes. That means I'll get older and hope I'm not one of the women whose bladder or uterus (or both) fall outside of their body. Getting old doesn't seem like a fun passtime. And that's all okay, I guess, because that's what's supposed to happen. Time.

And all of that is a fancy way of saying that in a lot of ways right now I feel like someone struggling with the buttons on their jeans while they desperately hold their bladder. And I'm wondering if it would really be a bad thing if I just pee my pants and get it over with -- or is the struggle with the zipper worth the moment of accomplished relief.

the lister's list

A few weeks ago I was working on a Saturday. It wasn't anything exciting, but I had a patient who was really cracking me up. She's inspired me to start a list. So far it's a short list, so feel free to add your own in the comments.
Quite possibly the best quotes I've ever heard people really say:

"When I woke up this morning my mouth felt like someone had taken out my teeth and eaten gorilla poop. They put my teeth back without even rinsing them off."

"Leave the lights off; I'm beautiful in the dark."

"What's a potato?"

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

winner winner chicken dinner

I'm a winner.

It's a game of odds, mostly. I always look to buy the coke that has the special top to take off to see if you're a winner of a free coke -- except I never win.

I'll occasionally buy a lottery ticket with the promise of millions -- except I never win.

I sign up for every free car that the mall has to showcase -- except I never win.

I sign up, with multiple email accounts, for free houses on the internet -- except I never win.

When there's a real-life sign-up thing I fold my entry like an accordian to increase the surface area to help me win -- excpet I never win.

But today I came home from work and had a mystery package. I was informed that I had won second place in an online competetion -- in which first place was a sweet bicycle that I wanted to win. But instead I won a box of power bars, power shakes, power things, and a handy tote bag to carry all of my power gear. It's probably $150 worth of power foods -- all terribly high carb and high energy.

And I'm excited that I won... but I'm afraid that I've burned my win on power bars. I think what concerns me more is that today is Wednesday -- and we have a powerball ticket to check tonight to see if we were winners of TN's 25 Million. Please stand by while I check...


Okay, so I wanted this to be a big space where I either whined about having to go to work tomorrow or gloated that I was a winner. But they've not posted my lucky numbers yet... So I guess we'll all just have to sit in anxiousness and wait. But I'd advise you not to hold your breath.

story update

I think I'll post random updates about the story I've not written yet. This way there will be an imaginary accountibility. And you can suffer with me! It'll be way fun.


Much to my horror, my friend emailed me back and said he'd like to be the illustrator for the children's book I've not written. He says he's stayed abreast on all the latest illustrating jazz with his job; he says he knows what publishers like these days.

That makes one of us.

I've not emailed him back yet, but I plan to in the next couple of days. Or call him. I haven't decided yet. When I call him it'll turn into a *real* project, and that idea makes me nervous.

So far as the story goes, other than my original notes, I'm still in thinking mode. I can't decide how I want it to feel. Or end. These are two major problems. And I can't decide if a flower is too fru-fru to be a main character, but I'd like it to be something to which all ages can relate. And I have no clue what format publishers want now -- what they want to see -- what companies are looking for new authors -- how to send it in... I guess that mostly I'm in the thinking/nervous mode.

My anxiety about the story is a 5.7 this morning.

fun police

I am sad this morning. My break is officially over and I have to go back to work. Worse than that, The Hater is still in bed, and he doesn't have to go back until next week sometime. It's tragic.

Zoloft has been so excited that we're back. She's demanding attention and following us around the house. Last night she cuddled me to sleep. Her motorboat purr has been going non-stop. And she was tickled to get into her Christmas kittty treats.

Our apartment looks like Christmas threw up. I hope to get it straightened out this weekend. The Hater is supposed to go grocery shopping today and do some laundry. I told him I'd do those things if he'd go to work for me, but he said he doesn't get the same thrill out of stabbing people with needles. Go figure; it doesn't pay to be a sadist.

The New Year is quickly approaching. So far we don't have any exciting plans or mundane plans (it's important to keep the two separated). Something will plan itself out between now and then. In the meantime, I'll get back into the routine of things.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

10 hours 30 minutes

This was is our new record time from LBG to OKC. We shaved two hours off our our usual time. Don't think that we were just flying under the radar-- traffic just happened to be on our side this morning. Despite queasy tummies and unreal exhaustion, we rolled in to OKC around 3:30 this morning.

The new best trick to stay awake? Coast to Coast AM podcasts. This was the greatest Christmas present I could've given The Hater. It scared us awake... and it was good times.

We stayed up for almost two hours, unwinding and unpacking the loot. Zoloft was tickled to see us. She cuddled with me in bed for our five hour nap.

And now I feel like I had a bad trip in a blender...

But the trip was worth it. We had a fabulous time. There's no place like home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Tomorrow after work The Hater and I will be heading Eastward to the most beautiful state in the south. I'm busting at the seams with excitement. No, really, I have bust marks to prove it.

Anyhow, I'll be deep within the land of dial-up internet, so posting will be rare at best. So know that I'm having a fabulous time, I'm going through posting withdrawals, and I'm drinking all the sweet tea that I can guzzle. Not to mention helping The Hater *not* have political conversations with his family...

I hope to have many stories to tell when I return.

Many happys to you:
Happy Christmas.
Happy Kwanza.
Happy Chanukah.
Happy Holidays.
Happy Winter Break.
Happy to You, both in general and in specific.
And Happy to everybody else who doesn't want to fall into any of the other aforementioned happy catergories.
If you're one of those pepole who choose to be sad, double Happys to you.
Happy happy.

cluck cluck cluck

It's time for me to light my candle and stand in front of you. My name is Me, and I'm a chicken.
It's learned chicken-ness that I've been sharpening for quite a while. So as far as chickens go, I'm quite proficient.

Someone backed me into a corner earlier this week. Or maybe it was last weekend. Either way, one of my friends called my bluff. Friends are good for that kind of thing sometimes.

The long and short of it? I'm toying with an idea for a children's story.

This friend would be tickled to know that I couldn't sleep the night that he confronted me. Even with a precious sleeping Zoloft by my side -- I got up to make a few notes. Okay, it's true that I've not done anything with it since then, but I have notes now. And I've thought about it during work. So that's good. I hope to turn the notes into more of a story after the new year.

And this morning I emailed a long-lost friend. This is a friend that my current friends don't even know. He had once-upon-a-time said that he would be interested in illustrating a story if I wrote it. But it's been a long time since we said such things, so I gave him an out if he didn't want to participate. And if he's out --- I'll be needing an artistic illustrator to help me create the next great masterpiece in children's literature... Or I'll have to change my story to write about something that I know I can draw.

Stick people have a bad rap these days.

And stick chickens look too much like peacocks.

The candle is lit. My name is still Me, and I'd like to upgrade my chicken status.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I've been doing my morning routine, trying to get into Monday, when I glanced over at the cat playing in the vertical blinds... and there's snow outside. I'm not talking about feet and mounds, but there's a definite white blanket over this corner of the world this morning.

Harrison, my sexy farm truck, and I don't care so much for cold weather, much less cold weather with snow. But it doesn't look icy. And even two rooms over I can hear The Hater sleep soundly -- so I think we're going to brave the white stuff this morning.

It's really a red-letter day.

The news had said it was going to snow on Monday night, so maybe this means the front is early. I hope it clears up before Wednesday evening.

So there's really not time for an exciting post this morning; I have an icy windshield that needs some TLC.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

new toy

I have a new toy. It's a camera that has eight lenses that take over a 2.5 second period in succession. So you end up with one photograph with eight sections to it, an octograph.

Can't wait to come home and play with it. Get your posers ready.

bounce bounce bounce

My excitement is bouncing off of the walls. Zoloft picks up on it and runs and hides when I bustle through the apartment. I'm chomping at the bit to be home.

