Pish Tosh

Monday, January 31

Quick One for Monday Morning

Okay. Note to Midwestern Drivers:

The POINT of snow plows and of salting the roads GENEROUSLY is to make those roads NOT SLIPPERY. This means that when you are driving on those roads the morning after they've been salted and plowed, you don't have to drive 20 miles per hour, as if the roads are slippery. BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT. Even if there's still snow on the ground by the side of the road.

See how this works?

Also, Midwestern State Government? Please do what they did in New York and make it illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving 85 on the interstate. Or driving along city streets with an intricate pattern of traffic signals.

Thank you.

Friday, January 28

Blog Help Needed

Does anyone know a way to block certain domains from accessing your blog?

Thanks in advance...

Thursday, January 27

Here's What I Learned Today

Okay. High schoolers. Are NOT LIKE COLLEGE STUDENTS.

I took away a girl's hackey-sack.

And I can't count the number of times in the three hours I found myself saying, "All the people in this room not named Blurt? Should not be talking."

Also, when it's dry erase involved, I can get it under my fingernails and on my neck -- causing me in both places to look like a construction worker -- in seconds FLAT.

Also, my cat knows how to open the kitchen cabinets.

Monday, January 24


Lexapro Dose: 5 mg

Coffee: 2 cups

Projected Commuting Miles 1/24 - 1/31: 800

Book on Tape: Cloud Atlas

Conference Proposals Due 1/24 - 1/31: 2

Conference Proposal Begun : 0

Writing Contest Entries Due 1/24 - 1/31: 1

Writing Contest Entries Begun: 0

SATs to take 1/24 - 1/31: 1

Least Favorite Book from High School English: A Separate Peace.

Need to Get: A backless, low-cut bra.

Applicable Question: How does it stay up?

Annoyance: Mother: "Isn't she back yet? Have her call me immediately when she gets in so I know she's okay."

Because: I already told her when I would get home and that I would not have time to call. Because I am an excellent driver. Because I work on my anxiety issues but she calls hers "I am such a good mother because I worry about my kids all the time." Because the unintended implication, to me, is that SHE BELIEVES I AM INCOMPETENT AND WILL ACCIDENTALLY KILL MYSELF DRIVING OR RIDING IN A PLANE OR LIVING IN AN AREA WHERE WEATHER OCCURS.

Slightly Annoying Grammar Occurence: The Chicago Manual of Style has, apparently, decided to (annoyingly) okay the split infinitive.

Desired Careers of the Day: Professional Poker Player. Writer.

When you updated your blogroll just now, did you notice how many titles sounded like they could be about food but really they were about writing or about something non-food related, making an amusing confusion since you also link to sites actually about food?: Yes. I did notice.

Anything Else You'd Like to Get Off Your Chest?: Yes. I am dying to read Jenna Jameson's book.

Saturday, January 22


So, I'm back in the Other State, doing more training to teach people how to take the SAT. This weekend is verbal, which I'm good at... though, of course, teaching something you're really good at to people who aren't can be oddly difficult.

So one of the reasons I started up my blog again, or one of the prompters, at least, is that I am tapering off my meds. The reasons for this are legion, though the most compelling reason can be framed (in honor of SAT math) as an equation:

Tapering off meds = Didn't get teaching/Lost Health Insurance

Actually I'm not sure it made much sense as an equation, but bear with me, it's snowing again and I don't have a lot of time here.

So for various reasons, I have decided in consultation with a (new, temporary) therapist to taper off my meds, namely 10 mg of Lexapro, an SSRI anti-depressant, prescribed in my case for anxiety.

One of the suggestions for tapering that I read was "Keep a journal! Or a blog!" The idea being that you use this to monitor the changes in your well-being. The idea that they would recommend a blog seems humorous. (Hi, Julie!)

But anyway. Also not a bad idea.

So, the doctor said I should have "no trouble" and that I can just split my little pills in half, go with 5 mg for a month, then let it go entirely.

Web research suggested MORE possibilities for wonky feelings, including something called "zaps" or "brain shivers," and so I've decided to go with a SLOWER taper. Since Monday, then, I've been doing a half a pill, plus a half of a half of a pill, or roughly 7.5 mg. I plan, next Monday, to take it down to 5 mg.

