Friday, February 27, 2015

On a Friday

I really wish I had exciting things to share with you, but really all I've been doing is massaging my lip just like the doctor told me. That's really some thrilling stuff. 

Let's see if I can do any better...

I got slippers today. I've been hunting for them all winter, because I knew I wanted the lovely Minnetonka ones Mum found last winter, but I couldn't find any at Marshall's or T.J. Maxx where they would be on sale. And you know I need things to be cheaper than retail price before I am willing to spring for them. Today, Marshall's had ONE pair of the slippers I wanted...in my size. They now live on my feet and for the first time this winter, my feet are warm. So nice that it took until almost MARCH to make it happen.

Nope? Okay. How about this:

Jennifer and I went to the Target Dollar Spot, and we found mini erasers in bunny, chick, and carrot shapes, just in time for Easter. I saw them and thought, "Oooh, erasers!"

Jen saw them, gasped, and said, "Manipulatives!"

This is how you can tell Jen thinks like a teacher and I think like someone who likes cute erasers.

I got adorable sticky notes in a variety of designs, plus a test tube filled with paperclips. This is to add to the Korean stationary I bought on Etsy this week. Also I ordered a dashboard for my planner. This is what happens when I pick up a new craft...I obsessively collect supplies to go along with my new craft until I have so many supplies I cannot store them properly. 

Like, I don't know why I want these stickers...but I do. Maybe in the next batch of goodies I order.

Now, I will get back to the thrilling evening activities I'm engaged in: knitting my camouflage sweater and watching MASH.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Stitches OUT

I am a happy Laura. The stitches are gone, and I can have a facial expression again.


Not being able to move your upper lip tends to cramp a person's style. So I'm glad I can use it again.

I still have stitches INSIDE, the deep tissue sort. They will dissolve on their own. That's why my the cut is still so puffy. The test on the mole came back...and it was perfectly benign. Thank goodness. It's always nice when you think something is healthy and it actually is.

The doctor advised me to massage it often and to use a cream, or even a scar cream. So I went to the pharmacy and they had one sort of scar cream and then generic cream. I compared ingredients--not even close to the same. This made me unhappy and also poor, because I had to spend over $38 for that stupid cream. I wanted to tell the pharmacy girl, Wow, it's expensive to avoid permanent disfigurement," when she rang up the cream, but I stopped myself because that's just the sort of weird thing I say to cashiers all the time, and they never laugh. I think it creeps them out. I thought it would be worse to be creepy with a red slash down my lip, because they'd wonder "...did she get that in a knife fight because she's crazy?" and I would be like, "Scar cream, yay!" 

Then they would print off my picture from the security camera and put me in some kind of file.

Plus it was not that girl's fault that the scar cream was so expensive.

Still, better to try than not. If the lip heals just as is, though, the cut is only a thin line, so I'll have a thin line for a scar. I've had incisions that were WAY worse. A scar would be my excuse to wear lipstick at all times, buying all the colors that suit me, so I'm okay with that. Anything is better than that mole, which would tear off halfway at random times when I was wiping my mouth after eating or blowing my nose. Then I would look like the victim of a violent crime, and one time Mum wanted to take me to the doctor for stitches.

One more trip back to the doctor in a few weeks, at which point he will stare at my lip again and tell me I'm fine, go away. The mole saga is almost over.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Post Op, Again.

I made it through my surgery, but it ended up being much more of an ordeal than I thought it was going to be. (As usual, my sinuses are partially to blame.)

I went in, early, because the doctor had extra time in his schedule that day. They had me change, put me into a gown, and took me into the OR. What amused me was that, while everyone was in gowns and sterile, I was in my jeans and shoes still, obviously NOT sterile. I thought they would make me leave my clothes behind, but no. Hey, whatever works. They strapped me down first thing, to "keep me from falling off the table," but we all knew it was a "We don't want you punching the doctor and running in terror" situation.

They numbed my lip, which involved a giant needle inserted up through the lip into the muscle above. This hurt like words I don't ever say out loud. The nurse knew it would hurt that much, because she'd taken my hand even before the shot. I thought, "Wow, that's friendly but unnecessary" until the needle went in and the pain made my eyes water. Then I thought, "Okay, I get it."

