Wednesday, October 31, 2007

100 things (A Work In Progress)

I've been kind of meaning to do this for a while but I'm not sure I can think of 100 things. I shall get started and repost when it is finished.

1. One of my legs is longer than the other.
2. When I was a child I had a black cat named Ambrose.
3. We lived in Spain from the time I was 5 months old until I was nearly 4 years old.
4. We had a gardener and a housekeeper in Spain (labor was cheap at that time) and the gardener used to cuss me out in Spanish for picking the tomatoes before they were ripe.
5. Thirty five years later my own child is picking the tomatoes before they are ripe, but I don't cuss at her, in Spanish or otherwise.
6. I do not like soft cheeses such as Brie or similar.
7. I got an A in third term calculus.
8. I am allergic to many common antibiotics.
9. Everyone in my family is taller than I am, but not by much.
10. I love Sharpies. (the pens) Especially the fine point ones.
11. I never got detention in school.
12. I can't roll my tongue.
13. There is a very dark, almost black freckle on my forehead that total strangers have tried to wipe off of me. It has been there most of my life.
14. I suffer from performance anxiety when testing, such as on driver's tests or other exams where you have to demonstrate your ability.
15. However, I enjoy written tests.
16. In 1984, I got 1300 on my SAT's, not bad considering I didn't study.
17. I was quite nervous about it and by way of encouragement, my then-boyfriend made a bet with me that I would beat at least one of his scores. I beat them both.
18. I am not particularly mechanically inclined.
19. I am good at calligraphy and can draw a bit.
20. I love to drive.
21. I do the crossworld puzzle, sudoku and jumble in the paper nearly every day. In ink.
22. I studied in Russia when it was a communist country.
23. I love rain and wind and blustery weather.
24. In high school I decided I would never become a nurse.
25. I start nursing school in January.
26. I am mildly-to-moderately claustrophobic.
27. When I was a child my brother used to occasionally stuff me headfirst into a sleeping bag while we were roughhousing. (see #26....)
28. I am a cat person, more than a dog person.
29. I love to sing.
30. I can carry a tune but I don't really have a good singing voice.
31. I secretly enjoy Renaissance Festivals and would go to one in costume but can't yet admit to that kind of geekery.
32. I love peanut butter.
33. Especially with chocolate.
34. I do not love peanuts.
35. I am deathly allergic to tree nuts.
36. I roller-skated a lot as a child.
37. I won the All-City spelling bee in the 5th grade.
38. Some friends and I went to Disneyland when I was about 27, and drank in every bar at the Disneyland Hotel (there are many).
39. Then we went into Disneyland with a glass bottle of Tropicana orange juice which we had cunningly doctored with vodka, and rode a bunch of rides drunk.
40. By the way, this is against park rules, but we didn't get caught.
41. I like to buy toothpaste in foreign countries, as a souvenir to take home.
42. I also like to buy stationery goods, such as spiral notebooks.
43. My favorite season is Autumn.
44. I don't like spicy food.
45. I have one brother and no sisters.
46. I have a tendency to try to look knowledgeable about things that I'm not knowledgeable about.
47. I have discovered that this can be detrimental so I work hard to counter this now.
48. I once had to deal with a mentally ill person carrying a deceased squirrel around in a basket for a week. (I ran a group home at the time.) She had found it in the street and thought it was "sick." She covered it up so nobody knew what was in the basket until it started to smell.
49. I secretly enjoy vacuuming.
50. I am not afraid to touch worms or rodents (safe disease free ones) but spiders totally creep me out. But only if they touch me or get too close. I don't mind looking at them from a respectable distance.
51. Once I swallowed a fishbone and it scratched my throat so bad I had to get x-rays at the ER and the next day I had to go back and get examined by an ear/nose/throat doctor because it felt like the bone was still there. It wasn't, but I got a whopping rx for codeine so at least it didn't hurt anymore.
52. I have had every single extremity in a cast at one point or another. Some more than once.
53. Stress makes me clumsy.
54. As if I needed anything to make me clumsier.
55. All clumsiness aside, I am not bad at folkdance such as contra dancing or Russian folk dance.
56. Across the street from my dorm when I studied abroad was what I was told was the newest, largest and last statue of Lenin ever erected in Moscow. Here is the actual statue, in Oktyabrskaya Square:

