Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I Hate My Allergist's Office

Oh, and there are many reasons.

I keep going because, despite the reasons I will soon name, the nurses and my primary doctor are very capable and I have improved under their care. But if that is ever not the case I will be out that door so fast...

Reason 1. It is a nice office. Like, they have all the new technologies, and they are used to having the best. And they're used to patients that can afford it. That is to say...they prescribe medicine that is expensive (unless you fight them), have many follow-ups (unless you fight them) and tests (unless you fight them). If I let them have their way, they'd see me at least once a month. And they'd give me an MRI and then sinus surgery. They assume, if I walk through the door, that I can afford it all.

I don't want to buy my doctor a boat.

The thing I hate? They don't get that not all of us have four brand new cars and a McMansion. They just don't understand.


Reason 2.
They won't comply when your pharmacy calls up for a refill of a prescription, unless you call them personally, schedule an appointment, and then go there and ask the doctor personally. Even then, it's about a 50/50 chance you leave with your prescription. This is because they want you to need them. And office visits mean bills. Which means a new villa in Spain.

Reason 3. One of the doctors likes to patronize me, because he thinks I don't know what my lungs are, how they work, what asthma is, and so forth. Case and point: I once jokingly asked if we could just surgically remove all the mucosa membranes from my nose and sinuses, so that I wouldn't get so congested. He thought I was being serious and explained how the body needed those membranes and they were useful because--and then I stopped him, told him I understood, and explained that I'd been joking. He looked doubtful.

Reason 4. That same doctor likes to quote research papers to make me feel stupid. He does this because it makes him feel important. Also, he likes to detail the worst case scenario again and again, usually resulting in me bursting into tears because he's A. calling me dumb and B. telling me I'm going to die and, more importantly, C. I'm paying him to do it.

Reason 5. If I decide I must have a refill and therefore must call, it goes like this: When I say, "I need a refill of drug X." They say, "Okay, sure." Then an hour passes, they call back. I say, "Hello." They say, "It wasn't actually okay, we haven't seen you since July." I say, "That was my yearly appointment. I get one a year, it says so on my insurance card." They say, "You cancelled two." I say, "Because I get one a year." They say, "But you cancelled two." I say, "Because my insurance wouldn't pay for an MRI and I don't need a follow-up after the MRI if I haven't gotten one." They say, "No prescription refills." I say, "I have no asthma medicine at all and if I have an attack, I will die. Thank you." They say, "Fine. Hold please."

I listen to an advertisement for services I am already sort-of receiving.

They say, "Fine, we'll give you a 30 day supply. But you need to come in." I say, "Would you like me to schedule?" They say, "We're giving you 30 days." I say, "But I still need to schedule." They say, "You'll have medicine for 30 days." I say, "I am fully aware of that. But I will live longer than 30 days and will therefore need more medicine. That means I must have an appointment, which I must schedule, as this is not a hair salon and you don't take walk-ins, even if the patient comes inside clutching their lungs which they have coughed out and hope you can put back where they came from."

No, I don't say that. I say, "When the 30 days run out, I'll have no medicine and you won't refill anything again, so I have to make an appointment." They say, "When?" I say, "When are you available." They say, "I need to know when you want your appointment, so that I can see what we have open."

This is when I sigh, wish I would just drop dead already so my family can sue this practice that can clearly afford to pay out a few million in damages, and then tell them to rattle off some dates and times so that I know what is open for me to choose from. Eventually, this leads to me saying, "I'll call back when I have my May schedule in front of me." Before I hang up, disgruntled. Still without an appointment.

Reason 6. They keep telling me they can make things better. But they don't make anything better at all. Why? Because I'm allergic to life and they don't make a pill for that. Also, they can't accurately test me, so I could be allergic to death too, we don't know. So allergy shots won't even help me.

The good news? Today I have asthma prescriptions. The bad news? I am doubting very much that I'll be able to leave their office without an MRI appointment. Which I will cancel. And then we'll be right here again.

But I'm doing one other thing when I go in this time. I'm checking the dates on prescriptions. Because if they have them become void at the end of 2010, causing me to need to have an appointment the second the new year begins, despite the fact that it hasn't been a year since my last appointment, I'm handing the scripts back so they can redo them.

And the next time I'm at my family doctor, I'm asking him to take control of this for me, so I don't have to screw around with this office again. It's tedious and stressful, and getting stressed makes life no fun.

Laura's Week

Ugh.

I feel like crap. It's true. Jennifer was telling us all about life in Sinus Infection Land, and I totally know how she feels.

Unfortunately, I actually don't have a sinus infection. This is just me during allergy season, and it's just plain depressing.

To make matters worse, I am totally, utterly, completely out of all my asthma meds, and the allergist won't refill them, because I won't get an MRI of my sinuses because that would make any other health costs for the rest of the year--like my asthma prescriptions. I don't want to find out I need sinus surgery when I already know there's no way I'll be able to afford having it.

Plus, if certain ignoramuses get their way, and I've already had the MRI, whatever future insurance I have when I get a job that will allow me to afford to pay for surgery will then refuse to cover the sinus surgery altogether, because it will be a pre-existing condition.

This has been pre-existing since the sixth grade. Maybe longer. Just because you aren't diagnosed doesn't magically make it so that you didn't have the illness prior to your diagnosis. It just makes your being sick official.

Why am I telling you this? 1. I want medicine and my allergist wants to yell at me instead of helping me and 2. I have had a sinus headache for 5 weeks straight now.

I'm tired of having a sinus headache.

To make matters worse, I've stopped sleeping again. This is an annoyance to say the least. Last night I finally decided a benadryl would kill two birds with one stone, and as a result, I am now at work "stoned" on an antihistamine. You could shoot me in the foot right now, and I doubt it would even hurt. I'd just use the injury as an excuse to fall asleep.

As if there wasn't enough sickness in our house, we discovered two days ago that Darcy (who had not been quite herself since the tick induced doggie anxiety began) has a rash on her leg. She felt awful Wednesday night, so bad that she didn't get up to greet me at the door. That's unheard of.

We took her to the vet and he gave her antibiotics and steroids to get rid of it. The vet's office also pressed on us another heartworm medication with the instructions to feed it to her after the other prescriptions ran out. Thursday evening, I inspected the packaging and discovered it was Ivermectin again.

How many times do we have to scream at everyone that Ivermectin will kill our dog? When we say, "Darcy can't have that medication," we don't mean she's allergic to the chemical that makes it taste like liver, she's allergic to the active ingredient. The active ingredient will kill her.

