Friday, November 30, 2007

Random Photo Friday: Oh, Yeah, I Almost Forgot About Doing This Edition

Today's selection requires no explanation.

It's a cat! Wearing a bandanna!

I'm totally sending this to Stuff On My Cat.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Drugs Are Bad, mmKay?

I had my doctor appointment today to make I sure I didn't break my brain. She confirmed that the Lexapro withdrawal probably is making me a little bonkers, and although I really shouldn't have quit taking it all of a sudden, the damage won't be permanent. Unfortunately, another side effect I didn't anticipate is that my blood pressure is now really high. It's not like, internal-organ-blow-out high, but it probably explains the headache and dizziness.

And, get a load of this! Walgreens called me today to tell me my refill is ready - my refill of Lexapro they told me they didn't have, which started this whole pharmaceutical fiasco. Walgreens can suck my butt.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Best Withdrawal EVAR

I somewhat involuntarily took myself off the Lexapro, and let me tell you, it is going GREAT.

The night before Thanksgiving my prescription ran out. My pharmacy was closed until Friday, but I knew going without the crazy pills for couple of days wouldn't be a big deal. However, when I called for my refill, I discovered that my doctor's office never called it in. At first I freaked out and started making frantic phone calls. But, I already had an appointment scheduled for tomorrow, so I figured I'd just see how it turned out.

Whatever havoc I've accidentally wreaked on my brain chemistry has resulted in relentless optimism and excessive enthusiasm for just about everything. Yay, everything!

At first it seemed I had achieved a surprising level of mental stability and emotional maturity. For example, see my very reasonable post about my employment issues. Then I thought I was just feeling cheerful.

But now I'm having trouble falling asleep because I'm just having so much fun! lying there, thinking about stuff. My mother-in-law brought over some persimmons, which I had never tried before. When I tasted one, it was so excellent that I exclaimed out loud, all alone in my kitchen, "Persimmons! Fuck yeah!" This evening I noticed that it was 6:30, so I pumped my fists in exultation that it was 6:30! All right, 6:30! I don't know why.

I sort of feel like I just got off a roller coaster - sort of giddy and wobbly with a funny feeling in my stomach. I can only imagine I'm veering into some sort of drug withdrawal induced mania. It's really fun, but I'm glad I have a doctor appointment before I start skipping around the neighborhood naked, tossing flowers at everyone. Except they're not really flowers. They're like, rubber bands or something. You know, because I'm ker-RAY-zee.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Crisis Averted

In a cleansing burst of sanity, I've come to terms with my career crisis from last week.

What happened was my boss was mean to me. I drove home crying about how mean she was. As soon as I got home I started looking for another job so when I forced a confrontation with my boss about how mean she is and she fired me I would have a back up plan.

However, upon thinking calmly about the whole stupid situation, I realized that there are several components involved in her meanness.

1. She's mean. I've always known this about her. Sometimes she's kind of teasing, funny mean, but sometimes she's just mean.

2. She's obviously been really stressed out about something. It's probably work related, but it doesn't have enough to do with me that I know what it is. In summary, it's not my problem.

3. Maybe, at least sometimes, she doesn't like me. That may sound insecure, but sometimes I don't much like her, so I'm sure it's possible.

There is nothing I can do about any of these things, so there is no point in getting all freaked about it. I can get past the meanness and take the points she was trying to make that can help me do a better job.

I enjoy my job. I feel good about what I'm accomplishing, and I like most of the people I work with most of the time. If I look at the situation from Traivor's wise perspective that "Working sucks. That's why they have to pay you to do it." my job is really not that bad.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A White Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was especially excellent this year since I got to share it with 14 members of my family - the biggest crowd we've had in years. We were just missing a couple of cousins and uncles who are currently spread across three continents. By Christmas, however, they may all be back in Texas, at least for the holidays. I can't wait.

As remarkable as the family fellowship this year was the weather. It snowed all afternoon.

The day after Thanksgiving my parents and I have a tradition that we cook our own dinner with all our favorite dishes so we can keep all the leftovers for ourselves. One of the downsides of having such a large family is that the leftovers are spread thin even after a huge dinner.

