This is the Friday Five on a group blog I sometimes read but don't participate in. In my sickness today, and my hatred of early holiday celebration, I'm participating today.
Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
The really cakey sugar cookies with thick, sweet icing the grocery stores sell around every holiday. They always show up at group lunches and junk like that this time of year.
2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
Don't really have one of these, because I don't drink any seasonal beverages. Never liked eggnog (don't understand the point), don't drink beer, I think hot, mulled wine is gross.
3) tradition (church, family, other)
My current congregation has the sunday school Christmas program take the place of regular worship on the 3rd Sunday of Advent. I really love Advent, and I especially like the third Sunday (Gaudete Sunday). The kids are adorable, but I don't want to celebrate Christmas that far before its time.
Anything really gaudy. And there are folks around here who excel at gaudy.
5) gift (received or given)
I wrote before about the year I was in college when the housemate who got me in our gift exchange gave me his overdue library books, a mug he took from the kitchen and keychain with the name "Jennifer" on it, so I won't repeat that. In retrospect, the gifts my aunt used to give me really sucked - not because of what they were, but because of the utter lack of sentiment behind them. Before I got too old to be given gifts, I'd get a few little things she picked up cheap at the flea markets and auctions she went to, her Leggs pantyhose eggs, and her old catalogs. This, while she'd give her other nieces and nephews really nice stuff. My uncle always slipped me some money, though as we were leaving, I guess because he realized how unfair my aunt was (she did all the shopping for their household).
BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.
Answered this one earlier this week: "Frosty the Snowman"
Friday, November 30, 2007
This is the Friday Five on a group blog I sometimes read but don't participate in. In my sickness today, and my hatred of early holiday celebration, I'm participating today.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I bought a bottle of Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice today. and in the bottle, there is 62 grams of sugar. So if that is the canned cranberry sauce the "The Biggest Loser" people were looking at, it is entirely possible that there is that much sugar in a "large scoop."
On a slightly related note, if you have been generally avoiding high fructose corn syrup, you can really taste it when you have something with it in it. It has a distinctly artificial taste. Yes, I am referring to that cranberry juice.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
..."The Saggy, Baggy Elephant," if anyone is interested. I loved that one, too.
Really, I loved Little Golden Books in general. I mean, "The Pokey, Little Puppy," "The Sesame Street Cooperation Book" (which was the first book I ever read completely on my own), "The Little Engine that Could".
Did it get any better?
I just bought one of their journals. I tried to resist, because I really am saving money toward my car, but then I saw that they had "The Tawny, Scrawny Lion" and I had to buy it. I loved that book when I was a kid. It was one of my very favorite Little Golden Books.
I can't wait to get this journal.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
One of the things on my Google homepage is a radom writing prompt generator. I just clicked on to Google, and this was the prompt that came up:
"Describe Romeo and Juliet breaking up with a cage full of rodents."
Talk about a kinky relationship.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
It has been raining since about 4 a.m., and it isn't supposed to stop until sometime tomorrow. And it's just cold enough to make the rain really miserable.
Nevertheless, I did make it to church today, with a whole minute to spare. It was good, as usual, but sometimes I wish our congregation was slightly bigger. I like the small congregation, but sometimes it just makes me sad.
Oh, and today we sang Andre Crouch's song, "Soon and Very Soon (We are Goin' to See the King)," and appropriate song for the feast of Christ the King. We sing gospel songs and spirituals quite often, owing to the fact that we are a multicultural parish (three whole African-American families, which is about as diverse as traditional churches get in the deep south) and because some of them are really powerful and moving. Every time we sing one, I look around the church and listen, and I'm always struck by the fact that we sound like...
A roomful of middle-class white people with roots in the midwest.
What did you think I was going to say?
Saturday, November 24, 2007
...Frosty the Snowman one more time, I'm personally going to do my best to increase my carbon footprint in hopes of increasing global warning enough that Frosty will melt for good.
Seriously, they were playing that insipid little song in every store I was in today. I'm tired of "seasonal" music already anyway. But that song just gets under my skin everytime I hear it.
I don't really have much to say today. I feel kind of icky. My period is finally going to start (sorry for those who are not interested), and my ovary hurts. That's what happens when you have cystic ovaries. It kind of sucks.
So, I will say adeiu until tomorrow. I will report whether or not I made it to church. Have a lovely evening.
Friday, November 23, 2007
The city is in mourning. Now the best we can hope for is the Sugar Bowl. Have to give those boys credit, though. They left everything they had on the field and then some.
Quantum Leap is truly a fine TV show. I'm currently working my way through the series on Netflix. It's better than most of what in on TV right now. I would love it if the network people would rerun it.
I'm leaving in a few to drop my DVDs in the mail and to get some food for the cats.
Though really, it's today. I'll leave you to ponder that little mystery on your own time.
So, survived dinner at BB's house (BB because Boss's Boyfriend is too hard to type over and over). BB's parents were very nice, and surprisingly openminded for Baptists. I would think most of them would have issues with having an openly gay child.
The turkey was good, but the sides....eh. No regular potatoes - just sweet potatoes, which I don't eat. The only vegetables were peas and green beans - neither of which do I eat. Cornbread dresssing, which I ate a little bit of to be polite, but that I really don't like (it's all meally and dry and icky - but southerners seem to like it). I ate a little of a couple of things I don't like to be polite.
