Thursday, December 31, 2009

I should have known better...

...than to look at http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/ first thing in the morning.
I often wonder if people look in the mirror before they leave the house. I mean, how can a person possibly think this looks good?! The sight of this put me off my breakfast.
Speaking of looking in the mirror before leaving the house, I also found this:
What the fuck? It looks like she put a coffee cup over her eyes and used it as a template - then drew on her face with magic marker. I don't understand how she can think that that looks acceptable. Does she not look at other people and think 'hmm. My eyebrows don't look like the rest of the human race's eyebrows. Maybe I should rethink what I'm doing'?
I guess that people staring and pointing was not enough to give these women a clue that their appearance is ridiculous.
I really don't get people sometimes.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I have neglected you, gentle reader (I hesitate so say 'readerS' because I fear all but one of you have left me - and I don't blame you a bit!). I'm sorry - I have no excuses, so I'll just say I'm sorry and leave it at that.



Finals week came and went, and so did a nice gastrointestinal virus that the 'lings got. Nausea and vomiting and fever, oh my! I knew the littlest 'ling was really quite ill when I offered him a phenergan suppository and he didn't run screaming. My final grades were: Algebra C, Art A, English B, Philosophy B, Political Science B. My GPA is 3.37 - not bad, but I'd really have liked to have had a solid 3.5. I'll do better next semester. I'm taking Geometry, Chemistry, another English class, and Psychology this time - I was going to take a 5th class but was advised against it. Chemistry is a 5 credit class, and a 5th class would have pushed me over the 18 hr max. So, I'm sticking with 4 classes.


I have been knitting up a storm. In addition to knitting, I've started writing my own patterns. This is an example of one of my creations:
That's what I like to call a clog sock. I decided to put the cable on the back so that it's more visible when I wear Birkenstocks. It's knitted in worsted weight 100% virgin wool on size 3 needles.
That's what I knitted for Hubs' birthday. I also knitted my MIL a pair in a traditional Aran yarn for Christmas. I love the pattern.
Numbah Two is doing relatively well. He got on to the wrestling team (as did his brother) and I think that the physical discipline and the camaraderie of his team mates is incredibly beneficial to him. He sees a therapist once a week and no longer associates with the drug using crowd. The kid that was dealing got a DUI, among other things, and is in a world of trouble, and one of the other kids that was using got suspended from school for drug related behaviour.
The 'lings go back to school next week, but I don't go back until the 19th. I'm looking forward to having some time to myself and I think I'm going to make a trip up to Springfield to see the Frank Lloyd Wright house that's there. I'm also planning visiting the art museum in St Louis again - I love that place.
Watching 'Hoarders' on A&E has made me want to de-clutter my house. I am always amazed at how some people live and I wonder how they can think straight surrounded by all the detritus. It amuses me to hear them say that their homes are "messy" when they are, in fact, fucking filthy. I'm sorry, but if you have 4' high stacks of used adult diapers all over your house, your living room resembles a landfill, there are skeletal remains of cats in the boxspring of your bed and you have to camp outside because of the bedbug infestation then your home is WAAAAYYYY more than just 'messy', Jack.
Ew. Now I'm all itchy...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Neighbors from Hell – again

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you SO much for ensuring my night was far from restful. I lay awake until 3am, listening to the 'thunka thunka' of the rap music emanating from your house. As a result I am tired and cranky today, which my family really appreciates.

We seem to have had similar conversations before, but you clearly have forgotten all about them. So, I'll remind you:

You have the right to do what you please IN your home, yes . . . but when what you're doing encroaches on what I'm doing, we have a problem. You don't live half a mile away from everyone else; we're in pretty close proximity – and so we have to respect other people's peace, quiet and privacy.

When your music drowns out my TV – despite all the doors and windows being closed in my house – then it's TOO FUCKING LOUD.

When your music is audible over the sound of a train passing by and blaring it's horn – then it's TOO FUCKING LOUD.

It wouldn't have been so bad if you'd have turned it down or off at a decent hour – midnight would have been good – but you didn't do that. Oh no, you went on and on until 3 o'clock in the fucking morning.

We went through this last year and the year before; around Thanksgiving you seem to lose your fucking mind and party every fucking weekend. Last year I called the police because you had left your 13 year old in charge of gawd knows how many kids whilst you were across the street drinking. She took a page out of your book and cranked that stereo up so loud that I couldn't hear The Hubs talking to me in a normal voice. I decided that rather than take abuse again (remember the last time I asked you to turn it down? I do. Vividly. You called me a fucking bitch) I'd simply call the Law Enforcement desk. I knew the cop who responded, by the way. He said that he could hear the music as soon as he turned onto our street and knew exactly which house it was coming from. Apparently I'm not the only one complaining about your noise.

You seem to have mistaken my tolerance for weakness and I feel that you're taking advantage of it. So, this is your official heads-up: I am implementing a zero tolerance policy regarding your noise. I'm not going to bother coming over and talking to you, I'm just going to call law enforcement and I'm going to do it every single time you disturb my peace. If it comes to it, I'm going to find out who your First Sgt is and I'm going to call him. I'm done with you, period. You think I was a bitch before? You aint seen nothing yet, assclown.

I want you to get a taste of what a pain in the ass you're being, so I hope you get hemorrhoids. Big, pulsating hemorrhoids hanging out of your rear end, so painful that you have to sit on an inflatable ring and can't shit without screaming.

Eat shit and die,

NM

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A rock and a hard place

Well, now….this is about a bitch.

I have Bells Palsy. The standard treatment for Bells is acyclovir and prednisone. I can't tolerate prednisone orally, I have an ulcer and one dose of the oral stuff over the weekend set me off into belly pain hell. I have been given a choice: either take the oral stuff, increase the nexium I take from one dose a day to two and hope I don't develop a gastric bleed, or get admitted to the hospital for IV steroids.

Neither of those choices is an option for me.

Taking the oral prednisone puts me at risk of a gastric bleed, the consequences of which can be very, very bad indeed. Like life threatening bad. As in 'get an NG tube, endoscopic surgery and admitted to the hospital for a week' bad. Getting admitted at this point in the semester would mean I'd miss classes and would end up getting dropped and failing, and I'm not prepared to do that.

Getting admitted for IV steroids is not an option either – I'd miss lectures, would get dropped from classes and would fail. Not gonna do that; I've worked too damn hard to let that happen.

The other option that has been suggested by friends who are medical professionals is getting a PICC line with a heplock on it. I can still get IV steroids, but I don't have to be admitted – so I can attend lectures. I'm not sure how to go about getting that; my PCM has told me that if I can't tolerate the prednisone I have to go back to the ER. Do I ask for it there? Do I call my PCM and ask him about it? Do I tough it out and see what happens….and if I'm no better in a week ask to be admitted them (Thanksgiving break. I won't miss classes)? I don't know.

All I know is that I'm not failing this semester. Period.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Joking

Why do people think that because they attach "just kidding" or "joke!" after an offensive statement, that somehow it negates the jackass-iness of what they said?

It's happened 3 times in the past 12 hours, all about the same subject.

First, it was some arse in Art class this morning making a joke about the "Chair Force. Har har. Just kidding….".

Then, some bigger arse (literally and figureatively)at the store said "them air force men and wimmin think they all that, but they aint never go nowhere". When he saw I was wearing a USAF hoodie and staring at him, he said "I's only jokin', huh huh…."

Finally another arse on Marko The Munchkin Wrangler's blog saying 'since when does wearing a USAF uniform make someone part of the military (joke!)' (or words to that effect).

Yeah, I get it. People think that the USAF isn't bas-ass enough to qualify as part of the 'real' military; that they never deploy anywhere or do anything dangerous. Of course, not all of them do. Just like not every Marine or every Soldier gets to be a door-kicker in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Some of them, however, DO put themselves in danger. Pilots, aircrew, Ravens, cops, medics, combat controllers, pararescuemen …all those guys put themselves in harm's way every day. The Army doesn't have the monopoly on deployments, either: there are squadrons on this base that have guys who deploy for 9 months, are home for 6, then turn around and deploy again for another 9 months. It's not 12 months like the Army deployments are, but it's more frequent.

To those people who think the 'Chair' Force isn't part of the 'real' military, that it's not dangerous and that AF personnel have it easy, I have this to say: enlist. Get a commission. Put on a uniform, and give some years of YOUR life to the service of this country. Then, when you hear some smart-arse who wouldn't know the meaning of 'service before self' if it jumped up and bit him on his incredibly small and altogether unimpressive penis saying things like I heard the trio-of-asshats saying today, maybe then you'll understand why saying 'just kidding' or 'joke' does NOT make it any less offensive, and it does NOT make it okay.

To those of you who have thanked my husband for his service in the past, I have this to say: thank YOU. Not for being grateful to him, but for understanding.

Apparently, not everybody does.


 


 


 

Dr Grumpy told us about his kids getting shots their flu shots today. I feel for his wife, because I have had very similar experiences with my own children.