Then they did stuff I couldn't feel for a while, and I had the odd experience of bleeding without seeing or feeling the blood except for where it touched the un-numbed parts of my face. It was weird.

While they worked on me, the doctor discussed spring with the nurses, and one woman bemoaned the chipmunks ravaging her garden.

"I'm surprised it hasn't already been shot, knowing your neighborhood," the doctor told her. Everyone laughed (except me), and then the doctor told me why the shooting jokes. Apparently, one of the nurse's neighbors (Lawyer A) went next door and shot another neighbor (Lawyer B), then went back home and shot up his/her house to make it look like a random crime. "Some Melrose Place stuff was going on, I think," said the doctor.

This made my surgery far more entertaining.

I went home and looked it up, though, and no one has any idea who shot that lawyer, or the other lawyer's house. Unless there are no news articles about it.

They used bright blue stitches, to give my incision a nice, gangrenous look. Also there are six stitches on top, other stitches underneath. I thought the incision would be shallower and also smaller. Boy was I wrong.

The took me back into another room and I got changed into my regular clothes and then they sent me home. "Better take my sample with me!" the nurse laughed, brandishing a plastic container. I quickly realized a hunk of my flesh was in the sample container. This was gross. Also I am glad she did not forget to take it with her, because that sucker needs tested for goodness-knows-what. We may find out it was my twin. (Probably not.)

The next day, my upper lip blew up like a balloon. This started a chain reaction of my sinuses responding to extra pressure by exploding. I could not move my upper lip, which swelled up to the point that it turned itself inside out. It was a good look for me. That morning, I had no idea that I even had stitches, because the swelling concealed them. To laugh, I had to use my hand to pinch my lip together so the stitches would not pull.

So. Not doing this surgery again.

Thankfully, today, the swelling is nearly gone. Tomorrow morning, the stitches come out, which is nice because I have had to keep washing them with my Q-Tips and then trying to dislodge the cotton from the tip that gets wrapped up in the stitches. I can't feel it, but it's all kinds of creepy.

I have spent the past four days texting Dad photos of myself in various stages of recovery. In the top right picture, note how my mouth is not at all capable of closing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Today Is the Day

It is plastic surgery day. The day the mole comes off, hopefully this time for good. Although, according to the doctor we are not allowed to call it a "mole" until the biopsy is finished, until then they are calling it a "skin lesion" which is only marginally better than "facial tumor," it's name the first time it was removed.

Isn't this lovely?

Anyway, after today, maybe the photographers for the church directory will not photoshop the mole out without asking me if I wanted them to, because it was too horrible to exist within the bounds of church directory-dom.

Also, yesterday, a little child asked me if I was pregnant. I am not pregnant. The Children's Room is where self esteem goes to die.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bookish News

I read an awesome book yesterday, which is why I failed to write a blog post--I was reading. Reading always wins out over other activities. There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake* was absolutely fantastic.



I had not read Nick Lake's other books, so I went in expecting his work to be good. I had no idea how good. Wow. Read this one. The protagonist, Shelby, starts off by being hit by a car on her way out of the library (something that nearly happens to me weekly, due to the blind corner cars whip around onto the library's street). Then, her mother picks her up from the hospital only to whisk her off on an impromptu vacation...not giving her any explanation as to why. In the days that follow, the world as Shelby knows it ends--and that's all I'm going to give you. 

I especially liked the way the dialogue was written, without quotation marks. It was different and incredibly effective, though I won't tell you why because you need to read the book to find out for yourself.


I'm also in the midst of reading Tunnel Vision. It's such a great thriller, I'm finding myself taking breaks from reading it because there's just too much tension for one anxiety-ridden Laura to handle. It is so, so good.

Jake Lukin comes home from school one day to find a DARPA agent in his room. They've found out his big secret, he can hold an object and "tunnel" to the person it belongs to. You can imagine how attractive that is to DARPA--and the CIA, FBI, NSA...you name the acronym, they want Jake. Before he can blink, he's leading a double life, tunneling to find kidnapping victims, terrorists, and spies. Jake's whole family is in danger because of what he can do, and soon he's wondering if he's really working for the good guys after all.