The rolls were quite good, though. They were from Whole Foods.
After dinner, and post dinner conversation, we adjourned to the livingroom where we watched a "How It's Made" marathon on the Science Channel. I know more now about how they hatch chicks in a hatchery than I want to know. It kind of makes me want to go only buy my chicken from local farmers with free range chickens now - to heck with the cost.
Then we watched Wheel of Fortune, whihc I haven't seen in years and years. Boy, they really changed it a lot. That was followed by Ugly Betty which is interesting to watch with gay guys. We watched half an hour of Grey's Anatomy before BB's parents went to bed and we could turn off the TV and have conversation. I stayed until about 10:30.
It was a good day really. Plus, I got to play with the doggies. That's why I had to wait until this morning to post this - allergies. I know I have them, but I love dogs. I'll put up with the inconvenience for the chance to pet dogs. I love dogs.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
This isn't what I want to say, but I just need to say that fully half the hits I got today were about The Biggest Loser's cranberry sauce question. Apparently I'm not the only one who had issue with them claiming that a "big scoop" of cranberry sauce contains more sugar than 6 chocolate donuts. If you are going to disseminate information on a show like that, make it accurate at least.
So I went to the endocrinologist today. My thyroid function is still low. The goal is for it to be between 0.2 and 2; it is currently at 5. That's probably why I've been feeling like crap.
I gained weight, too. That sucks. I've been doing everything right and I gained weight anyway. She said that's probably a thyroid thing, too. I've lost inches around my waist, though. I know that for sure.
I'm going to wait to see what happens with my skin before I make an appointment with the dermatologist. I figure I'll give it another week or so with intensive moisturizing.
Tomorrow I'm going to my boss's boyfriend's house for Thanksgiving. Other than my boss, the only person who will be there that I know is his boyfriend. His boyfriend's mother, sister, and a friend of Boss will also be there. I asked if I could bring anything, and Boss said an appetizer. I am too tired to cook one. If I get up early enough tomorrow, I may try to throw together a small fruit tray.
OK. Etiquette question. Do I need to give a host gift to Boss's boyfriend? People down here tend to be very proper about niceties like that, but it's weird because it's his significant other. I don't think I would take anything if it was at Boss's house, because that would be weird. But at his boyfriend's house? I think I should. At any rate, I bought a very simple and tasteful picture frame, and put a picture I bought from Deviant Art in it, rather than the UPC code. If y'all think I shouldn't give it, I have no problem keeping it.
I await your response, internet.
Oh, and I still have the homeschooling post sitting in my drafts waiting for me to finish it. I was going to do it today, but I had a headache and took the opportunity to leave early instead.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
There is something a little subversive about eating pizza while
watching "The Biggest Loser."
By the way, they lied in their trivia question tonight. They asked how
much sugar was in "a big scoop" of cranberry sauce. Now, to me, a big
scoop is an entire can because I love it so much, but most people, I
figure, would interpret that as half a cup. They said there was 87
grams. I happened to have a can of cranberry sauce sitting right next
to me (as you do when you watch TV), and in half a cup, there is 34
grams of sugar. To get to 87 grams, you would have to eat a cup
and...a tenth. That is almost a whole can.
Oh, and Isabeau has a big ol' goiter. Hers is bigger than mine was. How can she manage that?
Or at least my face looks like I am.
Seriously, this dry skin is out of control. It's hideous, and I can't even put makeup on to cover it up because it burns. Lotion burns, even, and I bought the kind for sensitive skin. And sweat? Feels like someone dumped a bucket of acid on my face.
If my thyroid is normal tomorrow, I think I'm going to stop by the appointment desk and schedule an appointment with my dermatologist. This came on too fast, and too bad, for it to be normal. Also? It should NEVER be 80 degrees in November. Ever.
Monday, November 19, 2007
It totally put the cat vomit incident into perspective. At least it wasn't bright orange. Then it may have been joined by Sheryl vomit.
When you discover upon entering your company's very well lit bathroom that what you thought was dry skin is really a horrible, horrible rash (which you couldn't tell at home because the lighting in your apartment sucks), do NOT use Google to diagnose yourself. It can never come out good.
The More You Know...
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I got up at 10:35 today, but I tried to make it to church anyway, because it has been soooo long. I got there two minutes late. Seriously, Pastor E? 11:05. I'm just saying.
And yes, I still know this phobia is insane. Blame my crazy (but wonderful!) father. He wasn't happy unless we got wherever we were going at least 15 minutes early.
As I was leaving today, I discovered that brown, longhaired cat decided to leave me a little present and vomitted (is it one "t" or two? Two looks better.) all over my Adirondak chair. I left it until I got back, since I was actually trying to make it, and I took a looong drive after I didn't. After I cleaned it, I poured bleach all over the chair. Maybe that'll keep brown cat off of the chair.
My skin is so dry that it hurts. Especially on my forehead, where it almost looks like I have a rash. I use Burts Bees moisturizer, and it is usually really effective, but it isn't even touching this. I hope it's because of my thyroid. I should be finding out Wednesday.
I'm really tired, despite the fact that I got 9.5 hours of sleep last night. I hope that's my thyroid, too.
I tried to install drivers for my printer on my laptop. Vista didn't like them at all. Looks like I may need to give in at some point and get a new printer.