Wednesday after I get off of work I'll change clothes and we'll leave for home. We take turns driving, and The Hater has the hard turn. He drives through Arkansas. We'll eat breakfast at either a Cracker Barrell in Memphis or at the Loretto Lynn Ranch restaurant, approximately 65 miles west of Nashville. It boasts itself to be Tennessee's 7th largest attraction (which really amuses me).
We'll drive in to The Hater's family in Sweetwater and recover Thursday morning. THursday evening we'll head to Athens and visit with his Dad's family. Friday we'll go visit with grandparents, and Friday evening we'll have a big family meal at his Mom's house. Saturday morning his grandmother is making breakfast and we'll have Christmas with his Mom's family.
We'll travel westward to LBG and have the Peanut party Saturday night. Sunday morning will be Christmas morning breakfast and church, then festivities with my family. Monday we'll leave lunchish to drive back to Uglyhoma.
It's going to be a busy trip, but I'm really excited. Supremely excited. Bouncing off of the walls excited. Is it Wednesday yet?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Spades, anyone?

It's a bandu kind of morning in a balderdash world.

And nobody will play dominoes with me.


Back in August when I started the new, improved job, I wanted people to think I was a real go-getter. Bosses like that. I signed up for about six weekend shifts, which are voluntary. I thought this would really help me get time off around Christmas. It was going to be my marketing tool. So I worked around Thanksgiving and that weekend, the big attention-grabber in my world.

When I turned in my request for time off around Christmas I was really ready to counter it with a great argument why they should let me off. I was prepared to cry if I needed the theatrics. I just knew there was going to be some kind of confrontation about it --- and my boss looked at the form and signed it without so much as a glance at her calander.

Which is great... But I've still got weekends that I signed up to work, including today.

So in the next two minutes I'm going to make a list of why the weekend shift bothers me:

I. More work for me.
1. My coworkers will be other nurses and MAs from other offices.
A. This means they don't know where anything is located.
B. They say they don't know how to run the reports at the end of the shift.
2. Since the other people are from other offices, my office people expect me to fill in the blanks.
A. Run said reports.
B. Stay late and clean up after said other office people.
II. Gyp me.
1. Out of a Saturday morning.
A. Where I could sleep late.
B. Which means I had to go to bed early Friday night instead of playing and being up causing trouble and such.
2. Out of Saturday afternoon.
A. Cause now I'll be laundry girl this afternoon, cleaning scrubs for Monday.
B. And a girl's gotta nap sometime.

Friday, December 16, 2005

true or false?

You are a

Social Liberal
(70% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(25% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Santa, the Voyeur

He sees you when you're sleeping; he knows when you're awake...
He knows if you've been bad or good,
so be good for goodness sake!
Sounds like the makings of a scary movie to me. An old man with minions of elves who sneaks into people's houses to see if they're sleeping... and it's even got the color red! I'm surprised someone hasn't pitched this story to Lions Gate films yet.
On to the naughty or nice critique: I'm being bold today. I'm wearing a t-shirt that I decorated at a friend's family Christmas celebration. (They have a tradition where everybody decorates a t-shirt every year. You sign the backs of all the shirts. It's fun.)
My shirt sleevs have been trimmed in holly leaves and berries. I'm quite artistic, you know. The back shows all the blue signatures of my Oklahoma family... and the front has two simple words: define naughty .
Therein lies the however.
Do I do or do I not wear the naughty shirt? The shirt in itself isn't naughty, but it suggests naughtiness. Meanwhile, my coworkers chide me because I don't have any "Christmas scrubs". So this is about as close as I'll get.
I'm feeling bold, so I'm going to wear it. Does that make me naughty?
The world around me loves a voyeur in a fuzzy hat... Surely they won't get too tense about my shirt today. The antagonist inside of me can't wait to find out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

hump day

Happy Hump Day!

Wednesdays have always been called Hump Days, so far as I can remember. It's the apex of the weekly grind, and I'm usually as excited to celebrate Hump Days as I am Fridays. Today is no different. So put your Hump Day smile on already.

I wish I could say there's a Hump Day song and dance, and so far as I know there isn't one yet. Yet. Maybe I should skip work today to put together the Hump Day diddy. It could be the next greatest thing since plastic. (My song will not be confused with the Black Eyed Peas 'My Humps', because that song is mostly about dirty pillows and girl lumps, not an ode to Wednesday.)

Be excited. It's Hump Day. The week's almost over... I hope your today is most humpy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


This morning I had a deja vu moment of enlightenment. I was driving to work, and I heard one of my greatest professors, who we'll call Phil. I had Phil for a boat-load of education classes during my first life as an education major. One of Phil's big points he liked to make was that everybody was motivated to do something, and a true teacher's job was to rechannel their motivation.

For example, Johnny is motivated to stare out the window and doodle in class. My job as super teacher would be to rechannel Johnny's motivation back to creative writing. I think of it in terms of work a lot, too -- Johnny is motivated to be worried about his new cancer diagnosis. He uses lots of worry-energy to worry; this super nurse tries to move his worry-energy into survivor-mode energy. I'm reapplying previously learned knowledge, just like they said I would when I grew up.

I had always thought of it as a neat idea, that the world had so much energy (neither created or destroyed) and people just pass it around, doing stuff. Sometimes it's good stuff; sometimes it's bad stuff; sometimes it's stuff that has no impact on the world. But it's all energy. That last part was my addition to his theory. It's world-wide, bigger than one Johnny in one classroom or treatment room.

This morning The Hater and I were having a big conversation about the problems with the prison and jail system. The death penalty is wrong, but so is holding people in cages until they die. We talked about rehab, real rehab. I think it could work. I know it could.

But it'll never work because it would take money. Money people won't want to give rehab to prisioners. A level system where people can earn their way out, later earning their continued "outness". Forgetting the whole 'do your time' then go back to the world scenario and swapping it with a continued rehab. It's not Atlantis, but it might as well be.

And then I thought about rechanneling motivation. People who are currently incarcerated were motivated to do the wrong thing at the wrong time. Why couldn't their motivation be rechanneled -- somewhere between Clockwork Orange and Dead Poet's Society. It might sound far-fetched, but that doesn't make it less doable.

I'd be willing to rechannel my blogging motivation to do something real, serve on the committee that makes it happen. So if you know a politician who is ready to stop talking about doing the right thing and actually try to do it, please send them here; I'd be happy to enlighten and rechannel their motivation.

This has been the mistake for over two hundred years; it's time for a change.


In a conscious attempt not to post something about the holidays, I lean back on the next easiest thing to talk about, our idiot President. Following are a few quotes taken directly from him, found here.

"I think we are welcomed. But it was not a peaceful welcome." —George W.
Bush, defending Vice President Dick Cheney's pre-war assertion that the United
States would be welcomed in Iraq as liberators, NBC Nightly News interview, Dec.
12, 2005

"Those who enter the country illegally violate the law." —George W.
Bush, Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 28, 2005

"As a matter of fact, I know relations between our governments is good."
—George W. Bush, on U.S.-South Korean relations, Washington D.C., Nov. 8,

"Wow! Brazil is big." —George W. Bush, after being shown a map of Brazil by
Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 6,

"We look forward to hearing your vision, so we can more better do our job.
That's what I'm telling you." —George W. Bush, Gulfport, Miss., Sept. 20,

"The best place for the facts to be done is by somebody who's spending time
investigating it." —George W. Bush, on the probe into how CIA agent Valerie
Plame's identity was leaked, Washington D.C., July 18, 2005

"I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep on the soil of a friend."
—George W. Bush, on visiting Denmark, Washington D.C., June 29, 2005

"I can only speak to myself." —George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 28,

Somewhere an English teacher is thinking she failed. A University communications professor is hoping nobody remembers who helped W with his public speaking skills. And millions of voters have realized the error in their ways; they should have voted for the guy who invented the internet.

Monday, December 12, 2005

it's the season, alright

(in honor of all my favorite 'good ole boys' at home)

turnip greens and gag gifts

Mama Lou wanted Christmas at her house to be special for her grandchildren. Because of this some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around thematic Christmases at their farm in Summertown, Tennessee. These memories are aided by excerpts from Mama Lou’s family heritage book.

Somewhere along the way one of Mama Lou’s six children suggested that all the kids and grandkids come home and spend the night together. Although most of us grandkids lived close, being together at Christmas was always an extra-special time to gather, to huddle next to the wood-burning stove and tell stories after sing-a-longs.

We would line our sleeping bags in the den and living rooms, along the hallway and at the base of the beds. A house of thirty was not uncommon and made for an exciting morning with two bathroom facilities.

