Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post-Christmas Days

Or should that be daze?

It seems slightly unreal now that Christmas is already come and gone. In the back of my mind, I'm still stuck in college and high school, where you had at least 3 weeks off for "winter break" before you had to get back to the grindstone. I, personally, think it's unfair to condition children to expect a full month off from toil, because there is only disappointment to follow. Man, I wish there was a sarcasm font...

What did I get for Christmas? you ask.

I will, in my magnanimity, satisfy your burning curiosity.

1. An original pastel, Going Solo (pictured above), of a sheep in a field. Why on earth a sheep? Here is the link to the artist's blog, which helpfully explains all:
Buy her artwork. Julia is amazingly gifted. And she does great sheep portraits for weirdos like me!

2. Funny Face, an amazingly wonderful movie starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. It is one of a handful of musicals that I adore.

3. A coin that belonged to my paternal grandmother, struck in the year 1921, which was her birth year. She collected the silver dollars throughout her life, whenever she found one from 1921, and she had enough of them to give to her grandchildren. She passed away in 2003, and now I have another wonderful gift by which to remember her.

4. A pot of herbes de Provence. My sister got a pot of herbes de provence as big as her head, but seeing as I cook smaller meals than she does and less often, mine was about the size of a 4 month old's fist. I am incredibly happy that I didn't end up with a huge pot of herbs, because I would probably end up putting too much in a dish and making myself smell all herby for the next two days (not that I have any experience with such snafus...)

5. A gift certificate to B&N! I have, of course, already put a sizable dent in said gift certificate. Publishers of fine literature may mail me thank-you cards if they so desire.

Those were the main gifts, along with a few other trifles (and, yes, not-so-trifling trifles).

Tomorrow, it is back to the grindstone, where I will inquire as to whether we are allowed to accrue vacation days, or if we are required to take them all within the year. If accrual is verboten, I will be requesting off Tuesday and Wednesday, and oh! wouldn't that be grand?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting Closer to Christmas!

And you know what that means! Or do you?

It means I get 1/2 of Thursday off from work (I'm out the door at noon) and all of Friday off. It also means that my concentration is completely shot.

At 5:30 this evening, I realized that I wasn't going to get any more work done in the office. Mrs. Robinson left at 5:00 and told me I should just leave, too, as I was going to be the only one left in the office, but I had more work to do. I couldn't possibly leave. I'd been so distracted all day, that I accomplished very little. It's frustrating, but I don't feel particularly challenged on this project.

Challenged = fun project
Not Challenged = surfing the interwebs

I printed off the drawings I'm working on, rolled them around a complete set from an earlier project - for use as precedence - and left.

I went to the grocery store.

I took the groceries home.

I ate dinner at Cafe Express and read The Economist.

Then I went to Starbucks, bought a grande decaf skim milk mocha latte - with whipped cream - and planted my little tushie at a table with a red pen and my drawings.

Those drawings are bloodier than a toro after a bullfight. But now, at least, I have a list of things I can go through on those sheets and cross off methodically. I'm hoping that will help me concentrate tomorrow. I'll poise my yellow highlighter over the pages and systematically go through each label, circled mistake, and required dimension and get them all finished. I'll label the slope of the roof. I'll let the contractor know which wood finish goes where.

I will not look at LOLcats.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Giving Myself a New Nickname

I know you can't technically give yourself a nickname, but I'm giving myself one anyway: Snakebite. Ms. Snakebite Strainedconsciousness. Has a certain ring to it, no? And it's a heck of a lot cooler than Shit Magnet which was the second choice.

Why, you may ask, would I consider giving myself a nickname that sounds like an alcoholic beverage or a biker's nom d'usage? The first one should be painfully obvious to anyone who has encountered me, in person or on the interwebs. The second... well, there's really no reason for me to name myself something hardcore, except somebody once told me I was a John Rambo-type Badass. I should probably watch Rambo one of these days just to see if that person was correct.

The real reason for the nickname Snakebite is because I seem to be perpetually snakebit. For those of you who are ignorant as to Southern idioms, if you're snakebit, you have awful luck.

I went to the doctor, she gave me some medicine for this chronic problem I've been having, and it has actually gotten somewhat better.



At this point, the feel-good cops bust in and break up the party.

You see, on Sunday, I was cleaning out my car in preparation for having it detailed. While scooping various mix-CDs out of the center console and finding loads of pocket change, I also encountered something far more sinister. Something more sinister apart from an exploded tube of hand cream. I found... A PUSH PIN! And I found it with the tip of my thumb, into which the push pin thrust itself a good 1/8 of an inch.

It bled copiously, and I taught the neighborhood kiddies a couple of choice vocabulary words as I jumped backwards into the metal column that supports the covered parking structure. I should probably be baking cookies right now to take to their mothers as apologies, but they'd undoubtedly assume they're laced with drugs and that I intend to teach their children more naughty words while the parents are out cold on the kitchen floor.

I will not repeat Sunday's vocabulary lesson, seeing as it is fit for print only by the likes of Elmore Leonard and Kinky Friedman.