I think I must have lost some weight somewhere along the line. A bunch of shirts that I had that used to fit kind of tight don't now. It's weird.
There is a discussion on PBS right now about employers who impose penalties on workers because of bad health habits. I don't believe in that. I think employers should encourage healthy lifestyles, offer smoking cessation programs, discounts on gym memberships, etc. But I don't think you can discriminate against somebody for this, if they are productive, don't miss work, etc.
I had been trying to cook at home more often. But you know what? When I get home at 8 or 9 at night, I don't want to wait 45 minutes to eat dinner. Even if I did all the prep stuff in the morning and just cooked the food when I got home, it would still take half an hour. I don't want to be eating dinner at 9 p.m.
I miss finger painting.
There is a very smart woman on this show that I'm watching who has very, very unfortunate hair. If I knew I was going on a TV show, I'm pretty sure I'd spring for a visit to the salon first.
I don't understand adults who don't use banks. It doesn't make sense to me, at least if you were born after the depression.
I heard on the radio that Robbie Benson wrote a book. I think I need to buy it. He was one of my early crushes too, but even he didn't hold a candle to Michael J. Fox as Alex P. Keaton. Shockingly, neither one of them are gay. (For those of you who have not been playing along, I tend to find myself attracted to men who later turn out to be gay. It's a little bit annoying.)
If you are buying cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, I highly recommend Whole Foods organic brand. It is the best I ever had, other than my mother's. Seriously, it tastes fresh and real, it is just sweet enough, and it is just really, really good.
I was tagged for a meme a few days ago, but I've been on deadline at work. I promise I'll play this week.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
...all my troubles seemed so far away...
Actually, that would be several days ago. Let me tell you about my last couple days, shall I?
So on Thursday, I got a thing from my health insurance company saying that one of the claims from my surgery had been denied. According to the thing they sent, it was denied because it wasn't submitted with a primary procedure code. But when I called the insurance company to find out what exactly that means, they told me it was because they didn't have a location code. So I called that doctor's billing office to ask them to resubmit it. They said that the location code was right at the top of the claim they submitted. We'll see what happens with this.
I just don't understand what the problem is with the insurance company. The date is the exact same date as my surgery, the referring physician is my surgeon. It's not like I said, "Gee, as long as I'm at the hospital, I think I'll have some random nerve monitoring!" It's not like it was a luxury thing. I kind of like the fact that I retained the ability to speak, swallow, and breathe. Call me crazy.
The bill is almost $1900 if I can't get the insurance thing worked out. I'm pretty much screwed if that happens.
So then yesterday I was on my way to work. I had three proposals to get out, so I left sooner than usual. Well, I debated about taking the surface streets so I could stop and get breakfast, but I decided to take the interstate and have pretzels for breakfast. Big mistake.
I pulled on to the S. Acadian onramp onto I-10, where wouldn't you know, the Baton Rouge Police had set up an inspection sticker checkpoint. During rush hour. Yeah, I have an expired inspection sticker. I didn't get an inspection last time it was due (two years ago) because I had less than perfect brakes. Then it was my transmission, then the brakes again, then struts, then ball joints...well, you get the idea. Now, I'm pretty sure it won't pass emissions - I think I need a new thermostat, and possibly some other things. I just don't want to invest the money if I'm not keeping the car much longer.
So the cop pulled me over, said they were checking inspection stickers, insurance, and seatbelts. Of course I didn't have my seat belt on. I wear it all the time, but I had taken it off to wind down the window (the handle is down by the floor, and I can't reach it with the seat belt on), and I didn't put it back on. And naturally, I couldn't find my current insurance card or my registration card. I took my registration card out to renew my insurance and I don't think I put it back in.
So I'm looking through all the papers in my car (a considerable number), crying, shaking, and hyperventilating, and the cop keeps telling me to calm down, that it's a non-moving violation, that it won't hurt my insurance, etc. He took my old insurance card and worked with that, while I tried to keep from passing out from hyperventilating. Basically, I had a panic attack. I've had them on a few occassions before, but this was the first time in a long time.
So he only wrote me up for the expired inspection. I have the priveledge (I NEVER spell that right, so I'm not going to try) of paying Baton Rouge City Court $97.
I've decided that my car is under a curse. I'm thinking of going to the diocese and asking who the resident exorcist is here. Actually, I know the priest who does that sort of thing in this diocese. He's a little scary, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't ask him anyway.
I just need to bite the bullet and get a new car. I'm just not ready. Plus, car dealers scare me. I don't want to go there alone.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
...I hearby claim President's Day as our holiday.
What brought this on, you ask? Well, I wrote before about how I had hoped to take some time off around Thanksgiving. Well, that's not going to happen. My boss conveniently gave me a series of proposals that are all due right around that time. And I won't be taking time off around Christmas, but that's voluntary on my part, as I am the only one in the department with no family at all.
But I really, really need time off at some point in time. So I've decided that I should take some time around President's Day. There are no family traditions centered around that day, so there should be no interfering with anything if I take time off.
Of course, I may lose my mind by then. I really, really, really need some time off.
I'm on deadline, so this may be all you get today. Go read this for some interesting thoughts on church.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I've been reading a lot of articles both in Pittsburgh and here in Baton Rouge about students being diagnosed with MRSA infections. Most of them have an really alarmist tone.
