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July 9th, 2017

12:02 pm: Quick check-in
I return to work tomorrow after 6 weeks of short-term disability.

Some DetailsCollapse )

And I did need the 6 weeks.  I'm nervous about returning. I still tire very easily (that's likely to take 6 months to resolve). Mercifully, most of my focus has returned.  For the first 4 weeks, I could barely think. And when I could think a little bit, it didn't even bother me that I couldn't think. And when I could think about that a little, it really bothered me.

For a few minutes. Until I forgot, and went back to reading fanfic or watching British Bakeoffs.

I had (still have!) a full bookcase of stuff to read while I was out. I've read 1.5 books.

1.5 books. In 6 weeks. Actually, in the last week, which is the first time I've managed to read any books at all. I still read, of course, but it was generally the aforementioned fanfic or Entertainment Weekly, an article at a time.

Ze brain? She iz not fully functional yet. But she iz lotz better.

I assume this week will be exhausting. I've warned Peter & Teddy that we'll be living on takeout and TV dinners (I've been cooking again for the last couple of weeks). So we'll see!

Current Mood: tiredtired

February 24th, 2017

10:25 am: we're dragging our feet
...on the hysterectomy.

Turns out that I have a whole bunch of fibroids and a Mirena is unlikely to work.


So I'm continuing with the progesterone for another month. We'll see how I do when I go off. Since I'm past the average age for menopause already, my GYN and I are hoping to avoid major surgery.


Current Mood: okayokay

January 28th, 2017

05:56 pm: This one may not pass...
 ...though time will, and Teh Issue will be resolved (eventually).

With all the incredible shit that's happened in the last few years, including my mother's and brother's deaths and the floods and the job changes, the one that seems to have kinda sorta broken me (at least temporarily) is peri-menopause.

woo hoo! girl stuff! First, a little history; then, The Crux of Teh Issue.

I've had a very mixed relationship with my uterus since I was 11, when I first got my period.

Well, at least since I was 12, when I started getting cramps. I was pretty damned excited to get my period. Because, y'know... 11! First among my peers! Also, my family had a nice Chinese dinner to celebrate. So that was cool.

And then the pain began. And that sucked. Fortunately, I had a wonderful gynecologist who believed me from the very beginning (from what I understand, not every girl or woman is that fortunate). He tried all kinds of different medications, with varying levels of success. I’m allergic to the one that worked best (Indocin), which was a bummer, but my doctor believed me and worked with me to try to find something that would help. I spent around 20% of junior high either not feeling very well or really spaced out on Codeine (my perpetual backup, which is likely why recreational drugs have never appealed – who the hell wants to feel that way on purpose?).

Eventually (well before I was sexually active), I went on the pill. And life was good. I trained karate and won lots of trophies, when I’d never been able to – or, to be fair, inclined to – participate in a sport with much regularity because of the cramps.

And then I went to Florida and gained weight and moved back home and went on Redux, which damaged my heart. To forestall taking blood pressure medications, I went off the pill. And the cramps returned.

Which sucked, of course. But I was a fair bit older and found that while Ibuprofen (then prescription only) didn’t get rid of the pain, it could take the edge off, which I combined with sorta biofeedback/sorta self-hypnosis (and heating pads and hot baths) to make it bearable.

Fast forward 10 years or so, the pain became really bad, I got more extensive tests. Lo and behold, endometriosis! So I had some surgery and that helped for a few years. Then I had Teddy, and within 2 years I’d start peri-menopause.

At first, it meant irregular periods. As in, I haven’t had a period in the summer for about 10 years. Weird. I had 2 hot flashes in that time, both apparently triggered by stress. No biggie.

Last year, things got Really Weird. Turned out I had a large fibroid (filled the whole uterine cavity). Got rid of that, no periods for 2 months. Then we went to London and I got slammed. I spent our first 2 days in London doing laundry and trying to track down a heating pad. So that was fun. But it passed.

Came home, big flood, lived in a hotel, yadda yadda.

So we come to now, when the longest time I’ve had without my period since Thanksgiving is 5-6 days (just back aches, rather than full-blown cramps, thank goodness). It’s light, it’s outrageously heavy, it goes away, it comes back. Ugh. About a month ago, when the flow got really bad, my gynecologist put me on something to slow the bleeding.

It worked! w00t! The medication also made me a bit dizzy, but hey! I can function! I like functioning!

