Saturday, December 31, 2011

This could go either way

Mom announced this week that she intends to make Saturdays "SI Days," with SI standing for self indulgence. Knowing Mom as I do, I think either she could turn this into a new project, wherein she sets schedules, to-do lists and deadlines for herself about what "indulgent" things she is going to do, or she'll feel guilty for spending time doing "unproductive" things and abandon the whole project.

I await the outcome. :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And a good time was had by almost all

Because my sister-in-law insisted that she was prepared for chaos and repeated the invitation several times. on Saturday morning I plopped Little Miss Piggie Pie in the car and headed for Columbus, intending to stay until Monday. About halfway down, I gave LMPP an acepromazine tab and as soon as we arrived, Annabel brought Ralphie out and the four of us went for a walk, per the advice of my friend Bun, the dog-whisperer. Ralph was willing to be friends, but LMPP was not having any of it, so he very quickly stopped paying any attention to her at all after she snapped and growled at him a time or two. On Sunday, when she tried to make friends, he ignored her. Annabel said she hadn't thought he held grudges, and I said that he just remembered the hostile reaction and wasn't taking any more chances, so it was "Talk to the paw!"

Unfortunately, LMPP did not do well at all with my nephews. The Awesome Nacho tried very hard, and semi-succeeded, but after a post-holiday discussion with the above-mentioned Bun, I realize that I was at fault for not giving Little Miss a way to get away from the boys. She couldn't walk away from them without walking away from me, and she was too uncomfortable to do that. Because Annabel and I had both been focused on the dog-dog interaction, neither of us considered possible trouble with the boys, and when I discovered there were five more kids in the same age group coming over after dinner, I elected to skip dinner and leave at 3:30 on Christmas day.

Doggie difficulties aside, we had a nice afternoon and an amazing dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by a good night's sleep, albeit a short sleep, because my nephews were up at 5:40 and the rest of us by 6:15. SuperDoughnut burned through all of his presents and then was a little pouty when he realized there weren't any more for him to open, and both boys AND my brother had gifts that didn't work, but we still managed to have a good morning and a nice breakfast. I got totally spoiled as always--clothing from Mom, an Acer netbook and the promise of a new camera from Dad, a gorgeous ornament from Jeeves and the boys created their own candles just for me!

Jeeves and I both bought each other this year's Life Savers Sweet Storybook, and agreed that compared with the ones we grew up with, it's a ripoff--it has only one side now and half the candy! Still, it was a rare bonding moment with my brother, and I'll always treasure it. Dad really liked the photo collage I did for him, but his favorite gift was the giant spotlight my brother got him.

So next year I know that I can go and take the dog, and I'll just have to keep in mind that she needs an escape route when the boys are too interested in her. Overall, a lovely Christmas.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cars suck.

What they principally suck, of course, is money--right out of your wallet. On the 2nd, I took my car in for new brakes. I had that budgeted at $300, so of course it was $303. Then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Mom and I had three very rough days at work, and this culminated with me walking to my car on a cold, wet, dark evening only to find that it wouldn't start. The gentleman from AAA advised that I stop at an auto parts store and have them see if the battery needed to be replaced. I did, and the guy who helped me couldn't even get a reading because of all the corrosion. *sigh* So that was another $104 that I didn't have budgeted, and good bye pretty new nail polish, holiday smellies or anything fun.

Dad was still sick all last week, which is hard on Mom, Vegan Lawyer had two briefs due which were driving her and her staff crazy, and I have mice again. *shudder*

Speaking of the mice, I went to Home Depot and asked for some help. The sales associate took me to the area reserved for pest control, waved at the shelves and said "Here you go." When I asked about a poison that wouldn't kill my dog, he said all the baits were the same and that the mice would run away and die. I bought two traps and a bait station with refills, came home and checked the interwebbinetz, only to discover that if Little Miss Piggie Pie ate a poisoned mouse, she would be poisoned! So I set the traps, which are nice in that they are self-contained and you don't ever see the dead mouse. Tomorrow night I am going back to HD and exchange the unused bait station for more traps.

Last night I did have to use a trap that wasn't self-contained, and LMPP was very interested in that corner of the floor this morning. I made her leave it, because I was not up to dealing with a dead mouse before my second cup of coffee. Yes, there was a dead mouse, and the worst part of disposing of the trap was the tail. *full body shudder* I can't wait to get more of the fancy traps.

Dad advised just the simple wooden traps, and made fun of me for "killing at a distance," but Mom has him to dispose of dead mice and I just have me. I told him that if it wouldn't ruin my kitchen (and the house, and the neighborhood, and the city and so on) I would nuke the damn things! So far, I've gotten two, and I will keep setting traps and hope for the best!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Put ze hendle beck!

Last weekend, I didn't really have time to do laundry, so I'd planned to at least wash a few things Monday night. On Monday, work was really rough, and I was tired and a little out of it by the time I got home. Still, I let the dog out and in and fed her, had a cup of coffee, ran downstairs and started one load of laundry. After dinner, I threw the clothes into the dryer and turned off the water softener to fill up jugs to water the houseplants.

After watering the houseplants, I washed a load of rags, then ran the dishwasher, and it wasn't until Tuesday morning when I saw that the water in the toilet was dark orange that I realized that I hadn't turned the softener back on. By then, I had to take a quick shower, get dressed, make my lunch and go to work, so I left myself a note on the basement door.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A wonderful, exhausting weekend

Because my younger nephew's birthday is a week before Christmas, Mom makes sure that the boys come up to her house every year the first weekend in December, and no matter what else happens, we have lunch and presents before Mom takes the boys back to Columbus on Sunday.

This year, although PlaidJammies was miserably sick all weekend, Mom and the boys and I had a great time. On Saturday, I took Little Miss Piggie Pie and met the other three at Gorge Metro park, where we hiked down to the falls and then up to Mary Campbell cave. The dog was not on anything even close to her best behavior, and it took a long time before she would stop growling if one of the boys approached her.

After our hike, I dropped LMPP off at home, and then Mom picked me up and we had lunch at McDonald's followed by a trip to Stan Hywet Hall. In the conservatory, they had a display which included a complete replica in Legos of the hall itself!

In the house, there were painstakingly repaired holiday window displays from one of the old downtown Akron department stores and we ran into one of the Probate Court clerks taking the tour for the first time! Mom found it necessary to tell everyone we met that I used to be a guide there, and I then found it necessary to qualify that it was 30 years ago!

After Stan Hywet, Mom dropped me off at my house and then took the boys home to shower and change (which I did as well). When we were all clean and nicely dressed, we went to dinner at Bricco and then to an Actor's Summit performance of The Winter Wonderettes. It was silly and adorable and a ton of fun, and then we went and had ice cream at Mary Coyle's, where the Jammies family has been going on special occasions for the last forty or so years.

Sunday morning I put together the gingerbread trains for the boys to decorate, then headed out to Casa de SeniorJammies. SuperDoughnut opened his presents, then we had lunch, then the boys played with the new Nerf gun for a while, and then we decorated the trains.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

OhmydogOhmydogOhmydog! Boneshaker movie!

I fell utterly in love with Cherie Priest's writing and her steampunk Northwest when I read Boneshaker for the first time, and now it's going to be made into a movie!

It's about time the film industry branched out from sequels, remakes, and reboots and did something original, and I couldn't be happier for Ms. Priest! I don't know if I'll see it, both because I hate to see a movie once I've read the book and I know what is being left out, and also because I'm a giant wuss and scary movies scare me.

After all, I slept with the lights on for a week after seeing The Blair Witch Project. I'm thinking after seeing steampunk zombies, I might have to sleep with the lights on for a year!

Anyway, congrats to Ms. Priest, and to Boneshaker's alive and undead legions of fans!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why I'm not spending a dime today

Although it may seem that way to some people, Black Friday hasn't been around forever. The phrase was actually coined in my lifetime, and the whole retail circus really only began within the last 20 years. I remember when the day after Thanksgiving was a quiet, lazy day spent with family.

In my family, Thanksgiving is a non-materialistic holiday, meant for cherishing our blessings and especially each other. It is wrong for Target and other retailers to take that away from their employees and it is wrong for customers to fall in line with the materialistic greed that motivates such actions.

As a nation, we have gotten what we need mixed up with what we want, and we will go to any lengths to get it. I refuse to contribute in any way to the craziness, and will not spend a single cent, either online or offline today.

I've been told that's just a drop in the bucket, but at least I'm being true to what I believe.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Or rather, Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and family, and Happy Thursday to my international friends!

I am grateful for so much:

My family, who love and support me even when I'm not very likeable,

My friends, who do the same thing,

My sense of humor, which has leavened some dark days,

Little Miss Piggie Pie, without whom I would be dogless, which is not a good thing to be,

Bigfoot and Littlefoot, for being such important parts of my life for a very long time,

The ability to learn,

That I am single and not in an abusive or dysfunctional relationship,

That I have decent if not spectacular health,

That I am gainfully employed,

That I have minimal debt,

And that even though I often take it for granted, I am surrounded by a wealth of good things.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What a day!