Around this time Mama Lou decided to begin researching different traditions of Christmas. She would begin the summer before and start planning the family festivities. Her children thought it was a great idea to learn about the world, so long as important family traditions, like eating turnip greens every night, would also be included. So began the conglomeration of the world and Summertown.

Like turnip greens, gift-giving was a tradition we celebrated every year. Along with serious presents, the family started giving “gag gifts”, too. A gag gift, often wrapped in newspaper, would be something that, when the recipient opened it, would often be ‘gagged’ and roll their eyes, laughing. The most favorite gag gift to receive would be the famous plastic pants. These ugly black vinyl pants with white trim are given every Christmas, and usually stolen to be re-given the next year. Other favorite gag gifts include plastic balloons, rocks, or misplaced things (I wondered where that had gone!).

The first thematic Christmas was a Mexican celebration. We decorated the tree with paper flowers, colorful paper chains, paper piñatas, and little white birds. The children enjoyed a large piñata filled with goodies. To eat we had several tasty casseroles, enchiladas, baked quail, salads, and turnip greens (we always have turnip greens!).

The next thematic Christmas activities focused on Pioneer America. Arrangements were made with some of the Mennonite neighbors in Ethridge to take the grandchildren on a ride in their buggy. This was the first year that the family dressed the part and decorated the house. A photographer came, and the grandchildren were educated about what life was like for the pioneers. The electric lights were turned out and we told stories by kerosene lamps and candles. We awoke the next morning to find fruit and nuts inside our old-time stockings. We ate our meal at a low table on the floor for the Japanese Christmas celebration. The girls wore long bathrobes with wide ribbons around their waist to represent kimonos and flowers in their hair. The boys wore large white t-shirts with black belts to symbolize karate specialists. The Japanese tradition for New Year’s is to observe everyone’s birthday, so we extended that tradition to our Christmas with a large cake covered with lots of candles. We decorated with fans, chimes, race paper lanterns, and pine (for long life), bamboo (for courage), and tangerines (for happiness). The fresh spruce tree made the house smell sweet.

The grandchildren went caroling in the neighborhood to start our English Christmas celebrations. Mama Lou made white square robes for the children to wear, and we delivered goodies to the people who we went to see. This was the first year that Santa Claus made a guest appearance.

Each family put together a fairy tale to perform for the entire family at the French Christmas. The children wore berets and ties and each family had created a carnival booth inside the house for the grandkids to play. The tree was shaped into three round graduating balls and trimmed with red apples and red and white flowers. At night, the grandchildren placed their shoes in front of the fireplace so Santa could fill them with goodies.

The year we celebrated a Native American Christmas the weather was mild and ideal for outdoor activities. After breakfast we went outside and decorated our 30’ tall cedar tree with paper chains and popcorn strings, gods-eyes made out of colorful yarn, and wreathes made out of sweet gum balls. Afterwards we smoked the peace pipe (a bubble-blowing pipe) and returned to the house to put on our costumes. Papa Lu was Chief Big Star and Mama Lou was Big Squaw, and they gave out Native names to all of the grandchildren. Each family gave a report on the different tribes who lived in different parts of the country.

We started the Dutch Christmas with a large bonfire and fireworks. The next morning we went outside for the parade. The girls wore white aprons and white Dutch caps; the boys wore plumes in their caps. Papa Lu was Sinter Klaus, and lectured the grandkids on good behavior. We acted out Hans Christian Anderson stories.

Homecoming Christmas was a chance to celebrate being together as a family. We celebrated each other; each family preformed skits for Papa Lu and Mama Lou. We had three trees, one for Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future, with toys under the tree for that generation. We made a large family quilt with double knit squares and names of the family embroidered on the blocks.

Other traditions we celebrated included German, Hanukkah, West African, Canadian High Tea, Hawaiian, On the Farm, Mother Goose, and a Blue Christmas (complete with Elvis). Each year we would bring together special family traditions with popular traditions from around the world, creating a unique set of memories that each of the grandchildren will always remember and cherish.

I am very thankful for my grandparents and the opportunities they gave this country girl to travel around the world in their backyard.

simmer simmer

The Hater and I have a lot of stuff simmering right now...

This weekend we've been invited to a Dirty Santa party. Not the dirty kind of party where everybody brings gag gifts and then you swap them. This is more like people dress up like a dirty santa, not to be confused with Bad Santa (which was a funny movie, see picture to right). No, this is a dirty Santa party and we've had a lot of grief and worry to pick out the right outfits. In years past we're told that people wear skimpy negligees, but we're not ready to make that step. But, lo, this weekend we came upon the *perfect* things to wear to the party.

The Hater will be wearing this while I wear this. Come on, by now you know us better than that. No, really, The Hater will grace the runway with a shirt that says "I'll be your dirty Santa", these, and this. I'll be sporting these, this (except mine are black with red hearts), and this.

Our other simmering issue is what to take to party. We had thought about making jell-o shots, but have decided that the logistics of transporting them might not work in our favor. So now we're trying to decide if we're going to take liquor or juice or both and coke. Or whatever. Maybe wine. We've spent this much time trying to decide what to wear that we've not really spent any time worrying about what we're going to bring.

Meanwhile, The Hater's about to be out of school for finals and Christmas break. It's so hard for me to get up and go to work when I know he's at home having fun. I know that's ugly, but it's uber true.

Then! We've still not packed for the trip home. We have finished wrapping, but The Hater (aka, Killjoy; aka, Analogy Scrooge) has started wondering how we're going to fit all of the gifts in the car with our regular travel stuff, luggage, etc. I'm just glad we didn't have to buy things that had to be shipped this year. I asked him if he wanted to take stuff back to the stores; he said he'd figure out a way to make them fit in the car. I don't think it's going to be an issue.

You might think that we're ahead of the holiday game by having our cards out and most of our shopping done. The crux is that we've not finished our gift-purchasing for each other.

Just in case The Hater needs a hint, to the left you'll see a rare diamond that's currently on display in London; it's called the De Beers Millennium Star. If The Hater was smart, he'd catch The Vol before she came home and sweet-talk her into being the gopher between the rock and me. It's relatively a flawless plan.

I've always liked rocks.

paper chain

When we were kids Mom and Dad would make a red and green paper chain to count down the days until Christmas. Dad hung it from the ceiling... and every night before we went to bed Sister and I would get to take one link off of the chain. We knew it was getting close to Christmas when the chain went to the ceiling.

We sometimes did paper chains for other really important events, like birthdays, or marking the end of the school year. (never to mark school starting back...)

My friend, I'm getting paper-chain excited about our upcoming trip to Tennessee for the holidays. There are ten links in my chain because Wednesday week after work we're heading home.

I am pumped. We've checked our list twice and all of our gifts are wrapped. All we lack is for the paper chain to get to December 21st... and I'm as giddy as if Santa himself was going to come to the party.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


We went to watch the new Narnia movie tonight. A friend had asked me to report how true it was to the book. From what I could remember, it was close, but you have to keep in mind it was almost twenty years ago that I read the CS Lewis Narnia books. (gasp)

I don't think I'm old enough to say I did something almost twenty years ago.

But it's true.

And from what little I remember, the movie was rather close... but, like I said, that was a while back and a hundred pounds ago. Incidently, it was the same year I read 'The Hobbit'.

It was a big year for reading.


Today is Angry Dissenter's birthday. He's 27, and no longer in is "mid-twenties".

Go here and wish him birthday glee -- or remind him that he's old.

debate community

Yesterday The Hater and I (and, incidently Little Brother and Unequivocal Prowess) were at a local high school debate tournament. It's a world unto itself.

If you were a part of any high school club that competed I think you'd find similarities that you'd remember. Mine was band. My senior year I was voted "band nerd with the most band spirit" for the individual awards. I received the John Philips Sousa, too, so don't just think I was a dork.

But I was. I lead the sing-a-longs on the bus. On every bus. Every trip.

boomba -- hey

It was a good time.

And these kids were having a good time, too. Except they were more obnoxious and louder than we were, I think... and they definitely had nicer clothes.