Until my prescription ended, then it Started All Over. This time, with cramps. Hellacious cramps. Break-out-the-codeine-and-whimper-in-bed-in-the-fetal-position cramps. Also can’t-take-a-hot-bath-because-it-makes-the-bleeding-worse cramps. And I started having crazy problems controlling my temperature. Teeth-chattering cold, particularly at night (this has never happened to me in the history of ever, except in subzero temperatures), followed by multiple awakenings in the night, drenched in sweat (puddles, hair-dripping, change-pajamas-and-sheets-and-try-to-sleep-on-the-sofa-wet). Oh, and I got period zits. Yippee.

This time, my GYN wanted to see me. So I went.

As upsetting as it was (I’ll get to that), it was SUCH a relief to hear that what I was experiencing was not normal.

Waaay TMICollapse )

Anyway! My doctor and I had talked about my getting a Mirena a couple of years back, but my insurance at the time didn’t cover it and we both thought I’d be all the way to menopause (when this crap stops altogether) very soon, so it didn’t seem worth it. I'm already past the average age for menopause, after all.

Now? I don’t care who pays for it, I just want to end the madness. So I have to get a few more tests (thyroid, blood counts, another hysterosonogram to make sure there are no more fibroids), and then the Mirena.

If I can have one. Which we don’t know yet.

And if I can’t?


Which is where I kinda sorta broke. I’ve actively wanted a hysterectomy at least half my life. I was uncertain about having children.  And pain and pain and pain and blood and inconvenience.

Basically, I’ve known there was Something Very Wrong since I was 12. And I wanted it fixed – drastically, if need be – most of that time. So I’ve fantasized about getting a hysterectomy for 80% of my life. I can't say they've necessarily all been positive fantasies; after all, I was an angst-ridden, overly-dramatic adolescent who indulged in periodic (HA!) morbid fantasies, too. But still, it’s been an active possibility for me forever.

And now that it could be real, I suddenly don’t want it at all.

I’m not having another kid – that ship has long since sailed.

I’m having quite bad symptoms that seriously hamper my enjoyment of life.

And I’m really, really scared that I’ll have to have one.

It’s not the surgery that scares me, particularly, though I’ve never had major surgery like it. It’s the loss of my fucking uterus. My uterus! The organ that’s done exactly ONE GOOD THING for me in my entire life – granted, the best thing ever, but JUST ONE THING.

And I can’t call my Mum and talk to her about. My Dad finds conversations about menstruation highly inappropriate and, much as I love him, he couldn’t possible understand.

And Mum is dead.

edited to fix typo

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: scaredscared

October 26th, 2016

07:27 am: ex post facto flood update
I didn't realize this entry has been sitting in my email (I think because I posted it on my work blog and always intended to put it here as well? maybe?) for erm... 6 1/2 months. Oops.

<first world problems>
It's Week 5 of living in Dante's first circle a hotel, week 7 of not living at home.
I miiiiiisssss hooooooome.
Demolition is almost complete in our personal flood zone, AKA first floor (why is there a pipe to nowhere in our kitchen wall?). The old furnace is out. Progress!
The new furnace is not yet in. There is no water. All the electrical work needs to be replaced (something about not being able to test BX). Also no kitchen or dining room, and a plastic- and dust-covered living room. Did I mention no water? So no drinking, bathing, washing up, or flushing of toilets. Thus, Dante's first circle the hotel.
The first set of kitchen plans was horrific; the half-wall into the dining room was more like a drive-through window. The second set was... actually quite close to what we want. Progress! The inventory was very painful, but is theoretically complete. More progress!
The reconstruction folks have not yet sourced (and consequently priced) the custom wooden archways. We do not yet have our assessment.
Stupid complaints that I'm well aware are trivial but am making them anyway*:

  • Balancing bringing All Teh Things to the hotel and doing without All Teh Things

  • Realizing that no matter what Thing I may need, it will be Teh Thing I decided to leave at home

  • Dealing with a very limited wardrobe (how can I tell, you ask? I can't find the black trousers I feel like wearing right now -- only the other ones! the wrong ones!)

  • Setting off the smoke detector when I cook in "our" kitchen - when there is no smoke. No. Smoke.