Basically fantastic. You should read it.

Not only is it an amazing thriller, the characters are so well written. SO well written.

Meanwhile, I just found out about this and I cannot wait.


FINALLY I get a sequel to The Rook. I have been waiting for SO LONG. It looks like I'm waiting at least until June, but I can handle that for more awesomeness from Daniel O'Malley. Really. Here's the Goodreads page for more info. In the meantime, if you haven't read The Rook, add it to your TBR list at once.


* Some of you who follow YA lit--or the ALA--might remember that Nick Lake won the 2014 Printz Award for his novel In Darkness.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Finding the Right Planner

This just in (again): my part of Indiana has nothing.

Mum and I went to look for a planner, thinking Staples would have something in the way of organizers, only to discover that we were completely mistaken, because Staples only sells toner and printer ink now.

I remember when Staples used to be cool.

They were selling organizers, but they were all made of plastic. The plastic binders came in two colors: black, and for the fashion-forward female businessperson, red. All were bulky, giant, and only one came in the correct size, black plastic.

I am sorry, it is not hard to make an organizer nice. Just use quality materials, like reinforced fabric or leather, and you have two options that will fare well with extended use. Plastic, if it ever looks good, only does so until you drop it for the first time, at which point the cover tears or cracks, or the sprayed-on color scrapes off. If you never drop it and treat it with the utmost care, it still only lasts a few months before you've over-filled it and the strap stretches, it starts to crack from environmental exposure--the transition between cold and hot--or it just falls randomly in half like a three-ring binder of mine did once in the middle of the hallway of my college's administration building.

Never mind that a plastic organizer is an environment-killer and a fabric binder, especially one made of natural fibers, does not rip giant holes in our ozone layer and leave our children and grandchildren frying like bacon on the ravaged surface of our once-habitable planet. Heck, make the cover out of bamboo. What do I care. Just not plastic. And no calling it "vegan leather" either. This marketing does not work on me. If it is vegan, it cannot be leather. Call it what it is: plastic, and be ready to drop your price by half, because I am not paying $80.00 for a plastic planner.

So, defeated, Mum and I went to Steak and Shake for food, only to discover relish that may or may not have been poisonous. Mum was horrified, insisting that relish like this was probably going to give us cancer. She was probably right. No vegetable has ever been this color before unless exposed to high levels radiation. Relish should not match a traffic light.

And then I went home, watched my laptop crash multiple times due to Windows Update (thanks so much), and shopped online. I had narrowed my planner choices to three. One was a Filofax, which I would have loved but just couldn't afford due to the fact that the one I liked cost $76.00. Nope. Maybe someday when I invent something life-changing or am hired Librarian of the World and given several million dollars outright and a giant pay raise. The other was a Day Timer that was subdued but was made of not plastic. Sadly, it was almost as expensive. The final choice was a Kikki-K Time Planner...

kikki.K Medium Time Planner, otherwise known as the prettiest planner ever.

This is a Lilac Medium Time Planner, which just-so-happens to be 50% off right now. Also the original price is in Australian dollars, which means just paying with US dollars is like getting another discount. The size is almost the same as Filofax's Personal dimensions, meaning the impulse-bought sale planner pages from MissTiina will fit perfectly.

So, I got a planner and a bunch of matching accessories for half the Filofax price. This made me a happy Laura. Considering that I'll be able to keep using this planner instead of ditching it after a year, this will be the only big planner investment I'll need to make.

Plus think of all the cute stuff I can put in this.

I'm calling this a Valentine's Day present to myself, because I am eternally single and am unlikely to get a present from anyone else. This will make Valentine's Day less nauseating, as I'll know I've got a fancy coming in the mail soon!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Let's Get (Re)Organized

I have been drooling over fancy planners for quite some time. I thought at the beginning of the year that I should start one, but I wasn't interested in buying one that I couldn't refill, and I couldn't find one in stock online. Then I discovered MissTiina on Etsy. She sells digital calendars, tabs, and pages that she's designed, and I fell in love. She also has Unplan pages, that let you fill in dates as you need to. This is similar to my Frankenplanner from last year.

