Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Convenience Store Clerks Trying to Strike it Big

On my way to get Addie from marching band rehearsal, I stopped at a gas station convenience store to get a Coke (well, Diet Coke since I'm doing Weight Watchers, but the principle's the same).

There were two clerks on duty, and they were having a ball with scratch tickets. I mean, they were so enthralled by their "three nines in a row" that it took me about ten minutes to pay for a can of soda.

I honestly didn't mind waiting ... it gave me time to think :) And here's what I came up with:
* Were they an advertising ploy to get people to buy scratch tickets?
* Why would the company pay to have two employees on the clock if they're so busy fooling around to wait on customers?
* Why is it that scratch tickets appeal so strongly to a certain, shall we say, demographic?
* Is it unprofessional, unethical, or even illegal to use scratch tickets bought from your place of employment when you're on the clock?
* What the holy hell is so funny about the phrase "three nines in a row"? You'd think Will Ferrell was in the house or something!

Uh ... Yeah, guess that's all I've got. I'm reading Dan Brown's new book ...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lumping Along

I've gone back and forth about whether or not to share the latest drama in my life here. Since it's occupying much of my thinking, I feel obligated to based on the thought-focused nature (well, hopefully :)) of this blog. Also, it's going to end up being nothing, so I guess my philosophical mindset is on the anxiety so easily brought out by the medical profession.
So I have a lump.

It's funny, I finally start doing breast self-exams after going to a new primary care doctor, and I notice a change--a LUMP--after three months. I kind of ignored it for a month (my good friend the internet said that often these things are hormonal and related to the menstrual cycle) but, when it didn't change at all yet remained a presence, I decided to call the doctor.

Honestly, I was expecting to go in and have the doctor say, "What lump? You have a very vivid imagination, lady. You're freaking paranoid." Instead, she very nicely requested that I not tell her where I felt it so she could feel for herself and find it--or not find it--of her own volition.

She found it. Like, right away. She did say that it was more than likely just a cyst and not anything to be super-concerned about (the c word was conspicuously absent in our conversation). That said, however, she ordered an ultrasound "just to be on the safe side".

Funny story there, actually. I called the breast experts (Mammologists? Boobographers?) To set up the ultrasound, and they said I needed to have a mammogram as well. I tried to explain that the doctor said just an ultrasound, but what I got in response was, "When women over thirty are referred with a lump, we do a mammogram too." So I guess fifty cent coffee from Dunkin' Donuts isn't too far in the future ;-)

Anyway, the ultrasound (and mammogram, because I'm evidently freaking old) is scheduled for next week. I'm doing okay, actually--kind of a nervous wreck, but nowhere near as bad as I thought I'd be. Of course, the week is still young ;)

I guess what I'm mostly thinking about are the what-ifs. What if it is something awful? What would happen to my girls? What would life be like without boobs (I'm kind of attached to them, haha)? I am, of course, extremely lucky because everyone keeps stressing that this is all precautionary (my pancreas and I have heard that before, though, so I guess maybe that's part of what concerns me).

There are people that have to go through this when the future looks immediately bleak. That's not me right now, and is it okay that I am so selfishly, buoyantly grateful for that?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Procrastination Friday

I have so much to do that I don't even know where to begin. (I know, I know, at the beginning ... but what if you're not sure where that is?)

I even had goals. Yeah, seriously--a home goal (get all my clothes put away finally) and a work goal (finish typing meeting minutes for a committee I'm co-chairing). What happened? Well, isn't it obvious? I had a quiet evening at home with no one but Belle, and she was so exhausted from staying up late last night that she fell asleep watching television.

To be fair, I paid a bunch of bills. That was pretty big. I also wrote a long and difficult e-mail to Pythagorus (the gist being that he needs to take responsibility for his actions, not blame his problems on other people, and that I really want to support him in his sobriety endeavour, but it's hard to do that when he takes everything I say completely wrong and then doesn't call for several days--I'm guessing it wasn't well-received since, true to form, he hasn't called despite a promise to do so. Jesus, the whole situation could almost be comical if it didn't hurt so damn much.

After that, I went on Wikipedia and read details about characters in "The Godfather" (yes, I know Wikipedia's an unreliable source--I'm an English teacher, after all--but it was mindless and interesting and, most importantly, relaxing.

I had to wake a rather annoyed Belle up so we could pick Addie up after the football game at her school, so we all just got home from that little jaunt. She's asleep again, and shock of shocks, Addie went to bed as well.

I have to go let the dogs out again and make sure the light's on for my mom (she gave a party at the beach house tonight and will be home late.

I just wanted to share my contemplations on procrastination. Basically, why is it so easy to complain incessantly that you don't have the time to get things done that are important yet, when the opportunity to accomplish something useful arises, you do stupid things like research the complex relationship between Don Vito Corleone and Luca Brasi--and on freaking Wikipedia, no less?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Amicable Ambien

I have a funny Ambien story for you.

