Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thanksgiving. I ate too much, not just turkey and sweet potato puff and mashed potatoes and apple almond stuffing but also pies, more pies, birthday cake, and french toast casserole the next day. This practice continued for most of the weekend., I love you but my gut does not. The price started this morning with a wicked stomach ache which has continued all damned day.

Food and my gut aside, it was overall pretty nice. Family stuff, but this is a constant so we can factor it out for now. A___ and I went to Provincetown on Cape Cod (MA) to spend it with my brother and my sister.

The traffic didn't suck too much and it was a good day for a drive. A___ had never been to the Cape. PTown is on the very tip of Cape Cod and getting to it kind of screws with your sense of direction (if you have one). So although you're on the east coast, you can watch the sun set over the water on account of having spiraled around to face the mainland. It's a nice place to visit in the off season - a bit chilly but still not outright cold and quiet in that nearly spooky but mostly contemplative way.

So I am thankful for having had nice long weekend before my last week at The Job. I hope you all (those of you in the U.S.) had a nice holiday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I used to work the weekend evening shift on a (largely elective) inpatient surgical unit at a small community hospital. My shifts were much like work was this week. Very, very quiet. I was one of four employees in yesterday, the rest took it off. It's a school, classes aren't in session, etc. If the job is to primarily serve the students, then there isn't much to do. However, if the job is primarily to wrassle with payroll and think of creative ways to solve the "where DID that person's paycheck go?" problems and write brief yet informative memos about it, then there's ALWAYS something to do at big F.U.

Today, I will be one of three. I'm sure to get lots of memo writing done.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

grey tuesday

It's raining and gross out and I'm sick - a hard to drag myself out of bed kind of day. So here's some humor. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Thursday

Today is officially "Don't take shit too seriously" day. It is for me at least. I was hoping to try this earlier in the week, but the hormonal storm that is my period on progesterone made it impossible to take anything at a level lower than very, very seriously.

My arms hurt, my job is ending, one of the few people I like at work has been told to stop talking to me (long story, I'll write later when I actually know more about it), the holidays are coming, I dislike christmas on a less bad year but this year I think I'm really going to want to drop kick some lawn ornament Santas. I can feel all this stress over things which are largely out of my control building in me. And so today I've resolved to try to let shit go, and what can't be let go, I'm going to try to laugh off. I don't have to take the job too seriously because now that I know there's no way in hell I'm going perm because they have a bias against temps, my work consists of not fucking things up too much. This is liberating if approached correctly. E.g., most if not all of my problems with K-cop result not simply from her being her but from me being me too. I want to assume that people have logical reasons for doing shit. When I discover evidence that they don't, it just blows my mind so completely. Moreover, when I believed that there was even an eensty chance of this job being permanent or longer term temp (or of these people being good connections to find another job), I cared more about not following K-cop's effed up reasoning.

The big problem with this kind of reaction is that I have the anti-poker face. I can't keep the look of what I imagine is shock tinged with outrage and/or disgust and/or contempt off it. This does not help matters because even idiots like K-cop can read that level and type of emotion when it's displayed right there at eye level.

So if K-cop is in my face with her moronic crap today, rather than start down this path to horror at the largely unexamined self serving idiocy, I'm just going to laugh at her.

To get me started on not taking shit too seriously day, I thought I'd share this video.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

revenge of the lazy

Been scorned? Dumped, duped, hurt, or treated in a way that made you sob not just from the hurt or harm but the utter injustice? Then you've probably had a revenge fantasy. (Not necessarily an endorsement of the entire content, here's a free online article from the American Journal of Psychology on (compulsive) revenge fantasies in psychotherapy)

The kind that is most compelling for me is the idea that I will get a front row seat to the object of my vengeance's trauma at the hands of fate. I think this appeals most to me for several reasons.
1. Low investment for me.
2. Low risk of me getting caught or hurt in the process or of me causing hurt to someone else who doesn't deserve it.
3. The feeling of cosmic justice that comes from it. Whether you chalk it up to a higher power, fate, furies, or simply the great wheel spinning its way back around, the sense that - yes sometimes the asshole gets what's coming to him is (for me) life affirming in some small way. The article I linked to above calls this "pride at being on the side of some spiritual primal justice".

