Thursday, September 29, 2005

I went to a dinner-meeting educational-thing tonight after work. During a presentation on glioblastoma multiforme (a type of brain cancer) I had an aha moment.

Way back when -- I remember learning to read out of the Tip books, to paraphrase:

See Dick. See Dick run. Run, Dick, run!

(Then Jane and Spot ran, too.)

The presentation came to these words: anaplastic oligodendroglioma

And I saw Dick and Jane run. They methylated all the way home.

It was a neat moment for literacy and comprehension, and reminded me of a time when I was student teaching in metro N'ville. I was helping a third grader learn to read, and when her light bulb clicked on I knew she had figured it out. It was magical.

Something about those ugly, ugly words is magical, too.

It's hope.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

20,000 Leagues

Okay, they said it was 900 meters, not 20,000 Leagues, but the idea of a giant squid is just too much foddery fun. Jules Verne would be so excited! This is an Associated Press article that I found on CNN and have no desire to claim as my own research. Cancer is my thing, not squid, but I digress.

Here are my thoughts from the above mentioned article:

Japanese scientists are tickled to have found a live version of the giant squid. Apparently they're used to just seeing pieces of them on the shore. They were also impressed with how quickly it moved.

Come on. You don't get to be 25 feet long by just slothing along. But they were impressed, and they've studied such things, so I'm inclined to be slightly amused. And slightly impressed, but moreso amused than impressed.

I would have been more impressed if they had been able to bottle gallons of squid ink. I bet a giant squid could make giant ink clouds in the water if it had to get away. Like birthday parties, everybody has a secret love for squid ink.

When I think about squid, I remember a family vacation to the City of Lies and Deception around the summer of 1989ish. We went to the Smithsonian. (Here's a Smithsonian link to giant squid.) I have vague memories of a big squid in this tank that you could reach in and touch. (Maybe it didn't happen and I just wanted to reach in and touch it?) I think it was wet and slimy, and I remember wondering if it was alive... because instead of being in a big fancy swimming-around fish tank, it was more of a fish coffin and there was no swimmy space. And I wanted to stay longer and look at the fish-coffin-thing, but I was nudged away by well-meaning parents.

Then there's the other shuddering squid experience. The one that haunts me.

It was my grandparents' 50th anniversary, and we were having a big fancy meal at what was once a nice restaurant in Ethridge. It was a cajun place called 'Louisanna' and is now a place to purchase Amish-made furniture. I don't remember the restaurant staying in business for long.

The metropolis of Ethridge wasn't ready to support a place to eat with cloth napkins.

Anyway, before the meal they had big baskets of fried catfish and fried squid on the tables. I can't remember if I was in middle school or late elementary school -- but I knew enough to know that I liked catfish. So I tenatively nibbled at the catfish basket.

Then the trauma.

It went squish in my mouth and had arms. I peeled back the fried part and saw an eye.

It looked at me.

I don't do squid anymore. Neither do I do shrimp, but that's another story...

b-o-l-o-g-n-a

The Hater is away to another work trip. This time he is in the City of Lies and Deception. He wore his fancy sandals, so I'm hoping it doesn't rain on him while he's there. Then he'd be wading in lies, which is the last thing I want him to drag back here.

I stopped by Pet Smart after work to pick Zoloft up some special hairball-control cat food. As usual, I couldn't help but to tease the cats up for adoption. This time I waved my sunglasses at their windows. Most of them went nuts trying to get it. Idunno which of us -- me or the cats-- had more fun. I've come home to find the most sweet adopted cat waiting on me.

She's brilliant, you know.

Since The Hater's gone, she'll sleep on his side of the bed. This probably means that she won't wake me up during the night, but she might do it anyway to remind me that she's there. She does that sometimes.

There's not much better than falling asleep with a kitty curled around your hand.

What a precious guard-kitty.

Monday, September 26, 2005

HATE: Randy Sanders (UT Offensive Cordinator)

Let the HATE begin!