My lifelong insomnia is no great secret, but I have not been as outspoken about the little pill that has curbed (if not cured) this issue for me. Ambien, it's your moment to shine (although I still question the wisdom of giving you out to recovering addicts and alcoholics ... guess it's a lesser evil thing).

But anyway ...

I've gone through all the sleep stuff--Ambien, Lunesta, Advil PM, and various other things that--ahem--I might or might not have had a prescription for. **Cough**

The thing that's funny is, my doctor prescribed the 12.5 dose of Ambien CR some time ago. It worked better than most for me, although I still had a fair number of insomnia-fraught nights.

So I switched medical practices, and naturally I didn't write down the medications I was currently taking to bring to my physical. Most of what I take was pretty easy to figure out in terms of dosage, but we really struggled with the Ambien (I knew it was the CR--a double whammy that knocks you out quickly then slowly releases lighter medication to keep you asleep--but I hadn't a clue as to the dosage).

I really like my doctor. She said, "We'll start with the 6.25 dosage. If that doesn't work, we'll go to the 12.5."

Remember how I said this was a funny story? What's funny is, the 6.25 works a hundred times better than the 12.5. Any logic to that? I'm not sure--just grateful :)

Hopefully this makes sense--1) I've typed the whole thing on my BlackBerry and 2) I took my Ambien a few minutes before I started typing.

'Night :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Finding Beauty in Small Places

My Advisory went outside to play basketball this morning.

In the field just past the hot top, a rather industrious spider had spun a gorgeous and shockingly large web. One of my students noticed it, and we all went in for a look.

It was just breathtaking, all sparkling with dew and twinkling in the morning sunshine.

What was even more beautiful to me, thoughn was the fact that none of my kiddos felt the need to destroy it or even mess around with it in any way. No, they looked, drank in the perfection of this gift of nature for a moment (admittedly short, but a moment), then went about their business of forcing unathletic old me into actually playing basketball.

I am always struck by beauty, but this unexpected double whammy was just what the doctor ordered :)

When have you found beauty in completely unexpected times or places?

Monday, September 7, 2009

It Takes a Lot to Render me Speechless ...

I'm appalled. There's no other word for it.

Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows that I take pains to keep references to my personal life rooted in philosophy, in thinking. Most are also probably aware that, despite my best efforts to work things out, I'm doing the divorce thang.

What I'm throwing up here now is an informal log of the past four nights, nights when Pythagoros was supposed to call Belle at seven and didn't. What this means, of course, is that he's drinking again. Either that or he's found some other substance ti send him off the deep end.

How do I know that? The man I love(d) would never, ever disappoint his precious Belle. Not one night, never four nights.

And yet ...

Friday, 9/4: No call, no explanation from Pythagorus beyond, "I fell asleep". Belle left a good night message at my insistence, cried afterwards as I killed myself trying to help her process, wanted to know why Daddy didn't call, was he okay, maybe I should call the police because he might have been hit by a car, and so it goes.

Saturday, 9/5: Pythagorus did not respond to various calls/e-mails so did not get the message that Belle would be at a rehearsal dinner for a wedding (she was a flower girl in my cousin's wedding). He did call at seven but was acting confused, defensive, and argumentative when I spoke with him. Did not answer when Belle called upon returning home. Belle did not want to leave a message and, as she was exhausted and quite upset, I did not force her as I usually do when this happens. We both fell asleep crying.

Sunday, 9/6: Called Pythagorus from my cousin's wedding reception at seven. No answer. I forced Belle to leave a good-night message despite her lack of enthusiasm (to say the least). I also sent some pictures of Belle in flower girl glory and encouraged Pythagorus to view others on Facebook. No reply at all. In fact, he never looked at them (as of a Monday afternoon conversation between he and I).

Monday, 9/7: No call. Forced Belle to leave a good-night message for Pythagorus. She asked why, since he never seems to get her messages or he wouldn't keep "forgetting"--kid's got a logical point. I also had to explain to Belle why we didn't go to Friendly's for lunch as "Daddy promised" a few days ago that he would be visiting Monday and taking her to Friendly's.

Am I crazy to be appalled? Am I crazy to think this whole mess is just ... crazy?

Am I crazy to wish that Pythagorus would just be a douchetard like this all the time since he'd been so solidly himself for weeks before this transgression that I (and more importantly Belle) was starting to believe in him again and since I know he'll go back to being himself in a few days.

What do you do when you love Dr. Jekyll dearly ... but truly want to kill Mr. Hyde?

And does it really matter anyway when your kids are suffering the way mine are right now?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Charlie Brown's Football

You know the scene from Peanuts where Lucy is always trying to get Charlie Brown to try to kick the football she's holding? The football she always yanks away at the last second? The football she always swears up and down to Poor Old Chuck that she is not going to yank away this time, that he just needs to believe her?

