Sunday, July 31, 2011

She did it again.

Curse you, Cherry Adair!!!!!

Once again, I have been sucked in. This is what happened.

Don't groan like that. People will become unnerved.

Friday, I got to see the lovely and talented Cherry Adair. [Actually, I was just hanging out with my darling friend Cherry, who happens to be a Big Whoop-De-Doo Author. "Cherry Adair" wasn't actually there. Just Cherry. Just my friend.] It was so nice to see her. We laughed and chatted and I met the new puppy of the household. A nice lunch was had. My wee beastie was thrilled to see her godmother.

Yes, my dog has a godmother. Why?

Anyway, the new book by the marvelous Cherry Adair comes out next month. It's called Riptide and it's the second book in the Cutter Cay series. Undertow was the first and ohh, YUM. Was it fabulous! The series is based on a salvage company, but not just any salvage. Sunken treasure salvage. That's right. Jewels. Gold doubloons. Pieces of eight.

I have no idea why they're called pieces of eight. Hang on, must Google.

Oh! Okay, here's Wikipedia's answer:

The Spanish dollar (also known as the piece of eight, the real de a ocho or the eight-real coin) is a silver coin, of approximately 38 mm diameter, worth eight reales, that was minted in the Spanish Empire after a Spanish currency reform in 1497. Its purpose was to correspond to the German thaler.

feel so much better. Anyway. The Cutter brothers [why, yes, they are incredibly dreamy] salvage wrecked ships that carried glorious treasures from the past. Hot men! Bad guys! Hot men! Scuba diving! Hot men! Steamy sex scenes! Hot men! Bullets fired! Did I mention the hot men? Anyway, I will not spoil the story for you; it's not nice to do that and more importantly, it's not the point.

I do so have a point. I'm getting to it! Sheesh!

My point is this. I had a boatload of stuff I had to do this weekend. Cherry, darling woman that she is, had only a very few Advanced Readers Copies [ARCs] of Riptide, and in her lovely and generous way, gave one to me.

I did tell her she didn't have to! I did so. I'm not that hideous and greedy---okay, I am, but I try to hold it back with Cherry. She's so darn nice and I feel like I take advantage. But again, not the point.

So there I was, with a brand new ARC of Cherry's latest book. And all of this stuff to do. And I know myself. I know once I start a book of Cherry's, I can't stop. It's like drugs, I think. No, I don't know for sure, because the only real drug I've ever taken is alcohol. Ooo! It's like chocolate. I definitely have a chocolate addiction. That's it, that's exactly it. It's chocolate without the calories. Or the big smear around my mouth. But I can't stop.

I tried to hide the ARC from myself at first. This didn't work, sadly, because I told me where it was. Dammit. Then I tried ignoring it as I ran around most of the day, did a bunch of yard work and then went to dinner. But I could hear it calling me. Much the way chocolate does. Still, I resisted.

I held out until I crawled into bed last night, worn to a nub. Okay, not really, but I was pretty tired. And I knew--I knew--I had to work this morning. I reached over to turn off the bedside lamp and the ARC fluttered its cover at me flirtatiously.

It was all over.

I do not know how Cherry does it, how she sucks me in so quickly, but within two pages, the bargain I made with myself ["I'll just read two, no three, okay, five pages, then go to sleep."] was tossed out the window. And yes, I did have to work this morning.

Really, it was awfully unkind of her to write another oh-my-God-I-can't-put-this-down book.

I managed to stop myself eventually. I forced myself to mark my place with a bit of notepaper, set the book on the bedside table and turn off the light. I did not allow myself to roll back over and flip the light back on and dive greedily back into the story. Dive. Like the scuba bits. Heeheehee.


But now I'm at work and the ARC is in my purse. This location tends to frown on lab rats reading while at the desk, so I have to wait until I go to lunch to read more. Yes, I am watching the clock. Tapping my foot. Writhing in impatience.

Curse you, Cherry Adair.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's time for LifeAlert.

I am officially old. Yes, I fell in the shower and am expecting to be a mass of bruises tomorrow. Somebody get me a walker.

Seriously, how creamy and rich does conditioner have to be? Enough to make the shower/tub a freaking skating rink? Maybe I should be okay with my hair looking like straw.

And it wasn't just a quick slip-slam-shriek fall, either. It was a full-on, arms wheeling about in a desperate attempt to regain balance flounder and flop, bouncing like a pinball in the tub. For Pete's sake, who was on Lisa watch? Surely I wasn't left unmonitored????