One incident that I recall pretty vividly was when my middle kid had to get his 3 year old booster shots. I took him to the immunizations clinic with his siblings in tow. I had told them all beforehand that Numbah Two was going to get some shots, and nobody, Numbah Two included, had a problem with it. When we were called back to the treatment room, Numbah Two clambered up onto the exam table and asked if he was going to get a sticker and a Marvin the Martian band-aid when he was done.

"If you're a good boy, yes" I said "and you can even have a sucker and a cookie if you're extra, super-duper good".

He was fine until the nurse pulled the first syringe out; when he saw it he started screaming and held on to the exam table so tightly his knuckles were white. His screaming started the other two screaming – even though they weren't getting any shots – and made other kids in the waiting area start screaming too.

The nurse asked me to sit him on my lap and roll his sleeve up. I managed to roll a sleeve up and pry one hand off the table, but had to let go of the free hand to try and get the OTHER hand off….and he just grabbed the table with the free hand. The nurse called in two male techs to come help. When we got him off the table he made a break for freedom and ran towards the door. One tech grabbed him before he could exit, but he caught hold of the door frame and clung to that like a drowning man clings to a life raft. The second tech had to peel his fingers away from the frame and it took the two of them to deposit him in my lap. I held his head against my chest and the techs held his arms still: it took 4 adults to give one 5 year old a shot, and I think we all lost some hearing that day. I don't know if you've ever been in an enclosed room with 3 shrieking, screaming kids, but it's LOUD.

Once the needle was in his arm, he held his breath for an alarmingly lengthy amount of time. I swear I have some hearing damage from the shriek that he let out; my ear was ringing for a day and a half afterwards. That frightened his brother and sister even more and they raised the intensity and decibel level of their screams to match those of their brother.

All 3 of them were given stickers and Numbah Two got his Marvin the Martian band-aid and TWO suckers, but there was no placating any of them. The screamed their way back into the waiting room shrieked down the hallway, cried on their way out of the front doors and sobbed as I strapped them into their car seats.

"Was it REALLY that bad?" I asked. "Really? It was just a little shot, it can't have been SO horrible…did it hurt that bad?"

"No, mama" said Numbah Two as he licked a sucker "it didn't hurted me at all, not eben one liddle bit!"

"So why were you screaming like that? You scared your baby bro and your big sister and other kids, too."

"I dunno, mama. Can I have my cookie now? Look FTS, I has a Marbin Martian band-aid on my owie!"

And just like that, the hysteria was over. All the screaming and shrieking was forgotten and all that mattered was the sucker and the promise of a cookie.

I made his dad take him the next time he had to get shots.


 

Friday, October 23, 2009

What did we do wrong?

My son (Numbah Two) has effectively shot himself in the foot.

He's 15. He's medicated for bi-polar disorder, and when he takes his meds he's relatively stable. However, he's become a master of NOT taking them, and when he's not on them, it shows.

He doesn't deal with his dad being gone very well, so when The Hubs has to leave we try to be prepared for what we consider to be the worst. 2 days ago, however, the worst was surpassed in a spectacular way.

We've all had the flu. Numbah Two had been particularly restless on Wednesday and said he was going to his room to try and sleep about 1700. When I hadn't heard anything out of him by 1930, I went to check on him.

The door was locked, and there was no answer when I knocked. Alarm bells started ringing for me, so I popped the lock and opened the door. The room was empty, and freezing cold because the window was wide open.

He had snuck out.

I texted him to see where he was. He claimed to be in his room, and when I told him I knew that was a lie he said 'uh oh'. Yeah. Uh-fucking-oh, kid.

It took me 10 minutes to figure out where he was, and I had to threaten him with the local civilian PD (he was off base, in an apartment in a local township) to get him to agree to meet me. I thought he might be high, but it wasn't until I picked him up that I realized how loaded he really was.

I took his sister with me, and it was a good thing I did. As soon as he got in the car, he started threatening me – and her. He kicked the back of my seat, told me he was going to stab me in my sleep and then blow my head off with a shotgun. He threatened to strangle his sister and was cussing, screaming and generally being abusive.

It didn't get any better when we got home. I was on the phone with his dad when he attacked me. He threw my phone across the room, and when I tried to retrieve it he starting pushing and grabbing me. I tried to defend myself and get my phone (I wanted to call the police because I knew this wasn't going to end well) , and that just made it worse, so I starting yelling for help. His sister called 911, and his brother called his dad. I don't recall screaming, but both the 911 dispatcher and his dad say that I was; that I was yelling 'I am your mother! Don't you dare touch me!!" and "get your hands off me!! Why are you doing this?!!!?!!". The Hubs said it was one of the hardest things he ever had to hear, and I believe him.

When he realized that his sister was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, he stopped, told me I was a fucking bitch and that he hated me, and walked out the front door…..right into the police, who had their hands on their weapons.

One searched him, cuffed in, and made him sit in the back of the patrol car whilst three more came into my house and asked me what happened. When I told them he was high, they asked permission to search his room…and they found paraphernalia with cannabis residue on it.

We live in military housing. Having illegal drugs on base is reason enough to kick us out – and it's also enough reason to take The Hubs rank away from him. Numbah Two's actions could have fucked ALL of us.

The county Sheriff had to come out and I declined to press domestic battery charges against my son because I didn't feel it would benefit him OR us in the long run. Instead, I'm trying to get him into a residential drug rehab facility. When the Deputies asked him how often he was getting high and what he was using, he told them that he was high every day and that the list of things he HADN'T done was shorter than the list of things he had. Apparently, the only things he hasn't tried yet are heroin and meth. Everything else, he's used – sometimes on a regular basis. He has lied to his father and I, he has stolen from us, he has blamed everyone else for his problems…

…my son is a junkie. A bi-polar, violent junkie. I wish I could convey to you how much it hurts my heart to see that in black and white.

His dad had to drop what he was doing and come home early. We have taken Numbah Two's cell phone, T.V., Mp3 player and PSP away from him. We took the door to his room off its hinges, so he has no privacy there. He's not allowed to play Xbox or use the laptop for anything other than homework, and he cannot accept calls on the landline from anyone that we do not know – or approve of. Apparently some of the kids he hangs around with were present Wednesday evening and were also using. They are now persona non grata in our home and I have given their names to the base police and the deputies. They're on law enforcement radar now, and I am unapologetic and even glad about it.

He did the intake interview with a residential treatment facility yesterday afternoon and we're waiting to hear whether they'll accept him this morning. I hope they do; I don't think the outpatient route will work for him. He needs to go and learn a new way to live away from all of the kids he used with; away from me and his dad and his siblings. He needs inpatient, not outpatient. If they accept him, we'll drive to Alabama this afternoon. If not…well, we'll have more decisions to make.

I know that at the end of the day, I cannot control my son's actions…but that hasn't stopped his father and I asking ourselves what I am sure every parent in this situation asks themselves:

Where did we go wrong?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It’s more than a want

I don't know of anyone in the medical field who is in it for the money – because, to be honest, there isn't much to be had.

I think, in general, we are all in this because we feel it is our calling. It's our dharma, it's something that we are meant to do.

I think that part of my dharma is to go work for Medecins Sans Frontieres – aka Doctors Without Borders.

Most of you don't know this, but I speak enough French to be able to hold a decent conversation. MSF is always looking for medical personnel (doctors, Pas, nurses, NPs etc) who speak conversational French. Right now they need people to go to Haiti, Niger, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast.

My husband thinks I am absolutely crazy for wanting to do this. So does my brother. We had a conversation over lunch on Saturday…my big brother is a corporate private investigator and is a pretty big deal in his profession. He works for some very big companies and he investigates fraudulent and counterfeit products and has been all over the world. Anyway, he, my husband and I got to talking about my desires to work for MSF and the countries I could potentially go to. They both got very quiet, looked at each other, and then turned to me and calmly explained that it would not be in my best interests to go to those countries. Haiti is ridiculously dangerous, they said, as is the Congo. Niger is less unstable, but is really not safe either. In other words, they wanted to put the kibosh on my plans.

I realize that these places are unstable, and I realize that I could be in danger if I go there….but I could just as easily get shot in East St Louis (a woman got shot in the parking lot of the hospital earlier this week, and there have been multiple shooting and homicides in the vicinity of Kenneth Hall this year). I would have been in more danger if I had been able to enlist in the Army…and yeah, I would have had the power of the flag behind me, but MSF is a big deal too. When was the last time you heard of a medical professional working for MSF being abducted or killed?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I realize there is potentially a great risk to this, but it's something that I feel I need to do. It's my dharma, my path, my way of being. It's in my nature to do this, despite the danger. I had hoped that my husband would understand; his career puts him into some pretty risky places and he's not always harmed.

I don't want to do this for the money, because there really isn't any, and I don't want to do it for the fame or the prestige because there isn't any of that, either. I want to do it because I feel I HAVE to. I NEED to.

We'll see what happens when I qualify, I guess.

Ravaged by a stranger

He swept me off my feet on Tuesday…..he must have known my husband was gone and decided to make his move when I was alone.

By Tuesday night we had become intimately acquainted; he shared my body and my bed and had me moaning and groaning and sweating all night long.

He's using and abusing me and I don't even know his first name….I just know him as Mr Influenza.


