Monday, February 28, 2011

The Last Day

Well, darling invisible friend, we've reached the end of our little blog challenge. And oh my, have we been successful! Every day, email account hacking not withstanding, a blog has been posted. Sure, many of them have been complete and utter crap, but through the poo, an occasional gem has shone through.

Mostly in the comment section. Ah, well.

This morning, I received an email and its subject line read "Modest Proposal." The writer of this email is my dear, dear, spicy yet sensible friend, Mo. She suggested the following:

So I have thoroughly enjoyed blogfest Feb. I look forward to reading and
laughing every day. I would propose you extend your daily blog to March.
I know, it's not easy, but you will be making your readers...very happy...

No, I didn't realize there was a substance abuse problem either.

I haven't written back yet, as I fear that my email might consist of things like, "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FREAKING MIND?" As a rule, I don't believe such exchanges result in good will or fellowship of any positive sort. I did come close to clicking the "send" button after typing:


but stopped myself in time.

Here's the thing. I didn't quite make my WIP-writing goal, though it's so close, I can nearly brush it with my fingertips. While using a stepladder. Balanced on one foot. I will reach that goal, very likely in the next few days. Then I must edit and edit deeply if I want that manuscript to appear as if it were worthy of purchase and not just the ramblings of a madwoman.

Hey! Not nice! Not nice at all!

Anyway. After that, I must template/plot/begin my next WIP in preparation for April. No, the month. I do know an April [person] and she's lovely, but I think it's safe to suppose she does not give a rat's fuzzy butt if I ever write another word. Now that I think of it, I'm not sure she knows I write at all. One way or the other, she's not losing sleep over this. It is the month of April for which I prepare.

Dearest, it's not that I don't want to talk to you everyday. It's not that I've run of things to talk about...oh ho ho! Not that. Never that. It's just that daily blogs are a greater challenge than I realized.

Fine. Let's take a vote. All those in favor?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Another Interactive Post!

The Oscars do this to me.

I watch the awards being handed out and I see individual lives being changed. Oh, it's not like anyone's eliminating worldwide hunger, but still, it's a big deal for a lot of people. And it's great entertainment for the rest of us.

The outfits alone...!

So what would you say if you won an Oscar? Would you thank your parents? Your spouse? Your children? Would you mention your agent? Your drama teacher from high school? Every person you've ever met?

I'd like to thank the Academy for such an unbelievable honor. I'm absolutely positive that this is all a hideous mistake, however, and large men in dark suits and sunglasses will be by later to take away this little gold man. I shall say good night now as I will be leaving town as soon as I leave the stage. Good night, goodbye, God bless you all.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I usually deal with the furry children.

Parenting is the most important job in the world and has no apparent training system. What kind of set up is that, really? Granted, it is one of the funnier pranks played by the Omnipotent Comedian, but how do people do this on a daily basis?

My cousin Stacy told me that after giving birth to her first child, she was seated in her car, about to drive home from the hospital. Her main thought was, "I'm 22 years old. What are they doing, letting me leave with this baby?"

Mr. D and I have been pals his whole life and I have been fortunate to be allowed to spend time with him. His parents are having some couple time this weekend, so he and Roommate and I are hanging out. Surprisingly enough, Roommate has been the tough-guy with this little man. Usually I'm the hardass. Go figure!

Oh, thank you for asking. Things have gone pretty well with Mr. D. He ate a good dinner, pottied in the big-boy potty [thank you, Roommate] and went to sleep promptly at nap and bedtime. So he woke up, crying, at 0427...that's relatively normal, right?

[yawn] When is naptime, again?

How do parents do this stuff? How do single parents do this stuff? How the hell do parents do this with more than one child? And how insane are those people with the nineteen children???

I need to lie down.

Friday, February 25, 2011

All Part Of The Package

I'm still recovering from the hacking incident, so this is just going to be a little tidbit of a post.

The ex said, in a moment of profound insight, that he figured out that Roommate and I were a package deal. He wasn't wrong; Roommate and I, beyond our faux-bian relationship, really are family. Whether or not we live in the same house, we're going to be family. Anyone I date or [I can't believe I'm about to type this] marry will have to accept this.

Still going to be easier than dealing with Mom.

A man I dated last year really took this to heart. Our third date was a lot of fun. He took both Roommate and me out for teriyaki and naturally, we played pool afterward. We stopped by a local bar and they danced to the hot Latin music pounding out of the speakers. When Roommate and I decided to go out for dinner and invited him along, he would walk past me in the restaurant and gave her a big hug first. I do miss him a little.

What? I do.

Anyway! Not long ago, Roommate and I were having a chat about a gentleman who indicated interest in dating me. Roommate had met him and had chatted on the phone with him until I could put down whatever I was holding when he called, so she knew something about him. But not everything.

"Does he like to play pool?" Roommate asked me after I had gotten off the phone with him one day.

I answered honestly that I didn't know.

Roommate looked at me reprovingly. "If we're going to be dating this guy, we need to know this stuff."

Yeah. We.


Okay, I have no idea if this is even visible. Evidently, my Gmail account/blog was hacked!!!!!


Who would have done this? Why would this happen? Really, explain this to me. I do not understand how spamming is beneficial to spammers. There must be a monetary reward, but how does that work? And why can't the spammers uses their own email addresses? Or make new addresses?

Let me know if this works, would you, dearest?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Writing Degrees

I'm not talking about my college degree, which wasn't strictly a "writing" degree. I graduated with a major in English with an emphasis on creative writing. I know! A mere eleven years ago... Gah. And I was an "older" student then.

Not thinking about that today. Repress! Deny! Repress! Deny!

Okay. Back to the topic at hand. Now what was I nattering on about...oh! Yes! Writing.

Here's the thing, darlingest. I try to achieve a daily page goal on my WIP. I do. I really do. Yes, it's a wimpy little goal as I cannot write like a mad, possessed thing [coughKarinacough] and produce a full manuscript in 14 days. [NB: Envy is not a healthy emotion. Let it go...let it go....] Most of the time, I try to write before work actually starts and on my lunch break during the work week.

Most of the time, I fail miserably at this attempt.

As a result, a great deal of my writing happens at home. I have tried, oh, how I have tried to write while sitting on the couch, as Roommate watches television. Okay, as I watch television, too. Don't judge me; it sucks me in. On the nights when Roommate is actually allowed first pick of TV shows [i.e., hockey isn't on] I will attempt to excuse myself to my room to write.

Cue Reproachful Look. May I say, this is one of Roommate's great gifts.

So by the time I get to my room and have gently roused my Netbook from sleep, it can be a bit late in the day. Usually late in a long day. But I start out well. See?