And how much ibuprofen is it safe to take before the liver packs its crap and moves out? [This may be worth a call to the GI department in the morning. Note to self.]

Going to sleep now. Hopefully I make it through the night without falling out of bed.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Good Friend

Well, my sweet invisible one, I think you know of my good fortune in friendships. My darlingest little pal Kristen does life-checks on me, just to make sure I'm still breathing. My friend Carla is lovely and kind. Roommate is...gosh. She's more than a fauxbian life partner, she's family I've picked for myself. Karina is a delight to my heart. Cherry is just awesome. The Power From The East....well. Let's just genuflect and be done with that. I have good neighbors [coughRobinROCKScough] and fabulous coworkers. After this weekend, I think we should spend a little bit of time talking about Gluten-Free Jen.

GF Jen got sucked into my life when we were both involved in the Greater Seattle chapter of Romance Writers of America. She tried valiantly to shake me off, really, for years, but finally had to accept her fate. Since she's far too nice to pull off the behavior that succeeds in getting rid of me, she's stuck.

And she handles it with good grace. Really. Only minor bouts of crying over it.

Anyway. Since GF Jen learned of her intolerance to glutens, her life has changed a great deal. She's incredibly vigilant when it comes to food, because the cost of not being so is incredibly high. Pain, illness, malabsorption of food, severe, life-threatening anemia. Oh, the fun of celiac disease!!

[NB: Don't sign up for it. Seriously. Go for a fun disease, like scurvy. What? C'mon. It'll be fun to have scurvy! Who gets to say they have scurvy these days, hmm? Fine. Be that way.]

GF Jen and I spent our weekend in a hotel in Spokane replotting and revising our work and eating in restaurants. Yeah...not so great for my food plan, but thanks to GF Jen's knowledge of surrounding eateries and a very informative website [ ] we were able to eat our meals without a massive gut-explosion.

I've seen a small reaction when GF Jen inadvertently consumes glutens. Bad. Very, very bad. Ow. Bad.

GF Jen brought with her four gluten-free tarts that weekend. To quote her, "their names are Crystal, Deja, Sable and Bambi." Heeheehee. Peanut butter tarts with a almond paste-based crust.




I know there were ten BILLION points in each one and dammit, I just don't care. They were AWESOME. I want the recipe. I do. I really, really do. And how I adore a friend who will bring me such deliciousness. Naughty. But oh, so good.

While watching a commercial that showed pretty people enjoying s'mores [YUM] I asked GF Jen if such a thing as GF graham crackers. There are things called gluten free graham crackers, but...[here she grimaced and shook her head] they don't really taste like graham crackers. Then she told me what she does when it's time to have s'mores.

Graham crackers are verboten, obviously, and Hershey bars have glutens in them as well, so GF Jen places her toasted marshmallow between two snickerdoodles. I know! Doesn't that slay you??? And for the chocolate portion of our program...

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.




Surely the cruelty of her telling me this WITHOUT having one in hand to stuff into my gaping maw cannot have escaped your notice, dearest. But I forgive her this. Because she's kind. And funny. And smart. And wickedly talented. And generous. And tenderhearted. And because when all the nonsense with my family happened Thursday night, she did an impression of her small son, with whom she has this type of conversation at least weekly:

"Sister made a mean face at me."

Anyone who can make me laugh after a screamfest with my mother has a price beyond rubies.

I think I'll keep her.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Seriously Ugly

All I wanted was a weekend away. I did all the right things to get it. I asked the Powers That Be if I could visit the lake cabin without displacing anyone. I asked if I could invite Gluten-Free Jen, as this was to be a writing/working weekend, as well as a relaxing-getting-the-hell-away-from-hideous-job weekend. I made food plans. I packed. I prepped. I got excited about it.

And then it all went to hell.

Oh, yeah. Get a snack. Hit the bathroom. Sit in a comfy chair. This is going to be a long one. Hey, I'm still me, you know.

The Good

Wednesday night, we saw Sarah McLachlan in concert at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery. It had been raining since...well, December, so I didn't have any hopes for decent weather. Imagine my delight and surprise when the clouds broke enough to have a ray of sunshine illuminate the stage! Okay, so Sarah was blinded by it. She didn't mind, she's from B.C. The sun is a rare and precious gift to her, too. Halfway through the concert, the sky had cleared almost completely.