There were two clueless kids walking around with drum sticks. They had the attitude, but didn't have any skill -- not holding them correctly, couldn't diddle, etc. When I couldn't stand it any longer (which was about four hours after I first saw them), I took their drum sticks away and taught them two tricks.

For about two minutes I was the coolest adult there.

And then they walked off, doing their new tricks. And every time I saw them for the next four hours, they were doing the same tricks.... but not as cool as I did them.

Friday, December 09, 2005

the pink ping pong ball

This has been a busy week, but today was really the icing on the cake. I'm worn out.
Almost as tired as if I'd told 'the pink ping pong ball' story four times. Or 'the shaggiest dog' six times. Or 'Lemonade' at least twelve times. All without a potty break.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

the meaning of life

I made an F in Sex, and I didn't even know they were grading me. With bitter tears sliding down my cheeks I ran two country blocks to the middle school where Dad was the principal. His tall office door was open, as it usually was after the last bell rang. I grabbed his leg and cried into his thigh as he closed his filing cabinet and sat me in his lap. I told him about the policemen asking us questions, puting ink on our fingers, and letting us see our very own record at the end of the line. Mine said, "*my name*, 11 April 78. Sex- F.

That was the first F I made... in first grade. My educational career would give me many more opportunities to screw things up, so to speak.

We all have to be good at something. Being naive has been one of my strong points.

Incidently, that first paragraph was also an opening to a brilliant short story I wrote in college. My idiot creative writing professor made me cut it. This is the same idiot professor with whom I had many arguments about the genre of fiction, specifically how incidents in fictious stories don't have to be entirely real. (That's why it's called fiction, dummy. Except I didn't call her dummy, although I did think it really loud in my head. And I made unimpressed faces at her; that really gets to the lit-types.)

Back to failure.

I have a friend who thinks he's a failure because he's had five suicide attempts that haven't ended in his death. In the black humor way it's mildly amusing, but other than that it makes me sad. It's sadder than a paragraph and the polar extreme to being naive.

But if I were to write a story about him it would be about a guy, an average guy, who found a mask-maker in his closet. It made lots of masks and he'd wear them out in town to show people, his friends, complete strangers -- to show them the kind of person he was. He would have lots of masks to choose from, the mask that he would wear for his friends, the mask to wear when he didn't want people to know he was sad, the drinking alternative mask. He would have a whole set of masks, and he'd wear them all at different times during the day. One day he would wake up and realize that after wearing all of the different masks for so long he wouldn't remember which mask was his real face. He'd ask his friends, but they wouldn't be much help because he had never let them see his real face before. They'd all give him a slightly different description of his real face, and he wouldn't realize that all of the descriptions would be little pieces of all of the masks he'd worn for them for years. The mask-maker in his closet would disappear. He would try for a long time to piece parts of all the masks together, but in the end he would have to look deep inside himself before he would figure out that nobody but him cared about the masks to begin with. And I could say that he'd throw away the masks, move to Austraila, and start over again, without the facade, but it would ultimately be up to him to decide who he wanted to be.

The end is lame, but that would be the general outline. I'd go for the whole Twilight Zone meets Seinfeld. But the problem is that, other than an outline, I've just not been in the mood to actually spend the time to write a real story. Maybe my mask is getting in the way, too; maybe not. Maybe the meaning of life is found when we all take a deeper look at our own masks. Or it could be to play with your marbles and eat all of your asparagus.

And in case you're wondering, over at this poll, I'm tied with the leader. If you've not voted, please go to the link above and just do it! Empower your marbles.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

taxonomy 101

I need you to think back. Peruse your marbles and think back to when you were last in a biology class. Do you remember the section on taxonomy? I didn't remember the word itself, but I remembered memorizing this: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. And they say that rote memory won't get you anywhere.

I googled it this morning and found that "taxonomy" is a fancy way of classifying things that we talked about in biology. If you don't believe me, see below. According to Wikipedpedia, taxonomy is:

Initially taxonomy was only the science of classifying living organisms, but later the word was applied in a wider sense, and may also refer to either a classification of things, or the principles underlying the classification. Almost anything, animate objects, inanimate objects, places, and events, may be classified according to some taxonomic scheme.

And, yes, my eager friend, there is a point to jogging your memory. Last night The Hater and I were eating supper with Little Brother and he ordered a pasta shrimp dinner. He's vegetarian. I've tried to argue with him before that shrimp are animals, but never succeeded in convincing him that he's still killing creatures to eat. It never goes anywhere. So last night I make a sly comment about it, again, this time saying if he wanted to argue with me like my coworkers did about fish not being animals we could pretend like I didn't even bring it up.

Apparently I hadn't shared another story about the brilliance of my coworkers:

This happened several weeks ago. There was a hawk outside scaring away the little birds from the feeders. My coworkers were not happy about it; they wanted the hawk to die. I said something about feeding the birds -- and that we shouldn't discriminate against the hawk just because he wanted to eat at the bird feeders, too. I may have said something about the circle of life and Darwin. If I did, it was purely to instigate an argument, but what happened was not the argument I was expecting.

Well, you can imagine how any Darwin comment would go over in Oklahoma...

I continued to a drop-jaw audience, of course All of God's animals need to eat. I don't think Jesus would want us to starve the hawk, do you? God loves all of his animals!

And then? And then I get into a figurative knock-down drag-out with people arguing with me that birds are not animals.

me: Of course birds are animals.
them: No, birds are birds, not animals.
me: But birds are a type of animals. Like horses. Or fish.
them: Fish aren't animals!
me: Yes, fish and birds are both animals. They're different classes of animals, but they both fall under the animal kingdom.
them: People from Tennessee need to go back to science class.
me: Are we really having this conversation? Is there a camera hidden behind that bookcase?
them: Fish are fish. Birds are birds. Animals are animals.
me: Okay, I'm not saying that fish and birds are mammals. That's different. But a mammal is an animal. It's included in the animal family with fish and birds.
them: (and note that them has now become my coworkers and the nice sick people that I take care of) You don't know what you're talking about.
me: I can't believe this.

Keep in mind that now everybody in the treatment room is involved with this conversation. They're all pointing their fingers and laughing at me because I said a bird was an animal, a fish was an animal. They're questioning my educaitonal upbringing. I'm wondering if I have been secretly moved to an alternate dimension.

And then, if that wasn't bad enough, they still occasionally remind me that birds aren't animals. I have chosen not to persue this argument any further, but I would be tempted to take a high school biology textbook to work with me if I had one available.

This was the story that I told to The Hater and Little Brother while we were waiting on supper to come. And their response? They emphatically agreed that birds and fish were both animals. The Hater mused that they'd probably think that people weren't animals, either.

That is my story. And the only proper ending is the lyrics to this song. If you don't like the idea of humans being animals, you probably won't like that link, either. That's fine, but don't try to argue with me that a fish isn't an animal.

If you've not heard stories about my coworkers before, you can go here, here, or here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


There's a big, wonderful world of marbles. According to this website, if marbles are your pleasure, you have found your home. They're also featuring a new DVD about the history of marbles. So if you're looking for last-minute gift-giving ideas, you might want to check out the Land of Marbles.

You might think that marbles are pretty random for a cold Tuesday morning, but you'd be wrong. Marbles are one thing that ties humanity together, that binds recycling with goodwill. Think back and think about all of the important marbelous moments in which you've been a part.

Therein lies the however - because you might not be at one with your marbles. Find your marbles, my dear friends, I implore you, before the time comes that it's too late to play with them.

Go to the marbles. Be strong.

And if you've not done it yet, please go here and vote for my blog.

Monday, December 05, 2005

pirates ---arrrrrgh

I had a crazy dream last night. This is par for the course, but last night I dreamed that I was a pirate. There wasn't actually any looting or pilaging, but I was on a big boat and people around me said arrrrrgh a lot, so context clues point to piracy.

There was a bad ghost who kept trying to kill people. I got away a couple of times. He had the whole skull with rotting flesh going for him, a Mary Kay nightmare. He had a knife and would hold it in his teeth when he was climbing on the ship, so it makes sense to me that he was a pirate, too. Why he was mad at us is beyond me, but we must've done something bad enough that he wanted to kill all of us.