This is how it starts. I'm leaning forward a bit, at about 80 degrees. I'm focused. Netbook and I are working together.
Then things slide just a little bit.
Still upright, of course. 90 degrees here. Pretty impressive, huh?

Of course, after a little while, I feel the need to lean back against the pillows. I may have adjust the location of my Netbook, but I'm still plugging along. Or IMing with one of my writing buddies, brainstorming, et cetera. 120 degrees is a very workable position. Comfortable. Relaxed. Yet somehow productive.
Unfortunately, this does not last. Did I mention the really long days? And the pillows slip. thing you know, we're at 150 degrees.

I think we all see where this is going. At this point, 170 degrees, I can barely reach the Netbook. My head is propped up on a far-too-squishy pillow. My bed is, shamefully, having its wicked way with me.

And then...

Netbook is set aside. Morpheus has me in a headlock. All bets are off.
Damned 180.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are you kiddin' me?

Did I move? Is the calendar wrong? Are we expecting the four guys on horseback?

Utterly ridiculous. This is the Pacific Northwest, people. The land of wussy weather. The place in the world where 85 is stinking hot and oh, dear God, go buy an air conditioner! The spot where one inch of snow causes the spontaneous disappearance of milk, bread and toilet paper at every grocery store and effectively shuts down a city. People call in absent to work with one inch of snow!

Okay, okay. I'll try to be fair. In the greater Seattle area, before snow will stick on absurdly steep hills, one usually sees a generous coating of ice. Then the snow. And the hills in downtown Seattle are remarkably San Francisco-ish. So...all right. I get it. But come on!

It's February!! It's five days until March!! My daffodils had started to develop buds. Yeah. Maybe next year, kids.

I don't mind the snow. Really, I don't. I grew up in a land of four actual seasons. In this area, there are two: winter and July. Usually never gets below 40 degrees here, nor above 80. So there's rain. So what? If one cannot handle rain, one leaves. Really. It's just that simple.

The grayness gets to a lot of people, I will admit that. I find it soothing. I'm a little less like a squirrel on speed with the grayness, but others may find it a bit depressing. My brilliant cousin Dana say this is why caffeine and heroin are so popular in the Northwest and I believe her. Well, of course I do. Did you not see the title "brilliant cousin" before her name? See. There you go.

I am bemused, darling invisible friend. Befuddled, even. Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In continuation

Okay, remember yesterday when I told you about the forward I got from Carole? Sigh. Fine, take a minute, scroll down.

Yes, that forward! I really enjoyed reading the list of Pretty Darn True Things, which included the following:

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

Heh. Yeah. [innocent humming]

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

I hate this. I know there are a few people who have never experienced this and are now rolling their eyes. [See! You just did it!]

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

Oh, number 3...yes, number 3 is very true. True to the bones of true. I love to nap. I see naps as one of the greatest luxuries of the world. And I'm always mildly puzzled by those who cannot nap. The Extremely Nice Person who sent me flowers and chocolate on Valentine's Day says he doesn't know how to nap. A nap tutorial was discussed.

Stop it. I'm sure he didn't mean that. Sheesh.

One thing on the list I don't feel speaks to me is:

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

See, I know how to fold a fitted sheet. I do, too. My grandmother taught me. It's really not that hard, although I'm still surprised that my friends made me show off this skill at a party once.

No, they did. Okay, this is what happened. Yes, it is going to be a long one. Aren't they always? Well, hurry up, then. I'll wait.

Better? Good.

I was housesitting for a couple who went on an extended trip to France. While I was there, I found an enormous hidden cache of dirty laundry, as neither of them were very into doing the wash. I figured they wouldn't want to come home from a long trip and have to deal with that, so I did the laundry.

Because I do that. When I'm housesitting, I try to make the house as nice as possible for the people who are returning. The house is clean, of course. Fresh linens on the bed. Fresh towels in the bathroom. And if I can manage it, there's a meal ready to go in the fridge and flowers on the table. I figure that most people want to come home, drop their bags and collapse. Then they want to eat, but nobody wants to cook and God in heaven, they are "sick of restaurant food and I am not getting dressed up again to go out, and no, I don't want pizza!"

It's just nice to have stuff done when you come home. What? Well, I don't know if I can housesit for you. Let me check my schedule.

Anyway. My friends were very excited to find all of this upon their return and mentioned it again at a party later that summer. Other friends at the party scoffed when the folded fitted sheets were mentioned, saying that this could not be done. Naturally, a fitted sheet was pulled from the linen closet and I was asked/commanded/begged to demonstrate. [cue excited chatter, ooohs and aaaahs, smatterings of applause]

Aren't you sorry you missed that party?

Of course, these were the same people who would put on a scary movie, just so they could be entertained by my reactions to scary movies. [Yes, I scream. And hide behind a blanket. Or pillow. Or complete stranger sitting next to me in the movie theater.] It is entirely possible that this was merely their poking fun at my expense. Hmm.


Monday, February 21, 2011


My friend Carole sent me a cute email yesterday with a list of random, mostly true statements. I know, I know. I read a "forward." But some of them are funny. Like this snippet:
There is great need for a sarcasm font.

It's true, you know. If for no other demographic than single people in the dating pool.

Hm. No, I'm wrong there. Everyone needs this font. Except the people who don't understand sarcasm. Many of whom are in the dating pool.

You know, if there really is a dating pool, where's the chlorine? Where are the lifeguards? Who's on staff, fer chrissakes?

But, rather shockingly, I digress.

I popped over to the Mr.RightNow site to check messages this morning. I do that, not with any real hope or expectation, but mostly to reply to some people with whom I chat on a regular basis. [One of my little pals just met someone! No, really. Someone. Heehee!] Waiting for me, in my inbox, was this message.

so talk to me
--random guy I've never met

I can only imagine that this message was typed in a darkened room of some hot bachelor pad with Barry White rumbling on the hi-fi, composed by a man wearing sunglasses. Yes, in the darkened room. Definitely sunglasses. And possibly a leisure suit. At this point, we don't know.

What kind of response was he expecting, I wonder. Maybe this:

So I was talking with my friend Maureen about visiting her in New York, she lives in New York, it's such a cool city and they have all of those awesome museums and art galleries and everything, and even the shopping is amazing, because I'm not really shopper, actually I'm a really bad shopper, because I hate looking for clothes, but I love looking at stuff, like stuff for the house and the kitchen although there was there incredible jewelry store and they were so nice to me once we were buzzed in, past the guard--there was a guard there, if you can believe it, and the nice man behind the counter took out the necklace I saw in the window and showed it to me and told me it was moonstones, which I thought it was, because my friend Carla has earrings with moonstones and they're so pretty on her, but most everything is pretty on her and she has so many pretty things, because she is a good shopper and I've had her help me with shopping, because I like just shopping for things like antiques, like Depression glass, which I collect, in pale green and it's really pretty when you use it with some of my china which I also collect, but I try not to tell people, I mean guys, about it because they freak out when you say, "Oh, I'm just looking at china patterns."