We had (clockwise from the top) squash casserole, crescent rolls, corn casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, Quorn brand turkey substitute, dressing, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, sauteed green beans, wasabi deviled eggs, with mushroom gravy all over everything.

Not pictured is green bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and french-fried onions because that's just gross. My dad likes it, though. Also not pictured because I forgot is my mom's fruit salad, which is particularly delicious since it's made with peach pie filling. For dessert we made pumpkin pie and cherry pie and homemade whipped cream. We also enjoyed a nice Sauvignon Blanc and then had to drink a pot of coffee to revive ourselves.

Pretty much every Thanksgiving is like this, and I look forward to it all year. I like Thanksgiving way better than Christmas. It offers all the same opportunities to eat too much and hang out with family and take time off work without all the shopping - a truly ideal holiday.

Yes. Yes I Did.

On chilly weekend mornings I spend a little while fantasizing about the elaborate delicious breakfast I plan to have in order to motivate myself to get out of bed. Yesterday, I dreamed up French toast made with egg nog instead of milk and topped with cherry pie filling, powdered sugar, and whipped cream. The egg nog didn't add a lot of extra flavor, but it was a wonderfully fattening way to start the day.

This morning, my idea was an omelet seasoned with dill and stuffed with salmon, capers, and heavy cream. Of course, I'm really lazy, so instead of getting up and cooking myself breakfast, I was lolling around in bed, petting the cat, when The Husband shows up with the omelet! Dizzy and I enjoyed an exceptional, custom-made breakfast in bed. Did I win the marriage lottery or what?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

House guest

This is my dog-in-law, Xena: Dogular Princess.

Or maybe Xena: Warrior Dogcess. I don't know. I didn't name her.

Anyway, this goofy girl is staying with us for the Thanksgiving holiday while my pop-in-law and his attractive and sophisticated wife head out of town. She's sweet and all, but she certainly hasn't affected my extreme prejudice in favor of animals of the cat persuasion.

She keeps sticking her head in my crotch and breathing on me with her hot dog breath, and she's way too big to curl up in my lap. It is fun to take her for a walk, though. Dizzy Wizzy Kitty never really leaves the house. Sometimes I carry her around in the yard or let her walk around the fenced back yard while I follow about three feet behind her.

Dizzy and Xena do NOT get along. Xena very much wants to smooch or possibly swallow Dizzy, and Dizzy very much wants to kill Xena. I'm glad our house has lots of doors. We've created the Dizzy zone and the Xena zone.

Although cats have the reputation for being aloof and independent, Xena is much more self-sufficient than Dizzy. Last night Xena actually put herself to bed. Around 10:30 she went in her kennel and laid down. The Husband gave her a treat and closed the door, and we didn't hear another peep out of her.

Dizzy, on the other hand, stomps around meowing until I lie down in the bed. Then she crawls on me all night. It must have been particularly cold last night because I woke up with Dizzy sleeping half on my neck and half on my face. Later she pushed all the blankets off of me with her nose because she was trying to burrow under them. Meanwhile the dog was soundly (and quietly) sleeping in her own room in her own bed.

I wouldn't trade my Dizzy Wizzy Kitty for the world, though.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Career Crisis

How often is normal for your job to make you cry?

(Or whatever your emotional equivalent to crying is)

Surely it's not never? Do people have jobs that never make them cry?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Something You Can Do For Good

Yesterday's post was a big ol' bummer, so here's a really dorky awesome way to do some good in the world. Click the button below and go play the Free Rice vocabulary quiz. Every question you get correct earns the United Nations World Food Program (excuse me, I mean "Programme") a donation for their global operations.

If the get a word wrong, the questions get easier. If you get three in row correct, you go up a level in difficulty. So far, I tend to top out at about level 43 of 50 , but I've gotten as high as 46. Y'all are super nerdy. Try to beat me, and feed some hungry people while you work out your big brain.

Revolution Never?