And the music. Oh, so lovely. Such a fun performance, too! Sarah said at the beginning of the show [before Big Ray Of Light] that she was so pleased it wasn't actually raining, given the weather this "Julyuary." This may be my new favorite weather term.

So I missed the exit on the drive down, so what? And yeah, I didn't bring cash for parking, so we ended up running back to a convenience store even after we arrived. We still got there in time. AND Roommate and I were joined by our lovely neighbor, her friend and her daughter, all of whom got to the concert venue early enough to snag great seating for us.

It was lovely. It was entertaining. It was funny as heck when our neighbor got a wee bit tipsy on Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot. [She's adorably affectionate when tipsy.] And since we had to park so far away, I felt like I got a workout speed walking to and from the winery.

Ah...the perfect setup for a lovely weekend away, I thought.

I was wrong.

The Bad

The next morning, Roommate opened the door to my room and said firmly, "You told me to wake you up early. You said you wanted to get up." She was correct. I did tell her that, and I meant it. At the time. But despite my inability to form words in any recognizable language, I got up. I also completed my packing, stripped the linens from the beds and remade them both. I usually make sure my bed is made up when I leave on vacations. That way, when I'm dragged back to home and hearth, kicking and screaming, at least I have a nice fresh bed to sleep in that night.

What? Try it and tell me it doesn't make going back to work a little bit better.

Anyway, after doing all I needed to do before going to work, Roommate and I headed to her car. I had a measly four hours of work and then I was FREE! Then I glanced over at my car, to admire its newly oil-changed and gas tank-filled beauty and saw it.

Flat tire.

I tried to tell myself that this would only delay my trip an hour, one hour, to get the tire repaired and be on my way. Myself, however, was now grumpy and refused to be cheered. I called Les Schwab to ask about the costs of repairing the tire, since it was the day before payday and I'd spent considerable amounts of money preparing the engine of the car for the trip and was relieved to hear that if the tire was salvageable, repairs would be around $13. I was told I could drive the car in if the tire wasn't completely flat. Bolstering myself with the hope that I could drive the car in rather than change it to the donut, thus wasting even more precious time. The tire hadn't been completely flat, after all.

By the time I got home, however, it was.

Unwilling to engage in battle with the car jack, which looked cleverer that I am, I borrowed Roommate's car to zip down to the local-est hardware store and buy a can of Fix-A-Flat. I read the instructions carefully and donned appropriate eye protection. Then I attached the little hose to the tire and depressed the button.


In an effort to fix whatever I was doing wrongly, I turned the can to look at the instructions again...and the entire top of the can popped off, spraying me in Fix-A-Flat gunk. Hair, face, clothes. Everything.

After a minor meltdown, I pulled out the donut, the car jack and the owners manual. Did you know that the '95 Volvo has a jack that fits on one spot on each side of the car? It's true. And as I was lying on my stomach, on the grass made damp by rain and Fix-A-Flat gunk, I found that spot. I also found out that as much as I hate changing tires, I hate it even more in the rain.

Of course it started to rain. Hard.

By the time I handed the keys to the man at Les Schwab, I was wet, sweaty, gunky, smelly and, if the image in the ladies' room mirror was to be trusted, scary-looking. Seriously. I looked deranged. Of course it was the day I decided not to be Our Lady of the Perpetual Ponytail, and rain, sweat, dirt and Fix-A-Flat gunk made for an interesting hairstyle. My eyes were bulging with fury and my clenched fists were shaking. Just a little.

The tire repair was completed quickly. The people at Les Schwab were very nice. I raced home, showered as quickly as possible, pulled on non-gunked clothing, loaded my car with a small mountain of crap, including my dog, and hit the road.

During the drive, I had a lovely conversation with Very Nice Person on the phone. [Hands-free device was used. Safety first! I know, I know!!!] VNP expressed sympathy and certainty that from this point on, my weekend away would be relaxing and productive.

VNP was wrong.

The Seriously Ugly

GF Jen and I met up in Newport and she followed me the rest of the way to the lake cabin. Oh, it was so beautiful! And despite the delays, there was still a tiny bit of daylight left with which one might appreciate the beauty.

Just for background: The original cabin was owned by my grandparents, who also built a two-story structure on the same lot, nicknamed "The Doghouse." A few years back, the adjoining lot was purchased and a building I like to call the Beautiful Monstrosity was constructed. Although family owns the BM, I am not part of that elite group.