[Apply sarcasm font here.]

I think he should have been more specific.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Three kinds of people in the world

There are dog people. There are non-dog people. And then...there are dog freaks. Yeah. C'est moi. This is my wee beastie:

She's so spoiled, I'm surprised she doesn't rot where she stands. She goes to water therapy once a week because she had hip surgery before she was a year old. And she's such a terrier. My aunt refers to the breed of dog she is as a "wild-haired terrorist," which, okay, was funnier before 9/11. Even her godmother calls her "demon spawn."

Yes, my dog has a godmother. Why?


Her name is Tuppence Marie. She was named after a British children's homily. In the story, a peddler asks a boy if he wants the ware he's buying "penny, plain" or "tuppence, colored." The boy chooses the plain as it's a better value for the money. This dog is definitely not penny plain.

I also refer to her as HRHTM. Yeah.

Anyway. She pretends she's tough to other dogs in the house. Roommate has a beagle, as does Roommate's mother, so she's often outnumbered. But strangely, she is never overwhelmed. I have described her and other terriers as big dogs in small clothes. She thinks she rules the world. Hideous little beast.

Yeah, yeah. I like her a little. Shut up.

In direct comparison is this sweet girl:

This sweet girl is my neighbor's dog. We've had the pleasure of babysitting her while mommy and daddy are out of town. Even when we had to make an emergency run to the vet because the sweet girl developed a UTI, she was so good.

Look! Doesn't she look like she's smiling?

We have to give her back in a couple of days. [siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh]

I'll be okay.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Okay, don't tell anyone. No, seriously. This is just between us.

[looking around first]

We're not doing Soup Day this week.


I know, I know. But you have to understand, when my lovely coworker Vicki comes up with a brilliant idea, I go with it. What idea? Oh ho ho, my invisible dear one! Brace yourself.

Casserole Day!!!

Are you plotzing with delight? Gosh, I know I am! Vicki's going to make her famous curried cauliflower and do a side of baked beans in the crockpot. I'm contemplating making meatballs and a savory bread pudding. It's almost too exciting for words.

Sigh. I need a life.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Every Six Months

Look! Look! I got prizes!!

I saw my dentist today. Okay, I saw him for maybe 10% of the visit, but I spent good, quality time with the hygienist who works with him. I love her.

You know, darling invisible friend, going to the dentist has never bothered me. I had an awesome dentist as a child, Dr. Dennis Penna, and that really set the tone for my reaction to dental care. Dr. Penna used to call me his little alligator because I opened my mouth soooooooooooooo wide!

No, I do not think this affected my dating life. Can we focus, please?

I do have a fair amount of sympathy for people who fear the dentist. My lovely and talented former coworker Paula had a serious dental phobia. Not long after she started working in my lab, she told me she had a dental appointment and her husband was not going to be able to take her.

That last part, as I recall, blew my mind. Her husband took her to her appointments? In what world? Okay, my point of view might be skewed on this point, as I have never been married, but I have spent a fair amount of time around married people. [Which feels like 95% of the planet. Neither here nor there.] I spent a fair amount of time around my mother as a child, as is evidenced by the number of hours I've spent in therapy, and my mother is married. Hang on, I'm trying to picture my mother asking my father to take her to an appointment.


Oh, that was good. [sniff] Not as good what I imagine my father would have said in reply....


Anyway. Paula was unable to be taken to her appointment by her delightful husband and needed me to give her a ride. Apparently, she was planning on taking some soothing medication before seeing her dentist. And take medication, she did.

The day of Paula's dental appointment is as blurry in her memory as her eyes were that morning. Blurry and deeply stoned. She walked to my car with the careful gait of a seriously plowed sorority girl and laughed and slept most of the way home.

I'm glad she didn't try to drive herself to the dentist. I'm glad I could help her out and be a friend to her. I'm really, really glad I don't have to go through the same when I have dental appointments.

Did I mention that I got prizes?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Random Bits and Nonsense

The entry yesterday about writing really slowly took [literally] all day to write. The time that blogspot uses as "post time" is the time I start the blog.

I don't think clams are really that happy. It's just the way their mouths are shaped.

Many men actually believe they are unemotional creatures. Anger is an emotion, fellas.

Drama queens are everywhere. I think we should be made to wear signs. You know, for the benefit of society.

It's a very bad sign when one starts her work day at 0800 and is looking at the clock two minutes before that time, calculating when she will be done for the day.

Why am I supposed to care what the Kardashians are doing? Why are there so many ways for me to find out what they're doing?

Never piss off your waiter. Never be mean to your phlebotomist. And if you know a guy is armed, don't be an idiot.

I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Page Envy

Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you,
you go and write it down, and either you over dramatize it or you underplay it,
exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never
write it quite the way you want to.

--Sylvia Plath

Okay, I know she killed herself, but Syl makes some good points. Many, many times, darling invisible friend and reader, I have a vision in my head, a clear picture or soundtrack of what I want to write. Sometimes it's so clear, it's like watching a movie, but still knowing what's going on inside the characters heads and hearts. It is those moments that I find what ends up on the page is complete and utter crap.


And okay, so it's crap. I can edit crap. As my beloved big-whoop-de-doo-author friend Cherry says, "You cahn't edit invisible ink!" Yes, that is how she sounds. She's from South Africa. She is! Well, then you ask her. Here:

As I was saying, I can deal with writing crap. Cherry's been a huge help in that arena and gosh, if a BWDDA like Cherry can say that, it must be true. Right? Right.

But the whole snail's-pace writing thing. That, my darling, makes me mental. I just wish I had a really good excuse. I'm single. I have no children. Okay, yes, there is this job thing and it really does interfere with stuff I want to do. I know! And they actually expect me to do work type stuff while I'm here. It's just weird.

I want to write faster. I just can't quite figure out how to make that happen. Most of the time I accept this deficiency in myself but the other night, the enormity of this lack crashed down on me like a drunken lounge lizard. Only less grope-y and smelly. I was having an IM conversation with my friend Karina, whose first book will come out in May. She is, in case you wondered, a BWDDA-to-be. Look! Look!

Yummy, huh? Anyway.

During our conversation, Karina mentioned that she'd felt out of sorts all day. Tired. Unable to write. When asked, she theorized that her general malaise and fatigue might have been caused by writing too much the day before. Yes, in the future, Karina said, she should probably stick to writing fewer than thirty pages a day.

That's right. Go back and read it again.


And she overdid it by writing more than that.

No, I didn't actually vomit. I wanted to. But I didn't.