Arrrrrrgh. And, no, before you ask, Captain Hook did not make a cameo.

Now you might think that this has some deep-rooted meaning, but I'm pretty sure that this dream was brought to me by watching an old X-Files before I went to bed. No, no pirates, but there were some very attractive demons. Where the boat or piracy comes from is beyond me.

Back in the day when I was on the debate team I remember there was an affirmative case about pirates in Southeast Asia, and other than thinking it was very amusing to defend pirates, I don't think about them much. They're hardly a threat when you live in Uglyhoma. (We ran AWACS and P3s instead.) This is also the same year that a bunch of the novices wrote the KY counterplan, as in KY jelly, not Kentucky, and the Niceness Critique.

So those are mostly my pirate-type memories. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me to dream about pirates. So I went to this webpage that has a dream interpreter, and this is what it said regarding dreaming about pirates:

To see a pirate in your dream, signifies that some person or situation is adding chaos to your emotional life. You may feel that someone has violated your integrity or creativity. Alternatively, the pirate may symbolize freedom and one who defies authority. You may have desires to explore new adventures and take riskier ventures.

So maybe I should quit being a nurse and become a pirate. Seems risky to me. Arrrrrgh.

And I've always had chase dreams, which according to the site means that I'm avoiding a primal urge or fear. The knife section isn't really clear on interpretation, but I imagine it doesn't have anything to do with teddy bears or buttercups.

What's the craziest dream you've had? Although this one was odd, I've had crazier...

PS-- If you haven't already, please vote for this blog here.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

rock the vote

Okay, people, my blog has been nominated for nurse blog of the month over at Mediblogopathy. If you go to this link you can vote for me.

The way I figure it, I've got about five people who actually read my blog. So I'm counting on at least five votes...

Go do your patriotic duty already.


My ten-year high school reunion is coming up this spring and I think about it every few days. I hope that I'll be able to come home and visit and participate in the festivities. All of that aside, ten years is a long time.

There's a lot of awkwardness for me around that. I've changed a lot, but am basically the same. If you had told the ten-year-ago me that I'd be where I am now, I think she'd be really surprised and a litle excited and a little disappointed.

It's all another step on this journey, and as I look back and think about where I've been, I can't help but to also wonder what the twenty-year-reunion-me would come back and say. I hope by then she'll be privy to a time machine with all the winning lotto numbers.

Friday, December 02, 2005

sleepy hands

My knuckles and fingers were aching earlier today. It wasn't hurting bad enough to take anything for it. And now my hands are feeling sleepy, I'm having a hard time typing. So... no post tonight. It's time for some aspercreme and TLC.

COMING SOON: marbles

Thursday, December 01, 2005

learning Swahili

I have a new project: I am going to learn to speak Swahili.

Believe it or not, after much study I am already fluent in English. I impressed my coworkers today when they learned that I am also literate in the language of my origin. In addition, I am also fluent in Piglatin and LF's. As a trilingual American I think I have a national duty to persue my talent for languages for the sake of diplomacy.

One of my coworkers is from Kenya. She is fluent in English, Swahili, and the tribal language that was spoken in her home. During our lunch I am learning Swahili from her.

You might think that I'm kidding. But you would be wrong. So wrong, in fact, that I will now share my multilingual education with you. This is how we count to ten: Swahili, English, Piglatin, LF's.

moja (one, unwa, wolfun)
mbili (two, owta, twolfu)
tatu (three, eethra, threelfee)
nne (four, ourfa, oralfor)
tano (five, ivetha, fialfive)
sita (six, ixsa, silfix)
saba (seven, evensa, selfeven)
nane (eight, eighta, eilfeight)
tisa (nine, inena, nielfine)
kumi (ten, enta, telfen)

Other important Swahilian phrases:
jambo (hello, hi)
kwaheri (bye)
habari gani (how are you)
mzuri (I'm fine!) (Incidently, this is pronounced like the state Missouri.)
tuonane (see you later)
nimechoka (I'm tired.)

Do you remember the radio commercials for the teach-yourself-Spanish-at-home audiobooks? They used to play them on the radio all the time. I ask people if they remember these commercials, and they think I'm crazy mostly, but I know they existed. The big punchline at the end was, 'if you can spell socks, you can speak Spanish!" Apparently "S-O-C K-S" translates to 'it is what it is' or something like that. People who speak Spanish never get it when I say "S O-C K-S"! And it might be just like that when I learn Swahili, although the odds of running into someone who speaks Swahili will be way lower than someone who speaks Spanish. But it could happen. They might say jambo.

And I might answer habari gani.

And all you have to remember if something like that happens to you, is the state of Missouri. But don't say Branson by mistake; it'll make you look ignorant.

If you would like to learn more about Swahili, go here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

the real McCoy

I'm mad at Phil Fulmer. He's not off the hook for letting the season suck.

But I'm seriously disappointed and furious with Phil Bredeson. Read this article to see why.

It's a bad time to be in Tennessee and be named Phil.

Hat Tip Vol Abroad.

analogy scrooge

It was a bananas day at work today. Serious bananas. But that's another story.

Then I came home and The Hater took me to supper. Our friend and virtual little brother came with us. He does that. It works for the three of us. And tonight was another exciting evening at Chili's.

My little brother mentioned having wireless internet at his house, which I questioned because I thought that was one of the reasons he came to our apartment to visit. He said it was actually his neighbor's wireless that wasn't password protected. So it was kindof free.

He thought a minute to make an analogy that was similar to something else in real life, but laughed instead. The Hater laughed instead. I ate chips. I like chips and salsa. They talked about how it was really like stealing but not.

Then there was silence. They were both trying to think of an appropriate analogy.

* At this point I would like to say that I'm trying to get them to relive the situation to make a better story. They're playing NCAA football on the XBox and not cooporating. They're arguing over who had the worse idea and not helping me. So I'd like to go on the record as saying that they had the chance to help me tell the story and chose to lead Oregon State to beat Washington instead.

Suffice it to say that they weren't coming up with anything.

I asked if it was the same as a library, where you could go read books for free, but to take them out of the library you had to register and have a library card. ... And although it's not the same, it was a really good analogy.

But no! The Hater became the Analogy Scooge. He shot it down before I could even finish explaining why it was brilliant. Little Brother laughed.

And then Little Brother talked about a man having a lot of land with a secret road that would be a short-cut to the highway. Again, the Analogy Scrooge zaped it with the Ghost of Christmas Past. So I helped Little Brother perm it into a man with land and a 'no trespassing' sign without chains over the drive. It really worked in our head. It was exactly the same as stealing free wireless internet.

Analogy Scrooge cawed. We taunted. Then we voted and won that it was close to the same.

The Analogy Scrooge wanted to say that it would *only* work because part of everybody's land is owned by the government. That even if you owned a piece of land, the government owned the curb.

Little Brother appeased him, saying that it was like walking across someone else's sidewalk if they had a 'no trespassing' sign in the yard. Except Analogy Scrooge went scrooge on him and didn't like it.

And I renamed him the Analogy Scooge. He didn't like it. And since I was raised to be a good instigator, I choose to remind him of it here.

* If you're keeping up with the whole genderist family tree, remember that Little Brother isn't really our brother. But Sister, is my sister. Zoloft is the cat. She remains to be the most sweet and brilliant cat in the universe.
* And Little Brother doesn't like his name, but he won't give me an appropriate other choice. The Hater says we should call him DB, for Douche Bag, but I think that's too mean.
* Little Brother thinks that "The Hater" is a very appropriate name for the Analogy Scrooge. And he says that The Hater is a DB.

social deviant

I've been a bad, bad girl.

Yesterday morning The Hater and I slept until 8am. Someone didn't set the alarm and someone else didn't check it. Usually we both leave the house at 8am, so in a whirlwind we threw ourselves together and left for me to be at work and clock in at 8:30.

But before that I was walking out to my truck and noticed a sign taped to the window. It was from the housing people. It asked if I was aware that my tags had expired. Well, obviously not. So I walked to the back of the truck to see that they had expired -- in July.

Work was work and uneventful.