57. Christmas is my favorite holiday.
58. I have put my left sock and shoe on first since I was 11.
59. However, I can put someone else's shoes or socks on in any order (for instance my daughter's)
60. When "Aladdin" came out, I saw it in the theater five times.
61. Most of my stories about studying in Moscow begin thusly: "One time when I was really drunk..." or alternatively, "One time when I had this terrible hangover..."
62. I don't drink very much now.
63. I used to go to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" every chance I got when I was in my mid-teens to early twenties.
64. As a result I had a mad, passionate crush on Tim Curry for years.
65. Perhaps I still do.
66. I once dreamt that I got into a posh, old-fashioned elevator in a fancy hotel and John Cleese was inside, along with the be-uniformed elevator operator. The doors closed, and by the time they reopened, Mr. Cleese had asked me to marry him and I had said yes.
67. I once had a dream that my father had died and it was so vivid that for several minutes after waking up, I thought he was actually dead.
68. I also dreamt once that my mother had died and that my father kidnapped me afterward and held me captive to try to prevent me from digging up her bones where they were buried in some kind of park. The bones were supposed to tell me something important. I woke up just as I was unearthing the bones.
69. I only like bananas if they are still kind of green. If there is even one brown spot, the banana is too sweet and mushy for my tastes.
70. I am a pen whore and if I find a really nice pen at work, I might be inclined to, um, liberate it. But not if it's a valuable one like something fancy.
71. I rode an elephant once at the zoo when I was a child. Most memorable thing about it: the way the elephant smelled, and the swaying. Also the bar behind me was digging into my back.
72. I once saw something that I can't explain in the sky. It looked like an egg, way up high, and the only reason I think it might have been something other than a "weather balloon" is that I watched it make a 90 degree turn. And then disappear. This was on a clear, beautiful summer day, and I was not under the influence of anything.
73. My grandmother drove trucks in Guam during the war.
74. My other grandmother was a WAC and was buried with military honors when she died 3 years ago.
75. I was in the Army.
76. Did I tell you about my flat feet?
77. I wasn't in for long.
78. I got 145 on my Defense Language Aptitude Battery. The score was so high that the recruiting office kept calling the testing center back to confirm the score. They had only seen one score higher than mine. (My friend qualified with a score of around 100.)
79. I sound really impressive here but in real life I'm quite normal and uninteresting.
80. I play World of Warcraft.
81. I came out at 22. (Mel, this is why I mentioned a boyfriend! What can I say, I was young...) It wasn't pretty and in some ways still isn't and never will be, but I am fortunate to have a wonderful family. Mostly.
82. My first car was a 1966 Chevrolet Bel-Air. Four doors, an enormous metal dashboard, and a 3-dead-body trunk that opened with a screwdriver because the lock had been popped. I was 28 years old.
83. I am an enthusiastic motorcyclist although I do not currently own one.
84. I have never colored my hair.
85. I once told off a very good friend of mine via email because I was very angry at her for something and now she's not my friend anymore. I apologized and we kind of tried to be friends but it didn't work out, she was too hurt. I'll regret it forever.


Okay, so I'm trying this out, this Multiply thing. And the first thing that happens is that when I import my blog from blogger, it scrambles the order of the posts, and now it's all mixed up.

Plus, my stupid email is hosed again (thanks, Comcast!) and I can't access it.

ENOUGH!!! Enough of the stupid hassles, life! I am up to my NECKBONES in hassles! And I have HAD! ENOUGH!!!

Okay, that being said, um, Hi Internets! Welcome, any friends of Mel's!

And, if my blog makes NO SENSE AT ALL, please be advised that it's not my fault.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Google-fu Meme

Borrowed from Dr. Zeus:

"From Adventures in Ethics and Science, the Google-fu meme, originated by David Ng.

I'd like to suggest a meme, where the premise is that you will attempt to find 5 statements, which if you were to type into google (preferably, but we'll take the other country specific ones if need be), you'll find that you are returned with your blog as the number one hit. This takes a bit of effort since finding these statements takes a little trial and error, but I'm going to guess that this meme might yield some interesting insight on the blog in question. To make it easier, we'll let you use a search statement enclosed in quotations - this is just to increase your chances of turning up as number one, but if you happen to have a website with the awesome traffic to command the same statement without quotations, then flaunt it baby! Of course, once you find your 5 statements, pass the meme on to others."

I had a try at this today and came up with these statements:

new motherhood gone bad
bodice 101
event whore
Gee my foot smells terrific
Chickeny goodness, and meeples

In the process I learned that "meeples" is actually a real term for something. Evidently there is a German tile-based board game, which I will no doubt never play because it involves strategy and not sheer dumb luck, and the chunky little "people" figures are colloquially referred to as "meeples."

This is a far different definition than my daughter's. To her, meeples are nipples.

I'm not going to tag anyone but hey, get on the good foot and do the bad thing, my blogmates.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Boy Is Our Face Expensively Red

So the next morning after getting GiantCableConglomerateCast phone service installed, my aunt rang me up. I answered gleefully in anticipation of crystal clear, functional phone service.

Oh, the humanity.

"Hello? HELLO? Are you there? If you're there, I can't hear you. I'll call you on your cell phone."

I don't know what made me look dumbly down at the counter, take in the two cordless units lying there, and suddenly add up the variables in my head: Intermittent service. No bandwidth issue. Two phones.

My aunt called me on my cell, we chatted a bit, and then I asked her if she could take a minute to call me back on the home phone. She did. I answered and she couldn't hear me. I had asked her to call me back again on the home phone if she couldn't hear me, so a moment later she did and I answered using the other unit. Clear as a bell.

So we just spent 120 dollars to cancel one service, installed a more expensive service, and all along the problem was the damn phone. It had just coincidentally gone teats-up right after we started service with Bonage.