I comfort myself with the memory of a keynote speech given by Patricia Gaffney [a BWDDA in her own right] at the Romance Writers of America's 2001 national conference. She spoke about her own inability to write faster than she did and cited April Kihlstrom's work "Book In A Week." As I recall, Pat said;

"April, April, April. I can't come up with the title of a book in a week."

God bless you, Pat Gaffney.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I knew better than to say anything.

The Omnipotent Comedian strikes again.

I had to talk about headaches and migraines, didn't I? It was out of sympathy, though. A friend of mine woke up with a headache and that's why I said anything. But does this matter to the All-Powerful Jokester?

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. And now I have a headache. A vicious, snarky, mean-spirited headache. Sheesh.

It's not like I used the Q word at work. Not like Meredith, whom I could have cheerfully murdered, did. She did! She strolled right into the lab, specimen in hand and said, "Wow, it's really quiet in here!" ARGGGGGGGG! She didn't even try to whisper!! And as I turned, exclamations of horror trembling on my tongue, the bell rang.

The bell. You know, the bell. The thing that alerts the xray and lab staff that we have a patient. Or two. Or sixty-five.

Meredith, that little rat, scurried out of the lab and back to her hole as everything went to hell in the lab. No handbasket. Straight to hell. The next morning I stomped over to her department and gave her a fulminating glare.

"What did I do?" she asked. The little rat.

"You know what you did."

Blank stare.

"Yesterday? In the lab? What you said????"

Light dawned. "Ohhh. Did you get busy?"

No, rocket scientist. I'm over here, barely recovered from the Lab Night From Hell, just to say hi. No reason at all. Pfft.

She was SO lucky my filters were engaged.

What???? I do so have filters! I do! Yes, I do. Imagine what would come out if I didn't have them. Okay, some people know what comes out when the filters aren't engaged, but the medication and therapy route is really working for them now. They'll be home and at 100% in no time.


Anyway. So. Well. Yes. I...ahem...I may have said something about the embittered spinster thing yesterday, in an effort to reduce the importance of a holiday that is rife with angst and emotion for many people. And...uh...well...


Oh, fine. Say it. You know you want to. Don't hurt yourself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day.

I wasn't going to address this. I am, after all, an embittered spinster. Heh. But Happy Valentine's Day anyway.

My lovely coworker Vicki says, even if one doesn't have a romantic interest, one may be loving to oneself. Noooo, not that way. Unless, you know, that way is the way you're headed. Why not? Safest sex ever, right?

I have no stones to throw.

Vicki went on to say that we can all be kind and loving to others as a celebration of this retailer's holiday. It doesn't have to be dating or marriage or passion related. It can just be a reason to express love.

Connie doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day. She does, however, celebrate National Discounted Chocolate Day. That's February 15th, in case you were curious. Vicki adds that this also applies to flowers. And I imagine, those ridiculous pink stuffed animals.

Roommate, AKA My Faux Spouse, informed me that she was NOT going to get me anything for Valentine's Day. I guess the magic is just gone there.


Headaches & Migraines

I don't have one today. If I did, this would be a much less pleasant post.

Before we go further, dearest invisibility, please allow me to differentiate between the two experiences. Please? Pleeeeeeease? Don't make me beg. Thank you.

1) Headaches

A headache marked by [wait for it...] pain in your head. No, really. Sometimes it's really awful pain. Some people feel sick when they have a headache. Or sleepy. Or both.

2) Migraines

A migraine is when the idea of taking a power drill and boring holes into your skull to relieve pressure starts to seem like a reasonable idea.

See the difference?

According to my mother, who was there, I started getting migraines when I was about two. Yes. Two. Evidently, I would try to eat everything that wasn't nailed down or moving, then I'd throw up, then I'd fall asleep for 2-15 hours. Doesn't that sound like every mother's dream? Not only to have a two-year-old [gah!] but to have one who behaved like this?

I think this may explain some of the conflict between my mother and me. Not that Mom holds grudges. [nodding] She would never do that. [nodding] She would never use this against me as an adult. [nodding]

Anyway. If you ever swing by my work and the overhead lights are off and only task lighting is being used, just back out of the room. Come back tomorrow. Really. It's best that way.

Years ago, I worked a weekend shift at my hospital in Boise. One Saturday night, I had a BITCH of a migraine. It involved covering my eyes/head while seated at the desk, in between draws. It included projectile vomiting. It included hanging on by a thread until the night techs came in and I could desert my coworker like a rat leaving a sinking ship. The lead tech that night came to me and apologized, saying I could go home and that she hadn't realized this was such a dire situation. I left. I went home. I got unconscious. The following day, I felt so much better. And people in the lab kept sidling up to me, asking how I was. Speaking softly. Tiptoeing away, just in case. I turned to my fellow phlebotomist Sheila and asked, "Was I that bad yesterday?"

She stared at me in disbelief and replied, "You were possessed yesterday."

Yeah. Just back out of the room. Come back tomorrow. Really. It's best that way.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Is it 1PM yet?

It's been a super morning.

It started out with waking up early. Enough cannot be said about this. Is there anyone left on the planet who doesn't know that I am not a morning person? Okay, probably, because despite my self-absorption, I am not the actual center of the universe.

Except sometimes.

I tried to explain this to my ex once. I tried to tell him that most of the time, I understood that the world didn't revolve around me, but now and then, I was the Center Of The F___ Universe. My dear friends came up with the term COTFU for this very reason. Acronym. You knew what I meant. One of these friends, a lovely woman named Becky, was a few days away from getting married and was particularly delighted in the acronym. We considered getting t-shirts made.


I worked this morning, and in a lab I don't normally work. The computer was fussy. The printer wouldn't print. The programs ran slow. The default settings were reinstated rather than those settings that apply to my current location. My coworker was late. There was a line of patients for the lab when the doors were opened. And the fifth person in line asked me, in such a delightful tone, "How long is this going to take? Well, I have be somewhere by 9:30."

How precious that was. She actually thought I cared. Wait. [sniff] I'm getting misty.

And strangely, she appeared to believe that she was, in fact, the COTFU. Golly. I had no idea. I'll tell you what, Oh Precious One, I'll toss aside all other aspects of my job. Those foolish patients who seem to think they are as valid as individuals as you are will be shoved out of the way. And we will race, hand-in-hand, to the drawing booth to see to YOUR care! Right now! RIGHT NOW!! Because YOU, oh YOU, glorious YOU are obviously...


You do, after all, have the t-shirt.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Best breakup EVER.

All right, my invisible dear one. You have heard me bemoan the lack of courage, courtesy and kindness in the people whom I've dated, in regards to their ability to end the relationship. And you're right. I've moaned. I've whined. I've bitched and complained. On occasion, I have ranted. Not that this happens often.