So begins my stint into blogging, this column will be simple...I will rant, rave, and complain like a madman about various topics. This column could offend you at times, but dont hold it against generist, I can stand your hate. Also, remember no matter how mad something I say might make you or how big of a jerk you think I am, she has to live with me so be nice to her. If not for her kindness at least out of pity....

I will begin every post with the subject and where it ranks on The Hater scale (a scale of HATE of my own making, my sort of rating as to how much HATE I have for the subject at the time of the post). The scale will be your typical 1-5, with 1 being the smalest ammount of hate and 5 being all the hate I can muster.

The Scale:
1........Kinda Mad At Them
2........WOW Super Annoying!
3.......Can It Be Any More Stupid Than This, My Mind Cries For You!
4.......Steam Rises Out Of My Ears And I Grit My Teeth When Thinking Of It!
5.......I'm Done With It, Totally Written Off Forever, No Redeming Qualities Whatsoever, Even The Borg Would Not Assimilate Them. The A-Bomb Of Anger!

So it begins...

Randy Sanders (UT Offensive Coordinator)

The Hater Scale Ranking: 3

Reason: As I write this the Vol-LSU game is tied 24-24, but why are we in this situation. Why did we not play better in the 1st half? Why does our quarterback play continue to be a problem. Do the Tennessee Vols suck......no. Our offensive cordinater sucks. We always recruit great players, have a mostly solid defense, are ranked high preseason (based on our talent), but we consistantly underachieve. Sanders plays not to lose....he does not play to win. All I've heard all year is how good the vols recievers are, and I think we have some great talent there but Sanders plays so conservatively we will never see it. I mean when I (and my Dad) can sit at home and guess mostly what play the Vols are running about 80% of the time something is wrong...we dont coach or play football for a living, we're not mind readers, and neither of us played football when we were younger. Wait, The Hater and his father must be geniuses.... not really, the Vol offense is just as predictible as a Bush speech. The Vols must "stay the course." Another thing, just watch his games since getting the job years ago.....if a play works we will never go back to it. I dont know if he thinks he's outsmarting the defense by switching from what they will expect (the plays that are working in the game), but my guess is he is so afraid of failure he consistantly second guesses himself....sad. FOR GOODNESS SAKE FIRE THIS GUY AND GET SOMEONE WHO CAN USE THE WEAPONS THE VOLS HAVE!

So Randy, you get a tall glass of hateraid today......drink up and get some courage!

Probation

The Hater has been put on probation. The terms and conditions have been instructed to him, and he says that he understands and will abide by them. We shall see.

If there's hate in your heart, let it out--

TN - LSU nervousness

What a great combination of poor play calling and mediocrity! Not the end of the first quarter and I'm underwhelmed at Randy Sanders' stellar O-Coordinating.

Can you bench the offensive coordinator?

Would it make any difference if you benched the starters for the second quarter and played their freshmen counterparts instead? I bet they could follow the simple commands, catch and run. But would the starters come back at third quarter and play any differently?

The band sounds great, but the snare line is a little muddy tonight. Listen in-

If the team doesn't show up to play soon I'm going to be nervous.

the dog house

When I started this blog The Hater was all about wanting to post on it. He would talk about all the things he was going to bad-mouth. He was initially concerned that he would post more than I would.

Don't bother looking through the backfiles, he's not posted on here. Ever.

So The Hater's in the dog house. I've gone administrator on him and deleted him from the contributor list. The funny part is that it's going to be a game to see how long it will take for him to figure out that he's not a member anymore.

It'll be like a lottery! Who wants to guess how long it will take him to catch on? (Special note: He doesn't really read this, anyway, so it's not like he'll see it the next time he logs onto the computer.) I'm thinking this could go on for a long time.

If you know him, don't ruin the fun. I have other ways to torture him, so there's no sense in taking away this low-key one.

Let's make the over-under Halloween. I'll pick over-- probably after Halloween, maybe before T'giving. Now you guess!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

outing to the zoo

Yesterday morning I went to a work-related symposium on bone marrow transplant. It was at the OKC Zoo and I was slightly hungover. It was a gummy bear morning.

