Monday, December 22, 2008

End Umbrellarage! Umbrella etiquette...

...aka "umbrelliquette," according to this great article by Melissa Kirsch:

The entire country beset by storms, umbrellas -- an at once brilliant (a little roof you carry with you) and unwieldy (given bags and winds and the inevitable presence of other umbrella-carriers) necessity -- explode across the urban landscape. In aerial view, any city in a storm is a riot of color, but on the ground, it's an ugly fight for survival. Enough, already. Herein, some pointers to ensure no one loses an eye, no one buys a super-expensive novelty.

Read the whole article at the HuffPost.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A snowy day

The snow is really coming down today and it's really beautiful. I had hoped for one good snowstorm before Christmas and this is it. The kids and dogs are enjoying it greatly.

Just a few days ago it was so warm that I went to the nearby playground to swing on the swing set. It was so liberating to experience that kind of motion, going up so high, practically flying.

My recovery is proceeding apace. I was told that this 2 weeks would bring "2 steps forward, 1 step back" moments, and that's certainly been true. My head is feeling a bit more organized and I'm starting to think seriously about work again. I want to really go in there in January and wow them again. There are some exciting projects for me to work on.

On the other hand, I will miss my leisure time. Not that I've had much; being surrounded by family seems to mean little time to oneself, and I'm not one who can thrive without time to myself. This is not something I really love about myself. I always thought I'd be a lot more happy if I could learn to live in proximity to people, but evidently that's not who I am.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Photo day 35

My niece and nephew with my dogs.

Photo day 34

My dad runs the "soap closet" at his church. They provide various personal and household cleaning supplies to people in need. We went one day to label dish soap and to repackage laundry soap.

Photo day 33

Calling Shelly, the cloud expert: what kind of clouds are these? They looked like billowing fabric.

Photo day 32

A corner of my dad's dining room.

Monday, December 8, 2008

873 channels and nothing to watch

Sometimes tv is so disappointing. I can't sleep and there's nothing on tv either.

I don't feel like doing anything. I'm still having trouble reading. I don't even want to look at magazines or catalogs. I'm restless. I'll think I want to do something and then do it for about 2 minutes before realizing that's not what I want. There's nothing to eat in the house and part of me feels like going out, just getting in the car and going somewhere. I guess I'm a little stir-crazy. What do you do when you don't know what to do??? That's a serious question.

I do have a puzzle with me so I might try that next. I'll report back, maybe. I thought writing would help but now I'm finished and don't want to write anymore.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A small request

Please follow my inane twittering, if you'd like. Shout out to Melissa: I blame you.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sleep at last

Since I went on and on about the insomnia, I thought I'd mention that last night I had a good night's sleep. Amazing how that sets you up for the day. I still woke up early enough for the sunrise.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Photo day 31

Yesterday was a beautiful day and my dad and I decided to walk to the diner for breakfast. On our way home we passed this little flock of goldfinches.

Photo day 30

A corner of my living room, complete with Pomeranian throw pillow.

Photo day 29

Happy 50th birthday to me!

Extremely thoughtful and generous gifts from my friends.

Photo day 28

The sky, doing interesting things last month. Still having trouble holding the camera steady on those night shots...

Photo day 27

Two shots from Shenandoah Joe's, a terrific coffee place in Cville.

Photo day 26

The Perfect One goes upside-down.

Photo day 25

The Anderson Brothers building, soon to be a CVS, on the UVa Corner.

Photo day 24

aka Photo day omg I'm finally posting photos again. This is the first of a few.

Your friend the bun who lives outside of the old medical school.

The best thing about insomnia

... is watching the sun rise. It's so lovely to see the sky lighten and the pretty colors along the horizon as the sun comes up. In the 70's portion of my youth one of my favorite singers was Melanie (I am a sap) and one of her songs was:
We were meant to see the beginning of the day
I believe it was planned to lift us this way
Take you an apple and take you a song
Watch a baby day be born
Even as a kid, tortured lyrics like "take you an apple" bothered me, but if the tune worked I would forgive.

Right now I feel like an apple though.


Dad gets Rolling Stone because it's free. He calls it "The Rolling Stones, or whatever." I think it's funny that he would subscribe to a magazine just because it's free, but maybe it's a sign of open-mindedness.

