Friday, November 21, 2008
I know a lot of women have lifelong love affairs with shoes; I've never been one of them. (Though my sister definitely is!)
Except that now I am addicted to legwear. See, until two or three years ago I practically lived in jeans. After working for years in print shops where I did a lot of customer service and had to dress up some (hose, even!), I got a job where I could wear jeans. This coincided nicely with my messier art classes, by the way, which further encouraged the wearing of jeans. (Have you tried throwing pots in a skirt? Or welding? Or building large sculptures? Besides the inconvenience, you'll ruin a lot of pretty clothes!)
After I graduated, though, I really got sick of always wearing jeans and wanted something that felt more feminine. Enter an article on Boundless webzine pointing out that skirts are an easy way to feel feminine.
Thus began my skirt-wearing kick. I now own only one pair of decent jeans (the rest are ratty, worn, and possibly paint-stainted). Most of the time, I wear skirts. And that began my interest in interesting legwear. It was about that time that I found Sock Dreams, this incredible online store that sells the most unbelievable socks, tights, leggings, and leg warmers.
True confession time...
I own a fair number of Sock Dreams socks. I have a pair of Super Stripes (red and black), two pairs of Super Ms, three pairs of Inklined Knee Highs (two of which are discontinued colors), Diamond Rib Knee Highs in Bordeaux (a dark red), M Squared Knee Highs in Dark Red, and a couple of others I can't remember. I also have a pair of Simone's Black Sleeves, which have been a lifesaver in this insane cold snap Atlanta's having.
And today I ordered a pair of the Super-Long Ribbed Leg Warmers (charcoal, of course). Because waiting for a bus in twenty-four degree weather (wind chill in the teens) while wearing a skirt? Oh yeah. I need thigh-high leg warmers.
So consider this revenge on every woman who has enabled me into new addictions...like BPAL and Malabrigo.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
It is in her bone marrow, which make her cancer Stage IV. They gave her only two of the drugs they will be giving her, since they're waiting for some test results. Fortunately, she didn't have any serious reactions. Her only reaction was a bit odd: it made her very hot. Apparently, chemo gives everyone else on the Prime Material Plane serious chills. That's my mom for you!
My brother is trying to help her, work, and keep up an A average in school. Oh, and take care of my grandmother, who lives with them. That in itself is a big job, because she won't do anything for herself if she can help it...even though she has better mobility than my mom does healthy!
My uncle is shouldering the rest of the burden for my grandmother and mom. It's such a blessing that he is retired and lives only a few minutes from my mom! But he's the type who loves peace and solitude, which he does not get at my mom's. My mom's chatty even under normal conditions, but the medication is making her ramble (and not always coherently, either). We measure my uncle's day by how many miles he has to walk for his sanity. Friday was six; Saturday required nine.
I hate to admit it, but I think the stress is making me a little bit cranky and restless. I feel so bad about that, because I have an absolutely wonderful husband. I thought I was doing great and was stress free, until I developed a cold sore a few days ago. Apparently my body knows me better than I know myself; I only get those when I'm stressed.
On the good side, this might fix several problems my mom has had over the past couple of months, at least once all the chemo and stuff is over. So yay!
Saturday, November 01, 2008
For most of my shopping, I headed to Jo-Ann's and hit the autumn and Halloween decorations. Most of them were at least 60% off; I was late decorating because of my mom's illness. The hall table featured a clearance-table skull candle (which looked like it cost a lot more), a cheap black plastic tray that will be re-purposed later, and a pretty goblet-type candle holder. (I tinted the water with food coloring and floated candles in it.) The feathers came from the autumn clearance section.
Add a wild-looking twig wreath, a basic evergreen wreath, and a can of spray paint. The result was two fun yet spooky wreaths. (See the black bird? That was a Christmas dove, painted black with India ink. 40% off from the new Christmas decorations.) Sadly, the flash reveals all the green underlayer of the wreath on my door. In person, it just looks black.
But the coolest part was in the craft room. I hung one of my black veils from the ceiling and suspended a ghost in front of my window (white gauze and styrofoam balls). It really looked awesome from the street, even if it's rather distant.
Okay, okay. The shrunken heads were pretty cool, too. AND when I told my husband what I was making, it left him speechless for the first time ever.
Edited to add: When I went to post my blog today, I realized I never hit "Publish Post." So here it is, a few days late.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
For those of you who don't know, my mom was diagnosed with Stage III non-Hodgkins lymphoma on Friday, which is cancer of the lymph nodes. She has one cluster around the bile duct, which was choking the flow of bile from the gallbladder. There is a second cluster near her lungs, which is not causing any major problems right now. (Except that, well, it's cancer…) Her prognosis is good.