Knowing that this would continue to happen again and again until I lost my mind, I went online and ordered a screening kit from the veterinary school at Washington State University. This is so that I can be sure she's allergic to all the things we now have to assume she's allergic to and avoid like the plague just in case. It is also so that I can walk into the vet's office, find Cannon Fodder, the worthless receptionist, and shove the results in her face, explaining in small words that she can understand how much I will sue her if she kills my dog.

Meanwhile, Darcy is now on medicine she isn't allergic to, and we hope she starts feeling some improvement soon.

This week I went through every book we have in our Young Adult section and I weeded anything that hadn't been checked out in the last five years. This means we have no more 80's romance novels. Book covers adorned by women with Dynasty hair doesn't make teenagers want to pick up a book. Blood-coated vampire teeth, however, attracts everyone from kindergartners to middle-aged women.

Now I have no wasted space and when I finally get to move around all the books to fill my new shelf, I won't be moving books that no one reads anymore.

And I get to order lots and lots of new books, which makes me very happy.

Dad has decided to take up blogging. In order to do this, he had me create a blog for him and now expects me to teach him exactly what he's supposed to do to make it interesting and also to teach him to use a digital camera, upload pictures from his digital camera, and post said pictures on said blog.

This will take months, and then, if I'm not lucky, he will give up on the idea.

Prove me wrong, Dad. Prove me wrong.

He would make a good blogger, though, because his writing is amazing (even though it's very different than mine) and he can always make me laugh.

He once wrote this hilarious letter to my mother when they were still dating. He typed it on his typewriter, which added to the effect considerably. It began with Mom, armed with a handgun and escaping pursuit on a motorcycle. Those were clearly his favorite things in his youth. Mom, motorcycles, and guns. Typical man. However, he took it from hilarious action movie to a little romantic love note she likes to take out and show me to prove how amazing of a writer Dad is.

Also this week, I got a random phone call while I was at work from my alma mater. Why? Money, of course.

But not for the reason you might think.

MC called me to tell me I had a payroll check from 2006 I'd never cashed (probably because I never got it and never knew I was missing it). And it's no five dollar check, either. It's big. Like, huge, considering how much I made when I worked at the college and how many hours a week I worked. I'd hate to think how many weeks of work went into that check. No wonder I was broke in college.

I haven't decided whether this money should go toward something responsible or to a knitting venture. We'll see.

My fortune cookie was so totally right.

This weekend has been set aside for the purpose of relaxation. Why? Because next week I have to be in Kokomo all day on Friday for a conference. I also have to work on Saturday. This is sucky. But I did take off the following Monday (to cut hours), so at least I'll get a weekend, even if it isn't exactly on the weekend.

I'm thinking I will use the weekend to finish the toe of my Ellington sock, then I will move on to another project I need to finish, like the strawberry mittens.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why, Vista, Why?

Complaints about Windows Vista are old news. Everyone knows how annoying it can be, how glitchy it is, how many times it will crash just to see if you're paying attention.

When I bought my laptop, I ended up with Vista.

I lucked out and happened across an article that showed me how to customize the settings in order to make Vista 1. Run faster, 2. Shut up, and 3. Not automatically update and then crash due to my having dial-up internet.

Life was good.

But over a year ago, I found a book that I kind of hated that had a link to a site I liked that then linked to a Shakespeare festival website that told me I could get a font that was exactly like the type style on the First Folio. Let's face it. That's awesome.

Not only that, I discovered that I could get a font that was Jane Austen's handwriting. And others that were Tolkien-style, taken from The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings illustrations. Made of awesome.

They also were free. So I downloaded the Shakespeare font, tried to install it, and guess what?

Windows started opening and closing again and again, faster and faster, so quickly that I could not close them in time for them to not try to open another window and another. The only solution? To take out the battery and kill power to the computer, since it wouldn't shut down.

Incidentally, I am now out of the good jellybeans. Only gross ones left. Sigh.

How am I supposed to write under these conditions?

I know what you're thinking. Virus, right? Well, you're wrong. It wasn't a virus. It was a zip file.

Yes. A plain, ordinary, densely stored zip file.

I tried some stuff, resolved to have my tech-savvy friends look at it, then moved on with my life.

Cut to yesterday, when I was at work, downloading summer reading program stuff, and found a link to the fonts from the summer reading program.

Happily, I clicked the link, then instantly downloaded and installed the new fonts. In seconds. With no Compu-Seizures. However, this was not my computer.

This told me that 1. My computer is annoying in many ways, ways that almost drown out the ways in which it is not annoying, but not quite and 2. There must be something actually wrong, missing, or broken since the work computer didn't have any kind of special program to make the unzipping happen and to keep the Compu-Seizures from happening.

I investigated. I came up empty.

When we got our fast internet, my mother discovered that the service came with what amounts to a free IT Slave. Need help using that new iPod? Your IT Slave will help you. For free. Have a virus? The IT Slave will get rid of it for you. For free. Wondering why you have a cupholder but no CD drive? Your IT Slave will explain it to you. For free. And without laughing.

I called him on his phone and he went to work. My little cursor raced across the screen, since now he had control of my computer, as if by magic--

This is when I have to cut in and explain a little something. Remote access freaks me out. Not because I think that my personal files will get stolen, but because I like to watch a show called Criminal Minds. Every Wednesday for the last five years, I have settled down in my couch and watched the BAU capture serial killers, and I've gotten a free abnormal psych lesson in the process.

On one episode, the BAU were investigating this UnSub who was killing people he thought were sinners. How did he know? Because he was an IT guy who worked over the phone from his house. He would fix the problem then instead of closing out the connection, he would leave a trojan horse in place so he could remotely activate the built-in webcam in his future-victim's computer and then watch them.

My laptop so totally has a built-in webcam. This knowledge is just freaky enough that I am wary of remote access. Just one of my little everyday paranoias.

--However, Mr. IT Man found the problem almost instantly. He discovered that the two halves-of-program/code that were trying to open the file couldn't merge together. In other words, they were not playing well with each other. So he gave me a file and installed it and now the zip files open.

This should be the end of the story. But because I am talking about my computer, it wasn't.

I tried to install the fonts. And everything worked very, very well, until I tried to use them and noticed that, even though I had stored the unzipped info in the right folder, the files had vanished the second I sent them there for some reason, probably because the universe doesn't want me to have nice things or to be happy.

So here I am at work, looking at the fancy fonts, knowing that unless Mr IT Man comes through when I call him again, I will forever be without them. It's funny, because I never thought that typing like Jane Austen wrote would make my life worth living, but somehow, it does. Without that little ray of sunshine, I don't know what my world will become.

A dark place, set in Times New Roman. That's what.

Monday, April 19, 2010

In Which Laura Details Her Knowledge of Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Manga

I know nothing.

That's it. Nothing.

I am sitting here at my "desk" looking over countless reviews of different graphic novels and the like, and I am confused.