 

Seriously, y'all. I feel like I ran a marathon and then got hit by a truck the next day. I ache, I have a fever, my chest hurts and I have no strength at all.


 

Get your flu shots. Please. You don't want this flu, trust me. It really, truly sucks.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The difference between new and used car salesmen

Dear Used Car Salesman,

I will never step foot on your lot or buy from your dealership ever again. EVER. I was just browsing; I saw a Jeep that I liked the look of and was in the process of looking at the interior when you descended on me and started your poorly executed hard pressure sale tactics.

You didn't seem to understand why I'm not willing to drop over $25 grand on a used car when I can go down the street and get what I want BRAND NEW for less, and with a better financing deal. You also don't seem to understand that the more you push me, the more I'm going to dig my heels in and counter every argument you come up with. Both of those tactics were mistakes on your part, but your fatal mistake was treating me like I was some ignorant little girl who knew not much about the world of finance and vehicles.

For the record, I might be little and female, but I am far from ignorant. This is not my first time buying a car, jackass. I know how you motherfuckers work.

Introducing me to your floor manager was a bad move on your part, but his attitude smacked of desperation. When he asked me "what can I do to put you in that car today?" my response of "Not a damn thing" wasn't metaphorical, it was literal.

I'm sorry if you think I'm rude for walking away when you were both talking to me, but I just couldn't stand any more bullshit. It was starting to stink out there, and the water reclamation plant next door had nothing to do with it.

You'll never see me again.

Love (not really, but 'disdain' doesn't really work),

NM


 

Dear New Car Salesman,


 

Thank you for not pressuring me. Thank you for helping me to decide how to get the most car for the price I want to pay. Thank you for NOT trying to talk me into the super duper deluxe model and being content to let me tell you what I want and working with that. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Call me when you get a manual transmission model in. I'll come down and test drive it, and if I like it…..well, Mr. New Car Salesman, we're more than likely to have us a deal.

Love (and I mean that)

NM


 


 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Secrets and Shame

I've long been a believer that if you're ashamed of something, the best way to work through it is to tell someone else.

I have something that I'm ashamed of. I'm going to tell you what it is.

It's my teeth. More specifically, my front upper incisors and lateral incisors.

They're discolored and chipped, and now they're slightly loose. The right lateral incisor is a crown that keeps falling out. When the airbag (I had a major MVA a few years ago and am still trying to fix what I broke) hit me in the face, it knocked some of the teeth loose and apparently I was mistaken in thinking they were healed. It's come back to bite me in the ass now.

I have to have some extractions. The front incisors are dead, which causes them to be discolored and fragile. The loose root has affected the crown, which is why it keeps coming out. I have to have a surgical removal of the root, as well as the front incisors extracted. I'm going to have cadaveric bone grafts in the sockets to create some good, healthy bone structure there. I can't have implants right now because of the bone issue (money plays a big part of it too, I don't have $6000 to drop on my teeth) and crowns aren't an option because of the roots, so I'm getting a partial denture.

I'm getting a denture. There, I said it. I'm getting a partial denture.

It's not going to be permanent, I'll get implants eventually, but I'll have a partial denture for a while.

I don't know if you're noticed, but none of the photos I've posted of myself show my teeth. I have this enigmatic smirk in all of them – it's not because I'm trying to be coy, it's because the discoloration is really noticeable in photos and I'm embarrassed.

I've been waking up at night, freaking out over losing these teeth. I know that I don't HAVE to have it done; I can leave them alone and let them fall out on their own or break and walk around looking like a jack-o-lantern or a hillbilly for a while before I end up having a partial anyway….I know this is the right decision, but it's a tough one for me to take. I mean, I'm only 40. I'm not supposed to be a toothless crone just yet.

The partial is what they call "immediate placement". That means that I take the partial to the oral surgeon, he extracts the teeth and then places the partial immediately in my mouth. I have to keep it in constantly for a few days; the pressure helps with the swelling and bleeding. I'll have stitches in my gums; the crown root is going to necessitate an incision in my gum to get it out and the other teeth are so fragile that they could snap off and need to be surgically removed too. I'm not afraid of the pain, I know it's going to hurt but I also know it won't be as bad as some of the surgeries I've had. I'm not taking any time off school, either: I get out of class at 1100, have the surgery done at 1300 (with the help of a little nitrous oxide and copious amounts of lidocaine) and go back to school at 0900 the next day. I figure my face will be swollen and I'll be on pain medications so The Hubs will have to drive me, but I'm determined to not miss any class time.

So, that's my secret, aired for the entire internet to see. Maybe I'll be confident enough to post photos of myself smiling after the swelling and bruising has gone down. Maybe I'll become a proud partial wearer and will give someone else the confidence to say 'yeah, I have a partial. So what?'

Maybe. Then again I could hate it and wish I'd never done it. I sure as heck hope it's the former.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mission Accomplished

I'm sitting in bed, watching TV, when I see a news short segment flash on. To my amazement, I hear details of the mission my husband is on broadcast for all of America to hear. I'm stunned; I've been sworn to secrecy – and I don't even know all the details, but here it is on national news?!

So, I go to MSNBC to see if they're reporting it too. Sure enough, they are. I'm really tempted to post the link to the story here, but I think that The Hubs would be highly pissed at me if I did and I don't think it's wise. He flies these missions regularly, you see….and if I were to come right out and say what he does on them, then the next time he leaves y'all would have a good idea of where he's going and why.

I wish I could find the words to express just how damn proud of him I am. He's been an integral part of a mission that was important enough to garner national attention. He'll play it down and say it wasn't a big deal, but it was. It IS.


 

In other news, the two boys who beat the white kid up on the school bus have been expelled. As expected, the NAACP is 'reviewing' the expulsion, but Al Sharpton hasn't shown up yet. The Neo-Nazis did, though. They bought a rag-tag bunch (about 20) of slack jawed yokels and skinheads with homemade tattoos to 'protest' on the St Clair County building steps today (a protest that lasted less than an hour, I might add). About 200 citizens showed up to boo, jeer, laugh and other wise poke fun at this motley crew of rejects and losers. I was very, very proud to see this happening; it has renewed my faith in the citizens of Belleville and the surrounding area. Yeah, we may live in rural Illinois and St Louis may turn its nose up at our countrified ways, but dammit, we have some sense of right and wrong and we know idiots when we see them. We saw them in downtown Belleville today, and we let them know what we thought of them.


 

Mission accomplished, on both counts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

They should be ashamed of themselves.

I can't embed this video, but you can go here to see it. Be warned, it's graphic.

On Monday morning, about 8am, a 17 year old young man got on the school bus to go to Belleville West HS (I live about 3 miles from Belleville, it's my local town). The seating was limited, so he sat on a seat next to a 14 year old black boy - who had his books on the seat next to him. As the 17 year old sat down, he knocked a book onto the floor.

That was all it took for the black boy to start punching the 17 year old in the head. I can't describe it anymore, it makes me cry...you'll just have to go see the video for yourselves. It goes on for over 6 minutes, then there's a respite. Then, for some unknown reason, the original beater's friend starts choking and punching the victim. At this point another boy wades in and starts pulling the assailants off and breaks the whole thing up.

The victim never fought back. He did not raise his hand once. He did not defend himself.

The whole time this is going on, there are kids standing up and laughing, cheering the assailants on and filming the attack on their cell phone cameras.

The attackers have been suspended, might be expelled and face criminal charges. The kid that broke it up has been hailed as a hero. The victim just wants it all to go away so he can go back to school.

I am at a loss as to where to start with this. This is wrong, so wrong on so many levels.

First of all, I am pissed that people are saying this is not racially motivated, because I truly believe that it was. If the roles were reversed and it was two white kids beating a defenseless black kid, Al Fucking Sharpton would be all up in this shit and I bet my firstborn that it WOULD be described as racially motivated. But it's a black on white crime - a FILMED crime - and all of a sudden it's not racial. Give me a fucking break. Jena Six, anyone? That was racially motivated. Oh that's right...that wasn't filmed. It was six on one, black on white....but wait, Al Sharpton was there then. Why not now? Oh Al, where are you?

Secondly, I am furious at the kids who laughed and stood around filming this shit like it was some kind of entertainment. Five of them got suspended from school, and one of their mama's went on TV to say 'I know it aint right, but he don't deserve to be suspended. It's cuz he black, thas why'. No, bitch, it's because your son, who is old enough to know better, watched the commission of a crime, a violent assault, and HE FUCKING LAUGHED AND DID JACK SHIT TO STOP IT. That's why he's suspended, and if you have any fucking sense, you'd take his ass home and introduce him to some serious fucking parental justice. And, you should be ashamed of him. If it were MY kids who just stood and laughed or filmed it I'd be all up in their shit like never before and they wouldn't see the light of day for YEARS - except for when they went to school. If it were MY kids who adminstered a beating like that, they would be wishing and praying they were in the custody of the Department of Corrections to get away from me and their dad. Hell hath no fury like NinjaMedic and The Hubs when their kids royally fuck up.