Is it small to feel that way though? Maybe sometimes, if what was done to you was a small or slight offense. But what about when it wasn't?

I have absorbed the socialization that it is petty and mean to experience a happy warm feeling of knowing someone who hurt you is hurt. I know this because I do have that momentary flash of something like guilt when I enjoyed, say, hearing that a faculty member was getting divorced*. When I heard about his divorce, I smiled. Then I thought "gosh, am I a shitty person for enjoying this? Maybe I shouldn't be enjoying it" I tabled the guilt and got on with enjoying it more or less quietly and have continued to warm myself by the glow of the thought now and then when I encounter this man directly or indirectly, and remember that he so casually invalidated so much suffering I had gone through, however Bubblewench recently held a contest which has provoked me to return to the issue.

The responses could be thought of as a continuum which runs from the episodic little schadenfreude moments to revenge fantasy to actual revenge acts. I'm not sure they are all of a piece emotionally or societally, but culturally, my experience is that we (especially women) are taught that all of the above are bad because nice ladies don't do or feel things like that. Underlying that message is reasoning along the lines of nice ladies don't get intentionally hurt, raped, hit, or oppressed, so if this did happen to you, it's probably your own fault and you've got no one to blame but yourself so stop "playing the victim card"/"grinding an axe"/"holding a grudge", etc.

I vehemently disagree with that reasoning. Also, I take issue with the notion that all feelings of vengefulness are all bad, although I do so cautiously. I do believe that consuming vengeance is not healthy for the person who is consumed. What's more, for me personally, the thought of my moving from a revenge fantasy to actually committing a deliberate, premeditated, and for lack of a better term, large vengeful act makes me feel a bit discomforted (I'm not talking about not holding the elevator or stuff on that level). Is my feeling due to internalized cultural norm, fear of getting caught, or does this really go against my principles and morals? Now that I put it out there, I have to say I think it's mostly pragmatics for me. Either that or just serious laziness.

With most things, I weigh cost with product, or risk of cost with promise of product. I could be high minded and say the gain is restoring the balance, taking down a villian, etc. Sometimes my desires for vengeance are born at least partly of this but it would be absurdly arrogant to say that is the entirety of my motivation. Truly, the (desired) product is also in no small part that feeling I described in (3) above. That a bad guy didn't get to make me feel bad or hurt me without getting hurt him or herself. And to be certain of that, I'd either have to do something really expressly bad to this person or I'd have to do some serious homework and legwork to calculate a specific torment which would, to anyone else, not be a big deal (best example: My brother says when our father is old and in a nursing home, he will be sure to drop by at least once a week and force the man to watch Three's Company reruns for hours on end). The former is likely to violate my morals, and the latter is, well, work. It's time and energy and possibly cost I could spend on something else that might make me feel good without being about this asshole. With most cases where someone's gotten a chunk of me, if I take the time to think about it, I find I don't want to give that person MORE of me. Plotting is time, and so even if I have the desire to wreak vengeance on someone in a wily and well executed way, I peeter out as time passes and I realize I'm letting this asshole take up more of me and my time.

But if I stumble across an opportunity which is not a lot of effort, isn't horrible, and has a pretty good chance of making that person's life difficult even for a minute without screwing someone else over in the doing, I am quite likely to jump right in and do it. Low cost, low risk (to me and to unimplicated bystanders), high probability of result.

* This was a faculty member who just one year previous, while I was recovering from a second surgery for endometriosis, had trashed me to other grad students for what he saw as my lollygagging my way through a PhD program. Lollygagging is not what I'd call getting divorced, needing 2 surgeries for extrapelvic endometriosis, having undertreated neurolyme for a year before a month of PICC IV antibiotics (the placement of which line was a disaster and a half), developing what looks to be an autoimmune disease and all that comes with it, "breaking up" with my toxic parents, and dealing with a dear family member who has life threatening substance and medical problems.