What I need is a dork for hire, which is funny, because I have always classified myself as being a dork, nerd, etc. I shouldn't need a dork for hire. But I do, because in my childhood, the closest I ever came to comic book fandom was a short obsession with Garfield. In elementary school.

It's been that long.

I have a shelf for this sort of material. And lots of that is filled. What I must do is...update what we have, which to me means get rid of Rin Tin Tin, which is French and pretty racist in its uncensored version (we have the censored ones). Also, it is French. And old. And there are no lasers in it, and it is boring.

From there, I am at a loss. Get rid of the racist ages old French comics, replace them with--empty space?

So. Even though I know a knitter from the Midwest does not attract the attention of many graphic novel movers and shakers, I hereby issue a challenge.

Go forth. Create a database for librarians that dumbs this stuff way down for us. Create a core list of works that we ought to have in any good collection, then add to it as new graphic novels are released that you find earthshaking. Then back it up with legitimate critical reviews of each work. That means we can trust you. When you're finished, tell everyone what you have done.

Then we will love you.

Right now, every site set up back in the beginning of our new millennium has been abandoned. Most of them were left to wither before 2005, as their writer/reviewers were snatched up by publications searching for qualified reviewers. So in other words, the people who were doing this out of the goodness of their hearts got paying jobs. Which is great for them, but it doesn't help me all that much.

Sigh.

Complainingly yours,

Laura

P.S. Apparently, "complainingly" is a word, because spell check totally didn't care that I'd used it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thank. You. Joel.

My friend Joel told me all about this, because he heard my speech about how Twilight, to me, is very similar to a crime against humanity.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Finishitis

Apparently, there's this disease that strikes knitters. Not long ago, I contracted it. I think it was spring that did it, the desire to be alive in spring that overwhelmed my need to sleep due to the world being mostly cold and sometimes slippery and usually dark.

I started many things. Sweaters left and right, which I must add are too warm for summer, a set of mittens, a lace shawl, and so forth. Then I decided I would Learn to Sew.

This, like the five other times I've tried to Learn to Sew, did not turn out as I had pictured. I didn't like that I couldn't sit down and in five minutes or less become a world-class tailor, or an awesome sewing machine guru like on Project Runway, a show I have watched like three times in my life with Jennifer that seems to have people in it that know how to use sewing machines to sew fabric which they also knew how to pick out, and all without a pattern.

I was despondent.

So I turned to the stack of half-finished things and said to myself, "Self, Mom is being awesome by teaching you (me) to sew, especially when I am so moody about sucking at sewing even though the Cry Count is still at one." Then I resolved, "I will finish those two pairs of socks I started for Mom, which is only like knitting one pair of socks, because I hated the yarn and stopped after finishing Sock 1 of 2 on each pair"

Two socks would be equal to two pairs. This was a good deal. So I broke open the Sock Binder, found the pattern for one sock, tracked down my Sock Innovation book (called "Sock Sensation" around my house because I can't remember "innovation" and just use a word that both rhymes and makes sense) by the marvelous Cookie A. Here's a pdf preview you can take a peek at if you'd like.

Then I started knitting. First, I finished the last pattern repeat and toe of the first sock, from the previously mentioned book, Sock Innovation(Sensation). The pattern? Vilai.

I knit the second in one week.

Then I cast off, handed them to Mom following last Sunday night's The Amazing Race.


Badly photographed the instant after completion, the miserable lighting in my house resulting in a miserable photograph.

Then I started the second pair.

The second pattern, Brainless by Yarnissima (free Ravelry download, folks), was sure to go much faster than the first, not only because it has the fancy Yarnissima gusset that tempts you to stay up until 2:30 in the morning just so you can finish the gusset, then so you can turn the heel, then so you can decrease the gusset, because there really isn't any good place for you to put the sock down once the heel turn has begun.


A close up of the gusset area for you to enjoy, as well as a sample of the M.A.S.H. quality color of the yarn.

I must now add, both pairs were knit with Aracunia Ranco Sock, in colorways that are numbers that I don't remember (just look on my Ravelry project's page if you really care. But why would you?)

That should have been the end. Mom, as of last night (this morning) just after midnight, had a lovely new pair of socks. Two, actually.

And I must add, the dress is still in Front Half and Various Pieces and Zipper, not in one piece and just not...pressed or something. It is totally not done. The wedding is on Saturday, and it is so not getting finished in time. But then, I knew that the moment I brought the fabric home, because one month is not long enough to learn to sew and create a beautiful dress that makes you look, magically, like you have walked out of some kind of catalogue for something.

Since I knew the dress would not be finished, I was forced to cope. I am trying to avoid using food for this purpose. I also could not, say, go for a long walk, not if I didn't want to find out vampires are real, except instead of being all cold and shiny, they are smallish, black, speckled, and multi-legged. Also, they are ticks.

Although, the exoskeleton of a tick could compare with Edward Cullen's rock-hard abs.

Twilight fans, what do you think of that image? Bella snuggling up to a giant tick? Didn't think so. This is the way my brain works. Aren't you happy you're safe on the outside?

So a walk was out. Eating was out, except for regular meals, and television can only make you forget your sorrows when Fringe is on.

I dug again into my knitting and pulled out Ellington (another Cookie A. pattern), another half-finished pair of socks, this time meant for me. Malabrigo Sock for this pair.

Because how could I justify casting on for either new Yarnissima kit without first finishing the massive amount of half-completed pairs of socks? Well, the three half-finished pair of socks. There are only three. And actually, now there is only one.

As I cast on 64 stitches for the cuff, I realized, I had contracted yet another knitting illness. Finishitis.

This is a rare disorder. Perhaps the rarest in the knitting world. Imagine what I'll get accomplished if it's chronic...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Making Laura Hate You in One Easy Step

Something happened today. And I have to rant about it. You, therefore, need not read the rant. And if you do, nod in an understanding fashion and navigate away, or perhaps leave an encouraging remark for me, because that is what you do when a person is ranting and has passed the point where they can be considered rational.

I had a bad moment at work today. It didn't seem bad when you weren't me, but in my head, it was bad. In my head, it was pretty terrible. In my head, it got a little heated. But I kept my mouth shut and came across as dense, which is enough to make me angrier than I was to start with.

Allow me to begin.

I am predisposed to like people.

When I meet a person, I listen to what they say, make eye contact, suddenly discover that the person is beautiful, due to whatever feature I find to be lovely in that particular moment. I notice how interesting the person is to talk to, how much they know about whatever subject we are talking about, be it the weather, membership rates at the Y, history, and so forth. I like them.