Darling one, I don't know if you remember my speaking of the other offspring of my parents, the being to whom I refer as My Brother The Pig. In 1990, I received The Last Straw from MBTP and have refrained from speaking to him unless necessity and/or barest courtesy required it. My mother, therefore, warned me that MBTP and my least favorite uncle, who has been dubbed "Drunkle Chris" by my cousins, would be in residence. Apparently, however, my mother did not deem it necessary to caution MBTP that I would be arriving.

Well, that's silly, isn't it? Why should MBTP be told any such thing, when the world revolves around his comfort and should adjust to his needs? I feel so foolish.

Anyway. After my arrival, MBTP's spawn spotted me and, having no clue who I am, trotted off to report my presence. A few moments later, he appeared to investigate.

Our conversation is as follows:


Me: Hi.

MBTP: What's going on? [faint note of suspicion]

Me: [pause] Just here for the weekend.

MBTP then turned to GF Jen and introduced himself; she responded in kind. That was it. A little while later, he and our Uncle Al returned the barbecue they'd borrowed from the Doghouse, as the BM's barbecue wasn't working properly. I greeted Uncle Al with much warmth because a) I love him, b) he is very kind to me and c) he's one of the few males in my family worth more than the dirt it would take to bury him.

Both men returned to the BM, GF Jen and I finished our settling in, fixed a cocktail and sat down to discuss our writing plans for the weekend when the phone rang. It was my mother. Screaming.


Evidently, the conversation I had with MBTP was "rude" and "short" on my end. MBTP was very upset by this lack of good manners on my part, so upset, in fact, that he did what any forty-seven year old, educated, traveled, urbane, respected officer of the court, husband and father of three would do.

He called his mommy.

Now, had I said what I would have liked to say during our brief exchange, I would accept the "rude." The response I would have liked to give to the oh-so-friendly-and-charming "What's going on?" would have been something like this:

What's going on? Well...let's think about that, shall we? I'm
375 miles from home, surrounded by bags of food and clothing. I'm standing
in front of our family's lake place. It's summertime and we're on the very
cusp of a weekend. I have my dog with me. A friend is here with her
own bags and suitcase. Now. Given all of that, what do you
think is going on? Take your time. Top of your head...yes, right
near the bald spot...take a wild guess.

But I didn't.

And when one considers that I would like very little more than never to see MBTP again, the fact that I said anything at all makes my response relatively long-winded.

It also never occurs to MBTP that his approach might not be viewed as the height of cordiality and welcome. Nor does that occur to my mother. If blame is to be assigned, we all know very well where it will land.

To be honest, beloved invisible one, all of this information about MBTP is incidental. While I found it irritating, it wasn't surprising or even all that hurtful. I cannot expect better from him, unless I secretly long for disappointment. This is one of the many reasons I no longer interact with him unless absolutely necessary. What was upsetting and insulting and hurtful was my mother's response.

If my mother were a better parent and a better person, she might have had two different responses than she did.

  1. She might have listened sympathetically, making appropriate noises of love and support when MBTP called.

  2. She might have said, "You're 47 years old. Be a man. Deal with it yourself or get over it."

Instead, she called me, screaming, and told me to "Get the fuck out."

That night, I didn't sleep all that well. I knew that if I left, I would be unlikely to return to the place of my heart and my childhood, my favorite location on earth. I also knew that the choice I was making was not between my wants and my relationship with my mother, but between the lake and my self-worth.

We were packed and gone by 0845.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Fortune Cookie

I had lunch out today. It was lovely, thank you for asking. I walked the two blocks to the cute little restaurant near work, ordered one of my favorite lunch specials, sipped a little jasmine tea. Nice, right?

Then they brought me the check. With a fortune cookie. Oh, what the heck, I thought. It's only one more point. And I have plenty for the day. So I picked up the cookie and broke it open and this is what I saw:
Hmm. Really.

While I'm not certain I actually have a love life right now, I think I'd like a little more information. Very Nice Person is, by definition, very nice, but he's also three thousand miles away. And as I have mentioned in the past, nobody's picking out china. Nobody's contemplating a move. It's all...well, very nice, but it's not really enough to qualify for a love life.

Is it?