I'm up at 2:30, but I actually slept 6 hours tonight. Yes, I went to bed at 7:30 pm. Basically I had a drink and the living room was warm and my niece was going on about how the dogs don't love her even though they do and my sister-in-law was encouraging me to go to bed if I was tired. I was tired. But 6 hours seems like an acceptable amount of sleep to me.

It finally occurred to me yesterday to inquire of the internet whether insomnia is a symptom of surgical menopause. It is.

I have the urge to end every post with "that is all" but I will leave that to John Hodgman.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


My father subscribes to Rolling Stone magazine. Trust me here, this is inexplicable. Although I will ask him to explicate it if the g.d. morning ever gets here. Ok, it's technically here, but it's still dark outside and everyone is sleeping.


I am secretly fascinated by insomnia and thus haven't been too annoyed by my current and only bout of it. It helps that I'm still on medical leave and don't have to get up in the morning. I can also nap during the day. Must readjust schedule in the coming weeks so that I can successfully return to work.

I suspect part of my problem is the interaction of pain and painkillers. The pain isn't bad, but sometimes I can turn funny in bed (just ask anyone -- Kidding!) and wake up from twingey pain. As for painkillers, I'm officially off, but this is the first day. I'm sure they muck with sleep and I think my life, not to mention my memory, will be much more normal without them.

Anyway, I'm up, I'm watching Bob Newhart, I'm reading 622 articles in Google Reader, and I'm downloading Privileged (do I really have to mention that it's a guilty pleasure??). At 4:46 am. I think the insomnia will go away soon, but if it doesn't perhaps I could learn to use this time wisely.

Although I don't think the wise use of time is what insomnia's all about.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A one-sided Bob Newhart phone conversation

Oh, hello Mr Carlin. You sound down in the dumps.
You are down in the dumps? What are you doing down there?
Oh, just browsing?

The Bob Newhart Show has been a big part of my recovery from surgery. He's always there on Hulu, any time day or night (right now it's 5:30 am but I've been up since 4), 72 episodes worth. Just the right combination of humor and absorption. I lurve him.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Having nothing to say...

...naturally makes me want to write something. I keep having all these ideas of things to do, and then I nap instead. This is what we call "recovery." Things are looking up though: I'll be off vicodin after tomorrow, and I've been able to take a couple of good walks with dad. Not with the dogs though, who find it baffling that I could set off outside without them. I miss having them on the walks, too, but it's going to be several more weeks (at least) before I can handle even occasional leash pulling.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Late-night dispatch

Yes, it's 2:30 am. I have never had insomnia before, at least not for any sort of prolonged period. I wake up to take my pain meds and then can't get back to sleep. I am looking forward to being completely recovered from this surgery.

My dad is staying with me right now, and nothing makes you feel feeble like having a 75 year old caretaker, but it's been great having him here and he makes excellent grilled cheese sandwiches (secret: English muffins and cheddar).

I am pretty bored because my mind is not fully functional, so my life right now is a round of tv and naps, with talking and occasional light reading. When I set my mind to something more intellectual, I can't focus. Maybe it's the opioids...

That's all from here.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

World's largest rodent

Your friends, the capybaras (courtesy of Cute Overload).

My mom and I used to go to the zoo and seek out the capybara, whose sign always said, no matter which zoo, "World's largest rodent." And yet they are so cute.

I am slowly returning to the land of the living from the land of the sick, followed by the land of surgery.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Photo day 23

Who's this on top of my computer monitor?

It is my tiny spider visitor. Since s/he was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, I had hoped to get a better shot -- but s/he was a jumper, so I couldn't get as close as I wanted.

Photo day 22

The Perfect one sticks her tongue out at you, but in a peaceful, relaxed sort of way.

Photo day 21

Taken from the link between the old and new hospitals.

Photo day 20

Starlings near the old medical school.

Photo day 19

Back when I felt like going places, which seems a lifetime ago but was only the end of September, I went to an art opening at a new UVa gallery. It was so much fun to see art and drink bad wine. I am going to make a point of going to more exhibits in the new year.

Brief update

Hello there, it's been a while.