I do not want to go to work today.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


K-Cop and I were working on a request for facilities yesterday. She asked me to come in while she did it, I guess because she forgot the short but detailed email I sent about the request (the one that said I had tried to log in to do the order myself but the system denied my account...the joys of temping). I mentioned this and she responded "Oh that's right. Well, if you do it with me then you'll know how to do it next time". I didn't bother untangling that little logic knot she had thrown out. I said "Ok" and sat down in a chair in her office.

Since I was involved, when she stopped (and she did, often) while writing what turned out to be about two sentences worth of instructions (i.e. "please do X to Y in manner Z such that Q will result. Thank you."), I offered wording. Toward the end she was at a loss as to how to conclude. "Do you think they'll understand?" she asked. "Yeah. But we could write something like 'Please call if further details or more information is needed'." She typed "Please call if any questions", quipping to me as she wrote it "Ha, it's not like anyone THERE is going to really READ it anyhow!" And then she laughed really hard and loud, and she laughed alone, which gave her statement an extra creepy and awkward effect.

Now, you should know this comes on the heels of her telling me that these folks are very nice and very accommodating, complete with a little vignette about how one guy went out of his way to do this and that, etc. on this one order. So to me, these sound like people who would take the time to read something. To me, it also sounds like K-Cop believes they are the kind of people who take the time. Then this leaves the source of her mirth, or at least the basis of her jest, to be the likelihood of someone in facilities READING, or at least READING at the level where they'd distinguish between our phrasings. Maybe she thought it comically likely that the facilities staff member would get to the embedded clause and lose all of their minimal intellectual function.

I don't know for sure that this was what she thought, but it or something like it seemed most plausible to me based on the context, the office culture, and what I know about her (K-Cop has a thing about grammar and punctuation (which she has fused together in her mind to be the same, a practice which is a serious pet peeve of mine) and makes vocal judgments about the intellect of people who commit cardinal "grammar" sins like misusing commas and...and well, I could go on but the point is that I fucking hate when someone gets all high and mighty about that shit, especially someone who doesn't know the difference between grammar, diction, usage, and punctuation).

What pisses me off is that she assumes I share her classist attitude because I have degrees. No, I'm not reaching there. She's remarked on it.

November 12, 2008

Today is the first day that same sex couples can marry in Connecticut. In October, the Connecticut supreme court heard a case arguing that same sex civil unions (which had been legal) did not bestow the same rights and privileges as marriage. It's sort of the "separate but equal" thing.

And speaking of separate but equal, I was sincerely unhappy with what I heard in the news about black support for the same sex marriage ban in California. It wasn't that long ago that our laws used marriage restrictions as a means to further a racist agenda. It's not at all nice to see that people have managed to convince themselves that while bigotry on the basis of race is wrong, bigotry on the basis of sexual preference (and sex) is apparently fine, possibly even thought of as justified in the minds of over half of California, Arizona, and Florida voters*.

I don't like the state of Connecticut but I gotta say, today I'm quite happy to live here.

* And Arkansas, where voters passed "a...measure banning unmarried couples from adopting or serving as foster parents."

Monday, November 10, 2008

plain ol'idiot

(from Palin blames Bush policies for GOP defeat, AP November 10, 2008)
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, amid speculation she'll run for president in four years, blamed Bush administration policies for the defeat last week of the GOP ticket and prayed she wouldn't miss "an open door" for her next political opportunity.

"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door," Palin said in an interview with Fox News on Monday.

drunk idiots

Cops have tough time finding sober driver for boy
Associated Press, November 10, 2008
SCHERERVILLE, Ind. – Indiana state police said that after a mother was arrested for drunken driving, the three relatives who came to pick up her 1-year-old son also had all been drinking.

The boy's father arrived later to pick him up, but officers determined he was intoxicated and also arrested him on a drunken driving charge.

Police said the boy's grandparents then arrived. Both of them also had been drinking, state police said, but the grandmother who was driving was not over the legal limit, so officers escorted them home with the child.