  • Getting a rash from the hotel lotion

  • Trying to take a relaxing bath in a tub that's 12" deep (f'rreelz) and doesn't have a sloped end, so I end up all crooked and not warm and most decidedly not relaxed

  • Packing 3 introverts into 680 square feet of living space

  • Dealing with adjusters, contractors, agents, and workmen with the unmitigated gall to have other customers and not answer my emails and calls (and questions) immediately

  • Eating the same free breakfast every day

  • Living on takeout, pasta, and cereal

Less stupid complaints:

  • Trying to help my wonderful son deal with the trauma - seeing him suffer and not being able to take away the source of that suffering is horrible

  • Replacing everything in my husband's wallet (definitely lost, probably stolen from the hotel)

  • Living with the uncertainty of when we'll be able to go home and what it'll be when we get there

  • Doing that incredibly painful inventory - how do I value my son's baby book, with all his milestones? the first-edition book my Grammy (dead 30 years) got for perfect attendance in Sunday School in around 1912? the newspaper I'd saved from the day my son was born? all the poetry I bought when I was at Oxford? my high school and college yearbooks, with signatures from friends who've died? the CDs and DVDs that may be fine (I haven't seen them), but whose packaging is completely destroyed? the furniture I inherited from the aunt for whom I'm named?

Somewhere between stupid and less stupid is not being able to relax, completely let down my guard, and have my own little breakdown.
Marching on. And complaining. But you knew that.
</first world problems>

So it's now been more than 8 months since our home has been, y'know, home, but we're very near the end. We have an actual punch list! A punch list the construction company was allegedly addressing today! ONLY THEY'RE NOT. They'll theoretically come tomorrow or Friday.

We'll see.
* See Viktor Frankl: "Suffering is like a gas: it expands to fit the available space."

Current Location: home. ish.
Current Mood: okayokay
Tags: ,

January 3rd, 2016

07:53 pm: 2015 Reading Challenge Wrap-up
For someone who averages a book a day, I did not do well with this reading challenge (though significantly better counting audio books and re-reading, and pretty near complete if I allow one book to cover multiple categories). I've had a higher-than-usual need for escapist reading for a number of reasons, and have tended to go for the Good Stuff on audio because I don't fall asleep or switch to something trashy. So here's where I stand on the challenge.

Greater than 500 pages I’d planned on reading Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, but found The Goldfinch so unappealing (on audio book, though I suspect I’d have done no better reading it) that I couldn’t bear trying History. I’ll read it someday ‘cause I bought it and it is supposed to be good. :shrug:

I did re-read the Harry Potter books, several of which make the 500+ cut, as well as Gabaldon’s Outlander, so I think I’m covered. Sorta. I wasn’t going to count re-reading. :sigh:  I listened to Great Expectations too, so that’s another possibility.

Classic romance Listened to a bunch of Austen. Generally enjoyed them. Pride & Prejudice is still my favorite. The dramatization of Mansfield Park was the only one new to me this year.
Became a movie I’d planned on Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but didn’t get around to it. The Harry Potter books could count, as could Outlander, Pride & Prejudice, Robinson Crusoe, and the Oscar Wilde collection.
Published this year Lots in this category; the newest Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, and Jacqueline Winspear among them. All were good, though Grafton can be predictable, Connelly violent, and Winspear placid. If your taste runs in any of those directions, you’d be fine.
Number in the title I’d planned to read Bradbury’s Farenheit 451, which I’ve never read. Didn’t get around to it. I did read Janet Evanovich’s latest, which was OK if not great. Very… Evanovich: mildly amusing and quite formulaic.
Written by someone younger than 30 Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries was on my list. Didn’t read it. Have since read that it's very long, for which I have little appetite these days anyway. Roth’s Divergent books would count here, as would Allie Brosh’s hilarious Hyperbole and a Half.

F’rreelz? Read Brosh if you haven't. Her website is hilarious.
Nonhuman characters I wrote about David Weber’s Treecat Wars a few months back.
Funny Oscar Wilde, Mary Roach, Allie Brosh, and Austen all fit the bill. I still want to read Lebowitz though, as I’d planned. I used to love watching her on Letterman, but have never read her books. Shame, shame, shame.
Female author I was aiming for Lorrie Moore’s Birds of America: Stories. I missed. Read lots of female authors though (Austen, Brosh, Evanovich, Gabaldon, Roach, Winspear, et al.). No stretch getting this one. Just wanted to read someone new. Dagnabbit.
Mystery or thriller I wrote about Jonathan Kellerman’s Motive. Lots of others fit the bill as well (Connelly, Winspear, John Sanford, et al.)
One-word title Motive, again. Also Outlander, Quiet (unless you count the subtitle), each of the Divergent books, Stiff, Gulp, Awakenings
Short stories I read a ton of short stories, some excellent, but none by Flannery O’Conner as I intended. Instead, I mostly read fanfic (primarily Sherlock, Harry Potter, and Firefly).