While MRSA can be dangerous if it gets into the bloodstream, most of the time in community-contracted MRSA, it remains a skin infection that can be treated relatively easily by antibiotics. Granted, the antibiotics are powerful and tend to wipe you out more than the infection itself does, but it is treatable. The only issue is that you become more prone to contracting MRSA infections in the future - but they still generally remain skin infections, unless you have a deep wound.
I'm speaking from experience here. I've had MRSA infections. And if you keep any oozing boils covered, you generally are not going to transmit the infection unless someone rubs your pus all over their skin, or licks it (sorry for the disgusting image at lunchtime, for those of you who are eating). I can tell you that I've had abscesses get large enough to have to be drained and packed, and I never passed infection on to anyone else.
So, parents out there, don't panic. Just make sure your kid wears his or her own clothes (or that borrowed clothes are actually clean), doesn't use other people's towels, and washes hands well, and they'll be fine. Just be sure to get any rashes that look like a series of pimples checked quickly, especially if any of them are red around the pimple or are draining anything.
This has been your public service announcement for the day.
I feel like NBC's "The More You Know" music should be playing.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So the past two nights I've made chicken the same way I made the fish on Sunday. It was good, but both the fish and chicken had a problem - It was too greasy. But I couldn't figure out how to use just a little bit of butter and still have it spread well over the breadcrumbs. They don't make spray butter the way they do margerine, and I won't use margerine. Butter tastes better and is at least natural.
Today at work it hit me - I can use an apple peeler to slice thin pieces of butter and spread them over the top of the chicken. I used less than half the butter, and it tasted just as good, if not better.
By the way, the chicken needs to cook for 40 minutes total - 10 covered, 30 uncovered.
OK. I know I shouldn't read the youth group stuff from the church where I used to be youth director. I know it makes me tense and angry and more than a little bit stupid. Nevertheless, I can't help it. I'm human, and I want to see what kind of things they are doing that I never in a million years would have been allowed to do when I was there (and yes, the administration - meaning the pastor and pastoral director - are the same.).
Well, they are doing girls nights and guys nights now. And while I think that is appropriate for some things, I don't think it works for just fun stuff. These kids spend all week segregated by gender (almost all of them go to single sex schools), and they need to spend some time with the opposite sex so that they will be able to function in college and beyond.
Anyway, the name of their "Girls Night" program in September was "Pretty, Pretty, Princesses of the King." That is why I may need to vomit. First of all, these girls are incredibly privledged. Their parents are all well-off, and they get pretty much anything they want. Playing into that more by calling them princesses is just a bad thing.
Second the "pretty" part makes me mad on another level. To have value girls have to be pretty? I know that's what the world at large says, but should the church be saying the same thing? I'm not pretty (honestly, I'm not - and I'm OK with that), but I know I have value as a human being and in the eyes of God despite that. What message is that sending?
OK. I'm going stop. There were other things in the newsletter that bothered me, too, but at least some of them are theological in nature (as opposed to the above, which is sociological), and it wouldn't be fair for me to discuss them (though, honestly, even the Catholic-ness of the theology is a little bit questionable). Suffice it say, it doesn't make me happy.
Oh, and they are going to Disney World for Mardi Gras. That's just ridiculous. Those kids have been there more times than I can count. The trip costs $450 - not including meals. My dad would have died laughing if I had asked him for that. Heck, he almost wouldn't (or more likely couldn't) give me the $15 it cost to go on a day trip DC when I was in high school.
Sigh. OK. I'm really done now.
…feel like the contain an entire sandbox. They are dry, and itchy, and gritty, and I don't know why.
I blame it on the fact that I have spent the past 7 weeks using my old, backup glasses since the place where I get my glasses is incapable of ordering the right frames to fix my glasses, on which a spring broke in the temple. To say that I am angry with them would be a vast understatement.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Just as good leftover the next day.
I'm enjoying this rare day off, even if I haven't really accomplished anything (except for getting my overcharge refunded and my alignment fixed. By the way, if you are ever offered the chance to purchase a program alignment, go for it. I've had my alignment adjusted about six times this year, and only paid the first time.).
The grey cat, one of the two semi-feral cats I have a codependent relationship with, is pregnant, I think. She is either pregnant or sick, because her belly is looking awfully big. I feel bad that I only give her one little cup of food a day, but I think at least a couple other people are feeding her too, so I guess that's OK.
I think I'm going to take a nap and then do laundry. Have a lovely Monday, and to all the veterans out there - Thanks.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Aren't you glad to see I know my days of the week?
So I didn't make it to church again today. I got to the building about 5 minutes late. Now, realistically, this is the deep south, where 5 minutes late is right on time. But, I also belong to a congregation that contains just about every German in Baton Rouge, so, really, 5 minutes late is actually more like 3 minutes late. Does any of that make any sense?
Anyway, had I gone in, I probably wouldn't have missed any of the service. I would have missed announcements and maybe the beginning of the prelude, but not the confession and absolution.
But I have an almost pathological fear of arriving at church late. I don't know where that came from, other than the fact that my dad was very, very German, and believed that 10 minutes early was really late. I've adapted to the southern point of view on time pretty well, but I can't adapt as far as church goes.
So, to my pastor, if you happen across my blog, how about changing the service time to 11:15? I'll make it every week (unless I'm stuck at work).