Anyway. I think handing out these types of fortunes is a bit unsettling. Misleading. Imprecise. After all, when will my love life change? And how will my love life be better? By whose definition? The Omnipotent Comedian's? Yes, I think we know Who was behind this amusing little fortune's finding its way into my hands. I think the OC is giggling right now, remembering the snort I gave when I read this tiny message.

And what kind of guarantee do I have that this will actually happen? See, this is one of the many reasons I don't go to psychics, either. You get no guarantees. You get your hopes up, you think something might shift or change that you want shifted or changed, and then...nothing. And no recourse!

I walked home from work the other night, passing by the home/business office of a psychic. At least, that's what was printed on the sign. I wonder if she knew I was there.

Not the point. The point is, I had a lovely lunch.

Stupid fortune cookie.


What's the matter, girl? Garden needs water? Fish fertilizer isn't dilute enough? That damn Timmy is freaking stuck in the well AGAIN and you have no thumbs for hose operation? What is it? What is it???

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Bright Side [Warning: Possible TMI]

Many, many things about the Weight Watchers journey is a burden to me. It is. I could lie, but darling invisible friend, you'd know I was lying. We've talked about this. I don't like counting my points. I don't like measuring my portions. I don't like gauging my weight loss in micrograms, when I have so much left to lose.

On the up side, however, I have found a benefit to this program. It's not the healthy eating or a feeling of "energy" or "accomplishment." Pfft. Please. No, no. It's the increased volume of "me" time I'm getting from the upswing of bathroom visits necessitated by the copious consumption of water.

Oh, sure, I am a little concerned about the number of trees I'm killing through my use of bathroom paper products---or fine-grit sandpaper, if I'm at work. But all in all, this facet of WW has just been lovely. Fine-grit sandpaper notwithstanding.

It might be a little better if the dogs didn't insist on accompanying me on nearly every home bathroom visit, but one cannot ask for everything. Well, that's not true. One can ask, of course. But one would have to be far more delusion than I to expect this request to be fulfilled.

Ooo. Listen, I'd love to chat more, but...well, you know. Must run.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Great News

My dear friend Brad was accepted into law school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay, Brad!!!

I have to say, when I read his email, I was delighted...but not surprised. Brad is ridiculously bright and obscenely well-educated. I do believe this J.D. will be his fifth degree--ha!!!

He's getting the fifth degree!!!! Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!

Sniff. Oh lord, I am funny.


I think we should celebrate by sharing our best lawyer jokes. Who's got one? Hmmm?

Congratulations, my dear friend. I look forward to hearing about your wildly successful first year.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Plan B

Olympia Dukakis, as Ms. Claree, had many great lines in the movie Steel Magnolias. One of my favorites was:

"The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to

I love this. Although I am not an accessory queen myself, I appreciate it in others. Most of the time, I'm relieved if my shoes match each other, never mind my outfit. This is yet another disadvantage to being a slobbering mass of incoherence before 1159 AM.

Can you believe people actually want me to draw their blood before that time? It doesn't speak well of their intelligence, does it?

Anyway. One of the women on the WW message boards has this as her signature line:

I'm fairly certain that, given a cape and a nice tiara, I could save the

This may be correct, you know. After all, Wonder Woman was all about the accessories. Bracelets, tiara, whip. Although the whip might just have been for fun and games with her current love interest.

Hey, I'm not here to judge. Unlike some people I could name. [meaningful look]

Maybe if I wore one of my tiaras every day, I could become a superhero. I'm against the wearing of capes during superhero-type work, for safety's sake, but I cannot deny the kindness capes do, in camouflaging my less-than-svelte bits. But a tiara is very workable. I wonder if my purple one would clash with too many outfits? Maybe I'd have to stick to the silver one---

What? Yes, I have tiaras. Yes, more than one.


See, now you're judging me.

Look, I don't actually expect to save the world. But maybe if I had just a few superpowers, I could change some things. I'm not sure what yet. Obviously, this plan needs fine-tuning, but would it be lovely if the blaze of light from my sparkly tiara distracted people from road rage? Okay, not distracted to the point of running off the road, because that would be bad, but distracted from the irritation with the moron in front of seven blessed cars whose drivers just want to freaking drive the speed limit??????? Maybe the drivers of those cars would be soothed by the prettiness of the tiara.

It could happen. Yes, it could. Yes, it could!

Fine. If you're going to be like that, I'm taking my tiaras and leaving. Pffffffft!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tone Deaf

That's what I'd like to be.