The lectures were interesting, but it was more of the same old stuff I've already heard before.

After the symposium there was a survivor reunion. It was great to see people looking good after transplant. The process is such a hard journey for everybody involved.

They were going to serve BBQ lunch, but it was too hot and the lines were too long to stay. So I walked around the zoo instead. I wanted to see the cats, and eventually found them, but the signs weren't helpful.

The cats were sleeping.

I came home and my cat was sleeping, too. Inspired, I took a nap.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

awaiting Rita's havoc






Let's do the time warp again-

About a month ago The Hater and I were wondering when the government was going to do something about New Orleans. We were generally disgusted with all of the administrations who dropped the ball.

him: This is awful.
me: Yeah.
him: Would you move back home, knowing that it could flood again any time?
me: Certainly not during hurricane season.

And then we talked about how bad it would be if another big hurricane hit -- since the season wouldn't be over until Novemberish. We wondered if the administrations could hack it.



And now?

Now we're about to find out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

partisan musings

The very nice people I work with were upset and concerned today when they found out that I mostly vote Democratic. (Which, I might mention, I didn't bring up. I know better than to initiate the politics conversation at random.)

"But why?," they asked, "You seemed like such a nice girl!"

(This amused me.)

"It didn't seem like such a big deal until we moved here." (to Uglyhoma)

(This amused me, too, but mostly because they didn't catch on to my sarcasm.)

"That's just too bad." One said. Another made the uh-oh clicking noises with her tongue. They all made pitiful, sad faces at me.

Maybe they'll pray for me tonight. I need all the prayer I can get.

After all, Jesus was liberal.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

the next morning

The Hater called me after the TN game last night. He was angry at the O. I think someone needs to take the O coordinator behind the woodshed for a talk. Fulmer might should be there, too.

I don't understand how we could have been rated highly pre-season. 'Cause the season is showing that we didn't deserve all those airs. Maybe this means they'll turn on the magic mojo practice juice and do something before the LSU game next week.

It's too early to be too discouraged. One loss never made a season.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I'm nervous. It's the second quarter of the TN-FL game. I'm really getting into the game.

TD! Sweet!

Meanwhile, my grandmother is so excited that Vandy is 3-0. She says that Nashville is pulling out all the stops to celebrate. Way to go, Commodores-

And give it up for another Uglyhoma loss. It's a great day for football.

Friday, September 16, 2005

rally day

There's a lot of orange love beaming from Uglyhoma this morning. My parents and sister mailed me a box of all kinds of TN goodies, including a brilliant orange UT polo. I'm wearing it with the matching socks to work today. I'm going to rally all day long.

As a consideration to my coworkers, I won't bring my guitar and sing them Rocky Top all day, too. But if we beat Florida, I might have to do just that on Monday.

It's football time, and I'm loving it! Go beat the snot out of Florida!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

beware New Jersey!

Who remembers the bubonic plague? Bad thing, right? Right.

According to this article, someone dropped the ball and lost three lab rats infected with the bacteria that caused the bubonic plague. The scientists speculate that the rats would probably die before they made it outside the building to infect other rats. Then a boatload of people died miserably, but quickly.

I vaguely remember a history lesson: it was the rodents that spread the plague to begin with. Don't you think they should have been on leashes or in wired cages or something else where they wouldn't be lost? I do. Scary things need scary safety measures.

That's why people in jail are behind bars. Safety cages.

The bad rats needed safety cages, too.

Someone dropped the ball. Keep an eye on the news coming from New Jersey. If people start dropping dead with dark spots on their skin, cancel your trips to New England.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

goodnight kisses

The Hater is sabbatical. He's playing work games until next week.

While the cat's away, the mice will play... except the only thing I can get the cat to do is chase wads of paper. Her ideas of breaking the mold certainly don't mimic mine.