In other Sunday news, I just had the best dinner. I bought some mahi mahi (fresh frozen - $6.99 for two - six ounce filets) at Whole Foods yesterday, in my attempt to get over my fear of cooking fish. Then I bought some panko bread crumbs (they are bigger and crunchier than regular bread crumbs). I mixed the bread crumbs, a little salt, and a little bit of Tony's (that would be Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning. If your grocery store doesn't carry it, ask them to), dipped the fish in milk, and coated it in bread crumbs. Then I drizzled a little bit of butter over the filets. It was heaven paired with a Cesar salad, and finished with Ben and Jerry's Cinnamon Bun ice cream. Wonderful - and I have leftovers for tomorrow.
And I have tomorrow off. I'm pretty well caught up on work, until my proposal sections come in on Tuesday. I'm going to go get my money refunded from the mechanic who overcharged my for my starter, get my alignment checked, and come home and do laundry. Have a lovely evening.
I've said before that I'm no big fan of the military as an institution. I also said that I support and admire the men and women who choose to serve. Both are true.
But I have to tell you, every time I see a story about that charity that is endeavoring to make sure that every living World War II veteran who is alive gets to Washington DC to see the World War II memorial, I cry like a baby.
I'm watching on a local program on our PBS station as they are talking about it and interviewing these men. It just moves me beyond belief. They even have a Buffalo Soldier on (the troops were still mostly segregated in WWII).
Their stories are incredible and powerful.
I think that that charity may be getting one of my Christmas contributions this year.
By the way, I have some more thoughts on homeschooling, but they are currently saved on my work computer. I'll shre tomorrow.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I slept in late today. It was good.
I went and got some chicken for dinner. It was good.
I went to Whole Foods and bought some Mahi Mahi, which I don't know how to cook. But it's still good.
I also bought a piece of pumpkin cheesecake. It was beyond good.
I discovered that the guys who replaced my starter overcharged me by $30. It was not good, but it will be.
I'm watching season 1 of Friday Night Lights. It's amazingly good.
God created Kyle Chandler. The job He did was really, really, really good.
(Almost as good as the job He did with Rob Morrow)
Cranberries are good.
List entries like this on a day when you don't want to think are also good.
Friday, November 09, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
So I got the ball joint (and CV joint) on my car fixed, and my starter went.
I had noticed a little hesitation in the morning when I start my car the past week or so, but only when it's cold. Well, when I went to pick up my car after the joints were replaced (to the tune of $521), it wouldn't turn over. But the starter motor was running, even without the key in the car. Well, the mechanic hit it with a screwdriver and it stopped, and after a couple of tries, it turned over. The car fixing place where I was doesn't do that type of work, and I had decided to take ti somewhere that did on Monday since I'm off.
So on the way home, I had to stop for gas (I was spot on E). I turned the car off, then couldn't get it to start again. I had to push it into a parking space in the back of the gas station by myself, despite the fact that there were several able bodied men standing around getting gas. At least this time I managed to not run myself over or run the car into a utility pole like I did the last couple times I had to push my car by myself.
I called a tow truck, and he took me and my car to a different place than I was going to take it to, but that was within walking distance of my apartment in case the tow truck guy wouldn't give me a ride home (he did). It cost $87.
If it's the starter, it'll be about $350, maybe a little more. If it's something electrical, it could be less (a wire or a fuse) or it could be more (a solenoid, whatever that is - it sounds expensive, though).
I'm at the stage where I am going to be nickle-and-dimed to death, I think. I was planning to wait until May to buy a new car, but I may just start going on test drives now and seeing what kind of financing I can get.
Just to give you a little contrast.
I'm no fan of the Army, or of ROTC (or JrROTC)*, but this is a good thing worth sharing.
*And just do I don't get any angry comments, I support soldiers 100% and admire them for what they do for our country. I just have issues with the institution.
Go read the post from today on TG's Blog.
What is wrong with the world?
How can we treat children like this? I'm generally a staunch defender of social workers, but this lowers them in my estimation.
I mentioned before that I had thought about becoming a CASA volunteer. I think this has pushed me enough to at least go to an information session. Kids like the one TG's inlaws take care of need people to stand up for them and only them, with only their best interests in mind.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
(Sorry, I'm submitting this from my work e-mail and I don't know how to turn text into a hyperlink in Outlook.)
So quite a few of the blogs I've been coming across during my surfing-at-work-while-waiting-for-proposal-pieces are written by mothers (always mothers) who homeschool. I have issues with homeschooling for a lot of reasons. The main one is that the mothers who are doing the schooling generally are not certified teachers. That is a big deal, even with little ones. When I was doing a field placement in a 9th grade class when I was in college, I had a student who had been homeschooled until that year. He was way behind academically, and even further behind socially. It was not good.
I admit that experience probably colored my perception of homeschooling a lot, and possibly unfairly. But I've also done some research on the homeschooling curricula that are out there. Now granted, most of these curricula are published by fundamentalist Christian publishing houses, and since my beliefs don't tend to be in that direction, I again may be biased. But a lot of the materials I've seen are poor quality at best, inaccurate at worst (and I'm not talking about the science curricula. I can't even talk about that objectively, so I'm not trying).
Today I came across the blog of a Catholic homeschooling mother. She linked to the curriculum she uses, and I clicked through, because I've never really looked at a Catholic homeschooling curriculum. I was hoping for something better, given the strong history of Catholic education, particularly in the US.