Yep, fanfic. The candiest of brain candy there is. I’m not terribly proud, but I’m not as ashamed as I could be either. Sometimes y’just need brain candy.
Set in a different country I wrote about Pullman’s Lyra's Oxford, Winspear, Kafka, and others earlier. I would have to actively try to avoid settings outside the U.S.  Which I don’t.
Nonfiction I listened to a lot of nonfiction this year, and learned a great deal. Hitchens’ Letters to a Young Contrarian (Art of Mentoring) was my official pick in this category, but Cain, Munroe, Roach, Sacks, and others would do equally well. For that matter, various memoirs would suit.
Popular author's first book It’ll have to be Rowling again. Or Gabaldon. I didn’t get to Kundera’s The Joke as planned.
Haven't read by an author I love Sanford's Gathering Prey is one of many mysteries this year that qualify. Good stuff.
Pulitzer Prize winner I still haven’t read Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I tried The Goldfinch. Failed.  I tried McCarthy’s The Road. Failed.

I did read Anne Sexton’s Live or Die, so that counts, though I meant to go for a novel rather than poetry.
Based on a true story I’m well covered by memoirs here, having listened to Felicia Day, Cary Elwes, & Ellen Degeneres.  All pleasant, all funny. Day’s was by far and away the best and most enlightening.
Bottom of to-read list I wrote about Kafka before. I'm pretty sure I posted it here.
My mother loved Reading was a big part of my relationship with my Mum. We shared books constantly. She would have loved the John Sanford, for instance. She had a particular affinity for Anne Sexton’s poetry, so that’s my pick in this category.
Scares me Kafka again.
More than 100 years old Aaaand Kafka!  Or Austen or Defoe or Dickens or Wilde. I’d planned on Aeschylus’ Oresteia, but never got past the first 20 pages. Someday.
Based entirely on its cover I bought O'Malley’s Seconds based on the cover, which was kind of a scary experience. I never buy books based on the cover. And I didn’t get around to reading it. It’s a graphic novel, too. Would’ve hit 2 categories with that one. Dang.
Supposed to read in school, but didn't This prompt really doesn’t work for me, as I always read everything that was assigned. Not so much because I was a compliant student as because I was always looking for things to read anyway. I never was assigned Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, but really think I should’ve been, so that was my pick.

Only I didn’t read it. By the same reasoning, I did read or listen to other books that weren’t assigned but should have been: Great Expectations. Pride & Prejudice. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Robinson Crusoe.
Memoir I’d planned to finally read Kerouac’s On the Road. Didn’t. But celebrity memoirs count, right? Done!
Can finish in a day I easily got through Faye Kellerman’s Murder 101 in a day (ooh! And a number in the title, too!). Pretty good.
Antonyms in the title Strayed’s Wild (lost and found is in the subtitle) was on my list. Didn’t even watch the movie. So DeGeneres’ Seriously… I’m Kidding will have to suffice. Or Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, which is hilarious (as one expects from the Bloggess).

Set someplace I always wanted to visit

Pamela Beason’s Undercurrents is still on my list. The Galapagos are very high on my list of places I want to visit. But for this year, it’ll have to be Alaska (Dana Stabenow) or Gibraltar (Winspear).
Came out the year I was born I’ve read some before, planned to read something new. Or even re-read something I'd already read. Failed.
Got bad reviews I could count any number of romance novels in this category. For whatever reason, reviewers seem to feel compelled to trash romances in a way they don’t for, say, mysteries or sci-fi. Coulter, Deveraux, Gabaldon, and McNaught have all been panned by one reviewer or another.

I don’t recall having read anything that got consistently bad reviews from appropriate reviewers, however. Nor would I seek any out. Life’s too short for crappy books.