I want to scoop that victim up in my arms and tell him that it's okay, that he did the right thing by not fighting back, and that he is NOT alone, that he has hundreds and thousands of people who will stand with him and behind him. I want him to know that he is loved by people he doesn't even know.

The assailants can't be expelled by the school administration, that has to come from district Board of Education (the school can suspend for up to 10 days, but anything else has to come from the B of E). Have I mentioned yet that the perpetrators are members of the Junior Varsity Football Team? 'Cause they are, and I have a feeling that that's going to play a part in the decision to expell/not expell. If they DON'T get expelled, I am going to start calling and writing District 121 Board of Education and demand action. I've discussed this with some friends, and they're going to do the same. I invite you, gentle reader, to join us. I'll keep you posted on the happenings and let you know what the decision is. If they don't get expelled, I ask you to write, call, email and let you feelings be known. If they're not expelled AND they keep their places on the football team, I'll be there picketing the games. I've picketed before, and I'll do it again. What they did was wrong, and they don't deserve to be a part of the school team OR the school anymore.

No, you know what? I'm not asking you. I'm challenging you. I challenge you to watch that video - ALL of it - and be content to let those boys who punched and choked that other boy get away with a simple suspension from school. I can't do it, and I'll think you'll be hard pressed to as well.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I’m there to learn, too.

I like to think that I'm a somewhat charitable person. If I see a person in genuine need I don't mind helping them out. Similarly, if I'm asked to help someone else out and I know that I can do it, I don't mind helping.

What I DO mind, however, is being taken advantage of.

I don't mind giving someone a hand up, but I don't give hand-outs routinely.

During the first week of Math class, my professor asked me to take notes on carbon paper. She didn't tell me why. At first I expressed doubt that she'd be able to understand my handwriting (My first Chemistry professor described my handwriting as looking 'like a spider fell in an inkwell and nearly drowned, but somehow managed to drag itself out and crawl across the page') but when she said she thought she'd be able to understand it just fine I agreed. It wasn't until the end of the second week that I found out the carbon copies were for another student who had less-than-stellar note-taking skills (coincidentally one of the students I had traded contact information with the first day of class), and when I realized I wasn't angry or irritated at all. Like I said, if he needs help and I can give that help then why not, right?

So, I went on taking notes quite happily…until today.

We had an exam on Monday. I revised on and off all weekend, practicing and practicing, making note of my mistakes and trying not to repeat them. Saturday morning I got a text from the student I make notes for, saying (this isn't verbatim) 'pls help, I need the answer to:' and giving me a math problem.

'Hmm. Do I give him the answer to the problem, or do I tell him how to figure it out?' I thought. I texted him back, giving him the answer. After all, it was the first time he'd asked me for help.

Five minutes later, I got another text, asking for the answer to another problem. This time I sent back the pointers he'd need to solve it for himself. Moments later I got a text saying 'but what is the answer?', and seconds after that, another text with another problem. And another. And another.

I saw a pattern forming. I sent back a few words saying that he had the same notes I did and that all the answers he needed were in those notes. Then, I texted and said that I was at the movies and that I had to go. I wasn't in the movies, I was at home, but he didn't need to know that.

Before class yesterday, he asked me for solutions to more problems. Luckily, the exam had commenced, so I didn't have a chance to tell him that I wasn't there to do his work for him.

Today, we started a new chapter. As usual, I took notes on carbon paper. Out of curiosity, I turned to see what this kid was doing whilst I was taking notes for him.

He was drawing.

DRAWING. IN A MATH CLASS.

I was sitting there, taking notes that are more comprehensive than I would usually take because I realize that someone else has to understand them too, and this motherfucker was drawing. He pesters me on the weekend and asks me to do his homework for him, and now I'm doing all of his class work for him too? Not bloody likely.

Have a mentioned that this kid can be a wee bit aggressive about some stuff? He can…which only added to my frustration and trepidation about confronting him.

So, after class, I spoke with the professor. I told her what happened over the weekend, what my reaction to it was, and that he's just drawing in class instead of making notes. She said that the idea was that MY notes were supposed to supplement HIS, NOT be his sole source of information for the class. She said 'you must feel a little used'…and she's right. I do. I feel taken advantage of.

She's going to talk to him. I don't know exactly what she's going to say and it's none of my business. As long as he gets the point that class is for EVERYONE and that EVERYONE should be taking notes to the best of their ability. After all, I'm there to learn, too.


 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Kanye West needs to STFU

By now, I'm sure most people have seen Kanye West get up on stage at the VMA's, take the microphone from Taylor Swift's hand and pronounce Beyonce's video the true winner.

Just who the fuck does that man think he is?

If it comes right down to it, he is a product of a record company. A promoter promoted him, people gave him clothes to wear, publicity people made sure they got his name and his face well known. He is a rapper of questionable talent - and I say that because I can't stand the stuff he puts out. I'm sure that some people think he is a rapping genius. I, however do not, and as this is MY blog I can say that I think Kanye West's music sucks.

I can also say that I think Kanye West sucks. From his tirade at the benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims when he said that President Bush was a racist (Mike Myers must've been wishing he could be anywhere other than in front of a live camera with Kanye) to his breaking a photographer's camera at an airport (that was totally unnecessary) and now this. I think that Kanye is a Grade A asshole, a blowhard who thinks his opinion is far more relevant than it actually is. He is an egotistical prick and a self-important putz.

What he did last night was shameful, and no half assed apology on his blog will suffice. No apology of any kind, period, will suffice. He did what he did because he thinks he's important and what he thinks matters.

He's wrong. It doesn't matter. He stole someone else's moment, and he cannot give it back. Can you imagine how he would have reacted if someone else did that to him? I can.

I think that MSNBC's article of this morning put it best: 'It's said that it takes a village to raise a child. If that's the case, then Kanye West's village failed him'.

It absolutely did, and so did his mama.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

If

If: you are standing in a really, really long line at the checkout of a store,

And: you are going to be paying by check, you might want to fill out the pertinent information on said check before it's your turn to pay, instead of running your yap to the woman in front of you,

Because: whipping out your checkbook AFTER the cashier has given you your total and taking a whole 5 minutes (I timed you) to fill out the date, the amount, signing it, and balance your register is really, really going to piss the 9 people in line behind you right off. There will be much sighing, tsking and even a couple of 'really?!?" and 'lady, are you serious???' comments and you will get upset at 'people being so mean'.

If: you are driving on Scott AFB on the weekend,

And: you are not familiar with the fact that the stop lights along Air Mobility Drive are turned into yellow flashers for Air Mobility traffic and red flashers for cross traffic on weekends and holidays, you might want to read your 'rules of the road' or 'highway code' ,

Because: coming to a complete stop at a yellow flashing light will cause the driver in the Ford pickup behind you (who knows you don't stop at yellow flashers, only red ones) to have to slam on his brakes, which in turn will cause him to hydroplane and come awfully close to sliding into the side of my little car, causing me to have to do some pretty nifty driving to avoid getting hit and there will be much flipping of the bird and yells of 'moron!' and 'what are you, a fucking idiot?!' sent in your direction.

I'm staying home the rest of the day. It's dangerous out there.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Change.

The first day I met him, I thought he was a great guy.

The second day, I thought he was a dick. An insufferable, egocentric prick.

Now, some number of days later, I have changed my opinion again.

My political science professor is an alright dude. Not a rad dude; not the kind of dude I'd go have a pint of Guinness with (that'd be my philosophy professor) or share some mushy peas and chips with (that's my English professor, the one who studied in my hometown)....but he's an okay dude. He's a great teacher and he makes sure we know what we need to know in order to not only pass his class, but maybe even decide to change our majors to Political Science (sorry, Dr Ault, I love what you're teaching me but I don't *love* it, if you know what I mean. Besides, the world needs more nurses and PA's).

I'm learning stuff in his class every day and I love it. I actually look forward to hearing him lecture now. The first exam is next week...depending on my grade, I may be back here telling y'all that he's an insufferable prick again, haha. Seriously, though, if I don't get a decent grade it'll be my fault, not his. He's giving us all the information we need to pass his class, it's up to us to use it.

This is a little off topic, but I want to leave you with this tough:
I've long said it, but someone else wrote it far more eleoquently than I ever could on Twitter the other day:

Nobody should die because they can't afford healthcare, and nobody should go broke because they get sick.

That's the bottom line, really. I'm not a politician and I don't know how to fix the huge clusterfuck that is modern American healthcare. All I know is I see a problem, and it needs to be fixed. Right now it's FUBAR.

We need to fix it. ALL of us. Not just a select few in Washington, ALL of us. I find it curious that the ones who are most qualified to make decisions about what works in healthcare and what doesn't (in other words, the docs and nurses in the trenches, the ones actually seeing patients) are not as involved in the process. Instead, it's left to stuffed shirts and fat cats who have 'advisors'. Puh-leeze. That needs to change, too.

Change. It's a good thing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A driving lesson from your friendly neighborhood NinjaMedic.

Okay class, settle down.

I'm talking specifically topeople who drive cars on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, this afternoon. Anyone here not from Scott? You, at the back...what's that? No, this is not Philosophy 101, this is Driving with NinjaMedic 150. You want the class across the hallway....Professor Russell is the dude you need to see.