The conference I was at last week was hosted by the state for agencies that work on preventing bad things from happening to kids: child abuse, juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, suicide, etc. Many of these problems are also wrapped up in the issue of poverty, so the opening keynote speaker gave a presentation on the book, Bridges Out of Poverty. I can't recommend this book enough for anyone who has to face poverty, whether it be in your personal or professional life, or if you just want to understand the experiences of a huge segment in our society.

During her presentation the speaker told a story of a woman she had been working with. It's not an exceptional story, and it's one I've heard a million times in different incarnations, but for some reason it hit me in the gut this time.

The woman - I'll call her Mary - was receiving training from a nonprofit agency on how to be more self-sufficient. She really took the lessons to heart and worked hard to get some education and improve her chances for a good job.

Mary received certification as a nursing assistant, and got a job at $7 an hour. She was a reliable, dedicated worker and got a raise to $7.75 an hour after only a few months.

Once Mary was making "so much" money, her housing subsidy was cut; her food stamps were cut; all the benefits she counted on to make ends meet while working hard and trying to improve her family's life were cut. Even though she did what she was "supposed to" - got an education, worked hard, received a raise - she found herself $400 behind every month. Despite her full time job, Mary had to sell plasma to pay her bills.

What should she have done differently? So much of the political rhetoric of the current government touts personal responsibility and excoriates the welfare state. Mary took responsibility and made good choices, and look what happened to her.

The main reason this story infuriated me is that it makes me feel powerless. An individual can respond to so many problems by volunteering time or making donations. But when it comes to economic and political forces I have no faith that anything I do will make life better for people like Mary. It doesn't matter how many letters I write or who I vote for or where I shop. As a society we've decided that people like Mary are expendable. We're willing to leave her behind no matter how hard she tries. It makes me sick, and it makes me want to burn something down.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Outrage!

I just tried to order a margarita with my lunch and was told the bar is closed! Did you ever hear of such an absurd thing? It is the middle of the day, and I'm stuck in a hotel for the next two hours. I should be drunk.

Originally, I was supposed to leave yesterday evening, but I ensickened my boss with my strep infection, and she wasn't able to come to Austin today to take care of some administration with state funding. She asked me to stick around to substitute for her, but the meeting got done several hours early.

I was really looking forward to taunting the internet with the fact I was sipping margaritas at noon on a Wednesday, but this stupid hotel thwarted me. You can bet if I was at the airport right now, I wouldn't be having this problem. Last time I was at an airport bar in the middle of the day, I ordered a gin and tonic and then had to request extra tonic because the gin fumes alone were curling my eyelashes.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Call Me a Brain Doctor!

Oh, lordy! I just walked not five minutes next door to pick up some sushi, and I fell down halfway there. There I was, walking along the perfectly even pavement, and my right foot just konked out on me. It must have been quite a hilarious spectacle because I stumbled for several steps before I hit the deck, each time nearly catching myself, but my legs just wouldn't move fast enough.

Then, once I made it back to the hotel, I tried to open my room door with a credit card.

P.S. I just noticed I'm wearing my pajamas both inside out and backwards.

Unmedicated Duckling

So, I made it to Austin with a bunch of wet underpants, but in my effort to correctly transport my liquids and gels, I forgot all about packing my non-liquids and gels, including my toothbrush. I cleaned my teeth with a washcloth this morning. Fortunately the hotel gift shop sells toothbrushes, and I was able to attend to my dental hygiene during the lunch break.

More distressingly, I also left behind all my medication: birth control, my crazy pills, and the antibiotics, as well as the more elective drugs such as the muscle relaxers for my neck. I'm really worried about going cold turkey off the Lexapro for two days, but I have skipped one day before without any noticeable effects. I'm not too concerned about missing a couple of days of birth control since I'm minus The Husband while I'm out of town. And, as long as a super-bug doesn't overcome my immune system before Wednesday, I should be OK without the antibiotics.

Mostly, I'm really annoyed at this pattern of stupidity. Up until recently I have been able to do laundry and pack my own luggage with a nearly 100% rate of success. It's like my brain went on vacation and didn't invite me. Am I getting old? Am I over medicated? Is all that tequila finally catching up with me? I'm not sure I really want to know.