It hurt, but I didn't think anything of it, continued cleaning out the console, got my car detailed, went to the Nutcracker in Ft. Worth, and returned home. As I was falling asleep, I briefly reflected on the fact that my thumb was throbbing in pain. Again, I thought nothing of it.

Monday, however, it was still hurting, and a slightly different color from my other fingers, and the knuckles in my thumb were all feeling stiff. Occasionally, my wrist hurt. I decided it might be a good idea to go to the doctor. Just in case.

The doctor took one look at it, asked me if anything had come out of it, and prescribed me some antibiotics that are roughly the size of the afflicted thumb.

"Call me if it gets worse after three days or you see no improvement after seven," she said.

"You mean call so you can tell me to go to the hospital for IV antibiotics?" I asked. She nodded, smiling. "Yeah, you don't need to use euphemisms with me," I told her.

"I should have known by your medical history," she replied, still smiling, but also puffing her cheeks out in amazement. I have never seen a doctor simultaneously cheek-puff and smile at the same time.

It's not a particularly good look.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm Working on my Post-Doc

At least, attempting to come to terms with my current life, post-doctor-appointment. I went to see the doctor Tuesday, and after a wonderfully painful exam, recounting the events of the previous day, and explaining that I'm in near-constant pain, she said those magic words: "I have no idea what's wrong."


Actually, not so neat. I'm not presenting any outward physical manifestations that lead her to understand what's going on, so as a stop-gap measure, she's prescribed some medication and told me to call back to book another appointment to take place in a couple of weeks.

I understand that, in light of not presenting visible symptoms, she's not sure why I'm in pain. I just wish she'd said something more along the lines of let's schedule some tests to make sure X, Y, and Z are all okay. She didn't say that, however, so I'm still hurting, in spite of the medication. The one hypothesis she did offer was that I'm in a cycle of pain, or in other words, I had a physical reason to be hurting at one point that might have been visible, but it's disappeared. The trauma from that disappeared reason may have affected the tissues around it that are responding by constantly sending pain signals.

Okay, I can buy that.


But I'm not satisfied with it.

On a brighter note, Thursday is the office gift-exchange. Mrs. Robinson introduced us to an interesting concept in gift exchanges: instead of buying gifts for each other, we've all bought gifts for one person - whose name we drew out of the boss' hat - and the gift is something we think that person would have liked as a child.

The toys are going to a charity that provides after-school programs for children that live near Fair Park and that live in poverty. According to the center's director, the children will occasionally wander up around supper time asking if they have any food, because they're hungry and there's no food at home and no parent around to feed them, and in the middle of winter they have no jackets, no sweaters, only short-sleeved T-shirts with holes in them. As a result, I also bought a bunch of clothes that I think Scooter - my giftee - would have liked: jeans, a red shirt with blue stripes, a grey shirt with Marvel superheroes all over it, a sweatshirt, and underwear. I opted not to buy awesome Underoos, but only because there were fewer pairs in a package that cost more than the plain white ones.

I can't wait to see the look on Scooter's face when he pulls out a package of BVDs. Should be priceless.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I've Been Neglectful of My Dear Little Blog

I'm a terrible Blogger, these days. Things have been hectic, what with a couple of weeks of manic socialization, then getting sick last week - but only sort of sick, and mostly on Wednesday when I had a fever + chills, which I slept off and inexplicably was perfectly fine afterwards. It's been crazy! Crazy, I tell you!

I gave my apartment a good scrubbing and organizing, although you wouldn't know it if you looked at it now, what with the cradled MDF board in the middle of the living room and painting paraphernalia littering the faux marble fireplace surround, along with some discarded jackets and cardigans and a pair of cowboy boots in the middle of the main travel path and a run-on sentence in the middle of the computer screen.

I had a wonderful day, Sunday, but then Monday jumped up and smacked me in the head to remind me not to get too happy about life, just yet. Monday did so in a decidedly more vicious manner than it typically takes with delicate lil' ol' me.

In fact, Monday greeted me with a stab of pain when I first moved, which then became nauseatingly painful when I clambered out of bed to get dressed, and ended with the nausea deciding the battle between what I wanted to needed to do and what I could do. I got sick, crawled back into bed, regained strength to get up, dressed, and was 20 minutes late to a meeting at work. I explained my tardiness to my boss after the meeting, he was really worried, and he announced as much to my coworkers, thinking I'd gone home. When I insisted from the other side of my cubicle wall that I would be okay, he was amazed that, in my shaken and pale-with-big-blue-undereye-circle state I was still in my cubicle and was dead set on staying there through the end of the day. He seemed somewhat relieved when I told him that I was going to see my doctor Tuesday. But only somewhat.

So tomorrow I go see my doctor, and it will probably end similarly to the last time this happened, when I ended up having surgery and recuperating for a week or two. Closer to two. I'm hoping I can time this so I can recuperate using a couple of days from the Christmas and New Year's breaks, but we'll see if she can fit me in.

(Thanks to Randall Munroe for being brilliant and for writing xkcd. Original comic can be found at