Some people will tell you that I have already achieved this, but this isn't about music or singing. No, no. This is about the faulty method of communication found in emails, instant messages and message boards.

I've always rolled my eyes when people whine, "It's not what _____ said, it was how s/he said it." I've even rolled my eyes as I've said it. In fact, as I write this post, I'm rolling my eyes at myself. Soon, my disgust will be enhanced by a small headache.

Eye rolling is hard on a person.

Anyway. As you are painfully aware by now, dearest, I have been on Weight Watchers for twelve weeks. The online tools have been fairly helpful, in an annoying and time-consuming sort of way, and I have recently started reading some of the posts on the message boards.

And as we both know, I cannot keep silent and just lurk like any decent human being. I must--MUST--comment. Heck, I even started a thread. I started a thread and this is when tone became the latest burr under my saddle. Not that I have a saddle. Or a horse. Or maybe that saying implies that the speaker is a horse. Well, whatever it is, I'm sure you get my meaning and empathize with my irritation.

Then again, maybe you won't. We shall have to see.

So this is what happened. Yes, I do have to tell you. Yes, it is going to be a long one. Why should today be different?

I had a lovely weekend celebrating Roommate's birthday. In regards to following my weight-loss plan...I wasn't wildly successful. Oh, don't get me wrong; I didn't lose my mind, or anything. Stuff just...added up. A lot. At least it did Saturday.

For Sunday, I was determined to do things a little differently and again, was not overburdened with success. Here's what I posted on the message board:

It was my roommate's birthday yesterday. We went to The Keg Steakhouse. I
had a plan.

No, I did! I really did! I knew that wonderful sourdough bread would be
served and I knew I would want that, so I made a deal with myself. I could order
a large salad with grilled shrimp on the top instead of the steak and
twice-baked potato I used to order every time I went to the Keg. I would have my
dressing on the side and merely dip my fork into it. I would order a side of
asparagus. I would take the zucchini and mushrooms and red pepper from my
roommate, who doesn't eat a lot of produce. And I would allow myself bread
and butter.

They put the dressing on the side [I used almost none of it] and the blue
cheese crumbles were also in a side condiment holder. I had maybe a tablespoon
of that. And I didn't worry too much about the pecans [healthy oils] dried
cranberries or mandarin orange slices scattered among the baby spinach and red
onion. Oh, and the veggies? All were glistening and gorgeous...I guessed a
tablespoon of oil on the veggies alone. And yes, I had ONE cupcake. ONE. But
still! Not terrible, I thought. I knew I'd be over, but not horribly.

Until I added it all up. The best laid plans.... I just don't
think three hours of yardwork is going to balance this one out.

Pretty straight-forward stuff, right? A response appeared quickly:

So, now that you've looked at it...make another plan...for the next time
you go. What would you do differently? What pushed you over point wise? What
would you have given up. Bread/butter and dessert in the same meal...sounds like
a lot to me. what pushed you?

I am relatively certain that this person intended to be helpful. I am. No, really. But for some reason, this response made one of my hackles rise.

Okay, two.

Maybe six.

I'm just saying.

First, does anyone need to be pushed to eat bread and butter and dessert? I didn't think so! And frankly, this might seem like a "lot" to this person, but I eat like a linebacker. A body like this didn't happen by accident, you know. I didn't wake up one day after overindulging in one meal to find that my body had morphed into a small land mass. It didn't happen because I dislike food. After all, if it's not nailed down or moving, I'll pretty much eat it.

The whole comment may not be so bad, but it felt really judgemental to me. This person has made many, many other comments and almost never have I seen anything really encouraging. A list of errors made, sure. Instruction on what SHOULD have been done, absolutely. But encouragement?


At this point, I see three possibilities.

1) The fallible medium of electronic communication has not allowed for this person's sincere good will toward others to be expressed. Can't read the "tone," right? Perhaps this person believes tough love is the best encouragement. Maybe.

2) I am being a trifle oversensitive. No, really! It happens. Oh my, are you feeling faint? Do you need a damp towelette? I'm so sorry to shock you, but now and then, this oversensitivity of mine does happen. [It's a lot to take in. I realize that. Take a moment to absorb.]

3) The commentator is a hideous beast of a creature who deserves to be kicked repeatedly with pointed toe leather boots. Metal studs on said boots are optional, as are other leather accouterments.

I have not decided which possibility is the most likely, but I have been checking boot prices online.