I've got a couple of artsy-fartsy projects to work on. I need to clean. We've definately got beaucoup laundry to wash.... so the cat and I should have plenty to do! We're such mold-breakers.

Outside, the thunder calls me to an early bedtime- let the games begin.

updating the updated updates

It's been a special week in Uglyhoma. If you hadn't read before now, this past weekend (from Friday until Monday night) The Hater and I did not have AC in our apartment. It was hot, and according to the inside thermostat, the temp sat anywhere between 85-95 degrees most of the weekend.

Maintenance had promised me that it "would be fixed first thing Monday morning." Imagine my surprise when I called from work around 9:30 that morning and the nice lady in the office "hadn't heard anything about it." She said she would leave a message for the manager and took my number.

I called The Hater at work. This was not acceptable. He called again on his lunch break, at which time someone in the office told him "I think they're working on it now."

That may have been true, but when he came home from work at 4:30, it was still a sauna. He called me at work. I asked him to call our very best lawyer friend in the whole wide world.

The Hater said that he called the apartment office, and the guy who answered the phone said that the work order for our apartment had already been completed, but he "could put in another one if he wanted." The Hater told him that, indeed, the AC had not been fixed. He related that this did not make him happy and he used an ugly word in asking him to find someone who could fix it. Ugly words happen sometimes when there's tension and insomnia.

Call our best friend, The Lawyer, I said. I *knew* that he would fix everything.

The Lawyer called our apartment manager and explained that this kind of thing was not acceptable. He expected this to be fixed by the close of business "today". The manager hung up on him.

Maybe ten minutes later The Hater calls me back to say that our friend, The Lawyer, was on the "threaten them and make them do something" case. Six minutes after that a very angry apartment manager called me at work.

How dare I call The Lawyer before letting her know there was a problem! She was tense. (I thought it wise not to mention that I was tense, too, but from not sleeping for three nights because it was too hot to do anything but sweat.) I explained to her that I *had* called at 9:30 and left a message for her, and my husband had done the same on his lunch break. Then she was tense because "we just got the part in today. You were told that we would not get the part until today." No, I explained, I was told it would be *fixed* this morning. It's different, fixing and ordering. I didn't think that was a small nuance. It didn't matter, she was mad and hung up the phone while I was mid-sentence.

To think, wasted wit. What a shame. Not my problem that her office staff is incompetant.

I drive up to the apartment ten minutes later. The Hater is scowling at the maintenance men from the porch. We go out to a neat little Mediterranean restaurant in town --- because it's still too hot to cook.

Now The Hater is tense. There's lots of tension.

But when we returned? There were no more people working outside. Instead, a new unit was in the neat little row with the other, older units. And our apartment had started to put out cool air.

It was beautiful. I slept all the way through the night... all thanks to the bestest best friend in all the world, my HERO, The Lawyer.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

field trip

We're back from our field tirp. It's still hot.

We went to see a movie with some of The Hater's friends. And we went to Barnes and Noble and wandered around for a while before coming back.

The cat is hot, she told us so. Mostly she's just laying around looking pitiful.

And tomorrow's the magic day. If they don't fix our ac, we'll be tense.

Tense and hot.

Too hot to play on the computer for now, so we're hoping that everybody's keeping cool-

Saturday, September 10, 2005

hot

I spent the day wandering around the mall by myself, which was boring. The hilight of the mall trip was losing a pepsi taste test and not winning the $50 gift certificate.

I moseyed around Hobby Lobby, too. I found a $2 project, which looks like it'll be much harder than I originally thought. So that should keep me busy for a while.

When I came home I started looking for the cat. I was only gone for three or four hours, and she was where I left her. Still breathing and not even panting too hard. So that's good. I put some more ice in her water bowl. If I had one of those drink umbrellas, I'd put that in her water, too.

The Hater has returned home, and he's promptly taken me to get a big floor fan. So now instead of it being deathly hot, it's just miserably oppressing. It's still gasping for air and the ice water hot. I hope I sleep a little later tonight. The thermostat says it's between 90-95 degrees.