Okay, that was unkind. You didn't have to go there.

The problem I see with most breakups is this: the vast majority of people can do better. No, silly, not in regards to whom they're dating--although, you're not wrong about that. I think we've all seen the pairings that have obviously come about out of desperation and damn fine timing/good luck. The oh, dear GOD, sweetie, why did you settle for this? reaction. No, no, I'm not talking about that. What I meant was most people can do a better job ending their relationships.

Darlingest, please don't think I'm issuing a rally cry to dump your sweetheart. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love happy endings [stop it] and I would wish that for everyone. Okay, most people. There are a few whom I believe deserve to die withered and alone on a desert island. With bad weather. And no snacks. But this is, as usual, off the subject.

Let me give you an example of an excellent breakup. Before I start, however, allow me a couple caveats.

1) I saw it coming. I believe a breakup [or getting dumped in general] is easier when we know it's about to happen. A couple of weeks before this discussion, he'd brought up "exit strategies" and asked about my preferences in such. We were able to discuss things we would want from the ending of a relationship and things we did not want. This...was a clue.

2) My heart was not fully invested. Although I cared about this person and care about him still, I wasn't picking out china. The hall hadn't been booked. I had not contacted my mother about getting a diamond wholesale because, my invisible friend, you never never NEVER pay retail for a diamond. But that's a whole different blog. The point is, I just wasn't there.

So. That having been said, the gentleman and I were talking. And he said that he really had been enjoying my company. So much so, that he'd stayed in the relationship longer than perhaps he should have, because he'd hoped to have deeper feelings develop for me. Sadly, this did not seem to be likely. He felt strongly that while he was having a good time with me, staying with me in the current relationship would be using me for his own ends. Out of regard and respect for my feelings, he didn't believe it was the right thing to do. I told him that I understood what he was telling me and appreciated his honesty. I thanked him for his concern for my emotional well-being and agreed [having spent time with me] that a prolonged involvement with him would probably end with my becoming attached.

I do that, btw. It's stupid, but there it is. I've struggled with it but have learned to work with it. Or around it. Cursed emotional vulnerability.

Okay. We were over. Nicely done, yes? But my gentleman wasn't finished. He went on to say that there were several things about me he'd noticed and admired during our relationship, hence the sticking-it-out thing. Then...wait for it...he listed them. I know. There I was, fine with it being over. Pleased with this man's personal strength in facing what might have been an emotional Category 5 land storm. Wasn't. But could have been. He didn't know going in. He ended things in a kind and respectful way and was off the hook. But he said these lovely, lovely things anyway.

When he left, we hugged goodbye and wished each other well. I tell you now as I told him then that the woman with whom he will spend his life would be a very fortunate person, indeed. We've even met for a meal a few times since.

I don't expect every breakup to go like this. I'm not high. I'm not completely delusional. But I do think this is the gold standard. This is what I try to achieve the few times I am the breaker, as opposed to the breakee. I have not achieved it but I have tried.

Best. Breakup. EVER.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How did I get here?

So last night I found myself [and Roommate] as a Mary Kay meeting.

I know.

See, I used to sell Tupperware. And once a week, I had to attend these types of meetings. Periodically, victi---ahem, potential consultants are invited to attend these meetings, to be shown the fun and profitability of such a venture. I knew this. But I walked into it anyway.

Yes, the operative word is sucker. However did you guess?

But the big sales boss had fun picking colors of makeup for me. Other people had a great time. So my skin was irritated. Big deal! My skin is bitchier than roomful of healthcare workers on a full-moon Friday with a broken coffee pot and no chocolate anywhere. Yes, bitchier that that, I say. With authority.

But Roommate and I looked fabulous when we walked across the street to the Irishmen and I had a drink. Quickly. I think Karen, the midwest-transplant Mary Kay lady who invited me to this superduper event, would like me to have a party. Or pass out catalogues. Or sign up to be a consultant. Let me tell you my response to these hopes.

No. That's right. I defied the Hungarian Speech Impediment and said NO.

I will not be a consultant. I did that with Tupperware and did fairly well, but that's because I love Tupperware. I still have four--okay, five cupboards filled with Tupperware. Yes, I use it. And yes, I can still tell you what the benefits are for each piece.

Quit judging me.

I just don't have that feeling for makeup. And I am not taking on anything else right now. No!

I'm not going to pass out catalogues and gather orders. See above.

And I'm not going to have a party. I'd end up making snacks and drinks and dragging over my poor beleaguered friends and forcing them to stay for dinner, which I would handily have ready in the oven. And then there'd be wine and chatter and maybe a movie. And popcorn. And we'd probably stay up really late, talking talking talking.

Okay, maybe.

Quit judging me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kids. And the darnedest things they say.

I had a few particularly entertaining children in my lab today and as a result, some of my favorite kid stories popped into my head. No, no, silly. Not my kids. As we all know, the world has been rendered a teensy bit safer by my barrenness. Take a moment to imagine what my offspring might be like.

No. Wait. Don't do that. You'll have nightmares.

Happy place...happy place.... Let's just tell some stories. Here, have a cookie.

My cousin Julie was a small child the first time she was in church when communion was served. The ushers in the Protestant church lined up to take trays of bread cubes and tiny cups of grape juice when Julie realized what was going on. In that piercing tone that small children perfect, she announced happily to her parents,

"They're serving snacks!"

Heeheehee! I love that. I also love it when children do their level best to be well-mannered. My dear friend, The Good Lisa, is in the process of raising delightfully well-mannered children. I'd dropped by their house on one of my many visits when her youngest was around four, and Emily wanted to be the gracious host she'd watched her parents be. In a fervent desire to welcome me into the comfort of the family home, she said,

"Come in! Take off your dress!"

I wasn't wearing a coat, so I suppose it was reasonable that she suggest the next layer of clothing as an item to be removed for maximum comfort.

Some children are less concerned about the well-being of others, more concerned with what's happening to Number One. My friend Debbie has three children, all of whom are grown now. While she gave birth to her youngest, the elder children, a boy and a girl, stayed with Debbie's in-laws. After Debbie welcomed her younger son into the world, Grandma told Ashley, "Ashley, you have a little brother! That means you're still the princess!" Ashley regarded her grandmother for a moment, then replied stonily,

"Queens have more power."

This is the same person to whom a doctor referred as "The Ayatollah Ashley" in her late teens. I'm sure he meant it in the nicest way, though.

My favorite brings me back to family, though. You may already know, invisible darling, that I am half Hungarian. You might not know that "aunt" in Hungarian is "neni," pronounced nay-nee. This title is added after the name or a shortened version of the name. My Aunt Magdalena was Magdi-neni, my Aunt Charlotte, Chari-neni.

