Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Break

So if we've been on vacation for the last week, why do I feel a sense of freedom today?

Seriously, I find vacations challenging these days. While I love not being a slave to the alarm clock, the lack of routine is deadly for me. I made it to the gym three times, and we went to the Natural History Museum in NYC on Wednesday, but other than that, I think I accomplished nothing besides the most basic of household chores.

We did have a lovely time at the Museum. I was pleasantly surprised at the crowds, or relative lack thereof compared to Washington DC last year at spring break. We took the train in with friends, so our travel took longer than it might have, but the kids seemed to enjoy riding the train for the most part. We got to the muesum about 30 minutes before it opened, but then we had pre-bought tickets and just had to pick them up, so not really any lines to wait in.

Our only mistake was really the number of people. While it's fun to go with friends, logistically it gets more complicated as you add more people. We were up to 9, so it did seem like we spent a little more time than we might have just discussing what to do next. The only shows we did were the Butterfly Exhibit, where you walk through an enclosure with hundreds of butterflies (including an Atlas Moth! Wow!) and the IMAX film Dinosaurs Alive!, which I thought was less thrilling for the kids than we expected. And we still only got through maybe half of the museum.

So we'll go back, sometime in the not-too-distant future. William thought the big snake skeleton was "awesome!" and there was a whole hall of dinosaurs we missed. JC wanted to see the Big Bang movie in the worst way, and Rachel wanted to find the t-rex skeleton from the movie "Night at the Museum". So now that I've done it once, it's a lot easier to figure out how to do it again.

So here's some info on the Atlas Moth for you. It really was bigger than my hands, and I was grateful it was not flying around but resting on the ceiling.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Frozen in Central Station

I found this on someone else's blog. It is so cool. It's a prank on a grand scale - 200+ people walking through the station froze in place for 5 minutes. Very well done.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What does "vorpal" mean?

Ok, I had to go to to look it up. It is an adjective meaning "deadly", and yes, it was an invented word by Lewis Carroll. I am taking some degree of satisfaction from the fact that I already knew that (insert smug smile) and can still quote a large portion of "The Jabberwocky", thus embarassing my children.

On a related note, I was surprised the other day when I quoted a portion of "If", by Rudyard Kipling, and John was not familiar with it. I had to memorize it in 10th grade English - I guess I assumed it was a pretty standard poem for high school. It amazes me sometimes that we've been married almost 19 years (August) and there are still things we don't know about each other.

Oooh, I get a vorpal blade!

What Is Your Battle Cry?

Lo! Who is that, running on the tundra! It is Mailhot, hands clutching a vorpal blade! And with a bloodthirsty bellow, her voice cometh:

"As sure as predators devour prey, I hereby void your warranty, and send you back to God!!"

Find out!
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created by beatings : powered by monkeys

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yet another quiz!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

The interesting thing to me is that I did not grow up in the "Inland North" - but my parents did. One from Minnesota and one from Chicago. My mom doesn't have the Minnesota accent, but she can't hear it in others, either. I had someone tell me once that I had just a trace of that accent - perhaps they were right after all!

Monday, March 17, 2008

And while we're being silly...

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Hand Grenade of Looking at All Sides of the Question.

Get yours.

JC's Pirate Name

My pirate name is:

Bloody John Kidd

Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it's the open sea. For others (the masochists), it's the food. For you, it's definitely the fighting. Even though you're not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Rachel's Pirate Name

My pirate name is:

Iron Ethel Rackham

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

William's Pirate Name

My pirate name is:

Dread Pirate Bonney

Like the famous Dread Pirate Roberts, you have a keen head for how to make a profit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Perspectives, Updated

Rachel came home feeling sick, too. John picked her up, as I had my head in the MRI, but was suspecting Ferris Bueller syndrome. Regardless, I had both big kids home all day - which meant they played video games and watched TV, and I played some games with them.

As sick days go, I'd rather have a "suspected" sick day than an actual nasty mess that I have to clean up after. And I think both will be back to school tomorrow. Rachel seems to need the occasional mental health day, and as it seems to only happen once or twice a school year, I'm ok with that. None of my kids seem to get sick a lot, although we have our moments.

And I got all the dead food out of the fridge, and even got 4 out of 6 fridge shelves cleaned. And we have fresh food, as I stopped at the store on my way back from the MRI. And the dishwasher has run, although I still have to empty it.

The MRI was ok. It's very loud, even with earplugs. And it's very small inside, even with a mirror to see your toes with. I kept my eyes mostly closed and tried not to think about it too much. It clicks and whirrs fairly rythmically, so I counted - 6 clicks, 6 whirs, 6 clicks, etc. Enough focus to keep me calm. And it only took about 20 minutes. Not so bad.


I have my MRI this morning, in about an hour. JC is home sick, having thrown up in the bathroom almost immediately after arriving at school. The nurse commented that "at least he didn't throw up on the bus." I got 500+ postcards edited, printed, cut, labeled, stamped and mailed this weekend, with some help from friends, so I am now committed to running a consignment sale for my church this spring.

I regained some measure of order in my kitchen yesterday, although the floors throughout the house could be said to be in an active state of anarchy, or at least chaos. The refrigerator probably has more dead/spoiled food in it than fresh at the moment.