Trilogy Roth’s Divergent series will have to do. I re-read Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, but I started that last year.
From childhood Catherine Blanton’s Hold Fast to Your Dreams was one of my favorites as a kid. I dug it out of one of the boxes in Teddy's closet (you know I had to keep my old favorites for him, right?) and re-read it recently. Still a good story with an early, domestic civil rights theme. And dance!
Love triangle A whole lot of fanfic. Whether it’s Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and Mary Morstan; Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, and Ron Weasley (no really… sadly, I can’t recommend any I’ve read); or Cap’n Mal, Jayne, and Inara, fanfic is replete with love triangles.

Les Misérables would have been better, certainly, but some of the fanfic stories were quite good.

Set in the future Wrote about Weber’s Treecat Wars already.
Set in high school Hold Fast to Your Dreams, I suppose. Or Harry Potter. Or Divergent. Or fanfic.
Color in the title Connelly’s The Black Box, from the Harry Bosch series. Pretty good stuff.
Made me cry I thought I’d blogged about Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, but it turns out I really only wrote that I’d bought it. Terrific book. Hard to listen to (thank goodness I heard it before Mum died, though Stiff was an intermittently fascinating and upsetting post-mortem listen). Important to listen to though. Really important.
With magic Harry Potter. Duh. Both the original and the fanfic. The Sherlock/Harry Potter mashups are generally either really, really awful or pretty terrific.
Graphic novel I meant to read Persepolis (plus Seconds). Didn’t. I did read a couple of Firefly graphic novels, but I don’t remember titles or anything, so I don’t think I can count those.
Author I've not read Plenty of these. Hesse and Hitchens spring to mind, though I’m confident there were many others.
Own but haven't read Hadn’t read all of the Wilde or that particular Sexton collection.
Takes place in my hometown I’ve read tons of books that are based in Boston (and definitely re-read several of Robert Parker’s Spenser series this year), but I’m not sure that counts. I bought William Landay’s Defending Jacob, which takes place in Newton (where I grew up), but haven’t read it. I haven’t found anything that takes place in Longmeadow.
Originally written in another language I’m still working on Hrabal’s Rambling On (true to its title, it does ramble – and involves very few paragraph breaks, so it’s tiring to read). So it’ll have to be Kafka. Again.
Set during Christmas Wrote about Gene Doucette’s Yuletide Immortal.
Written by author with my initials Wrote about Karen Hesse’s Out of the Dust.
Play I listened to Oscar Wilde, of course, but am not sure listening should count in this instance. Reading a play is so very different from watching or listening to one. I still plan to read Wit. And I’ll be re-reading As You Like It with Teddy before we see it at the National.
Banned book Wrote about Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia.
Based on/turned into TV show At last!  A book challenge justification for reading Sherlock fanfic. I also read some A.C. Doyle, so I’m covered for this one.
Started but never finished I did finally finish How to Think Like Sherlock, which was a very thoughtful gift from Teddy that I just couldn’t get into. Too many quizzy things (brain benders, I guess). But, y’know, gift.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: tiredtired
Tags: ,

October 30th, 2015

07:45 pm: Useful Words

I sometimes use words and phrases that seem to be... less popular. Given that they were all new to me when I learned them (duh), I figured they might be new to other people too. So here's a list of geek, literary, science, military, and other terms. My assumption is that all are in common usage, but each of these has garnered a "huh?" look or text. [For my LJ readers - the few that remain - this is probably old hat; I really intend this as a work blog]

It's basically a brief peek into the random effluvia (see below) that sloshes around in my brain. I make life harder on my friends by using many of them metaphorically.

Abend - ABnormal END. In computing, when code doesn't terminate the way it ought. "I tried knitting a DNA model, but it abended when I attached the nucleotides." *

Aglet - The little metal or plastic gizmo at the end of a shoelace.

Antepenultimate - The third from the last.

BAPFU - Beyond All Previous Foul-Ups. The extreme version of SNAFU.

BARFO - Best and Really Final Offer, from defense contracting. After you've already submitted your BAFO (best and final offer) in response to an RFP, you often submitted a BARFO. I use this for a shortcut meaning "I thought that last one was final, but it wasn't. Surprise!"

Boolean - In computing and logic, something that is either true or false. More loosely, something with exactly two possible values.

Bozon - Quantum unit of stupidity.

Bristol scale - A stool scale (that's right... calibration for poo). It might seem like TMI, but it's incredibly helpful when you're calling your kid's doctor to explain the child's symptoms. Also a good one for metaphoric use.

Cyberchondria - The state in which you believe you have every disease or condition you read about on the internet.