I was disappointed. I looked primarily at the materials for my areas of expertise, Language Arts and middle school. The literature collection consists of only novels by Catholic writers who are positive on Catholicism. The elementary Grammar books are called The Language of God (which bugs me on more levels than I can say - American English is not God's language, and I hate that the title implies that it is), and the the sentences in the textbook for 5th/6th grade are something right out of the 50's. Also, grammar instruction seems to stop in 7th grade. Trust me. Grammar needs to be taught and reinforced all the way through high school (and into college for that matter). Penmanship, however, is taught all the way through 8th grade (OK. Maybe that's not such a bad thing - though I would have resented doing copybook work in 8th grade).
Then there are these two books, which are considered part of the 8th grade curriculum for girls. Sewing, cooking, and homemaking. Your daughter will make someone a lovely wife at the age of 18, since she'll come to think that that's all a woman can do. I'm speaking from experience here. Until I was in 7th grade and going to the gifted program in my district, I honestly didn't think that a woman could be anything other than a nurse, a teacher, or a wife/mother. No one ever told me that, but those were the only examples I ever had. Why would you force that on your daughters?
And why only daughters? Shouldn't your sons know about homekeeping, too? What if they never marry? Or what if they become priests in a parish that is too poor to affort a housekeeper? Or what if they just want to be real men and help their wives around the house with more than just the heavy lifting? What then?
The history books are all history from a Catholic perspective? Where's the objectivity in that? In my experience as both a student and teacher in Catholic schools, they were always (relatively) objective when presenting history and the role Catholicism played in it (except maybe for the
Crusades. It's hard to admit when you made a lot of mistakes that resulted in the killing of thousands of innocent people).
I know that there are a lot of reasons that people choose to homeschool, with religious/moral reasons being primary. But you now what? If you parent your kids well, guiding them without smothering them, they are going to turn out OK regardless of whether your protect them in the cocoon of your home or send them off to the big, bad wolves of public school. What matters is how you influence them when they are home. If you nuture them, they will remember those lessons later on down the line when confronted with moral dilemmas. Trust me. I speak from the experience of having two parents who sent me first to Catholic elementary then to public high school. I had plenty of chances to go against the way I was raised. I could have gotten drunk every weekend (and most weekdays) very easily. I knew where the parties were. I could have gotten involved in all kind of things I was raised to avoid. But I didn't. Those lessons stuck. I'm proud of that, and I'm proud of my parents.
Wow. Guess I had more to say on this topic than I thougt I did. Who knew?
…starting of your workday by puking in the downstairs bathroom. At least I had the presence of mind to realize that a pre-puke elevator ride was probably a bad idea.
Don't worry - I know why I threw up. I'm taking a medication I haven't taken in a while (I have another pesky staph infection), and I thought my doctor told me to take it on an empty stomach. While I was standing over the toilet, I remembered that she actually told me to eat something first. Oh, well. At least there was nothing icky in there since I hadn't eaten since 8 pm
But I'm feeling much better now. I'm eating pretzels at my desk. If I had any cash on me, I'd go downstairs and buy a Sprite. But I don't so I think I'll just make some tea.
Have a lovely morning.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I grew up in a union family. My dad was a teamster, and my mom belonged to some union of people who touch meat (she was a meat wrapper for 20 years, before she retired shortly after I was born). (and yes, I do realize that both of those things sound dirty. I am, after all, 12.) I was a student member of the National Education Association (NEA) when I was in college studying to be a teacher. And I benefitted from the contracts the Catholic School Teachers Union negotiated when I taught in Pittsburgh (the union only represented high school teachers, as I understand it, but all teachers got essentially the same contract and benefits).
I remember the last time the Writers Guild went on strike. I had been through two strikes with my dad (the last one of which actually broke is local of the union), so I understood what it meant. What I couldn't understand at the time is how someone with such a cushy job could go on strike. They were making movies! The got to play make-believe all day long! How hard could it be?
I understand better now that I'm older. Writing (or editing) as a job is hard work, and I imagine it's even harder when you work is judged by millions of people every week. Your job depends on how many Nielsen families tune into the show you are writing, and that depends on a whole lot of factors, some of which the network bigshots control, some of which nobody controls. You can literally lose your job on the whim of a network executive, and then what? Plus, I learned recently that people who write scripts for weekly TV shows really don't make that much money, nor do the people who doctor scrips for movies. Oh, the head writer probably isn't that badly off, but most of the young writers sitting in the writers room (particularly for sitcoms and the like), make less than I do, and probably close to what I made teaching in a Catholic school (which, I promise you, was not much at all - like, couldn't really afford my $265 a month apartment, electricity, gas, food, and bus pass not much at all). They depend on residuals from syndication, foreign showing, and all just to live at some times.
Why shouldn't they get residuals for internet airings and DVD sales - especially DVD sales? People are increasingly getting their TV viewing from sources other than their actual TV. I watch shows on the internet all the time, and it's not like they don't have advertising. Granted, it is generally by one sponsor, and in 30 second increments, but it is still advertising. The networks and the producers are making a profit - why shouldn't some of that trickle down to the writers? And DVD sales are almost pure profit for the networks and production companies, and a lot more people are buying boxed sets these days. Let the writers have their fair share. (I just read that the writers had taken DVDs off the table in talks on Saturday, on word that if they did that, the powers that be would concede on other media. Not so much)
What I don't understand is the networks' seeming nonchalance about all this. It's like they don't realize that people have a whole lot more options for their entertainment these days. I can watch BBC shows on YouTube, or standup, or cute kitties rolling around with yarn. TV is already starting to fade as the primary entertainment medium in this country.