But John recruited JC to type a list of all the stamp sets that I'm hoping to sell, I'm probably not going to become disabled from the neuropathy in my feet, and we've got Spring Break next week so I can sleep in.

It's not so bad. In fact, things are pretty good. It's all in how you look at it.

Arrr! We Be Pirates!

My pirate name is:

Red Anne Vane

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. You tend to blend into the background occasionally, but that's okay, because it's much easier to sneak up on people and disembowel them that way. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Poke in the Eye with a Sharp Stick

Ok, it wasn't my eye, but it was most of the rest of me. I finally got to see the neurologist today. We spent a LONG time taking a health history, not only me, but my family tree - parents and sibilings too. Then came the exam. She listened to my back and chest, took a long time checking my eyes, how they tracked and how the retina looked. Then it was sensation - first a tuning fork placed various places - could I feel the vibration? Tell me when you can't hear it. Everywhere from my forehead to the joints in my toes. Then a touch test with a cotton swab - nose to toes again. And then a pointy stick. I kid you not - she poked me with a sharp stick from nose to toes too.

So what did we learn? Well, we're not 100% sure, but we're pretty sure this is a hereditary peripheral neuropathy. It's not MS or vasculitis, or lupus, etc. It appears that my nerves (not the insulation on them, but the nerve itself) are degenerating, and no, there's no treatment. But on the other hand, it's taken me 40 years to get to this point, the pain is not yet enough that I need to medicate it yet, so if I live long enough to be debilitated from this, I'm doing pretty well.

There's still a few tests that she'd like to do, to rule out any brain involvement. They took blood for a laundry list of tests (10 vials! New record!) and I have to get my head examined have an MRI. And there's a few lab results I have to try to get out of various doctors.

So the good news is that it's none of the hideous things I spent yesterday evening reading about. The bad news is, I have to live with it. Not so bad. Could be worse.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

grPlthWt with Frost Warning

Does anyone else mentally pronounce the visual verification letters, or is it just me? You know, the ones that are a random string of letter that you type in when you're leaving a comment somewhere. I always say them, sometimes out loud.

Many (many!) years ago we found a stack of old computer punch cards somewhere in the hallways of MIT. Trolling for spoo (that's what we called it, I think) was a rather entertaining pastime there - you never knew what you would find. Anyway, each of these punch cards had a line or two of printing on them as well - I suppose it was a visual confirmation of the content of the card. I remember going through them at one point and pulling out the interesting ones and arranging them in a sort of poem. Alas, the poem (and cards) is long lost now, but I still love randomly generated phrases and they always make a sort of poem to me.

On a somewhat related note, a few weeks ago the cartoon "Frazz" had what I thought was an absolutely brilliant Sunday strip. Many thanks to John Hildebidle, my poetry professor in college, for making me able to appreciate this strip.

My Love List

Today, when I picked William up from school, he found a small notepad I keep in my purse on the floor of the car. He demanded a pen, and on the way home he was writing his love list. "I love Mom, I love JC, I love AJ, I love me." "How do you spell 'Eric', Mom?" I suggested adding Dad. "I don't need help spelling that, Mom."

I don't know if he didn't think of Rachel, or if she just didn't make the list.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Zap Me

I finally got my first mammogram a couple of weeks ago. It was a ok experience, not one I'd hope to have to do again soon, but I do. They say need additional views, and an ultrasound. Oh goody. Apparently I'm fibrous.

The good news is that they have an appointment for me tomorrow, the bad news is, well, I guess the bad news is that I have to do it again. Could be worse.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bob's Evil Twin

We heard Green Day on the radio today. We discovered the band years ago, before they got really big, on a televised concert. One of those random channels you discover when channel surfing because nothing else is on. We stopped and watched because the lead singer looked strikingly like our friend Bob from college.

Ok, he looked strikingly like Bob if Bob had been into eye makeup and tattoos (which he wasn't, that we ever saw). Really, the resemblence is mostly in haircolor and face shape. However, it was enough. The singer was immediately dubbed "Bob's Evil Twin".

We still refer to Green Day's lead singer as Bob's Evil Twin. Eventually, we even bought one of their albums, but any mention or image of the singer leads to that reference.

I'm not sure it's the way Bob would like us to think about him, but it does make us think of him!

The Pitter Patter of Little Feet

No, I'm not pregnant, so just get that thought right out of your head. The little feet to which I refer are the cat feet which we so recently adopted. I am enjoying them greatly EXCEPT when I sit down at the computer.

As I predicted, the cats are (mostly) mine. They are good about sharing their affections, but I seem to be the one they come and find. Perhaps its because I feed them? Ya think? But Sheba in particular seems to need a lot of lovin' from Mom. Whenever I sit down, but particularly at the computer, she's in my lap, she's in my face, she's needing attention.

Part of me is thrilled, of course, because she's a darling little kitty and she wants to snuggle me! But of course, the rest of me is mildly annoyed because I sat down to DO something of course, and she's in the way! Good thing we didn't get a dog - I don't think I could deal with that level of need any more.

(Oh, and yes, the cats are almost identical. Side by side, Sheba is noticeably lighter than George, and her ears are brown. But apart, if the light isn't good, we're always trying to figure out which is which.)