We have one client who is so stupid it's a shame he reproduced, and he was bugging me all day, two letters from different attorneys being all judgmental and pissy about things that didn't even happen, and two wards in the hospital from different nursing homes, plus all the crap going on with my neighbor.

On the other hand, I sent four kick-ass Christmas presents to Texas, and I have another great Flannel Jammies story to tell.

When my brothers and I were growing up, Captain Crossword did the best turkey impersonation I'd ever heard or have heard since. I thought of that a few weeks ago when I was in Target and saw a hat that looked like a turkey, with legs that came down and velcroed together under the wearer's chin. I bought it, and sent it to Texas with a note for my brother.

Mom and Dad had been there for a while when I remembered to ask about the hat. I was on the phone with Dad at the time, and said, "Did Mom give CC his hat?" Dad said, "I don't know about any hat" and the promptly yelled for my mother. Mom got on the phone and when I asked her, she said "Oh yes!" and handed the phone off to my brother, who told me that everyone had tried it on, they had taken pictures, and Tinkerbell had adopted it as a pet.

So my smart, savvy father failed to notice three adults and two children taking turns wearing a hat shaped like a turkey. *chortle*

Monday, November 21, 2011


Well, now I'm disillusioned and a bit sad--NeighborBoy was apparently busy cutting more wood today while I was at work. So much for doing a favor for a neighbor, if it was that, he'd have quit when I asked him to stop cutting. :(

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A great big MESS

Last Tuesday, NE Ohio was hit with big storms--hail, rain, thunder, lightning, high winds, tornado watches, etc. I was trying to get the local radio station's streaming audio to work on my computer so I'd know if I had to grab the dog and head for the basement when I heard a huge CRACK! Since nothing hit the house and I didn't hear anything else, I figured a tree had come down in the back yard and didn't worry about it.

For reference, this is how my backyard looks in the summer:

This is what I saw when I looked outside on Wednesday morning:

When I got home from work and went to take a closer look, this is what I saw:

Forty to fifty feet of tree, in my estimation. Snoopy came out, said it was 90 feet, to which I said "Men think this *thumb and forefinger about three inches apart* is nine inches, so I don't trust your estimation." He hemmed and hawed a bit, then promised me he would do the work for the wood, as long as I wasn't in a hurry. Okay, I'd like the big tree out of my back yard, but I can't afford a professional remover, so yeah, thanks.

When I got home on Friday night, my feckless young neighbor was out back, cutting the tree apart with his chainsaw. While the cynical part of me suspected that he was planning to sell the wood and not tell me about it, I went out and thanked him for the favor, and explained that the friend who mows my lawn was going to take care of it, but he was welcome to the wood he cut.

When I told Snoopy about it, he was furious. Apparently, he thought he could sell the entire tree to someone and give me half the money. After I had repeated that I didn't ask NeighborBoy to cut up the tree, Snoopy gave up being mad at me and just pouted. I did tell him that even if I'd been home, I probably wouldn't have stopped him, because Snoopy hadn't told me about his plans for the tree. He rather lamely told me that it was supposed to be a surprise and he thought he had time to get the tree buyer out to my house.

While some money would be nice, I'm not so in need of it that I'm bothered by not getting any from either NeighborBoy or Snoopy's tree guy. I am irritated by the fact that neither of them elected to consult ME in their plans.

Men. Pffft.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

New rule for Election Day

All polling place employees should be required to put their teeth in while at work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


four loads of laundry, clean sheets on the bed and twenty-three houseplants brought inside. Join me for a singalong?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011


At this year's Great American Beer Festival, Captain Crossword's Uberbrau won the gold in the American-Style Amber Lager category. Even though the win is listed in the name of the brewpub for which CC is the brewer, it's still his beer, and I could have cried with happiness when he told me. Then I made everyone in the office pay attention while I announced it, then I got to tell Mom when she came back from court, then I told everyone on Goodreads, and next is to tell all my friends on the Lush message board.

I am so pleased and proud and impressed! Way to go, Toulouse! *both thumbs up*

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Book Review

Ganymede (The Clockwork Century, #4)Ganymede by Cherie Priest

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is no way for me to do a sensible, scholarly review of this book or any of the books in the Clockwork Century series. All I can say is that I loved this, and that Ms. Priest had me before Marie Laveau but I squealed in delight when she appeared. I'm thrilled with the gentle, low-key touch of romance as well as the breathless action, and just delighted to pieces with the whole book.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 30, 2011


It feels as though the compliment from Dr. N. was the last good thing that happened to me. There have been daily frustrations at work that I cannot write about and maintain client confidentiality because the situations are too unique to disguise. The weather has been chilly, which is good, but also rainy, which aggravates my allergies. And every time I bother Mom on her vacation with a work problem, I feel guilty for not being able to solve it on my own.

I am declaring that tomorrow is the start of a new week. Goldilocks and I are going to the Ohio Mart in the morning, then at dinnertime I am picking up Mom and Dad, and we are going out to dinner and will NOT talk about work at all.

It's gotta get better!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crying at work is not professional

To sum up:

It's been cold and rainy the last couple of days, my mom is out of town and I miss her, I had the whole thing with the dog mutilation and the oversleeping and my allergies have been kicking my butt, and then this morning I totally whiffed a telephone interview, so by lunchtime I was not a happy camper.

Then a client called. This client is someone Mom has known since the dawn of time. Okay, since they both taught at The University of Akron (as did his wife, who Mom knew first). He wrote a book, and Mom and I both read through it and made suggestions and copyread and all that in July and August. When he called today, he asked me how to spell my name, and I spelled Pamela for him. Then he asked how I spelled my last name, and I shot off all eleven letters the way I usually do.

"No," he said, "That's how you spell your boss's last name."

"Yes. Same last name."

"That's odd that you have the same last name."

"No, she's my mother."

*total astonishment on his part*

*laughing apology on mine* "I thought you knew--I thought all of the University folks knew!"

Anyway, he asked if I was going to be in for the next hour or so and I said yes, and while I sort of wondered why he wanted to know how to spell my name, I figured it was maybe for a little paragraph of acknowledgement at the end of his book.

Nope. He showed up with a check made out to me for $100, and more importantly, the news that he had used 80% of the changes I had suggested.

At the end of a long few days of irritations and such, validation like that made me blink REALLY hard so I didn't cry right then and there.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cage Match: House of Blood 2011

In the northeast corner, wearing a blue dress and wielding a nail clipper, Jammies!

In the southwest corner, wearing a sage green sock and a martyred expression, Little Miss Piggie Pie!

Friday night, I noticed that the little beast's toenails were overgrown, so I got out the clippers and grabbed the dog. Between the yelping and the piddling and the nipping and the squirming, I got most of her nails trimmed, but I hit the quick on one of them, and then could not get it to stop bleeding. The fact that the dog kept panicking didn't help, nor did the fact that the blood just flowed right over the styptic swab and swamped it. When I finally did get the bleeding to stop, LMPP chewed on it until it started up again.

I finally bribed her into staying still by giving her a rawhide chew, then stuffed a bunch of gauze pads into the bottom of one of my socks, pulled the sock onto the leg and taped it in place with medical paper tape. It actually stayed on until Sunday morning, so that was good.

Saturday morning, Mom and I were planning to work as long as needed to get the office ready for her to be gone for two weeks. Unfortunately, my allergies decided to attack screaming, so I went in, took two benadrool, wrote checks and sneezed until the benadrool kicked in, and then made copies and other non-thinking activities. Mom chased me out at 11:30 and promised not to stay longer than another hour.

Because Mom and Dad's flight was leaving from the Akron-Canton airport, they were going to pick me up at 5:45 this morning. We would then go to the airport, and I would go to work. Unfortunately, either I didn't turn my alarm on last night or I woke up, got out of bed, turned it off and went back to sleep.

Either way, I woke up at 5:48 to my father calling on the phone and asking my answering machine if I was there. Eeek! I threw the dog in the basement, put a sweatsuit on over my nightgown, grabbed my glasses and house keys, and jumped in the car.

Thankfully, they made their plane, and I came home and had a shower and some coffee, neither of which helped with the sneezing (allergies still going strong, woo-freaking-hoo) or the headache.

I went in to work for half a day, then came home and took a nap. Mom and Dad called, and I told Mom about the various clients who'd called me demanding things, and then told them both to have fun, and while I love them, I hope I don't hear from them until October 1st!