Usually, several conversations determine how much I will like said person and if I will like them long-term. So, if Person X talks to me at the library every Monday, I discover that either they are fun (in which case I pick out books I think they will like to show them later, look for books they mentioned they wanted to read and put them on hold for them, and so forth), or that they are the kind of person eager to share what popular culture will refer to as T.M.I., that their adult children are lazy, that they hate their ex, that their professor in their Ivy Tech criminal justice class decided to give them a B+ on purpose because the teacher secretly hates them (which I can understand, if that is how disrespectful that person was in class), or that the person is actually unpleasant and should be avoided, like the I'm Sorry Family and the few truly bad children that come to the library weekly.

A morsel of Library-Trivia...

We have a book sale at the library. It used to be upstairs, but it became far too large to keep in our small entryway, so we moved it downstairs in the entryway there. The move meant that we became responsible for the large number of the book sales that take place, meaning I have to make change For Real, something I hate to do but endure.

Here, I must stop and tell you a little more Laura Trivia.

In seventh grade, I had perhaps two friends. Neither of them, I must add, were close friends. They were school friends that I spent time with in order to make school bearable. I was the same to them. It was a bond built on survival, and it made junior high something I haven't blocked out entirely. Just partially.

In seventh grade, because I felt so disenfranchised, so miserable in a crowd of girls crazy about boys, I fell into a world of literature.

I had always been a reader, but my addiction grew. I was attracted to characters that distanced themselves from their fellow man; characters that were clinical and efficient. That was the year I decided I wanted to be a psychologist. I was an observer. This change in my viewpoint made me feel less left out, and I focused myself on the aspects of my character I thought were positive. I became reclusive. There were days when I didn't speak a single word to anyone.

That was the year I found Sherlock Holmes. I read each and every story. I carried the complete Sherlock Holmes, checked out from the library where I am now employed, with me all day long, reading it between classes when the other students were talking.

Most students thought it was a text book, so I was left alone. If they had thought it was a book...that would have been another story.

I tell you all this by way of introduction for this little freakish thing that developed.

Sherlock Holmes didn't use slang. His grammar was impeccable, so I stopped using slang altogether (I had only used a bit) and I stopped using nicknames, and for a few weeks, I stopped using contractions. That wore off fast. My writing was the same way.

Now, I have grown out of that. With adulthood comes the knowledge that even the quiet girl no one notices can draw negative attention from someone, because not being noticed isn't the same thing as being invisible. It's far better to be surrounded by good friends you love than to hide from everyone, especially when your good friends read or listen to your ranting and support you (like mine do).

My writing has changed a great deal. Not only has it matured as I have, I now can turn the freakishly accurate grammar off and on. Jennifer mentioned that the mark of a good singer was that said singer could sing badly on purpose and then go right back to singing well. Writing is the same. Here, I write what I would almost describe as stream of consciousness. I edit this only for misspellings, and not very closely. That is why there are so many ...s and so many --s and so many ()s.

I am too lazy to type out the punctuation names. Sorry.

When I'm at work, I use proper English.

All of the above gives you the background you need to understand the following: How a Person Can Make Me Hate Them in One Easy Step

I was checking out books for a patron. A man came in with books from the book sale outside. He stood directly in front of me, between me and the patron I was helping.

"You can go ahead and put those books on the desk," I told him. "We'll see what you've got in a moment."

He just stood there, impatiently. He was in his early sixties with silver hair and a bulging stomach. He also wore a strap around his lower back as if to support his stomach. He was buying biographies. I noticed all this as I checked out the two people in front of him.

When it was his turn, perhaps five minutes later, I had to ask him a second time to hand me the books. "I need to see what color the dots are on the spines," I explained.

"Have," he replied.

I stood for a moment, confused.

"I'm sorry?" I said.

"Have."

"I'm afraid I don't know what you mean by that."

"What books I have."

Oh.

That man was correcting my grammar.

Part of me wanted to drop his books right there and say something to the effect of, "Sir, I have a B.A. in English, I know how to form a sentence."

But I didn't. I didn't tell him he'd misheard me. And instantly, I hated him.

I hated that he thought I was the same age as the high school student working next to me. I hated that I look that young. I hated that he thought he could teach me how to form a sentence when I already knew how to do so, and that I could never prove that to him without offending him and causing him to tell my coworkers that I was disrespectful.

What might have been a perfectly decent human being was, at that moment, a horrible man I detested. I was happy to see him leave. The moment he walked away, I told my student assistant that he really, really needed a hearing aid.

That was it, you see. He obviously worked physically, injuring his lower back. I think he must have damaged his hearing in a factory, perhaps, or construction, like so many men I know in my life. My father damaged his hearing in the same way.

If he had talked to me about the people in his biographies, I would have liked him. Instead, he struck the one nerve I didn't know I had, the sore spot I am now aware of. My temper, which is usually mild, is apparently only mild in 99% of situations. In 1%, it is the opposite.

The poor man was likely a great person. He may have even been teasing me, like he would his daughter or granddaughter. However, it was not the way to make me laugh.

I wanted to launch into a lecture straight from my History of the English Language class, describing to him how the English language is dynamic, changing so rapidly that textbooks can't keep up with it. Language is a living thing, adapting to new technology, to religion, literature, and popular culture. When I was little, no one could have defined the word "muggle" in the United States. Now, we all know what a Muggle is, we know it ought to be capitalized, and we've started to use it as a word for any person outside of a community. A non-knitter is now called a Muggle.

When people from other cultures learn to speak English, each language changes. When English was brought to Africa, Asia, and the Americas, it was altered forever by the languages of the many indigenous cultures of each continent. The word "tote" originated in Africa and was brought over to our country by slaves.

Dialects change language. When a group of people, isolated from other English speakers, remain so for decades, their version of English changes from that of the population they left behind. Once reunited, each dialect of English changes the other.

I wanted to scream all this at that man. I wanted to take him upstairs and hand him the first VHS of The Story of English, a fantastic documentary that would teach him all of what I just ranted about.

But that would have changed me from Normal Librarian Laura to Freaky Psycho Laura, who would quickly become Unemployed Laura because Freaky Psycho Laura was yelling at patrons and forcing VHS tapes on them.

Instead, I am taking this opportunity and using this outlet to tell you the following, most of which I think you already know:

I am intelligent.

I can form a sentence using proper grammar and punctuation.

I graduated from both high school and college, meaning that I am no longer a child, despite my youthful appearance.

It is impolite to correct the grammar of a perfect stranger, as it is impolite to interrupt a person who is waiting ahead of you in a line, because you feel that your needs are somehow greater or more pressing than the person or people in front of you.

Again, I thank you all for listening to this rant. I could not repress it any longer and my family is tired of hearing me lecture on this subject. Linguistics gets boring after a while to people who aren't linguists. I would imagine.