When my niece Gabi was two, I was asked to watch her for a few hours. Of course I said yes, and we had a lovely time. Now, remember, when I am in charge of a child, I take that fairly seriously. Safety first, but care and feeding is an important job. Not too surprisingly, my aunt and cousin came home to find Gabi safe, sound, fed, clothed and her beautiful, thick, long blonde hair in a French braid. This surprised my aunt and cousin, as Gabi is...resistant to grooming.

I'm still the adult.

In shock, my aunt asked her granddaughter, "Gabi, who did your hair?" What Gabi wanted to say was, "Lisi-neni did it." What Gabi said was

"Nazi-neni did it."

Out of the mouths of babes....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Former Coworkers

Someone asked me yesterday how long I've been in my current job. Not only have I been sticking needles into people for twenty-one [21] years this month, but I will "celebrate" my seven [7] year anniversary this year.


So many people have worked with me over the years. Either I'm human-resources poison, or I'm the only moron who can't figure out how to operate the complicated technology of the doorknob.

No, that wasn't a multiple choice quiz. And (C) all of the above is just mean.

I miss a lot of them. There are a few I'd like to miss, but that's another blog, altogether. I'll probably miss Tonya one day, when she leaves screaming from my presence, but we'll see how that plays out.

I miss Stephanie. I miss the way the boys fell all over themselves when she'd come to work in the outfits she used to wear when she worked at Nordstroms, because none of her scrubs were clean. Heeheehee! That was just pure entertainment. I miss her conversation. I really, really miss the fact that she would usually eat the last piece of cake or cookie. It was awesome. You know how people do that? The cake remainder gets smaller and smaller and no one will take the last freaking piece? Stephanie would. I loved that. I'm probably going to have to join her gym if I ever want to see her again. I know. It doesn't bode well for anyone, does it?

I miss Paula. God, how I miss Paula! I wouldn't want her to come back to the lab, now that she's a PA, but oh, how I miss her. I miss the fact that this well-educated, professional woman really only got excited about hair, fashion and makeup. Oh, and bargains. I miss her humor. I miss her profound indifference to anyone else's opinion when it was directed at her. I miss the fact that she was this nearly stereotypical Brazilian hot pepper but couldn't understand why male patients literally lost their minds when they saw her. I am endlessly grateful that I still get to see Paula. Although a little less cleavage would be fine.

[Put those away! Someone's going to get hurt.]

I miss Maggie, although she's working in another lab now! Yay! Maggie returns!! I miss sharing the work week with her, and her willingness to work the remaining twelve-hour shifts gave me the best schedule ever. I miss the fact that she needed time off for kids, or appointments, or pregnancies [okay, only one pregnancy] gave me tons of overtime, greedy cow that I am.

I kind of miss Carmen, but she was only here for about five minutes. I think my boss still thinks I did something to her. I didn't. I didn't! It was her back. Stop looking at me like that.

I don't really miss Janet. She was whiny about the twelve-hour shift thing and it screwed up my schedule in the long run. She wasn't all that reliable, either. And she was mean to Paula when Paula needed to adjust her schedule for classes. Big poopoohead. Janet, not Paula.

Although...she did give me a really great cup for Christmas once. I really like the cup. Anyway.

I miss Sonji and Kenya, from my days in Pennsylvania. Working with them was incredibly educational. Weaves. Who knew?

I really, really, really miss my dear friends Carla and Pam from Boise. I miss seeing Pam and saying, "Pammy...Whammy...Clammy...Mammy...Hammy..." for no damn good reason. And I miss Carla's wit and wisdom. I miss the conversations. I miss lunches out. I miss sitting around with them and watching movies. I miss them because they became my family when I moved to a city in which I knew no one.

Oh, well. They're stuck with me for life, now.

Okay, now I need chocolate. Excuse me while I find some...and check flight prices to Boise.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hold times may vary

It's true, you know. They can vary. Hold times can vary from just a few interminable minutes to the rest of your life.

...All representatives are assisting other callers. Please stay on the line for the next available representative....

Please answer my call. I just need one tiny piece of information. Please.

...We appreciate your patience, as call wait times can be longer on certain business days and during times of heavy activity....

Yes, certain business days. The ones ending in Y. And during times of heavy activity? Really? Is that what they mean by heavy activity? Weird.

...This year is forecast to be one of the strongest La Nina weather patterns in fifty years. The Snohomish County PUD encourages you to be prepared by....

See now, you're just trying to scare me, PUD people. And why, when you start that bit of the recording, do you interrupt yourself with other, less frightening information??? How the hell am I supposed to put together my emergency kit now???!!!

...Stay away from downed power lines....

Ah. Yes. Making a note of that right now.

...Thank you for calling the Customer Service Line of the Snohomish County PUD. Your call may be recorded for training purposes....

Yes, training purposes. "This is how we handle the customer who has completely gone wacko, Tommy. Like the customer who is yowling about lost time or who has just broken down into tears. It's all in the manual, but we find it's helpful to hear actual calls. Don't be scared, it's just a recording. No, no. These people can't find us."

...All representatives are assisting other callers. Please....

"Good morning and thank you for call the Snohomish County PUD. This is Sarah; how may I help you?"

Sarah!! Oh, Sarah, thank God. I was holding and holding and I tried to do this yesterday but I ran out of time on my lunch hour and I had to hang up and go back to work and I just know that someone was just about to pick up my call! I just need my account number so I can pay my bill online and I can't find my bill and I know it's due, okay, past due, but I...just....





Monday, February 7, 2011

In regards to dating

In the past, a few dear friends have suggested Roommate join an online dating service. I've suggested it, myself, but after the first few beatings, ceased and desisted. The friends to whom I refer also met with...resistance. Some were actually foolish enough to suggest to me that we create the online profile and select the likeliest candidates, then present them, fait accompli, to Roommate.

Did I mention the beatings?

Need I say this plan did not come to fruition?

As it stands, Roommate is still not dating anyone. When asked, she states [quite firmly] that she wishes to meet someone the "normal" way. But unless more social activity occurs in her life, and therefore in my life, Normal will have to knock at the front door.

Maybe if I sent a wish list to the Omnipotent Comedian.... Okay, it didn't work for me. No one thought it would, though, right? And if I'm asking for someone else, maybe good things will happen.

What? What? Okay, stop it. Play along, fer chrissakes.

1) A nice guy. Yes, yes. I know I started with this on my wish list but it's still a valid request.

2) A Christian. After all, Roommate is one, too. No, I don't know why she hangs around me. Maybe she's being tested! Maybe she's such a developed soul that the only way for her to be challenged on earth is to be tormented by me!

Now, why are you snickering?