Busy weekend!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Yup, still alive

Just haven't felt very post-y. And just in case anyone was missing me, I'll stop that nonsense with the following whine about my Monday:

I started my day by flinging the dog's water all over the floor, discovered I was almost out of lettuce for my lunch salad, forgot to bring the hard copy of the work stuff I've been working on at home for the last three weekends and then got startled by a spider reeling down from my visor while I was driving!

Then work was fairly horrible, although I can actually say that someone literally moved my water dish--Vegan Lawyer rearranged the conference room and waiting room and took the water cooler out of the former and put it in the latter. Unlike a cat, though, I didn't die of dehydration.

Then some really tiny-dicked idiot in a compact felt it necessary to tailgate a middle-aged lady in a white Saturn wagon for three miles, because yeah, that does wonders for your street cred, asshole. Finally, at the store I found out that the food I researched so carefully to give Little Miss Piggie Pie the maximum amount of nutrition for the smallest impact on my wallet has completely reformulated and gone for a higher price point. Thank goodness for a lovely sales associate who knew what she was doing and helped me find a comparable brand.

Okay, whining over.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book review

Dearly, DepartedDearly, Departed by Lia Habel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an impressive first novel! It's well-written, without purple prose, and while a few of the minor characters are two-dimensional, the main characters are not. The pacing is good, and the plot is engaging. Ms. Habel does an exceptional job of making it seem as if there is always something exciting happening, even in the calmer parts. The romance is sweet and believable. The story of the world is intriguing and not too difficult to picture. While I have a soft spot for the character who shares my name, I wasn't thrilled with the multi-character viewpoints. The transitions between viewpoints didn't seem quite as seamless as the rest of the book. I do appreciate the fact that while the door is left open for a sequel, the book doesn't end with a cliff-hanger.

Well-done and highly recommended.

This book was sent to me for review.

View all my reviews

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Three days at Lakeside

I did manage to get the dog to puppy prison in time to hit the road while it was still light, and made the trip from Hudson to Lakeside in about an hour and three-quarters, which is almost entirely due to the speed limit on the turnpike (aka I-80) being raised to 70 mph.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at Lakeside, Mom and Dad were doing her billing, and Dad was working himself into his monthly rage over the people who have never paid their bills. This led (as it always does) to Dad being a totally shit and sulking silently through all of dinner.

Thursday, everyone except for Dad and I went to Kelley's Island for a day of riding around on bikes. Dad slept until noon, rendering him largely human, and then we went to Sandusky to hit Tractor Supply, Ollie's and Big Lots. I got lucky and found a pretty good $4 book at Ollie's, along with some Wonka candy I've been looking for ever since Cybele reviewed it on her blog. On the way home, we stopped at a local orchard for sweet corn and Ohio-grown tomatoes, then the grocery store for Coke, ice, and Triscuits. We got home and found a barely-literate note from Lakeside security on the front door, telling us all three cars parked in the no-charge parking at the local school needed to be moved. So when the triumphant bicyclists returned, Annabel and I went and moved cars around. Dinner was pretty much an Americana feast--pulled pork, tacos, sweet corn, fresh tomatoes and more chips of various kinds than you could shake a stick at.

After dinner, the nieces and I were outside, and they were playing with the sidewalk chalk, so I drew a couple of outlines for them to color in, and they did a beautiful job. When the nephews joined us, they were more interested in stomping on the pictures to raise the chalk dust, so Captain Crossword drew Tokyo for them to stomp on, and Annabel drew Godzilla breathing fire.

Friday morning, Mom, Jeeves, Annabel and Captain Crossword took the kids swimming. Dad slept in, and I was reading on the couch when he woke up. Bookworm Mathgeek had been so very quiet that I forgot she was at the kitchen table doing Sudoko. Then Dad got up and started his morning bathroom routine, which involves a lot of groaning and cursing. I've heard this before, so it doesn't faze me, but Bookworm asked "Do we need to be concerned about your father?" I said no, this was Dad's equivalent of morning birdsong, and it was actually a little less agonized than usual, since we hadn't heard the f-word once. The rest of Friday passed in a quiet fashion, with lots of golf cart rides and lots of reading and I did get a little quiet conversation with my sisters-in-law. Friday night we had a nice dinner out at a restaurant I keep calling Crossroads and Dad keeps calling Tradewinds (which is in fact named Crosswinds). Later, someone took the kids out for ice cream.

Saturday was the usual last day frenetic packing and shuffling of cars and loading up and moving out. I had to go in to the office and get some stuff ready for Mom to take to Portage County Monday morning, then came home and tried to sleep off the sinus headache that had been with me since early morning. Since I couldn't pick up Little Miss Piggie Pie until this morning, I used the chance to vacuum the house without having the vacuum attacked.

On my way to puppy prison, I swung by Mom and Dad's and filled up some water bottles and left the folders for Mom. When I got to the kennel, LMPP wasn't so much glad to see me as she was glad to go for a car ride. She got a glowing report card from kennel staff, and didn't seem at all bothered by her jail time. She's certainly not been at all needy now that she's back home, unlike Bigfoot and Littlefoot, who would both cling to me for a day or two to make sure I wasn't going to leave again.

So tomorrow is Monday, bleurgh, and right now I have to go water my tomatoes and my basil and my hibiscus seedlings. Back to the workday world with one vacation day left for 2011.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Time to run in circles!

I'm leaving for the lake in about 20 hours, and I still need to finish the laundry, make two loaves of dill bread, pack my luggage and Little Miss Piggie Pie's food, and what am I thinking about? The fact that she doesn't have her own song!

Bigfoot's song was always Jimmy Buffett's "Death of an Unpopular Poet". I sang that to him when I wanted him to calm down from the time he was an excited five month old puppy. Littlefoot's song was Sheryl Crow's "You're My Favorite Mistake", which I just sang to him whenever. He was such a lazybutt he rarely needed calming down.

LMPP is always very interested when I sing (or possibly pained, I can't tell) but she doesn't have a song of her own. So I'm trying to think what song suits her and looking for suggestions.

Oh, and I'll be back on Saturday.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This was supposed to be a week in review post

but it's been miserably hot here, our air-conditioning at work is broken, and I am just a tired, miserable slug. If you're still reading this blog, thank you, and one day I hope to return.

In the same vein, by the time I come home from work, I could boil things in my bra!


One day last week I drove home behind an ice cream truck with two sagging tires on the right, which caused the whole vehicle to list, and a thin stream of blue smoke trickling out of the exhaust pipe on the left. First time I've ever seen a vehicle that had had a stroke!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Week in Review

Good evening, and welcome to "The Week in Review", in which your lazy correspondent sums up all the blog entries she thought about making and then never made.

Monday, July 4: Holiday! Day off!! Bad patriotic manicure! Slept in, went to Hudson to pick up water and drop off computer but forgot to do the latter, worked out, napped, finished up leftover laundry from Sunday.

Tuesday: Ack! Monday in disguise!! Tons of voice mail, clients going crazy, Mom out of the office to meet with a scary psycho and only Snoopy as backup. Came home to find an amazing box from my perfume forum secret swapper, all full of UK treats and books and cosmetics--thank you, Rachel!

Wednesday: Fairly normal work day, except that I spent time completing a bond application for a bond we not only had, but had filed with the court. Come home, water plants, make pesto, then Snoopy shows up asking questions he should have asked Mom at the office. Also, stripping the leaves off basil (hi Mike!) plants is incredibly tedious, and all I could think about as I worked my way through the double armful was how much fun it was last year with Sherri and how notfun it was this year.

Thursday: Yuck, trial prep! Gotta get all our ducks inna row, in triplicate. Come home, cheat and only water the tomatoes, collapse in front of the computer and die.

Friday: Short morning, started payroll taxes while Mom went to court. Then lunch with Mom and three Probate Court investigators while a thunderstorm pounds downtown Akron. Then a short afternoon, then home.

Saturday: Grocery shopping, tidying up the house, nap, shower, then dinner with Mom and Dad at a local place I really like called Crave. I had two lemon martinis with a stupid name, steak skewers with smoked gouda fondue, a salad and a steak wrap. I brought home most of the sandwich and a bit of the steak kebab. Mom giggled at how inebriated I got after my two martinis, and she wouldn't let me walk to the car with them, but told me to stand still and they'd come get me. Both Mom and I had noticed that the planter outside of the restaurant had a sweet potato plant and a tomato plant with actual tomatoes on it, and that the latter was desperately in need of water. Since Mom and Dad had brought me eight gallons of filtered water from their house, she decided to sacrifice one for a good cause. This led to me declaring that she was guerilla watering, and then trying to explain guerilla gardening with a head full of vodka.

When we got back to my house, Mom helped me unload the remaining seven gallons of water, while Dad fussed over the dog. He continued to do that even while his drunken daughter (wobbling on shoes with one-inch soles) carried her computer out to his car. From a sober perspective, I shouldn't have thumped it into the back where Mom had the trunk open, but then Dad shouldn't have trusted me with it in the first place.