The Medicine and Laura's Arm

Oh. No.

I had taken my cardigan off when I felt something move.

The average human might have considered the movement to be my t-shirt resettling once freed of the weight of a cardigan, but I knew better. You see, in Laura World, if something can happen that will leave me emotionally scarred, terrified, nauseated, grossed out, or humiliated, that is the thing that will happen. Like, I won't just fall down a flight of stairs, I will fall down a flight of stairs and have it captured on videotape.

It happened.

The movement was slight, only a tickle really, and could have easily been a random hair. I have lots more hair than I used to, I've grown it out and it's quite long by my standards, long enough to brush my arm randomly while still being attached to my head.

But it wasn't a hair.

I yanked the sleeve of my shirt up over the top of my arm and saw the little, flat, black form of that God-Cursed Fiend. And I did what any other self-respecting adult would have done.

I screamed like a little girl, slapped my arm repeatedly, and, when this was unsuccessful, flicked the Satan-Spawn until it flew free of my arm and pinged off something in the far corner of my room, possibly my television.

IT was now loose.

Those of you who know me a little will realize at this point that the Vector Itself was actually a tick.

A Tick.

On.

My.

Skin.

What did I do then?

I fled.

Then I, slowly, snuck back into my room so as to sneak up on the creature, before I realized that there was no sneaking up on that thing, as it was directly connected to the Powers of Darkness, and it was getting its commands from Hell Itself, meaning it would Know what I was doing as I did it, courtesy of its Demon Powers.

Then I thought, "What if IT wasn't alone?"

I will let you picture what happened next. The result, though, was me in pajamas fresh from the laundry which I had shaken out violently and inspected prior to wearing.

Also, I had combed through my hair and then made Mom comb through it too, even though she had much more of a reason to be horrified than me.

The reason, you ask?

Mom was taking Darcy for a walk. Darcy, her phobia in full-force, is now afraid to go outside, or at least to leave the pavement, for fear of picking up ticks and having to see the most feared object of all time: the tweezers.

Darcy, though, soon found the outdoors too exciting, and armed with her anti-tick/flea/mosquito stuff, Mom thought Darcy was safe from the Creatures in question. So the two of them crossed the street and started walking in their favorite spot, the field across the street.

Darcy bounded along as Mom followed behind her, in a Rockwell painting of idyllic perfection, until Mom happened to look down, that is, and saw her pants crawling with ticks. The two immediately left the field, accompanied, undoubtedly, by many New Friends. Then, Mom went about de-ticking herself and Darcy, who had them crawling all over her (and it was hard to find them, because Darcy is mostly black).

She told me the story while frying bacon for dinner, telling me it was the worst moment since The Rambler Incident with Tasha, who had been my aunt's dog at the time.

The Rambler Incident: Mom, her sister, and Tasha went to a lovely picnic spot and parked the car, took out a blanket, and ate lunch. As they did so, thousands of ticks dropped free of their hiding places, seeking out the heat-source they sensed.

What was the heat source? The black Rambler. Of course, the Rambler's windows were wide open. Oh, and there was a dog too, so they jumped all over Tasha's fur (also black), and made camp there.

These were the days, Mom says, when tick medicine did not exist outside of those little collar things. And those, according to Mom, only worked around the collar.

My aunt sat with tweezers, scouring her dog for hours on end before she found them all. Meanwhile, the Rambler was filled with them. Still.

Mom never did tell me what happened to that car. I can only assume it was considered contaminated by the family and shunned after its first engine trouble following the disaster.

When I arrived home from work, I discovered two more ticks on Darcy that Mom hadn't found, and the second one was in Phase Two of Tick attachment, which means it had gotten...

I can't say it.

It's too nasty. It makes me want to puke.

Ugh.

Engorged.

Mom made Paul get that one off, and she stood at a safe distance. When it was over, Mom flushed the tick. Then I threw up.

Then, we had dinner.

We walked Darcy after dinner, and I found a tick walking on her back. Who knows where that one came from.

Now this, mind you, is following the application of medicine that is supposed to kill these things and has done so in the past. We're talking SuperTicks, not regular ones. The kind that will survive a nuclear holocaust.

So when I found my tick, I had already been through enough during the evening that I had been made paranoid. Overexposure to ticks is not good, and I saw my epidemiology text book in my mind's eye, listing the number of diseases and parasites ticks so lovingly disperse.

Meanwhile, Darcy was afraid of the outdoors, her dog bed, and being inside. Outdoors, she picks up ticks. Indoors, she gets them removed. And she found one in her dog bed...so it was tainted. Kind of like I considered my bedroom.

Darcy was terrified of something else, too. Her own legs.

Why?

Darcy is black, mostly. But she has this cookies-and-cream ice cream effect on several of her paws. They are white with little black speckles.

Darcy now believes these speckles are potential ticks. When she sees her paws, she has to examine each spot repeatedly before she thinks her legs are safe to keep around. But looking at them still makes her nervous.

You would be too if you were a long-haired dog who has fur so fine it gets caught in tweezers, even when the tweezer person is being very, very careful. Plus, there are still the ticks.

I went through every inch of my dog, every inch of myself, every inch of my bed, and every inch of my room before we went to sleep that night. My family, meanwhile, watched me with concern, certain that the time to call the White Van People was growing near, since soft restraints cost good money that could be used to fog the property with tick killer.

I wonder how much that would actually cost us...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Good Enough

Today I walked into work only to have our children's librarian tell me she'd forgotten to do my evaluation when I'd reached my 1-year anniversary at the library.

Ugh.

Now, I know I don't suck at my job, like Cannon Fodder does. I don't kill people, swear at little children just to watch them cry, or light books on fire for fun.

But whenever there's a "grade" on the line, the lobe of my brain that lives for perfection (or as close as is humanly possible to perfection) wakes up and starts telling me everything I've ever done wrong, just so that I don't forget.

Like the time I accidentally waived a fine instead of clicking the "pay" button.

The time I tried to plunge the toilet a patron told me was overflowing and was unsuccessful, leading to the calling of a plumber.

The time I kicked out those kids mostly just because I found them distracting and obnoxious.

They deserved it.

Or the time we set the alarm and left, but some woman went downstairs and we didn't see her, leading to her being in the building after the alarm was set, leading to the alarm going off, leading to everyone In Charge being called out to the library in the middle of the night to deactivate it.

True, the last one was only partially my fault, but as I sit here thinking about my evaluation being written, I can think only of what I've done badly.

Why is it that my brain works this way? You'd think that, with all the things I do right, at least one of them would come to mind when evaluation time rolls around. But right now, I've got nothing.

It doesn't even help me to know that my evaluator really gives the most glowing reviews of my behavior that I've ever seen. She makes it seem that I'm an angel sent from heaven to plan YA programming.