I am pretty sure that it was Sunrocket's last stab at screwing us over. We got that phone free when we signed up with them.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


We recently had a less than optimal experience with an internet phone service. Let's just call this company "Bonage" since that is certainly what it felt like overall. Bend over...

We used to use SunRocket, which, once we got it operating, worked great. Occasionally there would be delays in service, never lasting more than part of a day, which I was willing to tolerate given the extreme value pricing of about 17 dollars a month for the whole enchilada -- long distance, voicemail, caller ID, you name it. And the problems were always some server issue, and they were always ass-kissingly apologetic about it.

But suddenly SunRocket went out of business, and we were faced with having to get a new provider quick. A friend of ours had had good luck with Bonage so we went with them. Plus, they were having a special for former SunRocket customers. What could go wrong?

All went swimmingly for about two weeks, and then not so much. If you called us, we could hear you but you couldn't hear us. And this was maddeningly intermittent. Also, during a time that we were fielding many important calls. Gah! We went to their website and did all the things they suggested we do. Nothing helped. Then we moved on to contacting the "customer service" department via email. They repeatedly instructed us to do all the things on the website, that we had already done, and told us that the problem was on our side. They did not have suggestions as to what the problem might be other than maybe a bandwidth issue, which seemed unlikely given the ease with which I play World of Warcraft for (cough cough) at least a couple of hours a night. They did not answer direct questions.

They did send us a new device in case the original one had gotten overheated or was defective. We were required to send the original one back within a certain period of time or face a charge. We did so. It cost us ten bucks via the cheapest route. The new device did nothing to change the situation.

By now we are getting pretty bent. We have had to use our cellphones almost exclusively during this time and our cell plan, while perfectly adequate for our usual needs, is not unlimited. We will have hefty cell bills. And we're sick of all this hassle. Finally, we call and get the phone service offered by GiantCableConglomerateCast. This will be more expensive than effing Bonage, but at least we will have service that functions, plus digital cable with on-demand and faster cable internet than before. And, if anything goes wrong? Yeah, somebody comes to our house and fixes it.

We were told that we could not discontinue service with Bonage until the day of the new hookup -- today. My better half called to discontinue and it took 25 minutes. On the cell phone of course. They offered to transfer her to whatever they call the suck-up department no less than five times. Each time she had to say No. And! Here's the parting shot. Because we didn't stay with their crappy non-existent service for six months, they are charging us for the device. And for shipping. And a disconnection fee.

So all told, this little experiment cost us close to 120 dollars in fees (from today), ten dollars postage (old device return), and oh, it's hard to say how much in cell phone bills -- probably a couple hundred over our usual amount.

I kind of wish that Bonage sent out those "no postage necessary" postcards or envelopes like credit card companies do. I have heard that an unscrupulous person might enjoy putting them in the mail empty because once they enter the postal system, the company has to pay the postage on them no matter what might (or might not) be inside. That's just what I've heard. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Name Meme

You all know how I love the meme. Spotted this on one of the blogs I read.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)
Ambrose Protege

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Chocolate Peanut Butter -- this sounds a little odd considering I'm a pasty white girl with red hair and freckles.

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)
D-Rob, or (from my WoW main character name) E-Raz

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Blue Tabby Cat

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Lee Oak Harbor

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)
"The Orange Corona (with lime)" -- evidently I squirt citrus juice in the bad guys' eyes, then pee on them (from all the beer). That'll teach 'em!

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Jean William

9. STRIPPER NAME: ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy)
Anais Reese -- I kinda like it. :)

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names )
Andre Louise

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)
Nichols Nashville -- hahahahahaha, it was the only city I could think of with an N

12. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower)
Autumn Gerber (Daisy), or maybe Christmas Aster

13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + "ie" or "y")
Mango Tie-dye. This sounds more like it should be the hippy name (below).

14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)
Cinnamon Life Gingko

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”)
The Triathlon Lightning Tour

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Tonight I made a grievous medication error.

I work at a group home for “severe & persistent mental illness” clients. There are more than a dozen clients, residents, whatever you want to call them. The term changes regularly what with varying forms of political correctness; at one point we called them “consumers,” as in “consumers of mental health services” but I never liked that term. It makes them sound all take and no give.

At any rate, I used to run such a house. I found it to be super stressful and was happy to give it up. Ironically, the part I liked the best about working in these types of facilities was giving medications and dealing with doctors’ offices, medical appointments, etc. Now I’m back here working a regular weekend swing shift gig, back in the trenches. I am generally well-thought-of in this agency, after a long association with it, and even got this job without having to come in for an interview.

Yeah, maybe not so much after tonight.

This client receives three types of insulin, and I gave the first of them correctly. Then I gave the second one incorrectly. Then I caught the mistake and called it in without giving the third dose.

The client will be fine. I was told, as I figured I would be, to hold the third type of insulin altogether, give him a slightly larger dinner, extra juice, and monitor his blood sugars about hourly. Fortunately his blood sugar was a bit high to begin with.

I feel like such a jerk. This poor guy. I’m so glad I caught it right away, at least. It could have been a disaster.

I hate making mistakes in general, and I especially hate that my mistake could have really hurt – possibly even killed – this client.

You can bet it will never happen again.