The Frankenplanner worked--to an extent--mostly due to its size. It was so large, I couldn't carry it with me, nor could I put it away anywhere in my room without putting it on the bookshelf or with the files in my closet. This put it out of sight, out of reach...and eventually out of use. I realized when I started the planner hunt this December that I needed something that could easily live in my purse. MissTiina has page sizes that are small enough for a little binder. This was just what I wanted. Nothing made me happier than ordering a pre-made planner instead of obsessively gathering printables from around the internet. Plus, MissTiina has a Valentine's Day sale going on. I love me a sale.

I went to Hell** after work to buy the tiny binder to put my pages in...and of course they had nothing. Literally nothing--the only binders they had were HUGE three-ring binders. Also, the whole office supply section had been trashed either during or after inventory, so if they had something, it was underneath a metric ton of displaced merchandise.

I left.

I spent my night looking up different planner covers online. Of course, I fell in love with the most expensive thing, a personal-sized Filofax. This is mostly because people have done such amazing things to make their Filofaxes pretty. They use them like mini-scrapbooks or smash books. I love that. Seriously, do a search on Pinterest and check out how gorgeous people make their planners.

Now, it is stupid for me to spend that much when I don't know how good I'll be about actually keeping up with using a planner, but I do want something in the same size. This means a trip to Staples (the closest office supply store) tonight to see what I can see. Hopefully they'll have a reasonably-priced planner I can use while I see how well I like carrying a planner around.

I'll only have more use for one of these when I start up online grad school in the near future, to keep track of what I've done, what I need to do, what's on the syllabus...so I also want one that won't break into pieces with extended use.

Given my two requirements: low price and durability, I can confidently say I won't find anything to suit. We'll see.

* I wasn't given anything for this post--except the current 40% off sale you can get using the code WITHLOVE, good until February 15th.

** Walmart

Monday, February 9, 2015

Weirdness

It is weird dream month or something, because last night I dreamed that I had to rescue a former co-worker from certain death by enlisting various library patrons to help me track down the guy who had kidnapped her.

Eventually, a kid who always used to use the computers told me the right house, and I singlehandedly went into the kidnappers house, told him to let her go, and drank a cherry Pepsi. Also everything flooded.

This thrilling rescue was brought to you by a hostage crisis on MASH and an abundance of stress.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Haunted?

I have been like a day behind in blog posts all week, and I'm not even sorry. I've been busy devising various future plans, and they involve school supplies and almost NO CHANGE, so there is no down side.

However, while making up a dramatically awesome five year plan, I have done some other stuff.

I found curtains for my bedroom at Target, then had to drive to a second Target in order to get four panels for my two windows. Two panels per window = curtains. I don't know why people don't just sell them in two packs. It would make life so much easier. Who wants just one panel? People who like the effect of having a sheet tacked to their window?

I finished this sweater and modeled it badly, then blocked it. It's drying next to our dehumidifier down in our creepy ice-cold basement. It is so cold down there, I didn't bother checking how dry it was this morning, because I wanted to avoid the cold. Check out my Instagram (link on the sidebar) for terrible pictures.

I'm nearly done with Hilary Mantel's second Thomas Cromwell book, Bring Up the Bodies, which is as excellent as Wolf Hall was. These books are a commitment, they are not light and airy reads, but they are not to be missed. I look forward to seeing how the BBC has adapted Wolf Hall for television later this year!