What is the matter with me?*

*And no, that doesn't have to be rhetorical. You can feel free to answer.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Tick

Do you remember that TV show from way back in the 90's? It was a cartoon, but then it became a sitcom, and both were funny, though the sitcom was a tad inappropriate for a child my age, though it didn't stop me from watching it.

Wow. Was there ever a grammatical calamity like that sentence up there?

Despite my love of the television show and all its absurdity, I hate ticks.

When I was a child, the discovery of a tick on my scalp following a canoe ride caused me to refuse to go on another canoe ride. Though that may have had something to do with the canoe rides my dad drug us on lasting three or more hours, and Paul and I crammed next to each other with no leg room and only mosquitoes to entertain us.

Then Mom mentioned they liked to drop off trees sometimes, prompting me to no longer walk under trees. This meant I didn't go outside so much. Or at all.

When I see a tick, I want to throw up. And then I do.

They are nasty in a way I can't adequately explain to you; nasty in the way that a giant, man-eating insect would be, if there were things like that. This is because they attach to you and, vampire-like, suck your blood. Which you need. They ought to get their own, but instead they stick to you like leeches, feeding on you, taking your life force away. And all that would be bad enough, except they also carry disease, blood borne pathogens that can take you down faster than that bystander with his bicycle/weapon I saw on Failblog.

I was petting Darcy, my lovely dog. (This is where I would insert an obligatory Darcy photo, were I at home with access to Darcy photos. You will have to picture the best dog of all time in your head and know, that is Darcy). We love our Darcy-girl.

Now, as she is a Shetland Sheepdog, Darcy has a heavy doggie coat. In fact, she has two. First is her long outer coat, second her inner coat, which is like doggie wool. You can totally spin with it.

I tried.

Since she is a long haired dog, Darcy tends to pick up a lot as she strolls through the world on her daily Romp'N'Sniffs (Mom named them). She gets dry leaves, burs, twigs, seeds, and once even a baby praying mantis. I let that go free. The rest we get rid of. Who needs seeds to be hooked onto their dog? It's just not convenient.

But as I stroked Darcy, I found that in her daily pursuit, she had brought home something a little worse than burs. She'd brought home a tick.

I always find them. I think they know how much I hate them, and they let me discover them when none of my family members can seem to do so. Ugh. They are gross. And they feel like pebbles, trapped under my girl's fur. Instantly, I know.

That day, we found four ticks on Darcy. Four.

Now, Shetland Sheepdogs, like collies, have a little peculiarity. It's a genetic issue, the MDR1 mutation, which causes some major problems. If given certain types of medication (or vaccinations), the drug in question passes too quickly through the blood/brain barrier, causing dogs with the mutation to...die. It gives them neurotoxicity, which comes with all kinds of horrible things like seizures, brain damage, and the like, and it usually ends with the dog having to be put down.

Not good.

We didn't know about this when we brought Darcy home. Apparently, neither did the first vet we took Darcy to see, because he gave her inoculations like he would any other puppy and almost killed her. Thanks, Wabash vet.

But that wasn't our normal vet. Our normal vet is amazing, he knew all about the issues, and he takes good care of our girl.

When we saw the ticks our first reaction was--Oh no! Those things are out again!--and then we called the vet. We said, "Hey, Mr. Vet, do us a favor and give us the flea and tick medicine we had last for Darcy."

And the receptionist lady said, "Okay."

Mom, meanwhile, is sick. She has the flu, I think, and has totally lost her voice. It's actually pretty funny, because Mom has to whisper (no voice) and we've all ended up speaking in whispers too, since it's (apparently) contagious. We respond to her in whispers, walk around calling out to each other in whispers, and finally realize we don't need to whisper and go back to speaking normally. It's funny, but you have to be there.

Mom decided Darcy's well being was more important than her own, so she pulled herself together and drove to the vet's office, picked up the medicine, went home, opened the bag, and--

It was the wrong medicine. The medicine we'd been given was ivermectin, the poison medicine. So she called up the vet's office and told them so.

"That's what you had last," the woman responded. "That's what you asked for."

"No," Mom responded. "We asked for flea and tick medicine, and there's a note on Darcy's chart that says she's allergic to that ivermectin stuff."

"She needs heartworm medicine."

"She's allergic that medicine," Mom replied. "It's on her chart. That medicine will kill her."

"But that's what you asked for."

It went around like that for a while. Eventually, Mom convinced the woman to write another, more specific note on the chart saying that ivermectin will kill Darcy. The woman obliged. Then Mom said she'd send someone by to pick up the flea/tick/mosquito medicine. The woman agreed.

Paul, who knows next to nothing about this, went to pick up the new medicine because Mom had already been and she felt like death. He exchanged the medicine. He brought home the new bag and gave it to Mom, who opened the bag and pulled out the medicine. Then she read the label. "For treatment of heartworm, ringworm..."

Oops.

Turns out, Stupid Receptionist Lady can't listen or follow instructions. She also can't read the warning she wrote down on the chart she's holding in her hand. Why do I say this? Because we told her a medicine would kill our dog and she solved the problem by sending us home with the same medicine. Apparently, if you change the brand name, it doesn't matter that the active ingredient in a drug is poison. It magically stops being poison.

Mom called her again, this time angry.

Mom never gets angry. Well, almost never. But if you do manage to enrage her, it is a sight to see. She manages, without raising her voice, to make her will known. Her commands are obeyed. It's impressive to watch.

The vet's nurse/assistant lady was summoned. She read the chart. "Oh," she said. She then became angry at the Stupid Receptionist Lady, who I will now call Cannon Fodder, since I have so much confidence in her ability to keep her job. Cannon Fodder was...informed of her mistake.

And we sent Dad to the vet's office, where he picked up the flea/tick/mosquito stuff for the back of Darcy's neck.

No further ticks have been sighted in our home. Darcy is safe.

What is the moral of this story?

1. Don't suck at your job.

2. Know your prescription medications, their side effects, your allergies, and all of the above things about your loved ones. Because if worse comes to worse, you need to be the one to say--"I can't take sulfa, it will kill me." And "Don't give my baby peanut butter, it will give him hives all over his body, and then kill him."

Just in case.

Where Cell Phones Go to Die

A couple of months ago, I was on the phone with a friend from college.

"You never call me," he accused.

"I never call anyone," I corrected. Well, almost never. I never call anyone just to talk to them.

I explained my reasoning. There was a pause. Then, "You're kind of neurotic, aren't you?"

I am.

I think cell phones are, despite their usefulness, the worst invention known to man.

Aside from e-mail, no other technology has held us hostage the way cell phones have, unless you go back to the clock, hundreds of years ago.