Only I'm actually feeling quite a bit of a headache. Headaches have always been my main symptom in going on/going off Lexapro. I don't know if this one is caused by Lexapro or not, but thought I'd note it.

In hopes that noting it will keep it at bay.

Doctor also didn't recommend THIS, but to help with the detox I'm also taking vitamins (B vitamins rock) and barley grass. I read somewhere online that barley grass and cherry (vitamin C) help with this kind of detox.

I trust doctors less these days. Not that I don't trust them, medically, but since I've been into the whole organic foods/yoga thing, I've come to realize just how much nutrition and relaxation effect health and well-being, and no doctor has ever helped much with the nutrition. When I ran the supplement-thing past the dr. at the BMU student health center, he poo pooed it, just like he poo pooed the symptoms other Lexapro users described, esp. the "brain shivers."

Anyway. We'll see how it goes. Blog will sometimes be a real-time play-by-play of What Happens to Your Head when you Go Off Your Meds.

Wednesday, January 19

E-Bay Nailbiter

Heads Up with Venemous Beavers

So yes, most of you who know me know, we've set a date. Most of you who know me know either because I told you on purpose or because you read my blog and I didn't know it when I told someone else who was then perfectly capable of then filling in gaps in your knowledge, meaning I told you in a roundabout sort of way, or else you know because I told you myself only ACCIDENTALLY. In which case you are my brother (whose name is not really) Tony, and we'd been talking for an hour and a half about relationships and I began to sound one of my favorite themes, which is how I learned guilt from mother... which culminated in me saying just a little too much about how I refuse to feel guilty about my non-mom-pleasing wedding plans.


I won't tell you when, though, for now.

So one of my NECESSARY JOBS for the past few days has been online retail research, otherwise known as SHOPPING. Getting married's great: suddenly, all kinds of luxuries like facials, pedicures (not that I've ever actually had one, but theoretically, I could), and buying things count as NECESSITIES. When I am procuring these things, especially at a conservative price, I am being PRODUCTIVE.

Or so goes my theory. Anyway, today the past several days of e-tail window shopping finally paid off.

First, I bought this:


Obviously, I got it on E-bay.

Which meant that, since I hadn't paid retail, and since there may be more than one occasion actually to wear a dress in the course of this whole course of events, I also placed a bid on this:


(I know you can't see it very well, but trust me, it's pretty. And different from the other one.)

Now, if you shop Ebay, you know you have to watch the end of auctions for things you REALLY WANT, because people will swoop in at the last moment and scoop the highest-bidder status away from you while you're watching, for example, last Sunday's episode of Carnivale on someone else's Tivo.

But I did not let this happen to me! First of all, I set my maximum bid a little high, certainly higher than the current price. When we left the house, I was sitting pretty with the high bid at $64, a stunningly agreeable price for a silk chiffon dress.

In spite of this, when we got back from Carnivale I went immediately to the computer to check on things, which were just as I'd left them with 25 minutes to go.

Then began the wait. Of course, I was alternating between finding other things to bid on, or at least gawk at, and refreshing the page that continued to show me as the highest bidder.

And so the final five minutes seemed set to elapse.

But since the auction's OVER, and we have the benefit of being able to check out the bid history, let's take a peak at what was going on behind the scenes. Seven days ago, a dress was listed -- re-listed, actually, as it had been listed once before but with a minimum bid of $199. I waited it out, and when the dress was re-listed, it was given no minimum bid and no reserve.

Some character called zoams started things out at $5. I didn't bid then, because I don't like to bid till late in the final day. Why tip your hand? Soon MissBunny took up the torch, and carried up to a still-miniscule $15.

Well, that seven days ago, a dame called Mrsmeeka had planted a seed, the seed of a maximum bid surging thoughtfully up into the sixties. Her maximum wasn't getting much play, though, until yesterday when NinaTwiggy tried to buy into the action, only the be promptly bitchslapped by Mrsmeeka who took it up to the sixties where it stayed for days until I sallied in, this very evening, to place my coy bet.

Like I said, I set the maximum kinda high. But like Mrsmeeka's before me, my maximum was just virtual...

until, with three minutes to go Mrsmeeka checked in and tried to re-raise. JUST THREE MINUTES TO GO, FOLKS. Fortunately my maximum still beat her out, so away she went. No BCBG bone silk chiffon dress for you, Mrsmeeka. I hope it's a comfort to you that I need it for my wedding.