Okay. Let's begin.....
It has come to my attention (in a very abrupt way, I might add) that some of you seem to be unable to navigate crowded parking lots. Completely, totally and utterly unable. As in you seem to lose your motherfucking minds when you're in a parking lot, more specifically the commissary parking lot on base. I'm talking to you, little Asian lady in the white car. And you, middle aged man in the blue Explorer. Actually, I'm talking to all of you who were in said parking lot at the same time as me this afternoon.

Never fear, NinjaMedic is here, and I can help you!

Let's start with how you SHOULD navigate a crowded parking lot, shall we? Do you all have something to write with and something to write on? Yes? Good. We'll begin:

There is usually a main thoroughfare with rows of spaces running perpendicular to this thoroughfare. In the commissary lot, there are TWO thoroughfares, with the rows in between them. Each row is ONE WAY, meaning that you can enter from one end, but not the other. A good way to tell which way the rows are aligned is to look to see which way ALL THE OTHER CARS ARE POINTED AND GO ALONG WITH THEM. What you don't want to do is go against that; it causes problems and it's going to make getting into a space really very difficult.

Now, let's move on: does anyone have an idea about what you really, really don't want to do in a parking lot? What's the number one thing you shouldn't ever do? Anyone?

Anyone?

Anyone?

*sigh* Ok....well, I guess I'll tell you. What you never, ever, ever want to do is COME TO A SUDDEN AND COMPLETE STOP ON THE MAIN THOROUGHFARE SO YOU CAN SPEND 30 SECONDS PEERING DOWN ONE OF THE ROWS TO SEE IF THERE'S AN EMPTY SPACE.
EVEN WORSE, YOU REALLY, REALLY DON'T WANT TO DO THAT WITH EACH. AND. EVERY. FUCKING. ROW.

You know how insurance companies, particularly health insurance companies, talk about 'never events'? Events that shouldn't ever, under any circumstances happen? Yeah. Think of it like that. It's a 'never event' for the parking lot.

What's that? Why shouldn't you do it, you ask? Good question!

YOU SHOULDN'T EVER DO IT BECAUSE THE PERSON FOLLOWING YOU MAY NOT BE PREPARED FOR YOU TO STOP SO SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING, WHICH CAN RESULT IN YOUR GETTING REAR-ENDED.

Luckily, I'm an attentive driver and I half anticpated your actions today. Call it gut instinct or whatever you will, I just had the feeling that you were going to do what you did and I managed to react accordingly.

However, the person behind me wasn't quite so attentive and I nearly became the filling in an elderly/obese driver sandwich. Had I not taken evasive action and sounded my horn (yes, I know it got you all addled, but please understand that had I not done it and got your attention (and the attention of the person behind me), I'd have been rear ended and would have been shunted into you. My big ol' truck would have done your little car some serious damage. You would probably have hurt your neck and back. The police and EMS would have had to respond. Statements would have been made......and guess who would have been at fault?

Anybody?

I'll give you a hint: it wouldn't have been me.

YES!! IT WOULD HAVE BEEN YOUR FAULT, BECAUSE YOU CAME TO A HALT IN THE MIDDLE OF A ROAD WITH NO GOOD REASON OR ADEQUATE WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yes, I know that you just wanted to see if there were any parking spaces 10' closer than the ones you just drove past. I understand that you have difficulty ambulating at times; I realize that it can be painful for you. I don't blame you one bit for wanting to find a closer spot (although I do have to question whether this habit has anything to do with your morbid obesity, middle aged man in the blue Explorer. Perhaps an extra 10' of walking every now and then might help reduce your overall jiggle a little, yes?). However, you have to understand that there are safe ways of going about finding a parking spot, and what you did this afternoon is NOT, I repeat, IS NOT one of them.

So, do any of you have any questions?

Anyone?

I'll take your silence as a 'negative'.

Class dismissed.....oh, and please, drive carefully. I'll just wait here until I'm sure you're all at least half a mile away....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I am queen of the world! Fear my mighty power!

So, I got some Restoril from my doc yesterday. We were going to go with Halcion, but it's got a pretty short half life and we were afraid I'd take it, fall asleep and wake up an hour later. So, Restoril it was.

I left the clinic with 12 15mg capsules and instructions to take one, and if I was still awake an hour later, take another.

Last night I followed my usual bedtime routine (well, there was one very pleasant exception courtesy of The Hubs, but this is a PG rated blog. 'Nuff said.) and at 9:30-ish I took a capsule, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

An hour later, I was still awake. A little mellow, perhaps, but very much awake. 'Fuck' I thought. 'This isn't going to work'. I took the second capsule as instructed, and figured I'd wait another half an hour and if I was still awake I'd get up and clean the kitchen.

The next thing I know, I'm in a car with The Hubs and we're driving through the English countryside to go see the horse races at Stonehenge. "Don't forget the tea set" he said. "They won't let us in without one".

I turned to him to tell him that I'd remembered the teapot and cups but didn't have any saucers, and found myself looking at the bedside clock. It's glowing red letters said 4:37am.

'Woah' I thought. 'I slept! Sweet!'

I opened my eyes again (I don't recall closing them, to be honest) and the numbers had changed. They now said 6:18.

I got a good 8 hours of sleep (probably more, but I don't recall falling asleep) and even better than that, it was quality sleep. I feel almost superhuman this morning, like I can take on the world. I've made a list of cleaning that needs to be done - it involves some pretty ambitious stuff, like sorting my yarn stash (a monumental task, really) and I feel like I can achieve all of it and then some.

I didn't realize how crappy I felt all week until today. Sleep deprivation sucks.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated

I'm still alive. I don't really feel alive today, but I'm still breathing and I have a pulse.

My whole adult life I've experienced insomnia. I used to have occasional days when I'd be up all night because I simply couldn't sleep. When it came to EMS, being used to staying up all night and half the next day was actually a blessing at times, so I didn't really do much about it. I knew it would pass; I knew at some point over the next day or so I'd get so tired that I'd fall asleep on my own and would sleep well.

So, when I couldn't sleep Saturday night, I didn't think much of it.

Since Sunday morning, I have gotten an accumulative total of 11 hours of sleep. I have pulled every 'get to sleep' trick I have in my repetoire, but none of them have worked.

First, I make sure I don't consume coffee or caffiene after 11am. I also am not taking any narcotics, because those fuck up my REM sleep. I don't work at my laptop after 5pm when I'm experiencing insomnia because the light from the screen messes with my circadian rhythm. I don't like milk so I've stayed away from the milky drinks, but even on the occasion I've tried them, they don't work.

None of the usual rememdies worked, so I broke out the pharmeceuticals.

Benadryl made me doze for an hour and a half, but then I was awake again. Alcohol doesn't make me sleep well, it makes me restless, so I haven't gone there. Melatonin made me feel weird and sleep for 2 hours, but it wasn't a quality sleep - I felt like I was waking up every 5 minutes and never really got under the surface and down into a deep sleep. I tried Valerian root, which smells fucking horrible (it's named Valerian because of it's odor; 'valor' is Latin for 'strength'). It made my burps smell like (according to Urbaner, aka The Hubs) 'rancid hobo feet' and whilst it made me tired, it didn't make me sleep. Last night I tried combining a little of this and a little of that. The result was a very light sleep with a wake up every twenty minutes, which wasn't restful at all.

This morning, I stood with the coffee pot in one hand and my cup in the other, not knowing what I was supposed to do next.

Today, during art class, I started crying. For no reason. The tears just came, and I started crying. Luckily it was during a power point lecture and it was dark in the auditorium so nobody saw me. In algebra, I couldn't remember how many threes were in twenty-one. On the way to political science, I started giggling, again for no reason. I went to the bathroom to try and pull myself together and sat on a toilet in the stall with tears rolling down my face, laughing almost hysterically for no apparent reason. I was afraid to go to the lecture; it felt like I was losing my fucking mind. The only thing I can compare it to is an acid trip. I dropped LSD twice in my life; the first time I had a really interesting conversation with a tree, but it ended abruptly when I realized I was standing on grass and that my weight was impeding the growth of said grass. The second time I felt a general sense of disconnection with reality that was really very unnerving and enough to make me not want to do acid again. Today is getting to be like that and it's starting to scare me. For instance, I'm not sure right now whether I'm really blogging or not. Is it just that I think I'm blogging? Will I come back later and see that I didn't blog at all? Or is this a paper for English? We were talking about hallucinogenic drugs in philosophy yesterday, am I writing this for that? Why am I writing? Who sees this?

I have a migraine. I got it yesterday, and whilst I've been keeping it at bay with a triptan, it's not really going away.

I called my doc (my wonderful, awesome primary care doc who knows the career path I'm taking and is more of a mentor to me than a physician). She made room for me this afternoon. I think that the time has come for some bigger guns than my little bathroom-cabinet pharmacy has to offer.

Sleep, why don't you like me anymore? What did I ever do to you?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Feck, feck and double feck.

First day of the semester today; first day of full time college for me in many years.

I am the eldest in all three of the classes I had today. Tomorrow remains to be seen, but I don't hold out much hope of being the youngest.