Laundry Disability

For some reason, I can not successfully manage my laundry. Sometimes I wash a load but neglect to put it in the dryer, resulting in scorched panties in the microwave. Other times I put laundry in the dryer but forget to actually turn the dryer on. I recently attended a doctor's appointment wearing The Husband's pants because every single pair of pants I owned were soaking wet, and they're too big to stick in the microwave.

My biggest challenge seems to be in operating the washing machine. Nine times out of ten I load the clothes, turn on the water, add detergent, and walk away, overlooking the all-important step of closing the lid. I'm sure once I complete the laundry, my clothes are exceptionally clean because they usually spend at least an hour soaking before I realize the washing machine is strangely quiet.

However, when I have a plane to catch, the thoroughness of the soaking is not as important as actually having clean clothes to put on my body to make it out the door on time, which is why I ended up wearing clammy, soggy jeans on my plane ride to Austin while toting a suitcase full of damp panties.

The damp panties ended up not being as bad as what did NOT make it into my suitcase, but I'll have to gripe about that later.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Breaking News!

In a startling development, it turns out I was sick. Huh. Who knew?

Evidently I was willing to endure weeks of digestive issues and snurfy sinuses, but once I became pathetic enough to ask members of my staff to feel me and tell me if I felt hot, I realized I really needed to go to the doctor.

The physician's assistant (who doesn't think I'm crazy) was able to see me within hours of my pitiful phone call and quickly diagnosed me with strep. She shot my butt full of penicillin and sent me on my way with a prescription for additional antibiotics.

Antibiotics are great over the long term, but when you're lying on the couch shivering and aching and burning up with fever, ibuprofen is magic. Cram enough of that down your gullet and you'll be watching Battlestar Galactica and yelling at the TV in 45 minutes flat.

Anyway, I'm in Austin for a conference tomorrow, so more about that later.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Five Days

Evidently that's about how long I can live on ice water, Gatorade, and vegetable broth. I broke down last night and ate some pizza.

I know that wasn't the best choice of food after suffering gastrointestinally for several days. What I really wanted was rice - steamed white rice with soy sauce. But, The Husband suggested pizza, and I was so starving for the first time in days that I was willing to eat anything.

Over the weekend I had been experimentally nibbling on some crackers from time to time, but Sunday night I experienced a supremely embarrassing digestive incident, so I didn't take any chances with solid food all day Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday night a couple of pieces of pizza sounded like ambrosia of the gods. I tried to take it easy, but the first two pieces didn't touch my hunger. I did manage to stop myself after the third.

Let me tell you, that ambrosia of the gods wasn't so heavenly the second time around. Around midnight, I thought I was going to die, and at that point, I probably wouldn't have minded a little death so much. I'm back on soup and clear liquids for the foreseeable future. I never ever want to feel that bad again.

The really weird thing is that I don't seem to be losing any weight. I'm not sure how much I weighed before my involuntary fast, but at least for the past few days, it's stayed exactly the same. Maybe I'm some kind of mutant, and scientists should study my genes. Maybe I could save famine victims around the world with my awesome power of Super Fatness!

Super Fatty mocks you Jenny Craig! You too, Dr. Atkins! Super Fatty's chubby butt needs no chocolate cake to maintain its amazing fatness. Super Fatty can turn the very air into cellulite!

Lucky me.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Am I Dead Yet?

The Husband and I have been living in the Duckling House of Consumption and Cholera for several days now. We both contracted minor colds in the past couple of weeks, but as is depressingly usual, mine turned into days of wheezing, coughing, snoring, and exhaustion. After about 24 hours of fitful, sweaty sleep, I crawled out of bed on Thursday evening finally feeling better.

That "feeling better" thing was terribly short lived, as I was stricken with some - let's just say, rather unpleasant - manner of gastrointestinal distress almost immediately upon consuming a small snack of cheese and crackers. Unfortunately, misery does love company, and The Husband began horking his guts out Friday night.

I've not eaten anything other than some soon to be regurgitated crackers since Thursday. The Husband seems to be tolerating solid food significantly more successfully. As long as I don't eat anything at all, I feel OK. How long do you think I can live on ice water, Gatorade, and vegetable broth?