I'm not blogging too much these days. First it was from lack of time. Now that I've finally slipped into a groove with work, it's pain. My hands and forearms are SO damned sore. Did I do something to make this happen? This is the first thing I wonder and it's actually more about self empowerment than not in that if I did it, I can undo it. At least this is how my not very explicit reasoning goes with things like this.

"Things like this" is the uneloquent term for a lengthening list of physical ailments. To say that it brings me down to add a new sometimes disabling habit of my body to the list of sometimes (or always) disabling habits of my body is the understatement of all understatements. Here's the latest impact. While this pain was at its peaks (there were several), I could not hold a book to read let alone type or push a pen to express myself in writing. I have been literate and writing for so long that this feels like taking away my air.

Ah crap. As with so many other difficult things in my life, I find anger is safer. Yeah, how's that? When you can't fall apart, anger is safer than desolation because anger can impel you to action where as the more sorrowful feelings don't (usually). So who am I pissed off at? I'm going to go with the insurance company for canceling my refill of pain medication in the middle of the very badly needed refill this weekend. I berated the pharmacy staff into giving me three free pills (see, anger is useful) but now I have to call my GYN doctor to have him do the authorization and he's going to be like "?" because who the hell is he to comment on the GI stuff that makes this particular pain med necessary? In my idealistic view of things, he could and therefore SHOULD be able to comment on it what with him being a fucking MD and all, but I know better than to expect this. The division of labor in the practice of medicine has the effect of treating the patient as if s/he were a set of disembodied parts, thus my gynecologist won't comment on the need for me to take a selective COX2 inhibitor rather than the old school NSAIDs because there's nothing about my lady junk that makes this necessary.

Ok, so I can add pissed off at my doctors to the list of how I'm going to deal with these feelings. But that was a freebie. I'm pissed off at my doctors any time I have to stop and think for more than three minutes about them or certain intersections of my health and my support.

Shit, time to go to work.

Friday, November 07, 2008

potty snackers

Nastiest thing I saw yesterday:
A young woman came through the door to the restroom while I was washing my hands at the sink. She was eating what looked like a mini candy bar or a cookie. As she pulled open the handicap stall, she was still munching down on the food she held in her other hand.

Now when I hear about sudden and severe outbreaks of things like Norwalk Virus that are passed from the "fecal/oral route" no more will I wonder "what person over 2 should be susceptible to that?" Instead, I'll think of this young lady.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Elections, they aren't just for presidents

While we wait for the results of the California vote on a state gay marriage ban, I am heartened by other election day news:

US House and Senate
Senate Democrats edged closer to a supermajority by ousting Republicans in North Carolina and New Hampshire and adding three seats held by retiring GOP incumbents to a fragile 51-49 majority in the Senate. Four other races involving Republican incumbents were too close to call early Wednesday.

In the House, Democrats captured GOP-held seats in the Northeast, South and West, adding at least 15 seats to the 30 they took from Republicans in 2006. With fewer than a dozen races still undecided, they were on a path to pick up as many as 20 seats. Going into Tuesday's election, Democrats controlled the House 235-199 with one vacancy.

...Those wins bring the Democratic Senate majority to 56, but that number is anything but final. Four races remained without clear winners early Wednesday in Oregon, Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota.
(Democratic majorities stronger, tougher, AP, November 5, 2008)

State Governorships
At the end of an Election Day in which 11 governorships were decided, the Democrats won seven....Tuesday's races were a prelude to 2010, when a majority of states will elect governors who will help preside over the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts.
(Democrats win 7 of 11 contested governorships, AP, November 5, 2008)

Civil Rights/Medical Access
For the abortion rights movement, it was a day of relief and celebration. A first-of-its-kind measure in Colorado, which was defeated soundly, would have defined life as beginning at conception. Its opponents said the proposal could lead to the outlawing of some types of birth control as well as abortion. The South Dakota measure would have banned abortions except in cases of rape, incest and serious health threat to the mother. A tougher version, without the rape and incest exceptions, lost in 2006. Anti-abortion activists thought the modifications would win approval, but the margin of defeat was similar, about 55 percent to 45 percent of the vote.