3) An active person. Roommate likes to do odd things, like "be productive." Even on her days off. It's unsettling.

4) A morning person. She's kind enough to be utterly quiet on my rare weekends to sleep late, but it's not the way she would function. It is only out of caring for me that she will sit in front of a muted TV at 0700. Or fear of the beast I am before noon. One of the two.

5) A man who likes to play pool. Or is willing to play pool. Yes, Roommate likes to play pool! She even has her own stick!

Stop it.

6) A not-terribly-adventurous eater. Please. Roommate will go to an Indian restaurant. She can be dragged to a sushi place. She will go anywhere that is asked of her, and really, quite stoically. But she won't be happy.

7) Someone who needs her, a little. Roommate likes to feel needed. It's part of how she defines her own value. And giving to others, caring for others, is her love language.

8) A man who looks at her and sees the wonderful person she is, recognizes the beauty she has, inside and out. One who isn't deterred by her initial reserve. One who feels the victory when she actually laughs out loud. One who who will look for the subtle clues in her manner and care about making her happy.

That's all. That's it. That's not asking too much. I don't even have to wonder about that. That's a reasonable set of requests for a wonderful person who deserves happiness.

Oh, and he should be hot.

Hey, she's human.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Things I could have done without this weekend.

1) The Edmonton Oilers continuing their losing streak.

It just breaks my heart, a little. They're 30th in the league again. I know, I know. It'll come about. But jeeze! Boys! Win a couple, wouldja?

2) The Calgary Flames losing in shoot-out.

I don't know why the Los Angeles Kings aren't my favorite team, but I am particularly disappointed by this loss. And they had to have seven shooters! Seven! Flames...Flames...what's going on here? And you were doing so well just recently.

3) Going to a country bar.

No, seriously. This is what happened. Roommate has...interesting siblings. Yes, yes, I know this is going way back, but you have to have the background. Her brother was married to his second wife when he took a trip to Montana and met...his third wife. Charming, yes? I'm assured she was no longer working as a stripper when they met. I would say this was a good decision on his part, finding the love of his life, but for the fact that I have a feeling of fondness for Wife #2 and Wife #3...doesn't provoke the same affection. Well, that and the whole "gosh, but you were married when you started dating her" thing. Call me old-fashioned. We'll leave it at that for now.

The reason Roommate went to the country bar [and I, of course, was invited to go along] was Wife #2's birthday celebration. I am very happy for Wife #2, or Ex-Wife, that she's been freed from a marriage that didn't serve her. I'm pleased that she met a nice young man, who was cordial and courteous, upon meeting Roommate and myself. And of course, I'm delighted that Ex-Wife felt free [or lubricated] enough to tell us, in excruciating detail, how she made it through the devastating betrayal of her marriage. And I'm glad we left immediately after that.

4) Ending a casual dating relationship.

We'd only gone out a few times! And he's a nice guy, a really nice guy, but..but...he wasn't the guy for me. That's fair, isn't it? That's the right thing to do, right? I didn't pull the dreaded disappearing act, which I hate. I apologized and took ownership and reassured him that he did nothing wrong. Having said all that, when did it become the thing to do to tell the person who is attempting to be honest and respectful that she's breaking the guy's heart???? Jeeze louise!

Okay, ending things with The Weeper was worse, but still...!

5) Being woken up, on Sunday morning...

...By a beagle we're babysitting, a babysat beagle who barfed in my bedroom.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

There's no 12-step program for this.

It's Saturday.

Despite the people who insist on texting and calling BEFORE 9 AM, I got to sleep in today. And yes, Roommate wanted to go to Costco today. On Saturday. The Saturday before the Super Bowl. But hey, what do I care? It's...


Oh, glorious day. And I don't have to work in the lab!

I've taken to telling my coworkers the scores from the previous night's games, or the previous weekend's. I have to love the people who like me enough to pretend like they care. It's a beautiful thing.

Me: Canucks beat the Blackhawks!
Coworker A: Huh?
Coworker B: [speaking out of the corner of his mouth] Hockey. Go along with it.
Coworker A: Oh. Oh! Great!

Now, at this point, the Montreal Canadiens shut out the New York Rangers, 2-0. The Toronto Maple Leafs will be playing the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators will be playing the New York Islanders in less than an hour. And to round out the evening, the Calgary Flames will playing the Los Angeles Kings. It's all so exciting.

Awwww, did you just pretend to care? How sweet are you?

Now, run along, beloved invisible friend. I have hockey to watch.

Friday, February 4, 2011

An Interactive Post!! Let's all play!!

My spicy Cuban friend Mo made a fabulous suggestion. She suggested that the people who read this blog should, via the comments section of the post, tell the story of how you [the darlingest of all readers] met me. And just to make it more entertaining for all of us, make it completely fictionalized.

Go on. Do it. We'll all get to play and it's not like my parents actually read anything I write,'s a safe bet they won't read what you write either. So go crazy!!

Ooo, won't this be fun?

I do know people with firearms.

While grocery shopping the other day, Roommate pulled some Ensure off the shelf. She had a coupon for it, even. Now, dear invisible friend, if you've ever used a coupon, you know that there are often conditions. So you'll forgive us for having taken up space in the supplement aisle at Safeway, making sure we fulfilled the coupon's expectations.

We figured out [yes, all on our own!] that we needed to get three sets of Ensure. I say sets because they come in groupings of four. A four-pack? Yes, yes. A four-pack. Otherwise known as the abdominal goal of the gym rats outside of New Jersey. Say....the south side of Philadelphia. A six-pack might be too lofty of a goal in the city that invented the Cheese Steak.

So three four-packs would satisfy the rules of this coupon. I asked Roommate if she wanted the luscious-looking vanilla shakes, the decadent chocolate or the fresh and fruity strawberry. And Roommate said I should decide.

I should decide?

"Well, that's silly. I don't know what kind you want for your breakfasts," I demurred.

"They're not for me," she replied. "They're for you."

Pardon me?

"Well, they say that you lose muscle over the age of forty, and drinking these will help you keep your muscle," she continued earnestly. "And you are over forty."

She's right. I am over forty. And it was so kind of her to be concerned about my muscle mass and general health. Really, if I focus on that, I'm almost touched. I also think it's time for Roommate to start dating. Now.

Mmmmm, chemicals in an odd little bottle. Building muscles has never been tastier. Or more fun!

Shoot me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Souper Bowl Thursday

Have we discussed Soup Day, darlingest? Hmm. Well, if I'm repeating myself, you'll forgive me, right? I should hope so! Otherwise...


Heeheehee...oh, all right. Sheesh.

My lovely coworker Vicki suggested Soup Day last winter. She felt that, with the dreariness of the winter in the Pacific Northwest, we all needed a little pick-me-up at work. And you know they don't let us drink on the job anymore. No, I don't why. I agree; they're being completely unreasonable. Bastards.