She is a cashier at a Publix grocery store near her home. Last Monday, she went to work with a slightly sallow complexion and came home very yellow. My brother took her to the doctor, and they scheduled her to come back for additional tests on Wednesday.
By Wednesday, she was golden yellow, almost orange. She was tested, then sent to two other doctors for tests. The third doctor wanted to send her straight to the emergency room, but she had driven herself. She talked the doctor into letting her go home, take care of my ninety-two-year-old grandmother, and have my brother drive her to the hospital as soon as he got home.
At the hospital, the barrage of tests began. The extreme jaundice was a pretty good clue that something was wrong with the gallbladder. They stuck her so many times that by Saturday the inside of her left elbow was purple and sunken, and they were no longer able to take blood from either elbow and were moving on to sticking smaller vessels. Did I mention my mom has a major fear of needles?)
At first they thought she had hepatitis, but that turned out to be a false positive. Since my grandmother is so old and my sister is pregnant, we're especially thankful that was not the case. My mom would have been so depressed if she couldn't be around her daughter while she was pregnant with my mom's first grandchild! (My sis is having a boy.)
Friday they diagnosed the cancer: twelve lymph nodes in two places, I believe. They did surgery to put a stent in to allow the gall bladder to drain. I think this was the worst part of it for my mom: she was awake for the procedure, which took over three hours instead of the usual forty-five minutes. And despite what the doctors said during the procedure, she remembers all of it. (Which is ironic, considering that the overload of bilirubin in her body and the medications are temporarily interfering with her short-term memory and ability to concentrate.) They also did a biopsy of a lymph node under her right arm, but that was fine. They thought they may have to do a lung biopsy, but the CAT scan made that unnecessary.
By Saturday, she was much less yellow, though that is relative. She was still very jaundiced, but she had dropped from twenty-two times the norm to nine. Still lots of medication-induced fogginess, though. Nothing changed Sunday, except that she continued to improve.
On Monday, they put a port in her collarbone and did a bone marrow biopsy a couple of hours later. They also did an echocardiogram, which came back fine. We won't have the results of the bone marrow biopsy, though, for a few more days.
And yesterday she went home. Infection control is a big issue with her stent, so my uncle and brother cleaned and disinfected the entire house. She'll be starting chemo soon; she also has gallstones, but they're going to wait a couple of months on her surgery.
So right now, we're praying for good results on her bone marrow biopsy and making sure she takes it easy. As long as her bone marrow is cancer-free, her prognosis is very good!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
And it's my hard drive. C:/. Sigh.
And of course it does the same thing when I go to "Program Files." Heaven forbid if I actually want to, oh, RUN AN APPLICATION. Hello!
Why do we keep giving MS so much of our money, when they treat us like imbeciles? Okay, I can understand protecting your Windows folder. But your HARD DRIVE and the Program Files? That's just idiotic.
I think it's Microsoft's way of denying all responsibility for anything that goes wrong. "Hey, we TOLD you not to modify your hard drive! Now look what you did! No cookie for you." Or, if you're using Internet Explorer, "thousands of cookies for you."
Monday, October 13, 2008
Dorkelf and I were talking about the campaign, and he said it was "almost as dangerous as Paranoia." I disagree; not a single member of our party died during the first session. That should never be the case in Paranoia!
Other things that won't be likely to happen in our Shadowrun campaign:
- Being killed by the food dispenser before you leave for your mission briefing
- An exploding medkit wiping out the entire Troubleshooter party
- Your electric toothbrush going haywire and drilling through your head
- R&D experimenting with the food vats and killing an entire sector
I really miss playing Paranoia!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I've changed vitamins, and these new ones have to be taken with a meal. Since I eat breakfast at my desk before work, I have to take them to work. So when I grabbed the vitamins, I headed over a couple of aisles to pick up a pill case…and found myself facing an astounding array of gadgets and organizers. All I could do was stare. Some of the cases were huge things, probably 8" by 10", and had four compartments for each day. Four per day.
It made me so grateful! Yes, I have a few health issues: I have scoliosis, rosacea, and keratosis pilaris. I also have sensitive skin. But you know what? I'm healthy. Yes, my vision is so bad that I live in a world of very fuzzy blobs without my contacts.
But I'm healthy.
I do not have an army of medicine bottles populating my bathroom; my days are not regulated by medications. I do not have to plan my life around doctors' appointments.