Just saying.

Friday, July 8, 2011


She's not angry. Just terribly, terribly disappointed.

And the sheer volume of eyeliner she wears absolutely exhausts her.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shame on me.

Nobody, but NOBODY does reproachful like an aged beagle.

Maddie Mae is the newest addition to the household. Roommate's mother moved in with her Significant Other and said S.O. has a lab-ish kind of dog who demonstrated bad behavior when around Maddie. I have no idea if Roommate's mother and her S.O. will address the obedience issues therein, but the solution they came up with was to give Maddie to us.

I know.

Fortunately, Maddie is essentially a pillow who eats. She's not too much work and hey, if I'm outside, picking up poo for two dogs, I might as well pick up poo for three. She spends most of her time holding down the couch, which is a profound relief to us. I cannot tell you how exasperating it was to find the couch floating around the living room. Weight off my mind, I can tell you.

May I pause here to express my ocean-deep glee that two of the three dogs in my home are not my fault? That's right. They're Roommate's fault. The Cat Person's fault. Heh heh heh. Anyway.

Anyway, despite Maddie Mae's overwhelming addiction to eyeliner [she's a huge Pat Benatar fan] she is the sweetest old girl dog ever. And the snuggliest creature on the planet. Seriously. on the nights she sleeps in my room, if she were any closer, she'd be on my other side. The other night she whomped herself against me so hard, I actually rolled. Twenty-eight pounds of cuddle, I tell you.

Last night, she decided that the best place for her to sleep would be between the headboard of my bed and the pillow. No, I don't know why. She's just a unique snowflake, that's all. This would have been okay if I hadn't thrown some of the pillows to the side this morning, as I was resisting Roommate's dulcet command to get my ass up. Ah, Roommate. What a peach.

Anyway, if the process of flailing/moving pillows, I inadvertently thumped Maddie. Yes, it was just with a down pillow and no, it did not hurt her. But the Look I got....

Oh, it's not like I'm grounded or anything.

She was just terribly, terribly disappointed in me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Master Class, the First

Hello, everyone! Good morning. Thank you for joining us today for the Master Class series presented by the laboratory. As you know, there are several aspects to the lab worker's day that might seem foreign to the rest of health care. This series has been organized to shine a light on the shadows, so to speak, to clear up the mysteries and to answer any questions you might have.
Oh, hi. Well, yes, you're a little late, but we've only just started. Go ahead and take one of these handouts and sign in on the sheet up here. Yes, you do need to list your employee number; otherwise you won't get your continuing ed credit. Actually, that's important for everyone to know. Please make sure you signed in and put your employee number next to your name. I know everyone wants credit for being here!

Here we go! Our class today, as you see on the handout, is The Ice Cube Tray; Battling The Beast In The Freezer.

All right. Since this is the first of our series, we're just going to ease into the process. This is going to feel most relevant to employees from my building, but really, this is information can be used in almost any health care setting--actually, in almost any business setting!

No, given that our subject matter melts pretty quickly, we're sticking with pictures of the trays and the ice, but don't be alarmed. Anyone who needs additional, hands-on practice may stay after today's class. Let's take a look at our first slide.

Now, who can tell me what this is?

That's right! It's an ice cube tray. Now, I see a few people already look nervous, but please trust me, there is nothing to fear.

We all like ice in our drinks, don't we? It's lovely to open the freezer and see ice, ready and waiting for our sodas, our iced tea, our water. Sometimes we just need one tiny cube, to cool our coffee, right? And so the last thing we ever want to see is this:

Who can tell me what this is? That's right! An almost empty ice tray. Believe it or not, this is more commonly found in freezers than the completely empty ice tray.

Okay, let's turn to our work sheet. Everyone have that? Great. There are four steps to eliminating this problem listed; let's see who can guess the order of those steps. First step--anyone? Yes, go ahead.

That's right! Number one: remove tray from freezer. Everyone have that? Good. Now who can guess the second step?

Yes!!! Number two: turn on the water faucet. Very good. Now, who's got the third step---wow! Lots of hands up! You guys are on it! How about you, sir?

Exactly. Number three: refill the tray with water. Because that's the main ingredient in ice, isn't it?

And last---oh, do you have a question?

That is an excellent question. Did everyone hear that? The question was, is it necessary to remove the remaining cubes in the tray? No, that is an optional step. Everyone got that? Optional. You certainly may remove the last cube or two, but it is not necessary to do so to refill the tray with water. Does that make sense? Excellent. So the last step would be...?