The Hater and I went on a wild goose chase when I came home trying to find the tag agency, which is about the crazy crazy in Uglyhoma. Random offices where you go to get your title and tag stuff. The tag agency was the cause of my first Uglhoma nervous breakdown shortly after we moved here.*

So we found it and alarms didn't go off when I walked in... I'm legal now, but knowing that I've been driving deviantly for about five months amuses me. I wonder how long I would've driven with expired tags before I had figured it out -- or been pulled over.

* Mini saga: The Hater and I were married, honeymooned, and moved across the river in a fever. We had lots of boxes and housekeeping things to do. I was looking for a job and tyring not to get lost. The Hater was getting ready for his first time at the job where he is now. We didn't have a cat yet, but the thought had crossed our minds. What we hadn't thought about was getting tags for the car.

We went to the Social Security office to get a new card for me with my new name on it. That was a long morning standing in lines next to people with children whose diapers needed chanigng. Then we went to get a OK license, but didn't have the marriage license after standing in line for an hour, returned and fulfilled that social obligation. They told us we needed OK tags. So we went to the tag agency and waited for another hour. After starting the paperwork they told us they wouldn't give us the tags because we didn't have "Oklahoma insurance". We explained that the offices where we had insurance were nation-wide, but she didn't care. And she was ugly.

She told us that we should be given tickets for living here more than five days and not getting OK licenses and tags. She said we should both be given $240 tickets or fines. The Hater argued with her. She didn't like being argued with... I knew that we were going to jail and I didn't know who to call to bail us out.

Keep in mind that this was all taking place at the end of July/beginning of August. It was 8 trillion degrees outside and neither of us had a car with air-conditioning. There was a lot of stress floating in the stale air.

So we left there and went to a "local" State Farm guy. They made the mistake of asking how we were. I cried and told them exactly what I thought about the tag agency. They gave us bottled water and kleenex, and then let us transfer our dirty TN car insurance with their fancy OK car insurance.

We returned to the mean lady at the tag agency. We left with tags.

And I farted on the way out. I hope it lingered.

Monday, November 28, 2005

the green mile

Let's pretend that I was on death row. I'm in a cell next to the guy who plays with the mouse and across from the guy who can't play the harmonica. I've found solace in the Lord and the heaviest decision on my heart is what to order for my last meal. What do I order? What would you order?

The rules set out for me is a meat and three sides, beverage and dessert. (I'll amend for four sides if you're vegetarian. No since in spending your last few hours being miserable before you're dead.) I'm such a glutton that it's really a hard decision for me to make.

The beverage part is hard in itself because I figure there isn't going to be any refills. And I like me some refills when I'm eating. It's really hard for me not to ask for a tall glass of silver label Patrone. I mean, if you're gonna die, you might as well go with a buzz, right?

Enough stalling, here's my last menu of choice:

Hamburger, medium-well, with lettuce, tomato, and A1 sauce, on a sweet-hawaiian bread bun.
Fried okra.
Baked sweet potato with brown sugar and butter.
Baked apples.
Mayfield's vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup on the side.
One tall glass of patrone.
(If they won't let me have alcohol, I'll take a tall glass of sweet tea with lemon on the side.)

And if the electricity goes off and they postpone my execution until morning:

Country ham.
Biscuits and white gravy.
Grits with butter, not too runny.
Scrambled eggs, not too runny.
Baked apples.
One tall Mimosa.
(Or just plain OJ if they gyp me from the buzz again.)

But hopefully I'd get those stay people on my side and the govenor would have mercy. You'd call the gov for me, wouldn't you? Sure you would. Cause if you didn't I'd find out and then come haunt your sorry self for many years to come.

Good thing we covered this.

Sure, I totally stole this idea from The Vol Abroad, who stole it from Big Stupid Tommy. If you like, you can steal it from me and we'll have a whole circle of plagerist stealers!

Let the circle be unbroken-

Sunday, November 27, 2005

the big dirty

That's right, The Hater and I challenged the mall yesterday, and the mall won. But we're just about finished with our shopping, with the exception for what we get for each other. I'm more excited about the tirp to TN than about getting stuff.

We watched the Johnny Cash movie, too, which was nothing short of fabulous. It made us want to come home and listen to 'Tennesses Stud'. Johnny crooned as I wrapped presents.

And then, despite the fact that we had made plans for a little later in the evening, work caught up with me and I promptly fell asleep on the couch. It was a good day to zonk.

Friday, November 25, 2005

crayola genius

I think I'm ready to be an artist, mostly because I'm too chicken to be a writer. There are no internal expectations for me to be a good artist, so failing at it is no loss. Writing is scary; paints are fun. It seems like an easy choice to me. That and coming up with projects that keep me from thinking about writing again has become a great hobby.

So I'm going to think about it for a while and then be an artist for the new year. I'll still moonlight as a nurse by day... but I'm ready to be an artist by night. I'll start dressing like the art majors and carry around the big porfolio thing and talk about the art barn.

I'm officially taking requests and suggestions now. If you would like to be one of the lucky recipients of that which has not come to be, please let me know. I need a project.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

the end is near

The Death Clock says I'll live to be 79 years old. If you're not busy on June 23, 2057, come on down and party life away with me. We'll play dominoes and watch scary movies.

The way I figure, I have about twelve more years before I'm due a midlife crisis. I should probably hilight this day on the calandar so that The Hater will have fair warning... The irony is that the world will probably end and gyp me out of thirty years (to yield an eternity).

It's heavier than the pit of my full stomach.

This has been my attempt to avoid making a Thanksgiving Day post about the things for which I'm thankful, because really that's none of your business. You don't care that I've got a fridge of leftovers. Because in the scheme of things I know that my next 52 years on this earth won't be monumental; it'll be the same everyday adventures and miracles that I've been having, that you have. And in the end it'll be my most precious memories that bring me comfort, not knowing that I painted them on a large billboard for everybody else to read.

Carpe diem, my friends.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Snap. Grind. Pop. Crack. Zip.

The bones in my body make old people sounds. My back, my knees, my wrists -- and now my left shoulder continue in a daily serenade. I still sleep in a wrist brace on my right hand because it pops less during the day when I do. And my morning ritual has consisted of stretching my back and legs since my unfortunate event carrying groceries this spring. I stretch, I pop. It's like the cereal without the milk.

About two months ago I started doing over-head arm claps again. I was feeling retro vibes from my short stent in ROTC and thought that doing 50 overhead arm claps on the days that I work would be something good for me to do. I worked up to 50 in a week (and I still hear my DS yelling the count). I tell you this because I have no idea what I've done to my left shoulder and this is my best guess.

So day-before-yesterday I'm orienting with one of the clinic nurses and I notice that every time I move my left arm in a certain way, it pops. It doesn't just crack, there's a weird-almost-nauseating-wave with the snap. And it's kindof a slow click. Nonpainful, but consistent. Consistent enough for me to be annoyed by it.

I'm too young for this, people. I work with old layds whose bones don't pop like mine. Well, the one who is old enough to be my grandmother has more pops, but you get my picture. Bodys that aren't 30 yet aren't supposed to make crickety noises.

This isn't a good time of year for new sickening pops to start. Everybody and their brother is trying to see their doctors before the new year starts and they have to re-meet their deductibles.

Now is the time where I tell you that you're supposed to do as I say and not as I do... This spring my OBGYN drew a Reichlin profile, which is a series of tests to see if you have an autoimmune disorder, specificly three disorders where your body decides to attack itself. I asked for a copy of the labwork to be mailed to me. She never called with the results, and I called twice to get the results of the labwork... and eventually got one of my coworkers to print it off for me, which is a big hospital no-no.

So I had the results of the test I didn't understand and had no idea how to interpret it. I called the OBGYN again to no avail. And then life happened and I've not thought much about it until now that my shoulder is mad at me.

And the point of this post? I'm empowering you, silly. Demand that you obtain copies of all of your labwork and pathologies. Get a folder and be your own health advocate. Be better at it than I was. And go easy on the overhead arm claps.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I hated advanced math in high school. I hated geometry, too, but for different reasons. I hated geometry because my teacher was an idiot, and Dad tried to compensate for it by ruining every night for a semester by drilling me with the teacher's manual. To this day I don't care that the shortest distance between two points is a line.