I'm healthy. And I'm thankful.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
This is a repost from my Relay for Life page. I was surprised how hard it was to write it. Anyway, I've joined the Phantasma team for the Gwinnett County, Georgia Relay for Life, a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society. Phastasma is being captained by Ishy, and is being coordinated by TechnoChicks.
Here's why I'm doing Relay for Life. I'm not begging for money here; this is only intended to get people thinking.
Why Relay for Life?
Days before my wedding in 1996, my grandmother's younger sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Neither she nor my Aunt Odette could be there when I was married. Aunt Dot was a widow: she lost my Uncle Joe to lung cancer a few years earlier. Her cancer did finally go into remission, but returned with a vengeance. We thought she had beaten it, but this time her brain, liver, and breasts were all affected, and she died soon after her initial collapse. I still remember the shock when my sister and brother told me; I was numb for days.
Then, just a few years ago, my grandmother came to visit us for Christmas. The day after Christmas, she said the words you never want to hear: "I have cancer." Grandma Lucy was a strong woman who was healthy her whole life, a woman who went on a mission trip to Romania working with orphans and a pilgrimage to the Holy Land after my grandfather died. How could such a woman have cancer?
She did, though: breast cancer, just like her sister. I thank God that my aunt, uncle, and cousins were able to move her to Pennsylvania and care for her until her death, surrounding her with the love of family and giving my cousins the chance to know her as I did.
I've known so many people who have struggled with cancer; too many of them have lost their fight. As a teenager, I watched my neighbor Betty die of lung cancer. Just a year ago this month, my friend Lisa had breast cancer surgery. Lisa's doing great, but while she was fighting breast cancer, her mom lost her own battle with breast cancer.
And if not for the grace of God and the miracles of medical science, I would never have met Michelle, a wonderful woman and one of my closest friends, a thyroid cancer survivor.
I want to see an end to cancer during my lifetime; I don't want the threat of cancer looming over the next generation. By participating in Relay for Life, I have an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and support the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Dorkelf and I were supposed to go camping at Amicolola Falls over the weekend, with a visit to Dahlonega (site of the first major U.S. gold rush and a beautiful town). Um, that would require enough gas to get us there and back, and half a tank won't do it.
My husband had passed an open station on his way to pick me up, so we headed over there. We wait in a fairly short line (that means there were only five cars in line waiting for each pump) and pull up. No gas. Seriously: while we watch, an employee walks over and removes the prices from the sign. As we learned over the past week, that's the universal symbol for "no gas left." The person before us had gotten the last of the gas!
So we drove around and around, unable to find another station with gas. The only one we found was a QuikTrip up the street from our apartment, and the line was so long that we wouldn't be able to go camping if we waited. It was already 6:45; wait an hour for gas, and it would be 7:45 or 8:00 when we finished. That would put us arriving at the campground at 10:00. Our tent is very easy to set up, but at 10 pm, in the dark, trying not to disturb everyone else? Not my idea of fun. (As we found out the next day, it's just as well we didn't wait. They ran out of gas shortly thereafter; there was also a scenic fistfight in the parking lot…not the usual sort of thing for our neighborhood!)
Friday night we drove the five miles to a very pleasant shopping center and spent my husband's Barnes and Noble gift card on Heroes season Two. To our way of thinking, if our plans were going to be spoiled, we were at least going to have some fun! Saturday, we drove all the way to IHOP, four miles from the house, which allowed us to do our grocery and pet shopping all in the same shopping center.
Sunday we splurged. After church, we drove a few minutes down the road to the Duluth Fall Festival. We met my sister (driving on a nearly empty tank of gas) and had a great lunch. Then I hung around and did birthday and anniversary shopping while Dorkelf ran back to the church for his student's recital.
After he picked me up, I told him about an open gas station a woman from church said had gas that morning. It was only a couple of blocks out of the way, so we took a chance and drove over. Yay gas! We were in line for forty minutes, which isn't bad considering that the line you see in the photo was one of three lines just like it going into the one station. But we got ten gallons of gas, and QuikTrip was only charging $3.89, the lowest I've seen in Northeast Atlanta! Plus, the employees were doing a great job directing traffic. (QuikTrip has handled this better than any other company I've seen.)
Of course, many inconsiderate people are only making it worse. Ridership on public transportation was up last week (according to drivers; I know my bus was more crowded!), but this morning the bus was nearly empty. Many other people aren't cutting back on their driving, especially in upper middle class and upper class areas. People all over the city are topping up the tank every time they pass an open station, instead of waiting until they get to a quarter tank or so. That means the gas runs out faster, and our supply is already low in the wake of Gustav and Ike.