Cyberrhea - When a story (most often false) craps all over the internet.

Crackpot - Slow cooker. Because that's how my husband pronounces"crockpot" and I'm easily amused.

Defenestrate - To throw someone out a window (originally as a political act, now used more broadly). Although the first recorded incident occurred in the 15th century, it wasn't named until the Defenestrations of Prague in 1618.

Deus ex machina - Latin for "god from the machine." Derived from the (lazy) technique in ancient Greek plays**, whereby a god was literally lowered to the stage in a machine at the end of the show to fix everything. If it's used literally these days, it's meant to be ironic.

Effluvia - A nasty smell, excretion, or fluid (literal or metaphoric).

Excusatio rudis - A literary technique in which a character eloquently begs pardon for his or her lack of eloquence. A really good example is in Shakespeare's Othello. Othello says "Rude am I in my speech/and little blessed with the soft phrase of peace..." and goes on to convince everyone how much he really does deserve Desdemona.

Gound - Sleepy seeds or eye sand. This is a recent one for me; I never knew that eye gunk had a real name. Go figure.

Grok - Understanding something intuitively and thoroughly. Coined by Robert Heinlein (sci-fi writer).

Hoo rah - Whatchamacallit, but with fewer syllables. My filler word; emphasis is on the first syllable (HOO rah).

Logorrhea - Running off at the mouth. When someone just. won't. shut. up.

Lorem Ipsum - From Latin for "pain itself." Used in web design for filler text. Lorem ipsum generators provide you with paragraphs or pages of random text to see what a website looks like with content (without having to actually generate any content yourself).

Mansplain - A highly sexist term for a highly sexist act: explaining something in a condescending way because of gender stereotypes ("he mansplained angioplasty, not realizing she was a cardiologist").

Není možné - Czech, literally meaning "it can't be done," but really meaning more like "meh, it is what it is" (previously mentioned here).

Ohnosecond - That fraction of time between acting (like hitting "send" on an inappropriate email) and realizing you shouldn't have done that.

Post-shakedown availability (PSA) - U.S. Navy term for the tumultuous time after a ship is launched and before everything actually works (technically, the time in the shipyard when the stuff that was found to be broken during the shakedown cruise is fixed). Highly applicable in the world of software. However, software isn't generally kept out of action until after PSA.

QED (quod erat demonstrandum) - Latin for "what was to be proved," or "thus it is proved." Used to conclude a formal logical proof (colloquially "neener neener SEE! I WAS RIGHT!").

Root - The lowest directory in a computer's operating system. People with root access have a LOT of power; amongst geeks, "I am root" means "fear me." Groot's catchphrase in "Guardians of the Galaxy" is probably a play on this.

Scutch - The southern end of a metaphorically north-bound horse. Probably derived from a Scottish term for beating or whipping to separate fibers of flax. Since beating or whipping might be the tempting response to a scutch, there's a certain sense to its derivation. (The lovely Ms. CLG taught me this one!)

Shiny - Cool, generally good. From the best TV show ever: Firefly.

Sock puppet - An online identity used to lie to people, most often to promote or defend oneself ("Kate is awesome!" says NotKateNoReallyTotallyObjectiveStranger). Scott Adams (Dilbert) and John Mackey (Whole Foods CEO) both had sock-puppet scandals.

Stroppy - A Britishism that may be (very!) short for obstreperous. Someone who's touchy, belligerent, and often complaining. Used for toddlers and disgruntled friends alike.

/system name/ Arriving - In the Navy, a ship's captain is referred to by the name of his or her ship. When the captain boards, the ship's bells ring and the announcement "/ship name/ arriving" is made. I find it quietly hilarious to do the same thing with computer systems... mostly because the "bong" when someone enters a Lync meeting sounds suspiciously like the "bong" of the not-real-bells-anymore the Navy uses.

WID - When In Doubt. Bluntly, go to the bathroom when you have a chance (even if you're not sure you have to go). Particularly useful on road trips and long conference calls.

Wicked Good English

or things I learned over the years aren't generally known outside of Boston, or at least aren't used the same way.

cellar - basement (a general basement, not just one that stores food)

bubbler - water fountain (one you drink from, not one you wade in - I hope)

frappe - milk, flavor, and ice cream (in Boston, a milkshake does not traditionally include ice cream)

jimmies - chocolate sprinkles (popular on ice cream)

packie - package (liquor) store

perambulate the perimeter - take a walk around a property, supposedly to check fences or whatever, but actually an excuse to have a beverage or a smoke

rotary - roundabout or traffic circle elsewhere

scrod - white fish; it is not a specific breed of fish, though it's most often cod, haddock, or pollack

tonic - carbonated beverage (not just the one with quinine)

* That's a lie. It came out awesome. Doesn't mean my kid actually played with it, however.