The ACT scores came back and my stuff in the English section was through the roof. No surprises that my math scores were nothing exciting. Someone came up with a wonderful idea (sarcasm intended) for me to take advanced math to help out my ACT score. I had to lay down the law with my parents that there was to be *NO* expectations that I would even pass the class, much less do well. I didn't get it in writing, but they accepted the terms: there would be no teacher's manual lessons at home.

I explained to Mrs. Campbell that I was only in her class to help my ACT score and that I really didn't care about any math, much less advanced math. I remember that she always looked like she'd sucked on a lemon and her eyes looked like daggers even when she smiled.

And the learning began.

At first I made a few Cs, but it wasn't long before I was just hoping to make double digits on an exam (truth, not sarcastic). I made up my own extra credit questions. I wrote narrative answers for questions that required graphs to be made. Sometimes I just drew pictures for answers. Too bad creativity isn't encouraged in math class.

But then came a section in trig. For some crazy reason cotangents and sines made sense to me. I made an A on two tests in a row. People around me in class were failing their tests and I was really liking trig. I hoped that we would keep doing it for the rest of the semester...

And then we went back to regular boring advanced math. I folded my tests into oragami when I turned them in; Mrs. Campbell didn't like my attempts to get extra credit.

The last comprehensive exam of my last semester in high school was in advanced math. The few seniors in the class were taken to the library to finish our finals so that the GPAs could be tallied for graduation. I remember looking around the library and thinking of the Breakfast Club -- wondering what would pan out for those of us who didn't care a thing about advanced math. One guy folded his test into a paper airplane and flew it across the room.

The librarian wasn't impressed with our commitment to higher learning.

This class had done nothing for my GPA. But my ACT scores had really really gone up in math, and that was the important thing. I went to Mrs. Campbell and showed her what a good job she had done; she was as excited as I was.

I would never need trig again.

Monday, November 21, 2005

point of personal preference

Please pardon the parlimentary alliteration, pesonified per the perplexing point above. I feel like I should thank the peanut gallery, the distinguished judge in the back of the room and my imaginary partner, or at least stand in the "I'm a little teapot" pose to be recognized. Or just make a puppet out of a paper sack to give my decision and rationale for me.

Here, here!

I just wanted you to know that it's Monday, which means I am wearing my orange scrubs with white underarmor. It was a big decision, but I thought I'd be gutsy.I tried to shake it up and wear my black UT scrubs the Monday after a loss earlier this season, but my coworkers thought I was in mourning. So they're my Thursday rally scrubs now. Monday is brilliant orange day.

The good thing about being in Uglyhoma is that most people I work with haven't even heard of Vanderbilt. So the liklihood of hearing their fight song is slim to nil. I probably will not see a Commodore fan today, and this is a good thing.

My inner angst might go black licorice on them.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

orange pride

It was a hummus kind-of morning, so I took my friend to eat at Zorba's, which is the greatest mediterranean restaurant in OKC. Getting ready to leave, a pause, a decision: which visor to wear? Do I grab the Duke visor? Do I wear my Yankee visor just to irk him? Or do I wear my power T?

Of course I reached for orange, and as I walked around the corner towards the door he smiles and says, "Going orange? That's gutsy."

In the car he talks about the 49ers, the NFL team in his heart, that even with the first draft pick this year they still suck. Not that I can say much for the Titans, other than I hope we get the first pick next year. I'm ready for another Music City Miracle.

We eat the second best hummus in the world (second only to the short-lived 'Kebab Cusine' in Murfreesboro, which was run by the best-cooking Syrian family with phenomenal hummus). Some guy the next table over leans and says, "Hey, is that a Tenenssee visor?"

(Special note: When I first moved to Uglyhoma I had to quit saying that I was a "UT" fan because people around here confuse that to mean Texas. And even though we are brilliant orange and they're dirty orange, the whole orange T confuses them, too. It's not often that someone will ask me if it's Tennessee garb.)

I glance at my friend, wondering if there's about to be a throw-down. It would be so typical for me if he was a Vandy fan itchy to chide.

He says he was from Jamestown, TN. He had worked for the Red Cross in Nashville and had travelled to the LBG with blood drives and such. He says, "What about Vandy?"

What about Vandy? They're on fire this year! But still, we lost to Vandy. We wouldn't deserve a bowl game even if that had been the only loss of the season.

"Well," he says, "I think they should fire Phil Fulter."

I agreed with him. It's time to clean house. And Phil Fulmer's gotta go, too.

existential angst

It's peer pressure, just like starting this whole blog-thing. But will you fall victim?

My friend posts this thing on his blog that said his angst tasted like lime. I think, lime -- it's kinda tart and sometimes squirts you in the eye. And pirates. Pirates liked limes. Coronas like limes. Sonic makes a nice cherry-limade. Lime, in general, isn't really a bad thing to have your angst compared. It's still kinda likable.

And I fall victim to the peer pressure and click on his link. I take the little quiz, wondering if my angst will be buttercream or marshmellow, asparagus or grits. And then? And then I find out that my angst is the worst flavor of Halloween candy that no kid wants to get:

My angst tastes like...
black licorice
Black Licorice
Find your angst's flavor

Unique and difficult to place, your angst finds its source in something you keep hidden. You have something serious and possibly traumatic, but you try to hide it from everyone and just tell them to ignore you when you seem troubled, that everything's really OK. You might think that you have good reasons for not telling people, and some of them may in fact be true, but most likely a lifetime of keeping your secrets has led to a resolution fortified by rationalization that nobody else can shake simply because you never give them a chance. Ask yourself if it would really be that horrible to open up to others; nobody says you have to do it all at once, even. But you should at least try getting out of your shell a little. It's not healthy to internalize everything and conceal it. Anyway, if people really care for you, and they probably do, then they'll be loving and supportive regardless of any reason to the contrary.
    Blah, blah, blah.
      This is the part where I say that if you'd read SL Cagnina's newest book of short stories, Paul is Dead, none of this would surprise you. But you haven't read it, so you'll either have to take my word for it or buy it for yourself as a Christmas present unto you.
        But still. Back to the point at hand. Not even Twizzler licorice. Black licorice. There's more than a subtle difference to be noted. So this is the result of peer pressure.
          (double-entendre intended)

          Friday, November 18, 2005

          the chocolate adventure

          Chocolate, mmmm...

          The Hater and I are getting excited about all the forthcoming holiday festivities. We're chomping at the bit to be home for Christmas. We've been invited to some friends for Thanksgiving, and I'm told I'm to make some cornbread dressing. Nana's cornbread dressing. We'll probably take some green beans that were canned this summer, too.

          I found this recipe for white chocolate fudge. I thought the picture was fabulous and just *knew* that it had to taste even better. I had been toying with the idea to make it, so last night I decided to give it a whirl. It looked simple enough.

          My first problem was that I didn't have a microwavable bowl big enough to accomodate the whole lot of white chocolate and condensed milk. My second problem was that I realized this as I was scraping white-chocolately goo out of the microwave.

          So I had to divide the sludge and microwave it in shifts. But all of the white chocolate morsels didn't want to completely melt. I was quickly reminded of the peanutbutter fudge disaster of 2002, in which Sister and I made lumpy fudge after high expectations of yielding beautiful creamy fudge like Mom and Marian. But lo! I mashed the hot fudge against the bowl until it was mostly melted. Some lumps would have to do.

          Now vision the goo still in the microwave. Goo on the counter. Goo in the sink. Goo on my hands. Goo on the outside and inside of the microwave bowl and my mixing bowl. It was a gooful sight. The Hater came to the kitchen to inspect the chocolate and I shoo'd him away with the cat because I knew once he saw the grand takeover of the goo, he would argue that his messes in the kitchen weren't quite as -- gooey. And whereas that might have been true, this was not a time to debate semantics.

          I stirred in the remaining ingredients. It reminded me of mixing concrete. And I was surprised that it had as much stuff in it. The picture definitely looks like there's more chocolate than stuff inside it-- and although I didn't have *that* much goo everywhere, the fudge itself looked funny having more mush inside than fudge on the outside.

          I told The Hater that if it wasn't at least a 8.572 out of 10, I would not make it again. It wasn't worth the mess. I probably used 8 paper towels to clean up the microwave and kitchen.