I feel like my husband and I are already acting responsibly on this front. We live fairly close to my husband's job now, so his commute is short, even with a short detour to take me to the bus center. I take public transportation to work every day, and home every day except Wednesday and Thursday. (Wednesday, public transportation would make me late to church; Thursday, I take it to dance class, but get out of class too late for the bus.) On those days, he picks me up.
Anyway, next time you pass two gas stations in a row with gas and no waiting, think about all of us in Atlanta and be thankful!
Friday, August 29, 2008
Actually, it looks like there is. I've had kitties all my life, literally: my mom's cat had her kittens under my crib the day after I was born. When I was growing up, we had as many as thirty at a time.
But I fell in love with river otters the first time I saw them at the Tennessee Aquarium, and then with sea otters. It's so sad that sea otter populations have seriously decreased along the California coast. It's even sadder that it appears they're dying because of a disease they've caught from cats: Toxoplasma gondii. I'll give you the short, short version.
Otters are dying of Toxoplasma gondii, or "toxo" for short. Many animals can get toxo, but only cats shed the "eggs," in their feces. Somehow, toxo is getting from cat feces to the otters. The leading theory is that flushed litter and wastes is surviving the sewage treatment plants, then ending up in the ocean. Either the otters are picking it up directly, or it's contaminating something else then infecting them, such as shellfish.
So, to protect ocean wildlife, especially otters, we have to keep toxo out of the ocean. To do that, we have to keep it out of the groundwater, sewers, and streams.
Don't flush used cat litter; any toxo in the feces, even in trace amounts, may survive the sewage treatment facilities.
Don't wash used litter or cat feces into storm drains. Often, this water goes into streams and rivers, then to the ocean.
Dispose of cat feces by bagging in plastic and placing in the trash (if laws allow) or burying it at least six inches deep where it can't contaminate the ground water. Cat litter should not be used in a home compost heap: it's very unlikely it will get hot enough to kill the toxo.
Facts about Toxo and Cat Poop from the Sea Otter Alliance
Wikipedia article on Toxoplasma
Parasite in Cats Killing Sea Otters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Okay, I always get excited about Dragon*Con, but this year my excitement level is off the charts! I can't wait; I get to go for the whole weekend, AND stay at the con! Very cool.
Even better, I have three friends from the Christian Gamers Alliance who came from OUT OF TOWN to attend Dragon*Con! Isn't that beyond awesome? I think so; one is a young friend who I had never met in person.
Going down tonight to register. Who, me? Counting the hours?
Edited to add: Photo from the con pre-reg! Cool Dalek, huh? Most stuff that elaborate doesn't show up until later.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Okay, actually it's a very fun social site. You make friends, and post little tidbits during the day. Friends and "Fans" (people who don't add you as a friend but still want to follow your plurks) can reply, and you can reply back, creating a sort of meandering mini-conversation.
Your page is a timeline, which shows your plurks as little sentences scattered along, with numbers after them indicating the number of replies. You can look at only your plurks, only a certain person's plurks, only new plurks, whatever.
I'm sadly addictive. But it's amazing how many knitters are on there: MissViolet of LimenViolet, of course, and WendyKnits (of WendyKnits), Quietish (Rosemary) of CraftBorg, and a couple of dozen ravelers and lots of others.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Back at Christmas, I bought a really pretty reusable bag at Barnes and Noble. I love it, and I tote it with me a lot, and my Trader Joe’s red-and-pink Hawaiian print bag.
But it’s so frustrating! At least once a week I forgot to take a bag with me, and have to use disposable bags. I had a clerk tell me the other day, “Well, just throw it away when you get home,” when they didn’t put my stuff in my bag, even though I told them I didn’t want any plastic bags!
People just don’t get it. What, does she think it just disappears? It has to go to a landfill or be recycled; neither is good for the environment. Even if I reuse it as a trash bag (which is preferable to going out and buying trash bags when I have grocery bags already), it ends up in a landfill sooner or later.
I’m going to buy the Eden Mini Maxi Shopper by Rosenthal. It will clip on my knitting tote, so I never forget it! And it’s cute…
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
If you like the handmade, Ten Thousand Villages is the place to go in Virginia Highland. I love this little shop: it’s full of wonderful treasures from across the globe, all handmade by people who care. The best part? It’s fair trade, and many of the “employees” are actually volunteers.