The classwork isn't going to be too bad, I think. I love my political science professor and I extra-soopah-doopah love my art professor 'cause he played Pink Floyd whilst we were warming up for class this morning. Math...meh. Ho-hum.

I'm formulating plans for mid-term and extra credit papers already.

I've been branded 'that hot hipster cougar chick' by boys who looked to be fresh out of training pants. Whatev, schweethearts. I'd take you seriously if you had a need to shave your faces...but as you don't, I'll just smile and pretend I didn't hear you.

Now I have to go shampoo doggie diarrhea out of the carpet upstairs. Thank you, Ruby.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

He took the words right out of my mouth.

I usually don't like politicians much, but watching the news this morning changed my mind.

I saw Barney Frank speaking to a constituent at a town hall meeting about healthcare. Mr Frank is a man after my own heart; he said what I have wanted to say to some people (patients, neighbors, acquaintances...even some family members. Yeah, Lynn, I'm talking 'bout YOU).

A woman who had defaced a poster of President Obama with a Hitler-esque mustache stood up and asked Mr Frank why he was supporting what she described as a 'Nazi' policy.

Barney's response was simply brilliant.

"On what planet do you spend most of your time?" he asked. "Madam, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it."

As if that wasn't enough (and it was enough for me, I was already smitten with him at that point) he went on to say that her being able to deface the President's image the way she had "is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated."

*sigh* Oh Barney, you smooth talking silver tongued devil...you took the words right out of my mouth!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh poop.

I saw the surgeon again today, to get my stitches removed and talk about what he found on the inside of my shoulder.

The tendon tears weren't as bad as he anticipated, which is good. I had some scar tissue that needed removed, and the anchors that were placed during the capsule reconstruction had broken off, so he had to remove them, too.

"I did find the reason for your pain" he said "and it wasn't really what I was expecting". He showed me a set of photos taken during the procedure.

"This is what cartilage is supposed to look like" he said, pointing to a photo of a smooth, glossy white surface. "This is what the cartilage on your humeral head looks like..." and he pointed to a picture of a pitted yellow surface "...there's not a whole lot of cartilage left there. You have a significant arthritis, probably from when you kept dislocating and subluxating your shoulder".

'Significant arthritis', and I'm only 40. :-/

The good news is that I'm probably a candidate for a hemiarthroplasty in the next few years - instead of replacing the entire joint, the surgeon just replaces the humeral head and resurfaces the glenoid. From what I understand, it's a very successful surgery, providing significant pain relief with improved motion and function. I'm all about that.

Every time I have a surgery, I go into it thinking that this one will be the last one....and every time, there's always something else that needs fixed or tweaked. Just when I think that the accident is finally behind me, something else rears it's head and I realize that no, it's not behind me yet.

*sigh* Maybe one day....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scraping the bottom of the barrell

I discovered a new depth of stupidity today.

Woman has 2 little boys aged 3 and 2. Both boys have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Woman swears she did not consume alcohol or do illegal drugs at any time during each of her pregnancies. When asked how, then, did she explain the marked FAS in BOTH her children, her explanation was this (hold on to your hats, folks, 'cause this'll blow you away):


Their father drank and did drugs when they were dating, and was drunk and high when he got her pregnant. His sperm was infected with the alcohol and dope, and that's how her boys ended up with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Yes, you read that correctly: it was the father's infected sperm that gave the boys FAS.


Some people are so dumb it frightens me - but even worse, they're breeding!!

**The only thing I have heard that equals this in sheer ignorance and stupidity is a quote from Bill Maher's 'Religulous'. Bill is talking to some truckers at a truck stop chapel in North Carolina when the subject of the Shroud of Turin comes up. One of the truckers states that it's perfectly sensible for the blood on the shroud to be typed as from a female, even though Jesus was a male - because Mary, JC's mama, was a female and therefore "(female blood) was all that woulda been runnin' through her, and through him. Tha's how come that blood was shown to be female". **


*

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I just realized

Tomorrow morning will be the first morning I've gone without coffee in many, many months. Almost a year, in fact. Even when I was hospitalized with the ulcer, I had The Hubs sneak in some java (yeah, yeah, I know....coffee and ulcers don't play well together and all that. I know. Trust me, I've heard it before, and I understood fully the risk I took - and take - when I drink coffee).

The last time I had to go without coffee, things ended badly for a few people. See, when I don't have my coffee, everything else seems off kilter. Out of whack. Not right. I'm not a creature of many routines, but my one routine I NEED is the early morning coffee/dog ritual:

I wake up. I get up, come downstairs, let the dogs out, start the coffee, go pee. Wash my hands, let the dogs in, make a fuss of them and feed them their breakfast and grab my cup and a clean spoon. By that time, the coffee is done brewing....and I pour myself a cup, add the required sugar and ice cube and retreat to the living room to enjoy the solitude.

If I don't have that ritual - or at least the coffee part of it - I'm not a happy camper. I'm fussy and cranky and not nice to be around. Push me or irk me when I'm like that, and...well, it's unpleasant. People have cried, other people have not spoken to me for a day, and even more people say that seeing me without my coffee has given them a whole new understanding of what a bitch I can be at times. So, I'm going to try really hard to have a handle on myself in the morning and *not* be like that.

The worst thing about tomorrow? The Hubs will be having HIS cup of coffee and will even be taking some to go, but I won't get to have any. I'll have to make do with the aroma of it and be satisfied with that.

I'm trying to take comfort in the fact that I'll be experiencing a veritable smorgasboard of interesting pharmacology tomorrow morning. I'm really, really trying.....but nothing can take the place of my coffee. I'd rather have that than any Versed or Demerol.

I'm looking for an excuse to use the term 'Jackson Juice' tomorrow. In the past I've always used 'milk of amnesia' - in fact, the anesthesiologist said it was what I was mumbling about the last time I went off to sleep courtesy of Diprivan - but I like 'Jackson Juice' better. If I'm not too stoned, I'll try to remember to use it.

This will probably be my last blog post for a few days. I remember last time how bad it was to try and blog one handed, so I'm going to try and avoid that if I can. I will, however, have The Hubs Tweet for me when I'm slung and stoned. We'll see.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.....
(I *heart* Henry V)

Friday, August 7, 2009

This is why procreation should require a license

This is Giselle Gomez. Isn't she adorable? All that hair, those big brown eyes...she's a cutie.

She's also dead. Her mother left her in a parked car for over an hour on Wednesday whilst she went into a business to visit with a family member. Giselle was strapped into her car seat, all the windows were rolled up, and there was no air conditioning in the vehicle. Medics said that when they got to her, she was covered in heat blisters. The autopsy performed yesterday declared hyperthermia as the cause of death.

Giselle has a sister, who's two and a half. Both she and her sister were left alone in the car, but the sister managed to unstrap herself, get out of the vehicle and go looking for the mom.

It was in the 90's here on Wednesday. Yesterday investigators placed the car back in the same parking spot at the same time of day, and after an hour they measured the temperature inside. It was 170 degrees.

What kind of fucking retarded halfwit idiot leaves a one year old in a car with no ventilation and air conditioning in the middle of the afternoon on a 90 degree day??!!?? This kind of idiot:

In case you were wondering exactly what that particular depth of stupidity looks like, it's above, on the left.

That poor little girl literally cooked to death. Her body was covered in heat blisters. The police officers who responded said they's 'never seen anything like it before'. I just can't imagine what that was like....nor do I *want* to imagine. I feel for the medics that took the call....I'm sure that it will stay with them for a while.
Her sister has been removed from the custody of the mom and the dad and is currently in DCFS foster care. When investigators went to the family home yesterday they found what they described as 'unsanitary conditions' and 'spiders and slugs in the bathtub'. Now I'm not the world's best housekeeper, but my GAWD...how the fuck do you get slugs in your tub?!?

Mom has been charged with a 3rd degree felony and is in the country jail on $78,000 bond. I really am having difficulty getting my head around just how fucking dumb she is. It's not as if she was running into the post office or making a quick stop at the convienience store, she was at an insurance agency, visiting with someone (and that someone should, IMO, have asked just what the fuck stupid halfwitted bitch up there was playing at, leaving those kids in the car).

This is why I think there should be a licensing process for procreation; there should be some kind of class that potential parents have to take before they're allowed to have kids. Topics such as 'why it's a bad idea to leave your child unattended for over an hour in the back seat of a car when it's 90 degrees outside' and 'Slugs and bathtubs: never the twain shall meet'.

I've been saying that the idiots are breeding for years. Here's the tragic proof of it.

You're gay. I get it.

I went to my local Starbucks the other day to buy a bag of Sidamo coffee (it's my favorite). The young man behind the counter was chubby, had highlighted blonde hair, was wearing a sparkly headband and spoke in such an affected manner that I couldn't understand what he was saying.

Me: Can you grind this Sidamo for me?

Him: knnafillterr you gotsshhhh?

Me: Pardon?

Him: *tsking at me* kinnafiltuurrr you gotshhhhh?

Me: I think you're asking me about my coffee pot...if so, it's a flat bottomed filter.