After managing to put the leftovers in the refrigerator and the new spool of line for the weed-whacker on the table in the porch (a decision which took several moments' pondering), I drank a lot of water, played solitaire on the computer, posted on Goodreads and headed off to bed.

So there you have it, all the news that's too boring to print!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Jammies...

I got my Lexapro Thursday night, and had Friday off from work. I had planned to do a little window-shopping, finding the Ulta and Sally Beauty Supply stores in Fairlawn, and follow that up with a workout at the pool. Since the instructor who does the Friday water classes is the one I think is useless, I decided to shop first, then work out on my own after the class was over.

After a fruitless ton of searching, I found the plaza where the Ulta and Sally were hidden, and managed to get away with only renewing my Sally's card and picking up a small bottle of Orly Cutique at Ulta. Since I was planning to leave my car at the Natatorium for nearly an hour while working out, I talked myself out of going to World Market and buying a ton of chocolate. I did stop at Hobby Lobby on the way home, and that's where my plans hit a snag. I had strolled around and looked at everything, picked up just a few items, and was on my way out when I suddenly realized I needed to find a bathroom. After five miserable minutes hoping no one would come in, I was finished and headed for the car.

Working out while my intestines were distressed did not seem like a very good idea, so I came home, drank a bunch of water and took a long nap. I had more water, and later ate a very cautious dinner. I felt fine yesterday morning, so I worked out for half an hour, then came home and mooched around all day. Today I am planning to clean and do laundry so that tomorrow I can go see my folks for lunch and then make some pesto before I lose another bunch of basil. I was going to go work out this morning, but I overslept and now I can't take the time, so I'll have to do that before I go to Hudson tomorrow.

Happy early 4th/belated Canada Day, everyone!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This is me:

First of all, I've been out of Lexapro since last Thursday and am continually on the verge of tears.

Second, we have three guardianships exploding with crazy family members right now.

Third, I'm planning to take Friday off, so there's a lot of frantic cramming going on at work.

Fourth, I do not want to be around people or have anything to do with any other human beings, so I have skipped working out since Saturday because the pool is a very chatty place.

Fifth and finally, Mom actually apologized for me today when I was angry with good reason with the staff at a nursing home.

I'll be in a ball with my spines out for the foreseeable future.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Dad story

I read and reviewed The Passage by Justin Cronin a few weeks ago, then loaned it to Dad. Dad's been very hard to please in regard to books recently, so I just asked him to read the first chapter with an open mind. He started reading the book, and was really enjoying it. It turned out, though, that he only liked the first 250 pages. After that, he finished it hoping for a resolution, but got a cliffhanger ending instead.

Well, I tried. And while I'm sorry he didn't like the whole book, I'm not sorry I gave him something to read for a week or so, and I'm certainly not going to change my review.

Today was definitely a Monday at work, and Mom and I weren't going to answer the phone when it rang at lunchtime until Mom noticed it was from Dad. So she picked up, talked to him, then handed the phone to me. I swallowed a bite of salad and said, "No, I haven't charged the battery on the weed-whacker yet." Dad laughed and said I'd better, but that wasn't why he wanted to talk to me. He wants me to go to Amazon and read all of the 1-star reviews for The Passage. In addition to his earlier caveats, he added "That guy doesn't know shit about electricity." I just said that I didn't either, so whatever errors Dad found in the book (and he has the background to find them) didn't bother me. I also told Dad that I'd bought the book because it has an average 3.86 star rating on Goodreads, and that while he's entitled to his opinion, I'm also entitled to mine.

I'm still not sure why Dad wants me to read negative reviews. Does he want to change my opinion? Reinforce his own? Use other people's reviews to express what he thinks but can't articulate? Okay, the last is not very likely, because Dad is good at expressing himself, but I don't know what he will get from me reading those reviews.

For now, it remains an open question.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Long, long ago,

my mother asked me what I wanted for my 30th birthday.

"Excitement. Adventure. Rubies the size of pigeon's eggs." I answered.

My parents got me a lawnmower.

These days, my mom just starts accumulating things on our shopping trips year-round, and wraps them up, either for my birthday or Christmas, and gives them to me on the appropriate day.

I've never stopped wishing for non-practical birthday gifts, but I stopped telling my parents.

This year, Dad was very excited about the early birthday present he picked out and purchased. In fact, he was so excited, he brought it over a full three weeks early.

It's a weed-whacker. With a bonus leaf blower.

Love you, Dad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sadness colors everything

I don't even know where to start to describe the last few days. If I start with the good things, my nephews were up for a visit last week, and Mom and I took them to an Akron Aeros game Friday night. Even though the Aeros lost, the fireworks were even better than last year's, and the boys had a good time. On Sunday, since Mom and Dad had to leave at 10:00 to get the boys back to Columbus, I was at my parents' house at 9:30 to give Dad his Father's Day card and gift, and he seemed to really like the book I got him. Then I headed home, stopping on the way at Temptation Nursery and picking up a peach-flowered verbena for Vegan Lawyer and two black and white dianthus for me. I spent the rest of the day doing laundry, putting away groceries, taking a nap, reading, goofing off on the computer.

I wish I could end there, with just the good things.

But I can't. Because on Friday morning, Mom found out that one of our probate court magistrates, someone I have known since I started working for Mom and someone Mom has known and worked with for twenty years, died utterly unexpectedly at the age of 53.

That loss has colored every day since then. I am sad for the court's loss of someone I thought should be our next probate judge, for community's loss of a woman with an impact above and beyond her job, for her sixteen-year-old daughter's loss. I wish I believed in a heaven, any heaven, and I wish I believed in a god or goddess or whomever would allow Ann to watch over her daughter, but mostly I just wish it hadn't happened.

If you've never had to hear a sixteen-year-old say through tears "I love my mom. I miss my mom." then count your blessings.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


On Thursday I carted two boxes of clothing from our Ward who died from the nursing home to the woman who had cared for him and was going to redistribute the clothing.

On Friday I woke up with teeny-tiny fluid-filled blisters all over both hands and my left arm. I checked WebMD, and in a truly disgusting slideshow about common insect bites, found that scabies bites matched the blisters on my hands. I called my doctor's office, and they squished me into the schedule, and then I had about five hours to worry, fret, and try not to scratch.

After seeing the very nice Dr. H., I was reminded why hypochondriacs should not be allowed to search the internet. Without any hint, she asked if I was a gardener and said I had poison ivy rather than scabies. She wanted to give me some steroids to help my skin heal a little more easily, but since they do such a number on my stomach, we settled on calamine and benadrool.

I spent the rest of the day in a benadrool fog, trying to remember if I'd seen ANY three-leaved plants anywhere in the garden. Yes, I've been weeding the lavender bed like mad, but all I really remembered were nettles and lamium. The lamium can't hurt, and I left the nettles in place until I could get back out with my gloves and long sleeves on.

On Saturday, I was reelling in the hose when I saw several three-leaved plants growing up underneath the hose cart. I'll have to get back out there once I have some more Roundup on hand. I know the traditional method of disposal is to burn the plant, but that's a little too close to the house for me to be lighting fires.

Today, I was hauling all the houseplants off the breezeway and outside, and just barely noticed a three-leaved plant sticking up out of the pot I almost had my face in. Like any good last girl, I screamed and backed away, then sat down and thought. Roundup in my geraniums is NOT an option, fire in my geraniums ditto, but I think if I put on gloves and long sleeves I should be able to dig the whole thing out with a trowel.

But that's a chore for tomorrow. For tonight, I have to shudder and try not to scratch all the imaginary and non-imaginary itches.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Book review

Unnatural Issue: An Elemental Masters NovelUnnatural Issue: An Elemental Masters Novel by Mercedes Lackey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This would have been 5 stars, except I'm getting a bit tired of Ms. Lackey's overuse of the "Bad guy schemes to take over someone else's body" plotline. Off the top of my head, I can think of three other books, one in this very series, that she's used it in, and I wish she would find some other type of villainy for her villains.

That caveat aside, Ms. Lackey does a good job with the characters and the setting. Clearly, she has done some research into the horrors of World War I, and they are interwoven so skillfully that none of the information comes across as a history lecture. Miracle of miracles, Ms. Lackey even made me care about a character based on Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Whimsey, who I cannot stand.

Overall, this is an engaging summer novel, with enough action to make you pay attention, characters to enjoy, and enough bits that make you think without boring you to death.

View all my reviews

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Possum: not just for dinner anymore!

Or at least that was what Little Miss Piggie Pie told me, barking at the top of her lungs and straining at the tie-out chain yesterday morning. There was a possum huddled under the dilapidated stone wall on the east side of my property, and LMPP wanted to catch it and kill it and eat it raw. When I hauled her in like a fish on a line, she sulked until it was time for me to leave for work, at which time she was happy to chase the cookies I'd tossed down into the basement.