What does it say about Charlie Brown that he is able to be talked into believing that she will hold the football in place? Is he stupid? Gullible? Or just someone who thinks that kicking the football is worth the pain and humiliation? That feels strongly about giving someone else the benefit of the doubt, even when betrayed and hurt every time?

And how about Lucy? What sort of person would again and again convince someone to give them a second (and third ... and fourth ... and infinite) chance knowing the whole time they're going to just yank it away?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Button Pushing (or "Going out of your Way to Tick People Off")

Have you ever noticed that there are some people who truly seem to enjoy pushing the buttons of other people? I mean, it's fun for them to see how aggravated, irritated, or upset they can get someone else. It's ridiculous!

My current "button-pusher" (well, the main one ;)) is not a person at all. No, it's my golden retriever, Mollie, who has taken the fine art of pissing people off to new heights. She's an ambassador of annoyance.

Here's a picture for you:

Just a ball ... pretty harmless, right? Hahaha! Not where I'm sitting. No, Mollie uses this circular piece of rubber as the equivalent of a medieval torture device.

Let's say you get home from a long day at work. The idea of taking the dogs out for a run sounds pretty appealing, right? Even more fun--since they're both retrievers and have a natural love of fetching--would be a nice game of ball.


What usually happens is that Mollie picks up her ball, charges outside, and starts running laps (the Invisible Fence concept is a great invention, by the way). Sonja usually joins her, and it's great that they're getting their energy out plus it's pretty cute to watch. At some point, however, Mollie comes running up to you and starts saying, "Would you throw the ball, please? A nice game of fetch sounds like fun." (Anyone who says dogs can't talk has never had a dog) So you tell her to drop the ball so you can throw it--and she just gives you this look of defiance. Sonja, who's generally laying under a tree at this point, comes over because heck, fetch is a great game and she wants in.

And then Mollie won't drop the ball. She'll sit there dancing around with it in her mouth, sometimes dropping it then snatching it back up before either myself or Sonja can reach it, but she will not put it down. At some point, I usually try to take it out of her mouth just because the whole thing is so aggravating and poor Sonja clearly wants to play fetch even if Mollie wants to be a twit (and yes, we have multiple balls ... you can probably figure out what happens when we try that). Yeah ... she draws blood when you try to take her ball away. Not pretty.

But in the great scheme of Mollie as a Master of Masochism, that's nothing. No, she has far more devious devices for that freaking ball.

Although she WILL NOT drop the ball for you outside, she somehow thinks that inside the house is just the perfect location for playing fetch. She will drop her ball--slimy with dog drool and smelling unbelievably bad--into your lap and, if you don't throw it, will take it out of your lap and then drop it there again. Over and over and over again. If you do throw it, she'll fetch it perfectly and bring it to you to throw again, the very behavior you want her to do outside. Here's a visual of the great ball drop according to Moll:

I saved the best for last, though. Mollie's latest and not-so-greatest trick is that she will push her ball under a piece of furniture and then scratch at the floor, whine, cry, and otherwise drive you bonkers until you get the ball out. Doesn't sound too bad, right? I mean, how hard is it to lift the end of a couch end up or use a yard stick to swipe under a hutch? Well, one would think so, but only if that person didn't know Mollie ...

No, Mollie has figured out which furniture cannot be lifted--and that's where she focuses her energies. I have had to empty out my bureau twice since I couldn't lift it any other way and, when the yardstick doesn't work with the hutch (it's all about angles--definitely not my forte), that's an adventure too. Furthermore, she has started a new habit of hiding her ball under Belle's bed and then scratching all around it, jumping all over it, and just being in general a loud, obnoxious nuisance when Belle is asleep.

The thing is, that dog is smart. Like, ridiculously smart. She gets ample attention, has people around happy to play with her, and went through extensive dog school training. She knows right from wrong--she's just a button-pusher, and I've never met one of the canine variety before. If it wasn't so darn annoying, it would be really funny. And there's not a lot to be done--I mean, we tried moving every single ball outside, and ... well, you can probably imagine what the door looked like after that.

But smart as she is, conniving as she is, Mollie is a dog. I also have to say, to be fair, that I love her dearly and that she's wonderfully gentle with Belle and Addie (especially Belle--Addie is not a fan of dogs in general and Mollie in particular). Belle is the only person Belle will play fetch appropriately with outside. And, of course, there's this:

So how do you deal with human versions of Mollie?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Vanity Plates

When I was driving home today, I saw a license plate in front of me that read:"KEEPBZS". I spent a ridiculously long time trying to figure out what it meant.

"Keep busy"? Perhaps, but why the 's' at the end?

"Keep bees"? A bit more promising, although I might have just been excited about being behind a beekeeper.

I kept running things through my head. Key peeps? Keepsies? It was randomly a lot of fun, which I've found vanity plates to be...even if you never know the intended meaning.

I used to have vanity plates. They read: "UONCRK", and I had them until I received notice from the DMV that someone found my plates offensive, so they were being revoked. Although she swears up and down she didn't, I remain convinced that my mother wrote that letter ;)

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