BUT WAIT. Mrsmeeka would not, in fact, be the prime contender, because ALSO with just three minutes on the clock arrived in the ring a new contender, a tall drink of water name of Venemous Beavers.


So with Mrsmeeka checking out at 19:11:39, it was B. and Venemous Beavers heads up, winner takes all. And no dame named Venemous anything, ESPECIALLY Beavers,* was gonna get one over on me. Venemous Beavers? In my wedding dress? I don't think so. Oh, the bitch had drive: her bids came in 19:14:08, 19:14:16, 19:14:25, 19:14:34, and 19:14:42.

I saw her (or, well, I didn't know at the time who it was) barelling down on me, raising and re-raising like she was holding the nuts.

But she wasn't. With my bold initial maximum bid, I had bought myself just enough seconds to see which way the bids were blowing, and get back in there and re-raise my maximum before she could better it.

And I did, folks. Sneaking in just under the wire: my final bid, 19:14:21, bested all three of her later bids. And I did it with great aplomb, and just milliseconds to spare.

Yes. I am that good.

*I have to admit, I might have taken a fall for Venemous Snoopies.

Monday, January 17

Our mouse problem.

We have a mouse problem.

For weeks now, the cat has been staking out the corner in the kitchen just outside the cabinets. We have a rug here, by the sink you see, and the cat sits on the rug in semi-alert crouch pose, face pointing at the closed cabinet door, behind which sit our pots and pans. For hours. Waiting.

We've found tell-tale mouse droppings (note: these are small and if CV wasn't around to tell me otherwise I would just pretend they were some dirt, possibly from where a bit of the cabinet flaked off, no big) in the corner of that cabinet, the one in which we keep our pans which is the one that extends back toward the outside wall and so is always kind of cold. We've likewise found droppings in the drawer, higher up, in which we keep the aluminum foil, parchment paper, and red "Glad wrap" (I don't think this stuff really works: I can never get it actually to stick to anything). Sometimes we can hear the little scratching, like someone in our baseboards, playing Tiddlywinks with toothpicks.

I know you think that I mean the problem is the presence in our cabinets of mice, but in fact this is not the problem. The problem is, instead, that it is winter.

Because CV and I are not actually going to kill the mice. Good lord. That would be so... unnecessary. And bloody. We're both vegetarians, for ethical reasons as well as general preference. And the mice are, well, cute. And CV's ardent anti-speciesist sentiments (yes, a speciesist is like a racist) are borne out in articles like this one, which tells about experiments in which researchers proved that rats can tell the difference between Dutch and Japanese. Rats are not as cute as mice, but ours is fortunately a mouse problem. And mice are these clever little creatures, pocket-size versions of my darling pets. (It could also be that I read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh and Stuart Little and Abel's Island and The Mouse and the Motorcycle at an impressionable age. It's never till now occurred to me, in fact, how very many books there are that star mice, nor the disjunction between childish empathy for these mouse-size heros, and the adult world in which you are required to get rid of your mice.)

So the problem is what to do with them. We actually have a humane trap, in which CV once (claims he) caught a mouse. This trap is like a little crate for a mouse: the mouse comes in to nibble the peanut butter, then the door clangs shut and he's stuck in there. It's humane, though, because then you take the little crate and carry the little guy outside somewhere, like a nice garden or something, and let him go, someplace where the landscape is more exciting than are your kitchen cabinets.

But last time we set the trap out, a couple of weeks ago, a mouse set it off but didn't get caught.

So we have just been sort of ignoring the mice, since we'd never actually seen them: UNTIL TODAY. CV was at the store; the cat and I were hanging out on the bed. Suddenly we heard that ting-ting-tinging sound our pans make when something's boiling in them vigorously.

The cat and I looked at each other.

You didn't leave the stove on accidentally, did you? he asked me with his 3-D eyes.

"I most certainly did not," I replied. So we came into the kitchen to check it out. I opened the cabinet door, and there was the cute little mouse, skittering across the lid for the dutch oven.