The Hater has already thought of lots of projects we can do tomorrow so that we don't have to stay here.

I'm exhausted.

sweaty sadness

The maintenance man said the compressor is out.

He can't fix it until Monday morning.

I've got at least two loads of laundry to do this weekend. And the dryer that doesn't dry will take at least four or five cycles for each load.

I've got to get out of here for a while. This has rained on my parade.

my patience is growing thin

I called apartment management. They said I was third on a list of eight with ac problems, and to call back by noon if maintenance had not come.

It's a long time until noon.

4am

I'm awake on the day I had planed to sleep-in, and I'm a sweaty mess.

The thermostat says it's between 80-85 degrees, so it's really cooled off a lot since I fell asleep on the couch. I've put out an extra saucer of cool water for the cat.

It's too hot to think.

Friday, September 09, 2005

the sauna

The Hater is gone for the weekend, so it's me and the cat the hold down the fort.

And I come home this evening to find that our air conditioner is running, but not blowing air that is actually cool. The thermostat says that it's between 85-90 degrees in the apartment. So I've called the apartment complex maintenance number. It said that they would page them and be in touch in a little while after they get the message.

And I'm a sweaty mess... ready to get their call.

It's really good The Hater isn't here. He'd be angry.

I should probably turn off the computer so it doesn't get hotter in here. Bleh.

Oh! The phone call!!

They'll be here first thing in the morning. So I guess the cat and I will sweat until then. :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Clean Hands Week

No, not Lady McBeth's "out damn spot" speech.

No, not like the way Pontius Pilot washed his hands of it.

Believe it or not, September 18-24 is Clean Hands Week. If you want to start celebrating now, you can send a free "clean hands" e-card from this link.

And although I am genuinely amused by a week dedicated to clean hands, the nurse in me feels the need to announce that hand washing is the number one thing people can do to keep from getting sick and spreading germs and sickness.

So wash your hands. But you don't have to be compulsive about it. If you think you might be compulsive about washing your hands, you can find information here about that. Just lather up with some soap and water and sing the Happy Birthday song twice to yourself as you scrub.

Hey, even if you'd rather get one of those alcohol-based hand sanitizers, that's better than nothing to bide you over until you can use real soap and water. (Just be aware there's a lot of heebie-jeebies that those sanitizers don't kill... like Clostridium Difficile.)

A common metaphor links washing your hands to 'come clean' from stuff you've done that you regret. I've really gotten a kick out of this site, which gives you the opportunity to anonymously fess up (or read other people's confessions: 26% of people confess that they didn't wash their hands; don't be one of them! 32% of people on this website confessed to picking their nose this week.) What will you confess?

Feeling dirty? Break out the streamers and wine, it's time to celebrate clean hands!

Start a revolution by actually doing what your kindergarten teacher told you to do.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

guilty as charged

I'm guilty today. I picked on the Uglyhoma fans. I asked everybody I knew who went to the OU game or were OU fans how their team did.

And the not-so-surprising thing? They bashed the Sooners worse than I did. Most people said, "Any high school team could have beat them." Maybe even the mighty Mustangs of Loretto High School.

It's football time, and I'm loving it.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Voice

Justice Sandra Day O'Conner is retiring from the Supreme Court. Bush has nominated John Roberts to fill her position.

If you value your personal liberties, please carefully read the information at this link. If the information you find concerns you, follow the instructions to email your Senator.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Touchdown Tennessee!

The Hater and I enjoied watching the UT football game this afternoon. I'd missed seeing the sea of orange that is Neyland Stadium. We thought it was a good first game, with typical first-game-of-the-season-type goofs. We should be ready for Florida, when the time comes.

Meanwhile, it's a sad day for OU fans. It was a choker. They lost 17-10 to an unranked TCU, which makes me wonder how they could have been ranked seventh before the game. We toggled between the games and were tickled with the results on both channels. Have I mentioned that we default to cheer for the team playing against Uglyhoma?