I have been stuck at home feeling like crap for what? a month now? and I'm having surgery next week so blogging may continue to suffer.

I'm going to try to post some pictures today but so far Blogger is refusing to cooperate.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Photo day 18

There I was, alone in my office. Or so I thought! I looked up, and voila! my new bug helper. Here he is working on some filing.

He is currently scoping out the phone. I can see he will be very useful.

Photo day 17

All the pillows are belong to me!

I shall allow the giant dog a tiny corner of one pillow only.

Photo day 16

Taken from my airplane seat, leaving Philadelphia on the day after the wedding.

Photo day 15

Neither of these are very good images, but they captured some sweet moments of my brother, his wife, and their kids.

Taken in Philadelphia at John's son John's nephew John's son John's wedding. We are all about the easy-to-remember names in my family.

Photo day 14

Squirrely McSquirrelsons, telling me off outside Cobb Hall.

Photo day 13

Isn't this a lovely little plant grouping? In the summer, the leafy plant was a gorgeous bronze color. I neglected to take a picture then, but it's still pretty now.

Photo day 12

At the bank drive-through, a fairly unusual place for me to be.

What should I write about?

So I stumbled across this great new column in the Washington Post called "Medical Mysteries" and I thought, damn, why didn't I think of that? Because it would be such an interesting column to write. Now I am trying to think of great column ideas that no one has had yet.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I know exactly who I'm marrying

Good news on the marriage front:

He's in all the movies!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Photo day 11

I do love the little sparrows. They are sitting on a fence that bounds the hospital's helicopter landing pad.

I think I've done something like 3 pictures in the last 5 or 6 days. Considering how craptastic I feel, I consider that amazing.

Photo day 10

Nothing is quite so cheering to me as a visit from Phoebe. Here she is playing at the local mall on an unspeakably hot September Sunday.

Photo day 9

A row of trees outside a hotel that I pass walking to and from work every day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Photo day 8

Impediment to progress

Well, since this truck is part of the construction equipment for the new Cancer Center, I suppose I shouldn't call it an impediment to progress. It was actually an impediment to MY progress as I walked to work this morning, though.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Photo day 7

A rainy day at UVa, from the Cobb Hall porch.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Photo day 6

Let's just pretend it's only been 6 days since I started posting a picture a day, ok? We can see how long it actually takes me to post 365.

"Take me for a walk, I beseech you."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Photo day 5

Today a 3-fer! I wasn't feeling well today and stayed at home. Thus I had to press some local subjects into service for the daily photo.

Here's Rosalie, comin' atcha!

A funny expression of Zoe's:

Zoe has always enjoyed settling in for a good chew on her nylabone:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Photo day 4

There's a beautiful little patch of flowers and grass directly in front of the UVa heating plant. I pass this on the way to and from work at the hospital.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Photo day 3

This tree is outside the hospital, across from the parking garage where a lot of sparrows nest. They seem to like to gather here.


Something makes me think this widget might not be very accurate.

blog readability test

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Photo day 2

Imagine my delight upon finding, as I pulled into the Integral Yoga parking lot in order to buy dog food and N-acetyl cysteine, that Breadworks was still open. I can have cookies! I exclaimed in the privacy of my car. Do they not look delicious?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Photo day 1

My mom made this little bear when she was in high school. To me, it's the most valuable item she ever gave me. I think of her every time I see it. It sits on the buffet, sandwiched between my favorite photos of my brothers.

Ah, blogging

As you may have noticed, I've hit a blog bog. I'm not going into the reasons why, but in an effort to jump-start my blogging once again, I've decided to post a picture a day for a year, aka Project 365.

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A leetle Monday pick-me-up

You really should be reading Cute Overload, but for those of you who still don't, please to enjoy Mooses in Sprinkers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My actual mantra lately

For some reason, the songs I like don't seem to be produced as actual videos... Anyway, even though this is my mantra, I try not to access it during actual meditation sessions.

It's just the fault of faulty manufacturing

Another pseudo-video, this time featuring my latest heartthrob, a man 3/5ths my age.

It's a lovely song, despite the mention of diarrhea at the very end.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Present company included... I mean, excluded!

It's not much in the video department, but please to enjoy my current favorite song:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Bush tours devastation...