And, on a completely unrelated note, I had the world's most freaky dream last night, which is as follows:

Mum, The Brother, and I were going to Chicago on a trip, but the weather was sucky, so we had to stay overnight in a house. The house belonged to my former high school choir director. It was a nice, giant house, but the first thing the owner said to us when we walked in was, "Be careful, this house is crazy-haunted." 
And it was. From the second I walked in, it seemed like this specter was targeting me. Words appeared on walls, objects flew toward my head at high speeds, photographs tumbled off shelves as I walked by...it was creepy. We decided to leave because for some reason, my family didn't want me to be murdered by ghosts, so we packed our stuff. Then, the ghost actually appeared in front of me to impart wisdom, because it wasn't just your garden-variety ghost, it was my future self, haunting this house in order to meet with my current self and give me insider-knowledge about the rest of my life. 
Ghost-Laura even gave me a fountain pen, some stationary, and a few ancient Egyptian artifacts, because why not? Apparently the only way G-L thought I would pay attention to her was if she scared the living crap out of me. So, I don't know what that says about my psyche, but probably nothing good.

The first thing I did this morning was tell Dad the dream, and he laughed so hard, it gave him a coughing fit. He also said he could tell I was a librarian from the dream. I don't know what that says about librarians, or me, but there you go.

No pictures today because I'm too lazy to find them.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

FINALLY

At long last, I have a date for my surgery.* February 18th, I will NOT have to drive as far as Jen and I did for the consultation with the doctor, instead only about an hour from home. Here's hoping the surgery isn't at like 8:00 AM or something, I'd like to stop at the bookstore before the surgery, so I won't terrify small children and the elderly with my swollen upper lip AFTER the surgery.

No way am I not going to a bookstore.

I also was informed that I get to eat and drink normally before surgery, so I will be in a much better mood going in, because breakfast. Also maybe lunch. Mmm...lunch.

I told my supervisor at work about the time, and she instantly asked if they were taking off another one of my moles at the same time. Apparently, in the world of moles, the one on my lip is less-visible and horrific to onlookers than the one at the side of my nose which is of no health concern at all. Discovering this has had a devastating effect on my self esteem,** but no, just the one is leaving me this time. Maybe another day I'll have my new least-favorite mole removed. There's always something, isn't there?

Meanwhile, let's enjoy my new hat.



* This is a minor one, the removal of a stupid mole, and therefore no cause for concern. Just cause for celebration, because the annoyance of its existence will finally be over.

** Really, what doesn't?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Snow Day

Yesterday, the library had a snow day. This worked out well, because there was no getting out of my driveway if the library had been open (unless someone had let me borrow their sleigh and reindeer).

So instead of leaving the house, I knit a sock.

Morning, as you can tell from the lighting. Note how not-at-all grainy the picture is. This is what day is.

Night. Note the grainy photograph, the darkness, the not-quite-focused air of craptitude. This is what night is. 
The yarn is Cascade Heritage Prints in Clouds. Size one needle, my own toe-up pattern with an afterthought heel.

"But Laura!" You say, "Didn't you do ANYTHING but knit yesterday? What is wrong with you? Are your hands shriveled into wasted claws of agony?!" 

Well, actually, I DIDN'T do anything of use yesterday. I mean, I o washed clothes. I vacuumed. I sorted a few drawers so I could close them again. I began to tame the stash of yarn I have heaped in a corner on the floor, but other than that, I really just knit and watched hours of Miss Marple because I love her.

And I dredged up a few old projects and finally finished these socks.

Again, somebody needs to take pictures during the day, when there is light. What the heck?

The yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Molly Ringwald and the pattern is Spring Shoots from Socktopus: 17 Pairs of Socks Worth Showing Off, and I completely failed at these. Not because they were a hard knit--they were really fun--but because I looked at them and decided point-blank that I would not weave in the ends or graft the band for the cuff, tossed them in a drawer and there they sat for FOUR YEARS.

That's really shameful.

This year I plan to finish--or frog--all the projects I have sitting in drawers. I have planned this for many years. It works like this: I decide to tackle this challenge. I finish a few things. I start a few new projects. I fail to finish them. They go in a drawer. I end up with the same problem, with new projects, every year. 

But really, this time, I'm going to do it. I will finally succeed by going deep into the UFO pile and taking care of the gravity well itself, the UFOs that are drawing other projects toward them, creating a quantum singularity in my closet that nothing can escape. It will be just like that episode of Star Trek: Voyager when they looked into the singularity and saw Voyager reflected back at them, only with more yarn.
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