Because I had dropped my car off for $350 worth of repairs on Thursday (oil change, air filter, new water pump), I had to wait for Mom to stop at a bank before picking me up. We got to work a little before 10:00, and then left at 11:30 to have lunch with three friends from the legal field (and Mom ducked one opposing counsel she'd just left a counter-offer for). After lunch, we got everything Mom needed for Portage County on Monday morning packed up and agreed that while we'd gotten stuff done throughout the week, there wasn't much of a feeling of accomplishment.

Mom took me to get my car, and I stopped for groceries before coming home. My evening consisted of watering plants, finishing the book I was reading, and wrestling the big Norfolk pine outside before LMPP ate any more of the potting soil out of the planter.

This morning I got up early, showered, dressed and stuffed the dog in the basement, and headed for Mom's. We went to a flea market in Chardon, which is northeast of Mom's house. We had a little contest--we each started with $25, and compared notes on how much we'd gotten at the end of the morning. I got three pretty daylilies, a gourmet dog biscuit and two purses. Mom got two hand mirrors, a set of pretty cloth napkins, a basket of sweet white onions and the most adorable birdhouse. She still had money left over, so she won. :) We had lunch at a local coffee shop, then stopped by the knitting store. They were having a big sale for their anniversary, so the $10 skeins of ribbon yarn were only $3 each! Mom got enough ribbon yarn to make ruffled scarves for me and maybe my picky aunt. Or maybe not--the last three attempts at scarves for Aunt Turkey were rejected for various reasons. *eye roll*

I had practiced purling on the way up, since I'd managed to forget how to purl since Christmas. I'm making coasters, because the ones I have are wood, which is nice but doesn't do much to battle condensation in the humid Ohio summer. I didn't knit on the way home, since we went the pretty way instead of the fast way, and I wanted to see everything. I did almost finish my first coaster, though, in a pattern called purl ridges. I'm still just knitting squares, but at least they're interesting squares!

When we got home, both of us slightly gimpy from all the walking and me slightly sunburned and very itchy, Dad told Mom she'd had an urgent call from a nursing home. She called them back, and found out that one of her wards had died of metastized lung cancer, less than two weeks after his diagnosis. Because Mom has been this man's guardian since 1986, she had no idea who his preneed funeral was with, and she was prepared to go into the office to get it. Fortunately, in 2003, I had copied all of the client files off the hard disks she used to use, so Dad remoted in to Mom's work computer, and opened up the Motion. I was able to tell Mom both the name of the funeral home and when she bought the preneed funeral, so unless they demanded the contract, she shouldn't have had to drive down to Akron.

I came home just as Snoopy was finishing up with the lawn, talked to him for about ten minutes, and then LMPP and I took a nice nap. Tomorrow I need to plant my new daylilies, but tonight is going to be all about relaxing.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Book review

The PassageThe Passage by Justin Cronin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book does a great job of reclaiming vampires as evil, scary, formerly human beings rather than the romantic ravishers they seem to have become. Somehow, Mr. Cronin managed to combine apocalyptic, dystopian, gubmint-conspiracy, questing, horror, sci-fi and a little bit of humor into a book that had me looking away from the page in an effort to stop bad things from happening to characters I like and yet sad when I reached the end and a little bummed that I have to wait another year for the next book.

There are two reasons this got 4 stars instead of 5:

Conroy shouldn't have died. That was just mean.

Mr. Cronin, you're a professional writer. Learn the difference between "retched" and "wretched" before I am forced to beat you with a hardbound copy of Webster's.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


However, both the desktop and the laptop are, so I'm using Dad's spare computer and without any photo-processing software, which means all of the garden pictures that were meant to go on this blog have to stay on the camera, along with all of the nail polish pics for the beauty blog.

I feel cheated that the BIG STORMS the weather guy promised us for last night never showed. When I got up this morning, the sidewalk was barely damp. Even if we didn't get the storm(s), at least the temperature dropped. It was in the upper 80s/lower 90s from Saturday through yesterday, and I damn near killed myself getting one flowerbed weeded and mulched. I need to rig up a chain so Little Miss Piggie Pie can join me in the front yard while I work out there, because she took advantage of my absence to eat a large portion of the potting soil out of the planter holding my Norfolk pine.

Otherwise, work is normal, online life is semi-restricted but normal, and my offline life is just as boring as it ever was.

Oh, and if you don't recognize the title of this post, do yourself a favor and read some Terry Pratchett. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The National Weather Service synthesized voice

simply cannot manage to say 'Cuyahoga Falls' in a manner that comes close to sounding human. Nonetheless, I have managed to accustom myself to the sounds that mean the name of my city when tornados are involved, and at about 7:40 tonight, I put my bra and work clothes back on, grabbed my cell phone, the charger, my charm bracelet, Gramma's charm bracelet, the BPAL and the dog and headed for the basement.

On top of a day when I'd been in pain from a ripped-off toenail, balanced three accountings and found out that one of our clients has metastized lung cancer, a tornado warning was almost the last thing I needed. The very last thing I needed was to be in the basement during a tornado warning with a dog having diarrhea from stress or eating who knows what while she was outside earlier. Aargh.

Oh, yes, and when I got upstairs, I discovered the garage had flooded, because yesterday's high winds had brought down a shedload of maple keys and the rain had washed them all on top of the driveway drain, blocking it. I'm sure I have some unspecified ick in my toenails from wading in the overflow to clear the drain.

Anyway, I'm fine, Mom and Dad are fine, the dog appears to be empty, and Yahoo describes the tornados as 'weak' so hopefully nobody I care about is hurt or homeless tonight.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Too much "sub" and not enough "urb"

While I love my house and land, right now I'm wishing I lived in a sterile apartment or condo or bubble.

I have mice in the garage who are occasionally invading the breezeway, so after talking to a pro, I have poison set outside and kill traps set on the breezeway. :(

Last night, I let Little Miss out for her last bathroom break of the night, and was surprised when instead of running to the end of the chain and squatting, she stopped at the end of the house and barked, with all of her back fur up. I do mean ALL, every hair from the top of her head to the base of her tail was standing straight up. I called her and she came in, and I thought it was a skunk or possum or raccoon, and that it would move on and we could try again.

Half an hour later, I put her out again and stayed on the breezeway. I had no more than sat down when Little Miss body slammed the door, barking frantically. I jumped up and opened the door and let her in. She was still barking hysterically and I noticed she'd urinated all over the top step, and just then a deer came charging around the corner. It stopped when it saw or smelled me, and I yelled at it (as if a deer speaks English). It stood there for about thirty seconds, made that angry huffing noise at me and turned and left. Little Miss was absolutely barking her head off the whole time, and I think she was both scared and angry. Every other dog on the street was barking too. I put her Gentle Leader on to get her to be quiet, fed her a couple of treats and petted her until her fur was smooth again, and then I took off the Gentle Leader and we went to bed.

This morning when I let her out around 7, the damn deer was still there, and again Little Miss came running for the door, barking like a crazy thing. At ten I went out with her and saw the deer again. It ran off when it saw me, but not far, and didn't actually leave the property until I stamped my foot and started to walk towards it. My friend clowder thinks it has a baby in the bushes somewhere, eek. So after I have a cool bath and a nap, I'll be heading over to the discount store for a SuperSoaker or similar water gun, and I'll be guarding the dog on her potty trips.

Yeah, a condo sounds good right now...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Local politics

May 16, 2011

My City Council
My CouncilCritter

Dear CouncilCritter:

On tonight’s agenda is an amendment proposed by Representative Derp which would require Cuyahoga Falls residents to clean under birdfeeders and would also prohibit them from having compost heaps. As a long-time resident and taxpayer, I have several concerns with this legislation.

First, on the birdfeeder issue, Representative Derp alleged that fallen birdseed either rots or attracts “vermin” to the area under the birdfeeders, when in fact, fallen seed attract ground-feeding birds, including our state bird, the cardinal.

Second, on the compost issue, is there any solid evidence that there is an epidemic of improperly maintained compost in Cuyahoga Falls? If so, where is the data on this epidemic, how was the data gathered, and how was it evaluated? If there truly is such a problem, isn’t it better to start with education on correct composting rather than punishment? Perhaps the city could do more to let citizens know about the composting tips already available on the city website (by adding a flyer to utility bills, posting a notice in local newspapers, etc.).

Third, also on the compost issue, in these extremely difficult economic times, is it right to tell a homeowner or renter who is trying his best to be environmentally responsible, that the City of Cuyahoga Falls expects each homeowner to spend between $40-$200 the average homeowner may not have? The City will be collecting dozens, if not hundreds, of recycling bins in the next months—will there be a credit for turning in that much plastic? If so, the city should consider using that credit to pay for composting bins and provide them to residents instead of adding another financial burden to households quite probably already in straitened financial situations.