Vicki suggested, since shooting up is bad, that we have Soup Day once a week. One of us would bring in a Crockpot of soup, one of us would bring in bread. If "us" developed a third arm, a sweet could be added. And then all the departments who use our Break Closet could enjoy a lovely lunch and happiness would reign supreme. Birds would sing, chipmunks would cavort, rainbows would dance across the sky--

Pardon? Oh, the Break Closet. Well, it's not large enough to be a room, so it can't be called such. Seriously. More than 2.5 people in there, you need a lubricant. And not in the fun way.

We did Soup Day once a week [more or less, don't get picky] all last winter and it was a rousing success. There was every reason to try it again this year. Again, it's been lovely. Actually, I can tell how well a particular soup went over by the number of e-cards I get in my mailbox. No not try that soup again.

I usually make a main soup and a back-up soup. If I happen to make a soup with pork in it, I do a smaller batch that's pork free. At least one of my soups per week is vegetarian. I try to keep one option gluten-free. Sometimes, I fail at all of that. This week's soup day theme is Souper Bowl Thursday.

Vicki made chicken chili. Tonya brought French bread. Someone [probably Vicki, God bless her] brought sour cream and onion chips. I made beer-cheese soup [go, Packers!] and a Mexican chocolate loaf cake. That's chocolate with cinnamon and ancho chili added. Mmmm! Several coworkers have peered doubtfully at the beer-cheese soup, but I am not deterred. As I've told some of the whinier soup eaters, "Think of a ball game. You get a pretzel with cheese and a nice, cold beer. Same idea, just in soup form."

Really, it's the next best thing to drinking on the job.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Oy. Oy, vey.

No, I don't practice Judaism nor do I speak Yiddish. But sometimes, one MUST borrow phrases, because nothing else will fit the situation. Like when the Seahawks crush the New Orleans Saints during a playoff game. The only appropriate thing to say is "Holy Mary, Mother of God."

It's the only thing that fits.

In this case, it's "oy, vey."

Yesterday, I dropped a quick email to my ex's parents. I'd spoken to his mother a few weeks before about a shoulder surgery needed by her husband, my ex's stepfather. [The ex's birth father died over a decade ago. Cancer. It was awful.] Anyway, she and her husband were planning on spending a few months on Vancouver Island before visiting family in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and returning for an extending visit to Germany. I did feel that kind of happy jealousy one feels for the good fortune of others. She'd finally retired and now it was time to enjoy! Yay!!!

So my email was along those lines. How did the surgery go? Were they enjoying Vancouver Island and all its beauties? No big whoop. And last evening, my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number [nor did my phone] but I thought the area code looked familiar. It was the ex. [I didn't even recognize his voice.] He said that his mom asked him to call, that she just didn't want to tell the story again.

Yes, my heart clutched, too.

Pancreatic cancer.

She's opted not to have chemo or radiation. She is taking a medication that has been shown to shrink tumors. She's also going to have a liver biopsy, because you know how those internal organs like to stick together on things like cancer.'s not the best diagnosis in the world. According to Wikipedia [and take that with all the salt you want] fewer than 5% of all patients diagnosed with pancreatic are still living five years after diagnosis.

Median survival from diagnosis is around 3 to 6 months; 5-year survival is less than 5%. With 37,170 cases diagnosed in the United States in 2007, and 33,700 deaths, pancreatic cancer has one of the highest fatality rates of all cancers, and is the fourth-highest cancer killer in the United States among both men and women.

But there's hope, right? There's always hope. In this case, I have very specific hopes.

I hope my ex's mom lives every remaining minute of her life, whether that's two days, two weeks or two decades.
I hope she spends time with her children and her grandchildren, her siblings, her cousins and most of all her husband, who first wife also passed away in heartbreaking circumstances.
I hope the spouses of her children are able to show her love and support their partners through all of this.
I hope my ex's wife keeps him from succumbing to his addiction again.
I hope my ex's mom loves and is loved to the utmost of her capacity and is surrounded by that love whenever she leaves this world.

Oy, vey.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I have been called a technophobe in the past. Granted, it was by extreme geeks, so I didn't have to lend that opinion too much credence unless I choose to do so. And I am resistant to so aspects of technology, but I really do have good reason.

I don't have a Bluetooth. All right, I have one, but I didn't buy it and I don't actually use it. It would just be one more thing I'd have to charge and it's hard enough to charge my netbook and my cell phone.

I don't have Internet capabilities on my phone. I know I could, but it would be just one more thing I'd have to pay for and my Verizon bill is already larger than the Gross National Product of a few small countries.

I am not on MySpace or FaceBook. Or Twitter. Or Reddit. Or anything else similar, and I can tell you why. I'm horribly afraid, not of the technology, but of the addictive nature of such things. I'm afraid I would never do anything else. Then I would have to have a smart phone with Internet capabilities and the Bluetooth that would allow me to yap endlessly on the phone while updating my FB status....

We see where this is going.

So I'm not really a technophobe. And given that I work in health care, I'm all too often the most technosavvy person in the room. I---

Okay. Stop laughing. Seriously. Health care people are usually more comfortable with human beings that with computers. You're still laughing. Stop it.


I can handle some very basic fixes when my work computers or printers start acting up. I mean, come on. How hard is it to reboot? And I can figure out a few things with the wretched programs selected by the powers that be in most of my jobs, programs undoubtedly selected from the discount bin of computer programs. I'm not a complete bucket of rocks. That being said, imagine my chagrin and dismay when the label printer for my lab became possessed by Satan.

It all started last night, you see. Devil Printer decided it was out of labels, when it actually still had a few left. It decided this when [naturally] I had a) stat labs ordered on a patient with chest pain and b) someone on his way to pick up the samples and transport them to the main testing area. Conveniently, this occurred after 5 PM, when my coworker leaves for the day and I stay until the clinic is closed and all patients have been treated. Then, in the midst of trying to reload labels into a reluctant and resistant printer, more patients showed up. Itty bitty patients. Itty bitty, screaming, fighting patients. After a sufficiently long struggle, and a great deal of cursing, I got the labels reloaded...but the printing was all catawampus.

Yes, that is too a real word.

Now, you and I both know that it's way too late to make a long story short. But to shave off some of the excess, let me say that the IT tech who had the grave misfortune to be sent to repair the Beast was smart enough to lay hands on the printer and entreat the departure of demonic spirits.

We're keeping my offer of throwing the printer through a window on reserve.

Know this, my darling invisible friend. If I ever win the lottery, I will buy this printer from my place of employment, I will take it out into a field and I will beat it with a sledgehammer until it is dust.