** Yes, it's a Latin expression for Greek plot device.

* * * * *

In other news, our house hasn't sold. I will shout it from the rooftops if/when it does. Please don't ask. I'm trying to not obsess about things I can't control.

Also, a dear friend's Mom died. Wake tonight, funeral tomorrow. I'm mostly concerned about her, but also a bit worried about how I'll react. It'll be my first funeral since Mum died.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: OK

June 7th, 2015

03:48 pm: Tapped out
Open house today. Another one next week. Clean, paint, tidy up anything remotely useful, stay out of my house. Why has no one seen what a great house this is? I would pick it up and move it to NH, but that's just not practical.

I spent the afternoon writing thank you notes to people who wrote, attended Mum's memorial, sent things... I'm wrung dry (and I haven't finished yet). I mean that literally: I've been crying all afternoon. I think this is an important step for me (in addition to being, y'know, polite), but it's killing me.

But if Mum's death has taught me nothing else, it has certainly reinforced the lesson on how important friends are.

May 9th, 2015

02:39 pm: Mum died this afternoon
I'm vacillating wildly between numb and wrecked.

Happy fuckin' mothers' day.

April 29th, 2015

07:41 am: :sigh:
"Our" house is under contract.

This is the one we think we want to buy in NH. We all, miracle of miracles, agree.


The one we'd really like to sell?

No bites. Dammit.

In retrospect, it was a mistake to put it on the market at the beginning of the snowiest winter ever. We got lots of lookie-loos, quite a lot of activity, but "covered in snow" is apparently not its best look. I think it tended to make people think "how much will it cost to heat this place with that antique furnace?"

(It's actually quite good, but not fabulous enough to feature in the listing. Our inspector admonished us never to replace the furnace because it's a very sturdy and surprisingly efficient beast. But it does look like a beast.)

And of course none of the swell landscaping the previous owner did was really visible either.

I'm trying to be all zen 'n' shit, but it's not working this morning.

I'm so tired of having to live as if we don't live here, having to keep the place cleaner than can be healthy (snort), having to keep so many of our things packed up, having to keep the realtor's really-not-hideous-but-totally-not-our-taste staging touches.


Also.... whine.

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April 12th, 2015

03:58 pm: 2015 Reading Challenge: Kellerman's Murder 101 (read in one day)

I'd originally planned to use Faye Kellerman's Murder 101 as a book I haven't read by an author I love, but Murder 101 reminded me how much Kellerman has annoyed me in recent books (though I still enjoy them, I no longer find them pure pleasure). Rina Lazarus is some sort of saint/superwoman. I liked her better with flaws.

And this? :eye roll: Takes place in Greenbury, NY, an upstate town so fake it's an hour and a half from Boston and an hour from Providence (by car). There is a Greenburgh, NY, but I don't think anyone would call White Plains upstate. Too, Kellerman repeatedly refers to how much colder and snowier it is in Greenbury than NYC, which I would pin as more like Essex County... or at least Saratoga.

Decker is a police officer. I don't think he'd be driving more than 100 mph (especially not without lights and siren). Um... nope. And triangulating Providence, Boston, and upstate NY, I don't come up with shorter to Providence (although Google tells me it would be 3 minutes shorter from Saratoga).

And part of the story takes place near Tufts. In Summer Village.

WTH? Real university, fake town? Why?

I don't know what percentage of Kellerman's readers are from the Boston area, but surely it's nontrivial... Why no fact checking? Or deliberate fakitude? WHY?


If I could have suspended disbelief better, I'm sure I would've enjoyed the book more. I know it's lots better than the majority of mysteries published. But still. With the annoying bits and the general lack of the next Lazarus-Decker-Whitman generation, I probably won't re-read it any time soon.

* * * * *
Yes, I can read most books in a day (Donna Tartt and Diana Gabaldon notwithstanding). This happens to be one that I did. It's also written by a woman, has a number in the title, and is a mystery. So I'm being pretty random all around.

Current Location: Longmeadow
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