He tsked again, then walked over to the grinder. His movements caused me to snigger into my hand; he held his left arm out with his wrist loose and hand dangling, and he clenched his buttocks so tight in an attempt to sashay that I could have sworn he was touching cloth and was trying to keep the turd in situ.

As he was grinding the beans he was boasting to another barista about what he and his boyfriend got up to the night before - at least that's what I think he said. Again, his speech was so affected that it was difficult to understand him. I did make out phrases like 'such a stud' and 'he was all over me' and 'kissed for like, HOURS'.

Why do some gay guys feel the need to talk and walk like that? I can understand that they're proud of their sexual orientation and want people to know about it, but that manner of speech is not natural and is clearly something that they have to work at. So are the walk and gesticulations. I'm not a homophobe (I believe that love comes in many shapes and forms, some of which are illegal) but it really aggrivates me when gay boys and men feel that they HAVE to talk, walk and behave that way.

I wanted to say 'you're gay. I get it. Can you please lose the lisp and try to speak clearly, because I can't understand you?' but I didn't. Instead I paid for my coffee and slunk out the door, shaking my head and wondering just what the hell possesses people to behave that way.

I wonder if he gets pissed off at being stereotyped when he literally behaves in the stereotypical gay boy way?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Tune-age

Spent the day cleaning and trying to get stuff squared away so that I'll be able to sit on my arse next week. Today's playlist includes:

CCR: Down On The Corner (incidentally, this was the first riff I taught myself the day after I got my first acoustic guitar at the grand old age of 30).

New Order: True Faith

Kate Bush: Wuthering Heights (I remember when that song first came out in the UK...I was 10 or 11, I think, and inspired enough to try and read Wuthering Heights. It took me 3 weeks, and I have had a crush on Heathcliffe ever since).

Bob Marley: No Woman, No Cry.

Johnny Cash: I've Been Everywhere (my favorite JC clip is the one of him playing Folsom Prison - he's swinging that guitar of his around and he's chewing gum and is so incredibly hot. June was a lucky chick).

Talking Heads: Once In A Lifetime (a very Buddhist song, I think. I see threads of impermanence in the lyrics).

Biz Markie: Just A Friend

Pink Floyd: Another Brick In The Wall (if any of you ever have the misfortune to be near me when I'm lit, see if you can get me to say "if ye don't eat yer meat, ye can't have any pudding! How can ye have any pudding if ye doan eat yer meat!??!!". Apparently I'm pretty good at it)

Dexy's Midnight Runners: Geno (Love the horns and bass on this. Have persuaded Littlest Ling to play the sax part for me).

The Real McKenzies: Bugger Off (seeing them play a live show is on my Bucket List. I want to be right at the front, on the edge of the pit, so's I can get a nice view of their arses when they flip their kilts and moon the crowd).

Jane's Addiction: Been Caught Stealing (Perry Farrell is incredibly cool - a little odd, but aren't we all?).

MCR: Teenagers (I still feel like it's me vs society in general some days. Especially around here. Military families can be really very conservative, and I....well, I'm not).

Radio Head: Creep (I love the start of the guitar riff in this).

Madness: One Step Beyond (British ska from the early 80's. Ska is what what I call 'fat' and Urbaner calls 'wet'; it's got a souped-up reggae backbeat to it and is horn-heavy. I *heart* ska).

Common: Universal Mind Control

Chuck Berry: Johnny B. Goode

ZZ Top: Legs

Fatboy Slim: Weapon Of Choice (If you've never seen the video for this, I highly recommend that you check it out. Christopher Walken does this dance routine that is just fab-u-lous.)

And with that, I must go cook some food-age. Untill the morrow, dear hearts....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Meme

1. Do you like blue cheese? I'm English, so yes.

2. Have you ever been drunk? Are you kidding me with this? Fuck yes!

3. Do you own a gun? Me personally? Not anymore. I used to carry a Sig Sauer P228 9mm for a duty and personal protection piece, and before that I had a Glock model 23 .40cal. I didn't care for the Glock as much as the Sig...I loved that gun. Nowadays, we have firearms in the house, but they're not *mine*, strictly speaking.

4. What flavor of Kool Aid is your favorite? Cherry. With or without vodka.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Sometimes. Recently, yeah.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?I think that they're made of lips and snouts and buttholes, but that they're very yummy lips and snouts and buttholes.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story. I *heart* that movie.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Sidamo or Verona blend coffee. Black.

9. Can you do push ups? Uh huh.

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? My titanium second wedding ring.

11. Favorite hobby? Knitting.

12. Do you have A.D.D. ? I'm not su......ooh! Bright shiny thing!

13. What's your favorite shoes? I have too many favorites to name just one pair. Besides, the other pairs would get jealous and might riot. Nobody wants rioting shoes.

14. Middle name? Same as my mother's, same as her mother's, and the same as my grandmother's mother's. My family wasn't exactly imaginative when it came to middle names, apparently.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? I wish to fuck that dog would stop farting, my nose is running, and it's fucking cold in here.

16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Coke. Coffee. Rolling Rock.

17. Current worry? Pain and fear of more pain.

18. Current hate right now? Pain.

20. How did you bring in the New Year? Wondering where the fuck # 19 went.

21. Where would you like to go? To Oxford to see my kinfolk.

22. Name three people who will complete this? Damned if I know. I'm just doing this cuz I'm bored.

23. an unusual food you tried? Escargot that we had caught ourselves.

24. What color shirt are you wearing right now? Grey.

25. Do you like sleeping on Satin sheets? No. Did it for a week, once. Slid out of bed twice and woke up repeatedly every night as my pillow slid out from under my head and onto the floor. Everybody makes satin sheets sound all sexy n'shit, but there's nothing sexy about slipping around like a greased pig all fucking night. NOTHING.

26. Can you whistle? Poorly and tunelessly, yes.

27. Favorite color? Green.

28. Would you be a pirate? Arrgh!!!!

29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Everybody's Talking - again, poorly.

30. Favorite Girl's Name? Nirvana.

31. Favorite boy's name? Jack.

32. What's in your pocket right now? I don't have pockets in my PJ's, but if I did there would be the customary lint and ... well, more lint in them.

33. Last thing that made you laugh? A Prairie Home Companion yesterday.

34. Best memories as a child? Going to London with my bro.

35. Worst injury you've ever had as a child? Got dragged along concrete on my knees and avulsed a silver dollar sized chunk of flesh off of one. It was hanging by a thread, but instead of taking me to the hospital my mum ran it under the tap to get most of the gravel out (still some in there) then flipped the flap of flesh back over and stuck a bandaid on it. It scarred.

36. Do you love where you live? No. I don't like the neighborhood, I don't like the area. The only thing that I like is that my in laws live relatively close by.

38. Who is your loudest friend? Okay, we have another disappearing question here. This is getting creepy.

39. How many dogs do you have? 2.

40. Does someone have a crush on you? Not that I'm aware of, but if someone does please do feel free to tell me about it.

41. What is your favorite book? The Grapes Of Wrath.

42. What is your favorite candy? Swedish Fish.

43. Favorite Sports Team? The All Blacks.

44. What is your favorite food at your favorite restaurant? There's a Chinese place near here that does some great sesame chicken.

45. What song do you want played at your funeral? Con Te Partiro - Andre Bocelli's version. It gives me goosebumps.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Great Cherry Massacre, 2009

I've become very interested in canning and preserving foods this year. Friday I made salsa with produce from my garden, and when I went to the grocery store yesterday I found some Bing cherries on sale for 99 cents a pound - that's really incredibly very very very cheap.

So, I bought some, and this morning I decided I was going to make some cherry jam with them.

It starts with destalking then washing the cherries. Then, you have to pit them:


I felt like a Civil War surgeon, and my kitchen looked just like a battlefield OR. There was dark red cherry juice everywhere; it was dripping off my elbows and all over my shirt.

This is the aftermath of the massacre:


I had to bleach the chopping board and the counter to get the stains out. However, this is what I was left to cook with:



Mmmm....cherries!

I added some lemon juice and a little secret ingredient, then added the sugar and started it on a boil. It has to cook for quite a long time; about a 90 minute simmer should suffice. You can tell it's ready when you drop some of it onto a cold plate and it forms a skin and wrinkles when you push it with your finger.

When it's ready, you ladle it into hot jars and put the lids on it. You can give it 10 minutes in the canner, or you can just put it up in a cool dark place....I'm opting NOT to give mine the waterbath canning treatment this time.

And voila! Cherry jam, the NinjaMedic way!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's a sticky wicket

Over the past couple of days I've been reading a lot in the British newspapers about Theresa Winters.

Theresa is 36 years old, unemployed, dependent on benefits to survive and lives with her partner, Toney Housden. Theresa is currently 25 weeks into her 14th pregnancy. Yes, I said 14th. That's slightly eyebrow raising, but in an age where Jon and Kate plus their eight and the Duggar family and their 18 are mainstream TV stars, it's not as shocking as it once was.

What is shocking, however, is that NONE of the 13 children Theresa has given birth to are in her or Toney's custody.

NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM. NONE.