Finally, I ask the same question about both issues—who is going to enforce this, how is it going to be monitored, and are my tax dollars paying for this? Will health inspectors or police officers be sent on “seed patrol,” or will enforcement depend on tips from citizens? If the latter, not only is there a large potential for multiple problems based on misuse of any reporting system, the process would simply duplicate a right Cuyahoga Falls citizens already have, the right to pick up the telephone and call the health department and complain about an unsafe or unhealthy condition.

Given all of my objections, I would ask you both, as my representative and as president of the council, to vote No on this amendment.

Thank you for your anticipated attention to this matter

Very truly yours,

Citizen Jammies

P.S. Tell Mr. Derp to settle his difficulties with his neighbors by negotiating with them, not by trying to pass laws that screw up the budgets and lives of the rest of us.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Book review

Feckless: Tales of Supernatural, Paranormal, and Downright Presumptuous Ilk (Volume 1)Feckless: Tales of Supernatural, Paranormal, and Downright Presumptuous Ilk by Ellen C. Maze

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There have been a lot of technological advances since I started buying books 30 years ago, but my favorite has to be easy, accessible paper recycling. Now when I make the mistake of purchasing two covers surrounding a giant pile of dreck, I don't feel guilty about tossing it.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Ow, but worth every minute!

Yesterday morning, Mom and I met at 11:30 at Temptation Nursery, and spent a very happy hour looking at everything, wanting everything, and buying select things. We were in the middle of a spat over how much I was spending on her Mother's Day gift when one of her former colleagues from the university came up behind us, so we spent another ten minutes chatting, and I won the argument. For the record, I told Mom I had $100 budgeted for plants, $25 of which was hers, and the total came to $89, so nyah. I got 5 basil, 3 lavender, 4 tomatoes, 3 sweet potato vines (decorative), a white licorice plant, a heliotrope (!!), a purple and white ivy geranium, and a peppermint. Mom got twelve coleus, a Swedish Ivy, a red ivy geranium, 3 sweet potato vines, 4 tomatoes, an English ivy, two cinnamon basil and two lamium. I did let her pay for the red ivy geranium because it's a gift for her sister.

We took the plants and my car over to my house, and I unloaded everything because I didn't want them to sit in a hot car all day, then went to the restaurant Mom picked in Fairlawn. Lunch was pretty good, but not as phenomenal as the downtown branch. When our waiter brought the check, I tried to get it, but Mom pulled the little tray so hard one of my fingernails went with it, so I let her have the check.

After lunch, we looked for a Sally Beauty Supply, because I need to renew my card and Mom needs to get some ridge-filling nail polish basecoat, but the Fairlawn Sally has moved and I didn't know where, so we just went to the craft store and the discount store. Mom got a bunch of stuff for our secret project for the summer and I got yarn for a brown scarf.

At the discount store, I got a cute shirt to put away for the cruise, three pairs of flip-flops, six pairs of socks, a present to put away for Christmas, two white bath mats and a black iron trellis with "Welcome" along the top. Mom got an identical trellis, plus two shepherd's hooks with "Welcome" on a vertical plate along the upright portion, one short and one tall. She also got a shirt for the cruise, some gluten-free cake mix and frosting and some other stuff I don't remember because by the time we left, my feet hurt! We played car Tetris to get the shepherd's hooks and trellises in, and I need to call Mom and see if she has one pair of my flip-flops. She was tired enough by the time we got to my house that she didn't want to wait for me to cut her some lilacs, so I am taking them to the office tomorrow. That way, she gets pre-Mother's Day and post-Mother's Day goodies!

I feel very spoiled to have gotten alone time with each of my parents in the last few days, and it reminds me of how very lucky I am not only to have two living parents, but to have two amazing people as parents.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms and kids!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

From "Aaargh!" to "Whee!" and back and forth

This whole week was bipolar. Good things happened on top of bad things and then more good and bad things happened. Some of the highlights:

After a year of fighting with what used to be INS and is now USCIS and a lot of correspondence with Homeland Security, we finally got a replacement green card for an elderly Ward.

We moved two other elderly Wards to new housing, both unwillingly.

My lilacs are in full bloom, but we only got one day of sunshine.

I lost a day and a half to a severe allergy attack.

Still, the week ended on a good note, because I got to spend a day with my dad and got some good news, too.

Mom was originally supposed to take me to my annual MRI-with-sedation and neuro appointment at the Cleveland Clinic, but since the local probate courts don't bother to check with attorneys when they're scheduling, she wound up with a hearing Friday morning. So at 7:45, my dad and I left his house headed for Cleveland.

Traffic was surprisingly light for rush hour, and we made it to the Clinic with time to spare, and then had more time to kill because the sedation nurse is also responsible for the Tysabri infusions, and she had a bit of a crisis. Still, at 9:30 I was getting my Xanax and at 10 I was having the MRI and not minding it at all. The nurse gave Dad a ton of instructions, which I mostly rolled my eyes at, then Dad and I went out for decent coffee and a mediocre Danish, both overpriced. Then we came back and hung out in the waiting room until my 1:00 appointment.

I was very nervouse, because I've been off the Copaxone for over a year, and I didn't know what was going to show up on my MRI. I met with the nurse practioner first, and she had me do all the sobriety test-type things, then we talked, then she told me that Dr. Cohen was actually in (I was told I'd be seeing a staff neuro, so it was good that I was seeing my doc!) and went and got him. Dr. Cohen told me that my MRI still shows that I have a lot of lesions, but none of them have gotten bigger, and I don't have any new ones! He's actually okay with me being off any meds, if I'm willing to come see him more often, but he also wants me to check with my prescription insurance to see if Fingolimod is covered. I would love, love, LOVE to take an oral med rather than a shot, so on Monday, I'll be calling to find out if it's in their formulary.

After I'd skipped out to the waiting room and told Dad it was good news, we went for a late lunch at a Cleveland institution--Corky and Lenny's. I had a bowl of so-so potato soup and a gorgeous corned beef sandwich, and Dad just had a corned beef sandwich. We actually spoke with Corky, who seemed a little insulted that I hadn't finished my soup, but was mollified when I raved about the sandwich. It was pouring when we left, so Dad took the umbrella and went to get the car while I ducked into the Malley's two doors down. The store was a little on the bare side, and they said they hadn't finished restocking from Easter, but that was almost two weeks ago, so it seemed like a lame excuse to me. At any rate, I got two dark chocolate bars with pretzel pieces, and dashed for the car.

One of the instructions the nurse had given Dad was that I wasn't to drive for 24 hours, and he seemed inclined to take that as gospel. I kept telling him that I was fine, that I'd had 2 cups of coffee, a Danish, half a sandwich and a Diet Coke since the Xanax and that I had to stop on the way home and get dog food. After a miserable quarter-hour on the freeway in pouring rain, Dad agreed to let me drive home if I came in and had another cup of coffee before I left. I did, and gave Dad his pretzel bar as a surprise thank-you since he wouldn't let me pay for anything except the doctor co-pay all day. He said he'd rather have the chocolate bar anyway. My dad, the cheap date.

So I drank the coffee even though my tummy wasn't thrilled with it, hit Pet Supplies Plus for dog food, came home and let the dog out, then in, then fed her and then fell into bed for a long nap, despite all the coffee.

And not only did I have a good day with my dad yesterday, today is plant- and craft- and shoe- and other-stuff-shopping plus lunch with my mom! So although the week was more of a rollercoaster than I like, it's still ending well

ETA: I forgot to mention that I have adorable little house finches nesting in one of the trees in front of the breezeway windows!

Monday, April 25, 2011

I think I'll sit this one out

On Thursday, I had an interview that went so well that I was offered a second interview on the spot. That second interview was today, and if offered the job, I definitely will not be taking it. The big boss, who interviewed me today, came across as a huge jerk, and there is no way I want to spend eight hours a day in a trailer with him. At the end of the interview, he complimented me on listening rather than talking, and although I said "Thank you," I was thinking "Well, you didn't let me get a word in edgewise." *snort*

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Psychological warfare does not work

on mice! Despite the fact that the killer traps are out of the drawer and in the middle of the counter as a clear warning, I still saw a mouse scamper across the floor last night.

*sigh* Of course, I can't deliberately kill one, so I stopped at Home Depot tonight and spent $10 on no-kill traps, which I will set and then release any mouseses I catch far, far away from my house.

Today was the memorial service for our client who died last week. Mom went, but I just couldn't. I was feeling particularly depressed today, and just couldn't face going.

