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!