"Go get it, kitty!" I said. The cat seemed entirely taken aback; sure he'd been staking out the cabinet, but he didn't think it was a mouse in there. But he got in gamely and poked around, before crawling back out.

It's weird about that. I'm on the mouse's side. But I have this motherly instinct to GIVE THE CAT A CHANCE TO FULFILL HIS DESTINY, to earn his nuts. (Impossible, of course, as they are gone.)

Anyway CV and I were talking about it later.

"Should we get out the humane trap?" I asked.

CV looked appealing at me, like the dog when she really wants some of my pizza.

"It's so cold outside," he said. "I'd hate to have to put anything out in weather like this."

And that, friends, is where we've left it.

Saturday, January 15

Reinstating Blog

After an extended and unintended hiatus, I'm back!

I've wanted to blog while I've been "gone," but for various reasons haven't.

It reminds me a lot of when I was a small child and I took on the task of journalling. And I found it EXTREMELY ARDUOUS. This is because every time I started an entry, I felt like I had to catch the journal up on everything that had happened since last time I wrote. Seriously, I wrote entries that began "In July was my birthday. I got a bike. I also got a pink basket to go on the front." Then by the time I got up to the present I was SO TIRED I couldn't write another entry for three weeks, at which point I had too much to write AGAIN.

So briefly.

CV got better and got out of the hospital while his parents were visiting. I had spent the eleven days visiting with my brother, my parents, and, later, CV's parents. My friends were wonderful: inviting me over, feeding me curry, bringing homemade cherry-and-chocolate-and-walnut cookies and just dropping them off.

CV came home while his parents were here, and we had Christmas, opening all our presents. Cat and dog both shredded wrapping paper, to everyone's satisfaction.

That very day, not two hours after he left the hospital, the billing office called. The insurance covered everything* but $300. Would we like to pay that $300?

The hospital cost $1550/day, and the insurance only paid for $550/day, but apparently that was in this case enough.

Then we still didn't have jobs. But then Friday before school started, CV got a phone call, would you like another course to teach? He certainly would.

For my part, I answered a sort of generic ad for teachers for an SAT course offered by the "irreverent" test prep company. After believing I had written myself out of it because of an online practice test which I accidentally submitted WITHOUT FILLING IN ANY MATH PROBLEMS... I got an e-mail inviting me to do a teaching audition. The information suggested that I should expect another 8 prospective teachers, and I should work to get them involved.

This was Monday.

Wednesday I got the confirmation e-mail, oh yes, by the way, the presentation should NOT cover an academic subject. Uhm? Okay, fine, I'll think of a new one.

I showed up that evening prepared to get the crowd going with my presentation on How to Plan a Wedding in Three Days.*** I found.... one other person. A grad student colleague, even, someone who I've had a class with.

Turns out she was interviewing me. And that she was the only person who'd be in the room. I was to pretend she was several people.

I was totally thrown and did relatively poorly. And in spite of believing it didn't matter too much, I fretted the whole night.

The next day, Thursday, I got the e-mail inviting me to the next stage, training.

Which began yesterday, Friday.

In another state.

So I'm writing this from my hotel suite in this other state. I drove here yesterday, then did four hours of MATH. Then I got up this morning, skipped the absolutely abominable coffee, went in for another nine hours of math.

Tomorrow nine more.

And in fact I have some prep to do for tomorrow. However, unlike some of the other trainees, I have LOTS of practice in front of a class and I know how to work a room. Also, I have the teaching personality they call for, which is funny and feeling free to share eccentric personal tidbits.

If I can just master the whole writing on the board (legibly), especially while doing MATH, I think I'll be just fine.

Okay, before I sign off, a jewelry update. (Okay first a tangent: Tony Danza? Has a TALK SHOW?) I got my ears pierced Wednesday. In the teeny bopper place in the mall. I am totally the oldest person to ever get my ears pierced there. And yes, I just mean the lobes: mine weren't pierced. But what with the temporary rings we picked out for our skinny fat-knuckled fingers last week, I'm going through a real jewelry phase.

Incidentally, thanks everybody for reading and commenting. Comments make my day.

*Of course, this doesn't include the daily consultations with the psychiatrist, or the subsequent just-in-case cat scan, and various sundries. However, we are still extremely relieved, as the full hospital bill was more than my car cost new.

***Seriously. I know how.