I think tonight calls for a long, hot bath in a particularly spicy vanilla-clove combination. Somehow, it feels like the winter of my discontent has returned.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Palm Sunday killer

Last week was really truly the week from hell. One of our nicest, sweetest clients died at the very young age of 63, and I found out Sunday night. The week went downhill from there, and I didn't even get to slam the door in the face of any copier salesmen. We had trial prep, and hysterical phone calls from needy clients, news that one of our wards has bedbugs, multiple inane faxes from a dickweed opposing counsel and assorted other irritations.

This morning, the start of a new week, on the way to pick up my antidepressant, I ran over and killed a squirrel. Anyone who knows me knows I have no love for treerats, but I don't want to kill them. :( Oh, and to anyone else who hits an animal with a car--do NOT look in the rear view mirror. *tears*

Thankfully, the day improved. Mom and Dad came and picked me up at 10, we went to a local non-chain restaurant for breakfast, then drove to Columbus and had presents and cake for my nephew's 11th birthday. We had a nice time, and then came home while it was still light, and I will be headed to bed soon, hoping this week will be better than last week!

P.S. My doggie nephew, Ralph, spent all of Sunday sunbathing. Cute, cute dog.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

spring. oh yay.

Signs of spring at Casa de Jammies:

Dandelions and nettles sprouting.

Allergies sprouting.

Trash all over the front yard from selfish pigs driving by.

The juvenile idiots next door revving their crotch rockets for hours on end.

Spastic robins fighting with their reflections in the living room window.

The damn dog running through the house barking at the last two.

On the other hand, I did get to go outside and clean up last year's leaves. One-half of the flowerbed along the front sidewalk is cleaned up, and if the weather holds, I can do the other half tomorrow morning. Plus I get to have open windows in the house, and dream about having enough money to mulch everything this year.

The yard is still paying for my spring of grief over Bigfoot, but I'm trying to get things back together. I'm also trying to figure out what happened to my lemon balm, which sprouted all over in its container on the front porch last summer and did well on the breezeway this winter, but is currently dying off in great swathes right now. It's a puzzle.

Another puzzle is what the heck has happened to my skin, which is suddenly dry and lizard-y. I haven't changed anything about the amount of water I drink or the amount of baths I take or the amount of moisturizer I use, but I am suddenly a leezard.

It drives me crazy that there is so much at work I can't talk about here, but even if I have fewer than ten readers, it's still a public website, and client confidentiality has to be respected.

Ah well, scales and puzzled brain and muzzled fingers and all, I'm still alive, still finding my little pleasures, and still haven't gone completely nuts, so I'm good.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Dear Copier Salesman,

Yes, I did have to unlock the door when you showed up at 4:55.

Yes, I was working late, and so was my employer.

Yes, we had spent the entire day on trial prep.

Yes, trial prep sucks and we have had to do far too much of it the last three weeks.

Yes, I really really meant it when I said that we were fine as far as copying, scanning, etc. go.

Yes, it gave me unadulterated, vicious pleasure to close the door in your face when you wouldn't shut up.

Yes, I would have slammed the door if it weren't 112 years old.

So thank you for giving me that one glorious moment in my day.

Love and kisses,


Sunday, April 03, 2011

Spring miscellany

The daffodils are sprouting.

On Thursday, I saw the first wild bunny I've seen since last fall.

My allergies and sinuses are going nuts.

Piggie Pie has decided that she lurves a squeaky toy which she used to disdain, and now is so enamored of it she tried to bring it to bed last night.

There are two probate court magistrates who are now forever on my List, one for not believing my mom, and one for trying to make her his enforcer.

I still hate trial prep.

The chives have grown an incredible amount.

The couple inches of spring snow we got last week do not seem to have damaged anything.

I'm still fighting my own body on this DST thing.

I'm still alive!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book review

Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific RevolutionBlood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution by Holly Tucker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In one way, this book is difficult to read. It deals with some truly horrific experiments in the name of science and some truly horrific human stupidity.

In another way, this book is easy to read. The writing flows smoothly, the events narrated are fascinating and the science is explained in a way that's accessible without being dumbed down.

This book reminds me of Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List in that I'm glad I read it, I had a definite emotional and intellectual response to it, but I've no desire to read it again.

I can and do recommend this to anyone curious about the beginning of the science of blood transfusion, as long as the reader doesn't have a delicate stomach or a thin skin.

This book was sent to me for review.

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Which Our Heroine Overcomes Assorted Obstacles

Obstacle number one was assembling exhibits for an upcoming trial and working with a client who provided ninety gazillion documents, not including the ones I actually needed.

Obstacle number two was having my workplace invaded by a horrific stench that resulted from maintenance personnel opening a decades-closed sub-sub-basement.

Obstacle number three was an If Bunny in the shape of an interview and then a job offer for a job that wasn't right for me. The job was one I could have done, but there were reasons why I needed not to jump at it like a wallflower being asked for the last dance of the night. First, the pay rate was not only $3/hour less than I'm currently making, it was as an independent contractor, which would have cost me an additional $75/week. Second, although I don't have a problem taking a part-time job, I do have a problem taking a part-time job which has such an irregular schedule that Mom can't depend on me while she tries to find someone else. Finally, the instant start gave me the problem of not being able to wind things up for Mom.

So I have to keep looking, and trust that I'm worth hiring, despite the fact that I haven't been asked to dance in a long time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In which Dr. Jammicus jumps to a conclusion

Jane Austen: A LifeJane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not only is this a fun, easy biography of Jane Austen, I learned many things never covered in college literature courses. I learned in depth about her family, including her sister, Cassandra, who coped with several devastating losses in her life. The author's analyses of Miss Austen's novels is good solid scholarship.

I also learned just enough about Jane's brother Henry to make a wild conclusion--I think Henry had MS. Ms. Tomalin describes Henry as a hypochondriac, noting that at various times his symptoms included "a glowing of the hands" (which sounds like neuropathy to me), faintness, assorted intestinal disorders, dizziness, all of which can be symptoms of MS. Ms. Tomalin also states that later in life, Henry suffered at least one episode in which he was ill for no known reason, and recovered from what seemed to his family to be a fatal illness. Sounds like a classic MS flare or exacerbation!

My silly theory aside, the book is an enjoyable canvas of Miss Jane Austen's life, and definitely worth reading.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 11, 2011

I hear the Ozarks are nice this time of year...

I hope so, because that's where Mom and Dad are, as they make their way to Texas for my nieces' spring break. They left at noon on Wednesday, spent the night in Cinci with my aunt, and are taking it easy. They're supposed to call me tonight from some place called Mountain Home.

On Thursday, I learned a very valuable lesson--do not make filing rounds at lunchtime! The overpriced fast-food student 'restaurant' in our building smelled like hamburgers, the county building smelled like chicken noodle soup and the state building smelled like bacon. I was so hungry when I got back from my rounds that I ate my lunch half an hour early!

NE Ohio got some nice torrential rains yesterday, then snow last night, and this morning I had water in the basement again. I went in to work long enough to grab some stuff to do at home, then came back and called Snoopy and the guy from the water-proofing company.

The latter made it out here first, and he jackhammered a long trough in the concrete so any water coming in from the west wall could make it to the pipe. I'm a little concerned that Piggie Pie is going to decide she needs to eat gravel, but I hope that doesn't happen. Someone else from the company is supposed to be coming out next Friday to see if they can figure out a more permanent fix. Hopefully, it will not involve lavish amounts of money to replace the chimney.

And all of my good thoughts tonight are going to the people of Japan and Hawaii, and hoping that the American West Coast has nothing worse than extra high tides.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

With friends like these, you won't have enemies,

because your friends will eat your enemies' brains!

Meet Jooji, a gift from the lovely and talented Erin. Jooji is a sock zombie, but more than that, he is a ninja sock zombie!

Jooji came with a friend I have named Rose Petal, all sweet and soft and pink until she eats your brains (or your socks, whichever she can reach)

I am incredibly grateful to Erin for the gift of my new friends, so please go get your own sock zombie from her right now!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The last thing I did Monday night

...was invent a new way to fall. I took a step backward to let the dog in and tripped over my own feet, staggered into the wall, banged one leg on the dog's table and the other on the floor when I went down on one knee.

Then on Tuesday morning, the company who'd said they couldn't come Monday didn't call, and when I called them, they said they couldn't come Tuesday, either. The guys from the water-proofing company showed up and said there wasn't anything they could do to help. So Tuesday morning I put every rag I had in the house on one of the giant basement puddles and put the dog down there and felt bad.

I got to work about 10:30 and started helping Mom with trial prep, and called Snoopy to see if I could borrow his shop vac. He said he'd go over around two and replace the bathroom faucet he was supposed to replace last weekend and clean up the water. Mom and I got the trial prep done, took a couple of minutes for lunch, and I managed to get out of there by 4:30.