All of this is just to say that I support the Writers Guild for going on strike. Even if it will mean reruns and reality shows, and despite the fact that there isn't a lot of originality coming out of Hollywood.
Here's what's funny to me about blogging.
Today I've been surfing around to random blogs (I'm in a holding pattern at work at the moment, while I wait for some stupid writers to finally get me their stupid proposal sections - I should have just taken the day off). I found a blog I kind of liked, so I read back a few weeks. Then I looked at her blog roll, and there are about four or five other blogs on there that I read regularly (that don't appear on my sidebar either). That's happened to me a couple of times today, just by clicking different randomizer links.
It just strikes me how interconnected the blogging world is. I'm sure that there is some kind of analogy or metaphor for world peace or something in there, but I'm in a literal kind of place at the moment, thanks to the project I'm working on.
I wish I could share more than the vague aspects of my job with all of you (I write and edit proposals for a company that does a lot of work with government), because sometimes the specifics are either funny or frustrating, or, occassionally, mind-numbingly boring and I'd love to vent and get all sarcastic with them. But not only are there trade secret issues at state, there are…bigger things at stake.
Also, because I only use my right thumb to hit the space bar on my keyboard (that whole year of Ms. Allie harping on my in typing class obviously did no good at all), there is a shiny spot on my space bar where the constant thumb-hitting has worn away the texture to smoothness.
That has nothing to do with anything, but I felt compelled to share, nonetheless.
I've mentioned before how much I enjoy Laid Off Dad's blog (and I may even manage to add a link on my sidebar sometime in the next century. He wrote an entry today about buying his oldest son and himself new baseball gloves after the one he (LOD) had been using got ripped apart by a line drive. Here is the comment I posted there (though if you click on the entry link, you'll be able to read it there, so I don't know why I am putting it here, too):
I had a glove like your sister's. It was my first glove, and it was a hand-me-down from a neighbor so I could play in the neighborhood softball league when I turned 7. My parents really couldn't affor to buy a glove for something that I may or may not do for just one season (I lasted 6).
I used that glove for two seasons before the exact same thing happened to me at practice before my third season. My mom tried a little home repare with some embroidery floss, but it just wasn't as strong as rawhide, and had to be repaired after every practice.
My dad got me a new mitt for my birthday, but it just wasn't the same. Even after four years of playing and religious conditioning it never really got soft enough. Still, I used it for catch and pickup games all the way thorugh college, when my dad gave it away to a neighbor kid.
I miss both those gloves, the first because it was wonderful and soft and comfortable, and the second because my dad gave it to me, and I miss him.
Monday, November 05, 2007
I know I've mentioned it before, but I love PBS.
I've been watching the American Masters special on Carol Burnett. It was brilliantly done. I can remember watchin The Carol Burnett Show with my parents and grandmother when I was very, very young. I didn't understand even a fraction of it then, but I laughed at how much fun everyone seemed to be having. And I remember growing up a little bit and understanding more and more.
And, as I'm typing this, I'm remember that that show was on the same night as M*A*S*H, which was also much loved in our house. I don't think there has ever been a better night of TV. I think it was Monday, but I really don't remember that far back.
I should go. I need to get as much crap off the floor as I can since they are cleaning the stupid carpets tomorrow. I wish they'd ask us to pick a day. I'd never, ever pick Tuesday.
I read fan fiction. Not a lot of it, but some. And I'm not embarrassed to admit it.
(OK, I am embarrassed. But I am admitting it even though people I know in real life read this blog.)
Anyway, some of it is very well written, some of it…well…is not. But there is one universal fault in just about every fanfic I read, and it drives me crazy. Why must writers go way, way overboard with description? I've always found that description works better when it is subtle but beautiful, or unexpected, or even jarring. It really isn't necessary to describe every single blessed ingredient in a sandwich with four adjectives apiece. It's a sandwich. I've has some good ones in my day, but never one that one that was "laden with generous amounts of tender, sweet, salty, shell pink ham; juicy, fresh, sweet, crimson tomatoes; crisp, crunchy, wavy, sage green lettuce; and creamy, smooth, moist, white mayonaisse."
OK. That was admittedly a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. Not every noun requires an adjective, and not every simple item, like a ham sandwich, requires extensive description. In fact, the lack of description can sometimes set a scene or a mood better than laying it on thick.
I wonder when kids are picking up that this is a good thing. I think it is 4th or 5th grade, personally. I remember my language arts teachers in those grades enthusing over how much description you could cram into one paragraph. But I don't really remember any teacher saying otherwise until I got to college.