I have always hated telephones. This sprang from childhood, when a telephone call meant one of two things. It could mean that I had to stand for ages as one grandmother told me again and again how adorable I was, despite the fact that she could not see me (and it wasn't true). Then she turned from the phone, shouting for my grandfather, and I got to listen to them argue about why he ought to actually speak to me, though he had nothing pertinent to say and didn't want to. Then we would hang up. A phone call could also mean that my other grandmother wanted to say hello, which meant that I would hold the phone for twenty odd minutes as she told me all about things happening in the world and how to fix them, a one-sided conversation, as she couldn't actually hear a word I said (she was mostly deaf).

When I grew old enough to have friends (and to consider the telephone a novelty), I would call my friend Lisa, who would invariably be far away in some field feeding a cow, or, failing that, far away in a field on a four-wheeler. But Lisa hated phones too (or so I imagine) because when I finally did get her on the phone, I was the only one who would utter a single word.

Later, a lady in an assisted living facility decided that one of her childhood friends lived where we lived, or at least her phone did. She called every day for many months, begging to speak to her friend, bursting into tears, demanding to know what we were doing in her friend's home...It got so bad Mom stopped letting us answer the phone, except during the times she told us she would call home (this was when she worked at the bank).

When Dad started working as a pastor, it got worse. See, a pastor must always, always, always be reachable. So, if you fall off a cliff and damage yourself, he must know so he can help you deal with your imminent crisis of faith (Why did God let me fall off that cliff? Why didn't he stop me? And so forth). He also has to be there so you can call him and tell him your teenage daughter is pregnant or on drugs. Or both.

Naturally, as I had reclusive friends and was, myself, reclusive, I had little use for a telephone and hated the thought of being an unpaid answering service for my father.

Then, cell phones came into our lives.

Dad got one first. He thought it was the best thing in the world, except that he had to keep his face plastered against the picture window to get a signal. Back then, though, he still couldn't talk to anyone when he was by the window, he could just answer the phone and then run outside and stand under the security light. Or, better yet, stand in the middle of the road.

Then, on Valentine's Day, he thought he would express his desire to remain in touch with Mom even as his hours increased from 8 to 24 hours a day. He hid a phone in the couch and called it.

No one answered.

He then called it again, and we yelled at him.

He'd set the ring tone to match his own, you see.

He called again, then, having run out of his short supply of patience, he reached behind Mom and into the sofa cushions, pulled out the phone and gave it to Mom. She tried to answer it, but it had already hung up, because it had no cell signal. Since we weren't at the picture window.

What followed was a complicated arrangement of Mom's phone usage. It was stored at the picture window, until Dad discovered a tiny extra antenna thing, which had a cord that was less than a foot long, and only worked when held high in the air. So Mom would hold up the antenna while pressing the phone to her ear and walk around the house searching for a signal.

A signal she would never find.

When this grew taxing, Mom stopped charging the phone.

"Why give me this thing?" She wondered in a conversation with me. "I'm always home! Just use the land line."

You couldn't use the land line because Paul was on the internet.

Time passed. I started college. Then, the phone started traveling with me. This was because my car was older than my brother (1986 Honda Accord) and, unlike Paul, kept dying. Unfortunately, so did the cell phone. But I used it until Dad gave up on his version of the little Nokia and opted to improve matters. He switched phones and Mom put her foot down--the phone would be mine.

This was good, because it meant I got to have my Very Own Cell Phone, but bad because I had to lug the thing around, turn it off when I was in class, and answer it.

And there was no escape.

I love my friends. They get it. They know that I hate the phone and use it only because I like talking to them. They know not to call me and do the long pause thing, during which I am driven by forces beyond my control to fill each pause with endless prattle.

When I pick up a phone, I am hit with a momentary rush of anxiety. Who will be on the other line? Will they want to talk to me? Can I be of any use to them at all, or are they calling for some other reason? If they are, then what is it?

The terror fades when I answer and discover it's someone nice, like Jen or Rachael or our friend Becky or Auntie Jean. It increases when it's some lady who really wants to talk to my dad, but since she can't, she wants to tell me her problems, like how she just swallowed a whole bottle of the little white pills her doctor gave her or how she wants money. Which I don't have. Ask my bank.

Worse still is when I need to call someone. I have this terror that, when I try to call you (whoever you are), you will answer only to tell me you don't want anything to do with me and then ask, "Why are you bothering me?" This is because no one can possibly really want to be my friend. It takes years for me to get over this, as I have with many of my friends now, because after all the times I've called them, they haven't once told me I was annoying and hung up on me.

Say I meet a stranger. This person is nice. I like them. Moreover, they like me. We are going to be friends. Person X says, "Laura, call me this weekend and we'll get lunch."

Then the terror sets in. Will they actually want lunch when I call? What time should lunch be eaten, really? What if my lunch time is different from theirs? Will they be angry if I get hungry before them? What if they do, will they tell me, or will they just stop talking to me? What if their brother answers? What if their sister answers? What if their parents answer? Will they be mad? Because answering the phone isn't fun, especially when it isn't for you and you have to take a message. Will they tell me never to call again, because I so completely couldn't take that, I just couldn't, life is hard enough without having people yell at me for no reason and I just can't--

And so forth.

So, one can understand, I don't use the phone so often. In fact, I go as far as to not call the doctor's office for refills of prescriptions. I just go without. I figure, if I really needed that asthma medicine, they would have written the prescription for a year and not just for three months at a time.

Last week, I lost my cell phone.

By "lost" I mean it fell under the passenger's seat in my car. And fall it did, right between the seat and the console and whoosh, under the chair into this little well contraption Ford designed to prevent objects lost under the seat from rushing forward when one brakes and slipping beneath the pedal, resulting in death and maiming.

From what I can tell, one set of my car keys, a tube of lip stain, and perhaps a book are all stuck under the seat. Oh. And a chocolate. Well, there used to be a chocolate. We managed to get that out before the thaw.

When you stick your hand under the seat, the first thing you encounter is sharp. I don't know what it is, what it does, why it's there, or why the car manufacturer actually made the effort of sharpening it before it was installed, but it's there. And sharp. So when I went in for the phone and cut myself, I gave up.

As I do.

At first, it was annoying. My phone is my alarm clock, so I had to make alternative plans. Like, using a beeping alarm clock, which was loud. And obnoxious.

But then I started to enjoy it. Finally, I could disappear. My parents could not call me and ask me to buy dog food (I did anyway). Nor could I get caught in hours-long text battles with my father during his varied (boring) meetings. I was free.

So I didn't go back in. I let it stay right there.