That's right, everyone! Number four: return the tray to the freezer. Because that's our other ingredient, isn't it? Cold.

Oh, I see we have another question. Yes?

Another good one. Yes, physicians can refill ice trays. Heck, even administrators can do it! The wonderful thing is, refilling ice trays isn't limited by job title, relative company value OR gender. We are all capable of refilling the trays. When you think about that, isn't that empowering? Yeah. It's great, isn't it?

Oh, another question! I like the way everybody's thinking here!

Ahh. Yes. This come up a lot, but usually not in the workplace master classes. Normally, we get this question in the classes tied to marital counseling. No, you are correct. Beer doesn't need ice, but as we don't normally drink beer on the job, we're all still capable and responsible for the ice supply. At least I hope we're not drinking beer on the job! Ha ha! Boy, that would make for some pretty crazy days in surgery, huh? Ha ha! But good question.

Anything else? Okay, finally, let's look at the consequence list on the second to the last page, before we take our post-class quiz. Ohhh, I know, no one likes the quizzes, but everyone's done so well, I know there will be nothing but high scores!

Hmm? Yes, you do need to pass to get your credit. But don't worry! We'll get you through this. Most of the score is the practical exam, anyway, and I know you can do that.

All right, then. Consequences. Who can name one consequence for not refilling the ice trays? Yes?

Very, very good. We would all have warm drinks. And who wants that? Right. Good. Who can--oh! well, there's a hand waving! Go ahead.

Oh, boy. Did you just say a mouthful. That's right, your female coworkers could lose their grips and kill you. And given that health care is dominated by women ranging in age from child-bearing to menopausal, that might not be a risk any of us wishes to take. I've worked in situations that included a coworker with hot flashes, another with third trimester mood swings and a third with just raging PMS. That's a lot of power in one room, folks.

And who can think of one more? Let me help out with this one. If we constantly leave the ice cube trays for the laboratory personnel to refill, something besides clean, fresh water might make it into the trays. Yeah. Ewwww. No one wants that, do they?

So let's all do our part and what we'll have is this: Okay, let's turn to the page and take our quizzes!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I need to invest in Puffs. Specifically, Puffs with lotion.

I kid you not, darling invisible friend, Puffs are a gift beyond measure to one who is riddled with allergies. It's ridiculous how quickly I resemble Rudolph when using other tissues.

Rudolph. The reindeer. No, not the runner. Are you kidding? Have you met me??? The red nosed one. The Christmas song? Ah. There we go.


I am horribly dependent on tissues, like Puffs, because of my stupid allergies, which have taken over my life this week. I'm usually fairly disgusting, nose-wise, but this week has been particularly revolting. Middle of the night sneeze attacks, swollen eyes, nose doing an impression of a faucet...yeah. I feel pretty.

I do love it when I'm working through one of these allergy extravaganzas. Not only is my already excessive handwashing doubled, but I get to have conversations about my general snottiness with many, many patients and coworkers.

"No, I have allergies, not a cold. How do I know? Because colds get better."

Yeah. And I've been around me for a while. Thank you for asking.

"Ha ha! Yes, maybe I am allergic to work!"

Snort. Uh huh. No kidding. Quick! L&I claim!!

"Yes, I have been tested. Evidently, I'm allergic to the planet."

That part is true. I saw a very pleasant allergy doctor a few years ago and experienced the delight of scratch testing. It was really fun. First, lines were drawn on my forearms. Then a different histamine solution was dotted on the ends of each line. Then a sharp implement was used to gouge my skin, forcing the histamine into my body.

Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.

Then I was left alone to allow my body time to react to each histamine. Or not react. You understand. It was supposed to be fifteen minutes, but the doctor popped his head in to check on me about half-way through. Or maybe to see if I was experiencing actual anaphylaxis. You know. Just for fun.

"How's it going in here?" he asked cheerfully.

I held out my arms to show a double row of blister-like bubbles on each side.

"Okay," he said, entering the room fully and scrubbing my arms clean of ink and histamines. "You're done."

So, there we are. I'm allergic to everything. Oh, not food! No, no, no. That's crazy talk. But pretty much everything else. I snuffle and I sound like I've had a buffalo shoved up my nose and my eyes water and my ears itch.

Yup. I feel pretty, all right.