I love finding a place like this in a neighborhood like Virginia Highland. It’s a beautiful district, but so many of the shops carry the formulaic staples of every artsy-urban area. But not Ten Thousand Villages. Get great, distinctive items for yourself or a loved one, things you won’t see in every shop. And help struggling artisans with limited options for employment make a fair living.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
This may sound strange, but Orion is my favorite constellation. I know a lot of people love it, but my reasons are odd...it was the first constellation my baby brother (who is now twenty-seven...) learned to identify.
See, my little sister and I were Girl Scouts, and we sold cookies every winter. Once we sold them, we had to go back and deliver them all. When you consider that I usually sold over three hundred boxes by myself, that's a lot of time spent in a car.
Since cookies were always sold in January or February and delivered in February or March, Orion was always up. And my little brother, who has always had an excellent memory and was very smart, learned to recognize it pretty fast. He would lean out the car window and yell, "Look Mommy, it's O'Brien! Look! Look!" If a four year old can recognize Orion's Belt, anyone can learn.
All that to explain why I love everything about Orion. But in the past few years, my husband I have been going to the Fernbank Observatory for public viewing nights. Since then, we've seen some really great views of the Orion Nebula and other bits of Orion through the thirty-six inch scope.
But this is really spectacular. See the bright star on the left? That's part of the Belt. I wish I could see it with my little telescope!
read more | digg story
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I'm really, really looking forward to the total eclipse tonight. I'm hoping the skies are nice and clear, though the forecast has me a bit worried. Ah well...
If it's been a while since you've studied astronomy, here's a primer. The moon doesn't actually shine; it reflects sunlight. Sometimes, the Earth will pass between the full moon and the sun. With the Earth between them, the sunlight is blocked; the moon is in the Earth's shadow. As the shadow moves over the moon, it takes a bite out. Once the moon is fully inside the Earth's shadow, the whole moon becomes visible again and the color changes. (That's all because of our atmosphere, by the way.) In the prettiest eclipses, the moon will turn a gorgeous blood red. As the moon moves out of the shadow, the whole process reverses. You can get more in-depth info at Mr. Eclipse, the NASA site for tonight's eclipse that I linked to above, or do a search on "Lunar Eclipse."
And speaking of the eclipse, did you know that our moon and the Earth are in a perfect relationship, both in size and in relative positions, to have lunar eclipses as well as total solar eclipses? It's true. God's cool like that.
Friday, January 18, 2008
I have noticed a bit of a trend. On FaceBook, there's an application called "BPAL of the Day" that lets you post which Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab fragrance you're wearing that day. It lists it on your profile, along with the scent description if there's one on the Black Phoenix site still; you can even link it to your review at BPAL.org.
Anyway, I was looking over my mini-feed and decided to review my perfume choices.
Imagine my surprise! I have twenty-two entries since December 18, when I added the app. (I usually only enter a fragrance on weekdays, and rarely update on the weekend.) And seven of them are for Chimera, from the Bewitching Brews line.
SEVEN. That's one third. And the cool thing? I don't even own a bottle; I only have a 1 mL imp's ear that came as a freebie (or "frimp", for "free imp") from a decant circle. Even better? I'm still not out of the perfume. Factor in the number of times I've worn it before I installed the application and the times I've worn it on the weekends, and I've gotten at least a dozen days of Chimera out of that one imp! Consider that I usually apply morning and afternoon, and that's twenty-four applications. Not bad at all!
In case you're interested, here's the scent description from the Lab's website: "The fiery, volatile scent of cinnamon, thickened by myrrh, honeysuckle, and copal."
I would describe it as a warm, rich fragrance with a subdued sweetness. I think the richness is the resins (myrhh and copal) mingling with the cinnamon, and the honeysuckle I think adds that touch of sweetness. It's divine. I've ordered another imp, since I can't justify buying a bottle right now: I just bought a bottle of The Fruit of Paradise, a limited edition Yule scent.
I hope my order gets here before I run out!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Well, I have a wishlist for Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab at BPAL.org, but it's only visible to members. So I thought I would list it here, too...
Hamadryad | Plunder
Bengal | Vinland | Yerevan
Black Pearl | Blood | Blood Kiss | Blood Pearl | Phantasm
Antonino, the Carny Talker
Erato | Euterpe | Obotala | Terpsichore
Mad Tea Party
Croquet | Jabberwocky | Two, Five, and Seven
The Apothecary | Goneril | Lady MacBeth
Asphodel | Blood Rose
Cockaigne | Silk Road
Long Night Moon | Diwali | Red Lantern | Red Moon