But then it was Friday night and I was lonely. And I went looking for my address book and found it. Then I discovered I hadn't updated it since junior high, and it lacked many important numbers like Jen's, and even my accurate address. So I hunted some more. And then I got depressed and gave up. I would never find the addresses--or the phone number, which was what I actually needed. Why? Because that was what my cell phone was for. So I knit on the sock and went to sleep. Then I went to work. Still no cell phone.

By then, I had reached the peak of loneliness.

I went back. I dug under the seat, I hunted, and I couldn't find it.

"I'll just call you," Mom said. Whispered, really, as she's got no voice right now. "When it rings, you'll find it."

Except that the battery had died. So it didn't ring. And I couldn't find it.

I began to imagine the phone slipping out of the passenger side door as the car lingered in park somewhere. I wondered if there was a trapdoor beneath the seat, one that could open to free wayward cellular phones.

It had to be down there.

Saturday evening, having realized the error of my address-book-free ways, I put on a glove (Hand knits to the rescue!) and went back in.

And there it was. Its battery was dead and it was a little dusty, but it was there! I charged its little battery and turned it on, looking in horror at the sheer volume of missed calls (five) and texts (three).

I suppose all this goes by way of saying: I'm sorry I missed you. Your call is important to me. And I'll never give up on my cell phone again.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How to Learn to Sew

1. Commit yourself to actually learn this time.

Shrug off your past failures, forget your former tears. Throw the half-finished pajama pants back into the fabric tub, pretend that you don't care they sit abandoned.

2. Buy yourself a pattern.

Pretend that you don't care that all the dress samples you see are made using the most generic cottons, and by all means, don't look at the necessary skills before choosing your dress-to-be. Instead, just randomly buy a pattern.

3. Find fabric.

This will take some doing, as the local fabric stores are dedicated only to fleece blanket making and quilting. And though the quilting fabric is great, just try walking around as a human Log Cabin square, and see how that goes.

4. Learn to sew.

This is easy if you've done it by hand already. Which I have. This is hard when you consider that you'll actually be cutting fabric. And fabric can't get frogged and reused if you screw it up. If you cut fabric wrong, you go buy new fabric.

5. Discover that your geometry skills have crippled you for life.

That one explains itself.

6. Thank God and all the forces in the universe that you were practicing fabric cutting on scraps, not on the actual dress material.

7. Cry.

This is the beginning of what is known as the Cry Count, which is the meter of how many times learning a new skill makes you break down into tears.

Mere tears, however, do not evidence the beginning of the Cry Count. No, one must wait until the student flees the room, before one can add a mark to the tally, with bonus points added if the student responds, "I suck!" to the question, "What's wrong?"

8. Discover that you have a sewing machine phobia.

If you get chills at the sound of your sewing machine thundering away, if you fear touching fabric, expecting that the contact will cause your hand to be trapped under the sewing machine's foot as the needle slams through flesh and bone, forcing cotton thread to meet again and again until it can be stopped, you know you have a phobia.

9. Solve 8 by purchasing a new, quieter sewing machine.

10. Discover that a new machine does not automatically wipe away the aforementioned phobia (see 8).

11. Discover that the pattern you purchased is intended for plus sized women.

12. Measure self.

13. Determine that, despite rampant consumption of food, student's body can not yet be considered plus sized.

14. Cut out paper in shape of pattern.

15. Tape "sew" paper together.

16. Try on paper "dress."

17. Determine that smallest size can fit non-plus-sized student, due to mannish shoulder width and freakish torso length.

18. Cut out fabric in shape of dress.

19. Discover terrifying shortage of pins.

20. Discover inability to sew straight line (see 8).

21. Observe teacher sewing dress, to calm self.

22. Force self to stop "sewing" (see 21) due to desire to keep Cry Count (see 7) at one.

23. Discover that time is running out for dress completion. At this point, the instructor should contract a severe respiratory infection, complete with fever and laryngitis (to prevent teacher's ability to pass on instruction).

24. Leave dress parts (cut out) in neat stack.

25. Become depressed. Take care to leave Cry Count at single digit (see 7).

26. Touch fabric.

27. Touch sewing machine.

28. Dig out old knitting project (abandoned second socks) and attempt to finish them as quickly as possible, because meeting the dress deadline is impossible and victory must be achieved in some manner.

29. Become depressed.

30. Lose cell phone in belly of car (under passenger's seat).

31. Revel in depression alone, since no friends can call and since student cannot call friends as phone address book is the sole location of friends phone numbers.

32. Dig under passenger's seat.

33. Cut hand.

34. Burn self cooking conciliatory snack.

35. Walk past dress fragments, looking forlorn.

36. Examine blister from burn. Calculate time needed for blister to heal, determine color of burn to clash with color of dress.

37. Conclude color not to be problematic, as dress would need to be worn using duct tape on each seam, as dress remains in fragments.

38. Become more depressed.

39. Repeat over Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday, spent at work, is dress-guilt free. So the student thinks.

40. Calculate number of seams to be sewn each day to make impossible deadline.

41. Look in closet for alternative dress. Vow to lose 20 pounds over course of summer, to prove that student can look good in dress, despite the fact that student won't look good in dress during actual wedding and reception.

42. Drink sweet tea and give up. Eat snack. Watch M.A.S.H.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oh, and I promised you this, didn't I?

Here's Biscuit!


Gee, doesn't he look a little lost? Like maybe he doesn't know where he's going?

That's because he didn't. I know because he was me, and I was totally blind in that 110 degree costume, and the little plastic straps that should have held the head over my head comfortably let go when a largish child hurled herself onto my lap before I'd even managed to arrange my tail comfortably.

That tragedy caused the straps to curl inward, and as they were at eye level, I spent the remainder of my hours as Biscuit the dog trying to prevent my eyes from being gouged out by the costume.

The Power of Guilt Compels You!

Yeah. I really need to write you a blog. Sorry. I know it's been a while.

Man.

Have you ever had one of those weeks where--

No. That's no good.

Hey--a girl came in the library today and--

No. Boring.

My swift hasn't come in the mail yet. I haven't finished anything exciting lately. I haven't gone anywhere. I haven't even done anything.

I spent three of the last three weekends at the eye doctor.

But that's boring too.

I bought rain boots. Boring. But cute.

Darcy had four ticks today--a real surprise to us. And it was gross. And we gave her medicine so there could be no more ticks, because they are evil and unhygienic. And gross.

Ticks are on my list of most disgusting things ever, right after old people hacking up large quantities of mucus in restaurants while I am trying to eat something. Excuse yourself, for crying out loud, if you have to cough like that.

Oh, and I'm teaching a knitting class at the library next Wednesday. So that's fun.

And that, folks, is all I've got.

Are any of you doing anything fun and interesting to fill my life with something other than allergies?
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