... caused by his presidency! Fun, but in a painful sort of way. Brought to you by your friends at the Onion:

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

Monday, June 23, 2008


(1) A great Carolyn Hax quote:
not a lot of people are naturally drawn to search their souls. It's dark and spidery in there. Usually they need to get to the point where the alternative is so much worse that they're finally willing to go in.
(2) Is it any wonder that, in my youth, I was *outraged* that my mother would not let me have these?

How delightful I would have imagined I looked!

Can a miscellany consist of merely 2 items?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jittery yet exhausted

Does this happen to you? You're exhausted and would like to drink some coffee, but your nerve endings feel like they're outside you. More jitteriness doesn't seem like a good idea. Taking "vitamin K" and coffee together seems counterproductive. Urgh. Perhaps a nap...

PM update: Coffee is good for exhaustion. K(lonopin) is good for anxiety. My nerves are back where they should be, on the inside, not exposed to the air. A good balance of relaxed energy is achieved.

Office law: even if you have your own private office, if you wear slipper socks that look like these and try to sneak down the hall to the bathroom because you never, ever, see anyone in the hall, you will, simply by virtue of wearing these socks, run into eleventy-seven people.

PS this is the muted version provided by my cell phone. The actual socks are ever so much more garish.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Grumbler

Max cannot resist vocalizing in response to the many territorial insults he receives each and every day, including pedestrians, bikes, skateboards, and scooters. In order to honor my fervent requests that he not bark at each one, he has learned to do this instead. I apologize for the video quality; evidently my camera's not very good at this and my fan is loud.

A bit of color

Taken at the McGuffey Art Center.

Greens + carrots + apples + strawberries =

Brown. Brown juice! It looked very unappetizing, but tasted pretty good. Having drunk pure kale juice with a dash of strawberry last weekend, this was definitely an improvement, flavor-wise. I am going to have to look into the aesthetic part. Or just close my eyes and drink. I felt quite zippy afterward, which is either a testament to juice's nutritional goodness or the placebo effect.

Having had 8 glorious hours of sleep last night, I wound up having a fairly productive day, productive in that good, weekend, not work type way. I had my hair shaved off -- ok, not quite shaved, but it is very, very short. Spiky short. Not a style that I admire on others, although my very nice young stylist told me that I totally rock it. That should have made me feel good, but instead I feel like a grandmother. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I reverted to my natural color which is a lot more gray than I had remembered. I like it though, and no more expensive and long trips to the parlor of beauty.

I also finally bought dog and cat food (good stuff -- they've been eating crap and the cat has been eating dog food -- sorry Rosalie!), went on a secret mission, and saw some photographs that were part of the "Festival of the Photograph." It was fun to make a point of seeing art, it's something that I like so much but forget to do for months on end.

I cannot reveal to you the secret mission unless it all ends gloriously sometime in the future.

My little Pomeranian, Max, is having some kind of back problem, which has been rough for him. He perked up a lot today, though, which was nice, and I hope he's on the mend.

Well, that's all I've got. Maybe tomorrow there will be pictures...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Not the best

I'm feeling kind of blah. Haven't felt like writing, haven't felt I had anything to say, you know, blah. Maybe I'm bored. I don't generally get bored, but when I don't have time to follow my own inclinations either intellectually or puttering-around wise, it does happen. I do notice I'm having trouble mustering the appropriate feelings and reactions to things. It's a little bit like anhedonia, except that I am still taking an interest in life, just, uh, not so much in people. Maybe I shouldn't say that on the internet. But I suppose it's something most people feel from time to time, and it's not directed against a particular person or persons.

I feel isolated but as I think this is my own fault, I then conclude I have no right to feel anything about it. Which is not how feelings work, as we know. Plus blaming oneself for having feelings is the fast track to depression. The trick, as one of my friends has been telling me, is to observe without judgment or blame. Then you can take action or not. I used to know this but it seems I temporarily forgot.

Somehow just writing about it makes me feel better. Kind of a bummer for the readers, though!