Little Miss Piggie Pie was waiting for her dinner when I got home, and Snoopy was just finishing up in the bathroom. I fed her and put her outside and then back in again, and then Snoopy dragged his shop vac down to the basement. It took him about an hour, but he got most of the remaining water off the floor, yay. Then I had four loads of rags to wash, but at least I had a damp basement rather than one with standing water in it and I'm only out $100 for Snoopy's labor. Of course, that doesn't count the bump in my gas bill from having the heat on so high for so long and the bump in my electric bill as well, sigh.

I was so tired I didn't even take a bath Tuesday night, and my muscles were really screaming from the fall when I woke up this morning. However, I had the satisfaction of knowing that Mom went to court with her ducks not just in a row, but lined up with military precision. The hearing got continued because opposing counsel didn't have his ducks even the same room, but Mom did get one of the things she asked for, court-ordered mediation.

Tonight, Mom's at Antique Club and I am definitely going to use one of my hoarded, discontinued, cinnamon-mint Lush bubble bars to soak my aching muscles in!

Monday, February 28, 2011

I've always known I hated Mondays,

I just never knew Mondays hated me back.

The MS flareup is still ongoing, making it very difficult for me to do anything much more than type with my left hand (and at that, I'm wishing I didn't need to capitalize any of the letters I type with my right hand). I still managed to get the bathroom cleaned and the laundry done yesterday, at which time every thing in the house was normal.

I knew today and tomorrow were going to be absolutely crazy at work, because Mom has a big trial coming up on Wednesday and so there'd be a lot of copying, collating, etc. for me. I was already half-dreading the day as I showered, got dressed and packed my lunch, but that was nothing compared to the fact that when I went to put Piggie Pie in the basement there was standing water at the bottom of the steps. I left her down there, went in to work, went through the mail from Friday and Saturday and called both of Mom's afternoon appointments to cancel. I also made all the copies of the finally balanced accounting from last week and got them ready for Mom to take to court and checked the voice mail. By the time Mom got there at 9:15, I had the decks cleared enough so that I could come home and call my insurance agent.

Of course, said agent isn't sure whether the damage is covered, but he gave me the name and number of a cleanup guy and started the claim process. Michael, the cleanup guy, was booked solid today and is hopefully going to come out early tomorrow, because I made a point of telling his office that I had to be at work to do trial prep.

Please note that at no point in this process did I call my father. Dad is pretty much out of the home repair business after almost killing himself with work on his own house last summer, and right now, I can't manage cleaning up the basement, even if he had brought me a mop and bucket. I couldn't even do my usual trick of putting towels down and then taking them to the washing machine in a basket--there's just too much water!

I did put on my boots and go down and check, and the water appears to be coming in the west wall, and it's pretty much all gone towards the south (front) and east walls, which means that it is away from the furnace, water heater, washer and dryer (good) but far away from the sump pump (bad). At some point while I was exploring and evaluating, Mom called Dad.

Dad called me, told me he couldn't do anything but said he'd come over after dinner with his mop and bucket. I have not told Dad about the flareup, because he's going through enough medical crap on his own, so I didn't tell him that wouldn't work, just said that my insurance guy wanted me to have the pro clean it up. Dad then yelled at me for not keeping better track of the one piece of paper we have regarding the alleged basement waterproofing done two decades ago. I declined to get into that with him, because while I believe that Mom has said piece of paper, I also know that I could have stuck it "someplace safe" and I'm tired of hearing about it from him.

Mom called about 6:30 and said she'd found it, and gave me the name of the company plus the phone numbers from the sheet of paper. Dad said he'd looked them up online and they had a good rating both with Angie's List and the BBB, but he couldn't give me the url because he used Google and just went straight to the site. I used Google too, but got several different companies in different states with the same name. I finally found it and wrote down the number. The last thing Dad said to me was, "Don't make an appointment for tomorrow." I said I had to, because I can't leave Little Miss in a wet basement. His response was, "Your mother needs you more than your dog does."

I hung up on him. I am SO sick and tired of him being a crabby ass bastard that if he were here, I'd hit him with his own damn mop.

*breathe breathe breathe*

I did reach three different guys at the waterproofing company, and someone will be at my house between 8:30 and 9:00 tomorrow morning to take a look. I tried to call Mom to tell her, but the phone's busy, and since they have call waiting, I think maybe crabby ass bastard took the phone off the hook. Fine, I'll call in the morning and wake his crabby ass up.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Mom and I got the accounting balanced, and I am not going to say one word about the client. *zip*

Little Miss Piggie Pie had a dental cleaning with anesthesia this morning, which mean no food or water after 10 last night. She was a very sad doggie when I dropped her off this morning, and a very NAGGY doggie when I picked her up. Per the standard instructions, she got half a normal dinner at 7, and I just gave her the other half, so she has now forgiven me and is sleeping by my chair. This morning, LMPP was a good girl and got on the scale (and she is two pounds overweight, the little fatbutt!) but then sat down and looked at me when the tech tried to take her downstairs. I had to leave before the guilt ate me.

So tomorrow is a matter of getting all the forms ready for the accounting and then holding down the fort while Mom takes three accountings over to court, eek. Then it will be the blessed, blessed weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I can haz Friday?

Mom and I have been working for weeks on an accounting that just won't balance. Today we decided that my short day tomorrow will be a long day so we can go over all of the numbers from start to finish, and the whole thing makes me feel like a failure. In my head I know it's not my fault it doesn't balance, but that doesn't change my feelings about the whole thing. I just want to hide under the bed whenever I think about it. :(

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's official!

For their 50th anniversary, Mom and Dad are taking the whole famdamily on a cruise at Christmas time 2012. We'll be going on the new Disney Fantasy and I'm going to have my own room! With a balcony! Time to start saving money for fun spending. :)

In the meantime, I am struggling with the fact that it's now been more than a year since I was laid off and I've had only two in-person interviews and with the fact that I'm having a MS flare-up which consists of hands (especially the left) feeling like they're swollen when they're not, very painful and tingling more than usual. Also, there is a pompous, pretentious, patronizing, preening jerk on Goodreads I'd like to slap into next week and I've been very bad about sticking to my workout schedule. I'm not sure what I need, but I need something.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why bush babies shouldn't drive

Last Sunday was bad, what with falling hard on my butt onto iced-up concrete and a few other small disasters, Monday was worse with a tough workday which ended with the discovery that at some point I'd lost the left lens out of my glasses and failed to notice until I went to put them on to drive home.

I managed to get through Tuesday and Wednesday without killing myself or anyone else, and made a Thursday appointment for an eye exam. It had been two years since my last exam, so I was due anyway. The good news was that my right eye hadn't changed, only my left was a bit worse. That was good both because it was the left lens I needed replaced and because my right eye is my dominant eye, so I was okay to use my old glasses for a couple of days. I had a nice chat with the receptionist about knitting, and was about to leave when she commented that my eyes were still dilated and maybe someone should come get me. I assured her I didn't have far to go, and left.

Usually, when I have an eye appointment, it is in January or February, and every appointment I've had until now has been on an overcast or full-on snowy day. Thursday was different. It was sub-freezing cold but brilliantly sunshiny, and in the four minutes it took me to drive less than a mile home, I was in acute pain. I had intended to measure the distance between my pupils so I could get a spare pair or two of glasses from Zenni, but when I looked in the mirror, I didn't even see irises, my eyes were all pupil and I looked like a bush baby. So I took a nap. Two hours later my eyes still hadn't gone back to normal, so I did some desultory knitting, ate dinner, had a bath and went to bed early.

Happily, my replacement lens was done on Friday, so I will be ordering my spare pair(s) soon. Plus, Mom paid for a nice lunch for all of us yesterday, and we had an enjoyable hour, so the week ended much better than it began.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Workout stats (a work in progress)

Water walking, 02/05/11:

Steps in to building: 84 (was lazy and parked near the door, plus it's COLD)
Steps in first 2-minute jog: 184
Steps in second 2-minute jog: 192
Steps in third 2-minute jog: 170 (lazy, lazy, lazy)

Water walking, 02/12/11:

Steps in to building: 134
Steps in 4-minute jog: 292

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Observing cats

Everyone with MS needs to spend some time watching cats. Not only do you learn about the importance of personal grooming and frequent napping, you can also learn the nonchalant walking-away stalk which clearly conveys "I meant to do that" even when "that" is something incredibly stupid.

One of my fun MS symptoms is occasional spasming of my right hand and arm. Of course I am right-handed, so if I happen to be holding something in my right hand, it goes flying. Usually it's a pen, but it has on occasion been a knitting needle, a cracker, a cigarette...

Today I essentially threw a stapler halfway across my mom's desk, and then had to explain about the spasms and my "I meant to do that" theory. Twenty minutes later, it happened again, this time while I was holding the lid to the large glass jar she keeps her paper clips and binder clips in. I just said "I meant to do that" and we went on getting subpoenas ready, so I must be getting better at the nonchalance.