So thank you, English Department at Gannon University, for saving me from the perilous, hazardous, tremulous path of overly effusive description.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
So, here are some things I've been thinking about. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I've enjoyed thinking them. Though, unless your mind works the same way as mine, you probably won't
Even though there are only two ELCA churches in Baton Rouge (and the next
closest in either direction is about 50 miles), I think they should get together
and have evening services once or twice a month. That way, I'd still have a
chance to make it to church on weekends when I have to work. The problem isn't
that I have to be at work before 11, the problem is that if I'm working Sunday,
it usually means I worked Saturday too - and probably put in overtime during the
week - and I'm too tired to get up that early on Sunday. Plus, I really like
evening worship. There is something intimate and spriritual about it that
morning worship can't compare with - even when every service is intimate (I
think the most people I have ever seen in my church at once has been about
I really would like to start some kind of regular spiritual/prayer practice, but I have no idea what I should do. I need something more flexible than the daily office (If you are familiar with Myers-Briggs, I am most definitely a P), but something with some kind consistency and, preferably, intellectual challenge. Any suggestions?
I get blood drawn tomorrow. I guess I'll find out for sure if my thyroid is
why I've been so freaking tired the past few weeks. I really hope that's the
The carpet cleaner is coming is Tuesday. That doesn't make me happy. I
don't feel like trying to move my boxes and stuff off the floor so he can some
in for 10 minutes and run the thingy over the carpets. And why are they
bothering to do this for a building that won't be here this time next year? They
can't fix my air conditioner but they can clean the carpets?
I need to do laundry, but I don't have the money until Thursday. That's another
reason I don't want the carpet cleaners to come.
My first day of silence at work was pretty miserable. I think I said about
30 words all day. I don't know if I can do that forever.
I'm getting my other ball joint replaced this week. I'm excited.
I think I'm going to work on tagging all my past entries this month. Although,
as a P, that seems like an awful lot of structure....Hmm. I'll have to
think about that.
The brown shaggy cat has decided that it belongs to me. And I think that it
has managed to put some kind of tracking device on me. Lately, it has been
meeting me at the garbage can about five apartments away from mine. I can't
figure out how it knows I'm coming home. It really needs to learn not to stop
right in front of me, though, or to walk between my legs. I keep kicking it by
There is another cat that has been hanging around. It sometimes scares away
one of the two original cats and takes their food. I feel bad, but I won't
put out more than two containers of food for cats that don't even belong to me.
And I still don't know why I am feeding them at all, except for the fact that
I'm afraid they won't like me anymore if I stop. Yes, I am slightly insane, why
do you ask?
Speaking of which, I've been able to feel a lot of anxiety and a little
depression creeping in lately. I don't want to go on drugs again, even though
they worked. I always felt a little...muffled when I took them. Plus, they are
There is a woman on Shark right now who is playing a lawyer. She
looks a little familiar and sounds really familiar. I wish I could remember what
else she was in.
I'm so glad The Amazing Race is back on. Now I can go back to watching Globe Trekker on PBS at 6, and TAR at 7 (or whenever it comes
on after football and News for Old People).
How come labs on TV can analyze DNA in a few hours, but it takes several
weeks in real life?
Woolite Spot Cleaner for Carpets with Oxy stuff in it works really well.
Yes, I am cleaning my carpets before the carpet guy comes. Why do you ask?
I think I have said enough for today. Have a lovely evening.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
Here is your chance to recommend music to me. I don't have a lot of it anymore (St. Al's CCC stole most of my CDs), and if I am going to listen to music all day instead of interacting with human beings, I need more than my current selection.
My tastes tend to run more toward the indie/folk/acoustic/mellow end of the spectrum than heavy, driving beats or electronica. I will groove on an occassional pop tune, though.
I will look forward to you recommendations.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
So, I think I'm having issues at work. The problem is, I don't know what they are.
See, one of my co-workers, the one with experience (she's been with the company even longer than the boss - in fact, she used to be the boss (she didn't want to deal with the stress so she stepped down)), had her performance evaluation today. The walls between offices are really thin, and my desk is right next to boss's office. I tried very hard not to listen to anything, but I couldn't help hear my name come up several times. I think she doesn't want to share an office with me. I don't know why. I heard the word distracted, so I think I shall stop talking at work from now on. It isn't hard to do, really. In fact, my instinct goes in that direction. I just try to speak up occassionally so people won't think I'm cold and distant.
I apparently have gone from one extreme to the other. I guess I'll just leave my headphones on all day from now on. How miserable is that?
I think I shall get my bloodwork done tomorrow instead of waiting until next week. I'm 90% sure my thyroid is low, and that's why I feel like crap on a pretty continuous basis. Maybe things will get better if she (meaning my endocrinologist) increases the dose.
Well, I think I'm going to sleep now. Have a lovely night.
Word to the wise:
When you take a medication that acts on insulin and blood sugar (even when you don't take if for diabetes - I take it to keep my insulin levels under control and to keep my female hormones doing what they are supposed to do), it is a really, really bad idea to take it in the morning and not eat breakfast.
That is what I did today.
I had to eat half of my lunch about an hour and a half after I got to work. Then, after I ate the rest of my lunch an hour later, my blood sugar plummetted. I got headachey, my stomach hurt, and I just generally felt like...well...something that I try to refrain from saying in my blog.
I just made a Walgreens run and returned with half of the Halloween candy isle, and sweet tea. On the plus side, I feel a thousand percent better after just drinking the tea and having a few 3 Musketeers Minis. Did you know that they come in flavors now? French Vanilla, Strawberry, and Mocha Cappuchino.
I had something else to say on this auspicious occasion of the first day of NaNoBloPo '07, but it is gone now. Perhaps I will remember it later.