In CSA news, I'm happy to report that I ate an exceedingly righteous salad for dinner tonight. It's hard for me to get excited about salad -- I mean, it's good, but it really can only be so good, you know? So I get excited about the fact that it's good for my health, and that I'm not wasting as many veggies as I would otherwise. Speaking of which, joining a CSA when one is not used to preparing fresh food is a bit of an adjustment. I have been wasteful, I must confess. But I'm getting better. Last week, when I got everything home, I just stood over the box sampling the wares, most of which I can't identify. It makes me understand how people can eat raw -- I also feel a connection with our foraging past. It's kind of amazing the variety of tastes found in a bunch of leaves. Amazing AND delicious! The strawberries have been great, too.

We are in the "heavy greens" portion of the harvest, since it's early in the year, and my plans to dehydrate things I can't use is not working out, because to the best of my knowledge, dehydrating lettuce would be a mistake. Maybe a tasty kale chip? Unless my dehydrating expert chimes in here, I'm waiting until later in the season for that step. Luckily, I have a juicing expert on my extensive staff! She convinced me to purchase a juicer, for those special times when one is overwhelmed by veggies. I think this will be a fabulous solution and look forward to putting it into action this weekend. I'll report back. You can't stop me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On the pre-emptive strike

I would like to understand why I sometimes shoot myself in the foot. This week, a work situation came to a head, prompting me to realize that it's an old pattern, prompting me to remember an early iteration of it: when I was a kid, my parents would sometimes get fed up with the state of my room (which was always horrendously messy, or so they thought) and close me in there until I had cleaned it. I would always resist, staying in there without cleaning for hours on end, missing meals, feeling like I was going to starve, but still refusing to clean. Finally I would crack, but it was always such a painful process. And I always knew that I would have to be the one to cave, that my parents never would.

So why did I keep doing it? Why put up a fight I knew I couldn't win? And why did my brother do the same thing?

I was extremely compliant in most other ways. Somehow I took my stand on this one particular hill, but I never won, and I never hurt anyone except myself. So why?

This isn't a rhetorical question. Not that I expect anyone else to have the answer.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Blogging and self loathing

Lately I've been having mood swings about my blog. Sometimes I think "I should blog more! Constantly! Honestly!" Sometimes "I should quit blogging! Give up!" Recently the most seductive thought has been to give up on this blog and start a new blog that is very anonymous and tells it all like it is.

But how would that be? This takes me right into all those questions about memoir vs fiction that we like to think about nowadays. I think that for me, like a lot of people, the true appeal of having a blog is of being known to the outside world, of having a record of my thoughts and feelings that might speak to something in other people. I often like to read posts in which people express feelings that are similar to mine, and I think my blog could serve that purpose for other people.

I'm frustrated recently by the fact that I can't be completely honest, which has made me see that I wanted to be able to do that here. By "not completely honest," I don't mean that I'm lying, just that I can't tell everything, because people who know me read this. I can't be "myself" here for the same reasons that I can't be "myself" anywhere. Because we have to edit too much of ourselves to get along in the world.

Or at least I do.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Just in case...

... you haven't seen this yet, here it is:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Couldn't have said it better

From "Misogyny I won't miss" in today's Washington Post:
There are many reasons Clinton is losing the nomination contest, some having to do with her strategic mistakes, others with the groundswell for "change." But for all Clinton's political blemishes, the darker stain that has been exposed is the hatred of women that is accepted as a part of our culture.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Another one from the Duh Annals...

Cane may ease the load on arthritic knees

Maybe I'm missing something... but haven't people been using canes for, oh, centuries now? I used one before my knee replacement and yes, it helped.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A belated happy caturday!

For all of you who foolishly don't read Cute Overload, here's a video from yesterday that may amuse you:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Green Valley Book Fair

So, the GVBF starts again this weekend, and I was taking a gander at their "new arrivals" section. The books under "Summer Reading" are broken down into categories such as "Best Selling Authors," "Families and Relationships," etc. After my current obsession, "Mystery and Suspense," there's a category called "Paranormal Romance." WTF?

Has it really come to this? Isn't the "regular" romance genre unrealistic enough? Now we have to look outside the human realm?

This disturbs me, but in an amused sort of way.

If Our Lady of Perfection were a Celebrity

I should have been able to predict this:

What celebrity would your pet be? I'm Madonna! Find out at