Elsewhere, the marijuana reform movement won two prized victories, with Massachusetts voters decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug and Michigan joining 12 other states in allowing use of pot for medical purposes. Henceforth, people caught in Massachusetts with an ounce or less of pot will no longer face criminal penalties. Instead, they'll forfeit the marijuana and pay a $100 civil fine.

The Michigan measure will allow severely ill patients to register with the state and legally buy, grow and use small amounts of marijuana to relieve pain, nausea, appetite loss and other symptoms.
(State ballots feature hot-button social issues, AP, November 5, 2008)

Voter Turnout
In terms of turnout, America voted in record numbers. It looks like 136.6 million Americans will have voted for president this election, based on 88 percent of the country's precincts tallied and projections for absentee ballots, said Michael McDonald of George Mason University. Using his methods, that would give 2008 a 64.1 percent turnout rate.

"That would be the highest turnout rate that we've seen since 1908," which was 65.7 percent, McDonald said early Wednesday.
(Obama makes history; turns to sobering challenges...AP, November 5, 2008)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I was up extra early today. Not quite giddy with anticipation, more that 5:00 AM knowledge that while I could go back to sleep, I shouldn't because I have too much to do this morning. My morning routine is somewhat cramped (sometimes literally) so squeezing in a general election requires expanding the time a bit to include things like going to the polls and finding what I need to prove I am who I say I am and that I live where the town registrar of voters says I live.

That last one's going to be a bit tricky. Somewhere in this apartment there is a mail/debris pile which includes the motor vehicles change of address sticker for my license. My driver's license is two addresses out of date now. Sometimes it's not an issue when presenting myself at a polling place (I've moved a lot over the last 10 years), sometimes the discrepancy between where I'm listed as living on the voter records and where my license says I live can throw the poll volunteers and workers into a state of minor panic. But my address change sticker from the Department of Motor Vehicles is nowhere to be found and I don't have the time to turn the place upside down looking for it. Oh well, panic it is.

So I turned to having my coffee and reading the pamphlet I received from my town's registrar of voters called "Town of ______ explanatory text for election day referendum questions and amendments to the ____ town charter". The pamphlet is written with many assumptions, not the least of which seems to be that anyone who cares enough to read about the charter items already knows enough about them to not need to read about them. A bit of a paradox, isn't it? On the back of the pamphlet, it refers voters to the town of ______'s website for "additional information on the charter revisions" however again, we have some presupposition failures. Here, it is that anyone who knows enough about the town government to find this not highlighted information on the town's website probably doesn't need the information.

While browsing through the town site, I discovered that in the lovely town of ______, one can take a tapercize [sic] class. It took my sleepy brain way too long to resolve that this was meant to be a blending of "tap" (as in dance) and "exercise". I kept reading the first part as "tape" and trying to imagine what one would do with tape to get a work out.

I think I know how I'm voting on this from what I can glean off the pamphlet...and if I err, it will be on the side of giving the town government less power (relative to the public) rather than more.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Polling place info

Someone nicely sent the following link to a list I'm on
I was sweating whether I'd be able to try to vote before work tomorrow, so I found the feature which lists the hours for the polling places to be very handy. And so I pass it along.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Fall back

Daylight savings is messing with my head. First off, I never know if we start or end daylight saving time in the Fall. Second, is it "saving", "savingS", or "saving'S"? And then there's the effect it has on my body, my internal clock. My internal clock is a bit whacky anyhow. I've tried to retrain it, with some reasonably ok results. I.e., I don't stay up until three AM without feeling wiped out now and I am not as sick when I get up before 7:00 AM most days. Still, I can't help thinking that if my internal clock were to be made manifest as an actual time keeping device, it would be a somewhat off kilter cuckoo clock - the kind that have little figures which come out and perform a mechanized play on the hour, or in my case approximately every hour. A little mechanical figurines doing various things like doubling over from wrenching pelvic pain or hobbling haltingly up and down tiny little flights of stairs. What would your internal clock look like?