          Early this morning I took The Hater to the airport for his big trip to Chicago. He had to be at the airport at 5:30, which meant it was a blast from the past for me to get up in the four o'clock hour again. I've come back and had my grits, and thought I'd tackle cutting the fudge.

          I about needed a hack saw, but it's cut and in a fancy little tupperware in the fridge. I tasted a little piece and can't decide if I like it or not, if it's made the 8.572 cut. But it's about as pretty as the picture above. Wary reader, be forwarned that the '20 minute' prep time for this recipe does not include the time it takes to realize that you needed a bigger bowl or the resulting quick-clean of the microwave afterwards.

          You can call me Julia Child. She was the epitome of the messy chef.

          Thursday, November 17, 2005


          My friends, the holiday season quickly approaches. It's time for wassail and parties, rememberance and munchies, and good times to be had by all.

          Imagine, if you will, that you could choose any one thing to recieve this year. What do you want to be inside the box?

          Comment below!

          (And two points to you if you recognized Festivus as George's family holiday on Seinfeld. Two more points if you've ever had a famiy Airing of Grievences.)

          Like that box above? I borrowed the picture from here. Maybe you should have chosen *it* for what you really wanted!

          when I grow up

          I have a book at home in my hope chest that has all of my report cards in it, accompanied with the school pictures of that year. It has sections to identify your favorite classes, best friends, and among other things, what you want to be when you grow up.

          I remember one of my classmates in kindergarten telling the teacher he wanted to be a loaf of bread. I wonder if he's been successful in those endeavors. For me, the journey to becoming a nurse was a lot like wanting to be a loaf of bread. I was an artsy-right-brained gal struggling through a science-driven-left-brain-mad world of torture.

          But that's probably putting it nicely.

          My first lap through MTSU was in the education department. I wanted to teach middle school English. I liked writing. It came natural to me and I didn't have to put forth much effort to succeed. Kids liked me. My parents were teachers, and I'd helped them in years past, so the road was mostly already paved for me to follow their footsteps. It was relatively simple.

          I took overloads in hours ever semester and never had less than 18 hours. My top was having 21 hours and being on the debate team. That was busy. The next semester I took 20 hours and was in a musical. I had a good time.

          But when I was student teaching I looked around the classroom and wondered if I could stand doing the same thing for thirty years. I looked out the windows and imagined bars. I tried to justify to myself that if I was a teacher I could write my great American novel during the summers or after school. My parents urged me to do anything else but teach.

          Dad wanted me to be a pharmacist. But I'd heard too many scary things about organic chemistry. So he suggested computer tech stuff. But it sounded too technical to me. I looked at engineering. (I would've looked at English, but knew that nobody in their right mind would actually pay me to write what I wanted to write.) And somehow I happened upon nursing --- sciency, but compassionate. I asked around and found an advisor.

          I graduated and immediately started pre-requisits for the nursing program. Talk about jumping into a pool if ice water. I found quickly that 19 hours of sciencey classes was way different than 19 hours of education and english classes. I cried a lot.

          And made it into nursing school. I had worked as a CNA at a nursing home previously, so I thougth that would help me through. Man, was I wrong. It gave me an advantage for about two weeks. After which point I cried about every night. (The Hater can best tell the story of my journey through nursing school. Maybe if you chide him, he'll post something on those lines.)

          The love of my life, The Hater, had since moved to Oklahoma to work on his master's at UCO. My buddy, his roomate, had since moved to California to go to law school and learn how to drink excessive amounts of alcohol. It was hard times.

          And now I've made it almost three years out of school. I would've never guessed ten years ago that I'd be a nurse today. That I'd like what I'm doing. I don't know if going back in time and telling me any of this would have changed anything, and if it would, I'm not so sure that I'd try to make the changes. But it's been a long row to hoe to get where I am.

          And now I'm stuck in a place where young people think I'm old and old people think I'm young. I'm certainly not middle-aged and don't have any gray hair yet. It's hard to think of myself as an adult, even though I do adult-things. I think about the future --- my "five year plan", what I want to be doing in ten years, silly things.

          When I grow up? When I grow up I want to be a super nurse writing the next great American novel. Or teach. Or go back to school. Maybe I'll just be a loaf of bread.

          Wednesday, November 16, 2005

          The Box

          Once upon a time, in the land of Hush-a-Bye,
          Around about the wonderous days of yore,
          They came across a sort of box, all bound with chains and locked with locks,
          And labeled, "Kindly Do Not Touch... It's War".
          A decree was issued 'round about, all with a flourish and a shout,
          And a gaily-coloured mascot tripping lightly on before:
          "Don't fiddle with this deadly box, or break the chains, or pick the locks,
          And please, don't ever mess about with War".
          Well, the children understood; children happen to be good,
          And were just as good in those wonderous days of yore.
          They didn't try to break the locks, or break into that deadly box,
          And never tried to play about with War.
          Mommies didn't either; sisters, aunts, nor grannies neither;
          'Cause they were quiet and sweet and pretty
          In those wonderous days of yore.
          Well, very much the same as now, and really not to blame somehow,
          For opening up that deadly box of War.
          But someone did...
          Someone battered in the lid, and spilled the insides all across the floor:
          A sort of bouncy, bumpy ball, made up of flags and guns and all
          The tears and the horror and the death that goes with War.
          It bounced right out, and went bashing all about
          Bumping into everything in store;
          And what was sad and most unfair, was that it really didn't seem to care
          Much who it bumped, or why, or what, or for.
          It bumped the children mainly, and I'll tell you this quite plainly,
          It bumps them everyday, and more and more;
          And leaves them dead and burned and crying,
          Thousands of them sick and dying,
          'Cause when it bumps, it's very, very sore.
          There is a way to stop the ball... it isn't very hard at all;
          All it takes is wisdom, and I'm absolutely sure
          We could get it back inside the box, and bind the chains and lock the locks,
          But no one seems to want to save the children anymore.
          Well, that's the way it all appears, '
          Cause it's been bouncing 'round for years and years,
          In spite of all the wisdom wizzed since those wonderous days of yore;
          And the time they came across the box,
          All bound with chains and locked with locks,
          And labeled, "Kindly Do Not Touch... It's War".

          Kendrew LaSalles, 1969

          bilateral hematoma

          So one of my coworkers, who incidently is old enough to be my mother, came to the chemotherapy clinic with 20 years of nursing experience. She's a fantastic resource. But she's been working in home health and hospice for the last 19 years. Her clinical skills are not up to par.

          Specifically, her IV-starting skills. I remembered bringing a new catheter home to start on The Hater and told her that I'd let her start an IV on me after the masses had left for the day. I thought it was karma and a genuinely nice thing to do for our patient population.

          Unlike my experience with the IV catheters (see link above), she was already familiar with using the butterfly IV-caths. So she wanted to learn how to use the angiocath. It's more awkward to hold in your hands and has a smaller window for the blood to "flash back" into the catheter. Incidently, it's what I learned to start IVs with as a student.

          I wrapped up in a heating pad and warmed myself for a while. Nurses do this for people with slinky veins to help them dialate and make it easier to start the IV. Even with the heating pad, I don't have great "teach me" veins. They're skinny and squirrel around (roll) when provoked. But they were willing, so she was going to have to make-do with the "teach me" experience.

          She tried first on my left hand. She stuck me once and moved the catheter around for about two minutes. It wasn't excrutiating pain, but I did take lots of deep breaths. Meanwhile, I was trying to coach her on finding the vein. She decided to quit, and I took the catheter and started the IV on my left hand. But we had fooled around with it too much because it blew as soon as she connected the saline to it. Woe were we.

          She was ready to throw in the towel, but I offered up my right hand as guinea pig #2. Heating pad, stick, squirrel, but lo! a blood return!! There was much rejoicing. Unfortunately, it blew, too. I left work with two fancy bandages on each hand.

          And this morning I have two sexy, but matching bruises. I'll blend-in with my patients today. Maybe next week I'll let her try again.

          (This is a picture that looks like the IV catheter she was using on me.)
          (Whereas this is a picture that looks like the butterfly IV catheter I used on The Hater.)