I'm missing a family reunion in the LBG. They rented a big big-screen to watch the UT game in the garage. They'll be having a good time until late in the evening.

the recovery kick-off

I've been watching relief efforts on CNN this morning. I'm overwhelmed, to say the least, and grateful that the appearance of humanitarian aid is being televised. There are thousands of thousands of angry and afraid misplaced people. What a journey normalcy will be for them.

Yesterday on CNN.com I read an article about countries around the world who have pledged aid to Katrina relief efforts. International generosity is always appreciated, but I was most moved by the following closure from the above mentioned article:

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she and her fellow citizens felt solidarity with those affected. "Having experienced the fury of nature ourselves during the December 26 tsunami, the people of Sri Lanka and I fully empathize with you at this hour of national grief," she said in a message to the U.S. And while the small island nation is still recovering from the tsunami disaster, it also pledged $25,000 to the American Red Cross, the AP reported.

An act like this quelches my inner cynic.

But what TO DO. The survivors need more than my awe and empathy. I've been looking online, and here is a link to a big list of approved agencies for donations and volunteers, a section to locate the missing, and local information. If you're looking to help, this is a great place to start.

But are you one of those people who are leary to give money to big organizations? Do you want to know that your donation will go to the people in need? It's okay if you are (we all have an inner cynic!). Or if you're one of those people who would rather DO something than send money, you might like the idea of putting together an Emergency Kit.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief provides Emergency Kits for small-scale and large-scale disasters. The above link will take you to a webpage where you can choose what type of kit you would like to put together to mail to people in need. The types of kits you can contribute are Bedding Pack, Bulk Materials, Health Kit, Flood Bucket, Layette Kit (for infants), School Kit, and Sewing Kit. There is also a link for Shipping and Packing Instructions. In the wake of hurricane Katrina, the greatest need is for Health Kits, which cost approximately $12 a kit to put together.

The devastation is unbelieveable, but what is not beyond belief is the goodness of people who want to help.

I'm going to watch the Volunteers kick off a new season this afternoon. Tonight I'm going to man the phones for the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corp, help search for medical volunteers who can offer their time and services in Katrina's wake.

What are you going to do?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

No Child Left Behind--

So I'm at work yesterday, working and talking with my coworkers. We were in the middle of a random converstaion about house decorating. They were talking about how peacock feathers are back in style, returning from a big decorating debut in the 1970s. I mentioned that I thought it was President Monroe who liked peacocks so much that they roamed the property next to his home in Virginia.

And then there was silence.

Followed by... "Who?"

me: President Monroe?
them: Was there a President Monroe?
me: ...... yeah.

And then I was too speechless to say anything. I turned my back to them and pretended to do something else. Behind me I heard them whisper to each other:

#1: Do you remember a President Monroe?
#2: No, do you?
#1: No, but she's probably not making it up.
#2: But I don't remember him.
#1: She's been in school since we have. Maybe he was in office after we went to school.
#2: Idunno. Maybe.

Stunned.

So they mentioned it to me today:

me: Haven't you heard of the Monroe Doctrine? The era of Good Feelings?
them: No. Are you making this up?
me: Good history is too good to make up.

So I didn't push it. And I didn't mention anything else about peacock feathers.

The Hater says, "Haven't they ever heard of the League of Nations? World War One???"

This is sad to me. Sadder even than Uglyhoma jokes.

(The Hater says it would be too mean to say that the "no child left behind" slogan didn't apply to the inner city children of New Orleans, so I won't mention it.)

And gas is up to $2.99 per gallon. The mopeds I've seen online will get between 60-80 miles per gallon. The Hater says I can't have one.

And I can't decorate with peacock feathers.

the South will rise again

Here's a random idea:

We have some September birthdays around the corner and have been wondering what to give for birthday presents. But what do you give to the people who have everything?

Today we made donations in their name to the Red Cross relief fund.

That sure won't sit on a shelf and collect dust.