They have all been removed from their custody by British social services. Theresa says that until "they" let her keep one, she's going to keep right on reproducing.

That's not the thing that really disturbs me, though. I mean, it's bad enough, but....the thing that really bothers me are the reports that several of her children have PEHO Syndrome.
PEHO is rare, and is considered to be an autosomal recessive trait - so for several of the couple's children to be born with it is strongly indicative of it being their genetic material at fault rather than a random or environmental cause.

This has presented a rather sticky ethical wicket for me and has caused me to ask myself some questions:

Who is suffering here?

Ultimately, who is paying the price for this couple exercising their reproductive freedom?

At what point does 'reproductive freedom' become 'sheer madness' and 'abject cruelty'?

Does society (or even the gub'mint) have a right to step in? They already have, to an extent; they're removed EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. of the 13 children from these people's custody.

When, if ever, is forced sterilization appropriate?

I don't have answers as yet. My knee-jerk reaction is one of 'stop the madness; get a court order to give that girl a tubal ligation and that gormless wonder a vasectomy and do it soon', but that attitude is, I think, the very top of a slippery slope - one that I can't see the bottom of. I resent that they can just keep on having babies, and I fucking hate that they're just having more babies when there's clearly a genetic defect and, consequently, a good chance that those babies will have little to no quality of life whatsoever....but again, where does that train of thought come to an end?

I just don't know, y'all. I just don't know.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Boobage, shoulders and arms, oh my!

So, the mammogram this morning ruled out the possibility of the irregularity in my boobage being a cyst.

Okay, so it's not a cyst.

It's also not a "typical" malignancy.

Ok, so it's not "typical". So, what is it?

It's probably benign. It's either a microcalcification or fibrocystic breast tissue or scar tissue or there's a small chance that it could be something nefarious like a malignancy that's choosing to make it's appearance in a nontypical way.

So, I have to have a contrast MRI done to get a better look at it.

The only problem is that the first appointment I can get for the MRI is on August 13th. My shoulder surgery is going to be before that. I can't have the MRI until I'm 6 weeks post op.

Oh that's right! I didn't tell you what happened at the ortho surgeon's appointment, did I?

He made me cry. I swore I wasn't going to cry, but he got me going. I said that I'm sick of hurting every time I move my arm, I'm done giving shit up that I really liked to do, that I feel like I'm playing with fire being on narcotic pain meds for so long and that I gave myself an ulcer with NSAID's, that I want my life back - or at least a life with less pain back. I'd tried therapy, I'd tried conservative approaches and that I was done with them, too.

He said he couldn't guarantee that what he was going to try to do would leave me pain free, but that it would certainly help.

I said I didn't want guarantees, that I just wanted to try. If I have 2 or 3 pain free days a week or even just less pain on a daily basis that I would be happy.

He said he will trim and probably reposition my biceps tendon, decompress the shoulder process (shave my clavicle and other bone ends) tidy up the rotator cuff and perhaps tweak the bursal sac a wee bit. He's going to take a good look around and do what he can to give me a less painful shoulder. It might start as a laproscopic procedure and end up as an open surgery, but he'd try to keep the incisions small.

That's EXACTLY what I wanted.

Surgery will be sometime in the next week or so. I'll find out tomorrow when it is. In the meantime, I'm having a pain medication embargo. I recall how bad it was before *with* NSAIDs, and this time I won't have those. I sound like a junkie here, but I'm going to ask for percocet 10/325 instead of the 5/325's like I got last time - for the immediate post-surgical period, that is. I want off that crap, and soon. Fuck, that's part of the reason I'm having another surgery. I think that were I truly a junkie I'd be milking the injury for all it's worth.

So, back to the MRI: the tech said as soon as I know when the surgery is I'm to call her and she'd figure out a way to get me in there BEFORE I have the surgery. She's awesome, that girl. She's truly an asset to the hospital; she actually gives a crap instead of just saying that she does and then not backing it up. I love that.

*update* Surgeon's nurse just called. Surgery will be the week of the 10th; he's en vacance next week. The good thing is that I'll be able to start college on the 24th. The downside....another 3 month recovery period. However, I can handle that. 3 months is a relatively small amount of time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dismay

Am I the only person in the US who thinks that there is something very wrong when:

a 40 plus year old man cannot spell basic words like 'lose' and 'divorce' (for the record, he used 'looze' and 'devorse')?

people seem to be unable to use the past tense of words and say things like 'suppose' instead of 'supposed', 'forgave' instead of 'forgiven' and so on?

a person who describes themselves as educated and intelligent spells 'gentle' 'g-e-n-t-a-l' and says that he likes 'ladys' instead of 'ladies'?

I am just amazed that middle aged people seem to be totally and utterly unable to spell at anything greater than a 4th grade level - and even worse, they don't seem to CARE that their writing is full of mistakes.

When did it become uncool to be smart? Was I asleep when that happened?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coming Bounty

My garden is blooming!That's one of the bees that are constant visitors to my plants these days. That guy there is so loaded with pollen that I could hardly see any of his black stripes!

Those are some of the pear tomatoes that I got as tiny wee straggly little seedlings about 5 weeks ago. They've gone from sickly looking things to thick bushy plants that have fruit on them. I've never eaten any of this particular kind of tomato before so I'm looking forward to tasting them!


Crookneck squash. I also have straightneck and acorn. FTS and I are both excited about roasting those bad boys with some butter and pepper and maple syrup.

That's the habanero pepper plant Ruby decided looked very tasty and ate the top of a month ago. It's recovered, and as you might be able to see, is now producing for me. FTS's boyfriend and his family are getting the goods from this plant; I don't think that I can tolerate habanero heat.

Beans! I have beans! That's a yellow wax bean, growing on a plant that I grew from a seed. There's a great deal of satisfaction in putting a seed in some dirt, watering and feeding it and then, a couple of months later, being able to pick produce from the plant that grew from the seed and eat it.

I'll post more photos as I take them!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sometimes I wonder

My father died three years ago this week.

I still find myself struggling with the concept of his simply not being here anymore. I see something and think that I must ring dad and tell him about it and I have the phone in my hand before I remember that he's not around to talk to any more. I usually hang up because I can't handle telling mum what I was thinking.

The silliest thought I have is that perhaps if I was there I could have saved him. He was in the coronary care unit of the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford; one of the best teaching hospitals in England. He had great doctors treating him, but still the thought that if I had been there; if it had been MY hands on his chest, pumping his heart...that perhaps his body would have sensed the familiarity, that he would have known it was me, his child, trying to save his life. That the love I had for him would have somehow seeped into his cardiac muscle and restarted it....that my love would be enough to bring him back to life.

It's utter craziness, I know. I can step back from that thought process and see the sheer insanity of it; I know how impractical it is. I mean, he had some stellar cardiologists treating him and working his final arrest. I couldn't have made any difference to the outcome. Yet still that thought remains. I can't completely shake it.

The fact is that he was lucky to live as long as he did. He had his first MI when I was 15; I witnessed my own father dying in his bed. At first I thought he and my mother were in the throes of passion because he was groaning, but when I heard mum go downstairs and dad continued to groan I knew things were not right. I went into his room and saw him flat on his back on the bed, his skin a horrible clay color, drenched in sweat. I called out to mum to ring 999, NOW. She said he was ringing the doctor. I said bugger the doctor, ring the bloody ambulance - it was the first time I swore at mother and to the best of my recollection it was the last. She insisted on ringing the doctor. I swooped dad up in my arms and propped him up on all the pillows I could find and then sat with him, telling him just to concentrate on breathing in and out, in and out, that help was on the way and that it was going to be fine. Pleasedon'tdiepleasedon'tdiepleasedon'tdie was what was running through my head, but I didn't say that to him.

The doctor finally arrived, wearing pajama pants and shirt under his sports jacket. He took one look at dad and told mum to ring 999, then he pulled a portable EKG out of his bag o'tricks and stuck the leads on dad's chest. All these years later, I remember what that strip looked like. It wasn't until I became an EMT that I truly understood what those spikes and curved bits meant: tombstones. Occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery. He was throwing a widowmaker.

I lost count of the number of MI's he had over the years. I know that he had triple bypass surgery twice and was hospitalized five or six times after the final surgery. He was on so much Coumadin towards the end of his life that he stopped shaving every day because if he nicked himself he bled for three days. He was frail...my dad, the man who created shapes from stone with his chisel and trowel, the man who carried hods up and down ladder his whole life...my dad couldn't walk from the bathroom to the living room without getting out of breath and having angina at the end. He had strokes. He couldn't talk properly. He got a motorized scooter and went to town on it, but one day he got lost and was out for 8 hours before he came to, realized where he was and went home.

He was old, and he was done living. His heart was tired, and so was he. I believe he decided that he was done, and I know in my heart of hearts that nothing I could have done would have persuaded him to live. He was tired of existing.

I miss him. I still talk to him like he's here sometimes. It helps.

I love you, dad. I'm not mad or angry at you for going, I don't blame you. You fought for a long time, and you fought well. I just miss you like crazy and I don't think that will ever go away.

I think as long as I miss him I'll still wonder if I could have made a difference.